Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Myth Busters: Holland

I've just been watching the Mythbusters. It was an episode I'd already seen, but what was interesting was the over-voice. The biggest mistake they made with the Australian version of Mythbusters was just repeating exactly what the American announcer said. The UK version doesn't do that - they've actually gone to the trouble of "translating".

I'm now wondering how many other versions of Mythbusters there are in the world, and what they're all like...


Rave in a Village: Day 2

We finally had some success today and solved the biggest issue. Turns out the interop dll was incorrect for some reason - when I created a new one the wierd problems all went away. After more than a day and a half of banging my head against the wall, it was good to finally work out what was going wrong.

I knew virtually from the begining that the solution would be something obvious that I should have noticed earlier, and I wasn't wrong! It wasn't hard to locate where in the code the problem was occuring, and I had a pretty good idea that it had something to do with the SDK layer.

With the Create roadblock out of the way, we got some good work done in the afternoon. Now I just have to deal with flexible complex searches - something that should be pretty interesting to deal with.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Onsite at Venlo

Today was cool. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy going onsite. Trying to solve problems on the run, dealing with a reduced set of tools, finding out the cool things the customer is doing, and just the general feeling of being thrown in the deep end. I definately think I'm going to have to try and convince the boss to let me do some more visits.

I had Grant and Stilly helping me - at least until they went to bed. Thanks a lot guys, I really appricated it.



I thought it was a great idea when Gordon (I can't be bothered finding the link) first mentioned it, and I still think it's a great idea now Stilly's brought it up again.

We definately need to do one as soon as we get the next release out the door.

Monday, August 22, 2005


What The...?

Why did my last post explode with spam comments?


Going Light

Okay, so stay with me here. This is the first time I've had Internet access for a few days (despite being taunted by it in Heathrow airport. Curse you T-Mobile!). Normally I'm not one to start breaking down when I'm without the information super highway for more than 10mins. But I'm also normally not having adventures on the other side of the world to most of the people I care about, and normally I'm able to understand what's going on around me pretty easily.

Having access is actually a pretty big relief. It makes me feel a lot less out of my depth. And it's great for keeping in touch with home. Sure, there's the phone, but using it's a big deal - you've got to time it just right so the person on the other end isn't alseep or at work, you're always thinking of how much longer you've got left to talk, all that sort of stuff.

But the Internet means I can "touch home" in a much more casual way. I can email about the most meaningless things, and know that friends will email me about their meaningless things. I just caught up with all the work blogs, which gives me some idea of what everyone's been talking about lately. I can even look up the local news if I want.

So yeah, I'm glad I'm back on the web.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


History Snippet - Part I

Part I - The Die is Cast

In early 49BC, Julius Caesar lead his army to the banks of the river Rubicon.

The past few years had seen Caesar win victory after victory in Gaul where he had been appointed governor. Factions in the Senate were worried by Caesar's growing power, and were even more concerned about what he would do when he returned to Rome.

As governor of Gaul, Caesar was immune to prosecution. Unfortunately, Caesar's term was due to expire towards the end of 50BC. Caesar's plan was to obtain the Consulship which would renew his immunity. He needed special permission to run in absentia.

Unfortunately for Caesar, his former ally Pompey (the sole consul at the time), wasn't about to let that happen. With Pompey charge by the Senate to ensure Caesar lay down his arms, and the Senate refusing his attempts at a cease fire, Caesar had a hard choice to make. Either he walked away from his army and any chance at a public life, or he started a civil war.

Suetonius' account (XXXII) of Caesar's pause at the Rubicon gave me the idea for my honours topic (that is if I ever end up doing honours in history). He describes that while Caesar considered his options, a mysterious being appeared and snatched a trumpet from one of the soldiers. Signaling loudly, he marched across the river. Caesar, seeing it as a sign from the gods, declared "THE DIE IS CAST".

Further Reading:
The Twelve Caesars


My Idea

I think I've hit on an idea.

I've been thinking it would be good if I could turn my blog into something a bit more interesting. So I thought "why not have a weekly theme post?". I need something short but interesting I can write about once a week. Something I'll have fun doing, but that will also give me an excuse to learn a bit more about stuff that interests me.

So let's see how this goes. And considering I'll be away for a while, we'll see if it lasts...

Monday, August 15, 2005


Large Powertools

We're getting some paving done in a few weeks. Before it can happen, we had to move the clothes line and rip up some of the cement. So yesterday I grabbed a jack hammer from Magnet Mart, and got smashing. Since I have a digital camera, so don't have to worry about wasting film, I grabbed some photos!

This is what it looked like on Saturday morning. The big blue box has the very exciting jackhammer inside...

There's a very cool feeling that comes from wielding something that looks like it came out of Unreal or Quake

Halfway through. My arms aren't too bad yet, but I haven't even started moving the rubble yet...

This was taken this morning. We took a trailer load of rubble to the tip late yesterday, and pulled the clothesline out.

My hands are still a bit sore, and I just have to pretend I'm holding a jackhammer for my arms to scream at me. At least it's all done!

Friday, August 12, 2005


Dragon Photo

This story made me smile for a few different reasons. First off, because I love the idea of cyptozoology. There have been many "mythical" creatures that have turned out to be real - the Giant Pandas are a good example. And I love learning about the "mythical creatures" that result from people first seeing an animal and then later trying to describe it - like unicorns and mermaids. How cool would it be if it turned out that dragons were actually a rare species of flying snake or something that were still in existance today.

The second reason this story made me smile was just the sense of wonder I got from reading it. I don't actually think it's a photo of a dragon, but it's still a pretty cool image. I think the comment

“No wonder that China is the homeland of the dragon! Nature is truly mysterious and powerful, it can always produce spectacular sights beyond people's expectations.”

pretty much sums up what I mean.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Working From Home

It's funny. I've been trying to get doco done at work for the past week. Last night I sat down with David Bowie and a glass of water and had by far the most productive session I've had in ages. It's been so long since I've worked from home, I was impressed at how little working on a PC full of games distracted me.

I was a little annoyed though when I decided I'd put in a good night's work, and so could slack off with some World of Warcraft time. Turns out my subscription has just expired.


My Trip

I guess it's time for a bit more info on my trip. Since I've been dealing with people in different time zones, I've been doing email stuff before bed and as soon as I get up. So while stuff has actually progressed quite quickly, it seems like I've been doing this for ages.

The current plan is to fly out Thursday or Friday next week, and arrive in Holland on the Saturday - Mikal's advice (which I agree with) is that I really want at least a day to sleep if need be. Three days on site, then a night to myself in Amsterdam and then I fly to London on the Friday. Turns out it's a long weekend in the UK, so I get three days to recover more and look around, and then I go visiting on the Tuesday and Wednesday.

After that, it's across the Atlantic to Washington DC. I've got the Friday and the weekend to look around, then I'm visiting again on the Monday and Tuesday. Then it's back to LAX and a 22 hour flight back to Sydney,

I should get home very tired on Friday or Saturday.


Edit: The flying time from LAX to Sydney is actually only about 14 and a half hours. I was remembering the departure time - 2230.


Snow in Canberra!

Last night it snowed! That's a pretty rare event in Canberra for anyone who doesn't know. I grabbed my camera and took about a hundred shots. Most didn't really work, but I figured I'd post some of the better ones.

From our balcony, looking out

From our balcony, looking right

Anne the kumquat tree

Bella the dog tries to work out what's going on

One of the street lamps out the front. You can't really see the snow, but I just liked this picture.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Best EBay Evar

This guy is either brilliant, or should be dragged into the street and shot. Maybe both.

I especially liked:
Be advised, although I own the copyright registrations, it is the sole responsibility of the buyer to obtain franchise and marking rights from Fox and Paramount Studios.

Monday, August 08, 2005



Some Italian scientists are monitoring the cocain use of the area by checking the levels of cocain and it's by products in the sewage.


My Weekend - Part 5

Karina cooked a fantastic smoked salmon pasta which we enjoyed with a nice bottle of white.


My Weekend - Part 4

Sunday day I spent over at a friends place for our (kind of) regular gaming time. I had been keen to play a second session of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer game, but the guy who was running it got sick towards the end of the week and so didn't have time to prepare. I was also up to ran an Exalted session - our normal Exalted game is on hold as a few of the people involved are currently busy becoming doctors and accountants, so we decided to start an "intermission campaign". It went really well, considering everyone was dealing with new characters with new powers we hadn't had much exposure to yet. Plus I pretty much made the whole thing up as I went along, which I seem to be doing more and more often lately.

We also got to play a couple of games of Zombies!!!, which is such a fantastic board game. I was given it for my birthday last year, and really it was the most personalised present I got. The really beautiful thing about it is that right up until the last few turns, it's still anyone's game. If you join in half way through, you're not at a disadvantage at all. We finished off the afternoon with a game of Starfarers of Catan, which I won (yay!).


My Weekend - Part 3

Saturday night we went to a 104th birthday party. A couple of my friends and two of their friends had decided to combine parties. It was at a bar called 3 Degrees on Northbourne Ave. Nice place, but not quite the sort of bar I prefer - it was more one of those bars that's pretending to be a club (my thinking goes that if I wanted to be blasted with dance music, I'd go to a club).

I had a chance to catch up with a chunk of my mates who I haven't seen for ages, so that was really good. For some reason we thought there would be food provided, so we didn't eat before we went. The plan had been to meet up with one of Karina's friends so we could meet her new boyfriend, but she canceled. So by about 9pm we were getting really hungry, and headed into Civic.

We were going to go to the Pancake parlour, but decided to go to the Japanese restaurant a couple of doors up (since we hadn't had Japanese for ages). We were a bit surprised to find the menus claimed a minimum $30 per person charge, but the waitress assured us that that didn't matter. Which was lucky, because we weren't quite sure how we'd manage to get to $60.

Then we decided since we hadn't been out for dinner just us for a while, we'd splurge a bit. The food was fantastic, and by the end we were very full. And a bit amused when we realised the bill was $63...


My Weekend - Part 2

I was up and about by about 10:30am on Saturday, my no hangover ability kicking in for a change (it's been a bit intermittent lately). I decided to log in and check my work email, since I had a feeling a friend had mailed me something after I'd gone home on Friday. He had, but I discovered something else.

One of the people I've been giving support for is based in Europe. His manager had emailed me to basically say "hey, thanks for the help, but the time difference and trying to explain things via emails is kind of making this process a bit slow. So how can we get you out here for a few days?"

So I had the weird sensation of it being Saturday morning, and I'm wishing it's Monday so I can talk to people about making it happen...


My Weekend - Part I

Friday night was the company dinner. Gordon guided our table of Tower Dinner Newbies (no one else had been to more than one) through the night with care and skill. Or is that beer and wine? I enjoyed the magician - nothing particularly amazing (except for the magic square!), but still fun. Got to meet some partners, and got to show off Karina in a fantastic dress.

Congratulations to Big Headed Simon for his award.

After dinner I went to the Casino with various people, and had some good random chats with people from different parts of the company. The drunken taxi ride home was fun, and got into bed about 4:30am.

So yeah, great night. When's the next one?


My Weekend - Intro

I had a few interesting things happen over the weekend, so why not deal with each of them seperately.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Something's Different

I finally got around to changing the side bar. Hopefully it will make things a bit easier to find in the future...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Interesting Things I Discovered So Far Today

Lenny Henry has a blog (although I'm having trouble getting an RSS feed of it)

William Gibson has started to post to his blog again

Neil Gaiman's latest book, Anansi Boys is going to have a normal CD audio book, but it's also going to have an MP3 version (apparently American Gods already has one). Crap - another chink in my"I don't need an iPod" armour.

Monday, August 01, 2005


Cosonic Headphones?

On Saturday a friend "dragged" me to the computer fair. Of course, so he didn't feel bad about "having" to spend money, I had to buy something.

I picked up a digital tuner card (which I'll talk about in another post), and some headphones. I've been thinking about getting some headphones for work, and I figured I couldn't go past a pair of wireless ones for $28. I figured they're probably crap, but for $28, who cares.

Turns out, they are a bit crap.

When I first turned them on, I had some woman talking to me in Chinese. I guessed it was a friendly thankyou message from the good people at "Cosonic", but then I realised I was just picking up SBS radio.

The headphones themselves, apart from being a little uncomfortable (I think I need to change the shape of my head), actually have a pretty good FM radio in them. I can get a really clear sound. Unfortunately, the FM transmitter seems a bit shit. I borrowed Lindsay's Belkin transmitter (which she uses for her iPod), and it works better. I suspect part of the problem is I was getting interference when I used the Cosonic transmitter.

I just went for a walk to the printer (over the other side of the floor for anyone who don't work with me), and the signal only just started to break up right at the printer. I was thinking about going to the toilet with them on, but I don't think I really need to test them that much :-)

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