Saturday, December 30, 2006

Going... going... (going...) gone.

Heidelberg, September 23 2006.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


It wasn't too bad actually. We went to my brothers place this year and had a seafood themed dinner. The main dishes of Snapper and Salmon were cooked on the barbecue by my brother out in the rain. The Snapper was also accompanied by a delicious chili sauce. Also had with our meal were baked potato's wrapped in prosciutto, a salad with shredded roast chicken, mango and iceberg lettuce, a tomato salad with red onion and balsamic vinegar dressing, and a cold "cut" platter (sounds too American to me, but that's what it was called).

After lunch we settled down for a while before opening our presents. The kids, who seem to already have everything, seem to have acquired even more stuff now. The adults didn't fare (or is it fair?) too badly either, some surprises were had.

After playing with our presents for a while it was about 4pm already and time for dessert. Once again it was my mum's pudding. Delicious as usual. Somehow while making the pudding last year she ended up with enough mixture for two puddings so we ate last years extra which had spent a year in the fridge. It probably could have done with a few shots of brandy throughout the year, but it was still yum in it's bath of brandy custard. Dessert was accompanied by a fruit and cheese platter with watermelon and chocolate coated cherries amongst other treats.

The rest of the afternoon and evening involved more playing with presents. No one even thought about eating. At about 8pm it was decided we would all watch the movie Cars, which Santa had left in one of the kids stockings. If you haven't seen cars I recommend you do, as there are a lot of funny little references that the kids don't necessarily pick up. I'd like to see it again.

Finally left after 10 pm, and were home in time to watch Boston Legal before going to bed.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Cool Change

This is the change passing overhead last night, the cloud formation in the front was pretty spectacular so I decided to take a photo. I can't believe I climbed onto the roof to take this, I could have been struck by lightning!

"whatever you do, don't get hit by lightning" - Marty McFly

BTW the buildings you can see on the ridgeline in the background are at Doncaster, the one on the right is an apartment building, while the one on the left is the office tower at Westfield Shopping town. Both buildings have spectacular views of the city, and my house apparently.

It was a relief to get some decent rainfall after a hot smokey (the Firefox spell checker wants smoky, I think smokey looks better) week. In all we got 8.6 mm at our nearest weather station, not as much as I would have hoped for. No doubt the cooler conditions which are expected to persist for the next few days will help the fire in the east of the state.

Earlier in the day the tree across the road lost a very large branch during a strong sind gust. It landed in the fork of a branch lower down the tree and was hanging over the powerlines. At about 9 PM a cherry picker pulled up and the crew set about landing the branch safely. First they secured it to the fork it was caught in, then cut a bit off the bottom and then a bit off the top to stop it becoming a top heavy. I assume this went on until it was all on the ground, but because it was too cold I went inside and missed the rest.

I did happen to see a branch fall out of the same tree a year or so ago. I was sitting in the lounge room and heard a large cracking and creaking sound out side. By the time I rushed to the window the branch was bouncing off the powerlines, I watched it come down to the ground taking out one of the neighbour's phone and Foxtel cables in the process. Luckily there weren't any cars parked in the driveway it half landed in.

Present Day

Due to Monday being annual present day*, I spent the better part of the afternoon finishing off my shopping. I was a lean green present buying machine, everything just clicked into place and I managed to procure all intended gifts. One item did prove to be tricky, the recipient of this item (was on their wish list) had said they couldn't find it anywhere, but I managed to find it at a specialist music retailer in Hardware Lane in Melbourne (Actually in Hardware Street one block up from Hardware Lane, opposite Pug Mahoney's Irish Pub). As you can tell I'm really quite pleased with myself. Now all I have to do is wrap it all, the part I hate.

* I think it's originally some sort of religious holiday, either something to do with the winter solstice or some chick having an affair and telling quite a big lie to quell her husbands suspicions. I think a donkey may be involved somewhere as well...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Open Office

It's just like Word (and the rest of MS Office), only free*. It runs well now, since I put in more ram. Now that it doesn't take a week to load up or stutter while I type, I might consider using it instead of Word. Not that I really do much typing. Oh and I like the T9-esque guessing game it has going as I type...

*Most people never actually buy MS Word. I did once, thinking back I can't recall why, I already had the disks. Floppy disks that is, about 6 of them. Then again Office these days comes on CDs or DVDs, I'd hate to think how many CDs are needed.

This post was composed in Open Office

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Enter the world of tommorow...

Oh yeah!

I've been thinking about getting a digital STB(set top box) for a while now. Even though I know there really aren't any incentives in this country to do so yet, I thought what the heck. So on Friday after work I made my way to the nearest Dick Smith Powerhouse and bought one of these. Of course I also got talked into extra cables and a switch box thing to save fiddling with cables behind our "old" TV (it only has one set of component inputs on the rear) whenever we want to watch a DVD or video.

All I can say is wow! The reception is crystal clear, the sound is fantastic and there is no interference or ghosting. It's more or less like watching a DVD. I was worried that our rabbit ears antenna would seriously hamper the digital signal, I was wrong. All the channels have 90% + signal strength except for SBS which is around 80%. I'm impressed.

The only problem however is the crappy approach to digital TV that this country has taken. Why do I want 5 identical versions each of channels 7 and 10? I want different programming on each channel. SBS and the ABC do each have a second channel with different programing SBS 2 and ABC 2, however each would seem to have little that interests me. The former being foreign language news programs and latter seemingly endless repeats of Stateline and cricket games from 40 years ago. What would really sell digital TV in Australis is a system similar to the UK's Freeview (check out the list of channels) or even the similarly named New Zealand version FreeView. Only then will digital TV be worthwhile. Either that or do what Alex Encel suggests and give away STBs...

Friday, November 24, 2006

Tech Stuff

I blame eBay for it all. I haven't bought much there, only bits and pieces for my computer, a couple of computers and a mobile phone. My most recent purchase is a new CPU for my elderly computer. Well I only won the auction today, still haven't sent any money.

I know I should by a new computer as this one is really old, c. 1999 - 2000), but it just keeps battling on, and recently I've been adding new bits to it. First of all it was the monitor, a nice crisp LCD. A few weeks ago I bought some ram tripling the total from 128 to 384 megabytes. And now I'm going to almost double the processor speed (now this is where it gets really embarrassing) from 500 MHz to 900 MHz. Almost cracking one gig! Due to the clock speeds and multipliers available on my motherboard a select few Celeron and Pentium III CPUs can be used. Even though they lack the extra L2 Cache of the Pentium III I decided to go for a 900MHz Celeron.

I was also going to get a new video card but I soon found out that another shortcoming is that my motherboard doesn't even have an AGP card slot, and that what I thought was an AGP slot is in fact something called an Audio Modem Riser or AMR for short. So much for that, like I was going to be able to play any recent (say last 3 years) games on it anyway. What I have been able to do is buy myself some time before I buy a new PC.

Next on the list is probably a DVD drive. Although I'm not entirely convinced it has enough grunt to burn DVDs let alone play DVD movies (damn video card!)...

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Well it's been a month since my last entry. I just havn't been bothered with the computer at much. That's all really. I'm slowly catching up with the other blogs I read. It takes a while... One blog even came back from the dead without me knowing about it, I was rapped (or is that wrapped?) when I found out.

I've got a few ideas to post, so yeah they may or may not appear on these pages 9they could get backdated). That's it really.

Monday, October 23, 2006

An endangered species...

I found this seemingly newborn phone box the other day. Incidentally it is located at one of Melbourne's most notorious road intersections and railway level crossings.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tall Timber

This is the lemon scented gum in our front yard. It's a big tree but it is dwarfed by the gum tree across the road. Late this afternoon there were quite a few Rainbow Lorikeets (you'd think there were more by the noise they make!) feeding on the flowers, but because they are so high up, and surprisingly well camouflaged they are not perceptible in the photo. Last year we had a number Flying Foxes feeding in the tree, I'll have to check latter on tonoght to see if they are back. We are only about 2 km from the Yarra River so it's not unusual to see the dark silhouette of Flying Foxes overhead at night. The only problem with these trees is that they occasionally decide to drop limbs for no apparent reason. For some reason they always land on our neighbours telephone wire, luckilly last time the wire was there to save our neighbours shiny new car.

Something I discovered while writing this is that the lemon scented gum is in fact not a Eucalyptus but a member of the closely related Corymbia family.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Oooh pretty flowers...

While walking home tonight I noticed that this Bottle Brush (otherwise known as a Callistamon) was bursting into vivid red flowers, which stood out in the briliant late afternoon sun. I think I'm looking forward to daylight saving.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Or behind bars even...

The afternoon of August 25 2006 at Camberwell.

Tramit 2006

Last Sunday I attended the Tram It 2006 Family Fun day in Harbour Esplanade Docklands. It was a great opportunity to see a large number of past and present Melbourne trams in the one place at the same time.

The tram you see in this post is Hawthorn Tramway Trust tram number 32 built in 1938. It remained in service in Melbourne for many years before being used in Bendigo right up until that system closed in the early 1970's. 32 has recently been restored in Bendigo and now once again roams (as much as trams can roam) the streets of Bendigo in it's original HTT livery on the Bendigo tourist tram service. Bendigo tramways have a website which you may or may not find interesting.

Anyway You may also notice that this photo is hosted by flickr. I sighned up to flickr a few months ago and decided to finally put some photos up, including a few taken at Tramit 2006. My flickr address is

Thursday, October 12, 2006

This blog is coming to you from the not too distant past* (10:48pm AEST on Thursday October 12 2006 to be exact) owing to the fact that blogger appears to not be working. Notepad is probably the most versatile program that comes with Windows, I love it. This probably explains the abundance of txt documents on my desktop...

Any way I know I've been a bad blogger lately. Despite having the odd moment of inspiration (no more than usual), I basically haven't been bothered with using the computer at home much as I spend all day using a computer (and surfing the net while waiting for work computer to do it's thing). So my life has been pretty much, get up->Go to work->work->come home from work->watch TV/cook dinner(depends who's home)->more TV->maybe check emails->go to bed, rinse and repeat...

The reason I can now sit here and blog is mostly due to the fact that I now have an LCD monitor to replace my fading with age CRT that gave me bad eye strain. I have a bad history with PC monitors, for some reason they keep blowing up on me. The CRT was a 15" "temporary" solution that I've been using since my fantastic 17" CRT just decided to make loud hissing noises and flashing noises one night about 2 years ago. I love my new LCD, I've found space on my desk that I never dreamed existed.

As for adventures... Well I did go fishing on the AFL grand final day at Sugarloaf reservoir (yes the same Sugarloaf Reservoir that is supposedly full of human faeces pumped out of the Yarra River), so I'll probably post a few photos and a bit of a write up soon. Other adventures included Tramit 2006 last weekend, which was a display of many current and former classes of Melbourne trams, I'll probably post about that too...

Anything else I think of I'll get back to you with that too.

**Well more from the past, brought forward to the future and then back dated to the past again. Hopefully it won't result in a tangent in the space time continuum causing all kinds of anomalies that could include, waking up back on the old 27th foor of my asshole stepdad's Hotel/Casino, after getting knocked on the head by Billy Zane (the easy way), with my artificially endowed alcoholic mother comforting me...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Observations on the Bus

Three out of five days a week I get the bus home from work. For some reason it's quicker or just as quick to get two trains to work as it is to get the train and a bus. And that's going all the way into the Flinders Street (or Southern Cross or Parliament) and out to work. Going home it's a different story, I can save up to half an hour by getting the bus and train. It depends what I'm doing, which way I go.

Anyway the point of this post was to list some observations I've made while travelling on this particular bus route.

- Mum pushing fully laiden pram across road in front of bus. Pram fully laiden with shopping. Toddler walking along holding mum's hand.

- Blind woman with guide dog always (although not recently) seems to get the same bus as me.

-Most people get off at major shopping centre along route, some people get on. People get off gradually until only three or four people (including myself) are left at final stop. On more than one occasion I was the only person left, which is puzzling given destination is a majorish railway station.

-Blonde glasses girl and friend always get on at first stop, they always get off at previously mentioned shopping centre and wait for another bus to somewhere else.

-Sometimes girls with very attractive necks sit in the seat in front of me. Perhaps I'm a bit of a repressed vampire? Ears sometimes attractive, when combined with nice neck and hair. Girl today had a nice neck and ear. Girl today also had the softest most beautiful hair, colour light brown with blondi highlights (very subdued) in a shortish cut, some of which was pulled back into a slight pig tail. I thought it was cute. Oh how I wanted to touch hair...

(OK well that last one was creepy, but that is what I was thinking at the time)

-Next stop buzzer on bus annoying.

-Radio station on bus annoying.

-MP3 player, custom music good.

-Old buses, noisy and slow. Best seat the facing seats in the rear section, either side of bus. Stretch out legs.

-New buses sometimes noisy, but never slow. Best seat, first up the rear step on the left.

-Stopped at major shopping centre for shopping related purposes today, got first bus there (3 routes to choose from). On continuation of journey I walked onto bus and straight into favourite seat. Was a new-new bus, blue instead of yellow, seat very hard, engine vibrate.

-Bus only traffic light shorten journey. What used to take two or three traffic light cycles now only takes one.

-Me Tarzan...

None the wiser...

Now I know how a teething baby feels. Today I've been having some minor discomfort in my lower left gum due to a wisdom tooth breaking through. It doesn't really hurt, it's just irritating. This is my fourth wisdom tooth actually, they've been surfacing for years. I got my first two a couple of years apart, these are upper left and lower right, both are fully grown. The third, I've probably had for a year is not quite fully grown, and is still covered by a bit of gum.

For many people wisdom teeth are a big problem. Personally they haven't been a problem at all due to having quite a bit space left over after having a few teeth out when I had braces as a teenager. The only side effect is a slight change to my bite, and the odd cheek biting moment (which is nothing compared to what improperly trimmed sharp bits of wire do to the inside of your cheek, ouch!). The dentist certainly wasn't concerned on my last checkup.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

This is why I nearly burnt the rice last night.

This is, and yet isn't me, well as close as you can get in a Southpark style. Most of the featurs are correct and the clothes are the same colours that I was wearing at the time. Although my T-Shirt was plain minus the Rammstien logo, but a Rammstien T-Shirt would be cool. It could be me on the way to work, listening to my MP3 player... Who knows really?

Try it yourself at Southpark Studio.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Lazy Saturday

I've had a great day today.

I got up at about 9 am, made myself some cheese and vegemite toasted sandwhiches and sat down to watch an episode of Dr Who I taped two weeks ago. Then I had a shower, got dressed and put my clothes in the washing machine. While that was happening I watched Back to the Future. I bought the trilogy box set a few weeks ago. After that I made some hotdogs for lunch and watched a Back to the Future making of feature that's on the DVD. Sometime in the not to distant future I intend to watch Back to the Future parts II and III. Back to the Future II is one of my all time favourite films.

Somewhere in the above paragraph I paused the film and put my clothes on the washing line.

Then I watched the end of King Solomons Mines on channel 9, starring Stuart Granger and Deborah Kerr, and made in 1950. It was interesting to compare it to a more recent version which was on TV a few weeks ago. It always amazes me in these African Safari type movies how they manage to take everything but the kitchen sink along with them, and yet their native "guides" never seem to carry anywhere near that much stuff. I mean the tents were friging huge and they even had tables and chairs and luxuries like that. The whole thing was very cliched including the customary stampede scene, snake in tent scene, and natives refusing to go any further scene.

After that film I think I moved onto the computer and surfed the net until around 6:30 when I started to cook some rice and papadams for our take away indian curry. I forgot all about the rice and nearly burnt it (because I was busy doing this, which I found on Semaphore Junction). Luckilly it only burnt a bit on the sides and I was able to empty and wash the saucepan and start cooking the rice again. Strangely enough the rice was fine, not too dry and not too wet as ofen happens when for some reason you need to add more water. It didn't even have a burnt taste. As usual the curry was great, we had Beef Madras and Malai Kofta (vegetarian), which I enjoyed while watching tonights episode of Doctor Who.

Speaking of Doctor Who, I reckon this season has been great. I like the new new Doctor (David Tennant) too. And the episodes that had Rose Tyler (Billy Piper) running around in a maids uniform were something to behold, she could come around here dressed like that any day. One thing that does get me though is her eyebrows, they just look wrong, obviously she is a bottle blonde, and they are always a funny shape. Anyway the new Doctor Who is good.

This evening we sat down to watch a movie called "Gone Fishin'" staring Danny Glover and Joe Pesci. It was funny, and yet it lacked something, but it was not a bad way to spend a few hours. This film was enjoyed in the company of a mini Magnum ice cream...

So that's my day. Believe it or not I can barely keep my eyes open, which means it is time for me to go to bed....

Good Night.

P.S. I hope I didn't start too many sentences with "Then...".


I was just looking at the Nintendo Australia website. According to the news page it seems that the jet black version of the Nintendo DS Lite will go on sale on September 21. So I've got three weeks to go. I think I might buy a game or two (er probably New Super Mario Brothers and Big Brain Academy) next week so I'll have something to play come September 21. In hindsight I'm glad I didn't cave in yesterday afternoon and buy a white one (as nice as they are).

Friday, September 01, 2006


Well not really but, having an income is great. At the moment inflow is greater than outflow, which is good.

Having said that, a number of times I've come close to blowing some of it on a Nintendo DS Lite(or here if like me you never seem to have the correct version of shockwave installed). At the moment the DS only comes in white, but I'm holding off for a while (that's what I'm going to tell you now at least) until they hopefully release some of the colours available in Japan. I bags the jet black, oh yes. I can hear New Super Mario Brothers calling me...

If I do get a DS my five year old nephew will be jealous. Over the past few weeks he has become seriously addicted to the original Super Mario Brothers on the NES and Super Mario World on the SNES. His older sister plays a bit too, but this kid is dedicated, and he's getting good at it too. Although for some reason if I'm around he wants me to finish the game for him.

I suspect his parents blame me for his Mario addiction. It started whenever the kids would come to my place and play Super Mario Brothers on my old NES, which over the last year or so has had a new lease on life after being locked away in the cupboard. The first thing the kids ask when they come over is of course "can we play mario?". About Christmas last year I got the bright idea of setting up a SNES emulator on their computer with some game roms for them to play.

Mind you it took him six or seven months to really get into it. But now he has got into it he apparently spends every waking moment playing the thing (parents have been known to exagerate such things). It's not like he'll turn into a couch potato though as he's got a lot of energy to burn and then some.

But yes a Nintendo DS is very much on the cards for me at the moment.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Round the Bend

This is for Highriser.

If you want to have a look around Yarra Bend I would recomend the following:

Catch an Epping (and somerimes Hurstbridge train) to Victoria Park station and walk past Victoria Park football ground (taking note of the grafitti on the wall, "I want to have Chris Tarrant's baby" etc) to Dights Falls, the upper tidal limit of the Yarra River and former site of a mill (which still partially stands). The falls are best seen a day or so after rain in upper catchments of the river.

From there you can walk along the river to Yarra Bend (where you ended up after crossing kanes Bridge), which was the site a Lunatic Asylum, and is currently home to the Yarra Bend Golf Course. Following Yarra Bend Road North you cross the Eastern Freeway. On the left (west) hand side just over the Freeway you can find the remains of the former gates to the Lunatic Asylum. Opposite this is the site of the Fairlea Women's Prison, a remnant of which is now a Parks Victoria Office. Then you could make your way past the Thomas Emling Hospital and fly casting pools (as in fly fishing). From memory you can get get down to the river from wehre you can follow the path to the Fairfield Boathouse for refreshments.

To get back to the City you could take the route 546 bus to Melbourne Uni. This bus only runs every half hour on weekdays only from Heidelberg Road just near the Fairfield Boathouse. Otherwise it's a further (farther?) walk to Dennis Station on the Hurstbridge line.

I spent a lot of time in Yarra Bend a few years ago with TAFE and uni. Not particularly scenic, but I find it interesting none the less. It has it's fair share of wierdos hanging around too, so watch out...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Poor Form

Two winners! I can't believe I only tipped two winners! I would have been better off not tipping at all. I did better the week I decided to tip the losers, I got 6 or 7 that week (out of a possible 8!). Shows what I know about footy.

Seriously though, I can't beleive Collingwood went down to cellar dwelling Essendon, thats two losses in two weeks now for the mighty (bah!) Magpies. Collingwood is now 7th on the AFL ladder.

It cold be worse, I could barrack for Carlton(but that would never ever happen)...

Friday, August 11, 2006

New Toys

Two weeks ago I finally got around to getting a new camera. After much research I settled on a Canon Powershot A700 (reviews by dpreview and Steve). Short of getting a digital SLR, the A700 has everything (well most things) I want in a camera. In time I will get a DSLR, but for now I wanted a do everything compact that I can slip in my pocket (I have big pockets ;-) ).

It's 6 megapixel for decent sized prints, has a good reasonably fast lens, and shooting modes ranging full auto to full manual (as well a whole heap of scene modes I know I will hardly ever if not never use). It has a 6x optical zoom, which is only let down by the lack of image stabilisation. Camera shake at long focal lengths is assured, however this is overcome by the use of my mini tripod in such situations (I plan to get a Gorillapod for the go anywhere sort of photography I like).

So far it's proving to be a good all rounder (oh yes it takes pretty decent video as well), with excelent results. I've had fun experimenting with time exposures without the expense associated with my film SLR. Hopefully I'll be able to get out and shoot some photos this weekend and have something to show for my efforts here. So watch this space...

My other new toy is an MP3 player, after more research (hey that's half the fun of buying a new toy) I settled on a Creative ZEN Nano Plus 1GB. I very nearly purchased an iPod shuffle 1 GB, but luckily the stores I went to were out of stock. For the same price as the iPod I got the same memory capacity, an LCD screen, voice recorder, FM radio and line-in MP3 encoder. Most importantly however I avoided the use of iTunes in favour of a simple windows explorer drag and drop file transfer. It may be irrational, but I just don't like iTunes. With regard to the battery the downside of the ZEN Nano is that it does not have a built in recharble like the Shuffle, but the plus is that it takes just one AAA cell, alkaline or recharble. A pair of AAA rechargables is on the shopping list.

Soundwise the quality is good, the LCD screen's menu is easy to navigate and it's a small unit. Oh and it also can shuffle songs!

Now to show off both of my new toys, here's a photo of my mp3 player taken using the superb macro mode on my new camera.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Coathanger City

That's the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the right. One afternoon in early February 2005 I sat in the park on Observatory Hill for almost an hour just watching the world go by. There was even a wedding while I was there.

Beforehand however, I had a look through the Sydney Observatory. An interesting way to spend an hour or so. Best of all, it was free.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Solo driving...

Last Sunday I took a spin by myself in the car. It was a strange and lonley, yet liberating experience. Next time hopefully I'll go further than around the block...

Saturday, July 15, 2006

No more BYO

That's right, because I'm now fully licenced. A few posts ago I mentioned about getting my drivers licence, well Thursday was the big day.

In all it went pretty smoothly actually, having passed my Hazard Perception Test a week earlier (what a silly test that was), I forgot all about the driving test until the night before. On the day everything just clicked into place and despite the silly actions of other road users passed with flying colours. The tester (a nice girl, probably about my age if not a bit older) said that it went perfectly, and that I didn't loose any points at all (the assessment sheet only goes up to 95 + and you need at least 85 to pass).

For those interested, my low speed maneuver was a point to point, which is starting 1 metre from the curb and reversing for about 20 metres to finish within 30 centimetres of the curb.

Now you'd think I'd be excited, but I'm not really. I'm happy I've finally done it, but things are just the same as they were before. I haven't even driven since. Things might be different if I was 18 years old.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Moving right along.

Since I can't write, here is a photo instead. Taken one year ago yesterday from an overbridge in Heidelberg/Rosanna. I can't believe it's one year ago that I was roaming the streets, taking photos when I first hit rock bottom. The photo was taken with my long lost digital camera which I still have not yet replaced. The original was in colour but I reckon it looks pretty good in black and white.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I can't write!

I've been trying to write a post about what I did on Saturday since that night, but I just can't seem to get it right. I just can't write. Seriously, I can't remember how I managed to pass English in year 12, let alone write assignments at uni that made sense. I know what I want to say, but I can't express it, everything just get's so long winded and complicated (this post is a prime example). I need to find a way to untangle my writting. Part of the problem is that I'm just so tired by the time I think about writting a post. Working life eh...

Oh and yes part two of the powerbook chronicles is coming....

No really, it is.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

June General Updates

I don't know where June went, but it's just flown past. It's probably because I got a job and am now employed at an hourly rate. If I hadn't got the job I probably would have posted part 2 of the powerbook chronicles by now...

And as for the driving thing, all going well I should have my license this time in two weeks.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Powerbook Chronicles - Part 1

About a year ago while in the grip of eBay fever and web surfing based procrastination (I should have been studying for an exam I think) I purchased an elderly Macintosh Powerbook computer. My reasoning for wanting a Macintosh powerbook was thus:

1: For one of my subjects at uni I had to use a Mac in the library for photoshop as these were regularly the only PC's that were vacant (Whoever designed those stupid "no button" mice has a lot to answer for). This got me intrigued in the whole Macintosh idea.

2: I was looking at an older windows laptop just because I thought it would be cool.

Surely it would be sensible to get a Macintosh laptop? Plus that way I would save money! So I won a Powerbook 1400 on eBay for about $30. After the seller eventually sent it to me I realised that I didn't particularly need it. I read a couple of articles on LEM about using this particular machine fore wireless internet, which sounded a pretty cool thing to do with such old technology. So it was back to eBay looking for a suitable 16 bit 802.11b PCMCIA card. From memory that cost me about $10 including postage. Bargain!

Next I realised that because the computer didn't come with a CD ROM (still working on that) I needed some way of getting the driver files for the wireless card which are bigger than a floppy disk (thankfully it has one of those) onto the computer. The answer came in a flash, literally, so I bought a PCMCIA Compact Flash adaptor for about $5 (I think that also included postage too) on eBay.

And that is where the project stalled for the next year...

Next installment coming soon.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

General Updates

I'll try to elaborate more on one or two of these a bit latter but for now:

I am now on Centrelink's Newstart Allowance (AKA "the dole") and looking for a full time job. I hate the whole thing, the sooner I get a job, I don't care what, the better. This may have a detrimental effect on my degree by putting completion out another year.

I am taking driving lessons, all going well I should have my license in 5 or 6 weeks. Why 5 or 6 weeks? That's because after one and a half lessons my instructor decided I am capable of passing the test. So this week we are booking the test during my lesson (that alone costs in the order of $50!), but Vicroads has a waiting list of about 5 weeks, hence the wait.

S302 has been bought by El Zorro and will probably be seen in action working infrastructure trains around suburban Melbourne.

Macintosh has switched it's full lineup of iBook and Powerbook computers over to Intel Core Duo processors and are now known as Macbook and Macbook pro respectively. Also they have dropped the 12" iBook(Macbook) model, so it looks like my plans for one of those are down the toilet, they are now 14" only.

I could always get a second hand one at some stage though. But then again those black Macbooks are sexy...

Monday, May 08, 2006


For the first time today I got some spam that is actually purportedly from a bank I am a customer of, the contents are as follows...

Dear Commonwealth Bank of Australia member,

Due to recent hardware failure and partial loss of our database we decided to review
our customers account information to prevent security problems . If you
could take 3-5 minutes out of your online experience to verify your
account status , you will not run into any further problems .

Update your NetBank Account : Click Here

Thank You ,
Commonwealth Bank of Australia Management Stuff

Please do not reply to this confirmation email, as this message was sent to all Commonwealth Bank members.

Now for starters I'm behind the times and don't actually use NetBank, but that's not all. Oh no, if you were reading carefully or even just skimming you should have picked up a few glaring errors that give this piece of correspondence an air of rank amateurishness, they are:

Dear Commonwealth Bank of Australia member

Since when does a bank have members?

Thank You ,
Commonwealth Bank of Australia Management Stuff

I mean I agree that banks are full of management stuff, but this is just unprofessional even for a spamer.

Another dead give away, as with all these sorts scams is the presence of a URL with lots of .'s in it. And no I'm not including it for obvious reasons.

I should mention my method for dealing with spam, which is that my ISP flags messages as spam and I have a filter set up in Thunderbird to sort it all into a spam folder. The reason I send it to a spam folder is partly out of habit, partly out of the fact that the occasional legitimate email gets flagged by mistake and partly because I don't completely trust my ISPs spam filter for the afore mentioned reason. When it's in my spam folder I scan the sender and subject before doing a "CTRL-A, Delete" maneuver. And I must be doing something right because I'd be lucky get more than 10 or so spam emails a day. If it was worse I'd probably use a spam filter like mailwasher (that's the only one I can think of off-hand).

Friday, April 21, 2006


Have you ever noticed how sometimes you keep seeing the same type car where ever you go. Not that you see them more than you normally would, you just for what ever reason notice a particular model of vehicle more than the rest. Yesterday it happened to me, the Mazda Bravo to be exact. I observed one parking outside the bank, the lady driving it came back 5 minutes latter and drove away. That was enough to get me going for the rest of the afternoon. Normally it's more to do with a friend or relative buying a new car. Over the course of the next 2 or 3 hours I kept seeing Mazda Bravo's. Then I started picking up Toyota Hilux's which at long range resemble Mazda Bravo's. The Toyota Hilux out numbers the Mazda Bravo by about 3 to 1. During the afternoon I even saw a few Holden Rodeos. One anomaly though was the over loaded, small Kia tray truck in Bell Street Heidelberg dragging it's rear mud guards along the road.

Now listening to:

I'm a Cuckoo, Belle & Sebastian

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Keyboard Antics Again...

Finally got around to replacing my keyboard. I opted for a Logitech Standard Keyboard, which I found on sale at Dick Smith Electronics for only AU$ 9.95. It's just a no frils keyboard with a PS/2 connector. The only thing that comes close to a frill is the detatchable hand rest. It's not even listed on the logitech website, but does closely resemble the Access Keyboard without any of the one touch configurable buttons across the top. Like anything it takes a bit of getting used to.

Currently listening to:

Death Defying, Hoodoo Gurus

Monday, February 20, 2006

Keyboard antics

I spilt a glass of water on my keyboard again on Friday night...

Last time I did that I went to the trouble of unplugging the keyboard and drying it out over the heater. For some reason the following day I ended up prying off all the keys and giving it a really good clean. Beleive me, you don't want to EVER do that, there are all kinds of disgusting things lurking inside your keboard, unrecognisable at that. In the process however, I did learn that my keyboard had what seemed to be a water proof skin over all the electronic components inside.

...Back to the present. I went away over the weekend only to find out on Sunday night that my keyboard would do strange things when I pressed certain keys, strangely enough this mostly happened while using firefox. For instance, if I pressed the right hand arrow the "Find" toolbar would appear at the bottom of the screen, another one was that if I pressed the space bar while typing in the search box it would cycle to the next search engine in the list. The funny thing is that as far as I can tell none of these keys pressed have anything to do with any shortcuts to these functions. I have now decided that my keyboard does not have a waterproof skin. Finally I got fed up and am now typing on an old keyboard I had lying around. I think I'll have to let my normal keyboard dry out a bit more before attempting to use it again.

Although, I could go and get a better keyboard...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The old girl retires

S302 leads the 1240 Melbourne to Warnambool train through Footscray in Melbourne's inner west on 6 October 2005.

On January 9 2006 S302 made possibly her last journey as a front line locomotive in the V/Line fleet. In late 2004 the locomotive was brought out of storage and received much love and attention from EDI at Newport for a new lease on life. Returned to traffic in early 2005, she spent the best part of a year plying the rails on the daily 535 km round journey between Melbourne to Warnambool. Her return to service was not without trouble, having a reputation for unreliability and being speed restricted to 100 kmh as opposed to the usual 115 kmh for passenger trains on this route. Her future is uncertain.

Built in 1957 at Clyde Engineering in Sydney, she spent 37 years in service with the Victorian Railways (later known as Vicrail for a short period in the early 80's then V/Line) before being sold of in 1994. She was bought by the fledgling West Coast Railway along with other aging B, S and T class locomotives and other items of aging rolling stock. West Coast Railway was the private company that won the contract to provide the now privatised rail service between Melbourne and Warnambool.

This venture was somewhat of a success and acheived growth in passenger numbers. In the mid 2000s however things started to go wrong, first with the death of the company founder and CEO, followed by structural problems with the company's fleet of veteran diesel locomotives. This lead to the suspension of the rail service mid way through 2004. In late 2004 the company was wound up and rail services were again provided by the state owned V/Line, who purchased a number of items of rollingstock as well as locomotive S302 in order to be able to run the service.

Relevant links:

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I'm Ba-ack...

Yes, 'tis I!

Had a busy lead up to Christmas which is why the blogging stopped. Post Christmas it was the combination of couldn't be bothered with a side serve of being too busy.

Christmas itself was good, I didn't get many presents, but that's not what it's about. New years eve was OK too (not the greatest either).

Hopefully I'll be ably to think of more stuff to blog when I'm not quite so tired.

P.S there's no Chocolate crackles left either.