around the traps

  • I'm just going to point you to linkfrenzy: DrJon Dumps on the Internet Again... Noting:
    • cats in sinks. wtf?
    • don't go to raves in Utah, you'll get attacked by a swat team
    • fat person sues doctor for telling her she needs to lose weight
    • photoshop rollover gallery - this is why magazine people look glossy
    • small, brilliant ads
    • liberated games
    Basically all of the links :) Apparently Drjon likes his women ground fine, with steam forced through them, added to textured milk (or did he mean 'hot and sweet'?).
  • Rocksluts has NIN photos. Wish I'd had the cash to go :( Still... VNV this week :)
  • The demise of Hellbane leads to promotion of's brisbane forum, albeit with a very slow rate of takeup so far. I'm starting to think would be better with one big forum, and just separate post areas for events/shops per city. music, movies, general chat... seems we should all have some form of common ground. Why segregate? But then, I come from a city with a relatively small population and accordingly a small scene.
  • A Softer World is now selling prints
  • On the internet, nobody knows you're a.... (not entirely worksafe).
  • More shots of the ninja cats! airborne cats - a photoset on Flickr

sydney haiku(-ish)

Reposted from poetry 2005:

cabs honk in seconds
suits clutch burnout cigarettes
nobody pauses

buy food at midnight
coffee ready in seconds
this pace has upsides

bridge looms impressive
opera house like postcards
fast ferries plow past

cold air on my face
emergency sirens wail
i am in sydney


I realise my take on haiku isn't really true to the concept. I adhere to the structure, but put too many ideas into each one. Most of the time, I should write three haiku for every one I write down. Basically take each line and expand on the one thought it came from.

I also realise - with some surprise - that although it will probably take decades for me to start writing good haiku, that thought doesn't bother me.

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photo: opera house potboiler

sydney opera house

Sadly, when you get to Sydney Opera House you realise it looks just like postcards of Sydney Opera House. I'm also pretty sure there's not a single photo of the Opera House which hasn't been taken before. So anyway, here's another copy of it ;)

On the plus side, when you get to see the Sydney Harbour Bridge you discover you have to see it to truly get your head around the sheer size of that sucker! I've taken a ton of photos of the bridge and to be honest I think I could take a ton more since really I've only covered the obvious viewpoints so far. Plus I need a wide angle lense :)

Note: I edited this on an old laptop, so I can only hope the pics are viewable at your end... :)


photo: wynyard station

Wynyard Station, or at least the dome on the top of it. There's an entire shopping centre down there. Bugger room service, Coles is open until midnight and I can practically see it from my hotel room window. $3 for a tiny bottle of spring water? Not fucking likely!

Note: I edited this on an old laptop, so I can only hope the pics are viewable at your end... :)


things i've learned after $1600 of peoplesoft training

  • According to legend, Jolt (the technology) was so named because the developers were drinking Jolt cola to keep themselves going through the long coding sessions. They had to come up with a name in a hurry and Jolt was it. Later on, marketing people had to invent an appropriate name for the acronym. It's a pity they weren't drinking Bawls.
  • Sydney CBD has noticeably more emergency sirens than Brisbane in any given time period.
  • Sydney drivers start honking after the light has been green for three milliseconds. Sydney cabbies are time travellers and honk before anyone else has even seen someone pause for three milliseconds.
  • Regardless of how I may have felt while trying to complete my first IT assignment, I apparently know quite a bit of Techie Shit.

Well, to be fair I've also learned some stuff about PeopleSoft... and not just the fact that the admin interface is even worse than the user interface, either :) The product's interface suffers mightily from growing out of a Windows client solution. I'd guess that the port to a web app was not done by people with a primary skillset in web development.

Note that I am fully aware that while the problems with the interface are many and varied, this does not reflect what the backend does or can do. So don't get up in arms if you're a PS developer, you can PeopleCode to your PeopleHeart's content. Just don't believe PeopleSoft/Oracle's documentation which claims the Portal "works in any HTML 4 browser", because that's crap.

So anyway. Three more days to go.

around the traps

vicious fanboys

The more I look at Le blog personnel de Joe Clark | How very hard indeed it is to defend Opera, the more I just feel like pointing at my previous post about Macs: i think i've solved the mystery. [Sidenote: Of course, I don't know the guy well enough to know how much is real and how much is ironic humour. So, we'll have to go with the post at face value I guess.]

Clark's post isn't really about Opera, it's about rabid fanboys and how macheads are the alpha beings of earth. His rage at the people who have emailed him sounds a bit like my rage at the macheads who have emailed me (or my team) at work. Apparently he's discovered what macheads look like to non-macheads (although I doubt he'd put it that way :)). That is, Macheads lead with righteous indignation and an impervious shield of belief. Emotion wins out over objectivity, which is not a recipe for success if you're trying to win someone over. Sounds like that's the approach being taken by Opera fans.

I am definitely an Opera fanboy, although I would hope I'm a tad more rational than the rabid types sending hatemail to Joe Clark. For a start I can accept that he's talking about the Mac version, not the PC version. So you can't respond based on using the PC version. Mind you, Joe Clark might do well to remember that he can be pretty abrasive when he posts.[*]

The underlying issue with Clark's original post (that spawned the hate mail) is that software often doesn't get ported between operating systems very well. Apparently Opera for Mac isn't Mac-y enough, just as iTunes for Windows sucks arse because it's too Mac-y. The two systems have fundamental differences, if you take an application from one to the other you have to localise it properly.

[*] Due to an offline comment I will add the statement that fuck yes I know I can be abrasive too. I never said otherwise :)

the cure for pain

My sore throat finally got too much and I went to the doctor this morning (yet I didn't go to the doctor a week ago when I collapsed, go figure). Turns out I have 'swollen tonsil tissue' which is apparently normal and it will just go away on its own. Or not, in which case I have an antibiotics prescription to fill in about three days.

Problem is, that means I just have to wait out the pain. I say pain, this sore throat really is bad. I was trying to tough it out but even the Jack Daniels Cure didn't work (that said, I didn't drink much since I was already on flu tablets). I have what looks like a big angry red pimple on my throat and it hurts like a motherfucker. Apparently Aspro Clear might help, but I really hate taking that stuff and I'm not entirely keen on gargling it (a snarfle would be death). Going to give Strepfen a go, it's some kind of new uber-Strepsil.

But the doctor found a good remedy. While I was there he froze a wart on my finger. I've had this done once before and although it hurt during the procedure it really wasn't too bad. Not this time. Fuck. Ouch. This one is on a fingertip, under the nail. My finger has swollen under the nail. Every time I type an 'n', 'h' or 'y' it fucking kills. Watch me suffer for my art ;)

My sore throat hasn't seemed quite so bad since then, though.

Interesting fact: the doctor said about 80% of sore throats are viral, which means 80% of the time anti-bacterial throat lozenges do shit all.

in america, only terrorists take photos (apparently)

I've got science for any occasion - (no subject): The Memphis Police Department, on the authority of Homeland Security, put me in the back of a patrol car and seized my camera today.

American readers can feel free to correct me, but it seems the Patriot Act really did remove any last shred of personal rights anyone ever had in the US of A. I have friends in the US I'd like to visit, but I'm starting to think I'd end up taking a photo of something and get thrown in jail without a trial.

things people on livejournal photo groups need to learn

  • there's a difference between snapshots and artistic photography (photographers: Snapshots!!! says it so well).
  • there's a 99% chance photos of your child have no artistic merit or interest to anyone else. they're special to you and that's wonderful, just keep them to yourself.
  • same goes for any other child in your extended friends and family group, but you don't have the excuse of parental blindness.
  • pet photos are also difficult to self-edit, although there's a far higher chance that people will like the photo anyway even if it's not artistically brilliant.
  • don't ask for feedback unless you're willing to receive it.
  • "give me feedback" does not mean "say my photo is perfect".
  • if you can work out how to post 48 photos, you can work out how to use the lj cut tag.
  • cut text like "photo" does not give us any idea what the photo might actually contain... and if we don't know, we're not going to click.
  • a 2meg photo is not a "thumbnail" just because you've set it to display 100px wide.
  • if the photo is obviously no good (nothing in focus, totally blown out, etc), don't post the damn thing. "they're crap but i thought i'd post them anyway LOL!!" doesn't make the photos better. the exception is if you post it so you can ask for advice to take better shots next time.
  • if the shot is really big, contains nudity or is potentially confronting, use a cut. don't pull out that 'free speech' bullshit, nobody is stopping you posting; they just want you to use a cut. get over it.
  • a controversial subject does not mean it's automatically a good photo.

lj really needs an ignore button.

around the traps

in other news, i feel sick as hell. damnit. but quote of the day goes to L while refusing to let me go to work: "your voice when you woke up could have been used to make a driveway".

At least my contact with the upstairs neighbours went well... we've been hearing a dripping tap for a while now. Finally caught them at home and in one very short conversation all is well. Maybe I'll finally get to sleep!

[I resisted the urge to do a multiple-keystrike 'asleep on keyboard' joke.]

news bits

  • Govt to toughen Telstra regional service conditions. 04/08/2005. ABC News Online: Telstra will be told today that its licensing conditions will be toughened to include a requirement for a local presence in regional areas. New Telstra chief Sol Trujillo says the demands on the telco through the universal service obligation (USO) should be shared with other carriers. Someone needs to belt this guy around the head and remind him that Telstra's core business is supposed to be about satisfying the USO. In return, they get complete domination of the market. What the hell more do they want?
  • Corby's reopened trial ends in tears - National - Judge Sirait also rejected pleas to allow a Melbourne prisoner, Paul, several other criminals and police to give evidence via video link. Paul has supported allegations by a second prisoner claiming the marijuana found in Corby's bags in Denpasar belonged to a fellow inmate. I can't find a news article explaining why the prisoners were not allowed to travel to the court to give evidence in person, but I have been told based on TV news that the Australian Government simply won't grant permission for them to do so. Basically the Australian Government has demonstrated at length that - as far as they are concerned - if you get in trouble overseas, you will be assumed guilty and they won't help you.
  • President stirs debate with evolution remark - World - Critics saw Mr Bush's comment that 'both sides' should be taught as the most troubling aspect of his remarks. 'It sounds like you're being fair, but creationism is a sectarian religious viewpoint,' said Susan Spath, a spokeswoman for the National Centre for Science Education. 'It's not fair to privilege one religious viewpoint by calling it the other side of evolution.' A guy who looks like a chimp should not be pushing this issue. Plus, church and state should be fucking separate. ARGH.
  • Men's life crises at age 25 | The Other Side | Breaking News 24/7 - (04-08-2005): To qualify for a mid-life crisis, a man used to have to be at least 40-something. Today, he is succumbing to the classic self-doubt and anxiety as young as 25. Not really a new trend. The pressure is on everyone to achieve the perfect life by 25, as unrealistic as that is.
  • Australian IT - Internet the big revenue winner (Lara Sinclair, AUGUST 04, 2005): THE steep growth in advertising dollars spent online during the next five years will come directly from newspapers, a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers has found. People have realised that online ads are real ads.

apple plays catch-up

Mentioned this earlier but it is now a reality: Apple has actually released a multi-button mouse: Apple - Mighty Mouse. With a mighty effort, they have finally caught up with the Microsoft mouse range (optical, five buttons, scroll and left/right motion). Plus Apple hype, of course; and it's white.

I do find it strange that Microsoft's keyboard and mouse range is actually pretty good.

photo: layered latte

layered latte

layered latte, from the regatta of all places. we had to get out of our unit early on a saturday morning to let our landlord work on the kitchen, so we did the honourable thing and went out for breakfast ;)

pity i wasn't awake enough to frame it without a truncated elbow. might have been an ok shot otherwise :)


computer shop report card

I've dealt with several computer hardware retailers recently. Thought I'd post a roundup of my experiences. First off, what I bought:

  • AusPC Market. Bought an external hard drive case and two case fans.
  • Umart. Bought a hard drive and a DVD burner (full box kit including software).
  • PC Supermarket, now renamed but I don't know what the new name is. Above the Eagle Boys at Milton. Sourced some case fan screws.
  • CoolPC. Some case fan screws ('stock up', I think to myself) and case fan vibration damper kit (about $6, added to a co-worker's order).

So how'd it go?

  • Sony DVD player installed just fine after I'd spent an hour rearranging my entire case. Not the drive's fault. Kit included a slightly longer IDE cable to make up for the smaller drive size. Detected immediately and software install was a breeze.
  • External hard drive driver CD was quite amazingly broken - had a star shaped break in it, must have been hit damn hard before going into the box. So here's hoping I never use the drive on anything other than Windows 2k or XP, which autodetect it. AusPC Market just insisted that they couldn't help, particularly since 'it works anyway'. Not happy on that one, but let it go.
  • One case fan had no way to mount it even with standard case screws. Current theory is that it wasn't a case fan at all, rather it was a chip fan that happened to be 80mm. After several emails, AusPC Market agreed to swap it and I posted it back.
  • The other case fan didn't come with case screws, only small screws for use as a combo fan attached to a heat sink. I had no screws to mount the damn thing and I had to drive to the Gold Coast that day to install the fan in L's parents' computer. Rang around and PC Supermarket were the only people who said they had some screws available. They quoted 60c each on the phone (with a distinct sound of pulling figures out of the air) but just gave them to me free when I turned up. They're pretty surely used, but who cares? They even had a look at the odd case fan I got from AusPC Market, in case they had mounting sleeves that would work with it.
  • Hard drive makes an odd buzzing noise in external case. Report the problem within 7 days and return it to Umart, very very long delays before they say there's nothing wrong with it. They also don't replace automatically even if you do report it within 7 days. They claim to have tested it for 36 hours, I smell bullshit but eventually decide not make an incident out of it - the drive seems fine despite the noise. There is a theory that the newer hard drives with caches don't like external drive boxes so much. Also apparently Seagates aren't so fond of external boxes. Seagate's tech support has not been helpful so far, although they were prompt.
  • AusPC Market surprised me... the replacement case fan was $7 cheaper so they offered me a SATA cable ($18) to avoid having a credit sitting around. I don't need a SATA cable, so I asked for a USB extension cable ($15) instead and they were happy to oblige. Only downside was they updated their system asking me about the SATA cable but didn't send me an email. I didn't find the question until I wondered what was going on and logged into their website.
  • CoolPC stuff turned up fast and it's cheap. What more do you want? :) Fan vibration damper is great, although the screws it came with were standard case fan screws and not the special ones which go with the little washers in the kit... makes no sense. Plus I now have more case fan screws than I know what to do with.

So the short version... Umart are still difficult about returns, but not as bad as last time. They probably only do an immediate swap if you physically return the item within about two days, and it has smoke coming out of it. Their prices are still the best but I probably won't be buying from them again any time soon - it is just too big a pain in the arse if anything goes wrong. CoolPC and PC Supermarket were great, but I barely bought anything from them. Still, they get full marks. AusPC Market were great, although their tech support staff are just slightly argumentative they do at least aim to get your gear working as a first solution. They score big time for the USB extension cable. Not full marks, but I'll buy from them again.

I dream of a local computer shop with great prices and at least tolerable customer service.