Sunday, December 31, 2006

Peat's Ridge Festival

Charlotte and I went to the Peat's Ridge Festival, strangely enough held in Peat's Ridge, just north of Sydney. It was an interesting day and was the first festival of this kind I have been too. I purchased a tin whistle and Charlotte a bamboo hat.

playing the tin whistle

Thursday, December 28, 2006

windows installation

Well I installed Windows XP on my MAC. I have not installed any windows apps yet apart from the flickr desktop image changer. It all went very smoothly and hopefully I have convinced it (the computer) that macosx is the default operating system.

Step 1: Create a partition, much easier than I expected. I have done this under windows and linux before. This has to be the easiest ever.

Step 2: Install Windows

Step 3: Install the mac drivers. It still does not like my bluetooth mouse but the wireless Internet works.

Step 4: Make the macosx the default OS.

Windows Installation

Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

When in Jingellic and later in Caloundra, I used to always watch the start of this race on TV. Now I have been going to the race. This year I went to Neilsen Park in Vucluse. It was a cool day, but sunny. Much better than the previous years when it was very hot.

James Craig and the ABN-Amro
Beautiful People

Orphan's christmas lunch

I went to a Christmas party organised by two very talented Americans. It was held in Waverton and has some of the best views of Sydney Harbour in existence. The air was clean, having been washed by all the rain on the previous days.

Sydney CBD and the Coat Hanger

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Taiwan Earthquake

Well I spent most of today working on the effects of the four Taiwan earthquakes. I work in international telecommunications and there were several cable breaks on the cables around Taiwan. When I had some time, I looked on the net to see what the media were saying. I was surprised that only one news article mentioned the broken cables. What is even more unusual is that article was in Hemel Hempstead in the UK, which as far as I can tell is just a local rag. Here is their copy:
While a tsunami warning came to nothing, the quake damaged at least six undersea telecommunication cables, affecting users in Taiwan and South Korea, and was felt in China and Hong Kong.
So I say, bravo Hemel Today.

Monday, December 25, 2006


Well we spent the day on the lower north shore. Meeting up, as is becoming usual, at Gordon. Turned left this time onto the Pacific Highway. Started with a cache in Chatswood. Then Artarmon, Crows Nest and ended up in Naremburn. (the last one is famous hey!) We found the following caches: No rest for the wicked, Still the One?, Gilroy's Shout, A Trip down Memory Lane, and Mrs Hartnett's Pleasure.

There was a gap in the rain for the first few but the last ones were done in the rain. We had afternoon tea (courtesy of the Chinese supermarket in Chatswood) in the car while the worst of the rain passed. We even had mr Lotti'es pokky from Korea. The list price on the packet was ₩700. We paid $1.20, so this was not unreasonable given how far it had to travel.

The new GPS performed superbly. Though there does not seem to be a way to unmark a cache if you have accidentally marked it as found.


the spot


This is a page from the brown university. My holiday movies appeared here loaded by an anonymous user.

Brown was the Baptist answer to Congregationalist Yale and Harvard, Presbyterian Princeton, and Episcopalian Penn and Columbia. At the time, it was the only one that welcomed students of all religious persuasions (following the example of Roger Williams, who founded Rhode Island in 1636 on the same principle). Brown has long since shed its Baptist affiliation, but remains dedicated to diversity and intellectual freedom.

web page

Saturday, December 23, 2006

eTrex Legend

A long way from homeWell I have been considering a new GPS for some time. I have been using charl's Fortrex 101, which has done good service and been all around the world. Including in Seoul where I was a mere 8286 km from home in a direct line of sight.

I have been looking at all the different models, wondering which one I should purchase. I liked the features on Charl's current GPS. In the end, I went for a model some where in between. I purchased a eTrex Legend Cx. C for colour, x for memory expansion slot. It has a micro SD slot, the smallest memory module I have seen. It takes up to a 2 GB card (a very difficulty bit of information to discover), though I have a 512M card. It also has a good geocaching set of functions so you can mark the caches as found as you find them.

Etrex Legend

Now all I need is a feature that tags the photos in my camera with the GPS coordinates. Apparently there is some software that will use the time stamps to merge the data sets. I will have to go looking.

travel bugsI also purchased a few travel bugs. I have yet to select what to attach to them, but it will need to be something small. One is to travel the world, visiting every country, the other to wander around Australia and New Zealand.

With the GPS leading me to the right place, I then went to try it out. I went looking for a near by cache (GCXHK6). It is located near Australia's third English settlement. But I could not find it. I was in the right place. I will have to go back. It was probably something obvious I missed as the others seem to have no trouble in finding it.

Convict Built

Friday, December 22, 2006

strange happenings

Well I was sitting here at my computer, composing an email. There was a strange noise from the kitchen. Sounded like gurgling. Then there was a small pop and, when I went in there, and acrid smell. The fridge seems OK, but it is now where the noise was coming from. The dishwasher seems OK. the microwave was turned off. It works when turned on. Very strange stuff. The smell has gone now.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Well I have hit that milestone, 50,000 views on my flickr account. Not that I am counting or watching. It is impossible to tell which one is the one that had the view, so here is the last one.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Down at the RSL

Went down to the North Bondi RSL the other day for drinks. Had a great discussion with Vucko, a Serbian girl who lived in Beijing for more than 5 years. It was nice to catch up with the others and meet a few new flickr peoples.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

At last!

After much wandering around, I finally found some of the food I was looking for. I have been living here for over a 6 years and I have searched in vain for something apart from standard Malaysian and Chinese food. Well last night I found the answer to the Chinese food puzzle. It is a bit embarrassing. I found it in Hurstville. I have visited the place so many times over the last 20 years. Yet I never visited the shopping center and never found these eating places. I found a restaurant that specialised in Shang Hai cuisine. Not that I was specifically looking for that, but now I know where to look. The mistake was not to look in these suburban locations. I found this one on my mobile phone. It was just like eating in Shang Hai, as I did only in the last month. And the owner was happy with our orders and how much we liked the food. At last!

Keat and I had jelly fish salad and duck on hot rocks. It was excellent. The menu must have had over 100 items. So it will take a while to get through it all. And I do need to find a Hakka restaurant.

The place is the Shang Hai YangZhou restaurant.

Duck  on hot rocks

Unfortunately I did not think to take the photo until after we were finished and I did not have my proper camera.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Photo Software

When I purchased my new computer I purchased Adobe Photoshop to replace the program - Paint Shop Pro I was using on my old computer. I am not really happy with this choice. I had used photoshop at the training course I did at the Powerhouse Museum. But it is not really designed for mass processing of photos. It is great and still the best tool for editing images I have. Though I think Paint Shop Pro is better as a photo editor.

While in China, Ewen recommended a program called Capture One Pro. It is certainly very good and I down loaded the trail version. I also down loaded the trial version of the Apple program Aperture. After much consideration, I decided to purchase Aperture. Here are the reasons why.

Both programs are good work flow programs. Both have similar features. Aperture has more features for editing individual images and Capture One is better at batch processing of the changes thus made into output files. At the moment I am keeping my raw files untouched and then processing the output into JPEG files for upload to flickr at max (1440 x 960) as this is the resolution of my monitor. In the end of the day, the features that I use exist in both programs - the histogram/curves editor, saturation and feestyle rotation. For these features Aperture is significantly cheaper (at $450 AUD, I paid a bit less than that) than Capture One Pro (at $500 USD).

So now I can mass edit my photos in Aperture and when I need some extra feautres like removing barrel distortion or fixing the perpspective I can use Photoshop.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Lost filling

When I was in Seoul having breakfast on the day I was to sail for Da Lian, I felt my tooth seem to loose another section. It did not hurt so I continued to travel. Now that I have returned, I visited my dentist (today). It turns out that another piece of tooth did not break off. The filling I had for the last section that broke off came off. My dentist was from England, and her assistant from South Ireland. I have never heard anyone from Eire refer to it as South Ireland before, very strange. I suppose this is what you get from a dental practice in Bondi Junction.

But back to the tooth. My dentist said that the fillings some time come off if I bite the wrong way and put all the force on the filling. At the time it came out I was eating some toast. All that was required was a simple replacement of the filling and I was back off to work. No drilling, no pain, just a little scraping to clean and the weird UV device to set the plastic.

The next car

My old car in JabiruWhile I was away the time limit for the selection of a renewal vehicle for my current lease car passed. So when I returned I quickly looked though the Telstra Fleet vehicle list. (I have a policy of only taking vehicles from the Telstra Fleet list.) My original intention was to go for one of the lower priced options. But I noticed that they had added the Toyota Prius to the list. I did some research on the Internet and decided to go for a test drive after a few emails to Charl. The car is very interesting to drive. Beside having an unusual dash layout, it has no gears. Driving only involves the accelerator and brake. Under heavy load there is a small effect when the engine kicks in, but nothing compared to the effect of an auto changing gears. So with my test drive done, I decided to spend the extra money and get the electric blue version of a car that gets 4.4 liters for every 100 km. It actually have a better consumption rate in town to the highway. It will arrive around the end of May in 2007 when my current lease vehicle term expires...

Wikipedia has an interesting entry on the car, including information on how the continuously variable drive works. It is simple and clever and much better the wobble plates. It lets the engine run when stationary and also lets the car move when the engine is turned off.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


It is not often that I stop to write about a movie, this is the first. It was on at the Chauvel Cinema, and was a part of the Canadian Film Festival. It was also the international debut of the movie. One of the benefits of working in Paddington is that we get lots of film festivals. The movie far exceeds the rather simple description on the web site. It had lots of nuances and twists and turns and is very internally consistent. They said that this would be it's last big screen showing, so you will have to watch it on DVD.

My view of the movie, it is the best super hero movie I have ever seen. I must admit though, that I am not a great fan of the genre.
Norman Neale's love of comic books is matched only by his infatuation with gorgeous receptionist Andrea, who barely notices him. When not daydreaming about Andrea, he's fantasizing about fighting crime. Then one day he discovers that co-worker Victor Ventura has slight telekinetic abilities. After discussing his mind-blowing discovery with his comic book dealer friend Chuck, Norman decides only he can turn Victor into a fully-fledged superhero...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Ryde Bridge

Another of my photos, this time of the Ryde Bridge, has been blogged at the Bridge Pix site. 'tis a good thing. :-)

Ryde Bridge