A pretty good day – Star Wars, iBook, Chess and some Pizza

Some days you just can’t complain about the life you have.
Yesterday I went into the main Sydney CBD and saw Star Wars Episode III for the second time.  I saw it the opening weekend a few months ago but I wanted to see it one more time on the “big screen” before it comes to DVD.
Although it was a bit long and drags on a bit the second time, it was definitely worth it.  Having the whole story a bit clearer in your head lets you enjoy it a bit more.  I noticed a lot of things I hadn’t before – even the evolution of the ships into what will obviously become TIE Fighters and X-Wings in the original trilogy.  The Alderaan based ship that Leia will be caught on in the first movie with its stark white halls. 
You watch and realise how easy it can be for an Empire to evolve out of a Republic with some clever manipulation and planning by someone who is patient enough to wait for the change.  At the end the downfall is “greeting with applause” as the Emperor declares himself ruler in the best interests of everyone.  Its a great movie and segue into the original Trilogy sensationally.
I look forward to one day watching all six together.  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to “forget” you know what going to happen and just start with Ep 1 and start over – what a ride that would be !
First Mac
After Star Wars I went into town and the David Jones store.  I ordered my first Apple Macintosh – a 14” iBook.  I have tired of all the security hassles with XP and just want a bit of a change.  A lot of things I am wanting to do in the future – podcasting, digital photos and videos, blogging etc – can all be done the same if not better on a Mac.  I’ll be setting up a new blog to discuss my switch to a Mac – MacSwitch.com.au

So I ordered the Mac and picked up a Shuffle and some software.  The iBook wont be delivered for about a week or so as there is a bit of a delay with the new models.
Would you like to play a game of Chess ?
Coming back through Hyde Park I saw some guys playing Chess on one of those big boards that you walk into and move the pieces.  I stopped and took a few photos with my mobile and posted them on my Text America site.  I probably should work out how to do that with my Flickr site instead so they are all on the one site.

Zebra at Dubbo Zoo last night.

But it was great to stand there and watch them for half an hour, just take some time out and enjoy the sunshine.
Pizza time
Rounded off a great day by heading over to the Italian Pizza shop across the road from the apartment.  Not the best Pizza I have had but pretty damn good.
All in all – a pretty good day.

A great weekend in Sydney

At the moment I am spending a few days away on a bit of holiday.
This weekend is the Batboys weekend in Bathurst which I am really looking forward to.  It is also the CSU Rugby Old Boys weekend so it should be a good time to catch up with a lot of people.
But I am in Sydney this week enjoying some time away and catching up on a few things.  I am staying with Gus at his apartment which is pretty close to the city.  Unfortunately he is on jury duty at the moment and so I away during the day.  Bit frustrating but we can still see each other at night.
First night we were here we saw Fantastic Four.  Not a movie I was planning on seeing but it was actually pretty good.  Very funny in some parts.  Like most of these franchise movies I find they spend waaaay to long at the start of the movie setting up the story.  How the super heros were created etc.  Just Get On With It.

Shiny new house

Just wanted to write a quick note to let you know why I have gone quiet again on this blog. Fiona and I have bought our first house together and so we have been busy packing (well ok – Fiona has done most of that).

I have been getting work done and ready for the move. We won’t have broadband for about 4-6 weeks (hopefully no more) and so will be more or less restricted to Dial Up and a bit of wiresless broadband at Dad’s place.

But to get ready I have been developing monthly updates for all my regular sites, as well as seeding another 20 NEW sites which I can work on now they are more or less online.

So we will be moving tomorrow – I’m packing my stuff at the last moment as usual. Hope to be back online soon. Hope your well.

Down Under Geek

Last night I finally got to launch my new Tech Website – www.DownUnderGeek.com

This site will be focused on tech news, my views and opinions in that area and whatever else fits.

Yes this is something that 1000+ other guys do but I really don’t care. I want to have my little slice of that too. It will let me keep this website a more personal one – any techy stuff I can indulge myself there. I know your supposed to have one blog you focus on – once again – don’t care. I’m going to be doing both.

I’m actually really excited to be getting Down Under Geek up and running. For the last 4 months I have been working my butt off to get all of my “old” projects – all of the things that I have saving that “round tuit” for. I promised myself I would get the old ones done first. Well they are all done and now it’s time to get into all the new projects I have been coming up with.

What’s next on the list? Well first I have to fill out DUG – a few stories I have been saving up. But after that – we shall see…

Credit card hacked

Got a phone call today from one of my credit card providers – Citibank. Seems my Mastercard has been “comprimised” and needs to be replaced!

They didn’t offer any details but I assume it was from that situation where 40 million credit cards have been comprimised in the States. From what I remember some merchant was keeping details the wrong way and basically they got busted. Must be costing the banks a massive amount to track down 40 million customers. Someone is going to have a big bill to pay.

Of course the customers (me) aren’t exposed – the banks have to cover any illegal charges to the cards. That’s their problem. But I have to now work out what recurring bills and accounts were set up on that card and change them so thats probably 6 hours work. Already had a problem with the subscription for one of my magazines.

Glad it wasn’t my other main card – everything gets charged to that – would take a couple of days to switch everything on that one.

Better check the statements in the next month or so.

A week of grey skies in Melbourne

Fiona and I have just spent a week in Melbourne.

She spent a week working at the Austin Hospital in Heidelberg – looking at some new techniques, new equipment, procedures etc for her Mid-Wife work at home in Mildura. I think initially she thought it was going to be a bit of a waste of time for her. But from the first day she she talked about all the new things she had learnt each day. So I think she has really enjoyed her time here.


I have basically been working in the motel we have been staying at – the Old England in Heidelberg. There aren’t any “regular motels” around the hospital – or seemingly from our research, any close to nearby train stations. So we decided to stay at a local pub which we found on the net.

Its a great pub – its more than just a bar. It has a large dining room which has been packed all week for dinner – good food too. Plus it has a cafe, bottle shop, lounge bar, sports bar etc. So its a bit more than your basic pub. Very old place too. 150+ years. Apparently it used to be a house where the local artists would hang out. So they have lots of old Australian paintings around the place.

As a work place it hasn’t been great. No table in the room so I have had the laptop perched between my legs with my feet up on the spare chair all week. But it did the job.

No internet!! Not that I was expecting any at the pub – but they teased me by having a “Phone / Internet” plug in the wall which Fiona found on the second night. Plugged in – nothing happened. Found out the next day that the plug has just recently been installed – the actual internet hasn’t been hooked up yet though.

Couldn’t find any wireless hotspots I could use around the local shopping centre. Found an internet cafe that was good enough to let me plug in to their network though. Let me download some email and some podcasts to listen to. Kept me a bit sane.

But for the entire week – 1/2 hour of sunshine. Just grey skies and a bit of drizzly rain. At least Melbourne kept its promise.

Old Friend – New Friend

Today I travelled into the city (Melbourne) to catch up with a very old friend from school – Judd Neiman. Plus I got to meet a new friend I made on Whirlpool – Stephen.

Judd and I went to Willyama High School in Broken Hill. We also played guitar a bit together. Not that I was ever anywhere near as good as Judd – he is very talented. Plus we were both into computers and stuff at school when most others weren’t.

Haven’t heard from him for probably 20 years. Then the other day I got an email from another school friend, Christian Lowe, and he sent me Judd’s email as well.

Judd and I arranged to meet in the city near the Flinders St station. Well I managed to stuff up that simple task – the ticketing system in Melbourne is pretty simple once you understand it but I still needed help to get started. Probably the same everywhere.

But as the train got into town we pulled into Melbourne Central Station. Being an ex-Sydney boy I figured they had renamed their main station to Central 🙂 So I jumped off, headed outside and quickly worked out I was half-lost. And not where I was supposed to be. Actually I was exactly where I needed to be – but 3 hours later in the day when I was going to be meeting Stephen.

I jumped on a tram to head downtown and meet Judd at Macca’s like we had arranged.

Quick Note – you can’t log into a Macca’s / Telstra wireless hotspot using Firefox – you seem to need IE to get it started. Once logged in it was pretty good though. Very handy.

Judd and I went over to Southbank and had a couple of coffee’s over there and caught up. He is looking well. Bit pudgier as we all are 🙂 He is about to have his first kid in a few months which is great. He works for IPA as their IT Technical Manager. I think he enjoys it. Bit disappointed to have missed out on the reunion a few months ago in Broken Hill – maybe in another 10 years ? Actually we should have a 25 year one I think.

After seeing Judd I headed back to near Melbourne City Station and met up with a friend I have made at the Whirlpool website. Stephen and I got chatting online about TechTV and how to download it off the net – all good geeky stuff that I won’t go into here. It was great to meet him face to face. We headed out for some Greek food for lunch – love the restaurants in a big city. Mildura is great and has some top quality restaurants – but the variety is missing in a country town.

Stephen and I talked about all sorts of things – macs, sci-fi, podcasts, atkins diets, internet etc. Really nice guy and I look forward to catching up with him again.

Melbourne finally decided to rain on the one day it wasn’t supposed to. So I got a bit wet heading back to the train station. Couldn’t find another Macca’s to hook into a wireless hotspot to get the rest of my podcasts and email. Bugger it – figure I can survive till Saturday night.

Quick – tidy the house – Slashdot is coming over

Welcome Slashdotters…

For those who have no idea what I am talking about, I had a article published on the Slashdot website. Anyway. Been a long time since I did an update on this. Had a very busy summer / Christmas updating software and other sites. Went very well. Just done a little update to this blog too – made it a little brighter and fixed up the RSS / Atom feed for it.

Had a great Christmas / holiday with the family and Fiona’s family. We spent Xmas day in Dubbo after flying to Griffith and then getting a hire car. Much better than driving all the way and HEAPS cheaper than flying via Sydney. Then flew back after a couple of great days.

Worked out the problem with the digital TV – it was the crap external USB1 box that had the problem with WIN / Prime (9/7). Got a nice internal TV card now and it does the job niceley. The photo moblog was fun over Xmas – took a few photos of the trip as we drove along. Need to edit the comments a bit and probably post some more there too.

Plans for the wedding are going along fine. Only 6 weeks to go or something like that. Went down to Adelaide a couple of weeks ago to register for gifts at Myer and get me a nice suit. We have met with the people at the reception place. I think this weekend we are going through the vows and sorting out some other little things and then we will be pretty much done. Really starting to look forward to it.

Dad is enjoying retirement. Keeping himself busy around the house and garden. We have been playing a bit of golf each week which is nice. Mum obviously enjoys having him home. Megan has moved back to Mildura for 6 months or so after leaving her job in Adelaide. She is looking to do something in Melbourne later in the year. She has been helping me get the updates for the Mildura Victoria websites ready.

Hope all is well with you.

It’s November – this must be Adelaide

Been a while since the last blog. Had a very busy month or so.

Been updating the website for my company – Mildura Internet. Site desperately needed an update. It was quickly put together last year when I first moved to Mildura. Didn’t mean it to last this long but being so busy this year with work I haven’t had time to update it.

Need to update Mildura Victoria next – another one I thought I would have gotten back to by now but haven’t. Fiona and I went to Adelaide last week for a weeks holiday. Stayed at the Grand at Glenelg which was very nice. Bit of indulgence works wonders. Had a great time catching with family and friends. And bought a few pressies for ourselves as well – iPod for myself and Fiona, new Motorola v620 phone for me, some books, clothes, some wine and cigars, new cigar lighter and cutter.

I’m hoping to get some photos up online in the next week or so. Took a heap of them in Glenelg and some came out really well. Also hoping to get a moblog up and happening with the mobile phone. That’s where I can take a photo with the mobile phone and get it up online asap. Might check it out this afternoon.

Got a digital TV tuner for the computer. Looks pretty good so far – ABC & SBS are great and I think (hope) WIN/9 and PRIME/7 are still testing their signal.

Enjoyed watching the cricket from India on Austar/Foxtel. Was brilliant being able to work at home, notebook in the loungeroom, watching the cricket. Love my job. Watching the NZ series now. Don’t think the Kiwi’s have much of a chance. The Pakistan tour could be good though.

Mum is a lot better now. Finally got herself on a course of anti-depressants to help her even things out. After 3 weeks of getting the dose up she is looking great now.

2 weeks to go before Dad retires. He is pulling stumps on Dec 6, 2004 – 50 years to the day that he first started work!

Awesome effort.

Eric the 6th – New PC

Time for a new computer !!

Well – time for a new desktop anyway. I have a newish Dell 600m laptop that I bought about 3 months or so ago (recently upgraded to 1 gig ram – best thing!!). But my old desktop and second computer is getting very old. I’ve been wanting to use it more for video and photography stuff, DVD editing, GAMES, Fiona’s machine, GAMES and um DOOM 3 and Far Cry 🙂

So for the last few months I’ve been thinking about a new computer. I was going to try to upgrade the current unit but that basically meant everything anyway – probably even a new PSU to drive everything and then a new case would almost essential for better circulation etc.

Decided to go AMD. Something different. Seems to be better value than the intel units. Plus I wanted 64bit and NX on the board for better protection. I was going to go for a mid-level graphics card. But with the new cards from NVidea and ATI there was a massive jump and so I wet with a NVidea 6800. Memory was 1 gig (2 x 512) but went for Crucial Ultra Low latency stuff. Supposed to be good for 20-30% better speed. Hard drive was going to be a simple biggish drive but it got to a point where everything else was going to be the best speed – so a SATA Raid array was the go. Motherboard was ASUS – just good value and better quality. Powersupply is a Thermal Take 560W unit. Got it not necessarily for the extra W but because that unit has sleaved cabes – better for airflow again. And it all does into a nice Lian Li 61 case.

Again – the best.

AMD Athlon64 3200+ 2.0GHz 64-Bit CPU?Asus K8N-E Deluxe nForce3 250 Athlon64 Skt754 M/B?Asus V9999GE “Gamers Edition” 6800 AGP Video card – 256Mb?PC-3200 1024MB Corsair TwinX-XL 2-2-2-5 Xtra-Low Latency (2x512MB sticks)?Pioneer DVR-108D Black IDE DVD-RW drive?Samsung SM352 Black CD-RW+DVD ROM?Black-anodized Midi Tower all-Aluminium case Lian Li PC61?ThermalTake Black Silent Purepower 560W PSU

Basically it kicks ass !!!!

I’ll get some pics up once I work that bit out.