Tuesday, 9 December 2008

I'm on PvP!

 Memorising quotes

I'm a big fan of the webcomic PvP. I almost fell off my seat when I saw this little speech bubble on yesterday's strip: "It [Ghostbusters] was the first movie I memorized quotes from."

That's me. I was quoting from Ghostbusters long before I discovered Monty Python and before there even was a Blackadder. It's been all downhill since then (just ask my wife!)

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

NaNoWrimo 2008, Won!

I did mention this in my update post, but I thought the news deserved its own post.

I won NaNoWriMo! Yes, after two less-than-stellar efforts (perhaps effort isn't the right word), I have managed to write 50,000 words in the month of November.

Go me!

I reached the 50,000 word goal on Monday night, with plenty of time to spare and just in time for the official validation engine to start up and have my victory officially recognised. I thought I still had about 10,000 words left of the story to go, but as I was writing last night I realised I was much closer than I thought. So now, not only have I reached the artificial (though still somewhat challenging) target of 50K, I also have a complete first draft of "Conspiracy of Resonance".

If anyone is interested in having a read and doesn't mind a story with a certain amount of blood in it, please don't hesitate to leave a comment or contact me in the usual ways and request a copy. Be prepared to wield your red pen a lot in the process.

I'll post a bit later about how I think I managed to get through this year where I didn't in '06 and '07, but for now I just want to share a post I put up in our regional forum:

What are you looking forward to?

Don't get me wrong. I have loved (and am still loving) every minute of this sleep-deprived month, but there are a few things that I am looking forward to doing come December. How about you?

  • Going to bed later on the same day that I woke up rather than early the next morning. (As Waldo Butters once said to Harry Dresden: "Sleep is God. Go worship.")

  • Reading a book. Specifically, I received in the mail a week or two ago the entire Hal Spacejock series by Simon Haynes (wrimo HalSpacejock). I've also got the latest Genghis Khan book by Conn Iggulen and The Children of Hurin by (sort of) Tolkien burning holes in my bookshelf.

  • Finishing Neverwinter Nights 2 (once I have recovered from this lot of sleep deprivation and can afford another round.

  • Detoxing from caffeine overload. Fruit juice and herbal tea, here I come!

  • Waiting to order and receive my Nano 2008 Winner's T-shirt which have been rumoured about!

While I will no doubt be daydreaming about what Nano 2009 will bring, I'm not certain I'm convinced that I will be reading and editing this year's effort before the end of the month (Jaye's prediction). I might send it off, warts and all, to a few interested readers who will no doubt love it madly and have nothing bad to say about it.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

10K last night

NaNoWriMo is going great guns so far.

I've kept ahead of my plan (as far as daily writing targets are concerned) so far. Last night I had a great run based mostly on a dare to include the Melbourne Cup in my story and managed about 3,500 words, which has taken me over the 10,000 mark for the first time in three goes.

I've been having a back-and-forth word war with my writing buddy Kamu in Port Hedland who keeps pulling ahead and making me stay up far too late. The bonus to that is that now both of us are doing really well, like this:

Naggers please note, I still expect lots of email, texts, facebook messages and the like to keep me honest.

I've been enjoying WriMoRadio and the pep talks that have been coming. Today we got one from author Jonathan Stroud which included this inspirational line:

Alchemists tried for centuries to turn base metals into gold. Every time we sit down and put words on paper, we succeed where they failed. We're conjuring something out of nothing.

See. We're not wasting an entire month. We're making gold out of base metals!

Friday, 31 October 2008

Last time it was a calf

What is wrong with these people?

Colesworth take note: history has already judged you!

Grocers are but merchants, the business of an Apothecary is a Mistery, wherefore I think it fitting that they be a Corporation of themselves
King James I of England in 1617, defending his decision to allow the Apothecaries to separate from the Grocers' Guild.

Time for a regeneration

Slightly old news, but worth repeating. After next year's collection of telemovies, David Tennant is leaving Doctor Who. David has been a great Doctor and I will be sad to see him go, but he has had a reasonable run (I'm looking at you Christopher Eccleston) and I look forward to seeing what the new Doctor (and new boss Steven Moffat) are going to do with the show.

Ooo, stop press: Moffat is reported to want James Nesbitt as the new Doctor. Watch this space!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

NaNoWriMo nag page...

I've been talking about my participation in NaNoWriMo 2008 for a couple of months now. I've posted a few posts since then and hopefully made my intentions clear. There is no backing out now.

I'm asking anyone who reads this (and cares) to come onside and nag the life out of me. Leave a comment here, send me an email, a text message or give me a ring (if you know those details) and ask me how I'm going. Especially if you look at the charts on my sidebar and see that I'm not doing so well. If you really want to know how bad is bad, the NaNoWriMo crew have generated these detailed Progress Reports... click if you dare.

I really don't want to have to start making up justifications for poor performance. It will all just be too embarrassing and will therefore be my incentive to write.

Thanks in advance.

Edit... (no longer available) I've decided not to keep all my charts on the sidebar. The NaNo site seems to be having a bit of a problem with a heavy workload now. No need for me to be adding to that every time someone hits my site (like it really makes a difference!).
Instead, they can stay on this page.
Country vs City Word War, Elsewhere in Australia vs Perth, North
North vs South Word War, Me in Esperance vs Kamu in Port Hedland:

Edit 2...: I should have just kept everything here, but I'm posting regular (milestone) updates here.

The attack of the unwanted apostrophe in Camden

I'm not saying anything about the desirability of a new Islamic school in Camden, but judging by this sign shown in the ABC's story on the issue I think some people could make better use of the schools they do have.

I'm sorry, but this sort of thing really brings Bob the Angry Flower in me.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Friday, 24 October 2008


Daylight savings time is coming up this weekend in WA. Once it is over, we get to vote in a referendum (again).

Slashdot ran a story today about the end of DST in the northern hemisphere. Here a few of the more insighful comments.
I grew up in AZ - moved to a state that does daylight savings a couple years ago. I hate it. I never felt any lack for not having it or thought, "Gee, I wished we messed with the clocks twice a year." - stoolpigeon

make everyone talk in UTC. That should do it. - frank_adrian

Russia has a dozen time zones and fares just fine - as does China, with only one. This business of claiming that 'light' is a problem needing a solution is the only issue here...- djupedal

So, scrap daylight savings time and replace it with a system of several thousand time zones, each updated daily based on the predicted "high noon" for that particular day at that particular location. If the prediction ends up being off by a few microseconds on a particular day, just change the time to correct it right then and there! Sure, wristwatches will become orders of magnitude more complex, but it's the only way to have a truly sane and accurate system of time measurement. And after all, isn't that what we all really want here? - eln

If people want/need to get up earlier or later to take advantage of the daylight then JUST GET UP EARLIER OR LATER! There is no good reason to change the clock backward and forward. Lots of places don't do it and they don't have any problems. - slashname3

What a crawler?!

This is one little girl determined to get where she want to go! Apologies for the phone-camera quality, but you get the idea!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Running Azureus (Vuze) as a windows service revisited

This is a follow-up to my 2006 post. It's a shame I'm not using Windows any more and I can't figure this out for OS X, but the old post continues to get hits, so I thought I would neaten things up a bit!

I haven't completely tested this system with more recent versions of Azureus/Vuze, but all the files seem to be much the same, so I'm guessing it will be OK. Please leave any comments with news to the contrary.

As before, I have taken much of my information from other places, but I feel I've put it together in an easier to follow manner. In particular, the bulk of ideas came from the azureus wiki

Step 1: Install Azureus and enable Headless operation

  1. Download the executable installer from sourceforge
  2. Ensure that the installation directory contains the file Azureus2.jar
  3. Download the files log4j.jar and commons-cli.jar from here and place into the Azureus directory. This will allow command-line (headless) operation.
  4. To run, use command java -jar Azureus2-XXX.jar --ui=console
Your Azureus directory should look like this

Step 2: Install plugins

  1. Run Azureus in regular mode. NB: To configure the options for these plugins (and any other general settings such as download directories, you need to be in regular GUI mode)

  2. Install the HTML WebUI plugin. Configure the settings for the plugin such as the port number, username and password

  3. At the same time, I installed the Speed Scheduler

Step 3: Test the setup so far

  1. Exit from GUI

  2. Run: java -jar Azureus2.jar --ui=console

  3. Go to, enter username and password and you should see the WebUI as below.

  4. Exit from the command line (Ctrl-C), try to refresh the HTML (it shouldn't work).

Step 4: Install the service

Thanks to info here and here.
  1. Need to install the programs instsrv.exe and srvany.exe from the Win2K resource kit. I put it in C:\Program Files\reskit

  2. Run the following command: C:\Program Files\reskit\INSTSRV.EXE Azureus C:\Program Files\reskit\SRVANY.EXE. This creates a windows service in the "services" control panel applet, and the appropriate registry entry.

4.1 Edit registry.

  1. Go to the new registry key at HKEYLOCALMACHINE\system\CurrentControl\Set\Services\Azureus

  2. Create a new key "Parameters" and go there

  3. Create the following String Values (NB: string values do not contain quotes):

  4. Application: Java

  5. AppParameters: "-jar -Xrs Azureus2.jar --ui=console" (NB the -Xrs switch is to stop the the console from shutting down when logged off - not sure if I understand why, but the wiki article says "You'll then find that whenever someone logs out of the computer, Azureus will stop. That's because the Java VM is trapping some signals like WM_ENDSESSION, and exits gracefully. You can tell Java to ignore it, with the switch -Xrs, as documented by Sun)

  6. AppDirectory: "c:\program files\azureus" (or whatever is appropriate)

4.1 Edit control panel stuff

  1. Go to control panel, administrative tools, services (see image above)

  2. Find azureus, double click for properties
  • In the General tab, probably want startup type as automatic
  • In the Log On tab - use "this account" and set up your details. If these don't match, then what you set up when using the GUI won't match to the details when running as a service.
  • Tell the service to "start" then test as above

Step 5: Usage

I also created a couple of shortcuts to enable quick starting and stopping of the service (eg when the download is slowing your net connection):
  • "Start downloads": %windir%\system32\net.exe start azureus

  • "Stop downloads": %windir%\system32\net.exe stop azureus
I make sure these shortcuts are somewhere Launchy (or your app launcher of choice) can get to them to make turning azureus on and off a breeze.

Even more Anxiety

For more of Jason's band Omaha Anxiety (who played support to Mental as Anything on the weekend, w00t!), check out his youtube page. This is the last I notice to this effect I will put on this site, as Jason now has one of his own (edit 2015, so much for that...). Go there and nag him to get it up and running.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Nano update

NaNoWriMo 2008. 11 days to go. Less than that if I'm going to get up just after midnight on the 1st.

My plan is nowhere near as detailed as I would have liked, but I have a reasonable idea of what is going to happen, I have three significant protagonists and a couple of minor characters in pencil. I followed the instructions I mentioned in my previous post and managed to get some interesting things out of that. I have even had an ending jump me in a dark alley when I really hadn't seen it coming.

In the "Procrastination Station" on the nano home page today there was a link to a forum post entitled "Cumulative Wisdom from 7 (successful) Nanowrimos, or I must've learned something from the last ~350,000 words!". It was a great post, even if my experience differs with respect to the desirability of planning. What I loved was the plot breakdown, broken into sections of specified word length to fill up a November. I'm repeating it here because I think it is so great:
  1. 5,000 words: Teaser and exposition. Introduce the protagonist and why they are as they are.

  2. 2,000 words: Catalyst event. Introduce the second protagonist.

  3. 9,000 words: Exploration of the story world; new characters and nuggets of information. Things are still going well, but introduce the villain(s).

  4. 18,000 words: Things fall apart! The story becomes bigger than the characters. Things happen, they get saved, things get worse, repeat, repeat, repeat.

  5. 6,000 words: Reveal bigger quest.

  6. 6,000 words: Challenges are defeated. Things are learned. Characters change.

  7. 6,000 words: Resolve any leftover issues. Epilogue
(Credit to moonpook).

I'm going to incorporate that into my plan. Did I say before I think this is great?

Right now I'm off to plan my writing schedule. I have at least a couple of days each week where I will get little or no writing done, so if I can plan around those days by getting more done on other days then I will not fall behind. If anything can be gained from my last two years, falling behind is fatal!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Amarok! On OS X!

I can't wait to get home to download this. An installable package of Amarok for my mac! Joy of joys! I kept telling myself that when I got this running I would be donating to the project and I will... I would pay for commercial software of this quality.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

HMAS Darwin

We saw HMAS Darwin leaving Esperance Bay on Sunday. It moved a lot faster than the Capesize freighters we usually get! Its visit was noted in the Esperance Port Authority shipping list, so I don't think I am endangering national security by posting this here!

Hate Crimes?

I read this on the ABC news site today:

So-called hate crimes are on the rise, with dozens killed in racially motivated attacks so far this year.

Now I know this is a very serious issue (especially for those belonging to minorities in Russia) but I couldn't hold back a snigger when I remembered hate crimes in Life on Mars:

Sam Tyler: I think we need to explore whether this attempted murder was a hate crime.
Gene Hunt: What as opposed to one of those I-really-really-like-you sort of murders?

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Last Goodbye

When I was 12, I went to Swanleigh. Mum and Dad and the other boys were in Laverton for the first half of the year, Monkey Mia for the second (Dad had long service leave).

Once the excitement of a new environment wore off (didn't take long), to say that I didn't handle the separation from my family very well would be an understatement. I wasn't quite so bad mid-term, but whenever I had to leave, or get left behind, the blubbing really started.

One time really stands out. Dad had come down to Perth with a school camp. He came and took me out of school in the morning for some reason (might have been for a dentist appointment, I had plenty of those around that time). I don't remember much about the morning, but we probably had morning tea somewhere. There was probably a present for me in there too (there usually was).

I do remember what happened when we got back. I remember standing in the car park. Dad was supposed to go and meet up with his school group and go off to the movies. I wanted to go with him. I'm sure the movie probably appealed to be, but I just wanted to stay with my Dad.

So I did what I often did at times like that: I cried. Not loud, screaming, gimme-what-I-want type crying. Quiet, sniffly crying; what Dad used to call "sooking".

He tried to reason with me, which didn't help much. I wasn't in much of a mood for reason. I just didn't want Dad to have to leave.

That is just how I feel now.

Some years later, Dad told me how bad that day had made him feel. How he had eventually just had to drive off, leaving me sooking to myself. By then, I understood. I understood what he had done. I understood that sometimes you do just have to do things you don't want to. That even when it hurts or makes you feel bad, some things are just for the best.

And that Dad is sometimes the best person to decide when that is.

Funnily enough, by the time year 9 came around, I didn't have the same problem. I mean, I still looked forward to coming home and didn't look forward to going back all that much. But from that point on, there were no more tears when I had to leave Mum and Dad and my brothers.

That day was important in the process of me learning to stand on my own two feet. I'm an independent man now, with a wife and children of my own. And my Dad helped me to get there.

But right now, that doesn't matter. I just don't care about that. I just want to stamp my feet, scream, jump up and down and sook my little heart out. Because right now, I'm that 12 year old boy who doesn't want his Dad to go.

Bye Dad, I love you. It doesn't feel like it now, but you've done your job right. I'm going to be able to stand on my own two feet. I just don't want to.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

...insert title here...

I'm not sure what to write here. In fact I'm not even sure I want to be writing anything.

My Dad died on Sunday. He had turned 60 earlier in the year. He was semi-retired and had so much more planned for the rest of his life. Besides me, he left behind my mum and two brothers, 13 grandchildren and 1 great-grandson.

None of us can believe it. I don't know what to think.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

The general says...

I consider that the chief dangers which will confront the 20th century will be: religion without the Holy Spirit, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without regeneration, morality without God, and Heaven without Hell.
General William Booth

Saturday, 20 September 2008

The Cosmos Rocks [review]

I bought the new Queen album the other day and as promised, here are my thoughts on it.
Like I mentioned the other day, the reviews were mixed. To be honest, they are mostly bad. But as a die hard fan, I was always going to buy it, so I didn't worry too much about that. Mind you, today's review by Iain Shedden in the Weekend Oz was (to put it mildly) scathing.
The album is, simply put, unispired. Not bad, just not much of anything. I've only had a few listen throughs, but nothing really strikes me as special. I've bought every Queen album as it was released since "The Miracle" and while some have taken longer to grow on me than others, they have usually at least sounded more impressive right from the start.
Let's get a couple of things out of the way. First is the complaint that this "just isn't Queen". Come on, that is a no brainer. Check out the credits: "Queen & Paul Rogers". No one has said that Paul Rogers is replacing Freddie. No one could and they are not pretending that he has. You can feel the absence of Freddie in this work, but I thought that about "Made In Heaven" too. Both albums sounded more like a Brian May solo album.
Now that isn't a bad thing. I really liked "Back to the Light" (even though it wasn't Queen). And you can really hear Roger Taylor's influence on this album as well as Brian's. I think that is important. Queen would not have been the same without the distinct musical influence those two put in ("'39" and "I'm In Love With My Car" are two of my favourite tracks).
So to credit the album to "Queen & Paul Rogers" is fair. It is not Queen, it is not Free, but a reasonable mix of some of the elements of both.
But back to what I think... I love Brian's guitar work (especially in "Call Me"), I love Paul's voice and they work really well together. But the songs are just background noise. I haven't concentrated on the lyrics too much, but there really doesn't seem to be anything special there.
One exception to the rule is "Say It's Not True". I bought this as a single previously (though I missed getting it for free off their web site when it was available) and it has already grown on me. I love the mixture of vocals in this and it was a really good start to their new collaboration. I just wish they could have followed it up with more of the same.
The iTunes bonus track "Runaway" is another great rendition (a cover of the Del Shannon song), but I don't think it counts (firstly for not being part of the released album and secondly for being a cover). This will get high rotation in my playlists.
I'm going to like this album. I will listen to it a lot, and the songs will get stuck in my head and become part of the whole Queen experience for me. But not the best part. I give it 3 stars, but only for nostalgia's sake. Any other band would have got 2 (but if I'd read the reviews I wouldn't have even bought it in the first place).

Friday, 19 September 2008

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Minister for Mental Health

After our latest interesting election, Western Australia has a minority government for the first time in who knows how long. Among other interesting developments, I read today that our local member, Dr Graham Jacobs has been appointed our first Minister for Mental Health. Kudos to Mr Barnett firstly for creating the ministry in the first place, and secondly for his wise choice in Minister.

Omaha anxiety live

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

New netgear print server, easier said than done

After the failure of a JetDirect server on one of our workgroup printers, I purchased a NetGear PS101 mini print server to replace it. We have had joy with a similar D-link machine on another printer, so I was confident this would work.

It did work, but not without some fiddling around.

To start with, the server management software would not install on our Windows 2003 domain server. I didn't chase down why because I didn't want to have to use it anyway. It had something to do with the 16-bit subsystem. But it was a bad start.

Thanks to this thread on the netgear forums I was able to get things working to my satisfaction, and without having to use the print server software. Here's the summary.
  1. Discover the IP address the DHCP server had allocated to the print server, log into the web interface and then set a permanent IP address.
  2. Go to Printers and Faxes and "add a new printer". When asked for a port, create a new one.
  3. Choose "standard tcp/ip port"
  4. Set the IP address to the one you fixed.
  5. Do not try to select a particular print server or network card, just use the "choose generic network card" option.
  6. Finish creating the printer as normal.
  7. Go to the properties of that printer, go to the Port tab and then select "port properties" of the port you created.
  8. Set the protocol to LPR, make the queue name "L1" and enable "LPR byte counting".
  9. It took me a while to realise this, but I needed to reset the printer before continuing. Check the status page of the online management and if you see "offline" or something similar then a reset will probably solve that problem.
This took far too long to sort out today. When I installed the D-link earlier this year it only took minutes. But it is working now and is likely to stay that way. Good.

New Queen album out

Despite seeing mixed reviews, I am going to purchase and download the new Queen + Paul Rogers album, The Cosmos Rocks when I get home today. Watch this space for a review.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Back to gmail

I bought myself a lovely MacBookPro a couple of months ago and got myself a .Mac (now MobileMe) subscription at the same time (taking advantage of the reduced price available with a new machine).

I particularly liked the idea of having my address book and calendars synchronised and online, able to be used with the web mail. All the other features (iDisk, keychain synch etc) were all "nice to haves" but not "need to haves".

Unfortunately, the mail app failed me miserably. It was just a lot less usable than gmail. I gave it a really good try, I really did. I even hoped that the change from .mac to mobile me might improve things, but I was disappointed.

These are the things that I considered deal breakers:
  • No filters: Even though the Mail interface is much like mail.app (which is great as an aside), it is missing some critical features. Filters being one of them. I like to have my email filtered into its folders (labels under gmail) automatically. To have that happen with mobileme mail, I need to leave my mac on and mail.app open. That's just silly. With gmail, I don't even need to set up the filters in mail.app, because they are filtered at the server level.

  • No indication of unread messsages: You can't just look at the folder list and see which folders have messages to read. I needed to click on each one to find my messages.

  • No "all unread" option: Under gmail, I can search for "is: unread". In mail.app, I have a smart mailbox set up. Nothing like that in the web mail.
Before I opened up my .mac account, I had attempted to set up mail.app with my gmail account with very little success. I had problems with the duplication of messages related to multiple labels (and the "all mail" label), I had major problems with Time Machine trying to back up 2GB every time I read a mail message and lots of little niggly things that didn't "just work". Those things didn't happen with .mac, but I was willing to put up with them (or even just use webmail fulltime) to get the webmail I wanted.

Having said that, since I have swapped back to gmail, I have managed to work my way around those problems. Perhaps google have improved their IMAP implementation a bit since I last tried, but I am perfectly happy with my desktop and web mail now, thanks to Google Apps For Domains and Apple's mail.app. It is just disappointing that Apple couldn't get their webmail right.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Creative-Commons image goodness

I was doing a search for an image I might be able to use as a base for a logo. Because I wanted to fiddle with it and then reuse it, I needed it to be licenced appropriately.

So I went to Creative Commons and did a search, and found this little beauty:

I can really see this working well, and fortunately for me, the artist (the very kind kaet44 on flickr) has licenced it under a Creative Commons licence which allows me to modify it as I see fit, distribute it and even use it for commercial purposes. Just so long as I give credit where it is due, and here I am: kaet44 did it, and I offer thanks for it!

While I was there, I also saw this fascinating work and thought I would share it here:

By the way, as I have said elsewhere, all of my text here (at least anything that is my original work) can be considered under a similar licence. The only additional condition I have added is the need to "share-alike". That is, any derivative work needs to be licenced under the same licence. If you care!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Esperance on a stamp!

Check out this stamp... It has a lovely little picture of the Esperance, a French ship which probably did other things but is rightly famous for travelling along the south coast of Western Australia and leaving its name to our favourite town.

The stamp was issued in new Caledonia, which obviously feels it has a a better claim to the Esperance and to Admiral D'Entrecasteaux than we do. I think his name went to some other less important part of WA too. :-/

Thanks to shipstamps.co.uk for the image (used with permission).

Great TV rumours!

Yes, rumours is all they are, but they are such great rumours I thought it would be worth repeating them here.
  1. Robert Llewellyn is reported to have said that the BBC is planning a new 1 hour Red Dwarf episode to be filmed later in the year. This would be a real gift. I really hope this one is true.
  2. Steven Moffat (soon to be top dog at Doctor Who) has spoken about the possibility about a Who movie, without actually saying anything. I love my Who, and really don't see the need for a movie, but the increased exposure it would give the franchise, in the form of people who never watch public television would be great.

Believers Resource

freely ye have received, freely give (Matthew 10:8 KJV)
For a number of years I have had an idea of setting up a web host for various free (free as in speech as well as free as in beer) Christian resources.

My thinking was influenced by the verse above. We have been given abilites, gifts and finances by God. I did (and still do) find it quite inappropriate the way Christian artists, ministers and organisations behave in much the same way as the world. My particular bugbear here is the copyright protection enforced on Bible translations. But the same things goes for music or original text... wouldn't you be better off allowing copying and free use? What is the point of writing an amazing Praise and Worship song and then only allowing those fellowships that pay the appropriate licencing fees to even sing it?

But back to my point, it looks like someone actually did something instead of just having an idea.

The Believers Resource site is somewhat spartan at the moment, but I think it has heaps of potential. Like the site says, there is plenty of free stuff available on the net, but a lot of it is of less than ideal quality. A central repository for the good stuff is a great idea.

The site asks for suggestions, and here are a couple which I will be sending on:
  1. Add links to other sites where they can't or won't allow hosting by Believers Resource. You will still have had a look at the product and approved it. People coming to Believers Resource can still use it. It just doesn't get downloaded locally.

  2. Add a software section. I'm thinking particularly of the Sword Project.

  3. The English Standard Version bible has some a module available for the Sword Project for no charge as well as being able to be read online.

  4. Perhaps add a "what's new" section, or perhaps even add a blog-like section to allow news and comments.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Jethro Tull + LOTR = Broadsword

A link to this was posted by one of my Facebook Knighthood friends who was one of only two in the last six months who has noticed that my Knighthood motto is a line from Broadsword. Thanks Jo, loved it!

Hi-tech war against vandals

My Dad (hi, Geoffrey) is involved with an organisation in Perth called People Against Vandalism.

So when I saw this article on the ABC I immediately thought of him.

Apparently, they have developed a technique by which they can detect paint fumes as the paint spray is being used. What they do after that I suppose is still up in the air, but it sounds like a useful idea. It sounds expensive, but so is cleaning up graffiti.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Long awaited photos

After a five month wait, family and friends will be pleased to know that I have finally added some more photos to my flickr account, including some of the school trip to Canberra. Enjoy.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Here's a NaNo winner for you

I've have yet to win NaNoWriMo, but I am really determined this year. When I win (note that I said when, not if), I want to have a winning story like Ensis here. Talk about determination! Break and enter and everything! I don't want my computer to break first though!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Pagegories in the sidebar

Just installed Brian Piltin's Pagegories sidebar widget. As the name suggests, it combines your wordpress pages and categories into one list, pages first. I don't have a lot of categories any more, so it looks quite good. Another option could be to use the Page Links To plugin (which I also have installed) and make a page than links to the category listing, but this is automatic. I like it.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Red Dwarf fanfic review (almost)

A few years ago, without access to a television, I was getting a little Red Dwarf deprived. I had copies of most of the scripts which I enjoyed reading and I also discovered a few interesting fanfic stories.

Just the other day I came across a small document I made that outlined the stories I had found and put them in chronological order.

Next to one called "Blue Giant", among other things I had written:
not great writing, bit juvenile
As they would say on Slashdot "you're new here aren't you?"... Isn't this a standard definition of most fanfic?

Thursday, 7 August 2008

A-Z Music Meme

OK, I wasn't tagged, but I saw this when investigating a Wordpress theme.

Simple idea. Open up your Music Library in your media player. Sort alphabetically by track and put up the first track for each letter without duplicating artists.

This is me:
  1. Absence by Ancient Drive (from "Unknown")

  2. Baba O'Riley by The Who (from "My Generation: The Very Best Of The Who")

  3. Cable TV by Weird Al Yankovic (from "Dare To Be Stupid")

  4. D.O.A. by Van Halen (from "Van Halen II")

  5. E-Bow The Letter by R.E.M. (from "In Time: The Best Of R.E.M. 1988-2003")

  6. F-19 by Men At Work (from "Business as Usual")

  7. Games Without Frontiers by Peter Gabriel (from "Shaking the Tree: Sixteen Golden Greats")

  8. Hair Of The Dog by Guns N' Roses (from "The Spaghetti Incident")

  9. I by Black Sabbath (from "Dehumanizer")

  10. Jack-A-Lynn by Jethro Tull (from "20 Years of Jethro Tull")

  11. Keechie by No Age (from "Nouns")

  12. La Bible by ApologetiX (from "Spoofernatural")

  13. Ma-Ma-Ma Belle by Electric Light Orchestra (from "All Over The World: The Very Best Of ELO")

  14. Naked In Front Of The Computer by Faith No More (from "Album Of The Year")

  15. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da by The Beatles (from "The Beatles")

  16. Paca Nokt' by Akordo (from "Kristnaska Kordo")

  17. Queen Anne's Revenge by Flogging Molly (from "Within a Mile of Home")

  18. R.I.P. (Millie) by Noiseworks (from "Love Versus Money")

  19. Safe European Home by The Clash (from "The Essential Clash")

  20. Tainted Love by Soft Cell (from "The Very Best of Soft Cell")

  21. U Can't Touch This by MC Hammer (from "The Best Singles Of All Time")

  22. Valley of Tears by Robert Plant & The Soweto Gospel Choir (from "Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino")

  23. Wait for the Promise by Aaron Jeoffrey (from "Very Best of Aaron Jeoffrey")

  24. X Offender by Blondie (from "Blondie: The Platinum Collection")

  25. Yahweh Love by Petra (from "Petrafied: The Best of Petra")

  26. Zero by Evanescence (from "Special German Import 2004")
I think this is a reasonable representation of my music library. Most of my top 10 bands are represented. As are some of the random tracks I've collected from mp3 blogs or bought off ITMS because I read a good review in the paper as well as few that I got from compilation cds or soundtracks. Nothing I'm too embarrassed to show here (except perhaps MC Hammer *grins*)

OK, the idea is to "tag" three more people to do this. This is a bit trick, because I'm not really on speaking terms with too many other people with a suitable site for publishing. But here we go anyway.

  • Jason Power (who has no site, I'm emailing you, add yours in the comments here)

  • Greg Cresp (does Live Journal track incoming links?)

  • Megan @ Melodic Insomniac. Sorry, you don't know me, but I've been watching your NaNoWriMo posts and you seem to be the musical type, so this might appeal.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Doing something right!

The Australian Minister for Aging released figures last week showing that Marriage Increases Life Expectancy. Good news. Now I just need to exercise more and get my HDLs up.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

New Music to Love

I've been using the iTunes Music Store for about two years (I think). For all its faults, I love the availability of so much music of all sorts and the ability to buy just one track if that is what you want.

Recently I have started thinking about extending my musical experiences into areas they haven't gone before.

I'm thinking particularly of bands that I have spent time avoiding because the "cool" people at Swanleigh played them all the time and I hated them just on principle. Perhaps I should even expand into slightly different genres/styles that I wouldn't normally listen to. I mean, I listen primarily to the heavy end of rock/pop (check out my last.fm profile if you are interested, top bands are Queen and Van Halen), but the last couple of years I have spent more time listening to folk, roots and even country.

I spend a bit of time browsing mp3blogs and the like, and have even discovered a couple of new "favourite" artists there: Apollo Up!, Flogging Molly and Kathleen Edwards, which is great. (Looking up the links here I notice that Flogging Molly has a new album, and it is actually on the Australian iTunes store. That's going on my wishlish!)

But what I am really after is some appreciation of the "classics" of late-20th century western music. The sort of stuff that is culture-defining. A bit like the necessity of having read Dickens, or listened to Beethoven, or at least knowing what a Van Gogh looks like. Just more contemporary.

Here's some of my ideas:
  • Pink Floyd
  • Talking Heads
  • The Doors
  • AC/DC (not a misprint)
  • From an Australian perspective: INXS, Cold Chisel (even solo Jimmy Barnes *shudder*)
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
  • Judas Priest
  • The Cure
Any others? Comments are open.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Second century christians were like this. What about us?

From the Epistle to Diognetus
For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured, and yet in their very dishonour are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay the insult with honour; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Thinking about nanowrimo 2008

Like many people all over the place, I am starting to consider my run at NaNoWriMo 2008.
This site has documented my abject failure at this project during 2006 and 2007. This year may very well be different (he tells himself anyway).
And this is why I think so:
  1. Planning is starting in July. Not November.
  2. Have purchased Jer's Novel Writer. Last year I was using it, but perhaps the guilt of all the nag warnings got to me. Or not. Either way, it's a nice piece of software. Fun to use.
  3. Found a nice (if old and pre-NaNo) article that is going to help me do the brainstorm.
  4. Third time lucky.
Here's my plan:
  • Do a rough outline (using above article) straight away. Perhaps this weekend, and with the boys if they are going to have another go this year.
  • Fill in details. Do character profiles. Articles on worldview, history, politics, whatever I can think of to get the creative juices going.
  • Do a complete chapter-by-chapter outline and match it to a day-by-day writing schedule.
  • Fit in room for error in above.
  • Repeat the above until 1 November 2008.
Can he do it?

Fixed my "useful" feed

Thanks to del.icio.us, Yahoo Pipes and Firefox's Live Bookmarks I have a handy toolbar folder containing a nice long list of "Useful" links. These links are usually complicated and not regularly used, but nice to have handy (eg the admin page for this site). Recently, I noticed that my list had shrunk. It turns out del.icio.us put the default length of RSS feeds to 15. Fortunately, norio.be had the solution. Thanks.

Neverwinter Nights 2 error!

I have had my copy of NWN2 pretty much since it was released.

After a couple of false starts over the last two years, I have finally managed to play more than once or twice with a character and really get moving. I am almost at the end of Act I, and at 10th level.

This is not a review (it is a bit late for that), but I just wanted to share a mistake I found in the text.

At the Neverwinter Archive you find a series of books that you need to answer questions on. One of these books is "To Counter the Assumption of a Flat Faerûn", with ideas much like the old belief in a Flat Earth.

Now this is all well and good, but the name of the planet is not Faerûn, it is Abeir-Toril. This is like saying Flat Europe instead of Flat Earth.

Yes, I'm pathetic. No need to tell me.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Sometimes it IS that simple

Just recently, I have been having trouble getting my VMware machines to accept keyboard input.
The patterns:
  1. Not a problem in unity mode. Which doesn't help when you are trying to log in to the machine.
  2. Happens to both my Boot Camp image and to true virtual machines. Also happens on XP images and my Ubuntu image.
Of course, google was my first port of call. Plenty of options, but none really matched my exact situation. The VMware forums had a few solutions, but again the problems described were not the same as mine. Windows seemed to be the only culprit and normally just the Boot Camp partition.

One thread almost hit the nail on the head though. They talk there about some programs like SecureInput taking control of keyboard input and to not run them at the same time as Fusion. Didn't seem to exactly match, so I gave up there and went looking further.

Unfortunately, I didn't find anything useful. Some of the threads suggested rebooting and doing all sorts of basic stuff like that. Lacking any specific solutions, I tried that... Rebooted both the VMs and the host machine.

When I first came back in to my account, I ran Fusion and only Fusion. VM booted nicely and allowed keyboard input. Nice. Opened iTunes (as I am wont to do) and things were fine to start. Then I had an interesting thought...

I run the last.fm client and it is set to open after iTunes does. Unfortunately (and I'm not certain why) it doesn't play nicely on the ISA-controlled network out at Wongutha. When it opens, it doesn't log into my account automatically, but sits there with a login screen waiting for me to hit enter. So my brainwave suggested that I hit enter. I did, last.fm logs in and I get keyboard input back.


I will be very surprised if anyone out there has the exact same circumstances I have, but if the big G sends you here, just try logging into your last.fm client. Or just turning it off. Worked for me!!

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Launch Vmware fusion apps from Quicksilver

I switched to a Mac late last year (traded a Powerbook for a Compaq Presario) and immediately started being jealous of all the owners of newer Macs with their intel chips. Specifially, I wanted VMware fusion so that I could run those select few windows apps I have yet to find reasonable mac substitutes for.

So when I bought a new MacBook Pro recently, I made sure I got a copy of Fusion at the same time. It works as advertised and has been very useful.

Unfortunately, I decided to use my Boot Camp partition as my Windows VM, which was a bad choice as far as convenience is concerned. It is not possible to "suspend" the VM, so starting up Fusion to quickly run Solitaire is not all that simple... It has to wait for Windows to boot.

Today I decided to start a new virtual machine, and it has made a great difference. After suspending the machine before closing Fusion, starting Solitaire from its dock icon takes less than 10 seconds. That's not much more than a native app.

OK, here's to the point of this post... I don't use the dock much. According to all the help docs I could find, when a windows app is running in Unity mode, its icon shows up on the dock. Ctrl-click and then choose "keep in dock" and you have your shortcut. That's great if you use the dock. I don't as a rule. I use Quicksilver normally and sometimes just Finder.

So here is my solution:

  1. Have a look in the Finder for your VM. Normally it will be in ~/Documents/Virtual Machines. Ctrl-Click and "show package contents".
  2. See there... a folder called Applications! As far as I can see, that contains links for all the programs you have previously run in Unity mode.
  3. Go to Quicksilver preferences. Under catalogue, add your VM directory. In my case it was "~/Documents/Virtual Machines.localized/Windows XP Professional.vmwarevm".
  4. Wait for a rescan and away you go. (If an app isn't in the catalogue, run it at least once manually: either from the VMware dock icon or menu bar).
  5. Alternatively, you could just find the shortcut in the directory above and create an alias somewhere useful (eg Desktop).

I am looking forward to having much more convenient access to all my (fortunately few) indispensible Windows apps. (there's a topic for another post)

Friday, 16 May 2008

A smoker's view of the world

This photo came to me on my pharmacy mailing list the other day. Apparently it is a real mural on the ceiling of a smoker's lounge in some new hotel.

That would surely make more of an impact than any of the latest anti-smoking ads on TV!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Farewell Gary

I just heard that Gary Gygax passed away yesterday.

Thanks Gary for years of fun. You will be missed.

Image: "Gary Gyax - ModCon 1999 - 1" by Moroboshi - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, 3 March 2008

What a villain

I watched the first episode of Jekyll last night. James Nesbitt (Murphy's Law etc) played the main protagonist. No time for a review or anything, but his Hyde was an incredibly terrifying villain. Amazing!

Friday, 22 February 2008

Am I a Jedi in disguise?

Being on holidays (paternity leave?) at the moment, I have taken the opportunity to not bother shaving. In fact, I have more facial hair than I have ever had...

I do take exception to my father's unkind suggestion that it is just bum-fluff, but it really would be an exaggeration to call it a "beard".

A funny thing though... A couple of my sons' friends at school, Star Wars nerds all, have suggested that I look like Qui-Gon Jinn. You be the judge...

I can see what they are thinking, but it is a bit of a stretch. I've got a lot less there, and a lot more of it is grey! In fact the best thing about not being clean-shaven is that I am a lot less likely to get "you're too young to have seven children!"

So I think I will keep my light sabre in the cupboard and remember that I would much rather be Dr Who anyway!

Thursday, 14 February 2008

That's my boy!

"When I grow up I want to be a Dalek" (Aidan, 31 Jan 2008)

Lost some posts...

My webhost had a major power malfunction and lost a lot of machines earlier in the week.
Once I got things up and running again (after having to re-add the correct user to the MySQL database with this blog on it) it seems I have lost January's posts. Luckily there wasn't a lot of important stuff there (a couple of reviews IIRC) and January was a slow post month.