Monthly Archives: September 2008

★ Website re-design, aka Mat goes mad!

mathewpacker-website.jpg

Well here it is, Mathew Packer.com v4.x, the re-design that I’ve been working on for the last month. What do you think?

So far I’ve had one comment that is helping me do a few further tweaks to the layout. Vlado commented that it wasn’t that easy to work out what was new content and what was old content, that’s a fair call I think. As an interim ‘patch’ I’ve put in a ‘Latest Articles’ section on the sidebar just below my Vimeo player and some time in the next couple of days I’ll also add in the ‘Most Popular’ and ‘Most Commented’ sections so that should help a little to work out what’s new, what’s popular, etc.

I’m also looking at building in a ‘lifestream’ that will display all the updates to the various social networks I’m involved in, ie. twitter, flickr, vimeo, last.fm, facebook, brightkite, pownce, stumbleupon, digg, etc.

Other than the suggestion Vlado made, are there any other suggestions you would like to make? Let me know and I’ll see what I can come up with.

★ Website re-design, aka Mat goes mad!

mathewpacker-website.jpg

Well here it is, Mathew Packer.com v4.x, the re-design that I’ve been working on for the last month. What do you think?

So far I’ve had one comment that is helping me do a few further tweaks to the layout. Vlado commented that it wasn’t that easy to work out what was new content and what was old content, that’s a fair call I think. As an interim ‘patch’ I’ve put in a ‘Latest Articles’ section on the sidebar just below my Vimeo player and some time in the next couple of days I’ll also add in the ‘Most Popular’ and ‘Most Commented’ sections so that should help a little to work out what’s new, what’s popular, etc.

I’m also looking at building in a ‘lifestream’ that will display all the updates to the various social networks I’m involved in, ie. twitter, flickr, vimeo, last.fm, facebook, brightkite, pownce, stumbleupon, digg, etc.

Other than the suggestion Vlado made, are there any other suggestions you would like to make? Let me know and I’ll see what I can come up with.

★ Another reason people don't like politicians..

iStock_000004270191XSmall.jpg

I was going through all the news and things in my RSS reader this morning and came across this lovely piece in the Sydney Morning Herald about ex-premier of New South Wales Morris Iemma. His recent resignation received a lot of press, though it didn’t really come as a massive shock considering how much he’d screwed up recently, but this latest news of an apparent demand for a lifetime pension and all the other perks that come with being a premier.

Considering the current state of the economy in Australia, the utterly ridiculous state of our hospital and health system in New South Wales, and not to mention the rising cost of housing issues faced by many, I’m of the opinion that the former premier can go fuck off. (sorry for the expletive.) Why the hell should we the tax payers pay for you to have a full time driver and car for life, and a further $130,000 or so a year?

End rant.

★ Another reason people don’t like politicians..

iStock_000004270191XSmall.jpg

I was going through all the news and things in my RSS reader this morning and came across this lovely piece in the Sydney Morning Herald about ex-premier of New South Wales Morris Iemma. His recent resignation received a lot of press, though it didn’t really come as a massive shock considering how much he’d screwed up recently, but this latest news of an apparent demand for a lifetime pension and all the other perks that come with being a premier.

Considering the current state of the economy in Australia, the utterly ridiculous state of our hospital and health system in New South Wales, and not to mention the rising cost of housing issues faced by many, I’m of the opinion that the former premier can go fuck off. (sorry for the expletive.) Why the hell should we the tax payers pay for you to have a full time driver and car for life, and a further $130,000 or so a year?

End rant.

★ Canon Photo5 comp, photo ideas!

Canon Photo5 competition

By now you all know that Canon Australia is having their annual Photo5 competition, I’ve only blogged about it a bajillion cajillion times already. Well if you’ve entered the competition you should have received your box by now, though those of you who have entered a little later yours are probably still on the way.

So you’ve got this box sitting in front of you, it’s got a ribbon on / in it, a crayon, a tea light candle, a cocktail umbrella, and a bubble blower. You’ve got to make a bunch of photos for your competition entry, but you’re stuck. Total memory and creativity blank! What to do!!

Lucky for you, and me a little bit too, there is a great group up and running on flickr where a bunch of entrants are throwing around ideas and posting photos. You can see the group here, Canon Photo5 comp, and you’ll need to be a flickr member to get active in the group.

★ Canon Photo5 comp, photo ideas!

Canon Photo5 competition

By now you all know that Canon Australia is having their annual Photo5 competition, I’ve only blogged about it a bajillion cajillion times already. Well if you’ve entered the competition you should have received your box by now, though those of you who have entered a little later yours are probably still on the way.

So you’ve got this box sitting in front of you, it’s got a ribbon on / in it, a crayon, a tea light candle, a cocktail umbrella, and a bubble blower. You’ve got to make a bunch of photos for your competition entry, but you’re stuck. Total memory and creativity blank! What to do!!

Lucky for you, and me a little bit too, there is a great group up and running on flickr where a bunch of entrants are throwing around ideas and posting photos. You can see the group here, Canon Photo5 comp, and you’ll need to be a flickr member to get active in the group.

HP DreamColor Professional Display LCD

hp-dreamcolour-LP2480zx.jpg

Have a gander at what has arrived on my desk, talk about one seriously cool monitor. This is the HP DreamColor LP2480zx Professional Display LCD and I’ve received it in from HP Australia to review.

What’s the difference between this and other monitors on the market, it has the ability to display one billion active colours!

Continue reading

★ There is goo on my window

Window Goo

I had to catch the bus this morning, my car was in getting serviced. There was some goo on the window, had to take a macro photo.

For those interested this was shot with my Canon PowerShot G9, the G10 has just been released, and I reckon it has pretty well the best macro ability in the market today.

★ There is goo on my window

Window Goo

I had to catch the bus this morning, my car was in getting serviced. There was some goo on the window, had to take a macro photo.

For those interested this was shot with my Canon PowerShot G9, the G10 has just been released, and I reckon it has pretty well the best macro ability in the market today.

★ Canon EOS 5D mkII – hands on!

No no I haven’t some how managed to get my hands on a review model of the Canon EOS 5D mkII yet, believe me I’m working on it though, this is actually a video from the guys at Digital SLR TV. They go through a fair bit of information, most of it we have probably already read across the internet the last 24 odd hours, but it’s all still pretty interesting.

Time for me to get back to coding websites so I can earn some money to actually buy one of these bad boys when it hits the stores later this year. Check out all the info at Canon Australia,

And in other Canon news, Canon Australia actually has their own blog now for the EOS range of digital SLRs. The blog is part of their blogger reach out program to get a bit more social with their users. I think it’s an awesome idea and I can’t wait to see how interactive they get with it. Go Canon!

Chicken & Vegetable Lasagne Recipe

This is one of my favourite recipes for Lasagne, I’ve tweaked it a fair bit from the original recipe so that it is cheaper and healthier. It’s very easy to prepare and easily will serve 4–6 people with leftovers for the next day….and trust me, the leftovers always taste better.

Lasagne Recipe

Here’s a list of the ingredients and you’ll need to buy ahead of making this;

Main Ingredients;

  • 2 teaspoons of Olive Oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 zucchini
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 500g (1lb) of chicken mince (you can also use lean beef)
  • 2 x 400g (13oz) cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup (4fl oz) chicken or beef stock
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 375g (12oz) instant or fresh lasagne sheets

And for the Cheese Sauce

  • 1/3 cup (1 1/4 oz) corn flour
  • 3 cups (24fl oz) skim milk
  • 100g reduced fat cheese

Finely chop the onion, carrot and zucchini, once that’s completed heat the olive oil in a medium to large sauce pan or frying pan and add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft.

Lasagne Recipe

Now add in the carrot and zucchini and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the vegetables are reasonably soft, make sure you keep stirring otherwise the carrots will stick. Crush the garlic with a garlic press and add to the pan, about a minute later you’re ready to add in the mince which will need to be cooked on the high heat until it’s well browned.

Lasagne Recipe Lasagne Recipe

Lasagne Recipe Lasagne Recipe

Once the mince is browned you can now add in the cans of crushed tomatoes, the beef stock, tomato paste and dried oregano. Stir well to combine all these ingredients, and bring the mixture to boil. Allow the mixture to boil for about a minute or 2 then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cover the sauce pan for about 20 minutes. Remember to give the mixture a stir every 4–5 minutes so it doesn’t stick.

Preheat your oven to 180 C, or around 350 F.

Now that the mixture in the sauce pan is ready it’s time to start assembling the lasagne. Spread a little of the meat sauce into the base of a large-ish (23x30cm) oven proof dish. Arrange a layer of lasagne sheets in the dish, you can break them if they’re not the same size as your dish, then add a layer of the meat sauce over the top to cover it evenly. Cover with another layer of lasagne sheets, a layer of meat sauce, and then finally another layer of lasagne sheets.

Lasagne Recipe Lasagne Recipe

Lasagne Recipe Lasagne Recipe

Now we’re going to make the cheese sauce, time to concentrate!

Blend a little of the milk with the corn flour to make a smooth paste in a small sauce pan. Over a low heat add in the rest of the milk bit by bit, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens. Take the pan off of the heat and add in the grated cheese giving it a good stir while it’s melting.

Lasagne Recipe Lasagne Recipe

Once all the cheese is melted pour the cheese sauce mixture over the top of the lasagne and bake it in the oven for about an hour.

Lasagne Recipe

If you find the top browning too quickly put some aluminium foil over the top of it, remember to take it off with around 10 to 15 minutes to go so that the top browns up nice and evenly.

Lasagne Recipe

I like to serve it with a light salad of rocket leaves, red onion and feta cheese, with a couple of slices of garlic bread and maybe even a little bit of parmesan cheese grated finely on the top.

Hope you give this recipe a try, and even more so I hope you enjoy it.

Looking for more of my world famous recipes, then head over to the recipes archive!

★ Canon EOS 5D mkII – hands on!

No no I haven’t some how managed to get my hands on a review model of the Canon EOS 5D mkII yet, believe me I’m working on it though, this is actually a video from the guys at Digital SLR TV. They go through a fair bit of information, most of it we have probably already read across the internet the last 24 odd hours, but it’s all still pretty interesting.

Time for me to get back to coding websites so I can earn some money to actually buy one of these bad boys when it hits the stores later this year. Check out all the info at Canon Australia,

And in other Canon news, Canon Australia actually has their own blog now for the EOS range of digital SLRs. The blog is part of their blogger reach out program to get a bit more social with their users. I think it’s an awesome idea and I can’t wait to see how interactive they get with it. Go Canon!

★ Canon Photo5 Competition – what's in the box!

Today I received my box of goodies from Canon Australia‘s Photo 5 competition, figured I’d put together a quick unboxing video showing you all the bits and pieces. Check out the video at the top here, and if you’re in Australia and want a chance at winning some prizes out of the $50,000.00 prize pool that Canon’s putting up, you can enter here.

If I won the competition

Continue reading

★ Really large banners!

ARGUs-banner1

I’ve had to put together a couple of banners for an upcoming emergency health care conference that my work is attending. While I’m pretty handy with Photoshop, Illustrator is a whole different beastie! I’m reasonably happy with how both posters have come out, and work is happy as well so I guess that’s what actually matters in this case.

Had a few big interesting conversations over the last couple of days, Continue reading