Monthly Archives: April 2009

★ Running short on time, need a blog update?

Well you should check out the Aussie Bloggers The Lazy Bloggers Post Generator.

Here’s one I just made, makes perfect sense right….haha

Geez I just got a bajillion whiny emails saying I have not updated this since Paris Hilton was in jail… You would not believe how hard it is being waited on hand and foot and generally lounging around. Seriously!.

I am lost in a sea of pseudo-olde-english with only your readership as life preserver, waiting for the onshore winds, just generally being asleep, dreaming and chancing to society in general, my day is filled with fluorescent light from sun-up to well after sun-down. I am looking at rectifying this. I need some perspective.

I solemnly swear I will make more of an effort to blog more often until the nice men in the white coats come back. Until I need your shoulder to cry on. What do you mean you don’t believe me?

★ Running short on time, need a blog update?

Well you should check out the Aussie Bloggers The Lazy Bloggers Post Generator.

Here’s one I just made, makes perfect sense right….haha

Geez I just got a bajillion whiny emails saying I have not updated this since Paris Hilton was in jail… You would not believe how hard it is being waited on hand and foot and generally lounging around. Seriously!.

I am lost in a sea of pseudo-olde-english with only your readership as life preserver, waiting for the onshore winds, just generally being asleep, dreaming and chancing to society in general, my day is filled with fluorescent light from sun-up to well after sun-down. I am looking at rectifying this. I need some perspective.

I solemnly swear I will make more of an effort to blog more often until the nice men in the white coats come back. Until I need your shoulder to cry on. What do you mean you don’t believe me?

★ Trip postponed, Cold vs Swine Flu

With the upgrade overnight of the WHO Swine Influenza ‘pandemic’ to level 5, and my inability to properly kick this cold, I’ve decided to put off my trip to Germany for a couple of weeks. Last thing I want to do is sit on a plane for 22 hours with this cold only to arrive into Germany and probably end up getting quarantined seeing as I do have symptoms of influenza, ie. temperature, runny nose, etc.

It kind of blows to have to change everything, but it’s better safe than sorry right, and let’s face it we’ll know a whole lot more about Swine Influenza in the next week seeing as it’s spreading so fast and we’re getting a lot of new information on a daily basis.

With any luck I’ll be better on Saturday, and maybe get to play in the Gloucester Country Club, Club Championships which start this weekend. Need more cold n flu drugs, stat!

Leave a comment!

★ Trip postponed, Cold vs Swine Flu

With the upgrade overnight of the WHO Swine Influenza ‘pandemic’ to level 5, and my inability to properly kick this cold, I’ve decided to put off my trip to Germany for a couple of weeks. Last thing I want to do is sit on a plane for 22 hours with this cold only to arrive into Germany and probably end up getting quarantined seeing as I do have symptoms of influenza, ie. temperature, runny nose, etc.

It kind of blows to have to change everything, but it’s better safe than sorry right, and let’s face it we’ll know a whole lot more about Swine Influenza in the next week seeing as it’s spreading so fast and we’re getting a lot of new information on a daily basis.

With any luck I’ll be better on Saturday, and maybe get to play in the Gloucester Country Club, Club Championships which start this weekend. Need more cold n flu drugs, stat!

Leave a comment!

★ Wiesbaden here I come!

In about 48 hours from now I’ll be jumping aboard a Qantas Boeing 747 in Sydney and getting nice and comfortable up the front of the plane, oh yeh Business Class here I come, where I’ll be spending the best part of 24 hours heading to Wiesbaden in Germany.

Anyway, seeing as I leave everything to the last minute I’ve decided to actually do a bit of research about Wiesbaden so I could work out what to do in my free time there. Time to cue Flickr search, and of course Wikipedia.

Wiesbaden, Germany

Wiesbaden is a city in southwestern Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 300,400 inhabitants, plus approximately 35,000 United States citizens (mostly associated with the American military).

Wiesbaden, together with the cities of Frankfurt am Main and Mainz, is part of the Frankfurt Rhine Main Region, a metropolitan area with a combined population of about 5.8 million people.

Wiesbaden is one of the oldest spa towns in Europe. Its name literally means “meadow baths”. At one time, Wiesbaden boasted 27 hot springs. Fifteen of the springs are still flowing today.

Looking through all the info on Wikipedia there’s lots of things to do and see, and looking through all the photos on Flickr one of the biggest attractions seems to be the architecture. There’s some amazing looking old buildings there, so much older than a lot of what we have here in Newcastle, and being a bit of an architecture geek I’m sure I’ll have plenty of photos to blog over the next week or so.

Packing wise I’m a little bit limited because of my flight to Sydney, apparently you can only have 17kg of checked baggage on the flight as well as 4kg of carry on baggage. So now I have to work out how to pack for 8 days, plus my return flight, and keep my bag under 17kg. Well actually it shouldn’t be too hard on the way out of the country, but coming back might be a little tougher specially with a bit of duty free shopping in Singapore. Hrmm this could be challenging!

And in other traveling concerns, there’s this flu thing going around at the moment, you might have heard of it….Swine Flu, aka H1N1. If you follow me on twitter you’ve probably seen that I’ve been suffering from a bit of a cold, and let’s face it planes are not the best places to be if you’re sick as the aircon just circulates EVERYONES germs and even if you don’t have a cold when you get on, chances are you will have one when you get off.

Anyway, I’ve been keeping my eye on the news, and on Smart Traveller, but it’s a bit difficult to get a proper gage on how bad this Swine Flu is as there’s so much mis-information being circulated by the various news channels. I’ve heard reports of 135 dead in Mexico and the US, which has since been refuted by the WHO who have said it’s only been 7. Then the Australian media chimes in and says there’s been 20 cases identified in Australia, and as close to Newcastle as the Central Coast….but in another report that number had been changed to 15, and even then they said that they may have come in contact with the virus.

Update: The WHO just published their latest update on the Swine Flu ‘pandemic’ which you can read here. In short the WHO reports;

28 April 2009–The situation continues to evolve rapidly. As of 19:15 GMT, 28 April 2009, seven countries have officially reported cases of swine influenza A/H1N1 infection. The United States Government has reported 64 laboratory confirmed human cases, with no deaths. Mexico has reported 26 confirmed human cases of infection including seven deaths.

The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths – Canada (6), New Zealand (3), the United Kingdom (2), Israel (2) and Spain (2).

So nothing for Australia….you’ve got to wonder who has it wrong, the media or the WHO?

Oh well, I’ll be all drugged up with my Cold n Flu tablets and Vitamin C so hopefully any bugs I get on the plane wont stand much of a chance.

Anyway, this short blog is in danger of turning into an epic so I might sign off now while I can.

★ Wiesbaden here I come!

In about 48 hours from now I’ll be jumping aboard a Qantas Boeing 747 in Sydney and getting nice and comfortable up the front of the plane, oh yeh Business Class here I come, where I’ll be spending the best part of 24 hours heading to Wiesbaden in Germany.

Anyway, seeing as I leave everything to the last minute I’ve decided to actually do a bit of research about Wiesbaden so I could work out what to do in my free time there. Time to cue Flickr search, and of course Wikipedia.

Wiesbaden, Germany

Wiesbaden is a city in southwestern Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 300,400 inhabitants, plus approximately 35,000 United States citizens (mostly associated with the American military).

Wiesbaden, together with the cities of Frankfurt am Main and Mainz, is part of the Frankfurt Rhine Main Region, a metropolitan area with a combined population of about 5.8 million people.

Wiesbaden is one of the oldest spa towns in Europe. Its name literally means “meadow baths”. At one time, Wiesbaden boasted 27 hot springs. Fifteen of the springs are still flowing today.

Looking through all the info on Wikipedia there’s lots of things to do and see, and looking through all the photos on Flickr one of the biggest attractions seems to be the architecture. There’s some amazing looking old buildings there, so much older than a lot of what we have here in Newcastle, and being a bit of an architecture geek I’m sure I’ll have plenty of photos to blog over the next week or so.

Packing wise I’m a little bit limited because of my flight to Sydney, apparently you can only have 17kg of checked baggage on the flight as well as 4kg of carry on baggage. So now I have to work out how to pack for 8 days, plus my return flight, and keep my bag under 17kg. Well actually it shouldn’t be too hard on the way out of the country, but coming back might be a little tougher specially with a bit of duty free shopping in Singapore. Hrmm this could be challenging!

And in other traveling concerns, there’s this flu thing going around at the moment, you might have heard of it….Swine Flu, aka H1N1. If you follow me on twitter you’ve probably seen that I’ve been suffering from a bit of a cold, and let’s face it planes are not the best places to be if you’re sick as the aircon just circulates EVERYONES germs and even if you don’t have a cold when you get on, chances are you will have one when you get off.

Anyway, I’ve been keeping my eye on the news, and on Smart Traveller, but it’s a bit difficult to get a proper gage on how bad this Swine Flu is as there’s so much mis-information being circulated by the various news channels. I’ve heard reports of 135 dead in Mexico and the US, which has since been refuted by the WHO who have said it’s only been 7. Then the Australian media chimes in and says there’s been 20 cases identified in Australia, and as close to Newcastle as the Central Coast….but in another report that number had been changed to 15, and even then they said that they may have come in contact with the virus.

Update: The WHO just published their latest update on the Swine Flu ‘pandemic’ which you can read here. In short the WHO reports;

28 April 2009–The situation continues to evolve rapidly. As of 19:15 GMT, 28 April 2009, seven countries have officially reported cases of swine influenza A/H1N1 infection. The United States Government has reported 64 laboratory confirmed human cases, with no deaths. Mexico has reported 26 confirmed human cases of infection including seven deaths.

The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths – Canada (6), New Zealand (3), the United Kingdom (2), Israel (2) and Spain (2).

So nothing for Australia….you’ve got to wonder who has it wrong, the media or the WHO?

Oh well, I’ll be all drugged up with my Cold n Flu tablets and Vitamin C so hopefully any bugs I get on the plane wont stand much of a chance.

Anyway, this short blog is in danger of turning into an epic so I might sign off now while I can.

★ Exetel joins Internet filtering trial, but puts a spin on it

Exetel home page

At work we use Exetel as our DSL provider, and as the IT admin I was a little disappointed and slightly shocked when I received the following email from Exetel Admin this morning.

Later today Exetel will commence a short (5 day) trial of what is claimed to be a non-intrusive internet site filtering system. By ‘non-intrusive’ is meant something that a user will not notice in terms of any browsing or file downloading speed differences.

The reason that Exetel is doing this trial is that our belief to date is that any future mandatory internet site ‘filtering’ will impose significant costs on Exetel and significant slow downs on our customers. Since the current Labor Federal Government announced its intentions to impose some form of internet censorship we have looked at various ways that we could implement it (should it ever become necessary) at the lowest possible cost and with the lowest possible speed degradation. To date, our view has been that no such solution exists.

We are trialing the one possible solution that, while certainly costing an ISP a significant amount of money, claims to have almost zero/actually zero affect on a user’s speeds of service. Having discussed with the vendor why this would be possible we can see it could be feasible. We will, later today, turn on this ‘filter’ and will make our own observations on how much, if at all, speeds are affected for our whole user base. Our confident expectation is that no Exetel customer will notice, or be subject to, any speed degradation and we also doubt that any Exetel customer will experience a ‘blocked site’.

Our sole purpose in running this trial is to put ourselves in a position to deal with any future imposed content filtering system imposed by the Australian Labor party by conforming to any legal requirement without imposing seed degradation on our customers.

While we are confident that 99.999% of our customers will neither notice a speed difference once the trial starts nor will have any pages blocked please log a fault in the normal way if you do encounter any difficulty or report blocked pages here:

http://forum.exetel.com.au/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=31829

Regards

Exetel network Engineering

Interesting spin indeed.

So that’s both providers that I deal with regularly trialling the “Great Wall of K.Rudd”, also known as the Clean Feed, talk about unlucky.

So what are your thoughts, is this a proactive move by Exetel to gather ‘real world data’ or are they just putting a good spin on decision to fall into the line with what the Australian Government want?

★ Exetel joins Internet filtering trial, but puts a spin on it

Exetel home page

At work we use Exetel as our DSL provider, and as the IT admin I was a little disappointed and slightly shocked when I received the following email from Exetel Admin this morning.

Later today Exetel will commence a short (5 day) trial of what is claimed to be a non-intrusive internet site filtering system. By ‘non-intrusive’ is meant something that a user will not notice in terms of any browsing or file downloading speed differences.

The reason that Exetel is doing this trial is that our belief to date is that any future mandatory internet site ‘filtering’ will impose significant costs on Exetel and significant slow downs on our customers. Since the current Labor Federal Government announced its intentions to impose some form of internet censorship we have looked at various ways that we could implement it (should it ever become necessary) at the lowest possible cost and with the lowest possible speed degradation. To date, our view has been that no such solution exists.

We are trialing the one possible solution that, while certainly costing an ISP a significant amount of money, claims to have almost zero/actually zero affect on a user’s speeds of service. Having discussed with the vendor why this would be possible we can see it could be feasible. We will, later today, turn on this ‘filter’ and will make our own observations on how much, if at all, speeds are affected for our whole user base. Our confident expectation is that no Exetel customer will notice, or be subject to, any speed degradation and we also doubt that any Exetel customer will experience a ‘blocked site’.

Our sole purpose in running this trial is to put ourselves in a position to deal with any future imposed content filtering system imposed by the Australian Labor party by conforming to any legal requirement without imposing seed degradation on our customers.

While we are confident that 99.999% of our customers will neither notice a speed difference once the trial starts nor will have any pages blocked please log a fault in the normal way if you do encounter any difficulty or report blocked pages here:

http://forum.exetel.com.au/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=31829

Regards

Exetel network Engineering

Interesting spin indeed.

So that’s both providers that I deal with regularly trialling the “Great Wall of K.Rudd”, also known as the Clean Feed, talk about unlucky.

So what are your thoughts, is this a proactive move by Exetel to gather ‘real world data’ or are they just putting a good spin on decision to fall into the line with what the Australian Government want?

★ It's Fireworks time!

At the end of last week my wife and I went to our friends wedding up at Pokolbin, it was a really nice ceremony and reception at Peppers Creek and the night was topped off with a surprise from the bride to the groom…a big fireworks display!

Check out the video I shot on my little Flip Mino HD, I love that video camera!

★ It’s Fireworks time!

At the end of last week my wife and I went to our friends wedding up at Pokolbin, it was a really nice ceremony and reception at Peppers Creek and the night was topped off with a surprise from the bride to the groom…a big fireworks display!

Check out the video I shot on my little Flip Mino HD, I love that video camera!

★ Optus 'clean feed' comes to Newcastle & Sydney

Great Wall of China

Overnight Optus has announced that their customers in Sydney and Newcastle will now be subjected to two levels of filtering on their dsl services as part of the trial of the controversial Australian Government’s “Clean Feed”.

Basically we’ll be subjected to the filtering for a 6 week trial, beginning on May 22nd, and we will be given the option of opting out of the top bottom tier of the filter, ie. non-restricted / classified porn and other such websites, however we cannot opt out of the top tier filtering which is everything on the ACMA’s blacklist.

As a customer of Optus, I’m really not impressed that we cannot opt out of the whole damn thing. And it’s very disappointing that they’ve decided to jump on board the Government’s censorship bandwagon, the cynic in me thinks that they might just be trying to win the Government’s favour with the roll out of the so-called National Broadband Network (NBN).

So the choices I have now is to walk away from Optus, I’d probably take my service to Internode or someone else, or alternatively stay with Optus and install some different bits and pieces of software to actually record some real world use of the internet under the Great Wall of K.Rudd.

Shame Optus Shame

★ Optus ‘clean feed’ comes to Newcastle & Sydney

Great Wall of China

Overnight Optus has announced that their customers in Sydney and Newcastle will now be subjected to two levels of filtering on their dsl services as part of the trial of the controversial Australian Government’s “Clean Feed”.

Basically we’ll be subjected to the filtering for a 6 week trial, beginning on May 22nd, and we will be given the option of opting out of the top bottom tier of the filter, ie. non-restricted / classified porn and other such websites, however we cannot opt out of the top tier filtering which is everything on the ACMA’s blacklist.

As a customer of Optus, I’m really not impressed that we cannot opt out of the whole damn thing. And it’s very disappointing that they’ve decided to jump on board the Government’s censorship bandwagon, the cynic in me thinks that they might just be trying to win the Government’s favour with the roll out of the so-called National Broadband Network (NBN).

So the choices I have now is to walk away from Optus, I’d probably take my service to Internode or someone else, or alternatively stay with Optus and install some different bits and pieces of software to actually record some real world use of the internet under the Great Wall of K.Rudd.

Shame Optus Shame

★ Mat's travel blog, part 1 coming soon

Well I’m all booked in and almost ready to start traveling with the new role at SCHILLER Australia. On the 1st of May I jet out to Weisbaden in Germany to do a week of software training with the SCHILLER Medilog team, specifically focusing on the new Darwin software. It should be fun.

I’m flying to Germany with Qantas, and have been lucky enough to get a business class ticket so it should actually be a pretty decent flight….with a bit of leg room too, errr not that my short little legs really need it. All I really wanted was access to power on my flight over so I can watch movies do some coding on the way over. I think we stop over for an hour or two in Singapore both ways so I’m hoping there’s some cool gadgets or something to check out in the airport.

I haven’t booked my accommodation in Weisbaden yet, I think the SCHILLER Medilog guys will sort that out for me, but hopefully it’s somewhere where I can get out and about easily and see a few things. I’ll be taking over my camera and my Flip Mino HD so expect some bits and pieces of video and photos on the blog here.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the trip as it’ll be the my first time overseas in a couple of years..my last trip was to Switzerland just after I met Cath 3 years ago.

If anyone’s been to Germany, preferably around Frankfurt and Weisbaden, let me know what I should see / do while i’m over there.

View Larger Map

★ Mat’s travel blog, part 1 coming soon

Well I’m all booked in and almost ready to start traveling with the new role at SCHILLER Australia. On the 1st of May I jet out to Weisbaden in Germany to do a week of software training with the SCHILLER Medilog team, specifically focusing on the new Darwin software. It should be fun.

I’m flying to Germany with Qantas, and have been lucky enough to get a business class ticket so it should actually be a pretty decent flight….with a bit of leg room too, errr not that my short little legs really need it. All I really wanted was access to power on my flight over so I can watch movies do some coding on the way over. I think we stop over for an hour or two in Singapore both ways so I’m hoping there’s some cool gadgets or something to check out in the airport.

I haven’t booked my accommodation in Weisbaden yet, I think the SCHILLER Medilog guys will sort that out for me, but hopefully it’s somewhere where I can get out and about easily and see a few things. I’ll be taking over my camera and my Flip Mino HD so expect some bits and pieces of video and photos on the blog here.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the trip as it’ll be the my first time overseas in a couple of years..my last trip was to Switzerland just after I met Cath 3 years ago.

If anyone’s been to Germany, preferably around Frankfurt and Weisbaden, let me know what I should see / do while i’m over there.

View Larger Map

★ Head Of State – "The Spirit Of The Staircase"

I’ve been working with one of my mates bands, Head Of State, for a couple of years now and as some of you may know the band went into the studio at the end of January to record a double album. Now a double album is not something most bands do at any stage in their career, let alone on debut, so this release is pretty huge and from my brief research I don’t think it’s ever been done before in the history of the Newcastle music scene.

So anyway the boys spent a couple of days in the studio, recorded 23 tracks, and have since spent hour upon hour mixing, and finally the end of the recording road is in sight as the albums have just been mastered. And of course lucky me has a preview copy already…and damn it is good.

The band isn’t 100% sure of the release date yet, however they have decided to do it independently and completely self-funded which is a good move by my reckoning. At this stage I think it’s likely to be available for sale some time mid-May, once all the official bits and pieces of paperwork are done, disks are duplicated, album covers are printed, etc.

For the time being you can listen to a couple of tracks on their Facebook, and also on their Myspace. My favourite tracks out of those available to listen to are;

  • Your Own Life
  • Siento Iguales
  • Red Sky
  • Little Part Of You

And you should hear some of the other songs they’re saving! Even without being good mates, this album would have been on my iPod straight away..definitely a keeper.

And in other news, here’s a mockup of the album cover… (click to enlarge)

headofstate-frontcover.jpg headofstate-backcover.jpg

★ Head Of State – “The Spirit Of The Staircase”

I’ve been working with one of my mates bands, Head Of State, for a couple of years now and as some of you may know the band went into the studio at the end of January to record a double album. Now a double album is not something most bands do at any stage in their career, let alone on debut, so this release is pretty huge and from my brief research I don’t think it’s ever been done before in the history of the Newcastle music scene.

So anyway the boys spent a couple of days in the studio, recorded 23 tracks, and have since spent hour upon hour mixing, and finally the end of the recording road is in sight as the albums have just been mastered. And of course lucky me has a preview copy already…and damn it is good.

The band isn’t 100% sure of the release date yet, however they have decided to do it independently and completely self-funded which is a good move by my reckoning. At this stage I think it’s likely to be available for sale some time mid-May, once all the official bits and pieces of paperwork are done, disks are duplicated, album covers are printed, etc.

For the time being you can listen to a couple of tracks on their Facebook, and also on their Myspace. My favourite tracks out of those available to listen to are;

  • Your Own Life
  • Siento Iguales
  • Red Sky
  • Little Part Of You

And you should hear some of the other songs they’re saving! Even without being good mates, this album would have been on my iPod straight away..definitely a keeper.

And in other news, here’s a mockup of the album cover… (click to enlarge)

headofstate-frontcover.jpg headofstate-backcover.jpg