Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What I did on my holidays

While spending Christmas in Sydney with relatives, we went to the zoo. Taronga Zoo, to be precise. While the weather was pretty crappy (very overcast & occasional showers), it was a nice visit. Unfortunately, crappy weather equals poor lighting for photos. Bummer.

The below are probably the best pics I took. Enjoy!

Typical Queensland Summer

So it's warm.

Although, it's somewhat atypical for queensland by being warm and dry.

Yesterday it was warm and humid, as evidenced by this photo taken shortly before sunset. Temps around 32-33º, with apparent temps a few degrees higher.

Today, though, we only got to 36ºC. Right now, according to the Bureau, it's only 31.9ºC, but the apparent temp is only 28.1º - yup, it feels cooler than it is. Part of that is because it's windy (although it was windy yesterday too), but a large part is because the humidity is only 32%. That's a bit drier than yesterday, when the corresponding figures were 30.0º, 30.1º, and 67%.

So it's warm, but not too much so.

I wonder if we'll hit 40º this summer? We often get a week of weather approaching or exceeding that in mid-to-late January...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Goodness, gracious...

Via the wonderful Astronomy Picture Of the Day - go there today!

Best. Star Wars. Ever.

(via via)

Those crazy Japanese architects...

Designing houses like this must drive you crazy!

Lots more funky pics at Gizmodo.

From the "I can't believe someone made that" files...

I saw this earlier today on the Zazz site - one of those web sites where you get an option to buy a miscellaneous overstocked item each day, like 1-day or Catch Of the Day. I presume similar sites exist for the USA.

I don't know how many they had to sell, but as of 9:41pm AEST, they're all sold out. Yes, that's right, someone bought it. Possibly a lot of someones, depending on how many boxes they picked up...

This is not a problem we have in Brisbane...

No, seriously. It doesn't snow here, folks... our average mid-winter minimum temperature is 7.4ºC (45ºF). Our highest mid-winter minimum temperature is 19.5ºC (67ºF). Dayum. That's warm... I wonder what year that was in?

right now, at 8:05pm AEST, it's 25.7ºC, with an apparent temperature of 29.5ºC (that's 85.1ºF for our north-american friends), and 82% relative humidity. Apparently it was forecast to hit 37ºC today, but we only made it up to 32. Surprisingly, no thunderstorms around at the moment. We had one at about 3am this morning - when I really would have preferred to be sleeping, but it was a loud one.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Why you should never talk to the police...

'nuff said.

Although I'd be interested in hearing what any other people who happen to be police officers (or are married to people who work for the police, hint hint) have to say...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

You want me to wait HOW long?

Ok, so as I've stated on here before, I play Warcrack (er, World of Warcraft).

For those of you who don't follow these things, a new add-on pack was just released for Warcrack - the second addon in about four years, in fact. The Wrath of the Lich King. Whoever that is (I don't really get right into the story, unlike some).

So, anyway, last weekend I logged on, played for a few hours, logged off, nothing unusual.

This weekend, I go to log on. Oh, no, it says, you need to wait, as the server is full. You're position 519 in the queue, and that'll take about 30-odd minutes on average - obviously, they get about a thousand people an hour logging on/off when the servers are full.

No biggie, says I, I'll log onto the other server I have characters on.

"You are position 1,479 in the queue..."

I didn't bother waiting to see how long that was going to take. :D

I think I'll go play Armed Assault instead, and log on to Warcrack later, when it's about 3am in the US, and all the addicts have gone to sleep. Well, some of them, anyway!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


This is just too good to be true... but it apparently is!

Full story here.

Reminds me of that New Zealand movie, Black Sheep. Not that I know anyone who's actually seen that... I wonder if it's any good?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More Gaelic photos

Ok, so it's taking me a while...

But I've now sorted & uploaded pics from the following games at the 2008 Australasian Gaelic Football & Hurling Championships:

Women v SA on 29 September

Men v NSW on 29 September

Women v WA on 30 September

Men v WA on 30 September

Men v VIC on 1 October (the women had a bye this day)

Still to come:
Women v VIC on 2 October
Men v SA on 2 October
Women v NSW on 3 October
Men v HVW on 3 October
Women v WA on 4 October (semi-final)
Men v SA on 4 October (semi-final)
Hurling Grandfinal VIC v WA
Womens Grandfinal SA v WA
Mens Grandfinal SA v VIC all on 5 October

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Only in America, part 957


Found here.

They also have the Winerack - a sports bra that fits a whole bottle of wine - and the Cruzin Cooler (or, as we Aussies would call it, the esky scooter).

Actually, that last one would be handy for Friday arvo drinks at the office... :D

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Gaelic update

Hey, you'll never believe it, but I've actually uploaded the first of the photos from the Gaelic Footy nationals in Adelaide.

Selected pics from the women's game of Queensland v South Australia may be found here.

I'll endeavour to sort through the rest progressively over the next week or so. Enjoy!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Crazy Irishmen...

They protest that it's really not that bad, but to see it you wouldn't know it...

I'm talking about Hurling.

More pictures to come. Lots more.

I took over 7,000 during my week and a bit in Adelaide.

Funny vid of the day...

Here's another great video from This is True. This is funny, and the little clip added to the end is even funnier! (I'm looking at you, Dan! :-P )

Randy Cassingham's This is True: Weird News Video #16 -- Modern-Day Ninjas

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Off to Adelaide we go...

Tomorrow morning, bright 'n' early, we're jumping on a big metal bird to head down to Adelaide, South Australia, for the 2008 Australasian Gaelic Football Championships. Anf is in the team again (third year running!), and I decided I'd head down and take some happy snaps.

Hopefully it wont rain (much!) while we're there, and hopefully I'll be able to get some 'net access to post the occasional picture.

If not, I guess I'll just have to wait until we get back.

Randy Cassingham's This Is True

Hey, if you haven't seen these before, check out these videos from This Is True.

I've been a premium subscriber for about four or five years now, and before that I got the free edition on & off since about 1994 (not long after it first started). Well worth checking out, IMHO.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

XKCD FTW! (again!)

Oh, and by the way...

I uploaded a couple more games worth of gaelic footy photos to the gallery. These ones are from April this year. Only another 3-4 games to upload, now... they might have to wait until after the nationals next week, though - I need the space on the laptop drive for the photos I'll be taking then.

I now have 23GB of memory cards for the camera. I expect to use most of that. :D

Monday, September 22, 2008

Some more ArmA stuff...

So, one of the guys said, "Hey, we've got these wind turbine things to stick on the map, it'd be great if they were turning, can someone have a look at that?"

I couldn't let a challenge like that slip by...

Unfortunately, while they work if I place them via the Mapfact 3DE map editing tool, they most definitely don't work if I place them via the usual Visitor3 map editing tool, or compile the modified versions into an existing map.

Bugger bugger bugger bugger bugger.

Oh, well. At least I know my animation code is nearly right...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Now that's going too far...

Can you believe this?

Found at ThinkGeek

Now that's just silly. Some people's fixation with caffeine is becoming decidedly unhealthy! :-P

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Feeling sorry for yourself?

The best way to pull yourself out of a funk is to turn on the telly, and watch some of the paralympics currently underway in Beijing.

A dose of the 'flu aint got nothing on what some of these people are living with. Watching them is inspirational, to say the least.

One-legged cyclist? Check.
Swimmer with no arms? Check.
Sprinter with no feet? Check.

Great to seem them competing, great to see them having fun. Damn, but it gives you back some faith in the human spirit.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Finally, some action!

Yes, I'm a slacker, I don't post anywhere near as much as Dan does. But then, I think I lead a pretty boring life by comparison! And he's had some pretty interesting stuff to post about lately, what with the cutting-things-up training holiday he's on at the moment (check out the videos in his recent posts, good value).

Anyway, the real action is that I finally finished sorting through another game's worth of gaelic footy photos, and have uploaded them to my .mac online gallery. They're from a game played on the 6th of April... yes, that means it took me five whole months to get around to sorting & uploading the pics. Only another half a dozen to go... I'd like to get them all sorted / uploaded before the nationals at the end of the month, as I'm likely to have several thousand pics to sort at the end of that week (I average between 600 and 900 photos per game). We shall see, eh?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Is this kind of thing normal?

I was reading the latest issue of Atomic magazine today, #92. In it, there's a review of the latest-and-greatest sound card from Creative, the "Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Titanium". It seems to have fairly respectable audio performance, with quite low distortion and good signal-to-noise.

The thing that really caught my eye, though, was this paragraph:

"Installation of the card caused several BSODs [Blue Screens of Death], with the Creative installer, dll and hardware detection engine still being quite messy. We also experienced a fairly serious OS level corruption problem when trying to run the X-Fi Titanium in the same host system as an Auzentech X-Fi."

They scored this card 8.5/10. For something that you can expect to crash your system several times on install, and may lead to operating system corruption.

Are they for real?

I guess Creative have dominated the sound card market for so long now that people just accept their buggy drivers as normal.

Me, I'll stick with my on-board audio for the time being. It works, and works well, with pretty good audio quality - and lets face it, I'm not exactly listening to sounds that *need* high quality THD & SNR figures. If I'm after high-fidelity audio, I'll play uncompressed audio through the Yamaha Amp & Peerless speakers in the loungeroom. In the meantime, I save myself several hundred $$, and avoid the general crappiness of Creative's software.

Monday, August 11, 2008


You know, it's probably fortunate that I work in a modern(ish) office building. Plasterboard walls are far less damaging to your forehead...

Consider this scenario:
Client has a site being developed. It has noise issues, we prepare a report, say "you need to do X to fix it", submit it to council. All good. So we thought.

We find out later that, actually, client wasn't intending to put in any noise mitigation measures at all, due to potential for neighbouring residences to be redeveloped as commercial in the near future.

Not good. Council unhappy. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth ensues, during which our response is, essentially, "well, we already told you what to do to fix it".

Today, client sends email to say by the way, we're also going to do BLAH with the noise-producing plant. I'll spare you the details, but BLAH represents a non-favourable outcome for the control of noise emissions.

But it's not the end of the world - we've seen similar things before, so we say, "that's fine, just do ABC to make sure it doesn't become a problem". To which client says, "Oh, we need to have a meeting to sort this out before it becomes a major issue, please meet on site Thursday morning".

Did I mention that a site meeting involves three hours of driving?

And that when we get there, we'll probably just be looking at drawings that we could have looked at in the air conditioned comfort of the client's office on the south side of Brisbane?

Brick wall, meet forehead...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Here's a thought.

A headline on the front of today's The Australian newspaper caught my eye - it was about the Rudd Labor government, and how they may use a tax system reform to try and 'prove' their economic credentials, to show the voting public they're the right people to lead Australia through a global recession, if it eventuates.

That led me to thinking about the usual voter response when a recession / depression strikes: blame the current government, and vote in a new one.

This tends to happen irrespective of who's actually responsible for said economic downturn, which, in the case of a global downturn, would almost certainly not be an Australian government...

So, given the warning signs last year that things were going pear-shaped in the US financial sector, and that this would drag everyone down, does this mean the Liberal party wonks decided to 'throw' the Nov 2007 election to Labor, with the idea that Labor would then take the blame for any negative impacts on the average voter?

A plausible scenario, if you assume there's some shadowy 'supreme council' pulling the strings in the background. I very much doubt the Liberal politicians would go along with it... you don't get to be a federal politician without the hunger for power & wealth, and such people rarely have the self-control to postpone their machiavellian gratification! :-)

Anyway, just a ramble.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Oh, my! Surely they're not serious...

10 points to the first person who finds the punchline on this site:

Found via How to Spot a Psychopath.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Did you know...

...that one in seven pregnancies end in miscarriage?

I didn't, but that's the number the obstetrician gave us when telling us the bad news on Monday afternoon.

It's kinda weird, but many people seem to think that miscarriages are something to be ashamed of, and you should never let anybody know - and thus the "don't tell anyone you're pregnant until 12 weeks" meme, as the vast majority of miscarriages happen in that first trimester.

On the other hand, I know someone who did that, only to have a miscarriage at twelve and a half weeks.

On the gripping hand, the obst. said there is absolutely no impediment to a second attempt, which is likely to be successful rather than otherwise. In fact, he said he frequently has patients who fall pregnant within a few weeks.

It seems it's just a natural part of things - when everything isn't going *just* right, the mother's body recognises this and shuts down the pregnancy, to conserve resources and to allow a later, likely-to-be-successful pregnancy to happen as soon as possible.

Biology is amazing stuff, really.

I was reading an article while sitting in the waiting room in a New Scientist mag from a few weeks ago. The article was about micro-RNA, the role it serves in cells as messengers and the means of expression of genes in DNA. Fascinating stuff, apparently it has the potential to allow for extremely effective vaccines that can be precisely tailored to kill a particular virus. Or even cancerous cells - initial clinical trials have begun!

Ain't modern medicine marvellous?

A friend said to me a few years ago, that he fully expected life spans to be extended into the centuries range within 50 years. And he intended to be around long enough to see that happen - thus his careful attention to diet & exercise.

Monday, July 14, 2008

So, how was your weekend?

I got to go driving up to Noosa to measure some noise. On a Saturday evening.

Ah, well. It could have been one of those "must be measured between 1 and 4am on a Sunday morning" type jobbies, so 8-9pm on a Saturday isn't so bad.

But we stayed at Anf's mum's place Saturday night. After the noise measurements, I took some photos.

This is Jupiter, and three of it's moons. I have no idea which ones. A check of any decent ephemeris would tell you (or one of those funky diagrams that have sinusoidal lines that will tell you the relative positions of the moons on any given night). It's pretty over-exposed, so you can't see the cloud bands on ol' Jove, sorry.

I had hoped to take a bunch, and stack them to give a better view, but that requires taking underexposed images for each frame. Could be worse, it could have turned out like my pic of Omega Centauri (i.e. a big blurry mess). Maybe I should try that one when there isn't a first-quarter moon in the sky? :D (hint: moonlight washes out dim astronomical objects, such as the aforementioned Omega Centauri, which, as the name suggests, is the 24th-brightest object in the constellation Centaurus).

I'm sure you can figure out what this one is.

And here are some of the local birdlife, taken the next morning.

Starting with a plover & it's four chicks:

And a rainbow lorikeet perched in a gum tree, after it finished getting stuck into the grevillea flowers:

So, that was my weekend. Mostly.

Ah, well. At least I was able to measure the noise I went there to measure. Nothing more annoying than giving up your night/weekend/both to measure something, to have it pour rain, or the neighbours are having a rave, or both. In this instance, I was able to demonstrate that we reduced noise levels by close to 25dB for a noisy refrigeration compressor. That's a lot, in acoustic-speak. Normally, we're happy with a 10dB reduction, so to get 25 is very good.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A nice video

Posted about three weeks ago, it seems.

I liked the DMZ shot... :D

I found it via an article on Groklaw.

Edit: Here's a link to the Youtube page where I saw it. There's an option just below the video window to view in high definition, I highly recommend you try it.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Those crazy funsters!

Japanese game shows are such a blast!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It's official!

As of yesterday, Anthea is officially pregnant.


#1 is on the way... gonna be some serious changes to our lifestyle. Ah, well. Everyone we know who has kids says it's all worth it. I hope they weren't just having their revenge on the DINKS... :D

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Have you downloaded yours yet?

Firefox 3 is out.

Download it here:
Download Day - English

Friday, June 6, 2008

Holidays are fun!

I should have more of them... :D

But seriously, it's been nice having the time off.

Today, for instance, I ate breakfast, then watched an episode of Two Men in a Trench that we'd recorded ages ago (possibly even last year!) that I hadn't gotten around to watching yet. It was about the battle of Shrewesbury, where Hotspur fought against Henry IV. The archaeologists were excavating the sites of the battleground & a nearby contemporary village. Found lots of rusty old arrow heads, the tip of a sword, and a spike from a war hammer.

After that, I watched a movie called "Musa" (again, recorded ages ago on the PVR). It's a South Korean epic, set in the 15th century in northern China, about a band of Korean warriors trying to get back home. Really quite good. Unfortunately, SBS shifted their movies an hour later so they could show the football (soccer) earlier. This meant I only got the first hour and a half of the movie - it's nearly two and a half hours long! Bugger... now I'll have to try to find a copy somewhere. Here's the original movie poster:

Well, not much else to report. A bit of gaming, a bit of reading, including an excellent book by Alistair Reynolds - Redemption Ark. If you're into serious sci-fi, you've gotta read this series, starting with Revelation Space. I found Revelation Space a bit hard going at first, but once I got into it, I really enjoyed it. Chasm City & Redemption Ark, on the other hand, I've enjoyed right from the beginning, and now I can't wait to read the next in the series!

But right now, I've started reading The One That Got Away, by Chris Ryan, about the Bravo Two Zero SAS patrol in the 1991 Gulf War. Only a chapter in, and the picture it paints is not good - screwups all round, it sounds like.

Anyway, I'm off to do some more holiday-type stuff... :-P

Thursday, May 22, 2008

H minus 27hrs and counting...

H meaning "holiday", meaning two whole weeks where I don't need to come in to work.

I'm thinking that there might be a few hours of pure sleep wrapped up in there somewhere... feel like I'm running a bit short at the moment!

Waaaaaaay too much stuff to do before tomorrow afternoon. Don't know if I'll get it all done, but I'll have to try.

Fencing last night, again - was very wearying, due to not having been for a few weeks. Plus, fencing coach Barbara decided that instead of fencing first-to-five-point bouts, we'd fence 15-point bouts.

On top of that, Dr Trent decided that he wanted to fence epee with me, rather than foil. Normally I wouldn't mind, but the extra weapon weight made a difference last night. The muscles between my thumb & index finger are letting me know all about it today! Not to mention the arm & leg muscles - just under-used lately, I think. Must fix that, so it doesn't hurt so much next time!

After our brief holiday, Anthea has another appointment at the specialist to check out how her finger is going. We should be getting back to our regular gym visits in a week or so, although I think perhaps Anf wont be getting back into the boxing any time soon!

Actually, that reminds me of a story Trent told us last night - about a guy who had dislocated his thumb playing football. When the emergency room folks were going to put it back in, he said "Oh, no, I'm in the army, I'm tough, I don't need any anaesthetic!"

Thirty seconds later, after he'd gone successively white, then green, then thrown up, he decided he might have been mistaken.


Work calls. :-(

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Beach volleyball in the rain...

Ok, so the previous post pretty much summed up my Sunday.

Now, here's Saturday for ya! Or some of it, at least. Some of the folks from ERM were playing in the Corporate Games at the Uni of Qld, beach volleyball, as the title says.

The first couple of games were ok - they lost one narrowly, won the second convincingly. Then the heavens opened...

The calm before the storm...

Freaky sunset cloudage. This photo is straight from the camera. Around about this time, the temperature dropped from about 22-23ºC down to about 15ºC in about five minutes. We were not prepared...

There were about 30 people crammed under our tent, most of us holding on to the roof to try to stop it blowing away... the Cardno one partially collapsed just after this photo.

The game must go on! Crazy people...

The ERM team in action after the storm had passed... (yes, that is a lightning bolt in the background)

BTW, this storm hit after the "severe weather warning" had been cancelled, as there were no more severe thunderstorms around. Good to know it wasn't "severe". I guess then we would have gotten wet on both sides, rather than just our backs.


This is what can happen when you don't catch the ball properly when playing gaelic.

Not even during the game - happened during warm-up! Anf was very disappointed, to say the least. No more gaelic for Anf for a while, methinks...

Luckily no breaks, just a bad dislocation. When the staff at the emergency room go "Whoa!", you know it's a doozy...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Some more photos...

This is a shark - there were half a dozen of these swimming around.

This is an Australian Hobby, otherwise known as a Little Falcon. It was nesting on the cliff-face beneath the lighthouse.

A view of Byron Bay

Just in case you didn't know...

And, of course, the lighthouse...

Work has some perks...'s example being a trip to Byron Bay for a meeting, which allowed me to take the following photos, from Cape Byron (up near the lighthouse).

A pair of dolphins:

The darkish blots are all turtles... this one!

Another view

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Modern medical science is a wonderful thing

This BBC article is interesting.

Basically, a man lost the tip of his finger in a model aeroplane accident (you stick a finger in high-speed propeller, you've gotta expect that, really!).

With application of a specialised product, regrowth of cells was promoted over the formation of scar tissue, and the man now has his finger tip back - including finger print, nail, and full sense of touch.

Amazing stuff - it's gonna be great when they get this working for larger, more complex parts of the body. I'm thinking that a lot of amputees may get their limbs back, in the not too distant future.


Yet another great from xkcd:

It's licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial licence, so it's fine to share it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Withdrawal symptoms ahead!


You get so used to the instant access, that it does feel a little bit like the end of this clip when your connection is down.

Imagine what it'll be like in 20, 50 years time, for people who have been "jacked in" since birth. What will they think when they go "offline" for a few hours, days, or even weeks?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday has been busy...

Started with a bike ride this morning - Daisy Hill State Forest, with Mike. Didn't crash on any logs today, although I think I'd like to get a new bike with disc brakes & front shocks - the old one is a bit heavy, and hard on the hands on the rough ground.

After that, we stopped at Mike's place for pancakes - yum! Tanya is well-practiced, and knows how to make 'em good!

A gaelic footy game at 2pm - was pretty good, and I took many hundreds of photos as usual - will post some up here eventually.

Afternoon & evening saw me working on the Opera House:

Making some progress! Have the basic geometry all done, just gotta re-structure those shells to be solid objects, rather than 2D surfaces. And fix a few minor bugs... and split the whole thing into two, as it exceeds the size limit for models in the game.

Getting there, though!

Lest we forget

Well, Friday was Anzac Day. Missed the dawn service at the local Salisbury RSL. Unlike the past four years, the local paper didn't list the times, but referred to the RSL website, which didn't have any listing for the Salisbury dawn service. Bummer. Unfortunately, we didn't think to check it until late on the 24th, so it was a bit late to pick up the phone and call. In any event, due to recent illnesses, we decided it probably wouldn't hurt us to sleep in. Watched the live broadcast of the dawn service at Gallipoli instead. Very big crowd there, and good to see an atmosphere of respect (unlike the notorious 'rock concert' dawn service of 3 years ago on the 90th anniversary). Nice to see Turkey was included in the ceremony (of course, it is on Turkish soil...)

I also noted that they had a dawn service at Villers-Bretonneux, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the big battle won there by the Australian troops in 1918.

I'm thinking, after having read a bit about a few of the different actions that Australian troops were involved in, that I might do a bit of digging & collating from my grandfather's service records. I'm pretty sure he was at the Somme in 1918 (wounded in action there), although I don't know if his unit was at Villers-Bret or not.

I remember reading through the docs when I first got a copy of his service record. I also checked the records of the two witnesses who signed his will when he enlisted - one his own age (around 22-23?), and possibly a friend from home, the other was the local pharmacist, who also enlisted.

Both were killed in action.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Oh, bugger, I didn't need that...

Yet another thing to add to the "Must buy this!" list... at this rate, I'm going to have my retirement fund fully-committed before I hit 40... :P

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Video Ju Jitsu

Now this is impressive. And a good example of the wondrous things that can be achieved with computers these days.

Found via Dan Rutter's blog.

Oh, my!


XKCD is always good value!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Drunk Russian sleeps off knifing

This story from the Beeb:

"A Russian man trying to sleep off a night of after-work drinking failed to notice a six-inch (15-cm) knife in his back - until his wife woke him up.

Mr Lyalin, an electrician, had spent the evening drinking with a watchman at his workplace when they got into an argument, Interfax news agency reports.

His alleged attacker reported the crime to the police himself, Interfax adds. Mr Lyalin apparently feels fine and bears no ill-will.

"We were drinking and what doesn't happen when you're drunk?" he was quoted by Komsomolskaya Pravda as saying."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

No way!

President Bush has actually admitted that greenhouse gases might just be a problem...

Story here, from the Beeb.

They've set emissions targets for the US. Crappy ones that will make the problem worse before it gets better ("Make as much pollution as you want until 2025, folks!"), but targets nonetheless!

I think the devil just felt a cool breeze...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Something has crashed on my computer...

...and my mouse is missing!

Received via email today.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A quotable quote from Linus Torvalds

"Really, I'm not out to destroy Microsoft. That will just be a completely unintentional side effect."

"The Way We Live Now: Questions for Linus Torvalds", New York Times, 2003-09-28.

I guess the French would like it...

Want some dwarf green tree frog with your spinach?

Story here.

I find interesting the statistic quoted, that as many as 50,000 frogs end up packaged with food every year. You'd think that it'd hit the papers a bit more often, then, wouldn't you?

Some days you wish you'd stayed in bed...

Today was not quite one of those days, but I did just get an annoying email from a client. Turns out they want our "marked up drawings" showing the acoustic treatments we have recommended.

Except, I had a long discussion with one of their staff last week, explaining that we haven't marked up any drawings, so we don't have any marked up drawings to provide.


Consulting would be so much more enjoyable if we didn't have to deal with clients... ;-)

Sometimes they ask for silly stuff. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes they just want to do stuff that just plain wont work - like putting massive banks of refrigeration equipment and diesel-powered generators in a quiet residential neighbourhood. Or tap-dance studios on suspended wooden floors. Or nightclubs in quiet suburbs. Or apartment buildings in entertainment precincts full of nightclubs.

We don't see so much in the way of industrial/residential conflicts lately, mainly because they usually have other problems with that, and most councils have finally twigged that steel mills and panel beaters next door to retirement villages isn't really a good idea.

Retirement villages next to major roads, highways, or railway lines, though, we see a surprising number of those.

I actually had a client say to me once "It doesn't matter, they're all deaf anyway!". He was mostly joking, I think, but not 100% sure on that...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

From the "Well, duh!" files...

This BBC News story says it all.

Who would have ever thought that artificial food colourings made kids go hyperactive? It's not like we haven't known about "red cordial kids" for, oh, thirty or forty years...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

All your robot belong to us...


Oh, wait, I shouldn't be laughing - give the US Army another 20 years, and these things'll be hunting us all down...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Some more ArmA thoughts

Ok, remember how I mentioned I figured out how to apply surface properties to roadways in ArmA?

Well, that's actually in the Oxygen2 modelling package that the game developers have released. But anyway, I mentioned there that "dirt" was the default surface property. That was because when I walked/drove on the bridge, it behaved like dirt (crunching underfoot, dust clouds from the vehicle wheels, etc). Turns out that's because I drove/walked on some dirt before I got on to the bridge approach ramp in my test mission.

The default action is to continue applying the last surface properties used. If you move from dirt onto an undefined surface, you get dirt properties. If you move from metal decking to undefined, you get metal properties. The obvious solution is to apply properties to all your roadway LOD sections. And now I know how to do that, all is good on the surface properties front.

Shame I can't get ladders & lights to work... :-(

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

VF-1S for ArmA

Obviously a few Robotech fans play ArmA these days... :D

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The bridge again!

Here's something I was playing around with earlier...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Anthea FTW!

Anf showing some of the l33t skillz she's picked up over the past few years of playing gaelic...

Shame my photography skills aren't good enough to actually get the photo in-focus! D'oh!

Heh, this is funny...

Found this via this morning.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

You learn something every day...

In my case, today I have learned how to apply surface properties in Armed Assault. Specifically, how to apply surface properties to roadways on objects (such as, for example, a certain bridge from several posts ago).

"Roadway", in ArmA, doesn't mean a road, per se, but rather a 2-dimensional surface upon which you can walk or drive in-game. This includes floors in buildings, stairs, and, of course, roadways as normal people would think of them.

So, the Roadway LOD (Level Of Detail - essentially a "layer" of the model) normally only affects where you can walk on an object. Turns out that you can apply a texture to it. And attach a configuration file, that says "where texture X is applied, use these surface properties". Very nice little trick to have discovered!

Now my metal decking sounds like metal decking when you walk over it, rather than dirt (the default surface sound). Just gotta figure out what the roadway textures are that I need for the rest of my bits 'n' pieces.

Still, as I said above - today I learned something. And it was good to learn.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

It's saturday evening...


We got home about 40 minutes ago - went to the Gabba tonight, to watch the Lions play the Swans. Not a bad game of AFL, although it started badly for the Lions when they let the Swans get three unanswered goals, and they never quite managed to recover from that - the margin in the end was less than two goals.

Caught the bus in from Eight Mile Plains (free ride because we were going to the game!), met up with some friends at the Chalk Hotel for a pre-game drink & bite to eat (and quite a bit of amusement watching the things people were getting up to there - no topless bodypainting today, though!). Then wandered over to the Gabba, grabbed out seats, and watched a couple of hours of footy.

From Row B.

Yes, that's the second front row. Behind the goals at one end of the ground. You could literally reach out and touch the players when they were down our end, it was that close. Makes for a great experience for about half the game. The other half, the action was all down the other end, and the eyes aren't getting any younger! Actually, it was usually the players in between that were blocking the view, so we'd resort to watching the big screen to see what was going on there.

Still, a pretty good outing. We thought we were going to get rained on, but that didn't eventuate, although it did get cold. Well, cold-ish. For Brisbane. :-)

Anyway, I'm off to play Warcraft for a while...

Friday, April 4, 2008

What I get up to in my spare time...

Yup, it's that bridge.

Modelled in Armed Assault, one of the games I play, by yours truly.

Only half scale, but that's big enough! Literally ten times the size of the bridges normally found in-game...

So, I'm an engineer. What you gonna do about it? :-P

Some things bear repeating...

This, I posted as a comment over at Dan's blog, in response to a post talking about kendo, and how you must not think of hitting someone, but just hit them:

It's the body language that gives you away, and you succeed in combat when you don't think, but do.

'Muscle memory', as people call it, is way faster than any thought process. Thus, we practice. And practice. And practice some more. And eventually, we think less and do more, and our opponents say "what the hell was that?"

It's a good place to be. :-)

It's oh so very true. Every now and then at fencing, I've found myself there. My opponent attacks, and a few seconds (or fractions thereof) later, I find myself standing with my point on their chest, and mentally replaying the previous moments in time to figure out what it was that just happened. And when I say "fractions thereof", it can really be that. Watch an olympic fencing bout sometime (or a world championship bout, like this one from 2006). Fast, eh? Sometimes there are a few seconds (or minutes!) of back and forth with no-one really attacking, but when an attack starts, it's often all over very quickly.

Having fenced for about five years now (or is it six?), I'm really starting to get the hang of it - the figuring out what happened thing, that is... I still generally suck at fencing! But, while I usually forget the French terms for the actions & reactions, I can often explain to my opponent something like this:

"Ok, I initially did a straight-line feint, you did a parry quarte, I disengaged, you followed with a counter-quarte, I disengaged again for the hit."

"Quarte" is a guard position where your forearm is across your body, "counter-quarte" is a circular parry intended to move your blade beneath your opponent's and push it off-target, ending in a quarte guard position, a disengage (there's a french term for this, but I can't remember how to spell it!) is, in this case, me moving the blade out of the way before the parry makes contact.

I'm finding, these days, that when I'm "in the zone", as it were, many of my actions are "instinctive", in that I don't think through what's happening at each point in time. Occasionally (and this is the bit that makes me quite pleased with myself!) I find that between points, I think "Hey, if I do X, then my opponent does Y, which means I can then do Z and score a hit", and then it happens just like that!

Way cool.

Then I fence someone really good, and I get put in my place. :-P

Global temperatures 'to decrease'

Hey, just saw an interesting article on the BBC News website.

In short, global average temperatures for 2008 are expected to be cooler than 1999-2007 inclusive.

This is because of the 'La Nina' phenomenon, which causes cooler temperatures across the Pacific, and increased rainfall in Australia (which we're very thankful for!).

As such, it's part of the natural variability of the Earth's climate from year to year. It is not, I repeat, NOT an indicator that 'global warming' doesn't exist, because the long term trend is still sharply upward.

Interestingly, the article ends with this:

Experts at the UK Met Office's Hadley Centre for forecasting in Exeter said the world could expect another record temperature within five years or less, probably associated with another episode of El Nino.

I'm sure the naysayers will still pretend that this means we can continue dumping millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

It's a second post!

So, I've just been playing around a bit with some of the settings for this blogger service. A fair bit of flexibility, it looks like. Not bad... I shall have to try out some of the more advanced settings later.

In the meantime...

Went to the dentist this evening, for a regular checkup & teeth clean. Damn, I hate the sound those dentist's scalers make. Like a mosquito, but one on steroids. And protein supplement. Who has spent about 10 years working out big time at the local gym.

Unfortunately, it appears I have the beginnings of a cavity under the edge of an old filling (from when I was a kid and didn't look after my teeth as well as I should have, best parental efforts notwithstanding!).


I hate drilling even more.

So, what's with that title?


And with that, I've exhausted my knowledge of Spanish. (That is Spanish, right? ;-)

So, I've finally decided to jump on the Bandwagon. It's all Dan's fault.

Actually, I've had a blog of sorts for a while. I hardly update it, though (and may not update this one much, either, knowing me!). I mean, last entry 2 November 2007? That's slack!

But this one should be accessible from my PC, which is where I spend about 90% of my computing time. Oh, all right, 95%. Maybe I'll be more inclined to dash off a quick waffle, rather than pulling out the MacBookPro to do it. I'll still keep uploading the photos to my .mac web gallery, though.

Anyway, the title I came up with after a comment from my wife, that blogs are just all about people stroking their egos, thinking that they've got something to say that people are interested in.

Yup, totally! :-D

So, now that I've started this, I guess I have to keep it going! See you all round... (hopefully well before 3 months!)