Friday, December 5, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Whee

Just a placeholder host to ensure the blog doesn’t expire.  Been busy on other sites of late, curse you Facebook. *shakes fist*

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

OK, I give up.

The perfect mobile phone does not exist, I am defeated.

The Nokia E71 is not available in a variety that supports NextG.
The Nokia E51 does not support video calling.
The HTC Dual Touch does not have WiFi.
The Samsung Blackjack does not support video calling, uses proprietary connectors, and is no longer widely available.
The assorted iMate and HTC devices are too big.
The Blackberry Bold has promise, but is not yet available and is too expensive.
The iPhone.... don't even go there.

When the E71-3 is released I'll get one, until then I give up. Why is it so hard to get a phone that does what I want?

Minor restoration of faith

Amazingly, I’ve actually now found TWO things I think Paypal is good for!

I’m normally a staunch critic of Paypal, in particular the integration with eBay – as far as I’m concerned, eBay’s attempt to force users onto Paypal is at best 3rd line product forcing. The next thing you’ll see is Woolworth’s announcing you can only pay via for purchases via their official Woolworth’s credit card. The last time I looked, cash was still legal tender – from Wikipedia: "legal tender or forced tender is payment that, by law, cannot be refused in settlement of a debt". (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_tender)

Incidentally, according to the RBA (http://www.rba.gov.au/currencynotes/legalframework/legal_tender.html) that definition has apparently been lifted directly from Concise Oxford Dictionary… J

Where it gets interesting is this:

“It is the Bank's understanding that, although Australian currency has legal tender status, it does not necessarily have to be used in transactions. Under the legal tender provisions of the Currency Act 1965 and the Reserve Bank Act 1959, refusal to accept payment in legal tender notes and coins is not unlawful. This is the case even where an existing debt is involved. However, a refusal to accept legal tender in payment of an existing debt, where no other means of payment/settlement has been specified in advance, conceivably could have consequences in legal proceedings, i.e. the creditor may be unable to enforce payment in any other form.”

I wonder if this gets the bastards off the hook? I still don’t like being forced to use Paypal, nor accept it. From now onwards, my auctions will contain a “Paypal fee” in the shipping – if the charge is going to be levied then I’m passing it on to the buyer. If they don’t like it, then pay via direct deposit, which I would prefer, and I’ll discount the fee.

As a genuine use, Paypal is useful for overseas purchases – no hassles with currency conversions.

In this case though, I have successfully used a Paypal claim to force repayment from a little turd who flogged me a dodgy mobile phone. I had the thing less than 48 hours before the keyboard started to play up, and it now only responds after total removal of the battery – and then malfunctions shortly afterwards. eBay of course won’t let you lodge a dispute with them for at least another 10 days, designed to frustrate you into sorting it out for yourself, or hoping you’ll give up. Luckily Paypal has no such time limitations, and has ruled that full repayment is in order.

I'm also putting the seller on watch in eBay for any new items he lists, and if he relists the phone without suitable warning to potential buyers then I'm reporting the auction to eBay.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Aaargh, mobiles. :(

I’m not doing well with mobile phones lately.

 

After my Samsung SGH-A501 started eating batteries, I decided it was time to trade up to a nice Samsung SGH-A801.  They’re not a bad phone – slim, light, good keyboard.  The slider form factor is OK too, but they have a major downside – they are a dust and lint magnet due to the mechanism, which sucks if they live in your pocket like mine does.  The proprietary connectors for everything are also a drag, but the camera is quite nice.  It also pissed me off that I couldn’t remap the softkeys.  Bloody telco branding.

 

After living happily with the A801 for about 6 months I was bitten by the bug to be able to do mobile e-mail, preferably via WiFi to minimise painful telco data costs.  Enter an iMate JasJam, which I promptly upgraded to Windows Mobile 6 and the SPC MobileShell.  It sucked.  More importantly, it sucked for about 90 minutes until I gave up on it in disgust, which may be a record even for me.  The screen and keyboard were nice, but couldn’t make up for the heavy, clunky form factor, crappy actual PHONE capability (protip: iMate, if you’re gonna make a smartphone, make sure the bloody phone actually works) and general unusability.  Exit the JasJam.

 

Enter a nice Nokia E51.  Solid as a rock (albeit quite heavy), WiFi, MP3 ringtones, boring DC barrel plug charging and USB data connector… everything I wanted.  The Symbian OS is slightly quirky (you can’t kill the screensaver, and you can have the desktop shortcuts *or* the keyboard shortcuts – not both) but generally no complaints.  It lasted 48 hours before the keyboard died.   :(    I’m currently having a Paypal arbitration over that one.  Exit the E51.

 

Enter a new Nokia E71 next week…. Let’s see if I can kill another phone off in a matter of weeks.  >:|

Saturday, August 2, 2008

/me is lazy

Wow, haven't posted for a while here.  Lazy bastard, eh?
 
I was just reading an article in APC, which is unusual in of itself in that normally I wouldn't buy APC with your money.  It's corporate, slick, can't make up its mind whether its aimed at the technology terrified, hackers, gamers, business or enterprise users, and half of it is ads that the buyer is paying for.  On the other hand, the 12 month subscription is a work freebie so meh.  :)
 
The article was bullshitting on about lack of support for older OSs, as owned by the classic cling-to-Win98/ME crew - usually on the grounds that the thing is a Celeron 500 with 256MB or RAM and a 99% full 10GB drive, and frankly it can't run anything else.  The APC columnist's brilliant answer?  Use Linux!
 
Would someone please take the Linux zealots of the world out and shoot them.  I will admit that I have dabbled in Linux briefly, both installed and live versions, and I've never lasted very long.  Frankly, XP does everything I need a PC to do, with acceptable stability - not that crashes still aren't bloody annoying.  Even Vista can be bludgeoned into something resembling XP once you turn most of the (in)security crap off.  In the meantime, my interest levels in learning commands like "tar -c dir/ | gzip | gpg -c | ssh user@remote 'dd of=dir.tar.gz.gpg' " compared to telling WinRAR to save my archive to a remote directory using click navigation, or "mount -t smbfs -o fmask=666,guest //windows_box/share /mnt/share" compared to using the Windows shell (or even, dog forbid, a command line "net use share: //path" command) are roughly at the same level as getting my genitals pierced.
 
Ye olde wannabe Amish Win98 owner is as much a candidate for Linux as I am for an old Cray-1.  Both are so far beyond our respective needs that it's not worth the time to learn to take advantage of the environment, and we simply want to be able to do what we want with the minimum aggravation possible.  This doesn't seem to be something that your average Linux zealot understands, they're too busy either thinking they're anti-corporate rebels or "being in control of their PC" - which means taking twice as long and ten times as much effort, apparently.
 
I like the concept of Linux, but there's a Dilbert catroon that summarises it perfectly; an engineer sits in front of his PC muttering "I'll make the command easy to remember, like CTRL-ALT-F4-DEL.  And if they forget that, they can just edit the source code in COMMAND.COM.  Perfect!"
 
Linux is an environment built by geeks, for geeks, who like being geeks, and don't mind the geekiness of something interfering with actually trying to achieve something with it - as long as it's geeky.  That's fine as a toy, but in the meantime the rest of the world just wants to get on with it, you know?  Quite to the opposite of the common saying, most people just want to arrive at their destination as quickly and hassle-free as possible; the journey, far from being part of the experience, is actually a pain in the arse.
 

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I'm slack

Wow, haven't posted here for a bit.  Chances are I'm the only one who notices, but I notice.  :)
 
Well, news of the week is the latest federal budget, which nicely screws me over in terms of being able to get laptops on the cheap:  http://www.budget.gov.au/2008-09/content/bp2/html/revenue-07.htm
 
The Government will tighten the current fringe benefit tax (FBT) exemption for certain workrelated items (including laptop computers, personal digital assistants and tools of trade) by ensuring the exemption only applies where these items are used primarily for work purposes. The FBT exemption will generally be limited to one item of each type per employee per year. The measure will apply to items purchased after 7.30 pm (AEST) on 13 May 2008.
 
Lovely... so not only and I screwed, but I am screwed retroactively.  The upshot is no new laptop every year, which is more of an annoyance than anything, but will ultimately cost mo money, which is always annoying.
 
I don't find myself using my current machine much, (nice Core 2 Duo with 2Gb RAM and all fuit etc) - frankly I don't need a powerful laptop anymore since I gave up LANning with them, and even the current Asus 13.3" widescreen chews batteries to fast for my liking.   All I really need out of a laptop is portability, mail/net/media and decent battery life.
 
I had a good look at the new Asus EeePc 900 (released next week), and I must admit they are impressive - clocked back up to 900MHz, 1Gb RAM standard, get the Xandros based unit for $649 with a 20Gb SSDD, then blow it away and reinstall with XP.  8Gb more SSDD and $150 less than the factory Windows version.
 
the problems with the units are that I simnply can't take them seriously.  the keyboard are just too small for anything other than very casual use, the storage is still very limited, even the new 1024xwhatever screen is still small, and the worst problem is the battery life - they have not upgraded the battery from the 701 series, so you're realistically looking at about 2 hours life.  bleh, that's inadequate for a device designed to be extremely portable.
 
I ended up buying a Dell Latitude D410 12" ultraportable laptop - 1Gb RAM, 80Gb HDD, DVD burner etc - $550.  for this I get serious batteries, a decent sized keyboard, a mousing device that WORKS (the one on the EeePC is crap), and genuine application compatibility - all for under a kilogram.
 
sorry, world - but I'm not sure the UMPC concept is a goer yet.  the sheer number of EeePC 701s for sale shortly after purchase is a clear indicator of "cool factor" rapidly failing in the real world.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

With gritted teeth...

OK, I've just installed XP SP3 on one box, and it seems to have survive unscathed (unlike a couple of builds I had that were lost to SP2).
 
The small annoyances were the reestablishment of the program access & controls link at the top of the Start menu (long since deleted as the SP2 firewall is one of the first things I turn off) and Windows offering to screw up my Windows Update settings and put them back to full auto.  It appears if you cancel the request it leaves them as they were previously - I have them on notify but ask permission to download and update.
 
Note to Bill:  Just patch the system.  I do NOT need my system settings fucked about with.  I have them that way for a reason.  >:|

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Technology, our saviour.

 
Here's a fascinating examples of how technology makes our lives easier.
 
(1)  Receive online bill notification - at home e-mail address.
(2)  Forward e-mail to work address.
(3)  Go into online billing and print out bill.  Why this is done will become clear shortly.
(4)  Go into online banking and pay bill, thus gaining a payment receipt.
(5)  Print bill, walk to photocopier room to collect.
(6)  Can't find printout, so walk back to PC and print again.
(7)  Still no printout.  Check printer event log and find two zero page print jobs for my ID.  Known bug with Adobe Acrobat.
(8)  Reinstall Adobe Acrobat and print again.  Walk to photocopier room for third time and collect printout.
(9)  Write payment date and receipt number on bill - without which bill will not be accepted for remuneration drawdown - thus explaining the need for a hard copy.
(10)  Scan prinout and e-mail to work address.
(11)  5 minutes later e-mail has not arrived, so walk back to photocopier room for the fourth time and check printer logs - failed send task.
(12)  Rescan printout on the other photocopier and retry, which necessitates creating a new address book entry on the second photocopier.
(13)  5 minutes later the second e-mail has not arrived.  Walk to photocopier room for fifth time.  Photocopier indicates "resending".  Rescan on photocopier #1, both now have "pending" jobs.
(14)  10 minutes later, e-mail finally arrives.
(15)  Save attachment to hard drive, go into explorer and rename the file to remove the underscore which is an illegal character to the online webform submission system.
(16)  Launch webform, fill in details and attach scan file.
(17)  Receive successful submission e-mail.
(18)  Write on printout date of submission for remuneration drawdown.
(19)  Place printout in backpack to take home for filing, as this is now my only simple reference to the bill number, amount, date, date of payment, receipt number, and date of submission.
 
Wonderful.  Total time elapsed: 30 minutes.
 
Just for a grand finale I logged a job with our IT department to complain about the scan-to-mail problem.
 
IT rang me back THREE TIMES to announce that:
 
(a)  It was a known issue.  OK, cool - as long as someone is fixing it.
(b)  It was being escalated.  Look, I don't care - known issue, inhand, carefactor zero.
(c)  To advise me of the new ticket number for the national escalation.
 
At about this stage I put my phone on lock so it can't receive incoming calls....

Friday, April 25, 2008

And it's so true.

Just ran across this on that there innanet-thing. Yes, I'm fully aware it's an internet legend, and no, it can't be attributed to Bill Gates, Kurt Vonnegut or Brooks Coleman.

(according to Snopes it's actually the work of Charles J. Sykes - the author of a book entitled "Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can't Read, Write, Or Add.")

Who cares who wrote it though, as far as I'm concerned it's true.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rule No. 1: Life is not fair. Get used to it. The average teen-ager uses the phrase "It's not fair" 8.6 times a day. You got it from your parents, who said it so often you decided they must be the most idealistic generation ever. When they started hearing it from their own kids, they realized Rule No. 1.

Rule No. 2: The real world won't care as much about your self-esteem as much as your school does. It'll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. This may come as a shock. Usually, when inflated self-esteem meets reality, kids complain that it's not fair. (See Rule No. 1.)

Rule No. 3: Sorry, you won't make $60,000 a year right out of high school. And you won't be a vice president or have a car phone either. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn't have a Gap label.

Rule No. 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he's not going to ask you how you feel about it, or if you found it a valuable learning experience.

Rule No. 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it opportunity. They weren't embarrassed making minimum wage either. They would have been embarrassed to sit around talking about Kurt Cobain all weekend.

Rule No. 6: It's not your parents' fault. If you screw up, you are responsible. This is the flip side of "It's my life," and "You're not the boss of me," and other eloquent proclamations of your generation. When you turn 18, it's on your dime. Don't whine about it, or you'll sound like a baby boomer.

Rule No. 7: Before you were born your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your bedroom.

Rule No. 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn't. In some schools, they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. Failing grades have been abolished and class valedictorians scrapped, lest anyone's feelings be hurt. Effort is as important as results. This, of course, bears not the slightest resemblance to anything in real life. (See Rule No. 1, Rule No. 2 and Rule No. 4.)

Rule No. 9: Life is not divided into semesters, and you don't get summers off. Not even Easter break. They expect you to show up every day. For eight hours. And you don't get a new life every 10 weeks. It just goes on and on. While we're at it, very few jobs are interested in fostering your self-expression or helping you find yourself. Fewer still lead to self-realization. (See Rule No. 1 and Rule No. 2.)

Rule No. 10: Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to jobs. Your friends will not be as perky or pliable as Jennifer Aniston.

Rule No. 11: Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could.

Rule No. 12: Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Next time you're out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt in his mouth. That's what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for "expressing yourself" with purple/emo hair and/or pierced body parts.

Rule No. 13: You are not immortal. (See Rule No. 12.) If you are under the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, you obviously haven't seen one of your peers at room temperature lately.

Rule No. 14: Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are a pain, school's a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you'll realize how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now. You're welcome.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The definition of annoying

Extract DVR-R rip from ISO and unpack.
 
Feed through transcoder/burner while fails due to insufficent target size.  WTF?  The point of the transcoder is to compress the thing!
 
Try different mode on transcoder which fails with same error.  Getting annoyed.
 
Swear, dig out offboard transcoder.  Mount original DVR-R ISO and rip from there to HDD.  Target size is 4.35GB as expected.
 
Fire up burner and run.... same failure again.  Getting really annoyed now, what the fuck did they do to the rip when they made it?  Is there some sort of false-sized file I can't see, and if so how the hell does it get through two separate transcoders without an error?
 
Get out Nero, point at transcoded files as a source and set up a manual burn.  About 50MB inside disk capacity, great.  I'll fix you, you bastard.
 
2 seconds later Nero ejects the disk, which is its way of saying unsuitable media for some reason.
 
()#*&^#(*&#&#^%#*&#%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
So I'm about to rip out Mediacheck for a look at the disk to see if I've got an out of the spindle coaster or something, when I look at the disk again.... it's a printable, but the surface is smoother than I'm used to to.  I flip the disk over.
 
I've had a fucking printable CD in the drive.  ~~>X-|

Sharepod

Just noticed that Sharepod is up to v3.8, and now included a feature I have been dying for - video last-place-resume.

I use my Classic primarily for watching video on the train to work, but when the train (or tram) is crush-full that's not a possbility, so I drop it into normal video mode. The problem is that when I toggle back to video later, I have to start from the beginning and fast-forward to where I want. This is annoying as it's slow and chews battery very quickly.

SP v3.8 fixes this by allowing tagging of the video files with an auto-resume function, so that if you select a previously played file it jumps back to the last known position. Thanks to Apple for enabling this, and bigger thanks to the Sharepod author for making it possible to access. You can even enable multiple files at once by shift-clicking all your video, then right-click, Edit, and tick the option in the Other Tags tab.

The downside is that the Eject button is broken when the app is run from the iPod itself (doesn't happen with v3.7) and the new artwork support function (which personally I don't give a toss about) is causing issues with deleting files; I get an "iPod ArtworkDB not found" error. Looks like I'm not the only person with this issue.

My workaround for the meantime is to run v3.7 on the iPod itself (I keep the app in a folder with a shortcut on the root set to auto-run when the device runs in Windows) and run v3.8 from Windows itself. This allows tagging of video files as they're loaded (which I only ever do from home anyway) and v3.7 is still onboard for deleting stuff and file manipulation if I am out and about.

Personally I think I'll just install Rockbox on the thing if they ever get it ported out to the Classic, but as I have next to zero programming skillz I won't be too harsh about this deficiency. :)

OMFG

I present to you: the worst designed website in the entire world.
 

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sorting music

Just sorting through about 105Gb O.o of music vids a friend game me.
 
I've developed a fairly easy process for this, luckily.
 
First, go through and delete all the incoherent nigger rap and mumbled chanting like 50 Cent, Snoop, Kanye West and Timbaland etc.  Nobody wants to hear that crap.
Next, go through and delete all the emo, angst and other teenage rebellion rubbish like Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit.
Now delete all the sappy girlfriend dross like Atomic Kitten, Fergie, Kate Bush, J-Lo, etc.
 
Great, that's got us down to about 20% already!  Now we can start selecting the stuff that's worth keeping, from the stuff that *might* be worth keeping.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

Also bugger.

Nice one, Microsoft.

I don't why I expected anything else, really.
 
"Information about programs that are known to experience a loss of functionality when they run on a Windows Vista Service Pack 1-based computer."
 
 
 

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

eBay spam

What the hell is up with the deluge of commercial spam on eBay lately?

 

I’ve just had a few items sell for the first time in quite a few months, and all of a sudden I’m bombarded with eBay-based commercial offers from the usual Super Happy Flying Panda Trading Company Of Shanghai sources.

 

eBay is going to hell lately, between fees, spam and the stupid new (non) feedback system it’s getting to be a dark alley of the internet.

Monday, February 18, 2008

We apologise

AN AUSTRALIAN APOLOGY TO THE ABORIGINAL POPULATION

 

We apologise for giving you doctors and free medical care, which allows you to survive and multiply so that you can demand apologies.

 

We apologise for helping you to read and teaching you the English language and thus we opened up to you the entire European civilisation, thought and enterprise.

We feel that we must apologise for building hundreds of homes for you, which you have vandalised and destroyed.

 

We apologise for giving you law and order which has helped prevent you from slaughtering one another and using the unfortunate for food purposes.

We apologise for developing large farms and properties, which today feed you people, where before, you had the benefits of living off the land and starving during droughts.

 

We apologise for providing you with warm clothing made of fabric to replace that animal skins you used before.

 

We apologise for building roads and railway tracks between cities and building cars so that you no longer have to walk over harsh terrain.

 

We apologise for paying off your vehicle when you fail to pay the instalments.

.

We apologise for giving you free travel anywhere, whenever.

 

We apologise for giving each and every member of your family $100.00 and free travel to attend an aboriginal funeral.

 

We apologise for not charging you rent on any lands when white people have to pay.

 

We apologise for giving you interest free loans.

 

We apologise for developing oil wells and minerals, including gold and diamonds which you never used and had no idea of their value.

 

We apologise for developing Ayers rock and Kakadu, and handing them over to you so that you get all the money.

 

We apologise for allowing taxpayers money paid towards daughters’ wedding ($8,000.00 each daughter)

 

We apologise for giving you $1.7 billion per year for your 250,000 people, which is $48,000.00 per aboriginal man, woman and child.

We apologise for working hard to pay taxes that finance your welfare, medical care, education, etc to the tune of $1.2 billion each year.

 

We apologise for you having to approach the aboriginal affairs department to verify the above figures.  For the trouble you will have identifying the “uncle toms” in your own community who are getting richer and leaving some of you living in squalor and poverty.

 

We do apologise.  We really do.

 

We humbly beg your forgiveness for all the above sins.

We are only too happy to take back all the above and return you to the paradise of the “outback”, whenever you are ready.

 

How about this for a compromise?  Here’s 1,000,000km of central Australia, just as it was when European arrived.  It’s yours.  Free and clear, do what you like with it.  Set one foot outside it and shut the fuck up, what do you say?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The myth that Indians are "smart"

I don't know who ever came up with this particular myth, but take it from me - I work with dozens of them every day and they are, as a general rule, at least as stupid and clueless as the rest of the population.

I'm currently marking a skills test I set for about 50 staff at my workplace who are relatively new with between four and six months of experience.  If you asked me to generalise their knowledge I'd say the lot of them are as thick as a pig shit sandwich, with the odd individual exception.

I'm actually getting quite depressed marking the answers, the degree of cluelessness being exhibited is really rather frightening, as they've all been trained - and have apparently failed to understand a lot of it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Jesus H Christ

I just got this message from an eBay buyer:

 

“hi ,i am trying to pay for item,but i am geting a massage to say ,paid for,regards lucky”

 

What the fuck is that?  Do they no longer teach English, spelling, sentence construction and grammar in schools?

 

Fuck me...

 

 

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Kudos to Ewan McGregor

Why I hate eBay

I've got a bunch of stuff up on eBay for sale at the moment, went mad on the weekend and decided the pile of leftovers from moving had to go.
 
Spent about three solid hours taking photos, writing HTML, researching, adding links to manufacturer's sites, adding details etc.  Blah.
 
Of course, I now get to enjoy the dubious enjoyment of assorted cretins sending me messages.  Apparently these people can't/won't read, think eBay is a democracy, and are somehow under the impression that they've got "rights" of some sort as a buyer.  Really.
 
"Can I get pickup?"  No, and that's why the auction says POST ONLY.  For starters, pickup is really code for "I want to fiddle it beforehand and make sure it all works 110% perfectly before I hand over the cash".  Sorry, but if you don't want to take my word for it then don't bid.  My feedback is >400, if you can't interpret that then I don't need you as a buyer.  Secondly, pickup means I have to either disclose my address, or spend my time meeting you somewhere.  Which you might turn up for.  No thanks.  Then you get the challenged people who want to avoid postage costs, like the moron who e-mailed me yesterday wanting to do it with a PDA/smartphone I am selling.  Sport, it's going to sell for about $300, $5 postage is neither here nor there; if you can't afford that you won't be winning the auction anyway.
 
Then you've got the bargain hunters.  So far I've had three people approach me directly with silly offers, all of which have been impolitely declined.  Why do you I think I put the start prices on there, cretins?  In at least some of the cases I'll pull the auction if it looks like the thing's only going to go for starting price anyway, why would you think I'm going to accept an underbid from you?
 
Finally, you've got the tyre kickers.  "Will it do <insert function here>?"  "Will it be compatible with <obscure piece of gear I've never heard of>?"  Now in a perfect world I'd be able to either outright ignore these fools or tell them to go away and google it like anyone else in the world.  If course, by doing so I risk offending a potential buyer.  Generally speaking I offend them, I figure the annoyance-to-potential-sale ratio is high.
 
Four days to go, *sigh*.

Friday, February 1, 2008

As you do....


Doesn't everyone have a old Bell jet Ranger in their backyard? Apparently it's a cubbyhouse for their kids to play in. O.o

Thursday, January 31, 2008

God damn it.

This is probably obvious to the rest of the world, but I'd just like to point out that if you can't get the contents of the can of tomato paste to enter the curry properly, the method of turning the can upside down and going hard is a poor, poor idea.
 
I think it would be easier to list the places I haven't got chicken tikka marsala splashed at the moment.  ~X-(

O..M..F..G...

I think I'm going to be sick.  And that's saying something.
 

Cause and effect at work

The cause first...

http://www.australianit.news.com.au/story/0,24897,23131363-15306,00.html

And now the effect:

http://xjs.cat000.funurl.com/Sol%20Saluting.jpg

How Windows says "pwned"....

Sunday, January 27, 2008

What were people thinking?

A couple of questions that struck me this morning…..
(a) why is Toorak Rd so narrow?  It should have dedicated parking lanes and two transit lanes in both directions.  Get stuck behind a tram and you're screwed.
(b) why the hell is is 40km/h for a good chunk if its length?  If it congests then the speeds are self limiting, and if it's not then why do we need 40km/h limits?
I just did a cannonball run up the road towards St Kilda with about 10 other people at around 65km/h for most of the run from the Monash freeway to St Kilda Rd (safety from cops in numbers…) and I honestly can't see any reason for it, unless they are deliberately attempting to steer people away from it by pissing them off with low speeds!
Mind you, the solution to that is to stop charging $5 for the goddamn Citylink run from Toorak Rd into the city….  Complete ripoff.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Why I love people

Deliberately got the early bus today, as I had to pick up some dry cleaning on the way to the train station.
 
As usual, the bus was about 5 minutes late.  It struck me that if the bus is 5 minutes late every day.... how hard would it be to leave 5 minutes EARLIER and be on freaking time?  That way, the bus which is *supposed* to connect up with the train timetables, might arrive at the train station in time for travellers to actually get on the train, as opposed to watch it pull away from the station - while you're still sitting on the bus.
 
Anyway - get to station, move self smartly up the street to the dry cleaners.
 
Dry cleaner announces he only takes cash.  Brilliant.  Everyone else in the world has an EFTPOS machine except for the local smarmy Greek dry cleaner, who is not doubt too cheap to pay for one and uses his cash business as a way of cheating the tax system.  Outstanding.
 
Move self smartly down street to Westpac bank, to discover that some little prick has adjusted the ATM with a hammer over night.  Awesome.  Attempt to enter bank, only to be told that their data lines are down and they are off the air.  Truly exceptional.
 
Move self fairly enthusiatically indeed down the street to the competition bank (about 500m the way I already came originally), use their ATM to withdrawn cash, no doubt incurring a ruinous cross-institutional fee in the process.
 
Collect kit from dry cleaner (first and last time you'll see me, drag your arse into the latter half of the 20th century - if not the 21st - and get a goddam EFTPOS machine) and hustle very quickly indeed back down to the station.
 
Sling dry cleaning in the vehicle that loving partner has dropped their earlier and turn around - just in time to see the train leave, thus relegating me to a 25 minute wait.  FUCKING BRILLIANT.
 
The fact that I apparently missed the tram at the other end by 30 seconds and had to wait 10 minutes for another one is a minor annoyance by comparison.
 
And people wonder why I arrive at work in a mad mood... dealing with society in generally means I'm damn near homicidal before I hit the front door, and that's BEFORE idiot colleagues start asking idiot questions...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Patience NOW DAMMIT.

Woohoo, looks like the real cams of Cloverfield are out!  DLing one now, but I'm definitely going to be hanging out for the screener when someone releases it.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ultimate beer ad

OK, I give up....

For now with Cloverfield.  The entire net seems to be awash with assorted fakes, most of which are the original 4-minute trailer packed out to 900Mb or so, or the DRM-riddled Domplayer crap which is probably a fake anyway - if I was stupid enough to either pay for or install the spyware to find out, which I am not.
 
I'll give it a week and check again, although I did get one thing out of the search - new site: http://www.vcdquality.com/index.php

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Customer service

 
Hey, I've got a better idea!  How about I hang up on you and close your fucking ticket because you refused to troubleshoot with the nice techie?  I bet I can close 'em a LOT faster than you can get them opened - at 30 minutes in queue each time - AND I can deescalate tickets that I deem to be crapworthy.
 
You get a supervisor when ** I ** say you need one, not when you want one just because you think it will get you faster service.

The really sad this is that some people are reading this and taking the advice...

Three fonts that everyone should have in their library

 
 

My christ some people are stupid....

What ever happened to the concept of NOT ENTERING A BOX JUNCTION UNLESS YOU HAVE AN EXIT?!?!
 

Friday, January 18, 2008

Worth a read

I finally re-located this, it's worth the 10 minutes of your time to read.  And cringe.
 

I'm annoyed

Come on, guys.... 24 hours since the global release of Cloverfield and not ONE torrent of the thing yet??  Get it together!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Steampunk watercooling

Very Jules Verne...
 
 
 
Don't expect to be able to read the text, but the pics are multi-lingual.  :)

Just got this in my e-mail.... if it's not true then I believe it anyway.

Mind you, it looks like the normal urban-myth chain letter, particularly when the comments refer to a US-style "credit bureau", but the address has been doctored to reflect an Australian location.  funny though.  :)
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Be sure and cancel your credit cards before you die! This is so priceless and so easy to see happening - customer service, being what it is today!

A lady died this past October, and ANZ bank billed her for November and December for their annual service charges on her credit card, and then added late fees and interest on the monthly charge. The balance had been $0.00, now is somewhere around $60.00.

A family member placed a call to the ANZ Bank:

Family Member:
'I am calling to tell you that she died in October.'

ANZ:
'The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.'

Family Member:
'Maybe, you should turn it over to collections.'

ANZ:
'Since it is two months past due, it already has been.'

Family Member:
So, what will they do when they find out she is dead?'

ANZ:
'Either report her account to the fraud division or report her to the credit bureau, maybe both!'

Family Member:
'Do you think God will be mad at her?'

ANZ:
'Excuse me?'

Family Member:
'Did you just get what I was telling you . . . The part about her being dead?'

ANZ:
'Sir, you'll have to speak to my supervisor.'

Supervisor gets on the phone:
Family Member:
'I'm calling to tell you, she died in October.'

ANZ:
'The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.'

Family Member:
'You mean you want to collect from her estate?'

ANZ:
(Stammer) 'Are you her lawyer?'

Family Member:
'No, I'm her great nephew.'
(Lawyer info given)

ANZ:
'Could you fax us a certificate of death?'

Family Member:
'Sure.'
(fax number is given)

After they get the fax:

ANZ:
'Our system just isn't set up for death. I don't know what more I
can do to help.'

Family Member:
'Well, if you figure it out, great! If not, you could just keep billing her. I don't think she will care.'

ANZ:
'Well, the late fees and charges do still apply.'

Family Member:
'Would you like her new billing address?'

ANZ:
'That might help.'

Family Member:
' Rookwood Memorial Cemetery, 1249 Centenary Rd, Sydney Plot Number 1049.'

ANZ:
'Sir, that's a cemetery!'

Family Member:
'Well, what the **** do you do with dead people on your planet?'

Just some random cool tech stuff I ran across

Some of the coolest research and science facilities in the world.  Nice pics.
 
 

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

More rant than tech

If anyone living in Melbourne is reading this, I suggest in the strongest possible terms that you avoid using AGL for your energy supplier.
 
While I've never been an AGL customer, I have recently had the occasion to interact more times than I really wished to with their thick-as-pigshit staff, and I can't say that I'd be entirely comfortable relying on them as a vendor for personal use.
 
Ever since we moved into the house we are currently renting, we've been receiving accounts addressed to "The Occupier" for just short of $800 worth of gas.  What company sends accounts to "The Occupier?"  Are they not sure of the actual name of their customer, or were they just hoping that someone would pay it on spec?
 
I've rung their call centre a few times and told them that the miscreant has long since departed, and would they please stop sending bills.  Their answer is to return them - how, I ask?  The envelope has been opened (as I'm legally allowed to do, I'm the current Occupier of the property) and I'm certainly not paying to package it up and send it back.  Just make an entry in your database to stop sending the things, there's no-one here who is going to pay them.
 
So far I've had this conversation three times (admittedly the last was for personal amusement when I was both bored and in a bad mood and felt like screaming at someone for a while - sorry, AGL call centre CSR) but the fact remains that they are bloody stupid and ignorant.
 
In all honesty, the only reason I even called is that I don't want there to be any chance of them cutting power/gas to the property themselves, but since like all the other 'suppliers' out there they are just a profit-sucking reseller who adds no value whatsoever, it seems unlikely that this will end up being an issue.
 
You should see some of the *other* mail for the assorted previous tenants... I'm surprised we haven't had the Sheriff's Office (apparently the Victorian version of what everyone else in the world calls bailiffs) around so far....

Saturday, January 12, 2008

USB devices and general instability

I've noticed of late that with the general proliferation of USB devices in the world, the average PC is becoming steadily less stable with multiple deivces connected.

Particularly annoying is Windows' habit of permanently associating a certain device with a drive letter, instead of next-available assignment, which is a monumental pain in the arse if you have a PC with a lot of network drives mapped in (or local drives, at that). It also make connecting multiple devices simultaneously irritating.

The entire interface bus has also never lived up to its bandwidth claims, especially when a large proportion of the USB devices on the market can't sustain the required bandwidth themselves. I never used to think there was much difference between USB thumbdrives until I got hold of some quick Sandisk and Transcend drives... WOW. I now refuse to use the cheap ones, the frustration factor and wait time isn't worth it.

I noticed a couple of posts about the upcoming USB3 standard recently, I can only hope that the technology and the devices that use it are superior to the often-disappointing USB2.

http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/01/09/ces_usb_3_revealed/

There was also some talk about the new optical USB standard:

http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2007/09/19/idf_usb_3_announced/

However I can't see how this can work with a passive device, unless the socket itself has a +DC rail in there somewhere to complement the earthed shield and power the device itself.

I also some some talk about WUSB but frankly I don't think it's a killer app unless it's totally PnP, has a wireless bubble big enough to allow flexibility but small enough to allow the creation of non-interfering piconets, and has enough bandwidth to do the job.

Personally, I'd prefer it if the industry got their collective fingers out and finall developed some sort of universal power and charging standard.... and I don't mean this sort of abortion:





















How hard can it be to develop a simple universal standard, preferably using an inductive coupling system? The Wildcharge http://www.wildcharge.com/ system is definitely a second-class hack, and still uses metallic coupling. The Splashpower http://www.splashpower.com/ system isn't perfect either by a long shot, but it's a long way closer to the holy grail of universal inductive charging.

Get it together, guys. Why can't the IEEE put together a standard for this that everyone can use? Even USB, for all of its quirks and deficiencies, works most of the time....