Blog entries from November, 2008

An Apple IIc with LCD (and another tripod)

Thursday, November 27th, 2008 at 10:07 pm

A big box was waiting for me when I got home tonight. It contained this:

Latest addition: Apple IIc with LCD, battery pack and carry bag

Yes, the latest addition to my collection is another Apple IIc. But this one includes the elusive LCD screen, an external battery and a carry bag for it all.

I keep putting off sorting through my collection and my current plan is to (when I get around to it) focus on specific items. This is one of them.

However, there wasn’t just one box waiting for me. After my dissatisfaction with my tripod at the WCC outing I was looking at eBay for a current model tripod and a 486RC2 head. On impluse I tried the ‘make an offer’ feature on an eBay listing and it (specifically a 190XPROB tripod) was accepted. That is what was in the second box.

Unfortunately I was a bit too enthusiastic as before I made an offer for this tripod and head, I had placed a bid for the same tripod, but just the base. As I expected the price to go above my max I wasn’t concerned. But I ended up winning it, by AU$1. So who wants to buy a tripod? Either an old but as-new 190 or a brand new 190XPROB… there is also the 484RC2 head… (I am confident that I will be able to make my money back by listing them back on eBay)

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A Matter of Loaf and Death

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008 at 9:07 pm

I this on TV this evening:

ABC1 promo for A Matter of Loaf and Death

Yes, that is a promo for the new Wallace and Gromit short – A Matter of Loaf and Death – and those who know of the first proper site I made should understand how excited I am.

Wooo!!

I had been keeping track of it through the film production blog but I had no idea that it would be aired so soon. I was expecting to have to order a DVD (or download it – but we won’t mention that…) in order to see it. Looking at the production blog now, the last post is from a week ago saying that there was only one day of filming left. I am amazed that it is airing so soon, and before the UK as they won’t get it until Christmas.

But I won’t be able to watch it.

As mentioned previously I am going to OSDC in Sydney, and the conference dinner is on the Wednesday night. I will have to record it. From digital broadcast. Redundantly.

There are two broadcasts (repeated on the Thursday on ABC2) and as well as leaving my desktop running to record it, I should be able to get two other people to record it. Watching it will be the first thing I do on the Sunday. (or maybe as soon as I get back on Saturday night…)

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November’s WSG photos

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008 at 5:51 pm

I have uploaded photos from last Monday’s WSG meeting:

Ian Stewart and Chris Sampson answering questions

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Web Standards Group (November 2008) – a set on Flickr

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Camera club outing to Docklands

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008 at 8:20 pm

Last night the Waverley Camera Club, which I first checked out two weeks ago, went on an outing to Docklands. David and I went along.

After meeting at the Cow Up a Tree sculpture we took photos for a while as it started to get dark, stopped for dinner, and then took some more photos. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t the best as it was very overcast (which reflected the city lights) and it drizzled off and on. Apart from that it was an excellent evening.

It was interesting to check out what equipment the others brought along. Unlike when I did the digital SLR course the dominating brand was Canon. Then within that it was interesting to note that there were mostly low end bodies (eg 350D or 400D) but the glass was consistenly good with no kit lenses in sight. I spotted a few Canon L lenses (such as the 17-40mm) but also higher end Sigma’s.

The other area of dominance was in the choice of tripod. Again almost all were a single brand, in this case Manfrotto. However, all of them were recent models, not as old as mine.

Actually using my tripod highlighted two possible issues: the top section of it is a bit too large to grab comfortably (the current models are smaller), and the 484RC2 ball head came undone a couple of times. I’m wishing I had the 486RC2 ball head which, being larger, is able to use the set screws on the tripod which prevents it from coming undone.

I’ll try to get some of the photos put up on Flickr over the weekend.

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Is everything I know about CSS wrong?

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008 at 7:52 pm

I don’t know that much about CSS anyway, but I now have a book to tell me.

This was a door prize at Monday’s Web Standards Group meeting where I listened to how the website for the Premier of Victoria was redone to better engage with users through the use of the open source CMS Joomla and the tie in with services such as Flickr and YouTube.

As usual I was also taking photos. However as there were so many people the talks were not held in the back room where my 28mm lens works quite nicely, they were held in the main room and the lens struggled. The April meeting was also in the main room and the 50mm f/1.8 lens I borrowed worked quite well. Especially across the room to where the speakers were.

I’ll be keeping an eye out on eBay for a 50mm lens. In order of preference: the f/1.4, an original f/1.8 and then the II f/1.8.

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September’s WSG photos

Sunday, November 16th, 2008 at 10:13 pm

In time for tomorrow’s Web Standards Group meeting I have uploaded photos from the September meeting:

The catering

Andreas and Charles setting up

Impromptu laptop stand

Web Standards Group (September 2008) – a set on Flickr

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Don’t call Optus on a Saturday

Saturday, November 15th, 2008 at 1:31 pm

I just made a fundamental mistake: I tried to call a company outside of business hours.

When i received my phone bill earlier in the week it was significantly less than it should have been because of a “Customer Service Adjustment”. I have only been with Optus for a few months (because of my iPhone) and I can definitely say that I have not contacted them about anything. So where did the adjustment come from?

I didn’t have any spare time during the week so I tried calling today:

  • the IVR system was annoying
  • there was the delay of an international call
  • the horrible american accent would have been (partly) acceptable if it had been consistent
  • the operator took a few minutes to bring up my account

And then they couldn’t answer my question because “there are no notes in your file.”

That’s twenty minutes that I want back.

In future I will make sure I call during business hours in the hope that I can get someone located in Australia that should have better access and/or might know more about the accounts. If I don’t have time for the call I have in the past received decent responses from a support form on the company’s site or via email, even if those methods can take a few days until I get a response.

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A puzzling router problem

Friday, November 14th, 2008 at 7:25 pm

This morning when I was woken up by the thunderstorms I noticed that there must have been a brief power outage as my stereo had reset. So I checked Preston, my linux server, and found while that it had been interrupted, it had restarted without any problems.

But I didn’t have internet.

The router was still up and the cable modem had all the normal lights on so it looked ok. I just could access any external sites. I case there was a problem with the cable network because of the weather that just wasn’t being shown I power cycled both of them.

When I checked it again the cable modem had reconnected and the router was running, but the router hadn’t been assigned an IP address. That’s not right, but I had to go to work and I hoped that it was just a problem with the DHCP server that would be fixed by the time I got home.

It wasn’t, and another reboot didn’t fix it.

Against the possibility that something was wrong with the router I connected my desktop directly to the cable modem. This worked which indicated there was nothing wrong with the cable network. So I tried the router again, it didn’t work.

In case the problem was just with the DHCP client in the router I tried setting the connection details manually. This still didn’t work.

The cable modem only accepts one client MAC address at a time, so each time I changed between my desktop and the router I needed to power cycle the cable modem. To save time I had the modem clone the MAC address of my desktop. This made it work. Yes, this doesn’t make sense.

After testing all the combinations again (including resetting the cable modem to defaults) I foudn that when using the router’s own MAC address no traffic gets through. However if I have it clone another address, even one I make up, it all works as before.

This setup has worked fine for a couple of years, what changed this morning?

I’m puzzled.

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Checking out a camera/photography club

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008 at 9:01 pm

Last night I went along to a Waverley Camera Club meeting to check it out.

They meet twice a month, the first meeting for the guest judge to go through the photos submitted two weeks prior and the second for an outing or workshop. Last night was a judging night.

This type of night involves the guest judge, from the Frankston Photographic Club this time, going through each photo from the two categories, printed and projected, to give a score and comments. They have had the photos for a week for review, so thought has gone into it. Although I didn’t agree or understand all of his comments, most of the others were informative and I did learn a lot about how to improve a photo.

What interests me a lot more is that the next meeting is actually an outing, probably to Docklands for the evening.

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I am going to OSDC in Sydney

Monday, November 3rd, 2008 at 10:13 pm

This year the Open Source Developers’ Conference is being held in Sydney. Unlike last year, when it was in Brisbane, work is not sending me. So I decided I would go on my own.

Last week I registered for the conference (just before the extended early bird registrations closed) and this evening I booked my accomodation. I have yet to book the flights, and before I do that I need to work out exactly when I want to go.

I am flying up on the Tuesday before and flying home on the Saturday afterwards. On the Tuesday the cheapest flights are between 10AM and 3PM, and on the Saturday they are from 2PM onwards (I’m not getting up early for a 7AM flight home). There are plenty of options and what I am trying to work out is how much extra time do I want to spend in Sydney. Maybe catching up with people or doing touristy things.

So, does anyone have ideas for what I could do?

My mum suggested that a Bridge Climb could be a late birthday present. There is also the observation deck up Sydney Tower as well as just wandering around with my camera.

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My third geohash

Saturday, November 1st, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Today’s geohash was located on the boundary between Moorabbin and Cheltenham, not far from Southland. So I headed down there for the 4PM meetup. Unlike last time there was nobody else.