Here we go again

Filed under: General - Mark @ 7:17 pm


Well, my Home Theatre PC has been running like a dog for the past few weeks. It constantly freezes when playing HD content and often when playing SD content as well. So I’ve decided to re-install Vista, and now the installation is running like a dog. And as I write this, it’s just frozen after I formatted the drive. Sigh. Not a good sign.

Add Comment (3) | 27/2/2009



Wow. Superdodgey.

Filed under: General - Mark @ 1:22 pm


Our new guy likes listening to two radio stations. In the morning, Hope 103 (Christian Radio), and once Joanne Lester finishes her shift, he switches it over to Mix (TTFM for those Melbourne viewers).

Now, to be honest, I actually don’t mind Hope that much. Their breakfast announcers are no more annoying than Merrick and Rosso and they play plenty of normal music as well.

Mix however, my god. Christian radio is better listening than them. They seem to have a very high rotation of mid-90s yuck. Sure they’re songs I know all the lyrics to, but that’s nothing to be proud of.

The best way to judge the kind of people a radio station is aimed at is to listen to the ads that are played. Most companies that advertise on the radio choose their time/stations very very carefully. Mix consists of ads for Liposuction/Cosmetic Surgery, Superannuation, School Lunchbox snacks, etc etc. Yeah, thats me down to a Tee.

Add Comment (2) | 26/2/2009



New WordPress

Filed under: General - Mark @ 8:27 am


Yesterday I finally upgraded from a very old version of WordPress to the swanky 2.7. Normally I don’t like it when WordPress re-do the admin section, and initially it was the same story with this one. But I changed my mind. I quite like it now. It’s very intuitive.



Screw 3:30itis

Filed under: General - Mark @ 11:06 am


It’s midday. Lately my ethusiasm for working drops off sharply after midday. By this time of the day I’ve been working for 5 hours and I just start to flag…

3 and a half hours to go before I go home for a bootycall.

Add Comment (0) | 25/2/2009



Lifes little mysteries

Filed under: General - Mark @ 6:27 am


Does anyone know why Internet Explorer refuses to “remember” certain URLs? For example, never gets stored in the auto-complete of the browser bar, but ALL its sub-urls do (so when I type it in I get a crazy long search URL instead of the homepage offered). I checked the HTTP headers and they’re 200/OK, so it’s not like it’s rejecting it on a 302/Moved or something…

Firefox remembers the URLs just fine.

Oh, don’t even start. I’m so not interested in hearing it. I need a plethora of browsers for the work I do and I just use whatever browser was last left open. Ok?

Add Comment (1) | 24/2/2009




Filed under: General - Mark @ 6:34 am


I runined my arms over the weekend carting around huge potplants (the kinda that need 2-3 people to carry) and dead trees, cleaning up the yard for a guy from church whos bank has foreclosed on his mortgage.

It was nice to be able to give back to someone, even though I hardly knew them. Doesn’t stop my arms from wanting to fall off though.

In other news, whilst at the working bee, I was talking to a dentist about an orthodontist we’re doing work for. I asked him if he knew this guy we’re working for, and he paused for a moment, thought a little, and then says “I wish I didn’t”. That pretty much sums up how I feel about the guy too. The next think he said was “Does he still have his Ferrari?” – this doesn’t surprise me either. I’ve worked for two people who own Ferraris (although I have a feeling one of them might have sold theirs by now), and as a result I think I’ll try to steer clear of these people in the future, if I can.

Add Comment (0) | 23/2/2009




Filed under: General - Mark @ 6:20 am


I think I’m going to have to use my government handout (when/if it arrives) to fix my computer. Angela wants to buy a laptop with hers (an EEEPC sounds just right), and then we’ll use whatever’s left over to buy some artwork for the apartment.

Oh, I do rather enjoy free money.

Except it’s not really free. I already paid to to the government in last years tax. In fact they’re only returning a small fraction of what I paid. So it’s actually not that great. But compared to usual, it’s awesome.

Add Comment (0) | 17/2/2009



Most pointless paragraph ever

Filed under: General - Mark @ 6:28 am


In a reuters story about these two satellites that colided yesterday, the following paragraph appears:

One senior U.S. official, who asked not to be named, declined comment “for several reasons.”

This paragraph tells us exactly: Nothing. Someone, we don’t know who, said nothing. It’s a wonder there aren’t more paragraphs like this:

A shopper at the West Ryde Woolworths had no opinion on the issue.

See, I can write like that too.

Add Comment (0) | 13/2/2009



Screw Youi

Filed under: General - Mark @ 4:47 pm


After seeing dozens of ads on the TV for the new car insurer, Youi, I decided I might see how much it would cost to insure my 2002 V6 Manual Commodore.

After spending 40 minutes answering questions (many of which I didn’t know the answer to, like “What is my insurance rating”. Last time I checked, insurance companies don’t release this info to customers – so I was forced to state “No Rating” which is, of course, bad news. They should offer an “I don’t know” option). It is, by far, the longest time I’ve ever had to spend filling in forms to get an insurance quote. As an IT engineer I understand why they designed it the way they did, but it’s not hugely user-friendly.

And there were some very poorly phrased sections as well. For example, it went on for a paragraph explaining about the standard features the car ships with, and then without asking any questions, offers a YES or NO answer. I don’t know if there was a question inside that paragraph somewhere, because the one thing you need to learn when doing UI design is that Users Don’t Read. (turns out they were asking if you had factory options ontop of the standard equipment, and when you clicked YES it popped up and asked you which ones. After I found that out I went back to try and re-read the paragraph of text ontop of it to check if it actually stated this anywhere and almost died of boredom before stopping reading it again)

Anyway, at the end of all of it, they state:

Thank you for applying for Car insurance with Youi. Unfortunately we are unable to offer you insurance cover on your 2002 Holden Commodore due to the following reasons:

– A combination of risk factors fall outside our underwriting guidelines.

We have to cancel this quote because your risk profile falls outside our underwriting limits.

What the fuck? I’ve only had one at-fault accident (and two that were 100% not-my-fault) however they don’t distinguish between at-fault and not-at-fault. Even if they don’t take this into account in their processing of the quote, they should still ask it to give the IMPRESSION that it matters. Because now I’m annoyed because I’m thinking that they assumed that the accidents were my fault (when in fact, only one of them was).

Now, maybe thats how they keep their insurance premiums down, however they should state this on their website, much the same as Shannons do. Maybe it’s because I’m under 25 and they don’t insure under 25’s – in which case, why didn’t they tell me that as soon as they knew my age? Save 40 minutes of my life.

Add Comment (1) | 12/2/2009



I’m still alive!

Filed under: General - Mark @ 6:55 am


Hey! I’ve been up for 2.5 hours and I haven’t been involved in or witnessed any crime yet! Maybe today will be a good day.

Add Comment (0) | 11/2/2009



Well adjusted

Filed under: General - Mark @ 6:19 am


Maybe this is just me noticing more things that are going on around, but since moving to Sydney my exposure to crime (serious crime) has gone up tenfold.

My only exposure to crime in Dalby, when I was young some people (probably junkies) broke into the church and nicked the communion silver (I don’t even know if it was real).

In Melbourne, someone broke into the music rooms at the school and nicked a bunch of computers. My sister saw someone doing something dodgey in the area, so the police came to the house to ask her some questions. I never found out what happened with that.

Since coming to Sydney there I’ve witnessed or been involved in (as a victim):

  • Daylight mugging on the train
  • Two armed robberies
  • Attacked with a chair by disgruntled teenagers who were caught stealing laptops from our store
  • Multiple severe beatings in the city (usually after 1am)
  • ATM explosions and bank robberies at Rhodes

And this morning: an Armaguard robbery out the front of where I’m working in North Sydney. At least, I assume that’s what it is. Police everywhere, interviewing witnesses, and a police cordon with an Armaguard truck in the middle of it (and several innocent bystanders cars, no doubt).

People who steal shit from other people make me mad. What gives these people the right to take something that someone else has worked hard for? This is why when I got mugged I got angry with the gang of teenagers instead of giving them everything (well, angry isn’t the right word – shitscared probably is – but I certainly didn’t roll over) . I worked hard, bloody hard, for what I had on me that day. There’s no way some goddamn punks are going to get my shit.

In fact, my main recollection of that day, is me asking them “Why” they wanted my shit. And of course, nobody could answer. Even when they were punching I was saying “I don’t understand, why do you want it?” – I think I was saying that because, even after the black eye, I didn’t QUITE understand they were trying to rob me (denial and ignorance are great like that). And that’s just my ignorance (I had only moved to Sydney a month or so beforehand) – I certianly didn’t meant to play moral compass with them, but I hope it gave them something to think about.

But probably not.

Anyway, what was the point? I forget.

Add Comment (0) | 10/2/2009



Absolute fuckers

Filed under: General - Mark @ 4:17 pm


So. Department of Fair Trading finally called me about the problem I’ve been having with Tyan and Digicor.

Long story short, they are refusing to co-operate with the Department of Fair Trading, so I now have no choice but to go to a consumer tribunal. What a waste of fucking time. And now I’m going to have to spend more money buying the appropriate parts to get my computer up and running again (money which we don’t have).

I cannot stress this enough to anyone wandering past this post:


Add Comment (0) | 9/2/2009



Half life

Filed under: General - Mark @ 5:15 am


If they ever make a Half Life movie (and they’re bound to eventually) they should get Hugh Laurie to play Gordon Freeman. On the new House poster (where he’s getting a tattoo) he’s a splitting image. I don’t know if Gordon can be British though…

Man it’s warm for 6am. And blogging on the iPhone sucks.

Add Comment (0) | 2/2/2009



Perhaps the good ol’ days weren’t that great

Filed under: General - Mark @ 4:35 pm


As you may know, I’m currently in the process of fighting with Tyan for them to warranty the motherboard on my Dual Opteron machine. Seeing as how that machine is now out of order, I’ve pulled out Angela’s old Packard Bell 2.8Ghz machine.

And it’s fine. Don’t get me wrong. I’m so glad to have a desktop computer to use when my laptop doesn’t hack it (I’m editing the latest Jeremiah 1:7 mag at the moment, which you can’t do easilly on the laptop). But it’s just not as fast as we like to think.

Kris and I like to reminisce to the day when we installed Windows XP on (what I think was) a Celery 300 with 64mb of ram or somesuch. You could literally watch the start menu being drawn on screen (we promptly went back to Windows 98 after that). It’s a bit the same with this. I’m used to having a Dual Processor 64-bit system with 4gb of ram and a the best part of a terrabyte of RAID-0 storage. A P4 2.8 (400Mhz FSB, so not even the 533 or 800), 1gb of ram (512mb was donated by yours truly) and Windows XP. It should be reasonably fast (OK I know it’s 5 years old, but so is Windows XP). And it probably is. It just doesn’t SEEM like it.

Add Comment (1) | 1/2/2009