Category Archives: personal

Down Under Geek

Last night I finally got to launch my new Tech Website – http://www.DownUnderGeek.com

This site will be focused on tech news, my views and opinions in that area and whatever else fits.

Yes this is something that 1000+ other guys do but I really don’t care. I want to have my little slice of that too. It will let me keep this website a more personal one – any techy stuff I can indulge myself there. I know your supposed to have one blog you focus on – once again – don’t care. I’m going to be doing both.

I’m actually really excited to be getting Down Under Geek up and running. For the last 4 months I have been working my butt off to get all of my “old” projects – all of the things that I have saving that “round tuit” for. I promised myself I would get the old ones done first. Well they are all done and now it’s time to get into all the new projects I have been coming up with.

What’s next on the list? Well first I have to fill out DUG – a few stories I have been saving up. But after that – we shall see…

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Credit card hacked

Got a phone call today from one of my credit card providers – Citibank. Seems my Mastercard has been “comprimised” and needs to be replaced!

They didn’t offer any details but I assume it was from that situation where 40 million credit cards have been comprimised in the States. From what I remember some merchant was keeping details the wrong way and basically they got busted. Must be costing the banks a massive amount to track down 40 million customers. Someone is going to have a big bill to pay.

Of course the customers (me) aren’t exposed – the banks have to cover any illegal charges to the cards. That’s their problem. But I have to now work out what recurring bills and accounts were set up on that card and change them so thats probably 6 hours work. Already had a problem with the subscription for one of my magazines.

Glad it wasn’t my other main card – everything gets charged to that – would take a couple of days to switch everything on that one.

Better check the statements in the next month or so.

A week of grey skies in Melbourne

Fiona and I have just spent a week in Melbourne.

She spent a week working at the Austin Hospital in Heidelberg – looking at some new techniques, new equipment, procedures etc for her Mid-Wife work at home in Mildura. I think initially she thought it was going to be a bit of a waste of time for her. But from the first day she she talked about all the new things she had learnt each day. So I think she has really enjoyed her time here.

http://www.oldenglandhotel.com.au/

I have basically been working in the motel we have been staying at – the Old England in Heidelberg. There aren’t any “regular motels” around the hospital – or seemingly from our research, any close to nearby train stations. So we decided to stay at a local pub which we found on the net.

Its a great pub – its more than just a bar. It has a large dining room which has been packed all week for dinner – good food too. Plus it has a cafe, bottle shop, lounge bar, sports bar etc. So its a bit more than your basic pub. Very old place too. 150+ years. Apparently it used to be a house where the local artists would hang out. So they have lots of old Australian paintings around the place.

As a work place it hasn’t been great. No table in the room so I have had the laptop perched between my legs with my feet up on the spare chair all week. But it did the job.

No internet!! Not that I was expecting any at the pub – but they teased me by having a “Phone / Internet” plug in the wall which Fiona found on the second night. Plugged in – nothing happened. Found out the next day that the plug has just recently been installed – the actual internet hasn’t been hooked up yet though.

Couldn’t find any wireless hotspots I could use around the local shopping centre. Found an internet cafe that was good enough to let me plug in to their network though. Let me download some email and some podcasts to listen to. Kept me a bit sane.

But for the entire week – 1/2 hour of sunshine. Just grey skies and a bit of drizzly rain. At least Melbourne kept its promise.

Old Friend – New Friend

Today I travelled into the city (Melbourne) to catch up with a very old friend from school – Judd Neiman. Plus I got to meet a new friend I made on Whirlpool – Stephen.

Judd and I went to Willyama High School in Broken Hill. We also played guitar a bit together. Not that I was ever anywhere near as good as Judd – he is very talented. Plus we were both into computers and stuff at school when most others weren’t.

Haven’t heard from him for probably 20 years. Then the other day I got an email from another school friend, Christian Lowe, and he sent me Judd’s email as well.

Judd and I arranged to meet in the city near the Flinders St station. Well I managed to stuff up that simple task – the ticketing system in Melbourne is pretty simple once you understand it but I still needed help to get started. Probably the same everywhere.

But as the train got into town we pulled into Melbourne Central Station. Being an ex-Sydney boy I figured they had renamed their main station to Central :) So I jumped off, headed outside and quickly worked out I was half-lost. And not where I was supposed to be. Actually I was exactly where I needed to be – but 3 hours later in the day when I was going to be meeting Stephen.

I jumped on a tram to head downtown and meet Judd at Macca’s like we had arranged.

Quick Note – you can’t log into a Macca’s / Telstra wireless hotspot using Firefox – you seem to need IE to get it started. Once logged in it was pretty good though. Very handy.

Judd and I went over to Southbank and had a couple of coffee’s over there and caught up. He is looking well. Bit pudgier as we all are :) He is about to have his first kid in a few months which is great. He works for IPA as their IT Technical Manager. I think he enjoys it. Bit disappointed to have missed out on the reunion a few months ago in Broken Hill – maybe in another 10 years ? Actually we should have a 25 year one I think.

After seeing Judd I headed back to near Melbourne City Station and met up with a friend I have made at the Whirlpool website. Stephen and I got chatting online about TechTV and how to download it off the net – all good geeky stuff that I won’t go into here. It was great to meet him face to face. We headed out for some Greek food for lunch – love the restaurants in a big city. Mildura is great and has some top quality restaurants – but the variety is missing in a country town.

Stephen and I talked about all sorts of things – macs, sci-fi, podcasts, atkins diets, internet etc. Really nice guy and I look forward to catching up with him again.

Melbourne finally decided to rain on the one day it wasn’t supposed to. So I got a bit wet heading back to the train station. Couldn’t find another Macca’s to hook into a wireless hotspot to get the rest of my podcasts and email. Bugger it – figure I can survive till Saturday night.

Quick – tidy the house – Slashdot is coming over

Welcome Slashdotters…

For those who have no idea what I am talking about, I had a article published on the Slashdot website. Anyway. Been a long time since I did an update on this. Had a very busy summer / Christmas updating software and other sites. Went very well. Just done a little update to this blog too – made it a little brighter and fixed up the RSS / Atom feed for it.

Had a great Christmas / holiday with the family and Fiona’s family. We spent Xmas day in Dubbo after flying to Griffith and then getting a hire car. Much better than driving all the way and HEAPS cheaper than flying via Sydney. Then flew back after a couple of great days.

Worked out the problem with the digital TV – it was the crap external USB1 box that had the problem with WIN / Prime (9/7). Got a nice internal TV card now and it does the job niceley. The photo moblog was fun over Xmas – took a few photos of the trip as we drove along. Need to edit the comments a bit and probably post some more there too.

Plans for the wedding are going along fine. Only 6 weeks to go or something like that. Went down to Adelaide a couple of weeks ago to register for gifts at Myer and get me a nice suit. We have met with the people at the reception place. I think this weekend we are going through the vows and sorting out some other little things and then we will be pretty much done. Really starting to look forward to it.

Dad is enjoying retirement. Keeping himself busy around the house and garden. We have been playing a bit of golf each week which is nice. Mum obviously enjoys having him home. Megan has moved back to Mildura for 6 months or so after leaving her job in Adelaide. She is looking to do something in Melbourne later in the year. She has been helping me get the updates for the Mildura Victoria websites ready.

Hope all is well with you.

It’s November – this must be Adelaide

Been a while since the last blog. Had a very busy month or so.

Been updating the website for my company – Mildura Internet. Site desperately needed an update. It was quickly put together last year when I first moved to Mildura. Didn’t mean it to last this long but being so busy this year with work I haven’t had time to update it.

Need to update Mildura Victoria next – another one I thought I would have gotten back to by now but haven’t. Fiona and I went to Adelaide last week for a weeks holiday. Stayed at the Grand at Glenelg which was very nice. Bit of indulgence works wonders. Had a great time catching with family and friends. And bought a few pressies for ourselves as well – iPod for myself and Fiona, new Motorola v620 phone for me, some books, clothes, some wine and cigars, new cigar lighter and cutter.

I’m hoping to get some photos up online in the next week or so. Took a heap of them in Glenelg and some came out really well. Also hoping to get a moblog up and happening with the mobile phone. That’s where I can take a photo with the mobile phone and get it up online asap. Might check it out this afternoon.

Got a digital TV tuner for the computer. Looks pretty good so far – ABC & SBS are great and I think (hope) WIN/9 and PRIME/7 are still testing their signal.

Enjoyed watching the cricket from India on Austar/Foxtel. Was brilliant being able to work at home, notebook in the loungeroom, watching the cricket. Love my job. Watching the NZ series now. Don’t think the Kiwi’s have much of a chance. The Pakistan tour could be good though.

Mum is a lot better now. Finally got herself on a course of anti-depressants to help her even things out. After 3 weeks of getting the dose up she is looking great now.

2 weeks to go before Dad retires. He is pulling stumps on Dec 6, 2004 – 50 years to the day that he first started work!

Awesome effort.

Eric the 6th – New PC

Time for a new computer !!

Well – time for a new desktop anyway. I have a newish Dell 600m laptop that I bought about 3 months or so ago (recently upgraded to 1 gig ram – best thing!!). But my old desktop and second computer is getting very old. I’ve been wanting to use it more for video and photography stuff, DVD editing, GAMES, Fiona’s machine, GAMES and um DOOM 3 and Far Cry :)

So for the last few months I’ve been thinking about a new computer. I was going to try to upgrade the current unit but that basically meant everything anyway – probably even a new PSU to drive everything and then a new case would almost essential for better circulation etc.

Decided to go AMD. Something different. Seems to be better value than the intel units. Plus I wanted 64bit and NX on the board for better protection. I was going to go for a mid-level graphics card. But with the new cards from NVidea and ATI there was a massive jump and so I wet with a NVidea 6800. Memory was 1 gig (2 x 512) but went for Crucial Ultra Low latency stuff. Supposed to be good for 20-30% better speed. Hard drive was going to be a simple biggish drive but it got to a point where everything else was going to be the best speed – so a SATA Raid array was the go. Motherboard was ASUS – just good value and better quality. Powersupply is a Thermal Take 560W unit. Got it not necessarily for the extra W but because that unit has sleaved cabes – better for airflow again. And it all does into a nice Lian Li 61 case.

Again – the best.

AMD Athlon64 3200+ 2.0GHz 64-Bit CPU?Asus K8N-E Deluxe nForce3 250 Athlon64 Skt754 M/B?Asus V9999GE “Gamers Edition” 6800 AGP Video card – 256Mb?PC-3200 1024MB Corsair TwinX-XL 2-2-2-5 Xtra-Low Latency (2x512MB sticks)?Pioneer DVR-108D Black IDE DVD-RW drive?Samsung SM352 Black CD-RW+DVD ROM?Black-anodized Midi Tower all-Aluminium case Lian Li PC61?ThermalTake Black Silent Purepower 560W PSU

Basically it kicks ass !!!!

I’ll get some pics up once I work that bit out.

The Late September Blogs

Thought it was time to get back into this blog thing. Been a very busy couple of months with work and unfortunately I never took the time to Blog very much. Kept thinking – “Oh this would be great to blog – but I want to do this first…” once you fall behind its hard to catch up. So anyway – this is a bit of an attempt to catch up somewhat and then just keep going.

Work with the internet stuff has been very busy. Got a few websites to do locally – mostly from word of mouth which was cool. Didnt really have time to do them with all the other stuff I had planned but did them anyway. Good experience and the money was OK. Didnt take too much time.

Also been maintaining the Mildura BEA website as that happens, and also the Chamber of Commerce site. Started doing some major updates on that today – Members Directory, Forum, Committee page, advertising, and some other great ideas I have for the site. I nominated again for the committee and got on. Doing lots this year for planning for the next few years. Good stuff.

Built a vege patch in the back yard. When Fiona and I decided we were staying here in this house for another 12 months, I wanted to build a vege patch and make this place feel like home a bit. Plus its a good chance to have a trial run and make all the mistakes here. And somehow – after checking etc – we still managed to pierce the back sprinkler system underground. So now we have to use a manual sprinkler to water the back yard. Bit of a pain but wont be hard to fix. Got lots of tomatoes, capsicums, spring onions, carrots, corn and other stuff planted. The herbs from last year have virtually all come back to life and are firing along.

We have also set up curtains in the house to try to keep it a bit cooler over summer. That was fun – me and a drill attacking some walls :)

Bought a colour printer for fiona so she can print off some photos. Got a Canon i905D unit which is great. I am planning on organising a photo album online so I can post some other photos etc. Still got the Canon Ixus 400 camera but just waiting on replacement for Fuji F610 to upgrade.

Also built a new computer from scratch but thats another blog…

Michael Day

I was actually going to write about this yesterday. But just as I was getting comfy on the lounge, I got interupted a bit. The last month or so has been so flat out with a couple of big websites and other things to do. Yesterday I decided to take a couple of days off and look after myself a little bit.

Putting together this weblog and my own site was all part of Michael Day. I also watched a couple (OK – three) episodes of The West Wing Series 2. I got the Region 1 Complete Season last week and this was the first chance I’ve had to watch
it a bit. Love watching the episodes with the writers / directors commentary.

Its been good to take a bit of a break from things and look after myself a bit.

Second Thoughts

Been playing around with this weblog thing now for a couple of days. Been having a lot of fun putting together the colours and the layouts. I’m liking it more and more.

Yesterday I decided to finally do my own website. I’ve had the domain name registered for almost 12 months and I’ve been using it for email since Christmas. But I have been too busy to sit down and create a website to go along with it. http://www.michaelquinn.com.au

This weblog will be my main website for entering thoughts and links and stuff. But I wanted something on that domain name that would be a bit of a summary with a link to here and a link to my work.