Some technical articles if you’re interested

I have a technical blog that I occasionally add articles to, so that I don’t bore you with hi-tech ramblings here. But in case you’re interested, here’s a brief summary of some recent articles.

Cool technology – fun with PVRs
Some amazing facts – just incase you’d like to be impressed.
My Inbox – This is an amazing feat for me!
Slideshow from RSS for WordPress – Some pretty stuff for blogs

I also have a ShipWatcher blog that has some interesting articles about ships. I add all my ship articles here. But if you’re interested:
SS Orford – A short life. Don Bradman travelled on this ship.
RMS Orion / SS Orion – The first “Ten Pound Pom” ship, launched by remote control from Brisbane.
New Instant Slideshows! – A cool new feature I’ve added to ShipWatcher
Crystal Serenity / Crystal Symphony – some new ships I’ve added to ShipWatcher

Before and After

Before and After

Before

After

BeforeAfter

I have this terrible habit of forgetting when to have a haircut.

I leave it for months, and slowly end up looking more and more like somone on a “Wanted” photo.

I’d had enough today and decided to get it cleaned up, so I went down to “Just Cuts” at Strathpine and let Vikki have her way with my hair.

Going to the hairdresser is more than just getting a haircut. It’s more like going to a see a shrink, with a bit of grooming thrown in – especially if you get someone good to cut your hair.

The person who cut my hair was from Macedonia and very interested in History. So I received a fantastic lesson on the history of the Macedonian people with some interesting facts about Alexander the Great, and the differences between our independent Aussie culture, and the family-centric Macedonian culture where family and neighbors often walk into your house to say hello, usually without invitation.

What an amazingly diverse and interesting world. So much to see and hear. So little time.

Meanwhile, I feel much better prepared to see more of the world, now that I don’t look so scruffy!

Help the drought

Woolworths Ltd has made a significant contribution to drought relief by committing its entire profits for the day from its supermarkets to the Country Women’s Association and research into sustainable famring practices.

The total amount should be $3 million.

The big day is Tuesday, January 23 2007.

So if you’re planning a big grocery shop soon – why not wait till the 23rd and shop in aid of drought relief at Woolies?

Don’t forget to tell your friends.

Save a man’s life

I think drug trafficking is a terrible crime. Offenders should be dealt with severely.

But I strongly oppose the death penalty, and especially “Mandatory Execution” where a government stipulates that someone found guilty of a crime MUST be executed, without reference to any mitigating circumstances.

This is the case in Singapore today.

Van Nguyen is a convicted drug trafficker who will be hanged on 2 December 2005 unless by some miracle, the Singapore government changes its mind.

So far they have been unmoved by legal appeals, or by appeals for Clemency on moral or ethical grounds. So I fully support the efforts of Rights Australia to urge companies and people that hold significant investments with the Singapore government to lobby them.

Do you have an Optus phone, or internet account? Optus is 63% owned by the Singapore government. Other large Singapore concerns include SP Ausnet (Victorian Power Company) and Singapore Airlines. Click here for information about how you can ask these companies to support the campaign for clemency for Van Nguyen.

Utopia

Utopia

Utopia

Farewell to Utopia… for now.

I’ve spent the last six months in a strange place called Utopia.

People will tell you it’s an online game where almost 1,500 teams (kingdoms) of up to 25 members (provinces) pit their warring skills against each other.

But it’s much, much more than that.

There are plenty of articles already available on the internet about Utopia ( http://games.swirve.com/utopia), so I won’t duplicate that here.

I found Utopia very addicitive because I was commited to a group of people who were also commited to me. I spent hours researching, planning, watching, fighting, because I didn’t want to let my team down. I know they probably did the same as well.

I created a character called “The Wise Lady Sohpie” – an attacking woman who rose through the ranks to become a first a Baroness, then a Viscountess in July this year. I came to love Sophie (whose name means “Wisdom”) because she reminded me of my wife Liz. Smart, strong and commited to friends. It felt a bit weird playing the part of a woman when I was a man, but I figured that this was a fantasy world, and my team mates didn’t really care what I looked like in real life. I told any of them who asked. Apart from that, I just let Sophie do her thing.

The luckiest thing was that Sophie ended up in a kingdom called “Haven’t Decided Yet”. Don’t let the name fool you – these guys are tough. Led by Wise King Roger, we won three wars this age, and three wars last age. Legend has it that in ancient days King Roger led his kingdom through a golden age where they never lost a war, and had other kingdoms fleeing in terror.

Our kingdom was blessed with some strange but fearsome creatures. I can’t mention all of them here, and I know they’ll forgive me for mentioning just a few of them. These are real people who I interacted with on an almost daily basis.

Baroness Tekeelya is a magical elf who has specialized in a life of crime. If you annoy her she can call down a storm of meteors from the sky to wreak havoc on your lands. But she can also kidnap your peasants, or rob you blind. She often gazes into her crystal ball to see things that many of her friends can not. On our Island of Mortov, there is none more honorable than she is. Honor in utopia is something that is fought hard for, and prized more highly than power or expansive lands.

The Great General Belgarion is an awesome attacking Orc who can capture land from armies much bigger than his. Many the time I’ve seen him return from battle having captured hundreds of acres. I’ve never seen him fail in an attack. Ever.

Lord Icron is a Halfling who recently decided to be a rogue. Don’t let his size fool you. Icron’s thieves are terrible. Many times they have snuck into an enemies lands at night to wipe out thousands of troops. In times of war, he spreads propaganda throughout an opposing army, demoralizing them and bringing them to their knees. He told me of his life in a previous age as an attacking Avian, and how he missed his “birdies”, but I think he made an excellent Halfling.

And Wise King Roger… Of all the people in our land, his libraries are the biggest. His armies were busy most of the age, pillaging, looting, taking land, even stealing books for his libraries. He doesn’t say much, but he knows how and when to pick a fight. Sophie was a sage like Roger, and I learned a lot from watching how Roger did things.

As a rule, I never play computer games. I spend enough time online doing my job. So this has been quite an experience for me.

But it has taken up so much of my time that I need a break from it for now.

I can’t just spend less time on it per day, because Sophie’s province wouldn’t be as strong as it deserves to be. So the Wise Noble Lady Sophie is taking a vaction for a few months.

To the wonderful people of “Haven’t Died Yet”, I love you all. Thank you for letting me be part of your kingdom. You’ve taught me a lot, and I hope that I can join you again in future.

Ooo, Ahh, Glen McFantastic

What a cricketer!

Glen McGrath took 4 wickets for a miserly 16 runs in the one-dayer against New Zealand today. This man’s bowling is artwork on legs. He doesn’t have the fiery pace of Bret Lee, but his unerring accuracy, and his grasp of the situation has saved Australia’s bacon on many occasions, including today.

With two overs to go, 13 runs still to get and 4 wickets in hand, it seemed as though Australia was going to be on the receiving end of a Kiwi victory. But then Lee knocked over McCullun and Vettori in his 10th over, and McGrath claimed the scalps of Marshall and Tuffey in the 50th over.

McGrath just gets better and smarter with age.

To watch a young tallented sportsperson excel in their sport is exciting, but to watch an experienced master of the craft is inspirational.

Here’s what the ABC had to say:
http://www.abc.net.au/sport/content/200502/s1306563.htm