I've been playing around with xplanet markers and the Real Time Cloud Map and to create a background that updates with timezones, weather and the movement of the Sun/Earth. I'm updating the background on my laptop every 10 min. The source markers file I create looks like this:
These get translated into xplanet markers containing the actual time in each location. I then run xplanet passing it the latest clouds image and markers file to produce the final result. A sample image is shown here.
Last night I was getting my hair cut and my usual hair dresser said "I have some bad news, this will probably be the last time I cut your hair as my boyfriend got a job in Brisbane and I'm moving there with him". To which I responded "Sorry to hear that. I guess being a hair dresser means that you easily find another job up there". To which she responded "Yeah, true... and you know, the world is only getting more superficial, so there's always going to be plenty of work around for me". I'm use to getting this type of argument from my left wing hippy friends, but not my hairdresser!?!? I'm definitely going to miss her.
command while holding down the connect button on the bottom. I didn't even have to restart X. It recharges over USB and can still be used while being charged. My laptop has Bluetooth built in, so it's a very neat solution requiring no cables or dongles (except when charging).
Michael, Anton and I headed up to Andrea's folks place for Thanksgiving day. Thanksgiving is notoriously bad for traffic but we managed to make the 180miles to Dallas in 3 hours with almost no traffic issues. Our Thanksgiving meal was much like my usual Christmas dinner in Australia. A sit down meal with loads of turkey and ham with a number of side dishes. We also got stuck into the wine with quite a few bottles emptied. After dinner, Andrea and Nancy took us down to the GayLoad Texan (sorry Simmo, I couldn't get you a T-shirt) to have a few drinks and look around. Pretty amazing building. We stayed the night in Andrea and Nancy's huge new trailer/caravan, then headed home. Fortunately, the traffic on the way home was also pretty light. Many thanks to Andrea and Nancy, and to Andrea's family for looking after us so very well. Anyway, enough with me rambling on, here's some photos. Update: Michael's take on events.
I've seen a couple of good bumper stickers while in Texas. One was a picture of a "W" in a circle which was crossed out. Next to it said "Wake me up when it's over" The second one was "Unions: from the folks that bought you weekends"
More evidence little Johnny is more interested in terrorist sensationalism rather than actually protecting us: "There were 10 changes to the Crimes Act since June last year, since surveillance first began on these folk, and any of these 10 changes would have allowed this alteration of the word 'the' to 'a' or 'a' to 'the'."
I normally watch the SBS news as IMHO it's far better than the commercial channels. Last night confirmed the shitty state of commercial news when one of them had a segment on a new drug to prevent migraines. It really shits me when they present something as news when it's obviously an ad for the drug company. Added to which, drug ads are not allowed in Australia. Immoral and quite possibly illegal activity.
Tridge grabbed my google maps based GPS stuff and has improved it greatly adding a lot more client side java script. He's setup a bzr repository for the code at http://gps.ozlabs.org/ (google API key is for gps.ozlabs.org only). Anyway, I found a line drawing package for java script so I've added some graphing abilities to his stuff. My first play with java script and bzr. You can pull from my tree at http://gps.ozlabs.org/mikey/. I've also setup a test page for my stuff here.
I've done the wanky thing and registered my own domain at neuling.org. From now on I'll be using mikey at neuling dot org (please delete any other addresses). I'll start moving other stuff over there (photo site, this blog, GPS page etc) when I get time.
Some friends visited the The Falkirk Wheel recently. It's a rotating boat lift which is the equivalent of a 8 stories high. If you're a geeky engineer, it's very cool. Checkout the site. There's also a Wikipedia page
Jo and I spent the weekend in Brisbane with Di and Brad. We had a fantastic time, mostly just hanging out in the city with them and their friends. Highlights included, the night cruise up the Brisbane river past the CBD on the CityCat and the closing night at Sur Taj. Thanks for a great time guys!!!! Some photos are available here.
Big weekend. The Taken played the Pot Belly Friday night. The other 2 bands were pretty good as well, the last being a rock'n covers band which played, amongst others, KISS and couple of Billy Idol song. Stayed out pretty late with some of the OzLabs guys causing Saturday to be a bit of a waste. Saturday night we saw Diesel at Tilley's. The show was similar to last time with just him and an acoustic guitar. Unfortunately there were some feedback problems which were rather irritating, but other than that, he's a brilliant performer. Sunday I went on the inaugural CLUG Bike SIG. Ended up riding a total of 67Km from leaving home to getting back with my first go up Black Mountain which is the hardest mountain I've climbed so far. Did it in a reasonable time for a first attempt, although Steve, who joined me, kicked my ass.
I've been playing with the Google maps API and GPSBabel. GPSBabel has beta support for my GPS under Linux and after looking at some packet dumps for a while, I managed to work out how it my GPS split tracks for each run and submitted a crappy 2 line patch. After a little scripting, I can now download runs and upload them to my site automatically. Checkout Mikey GPS runs.
Riding home tonight around State Circle, someone in an SUV coming out of a side street didn't see me, ended up locking up his brakes and, fortunately, stopped just beside me. He didn't come too close to hitting me and I did see him coming, so overall it wasn't too bad an incident. Anyway, after letting me past, he pulled up next to me and wound down his window. Thinking I was about to get a blast of "Get off the road you stupid hippy!" I was very surprised when he apologised saying "Sorry about that, I did see you through that pole". Although a pretty lame excuse (if you can't see, don't assume you can go), I'm impressed a bicycle rider got an apology from an SUV driver.
Two features I really missed from my GPS was pedal cadence and following prerecorded courses. Garmin have just released a GPS Cyclocomputer which supports these, plus all the other stuff mine already has. I really love and hate how fast technology moves sometimes, not that either of these features are especially new.
After Steve's ride up stomolo the other day I thought I'd try it out. I did it the other day in 13:36 (ave 15.9Kph over 3.61Km) but after talking to Steven offline, I realised I was about 300m short of where he measured from and to. So I tried again and this time put in a more effort. I managed to do the climb in 13.14 (ave 17.8Kph over 3.92km) which I was pretty happy with (over all ride was ave 27.1Kph over 29.64km). I managed to keep my heart rate at an average of 185bpm over the climb and 168bpm over the whole ride. Even on his "lackluster" ride I wasn't about to keep up with Steven but I would have been insight of him crossing the top. Yay!
I've got some time off work so I decided to make a todo list. I made the mistake of putting it up on the notice board at home and telling Jo she could add to it. Let's just say, I don't have to worry about not having anything todo anymore ;-) Anyway, on the list was to donate blood and I can happily cross that one off now. I've not donated blood for a few years now. Blood supplies are running low so if you're thinking about donating, now would be a good time. Checkout where to donate if you're interested. There are even mobile blood banks around the country (schedule available online). 80% of people need blood products sometime during their lives but only 3% of eligible people donate. Here endith the lesson
I thought I jump on the food reviewingband wagon and review the local eatery near work. As it's affectionately called around work, Shiterina's, or Shiter's for short, (can you see where this review is going). It's the worst place within walking distance of work. Actually, it's just one rung up from Crissy's place (it doesn't have a nick name as no-one from work goes there more than once) where you are often served by a couple who seem to have live festering open boils on their faces, which at any minute look like they could become the extra little something on your custard tart.... not a pretty picture when you're about to have lunch. Anyway, Shiter's has been slowly declining in all aspects from it's very shit state over the last year. Shiter's sells hot food (roasts, stews, rice, pasta, chips, pies, etc) and sandwiches (made on the spot or pre-made). The hot food was bearable initially, but it was always hit and miss. Then it became miss with the occasional hit, then it was all misses. Even the German guy at work, who loaded their hot food up with enough salt to double the weight of the original dish, had to admit defeat this week. Anyway, I gave up with their hot food about 6 months ago and started heading straight to the sandwich bar. The sandwich bar I actually liked (except for the slow service, but we'll get to that). They had Italian bread rolls, the hard kind that leaves your gums bleeding after eating (that's the way I like them) and lots of fresh ingredients. My special was Italian roll, avocado, fresh chicken pieces, alfalfa, mung beans, cottage cheese and sweet chilli sauce. Very delicious and I must say, the sandwich artists regularly commented "That looks really yummy". Cost about $8.50 with an OJ. Reasonable value in this day 'n' age. Unfortunately today's experience at the sandwich bar was somewhat disappointing. I noticed there were no Italian rolls in the display cabinet, but I asked if they had some anyway. The surly attendant (Sandwich artist he ain't) said sure, and then pulled some generic roll from below the counter and proceeded to slice it in half. I decided to let this slide. Then I gazed at the rest of the bar and to my amazement, there didn't seem to be any chicken, other than slices of chicken schitzel. So again I asked "err, um, is there any OTHER chicken?". "No" is the response, so alas that was my only option. Looking around further, there was also no cottage cheese, alfalfa or mung beans, so lets just say my sandwich ended up being a little more anemic than usual. On top of this, they decided to charge me almost $10 with my usual OJ mixer. The service at Shiter's is also something to be marveled. It's a typical cafe, run by someone who has never bothered to attempt to optimize their customer service any more than by telling their staff to work harder. Service times can be anywhere from 30sec to 15mins and usually involved standing in multiple, ambiguously defined queues. The staff seem to be always busy doing things, but no one ever seems to be getting anywhere. All the staff perform all tasks so they are constantly getting in each others way and having to swap tasks (which is especially hygienic when going from money to food service). So Shiter's gets a big thumbs down on the Neuling rating system. Enjoy.. or not.
I spent the weekend in Adelaide catching up with my folks and friends. It was Brad's 30th birthday party as well as my mothers birthday so it was a good time fly over. It's unlikely we'll see my folks until the end of the year considering our respective plans till then. My plane arrived in Adelaide at 7pm Friday night and we were booked into Chianti Classico (one of my mum's favorite restaurants) for 7:30. Brad's party was great which was helped enormously by Tennnille's planning (hopefully, this won't be the start of everyone trying to out do each other). They picked me up at around lunch time and we headed over they place. We did a few hours preparation but it was mostly pretty easy. People started rocking up at around 8pm. Tennille prepared a video for us to watch of Brad's life. This contained hundreds of photos of his life as well as words people used to describe him. She also put together a book with nice things people had written about Brad and many of the photos from the video. A pretty amazing gift which would have taken weeks of work. The video kept everyone entertained for about 1/2 hour and educated me on a few things I didn't know about Brad. I also managed to catch up with the Hungers group still in Adelaide at the party. Sunday I hung around with mum, taking Cherub for a walk and having a traditional Neuling weekend seafood meal at home. I took the late flight home which meant going via Melbourne prolonging the pain of sitting in small metal tube full of flu invested people.
Our ADSL modem (the custom power supply stopped working) died over the last couple of days. Hence the photo site I post last week has been inaccessible. Anyway, we picked up a replacement modem today so all's better.
I haven't done a puzzle for a while, but I heard this one over lunch today:
There are two doors, one with a prize behind it and one without. There are two people guarding the doors, one which always tells the truth and the other always tells a lie. They both know which door the prize is behind and if the other is truthful or not. You're allowed to ask one question to one of them and then you can pick a door to try to win the prize. What question should you ask?
Email your solutions. I'll post an answer in about a week.
I'm not much of a cycling fan but since Indurain started winning a bunch, I've been watching the Tour each year. I'm really happy and surprised (one of the joys of being ignorant of cycling for 95% of the year) this year to see Cadel Evans is well inside the top 10 in his first tour, less than 8 min behind Armstrong. Hopefully he can keep it up for the remaining 5 stages, especially for the time trial on Saturday.
My first Google Maps hack. This is of a walk Jo and I did the other day near home. I know very little about Java and associated web scripting tools so please don't look at the code. The center point is done by hand currently but I'm sure I could find it automatically. Anyway, the Google maps API is pretty neat. Only took about an hour to get this going from scratch (includes reading the API docs).
Lucy's blog in RSS. A horrible hack and very beta but feel free to use.
Just in... Blue Penguins fans stunned as Schwenke announces retirement
CANBERRA: Swarms of reporters and netball fans descended on the Ainslie home of Martin Schwenke, where he held a press conference to announce his retirement from Wednesday night netball. Amongst his reasons for retiring, Schwenke cited an aging body, and an overall lack of ability to cope with booner opposition and poor umpiring. Specifically he commented on "aggressive wankers who seem to think they're playing football" and "umpires who don't seem to be able to recognise or control aggression until it hits them (or someone else) in the face". Schwenke said that he would play his last regular game for the Blue Penguins next week before taking a break for about a month, but would fill in as necessary for the rest of the season.
An interesting game of Netball last night. Near the end of the second quarter, one of our players (Martin Pool) contacts one of the opposition in a typical unintentional play. The opposition player then deliberately pushes Martin. The umpire then gets upset with the opposition player and tells him to take it easy, to which he responds with "What did I do?". At this point, I look at him and say "For pushing him, Dick head!". This infuriates him, so he throws the ball at my head and starts coming for me. Jo then immediately and without hesitation, bolts from her position (and off side mind you) to stop this guy, along with the opposition goal attack. Jo screams in his face "Back off!". The opposition player is then sent off the court and out of the Netball centre by the umpire. While leaving, he hurls abuse at me, saying things like "I'm gonna get you!" and "I'm gonna be waiting for you outside the centre!" (which he didn't).... so yeah, kinda interesting game (which we lost)... So, what did we learn? Well, if you want to get to me, you're going to have to go through my lovely wife and you can trust me, that's going to be hard. I may look and be a big woosy bag, but she'd much rather be dead than see any harm to me and she won't back down, ever! Love ya honey!
Lots of stuff on this weekend. I spent some time at Dennis' place Friday night trying to get my old ADSL modem working. I bought the modem in Singapore in 2001 and have not used it since. I had a look on the Whirlpool website and found that I had to change the vc/vp numbers to 8/35. The modem has a serial port for configuration which you can connect to at 9600bps and presents you with a basic terminal interface. After trolling around for a while I found the appropriate configuration entry, changed it and luckly it worked. So I managed to spend/waste a couple of hours of my life to save $70.... anyway, next stop is getting an ADSL account. After my success on Friday night, I headed to the computer fair to pick up a few bits and pieces to connect the gear around the home. I managed to pick up an Ethernet card, 5m Ethernet cable and a line filter for $25. Then I blew the budget and got a 40GB hard drive for $40 (using my elite bargaining skills, I got him down from $45). Some of the stuff looked somewhat second hand but after getting it home and it all worked. Hopefully once we get our broadband connected, I'll host some more of our photos on the web (A quick note to all those geeks out there at the computer fair, you can't control the Matrix just by wearing a long jacket... and it would help if you bathed as well) Later Saturday, Jo and I went to see What the 'Bleep' do we know!?. Not enough time to write a full review, but it's definitely worth seeing although I wouldn't go when tired. It's more of a documentary than anything else and it draws on a number of fields, including quantum physics, psychology, religion, sociology and philosophy and tries to pull them all together. Afterwards we dropped by Martin and Mel's for a bite to eat and a chat. When we got home I found the access point in the roof cavity above the main bathroom. It's a no name brand broadband router but I don't believe it has wireless built in. Anyhoo, this was pretty useful as the port near the TiVo was not functional, so I swapped it with one of the other ports and now it works, meaning I won't have to run a long cable into the bedroom. Very neat. While in the roof, I also fixed the fan which didn't seem to be working as the laundry was getting very wet when the dryer was on. Also found the security system main hub. Today I went for a jog and discovered that I'm actually fit enough to do this at a reasonable pace without stopping. Having the heart rate monitor definitely helped as it made sure I didn't blow my heart rate out too far. Later Rebecca from Jo's work dropped by for a chat and to see the new place.
Jo and I went to see Hell on Wheels on Friday night. It's a documentary about the 2003 Tour De France which was the centenary race. Of course there was a larger number of bicycles parked out the front of the cinema. IMHO, the movie was OK, it started really well but didn't manage to keep up that level throughout the whole movie. It talked about the suffering that the riders go through but didn't show it that well. Did a little shopping after and grabbed a bite to eat a Milk and Honey. I ended up staying up late to install Ubuntu on my old laptop. Very easy to install but this is usually the case on older hardware. Sunday Paul and Alli came over for a pancake and muffin filled bunch. After they left I headed to Dennis' to help him with his MythTV install. I think I helped a little but we were mainly having problems with the binary ATI driver install.
Late last night before leaving work, one of the software engineers was having a problem with one of our cables and asked me to help fix it. After taking it apart the problem became obvious but it was late and I decided to leave it till today to fix it. So I wrote "Broken" on a post-it note and stuck it to the cable to ensure no one grabbed it and wasted any time using it, and threw the cable on the floor of my office (my desk was a mess as usual). This morning I came in to find the cable missing. So I trundled out to manufacturing to see if one of the guys had seen the cable with post-it and decided to fix it for me. Alas, they had not touched the cable. So next, I send a message around the office asking if anyone had picked it up, then started wondering around to see if I could find it. Still no luck. I even called one of the staff, who was the only one in the office last night when I left, who was on her way to the US (but in Sydney airport still) but she didn't touch it either. So where the hell did it go? There's little possibility that it was stolen as there's a bunch of other stuff that would be far more useful than this broken cable. So where has the stupid cable gone? The only plausible scenario left seems to be that the cleaner has thrown it away. The cable was marked broken and was sitting on the floor, coincidentally, next to my bin. I've checked the dumpster, but at around 10am it had already been emptied so (un)fortunately I wasn't able to rummage through a ton of garage to search for it. I've not been able to contact the cleaner either.
Our new place has a bunch of Ethernet ports in the walls, so over the weekend I set about trying to work out what they do. I thought they'd be point to point links but no. It turns out that every port is connected to an access point buried somewhere in the walls of our apartment. The access point even serves up DHCP requests and has a web browser built in (simple page just asking for a password). An nmap TCP fingerprint scan reports "SMC barricade wireless/Ethernet/DSL router" (from memory). The Ethernet port next to the TV only works (gives Ethernet activity) with a cross over cable and doesn't serve DHCP request so this is probably sitting on the access point port that normally connects to the DSL modem and runs PPPoE. So anyway, it's somewhat interesting. I need to get an 802.11 wireless card so I can checkout signal strength and potentially determine which wall the access point is located.
So we've moved... I'm stuffed, but we moved. All went to plan other than a couple of minor hiccups. We even managed to get all our bond back. The new place is about the same as the old just a little more roomy. We have the same phone number as before. I discovered that Telstra has the best business model in the world. If you have an unlisted number they charge you. Hence, they charge for doing nothing. I think I might start charging people money to not put them in my new directory service, say $10 a month.... so the tin foil hatters amongst you, send me your cheques!
There are now some public details of the work we've been doing with a basketball training company. Basically, we track a basketball in real time and measure the angle on entry. Relatively simple computer vision problem compared to faceLAB. Kinda neat though.