January 2003 Archives

Tragedy at Waterfall

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Waterfall Derailment

The picture on the right says it all really.

From SMH:
Nine people are confirmed dead, and 39 injured in hospital, after a peak-hour commuter train derailed in Sydney's south today. The driver was killed, many people remained trapped in the wreckage and it was feared that the death toll could rise.

Initial reports were that it was a south-bound train (heading away from the city), but there were conflicting reports, and I worried about some friends of mine that live in Helensburg and catch the train to work. A mobile phone call later confirmed they were ok.

In a way it was a good thing that it was a southbound train, as the casualties could have been a whole lot higher if it had been a citybound train.

My brother (who works for Cityrail) got to the site, he said it was pretty bad.

For some bizarre reason this affected me a whole lot more than the Glenbrook train disaster - prolly cause this is so much "closer to home".

I have algae!

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I was beginning to think I was doing something wrong with my fish tank - because even though the plants are growing like crazy, I didn't have any algae - except for a tiny bit on the leaves of the plants I got from Ding. But tonight I was sitting looking up at the lights through the front glass and noticed a few spots of yellowish algae growing on the front of the tank - so my tank is normal after all!

On Tuesday I borrowed an ammonia, a nitrite and a pH test kit from Luc, and tonight I got Luc's nitrite and phosphate test kits off Daniel, so now I can do some baseline tests of the water before I add any fish.

Ding got some fish for his tank this week, so now I'm *dying* to get some fish and get the nitrogen cycle started. I'll probably get some Zebra Danios on Saturday if all goes well :)

It was 45C in parts of Sydney today, although cooler here closer to the coast. The temperature was a bit over 29C in here - so at least while this room is hot, it's consistently hot, and doesn't seem to fluctuate more than a degree or two, which the fish should be able to cope with.

I really do have more meaningful stuff to say today.. like that I got my support mail job back at cia (yayyy).. and the search terms used to bring people to my blog are just as crazy as the search terms used within it (eg kazza when people really mean kazaa - don't even get me started on that).. and the plants in my fish tank are growing like crazy.. and I hate microsoft with a vengeance (unpatched sql system=secure; patched sql system=vulnerable).. but it's This or That Tuesday (Wednesday by the time we get it), so here we go.. :)

1. Kleenex or tissue? Tissue
2. Soda or pop (or tonic or whatever)? Lemonade?
3. A sandwich on a long roll: sub or hero (or hoagie or grinder, etc)? Roll (unless it's at Subway, when it's a subway :) )
4. Glasses or spectacles? Glasses
5. TV or television (or boob-tube, or telly, for our friends across the pond)? TV or tele
6. Movie or film? Movie
7. Sofa or couch? Lounge
8. Stove or range? Stove
9. Remote control or clicker? Remote control
10. Supermarket or grocery store? Supermarket

Oh well, it wasn't even a very interesting one this week


At the very end of last year (the last two days in fact), I went down to Canberra for a couple of days. I had free entry to Questacon, so met up with Luc, Liz, Marc and Ryan, and James, George, Josh and Rachel on the night of the 30th, and we'd go to Questacon the next day.

On the 30th I drove down early, arriving by 10am (stopping briefly in Goulburn), and went to Cockington Green, the National Capitol Exhibition (at least I think that's what it's called), the new Parliament House (which I walked to the top of - I'd never done that before), the Royal Australian Mint, Black Mountain Tower (I refuse to mention the name of the telco that owns the tower), before meeting up with Kin Hoong for dinner.

I'm still quite sad that I didn't get the time to go to Mt Stromlo, I'll never get the chance now (even if they rebuild, it'll never really be the same).

Anyways, photos are online on conspiracy.

I was fiddling around with the config of my blog today and noticed you can get an activity log of entries added and search terms used. The following are some of the keywords entered into the search thingie in my blog:

'arvrillavinge-i'm with you'
<lots of other sex-related entries from the one ip address snipped>
'vodafone credit codes'
'free top up codes '

the last two and avril lavinge make me wonder the most. Like, isn't it *obvious* that my page is a blog?? And I don't even have any entries even *remotely* related to those search terms.

People are weird!

Harry Potter DVD
Well it finally happened - I bought my first ever DVD - Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone. It was a bit of an impulse buy from an SMSPUP promotion, they sent me a link to Atlantic DVD, and I just wanted to see if they had it in widescreen. Ooops! :)

Actually I mainly bought it because I wanted the sound track cd that came with this particular box set. I figured $45 wasn't too bad for a movie *and* a CD.

So now my DVD collecting has begun. The silliest part about it is I don't even have a DVD player at home (I have one in my computer at work though). Not that that's stopped me before - in 1990 I bought my first ever CD without having a CD player :)

My first CD and first VHS video were both of "Labyrinth". I considered buying Labyrinth on DVD when I saw it in America at the end of 2000, but it was like $30 US which would have made it $60 - couldn't quite justify it. So I'm breaking with tradition, but I think I'll live!

Internet Mood

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Ever wondered how the internet is feeling? Well according to imood, the internet currently feels tired.

Well at least the biggest number of users of that site are :)

I found the imood site on a random blog - I put "boring life of geek blog" into google and found Moonstomper at the top of the sites returned. Silly really!

I also changed the subject of my blog today to "Boring Life Of a Geek" - cause I reckon that's what blogs really should stand for (as opposed to the shortened version of "weblog"). One of these days I'll find an appropriate picture or graphic to stick up there as well.

About to go off to the Powerhouse Museum for the afternoon with my Daddyo - he hasn't seen the "Star Wars Magic of Myth" exhibition yet, and I get free entry so going to see it again.

Spent three hours doing the support mail tonight. I know, I'm totally insane. But it was killing me seeing the queue so big (was something like 60 mails in the queue), so I hacked it down. There's now 8 new and 7 open.

I almost stopped when I came across this one though:

I didn't receive a reply to this in 9 days so im reforwarding this on.
I think your response rate to emails is very poor.

It's enough to make you want to cry. I still haven't answered it either. What do you say to something like that?

Can't say any more without getting myself into trouble :/

Plants and Movies

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My plants are growing! (in my fish tank) Some of the new grass shoots have been growing at a rate of a couple of centimetres a day! Very cool. Will have a look at getting a yeast CO2 reactor going, just as soon as I get a pH test kit so I can check the pH levels before and after running it.

Movies I've seen recently:
Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers - BIG is the word I'd use to describe this movie. An epic of, well, epic proportions.
Catch Me if You Can - highly entertaining. Even better cause it was "inspired" by a true story. Apparently the dude payed back all the money he stole, by making a fortune developing anti-fraud systems :)

Movies I want to see:
Star Trek Nemesis - next (final?) nextgen Star Trek movie. Comes out Feb 6 here, must see!
Bowling for Columbine - supposed to be very good, and very funny, although not in mainstream theatres here.

Shopping Trolleys

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Wednesday nights I usually go walking with my friend George(ina). Tonight, both of us needed milk, so we decided to walk to the shops. Along the way we passed several abandoned shopping trolleys. One of them was from Target, about a suburb away. Another was from K-mart. The nearest k-mart was three suburbs away! I can't believe people walk their shopping trolleys those sorts of distances! That's just nuts if you ask me.

Closer to the shops we passed two more trolleys belonging to the centre, so we wheeled them the rest of the way. People watching must have thought we were crazy :)

Then we had to walk back to George's place with kilos and kilos of milk - good arm muscle workout if nothing else! Although I tried to minimise using my right hand, which is suffering from RSI at the moment from spending my life operating a mouse. It's aching quite a bit at the moment, even after spending all of today and some of yesterday using the mouse with my left hand - such a bizarre thing to get used to! We're looking at getting either a rolly-ball or joystick mouse for work that we can use when our wrists get sore from our ordinary mouses.

Urgh it's after 11. I wanted to be in bed by 10:30 tonight. /me grumbles off in the general direction of bed.

This or That

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I saw these on www.harryvolts.com, who steals them from www.ailurophile.com. I thought I might use them occasionally if I couldn't think of anything more interesting to talk about

1. Window shades or blinds? Here I have vertical blinds
2. Wall or desk calendar? I don't use a calendar. Sometimes I put stuff in my filofax, and I've used both wall and desk calendars in the past
3. Paint or wallpaper? Paint for sure, never ever seen wallpaper I like
4. Electric or gas stove? I grew up using electric, and have one here
5. Carpeting or bare floors? Carpet!!
6. One TV, or more than one? More than one. My dad fixes tvs, we had five colour tvs when we were growing up
7. Leather or fabric sofa? Probably fabric
8. Eat meals in kitchen or dining room? In front of my computer or tv (usually the same place)
9. Fabric or vinyl shower curtain? urgh, give me a glass door any day
10. Your kitchen: well-equipped or bare bones? fairly well equipped

Ring of Fire

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The image to the right is the bushfire "hotspots" around Canberra for the past 72 hours (different colours for the different days). I got this off the CSIRO site - they have a site called Sentinal (actually spelt Sentinel, but it appears people have been mistyping it into search engines and coming up with my blog - scary! currently located here) which has all the bushfire hotspots around the country.

My heart goes out to all those people who lost their homes and loved ones. Not much else I can say about that - what a tragedy .. 400 homes in one go and 4 deaths (so far) with hundreds of people injured, many badly burned.

I'm also kicking myself for not going to Mt Stromlo a couple of weeks ago when I was down in Canberra. It was on my list of places to see, I just didn't have the time to get there. Now it's all gone :(

Proliferating Plants

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New plants
Very excited, got lots of new plants for my fish tank today. Three varieties of dicots, some big leafy thing, and a grass. Also got an air stone and air pump and some long prongy things to reach the bottom of the tank.

I'm a bit worried about the temperature in my room. Yesterday it hit 30 and stayed there all day. It was hotter outside than inside though, so even a big fan wasn't much use. Today is much more civilised. I have the fan blowing and all the windows in the unit open, but still the temperature is 28C. We'll have to see how the plants cope over the next couple of weeks. Might have to look at some sort of cooling unit if they aren't coping with the heat.

Now my next step is to let all these plants establish themselves and then I can start thinking about putting fish in :)

Well last night we had the first Evilhouse video night of the year. The silliest part about it was that there were no Evilhouse residents in attendance. Striker was at a birthday party, Yvan was in perth and Crossfire had an anime event. Harley was filling in for Yvan, and Jess, JT, James and myself were there to watch "Live and Let Die" on tv and "Donnie Darko" on video (vhs - gasp!). A usual 2am finish.

Midnight, one more night without sleepin'
Watchin' till the mornin' comes creepin'
Green door, what's that secret you're keepin?

There's an old piano
And they play it hot behind the green door
Don't know what they're doin'
But they laugh a lot behind the green door
Wish they'd let me in
So I could find out what's behind the green door

Knocked once, tried to tell them I'd been there
Door slammed, hospitality's thin there
Wonder just what's goin' on in there

Saw an eyeball peepin'
Through a smoky cloud behind the green door
When I said "Joe sent me"
Someone laughed out loud behind the green door
All I want to do is join the happy crowd behind the green door

Midnight, one more night without sleepin'
Watchin' till the mornin' comes creepin'
Green door, what's that secret you're keepin?

Green door, what's that secret you're keepin?

Green door!!


ok so the song is about a dude that can't get any sleep cause of the parties going on next door, but whenever it gets to midnight and I'm still not asleep that's the song that goes through my head ... "midnight.. one more night without sleepin" .. well it's not quite midnight yet and I'm not even in bed so I suppose I shouldn't complain too much :) Oh the wierd and wonderful songs we learnt in primary school. One day I'll have to post up "look what they've done to my song, ma" .. hrmmmmm

It's a conspiracy!

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Bit of a slow news day today (the kambrook timer is working well with the fish tank lights, although I've noticed the water has become a bit cloudy, probably due to a bacterial bloom, but from what I've read, no big deal at this stage).. so thought I'd give a plug to my photo server - conspiracy.cia.com.au which I use to dump all my photos so they don't waste space on CIA's system. Events and Fun Stuff usually has the most recent pics.

I still haven't decided on a directory structure for all the files, the current one works ok, but has some problems (eg photos in a directory spanning more than a year will appear out of order). If anyone wants to make some suggestions, post a comment! :)

I went to Franklins (actually Food for Less now) today to buy a Kambrook timer, and as luck would have it, they had some nice 30L storage buckets. I bought two buckets - one for dechlorinating water, and the other for when I siphon off water during a water change. I've mostly filled one of them for my first water change, which I'll do in a day or two.

I set the timer to turn the lights on at 11:30am, and off again at 10:30pm. That's a lot of daylight, although my ordinary room lighting didn't seem to have supported a large growth of algae (ie, none) so it should be ok. Hopefully the fish will cope with the long days.. it'll be like summer all year round :)

The plants I planted last night look quite happy, they've straightened themselves up nicely and are heading for the tank lights.

First plants

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First plants
Thanks to Dingbat I now have a couple of little plants for my fish tank. They grow like weeds in his tanks, he says he's constantly pulling them out. Suited me, since I didn't have a thing growing in my tank til tonight (except maybe a few bacteria; even the algae hasn't taken off yet, probably because I haven't been running with the lights on).

Unfortunately I had to be a little bit brutal with them to try and get them to sit their roots under the gravel - I can't actually touch the bottom of my tank, even with my arm fully immersed :( So I had to shove them under with a ruler, and shift the gravel around them with the end of it.

Items on my fish tank shopping list now include:

* really long trigger-gripper things
* kambrook timer for the lights
* air stone and pump to create some nice looking bubbles and aerate the tank
* big bucket(s) for water changes
* some more plants

And this was in the Sydney Morning Herald a few weeks later:

By Jenny Sinclair
August 6 2002

Australia's new domain naming system brought in a lot of firsts - the first truly personal domain name, the first of the new com.au names and the first "reserved" or offensive word allowed to be used in an Australian URL.

The first Australian personal domain name bought under the new system was not Smith or Jones, but the wonderfully Australian "Kazza". Sydney woman Karen Johnson, 28, bought kazza.id.au, in preference to karen.id.au, because Kazza is what her friends call her.

"I just though Kazza would be a good name to have," she says.

Johnson, who works in IT at the University of New South Wales, says she was talking to a friend at an ISP and made a spur-of-the-moment decision to buy a domain name. She didn't imagine it would be the first of its type to be issued.

Technically, id.au names have been available before, but they were only sold under sub-domains such as "wattle.id.au".

There isn't much at her site yet; Johnson, a confessed Internet addict, is considering moving her personal site there soon.

She also bought the name johnson.id.au. "I got that for my family," she says. "I can set my e-mail address for whoever I want, so I can have colin@johnson.id.au (for her uncle)."

The first page she's hosted under the johnson.id.au URL is a memorial site for her grandmother, Win Johnson, who died last month.

In Adelaide, Danen Lush, 28, was the proud owner of the first com.au name under the new system.

For her, the new system was little more than a delay; she'd applied for bodyjewels.com.au just as the naming system was suspended over the weekend before the changeover, and it was registered on July 1 when the system reopened.

Now, a month later, she's busily building inventory for her start-up business, an online shop. Lush is selling jewellery, both the conventional type and for attachment to body piercings - hence the name.

She plans to keep the business virtual, operating from home.

Western Australian domain-name speculator Brad Norrish, 23, began domain-name trading several years ago.

He is participating in auctions for some contested generic domain names that are being sold by auDA through online auction house stuff.com.au.

Last month he picked up what Internet industry watchers would consider to be a couple of bargains when he registered f--.com.au and music.com.au for less than $100 each, at retail prices.

Neither were put to auction.

He says this is a good result when the generic auction has seen some hefty premiums paid for some names.

This was in the Sydney Morning Herald on July 1 2002:

By Jenny Sinclair
July 1 2002

Today's launch of the new Australian domain system was a success, according to new registry operator AusRegistry.

But one of the eight new registrars was not selling names four hours after "go live" and most registrars - and AusRegistry itself - did not have a public who-is service for looking up the owners of Australian domain names for a large part of the day.

Managing director of sales and marketing for AusRegistry, Adrian Kinderis, said it was up to the registrars to activate their links to the whois function; he said it should not be preventing name sales because a whois is not a "name availability check".

AusRegistry's whois was working from 10 am, but at a Web address not linked from their public site. It was added to their site by 2pm. The personal id.au namespace also got off to a slow start, with at least three of the new registrars not adding the option to their sites after the system was turned on at 10 am this morning.

Kinderis said several hundred id.au names were sold by lunchtime; the first was "kazza.id.au."

Even former com.au sole registrar, Melbourne IT, which has heavily promoted id.au, did not have the namespace as an option on its front page, although it was offered as "other .au".

In the first hour and half, "different registrars (were) finding problems .. because it's the first time they've entered a live environment," he said, but by 2pm the seven working registrars were not having any problems.

Kinderas said some registrars had not taken advantage of a short "live test" window on June 30 to iron out problems.

Most of the problems involved were with connecting to the AusRegistry system, he said.

West Australian registrar Connect West was not selling just after 2pm today, and Kinderis confirmed they were "not up" yet.

A table of registrar prices has been privately compiled by auDA board member Joshua Rowe at this site.

Loonnnnnnggggg Day

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What a day. Up at 8am to be at work at 9 (on a Saturday, *shudder*). At work til 6pm, then came home, had dinner and watched Australia's Funniest Home Video Show, then working remotely for another four hours. The outcome of all of this? A web server that's now running windoze 2000 instead of windoze NT 4.

Actually it all went fairly smoothly, except the backup to another local scsi disk took far longer than expected which put us behind schedule. The firmware upgrades to the bios and raid controller all worked perfectly, so no panic moments with a machine refusing to boot. The suckiest part was the mess Frontpage 2002 extensions makes of permissions and group definitions. I kind of object to having an application create half a dozen different user groups for each virtual website. Sure maybe it makes assigning permissions more efficient, but not when we're used to doing it the way have been, all it does is clutter everything up. Damned microsoft.

Anyway, I've had enough for one night, will have another look at the rest of it tomorrow.

Harry Potter

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Harry Potter/Daniel Radcliffe
If you haven't read any of the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling, I suggest you find yourselves copies and have a read, they really are very good. I'm a hopeless reader (it took me over a year to plod through "The Hobbit") yet I managed to churn through all four Harry Potter books in two and a half weeks!

I'm still undecided on whether they'd be a good thing for Christian children to read. For the most part I think they'd be fine, there's just that small chance that a playful interest in magic could turn into a more dangerous interest in real witchcraft. I guess it's something parents should decide on, and use as an opportunity to discuss these sorts of things with their children.

As an adult though, they're fantastic, I enjoyed them immensly. The movies were great too, I just saw "The Philosopher's Stone" again recently and loved it all over again, especially the score by John Williams (who is still going strong at age 70 - I wonder what Steven Spielberg will do if he dies - John Williams has written the music for all of Spielberg's movies except Duel and the Color Purple).. oops I digress.. I meant to say that I feel kinda sorry for Daniel Radcliffe who plays Harry .. it must be weird to walk around any shopping centre and be surrounded by pictures of yourself!!

Anyways, read the books, see the movies, enjoy :)

I never realised just how much chlorine they put in Sydney water until last night. On the weekend I got a fish tank (a nice AR-620T from Strictly Aquariums) and I've been running water through the filters to get the bacteria thing happening. I noticed that the tank wasn't evaporating very much (the water level hadn't dropped at all since I filled it), so I opened the hood and poked my nose in to have a look. I was nearly overwhelmed with the chlorine fumes trapped between the water and the hood of the tank! It smelt like a heated indoor swimming pool. This is why fresh water fish tank owners need to "age" their water by letting it sit for a day or two in the air to let the chlorine dissipate out before adding it to the tank.

The Blog has Landed

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Well I haven't exactly achieved much tonight, I still haven't been able to find a template/style I like. More searching tomorrow night I guess. Meanwhile it's 11pm on a school night, I think it's time for bed!

Well the time has come (apparently) for me to run my first blog. Until two days ago I knew what blogs were, but never heard them defined. I don't for a second believe that this blog will be useful or interesting to anyone, but hey, you never know :)

Kazza's "Boring Life Of a Geek" aka BLOG

IT geek, originally from Sydney, moved to Canberra in 2007. Married to "the sweetie", aka Stu. Prolific photographer, Lego junkie and tropical fish keeper.

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