January 2008 Archives

Rainbows and stuff

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Have I ever mentioned how much I hate Vista?  If you take a memory stick out of the card reader while you still have its window open, explorer crashes so completely that new explorer and internet explorer windows simply won't open.  Until a frigging reboot!!

Played pool with the soss guys tonight.  We lost two games and won one.  Lotsa fun, even though I'm crap at it.

Then off to the Dumpling Inn with Damien.  Food was amazing as always.  Especially the shredded beef peking style :)

Then took some cool rainbow photos.

Rainbow and bridge
Then to Scotty's to watch some more Firefly.

Wednesday

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This morning I walked through a big cobweb as I was walking outside.  It was completely and utterly icky :(:(:(

At work I wanted to get two things done at the very least.  I got one done relatively quickly, but the other took the entire day to get done, due to multiple distractions.

Tonight we went to go for a walk, only to discover an incoming thunderstorm.  We walked 800m, cutting the walk short and getting home just before it started raining.

Incoming thunderstorm

Well I had quite a pleasant long weekend.  How about you? :)

Saturday morning I headed down to the lake for the F/A-18 flyby.  Took a photo of cannons while I waited..

Cannons by the lake
Right on time (I think), the F/A-18s flew up from the south east.  They were very fast and very loud.  I didn't trust myself with burst mode, but did get this nice shot of them just as they were separating.

F/A-18 Hornets
Then they fired the cannons.  I could feel the shockwave from them from where I was standing some distance back.

Cannons firing
On the way back to the car snapped this pic of a duck..

Duck swimming through reflection of Carillon
Then I headed off to Cancon, where Stu was competing.  I got there in time to see him finish his first battle.

Stu's first battle at Cancon
Damien requested this photo of an army in the "ancient" section.  I don't know who ended up winning, but the line held remarkably well, and they'd killed three of the four elephants at one point when I looked over..

Ancient army at Cancon
At lunch, Damien and Stu and I headed off to "New Asia" in Dickson.  Damien is a regular there and now is on first name terms with the staff :)   We had some delicious (if slightly *warm*) food there before heading back to Cancon for the afternoon session.

The beginning of Stu's second battle

Start of Stu's second battle
A close up of one of Stu's guns

Artillery closeup
And some more of his guns

Closeup of Stu's dudes
After the games, we came home, and Natalie and Andrew came over for pizza and movies.  I slightly overcooked the pizzas, whoops.  We watched Dr Strangelove, and Shakespeare in Love.  I think they had a nice time.. :)

Sunday morning Stu headed off to Cancon while I painted and built model aeroplanes, washed the sheets, did several days worth of washing up, etc. 

For dinner we went to Mamak Corner in Garran with some of the other war gamers.  More good food there.  I had some fried ice cream for dessert - haven't had that in ages.

Fried Icecream
Stu played both these dudes on his first day

Wargamers Phil and Roger
Today was more of the same for me, and indeed more of the same for Stu.

Stu won this trophy - the Captain-General's trophy for chivalrous behaviour (or something like that) :)

Captain-General trophy
Have to go back to work tomorrow.  Doh!!

I finally blogged my Millenium Falcon photos!!

Have a look - Lego Millenium Falcon (10179)

Anne.. book 4..

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So I've just finished reading book four of the Anne of Green Gables series. 
Half way through!

I have to say that reading them has been quite pleasureable, but also a little annoying. 

There's so little plot!!  So little conflict or turmoil.  Anne just seems to live this charmed life where everything goes right for her and everyone she touches is blessed.  The books are written more as little serials where each little adventure takes only a chapter or two and then you never hear of it again.  Throughout the series you are left wondering what is happening to Diana and Gilbert, as in book four you barely hear a peep over three years what is happening to them. 

The second movie was a mish-mash of stories from the second-fourth books.  I do rememeber the Pringle conflict in the movie sequel that came up in the fourth book, but the way it was dealt with in the book was so *silly* and *as if* prejudices could evaporate so quickly!

Don't get me wrong, I'm really enjoying reading these books.. it's just that they kinda lack *something*.. and don't know how much they'd stand up to repeated readings...

Eeeeeep!!

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So I was just puttering my way through the Riot Act tonight and saw a link to me!!! And nearly fell off my chair!! eep!! :)  Thanks for the link Fiona :)

Had my first night of overtime tonight.  It had the potential to keep us there for hours, but all went well and we were out of there by 8pm.

Goodbye Planetarium

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Tonight Natalie and some friends invited us along to the Canberra Planetarium and Observatory, which is closing this weekend :(

Although first off, we had dinner at a Turkish place in Dickson that was selling Lezzo.. which amused all of us..

Lezzo
And then on to the Planetarium

Canberra Planetarium exterior
This is the star projector

Planetarium projector
We saw the "Southern Skies" show, which was interesting enough, but really focussed on just the Southern Cross and a few things around it.

After the show he turned the dome lights on, so we could see through it - very cool!

Planetarium interior
Planetarium interior
Then we ummed and ahhed about going to the observatory.  The main telescope they use is actually the same as Michael's (a C-14).  But the dude said they also have a bigger one they use.  So we decided to go get a drink and come back for the 9:30 session (as it wasn't even dark yet at 8:30). 

So we went in and had a look at Mars, Betelgeuse, the Trapezium of Orion and the moon.  All good and all, but no different to seeing them through Michael's telescope.  Then he took us into the bigger telescope to show us Rigel, but because it was so high in the sky we couldn't use the ladder, and so ended up just using the "finder scope".  So that was all a little disappointing.  Oh well.

IK-6 Telescope
Afterwards we debated the man in the moon, and other possible interpretations of the dark patches..

Almost full moon
Definitely a fun night, and we both approve of Andrew.. :)

Weird day..

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It was such a weird day today.  Haven't really felt quite the same since they announced the mass redundancies a year and a half ago.  Just lots of strange politics and the feeling that some people don't quite *get* what's going on.  When the end of the day came and Chris suggested a beer at the local, I was well and truly up for it.

Flickr Meme

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I saw this at The Pen the other day and collected the bits for it.  Then of course Dave beats me to it and of course him being a graphic designer and all somewhat out-does my effort.  Oh well.

Flickr Meme
To play:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.  Mine was from definetheline - "Light in the Darkness"

Be sure to use an image with a Creative Commons Licence – keep refreshing until you find one!

Want to..

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Tetrical

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Just thought I'd have *one* game before I went to bed.  That game lasted for like 3/4 hour ...

Tetrical
Noticed an ip address in my blog's activity log that is the same ISP as us.  It did a search for "wedding".  Curiosity got the better of us, so we reverse looked it up, and it returned an organisation.  We looked through the staff of that organisation and found someone that Stu used to work with.  So this dude has been looking up our wedding details hehe :)  (hi Rusty if you're reading this! ;) )

And then I saw a search for "brother" from another Canberra address.. and wondered if it was my brother, who happens to be in town this week, looking himself up..? :)

3D Tetris

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As seen on Boing Boing.. stoopid game wasted like an hour and a half of my evening .. :(

Juvenile akure

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Stu took this lovely photo of his juvenile akure killi...

Akure Juvenile Killifish

Google let me down

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I've been trying for far too long this afternoon to figure out how to add target="_blank" to my insert link html.  In Movable Type 2, I'm pretty sure I did this in mt-cgi/tmpl/cms/edit_entry.tmpl

In a newer version, it was suggested to edit mt-static/mt.js  .. but I edited this file and it didn't work. 

So have been getting very frustrated because would rather not type in target"_blank" every time I insert a link :(

Dave you seem to have it working.. how'd you do it?

Our Saturday

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It was very hot today.  We didn't feel up to doing too much.  We went for a bit of a drive to have a look at a potential wedding venue, then headed out to Gold Creek to feed the fishies and have some lunch.  We had lunch at Cafe Injoy, which wasn't as good as last time (dirty glass, a caesar salad that wasn't), but still not bad, including some yummy zucchini balls.  Then we came back here and collapsed.  We really didn't have the energy to deal with my parents, so hid out in the study for a bit, and then they decided to go home.

This arvo just bummed around.. I wrote up my MT4 stuff.  Had some cheese kranskies for dinner and watched the Negotiator because Stu hadn't seen it.

And that was pretty much it.. boring really .. ;)

Photoshoot

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As I mentioned earlier today, I took a bunch of photos around the lake last weekend..

Captain Cook Fountain and Black Mountain Tower over Lake Burley Griffin
Carillon over Lake Burley Griffin
Old and New Parliament Houses over Lake Burley Griffin
Carillon interior
So as mentioned previously, it was my fifth Blogiversary this week.  I decided last year that I wanted to update the style, and the version of Movable Type at the same time.  And move it to a Webcity cPanel box. Unfortunately the weeks leading up to Christmas I was busy with getting ready for Christmas, and then we went to Queensland.  So I basically had one weekend to work on it, which was a lot less than I'd hoped for!

So anyway.  Here's some of my comments and traumas.

Install Wizard
The setup wizard was incredibly easy to setup and use - and it just worked!  Soooo much easier that MT2, which required a tonne of hacking.  I've not decided if I'll keep the default path where I just happened to dump the files, or see about changing it.  My last blog didn't use MySQL - I used Movable Type's version 2.661 database, which I liked using as I could easily backup the database myself by just grabbing the files.  I've still to write something to backup my MySQL database regularly. 

File Permissions
In 2004 I hacked my old blog to change the file permissions that MT uses by default.  For this version I followed these instructions to hack mt-config.cgi to include:
DBUmask 0022
HTMLUmask 0022
UploadUmask 0022
DirUmask 0022
This means that the files aren't written as being world writable - not good on a shared hosting site!

Style
The next step was to pick some sort of style for the site.  I decided that I wanted Black Mountain Tower in the masthead somewhere, to indicate my new life.  But I didn't have any good panorama type shots of it.  So dragged Stu down to the lake last weekend after church to take some panorama photos.  I used one of the "Cityscape" MT styles - the Sydney one actually! and then hacked that to bits.  Well chunks really, not little bits ;)  Found some actual bugs in the style sheet where Tiffany had misspelt tags so they weren't actually being used - tragic really for a professional. 

Widgets
I don't know if these were included in version 3, as I skipped straight from 2 to 4.  But they're pretty nifty.  It took me a while to actually figure out the Movable Type interface to find them - hidden away in the footer templates!! - under your 2 or 3 column layouts includes.  This site gives more info on changing the templates to use the drag and drop widget management bizzo - which I did and I can now drag and drop my widgets.  But by doing that you do lose some of the MTif statements for whether things like the archive descriptions are displayed on the archive pages.  I could hack all my widgets, or just have an index style and a non-index style column layout.  Still thinking about that one.

Gravatar
Getting Gravatar working again involved simply downloading the plugin and not so simply hacking the style sheet for it to display ok (I'm not very good at style sheets!)

RSS Feed
MT4 has a full feed RSS feed by default now - I just use the rss.xml file.  So anyone using my old rss url should use this one now.

Google Analytics
Inserted this into my footer template.  Strangely visits have gone up heaps since the changeover.  So either the old code wasn't being loaded properly, or visits are now working differently because of the broken image searches (see below for more on that).  I'm thinking more likely the latter.

Captchas
Now included with Movable Type, but really really ugly.  Will look at finding a friendlier one.

Importing my old blog
Strangely I left this til the last minute after doing my styles - after all you don't want to be rebuilding a site of my size too often - it takes a good five minutes each time!
I didn't do any research into this before I went ahead with it, assuming that I'd be able to figure it out.  In the end the process was actually fairly simple, but it did take a few goes to get the formatting of the file right.  The way I did it was to go to my old installation of MT on the other server, and do the export.  Save that export to a text file (mine was about 3mb in size).  Then import into the new blog.  In the end used the unix format of the output file, and when importing using "Convert line breaks" and UTF-8 encoding.  (Used this page for hints on this which worked)

Broken Images
Of course once everything was imported, all the links to my images were wrong.  You see I'd decided not to use the old paths for my images.  Although this means less hits from Google image searches, it'd also screw up anyone that's been direct linking my images for the past five years.  Such people deserve to die.  So I attempted the search and replace feature.  But for some reason this worked really badly.  So I think I've fixed up my images, but I can't really be sure, and some of my pages might still be missing images.

Broken Links
This one was going to take some work.  Because in addition to the several hundred of my entries that refer to earlier entries, all external links were going to be broken.  I decided to use the .htaccess method of redirecting people. 
The biggest problem is that MT2 uses files in the format archives/002190.html while MT4 uses entry titles in the file name, and puts them in monthly directories.  So I needed to convert the old links to the new format.  In my old blog I downloaded Dirify Plus, then created another index template with the following in it:
<MTEntries lastn="2500">
RedirectMatch /mt-archives/<MTEntryID pad="1">.html /<MTEntryDate format="%Y/%m">/<MTEntryTitle trim_to="40" dirifyplus="pld">.html </MTEntries>
This generated a massive page of text that could be used directly in a .htaccess file.  This worked well, except for the few hundred broken links where I'd had duplicate entries, and the couple of hundred pages that were more than 30 characters, which appears to be the limit MT4 uses.  I tried setting my dirify to 30 characters, but that didn't seem to work, so I just hacked an excel file to rebuild the links for me.  The duplicate entry titles are still a problem (the first one is whatever-1, then whatever-2 etc).  I'm thinking I might have to hack the .htaccess file manually for those. 

Pages
MT4 lets you create static pages that aren't part of the blog, which is a useful feature.  I created a 404 error page, and put that in the .htaccess file, so people that come from broken image searches will see that. 

Search Feature
The new search tool is a bit retarded in that it returns the entire page of a blog entry.  If you put in something like "the" you'd probably end up returning the entire blog in one page.  Will have to read up on how to change that.

Photo Uploading
My first attempts at uploading photos were a bit frustrating.  It doesn't have the old feature to "show html" when uploading files, and wants to create a new entry every time.  I barely spent any time looking at this though, as it wasn't a priority for going live.  I might have a look at Better File Uploader, or do some more reading to find out if I've just missed something.

Comment Notifications
Haven't been able to get these to work, even though the test email when I was setting everything up worked.  So I know sendmail will work with the blog, but I just can't figure out how to get it to email me whenever a comment is posted.  Very annoying!

Todo
Still have a big todo list.  Things like:
  • fix comment notification emails
  • decide on sidebar widgets, and put Host1/CIA buttons back
  • bring over my subblogs - Stoopid Quizzes, and the 10030 Star Destroyer page and my USA 2004 page
  • create a new favicon.ico
  • fix up imood background colour
  • change my Gravatars to fit in with new style
  • get a nicer captcha
  • setup backups of the database
  • figure out how to upload multiple images - can do this, but the html is butt ugly
  • create a "Wishlist" widget - something I wanted as a plugin but noone seems to have ever written
  • fix list of blogs style
  • hack the link creator to put target="_blank" in
  • fix up my Weather Pixie page
  • fix search returns
  • see if there's a simpler create entry form that'll work from the Blackberry
  • hack the image insertion code so it puts br clear=left tags in - edited lib/MT/Asset.pm and put the br clear=left stuff in this line - return qq{<form mt:asset-id="$id" class="mt-enclosure mt-enclosure-$type">$html</form> <br clear="left">};  (discussion about this was found here). 
    July 2008: Hacked this further to completely remove the class bit from the form tag.  Also hacked lib/MT/Asset/Image.pm to hash out the wrap_style line for left aligned images and just set $wrap_style to blank, so as to not have any extra nonsense around the images that cause them to render badly in Google news reader
  • put category and tags of entries in index template
So yeah, all in all it actually went really well.  And I managed to go live on schedule.  And to the little group of people that are still around reading this after five years, thanks for coming to read my drivel all these years :)

It's Friday...

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Had had enough of work by about 4pm, but couldn't go home cause my parents had my key :(  So had to hang around another two hours being completely bored (and hungry).

Fortunately when we got home the parents weren't there, which gave us some time to recover and regroup before they did get home.  And gave me some time to have a couple of drinks which helped a lot... !  Then I cooked them some kangaroo steaks and we ordered pizzas.

Didn't do too much tonight.
But had to wait and wait for mum to go away before I could type this..... sigh ....

Parents are here..

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Parents are here.  Makes it hard to get anything done because mum likes to sit behind me and watch everything I do on the computer :(  (and sneak quietly into the room behind me)

We did have a nice dinner at the Dumpling Inn tho..
Patch Tuesday last night.. my computer will probably reboot itself tonight.. oh well it needed a reboot.. it's only been a couple days since the last one after all!   Google Earth chews up so much memory in vista that after not doing very much, it stops being able to save the myplaces file.  Internet Explorer still isn't working right either. Hasn't been since either a patch or perhaps scanner drivers were installed.  I don't have the spirit to fight with it though, which is why I'm just using Firefox.  The parents are coming to stay for a couple of nights tomorrow.  Could be .. er.. interesting.. especially when my father will have to deal with the sleeping arrangements up-close-and-personal-like.

Firefly

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We're watching Firefly again, this time with Scotty.  But even though he has a whacky-do home theatre system, something was wrong and there was a bit of flaring of the bright lights.. pretty sure that's not on the dvds.. still, it was a very pleasant evening..

Five years ago today I started this blog.

So I thought after five years of the same design, I'd update it a little.

I also moved it to another server, so that all my various virtual hosts can be in the same place. 

Please excuse the mess for the next few hours :)

Lamb Roast

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We did a lamb roast tonight, thinking we'd have leftovers for at least another meal. Except Scotty came over and ate all our leftovers.. oops.. hehe :)

Other than that .. mostly a "catchup" kinda weekend.. and even then there were plenty of things that didn't get done... oh well.....

Hello World!

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Testing MT4

editing..

Q: What do you get when you cross the Atlantic with the Titanic?

A: About half way


tee hee :)

Pizzzzzza!

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Made pizzas again tonight. Stu raved about how good his was .. w00t :)

Happy New Year!

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ok so a little late :)

NYE Margie came over and we had a bbq (well an indoor version anyways as it was raining).. David cooked up a storm of a lot of meat .. mmmm meat :) We even finished off the leftover smoked turkey and ham that we brought up. Afterwards we played singstar, but it was insisted we play the new version, with no skips, which meant I got a few songs I've never heard of before.. doh.. And then I got beaten by an eight year old at Toxic.. doh! ;)

Spent a decent chunk of the evening doing my year in review. Then I declared it beer o'clock and had a few drinks while we watched The Fifth Element and I Am Legend. We were all too full from lunch to eat much, and in fact didn't even feel like drinking much, so by 11:30 we were all about ready to go to bed. But we hung in there, said our happy new years and watched the Sydney fireworks (that had been delayed an hour for us peoples in Queensland :) )

Yesterday we took it a bit easy, and then we headed off to the airport to go home. The takeoff was the freakiest I've ever been through. It seriously felt like we were about to get blown sideways off the runway! Distracting us from this was the little girl behind Stu who *screamed* for the entire taxi and takeoff until the seatbelt light was turned off. *yay*. Our flight took us right over the middle of Sydney, which frustrated me no end because I was on the wrong side of the plane for the best photos. But still got some reasonable ones of western Sydney. Since when does a line from Brisbane to Canberra go over Sydney tho? And we came in from the south at Canberra.. so really didn't win picking seats on the right side of the plane.

Today it was back to work. Which was not much fun, especially as I'd had so little time at home this holiday. It was a frustrating day of having to get other teams to fix things so that we could do our thing.

I finished the Millenium Falcon tonight. Well, sort of. I was missing two 2x3 grey plates, and a right wing (but I had a left wing leftover). So this is quite distressing me, and I haven't taken any photos of it "finished" yet until I can fix up the wrong bits that would be visible in photos.

Anyways.. happy new year and all that :)

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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