She goes

February 28, 2006 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

I’m using this post to test the new version of Bleezer. It’s designed to let you write posts offline for most blogging platforms including the one I use, WordPress. Of course you can also write your posts online using the program, but one advantage is that it says you can create links to images and it will upload those images to the right place while linking to them correctly in the post. I am skeptical, which is why I’m giving it a go. I’ve used it before, but the pic links didn’t work because I hadn’t set the upload path. Now I have, we’ll see how we go. I’ll try to choose something relatively small so the upload doesn’t take too long on my dialup.

Alright, I couldn’t have chosen anything much smaller than this. All that’s left to do is hit ‘Publish’ and hope for the best.

Powered by Bleezer

UPDATE: The photo seems not to have uploaded, plus I’m not sure I like the automatically added ‘Powered by Bleezer’ signature. And while writing this, the program informed me the post had failed even though I’d already seen it on the website. Speaking of pictures, as an aside, I said I would update when that last panoramic shot I spoke of had finished. And I will. It’s just that the program is still trying to form the panoramic photo, now for over one week and three hours. We’re up to rendering block 48 of 54. Almost there.

Dribs’n’Drabs

February 24, 2006 by  
Filed under News

This information is weeks old, but I had written it down for a blog post, and can’t throw out the scrap of paper until I’ve done so.

Firstly, I saw the last five minutes of an episode of COPS had to write down the closing line. A sting operation was being conducted and involved three police cars stationed at various street corners and anywhere up to 20 police. The sting? A relatively desirable bicycle had been leaned, unchained, against a wall in a well lit, but relatively quiet, city street. I saw three men in succession taken in by the sting operation, with police cars converging from all directions on the dangerous criminals as they rode the bike away. Now I know police feel the need to say something profound because they’re on television, but profound this is not.

Another bike thief off the streets.

That’s right. 20 policemen, three cars, all night in the inner city – getting murderers, rapists, drink drivers or drug dealers off the streets? No, bike thieves. Nice job.

The other thing I had to write down was several words misspelled by a banker who talked me into a five-minute questionnaire. Is it pedantic and picky? Yes, but I ended up answering questions for ten minutes, so I think we’re even. Apparently I was interesed in lokking at ways of saving money. It was also noted that I funish studying in 18 months. I was thinking, the recent media beat-up about atrocious education standards may well be true. Students may fail reading and spelling tests that their parents or grandparents used to be required to take, but you know what? On the extensive evidence I have just presented, I’m guessing our parents and grandparents failed those tests too. And no, I won’t accept ‘typo’ as a valid defence.

Y10K

February 23, 2006 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

I didn’t even notice, but we went by 10,000 visitors sometime in the last two weeks. Sweet. I’d say I comprised about 70% of those visits before I told my counter to exclude myself from the stats, but I’m not unhappy with 5,000 visitors a year….

Long time in the pipes

February 22, 2006 by  
Filed under Pictures, Podcasts

This post has been a long time coming. The post gets categorised under podcast because, believe it or not, I’ve recorded one! It’s meandering and mumbling for almost 5 minutes, but it’s here, for your listening enjoyment.

I’ve just had the pleasure of sending an email to the realtor for some maintenance in our unit. As my last email told you, we hadn’t had a real shower for several days. Not so bad, but neither was it so good – who would have guessed it wouldn’t be a grand time? I promise you, however, that I have taken at least four showers in the last two weeks. I decided to write you this post to show you what I sent to the realtor – more for your own discomfort and the amusement it will afford me, knowing you didn’t need to know.

Repairs/Request Required:

1. Screening on balcony needs to be sealed to stop water coming in during rain. This was a previous repair request and, while the installers came and sealed some spots, none of the areas most in need were sealed. Consequently in rain yesterday the screens have again leaked water when closed.

I didn’t send it to them in January, but this is the water we had coming through screens that aren’t supposed to let the deck get wet.

2. The toilet water in our unit is not cool. It generally causes an unpleasant odour to hang in the air that can’t be dispersed. While not being a plumber I suspect it’s a flushing problem since sometimes – and I apologise for the imagery, but it explains the issue – objects thought sent on their way have ‘reappeared’. The smell is constant and has been for a while – reappearing objects are infrequent, but more disturbing.

See? I knew you all wanted to know that.

3. When our bath leaked a few weeks back I informed you via phone that water had come through the wall and stained the carpet. I was supposed to hear from a carpet cleaner, but didn’t, so this is to remind you we have a very obvious 70x40cm brown stain on the carpet inside our front door.

That stain’s pretty. Having a brown explosion on a beige carpet to greet your guests as soon as you open the front door is a great conversation starter if a little short-lived as a novelty,

In other news, I think I may have previously mentioned the program Autostitch. It does a great job on panoramic shots – stitching them together automatically, as the name adequately explains. You can see it in action in the honeymoon pics gallery – two named ‘pano’. It’s a Windows only program, so I have to use my old laptop instead of my do-no-wrong iBook, but the results are well worth it.

This image is another one by autostich, taken at my church (click for full size). Actually, it’s 66 images (2,592 x 1,944 pixels each) put together by the autostitcher at only 5% of the original output size and jpeg compression at 75% quality. After doing the one you see here, I wanted to go the whole hog, so set it to 100% output size and 100% jpeg quality. That was at about 1am Tuesday morning, 41 hours ago. It’s up to ‘Rendering block 23 of 54’. Admittedly my five-year-old Compaq Presario 700Z is probably not suited for the task – with its raging 946MHz and rubber-burning 112Mb of RAM – but she’s having an honest go at it! Task Manager would have me believe the program’s not responding, but it’s progressed 6 blocks in the last 12 hours…liar.

I guess that’s it for now. I’m off to do some jobs before my wife gets home. I’ll likely blog about this panoramic shot when it finishes in another three days or so.

Some pics

February 9, 2006 by  
Filed under Pictures

I’ve started getting into some photo software for the web, and have uploaded for your enjoyment some honeymoon photos. If you click on the ‘pics’ link in the banner you’ll go to the same raw file list as before but there is a ‘honeymoon’ folder there. Click on that and you’ll see a decent looking gallery setup. I’ll get rid of the raw pics list in the near future, but it’s nice to have free programs that just do the majority of this stuff for you.

It’s still not idiot-proof, but it’s getting there. As is this program I’m using to write this post so I can write offline and post all at once when I do go online. Anyway, enjoy.

As an update of what’s going on in our lives, our bathtub started leaking the other day. The girls below us noticed the ceiling was leaking and bowed. Plumber came, punched a hole in their ceiling to let the water drain and (I’m told) the ceiling fell in. They’re (management) blaming it on us, but it’s a ridiculous scenario. We haven’t been able to use our shower in two days. Adios.

Headline News

February 1, 2006 by  
Filed under News

Bush to address oil dependency
In his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, President Bush will say that “Americans always win when America leads,” a White House spokesman said, offering up an optimistic agenda for the nation’s challenges. [CNN World]
And the rest of you can just sod off if you think we’re going to let you lead. How do you spell American? A-M-E-R “I CAN”. Speak the truth brother!

Four blokes spark eBay frenzy
AN offer of beer, sausages and a chat with four average Aussie blokes has set off a bidding frenzy on eBay online auction site. [NEWS.com.au | Top Stories]
Seen this? Finally found the actual auction at ebay, currently at AU $13,700 – which reminds me, I’ve got to learn how to try and sell some things online.

More about Google China. A link to Instapundit, who has some other links if you’re interested.

And not a headline, but another gem from my sister, although I don’t have the direct link.

High Road РLovely One Bedroom Flat, Fully Furnished, Gas Central Heating, Double Glazing, Nice D̩cor Throughout,
Close To Shops And Amenities And Ten Minutes Walk To Satiation.

Can’t beat that.

Kosovo

February 1, 2006 by  
Filed under News

Thanks to my sister for this link to a Foreign and Commonwealth Office press release – Statement by the Contact Group on the future of Kosovo.
The article I linked to by William Montgomery asked the question, who would represent Kosovar Albanians at upcoming negotiations on the future status of Kosovo? This press release doesn’t answer that question, but seems a friendly reminder to both sides – Pristina (Kosovar Albanians) and Belgrade (Serbs) – that they would do well to keep to agreements reached in previous talks and continue working towards an acceptable solution to Kosovo’s status:

UNSCR 1244 (direct link to 8pg PDF, if it doesn’t work go here and scroll down) remains the framework for the ongoing status process, with the Security Council and Contact Group continuing to play key roles.
[…]
The Contact Group Guiding Principles of November 2005 make clear that there should be: no return of Kosovo to the pre-1999 situation, no partition of Kosovo, and no union of Kosovo with any or part of another country.

Not sure how they’ll ever reach an acceptable solution with Serbia as they seem particularly adamant that Kosovo can never be independent of Serbia.
The pre-1999 situation saw Kosovo as essentially a province of Serbia, having gone a decade without the relative autonomy they operated under before Milosevic in 1989.
Partitioning of Kosovo has been discussed by Serbia as a solution to the issue of not only Kosovar Serbs, but also of Serbian religious and other historical sites within Kosovo. Basically it would mean Serbia assuming control of parts of northern and eastern Kosovo and simply making a geographical ethnic divide between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo. There are ways this would not work that include dividing up land, cutting off families and other such things, but the main reason the Contact Group doesn’t want it to happen is because it would be an admission that Serbs and Albanians simply can’t live together in Kosovo and shouldn’t mix.
The ‘no union of Kosovo with any or part of another country’ refers to Albania. The majority of Kosovars are ethnic Albanian (about 75-90%), and so it would not be that surprising if Kosovo were to ally itself with Albania. I don’t say that simply because of the ethnicity link, but Albania has long been a supporter of Kosovar Albanian independence through money, weaponry, and routes through Albania to get those things into Kosovo.

Mashup

February 1, 2006 by  
Filed under News

Some bloggers I read regularly haven’t updated in a looong time. Today they have, and I thought it worth a mention and a link.

Christopher Allbritton of Back to Iraq, a reporter for Time magazine in Iraq, and Salam Pax, an Iraqi blogger. Neither has posted in months, so this is a somewhat momentous occassion to see them back online.

In other news, Hamas says the possibility of EU and US aid being cut if they don’t say something about not trying to kill Israelis is ‘unfair’.
“I mean, come on guys, that’s what we do!”
Interestingly, the EU contributes about $600million and the US $400 million per year in aid to the Palestinians according to that story. And Israel? Well they don’t say explicitly, but if you take half a second to work out $50 million per month they give to the Palestinian Authority – let’s just say Israel’s $600 million per year is looking more than generous.

I realise this is quickly becoming an I-really-can’t-be-bothered-so-it’s-all-going-in-one-post … post.

William Montgomery (whoever he is), has written a short piece about Rugova’s death. It’s up at the B92 (Serbian TV/Radio/Music) site and might be of interest to anyone who read my Rugova post and can bring themselves to read any more.

And lastly, the Brisbane City Council Homelessness survey, of which I am one of the 956 respondents. The survey says it closed 1 October, 2003, but I’m sure they have the year wrong.
A majority (59%) of people think the homeless aren’t well looked after by either the government or welfare groups, and 72% think more support programs are needed to help the homeless. Almost everyone (87%) agrees that homeless people are at a great risk of being victims of violence

While showing some concern, the actual impact of homelessness on our local neighbourhoods, according to respondents, seems to revolve around people who are not homeless and the fact they would rather forget it. I’m one of those people. It’s not how I would have responded on the survey. It’s not how I would talk to you if we discussed homelessness, but it’s how I feel. I would rather forget it. Not because I don’t care, but because I feel defeated. I’m dragged down by the thought of, “Seriously, what will one person do?”
61% of people think it’s not okay for a homeless person to sleep in public spaces, and that’s because we don’t want to be confronted by the problem. We need to be confronted by what makes us uncomfortable if we’re going to force a change, either in ourselves or what we’ve been watching happen around us.

And yes, this is my bleeding heart liberal, unrealistic optimism speaking.