Hear Ye! Since 1998.

Archived Posts for February 2002

Please note: The posts on this page are at least 3 years old. Links may be broken, information may be out of date, and the views expressed in the posts may no longer be held.
28
Feb 02
Thu

Eclipse 2002

I think the start of December is a good time for a road trip to South Australia: Solar Eclipse. Time to make plans. Unfortunately it’s not the optimal eclipse to see (2 mins of totality, and during dusk in Australia), but it’s an eclipse nonetheless. More information.

27
Feb 02
Wed

Hot CPUs

“My AMD is running so hot you could fry an egg on it.” Erm… someone did.

Tugboat Adventures

Well… you couldn’t do it with a truck and a tunnel, but a tugboat and a bridge?

26
Feb 02
Tue

Free Time? What Free Time?

Orisinal has a variety of dead simple games that will take up a lot of your free time if you give it half a chance. Be warned.

25
Feb 02
Mon

Mobile Network Prefixes

This is just a reference list of dialing prefixes for mobile phones.

Optus (GSM): 0401, 0402, 0403, 0411, 0412, 0413, 0421
Telstra (GSM): 0407, 0408, 0409, 0417, 0418, 0419, 0437, 0438
Telstra (CDMA): 0427, 0428
Vodafone (GSM): 0404, 0405, 0410, 0414, 0415, 0416
Orange (CDMA): 0425 + more

Cityrail

Big in news lately is the SMH’s investigative report on Cityrail and Sydney’s rail system (yesterday and today). The updated cityrail network will provide access to places otherwise impossible/hard to access via public transport – such as Drummoyne, the Eastern suburbs (Kingsford, UNSW etc.) and up in the North places such as Frenchs Forest. Unfortunately 80 stations is a massive amount of infrastructure, and it will take decades before that all happens. I also wrote a while back that Sydney was lacking a London “tube-style” underground subway, and that is another thing that has been proposed. The new millennium trains coming into service should be a breath of fresh air. All in all though, when you see and read the stats, the system is pretty awful. I got used to the idea of standing for an hour on the 5.30 train from Central to Campbelltown, but that is not something that should be happening.

A little bit on the East Hills line, which I take:

East Hills. This is the most unreliable line on the network. In fact, its performance is so bad it has dragged down the entire Sydney rail system.

The line has the most complex mix of stopping patterns on the network, increasing the chances of things going wrong. Passengers are offered a wider range of choices than the average steakhouse: fast, fast-medium, medium, snail’s pace.

The delays have been made worse by CityRail’s recent multi-million dollar upgrade of the line between Turella and Kingsgrove – where there are now four tracks – but the rest of the western arm of the line is still only two tracks, leaving no opportunities for overtaking.

Passengers have also had to put up with more crime on this line – 17 assaults and twice as many robberies were committed last financial year.

One of the chief complaints from residents in inner suburbs along the line is that a minimum number of services are forced to go down the Airport Line under the contract for its construction. That route is slower than the older way via Sydenham.

Only four out of five trains ran on time in the financial year 2000-1, although CityRail’s overall performance has improved markedly in recent months.

Back

Back online, as you can see. I reduced a few query calls, and most queries should be using indexes now so the cpu load this site has hopefully won’t cause my hosting company to complain. Here is a useful guide for optimising MySQL queries.

Internet in China

Freedom of speech is a huge benefit of the internet – anyone can have their say about anything and also find information on everything. So for political freedom starved China, an information network that can withstand a nuclear bomb attack through its millions of linkages should have been a huge success. Would it really be possible to censor and keep track of 1.2 billion people? It was, and is, for the Chinese government, who has managed to do this with the help, ironically, of companies hailing from across Pacific, all driven by capitalist motivation.

19
Feb 02
Tue

Smiggins

I haven’t heard it plugged on the Ice Dream yet, but Pete let me know of the Smiggin Holes 2010 bid web site. Funny stuff.

18
Feb 02
Mon

Enterprise

Reminder: The first episode of Enterprise, the fifth Star Trek series, goes to air on Channel 9 tomorrow at 10.30pm. (Not that Channel 9 ever finished airing DS9 or Voyager. I had to watch downloaded eps of the final seasons of Voyager and rent a couple seasons worth of DS9 tapes to finish those series off.)

Mental FX

Over 200 Pages of Trippy Psychedelic Animations

Gold! Part 2

Camplin takes women’s aerial gold. And we are actually in a respectable position on the medal tally board :) Wonder what the Ice Dream will have to say about that tonight…

17
Feb 02
Sun

Serious Lego

All manner of Lego machines, including two that will solve a Rubik’s cube and Tower of Hanoi.

Gold!

No doubt you’ve heard of Australia’s fluky first gold medal in Short Track. The story of how it all came about is pretty damn hilarious… talk about getting lucky when it counts!

14
Feb 02
Thu

Hahahah

News Article: “Consumers’ Institute chief executive David Russell said there was no consumer law that protected a customer from being called an ‘arrogant bastard’.” {src: Fuzzy}

Disposable DVDs

Disposable, self-destructing DVDs. Well, it’s better than the Divx model, which flopped. Better bring out those rippers before the discs disintegrate :)

12
Feb 02
Tue

Blocking Mobiles

Telstra (and the other carriers) are finally going to block stolen mobile phones. That press release is pure propaganda. Here’s an SMH article on it. Telstra attempts to palm off the significance phone blocking has on decreasing mobile theft. I don’t think it will completely stop theft, but people buying second hand phones in future are going to want to test them out first before forking over the cash for them now. Anyhow, it would stem casual theft of mobiles quite a bit I’d imagine.

Sex Before Sports

Some people have been researching how it affects performance in sport.

11
Feb 02
Mon

Opening Hours

Shop opening hours in Sydney. A real problem. I want to buy a pedometer (it’s just a device I’ve always wanted for no reason other than curiousity). I know I can buy one in the CBD. I do not work in the CBD. I finish work at 5. Shops close at 5. I suppose there is Thursday, but that being V-Day means that this Thursday is out. There is next week, but still… things close too early in this city.

You know that cold I caught last week? Well, the cold has gone, but the virus or bacteria or whatever infected me totally ravaged my throat. As a result, I’ve been coughing every two minutes since then. There is a buildup of thick phlegm down my trachea that is proving incredibly difficult to dislodge. Unfortunately, most of my coughs are dry (that is, not throaty) which is very distracting, because I can feel the itchy, gluggy mass at the back of my throat, but the coughing is doing nothing to get it out. As a result, on the weekend my voicebox was traumatised such that my vocal range dropped a octave or two. Yesterday, I understood how a coughing fit can bring about a stroke after developing a splitting headache because of one (a coughing fit, not a stroke). And today, the coughing is somehow giving me upper back pain. When I was back home on the weekend, Mum coerced me to drink some bitter concoction brewed with ginseng which she swears will provide relief from every symptom related to colds and flu. In 20 years, I don’t think it’s given me any relief to me at all. Dad gave me some medicine, but all in all, I think all I can do is wait for time to clear out the crap stuck in my neck.

CNY

Well, while we’re on the topic of the zodiac, it’s now the year of the horse, first day of the Chinese New Year. We had a New Year’s gathering last Sunday – a barbeque of all things.

I’ve mouthed the words “Happy New Year” a few times in the last few days, but all in all, CNY doesn’t really hold much significance for me, it’s just an observance I follow. It’s a time when family and friends normally get together, and hoong pow are distributed (scored a small stash this year, to the tunes of my uncle muttering “why don’t you all go get married so we don’t have to keep giving you free money each year?”). Oh yes, and there’s that dragon dancing through Chinatown.

I know nothing about the Chinese year, save that it’s based on the moon and not the sun which is why the new year starts on a different day each year. How many months does it have? Are there months? If a lunar month is 28 days, why does CNY always fall in January/February? Why doesn’t it progressively occur earlier and earlier in the Gregorian year? I’m sure I’m not the only one ignorant about the Chinese calendar, so I found a link that explains it all out. While you’re at it, there’s also the Indian, Islamic and Jewish calendars explained there, in addition to several deprecated ones. (The answer to the question above is that there are 12 months, but a Chinese leap year has, not an extra day, but an extra month.)

Star Signs and Accidents

A study has postulated that there may be a relationship between driving safety and what star sign you belong to. I’ve been bundled into the “restless, easily bored and frustrated” category :) As long as they don’t change premiums based on date of birth…

10
Feb 02
Sun

The Science of Trek

This is sort of like a science book online with continual references to Trek. It references book real world scientific sources, and Trek but does take itself a little too seriously.

Winter Olympics

Patents

Linking Patent Goes to Court. BT wants to cash in on a hyperlinking patent it holds.

Trek.net

Earthlink to offer Star Trek-themed internet access. What the?

7
Feb 02
Thu

Now that’s endurance

Kev sent me this: Man beats horse in 80km race.

IT Savvy

“A SURVEY by the World Economic Forum has rated Singapore as the best country in Asia with the potential to exploit the global IT network.” (link) I wonder where Australia ranks? Pretty low I’d bet, given Microsoft’s rubbishing of Australia’s IT industry (which everyone but Senator Luddite Alston agrees with).

5
Feb 02
Tue

Megaworks 510D

Review for the Cambridge Soundwords 510D 5.1 multimedia speaker set. Time for me to start saving for this one, I think. It sounds like it sounds really good :)

4
Feb 02
Mon

Free Fonts

A very good collection of free fonts at Stealth Fonts.

Sydney WLANs

Sydney finally gets a couple wireless groups: Sydney Wireless and SWAG. These WLANs are still in development, but if they do get off the ground, I would go out right away and buy a wireless NIC to join in – assuming I can get a signal.

Stuff

Rain-lashed Sydney turns into waterworld.

Well, that headline just about says it all. The Summer rains arrived a few days ago and they haven’t stopped since. Work is always better when the weather outside is crap – when its brighter and warmer inside than outside. Nonetheless, all this water is playing havoc with the traffic. There was a mudslide on the M5 yesterday that shut down the citybound route, and accidents galore. It’s now taking me 60-70 minutes to drive to work instead of the usual 40-45, with many sections of the road on the way flooded. One part yesterday was at least a foot underwater, and right in the middle of it were two stalled cars who had tried, in vain, to plough through the knee deep torrent. I got this e-mail from dad today. Waterlogged freeways can be treacherous:

Last night Uncle Ben had an accident. Fortunately he was not hurt. He was driving down the F5 at 100kph when he struck a wet patch on a straight road but the vehicle aquaplaned and caused his vehicle to slide sideways. It went on the median strip (fortunately it was grassed and very wide otherwise he would have ended on the opposite side of the traffic). The car flipped on the passenger side and continued sliding until it struck the barrier.

The sound of rain rhythmically pattering outside is quite somnolent – normally it makes falling asleep easier (at work too!). That is, except for the times when one of the neighbouring apartments thinks it’s a good idea to test drive his new karaoke system at 1.30 in the morning.

What have I been doing at work? I spent the first couple weeks developing an online ordering system in ASP. Did a touch of QuickBasic (!), some VB, some Access. Apparently I’m going to be involved in OLAP/Data Mining soon as the company moves the EIS over from Essbase to Cognos. Got my machine rebuilt with Win2k yesterday. Setting up a laptop currently (not mine, unfortunately).

Vodafone still haven’t sent me a replacement mobile, and Harris Tech still hasn’t sent back a replacement hard drive. My computer, which has been down for the last month, is now working again – more or less – with a new power supply and hard drive in it. Have to upgrade 2000 to XP in the next week or so and reinstall everything.

Uni starts in March. In addition to starting my thesis (when I find a damn topic to research), I’m taking Information Systems Security, one of those info sys subjects full of fluff. The recruitment drive also begins in March with a series of information sessions with big name firms. I haven’t really figured out what I want to do, except for some vague notions of either management or IT-oriented consulting. Consulting doesn’t look bright, with the graduate intake last year being alarmingly low (not to mention the revocation of job offers already handed out). I wouldn’t mind a job overseas in a place like Singapore, either.

Another thing I have only recently started seriously considering is staying for another 3 years at uni and doing grad law. I suppose an added benefit of a law degree is that it’s more “stable”. By this I mean, the demand for it, combined with another degree, doesn’t seem to be as seasonal as IT has been. And if you believe in 7-year economic cycles, the economy should have picked itself up again in 3 years. However, it is another 3 years. Although I am still young, it still would leave me 3 years behind the rest of the cohort who would have, in that time, accrued nearly enough work experience to undertake an MBA or similar. I suppose it all hinges on the job hunt…

3
Feb 02
Sun

Colds

I have managed to contract a cold. I guess it’s appropriate to link this story then: Hong Kongers Talk Too Much, More Likely to Catch Flu.

2
Feb 02
Sat

Google Catalogs

Google Catalogs. Google has developed another beta service which scans through mail catalogs looking for matches (physical dead-tree mail catalogs). Unfortunately it’s pretty much only useful if you live in America.



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