Hear Ye! Since 1998.

Archived Posts for January 2004

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 Links may be broken, information may be out of date, and the views expressed in the posts may no longer be held.
31
Jan 04
Sat

Site Refresh

It’s here. To be honest, the site doesn’t look all that different on the front-end. It’s a format that’s worked well for a while. It looks perhaps a little tighter, but it’s essentially the same. The back-end has been redesigned from the ground up, and I’ve put in some features I’ve been wanting to put in for a long time now.

Changelog

  • New domain name: update your links!
  • Search engine: No longer using Atomz, which was struggling with indexing a site with self-referential permalinks.
  • Photo gallery: also linked in a random photo block that you can see
    to the left, inspired by AJH.
    Uses the excellent Gallery
    1.4
    package. Don’t ask me why I called it Contemporaneously. I just think it’s a
    cool sounding word :). Not many photos in there currently.
  • Mobile posting module: I finally have a proper module (updated from the one I made four years ago!) for posting
    with non-computer devices. Unfortunately I couldn’t get procmail working on my
    server, so I’m using crontab to schedule mobile posts which means posts are
    delayed by up to a couple of minutes. The module accepts SMSes and e-mails
    with MIME attachments (including MMS/PXT messages) and allows for location and
    timezone stamping of posts. Security through obscurity is also bolstered by
    password protection (unfortunately sent in plaintext).
  • Thumbnail script: Tiny script which creates resampled thumbnails on the fly without making a duplicate of the file. Useful for mobile posts where images may not have the chance to be edited before posting.
  • Quicklinks: Inspired by
    Kottke’s remaindered
    links
    .
  • Generalised comments system: one module takes care of commenting
    for quicklinks, articles and any other section of the site requiring comments.
  • Follow-up posts: It’s been implemented. Could be a first.
  • New Mastheads: 1
    2
    3
  • Rehauled backend console, made myself some posting bookmarklets
  • Integrated Real into Hear Ye!

To Do

  • Conversion of features from Real over to new domain
  • The List is no longer on the left. I don’t know if I should bring it back – leave a note in the comments if you want it back.
  • A proper mailing page
  • Revise the guestbook which has turned into a spambook
  • Content for some of the pages
  • XML feed for quicklinks
  • Portal

That should do it for now.

27
Jan 04
Tue

Six Years of Hear Ye!

Hear Ye! turns 6 years old today. It’s a little strange when you consider that in the near future, there will be a bunch of journal sites running around with archives that chronicle over a decade of life’s happenings. I would say that that sort of longevity is quite difficult to achieve if you were to keep a pen and paper diary instead, just because of the disadvantages of physical media.

Melbourne Trip & Aussie Open

Melbourne was fun, although the train ride down was not. The overnight XPT from Sydney Central to Melbourne’s Spencer St Station takes ten hours. Seeing that it was currently the middle of Summer, and keeping in mind the infamous 40ÂșC temperatures that seem to afflict the Australian Open each year, I didn’t pack a jumper. The train, unfortunately, had its air conditioning set at full blast, and the result was a sleepless, frigid night where I observed the train stopping at a variety of country stations at odd hours such as 3 and 4am. Upon debarkation, Melbourne greeted me with sub-20 degree weather and I was immediately familiarised with why they say the city is renown for its four seasons in one day.

I had accommodation with Andrew in a well-located serviced apartment on Bourke St, in the heart of the CBD. Melbournians, engaging in the traditional Sydney-Melbourne rivalry, have touted their city as much more trendy and happening than Sydney. I can probably concede that Melbourne fashion is better (if only because they need well-stocked wardrobes to deal with the temperamental weather changes). It may have been the long weekend, but Melbourne is a lot quieter that Sydney. Shops seem to have even shorter opening hours (we couldn’t find a decent cafe open on Sunday morning), and the footpath traffic is light. And of course the scenery alongside the Yarra can’t compare with the backdrop offered by Sydney Harbour.

The first thing we did was try to find a jumper for me to buy. We entered Myer but couldn’t find anything suitable to buy. Strangely, not many jumpers were being sold – I know it was mid-Summer, but most of the locals were wearing jackets and jumpers. No matter, because by the time we emerged from the store, the sun had broken through the clouds and the temperature shot up.

We spent the first day sight-seeing the CBD – the Rialto tower has an observation deck where you can look down upon Melbourne. From there we made our way down to Crown Casino (which dwarfs Star City), where, after a couple hours, we won our dinner money. We then walked to Federation Square, where they were showing the tennis live on a large screen, and afterwards to Rod Laver Arena and its surrounds.

Caught Lost In Translation at KinoDendy on Collins St at night. I loved it. I have this considerable fascination with the peculiarities of modern Japanese culture and the movie did a great job of sending them up and inflicting them upon a hapless Bill Murray. The film, as its title suggests, basically shows how foreign cultures can be as baffling as customs and actions in our own Western society, especially when they come to relationships. It’s funny and thoroughly entertaining.

The next day we went to the Australian Open. Saw Mauresmo vs Molik, Davenport vs Zvonareva, Agassi vs Srichaphan, Roddick vs Schalken and a bit of Grosjean vs Ginepri. I’ve never watched tennis live, and you get a real appreciation for just how hard they whack the ball around, and how fast Roddick’s 220kph serves are.

Agassi vs Srichaphan
Click here for more photos

I was approached a few times by groundstaff who sought assurances that I wasn’t going to use more than 200mm zoom on my camera, so just be careful if you turn up with a huge lens, because you won’t be able to use it if they catch you (but it is pretty hard for them to catch you once you’re actually at your seat).

The following day was Australia Day. Wave graciously took Andrew and I for a drive along the Great Ocean Road. She came at around 7.30am, so we had to be back in about 12 hours for my train back to Sydney. It’s a nice, meandering drive out to the West. The road mostly follows the coastline, edged continually by the ocean, beaches and sheer cliffs. We first stopped for a morning snack at a joint called Andrew’s in a small town that I can’t remember the name of. By coincidence, we ate lunch at a restaurant called Waves (yes, chosen because it was Wave’s namesake) which had decent food but non-existent service. We reached the first vantage point overlooking the 12 Apostles shortly after noon, followed by the other rock formations – The Arch, The Grotto, and the famous London Bridge, which before the 1990s, was a double arched outstretch of rock. Giving it that name obviously cursed it, because one of the arches collapsed one night, stranding two people on the newly-formed island who had to be rescued by helicopter.

On the return journey we had dinner at a shop in Geelong called Gilligan’s (too bad my name isn’t Gilligan, that would have completed the trifecta), which was described by Wave to sell “the best fish and chips in Melbourne”. I must say, she was right on the mark with that one. I don’t even think I’ve found a better place in Sydney for them. Photos here.

22
Jan 04
Thu

The Last Samurai

I’m currently ploughing through Feist and Wurts’ Empire Trilogy, which is a damn good read. The Empire Trilogy is set on Kelewan, a society largely based on Japanese culture, central to which is the concept of honour. One of its major themes is how Kelewan struggles to come to grips with social progression and crumbling tradition, brought on by interplanetary influences. The Last Samurai is a really nice period piece, set in the late 19th century, where international influences and scheming bureaucrats who lack any honour at all have all but swept away the old Samurai order. The movie evoked deep respect for the passing of the old ways, but also sadly acknowledged that the modern age makes such change necessary. Recommended.

Coming Soon

If you’re wondering why there’s been a dearth of posts on this site, it’s because the site’s currently undergoing a long-awaited extensive redesign. Also, I’ll be in Melbourne over the long weekend doing some touristy stuff (I’ve never been to Melbourne before, funnily enough) and catching a match at the Australian Open.

14
Jan 04
Wed

Linkfest

I got back last week. Am very very slowly typing up a trip report. In the meantime, here’s a bunch of links:

LOTR Legal Analysis – A US law student has done a legal analysis of Sauron’s contractual offers. Amusing.
Foiled! – Imagine returning home and finding everything wrapped in foil.
The Night Before Christmas – In legalese. Thanks Shish.
Chinese guy successful sues for being mugged online – OMG, the sky is falling.
Fontifier – Turn your writing into a true type font. Requires scanner and printer.

4
Jan 04
Sun

Mobile Phone Transmission

Mallaca is a good place for a day trip. More than that and you’ll be bored. Nice nonya food, lots of colonial era history and a huge Tan Kim Hock store.

2
Jan 04
Fri

Quick Update

Stopped by McDonald’s after a seafood dinner on the East Coast and ended up in Maccas for a coffee of all places. It’s next to a rollerblading track so they have a separate line for bladers to order (a “skate-thru” so the sign says). Apart from this, there’s Internet access, mcfish dippers (fish nuggets) with wasabi sauce, lime juice and some very nice cars in the parking lot. Where else would you see a Ferrari, Porsche, Maserati and a bunch of Jags in a Maccas carpark? I’ve been dragged off to Malacca tomorrow with the family for what I predict will be a couple of boring days… I need to find more people around my age in this country!



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