Malaysia - Johor Bahru

Friday, 1 April 2005 | link | tag | / Trips / Malaysia
80 cents. Thats all it costs for international travel in Asia, at least between Singapore and Malaysia. Jonte and I caught the train to the north of Singapore, and then boarded a bus for JB - Johor Bahru, with Olle, Vanessa and Susan. 80 entire cents to change countries, tee hee.

There wasn't a really good reason for going, just a bit of a look around, some shopping etc. The shopping centres were huge and packed, not a great deal of difference from anywhere else in the world of commercial enterprise. The pirated DVD and software stores where the difference though... Just try walking past one without being heckled :)

Jonte, Olle and I left the girls to it and headed out to the JB Museum to find it closed for the day and guarded by a gentlemen with a uniform, an automatic rifle, and thankfully, a plesant demeanor.

Not to be dissapointed, we walks around the grounds for a while, and we were particularly interested in a derilect mansion, almost about to fall down. It must have been quite something in its day.

We finished off the day with dinner and a sunset - not something I've seen many off in Singapore. The bus ride back was slow and tedious, the causeway clogged with traffic.

Crazy Frog

Wednesday, 30 March 2005 | link | tag | / Jokes
The british television comercial that everyone is raving about, love it or hate it, it made me laugh.

Rollerblading Joke

Friday, 25 March 2005 | link | tag | / Jokes
Q: What is the most difficult part of rollerblading?

A: Telling your parents you're gay

Inovative Bike Storage

Friday, 18 March 2005 | link | tag | / Vehicles / Bike
Sydney needs these, many of them. I ride my bike to and from work in Sydney, but the largest hassle is somewhere to store it when you get there. You run the risk of having it pinched, or you can take it into the office with you, but you then need to withstand complaints and whinging...

Riding has to the be the best way into and out of Sydney that I know of. It takes roughtly 20 minutes from my front door to the office. The bus takes 45 minutes, and, well, its a stinking bus. The Tram takes about 40 minutes. Add in that you get exercise and a nice view, the ride is free, and you're onto a winner.

My route takes me through a couple of parks, over the ANZAC bridge and through the city, King and Elizabeth Streets. Apart from the odd BMW owning twit, its safe and easy.

Hmmm, maybe a letter to the Lord Mayor...

Singapore ADSL Delight

Wednesday, 16 March 2005 | link | tag | / Computers / Networks
Telstra needs a thorough and robust slapping. I moved apartments in Singapore a couple of weeks ago and was unhappy with the Net2Room 'ADSL' service supplied, so I looked into the local ADSL providers. I decided to go with SingNet the IP arm of SingTel.

I walked into the SingTel store near my office building at 4pm on a Thursday afternoon last week and applied. Since I didn't have a phone line, I also applied for one of those, too.

Tuesday morning, 11am the line was installed, by 2pm I had working 3500 / 350 kbps ADSL. Most of that intervening time was me ducking out to purchase an ADSL modem - I wasn't expecting it to happen so soon.

Less than 3 working days, from application to working ADSL service. The equivalent from Telstra in Sydney, or any ISP so lumbered with Telstra's DSLAM provisioning headaches would have taken 3 weeks. Add to that the typical 10 to 15 day wait for a copper service and the total pushes 6 weeks.

You even get given the choice - pay the Telco for an ADSL modem, or roll your own, so to speak. Just TRY getting Telstra to unbundle the modem. Needless to say I was very impressed.

SATA Raid controllers

Wednesday, 9 March 2005 | link | tag | / Computers / Storage
I've been looking out for a decent review of SATA RAID controllers for a while, I'm thinking of building a media server. has an awesome review of 8 different controllers.

The Areca ARC-1120 8 port SATA II controller kicked the pants of the competition in almost every respect, most notably the 3Ware card I was previously considering.

iPod Ownership

Wednesday, 9 March 2005 | link | tag | / Computers / Apple
Now that I own an iPod I finally understand what the fuss is all about. I mean it just gives you unprecidented access to your music collection. I find myself listening to music I was only dimly aware that I owned, from CD's that must be buried somewhere dusty on the back of a bottom shelf behind a mountain of used computer parts and smelly dive gear.

iTunes sort of does that for you, but the 'aways have it with you'-ness of the iPod means that while you're waiting for a train, you can pop it out and explore. Man, to think I've listened to literally HOURS of completely irrelevant noise when I could be listening to music instead. (Some may argue that my music collection IS, in fact, irrelevant noise. Bite me).

Pattaya - Thailand!

Wednesday, 9 March 2005 | link | tag | / Trips / Thailand
Well, I'm off to Pattaya for the weekend. A trip to Thailand. Pattaya is on the east coast of Thailand, and overlooks the Gulf of Thailand (Siam). Cheap flights, even amazingly cheaper hotels means a great value weekend by all accounts. I will probably have to stay well clear of Walking Street there, but otherwise it sounds like a happening place.
I'll be diving with Aquanauts dive centre, the local PADI five star. Seems to have a very quick response and professional attitude. I'm excited.

GPS Datacraft

Tuesday, 8 March 2005 | link | tag | / TheWell
I've been toying with the idea of linking GPS data to my images for ages now - I've finally managed to put something together that makes sense. I used to own a Magellan Meridian GPS and I'd taken it on just about every trip with me. I'd save the track data each day.

It occured to me that the timestamp recorded with each trackpoint and the timestamp recorded into each image by the camera combine to form an index of sorts. While there is unlikely to be a direct 1 to 1 relationship, at the scale we're talking about a matter of a couple of hours travel would hardly matter.

Combine that with the amazing power of the on-line database of satelite imagery, and I can link GPS coordinates to every image, and get a top down view of the terrain it was taken in. The TerraServer used to be owned by Microsoft and generally only really had decent images of the US. Its now public domain and contains a vast amount more data.

The result is quite nice. Take a look at this image of Uluru, or Kata Tjuta, or The Twelve Apostles, or even Wilson's Promonotry. For some interesting Man-Made structures, check out Tidbinbilla, a deep space radio observatory near Canberra, the straight lines of the Sturt Highway in the Northern Territory, or park your camel in the streets of Alice Springs.

I don't know how useful it is, or how much it really shows - perhaps it just shows I've got way to much spare time on my hands.

Give me a yell if you want the technical details on how its done.

Canon 350D

Tuesday, 8 March 2005 | link | tag | / Photography
Canon have released the 350D at about the same price point as the 300D. Upgrades include an 8 megapixel CCD (the bastards!) and smaller, lighter, lower power design. Don't you hate it? If you don't have an SLR yet, I doubt you could beat this package. I'm kind of glad I didn't drop the extra 2 G's on the 20D when I replaced my 300D - apart from the lower frame rate, this has it all.