nasa, observational astronomy, mininova alternatives

By elf November 30th, 2009, under stuff

STS-129 Ascent Video Highlights

I love it when NASA does this sort of thing… have a watch, it’s really good.
Here’s a direct download of the 400mb 640×480 mpeg file.

On another note it is probably worth mentioning that I saw Neptune for the first time with my 25×100 binoculars a couple of weeks ago (well, a few months ago)… and yes, it is blue!
I also saw the Galilean moons – Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.  They were just dots, but still it was amazing. The binoculars were strong enough, though, to show Jupiter quite clearly as a small disc rather than a dot too.

This week the wonderful Mininova service has also gone tits-up (for all intents and purposes anyway). I’m using alternatives such as and… not sure where to get movies though. TPB?

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introducing CreatioNova NightWatch !

By elf October 30th, 2009, under stuff

I’ve finally released CreatioNova NightWatch to the world… and it even passes w3c validation haha.

NightWatch lets you generate a report on what celestial objects are visible in the sky for any geographic location in the world. It reports on sun and moon positions and rise/set times, planets, constellations, and deep sky objects such as galaxies and nebulas.

It will also let you set up an automatic report so that it emails you (either once off or at daily/weekly/monthly intervals) the report for that night. I thought that was rather neat 😛

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new server, possible careers, creationova

By elf October 28th, 2009, under stuff

We bought a new server for OzHosting Solutions – it is now located in california (as opposed to new jersey), so hopefully things will be a little quicker in terms of latency… lord knows the server itself is blazingly fast compared to the old one.
Oh and we’re also changing the name of the business to WaveHosting Solutions…  the site will get a new logo and revamp soon;)

I’ve also been thinking about new careers… i’d like to be a train driver, and an author… but above all, i’d love to be a pilot! Now if only I could afford the $60’000 required for flight school. *sigh*

I’ve actually applied for a role as a trainee train driver with QR – but apparently they’ve been snowed under with applications, so fingers crossed I might get somewhere with it.

And why become an author? After reading so much fantasy, and after realising how much of an impact good stories like Twilight can make people feel, I think i could express something original and worthwhile.

But flying… woo. I’ve spent hours in front of my flight sims, and i go to the airport and hang around for ages whenever I have a reason to be there. I love the whole idea of it. Such freedom…
I remember doing an exercise in high school where we had to think of an animal we thought we could identify with the most… mine was an eagle. Perhaps that’s saying something?

I’ve been coding the CreatioNova NightWatch utility more and more lately… the final bits i have left to do are set up the cron schedule and refine the email that gets sent. Won’t be long now til i can launch it to the world 😉
Stay tuned!

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site refresh, “work”, freenode, gemvision, windows 7

By elf September 8th, 2009, under stuff

i’m still bored and fed up with work… i knew there was something wrong with me when i thought coding for a job would be satisfying. Don’t get me wrong, completing a block of code / page / project is quite rewarding but the real problem is that I’ve got an incredible lack of motivation in getting any of my projects started. Usually once I make a good solid start then the ideas and desires to complete it keep on flowing… but i guess I’m not a coder at heart. I’ll happily resolve customer faults (eg dns, routing, etc) over coding… i guess that indicates my preference for my original/true career path: networking + sysadmin.

I’m still apathetic about the whole work thing. In fact i’ve been having daydreams (which for me is serious contemplation) about changing careers completely to something non-IT.
I’d love to be a:

The main problem is, again, one of motivation. And creativity. I love the idea of being creative, and really in my heart i am a creative person, but i have always had trouble expressing it.

Speaking of jewellery design, i heard on one of the episodes of The Tech Guy mention of CAD/CAM jewellery creation… wow, that that is inspiring! (hence the above item).
I managed to obtain a copy of their Digital Goldsmith 4 software (for self-educational purposes only!) but I haven’t installed it yet, though i am looking forward to it… their examples and demos are amazing.

Last week i overhauled my media centre box and installed Windows 7 onto it (90 day ‘enterprise’ trial)… quite impressed! Still a few quirks to iron out like the 856×480 (or is that 852×480, or even 848×480??) native resolution… the bundled driver comes close (within media centre), but the desktop resolutions are lacking. The latest nvidia drivers are woeful and won’t allow me to set a user-defined resolution, let alone pick one of the low resolutions above that i know my 42″ LG display will cope with.
Every other feature l0oks and works great though, so i’m happy; finances permitting i’m 95% sure i’ll buy it come october.

partly because my installation of wordpress via installatron was broken (wouldn’t permit updates), and partly because i was bored, i decided to reinstall/overhaul this site today. Out with the old ‘pixel-green’ theme, in with this new one… looks alright, though i’m not completely satisfied. Oh and it fails wonderfully in IE… but then again i don’t particularly care about IE users. *looks around the office*

recently – well, if you call March recent – i started IRCing again from work, and this time in addition to the somewhat work-related PHP irc channel I decided to join a channel a little more off-topic… the network is Freenode.
For. The. Win!
the channels i’m usually in are ##php and ##australia.

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conficker test site, htpc update, stuff

By elf April 9th, 2009, under stuff

I went and set up the other day… i was very surprised to see that domain was available to be registered! Basically the page is simple – have a few pictures, sourced locally and from remote security vendors. If conficker is installed, it will block access to those remote vendor website and therefore won’t show the images.

I got myself a Samsung 1TB drive the other day. There was one hiccup though – Windows could only detect it as being a 32mb drive! That’s the size of the cache. So i went and downloaded the ESTool applicaiton, burnt it to a cd, and reset the native disk size. So far so good. I think i’ll purchase an external backup drive before completely changing my htpc setup. The plan is to convert the two existing 500gb drives into a raid array; windows + movies will be on the array, and tv shows will be on the new 1tb drive.

Work is going well enough… kind of boring, but it may pick up soon with some php development opportunities coming along. Mostly all i’m doing at the moment is just data faults administrative duties… working out of an email queue which customers send to (dns change requests, other faults, etc)

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By elf January 24th, 2009, under stuff

well its been a long time between posts, but finally I have some news!

Over the past 6 months or so all i’ve been doing at work has been playing warcraft, watching tv shows and movies, and raping the “test” dsl bandwidth. The work load has been virtually negligible.

So, to that end, I made an enquiry with my old employer (an ISP who i used to work for from 2004-2007 until we were bought out by a contact centre company) in December… they offered me a great role and a nice salary, virtually no questions asked! My last day with my ‘current’ employer was yesterday! woooohooo! On the 2nd of Feb i’ll be starting with the ISP again. The only down side is that I’ll now have to commute to Brisbane. meh.

I’m upgrading my eeepc today to to the new eeebuntu NBR version based on ubuntu 8.10. Well, at least I would if I didn’t just discover that my corsair 2gb usb key was faulty. bah.

With the recent summer storms sweeping through the gold coast area, i’ve taken up amature lightning photography. The camera I’ve got isn’t really suitable for it though; its a Canon PowerShot G7, which means it can only do exposures to a maximum of 15 seconds, and there’s no ability to use an external/manual shutter release. But, some of the shots have turned out rather well. Here’s the gallery.

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our eeepc – now with eeebuntu!

By elf September 15th, 2008, under stuff

today i re-formatted our eeepc 701 to get rid of xandros. Not that i dislike xandros – quite the contrary – however i thought i’d give the ubuntu flavour a go.

So i downloaded the eeebuntu Netbook Remix distro, and followed the guide on making my 2gb usb key bootable with the iso image created on it. The installation went very smoothly as one would expect with a ubuntu-based distro. The “netbook remix” (NBR) is simply a slightly customised version of the eeebuntu distro, in that instead of the bland gnome desktop it has the nifty screen to display the applications etc, just like the normal xandros-based eee, but the way it should have been from the outset.

I must say I’m very happy with it… some minor little bugs such as incorrect alsa settings had to be resolved, but all in all its great. I setup the cpu scaling as well so that it doesn’t get so hot, and added some games (gnome-games, frozen bubble, crack attack) which weren’t installed by default, which the missus loves.

a few screenies (click to view full size)… i’ll probably write a full review in a few more days after using it a bit more:

eeepc eeebuntu screenshot

eeepc eeebuntu screenshot 2

eeepc eeebuntu screenshot 3

eeepc eeebuntu screenshot 4

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holidays, back to work now – sigh

By elf August 27th, 2008, under stuff

ok so now i’m back at work… back to the monotony… back to the long periods of sitting in my ergonomic chair yet slouched over somehow. oh what fun it is!

The 10 days we spent with our friends from melbourne (and a friend from brissy for the weekend) were pretty good. Took a bucketload of photos, all of which can be found here.
The main things we did were:

  • climbed the Q1 tower to the “QDeck” located in the heart of the Gold Coast city. Nice views!
  • Drove up the Sunshine Coast to Montville, then back via Maleny and Woodford
  • The missus and her friend went fishing. They caught a puffer toadfish!
  • sampled the fine wines and consumed an enormously expensive lunch at Sirromet
  • enjoyed a show at the Australian Outback Spectacular – a bit of australiana, fake damper (it was just a plain white bread roll you fools!)… 5 mins from my house.
  • drove up to O’Reilly’s and walked through the bush for a little bit, went on the treetop walk, and they even climbed 30m up a tree to a viewing platform.
  • Visited Alma Park Zoo – i hadn’t been there in ages, and none of the others had been there either.

I put together a little montage of a joey kangaroo being silly with his mum, some little monkeys trying to kill eachother, and a peakcock doing his thing:


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omg wtf it’s an update!!!1!11one?!1one

By elf August 8th, 2008, under stuff

heh, long time between updates 🙂

so what’s been going on in my life since March… well, I went on a business trip to Manila for two weeks in June. Long (yet satisfying + challenging) working hours, but at the end of it all it made me realise how much I love living in .au… and how much i love being at home with the missus 🙂

Work is still the same as usual… there are four of us left now (*shakes fist @ a certain member of HT1337*). The whole work experience can be summed up in one word now: boring. I know that sounds, well, boring, however when an 8-hour day consisting of ~10 phone calls, each averaging under 3 minute, is considered busy these days, then one will tend to run out of movies and tv shows to watch fairly quickly.
The ‘R‘ word has been bandied about, but nothing much has come of that. Clearly the business wants to retain us, but gawd damn it – give me a challenge!

The administration of OzHosting Solutions has continued to be fun, more so now that the aforementioned member of HT1337 is no longer around much. I’m currently in the middle of re-developing the website for the company… hopefully the look + feel will end up being quite refreshing.

During the trip to manila i bought myself an 8gb iPod Touch, which to my amazement is actually quite a nifty little device… before now i had always considered ipods to be somewhat yuppie however its actually kinda cool (listening to some eric clapton unplugged right now 🙂
Now all i gotta do is find an app somewhere for the device so that it can upload “now playing on my ipod” info to my blog. Plz comment if you know of one.

I finally got my sexy WoW character to level 70! That only took… what… 4 years? Haven’t played much since hitting 70 last week though. My contributions to the war on azeroth have been lacking to say the least!

Am taking about 10 days leave next week too… some friends are coming up from Melbourne and we’re all going to do touristy stuff here in the wider south-east queensland area… should be a nice break from the monotony!

I saw yesterday that the team who brought us some enlightenment with Zeitgeist are planning to release Zeitgeist – Addendum. I can’t recommend this documentary series highly enough. It really encourages you to think about and critically analyze many facets of our society, challenges your beliefs, makes you ask questions. Here’s the trailer for it:

Oh yeah… fucking interest rates. If it weren’t for this year’s tax returns, i think we’d be finding it mighty hard to meet this month’s mortgage repayments, what with an extraordinarily high rates bill and cc debt to pay off as well… *sigh*.

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creationova code bin, holidays

By elf March 21st, 2008, under stuff

i recently went on holidays for a fortnight, and asside from spending a week up the coast with the inlaws, I gave myself a little project to do with creationova… finally!!!!

So behold! the CreatioNova Code Bin!

What is it, I hear you ask? Well it is simply a site that will let you paste text – code or othewise – to let you share it with others. Invaluable for places like IRC where you’re collaborating with / helping others with their programming. People that do this generally use Pastebin which already exists… yeah i know, whats the point in creating a clone of it… the point is that I *can*. It’s free for use by anyone.
To do: anti-spam measures (i’d love to use akismet, but the live post checking seems to be a bit flakey sometimes… definately need something localised), google advertising, and the rest of the * sites.

Another portion of my holidays was dedicating an afternoon of travelling down the coast a little bit to my childhood holiday haunts of Cabarita, Hastings Point, and Pottsville – all next to eachother on the far northern NSW coast. I really wish I had taken my camera – the sea/beach was just so beautiful, and the memories that surfaced were great… I don’t think I stopped grinning the whole way. I even had a swim at cabarita beach… wonderful!

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