Thursday, December 20, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

101 uses for a John Howard

Jon Kudelka's book 101 Uses for a John Howard is available from the website for $20. The perfect Christmas present for an ex-Prime Minister looking for a new job.

Go buy it!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Hosting problems

Have been having some hosting problems so I've decided to point my domain at my blog and post new cartoons there. Had some issues doing that so my site has been up and down but it seems to be ok now.

Am going to post some new cartoons, and some old ones. Hope you enjoy!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Easter bunny tricks...

Thursday, October 04, 2007


A cool little tool that comes in handy for UI development with WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) is XamlPad.

When dealing with a large application, making small tweeks to UI can be time consuming, especially when you are not quite sure which tag or attribute to use. Compiling,running the application and then navigating to the correct part of the application to test a small change can take a long time.

Enter XamlPad. Its like notepad except it renders your XAML so you can see what your changes will do. It doesn't handle anything that needs to be compiled, such as code behind methods, but for layout it is brilliant.

There is also a button that enables the treeview of the XAML. I missed this on my first few uses of XAMPad but being able to see the tree that your XAML produces is great.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

iHave iPod

My iPod touch arrived today so in the tradition of documenting the unwrapping, I took a few photos.
The box... quite small.

Nice box. Attractive. Can you feel the excitement???!

First glimpse... could it be? ... love at first sight?

Hungry iPod. It wants to be fed.

Her first feed. Pretty soon she'll be on solids.

Ok so I've had my new iPod for what... a few hours now. I've twittered on it. Surfed the web (the keyboard takes some getting used to but I don't see it being a real problem.) I've played a bit of a movie, a few songs and just generally looked around. I've copied a bunch of my cartoons onto it and am REALLY impressed with the photo album viewing. Flick the photo and it shoots off to the side and the next picture zooms on. Rotating the screen is impressive to watch too. Really nice feature, that auto screen rotate. I've got some podcasts on there too, and I've only used up about 3 or 4Gb out of the 16Gb.
I wasnt worried about the 16Gb size limit... its a big jump up from my 2Gb on my JasJam, and most of my songs are crap anyway. This will give me an opportunity to cull the crap ones and delete them.

The only downside I've seen so far is it gets covered with greasy fingerprints. It comes with a soft polish cloth, but no case. A case would have been useful but no doubt there will be iPod touch skins soon (if there isnt already). Bluetooth would have been nice for my headphones...

The verdict... I'm in love.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Pants WPF Error

Thanks Patrick for the post.

<Style x:Key="DisplayOnly" TargetType="{x:Type TextBox}"   BasedOn="{StaticResource {x:Type Control}}">
  <Setter Property="Control.BorderThickness" Value="0,0,0,0" />
  <Setter Property="TextBox.IsReadOnly" Value="True" />
  <Setter Property="Control.Background" Value="Transparent"/>
<Style x:Key="DateDueStyle" BasedOn="{StaticResource DisplayOnly}">
  <Setter Property="Control.Foreground" Value="Red"/>
  <Setter Property="Control.FontWeight" Value="Bold"/>

Trying to base a style on another style, was giving me the rather cryptic error;
{"Cannot convert the value in attribute 'Style' to object of type 'System.Windows.Style'. Can only base on a Style with target type that is base type 'IFrameworkInputElement'. Error at object 'System.Windows.Controls.TextBox' in markup file 'xxx;xamlfile.xaml' Line 111 Position 47."}

I found Patrick's post (Linked top of this post) and initially was going to move the DisplayOnly style stuff into the local DateDueStyle style. But that wasn’t right, I wanted the DisplayOnly to remain where it was (It's in a different assembly and gets loaded into the ResourceDictionary).

Adding a TargetType fixed the problem. So it looks like the TargetStyle does not come down to your style when you use BasedOn. The real problem was that it wasnt set.

<Style x:Key="DateDueStyle" TargetType="{x:Type TextBox}" BasedOn="{StaticResource DisplayOnly}">
  <Setter Property="Control.Foreground" Value="Red"/>
  <Setter Property="Control.FontWeight" Value="Bold"/>

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I'm a Geek

It's Official. I'm on Geek Stories!

Nick did an interview while he was over here visiting in Perth and it came out pretty good.

Thanks Nick!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

WPF FlowDocuments

While messing around with FlowDocuments in a WPF app, I was trying to find a way to remove the nice reader controls. I think they are great, those controls come for free and allow you to zoom, change the page layout as well as search. I was after the ability to flow text around an image, but didn't want all the extra fruit.

Quite by accident I found that placing the FlowDocumentPageViewer inside a StackPanel removed the FlowDocument controls. I've not looked up any documentation to see if that is by design, but it works.

<Border CornerRadius="5,5,0,0" BorderThickness="2" BorderBrush="Blue" Visibility="Visible" Panel.ZIndex="0">





This is a richTextBox. I can

<Bold>Bold</Bold> ,

<Italic>Italicize</Italic> text


<Paragraph FontSize="10">

<Figure HorizontalAnchor="ContentLeft" VerticalAnchor="ContentTop" Width="100">

<BlockUIContainer Padding="0">

<Image Height="100" Width="100" Source="Bear3.jpg" />


<Paragraph Foreground="Blue" FontFamily="Consolas">

The Bear</Paragraph>


The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. This FlowDocument with sample

content, and provides controls to toggle the IsHyphenationEnabled and IsOptimalParagraphEnabled

properties and view the resulting layout changes in real time. The sample also includes controls

for toggling the IsColumnWidthFlexible property, and adjusting the ColumnWidth and ColumnGap properties.

This sample demonstrates a specific feature of the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and, consequently, does not follow

application development best practices. For comprehensive coverage of Windows Presentation

Foundation (WPF) and Microsoft .NET Framework application development best practices, refer to the following as appropriate:






If you actually want the controls remove the StackPanel (you can use a Grid instead) and this is how it would look.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Quokka Kiev

4 boneless quokka steaks
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon white pepper, or black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour
1 egg, beaten with 2 teaspoons water
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs

Blend the softened butter with parsley, chives, pepper, and salt. Divide into 4 portions and chill until firm.
Flatten each Quokka steak to about 1/4-inch thickness by pounding each between wax paper or plastic wrap. Place a portion of the chilled butter mixture in the centre of each flattened quokka medallion. Roll each to completely enclose the butter. Dust each roll in flour then dip in beaten egg and water. Roll in bread crumbs then place in lightly greased baking dish. Cover and bake at 350°F (175°C) oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer.
Quokka Kiev serves 4.

Stupid person disclaimer: This is a joke. Substitute the above animal for a different equally helpless animal that isn't protected by the law. Say a chicken or maybe one of those ducks that always seems to be watching you where ever you go. Heck its even encouraged to be cruel to those animals just because it has the unfortunate bad luck to be born into a short life of slavery, and farming of its unborn children, followed up by a short brutal meaningless death. The ducks have it better than the chickens so pick on them. Hopefully that will stop them stalking me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

WPF expanders and error providers

Task: Add a red error box around a textbox when it fails validation.

Problem: Expanders in WPF hide the contents making them not visible when collapsed. The AdornedElementPlaceholder is rendered on its own layer that is NOT contained within the Expander. This means when you collapse the expander while you have any kind of error shown (even if you customise etc) then the textbox disappears and the error does not.

Workaround: The best I could do was use my own ControlTemplate, hide the AdornedElementPlaceholder within a DockPanel and then use a trigger to change the textbox's border to red, indicating an error. Because I'm changing the actual textbox there is no problems with it being hidden when required by the expander.

Update: Originally I posted XAML here but blogger thought it was html so will have to figure out how to post XAML. doh!
There was a code post converter somewhere... hmmm that might do the trick

Of course if anyone has a better solution (some way to bind the Visibility of the dockpanel to the IsVisible of the textbox for example? Tried it... wouldnt bind, different parents?) please let me know.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Trialware timeout idea

Trialware is a great idea. You download an application and use it for a set period of time and at the end it becomes crippled or won't run at all. The trend seems to be to make the trial period calander based, that is you have a set period of time to use it from the date you first installed it (or in some cased first open it).

With my newfound User eXperience hat on, I have a much better idea. Let's make the trial time a bit shorter, but have the trial actually track the usage. How many times have you installed a trial then not looked at it for another couple of weeks, and then a month goes past and you try it again to find it has expired. Has the user had enough time to get a feel of the program? I know when this happens to me I usually don't bother buying the program because I don't know if it is for me. Why should the user spend the time to get to know the program on the program's terms? Wouldn't it be a much better experience if the program said "how much time do you want to try this out?" Let the user choose if they want one or two weeks to try it out, and then only count the days that they actually USE the program! Makes them feel like they are in control and they can try it out when they have the time (everyone are very busy people, give them some flexibility!)

Sure you can make the trial time shorter. 30 days is a long time if it is spread out over a year... Make it 10 days. My bet is you will get more people buying the program because they got time to use it. I don't want people paying for something they don't really need, especially if it is something I have provided. I want my users to WANT to pay for it because they think it's awesome, not fool them into buying something they dont really need or want. Knock your socks off service. What a concept. Give me some of that!

Off you go, implement my brilliant idea and give me credit. Let me know how it works out. :)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Stuff I couldn't live without...

Ok, I've been pinged by one of those viral like list things. Thanks Mike! :)

Let's see now... It's a fairly short list I think. I don't like to spread myself too thin. HA! Yeah right.

1. My Brother. He's been there in my life for as long as I can remember. People say we look alike, sound alike and act alike. We are like ying and yang. The world is not complete without us both in it. Makes me laugh so hard I practically wet myself. :)
2. Computers. It's what I do. I play with computers, work with computers, found my wife on computers, left my first wife via computers... In the last 20 years I can actually remember the few times i've not been near one and it was horrible. They are my life.
3. The Internet. See number 1. I have the Internet at home, at work, and in my pocket on my phone. I can imagine a life that is not connected and it scares the shit outta me. I choose online.
4. People. Friends, family and strangers. I like being around people. It's one thing I love about the Internet is that it lets you socialise. Solitary confinement would make me a crazy person.

I discovered while moving house recently that I had a LOT of crap, some very sentimental, hoarded away in the garage. We filled a miniskip bin that I could have fit my car in with a lot of that crap. Some of it, I had forgotten I owned. Lots of books I'd never read again. It's gone and if you asked me to list what I threw out, I wouldn't be able to tell you. good riddence!

I do like my gadets and toys though... That would probably be my number 5 on my list.

oh what? I'm sposed to tag 5 friends? right.. um... ok... not sure if they have been tagged already, i'm a bit behind on my blog reading.

Doug Paice
Alastair Waddell
Mitch Wheat
Nick Randolph
Simon Price - My brother. :)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

WPF Adventures

Well It's been a while since I've blogged. I've been twittering heaps, and messing about in Facebook. I thought it was time I did a blog entry about what I've been upto lately.

I've just started a new job this week and my official title is User Interface Developer. I'm still settling in and my responsibilities essentially lie in the UI development of a smart app. So far, I'm loving it. I'm learning things about UI that I didn't realise I had an interest in, and somehow have built up a pretty good background in UI design without even realising it.

The most exciting part is that I'll be researching a range of various UI components using WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), something I've wanted to spend more time on but have been so busy working that I've not had time. Now it's actually my job, so I'm stoked.

Some things I plan to investigate more;
Fancy UI that still has a corporate feel to it
Mapping display of data. similar to Grokker, Kartoo, Digg etc.
Styles and templates (Themes, skinning)

Still pinching myself... Awesome job!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Australian Web Industry Association » BarCamp Perth

Australian Web Industry Association » BarCamp Perth

I just found out via one of the other Perth bloggers (Thanks waxlyrical) about BarCamp Perth. I was like... hmm... whats that? Followed the links and did some reading and decided I'm GOING TO THAT!

Sounds great, really awesome format, open learning and collaboration, workshops etc. Sounds like anything goes, its driven by the participants. Maybe I can contribute some of what I picked up at ReMix07.

So I'll be there. Looks like some Silverlight is on the cards, as well as other Web technologies. Some Ruby on Rails... Only just found out in time, it's on tomorrow!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Stephen Price, a WACOM Tablet and Popfly

Stephen Price, a WACOM Tablet and Popfly: mungenet

Hehe, Nick tells a good story.

I've started drawing cartoons of various IT celebrities, my first being Joel Pobar and Nick Hodge my second. I think I'll follow this and see where it goes. I've got one in mind for Dr Neil, and one for Hugo Ortega.

Watch this space. :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Team APA Finalists

Team APA Finalists
Originally uploaded by Lyynx.
Team APA from University of Canberra were the finalists for the Imagine Cup 2007. Here is a photo I took of them receiving their boarding pass for their trip to Korea in a couple of months.

Congratulations guys!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Imagine Cup 2007

Imagine Cup 2007
Originally uploaded by Lyynx.

The Imagine Cup is being run at the moment in Melbourne. Students enter the competition and are judged by

I stood in on one of the demos where the software was written to help teach visually impared people C#. A noble cause indeed, and a good launguage to learn. :)

They called their app Audio Studio.Net which is a good pun on the name Visual studio.

For more info about the Imagine Cup competition check out

Update: The entry I saw ended up being the winning entry for Australia and they get to go on to Korea to compete there! Their team name is Team APA and they are from Canberra (University of Canberra), which is my home town, so way to go fellow Canberrians! :)

Web development

Web development
Originally uploaded by Lyynx.
John-Daniel Trask did a great presentation on web development. Covered a tool I have not seen before that is awesome for testing web sites. It's called WatiN. You record your actions and it creates the C# code to automate the script which you can then use in your unit tests.

He ased how many people knew about continuous integration and unit testing and only 20% of the audience knew about it. Lower than I expected.

He used a bit of code and showed some unit tests and mentioned NUnit as well as TestDriven.Net. The code was C#... ;)

Great tips on web development. Weight of pages is important even when broadband connections are available. A major web site in new zealand demonstrated that trimming the weight has users stay on the site longer meaning more page views.

Showed off Control adapters for menus (think there was some other control types too) which are free controls available on the net.

WPF overview

WPF overview
Originally uploaded by Lyynx.
Joeseph gave an overview of some of the cool new things in WPF. Content within content for example you can put a button within a button within a button. He showed off styles which looks really powerful. It's XAML version of CSS, so now you can change your sytle in one place and it will flow through your whole app much like CSS does with HTML.

A good session. I've seen joeseph speak before (at code camp) and each time I come away with something new.

The Morning After...

Here I am sitting in my room, of the second day and my head hurts. Yesterday was an awesome day! I kind of stopped blogging as I was trying to do it via my phone which was a bit too fiddly and I wasn't concentrating on what was being said. The pace picked up and the content was great.
Afterwards most people went to the WebJam (3 minute demos over beer) at Galactic Circuis. Lots of beer, video games and bowling. Was a great night.

Oh, if you are ever in Melbourne and want a really cheap place to stay then I recommend Urban Central (if you don't mind backpackers). The rooms are nice, four per room with an ensuite in each room, and free breakfast. Can't knock that for $28 a night!

Oh, I also won one of the WACOM bamboo tablets so a big thanks to WACOM, that should replace my cheap tablet at home and make a cartoonist happy!

I'll do a couple more posts today...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Classic T-Shirt

Classic T-Shirt
Originally uploaded by Lyynx.
Had to blog Frank's latest shirt :)

Rich web apps with silverlight

Rich web apps with silverlight
Originally uploaded by Lyynx.
Laurence Moroney covers silverlight.

Really low level and fast... Great content.

Seemed to be showing lots of java script examples. Would prefer .net but it's ok to get the idea across.

WPF with Lee Brimelow

WPF with Lee Brimelow
Originally uploaded by Lyynx.
Lee has lots of experience with wpf and is a good speaker as well as funny.

Went into some tips about prototyping.

Tools he uses... Photoshop c3, expression blend, VS 2005 and ZAM 3D. (I demo'd that at the perth .net user group)

Showed some of his prototypes as he went through the learning curve of wpf. Mentioned a .net library for interfacing with flickr.

Fake 3D carousel... Don't bother with real 3d if you can get away with it.

Lee recommended stealing ideas and code samples from flash as the wpf resources are still new days.

Was impressed with the performance of wpf, one demo showed hundreds of letters and it was still smooth.

Flickrcube prototype was cool... Check that out.

Phidgets is another cool thing, physical sliders and knobs that you can interface with wpf. is Lee's blog. He's going to post the code and slides. Must say wpf is realy impressive in the right hands.

Hope the above doesn't come across too random.

Remix UX

Remix UX
Originally uploaded by Lyynx.
Shane Morris spoke a bit during the keynote about the expression products and did a quick demo of the four products. He even did some code (and he claims to be a designer!)

Brian did the keynote which covered pretty much what their aim was with WPF and silverlight, as well as a high level view of what silverlight means for developers.

Nicolas did a demo of the Discovery channel web site using silverlight. Dev time was two weeks and it goes live in august

Lol he showed a video of an ex sas reporter eating a zebra...

Some plans for the site include msn im integration and maybe even twitter.

Brian mentioned a free silverlight streaming service for developers.

Yawning a bit here. Hope I can stay awake... Also apoligies if

Lucas sherwood spoke about the design of the orlando web site which is using silverlight. No designing done by developers they just stitched together the designers work.

Haha brian showed a chest silverlight using java vs .net and .net kept winning due to its superior performance.

Showed Top bananas a silverlight video editing tool.

Spoke about dynamic languages with .net

Whew... For a key note a lot was covered. Should be a great couple of days. Will try to keep the posts coming!

Remix Melbourne

Remix Melbourne
Originally uploaded by Lyynx.
Well here I am in freezing Melbourne standing at registration. Had a quick chat with Nick Hodge and am looking out for anyone I met at code camp. Lots of people here but no familiar faces yet.

Oh I said hi to Dr Neil...

Will blog about each session (i'll be in the dev track)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

New Business card

Two posts in one day!

Yesterday I got my new business cards. I got them from a site called and they look great!

I designed my own card, being a cartoonist in my spare time, and their site lets you download a template. You then upload the template when you place your order. I got 1000 cards for $99. Ordered them on the 12th and got them on the 20th so 8 days. Thats half the time I was quoted in a printing shop in Perth, and about $150 cheaper for twice the number of cards!!

I've only been meaning to design my business card for the last 5 years... The design finally popped into my head and I think it was worth the wait. :)

Tabbed Debugging

I just noticed a surprising thing with tabbed browsing and Visual Studio (2003 in this case). If you run a web project in debug mode it opens your default web page and when you close the web page the debugging session stops as you would expect. But if you open new tabs on your browser (talking IE7.0 here of course) and then close the tab with your web app in it, leaving the other tabs open (could be any pages here at all... Google,, whatever) then the debug session stays running.
So I tried this again only this time clicked the "Stop debugging" button in Visual Studio and the whole browser closed. All of the tabs I had open, along with the page being debugged closed without the normal "Do you wish to close all tabs?" prompt. No sign of it. Nothing. No warning...

I was expecting to see either the prompt, or the debugging to be linked up to the tab, not the browser. I can understand why it happens so I guess the prompt would make more sense. I guess the "stop" button means stop NOW, not exit what you are doing.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Singularity Is Near

The Singularity Is Near - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Does this spell the beginning or the end? It certainly seems like its a case of when will this happen, not will it happen.

If the human brain can exist then surely it can be reproduced artificially. Computers of the future may actually be grown, not built. If there is a biological component to an artificial life form and it becomes self aware then should it have rights?
Recently, I read that they had introduced human genes into rats and sheep so that they can have a more human like model to perform medial research upon, but does this not mean the animals are part humans? At what point do they have rights?

The future seems to be filled with peril. one slip up and our fragile existence could be snuffed out in an eyeblink. Watch this space...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Microsoft have a new project which looks fun. If you have seen the Yahoo effort called Pipelines then this may well be Microsoft's version of the same. I'm not sure yet but basically it will allow people to connect together various web services and create their own applications.

Anyway, the name they chose inspired a new Aphobia cartoon so here it is...

Friday, May 11, 2007

IEBlog : Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar - Get it Now!

IEBlog : Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar - Get it Now!

Every now and then a tool comes along that stops you in your tracks. You wonder how you ever got by without it. I've just discovered this IE add in that I think will be invaluable if you are a Web developer!!

It basically gives you a whole load of information about the current web page, stuff like div tags and tables, properties etc. The amount of time I've spent trolling through the "View Source" page trying to figure out how a certain effect has been achieved makes this tool a winner.

I've only just installed it but it looks great! check it out and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

REMIX07 - Helping you redefine the online experience

REMIX07 - Helping you redefine the online experience

I just caught wind of Remix07 and it looks like it's going to be huge.

I've booked my accomodation ($28!!), the event ($140) and my flight ($78 tax - My wife let me use some of her frequent flyer points as I've run out) so it looks like I've managed to do the whole thing for less than $250. Not bad eh!?

Friday, May 04, 2007

Venom rules!

Just got back from Spider-man 3 and I've got mixed feelings... It was awesome. Venom was spectacular. The fight scenes rocked. I was even happy with the ending (won't spoil it for you). I did however recall thinking as I was leaving the cinema "I hope they stop there..."

Not sure why... could be the slight changes to the story line for the big screen? Anyway, mission was a success for me, I enjoyed it.

On another note, I had a big evening. Tonight (actually it was yesterday now) I presented at the Perth .Net user group meeting. It was my first presentation and I counted 20 people. Overall I think I'd call it a success. People thanked me and told me it was a good presentation. In hindsight I'm remembering all the little things that didn't quite go as I had planned but I did learn a LOT both in the last few weeks leading up to the presentation, and the actual presentation. They even laughed at the jokes I cracked and didnt laugh when I was trying to be serious. :)

The presentation was on Microsoft's WPF. I did a quick demo of the four products in the new Expression suite and then walked through a few samples of code that I picked up from Charles Petzold's book, Application = Code + Markup. I've read some pretty harsh reviews but also some positive ones. My view of the book is a positive one. Lots of content, loads of examples and Charles's writing style is quite clear and concise. It's argued that pictures and screenshots and colour make for a better book. I wouldn't mind the code being in colour (using the same colour scheme as Visual Studio) but to be honest it really wouldnt have added that much to the book. The book is thick enough without wasting space with screenshots and pictures.

I did come unstuck at one point when I had deviated from my practiced demo and lost my train of thought. It's quite difficult to sit and debug something that won't compile with people sitting waiting expectantly. I fortunately got back on track pretty quick. I also learned that using snippits in Visual studio are great for not having to type code but remembering which ones you want and which is which was a challenge. More practice with the demos and sticking to the plan in future.

Anyway, a big thanks to those who attended. I hope it was informative and gave you an insight into the upcoming technologies, it's pretty exciting stuff!

Friday, April 27, 2007

What Will Microsoft Office Diagnostics Do?

A friend of mine pointed this out to me, saying it caused him to have a little accident. I think I might have had a similar accident. In Microsoft Outlook 2007 click Help then Office Diagnostics. There is a link at the bottom that says What will Microsoft Office Diagnostics do?

Click that and you will see a web page. See point 4 below.
Access, Excel, PowerPoint, or Word
1. Click the Microsoft Office Button , and then click Access Options, Excel Options, PowerPoint Options, or Word Options.
2. Click Trust Center, click Advanced Trust Center Settings, and then click Privacy Options.
3. Select the Download a file periodically that helps determine system problems check box.
4. Wait about a week to allow the file to be downloaded, and then run Microsoft Office Diagnostics again.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


I stumbled upon not so long ago but for some reason I didn't download it. I think the thought of paying for backups put me off but they do have a 2Gb free service.

Anyway I was at the Tiger Tiger today and Dave mentioned he uses Mozy and said some good things about it. So I've just created an account and downloaded the client. I had a bit of a read of the FAQ's and unfortunately they don't support network shares.
Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but if you have noticed lately I've blogged a fair bit about Windows Home Server... and guess what. The files are only available via the shares, even when you are locally logged into the server, it is recommended highly to access the files via the \\servername\share otherwise you would never know if the file you are accessing is the only copy... (It does duplication for redundancy if you configure it to).
So it looks like I couldn't use Mozy to do backups of my WHS files if I wanted to.
I think that might be over kill anyway... I'm going to try out the 2Gb free service and then if that goes ok I'll upgrade to the unlimited. Its way cheaper than buying your own hardware for an offsite backup. Will use it for my documents, cartoons and photos. Not fussed about movies/Tv shows and music.

So far I'm impressed. If you want to try it out let me know, they run a referal system where you can get bonus space on the free account... Click the url and if you start using it I'll get bonus space. I'll most likely be upgrading but will give a try to make sure it has no issues.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

More WHS...

Seems like all I'm doing lately is blog about WHS. The CTP came out a few days ago. I've downloaded it and after a bit of research to see if anyone else had had issues (there were some but I did it anyway) and it all went very smoothly.

Some extra polish is noticable and the upgrade process was straight forward. It basically formats the system drive and installs a fresh one. All of the tombstone data lives on the data partition (it splits your main install disk into a 10Gb system and the rest data). It was nice to see this data partition was left alone.

Interestingly two disks were missing until I installed the Sata drivers, but all the data seemed to be there. I suspect that was because the data I was looking at was not located on those disks. Installed drivers and everything is working nicely.

Am currently backing up my laptop and my wife's laptop (both via wireless) and a backup takes a few minutes (only changed clusters are copied to the server). The restore I did a few days ago is going fine. all the backups were still available after the upgrade. I read that was a problem upgrading to the beta2 from previous version but beta2 was my first install.

This product is going to do really well. It's awesome!

More WHS...

Seems like all I'm doing lately is blog about WHS. The CTP came out a few days ago. I've downloaded it and after a bit of research to see if anyone else had had issues (there were some but I did it anyway) and it all went very smoothly.

Some extra polish is noticable and the upgrade process was straight forward. It basically formats the system drive and installs a fresh one. All of the tombstone data lives on the data partition (it splits your main install disk into a 10Gb system and the rest data). It was nice to see this data partition was left alone.

Interestingly two disks were missing until I installed the Sata drivers, but all the data seemed to be there. I suspect that was because the data I was looking at was not located on those disks. Installed drivers and everything is working nicely.

Am currently backing up my laptop and my wife's laptop (both via wireless) and a backup takes a few minutes (only changed clusters are copied to the server). The restore I did a few days ago is going fine. all the backups were still available after the upgrade. I read that was a problem upgrading to the beta2 from previous version but beta2 was my first install.

This product is going to do really well. It's awesome!

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Last night, after doing a backup of my laptop from Vista (built in backup) as well as a manual backup with the Windows Home Server client, I did a full restore.

The reason I did this was that Dell kindly put a restore partition on my hard drive. It was 10Gb in size and when you have a 100Gb drive which ends up being 81Gb after losing the 10Gb you feel like you have been short changed. I dont need a recovery partition as Dell use it for the poor people who kill their system. They tell you to run the recovery tool and it reimages your Dell back to the original. I'm sure its great for those that need it but I'd rather get my full 100Gb (or as close as I can get).

I was nervous. It's beta software after all, but everything went fairly smoothly. I had to switch to a network cable as it would not restore over wifi. (a good thing). I had the option of opening the disk manager, which is essentially the same tool you get under Manage in Vista. I deleted all of the partitions and created a new one. I did a quick format, and in hind sight I probably should have done a full format.
It saw the server and gave me a choice of all the available backups after asking for my password. I selected the manual backup and away it went. I then went to bed but it was showing a restore time of 1hour and 20 mins.

This morning it was sitting on the finished screen so I clicked the finished and it rebooted. It booted into Vista (it did show that it had not been shut down properly but i selected normal boot). Once I was in windows It told me that it had a bunch of problems with drivers etc telling me i should update them. I rebooted and it did a check disk on boot up and found a whole load of problems. I'm not sure why this happened but It seemed to fix them (orphaned files and that sort of thing) all and everything is now working normally.

This leads me to a question. Do I trust that everything is ok? How do I know? Is there a tool that one can run that does a full integrity check of all of your files? Much the way a clickonce application checks no files have been modified. It would be nice if there is a tool (and there may well be) that checks your system files are all healthy.

I just got an email letting me know that Windows Home Server CTP is available so I'm hoping that Beta 2 upgrades ok. The manuals say that it will be upgradable when it is released.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Family PC Support Helpdesk

While on the subject of fixing family member PC's (my last post was about removing viruses from my mother-in-law's PC)... I've just reinstalled Windows XP onto my brother-in-law's laptop because of the issues he's been having with Vista Home. Personally, I love Vista, but acknowledge it's still got some teething problems. It seems to be the norm with new OS's. It takes a while for drivers to catch up.

Anyway, he had some photos on the laptop which he wanted (no, no backups anywhere) and he said other than the pics, I could wipe the laptop. First couple of attempts I thought I would just install XP over the top. No can do. When I told it to install into the same Window directory, overwriting the old (Vista) version it came up with a number of xml files that it could not write to disk. The install failed so I retried with my own XP disc and got the same errors. I figured there must be some permission issues overwriting some files so installed into a new folder (called it WinXp). I got another error trying to boot up. So having already copied the photos to a DVD I went the format approach. No problems...

Well, except for one. While the format was happening I put the DVD into my laptop to check the photos were all there ok (before I started the format of course) and it was all fine. I was looking at a power point funny on the DVD when my laptop hung. Everythign stopped responding and the DVD drive would not eject. After about 5 minutes of nothing I powered off my laptop. On rebooting and looking at the DVD it showed it as blank. Copy your files here it said. It showed me nothing on the DVD. I felt horrible as I looked across to his laptop as it was 60% through a format. Crap.

I took the DVD out and you could see the session on the DVD so I thought maybe Vista had opened a new session for burning and that hid the previous one temporarily. I left the DVD alone until I had reinstalled XP. On putting the DVD into the freshly built XP system I could once again see the photos. Man that was a LONG install. So I copied the pics all back to his laptop with a sigh of relief... I'll have a look at the DVD on Vista later and see if closing the session brings back the files. If thats how DVD's work under Vista it makes me wonder if that is a good thing.

What stories of family PC support have you got?

Virus world

I've not usually had much problems with viruses. I keep the kids away from my PC's as much as I can, and the number of sites I visit myself is quite small with the majority of them being return visits to sites I trust.

My mother-in-law on the other hand... Last week I dropped over to fix a problem she was having with some pop up ads. After a couple of hours I still had not fixed the problem and had to leave. Last night I returned to fix her machine while she is away over east. I spent about 5 hours trying to find a tool to remove the virus(es) that had infected her machine. The first visit I had upgraded IE to IE7 in the hope that it would prevent the popups. It didn't. I had installed AVG antivirus when I originally set it up for her and that didn't stop them. I tried spy-bot search and destroy, which found a number of cookies and virus entries in the registry. It happily removed them, but next time you ran a scan they were back. It might have been a false positive, except the ads were still poping up in new windows. Frustrating.

I then tried Avast which didn't seem to find any issues. Pop ups still occuring. My recent purchase of a new laptop (Dell) included a three year subscription to McAfee (Security Center) so I thought i'd give that a try. It removed 20 threats (most of them cookies) and since then two different applications that looked suspicious were blocked giving me the option to remove them. Finally, the ads seemed to have stopped.

This has altered my view of McAfee another step towards the positive. I used to hate the thing, but granted this opinion was based on an old version (some years ago) which would chew up huge chunks of CPU processing, slowing down normal activities. Doing a compile with McAfee running would increase the compile time considerably. I've not done any recent benchmarking but I wonder if now, with dual core CPU's if this is finally less of an issue.

I'm still stunned that IE7 along with several different Anti-spyware tools (I tried 2 blockers, 1 scanner and 3 antivirus programs) that none of them stopped this virus. One of them was WinFixer which I've read about having infected several big name web sites (including Microsoft and AOL I think)

I think i'll recommend my mother-in-law gets the McAfee subscription especially if it keeps her machine clean.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Vista Pain

Found a good write up on WHS here A Week with WHS.

Still moving data from my drives and adding them into the WHS pool. Have set up redundancy on my photos... It's like Juggling moving the data off a drive then adding it into the pool so I can then add the next one.

I finally got Vista installed on this here desktop. I must have tried a dozen times, downloading different SATA device drivers for the VIA chipset. The motherboard is an A8V Asus mb and as far as I can tell there is no way to get around the problem. I could install XP and begin the install, and about 27% through the "expanding" step it would reboot (normal behaviour I think) and after rebooting it would come up with an 0x80070008 error. Googling shows this to be an Access denied error message. So I eventually put in a PATA drive and used that as my system drive and it installed first go, so it was as I suspected, an issue with SATA drivers.
Am happy to leave it as is, as I can still access the SATA drive now that Vista is installed.

I do like the new feature of Vista that allows drivers to be loaded from floppy, CD/DVD or USB. You have no idea how hard it is finding a floppy disk around here that still actually works! Not to mention a floppy disk drive!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

More WHS

Update on how the Windows Home Server install went. Not too bad.

I ended up going with a 300Gb drive as my system drive as it is a PATA drive and the 500Gb drive is SATA. Why? I've had so many problems installing stuff onto systems with SATA drives, having to find the correct drivers etc and the old PATA (IDE) drives just work.

Unplugged all drives and plugged in 300Gb system drive. Installed Windows Home Server. It was hands off and it even downloaded some updates (at least thats what it said it was doing). I was surpised to see a Windows Small Business Server screen during the install. I didn't realise that was the underlaying technology but it made me feel somewhat happier to be running it. Vista is still so new, and with the driver problems I've had along with other problems I've heard about I'm not so sure its ready to be a server. Longhorn will hopefully be better, but for now WHS appears to be a modified SBS.

The good news is that plugging in my other drives with data on them did not wipe them. Doing the install wiped the install disk (with plenty of warnings, so that's good). You can log into the server locally and copy the files to the server shares. There is a really nice full screen warning letting you know that traditional windows tools can break WHS.

On another note, while WHS was installing, I took one of my spare drives and tried to install Vista on my recently repaired server. My laptop hasn't been as good in the games department (bit dissapointed there but it's a great laptop for development so oh well) and it just would not install! It's an ASUS motherboard and it recognises the SATA drive but when it begins to expand the files it gets a little way in and then gives an error. Windows XP installs fine so I tried to do an install from within XP and got the same error. Will have to investigate this further. Might have to try a PATA drive and see if that works. No Vista drivers on the ASUS web site but I think that is because Vista already has them??

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Windows Home Server

After a long weekend that took forever to end (I was waiting for the computer shop to open so I could pick up the new power supply and 500Gb drive I had ordered) I'm now on the way to installing WHS.

Put new power supply into Athlon 64 machine (old one fried when fan died) and installed new 500Gb hard drive. Drive would not be recognised by server. The damn thing was so quiet that I didn't think it was even powering up!! Tried it in my other server (the server that will eventually have WHS) that currently has 5 drives in it. No go. Checked invoice... ahh... It's a SATA2 drive. Cool! Not cool. Doesn't seem to be backward compatible with SATA1 controllers.

Did some research and found the drive can be put into SATA1 mode (The drive does Auto speed detection but the controller has to support it.) First hurdle sorted. Got drive going and then discovered that machine only has a CD drive, no DVD. Not wanting to steal a DVD drive from any other PC's I decided to install XP instead of Vista. Might be able to install Vista later across the network.

So now i'm moving data from the WHS server (currently running Vista) to the new XP machine. Need to get everything off the Raid0 drives so I can break the raid into seperate drives, as well as clear a 250Gb drive to install WHS onto (with all other drives unplugged). I'm hoping once I have WHS installed on a single drive that I can plug in the other drives without formatting them and then copy the data to the WHS share. I've learned how to add and remove drives (its in one of the manuals) and it seems straight forward but the drives get wiped.

The next week or so is going to be juggling data from drive to drive etc. I'm just thinking now while I type this that maybe I should start over... moving this amount of data across the network is too slow. Think i'll put the 500Gb drive into the WHS server and make that the system drive. The recommendation is for the system drive to be the largest drive and it will get rid of the issue of trying to clear a drive for the install.

Friday, April 06, 2007

WHS Update

This weekend I decided that it was time to take the next step towards installing Window Home Server (Beta 2). One thing that prompted this was that I discovered the power supply on my Domain controller was fried. The fan wasnt working and there was strange plastic smells coming from it. Also I kept finding the server off and because its up high on a cupboard to keep away from kids I didn't notice the problem initially.

So I pulled apart my domain controller and my old desktop and spent the morning swapping motherboards. I had planned to put 4 drives into the new machine basically merging two PC's into one. I then realised two things. 1. Domain controller motherboard (only about 2 months old) only has 2 SATA ports. I need 4. My old desktop (3+ years old) was a good one (not counting the NIC had stopped working) so it has 4 SATA ports. 2. I realised that my desktop pc has 2 x 250Gb drives striped in RAID 0. I thought it unlikely putting these two drives on the other motherboard would recognise the RAID 0. It's backed up but I still have stuff on there that isn't and I didn't want to risk it...
I also discovered while trying an install that WHS wipes ALL hard drives when you install it. What the...??? Where am I supposed to put all of my data that I want to store onto WHS while i'm setting it up?
So I installed Vista onto the new machine (old desktop with 4 SATA drives. 3 x 250Gb + 1 x 120Gb. I order a new powersupply (430W should do) and a 500Gb SATA2 hard drive. (would have gone the 750Gb but none in stock...) Then i discover the computer shop is closed for the long weekend. Doh!!

So i'll be spending the next few days sorting through this PC seeing what crap I can delete before shuffling what I can onto the new 500Gb drive so I can install WHS and let it wipe everything.
Once it's set up I can transfer the data back to a share on the WHS box and then swap the 120Gb drive with the new 500Gb. End result should give me a huge storage area for backing up all the PC's in the house (currently 2 laptops and 2 desktops). One question springs to mind though... how do you remove a drive from a WHS? Adding them is easy (apparently) using the wizard but can you remove drives as well? Time will tell.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Back from Code Camp Oz 2007

Well I'm back now from Code Camp Oz and really enjoyed it. Definitely worth going even if it was a long way to travel. It would have been much easier to get to if it had been held in Sydney or Melbourne. The extra travel to Wagga Wagga makes getting there an extra step I can see some might baulk at.

I support Nick's suggestion to moving it to a more friendly location. Some advantages I see would be increased numbers from people who are close to the venue. Alternating between Sydney and Melbourne each year I think would work well. The down side is you miss out on the visit to Wagga Wagga. Some would say that would be an advantage but I admit I did enjoy seeing Wagga, and the University/Winery etc was nice to visit.

I’ve added mine pictures which you can find at the url above. If you go to the url below you can see some pics from other people who have put stuff up on Flickr.

Think I'll be going next year too. Might even become a .Net Code Camp groupie... travel the world going to Code Camps worldwide. Hmm... interesting idea, think I'll look into that. :)

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Code Camp OZ 2007

This weekend I'm at Code Camp OZ 2007, geeking on. It's going great... almost at the end of the last session of day one. Wine tasting is next.

The best part I think is meeting a whole bunch of other .netters. Networking with other people who are doing the same stuff.

More later... am in an interesting session. Dan Green's tips...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Rosey Outlook

Spent about an hour and a half troubleshooting an issue with Outlook 2007 tonight.

Problem: Navigating emails was slow, often a 5 second delay, with Outlook periodically coming up with (Not Responding).

Initially I blamed Mcafee Antivirus. I wonder why I paid for the subscription when I'm so against it. It slows me down at work, and antivirus is SO often the cause for problems. I must admit I jumped the gun a bit this time, being to quick to point the finger. The strangest thing was that disabling McAfee's email functions actually made the problem go away so you wouldnt blame me for thinking it was the problem.

So I thought I'd try out the support seeing I paid for it and all. I very quickly found myself in a one on one chat with a McAfee helldesk operator. She was quite helpful and in about 20 mins had given me instructions to disable ALL of the addins in outlook. Too bad if I actually wanted any of them, but I'll assume this was just to narrow down the problem. Unfortunately you CANT disable the Addins in Outlook if they are in the registry. So I turned off what I could and loaded up Regedit.
I exported the whole Addin Key so I could easily revert back and turned off all of the addins. To do this I changed each Loadbehaviour to a 0. The problem went away. Yay. So I turned them back on one at a time and fortunately started at the right end.
Solution: The problem Addin was OutlookAddin.Connect. A quick Google showed this was possibly related to Business Contact Manager. I dont really recall getting excited about this and thought If I miss the addin I can always turn it on. I'm guessing I wont notice it missing.

So although it doesn't seem to be related to McAfee SecurityCentre at this point they pointed me in the right direction regardless. A refreshing change from the usual "lame everyone else and handball" that seems all too common.

I still don't like stuff hitting my every file load, that has got to add overhead. How much of my life has been wasted from the accumlative effects of waiting for stuff to happen?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Vista + Windows Media Player = SLOW! - Page 2 - Notebook Forums and Laptop Discussion

Vista + Windows Media Player = SLOW! - Page 2 - Notebook Forums and Laptop Discussion

Had a weird problem in windows media player on the new laptop. Periodically the music would stall and stutter. Watching movies over wifi at home was quite painful pausing and continuing the movie like a streaming problem.

The link I just found above described that it took a long time to change songs. So i tried changing songs and sure enough it took about 10 seconds to change to the next track. So I tried the fix which for the sake of convenience (and its slightly different for my audio drivers) will repeat.

Problem: takes ages to start/change songs. experience stuttering and freezing as the DMR stuff does its thing.

Here's how I fixed it:
Start > Control Panel > Sound > Playback Tab > Double-click "Speakers/Headphones" > Enhancements Tab > Check "Disable System Effects"

I figure most of those effects wont make much difference for headphones... but I might experiment with it later to see if i can tell the difference.

Anyway, it's not skipped a beat since so hopefully thats that. (touch wood)

History & info - Daylight Saving Time idea from Benjamin Franklin

History & info - Daylight Saving Time idea from Benjamin Franklin

< RANT >
WTF were they thinking?!

Ok... personally, I'm against daylight savings. If people REALLY wanted an extra hour of sunglight in the evenings they would move to the other side of the planet. They would follow the summer around the globe, turning into a nomad. It's been done before... It's not a new thing to humans.

Here in Perth we have been trialing daylight savings. It's been horrible. So far, I don't think I have met anyone who actually likes it. Microsoft have yet to sort out their patches for Exchange server, so you never quite know if the meeting in your calendar is for the right time. Not being able to trust it means you can't count on it. They (politicians) didn't even ASK us (the people) if we even WANTED daylight savings. I seem to recall a few years ago that we were asked and the outcome of the vote was NO. So they wait a few years and then implement it regardless. Why do we need it? So businesses can deal with Sydney easier? Who cares!! We've dealt with it until now, why mess with it? WTF??

I've noticed Microsoft are also having problems with daylight savings patches in other parts of the world. It can't be easy having a moving goal post.

Time is an illusion. Lunch time, doubly so. It is something we have created in order to introduce structure to our day, but if there is no consistency what is the point of structure? It's just chaos! The sun does not care what time it is. The earth spins and the sun becomes visible. Why don't we just get out of bed when the sun comes up and go to bed when the sun goes down? There would be no need for lighting so think of the environmental impact.
< /RANT >

I'm done now. Moving on.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

JasJam USB Modem

Today I visited the local Telstra shop where I bought my JasJam. I asked one of the sales guys there about expresscard laptop options and the answer was there are none. (Yet. I'm sure they will come). I showed him my phone (JasJam) and asked if there was a way to share the Next-G account with my phone and he told me I could use my mobile as a wireless modem. Dang, why didn't I think of that?

I know why... not being used to the new technology, I just assumed that hooking my mobile to my laptop would enable me to dial up as in the analog voice call kind of dial up. Wow, if this is true then maybe I don't need more hardware etc.

I found a pdf describing how on the web site, as well as on (after some searching). The Telstra one is more specific to using it with Telstra. There are a few config settings which I made and I had to find some Vista drivers - the ones supplied on the cd are for XP and give an error when you try to install them. I found a thread here XDA USB Thread which has some drivers for Vista, including 64bit.

First attempt reported the modem was in use and could not dial. rebooted and tried again and this time it connected.

So it all worked after a bit of fiddling around, but now i've disabled it and won't be using it. Except in an emergency. Such as when i'm in a hotel and they want $30 a day to use the Internet. This is because the plan's available for mobile phones is SO expensive that text only browsing on a mobile is as much as you can afford. $29 plan would get me 70Mb of traffic before I get charged at 0.26c per K of traffic (both ways!). Bastards!

Oh, and Telstra has the most horrible tool for checking your data usage. It shows each individual session and does NOT tally them up. I mean come on! How hard is it to add up some numbers?? I called Telstra to ask them how much I had used for the month and SHE had to add them up too!! Someone needs to have a word with the developers there. I asked her to pass on my suggestion for a total. Not to mention it would make her job easier, she said she has to add them up all the time.

Next thing i'm planning on looking into is broadband for my new laptop. (The mobile option is too expensive). The new laptop should be here this time next week and if what I read is correct it has some form of inbuilt broadband wireless. (In addition to the wifi/802.11g) I might be able to use it with Vodaphone as the mention it on their web site. If I don't have to buy hardware, and just have to activate it then that may be a much cheaper option. Time to do some research, I can't be the first person to be doing this!

New Laptop

I’ve just ordered my new laptop. Hopefully it will be here before I leave for codecamp at the end of the month. Should be here just before I leave if they can deliver inside their 2 week estimate.

The main reason I went with this one was the size. It’s the same physical size as my current laptop (Dell 710m) but is a major upgrade on the innards.

Dell XPSTM M1210
Intel® CoreTM 2 Duo Processor T7600 (2.33GHz, 667MHz FSB, 4MB Cache)
Genuine Windows Vista™ Ultimate
2Gb of Dual Channel DDR2 memory (667Mhz)
12.1" Widescreen XGA (1280 x 800) display with TrueLifeTM .
256MB NVIDIA® GeForceTM Go 7400 with TurboCache Graphics Card. (Not the best on market but possibly better than my 6800 in my desktop!)
9-cell extended battery
100GB 7200RPM
Combo Drive - 24x/10x/24x CD Burner and 8x DVD-ROM 8x DVD/CD Burner (DVD+/-RW)
4 USB 2.0
5-in-1 removable memory card reader
Built in web cam and mic for using with skype
2 x stereo headphones/speakers miniconnector
Express Card (Don't seem to be many Express cards around yet)

$3850 after adding all the fruit.

In a previous post I mentioned I'm beta testing Windows Home Server but the install didn't go ahead due to my old laptop (Toshiba 3000 not the Dell 710m) not being high enough spec in the RAM department. This new laptop will replace my desktop which will then free it up to become my WHS. It should be good for the job too, it has 910Gb of storage if you count the external 300Gb USB drive.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Human Jet Airplane

OMG this is THE coolest thing I've seen ever! Takes me back to my Hang gliding days... and makes it seem tame!!

.Net Cafe meet

Not a bad turn out for the Perth .net coffee meet this week.

Dave Gardner
Hadley Willan
Keith Woods
Mike... um... dang not sure on his last name.
and me...

Spruiked on about geeky stuff for an hour or so. Solved world hunger... starting with my hunger. Will get to the world next. I'm still here at Tiger Tiger with Dave. I think he's working, where as i'm doing some study... (Wireless vulnerabilities). I've got the afternoon to kill as the pMug meeting is this afternoon.

For those not in the know, pMug is the Perth Mobility User Group which is all things mobile... i figured my laptop battery should get me most of the way to 5pm and the meeting is at 5.30. for more info.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Whiteboard stop motion

This really impressed me. Must have taken forever to create.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Thought for the day...

If we had the technology to reproduce a human being in 100% efficiency, and we were then to remove parts of the brain from the original and implant them into the copy, with 100% accuracy, what part of the brain would give that person the experience of waking up in the new body? Would moving part of the brain give this effect? Or is the whole brain in its entirety what comprises our soul. Are the two even related? In other words, where is our consciousness physically located?

Perth bus pass

This only applies to Perth bus/train goers but should save you some dollars. We have a new bus pass system which uses a swipe card. Unless you go looking for it you might not know there is an autoload option. You fill in a form from the transperth web site ( and nominate a bank account and how much you want to autoload. It took two weeks to process but I will never have to go and load my card again, it happens automatically when the balance gets low. You also get a 25% discount! (without auto load you get 15% so its an extra 10% on top)

Friday, March 09, 2007


Originally uploaded by Lyynx.
I thought I'd get my blog set up for when I go to code camp and 'll be able to upload pics too.

Sorry if the pic scares anyone. :p

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Windows Home Server

Lucky me, I'm beta testing Windows Home Server. I found a pretty good review of what WHS is all about so I won't cover that but I will blog about how it goes for me.
Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: Windows Home Server Preview

I started off by downloading the images. There was one DVD image (Server) and two CD images. First CD image was the client install CD and the other was a home PC restore cd. From reading the docs you install the client install on each of your home PC's that you want to talk to the server. The other CD is used to do a PC rebuild/restore. The idea is in the case of a complete failure you can restore your Pc from scratch. The whole thing is backed up on the server. Cool!! I guess that gets around my recent frustration when i discovered that Vista's built in backup software is limited in control.

My progress hasn't been so good. I burnt the images to DVD/CD which required me to find something that allowed me to actually burn images under Vista. I found a free tool that works well. (the name of it escapes me). I then grabbed my old Toshiba laptop which currently has the CTP build of Longhorn on it and booted up the DVD. I didn't get very far... I got an error that basically told me 368Mb of RAM isn't enough to install WHS. I was really surprised... firstly that my laptop only had 367Mb of RAM (I thought it had more!!) and secondly because Longhorn installed onto it with no problems. Minimum memory requirement of WHS is 512Mb. Strange, the docs say that WHS is designed to be able to be put on your old computer that you are not using anymore... I have about 8 computers at home, more if you count the ones that don't have enough working parts to be functional and I still don't have a spare computer i'm not using.

I priced up some parts for a new server to be my WHS server and ended up going high end with all the parts essentially making a better Pc than my desktop/gaming PC. So I scrapped that idea and decided to buy a whole new system and make my current desktop into the WHS. Business plan approval rejected by the missus... Doh! Ok, so that project is currently on hold until I get the funds (and approval) to proceed. :)

Stay tuned for more WHS beta testing when I get it installed... Hmm... might try a couple of installs on a virtual machine!


I found this interesting link FOCUS where they discuss using virtual reality to help treat the fear of speaking in front of an audience.
I think this is a fantastic idea. Instead of seeing a room full of threatening people you only see your mum and that chick from down the street you want to shag… people you want to impress with your verbal prowess.

Then again that might have the opposite effect. Ok, so lets go for the naked audience. Who needs to visualise when you can have it with VR!? Lets hope the speaker has a podium to stand behind...

So how does this relate to blogging? A friend of mine, a brilliant, but somehow yet undiscovered author, told me that he doesn't have a blog. It's a shame. I know he will read this entry (I'm going to make him) so just to reiterate my point... I think hes scared of having a blog because he doesn't want an audience. He also mumbled something about relating to people, something about Namibia and Aardvark testicles.

I won't go too much into it, but he's quite happy to post comments on other people's blogs. Fear of commitment maybe? Lurking in annonominity perhaps!? Obsessive compulsive comment spammer? Now we know how some spam gets by those little "pictures of letters that you can't read" spam blockers.

I've forgotten my point...

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Desk Pic

Thought I'd take a pic of my desk at home. Had no end of troubles with the camera on my phone, it kept changing the light depending what it was focused on. Focussing on the screen made everything else too dark but focussing away from the screen made the screen super bright. Ah well, you get the idea anyway.

I've had lots of problems with my JasJam's camera. It seems to kill the camera if there is too much light. Sometimes when outside in the sun I either get a completely black or grey picture (as if the lens cap was on!) or the camera application just completely closes as if I had pressed the X. If i try to open the camera application again I get an error saying "The camera device is in used." Yes, it has the spelling mistake!! I then have to reset the phone to get the camera working again... And there goes the photo opportunity.

I think my phone is trying to be too many things at once. Everything else it does it does pretty well...

Michelle lost my digital camera which was a Sony cybershot. Cost me $1000 about 4 years ago. I think i got a few thousand photos out of it and it might turn up again... It went missing once before and just as I was about to buy a new one it turned up.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Vista Dreams

A few minutes of looking at my desktop and i'm starting to feel a bit seasick.
Deep Ocean Dream

I remember trying out Dremples a few years ago and after the novelty runs out (about half an hour) and you need the CPU its chewing up you quickly turn it off. Granted its using the GPU now which is good but I think if the background is too busy then it will reduce productivity via distraction. The default one that comes with the Ultimate Dreams patch is nice, it's very subtle.

Code Camp Oz

Well it looks like i'll be going to Code Camp Oz this year!

A friend has an unwanted ticket to Melbourne and if she is booking the flight for me for the dates for Code Camp. Yes, i know its in Wagga Wagga but there are some Melbournites travelling up for the weekend so i'm going to hitch a ride.

Should be a blast. Any other Perth people going? Let me know - yet to organise accomodation.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Things I'm up to at the moment.
  • Doing tax stuff. Tax agent has been taking aaages and now someone else at their office has taken over and is asking lots of questions. Some of which I've previously answered. You get that.
  • Weblogging. I should be asleep, i'm not feeling 100%. Got the sniffles and a pre-flu back ache.
  • Setting up my web site again... I somehow trashed DotNetNuke. I have a feeling if you even go NEAR the Application installers on DotNetPark (my host) it trashes the database. I tried a restore but it didn't help, so I thought Ah well I wanted to try out Community Server anyway for another project.
  • Avoiding gaming. I want to code and I want to play WOW. (World of Warcraft). Can't do both unfortunately.
  • Today I went to a .net coffee meeting, a really good idea. Met some new guys in the .net world. Its a regular thing and Nick has a post or two about it. I was pretty impressed to see Nick did his homework and the cafe has wi-fi! Nice one! for more info about that.
  • I just signed up for a beta for which looks to be a kid friendly SecondLife. I've beta tested a LOT of MMORPGs. Some of which include;
  1. Star Wars Galaxies
  2. World of Warcraft
  3. Anarchy Online
  4. The Matrix
  5. D&D Online
  6. GuildWars
  7. Possibly others...
Ones i've played'
  1. Active Worlds (kind of like SecondLife I believe)
  2. Everquest
  3. Everquest 2
  4. Horizons
  5. Eve Online
  6. GuildWars
  7. Asheron's Call
  8. World of Warcraft
Hmm... quite an impressive list when you look at them all at once. No wonder my wife complains. hehe...

  • Oh, also in the process of organising finance to bulldoze my house and build a new one!! Exciting times!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

New content

Well it’s been way too long since I’ve posted to this blog. A whole host of reasons as to why… Too busy, not focused, no reason etc etc.


One thing I’ve been thinking about, and I’m sure it comes up for all bloggers, is how much information do you blog? Do you blog about a specific topic with the aim to become an expert? Or do you blog about general stuff which might appeal more for people interested in what *I’m* talking about rather than what I have to say about something. Subtle difference.


Anyway, I thought I would fire up this blog again and make it my “Dear Diary” so to speak. I’m going to blog about the things I’m interested in, in no particular order. I would love to have a big reader base as I believe I have some things to say that may make a difference to some people. The most mind boggling thing is, I have no idea who that might be. I’ll let chance decide who that may be.


I’ll keep the posts as short as I can as I think long blog posts take up too much time. Short and to the point… I’ve got a lot of ideas I would like to get out there. I’ve even thought that a history of what I’m thinking etc would be great for my kids to read in years and years when I’m no longer around. (hopefully a LONG time from now!)