Monday, 31 December 2007

Happy New Year - All the best for 2008!

Just learnt to make text conform to a path in Inkscape!

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

We have video now!

RWCN have just obtained a brilliant little Webcam - the Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000 so watch out for what that might add to the network.
Check out the first video in the video bar as seriously, this is a great webcam:
  • Carl Zeiss lens
  • Logitech's RightLight technology combine to deliver superior image quality, especially in low light;
  • 2-megapixel sensor lets you shoot video up to 1,600x1,200 resolution;
  • QuickCam software is polished and easy to use; flexible stand works equally well on top of a monitor or a laptop or resting on a desk.
It cost $115AUS and I have been having a lot of fun with it.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Laptop LCD screen replacement

I replaced the LCD screen in Michelle's 3 year old laptop today which was an interesting exercise.

It had started to deteriorate with the pixels fading out in a vertical line about 2cms wide in the center of the screen. Now I reckon this occurred because she insists on putting her laptop away every time she has finished using it. The constant opening and closing of the top must have effected the circuit board which lives at the top of the screen.

She was quoted $700+ when she enquired about getting it repaired at the store where she purchased the laptop and considering she could probably replace her laptop for that price nowadays was a bit of a joke really.

I rang the distributors and they said they could supply a replacement screen to my door for less than $250 which made going ahead with replacing the screen viable

Now I just needed to find out what was involved and after a bit of Googling decided that I should be able to handle the job.

Anyway it turned out to be very fiddly as she has a Metabox laptop and there were no screws to get the bezel off which took me aback initially as there did not seem to be a way of getting it off at all. I eventually worked out it was a snaplock fitting and it ended up coming apart fairly easily in the end except for both lower corners which were just not going to budge.
So I had to deal with it remaining in place at the bottom of the screen which made getting the plug for the inverter (it is right down at the bottom of the screen of course) back in again very difficult, and was only achieved using angled pliers and great patience and care.

The next fiddly bit was replacing the video plug but that was not quite so intense an experience but still tricky.

Rebooted to make sure I hadn't damaged anything and the screen cranked up beautifully Whew!

Put the internal framework screws back, snapped it all together and voila! the laptop is like new again.

The instructions I used are from the Screentek site if you want to save yourself some money and get that laptop back to new again.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Classical Guitar posture discussion

There has been an interesting discussion on the Delcamp forum of late about posture and the classical guitar with people using all sorts of devices and means to get the guitar to where they feel it ought to be. I am happy with the footstool having resolved the issues relating to it's use but for some it just seems to be too hard or they feel there must be a better way!
Well here is a very interesting example as the image to the left from many years ago of great British guitarist Paul Galbraith shows. He started experimenting with a more cello like posture and I remember thinking at the time - "Well interesting, but I think he might go back to the footstool"

I was wrong 'cos here he is today having taken the concept all the way to a very successful conclusion using an 8 string instrument.

I haven't found any video footage, but here is some video of Redmond O'Toole, a young Irish guitarist who has adopted the 8 string guitar and this posture and in which Paul Galbraith makes an appearance at least!

Sunday, 16 December 2007

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly! An absolutely sensational rendition and very, very amusing!

And I just had to add this one aswell! Again sensational and very, very amusing!

Saturday, 15 December 2007

16 interesting RSS feeds - What I choose to read about!

There are many news readers available and I happen to use a Firefox extension Wizz RSS which I have found works well for me. Following my last blog, about two minutes ago, it occurred to me to blog about the feeds I choose to follow that enhance my internet life.
There are quite a few, many you will already know, others you may not have come across and they are:

M15 interesting RSS feeds - What I choose to read about!

There are many news readers available and I happen to use Wizz RSS. Following my last blog, about two minutes ago, it occurred to me to blog about the feeds I choose to follow that enhance my internet life.
There are quite a few, many you will already know, others you may not have come across and they are:

Coding Horror - A very interesting blog!

I am sure those of you into coding would probably have come across this great blog published by Jeff Attwood. If you haven't it is well worth checking as much as anything for the length and breadth of the discussion that occurs in the comments!
Here is one relating to Jeff's assertion that there are only two types of programmers! and here is another relating to current levels of Apple laptop pricing compared to Dell!
There are plenty of other examples to keep you busy for the day as Jeff has been publishing his blog since 2004! I have added his feed to my news reader and look forward to keeping up with what he has to say in the future.

Michelle is fine!

Michelle had an abdominal hysterectomy on Monday afternoon and after only 4 days is home and doing really well already! Still a bit sore and bruised obviously and one can see why from the image on the left as the abdomen is stretched radically in order to facilitate access.
Michelle has suffered terribly from Endometriosis since her teens and has had to use anti-inflammatories every month for years to control the pain.
Recently a large fibroid had developed behind her uterus which was starting to cause her great discomfort and diminishing her ability to lead as active a life as she would like. She is a keen surfer like me!
A hystorectomy is a major operation and not a procedure that any medical practitioner would recommend lightly, but Michelle had decided that she had come to the end of her tether and that something needed to be done.
Normally, patients requiring a hystorectomy would have to travel to Perth as Albany has been without the services of a resident obstetrician/gynaecologist until the recent arrival of Dr Johan Herholdt from South Africa. This clearly highly skilled and professional gentleman indicated to Michelle that going ahead with a hystorectomy was advisable in her circumstances and carried out the successful procedure.
We are lucky that we have a great little hospital here in Albany (finally to get a 50 million dollar upgrade) staffed with wonderful nurses, orderlies and other ancilliary staff, all of whom did their bit in looking after Michelle generously and with great care.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

A Radical Makeover - The Wizard has fled!

Wo! That looks a bit different! In line with the recent change of emphasis of this site, I have also redecorated!
This has occurred as I am currently in the process of developing a website for myself which also has a dark theme.
I have for sometime wanted to create a logo that reflected the Aries/Snake that I am and I was pretty pleased to come up with the design on the left which I created using Inkscape - the open source equivalent of Illustrator. Can you believe that one can actually get the hang of using those weird Bezier curve drawing tools!

Monday, 10 December 2007

We have hit the 5000 views milestone!

Thanks to everybody who has visited this site for taking the time to do so.
I hope it has been worth your while and that you have found something here of interest to you!

Sunday, 9 December 2007 - A Wonderful Resource for Classical Guitarists

While searching for sites that might take some of my little compositions for classical guitar students, I stumbled across this fantastic resource for classical guitarists.

"Commited to classical guitar players around the world, is an absolutely free internet resource center. In our forums, you will find 2.146 pages worth of scores for classical guitar listed according to difficulty level. You will also have access to thousands of tips, video clips, online guitar lessons and more than 4.500 MP3s performed by our worldwide members."

The people running the forums are excellent, very welcoming and keen that a certain standard is maintained which is crucial for a site such as this.

If you are at all into the classical guitar, make sure you take the time to have a look.

Monday, 3 December 2007

An acronym for the new marriage - HUC

For such a long time now I having been searching for a new description of my relationship with Michelle other than defacto, partner etc all of which I hate and do not describe the relationship. I am sure many other couples feel the same also too.
Finally I have come across a possibility and that is that we are a HUC! Happily Unmarried Couple!
So that means I can now describe Michelle as my TOHOAHUC. IE. The Other Half Of A HUC. It sorta sounds Polynesian so may actually suffice! Oh Well an acceptable try, I will keep working on it!

Sunday, 2 December 2007

GNU/Linux hits the mainstream again this year with ASUS eEE PC!

Finally, this awesome little machine has been released in Australia and I am sure it will be a sellout here also as it has been everywhere else.

Apart from it's obvious excellent features, what delights me about it most is the use of yet another GNU/Linux OS - Xandros this time.
This follows Dell offering desktops and laptops with Ubuntu installed, the huge success of the WalMart Green PC running gOS which is basically Ubuntu, the OLPC project to provide children with a PC also running a GNU/Linus OS and the growing number of smaller organisations offering machines with GNU/Linux installed.

Microsoft must be starting to get really worried about this especially as all this is happening in the wake of the debacle of the release of Vista. Finally consumers are getting some choice of OS when they purchase a new machine rather than being offered Windows and that's it.

Sorry, all you Windows fanboys but Windows is just not the best and only OS worth using and it is about time that the average user was given the opportunity to find that out for themselves.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

A sudden rash of creativity!

This is one of three pieces of music I wrote this week in a sudden rash of creativity following the completion of my exams for this semester.
Funny how that happens.
It actually started because I had a semi crash and burn on an exam at the beginning of the last week and to console myself a little I picked up the guitar and a nice little progression popped out. I thought to myself well that might turn into a little guitar quartet and that's what happened.
I then revisited a little study I had written specifically for a student a few weeks earlier and extended it into a longer piece including a further technical issue for her to deal with.
On Wednesday morning I wrote the above duo for guitar and another instrument in about 45 minutes before I had to rush out and pick up my ailing but currently recovered Mum from the Hospice where she had a few days of respite.

You can hear the pieces (Midi instrument so not a fantastic sound - must get Finale 2008 one day) on this site's new music player and they are the:
  • Little Duo in Em for guitar and solo instrument
  • ICT211 for guitar quartet
  • Little Piece in Am for solo guitar

I have uploaded the scores of all 3 pieces including separate parts for the quartet to my account at eSnips. Please feel free to download them and use them as you desire.

I have a few other pieces, including a fanfare for a local brass band, stashed away which I must get into Finale so as I can work on them a little more.
Anyone know how to write for transposing instruments in Finale - specifically writing initially so as you can hear how it sounds and then transposing the parts that require it so as the band can actually play the piece?

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Change at last!

Finally, Howard has gone and gone good as it looks like he has lost his seat too.
Hopefully, now a return to an Australia with a government that is not merely reactionary in it's policy implementation but proactive and actually uses what is left of the extraordinary economic circumstances occurring in recent times to build a foundation for the future for all Australians not just those at the top of the tree!

Sunday, 18 November 2007

They are back!

My all-time favourite rock band in concert again on December the 10th in London for the first time in 30 years! John Bonham's son Jason to fill in for his old man who was the best rock drummer of all-time!
Damn that I found out too late and I won't be there to see it.
I last saw them live in the early 70's at Subiaco Oval in Perth and I travelled a long way (from Singapore) to get to that concert and I would be happy to do an even longer trip to see them again.
I spent a considerable part of my youth learning to play their riffs having bought their first album in 1969 when I was 16, resulting in a now nearly 40 year association with the guitar.
Damn, Damn, Damn!

Monday, 12 November 2007

Free Documentaries!

I love a good documentary and I was delighted to find this beta site offering a whole swag of documentaries absolutely free which they appear to have gathered together from various video sites such as YouTube and Google Video etc. A great idea! I am half looking at the "Dixie Chicks - Shut up and sing" doco as I write this. I am going to be spending a lot of time at this site!

Categories include:
  • 9/11 and London Bomb
  • Activist
  • Animal Abuse
  • Environmental
  • Election Fraud
  • Female Focused
  • George Bush
  • Globalization
  • Health
  • Human Rights
  • Media
  • Politicial
  • Religious
  • Slavery
  • Societal
  • War

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Meet DBR! A 21st century Paganini!

Although classically trained, Daniel Bernard Roumain is doing some interesting stuff taking the violin to a very different place with his eclectic compositions including other musicians as diverse as Philip Glass and DJ Scientific.
There is plenty of video to view at his website. Sounds a bit like Steve Vai at times! Amazing what you can do with some effects! And sometimes he uses a 6 string violin not the usual 4 string one! Amazing and exciting music!

Saturday, 10 November 2007

A realisation more than a blog name change!

It is clear that we will all be soon using the Internet as our main resource for entertainment and information.
The beauty of this medium, of course, is that individuals can be the ones that make decisions about what content to present and how it should be put together providing a unique experience for those that choose to view it!
This blog represents a beginning of this rapidly developing change in our entertainment habits.

Welcome to the Wizard Web Content Network!

Friday, 9 November 2007

Larry Lessig on the new Internet inspired content copyright issues

Very interesting and well worth viewing all of this if only to view the hilarious remixes in the middle!

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Want to meet people, make friends!! Join ITtoolbox today!

Sometimes two people discover each other and form a special bond.

Locutus, a Turkey domiciled expat Aussie and Payton, a Tennessean in the great tradition of Tennesseans, appear to have formed such a bond.
Could this be another beautiful and enduring Yankee/Aussie relationship like that of John Howard (Man of Steel) and George Bush (Dubya).
Find out more by joining ITtoolbox today.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Happiness as a habit!

I have pretty regularly posted videos from TED as it has so much amazing stuff on it and here is another for you.
I am not huge on the importance of the notion of happiness as for me a sense of contentedness (is that a word?) is probably more attainable and reasonable to strive for.
However, even though I don't believe that Tibetan Buddhism has all the answers, the speaker in this video has explored the notion of happiness from a scientific point of view also and it is an interesting take on it.
So enjoy the monk, Mattheiu Ricard, on the "Habits of Happiness".

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Help to get rid of daylight saving in Western Australia

We are subjected again to daylight saving here in Western Australia and nobody I know is in favour of it.

The image to left says it all- a blazing sun that you wish would just disappear at the end of a long hot day.
The best part of the day here in WA in the summer is the early morning and you will find literally thousands of poeple up and about early walking. exercising etc before work.
Daylight saving just reduces that opportunity by removing an hour of time before people have to get to work. The urge to jump on the civil disobedience boat and refuse to wind the clock forward must be so tempting.
It is just not a sensible idea in a state that is so hot and already has more sunlight in the day than other parts of Australia.

The opposition leader here in West Australia is due to lodge a private members bill to have a referendum due after a three year daylight saving trial brought forward.
You can indicate your support for this bill by going to the following address.

This is what I said:

"I am a resident of Albany and I am writing to offer my support for your private member's bill to force an earlier referendum on daylight saving.
I, and many, many people I have spoken to, are vociferously against daylight saving and are appalled at the thought that we may have to suffer for another two summers before we have the opportunity to yet again vote "No"."

If you agree with the sentiment of this post:

I would urge you to send it to other people on your network so as they can also lodge their support for the referendum being brought forward and the likelyhood of daylight saving ever occurring in West Australia again removed with a resounding "No" vote!

This is the 100th post on this blog!

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Using an open document format .odt to extract an image from a Microsoft Word .doc

I am currently developing a website for an architectural client and I had asked them to email images of themselves and information relating to their qualifications and details relating to projects they have completed. I received 2 Microsoft Word documents with their images embedded which was not quite what I was after.
So how to get the images out?

Now I know you can copy an image from Microsoft Word to Microsoft photo editor or Coreldraw and then resave it as a file in it's own right but I reckon the following method using Open Office is more elegant.
  1. Open the Word document up in Open Office and resave it as an .odt (open document text) file.
  2. Navigate to where you saved the .odt file, right click on it and and rename the file extension from .odt to .zip.
  3. Extract the zip file and open the resulting folder.
    Amazing - All the components of your text file are there for you to access!

4. Open the Pictures folder and there you will find the original image for you to use as you wish! Brilliant!

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Wubi - Automated Ubuntu install!

I am a great fan of Ubuntu, generally running the KDE version Kubuntu.
Although it is not that difficult to install on a Windows machine, anything that makes it easier for interested folks to try out this brilliant and free GNU/Linux OS with loads of accompanying software is welcome.

Although still in beta, Wubi does just that, and what I particularly like about this software is that it allows you to uninstall Ubuntu (which is not an easy thing to do normally) using the Windows add or remove programs tool. If you decide you want to install Ubuntu permanently you can use a tool called LVPM to move the Wubi install to it's own partition! How good is that?

Wubi is Safe

It does not require you to modify the partitions of your PC, or to use a different bootloader.

Wubi is Simple

Just run the installer, no need to burn a CD.

Wubi is Discrete

Wubi keeps most of the files in one folder, and If you do not like, you can simply uninstall it.

Wubi is Free

Wubi (like Ubuntu) is free as in beer and as in freedom. You will get this part later on, the important thing now is that it cost absolutely nothing, it is our gift to you...

Ya just gotta give Ubuntu a try out now!

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

WAMP and PHP Designer

I have been doing some web application development for a Uni assignment this semester using PHP and MYSQL which has been interesting and challenging particularly as we were unable to connect to MySQL on the Uni server until recently which made things a little difficult.
So prior to this issue being sorted, I resorted to setting up my laptop with what I needed and went through the process of downloading and installing Apache, PHP and MySQL. All to easy you say - well not really couldn't get MySQL to talk to PHP! As is my habit I went Stumbling for a bit of light relief from my efforts and blow me down I stumbled across a great little PHP video tutorial site by another Aussie called Leighmac.
And the first tutorial was.........Yep, you guessed it WAMP Installation which included PHP Designer installation also!

Well WAMP makes setting up an web application development environment brilliantly easy and provides a fantastic control panel providing access to configuration files, turning services on and off. Apache modules, you name it is there. Fantastic!

And pairing this with PHP designer, a very good IDE providing comprehensive assistance just makes the work a pleasure.
It provides the following features for a very low price.

Designed to boost your productivity and simplify complex coding projects through intelligent set of editing tools that includes full support for PHP 5.2, work with any PHP framework, syntax highlighters, intelligent nested code completion and code tip that are displayed as you type, so you do not need to look into documentation to see classes and function attributes, project manager, code snippets, the large built-in code-libraries, highlights (un)matching brackets and tags and numerous tools and wizards to speed of your development.

The strength in PHP lies in the ability to embed it into- and together with other web-languages and technologies. Therefore, does phpDesigner 2007 Professional not only support PHP but also other web-languages as HTML, MySQL, XML, CSS, JavaScript, VBScript, Java, C#, Perl, Python and Ruby!

Support for WAMP/LAMP and AJAX developers through the intelligent syntax highlighting that automatically switches between syntax highlighters for PHP, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript dependant on your position in the document and dims the rest of the code.

So there you go what are you waiting for get WAMP/PHP Designer today and develop that brilliant application!

Friday, 12 October 2007


Just had to blog about this when I came across it. Yep that is a screenshot of GIMP not Photoshop!

I have been using GIMP on and off for sometime now and have been able to do most of what I needed to do using it. I have recommended it to other people that were not in a position to obtain Photoshop but the clunky GUI puts them off which is a shame.
But along came Scott Moschella with GIMPshop and voila! a much more recognisable GUI and it retains all the extra GIMP stuff you are used to.
Scott has chucked everything in one window and reorganised all the menus etc so as they mimic Photoshop making it far easier for users who have probably played with Photoshop to get along with GIMP. This also means that it is easier to follow photoshop tutorials too which is great!

There are two Windows versions and the one I recommend has the Dewierdifyer plugin that creates the Photoshop style GUI. Click on the image above to download it.
It is still in Beta so there is still probably the odd bug but well worth a look all the same.

450 Database Models

I have been doing databasing this semester at Uni and apart from all the theory and learning SQL etc, I have spent a fair bit of time rummaging around images such as the one to the left to try and come up with database designs.

It takes a little time to get used to doing this and one has to develop one's own method and part of that for me is rummaging around in amongst other ER diagrams that solve a similar scenario. In reality there are only so many possibilities I think, and I have heard there are 7 (correct me if I am wrong) so it is not such a crazy idea. Personally I think the processes and language used throughout a course such as the one I am doing goes a long way to confusing the design process!
I have found a great resource Database Answers created by Barry Williams in London which has around 450 database models which can be used as a starting point for any database project.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Happy 21st Tim!

My oldest son Tim turns 21 soon but I am blogging about it now because he is coming back to his hometown this weekend to celebrate the occasion with family and friends .

I would like to tell you some stuff about Tim.
  • He is way taller and carries a lot less weight than his Dad!
  • He has been with his delightful girlfriend Kelly since he was 15 - longer than myself and Michelle have been together!
  • He is in his final year of a Nanotechnology degree before entering what looks like a very exciting honours years developing an industry supported project!
  • When he was very young, his word for music was murket!
  • I knew he was pretty bright when he rode down to our house at the Wolery on a two wheeled bicycle he had taught himself to ride without us knowing at the age of 3!
  • He is a nice guy!
  • He is heavily in to games and associated technology - I wouldn't mind a Wii either actually!
  • He just about drowned at my one of my favourite surf breaks - Matterhorn at Nanarup and I can understand why as it can get a bit nasty and Michelle has also got in to a bit of trouble there also!
  • He has had a good shot at learning to kite board!
  • He plays a bit of guitar and bass and when he was very young had a crack at the violin too!
  • He loves his mates and thoroughly enjoys getting together with them if he hasn't seen them for awhile!
  • He and Kelly have a Jack Russell called "Shauna"!
  • He has a younger brother Oscar, already a well respected manager at McDonalds and yet to turn 18 , and an even younger half brother Angus who was reading before he went to school!
  • He is in to philosophy as well as science because he is a number 9!
  • His Dad loves him heaps and tells him so - something I never heard from my father and am making sure that my kids hear from me because it is important!
I love you heaps mate and Happy 21st for the 11th!

I am still here!

But I have been busy, busy, busy! with:
  • 2 assignments
  • 3 tutorials
  • listening to or reading lecture material
  • trying to memorise Edgar Cruz's brilliant transcription of "Bohemian Rhapsody"
  • trying to fit in a surf or the gym in between
  • going to training and assessment course classes
  • and a job application (part-time of course)

    Oh Yeh! and fitting in some work to earn money so I can pay the bills etc!
The astute amongst you will note there is a smile on the face of the character above and a certain balance to life that others may not enjoy! :-)

Monday, 10 September 2007

The only intact 1st generation computer surviving anywhere in the world!

CSIRAC was constructed in Australia at the Sydney University and was the 4th computer built in the world and used to produce the first "computer music".
In 1955 it was moved in a large truck to Melbourne and can be seen today in the Museum of Victoria.

CSIRAC was first successfully tested in 1949 and the name is derived from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Automatic Computer.

CSIRAC specifications
Speed .001mhz
Word Size 20 bit
RAM 768 words
Disk Capacity 2048 words
Power Consumption 30,000 watts
Weight 7,000kg

Many of the founders first programming skills were learnt using CSIRAC and the image to the left is a routine sheet showing stages for the development of a program.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

TED! Just continues to amaze me!

When this talk started I though - Oh Yeh!
There is some trickery going on here!
Then I realised that No!
These things are actually moving around in a lifelike manner!
Amazing work!

Sunday, 2 September 2007

8 reasons to vote No to OOXML

Click on the image to register your no vote!
  1. There is already a standard ISO26300 named Open Document Format (ODF): a dual standard adds costs, uncertainty and confusion to industry, government and citizens;
  2. There is no provable implementation of the OOXML specification: Microsoft Office 2007 produces a special version of OOXML, not a file format which complies with the OOXML specification;
  3. There is information missing from the specification document, for example how to do a autoSpaceLikeWord95 or useWord97LineBreakRules;
  4. More than 10% of the examples mentioned in the proposed standard do not validate as XML;
  5. There is no guarantee that anybody can write software that fully or partially implements the OOXML specification without being liable to patent lawsuits or patent license fees by Microsoft;
  6. This format conflicts with existing ISO standards, such as ISO 8601 (Representation of dates and times), ISO 639 (Codes for the Representation of Names and Languages) or ISO/IEC 10118-3 (cryptographic hash);
  7. There is a bug in the spreadsheet file format which forbids any date before the year 1900: such bugs affect the OOXML specification as well as software applications like Microsoft Excel 2000, XP, 2003 and 2007.
  8. This standard proposal was not created by bringing together the experience and expertise of all interested parties (such as the producers, sellers, buyers, users and regulators), but by Microsoft alone.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

GetUp's APEC campaign worth supporting!

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum is to be held in Sydney, Australia shortly and GetUp, an Australian online action group with an excellent record of exerting pressure on government decisions, has organised a campaign with Avaaz by to create a 500,000-strong email and photo petition of citizens to be delivered direct to our global leaders.

They have organised this campaign because there is reason to believe that our Prime Minister and George Bush are planning to use the event to sidestep commitments to binding greenhouse gas targets.

To become involved with this campaign, click on the target image to add your vote.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Lap Style Dobro Guitar!

I have been toying with the idea of learning to play this style of guitar.
The sounds that some of these guys produce are exquisite but much of the music played really rocks out so to speak.

I am thinking about this for a couple of reasons:
  • I have been searching for an instrument that I can play acoustically and still get heard if there are a few other instruments around.
  • I love to play electric blues and I can achieve many of the qualities I love on lap steel.
  • As I am a classical guitarist, and keen to look after my nails, this style of playing is a good option as picks are used providing a good degree of protection.
The video features one of the world's pre-eminent palyers Stacy Phillips playing a jazzy/blues piece.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Back to Windows!!

I am doing databasing at Uni this semester and I have to use Microsoft Access so I have returned to the Windows world for a while.

But! I have installed as much open source software as I can mainly from the Open Source CD.
I am using:
  • Oxygen Open Office Professional which has heaps of extra templates etc.
  • NVU for web development (would prefer Quanta but nada for Windows)
  • Emule for downloads
  • Gimp for image manipulation
  • Audacity for sound recording
  • Azureus for torrents
  • Filezilla for FTP transfers
  • Gaim for messaging
  • Firefox of course for web browsing
  • Inkscape for illustration
  • Scribus for desktop publishing
  • Blender for 3D work
  • 7Z for archiving
I do have a few proprietory programs, apart from those included within Windows OS, as there are no open source options for Windows that I know of at this point and they include:
  • Microsoft Access (but none of the other programs in Microsoft Office)
  • PowerTab because it is the only place I have been able to find the Edgar Cruz Bohemian Rhapsody TAB (See this weeks vids)
  • Adobe Captivate (for authoring as I do a fair bit of training)
  • AVG, Adaware and Spybot for virus protection etc
  • IconPackager and Bootskin (to disguise I am using Windows at least a little bit!)
That is about it.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

The amazing Evelyn Glennie

Hard to believe I know, but yes she is deaf! Amazing musician!

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Wow! Wow! Wow!

This is awesome!

I don't know whether it will appeal to everybody but I think that this is just a fantastic idea.
It adds a whole new emotional dimension for those of us who spend a lot of time on the Internet and have been accused by those that don't of needing to get back in touch with the real world.
Well, here it is and guaranteed to make you feel something!

Jonathon Harris is an artist who also happens to know how to program and he is using his programming skills to create art that is not only interesting in content but also great to look at. We feel fine tracks the world's blogs and searches for phrases starting with the words I feel........ and then captures the rest of the sentence. A picture of the way the world is feeling at that time is created - look it is hard to explain, click on the "We feel fine" graphic and check it out yourself!

His latest project is called "Universe" and provides a snapshot of our world from the point of view of any parameter that you put in. Again awesome!


Saturday, 14 July 2007

Png's! in IE - What a pain!

I have been creating a website for Michelle and and I am using pngs with transparent backgrounds for all the navigation and menu graphics.
Looks great in Firefox but..........?
In IE 6 and back, a big mistake unless I am just to assume everybody who uses IE has upgraded to version 7 which is incredibly unlikely.

I have tried a couple of the fixes but of course they are complicated by the matter of links and rollover effects etc and so far no success.

I will keep at it but I am pissed with Microsoft.........again!

Sunday, 1 July 2007

ITtoolbox for IT professionals

I discovered this brilliant site sometime ago and have decided to blog it just in case you might be interested and don't know about it!

ITtoolbox is a community of 1.2 million IT professionals who share information and provide assistance to each other on all things related to being involved in the IT profession.

Main category areas include:
  • CRM
  • Data Management
  • Development and Integration
  • Enterprise Back Office
  • IT Management and Trends
  • Networking and Infrastructure
You can also:
  • View, contribute to or comment a vast array of Blogs on real IT issues and trends.
  • Use Groups to ask and answer questions among skilled peers.
  • View the excellent Wiki, create and edit definitions, FAQs, and HOWTOs.
There are also any number of white papers and research, webcasts and events and......... you can even score a new job!

I have joined various blogs and become, like many others a fan of bloggers with names like Security Monkey, Locutus and Puramu.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

A blog about Michelle!

I was relating to my partner Michelle how much I enjoyed Sir Ken Robinson's talk that I posted the other day and how I really wanted her to visit the blog and view it herself.

"Oh!" she said "I don't visit it anymore because it is just all about computer stuff and nothing about me anymore!" (She is an artist so that explains her response to a degree).
So I said "Right then, my next post will be about you" and here it is.

Michelle is a Cancer/Rat, so she is always very willing to express how she feels and has a lot of junk hanging around the place.
She is also a very loyal, generous and talented person.

Michelle has been an artist since she was 15 years old and is currently studying for a Masters in Visual Arts at Curtin University. She is considering transferring to a Doctor of Creative Arts as she reckons a Masters is just not going to be big enough vehicle for what she has to say.

Michelle started learning to surf when she was 40, a late starter like myself (although not quite so as I was 49), and now our life is organised around the opportunity to surf.
Well it was until Michelle managed to score herself a 0 .7 job this year teaching an indigenous visual arts program at TAFE which has meant I have been going on my own a bit lately much to her disgust as she has had to go to work.

Michelle also loves music, particularly singing, so I talked her into letting me teach her to play the bass guitar and we started a band, Floodgates, with some other surfer mates Brad and Simon.
The band parted company amicably at the beginning of this year having achieved everything that we set out to do including the creation of a few originals.

Michelle owns 2 toy poodles, Hamish and Hermyne, who she totally dotes on and they are in bed with her as I speak having morning quality time. I have a half share in them too, Hermyne, in the blue and yellow jumper, in effect being my poodle and Hamish hers. They are very spoiled and Hermyne has a few psychological problems that result in the odd internal mishap but she is slowly getting better. (Actually, that maybe more of a wishful statement than anything, as a relapse has just been noticed). She is Hamish's sister from the same litter but she had a bad start in life and has only been with us for awhile as her former owner was not very responsible it seems.

Michelle is my surfer buddy, musical partner, lover, confidant, inspiration and best friend!

Monday, 11 June 2007

I discovered TED recently!

I have been getting a bit sick of the old tele lately and I am find I am relying more and more on the web for infotainment(a new word for me to use) which I think encapsulates what the web is offering more and more as the time passes.
The satisfaction I am starting to derive from the web now is as much based on having more of a choice as to what I chose to view rather than having a TV network decide. It is not all the way there yet but I reckon that is where it is going rapidly.
Anyway, well worth visiting the TED site and enjoy this most amusing talk by Sir Ken Robinson on a really serious subject - That our eduction system kills off creativity!

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Getting an easy start with OpenSource!

I clicked on my own Adsense advertisement the other day as I was interested in exploring the wares of an Australian Linux service company and they happened to have some info about the OpenCd - chockful of open source software for Windows which I had not realised was available.

My partner Michelle is an accomplished artist who is currently responsible for teaching an indigenous art course at the local TAFE here in Albany and would like them to learn some basic computer skills with a view to being able to use an image manipulation program

I also have been teaching an indigenous course lately, a group of lovely Noongar ladies who have been hacking their way through a Certificate I in Information Technology.

Both of these groups have indicated they would like the opportunity to work at home but do not have the software and cannot afford it etc.

So the OpenCD may be the perfect solution for these 2 groups of users, so I have downloaded and burned the ISO and will run off a few copies so as we can hand them out.

So now the TAFE hierarchy will not have an excuse to baulk at installing a computer in Michelle's teaching space loaded with Photoshop/Microsoft Office because of the licensing restrictions and cost because they can just have Gimp/OpenOffice installed instead as this is what the students will be given to use at home.
I will continue to hassle the TAFE hierarchy to start pushing the teaching of Open Source software so next time I run a course it will be based around OpenOffice rather than Microsoft Office as this is what the students will be given to use at home.