by simon baird

Saturday, September 30, 2006

my retro clock collection

I realised a little while ago that I quite like 70s/80s style bedside clock radios. Perhaps it's the fake wood panel or the funky retro metallic trims. They seem to be better quality that the kind you get now. Anyway here is my collection. The big one was my first. It's a Sanyo RM5300D. It has a totally cool fast/slow setting mechanism. The "lock" button is, get this, mechanical. Unfortunately the alarm on/off slider is a little faulty. You kind of have to grab it with two hands, one on the clock and the other on the switch. So that's why I bought the second one. It's an ALTA A814. The main thing I like about it is the cool metallic cylindrical knobs on the top. And I think the overall shape is a little more appealing than the Sanyo. The little one I just bought today. It's a Radio Shack 63-757. No wood or metallic trim and no radio but I like it's retro space look and it's size leave more room on my bedside table for books, glasses, wallet phone etc. My collection was posed for the photo. I don't have all three running normally (I'm not totally crazy...) The two big ones are going back up on top of my wardrobe. I never listen to the radio and I actually use my phone for an alarm so they are really just for admiring and telling time. I hope you like them too. :)

Ps, you might be able to tell from the photos that my camera has got some kind of internal problems. It's less than 18 months. That's the Casio EX-S500. Next time I will get a Canon or a Lumix.

today's op shop scores

Got a few nice things today. The worlds nicest flanny. A mambo satchel bag (I have a thing for bags. Will tell you about that some other time). A Steve Kilbey looking 80s style shirt. Last week I got a genuine Resident Evil 4 t-shirt the kind you only got if you pre-ordered the PS2 version at EB. Also a shirt that says this:
Got your tickets?
<-- For the gun show  -->
If you've seen my arms you will apreciate the irony. Also an beautiful clock for my collection. (See next post).

Friday, September 29, 2006

The new Google Reader

Google reader has been my choosen reader for a while. I had grown accustomed to it's only-a-mother-could-love interface. Today I found it's been fully rewritten and looks totally different. It even has a new logo. My first reaction was "Hey wha happened. It's different. I don't like it". Thirty seconds later I was like "Oh yeah this is brilliant". Bad luck all you hopeful rss reader dot coms. All hail etc.. If I was any kind of quality blogger I'd tell you about the new features and put in some screen shots etc. Instead I will just say it is sweet. And then some.

If you are still reading your favourite blogs and news sites the old fashioned way give the new google reader a try. It's worth it. You can start by subscribing to my blog.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

eat this

I realised that this blog has been sorely lacking in recipes and cooking tips. To make up for it here is my guide to making mashed potato.
  • Go to Woolworths freezer section
  • Buy the Woolworths Select brand frozen mashed potato
  • Tip half the bag of frozen potato pellets into a clear glass type microwave dish
  • Microwave on high for 5 minutes
  • Stir with a fork
  • Microwave on high for another 5 minutes
  • Eat
Add meat, vegetables, gravy, etc to taste. Serves 2.

But seriously the frozen mashed potato is truly delicious and super convenient.

Monday, September 25, 2006

running, cycling, gmap-pedometer routes

This morning I rode to work. I've done it three times now, starting a few weeks ago. Here is the route. The path along the river is very pretty. This morning I had a detour. I stopped at Sam Bratton's to get a new pedal. Yep, he's still there. He called me sonny, or young fella, something like that. I think his eyesight is going because he asked me to read from the pedal if it was left or right before he attached my new pedals. Anyway Sam Bratton is cool.

Some guys at work are have been going for a daily run. I've joined them a few times. The first time I wasn't sure if I would make it but actually I did okay. The route is this. My best time so far: 16:46.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Read this new blog

This is my friend's brand new blog. Check it out, especially if you like .NET, Lotus Notes or Korean stuff. He's off to a great start. His first ever post? Ppung Ppung ee the cuddly magic farting creature. I've seen this show and yes it is great. Ppung Ppung ee has a home page.

Friday, September 15, 2006


I just found Poderosa. It's a terminal program similar to Putty, TerraTerm etc. I've been using it for close to a day I totally love it. I have been a Putty user for many years and I like it but Poderosa is so much better. Why?
  • Tabs. Like firefox tabs you will wonder how you lived without them
  • Split screen. tail -f /var/www/logs/error_log in the bottom pane and vim in the top pane. Outstanding.
  • A UI from this decade. Ok Putty is a good program but the interface for creating and storing sessions is a little wacky. And suppose you want to change your font? Do it in every stored session.
  • Remember passwords and auto login. Maybe putty could do this but I never figured out how.
  • Connect to your local cygwin bash shell. Ever try to run cygwin bash in a cmd window? I have and it's HORRIBLE. Now you can use a proper terminal. (Also works with serial port if you need it).
  • Extensible with plugins. Well I don't know what you might need but if you need something then you can do it.
Here's a screen shot: The only downside so far is that it's pretty new and there is almost no documentation. But you probably won't need it. Also I guess you still want to keep putty on your thumb drive because of the .NET runtime thing.

To the Poderosa developers, great job, amazing product, arigato gozaimasu. Maybe you should work on the icon though. The logo looks a little weird at icon size.

Well after a few days I've noticed a couple of things:
  • It doesn't save passwords for you. I was mistaken because it does remember the last password you used. Actually via the mailing list archives I found you can manually put a password in a "shortcut" (.gts) file but that's probably not a good idea for security reasons. It will negotiate the login prompt automatically though.
  • Panes would be much better if there was a keystroke to switch panes. I don't want to reach for the mouse to switch pane. I haven't found that yet.

Funny story about dolphins

At the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Mississippi, Kelly the dolphin has built up quite a reputation. All the dolphins at the institute are trained to hold onto any litter that falls into their pools until they see a trainer, when they can trade the litter for fish. In this way, the dolphins help to keep their pools clean.

Kelly has taken this task one step further. When people drop paper into the water she hides it under a rock at the bottom of the pool. The next time a trainer passes, she goes down to the rock and tears off a piece of paper to give to the trainer. After a fish reward, she goes back down, tears off another piece of paper, gets another fish, and so on. This behaviour is interesting because it shows that Kelly has a sense of the future and delays gratification. She has realised that a big piece of paper gets the same reward as a small piece and so delivers only small pieces to keep the extra food coming. She has, in effect, trained the humans.

Her cunning has not stopped there. One day, when a gull flew into her pool, she grabbed it, waited for the trainers and then gave it to them. It was a large bird and so the trainers gave her lots of fish. This seemed to give Kelly a new idea. The next time she was fed, instead of eating the last fish, she took it to the bottom of the pool and hid it under the rock where she had been hiding the paper. When no trainers were present, she brought the fish to the surface and used it to lure the gulls, which she would catch to get even more fish. After mastering this lucrative strategy, she taught her calf, who taught other calves, and so gull-baiting has become a hot game among the dolphins.


Maybe you heard this rant of mine before but I am constantly perplexed by the apparent state of denial the exists in science about the intellect of animals. On TV documentaries I constantly hear things like "Humans: unique amongst earth's creatures as the only animal with 'conciousness', or an awareness of itself", or "the octopus used the socket set and wire cutters to dismantle the apparatus and gain access to the food pellets, purely instinctual behaviour that gives the false appearance of some kind of reasoning power", etc etc. I suppose it's rooted in religious ideas about the specialness of humans. And yes I know what anthropomorphising means, but come on! Read the story again. Dolphins are underwater hippies without opposable thumbs. Only smarter. Bah!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The one legged robot

I thought by now I'd have a witty remark about the one legged robot. Maybe something about a butt-kicking contest. But alas, nothing. Here it is, the one legged robot. See also the one balled robot.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Some updates from previous posts in headline format

Well that will do. Since I'm filling this page up, here's a list of stuff I was going to blog but decided it was too dull. If you want to see/hear any of this then let me know in the comments:
  • A video of a 3D rendered flyover of the new motorway they are going to build from the new bridge in Condon to the northern highway.
  • Video of kids playing the rainbow perspex water gun powered musical frogs installation at the Thuringowa Riverway opening festival.
  • Photos of the lagoon, arts centre, bar etc at Riverway
  • Boring store about how I lost my keys
  • Video of myself performing "Forever Young" lounge music style on the organ with a bossanova beat and auto bass (actually the video doesn't exist yet but I have been preparing.....)
  • A photo of my new door
  • More Joanna Newsom lyrics!
Ps, did you know there's such a thing as board game geeks? Look here. Via the blog of my ex comp sci lecturer. John's was my favourite subject. Functional programming with Gopher, or something. I got an HD. Btw, where is Trouble? You have 400 board games and you don't have Trouble???? Tsk.

The new iPod Shuffle

I like that! In other ipod news the nano now looks like the mini and the regular ipod has a brighter screen and more games.

iTunes 7 is hot. Get it. 'Download missing artwork' is awesome. The cover browser is SWEET.

Also get it for gap-free playback for your iPod at long last.

all horns and thorns, sprung out fully formed, knock-kneed and upright

From "Ys", the new Joanna Newsom
though my wrists and my waist seemed so easy to break
still, my dear, I would have walked you to the very edge of the water
and they will recognise all the lines of your face
in the face of the daughter of the daughter of my daughter

darling, we will be fine, but what was yours and mine
appears to be a sandcastle that the gibbering wave takes
but if it's all just the same, then will you say my name:
say my name in the morning, so I know when the wave breaks?

I wasn't born of a whistle or milked from a thistle at twilight
no, I was all horns and thorns, sprung out fully formed, knock-kneed and upright
so: enough of this terror
we deserve to know light
and grow evermore lighter and lighter
you would have seen me through
but I could not undo that desire

I wanted to put the whole thing in but thought that might be a bit over the top. ;) Read the rest of the song here if you want to know what she was on about.

But the worst thing about Joanna is I can't really recommend her to you. Her voice is probably going to piss you off. You will probably find it unbearable. Oh well.

The new album is a little different. Ys (pronounced "ees") has five songs averaging 11 minutes each. The material and scope of has gone to a whole nother level of "Joanna-ness" which is a delight for Joanna fans like me but possibly makes the album a little less accessible to new listeners. Then there's the orchestration. It may grow on me but my first thoughts were, 'this would probably sound better without that orchestra'. Sawdust and Diamonds (excerpted above) is my favourite so far and that's the one with solo harp. Anyway, I still give it a double quadruple thumbs up. Have a listen if you can find it and remember to buy it for real in November. Joanna, please back come to Australia, I missed you last time.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve Irwin is dead

He was killed in a freak stingray accident while filming a documentary near Cairns. A stingray's tail spine stabbed him in the heart and killed him. OMG!!

Milly was telling me literally last night about how totally awesome he was on the Frank Skinner show when Frank tried to set him up to look stupid over his baby/croc incident. It went a little like this:

Frank: So croc's are quite dangerous unpredictable right? [Shows video of croc eating one of Steve's cameras off a pole]
Steve: Oh absolutely yeah, crikey mate!! Never trust a croc for a second!!!
Frank: So what are you doing here? [Show's baby dangling video]
Steve: Oh yeah jeez, crikey, I got into more trouble than Michael Jackson over that!!!
Crowd: [Huge laugh].
Frank: [Unable to suppress grin].

Frank's not an easy guy to impress but by the end he was totally won over by Steve and they parted with affectionate back slaps, etc. Something like that anyway.

Steve, the world is a little less bright without you in it. Condolances to his wife, children, family and friends.