Sunday, December 31, 2006


Originally uploaded by bristley.
This is the Sihlsee at Einsiedeln. Dear Reader walked down an icy path and rolled a ball of snow across the surface and it kept going and going. The ice on the lake was very clear.

Abbey at Einsiedeln

Originally uploaded by bristley.
I asked at work where I should take visitors to Zurich for a daytrip. One person told me about Einsiedeln. She said there would be snow and it had a wedding cake church which was very pretty - "If you like Churches".

We caught the train up. It was sunny in Zurich, still misty at the other end of the lake and then the train went up above the mist, then rolling green hills and then into snow fields. Excellent to show people seasons of Switzerland all in one trip.

The town was very pretty. We followed the Wanderweg signs to the Abbey, looked in side and then walked on to the Sihlsee.

It's a lovely place and I'd like to go again and have a better look around.


Originally uploaded by bristley.
We had friends to visit this week. We took them for a touristing daytrip. First we went to Luzern and then on the train to Interlaken. We stopped at Bruenig-Hasliberg to go for a walk in the snow. There was a path with fresh snow 5 minutes from the station. It was warmer in the mountains than it was in Luzern.

Trees on Blue

Trees on Blue
Originally uploaded by bristley.
We went out for a walk and had to avoid being wet by a sprinkler. First of all we were wondering why they were running a sprinkler and trying very hard not to get wet. Then we noticed the ice that was forming on the trees.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Originally uploaded by bristley.
Happy Christmas. This is a real live cande on our real live Christmas tree taken on Christmas Eve. The tree was so pretty.

Vienna Rathaus

Vienna Rathaus
Originally uploaded by bristley.
We went to Vienna for the weekend. This photo is the Rathaus Christmas markets. Very pretty lights. We like lights.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Large Christmas Ball

Large Christmas Ball
Originally uploaded by bristley.
This year for our Swiss Christmas we have a live Christmas Tree. My first ever. Dear Reader's family always has a live tree but they normally construct it from several trees to make it full enough.

Dear Reader selected this one from outside of the big Migros in town. The day before we got a stand, some red christmas balls, some pretty gold candle holders, candles and a gold Tree topper. All were quite cheap from Manor but I think they really look quite nice. They would be much more expensive in Australia for the same look.

The red looks lovely in the lights here. I love Christmas.

VMWare Troubles Solved

I am running running VMWare Server on a windows box with a linux client. I set up networking with NAT and could almost instantly get from my linux client out to the network. I had no problem accessing other servers on the network or pinging my windows host os. My problem was I had was that I could not access my linux client from the windows box. Ping did not work. I tried a couple of times to fix it and gave up. I tried again yesterday as things are a bit slow before Christmas and I got it to work.

I had a few strange symptoms I could find no mention of on Google. The first was that if I went to Host/Virtual Network Settings and looked at the "Host virtual Adapters" tab, VMnet8 the default one for NAT said "disabled". If I tried to enable it, it would switch back to disabled when I hit the Apply button. The other strange thing was the ipconfig output did not list a VMWare adapter. If I'd known more about practical windows networking, this would have been an obvious clue to me but after a while I decided that this was probably highly significant. I did not see any description of my problem on the net but it was possibly that people answering questions had written in Networking Admin and I was reading their answers in programmer.

I looked at the windows networking settings in control panel and it said that VMNet8 was there. It did not have any of the "items' with a tick against it - it wasn't using tcp/ip. It was very important that I not break my working connection to the outside net and I was a bit nervous because I had seen no mention of this in the vmware documentation or any google searches but I finally clicked "tcp/ip". Suddenly it worked.

So somehow, the host network that is supposed to be setup automatically with VMWare had been setup without tcp/ip enabled which meant that although all the NAT behaviour was working properly, I had no local virtual ethernet adapater available for my host to connect to it. Simple when you know the answer :-)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Lights on the Champs Elysee

Lights on the Champs Elysee
Originally uploaded by bristley.
We went to Paris for the weekend. There were lights everywhere. We caught the Air France bus from the airport on Friday night and there was a young english child who at their first view of the Eiffel Tower lit up yelled "The Eiffel Tower" in a very excited voice :-)

We wandered around and looked at lights, shops and buildings. I had a sore knee which I am icing as I type which made it an ever slower progress. Maybe I started the running it bit fast...

This photo as was the others I took of the light had its composition set by the position of a convenient flat item of street furniture allowing me to use a timer on the shot so it wouldn't be blurry :-)

A lovely time - I love Paris :-)

Monday, December 11, 2006


We've just started going jogging. I was a bit worried about getting enough exercise in hte cold. I wanted to get fitter before we tried skiing - if it ever snows enough :-)

I got a pair of shoes on wednesday night as I didn't bring any sand shoes and because I have orthotics I wanted to make sure I got a pair that would be ok. On thursday morning we went out at 8am (amazing) and we walked/jogged for about 30 minutes. There were no noticable ill affects except I was more hungry at lunch time :-)

We went out again on Friday morning and walked briskly (jogged for about a minute and thought it was over ambitious) .

Today we went out and walked/jogged along the side of the lake to Zolikon where we caught a train back to the hauptbahnhof. Then we walked/jogged home. I can jog a little bit longer - as I'm working out how to breathe and what technique to use.

I'm amazed at how easy it is to go out in 5 degrees wearing relatively little clothing. Normally I'd wear my coat and scarf but I'm wearing jogging tights, a singlety top, a long sleeved top and a jacket and no problem. Probably if I could jog more, I wouldn't need the jacket either. Having no cotton is definitely good. I would nevery have thought it was possible back in Sydney.

We are having a very warm winter in Zurich at the moment.

Christmas Market at Basel

Christmas Market at Basel
Originally uploaded by bristley.
We went to Basel again on Saturday. This time we went at midday and wandered down the main shopping street and then along the river. We wandered through the christmas market again and I managed to take some photos this time. The lights were lovely. There were a lot more people there this time. I was told at work that there was a public holiday on Friday in southern germany and so Zurich would be very crowded on Friday and Saturday as peole came shopping. I think it must have been the same in Basel.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Zurichsee from the Uetliberg

Zurichsee from the Uetliberg
Originally uploaded by bristley.
We walked up the Uetliberg on Sunday. I looked up photographing mountains on google. It said take photos after dawn or before sunset because the light is much more interesting. I think the page was right.


Originally uploaded by bristley.
On Saturday we went to Interlaken. It was a lovely clear day. It was colder than in Zurich but lovely to walk around. We walked through the Advent market and stopped in a cafe and had Hot Chocolate and a very nice Apfel Strudel.

Next time we will go up a mountain.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mist on the Uetliberg

Mist on the Uetliberg
Originally uploaded by bristley.
It was foggy all day today. At lunch we caught the tram to the Uetliberg and went for a walk. There were a lot of joggers. It was quite cold and very misty. Not a good day to see a view.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sunday Afternoon in Basel

Yesterday we hopped on a train and went to Basel. We like walking over borders and so we walked, caught a tram and walked again to the french border and wandered for a while in France. We like walking over borders because it is something you cannot do in Australia.

It was a very warm day for the end of November. We even saw people in t-shirts. Very nice.

In France we wandered along a road for quite a while. After it got dark, we saw a map in a town, had a snack and walked back hoping we'd recognise the road that led to the border. After a while we crossed Rue du Bale (with a little hat on the a) which we recognised as the french for Basel. So we turned down it and sure enough after a few blocks there was the swiss border.

We caught a tram back to the station, saw that there would be a lot of trains for the next hour or so as it was about 6:30pm so we caught a tram back to the christmas market we had seen from the last tram. It was very pretty with lots of lights and stalls. It was in the grounds a church. We had a lovely onion, cheese and potato slicy thing. Then we caught a train back to Zurich.

These are all things you can't do in Australia in the same way. You can't catch a train to another major city in an hour or so. You can't get a GA. You can't walk into another country. You won't see pretty Christmas markets in the same way. You can't use public transport so easily to move around a city knowing there will be another tram in 7 minutes. Such a gentle day with nothing very exciting happening but really very nice.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Fence of the Cows Coming Home

Fence of the Cows Coming Home
Originally uploaded by bristley.
This was the fence of a very cute little chateau at Arosa. The fence was carefully rusted iron as was the fence. Another lovely touch of art encountered on a walk through Switzerland.


Originally uploaded by bristley.
In Arosa we saw mountains. Mountains with snow. They were very pretty. Last time we were here I only saw mountains from a distance due to foggy weather and me getting a cold at the wrong time.

Due to the joys of our General Abo we can happily make day trips like this with no problem. Not having to buy a ticket or decide on a plan really makes a difference. We almost hopped off the train earlier and went to Lichtenstein instead because we heard an announcement. Very different from Sydney.

Camouflage Sattelite Dish

Camouflage Sattelite Dish
Originally uploaded by bristley.
We went to Arosa today on the train. To my delight I realised that the satellite dishes there were bought to blend in with the houses. This one and other wooden houses had brown satellite dishes. Another building that was white had a white one. Switzerland is wonderful - people pay so much attention to detail here :-)

Saturday, November 25, 2006


I was just reading Apartment Therapy. As we've just bought our flat (settlement 5th December) I've become more interested in looking at sites like this. I always enjoyed them but now we'll get to paint things and nail things in walls.

I was reading a thread and came across a link to a lovely apartment remodel by Olga.

There is a photo stream that goes with it. I loved the stencilling work done on the ceilling and one window sills. Must think about this.

While we're here in Europe we've been looking in the shop windows and design stores for ideas. What's cool is that things I'm seeing things on line like new lights I then see in the window of a shop on the way to work :-)

In Sydney either things don't get brought out to Australia or they're less likely to be in a lot of shops. Here cool things seem to be everywhere.

I suppose window shopping is bigger here and so window dispays are more impressive too. I think it's because shops are shut on Sundays but as people still walk through the Bahnhoffstrasse and all the other pretty shopping streets it's very good advertising to have a good window display.

I also know some people in Australia who won't go to a store that looks stylish because they perceive it will be expensive - even if it's not. I don't think the shops I see in Zurich work that way. I'm only a visitor though so I don't really know how things work here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


My vocabulary is definitely getting better but mostly in particular topics. Last year I got good at reading about car accidents. That's because I was reading Zwanzig Minuten on the tram and the front page always had any interesting car accidents. So did the "swiss info" site I was reading on my palm pilot before we arrived.

I can do crying children because I read Heidi in German on my palm pilot with a dictionary last year too. After that, I was trying to reading a thriller where someone was being paid to assassinate someone which meant I learnt spying and murder words.

This year on swiss tv I'm seeing lots of home shows and CSI seems to be on about 5 times a day. So I might be able to at least follow a conversation if it involved someone who knew a family with a small child who were murdered in what was made to look like a car accident after having there home remodelled. I'm sure that will come in handy :-)

Monday, November 20, 2006

My German Shopping Story

I am watching Harry Potter in German and have been inspired to write some of my shopping story in German so I can practice my terrible writing and grammer. I wonder if I will remember that ein gruenes Paar, zwei roten Paare now. Probably not.

Am Samstag gingen wir einkaufen in Spreitenbach. Wir fuhren mit dem Zug und dann mit dem Bus. Die Haltestelle war IKEA. Das IKEA ist neu und ist sehr gross. Später gingen wir zu anderen Geschäfte. Wir schauten an Schühe und warme Kleidung. Ich habe Einladen and für mich Schühe finden ist sehr schweirig. Am Samstag fand Ich zwei Paare. Da war eines grünes Paar und eines braunes Paar. Ich kaufte keine Paare.

Either I'm getting used to watching tv dubbed in German or they really dubbed this Harry Potter very well. I particularly thought Snape was very good. The actor used the same tones and vocal tricks that the original one does.

I haven't done too badly understanding it but I that's really because I know the book and so I'm not losing the plot even if I miss a sentence or an entire long Voldemort speach. Harry is running from the Basilisk right now. Oh no it's ok - he's tricked it. Er ist ein Kluge Junge.

Autumn Trees in the Dusk

Autumn Trees in the Dusk
Originally uploaded by bristley.
Yesterday we went to the new Spreitenbach IKEA. It was very big and filled with people. It was funny watching the people. It was like they were having the same conversations that you overhear in Sydney but in multiple languages. It's IKEA's couple councilling service. As people who are setting up house together for the first time, they learn about each other's likes and dislikes and how to resolve problems such as he liking the purple shag rug and her liking the hot pink sofa.

Then we wandered into the nearby shopping centres and then we went for a walk along the Limmat ending up at Dietikon. I love wanderwegs. You'll always end up somewhere with a way home.

We were fairly tired after all of this energetic looking at things. I even tried shoes on - always tiring. Luckily there is a Mollino's in a straight line from the tram stop to our flat so we stopped and had a very nice Pizza. A very nice day.

The autumn leaves are very pretty.

L168 Plecostomus

L168 Plecostomus
Originally uploaded by bristley.
This is a photo of my L168. I gave it away when we came to Switzerland. He used to hide a lot but is a very striking fish.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Harry Potter in German

As it's Sunday morning, we're watching bad television while contemplating going outside into the light rain and wind. I'm watching the German Popstars watching them being made to do calisthenics while sing popular songs in parts.

While watching this wonderful program, I saw an add for a Harry Potter movie in German. The title in German is "Harry Potter und die Kammer des Schreckens". I didn't recognise the words and asked Dear Reader. I asked the words individually so the first translation I got was "Harry Potter and the Cupboard of frighteningness". I temporarily forgot the English name of the book and had to look it up. It's "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". With my translation it would be a whole new book. Learning a new language is so much fun :-)

Last year we were here when the Harry Potter book came out and so I was part of the massive crowd at the English Orrel Fussli here in Zurich buying Harry Potters on the first day it came out. One man I know had to buy a copy for each member of his family to prevent fights :-)

Blogging in German

While I'm in Zurich I'm going to try to improve my German. I find that this time round after the 6 months last year, I'm able to listen and get the gist of conversations a lot better than last time. My speaking is not very good and in Zurich it's hard to practice because everyone I work with speaks English to me and around me people speak Swiss German. So I thought I'd try and write some of this blog in German. This morning I have managed about 3 lines on what we did yesterday. My Dear Reader has corrected it for me so here it is:

Wir wachten wieder früh auf. Es ist für uns sehr unüblich. Wir frühstückten und dann gingen spazieren. Es war ein bisschen kalt. Wir fährten mit dem Tram zu Seebach und dann wanderten hin zu Oerlikon. Da war ein Markt.

We wandered around the market for a while, got very cold, had some coffee and a Gipfel - which are definitely growing on me and then went home. Later in the day we walked to the Bahnhoffstrasse and bought some warmer clothing.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Floating Circus

Floating Circus
Originally uploaded by bristley.
Thanks to jetlag and timezone changes, we are getting up very early in the morning at the moment and we're trying to get in a walk before I start work everyday. On Wednesday we walked to the Altstadt and the Niederdorf and came back via the bridge where the Zurichsee leads into the Limmat river. They were setting up a circus on the river. We saw about 15 guys pushing the sign in. It's nice seeing Zurich in the morning.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


We're in a serviced flat while we're in Zurich and we needed a kettle. For some reason although it has a dishwasher, a microwave and all sorts of other things, it doesn't have a kettle. So we pottered out to interdiscount which is kind of like Switzerland's answer to Australia's Harvey Norman and bought the cheapest kettle.

But as we were paying for it I read the top of the box and discovered it's AMAZING feature. It changes colour. Someone has designed a kettle that when the water changes fades from blue to a whitey grey colour. It's bizarre. Other than that it is just a normal kettle but it CHANGES COLOUR.

Monday, November 06, 2006


We have now arrived in Zurich again - this time for a 3 month stint. We flew from Sydney to Zurich via Singapore with only a 2 hour stopover and now we are sitting in the lounge room of our serviced flat watching Charmed in German. The sun is shining now the fog has lifted and soon we'll go exploring a new suburb and find the local Coop or Migros and buy some important things like toothpaste, soap, a hairdryer and some food. We've been busy lately, buying a flat, moving and then going to Zurich all at the same time.

We caught a taxi and while chatting the taxi driver mentioned that his neighbour was from Australia and was about to go back for a couple of months. It turned out that the taxi driver's neighbour is the guy who I'm substituting for. Isn't serendipity wonderful :-)

Saturday, October 28, 2006


It seems that we have now successfully completed buying a flat. Amazing. We are to Zurich in a weeks time and it looked like everything was going to take too long because of issues with the strata title plan but everything is ok. Contracts exchanged. Bank talking about settling in a week. We've got the keys under licence. Amazing.

I've been reading Luneray's Buying a Home series on Get Rich Slowly while we have been going through this and empathising. Her report of her closing trials meant that we were very careful in reading the contract and checking all the terms. Very helpful.

And now I have to put my computer down and start packing :-)

Saturday, October 21, 2006


I put my first stuff on freecycle today. Within a
few hours I had three takers. Pretty impressive. They all seemed to
feel that they needed to appear enthusiastic and deserving. I thought
they were doing me a favour allowing me the double bonus of getting rid
of something I don't want and being able to feel good because it wasn't
being thrown out.

If this first one is successful we'll have to do it again.

Monday, October 09, 2006


I was just doing the google vanity thing and searched for bristley. My excuse was to see if my one piece of useful information on my blog - the flickr setup information - was visible. Answer - no it's not. Instead I found that there was a URL - which I discovered was a page that you would not want to link to at work as it had nudity on the front page. Nothing nasty or horrible - just some guys site with a group at a party naked.

Maybe I should have done this search before I picked a nickname. Mine comes from bristlenose catfish because before we went to Switzerland last year we had about a hundred all bred from Mr and Mrs Bristlenose.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Originally uploaded by bristley.
We went to Bunnings today - that's a Australian hardware store chain. On the way we went to the petrol station and put air in the tyres and cleaned the windows because up until about 2 weeks ago, we hadn't used the car for more than 3 months. Afterwards Dear Reader suggested that as it looked like rain we should go for a drive in the hope that this would wash the car. It's a little bit dirty after it's long hibernation in the garage.

We ended up at the beach and went for a walk downwind. It was amazingly windy and the sand was being blown so much that we walked back along the road as Dear Reader did not have glasses to protect his eyes.

Along the way we observed the dragon in the photograph which was slowly trundling into the sea.

We tried to drive back along the Wakehurst Parkway and luckily Dear Reader paid attention to the yellow sign which said "Closed" and we pulled over to the side of the road where we could see the fire which was obviously stopping traffic. So we turned around, went via Manly and listened to the radio where they told us that there was a fire around the Wakehurst Parkway :-)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Freevo Setup

We watch our tv on Linux using freevo. It works very well most of the time but late last week, we had a hard drive suddenly start making ominous noises. We had the OS on one hard drive and we save all of our data on another and luckily the system drive was the one that decided to sound very ill.

Dear Reader gently copied all the data off it and then quickly turned it off. He scrounged another drive and so we spent part of our public holiday reinstalling the system drive and configuring it all to our liking using the backup as a template.

We had been running the 2.6.16 debian kernel and are now running that again. After trying to use 2.6.18, it panicked in something to do with ACPI and so we went back to a kernel we knew worked.

I'm just writing these notes so that next time something happens, I have something official to refer to.

We have two digital video cards a Twinhan bt878 clone and a Nova-T clone.

lspci -v says:

00:09.0 Multimedia video controller: Brooktree Corporation Bt878 Video Capture (rev 11)
Subsystem: Twinhan Technology Co. Ltd VisionPlus DVB card
Flags: bus master, medium devsel, latency 32, IRQ 5
Memory at e2000000 (32-bit, prefetchable) [size=4K]
Capabilities: [44] Vital Product Data
Capabilities: [4c] Power Management version 2

00:09.1 Multimedia controller: Brooktree Corporation Bt878 Audio Capture (rev 11)
Subsystem: Twinhan Technology Co. Ltd VisionPlus DVB Card
Flags: bus master, medium devsel, latency 32, IRQ 5
Memory at e2001000 (32-bit, prefetchable) [size=4K]
Capabilities: [44] Vital Product Data
Capabilities: [4c] Power Management version 2

00:0a.0 Multimedia controller: Philips Semiconductors SAA7146 (rev 01)
Subsystem: Technotrend Systemtechnik GmbH Technotrend-Budget/Hauppauge WinTV-NOVA-T DVB card
Flags: bus master, medium devsel, latency 32, IRQ 12
Memory at e2002000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=512]

With this debian kernel they almost work out of the box now. You need to blacklist a module for the saa7146 module. You add this line to the bottom of /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.

blacklist stradis

Then you add the dvb-bt8xx module to the bottom of /etc/modules file because it doesn't know which one to load or something equally funky.

The other thing to do is to download the kernel source package, untar it and in the /usr/src/linux-source-2.6.16/Documentation/dvb directory, run

./get_dvb_firmware tda10045

for our version of the card and copy the downloaded firmware file to /usr/lib/hotplug/firmware.

Then you can run tzap on the two cards and check that they work. You'll need a channels.conf or to do a scan like normal - I could just copy from the old box.

We also had to set up X to talk to our tv and go through our freevo settings.

What's great is that it's the first time that box has had a clean install of the os in ages and it had a lot of cruft of stuff we'd tried out over the years. It seems to be running a lot faster.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Rocks

The Rocks
Originally uploaded by bristley.
We went to see an Incovenient Truth today. We both really enjoyed the movie and came out thinking about energy efficiency of appliances and measuring power usage.

We then had to decide how to get home. Normally at night after a movie or dinner, we'd probably catch a taxi home. Somehow, after just seeing an Incovenient Truth we felt this would be somewhat, "inefficient" shall we say. We looked at the stairs going down to the station instead we decided start walking home and see how far we went.

As we walked over the bridge I took a lot of photos in the hope that some would work. I had my little cammera in a bag and propped in on the rail along the edge of the bridge on a 2 second timer and quite a few seemed to work. This is looking back towards the city across the Rocks and I like that it has the side of the bridge in it.

The bridge looks astounding at night - the lighting really highlights all of the structural pieces and there shape. I should go back there one day with a tripod and my real camera. I really wanted to get the span from the side but from my handy railing I couldn't get the angle I wanted. A lot of them worked out ok. I was quite pleased.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Name Change

I've changed the name of my blog. We were chatting on Sunday night. We're thinking of buying a flat and as it's a large amount of money to spend I was naturally mildly concerned that we were making the right decision. But talking to a friend who had gone through the process years before I was getting little sympathy. So I stated my usual catch phrase in situations like that - and decided then and there to rename my blog.

It seems a momentous decision to buy a flat. I think Dear Reader and I both feel it hasn't been difficult enough and so we are not sure we're doing the right thing. Anyway, we should be putting verbally negotiating a price today - unless we back out at the last moment.

The real estate agent is going to ring soon and we both didn't sleep well so we're feeling a bit tired.

So at the moment I feel that would be coping with change poorly if I weren't feeling tired and a bit sinusy. I'm probably coping with change poorly because of a lack of oxygen getting to the brain due to my sinus issues today. Any excuse will do :-)

Australia Square in Pink

Australia Square in Pink
Originally uploaded by bristley.
Australia Square was Pink on Monday night. I'm so unobservant that I only noticed because someone was taking a photo of it with their mobile phone.

Then I noticed the professional photographer setup and the two GIANT spotlights on the corners of the building. So knowing that it would be at least a bit blurry I took lots of photos and ended up with this being the best of them.

Why it was pink I don't know - but it looked kind of funky :-)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Intellectual Snobbery

Via boing boing I saw that the Wall Street Journal Online had a debate between Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales and the Encylopaedia Britiannicas Dale Hoiberg:

Will Wikipedia mean the end of Traditional Encyclopaedias

The contents of which was fairly predictable until the end when Dale Hoiberg started recommending his guidelines for the limits of knowledge:

Anyone who works on an encyclopedia for any length of time understands the hazard in this: the whole endeavor can easily spin out of control as you try to take in everything that has ever been known, thought, or said. It's an impulse that should be resisted because it produces work without direction or focus.

Which made me think - who's direction and focus. It's an encyclopaedia - it's supposed to provide me with the information I've decided I want to know about. It's not supposed to be a social commentary on the world.

And later:
Most of us don't need all the information in the world. We need information that yields knowledge - a practical and enlightened understanding of ourselves and the world we live in

Which makes me think - who's deciding what this enlightened understanding should be in his mind.

I recognise the usefulness of formal Encyclopaedia's but I like being able to see the drafts and discussions around an article. Whenever I look up something in Wikipedia I always check the discussion page to find the context in which it has been printed. This is not something a traditional Encyclopedia model allows.

I am willing to believe that the statements above do not really mean that Dale Hoiberg believes that he has the right to impose his view of what information is worth while knowing on the world. I do think that possibly he should be more careful his use of language.

Maybe this is supposed to be publicity for the Britannica...

Monday, September 04, 2006

Don't do this at home

Well actually - don't do this anywhere. I was reading aus.bicycle in this thread there was a link to the Naval Safety centre which has a Photo of the Week of safety breaches.

The photos are astounding - the tractor that's crashed through the ice, the temporary light made of a light fitting alligator clipped onto live wires - people holding down loads on the back of trailers. It's amazing the things people will do with ladders.

As alexone of the posters found maybe what you shouldn't do is look at this site at work because you keep on looking at just one more.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I just read the best description of copyright I've seen. It was on a slashdot discussion about drm and copyright law - The quote was from TheRaven64. It's clear, explains why copyright exists and what it allows you to do and not to do. It also says what is wrong with DRM.

I will include an excerpt here assuming I have the a fair use to quote from the post:

If I create something copyrightable (and I'm a writer, so this is not just a gedanken experiment), I have the right to restrict who distributes copies of it. That is the only right I have under copyright law. I don't have the right to say 'blind people are not allowed to feed it through a screen reader.' I don't have the right to say 'you may not read this from a mobile device.' I don't even have the right to say 'you may not photocopy a few pages of this book to read on the train when you don't want to lug the entire book with you.' If you want to tear pages out of a book I've written, or change the font of something I've written for online distribution, then that is entirely up to you; I don't have the legal (or moral) right to tell you not to.

Copyright is a limited monopoly on distribution granted to encourage the production of content. It is not a right, and it is not a privilege; it is a trade. The state awards me limited rights in exchange for my relinquishing others (which I could retain by simply not publishing). We both win; I gain a method of producing income, while others gain access to the material I produce. By exercising copyright, I am agreeing to this; I am saying 'I wish to retain exclusive distribution rights, in exchange for publishing this work and permitting others to purchase it.' DRM alters this balance. If I publish a DRM'd version of something, then I am attempting to retain more control than copyright grants me. This is nothing more and nothing less than vigilanteism.

Most impressive.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Video Cameras on the Cheap

Video Cameras on the Cheap
Originally uploaded by bristley.
We were on the Manly ferry today. I noticed something that is very Sydney government. The ferry system can't afford surveillence cameras so instead they have stickers where the surveillance camera would be if they could afford one.

We went on the ferry from circular quay to Manly and then walked along the beach, sat at a table at a small cove passed the swimming baths where a possum came and sat under us, at some left behind food and ignored us totally - cheeky thing - and then went to the beach and had fish and chips.

We caught the bus back - it was a 7:43pm bus on a Saturday afternoon and standing room only. I think we need some more busses.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


I'm sick. I've got a cold - my ears are blocking - half the time I can't sleep and then I can't stay awake. Life is so unfair. After Friday being a frabjous day the next day I'm sick.

Possibly I was noticing things on Friday morning as the first symptom - vision changes - inability to see large picture details. Colours seeming supersaturated. Or maybe it was a lovely day.

What is of course a waste is being sick on a weekend. Maybe I'll feel perfectly fine tomorrow because it will be Monday morning. That will be something to look forward to.

My Dear Reader is sick too. He's a day ahead of me and says he's starting to feel better.

Oh well - I'll just have to watch Australian Idol and hope that I fall asleep again. Life is so unfair. Woe is meeeeeeeeee.

Just remember I'm delirious which is why this post is filled with self pity. Rambling. Lost in a see of fuzz and continually damp hankies. Sick.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Frabjous Day

It is a loveley day today. I am on the train station again and today I was noticing all the flower buds and the sun bathiing skink on the road and the bees in the flowers.
The wattle on the other platform is just starting to bloom and some people are setting up chairs in the shade of a tree in the park.

All of this was here yesterday but today I'm noticing it.
It must be almost Spring.

Waiting for a Train

I am at the train station right now, writing my first mobile blog post. Next time, I'll be more advanced and email it from my treo as well. I don't have my blogs email address with me. The wonders of technology.

There has been a group of construction workers digging up drains at the station for the last few days. They are using a noisy yellow digging device. I just heard one of the construction workers offer one of his coworkers a go on the yellow machine and the coworker was very clever in refusing the challenge. His response was "It would be on top of somebody in a minute".

It's now this evening and I am about to email my post. A test.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Futurama All the Time

Channel 10 seems to have a slight problem with their schedule. Having finished Big Brother and then cancelled poor Jasmin - who may now never marry - it is now filling all of its schedules with Futurama. ALL the time. Continously - never ending. OK - not really - but there are 3 today between 7pm and 9:30 pm. For all I know it could be on randomly during the day aswell.

It's like when I was in Switzerland last year when BBC Prime would show 3 hours of Eastenders repeats on Sunday afternoons. Or ABC 2 with "Stateline Sunday" - all of the different Statelines one after another until your eyes bleed.

I want variety. Showing all the Statelines is good - showing them all one after another in a block is WRONG. Showing 3 Futuramas in a few hours is too much.

Free to Air TV programmers obviously need some help.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Urban Stalactite Closeup

Urban Stalactite Closeup
Originally uploaded by bristley.
We went for a Sunday walk today. A few minutes from home we went through a tunnel under the railway line and found these tiny urban stalactites. These ones were about 10 cm long. The longest ones were about 20 cm. They were actively dropping water which I assume means they were growing.

Sticky Beak

Continuing my self confessional stream of consciousness- I make my guests sleep on uncomfortable beds, I have bad taste in music - I am also a sticky beak.

I was just watching a tv show looking at someone's business. The company shall remain nameless to protect their identity. They mentioned their website - so I went to have a look . On noticing several pages with text that said "link to something" with no links I then had the hide to send them a critique of their web site.

This isn't the first time I've done this. I did it to the Sydney Biennalle who had a flash web site that was using the most recent version of flash and therefore prevented me from viewing their program.

I assumed in both cases that the only way you could have a business website that had these mistakes could be by not understanding much about web sites. So I sent them a critique explaining what was unusual in a bad way about their web site.

My justification is that I've butted in to try to provide them with information which they can use to talk to their web site designer so that their site can be improved. I'm sure that's not the way the recipients of my email feel. They probably feel as though I'm an amateur interior designer who's walked into their lounge room and told them to get new cushions.

Which is worse - to leave them with a commercial website that could deter customers either through accessability issues, broken links or poor design or to sticky beak on their website and send an unsolicited comment.

You can see I'm trying to justify my stickybeaking. I should just admit it - I have a problem.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Social Solecism

We had some mould on the ceiling of our bedroom so on Monday my Dear Reader demoulded the ceililng using a smelly demoulding spray. Since then we've been sleeping elsewhere while we wait for the smell to dissapate.

I was sleeping on the sofa because I'm I really hate the smell but last night I tried the spare bed with my Dear Reader. Now I'm overcome by guilt because it's terribly uncomfortable for two people. I feel bad because we've had visitors and forced them to sleep on this sofa bed. They've all politely said it was quite comfortable - but they LIED.

I felt like I was sleeping on the side of a mountain all night. And it was hard and uncomfortable. We have inflicted this on people. Ignorance is our only excuse.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

My Piano Confession

I admit it. I am a closet adult learner. I played the 'cello badly when I was at school and did the music thing - school and youth orchestra, choir etc.

This year I got an electronic piano and have been extending my rudimentary keyboard skills. I'm enjoying the standard early intermediate repertoire at the moment.

Today I got a package - containing some music I'd ordered from the USA and that's where the confession comes in. I just got delivered 3 books of music - the Shrek Movie songs, a big book of Musical songs and another of TV themes.

Yes my taste in music at the moment runs from Bach - which I'm very much enjoying to the Muppet theme. I enjoy Schlock. I presume it is all some kind of extended nostalgia or regret or something.

At least looking around the net at what other people play - I'm in the company of a lot of other people who like the same kind of music I do. And I've improved enough to not need to get "easy scores". I don't play them well - but I have headphones for my keyboard which means my Dear Reader doesn't have to listen to all my fumbles.

He swears he doesn't mind but most of the time I'm playing with the headphones on.

Farewell again.

My Piano Confession

I admit it. I am a closet adult piano learner. I played the 'cello badly when I was at school and did the music thing - school and youth orchestra, choir etc.

This year I got an electronic piano and have been extending my rudimentary keyboard skills. I'm enjoying the standard early intermediate repertoire at the moment.

Today I got a package - containing some music I'd ordered from the USA and that's where the confession comes in. I just got delivered 3 books of music - the Shrek Movie songs, a big book of Musical songs and another of TV themes.

Yes my taste in music at the moment runs from Bach - which I'm very much enjoying to the Muppet theme. I enjoy Schlock. I presume it is all some kind of extended nostalgia or regret or something.

At least looking around the net at what other people play - I'm in the company of a lot of other people who like the same kind of music I do. And I've improved enough to not need to get "easy scores". I don't play them well - but I have headphones for my keyboard which means my Dear Reader doesn't have to listen to all my fumbles.

He swears he doesn't mind but most of the time I'm playing with the headphones on.

Farewell again.

Monday, August 07, 2006


The yellow jersey
Originally uploaded by bristley.
I believe that like Philip Adams I have an audience of one. But due to curiousity I have installed a hit counter. I am assuming that every now and again someone will accidentally find a post and I shall jump up and down because someone has read my blog - other than my "Dear Reader".

It's really because of how excited I was about this photo on my flickr site - 2700 people have looked at it now. Or generally on my flickr site where I put up a photograph and 8 people look at it - 8 people look at my photo.

I think this will be much more - someone read my blog post - WOW. Maybe one day. And this way I'll find out :-)

ads are getting worse

I just watched an episode of Criminal Minds. It's the second episode here and I'm quite enjoying the series so far.

What I thought was astounding was the ads.

At the end of the show channel 7 saw fit to tell us that "Criminal Minds" was the new "smash hit" based on it being on one showing on the night before with not very much competition.

I thought that was fairly excessive hyperbole but the ad I was even more impressed with was the one for mascara that told me "the more you wear the sexier you are". Wow - that 's excellent fashion advice. I can just see the 14 year old girls with eyelashes too heavy to lift because of this ad. Wondeful.

I am now peacfully watching "Planet Earth" which I recorded yesterday. Amazing pictures and no one telling me to wear mascara, buy a car so I can have sex in it or that a once off preview of a show makes a "smash hit".

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Intros on Podcasts and Videos

I'm starting to listen to more podcasts and watch more video blogs. I'm thinking of starting a campaign called "Keep my Interested - Cut the Opening Credits".

If I've downloaded something on to my computer or I'm playing a stream - I've selected it and I know what it is. I don't need 45 seconds of my 3 minutes listening to be taken up by a song repeating the title of the program in various ways. 5 seconds is acceptable - I'll stretch to 10 seconds - but I'm listening to this on my walk from the train station or I'm watching this while I'm having my breakfast because it's new and unique - that's why I downloaded it. I don't want to listen to something I've heard before.

I don't need to listen to the same promo track - or the same "You are listening to" announcement repeated everying 1 minute - I know what I'm listening to - I pressed the button to start it. I don't have temporary amnesia unless it's caused by my falling and hitting my head after having passed out due to intense boredom from listening to your repetitive theme track.

Listeners of the world unite - help the producers of content on the net realise that they are not producing radio and television shows and they are not constrained by a limited random format - they don't need to attract attention at the beginning of the show with a promo - they already have our attention because we've downloaded their show - they need to keep it. Start the show already.

There are a lot of web content like The Show with zefrank - (which I really enjoy) that don't fall into this boredom inducing trap. It's more the ones being produced by traditional media companies or shows trying to act like traditional media companies that do this.

They just need to STOP. Ok I'll stop ranting now.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I just saw a poll on Yahoo Australia - will John Howard beat Menzie's 16 years in Office.

I wonder if the options are -
Yes - 10 %
No - 13 %
Not if I can help it - 77 %

I read an article where Camilla from Big Brother was surprised that John Howard had called Big Brother stupid - I presume like everyone else she was more surprised that he was commenting on a television show rather than on something important in industrial relations or foreign affairs.

I enjoyed the final episode of Big Brother yesterday. I enjoy watching Gretel change her interviewing style to make the different people she's with comfortable in front of a very large crowd.

The other Big Brother issue I thought interesting was the Sydney Morning Herald not mentioning David meeting his boyfriend after he was evicted in any easily findable articles on the website. They mentioned Jamie and Katie but didn't mention David and Sherif (I just had to go hunting on Google to find out how to spell his name). It could be a form of self censorship or maybe the journalist writing the articles didn't actually watch the show. They also had two or three different articles over 2 days with the same paragraphs about Camilla, John and Ashley at the bottom. Maybe they've paid a teenage relative to sms them who gets evicted so they can have a quiet weekend :-)

I've been at home today with a cold - I'm rambling - maybe it's time for another nap.

Monday, July 31, 2006


I wrote my first ever letter to the editor on Sunday. I was reading the Sydney Morning Herald online and it had an article from the Sun Herald on a researcher's recommendation on immunisation of children against influenza.

The only quote on the research other than the researcher was from the Australian Vaccination Network basically saying it was a bad idea.

What irritated me enough to actually write about was that the article did not say that the Australian Vaccination Network is a lobby group for people who disapprove of vaccination and the article did not say mention this important background information.

Of course the letter wasn't published - but I feel so much better that I wrote complaining about it.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Pink Yellow and Green

Pink Yellow and Green
Originally uploaded by bristley.
My boyfriend took this one in Geneva. It shall be my logo and I shall call it pink.

A Golden Tree

A Golden Tree
Originally uploaded by bristley.
I was in Switzerland last year for work. We were in Zurich almost 6 months. It was lovely there - this was a tree on a hill above Zurich called the Hoengerberg but the g is pronounced like a k. It had been grey for a few weeks before this in September and this day was stunningly blue - I think half of Zurich was walking in the hills enjoying the view.

Every time I look at this photo It makes me happy because it reminds of a wonderful day.

I'm just trying out the flickr to blog linking :-)

A first post

Well, behind the times as usual I have decided to start a blog. Now almost everybody else in the known universe has one I thought it was about time.

Well actually my mother was saying she was becoming so highly technically ept that she was now advising other people about email and so I mentioned that the next step for her was a blog. Which made me think that it was about time I started a blog.

I will probably end up posting little bits of technical information I find that it took me a long time to find - stuff about "mplayer, freevo and digital video cards" or "twiki and internets". And then probably holidays and things that annoy me. A blog of self-indulgence that nobody but me will ever read. Except maybe technical information that someone might find.

I'm a computer programmer and I also like playing with computers.

I have fish - the "bristley" stands for bristlenose catfish - the favourite fish I've had so far. Freshwater tropical fish.