Tag Archives: 2011

The End of 2011 (Things from the Camera Roll)

It’s been a great year, here’s some shots I took before I got a real camera…

This is probably the first real-world thing that I’ve seen that has apps for all four platforms. All the four platforms that actually matter, anyway 😉

So I ordered an M4A1 off the internet. Sadly it was only a replica and made out of plastic, but it’s pretty nicely weighted and is a 1:1 replica of the original. I stuck a very real holographic sight on it, and now it actually looks kinda like the real thing. If you pull the trigger it makes lights and sounds and vibrates! The charge bolt isn’t pull-able though.

Bought a labeller. Labelled it labeller, as you do.

Went lawn bowling with a few of my colleagues. You might laugh, but lawn bowls was actually pretty good fun — crazy boring to watch, but an excellent game of skill.

Windows 3.1 install floppies. We discovered disk 6 a little later.

Posted this photo when the whole #occupywallstreet thing was going on. I am the 99%, occupy Rock Band 3, etc, etc.

Bought a Battlefield 3 poster. I haven’t played as many hours of this as I would like (only 70 hours in game), but that’s for another time…

Apparently, Woolworths now sell SD cards. Not a huge capacity, but at least a decent enough class. Cheap enough to buy in emergencies, too.

Now that’s more like it! I imported a whole heap of things from B&H in the US, including an awesome Eye-Fi card with built-in Wi-Fi (it was a bit more than $18 though), a lens hood, 100 shots of Polaroid 300 for my sister, and a few other assorted goodies. Shipping was about 5 days during the silly season via UPS, which wasn’t too bad at all…

Deja Vu

Blogtober 11 catch-up, part IX — at this stage I’m only a day behind, but this is for October 20th

Almost exactly five years ago, a few kids posed in front of some giant guitar in the middle of NSW.

Almost exactly five years ago, a few kids participated in something known as the Science and Engineering Challenge.

Almost exactly five years ago, a few kids from a tiny school in a small suburb in the equally-tiny state of Tasmania came fourth in the country,

Almost exactly five years ago to the day, a few kids had an absolute blast.

A few days ago, a different set of kids, to be sure, but with perhaps one or two of the same teachers, made their reprise in the Science and Engineering Challenge.

A few days ago, a few kids from the tiny school from a little suburb in the equally small state of Tasmania, managed to place fourth in the country.

A few days ago, a few kids may or may not have posed in front some giant guitar…

…but one thing’s for sure: they probably had just as much fun as we did.

This post part of Blogtober 2011, just a little thing of mine where I (attempt to) post something up on my blog every day in October 2011.

Your Highness (2011)

Ooh, a movie review! Let’s get on with it, then…

Truth be told, my experience of Natalie Portman in movies has been limited to just the Star Wars franchise. Hearing her spout lines like “Oh Anakin, you’re breaking my heart” doesn’t exactly do things for me, but Your Highness changed all of that.

Look, I’m not a huge fan of stupid comedy. I prefer my stuff to be a little more subtle, a little more intelligent, and Your Highness was a perfect example of what I dislike about the genre. It’s trying a little too hard — a little too much sexual innuendo here, a little too much forced acting there. I like fantasy and the whole “sword/medieval/magic” genre, don’t get me wrong, but some of this stuff was just plain stupid, and not in the good way (if it tries to parody other stuff from the same sort of genre, it does a terrible job of it.

The only saving grace of this movie is Natalie Portman. She’s a badass, and that’s about as apt a description as I can think of right now. It also means I’m off to acquire more of her earlier work. She’s not the lead character, but far and away, she carries the movie across various terrible sub-plots.

Seriously, watch this movie, but only for Natalie Portman (or James Franco, if you’re a female).

The movie is bad, but Portman is a badass. There’s a difference.

Your Highness, 2011

Brisbane 2011: The Double-Barrelled Question

Alas, there was an amazing title for this post which seems to gave escaped my line completely. Perhaps I should have written it down at the time, but such is life.

Amazing! A blog post about an event less than a week after the actual event itself! Either this isn’t really Benny Ling typing here or he’s procrastinating some other task in between epic Bad Company 2 rounds (probably the latter).

Originally this post started out as a pretty basic recount of my time in Brisbane. Then I realised that almost no-one would want to read such cruft, so I scrapped almost everything and started again.

Another year, another train-the-trainer meetup in Brisbane. I’m yet to fill out the expense forms, but I spent a little more on transport this time around. I don’t drive, so the variety of transport options from getting from A to B appealed to me. The first night I actually ended up catching the bus to town to wander around the CBD a bit, and then catch up with some people from the internets at a small bar in the Valley.

I was in the CBD at one point and realised I had to get to the Valley at some stage. Having passed it on the bus on the way in, I knew it wasn’t too far — two, perhaps three, train stops away. I decided to give the train system a go as that worked fairly well last time around (catching it from Albion to Central). I get to the station and realise I have to buy a ticket. This is immediately followed by the realisation that I have no idea how to do so — the ticket thing is screaming “pick a zone, pick a zone!” at me and I’m all like “I don’t know which one to pick!”, so I just tell it where I am and where I want to go (King George Square, and Fortitude Valley respectively). That darn ticket machine then proceeds to call me fat as it mockingly points out that the Valley is only some 500m from where I am.

I decide to walk.

Brisbane is a pretty cool place. The mall is impressive, and I saw all the popular places — the flagship Commonwealth Bank branch, Breadtop, Crumpler, EB Games, a fairly large Officeworks, and a few others.

I’ve was pretty glad for my iPhone and its tethering abilities during my stay in Brisbane. Rather than pay the exorbitant hotel internet fees I simply used my iPhone internet connection — speeds were more than adequate for normal HTTP browsing, and I managed to chew through about 200MB while I was there, so my usage wasn’t too over-the-top or anything.

I’ve also never appreciated my iPhone compass + GPS as much as I have as when I was in Brisbane; stuck in pretty much a foreign city with only a basic sense of direction, I relied upon Maps quite a bit. At one stage I was walking the completely wrong way, and iPhone managed to correct me. Much love for iPhone.

Apart from those little observations, I didn’t get up to much. Spent a little time wandering about the CBD on the first day, chatting with a few people on the internets in real life that night. The next day was all about work — which I then managed to catch up with a mate from another Next Byte store over dinner. I managed to discover that much of our working experiences are the same, which is kinda weird — somehow I had this weird notion that other stores had completely different ways of doing things, but apparently not. It’s good to see there’s at least a little consistency in what goes on in other Next Byte stores, and not just in regards to training.

Of course, I also managed to hit up the Pancake Parlour on the second night, just like the last time I was in town. By that stage I had already eaten a pretty massive burger (if you’re ever in Southbank I can recommend Beastie Burgers — generous servings, decently priced [IMHO]), but there was no way in hell I was going to miss out on a delicious waffle.

It was, in two words, pretty amazing.

The next morning was pretty uneventful. Early morning flights are like that. Taxi to airport (some $40, along with our ears — the taxi driver had been to over 130 countries and worked in over 80 of those), really quick breakfast (the guy at Subway liked my wallet so much he asked me where I got it, I said dynomightydesign.com but that’s not strictly correct), grabbing the obligatory Krispy Kreme donuts to take back (strangely, none for me this time around — I already had two pieces of carry-on luggage and didn’t want to take up more than I was allowed), and that, ladies and gentlemen, was pretty much that.

So, double-barrelled questions? Kinda where you ask a question, then immediately follow it up with another question before giving someone else the opportunity to answer your question. String a couple of these together (which can happen if you’re trying to get a lot of information quickly), and whoever you’re asking the questions to can feel a little bombarded. See? I did learn something!

The Setup, March 2011 Edition

Featured, in no particular order:

  • Early 2011 15″ MacBook Pro
  • Dell U2711
  • AudioEngine A2
  • Logitech M905
  • Microsoft SideWinder X5
  • Microsoft SideWinder X6
  • Domo plush
  • Where’s Wally poster
  • Pikachu
  • Doraemon pencil sharpener

Malaysia 2011 Wrap-Up

Malaysia was just… a blast.

In somewhat chronological order:

  • Buying 12 donuts to take to Malaysia from Melbourne airport.
  • Playing DoTA with cousins in some random internet cafe/gaming lounge.
  • Riding a bike (sans helmet) across the streets of Sitiawan, both with a cousin and alone, to another cousin’s house to steal borrow his internets.
  • Having a bus breakdown in the middle of nowhere, and being stuck there for hours. Having a greasemonkey (in the purest sense of the word, literally covered in grease from head to toe) climb into the engine bay and fix it for us some three hours later.
  • Eating copious amounts of food in restaurants packed to the brim with people also celebrating Chinese New Year.
  • Buying four decks of cards for a couple of Australian dollars in order to play such games like Warlords and Scumbags, Cheat, Hold Em’ poker, Blackjack, and other assorted games for which there are no english translations for.
  • Finding out that two of the most popular shopping centres have seemingly shed a complete level of floor space, but also discovering that there’s now a whopping great big Tesco where there definitely wasn’t one before.
  • Marvelling at how awesome battery life is on the iPhone 4 when you don’t have to be connected to mobile networks.
  • Tasting the local KFC, finding it definitely isn’t as good as it is back home, but at the same time appreciating the cheesy wedges which aren’t available back home either.
  • Consuming many slices of bread for lunch while at the same cousin’s house. Pretty sure I cleaned them out, but they had such an exquisite collection of spreads it was hard not to.
  • Watching episodes of Nip/Tuck before sleeping.
  • Playing and reviewing iOS games before actually going to sleep.
  • Realising that the whole experience was infinitely better with almost all of my cousins there as well. I suspect it would have been quite boring otherwise.
  • Finding and commenting on all the broken English spotted in department stores, printed text, and everywhere. Continue Reading →