Stuff published as stuff stuffs up…

What a day it’s been. Two hour blackouts, completely incompetent Microsoft Xbox 360 support staff — maybe it’s just me, but four months to replace a dead hard drive seems a touch excessive — wobbly router performance, children throwing wobblies at the slightest provocation, and enough heat to melt what few nerves I had left.

On the plus side, there’s yet more of my writing available online today, in the form of a duet of reviews up today at CNET.com.au:

Asus F3Jm: “It commands something of a premium price, but Asus’ F3Jm doesn’t disappoint when it comes to performance…”

Philips 190G6FB/97: “If you’re the type of display buyer that only wants things small and preferably thin, then the Philips 190G6FB/97 isn’t the monitor for you…”

Ouch…

At 4:29am (SA time) yesterday morning, I was asleep in a beautiful (and surprisingly cheap) apartment at the Glenelg Gateway Apartments. At 4:30am, my alarm clock went off. By 5:30am, I was on the road, sharing driving duties with my wife, with three kids in the back, ranging from four months to four years old.

At 12:15am (NSW time), we arrived back home in Sydney.
My everything hurts. How on earth did my father and step-mother do this twenty three years ago with the same number of kids, plus cats and dogs, and drive even further?

Dear Mrs BP Cobar Service-Station Attendant

Your request for me to move the car along would be more acceptable if:

A) I wasn’t changing a nappy at the time. Being arm deep in infant urine doesn’t put me in the best mood.
B) You didn’t complain about “holding up customers” when in fact you didn’t have any except for me. Cobar is, after all, not exactly a thriving metropolis, bustling with its many petrol-purchasing customers. It’s more of a quiet rural town with relatively few patrons.
Sure, I moved along. And you lost a sale for snack foods. And while Cobar isn’t high on my list of holiday destinations, I know where I won’t be buying my petrol when I’m passing through from now on.

And now, back to the endless road.

You may be right… I may be crazy…

Or I might just be a workaholic.

Netguide Magazine, in repose.

It’s just possible. Consider, for example, the December Issue of Netguide Magazine , on store shelves right about now(ish). It’s a veritable cavalcade of Kidman-penned content, including a roundup of 13 mobile phones — one for every month of the year, plus one extra to lose down the toilet — as well as a gift guide to the ten best games to give the games geek in your life. But that’s not all! You’ll also find reviews of (pause for the requisite long breath in): Microsoft Live Search, Pandora, Asus WL-600G, Trend Micro PC-Cillin Internet Security 2007, Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo XI, Roxio Easy Media Creator 9, TDK Xa-40 2.1Ch Speakers, Maxtor OneTouch III Firewire 400/USB 2.0 500GB, Banksia Digital OctoLink, Reeltime.TV, Defcon (PC), Madden 2007 (PC, PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360), NHL 2007 (PC, PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360) and Dead Rising (Xbox 360). 

Lulu, The Crime Fighting Magician

(Headline courtesy of this. It’s very similar to the way my mind works, or refuses to, sometimes)

Remember earlier on today, when I said I’d been working rather hard? Sure you do — you were paying attention, weren’t you? There will be a test on this in the morning…

Sorry — I think I was channeling some of the teacher genetics in my family history there. Anyway, more of my scribings are now available for your reading pleasure, this time at GadgetGuy.com.au:

TomTom Go910: “It even tracks and notes speed cameras and school speed zones, although we couldn’t work out how to get it to shut up about school zones outside school hours…”

Garmin Nuvi 310: “In the “fun” category, where other GPS systems simply show you an arrow to indicate your position, the Nuvi substitutes this for a tiny car…”

Mio A701: “For the survival-minded, it also offers an emergency SMS option, wherein your GPS coordinates are automatically sent to a predefined SMS number if you find yourself in trouble…”

Four walls, washbasin, prison cell…

If you asked my beautiful and patient wife where I’d spent the last month, she would without a doubt — and with nary a pause — state that I’ve spent the last month in the office, writing and testing to the point of collapse. And she’d be right.

I’ve been working and working and working and working and working, and then, just for a change, working some more. Behold, for example, not one, not two, not even three but four reviews of mine, published today by CNET.com.au. There’s even a somewhat spurious reference to Garthe Knight in there — see if you can spot where* :

Topfield TF6000PVRt: “Topfield’s PVR line improves with the TF6000PVRt, but the wireless capability and general setup could still do with some improvement…”

Kodak EasyShare Photo Printer 350: “The EasyShare 350 is a capable and nicely designed photo printer with a specific appeal for mobile phone camera users…”

Belkin N1 Router: “There comes a point in every reviewer’s career where they’ve seen too many routers, and simply cannot write a description of the dull, ugly things any longer. Thankfully, today is not that day…”

Lexmark X5470: “With every generation of its market leading iPod personal music player, Apple’s snipped a couple of millimetres off the size of the unit in just about every direction. Now, the physical laws relating to the conservation of energy state that all that extra mass has to have gone somewhere…”


*And bonus points if you knew who Garthe Knight was without having to look it up.

Could this be tax deductible?

Because it should be.

Just imagine. I could have him stand in the corner of the office, pitying all the products for me. Can you imagine how much time that would save?

(to be fair to the original author, go and check out Sheldoncomics.com, from whence that sprang. Or is it sprung? No, that’s the sound that an old bed mattress makes. Perhaps it’s spring? No, the Goodies sang about that.. ‘Spring, spring, everybody loves spring’ … no, wait, that was string…)

She gave her Angels, that summer night…

A Prince lyric — I’m still a big Prince afficionado — and an apt one, given the conversation I just had with Zoe. Well, conversation in the Zoe sense; she spoke and I listened.

“This is a dog angel. Do you know dogs? They have teeth. When they teeth wiggle, then they fall out. Then this dog angel flies to them. I’m going to give this dog angel to the dogs next door.”


Can’t argue with that.

A close shave…

I’ve always wanted to use that headline. And now I can.

GadgetGuy.com.au has four of my reviews up, and all of them are rather outside my normal product area. Still, it does one no harm whatsoever to expand your horizons, and in this case it also allowed me to undergo some unusual benchmarking techniques — to wit, using my own face in a roundup of electric shavers:

Sanyo SVRX10: “The Sanyo SVRX10 is an inexpensive electric razor with a surprisingly swift charging time, simple operation and cleaning and a good quantity of included accessories…”

Remington Diamond Series R720A: “Remington’s R720A is the top of the line shaver in its Diamond Series, which sells itself as a mid-priced, non self-cleaning electric men’s razor line..”

Sunbeam SH7700: “The SH7700 is a good choice if you’re never near a power point or don’t like messing around with fiddly cleaning procedures…”

Philips HQ7290: “The Philips HQ7290 is for the most part a very good, albeit slightly costly electric razor which stands out as much for its waterproof shaving and very quiet operation as anything else…”

You want to do WHAT?

This is a conversation, more or less precisely, that I just had with my daughter, Zoe.

Zoe: Daddy! Daddy! I need to get married!
Alex: Oh.
(Bear in mind, she’s only four)
Zoe: Yes, I need to get married. Who can I get married to?
Alex: How about Harriet? (she’s one of our cats)
Zoe: You can’t marry a cat, silly!
Alex: How about Fluffy Bumble? (one of Zoe’s Grandmother’s dogs)
Zoe: No, Daddy! You can’t marry a cat or a dog. You can only marry persons. I can only marry a boy. Who can I get married to?
Alex: Umm.. how about.. Zach? (A preschool friend)
Zoe: No. I don’t like him.
Alex: Hmm. How about Javier? (A preschool person. Friend would be overstating it, but I was searching for boys she knew)
Zoe: No. He’s naughty. I can’t marry a naughty person.
Alex: How about Hamish? (Son of some Church friends of ours)
Zoe: No, he hit me on the head today. I can’t marry someone who hits me on the head.
Alex: How about Ben? (The Church Minister’s son)
Zoe: No, he wants to marry someone else.
(This may, or may not be news to Ben’s parents. Then again, at one point Ben wanted to be a Mermaid, so anything’s possible)
Alex: How about Jordan? (Son of a different pair of Church parents)
Zoe: No. He doesn’t talk to me.
Alex: (becoming somewhat exasperated) How about Craig? (Craig is the Youth Minister’s son. He’s in his early teens and has babysat Zoe and James previously)
Zoe: No! He’s much too old!
(Wow. Over the hill before you hit thirteen. That’s a sobering thought.)
Alex: How about… we wait a few years before you decide to get married?
Zoe: Yes. I think that would be good.

Right. That’s one crisis averted, at least for now. Plus, it’s got my wedding day reception speech half written!