OK. Now I feel old…

How old?

Let’s start with “very”. Primarily because I just worked out that my daughter’s primary school teacher was born in 1984.

(On the count of three, anyone my age and above can go “aaaargh!” in their heads. All of you wot are younger than me can just sit there silently and wait for us responsible adults to change your nappies..)

Bloody protected species…

So now, to compliment the hole in the roof that’s still not fixed in the bedroom, a possum in our roof has kindly come along and scratched a virtually identical hole in the roof of the kitchen.

That’s trespassing and causing criminal damage. Given the sharp implements that we saw it poking down through the ceiling, possibly intent to cause bodily harm. Heck, I’ll go the full monty here; this was a possum with its mind bent on manslaughter.

And yet, despite all of this, if I took a humble flamethrower up into the ceiling and roasted the little bugger alive (in self defence), they’d lock me away. Sometimes life just isn’t fair…

*Yes, I know. I’d burn the house down in the attempt. And the Possum would probably leap inbetween the flames, mocking my failure and waiting for a new house to be built.

I just want to change my world, but from the inside

Issue #110 of Netguide (AKA “July 2007”) is on store shelves now, and as is the norm, I’veNetguide Magazine. I can in fact believe it's not... nah, I've pretty much spread that joke too thin. Hah! Spread! I kill me. written a smidgen or two of content within.

Sure, there are product reviews within; they’re still my bread and butter. Within its non-buttery pages* you’ll find reviews of: Norton 360, Belkin N1 Wireless Modem-Router, Linksys WAG325N Wireless Modem Router, Quickbooks Accounting Small Business 2007-2008, MYOB CashBasics 3, Windows Live Hotmail, Logitech Harmony Advanced Universal Remote 1000i, Blackberry 8800, Philips 9FF2M4 Digital Photo Frame, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: 10th Anniversary (PC, PS2), Overlord (PC), God Of War II (PS2) and Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 2 (PS2).

In a slight change from my usual reviews-centric world, however, there’s also a guide to accessibility tools for Windows XP users, something that proved a considerable challenge to write. Partly because the tools themselves aren’t laid out terribly well, but also because it’s quite challenging to write about disabilities and the tools used to overcome them without sounding patronising or missing the functional implications of certain types of ability issues.

* Unless you forcibly insert butter in there, I guess. Butter is not provided as part of the normal Netguide buying process, but some people will try anything once.

The cold remains of what began with a passionate start…

CNET.com.au has another of my reviews live, this time of a piece of equipment that I really, really didn’t want to drop while testing:

Sim2 Domino 80: “The D80 belongs in a class of projector where it wouldn’t just sneer at lesser projectors, but also kick perfectly projected mud into their lenses. It’s that kind of projector. If you can’t afford it, the D80 figures, then just move on, and please don’t leave grubby fingerprints on the trim…”

Energizer Bunny Thread

(because it just keeps going, and going, and going…)

Classically speaking, there are a couple of ways to generate interest in things on the Internet. Pictures of naked ladies apparently do pretty well for whatever reason, as does search engine spamming, or for that matter having your work Dugg, or Slashdotted, or Farked or whatever. Oh, and that picture of the obese gentleman scooping his hand into the jar of mayonnaise. That did pretty well, for its time.

There is another way, though — annoying people, especially fan bases. The clone is well aware of this one — apparently he still gets mail from people who thinks he hates (or is) Dannii Minogue. My entry in this field comes courtesy of Delta Goodrem, and a blog entry I wrote in March last year that got a huge response from the fanbase, most of it angry.

Earlier this week, for whatever reason, they came back. Site traffic went boom again, although this time the comments were left to two people, both of them complimentary — they “got” what I was venting about in the first place. A quick dig through the site stats showed where the link was, and one trip off to the offical Delta forums revealed this thread. A thread I’ve now contributed to, which should hopefully cool tempers and see my traffic move back towards the IT (and perhaps parenting) crowd. We shall see.

Although, speaking of traffic, a family member made me aware this week that I probably won’t be seeing any traffic from the NSW Department Of Education any time soon. Apparently, the inbuilt filtering software on the school network defines this site — the one you’re reading right now — as pornographic. I don’t get it. There are no subliminal messages, or pictures of women’s pink bits here, or anything like that. The closest I’d come to anything like that would be in the entries describing my snip operation (information, no pictures, no swearing) or in the birth of the kids — again, informative, not exploitative.

Anyone know which band of idiots filtering company the department uses?

Arrr…

Home Entertainment Magazine
Issue #12 of Home Entertainment magazine should be in your local newsagent — or at least, they’ve sent me my contributor’s copy. Within its Blasina-soaked pages, you’ll find two features of mine. Firstly, a guide to setting up wireless home networks (which should perhaps be my signature article for the year). Then a feature on the economics, production and legalities (or lack thereof) in the pirate DVD “industry”.

Oh, and the cover does look a bit better than this quick and dirty scan, done by yours truly with (what else?) a quick and dirty scanner.

Long shot…

You know how you sometimes get a name pop up in your head, months, or sometimes years after you’ve last talked to that person? It happened to me last night, when for some inexplicable reason, my mind cast itself back to my primary school days, and one of my friends from that era who I haven’t spoken to in a clear twenty years — maybe more. But stranger things have happened as the result of naming people on this blog, so here goes with perhaps my longest shot ever:

Anyone (and I guess the 2.5 Armidale readers I have are perhaps the best shot going) know anything about the whereabouts of Jacqui Gowing? Attended ACPS from, I guess, 1978-1985, then Armidale High from 1986 to at least 1987 (when I left), which would presumably have seen her finishing High school between 1989-91 (depending on when she left). The only other things I can recall is that her dad was on the local Police force (and thus their phone number was unlisted) and that her mum worked the front greeting/security position at K-Mart for many, many years — at least up until my UNE days (93-95), and probably further on than that.

Anyone? Bueller?

Bah.

Time for a quick pop quiz. Which of the following have I had to endure in the days leading up to my 33rd birthday?

  • Severe gastro running throughout the family. James on Friday, Zoe and Di on Saturday, and then “my turn” on Saturday night and Sunday. I wish the contents of my stomach had at least been more interesting…
  • More water flowing into the house, by the entryway. An entryway we can’t get fixed, by the way, because all the smug git builders won’t touch it, because it’s both “too complex” and “too small a job”. Doesn’t stop them smirking about it, either. Sods.
  • A visit from an alien Emperor Penguin called Clive, whose job it was to inform me that I have personally won the Spanish lottery.
  • Having my face ripped open by a small dog.
  • Had a hot water bottle spontaneously burst all over my bed, depositing lots of water and frankly disturbing brown goo all over the mattress.

Three out of these five happened — and one of the other ones happened two years ago. As a result, I’m officially declaring my odd-numberered birthdays as canceled until further notice.

Foxy Stoat seeks Pig

CNET.com.au has two of my pieces up today; one review and one feature. Almost coincidentally, they’re both to do with broadband. The above quote has nothing whatsoever to do with broadband, but it’s a lot better than the headline my brain originally came up with, which had to do with The Bangles. I’ll let you work out the painful pun there…

3 Mobile Broadband USB Modem (HSDPA): “It’s hard to say whether it’s the hardware or the network at fault with 3’s USB Mobile Broadband USB Modem. Either way, we’re not impressed with what it offers…”

Which broadband plan is right for me? “If you’re switching to broadband for the first time or contemplating changing your Internet Service Provider, the range of plans on offer can be quite staggering. This guide will break down the key features you need to consider before signing on the dotted line.”

Share my byline? Never!!

Well, OK. Maybe just this once.

And only because the journalist in question is someone I unreservedly love.

And you can even tell my wife that!

Pony Friends: “The last time I was truly passionate about a horse, it was in a boucherie in Versailles, wondering if the cut of horse I’d just purchased would be better in a pepper or garlic sauce. For the record, pepper sauce won…”