Meanwhile, on the other side of town…

Inbetween little girls starting at Kindy, rapidly escaping lizards and all the rest of my life at the moment, there’s still yet more of my work being printed. Or, in this case pixellated, as I’ve had two reviews go live in recent days at
Dell 2707WFP: “It’s a huge display. Really, really big. You may think it’s a long way down the street to the chemists’…”

Lexmark X9350: “In trying to describe the X9350, we could think of no words more suitable than: “it looks like the X5470 with bits bolted on”….”


An entry for the family members here. Zoe started at Kindergarten today.

zoe1stday5.jpg zoe1stday10.jpgzoe1stday15.jpgzoe1stday12.jpg

I’m just going to go off in a corner and feel old, if it’s all the same to you.

Natural selection

For many years now, there’s been a crude — but highly effective — method of natural selection going on at Casa Kidman. The basic routine goes like this:

  • Idiotic tiny skink wanders into the house through a gap.
  • Our cats capture, torture and kill skink. Sometimes, just the tail, in which case we might save its life. Sometimes not.

It has, up until now, been a highly effective way to actively increase the intelligence of the outside skink population, as they’ve slowly, and in a very Darwinian fashion, learned not to come inside the house on fear of death. Appropriately, we’ve started seeing larger and larger skinks wandering around outside, secure in the knowledge that they’ve only gotten that big by being clever enough not to venture inside. Until today.


Boo. Luckily for Sidney The Skink, we caught him before the cats could do him any permanent damage.


The tail’s a writeoff, though. I wonder how long they take to grow back. Then again, i also wonder if by placing it back outside, we’re just taking a meal away from the cats and giving it to the local birds….

Normal generally-IT-or-Kids-related hilarity will resume at some point. Or possibly not.

It’s just like… it’s just like…

Curse you, Mr Powell.

Curse you.

That’s my productivity stuffed for the day, then.

Rainy day invasion

It’s a wet and rainy day, so in order to keep the kids under control — is such a thing just a pipe dream? — I decided to show them how to make Space Invaders. Hey, what can I say — I’m a sucker for the classics.

The problem, of course, is that you start with this:

Along came an invader

But Invaders never travel through the dark inky night alone, you know…


Soon there were two. Zoe tells me that this is a “Girl” Invader. I guess they’ve got to reproduce somehow, what with the appalling casualty rate for this 30 year old war…


And then there were three. I showed Zoe and James how Invaders moved, making the obligatory “Dutt Dutt Dutt Dutt, Dutt Dutt Dutt Dutt” noise as it went from side to side, and James decided that they were called “Dutt-Dutts”. Perhaps he’s right, and the noise is in fact the Invaders trying to communicate with us warmongering Earthlings…


Uh oh. It’s a full-scale invasion. Better call in Earth’s only hope.


Thankfully, tanks are a lot easier to build than Space Invaders. Should have this invasion sorted out in a jiffy.

Groo will be even more upset when he finds out what “Mendicant” means!

In a clear sign that the slow product days of January are coming to an end, I’ve got another review live today at They’re still not hiring beavers, however. When will the prejudice end?

Belkin TuneCast 3 FM Transmitter: “On the downside, two features have been stripped from the TuneCast 3 that were present in its predecessor. …

* To be fair, I’ve still got to come up with a legitimate use for dam-building rodents in an online publishing capacity. Give me time, it’ll come to me, and then I’ll corner the market and make millions.

Would you stay awake for fourteen hours, listening to the grass grow?

Eep. Where did January go?

Oh, that’s right. Everyone’s on holidays, or away from their desks, or over at CES, or busy de-lousing the cat. As an aside, and thankfully nothing to do with lice, my cat’s taken to trying to sleep on my notebook keyboard. All I can say is that it’s amazing what applications can be launched by a cat’s backside…Netguide Magazine. Featuring the writing of at least two people called Alex each and every month. Now that's a mark of true quality.

Cat rear-end humour still doesn’t stop the presses, however, which push more and more paper-based products through the finest newsagencies — and presumably the grubbiest, filthiest, skankiest ones too — as can be seen in issue 105 of Netguide magazine, which is on store shelves now. Within it, you’ll find a selection of my reviews, including the always-thrilling broadband buyer’s guide, as well as reviews of (customary deep breath here): Navman N40i, Road Angel Navigator 7000, Mio A701, TomTom ONE, BigPond Next G Wireless Broadband Mobile Card, Vodafone Mobile Connect USB modem, Belkin N1, Vodafone Blackberry Pearl 8100, The Print Shop Deluxe Version 22, Evernote 1.5, Maxtor Shared Storage II 1TB, Asus F3Jm, HP Ipaq RX4540, Medieval II: Total War (PC), Neverwinter Nights 2 (PC), Cricket 2007 (PS2), Justice League Heroes and Marvel Ultimate Alliance.

On the online side, some of my older buyer’s guides have also just gone up at the Netguide Web site, covering Digital Cameras under $500, Portable Photo Printers, Portable Music & Video Players and Net Communication Devices.

The fine folks at have also been busy little beavers — I wonder what happens to the slovenly, lazy beavers? Or beavers with chronic fatigue syndrome? Or smoking beavers? Do they all sit outside the dam, puffing away and bitching about how hairy Harry keeps gnawing the best logs? That doesn’t relate much to the very busy beavers at work at, who inbetween blocking the world’s waterways for their own amusement* have published another one of my reviews:

Dopod P800W: “We still couldn’t think of any description to put on it that was better than describing it as the Frankenstein’s Monster of smartphones. Not because it has a ghastly green hue, or is covered in stitches and bolts, but simply because…”

* This is clearly a lie. To the best of my knowledge, CNET Networks Australia does not in fact employ semi-aquatic rodents native to North America and Europe of the family Castoridae. Did you know that the leading cause of death amongst beavers is being squished by the trees that they’re trying to fell? I wonder if they make a squeaky sound as they splatter?

Look out for the Snilth Wimbat*

A few observations on the last week, which has been a very busy one:

  • Driving in 40 degree heat still sucks. It’s worth it, though, to visit elderly relatives, who just love the kids, and the kids love them.
  • Melting your car electrical systems with a Christmas gift (in this case, an in-car cooler) can test your patience. A free plug here for the fine, fine folks at Raymond Terrace Auto Electrics, who did a great job very quickly getting the car up and running again.
  • Kempsey has a book store called “Books”. Just “Books”. I’m not sure if this is indicative of the interest Kempsey has in tomes generally, or if it’s a sign of excessively literal signage; is the supermarket just called “Food”, the pub “Beer” and the Police Station “Sunday Morning”?
  • Sigh. The kitchen’s more or less dead. Shelves are broken — and have been for some time. The sink is worn out — and has been for some time. The final straw seems to have been the oven, which is spewing toxic smoke and/or not heating properly. I hadn’t realised quite how predatory and heavy-sales-pressure driven the kitchen design market is; some of the big players in the software market could learn something from these sharks…
  • Some of my hair’s growing back. That’s a bit weird.
  • I can lift half a ton of sand. Honest. Sure, it’s one wheelbarrow at a time, but that counts, doesn’t it?
  • All this garden work is starting to give my arms definition. Sure, I’m not likely to win Mr Universe any time soon, but these usually flabby stalks on my shoulders are starting to bulk up. I think some sedentary gaming, possibly with high-fat snack foods is called for…
  • Had lunch and a very nice afternoon with one of the truly beautiful people on Thursday, somewhat by surprise. They know who they are.
  • This blog’s been good at getting old compatriots back in touch with me. With that in mind (and little to lose, really), if anyone (including themselves) knows the location of (deep breath): Leigh Beuttell (ex Lakehouse 1987, Tom Hood School 1987-1990, possibly in the Army after that), Keith Bush (ex Tom Hood 1987-1990, was working as a train driver in 1999 and talking, of all things, of emigrating to Australia (although he was very, very drunk at the time.. and I should know, I was worse), Adam Jeayes (I may have the spelling wrong, also Tom Hood School 1987-1990, last seen in 1992 living with his mother) and finally (and on a different continent) James Gardiner (Duval High School, 1990-1992). If you’re out there, guys (or if you reckon you know them, which is a very long shot given the people who read this blog, then drop me a line…

*A Snilth Wimbat, for those still reading, is what happens when a giggly four-year-old tries to say “Stealth Wombat” while being tickled. Don’t ask what a Stealth Wombat is. You don’t want to know.

Women won’t be fooled on child care

“A senior Liberal Party MP has again lashed out over the affordability of childcare services in an apparent swipe at the Federal Government.”

Apparently, at least according to enlightened 19th-century woman Bronwyn  Bishop, childcare is an issue that affects only women. Men are presumably entirely removed from the equation. I’m particularly fond of this quote:

“I cannot agree with any man who makes a judgement about what is best for a woman.” 

Now, I haven’t looked down his shorts recently (and I’ve got no plans to, believe me), but I didn’t think that John Howard was lacking in dangly bits down there — and he’d be the leader of your party, wouldn’t he Bronwyn?


Dear Technology Industry (1)

It’s 2007 already. And yet, it feels like I’ve spent the last nine years doing the exact same thing; chasing your poor overworked PR representatives for product photos. What’s this year’s excuse for why they’re not up on your otherwise flashy (pun intended) Web sites?

(obviously, those enlightened companies that already do this are excluded from this particular whinge. Unless, of course, you’ve hidden the product images under corporate information>archive>resources>images>press>images>products> in which case you’re back in the firing line, and in fact right up the front where the bullets will still have their maximum velocity)