Friday, December 22, 2006

Matrox TripleHead2Go


It all began in October 2005. I visited South Africa, and saw Armand had a 19 inch LCD monitor at home. It was so much better than my 17 inch CRT...

At work I was running two 15 inch Dell LCDs, and with people joining, and everyone wanting to also have two monitors (great productivity enhancer in my line of work), I passed on my two 15 inchers, and had two new Dell 1907FP monitors on my desk at work.

This was just too much, of course, and thanks to eBay, I purchased one for home at a greatly reduced price.

Today that monitor lost its place of pride as my only monitor, and became monitor number 3. I have just received my two new 1907FPs, as well as the box of magic from Matrox.

Was it worth it? Oh yes. The immersive quality of having three screens full of VC view, with no impact on framerates, I am hooked. In fact, I am off to fly again now.

Oh , the top picture is me flying the FFS Van's RV7 over YPPH, and the bottom one the Aeroworx King Air B200 with most of the sub-panels permanently displayed in 2D mode. Cool.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

All the things I did not write about

It has been some time. Good day to you all.

I have purchased a Line6 LD150 bass guitar amp. I can not use it to its full potential at home. On a setting of 3.5 I rattle the windows as well as the nearest brick wall, and thus I have never gone louder. I am very happy. Line6 makes the coolest gear.

Microsoft Flight Simulator X has been released. Since the shelf life is typically three years, versus most other games a few months at most, the software has to be designed for next-generation hardware. Meaning that current hardware battle to maintain good framerates. And old hardware (like what I have at home) get very bad framerates if you want too much detail out of the sim. But soaring simulation is magnificent, and since it happens away from busy commercial airports, I get mid-teen framerates. Very good. But if you really want good framerates, consider purchasing this Alienware machine.

I also purchased Need for Speed Underground 2 on eBay for AUD20 delivered, and am having a lot of fun with that.

I have been travelling a lot recently, and when I am home, my family, music, and flying comes before blogging.

Strangely enough, as I write this I am sitting in a hotel room, with lots of spare time on my hands for the evening. Ironic, is it not?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Paul the Chameleon

Last Monday morning I shaved off my moustache and goatee, and of course my hair has been growing for some time now. So I get to Perth airport this morning, and the lady refuses to give me my boarding pass. Because, according to her, I do not look anything like my passport photo.

Asks me if I have my driver's licence handy. Yes, and I present it. Inwardly laughing, as it will not help. I have had the same short hair and moustache for the last seven years. Eventually she decides that it is me, and I get my boarding pass.

Had a good chuckle about it in the lounge, and eventually arrived at Shanghai Pudong airport tonight. And lo and behold, they would not let me in to the country. Looked at me, looked at my passport, looked at me, looked at my passport. Asked how old the passport photograph was. Asked for some Australian ID. So I presented my driver's licence again. ANd both officers burst out laughing, as the licence and the passport look the same. But both look different to me.

Eventually they did let me in.

So, here's the deal: I decided to grow my hair into a pony tail again, which will be a three year project. And I decided that I will not care what the customers think or say about my hair. But having all this hassle getting in and out of countries is another story.

So, as my colleague said today, grow the moustache again...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

2007 Lamborghini Murciélago LP640: More Horsepower on the Hoof

The following exerpt from the New York Times: "The LP designation refers to the engine’s mounting position (“longitudinale posteriore”) behind the two seats; 640 is the horsepower it makes in European specification. Because of slight changes to meet American emissions rules, the output in this country is slightly less, at 632 horsepower — akin to the difference between getting hit by a .44-caliber bullet or a .45; the wounds are pretty much the same size."

Classic!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Metrosexuals and Mark Latham

I am at a resort in Phuket, and had my first facial today, at the ripe old age of 37. I was mildly disappointed. Unlike a massage, I did not feel the earth move for me. Then again, it has taken many years to find out what type of massage I enjoy (very hard, try to make me scream in agony), so I guess I should not judge by a single experience.

Does my skin feel any softer and more radiant? No, not really.

So I might do it again, but I would much rather have a massage. Mark Latham would be proud. I am not a metrosexual. Now where did I leave my gel and mousse? Ahh, there it is. Next to my Gucci sunglasses.

Not!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Natural Born Killers

I am not speaking about the movie. I am speaking about my daughter's new pet. I have always been a dog person. I vaguely recall at one time thinking that I will never ever get a cat. But since we live in a unit, after the mice died of cancer, and the fish are not so good to play with, we decided on a cat.

And now I am a changed man. Caterina is six months old, black with white legs, and the predator instinct fascinates me.

After two days of sleeping under our bed, she now sleeps on the bed. And in the morning we get woken up with a miao to indicate she is hungry. After breakfast it is another miao, this time to indicate that she wants you to play with her. And if you ignore her, she can get quite grumpy.

My playing of course is actually something to keep her fit and powerful for catching her first bird one day. I throw her ball up the stairs. Yes, you read correctly, UP the stairs. She is up the stairs in a flash, but sadly she never brings the ball back to me. I have to go and collect it myself.

Or perhaps she is just very clever, and wants me to get some extra exercise...

Why the title then? Because everything she does is primal, all the playing, pouncing, biting and scratching is built in.

I read a few weeks ago them domesticated cats, when ferrel, can comfortably survive in the wild. I believe that. As long as they had enough time with their mothers as babies to learn the ropes, they will be hunters/predators for life.

And me? Well, my reaction times are getting faster as well. I still sometimes lose the reaction game, and do not pull the toy (or my hand) away fast enough. But other times I do.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The hard disk turns 50 years old

We take many things for granted in our lives. Computers are one of them. I acquired my first one in 1990, a 286 with an EGA graphics card. I kept the original keyboard until 2004, when my wife decided that she didn't like the typing action. Fine!

As I am sitting here today, typing away merrily on my Microsoft Natural keyboard, two Dell 1907FP screens staring back at me, 60Gb hard disk, 2Gb RAM, Pentium 2GHz Mobile(roughly 3 GHz), in a portable computer that weighs less than 3kg, lugging it all over the world, making my life easier, quicker, and more productive, spare a thought for where we came from.

Even in the short time I have been using computers, things have changed so much. I am reminded of something I say every now and then: "Technology may progress, but human nature remains the same". We may find more ingeneous ways to kill each other, and to find cures for certain ailments, but because we live in this sinful world, it takes a conscious decision to rise up above the ways of this world.

Luckily God planted in us a conscience, and whether you are a born again Christian or not, the Holy Spirit makes you aware of what is right, and what is wrong.

I think I might have gotten side-tracked there. Back to technology.

So where will we be in 50 years' time? I plan to still be alive, retired, spending time with grandchildren, hopefully have my own plane, and still medically legal to fly it, and computers will be worn as watches, with 3D air-based screens that you look at, think about changes, and the sensors in the watch-sized computer (which also shows the time, of course), types for you, or whatever.

And we will see half the retail stores we have now. Online auction sites like eBay will continue to grow, and many more businesses will sell stuff online only.

So you can measure the accuracy of my predictions in 50 years' time. But I suspect that this text might have been archived by then, never to be seen by another soul. But in 100 year's time, some journalist might be doing research, and finding it again. Who knows...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Another tribute from me

Michael Schumacher has announced his retirement at the end of this season from Formula1 driving. He will, however, remain with Ferrari in an as yet unannounced capacity. I have always been a fan, especially knowing what sort of personality it takes to drive a car to its absolute limit, without exceeding it. I know, because I am not such a man. I kept on thinking about the frailty of the human body, and braked just that little bit too early.

But the current season still has some time to go, and as Michael said, for now it is all about the championship.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Steve Irwin Obituary

One of my role models passed away this week, swimming with a ray in the Great Barrier Reef. A role model, because I wanted to be more of a nature-oriented person, not confined to my office job. Knowing about animals, how to treat them, how not to treat them. How to pick up a snake or scorpion without being bitten - basically all the things a man should know how to survive in the bush. And have some fun wrestling with crocodiles, and such like!

I will miss you, Steve. And my family's prayers will include your family for some time to come. The road ahead will be lonely for some time. Fortunately God sent the Holy Spirit as our comforter, and I hope/pray that Your comfort, which is above our understanding, will impact their lives.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie

Oi, Oi, Oi!!!!!

As of last night, I am an Australian citizen. And this morning, I applied for my Australian passport. What a good feeling it is. I feel like I have been set free of bonds, now officially part of a free society. We had a great session at the Victoria Park Civic Centre, and we have a lovely town mayor. Must be the most friendly politician I have ever met.

And of course I can now vote. I also have to vote, but that does not bother me at all.

Pretty cool, all in all.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

You are my sunshine

The following from Ekklesia: The Journey. Do you believe in miracles? I do. This is one of them. And it specifically appeals to me, since I have not been spending enough time speaking to our new baby, as I did with my daughter before she was born. Well, tonight it starts.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Silence of the hand

I can not remember when last I posted something here. And even today there is not much to say.

Except perhaps, that it is a beautiful day, lots of rain, lots of wind, and we need it - the rain, that is, not the wind. Life has been good since my last scribblings. And I can ask for little more.

Commercial Level Simulations have announced that they are in the process of modelling an Eclipse 500 light jet. I will be following that with interest.

Apologies to my regular readers, I will eventually get back on top of workload, family life, music, beta-testing, and a few other things...

God bless.

Monday, July 17, 2006

FSX Shared skies video

Found this on Avsim. It is a video featuring the new shared skies concept in FSX. Not a new concept, but a great video. 38 Mb .wmv file, for those that might find it a constraint.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

John Patitucci on bass

Just for fun, here is John playing a classical Bach piece. I am deeply humbled. But, perfect practice makes perfect.



And here is a great solo from John as well.

Jaco Pastorius Improvising

Awesome video. Now, why didn't I bring my bass along with me? I really wish I was home now. At least I can still do my finger excercises... Via.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The evolution of dance

This must be the best video on Youtube ever. Original page.


Our pledge

Today my wife and I went for our Australian citizenship interview. Only a few more months now, and we will have full citizenship. Very exciting, is it not? I can hardly wait to get my Australian passport. Just imagine, just one visa per year, not ten filling up pages in my passport. I had a look this morning, and it is incredible how much I have travelled in the last two years. A few more months, and the passport will be full.

Which is a very interesting subject in itself. Every time I now go through passport control, I have to specify a page number where the officer can stamp. Else the risk is that someone stamps on a blank page, removing a whole visa page in the process. Oh, the stresses of frequent travel - LOL.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Not by might, nor by power

but by My Spirit, says the Lord Zec 4:6. And thus it was tonight during worship. I had a tough week, a tough Saturday, and I felt terribly unprepared. But God stepped in, made our music heavenly, taking our hands and voices, and making it perfect, despite our imperfections. All I can do is give thanks, thanks for the grace, the mercy God shows every day of our lives.

For without Him we are nothing, our talents, our abilities are worthless. And since we are here on earth only as stewards, nothing belongs to us. We can not take our posessions to heaven or hell with us, we have to leave it all behind. How nice it is to dedicate what we have to Him, and not to the world.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Legal XP owners, arise

One of the nicest things about now being legal, apart from getting frequent updates, is that my computer can now hybernate. Since I have first used this feature, I just knew that every computer should be able to do that. How is it useful to me? I can pause my Flight Simulator in the middle of a flight, Hybernate, and then continue again a few days later.

I have nearly finished setting up my new hard drive with all the programs and data, and will hopefully be able to make a Norton Ghost backup later the week.

Oh, and did I mention that I now no longer need to feel guilty about my Windows version? The truth shall set you free.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ladder telemarketing commercial gone wrong

This must really have hurt!


Frantic week and my first song in years

It started on Saturday: Perth-Singapore-London-Stockholm-Luleå, meeting on Monday, Luleå-Stockholm-London-Narita, meeting on Thursday (today), and tonight back to Perth via Hong Kong.

But as tiring as it was, I had lots of fun, and am glad I could go. And God arranged an upgrade to first class on the London-Narita leg, as well as a complimentary massage in Heathrow. I felt truly pampered, and privileged. So this is my public thank you to my Lord Jesus.

Speaking of which, here is something I wrote down sometime the week. If anyone wants to add music before I do, please feel free.

Thank You for all You have given me
When I look at what I have,
all I can do is to give thanks
You truly are my provider.
My hope rests in You.
My enemies plot against me
Scheming and planning my downfall
But You lift me up from the ashes
You restore my health
Restore my faith
You bring healing to my life
And all I can do is give thanks.

I praise You because You are my provider
My source of strength
With out You I am nothing
Take all I have
All my abilities
My talents
Without You it is all nothing.

I long to worship You
Long to praise You
It is all about You
Not about me
It is all about You
Not about me

Luleå runway at speed



The runway at Luleå in Sweden. Pretty cool picture, heh! And to the pilots reading, no, I was not this fortunate. Snapped it as we turned to backtrack down the runway.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Fresh as a daisy

Fresh as a daisy. That's how I feel now. I have just had a magnificent shower in Heathrow, on my way to Sweden. First time ever that I have showered in the middle of a series of flights, and I will do it again. So why is this so exciting? Who knows.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Hope Rwanda very successful

Hope Rwanda is touching lives in a way that only God can. People have access to medical teams, houses are built for widows of the genocide 10 years ago, children's prayers for rice and blankets are answered by people halfway across the world, teachers receive teaching aids, people are miraculously healed as people lay hands on them and pray.

To read more, visit the official Hope Rwanda blog.

Keep on praying. Keep on giving. Be part of God's answer to the world's problems.

Monday, June 12, 2006

A ringtone meant to fall on deaf ears

This article from the New York Times (you will need to subscribe to see it) tells of a high frequency ringtone that many adults can not hear, but children can. So I have now downloaded it, and installed it as my Meeting Profile Ringtone. The experiment will be to see how many of my colleagues will hear it ring.

"In settings where cellphone use is forbidden — in class, for example — it is perfect for signaling the arrival of a text message without being detected by an elder of the species.
"When I heard about it I didn't believe it at first," said Donna Lewis, a technology teacher at the Trinity School in Manhattan. "But one of the kids gave me a copy, and I sent it to a colleague. She played it for her first graders. All of them could hear it, and neither she nor I could."
The technology, which relies on the fact that most adults gradually lose the ability to hear high-pitched sounds, was developed in Britain but has only recently spread to America — by Internet, of course.
"


Which reminds me of another crazy experiment: Eating only monkey food for a week. Adam Scott from Canada did this, and you can find his video diaries over on Youtube.com. The last video states that if you only act on your good ideas, you will never do anything. I do not agree with the sentiment, but his ordeal/experiment is quite funny.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Light of the World

Jesus truly is the light of the world. I am amazed more and more every day in how intricately perfect everything has been designed, and made, for our pleasure. Apple blossoms, luring bees, waiting for cross-pollination. Who thought of that? The apple tree? I don't think so. The banana, fitting into a human hand so perfectly. Did we engeneer it like that? I don't think so.

The sun, the moon, the stars. All just there for our pleasure, our amazement. Gazing up into the heavens, wishing we could travel there, wishing we could fly. Wishing we could swim like the fish do. We were put here on earth to enjoy life, to mange and reign over this planet. And I know we are not always responsible as a human race.

Perfectly crafted in the image of God, with free will, the ability to choose our destiny. What a profound responsibility. Seeing one of my colleagues' heart aching, searching for something more, yearning back for teenage years when life was simple, and joyful. Well, it can be that way again. It can be that way all the time.

God knows the number of hears on my head. Why? Because He can, and because He cares. And He looks after the sparrows day after day. So why should we worry about earthly concerns. God is there for us.

I want to work hard, excel to the best of my ability, make music from my heart, dance like there is no tomorrow, love God and my family with all my heart. Love my colleagues, love everyone I see, and those I do not see.

Pray for everyone I know, in all the countries I have been, for healing, for a renewing of their minds, and hearts, that they may know You, God. I want to have a guard in front of my mouth, speak only things that inspire, and make people think.

I want to be known as God's child, not as anything else.

God, my soul cries out to You today. Hear my prayer, hear my cries. Forgive my sins. THank You for loving me, despite my fallen human nature. Despite my many transgressions. Your love is difficult to fathom. So big, so kind. And yet, we were created in Your image. We have the same capability, we can love the same way if we so choose.

I pray for healing for my wife, for Your touch on her body. I pray for less travel for me, for more time to spend at home. I thank You for Your protection.

What am I doing in Perth, Lord? I am ready to do Your will. Please make it known to me. I know that the time is coming soon.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Explosive Pepsi and Mentos?

There is a myth that you can explode Pepsi with Mentos. Here is the result of an experiment to disprove this myth (sorry, no embedded player).

Cool Bass fishing video by Danny Thomson

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Monday, May 22, 2006

South Korea here I come

Last night at home, before I travel again. Tomorrow this time I will be on a plane, hopefully asleep already. I had a wonderful time at home, and I am also busy with my Level 2 Microsoft Access course. It is great to put some meat around the bones of last week, and I had the opportunity today to clarify some of the aspects I have been battling with in my practice databases.

I have to start my wife's database over again, just because there are so many things I can do better now. And it suddenly seems so much less compleax than it did last week. Even the monster Excel workbook I mentioned earlier now seems easy to convert, especially since my last discussion with our tutor.

And he should know, he worked for Microsoft on the very first Access training documentation. Anyway, before I digress into a lot of technical jargon, I am really enjoying myself, and the new knowledge will be very useful at work.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Uncanny Valley Redux

This phenomenon describes our reaction to something that is not human, like a robot. Whoever makes one can get it very wrong, or very right, and there is not a linear relationship between making something more lifelike and our acceptance of it as such.

Steve Lacey features this video:








Thursday, May 18, 2006

One broken computer

So my Desktop at home just failed. At the worst possible time. When I had just purchsed new software, and not yet backed it up. Oh well, such is computer life. I have purchased ActiveSky 6 from HIFI Simulations. Great product. I can highly recommend it to other flight simulator enthusiasts.

On another note, I have just ordered a legal version of Microsoft Windows XP Professional for my home desktop. Thus I am now completely legal, at last. It has taken some time, but at last I have arrived. Just wish I had a PC to install it on...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Cool Haircut


This from Funny Pictures:


Be sure to view the Air Force One pic as well. Airbus must be kicking themselves.

Microsoft Access in action

So today and tomorrow I am starting my journey into the world of relational databases. Doing the starter course in Access 2003. So I arrive home tonight after music practice, and I suddenly have this brigt idea: What if I develop a database for my wife's business? Of course we do not have Access at home (yet), but I started in Excel, so that importing the fields into Access will be easy.

So now she has a customer database, with some customer data already filled in. I also started on actual sales data, but I really need an electronic product list to do that properly. Anyway, I am having lots of fun, but it started getting late, and tomorrow is another long day of training, and some really important/urgent stuff happening at the office.

That was quite interesting in itself, as I knew I would not be able to let go of work tonight. So I forwarded all arriving emails to my private email address, and had my mobile phone download new messages every half an hour. And lo and behold, at music practice, the message arrived from Bristol. I was able to respond, switch off my mobile, and concentrate on music practice thereafter. Very productive, and good that I could get the urgent stuff out of my system.

Times like this that I wish I had a Blackberry, but the new Nokia E70 (which is what I will get) has still not been released. The E70 supports push email, including Blackberry, has a nice keyboard, and works in Japan.

Me, I do not want to carry around a Blackberry, a G3 phone, and a Palm/similar organiser, I want to carry only one piece of hardware. I will hopefully soon be able to find out if the E70 is my dream come true.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Flitestar Virtual Airline closes

After yet another unknown incident affecting the founder/owner/financier of Flitestar Virtual Airlines, Erick has decided to close the site. I say yet another, as Erick has been done in by many people over the years. Whilst all he has done is give selflessly of his time, and money, to share his passion for a hobby with other people.

I will miss Flitestar. I had just attained the rank of Junior Captain, which meant that I could start flying an Airbus A319, Boeing 737-800, or a Boeing 767.

I wish you all the best, Erick, and I hope that you can find it in your heart to forgive whoever did this to you. It is not necessary for you to hold a grudge, because it only affects you. THe other person has long forgotten the incident.

In fact, I speak God's Word into your life, and I call into being forgiveness in your heart, and healing of all the old wounds. Life on earth was made for us to enjoy, so enjoy it.

Your friend




Paul

A successful week of business

Business in Bangkok and Shanghai has been very successful this week - well worth the trip. Tomorrow the flight back to perth, and straight to church to see my daughter in a fashion parade. I am very excited for her.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

How to reason effectively with an athiest - sorry, an agnostic.

Athiests are actually agnostics, i.e. they do not know whether there is a God or not. Anyway, watch the video. Great viewing.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Manifestation of the Holy Spirit

Have been pondering on the following passage of scripture for the past few days (Amplified translation given below):

1Co 12:6 And there are distinctive varieties of operation [of working to accomplish things], but it is the same God Who inspires and energizes them all in all.
1Co 12:7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the [Holy] Spirit [the evidence, the spiritual illumination of the Spirit] for good and profit.
1Co 12:8 To one is given in and through the [Holy] Spirit [the power to speak] a message of wisdom, and to another [the power to express] a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same [Holy] Spirit;
1Co 12:9 To another [wonder-working] faith by the same [Holy] Spirit, to another the extraordinary powers of healing by the one Spirit;
1Co 12:10 To another the working of miracles, to another prophetic insight (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose); to another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones], to another various kinds of [unknown] tongues, to another the ability to interpret [such] tongues.
1Co 12:11 All these [gifts, achievements, abilities] are inspired and brought to pass by one and the same [Holy] Spirit, Who apportions to each person individually [exactly] as He chooses.

God is sovereign, and thus gifts are distributed not to everyone the same, and it is also not necessary. But we should all desire to operate in these gifts. I want to be used to heal people. I have seen some really afflicted people on my travels, and on a few occasions I have felt a very strong urge to stop them, lay my hands on them, so that they may be healed, and experience normal lives.

And I know it will happen, continuously. I have the following promise:

Mar 16:15 And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach and publish openly the good news (the Gospel) to every creature [of the whole human race].
Mar 16:16 He who believes [who adheres to and trusts in and relies on the Gospel and Him Whom it sets forth] and is baptized will be saved [from the penalty of eternal death]; but he who does not believe [who does not adhere to and trust in and rely on the Gospel and Him Whom it sets forth] will be condemned.
Mar 16:17 And these attesting signs will accompany those who believe: in My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages;
Mar 16:18 They will pick up serpents; and [even] if they drink anything deadly, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will get well.

But also wonder-working faith. And wisdom. How will people realise that we serve a living God without experiencing the Power? Jesus said, blessed are those who believe without having to see.

Joh 20:29 Jesus said to him, Because you have seen Me, Thomas, do you now believe (trust, have faith)? Blessed and happy and to be envied are those who have never seen Me and yet have believed and adhered to and trusted and relied on Me.

I think we need a combination of knowledge and miracles. Which is exactly what we have now. Oh, how much I desire to write about this subject. But maybe another day.

Excel Workbook layout and coding philosophy

Last week I hacked into a workbook VBA code, as one of my colleagues wanted to have some additional functionality. And she paid an arm and a leg for the workbook, and the data contained in it.

So here are a couple of things that we found wrong:
1) Input data, formulas, and report functionality are all mixed together.
2) Input data for a particular customer is spread over various worksheets.
3) There are different sheets for different years, and each customer, for each year, contains formulas. 1500 formulas per customer, times 80 customers, per year. For three years, this equates to 4 Mb of data. This can be easily fixed by having one formula, and using it as required for reporting purposes.
4) Workbook size is 12 Mb. As such, it takes a long time to open, and recalculate every time you enter new data.
5) All VBA code is hardcoded to specific cell references. So don't even try and insert a column, because then half the macros will no longer work. The use of named ranges would assist here. As you add new data columns, the named ranges will move, and the code will still work.
6) All code is duplicated unnecessarily. For example, one section hides all sheets, except one. The developer copied and pasted this code, and changed the sheet visibility from False to True and vice versa for two sheets.

I can continue, but you get the idea. So what are we going to do? Redevelop it from scratch. The data is still useful, but the data store sucks.

And I would love to port the data to Access, and query it from Access from Excel. Speaking of which, I met an Access MVP yesterday morning after church. I have heard of him before, and once had an opportunity for him to work on a similar data store to the one mentioned above through another company.

So as soon as I have scoped the redesign of this package, I might get him to help.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The miracle of sight

My glasses broke after many years of faithful service, and although I am not as blind as a bat, they most certainly help. The patch-job made them very uncomfortable to wear, and I have always wanted contact lenses, but never had an opportunity to really make it worthwhile.

But now I had just such an opportunity. After almost an hour fitting the right eye, and one minute for the left eye, I walked out the store with them, and I could see! Without my glasses. It was, and remains, a magnificent experience. As I said to the optician: "You gave me sight. Thank you."

As I walked back to the office, all I could think about was how it must feel for someone completely blind one moment, then healed by the power of God, to be able to see. How can you explain that overflowing joy to someone else? It is difficult. But God knows.

The last time I felt this way was when my left leg was shortened to be of equal length to my right leg, in a powerful miracle of God, captured on video. I still want to post it on YouTube.com one day. Makes great viewing.

God is truly all-powerful, and nothing is impossible for Him. As He said: "I am".

Current Excel workbook name and sheet name on everything you print

Here is a nifty trick that my boss developed a few years ago, and is now coming in very handy for me:

Input the following formula into a cell: "=CONCATENATE(TEXT(NOW(),"dd mmmm yyyy"), ", ", CELL("filename"))" without the outer quotation marks. This displays the current date, file name and path in the cell.

"=RIGHT(CELL("filename",A1),(LEN(CELL("filename",A1))-SEARCH("]",CELL("filename",A1))))" without the outer quotation marks. This reads the file name, looks for the "]" character, and displays the text to the right of it - which happens to be the sheet name.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Breaking the dry spell

It has been thirteen years since I played bass guitar on stage, live. Until tonight, that is. So how did I do? I did ok. Made a few mistakes, but overall had a great time with Team 2. I have always enjoyed playing with Bernie, the drummer. We have a good rhythm thing happening, the way it should be between a drummer and a bass guitarist.

I had fun. I am still not on a roster, but I agree that I probably should not be at this stage. It is difficult when you travel a lot.

Next time I will have the overall foldback volume softer. Did I mention that I had fun?

One more thing: After such a long time, praying before we went on stage, feeling the tangible presence of the Lord with us. It was great. And I missed that the last thirteen years.

I was looking for the Grace Community Church website in Newcastle, South Africa where I last served as part of a worship team. But all I could find was a reference to the church by Shiloh Church International in Durban. The pastors Ron and Lindi Masters were worship leaders at Grace Community Church at the time, and apart from playing there, I also joined them as bass guitarist in a band called Straight Ahead. It was in this outfit that we ministered in Swaziland and Zimbabwe. Don't bother Googling for it, as you will find countless bands with the same name, but not our old one.

On another front, my darling wife this morning produced her first service, on her own. I am very proud of her.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Piano in the morning

I am sitting on my balcony, listening to my neighbour practicing her piano playing. Perth is fully overcast at this stage, bottoms at about 4000ft. Light breeze, it is actually a perfect day for flying. We might actually head down to the river by bicycle shortly, before it starts to rain.

I have been using my Line6 Bass Pod XT Live extensively since I purchased it, and I have finally found a perfect set of sounds that compliments my boutique bass guitar. If I get some time later today I would like to set up three user channels accordingly, using the 360 Amp, some chorus and delay added, and lastly a quarter note echo added as well.

Still have to figure out the Wah effect, and set the volume pedal up according to my liking. But I am oh so happy with the purchase.

Other news is that my wife is starting a business, and thus I am in the process of purchasing a car for her to use. I the previous town I owned three cars, and it was a conscious decision when moving to Perth to have only one car. And I must say that I have fully enjoyed using public transport the last almost four years. Sometimes inconvenient, but most of the time not.

A Cessna 182 just flew overhead. One day, I will do it again.

Anyway, back to the car. I wanted to purchase a Daihatsu Charade, and have been contemplating it for almost two years now. But could never justify it. And of course, Toyota Australia no longer import Daihatsus. You can not find a second hand one, of course, as nobody are selling them.
So I settled for the next best thing, a new Holden Barina sedan. I owned one in South Africa, and it is a very practical vehicle. Good fuel consumption, does not drive or feel like a small car, and overall good value for money. Google image search is wonderful. After finding the Corsa I owned in South Africa, I had a look for my Opel Kadett 200tS. What a machine. I had it for seven years, and never experienced any overheating or gearbox failures as the above link mentions. I still have the original magazine from the picture.

And now that you are all back up to speed with my life, it is time for me to go and practice my music.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Kezia Video and Vivaldi

For all you music buffs out there:

The first video is by Kezia, featuring herself, self-made video on her MAC, so if you represent Sony Records or the like, please take the time to listen to the song.


The second video features patrick Rondat playing Vivaldi's Four Seasons on his axe.

Both are awesome.

Lebanese Dance Queen

A nearly forgotten art. From my dancing days many moons ago I remember clearly that this is hard work. You need stamina that us men can only dream about.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Drums and Bass - the next step

So I did it. I presumed that no one will buy me a Line6 Bass Pod Xt Live for my birthday, so I bought it for myself. But I was in a good mood, so I also bought a Platinum Gray Tama Swingstar fusion drum kit.

It has been a while since I played drums, but my daughter really enjoys the new addition to our music room. She has natural rhythm, and I will ensure that she has opportunities to develop her gifts, opportunities that I did not have. But enough about that.

How do my new instruments sound? I have yet to find out. So it is time to stop writing, reorganise my study, and set up the new gear for use.

Back at home

Well, after a month of travelling, I am back in Perth at last. Business-wise the trip went very well, and I also enjoyed a few highlights. The best must be having had the opportunity the play golf at an altitude of 10 000 ft, and two days later to ascend a mountain partially, to an altitude of 15 000 ft. Glad I did not have to climb it, because I climbed about 40 meters' worth of stairs, and I was out of breath after only a few meters' worth of steps.

Here are three photos that show what I experienced:

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Drum skills - Mr Tony Royster Jr.

Wow! Such style, and elegance. And while watching this video, all I could think about was when I will get my own drum set. I have wanted one for so long, it it has been many years since I played drums (I only ever had one live performance).

Well, what do I spend my money on? I wish it could be on musical gear. But an airconditioner is more important. But if there is money left over... My daughter will certainly enjoy the move up to a proper drum set. But alas, my wife will not be impressed with the two of us. Will be fun, though. For a grand I can purchase a fair quality set, and with a metronome, teach my daughter how to keep proper time. And then jam, her on drums, me on bass. That will be so much fun.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Friday, March 17, 2006

My time in Tokyo

Almost a week now in Tokyo, and business is going well. Part of a new initiative is that we have to match a certain competency skill set as a marketing group. So today I designed a development plan to improve certain aspects of my skill set.

Some actions involve formal training, secondment to another section (where I do a lot of work now anyway), and journaling for a month (which I already do most of the time - here).

Finally made my webcam work yesterday, using www.friendfinder.com. The resolution is not as good as with MSNMessenger, but it works. I have been having endless issues the last few trips. I test the webcam at home, everything works, but as soon as I arrive in China or Japan, I am unable to connect my webcam through MSNMessenger.

It was so nice to see my wife and daughter again yesterday. It really helps to make the trip more bearable.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Travel galore this month

I am currently in Shanghai, next week Tokyo, then Seoul and Taipei, back to Shanghai, Lijiang, before finally heading back to Perth in April.

I miss my family.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Over 500 Scientists sign statement sceptical of evolution

Interesting article found at PhilBaker.net.

Personally, I do not believe in evolution. We have been beautifully created in the image of God, to fellowship with God. But due to our free choice, we can choose not to.

I also think that the whole issue of evolution / creative design, like many other issues, just detract from the real issue: That Jesus came to earth as God incarnate, and if we believe in Him, we can have eternal life.

I think that this is such a simple truth, that many clever people just can not comprehend it.

Friday, March 03, 2006

How to have a good day

Work hard for a week, and have your boss compliment you on your work.

Succeed in contacting a friend in need. Have the Holy Spirit impart wisdom into the friend's situation, and have the privilege of being part of the reassurance process.

Have your boss specify new work requirements for a deadline immediately after the long weekend. Look forward to finishing the work, and do the work with gusto.

So now I am still busy with all of this work, but slowly I am making a dent in the mountain.

Nearly forgot: Look forward to going home, and spending time with your family.

So there you have it, my day on Friday 3 March 2006.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Enhance your flight simulator visual experience

Have a look at these Zenview Screen setups from Digital Tigers. My favourite is the Powerscape Ultra HD - drool. I think I really need an unlimited budget. And if you are wondering how on earth you'll drive these beasts, Digital Tigers recommend systems, and also sell systems specifically geared to your viewing needs.

Description of the undiscovered tips about Excel

Lisa Green pointed this out on the Excel VBA Newsgroup. Gives a few very nice tips, some of which I have been using for a long time, some which are completely new to me.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Handflying the PMDG B738

I purchased FSPassengers some time ago, and it has brought me great joy. Last night I replicated flight SA302 from FACT to FAJS. My settings for FSPassengers allow a 1% chance of something failing in a flight. And last night, for the first time, something did.

After departing RWY01, I switched on VNAV, LNAV and the autopilot, and headed towards WY. All instruments were normal, and I relaxed in the last minutes of darkness before dawn. This was also my first fully laden flight in the B738. 125 passengers, full cargo, and maximum allowable fuel. After all, I had to make money off the flight, and she climbed like a dog.

The autopilot switched off by itself, and my efforts to re-engage it were unsuccessful. A look to the overhead panel resulted in a chill down my spine. It was a mess. The main generators would not activate again, battery was switched off, and I had a fluctuating DC voltage. Switched on the APU, APU generators engaged, and I was able to restore some sense of normal on the overhead panel.

I had no trim, but was able to maintain climb through throttle usage and moderate control yoke pressure. I comtemplated landing at FABL, but since the aircraft was fully flyable, and she was still heavily laden, I decided to push on to FAJS.

RWY03L was active at FAJS, IMC, but I was very glad for the straight in approach. And this is where the trouble started. We were at 240 KIAS 50nm inbound, FL080 came soon, and glideslope intercept was a breeze. Gear down, full flaps eventually, and a near-perfect approach. With a thousand feet to go, I reached full back pressure on the yoke, and I realised that I was in trouble. Not only me, but the crew, and the passengers. When I told my wife about the electrical system failure, she said I should just start over. But how could I? It was about proving whether I had what it takes.

The ground was coming up pretty fast, and my brain just froze. I knew it was over, but I was going to fly her into the ground for as long as I could. Suddenly it dawned on me, the throttles! Full throttle, watching my rate of descent decrease agonisingly slowly. Missed the beacon, missed the ground, the runway threshold came and went, and we set down, bursting tires in the process. But we made it.

For some obscure process, the passengers were happy with the flight. If only they knew. Me, I could have done better. I have no problem with handflying a big jet, but it was a risk I should not have taken. I should have returned to Cape Town after dumping fuel over the Atlantic. But then again, I did deliver my passengers safely, albeit only just.

I am reminded of a plane crash in 2005, northern hemisphere (details withheld to protect companies and individuals), where a businessman had an important meeting in a large city. The procedure called for de-icing the plane before startup, and this took longer than normal due to heavy snow. Not wanting to be late, he apparently phoned the airline company, who in turn ordered the pilot to take off immediately. No one survived the crash, and no one turned up for the important meeting.

The pilot in command maintains ultimate responsibility, and should always have the final say. And even though it is quite a burden to bear, you can not let the thought linger in your mind. For then you may never leave the ground.

To the real-world commercial pilots repeating drills like the above (and much worse) on a regular basis, I salute you.

Nomenclature:
SA302 - Springbok 302, daily flight departing Cape Town at 06h00.
FACT - Cape Town International
FAJS - Johannesburg International (Jan Smuts)
RWY01 - Runway 01, approximately 010 degrees magnetic.
VNAV - Vertical navigation
LNAV - Lateral navigation
WY - Wolseley Non Directional Beacon
B738- Boeing 737-800
DC - Direct Current
APU - Auxilary Power Unit
FABL - Bloemfontein
IMC - Instrument Meteorogical Conditions (flight by visual reference not possible, pilot has to fly by instruments alone)
240 KIAS - 240 Knots Indicated Airspeed.
50nm inbound - 50 nautical miles inbound to the JSV VOR (Very high frequency Onmidirectional Range beacon)
FL080 - Flight level 080, roughly 8000 feet above sea level, but altimeter setting is for standard pressure.
glideslope - navigational aid assisting a pilot to descend in a controlled fashion to the intended runway for landing.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Satisfying weekends - keep your house clean

What makes weekends satisfying? It is not only the chance to relax after a hard week at the office. It is spending time with my daughter when she wants to, doing what she wants. It is helping cleaning house, doing dishes, laundry. So that when my wife gets home, stuff is clean.

I am reminded of a saying (author unknown): "How do you keep your house so clean?" "We clean it." As simple as that. A house does not stay clean by itself. It needs to be cleaned, swept, on a regular basis.

And so it is with my spirit. It needs to be swept clean regularly. And I only realised this profound insight as I was typing this post. Leaves and dust gather in our spirits every day, together with some leftover pizza, and empty cooldrink bottles. If we do not clean it out, the junk just piles up, attracts flies, and the rest is history.

Of course, the problem with the above analogy is that I am assuming a normal house. But if the Holy Spirit resides in such a house, filling me with abundance, and overflowing, how much space is there for junk exactly?

From the Amplified translation:
1Co 6:19 Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own,
1Co 6:20 You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.

Although the above scripture applies to sexual immorality, it can be interpreted as applicable to many more aspects of life. Such as smoking. We get but one chance to live life on this planet. Early people lived in excess of 900 years, and I want to reach at least 100. Why? Because it is possible. But if I continue smoking, I am doing myself harm, possibly permanent harm.

But I digress. Perhaps my analogy does hold true. For which inhabitant of a house will just park on the couch, messing, and refuse to get up so you can vacuum around the couch? Alright, I can think of a few people! But the Holy Spirit certainly not.

So, what I am really trying to say is that I should clean my spiritual house more regularly. Cleaning my physical house is rewarding, how much more rewarding will a clean spiritual house be?

What I want for my birthday


A Line6 Bass Pod XT Live.

Need I say more? Perhaps that my birthday is April 10'th. ;)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I seem to be posting a lot of links to videos lately. Well, here are three more: A better job for George Bush, Brokeback to the Future, and the best toy ever.

I disagree, of course. The best toy ever has to be this to get you there, and this to play with.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Car facing a B747 backwash

I suppose that's what you get when you drive a Ford...

Best positions in bed

I am not going to let the cat of of the bag, visit this site and enjoy.

Johny Savage - Internet Celebrity

Great site, with news on celebrities. Be sure to watch this video on online networking from The Daily Show.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Eclipse Aviation wins 2005 Collier Trophy

This trophy is awarded only to the best of the best, based on their contribution to aviation. And as stated in this award link, the Eclipse 500 Very Light Jet is bringing jet engines to a much larger community of pilots, and a new type of air travel - the air taxi.

Me, I just want one because it is cheap to purchase. It fulfills all my operational requirements, and is the same price as a new Beech Baron 58. Yet, it is pressurised, can thus fly above the weather, and if you follow the sidebar link to Eclipse Aviation, you will see why I like it so much.

Well done, Eclipse! We are waiting patiently until you can start building some planes.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Climate Change Prediction - how you can help

If you are interested, you can donate some of your computer's spare processing time to this cause. It is all about statistical validity of results. The more permutations are run, the more confidence in the accuracy of predictions.

View the programme here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My musical journey

Last night (Valentine's day), the power was off in our area. I decided that we would eat in town. Went Japanese, unfortunately, bacause the quality is just not the same as in Japan. The sashimi was nice, though. Went home, and I was nearly at home, when I decided that there was no way I was going to music practice. Started texting a message as well, that I was quitting. But as I was about to send it, my whole being shouted in protest. And unfortunately, that is something I have experienced before as well.

So I did not send the message. Instead, I asked my wife to help me, packed all my gear, and I arrived only ten minutes late. And I had a wonderful evening. So many people enquired about my long absence. I think it has been three months since I last attended. And my team leader said it's time to get me on stage.

Wht is any of this important to you as a reader? Because as easy as it was to say: "Stuff it, I am not going", it was to say: "Stuff it, I am going".

We will never be tempted above our ability. We may still fail, because our fallen nature means that we will make mistakes. But it is satisfying to get it right every now and then. Indeed.

I mentioned something about music. I play bass guitar. A Yamaha TRB6P. One of the best boutique bass guitars ever manufactured. Sadly Yamaha has brought out an updated version, and the colour is all wrong, it now has a bolt-on neck, and I could list a few more. But the original one is magnificent. This was the last instrument I ever purchased, back in 1993. Twelve years old by now, still in immaculate condition, and I changed strings last year for the first time.

Sounds strange to keep the originals that long, but they lasted, and the rich sound was lost immediately after I changed strings. And it was quite a journey to trace the original factory-fitted strings.

Before that I had a Hohner ST Scorpion electric guitar (mine was black), a Korg M1, which I later replaced with a Korg O1Wfd. I still have that, and of course the bass. My daughter loves the synth, and we can make quite a bit of noise together on a good day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's day

Happy Valentine's Day to Sanet. Thank you for my lovely daughter, thank you for staying with me for all these years.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Blog update rate

To all my regular readers, my apologies for the lack of updates recently. Things at work have been quite hectic, and I even realised yeaterday that I have not phoned my wife from work in a long time (I normally do it daily, as a rule).

Did phone her today, though!

It might still be slow for a while, but like all good things in life, will pick up eventually.

What did you do at work today, daddy?

This from steve-lacey.com:

"Here’s a cool video that an international airline pilot put together to show his three year old daughter what he did at work.
The five minute video shows a three day Boston to Paris roundtrip, set to the music of U2. A very cool piece of work.
Watch it over on YouTube."

Thanks, Steve, great link!

Monday, February 06, 2006

International Star Registry

Well, I finally did it. It was my wife's birthday on 1 February, and I purchased her a star (I named a star after her, to be more exact). Delivery was prompt from the International Star Registry, and the package arrived in time for her birthday.

As stated on the website, included was a starmap, indicating the exact location of the star. It was a tossup on whether to purchase some land on the moon, or name a star in her honour.

My daughter helped me make up a nice starry card, and then we hid the present. But she could not wait until the next morning. We had to deliver the present that night. Did not take long to convince my wife of earlier delivery, and the two of them unwrapped the gift (the main attraction for a four-year old)!

Went outside and found the star. Not visible with the naked eye, but I have a telescope, and visible through there.

The night after my daughter and I were lying in bed, and she looked out the window, and said:" There is mommy's star".

It seems money can purchase such a level of enthusiasm for astronomy...

Check out the International Star Registry, but keep it to yourself until you have made a purchase. No need to let the cat out of the bag... Oh, and by the way, I also received a voucher for my next purchase.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Need glasses?

This clip from Google Video of the Day. It is a site well worth bookmarking.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Stellarium astronomy software

Another great piece of astronomy software. Uses OpenGL, and is open source! You select your current location, and it looks magnificent. For a few nights now I have been watching a particular star pattern, but did not get out the telescope. Now I know it is a cluster of galaxies, and tonight I hope to view it in all its glory (weather permitting).

What temperament are you? And other fun tests.

Seems I am melancholic. Interesting site. Check it out.

You Have a Melancholic Temperament

Introspective and reflective, you think about everything and anything.
You are a soft-hearted daydreamer. You long for your ideal life.
You love silence and solitude. Everyday life is usually too chaotic for you.

Given enough time alone, it's easy for you to find inner peace.
You tend to be spiritual, having found your own meaning of life.
Wise and patient, you can help people through difficult times.

At your worst, you brood and sulk. Your negative thoughts can trap you.
You are reserved and withdrawn. This makes it hard to connect to others.
You tend to over think small things, making decisions difficult.

Friday, January 27, 2006

JJR (Jake's Jokes Rule!)

You can find it here.

And this one is my personal favourite (so far, as I am sequencially working backwards through all of them). I just took a break for a while so I could stop laughing and regain some breath.

Jake, you rule, mate!

Back up your blog posts

Found this very good advice on how to archive your own blog, instead of just posting your hard work into the ether.

By the way, found it via www.blogexplosion.com. I now have a backup of my thoughts, which, if you knew my brain as well as I do, is a very good idea.

What were we speaking about?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Life is hard

Strangely enough, that is the first sentence in the book I am busy reading (mentioned in a previous post). It feels as if my whole world wants to crumble around me.

So there was this incident at church on Sunday. A nice excuse to not attend for a while. But that would be a lie if I use it as a reason. There is also the issue of my music. Yesterday, for the thrid/fourth month in a row, I did not attend practice. Yes, I had just landed, I took an earlier flight so I could attend, but when it was time to go I just did not feel like going. So I did not go.

And of course I feel very bad. It has been more than a year since my first audition, during which time I scraped through as a bass guitarist. My second audition went just as badly. Why, I do not know. I used to love performing on stage. But butterflies got the better of me on both occasions. My timing was terrible, and songs I aced at home during practice, I very neatly stuffed up. But those were just the auditions.

I enjoyed attending the practice sessions. Playing with other musicians is very different to rehearsing at home. To cut a long story short, I do not know what I should do. How can I be rostered on for regular weekend duty when I travel so much. Valentine's Day is the next practice, the exact time I will have landed in Bangkok again. So I miss another month. I will be away the whole of March, and who knows when I will be going to Japan in April?

So, there you have good excuses for me to quit. And all I can think of is "The difference between failure and success is time". Do I really want to quit? Do I really want to be known as a quitter? How can I go back to church, and face all the other musicians, knowing that I just did not have the cahooneys to stick through this tough time?

And there-in lies the conundrum: No need to tell me what I should do. That I know very well. But sometimes I feel that it all becomes too much.

You know, a few months ago I would never have written thoughts like this for public viewing. But perhaps this is what I need to do. Face my demons, make my weaknesses public, and deal with them.

The road to success is not easy. Life is most definitely hard. But should I succumb to instant gratification, knowing very well that it is exactly what the enemy wants? Do I bow out of music and spiritual life for the second time in tthirteen years, just because it is too hard?

Will I be granted another chance if I bow out again? At least I have an answer for that one - God is gracious, and He will always love me, whatever I do. But He desires all of us to re-establish that special bond. The bond that was lost due to original sin.

I think I am now just rambling. But it does help to clear my head.

Have a good day, everyone.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Scary Personals

Check out this site. Worth quite a few laughs.

Dealing with Anger, theory and practice

The sermon this morning at Riverview Church was about anger, and how a simple thing such as road rage is not about the person cutting in front of you, it is most likely about all the other stuff going on /wrong in your life, and here you see just an easy target, because his car is slower than yours, he looks puny, and the rest is history.

It made me think about the times I have sulked, and acted inappropriately due to unrighteous anger. And I felt bad.

So after the sermon, my daughter is playing on stage, and I go up to just ensure all the kids are still alright. I notice this non-parent guy taking a keen interest in the children, but decide to give him the benefit of the doubt, and I walk away. There are still hundreds of people around, the kids will be fine.

I nearly get to my wife and friends, and the guy had followed me. Asked my whether I had a problem. Exsquueze me? Yes, a problem with him. Mate, what are you talking about. He determines that I do not want to start something, and neither does he. So he leaves.

And now I start fuming. Since he followed me, he obviously was trying to start something. And since I am of much smaller build than him, so he could.

Just before all this transpired, I spoke to my wife, and we planned the perfect afternoon, We were going to give our daughter her new bicycle as her fourth birthday present, so we could spend the afternoon riding around.

Instead, I realised that I was in a foul mood, started the car, raced home (note to self: The Vectra does not understeer, turn the steering wheel slower when cornering at high speed), and I even managed to get the car airborne by ramping over a speedbump. My wife duly asked me to stop the car, which I did. I walked home the rest of the way, both ladies emotional wrecks, I grabbed a bottle of sake, my cigarettes, and took two oxazepams (mood depressants).

Chainsmoked five cigarettes, and slept for five hours.

So much for the perfect afternoon for my daughter.

All I could think of was that my behaviour was very selfish. The afternoon belonged to her, and I managed to ruin it for everyone.

Ephesians says to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. And without trying to take the blame from myself, could that idiot not have done the same? Especially after hearing the message? And could I have reacted differently, Of course I could have. But I didn't.

This afternoon I was convinced that there is only one solution, that I should quit the church. I could state my reason that I feared for my safety. But that would just be an excuse. External locus of control, instead of an internal locus of control. So you know what, I will remain in church, I will attend band practice.

A few posts ago I mentioned that the only difference between failure and success is time. Do I really want to be known in my own heart as a failure. Become bitter, and blame the church for everything? No. We all make mistakes, we all sin. My only issue now is to find it in my heart to forgive this idiot. He has issues. I do not know what they are, but God knows.

Perhaps I could pray for him. Now that would be sweet revenge.

Please pray for me as well. I find it difficult to forgive, and to forget.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Female or shemale - can you tell?

Try it out. I scored 14/16. Girls/girlz, don't take advantage of my innocence...

The 1983 Nuclear war - almost

This from http://vulturesrow.blogspot.com/2006/01/day-world-almost-died.html: The Day the World Almost Died
Most people in America recall the early 80s with fondness. AIDS was still, “just a gay thing” Uncle Ronnie was in office, and Parachute pants were sooooo cool!

But for most of us, we do not know that just after midnight (Moscow time) on September 26, 1983 the world almost saw a full scale nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov, 44 was sitting In the commander’s chair of the Serpukhov-15, the secret USSR command bunker hidden in a forest 30 miles northeast of Moscow, looking down from his mezzanine desk to the gymnasium-sized main floor filled with about 120 military officers and technicians charged with monitoring the U.S. missile system and retaliating instantly at the first sign of any nefarious activity. Some one shouted out in alarm and all attention was focused on the man. The new satellite monitoring system picked up a thermal bloom in one of the American Minute Man missile silos. A Thermal bloom is an infrared signature that indicated the launch of a missile, then another and another and another and a fifth one.

Believing they were under a surprise nuclear missile attack, the staff prepared to alert the high command and order a full strike of more than three thousand missiles. Once the order was given there would be no recalling it, there was no fail safe measure, no way to stop the night mare. Lt. Col Petrov held his “Red Phone” in one hand shouting orders to calm his staff down and get them to verify the launch. He had a hunch, if America was starting a nuclear war, why would they only launch five missiles? Why were the vaunted American missile submarines not launching, why were the B-52 bombers still on the ground? He held off on the knee jerk reaction to strike back that he and all other watch commanders had been trained to do. He waited, he stalled for five critical minutes. In those minutes it was verified that there was no US launch. It was later determined that the Thermal Blooms that the new system had detected was nothing more than the sun reflecting off of clouds over the Minute Men bases.

Had Lt. Col. Petrov ordered the launch, the us would have detected their launch and believed that it was a first strike. Thousands of missiles would have crossed each other on their way to their targets.

Petrov received a special World Citizen Award at a UN meeting in New York on January 19, 2006. Petrov was honored as the “Man Who Averted Nuclear War”. But for his foresight and intuition, Lt. Col. Petrov was reassigned to busy work, his career over. He would never gain another promotion and he would never see success. His wife became ill with cancer, he retired from active duty to tend to her. When she died, he borrowed money to give her a funeral.

Today, Petrov, 67, lives in Moscow on a monthly pension of less than $200.

Also view Doctor Marco's blog.

Monday, January 16, 2006

To the tea garden that is no more

I was walking to lunch today in Beijing, and noticed that the tea garden where Susan and I once had tea in September 2003, is no more. It is a very quiet spot, which is what I liked about it. The relaxing live music, the calm atmosphere.

The alternative in the complex is opposite the grocery store, very noisy, very open. I think I will give it a pass.

The end of an era. Always difficult when you appeal to a certain demographic (people who like it quiet, in this instance), and then that is the exact thing that works against you in terms of business volume.

So, to the ex-owners of the ex-tea garden in the Guomao Centre mall, close to South Beauty, I salute you. Thank you for the memories.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Greetings from Beijing

My apologies for not posting, Shanghai has not been internet-friendly. Actually, even here in Beijing I can not access any blogs on the blogspot.com domain. Quite wierd. And neither does my webcam work with MSNMessenger...

It is warmer than I expected, it was -2 degC when we landed. What a day. The flight from Shanghai was supposed to leave at 10h40 this morning, and eventually an earlier flight left at 14h00. An Air China B744, with competent pilots (Yes, an earlier flight which was also delayed). We had lunch on the plane, while we were still on the ground. I sat in seat 1J in first class, and I was looking out the window to estimate the flare height of the cockpit above ground level, versus what the landing sensors situated between the main wheels would indicate. And strangely enough, it did not feel that high when we flared, and touched down.

One of these days, I will fly again. I really miss piloting. Any of you wish you could win the lottery, and spend more time doing fun stuff?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Failure and Success

"The difference between failure and success is time" - P Vermeulen, Jan 2006.

I see it in my daughter, I see it in myself. The predisposition to give up quickly, to not complete something. In my early career days, part of a classification system used was "Completer Finishers" and "Ideas people". I was never a completer-finisher, and whatever money was spent on those consultants just affirmed my lack of self-discipline as phyco-analytically explainable/justifiable.

Today I think that was all a lie. All people have the ability to be completer-finishers, even my daughter and I. And you know what the only difference is? Time. When you feel like giving up, just keep on trying a little longer. I did just this last weekedn. A deadline for work, very high expectations of the results I would be able to achieve. And for months the results eluded me, the process to achieve the results eluded me. And then, on Sunday, the veil was lifted. And it all suddenly made sense.

I started coding formulae and assumptions, and about halfway through, I felt that it was really hard. And I almost quit. But I did not. For the first time in a long time, I persevered, and the answer was given to me.

There is more to do, more problems to solve before I can take the whole answer to our customers, but enlightenment has begun. Of course, after having had this small personal breakthrough, the methodology, and the results, are extremely simple. But with hindsight, everyone has 20/20 vision...

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Road Less Travelled

This is the title of a book I am busy reading, by M. Scott Peck. It was a gift from my parents-in-law, and arrived in the last week. I am only on p23 so far, and already it has had profound impact into my life.

The book starts by stating that life is difficult, full of problems. But we define ourselves, and our children, by how we approach these problems. Do we spend the time solving them, or do we do our best to avoid them, hoping that they will just go away? Procrastinate, ignore them, forget them, pretend they do not exist. We take drugs to help us in the ignoring/forgetting process, we do whatever we can, except face them head on. In the words of Carl Jung, Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering.

And that discipline is the basic set of tools we need to solve life's problems. The first one of four that Mr. Peck deals with is Delaying Gratification, and eventually makes the point that many of our problems stem from feelings of lack of self-worth, and an example case study shows how a perfectly competent, intelligent professional struggled in many areas of her life, just because of lack of knowledge of a few basic rules in life.

Fascinating reading. I will let you know later what I think of the rest of the book.

Is an X52 any good?

My X52 finally arrived on Friday, and it is a thing of beauty. A BIG thing of beauty. I think this is what makes it so special, the fact that it is so big. You really get more precise control. Now, I did not purchase it for FS9, but since I still am waiting for my Falcon 4: Allied Force, I did test it with the Lago FSFalcon (I was part of the beta test team - look for the General Dynamics 1985 Tiger meet paintjob with my name on it). Now, when you land an F16, the procedure is as follows:

Firstly, depending on fuel load and external stores, touch down on the main wheels at ~150 knots. Maintaining the same landing attitude, keep the nose wheel in the air, performing an aero brake (add extra frontal area to increase drag) and then at 80 knots gently lower the nose wheel onto the tarmac.
From the time of the beta I have not been able to perform this manuever successfully, but I did on Friday night! Since the HOTAS is loosely modelled on the actual F16 control system (more realistic versions are the Thrustmaster HOTAS Cougar, as well as the CH F16 Fighterstick - both much more expensive), the control inputs are more realistic than with my CH Yoke.

And don't go blaming the yoke for my inabilities. Last night, I was flying with my yoke again, since the Cessna C172 my daughter wanted to fly has a yoke in real life.

Anyway, I digress. The verdict: It must be the mother of all Flight Control Systems, with even a built in mouse, and some keystroke combinations. So, now the long wait until I am back at home in two weeks' time, to see what Falcon 4 flies like.

Keep landing on the black stuff.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Microsoft Flight Simulator X release date

After all the incorrect information and speculation floating around the web, the following from Avsim:

MS Announces FSX
Posted: Thursday, January 5, 2006 - 2:34
If you have been wondering when the next version of MSFS was going to be released, then this is the announcement you have been waiting for. In a press release to AVSIM, Microsoft has announced that the next version to be known as FSX will be released during the 4th quarter of 2006 in time for the holiday sales season.


Be sure to check out the screenshots as well.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Cockpit Control Systems

If you see a business opening, take it. Here are some folks that did just that. Looks very impressive. Wish I could afford one...

Sim Cockpit Systems

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Resolutions for 2006

1) To forgive myself when I sin.
2) To stand up to temptation, and lick them again (all three have come back in 2005 to haunt me, and all three won by a country mile).
3) To confess my weakness to these temptations, and get some help.
4) To pilot a plane again, to play more music, to spend less time at work.
5) To be more realistic with these damn new year's resolutions...

How about you?

Regards




Paul