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


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.