Thursday, December 25, 2008

I love Windows Vista

Never thought I would say that so soon. Received the i7 beast, assembled, installed, forgot to activate RAID, installed again, broke Autoexec.bat three times before I found out the culprit program from some unnamable motherboard supplier, and now the system is running like a dream.

My SLI is enabled, programs are being installed, and I am looking forward to do some ESRI work at high speed.

But back to Vista. Having read countless forum posts on why the execution protection is so frustrating, I can not agree. In the last day I have installed many programs, but it works. Are you sure you know this program? Yes, I am. Hardly what I would call work. The first time my system broke was when the driver installer said it was finished, but it did not release my Autoexec.bat. Vista told me so, but since I received the message from the installer saying all ended well, I chose to believe that.

So Vista is good, well thought out, and not so different to XP that you would notice it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Katja and Arnold - Perth Zoo

Since we have to use our zoo friends membership, I took Katja and Arnold to the zoo last Friday. Here Katja is sitting with my in-laws.

We were privileged to see some baby Meerkats. Very cute, and both Katja and Arnold wanted to take them home. I neglected to tell them how sharp their teeth are...
We only saw the Savanna section, as I had a meeting in the afternoon. But the school holidays are long, so we will go again. We have already paid back our zoo memberships, but parking is still a problem at the zoo. We knew we were only staying two hours, yet we had to pay for the whole day...

Just after bath time after a long day, and Katja is getting quite strong!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Buy or build?

I have been researching computers for a few days now, and finally today found what I was looking for. If I build a system myself, it would be a lot cheaper than the one I considered purchasing a week or so ago. Which leads to the next hing, it has been seven years since my last desktop purchase, and seven years since I last put together a computer. Also about seven years since anyone posted instructions on how to do it. But one of the links came out tops, and I saw a nice video on how to build your own pc.

It brought back many memories.

So, parts were duly ordered from Simline, to be picked up tomorrow, after some haggling on case availability. I appreciated the service that was provided. Top notch.

Of course, building is not for everyone, and there is something to be said for system unification. But saving half the purchase price allows for a lot of money to be spent on unification. Or on a desperately needed fast laser printer.

Some details on what I purchased:
Case: Coolermaster HAF932
OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit
Motherboard: Asus P6T Deluxe OC Palm
Processor: Intel i7-920
GPU: GTX280 x 2 SLI'd
RAID-0 supported by default.
Powersupply: Gigabyte ODIN Pro 1200W

So, I assume my GIS work will be going a bit faster now. :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

NVIDIA GTX295 preview

Just when you think you have arrived, something new comes out. Here I am still contemplating purchasing a system with two GTX280's in SLI, and soon to be released is the GTX295, which has two boards in one housing, already SLI'd, and you can even purchase two, SLI them, and have four GPU's working for you.

But all of this remains a dream, as spending has been cut down drastically. None the less, read the preview here, and enjoy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Jonno with his riverbrew cap

The talented Jonathan with his modified Riverview cap. A few of us ROFL'd when we saw it.

In other news, Jonno gave me a copy of his 2002 Christmas album on Monday. It has been a long time since I was so inspired. Jonathan is an accomplished Jazz musician, my music teacher, Katja's piano teacher, fellow Cockburn Central musician, and friend. Get it if you can, and if you can't, leave a comment, and I will point you in the right direction.

Arnold at Belmont Forum

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Katerina and Sonja

Sonja's dedication 20081207

Followed by a do at home. Hanrettys and van der Merwes attended.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Cessna Mustang movies

STOP! Do not watch these before you have covered your keyboard with something drool-proof.


Political Correctness gone D**k mad

Wanted to purchase a movie or two for the children on iTunes, and saw that one of my favourite movies, "Fun with Dick and Jane", has had its name censored.
It's a world gone mad. So if your name is Dick, you are not allowed to write it as "Dick" anymore, according to some people...

Intel i7 core, the way to go.

My desktop is now six years old. Unprecedented, I know, but for the last year I have been using only a powerful Dell D630 laptop. It does struggle, though with some of my graphics-intensive applications, especially when I do GIS work. So I have been researching a desktop/laptop replacement, but to get decent performance in a laptop, and have it portable enough is difficult. So I think it will be a desktop replacement.

What better place to look than Alienware for a performance desktop. Although today we will be discussing support options. Dell still has my great admiration, for their support over the last year has been magnificent. On my business account I have always received their advertised next day on-site support, and even though I had a few issues with my D630, I have been very happy. It has worked hard over the last year, and I am now on my second hard drive, and third mother board (due to an overheating graphics chip - told you it works hard).

Intel® Core™ i7-940 Performance 2.93GHZ 8MB Cache
Alienware® P2 ALX Chassis with AlienIce™ 3.0 Video Cooling - ALX - Saucer Silver
Alienware® AlienFX® System Lighting
Alienware® ALX High-Performance Liquid Cooling
Alienware® Acoustic Dampening
Alienware® 1200 Watt Multi-GPU Approved Power Supply
Dual 1GB NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 280 - ALX
6GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 3 x 2048MB
Alienware® Approved Intel® X-58 Motherboard- Socket 1366 Core i7 Ready, Dual Triple Channel DDR3 Memory
Microsoft® Windows® VISTA 64-bit Ultimate with Service Pack 1
Extreme Performance (RAID 0) - 1TB (2 x 500GB) Serial ATA 3Gb/s 7,200 RPM w/ 2 x 16MB Cache
High-Definition 7.1 Performance Audio
1-Year AlienCare Warranty Return To Base + Toll-Free Phone Support

I am also looking forward to the 64 bit Vista. This will be my first 64 bit operating system should I complete the purchase.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Merit certificates at Assembly

29 October 2008...
It was also an Italian day at school, hence the green, white and red dress code.

This is my year 1 work, dad!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wasabi and Mount Fuji

I swung past Tokyo on the way back from Seoul last week, and a few interesting things happened. I walked with baggge from Hotel New Otani to Imperial Hotel, and that took 1.5 hours. But since you don't want to see what I look like drenched in sweat, let's move on...

Here I am holding a wasabi root. They grow in only the purest of water, the top, and small roots are cut of, and eventually you end up with something like this. In a proper Sushi restaurant the raw Wasabi is used, and it is grated on sharkskin. It has never tasted so good.

Mount Fuji in daylight and sunset, from Hotel New Otani.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Evelyn and Sonja

Fun at the farm in October

Picture of seven legged spider worth more than overdue account

Saw on Bits and Pieces the following, and I ROFL'd.
Subsequently, the picture was sold on eBay for USD10000. Guess it should have been accepted as payment after all...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Onion News Network

Serious news, brought to you as it happens. See this clip as an example:

Economists Warn Anti-Bush Merchandise Market Close To Collapse

My debut album

Didn't know I had one, did you? Here is how it works:

1 - Go to first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.
2 - Go to Random quotations: last four words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album. If you want to do this again, hit refresh to generate new quotes, because clicking the quotes link again will just give you the same quotes over and over again.
3 - Go to Flickr’s ‘explore the last seven days’: picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover. Put it all together, that’s your debut album.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Waterfall chart creation in Excel

Waterfall chart creation is something I always battle with. Had do develop a system for one of my clients, and a lot of coding, plus the information in the link below, did the trick.

Waterfall chart creation - from Peltier Technical Services

If the world could vote

Great concept. Cast your vote in the USA election, and be sure to view the results. Interesting...

If the world could vote.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Create free ringtones for your iPhone

Found this a few minutes ago, and it works. Using iTunes 8, you can also create ringtones from non-iTunes Store purchased songs. Which is great, because I have beeen using my own composition on my Nokia for as long as I can remember. At last I can use it on my iPhone.

Friday, September 19, 2008

School concert and dress-up

Dress-up a few weeks ago.

Last night's school concert. Katja is on the left.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Model development

After a long hiatus Excel VBA and I have met again. Not to mention meeting thermodynamics and balancing chemical equations! I thought I knew most things about hot metal pre-treatment, but after extensive research and coding it myself, I now know more. It has been revealing.

Another project I am working on involves a concept design of a steel plant, and this body of work has refined my views on how things should be done.

So how do you perform dephosphorisation, vanadium recovery, desulphurisation and silicon removal in the most profitable way? I think I am beginning to understand.

Perth Zoo friends

During the last school holidays we became Perth Zoo Friends, meaning that for a small fee we can visit an unlimited amount of times in the next year. The children love it, and I wish I had done it sooner.

This pelican was almost touchable, and leter on there were three pelicans for everyone's enjoyment.

Could have been taken in Vietnam. Truly a magnificent effort to recreate all these habitats.
By the way, this was our second visit already. One more to go, and we break even. Perhaps this afternoon?...

Everyone enjoys holding Sonja

A high res pic for grand parents to download and print (2Mb):

First up, the de Klerk family: Glou, Pieter, Glou's mom, and Marno.

The Berends

The Hanrettys

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The family grows

Sonja was born on 4 August 2008, 19h59 Perth time, weighing 2.498kg (5 lbs 8 oz), 47cm. Both mother and daughter are well.

Here is a picture of all my children together: Katja (Pure), Arnold (Strong as an eagle), and Sonja (Wise).

Friday, July 18, 2008

TV Dinner

With a cat. Very well captured.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Arnold Climbing at Katja's school

Talking cat

This cat was talking to three Willy Wagtails on the lawn. Sound at end is more clear.

Katja Fitness Dancing

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What happens in 60 days?

Quite a lot, it seems. It has been two months since my last post, and I have been busy. I have started taking formal music classes, and a little bit of theory goes a long way. Our third child's birth is nearing, and we have started discussing names. We have decided on "wise", making the meaning of the three childrens' names then pure, strong and wise.

Work is pretty intense, with lots of travel (again), international customers, and thoroughly enjoyable. One New Zealand based project in particular occupies a lot of my time, and I even get to use some of my aeronautical knowledge in the old-fashioned nautical sense.

Ships are slightly different than planes (VFR), because once you can no longer see the shore, what do you use to navigate with? Same as planes, of course - you plot your progress based on speed, known currents, etc. I have learned that the ocean is a huge place, and like the sky, it has gained my respect.

Cornstarch, water and Ellen

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Woolworths Australia introduces self-serve checkouts

Way cool. Leave more work for the shopper, at the expense of labour costs. Pity, though, as interacting with sales staff is something I enjoy a lot. Trying to bring a smile to their face at the end of a long shift is a nice game to play. The service industry should never be the means to the end, interacting with people should be the end, and the purchase incidental, in my opinion.

Humans are social beings - something I am acutely aware of this week. My family is on holiday, and I am alone at home. Difficult to work, concentrate, and sometimes just plain lonely.

Don't get me wrong, I sometimes struggle to remember the above. But I will keep on trying.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Archery skills

Archery skills - Metacafe is a click away
Apologies for the ads at the end. But I agree with the judge, I have never seen anything like this before. Very impressive.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Tree felling gone wrong

Ouch. Trigonometry refresher required, I think...

Friday, February 29, 2008

Resources for small businesses

Blog entries have been sparce, mostly because I have been working my proverbial off. And moved house.

Back to the topic. I have found frequently since November 2007 that when I was sitting at a client's site, I could receive email via Microsoft Outlook, but I was unable to send any email. To do that I had to wait until returning home the evening - very unproductive.

This, together with the need for centralised data, email, and a higher capacity backup system led me to take the plunge earlier the week - I purchased a Dell server, with Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 R2 and Symantec Backup Exec pre-installed.

What will this do for me?
Make available remote access via VPN.
Data storage
Data backups.
Set up the IT side of Vulcan Technologies Pty Ltd for further growth.

Whilst waiting for the box of goodies to arrive, I have been doing reserach on many things server-related. This site is quite useful.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Three front teeth and more coming

Two upper, one lower, and lots of white gums.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Software programming errors galore

Found this link via Steve Lacey's site. The site deals with "Curious perversions in Information Technology". My article of choice concerns a piece of code, commented out, with a header saying "Don't run this piece of code". Or don't touch the wet paint. The last comment on the page states that such headers should be phrased in the positive, not the negative. "Run this code if life no longer has meaning to you. And others. Brilliant!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Keyboard shortcut to create a new folder

This is something that has frustrated me for a very long time. I am very much old-school when it comes to using the dreaded mouse. Give me a keyboard only, and I will be happy. Why use the mouse to go select word, right click, copy, select new location, paste - when you can just go CTRL-C and CTRL-V?

Well, today I typed in the correct search string into Google Group Search, and hey presto, two easy solutions:
1) In any folder other than on the Desktop: Alt-F W F
2) On the Desktop: Alt-F10 W F

And also, the Alt-F10 shortcut is quite useful for other functions on the Desktop.


The type (and size) of blast furnace I would like to have at home

I have always dreamt of this. And now I see that someone has beaten me to it. Not to worry, mine will still be unique. I will paint mine green. Anyway, I will also have a sinter plant. Still have to convince my wife that we really need all this stuff, though...

Monday, January 07, 2008