New Beginnings

Most people who know me, know I have spent the last 3 years working hard in various projects for my employer. This has been a wonderful experience where I learnt a lot, made heaps of new friends and achieved some great things. I spent time working in the USA, and got to explore some great landmarks on both the east and west coasts! It has been a good ride.

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Welcome to the new site!

Anyone who has been to this site in the last year or so would've noticed it's a bit stale. Ok, it's a LOT stale. One of the problems I've had is the time it took to make changes to the site was more than I had available and offline editing was a pain. Instead of going with an all-singing, all-dancing website with all sorts of features that no-one except myself really cared about, I've made it very simple. We have articles, news, blogs, some photos....and that's about it.

Given the online world we all live in is largely centred around "cloud" services, such as Facebook, Flickr and the like, I've simply made this site fill a gap in my own use case and scratch an itch. That's all. Hopefully this will allow me to update more regularly.

If you would like to see the old site, it's been put out to pasture over here.

In the meantime, here's a panorama from a recent trip to Honiara :)

My Brush with Decompression Sickness

An event that any SCUBA diver tries their best to avoid. A condition every diver trains to prevent, practises skills to avoid and plans their dives to render the risks of it happening almost nil. Nonetheless, it happened to me; a fully qualified, experienced, Rescue Diver. This is my account of DCS and I hope it serves as a warning and an opportunity to learn for other divers.

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Paypal - the new Grinch!

Have you heard the news? PayPal has decided that donating gifts and money to needy children and families is wrong. So wrong that they’ll take their cut of the donations, then require that the organizer refund all the money (that PayPal took their cut of); then allow the organizer to sell the (already purchased) gifts (and take a cut of the sales); then decide that because it’s not a charity for cats, but for kids, all of the sales have to be refunded (giving PayPal another transaction cut); and then, to add insult to injury, freezing the personal account of the organizer.

DShield and a Cisco 837

I've been a contributor to the global DShield project for quite some time and recently replaced a long-serving, faithful router with a Cisco 837. This introduced an interesting problem for me - the log format of the new router was completely different to the old one and as a result, my DShield script completely exploded. Not a huge problem, time to indulge my Perl regex geekiness and fix it!

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Do you reuse your passwords? DONT!

I came across this article today and found it well written, soundly reasoned and very practical. I have a personally gone through the process the author describes and can verify that securing your passwords is easy, cheap and definitely worth it. If you use a computer, you really should read this article.

The Apple App Store versus the Vendor

First of all, let's get something straight: I LIKE the Apple App Store for OSX. It provides a great virus/malware-free repository of quality software that's an absolute breeze to install and maintain. However, the pricing of the applications is somewhat disappointing to put it mildly.

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Apple Mail RSS to Google Reader

I have been using Apple Mail to read my RSS feeds for a few years now and for the most part, I like it. However, with an iMac, Macbook Pro, iPhone and work machine all hitting the same feeds, synchronising everything to find the NEW articles has been a royal pain. So I've give up hacking my own RSS/Dropbox/argh(!) solution and I'll let Google manage it all and hang my privacy. Read on for the magic three step process.

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Support Autism

You may notice the new block on the right hand side. ( Update: Block removed, but link below still works - JG 22-Jan-2011) On November 1st, I am going offline to support and raise awareness of autism (in all it's forms). This is a condition that is very close to my heart and I'd encourage everyone to check out the web site Communication Shutdown to see what this is about. Obviously it would be great if you wanted to throw some coin towards support services for people with this largely misunderstood condition.

Here's a few bits of info about Autism:

  • You can't "acquire" Autism - you're born with it.
  • There is no cure (although with the right support and intervention, many with Autism can, and do, make significant contributions to society).
  • Autism is a spectrum - some people are severely impacted, others seem almost normal
  • Without Autism, NASA, Silicon Valley, MIT and other highly technical institutions probably wouldn't exist! (This is an attempt at humour obviously, but oddly, contains a lot of truth!)

I have seen some research showing Autistic tendencies in some people after various forms of brain trauma, but the jury is still out on whether this is actually "Autism" or some other form of behavioural change.