It's ALIVE! ...and we have visual proof

Nat and I trundled off to the obstetrician on Tuesday (10-Feb) and went though the usual round of questions. The doc seems happy enough with Nat's condition and the progress of the baby. The details follow....(click "Read More") The initial appointment went well. The doc even has recent issues of "Inside Sport" in the waiting room. Way to go doc! Nat had to fill in a bunch of forms, have her blood pressure taken and other stuff along those non-invasive lines.

Once we got in to see the doctor (he was running 30 minutes late...but what doctor isn't these days?) we discovered a rare individual indeed. Despite his already nuked schedule, he didn't rush us and went to great lengths to make sure all our questions were answered. He also dumped another bunch of forms on us: pre-natal class info, hospital bookings, etc.

Then he asked if we'd like to SEE our baby - we said "no thanks, I don't want a peek at the biggest miracle since Jesus was raised from the dead" - NOT!!

I can honestly say I was awe-struck seeing our little one's heart beating and being able to see their arms and legs, and head etc. It all of a sudden became "real". I know that sounds strange, but for Nat, her body is changing and she can feel the baby move every now and then. For me though nothing much has happened - except my sleep is just as interrupted as Nat's :) Having seen our baby for the first time, it hit home, in a good way.

We've got another appointment with a specialist obstetrics imaging place in a few weeks which will give us a very good picture (and video too!). In answer to the inevitable question: NO, Natalie and I do NOT want to know the gender of our baby until it's born. So if you think you can figure it out from any of the ultra sound pics I put up - KEEP IT TO YOURSELF!! ;-)

New hardware! WOOT!!

YAY! I have finally managed to build out some "new" equipment. The new webserver (not this site - the one that runs all the "other" sites) is now a P200MMX, upgraded from a P133. The database server is now sharing the same machine as the mail server which is a Celeron433, upgraded from the P133 again. Now all the P133 has to worry about is firewalling duties and some other sundry network stuff (like DHCP, NTP, NNTP, DNS etc). It's all technical "back-end" crap but you might notice pages generate faster due to the faster database server...maybe not too :-/

Phew! Now I can talk about it!!

At last. I can make a mention on my weblog about the biggest news in our household since Nat and I got married; we are expecting our first child! :-) WOOT! Nat's now 12 weeks into the whole pregnancy thing and (now that the morning sickness has abated) is actually starting to enjoy it! Poor thing. Talk about feeling useless; Nat's been feeling like she been on a permanent diet of "dodgey chicken" and I couldn't do anything to help. I guess making sure there's a bucket near the bed and a towel, and making sure there's a bottle of water for her to sip etc, is helping, but I wanted her to feel better. I guess that's part of the "team thing" - she carries the child, I'm the support crew. Speaking of support, it's amazing how bad the doctor's insurance debarcle has affected obstetrics in the Illawarra. We are fully insured private patients but Nat can't get in to see an obstetrician until mid February! There's just not enough specialists to go around. It's very frustrating but what can we do? I really hope our medical system doesn't end like the USA. That would be hell.

As for the whole fatherhood thing, well I guess it's growing on me. It's something I have to get used to and I've still got a few months yet. The thing that made it difficult was that Nat fell prgnant so quickly (we were trying for 1 week!). We went from "not trying to have kids" to "trying to have kids" to "your gonna be parents" in the space of 6 days!! We honestly were expecting it to take a little longer...but it didn't. I guess God really wants us to be parents! :P Nat assures me that I'll be a good dad but I'm not so sure. I'm worried that I'll probably be a very demanding dad with high expectations - that's not fair on kids though. I guess I'll want them to do their best and all, but one thing that really irritates me is when people give up and I know they haven't extended themselves to the limit of their abilities. Some people can achieve a task with minimal effort others may need to give it 100% to do the same task - I understand this. My only beef is with people who give up and I know they haven't given their best shot. How do I instill this "best effort always" ethos without crushing their delicate little hearts or giving them the impression I don't love them? Any ideas here are welcome!

Other than all that, the last couple of weeks has just been a matter of going through the motions. Not a lot has changed yet. Nat's study is slowy taking shape as the nursery and other matters of practicality slowly unfold. I've been told the last few months of the pregnancy are when it gets really interesting...but I'll have to wait and see - so far it's great just to read what's happenning week-by-week with our little one and that sort of thing. For me though, the thing that took me most by suprise was the change in the way I see Nat. She is my friend, my wife and partner, but now she is also going to be the mother of our children! I know that sounds obvious, but now that it has actually happened, I can honestly say it has added another level to our relationship that is new and fresh and even exciting!

We're gonna be parents!!

Holiday Report

Well we're back from holidays!! OK so Nat and I got away with our friends Andrew and Ali Mathie, and Andrew's younger brother Tim. We decided months ago a house boat might be fun so set about tracking own some prices. We settled on Clyde River House Boats and I can honest say we weren't disappointed.

To save having to drive all the way from Wollongong to Batemans Bay on the day we picked the boat up, we decided to drive down on the Sunday and relax at a hotel/resort for one night. I can't remember the name of the place but it was comfy, had a spa and came with breakfast. All up a good choice by Andrew who booked it! We rented the 8-10 berth boat which is essentially 4 bedrooms:

  • 2 x double bed rooms
  • 2 x double bunk rooms

You'll notice this adds up to 4 rooms, 8 sleeping locations - well the other 2 are the sofa bed arrangement in the dining/lounge area. Thankfully for us though, there was only five of us which left one of the bunk rooms spare. Guess where all the fishing and skiing gear was stored?

The house boat carried 2500L of fresh water which means plenty for hot showers, flushing toilet and usual drinking and dish-washing duties. It also came with a 240V generator to run the TV and video as well as exterior flood lighting and the microwave. All up it was very well equipped (see the web site above) and very comfortable. We picked the boat up around lunch time on Monday 8th Dec, and returned it at 9:30am on Friday 12th Dec. After a quick run around with Robert (who runs Clyde River House Boats) we were ready to head off up the river.

Driving a house boat is like trying to drive a car on ice - you turn the wheel but nothing happens for loooong time! With the whole boat weighing in at about 15 tonne (15,000kg = 33,000lb for the metric impared) it took a while to work up to full speed and even longer to slow to a stop. Made for interesting driving the first time we moored up!

Without wanting to sound droll, our week away went something like this:

  • 7:30am (ish) - Some people emerge, breakfast is eaten and quietness is maintained for the late risers.
  • 9:00am - Everyone is up by now and breakfast is done, dishes cleaned and ski's dragged out of "storage".
  • 9:01am - James and Nat go skiing. Andrew and Tim probably already out fishing. Ali taggs along with James and Nat coz they need an observer!
  • 10:30am (ish) - usually James and Nat are tuckered out from skiing so pack it all up. Ali can now start relaxing ;-)
  • 12:00pm (ish) - Lunch is had, Andrew and Tim make a brief visit before disappearing again in the tinnie. Ali, Nat and James now settle in for a relaxing afternoon reading, snoozing and listening to music (the house boat has a CD sound system through the whole boat!).
  • 5:00pm (ish) - fire up the gennie and start thinking about dinner. Tim and Andrew are back by now and the TV and Microwave are busy sucking that 240V. If we want to moore somewhere else for the night, we up anchor and move off about now too.
  • 6:30pm - Dinner is done, dishes cleaned packed away. Now the "shower relay" begins.
  • 7:30pm - shower relay is done and we see if there's anything worth watching on the idiot box. If not, it's either movie time (I did mention the VCR right?) and nibblies are dispersed. If we didn't feel like watching TV or a video, we usually stayed up playing dominos. Damn that makes us sound old!!
  • 11:00pm - bed time for most. Tim and Andrew were known to stay up watching movies though.

Rinse and repeat for 5 days :) Bliss.

Welcome to my personal BLOG!

Yep this is the first :-) This is my personal Weblog (aka "blog"). I'll be posting my personal thoughts and other tidbits about life in this little corner of cyberspace. This way I wont bore people, who don't really care what I think, with this stuff on the front page. Nothing to see here - move along....

The Luddite is GONE!

Ah yes! Finally Austrlia has been liberated from the shackles of Senator Alston! No more will we have to deal with a totally clueless luser in charge of IT policy in our counrty. Maybe now telecos, ISP's, broadcasters and other technologies will get the breathing space they need to really push along! Maybe now we can get a reversal of the digital TV debarcle, maybe now we can see widespread adoption of true broad-band technologies...or maybe not.

Hold your breath folks - we don't know who is replacing Alston yet!! (Sorry. Had to get that off my chest)

New Server

Moved site to a new server! I finally took pity on my poor Pentium 166 and moved the website to a new server. It's now running on my workstation (Athlon 1GHz, 512MB RAM and SCSI hard drives). So you should notice that pages generate about 500-800% faster :-)

Gray Matter Music

Gray Matter Music - this is not the right place. You want to go here: Please update your bookmarks.

This site has been getting a lot of hits recently from people searching for a band called "Gray Matter". Whilst I don't object to people finding my little corner of the 'net by accident, I know how frustrating it is when you're really looking for something and you want that answer NOW.

Disclaimer : This site in no way endorses, promotes, or supports the band "Gray Matter" (although I do wish them every success). This site is not affiliated in any way with the band "Gray Matter".

Why Linux Sux? Yes why does it?!

Seems Linux advocates have taken the Why Linux Sux? album in the gallery (edit: 2015 - gallery removed, please use the links below) a little the wrong way. So let's just put it here for the record:


I have made the full size screen shots available for download here:

Ok. Stop the e-mail! I know what people are saying is partly true - the "Why Linux Sux?" album is a bit of "bad press" for Linux. But notice the "?" after the title? This is posed as a question: Yes why, indeed, does Microsoft think Linux is bad for business?

A warrior is encouraged to "know thy enemy" and I advocate this stance. Hence the reason I am hosting Microsoft's own sales education material. As Linux promoters, we need to know what the alternatives (sic) are in the same market space and what the promoters of the alternatives are using to get an edge.

I use Linux professionally and also run a consultancy business to specifically target and encourge small to medium business to invest in open-source offerings such as Linux and/or FreeBSD etc. I was very interested to learn about Microsoft's marketing tactics as I can now more effectively sell my services and better promote free (GPL/BSD) alternatives to directly counter the "opposition".

Having said all that I work for a company that has seen an increasing role for open-source products in it's core infrastructure. In fact our entire DNS, e-mail and web proxy infrastructure runs on a mix of Linux and FreeBSD. Our CTO is a (was?) a BIG MS fan until we started doing more with "obsoleted" hardware for less money than what the Microsoft Marketdroids were quoting. We have almost won over the CTO on expanding the reach of OSS alternatives. Not through being Linux zealots, but rather proving that OSS can make a viable contribution to the organisation. Let's drop the holy-war, and get back to doing what OSS has always done best - making great software!! :-)