It's winter again :(

Anyone who knows me, knows I hate the cold. Let's just ponder that for a second. According to the dictionary, "hate ( verb) -to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest". Indeed, if it were possible to get hostile with cold weather and make it retreat to be replaced with resplendent, balmy, mid-thirty celsius with accompanying humidity, I'd go totally Russell Crowe on today's offering from the Bureau of Meteorology!! Alas, I cannot - weather just doesn't work that way. So I will now officially enter my annual period of sulking , until the weather decides to bless us with warmth.

I hate the cold :(

Safari 4 + OSX 10.5.7 + Growl Mail = Mail Crash ... again!

Go figure. I have two Macs; a Macbook Pro and an iMac. Both Intel CPU's, both with lots of hard drive and memory...life is good. However, I thought there was enough water under the bridge to give Safari 4 Beta a run and the reviews about speed and features over Safari 3 were extremely enticing. So given the Macbook Pro was the least critical of the two boxes, I upgraded to OSX 10.5.7 and made sure everything was peachy - it was. Next upgraded to Safari 4 Beta. Wow! It's fast, stable, has a really cool "Top Sites" tab (that comes up when I open a new tab, and many other features you can read about elsewhere.

Next was the iMac's turn.The OSX 10.5.7 upgrade went without a hitch, as did the Safari 4 install. However, unlike the Macbook, Mail on the iMac now crashes when fetching RSS feeds (I use Mail as my RSS aggregator) and the box says "Hey don't blame Apple, it was GrowlMail's fault!!"...and it is. I uninstalled the GrowlMail bundle from my ~/Library/Mail/Bundles directory, and everything is working again (except Growl notifying me of new mail). I can live with that.

So it's over to the Growl devs (who normally respond fairly quickly to this sort of thing) - FIX IT!! :-/

New CMS

Well, after wrangling the old Geeklog and Gallery2 setup into complete oblivion (my bad) I decided I'd had enough mokeying around with it and have gone with a fork of the original Geeklog code - GLFusion. The really nice thing about GLFusion was that it was simple side-step from the old CMS as the backed databases etc were practically identical! Secondly, GLFusion integrates Mediagallery into the setup so I now have a true integrated (as opposed to embedded) media system :) Woot. Anyway, everyone's accounts are safe and the old content is all here. Have a dig around and by all means tell me what you think - or leave a comment to this post. Anyway, it's bloody late (or is that early) and I need some sleep! Have fun people!

Site moved to new hosting

The Gray Matter is now up and running with the fine folk at Bluehost. It's taken a little more wrangling than I'd expected but it's all done now. If you're having trouble with your e-mail, call me - I'll walk you through what needs to be done. Enough of this - I'm going to play with some toys.

Warning - nerd content follows!!

For those who might be curious, the problem was that the content management system I use (Geeklog) uses serialised values in a database for storing most of the configuration. This is a much faster way for PHP to grab configuartion values rather than parsing a text file. Unfortunately, this also means that when you move from one hosting provider, unless every file has exactly the same location as the previous provider (basically, this will never happen) the whole setup goes to hell in a handbasket until you refresh dozens of serialised values with the new locations. If you find yourself in the fine ship "S.S. Futzed" then you need to cruise on over to Geeklog's explanation and have a good read - there's some code you can use to fix the problem in about 3 minutes...and that includes the time to cut-and-paste into a file and upload the code into a file on the web server and run it! :)

The great fishing scam begins

Call is fate, call it a disaster but my freshwater aquarium is no more. Last night whilst cleaning up the study with my wife, I managed to move the table the ~1 metre (3 foot) tank sat on, just enough to crack it right down the back. A few expletives were uttered, towels flew around my study like a tornado in hotel laundry and the fish went to swim with ducks in the pond out back. More likely, the fish made an exotic treat for one of the many eels or tortises living in the pond. But I digress; the fate of the fish was sealed when the tank cracked, sucks to be them.

Read more…

Syringes falling from the sky?!

Found this in today's news from Fairfax media:

"January 11, 2009 Eamonn Duff

USERS of the Cross City Tunnel have been warned of the risk of needles being dropped by drug addicts who frequent a Sydney suburb directly above.

Syringe signs have been installed along the southbound ramp connecting the tunnel and the Eastern Distributor.

A tunnel spokesman said the signs were erected because an area in Darlinghurst directly above the partially-roofed link had become "a hot spot for injecting".

"Syringes are frequently disposed [of] in this area, causing a potential safety hazard," the spokesman said.

The laneway, between Palmer and Bourke streets, has attracted users since it was created as a result of the tunnel's construction in 2005.

At night, drug users congregate along the dimly lit path to inject drugs including heroin and ice."

Original source.

I can see it now, some poor bastard on a motorbike (more likely a scooter) innocently meandering their way through the catastrophe that is Sydney's 24hr traffic madness, happens upon this stretch of road. All of a sudden, BAM !!! They have a used needle sticking out of their neck. In this situation, I wonder who is liable? The council? The tunnel operators? The police?All of the above? None of that really matters when the scooter rider lucks out on their way home at dark o'clock and now has to deal with potentially any, and every, known nasty bug that courses through the collective veins of drug users.

I'm glad for 2 things after reading this:

  1. I don't work in Syndey any more, and
  2. I don't ride a motorbike anymore

...although I do miss my bike :( Take care out there people, next the whole drug addict will fall from the sky, and they tend to annoy car drivers as much as motorcyclists.

New Job

New year, new job! I think I've hit the jackpot in relation to Wollongong employers; I now work for Australian Health Management (ahm) as the Senior Systems and Network Engineer for the Infrastructure group (yeh...that's a real mouthful eh?). This has been a long time coming and I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to work in Wollongong for such a large and successful company. The people I work with are just wonderful, and the culture is a privilige to be part of.

Although it's early days (my first week) I really believe I can make a valuable contribution here and my skills are genuinely valued. I don't want to sound like a roving advertisement but I'm just so excited to be working here!!

Internet Censorship

Ordinarily I don't make a big song and dance about stupid decisions made by politicians - I've come to understand the average politician has the intelligence of a lobotomised amoeba...but I digress.

Many have heard me lament the short-sighted, wasteful policies implemented by various Ministers for Communication ( particularly Senator Alston) under the previous regime in Canberra. I hate to say it, but the incumbent administration has truly exceeded even my worst imaginings. Everyone on this list knows the Internet, and has come to rely on it one fashion or another so I think it prudent to at least make you aware of the level of stupidity the current government has stooped to.

The run down of what is proposed

Read it, and make your own choices. Take it from me, being someone who has worked at the ISP level for a company that hosted all of Telstra's wholesale ISPs and hosted all of TransACT, AAPT and Telstra-Clear NZ, this is a bad policy for * all * Australians. Even if you ignore the policy, or moral standpoints, the technology to implement this simply does not exist . The outcome will be millions of tax payer dollars wasted on grand ideas, with questionable motivations, to attempt something that can only be achieved under the draconian levels of government oversight and intervention seen in places like China, Burma and North Korea.

I always thought we lived in a democracy populated by intelligent people able to make their own decisions. I DO NOT need the Australian Labour Party, or any other political party, to dictate what is and isn't appropriate for my children or myself.

Please read the link above and if you are motivated to do so, please contact the minister with either your support or objection to his proposal. I have added a block that is persistent across my site to drive as much traffic as I can to the fight against this policy. If you are in a position to do likewise, please consider it.