STATIC DISCLAIMER: All the stuff in here is purely my opinions, and they tend to change depending on what mood I'm in. If you're going to get bitter if I say something about you that you don't like, then maybe don't read. I avoid using names as much as possible, and would request that people who know me do the same in their comments. Basically, I often vent my frustrations on here, so if you happen to be someone who frustrates me, expect to read a description of someone very much like you in here!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

They're On To Me!

Well, it seems Apple now hate me. Awesome. :D
Check it:

This is what I was greeted with when I followed links on Apple's website to their knowlegebase. I guess they must be on to my scheme to free the minds of deluded computer users from the grip of Steve.

Seeing I'm on a Mac-bagging train of thought, can I just sing the unpraises of Apple's iTV? While I entirely agree with bringing the computer to the living room TV, there are so many products out there that do such a better job of the small feature set this product is set to provide, and they do it without locking you into ONLY being able to use iTunes and ONLY letting you play content bought from the iTunes store. Not to mention they offer you a much, much broader feature set. Steve himself calles it an "iTunes player" in the keynote, and basically that's ALL it does. Plays stuff shared in your iTunes library on your TV.
Now, I've done a little bit of talking to people, and it seems to me that the number one problem that needs solving in the living room is not how to get your iTunes library onto your TV, but how to cut down on the number of devices, and therefore remotes, that you have to deal with. So wouldn't it be sensible to make a box that can do everything via just one remote? Not only that, but if that one remote had like a stupidly limited number of buttons on it, it would even fit in with Apple's "we make stuff for idiots" mentatlity that seems to permiate all their products.

But see, they won't compete there - because Windows Media Center already does the whole all-in-one thing, and does it INCREADIBLY well. It's just silly the way Apple go about things. Compete, Apple. Make a media center that does everything Windows MCE does, but better. I dare you. But they won't... the pansies. :P

Monday, September 25, 2006

Like Pr0n Through The Internet, So Are The Days Of My Life

The first thing that came to mind that moves in greater quantity, and thus higher speed then sands through an hourglass...

Anyway, this is one of those posts where I unload about the blunter points of my existence, and in particular, my day today. The saga begins last night...

My son has been ill for a bit over a week with some virus or other that has had him coughing like a crazy person, particularly at night. Well, I've caught it. And last night, we were both coughing like crazy people into the wee small hours of the morning.

Feeling generally ill, and like my brain was about to explode thanks to all the coughing, I commented to my wife that maybe I'd call in sick to work today. Spend a day in bed destressing and healing. My doctor tells me I'm over stressed, and that's what is causing some of my recent physical ills.

Anyway, when I woke up this morning, I contemplated for a while and decided that the extra push of the snooze button I'd just finished enjoying meant I was now able-bodied enough to join the rest of the rat race in resuming normal employment for the week.

The next thing that happened was that the phone rang. It was my boss, letting me know that I should probably work from home today. Power was out at his house, and living in close proximity to our workplace, he assumed that the office would be the same. After organising to move an appointment I'd organised this morning, I mused on the wonderful fortune that had just befallen me - I now had an hour before I needed to start working, and I didn't need to commute home either! Overlooking sickness, this might turn out to be a reasonable day.

However, this was not to be. As I began working, the first thing I discovered is that neither of my two computers was able to connect to the office network. Figuring this must be the power, I shrugged and kept on working. However, as the hours wore on, and people from work began popping up on IM, I realised that this was not the case.

During the course of coming to this realisation, the phone rang. It was a client, who I couldn't help due to the fact I was not connected to the office. Then the phone rang again. And again. And each time, it was the same story. I sensed the unspoken frustration of my boss and coleagues as I had to hand off every single call to someone else.

I started trying to fix my problem with connecting to the work network as the phone thankfully took a rest from it's relentless ringing. I was feeling decidedly stressed because I'd fielded several support calls, and actually helped none of them. As I tried to resolve the issue, I got more and more bermused by the lack of logic apparent in the problem's continuing existance. It was at this point that one of my workmates, whom I was talking with via IM, suggested that perhaps it was an issue with the telephone exchange due to the recent blackouts.

Aha, I thought, that could well be it! However, we never lost power, and the phone works fine! I picked it up to check my supposed tautolegy, and was greeted by deathly silence. I hung up, and tried again. Again, the phone screamed silently in my ear. By this point I was getting increadibly stressed and frustrated about the lack of things that function and also exist in my vicinity. I rang our phone from my mobile, and without even ringing the phone beeped loudly in my ear, and displayed "Connection Error" on the screen. I tried calling the phone from Skype, and was connected to a constant beep, which didn't sound at all like the kind of language my phone would normally use.
Great, I thought, no phone, no VPN. My boss will never let me work from home again.

It was at this point that my wife, who had recently returned home from shopping, emerged from having put our son in bed for his afternoon sleep, and commented: "Is that my mobile ringing?" It was, and in my wife's answering it my day got profoundly more crazy. It was a friend of my wife's who has been going through some pretty full-on personal stuff, and for reasons I won't disclose, needed urgently for someone to drive her to Wollongong. Faced with the prospect of trying to keep Jake amused while working while being sick and very tired, I decided it was time to fall back to Plan A, and take the rest of the day as sick leave. So I messaged my boss, and he responded that it was OK. I had previously mentioned to him that if I couldn't sort out my connectivity issues, I may need to do this, so at least he was prepared. Only problem is that my boss is very non-readable in these situations, so he may be wildly frustrated at me to the point of near dismissal, or he may be completely fine with the whole arrangement; I just don't know.

So, I desperately try to sort out handing off the phone messages that had accumulated unnoticed while the phone wasn't working, and my wife starts hunting down directions to an unknown location in Wollongong. I then tried to call the phone company from my mobile, and after several layers of push-button phone menus, followed by several layers of those annoying "I can understand what you say!" voice menus that never actually can understand what you say, I finally arrived at my destination: a young woman by the name of Bree from AAPT. After asking me to confirm the same information the "speak to me!" menus had just asked me for, I described to her the situation, to which she replied that I should do an equiptment isolation test so that I can be sure its not my problem, because if it is, they'll charge me a bunch of money for a service call. Remembering previous dealings with Telstra, I ask if she can test the line. Yes she can, but I'll need to disconnect my ADSL modem. I do. My wife frowns at me disapprovingly as her Whereis search times out.
"Oh I'm sorry," Bree says flattly, "I can't seem to test it. I'll need to call Telstra and get them to do it. Do you mind holding?"
"Sure" I reply, "But I'm on my mobile, so I might run out of credit."
"If it does, I'll call you back." she replies swiftly, and without waiting for a response places me on hold.

We seem to have neglected the multi-digit key required to jack me into your intellegence-deficient matrix.

Sure enough, within a couple of minutes of annoying electronified Bach, my phone beeps rudely at me, signalling that I have an inhumanly short quantity of time left to wrap up my conversation. Seeing as how the only conversation I'm engaged in at this time is the one with my inner psycho killer, itching wildly to get out and modify the popular venacular from "going Postal" to "going Justin", I sit in silent stupor until my phone promptly beeps again, notifying me my call and my sanity are now at an end. My inner psycho killer promptly gives up and caps himself, restoring me to a state of defeatest apathy. However, there's still the issue of not having a phone...

Thankfully, through some twist of fate, my ADSL connection continues to work. So I jump on Skype (who's creators are my official "Heros of the Day") and give AAPT a call back on their "13-" number, which should mean it's charged like a local call. Well, I was paying 32 cents a minute, and it took me two and a half minutes to navigate through the previously mentioned menu system, even though I was interrupting the annoying "you can talk to me!" woman at every chance I had. Finally, I end up speaking to some guy whose name I now completely don't care about, who once again reconfirms all the information I've just provided.

Yes yes, he can see that I was speaking to Bree, blah blah... Oh wow, there's a fault. Really?? No way! Who would of thought? Technician will be dispatched, etc... expected resolution is close of business tomorrow.

That's right boys and girls, I am officially without a phone for a day and a half for no good reason I can see. It was working, and then it wasn't. And now it won't be for another day and a half. The worst part is that I was working from home today and tomorrow, and now, I'll be driving to the office tomorrow. Not only that, but I'm pretty convinced my boss doesn't like me working from home anymore, but doesn't feel like he can now withdraw the offer. Well - the truth is that he can't. Thanks to rising petrol prices, we only have enough money to pay for the petrol for me to commute the 3 days in 5 I now do, and there's no public transport. If my boss were to change his mind, I'd be forced to find a new job.

So that brings us to now. Having dispatched my wife to Wollongong with the only working phone that still has credit, and being home sick with my sick son who really should be asleep but is right now coughing like a crazy person, I'm now about to reformat my perfectly good computer because I didn't believe the Vista upgrade advisor when it said "these things will cause you untold trouble!", and proceeded to upgrade anyway.

I guess I still have a lot to work on...

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
- John 16:33 (NIV)

EDIT (much later that evening): As it turns out, I'd also forgotten for the third time that I promised a client that today, I'd upload some system updates I'd done for them. So at twenty to ten on a Monday night when I'd called in sick to work, I'm working. I think I'm going insane.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Small PS3 Happiness

Some of you may have shared or at least noted my recent angst over the delay of the Playstation3 in PAL regions. Extending the wait until March makes it feel very much like an eternity away, and knowing that people in the US and Japan will be playing their PS3s for months before I get mine is a little... devaluing? As a consumer, Sony's Playstation division consider me less important then their US and Japanese consumers. It's not nice. However, it's obvious they had to shaft someone due to assembly issues, and hey - it's not really worth getting too cut up over a product delay.

Some small amount of previously unnoticed goodness suddenly caught my eye about the PS3 today, and renewed my confidence in my selected gaming platform. On the newly constructed Playstation3 website for us "Europeans", I was checking out the specs on the version of the console I am intending to purchase. Now, the console comes in two different versions - one with a 20Gb hard disk, and the one I'm getting: the 60gb version. However, there's one small note in the tooltip for the hard disk on the spec page that made me happy. It says this:
"However, it is possible to upgrade the storage still further by using a standard 2.5" hdd."
Did you see that? A standard 2.5" hard disk. No modding to store TV episodes on your PS3 - just throw in a bigger hard disk. ANY bigger hard disk - not Sony's proprietary PS3 branded hard disk at twice the normal cost, but a standard 2.5" hdd. I can see that being incredibly handy, myself. But hey, most people probably wouldn't care. It's just me I guess.

Alright - that's it. Go about your business, citizens.

PS: I think it's funny that Blogger's spellcheck wanted to replace "Playstation3" with "fluctuations."

Monday, September 11, 2006

My life doesn't suck

...but that doesn't mean bad things don't happen. In order to maintain a sense of balance, here is a post where each thing I want to complain about is balanced by one I think is awesome.

1p.) GUITAR HERO ROCKS MY WORLD!!!! This game is so much fun and I've been playing it like mad. Love it to bits. It's like they took my daydreams, and made a GAME out of them! Now, if they just could release Drum Hero with a drumkit controller...
1n.) PS3 has been delayed until March. SO SO bitter at Sony. Why? Primarily because it's not delayed in the US or Japan. See, if they'd delayed the world-wide launch by 3 months, I'd be OK. It's because they chose to snub us specifically.

2p.) My son is the most gorgeous amazing child to ever live. I love him to bits, and the other day I took him out for the morning, and bought him a babycino, and he was so appreciative, he kept saying "Babycino?" over and over again for the rest of the morning, and it was EXTREMELY cute.
2n.) My son is "terrible two", and drives my wife crazy, and then she's unhappy. He's wonderful, and I love him, but he knows how to push his Mumma off the edge, and does so on almost a daily basis. As you might imagine, this makes coming home from work a not-so-fun experience for Dadda, as Mumma just wants a warm, dark corner to curl up in and sleep, and me being home is the first opportunity for such things to happen. Not so tops.

3p.) I'm still employed! I have a job where I get paid holidays and sick leave, and they pay me well.
3n.) My job isn't much fun. I really don't enjoy the work, and *most days* I drive an hour to the office so that I can sit here on my own, or with one other guy who isn't really big on talking, and work. However, I am able to work from home, and do so a couple of days a week - so why am I coming to an empty office? I honestly don't know. I mean, from my boss's perspective, I guess it's some assurance that I won't be distracted by home stuff - except that there's this thing called the internet that constantly lures me away...

4p.) I'm currently trying to pimp a multi-level marketing system in order to make myself some extra cash!
4n.) I'm having to pimp a multi-level marketing system in order to make myself some extra cash.
But seriously on this point - it blows that Amway in Australia has made everyone wary of MLM systems. Amway was a huge unweildy unrewarding monster long before it ever hit Australian shores in force, and as a result, people would jump on board and then find they had to work their butt off to get any payout at all. Those people taught their kids that these "direct marketing" things are a waste of time and money, and now when I tell someone about Club Freedom they're extremely negative before they've even heard what it's about. Meanwhile, I've mentioned this thing to a couple of my friends thinking they might just be interested (travel and cash for next to no effort? If it works, who wouldn't be?) and got some serious cold shoulders. It's like "Whoa, hold up. If you're going to talk about this stuff, we can't be friends." and yet all I'm doing is putting it out there as an option to get some extra income. I'm cool with "Oh, cheers but not for me" but it's the embedded addition of "you are evil for trying to succeed" that gets me unhappy. Bah. Suxx0rs.

5p.) I'm really enjoying being involved with music at church, and we go to an awesome church.
5n.) My personal relationship with God is at an all-time low, and it's entirely because I can't pull my finger out and do the things I need to do. It's the same as me getting exercise - I KNOW I need to do it. It'll save my life. But do you think I'm going to make time in my day? I have no idea why I'm so adverse to doing the truely important things with my time, but if I ever figure it out, I'll let you know. I spend occasional moments in prayer, but all in all there's just not a lot of effort from the Justin camp on this one. I feel distant from God, and like I'm slacking off. The thing that is truely bad about this, is that we go to a really great church and I'm in a great place to flourish spiritually. I probably would if I could pull my finger out...

6p.) Last time they took a scan, I had a healthy spleen. That's good. :)
6n.) I have had a headache for 6 weeks straight. Nothing to do with my spleen, or other abdomonal organs. Not sure why, but get the feeling it could be to do with a combination of a non-ergonomic work environment, and an aging mattress. The wife is suffering from some muscular/skelletal pain as well which she swears is due to the mattress, hence that idea. Must see the doctor about it all...

7p.) I'm at lunch
7n.) Should probably get back to work...