Archives July 2005

Saturday, 30th July 2005

Today is the day. I am getting married!

Friday, 29th July 2005


Friday. T-Minus ONE Day, Counting! Big Grin!

Today Kel and I are seeing our Celebrant. Kel also has her hair-trial today. 

Thursday, 28th July 2005



A photographic expedition l33t!

We went to the harbor:


Then off to the light house:

r1c1 r1c2 r1c3 r1c4
r2c1 r2c2 r2c3 r2c4

As you can see, I'm very light on the pictures as it's really hard to upload a set of full resolution JPEGs at 1.5-3MB ea. On dialup... So I have uploaded a few resized images. This set of 8 images are 4.5 meg. I resized them incorrectly! That's an extra meg! MAD! (edit 07/08/05 - Upped full res images and retouched/cropped.)

Wednesday, 27th July 2005


Left for the coast.

We checked out the wedding spot this afternoon. Looks nice. There was some sea spray or smoke or something hovering around and I got some great shots of the sun coming through it.

Tuesday, 26th July 2005



Well Illwillpress' Neurotically Yours is encoded now. All cut and synched up now. I just need to draw up some menus and crank up Encore DVD and do all the linking and stuff. It's funny how 7,883,885 bytes (7.51MB) of flash has turned into 1,948,051,377 bytes (1.81GB) of M2Vs, Wavs and AVIs! That's going to give me about 20 eps a disc. So that means I am going to need 4 discs and a lot of time!

5:10 PM:
Episodes 1 to 10 are done now, complete with menus and linking etc.

Discovery launches tonight about 0030 tonight!

9:59 PM:
2 hours 38 min til launch! I am going to stay up and watch it!

Monday, 25th July 2005


Monday. My first holiday day!

More DVD work to be done. I have installed a cat feeder. No more 5:30 AM wake-ups from the mow-mow...

10:55 AM:
I have ironed out all of the bugs that I can see in the software's preview function of the DVD. The menu works properly now. I can now build this DVD in 20 minutes from start to finish. I have had plenty of bloody practice. The DVD software is so damn buggy that I have had to start again a few times. Grrrrrr...

My test DVD is just a few videos that I had downloaded recently to see what I could do.

  1. Red vs Blue Episode 54.
  2. Red vs Blue Episode 55.
  3. Red vs Blue Episode 56.
  4. Red vs Blue Episode 57.
  5. I'm still seeing Breen - An awesome Machinima video to Breaking Benjamin's 'So Cold'. It's just another demonstration of the power of Valve's Half-Life 2 Engine.
  6. 'Climb Dance' - An old favorite video. Ari Vatannen's 1988 run on Pike's Peak when he set the record time.

Lots to do!

2:00 PM:
New project! I decided to make a DVD of some episodes of Neurotically Yours by Illwill Press. It seems I have bitten off more than I can chew, well maybe not. Perhaps more than I can chew in one sitting. After doing my research I found that there's a lot more involved than I thought.

  • Convert the Flash to an AVI video.
  • Separate the audio out into a WAV file.
  • Trim the audio ends off (intro and end frames).
  • Re-Encode the AVI file as PAL, 625 Line, 720x576. Removing intro frames and end frames, apply a noise-reduction filter.
  • Start a new Premier project
  • Import the WAV (audio) file and MV2 (video) files.
  • Synch up the audio and video.
  • Export to a finished MV2 + WAV pair.
  • Add MV2 + WAV pair into Encore DVD as Asset.
  • Create a new TimeLine.
  • Add into the TimeLine the video and audio.
  • Create a button for the menu.
  • Create a menu, add the button, link it to the TimeLine!
Oh, Is that all... Big Grin!

5:12 PM:
2 More eps to re-encode! 

Sunday, 24th July 2005



Cat noises and a scratched nose. Up early. I started doing some more DVD stuff in Encore DVD - damn that software is a POS. Burnt a disc and it's good finally! It only took 4 discs.


  1. Only one clip worked, no image or audio on the others!
  2. Suicide: Burnt a DVD+R to see if it would read in the dvd player... doesn't...
  3. Reincoded some of the clips to the right format, tweaked the menu a bit. The menu is still stuffed btw. All the clips working, no sound! Frakk!
  4. Finally! All clips and audio working. Menu "sort of" working...

Nice bacon and grilled tomato breakfast! Follow that up at lunch time (after grocery shopping) with a beer, a curry and a cheese naan bread. Mmmmmm Holidays are good. Let's go for +20kg in 3 weeks! Tongue2

During the day I played HL2 a bit and remebered that I had seen a mod that allowed you to spawn anything in the game and muck around with it. Tie it to stuff, weld it to stuff, move it where ever you want it etc. I've seen screenshots of this sort of stuff already, cheesy G-Man in odd/rude positions with other NPCs etc. I decided I would make a BIG gun. Not just a big gun, actually a MASSIVELY BIG gun!

In the mod you can set dynamite charges. I used LOTS!


As you can see in the last two images I did a 'dry run' to see if everything would hold together.

Here is a nice sequence firing a bundle of 'I' beams - 5 tonne in game. I put some other I beams on top of the rocks so the bundle would sit at the right angle when fired.


I then made a MKII version of the canon using a desk, the same pipe and some grave stones.


Now for the "Big Guns". The 20 foot shipping container! The car and vending machine firing monster!


As you can see, they ended up about 300m away in the water! It was such great fun. There is nothing better than a mod that adds play time and value to the purchase of your game. Just like it did with quake and HL1 - so many mods make it live longer!

Saturday, 23rd July 2005

Saturday! Time to play with my new DVD Burner.

Friday, 22nd July 2005

Friday at last! My last day before holidays - where I am getting married.

Thursday, 21st July 2005



Today I am here by myself. How incredibly motivated I feel.

Let's talk about patience. EFTPOS is down, what do you do? You approve the card manually by calling the customer's bank's approval line! Poor customer. Such a large chunk from their day, the entire 10 minutes, unforgivable. Manual approval. Tut, tut, tut...

The whole presentation of ID... What a hassle! You know, that massive reach downward into the pocket, the difficult "prying open" of the wallet and then the worst; dragging the card from it's home in the depths of your wallet. These types of people are the FIRST to complain when they see un-authorised transaction on their precious credit card statement. No, they couldn't link the whole presentation of ID and the preventing of un-authorised transactions... nooooo...

Moving on, we ask the customer for ID. A drivers licence. Once we pick up the phone, we are not manually approving the card are we; no, we, of course, are aparently under the impression he's fraudulent. Far be it for him to question first, no, just open up. "You know there's a number for fraudulent cards and a reward". Did he just say what I thought they said? I'm just doing my job, get the ID, call the number, get the code BAM. Done. The incessant ranting continues... "Do you need my passport number?", "We'll put it up on the wall so that everyone can see it".

We start to dial the number and the spouting of random shit continues from the customer's mouth.

At this point it was beyond a joke and the tolerance threshold had well and truly been breached. Hang up the phone. We give the customer some options.

  1. We can continue with the approval over the phone and give you your nice shiny new phone.
  2. You can leave.

Opting for the first option, the customer quietens down a little. Then, recalling what I had done the customer fires up with another "nugget" of intelligence. "DID YOU JUST HANG UP?!?!?" he fired. "Are you trying to prolong this further?"

Well that tolerance threshold we talked about is now lying on the floor in pieces that have been stomped into the carpet by a massive booted giant. We retort with some of his own medicine. "Yeah mate, absolutely". Silence. Perhaps the sarcasm was lost on such a simple specimen.

We continue with the approval and the ranting, though decidedly quieter. A few buttons, card numbers, merchant numbers etc... Approved at last! The customer leaves with their nice new phone still bitching on the way out.

Go jump off something really high you impatient, arrogant bastard! Wink

Wednesday, 20th July 2005


Well, That's great! I just need to tweak some CSS bits and pieces in the layout and colouring of my new GUI text editor. Once it's all good, I will roll it out onto the text boxes for leaving comments etc. Some of the icons also need some adjusting with the dark background and stray white/light pixils on their edges. A screenshot is coming!

Tuesday, 19th July 2005


LOL!OMFG Teh Win! Thumbs Up!

A Flower

I also added code and buttons to put in smilies!

Smilie!Roll Your EyesLOL!UpsetCool!l33t!TongueTongue2PirateTiredWinkShock!Big Grin!Confused ???SickRed FacedEeeek!Paranoid!WiredFrownMAD!Wierdo!

Monday, 18th July 2005



I have finally cracked it!!! Using my new pretty GUI text editor and my "Insert Gallery Image" extension I can now insert an Image with a few clicks of a button! =)

Here is an image I have inserted using this new code:



Now to create some nice icons instead of having a link on my editor page saying "[Insert Gallery Image]". 

Another Image in IE to check my Code Works...

A Peach Face

I guess that's a "Yes!"

Sunday, 17th July 2005


Up early >=(.

I slept in to oh, say 7 AM when some considerate people decided they would lug their belongings out of their unit using a step climbing box trolley. So that's what, 3 flights of stairs, two short and one full-story. Two sets of ~8 steps and a ~16 set. 32 steps. So with a stair climbing trolley, thats 32 individual bangs not counting the 4 more steps exiting the building and the other 10 if they go down to the car park. 32 bangs per trip, no sleep for me.

I had some left over prawns and eggs. I made terryaki and garlic prawns and scrambled eggs with toast and coffee.

Now that I am up early and have finished my breakfast, they have finished their moving. Typical! 

Today I will be trying to finish off the dialogue page that will allow me to insert images from my gallery using just the mouse.

Saturday, 16th July 2005


Finally the weekend!

Mum took me out today to choose Kel and I's wedding gifts. Kel and I spoke earlier and agreed for me to choose some kitchen gear. We are very lucky to have this opportunity. It means that I am able to select stuff that matches what we have, plus we don't end up with 3 of the same things ie 3 whisks or something.

I chose a selection of plates, glasses, a set of cutlery ( + matching steak knife add-on), knife block (paring, utility, carving, cook's, boning and sandwich spreading) and other kitchen gadgets - tongs, a whisk, salt and pepper grinders, a flour sieve and really cool looking stainless cap for keeping wine, beer and champagne fresh.

It was good to spend time with Mum, unfortunately Dad was working and my sister Jen was out. We had coffee together in the morning then after we shopped, we had some soup that she had made for lunch. Yummy! I then fixed some computer boggles and we had some more coffee.

I am typing this now on my laptop across a 11mbit wireless link, two routers and two 100 mbit copper links - just in this room... I was fortunate enough to have one of my regular customers give me a wireless router and a wireless PCMCIA Card. So now, I can recline on the lounge (as I am now) 5M away from the server this site is hosted on and do what I need to do in comfort =) With my TV, my heater and some beer =)

Lappy ---> Router =X=> Router ===> Server

--- 802.11b Wireless

=== 100mbit Copper

"Over the wireless, off the router, down the copper, bounce the other router - nothing but net!" =P 

Friday, 15th July 2005



More GL editing. I am trying, at the moment, to change the way I edit my stories. HTML is all well and good but I want to change it so that I am guaranteed HTML 4.01 standard code in my posts. To do this I want to implement a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) style editor. As much as I like raw HTML, the CBF factor on making a post look nice with tags as opposed to using boring text is very high!

Yay for me and getting things working! I am using TinyMCE. It's bloody awesome! Bold, Italic, Unerline, strikethrough, left align, center, right align, justified, point list, numbered list, indent, link, anchor, image, horizontal rule, subscript, superscript and symbol insertion. Flawless! Plus it contains a button to view the HTML for tweaking. SWEEEEET!

Thursday, 14th July 2005

5:39 AM:
I am up early this morning to watch the discovery launch!

Well, they canned it. NASA is still looking at the Engine Cut-Off sensor on Space Shuttle Discovery's External Tank. The sensor protects an orbiter's main engines by triggering them to shut down in the event fuel runs unexpectedly low. For the moment, no new launch date for Discovery has been set. Bugger! Back to bed for me!

9:14 AM:
Work. Yay.

Wednesday, 13th July 2005


10H Till Discovery Launches! OMFG! I totally forgot about it!
Discovery On The Pad
Discovery On The Pad
Discovery On The Pad 2
Discovery On The Pad 2

Beastie Vibes

It looks like ZBox may well be getting an upgrade! I am looking at a few second hand bits at the moment, we are moving to either a Dual PII 350 + SCSI setup or a Six processor P3 733s/866s. Six processors, yah. Well Overkill is fun. The dualie, while something new and gutsy, is not as exciting as the full on project that may insue from the 6 CPU beastie.

If I go for the big 6 CPU beastie, the plan is to make a cluster for folding, video encoding and also storage. The project will involve building all three boards into one 4U rack mount case or a cube case of some description. It will have a built in internal 10/100 network for inter-board communication, water cooling and some largish RAID 5 storage.

I will try and work on a feature that will allow me to 'bring online' say another board if it is getting loaded up. This will mean only one board will run all the time - saving ~.3KW each unit that is off. It will suck probably 900W when all three boards are loaded and accessing storage.

The other gadget it will have is a 40x4 LCD displaying how much power it is actually using. I plan on building a digital power meter kit from Jaycar to incorporate into it. On the front panel it will also have internal and external network activity. I have a 5 port switch that will be used in this project for internal networking. Each board has 2 100 Mbit ports.

I plan on jumpering one port from each board to the outside of the case for separate network connection as well as one external jumper to uplink the switch. The other three will be linked into the switch.

Monday, 11th July 2005


Lots of roster mess to sort out.

Awwww man! No updates from ESA's Mars Express. No descent stories from NewScientist - Bloody terrorists!

Sunday, 10th July 2005

Mmmm Sunday Morning Breaky:
I cooked a big breaky for Kel and I this morning. Bacon, Eggs, Tomatoes, Sausages, Mortadella, Salami, Shaved Ham, Fetta Cheese. I managed to cram all this - bar the sausages and eggs onto a roll. Mmmmmmmmmmm...

Lots of CS:Source (CounterStrike: Source a HL2 Mod). I have been getting pretty involved with this mod lately and have been playing it almost every day.

Wednesday, 06th July 2005


A new X-Ray satellite is being launched called Astro-E2. It's literally a really cool x-ray telescope. This X-Ray telescope will be much cooler than the other two that currently operate; XMM-Newton and Chandra. These two split the X-Rays through a prism. Astro-E2 will instead measure how much a detector's temperature changes every time a photon hits it. To do this it need to be bloody cold. 0.06 Kelvin! That's cold! Space is 2.7K in temperature. To achieve this, the satellite is wrapped in three layers of insulation like a big thermos to keep the XRS (X-Ray Spectrometer) cold. From the outside in, a layer of Foil insulation, A layer of solid neon at 10Kelvin and a layer of liquid helium at 1.3K surround the inside refrigerator containing the XRS. Very cool. This sat is also going to have a CCD camera and a High-Energy X-Ray detector. It's going to launch at Uchinoura Space Center, Kagoshima in Japan at 0300GMT aboard an M5 rocket.

Deep Impact :
They don't know about the impact part yet, just the plume ("I can't see shit through this smoke!") The plume of material is opaque and they can't see the crater that was left by the impactor. Some of the deep impact team are saying that the nucleus is not like a cucumber inside but a loaf of bread, others say it's like a delicate soufflé. In other words, very delicate and porous. Once they can see the base of the plume they can speculate the size of the crater, they indicate that it may be weeks before the plume has subsided enough.

Tuesday, 05th July 2005


Bullseye for Deep Impact! XMM1-Newton images of impact
"These images, taken by the Optical Monitor on board ESA's XMM-Newton observatory on 3 and 4 July 2005, show a comparison between the states of the comet before and just after impact.

The images were taken in the blue (top) and ultraviolet channels (bottom) of the instrument. The ultraviolet images show the emissions of hydroxyl ions, the direct decay product of water.

About 1.5 hours after the impact, the brightness of hydroxyl groups is increased by a factor of about five. Later, about 4.5 hours after the impact the ultraviolet emission is decreased again which indicates that the peak has passed."

Monday, 04th July 2005


Later tonight we should see results from MARSIS. It starts scanning today! We will also see the Deep Impact mission come to a head.

Scientists have discovered that when radio frequencies are projected at space dust clouds they produce Masers. Masers are Lasers with radio wavelengths. The Maser is also amplified by 5%. They theorise this phenomena could provide a handy way to amplify deep space transmissions for communication in the future. Very cool. The way they worked all this out was to watch a neutron star or pulsar called B1641-45. Pulsars emit powerful beams of radio waves from their poles. Because pulsars are always rotating, they appear to sweep around like a lighthouse beams. They observed the beam entering the cloud and also observed the maser 'output' of the cloud. They did this using a radio telescope in Parkes. Cool. Aussie Scientists discover it first again!

Work has started in the mirror lab at Steward Observatory to produce six 8.4m concave mirrors and one 8.4m 'doughnut' mirror for a new telescope in Chile. This is a massive project that will probably take 10 years to complete. They calculate this telescope will have 10 times the resolving power of Hubble and will be more powerful than any other telescope in the world. This type of telescope is called an "off axis" telescope. Mirrors are placed around the axis in a petal arrangement. In the centre is a doughnut mirror. The petals pick up the light, the light is bounced off smaller petals that are placed out on an arm. The light is reflected from the small petals to the doughnut. The doughnut reflects the light to a central mirror in the middle of the axis and in the middle of the small petals. this project is called Giant Magellan Telescope or GMT.
An Off Axis (Magellan) Telescope

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