Monday, July 30, 2012

Linux at home

I remember first trying RedHat years ago and it ran like a dog if the machine wasn't super high spec (back in the day).

Since then I've tried various Linux flavours on older PC's and netbooks towards the end of their lives. The one thing that has tended to be the deal breaker is that the family was never that fussed.

Last summer I converted an old windows laptop to Ubuntu 11 while the family was away, and there wasn't anything I couldn't do that I needed to. Out of the box it comes with an open office suite, Firefox browser and plenty of utilities.

The installation process has been dumbed right down from the old RedHat says and I reckon most home handi-geeks to could get it running quick smart.

The one thing that might trip up some people is the need to track down drivers for various things that you take for granted in a windows environment. And some third party installation requires good old fashioned command line interaction. Welcome to 1980 :)

I recently upgraded that laptop to Ubuntu 12 and I'm going to take a crack at getting the family to use it. Wish me luck! In this day and age of windows ubiquity and the proliferation of Apple i devices throughout our house, I may have left my run a bit late.

Anyhow, I'm quite taken by Ubuntu and enjoy the little bit of command line interaction. It's like retro computing.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Indoor rock climbing

Cubs had a change of venue last night - Nunawading Indoor Climbing Gym. With a car load of 5 kids (cubs, scouts and siblings) I headed off for a night of belaying and supervision.

The entire group had a ball and generally did better than the previous time they went. Patrick, Angus and Owen seem to have inherited my monkey genes! Patrick really challenged himself last night and did very well. Angus and Owen both showed no fear and scaled vertical walls with ease.

I used to love indoor climbing, but last September when I went with Scouts I hurt my wedding ring finger and only put my wedding ring back on this week. It felt like I'd torn something when it happened and I was so disappointed. Indoor climbing was something I used to do regularly BC. Maybe I'll be able to try it again next time the kids go.

They all had a great (late) night and I was cruising home just after 10pm with a car load of kids. That's how I roll :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Back on the bike

Winter has been pretty cold this year. As a result I haven't been riding to work as much as I'd wanted to.

I rode today (and last Thursday) and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Apart from my toes being numb last Thursday, the thermal undershirt Karen suggested I buy on a whim at Anaconda has been great. Couple that with my full finger gloves, long sleeved jersey and long knicks, I've been pretty comfortable.

I think I've probably not ridden as much as I could because I feared it would be worse than it actually was. I think I'll be riding more often for the rest of winter and spring :) And as the days get longer I'll be able ride longer in the evenings. Yay!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mower service

I pulled the mower out this afternoon to start it for Patrick (teenage labour) and it wouldn't start. Off I trundled to the local mower shop and put it in for it's annual/bi-annual/some-annual service. That mower will be around for some time yet.

I don't subscribe to the whole throw-away economy bumph. I paid over $400 for that mower about 10-12 years ago and it hasn't repaid me yet :)

Blades, air and fuel filters, a primer thingy, something else and some labour should see it good to go for another n years.

I'll be buying another bike before I buy a new mower. Priorities!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Metro trains and the Belgrave line

I understand that the public transport network is a large and complex beast. I also understand that the state government foolishly outsourced the management and running of the day-to-day operations several years ago.

What I don't understand is how the current train operators, Metro, can continually fail to mismanage the network and maltreat their customers on a daily basis.

When you manage a rail network that has sections of track running through wooded areas, would it not make sense to proactively trim overhanging branches BEFORE they send an entire line into chaos, REPEATEDLY!?!

When you have a train cancelled for technical reasons and it was due to continue to operate down a branch line, couldn't one of the numerous trains in the siding at the junction be utilised to provide at least part of that service? Especially when you know in advance.

Metro your ineptitude knows no bounds. Victorian state governments and oppositions alike, you should hang your heads in collective shame for allowing this to happen continually. The last contract was a chance to bring public transport back in house, yet you sold us further down the river. You're a disgrace to your constituencies.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

4th Annual Comedy Bowl

For those that have heard of it before, the Comedy Bowl returns to the Upwey-Tecoma Bowls Club on Friday 9th November from 6pm. This year we're fortunate to have secured the services of comic Lawrence Mooney. Mime artist Jack Dan will be making a return also.

For those that haven't heard of it, the Comedy Bowl has become the annual fundraising social extravaganza at the Upwey-Tecoma Bowls Club over the last few years. We pack the club with visitors, family and friends for a night of socialising, bowls (very casual), dinner, raffles, auctions and of course comedy.

It's always a great night and it goes a little way to helping the club continue to improve the facilities available to members and guests. If it sounds like something you'd be interested in, drop me a line and I'll hook you up with a ticket.

We aim each year to get 120 people to the event. The closest we've come so far is 115. You never know, you just might make the difference :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Full weekend

With the family in Sydney for the winter school holidays, I had last weekend to myself. What a treat!

Friday after work I headed down to Richmond Union Bowling Club to have a pot with the locals before heading to the Spread Eagle Hotel on Bridge Rd for EOFY drinks courtesy of the work social club. And as a bonus I even scored a lift all the way home from a work colleague!

Saturday was an early start as I joined a mate at Vermont South Bowls Club as he facilitated a pre-season coaching session. Good roll up and it's always nice catching up with the VS crew.

From there it was up to Menzies Creek for a lovely lunch overlooking the Cardinia Reservoir from the decks at Dave and Carmel's. Great afternoon, awesome food and top company.

Saturday night I headed to Etihad Stadium to watch St Kilda smash the Bombers with Franca, in the Medallion Club seats courtesy of work. After such a wonderful day it ended terribly with a public transport SNAFU on the way home. Oh well, that's public transport for you.

An even earlier start on Sunday saw Peter and myself heading to Brighton where we rode the bike path to Port Melbourne and back before enjoying a coffee afterwards. With our ride done and dusted we made it back to Upwey in time to join the Sunday morning crew at the bowls club. After a friendly game of triples it was off home for a rest!

I managed a nap for a couple of hours before dinner, whipped up some dinner then relaxed while watching some tv. Phew! I told you it was a full weekend.

Looking forward to bringing the family home next weekend.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

2012 Le Tour de France

The 2012 TDF looks set to be mired in controversy after todays "leak" in the media that 5 riders have agreed to give evidence against Lance Armstrong in exchange for leniency/suspended sentences. The USADA comes out of this looking like it has a single reason for existence - to prove Lance Armstrong was a drug cheat. This constant hounding after many years does nobody any favours.

One rider I do feel particularly sorry for is Cadel Evans. His lieutenant on the road, big George Hincapie, is one of the riders mentioned today and he's playing a big part in Cadel's defence. Apart from the fact that this is most likely a big distraction to George, Cadel will also feel the repercussions. We've seen in the past how Cadel reacts when the team isn't all pulling in the same direction or things start to spiral out of control. I hope John Lelangue can keep the whole team focussed and make any necessary changes as stages roll by.

Apart from this controversy rearing its head, I'm loving the SBS coverage, especially the nightly wrap-up at 6pm. I plan to spend a bit more time this weekend watching the stages LIVE. One day I'd love to follow the tour and be part of that madness on the roadside. How much fun does that look!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Melbourne airport rail link

Adding thousands of extra private vehicles, hire cars, buses and taxis to the road between Melbourne airport and Melbourne daily makes no sense at all. Especially when those same arterial roads are already at or near capacity.

Melbourne needs, and deserves, a dedicated airport heavy rail link now. Any argument against it on economical grounds is blatant fabrication from the all too powerful transport lobbyists.

Melbourne airport rail link now!!!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Winter school holidays

We made the annual winter pilgrimage to Sydney yesterday. It was the maiden long distance voyage for the new car as well. That 2.2L turbo diesel just purred up the Hume Hwy, rarely getting past 2,100rpm. With more legroom throughout, it was more comfortable all round. And with more space, and being careful with what we packed, we just attached the bike rack and left the trailer at home! It looks like 70 litres will get us about 900km. Not bad for a bus!

Today we had breakfast at Merrylands bowling club and then spent the day at medieval winterfest at Parramatta Park. There are some interesting characters in those communities. Suits of armour and chain mail all round.

Well it's back to Melbourne tomorrow for me. Early start to get on that big steel bird.