On Wednesday the handyman came by to lay the bricks for the garden edge. What an improvement in the appearance! The garden itself still needs a lot of work, but we're getting there... slowly.
18 December 2009
21 October 2009
19 October 2009
My new book Self-publishing with OpenOffice.org 3 Writer is now available in paperback from Lulu.com. Downloadable PDF is coming soon.
The online draft version of the book starts here. I will update the online version when I have time.
07 October 2009
My new laptop computer just arrived! It's a mid-range Dell Studio XPS 13 with great specs.
Oh, cool! My spare mouse has red lights that match the red case of the new laptop.
I must say Vista looks very nice, with its swoopy blue/green background. Had a quick look at Word 2007; didn't take too long to find where most of the bits I use (on the rare occasions that I use Word) are hidden.
23 September 2009
22 September 2009
29 August 2009
28 August 2009
27 August 2009
26 August 2009
25 August 2009
Alternating between rewriting my book and editing Lyn's has its strange moments. If the sheep become examples in the computer book, that's why...
This afternoon I managed a slightly longer walk than usual. At one point an older woman overtook us. Eric said, "Walk faster, Jean!" and the other woman said, "Ignore him." :-) I'm going for distance, not speed.
You know it's time to quit when, while sewing a long straight seam in the side of a garment, you sew the armhole closed as well.
24 August 2009
23 August 2009
Internet connection out for awhile this morning. Amazing how much thinking & writing gets done without the distraction of, uh, research.
Back to the self-publishing book. Finished revising another difficult chapter, in between writing a short article for an editors' group, formatting Lyn's book, painting bookshelves, and (yesterday evening) moving sprinklers and hoses to water the vast expanse of lawn and garden beds near us that the management's watering system isn't doing. (We've reported the latter problem, so some day it may get fixed.)
First cut at front cover design for Lyn McConchie's Rural Daze, using artwork by Judith Giddens, who also did the interior illos.
22 August 2009
19 August 2009
Today we asked a salesperson in one store about connecting a Wii to a computer monitor, not a TV. She gave completely wrong info (claiming audio inputs weren't necessary), and was most emphatic about it. Eventually conceded she knew nothing about games consoles, only computers. Later, in Harvey Norman, we inspected the Wii gadgetry section and found the necessary cables. Not that we've decided to buy a Wii; just curious.
Later, did first-pass revision of Chapter 3 of my self-publishing with OOo book. More slash-and-burn. Can't believe I'd included so many irrelevant topics.
18 August 2009
Eric and I bought a small Weber gas barbecue this morning. It's part of our collection of supplies for cyclone season, in case of electricity outages (the regular stove is electric, as is—of course—the microwave). We could not consider any other brand than Weber. ;-)
One of the bottles of cleanskin Western Australian wine we bought last week tasted very much like a nice Evans & Tate we used to get occasionally, so we went back to the grog shop to get a dozen. While there, we checked the bottles labelled Evans & Tate and found a remarkable similarity in the colour of the screw cap and the name of the wine ("Classic").
14 August 2009
13 August 2009
12 August 2009
11 August 2009
10 August 2009
09 August 2009
06 August 2009
Working on second draft of my book on self-publishing using OpenOffice.org Writer. Have done most of the content changes suggested by reviewers; now working on formatting. Still need to create a few more examples, with illustrations.
04 August 2009
I very much enjoy visiting new places, trying new foods and drinks, and so on, but eventually it's soooo good to be back with familiar things... like the tea with real milk that I mentioned before. Now on my second cup this morning.
I'm happy to report that the rum and pisco arrived safely in my checked luggage. Did I mention that shrink-wrapping luggage is popular in South America? Both for theft deterrence and for keeping luggage from being destroyed by baggage-handling equipment.
03 August 2009
Now hanging out in Qantas Club waiting for flight to Brisbane. Ah, New Zealand! Back in a land of fresh milk (not that horrid longlife stuff) and proper British tea to put it in.
02 August 2009
Hanging out for a few hours in the LAN Business Class lounge in Santiago airport. Arrived on time from Lima. Had to go through Chilean immigration and customs, then take luggage and check in for next flight, the long one to Auckland. Fortunately I had plenty of time, and knew where to go in the airport.
01 August 2009
Now back in Lima, going home to Australia tomorrow.
29 July 2009
28 July 2009
Gotta keep an eye on the bar & restaurant staff in my hotels. Too often they charge me for a bottle of wine when I've had only a glass. I'm assuming honest mistakes, but still...
In this part of Lima (Miraflores), I saw at least 6 casinos in about 4 blocks.
Lima airport seems to have free wifi, hooray. Also, today is Independence Day. Little traffic, short checkin queue. Off to Arequipa today.
27 July 2009
26 July 2009
Machu Picchu yesterday and today. Tour yesterday in rain. Everything vertical, much with steps higher than my knees consider comfortable. Despite that, it's totally AWESOME. A larger area than it looks in typical photos. Definitely a You Have To Be Here experience that photos do not do justice to.
Staying at Sanctuary Lodge, just outside entrance to Machu Picchu. Another very nice, very expensive hotel, with great food. Have discovered the Pisco Sour. YUM!
21 July 2009
17 July 2009
16 July 2009
Finally got to see a thorough demo of a Wii Fit. In Spanish. Some of it looks quite useful for me, but I think the cutesy graphics would soon annoy me. But at least now I have a much better idea of what so many people are talking about.
10 July 2009
No delays at immigration and customs. Struggled through a crowd of taxi touts, saw my name on a sign, and was taken to my hotel by an informative guide. Too tired to walk around sightseeing, and too late to take a tour. Want to return to Chile for a proper visit, instead of just passing through. Nice dinner in hotel.
Santiago airport, LAN VIP lounge, waiting for flight to Caracas. Spanish keyboard is confusing.
09 July 2009
Wifi in Brisbane hotel was flakey, but free. Early flight from Brisbane. Waiting for LAN flight to Santiago.
Speculative fiction prize so far: biz class lunch menu. Caterers delivered different items to aircraft. Better that than the flight schedule being fiction. That may come later in the trip.
07 July 2009
I'm going to try to post some blog entries by email as I go, but based on past experience I probably won't get around to it.
02 July 2009
01 July 2009
22 June 2009
17 June 2009
- doesn't make sense
- is out of logical order
- is covered in not enough detail
- is covered in too much detail for the audience of the book
- needs more or better illustrations
- is missing from the book but you think should be covered
- is covered in two places but should be combined into one place
- or anything else that you think would make the book more useful for the audience
21 May 2009
20 May 2009
17 May 2009
14 May 2009
13 May 2009
12 May 2009
10 May 2009
06 May 2009
01 May 2009
29 April 2009
28 April 2009
23 April 2009
20 April 2009
17 April 2009
14 April 2009
10 April 2009
09 April 2009
03 April 2009
On Saturday (7 March) we rushed home to beat the rain and bring everything in off the balconies so it couldn't blow around. The cyclone was expected to pass by offshore from Airlie Beach early Sunday morning, accompanied by destructive winds and heavy rain... a combination likely to flood or wash out some bits of the road between here and Townsville, and/or cut off the electricity, even if nothing worse happened. Fortunately, we had minimal impact in Airlie Beach; the wind direction was such that it hit the ranges to the east and south first, leaving us in a relatively protected zone. And the cyclone stayed just far enough offshore that we were outside the zone of the worst winds and rain.
On Sunday morning Eric went for a reconnaissance walk and said he saw no damage or flooding, though the beach is mostly underwater from the very high tide. Numerous shops (normally open on Sunday) were closed and battened down (tape on the windows, plywood over the door).
04 March 2009
28 February 2009
21 January 2009
20 January 2009
18 January 2009
- Sustainable processes for management
- Tools and infrastructure
- Building buzz
- Measuring aspects of community success
- Conflict management
- Handling live events
- Scaling the community
Internet Explorer 6 is holding back the future. IE6 is the bane of every web developer's life. Released in 2001, IE6 fails to even properly support the CSS 1.0 standard from 1996. Supporting IE6 prevents us from using cool new features, standard with up to date browsers. This erodes user-experience for everyone. Additionally, the hacks and workarounds that web designers are forced to use degrades their code, and this limits progress in other areas. Above all it's simply a waste of millions of hours of human potential.IE7 is better, but still a problem. Encourage people to get a better browser, of which there are several: Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Google Chrome, for example. Or better still, encourage them to switch from Windows to Ubuntu. :-)
17 January 2009
14 January 2009
13 January 2009
Tropical Cyclone Charlotte (and its precursor storm, and its post-cyclone phase) have been dumping lots of rain over tropical Queensland for the past several days, where it's caused floods and damaged roads. The rain is generally welcomed by locals, despite the inconveniences, though some relative newcomers to the region seem a bit shocked.
We're well south of the main storm system, but still getting a fair amount of wind and rain—enough, at least, to rattle the windows and keep us indoors. We've been keeping track of river heights through the Bureau of Meteorology's excellent website, and on Monday we spoke with the salesperson at Carlyle Gardens who said the rain was "bucketing down" there at the time.
Predictions are for an "active" cyclone season all along the Queensland coast this year, even as far south as Brisbane. The last really devastating cyclone to hit Airlie Beach was Ada, a Category 4 which came through the Whitsunday islands on 17 January 1970. At Airlie Beach, 80% of buildings were reported destroyed. The top floor of the Airlie Beach hotel was removed, and the Coral Sea Resort suffered extensive damage. On 1 March 1979, Cyclone Kerry passed the coast near Proserpine, with damage around the Whitsunday resort islands.
In Townsville, the last big cyclone was Althea, on 24 December, 1971. A smaller one, Keith, came past on 31 January, 1977 while I was living in Townsville. It crossed the coast at nearby Cape Cleveland. I recorded the wailing of the cyclone alert sirens and some of the radio announcements. The sound of the heavy rain on the metal roof was incredible.
Probably the best-known cyclone to hit Australia was Cyclone Tracy, the Christmas-eve storm that destroyed most of Darwin in 1974. A more recent well-known storm was Cyclone Larry, 20 March 2006, which caused severe damage to the town of Innisfail and pretty much destroyed the North Queensland banana crop for that season.
The Bureau of Meteorology explains tropical cyclones, and shows the storm tracks over Australia.
09 January 2009
06 January 2009
The Airlie Beach Post Office's site lease expired at the end of July, but it has stayed open pending various negotiations. Meanwhile rumours abounded regarding the possibility of a local business running a post office agency in town (with the main PO moved to Cannonvale, the next suburb), and the eventual fate of the Airlie Beach post office boxes. This has been of considerable interest to us, because Australia Post does not deliver mail to where we live.
We finally got the official word in a letter from Australia Post (dated 30 Dec 08) that arrived today. The official Post Office in Airlie Beach is to close. A Post Office agency will be available in February 2009 via the Newsagency.
Most Airlie Beach PO Boxes will be moved to the Cannonvale Post Office, with the PO Box number (and the Airlie Beach designation) unchanged. Residents of Airlie Beach and Jubilee Pocket have the option of applying for a PO Box physically located in Airlie Beach itself but with a new PO Box number.
If we were not moving out of town anyway, this would be a hard decision. On the one hand, walking to the nearby Post Office five times a week is an important part of our exercise program; walking every day to Cannonvale (nearly 4 km), especially in summer, just isn't going to happen. On the other hand, changing our box number doesn't appeal either, even with the PO giving a free six-month redirection.
Since we are moving, we've decided to keep the box number and just collect the mail once a week when we drive to the supermarket in Cannonvale for our regular shopping. No need to change box numbers when we'll be changing our postal address completely later this year anyway.
More about the post office on Eric's Airlie Beach Bum website.