31 January 2007

Port of Airlie: more construction in a boom town

In the photos I posted yesterday, you will see a lot of trees in the foreground. These are mangrove trees lining the edge of Muddy Bay (also known as Boathaven, at least by the real estate agents). Most of the photos were taken from an open area near the Sailing Club. (Historical note: years ago this area was a caravan park, and the toilet/shower block is still there for the use of visitors to the picnic area and the beach at that end of town.) A portion of Muddy Bay is now under development for a new marina project known as Port of Airlie. An artist's impression of the development (superimposed on an aerial photograph) is here. [Links updated 18 April 2007.] When it is complete, this marina will no doubt be an attractive, though possibly noisy, addition to the view from our apartment, but for the next several years it is just another construction zone and an eyesore. Here are some photos taken from our balcony. Two years ago December 2006

30 January 2007

Airlie Beach: living in a boom town

We moved to Airlie Beach nearly 9 years ago, about 15 minutes before the boom started. We've been living in a construction zone ever since, with no sign of it stopping anytime soon. Here are some photos of the hillside where our apartment is located. (Note for Americans: our apartment is what you probably call a "condo".) July 1998 (arrow marks location of our place) Later in 1998 -- clearing space on hill above us 1999 -- construction of Martinique resort, clearing begun for Pinnacles Later in 1999 -- Martinique complete, The Pinnacles under construction 2003 -- Pinnacles have been complete for some time 2004 -- work has begun above Pinnacles (view from across Muddy Bay)

There goes the neighbourhood

For the nearly 9 years we’ve lived in Airlie Beach, Eric and I have enjoyed bragging about how far away the nearest traffic lights were (150 km south and 300 km north, in case you’re wondering). Alas, no longer. A few months ago, a set of lights was installed at an intersection by our new shopping centre, and just a few weeks ago a second set of lights went in near the old shopping centre (opposite the primary school). Both sets of lights are, in my not-at-all-humble opinion (and in the opinion of many others in the area) quite unnecessary. The traffic problems they are intended to solve could have been dealt with in other ways, more in keeping with the laid-back ambiance of this area. In July, while in Broome (a town at least twice the size of Airlie Beach, which copes with similar crowds of tourists during part of the year), I noted that there are no traffic lights. A few intersections would benefit from a roundabout, but otherwise they seem to be doing just fine over there—as indeed we were here too. I am thoroughly disgusted by the way our local government handled this. I had been looking forward to joining others in protests against the lights, but each set was put up while I was out of town, so I missed the opportunity to put my rusty protesting skills into action.

29 January 2007

Open standards and OpenDocument

I don't plan to fill this blog with chatter about these topics, because I'm writing about them in another place. If you're interested, I encourage you to read my entries on one of the O'Reillynet blogs (click on "Blog" in the menu under my name). I've added some links to other people's blogs on similar topics. Look over there in the right-hand column, just under my photo.

28 January 2007

So many interests, so little time

Yes, it's been a very long time since I posted anything here. I've been busy! I may do some fill-in entries later, but for now, a summary of the past 19 months or so:
  • In August 2005 Eric and I started an organisation called Friends of OpenDocument Inc, which is now incorporated as an association in Queensland, Australia. Amongst other things, it provides bookkeeping, banking and publishing services for other groups such as OOoAuthors (a group writing user guides for OpenOffice.org) and the OpenDocument Fellowship, an advocacy group for the OpenDocument format. My participation in these four groups has eaten up much of my life.
  • I've been travelling. A lot. Some of my travels (in Australia, and in Central Europe last September) are recorded on my travel website, Avalook. Some trips that aren't mentioned there include several visits to the USA to see my mother during the last years of her life (she passed away in March 2006). On those trips I also managed to visit friends, attend conferences (sometimes working at an OpenOffice.org or OpenDocument display booth) and science fiction conventions.
  • I've almost completed switching from Microsoft Windows to Ubuntu Linux, having found replacement programs for almost everything I want or need to do on the computer. The exceptions tend to be testing something in Windows rather than working in it, and running one of my scanners. The old scanner works fine with Linux; the new scanner doesn't work at all. So my old laptop acts as the Windows machine when I need it.
  • I've also been playing around with a lot of the recent web-based programs from Google and others, such as Google Docs and Spreadsheets and Google Calendar. I'm sure I'll have more to say about them in other posts.
I'm not promising to blog regularly. Even though I have lots to say, it's definitely a case of "so many interests, so little time!"