Saturday, 31 March 2007

The wired world

This is our Telstra installer up the pole connecting us to the network. The cable on the street is fibre optic, I think - then they run a coaxial cable, with wire supporting cable integrated, to the house. It is then split 3 ways; to the house phone network, the TV, and the computer.

The TV hookup is messy in terms of cables, but it is working well. The internet connection was also easy to install; I entered the Telstra IP settings into the router, and connected the PC, and it worked! Wireless was equally easy; I duplicated our old household network SSID and WPA-PSK keys, and the Mac laptop just thought it was the old wireless and didn't miss a beat.

TV is still TV though; it's Saturday night and the best thing to watch is "The last days of WW2" on the History Channel. I think. Another downside of cable/Sky is that searching for a programme to watch can take half a programme.

Heather and Nicky biked over 50 km today, in a strong hot northwester. They were going to go to Lincoln, but did a circuit via Tai Tapu instead because of the wind strength. Le Race was held today, I wonder how my workmates Paul Arnold, Emma de Lacey, and Charles Brown did? (Later - very well!)
No.   FirstName   Surname   Event             Grade    GradePl   Place   Time
70 Paul ARNOLD Individual -Road M3544 183 593 4:13:50
127 Emma DE LACEY Individual - Road F4554 4 404 3:52:26
884 Charles BROWN Individual - Mtb M5564 2 22 4:18:40

My bike is back, looking beautiful with a new pair of black front forks - $245 worth in fact. The woman who hit me is being a bastard about contributing to the cost of repairs, so I've set my insurance company onto her.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Bikes and stuff

My bike should be ready to pick up tomorrow, after fitting new forks and straightening the front wheel. Then I have to ring the lady who drove into me and discuss payment. I'm also getting the chain and sprockets replaced, but that's just maintenance after nearly 6000km of riding in two years.

Today is our last day as a POT - Prisoner Of Telecom. The Telstra installers arrive tomorrow morning. We could be off the air for a while, and putting in a divert so that our old Telecom number will forward calls to our new Telstra number takes two days, apparently. In that period people will have to call us on cell phones or the Telstra number.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Telstra broadband, continued...

I will definitely need a new household router; I'll buy a $90 Netgear 614 wireless router to plug in to the Telstra box. Apparently you can't just disable the ADSL side of a modem/router and leave the router side - well, routing. The DHCP and gateway settings will all be pointing at the wrong ports, or something. So I'll buy a gizmo that looks identical, yet has no ADSL connection. And it will be better, I'm told.

The gizmo in question is a Netgear WGR614, and it's a big step up from my 18-month-old Netgear 834 ADSL router. It even does "Stateful Packet Inspection" - routers and firewalls (this has two firewalls, not sure why) used to examine packet headers, but now they're so fast they inspect the whole packet! At 100 Mbps...

If that lot meant zilch to you, I promise I'll do rugby and stuff next time.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Joining the digital age

After lengthy deliberation and many trawls through their amazingly complex web site, I phoned TelstraClear yesterday and signed up for their "Triple Service HighSpeed 5G"; that includes phone plus voice messaging, cable internet at 2Mbps with a 5GB/month data cap, and Sky TV. We haven't signed for Sky sport & movies, but we have added an option pack including UKTV and the Documentary Channel. The whole deal is $115/month, with free installation; considering phone and crappy broadband* are costing about $85/month now, we'll get Sky for an additional $30.

The installers come next Friday. I presume this will mean a cable modem in the study and a set-top box in the living room, with both connected to each other and the incoming cable from the street. We'll see. Once the machine in the study is on the internet, I'll need to re-jig my Netgear ADSL modem/router to just be a household router - or maybe I'll have to buy a switch from Dick Smiths...

* Crappy ADSL - take a look at this excerpt from the modem log;
Wed, 2007-03-21 20:48:22 - Loss of synchronization :167
Wed, 2007-03-21 20:48:25 - PAP authentication success
Wed, 2007-03-21 21:01:34 - LCP down.
Wed, 2007-03-21 21:01:40 - Initialize LCP.
Wed, 2007-03-21 21:01:41 - LCP is allowed to come up.
Wed, 2007-03-21 21:02:22 - Loss of synchronization :168
Wed, 2007-03-21 21:02:41 - Initialize LCP.
Wed, 2007-03-21 21:02:41 - LCP is allowed to come up.
Wed, 2007-03-21 21:02:45 - PAP authentication success
That's a synchronization error every minute or two! These are drops 167 & 168 since Sunday 6am, and it's only Wednesday. These dropout periods can go on for hours, and all we can do is keep retrying until we hit a solid link. Telecon have visited and tested my line, and say nothing's wrong, even though we can hear static on top of the dial tone. Therefore the move to Telstra cable.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Back to reality

I was really pleased with how I felt back at work today - the light splint means I can type, and my hand didn't get too tired, so I'm back to being a productive member of society.

Our new offices are coming along - we should be in them just after Easter.

The old (well, not that old...) seminar room is being turned into three offices and a lobby where the sink and coffee etc are housed. The teaching space next door has been taken out of general campus use and is now UCTL's new seminar room.

The first office on the left will be Bruce Webster and Glen Davies, the ex-CCE Interact team.

The corner office will be Jess and me (Jess is pictured above & left, inspecting the space) and the third office, a single, will be for one of the academic development team.

Our office may get some glare from the windows, but that will be compensated for by the view out over the trees and parking lots, to the river and the sky. Very nice...

Monday, 19 March 2007

Finger on the mend

It may look like any old finger, but my left ring finger is a star. Here's a portrait of it while dislocated (see the bone sticking past the soft tissue?), courtesy of a nice lady in the Finger Clinic in the Physio Department. She printed my digital x-ray from the Day Of The Crash.

After 10 days with an alloy cast and stitches, today I had the stitches removed by some grumpy nurses upstairs, a light finger splint provided by a friendly physio downstairs, and I can go back to work tomorrow. I'll still be careful about not overtaxing it, and keeping it up, though. Anyway, it's nice to be on the way to proper functioning after sitting around feeling useless this last week.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Modern Times

From the "Gangsta rap is just harmless fun" file.
In today's news; Four boys aged 13 quizzed over London knife murder

Sixteen year old Kodjo Yenga of Notting Hill died in a street fight involving a large group of teenagers. Some were shouting "Kill him, kill him" before he received a stab wound to the heart.
His 15-year-old girlfriend said he was stabbed after being challenged to a fight in the street in Hammersmith. "For a few minutes I didn't know what was happening and then Kodjo was lying there bleeding," the girl, named only as Cookie, was quoted as saying in the Daily Telegraph. "I put his head in my lap and just rocked him gently."

His friends left messages on his personal web page on the social networking site Bebo, where he used the nickname Kizzle Sweet-thug. Yenga described his hobbies as football, weight training and going to parties.

"U'll always be in our hearts," Kerri Franklin wrote in text-message style language. "Everyone felt da loss 2day in college." Another described him as a "fallen soulja", the same term used by a friend of Billy Cox, a teenager shot dead in Clapham last month.

Now a shrine has appeared in the street, composed of tagging on a wall, bunches of flowers, and notes from other kids.
Written in brightly-coloured marker pen, phrased in teenage street language, heartfelt tributes are scrawled along a wall near the spot where Kodjo's life was brought to an end. "Always finkin of U," says one. "Pray 4 betta dayz," implores another. A third states: "You were my best friend, my brother, everything."

Still, it's not quite "In Memoriam", is it?

Thursday, 15 March 2007

On we go...

Brief notes, as I'm typing one handed. The week has so far involved, in no particular order; new tyres and missing puzzle nuts on the Mazda, fixed by a really obliging guy at Mag & Turbo; a rear end parking lot collision in the rain and a replacement tail light for the Toyota, $67.50 and a quick spray-paint and all is well; my brother Cam retires from 30+ years in the Police on Friday; and the constant stream of "please add me to ABCD123" requests keep coming. And I attended five meetings.

I took a bus to Uni today as I knew I wouldn't get a park at 10.30am, and it was very straightforward and pleasant. I caught the MetroStar back to The Palms after lunch, and walked 10 mins home round Banks Avenue - nicer than driving, and less hazardous than biking!

I'm getting seriously fed up with my broken finger, though it is healing well. Enough said.

Courtesy of Logan Moss's assiduous news-trawling: the University of Canterbury continues to lead the world of academia, with a special programme based on the relationships between humans and animals. Sorry, "non-human animals". This phrasing suggests that it's being viewed from a human viewpoint - but the animals won't mind, they can't read.

“It is an area that has been neglected to date and marginalised. It is about disrupting anthropocentrism, deconstructing and challenging our assumptions about non-human animals — similar to how feminist studies and postcolonial studies have focused on challenging the marginalization of certain humans." (Co-director Dr Annie Potts)

I'd like to see an exam paper...

Monday, 12 March 2007


The swelling in my injured finger has subsided so it's not as painful - just as well! A lot of the discomfort came from it being compressed by the metal splint covering the top and lower side of the finger.

I will be off work today, then I will go to work for meetings but not to do system admin - I'm not up to speed on a keyboard. I have 7 hours or more of meetings in the next few days - no wonder we need another sysadmin, when 25% or more of the working week is spent away from your core job.

Friday, 9 March 2007

Cycling hazards continued

At the risk of being a bore about cyclists being hit by motorists, today it happened to me. I have a quite spectacular compound break of my left ring finger as a result, plus assorted scratches to my nose and hands, and bruised left ribs. I was biking along beside a parked bus when a woman drove out from a driveway behind the bus - without any idea if there was traffic coming. I braked hard but hit her right front panel and did a front wheelstand onto the bonnet followed by a face plant on the road, carving my finger open in my travels. It's quite an odd experience to see a bone sticking out the side of some raw meat that used to be a finger.

This means that the common factor in Alice's and my accidents this week is that both motorists could not see what was coming (because of sunstrike and a bus) but drove out into the road anyway. That is pretty hard to explain.

After several hours in Accident and Emergency I had the finger pulled back into shape and stitched up, my other scrapes dressed, and I was able to go home. I think this has put paid to my Reefton biking adventure! And any sailing for some weeks, I suppose. Using a computer is going to be awkward too.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

The hazards of cycling

Following Monday's front page lead in The Press, "Horror weekend on roads for cyclists" Alice set off for work and was knocked off by a driver who didn't see her because of the low morning sun. She's bruised and sore but OK, and the driver is suitably contrite. Her bike has a bent front wheel but otherwise seems OK. She'll miss several days of lectures though, which at final year level is a serious business.

On my way home, I was forced out of the cycle lane on Salisbury St into the traffic because a driver had double parked to drop off his girlfriend. Luckily the driver behind me braked and made room. As I biked past the driver's open window I called out "You're a bloody menace!" Just before the corner he came roaring past me and then cut in front of me to make a left turn without signalling - though he did have a free hand to give me the finger. I've got to start noting licence numbers and reporting these jerks.

Monday, 5 March 2007

A weekend in Wanaka

We made a quick weekend visit to Wanaka for Kristine Logan's birthday. The weather was superb, we caught up with quite a few people, and had a great drive back on Sunday.

Kristine and Eddie's house is taking shape. They've been living in the "guest wing" for the last two years but the main house is not far from completion. Well, a year or so - that's not far.

A significant birthday deserves a significant bracelet.