Can I have ‘Geography’ please Alex?

26 11 2007

Paula S alerted me to this amazing 2 year old! Her knowledge of world countries is pretty darned impressive—and even more impressive is the second video of the same child when she was only a one year old. The map she used then was of terrain, not colour-coded political regions.

Lily at two…

Lily at one…

Location, location, location

24 11 2007

I meant to post about this a few weeks back when I received the booklet about the local Show, but I forgot!

In amongst all the pages for the various exhibition sections and classes were four pages devoted to the 165 (!!) poultry classes. These are for people’s prized chooks (‘chickens’ for those outside Australia/NZ), and lots of them take it very seriously indeed. And on one of those pages was an advertisement for “Chooks”, the only BBQ and Fried Chicken joint in town…

I found it really funny, but I would guess that anyone exhibiting in any of those classes would have found the location of that ad in the 75 page booklet a little ‘off’. I mean, they had 75 pages to place that ad, but chose to place it in the middle of the poultry section! I suspect it was deliberate…

It’s show time!

24 11 2007

It’s the annual Bridgetown Show today. The weather’s hot, so it’ll be very unpleasant in the exhibition halls and out in the sun. We haven’t been to the Show here before so it will be interesting to compare it to the last regional show we went to in Innisfail, Far North Queensland. I’ve submitted three quilts ($1 entry fee for each; $4 prize money to the winner in each category—it’s a BIG deal! <grin>), and will have to return to the showgrounds after 4pm to pick them up. But we’ll try and get there late this morning to avoid the worst heat of the day.

The other big “show time” today is the Federal election for the Senate and House of Representatives candidates. This is where we choose the party we want to govern Australia for the next 3 years. While we don’t have ‘presidential’ elections as such, over the years the egos of those who would be Prime Minister have taken on presidential qualities. So while we have to vote for a local representative, everyone really knows that they are voting either for John Howard (the PM for the past 11 years and leader of the Liberal Party) or Kevin Rudd (leader of the Australian Labor Party). Even a vote for the minor parties is a vote for one of the two big ones—the preferential voting system sees to that. Voting is compulsory and you’re fined if you don’t vote, so we can’t ‘vote with our feet’ and say we don’t like either party!

Update: We went to the show—didn’t think it was worth the $12 per person entry fee… We were there probably less than an hour, most of which was in the Centenary Hall where the handcrafts, flowers, photos etc. were on display. I won TWO first prizes!!! One for my “Christmas Star” quilt (Category: “Item by first-time exhibitor”), and the other for my quilt tote bag (“Category: “Sewn bag”).

After we voted, we did another “show time” thing—and went for a swim in the local pool which opened for the summer today. Nice refreshing dip, though tired afterwards! I did about 6x 25m laps very slowly—and with fins on. And the ‘show time’ connection? Our white bodies were on show to the sun for the first time in ages!!!

Quilt tote bag

Christmas Star quilt

An MCSE is…

21 11 2007

Lots of interesting discussion is happening today on one of my technical communication/writing lists about certification (again!). In amongst all the arguments for and against (mostly against), was this definition of an MCSE:

“Minesweeper Consultant and Solitaire Expert”.

LOL! The real definition is “Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer”, but I like the alternative better.

Amazon’s Black Friday sale

19 11 2007

This Friday—23 November, the day after Thanksgiving in the US— is having a sale!

They’ll be offering hourly deals from 6am to 6pm PST along with thousands of products on sale for a limited time. And for all those Christmas purchases, you can get gift wrapping for 99c per item (I’m not sure if this also applies to international orders).

Computer privacy policy

15 11 2007

More on the ‘clean up the laptop’ saga… I came across something called “Viewpoint Media Player” in my Add/Remove Programs list and had no clue what it was, so off to Google again, where I found this brilliant piece about Viewpoint Media PLayer by Joe User (great domain name!) and his efforts to remove it. In amongst his diatribe about this piece of software—tell us what you REALLY think, Joe!—was this:

Here is my privacy policy: I do not want any type of crap on my computer unless I specifically OK it. I do not want anything installed without my permission. I don’t want some poorly programmed piece of crap crashing my computer, changing my bookmarks and homepage, and making itself part of the operating system so I can’t delete it without instructions from the internet. I do not want programs that record what I am doing. I don’t want programs accessing the internet at random intervals to send data to its home servers. I don’t care if “At no point is the CUID connected to a user’s name, email address, or other personal contact information”. I don’t freaking believe what is written in the privacy policy (which I didn’t even get a chance to read since it installed without my knowledge), nor do I trust your abilities to safeguard my personal data even if you are telling the truth.

When can you install something on my computer? If you get within arms length distance of my computer and can install it before I cave your head in with a baseball bat, then I will allow it.

Couldn’t agree more!

Christmas cards for clients

15 11 2007

On one of my technical writing lists today, there was discussion about Christmas gifts for clients and links to websites that deal with such things. Someone mentioned donating to charity, which is what I did for the first time last year. Here’s my contribution to the discussion:

Along the same lines, last Christmas I decided not to send out cards to my clients as I figured they’d be on display (maybe) for 2 weeks, no-one would do more than glance at them (at best) and then they would go in the trash or recycle bin. The amount I would’ve spent on Christmas cards and postage (not including the time to write them!) I gave as a donation to Perth Zoo. I emailed my clients wishing them all the best for the season and told them of the donation in lieu of cards. Some responded saying what a good idea it was. No-one complained about not getting a card!!

I’ve always thought corporate Christmas cards were a strange custom – and now I don’t do it. I’ll find a suitable organisation to donate to again this year – preferably one where I can donate direct (like the zoo) as versus one that goes through fund raising agencies etc. to get donations.

That spurred me on to actually do something—so this year I’ve decided to donate to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, a VITAL service for rural and remote Australians.