2007-06-22

Delta Called Off

The camp I was going to be running in the first week of July, Delta, has been called off due to lack of numbers. The last few weeks have been quite stressful because of anxiety over this camp going ahead. We're now planning to run it in January instead, and hopefully we'll attract a few more people.

I'm still planning to take that week of holidays. I'll probably end up hacking on olpc stuff if I can find a few quiet moments.

It's all been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me.

2007-06-18

Experiences at a new Cafe

Those who know me, know I'm a coffee snob. A big one. So when I recommend a cafe I usually use words like 'acceptable'.

Well, I've gotta say, AFK Cafe is certainly acceptable. It's a new cafe that is very geek friendly. Free wifi (in AUSTRALIA!), gaming computers. There are D&D groups that play there. I've even heard rumours of Blood Bowl games... All this in a cafe has only been open 8 weeks.

We had coffee there on Friday night. Elspeth and I have the distinctive combination of a Short Macchiato (hers) and a Short Black (mine). Sometimes (such as when the cafe serves Robert Timms and we didn't realise until the last moment) we take the better part of valor and have tea. On this occasion the poor man make our usual coffee on the faith that he wouldn't botch it, and he pleasantly surprised us by delivering an acceptable pair of coffees.

... several rounds of coffee later, we ended up keeping the proprietor and his lovely wife entertained till the wee hours of the morning, until the point where the poor man realised that he had to be back at work in 6 hours to open again. Whoops.

We went back on Sunday, and this time for a meal. Elspeth had their 'Aussie' Pizza. Australian Pizza has an egg on it. This had several. We both really liked it. I had the Fettuccine Con Pollo. Yum, a little small of a serving, not enough Fettuccine, a little too much sauce, but it was really nice. I ended up eating a slice or two of Elspeth's pizza because I was hungry.

Again, we ended up yakking to the proprietor. I love getting to know the staff of places I like.

2007-06-01

News Limited Internet

So I was reading whirlpool today, I don't read the forums, and only skim their articles. It's the little sidebar of interesting internet related news articles that I go there for.

I found this gem:
Telstra is willing to invest more than $4 billion of its own money in a FTTN network.

We are ready, starting within days to dig the trenches, lay the cables, connect the fibres, light up the network and change the way Australian families and businesses communicate with each other and with the world.

Telstra can raise the money immediately so financing for us is not an issue.

It would be an open access network, available to our competitors at a price reflecting the cost of the network and a competitive return for the Telstra shareholders who are risking their money to build it.
-- A phantom to create an illusion - Telstra CFO John Stanhope

Wow. Just wow. Telstra's plan has been behind closed doors for a long time now. The best figures I've seen, that actually give specifics, put the monthly cost of a 512kbit internet service at $80. Over $100 for real broadband.

Today, you can get faster, cheaper, internet using ADSL2+ from a non-telstra provider. This is a clear indication that either someone is slandering Telstra by saying their costs to the consumer are too high (likely), and/or Telstra is going screw us (certain).

Telstra is saying it would be an open network. Telstra is also blocking the network from going ahead until the ACCC is banned from ever telling Telstra that they are charging too much. The conclusion I am forced to draw is that Telstra is going to be charging as much as the market can possibly pay.

I'm sorry John. Take your anticompetitive bullshit and stick it.

Results of using a Touchstream LP

A few months ago I bought a Fingerworks Touchstream LP keyboard. I am a little bit fanatical about keyboards, even more so since I started having problems with my wrists.

Touchstream on Flickr

If you've not heard of it, the Touchstream is a keyboard like none you have ever seen. If you can imagine that little area of touch sensitive mousing surface used on laptops, blown up into two massive totally touch sensitive surfaces, printed with keys, and then given a usb interface. That's what this keyboard is.

Frequently asked questions that I will answer immediately:
  • There is no tactile feedback that you have touched a key.
  • Yes it is very hard to type on.
  • No, you cannot buy these keyboards, you have to get them second hand, usually from the cold dead hands of their previous owners.
I was quite lucky that I had a friend who found that his RSI problems were not exacerbated by his usage of a laptop keyboard and trackpad, so he was kind enough to sell his to me for what he bought it for.

I love my touchstream. My typo rate has gone up considerably, but I no longer have RSI problems linked to my work. I only really have problems when I have marathon gaming sessions at home. Previously, playing GTA for 3 hours was enough to give me wrist pain for a week. Now playing a game for 8 hours means that I'm a little sore the next day, and that's it.

I give it 6/10 for being a keyboard, 11/10 for being a mouse.