Our New Computer!

Last week, after saving our dollars and staying away from a very tempting but over-priced interest free offer, Olivia and I went out and spent cash to get the parts to rebuild our PC.

We bought a new Gigabyte motherboard, Intel 8200 Core 2 Duo chip, NVidia GeForce 8600 GT graphics card, 4GB RAM and a 320GB SATAII hard drive. Here's me and my mate Geoff putting it together reading the instructions:

You know that old saying "measure twice, cut once"? That's what me and Geoff are almost ready to plan to do right here.

It all came out alright - we were quite proud of ourselves.

And now I have a new computer!

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New Features for Blogger Competition

Amanda at Blogger Buster is running a competition to elicit feedback on the most wanted new features for the free blog platform Blogger (which my blog, and hers, and millions more run on).

Blogger is owned by Google and is one of the top 4 blog platforms - depending on which survey you believe - along with TypePad, Wordpress, and Moveable Type. It would be too easy to look at those competitors and suggest new features for Blogger based on the competitor's existing features, so:

My suggestion is for Blogger to allow users to easily include one of the popular Javascript libraries, like Prototype, jQuery or MooTools, and then produce templates developed for them specially.

Google already host the latest versions of those libraries (announced in May 2008), so it would just be a case of the left hand talking to the right hand :-)

If you're into web development and you haven't played with one of these libraries, I suggest heading over to JQuery (or see the stunning demo page) immediately and seeing the future!

Blogger Buster Competition Announcement

Links: AJAX Libraries API at Google Code, Blogger Buster post, JQuery

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Winter Food

Winter is one of my favorite times of the year. When I think of winter I think of crisp mornings, cosy fires, stormy bay views, complete darkness (as complete as you can get in the 'burbs at night), my birthday, and of course, winter food.

Here's some of my favorite winter foods, some of which have been around since I was a kid, and some of which - gasp! - I can actually make:

  • Chilli Con Carne - Mexican-style beef mince on rice (like this recipe). Yum.
  • Spaghetti Bolognese - can be made basic or fancy, preferably not from a tin, but must include red wine, according to Olivia :-)
  • Soup - Olivia makes a great cauliflower and bacon soup (I scanned her recipe, at left), and a fantastic pumpkin soup. I love soup, but I've always maintained that by itself it's not a meal...add some thick-sliced bread, though, and it comes close!
  • Pizza - Olivia discovered an easy-to-make base at a Tupperware "party", and it's become a family favorite. Almost anything can be used as topping.
  • Casserole/Stew - OK, so meat is a recurring theme here. I don't think I've ever met a casserole I didn't like.
  • Last of all, Roast - the meat cooked in the Weber, with roast vegetables from the oven - perfect for having guests. Lamb, pork or beef are all good.
Wow. Now I'm hungry!

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Mini Reviews

A short note: I've updated my "Mini Reviews" sidebar (in case you're reading this through an RSS reader and don't visit my site) with a couple of my movie and book reviews including Iron Man, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and I'm Not There.

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They Said

Some funny things were said recently that I just had to write down. Hopefully they're not too incriminating - I think they're just plain funny:

A couple of weeks ago we drove past a sign advertising the Australian band "Kisschasy", playing on the following Friday night at a certain pub. I mentioned that the name "Kisschasy" was a cool name for a band. Olivia said "I thought they were playing the game kiss chasy!"

TJ and Maya made a Mother's Day card for my Mum (Grandma). TJ was pretty proud of his work, and after finishing it, said "Grandma's going to go freaky with love when she sees this!"

Maya told this brief story at the dinner table: "Oma (Olivia's Grandma) went skydiving but she needed someone to catch her because she's too old". Being "too old" is the underlying cause of a lot of things, according to Maya's logic.

Of course Heath doesn't want to be left out of the whole speaking thing and is able to say some pretty tricky words, like "raspberry", "apple" and "lightning". His favorite word is "No", usually accompanied by brisk head shaking to accentuate it. His newest words are "K" (for "OK") and "Yes". He can nod his head too, but sometimes it overbalances him!

Just to show that I'm unbiased, here's a dumb story with me in it:
Recently I was trying to tell Olivia about a recent comic strip I'd read on "Basic Instructions". I mucked the whole thing up and ended with a mumbled "...I guess you had to be there". Olivia suggested I needed a new comic strip: "How to tell your wife a funny joke".

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Is There Room for One More Coles or Safeway in Your Area?

I strongly encourage you to take six minutes and watch a short video over at Get Rich Slowly on modern society's urge to shop:

"99% of the stuff we harvest, mine, process, transport, and consume is trash within six months. Only 1% of the materials used to produce consumer goods (including the goods themselves) are still used six months after the date of sale."

Particularly chilling is the following quote too from a retail analyst in the 1950's (my emphasis):
"Our enormously productive economy ... demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption.... we need things consumed, burned up, replaced, and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate."

Love to hear your thoughts! So, is there room for one more Coles or Safeway in your area :-)

Links: The Story of Stuff

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