Monday, February 28, 2005

Firefox vs Internet Explorer

I've been using Internet Explorer for years. Why IE? Well, like most people who use IE, it's probably habit more than anything else. It installs with XP so it's pretty easy to just use what's there.

Anyway, a while ago I started having problems with my computer. IE became so unstable that it was unusable. There were other problems too, so I knew a rebuild was on the cards. In the meantime, I decided to install another web browser so I could by until the rebuild.

I installed several web browsers and my favourite was definitely Firefox.

Get Firefox
I was able to set up everything the way I like it (and similar to the way I'd had things set up in IE), and I had the added benefit of a more stable browser. Another pro is that if Firefox does go wonky on my machine I can just re-install it. When IE goes wonky you have to re-install the whole XP operating system!!

My machine has now been rebuilt and IE is up and running again. However, I was so happy with Firefox that I've decided to continue using it as my primary web browser. Unfortunately, I still have to use IE for some things as not all developers design things to be browser independent. Oh well.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

First hard reset on my hx4705

Things have been getting progressively more sluggish on my iPAQ so I decided it was time for a hard reset. For those not so familiar with Pocket PCs, a hard reset is like like a rebuild on a computer.

iPAQ hx4705
iPAQ hx4705

This is actually a pretty big deal for me because I have never done a hard reset on my iPAQ 3970 in the 2 years I've had it. I know I probably should have, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it!

iPAQ 3970
iPAQ 3970

Anyway, I've done the hard reset and I am now re-installing everything. Tonight I'm just installing the essentials: Wisbar Advance 2 (and Juni's custom Jinjan WA2 skin), Fitaly, MemMaid, Tweaks2k2, Calendar+, Weather Panel, Battery Pack Pro, Resco File Explorer, Avantgo and Egress. Next weekend I'll have a crack at installing the rest of the apps.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Blackcurrant tea a success

I brought my Fortnum and Mason blackcurrant tea into the office a few weeks ago and it's been a real hit. The tea drinkers here (some only drink coffee) love it and have been out to Fortnum and Mason purchase more tea supplies!

Mmmm... blackcurrant tea
Now we have blackcurrant tea, raspberry tea and apple tea. Mmmm!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Commuter Ignores Lovable Bear

Want to see some cool original artwork? Check out Matthew's gallery:

My favourite pic is this one - I know I couldn't resist a teddy bear!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Cubing and Matt LeBlanc's new TV show

Matt LeBlanc's new show, Joey, has started airing in the UK. I initially wasn't planning on watching it because Joey was was not exactly my favourite character on Friends, and I thought a whole show about him might be a bit much.

However I'd heard, via a post in the online speedcubing group, that there was a speedcubing joke in the first episode, so I decided to give it a go.

I was surprised to find myself laughing at various scenes. I had pretty low expectations so it can't have been too difficult to exceed them.

The funniest scene, to me, was the one that involved the speedcubing comment. Before I run through the scene I should point out a few statistics about speedcubers so you can appreciate why I found it so amusing. The vast majority of speedcubers have the following three things in common: (i) they are male, (ii) they are in their teens or twenties, (iii) their profession (or course of study if still at school/university) is related to maths, engineering, IT or some other area of science.

The background to the scene is that self-confessed ladies' man Joey and his highly intelligent, but socially awkward, nephew are getting ready for a night out. Joey is offering advice about how to talk to girls...

Michael: Great, let me just make sure I’ve got everything. I’ve got some money. I got my fake ID...

Joey: Ah...

Michael: Yeah, these are cool. Some guys at CalTech made these. They’re impossible to tell apart from the real thing. But, I did have a little fun with it. Check out the name. (Shows Joey)

Joey: Neils Bohr?

Michael: The famous physicist. He developed the -

Joey: No thanks, nope. Look, uh, Michael, as your teacher, I feel like we should talk a little bit about your rap. Okay? Now, we have to take your greatest weakness, your intelligence, and turn that into a strength, okay? Now, what kind of stuff are you smart about?

Michael: Uh, I know physics.

Joey: No. Next.

Michael: Maths.

Joey: No. Next.

Michael: Uh, I enjoy cubing.

Joey: What’s cubing?

Michael: That’s when people share different strategies to solve Rubik’s cubes.

Joey: Ehh. Next.

Michael: Uh, also, speed cubing.

Joey: Ehh! Ehh! Ehh! Next!

Friday, February 18, 2005

hx4705 battery lock causes panic!

I had a brief panic this morning when my hx4705 wouldn't turn on. At first I thought that I'd accidentally let the battery run completely flat. As any PDA user can tell you, this is a bad thing because it means you lose data. It's an especially bad thing if you haven't done a back-up in a while (which I hadn't!!)

I plugged the iPAQ into the power and attempted to turn it on again. Still nothing. Then I tried using the soft reset button. Still nothing. I wondered if it was so flat that it needed to charge for a while before it would turn on. So I left it charging for a while and tried again. Still nothing. Other thing that didn't look too promising was that the orange power light on the iPAQ was not flashing. Even if the iPAQ was flat, this light would normally come on when it's plugged into the power.

I was quite distressed at this point. I was now hoping that the problem was indeed a flat battery (which meant I had lost a pile of data) and not something more serious, i.e. a dead iPAQ. I wondered if maybe there was something wrong with my charger, so I tried charging with my sync/charge cable. Still nothing. I pulled the iPAQ out of it's nice leather Sena case to check out the battery. It looked fine. Dearie me, I thought. What is going on??

Finally, after much distress, I realised what the problem was. The battery lock had been bumped into the 'unlock' position. It must be in the 'locked' position for the iPAQ to power up. I guess this just happened when it got bumped around in my bag.

I flicked the battery lock into the 'locked' position and used the soft reset button. It was an enormous relief to see the screen light up!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Another addition to our kitty family

I got home the other day to find this adorable little kitty snoozing on the couch. Peter said she called out to him from the shop and asked him to take her home! :)

Snoozy grey kitty and her mouse

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Dyed my hair

I dyed my hair last week using L'Oreal Feria Pure Violet Power.

I've tried numerous brands of hair dye and L'Oreal's Feria range is the only one whose colour sticks in my hair. Despite the labels on all the other brands saying 'permanent' and 'won't wash out' and 'fade resistant', I find that the colour is mostly gone after only a few weeks! I've even been to the hairdresser once or twice and spent a lot of money (my hair is very long) getting them to dye my hair, and still the colour faded out after a few weeks. So now I only use L'Oreal Feria.

About a year ago I dyed my hair using L'Oreal Feria Pure Purple Power and the colour came out really well. In the second half of last year, when I was in the US, I tried to get the same colour but couldn't find it anywhere. The shops only had boring colours on the shelf -- no purples or burgundys!

Now that I'm in London there are lots of dark purple and dark burgundy options from which to choose.

BTW way, my dyed hair isn't actually full on purple, it's a rich dark brown with purple/burgundy tones. The purple/burgundy is particularly obvious when the light shines on it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Little snow leopard followed us home

Here's a picture of the little baby snow leopard who followed Peter and I home from the London Zoo last month. She reminded us of a special little kitty back in Australia called Modesty so we've named her after that kitty.

Little snow leopard who followed us home from the London Zoo

Monday, February 14, 2005

Friday, February 11, 2005

Chairman and Yip

My favourite restaurant in the whole world is Chairman and Yip in Canberra. Obviously there are a vast number of restaurants in the world I've never been to, but of the ones I have been to, Chairman and Yip is my favourite. Actually, I should be more specific and say that Chairman and Yip's sampler menu is my favourite.

Peter and I never found a restaurant in Washington DC that we liked better than Chairman and Yip. The best one we tried was 1789, which was excellent, but didn't top Chairman and Yip.

Last night, for Peter's birthday, we went to Bleeding Heart. Peter thought it was great (which is good because it was his birthday). I thought it was good, but not spectacular. We both particularly liked the service -- the waiters were helpful without being obtrusive. At some restaurants the waiters are coming over all the time asking if everything is okay -- sometimes to the point where they are really interrupting the meal. On the other hand, there are some places where it's very difficult to attract the waiter's attention and you have to spend so much time waiting and looking for them.

At Bleeding Heart, Peter and I thought the waiters had the right balance balance between being around and being helpful, but also leaving us alone at the right times to enjoy our meal without being interrupted.

As for the food, I thought it was very good, but not spectacular. I really enjoyed the food, but didn't feel it was a taste sensation. Peter, on the other hand, thought it was great and was keen to go back again. Meanwhile, I'm keen to go back to Chairman and Yip next time we're in Australia!

Sunday, February 06, 2005