Oct 22 2013

ok, shut your face

Category: musingpimento @ 2:48 pm

So I went to Israel last week for some work training. Our head office is in Tel Aviv, see. Good hummous. It took about 36 hours to get there (SYD > BKK: 10 hours; 8 hour layover; BKK > AMM: 9 hours; 5 hour layover; 1.5 hour delay; AMM > TLV: 0.5 hour plus jerking about in airports before/after) which is a long arse time, then when I got off the plane I was randomly selected for immediate rapid fire grilling from a security guy (why are you here, where did you come from, why is your passport empty, where are you staying, how are you getting about etc). Immigration and customs were super quick and easy though, then it was out the front to confuse the cabbie (there is no street there!) before landing at the hotel. Nice hotel, walking distance to the office and close enough to the beach that once I found my co-worker we could saunter down to the beach for beers, sunset and deep fried goodness. A good way to drop into things.

The local brew is called Goldstar by the way, and it’s not bad at all. Many were consumed over the course of the week. We also on one night found a craft beer stall that had some great red ale. That was extensively sample for quality assurance purposes. This stall was in the old port of Jaffa (4000+ years old that is) that we’d had a tour about in earlier that night. Nice place, populated by artists and an orange tree that’s suspended in a clay blob. As you do.

Getting about Tel Aviv was pretty easy, we mostly walked places as we had a nice central location. There’s a lot of scooters there, we kept walking past a scooter parking strip that seemed to also be a place to strip mine scooters for parts. There were a few there that had been seriously lightened. The hotel we were at is in the Azraeli towers, which is across the road from the main IDF base. This means that the were a lot of young adults wandering about in uniform – everyone in Israel has to do national service, including the ladies. This has the upside of ensuring that the people are very fit – there were ladies there seriously rocking the baggy uniform look. Some were accessorising with an M16.

So one thing that everyone told me about Israel is that leaving is harder than entering, as the security process at the airport are rigid and extensive. It was made easier for me because I had a mokdan – basically work registered me as one of the good guys, so I had less scrutineering through the security checks. My colleague didn’t have this, so he was not so lucky. Basically once we had some light interrogation our check-in bags were scanned, then his was opened and physically searched to make sure he had all his socks with him. We then could check in and move on to the usual screening (x-ray the carry on, metal detector, like that) where he had another long chat with the security personel and showed off all the stuff he had with him. They were very curious. No-one won a free prostate exam this time around, but maybe next time we visit our luck will change.

So anyway, that was that. It was a fun trip, the training was good, and it was nice to meet people I’ve been emailing over the past year and a half. Also hummus. Not enough garlic in it, but otherwise tasty.


May 27 2013

s.rolls.bun

Category: awesomeness,musingpimento @ 8:00 pm

I made sausage rolls. This is the recipe.

In a large mixing bowl: 1kg sausage mince and 1kg normal beef mince with 1 carrot, 1 onion, 7 button mushrooms and 7 cloves of garlic, all finely diced. Add a dash of soy sauce (or fish sauce or bbq sauce..) 1 egg and.. whatever else to taste. Food processor kicks bottom with this.

Mix with hands until homogenous.

Take a handful of mixture and roll in flour until an even roll – the length of a pastry sheet. Repeat ad nauseum.. should be about 12-14 of them.

Thaw 6 or 7 sheets of puff pastry. (presuming a sheet is about 25-30cm square)

Place a roll o’ filling on one end of a thawed pastry sheet. Roll over until sealed, it should be half a sheet. Slice through and do the same with the other half of the sheet.

Cut into two or three rolls, depending on whim. 4 if you want party size nibbley ones. Score the top a few times across them, about 7mm apart. Tamp the ends down gently.
Repeat until all mix is wrapped.

Place all onto a baking tray greased with butter, making sure they’re separated.. they’ll expand. Recommend you line the tray with alfoil. Brush them all with some beaten egg.

Cook in a pre-heated oven at 180 C, then reduce to 100 when pastry is golden brown. Leave in oven to cool. Recommend you put a drip tray in place…

Admire and consume tasty handywork. Freeze the ones you don’t eat to be consumed later.. will be nicely warmed in the oven when you want them.. (microwave for 2 mins on medium then oven until the middle is warm)

Click here.

Also I made a pasta bake.

So it turns out that these Vine things are kinda great if you do em right. Who’da thunk it?!


Jul 22 2012

over engineering

Category: musing,randomnesspimento @ 3:53 pm

I went shopping just now and bought this three-pack of tissues. Basically, it’s three boxes of tissues that are then help together with cling wrap.

It got me to thinking.. why three boxes and cling wrap? Why not one tall box? The first challenge with that is once the first 10cm of tissues was used, you’d have to be digging around inside the box to reach then, as they wouldn’t dispense properly at that point. Not unless they were really long tissues, which would just be silly. I figure the way to get around this would be to have a scissor-jack in the bottom of the box that one could wind up as the tissues are running down in order to always have them dispensing nicely out the top. Simple, right? I’ve even added this diagram here.

Basically, the box of tissues has an open bottom and a slot in the side so it slips over the jack. The added benefit of this is that it promotes customer loyalty, as the jack is obviously re-useable. Once the customer has bought the initial tall tissue box kit with tissue elevation jack ™, when they run out of tissues they can purchase the tall tissue box refill pack. It’s environmentally friendly! They can even buy three refills held together with cling wrap to always ensure they have a spare handy.

These are the things I think about.


Apr 17 2012

windows: the phone: 7: the redialling: 2: it’s straight up dawg time

Category: awesomeness,musingpimento @ 9:31 pm

So, I should follow up that last WinPhoPo..st. I’m still liking my phone, I believe it contains much goodness and also much potential. Last time I ended with some gripes, one of which I should retract – you can cancel an autocorrect before it happens, you just have to tap what you just typed. The trick is noticing that there’s going to be an autocorrect action about to happen. Not unpossible, but pretty simple to miss. Since that last post there’s a couple of observations made:

- Accidental clicking when scrolling seems to be pretty common for me.. not sure if I’m doing it wrong, but I find that I look for empty space to scroll through my ‘what’s new’ feed. The feed itself however is rather grouse, though it’d be nice if there was a way to ‘share’ facebook junk on there. Given that that doesn’t seem possible in any mobile facebook thing though, I’m thinking that might be an API issue more than anything else. Also in my notifications feed it’d be nice to see the tweet that someone’s replied to. I keep forgetting.
- Custom notification sounds. I like that I can do custom ringtones, but I like to pair them with custom sms get tones as well. It’s a curious omission for a Nokia, given they’ve had that option forever, but obv. that one’s on Microsoft to add. Hopefully for WinPho8 anyway.
- Ringtones that loop without a gap would be a nice option to have, if only because that makes ‘tones formatted for iOS work properly. That one’s a minor one really.. it’s easy enough to just loop it yourself in Audacity for 30 seconds… probably.
- The last firmware update (12070) has basically doubled the battery life. Now I charge it every second night rather than every night. It also seems more consistant in its usage – No more sudden drops in life remaining. Very handy. It’s also apparently changed the white balance in the photos, which was a little off. I’ve not played mugh
- I have somehow managed to leave a giant scratch across my screen. Boo. :(

All in all I think it’s great. It does the core smartphone things very well: social networking, taking photos and sharing them, emails, basic internettery… it’s even a competent phone! Where it falls down is app support. There are some great ones, as highlighted last time, but there’s some pretty big gaps – large name apps like Instagram and such aren’t on there, even Skype (owned by MS now!) is missing. If you’re not a big user of specific apps then there’s probably something that’ll fit your needs, but hopefully there’ll be more support from devs in future.

Also games. There should be ways and reasons for devs to link xbox gaming to it easily.

Tags:


Mar 12 2012

windows: the phone: 7: the redialling

Category: awesomeness,musingpimento @ 9:00 pm

I announced to the world several times that I would attain a Windows Phone when Nokia produced one, so when it happened I almost felt obliged to do it. Instead I decided to do it because I wanted to. Last tuesday I took delivery of a Nokia Lumia 800 (free on the Optus $49 plan (offer available until thursday), with way more than enough calling and 1.5 jiggles of downloading). I got the black one, because for some reason it was the one available on the parenthetical special offer there, else I’d probably’ve attained the cyan one. Mostly to be different. Anyhoo, this post is to wax on and off about it so I’d best get to that. First impressions upon handling the device were universally positive from all in the office who had a go. Full disclosure, I work in an office full of people who work in a telco related environment, it’s about 50/50 iPhone/Android (mostly Galaxy Nexus) users who are well into knowing about things of this nature. The two main things exclaimed were that it feels well made (it’s a little hefty) and that it has a great screen. It’s not as dense (pixel-wise) as some other phones, but everything really pops on it. We did a side-by-side with a Galaxy Nexus on the same website and the Nokia was noticably more vibrant. It was also noticibly slower to load the page though, so there’s that. Also it’s lower res, but it’s a smaller screen so heigh ho. Size-wise it’s a little more in each direction than an iPhone4S, with a 3.7″ screen that’s super responsive, though if I use the side of my finger my nail seems to cause some false clicking when I’m trying to scroll.

The Metro UI is a suberbly coherant thing, perfectly content to present an electronic device rather than being reminiscent of a notepad, casino, wild west saloon and three other things at other times. No drop shadows, no foofaraw, just a super clean no fuss look. I really like it. I’ve heard some gripes about the back button being odd here and there but I’ve no idea why as it immediately clicked for me. Back goes back, funnily enough. If you want to multitask you hit start again to start again, and to get to the other tasks you simply hold back and select the other thing. Simple. It is a little funny to have a ‘search the web using Bing’ button present at all times, especially when there’s an additional soft search button that pops up for things like your contact list. Not sure I need to have Bing available to me at all times, but that’s really a minor thing. There’s hardware buttons on the right side for volume (also functions to silence the ringer, it’s a press and a tap), lock and camera (tap the screen to take the shot (I can’t take the shot!)) so that’s all covered nicely. Battery life is edging into two days, though I’m assured by The Internet that the latest firmware will up to triple it. Even if it doubles it, that’s pretty good.

As for using the thing, it’s all pretty simple. Import your contacts over bluetooth from your previous phone (super easy to get em from my old Nokia N97) and they’re uplourded to Windows Live, which is apparently what MSN is now. I found that it was a lot easier to sort them out from there on the win Live website as I had the capability to merge contacts together. Given my contacts list traces its way back to single entries per phone number stored on the (old, I had to get a micro-SIM for this) SIM card, I had a bit of merging to do. Also it was a good time to clean up my MSN contacts list. It would be nice to be able to merge similar contacts on the device rather than just link them, especially given one of the drawbacks of the live site – 25 contacts displayed per page and no way to select contacts from two pages to merge. Bleh. Once that was sorted though it was plain sailing to link my twitter and facebook accounts, then link all those contacts together. The nice thing about that is that the phone will grab pictures for each contact from either site, and if I pinned someone to my start page it would keep me abreast of their latest internet based witterings. As it is I have a news feed that can be set to any or all sources and a notifications page that doesn’t seem to be able to give me direct messages from Twitter. The official app can take care of that, but it seems to be an oversight that could be easily fixed. Speaking of the Twitter app, it’s been given a great Metro design – I think I prefer it to the iOS one.

As for other nice apps, I’ve found that AU Weather Pro is great for weather related things, Fuse is a great looking RSS feed dealie (and works with Google Reader accounts) IRC7 seems to be a nice IRC app and there’s a WordPress app for updating this thing on the fly. Fuse I will choose to gush over, as one of the themes available straight up is called Ipsum and I really like it – the names of the feeds are used to indicate unread messages and such. Check it before I wreck it:

I really like it, though I’ve not used it a whole lot yet. It just looks cool, so I’m going to next time I’m wanting to read my feed while away from a computer.

Lastly, here’s a sample picture. It’s not bad, given it was overcast and evening times. I imagine I’ll photog a bunch more things, so keep an eye on my tweets if you want to see more.

Now, to finish on a downer, here are some gripes constructive criticisms:
- The search button could be more useful
- It has Nokia Maps as well as Maps, Nokia Music as well as [Zune] Music + Videos, and a Nokia Blue as well as a just plain Blue colour scheme. If Nokia are going to integrate it should probably be one or the other – seems that Nokia wins for Maps and Blue, but not sure about music as I’ve not put any on there.
- The apps list (think ‘all programs’) could be unwieldy with a bunch more apps on there, even with the start menu to collate my selection of them. Might be nice to be able to nest similar things in sub menus.
- I’m not sure if there’s a way to cancel an autocorrect before it happens. There should be. Otherwise the keyboard and suggestive text is great.
- No wireless hotspot. This isn’t a phone limitation actually, it’s Optus that need to enable it. When I bugged them on twitter their guy said it ‘should be released with future updates’, so hopefully that comes to fruition.

In closing, I think I made a great decision to try something new, especially when (I choose to be hopeful) the wireless hotspot is opened up and I can link my ipod touch to it. I’m reckoning that the Metro UI has some great advantages over iOS and I’m looking forward to see where it goes. Hopefully the team there can stay on track with it and keep it going from strength to strength, especially given its newly found integration into Windows 8. More on that one later…

Tags:


Mar 04 2012

brown gold

Category: bacon and egg,musingpimento @ 10:30 pm

So, cawfee, like, it’s cawfee, ya dig? It’s what makes the industry I’m in [IT] run. Don’t call a meeting with the technical sides before 10am else you’ll end up with yawning hypercynics who don’t want to hear anything at all ever. 10am is similar, only with things improving as the coffee cups empty. Anything in the morning goes from 20% attendance to 80% attendance with the mention of coffee in the meeting invite.. add bacon and egg rolls to entice the rest. So with the enthusiasm for other beverages on this blog, why don’t I have a coffee section? I will tell you. In good time. Now is a good time. I actually get my coffee from cafes with great staff as much as great coffee. There’s a place near work that has lovely people but kinda crappy coffee that I will go to with regularity as they have a ‘yummy roll’ that contains not only bacon and egg, but hash browns and cheese as well [8/10]. The observent [and early enough] can tell when I get to with with a hangover, as I will invariably wander in with one. If it’s a really bad one, I won’t finish the coffee.. coffee makes my hangovers worse, they’re all wongly belly and caffiene seems to exacerbate things. Having half a coffee gives me a midway point between errrgh and caffiene withdrawal headaches. Don’t judge me.

So anyway, the point is that they’re lovely up there and they know what I want as soon as I stagger in. If I want only coffee then I’ll go upstairs to the cafe in the work building and get one there.. they have bacon/egg offerings as well, but they’re not as good [7/10]. My favoured way to coffee in the mornings now is to stop in at True Religion in Balmain and pick up a coffee and savoury muffin [it's good for you!], wodge the cup into the holder upon the Bonnie or in a pocket of my bag if it’s a beastie day, and have it at lovely drinking therms when I hit work. On them, their bacon & egg rolls are actually the greatest. Lovely free range eggs, delicious herb’d roll, nice bacon.. mucheo recommendato [9/10].

So anyway, the point was missed again there. The point is that there’s no coffee section because most of the time I go to a nearby coffee place that has nice people with nice coffee, it’s not just for the coffee. Or something. Basically I’ve selected my coffee places either because they’re close to work and good enough, or close to home and serve excellent coffee. The Balmain crop are Bertoni and True Religion, the work picks are unremarkable so whatevs. If you want a pick of the cafes in Balmain for stopping in for a sit down meal, go to Bar Contessa. They pretty much round out the trifecta of food, coffee and place better than the rest. Tell em I said ‘hi’. The puzzled looks will be amusing.


Feb 24 2012

visitors

Category: musingpimento @ 7:58 am

I had some visitors this morning.

Hopefully they didn’t pop in, forget the way out and crap all over the place after I left.


Dec 12 2011

text me baby

Category: musing,randomnesspimento @ 11:23 am

Time for some good old fashioned text based updating. Don’t worry my sweet reader, I’ll use small words. Mostly.

Firstly, I’ve just been reminded that recently one of the three main gripes I had with my ipod touch when I got it last year has finally been resolved! iOS 5 added proper compilation handling support, so for the first time since iOS existed, we have the funtionality back from the old click wheel ipods! Seriously, it took Apple that long to restore a feature we already had, the lack of which was causing a lot of internet based whining. Still, it’s here now, so that’s that sorted. The other two issues are hardware related, so there’s no recourse there.. also there was no ipod touch hardware refresh with the iphone refresh, so there’s not a new model that did anything about them. The lack of a usable camera leads into my next gripe related update to that previously linked post…

… in that Facebook bought Snaptu, so now I don’t have a way to put photos easily into my twitter feed directly from my (still Nokia Symbian) phones. Not sure I mentioned it on here, but my personal phone is a Nokia N97 mini (the E72 is workphone).. which isn’t very mini at all. The hardware is a great design, but the touchscreen is poor and the OS.. is Symbian. I’ve told so many people that I’m going to get a Windows Phone 7 that I have to do it now, but I’m still waiting on the Nokia ones to be made available here… so one day I’ll have a smartphone. For anyone who had a ‘GASP WINDOWS WHY YOU IDIOT’ moment, don’t knock it until you try it. Also I’ll be able to wireless hotpot my ipod to it, so best of both worlds. Getting back to the point, I’m sure there’s a Symbian app that will to twitter and pictures in one handy package, I just have to get off my arse and find it. Any suggestions?


Oct 25 2011

dark forzas

Category: musingpimento @ 3:28 pm

Hoi hoi. Etc. Gallumphing.

So recently I’ve been playing two games, Dark Souls and Forza 4. They sound rather disparate titles, but hear me out here – for all their opposing notions, they have some things in common too. I’ll start with Dark Souls, as that came out first. If you don’t know much about it, it’s basically a hack n slash RPG with roguelike elements liberally mixed in. [If you don't know what a roguelike is, check this out for a quick intro.] It’s not quite as harsh in death as a roguelike in that you only lose your souls (both currency for items and the consumable used for levelling up) and your humanity (you wander around as an undead until you choose to restore your humanity). What sets this apart from other hack n slashers is the difficulty level that is often reported as ‘brutal’. That’s probably for want of a better word – while it’s possible for any ol’ mook to kill you in seconds, you have to have rather stuffed it up for that to happen. If you’re careful about it, you’ll dispatch them fine. Where it really gets hard though are the bosses – for reference of those who’ve played it, I’m up to a rooftop battle with a couple of gargoyles. I’ve only tried it twice (and I was a little drunk the second time) but both times I lasted barely long enough to do any damage. I won’t launch into a review as those are easy enough to find about the place, but suffice to say it’s a game that presents a huge barrier of entry to and would be off putting for people who don’t know what they’re getting into.

Forza 4 is a racing sim, and it might be the best one yet. Depending on who you ask that’s either a reasoned opinion or I’m a frothing xbox fanboy who’s blind to its glaring faults. Its competitor is the latest Gran Turismo game you see, so there are many of the usual internet based arguements about which is superior in every way. Also as usual they’re unreasoned, poorly researched (if at all) and totally pointless, but hey.. it’s the internet. Suffice to say I’ve not played GT5 so am in no reason to know either way, but I can say that I’m not tempted to buy a PS3 in order to play it. Anyway, its a game that’s been geared to be fun for all players, no matter their skill. In this I can say that its been rather successful, as I (who am rather good at these things) can still have a bunch of fun playing with less experienced friends. It has its flaws; they took out the endurance racing for some reason, which I really enjoyed and the engine swap options seem to be a little less bizarre – ie, no more V8 shopping cars but still a solid effort. It’s recommended anyway, if you’re after a driving game.

So how the hell are these two related? Well, Dark Souls takes a game type that would usually see you hacking a swathe through countless mooks with nary a scratch on you and turns it into an experience that brutally punishes mistakes but ends up all the more rewarding for it. Forza 4 takes an experience that can easilly be insurmountable for a newcomer (remember this is sim racing, not Need For Speed racing) but adds layers of assists to ensure that there’s an experience in there for everyone. By working hard at presenting a cohesive experience to the player they both ensure that a deep, rewarding experience is available – in Dark Souls case to a niche section of the market who love it, in Forza 4′s case to basically anyone who likes tooling about in cars. In both cases though it helps to get very familiar and nerdy with the skills required and more importantly the physics and real world reasoning behind why such skills are required for success. Just as a little guy with no strength or endurance will survive for long in a fight, a little car with skinny tyres and a huge V8 will struggle to get around a corner without ending up a twisted wreck. Sometimes though, getting a bit sideways can lead to a big grin.


Jul 18 2011

all apologies

Category: bacon and egg,booze,musing,randomnesspimento @ 12:32 am

Hello dear reader, I hope you’re well. How’s that issue you were having with the things, I hope it’s getting sorted out satisfactorily. I hate for unsatisfactorial results in that regard. Would be most unseemly.

Anyway, just checking in really. I’m hoping to have some actual content on here pertaining to things, but it seems lately I’ll I’ve been doing is complaining. It’s not all bad though really.. if it was it’d be on here. Mostly it’s just irritating. Soon though there will be some positivity – I’ve finally organised the piece of marble I’ve been threatening to aquire for a while. I wish to make a kitchen plinth. Details will come as further developments.. develop. I’m also pondering the new bed base thing again, but that’s rather more up in the air at the minute. I’m thinking less bohemothy than I was last time though. Just some more storage space so thing seem more sparse. Too much shit lying around.. anyone want a motorcycle helmet that’s been in a crash? Mmm, me either. Think I’ll just bin that one.

One thing about the wineboarding – you only get the cheap stuff on here. The nice stuff is drunk off site with friends [I don't entertain here.. far too crummy] and I keep neglecting to photog something while out. If you do ever take any advice from me though, get some Molly Dooker. It’s all fantastic, my highlight being the Two Left Feet. Not sure about the more expensive stuff, I’ve not tried it.. but if the entry level stuff is anything to go by, it’ll knock your socks off. Also they have some US delivery arrangement, so youse sepos out there have no excuse.

As for the ol’ B&E thing, I’ve not forgotten that, I’ve just been doing my own. Some good ol’ fiends tipped me off on a better way to do things in that regard – cook bacon, crack egg into frypan then immediately chuck a nice slab o’ bread on the egg so it cooks into it. Kinda like real easy french toast, only without all the messing around. Crangasmic. Once the egg is cooked, flip it over so the back side toasts (you can have buttered it or, as I like to do, drizzled some olive oil on there) and slick a bit of cheese, the bacon and some chilli sauce on there. That way the cheese melts a bit while it’s in the pan. Do it right, it’s a 10/10 I’d wager.. I’d have to try it with duck eggs fresh from the bum and super nice bacon to be sure, but I can’t see how it could go wrong with the right ingredients. That’s really the key in that sort of thing.

Anyway, should sign off. Hopefully I’ll write again soon, but no promises. T’would clearly be hypocritical to.


Next Page »