Saturday, December 31, 2005

of Japanese Vending Machines

I thought the vending machines in Japan were a great idea. I even liked how you found them inside youth hostels and as a result, when back in Australia discovered that I did not know how to pronounce the names of any Japanese beers on the grounds that I had always purchased beer from vending machines, including in said youth hostels. Now maybe the stuffy rules hostels here in Australia could learn a thing or two from their Japanese counterparts. Unfortunately some of the same said Australians cannot get over the fact that some people but panties from vending machines. One day they might grow up. One machines they do not have in this photo archive, is the hot food vending machine. I ate a take away meal from one in Naha on Okinawa.

This site has lots of interesting vending machines including all of the types I have discussed so far. But my favorite is the recycling one shown here. Now they need these machines in South Australia. (You will have to buy an can or bottle of drink in Australia to find out why.)

I originally came across this site from a Japanese Radio podcast, which I think comes from my favorite Japanese city, Okayama. It is couple of really cool Americans, one who speaks Spanish. But beware of the cows.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Totally Gourdgeous & Penelope Swales

Well I am totally chuffed! This CD is due for release on 2006-01-16 and I have it early. Yay! I had to add the album details to the Grace Note library. This is only the second time, in all the hundreds of CDs I own. There does not seem to be any method in iTunes to add the CD cover details. This is the first CD I have imported where I have set all the tracks initially to 4 stars. Usually they only get 3 stars.

Brian's recommendation - Buy while you can. (disclaimer - Brian is not a stock broker or licensed financial adviser. This advice does not count as official financial advice. His musical skill is more defined by intent to play well rather than real skill. But he knows good music when he sees it.)

In iTunes, you can set songs you like to play more often, but it takes quite a few play lists to do so. I have 2 star tunes (for radio podcasts and the like) set to play once only, 3 stars play more often, 4 stars play twice as often as 3, and 5 stars place twice as often as 4. Normally tunes start at 3 stars. If when playing, I really like the tune, I increase the star rating by one. Though down from three means one. To do this you need to use the smart play lists. Create a play list which is capped in number of play times for each star level. Currently I have 1, 3, 6 and 12 play times for 2, 3, 4 and 5 stars respectively. Then you create a composite play list, from the other play lists using the OR function. (In the previous play lists you needed to use AND.) Set the play list to random playing. This feature relies on the fact that you are constantly restarting the play lists. I do this quite regularly as I download radio station and other content from the podcasts.

Penelope is one of my favorite singers, from a song writing view a bit like and Australian Bob Dylan, though the style is contemporary Australian Folk. This band has a stronger Jazz influence. You can hear some samples, though they have been compressed too much and sound tinny. There are also a few mp3 files at This is where I first heard Penelope. The tracks on the CD have a much better quality (of course). Now that I have learned that they (Totally Gourdgeous) have two other albums (maybe marketing is not their big point), I will have to get these.

Penelope is from Emerald. How I pine for the Dandenongs with their huge forests, now that I live in suburban Sydney. Previously I lived in Kallista and Upwey. Emerald is somewhere I wanted to live... :(.

Find out more at www.totallygourdgeous.c...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Mirror Project - Brian Yap - Holiday Reflections

I'd quite forgotten about this page. There was a bit of buzz in the on-line media...and then the site dropped off the radar.

This photo was never intended to be a photo of me. I was taking a photo of Lacaster Castle, and it happened to have a reflective door. I have cropped out most of the castle and zoomed in on the door. I will have to keep an eye out for other mirror images and add them when I get a chance.

The site seems to be alive and well, though I did not see any images of reflections in the back of one's iPod... But no, on a closer look, I see a picture taken in the reflective back of an iPod. Arrgh... I cannae wait for a movie where some man, using a razor, in a desert, with lots of shaving cream foam, is shaving in the reflection on the back of his iPod. Of course it is a bright sunny day. There is probably a horse near by and the man is most likely wearing an army uniform, dirty from weeks of exposure to the elements, without being washed.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2005.. Google Earth Feed

Well I think that this is just so cool. The first time I came across Google Earth being used for race tracking was in the Darwin to Adelaide Solar Car challenge. It showed how far behind the last vehicles were. Now I know how to include my own data. So the race picture shows my house in Westmead, Sydney in the background of the image of the Sydney to Hobart race. It is a totally unexpected side effect and way cool. Also included is the sea floor image. I have always been surprised by this. They should have a sign on the boat, do not fall off here, it is very deep, while they are outside of the continental shelf.

Now all we need is to be able to view the race as a video (sped up of course) and have selectable live footage from the various media outlets.


Monday, December 26, 2005

Falling Sand Game

Disturbingly like a lava lamp, this game is true to it's title. It is strangely addictive.


Sunday, December 25, 2005

Obviously I took the wrong career path...

Now let me see, For my undergraduate degree, I originally got into Computer Science. In the end, I did Electronic Engineering. But according to this study, Engineering is way down the list. Chemistry, which is the subject in which I always did best at a theoretical level, is second last. This probably reflects my total inability to do accurate lab work. Even I could see the writing on the wall there. English, which I consistently fail, is at the end, where it belongs. This represents the dichotomy of using the web. I have to write to express my views. But, alas, writing is perhaps my worst skill. At least I have learned to use the spell checker in most cases before I post. Mostly... Only one mistake, thus far, found in this page by the checker.

Back to the topic of doing a major. I feel a need to do a post graduate philosophy course to top of my Engineering course, Then I could get a job as our CCP (Chief Corporate Philosopher) where I work.

You scored as Philosophy. You should be a Philosophy major! Like the Philosopher, you are contemplative and you enjoy thinking about the purpose for humanity's existence.





























What is your Perfect Major?
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Saturday, December 24, 2005

Colossal Cave Adventuring

This is a link to my favorite computer game. I liked it mainly because it was the first computer game I played (in about 1975) and also because, a few years later, I used to go caving. The cave system is very realistic and if you read the history, you will see why.

No one ever seems to have reproduced the Start Trek game where you got to shoot up Klingons.

I used to play these games on a teletype in a school friend's front room. It was connected through to some DEC PDP 11 computers at his father's work's computing centre in Melbourne. Given the slowness of the teletypes, I would bet it was a 300 baud (bits per second) line.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Let's Go To Birmingham

It is a while since I traveled by rail in England. I traveled along this line from London to Oxford. At least I think it is the same line. This is a much more interesting view, from the front of a train many years ago. It is definitely worth the ride and the site has other interesting movies, like those of young women dancing on the beach. Well that's the Brits for you. Have to love them.

Driver's-eye view of the rail track on the London to Birmingham (via Leamington Spa) run of the Blue Pullman, to the accompaniment of Johann Strauss's Perpetuum Mobile

From the British Film Institute.

(P.S. You'd never guess that the Pullman was blue.)

Hubble Bubble Boil and Trouble

I wonder if those witches ever used their cauldron to scry the stars? If they did they could have called it the Hubble Bubble Cauldron to pre date it's satellite counterpart. They would have seen all the cool videos that you can now see on the internet.