Monday, 26 May 2008


So there I was taking a 40minute break from poolside living, endless banquet food and dial a drink. It was 7am in the morning, not an altogether disagreeable time for healthy pursuits. I was feeling pretty good with myself when I spied this sign.

Obviously 4/5 recommendations are pretty self explanatory for someone who has visited a place of exercise whilst staying at a hotel. But the third warning is particularly humorous. Horseplay? horseplay conjours up quite a few unsavory gym activities in my minds eye

  • Equine themed roleplay
  • Racing, betting & over the top clothing
  • Overenthusiastic, spastic & plastic commentated proceedings
  • Stirruped, spurred and cropped nonsense

Obviously one should never overestimate the the intelligence of its patrons, even when they are attempting conscience easing healthiness.

More thought provoking writing incoming. I have been waylaid by self serving indulgence....
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Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Tech Tools for Traveling

I have been researching ways to increase the worldwide infection rate of my smile inducing & thought provoking writing. I have learned with some effort that a moderately successful method is to create link bait.

That is, provide a list of useful links and tools that people will find whilst searching the web and hopelessly smitten with my mind and measure they will return. Hopefully with a friend.

My modest preamble is merely a transparent way of announcing my intentions. In an election year it is important to use the word transparent at least once a day.

Probably a good place to start is talking about my old systems and ways of doing things.


At home or at work I have had the luxury of
  • A lot of Storage
  • A lot of Memory
  • A lot of screen real estate
  • Reliable Fast Internet

I am a fan of technology. I like my toys. The thought of traveling with out an outlet for my fingers is mildly terrifying.

I knew from lugging my laptop and assorted goodies around New Zealand that small was going to be the order of the day. The MacBook Air beckoned but the single usb port and lack of standard connectors was a turn off.

As alluded to earlier I settled with an EEE-PC but I have been challenged with the following
  • Limited Storage (4gb ssd 4gb HDSD)
  • Limited Memory (512mb ram)
  • Small 7inch Screen

First thing I did was upgrade the ram inside the EEE-PC with a 1gig stick. I may pick up a 2gig chip when I my wife is using it regularly. Form strategic alliances before purchasing tech additions.

I picked up an 8gib Sandisk SDHD card. $53 thank you very much.

I picked up Targus Ultra Portable USB optical mouse with retractable cable. The retractable cable is the clincher. When using a laptop in funny positions having a mouse cable that is only as long as it needs to be is perfect.

I already use a 4gig memory stick. I have ordered a 16gig memory stick which should be able to carry a bit of media on it.

I have my eyes on one of these as elegant way of adding bluetooth to my eee-pc but I think I can manage with out it for now

That is about it for hardware. A backpackers mantra is to not have anything that you won't mind getting stolen. Somewhat cynical but also somewhat wise.


Having a 4gigabyte system drive poses some interesting challenges. Thankfully there are some fantastic resources for a EEE-PC user. I would recommend all of these if you looking to trim some of the fat off your PC.

Guide on how to get Windows XP down to a 573mb install

  • Uses an iso creation tool called nLite

Patch windows holes and nuances. There is a vista version available as well.


Sound antivirus software which has served me well. Runs fine on EEE-PC as well!


Great way to give XP a new look if you are pining for Vista. It also has some great readability features which are a godsend with a 7inch screen

Turn off your swap file

If you are packing a gig of ram and have followed some of my advice you probably don't need a swap file anymore. Get rid of it.

If it can run off a flash drive let it

portable apps is a great resource.

I am currently running


portable version of the ever popular firefox. More firefox goodies later!

free download manager

Very smart file download manager intergrates with flashgot. Will get to that later! Also has a file upload component

foxit a pox upon adobe and the crappy way they handle pdf. Get foxit and free your pc!


Cheap long distance phone calls


Why limit yourself to one messaging program when you can
  • AIM
  • Bonjour
  • Gadu-Gadu
  • Google Talk
  • Groupwise
  • ICQ
  • IRC
  • MSN
  • MySpaceIM
  • QQ
  • SILC
  • Sametime
  • XMPP
  • Yahoo!
  • Zephyr
All from inside one small program.

If you can, do it on the web with the web

The web is everywhere. It follows you around. If you save things on the web then they are relatively safe. With a bit of thought you can move most of your goodies onto the web and do a lot of you work from inside an internet browser.

First things first. Sign up for a webmail account from google. Unless you are incredibly paranoid you probably already have a free account from a big provider. They all offer great things for free. Some of the best features of Google include.

Communicate, show & share
Share your life online with a blog -- it's fast, easy, and free
Organize your schedule and share events with friends
Create and share your projects online and access them from anywhere
Fast, searchable email with less spam
Create mailing lists and discussion groups
Meet new people and stay in touch with friends
Find, edit and share your photos
Get all your blogs and news feeds fast
Build 3D models quickly and easily
IM and call your friends through your computer
View web pages in other languages
Watch, upload and share videos

One more to add to that list. I have been using

Add news, games and more to the Google homepage

For a while as a portal. It is a pretty easy way to setup a webdesktop from which you can start your internet session from.

One of the best benefits of using the web in such a way is that you can move documents, media and even large files online. This has given me more confidence in leaving behind all of my storage.

Google Docs can store important docs, spreadsheets and even presentations.

Picasa can store up to a gigabyte of photos

Firefox add on gspace is very clever way of using your gmail account like hard drive. Mine is six gigabytes and counting.

Flashgot is a great firefox add on for downloading things from the web. It also integrates with free download manager that you installed before.

Yet to be tested on the EEE but.....

If you are like me and subscribe to a few RSS feeds. Do a bit of social networking and often run a few instances of your browser and screeds of tabs.

Flock browser is for you! A bit hard to explain but think of the mother ship browser which pulls everything together in one very slick package.

Go visit the website it has won screeds of awards and comes with my double thumb salute!

Ok thats about me for now. I will do some revisions in the future and add things as they come to mind. I expect once I get on the road I will have a few more insights to share. Feel free to add your suggestions as comments!



Post Australian Sojourn update

Right so we traversed the tasman. Soaked up the sun and hunkered down for the wet.

My mobile geek system worked well and I have a few ideas for refinements.

Use usb charging cables if at all possible. Did you know most phones and gadgets can be charged with a usb cable? This is a great space efficient way to keep your tech tools juiced up and it means you don't need to worry about universal adapters and bulky ac adapters.

Work offline. Work offline. Work offline. I burned through quite a lot of bandwidth and money doing stuff online. It is counter productive and expensive. Use the web for backing up or showing off your work when it is ready.

I have found this tool invaluable. HTTrack lets you mirror favourite websites to storage for offline browsing. Download your favourite travel websites before you start traveling and use them off line.

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Monday, 19 May 2008

I will be what I write

As alluded to earlier I have experimented with a wide variety self improvement reagents and disciplines during my time on earth. But one of the most effective and easiest to forget lessons is.

Things that are written down happen.

This is the closest thing to magic I know. It is simple but its simplicity belies the fact that most people do not have the time to write down what they want to have happen. And if they did have the time, they would not know what to write.

Swirling around in the cauldron of my mind. A right royal carnival of colossall calamity has sat silently waiting for me to take the time to write down what I wish to happen.

Consider this blog the moment I uncorked the genie bottle. Broke pandoras box. Lay it all on the table. To quote the erstwhile George Clinton from the 1990 Period piece House Party

"I did it, two tears in a bucket, fuck it, lets take it to the stage"

To juxtapose the planning from rocketry and my writing. I shall lay out the future in a series of stages

Stage One

Store important Artifacts

It is hard to know where I will be in a years time. But even superman has a retreat where his best treasures are kept safe from prying eyes.

Celebrate Friendships

I love all of my wonderful and varied friendships. I do not have the time to see everyone in the capacity that I would like but it will be nice to celebrate them all in one place before we blast off

Leave things in order

Loose ends will be tied. Affairs taken care of. Discombobulations ceased. Maybe a small ceremonial burning of choice chaff

Stage Two

Leave New Zealand

This is where things get a bit loose. Imagine if you will a snowball rolling in multiple directions at once. Getting larger and larger. Traveling at differing speeds, pausing to contemplate and maybe to add to this very blog entry.

Every continent must be accounted for.

But if we must be specific


Should keep me on my feet for a few months

Stage 3

Write every day.

It is easy to write at the moment. This is because the sun via Gemini is washing over my cranium with thoughtful Gemini like impulses. But writing is a discipline and with some gumption I will develop my writing muscles so I can write like this in my sleep or upside down in a pinch.

Rewrite when I can not write

When my neural strata is spent I shall rewrite past writing with the ferocity of an antagonised ant eater.

Do some good in the world

The world needs a bit of help. I would like to help it. I do not know what I will do but I will do it.

Stage 4

If I get to stage 4 and I have not found a way to help the world through writing and traveling. I will probably need to find employment so I can do some more traveling. I will find a job that both interests me and allows me to work on stage 3.

And that is that. Why did I not write this earlier? Probably because I wasn't ready too and therein lies my trick.


More Humane than a Human?

Typically one is spurred to write, when one has strong emotions. This is why robots do not write good prose and Dr Spock's singing career fell flat. I have written from numerous emotions but nothing as sad as what I type now.

Ferris Wes McConnell was born in 1994. His first few days were spent in a roller door of a cowshed and his life may have been largely uneventful but he was destined for a life with humans. He was adopted by my sister christened Wes and developed a taste for full cream milk.

He got rather large and to this day carries an underbelly reminder of his early excess. To his credit he was an apt hunter but his real talents lay in human relations and as an ambassador for the feline kind. Patient and temperless he always had time for anyone and could be coaxed into a conversation with little effort.

Ferris came into my life shortly before I met my wife. It was timely. I had been recommended to get a pet by good council. I was still in my self prescribed, self medicating stage of self development and a pet was agreed as a good way to get some grounding.

Ferris rapidly adapted to a bachelors life and quickly became a frequent visitor to many laps. His ginger fur caused much consternation before people left the house. But with some grace I was able to offer a lint lifter and a knowing smile.

When my wife came along Ferris rapidly became her cat. Like sitting in the warmest part of the house each day. The sunlight of my wifes affection became his favourite place to lounge. At first I was put out and then I realised. He is just as clever as me. He likes Annas company to my own and who am I to blame?

At this juncture things become sombre. Given Ferris's age and health, we could not find a family to him to stay with whilst we travel the world. We had resigned to a tearful farewell to our ginger redeeming friend.

In fact this morning whilst I was writing this I must admit to feeling pretty glum. So glum that I finished about two paragraphs ago and went and cuddled ferris as is want in our house when one feels suitably sad.

But ferris is not ready to move on to his next stage of reincarnation just yet. The gods smiled. A suitable home was found and Ferris may fit in a few more stories before his tale is told.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

A world awaits

I think of the earth as a freshly picked orange, ripe and ready to eat. The smallest of slivers eaten (New Zealand) the rest of the orange lies hidden under an inviting peel.

Resolved to traveling things are falling into place.

Before embarking on a quest. Good heroes must stock up on provisions and take inventory.

A pack to carry equipment

Footware to traipse and wander in

And a suitably sized Laptop

Now to plan an Odyssey. Stay tuned.