Still alive

We’ve been on silent running for the last little while. Moving plans have gone well, we’ve got most of our storage issues sorted, only a few things left to sort out (what we’re doing with the car, what we’re doing with my computer, sorting out what we’re doing with our health insurance while we’re overseas)

16 days to go!

arduino rgb ethernet light :D

Some time ago (October), I saw Philips Livingcolour lamps and thought they were awesome and I should make one. I did some thinking, and decided not to re-invent the wheel, and make some changes.

Arduino with Ethernet and MaxM

So I made one, that is ethernet connected and can be controlled by a webpage :) I used an Arduino, with an NKC Ethernet board (standard Arduino Ethernet compatible, don’t use this one), and a BlinkM MaxM.

RGB Ethernet Arduino, in use

I bought a couple of BlinkM’s and MaxM’s from sparkfun. And they are fun.

And the best thing, I didn’t have to write much code at all. Thanks to this guy. It needed some poking to run in the Arduino IDE, but eventually got there. Problem now is is that I have about 26 bytes of spare space on the Arduino. I just hope I’m not using the optimised Ethernet library yet.

screw you from Singapore Airlines

I used to be quite a Singapore Airlines fanboy. But they’re not keeping up the cool. Firstly, a few months ago, they cut ALL of their flights to Vancouver, and now only fly codeshare via San Francisco. This is not what I want. Therefore, we’re flying with Air Canada.

Now I get an email saying this:

As a valued KrisFlyer member, I am writing to inform you that as a result of a commercial impasse with Flight Centre, Singapore Airlines airfares might not be available for purchase through Flight Centre retail outlets.

Singapore Airlines is still committed to giving our customers great value fares. Singapore Airlines has agreements in place with other major travel agents, and our flights can be booked as per normal through all other travel agency groups, or online at

Whatever the reasons, it doesn’t mean I’ll change travel agents, it means I’m more likely to change airlines. The fact is that aside from Travel Centre (and their offshoots) and STA Travel, there aren’t any other major travel agency groups that cater to my market segment in Australia. And as for the fares on, they are laughably expensive compared to prices on the same flight through travel agents.

So well done Dale, Singapore Airlines Passenger Marketing guy, I hope this standoff is going to be worth it.

Accommodation booked for Vancouver!

We have some immediate accommodation booked to see us through from June 25th – July 3rd. I’ll keep my fan club off my trail and not say where, but it will do quite nicely.

The weeding of belongings continues, but I still need to arrange storage for a few cubic metres of stuff. Hmm!

On lens envy

Pete Souza is a lucky guy. He gets to be official Whitehouse photographer, not just the current one, but he was also Reagan’s too. He also gets to play with lots of shiny toys, and uploads photos to the Whitehouse flickr stream.

Thanks to this, you can EXIF stalk his kit. But not too closely. They strip out the device serial numbers from the EXIF, so you can’t tell how many of each he has. Let’s assume it’s a few. I wish I had a couple of Canon 5D mkII (AUD$3995) cameras. Anyway, this seems to be what he’s been using:

It’s a tough life. I really want the 24mm f/1.4L II USM. Hell, I’d even settle for version I :P

State of play

Well, marathon effort, but everything got moved out on time, carpets, windows, bathrooms cleaned. New tenant happy. Also sat on 11 interviews at UWA and did a budget submission for a university unit. Talk about a week of burning the candle at both ends and then starting in the middle..

Now things are quieter. Staying at mum’s place in North Perth, and going to have a much more relaxing weekend than last week. Still have to sort out issues of storage for some items, and disposal of others, but at least we still have a month to do that.

Execute order 66

After a while being concerned with the state of and how hard it was to update, I’ve migrated them both into a single install of WordPress on, including a new site design, cross posting, twitter feed syndication, and eventually flickr and facebook integration.

Most of the old content from is still there, or the links have been redirected.

Very very happy with WordPress so far. It’s so clean and easy to setup, use and customise. The only thing I haven’t been able to work out how to do is make pages that exist at specified URLs, are managed by WordPress, but which don’t appear in sidebars, indexes etc. I want a 410 page to deal with any content I don’t want migrated, but maybe a 404 will have to do.

So yeah, check it out –

Movin’ on up

.. to the north side ..

Our packing continues unabated. Unfortunately the nice NZ couple didn’t end up renting this place, and they haven’t contacted me about furniture, so we’re now going through and arranging with everyone that they still want what they have claimed.

Let me or Elizabeth know if anything grabs your fancy.. we need it all out of here, pretty much this weekend. If you’re interested, but not at the price posted, feel free to make cheeky offers


My BlinkMs and MaxMs finally arrived last night. Very cool. It does however seem that sketch that lets the scheduler communicate with them only runs on Arduino 0012, while the sketch for my Ethernet shield only runs on Arduino 0015.

Which brings me to some self beration over buying that shield. I bought the older style ENC28J60 shields, rather than the much nicer Wiznet 500 ones. Oh well, I’ll just buy one of those instead.