Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lack of Anything Personal

You might have noticed that I'm writing about anything personal at the moment.

I've been horribly self absorbed. I'm thinking about the past. What did I miss? How could things have been different? Why are things the way they are now?

The most frustrating bit about it is that I realise just how much of an idiot I can be. I missed something... really big... Massive in fact. It was there, hitting me in the face and I just didn't realise. Actually.. it's more than that. I didn't let myself realise.

I was looking at my Chinese horoscope the other day. No, I don't take them seriously, but sometimes it's kind of fun. Anyway, I came across this. I can't fault it... At all.. it's so me.
"...these high-strung creatures need to feel loved and admired lest they start worrying incessantly."
 "...the Sheep will often pull away - either physically or simply by retreating into the safe haven of its imagination."
I've got to say though - it's a little discomforting, if I were to believe this is real, that my misery is preordained.

I'm not sure it's retreating exactly. It's dwelling. Dwelling in my imagination of what might have been. And worrying? I'm sure I'm one of the world's greatest worriers. So - if you're wondering how I'm doing or why I haven't really been writing about me in the blog... well... I've retreated.

Pizza and beer?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Looking to the Future

It's a Sunday and I'm back at work. I was thinking about watching some cricket today but yesterday I realised something.

Something's got to change. Something big...

A bunch of standards are changing. Mac has already made the transition. In the consumer market though, very few manufacturers have started. Asus have... for a couple of models. In fact, I now have one of those models here for the Manaiakalani project.

So these standards. BIOS (Basic Input Output System) is being replaced by UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface). As part of this, the way information is split up on a hard drive is also changing. Rather than the classic MBR (Master Boot Record), GPT (Guid Partion Table) is being used. This gets over the 2 terrabyte limit that MBR has.

What doe this mean to me? The image, as it is, isn't suitable for more modern machines. Time for trial by fire - Try to recreate the Manaiakalani image on one of these more modern machines. Ahh well.. I'm not really into cricket anyway.

Of course, with a few changes applied. It must support UEFI booting. The partition table needs to be set to the new standard. Luckily, Linux has supported UEFI since 2000. This doesn't really mean an awful lot. It means it's possible. It doesn't mean Ubuntu has been on the ball and supported it well. So I've got a bit of work to do to test it. Luckily - it's a long weekend for us in Auckland (Auckland anniversary day. When someone asked what that is, everyone in the room responded "It's just a day off". Here's a holiday that could comfortably be moved to that horribly dry period between Queen's Birthday and  Labour Day). The best bit though - at some stage the new standards will be a hell of a lot more widespread. And I'll be prepared.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Smoking's Bad For Your Health

Who knew?

I was waiting for a bus into work today when a guy approached me. I'd see him from the corner of my eye. He'd crossed the road and done an almost comical imitation of Robin, from the 1960's edition of Batman. That weird stance that Robin always took when Batman would say "Stand back Robin". Anyway, he'd crossed the road... or got half way before he had to "stand back".

So this guy approached me. He mumbled something about getting kicked off a bus for asking for a light. This concerns me a little too given that his next question was for a cigarette. There he was on a bus asking for a light and, let's face it, a cigarette is probably the better evil here... but given that he didn't have any, it seemed a little bit strange.

So there we go. He asks for a cigarette. I'm doing my best not to engage him. He seems horribly indignant when I in the negative to his request. "I'm tā whenua" he says. (to those not in the know, it means "I'm of this land").

I can't help but feel a sense of discomfort with this. I consider myself to be of this land too - not because of sense of ownership, but rather, it's the only home I've ever known.

Another guy comes and sits on the other side of me. He seems to have come from the same direction as the first guy. I start to get a little nervous about this whole thing.

Anyway, after saying no several more times, he starts to take off his jacket and hand it to his friend. And his bag. I'm sitting there trying to play it cool. He's not gearing up to hit me.. is he? Turns out he was just going off to the toilet.

Anyway, so I turn to his friend and say "hi". I'm figuring if this other guy is going to hit me, it'd be best to be on friendly terms with his friend. In a South African drawl, he says "He's tā whenua. How would you feel if someone came to your land?".

Again, kind of redundant.

Anyway, long story short, this South African guy says to me, "he just doesn't know how to live on the outside"...

35 years. I played dumb and asked what he went away for. Given that this is New Zealand and we have short sentences, 35 years could only mean murder.

I'm wondering at this stage whether I should be concerned for my safety. I mean, his friend was still there which meant that after absolving his bowels (do bowels feel guilt?) there's a fairly good chance that this guy would be coming back.

So I'm playing it cool - I'm just reading my book. Nothing to see here. I'm also scared as all hell.

So the lesson of the story? Smoking potentially gets you killed... Crap lesson I know.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Final Stretch (Before the next almost immediate stretch)

It's Saturday and I spent most of the day at the office. In fact, I was so frustratingly engaged that I looked at the clock and realised it was 6:30. Ergh... time to get out of there. Still, I'm in good condition (I think).

I've had to drop one or two things. The rewrite of the initial login script? Right out the window. So the first impression is still kind of crap. Still - at this stage, it's acceptable. It has to be ready for Monday.

So my frustration with today? Well, it's not the same frustration as the rest of the week. Rather, it was the fact that clonezilla's documentation isn't really kept up to date. They have so many great tools that just don't work with their current version that it's just frustrating. So I was trying to figure out how to customize it. I needed python installed, which isn't installed as part of their installation. Still, I found instructions on how to customize it to my needs! Brilliant!

Except... apparently those instructions are only for including your own script. It doesn't seem to want to include the packages you've installed. Python is right out the window. "No problem" thinks I. Instead, chroot into the environment. Only apt doesn't want to work.... so that's no good. Next option... Ummm... build a clonezilla environment from scratch? Yak shaving!

What is yak shaving you might ask? You want to shave your yak. Only when you get started, you realise the clippers you have are blunt. So you need to sharpen them. Only your whetstone is no damn good. So you go about trying to find a whetstone. Only you can't afford one so you start thinking about how to make your own. So you go to the beach to collect some sand only to realise that it'd turn out so much better if you used aluminium oxide. So you get some aluminium and then start trying to think of the best way to oxidise it.... etc. and so on and so forth... when a pair of scissors probably would have done.

There's a great description of it here. In fact, if you ever hear me mumble "gloves" it's a reference to that story.

So next plan... Remove the dependency. i.e. don't use python. It's messy, it means I have to rewrite a bunch of stuff... but probably the best option for now. So there we go. I'm back to using the lowest common denominator - BASH. So it took me until around 6:30 to figure that out and then to start investigating how to go about it. i.e. where to put the scripts.

I was anticipating doing a late night to get those scripts rewritten. I've decided against it. In fact, I'm getting right out old. Despite my reputation as someone who gets hardly any sleep, I've been going to bed by 8 most nights. I'm just so tired.

So tomorrow - Sunday. Rewrite those scripts and basically get the Keys to the Castle (KttC) developed. After that, sort out my BIOS issues... It's going to be a fun day tomorrow.

You know how I'm always saying things like "That's massive!"? Well... a couple of guys at work asked me if I needed some help. Massive. Absolutely fornicating massive.

Next weekend (and the weekend after) I'm essentially homeless... anyone up for doing not much someplace? I wonder if there's any cricket on during those weekends...

Friday, January 20, 2012

F.B.I. Charging New Zealanders?

My attention was just brought to this article.

It's an interesting read. 4 of the 7 people in the article were arrested in New Zealand.

What I found more interesting though, was reading up on Kim Schmitz (a.k.a. Kim Dotcom and Kimble), the founder of Megaupload, on wikipedia. He's German born but got granted permanent residency in 2010.

But, the 2nd paragraph in the wikipedia has this to say about him:
Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Schmitz gained notoriety as a computer criminal who was convicted of credit card fraud, hacking, insider trading, and embezzlement.
He became a permanent resident in New Zealand in 2010.... and he's got a portfolio that reads like the background of a really bad character. A tiny bit more digging shows up this article, to which the reason for this oddity is that his convictions were wiped clean under a German "Clean Slate" law. There's also the money bit.

Supposedly he brought $10,000,000 worth of government bonds and donated generously to the Christchurch earthquake fund.

The question is, do our immigration laws not attempt to filter out this sort of thing? And while I don't have a problem personally with MegaUpload (Actually... I do have this thing about profiting from piracy but that's a whole other kettle of fish), it seems to me that immigration laws are supposed to prevent this sort of person residing here.... aren't they?

Just a little side note - this sets a really bad precedent. The idea that a mechanism can be targeted is shocking. The site itself, and the service it provides, isn't in itself illegal. Hard drive manufacturers aren't being sued because their products are used to store pirated material. That would be ridiculous... Perhaps a more tempered approach is in order?

SOPA/PIPA

To my great discredit, I haven't really been keeping track of what's been going on in the douchey politics that seems to accumulate around the issues of copyright and intellectual property like vegetable matter around the propellers of a docked boat.

The impression I get is that there's a plan to be able to block sites on a global scale.

A really quick read on wikipedia says that SOPA stands for "Stop Online Pirarcy Act" and PIPA, "Protect IP Act". They seem quite similar in that they're looking to block "rogue" sites. I can't help but feel some discomfort about this. Given that people have had take down notices issued for having videos of their kids dancing to a particular song on youtube and the whole idea of fair use in the form of reference has gone right out the window.

And then there's Disney... I hadn't quite realised the full extent of what they've done with extending the terms of copyright. It's interesting to note that Disney was built on public domain works. Robin Hood, Snow White, Aladdin (of course being taken from Arabian Nights aka One Thousand and One Nights - tried reading it once. I found the female bashing to be horribly off putting and so never finished it), Cinderella etc. In the meantime, they're fighting to keep as much out of public domain as humanly possible.

Which ever way you look at it, there's something really ugly happening around Intellectual Property....

I saw this today and thought I would share it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Shoes Don't Make You Any "Gooder"

Is anyone else annoyed by "The Athlete's Foot" ads?

They're currently advertising school shoes and finish up the ad in a great big climatic "They fit really good".

I usually find myself wanting to correct them. "It's well you idiot. They fit really well".

And when you then put that against the people who complain that the kids of whatever school "don't even have shoes"... Well it turns out shoes don't make you any "gooder".

And let's be honest. If we could get away without wearing shoes, a lot of us would chose to.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Smoking Again - Part II

I just thought I'd write a little something about how I'm feeling about this.

I've noticed that I'm drinking a hell of a lot more water and yet my lips are still cracked. Time for a little chapstick.

Also, I'm noticing the stink a hell of a lot more. In my depressed state, I didn't really think the stink would bother me at all. I'll write a bit more on that at some stage if I can figure out how to write about it... Of course, this doesn't at all help with my self esteem.

As for my energy levels, I'm not really noticing a difference. I'm walking a lot at the moment (using exercise as an excuse but also trying my best not to have to borrow any money thus trying to spend less - I've now officially got "sod all" in my account in which case, I think I've failed on that aim). The main hassle with this is the fact that I'm feeling almost constantly dehydrated despite how much I'm drinking.

A couple of kids saw me the other day and said to me "you smell like smoke". What do you say? "Don't try this at home kids"? Really... don't try it. It's freakin' awful and once you start you form habits around it and those habits become integral to how you operate making quitting troublesome...

You don't have to stink and suffer from a dry mouth/cracked lips. Because really.... what else does smoking do for me? That sounds like something straight out of Allen Carr's books...

About those books: Some really good points but a horribly repetitive read. I'd say follow the instructions until you're really just feeling that's enough of this bollocks and jump to the last chapter. Otherwise, if you're anything like me, you'll get distracted by the fact that the book has become really incredibly boring.

Oh and no - I didn't read them for this attempt. I read it a few years ago. I had quit for a few months. I don't think I was ready. I think I am now but really do desperately need to find some way of taking breaks where I'm thinking about the code or the next step or how to get around a particular problem.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday

It's now Sunday and I'm back in the office. Beginning of the year - new image to be made. Deployment method to be sorted out. Things that hopefully make my life just a little easier this year.

So what's changing. I feel like I've talked about it all before. It's stuff that I've wanted to do, been meaning to do for a while.

The upgrade mechanism.

It hasn't been broken exactly... I originally wrote it in bash. It's intent was to make the upgrade process less obtrusive. I'd suggest this would be something that most businesses could use if running Ubuntu on their desktops. It's a system process, so it starts on it's own regardless of the user's credentials.

It's now been completely rewritten in python. This has proved a little trickier than I thought. It turns out that the python-apt libraries in lucid are woefully out of date. So it uses a combination of python-apt and subprocess calls. At some point I want to update those libraries to something more recent and rewrite it so that it's using as few subprocess calls as possible.

So here's what it does. It updates the index files. It then goes through a blacklist and uninstalls anything that's on that blacklist. It then goes through a priority list. This is a precaution for slow connections. It's beneficial to be able to tell the system to install a couple of vital packages before any others. Then it fetches packages. It's important for the fetch process to be split off from the installation process as downloading packages can take a hellishly long time and can be interrupted without fear of breaking the packaging system. And finally, it installs the packages.

The blacklist also has a package that just provides "conflicts" for each of the packages on the blacklist. This means that if a user shouldn't be allowed to install a package, if it is installed, it'll uninstall it and if they try to install it, the packaging system will just give them an error.

The system also now features a lock. So the system can not be shut down or rebooted without fear that it will interrupt something that will break the packaging system. This is a little bit risky in that it could, for some unexpected reason, not unlock so this is something I'm going to have to watch closely. If it works as it should though, it should make my life a hell of a lot easier.

Due to this, I've had to change the flashplugin-installer package. The flashplugin-installer provided by Ubuntu deletes any file that has been downloaded and then tries to download it as part of the installation process. On a slow connection, this can make an upgrade process, which should only take a couple of minutes, take an hour or more. So the package (called flashplugin-installer-resume) doesn't delete the downloaded file and allows resuming of the download.

Initial Login


This script is typically only run once. It sets up the system for the first user. That's pretty much it. It had a couple of bugs. It wasn't setting up permissions properly. So that's now been fixed. And that last post? The one about how to change the defaults for the Ubuntu Netbook Launcher... Well the real intent was to include an exclusion for maximus.

Maximus is a program that maximizes windows when they first open. It causes chaos with some programs.... such as the initial login script. The script's windows would lose focus. In UNE (Ubuntu Netbook Edition) this makes the window completely disappear except for a small icon in the top left. Not the best first impression of the interface or my efforts.

So that's what's new with the image. The next big thing on the agenda is the imaging process. Can it be altered to make use of larger hard drives? Can provisions be put on there to use the same image with EFI-BIOSes (which need a different bootloader). Network configuration, given the nature of Pre-Shared Keys, needs to go in there as well. It needs to happen seamlessly. Last year it was a month or so of chasing down kids and their netbooks to put the key on there and test that they work. This year, if the key is thrown on during imaging (and thus re-imaging), hopefully it'll mean a hell of a lot less manual intervention.



And after that, during the next holidays, I'm hoping to do something with the network manager applet. It's a very cool tool for connecting to networks BUT has way too many disruptive options. For example, the kids are able to make their own ad-hoc networks. This hasn't been used for anything good thus far and so, removing the option from the applet should make this a little less disruptive.

At some stage, I'd also be able to tell nm-applet that one network is the equivalent of another network - so go for the strongest of those two and treat them as if they have the same ssid rather than what was last connected to. Given that the kids take the netbooks home and connect to the Tamaki Learning Net network, the next day they find that the connection is slow. The problem is that a weak signal for TLN can still be seen within the school, so the applet connects them to TLN taking it as a preference.

So that's where I'm at at the moment. About to build the new image and then start on the deployment method... The question is, what other little issues am I going to see this year? And what are the smart ways of solving these issues?

I have been having discussions about learning opportunities vs. convenience. These are kind of at odds with each other. The netbooks must be better than a book - which they aren't if learning time is lost trying to fix problems.

Have you heard of Raspberry Pi?  I, like everyone else, want to get my hands on a couple of these to have a play. The problem with it though is it's intent. It's not really meant to be an educational tool in that it isn't intended to help teach reading/writing/math. Rather, it's meant to be used to teach computer sciences - thus it's an educational tool... And I think here in lies my issue with the debate around learning opportunities. What sort of opportunities are we looking at?

A geek nowadays could be someone who knows how to get a 2 column layout in a Google document rather than someone who can open up a terminal and bash away at fixing various issues... So the learning to learn is probably a lot more important than trying to teach people not to be mystified by the shell.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Customizing Ubuntu 10.04 UNE - part 1

I've decided that I'm in a very .... odd position. There doesn't seem to be that much documentation on how to customize Ubuntu for mass-deployments as I'm doing. So I thought I'd take a bit of time to document some of the more funky bits that I've found.

So here goes - Setting GConf Defaults for Ubuntu Netbook Edition.

There's loads of information out there for doing things like making your default gnome session look and mostly behave like Ubuntu Netbook edition but nothing on how to change the defaults. Want users to use Chromium as their browser rather than Firefox?

Make a file in /usr/share/gconf/une/default called "21_une-gconf-extended" or something. It must start with a 2 digit number that's greater than 20 and end in an underscore (otherwise the defaults in 20_une-gconf-default take precedence).

In that file, type in your keys. For example, I wanted to change just about everything for the favourites tab. Let's face it, "Ubuntu Software Center" is probably better discovered rather than presented. The kids use gmail so evolution needs not be there etc.

So, for mine, I've put the following into that file:

/apps/netbook-launcher/favorites/favorites_list [chromium-browser, yelp]
/apps/netbook-launcher/favorites/chromium-browser/type application
/apps/netbook-launcher/favorites/chromium-browser/desktop_file 
/apps/netbook-launcher/favorites/yelp/type application
/apps/netbook-launcher/favorites/yelp/desktop_file yelp.desktop


Now.. The reason I'm bothering to document this? Because logging out and logging back in doesn't do any good (oh my!). Instead it gets really frustrating really quickly. I finally figured it out. There's a step needed to make it update an xml file which is where it REALLY reads this stuff from.


In a terminal, type in the following:


update-gconf-defaults --source --source /usr/share/gconf/une/default --destination /var/lib/gconf/une.default


There's a chance you might not see the changes. Personally I just logged off, logged in a terminal (Ctrl-F1) and removed my ~/.gconf directory. Log back in and hopefully, with a little luck, you'll see what you're expecting to see.

Oh, and if you want to be all draconian and not allow the user to customize the settings for themselves.... just change the word "default" to "mandatory" in all occurrences up there.

How's that for putting notes somewhere I'll always find 'em?...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Smoking Again

No good excuse really. 'Nuff said.

Also...

My shirt is hanging loosely on me but I am still feeling fat.

Describe your day in 13 words or less...

Stalking...

Part of what's wrong with me at the moment is that I'm feeling like a stalker.

I've just been having a look at some old emails trying to figure out what I've missed and realised I said something about this last year - trying to attract someone's attention in increasingly pathetic ways (and feeling helpless to stop). Anyway, tinted windows makes me a bit of a voyeur. I'm finding myself gazing out the window with the excuse that I need to feel part of the outside world at large rather than in a walled off fish tank.

The truth - I feel ever increasingly cut off from the world at large. Between work and sleep and trying to get some sort of semblance of ... normality to my life, it just hasn't left anything for a life. This is always a huge problem for me. I have problems connecting with people.

I went to the pub last night as I saw a few familiar faces as I passed - it'd be rude not to stop by. While it was nice catching up with old friends, I realise just how ... different I always was from that lot. There were probably 2 or 3 people I genuinely liked hanging out with and they're all gone.

Well not all gone... there's one left. Of course, that just leaves me feeling like a stalker...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Presciption

I spoke to Baillie last night. She sent me this:


Stick it on the wall. If symptoms persist, come be miserable with me (Bob knows, misery loves company).

Monday, January 9, 2012

Still in a Funk

I'm still in a hell of a funk. Kind of put a damper to my holiday. I wasn't my normal get up and help and make the best of every situation self. I'm sure there were at least a couple of times where Baillie just wanted to hit me. Today, my first day on the premises for work (truth be told I'll probably only ever be there during school holidays), I found myself distracted and restless by 2pm.

The day started out a little strangely too. One of the, what I would refer to as, "long beards" was driving a bus. It was odd being able to great the bus driver by first name. What I mean by long beard is those guys who have been in the computer industry for years and years. They know things about computers that I couldn't dream of comprehending.

And of course, all of us computer people know that this happens.

If you couldn't do what you do now, what would you do?
Answer: Exactly I'm doing. I lack imagination.

Computer people always have some sense of an end game or they'd like to try something different. They'd like to meet different people. Be something else. I remember a time in my life where flipping burgers seemed more right though I hadn't quite gotten into computers at the time. I was talking to someone who was made redundant and when asking him who he'd contacted (he has a bit of a reputation in which case, it should be a trivial matter for him to get a job) he replied that he was looking around first to see if there was anything else he wanted to do.

It's the ones who love it who normally go looking. Computers have this really bad tendency to just kind of take over your life. For me, I suspect I make it take over my life as a form of avoidance. Escapism as bad as any drug. Whenever I find myself standing there sulking thinking to myself "What the fornication was all that about?!", I soon find myself exhibiting less than social behaviours and my head is soon buried in some computer monitor somewhere.

Life goes on but everything changes... of course... the more it changes, the more it stays the same.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Dear Old Google...

When I left Google+ I didn't think I'd be writing another one of these sorts of posts. Kind of a "stop being dicks" post. But here goes.

Dear Google,

I get that Google+ just isn't for me as I am in support of the use of aliases. I don't get why you insist on changing my emailing experience. I like the look of it. I'm used to the feel of it. It doesn't suck.

Instead you keep telling me you're going to switch me to an all new interface. When I revert back you keep on asking me why and provide me with a link where presumably I should be able to tell you why I think it's rubbish... But then it doesn't lead anywhere. Sticking your fingers in your ears saying "la la la" while also saying "I'm listening" isn't winning you any friends.

The buttons no longer look like buttons. The screen layout changes dependent on where the mouse is. I can't get the side panel to act in any sort of sane way.

Now I know you know entirely too much about me, but you seem to have completely lost the plot when it comes to interface design. In fact, what would be really good is if you stopped trying to tell me what I liked and instead, asked.

Hell, if you'd asked, loads of people would have told you that it's the clean simple design that we like best about the client. It's not full of crap. It's easy to understand. It doesn't make me want to gouge  my eyes out.

Perhaps it's time I gave up on the web client and instead went to a more traditional way of computing. Perhaps this is a really good indication that cloud computing could just be reinforcing the control of entities such as Google...

Google... stop being dicks.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year Everyone

Well let's see. I'm down in the 'naki visiting Ian and Baillie. New Years Eve was fairly uneventful.

I got an email yesterday about the blog. That was interesting. It made me think that perhaps I should state that this blog is horribly self-centered. When I'm writing, I'm writing things from my perspective. How I perceive things. And there are things that I don't post. Loads of posts that get deleted. Quite often that's because I think it'll effect the people around me.

So what needs to be taken from this? The fact that we can be ships in the night at times. What I perceive might be completely different from the intent. And sometimes, yes - there's a bit of transference. Some of the things that I find most frustrating are the things that don't end up on the blog.

Me Me Me...

Anyway, enough about me. How do you feel about me? Let's face it. Blogs aren't a great way to converse.

So this time last year... I was talking about going to Micronesia. That never happened. I've quit smoking. I've got a job rather than volunteering. Actually, a lot of my volunteer efforts have since ceased. I haven't spent my Saturday doing testing for One Laptop Per Child for a while now though I'd like to get back into it. That can wait until after I've gotten myself settled.

Although I had to move back with the parents, I haven't unpacked - I've only really unpacked enough to live on. When Baillie told me I'd need to bring some old clothes with me I had to go hunting around boxes. So a bit to do to get settled. Find a flat, deposit, stress... Furniture and the like to sort out.

I've agreed to finally get my drivers license. Yep. 32 and I don't drive. I've never really had the inclination. I did a little bit of driving back in 2000. My flatmate would get me to drive her car home so that she could drive to parties but not have to go back and collect the car the following day. I realised I was a bit of an idiot. 50km/h feels kind of slow. So why put up with the frustration? Public transport sorts out that problem (though does add a few new frustrations). I have to say though - I really am going to miss the time free to read a little. I mean, time I don't have to specifically put away. It's already there!

I was talking about the idea of "trading posts". I've got some solid plans for this this year. I'm doing up breads. Unfortunately the proofing periods are quite long so this is probably going to be a weekend thing. I've gotten a couple of people interested. They've been talking about relishes and the like. The more I think about it, the more I realise this really is a brilliant idea. Just think about the amount of food wasted. Fruit or veges in the garden for example. And we've become a disposable society - we throw away EVERYTHING. Do we really need to throw away bottles for example? Could they not be reused? Especially glass goods which are easy to sterilize.

With the new job I've been looking at an estimate of my budget for the year. I realised I'm actually not going to have the excess of funds I was hoping for. A lot of expenditure is going to be based on the fact that I haven't had the funds to spend thus a few things have built up - IRD bills, a flat and deposit on a flat etc. This is kind of a good realisation. It means I'm not going to get sucked up in the "plenty of money" trap and spend spend spend. Instead, hopefully I'll be looking for ways to make things a bit more affordable. Trading food for example.

Oh - I got a new cellphone! I've finally jumped on the Android band wagon with a HTC Dream. It's actually a really cool phone - I'll post my notes about updating the OS at some point. I've only really just gotten it going fully today. There's loads of inconsistent and incomplete information out there. Go on - join the dork side. A fully functioning adequate phone (although, I've been having problems getting Angry Birds to work) for only $200...

Anyway - new year. No great expectations for it. Happy new year everyone.