there were fireworks

we don’t usually do the ‘stay up to see the new year in’ thing, but this year some good food, good wine and good company kept us going along easily… and it was worth the wait.

Melbourne is pretty flat, but our friends have a second storey balcony and their house is perched on the brow of what passes for a hill ’round these parts, so we got a fantastic 180° view of about 8 fireworks displays in the city and surrounding suburbs. It was excellent! We also threw water bombs at the kids… all around a really good night. Happy New Year!

on blueberry hill

today was warm, so we headed down the coast to Point Lonsdale – our current favourite destination. It has a combination of good snorkelling, some rockpools to ramble around and a couple of reasonable coffee shops. Anyway, the snorkelling was great – there were plenty of fish, one good stingray and a Leafy Sea Dragon, which was a bonus.

Afterwards, we headed back up to the Blueberry farm near Portarlington and picked a couple of kilos of fruit. Mmm, Blueberry Muffins tomorrow morning!

the heat is on…

Yoiks, it’s hot all of a sudden! 8:40pm and the WeatherPixie says it’s still 35°c. There is a storm building on the radar, but it’s about 200km. away so it’ll be three hours before it gets here, even if it doesn’t miss us. Today was my last day at work, I’m not going back until the 17th of January which is sweet! However, out of nowhere I’ve got a sore throat and a headache, which is a bummer. It’s shaping up to be a big Christmas for eating – Yum Cha tomorrow for lunch, bbq for dinner – then on the big day we get down to some serious eating! We’ve got family staying for a few days which is always good fun. Anyway, if I know you and haven’t sent a card, I’m sorry, but have a great Christmas and a safe New Year!

Just to get you into the Christmas spirit, check out this wonderful charity effort from a few selfless celebrity musicians.

Yum!

Here’s another little site I’ve just completed. This time for friends with an exceptional chinese restaurant: Shanghai Ling.
The food at ShanghaiLing is unlike anything you’ll get at your more familiar ‘Cantonese’ restaurants – there’s a spicy freshness that keeps us coming back again and again. Also, they do the best tofu I’ve ever had anywhere!

trees

This is only a very small job, but it was quite fun to do. An excuse to go back to the old days of repeating background images.
The site is for a fella who runs a ‘Tree Consulting Service’, that is: he doesn’t consult trees, he consults with the people responsible for dealing with trees… councils, homeowners, lawyers, builders etc.
All compliant and accessible of course! Arbor Report

we’re going dynamic!

I’ve recently been lucky enough to participate in the recommendation of a Content Management System for the University of Melbourne. In the process I learned a little about CMSs so I thought it was about time I tried one out myself.

I didn’t want to try Mambo. Partly because I knew people on the original development team and I sort of felt too close to it, but after several recommendations I thought I’d better try it and see what it would offer me – well, I have to say, it installed beautifully, but that was about the end of it! it’s waaaay too busy and complicated for my needs.

So, I looked around at what else there was – thought Typo3 looked nice and clean, so I installed that. Again, a nice easy install, but after a couple of hours I still hadn’t worked out how to change the templates, so I decided that it definitely wasn’t the cms for me!

I’ve now installed my third cms – well, perhaps cms is a grand word for it, lets say ‘rich blog’ – WordPress, and finally it seems like it’s a back end I can understand. The easiest and quickest install of them all. Not only that, but when I was adding links I happened to visit Eric Meyer’s site and found that he’s using it too! what exalted company!! OK, so it’s a way off being and enterprise system, but it’ll do me (for now!). By the way, straight out of the box it does valid xhtml – nice!

Morally Bankrupt!!

I am so cross! According to the election result, more than half of the population of Australia have chosen to forgive John Howard for his lying, sneaky politics, his disrespect for human rights, his dragging us into an illegal war, his destruction of the health and education systems… </blood_boils>

Why? – presumably, because they thought they might be a few dollars in the pocket a week worse off than they are now. (and they’re almost certainly wrong about that!)

Sometimes being right isn’t cheap, but you’ve still got to do it. What a pathetic lot we are!

vika and linda play to packed picnic blanket!

Vika and Linda's album coverThere’s a park near us which was redeveloped about 18 months ago. For reasons unknown, it’s taken until today to officially open the facility. An auditorium is part of the facility, so musical acts were on the program – headed by the wonderful Vika and Linda.

Well, I don’t know what happened to the publicity – there were almost as many councillors as there was audience, such a disappointing crowd! – still, once the officials had all droned on enough, the music started.

So, Vika and Linda played to about 120 people – almost like a private concert – their voices cutting through the late winter wind, weaving and crying their way through about 10 numbers – most of my favourites – mostly gospel. Sensational! The band, just cool and unfussed – perfect.

naughty hyro, bad hyro! you made a mess!!

Back a couple of years, when I was ‘between jobs’ I targeted a lot of web and multimedia design studios that I thought were the ‘cream’ of the crop. One of them was Hyro. Good clients, nice work… definitely something to aspire to. I thought!

Quick change to last week, when I’m getting quotes on health insurance from a site I’d found useful before: iselect.com.au. Register mild interest when I find it’s been redesigned. Definitely a bit more dynamic and a nod of approval to see it’s been done by hyro.

Approval turns to puzzlement as it doesn’t seem to work properly – never mind, I prefer Safari, but I’m grown up enough to realise that not all sites comply with standards. I’ll try a more forgiving browser… Netscape 7.1. Still doesn’t work. Camino, Firefox, IE, Mozilla, Opera (I’ve got ’em all!) – not one mac browser lets me access the site.

Finally get somewhere using Virtual PC and IE6, but even then the status bar flashes a little icon that there are some ‘undefined objects’ and ‘unterminated strings’ whatever that all means.

How can this still be happening in 2004? a company is effectively cutting off 10% of it’s potential market. (at least! – we’re talking home users here, where the mac is a much more significant platform – and who knows what happens if you don’t use IE on windows!)

Not only that, but they’ve no doubt paid hyro handsomely for the privilege! Shouldn’t there be some comeback for companies that are given defective web pages?

I’m not even going to go into the usability – the menus are all over the place. There are four separate navigation areas on the home page!

Naughty hyro! naughty, naughty web design!!