August 31, 2004


Now is a good time to hit reset on your life. It's spring, the New Moon has graced us and the silly season is not far away either.

"Reset" was the original name for the band Simple Plan - amidst their commercial success they need to do just that again to get their credibility back. Every group gets to that point. Take RHCP, hell even Hall & Oates, Wilson Phillips and of course Duran Duran have hit reset and are back to their original lineup. See details at the end of this post.

So I have also hit reset on this here Blog with an array of new colours and layout.

I just picked up a new vehicle (see: 1991 Corolla haha -pic soon) and earlier today I decided to try and get my little bedroom TV hooked up to the Hills UHF/VHF MegaSuction Aerial on the roof - but ended up with static. No Letterman for me :(

Stand upright, raise your arms out to the front of you and shake them. Then notice your body begin to shake. Before too long you'll be shaking like Outback Jack in his ute doing 95 through potholes in the outback. Shake it off today and you'll feel much better.

Duran Duran
Their new album "Astronaut" is out in the UK October 4th and radio here should have the new single "(Reach up For The) Sunrise" by the end of the month. It's already the #1 most added song this week at US Adult Radio. If you're in the clubs this weekend, freak-out your friendly local DJ by asking them to play one of the new bootlegs either by Jason Nevins, Ferry Costen or Peter Presca!

August 30, 2004

Time to refuel

Spring has sprung!
Thank god winter is done and over for another year. It was beginning to grate y'know..

That bastard cough I've had for the last 11 weeks has gone, and over the last week or so, Auckland has been blessed with some real nice weather.

So much so, last week I took half a day off and wandered Auckland's Victoria Park Market and other such nifty places where I pretended to be a Russian tourist. A handful of 'kiwis' I stopped had no clue why the big chinmey was slapped right in the middle of the Market. Interesting. Has Metro Magazine discovered why?

Only two headlines strike me today:
NZ Idol Probed and the next version of Windows is out in 2006. I plan to take this time to better educate myself of Linux and in particular - Knoppix, so that by the time 'Longhorn' is out in '06, Microsoft will be but a distant memory.

Listening to:
George FM earlier today. Darrell Aaardvark (12-2pm) and Dubber (2-4pm). Really fitted my mood and the amount of sunshine.
Mountainside FM 88.2 - the newest LPFM in Auckland. It's coming from Panmure and is the best oldies/country format Ive heard in a while. Congratulations to Robert Houison. More info at the LPFM forum.

On My Desktop
  • Letter from Telecom, saying they've been watching my calling patterns from March-June and they will now force me to keep an average of $32 a month for myself.

  • A Digital Camera with a flat battery

  • The Rhythm Volume 7

  • $10 note

  • Dick Smith solder coil.

  • Invite to a friends baby's 1st birthday party.

  • Rearrange 'this', and you get 'shit' = my blog entry today.
    I know theres not much juice here but sometimes life is just damn boring, or I'm not telling you everything. Thats actually it. I have so much on the go at the moment - all of it confidential - I'd get in so much shit by writing about it on this here blog, although I have a new vehicle to pick up on Tuesday.

    I can tell you that I plan world domination but that makes me no different from any other blogger really. And apparently I can now sell advertising on this very blog to fund it.

    I think I'll keep it ad free thanks - thats why I like blogger.

    Blog news:
    I have also enabled a Blogger function where you can email a particular post to someone (if not yourself) if it may be of interest. An FYI if you like. Just click the little envelope at the tail of each post. See it just below?

    August 11, 2004

    Dirty S.O.B's!

    We've got mice. Its embarrassing. Ironic, coz I was visiting a Danger Mouse website just the other day.

    They're all cute when you see them in a pet store, but now imagine 5 or so of them in your cupboard uninvited eating your bread. Nibbled a hole through the wall and got in they did. Mice can squeeze in through a hole one quarter of an inch big. After making this discovery, I suddenly noticed mouse crap in the cupboards and on my computer table. (that's why my screensaver kept getting interrupted!)

    And I caught one. Without a trap.

    Early Wednesday morning, I woke to a scratching sound. After realizing the sun had not risen yet and my clock boldly proclaimed that 5:25am does exist, I turned the light on and spotted a little black thing zoom past in the corner of my eye. LITTLE BASTARD got in my bedroom! But the door is shut - WTF?

    This mouse ate a corner out of my door, ate the carpet under the hinge and tunneled himself access. Oh yes, this is war.

    I creep back into bed, with badminton raquet in hand. I end up waiting only 3 or so minutes as it seems this mouse only has the one escape route - and he wants out.
    I scare him off. 3 minutes later he comes back. I scare him off. I think hes got the idea now, coz he somehow manages to get up on the window ledge and tries to find an exit there. I wait. He seems more adventurous, so comes right out in the open to look around. I leap out of the bed with raquet in hand screaming "die motherfucker" - he freaks and dives into a pot plant. HA! Fooled you dirty S.O.B! It's a fake plant, and the pot is effectively a long drop.

    What happens next may seem cruel, so I will condense it to the fact the mouse died drowning. It had nothing do to with a pot, and everything to do with a bath. I just happened to 'accidentally drop the pot plant into a half full bath of 5:25am icy cold water'. Nature's cruel hand.

    Tonight, I came out of the lounge and discovered two more mice hiding in the bird's cage. Trevor (the bird) was FREAKING! The mice bolted as soon as my shadow was cast under the 100W bulb. How the hell did they get up into the birdcage? This is bewildering.

    Turning to camera 3, I raise my chin and proclaim "Thats it!"

    There's only one thing to do. Traps. I could call Mainzeal and borrow a crane to lift the house, then phone the NZ Air Force to concoct a deadly recipe of rat poison and lavender and bomb our section, then phone Instant Lawn to cover the mess. Traps are easier, and far cheaper.

    Peanut Butter is the golden ingredient I'm told, as it's tricker to remove from the snap-trap. I'll post again after the weekend - hopefully with pleasing results.

    If you have mice (it's Winter after all) - here's a few links to help ya:
    Get Rid Of Mice
    So You Wanna...
    How To..
    If you love all animals, try Shake-Away Rodent Powder..

    -update: 19 Aug
    Props to the PI salesman @ Hammer Hardware Otahuhu, whom sold me 3 fantastic mousetraps. Dei Hamo needs to write a rap for him, totally. And get Jane Yee to cameo again!

    It was a carnical atmosphere when I came home with the traps. The mice had clowns, ferris wheel and a great big welcoming party for their newly arrived "death machines".
    I gave them a welcome treat on the first night. Peanut Butter with bread, and butter. Next morning, the food was gone yet trap still armed. I left them armed over the first few days of this week with no bait. And rightly so, I'd snub that menu too and ignore an empty smorgasboard. Last night I placed a fingertip amount of ETA Crunchy on the nib of the trap. I waited no longer than 15 minutes and I had a dead mouse. It shocked me on how quickly it worked. I have refreshed all traps again (after composting the cheeky sod) and expect the rest sprung by weeks end. Check back for more. oh the humanity!

    Read the follow up in 2005 here.

    August 9, 2004

    ex EM!

    If digital radio ends up in satellite form here in NZ one day, then expect a little of this (taken from a google group the other day):

    "I have an original-model Sony XM working in an office on the 6th floor of an
    8-story concrete/steel building. For this reason it has to work with what
    signal gets through the windows. The windows are covered with a light-gray
    plastic film. XM performance was marginal. What signal there was came from a repeater. I've finally taped the antenna to the __outside__ of one of the west-facing windows and operation is flawless. I'm on the US east coast.

    The gray plastic window film is a drastic microwave attenuator. I've never
    managed to get a GPS to work in the office, even when held against the
    inside of a western window. In fact the GPS never saw more than one
    satellite. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't run the experiment

    After reading the DPDAB paper late last year on New Zealands stance on DAB and it's potential future here, conferring with Dubber, I wrote my thoughts down and emailed MED. I had a reply, although it's long lost now coz Outlook sealed it's fate when it corrupted my .pst file. (Source of everything), so now Mozilla Thunderbird does the deed. Anyhoo, heres the email:

    My thoughts regarding Digital Audio Broadcasting.

    I would like to put my hand up and vote for Eureka 147 as our digital platform - through Digital Terrestrial Transmission (and for many reasons). There are a few condsierations and variables to be aware of, but I am willing to support the move into DAB though Eureka 147.

    1. The current state of the private sector (TRN/CanWest) are a mix of Network and Local products. Because this is working for their advertisers and listeners (locally and nationwide), and the fact it sustains jobs and creates a profit, it would be beneficial to continue using this model of radio application. A Digital Terrestrial service effectively keeps the current structure intact for commercial and the non-commercial sectors (National/Concert), and provides an opportunity to evolve the interactive elements of radio on a level used internationally.

    2. The issue of transmission power/output from Digital Terrestrial Transmission sites (DTT) needs review. Spectrum Management will need to (if not already) re-license these frequencies with equal or better coverage based on current regional FM licenses. Why? It is the existing structure and is working well. Currently the option for DTT is to put up more transmitters, because of their low power output (similar to the way cellphones roam), but the cost associated with doing this halts a lot of further interest in this medium. No-one will justify these costs, when the existing AM/FM system is sufficient.

    3. Eureka 147 is already the biggest, and most widely used type of digital medium for radio broadcasting in the world - wether its used in conjunction with internet streams or not. It has been trialled and tested in many countries, with gradual increasing positive results over the last couple of years. Considering the gradual growth, acceptance and uprising preference of Eureka 147 over IBOC and others (plus the advantage of many European receivers also using the 1.4Ghz band), the cost of setting up your stations using this technology - with the vital assistance of government and industry supported promotion and marketing on this agreed 'standard' - will make the transition easy for the listener and financially acceptable for operators.

    4. The use for RadioNZ to possibly use the Swiss DRM service, needs clarification on "promising recent developments". Since the government moved National Radio off AM, onto FM, this gives me the impression that 'DRM-amplified' broadcasts may just evolve to a new level of spectrum 'ghetto' if used. RadioNZ has to represent and meet public needs, and if that sways in the direction of Eureka 147, it would be pointless to move shortwave (SW) or mediumwave (AM) into an unreachable domain. It may be best to keep it where it is - where enthusiasts can find it, or move house alongside FM operators into a common DAB platform.

    5. Public opinion will always vary and always end up inconclusive, so the industry needs to just go ahead with improving itself for 'itself' and the public, rather than convincing every person in the general population of the benefits. The listener/user ends up incorporating new technology at some point. Look how people take to cellphones and DVDs.

    6. This new medium will further shake up the existing brands out there, and help support the introduction of innovative new formats (ie Youth Network etc.) building NZ's highly complemented radio market.

    Eureka 147 to me looks very promising in our small country. With united support by the industry, it will become the future of NZ Radio.

    August 5, 2004

    View from inside a Metal KitKat

    "Symonds Street, thanks."

    $3.30 - that's pretty good. "Pull this way to take the ticket". Thanks.
    I stare down the bus and realise nearly every seat is filled. What to do! The driver is pulling into the traffic again, and I don't want to be left standing when the wheels go round and round. Quickly decide Richard, quickly now! Bugger it, I'll sit next to the guy with the reflective vest. He's bound to keep to himself.

    Rule 1: Guys in reflective vests smell bad in a bus.
    At the next stop, someone gets out - nobody gets in so I take that vacated seat. Nice perfume over here :)

    On a bus, you realise just how bad other drivers are. The bus driver is forever an opportunist - managing somehow to squeeze between a parked car and large truck on the other side, and poke its nose through to the disgust of the truck driver. How was this possible? I never thought a bus could do that! Who cares - the 497 is in front baby! As for the bad drivers sharing the road with the bus, they seem to stick to their own class of vehicle to annoy. When it comes to the Bus, they give way.

    A Bus is probably one of the most powerful vehicles on our roads. Unconsciously, a car will let the Bus go first - coz they'd rather not fold their tin foil vehicle into the side of a hardened steel frame. Next to motorcycles, I think these modern buses have the best engine for roads such as Great South. Quick on the upstart, great brakes for a sudden stop (every unbelted passenger on the bus WILL experience this) and the engine is automatic, most with a turbo. The damned bus can even 'kneel' to pick up old people or those with disability such as a wheelchair or frame.

    Bus conversations crack me up. One maori fella was chatting with his mate about a plan to smash a bottle over some other "cocksuckers head" because he gave him a snarly look at work. In front of me, a group of three ethnic guys were talking in 'their native' for a while. I worked out they were discussing a particular girl and her friends.

    The bus pulls over to a stop. That's not bad - we must have been going for a good 5km without a stop. Two elderly gentlemen get in and I realise that everyone in the bus is looking at them. Scanning. Will they sit by me? Nope, they've taken the seats that face backward - the last resort. Bus merges back into traffic. Bell goes. Household shopper in the very front seat behind the driver will get off with her bags. Once she vacated, the two old guys took her seat. That's classic!

    Rule 2: It's all about seating on a bus.
    Trouble ensues. A Mother gets on with her kid. She doesn't want the backward seats and stubbornly stands next to her kid who is happy on the 'backwards seat'. Suddenly, it seems that everyone in the bus looks out the windows to avoid eye contact with this woman. She is now looking at us. Scanning. Guilt-trip factor 10 now radiating the inner walls of the bus.

    A little further up the road, it seems we pick up a young Asian student at nearly every stop before Newmarket. A couple of them are too polite and stand in line in front of the Mother while another 3 or so manage get past and seat themselves (one next to the guy with the reflective vest).

    277 Newmarket is a sanctuary. Bell goes and 80% of the bus population exit. Oh, the comfort of the bus now. PLENTY of seats, PLENTY of directions to look now, and Mum & Kid migrate to their own row. We pull up at the Rialto Bus Stop and pick up "Frizzy Haired Guy" - and then:

    It begins again. I learn the internal cycle and human hierarchy system that takes place when a bus fills with people. Frizzy Haired Guy takes his ticket (he's been here before - he pulls his ticket to the right avoiding ripping the roll of paper right out of the ticketing machine like I did). He then looks down the aisle and takes a moment to scan who is where - Male vs Female, Students vs Teachers, Tourists vs Construction Workers. His process of elimination is quick - not forced and he plants himself 2nd row down, window seat. A comfortable balance I note. If the bus had a weight issue then he would have just evened the scale, although he did sit two rows infront of an Asian student - this to my mind may suggest he is a student or young professional.

    One other thing you'll notice in a bus, is how bad some of the Auckland roads are. The Bus Drivers cashbox shakes and makes a loud rattling noise when driving, and when we go over potholes and over curbs, BANG, rattle, BANG!

    Time for me to pull the string, and sound the bell. My Symonds Street stop is next. The string on this bus looks like a bunch of long tramping boot shoestrings tied together. Other buses have big red buttons.

    "Thanks Driver" I shout forward as I step out, giving my appreciation for not killing me, giving me correct change, being on time and opening the doors for my exit.


    August 1, 2004


    Analysts have an uncanny way of mapping the direction of technology. Sometimes spot-on but hardly ever off base. Thinkers, them analysts. They know trends and their direction.

    Wether or not we get a particular service (like iTunes) is irrelevant. These analysts I suspect are mailmen, our butcher or dairy farmer in gumboots. Ground level people who see all sides and have a knack for spocking-up a logical prediction.

    So now, I offer this headline:
    MP3 creator returns with 3D sound

    and the blurb:
    "One of the inventors of the MP3 format is back with a new technology that he hopes will revolutionize audio, creating superrealistic sound for theaters, theme parks and eventually even living rooms."

    If you've heard of "Virtual Audio", then ditch your impression.

    The Fraunhofer Institute claim to have come up with a better way of producing surround sound, not only for home theatre but outdoor areas or dedicated areas such as theme parks or shopping centres. They've called it "Losono".

    They tested their technology not with a 5 or 7 speaker setup, not even 10, but try 400 speakers. They've worked out a kick-ass algorithm for any particular space or reflection and can imitate it by drawing their desired idea onto a computer screen using a light pen during the stages of production.

    Horses running through parliament? - Done. MP's running though horse stables? - Done.

    Not only this, but moving soundscapes also. A scene moves from one space to another and it will create an audio transition for this. But wait, folks, thats not the kicker.

    I will get to the kicker. OK, here's the kicker.

    When it comes to hearing the sound, you may be listening in a theatre, a bus stop, bathroom or even broom closet. The algorithm accomodates YOUR environment to produce a sound that is true to where YOU hear it. In other words, I'll use the example of MP's running through an alleyway. The dimensions of the alleyway will become the dimensions of where you are listening, so the sound emitted is true to your environment.

    How have they been able to take a piece of audio and get it to manipulate YOUR listening environment? It goes right back to the idea of capturing audio. Edison did it his own way, and Fraunhofer have come up with their own party trick. We've just undergone a revolution with digital imaging, and now audio capture is adopting a new parent.

    [GEEK ALERT - LEVEL 10!] They've learnt a lot about frequency response, and how sound waves work. Recording the electrical impulses of a sound, rather than the sound itself allows you to modify the 'sound' however you please, and this allows them to customise the properties of a sound wave enabling us to have a personalised audio environment (or P.A.E!).

    Quote: "The thing that's different about Iosono is that it just takes the approach of intelligent analysis of what sound really is and how it shows up to your ears and applies that in a different way."

    They can make a car come flying out of your fridge - or anywhere really (except outer space I guess).

    What would our analysts say to Losono?

    Surely holograms aren't too far away then?

    --"Back To The Future II" clearly shows we have these in 2015 along with hovering skateboards and jackets that dry themselves (although I did hear something about these jackets in the news over the weekend)--