Have car, will travel

January 18, 2005

January 16th, 1999 – the day my wife and I got married. This weekend just past it was our 6th Wedding Anniversary and we’d decided that we would just do something small, maybe go out for dinner & watch a movie etc. On the side I was thinking of organising some tickets to the theatre to see the Saturday Night Fever show but decided against it. Good thing I did!

On Saturday (day before our anniversary) I was sitting in my lounge room when Gabby goes, “Turn around” – as I did, I saw this brand new Porsche Boxster S driving down the driveway! It was awesome! Turns out my wife had organised this months ago & that she’d also organised a motel down at Anglesea on the Great Ocean Road. So we had it for about 24 hours and did around 450+ kms in it – went to Anglesea, Lorne, Torquay, Geelong & Williamstown.

I tell you what, you get treated a whole lot different when you’re driving around a $140k+ car. Lots of stares, lots of people talking to you when you rock up to places (got asked if I wanted a race, told that a womans 5 year old son wanted a Porsche, asked what its like to own & drive a Porsche etc). Funny thing is, it wasn’t mine! Haha, but who were they to know.

So how hard did I give it to it? Well I got it up to 180km with my brother but that was as far as I pushed it mainly due to fears of getting pulled over by the Police (80km over the speed limit of 100km is a definite losing of the license for 1+ years) – though I did get it up to 160km several times on the entrance ramps to the freeway (in only 3rd gear, pulling 5.5k RPMs). Was a dream to drive, for the performance and the prestige.

Thanks for the great surpise Gab!


Access denied

January 11, 2005

Today I receive a call from my wife telling me that our credit card had been declined 3 times while she was trying to buy a book. I suggested she try purchasing from another store, incase the bookshop had some problems with its eftpos machine – still no luck, declined again.

I then rang up my bank and after a few checks I was informed that “Due to a fraud alert we received today on compromised credit card numbers, of which your card was on the list, you credit card has been stopped”. Yowsers! I was then informed that my card would be cancelled, with a new card issued over night – abit of a pain due to several direct debits I have setup on it.

Got me to thinking as to how my card would have been compromised. I’m always careful not to just give my credict card number out whilly nilly – rarely make purchases over the net and make all my payments either via my banks internet banking facility or specific legit BPAY sites. Then it clicked, my recent trip to Singapore/Malaysia!

Now, we were very careful to not use our credit card in dodgey looking places and I can recall only ever using it at: our hotels to pay our tab or legit shopping centres. Still, it seems most likely it was here that our credit card details were gathered.

It’s all good though, no unauthorised transactions have gone through and it’s actually kind of nice to know that our bank is looking out for us (in a “stop your card without notice” way). Only hassle is now I have to remember a new card number! (Yes, I used it a fair bit.. lol)

And another war starts

January 6, 2005

Seems the nations of the world are at war again; however, this time it’s not on whether to invade Iraq or another UN resolution on the Israeli / Palestian conflict. This time its a bidding war on which country can give the most money in aid contributions to SE Asia for the tsunami relief.

So far Australia ($US760 million), Germany ($US674 million) and Japan ($US500 million) are the top 3 contributors in aid relief (according to this article in The Age). You know I rarely feel any national pride for Australia (being a New Zealander an all that) but it really makes me feel good to know that our country is leading the way in international aid during this crisis.

And to top that off, Australias private donations have topped $A100 million today – I can not believe the outpouring of public sympathy. While this has been a tragic event, maybe some good will come out of it. In particular, I hope that the large Muslim population in Indonesia take note of our giving and the distinct lack of giving from their Muslim brothers in the Arab Gulf ($US50 million at last count).

Is anybody out there?

January 5, 2005

Today I decided to read a few other random peoples blogs. So I jumped on the blogspot webring and just clicked “next blog” about 50 times and you know what I found: 95% of blogs have NO comments to their posts. Here we have people posting as often as everyday and a lot of the time, no one responds – this got me to thinking “Is the response because no one reads their blog or because their posts are just not interesting enough?”

The blogs which seemed to have the most responses were either posts on: religion, politics or computer programming. All points which I rarely blog on (though I have a few times on computer related topics).

So in order to get my response rate up, you might find a few interseting blog posts in the coming weeks/months/years etc – or you may not.

Failure of projects – why?

January 5, 2005

Was doing some browsing at Slashdot today when I came across the following article: Is Your Development Project A Sinking Ship?

You know as I read it, I had to laugh because it reminds me very much of my previous employment. I believe a lot of failed projects are due to:

1. Project Manager; bad selection dooms a project right from the start.
2. Scope creap; constantly changing the projects direction/outcomes can be disasterous.
3. Bad analysis & design; failing to plan is planning to fail.
4. Refactoring; constantly “improving” existing code.
5. Unskilled workers; learning “on the job” is a disaster for a time pressured project.

All 5 of these areas affected a recent project I worked on at my last job – a project that continues 2 years after it was started and still lacks 50%+ of the functionality of the software it was supposed to replace. Software that had it’s fundamentals coded up in roughly 6 months – it’s a sad sign of the times that buzz words and patterns these days are more interesting to some programmers than getting a project completed.