What’s Happening?

June 28, 2006

A few updates of things that have been happening lately.

Our baby is currently four days overdue! My wife had another obstetrician appointment yesterday and she was told that if it hasn’t arrived by seven days overdue, she will be induced. That means we’re only three days away (at the most) from meeting the little one – wow. The “when’s it going to arrive” suspense is killing us!

Here’s a cool flash based game in which you manage a McDonalds store: McDonalds Video Game. From managing the farm, slaughterhouse, store and even your marketing/advertising campaigns, you’ll have your hands full. While I’ve only managed to get to 2008, I hear others have advanced much further. However, I warn you… it’s highly addictive!

Today my blog passed 50 views in one day – rock on. Want to know which search words send the most traffic to my blog from Google? “Who do you say I am?” consistently has 1 to 3 referrals a day, amazing. Not getting many comments though so I might have to jazz up my blog with some more controversial posts.

Ordered a remote cable switch for my Canon 350D yesterday over eBay for $14 (shipping included) – I think genuine Canon versions go for $50+. Do I really need it? Umm, good question. Probably not but I think it’ll come in handy for tripod work and at that price it’s not going to break the bank. Still haven’t really had a day where I can just go and concentrate on taking photos (be it in the city, at the beach or some event etc) but I’m hoping to during my time off soon.


Socceroos Robbed By Diving Azzurri’s!

June 27, 2006

“ROBBED! Dirty diving Italians…”, I smsed to a few of my friends this morning (my wife is Italian so there was no racism intended in my remarks). I was of course mentioning Australia’s loss to Italy at the 2006 World Cup, due to a dubious referee decision, in the 92nd minute of their Round of 16 encounter. What a shattering way to be bundled out!

Australia had played especially well in the first half, applying great pressure to the Italian backs but not able to convert. Mark Schwarzer was playing great for Australia, having already saved a number of shots on goal by the Azzurri. Italy also had some beautiful attempts on goal with Luca Toni looking particularly dangerous with his control of the ball in the air and the ground superb:

Photo: AFP

The 2nd half started and in the 50th minute Italy lost Marco Materazzi to a red card for a challenge on Australian Marco Bresciano – on replay it appeared that Materazzi had actually tripped up another Italian player but off the field he was sent. I’m no believer in karma but fate would have it that this incorrect decision would be evened before the end of the game.

For the next 43+ minutes, Australia tried to penetrate Italy’s defensive line but just couldn’t find a way in or if they did get in, couldn’t execute a kick/header to score that elusive goal. With only 10 men on the pitch, Italy did well in their half and relied on a counter attacking game for offence – this lead to several advances into Australia’s box but the defenders managed to stop all attempts.

Then disaster struck. 3 minutes into injury time and 8 seconds from the end of the game, Fabio Grosso broke into the Australian box by getting around Bresciano. Lucas Neill came forward and tackled Grosso who flung himself to the ground, in a deliberate dive, after making contact to Neill’s body with his left foot:

Photo: AP

Referee Luis Medina Cantalejo signalled a penalty kick and Francesco Totti slotted the ball past Schwarzer with ease:

Photo: Getty Images

And thus ended Australia’s gallant efforts, in spectacular circumstances, at the 2006 World Cup. No doubt, it shouldn’t have been a penalty kick but Australia shouldn’t have let itself get in to that situation – their defence had started to lighten up as their went all out for victory in normal time.

Still, at the end of the day, Australia should be proud to have been in the Round of 16 and can hold its head up high to have kept Italy 0-0 for 90+ minutes of the game. Well done Socceroos, well done!

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Due Day!

June 24, 2006

Today is the due day for our first child! So far it's 17 hours into the day and still no baby.  We're thinking it's too comfortable in it's present housing and doesn't wish to 'move on' just yet. Our doctor supports that view too, telling my wife yesterday that it, "It hasn't dropped far enough".  

We're in no rush but we both can't wait to meet our precious little gift from God…

Australian Socceroos Through To Round Of 16!

June 23, 2006

Another great game of football! Full of passion, intensity, suspense, twists and plenty of yellow cards, with a few reds thrown in for good measure too. This was the game that Australia either needed to win, if Japan beat Brazil and beat them well, or draw with Croatia to go through to the round of 16 in the World Cup 2006.

It didn't start well for the Socceroos with Mark Viduka giving away a free kick which was converted by Darijo Sma into a goal within the first 2 minutes of play. Oh no, not the start we'd hoped for!

36 minutes later and Craig Moore put away a penalty kick after Stjepan Tomas, from Croatia, was penalised for a hand-ball in the box. Scores even (1-1) and momentum clearly in favour of Australia as Croatia played a more defensive game, trying to ride the game out.

In the 56th minute disaster struck as Australian goalie Zeljko Kalac let through an absolutely shocking kick by Niko Kovac – Kalac managed to block the ball with a side dive but the top spin on the ball kept it going, straight into the back of the net! It was such a soft goal that the Australian crowd was stunned to silence. 2-1 in Croatia's favour and things were again looking dicey.

Then in the 79th minute, Harry Kewell sealed the game (a draw of 2-2) for Australia with a lovely left footed strike from a head deflection! Here's a picture of the resulting jubilee amongst the Socceroos:

Photo: Vince Caligiuri (The Age)

Australia managed to hold on for the last 13 or so minutes to come away with a draw, which was all they needed having learnt that Japan had gone down 4-1 to Brazil.

It was a pretty scrappy game with many yellows handed out to the Croatian team (as well as two red cards) and a few yellows plus a red given to Australia. The referring was pretty average (there were two more possible penalty kicks for Australia that weren't awarded) but thankfully it didn't make much difference to the end result.

Next round we take on Italy which is a knock out game (it's the quarter finals after all). I personally believe we can take them down and progress to the semi finals which will be magnificent seeing as many people wrote us off to even progress past the Pool round.

Go the Socceroos! Oi Oi Oi!

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Google’s ‘Picasa Web Albums’ Review

June 14, 2006

Google has just released its ‘Picasa Web Albums’ product. Picasa is, in Google’s own words:

Google’s free desktop photo management software. Picasa is a quick download that makes it easy for people to organize and edit their pictures using something that’s simple and clutter-free. It’s all about the photos.

Fair enough. It would seem that users have been requesting online photo sharing integration with Picasa so Google has come to the party. Check it out here. It’s currently only in Beta so it’s first come, first in. I decided to check it out for myself and see what it’s like and here are my impressions:

  • Storage
    250Mbs for a standard free account or $25 a year for roughly 6Gb. That’s pretty good value.
  • Interface
    It’s Web 2.0 so that should get those that care about that kind of thing happy. It’s cute and I like it more than Flickrs busy and confusing look.
  • Photo Sharing Ability
    In all honesty, it’s pretty basic… damn basic in fact. You can pretty much only upload photos, give them captions, rotate them, delete them and move between albums. Speaking of albums, you can create albums (or sets as Flickr calls it) but just like Flickr, you can’t do albums within an album. This for me is the biggest problem with Flickr (besides it’s interface for viewing photos which I don’t like) and Googles offering – Pbase has both products licked in this area in my opinion.

    Picasa Web Albums also don’t seem to display EXIF information – a must if this online photo sharing site is going to be taken serious by photo buffs.

So all up, it’s a good start but pretty simplistic in it’s offerings and photo managing/organising abilities. It is still in Beta (or TEST as Google calls it) so possibly these little issues will be ironed out in the future. Then again, maybe it isn’t aiming to take on Flickr, Pbase, Shutterfly etc and is just a basic way of uploading photos to the web – if so, it does that just fine.

But don’t take my word for it – check it out, Picasa Web Albums, yourself!

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Come On Socceroos!

June 13, 2006

Wow! What a game Australia had against Japan in the 2006 World Cup (soccer World Cup that is)!

I watched it live with my wife and after a dubious goal by Japan in the 26th minute, it looked like Australian goalie Schwarzer was impeded by a couple of Japanese players, things were looking pretty grim. While Australia dominated possession in the first and second halves, it seemed likely that Japan was going to hold on and win 1-0, upsetting our chances of advancement into the second round. That was until coach Guus Hiddink made two important substitutions – Tim Cahill and John Aloisi.

Cahill came on to score the equalising goal in the 84th minute (1-1) and followed that up by a beautiful kick that hit the left post and then flew into the net (2-1). The crowd erupted, the Australia portion of it anyway, as did our house and the rest of Australia I’m sure. Icing was then added to the cake with a great run and goal by striker Aloisi to finish it 3-1. These were to be Australia’s first goals ever scored at a World Cup and the first game ever won at a World Cup too – magnificent.

Soccer, or Football as the purists prefer to call it, isn’t really that big here in Australia but already predictions are that this will have a positive affect on the sport in the junior levels. While I personally prefer a game of Rugby Union (speaking of which, Australia spanked England 34-3 on Sunday night) to Soccer, I can’t deny that the World Cup is exciting to watch.

We still have to face Brazil, which will be a momentous task, and then Croatia. I predict us drawing with Brazil and defeating Croatia, resulting in the Socceroos heading into the second round! Come on Socceroos!

Anyone else watch this game or any other World Cup game and care to give their thoughts?

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155 Beats Per Minute

June 8, 2006

Had an obstetrician appointment tonight and my wife was hooked up to a doppler so we could hear the baby’s heart beat. Man, babys hearts beat fast!

Our obstetrician had a listen for a few seconds then made the following statement, “It’s a boy”. “Eh? We told you not to tell us”, I thought. “Has to be a boy, girls don’t have hearts do they?”, was his reply. I had a bit of a chuckle at this joke as did my wife.

Average BPM over 10 minutes or so was about 155, with a range from 140 to 170 BPM.

It’s getting close now, only 15 days and one item left to buy for the nursery (a chair)…

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