Posts tagged Wollongong

“Don’t you guys have anything better to do?”


A couple of years ago (today actually) three friends and I (myself, Sam and Charlotte up there with Peter taking the picture) were on a pretty routine midnight Maccas run until we realised the door to the playground was open. We spent the next hour running around playing in the playground and eventually making up a track and holding time trials. We all came out of it with a lot of bumps and bruises and one of us (me) victory. When we were finally discovered we weren’t yelled at or threatened, the Maccas employee just stared at us and said “Don’t you guys have anything better to do?”. We didn’t. Sometimes I really miss college :p

Mount Keira


A few friends and I climbed (walked?) to the top of Mount Keira yesterday as a pretty extreme GTFO the house move. After living here for three and a half years, it was about time.

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So apparently I haven’t even posted here in 3 months, not that I’ve really noticed that much of the time go by, everything has just sort of started to blur. I understand why, there have been a few changes going on over the last few months as well. Firstly, I’ve moved up to the ever so feared 3rd year at uni.It’s not all that bad, but there’s just a level of commitment expected that I never used to have to give them. That and project. CSCI321 is a compulsory subject in Computer Science, generally taken in 3rd year (which is normally the last), it doesn’t introduce any more content, rather draws from everything we’ve already learned (plus a bit more) and asks us to do something most of us have never done before; form a group and over the course of the next 8 months, create a real, useful program. My group has decided to create a carpooling program, you can find out more about it and follow it’s development at (in particular the blogs).

Another thing that has brought a pretty hectic change to my life is my new job as an IT Administrator and Programmer at a local financial group. This job has affected me in many ways, both good and bad, stealing almost all of my free time, but giving me the cash to not only survive, but to enjoy any free time I manage to wrangle up. From the first day I was dropped into the deep end, being asked to manage a system of 5 servers (4 linux, 1 windows) with an array of programs I’d never used or never heard of with only a fairly brief overview of the whole setup and a root password. Regardless, about 2 or 3 months later I’ve got a decent grasp on the system and am making some changes to one of our two in-house programs. I’d have to say that the last few months at work have taught me things that I’d never have learned during my 3 years at uni and while I’m certainly no master, my tab-fu has become much stronger, as has my knowledge of so many important sysadmin things like apache, bash, openvpn, nagios, dirvish, exchange, postgresql and hell even java! Even as I’ve settled in though they keep bringing problems to me that fit into a few categories:

a) Easy solved. Just a simple code change, a reset or showing them what to do.
b) User Error. I’ve always heard it in jokes and in comics but seriously, a lot of people really just have no idea what they’re doing. I guess they can’t help that sometimes, but some of the problems have been pretty weak. (I also don’t want to even think about how bad some of their passwords are).
c) I have no idea. None. Whatsoever. Either I don’t know how to do this but I’ll get on figuring it out or just plain old “Uh…yeah, I’ll try and do that”. Some of the stuff really just doesn’t make any sense.

I was talking to a friend on IRC last night and he said something that seems really true and exciting and daunting at the same time:

[23:05] <TimmyRt> Haha, as my power grows I only realise how little I know :p
[23:05] <~TSeeker> and that’s good :-)
[23:06] <~TSeeker> we are *always* noobs :)

At the same time as work is really filling up all my spare time, it is giving me the money that I need to be fully self-sufficient. I’d never really believed it when people told me before, but living completely off my own back kind of feels good, especially when there is some money left over for gadgets! I’ve managed to buy myself a couple of cool little gadgets, some that I’ve wanted for a very very long time, but that’s for another post.

The other new part of life that takes up so much of my time now is just that; life. Now that I’ve moved out of college and into a house with 3 of my mates (and kitty), there are so many little things that just add up to fill in my entire day. Make breakfast, clean up after breakfast, go shopping, make lunch, clean up after lunch, do my laundry, hang my clothes out, make dinner, do the dishes, clean the house, watch tv…although more often than not it turns into skip breakfast, buy lunch, eat dinner, leave dishes for a few days and then do a LOT of them. I don’t know, there just isn’t enough time in the day.
At the same time, living in a house is great. Apart from all the little issues like “Who’s turn it is to clean up!?” and “Who used the last of the toiler paper!?” it’s really great having your own little slice of the world that you can do what you want in and with (within reason) without the full might of…the head of college coming down on you. It’s fun just to live the day by your own schedule which is made difficult by uni and work, but yeah…fun stuff.

So yeah, I’m currently writing this while lying on my queen-sized bed using one of my brand new gadgets (teaser!)  listening to my next door neighbour pull up in his ute (I’m already over real-life neighbours) thinking about how I never really have any time to get anything done, but at the same time I’ve managed to sit here and type this, after a long day of doing not much at all. I guess some of it comes down to a bit of time management, but I think another important thing is too, that I need some time to do nothing, just to  chill out and do nothing but what I want to do, which I think at the moment is to sit down with a beer, play with some code and maybe fire up a game or two using my new headset.

50″ Samsung 3D Plasma



My housemate’s (@nathcarruthers) new TV

Microsoft Open House Playdate



About a month ago a friend and I caught the train to Luna Park in Sydney to see the Microsoft Open House, an event showing off heaps if Microsoft products including Surface, Windows Phone 7, Windows Live Essentials and most impressively Kinect, the new Xbox 360 motion controller.

We arrived at the Crystal Ballroom at about a 3:45 and after a short wait we were led into a room full of computers, games, a DJ and a bunch of enthusiastic Microsoft employees who were too overly attractive to possibly have actually been interested in what they were showing us. After having a quick first glance at the table holding tens of laptops, from paper thin netbooks to beasty gaming machines, a Surface set up over in the corner and a desk with a few Arc Mouse/Keyboard combos we headed straight to the main attraction.

There were 5 Kinect booths set up, each with a massive LCD screen, an Xbox 360 and a Kinect all with different games ready to play. There was Joyride, Ubisoft’s Your Shape Fitness Evolved, Kinect Sports, Kinect Adventures and Harmonix’s (the guys that created Guitar Hero and make Rock Band) Dance Central which was by far the best game on show. We all got to play these games and try out the aforementioned laptops, keyboards, mice and the Surface and after about 90 minutes we were lead into another section of the building that had been transformed into Microsoft’s Open House.

After a nice little speech from a PR guy about how great Microsoft is doing, we were led into what looked like a tiny shop selling MS products and after another little talk the giving away began. The two people showing us around the open house had a little bit of an act going on that ended up with a few rounds of “Answer the Microsft trivia questions” with the winners getting prizes such as an Xbox 360 Slim, Xbox 360 games and an Arc Keyboard/Mouse set.
After the give-aways we were led through a series of rooms including a kitchen, living room, bedroom, office and an outside room where we were shown many Microsoft products like Internet Explorer, Foxtel on Xbox, Media Centre, Windows Live Essentials (in particular Photo Gallery and Mesh) and Windows Phone 7.

Once this was all over we were asked to leave straight away (presumably so we couldn’t sneak into the next group and cheat on their trivia) and given a show-bag on the way out. Looking into it I saw a white Microsoft beach towel, but underneath that found a brand new Arc Keyboard and Arc Mouse which was a great surprise to end the night.

After that we quickly caught a train back to Central and after a short stopover a Hungry Jack’s (called Burger King in the rest of the world) took the train back to Wollongong where, to finish the day off, I went and saw Tomorrow When the War Began, a film remake of a series of books I read when I was much younger, at the Shellharbour Cinema.

I’ve had a good day…


Well thinking back on it, it wasn’t exactly the best of days. For the most part I slaved away doing some hellish task or another, but now that I’ve done them, I feel like I’ve done well. Good on me.

My story starts at 7am and fought my way out of the comfort of my little college bed onto my little college floor and moved straight into doing push-ups. A couple of things moved me to wake up to this; Firstly, the image that a friend on mine Stevo put in my head the other day. He was talking about some movie where the character wakes up in the morning and falls out of bed straight into push-ups. Stevo said that he’d tried this and that it was a really good way to get yourself woken up. I have to assure you, just this image isn’t nearly enough to convince me to do this, in fact only someone as keen as winner of last year’s “Fitness First” award (Stevo) would manage that. No, it’s the second reason that really pushed me over the line; I’ve started to do the 100 push-ups program.
It’s basically just a 6 week little program found at that works to move you from your current level up to being able to do 100 consecutive push-ups. I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to pick up the pace, but if it works as well as it says it does, I should be able to do it before too long. I managed 67 this morning, although not consecutively, just following the steps for Day 1 Week 1.

After that was of course the oh so fun trip up to Uni to sit in my lecture for two hours and try my hardest to stay awake. It’s not that I’m too bored, in fact, it’s a testament to how interesting this lecture is that it gets me out of bed and up to campus by 8:30 on a Monday morning. So I sat in my lecture learning about file systems, compilers and libraries, interested the whole way, but struggling to keep my eyes open. Afterwards I headed over to my computer lab and did the little worksheet and headed home.

Once I got home I ate my sandwiches and moved straight onto my ethics (ugh!) assignment, even resisting the urge for a quick lunch-break episode of Chuck. I then sat on my arse and did this assignment until I finished, about 8 hours later (+5 proud points, +10 paragon), only taking a break for dinner and a shower. Once I finished I spent a little time checking up on my programming assignment that I’d done a few days ago and submitted that as well.

After that I got myself onto another first and went for a run with a mate of mine. I know right, a run! That doesn’t sound like me, because before tonight, it wasn’t. We ran up to the light house (about 2.4km) and I shocked myself when I found out we were there and I hadn’t needed to stop and walk (although to be fair I was in struggle city for a couple of minutes after that). After a little bit of walking I even managed to run most of the way back. The plan is to do this two or three times a week, keep up with the 100 push-ups plan as well as going to the kickboxercise thing we’ll hopefully be starting up at Weerona again this friday.

That would be a big part of the reason I’m writing this now. ‘They’, whoever they are, always say that if you make a goal public, tell a few people, write it down, that you are much more likely to stick to it and see it through. That’s why I’ve told a couple of people, and I’m writing this here, I want to keep this up and see where I can go with it.

So there, after all of those activities, none of them what you would describe as the most fun thing I could do with my time, I still feel like I’ve had a good day, so there must be something in that. Must be because I’ve actually achieved something. If it’s something chemical about going for a run earlier on this evening, then I’m bloody excited about that too because it will hopefully only help me keep to it even more. There was my day, fairly average, but I wanted to write about it, so I have. Got to head to bed soon though, early start tomorrow and I still have a fair bit of work to do. And make a move in the murder game. I’ll post about that later, I’ll just say now it’s a fun little event we have here at college, and I’m still alive a whole day in. About three times as good as I went last year already!

So that’s it for me, good to see that I’ve made it and posted within a month of my last one. It’s not like I have a quota, but it’s still alive! Until next time, which if I’m still in murder game might be soon, goodnight!

EDIT(27/5/2010): Turns out I’m as lazy as I expected…

Summer Break


I’ve just come back from South Australia and my summer holidays are almost at an end. Thankfully that doesn’t have the same feeling of dread and regret that it did back when I was in school. In fact, I can’t wait to get away from work and back to Wollongong. That word back there is one of the main factors. Work.

There’s another reason that this summer holiday is different from all the others. Almost the entire time that I’ve been home, I’ve been working out on a ‘market garden’ farm. For the first month and a half, work was separated into three basic jobs: Pick onions, bag onions or cut garlic, and I’d do one of those from about 5:45AM until I finally crawled home sometime between 6 and 10 hours later. It wasn’t so bad, but I well and truly smelt like onions for days after I finished. Thankfully the onion thing is over for this year.

After that, I took 10 days off and went to Port Elliot, SA with my family. Port Elliot is a nice enough spot, a tiny little town on the southern coast of Australia, about 10km from Victor Harbor and an hour from Adelaide (SA capital). It has a nice little beach called Horseshoe Bay, but not being exposed to the open ocean, doesn’t have much in the way of waves. ‘Boomer’ beach just down the road delivers a little better, that’s all Port Elliot has to give, and when it rains, it doesn’t do that very well either. It was a nice break from work and home, but after a more than a week that tiny little house could get tense and maybe a little boring.

I got home last night and went straight back to work at 5:45 this morning, but this time I was onto picking and packing melons. Melons is much nicer, albeit heavier, job than onions and garlic, and most importantly comes with a much nicer melon-y scent.

While I was away, I managed to listen to basically every episode of the Rooster Teeth podcast, the Drunk Tank (I was a little behind on my podcast listening). Rooster Teeth are best known as the guys that made Red vs Blue, they’ve also got a great web-comic, some other fun videos (like the live action Rooster Teeth shorts) and a site dedicated to helping you get achievements and trophies on the Xbox 360 and PS3. The best way to describe the content of the drunk tank would have to be something along the lines of “A bunch of funny guys, talking about everything.” While they always talk a bit about games, throw in some stuff about movies, they talk about anything and everything and as long as you aren’t too sensitive about anything (or possibly “can be insensitive about everything”). I could go on and on about the drunk tank but the main reason I brought it up is the way it has found a way to make me enthusiastic about completely games again. I’ve always gone through a game and finished the story, generally on the hardest difficulty, but the achievements are generally something I won’t focus too hard on. The combination of the drunk tank, and the not-so-new feature on the Xbox that shows you how many of your games you have 100% completed has made me look back and start to see what I can do with those games that are close to the top.
I definitely can’t afford (financially) to try and get a high gamerscore at all, but for a little while at least, I’ll be working on completing a lot of the games I still own.

That lead on to me playing Geometry Wars 2 again. Geo Wars has got to be the most addictive game I’ve ever played…looking back, if I hadn’t played it for a couple of hours after work today, this would have been written long ago. Anyway, I’ve gone back to Geo Wars to get the last achievement I have left in it. Smile. This video shows what you have to do in it, and while they make it look fairly easy, it isn’t. I’ve spent a few hours just trying to get that, and got really close at one stage. Anyway, I’ve got a bit of a list to hit with that, might make it a separate post later.

Only another week of work to go before I start packing and preparing to go back to Wollongong for O-Week Leader training. Can’t wait to get back and welcome what is hopefully a cool bunch of newbies to Weerona and get back to civilisation and my friends. And the beach!

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