At the request of the Master

24 October, 2006 at 8:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Howdy.

 It has been requested (by Mr Gizo) that I post. And so I shall.

The weather in Yass is quite nice; lots of blue sky, and sunny days, with not much rain in the forecast period.

And that sucks.

 There was no spring this year. It seems the weather went from minus temperatures (celcius) at night to positive 5-10 degree nights with no transition. The drought seems to be exacerbated by the fact that the normal “Storm Season” doesn’t appear to exist this year either. Typically, NSW experiences lots of storms during this quarter (September to November) yet we have had one storm, with over 4000 lightning strikes in NSW, and Yass received 2.2 mm of rain. And that is equivalent to around 33.5 seconds of shower time, when you are on tank water.

I know (because I am cynical about these things) that I will pay money to have my water tank filled, and the next day, it will rain like there is no tomorrow- last year, I paid $186 to have my tank filled, and the next day, we had two inches (50mm) of rain.

 Damn Global Warming. Damn droughts.

 And now for something completely different;

I went to a friends place last night, and we stayed up late (2.45am) drinking beer and talking shit.

I didn’t go to work today.

Special Needs User Support

20 October, 2006 at 7:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

I love my job.

I did say, once upon a time, that I wouldn’t post about my work, but stuff it. I can’t imagine I am going to get the sack for telling people about what I do.

I am employed by a rather large “company”, as the Special Needs User Support and Assistive Technology Solutions Officer. That means that for the 4000+ employees of my employer, I look after those with Special Needs. This can include people suffering from OOUS (Occupational Over Use Syndrome, AKA Repetetive Strain Injury), visually or hearing impaired persons, and those with mobility issues. It’s a great job; lots of investigating and developing solutions for those who find it difficult to operate computers or other equipment as a result of their impairment/injury/illness.

I also get to play with lots of new “toys”.

Today I received a new telephone headset for a “trial”.

 The majority of my clients suffer from OOUS, and as such, it is recommended they limit the amount of keying or mousing that they do when using a computer. One solution to this is the use of Voice Recognition Software, in particular, Dragon Naturally Speaking. Users can dictate documents, emails, and basically control most of their computing needs with the use of voice. There are some limitations, and it does take a little while to get into the mindset of “dictating” to your computer, rather than typing.

 To dictate into your computer requires a headset/microphone, and typically, you only need the one headset. For those who spend alot of time on the phone, and use a telephone headset, swapping headsets based on momentary needs (ie. you are in the middle of dictating a document with Dragon, and your phone rings. So you have to take off the Dictation headset and replace it with the telephone headset, only to remove the telephone headset and re-place the dicatation headset once you have finished your telephone conversation) can be really frustrating, and time consuming (not to mention wrecking your hairstyle (for those who have hairstyles…I have little enough hair that it wouldn’t bother me)). Having two headsets can also create additional mess with more cables strewn across the desktop, getting caught under chairs, and flopping onto the keyboard.

Solution: A multi-purpose headset. Sounds simple, right? Nope. Dragon requires a very high level of signal to successfully transcribe anything that is dictated, and a normal telephone headset is simply not up to the task.  One product seemed to fix all the issued described above. It is cordless, with a huge range (around 100mtrs), and when coupled with a “SelectSwitch”, offered the ability to select whether it was being used with the phone or the PC. The signal quality was suitable for use with Dragon Naturally Speaking, and until now, has been the foremost solution to the problems experienced by users of Dragon who spent alot of time on the phone. The “SelectSwitch” created its own problems. As anybody into electronics/electrics can tell you; the more joins in a circuit, the poorer the end result.

 Today, I received the new toy. A headset that has a built in select switch. Cool.

 Same great range (bluetooth systems don’t appear to have the same signal quality as good old RF frequency systems), same functionality, and no external select switch. And the signal received by Dragon is really high quality

I know to most of you, you’d be saying “well…..um….that’s great, gruntski… thanks for that information…”, but to me, it offers my clients a whole new vista in the Voice Recognition/Telephony arena.

And that, my friends, is my job.

My Little Girl

19 October, 2006 at 9:27 pm | Posted in Kidlets, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Yesterday, my daughter and my ex went to the Australian National Zoo and Aquarium, as Natasza received a couple of free passes for her seventh (OMG-Already!!!!) birthday.

This “tour” featured such things as:

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 feeding honey to a bearimg_a1121.jpg

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playing with a snake or two

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feeding meat to a lioness

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feeding carrots to a giraffe

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You reckon she wasn’t happy????

Ahhhh….kids of today…especially kids with well-off Godparents…

Chocolate and Headaches

17 October, 2006 at 6:52 pm | Posted in General Stuff | 17 Comments

I LOVE chocolate. Always have, and always will.

 I have always suffered from headaches, with a major part of my daily intake consisting of Paracetamol tablets. I saw plenty of Doctors, who all blamed it on residual effects of a serious motorbike accident I had in 1994. I didn’t break any bones, I didn’t even break any skin, but I managed to scramble the eggs significantly.

The proper name is Cerebral Contusions, which is a fancy-assed way of saying “Brain Bleeds”. It took me a good couple of years to get back to “normalcy”, although those that know me may beg to differ.

The end result was the equivalent of having a stroke at the age of 20. No memory, no social skills, poor motor skills, and a poor choice in remedies (copious amounts of Mary Jane-what a dickhead).

However, I am back to “normal”, and life is good. Except for these fricken headaches.

I did discover, around 12 months ago, that if I ate chocolates, the headaches increased correspondingly (yes, I know, how come I didn’t pick that up before…blah blah), so I stopped eating chocolate.

The headaches went away. Not eased off, but went away.

Just before last christmas, my boss, two rungs up the deparmental ladder, gave everyone in his section some high cocoa content chocolate frogs. Maybe it was psychosomatic, but half an hour later, I could hardly stand up because my head was hurting so bad. I have since tested this theory again, by denying myself chocolate for weeks at a time and then partaking in a small amount of chocolate.

And so now, my life is chocolate free.

And today, for the first day in God knows how long, I have a headache.  And to those of you to know me well, you will be pleased to know that yesterday was the first day in a while that I have abstained from alcohol consumption.

So, to alleviate the discomfort and pain associated with a headache, I have invested in a carton of Victoria Bitter cans.

And some Panadol.

Anything to kill this pain.

The most cultured person in Yass

15 October, 2006 at 12:56 am | Posted in Artsy stuff | 6 Comments

Tonight I expanded on my cultural development by attending the theatre.

As some of you may be aware, in the earlier part of this year, I was invited to audition for an amateur production of The Full Monty. I did, and was cast in a couple of roles, the main one being the worlds worst stripper. At which I succeded admirably (including searching for belly button lint, and pulling a wedgie out of my ass whilst “auditioning” to join the main group of strippers). The second was a priest conducting a funeral- a very somber affair, yet the eulogy was funny, and it was quite difficult to maintain my demeanor whilst the  audience was laughing.

As a result of my role in The Full Monty, I know quite a few of the cast in the show I saw tonight, “The Boyfriend”.

Set in the twenties, but written in the fiftys, it is a flippant look at life in that era, and a classic love story. Rich girl meets rich boy, but both pretend that they are actually paupers; the girls father refuses to let her have a boyfriend, but the boarding school madame reminds the father of a fling the two of them had when they were younger, so the father relents and it all ends rather happily.

 The singing (it is a musical) was very good, the dancing was lovely to watch, and overall an enjoyable night. I went with a couple of people who were involved in TFM, and another thespian.

 After the show, we stuck around until the cast came out from the dressing rooms, and we had a few bevvies, and chatted for a while. The cameraderie of the cast was great to see, and gets me wanting to audition for the next show they are doing, The Buddy Holly Story. I would love to audition, and probably will, but I am not to sure if there is a role for a beer bellied goatee wearing thugish looking person. Maybe there is a musically talented truck driver in it….Then again, maybe not.

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(BTW-for those that don’t know, the glasses and the white spray paint are all part of the costume-I am told it looked good on stage….but it was a bastard trying to see anything through those glasses!!)

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