<December 2004>
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Chris's Random Ramblings

Fri, 24 Dec 2004 - Amazing escaping present

Flew back to Adelaide for Christmas and New Year again. I packed and wrapped some presents for my brother, and much to my surprise one of the items managed to escape from its wrapping during its travels. Its a little laser pointer/torch light and I spent a while trying to work out how it could have accidentally escaped through a little hole in the wrapping. I eventually realised that it was probably the security people who carefully unwrapped and removed it, replacing the wrapping but forgot to put it back inside. I guess it looks a bit suspicious in the x-ray machine.

Reminded me of a time (pre war on terrorism) when I had taken a lead crystal clock, nicely wrapped, as a present for some friends, as carry on luggage on a flight. Not surprisingly the security screeners thought it looked a bit odd and asked to have a look at it. I protested that it was a present and I didn't want to ruin the wrapping, and they let me through. I don't think I'd get away with that these days.

Did a little bit of driving around Adelaide today and I have to agree with Mikey that the roads in Canberra are much better than those in Adelaide. Always amuses me when Canberrans complain about the state of the roads. Even the cycle lanes are very narrow here.

Sun, 19 Dec 2004 - Back to Square Rock

Took some woman up to Square Rock, one of my favourite walks around Canberra. Beautiful day, beautiful weather, beautiful company.

Accidentally lost a water bottle over the edge in the strong winds. One day I'm going to have to hike to the base as I bet there's lots of cool stuff down there.

Wed, 08 Dec 2004 - Bookware.com.au

Steven just pointed me to Bookware.com.au as an example of a good online bookstore in Australia. Its only sells computer books, but looks like it has a pretty good range with good prices. I should rant more often on my blog.

Tue, 07 Dec 2004 - Where is amazon.com.au?

A few weeks ago I started work on implementing unix domain sockets for K42, so I thought I'd buy a copy of The Design and Implementation of the 4.3 BSD UNIX Operating System for some ideas. None of the local stores had any in stock, and I had one of the local stores order it in. The book finally arrived a couple of days ago just as I was got my implementation working. If only there was a decent book store in Canberra!

There are a few online bookstores in Australia, but the shipping is fairly expensive for just one book, and unlike the bookstores in the US they rarely seem to offer any discounts.

Lately I've been using itunes to purchase music. With the nice user interface, the convenience, and ability to easily listen to samples, I've spent more on music in the last couple of months than I have in the previous two years. The useful "people who liked this song, also liked this song" kind of links has also led me to listen to a wider variety of music.

I'm eagerly awaiting the growth of electronic books. When they're as easily available as music, we'll have a much wider choice and no longer be held hostage by booksellers with their special Australian pricing.