Avalon International Airshow 2007

Well, I was very lucky this year to score a free trade pass from the ATSB and as always, the event didn't disappoint. Jim LeRoy in the 'BULLDOG' was spectacular. His aircraft control skills are just superb. If you are heading to the airshow and only see one flying event, make sure you see this guy.

I've thrown some picture together of the day here for people to enjoy. Make sure you take special notice of the pics of Jim throwing the bulldog around!

The were a couple of things that did annoy me. The way the defense forces were using the event as a recruiting event. I lost count of the number of times I was asked to join the army/navy/air force. It seems to be much worse this year than it has been at previous air shows. The other thing was that at every display that the USAF did, they made it obvious that they were pushing their agenda on "the war on terror" and "fighting terrorists" - thankfully, when it got a mention, most people in the crowds just laughed. It's good to see that Australians haven't lost touch with reality like our friends in the U.S.A have.

Online personality test.

Well, I've always kinda been curious how these online tests work, and always found it strange that a maths formula based on seemingly unrelated questions could come up with a good insight into peoples personality. It was kinda strange when I did this particular test which I believe to be pretty accurate in some areas, however some seem to be way off. Maybe it's a clever generalisation where people think it's accurate because people pick out the things that they wish to see in themselves?

My Personality

Openness To Experience
You are neither a subdued loner nor a jovial chatterbox. You enjoy time with others but also time alone. You can be very easily upset, even by what most people consider the normal demands of living. People consider you to be extremely sensitive and emotional. As a practical person you like to think in plain and simple terms. Others describe you as down-to-earth, practical, and conservative. People see you as tough, critical, and uncompromising and you have less concern with others' needs than with your own. You are reasonably reliable, organized, and self-controlled.

Test YourselfCompare YourselfView Full Report

Click here to take the most insightful personality test.

I wouldn't mind a few of you people to take this test and see how closely it matches your personality and make a post in the comments about it. While I think the basic description is a little lacking, click on the full report to get a more indepth reading....

Netgear DG834 followup

Well, it does look as though the Netgear DG834 modem is a fairly poor contender when it comes to sync speeds and throughput on ADSL2+ lines. The Billion 7300 modem that my ISP sent me outperforms the DG834 by nearly 1.5Mbit!

The DG834 came up with the following:

    ADSL1 (G.DMT):
    DownStream Connection Speed 5184 kbps UpStream Connection Speed 800 kbps
    DownStream Connection Speed 4969 kbps UpStream Connection Speed 810 kbps

The Billion 7300 seems to outclass the Netgear by a fair margin:

    ADSL1 (G.DMT):
    Upstream 800 kbps Downstream 6656 kbps
ADSL2+ (Annex A):
    Upstream 812 kbps Downstream 5390 kbps
ADSL2 (Annex A):
    Upstream 816 kbps Downstream 5338 kbps

Interestingly enough, both modems achieved a higher sync rate using ADSL1 spec than ADSL2 or ADSL2+. Looks like I'll be staying in ADSL1 mode for quite some time :)

ADSL2+ and Netgear DG834 modems

I finally managed to get an ADSL2+ connection to my house! This has however caused lots of frustration in getting it to work! From my research, it looks like the Netgear DG834 modem does not like a lot of ADSL2+ lines.

I have one of these modems at a friends place and it seems to sync up using ADSL2+ and gets a nice 10Mbit connection. Mine however will not sync at all in ADSL2+ mode... It's interesting that using ADSL1 (G.DMT), the modem will sync at ~5Mbit downstream - which is what I was expecting seeing as my Cisco router would report a max attainable line speed of around 5Mbit.

If I lock the Netgear DG834 to ADSL2+ mode, it will not sync at all. I talked to Netgear about this and they did the good old "it's the ISPs fault" and didn't really want to hear anything more. In the meantime, I'm getting my ISP (Spin Internet - I'd recommend them to anyone!) to send me a Billion 7300 modem which they say seems to have no issues.

Will be interesting to see if the Netgear DG834 modem is just no good at ADSL2+!

Thoughts on Windows Vista

I've been part of the Windows Vista testing program since the days it was still called Longhorn. I have to say, they've come a long way in that time (a what a long time it was!). All in all, Windows Vista seems to be a good step forward from Windows XP - although there are going to be a number of things that annoy the seasoned Windows user.

1) Wireless Networks - At the moment, there is no way to tell an adhoc network from an access point. This means it's potentially easy to trick people into trying to associate with an adhoc network and not what they are actually wanting to connect to. This becomes more interesting if the same SSID is used between the AP and the attacker - as Vista will prefer the stronger signal - which may be either of the two networks.

2) Windows Sidebar - I am yet to find a good reason to use this. It's slow, limited and steals screen real-estate without adding much usefulness. Indeed this would have been better implemented with something more like OSX's Dashboard - however even an option just to hide the sidebar off the screen when the mouse is not near it would be a great improvement. Thankfully, it can be disabled easily.

3) The Start Menu search - This is one of my pet hates. After years of being used to pressing Win -> U -> U to shutdown the computer, this no longer works. If you press the Windows key then type 'u', you now end up searching the start menu, favourites (bookmarks) and web history. While this may not be a bad feature, it's annoying when you've been using that key sequence for years!

4) User Account Control - Although I understand the reasons for Microsoft to make this move - making a more secure system by trying to separate system permissions from user permissions, the UAC pops up all over the place - from simple things like defragmenting your hard drive to changing font DPI. The worst part of this is that the UAC prompt is modal - meaning that you MUST pay attention to it when it comes up - you can't just do something else and ignore the prompt.

There are a few more slightly annoying things, however in the whole, things seem to work ok. My test machine for Windows Vista is a 2 year old Dell Inspiron 8600 laptop with a 1.7Ghz Pentium M CPU, 1Gb of RAM and a Radeon 9600 video card. The performance rating is 3.5, however it's still easily quick enough for everyday use - even when using the Aero theme.

Last Apple Superdrive Post.

After well over a year of research and trying to make Apple accountable for faulty firmware in some of their computers, I have finally given up. Apple still refuse to admit to any problem on these drives, and sadly I must devote time to other projects.

From the superdrive site:

Update 28/01/2007 02:47am (+11 GMT) Well, it looks as though Apple won't do anything about this problem. What I can advise however are a number of brands that do work accordingly - and why. It seems that Apple only support media created by the CMC factory. Discs made by this factory (and banded as other labels) seem to work fine in the drive. CMC make the Verbatim and possibly LG, SHINTARO, TDK and some DATACELL discs. This means in theory, any of these discs that happen to come from the CMC factory should work find. Anything else, and you'll get 2x burns.

Airservices DAPS updated.

Looks like Air Services Australia has updated their DAPs page with all the airport charts for Australian Airports. To reflect this, I've re-run my script to combine them all for us flight sim pilots who like to use them for procedural approaches and departures from airfields.

You can find them here.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all

Better late than never. I hope you all had a great Christmas and have a fun new year!

Christmas for me was a little different as I had a visit from one of my cousins from the UK on her way around Australia. There was much consumption of alcohol and a great time was had by all that night. Alas, with only the basic public holidays off this year, it's a very busy time.

Work on the (until now) unmentioned project to trunk IP data between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane is well underway and have already signed up our first 50Mbit customer. If you need data transport between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, drop me a line for a quote.

Be safe, and I'll see you all in 2007!

EDIT: Oh, and my good mate Andrew Cameron that I've known ever since high school is getting married on the 30th. Cheers to him! :)