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Friday, September 29, 2006

Ok, got home from Malaysia yesterday morning. It's quite strange to be home. All the little differences that you notice. The huge lack of motorbikes on Sydneys streets for instance.
When i got home i went for a drink of water and had to stop myself from boiling it first. How quickly you can get acclimatised to a place. ~(:^D)

Currently a chinese couple are arguing loudly in their car outside. The woman is really screeching. Clearly, he has done her wrong.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Hi there. Selamat Tengah Hari! Good afternoon, welcome to Malaysia.Currently I'm sitting in an internet cafe (costing 4RM an hour [about $1.50]) just off Bukit Bintang.

This photo is from a few days ago, when my Malaysian workmates and I went out for lunch. There is no one picture that sums up life here though... there are just too many cultures and variety.

Everyone has the latest mobile phones, and there are shopping centres, like Low Yat, which are almost entirely dedicated to electronics.

These people certainly like their food though, and why not, it's amazing over here. I'm not sure how I'm going to cope when I get back to the relatively bland food in Australia.
I'm sure somehow I will find a way. ;)

Visiting places like this certainly open up your palette though. I've tried most things, haven't tried to frog yet though. I hear it tastes like chicken.

Anyway, having an amazing time. Today I'm just about to get something to eat, then hoping to visit the Batu caves, which are about 14km north of Kuala Lumpur.

I bought that amazing camera (Panasonic Lumix dmc fz-50) I was hoping to get, so expect many more (and higher rez!) photos on my flickr site.


One thing that I've really noticed here is the surprising blend of old, new and jungle. The above picture is of a dilapidated building which is on my walk to work. The jungle is clearly in the background, yet all around it are highrise office buildings.

The weather is warm, but not unbearable, I have yet to have a day that is like one of those searing hot days in Australia, where the sun just belts down on you. It's the humidity here, but after a few days, you do kinda get used to it.

petronas tower from my apartment

Of course, I have to include a photo of the famous Petronas towers, as seen from my apartment building.

Alrighty, times up, off to lunch.
...more soon.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

This time 2moro night I will be on my way to Malaysia. This is my first trip overseas and I can't wait. Interesting food, people and places. Stay tuned for developments, I'll try to blog as often as I can. I'm back in Australia around 8am on the 28th.
Till then, be well, and wish me luck. ~(:^D)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

More rain. Good Morning.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bucketing rain at the moment, got the house to myself for a couple of days. My plane ticket for Malaysia arrived today, I fly out next Friday. Nothing else to report.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

- Shocking news: Squirrels and power lines don't mix.

These cute but pesky rodents are a leading cause of unplanned outages. They chew through power lines, fry themselves by completing electrical circuits and generally wreak havoc on power grids.

Utility companies, always on the hunt for new ways to combat animals, may have found an inexpensive solution to what has long been a vexing problem.

If you can't beat 'em, zap 'em.

The ZAPshield is an $11 polymer disc that arrived on the market some three years ago and delivers a non-lethal, electrostatic jolt to any varmint touching it.

The idea is to give the squirrels enough of a shock to keep them away from sensitive power equipment, but not enough of one to hurt them. Inventor Jim Rauckman compares the feeling of getting zapped by the ZAPshield to walking across a carpet on a dry day and then touching someone.

"It teaches them not to be up there," he said.

...read full story

image coutesy of the Soque River Watershed Association website photo gallery

The Soque River Watershed Association works
to protect and restore the Soque River, its tributaries and watershed

Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter dead at 44

Steve Irwin, famed as the Crocodile Hunter, died just after 11am yesterday in front of the cameras when a stingray's barb pierced his heart as he swam over Batt Reef, off the coast of Port Douglas in far north Queensland.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Superfuture: Sydney

...essentially, this site is a hyperlinked map of shops, cafes, bars etc. for select areas of various cities around the world.

Beneficial if you suddenly find yourself in a strange city and needing a hefty dose of fashion, or a decaf soy latte to bring everything back to reality for you.

...You precious, sexy, glamour hominid, you! Go mingle!

Algorithms to Calculate Unusual Behavior

National ICT Australia (NICTA) scientists are developing advanced surveillance technologies including software algorithms to track "inappropriate behavior" in public places.

The project—which aims to prevent, detect and predict acts of terrorism—is partly funded by a 634,000 Australian dollars (US$485,000) grant from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Dubbed the Smart Applications for Emergencies (SAFE) project, the team has already developed a proposed specification for a Tsunami-type warning language used to characterize and disseminate threat levels.

Chris Scott, research director of NICTA’s Queensland laboratory, said the focus of the project is to provide as much information to front-line decision makers as possible when responding to an incident. A lot of the work so far has gone into "hardening up" algorithms used for facial recognition.

"Identifying a particular person is one thing, but we are focusing on looking at unusual behavior in an open environment," Scott said.

"There is technology available to alert people when, say, a briefcase is left unattended in a public place, but we are working on algorithms not just to search for a person based on facial recognition, but to analyze the level of threat based on their actual behavior, to gather preliminary information to see if anything unusual is happening which would increase the probability of detecting an actual threat.

"Facial-recognition algorithms have been around for a while, but one problem with existing algorithms is they depend on the geometry of the face to compare with faces stored in memory. We are producing quasi-face images from side on and more algorithms [to cope with] poor lighting conditions, as simple facial-recognition software has not solved these problems, and this is what we are hardening up for real-world applications."

Scott said NICTA has been working with Queensland Transport and Queensland Rail, which has about 6,000 surveillance cameras on their networks.

"We were looking at the data produced by those, processing the information to characterize specific threats, managing resource distribution and allocation; but the sole focus of this project is for response and recovery from man-made and natural disasters and events," Scott said.

He said the purpose of the project is to get away from the problem of individuals looking at monitors, which frequently induce sleep, and 90 percent of the time nothing happens at all. The algorithms would filter out uninteresting information and potentially characterize behavior.

Eventually satellite images, photographs of buildings and images of surveillance cameras could be integrated on one image with real-time data integrated with historical images for real-time mapping.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Aah Saturday: sun & shopping & new Blogger & KL

Today was the first truly nice warm day we've had. Coincidence or not, it's also the second day of spring in my hemisphere of current residence.

Today I was able to migrate to the new beta of Blogger. Yay. Labels and other web 2.0 goodies.
Brian and I went to the Macquarie Centre for lunch etc. I'm going to have to find another fav dish other than Roast Duck Laksa, but for the time being, it is soo good. I bought the Lonely Planet guide to Malaysia Singapore & Brunei, some new, black Converse Chuck Taylors (size 9, thanks for asking), some new sunglasses and some glass water bottles (I'm a bit worried about reusing the same old plastic water bottles for literally years on end).

The sunglasses i bought are "fish" brand, each model has a fish species for a name (last ones were "large tupong", these are "red fin"). When I went to the counter to buy them, the lady who served me said that she had to get me a case and a tackle box. I thought she was just being funny harhar... fish... tackle box, yeh very good, but when she actually came back with a tacklebox, I realised that I'd made some sort of mistake somewhere along the line. Apparently it was a fathers day promotion. So now I have a new tackle box, which, as almost any australian man who is worth his salt (what does that mean? salt is cheap right?) knows, one can never have too many tackle boxes.

Did I mention that my passport arrived last Monday? Lightning fast turnaround for a beauracratic government dept (7 business days from 'interview' to delivery ~ brilliant!)

I'd love to get a new camera before going on this trip, my fav at the moment is the panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50, which looks awesome, but has only just been released. Lookey here:

In unrelated news: todays new word is : ungratulations; the new opposite of congratulations.

In other, unrelated news: currently listening to the new(ish) Fiona Apple album - Extraordinary Machine. It's wonderfully, quirkily great.

Anyways, I'm off to the pub, later!

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