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Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Okay, all the pieces are falling into place :).

We've applied for a spouse visa for the girl (which they let us apply for even though we aren't married yet, and therefore don't have a wedding certificate), we've booked the wedding registration and paid for the photography, just need to finalise the flight and freight for the belongings and all systems are go go go.

I've decided to go with excessBaggage.com for the freight, it's about $1400 AUD for 8 x 60cm x 41cm x 34cm boxes, sent via air & door to door, so while it's pricey, it's also very convenient.
No need to hire vans and deliver or pick stuff up from an airport.

The registration is on the 11th March at Putrajaya, and most likely I will fly out to Australia on the 14th. The lovely lady will probably stay in Malaysia for a few weeks while I set up camp in Sydney a bit, you know, do novel things like find a place to live and buy a bed and a fridge etc. (..and television and internet connection and couch and 'a table').

When we had our interview with the good people at the Australian High Commission, they thought that there was a chance that the visa could be quite quick to approve, given that Peilin has a job offer in Sydney and our application was quite complete. If she stays in KL for a little it will also give that a chance too.

Who knows, maybe it's going to take longer that they suggested (it can take up to 6 months), if so she can come to Australia whenever she's ready and we can fly to New Zealand for the weekend when it comes time for the visa (the final part of the approval process is entering the new country, even if you're already there, you've got to do it again).

Sure, it could easily be argued that flights and freight are the most important part of moving internationally, but considering all the things we've achieved so far, that stuff seems ridiculously trivial.

It's been months of gathering documents and getting them legally certified, and while I'm expecting to have to redo a couple of things, I think we're mostly there.
It's been a stressful few months too! I'll be glad not to have to do something like this again for a while. And it should be a while too, unless I decided to start in import business of Asian wives. Hmm..

Where was I? oh yes..
I'm also getting a couple of suits tailored from the excellent Page Shop, in Sungei Wang. I can actually get one tailored here for about the same price as I could walk into a shop in Australia and buy one ready-made, so it's money well spent. Not that I'm a big suit wearer, but whenever the opportunity comes up, I'm going to be so ready for it. So ready.

I'm getting one in a charcoal grey, and one pinstripe blue, and two shirts made as well. For both the suits and the shirts you can choose from a wide range of materials and colours. It's costing me 2400MYR, which is about $1000 AUD for the lot. Not sure which to wear for the registration..

I've included the contact details for The Page Shop below, in case anyone wants them. Highly recommended. They even gave me beer while having my measurement done. C'mon, THAT's service :) .

Page Shop
Lot No. 100, 1st Floor, Sungei Wang Plaza,
Jalan Sultan Ismail,
55100 Kuala Lumpur.
Ph: 603-2148 8168.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cool game: Machinarium

Machinarium Preview 02 from Amanita Design on Vimeo.

Based in the Czech Republic, Amanita Design has made a name for itself producing visually unique point-and-click 2D adventure titles..
Their latest title, the Machinarium, features hand-drawn graphics and tells the story of a little robot who's been left to rust in a scrap yard, as he tries to save his robot-girl friend and stop a bomb attack from the "Black Cap Brotherhood."

Monday, February 16, 2009

Earth-like planets in our galactic neighbourhood

Earth-like planets with life-sustaining conditions are spinning around stars in our galactic neighbourhood, US astrophysicists say. They just haven't been found yet.

"There are something like a few dozen solar-type stars within something like 30 light years of the sun, and I would think that a good number of those -- perhaps half of them have Earth-like planets," Alan Boss told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AASS).

"So I think there is a very good chance that we will find some Earth-like planets within 10, 20 or 30 light years of the Sun," the astrophysicist from the Carnegie Institution for Science told his AAAS colleagues meeting here since Thursday.

One light year equals the distance light travels in one year at the speed of 300,000 kilometers (186,000 miles) per second, or 9.46 trillion kilometers (5.88 trillion miles).

Boss is convinced that the Earth-sized planets could be found either by the Kepler space telescope US space agency NASA plans to launch on March 5, or by the French-European telescope-equipped COROT satellite that has been in orbit since 2006.

"I will be absolutely astonished if Kepler or COROT didn't find any earth-like planets, because basically we are finding them already," Boss told a press conference Saturday when asked why he felt so confident.

COROT has already discovered the smallest extraterrestrial planet so far. At a little over twice the Earth's diameter, the planet is very close to its star and very hot, astronomers reported earlier this month.

Boss said Kepler and COROT will likely find so many Earth-like planets that they will "tell us how to go ahead and build the next space telescope to go and examine these planets, after we know they are there."

The images from those new planets, he added, should identify "light from their atmosphere and tell us if they have perhaps methane and oxygen. That will be pretty strong proof they are not only habitable but actually are inhabited."

"I am not talking about a planet with intelligence on it. I simply say if you have a habitable world ... sitting there, with the right temperature with water for a billion years, something is going to come out of it.

"At least we will have microbes," said Boss.

Raymond Jeanloz, professor of astronomy, earth and planetary science at the University of California at Berkeley, delved further into the matter.

"I can strongly reinforce Alan Boss's point that life from this perspective that is very much driven by our understanding from the genome, is in some sense 'inevitable,'" if the same basic building blocks of life that exist on Earth are present.

"The distinction will be more between a class of life form that can communicate with us versus ... the vast abundance of life forms recorded in our fossil records, namely microbial life."

On the possibility of finding an extra-terrestrial civilization, Boss said the research "is an interesting one and an important one to do because, even though there is a small probability of success, if you actually find something, it is an immense discovery to make.

"So you say, 'yes, this is worth doing.'"

Saturday, February 14, 2009

United Arab Emirates building network of driverless electric taxis

When you think United Arab Emirates, chances are you think oil, especially in the wake of last year's overwhelming gas prices. But, the area is trying to change its image by creating a gasoline-free town called Masdar City that will be a futuristic and environmentally-friendly destination. City planners recently unveiled plans for a new way for people to get where they're going: electric taxis that will lack drivers.

The streets of Masdar City are said to be entirely free of traditional cars, so these podcars will be the only way of getting around short of taking a train, riding a bike, or just walking. These cars, and the other means of transportation, will actually be situated below ground, as Masdar City’s streets will be raised off the ground, but buildings will be built at ground level, with the first couple of stories serving as basements and space for technical equipment. The idea is you'd swipe an access card, be greeted by name, and then be silently whisked away to your destination -- or close to it, at least.

The first cars are set to hit the subterranean roads sometime later this year, and, having survived many a harrowing trip with a human taxi driver, we can't wait to see them spread to other metropolitan areas.

PRT vs. Monorail

Green ideas: 'Blight', solar Venetian blind lights

One of fifty top entries in this year’s Greener Gadgets Design Competition, Vincent Gerkens’ Blight offers a brilliant twist on staid venetian blinds. Rather than serving simply to block the sun’s rays, the design re-envisions blinds as sun-soaking solar panels that store energy during the day and illuminate your interiors at night.

Named after a combination of the words “blind” and “light”, Blight creates a seamless link between the indoors and the outdoors, storing sunlight during the day and giving it back at night. The smart design takes advantage of the large surface area of extended venetian blinds by lining each panel with flexible solar cells. Once night falls, stored energy is transfered to a layer of electroluminescent foil, which provides energy-efficient light.

Gerkens states: “With Blight we have not produced a new object; we have just created the design of an everlasting product: the Venetian blind. We use all the current functions of this object and add a little technology to give it a new function - to catch solar energy and convert it into electricity.”

Nice idea, I think a little more research could go into the name before it hits retail though.

.. found at inhabitat.com

Friday, February 13, 2009

Holy cow cola!

NEW DEHLI: For millions of devout Hindus, it's the real thing: a cola made from the urine of India's sacred cows.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a leading Hindu cultural group, has developed Gau Jal or Cow Water, at its research centre in the holy city of Haridwar on the River Ganges, and hopes it will be marketed as a "healthy" alternative to Coke and Pepsi.

In some Indian states, cow dung and urine are sold in regular dairy shops alongside milk and yoghurt.

Om Prakash, the director of the RSS cow protection department, said: "It will be a revolution of sorts. The acceptance of cow urine as a potent medicine is increasing day by day and once it comes as a cold drink, its demand will definitely increase. It will justify the high stature accorded to a cow in Indian culture."

His team is focusing on packaging, marketing and preservation work to stop its drink from developing an unpleasant odour in the summer heat.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Chinese New Year in the Office

Groovey, I've always suspected it, glad to have it confirmed :)

Things has been very, very busy of late. Workwise, I've been moving back towards a development role, which is good. On the home front, we're trying hard to organise all the various odd & ends for Pei Lin's visa application for the impending move to Australia.

I can understand why all the paperwork is required, but it only slightly helps to have a glimmer of this understanding when we're wading through it.

Last week I was overjoyed to receive my 'certificate of single status' from Australia (which will allow me to get married in Malaysia), but the joy was short-lived, they'd spelt my name incorrectly, and rather than just a hurried phone call to get another reissued, I find out that I need to return the incorrect one first. CrapCrapCrap! More unnecessary delays. Head office will no be pleased. Are already not pleased.

So I spend another 75RM express mailing the incorrect certificate back to Sydney, along with another form detailing the very basic concept of checking the spelling on someone's name.

I keep telling myself that in 3 months from now, everything will be settled.
.. I can't wait till then.

Monday, February 09, 2009

PePaKuRa Designer

While scouring the net for tutorials on how to draw cartoon monkeys (please, don't ask), I found this.

PePaKuRa Designer is software that allows you to take 3d data and then deconstruct it into a pattern that can then printed, cut out and assembled into a paper model.

Pepakura Designer does not contain software to create the original 3D models, but instead translates them to a 2D printable format. Pepakura supports some 3D file formats from software such as 3D Studio, LightWave and Softimage. Pepakura also supports files in the freeware format from "MetasequoiaLE".

Check out the below images of one intrepid PePaKuRa Designer who has created his own Daft Punk helmet using it. Awesomeness!

pePaKuRa Designer is available here.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Be warned!

Odd Search