First tooth!

While playing with Matt this morning I discovered his first tooth cutting through his bottom gum… ouch!

It’s almost through and sharp(ish) to touch, but he seems ok about the whole thing – just lots more dribble over the last few days and a few more grizzles than normal. One down, (the lower right central incisor if you want to get technical), 19 baby teeth to go…

On to solids

The first meal of baby riceWell, “solids” is actually a bit of a misnomer when it comes to Matthew’s food. “Mush” would be a better term. Either way, for the last two weeks the little guy has branched out on the menu and no longer just orders milk. After baby rice (which looks more like Selleys gib stopper) he now enjoys banana, apple and pear along with rice and veges including pumpkin and carrot. The only unfortunate thing for us is that he’s also just learnt to blow raspberries, and enjoys doing that most while eating! Time to dust off the tarpaulin…

Apple 1, Microsoft 0.

I’ve finally finished watching the big two keynote addresses delivered earlier this month by Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. My verdict: a victory to Steve Jobs and Apple Inc.

If you’re a tech-head or self confessed computer geek then you’ll know that two of the biggest shows took place earlier this month – the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and Macworld in San Francisco. Presenting keynotes at those shows respectively were Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft and Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple.

Both keynotes are well worth a look (links to follow), but I reckon Steve pulled off the better delivery and had a much more enthused audience. By contrast, Bill’s presentation was a little flat, reflected in the unexcitable crowd. Part of the problem for Microsoft is the fact they’re essentially pushing the same old software in shiney new wrappings, whereas Apple delivered once again innovative products that will most certainly lead the digital media and cell-phone markets in new directions.

Click through for the remainder of my comments and links…

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A quick bach break…

A gap in my roster let us get over to the bach earlier this week – Matthew’s first trip on a ship and a nice break with family for us. Here’s a few photos and a sound clip…

Spotted this setup when we arrived at the ferry terminal. Yes that is a truck with a car and trailer, towing a boat and a caravan.

Glad we didn’t meet that on the narrow and windy Queen Charlotte Drive!

Next up is the view from the bach after some extra pruning opened up the view to the bay a litte more.

The sound clip from our time in the sounds is of the early morning birdsong that started soon after 5am (click link to play or download mp3).

And finally, here’s three generations of Noblemen 😀 – John, Matthew and Chris.

Access blocked websites at work

The topic of ‘companies blocking websites’ came up recently, so I thought I’d post a couple of workarounds, along with a nifty site to make you look productive…

First, the disclaimer. If your workplace is blocking websites, it’s for a reason (probably related to employee productivity!) so you should think twice before employing these methods. Check your workplace policy on personal internet use and only surf in your own time if permitted.

That said, onto the workarounds! For simplicity, I’ll assume you can’t install software to help out (such as to access the Tor network) and that you don’t want to modify how your browser connects to the net.

You basically have two easy methods that might work.

1. Use the IP address instead of the site name
Every website can be accessed by its unique IP address. For example, http://www.trademe.co.nz is the same as http://203.57.145.2. Connecting this way may work if simple address filtering is being used (at least until the IP is also blocked!) To find a website IP number, visit selfseo.com or iwebtool.com.

2. Connect to the website via a ‘proxy’ site
This basically involves your browser requesting a website via a different site that forwards on the pages. The trick here is that the forwarding site (the proxy) doesn’t list the site name you want to visit in the address bar so again simple filtering will be bypassed. To get started, visit proxify.com or a1proxy.com and enter the site you want to visit there. If you need a different proxy site, try one from this mega list.

A proxy warning – I strongly recommend you DO NOT login to sites (eg webmail) or purchase with a credit card through sites via a proxy server. ALL your communication goes via the proxy server and you can’t be 100% sure that the passwords and credit card details won’t be logged and/or abused.

Look productive while surfing
Here’s a nifty trick that works well for news sites or blogs where you’re only interested in the text content. Visit workfriendly.net, enter a site name and you’ll have the website disguised in a window that looks like Microsoft Word! 😉 Note the mouse-over “Boss Key” button that switches to different content…

Finally, be careful out there. Remember, ALL your internet activity (websites visited, email sent) is able to be scanned, viewed and/or logged by your IT department. Use secure webmail (eg Gmail) for personal emails and browse sensibly.

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UPDATE (22-Feb-08):

A couple of other methods are worth adding to this post – both centring on the use of search engines which offer you the content you want, but via a different URL in the address bar.

– View the page via a search engine’s cache
When searching for a webpage, or even searching for a specific URL, you may be able to view a cached version of the page from the search engines database. For example, do a search at Google and look for the “Cached” link. This might be OK for sites that don’t update often, but may not be very useful for regularly changing sites, eg news. You’re relying on the fact that the search engines spider or bot has recently visited and indexed the page. Eg. here’s trademe.co.nz via Google’s cache.

– View the page via a translation service
There are several free webpage translation services on the net, including Google Translate and Altavista’s Babelfish. While Google doesn’t permit english to english translation, you could simply request a spanish to english translation which will simply render an english page in readable english (there may be minor changes however). You can do the same via Babelfish, but even better you can modify the resulting URL and force an english to english translation. Eg. trademe.co.nz via Google spanish to english, and trademe.co.nz via Babelfish english to english. Both of those links/URLs can be easily modified for a different page of your choosing.

Shivering in December

Following recent media enquiries, a collegue of mine pointed out the spectacularly bad start to summer that some places around NZ have had. To highlight a couple of places in particular, wrap up warm and read on…

Wellington

Mean daily temp in Dec 2006 = 14.0
Long term mean daily temp in Dec = 16.4 (1962-2003)
Lowest long term mean daily temp in Dec = 14.9 (1962-2003)

In other words, on average, Dec 2006 was the coldest Dec in over 40 years by 0.9C. Dec was also slightly windier than the long term mean, and had more raindays (>0.1mm) and more wet raindays (>1.0mm) than normal (despite having less rainfall than normal in the month).

Christchurch

Mean daily temp in Dec 2006 = 12.7
Long term mean daily temp in Dec = 15.8 (1953-2003)
Lowest long term mean daily temp in Dec = 13.9 (1953-2003)

Again, the coldest Dec in over 50 years by 1.2C! A new coldest minimum temp record was also set when Chch hit 0.0C on the 2nd (the previous coldest temp was 1.5C in 1994). Christchurch was also slightly winder than normal, and was certainly wetter than normal, both in the number of raindays and in the total amount – a whopping 115.2mm compared with the long term mean of just 49.0mm (1943-2003).

Someone obviously forgot to invite global warming to NZ’s summer…  😐 Let’s just hope Jan and Feb make up for the rubbish weather rounding off 2006!