February 27 2015

House update: We finally have internet & Garden Update

Internet

Since moving in in October 2014, we have been waiting for the NBN.

It was not until a “complex wide BBQ” that I was informed that some people in the complex had access to a separate Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) system, that had not yet moved to NBN. We have now connected to that system that offers 200gb / month. Sadly after already 5 days of connection we have used nearly 50% of our allowance.

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All this for under half the cost of the 3G system we were using just to book flights etc.

Garden looking amazing

Frankie has done wonders with our small court yard. It is now both functional and pretty.

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February 26 2015

Starting to feel like a real Scuba Diver

I have now finished 6 dives following my PADI Open Water Diver Qualification.

Of those 6, I have had to share air (essentially, I nearly ran out of air due to hyperventilation and excitement) if you would like to see this process, here is a Youtube clip showing the underwater process

I have now finished the final two, number 5 & 6. Only during these dives did I start to feel like a “real” scuba diver. Not just some one pretending. I was able to settle in to the dive. Enjoy it.

Here is a video of those dives (click on the picture)

alt=“Diving at Bawley Point NSW“ width="240" height="180" border="10" />

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February 25 2015

Gear update – Scuba Diving February 2015

Recently I was offered the opportunity to purchase some very good quality second hand Scuba Diving equipment.

I managed to snap up a family new Buoyancy Control Device (BCD), first and second stage regulator (the hoses you breath through) along with a dive knife, a surface marker (an orange sausage that you inflate to get noticed on the surface) along with a really good quality mesh bag.

Some new kit include a Suunto Zoop Dive watch and a DIY GoPro Dive Tray that will hopefully stabilise some more of my dive videos

Here is a short video using all of the gear above along in addition to the standard here included in my “learning to dive” pack mentioned here

IMAGE ALT TEXT HERE

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February 24 2015

Pebble Watch – 18 months on

Pebble

Way back in August 2013, I wrote about my first 72 hours with the now famous original smart watch – the Pebble Watch.

Read the original post here http://wp.me/p3SehX-4c.

It has now been 18 months and I am on to my second watch. The first was replaced under warranty due to a funky issue with the screen.

The Pebble has been a daily companion, no much so, I can not remember the last time my watch actually made a sound. I often get strange looks when I dash across a room at work saying my phone is ringing, I can feel it.

I have to say the only minor downsides so far for me is no automatic replies to simple SMS messages and battery life. I am getting roughly 6-8 days from my Pebble.

Since I purchased mine, Pebble have launched the Pebble Steel. A more ‘professional’ looking watch. I personally like my black plastic model.

A new colour Pebble seems to be in the works with images leaked ahead of a Pebble announcement

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January 7 2015

Gear: BadElf 2200 3 axis bluetooth GPS

Bad-Elf-2200-GPS-Pro-Blacksilver-4I recently picked up this tiny 3 axis Bluetooth tracker from eBay for $147.00 AUD.

There are two primary uses that I will be putting the BadElf 2200 to. Unlike my phone, this device can happily chug along all day turning out a highly accurate GPS track all day and night on a single charge. Not only does this allow us to see where we have been but it helps with the the geo location of photos (more that later).

The 2200 is equipped with Bluetooth which mans that it only can you transfer the created track files back to your phone or iPad it can actually supplement the inbuilt GPS (or supply full GPS in the case of a wifi only iPad) both on and off wifi connection.

This is incredibly helpful. As I discovered while hiking through the hills of Myanmar last year – your iPhone’s GPS is deactivated when the phone is set to flight mode. I found no way of turning the GPS only on without taking the phone out of flight mode and draining the battery as it constantly searches for a signal.

Another use I am keen to put the 2200 to is to assist. With geo tagging our hundreds (and thousands) of photos we take while travelling.

Read the rest of this page »

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December 7 2014

A photo tour of the Buddhist temples of Myanmar

A photo tour of the Buddhist temples of Myanmar

I was going back and looking at more and more photos from our trip all over Myanmar from 2013 and rediscovered many of the amazing temples we visited.

I have broadly divided the photo collection here into 3 segments:

  1. The temple city of Bagan
  2. Cave Temples
  3. The Temple punched on top of Mount Popa
  4. The last Kingdom of Mandalay
  5. Slowly crumpling temples in the hills of Inle Lake

 

Temple City of Bagan

 

Cave Temples

 

Mount Popa

 

The last Kingdom of Mandalay

Temple spires in the hills of Inle Lake

 

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October 6 2014

House Buying: slight stumble at the final hurdle

House Buying: slight stumble at the final hurdle

So close

So in the middle of last week I received a call from our mortgage broker who was asking if I had the approved First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) paperwork. I was under the impression that it was completed and approved in January.

Sadly I had that mixed up with the clearly different First Home Owner Concession.

With a crazy rush on Thursday this week to get the paperwork sorted. Fortunately due a twist of the Federation of Australia, while ACT and NSW have a public holiday on Monday, Victoria where our bank does all the processing for the FHOG so we may just have this thing settled on time.

In the mean time, here are some new photos from just prior to final hand over condition.

 

 

 

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October 5 2014

My first few weeks with the iPhone 6 Plus

My first few weeks with the iPhone 6 Plus

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 1.15.26 amI had been holding on to my iPhone 5, waiting eagerly for the goodies that are announced each September by the doyens of product secrecy and marketing.

Hearing the rumours of a larger iPhone really wetted my appetite. I was weighing up getting one of the larger Samsung Note 4s and immediately wipe any remnants of Samsung’s gimmick filled bloatware. Thankfully the iPhone 6 plus was the answer I am looking for.

I conceit that the name of the new device is pretty crappy, most people just call it ‘the big one’.

While the size is defiantly the draw point, after working with and using closely, there are other features that have really come to the forefront for me – the battery and the camera being amounts them.

The Camera

I have to admit, I am not a great photographer, Frankie is far more the photographer than I am. Most of the fantastic images we took in Mynamar were taken by Frankie.

The manual or dynamic stabilisation is comparable to my mirror-less Samsung NX1000.

The Battery

Any one who knows me knows that I am very far from my phone – to the point of even having my previous iPhone 5 in its Lifeproof case in the shower with me for music.

This often leads to having a dead phone by noon. Not with the iPhone 6 plus. With a fair among of usage, including streaming musics, push notifications, location services, background activity and constant use I easily have over 70% left at 2:30 in the afternoon. Most days achieving 11-12 hours battery life between charges.

I am now really hanging out for the life proof case for this phone

Honourable mention – the external speaker

It is not a make or break feature of a phone for me. I say phone but I am getting more and more annoyed with actually having to talk to people by telephone. I use this device like many others for the consumption of news, media, sound, podcasts along with communicating with you – the lovely people of the inter webs.

The external speaker located on the base of this phone if big, and LOUD. I can hear the sound better and clearer sitting on my sink in my bathroom, than from a bluetooth speaker in the shower.

The bending thing

I know a lot of hoohar has been made about the ‘bending’ of the iPhone 6 plus in people’s pockets – personally I don’t have those issues, mainly because I am not stupid enough to put something that cost over $1000 in my back pocket and sit on it – but hey if you did and it bent. I am sorry to hear that.

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September 14 2014

Why would @fitbit take away a product I loved with no replacement?

Over the past week I have discovered some cracks on the back of my Fitbit Force. As you remember I purchased this device in the US as I am still as yet to see it available I Australia.

I contacted Fitbit support first via twitter as then by their support page as they requested. I provided photos. After a follow up request to find out what was going on as I had not heard from Support.

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What I received, I thought was sent in error. Basically due to a small number of people (mainly in the US) suffering skin irritations, the Fitbit force was recalled. While I knew about the recall, the issue didn’t effect me and I carried on.

As there was a recall in place Fitbit support stated they would not replace my damaged force but would refund me. I don’t want to go back to using the Fitbit flex, for one, I had issues with the band breaking after 8 months – the same time I have been using the force, not to mention the shocking battery life of the flex compared to the force.

I am now left with either rigging up some repair or take the refund and look for another product after I have already invested in the Fitbit ecosystem including the matching scale.

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August 26 2014

Holiday Plans – April 2015

Holiday Plans – April 2015

Frankie has been looking at holiday locations for next year. He is looking at being home in Myanmar for the Burmese New Year Water Festival and usually falls around mid-April.

Taking onto the end of that I am planning some dive spots in Thailand as well as some much needed rest and beach time.

Some probable locations are:
Kuala Lumpur
Krabi
Bangkok
Chiang Mai

And for the many may Americans who read my blog this should help

Have you been to any of the above, particularly Krabi or Chiang Mai? Suggestions? Diving Suggestions too?

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