Wrong decisions

“I think I’ve made more wrong decisions in my life than right ones,
I’ve been very selfish, and I’ve hurt a lot of really nice people because of it.
Sometimes I wish I could go back and change a few things.
But, sadly, if anyone could actually grant me a wish,
I’d probably ask for money.” – 2NU

Forgive me website…

Forgive me Website, for I have sinned

It has been 106 days since my last blog-session…

I’m still alive and, well, not doing so well on the weightloss front. Let’s come back to that later…

A lot has happened since my last entry:

  • I had my 39th birthday
  • I went to Singapore, and
  • today I went in the Sydney City to Surf – a timed 14km fun run

A couple of years ago I helped a friend video his sister’s wedding. As a result the bride and groom had given me a red balloons (this link) gift voucher. It was for a tidy sum and I needed to find a way to spend it. I chose the helicopter trial instruction flight (TIF). The voucher itself wasn’t enough to pay for the flight, but it covered almost half of it, so I put in the other half as a birthday present to myself and the day before my birthday I took off in a Robinson R22.

The flight was probably a little more than half hour, and it was certainly an experience worth having. I have long had an interest in flying, having even completed a few hours fixed wing as a kid, and wanted to see how a helicopter felt. It was good, but I don’t see the value in continuing on any further, mainly for the same reason I didn’t progressed with my fixed wing license… It’s too expensive.

Then, a few days later, I went off to Singapore for a week, with a couple of night in Kuala Lumpur. This was my first trip overseas (I don’t count Tasmania), and I was not sure what to get from the experience. We met some fantastic people and I could not get over the amount of Aussies we met over there! The friend I went with is a bit of an electronics buff, and we spent many hours in Sim Lim Tower and Square, but we also did some sight seeing, and some casual lazing about too. We even almost got arrested in one of Singapore’s Casinos (hint: Singapore doesn’t have any casinos – but that’s another story).

All-in-all, it was a fantastic experience, one which I will be doing again next year, albeit for much longer and seeing many more places!

And then today I went into the Sydney’s timed fun run, the City2Surf. It’s a 14 km journey that tests not only your fitness, but your resolve for running up very steep hills for long periods! I walked!

I think most city runs have a “heartbreak hill”, but Sydney certainly puts the “break” into it. Because just when you think you’ve mastered the hill, and every corner you go around, you think it’s going to be the last one… and it’s not! Heartbreak hill climbs for around 2.5 – 3km, and it hurts. Hence, I walked. Actually, it wasn’t heartbreak that made me walk, although it would have anyway. By the time I got to heartbreak I had already “broken”.

This is NOT me… this is Martin Dent

Going up the incline to Edgecliff shopping centre, I suffered an awful tightness in my shins (shin-splints). For anyone that’s experienced them, they are debilitating and it’s like someone is holding a blow torch to your shins, only this hurts! I eventually shook/walked them out and continued on.

Then my second problem hit me about the 8km mark, my shoes. I have three very expensive pairs of shoes, and I have only ever run in one of them, but I thought I would try a different pair today. That was a mistake. The pair has a slightly bigger instep (or whatever that little rise is called on the inner part of the soul of the foot, between the ball and the heel). But it was only ever so slight, and as a result that part of my foot was rubbing profusely… constantly… insessently… painfully…

In the end, the run turned into an extended walk – not a power walk, my legs are too short. But a walk/ho chi minh shuffle. My tubby little body crossed the finish line 2 hours and 15 minutes (135 mins) after I started. That’s over 6km an hour. For someone who’s 5′ 6½-7″ and 100kg, I think that’s pretty good! Especially considering that I haven’t done any exercise since March!

Which brings me around to my weightloss. I have had a set-back. I am not yet prepared to call it a failure, but things haven’t gone as planned. I did a massive effort and lost almost 13kg at one point, but sadly, I have put a chunk of it back on. Not all of it, but I am back to 100kg neat. I will not be rising above that mark and I will be starting all over again. A new regime this time, new methods, more madness. Let’s just hope this time I can stick to it.

BTW, the image above is not me, it’s the guy who beat me by a mere 94 minutes, Martin DENT. The first Australian to take out the race since 1997. Well done Martin.

I’m going to Singapore

[iframe http://maps.google.com.au/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&s=AARTsJoE5kmigjyjViskR5qXWgWptUUgkg&msa=0&msid=104468899777464833948.00044bb38ef025a3868b5&ll=-8.146243,113.378906&spn=34.288648,43.945313&z=4&output=embed 400 400]

I have never been overseas (unless you count going to Tasmania overseas, but most people don’t – self included). But I have a good friend in Singapore who I have been wanting to go and visit over there. He is originally from Australia and has been working there now for a few years and he comes home all the time, but I’ve never made the trip there.

Last Friday week ago Jetstar announced a new service from Melbourne to Singapore via Darwin. As an introductory offer they opened the service at $200 each way. The problem is, I don’t live in Melbourne, I live in Sydney! So I needed to find a way to get to Melbourne, I opted for Jetstar again and found a $110 return fare Sydney to Melbourne.

With all fees, taxes and tariffs, the whole trip is costing ~$550 RETURN!

So I have to fly from Sydney to Melbourne, tinker around for a few hours and then fly from Melbourne to Darwin… Off the plane again for a couple of hours and then on to Singapore. Now, it sure is going to take longer than flying straight from Sydney to Singapore, BUT it’s almost half price… And we get to stretch our legs a couple of times along the way, so for me, I think it’s a fair call.

I have to admit, we’re both amazed that so many people who know have been there, and give it a few weeks and so too will we

BTW, the map at the top is for a friend who’s coming as well… He made the admission the other day that he doesn’t even know where it is! :-S

LCD, or two?

trademark of respective companies

I only went for a short walk to Moore Park (2.2km) today because I wanted to see what was out there in LCD land. So I paid a visit to Bing Lee, Dick Smith PowerHouse and Harvey Norman… I think I have found the one I will buy, it’s the Samsung “SyncMaster 245B”, features a resolution of 1920×1200 and a 5ms refresh. It only has DVI and VGA inputs (why is it so hard to find dual DVI inputs?). So, I have contacted my bank and I am upping the limit on my credit card – Australians LOVE credit…

Well, I do :-)

All 24″ varieties were very expensive at these stores, the cheapest of which was around $750. The Samsung though was $999. A little out of my price range. Although a quick search on StaticIce (link) found many places selling these little BIG beauties from as low as $530…

One place would even sell them from little more than $500 if purchased with a new system. I don’t need a new system… Or do I??

That’s almost 2 for the price of 1! Maybe I should buy 2 :-)

Ubuntu – changing DHCP to Static

Before jumping in and making the changes, do
ifconfig -a
and note down any particular settings which you may need (if you don’t already know them)

Then edit /etc/network/interfaces


iface eth0 inet dhcp


iface eth0 inet static

May also need to add nameservers to /etc/resolv.conf, eg:

Obviously change to suit your network settings.

Once done, don’t forget to restart the networking interface

sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

Synergy in OpenSolaris and Ubuntu

I have been tinkering with linux distros for a while now, my favourite (generally) would have to be Ubuntu. It is one of the few that installs quickly and simply on most of my systems here.

A package I also use is Synergy. This is one of the best pieces of software ever developed for multi-desktop computing. Much better than VNC and Remote Desktop, although they each serve their purpose and offer different functionality.

To learn more about Synergy, visit http://synergy2.sourceforge.net/

To learn how to install it in OpenSolaris (I am using preview 2) it is simply a matter of:
wget ftp://ftp.sunfreeware.com/pub/freeware/intel/10/libgcc-3.4.6-sol10-x86-l...
gunzip libgcc-3.4.6-sol10-x86-local.gz
pkgadd -G -d libgcc-3.4.6-sol10-x86-local
wget ftp://ftp.sunfreeware.com/pub/freeware/intel/10/synergy-1.3.1-sol10-x86-...
gunzip synergy-1.3.1-sol10-x86-local.gz
pkgadd -G -d synergy-1.3.1-sol10-x86-local

You have to make sure that /usr/local/bin is in your path.

tip: I use/prefer BASH, to edit the user path for BASH in OpenSolaris you HAVE to edit the file .bashrc located in your home directory. Editing it anywhere else will have no effect since (in Preview 2) this file explicitly defines the path WITHOUT inheriting the original path. You have been warned (it took me a few hours to find this!)

for ubuntu there is an excellent walkthru here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/SynergyHowto

note: for the ubuntu install, make sure you have added the universe repositories http://dav3.net/ubuntu/repositories

Adding Ubuntu Repositories

In a nutshell
edit the file /etc/apt/sources.list

You can edit it from the command line ( http://help.ubuntu.com/community/Repositories/CommandLine ) or use the GUI from the Ubuntu desktop: System –> Administration –> Software Properties and add to the repositories by adding a channel (the add button). You can also add new repositories there as well.

For a very well documented HOWTO: visit http://help.ubuntu.com/community/Repositories/Ubuntu

SSH Server in Ubuntu

To securely administer your Ubuntu Server remotely, you need to install SSH server. SSH provides you with a secure connection to your server and allows you to run commands all as if you were logged in at the terminal itself.

To install SSH server in Ubuntu
$ sudo apt-get install openssh-server

All going well, your install is complete. your RSA and DSA keys have been created and you have a default config file.

Connecting to the server
To connect to the server from other machines use ssh (on *nix computers or putty on windows systems). You log into the machine by typing:

$ ssh or c:\>putty
(this is an example IP address, use whatever IP address is assigned to the server)

Configuring SSH
There is a default config already with the SSH Server, you can chop and change it to suit your needs. For security you may want to disable root logins and X11Forwarding. If you don’t know what they are, then you probably do want to disable them anyway. The configuration file you want to edit is /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Disable remorte root logins
Search for and edit the following line in the /etc/ssh/sshd_config file:

PermitRootLogin yes
and change it to:
PermitRootLogin no

Disable X11 forwarding
Same file as above, search for and change the following line:

X11Forwarding yes
X11Forwarding no

Restart the SSH Server
After you have made these changes, you will need to restart the SSH server. At the command prompt type:
$ sudo /etc/init.d/ssh restart

More on X11 Forwarding
If you want to use X11 Forwarding option so that you can connect your remote machine desktop using Xterm if you want to connect the X11 session you need to use the following command

ssh -X serveripaddress

Copy Files Securely using SCP
Another common need is to be able to copy files between servers you are administering. While you could set up FTP on all of the servers, this is a less-than-ideal and potentially insecure solution. SSH includes within it the capability to copy files using the scp command. This has the added benefit of copying the files over a secure channel along with taking advantage of any key-based authentication you might have already set up.

To copy a file to a remote machine use the following command

scp /path/to/file user@remotehost:/path/to/destination

If you need to copy from the remote host to the local host, reverse the above command

scp user@remotehost:/path/to/file /path/to/destination

if you need to copy an entire directory full of files to a remote location, use the -r argument

scp -r /path/to/directory/ user@remotehost:/path/to/destination/

If you are transferring logfiles or other highly compressible files, you might benefit from the -C argument. This turns on compression, which, while it will increase the CPU usage during the copy, should also increase the speed in which the file transfers.

Use the -l argument to limit how much bandwidth is used. Follow -l with the bandwidth you want to use in kilobits per second. So, to transfer a file and limit it to 256 Kbps use the following command

scp -l 256 /path/to/file user@remotehost:/path/to/destination

A few years ago…

me a few years ago
me a few years back

Yes, I have decided, it is now or never. I have never made a new years resolution before, but this year it’s going to be different. I’ve decided I’ve had enough of being fat and unfit. So this year, I am going to do something about it. Having been inspired by a few youtubers out there who have documented their journey, I’ve decided I am going to do the same.

A little about me: I’m just a normalish guy, 37 years old, Sydney (Australia) born and bred. 5’7ish (or just a shade over 170cm for us non-imperialists) and weight 105kgs (that’s 231lbs). I wouldn’t necessarily class myself as obese, but I am most certainly overweight. And I want to lose that weight. I’m a normal guy, with an almost normal job (but I work a 12 hour roster, and so this is going to be one of my greatest challenges: Maintaining a strict regime while working). I don’t smoke (and after tonight) only drink on those very rare special ocassions… Like birthdays, farewells and stuff.

But this all starts tomorrow :-)

You’ve heard it all before, haven’t you?

It’s not the new year yet, and we have one more night of celebrating before I go on my no alcohol binge (for at least one month) while I start trying to shed these love handles and other superfluous fatty over-hangs. Having a few drinks 2 or 3 or 5 times a week is going to be a thing of the past.

The Last Meal
The Last Supper

And so is a meal such as this!

For years one of my favourite meals has always been Chicken Kiev. That is, until I met Daniel, the international quisine chef at the Woolpack Hotel. This Sirloin with blue-cheese sauce is simply “to die for”

And if I had of kept eating it, I probably would die… But it’s soooo nice. Ahh well, A thing of the past now (I might have a commemorative
meal tonight – just so that the taste can linger for one last moment…)

After all, it is New Years Eve!


Edit: In moving to the new site I thought I would revamp this a little. I had the best of intentions when I started this site, I really wanted to lose the weight, and for a good while I did. I dieted twice and on the second occasion I actually lost almost 20kgs. When I started the 2nd diet I was back to my original starting weight. Right now, I’m almost back to it again. In the last year I have been everywhere between 89.9kg and 105.5. I SHOULD do it again!

RAR in Ubuntu

IMHO RAR is a dying archive format, except in the torrent and related warez world. Why? I don’t know. But what I do know (now) is how to install RAR for linux under Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy) and this is it:

Download rarlinux, the version I got was 3.6.0 and I found it here:


(you can use ‘wget’ from a linux console to grab it)

ungzip the file:

tar -zxvf  rarlinux-3.6.0.tar.gz

Now for some reason when i did this the first time, it didn’t fully unzip and I had to process the tar file again, but on another machine both steps were done with the above command. If you have a rar folder now, then skip the next command, but if you have a new file with the name rarlinux-3.6.0.tar (ie, no .gz ext) then untar it with the following:

tar -xvf rarlinux-3.6.0.tar

then change into the rar directory created, and you only need to copy the ‘rar’ file into your “/user/bin” directory

cd rar
cp rar /user/bin/.

use “rar” at the command line without any options to get an overview of the switches and commands associated with it