Archive for October 2010

“…..and so Adieu”

October 29, 2010

Or not!!!!

As the result of certain (fingers in the air making quotation marks ) ‘creative differences’ we have decided on some changes to this blog. The blog as it stands now has been moved and will become my private platform for whinging and comment. It will henceforth be known as …… roll of drums…. “The Percrime Chronicles”.

THe Percrime Chronicles are located over on google’s blogger. In my view a better blogging platform in any case. This version will become your more traditional business blog.. co written.. at this point by Kathy and I, (probably mostly by Kathy) and fiercely devoted to marketing. There will be a significant styling change.

Its been fun. Apparently however its not allowed to be fun. It has to be work. I hope some of my readers follow me over to blogger. And as to the rest of you.. see you at work.

Dave

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Of fiery sheep and burnt skin

October 27, 2010

Its been an interesting week. More delving into the guts of Sony Vaio’s, a few little jobs here and there. A couple of new websites (well to us.. really they are just updates), a support client wanting us to develop a couple of shopfront websites for him, and I have remote desktop.. and actually all remote services on private LAN’s sussed. Even have a how to document together on my hot little macbook. And remote desktop enabled on one of my machines. and visible from the web. Even though we have a dynamic IP address that changes often

Here is the web server on the machine in the corner. If its not there its because I turned it off not cos its down, Totally reliable.. although it of course comes with security issues. And simple in the end. Cool huh? Got that wired now.

A few days ago we went to my old mate Ian and his wife Lisa’s for a barbie. I amused myself by hacking Ians router on the fly with my macbook and actually setting up some security. Wide open network. Since then I have read of an astonishing plugin for the firefox web browser called firesheep. It works like this.. if you use a nonsecure network at the same time as someone is using firesheep and you go to any of a myriad non secure sites.. including amongst many others facebook.. Mr firesheep has your username and password. Scarey huh? To beat it you probably need to force the non secure site to run https.. but that makes it harder apparently to deliver advertisements, so may not always even be possible. Its probably why so many of these sites are not secure anyway… that and the overhead in encrypting each bit of data. I have had a look at firesheep and its now on my Macbook.. more when I know more. But this is scary scary stuff

Ian became my mate for life after an accident a trillion years ago when I broke my hip. All other visitors bought flowers. Cept my mum who bought clean underwear in the wrong size. Ian bought scotch. A good mate.

Team Splat! returned to DISC last week for some training. While warming up.. my tire went down. Result a fall and a lack of confidence for the rest of the night. The tire was at 120 psi and at 80 psi in the bend at 25 kph the front wheel tucked under. Not saveable. Not impressed. I caught the replacement tube at 80 psi later too. Not confidence inspiring. Cost me some skin and a good pair of knicks to figure out that if the tire should squeal on a painted line at DISC its a really really good time to stop and check tire pressures.

Sally later on had a 0 kph fall out of the starting gate. Sally was having a slightly nervy night herself. In fact the only confident happy member of Team Splat! was Jenny. Who rode confidently and well Sunday week at Blackburn Velo is Team Splat!’s next official outing.. come along and support us.

Just heard that the Brumby Government has just revisited its abandoned election promise of a rail link to Tullamarine Airport. It helped get em elected last time and then was dumped, this election is looking pretty dodgy, trot it out again. Cos Victorians are stupid. We must be.. look at our pollies. 😛 But seriously how cynical are these people? Brumby probably thinks he has my vote because he is a cyclist. Think again mate. I know of few people who could not do a better job than you.. and almost no one who could not do it cheaper.

Of business and bikes.

October 20, 2010

Wednesday, supposedly a really good day to do a blog post. Lets see how this one does on the statistics. I am trying to write the blog 3 times a week, honestly, its just not always happening.

Interesting week. Kathy just fielded a phone call. Do we want to send a couple of representatives up to the Gold Coast to tout for Government Contracts. 11 guaranteed meetings, the people on the other side of the table prepared to sign off on 5 million bucks worth of contracts at a minimum on the spot. Mostly interested in data recovery IT consultancy and Plone. Interesting huh? Would cost us 35K and that all a tax write off.

Bit rich for our blood just atm.. for that I would certainly finish writing our bit of Data Recovery software. I can see it happening tho.. next year or the year after. We dont need much more momentum to be doing all right. And from all right to really good is not nearly as big a step. Their really is a market for companies like us. The big players mostly want to deal with the rich companies.. its small business thats vibrant, interesting, much more involved in networking and personal relationships and actually needs us.. instead of some big player, to sort out their issues.. which are as diverse as a single printer giving them grief, a web site that needs work, or some documentation that needs polishing. I am going into Carlton in a while to look at why one employees Outlook isn’t This area is fun.. not boring in the slightest. Its where we want to be.

The evil laptop that has come to give me nightmares has finally got spares on the way. Maybe even the right spares. Its sorta hard to tell. I have hopes. I really really want that done. On that front its almost completely together now. and quite reliable.

I definitely need to pick the brains of a VPN network expert. I have 3 clients requiring a little bit of help in this area and while I am getting there… its a bit trickier than I thought; if you are a VPN expert and prepared to give us a hand send me an email. Kathy is snowed under with web development work. This is all php and other language programming and not simple stuff. Plenty happening on that front.

We are going ahead with the Bendigo expansion. Its a gamble but what in life isn’t? At some point I probably need to find a smart, savvy trustworthy (because we dont want them to run away and do their own thing) IT savvy person to be the Bendigo face of Perfect Notes. And in fact we probably want to set them up with a VPN to our server farm I have just realised. So if thats you.. maybe drop us a line. Either Kathy or I and occasionally (as in next week) both of us will be plodding up to Bendigo fairly often. Its obviously time to sort our second car. Sigh. I try for a low impact life style honestly.

Ok… and now for our customary cycling rave.

The sprint series race is happening on Sunday week. My entry is in. I have had many comments to the effect that if I can win D grade so can anyone. I expect some competition in D grade.. and I seriously have to lift my game by maybe 2 seconds a lap to have much of a shot at C grade. Oh their are people in C grade I can beat.. but, there are people I possibly cannot. Sigh. That bike frame prize is looking pretty safe. Team Splat! will be their in its entirety. And we will of course give it our usual red hot go.

I am really proud of Team Splat!. We never set out to set the world on fire.. or win everything we entered.. we set out to have fun.. to give the two girls (I was never going to race track again) a decent support structure and to give it a go. I think our result hugely surpass that. We are a actual force to if not actually be reckoned with at least to be taken seriously. Our first effort with more than one rider entered and we got 1st and 2nd in D grade.

One thing that I feel strongly about in racing is that while its OK to finish last, and its OK to not train every minute, and its OK to not have it be the most important thing in your life its not OK to not take it seriously. Its not OK to not give it a decent try. Its not OK to not train at all. This is especially true of 1 on 1 competition like match sprinting or pursuits. And I,ll tell you why. If you race an opponent who does not do you the credit of putting in and you win.. then you win nothing. Your opponent was unprepared and not serious Your effort is wasted. And if they perchance should win (unlikely because not training tends to go with poor results but some people do have natural talent) then it is even a worse insult to you. It says “I can beat you without even putting in an effort, you are worth nothing, why are you here?” Its positively insulting. Not everyone agrees with me.. perhaps you need to have done Karate or another combat sport to see it this way. What do you think?

This past Sunday was the annual Around The Bay ride. The ATB is the ultimate goal of many recreational riders. Bitch Road fills up with riders of less than ordinary skill for weeks beforehand as they train for it. Sally and I decided to go for a ride.. and take in some of the atmosphere but both of us have done the event before.. and Sally had to be back early for family reasons so we decided to only go as far as Mornington.

I rode in, met Sally at the agreed rendezvous and set off. We went very hard… working mainly in with each other. pointedly staying away from the bunches although very often we ended up towing large bunches of our own. Several times in characteristic ATB style big bunches pushed past us, died instantly and we rode around the outside of them. We saw many interesting examples of inadequate roadcraft, amusing levels of non skill and amazing idioticity I mean really.. riding a TT bike.. in the bars in a bunch, and an average bunch at that.

We stopped several times for coffee and to watch the passing parade, saw the aftermath of a fatal heart attack on Olivers, Hill in Frankston (A likely place for a heart attack I must say) and stopped for coffee whenever it started raining.

On the return we followed the same procedure.. riding side by side chatting or doing bit and bit.. Sally and I riding very well together.. the trust built up by riding track very evident. Once or twice we worked in with other people one of who was on a Bike Friday. Wow you can draft those small wheeled bikes close . I figured out that you need not ever hit the back wheel, you could always put out an arm and push the bloke away. And the draft that close was amazing. I want a Bike Friday.

Afterwards Sally and I parted company on Princes Bridge. I went to the finish. Met many people I know. Drank beer. Had dinner with Kathy, and our friends Robyn and Ros. Robyn and I co own a unit in Glen Iris. Ros came down from Darwin to stay with her for the ATB. And then I rode home. Finishing off with a good hard 170 km for the day. And more hills than the ATB. A wonderful wonderful day.

Happy Birthday to Perfect Notes!

October 15, 2010

Today Perfect Notes turns 1.

We have officially been in business for a year. Thanks to everyone who has followed us on this journey – and to all those who have helped, whether you are customers, prospects, connections or friends – thank you!

In actual fact, we started doing business before 15/10/09, but that’s the official start date – so today is well worth celebrating – and it’s a Friday too!

Well, it’s been an interesting journey so far. While we have not continued down the path we started on a year ago, this looks like a sustainable business direction, so we will stay on this one for at least the next 6 months – unless someone drops a brick in our way again, in which case we will roll with the punches and change focus again.

One lovely thing about this celebration is that most of the customers who started this journey with us are still customers – so that tells me we are definitely doing something right. While a couple have gone out of business, or moved into areas where we can no longer assist them, only a few have decided to use others to do the work we started doing for them – a positive thing.

Oh – and we have managed to pick up some more along the way, as well. 🙂

So – please feel free to comment on the things you like about our business – and how you will help us celebrate this milestone.

PerfectNotes is a sprinter.

October 11, 2010

OK a D grade sprinter. But absolutely not an ‘also ran’. More on that later. First some stuff on the business.

A fair bit of work on at the moment. Its nearly crunch time to decide on the expansion into Bendigo… I have to give that a lot of thought. One thing is that we really need 2 cars all the time now.. and maybe even three. Thats for the core team of Kathy and I. We also need to give thought to bringing one of our part timers.. or subcontractors I guess they really are.. on board permanently.. I don’t think we are quite their yet.. but soon.. very soon.

My depression over the business and stuff of a technical nature getting on top of me is pretty much over. After a few weeks when the simplest of jobs got silly annoying and nothing went right. I guess we all have those weeks..at least I hope so. Just this Sony to sort and that will be sorted. I have some VPN issues to work through for at least 3 clients next but I am looking forward to that. Its starting to be fun again.

We have a probable 3 sites more for web development. And one for certain. On top of some ongoing development.. A stack of VA stuff to do. Out of our trips to Bendigo we have at the very least established a relationship with a business embroiderer.. screen printer, a proof reader (for sub contracting VA stuff) a business coaching company and a variety of others. We have done some significant work for our client at Pyalong.. probably enough to pay for the trips. And we have had some fun. And scored a business coaching session for Kathy and I . Woot. So far so good. And last week was quite busy in its own right.

But life cannot be all about work. And none of this is the reason I find myself so happy.

The ABOC Summer Sprint Series started off with round 1 yesterday And as previously mentioned all three Team Splat! riders entered. Some last minute kerfuffles had to be sorted out with race licences and we thank Rob of Blackburn Cycling Club. The event was run at Blackburn Velodrome about 5 km away and I am pretty sure not actually in Blackburn. The Velo was pristine.. with the holes filled in and the lines freshly marked. The weather was perfect. It was a magical day for what amounts to my return to real rather than play racing after 30 odd years.

Team Splat settled in well, Getting pretty good at making ourselves at home at racetracks
Team Splat!

And I won. In fact I won D grade. Really! Its true. I did. See… here are the results. I even wound up 5th in the aggregate points So a great day. Way to get lifted out of my funk.

Sally got second.. making it a Team Splat! 1/2 And while Jenny missed out on third .. which would have been the perfect result she did very well and showed a lot of potential. She won one of her races and tried her heart out in the rest.

The day started with flying 200’s to determine grade and seed order. I tried pretty hard but flying 200,s are not my best thing.. I did,t enter flat out.. and in the bottom curve I backed off slightly and let the bike up out of the sprinters lane. A fairly average effort. I was 0.7 seconds slower than Sally… and fractionally faster than Janine V who had never even ridden at Blackburn before. When the seeding was done we had 6 in D grade.. a clear second separated D grades fastest rider.. Sally 😀 from the slowest rider in C: Obviously everyones standard has lifted.

I,ll only talk about the D grade racing.. some of the rest was blisteringly fast and close… but you know I can only rave so much. Its great spectating tho… come along.

First up Sally against Janine M. Sally a seasoned racer now.. Janine M a newbie… They rolled around for a lap.. Sally turned on the taps.. it was all over.. Then me vs Jenny in a Team Splat! double. Jenny lead out.. and I rolled around behind her for the first lap..pointedly staying in her blind spot and forcing her to look for me just as we had trained the day before. Going into the last curve on lap one.. I ducked under her.. went hard.. realised I was well clear and backed off to save myself for later. Legs feeling much better by now. The last D grade race.. Janine V.. fast and dangerous..vs Penny.. “training is for other people” Robinson. Result not a big surprise.

Round 2 Sally vs Janine V. The sprint started late with Janine getting the jump.. Sally got herself together.. chased hard .. closed.. closed more.. Janine visibly tiring and…. Sally ran out of time to catch her.

Me vs Janine M. I thought this one would be pretty easy… but some how… really early she jumped.. got 5 metres. I thought she had to be nuts to try and nail me that far out but hey.. I chased, got her wheel with a lap to go. Meh.. no advantage to being on her wheel.. a garden rake would make a bigger hole in the air. I went around on the outside…. backed off.. and took the win. Apparently she had followed Swervin Merv’s advice to go early because Dave doesn’t last. Thanks Merv, I owe you a beer.

Jenny vs Penny “My eyelash hurts and so I cannot train” Robinson. Blood on the velodrome. Jenny is looking pretty dangerous. She went really late.. jumped Penny on the bell lap and blew her away. Jenny vs Penny

Round 3. Sally vs Jenny. Another Team Splat! double. Jenny is at her best over distance.. Sally over maybe 250 metres. The later it starts the better. I told Jenny to go early. Sally to go late. :D. Sally listened. Sally wins.

Me vs Janine V. Ummmmmm. A real threat. I wanted to go as early as possible.. I though I could get the jump because she didn’t want that sort of race and was not tactically good enough to stop me jumping. I was leading out. Half way to the start (did I mention that they were rolling starts?) Janine said she could not get her foot in.. Suspiciously I looked sideways at her.. then she said it was in as we rolled over the start line.. I looked at the start official to make sure it was a clean start.. glanced at Janine.. and jumped.. into the first corner. Won by a long way. I did not expect that to be so easy. Burned more berries than I really needed.
Me vs Janine V
take 2

Janine vs Penny “Training is for wimps” R. Janine.. by about a year.

So me vs Sally for 1st and 2nd in D. Janine V vs Janine M for 3rd. With the Janines going first. I thought Janine V much the stronger rider here.. with Janine M,s best bet being to go early and hope Janine V would blow up. Felt sorry for the commentators on this one. In the end both riders started the sprint very very late.. and Janine V easily won it.

So a Team Splat! ride off for first and second. Now while I am consistently faster than Sally in training I would never underestimate her. She is a fighter all the way down to the wire.. always finishes a race day faster than she started it and learns fast. I also dont think she has actually figured out how to accelerate really hard.. I think she has lots more acceleration in those legs and just has to sus out how to turn it on. Just my luck for her to manage it now. And I want the win. I decide again to play to my strengths .. and go very early.. I can hear the commentator saying “Dave likes to go early but its a lot different going early in a 3 lap race than in a 2 lap race, he may regret it if he tries that” Meh. Wanna bet?
Me vs Sally

me vs sally finish

I hook under Sally and go on the second turn.. grab 4 meters.. she chases… and on the second lap I can feel her there. I stay just outside the sprinters lane to give me options.. but I can see her back there in the sprinters lane.. coming up.. I jump into the lane and grit my teeth. Sally fades as we enter the third lap.. and I hang on for the win.

Woot.

Happy Dave.

podium

A link to the videos of the races at Blackburn on Sunday last. Where D grade was dominated by Team Splat!
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=383E6B49E7D9C8E6

If you want to know anything more about the Blackburn series or track racing generally by all means email us

5 hours on the ring road. Insane.

October 1, 2010

And again this post is slightly overdue. It has been a very very busy week and so I do have some excuse. Its also been a confusing week.. I am going to use this blog post to try and put it all into some sorta perspective.S

On Monday my friend Robyn came back from her trip to Europe where she stayed with the gorgeous Sara. Sara is the best Mac person I know. And lives in London. If their are really good Mac people in Melbourne they have thus far successfully hidden from me. Expensive Mac people now… them we have. In all honesty I am one of the best Mac people in Melbourne and its not even my area of expertise (tho like a lot of techs my prefered laptop is a Macbook) but I am way cheaper per hour than Mac people generally charge.

Kathy and I were tasked to pick her up from Tullamarine which we duly did and then…. turned the cars nose north rather than south east. This came as a slight shock to Robyn. Evil snicker. Who was trapped in the back seat of her own lancer and comparing its roominess unfavourably with economy class in a 747. Certainly it was a cruel end to 20 hours in the air.

We arrived at mutual friends in the little town of Pyalong and lobbed on them for the night. One of these friends is my favorite niece the gorgeous Littlemissscribble. We had a pleasant night and then in the morning Kathy and I continued into Bendigo for a 7:00 am meeting with a networking group.

The group is a thing called BNI Business Networking International Its essentially a paid for and structured networking setup. You should look at their website for a better explanation. Its a successful attempt to structure the undoubted power of networking. Groups are everywhere. But as to this meeting being in Bendigo.. Kathy is looking at us expanding in that direction. My dad was bought up in Bendigo. I spent much of my youth there. Bendigo is a cycling town. Lake Cairn Curran where I used to sail is there. We have friends and customers in Pyalong which is more than halfway there. Its a reasonable thing to expand that way.

I personally think its just a tad early in the life of Perfect Notes. But maybe I am being too conservative. The meeting on Tuesday with an established group went well and we decided to return on Thursday. Back to Pyalong. Visit a customer. Say goodbye to Littlemissscribble et al… and off to Melbourne. Where I returned Robbyn’s lancer to her and sent her on her way.
And discovered my Subie was US. Definitely not up to the trip to Bendigo. It was using more water than petrol

So Wednesday I took it off to my brother. Who runs a work shop that fixes heavy diesel’s in Thomastown. Mech-hyd repairs. We pulled the radiator and Ashley (my evil brother ) bundled it and me into my Lancer and set off for radiator repair guy in Yarraville. An hour plus on the ring road to get there. Argghhhh. My Lancer has been at Ashleys for the past 2 months waiting for a new engine. With a bit of work it has condescended to run on 3.5 cylinders but I have seen Le Mans race cars that have had a gentler life than a Lancer being used by my brother apparently as a daily driver. Poor little thing. I am far from sure we want it back. Its never going to be a nice tight fun little car again I suspect. Its going to be a worn out race car. And they are not as much fun as you might think.

Anyway radiator guy took one look at the radiator and said “How long you been doing Subies Ash?” Reassuring. I could not have recognised it as a radiator from a Subie. I am told I can pick it up at 3:30… not for very much cash. Good because I don’t have much cash So.. back to the workshop.. another hour and a half.. up to the bank.. and hell time to go back to Yarraville Another hour +… the ring road is a joke.. if I could carry the radiator on a pushy I could average twice this speed. And this is a freeway… back.. just me driving my clagged out lancer on a road full of loonies who are covering more distance sideways in their frequent unindicated lane changes into nearly non existent gaps than they are actually traveling forward. At an average speed of 5 kph even though a couple of bursts of inexplicable movement had me up to 80 for a few brief moments. The car adds never show this sort of gridlock. Doing this daily would turn me into a homicidal maniac in short order, no wonder many drivers are so annoyed by happy cyclists sliding through the gridlock. Thank Deity of Choice I no longer drive for a living.

Alone in the workshop putting the Subie back together in the twilght.. back to PerfectNotes HQ and then off to Pyalong again. We stayed with a customer this time.. they had dinner for us when we got there. We like Flavourful Hydroponics. Nice people with a good product and good customers too. Thanks for the tomatos guys.

And on to Bendigo in the morning. Some great people in this networking group. Hi Katrin. And an ex army bloke visiting from Singapore. Just from the people there this is a winner. But does it make economic sense? I have not figured it out yet. All comments are welcome

The old Subaru is a lovely car to do this sort of trip with. It seems like its issues are solved or at least much improved. Its like an old falcon that handles. Very nice car. Not letting Ashley get his hands on this one.

Sorted the clients issues on the way home. Had another clients new printer to sort this morning. Its a huge plotter for doing advanced and very large charts. I got a lesson in driving it from the Cannon tech and now am up to date with the very cutting edge of this technology. This afternoon I crashed and burned. Watched the UCI world champs. So few spectators. Geelong has been such a nasty unfriendly city to the world cycling championships.. it made me stay away. And they will bleat that its been a failure. Unwelcoming gits. I now hear that some plan to sue for lost income. Fools. If it had been a footy match they would have been so on board. Hopefully the courts see them as the wankers they are. Let me add that some of the shops have in fact apparently been totally on board. Them I have some sympathy for. A city tainted by bogans IMO. Not a place I would even consider relocating or chasing work in.

Anyway Michael Matthews of Oz won the under 23 race. Woohoo. Great win. What a sprint. Star.

As I mentioned Sally and I did velodrome training last Sunday. Sally’s husband took some pics. And so here are a couple to finish off this post.

Me, trying hard
Me trying hard

Sally, 9 metres high.
Sally 9 metres high