Canberra, the Ban Hammer and iPhone (again)

I did ride to Canberra. Had a great ride down, mostly on the old Hume Hwy and the Highland Way. Dropped in on an old friend for dinner. Came back almost the same way. I really enjoy these rides, and I especially enjoy them solo. I think I’m about ready to give up on “social rides” I just don’t get as much out of them and I often feel pushed to go beyond my capabilities. That leads to accidents.

I got banned from a discussion forum today. It’s a Mac forum that is very snobbish about iDevices (iPhones, iPads, iPods) such that they abused people (including the moderators) until the subject was banned. I mistakenly posted shortly after that and the forum was shutdown. It was reopened and I was warned not to post on the subject again. I still think it’s ridiculous, but was being very careful.

Last night I struck this weird problem where iCal (on my Mac) wouldn’t let me make any appointments on 07 Oct 12. Any other appointments were ok, but not that day. So I posted a request for any help on the work forum. In the ideas for a solution I mentioned iPhone.

And got a warning, but seeing I was on a warning I was struck by the Ban-Hammer. So now I can’t use that forum at all. Pretty petty, but I reread the rules and it does say “any mention” so I broke the rules, no matter how snobby I think they are. My main wish is to stage a coup and take over moderationship of the forum, but that’s tricky when he doesn’t want to give it up and I’m banned!

Now for a laugh. I have described my silly iPhone saga. Well while I was away we got a parcel, but missed it and it was returned to the post office. Because we didn’t collect it (didn’t find the note for a while) it was returned to sender. I found this out at the post office today. They also told me that it was sent by Vodafone.

So the iPhone that I tried to order and subsequently cancelled was delivered about 2 weeks afterwards. Vodafone are really hopeless! Happy still to be with 3 (yes who are still vodafone) with no contracts. So when I eventually find a better deal, I can jump ship.

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Meeting Adjourned

In Touring mode again
In Touring mode again
Work insisted that I attend a meeting in Canberra. The nation’s Capital, about 2.5 hours away on the Hume Highway (or Doom Boreway). Unfortunately as I was attending a different meeting away from work for the two days before that it was going to be really awkward to organise a car from work, the normal way to head to Canberra. With a grin, I decided that the most convenient solution was to ride down.

Watching the forecasts from about a week prior, they steadily improved from predicting solid rain for the whole two days to the forecast the day before described some light morning showers. That I could easily deal with and would still be able to enjoy the ride.

So, Thursday morning, 5am, just before the sun is peeking over the horizon I did a last check of the various weather radars online and geared up. There had been a little bit of rain overnight, but the roads were already dry. I did wonder about the roads further out, less traffic and more tree cover, but I would see. The alternative was to split off the back roads, back to the Hume and continue that way if I decided it was too wet or the weather really turned nasty.

My planned route took me past Bowral from my last post before continuing to parallel the Hume through Moss Vale to Bundanoon and rejoin the Hume just before Goulburn. Here, depending upon time I could turn off again towards Bungendore and eventually approach Canberra from the west (actually closer to where I had to go in Canberra for the meeting) or follow the Hume and rush in from the north.

So after getting quickly out of my area I was on the road towards Picton and followed the route I had taken the other week. The roads were dry, there was some cloud, but it wasn’t even 7am by this stage. I had miscalculated the temperature though. The day before at 7.30am it was 23C. Today it was more like 10C so the summer jacket with a very light t-shirt (actually designed to wick away sweat) just wasn’t cutting it.

At a stop I dove into my top box and dug out the other t-shirt and light fleece that I had packed. Though still drafty through the summer jacket it did improve things a little. None too soon as the temperature continued to drop as I rose up into the Southern Tablelands.

Highland Way, NSW
Highland Way, NSW
Eventually I was past Bowral and Moss Vale. I turned away from the main road here as it leads back to the Hume and I headed for Bundadoon, Tallong and several other funny Aussie named places. The stretch we had covered the other week, that I had just finished was lots of small busy towns, with 50kmh speed limits and very little “open road”. This all changed from this point on.

I had a good hour or more of 100kmh roads with sweeping turns and no traffic. Even now it was still early (9am) but while cool, it was fine and I really enjoyed it. I determined to investigate if I can cut out the previous parts of the route by staying on the Hume in order to get to this new part much quicker next time I come this way.

My head!
My head!
Eventually it had to end and I was on the Hume. I decided I should actually get to my meeting seeing as I was already late (they had been warned not to expect me before lunch) so I followed the Hume down around Lake George to Canberra, eventually arriving at my meeting just before 10am. Cracking open my top box I was happy that my tricky packing meant that my uniform looked no more crumpled than if I had been wearing it in a car and had just driven down from Sydney.

Lake George is funny thing. A massive lake with very little water for many years. Occasionally it fills up (originally they didn’t know where the water came from as there are no rivers flowing into it, I’m not sure if they’ve explained it yet) and before they built the dual carriageway, could even cut the main road out of Canberra. Most of the time, probably 3/4 of the lake is used to graze animals.

Lake George
Lake George
I spent the night at a nearby base and again reviewed weather and routes. I decided that I would head though Queenbeyan then Goulburn to hit the nice part of yesterday’s ride. Then after that  part, I’d hit up the Hume to get home to family. Again, weather looked okay, though during the evening there was a lot of dark clouds and a little bit of rain about.

About 5.30am I left the base and started out. Another great road was the stretch all the way from Queenbeyan to Goulburn. About 90mins of 100kmh, open roads with nice curves to cruise along at a steady, quick pace.

It started to get pretty wet, so a stop and I was off again in my wet weather clothes. I use goretx jacket and over pants that I bought at camping stores as I find it much more effective than most “wet weather” gear that is available in Australia. It stopped raining about 15mins later and when I stopped for breakfast in Goulburn about 7am, I put the gear back in the top box. It didn’t come out again for the rest of the trip, but it had done its job 🙂

Breakfast at Goulburn was a hot pie, but I was having the same trouble with temperatures that I had yesterday. Note for next time, check the rain AND the temperature forecasts.

Goulburn, NSW
Goulburn, NSW
That beautiful leg from Goulburn to Moss Vale awaited and it didn’t let me down.

I missed a turn somewhere and ended up on the annoying stretch from Moss Vale, past Bowral etc that I had planned to avoid. I checked the map eventually and decided to carry on as the next on ramp to the Hume was at the end of the Mittagong stretch. No point in doubling back, too far.

I did have one bad moment. I had been following a school bus looking for somewhere to pass. I called it and pulled out and was about even with the bus when I decided that there wasn’t enough road left to get in front, pull in, slow down and make the turn that was a lot closer and tighter than it had first appeared. I braked to let the bus come past and turned back behind him. Safe, but there was several seconds there where I was on the wrong side of the road on the facing any traffic that decided to come around the corner. That could have ended very badly. A poor decision, that thankfully didn’t end badly.

I got home about 10am, so both rides took about 5 hours. I had a great time, found some fun roads and put some proper miles on the bike again. Harking back to an older post, I definitely enjoy solo touring/riding much more than group ride. I enjoy the social part of those rides, but maybe I could just meet them at every stop rather than riding with them or something like that. Something to consider for the future.

Now it’s time to put up the Christmas tree, fix up the lights on the house, and I have a lamb roast to cook 🙂 Yum.

Must Apologise

Ok I’ve been using my iPhone for a few days now and I really like it. But I must make my apologies to a whole bunch of app writers and many users. When I had only my iPad I always wondered why you wanted a Bank app or a Weather app, or a Facebook app etc. It was just as easy to browse on the iPad directly to the website of the bank, weather etc etc. My position was “Why do people need these apps that duplicate websites”

Ok now I understand. I tried the same trick on the iPhone little screen. Apps for some of these sites are far easier than trying to zoom and scroll around the webpage!

Big WoW patch coming today by the look of it. I don’t think I had pre downloaded it as I don’t launch from the WoW Launcher, but the iMac will have all day to do it. I just hope its not too big as I ate up a big portion of my monthly quota with the SWTOR beta.

Speaking of the SWTOR beta I’m going to have to seriously consider dual booting the iMac in order to get any Windows access time to play.

Riding to Canberra Thursday morning. Happily the forecast has improved from Rain both days to drizzle tomorrow morning and even sunny on Friday in Canberra (my return day).

Sad Face

Well to start on a happy note, SIM didn’t arrive in the mail, but I managed to get to a 3 store unexpectedly and get a SIM. After about 24hours I finally have my phone working as a phone, so that’s all good. Have had a little bit of a play with the new stuff (which is a lot compared to my old Nokia) and so far pretty happy. Not really finding Siri all that great though.

Now, bad news. SW:TOR is having a huge Beta Testing weekend, mostly so they can test server capacities etc. So pretty much everyone registered has an invite, either starting this morning or tomorrow. I scored an invite to the first group, spent 40% of my download quota installing it and was up early 5am to get into it.

But my PC has recently been suffering random shutdowns. I have been trying to get some info and some real symptoms without much luck. So every five mins or so while trying to play, shutdown. And it’s not a nice, quit programs and log out shutdown, its a hard, all of a sudden there’s nothing there total power down. I was already suspicious of the power supply and now I’m definitely going to start my investigations there.

But I can’t play.

Impressions from 10mins of loading screens etc… Great cutscences, in some ways the interface style reminds me of the old SW games, like Tie Fighter and Dark Trooper. So it seems a bit old fashioned. Graphics level seems about Mass Effect 1 level, at least on high with my old card. But I don’t so much mean the detail as the style of the graphics. Controls are very similar to WoW, but I don’t mind that. Familiar territory.

But if every quest is a conversation like that I am impressed at the amount of audio that must be in this game…. and sad as that will limit it’s playability for me when kiddies sleeping. Must investigate if there is a subtitles option.

So sad face at the moment.

UPDATE (1230) Bought a new power supply and opened the case up to get to work. Found the CPU fan was pretty loose, so that’s now my chief suspect. Reseated that and gave the whole case and all the fans a good clean out. Connected it all back up and I’ll keep an eye on it. New PS still unopened ready to return to the shop.

Of course, now little miss 4 is on the PC so I still can’t play!

My iPhone Saga and SWTOR

I preordered an iPhone4S about 3 days before they were released here. For me it is a big upgrade from a 4 year old Nokia running an old version of Symbian. Not really interested in Siri, more interested in the camera, the 64GB storage and not having to buy a whole bunch of apps again (iPad and another iPhone already in house here)

As of last week I was still waiting for it, so gave up and cancelled the pre order and went to the shop to get one. 15mins later walked out of the shop with one, now I just needed a SIM.

I approached Vodafone and tried to get a SIM (switch to them from 3) but my cancellation from yesterday was still pending. Next day same story. Monday same story. But that guy said he’d fixed it, but I am not able to get to a store until Thursday at the earliest and more like Saturday.

So I rang 3 – they’re going to mail me a new SIM. Should be here tomorrow 🙂 I also changed plan so that I’m paying less per month with triple the included calls and about 5 times the data. No contract, no commitments. Sounds a little too good to be true.

I’ll keep you all posted.

Now, subject two. STAR WARS: THE OLD REPUBLIC. I have been interested in this for much of the year. I signed up for Beta testing and have even pre ordered a collectors edition from the US. A group of us from work have all organised a group of Sith and Republic guilds already.

Actually got an invite (I think everyone has) for this weekend. While its a massive 25G download, I am interested to see if I can work it on my old PC.

I’m also in two minds what to do about where to play it. Its Windoze only, no OSX version, so I can either play it on the PC (i7 850, 8GB RAM and 9500GT card) or bootcamp this mac and run it here (27” i5 12GB RAM and a better card at least 2 years newer than the 9500). That would mean getting a second Win7 64b copy of course.

I’ll download it and see what happens. Of course I might not like it… then I guess I’ll have a collector ed up for sale?

And what about WoW??

Ain’t no time to play….

First up… 15 days isn’t really working for me. Some nights these days I don’t even make the computer at all…. can’t get past all the other people using them. Miss 4 has spent more time playing WoW than I have. And yes I know I skipped Day 8, but I’ll catch up to it. Just don’t have a screenie for it.

And unlike when I tried to quit, this time I’m just not really missing it. Maybe I’m getting bored with it? If I had time to play more seriously there is a lot I want to do. But I can’t even see much point in gearing Dasal up for Heroics (5man). That’s why I am levelling Mabango. So logged in this morning – no one else online – logged off. Meh.

Or maybe I’m just waiting for SW:TOR. That releases in a month. Think I’ll only be able to commit to one MMO.

In other news, went on a group ride out to Bowral. Was alright, but I don’t like riding when I feel pressured to go faster than my own pace. I think the bike is become my “me” time (urgh don’t like that cliche very much) so sharing the time isn’t really satisfactory as group rides are a lot of waiting about for people to come, to get ready to catch up etc etc. We’ll see how I feel after a solo ride as I’ll be riding to Canberra and back the week after next for work.

“Aint No Time To Play” by Guru.