Wednesday, December 12, 2007

EEE PC competition

"Cloudbook" UMPC to run Googlish Linux
If this comes out the same price as the eee pc things could get interesting :-)

Via C7 ULV processor clocked at 1.2GHz
30GB hard drive.
7" 800x480 screen
And apparently 4+ Hour battery life!

Apple faces elitist crisis

The Elite Apple Corps - an interesting article apparently written by a mac fan complaining that Mac's/Apple stores are too popular now, it's no longer alternative it's now main stream much to their disgust.

And commentary by the Inquirer :-) Apple faces elitist crisis.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Queen Charlotte

Welcome to another trip post, in which I record our adventures in Queen Charlotte sound, where we met the remains of interesting fauna, mysterious ruins and I try not to get distracted by shiny's and take photos of my intelligent and trustworthy companions. Any way on with the adventures.

Intelligent and Worthy Companions!

So Sunday morning MP, AW and my self headed north to Picton briefly stopping at Kaikoura for a break we arrived about 3:45pm and headed down to the foreshore to wait for AR to arrive from Wellington, her ferry showed up so we headed to the Interislander ferry terminal to wait for her to disembark. 15mins later we had spotted the passengers get off the ferry no one had shown up at the terminal and with the arrival of txt asking where we were we realised that we'd gone to the wrong terminal and needed to go to the Bluebridge terminal (first time I'd heard of there existence, wonder when they started up). So after a short drive we picked up AR and retired to our holiday park for the night, where we proceeded to spend an hour or so swimming in the heated pool, before heading out for tea and then after playing Pirates (The Boardgame, won by AR on her first game by 1pt).

Next day (Monday) it was up at a reasonable time, sort out gear and head down to the kayak company, where they're quite happy to hire us gear but tell us our planned route doesn't exist/is impossible. So after a few suggestions we decide on an alternative that involves a rather long first day, load up our kayaks and head out with out stopping for lunch, we finally get onto the water at 12ish. We then proceeded to follow the route outlined in the map, enjoying the scenery and the weather.

The Route Pink being AR/AW

At 5:30pm (still with out lunch, though a reasonable amount of dried fruit/bars), after having stopped once at a nice cove for a bit 3 hours earlier to alter the kayaking pairs and have a rest, we decided to skip the first camping spot which is just around the headland and push on to the planned Island. At 7ish AW and MP spot a pair of rather large dolphins in the shallows and get with in 5m of them (the other kayak due to a maintenance ;P issue was currently grounded for a short break). Finally at ~8:30 we arrive at Blumine Island, just as the sun sets, after 8hours kayaking half of which was into a headwind and having covered 20+ Km.

Finally the Island!

We set up tents and have tea while fighting off the scouts from the local Weka population, before the light entirely fades then head to bed to play cards as the Weka's scream their warcry's to summon reinforcements. By this point the Weka scouts have managed managed to drag our bag of maps, our chocolate, the bread, several empty plastic bags and some other food to the edge of the bush before we finally intercept them and had a go at our plastic dishes.

Weka Scout!

More of the Blighters

Tuesday - 5am am woken by the birdsong as the local birds decide to let me know that the sun will be rising in a few hours time, nice song but way to loud (have a listen the the movie file below), the result of which is, I apparently wake others in my tent with my mutters about the loudness :)(Blumine Island is a reserve with a significant trapping program as a result there are lots of native birds, which combined with the campsite being carved out of native bush...).

Finally getting up a couple of hours later, enjoying the view of the sound in the morning light, taking some photos and having had breakfast (Muesli bars for me, Muesli + milk powder (icky) for the others).

Looking out From Blumine Camp Dawn

Looking out From Blumine Camp Sunset

We decide we're too tired to head to the next planned camp Cannibal Cove and leave our tents up so we can stay the night so decide to visit the nearest island for a look, however a third of the way there the strengthening wind causes a change in plan to circling our island then to landing on a bay on the other side of the island from our tents. After resting for a bit and observing shinny stuff and the remains of native fauna we follow a DOC trap track up 10minutes into the island where we come across several long flights of old overgrown concrete stairs, which after climbing we find lead to our "Mysterious Ruins". Which we proceeded to explore while postulating a number of theories about what they originally were. Having explored the ruins we then headed back to our kayaks and back around the Island to our camp, where we proceeded to play a good game of Rock covered Settlers of Catan (Boardgame MP's; rocks to stop the wind blowing the board into the bush :-)).

The Mysterious Ruins

About this time we find the DOC water supply has run dry and so myself and MP head along the beach looking for a fresh water stream to replenish our supplies which we soon find, collecting the water from a 2m waterfall 20m's inland from the beach. After which it's tea time so we get that meal out of the way, take some pictures of the sunset and then head to bed. All the time fighting off the horde of wekas whose numbers appear to have doubled since the first night.


Wednesday - wake up at 5am again, Birdsong, get up 7am take a few more photos wait for the others to get up then pack up the camp and reload the kayaks while fighting off the Wekas whose numbers have now approximately tripled. We then head to Resolution bay to drop the kayaks off, a quarter of the time spent getting there seems to be spent with the kayaks along side in the middle of the sound, as we try to work out which of the various bays we can see is the one we're actually supposed to be going to. Finally arrive at the beach below the School House bay camping ground dump the gear out of the kayaks set up the tents then AR and MP take them a bit further round to the pickup point where they're collected by a water taxi about an hour later. The first part of the days been rather cloudy and windy but in the afternoon it brightens up and the weather becomes quite pleasant. As a result the afternoon is spent having lunch, then mucking about down on the foreshore taking photos and enjoying the view.

View of School House Bay, Campsite and Resolution Bay

Tea is had as we fight of the scouting wave of the local Weka's (we've learnt this time though, we'll not be hanging around long enough for their reinforcements to arrive ;-)). Then it's more card games and finally off to bed in preparation for walking the next day, unfortunately I'd ended up with a "large" rock partly under where I'm sleeping so a lot of time is spent trying to avoid it, and I'm up rather early the next day.

Need I say anything?

Green hair Weed!

Thursday - up early take a few photos and wait for the others to get up. Once every ones had breakfast we pack up fighting off the Weka scouts, and start walking leaving at about 10am (before the reinforcements arrive). Lovely weather but hot the tracks rather wide and through native bush for the most part with good views down into the sound and it's bay's.

View out across Resolution Bay

We arrive at the Lodge in Endeavour inlet at 1:30pm (~3 hours) and stop to buy lunch (mmh Cold Ginger bear + Wedges covered in sour cream, sweet chilly sauce, fried mushrooms and Onion; simply heavenly). An hour later it's back to the track with refilled water bottles from the lodge tap (Looks like a lovely place to stay, if you want to explore the sounds I'd suggest having a look at it). The plan is to continue to camp bay or punga cove for the night (4 hours) as the alternative to stay at the inlet would mean we'd need to walk 7 hours tomorrow the last 3 straight up the steep ridge, rather than a 3 hour walk up it before camping for the day. Any way so back on the track after 2 hours most people are finding it some what painful, the weathers still lovely and there have been some lovely views out to the sound and Blumine Island. About 40 mins out from Punga cove AR can barely walk, so we carry her pack for a bit then when reaching the 30min sign for Punga cove leave it behind the sign and MP dashes on ahead to inform AW and to book rooms at the Punga cove backpackers/resort. We finally get there and take MP's back upto the rooms which are half way up the hill as he heads back down the track to grab AR's back. Getting back 40 or so minutes later. At which point it's decided AR can't walk any more so we'll get the water taxi out from here the next day rather than carry onwards. So it's off for hot showers and tea before heading to bed. The days result is 25+ Km/8hours walked, 1 person with bad blisters, 2 with minor blisters and one complaining about sore feet :-p.

Walking the Walk

Friday - Up at a reasonable time, water taxis informed of the changed schedule then backing up our gear and heading down to the jetty, with overcast weather and spits of rain. End up playing cards in the cafe for an hour or so while waiting for the taxi, then back to Picton. Where we collect our gear that was stored at the kayak company and load it into the Van, then head back to Chch stopping at Blenhiem for lunch at the square and refreshments. We finally arrive back in Chch about 6:30pm/7pm two days early.

Still I enjoyed the trip especially the kayaking and the first quarter of the walk. Lessons learnt, A day of 7+ hours of any physical activity with a group of people of a variable degree of fitness is asking a lot. Walking with heavier than usual packs is not good if you want to avoid blisters.

As usual click on images for bigger versions! And a Few more images Including Shiny's, remnants of wildlife, wildlife, and various things that looked interesting!

Interesting native species - Giant Snail Shells and a Matticus Handius



Some of the Local Wild Life

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Rainbows End - full text online

The full text for Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge has been put up online for those interested in such things. The book is a nominee for the 2007 Hugo awards. Vernor Vinge is a rather well known SF writer who usually has some interesting ideas to play with so if you have time it's well worth the read.