BlakJak's blog

Spent several hours tonight finally sorting out an article - with photos and video - about the SAREX I helped at a few weeks ago.

Check it out @ http://www.vhf.org.nz/content/search-and-rescue-exercise-tararuas.

A bit of a teaser as to the contents:

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Ironically despite my time working for the NZDF, that's the closest i've been to an operating Iroquois in many years... will be a little sad to see them go, good ol' workhorses that they are. Interesting to note that despite originating from the Vietnam War era, variants are still manufactured and sold. And there are hoards of variants...

But yeah, despite only being able to attend the SAREX on the Sunday I managed to get a lot out of it; it helped me make sure I hadn't forgotton any of the key skills required to run comms in a situation like that, got me up-close to an Iroquois and presented an opportunity to talk to the flight crew for several minutes, and also got me some exposure to some of the latest in comms equipment being deployed by SAR. Much thanks to ZL4JY for the opportunity, and to ZL2HD and the others who made me welcome.

Please check it out - bear in mind the team had exactly 48 hours from start to end, including scripwriting, script learning, rehearsal, sets, cameras, lighting, sound, filming, editing...

Look for my name in the credits :-) Please watch it to the end! Each 'view' is counted and we could be in for some cool prizes if our view count is up there!

Oh here's the Official 'Screening Room' page. We also filmed an Intro Sequence which shows the cast and crew (and me!):

At kickoff, teams are given certain compulsary aspects to their film. Spotted ours?

- Edit, nearly forgot: Script Line: "When you look at it that way"
- Character: Sydney Manson, a Fabricator
- Prop: A Broken Toy
- Effect: A Zoom Dolly Shot
- Theme: Twins

The Theme is unique on a by-team basis (but repeated, i.e. in any given heat there may be several themes involved, with only one or two duplications) but the other parts were requisite in all entries.

At somet stage in the next 30 minutes the BlakJak.net server will be rebooted as part of the upgrades recently applied. Downtime should be less than 10 minutes and as always, get in touch directly if you notice any problems.

So... wow.. where to begin?

- Flew to Auckland for a follow-up interview at a new job. They liked me, and made me an offer - which i've accepted. So yes, you heard right... we're moving back to Auckland! We've spent several days just coming to grips with the scope of this decision (I have infact been deliberating over it for days, and didn't sleep too well the first few nights) because despite the job being an awesome opportunity, and despite Auckland being home... the disruption to our family is not insignificant, and i'm having to wear that as a part of the 'cost'. Thus far the plan is for me to head up on my own once my notice period at my current job is finished, and for the rest of the family to stay in Upper Hutt until the term finishes, to give our daughter a chance to finish up Kindergarten gracefully and to have a big do with all her friends (who she's going to miss terribly).

- Finally got some resolution (too little, too late) from my current employer regarding a dispute i've had with them for several months. Infact, it's not really a resolution at all, but a 'wangle' that's gotten me part of the way toward the end state I wanted, but really, isn't anywhere close. Yet to see the actual outputs to this 'resolution' and still evaluating where-to-from-here, especially in light of my resignation now pending.

- One Tantrum to Rule Them All. Or actually, two. Laura is impressive at full steam...

- Left the keys in my car overnight - with the stereo running. Dead battery this morning. Talk about feel stupid. Fortunately our friendly neighbours gave me a jump start...

- Anzac Day, with its usual significance. Skipped the dawn parade this morning (we need every drop of sleep we can get).

Just a quick note, today we're applying some routine upgrades to the server - apologies for any disruption to service caused.

Due to a major power failure in the Wellington area, between approx 1515 and 1630 this afternoon, the BlakJak.net server was down during this time. There were some flow-on connectivity problems for about another hour afterward. Stuff is 'back' but as always, let me know if you spy something not-quite-right.

By all accounts the PublicACTA event held in Wellington on Saturday was a roaring success. Sadly, I was unable to attend, and it sounds like I missed a great event. That said, we now have a bunch of smart folks who've had opportunity to discuss at length the issues that the so-called Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is generating, and to produce the 'Wellington Declaration'. This is to be presented to the Government in less than 2 days - and hopefully made available to the ACTA negotiators.

Everyone who cares about the ongoing rights and freedoms of citizens of NZ - in particular regarding the Internet but also regarding the ways Government creates law - should be paying careful attention to ACTA. If the contents of the declaration ring true with you, show your support and Sign the Petition.

I Plugged it on NZLUG, and AuckLUG as well. It goes a little way toward explaining the background of this, largely ripped directly from the PublicACTA website.

Big Kudos to InternetNZ (hat-tip Jordan Carter), Nat Torkington, Don Christie, Peter Harrison and all of those who've been involved in both PublicACTA and from my personal perspective, the NZOSS's arguments against ACTA - NZOSS have been very proactive in responding to ACTA's potential risk to the FLOSS community and i'm proud to be involved with such upstanding folks.

So yeah, anyway, get signing! And stay tuned, I have no doubt we've in no way heard the end of this.

So I grab the latest Opera browser download from their website and install it.
First website that loads is somewhat entertaining:

What's wrong with this picture?

Oh, and no, i'm not converting from Firefox (yet). I do however need a second browser that isn't IE6, and that means Opera at this point. I pondered Chrome, but... not right now.

I feel almost silly doing this now, but I said I would and i'm sure i'll look back and be glad I did; more entries about LCA2010. This entry covers Wednesday and Thursday.

I'm gonna be fairly busy for a few hours tomorrow morning; a little plug for the Trentham Fire Station Open Day happening tomorrow. Come on over and take a look! Open to the public from 11 til 3, i'll be there from about 0900 til lunchtimeish...

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