Sunday, September 25, 2011

Something I Love Doing or Learning About - Teacher 2.0

Action 3 - Now write down something(s) you love doing or something(s) you love learning about.
Some questions to ponder:
  • Why these are so valuable to you in your life?
  • Do you spend as much time as you need to focusing on your passions?
  • Do your students/children know what your passions are?
  • Do you know what your students’/children’s passions are?
  • How are passions and talents different? Do they need to be the same?
Hmm! Love doing things with family, and love reading.  But those aside I suppose I have two passions that I love doing and learning about - IT, especially as it relates to education, and Family History. Both are also inter-related as most of my family research is now done using technology that wasn't available when I began my ancestor search.
Each of these passions (family, reading, IT and Family History) are valuable in my life for different reasons.  All involve some sort of relaxation, although the latter two can often be frustrating!  As a passionate educator - now retired due to ill-health - I spent many of my working years as a curriculum consultant.  I was fortunate that part of that role involved opportunities to learn from a whole raft of 'experts'.  I used to soak up those experiences.  I like to regard myself as a life-long learner.  So anything that helps me continue the learning process is valuable to me.  I need something to keep my brain active now I am no longer working - learning new uses for IT helps with that.  So does reading, and the search for family history definitely does.
I'm in the fortunate position of having ample time to devote to my passions since I've had to give up work.
As I don't have students any more I'd have to say that my own (adult) children, and my friends and colleagues are aware of my Family History and IT passions.
Yes, I do know what my daughter's passions are - IT, drama, reading.  I could also list the passions of my step-son and step-daughter, and my grandchildren, although some of the grandchildren are less obvious these days.
Passions and talents are very often one and the same, but I believe you can have one without the other.  For instance, someone may have a passion for Classical Music, but can't play a note.  Likewise, someone may be very talented artist, but not really have a passion for creating works of art.  Someone with a passion for cooking, but not much talent, could improve their talents by taking lessons or otherwise learning all they can about cooking.  So, they aren't mutually exclusive, but I think it does help if someone has passion combined with talent.

I Found It!

Some time ago, when I was all fired up because the wreck of the TSS CORAMBA had been located I was feeling a little disgruntled (with myself) because I couldn't find my copy of the book "The Coramba, The Ship The Sea Swallowed".  I seemed to have all (or most anyway) of the books relating to family history, but I couldn't find the Coramba book.  And I was pretty sure there weren't any more books of that nature down in the shed.
Today I was looking (in a cupboard I had previously searched for the Coramba book) for a journal about one of our holidays.  Didn't find the book I was looking for, but did find several family history books, including "The Ship the Sea Swallowed".  Yeh!

Friday, September 23, 2011

One Thing I'm Good At - Teacher 2.0

Decided, at Junita's invitation, to join Steve Hardagon's Teacher 2.0.  Apparently there is a series of challenges to be undertaken to promote personal and  professional growth.  So I decided to give it a go.  You need to record what you do, so I decided I'd use this blog to record my activities.  Perfect place.

Activity 1 was to introduce myself to the group - done.
Activity 2 is to write down something I am very good at.
Some questions to ponder:
  • How does using your talent(s) make you feel?
  • Do your students/children know what your talents are?
  • Do you know what your students’/children’s talents are?
  • How do you help others recognize that they matter?
I think I am good at adapting to technology - not so much in regards to what makes it tick - but in terms of making the technology work for you.  Let's say I took to using computers like a duck to water.  I used computers personally long before many other teachers made the transition.  I introduced my students to using computers before they were commonplace in classrooms - in fact I carted my own Commodore 64 to school on a regular basis.  We used it mainly for word processing, but also for Logo - a simple programming language for teaching the computer to make geometric shapes, but catering for the simplistic to the complex and a powerful tool for developing logical thinking.
Towards the end of my (school) teaching career I was employed as an IT specialist working variously with the students and the teachers in two schools.  When I made the transition to adult education I became heavily involved in the notion of e-learning and the use of technology within a training environment.
Yes, I believe I had a well-known reputation with my students, and fellow teachers, as being the person to go to for all things computer (as long as it didn't involve the technical - and even that I could come to grips with if I was shown what to do.)  Before I retired I was developing my reputation as a leader in the area of e-learning in the adult education field.
I believe that I was able to recognise my student's talents and draw on those talents to help the students extend themselves, and to learn from them.  Not only in the area of IT but wherever those talents lay. I am particularly proud of the fact that a trainer who worked for the Community College where I was employed as Program / Training Manager is now an e-Mentor for the Gippsland District because I encouraged her to become involved in e-Learning.  Another trainer completed her Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and is now a marvellous trainer of new trainers in her own right.  I could see her potential when she was a student.
I also believe I am able to make people recognise that they matter just through my positive approach to them.  I like to think that I treat all people, be they students (child or adult), colleagues, employees, family or friends as if they do matter - because they do!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Trying Again

Saw Dr. Joshi today.  He prescribed 5 microgram per hour patches to see if they are strong enough to give me pain relief but also avoid nausea.  He thought John was being a bit "heroic" when he prescribed 20 microgram patches first off.  I do so hope they work.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Feeling Sorry For Myself

Don't know why, but I'm feeling a bit low yesterday and today.  Felt OK when I got up yesterday but by the time I had breakfast I was feeling yucky, so I went back to bed.  Wanted to feel OK to go out for Susan's birthday.  Not sure what time I went to bed, but as I hadn't even got up until fairly late it must have been nearly lunchtime.  Slept most of the rest of the day until about 3:30 when I got up and had a shower. Felt better than I did in the morning.  Before I knew it it was time to head into Bairnsdale.
Susan had picked the Terminus for her birthday dinner.  Her guests were Mum and Jim, us, John and Trish, Jen, Adam, Tiffy and Judy.  Had met them all before except Judy who is another cast member of Dixie Swim Club.
I probably shouldn't have gone, because by the time we left home I was feeling really yuck - but I wanted to help Susan celebrate her birthday.  I deided to have a maxalon to try to ease the nausea I was feeling.  I also only ordered a serve of duck liver pate for my meal - just couldn't face anything else.  I ate it very slowly, and was feeling a bit better by the time I had finished it.  It was quite nice, but not as good as the pate I had at the Shamrock.
Wasted some money on the pokies - but got about an hour's worth of button pushing for our $20.  Then wasted $2 on the lolly machine because it didn't recognise the 2nd $1 coin Bill put in and seemed to be on a very fast timer before the $1 it did recognise ran out of time.  Had never noticed they were on a timer before, so maybe just this machine.
Home about 9:30 and I went straight to bed, feeling a bit off again.
Don't know whether it is the patch making me crook, or because I'm only taking 4mg zofran because Dr. Joshi prescribed the lower dose.  I decided to give it a try since the Xeloda hasn't been making me crook.  But with the morphine patch maybe I need the 8mg zofran.
Slept fairly well last night, but woke up feeling a bit off this morning.  Didn't want to get out of bed, and had a bit of a sook before I did get up.  So, as the title says - I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Moved From WordPress

Well, I've given WordPress the boot.  I seemed to have lost the controls until I logged in which I had to do every time by attempting to make a comment on my own post.  So the other day I copied it all over to a new blog on Blogger.  I liked the look of the WordPress blog, but it was just too fiddly to operate.
I've had fun and games getting everything transferred over from my 'old' laptop to the new one. Used the file transfer cable initially, and it seemed to copy all my data files.  Trouble was, it only copied the folders - they were all empty!  So, on second attempt when we got back from holidays I tried again and this time it worked.  But I hadn't copied pictures yet as it was going to take too long to do everything in one go.  But then I discovered that Windows 7 has a built in file transfer program so I decided to use that to transfer the images.  Thought I had told it NOT to transfer Contacts as I'd already done that successfully. But for some reason it DID copy Contacts and in the process mucked them up.  Or rather, it mucked up my Profile in Outlook so that although the Contacts were there I couldn't see them in Outlook like I used to.  Internet searching seemed to indicate this was a common problem after using Windows Easy Transfer (WET).  But the suggested fixes didn't seem to work for me.  Add to that the fact that in the process of trying to resolve the issue I thought I had deleted the only copy of my Outlook .pst folder and I wasn't a happy camper!  Eventually I discovered that yes, I had made a new Profile, but I hadn't deleted the old one and was in fact still using it hence the problem wasn't going away.  Once I deleted the old Profile all was well again.  Only thing is that now for some reason I get a message every time Outlook opens to say that my reminders aren't working  but I can't work out how to solve that little annoyance.  So, be warned  don't use WET to transfer Outlook files between computers.  I did lose about two days worth of new emails during the kerfuffle, because when WET transferred the Outlook files when I didn't exdpect it to, it replaced the newer version of emails on my new PC with the older version from the old PC.
Another glitch - due just to the fact I transferred the files, regardless of the method, was that iTunes "loses" all the ratings and playlists during the transfer - unless you consolidate the library BEFORE you transfer your music.  Of course I didn't discover that until AFTER I'd transferred everything did I?  But it was a fairly simple task to reconstruct the playlists and the ratings and play counts aren't important.
All in all I am happy with my new toy.  I am even coming to terms with Windows 7, and it has a couple of features I actually like!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Irish Post

September 6, 2011
Well, well – look what I found today!
Ghost Ships Down Under
TSS Coramba
TSS Coramba
I had been contacted by John Burke, the reporter, via Terry Cantwell, and sent him some information.  Hadn’t heard from him though so I didn’t know if he’d used anything.  Looked at his email today to send a copy to my brother John and noticed there was the paper website link, so had a look at the archives, took a stab at the date and found it first off.  Feeling pretty chuffed actually.
Here’s the text of the article.
Ghost ships down under
17 July 2011 Words: John Burke
Ballinteer-born Terry Cantwell was at a barbecue in a neighbour’s house near his adopted home on the state of Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula when a chat about shipwrecks over a few beers changed his life and his career forever. That conversation led him to spend the next four years charting the discoveries of a group of Australian shipwreck hunters.
The 47-year-old former teacher has just been commissioned by one of Australia’s largest TV production companies to film a six-part documentary series which will tell the island nation’s story of disaster at sea. Cantwell worked as a print reporter and radio producer in Melbourne before the closure of the radio station, when he diverted into teaching English. But the Irishman continued to contribute freelance articles to a local newspaper in the Victoria area.
Cantwell’s neighbour, Martin Tozer, a keen amateur diver and underwater explorer, mentioned that evening in 2007 that Cantwell might be interested in writing a story about a recent ship he and his friends had discovered. Tozer was part of a diving team founded by Mark Ryan, another Mornington local and descendant of Tipperary emigrants who had embarked on a mission to locate missing shipwrecks off Victoria’s coast. The Bass Strait is at the southern tip of Victoria and its notorious storms, hidden reefs and unpredictable weather made a dangerous passageway for the many trading vessels which used this route in and out of Melbourne from the 1800s onwards. Calling themselves Southern Ocean Exploration (SOE), the crew of a dozen divers were initially reluctant when Cantwell suggested that he document their undersea search.
‘‘They had been burnt before when a TV documentary crew spent some time with them, but nothing had come of it,’’ Cantwell says. The crew’s most recent discovery – a ship with strong Irish connections which sank 76 years ago claiming 17 lives – has already proved a big hit in the Australian media. The loss of the 50-metre TSS Coramba’s crew was a devastating blow to Depression-era Victoria when it sank in bad weather in 1934. Scores of divers had spent the past half-century searching for its remains with no success.
The wreck’s location had gone down as one of the greatest mysteries of Australian maritime history until SOE researcher Peter Taylor had a ‘‘hunch’’, as Cantwell calls it, about a possible search zone. The find, like many of SOE’s discoveries, has meant a lot to the families of those who died, many of whom have strong Irish links. For example, Jan Roberts’ grandfather died on the Coramba.
‘‘John Loring Sullivan was my paternal grandfather,’’ Roberts told The Sunday Business Post. ‘‘He drowned 19 years before I was born, so I never knew him. However, the story of the Coramba was part of my childhood and always fascinated me. ‘‘My brother is named after our grandfather – he is also John Loring. I had known through my brother for some time that divers were trying to find the Coramba. It was very special therefore when the wreck was located. I’ve always thought of the Coramba as ‘our’ ship and to think that people not connected to it would go to so much effort to locate it was wonderful.” Roberts, a family historian, says records suggest that her great-great grandfather was a convict transported from Fermoy, Co Cork, around 1818.
Audrey O’Callaghan, now aged 88, is another relative moved by the discovery, and she still remembers the last time she saw her father, John Dowling, the captain of the Coramba. She was 12 when she walked her 47-yearold father to the bus stop near their home in Williamstown before he set off on one last journey on the cargo steamer on a return trip to Warrnambool in the state’s southwest to collect goods.
‘‘We were very close . . . I kissed him good-bye and I said: ‘Dad, I wish you were at home every night like other dads.’He said: ‘I won’t be long’,” she told a local newspaper after the find.
Cantwell says the interest in the ship’s discovery is part of a newfound fascination among Australians in the history of their continent which they had ignored for years. ‘‘The history thing in Australia is very interesting,” he says. ‘‘They have really only discovered an interest in that side of things here for the past ten or 15 years. Before that, there was a lot of shame over the convict origins of the population, but there’s been a big swing towards people taking an interest in their history. This is a very maritime nation; just look at a map of Australia and you see that it’s all coastal development. The interior is really empty, so the sea plays a big part in Australian history.” Strangely, the Coramba tragedy was all but overlooked when it first happened.
‘‘More people died on the mainland that day in the ensuing floods, and the news of people being electrocuted by fallen power lines was more pressing than the disappearance of a coastal trader,’’Cantwell says. ‘‘Yet the Coramba was to become one of southern Australia’s most intriguing maritime mysteries.” The search for the Coramba was made more dramatic because of the discovery in 1987 by a fisherman of one of the world’s largest great white sharks in the area where the ship was believed to have sunk.
‘‘The idea of a seven-metre man-eater made many divers wary about diving in these waters,” says Cantwell. Undeterred, SOE searched for the Coramba for eight years in total,with Cantwell at their side for the past four years filming their every move. They found the steamer on May 29 this year, almost 20 miles from where most other divers had searched in what were dangerous ocean-going conditions.
‘‘We were also hit by a rogue wave that day that rolled the boat 60 degrees,’’Cantwell says. The find also meant a lot to Des Williams, author of a book on the tragedy called Coramba: The Ship The Sea Swallowed. He accompanied the SOE team on the day they discovered the vessel, all of which Cantwell has on film. ‘‘The discovery of the wreck of the Coramba for me is a fantastic event, a real ‘life moment’,’’Williams says. ‘‘After almost 30 years of following the story, researching it, writing a book about the wreck for the 50th anniversary of its sinking and having a close rapport with many of the relatives of the lost crew, it is a huge relief for all of us.”
Cantwell says he always had an interest in journalism, but didn’t imagine it would lead to him devoting several years to a single project under the sea. He left Ireland in 1986 at the age of 22 and ended up in Australia. ‘‘There wasn’t much happening in Ireland those days,” he says. After arriving in Australia, he decided to try his hand at journalism and looked for work as a freelance reporter with a local Melbourne newspaper, although he had no media experience.
He went through a number of jobs in print before finally settling in broadcasting. After his stint in the local Melbourne press, he saw an advertisement for what seemed an interesting job as a military reporter for the Australian Army Reserve force and went for it. ‘‘It involved mostly going on their golfing outings and writing about how good the officers were at golf,’’Cantwell says in his slow, droll accent which is a strange hybrid of Irish and Australian.
Eventually he became an established producer for a local commercial Melbourne radio station. ‘‘Something quite like Newstalk at home,” he says. He combined study with work, earning a degree in journalism at Deacon (sic) University before completing a Masters degree at Melbourne University. He also met and married his wife Caitriona, a native of Gorey, Co Wexford. Australians struggle badly to pronounce her forename, he jokes.The couple have two daughters, aged 15 and 21. The couple’s elder daughter is studying media. Journalism has not been plain sailing for Cantwell. After nearly a decade in radio which saw him end up as a producer on morning talk radio, the station closed and Cantwell was forced into a career re-think.
He went into teaching, ending up giving lessons in English and editing at a secondary school. However, he never left journalism far behind and had continued to do freelance work in both broadcast and print. It was then, when he least expected it, that his chance chat with Tozer at the barbecue changed his career path once again. After speaking to the SOE crew, Cantwell mentioned the shipwreck story to a friend, David Muir, who works with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Channel 7, known in Ireland for producing day-time dramas such as A Country Practice.
The pair put their heads together to consider a format for the documentary which they hoped to make. In the meantime, they formed a production company, Whitewater Documentaries, of which Cantwell is series producer and writer and Muir technical producer.
At the time, there was a local TV programme which aired in Melbourne called Australian Story, and Muir and Cantwell figured that they could shoot and edit a 30 minute documentary which would air on the programme. ‘‘That was our initial ambition,’’Cantwell says. But the story became bigger than their ambition, as the SOE crew’s success in discovering sunken ships grew.
Most of the SOE divers live around the Mornington Peninsula area and know it and its history intimately. The peninsula is a jut of land between Port Philip and Western Port that fronts an area of treacherous water covering a 200 square kilometre area. All have a keen awareness of how dangerous the waters are in which they carry out their explorations. South of the peninsula is the Bass Strait,which is significant in Australian maritime history for several reasons.
In practical terms, the only way for cargo to be shipped in and out of Melbourne was along the southern coastline via the Bass Strait. One of the main entry points for vessels into the city was Port Philip, which lies to the west of the peninsula. A number of key trading routes intersected the stretch of water south of the peninsula. These passageways earned a reputation as being too rough for the type of flimsy cargo vessels which frequently passed through it on routes between Sydney and Melbourne or from Melbourne towards Adelaide.
‘‘A lot of ships entering Melbourne got broken up and ended up on the floor of the ocean there,” says Cantwell. In the middle of the Bass Strait is the aptly-named Ships’ Graveyard, a 40 square kilometre zone where most of the estimated 800 ships which have sunk off the Melbourne coast since the late 1800s are believed to be interred in the murky depths below. There are two reasons why the peninsula is so littered with shipwrecks: the volatile weather conditions and the poor quality of the boats which sailed here.
‘‘The Bass Strait is the area of water between Tasmania and Victoria and it’s the notoriously rough sea that goes around the peninsula,’’Cantwell says. ‘‘There’s really nothing between the Bass Strait and Antarctica to break up the rough weather fronts which come all the way up from the south. The storms that build up from down there can really mess a boat up.” Hidden rocks and reefs, strong currents and unpredictable weather fronts all contribute to making the coastal passageways along the Bass Strait a high-risk route for cargo ships.
‘‘You can spend a day out there in the strait and it can be as calm as possible and then without warning it can turn into a maelstrom,’’Cantwell says. Critically, many of the wooden-hulled boats which sailed along the Victoria coastline during the 1800s and early 1900s were not fit for purpose, according to Cantwell. ‘‘A good many were called ‘coastal traders’, boats bought to do the trip from Sydney to Melbourne or into Melbourne from the Adelaide side,” he says. ‘‘They were never up to the standard of being able to deal with hard seas and in some cases they were probably overloaded.”
Of the 800 or so shipwrecks littering the seabed off the Victoria coast, just 200 are believed to have been located. ‘‘There are another 600 ships down there somewhere,” he says. ‘‘But these guys are the only ones who are actively seeking out these discoveries. There’s good reason why nobody else is doing it.”
It is expensive, time-consuming and can be dangerous at the most extreme depths of 90 metres or more. ‘‘The fact that nobody else is doing this is what got me interested in SOE’s work in the first place,” says Cantwell. When SOE takes to the water there are usually 15 or 16 people, between the actual divers, maritime researchers and Cantwell’s documentary crew.
The SOE team come from diverse backgrounds. Some of the men, like co-founder Mark Ryan, are commercial divers. Ryan is also a diving instructor and runs a diving shop. Others, such as senior SOE team member Martin Tozer, work in business, while Peter Taylor, who conducts most of SOE’s research, is a stonemason by trade. Many are also private boat owners and all were originally divers who came together because of a common interest. None makes any money from the explorations.
The search for the Coramba has cost the crew an estimated AUD$30,000 since they first began searching for the vessel in 2003. ‘‘They all contribute financially,’’Cantwell says. ‘‘It all comes out of their own pockets. If there are 15 or 16 blokes on a particular day, each man will contribute $50 dollars for fuel. After that, each man has got to spend about $100 on air for his own tanks. ‘‘And the water around here is particularly cold, so that means that you’ll probably need a dry suit to dive, as opposed to a wet suit. A dry suit can set you back $3,000. It’s a lot of money when you put it all together.” Not only is there no money to be made from their discoveries, but the divers could be jailed if they try to remove any of the artefacts which they uncover from a shipwreck.
‘‘Under Australian law you cannot take a single item from a maritime discovery,” Cantwell says, adding that the law allows a five-year jail term for anyone found to have pillaged a maritime discovery. ‘‘The find automatically becomes a heritage site and is treated like a grave site.” The Dubliner says their worst experience to date has been finding out that one of the ships they had located was subsequently pillaged by undersea divers.
‘‘It is something of a bugbear with Mark and Martin that once you find a ship, you have to declare it and you have to give out its coordinates,” he says. Cantwell says that before he got involved with the divers he had an expectation that they were essentially treasure hunters in search of underwater bounty. He says the reality could not have been further from this. Most of the SOE members are either keen amateur marine archaeologists or have a deep interest in maritime history.
Cantwell and Muir brought the idea of a one-hour documentary about SOE’s biggest discoveries to Bob Campbell at Screentime, one of Australia’s biggest and most successful TV production companies. ‘‘Bob came straight back and said he liked it a lot, but he said: ‘I can’t make money off a one-hour doco: I’ll need about six hours’,” Cantwell says. ‘‘We went back to the drawing board and thought about it and out of that we created the ‘Ghost Divers’ concept.” Each episode will focus on a separate SOE discovery and will begin by telling the story of the ship and the crew who populated it on its final voyage.
Cantwell had the idea of also using actors to recreate some of the drama of the sinking, but Campbell came up with a brainwave: to create a 3D diagram of the boat using old maritime plans and to show the sinking using CGI. Each story will also focus on a living relative’s journey to have their ancestor’s tragedy recognised. ‘‘It has been an incredible ride: a blur of shipwrecks, bad seas, diving, being continually wet, some big nights and great camaraderie,” Cantwell says.
The Irishman says ‘‘never say never’’ when asked if he and his family would ever move back to Ireland, but goes on to say that Australia has been good to them. Speaking to Cantwell, it seems the line between documentary-maker and explorer has become blurred over four years of diving with the crew. Speaking about the constant improvements the SOE team have made to their technique, he says that ‘‘we’’ are now using a former World War II PT boat for ‘‘our searches’’. It will allow the SOE team to travel further into the Southern Ocean. The ship, which is owned by another Irish sounding SOE member, Justin McCarthy, also has the distinction of having transported Queen Elizabeth II across Sydney Harbour in 1953.
Whatever fame or recognition the film series will bring to the SOE divers, their focus is on the work ahead.The team is currently searching for ten other wrecks. Included in the list are the Sappho, an anti-slaving admiralty ship that sank in the 1840s with 143 lives lost; the Federal,which disappeared without trace in 1900, and Cantwell’s own favourite, the Pingara, which disappeared near the Coramba with 31 lives lost -17 of whom were Chinese labourers. With 600 sunken ships still languishing on the sea floor off the rugged Australian coast, it would seem there is more than one series of Ghost Divers in the Irishman’s future.
This story appeared in the printed version of the Sunday Business Post Sunday, July 17, 2011

Do I Like WordPress?

September 2nd 2011
I have to say – probably not. It doesn’t seem very intuitive to me.  For instance it is not immediately obvious where to log-in, unless I just couldn’t see the wood for the trees.  I had to go post a comment before I found anywhere to log in, and ultimately the tabs for adding new posts etc.
Anyway, enough of that.  I’ll persevere with it for a while before I decide to ditch it.  Just hope I’ll be able to import my posts into blogger somehow.
We’ve been away for over a week – Bendigo, Swan Hill, Mildura and now back in Bendigo.  I had to leave my new toy at home because I hadn’t had enough time to transfer everything over to it before we left.  Thought I’d done most documents, graphics etc. until I discovered it had transferred every folder I’d selected – EMPTY!  Not a file in any of them, although all the folders are there.  So I’m looking forward to getting home to have more of a play.  What I’ve seen so far I really like.
Haven’t had much access to the internet while we’ve been away (using Mark and Janine’s PC to do this) so I’ve got to add to my Holidays blog when we get home.  I’ve done a quick summary of most days in Word, so should be able to simply copy and paste.

The New Toy

August 21 2011
Well, it has arrived – my new Toshiba.  So far I am quite impressed.  Only problem is it was configured as a 32-bit system and I want it to be 64-bit.  I have made the recovery disks, but I’m not sure how to go about re-installing Windows 7 so I can make it 64-bit.  We have to go into town tomorrow so I’ll go and ask.  Only means I can’t start to transfer data and install programs because they will all be wiped when I re-install.  But at least I have had a bit of a play and have discovered a few things about Windows 7.

Hmm! Well! Best Laid Plans and All That!

First of all, the Asus laptop actually had no DVD / CD Drive I discovered when I did a bit of research on the net last night.  So first thing this morning I rang Dick Smith and although Clint assured me, as he did yesterday, that the laptop did have a DVD Burner when I asked him to check he had to admit that in fact it didn’t have one after all.  So I told him I would have the Toshiba I’d been looking at instead.  No worries.
Toshiba Satellite L750
Later in the day I ‘persuaded’ Bill to take a run into Bairnsdale so I could pick up my new toy.  I was itching to try it.  Almost rang first to make sure they had one in stock, but felt sure it would have been mentioned this morning if they didn’t have any.  Guess what – they had none in stock, although Clinton hadn’t realised that when I rang.  Options – I could have the display model at a reduced price, or wait to get a new one.  Also, he’d have to reinstall Windows.  How long to reinstall, 1 1/2 hours.  No, not prepared to wait that long, especially with a not too happy husband in the car anyway.  If I didn’t want the trial versions of Norton and Office 2010 I could have it in 10 minutes.  I wasn’t interested in the trials, so that sounded like the go.  How reduced?  Only $20, so I refused.  Upshot was Clinton will get one from Traralgon on Saturday and deliver it to home on Sunday.  Only thing is I had to pay for it today, so they’ve got my money, I haven’t got the computer yet!  He said he’d try to organise a bonus for me, so I told him I’d been going to ask about a new wireless mouse as mine eats batteries.  He more or less said he’d get me one.  Hope he keeps his word.
So, wasted trip (petrol, time and an out-of-sorts husband) and I have to wait even longer for my new toy.  Only good thing is if I hadn’t gone in today I wouldn’t have found out until Friday that they didn’t have one.  Could still have had it Sunday I suppose so wouldn’t have been any worse off – but at least I know today that I can’t have it until Sunday.
These are the specs for my indulgence.
General Product Type: Laptops
Brand: Toshiba
Model: PSK2YA-04K010
Features Estimated Battery Life (hr): 4
Bluetooth Enabled: Yes
Digital Media Cards Reader: SD Memory Card
Hard Drive Speed (rpm): 5400
Graphics Card Brand: NVIDIA
Graphics Card Memory (MB): 1GB
Graphics Card Memory Type: Dedicated
Graphics Card Type: GeForce GT 525M
Networking: Gigabit Ethernet
Optical Drive Format: DVD Burner
Optical Drive Type: DVD Super Multi
Processor Brand: Intel
Processor Model: 2410M
Processor Speed (GHz): 2.30
Processor Type: Core i5
Installed RAM (GB): 4
RAM Expandable To (GB): 8
Ram Type: DDR3
USB Ports: 3
Disk Drives Hard Drive Size: 640GB
Interface Type: SATA
Screen Screen Definition: High Definition
Screen Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 16:9
Screen Resolution: 1366 x 768
Screen Size: 15.6″
Screen Type: LED
Audio Microphone: External
Speakers: Stereo Speakers
Networking and Internet Wireless Networking: IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11g
Connections and Expansion Audio Ports: Headphone mini jack, Microphone mini jack

New Laptop

Just bought myself a new laptop – have to pick it up when we go into town on Friday, because I didn’t have enough in the account to pay for it today – needed to transfer some money so I’ve paid a deposit and will pay the rest on Friday.  Bummer having to wait, but something to look forward to!  It is an Asus 13.5″ – very light but with more grunt than my current laptop.  No numeric keypad, but as I never use that it isn’t a problem.  Has up to 10 hours of battery life because of the smaller screen and newer processor.  The reviews I’ve seen on the net seem to indicate it was a good choice.  I was tossing up between the Asus and a Toshiba 15″ with even more memory, and a numeric keypad, but only 2.5 hours battery life.  It was $100 cheaper.  Both have the USB ports at the front of the sides, like my current one, which is a bit of a bummer.  Also looked at an HP, which had USB ports at the rear of the sides, but I’m not really keen on HP.
It does have Windows 7 – the good thing about that is that I will get to know it so I can help Bill when he says why is my computer doing this, that or the other.  The bad thing is that my experience with Windows 7 on Bill’s computer has been somewhat frustrating to date.  I’ll soon find out whether I adapt to it quickly or not.

Oh Bugger!

Just came home from a birthday dinner with Mum and Jim, Susan and Marty at the Swanny Pub. An expensive evening – we were hit by a kangaroo on the way home! A great thump, but when we got home and I got out of the car there didn’t appear to be any damage. But when Bill looked at it with the torch the rear passenger door is whacked in, and the paintwork scratched! He says about $500 worth to repair. I’ll bet it even more than that. Might be worth claiming on insurance – then we’ll only have to pay the excess, and I think our no-claim bonus is safe. If not we’ll just have to pay for the repair.

Other than that hiccup we had a good night. Susan and Marty gave me a lovely purple and silver scarf and a glittery owl brooch. Mum and Jim gave me a hellebore plant and a lovely owl pendant. Also a scratchy that won $20.

Hello World!

Well, I’ve really been taken in by this blogging business. This is my fourth Blog. I’ve decided to give WordPress a go, as I have heard so much about it. My other Blogs are in Blogger, and I do like using it. I’ll see which I prefer over time.
(Update: I've decided I don't like WordPress, so I am transferring everything over to Blogger - 12th September 2011)

I’ve sort of been keeping a blog via email to keep friends and family updated re my journey with my cancer treatment. I have always been one to keep journals – although not consistently. I wrote a journal for Susan from the time she was born, and gave it to her on her 21st birthday. I wrote a journal in the Bicentennial year, and for several years after my first husband died I kept a journal – probably my most regular one.

This Blog will be about everyday happenings – sort of like a diary of events, feelings, thoughts etc.