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Diving on Sunday

I just posted this on our common rant

WOW!

That's in one word what I can share with you about our diving on sunday! It was fan-bloody-tastic!

We woke up at 8.30 a.m. (on a sunday, there should be a law against it!!! how cruel is that?) and after a bowl of cereals and a nice warm tea, we headed up to the dive shop where we met the guy we would go diving with. We decided to have a refresher dive since we haven't been diving in a few month (since november last year) and we have never been diving in these waters before (also, we have always had the luxury of been diving in tropical waters and the temperature of the ocean around Sydney, this time of year is around 17ºC or 18ºC). Andy explained to us the theory and after a coffee, we tried on the wetsuits, masks, BCDs etc and jumped on a van, on our way to Clovelly Pool.

As we got to the parking lot, we could see quite a few divers in the pool (it's a natural pool, with an entrance directly on the ocean, it's very good to get a refesher on diving since it's 6 m deep and you don't have currents) and more coming out and others arriving (just like us). Upon arriving, we got in our gear and our instructor had left his fins back at the shop, so there he went ... we just stood there, looking at the wonderful ocean, opening just before us and the clear blue waters in which, a few minutes later, we would be diving in.

When Andy got back, we put the whole gear on and went into the pool. The tide was quite low so we had to actually slide on our bottom down the stairs to the water and ... the cold cold water just slided down our spine and for a few minutes I was thinking "what the hell am I doing here freezing?" but it was just a few minutes of discomfort and as we went underwater, it all faded away as we did a bit of the techniques we wanted to remember ... The pool might be just 6 m but it was great. We had a blue gropper following us during our dive and we even saw an octopus! Yeah! A big one too! Which is a very rare sighting!

After around 40 min, we left the pool, went back to the van, exchanged our tanks for full ones, had a bite and we headed off to Gordons Bay, to have a proper dive.

Gordons Bay is on the other side of the parking from Clovelly Pool and it even has an underwater trail, that you can follow when you go diving. It's a chain that's layed down with markers ... It goes around the bay and back to the access point. It's deeper than Clovelly Pool but not too deep.

After having some inconvenient moments, trying to get in the water (you have the waves hitting you, you are trying to put your fins on, you slide on the slippery rocks, etc) we snorkled a bit and went down. The colors you can see there are from another world! Bright orange and grey, deep purple, fluorescent blue, etc. As we were following a wall, I saw three Port Jackson sharks, sleeping, one on top of each other! The biggest one was around 1 mt, so not a white shark but ... Then we saw a stingray, a flathead, Danielle saw another octopus! We just couldn't believe it, in a bay just around the corner from where we live! What about that? :)

Next dive, we want to go over to Ben Buckler and see the Weedy Sea Dragons ... this time we didn't see any but it was expected, this is not their favorite place.

After we came back from the dive and had a warm shower and a nice warm cup of tea, we layed down and I was teasing Danielle about her "5 minutes naps" that usually last 1 hour ... well, when I opened my eyes again, 2 hours had pasted! :) It was a beautiful experience and we will certainly go diving around here soon!

August 30, 2004 in Australia | Permalink | Comments (1)

Australia through the eyes of a new immigrant (part 2)

In the past few days I have been "exposed" to another particularity of Australia or maybe you could say it's mostly a Sydney phenomenom. Danielle and I have been looking for apartments to rent around Bondi and Tamarama.

The whole ritual is so different from what I am used to. So far, my experience has been that we look online for places to rent (or on the windows of real estate agencies) and contact the agency to arrange for an inspection of the properties we like. You could also be lucky and find that one property you like is open for inspection on a set date and you can actually go there without previous apointments. The "inspection" is usually a quick tour around the house/apartment, ask a few questions to the agent that's on site and you are out of there in less than 15 minutes. Usually you have other people having a look at the same time as you, which gives you a strange feeling of competition (check the other person out ... oh, they have a kid, hmmm maybe we have more chances of getting this place ... and so on). If you like the place, you need to apply for it, yes! You actually need to fill in a form and compete for the place, almost like in an auction! It's quite funny. You have to put in all sort of information like, how much you earn, age, kids (if any) ;), references of previous landlords, how much you are willing to pay for the place, for how long you want to have a lease (rent contract) and sometimes you have to actually put additional comments. Your application is then reviewed and maybe you get it and maybe you don't!

So far we have seen quite a few places but have not done a single application. Today we saw the place we want (both of us) and tomorrow morning we will go and apply for it, should be fun ... Especially because I am self-employed, so I need to put an accountant as my reference... And then, we will have to wait a bit for the application to be looked at and processed (the agent told us it takes 1 working day, who knows what they do with those forms). Lucky for us they don't ask for photographs to be attached together with the application :)

August 27, 2004 in Australia | Permalink | Comments (2)

Diving on Sunday

OK, it's official now, we are going scuba diving on sunday! We will be going with the nice people from the Bondi Dive Center. We are not sure exactly where we will be diving, depends on the weather and the swell but we probably will go to Clovelly pool and maybe Ben Buckler but that's depends.

We will be doing a refresher dive as well ... It's awesome! Finally!

Update 2004-08-27: In response to the comment from Iréne, yes, what we would really like to see are Weedy Sea Dragons! Awesome creatures.

August 26, 2004 in Australia | Permalink | Comments (2)

Cousin and corporate websites

I found out today that my cousin Eduardo is soon coming to Australia. He will be working for KPMG as far as I understood from my mother.

I could say "It's the Mattarollo invasion" but Eduardo is a cousin from my mother's side of the family, therefor not a Mattarollo :-)

So, hearing that he would be working for a large corporation, I checked the KPMG Australia website with Firefox and it rendered horribly (useless). I immediately thought "must be some rendering issues in Mac OS X" but how silly, Firefox uses the same rendering engine on all ports and "Mac OS X" not being used as a reference platform for "things that have to look good"? Nah ... of course, looking at it on windoze rendered the same. Yuk! One would think that a large corporation like KPMG would at least have a decent web designer (or agency) ... The design is also completely broken in Safari 1.2.3, Mozilla 1.7, Opera 7.5 on Mac OS X renders it a bit better ...

From their source:

|   ||  |||  ||             r  a  z  o  r  f  i  s  h  , Inc.
Description: KPMG [home]
Created: 2000-04-20 jj
(c) 2000, Razorfish, Inc. all rights reserved. | Recoding: (c) 2000 Areeba Solutions Pty Ltd, Melbourne

:-(

August 26, 2004 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1)

Real geek stuff

I have spent part of my weekend and most of tonight immersed in the real world of geeks ... I have been using gdb and DDD to debug some issues with AOLServer / nsopenssl and OpenSSL on Mac OS X ... so far it looks like the problem might be in nsopenssl but I am not an übergeek yet so I will leave that conclusion to the pros :) but I can tell you ... it's fun and challenging ... some people will tell me "come on Bruno, get a life" but hey ... I love this!

August 25, 2004 in Geek Stuff | Permalink | Comments (3)

Pastebin ... AWESOME!

Today I got pointed out to one awesome website called pastebin.

The idea is that if you want to share source code with other people on IRC or AIM or whatever, you just go to the site, paste the content on there and then, once submitted you share the URL with other people ... very simple but very very convenient!

Thanks Dossy for pointing this out to me.

August 24, 2004 in Geek Stuff | Permalink | Comments (0)

PostgreSQL critical fix

If someone is running PostgreSQL 7.2.x or 7.3.x or even 7.4.x and you haven't seen the latest news item on the PostgreSQL site, well ... you should as there is a critical patch that has been released.

Extract from that news item:

Prevent possible loss of committed transactions during crash.
Due to insufficient interlocking between transaction commit and checkpointing, it was possible for transactions committed just before the most recent checkpoint to be lost, in whole or in part, following a database crash and restart.

Since this relates to the integrity of your information, it's critical and you should upgrade ASAP.

August 24, 2004 in Geek Stuff | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ahhh ... journaled filesystems

Reiser4 has been released and it looks like an impressive new filesystem.

Things seem to have changed since the introduction of the first journaled filesystems, especially in the field of performance. I was first introduced to journaled filesystems with XFS on Irix ... it was quite impressive that many years ago. And some time ago, SGI decided to release XFS as Open Source and ported it to Linux. I haven't yet had the chance to test it on Linux but must certainly be an impressive filesystem.

Via [ OnGoing ]

August 24, 2004 in Geek Stuff | Permalink | Comments (0)

SHA-1 break rumored

From Freedom to Tinker:

There's a rumor circulating at the Crypto conference, which is being held this week in Santa Barbara, that somebody is about to announce a partial break of the SHA-1 cryptographic hashfunction. If true, this will have a big impact, as I'll describe below. And if it's not true, it will have helped me trick you into learning a little bit about cryptography. So read on....

This is very interesting and also, in a following post in the same blog, there are mentions relating to a paper produced by some Chinese computer scientists regarding a possible break of MD5. It's quite an enigmatic paper as it's not very descriptive and, as Edward Felten points out, there are no explanations on how they get to their conclusions but interesting nevertheless.

Update 2004-08-24:

Check Edward Felten's post on Freedom to Tinker's about the report from Crypto 2004 ... interesting stuff there and the whole discussion after his post is also worth a read.

August 18, 2004 in Geek Stuff | Permalink | Comments (0)

Epson 4000

Last year Epson introduced the Epson Stylus Pro 4000, an impressive A2 printer. I have been reading many reviews so far but the one I like the most so far is the one by Michael Reichmann on his site, the Luminous Landscape. Michael's reviews are not oriented towards the buttons or specific technical characteristics of the products he looks at but more from a functional point of view.

Slowly, I am starting to get really interested in this printer, in particular the ability to have large prints (17" wide, 43.18 cm) and print on rolls ... this with the added benefits that if you use the proper inks and papers, your prints can last up to 75 years!

Printing this large is something I might start to do more regularly, in particular since I fell in love with this Rollei 6008i that I have when we took it to Argentina last april and I took some stunning pictures (I am not the only one that thinks that). Of course, it's not the camera that takes the pictures but the photographer ... it's just a tool but a great tool!

August 16, 2004 in Photography | Permalink | Comments (0)