Sunday, 27 March 2011

NZ clothing

I bought a couple of t-shirts yesterday.  They were black (as always) with New Zealand ponga and fern illustrations.  They were in a shop that was very NZ themed and which was promoting and selling New Zealand themed clothing.

The shirts were made in Haiti.

Other shirts in the rack were made in China.  In fact, all the clothing I checked the labels of was made overseas. 

I had  a chat to the store owner while paying.   Business is currently ok for her but mainly in the weekends.  It's also picking up a bit as the weather gets colder.  I asked about the source of the clothing and she said she used to buy more New Zealand made clothing but most of the factories she used to buy from have closed down now.  It's hard to source NZ made items for her particular market and at her price range.

Is this a result of our recession or a result of our in ability to compete with overseas manufacturers or a combination of both?

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Aerobatic plane with smoker attached

This is a 4 minute clip of the final plane doing a fairly spectacular display of throwing itself around the sky.  There is an excellent bit around 1:35 where you can see it falling out of the sky on its back while spinning around.  Best to view that full screen. 

Apologies for the shaky camera work - hand held, leaning back, zoomed in and staring towards the sun.  Not easy!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Aerobatic - short video clip

A short clip of a plane doing what looks like inverted loops.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The price of lamb

In September last year I wrote about the price of lamb and how I thought it was likely to affect sales.  Today there is an article in Stuff talking about the price of lamb and how it is driving away customers: Lamb sales suffer from higher prices. It includes this classic paragraph:

Buyer resistance to lamb's high price was only being talked about by Silver Fern's other customers. In New Zealand, research showed that price was the biggest impediment to sales.
Hardly surprising really. 

In my original article I said the price of a full leg of lamb was at least $35.00.  About a week ago I was looking at buying a leg of lamb and was fairly stunned to find the price of a full leg was over $50.00, something also pointed out in the article.

That's just under a 50% price increase in about 6 months.   Fucking outrageous!

While I'm on the subject of lamb, a particularly disturbing trend has begun to appear on the supermarket shelves.  The lamb legs are being stripped of the outer fat layer and membrane that sits over the outer fat layer.  This makes it impossible to get that beautiful, crisp, wonderfully browned outside layer on the lamb when roasting it.  I'm very, very disappointed by this move.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Aerobatic competition

Every year in March an aerobatic competition is held at the Waipukurau airfield.  For around five days the air is filled with the sound of droning planes suddenly going into power dives or reaching the peak of some loop and cutting their engine out, something I am sure gives a lot of people heart attacks as the plane tends to look like this:

which is, I assure you, not a photo simply turned sideways.  Today is the first day of the event and the photo above is of the first plane.  

On the Saturday morning they usually send up a couple of planes with smokers attached which then proceed to throw themselves all over the sky in a fairly spectacular fashion.  I'll try to get a few photos of those and perhaps even a video or two.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Burning CDs/DVDs with K3B

This speed change happens every time I use K3B.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Sony E-Reader: PRS-650

Some time ago I said, somewhere  (edit: here), that I couldn't see the point in having an e-reader as it would just give me another electronic item to cart around.  How wrong I was.

I have been buying books from O'Reilly for some years.  Last year I started buying them in the PDF format as it was a bit cheaper and I could have the PDF on the screen at the same time as whatever I was working on.  In reality this didn't work out too well as flicking between screens and windows all the time quickly annoyed the hell out of me.

As I had purchased these items as e-books I was able to download them in any of the available e-book formats.  This brought me round to thinking that perhaps having an e-reader would be a good idea.  Simply being able to discard the weight of the various books I tend to have lying around is what convinced me in the end.  After all, what is one more small electronic item compared to several technical manuals?

Having made the decision to buy I then had to decide what to buy.  Fortunately this was made easy for me as a colleague at work who is also a librarian had recently purchased an e-reader.  Being the type of person she is, she had gone out and tested all the models and decided on a Sony PRS650BC as being the best available and so that is what I bought.  In fact I bought two as I decided Camille would probably want one as well.

I ordered them online through the Sony store.  What an experience!  I am never, ever going to buy another Sony product online again.  From when I ordered them it took several e-mails (unanswered), 4 phone calls and 40 days before we received them.  The order - an electronic order, mind you - actually got lost on at least one occasion.

During this farce I discovered an interesting thing about the Sony website.  They have an area called "My Sony" which is impossible to sign up to using their links. Each link to 'Join' or "register' with "My Sony" actually leads to their Product Registration Page.

The links highlighted in the top image take you to the page in the 2nd image.

However, if you edit the links so they they go to instead of then you get the "My Sony" registration page.  I did inform Sony of this via one of my several unanswered e-mails but obviously the message didn't get through.

Here is a link to a Canadian Sony site's PRS650BC page as the product has completely disappeared from the NZ Sony website.

The e-reader itself is excellent. Very easy to use and very easy to read.  The e-ink technology is easy on the eyes - there is no glare from the screen at all and it is very visible in daylight.  I have imported all my technical books to it and find it very useful while working.  I can't flip from index to page and back again in the same way I would with a paper book but it is still a good experience.

PDFs can be read on it but I wouldn't bother with them.  They don't re-flow on the e-reader so can be difficult to read.  Also large ones are very slow.  With one manual which was around 1200 pages it was taking literally minutes to turn a page.  However, I installed Calibre, an e-book management utility (Windows, Linux,  MAC) and used it to convert PDF to the epub format.   Now it flows properly and the pages turn as they should.

My fiction reading has also gone up. I'm not sure why but this is a good thing.  I'm spending less time in front of my computer screen aimlessly reading pointless blog comments and more reading novels on the e-reader.

All in all, a good buy but I recommend avoiding the NZ Sony website for purchasing products.  Go to a physical store and get one.