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Macs, Movies, Games, Books, etc. The Rants of a Mad Man.

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Dyson release new bladeless fans; rich folk open their wallets

July 1st, 2010 by Raj

Dyson, purveyors of such fine products as the bag-less vacuum cleaner and non-contact hand driers, have this week launched an updated line of the geek wet dream that is the bladeless Air Multipler™ fan.

Now available in “Pedestal” (essentially the older version stuck on a large stick) and “Tower” models the new line provides further options to blow air around your desired space in a rather expensive fashion. The new models are whilst not yet available will be priced at a mere A$599 a piece.

Since the original’s release last year I’ve encountered but one of these in the wild (beyond appliance store confides) in my optometrists’ examination room. Sitting in the corner is whirs away and it does indeed circulate air among a small area in a very “cool” looking fashion but I can’t help but think that at this stage it’s nothing more than an expensive toy see Dyson execs sleeping on a bed of shredded $100 notes.

Should you be inclined to dump half a grand on a fan in favour of your perfectly fine reverse cycle air conditioning, give me a call; I’ll go buy you a $20 fan from Kmart and quite happily take the difference off your hands.

Buy your Dyson Air Multiplier™ Bladeless fan here: http://www.dyson.com.au/store/fans.asp

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Halo helmet fallout: No more special editions for me

April 24th, 2010 by Raj

Once bitten, twice shy” the saying goes, and no truer a saying when it comes to my experience with buying “Special” or “Deluxe” edition video games.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t pass up a good (or bad for that matter) bargain. I’m a constant sucker for any “2 for” that’s within five metres of a service station counter and god help me if Threadless ever have a sale but after the Halo 3 Legendary bundle I think I’m done when it comes to video game “extras” – at a premium price of course.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about the game, Halo 3, came out a few years back bundled inside the helmet of it’s main character (seen above). It came with a bunch of extra disks with documentary content (which I’ve never watched) and a giant fuck-off helmet that stands out like dogs balls amongst your game/dvd collection, that, if you’d ever expect to have sex again you’ll do the courtesy of never displaying.

It’s easy to look back now and see what it was such an idiotic “must-have” but at the time there was nothing cooler to many a geek and Halo fan-boy than owning a miniature of Master Chief’s helmet. Perhaps it was the possibility that it may be large enough to put on a small child and take photos for “teh internets” but even that was a pipe-dream that was to never come to fruition and instead we were stuck with a deluge of people sticking them on top of their cats. Case in point below:

The point is as excited and geek-drooly some people get all they do is play the game, which if they’d bought for probably two thirds of the price or even half in some cases they’d be much better off financially and wouldn’t have a pile of female-repelant scattered around their home. Hence the new Halo Reach “Legendary” Edition recently announced will most unlikely be making its way on to my shopping list, nor did the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 night vision goggles Prestige Edition, or Grand Theft Auto 4’s lockbox/theif bag/number plate Special edition.

Rant all said and done these deluxe versions are only going to get bigger and more ridiculous with thousands around the world shelling out their hard-earnds to buy them. And good luck to you all, I’m just saying the next time you get the urge to shell out for useless paraphernalia go and find where you’ve hidden your Halo 3 Master Chief helmet away, dust it off or take the nachos out of it, take a good long hard look at your warped orange reflection and ask yourself “Why?“.

If only I had this blog post three years ago how much crap I would not now own!! HAHAHAHA.

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What not to wear and where not to wear it

March 30th, 2010 by Raj



Don’t wear this @ AusPost


Yellow is not a good idea @ Ikea

Mistaken identity is not a concept that I’m unfamiliar with, from my school boy days of tireless “Mr Bean” taunts to my travels across the globe with an uncanny ability to be asked for directions in every city I visit it just seems to be one of those things I’ve become accustomed to. Today’s effort was without a doubt the most ludicrous to date, so much so that I just felt the need to share.

I had a few packages that required mailing, nothing particularly exciting there, in fact going to any post office within Melbourne’s CBD is like stepping in to a void where queues to tellers seem to grow longer rather than shorter and god forbid you visit one during your lunch hour because you’re bound to return to the office well beyond the hour you had to take in the first place! I’d done the right thing today, getting down to a new-to-me building as my working quarters has just relocated. It was much larger than my previous local, tellers at both ends of what seemed like an endless plateau of packaging wonders born down by eye piercing fluorescent light.

Collecting my required boxing materials I proceeded to one of the free “addressing areas” or as the casual observer may put it, “big black desk with pens on it” in the middle of the imaginary that is the Elizabeth St GPO. Two packages in to my five and an elderly gent beckons my attention wavering a scrawled shred of paper and looking clearly confused about where he was perhaps mistaking the brightness of lights for St. Peters gates.

“Excuse me, is this Bourke St?”
“No, this is Elizabeth St.” I replied.
“I’m trying to get to Little Collins St” he continued on, “Isn’t that it crossing over there?”

I felt sorry for the poor old guy he was practically entering cardiac arrest with confusion and being that this was, for once, the actual city I lived in where I was being asked for directions I didn’t mind helping him out.

“If you go back down this main street you’ll first cross Bourke Street and then the next one is Little Collins.” I explained.
Now as simple and clear as these instructions were there was a further five minute discussion detailing this sentence in perfect and repeated clarity until at some point the stars aligned themselves with Jupiter and a sense of calm broke out over his face with a sudden realisation that he didn’t have that far to go.

Satisfied with my good deed for the day I returned to my prior position behind the table picking up my pen to continue arduously inking addresses to cardboard, quickly flushing the warm glow that adorned me mere nano-seconds earlier.

“Excuse me, I just want to send…”

Looking up halfway through the postcode for Toowoomba (4350 by the way) across the black laminated surface of my desk stood not one, not two, but three complete strangers who had taken it upon themselves to queue for my rather inadequate postal services.

“I’m sorry, I…”
“I just want to send this to Sydney” she cut in, thrusting a yellowed envelope beneath my face.
“I’m sorry I don’t work here, I’m just trying to address some packages” I finally managed to say.
“Oh… I thought you did.” (well that’s kind of obvious really now isn’t it) “It’s that red shirt you’re wearing” she stated before trouncing off in disgust.
“You mean the red shirt with the giant logo looking like Colonel Sanders from KFC on it?” I thought to myself before looking up at the remaining pseudo queue with a comical shrugged look to which was returned, and I kid you not, a roll of the eyes and an audible “tsk”! I’m sorry Sir, the next time I’m trying to mail something I’ll be sure to make sure I’ve completed Australia Post’s induction course and can tend your enquiry in a more satisfactory manner next time. Moron.

I can’t blame them though, it’s like Christmas walking in to a post office and seeing no one in the queue I would’ve dove in like them too more than likely! The point is it was the shirt that did it, wearing a colour that was in some way reminiscent of the establishment’s uniform and that I should’ve been more aware of that as it’s not the first time I’ve had it happen, Ikea being the other major offender. Blue jeans and a yellow shirt in Ikea is either a recipe for constant annoyance or utter mayhem depending on your psychological stance. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve been asked for directions/building advice/to lift something/measurements/and alike in Ikea, one day I think I’ll jump behind a register and start scanning things while yelling “beep” and proclaiming the line to be “cash only”.

The moral of the story boys and girls is that all of this was clearly my fault for choosing to wear the wrong thing in the wrong place, god forbid humanity to be aware of their surroundings. I will endeavour to ensure my clothing better contrasting those places of chance social interaction to not confuse you world. My bad.

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`Tis the season for group text messages

December 30th, 2008 by Raj

A big, “ho, ho, ho”, Yuletide returns and all that jazz to my internet peeps. I thought, whilst in between these two large holiday events, it might be poignant to detail one of the more stupid traits I find humans displaying over the holidays; The group SMS (or text message for you non-Australian types).

Now I’m all for spreading a little cheer amongst friends, I’m almost certain the first off the blocks to text a friend a happy birthday for example, but that’s a very different scenario to writing one message and then sending it to the four ba-jillion people in your phone’s address book all at once. I understand that you want to spread a little Christmas/New Years cheer but what’s the point?

You’d think the cost alone would be enough to turn most people off. If I was to send a message to everyone in my phone book this coming Wednesday night, not only will half of them not be sent due to the network being jammed worse than a constipated 90 year old, but it will cost me around AUD$35. Well actually it’d cost me nothing because I’m on an unlimited SMS plan but that’s hardly the point now is it! The overseas people would in my address book would be at least $10 worth.

What pisses me off the most is when you people that feel their need to impose their cheer into your perfectly happy world see you a couple of days later and say “You didn’t reply to my [group sms event] message the other night/day”. Well no, I didn’t, I couldn’t be bothered replying to yours or any others of the “generics” that beep, beeped their way into my phone all through the night and the next morning while I was trying to sleep! Now, now, don’t start crying, it’s not because I don’t like you, it’s just because I think you’re simple and have deeply rooted emotional issues that relate back to your childhood spawning your annoyingly constant need to feel loved.

Hmmm… OK, I can see that so far I’ve probably pissed off a few people that may glance at my blog every now and then so now let me back peddle just a little so as not to offend every last one of you. On Christmas day (and New Years Eve) I will send out text messages *BUT* they are not generic! If you’re going to send out SMS’s personalize them, have them actually say something beyond “Happy New Year!” and send them to those whom you are close to and actually care about. All I ask is that you “think before you text”, it’s not just drunk texting that can hurt people…

BA-HUM-BUG Bitches!

(yes I know, I’m a sarcastic prick at times)

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The top 5 reasons I’m asked for directions

September 10th, 2008 by Raj

It seems that regardless of city, in fact regardless of country, I am seemingly one of the most geographically aware persons on the planet. Just this Sunday on a quick run to the Eaton Centre to buy a pair of jeans, not more than ten minutes walk to and from my home, I was approached for directions not once, not twice, but trois times. I’m not particularly bothered by it these days, in fact I’m kind of used to it. Nine times out of ten I have no idea where the street/landmark/car park/train station/monument they’re after is but if they’re particularly nice about it I can use my iPhone to look it up for them.

After this Sunday’s particularly high direction-asking-count I started to think why it is that I’m approached. It’s not like I have “local tour guide” tattooed across my forehead in UV ink (well not that I’m aware of; hang on a minute I’m going to check…. …. … nope, I don’t), so why is it that I, instead of the hundreds of people around me is asked. Behold; “The top 5 reasons I’m asked for directions (in foreign countries)”

1. I walk like I know where I’m going
I’m not a dawdler. When I’m walking somewhere (regardless of if I know where “where” is) I walk with purpose; with “vigor” if you will. While some people may like to soak up the atmosphere of unfamiliar territory I prefer to do that off to the side, stopped, and out of the way of other pedestrians. This is probably because it annoys the hell out of me when tourists do it in my home town.

2. My racially independent aesthetics
Taking a look at me it would be difficult for most people to pick exactly what my origins are. Black hair, half olive skin, the lines of physical racial stereotypes become kind of blurred. People generally look at me like I’m retarded when an Aussie accent emerges and I tell them I have no idea where or what they’re talking about. A perfect example would be my time in Paris where at first I’d be polite and throw a “Pardon, je ne comprends pas” at them, but it was much more fun to watch their jaws drop with a “nah mate” reply.

3. I’m the least intimidating individual in the vicinity
I wouldn’t think downtown Toronto or Seattle are places that would be particularly scary during the day but as with all cities there are some unsavory folk about. In my opinion they are in the minority in comparison to your average ham sandwich beating the pavement going about their daily grind. Perhaps its because I’m not wearing a tie, maybe they’re the scary ones and all the guys with empty Starbuck cups rattling for change are the normal peeps?

4. 90% of the time I’m wearing headphones
Now this one confuses me a little. I would have thought the fact that you’re wearing “environmental-sensory-depravation-tools” (AKA headphones) would actual detract people from approaching you. For me I listen to music wherever I am in the world. Occasionally I’ll tune into the soul of a new city, getting a feel for it’s subtle overtures until people start looking at me funny and wonder why I’m conducting what is to them an invisible symphony atop a sewer grate of a major intersection. Maybe it looks like I’m listening to an audio tour of my current locale? If I had a Lonely Planet book in my hands maybe.

5. I’m just a nice, helpful, smiley guy and people can sense that
Now anyone that knows me will have either ruptured their bladder because they’re in public and wetting themselves would not be appropriate, although now you should get to a hospital pretty quick, ruptured bladder and all; or you’ve now noticed that the warm feeling of pee down your inside leg is starting to cool and you need to change. I know what I look like walking, trust me people have told me. I’m a petulant bastard that wants to get where he’s going and that about sums it all up. If I’m the happiest looking person on the street than we’re living in a very sad world and I’ll need to take up a religion and find out who or what to pray to for our souls. Who’s that alien dude the scientists guys worship? I think I’ll go watch Battlefield Earth now and find out.

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Canadian Coffee: It’s just that bad

August 2nd, 2008 by Raj

Canadian Coffee = FAIL

Lets for a moment forget the fact that I’ve started a new job that has me slowly taming the beast known to the technorati as “Drupal” into a well trained, obediant King Charles Spaniel and concentrate on the rather unbelievable fact that I haven’t had coffee in about a month!

Yes children of the Internets I know it’s a hard fact to comprehend that I Raj “let’s-have-a-coffee” Sanchez could have been turned away from such a wonderful socially accepted addiction. You must be asking yourself “Why? What has happened to my little friend Raj to turn him away from his only true friend, coffee?” Well that’s a fantastic question really, why don’t you pull up your favourite Japanese-restaurant-sitting-cushion and get all settled in while I explain in intricate detail the justification in my passing on the joe.

Coffee in Canada sucks. Explanation over.

OK, I’ll go into a little more detail. If I wanted brown water I’d go down to the street and scoop out a cup from the nearest mud pool I can find. Why and more importantly “how” people can drink percolated coffee is beyond me! Yes it costs about CAD$1.50 for a jumbo mug of the garbage but that’s no reason for the millions of Tim Hortons’ franchises that exist here in plague proportions putting the US’s Starbucks chain to shame. Dare you ask for a “latte” you might find that you’re given something that resembles frothed milk but 9 times out of 10 it came out of an automated machine the likes of which you’d find in a Shell service station midpoint Melbourne and Adelaide.

There is one place I’ve found that does a good coffee, even if the late does come in a glass cup the size of a small water tower, and that’s the hotel I stayed in last year whilst I was visiting, The Drake. I’ve had about three there now and they’re generally pretty on the money.

Now before everyone (well mostly Canadians) out there starts screaming and rushing me in a mob like fashion I open up the comments section of the post to all of you T.dotters to please, please, tell me where I can get a good coffee!

P.S. If you tell me to go to Starbucks, Second Cup or any other chain that serves crap I’ll hunt you down and pour said establishments scolding muck in your lap ;)

Filed under Canadian Tales, Other, Rant having 3 Comments »

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Canadians screwed on iPhone stock at launch

July 12th, 2008 by Raj

No iPhone for you!

As if Canadians weren’t already the butt of the iPhone world, being America’s North American co-inhabiter they’ve been denied the iPhone longer than anyone would’ve thought. Today however that was all meant to change, I say “meant” because as any of the hundreds to thousands that lined up this morning were sorely disappointed in a severe shortage of stock.

Out of the four stores that I walked between checking out lines and chatting with their patrons I didn’t find a single store with more than 30 phones and then each store seemed to have a 50/50 split of 8GB & 16GB another move I find strange.

So who’s to blame? Well you could say Apple, they are the ones who’re distributing the device across the world today but the majority, whether they’re right or wrong, will say Rogers. Let’s for the moment forget the fact that Roger’s contract length is 3 years, a period that will surely go well beyond this generation of iPhones life-cycle, and again forget that they have a huge monopoly in being the only GSM provider in the country; what really puts the nail in the coffin for these guys is the past week’s worth of controversy in regards to their exorbitant pricing and that “supposedly” Apple decided they’d teach them a lesson by not supplying much stock.

Now there’s no “official” word that this was the case but all fingers point to Rogers. That said I can understand where they’re coming from, this things a cash cow for them. The 3 year contract, high rate plans, it’s money for jam, not to mention they have no competition why would you make your plans cheap? I’ve worked for a telecommunications company for 7 years and trust me the one thing that drives good pricing is competition and Rogers has none.

So blame who you will, it’s unfortunately not going to change the fact that there’s little to no iPhones out there today and you’ll most likely be waiting another week to get a “Jesus Phone” in your hands. Sorry Canada.

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Mother fraker it’s hot!

June 7th, 2008 by Raj

Now I’m hardly the type of guy to complain (stop laughing) so rather than relay my lovely, fun-filled plane ride half way around the world I thought I’d point out a little discovery I’ve made here only one day into my Canadian journey. It’s hot; it’s mother frakin’ hot; so fraking hot that I’m a tad worried that I might have gotten off in the wrong country or something?!

To all those people that constantly took pleasure in reminding me just how cold it was going to be here in Canada I say “You were wrong bitches!”. Now I take no pleasure in pointing out this fact, nor am I enjoying the fact that today Toronto bear fruits to it’s hottest June day in recorded history! Thank you global warming! Maybe that Al Gore guy is on to something after all?! Hmmmm…

It wasn’t that bad really (33 degrees with 47% humidity), I wore jeans after all, but that may have had something to do with the fact that I only bought one pair of shorts with me and when I pulled them out they kinda needed a wash. That in mind I waded through the steaming heats and went downtown to the Eaton Centre to buy a new pair of shorts only to come back with new shorts, a belt, a new jumper, a prepaid phone (it was cheaper to buy a $70 phone that came with $50 free credit than a SIM separately for $40 and $50 credit) and a bag of Doritos! Ahhhh what a day.

Well that’s all so far folks, I’ll leave you with this photo showing off the view from my quite lovely hotel room…

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I really didn’t need to hear that!

April 9th, 2008 by Raj

Everyone listen, I\'m having a conversation!

I’m a public transport user, it’s not something I’m particular proud of, nor ashamed for that matter; after all it’s saving the environment blah, blah, insert tree-hugging-soliloquy-here. The point is, and trust me I am getting to one, is that by being a public transport user you’re privy to some of the world’s more annoying and unhygienic (that’s another story all together) traits.

Lets ignore the fact that talking on your mobile phone whilst in a crowded public place is down right rude, obnoxious and always results in the person talking in excess of ten times the volume of a 747 engine less than a metre from your ear drum for just a second and examine the latest fashion of annoyance by utilizing your phone’s whizz bang speaker phone functionality.

Most phone’s these days have the ability to use them in a “hands-free” mode where the caller’s voice is pumped out for all to hear and the phone’s microphone is turned up a notch to capture your own voice the general idea being that the phone is not right next to your mouth. Makes perfect sense really, the functionality was ideally created so that you could use your phone in your car (legally) even though that too is now counted as illegal in South Australia, requiring your car to be equipped with a completely separate hands free device. What completely bemuses me, and this is where we get to this post actually meaning something, is why people feel the need to use their “speaker phone” in public places? Why would I or anyone else within a hundred feet feel the need to hear both ends of your conversation let alone just your side?!! If you absolutely *have* to take the call turn off the speaker you f@#king moron!

I might add that this isn’t limited to public transport by any means, lately I’ve seen it around every shady corner I turn. It makes no sense, these people hold the phone less than two inches from their mouths to ensure the person on the other end hears them properly so why not exert yourself that little extra and put the bloody thing next to your ear and save the world from your rather boring life. (OK, so that’s harsh, but someone has to make a stand here!)

The only thing more dumb (although slightly less annoying to everyone around you) is seeing people with the older style handsfree kits (you know, the ones that use a cord to attach to your phone and have a microphone about 3/4 of the way up that then leads on to an earpiece) and they have their phone in one hand whilst the other one has the microphone portion of the cord held up to their mouths because the thing cost $5 out of a discount bin and has the listening reach of an 93 year old woman that was born deaf! Unplug the stupid handsfree kit and put the phone up to your head, you’re just as likely to get testicular cancer as you are brain! Grrr!!

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The iPhone shows no love for Apple’s Address Book… Why iPhone? Why?!

March 12th, 2008 by Raj

addressbook_nolove.jpg

We’re all fairly aware that Apple’s implementation of Bluetooth in the iPhone is retarded to say the least. At this point in time Apple has limited the iPhone to doing nothing more than pairing with a Bluetooth headset, and even then that seems to be difficult for some of your more “independent” accessory manufacturers. Features like file transfer, computer syncing or even talk-thru that you can find on any two-bit phone these days are AWOL and we’re all still waiting for a postcard!

You’ve got to ask yourself why Apple has limited the iPhone’s Bluetooth capabilities so much so lets pop the shoe on the proverbial “other foot” for a moment. The iPhone is designed on top of the iPod, yes we all thought we’d have the ability to sync those wirelessly by now too but it was never going to be over Bluetooth. Bluetooth’s transfer rate is so pathetic transferring 8GB of music & video would take you an entire weekend and that’s provided the connection actually stayed active. With that in mind you could still sync contacts & calenders via Bluetooth but if you’re plugging it in to do music why would you want to sync it a 2nd time for your contacts? Apple have done the right thing keeping everything in one place under iTunes even if it does put iSync out in the cold.

When it comes to file transfers, Apple doesn’t even let you browse an iPhone when it’s connected via a cable or on your wi-fi network (well, until you hack it yourself) so why would they want to give you access via Bluetooth? You could argue that’s fine, but what about iPhone to iPhone transfers? I can only put this one day to security, the last thing Apple want is some script kiddie writing a Bluetooth virus that renders every phone it connects to useless.

OK, Apple Fan-Boy hat off now. There is one Bluetooth connectivity area that I think Apple have really dropped the ball on when it comes to the iPhone. Do you remember way back when Address Book got all cuddly with your phone and iSync was running a high pulling and pushing your contacts to that brand new Sony Ericsson T610 you’d just bought? Well there was also the fantastic ability to pair the phone with your Mac and send text messages (SMS) to any of your contacts with a mobile phone number from your computer! Not to mention when you received a new SMS it would pop up on the screen and you’d could reply promptly without having to lift your hands from the keyboard. Where’s my SMS functionality Apple? You wrote Address Book, I’m pretty sure you made the iPhone and wrote OS X’s Bluetooth bits too but I can’t even pair the thing with my computer let alone send an SMS through it! Come on guys, someone’s dropped the ball big time here! My brand new US$399 iPhone has less integrated ability than my four year old Sony Ericsson.

Oh and P.S. Apple, the T610 it did MMS too!

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