Commuting by bike vs. public transport

tl;dr – I swapped the train with a bike for my daily commute in Sydney. My health is improving and am (about to start) saving money.

To jump to the data, click here.


June 2016: I’m a fat guy with very high cholesterol. I need to try to be more active, or I’ll be young(ish) dead dad. Both my wife and a good mate (who’s into cycling) start encouraging me to jump on the bike and start riding for part of my commute…


Saved by LPs

I only seriously re-embarked on collecting records the recent five or so years. I was buying albums I really loved on wax back in the 90s, and I’ve always bought Pearl Jam records (which I’m now extremely grateful for given the prices a lot of them are fetching these days). But the real journey is only recent.


UIViewController containment

Today at WWDC I took a bunch of code to one of the Cocoa Touch frameworks labs to have one of the engineers look over a framework we’ve been produced which involves a massive amount of UIViewControllers.

Suffering from a healthy case of Imposter Syndrome, I was expecting a good smack with the wooden paddle, and a few minutes in time-out. Instead, everything looked AOK. However, he did pick up on one thing – I should’ve been using view controller containment.


One way, automated iPhoto library sync

Update: whilst photo sharing between family members still sucks, iCloud Photo Library solves most of these issues. 

As per a previous post Multiple iTunes library on one Mac, I feel that Apple still neeeds to do a lot to address multiple Macs all sharing wanting access to the same library of media. Managing multiple libraries/systems sucks. I’ve tried manually managed folder structues, then using tools such as Google Picasa, but it’s just too much work.

So in our household, the master iPhoto library is on my MacBook, and it syncs in one direction to my wife’s Mac. She can’t add/edit/remove photos, but she gets access to them all, which is all she needs.

Here’s the AppleScript that i’m using to do it:


Multiple iTunes libraries on one Mac

Update: I now use Plex, so this is no longer necessary. 

All of our family’s media (TV shows / movies) are stored in an iTunes library on a headless Mac mini. We use an Apple TV to watch the media in our lounge room. I love the simplicity of the interface, and not having to jailbreak / set up Plex etc.

Encoding / remuxing ATV compatible files, and adding metadata is pretty damn fast these days… and after tha, it’s super easy to use (especially for the kids). I don’t have to worry about anything breaking (I had a Windows Media Server connected to the TV for years and maintenance drove me & my wife mad).


Grateful for my babysitter

I’ve been reminiscing a lot about discovering Pearl Jam lately. I posted this on my Facebook group Pearl Jammers, and thought I’d chuck it here too.

Back in 1993 (when I was 12), my babysitter, Peter, gave me a tape of Guns N’ Roses – Use Your Illusion II. He warned me to never let my parents hear it cause they’d take it off me. It was like nothing I’d heard before. I loved it, it moved me like nothing had before. Those guitar licks. Those solos. That snake-like screech.


Meeting Eddie Vedder

This is a self indulgent post, and is predominantly here for my memory.

A little background for those that don’t know: during the Pearl Jam show at Sydney Football Stadium in 2009, Ed Vedder dedicated the song Light Years to our son Sebastian who we lost before he was born (huge thanks go to MR for making this happen).

View on YouTube

Anyway, on Friday night, 25th of March 2011 in Adelaide, I met Eddie Vedder. I bumbled on like an idiot, but it man it was an incredible experience. Meeting my musical idol, someone who i’ve imitated and drawn inspiration from for 20 years… who’s lyrics have gotten me through both the happiest and the most painful times in my life.


Pearl Jam Austin City Limits Blu-ray

I’ve been getting frustrated lately by the lack of Pearl Jam bootleg material in High Def. There’s been a fair bit of stuff aired (and captured) in HD, but the only stuff that’s been torrented has been converted to DVD. So i figured i should do something about it.

So, here is the very simple menu i’ve come up with for my first Pearl Jam Blu-ray. It’s for the HD broadcast of ACL that was on back on the 3rd of Oct. The full Blu-ray image is available in the various places that things are available.

My Apple Wishlist

Update: LOL

I’ve been running a Windows Vista Media Center system for several years now. And it does a pretty good job. All of my DVDs, HD DVDs and Blu-rays are available with a click (thanks to Handbrake). A dual HDTV tuner card captures all our free to air shows to watch when we’re ready. The system supports full HD with 5.1 AC3 & DTS, from a large range of codecs (including MKV with subtitles). It works pretty darn well.

Most of the time. 

The problem with using a PC is that it’s never perfect. And it doesn’t just keep running with out some maintenance. You get weird crashing. It has issues with some flavours of h264. Being a full ATX PC with a ton of drives, it uses a lot of juice and it’s noisy. You get tearing due to refresh rate issues. That among quite a lot of other things.

I’m close to making the jump to ATV. But i have quite a few things holding me back. Full HD. DVR & program guide. And while i’m complaining: I want to use iPhoto. But i can’t. I have several systems. It’s really difficult to sync the libraries completely. This crap drives me crazy!

Anyway, i know this is an indulgent post, but this is what i’d like – more-so for my own record.

Apple Media Central

AMC would be a media server application which should run on either Mac or PC, just as iTunes does. This is the central location for master iTunes & iPhoto libraries. Multiple libraries could be hosted simultaneously.

Client iPhoto, iTunes and ATV systems can either subscribe to, or synchronize with, one or more of these libraries. When a user makes changes to a synchronized library, these changes are replicated on the AMC and the on other clients. Clients can specify if this sync happens over either LAN and/or WAN.

AMC should also feature DVR extensibility. It should feature DVB/ATSC tuner support, and ability to stream/schedule recordings from ATV & iTunes clients. I’m sure a framework could be provided to allow third parties (ie Elegato) to build products to suit – which eases Apples task.

This functionality could/should also be embedded into the ATV. Whether the DVR functionality is within the AMC or the ATV, the program guide and recordings should be synchronized to all locations automatically.

The ability for iTunes to rip DVD’s and Blu-ray would be amazing, though i can still get by with doing this with Handbrake. Even better would be the ability to rip multiple movies & menus in one file, to allow full DVD / BD rips. Kind of like what was brought in with the .divx menu format. But good. I don’t like that i’ve moved away from all that bonus material, just because it’s a pain to organize on HDD.

Support for DTS in m4v files. My ears need to continue to sizzle.


Obviously would love MKV support but this will never happen. However DTS passthrough is important. To me.

It needs A DVB/ATSC tuner, either embedded, as an add on, or accessed remotely from AMC. Recordings can be synced back to iTunes / or AMC. In my opinion the ATV has such potential to be nearly as popular as the iPhone is now, however to be accepted by the mainstream it needs to allow people to still consume their free-to-air media (at least here in AU). My wife and my kids have their children’s programing, reality, cooking TV etc. I can get this stuff from online, but it’s not instant and it takes a bit of manual effort. I’m not so worried about cable/paid content. If you’re gonna pay for stuff, just get it from iTunes. Otherwise, buy it elsewhere, and import it yourself.

And i’ll mention the 1080p and app support, but that’s just obvious.