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without analysis there's no reason to play.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Brand Spanking New Internet Banking Interface

Last night, the long-awaited materials from HSBC arrived. It was a good feeling to know that my new accounts have finally come 'online'.

This morning, I drove the HSBC Internet banking and the HSBC Stockbroking Interfaces for the first time. I'm impressed. It's fast. It's red. What more can one say?

I guess one of the niftier aspects of the HSBC Interfaces is that they are closely linked together. One of the navigation options in the Internet banking interface - 'Total Wealth' - takes you to a wealth summary page displaying the value of all cash accounts and shareholdings. This means that no more digging around for a calculator is required. Furthermore, from the Web banking interface, HSBCs stockbroking services are just a click away.

The stockbroking interface was equally impressive. It had all the features that I've come to expect, such as market depth, charting, announcements and dividend information. But aside from this, it came in a neat package, with lots of pretty red buttons. It's very slick.

Interestingly, I've already memorised the 10-digit Personal Banking Number which HSBC uses as a username, but only while I'm at a computer and on the numberic keypad. It feels like I remember the way my fingers move across the keys rather than the number itself. Well, it's not strictly true that I need to be at a computer to remember the number. If I move my fingers in the same way as I type while I try to remember away from keyboard, it's not a problem.

I guess this means I'm a touchy-feely kind of person; I rely considerably on my tactile senses. *rolls eyes*

Monday, January 24, 2005

Cardboard box Sumo

After a rousing game of squash, I witnessed a most peculiar event on the way home. Two kids, each no older than 10 years, were on the nature strip with huge cardboard boxes over their heads. The boxes covered their entire upper body and most of their legs. As I drove past, the two kids charged at each other with some force. The scene reminded me of both sumo wrestling, and the male mating contests of various species.

Only it was two tall cardboard boxes with little legs protuding, charging at each either full pelt. On impact, both the contestants bounced back a bit, then fell on their respective behinds. Trust me, it was great. Not only that, but it looked like a lot of fun.

If only I'd had two cardboard boxes and a willing accomplice a digital camera ...

Friday, January 21, 2005

Victorian Open Go Championship (and excitement over prospects of squash)

It's a little late now to register, but the Victorian Open Go Championship and Southern Cross Handicap Cup are taking place this weekend 22 Jan - 23 Jan. It's being held at the Victoria Bridge Centre, 131 Poath Road, Murrumbeena.

The timetable is as follows:

Saturday Jan 22nd
  • 0900-0930 Registration
  • 0930-1200 Round 1
  • 1200-1300 Lunch
  • 1300-1530 Round 2
  • 1530-1600 Break
  • 1600-1830 Round 3

Sunday Jan 23rd

  • 0930-1200 Round 4
  • 1200-1300 Lunch
  • 1300-1530 Round 5
  • 1530-1600 Break
  • 1600-1830 Round 6
  • 1845 Presentations & farewells

I wish I was back in Melbourne so that I could participate. There's a definite lack of Go activity in Darwin, that's for sure. I sure miss playing Go.

Squash sated my competitive urges for a while, but my squash buddy doesn't get back until sometime during the 23rd. Wait! That's this Sunday!

In the words of many an otaku o'er the ages:

waaii!

In the interests of not appearing like too much of a fanboy, I've limited the number of each of the vowels to a mere two. This limited repetition is not an indication of my lack of excitement, but merely a bit of consideration for my reader(s).

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Ping

How exactly does one go about pinging technorati using a blogger blog?

On blawging

I noticed this morning that quantum meruit has linked to me in his blog under the heading of other blawgs. Aside making me feel somewhat excited (Yay! My first link), it's gotten me thinking about what constitutes a blawg.

Now, blawg is a word created by combining the words blog and law. Intrinsically, it implies a law related blog. According to blawg.org:
Blawg, n, a weblog with emphasis on the law or legal related issues and concerns, often maintained by an individual who studies, practices or otherwise works in the legal field.

My blog meets the second part of the definition, since I study law at Monash. However, fulfillment of the first part of the definition is lacking. Although all the blogs that I've blogrolled I consider to be blawgs, this blog doesn't in fact have very many law related issues. Actually, I don't think it contains any law related issues - at the moment. So far my blogging has been about personal goings on and various considerably geeky websites that I've discovered while trawling the net. It's the engineer side of me showing through again.

*Cringes*

Personally, I find the definition of blawg given by blawg.org to be a little strict. Most of the blogs that I read, I consider to be blawgs. This is mainly because they are written by individuals who study or practice law. I find them interesting because they tell me a little about what it's like in the field of law. To use a Japanese word to describe it, it's like I've got many senpai looking out for me. It's comforting reading about the ideas and dreams of 'those that have come before'. That seems more blawgy to me than say a corporate law-blog.

Even though my postings are mainly about geeky things, such as GNU/Linux, truth be told, I do have an intense interest in law. It's just that I feel as though I know very little about the field, having studied just one so far in my academic history. This compares to my lifelong exposure to computers and maths. Don't get me wrong, I love studying law. It's just that at present, this blog is very firmly in the 'wannabe blawg' category.

Somewhat worrying is that at this moment, Wikipedia has no entry for the word blawg. Strangely enough, the blogger spellchecker doesn't have entries for blog, blawg, weblog or any conjugations of those words. Bizarre.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Hikarunix

Both wacky and wonderful. Aside from the terrible name, Hikarunix seems like an interesting idea.

From the website:
Welcome to Hikarunix, the only operating system dedicated to Go. This CD was designed especially for Go players of all levels. Whether you've been playing for decades or have never heard of the game until now, this CD is for you.

Hikarunix is a Linux LiveCD distro, based on DamnSmallLinux which in turn was created from the Knoppix distribution. Hikarunix comes in at 190MB, and fits on a miniCD. It contains:

  • GNU Go - GPL'd Go Engine
  • gGo - Go Client
  • CGoban - Java KGS Client
  • Jago - Another Java Client
  • Kombilo - Go database software
  • Uligo - Go problem driller
  • sgf2misc - Converts from sgf to other formats
  • sgfMerger - Merges multiple sgf files into one
  • sgfsummary - Creates a summary of results from a set of sgf files

It also comes with a fair bit of Go documentation to get people started. It seems like it would make a good learning/studying tool. Now if only it was called something different.

Well, it's been slashdotted, so it seems as though I'm the last to know. Anyway, get it here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Face of Sydney University

Apparently, the face of Sydney University looks like this. The face was created by photographer Mike Mike by compositing together the faces of 100 individuals from Sydney University. I like the way that the resulting face appears unusually attractive and yet the individuals from which the face was compiled are from normal, everyday Australians. For some reason, this gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. I can't put my finger on why though.

Monday, January 17, 2005

University timetabling

Allocate Plus, the Monash University online class allocation system opens for preference entry tomorrow. Well, to be more precise, it opens for most students tomorrow. Nursing students for clinical placement have had access since 12 Jan, and Art & Design students won't obtain access till 20 Jan. Nice to know what Monash thinks of arts students, eh?

Anyway, if I get into the specific tutorials and lectures I've got my eyes set on, I'll have an ideal timetable. Engineering classes from 2pm-5pm each day, and Law at 9am on Monday, Thursdays, and Fridays. It comes out to 20 hours a week. That's not as nice as the <15 hours a week that a lot of commerce and arts students get, but much better than the 39 hours a week I had last semester; much, much better. Not having class until 2pm on Thursday and Fridays will help a lot; There's potential for lots of sleeping-in time there. Also, having Law in the mornings will mean I'm fresh for my prefered course of study. Again, much better than last semester, where I had class starting at 6pm at night, and not finishing until 8pm. Bottom line? I'm just not a night person - mornings are when I'm best.

It's looking to be an excellent semester.

HSBC Ok

Right.

After firing off an email to the HSBC guy this morning, it seems that everything is fine. My referee was back at work, so I told the HSBC guy to contact him directly. This way, I didn't have to divulge any of my referee's confidential information. It all worked out well.

Friday, January 14, 2005

HSBC Stockbroking and Online Saver

Recently, I've made the decision to switch my banking across to HSBC. HSBC has a number of branches in Australia, a few of which are in Melbourne. Now from the brouchures and fliers they've got on their website, the HSBC Stockbroking/Online Saver combo seems just the thing I'm looking for. A good rate of interest on balances of over $2000 on the online saver bank account, and fairly competitive brokerage rates for their stockbroking services ($25 per trade under $10000). As a combo, they're hard to beat.

However, my being in Darwin over the summer does present some problems. One of the major ones is the requirement by HSBC to verify my identity. This requirement is generally fulfilled by a 100 point identification check at a HSBC Branch. There are no HSBC Branches in Darwin, meaning that HSBC requires me to fill in and send what they term a S21 form. I suppose, since all the forms were sent to me from their offices in Sydney after a web enquiry (essentially meaning that I could apply from anywhere in Australia) that this refers to S21 of a Federal act. I wouldn't mind knowing which one.

One of the more painful aspects of having to fill in the S21 form is to have a valid referee. Now referees come in a number of types, including bank employees having the power to open accounts, judges, ministers - basically no-one that I knew. I was saved by Justices of Peace being on the list. After a great deal of fiddling around, I contacted one of my Dad's friends who happens to be a JP and he help me fill in the required paperwork. I send it off, expecting no real problems, and eventually I get a phone call a few days after by a fellow at HSBC asking me to confirm my work number. Great suprise to me, since I didn't give them my work number - one of the consequences of being on vacation employment is that you don't have a work number long enough to remember it. I raised my eyebrows at him and grimaced a little, but I guess that doesn't come across during a phone call. He confirmed the rest of my details however, and hung up. He called minutes later explaining that in fact it was my referee's work number and home address that were to be confirmed - like I knew what those were.

It's been a bit of a PITA. This morning I sent off the work number and availibility details of my referee to HSBC via email. I purposely ommitted my referee's residential address, since he provided his PO Box details to HSBC with the obvious intention of allowing his residential address to be kept out of the affair. I gave HSBC assurances that the PO Box address was fine. I got an email back later this afternoon telling me that the address was required in order to confirm his status as my referee. This seems strange to me. Shouldn't the PO Box address be enough? I'd have thought that my referee was entitled to his privacy.

I'll talk to my referee about it on Sunday and see what he says.

Hello World

Well, everyone has to start somewhere, and I've decided to start with the completely overdone "Hello World" routine. I'm not terribly sure what this blog will be about at the moment, but expect ranting on the following:-
  • GNU/Linux
  • Go
  • Law Studies

And of course, miscellaneous ranting about every other facet of my mundane life.