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Friday, 14 March 2014

back to basics

I'm currently developing an app to act as a front end to an SQLserver database. Swing+JFX - man is it tricky to tie the threads together. I want my db data to load asynchronously and display in the jfx chart when its loaded. But I can't seem to access the jfx thread from within another thread (ie a swing worker thread). So I just have yo wait until the worker is finished, and then execute the jfx scene update.
Its working, but it sure does feel like a dirty hack....

Friday, 24 January 2014

Tun Bitter. WOW Branded Beer.

Tun bitter from wow brands on paper seems like a dream come true. An american made bitter lager where it works out to around a dollar a beer. However, after tasting tun you will know why. It is the wateriest, off fruit tasting, worse than bad homebrew kind of beer you can buy. You are better off letting an old pumpkin brew in the sun and drinking the effluent. Bottom line Tun Bitter is a tun o shit. 0.5/10. Do not waste your cash and instead go for the ostensibly cheap oetinger if you are pressed, or if you can shell out a few more bucks go for Carlton's mid strength. Its not fantastic, but it doesn't taste like brewed possum Weiner's, either.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

World of Pies. Pirate Pies.

CJs BAKERY at morayfield is just another sample of the ridiculous markup on pies. When did it become the norm to charge around five bucks for what is essentially a microwaved pie from the supermarket? There is only one logical conclusion, collusion by the members of the secretive pie makers guild. ITS not well known that the ancient order of pie makers actually formed in 1099 a.d., as a group of crooked chefs for the second crusade. It has been rumoured for centuries that one member of the guild actually found the grail, and hid it in a holy pie, never to be eaten. This pie would be hidden in plain sight, and the insurance of non mastercation through exceedingly increasing sale price of said pie to the point of where people won't pay for it. This of course has lead to many pie makers having pie envy for the sacred pie and its ever increasing apparent value. In honor of this, many pie makers are charging up to 700% markup on actual costs, in order to prove the wholesomeness of their own blend of pie.  There was a splinter group that broke away from the PMG in the early 18th century, under the heavy influence of the illuminati, the group rode away to a free country and started jesting on the holy pie. The Brumby's eventually incorporated to a legitimate business, but their sole is still essentially deeply intertwined with the holy pie and the pastry of destiny.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Dogfooding at Shields St

THE DAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS EVE, I ordered from one of our new little local fish&chips/burger shops/cafe (Shields Street Cafe)  2 works burgers, $5 worth of chips (with chicken salt, of course) and a couple of hot dogs for the kids. I ordered these in store, and waited. I received my order approximately 25 minutes later.

As per usual when I eat at a cafe or something, I will try to engage the chefs in conversation about their food in order to judge their commitment to their food (step 1 in quality assurance, in my book. If there is no love for the food that you are making, then there will be little quality, almost guaranteed. This is also known around the software world as eating your own dogfood or dogfooding). 

When I was ordering the burgers, I hadn't expected a large array of sauces to be available, as usually with these kinds of places its just BBQ chilli or tomato. However, when I asked about the sauce the shop attendant gave me a long list, amongst which one was periperi. 

SEEN AS HOW there are different styles of periperi, some much hotter and some much blander then others, I politely asked if the periperi used was strong or weak, to my surprise, the attendant had to ask the chef/cook, at which point they both said that they had never tasted periperi. Not just the periperi they were using but periperi sauce in general. To offer a condiment to someone that you yourself have never tasted seemed a bit odd to me eg "Here's some battery acid, I've never tried it, but I've heard its pretty hot and you will probably die". I know that's a bit of an overstatement on my part, however, to me this shows a clear lack of commitment to the quality of food (I'll get to the actual experienced quality of food a little later).

So I thought YOLO. give me lots of this periperi sauce that you have never tasted. And have obviously never assessed risk for (ie allergies, storage and use by etc- the fact that these guys knew nothing about it gives me a hint that either their hazard assessments are severely flawed, or they (just like so many other smalltime operations) don't actually know anything about HACCP, but I digress...)

THE ACTUAL QUALITY WAS AVERAGE. I got the food home and opened the packaging. $5 worth of chips has bought maybe 5 chips? Never mind, they do that everywhere these days. (Value fail, that is). The burgers are quite large and reasonable for their price, and in fact on par with other burgers from the region, but perhaps a little more economical rolling in at $8 each whereas similar shops place them at around $10 or $12. So I did it, I took a bite and there was nothing. No heat or anything. This periperi sauce may have well as been mayonase. Maybe it was mayonayse, since they'd never tried it before, maybe they just got it confused. I was lucky, we didn't get sick from off sauce poisening  or something (yeah, I've been on the sauce....drumroll...)

The hot dogs, which were not cheap, were not good either. But hotdogs never are, unless I make them of course. The rolls were all squished and the sausage looked like it was just microwaved. Obviously no systems going on here.

My advice to them? ISO22000 is your friend. Buy it, read it, learn it, apply it. Get audited, fail, fix it, reapply and get certified! Your quality will increase dramatically, and in the famous words of Walter White, "A better (product) means customers pay more. A higher (quality) means a greater yield. That's ..  million(s) of (dollars) of profit that isn't being pissed away by some sub-standard cook." 

Shields St Cafe on Urbanspoon
Tell me, what are your food horror stories, and how did you deal with it?

Friday, 27 December 2013

Holiday Money: Planning not to fail.

Ever wanted to know what the balance of your account will be in the future? I know usually at times like this, most people do not want to think about the state of their financial affairs, as usually we have gone over our budget or over committed to something and there's usually relatives to be fed and watered.. (in my case, usually with one of the merry drinks like brandy eggnog or spiced rum). However, wouldnt it be good to know just how far out of whack you've gotten over the crazy period? Stop worrying about stuff and start planning. Fail to plan? Plan to fail. I've put together a little spreadsheet to assist you in successfully planning your way out of the mess. 

You can easily see which expenses are eating up your income with the Expenses Chart.

Setting up the home page.

In three easy steps, Airgead takes the headaches away for you.
One - Get Airgead, it costs less than a cup of cheap coffee.
Two - Enter your budget (including due dates and expected frequencies)
Three - Review the forecast. If your not happy with what you see, try adjusting the less necessary expenses (i.e. entertainment, etc), until the forecast is where you want it to be. Airgead will ensure, if you stick to what you plan, that the balance will be very close to the forecast estimates.
Reviewing the Airgead chart, you are able to predict the daily balance of you're account 30, 60, 90, 120, and even up to 365 days in advance, giving you plenty of time to plan your scheduled expenses appropriately. 

Airgead Premium also features a fully functional ledger, in which you can enter transactions that are not scheduled nor planned, and they will then be added into your Airgead forecasts.

With Airgead Premium, you can fine tune the prediction, by making adjustments to the number of times an expense occurs, entering once off expenses in the ledger, and analysing the annualized sum of your expenses versus your income, and see not only if you will be overdrawn, but if you are gaining or losing wealth over time, without even looking at the Airgead chart. All sheets and code are unlocked,  and you are free to modify the tool in the full glory of Excel! - See more at: http://www.excelville.com/file/281/Airgead+Premium#sthash.4YhQWSkH.dpuf

Fraser Island

Fraser Island is a heritage-listed island located along the southern coast of Queensland,Australia, approximately 200 kilometres (120 mi) north of Brisbane. Its length is about 120 kilometres (75 mi) and its width is approximately 24 kilometres (15 mi).[1] It was inscribed as a World Heritage site in 1992.[2] The island is considered to be the largest sand island in the world at 1840 km².[3] It is also Queensland's largest island, Australia's sixth largest island and the largest island on the East Coast of Australia.


The island has rainforests, eucalyptus woodland, mangrove forests, wallum and peat swamps, sand dunes and coastal heaths. It is made up of sand that has been accumulating for approximately 750,000 years on volcanic bedrock that provides a natural catchment for the sediment which is carried on a strong offshore current northwards along the coast. Unlike on many sand dunes, plant life is abundant due to the naturally occurringmycorrhizal fungi present in the sand, which release nutrients in a form that can be absorbed by the plants.[4] Fraser Island is home to a small number of mammal species,[5]as well as a diverse range of birds, reptiles and amphibians, including the occasional saltwater crocodile. The island is part of the Fraser Coast Region and protected in theGreat Sandy National Park.
Fraser Island has been inhabited by humans for as much as 5,000 years.[4] Explorer James Cook sailed by the island in May 1770. Matthew Flinders landed near the most northern point of the island in 1802. For a short period the island was known as Great Sandy Island. The island became known as Fraser due to the stories of a shipwreck survivor named Eliza Fraser. Today the island is a popular tourism destination. Its resident human population was 194 at the 2011 Australian Census.


This cheeky bugger was just staring at us as we drove past on 75 mile beach near the shipwreck.
Getting to Fraser from the mainland involves hopping onto a barge with your four wheel drive. The voyage takes approximately half an hour from river heads on the coast of Harvey bay to woongoolba creek on the west coast of the island.


The view from the top of the cliffs over the champaign pools. Its a rough drive over Indian bypass, but its worth it.


From there its a pretty rough (but easy) drive across the main track of the island to the east side, where the beautiful 75 mile beach is accessible and becomes essentially the highway of the island. 
Eli Creek is an endless source of fun, just lay back and let the flow drift you down stream amongst the fish and eels


Along the way, you are able to visit the spectacular lakes in the heart of the island, such as the famous lake McKenzie and the littler know lake birrabeen, which is almost a carbon copy of McKenzie, just with less German tourists. 
Moon point on the western side is so calm you can actually see the sting rays in the water from up on the dunes. The sand is boggy as to drive on however.

Actually that is one thing I noticed on our trip there, on a few days of the week, Wednesday through Friday, essentially, the island was overrun by drunk foreign nationals that were on tour buses. We only came across one Frenchie trying his own at four wheel driving it across the island, and he got bogged on the main track. It took me and a bunch of schoolies (who had decided to go to freaser island instead of Surfers Paradise - wish I'd thought of that!) to push this guy out of the bog he'd gotten into. He had too much weight in the vehicle and his tyre pressure wasn't lowered. However once we got him out of the soft stuff we didn't see him again. He actually left his girlfriend with the schoolies, so I don't know if they ended up having a "good time" on Fraser.B-) 


The desert that leads to lake wabby. This is a long walk from the beach, but boy is the view from the top of the blowout worth it. Then when you get to lake wabby there is nothing better than a dunk with the eel tailed catfish that inhabit it.

We noticed that surprisingly not a lot of good merch could be bought from the shop at eurong, and the shop at kingfisher was well overpriced for my taste. So my wife has thrown together a zazzle store using the photos she took on our trip. Enjoy!

Business Planner

As a little over the holidays kind of project, aside from planning parties and building a chicken coop, I'm going to build a little business planning wizard kind of thingy. It will take the form I think of a spreadsheet with the ability to do forecasts and generate reports etc.. I'll keep you posted.