Friday, January 25, 2008

Wow, last post was 24th November?

It seems I've been slacker/busier (take your pick) than I thought. That's 2 months since my last post and I didn't think time flew!


So, what's happened since then? An election, a holiday,the christmas/new year break, a new year, work, life. Hhmmm, so, to recap...

I managed to fly out of Sydney on November 24th, 2007 to an unprepared Auckland International Airport in New Zealand. When I arrived, I had a nice chap ask me if I'd mind placing my carry-on luggage (a Lowepro CompuTrekker AW) on the ground for his Beagle to sniff. No probs... Then he asked me if I had any fruit in there and I told him I didn't, all the while being more interested in collecting my remaining luggage. Then he asked again, because the dog was rather interested in my bag. Then I remembered that when I'd gotten back home from my trip to NSW for a school reunion, I had a pair of bananas in the front pouch that I'd left in there for a couple of days before removing (and turning into banana bread).

Oops. :)

So I explained this to him, told him that he was more than welcome to open the bag, look, smell, feel - whatever he wanted. He did, and was suitably satisfied. He signed my Customs Declaration and I was on my way through to the Customs counter where they then asked me 20 questions about why I was carrying fruit (I'm not) and why I didn't declare it (because I wasn't carrying any) and what else I might be carrying (nothing - are you deaf or stupid) and that not declaring things was a crime (yeah, I'm not dumb, but you're slow to comprehend, mate). Finally they scanned my kit, realised that I was telling the truth (without the aid of an internal body cavity search) and let me go.

So, I picked up the hire car, proceeded to drive 4455 km around the North Island (in 11 days) and boarded the retuen flight home on December 5th, 2007. Customs in Australia seem not to own dogs, nor any will to even ask stupid questions - cayying anything? No. OK, off you go. :)

I got back to one "normal" work day and then a 7AM - 11:30pm day - something I'm more used to - I finished the day off at QPAC working for ABC TV on the "Spirit of Christmas" recording that was aired on christmas night. Tamsyn Carroll (gorgeous) and Jonathon Welch (see his amazing work with the Choir of Hard Knocks) were the stars of the show this year, with Tamsyn back for her second invite.

Then work. Like normal, daily, work work.

Then we had a holiday break. Kind of. This consisted of rebuilding our main server hosting our SBS 2003 R2 virtualized environment and the host it lives on. We looked more closely at MS CRM 4.0 as that is what we'll be making a move to in 2008 so that we can better manage the growth and various projects in our business. I also upgraded the phone system (currently running Asterisk) twice. It is now significantly more stable than it was when running on a Trixbox 2.2.3-1 base with all of the FreePBX and yum updates.

And now it is Australia Day eve - with a few servers and half dozen of so workstation builds almost completely behind us, along with a number of decent automation projects, this has been a good start to the year. It doesn't look like it is going to get any quieter, either, with what we're seeing coming up - and that's a good thing!

We're also currently rebuilding the Real Productions network including a new Studio PC. The old one I built about 4 years ago is still going strong - a Celeron 1.7, 512 MB RAM, PATA HDDs and it handles 40+ tracks plus effects in Cubase SX 2 like a hot knife through butter. It helps when you know how to trim the fat off XP Pro and make it into a lean, mean DAW machine. (Oh, that was appalling!) The Office PC is an old Pentium-II 233 with 384MB and 2 * <4 GB HDDs in it - and this is getting a little too long in the tooth to be usable, which is what's kicked off the rebuild.

The new Studio PC is a Core 2 Quad with 4 GB RAM, supplied with Windows Vista Ultimate x64 OEM and immediately upgraded to Windows XP Pro to make it useful. Running a DAW on Vista is like trying to get to the moon in a canoe with a teaspoon for a propellor. The old Studio PC will be stripped, re-cased and put into the Office. We're also upgrading the ADSL connection and installing an IP PBX (currently running Asterisk) and some IP phones in the studio and office - this will help offset the upgrade cost by reducing the phone bill significantly. All up, it won't be a "cheap" upgrade, but it will most definitely be a significant and cost effective one!

That's enough crapping on for now. More to follow


The Outspoken Wookie

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