The Expanse (or “How Youtube Actually Worked For Me!” :) )

So, I was watching a video on You Tube when its “Suggested Next Videos” list included one called “Greatest space battle of all time!”

Intrigued, I checked it out and was hooked. It had suspense, believable zero-gee physics and some great combat. Did I mention I was hooked?

Checking the detail text I found that it was a scene from The Expanse, a SyFy series that was just wrapping up Season 2.

Based on the series of novels of the same name, this show takes the best of Babylon 5, Firefly and the reboot of Battlestar Galactica then merges it all into a fantastic show with political intrigue, mystery, space, believable physics, character development and combat (oh yeah, plus a few naughty bits here and there :) ).

It’s set about 200 years in the future when mankind has colonised the solar system, with three major political alliances being Earth, Mars and “The Belters” (the people living on asteroids). It’s a gritty and very believable scenario that’s well portrayed and draws you into the stories of the various characters, all of which wind up intertwining as the series progresses.

Kitt and I are loving the show and are very happy to hear that it’s been approved for Season 3. Shame we have to wait until 2018 to watch it though.

If you’ve not seen it yet, get out there and watch it. Find it online, borrow it off a friend, even watch it if it shows up on TV somewhere (it’s that good! :) ).

Public Transport in Melbourne makes me love my car!

While public transport has its place in a modern city, it seems that unless you live & work extremely close to train stations on the same line, in many cases it’s far better to take a car.

Our car is currently off the road so we’ve been relying on public transport here in Melbourne and it’s a bloody pain in the neck! We live in McKinnon which is in the sorta-inner south east not too far from Moorabbin Airport so we’re not way out in the boonies but were also not in the inner-city as we once were.

So, here’s a list of issues so far:

  1. From the front door of my house to the front door of my office in West Richmond, it’s faster for me to drive than take public transport, even if I use the bus from home to the railways station instead of walking. At 7:30am I drive to the office by 8am and that’s even after dropping Kitt at Richmond station to get into the CBD. Via Public Transport it’s a bus (or walk) to the station, then a train to Richmond & walk up to West Richmond or a train to the city & then another to West Richmond. Not all trains that go through West Richmond stop there and buses at home are infrequent enough to make walking almost but not quite more effective.
  2. Now that holidays are over, the trains are starting to fill up, occasionally being standing-room only even from McKinnon around 7:50-8am (especially if they’ve cancelled a prior service or it’s running late). Certainly the roads are getting more crowded but I’m still faster in the car.
  3. On weekends when we go shopping, the bus service through Carnegie and/or to Chadstone drops to one per hour from about 3 or 4pm onwards – bad luck if you just miss one!
  4. Later in the evening or on a Sunday, frequency drops right off and you’re screwed if you want to stop off for a late dinner on the way home from watching a movie in the city.
  5. Carrying anything more than a couple of bags of shopping per person becomes a joke! If you’re lucky there’s space but you’re still hauling them all with you instead of chucking them in the back of the car.
  6. Even if I’m in slow moving traffic, I have heating/cooling, my music and space. Woe unto the commuters packed into a bus/tram/train with crappy temperature controls, packed up against others who usually hate moving into the middle of the carriage.
  7. Lets not even talk about going from down here up to Kew or Greensborough where you need to go into the city then back out again on not-so-frequent services (if you’re doing it on a weekend/evening/holiday) and walk a few kilometres if your friends aren’t living near a service.

Yes, public transport is an essential item but we really need to improve the offerings here in Melbourne if more people are to start using it. How about more frequency on routes & not dropping down to “non-existant” on Saturday arvos, Sunday’s or Public Holidays? Just that would help immensely let alone putting in some more routes for those of us not conveniently near a train station or tram stop.

The Line Up

100_1466.jpg Thanks to starting the new project at work, I now have another laptop to use. The photo here shows my desk at home where 4 computers manage to squeeze in. From left we have Nykolai’s laptop (with an external 19″ LCD screen), then my EDS laptop, then the laptop supplied by the client and, finally, my personal laptop.

Fortunately I don’t have to lug around both EDS & client laptops when I go to the office, although if I do need to, I have just the Crumpler bag for it. I still have one of their “Crisp Suit” items which I’ve used before to lug two laptops around. For most days I use one of their “Dreadful Embarassment” bags which is good for one laptop and other briefcase type stuff :)