Film and photos of the Great Ocean Road

Megan and I spent yesterday sightseeing along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. Our stops included Torquay, Bells Beach, Apollo Bay, and the Port Campbell National Park.

I had my camera on hand throughout the day and came away with great footage and stills.

Watch the High Definition (HD) edition of the film on YouTube.

Below are photos from the day.

Melbourne in the early morning
Melbourne in the early morning
Beach, Great Ocean Road
Beach, Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean Road
Apostles, Great Ocean Road
Apostles, Great Ocean Road
London Bridge, Great Ocean Road
London Bridge, Great Ocean Road

Celebratory muffins for AppleScript

Last week, DssW launched a new preview of Power Manager 4. This preview introduced AppleScript support. To celebrate we made chocolate and walnut muffins.

Homemade chocolate muffins
Homemade chocolate muffins

AppleScript is never easy to implement. I have been planning our AppleScript implementation for more than a year. That planning paid off and the work involved was pleasantly stress free. As ever, a few esoteric aspects of AppleScript’s requirements caused moments of wonder but nothing requiring a change of course.

The muffins were a delicious well-deserved treat.

MobileMe's Backup software is limited to 60 backups!?

A disappointing error from Apple’s Backup software this evening:

…will no longer back up files to your iDisk because it has more than 60 backups. Create a new plan or convert to a scheduled plan.

I am using Mac OS X 10.6.3, aka Snow Leopard, with Backup v3.2 (v417).

Apple's Backup limited to 60 manual back ups
Apple's Backup limited to 60 manual back ups

Why is Backup’s manual task limited to 60 back ups? I have plenty of iDisk space; gigabytes of unused space in Apple’s data centres, just waiting for my files to be backed up to.

Melbourne's Festival Season Begins

Melbourne’s city festival season has begun. This weekend saw the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival overlap with the Thai Culture Festival. Next weekend the Greek Festival begins, the Formula 1 crowds descend on the city, and the Jazz Festival coming soon. With all these events going on, it is difficult to resist a walk around the city centre with camera in hand.

Monk reflected in Federation Square's BMW Centre building
Monk reflected in Federation Square's BMW Centre building

The Thai Culture Festival drew in the crowds today. The weather was ideal for investigating all that was on offer.

Thai Kick Boxing at Federation Square
Thai Kick Boxing at Federation Square
Crowds, Thai Culture Festival
Crowds, Thai Culture Festival

On Melbourne’s Southbank were the slightly calmer and less trafficked Melbourne Food and Wine stalls.

Wine stalls, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
Wine stalls, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

Waterskiing on the Yarra River

This afternoon Megan and I visited Melbourne’s annual Moomba Festival. Yesterday’s storm made the Yarra river’s banks muddy and slippery, but did not appear to reduce the crowds.

Carnival ride, Moomba Festival, Melbourne
Carnival ride, Moomba Festival, Melbourne
Carnival ride, Moomba Festival, Melbourne
Carnival ride, Moomba Festival, Melbourne

I put together a short film of the waterskiing on the Yarra River. This is my first film experimenting with Garage Band. The result is not what would I like but I learnt a lot.

Watch the High Definition (HD) edition of the film on YouTube.

Photos from the day after Melbourne's hail storm

Twenty-four hours after the hail storm, Melbourne appears mostly unaffected by yesterday’s spectacular weather. The signs of yesterday’s flash flooding in the city centre are minimal.

Flood damage in a Melbourne shop.
Flood damage in a Melbourne shop.

Walking through the central business district this afternoon, I noticed the stairs near Elizabeth Street/Bourke Street still sheltered hail storm ice hidden from the sun.

Leaves caught in railings.
Leaves caught in railings.
Stairs leading down below yesterdays flooded street.
Stairs leading down below yesterdays flooded street.
Ice remains protected from the sun a day later.
Ice remains protected from the sun a day later.
Ice remains protected from the sun a day later.
Ice remains protected from the sun a day later.

Hail storm in Melbourne caught on film

This afternoon an unexpected hail storm hit Melbourne. Megan and I were lucky enough to be inside at the time. I grabbed the camera and we joined others in the building’s lobby to watch the storm build.

Watch the High Definition (HD) edition of the film on YouTube.

The thunder storm that followed lasted for most of the afternoon.

Hail storm, Melbourne, Australia
Hail storm, Melbourne, Australia
Chunk of ice from the hail storm
Chunk of ice from the hail storm
Hail storm, Melbourne, Australia
Hail storm, Melbourne, Australia

Update

The day after I ventured out into the city and took photos showing the remaining piles of hail ice.

This short film has appeared in the Slovakian Pluska.sk, the Australian Herald Sun web sites, and has accumulated a handful of YouTube honours:

  • #25 – Most Discussed (This Week)) – Travel & Events – Australia
  • #84 – Most Discussed (This Month)) – Travel & Events – Australia
  • #11 – Most Viewed (This Week)) – Travel & Events – Australia
  • #37 – Most Viewed (This Week)) – Travel & Events – New Zealand
  • #69 – Most Viewed (This Week)) – Travel & Events
  • #68 – Most Viewed (This Week)) – Travel & Events – Mexico
  • #84 – Most Viewed (This Week)) – Travel & Events – Hong Kong
  • #10 – Most Viewed (This Month)) – Travel & Events – Australia
  • #19 – Top Favorited (This Week)) – Travel & Events – Australia
  • #52 – Top Favorited (This Month)) – Travel & Events – Australia
  • #31 – Top Rated (This Month)) – Travel & Events – Australia

Property hunting in Lyon, Web::Scraper, and tbody tags

During the last few weekends, I have needed to brush up on my web site parsing skills. The tools available have moved on nicely since my last dip into this topic.

I am currently keeping an eye on properties in Lyon, France. The process has been tedious and called out for some automation. Megan and I plan to return to France in the future and this little project should ease the burden of finding an apartment or house.

Croix-Paquet, Lyon
Croix-Paquet, Lyon

This morning I discovered the perl module Web::Scraper. It is a port of a Ruby based tool called scrAPI. The approach taken avoids regular expression matching and opts for XPath and DOM tree selector matching; both more resilient methods of addressing specific sections of a web page.

Apartments, Lyon
Apartments, Lyon

I found one stumbling block that took a while to overcome. After a little trial and error, I discovered the FireFox browser returned misleading XPaths for objects embedded in tables.

The XPaths provided by FireBug and XPather, included browser-inserted tbody tags. These tags did not appear in my source web pages. Thus the browser’s XPath did not match the structure used by Web::Scraper, and caused Web::Scraper to miss the desired content.

The solution was easy; strip out the tbody tags and Web::Scraper returns to working as advertised.

With this problem overcome, the project is already looking helpful.

Japanese Summer Dance (Bon Odori)

This afternoon we visited Melbourne’s Docklands to see the Japanese Summer Festival 2010 (メルボルン夏祭り2010開催). I had fun capturing and editing together some of the summer dance performance.

Watch the High Definition (HD) edition on YouTube.

Once again this short film was taken on a Canon SX200IS and edited with iMovie on Mac OS X. I continue to be impressed with the quality of the footage from a point-and-shoot Canon. iMovie’s stabilisation feature has been great for making more of my shaky footage useful.

iMovie on Mac OS X
iMovie on Mac OS X

A better source of SSL certificates

I am no fan of Certificate Authorities (CA) but they seem necessary to work with in order to offer secure services. Certificate Authorities are the organisations that deal with certificates needed for Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connections – the connections in your browser that show a padlock.

Early morning view from Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
Early morning view from Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne

Thus, I was delighted to find StartSSL‘s offerings. The prices are good and the service has been great.

I had trouble getting the sign up process working with Safari 4 on Mac OS X, and needed help to rectify the resulting problems. Within an hour or two all was put right and DssW’s Reseller site now has a new SSL certificate.

I experienced problems when setting up the site’s authentication certificate and keys. Keychain appeared to get confused at some stage and I was left locked out of my original account.

If you decide to try StartSSL from Mac OS X, I recommend using FireFox. I found Safari’s tight integration with Keychain to be counter productive. FireFox avoided Keychain’s problems and gave me control over where the keys and certificates ended up.

Ultimately, I want DssW’s keys and certificates stored in separate keychains or files, and not lumped into my personal login keychain.

Try following Glenn Fleishman’s article “How to obtain and install an SSL/TLS certificate, for free” from ars technica for the smoothest experience.