Monthly Archives: December 2009

29th Birthday

It is that time of the year again, I’m now officially 29 years of age!

I woke up this morning slightly bleary eyed to Claire and Hugo wishing me a happy birthday which is fantastic. Being some what of a present fanatic, Claire thought I should open a present immediately and I obliged and received the following completely kick arse gifts:

  • A medium sized box of Ferrero Rocher. After the walloping I took over Christmas with great food and fantastic sweet treats, I couldn’t have possibly managed a massive box again like last year.
  • Two recent framed photos of Hugo to put on my desk at work, which I love dearly – he is a handsome little man.
  • A Nintendo Wii with the Wii Sports game and a second Wii Remote. This was a joint venture between Claire’s family and it was completely unexpected – I would have been more than happy with the first two presents.

We set about our morning routine with Hugo and we had pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast. Once that was done, I had to open the Nintendo Wii box, to make sure everything was in order of course. I was impressed with the neat boxing of the components and now easy it was to setup. More importantly, it worked but that took a couple of hours to verify!

As is the tradition, we went to Hogs Breath for lunch which is located on the Gold Coast spit beside Marina Mirage. When I booked, the lady at Hogs Breath mentioned that there was a lot of traffic around today – fantastic to know. I flicked off an SMS to everyone and we were soon on our way. To our surprise, as soon as we got to the M1 overpass at Upper Coomera we could see that all south bound lanes on the M1 were nose to tail and moving very slowly. We later heard on the radio that a car had burst into flames on the motorway and emergency services were on the scene – sure fire way to stop a major arterial if there ever was one.

To get around the huge backlog of traffic, we slipped along the service road and onto Hope Island Road. Fortunately the road was clear but a much slower driving speed as it isn’t a highway. After suffering through a moderate amount of heavy traffic coming through Southport, we managed to make it to Hogs Breath about 20 minutes late.

Andrew and Belinda travelled from Ipswich for lunch, braving the horrific traffic which was great and as a present said they’d help pay for a replacement graphics card since mine finally broke recently. Brendan rode in on his new Kawasaki Ninja, he of course didn’t have to suffer the traffic but he did play on my love of coffee and gave me a couple bags of chocolate coated coffee beans! Kylie, Brett, Hollie, Blake and Summer also joined me for lunch, Blake napped most of the time but Summer was full of beans – she is gorgeous.

Arriving home, Lucy was here waiting for us – which was a little senendipitous as we hadn’t arranged it at all but she arrived only minutes before we got home. Following on from the Nintendo Wii theme, Lucy and Michael gave me WWE Smackdown Vs Raw – which is an American wrestling game for those who don’t follow it. I had a quick game of it but got completely hammered, wasn’t as easy to pick up as tennis or boxing!

I’ve had a great 29th birthday and I’d just like to thank everyone who travelled to the Gold Coast, phoned, SMS’d, instant messaged, emailed and offered well wishes for my birthday. I can say that I have been absolutely spoiled rotten – thank you to everyone for the great presents.

Next year I’ll be knocking on the door of the big three zero!

Best ADSL Broadband Plan

I have been using ADSL for the better part of 10 years and in that time the meaning of best ADSL plan has changed quite a bit. Early on in the Australian ADSL landscape, best broadband often meant stable, reliable and not charging like a wounded bull. As more broadband ISP’s entered the market, best ADSL plans often meant biggest download quota, which subsequently became cheapest ADSL plans and these days the best broadband plans provide a mixture of competitive pricing, larger download limits, more flexible usage and even the option of bundling and VoIP services.

For the majority of my time using broadband ADSL, I have been using Internode. They have been providing, what I would consider, to be near faultless ADSL service over that time. They have a comprehensive network throughout Australia, which has proved itself to be very fast, low latency and tolerant to network outages. I’ve been so impressed with their service, I have lost count of how many people I would have referred to Internode and I stand by my recommendation as well – I have moved house four times in the last 5 years and each time I have chosen to reconnect my broadband with Internode at my new address.

While I use the internet heavily at work and at home, I no longer download a huge amount of data – so a lighter weight plan has suited me for at least the last five years. However since Hugo arrived in September 2008, the monthly usage has steadily been creeping up and in the last six months, our monthly usage has skyrocketed. The sharp increase of late, I’m quite sure is directly related to an increase in rich content such as songs and videos that Hugo likes to watch and my increasing use of YouTube. That increase had finally resulted in hitting our monthly 10Gb data limit and subsequently the shaping of our 1500kbit ADSL connection back to about 64kbit.

Like anyone that uses the internet regularly on a broadband internet connection, using a slow internet connection is frustrating and nearly intolerable unless you really need something. To make sure that doesn’t happen again next month, I went to the Internode web site and started reviewing their plans. My current plan, which has been grandfathered is $49.95/month and provides 10Gb of data. If I could avoid it, I didn’t want to spend more than that – it feels like a sweet spot for pricing in my opinion.

Internode had a newer version of my current plan, which was $49.95/month and provided 20Gb of data but I hadn’t bothered to upgrade to it because I had no need. I was about to upgrade to that plan, when I noticed a new plan called Easy Broadband. The basic concept behind Easy Broadband is that there is just one plan option, no more confusing choices and having to guess how much data you’ll need per month and worrying about topping it up if you run out. It comes in fast or faster configurations – which equates to at least 1500kbit and if ADSL2+ is available – you’ll get that automatically as well. It costs $49.95/month and provides a whopping 50Gb of data to use anytime of the day – not a peak/off-peak plan like a lot of ISPs provide. The only real difference between it and the other ADSL plans I’ve been using is Easy Broadband counts uploads and downloads, my existing plans only counted downloads.

When you couple the price point, a very respectible 50Gb of data per month with Internode’s impressive quota free unmetered content – the Easy Broadband plan seemed like a perfect fit. After using less than 10Gb per month for a number of years, we’ve now increased that to 50Gb – or in actual download terms probably about 45Gb since it counts up and downloaded data. I think it has to be one of the best ADSL broadband plans available in the market place at the moment and when it is backed by Internode, you can be nearly guaranteed that you’re broadband ADSL will just work.

Hugo & The Vanishing Late Night Bottle

Hugo Lattimore at 10 months of age playing on fortAt the start of July, I mentioned that we were going to begin adjusting Hugo’s feeding schedule to remove the 11:00PM late night bottle. Our first attempt/test at dropping the late night bottle wasn’t completely successful. Hugo slept through 11:00PM when I’d normally wake him up for his evening bottle, however at approximately 1AM he woke up again.

After reconsidering the situation, we thought we might need to transition into no late night bottle, instead of going cold turkey. As such, every few days we’d reduce the evening bottle down by about 50ml from 250ml until we got to 100ml.

That resulted in Hugo not needing to be awake for as long, which meant he’d go back to sleep even faster. The other benefit was that he was sleeping longer in the mornings as well, as a by product of not having a full bladder through the night which resulted in a wet nappy in the morning.

After going through the changes with Hugo from when he was a new born with multiple night feeds, then down to two and subsequently moving them around so they were more forgiving on Claire and I – we’re both really happy that we’re now past that part of the baby development stage.

With a bit of luck, he’ll continue to be a great little sleeper going forward as well – only time will tell.

Paper Towels Are Not Created Equally

Without giving it a whole lot of thought, you’d assume that paper towel is paper towel. They are made of a similar fibre, can be used a general purpose cloth, generally good for cleaning up a spill and so on.

Well they aren’t created equally at all, in fact not even close. Case in point, the difference between a good quality tissue for blowing your nose versus using a couple sheets of good quality toilet paper are worlds apart.

Toilet paper just isn’t designed to deal with the high velocity air coming out of your nose and it inevitably rips. Compare that against a legitimate tissue and it will stand up to that pretty much every time.

That got me thinking, what does a toilet paper do that a facial tissue can’t?

Clearing The Backlog

I’ve have a reasonable number of older posts, which are half written that I never got around to completing.

Instead of deleting them, I’m going to finish them off so they make sense and publish them.

I hope we can hit 88 miles per hour or it might get messy.