Culture Doctor Who Melbourne Toxic Custard newsletter

Geek central, Melbourne

They say geek is the cool, right?

Geek central in Melbourne must be the corner of Elizabeth and Little Collins Streets.

Why? Because within a few metres are no less than three pop culture shops:

Firstly, there’s the Doctor Who “popup” (eg temporary, until January) shop. Actually it has Sherlock merchandise too, which probably makes it more of a Steven Moffat shop.
Doctor Who Popup Shop, Melbourne, Summer 2014-15

Secondly, a little further up Little Collins Street is this shop, which as far as I can tell, has no actual name. At least, none prominently on display. (Professor Google says it’s called “Critical Hit“.)
Collins Gate pop culture shop

Thirdly, that old favourite, Minotaur. I used to shop there in the 80s when it was in Swanston Street. Then it moved to Bourke Street, and more recently(ish, well, probably 10+ years ago now) to Elizabeth Street — the former Melbourne Sports Depot, I think.

Also nearby:

EBGames in Swanston Street (also a former Melbourne Sports Depot?) has opened a geek section in their basement.

The ABC Shop has moved to Emporium.


The Java problem

I’d normally post something like this over on, but it’s worth mentioning here.

Java has suffered from a series of serious vulnerabilities, the most recent found just a couple of weeks ago.

This article makes a good case for removing it completely from your computer: Is Java the root of all evil and can you really live without it in the browser?

I need to verify I don’t need it for anything on my home PCs, so I decided I’d merely update it, to ensure it’s patched for this latest problem.

Should be no problem, right? If it doesn’t pop up by itself, go to Control Panel / Java / Update / Update Now. It asks for Admin access to update itself. Not as seamless as Chrome etc, but okay, let’s go with it.

Java update

An update — ready to install. Excellent. Click on through.

Java update

You’re kidding, aren’t you?

OK then. New plan. I’ll just remove it. I can always re-install it (looks like I’d have to anyway, to get the patch) when and if I need it.

To check if Java is installed on your computer and for your web browser, use the Java test page. If it’s installed but you don’t think you need it, consider removing it.

(Article link above via mgm.)


Stupid web site stuff they could fix easily

(This could have gone to Geek Rant, but it’s not overly technical…)

Some stupid web site stuff, that would be easy to fix/avoid, that bugs me:

When you click to watch an online video, and the player shows you the video advert, but then stops working when it comes to play the actual thing you wanted to watch. (The Age and Channel 7’s site seem to do this to me a lot of the time.)

When you click to zoom on a picture, and it pops up another copy of the picture that’s the same size (or even smaller).

When the site is all written in Flash or some other method that makes it look like crap or not appear at all on some devices such as mobiles, or non-Internet Explorer browsers (despite most other sites working fine) and also gives it non-standard navigation such as scroll bars, and causes it not to be indexed by search engines. (Example: Game Traders)

Articles on a site that have no URL of their own so you can’t share/tweet/cite them properly. (Example: the “Myki tips” article currently on the Myki web site)

404 pages that wipe out the URL you were trying to get to, so you can’t see what you got wrong. (There’s no reason for this. It’s perfectly possible to set up a web site with an informative 404 page that doesn’t remove the URL.)

Clicking on a link that goes to another page on the same site, and it opens in a new window… repeatedly, as you navigate around the one site.

Search field that wisely shows you what you searched for when you see the results, but then clears itself when you go click on it to change it slightly and search again. (Example: Lasoo)

A gallery of photos where it claims you’re on Picture 9 of 10, but (every time) the 10th/last page turns out to be an ad for something else. (Example: Any News Limited photo gallery)

What bugs you?


Server hiccup

If you can see this, then (hopefully) things are getting back to normal.

A server move was in the offing, but part of it happened sooner than I thought, effectively taking the site offline, and I didn’t have time earlier to fix it. Long story.

Please leave a comment if you see any more weirdness.

By the way, may I recommend FreeDNS if you need to temporarily point a domain to somewhere other than where your usual hosting ISP is pointing it.

Geek Working life

Daniel is happy

I’m in an astoundingly good mood today. My week started off really crappily. You know the saga… boring job doing literally nothing… contracted until 21/11… can’t escape early. But no matter, ‘cos I got the most brilliant news last night.

For the first time in the universe’s recorded history, somebody is going to pay me for something I’ve written! No, I don’t mean boring corporate computer programs, I mean a bunch of words arranged together in an apparently witty and amusing combination. Writing.

Yes, bits of mine have been published before… the uni newspaper Naked Wasp (with their shocking page layouts and refusal to have articles delivered electronically), the inaugural Monash Comedy Revue (with it’s terrible "rip the script to shreds, then perform it in such a way that it gets zero laughs" production), and even, would you believe, a needlecraft shop newsletter in Palmerston, NZ!

But for the first time I’m making actual dosh out of it (unless you count the amount of writing I’ve done sitting at work being paid to do nothing.)

It seems like they’ll be paying me a reasonable amount for 830 words. Heck, it only took a couple of hours! Those 830 words will appear in the January issue of a slightly nerdy rag called "Portable Computing Direct Shopper", or something like that. They found me via something I’d written on the Web site. And they want more!

So, while it’s not quite "give up my day job" time, today nothing can get me down. I’m happy, happy, happy.

PS. No you can’t read the article here yet. But look out for the magazine.