Sunday Jul 24, 2005

Photo post-processing

I've been working through the 1100+ photos and movie clips that we recorded while on our trip... and I've now got the publish-worthy collection down to a mere 880 pictures and 22 movie clips. After diligently working through them from Saturday (it's now really stupidly early on Tuesday) I've only got 90 to go. I've been using the java app called JAlbum to collate the piccies, and it's working really nicely. I should have them all done and pushed to the relevant sites by Wednesday and I'm really looking forward to that. One of the things I like about JAlbum is that I can create a web and local-harddisk version of my pictures just by clicking an option. I'm limited in webspace (should really look at a colo facility sometime and put my own box in), so I'm going to cut DVDs and CDs for the family so they can see the pics in their original resolution and the movie clips too. Well, sleepy time for me! gotta be on-deck in another 7 hours.... :|

Saturday Jun 04, 2005

Back at home and catching up with stuff

By the time we got home yesterday (Friday 3 June 2005, 16:00 Australia/NSW time, after touching down barely an hour beforehand), we had been awake for nearly 3 days straight. Still, we managed to stay awake until about 10pm which I think really helped us with the jetlag. Finally J has some idea of the totally bodgy state of mind that I get into any time I have to fly to the US! We have truly had the adventure of a lifetime. We saw so much art (paintings and sculptures etc), so many parts of cities we had only ever read about, and experienced so much that I'm just not going to bother trying to blog about it all. I am glad though that I didn't lug my laptop around Europe though. Not only would J have gotten annoyed at me, but it was excess weight that we didn't need. Mainly because I bought museum guidebooks along the way...... Anyway, 1100 photos, 6 quicktime movies and once more yay for Apple's iPod photo and the iPod photo connector. We had a blast on this trip. The only part I really didn't like was our night in Turin (Torino) so we could catch the Eurostar train to Paris early the next day. I'll mention the gory details later. So, a few little things to jot down: 1. 7508 emails in my Sun inbox (apart from the 1000 or so filtered already, yay imap). 2. I have a 20% assignment due on Monday afternoon at 5pm. :( 3. At 13:43 CET on Thursday we had been in the air from Vienna for about 2:43 and I saw another jumbo fly past us at what looked like a really dangerously close distance. 4. J's family in the UK were fantastic (again, more detail later). 5. I shouldn't pack so many clothes! 6. NAB had a "planned" system outage (not noted on their internet banking web page or their main page) closely followed by a 24hour total card-related outage due to their telco lines being down. All card authorisation requests were apparently rejected for a total of 36 hours. 7. Pay attention to the traffic lights in Firenze. It'll save your skin! 8. The Sistine Chapel is a true work of art. If it's the only thing you see in the Vatican Museum then you've gotten your money's worth. 9. Don't bother with vino della casa in Italy (or France or the UK), it's almost always really bad stuff. Stick to the bottled stuff. 10. I am so glad to be back home where I can cook vegies again. 11. Limoncino and Limoncello should be served icy cold and before the espresso. 12. Book ahead (weeks!) for the Uffizi Gallery. 13. The Rosetta Stone is not in the Louvre, but in the (free) British Museum. Seeing it on Wednesday made the entire UK part of our trip worth it. (I thought we'd missed out on it in Paris at the Louvre because the Egyptian wing was closed the day we went and I don't think I've ever been more happy to be wrong). 14. Stamps from the Vatican City post office are much bigger than you think, so it's almost better to write your postcard after you've stuck the stamps on it. Right. Now I have to get onto my assignment so it's a good thing I've been pondering it for the last two weeks via my subconscious. CiaoCiao from Sydney

Sunday May 15, 2005

The National Australia Bank has lost another customer

Ok, so if you read the previous post you'll know that right now J and I and in Italy (to be followed by France and the UK). We got a new visa card especially for the purpose of travelling, and I told the bank while applying for it that it was for, you guessed it, use overseas on a holiday. We thought we'd head off to the Pantheon tonight for dinner, and stopped on the way to get some cash from a bancomat only to be told that our card was invalid for overseas transactions. WTF?? Ok, tried another bancomat, different bank, same deal. Back to the YWCA where we're staying while in Roma, get the other NAB visa card and try it. No dice. By now I am furious. We have not had any contact from the bank advising us that they were going to put a lock on either card, or even to ask whether we knew that the cards were being used overseas. When I tried to call the support number I got the "Go away and call during bank business hours" message. Not what I expected from one of Australia's Big 4 banks. It is a good thing that we have other funds available to us (savings) otherwise J and I would be really, really up the creek. Ok, I know it is probably "just" their automatic fraud and theft prevention system kicking in (12 days too late if so!) but the bank does have my contact details, they could have attempted to contact me. They did not. What do I have to do? tell the bank our precise itinerary and expected daily spending amount? I don't think so! J's parents had recommended that we tell the NAB that we would be going overseas etc, and I did actually do that. I am still going to let the NAB know just how unhappy I am with their actions. With any luck I'll be able to get the cards unlocked with a phone call on Monday. I had been thinking about keeping the card after the holiday, but now there is no chance of that whatsoever. The NAB has lost me as a customer.
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I work at Oracle in the Solaris group. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, and neither Oracle nor any other party necessarily agrees with them.

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