Work 04 Apr 2011 03:49 pm

Taylor Guitars Road Show at Big Music Crows Nest (26 March 2011)

Flying Nerd site 23 Mar 2010 03:24 am

Some comments are broken

Told you I’d break something.

Comments are currently not showing up on the ‘pages’ listed to the right. When I can figure out how I made them work with the old theme, I’ll put them back…

Update: fixed!

Flying Nerd site 23 Mar 2010 02:08 am

Flying Nerd upgades

It’s been a while since I’ve been active here on Maybe that will change.

Certainly the look and feel of the site is changing. Please bear with me as I’m sure I’ll break things along the way.

Formula 1 29 Jul 2009 10:04 pm

BMW quits F1

BMW has announced that it will quit F1 at the end of this year.

Felipe Massa is injured and unlikely to be available to drive for Ferrari for some time.

Flying Nerd speculation: BMW-Sauber driver Robert Kubica will seek (and gain) release from his contract, and will drive for Ferrari for the next grand prix (and probably the rest of the year).

You read it here first!

Update (6 Aug 09): OK, so I was wrong, and Schumi is getting the gig… if he is fit! I still reckon it’s not impossible that we’ll see Kubica in the Ferrari in 2009.

Formula 1 13 Jul 2009 10:11 am

Webber wins German Grand Prix with dominant performance

He did it!

Mark Webber took his first F1 win at the Nurburgring circuit in Germany yesterday. Webber survived a dubious drive-through penalty to win the race in dominant fashion from team-mate Sebastien Vettel.

I’ve been following Mark’s progress since his days driving a Formula Ford car in Australia in the 1990s. It was obvious then that he is a prodigiously quick driver and that, with the right backing and circumstances, he could go far. Yesterday’s win was an exciting and delightful event for me.

Well done, Mark Webber. May this be the first of many wins.

Formula 1 12 Jul 2009 12:57 pm

Webber on pole – great chance to win German Grand Prix.

Mark Webber today enjoys probably his best chance (to date) to break his Grand Prix duck. He starts from pole position in the German Grand Prix.

In Mark’s favour are the following factors:

  1. he’s heavier than both the Brawn GP cars (they qualified second and third) — so he should be able to stay ahead through the pit stops (a lightly-fuelled car starting from pole can often be overtaken in the first round of pit stops when a more heavily-fuelled competitor stays out longer and runs faster at the end of the ‘stint’)
  2. the first KERS-equipped car is two rows behind (A KERS car can release stored energy at the start to achieve a quick getaway)
  3. if it’s raining heavily (possible) and the race starts behind the safety car, then Webber will have a huge visibility advantage, and following cars won’t be able to mount much of a challenge into the first corner
  4. Webber’s car is the same weight as team-mate Vettel’s — this should mean that the team will give Mark the most favourable timing for the first pit stop (assuming he’s leading at that stage).

At this point, I hark back to the encouraging words that Australia offered to Wayne Gardner as he approached the 500cc motorcycle world championship in 1987, and urge simply:

Win it, Mark.

Formula 1 03 Mar 2009 07:34 am

F1 in 2009 — this could be fun!

Sunday, 1 March, saw the first Formula 1 group test attended only by teams running full 2009-spec F1 cars. And the testing times were, well, interesting.

The 2009 Red Bull RB5, in the hands of Sebastien Vettel, ended the day 1.3 seconds clear of all pursuers. I can’t wait to see how Mark Webber fares in the car later in the week. It appears that designer Adrian Newey may have penned something very special for 2009 — it certainly looks the part, with very aggressive detailing around the nose and sidepods.

Roll on Melbourne…

Flying Nerd site 21 Oct 2008 06:23 am

16,819 SPAM comments caught by Akismet

This site uses the Akismet anti-SPAM plugin. To date, Akismet has caught (blocked) 16,819 SPAM comments. I think it’s flagged about ten comments incorrectly — a very low error rate. Just thought you’d like to know.

Humour 20 Oct 2008 09:22 am

A message from the Queen to people of the USA

This came across my desk today. It’s fun.

To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II:

In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up ‘revocation’ in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

Continue Reading »

Formula 1 20 Oct 2008 08:40 am

Team orders in F1

The FIA’s Formula 1 Sporting Regulations state (at Article 39.1):

39.1 Team orders which interfere with a race result are prohibited.

In the post-race press conference following yesterday’s Chinese Grand Prix, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, being quizzed as to whether he had followed ‘team orders’ and allowed Felipe Massa to overtake him towards the end of the race, said:

I mean we know what we want as a team and that’s what we did it.


Like I said, I know what the team expects and I know what we want which are results. It is racing and I have nothing to lose or win in a way. I am driving for the team, so it is a normal situation.


I know what the team expects from me and I’m happy to try to achieve the maximum points for the team, what we need.


Now, I don’t have a problem with what Ferrari did yesterday — they clearly optimised their chance of taking the Driver’s World Championship at the last race of the year, in Brazil. But, it seems to me that what they did was against the regulations. Should Ferrari be punished? Is the FIA turning a blind eye to Ferrari once again?

Formula 1 19 Oct 2008 09:58 am

F1 engine and transmission supply for 2010

Would you like to manufacture and supply engines and transmissions to all the F1 teams for the period from 2010 to 2012? If so, you can download the FIA’s request for tender here.

This is a fascinating concept — and one that the F1 manufacturers and teams have not even agreed to support. The idea appears to be to find a way to massively reduce the cost of participating in Formula 1, and thus to ensure the viability of the championship.

Just don’t think that building F1 engines will make you famous. The conditions of the RFT document include the following:

The selected tenderer will not be granted any rights to associate its name with the Championship and may not refer to its right to supply in any advertising, publicity, marketing materials or other commercial communications.

F1 fans will find the document interesting, even if they don’t have space in the shed to actually make the engines!

Formula 1 13 Oct 2008 07:55 am

FIA stewards penalise Bourdais at Japanese Grand Prix — but why?

The FIA continues to take advantage of every opportunity to damage its credibility, with yesterday’s post-race penalty applied to Sebastien Bourdais being just the latest example.

Bourdais was racing strongly and had just left the pits (after his second stop) when Felipe Massa ranged alongside him. TV coverage appeared to show Bourdais holding his ‘inside’ line for the first corner, while Massa appeared to simply ‘turn in’ on him. When I saw that the incident was under investigation, I expected the outcome to indicate either (i) that Massa had been in the wrong, or that (ii) it was a ‘racing incident’. I never believed that Bourdais’ actions would be questioned (or penalised)!

Bourdais is equally confused by the incident, stating: “For me it’s very clear. Yes, I exit the pits, yes I’m supposed to be careful and I was. I stayed inside and I didn’t push him out, I didn’t overshoot the corner. I did everything I could not to run into him and he just squeezed and turned and behaved like I didn’t exist, like I wasn’t there. What am I supposed to do? I’ve been in this position many, many times and I never had any incidents. It’s just a little bit of respect, you give each other room and then everything goes right, but if you don’t for sure it’s going to be an incident.”

The nett result of the penalty: Bourdais drops from sixth to tenth (not material in terms of the World Championship), and Massa moves from eighth to seventh (scoring an extra World Championship point). This seems like a very strange outcome to me.

Formula 1 09 Oct 2008 07:54 am

Overtaking in F1

For many years, it has been difficult for Formula 1 cars to overtake each other.

Here‘s a fascinating article that explains why, and also provides information about plans to remedy the situation for 2009. Very worthwhile reading for F1 fans.

Miscellaneous 09 Oct 2008 07:33 am

Toll collectors strike on Sydney Harbour Bridge

This morning, toll collectors on the SHB will strike for an hour in protest at State Government proposals to make all toll collection on the bridge ‘cashless’ (using electronic tags).

I can understand that toll collectors are fearful for their future employment — after all, if no cash tools are to be collected, there would seem to be little need for toll collectors. But won’t this sort of action simply hasten the end? I guess the toll collectors don’t have much leverage left!

Curmudgeonliness &Humour 02 Oct 2008 01:14 pm

NSW Health advice on how to deal with hot days

The following advice about what to do on a hot day, provided by NSW Health, appeared on the Sydney Morning Herald web site today:

“Our tips are that you need to drink more fluids, particularly water.

“Staying indoors in an air-conditioned place is a good idea, having cool showers if needed, wearing lightweight clothing.”

I wish I’d thought of that!

Formula 1 29 Sep 2008 02:48 pm

FIA, conspiracy theories and Ferrari

I’m not normally one to subscribe to conspiracy theories — but I’ll admit that I find it hard to believe that the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) is NOT waging war on the McLaren F1 team (and, at the same time, favouring Ferrari).

In last night’s Singapore Grand Prix, Felipe Massa received a ‘drive through’ penalty for ‘unsafe release’. That is, the stewards of the meeting judged that when Massa was released from his pit after refuelling, that release was unsafe because it was into the path of another car (in this case, Adrian Sutil’s Force India).

At the recent European GP in Valencia, Massa was released from his pit under similar circumstances. Many thought that a drive through penalty would follow — but it didn’t. (The team was subsequently fined for the unsafe release.)

So, why fine Ferrari in Valencia but impose a drive through penalty for substantially the same offence in Singapore? Could the fact that Massa was leading the European Grand Prix (he went on to win it) have had some influence? Last night, Massa drove away from his pit bay with the fuel hose still attached. He lost a lot of time waiting at the pit exit for his team to arrive and detach the hose. By the time he ‘got away’, he was running last — and the drive through penalty he suffered had no material impact. Was this FIA window-dressing? Was the penalty imposed this time (when it would make no difference to Massa’s chances in the race) to dispel the view that Ferrari is ‘favoured’ by the FIA?

As I said, it’s a conspiracy theory…

Music &Nerd stuff (technology) 14 Aug 2008 09:46 am

Portable music player — avoiding an iPod?

My trusty old Rio Karma is nearing the end of its useful life, so I’m starting to think about an upgrade.

The ‘easy’ solution would be simply to buy an iPod. Since I’m looking for something with more than 20GB of solid state (not hard drive) storage, the ‘best fit’ iPod for me would seem to be a 32GB iPod Touch. And it’s a lovely looking piece of kit — but really expensive ($A629). And then there are my pet iPod peeves:

  • limited audio format support (I’d like my device to be able to play a format that offers higher quality than MP3 at a given bit rate — maybe AAC fits the bill, but I’m not yet convinced)
  • iTunes and all the associated DRM issues (I don’t buy compressed music — everything in my existing player is ripped from CDs that I own (no copies), so I don’t need access to an online store with wide range of downloadable music).

So… I’m contemplating staying outside the iPod ecosystem. I’m seriously considering the Creative Zen 32GB player, which can be had for $A319.

If you have thoughts or experiences, let me know.

Formula 1 09 Jun 2008 09:49 am

Congratulations Robert Kubica!

At the end of an incident-charged Canadian Grand Prix, Robert Kubica has emerged with his maiden win, the maiden win for BMW-Sauber and, backed up by team-mate Nick Heidfeld, the team’s first one-two finish. This is a stunning achievement.

Some will say that the team benefited from the misfortunes of others (principally Hamilton (McLaren) who crashed into the rear of Raikkonen (Ferrari) at the first round of pit stops). But such charges are rarely fair on those who rise to the top. An old motor racing adage comes to mind:

“To finish first, first you must finish.”

Kubica’s win comes exactly one year after his very close shave in last year’s race:

Curmudgeonliness &Movies 17 Apr 2008 09:04 pm

Honesty in communications? I don’t think so.

For some time, we’ve subscribed to the BigPond Movies DVD service. $9.95 per month for up to four DVDs sent by post, with up to two DVDs ‘with you’ at any one time. Because we’ve been subscribers for more than a year, we’re no longer under a contract. Good deal, good value. Been very happy.

Yesterday, we received an email from BigPond Movies saying:

Dear BigPond® Movies Member,
We’ve recently updated our subscription plans to make them easier to use and understand.
The major changes we’ve made are:

  • A simplified set of 4 plans that’s based on the number of DVDs you prefer to receive each month.
  • Extra DVDs per month if you elect to become a 12-month contract customer.
  • Great value if you want more DVDs per month than your current plan allows.
  • I don’t find this to be very honest. It says that they’ve upgraded the plans so that they’ll be easier to use and understand. But the plan structures are EXACTLY the same – only the numbers have changed. So they are NOT simpler to use or understand — just more expensive.

    That is, to get the same number of DVDs I used to have, I now have to pay $12.95 per month (up 30%), and if I want extra DVDs in any month, the price has risen from $2.50 to $3.00 (up 20%). And to get this much, I have to lock into a contract for twelve months. If I want to stay as a month by month customer, I pay MORE and get LESS (only three DVDs per month).

    You tell me: have they really done this to make the plans ‘easier to use and understand’?

    Miscellaneous &Nerd stuff (technology) &Technology (general) 26 Feb 2008 08:12 pm

    Danish wind-powered generator self destructs

    Apparently this happened when this brakes on this “windmill” failed during strong winds. Quite amazing and frightening.

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