Gran Turismo 4


Originally uploaded by amanzi.

I was lucky enough to get Gran Turismo 4 for my birthday too. It has a cool feature where you can take photos of your cars and then save the images onto a USB flash drive. Here is a taste of what the photos can do – there’s some more at my Flickr account.

Commenting now open…

Now that this site is getting a bit more traffic, I’ve decided to experiment by opening up the commenting system. At the moment, registration isn’t necessary but if I start get spammed or flamed then I will force registration before posting.

Be nice…

New gadget – Leatherman Charge Ti

Now this is cool….

For my birthday I was bought a new Leatherman to replace the one I lost last year. The Leatherman Charge Ti is one of the new top of the line multi-tools, this from the Leatherman website:

It’s time to expect more from a multi-tool, and the Charge Ti gives it to you. With a superior design and top-end materials nobody else offers, the Leatherman Charge is made for those who insist on carrying the best. Stronger, more useful, more versatile ? Charge takes your adventure to the next level.

Leatherman Charge Ti


I’ve added a new link for the Wikipedia in the sidebar. From the Wikipedia site:

Wikipedia is a free-content encyclopedia written collaboratively by people from all around the world. The site is a wiki, which means that anyone can edit articles, simply by clicking on the edit this page link. It runs on MediaWiki software.


Flickr account…

Thought I’d mention a website that I came across recently called Flickr. It’s photo sharing site and you can get an account for free which allows you to upload 10MB per month of photos. The cool thing is that it’s soooo easy to share your photos with a group of people and you can view slideshows of your photos too.

Although we still use the photo gallery on as our main gallery, I’ve set up an account for me at this address:

Here is another photo published from my flickr account…

Groom and Best Man outside Burnside Church

Originally uploaded by amanzi.

The London Crew

Group photos

Originally uploaded by amanzi.

A nice photo of the London Crew at our wedding. These are the people that we met during our years in London.

From left to right (standing): Andy, Shelley, Brad, Deb, Stuart, Mel, Matt, Mereama, Andy, Celine, Matt, Beula, Jo.
And left to right (front): Amon, Amber, Damian, Chris

New DVD writer (at last!)

I finally bought a DVD writer for home when my CDRW drive broke two days ago. I wanted to buy the best one I could get my hands on because they date so quickly.

I decided on the Sony DRU720A, a dual-layer, dual-format DVD/CD writer. It has the quickest write speeds available today plus it can also write to full 8.5GB dual layer disks, although at $12-$15 each, these are still too expensive for day-to-day use.
Sony DRU720A

So far it has worked beautifully! I’ve managed to archive 25GB 30GB 35GB of data from my overcrowded hard drive already with no coasters yet. The package also included a full version of Nero which is quite generous seeing that some manufacturers try to get away with bundling the crappiest software they can get their hands on.

Brother MFC410CN Printer/Scanner/Copier/Fax

Yesterday I took delivery of a new Brother MFC410CN for home. It’s a very nice, neat machine that can scan, fax, and copy without needing to be connected to a pc. It has a built-in fax modem, and can be connected to through USB or LAN. I created a reservation on my DHCP server to allocate it a specific IP address and connected to my network. After downloading the Windows 2003 drivers from Brother’s website I had it up and running in no time as a network printer.

The advanced functions became a bit more difficult as you need to load the entire suite of Brother software onto a pc so that you can get the network scanning and faxing working properly. Unfortunately there was no software for Windows 2003 available so I’m limited in scanning from my Windows XP box. Installing the software was not that easy either as it’s a long and complex procedure that the setup program has to run through to get all the components working. It doesn’t make it any easier that the pc is only a Celeron 466MHz with 256MB RAM.

The initial install came up with errors and after I rebooted was presented with a message saying that the scanning functions hadn’t been installed correctly and that I needed to run the repair wizard from the CD. I’m assuming that Brother have had problems with the software in the past which has prompted them to include the repair wizard, but good on them for doing so. Unfortunately during the repair wizard I received more errors and after a second reboot was told that the scanning was now working but the network printing and faxing wasn’t – a complete reversal from the last error.

I figured out though that I could still scan over the network by using the Windows XP tools instead of the Brother Control Centre, and as I wanted to test the scanning capabilities that evening I decided to leave the Brother software for the time being and reinstall it another night. My first scan was at 12oodpi and I created a 88MB bitmap file which I then transferred onto my laptop for editing. I didn’t adjust any of the colours as I wanted to see how it scanned and printed out of the box, so I just used Microsoft’s Picture Manager to crop, rotate and print in 10x15cm format.

I printed the photo (Deb and Jo during the wedding shoot) on some old Epson glossy photo paper that I had lying around – it’s probably about four years old so I’m sure some newer paper would yield even better results. Using the Brother’s print driver I selected the highest settings and about 10 minutes later the job had finished.

Print quality was really good, the only downfall being that the colours were slightly saturated. Normally I wouldn’t have minded so much, but it made the slate-blue dress that Jo was wearing look like a darker blue which is obviously a problem. I don’t think this was the printer itself, just that I hadn’t done any editing or advanced settings on either the scanner or the printer. Also, I’m sure I would get better results using PhotoShop rather than the free Picture Manager bundled with Office 2003.

I still haven’t tested the faxing capability as I need to get it set up properly with telephone cabling going to the phone socket. Now that we also have our answer phone at home – the Uniden 2355 – the combination of this and the fax machine will give us a pretty good home office setup