Archive for June, 2009

Squeaky Clean Mighty Mouse

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Like a fair few Mac users before me, I have had more than one or two issues with my Mighty Mouse.  I have tried the ‘clean the ball by rolling on a cloth upside down’ method on a number of occasions but the results never seem to last for long.  Sooner rather than later, I end up losing the ability to scroll up or down or both.

After swapping out my Mighty Mouse for an RS-inducing mini travel mouse yesterday and in the full certainty of voiding my warranty, this evening I got the tools out and dissected my mouse.  Following the advice and pictures on a number of websites, including, a post on theory.isthereason and another on shirster’s blog, I prodded, poked, levered and flexed my way into the mouse.  Once inside and having disconneted the ribbon cables, I disassembled the workings, cleaned the ball assembly and casing with isopropyl alcohol and then reversed my actions to rebuild my squeaky clean mouse.  After a quick check to ensure all was well and the ribbons were reseated properly, I reattached the outer ring with a few dabs of a weaker glue than Apple’s Chinese assembly folk use (my guess is that I’ll need to do this again) and taped it to set overnight.

There’s a few scratches on the case from slips of my craft knife and the warranty is toast but, given that I was looking at NZ$111 plus carriage to replace it, I’d say that I had nothing to lose and came away with a result.  So, if your Mighty Mouse isn’t working and you have more time than money, dig out your tools and dissect that mouse.

Swine flu over the cuckoo's nest

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Swine Flu I 5 Sign

Telecom New Zealand and Vodafone must be making an absolute fortune from all the teenage texting that must be going on right now.

Today, it transpired that 450 Westlake Girls High School students are to be in home isolation for the week after a ‘swine flu student had contact with almost 200‘. While we’re far from sure that she had direct contact with the lass concerned it would seem that, after spending part of the weekend at a birthday sleep-over, one of them could well be my daughter.

An interesting spin-off from this piece of news is that when I reported this tenuous connection to my employer (as required by our pandemic response plan), it was suggested that I work from home for a few days to see if I develop symptoms. This is ironic for several reasons. Firstly, I have only recently recovered from one bout of headcold/flu symptoms. Being paid to work from home whilst waiting to see if I succumb again would be much more enjoyable if I didn’t have a major project to deliver in the coming weeks. Secondly, as a trained incident manager working for a ‘lifeline’ utility company, I am one of those responsible for the aforementioned pandemic response plan (part of larger incident response and business continuity plans). This being the case, I find myself amusingly hoisted by my own pertard.

After checking the Ministry of Health’s website for Q&As on non-seasonal Influenza A (H1N1), I called Healthline to get advice and check if I can be tested to rule infection out. The comforting answer from the nice lady was that she had ‘no information on testing’ so, after updating my HR folks, I settled into a day of being politely hassled for board papers via email by my CEO’s executive assistant.

I’m off for a long lie down.

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Antonio Carluccio

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

© Antonio Carluccio

Just turned to the Food Channel on the TV and caught an episode of ‘Southern Italian Feast’ presented by my all-time favourite foodie Antonio Carluccio.   It’s hard to believe that I first watched this show on the BBC ten years ago back in England.

After picking up some marvelous ingredients in Palermo’s Vucceri Market, Carluccio cooks a simple Tonno al Forno con Salmoriglio (Baked Pasta with Herbs) which he served with Zucchini al Pomodoro e Basilico (Courgettes with Tomato and Basil).  While samoriglio (a mortar-and-pestled mxture of herbs, garlic and oil) is usually used to dress steamed or grilled fish, Carluccio dressed the tuna steaks before baking, adding a few pine nuts and breadcrumbs for added texture.

We have friends coming over at the weekend and, for once, I know exactly what I’m going to cook ahead of time!

Time Out Bookstore

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Time Out Bookstore in Auckland’s Mount Eden is everything you can ask for in a neighbourhood bookshop.  It is cosy, inviting, bursting with great books and staffed by lovely, engaging and knowledgeable folk who’ll happily offer an opinion on whatever you’re flicking through – or leave you to browse quietly.  They have fun author nights in the room upstairs and send out a really enticing snail mail newsletter periodically.

The Winter 2009 newsletter arrived today.  Glancing across the front page, I found a great typo and thought I would gently pull the leg of Wendy, Jane and the Time Out team.

For the Northern hemisphere folk scratching their heads, Normanby Road is a road with a few trendy eateries not far from the store and Normanby is a small township just north of Hawera.

World Environment Day

Friday, June 5th, 2009


World Environment Day – one of the most popular days on the United Nations calendar – is slowly coming to an end in New Zealand but is still to come for much of the world.  It is an opportunity to raise awareness and promote action on national environmental issues. This year’s theme for World Environment Day (WED) is Your Planet Needs You! Unite to Combat Climate Change. We can all do our part to protect the planet by using less and acting more. But too often we are presented with environmental problems without being given the tools to act. WED is about taking action to be a part of the solution. And the Daily Do Something Tips are a great start. Make your WED commitment today. But don’t stop at today and don’t stop here. Try to incorporate all of these into your life as a matter of routine. Get others to do so the same. And get involved!


  • It would seem to go without saying, but many of us forget that we can save water in simple ways like not letting the tap run while shaving, washing your face, or brushing your teeth.
  • Insulating your water heater will help save valuable energy, and you can go the extra mile by installing shower heads with a low flow in your bathrooms for bathing purposes to help save water. You can also put a timer on your heaters to save power.
  • Using an electric razor or hand razor with replaceable blades instead of disposable razors goes a long way to cutting back on waste. And plant a tree.
  • Use towels for drying your face and hands instead of tissues that are used and thrown away.
  • Juice or yoghurt lovers can do their bit by buying juice in concentrates and yoghurt in reusable containers instead of single serving packages.
  • Many of us like to leaf through the paper as we munch on breakfast, but consider reading the dailies in communal spaces like the office or online. However, if you prefer to have your own copy, make sure you recycle!
  • When packing your lunch, opt for reusable containers for food storage instead of wrapping the food with aluminium foil or plastic wrap.
  • As you leave the house, don’t forget to switch off all the lights and appliances at the wall and unplug chargers as they continue to consume even if they are not charging; saving energy helps reduce air pollution.


  • Don’t go anywhere without your cloth bag so you can just say no to plastic whenever you shop.
  • Radical as it may seem, in today’s “the easier the better” society, the easiest way to reduce your carbon footprint is by avoiding driving altogether. Power down and instead try biking, walking, carpooling, or public transport.
  • If you have no other choice than to drive to work, look for the most fuel- efficient car model for your next purchase and keep your tyres inflated to the correct pressure.
  • If you’re one of the lucky few blessed with clear stretches of road on your way to work, use cruise control, as it saves fuel and also helps you maintain a constant speed.
  • If you’re among the majority of drivers who spend their mornings stuck in traffic, consider turning your engine off if you will be idling for long periods of time. And plant a tree.
  • For those who suffer from road rage, remember that aggressive driving lowers your mileage, so if you want to save on fuel and save the planet while you’re at it, accelerate gradually – something to keep that in mind the next time that bad driver cuts you off! Just count to 10 and say the planet needs me!

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Reunited and it feels so good

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Some sixteen hours ago, in a fizzle of over-bright LEDs, my old wireless router and DSL modem died and our house was plunged back into the dark, unconnected days of the last century.  After struggling through an evening of ‘just’ TV movies, handheld games and books, I went out this morning and snagged a new modem/router combo from a very nice guy at Noel Leeming.  After a little tweaking of our new Linksys Cisco WAG160N and the requisite configuring of XP on the family PC, Xandros on the Asus eeepc, OS X 10.5 on the iMac and Settings on the Touch, we’re digitally reunited with the rest of the world again.

I’m not in the habit of name-checking stores but I am doing so here because I received great customer service and was offered a great price.  Even though a neighbouring branch of NZ’s leading electronics retailer had the same unit in stock at $50 less, I will no longer use that particular branch of the chain following a really nasty customer service experience during a visit some months back.  When I saw the unit was $50 more in Noel Leeming, I asked the guy serving me whether they could match the price of the other store as I preferred to give him my business.  Without hesitation, he agreed and the sale was made.

While I’m aware that price-matching is common practice and stores monitor each other’s price points, it was nice that they accepted my word on the price elsewhere and matched it without hesitation to seal the deal. However, it is a little depressing that I should feel this is an exception worthy of mention and that good customer service is not so common these days.