Cheapest car parking for Sydney Airport?

4d0af4eb941c415ea8a20252767f1340-Car_park_-8Ever wondered whether there are cheaper carparks than the excruciatingly expensive ones at Sydney Airport? The answer is yes!

I just spent a day researching this and found all the carparks in the area — and which ones were cheapest for a 1 day, 2 day, 3 day (etc) stay right through to 15 days.

Check it out — (I’m posting it here for my own reference as much as anyone else…!)

Cheapest car parks around Sydney Airport


How to backup your iPhoto library to Dropbox – and resize images to save space


iphoto-library-finder-infoIf, like me, you took Steve Jobs at his word when he said iPhoto 6 onwards could support up to 250,000 images, and you’ve been piling them in ever since, you’ve probably got a very large iPhoto library.

Mine is currently sitting at 66,431 images and is 220GB on disk. It’s so big that it convinced me to part with $1800 (Australian) to get the 512GB SSD Apple is making an option with the latest MacBook Pros. Obviously, at that price, it’s a ludicrously overpriced option at $3.50/GB compared to smaller, cheaper SSDs, typically around $2.50/GB, or mechanical hard drives at about $0.14/GB, but I wanted to have a boot drive on which I could have my full iPhoto library so I could work with pictures much more quickly (and boy, does it make a big difference.)

However, one problem I’ve been seeking an answer to for years now is how to backup my photos off-site, in case a house fire takes out both my MacBook Pro and my Time Capsule backup. (Or, if my house was burgled and both the MacBook Pro and Time Capsule were stolen — which actually happened to a family member of mine.)

Simply dropping the iPhoto library into an online backup program like Carbonite or Mozy isn’t viable, because uploading 200GB of data takes so long that it basically never completes — or the backup system gets so far behind that you’d be losing a lot of new photos if your house burned down.

The ‘ideal’ solution I had in mind was to do Time Machine backups constantly to my Time Capsule, as well as a fallback backup of downscaled resolution photos to an online backup location. I like Dropbox (my referral link included in that link) because it works so quietly and reliably in the background, but you could use any online backup service. Although some people might say that backing up the full resolution photos is important to them, to me, the most important thing is making sure those frozen memories don’t get lost — and if I downscale them to fit within 1920x1920px, then I still have a high definition, albeit not camera-resolution, version of the photo.

I’ve now figured out how to do it! Full details after the jump.

Continue reading “How to backup your iPhoto library to Dropbox – and resize images to save space”

UNBELIEVABLE!! NAB’s systems down at critical moment AGAIN!

After my iPad-buying rant a few months ago when I’d travelled to the US to buy one of the first iPads for ACP, only to find NAB’s systems were all down and I therefore couldn’t pay for it, I was assured by NAB’s PRs that they would look into putting better processes in place to warn customers of scheduled outages.

Yet, here I am in the US again, trying to check in to a hotel and all my NAB cards are declining — even though I know there’s plenty of money in the accounts.

NAB’s internet banking presents this message, advising me to try using phone banking instead.


Which yields this recorded message. Sigh…!

It does appear that NAB is making an effort to let customers know of forthcoming scheduled maintenance on their systems. For example, the last message I got from them is below:


However, that message says nothing about scheduled maintenance on 11th/12th September.

My guess is that today’s six-hour long outage (their systems are back online now) was probably a system failure, and there was no-one rostered on to fix it overnight. The problem got fixed pretty much around Australian breakfast time, September 12th. It is really irritating, though, that the standard message that comes up in case of system failures specifically says “scheduled maintenance”. I would appreciate a bit of honesty here: either the system is down and they are fixing it urgently, or they are doing scheduled maintenance that they failed to tell me about, and left me in the lurch AGAIN.

Dual TomTom & iPhone charger – the options

TomToms are tricky little suckers to get third-party USB chargers for, because they use an unusually high amount of power. While most USB car chargers put out a maximum of 0.5A, TomToms need 1.2A – 2A depending on the model.

If you want to charge your iPhone and TomTom at once, the choices are slim; you can:

– buy one of these dual cigarette lighter adaptors from Dick Smith and plug in two chargers at once…


– install a car stereo that has an iPod cord and charge your iPhone off that, and use your cigarette lighter jack for the TomTom charger
– manually swap between the chargers…!

Now Scosche in the US has released a $US24.99 dual USB car charger with one port that puts out 2.1A and another port that puts out 1A. The former is perfect for TomTom and the latter for iPhones or most other USB devices.

Its marketing name is Scosche ReVIVE II, but confusingly there is another product called ReVIVE II that only puts out 2 x 1A — so you are better off searching for it using the product code Scosche USBC3.


Only trouble is that they’re currently out of stock on Scosche’s website. Scosche reckons they were in stock as recently as 10th August — so they must have sold out quickly. They are, however, in stock at, if you use a US buying agent such as

HOW TO: Fix Bluetooth A2DP audio quality on Mac OS X

If you’ve paired a Bluetooth audio device with your Mac, even if it supports A2DP, you might have noticed how awful and rough the sound quality is. I’ve always put this down to Bluetooth being a rubbish standard when it comes to sound, but I noticed how good a set of Motorokr Bluetooth headphones sounded when I connected them to my Blackberry tonight, even though they sound awful on the Mac.

Turns out that OS X uses a horribly low bit rate for Bluetooth audio by default — who knows why. Perhaps it’s to allow for maximum compatibility with all devices.

The easy way to fix it is to copy and paste this line into your terminal:

defaults write "Apple Bitpool Min (editable)" 40

The “40” is the quality — depending on your Bluetooth headset, you can adjust it up for higher quality, or down if you have connection problems. 40 worked for me with a Motorokr S9 headset.

The WORST argument in support of internet filtering

There are many arguments that Senator Conroy has pulled out in support of implementing nationwide internet censorship on every Australian’s internet connection — all of them bad. But the WORST, in my opinion, is that the previous government’s “NetAlert” program, which provided government-funded PC software which filtered a home internet connection, was an abject failure due to low take-up.

In the last week or so I’ve noticed active participation in online forums with clearly pro-Conroy comments (such as one from “BTDT“, who I assume works for DBCDE in some capacity, but doesn’t declare it.) He makes the argument above.

The thing is, NetAlert was only an abject failure if your measure of success is widespread implementation of filtering onto people’s internet connections.

Why assume this is what the public wants? The NetAlert program was extensively marketed at a cost of millions of dollars to the government, with mailouts to every household in Australia, and so on. The fact that takeup was low doesn’t mean the program was a failure — it simply indicates that only a very tiny minority of people want their home internet connections filtered. Which is still the case now, given opposition to the government’s planned mandatory internet filter by literally everyone except christian lobby groups. I’m yet to hear from anyone who’s not affiliated with a christian lobby group who is in favour of the plan.

Self service dog wash in inner west Sydney!

machineI can’t believe this isn’t mentioned on the internet -anywhere- that I can find. (Edit: the owner of the dog wash has got in touch and let me know about his new website – We discovered it just by driving past – a self service dog wash for $10 per dog (which buys 10 minutes’ usage). It works much like the self-service car washes, with the dial that lets you flip from shampoo, to rinse, to conditioner, to flea wash, to hairdryer. According to the sign it was a “K9000” dog wash.

laundromutt017It’s at Zoom Carwash at 289 Liverpool Road in Strathfield (which in itself seems absolutely impossible to find in Google by searching on its name — the owners of this particular carwash do not seem to have discovered the internet for marketing). The dog wash is on the right hand side of the yard — where the red circle on this Google Streeview picture is (evidently it’s a recent addition because it wasn’t there when the Street View car went past.) It’s coin operated (also takes $5 or $10 notes).

I’m really happy about this, because our dogs hate the cold water from the garden hose (they let out a sort of blood-curdling howl when we try to wash them with it) and washing them with buckets of warm water carried from the kitchen means we wash them less often than we’d like to, because it’s a bit of a hassle.