Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thinking of becoming an escort...

An Escort Pilot that is.

For those that don't know, an escort pilot is someone who drives those cars with the flashing lights that follow / lead the trucks which take up all the road.

I see a number of these around and I'm looking to see if it's worth it to join them. It'd cost a few thousand in setup costs (there is a course to do [$800], modify the car [signs and lights - $1,000] add barwork to mount the signs and lights onto [$1,600] add a uhf cb radio [cheap at "just" $300]) and then there is no guarantee of work on the other side.

From what I've seen, most of the operators are independent business's who operate out of home. I have yet to find a central business that has several sub-contractor drivers working for them.

The other thing against me is that many of the loads seem to travel long distances out into the countryside. Which would mean overnight stays and eating crap at dodgy dive diners. I'm unsure if I should proceed or not. I have a HR drivers licencse, that was fun when I was driving trucks. But I like the reliability of full time work.

What I'm mostly full of with my current job is the long distance I have to drive to get to work (driving as a pilot would be different - running costs would be tax deductible) and dealing with the public. Except that driving as a pilot I'd still be dealing with the public but they'd have 1-ton steel missiles under them...

Decisions, decisions...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What the hell is wrong with Google

Well, looks like Google are finalizing their sell-out.

Oh wait, no - they were always in it for the money.

My complaint is that Google's search engine facility used to be pretty good for locating information. Let's say you wanted to buy something and wanted to read up some reviews on that product. You'd go to Google, type in the product name and "review" and you'd get a bunch of pages which people had review said product.

Today, it has become painfully obvious that this no longer works. I was trying to get some reviews on a UHF CB radio and all Google gave me was page after page of links to shopbot, getprice, myshopping and all these other crap "find the best price" sites. The worst thing? None of those damn sites actually had the product I was looking for! Just a page with "your search did not find any results - try these" and would then suggest a bunch of random stuff that had nothing to do with what I was looking for.

What. The. Hell?

Do these sites really think that if I come to their site looking for something and they don't have it, I'll say "well, I'm here - might as well buy something"? Or is the rest of the world finally retarded enough that this actually work for them?

Gah, why bother looking for intelligent life out there - there's none down here!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Year, New Lens

Picked up a 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM lens at the start of the year.

Haven't done much yet other than take a few test shots, but hopefully I'll get out there and be taking some shots in the next few days. And this year my goal is to be taking more photos of people. I already have plenty of photos of landscapes and the cats.

Also have another website to build, more details on that once it is nearer completion.

Last thing of note is that I'm more actively hunting for a job closer to home. I'm spending too much time and petrol on just getting to work, and work does not pay that much to begin with. So far, my plan to win millions in the lottery have not come to fruition. It may help if I actually bought tickets... I'll need to check and see if I have any rich elderly relatives in poor health....

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dead Tree books are dead

Well, I took the plunge and bought a Kobo Wireless.

And I am loving it so far!

It's quite a cute little device, smaller than I originally thought it was going to be. It refreshes the screen very quickly. If I hit "next page" before I finish reading the last line, I'll have time to finish reading the line before the screen goes black and the new text comes up around the same time that my eyes reach the top of the screen.

The e-ink screen is awesome, I'm loving the ability to read for hours on end without eye strain. I downloaded a few free ebooks a while back and tried reading them on my computer, but my eyes became sore and fatigued very quickly. I had to stop after about two hours. Using the internet, browsing and watching videos isn't as big a deal but reading large blocks of text for sustained periods of time is a real hassle.

There are a lot of cheap Chinese pretend readers floating around and I find it amusing that they advertise "yes, in colour - watch video and see photo" as a big selling point - which totally misses the point of an e-reader! TFT or LCD screens won't give you the "read for hours" ability that e-ink will.

Next on the list, get a case for it. The screen is (I assume) fragile and I want to protect it. It may have cost "only" $180, but it's still $180 I'd rather not lose due to something pressing against the screen...