Category: Uncategorized

Kings of Kings

Finished the second book in the Warrior of Rome Series – Kings of Kings, so naturally what should I do after that? .. read the third!

For this type of novel with a lot of maps at the start, I would be constantly referring to them when I read place names in the story, but with e-books it is not that easy.

I noticed this edition underlines latin terms, so you can click on it, and then easily return to where you were reading. Its not a bad method, but it leaves a lot to be desired.

What is needed is something like Apple’s dictionary definitions that pop up above what you are reading. Better yet, the ability in a pop up to see the maps at the start.

From Amazon

AD256 – the spectre of treachery hangs ominously over the Roman world. The sparks of Christian fervour have spread through the empire like wildfire, and the imperium is alive with the machinations of dangerous and powerful men.

All the while, Sassanid forces press forward relentlessly along the eastern frontier. The battle-bloodied general Ballista returns to the imperial court from the fallen city of Arete – only to find that there are those who would rather see him dead than alive.

Ballista is soon caught in a sinister web of intrigue and religious fanaticism . . . his courage and loyalty will be put to the ultimate test in the service of Rome and the emperor.

Fire in the East

Just started reading fiction again. This time Hary Sidebottom’s Warror of Rome.  I am learning more then I need to know about Roman military siege tactics …. love it. Should have it finished tomorrow, then only four more to go.

From his website:

The Warrior of Rome novels are set during the great crisis of the Roman empire in the mid-Third Century AD. The first three – Fire in the East, King of Kings, and Lion of the Sun – focus on the eastern half of the empire and on the war-torn borders with the rising power of Sassanid Persia. In the second three – The Caspian Gates, The Wolves of the North, and The Amber Road – the action shifts to the north; to the Black Sea and the client kingdoms of the Caucasus mountains, the Crimea and the steppes, and the great rivers that could be followed north to the Baltic.

Yet another Mac bundle I forked out for

Got this for $13 … good deal, even if I only use one or two.

Name Your Own Price Bundle 2.0

  1. DiskTools Pro ($80): DiskTools Pro is a total system utility for the Mac, and the only one that allows you to schedule when to perform important tasks such as file defragmentation, backup and bad sector repair. With DiskTools Pro there is also no need to boot from a DVD, CD or separate volume in order to find and repair bad sectors, defragment files and perform many other tasks on the startup volume.
  2. CrossOver 12 ($60): Ever wished you could run your windows applications and PC games on your Mac? CrossOver has you covered and now you can easily install your windows software right onto your Mac without a Windows license, without rebooting, and without a virtual machine. Your Windows applications and games integrate seamlessly on your Mac OS X and run alongside your other Mac applications.
  3. Snapz Pro X ($69): Snapz Pro X allows you to effortlessly record anything on your screen, saving it as a QuickTime movie or screenshot that can be e-mailed, put up on the web, or passed around however you want.
  4. Paperless ($50): With Paperless you can simply scan your receipts, bills, statements, warranty cards, business cards – any paper document and the OCR function of Paperless recognizes the data and adds it to the Details Window. Create a neat and clean digital filing system all right in the application. And that’s just scratching the surface of what Paperless can do…
  5. Mac Blu-ray Player ($60): This Mac Blu-ray Player is the first universal media player software for Mac and is acclaimed for being one of the best in its class. If you’ve ever experienced the clarity and vividness of Blu-ray quality video you understand what a difference it can make with your video experiences. If you haven’t…you need to. The quality of the video is so amazingly crisp and clear it almost feels like your world is inside your TV.
  6. Gemini ($10): Think of the thousands of files on your computer that are taking up all your personal space. Now think about how many of those files have duplicates? Pictures, music files, screenshots, word documents, etc. Now thanks to Gemini these duplicates can easily be detected and deleted to free up the space on your Mac.
  7. Musictube ($11): There’s finally an application that allows you to turn YouTube in a Jukebox. Add, store, and replay any YouTube songs you come across and play them back with this wonderful application. Listen to millions of songs on YouTube in a convenient way, much like using a traditional player. Musictube plays album tracks in their original order and integrates album covers, artist pictures and lyrics.
  8. HoudahSpot ($29): HoudahSpot is a powerful and efficient search mechanism eliminates the need for time-consuming filing and managing of documents. Can’t find an important file? Worry no more because HoudahSpot is here to save the day. Along with being able to instantly find your files you can also retrieve the files you didn’t know you still had, and you can save more of your precious time.
  9. Elmedia Player Pro ($20): Elmedia Player is a convenient multifunctional media player for Mac OS X, which can play a great variety of formats. All Mac users will find its media library easy-to-use and already familiar to them from iTunes. You can create, manage and delete playlists. Also try out smart playlists: you can create them by choosing special parameters, and then Elmedia Player will organize files matching your criteria automatically.
  10. PhotoBulk ($10): PhotoBulk helps you apply a text/image watermark, resize, and optimize batch of images or photos in just one click!



I have enrolled into an introductory statistics course from the University of Toronto Statistics: Making Sense of Data  I am into the second week of it and have learnt the value of that old adage … “if it wasn’t for the last minute”

In addition to stats, the course gets you to use R to apply the theory in practice.  


boxplot(LifeExp ~ Region, range = 0, border = rainbow(6), main = "Life Expectancies: Box Plot (all 6 regions)") 

plot of chunk unnamed-chunk-1

ScanSnap S1300i

Just received my ScanSnap S1300i today.  It took ten days for the order to reach me from Amazon USA. Not too bad! As I mentioned before at Officeworks the same scanner cost AUD$400, with postage from Amazon it only cost me $280!

I am very happy with the scanner. The one downside is the software comes on a CD. But most modern Macs do not have optical drives!
Fortunately you can download the software.

Other useful links:

Manual Downloads: ScanSnap S1300i

FAQ: ScanSnap S1300 / S1300i

Compatibility Status With OS X v10.8 (Mountain Lion) ScanSnap S1300 / S1300i

We are so ripped off in Australia

Just purchased a Fujitsu S1300i ScanSnap scanner from Amazon USA.

Its a duplex scanner for text documents, i.e. Like a fax machine you put in the paper and it scans both sides and saves it to a PDF on your Mac. Better yet it can OCR the paper and you can add tags for latter searching.

This model is the portable version. The more expensive models are much bigger, but the postage is a killer.

This price from Amazon?

– $260.99 + shipping of $19.44 for a grand total of $280.43!

The price here in Australia? … well, it’s not on Fujitsu’s Australian site yet, despite being out for several months.

At Officeworks it is $399! … and the AUD is worth US 1.03 (although amazon only gave me 1 to 1)

Why is this so?

To make matter worse if I was an Americian I would get a full year of Evernote Premium chucked in for free.

Python 2.7.3

I am now relearning statistics, oh what an exciting life I lead.
Since no learning is complete without procrastination, I though I would learn Python first.

Python is actually related b/c it is an ideal vehicle to screen scrape websites to get data for statistical analysis. And if you are so inclined you can use python for stats itself (SciPy, NumPy) as well as making pretty graphs.

Anyway, the latest version of Python is 2.7.3 and yes I am aware of version 3, but a lot of the popular modules still do not with with version 3.

Mac OS X 10.7.8 Mountain Lion comes with Python 2.7.2, to upgrade to 2.7.3 I used the following to help: (old version of the link above)


Once I get confident with Python, I might just reinstall everything, but this time using a virtual environment for Python.