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Phillip Tyson
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So Close You Could Almost Taste It
The team at Space X is so damn close to achieving what would have sounded ridiculous just a decade ago: landing an unmanned, reusable launch module onto a floating barge in the middle of the ocean. The fact they got this far is pretty mind-blowing, and given the additional data they gain from this trial, it bodes very well for their third landing being successful.
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+Nick Epstein Well yea, making it bottom heavy is obviously a key. But it was for a general comparison.
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Oh my word. As if Android Device Manager wasn't cool enough already, just typing "find my phone" into Google will now find that elusive device even faster!
 
We’ve all been there — you’ve searched under your car seat, tossed around the sofa cushions and you still can’t find your phone. If you know where your computer is, you can now ask Google to find your Android phone from your desktop. If the pesky phone is hiding nearby, Google can ring it for you — or you can see it on the map if you, say, forgot it at the bar. Just make sure you’ve got the latest version of the Google app!
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The Need For Speed
I remember doing keyboarding as a subject at school (is that still a thing, or am I showing my age?) and being berated by my teacher for my "unorthodox" typing style. There wasn't a problem with accuracy or speed, moreover, an insistence that I return to the home keys. Well look who has the last laugh now! This is a ridiculously addictive little game that tests speed and accuracy as you blast away words before they destroy you. (I reached wave 33 with 49WPM and 95.3% accuracy.)

http://phoboslab.org/ztype/
Type To Shoot Game made with ImpactJS
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Sharing that one to my read it later circle to play with when I get onto my PC. I wonder how it compares to the Mavis Beacon typing tutor racing game?
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Behind The Clouds
A picturesque scene as the sun begins its slow descent over the waters of Port Phillip Bay taken from the rocky shore at Mount Martha a few years back.
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That's very kind of you to day +Deep Ghosh​ thank you
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Starring Role
Rising 40 storeys above Waterfront City at Melbourne's Docklands is the southern hemisphere's only giant observation wheel. Originally opened in the summer of 2008, it closed abruptly after only 5 weeks in operation, having suffered mechanical and structural damage brought on by a week-long heatwave. After a protracted - and eye-wateringly expensive - closure, during which time it was dismantled and rebuilt entirely, the wheel finally reopened in 2013 much to the relief of local retailers whose businesses relied on the promise of the tourist drawcard.

It is constructed from 1200 tonnes of Australian-made steel, and is held aloft by two 80 metre support columns weighing 200 tonnes each. The wheel's diameter measures 110 metres, and the design of the structural spokes have been built to resemble that of the seven-pointed Commonwealth Star that appears on our flag, a celebration of the federation of Australia's former colonies into states and territories under a single government in 1901.

This is a 4 second exposure from last year's +Melbourne Photowalkers Footscray Road photowalk taken from beneath Citylink looking east across Railway Canal.
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+Ben Wesley I have heard that from someone else too, I will have to look into it when I finally get around to going for a ride. Cheers!
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One Too Many
Let me preface this commentary by saying that the latest installment of the Fast & Furious franchise does a commendable job of giving Paul Walker's Brian a fitting departure. It is a well-executed tribute that is perfectly balanced emotionally, and it concludes his character's story arc with finesse.

That said, the series has now well and truly jumped the shark. It pains me to be so critical of fellow-Melbournite James Wan, but this movie lacks anything resembling believable plot development. It deviates further and further from its roots in street racing, while inexplicably elevating even more characters into pseudo-superhero roles.

To his credit, Wan and the entire crew were faced with an almost unprecedented level of difficulty in finishing the project in light of the circumstances, and he doesn't shy away from admitting as much. However, audiences have come to expect his movies to have more "substance" than this particular effort, which upon reflection, has characteristics more befitting of a Michael Bay movie than one bearing his name.

Admittedly, there are moments of genuinely nifty camera work throughout, but these are few and far between, and are unfortunately diluted by over two hours of achingly wandering storytelling tied together by the most tenuous of premises.

I am under absolutely no misconceptions about the ever-growing need to suspend disbelief for popcorn-fodder blockbusters like this. And being mindful of not spoiling anything that isn't already shown in the trailer, one can't help but question the literally hundreds of people involved who rationalised and subsequently created scenes in which cars are parachuted - engines running of course - out of an aeroplane with pinpoint precision onto a rocky mountain pass. Or deliberately driven - seemingly in top gear - through plate glass windows from the top storey of a skyscraper into another. And then another.

These antics would make perfect sense if they were perpetrated by Iron Man. Or at a stretch, John McClane. By not by a gang of rag-tag street racers supposedly living in the real world. The line needs to be drawn somewhere, and it seems that the producers of this movie missed it entirely as they passed by at full speed.

Unfortunately, the most entertaining parts of the movie had nothing to do with cars, or for that matter, even the original cast. For example, the clash between Statham and Johnson was a thoroughly enjoyable highlight and precisely what action movies were made for. But it belongs in a series like The Transporter or The Expendables, not here.

Toretto naturally had to be rewritten to have more of a dominant role in this movie, and I feel that this was probably to the film's detriment. Vin Diesel is beginning to show his age physically - much more so than in the previous installment, and especially when contrasted with Johnson's physique - and his mumbling is approaching what can only be described as Stallone levels of coherence.

No one would begrudge the film's cast and producers trying to complete the movie to honour the memory of Paul Walker. And perhaps I have held it to higher scrutiny than I would had he been able to complete the film as it was originally written. But as it stands - Paul's tribute notwithstanding - this outing offers very little to the franchise, especially after the incredible return to form in 5 and 6.
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+Phillip Tyson nice I'll give that a look. 
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Tonight's sunset from Schnapper Point, Mornington. 
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Thanks for all your comments +Sue Travers+Susan Menis​ and +Sun Heng Ly HAK​
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Eat Up Martha
As cool - and surprisingly accurate - as this new handwriting recognition app from +Research at Google is, it's more than a tad difficult not to be reminded of Palm's Graffiti or the Newton.
 
Today we launched Google Handwriting Input (http://goo.gl/qWWhDU), which lets users handwrite text on their Android mobile device as an additional input method for any Android app, supporting 82 languages in 20 distinct scripts. It works with both printed and cursive writing input with or without a stylus. Beyond text input, it also provides a fun way to enter hundreds of emojis by drawing them (simply press and hold the ‘enter’ button to switch modes). It also works with or without an Internet connection. Learn more at http://goo.gl/j7lFbC
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Keys To The Kingdom
Any fellow residents Down Under looking to get their hands on a legitimate copy of GTA V for PC minus the Aussie tax should check out CD Keys. Granted the download is a Rockstar Social Club download, not a Steam download - which for some might be a deal breaker - but it will save you roughly $20 off RRP. It's perfectly legal and doesn't require any geolocation hacks. (There's also a miniscule 5% discount applicable if you like their Facebook page apparently.)

http://www.cdkeys.com/pc/games/grand-theft-auto-v-5-pc-cd-key
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The Infrastructure Premier
Born in Ballarat in 1908 to first-generation Australian parents of German descent, Henry Edward Bolte went on from reasonably unassuming beginnings to become Victoria's 38th and longest-serving Premier.

His entrepreneurial father - a publican, farmer and prospector - was a stern, but virtuous man who was said to 'rule with a strap'. He attended as a boarder at a religious school in Ballarat which further instilled in him character-building principles that would ultimately define his adult life. Bolte's adolescence is best described as multi-faceted: he was captain of his school football and cricket teams; he was a keen fisher and hunter; he was involved with the local amateur theatrical society; and was secretary of the Skipton Racing Club.

After a brief stint in the armed services as a gunner, artillery instructor and pay clerk, he was discharged in 1943 deemed physically unfit for overseas service, a fact he lamented later in life. Shortly after this event, he attended the Liberal Party's first State council as president of the Meredith branch. He was encouraged to stand for a seat in the Legislative Assembly, but a mediocre campaign owing to his inexperience ultimately led to failure. Determined to secure a second opportunity he took public speaking lessons, and in the 1947 elections won the seat of Hampden, a position which he held until his retirement in 1972.

Bolte was swept to the position of Premier in just 8 short years, defeating John Cain in the 1955 state elections by a large majority. A rift in Cain's Labor Party over trade union influence had caused a swathe of members to split and establish their own party, funneling their second preferences to Bolte's Liberal Party, essentially guaranteeing him victory.

He promised a Government of action and wasted no time on delivering on that promise. Largely regarded as our 'infrastructure premier', he oversaw the development of oil and gas fields in Gippsland, the expansion of power generation in the Latrobe Valley, the construction of the West Gate Bridge, the establishment of Monash and La Trobe universities as well as what was referred to at the time as Melbourne's International "Jetport" at Tullamarine.

His government won re-election an impressive five times under his leadership between 1958 and 1970. In 1972 he made moves to retire with his party ascendant and a chosen successor - Ruper Hamer - in place, his government already poised to continue his legacy, readying for construction on the Melbourne Underground Rail Loop.

Having spent much of his retirement on his rural property in Bamganie he died on the 4th of January 1990, remembered as a true man's man: he enjoyed following the sports he loved, as well as having a drink, a smoke, and a punt. The $75 million dollar Citylink bridge spanning the Yarra River and Docklands precinct was named in his honour, and its 90 metre high silver towers stand in tribute as the gateway to the city from the north.

This is a re-edit of a shot of the Bolte Bridge taken on the +Melbourne Photowalkers Footscray Road photowalk last winter. I have processed it using Adobe Camera Raw to enhance the punchy colours reflected in the water.
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Each to his own +Mik Youtee​, cheers anyway! 
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Victory & Defeat
The Kingdom of Thailand is a rarity in south-east Asia, standing alone as the only country to remain untouched by the tentacles of empirical rule. Despite being flanked variously by British, French and Japanese forces for much of the past few centuries, the rule of a succession of ferociously nationalistic monarchs has seen it remain a formidable opponent against a relentless series of opportunistic land grabs and political manoeuvrings.

A rare, and easily forgotten exception to this came in the form of the short-lived Battle of Koh Chang during the Franco-Thai War of 1940-41. Vichy armed forces in Indochina, long disconnected from mainland French rule, were suffering heavy losses to their already slim numbers through a string of land and air attacks. Thai troops, newly bolstered with Italian and Japanese equipment, waged a highly successful campaign to reclaim territory lost to French Indochina during King Chulalongkorn's reign. In retaliation, on January 17th 1941, French naval forces launched an objectively futile attack against superior, modern Thai warships near the archipelago of islands at Koh Chang. Amazingly, given the benefit of the element of surprise, the French prevailed, sinking two Thai torpedo boats - HTMS Chonburi and HTMS Songhkla - as well as coastal defense ship HTMS Thonburi and returned to Saigon victorious.

Only a fortnight later, under Japanese mediation, a peace treaty was signed between the two opposing forces. By May that year, France had relinquished all disputed territory back to Thailand, although in hindsight, the coercion displayed by Japan towards France in this regard was particularly self-serving.

This is a photo of the ferry port at Ao Sapporot on Koh Chang taken in 2013. Car ferries operate between here and the mainland every 45 minutes providing a cheap and regular method of accessing the island.
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Khlong Phlu Falls is lovely. A short hike and beautiful spot to take a swim.
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Golden Everlasting
These eye-catching yellow paper daisies shimmered brilliantly in the late-afternoon sun at the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne a few weekends back. Known for a long time as a Helichrysum (and for a shorter time as a Bracteantha), the current taxonomical classification of this plant is a Xerochrysum, and frankly, it's a bit of a tricky bugger. (For the record xeros is Greek for dry - referring to the plant's papery feel - and chrysos means golden, so the current naming is very apt.)

Confusingly, the bright yellow "petals" of this flower aren't actually petals at all. As a bracteate, the flower itself is the dense cluster in the centre, made up of hundreds of small "true flowers" surrounded by an array of papery bracts, which are actually specialised leaves designed to attract pollinators.
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+George Fletcher​ thanks mate
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