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Anthony Baxter
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(Spanish) page of information about the Valparaíso fires in Chile. 

In other news, guess what I spent my Sunday doing? Heading up to SF to enjoy the weather? Nooooo. :-/
 
Habilitamos una página especial con información de los incendios en Valparaíso 

Entra en http://goo.gl/G0CSuw y revisa datos relevantes sobre el área afectada, además de los centros que están recibiendo ayuda en Santiago y la Quinta Región. 
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I know we get some terrible bushfires here in Australia, but I can't imagine how awful it be if a large bushfire hits a densely populated city. What a disaster. :(
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Anthony Baxter

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So there's at least 494 people who need a drone to land on them.


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Hodor!
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I have to admit i just found the image via... er... google :)
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So when Elly and I moved back at the start of August - the night before the packers arrived, my cat Max bolted. She didn't come back. Over the next few weeks my old neighbors reported seeing her, but were unable to grab her. (For those who've never met her, she's fast and one of the most muscly cats you'll ever ever meet. She's also a tortoiseshell so vaguely mad).

Several false alarms later (locals caught random other cats) and a 4-5 months later, I gave up. She had stopped showing up. I'd spent many nights wandering the local area calling for her. Assumed she was either gone, or had found a new home.

Last Friday my old neighbor rang me. She was back, looking a bit skinnier and very skittish. I'd lived there for 4y so I was hopefully Merril was right.

On the weekend Merril went and got a cat cage trap (Kennards rent them). Went round Monday night and helped set it to be hair trigger.

Tuesday morning I got an SMS: "Good news. Cat trap works. Bad news: wrong cat. Will try again tonight."

I kinda wanted to go round and just sit and watch. But after repeated disappointment I was resigned to Max being gone.

10.30pm Tuesday. Merril rings. "Got your cat here". I was at a Four Pines event. Ran down street and looked for a station wagon cab (for cat transport just in case it was her, although to be honest I was expecting to be disappointed). Finally got one. Headed out back to St Peters.

Yep. Max. Maxmaxmaxmax. Got her back. Tossed her in a cat box. Headed home. Whole way there she was yelling her head off. Just like old times.
Got home, took the cat box to the bathroom. On the way there Gin (another of my cats) jumped up to say "oh hey. Hi again".

At this point I am wondering what sort of feral hell beast she's become in 8 months. She's noticeably skinny (Vet later confirmed she'd dropped from 6.5k to 5k).

Opened cat cage. She immediately spiraled around my feet like old then dived into the cat biscuits. I burst into tears.

Its amazing. Took her to the vet, aside from an allergic reaction to fleas (8 months in Newtown/St Peters in summer, yeah fleas) she seems fine. She's immediately slotted back into her old patterns. If anything she's friendlier than she used to be.

So yeah. Catcatcatcatcat. I got my mad torty back.


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Gap year.
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[See note added at end - I am not deleting the post because .. Well read the note]
Hot tip: if you're planning a competition, try the "don't be fucking creepy" filter.

Like it or not Ingress crosses over into the real world. Had this idiotic photo competition been cross-factional and "hey get photos with players from the other faction in front of a portal" it would have been awesome.

But it wasn't.

Don't. Be. Creepy. Following someone to work out where they live? Creepy. Photographing them without permission? Creepy.

Its a game. If you think "hey let's creep them out until they quit" is a good idea there's something wrong with your brain.

#tableflip
----

Added: I have spoken to the folks who started this and they did not mean for this to become an issue, and I believe them. I apologize for my somewhat intemperate tone. Thing is, on our side we had nothing but rumor. Ingress crosses game and real world and as such its really really easy to cross boundaries without realizing it.
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https://support.google.com/ingress/answer/2808360?hl=en&ref_topic=2799231

TLDR:
-play nice
-sometimes, what you think is nice, isn't for someone else and vice versa
- respect people's privacy
- threats of violence and other forms of harassment are taken seriously. 
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Anthony Baxter

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Folks in AU who missed it should get to ABC iview tomorrow to watch the Paul Kelly doco from tonight. Talking to friends, Elly and I weren't the only ones going "ooo this is my favorite Paul Kelly song. No wait, this one. No wait!" Gods. So many sensational songs. He was support for Dylan when Dylan toured AU recently. Wrong order.

(For the record: Leaps and Bounds. I always got a slight buzz any time the Nylex clock read 11°)


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Could you: 1. Recommend something thats available on Google play?

2. File a bug against the cover art.
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So, you all (hopefully) saw my photos yesterday; if you didn't, you may have seen the media coverage about my employer, Google Australia, installing 2 monorail carriages in our new office space yesterday (e.g. http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/google-installs-monorail-carriages-in-its-office-20131009-2v7fl.html)

Now! For those of you who don't know, confession (and story!) time: this was my fault.

At Google, we have (like most large companies do) an internal ticketing system for keeping track of jobs for our building management team ('Facilities', or 'REWS'). This system is usually populated with requests like, you know, 'the door on level X isn't working properly' or 'the pinball machine isn't working' or 'you know what would be awesome? An electric keyboard. We don't have one, can you buy us one please?' or whatever (all real, recent examples, which all got 'fixed').

Sometimes, though, this ticket system is abused by idiots* trying to be funny.

One such example of this was at the start of this year, when one particular idiot† submitted a ticket into this system pointing out that the NSW and Sydney governments had finally announced their long-anticipated plan to remove and scrap Sydney's defunct, expensive-but-useless monorail (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Monorail — a classic 'white elephant'). At the time, Google Australia had spread from one office building in Pyrmont to two, and there were rumours of a third coming soon, so this idiot suggested that maybe Google should buy the monorail and install it between the three buildings in a loop, because we're lazy and besides how cool would it be to have a monorail.

Everyone had a chuckle at this lame joke, and then that was it, until a particularly awesome member of our Facilities team, Alecia, replied to the ticket, giving an hilarious and clever feasibility study as to why purchasing the monorail would be a bad plan (and yes, it did include the phrase "more of a Shelbyville idea"). This reply (which I wish I could share with you, but if nothing else it's filled with Google in-jokes and wouldn't make sense to you all) elevated my stupid facilities ticket into legendary status, where it did the rounds of Google and after about a week I think the whole company had seen it.

Joke dies down, everyone's happy. Until about 3 months ago.

About 3 months ago, Alecia sent me an IM saying "Are you free for a meeting now? And by meeting, I mean 'road trip'." Naturally, I was. I arrived at Alecia's desk (Alecia: "I love that I say 'road trip' and you just turn up without asking what it is."), and we head off. Eventually I ask what we're actually doing, and another colleague who was in on the plan tells me: "Monorail shopping!"

Sure enough, Alecia takes us out to a junkyard near the airport, and we all help choose which two monorail carriages we want to purchase and install as meeting rooms in One Darling Island, our new workspace in Sydney (the aforementioned rumoured third building).

Eventually, this brings us to what happened yesterday. After an months of Herculean logistics (and, I'm quite sure, horrifying expense; the SMH article linked above estimates the costs of the installation at $250,000, though I have no idea if that's accurate), yesterday our 2 monorail carriages were brought to the office, and very carefully (I heard tell that the '20cm of clearance' figure in the SMH article was actually an OVER-estimate) lifted into place, where they will become 3 meeting rooms (each carriage will be its own room, and then there will be another casual meeting area at the back)‡. HOW COOL IS THAT??!?

Anyway, check out the linked article - the timelapse footage isn't brilliant, but it will give you an idea of the logistics involved (we actually took some footage of our own, hopefully I can share that with you soon).

So: next time I tell you (as I regularly do) that working at Google is like working at Wonka's Chocolate Factory: remember, I once made a stupid joke about buying a monorail, and MY COMPANY DID IT FOR ME. I bet not many of you can say that§.


* generally, me.
† specifically, me.
‡ you, all being nerds, will be delighted to know that the meeting rooms are to be named "Brockway", "Ogdenville", and "North Haverbrook".
§ my guess: zero.
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Elena Turnbull's profile photoStefan Willoughby's profile photo
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Oh I missed that it was a repost... Still could have been you +Anthony Baxter 
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Anthony Baxter

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So, you all (hopefully) saw my photos yesterday; if you didn't, you may have seen the media coverage about my employer, Google Australia, installing 2 monorail carriages in our new office space yesterday (e.g. http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/google-installs-monorail-carriages-in-its-office-20131009-2v7fl.html)

Now! For those of you who don't know, confession (and story!) time: this was my fault.

At Google, we have (like most large companies do) an internal ticketing system for keeping track of jobs for our building management team ('Facilities', or 'REWS'). This system is usually populated with requests like, you know, 'the door on level X isn't working properly' or 'the pinball machine isn't working' or 'you know what would be awesome? An electric keyboard. We don't have one, can you buy us one please?' or whatever (all real, recent examples, which all got 'fixed').

Sometimes, though, this ticket system is abused by idiots* trying to be funny.

One such example of this was at the start of this year, when one particular idiot† submitted a ticket into this system pointing out that the NSW and Sydney governments had finally announced their long-anticipated plan to remove and scrap Sydney's defunct, expensive-but-useless monorail (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Monorail — a classic 'white elephant'). At the time, Google Australia had spread from one office building in Pyrmont to two, and there were rumours of a third coming soon, so this idiot suggested that maybe Google should buy the monorail and install it between the three buildings in a loop, because we're lazy and besides how cool would it be to have a monorail.

Everyone had a chuckle at this lame joke, and then that was it, until a particularly awesome member of our Facilities team, Alecia, replied to the ticket, giving an hilarious and clever feasibility study as to why purchasing the monorail would be a bad plan (and yes, it did include the phrase "more of a Shelbyville idea"). This reply (which I wish I could share with you, but if nothing else it's filled with Google in-jokes and wouldn't make sense to you all) elevated my stupid facilities ticket into legendary status, where it did the rounds of Google and after about a week I think the whole company had seen it.

Joke dies down, everyone's happy. Until about 3 months ago.

About 3 months ago, Alecia sent me an IM saying "Are you free for a meeting now? And by meeting, I mean 'road trip'." Naturally, I was. I arrived at Alecia's desk (Alecia: "I love that I say 'road trip' and you just turn up without asking what it is."), and we head off. Eventually I ask what we're actually doing, and another colleague who was in on the plan tells me: "Monorail shopping!"

Sure enough, Alecia takes us out to a junkyard near the airport, and we all help choose which two monorail carriages we want to purchase and install as meeting rooms in One Darling Island, our new workspace in Sydney (the aforementioned rumoured third building).

Eventually, this brings us to what happened yesterday. After an months of Herculean logistics (and, I'm quite sure, horrifying expense; the SMH article linked above estimates the costs of the installation at $250,000, though I have no idea if that's accurate), yesterday our 2 monorail carriages were brought to the office, and very carefully (I heard tell that the '20cm of clearance' figure in the SMH article was actually an OVER-estimate) lifted into place, where they will become 3 meeting rooms (each carriage will be its own room, and then there will be another casual meeting area at the back)‡. HOW COOL IS THAT??!?

Anyway, check out the linked article - the timelapse footage isn't brilliant, but it will give you an idea of the logistics involved (we actually took some footage of our own, hopefully I can share that with you soon).

So: next time I tell you (as I regularly do) that working at Google is like working at Wonka's Chocolate Factory: remember, I once made a stupid joke about buying a monorail, and MY COMPANY DID IT FOR ME. I bet not many of you can say that§.


* generally, me.
† specifically, me.
‡ you, all being nerds, will be delighted to know that the meeting rooms are to be named "Brockway", "Ogdenville", and "North Haverbrook".
§ my guess: zero.
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Anthony Baxter

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Errol Morris always makes engaging and informative documentaries, looking forward to this.
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