Geocaching with a view

I went to find a couple of geocaches in a jet lag fuelled caching walk this morning. Quite scenic!

Don’t use Jetbus Sydney if you want to catch your flight

I had to take a flight a few weeks ago, and I thought I’d do the financially (and environmentally) sensible thing and use an airport shuttle service. Especially because the airport train in Sydney is so expensive and slow. I found Jetbus online, and paid with PayPal. The first time I used them they were just fine, but the second time was extremely frustrating. So frustrating that I wont be using their service again, as I value actually getting on my plane.

Interestingly, Jetbus’ Sydney office is across the road from my pickup location, so how badly can it go?

I had a 4pm booking. I arrived at the pickup location 15 minutes early. The bus drove past me at the speed limit approximately on time. It did not slow down or stop. I rang the dispatch number to inform them of the error. The bus drove past about 10 minutes later, again without slowing down or stopping. I rang again. The bus didn’t reappear. In total, I rang dispatch 5 times in an attempt to be collected. After the bus was 45 minutes late, I took a taxi to the airport instead, which cost $47, and arrived with only 15 minutes to spare.

The only part of this whole thing which makes me happy? This is the first time I have had to use PayPal’s dispute resolution system as I am not a big PayPal user. It was pain free, and gave me the outcome I wanted. That’s interesting given that I hear so many bad things from other PayPal users.

Sydney 1, Mikal 1

I tried two more second hand bookstores yesterday. Books Buy and Sell no longer exists, it has been replaced with a sex toy store. I guess that says something about Sydney again. Gould’s books was all I had remembered (big mounds of books everywhere), and was worth the visit. Its more organised than I remember, and I did eventually find the science fiction section. Thanks to those who recommended it in comments here. It is surprising that a second hand book store managed to have no paperback Isaac Asimov, with the four Harry Harrisons I bought make up for that I suppose.

I took some photos of Gould’s as well, but it turns out that the room full of PhDs can’t figure out how to empty a micro SD card, so I will give up on putting them online for now.

Sydney redeems itself, if only a little

On the way home from our awesome soup dumpling dinner in Sydney we dropped into Elizabeth’s Bookshop entirely by accident. We’d deliberately walked a block offset from where we do normally to avoid boredom, and just got lucky.

The second hand science fiction selection was good (not huge, but big enough to have some stuff I hadn’t already got in the collection), but then again the store was quite small. Overall much better than Galaxy. Oh, and they had a huge range of erotic fiction for some reason. That might just say something about Sydney I suppose.

On the potentially sorry state of second hand science fiction book stores in Sydney

Following a recommendation from Danny, I went and checked out Galaxy Books on York Street during one of my lunch times. The review says they have a good second hand section, and I am still hunting for some old Asimovs. Unfortunately, it was a waste of time. The second hand section must of only had about 100 books in it, and none of them were interesting. They did have an awesome new section though, but I figure buying books from the 1950s new is cheating.

One book I might be forced to buy new is Asimov’s The Complete Robot. I can’t find it in any second hand bookstores that I’ve tried, and its not even available new in the US. Inexplicably though, it is easily available new in Australia. I am not sure why. It seems like a shame to spend nearly $25 on a book though, so I am not sure what I will do about that one yet.

I will continue my hunt for a good second hand book store in the Sydney CBD. Any recommendations?

Update: post title fixed after entirely deserved sarcasm from Steven.

Planes at 600 meters!

On Friday, an aircraft hired by Google will be doing a series of low-level swoops over parts of Sydney, photographing the ground and waters below.
The three-seater plane, decked out in Google livery, will have special permission to fly at an altitude of 600m.
Providing the photographs turn out to be good enough quality, the images will be integrated into Google Maps, the free online mapping service used by millions of people around the world.

Via SMH, links to Google site about the flyover.

Getting ready to leave Sydney

I haven’t written much about the couple of weeks I’ve spent in Sydney. Nothing really exciting happened, apart from a trip home to see the kids (the Southern Tablelands were greener than I expected), a visit to CLUG another to SLUG, and a lot of time spent eating at restaurants on King Street in Newtown.

I’ve decided that I like the Sydney train system, but not the trains themselves. The trains fall into several categories:

  • Millennium trains: the standard one would expect from any world class train system. There are hardly any of these, but they’re the only ones with screens saying what station is next, and are in a good state of repair. It seems that they’re mainly devoted to the tourist-centric airport runs.
  • Tangaras: about 15 years old I’m told. They’re ok but nothing special.
  • Craptastics: these are the ones older than Tangaras but with retrofitted air conditioning. They must be about 30 years old from the look of things. They’re crap.
  • Craptanics: imagine a Craptastic before it had the air conditioning retrofit. This is that train. At least you can open the windows, which helps let some of the reek of sweaty office workers and teenaged boys out. Some.
  • Stinktanic: if you get one of these, $DEITY hates you. It’s a Craptanic, without windows that open. You’re screwed. Enjoy the smell.

So, that’s about all I learnt of note in Sydney… To summarise: yay King Street, yay train system, boo actual trains except for Millenniums. Oh, and thanks to Grant and Lindsay for letting me stay.

In Sydney!

So now I am in Sydney, with Grant and Lindsay (old friends from Canberra). Newtown seems nice, in fact the house itself is very nice. However, the streets are pretty Victorian and built up, which is a bit oppressive. Then again, I am told there are a bunch of parks I haven’t seen yet, so I’ll delay any further comment until then. It appears it’s only about 15 minutes on the train from here to work, which will be nice during the week. More news later…

Travel details so far

So, it looks at the moment like my travel schedule for the next month will look a bit like this:

  • 30 September: Arrive in Canberra
  • 3 October: Melbourne for LUV meeting
  • 4 October: Return to Canberra
  • 10 October: Melbourne for AUUG conference
  • 13 October: Sydney
  • 26 October: Canberra for CLUG meeting
  • 27 October: Return to Sydney, SLUG meeting
  • 2 November: Return to Mountain View

Let me know if you’re interested in meeting up when I am around.