2018-05-06

Battling the elements at Cradle Mountain

After spending a night in Queenstown (it rained), I got up early and drove up to Cradle Mountain NP (it rained all the way) and enjoyed some mixed weather (to put it mildly) while walking.



The weather ended up forcing a change of plans - I was originally going to do a loop that went near the summit but the weather up high at and beyond Marion's Lookout was just so brutal that I ended up turning back (about 30 mins after the lookout).










The change did work out reasonably well as I took the relatively sheltered trail past Crater Lake to Ronny Creek then back to Dove Lake.







It was a bit of a shame to have not much of a view at all from Marion's Lookout (it took 10 minutes of waiting for it to clear enough to see anything) and Cradle Mountain itself was invisible until mid-afternoon.





Still, a really nice area to do some walking with an amazing variety of plant life and scenery.

2018-05-04

Hiking the Mt Anne Track to Eliza Plateau


After warming up with a walk to the pinnacle at Hobart's Mt Wellington the day prior, I ventured a bit farther into the wilderness and tried the Eliza Plateau portion of the Mt Anne track from Condominium Creek (20km down the unsealed C607, itself 30km along B61 from the nearest town at Maydena).

It's almost a constant climb after a brief walk through a marsh. Quite challenging as the track varies, sometimes just following a watercourse that has gouged a path down to the rock. The views over Lake Pedder were wonderful and only get better they higher I climbed, at which point more and more of the surrounding mountains became visible.









The weather turned nasty as I headed back down (it seemed to change every 15 minutes anyway - rain, sun, wind, cloud) and it poured a which made it a real slog and obscured a lot of the view, which was a pity. Despite the ending, it was still a worthwhile and enjoyable walk.



2018-01-25

The long way around

It really was the long (wrong) way but I finally arrived in New York on Thursday morning local time after leaving Sydney Wednesday morning (Sydney time). A one night stop-over in Ho Chi Minh City padded out the scheduled a bit (arrived Wednesday evening and didn't depart until 24 hours later) but also allowed for a bit of rest.

There was method to my madness though - this was to take advantage of some incredible Qatar Airways business class fares that were only available departing Vietnam. These were some lovely flights, especially the DOH-JFK leg in a shiny A350 - even though it was a 14 hour flight! The seat, food, service and in-flight entertainment were all top notch, a wonderful way to fly.

The Path Less Traveled
Doha by Night


Final Approach to JFK from the Tail Camera



2018-01-24

First travel mistake of 2018

Found out the hard way last night that it is _not_ a good idea to walk from Ho Chi Minh City's airport to the airport hotel, no matter how short a walk it seems on Google Maps!

After several wrong turns and following paths that disappeared, the way involved crossing three chaotically busy roads (apparently busier than usual due to people celebrating Vietnam's win the AFC U23 Championship by riding around on scooters waving flags and screaming) which appeared to have pedestrian crossings that were completely ignored by drivers (not that I'm familiar with how crossings work here).

So yeah, I've booked the shuttle bus on the way back...

2018-01-07

2017 Travel Year in Review


A very busy travel year by my standards, involving some 56 flights (up from 27 the previous year). I visited the US for the first time, had a couple short trips to NZ and also headed to a number of Australian cities - some for the first time, some that I just hadn't seen for a decade or more.






Statistics

Flights: 56 segments
Distance: 48,682 miles / 78,346 kilometers
Flight Time: 4 days, 15:35 hours



Unique
Airports25
Carriers15
Countries3
Vehicles19
Distance
Total flown48682 mi
Around the world1.96x
To the Moon0.204x
To Mars0.0014x
Journey records
LongestAKL↔SFO, 6529 mi, 11:33
ShortestSEA↔PDX, 129 mi, 00:31
Average869 mi, 01:59
Airport records
NorthernmostSEA (47.45°N 122.31°W)
SouthernmostIVC (46.41°S 168.31°E)
WesternmostPDX (45.59°N 122.6°W)
EasternmostWLG (41.33°S 174.81°E)



Firsts

Quite a few new travel experiences for me in 2017, the stand-outs were:
  • First time in Business Class on VA, QF, NZ and AA.
  • Domestic First Class on AA and VX
  • First visit to the United States
  • Visiting Zion National Park, UT: just an amazing place, I'm glad I took so many photos
  • Seeing a Green Bay game live at Lambeau. It's a real shame that Rodgers wasn't playing but still an amazing experience

 
Lambeau Field

 

Status


As a result of all this flitting about, I hit Velocity Gold (and came very close to Platinum, well within striking distance now). Last few flights of the year moved me to Qantas Silver, with flights from early 2018 booked that should push me over the line to Gold.

On the hotel side, I mainly booked through aggregators but I had enough stays direct through IHG to hit Gold with them. I came close to leveling up with Accor but the benefits didn't seem to justify specifically moving any bookings.


2017-12-14

Really nice to have flights out of WOL again




It's so nice to have commercial flights operating out of Illawarra Regional Airport (WOL) again in the form of JETGO's non-stop flights to Brisbane (BNE) and Essendon (MEB). Heading to Brisbane or Melbourne from Shellharbour or Wollongong normally means 2 hours on the train (plus padding) or 1:30 in the car plus parking fees - all for a ~1 hour flight!

I went up to Brisbane for an overnight trip and it was such a pleasant change to just have a 10 minute drive to the airport. Comfortable flight too in the little Embraer 135, with a drink and snack offered.

All up it meant significantly more time on the ground rather than traveling, always a nice thing on a short trip.


2016-04-30

Getting into Electron

Looking for something new and interesting, I decided to take my first, tentative steps into the world of Electron. While I'm quite interested in the possibilities offered by Node.js, I've not actually done much with it, so jumping into Electron is that little bit more daunting. I have spent plenty of time with JavaScript/jQuery though, which is the important thing.

First off is the setting up the basic application structure. Each application has a couple of files essentially describing it and laying out behavior and functions, then at least one more file that contains the visible content.

The first file, package.json is a basic description of the application that points to the main file that holds the core.

package.json
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{
  "name"    : "testapp",
  "version" : "0.1.0",
  "main"    : "main.js"
}

In this case (and by default IIRC), the core file is named main.js.

First off, this file enables Electron itself (by way of a require statement), adds some short-hand constants, and sets up the main window. In addition, it adds a handler that quits the application when the window is closed.

After setting the dimensions of the window, the file index.html is loaded, the File/Edit/etc. menus are disabled, and behavior for handling the window being closed is added.


main.js

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'use strict';

const electron = require('electron');
const app = electron.app;
const BrowserWindow = electron.BrowserWindow;

var mainWindow = null;

app.on('window-all-closed', function() {
    app.quit();
});

app.on('ready', function() {
    mainWindow = new BrowserWindow({width:1024, height: 768});
    mainWindow.loadURL('file://' + __dirname + '/index.html');
    mainWindow.setMenu(null);
    mainWindow.on('closed', function() {
        mainWindow = null;
    });
});



The rest of the application is comprised of the usual mix of HTML, CSS and JavaScript that you'd write for any website/app. In this example, I just have a 3 column layout displaying version info and a button (that allows me to test jQuery functionality via my external fakeButton.js file - which, in short, changes the button size and color to indicate it has been clicked).

index.html

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<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
    <head>
        <meta charset="UTF-8">
        <title>testapp</title>
        <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="lib/style.css" />
    </head>

    <body>

        <div class="container">

            <img src="img/generic-heading.png" alt="heading" title="heading" width="480" height="120" />

            <div class="column-left">

                <div class="link-container">

                    <p><a href="http://www.google.com/" title="test link">google</a></p>

                </div>

            </div>

            <div class="column-right">

                <div class="link-container">

                    <p>some more stuff</p>

                </div>

            </div>

            <div class="column-center">

                <div class="content">

                    <h2>Content goes here</h2>

                    <ul>Version info:
                        <li>node <script>document.write(process.versions.node)</script></li>
                        <li>Chrome <script>document.write(process.versions.chrome)</script></li>
                        <li>and Electron <script>document.write(process.versions.electron)</script></li>
                    </ul>

                    <input type="submit" name="buttonTest" id="buttonTest" value="Click Here" class="button" />

                </div>

            </div>

        </div>

    </body>

    <script>window.$ = window.jQuery = require('./lib/jquery-2.2.3.min.js');</script>
    <script src="./lib/fakeButton.js"></script>

</html>


It's important to take note of the <script> block that enables jQuery (with thanks to the answer provided at http://stackoverflow.com/a/32621989):

<script>window.$ = window.jQuery = require('./lib/jquery-2.2.3.min.js');</script>

Finally, to test, pass the application directory to Electron and the application window will fire up.