October 2001 Archives

A question for any readers of my small blog. And true to form it's about food!

The discussion at work recently turned to that of what the best fruit in the world was.

This was of course a very open ended question.

Was this the sweetest eating fruit (the fruit of the gods?) or the fruit with an everyday role. Of course the fruits that are more commonly thought of as vegetables count.

Some of the most common answers were Mango, Watermelon. Others suggested more uncommon choices like avocado or even tomato.

Personally I have a preference for the eastern fruits, particularly the date and pomegranate.

My vote however goes to the humble Lemon, also originating in the Middle East now so vital to cooking worldwide.

It may be that the Lime surpasses it in flavour and that pomegranate and tamarind take the tangy characteristic to extremes. Also to be noted are the number of spices and herbs which are used because they have a lemon flavour.

The adaptability and easy availability of lemon makes it my choice.

Talk about leaving it till the last minute.

Just finished my tax, looks like I will get a return, I strongly think this will be the last year I do it myself. The eTax software is comprehensive, but sorely lacking in the cross platform compatibility department. Unlike some of my friends, I'm more tolerant/understanding of software that doesn't have a Mac version. However, there are many more flaws with eTax than just it's Windows base. Interface wise, it's a weird hodge poge of differing styles.

The first mistake is trying to emulate the paper version from an interface perspective.

Yes of course the ability to view the return in the form view that is identical to the paper form contained in the tax pack is essential.

On the flip side the interview style default interface is inefficient. If one needs to return to a particular section say to adjust a value input (when one discovers another receipt for example) this interface makes it very difficult. Also rapid access to some features like the depreciation calculator are difficult.

The two saving graces of this generally average tool are: excellent help/context sensitive reference material and encrypted online submission of the tax return (facilitating such last minute efforts as mine)

Looking at more computer specific issues, the way the application scales the window rather than showing more text (when the action otherwise would be to scroll) makes little sense.

The application itself appears to still be a 16 bit app, not relying on any win32 APIs meaning it does not take on any of the advantages of newer operating systems, for example enhanced open/save dialog boxes. Of course 16 bit extends compatibility all the way back to Windows 3.1

The installer is outdated, not using any of the recent technologies such as Microsoft's windows installer service (introduced in Office 2000 and required for Win2K and WinXP compliance). The default location is C:\eTAX2001, no attempt to utilise any environment variables to locate the preferred binary location (D:\Program Files in my case)

It's no wonder there is no Mac version. The Windows version has much to improve before they could even contemplate making this utility cross platform.

In the vein of my previous entry, here are reviews of three albums I have been listening to regularly over the past few weeks/months.

In order of acquisition:

Ulver Perdition City

Diabolical Masquerade Death's Design

eLefant Traks presents: The Herd

They represent a reasonable cross section of my current listening tastes.

Post Michelle, the most positive change in my life has been a re-discovery of my love for music.

Here are some reflections on my views on music over the past 5-10 years.

Overall, I must say that the appreciation of percussion and rhythm contrasted against the critical role good production plays in ensuring the longevity of a recording are the two biggest changes in my attitude towards music over this period.

Spice of the Week (or other arbitary time period): Nigella

Botanical Name: Nigella Sativa

Family: Ranuculaceae

Common Names:Kalonji, incorrectly known as Black Cumin or Wild Onion Seed

Description: Originating from Western Asia and souther Europe, now common in the Middle East and Central Asia/Asia Minor, Nigella is an annual and a member of the buttercup family. Grows from 30-60cms highwith thread like greyish leave. the flowers are blue or white. The seed head resembles that of a Poppy, when ripe the seeds are jet black, angular and about 3mm in length.

Usage: The seeds have a carrot like flavour with metallic and pepper hints. They are used dried, mainly in breads (such as Turkish Bread or Naan) and in spice blends (mainly Panch Phora) often used to cook potato or other starchy vegetables. Roasted, the seeds can be added to sweet patries and biscuits to give a pleasant nutty flavour.

Purchase This Spice

Well, monthly updates seem to have become the norm on this log.

Whilst there are many reasons for this, recently I have been realising that living in this city we call Sydney is starting to change me. Although I have come to apprecieate many wonderful aspects of city life (from Soy Lattes to Computer Markets) this has been at the expense of older ways and habits from my country upbringing.

One sure-fire indication of my rural heritage is the upcoming transition to Daylight Savings. To most in this metropolis, it's a lovely way to have more time to spend with family & friends whilst it's still light. I often hear the argument: "otherwise the sun would be rising at 4am". Problem is, i can't really see why that is a bad thing. Life in the city becomes so rigidly structured around the working day 9-5 Mon-Fri. If you spend your formative years being awoken by flocks of galahs at dawn this becomes a hard trait to break. Urban life seems to find endless ways to keep one occupied well into the night, thus turning waking at dawn into a very long day.

Well at least we had a few more weeks of "normal" time unlike last year's Olympics time zone farce.

Hell if all the computers at work I look after have so much trouble with the switchover, why is it we put our bodies though this twice a year?

Deep down, if i'm truthful, I must admit I often made a pretty lousy "country boy"

I was never one for many of the stereotypes of rural life, not a particular horse lover, I was always quite averse to physical labour and abhoring cruelty to animals i was never involved in any of the ever popular hunting/shooting/trapping/culling activities.

However there is a lot of natural beauty in rural Australia, the native flora and fauna in particular the birds and some of the reptiles. There is also a lot to be said for the isolation of such a sparsely settled nation. As a child, i could literally walk out my backyard, onto a farm and not encounter anything except the occasional cow, sheep or snake as I wandered all day.

The novel Eucalyptus by Murray Bail covers one of the other quintesssential aspects of outback Australia. Although Eucalypts invade many suburban streets and even many other countries, Eucalypts form a key part of the mystique of rural oz. For me, it was the stands of River Red Gums full of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos. The rows of Eucalyptus Citriodora I would walk past every day at primary school and the small clumps of Mallee dotted around that the farmers had never got around to clearing.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2001 listed from newest to oldest.

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