Archive for January, 2007

The strange, strange world of tax

January 18th, 2007

As I mentioned below, I just got a new laptop. Despite the fact that it

cost twice as much as a desktop. Why?

Section 58X(2)(h)

of the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986, which says:

each of the following is an eligible work related item : […] a notebook computer, a laptop computer or a similar portable computer;

Which sounds fair enough, but compare it to 58X(3):

A mobile phone or a car phone is only an eligible work related item if the phone is primarily for use in the employee’s employment.

Yup, that’s right – laptops count as a eligible work item (and are FBT exempt) even if

there’s no business use at all. But desktops aren’t covered at all. So

what’s the result? Well, my very expensive laptop is going to cost me

less than the desktop that costs half as much retail.

On related ‘strange policy impacts’ news, Apple will be [charging

$5 to enable a chip already in their computers]( Why?

The reason for the fee, Jeremy Horwitz reports for iLounge is that “the Core 2 Duo Macs weren’t advertised as 802.11n-ready, and a little law called the Sarbanes-Oxley Act supposedly prohibits Apple from giving away an unadvertised new feature for one of its products. Hence, said the Apple rep, the company’s not distributing new features in Software Update any more, just bug fixes. Because of Sarbanes-Oxley… It’s about accounting. Because of the Act, the company believes that if it sells a product, then later adds a feature to that product, it can be held liable for improper accounting if it recognizes revenue from the product at the time of sale, given that it hasn’t finished delivering the product at that point.”

So far it isn’t clear whether or not this is really true (or just)

a convenient excuse for Apple. But if it’s true then it’s a prime

example of the unintended consequences of policy. They wanted to

make sure that companies recorded their revenue properly, but

obviously the wording (either in the act or the regulations of the

SEC) just isn’t tight enough.


January 18th, 2007

Weight: 109.0kg
Breakfast: Weet Bix & OJ
Lunch: Vegemite Sandwich x 2
Dinner: Chilli with Cous Cous
Snacks: Beer after work
Total Calories: 1,326 cal
Exercise: None (raining 🙁 )
Ladder: na

What’s stranger?

January 18th, 2007

That someone made a film about the Helvetica font?

Or the fact that I really want to see it now…

(Via Daring Fireball).

My shiny new laptop

January 17th, 2007

Shortly before Christmas my old Powerbook laptop started doing two

distressing things. Firstly, it started getting really, really hot

and was working really slowly. Secondly, and even more worryingly, the

hard drive was making funny noises every time it got used.

So I very quickly stopped using it, which is the other excuse that I

have for not posting very much lately. But this left me without a laptop,

and my desktop Mac (a G4 iMac) just isn’t up to a lot of the applications

I want to run. So a new computer was in order.

For funny reasons relating to tax policy (which I’ll discuss in another post soon),

a laptop is a much better thing to buy than a desktop. So, after relatively

little shopping around and a lot of work to fit it into the budget, last

week I got myself my shiny new toy:

Macbook pro

It’s a MacBook Pro 17″. It’s a

simply lovely computer. Really fast, runs windows

right next to Mac applications. Lots of memory, and a huge pretty screen.

On the downside, that’s the last big gadget purchase I get to make for a while…

Wii unboxing

January 17th, 2007

In the rest of this entry are the pictures from when I got my shiny new Wii

back in December. I didn’t post the pictures at the time due to my laptop

explosion. Warning: only geeks will care.

For the rest of you: the Wii is great fun, and I wish I had some more

time to play it. It’s a large part of the reason that I haven’t

been posting to the blog as much lately. And the Zelda game is just

fantastic fun.

Read the rest of this entry »

Papercraft Christmas

January 17th, 2007

One of my christmas presents this year was this a papercraft penguin.

This weekend just past I found the couple of hours to make the thing, and

here it is, looming from the bookshelf in my home office.

Paper Penguin 1

Some more pictures after the cut. This thing is huge: 53cm tall.

Read the rest of this entry »


January 17th, 2007

Weight: 109.1kg
Breakfast: Weet Bix & OJ
Lunch: Vegemite Sandwich x 2
Dinner: Fillet Steak with Potatoes and Peas
Snacks: None
Total Calories: 1221
Exercise: Cycling, 20 mins
Ladder: na

What the???!!!

January 16th, 2007

Via Washington Monthly is this unbelievably strange story in the Guardian:

Britain and France talked about a “union” in the 1950s, even discussing the possibility of the Queen becoming the French head of state, it was reported today.


When Mr Mollet’s request for a union failed, he quickly responded with another plan – that France be allowed to join the British commonwealth – which was said to have been met more warmly by Sir Anthony.

What the hell? Strangest thing I’ve seen in months.

No comet

January 15th, 2007

Went out tonight to try and find Comet C/2006 P1 McNaught with no luck so far – too much haze, and Canberra is just too bright.

This continues my near perfect record of not being able to see astronomical phenomena from Canberra, having also missed a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse, and I could never really see Halley’s Comet either.

So very,very wrong

January 10th, 2007

Last night I very nearly posted a long rant about how it’s ‘Macworld’, and not ‘iPodworld’ or ‘iPhoneworld’.

Good thing I didn’t…

Apple only announced two big new products at the Macworld keynote, neither of which are computer hardware: the Apple TV and the iPhone. The phone looks very, very nice, but there’s no word about when it will be out in Australia yet.

Oh, and Apple changed its name to ‘Apple’ rather than ‘Apple Computer’.

Oh well, at least I can buy a shiny new toy a little more quickly…