SafePrice, Avast and Sneaky Browser Plugins

For many years now I have been using Avast as my anti-virus on my Windows computers. For the majority of that time it has been simple to use and generally non-invasive. However, in the past few months that has dramatically changed.

The first big change has been avast prompting to update software updates for almost every installed application. While this may be helpful for the vast majority of people who do not regularly update their systems, I’ve grown to ignore random pop-ups that say my computer is out of date – because the vast majority of the time they are scams/ads themselves. Saying my system is at critical risk because I haven’t updated an application in the last 24 hours is overkill – especially when the application specific updater isn’t prompting for the update.

Today’s inappropriate interruption from Avast is much more annoying and down right unethical – especially as I did not authorise this behaviour in the application. Below is a screen shot of a produce page from a trustworthy and popular online store I visit on a regular basis.

Avast SafePrice Website Takeover

Avast SafePrice Website Takeover


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Connected

One of my goals for this year is to read ten books – including at least seven I already own but have yet to read. The danger with books is that they are so easy to obtain, during January alone I bought four more at the Dymocks sale, and have had three given to me.

Fortunately, I have also managed to read three books in the last month and a half.

Most recently, I’ve just finished reading Connected – How your friends’ friends’ affect everything you feel, think and do by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler. This book is a really fascinating insight into social networks from how we form friendships and relationships, through to how happiness and depression flow through friends of friends, and even how our genes influence our personalities.

Although a lot of the book covers issues in relationships that we naturally take for granted, it also shows fascinating social experiments and statistics that confirm six degrees of separation, and how we have three degrees of influence over others.

Below are a few extracts that I found particularly interesting. Continue reading

Sydney Festival and Australia Day Wrap Up

Over the last few weeks of January was the Sydney Festival. Below are a few photos from the wide variety of events that happened throughout the CBD. Additionally, there are a few photos of the Australia Day celebrations on Sydney Harbour which coincided with the festival.

The finale of the festival was the annual Symphony in the Domain. This year, Gustav Holst’s The Planets was performed, which is one of my favourite pieces of classical music. A short portion of Jupiter is below.

2013 Annual Blog Statistics

These are some stats from Google Analytics, the figures from 2012 are in brackets.

Overall in 2013 there were about 5,000 fewer visits, from 4,700 fewer visitors than in 2012. This is the third year in a row of declining visitor numbers. However, this continues to be correlated to the reduction of posts to this blog – and the change in focus to more personal adventure than just random commentary.

Total

  • Visits: 9,458 (14,714)
  • Unique Visitors: 8,626 (13,371)
  • Page Views: 12,609 (24,504)

Visitors from came from 165 Countries. Australia, United States, New Zealand continue to hold the top three visitor locations. 64.3% of all visits came from Aus/USA/NZ/UK down 1% from 2012. Continue reading

Happy 2014 – fireworks from Sydney

Happy New Year!

Midnight Fireworks

Once again I spent New Years Eve on Sydney Harbour.

This year we didn’t have tickets to any special areas, so we arrived at Bradfield Park, Milsons Point at 1.30pm and spent the afternoon basking in the beautiful sunny Sydney summer afternoon.

Getting to the harbour as early as we did scored us a seat right on the harbour’s edge, which gave great angles for photos.

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Goals for 2014

In no particular, but some sort of order:

  • Graduate and get a real job – I’ve submitted the thesis, now just waiting on the marks.
  • Continue Learning German – and go back to Germany.
  • Summit Mt Kosciusko – it has to be achieved some day soon.
  • Publish a journal article – or two.
  • Read at least ten books – including the six paperbacks I currently have unread.
  • Buy a VF Commodore – I’ve wanted a Holden since I was in my teens.
  • Keep this blog up to date – In the last few months I’ve been about three months behind on posts.

2013 – The Year of Adventure

2013 has been great. It’s been a year of fantastic fun, growth and personal achievement.

At the start of 2013 I laid out some goals for the year, they were:

  • Complete my PhD
    • Achieved!
    • I submitted on November 20.
  • Get a real job
    • Not completely achieved, I’m freelancing at the moment.
  • Learn German
    • I did far better at this than in 2012. I am still very much a beginner, but I am learning.
    • Duolingo has been great for this.
  • Summit Mt Kosciusko
    • Once again this goal was elusive.
  • Publish a paper and a journal article
    • I published two papers.
  • Go on a holiday for at least a week without internet access
    • I didn’t end up away for a whole week without internet, but there were a few weekends of digital silence.

An additional personal achievement was reading 12 books over the year – four histories, three science, three theology, and two novels.

There are also a number of highlights from throughout the year: Continue reading

The Control Centre – 2013

For the past seven years, every two years, I have posted a photo of my “control centre”, aka my home computer setup. Only this time, by mistake, it has been three years since I last posted. So below is the control centre in 2013.

Control Centre 2013

Control Centre 2013

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