Sunday, 28 December 2008


I'm spending most of my spare time playing Travian. The Sun outside is too strong. Although the temperature is great, it's about 20-24 degrees but sometimes higher, but the UV radiation is strong. So, I'm enjoying sitting in my room and watching the resource distribution among my villages, developing armies, raiding nearby villages, etc.
Obviously, I feel a little bored. :) I'm used to much more dynamic way of living and it's a bit hard to do that here and now, under current circumstances.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Japanese Garden Software


How wonderful! There is software for creation of Japanese gardens. :) Now I can have my Japanese garden. At least in the virtual world. Then, maybe one day I can have a real one...

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Zoos in Victoria

So far, I have known of three places where one can go and see animals in captivity:

  • Melbourne Zoo, located North of Parkville in Zoological Gardens, just North of the City;
  • Weribee Open Range Zoo, the one I missed to see despite being so close to it. Should contain animals from Africa - elephants, giraffes, rhinos, zebras, gorillas, etc.
  • Healesville Sanctuary, where we went last month. There are lots of birds and small animals, an animal hospital and a sanctuary. Mostly Australian animals.

I was handed out a promotional material from Zoos Victoria ( and it appears that the above three places are the ones advertised.

A friend was also mentioning the volcano remains close to Warrnambool where emus and koalas can be seen in the wild. Penguins can be seen on the Phillip Island and at St.Kilda at night. At Phillip Island, apparently, seals can be observed on a rock further out in the ocean. Other animals can be seen simply by cycling around on bicycle paths, along rivers, and in parks. I saw a couple of ducks in South Yarra with their offspring. Cockatoos, parrots, huge bats and other flying creatures can be observed regularly throughout the city. At least there are lots of them in the area where I live, as it is surrounded by parks.

As for water animals, there is Melbourne Aquarium on the corner of King and Flinders. It has been extended recently.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Dentist, Part 2/2

Well, today I went to the dentist. While I was a bit confused in how the whole things works here, in reality it was extremely simple. And very much like back home except for one small thing.

I went to the ordination a bit earlier. There I sat for a few minutes and then was taken upstairs into the room with all the tools. The doctor looked at the tooth and agreed that it is the best, for now, to do a restorative filling. An interesting thing is that the chair was lowered all the way so that my head was the lowest point of my body. This was quite different position to what I'm used to. Also, they gave me sun glasses so that the light would not bother me. Nice.

The whole thing was done quickly and I was ready to go. The filling should hold for another month until I can do a new crown. For the payment, they first swipe the medical insurance card. That way the insurance pays its portion of the cost immediately. What is left is, then, paid by the patient. Since my medical card expired and I did not have a new one (actually, I was told the old one would be reinstated at the time but it was not), I paid the whole amount with a credit card. The cost for the restoration (filling) was $180.

Later I went to the GMHBA office to make a claim and ask for the new card to be issued. The refund was processed on the spot and I got $60 cash back. The card is to arrive within the next 5-10 days.

All in all, it was really simple. Now I just need to find a bit cheaper place for emergencies like this one was.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Dentist, Part 1

Yesterday, during the beautiful outdoors day, my tooth broke. It had a filling earlier and I think the filling simply cracked.

Today is Monday so I looked for dentists online. There is one with the same name as my doctor in Sarajevo. Decided to go there and check if I can claim their charges with my medical insurance.

Since they were booked, I got an appointment for tomorrow.

Since there is not much left of the tooth, I think a ceramic crown would be the best solution. My Aussie friends tell me that such a treatment can easily amount to thousands of dollars over here. I'll have to see about that tomorrow as I'd prefer to do the whole thing back in Sarajevo during the holidays. I might just do a filling to keep the tooth safe for the next month. And I guess the cost for the filling here and the whole crown treatment in Bosnia would cost about the same. Still need a dentist opinion first.

Fortunately, the tooth does not ache but certainly does look bad.

Finally, a real Australian experience

After a great barbecue on Saturday and some Wii matches, the plan for Sunday was to go to Torque and have a barbecue there, spend a day driving to and at the beach.

Since all the interested got up late, we changed the plan. Got some food and drinks and headed off South along the coast. The scenery was so beautiful that we had to stop a few times to take photos. We drove through Frankston and across Mt.Eliza to a beautiful town of Portsea. There we spotted a great barbecue place and decided to drop an anchor for the day. The place was excellent. The car was parked in the palm shade. A few meters further there were several tables under a roof, providing shade from the strong Sun's rays. Electric barbecues operate on 20 Cents coins. The barbecue place is located at a grass strip with some trees around, providing natural shade. Then there was a walking path and a beach. Water is crystal clear there at Mornington Peninsula. Close by was a wooden pier, stretching some 60-70 meters into the ocean. At the very end of the pier some kind were jumping into the water. And, after a jump when they get up, they could walk on the sea bottom. That's how shallow the water is at such a distance. The scenery was beautiful.

We spent the whole day there. Met some nice Armenians who were having a barbecue next to us. They offered us some great meat, then we bought them some drinks, then they gave us some more meat and on and on it went. :) Great company, great day. This was, finally, some real Australian experience.

Photos to follow soon...

Edit: I figured out we were in Dromana, not Portsea. Mmm, it's so good just wandering around and enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Holidays in the Sun

It is fun to approach Christmas and the New Year's with temperatures of 20-30 degrees, sunny days, and very low activity. In Australia, the end of calendar year is not the end of the financial year so it is a perfect time for holidays. No reports to be prepared, no year-end activities, consolidation, or anything like that. Just another day, holidays, mid Summer.
All people mention for holidays is barbecue. Gee, no matter how much I loved it I am beginning to get a bit tired of it. Is there anything apart from meat that can be nicely put on the barbie? I have to admit that meat here tastes much, much different to what I'm used to in Bosnia. Haven't figured out why is that. One thing I did like very much were the cevapi I found in Safeway supermarket. This time I'm going to get some Turkish bread and more cevapi and have some nostalgic experience. :)
And, yes, I might even go to the beach. Just to have a photo of the New Year's on the hot sand.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Balkan Issues on Facebook

Facebook Pulls Group Glorifying Srebrenica ::

Despite the confusing title of the article at the link above, the news is positive and clear. Facebook admins closed the hate group glorifying the massacre at Srebrenica in 1995. The very existence of such a group just portrays how many mentally sick people walk around the Balkans.
On another positive side, I'm so relaxed here in Australia that the feeling is almost passing into boredom. Everything is so neat, in time, people are friendly, everything runs smoothly, the unexpected situations are very rare. One can rest assured that everything will be alright. There is this invisible net of safety around that just grows roots in one's mind. I'm getting closer to the goal. Australian citizenship should provide this safety from the moment I get the citizenship certificate. It is like a life jacket in the sea of madness that exists in the Balkans.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Sleepless Nights

On Friday I bought a 320GB 2.5" hard drive. The forecast for Saturday was rain so I prepared myself to spend the day indoors. I was looking forward to spending a day setting up virtual environments on the pocket drive. What I wanted to achieve is to set up a Sharepoint 2007 machine where I could play with this platform. Another machine would be a developer's workstation. Despite the term "workstation", I'm still thinking about using Windows Server 2008 as an underlying operating system for this role. Yet another one would be a personal workstation. This could be an XP machine that has all my software installed on it so that I can use it anywhere.

All it takes is to have a copy of VMWare Player on the drive, as well. This idea looked pretty interesting so I spent the whole Friday evening playing with the drive and virtual machines. That reminded me of the old days with the sleepless nights, installing or working out the latest technologies. At that time I used physical machines, dual boots, and other ancient techniques. Today, with the virtual environments so advanced, there is hardly a need for another physical machine.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Life Goes On

Today, a friend from Bosnia wrote to me announcing the birth of his first newborn. It is a kind of nice to see how the generation is moving into different waters. This affects my thinking about the future.
Another interesting matter is that, in the same email, he is asking when I'm considering moving back to Europe. The software development skills seem to be in shortage everywhere these days. I hope it stays the same by the time I get to go back. Will have to reconsider all the options in the near future.


After I found out that Microsoft's web site is now hosted on SharePoint 2007 I got more interested in this product. Now I have that enthusiasm about IT flowing out again. On my tech blog I have the link to the download of the MOSS 2007 virtual hard drive file for the trial version of SharePoint. This is currently being downloaded at work so I'm looking forward to get some first-hand experience with it. It seems that SharePoint skills are highly in demand nowadays.
Of course, that includes previous experience with Windows Communication Foundation, ASP.Net, web sites, SQL and other related technologies.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Photos: Around Melbourne

2008-12-06 Melbourne

A few photos from previous days. Just walking around Melbourne - Docklands, Federation Square, Birrarung Marr - Homeless World Cup, and a view from the office on a cloudy day.

Travian Troop Tool

D=DDAY=D - D=DDAY=D - Travian Troops Tool

Besides the main game, there seems to be a huge following in the community with the related Travian web sites and tools. One such tool is the Travian Troop Tool people use for troop count.
In my opinion, Travian should provide some kind of API to extract this kind of information automatically instead of having to retype all the numbers constantly.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Land of Magic

Top 10 | Landscape photos | landscapes with a soul

I've been looking at photos on the above site for some time. It has really brightened my day. The day is wonderful - clear skies, sunshine. The temperature should go to 30 today.
The scenery at the photographs transfer me to a land of magic and really turn the perspective upside down. Everything seems different just by looking at the beauty of scenes worldwide.
Enjoy watching.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Homeless World Cup Matches

Today, after work, I went to watch Homeless World Cup football matches at the Federation Square. Watched 4-5 matches in total. The game is interesting, dynamic. Some players really know how to tackle the ball while others get really confused. Is it because of the crowd or they feel the supremacy of the opposing team, I don't know.

The female match was fun to watch. Girls would literally fall over the ground at occasions. It was a real girlie football which struck me because there are girls playing in other teams and one would never say they are girls by the way they play.

Anyway, it was fun to watch. There are lots of European teams. Sockeroos (Aussies) had a tie today. Girls won while men were beaten by Portugal.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Homeless World Cup is On

Coming back from work, I noticed that the Homeless World Cup has started today. There was just enough time to see two matches tonight - East Timor vs Malawi, and India vs Philippines. The last match was very good. Dynamic play, lots of energy. They really showed why the stadiums are so small. There were some nice moves and lots of opportunities. In a way, it is a pity Philippines lost, since I had a feeling they played a bit better.

Nonetheless, the event is on. The schedule is available online at the organization's web site I'm looking forward to seeing the evening matches on my way back home. There are lots of European countries among participants. Matches will run until 6, 7pm usually so I will probably catch only a few last matches. Which will be just enough, anyway.

Matches last for about 10 minutes, with about one minute in between. Three players plus a goalkeeper. The size of the field is very small. About two decent rooms area. So the game is quite interesting to watch. On Federation Square the match can be watched on the main video screen, just above the stadium.

Now I see how much I miss playing, or just watching, football (sorry, soccer).