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Happy 1st Birthday Arno Monday, 24th September, 2012

Posted by nomadical in Family.
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Arno’s typical cheery smile.

Our happy little baby is now a toddling one-year old.

The birthday boy in his crown, doing his best Orson Welles impersonation as he tries to figure out how to stop Freya from opening his presents.

What a delightful first year. But growing into a toddler does wear you out. And older sisters will sometimes take advantage of that.

Arno hardly notices when Maren sneaks into his bed in the middle of the night.

Happy birthday Arno!


Image credits: Terri, Mike and Helen

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East Timor – Part 1 Tuesday, 2nd August, 2011

Posted by nomadical in Travel.
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We recently returned from a family holiday to East Timor. Perhaps not the most common of holiday destinations, but Mike’s sister has been living there for 10 years and it was time we returned to visit her, and her son Oliver.

You probably have a certain image in your head of Timor Leste. Well, here are some of the images we collected in our 2 and a half weeks there. I wonder how it fits with your preconceptions?

Click on images for a larger view. More to come, maybe…

Beach near Dili.

Typical beach holiday.

Aah, this is the life.

Helen and the kids at the house at Baucau.

Freya's entourage at the Sunday morning market in Baucau.

Baucau market.

The locals loved Maren's chubby legs. Maren found the piglets strung up by their snouts more interesting.

Going home from the market.

Outside the bottom house at Baucau.

Helen's birthday pool party. Thanks Liz!

Maren, Oli and some local kids at the tais market in Dili.


Image credits: Mike and Helen

Plandroid Version 2.0 Released! Tuesday, 28th June, 2011

Posted by DelftRed in General, Work.
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Plandroid Header

After 6 months of head-down development work, Plandroid version 2.0 is finally available for download.  Plandroid is the fantastic ducted air conditioning design software package that I’ve been working hard on for the last few years. Version 1.0 was released a year ago, and in that time I’ve had two minor releases, but this is the first major upgrade to the program.  I’ve incorporated a lot of customer feedback, and with Nick’s guiding hand with the architecture and all things tricky, it’s really starting to shine.

The Plandroid Design Screen

The Plandroid Design Screen

The new release has lots of great functionality, but the major advance in this release is part snap-to, which lets parts click together if they match.  So the user can connect ducting to joiners to air conditioning units just by dragging and dropping, and move all parts connected together as one.  The program has now really grown up from a drawing package to a fully-fledged CAD (computer aided design) package.  I’m really proud of it, but it’s only come this far with the generous and selfless help of many people, but most especially Nick and Peter – and also the untiring support of Helen.  Thanks guys!!

Have a look at the Plandroid website: www.plandroid.com, and if you do know anyone in the industry, send them over to have a look!

These are not the Plandroids you’re looking for…

On a more comical note, lawyers representing Lucasfilm Ltd. are “vigorously opposing my trademark registration”, because they think the word android in my program’s name is too close to their registered trademark DROID™. You think I’m joking?  I am serious.  And these guys go to university to get a law degree?  Well, we’ll see what the tribunal has to say on the matter.  Watch this space for further updates… :)

Carbon Planet IFM-LtPF Methodology Approved Wednesday, 30th March, 2011

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After almost 2 years of work, and 7 PhDs amongst others working on it, the company I work for, Carbon Planet has just received final approval for a carbon accounting methodology that calculates the emissions saved by protecting a tropical rainforest from logging.

This is a really big deal.

Currently, under the Kyoto Protocol, not many kinds of forestry projects actually count towards generating carbon credits that can be used to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Only reforestation and afforestation projects are covered. That has meant that there was little incentive for anyone in the developing world to stop logging their forests.

The only way to generate carbon credits from something like preventing selective logging in a tropical rainforest is to set up a project that is accredited via what’s known as the voluntary carbon market. Major organisations like the Verified Carbon Standard Association (VCSA) approve and administer emissions reduction projects that generate carbon credits for the voluntary markets in sectors not covered by Kyoto. The catch is, up until recently, there was no approved method of calculating the emissions reductions from stopping logging and protecting a forest. And it turns out that it’s actually fairly complicated. So complicated that it took us a couple of years of work, with two rounds of verification by external auditors expert in forestry greenhouse gas emissions, to figure it all out.

But now we have, and all 111 pages of the final product, complete with more than one hundred equations, can be found on the VCS website for all the world to see (and use).


Image credits: Carbon Planet Limited and Verified Carbon Standard

Freya Is Three Saturday, 5th February, 2011

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Freya just turned three.

Here’s what she looked like in the birthday crown:

Freya enjoys being the centre of attention for her birthday.

And here’s how her year unfolded:

February. Freya found it hard adjusting to having a little sister,

but she still found a smile occasionally.

May. A butterfly visitor.

November. Freya still loves to climb.

February. Freya gets the Warhol treatment,

and she finally has some fun with Maren.


Image credits: Mike on flickr

Happy Birthday Maren Sunday, 30th January, 2011

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She’s 1 today.

Maren models her birthday girl crown.

All the usual blah about looking back at what was going on one year ago… The first twinges, the dash to the hospital, the baby’s welcome appearance. Except, no, wait … Maren did it differently. With Maren it was more like:

The first twinges, the casual phone call to the hospital that things have started, we’ll be coming in soon. Before that phone call is over, the realisation that, no actually we won’t be going anywhere, as there’s a baby actually already on her way out and just getting out of the bathroom is going to be a challenge. So instead, it’s a quick emergency call, an ambulance dispatched, a midwife on speaker phone talking Mike through his part of the job and 12 minutes later there’s a baby in my arms. Freya managed to sleep through the whole thing in the next room.

All in all, a bit unexpected, but wonderful nonetheless. And Maren was fine, despite her very rapid entrance.  Mike did what he was meant to – stay cool and catch the baby – and the ambulance crew arrived just in time to clamp the cord. But it also explains why there’s a bit of a shortage of photos from Maren’s first moments. So instead, here’s a selection of Maren through the year.

January. Still on the floor after the ambulance has arrived.

March. Freya enjoys a cuddle.

June. Clean.

October. Freya and Maren are a bit unsure of the quality of the latest offering from OK Go.

November. Dangerous heights are fun.

November. A long day in the gravel pit.

 

More photos on flickr.


Image Credits: Helen & Mike

Almost Harvest Time Tuesday, 25th January, 2011

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Look what’s coming! Yum, our first vintage in the new house is looking good.

Grapes ripening on the vine outside the back door.


Image Credit: Helen

WOMADelaide Is Coming Saturday, 15th January, 2011

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I’m starting to get a bit excited about WOMADelaide this year. My possibly all-time, certainly current, favourite ‘world music’ act is performing: Amadou and Mariam.

Amadou & Mariam’s fabulous album, Dimanche a Bamako

Plus Joanna Newsom will be there too!

We’ve been to WOMADelaide every year since returning to Australia and the kids have never missed a WOMADelaide since they were born, which in Freya’s case means she’s already been to three.

You can see we were already looking forward to this year’s event if you look closely at the decorations on our Christmas tree:

 

Freya surveying the Christmas loot

Freya admires the tree.

Yep, that’s right, a bunch of free postcards with the WOMAD lion on them adorned the tree this year, in amongst the tinsel. Unfortunately this photo didn’t quite manage to capture the handmade (by Mike) alfoil Starship Enterprise which topped the tree, as always.


Image credits: Amazon and Mike

A New Start Friday, 7th January, 2011

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It’s been some time since we’ve posted anything new here. It’s not that nothing has happened – quite the contrary of course – we’ve had an extremely eventful 18 months.

Now, after a busy period without documentation, it is starting to feel like we could start recording some of the highlights again.

For now – a quick recap.

When we last saw our heroes, they were travelling through Europe:

where Freya learnt to rock climb,

Freya climbing at Froggatt, Peak District, UK

Helen was pregnant,

The New Baby (Spine Shot)

and Mike was approaching a milestone.

Mike's 40th Birthday Party

Since then, Freya has grown,

Freya before the party

Freya tries on Mum's pajamas

Helen has given birth (at home!),

The (unexpected) home birth - whoa!Maren’s arrival

Mike has released his long-awaited Plandroid software,

Plandroid

we’ve moved house,

and Maren has started walking.

What wonders will 2011 bring? Stay tuned …


Image Credits: Helen and Mike

Deutsche Bahn – Kinderparadies Thursday, 20th August, 2009

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A huge rush to the doors as the ICE train from Berlin to Copenhagen arrives at the platform. With our rucksacks, day packs and Freya in her pusher we battle with the crowds and are left stranded at the end of the carriage, with no reservation and not a spare seat to be seen. We can’t stay in the corridor, but we can’t even get through the crowded aisles. Packs are getting heavy, Freya has just woken up, people pushing around us are getting annoyed. Then, suddenly – oh, wonder! The conductor appears and motions us to follow. Wearily we comply. And suddenly, before us – a paradise: the children’s compartment. A compartment with everything we needed – a big table with wraparound seats, a door that closes, a foldable change-table, a ride-on bike and even a powerpoint for the laptop. Saved! And suddenly our horror ride to Lubeck has become a dream run.
Photo – Freya on bike in train

A huge rush to the doors as the ICE train from Berlin to Copenhagen arrives at the platform. With our rucksacks, day packs and Freya in her pusher we battle with the crowds and are left stranded at the end of the carriage, with no reservation and not a spare seat to be seen. We can’t stay in the corridor, but we can’t even get through the crowded aisles. Packs are getting heavy, Freya has just woken up, people pushing around us are getting annoyed. Then, suddenly – oh, wonder! The conductor appears and motions us to follow. Wearily we comply. And suddenly, before us – a paradise: the children’s compartment. A compartment with everything we needed – a big table with wraparound seats, a door that closes, a foldable change-table, a ride-on bike and even a powerpoint for the laptop. Saved! And suddenly our horror ride to Lubeck has become a dream run.

Helen and Freya on the trainFreya shows her delight at finding the on-board entertainment on the Berlin-Copenhagen train.


Image Credit: Mike