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When the Republican Party harps on and on and on about how the United States needs to “cut government spending,” they are of course referring to the government spending money on stupid, useless things like education and health. Money spent on anything related to the military is money well spent, as seen last week when Boston Dynamics was awarded a $32 million contract to develop a prototype robotic pack mule:

Within the next three years, the U.S. military will test the feasibility of sending a quadruped robot out into the field as a trusty pack mule to carry supplies for its troops, wherever they go… The military already uses unmanned aerial vehicles for reconnaissance or to attack enemy targets, and DARPA has sponsored several contests in recent years to determine the feasibility of developing autonomic ground transportation. Automation has been much more difficult to introduce to the infantry, however, because of the need to traverse rough terrain where robots operating on wheels or tracks cannot go.

Maybe you could, I don’t know, use actual mules? Crazy!

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…here are some photos of Collie ’09!

There aren’t many because we lost Dad’s camera quite early and Phoebe only took a bunch of photos of herself disking and everybody else is tardy with uploading things to Facebook. But it wasn’t a particularly good Collie for a variety of reasons so I suppose it’s appropriate!

Here is Chris walking across the campsite holding orange juice and giving me a stern glare.

Here is me setting a new trend. Watch out ladies!

Here is Chris and Lindsay and Dennis setting off on an expedition to scuba dive the lake. Not pictured: me off sulking because I can’t dive.

Here is me and m’bro Mike, who returned from an eight month trip working at a summer camp in New York and a ski resort in Canada. He brought back a bottle of tequila duty free and for the first time we were treated to the spectacle of Michael Hill drunk. It was more or less the same as the regular Michael Hill (flamboyant, exuberant, dancy) except he spent a lot of time falling over and vomited all over the Gullotti’s annex.

Here is Chris sitting in the naughty chair.

This is a photo of all the families, to send to my cousin Georgie who is currently working as a London-based QANTAS flight attendant. We also sent her a care package with little message cards in it from each of us. Mine contained a sketch of the Twin Towers burning and advice on how to avoid sharks if the plane ditches into the ocean (swim away from the wreckage because they’re attracted to curious noises. You’re basically fucked anyway though because oceanic whitetips are more likely to attack humans than any other shark, and you’re probably bleeding a lot).

That’s it for Collie photos, but I went and bought a camera of my own for Japan today (a Nikon Coolpix), so prepare to be treated to a lot of test images taken around my house!

I basically just walked into CameraHouse and let the salesman tell me what to buy. It’s certainly not a bad camera, but it suffers from the same problem as my Dad’s, which is that when I try to take a photo my hands shake imperceptibly and blur the image (this is a design flaw).

This is a picture of me in front of the bathroom mirror.

This is some of the assorted clothing I have bought for Japan on the living room floor. The flash is turned on to try and combat the blur issue but it still leaves it looking kind of… odd.

This is a photo of me that my sister’s friend took. Note the graininess.

This is my bedroom – again, note the graininess. I can’t recall how much of this is due to squeezing it down to fit inside my WordPress template, though.

This is my Asus eee netbook compared against some common household items for scale. It’s slightly larger than a paperback book, which I’m sure will be good for travelling, but which is a bitch to type on.

And this is a photo of my bookshelf, which I think is the grainiest/blurriest of the lot. I guess I’m going to have to fiddle around with the settings and such and see if I can fix that, or hire a guy with surgeon’s hands and have him follow me around at all times. I’m definitely not taking it back. The only reason I went and bought a new camera was because the one I ordered from Dad’s work had the glaring problem of being powered by replaceable AA batteries. Since this is not 1998 I do expect that my camera be rechargeable, rather than having to buy a pack of batteries every 200 photos. So the moral is don’t buy a Canon Powershot A1000 IS.

So, aside from minor annoyances like low battery life and certain keys that require a lot of prodding to work properly, it turns out the Asus eee PC has a MAJOR GLARING DESIGN FLAW that is causing me a lot of headaches.

The SSD harddrive has only about 12 gigs of space, which for some reason is split into multiple drives (NICE WORK ASUS!) The C drive has 3.8 gigabytes of space, which is just a bit cramped. Especially when the first Windows updates kicks in and begins rapidly filling up the entire drive with useless security updates. I was just browsing the net last night when all of a sudden the machine started whirring, and a few minutes later a bubble popped up warning me I had low harddrive space.

Googling the problem on my home computer reveals that this is apparently a widespread problem. The solution is to turn off Windows automatic updates and just never fucking update the thing. Putting aside the additional problems this raises, even after I turned the automatic updater off, the stuff it had already downloaded was still on there. I went through Add/Remove programs and got rid of all the most recent updates, but that only pulled me back up to about 650 MB of free space on the C drive.

Evidently there’s still a massive number of pointless update files lurking away in the depths of the computer, and I have no idea how to reach them or remove them. Even if I can, I’m questioning how useful a computer with only 3.8 gigs of C drive space is going to be, and I’m considering taking this back to the store and exchanging it for the 80 gig HD model. Hopefully the customer rule I have learned at Coles (complain long enough and hard enough and you’ll get what you want) also applies to expensive electronics.

I’m typing this on the laptop ompuer I just bought, an Asus eee PC 900.

This insaney miniscule keyord may tke some getting used o.

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