Thursday, October 26, 2006

Hong Kong's first budget long haul airline

Hong Kong's first budget airline, Oasis, has finally got off the ground with an inaugural flight to London.

I'm quite excited about this as it means I'll be able to get to and from London for a lot cheaper than normal - a seriously big bonus when you work as a volunteer!

Wikipedia entry

Hong Kong's first budget long haul airline

Hong Kong's first budget airline, Oasis, has finally got off the ground with an inaugural flight to London.

I'm quite excited about this as it means I'll be able to get to and from London for a lot cheaper than normal - a seriously big bonus when you work as a volunteer!

Wikipedia entry

Monday, October 09, 2006

New York City Children

A friend of mine recently sent me this short 3 min video about a project to photograph a child from every country - but they are all living in New York.

Those of you that know me, know that I love anything multi-cultural, crossing borders and boundaries, bringing people from many nations together. So I love the motivation behind this project:
"The mission of New York City Children is to gather and nuture an inclusive community of children and create opportunities for them to meet and learn about each other and form friendships"
You'll also probably know that I really enjoy portait photography. I love taking shots of friends that reveal just one or two aspects of their character... and there's some really neat about the characters of the children captured in this sequence.

I'm not sure how many nations he's covered yet, I couldn't find a website apart from (which produced the short documentary) but it has no search feature! If anyone finds it, please let me know :o)


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A new way to search my blog

The astute readers amongst you will no doubt have noticed the new "Search my blog / web" panel that has appeared on my blog. The geeks amongst you will notice that I have replaced the standard Google search box with a rather new spiced up jazzy Google AJAX widget... AJAX is a bit of a buzz word in the programming world at the moment and I was keen to get in on the action. So I borrowed this code from the nice people over at Google - thanks to Mark Lucovsky for his post and demonstration here)

Actually he's also enhanced the demo blog with some rather funky map and video searches too. Definately worth checking out and I may well play around with those in due course too!

For those of you that are "not really into that computer programming nonsense" but love to reap the benefits of long hard hours spent by coders. Click the following links and see what happens...

Sri Lanka | Fire | My car is dead | Elephant Orphanage ... and yes ... it's magic!

Programming Links:

Friday, September 15, 2006

Earthquake in Hong Kong

Well according to the South China Morning Post (that's a 'newspaper' for the uninitated - one of those classic daily money making schemes - SCMP for short) we had an earthquake last night measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale at 7.53pm to be precise.

Not that I actually noticed it though. I vaguely remember a slight jolt but was out having dinner at the time and was otherwise occupied! :o) And I also had a cold so wasn't really that with it at the time.

So...all this to say that, after having searched through the archives of the mother of all reliable news (aka the BBC - take that with a pinch of salt) in vain the story is nowhere to be found, so I can't even prove it to you. Alas...I fear Hong Kong could disappear into the sea and the whole of the Western World would never know.

** here endeth the sarcasm for the day. exit stage left.

Update: Matt blogged about the quake too and found a news article!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Gazing on Christ

I've started reading a book recently called "Looking Through the Glass" by Kris Lundgaard, recommended to me by a friend of mine at church.

I'm still only in the first chapter but have read this quote over and over again this past week (its on page 11 by the way, if you happen to have the book) ...

Gazing on Christ will give rest, satisfaction and peace to our souls. Our minds tend to be full of countless perplexed thoughts - fears, cares, dangers, distresses, passions and lusts throw us into disorder, darkness, and confusion. But when our best thoughts are fixed on Jesus, our hearts will be kept holy, serene, and spiritual. For "to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Romans 8:6 NKJV) . Reflecting on Christ takes our minds off things below - things that aren't worth comparing to the great worth, beauty, and glory of what we see in Christ (compare Philippians 3:7-11). When we take our eyes off Christ, we become strangers to heavenly life, and live without the spiritual refreshment and satisfaction that God offers in his gospel.

Time to 'stay grounded in steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted." (Colossians 1:21-23, The Message)

Friday, August 04, 2006

Alex Eating Mr Green Man!

Oh dear! Alex paid us a visit in the office the other day and proceeded to 'get to know' all of our toys by eating them! Here is Mr Green Man meeting Alex for the first time...head first! Mr Orange Man and Mr Blue Man have already dived for cover!

I've been in the UK for the past month and now that I'm back here in Hong Kong it's no surprise to see how much Alex has changed. Babies have a habit of doing that! It's very cool to see this little man growing up. He's got such a good baby-attitude, like not being too grumpy when his mum can't pick him up, but happy to sit and play (well most of the time I see him anyway!)

Its just in this case that 'playing' involved the attempted incapactation of a dearly-beloved toy. You'll be pleased to here that he pulled through and is currently undergoing rehabilitation at a secret location!

Friday, June 30, 2006

How many tennis matches can you watch at the same time?

The BBC has finally got its act together and is streaming live video feeds of the World Cup and Wimbledon sporting events.

We still don't have BBC interactive (the 'press the red button' service) at home on the telly so instead I'm having to make do loading the video streams onto my brother's laptop and then placing it next to the TV. Its great fun to play around with. I was just watching 3 Wimbledon matches all at the same time. Hewitt vs Lee, Murray vs Bennetteau and Roddick vs Mayer. Lots of quality tennis and lots of fun experimenting with the different video feeds available.

Its gonna be very useful tomorrow to follow Wimbledon whilst Germany are playing Argentina in the World Cup Quarter Final and then Italy vs Ukraine. Its a shame that Wimbledon officials have refused to show the football on Henman Hill (or Mount Murray as its been newly christened). But instead I shall look forward to watching both from the comfort of my own arm chair!

I love being on holiday!! :o)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Weather Freaks

Well you can tell Wimbledon has started because I woke up and it was raining.

And then I heard that Uncle Phil had returned to Hong Kong and they were expecting a T1 typhoon!!!

Well what can I say... coincidence? I think not! ;o)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Meditation on Joshua 9

Thoughts from Josh 9 taken from Mike Smailes sermon 25/6/2006

Israel, camping at Mt Ebal, had just renewed its covenant with the Lord (jos 8v30-35). The kings to the west of the Jordan river heard about this and formed an alliance to wage war against this threat. The people of Gibeon, an important city in the region (jos 10v2)(map), were afraid that the Israelites would wipe them out, so they disguised themselves as foreigners from a distant country in order to trick the Israelites into accepting a peace agreement with them.

Loaded donkeys, worn out sacks, old wineskins, patched sandals, old clothes, and mouldy bread did the trick. Looking at the evidence, the Israelites judged it to be authentic, but they did not enquire of the Lord (jos 9v14). The peace agreement, however, was made in the Lord’s name. Three days later the ruse was uncovered. The Israelites surrounded the cities of Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath Jearim but because of their oath they did not harm them. Upset by their mistake, the Israelites grumbled and made the people woodcutters and water carriers for the entire community.

All this came about, because the Israelites had not enquired of the Lord and sought his wisdom first. You don’t get God’s wisdom if you don’t ask for it.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Ja 1v5

However, the Lord showed mercy and worked his purposes despite the ignorance of his people: In King Solomon’s time, many years later, Gibeon was the most important high place in Israel to worship the Lord, (1 Kings 3v4) as the temple had not yet been built. While Solomon was visiting Gibeon, offering sacrifices, the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,

“Ask for whatever you want me to give you” - 1 Kings 3v5

Solomon asked for and received a “wise and discerning heart”.

Despite the history of Gibeon, symbolic of the Israelites failing to seek the Lord’s wisdom, God chooses this place to make his generous offer to Solomon. Was Solomon aware of the past history at Gibeon? We don’t know, but most probably considering his knowledge, making his choice of “discernment in administering justice” even more poignant.

Where God’s wisdom is not sought for or central, life decisions become unclear, the way forward becomes blurry and indecision paralyses his servants. By failing to “enquire of the Lord” mistakes are made and the consequences are painful. But as the Lord’s grace and mercy encompass Solomon, the core centrality of His wisdom in the governance of his people is reinstated.

“With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ.” Eph 1v8-9

Christ, the revelation God-image, makes known the plans and purposes of God. He tightly holds our difficult decisions and life-plans. We are fully known by Him (Ps 139) and therefore our way forward is fully known by him. ‘Enquire of the Lord’ to uncover his ways, and in obedience walk in the truth that sets you free.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Australia vs Japan

I was about to blog about the Australia vs Japan match...then found out my friend had already done it - here.

I would like to say that at half time I stuck my neck out and said the Aussies, though they were 1-0 down, would win the game. In the 84th minute they equalised, then scored 2 more just for fun. Brasil are next...sorry Aussie fans but my money is still on the South Americans.

Credit to Gus for changing his name to Guus though. (Guus Hiddink is the current Aussie national football coach)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Remember that Columbian Goalkeeper?

Here's a little bit of nostalgia for you...

Remember that Columbian goalkeeper's back-kick in the friendly vs England. Awesome yet incredibly dangerous!

... and remember that amazing curling freekick by Roberto Carlos?

... look no further.

Ah! the memories come flooding back!

Google gets World Cup fever

I was highly impressed this morning when I walked into the office, logged in to my computer, and loaded my browser. Google fed last nights world cup results directly into my homepage and I hadn't even asked them to do it! There's only one difference between this being rude and invasive or clever and intelligent...the simple fact that I actually do want to follow the world cup. Its information that I wanted to see, replacing other items on the page that I don't want.

If you haven't come across Interactive Google before then you're in for a treat. Goto and sign into your Google account. Then you can create your own interactive homepage full of feeds that please you.

As you can see from this image, Eric Cantona adornes the right with his Nike "Joga Bonita" advertising campaign (it means "play beautifully" - in case you don't understand Portugese)

On the left is the lowdown on the Germany vs Costa Rica game (bring on Paulo Wanchope the one-hit wonder from the 90's - was very pleased to watch him play last night) and the sad news that Poland lost to Ecuador (sorry Joe).

Personally I was looking for an upset in the Germany game...but alas...though it could almost have wasn't and the Germans dispatched themselves with their usual methodicy, though their defense was rather shakey, as Wanchope proved on several occasions (ok ok his second goal was offside)

Anyway, the most important match of the World Cup so far is this evening. England take on Paraguay in Munich and our very own Mike Tozer is probably already sitting in the stadium. He was watching last night's game in a betting shop at the airport just before he flew out to Germany. Should be an easy dispatch for England...let's hope this optimism doesn't go to waste!

Friday, June 09, 2006

World Cup Predictions

Well the World Cup 2006 is finally upon us and we're all getting rather excited over here in HK. So before it officially starts, Richard and I have published our estimated outcomes of the Finals.

We also obtained an internal news article from UBS recounting their detailed statistical analysis of the up and coming Finals in Germany. Their money's on Italy... sorry guys... no chance! But it was an interesting read nonetheless...!

But the question remains... Brasil or Argentina... I'd favour this space...we'll be updating the model once the 2nd stage begins...

Click on the image to get the full view and be able to see the team names!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Life's struggles

Just read this from a friend...

We must activate our wills and command our soul to submit to our spirit. It is easy in life to do all kinds of good things to skirt this level of brokenness. It is just too devastating to the flesh. We want our way. We have our plans. We are afraid of the brokenness and out of control feeling that God is requiring of us. We are afraid to let Him be in absolute control of our lives.

Friday, June 02, 2006


I recently commented to a friend here that I would really like to start getting into more Jazz music but just don't know where to dive in - its such a broad range and I wanna skim the surfaces and find out the types that I do like.

So I started getting into a little but had a few technical difficulties getting started (unusual for an IT guy!) and a few emails later, Dr Mike Matheny, the Jazz DJ, offered me a year's free subscription which also fixed the problem! An extremely kind gesture and I'm very grateful - thank you Mike!

Now I'm streaming jazz away quite happily and enjoying a lot of the tunes that make their way to HK.

Time to get myself edumacated!

Vacation dates

I'll be coming to the UK, 24th June until 25th July. Looking forward to catching up with everybody again!

I'm a ... blogger

Dave Heath posted an interesting article on his blog about the types of bloggers out there.

  • Referential - linking the guts out of pages
  • Experiental - churning out the depths of your heart into bit and bytes
  • Newscaster - his own construction of a "Just so you know" blogger, rather sporadic posting
Read his post here

I think I have referential tendiencies [example post] as well as experiential (well not to its fullest) [example] but also newscasting potential (example not available because I haven't blogged for 66 days - I think you get the point)

Might I suggest my sub categories:
  • Sporadic blogger
    • Guilty sporadic blogger - know he/she has a habit of not posting. Most blogged about topic - the fact that they haven't blogged in a while".
    • In-denial sporadic blogger - gets it together everynow and then, likes people to think they have a healthy blog.
    • Mindless sporadic blogger - really hasn't got a clue about the whole blogging thing, but remembers a conversation with a friend that convinced them to start anyway.
I tend to morph into one or many of the above categories in some strange anarchistic flux. I really resonate with "sporadic", sorry guys. My most blogged about topic really is 'sorry for not blogging recently"

Update: perhaps I should be called a "Belated Blogger?" :o)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Hidden Holes on the MacLehose Trail

This is a classic photo from my fellow workmate and partner in crime - Mike. He and his wife have recently been trotting along the 10 stages of the 100km MacLehose trail in Hong Kong. I often go jogging along stage 10 as it passes right above where I live (yes it's up a mountain!)

There's something about translated sign posts in Hong Kong that reminds me of "Lost in Translation" Think that more to do with the title than anything else though!

Oxfam hosts an annual trailwalker race that ends on our premises. The current record for the 100-km MacLehose Trail is 11 hours 57 minutes! (2004)

Update: Mike's blogged his own photo!

Monday, March 20, 2006



We just installed a new firewall at work - does really clever stuff like actually looking at webpages before you read them - just to check you're not looking at dodgy stuff. The technical term is "content filtering" - letting through the good stuff and blocking the not so savoury stuff.

Only one problem... someone made the filters a little too aggressive and oops...I couldn't get to my blog and the reason for that was made very clear - "pornography" apparently.

I challenge anybody to find the porn on this blog - its clean I assure you! :o)

Anyways, so had a good laugh, plugged in the admin override password and hey presto...I'm here now! :)

But isn't it ironic how the password defeats the point of the filtering!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

FART (Fire Action Response Team!)

And the acronym of the day is ... !

... well then there's also BAIT (Blonde Astronauts In Training)

I love Balderdash and you can even play it online!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Mr Darcy - a German spy? average posting rating for this month has followed the trend of previous months and continued to be down at a very low rate depsite my strong encouragements to friends to start blogging cause its the best way to stay in touch.

Freaky Movie Sequence
In the last week I have watched 3 films in what turned out to be a rather freaky sequence to watch... Try this...
So what's the link? What has Jane Austen got to do with a World War 2 fact-based drama?
The much anticipated answer, my friends, is in the actors...and it F-R-E-A-K-E-D ME out!

  • Is Mr Darcy really a German spy?
  • Does Mr Collins truly exhibt the enormous skill and intelligence required to be numbered among England's finest code breakers?
  • Is Mr Knightley actually working for MI6? Does Emma know this?
People aren't what they seem anymore!! If you're wondering about my choice of films for last weekend, thinking Hong Kong life is making me soft, then let me assure you that Munich is currently on the list of 'must sees' :o)

Oh and if you're into code breaking then this bbc arcticle might be of interest to you.

Friday, February 10, 2006

New York / Geneva Trip Photos

Its now officially released - here are the shots from my New York / Geneva trip with Mr Blue Man as your host. Stealing the show as always ...

Its starts off in the baggage...

Feeling hot?!
Originally uploaded by Steveybabe.

... and then gets rather chilly up on the Empire State Building

Its cold up there
Originally uploaded by Steveybabe.

But Mr Blue Man conquers the top of's his victory pose.

Feeling satisfied
Originally uploaded by Steveybabe.

...and then a little snow ball fight breaks things up slightly!

Snow ball fight
Originally uploaded by Steveybabe.

For more photos, check out the set


“The state or quality of pursuing one's goals with conviction, persistence and dedication.”

- Wikipedia

Friends Mozaic

Friends Mozaic
Originally uploaded by Steveybabe.
Having a lot of fun over at

Loving the flickr plugins!

This is a mozaic of some friends in Hong Kong ...more to come.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Joel's blog

A friend of mine, after a little persuasion(!!), has joined the blogging sphere. Well done, Joel!

By the way, sorry for the lack of contact recently. Have been away on a business trip and then popped home for 10 days (where I am now). Unfortunately, have been ill all week so had to cancel pretty much every engagement to see all my luuurvely friends.

Back to Hong Kong on Monday. (I hope!)

Friday, January 20, 2006


"For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants."

In context...Isaiah 44 (v3)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

He [Jesus] gives a rest which develops into heaven, and He gives it this day to all who come to Him.

Love this short quote from Spurgeon's "Morning and Evening" available here

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Airplane Adventures

Airplane Adventures
Originally uploaded by Steveybabe.
Over the next few weeks Mr Blue Man will be travelling round the world. Starting from Hong Kong he's headed to New York (via Chicago) and then on to Geneva, with a final stop in the UK before he returns to Honkers.

Here with his 'partners in crime', Mr Blue Man gets a little cheeky on a plane to New York.

The flights themselves were a little 'eventful'. Mr Blue Man was unable to go to the toilet because federal law preventing him from relieving himself in cubicles with malfunctioning 'alert' buttons. His in-flight entertainment was also interrupted as the captain switched off the system along with the air cond, reading lights, and other electricals due to smoke from broken equipment. But he took great relief in the fact that the problem did not develop any further. Though he almost spilt his coke over a passenger during a brief bout of turbulence.

His motel "Super 8" in New York does have wireless internet access so he is happy to be able to blog from there as the week progresses. Tomorrow he will be working through the day preparing for important humanitarian aid collaboration meetings next week, and on Sunday he will go sightseeing in New York - more photos then.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Self explanatory

Self explanatory
Originally uploaded by Steveybabe.
Wouldn't mind applying the same logic to my programming one day! But like most things, you have to learn to do it well before saying so!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Globe trotting...!

...its now been 2 months since I last posted. Doh!

We've just come to the 'end' of a a very busy period at work and I'm exhausted! We've reached a mile stone and now we get to mark it by heading off around the globe for various meetings (my first work-related trip)

Its gonna be a hard trip, lots will be happening, and we'll be busier than ever, (so not much change from the above), but at the same time it will be a different kind of 'busy' and that is somehow refreshing. Its nice to take a break from programming once in a while! (3 months solid slog is enough to finish anyone off!)

So next week we'll be in New York having meetings with the UN and other aid agencies. The week after we'll be show-casing some work at an Aid and Trade conference in Geneva and the week after that I get to go home! Yay! Haven't been home in almost 8 months.

So if you're at home and wanna catch up...drop me a line!