NZ Winter Adventure – Part One: Christchurch

In mid-September I went to New Zealand for ten days for a short holiday. The trip began with a flight from Sydney to Christchurch. This was the first time I’ve visited Christchurch since 2009. After landing, collecting my bags and picking up a rental car I drove into the central city. As I drove through the suburbs I didn’t see any damage from the various earthquakes that have rocked the city over the last five years. However, once I got into the CBD I was surprised by the extent of the still visible damage and empty streets. The rebuilding has produced a number of impressive new buildings but there is still much more to be rebuilt – and even buildings left to be torn down. Below are a few photos taken around the city.

Thoughts on the 2016 Malaysian Formula One GP

Yesterday’s 2016 Malaysian Formula One GP was one of the best (if not the best) races of this year’s F1 season.

As a big fan of Daniel Ricciardo I’m extremely happy that he won the race, but that isn’t the sole reason why I think this race was excellent.

In no particular order these are the things that made it great:

  • Nico Rosberg fighting back from 21st place to 3rd place. He was extremely lucky not to be out of the race on the first corner, lucky again not to have any damage, and furthermore he was lucky to not damage his car when he hit Kimi Räikkönen.
  • Red Bull splitting strategies to put Lewis Hamilton under pressure. At first I was annoyed that Max Verstappen was given the pit stop and not Ricciardo but it was a risk that the stop was too early and the tires wouldn’t last later in the race.
  • Red Bull allowing Ricciardo and Verstappen to race each other, and they raced very hard and very fair. As it turned out by Ricciardo not allowing Verstappen past it determined the outcome of the race.
  • Additionally, by double stacking both Red Bulls under the Virtual Safety Car and giving them fresh rubber gave them an almost equal fight to the flag.
  • Both McLaren Honda cars in the top 10, in the last few races they have massively improved their performance.
  • Jolyon Palmer scoring his first points in F1.

The video below captures the battle between Ricciardo and Verstappen and then the moment that Hamilton’s engine gave up.

Daniel Ricciardo’s post race interview dedicating the win to Jules Bianchi was poignant as well.

And finally everyone on the podium doing the Shoey was hugely entertaining:

All of this action makes me as excited as this little man:

Photos: Supercars at Sydney Motorsport Park 2016

In late August I went to the Friday practice sessions of the 2016 round of the Supercars at Sydney Motorsport Park. The support classes for this event were top notch. In particular the Carrera Cup Asia and the Toyota 86 categories were great to watch.

The photos below are from a variety of the categories that day.

A night walk around Sydney during Vivid

A few months ago I took my camera on a walk from Surry Hills down to the harbour during Vivid Sydney. Below are some of the sights that I saw, and not all of them are Vivid Sydney related, Sydney is a beautiful city that glitters under lights.

Sydney CBD at night from Prince Alfred Park

Sydney CBD at night from Prince Alfred Park

Central Park Brewery Building

Central Park Brewery Building

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Photos: Wings Over Illawarra

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This gallery contains 17 photos.

In late April I went to the Wings over Illawarra air show on NSW’s South Coast.

Despite a little bit of rain the day was fantastic with many old and current war planes on display both statically and in flight.

Below are some of the photos and a video I took on the day. Continue reading

Central Europe Adventures 2016 – Part Twenty Three: Frankfurt

My final day in Germany began by being woken to the sound of Worms Cathedral’s bells tolling. After taking a shower in the freezing bathroom of my hotel room (it was more of a B&B) I carefully packed my suitcase and carry-on backpack for one final day of adventure and then the long journey back to Sydney.

Once I had finished breakfast I rugged up as it was a very cold morning and walked through the pedestrian mall of Worms back to the Worms’ Hauptbahnhof to catch a train to Frankfurt. As I walked I discovered a plaque noting the place where Luther had lived during the Diet of Worms.

To get to Frankfurt I had to catch a local service from Worms back to Mainz and then switch to a S-Bahn service. Although the local trains are “relatively” slow I had a good view of the vineyards that make the Rhine area so famous. I switched trains at Mainz’s Römisches Theater station, unfortunately the transfer time between the two trains was around 2 minutes so I did not have time to take a photo of the ruins of the Roman Theatre that the station is built beside.

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Central Europe Adventures 2016 – Part Twenty Two: Technik Museum Speyer

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This gallery contains 29 photos.

The Technik Museum Speyer was the biggest surprise of my trip. As stated in my previous post I had not heard about the town of Speyer until the previous evening and I went there on a whim. Visiting the museum was then a last minute decision as I had a few hours spare.

The museum is very large and has an amazing collection of planes, trains and automobiles from all areas of the globe. Seeing the Buran Space Shuttle alone would have satisfied me but also walking through a Boeing 747, Antonov 22 and German U-Boat made this museum the best I’ve ever been to – better than Kennedy Space Center.

I need to return and spend a full day here as I didn’t see everything and I now also want to visit the nearby sister Auto & Technik Museum Sinsheim. Continue reading

Reverting VirtualBox Guest Additions 5.0.22 on Ubuntu 16.04

Earlier today I upgraded my installation of Virtualbox on Windows 10 from 5.0.20 to 5.0.22. This also came up with an update to the guest additions which I installed into my Ubuntu 16.04 guest machine.

After a reboot Ubuntu would no longer boot and instead would flicker as it tried to change the screen resolution inside the virtual machine. This is a known problem in VirtualBox (see: https://www.virtualbox.org/ticket/15526).

I’ve managed to revert VirtualBox and the guest additions back to 5.0.20 using the following steps:

  1. On the host OS (in this case Windows 10) reinstall VirtualBox 5.0.20 over 5.0.22 – this was straight forward, I found the old installer in my downloads directory.
  2. Open VirtualBox and start the Ubuntu guest machine, immediately hold down the left shift key. This must be done before the purple splash screen.
  3. At the grub menu that loads select “Advanced Options for Ubuntu” and then select the second menu entry. This entry should contain the word “upstart”.
  4. Once Ubuntu has booted to a console, login.
  5. Switch to the currently installed VirtualBox guest additions install directory
    cd /opt/VBoxGuestAdditions-5.0.22/

    and try and run

    sudo ./uninstall

    I didn’t have much success with this.

  6. Insert the guest additions CD from VirtualBox’s top menu bar.
  7. Mount the CD Rom: 
    sudo mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom
  8. Switch to the cdrom directory
    cd /cdrom
  9. Reinstall the old version of the guest additons
    sudo ./VBoxLinuxAdditions.run
  10. Reboot Ubuntu and everything “should” be fine.

Central Europe Adventures 2016 – Part Twenty One: Speyer

Until the previous evening I hadn’t even heard of Speyer and discovering it turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip. After spending the morning exploring Worms I jumped on a train for the 35 minute journey to Speyer.

Arriving at Speyer I walked from the Hauptbahnhof along to the Altpörtel and Maximilianstraße, Speyer’s main street. Here the pastel coloured buildings of Speyer felt a lot more like “stereotypical” Germany than Worms or Mainz did. This may be due to it receiving much less damage during WWII than the other two cities.

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