November 9, 2008 – 1:22 am

Life is good.  Cheese, wine, crackers and fruit. nom nom nom nom….

Recent cheese discoveries at Jones The Grocer. Left to right;

and wine to go with it.

  • Moorebank 2003 Merlot
  • Petersons 2001 Mudgee Cab Sav

and another delicious discovery, english apple pickle.

New sandbox PC

November 3, 2008 – 12:45 pm

I bought a new PC recently to run virtual machines on.  Virtualisation is all the rage, so I’ve decided to play around with Xen and VMware.  It also gives me an easy way to play with numerous OSes without having to frig around with hardware. As GNS3 is to Cisco routers, this box will be to OS’s.

I’ve got ESXi on it at the moment with a ReadyNAS NFS fileshare set up as a datastore in addition to the internal disk.

Thanks to nice corporate discounts, i was able to get this spec for a good price;

HP Compaq dc5800 SFF

  • Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • 160GB SATA-2 10K rpm HDD
  • Intel PRO dual port gig-eth network card

PS: Rational Survivability is a good blog for people interested in Virtualisation and Security

UPDATE: Something to be aware of. Many corporate desktops have the Virtualisation enhancements in the CPU (Intel: VT-x) turned off by default for security reasons.  On this PC i had to upgrade the BIOS and drill down through the security menu to find the option to turn it on.  There was no doco on it that I could find and HP’s support people had no clue.

SANS 2008

November 2, 2008 – 4:43 pm

A little while ago I discovered that Verizon has annual training budget for employees to do work related courses of their choice.  Around that time I learned that SANS was holding one of their training events here in Sydney. I’ve always wanted to do a SANS course but the cost put me off.

I enrolled in “SEC502: Perimeter Protection In-Depth“.  I’ve got a lot of experience with designing and building datacenter networks but it’s been some years since i was was working with people that i could call mentors. So I could do with a bit of a refresher.  The course was being run by its author, Chris Brenton.

The course finished up yesterday. It was an intense 6 days of theory, practice and examples from Chris’s extensive experience. This course was definately worth the money. I’ve got 6 books of course notes full of scribbled comments. I’ll be going back to the books for months or more, to get what i couldnt absorb during the course itself.

It was the best course I’ve ever done. Equal best with training i did with Dr. Rex di Bona some years ago.

My next task is to study for the GIAC certification that’s associated with the course. It’s open book, so that worries me a little. It’ll be hard!

Another attendee’s blog: Chris Mohan

Some relevant websites;

InGuardians Dr Rex Di Bona

UPDATE: 4 Mar 09 – A week and a bit ago I passed the exam. I’m now a GIAC Certified Firewall Analyst (GCFW)

Hunter Valley wineries

September 22, 2008 – 5:56 pm

Pictures from a recent trip to the hunter vallery visiting cellar doors.

We visited our old favorites Moorebank and Petersons and 8 others. Standout new winery for me was Calais Estate. Most of the rest were passé. Still, you don’t discover good things if you’re not adventurous.


June 1, 2008 – 5:04 pm

Flew into Fiji last night. 747 into Nadi then a puddle-jumper into Suva. Much safer here than I expected. The personal safety habits acquired in the Caribbean are overkill. Still, better safe than sorry.

air pacific domestic baggage claim, SuvaHotel view, Suva


May 4, 2008 – 9:28 pm

Chika’s gyoza is awesome. All fresh ingredients, pork and cabbage minced up in the food processor. Her folding skill comes from making them since she was a kid.

Buon Ricordo

April 25, 2008 – 8:31 pm


We went to Buon Ricordo last night. I’ve been meaning to go for ages, but never got round to it.

I went with high expectations and wasn’t disappointed. The atmosphere is casual and a little noisy. The decor is all red tiles and wooden ceilings and floral print cloth.  It could so easily be tacky and cheesy but manages not to be.  Service is top notch. As good as any three hat’ed restaurant. The food was the best of all, as I expected.  A nice touch was the way they brought out two half serves for all the dishes we said we would be sharing. I’ve never seen that before. As a result we were able to try four different dishes and still have room for dessert.

The famous “Fettuccine al tartufovo” lived up to the hype.  Simply divine.  Do a search for it. People have been blogging and photographing it for years.

If you haven’t been, and you love food, go! go now!


March 5, 2008 – 10:18 pm

It’s next to impossible to find Shiso leaves to buy in Sydney. Sashimi just isnt the same without it. A little while ago we found an online shop that had Shiso seeds. After a lot of trial and error we’ve managed to get some to sprout. Hurry up and grow!

Fish for dinner

March 4, 2008 – 9:45 pm

The new fish shop that’s opened in Willoughby has some excellent fish. What they have on offer varies greatly as they only buy quality fresh fish. If they cant get it, they don’t sell cheap rubbish instead.

I bought some fish after work and Chika cooked this up

Chilli miso prawnsSnapper sashimiginger-soy simmered kingfish

sashimi soy sauceBeer!

Tips when visiting Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo

March 2, 2008 – 5:17 pm


From Kateigaho 2007 Summer edition