jethro's blog

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Reality Intrudes

Reality intruded, small pieces crystallising sequentially.

His hand, pressed flat on hot sticky bitumen, small hard gravel chunks. He lifted it and stared at his palm, reddened by pressure, black tar crumbs clinging.

The chrome metal bumper digging into his back, hurting. He stiffened, pulled away and sat up straighter.

A deafening roar; the blur of noise combined from multiple sounds became recognisable as a siren its Doppler effect indicating its approach, the screaming of an engine running at maximum revs, tyres shrieking in protest as vehicle drivers stamped on brakes, a highly tuned idling engine sound to his right.

Smells; the acrid bite of tyre smoke, the sweetness of petrol. A stronger smell of sweat, his own he realised peripherally, and another smell, the same as the taste in his mouth, vomit he surmised.

He opened his eyes and was blinded by the sudden light, throwing his hand in front of his face to shield them as he squinted, trying to bring detail out of the glare.

In front a car lay on its roof, wheels still spinning, crumpled metal body pieces protruding at angles. Suddenly the engine stopped and the mechanical sound of hot machinery whirring as the drive train spun down with entropy, and then stopped, leaving hot metal clicking sounds.

Bizarrely a magpie took this moment to swoop into vision and alight on the tarmac between them, cock its head and look quizzically at him. It took a few steps awkwardly towards the puddle of vomit there, then paused one foot lifted and stared. Time seemed to stop momentarily as he stared back.

The siren suddenly stopped and he heard doors banging. His focus snapped back to his other hand, the one not shielding his face, a lighter gripped tightly. He stared uncomprehendingly. The engine to his right revved impatiently.

Then like a paused tv show that suddenly jerked back into life the pieces flooded in around him, jerkily at first then with increasing speed and his deliberate introspection of details was lost in the sudden cacophony of sound and vision that assaulted him. Flinging his head rapidly to the left he took it all in, the car hard behind him, the truck trailer body to his left, jack-knifed at a crazy angle across the multiple concrete wall bound lanes, the piled up cars behind and to the side. Looking to the open road to his right and the motorbike stopped there its rider looking back at him one hand beckoning. The sound of running boots invaded and looking back he saw the helmeted heads of two soldiers advancing from car to car. He looked down and saw the rocket launcher tube across his legs, the end still smoking from the discharge of the rocket, and suddenly that piece of memory swung back into place. As if he was watching again in replay as he saw the truck coming rapidly towards the temporary road block of car parked across the road and his partner screaming into his ear as he pressed the launch control and the missile sped insanely fast toward the truck cab as it bore down on them. Then as if in slow motion freeze frame he saw the cab stutter as if a giant hand had grabbed it and lifted it; flinging it crazily into the air before slamming it down and skidding it across the road. The explosion was deafening and everything went white as the blast wave hit him.

2013-01-05 Maleny Dairies 049The present reasserted itself with another impatient rev of the motorbike engine. His hand hurt as he realised he was gripping the lighter with white knuckles. Pushing away from the car with his other hand he rolled to his knees, the discarded missile tube clanging hollowly as it hit the tarmac. Looking under the car behind him he saw the dark spreading pool of petrol. A flick of the wheel on his thigh brought a bright glow of flame to the lighter and he scrambled to his feet. Looking up he saw a soldier in the distance bringing his rifle to bear from behind a car but once again slow motion over took him as he saw out of the corner of his eye his hand casually toss the lighter as he turned and with long strides sprinted the few metres to the bike. Watching over his shoulder he saw the soldier begin to duck as the lighter wheeled lazily through the air and arced down toward its destruction.

Time slowed again as his leg slid over the smooth fibreglass and leather, his boot firmly planted on the hard metal peg, his fist securely grabbing his partners jacket as the rear wheel spun and slipped sideways under the sudden clutch release. Then as it bit hard and the front lifted his heart pounded until his other foot found its peg and the bike lifted away from the blast wave behind.

Reality intruded again. The wind tore tears from his eyes.

© 2013 Tim Miller

jethro's picture

Using a slider to control values in a cell in Excel

This is a cool function that can assist you to make easy to use adjustable tables and charts.
Using the example of a mortgage, I used the mortgage template spreadsheet in Excel (under New Worksheet) to create a mortgage example. I then added a graph of the closing balance.

So now we have a nice looking chart that shows the closing balance of our mortgage over time.
Lets say we want to add the ability to easily change the additional payments and see graphically what that will do to our loan timeline.

From the Forms toolbar select the spin button. Then click and drag your mouse where you want it on your sheet . You can resize it later if necessary.

Now right click the control and select format control. Set it up as follows.

Now you can scroll up and down and as you do the monthly loan payments changes by $10 a time, and the loan balance adjusts accordingly. Obviously you can make these settings what ever you desire for any application where you need to rapidly change 1 (or more) variable and see the results.

jethro's picture



Crushed purple velvet

leached dye

swirling as it washes away

Small boy

tentatively pulling the legs off a spider

waiting to see when it dies

New husband

unthinkingly damaging tender emotions

grinding away trust

© Timothy Miller 1995

jethro's picture

The End of Live Mesh

imagesIts been coming for a while with the (rather unsuccessful) merger of Windows Live Mesh and Microsoft Skydrive. In fact the recent round of Live Essential updates forced the uninstallation of Live Mesh.


Here is a portion of the official email I got from Microsoft the other day.

Dear Mesh customer,
Recently we released the latest version of SkyDrive, which you can use to:

  • Choose the files and folders on your SkyDrive that sync on each computer.
  • Access your SkyDrive using a brand new app for Android v2.3 or the updated apps for Windows Phone, iPhone, and iPad.
  • Collaborate online with the new Office Web apps, including Excel forms, co-authoring in PowerPoint and embeddable Word documents.

Currently 40% of Mesh customers are actively using SkyDrive and based on the positive response and our increasing focus on improving personal cloud storage, it makes sense to merge SkyDrive and Mesh into a single product for anytime and anywhere access for files. As a result, we will retire Mesh on February 13, 2013. After this date, some Mesh functions, such as remote desktop and peer to peer sync, will no longer be available and any data on the Mesh cloud, called Mesh synced storage or SkyDrive synced storage, will be removed. The folders you synced with Mesh will stop syncing, and you will not be able to connect to your PCs remotely using Mesh.
We encourage you to try out the new SkyDrive to see how it can meet your needs. During the transition period, we suggest that, in addition to using Mesh, you sync your Mesh files using SkyDrive. This way, you can try out SkyDrive without changing your existing Mesh setup. For tips on transitioning to SkyDrive, see SkyDrive for Mesh users on the Windows website. If you have questions, you can post them in the SkyDrive forums.
Mesh customers have been influential and your feedback has helped shape our strategy for Mesh and SkyDrive. We would not be here without your support and hope you continue to give us feedback as you use SkyDrive.


While Skydrive is a great tool and very useful cloud backup and synchronisation tool and I set it up for many of my customers as a way of keeping their data in synch between multiple machines and backed up as well, there are some significant gaps between it and Live Mesh and other cloud data services.

Use Skydrive when:

  • You have two (or more devices) you want to keep data synched between them
  • You have a windows Phone and want data backed up – eg phone camera photos can be uploaded to Skydrive automatically
  • You want secure web access from anywhere to your data – eg airport browser, friends house or shared PC.
  • You want to share web access only to files and images


Dont use Skydrive:

  • If you want to share folders to others to synch in their skydrive or on their PC or devices.
  • For me this was the big one that means we now use Dropbox for all our team and family file management.