The birth of Jesus Christ

We’ve been busy! Buying dishes, sauce pans, pots, food, bed sheets. We borrowed a fan from Yvonne’s Aunt Ding, and we are keeping cool at night. We’ve been walking a tremendous amount for a few reasons, some of which include no money for public transport, and a good way to burn away some calories and hours.

Christmas here was unusual, for Yvonne mostly I think. It just didn’t feel like Christmas. They play carols in the malls, but not like we are used to. They play them softly, or sparsely, so they are less prominent than other sounds or music. Obviously it is Summer time in Oz; 35 or more degrees, no snow, with some showers, and a heavy dose of humidity. It just wasn’t a Christmas we’ve ever experienced. Yvonne has her tiny red and white stocking out though, to comemorate these Christian times (she’s Taoist/Buddhist).

We spent Christmas at Auntie Ding’s house, with about 25 other guests. The young crowd sat at the kitchen, while the “adults” sat at the dining-room table. We enjoyed lasagne, satay chicken, three salad varieties, butter cookies, beer and juice. Yvonne and I got a few gifts too.

We have an apartment now, and although the unit holds 7 bedrooms in all, many of the other tenants are either away on vacation, or their rooms are vacant.

My time at the Public Library’s internet session is about to expire in 3 min 50 sec. So until next time,


New openSUSE 11.1 Released Today

The openSUSE Project is proud to announce the release of openSUSE 11.1. The openSUSE 11.1 release includes more than 230 new features, improvements to YaST, major updates to GNOME, KDE,, and more freedom with a brand new license, Liberation fonts, and openJDK. This is also the first release built entirely in the openSUSE Build Service.

Digg this story!

openSUSE Installer

All of the Sneak Peeks for this release are available at on openSUSE News. You can also find a bevy of screenshots, and a list of features found in openSUSE 11.1. You can also find a lengthy list of packages and version numbers on DistroWatch.

Let’s take a look at some of the specific additions in openSUSE 11.1!

On the Desktop

Desktop users will find a lot to like in this release. Users can choose from the leading edge of GNOME and KDE development with GNOME 2.24.1 and KDE 4.1.3. We’ve also included KDE 3.5.10 for users who prefer the classic KDE experience.

What’s new in GNOME 2.24.1?

GNOME has gotten a good set of improvements since the 11.0 release. GNOME 2.24.1 features tabbed browsing and a new compact view in Nautilus, improvements for Gmail users in Evolution, along with mail templates, a new version of Ekiga, and additional improvements in F-Spot.

This release also includes a brand-new release of the ever-popular Banshee. Banshee 1.4 sports support for Internet radio, compilation albums, a Now Playing window for video and audio, support for syncing to Android phones, and many other features that make Banshee an excellent multimedia player for the Linux desktop.

GNOME Desktop

GNOME Desktop Apps

What’s new in KDE 4.1.3?

KDE 4 has a huge number of improvements since openSUSE 11.0. In this release you’ll find the KDE-PIM suite back in KDE 4, new games, the KSCD CD player, KSystemLog to keep track of system changes, improvements to Dolphin, Konqueror, and Marble integration with OpenStreetMap. KDE has now standardized on PackageKit for its backend, which means both desktops are using the same update stack.

KWin effects: cube

KDE cover flow

The openSUSE KDE team has also backported some key features from KDE 4.2, including compositing features for KWin to provide more desktop effects, and auto-hiding of the panel, and power management thanks to PowerDevil.

Classic KDE

If you’re not quite ready to make the transition to KDE 4, relax. openSUSE 11.1 includes KDE 3.5.10 for the “classic” KDE experience. Simply install openSUSE 11.1 from the DVD media and choose KDE 3.5.10 from the selection of other window managers in the desktop selection screen.

This release includes 3.0, which features many improvements over the 2.4 release found in openSUSE 11.0. 3.0 Novell edition provides better Excel interoperability, performance enhancements, 3D slide transitions, and other features not found in upstream

This release also includes support for ODF 1.2, import filters for OOXML, Gstreamer and Mono integration, and a lot more. For developers, this is the first release that includes the split build, making it easier to work on components of and get involved in its development.

Under the Hood

openSUSE 11.1 also includes several changes “under the hood,” including a new kernel release, updated Glibc, new version of PackageKit, Smolt integration, and many other updated applications and utilities:

  • Linux
  • Glibc 2.9
  • Python 2.6
  • Perl 5.10
  • Mono 2.0

YaST Improvements

The YaST team has been busy with this release, working on a number of improvements including new and re-written modules. openSUSE 11.1 includes a new printer module, redesigned partitioner module, and a security module that allows you to check the overall security of your system.

Media and Download

openSUSE is now available for immediate download. openSUSE 11.1 comes with many choices of installation media.

  • openSUSE 11.1 DVD 32-bit
  • openSUSE 11.1 DVD 64-bit
  • openSUSE 11.1 DVD PowerPC
  • openSUSE 11.1 GNOME 32-bit Live CD
  • openSUSE 11.1 KDE 4 32-bit Live CD
  • openSUSE 11.1 GNOME 64-bit Live CD
  • openSUSE 11.1 KDE 4 64-bit Live CD

You can also purchase a retail box with openSUSE 11.1 that includes 90-day installation support, physical media, and a printed Getting Started guide.


We want to hear from you! The openSUSE Project has many channels of communication:

To keep up to date with openSUSE, be sure to keep an eye on openSUSE News and watch Planet SUSE for blog posts from the openSUSE community.

Want to help the openSUSE Project? To get involved with openSUSE see the How to Participate page on the openSUSE wiki. We can use lots of different skills to help the project, so feel free to jump in!


openSUSE 11.1 represents the combined effort of thousands of developers who participate in openSUSE and upstream projects shipped in openSUSE. The contributors, inside and outside the openSUSE Project, should be proud of this release, and they deserve a major “thank you” for all of the hard work and care that have gone into 11.1. We hope that openSUSE 11.1 is the best openSUSE release yet, and that it will help to encourage the use of Linux everywhere! We hope that you have a lot of fun while you use openSUSE 11.1, and we look forward to working with you on 11.2!

Deposit down on our first apartment

We’ve been getting used to the public transit system here. We hopped onto the train at Geebung station and rode it all the way to Toowong station, where we got off. We headed to ProRentals, where were added some important letters of reference to our already-submitted applications.

RENATA TAKE NOTE. You were my previous landlord (only me), as was Kevin Turino.

We looked at another place yesterday at 72 Warren Street, St Lucia, only two blocks away from UQ (University of Queensland) where EV is going to study. She doesn’t need to take a bus to school. But I may have to take a bus to work, if I can find a job outside of St Lucia (like Toowong or something). If I find word in St Lucia, I may be able to walk or bicycle. I wonder if a small gas-powered scooter will be less money than a montly bus pass …

Well, we submitted the application to 72 Warren St, as well as one week deposit. If we change our minds, we lose the deposit, but we want to show we are seriuos about the place — which we are. So we gave them $185 for week 1, and submitted two letters of reference from previous landlords (Renata Moreno and Kevin Turino), as well as a supporting document from parents Rocio and Ruben, all of which will greatly help strengthen our application, and imporve our chances of getting into that room. $185/week isn’t bad. Divide by two and we only pay $92.5 per person/week. This will probably be paid fortnightly (every two weeks) via automatic payments from Chequing account.

In addition to finding places to live and work, I’ve been doing some (free) computer repairs. Because they are keeping me here for free, I thought I could contribute back for free. They have all been very nice to us. First was EV’s cousing Aaron. His notebook was crashing before even presenting a windows desktop. We loaded openSUSE LiveCD on it, and it brought us to a nice GUI with networking etc. We backed up his important pictures and music to my 500GB drive I bought in Canada just before leaving. To my surprise, there was a recovery partition on the drive, which allowed me to resinstall Windows XP Home to factory settings easily. Anti-virus, spybot S&D, spywareblaster, K-lite Codec Pack, firefox, CCleaner, Service Pack 3, windows updates — and she was good as new (long list!).

Then came Uncle John’s HP mini-note 2133 pre-installed with vista. Because of the VIA C7-M processor inside, vista ran slower than frozen molasses on the minute gravity of a small moon (meaning it was really slow). HP 2133 Guide was an invaluable resource to help me install Windows XP on the little netbook. Some “chinese” copies proved useless since they were all pre-SP2 which was an explicit pre-requisite. I dug out a copy from a binder I had brought with me, and it installed relatively easily after that. I am creating an install guide to help others in the future make the “upgrade” easier.

Asian food droppings

We got a phone number today [finally]. I can’t tell you the number, because it’s like .78/minute + .29 connection fee to send a receive calls. Sorry. We will have to keep emailing and Skyping. The phone is a hand-me-down from one of EV’s cousins; some cheapo white candybar Nokia with 1998 ringtones and no camera.  Hey — it does the job and it cost us $0.

We looked at another apartment today. $385/week $325/week, which, to me, is quite a lot of money. It’s over $700/month per person. We decided we have little choices left and asked for the application. It asks for things like references, passport, drivers licence, and previous landlords. We filled in the missing details, more or less to the letter, and made the necessary photocopies at the local library. Oh! Funny story! We get to the photocopier and start taking out change from our wallets when we see $1.00 credit already in the machine. Sweet! After using it all up, we realised we needed more, so EV gave me a .50 coin to make change. In my fanciest Australian accent I asked the woman for change. “20 cent coins is OK?” she asked. I nodded. I received the change and walked away. As I opened my hand I counted 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Five 20 cent coins! She just gave us extra money to use for free! What a dummy! Anyways.

We got hungry (more like I) and went down to the mall’s food court and ordered noodles at the “Two Wongs Asian” restaurant (you can laugh now if you got the play-on-words). After the first bite, Yvonne accidentally knocks the tray and spills all the food on the floor. At first I was shocked. $8 gone, and still hungry. I went to the shop owner and explained. “Nothing I can do for you,” he said. I asked for a discount, and he agreed to sell me the same dish for $5.

Monday we look at more properties (2 so far I think). Tomorrow we hand in the applications for today’s place. I want to be out of here fast.

The Nightmare Before Christmas ™


4 am.  Yvonne is really upset, her voice trembles.  Out of my groggy sleep, I can hear her sobbing quietly.  “What’s the matter?” I ask, knowing I’d be waiting for an answer.  “Bugs,” she replied through her tears.  “Turn the lights on,” I said, getting out of bed.  4 orange beetle-things were on the bed; three of them were still moving, and one of them was pulverised by her body weight.

“Aaaaaaah,” Yvonne screamed, jumping out of bed onto the floor.  “Holy fuck!” I said shaking sleep and terror from my eyes.  I told her to go downstairs, but she was frozen.  I picked her up with both arms and carried her downstairs to the green set of sofas by the Christmas tree. “Stay here, I’ll be right back,” I said as I went back upstairs to deal with the critters.

There were now 6.

The night before she had felt one crawling on her.  She was very upset, but didn’t think too much of it. But tonight was different: she’d been bitten not once, not twice, but three times.  That was the last straw.

I grabbed some tissue paper from the bathroom and mopped up all the bugs I could find.  After finishing those 6 orange bugs, 2 more appeared on the bed.  They usually moved in pairs, single file. Where they mating?  I don’t know.  But they looked pretty gross.  Bed bugs, I mused, thinking to myself that bed bugs were probably of a different colour, and perhaps smaller.  I went to the bathroom to throw out the tissues, went back into the room, and saw three more; killed them.

I opened the linen closet quietly so as not to disturb the rest of the house.  I pulled out two blankets and brought them downstairs to sleep on the two green sofas.  EV gave me the bigger sofa to sleep on.

We finally dosed off, and were awakened by the family rising and preparing for the day.  Needless to say I had a bad night as did EV. But such is the nature of the beast. Expecting the unexpected isn’t easy, but it must be taken light-heartedly and openmindedly.  One must learn to navigate through terrible times, and come out ahead and on top, lest be swallowed in sorrow and overpowered by emotions.

Another day

There was nothing special about today.  We looked at another place, it was another shit hole.  We arrived before the guy showed up. Good! It was awful.  We took off and grabbed some food.  It was nearly 6:30 pm and we were really hungry.

It wasn’t so hot today as it was on previous days.  I’m feeling tired as the days wear on. I’m not sure what it could be. Boredom? Laziness? My resume needs tidying. I’ll work on it later 😉

I miss my friends and family back home.  I can’t remember all your addresses, but if you comment on my post with your address I would be very happy to send you a lovely postcard from Australia! Don’t be shy! COMMENT!

Monday already! And we haven’t found a place yet.

We must find a place to live as soon as possible.  We have an 11:00AM appointment today to view an apartment. We are calling some other places to arrange something with them. Prospects are looking better, some include 6/173 Macquarie St (St. Lucia), 6/53 Alpha St (Taringa), 6/5 Norwood St (Toowong).

Yvonne’s Aunt and Uncle took us out for steak yesterday. You don’t have to tip anybody here. It’s fantastic! What-you-see-is-what-you-pay WYSIWYP. If your steak is $29.90 you pay $29.90. It is so fantastic

However …

Waiters tend to forget about you, or don’t top-up your water, or don’t check up to see “how things are going” so I tend to miss that, but that should be included, not an “extra” fee, wouldn’t you agree? Who do you tip and why?

Toowong 34 degrees

Hot day.  34 degrees.  Went to Toowong today to look at places to live.  We didn’t find much, either really sloppy and run down, or not furnished.  We’d prefer a furnished place, since we don’t have to worry about moving fridges, stoves, beds around when/if we decide to move out and find another place.  We also do not want to pay more than $400/week (all rental units are priced per week). That would be divided between 3 people.

Swimming in the afternoon was a delight.  Water was warm, although Yvonne’s uncle put a tad too much sodium bicarbonate in the water to settle the pH level a bit.  If you’ve ever tasted baking soda you know what I mean.

Yvonne has been suffering a bit from the jet lag.  She’s very tired all day everyday since we arrived, and her stomach was feeling very upset.