03 November 2009
12 August 2009
Located in Petaluma, California, I had to negotiate some pretty nasty freeway traffic in San Francisco (thankful for the decision to rent a GPS along with the car). It's about 100km north of the city. You have to look carefully to find the studio, as they like to keep things low key, but once found, it's a fascinating place to visit. For those who don't follow the TWiT Network, it's the home of about a dozen technology related podcasts, both audio & video, and also where Leo broadcasts his weekly Tech Guy radio show.
Being an amatuer podcaster, it was fascinating to sit back and watch the master at work. Leo live streams everything he does, and if you ever watch him at work, you see him from shoulders up. What you don't see below camera level are his hands constantly flying across multiple keyboards getting information off the net, adjusting sound levels, switching cameras, making each show looking effortless. It was great to watch. Just as impressive is his work ethic. In the four hours I was there, Leo recorded four seperate podcasts - one immediately following the next. This day he recorded episodes of TWiT Fit, Roz Rows, Maxwells House and Dr. Kikis Science Hour.
The facility is managed by Dane Golden, who took the time to show me around every nook and cranny of the cottage. The studio is on the ground level along with the main office, and upstairs is an editing suite, a green room and another room for building computers and other infrastructure.
It was a great day and a highlight of my trip. A big thanks to Dane & Leo for allowing me to visit and for being so open and welcoming.
07 July 2009
03 July 2009
It's been great fun of late producing the Australia Desk report for the Airplane Geeks Podcast along with my friend Grant. Its been a sharp learning curve, and getting the reports down to a short segment for the Geeks has proven to be more of a challenge each week.
We're finding that each recording session produces close to an hour of talk, perhaps half of which is usable for the podcast. The problem comes when I have to make the decision over what stays in, and what goes out. I'm quickly coming to the conclusion that a 30 minute show is become quite feasible. I have wanted to do a podcast of my own for a couple of years now, but didn't think I could do it to any reasonable standard, however, many of the positive comments we've received lately have encouraged me to think that maybe, just maybe, I could do it after all.
Along with Grant, the plans for an Australia Pacific centred aviation podcast are beginning to take shape. I hope to do a "pilot" episode in the next couple of weeks and see how it goes.
Any suggestions and feedback would be more than welcome as we go along. We'll keep you posted on developments.
10 June 2009
I hope that we'll still be able to hear him occasionally on the podcast - I think we'd all agree that his experience in the industry helps to give great insight into its workings, and his friendly style on the podcast is one of the factors in making it an easy show to listen to each week.
I'm sure I speak for all listeners to the podcast in wishing Courtney every success in his future endeavours. Speaking as a pilot who spends far too much time on the ground, I can only envy him and others like him who are able to fly regularly and make a living doing it.
I'd also like to thank him for allowing me to try my hand in the podcasting game by running my "Australia Desk" reports. It was Court who came up with the name - and the Tee Shirt -and if I'm somehow able to come up with a decent podcast of my own some day, I'll owe a great deal of gratitude to him.
Of course, the format of the show will change a bit now, and it's up to listeners to help Max out by sending in articles, or better still, by having a go at recording yourself reading local articles like I do each week. There is plenty of free software around to do it with (I use Audacity), so give it a try.
Best wishes Court. Hope it all works out perfectly for you & your family.
21 May 2009
10 April 2009
04 April 2009
01 April 2009
I say until recently because now we can also choose the ultra budget Tiger Airways. To cut a long story short, the "low" fare isn't so low once you add in charges for bags & seat allocation, and then airport taxes & charges, plus GST.
Despite this frustration, we manage to survive the four hour transit squashed into the smallest, most uncomfortable seats I've ever experienced - the type that would had to have been specially engineered to afford such lack of comfort. A great time in Perth is had, taking in the atmosphere of the Red Bull Air Races....until....approaching the airport for the trip home, the phone rings. It's Tiger Airways "Customer Service" people telling me that my return flight has been cancelled due to a defective aircraft. You're booked on the same flight tomorrow, I'm informed, followed by the line going dead.
After taking a few seconds to process this information, I call back and request further information. I'm promptly told that NO, you can't go on the next flight, NO you can't have a refund, NO we couldn't care less that you have no accomodation for the night (oh, and NO, we won't provide you any either), NO this, NO that, but take the flight we offered you or go away and don't bother us. Abrupt, rude, and utterly maddening. I inform this person that I'll speak to her at the airport in 10 minutes time.
Arriving at the check-in counter, I find that the person I spoke to does not work for Tiger Airways, but for a contractor, and doesn't know anything more, and won't be offering any further help. She finally suggests that I call their "customer service centre" for help. This is negated by a fellow passenger who says he just tried that, but the call centre closed at 7pm Melbourne time! She even had the gall to challenge my knowledge of airline practices, which at least afforded me the small pleasure of outlining my pilot ratings, assuring her that my knowledge was probably a little better than hers.
Pathetic. We eventually made it back to Melbourne 24 hours late, no apologies from Tiger Airways, no good will, nothing. And to think this two-bit operation is partially funded by Singapore Airlines, one of the wealthiest airlines on the planet!
After reading and listening to dozens of similar stories just like this regarding Tiger Airways, and other airlines of it's ilk, I'm convinced that these operators embody everything that's negative about the airline industry these days. Poor service and poorer attitude. To date, Tiger Airways have never returned my complaint call.
Welcome to the era of the LCC, Australia. Use them at your own risk!
25 March 2009
19 March 2009
General Dynamics F111-C
6 Squadron, RAAF Amberley, QLD
Of all the aircraft I came to see fly at this show, it was this guy. Unfortunately the weather was less than favourable and it stayed on the ground. We'll miss the famous "dump & burn" that concludes every show the F111 attends. It was a shame we couldn't have seen it this day.
These less than perfect shots were the best I could manage while it was on static display
18 March 2009
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-40
Omega Tanker - A private aerial refueller
This arcraft was originally operated by Japan Airlines before tanker conversion
An old workhorse here, ordered by the USAF in 1958
Based at Tinker AFB,Oklahoma