Eric Lindsay's Blog November 2009

Sunday 1 November 2009

Magic Mouse Driver

I tried to install the large driver for the new Magic Mouse onto my first generation MacBook Air. Ended up with my applications refusing to start. Several keyboard settings no longer worked. After a period of trying to find what went wrong, I was forced to use the power button to turn the MacBook Air off, so I could restart. No idea if the Magic Mouse upgrade took or not, but at least I now have applications working.

After the reboot, I thought the Magic Mouse was not working. Turned out that the Magic Mouse can not handle running on a sheet of glass. Giving it some paper to run on solved that. I note some optical mouse can (somehow) work out how to run on glass.


Wandered around the Paddy's Markets area. It took far longer than I expected to pick up a replacement belt. I kept getting diverted by the people selling the little electric remote control helicopters, with the infra red remote controls.

I had contemplated a trip by train to check out Harper's Bush, but what I could see of the schedule did not encourage this. I also was not feeling my best. I am very unsure I would now recognise any of the area at this vast remove from my childhood. This is unlike Zetland, where some remnants remain. Mostly parks, and shops, pubs or former fire stations in certain locations, all no longer run down.

Afternoon in Sydney

Back to the Apple store to download my MacBook Air full of reading material. I also thoroughly checked out the video cables. No sign of anything to connect the Apple mini Display Port to a standard Display Port such as is on a Dell monitor. Very annoying.

I could not resist dropping into the Darrell Lea chocolate store on my way back around 2 p.m. Luckily the store was small, and lacked the large display of pick your own chocolates some feature.

Further enquiries upstairs in the various computer shops at Capitol Square convinced me I would be unable to get a mini Display Port to Display Port cable. This is what I need to connect a new Apple computer to a top end Dell monitor. So I will have to find a way to import one.

Jean returned from her meeting just prior to 4 p.m. She still had heaps of material to revise for the academic book she was revising.

For lack of a better idea we walked up George Street towards Town Hall, seeking food. We found fast food, mostly near the cinema complex. We finally collected half a cooked chicken in the Coles at Town Hall station.

Monday 2 November 2009

Sydney Morning

We set out late for breakfast at the place across George Street that stays open 25 hours a day, OzTurk. Got the usual bacons and eggs (without chips). That is basically enough meal for me for the day, as long as I can get some sort of snack later.

The Breakfree on George was having door problems (not opening) and elevator problems. Given the amount of noise from the street, my regard for the place is in decline. The good points are the rooms are sufficiently large, and the bed was good. The noise is a problem. The doors are annoying to guests, but may prevent visitors entering the lobby to see guests.

I went to the local Post Office in a new building a street or so away. Got 30 copies of my 8 page ANZAPA mailing off to Bruce, at only a slightly excessive price.

Jean was still battling book deadlines. More chapters of revised material had arrived, and corrections were going in all directions. As usual, our travel plans had coincided with excessive work.

Lunch with Friends

Michelle arrived in the hotel lobby around 12:20 p.m. We had been sitting waiting for a relatively small time, once we actually found some empty chairs. I had phoned John and Diane, who had now reached Central Station on their way from Penrith where they had left their car. They arrived soon afterwards.

We all set out from the busy and noisy hotel lobby for a meal at Harbourside. Jean had in mind Criniti's restaurant, a place she had eaten at on Saturday with a group from her meeting. Criniti's proved rather more distant than Jean had expected. However the weather was better than forecast, and Darling Harbour looked spectacular. I took a few sample photographs with my iPhone to show to John, since he was interested in replacing his existing phone with an iPhone. Naturally as a photographer and camera collector, he had some rather nice cameras in his bag.

Jean and I shared a pizza, with me eating very little of it. I lack any real appreciation of good food in any case, so it is mostly wasted on me. Pasta dishes were a speciality of Criniti's restaurant, with Diane's veal shank concoction looking impressive indeed. We had a bottle of red wine that seemed a little young to me, for the table. Given John's efforts in the culinary arts, especially medieval meals, I looked forward to his comments. Unfortunately, while the food seemed good to me, and the location on the deck great, the restaurant insisted on playing music so loud that Diane was uncomfortable, and eventually developed a headache.

Michelle and I seem to have a bet about the effectiveness (or not, in my case) of attempts at renewable energy for power over the next five years. Many people like the idea. I fear however they have not checked the engineering. Even worse, current legislation for green energy is simply mostly a fraud.

After lunch we sat around a park bench in the shade at Darling Harbour, so we could talk without loudspeakers blaring. Eventually Jean had to make her escape, to get back to her book editing. Our friends all had trains to catch home, although John and Diane decide to check a bookshop first. I walked to Central Station with Michelle, to find her Gosford train due in only a few minutes. While at Central, I also checked the Railway Heritage shop. Jean needs to see that on some visit, as the range of railway books is astonishing.

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Leaving Sydney

We were out of the Breakfree on George (via the back door) before 7 a.m. Taxi to the airport, with a circuitous route to get to the tunnel that leads out of Sydney. We had a fair amount of time in the airport, so Jean got a big breakfast, and gave me the sausage and bits. We were on the 9 a.m. Virgin Blue flight 1519 direct to Townsville. Allowing for Daylight Saving, this reached Townsville before 11 a.m. Another taxi to Carlyle Gardens. It sure is a pity that Airlie Beach does not have as many direct flights.

Glossy Apple Displays Suck

It seems I am not the only person who will not buy an Apple computer with a glossy display, due to the unacceptable reflections on the screen. TechRestore have a 13" MacBook or MacBook Pro glossy display replacement for US$199. They trade in and replace your entire display with an alternative.

There are also a heap of anti-glare films. Alas, anti-glare film is not the solution, because diffusing the light is not the same as not reflecting. What is needed is non-reflective displays. That is harder, but museum glass is around 1% reflective, way lower than normal glass. Moth-eye Optical Films also list 1% reflection, but may not be commercially available.

Wednesday 4 November 2009

McDonalds Quits Iceland

You know when a country has reached the point of no return when McDonalds abandon them. McDonalds have quit Iceland. Well, the franchise finds the imported ingredients too expensive now the economy has tanked. The restaurants still exist, using local ingredients rather than imports.

Carlyle Afternoon

Our after hours custodian had been involved in a motor cycle accident last Wednesday. He was home now, looking spectacularly bashed up about the ribs and shoulder, with his arm in a sling. I dropped over to the house to wish him well, after being advised of his status by his wife. Luckily many residents were also wishing him well, or assisting in some way.

Jean has been showing all the signs of having caught the dreaded lurgi while attending her mass meetings of the infected masses. I had to stay clear of her while she decided whether she really had picked up a respiratory infection. Usually planes flight infect me, rather than her.

Thursday 5 November 2009

iPhone Not Tethering

A lengthy thread on the Apple discussion list about no tethering on officially unlocked iPhone. It appears that a recent update to 3.1.2 has disabled iPhone tethering again. This is despite an extensive page on the Apple web site specifically mentioning tethering is available (except in USA and from some phone carriers).

Given I just bought an expensive, unlocked iPhone direct from the Apple Store in Sydney, specifically paying a premium to bypass the tethering problem, I am not amused. I specifically asked prior to purchase about issues with unlocked phones and tethering. Meanwhile, Ars technica points out Apple patent method of locking down mobile devices. This provides a carrier specific list of allowed and disallowed features. Given the mobile phone carriers are generally regarded as a bunch of arseholes, this is not an encouraging sign.

Phone Carriers

Locating iPhone wireless carriers lists and links to the companies selling iPhone. In Australia, 3, and 3 supports iPhone tethering. In Australia, Apple say Optus have iPhone, and charge extra for tethering, which is not available on pre-paid plans. Apple say Vodafone have iPhone, and Vodafone advertise iPhone, with Vodafone tethering for contract customers with iPhone, but no data only plan.

Carlyle Evening

One of the security guys stopped by during his evening rounds. During our conversation, he asked about upgrading computer memory, possibly for a late model Apple. I suggested he bring me details of the model, and I would check it out for him.

Friday 6 November 2009


It appears thousands of fans will attend a live concert to watch Britany Spears lip sync songs from her own CDs. I always thought a live concert was watching (and hearing) a live performance. Unless presented as a mime show, this is simply a fraud by the promoters.


Checked out the newly revised Willows shopping centre. The Coles and Woolworths food stores were open earlier than 8 a.m. Target and BigW opened at 8:30. The BigW was even larger than I expected. Checked out JB HiFi. Their cheap LCD TV had good specifications, but the screen did not look great. It also seems most TVs are really glossy, which means evening use only in such a sunlit area.

At Sunland shopping centre the BWS did not open when scheduled. I finally gave up on them (possibly permanently). Drove to the Egg Factory to get another dozen giant eggs for Jean.

The computer club had organised a meeting with Leigh. The quest to get a government donation of extra computers for training seniors (or avoiding frightening them) continues. The club seems to be doing a wonderful job of this.

Saturday 7 November 2009

Carlyle Gardens Today

I went for a walk to check out how the mail boxes shelter was going. Roof beams only, no roofing materials on it as yet. That is unchanged for the past few days. Upon returning I watered the garden, since this is one of the watering days. This item is foreshadowing.

Off to Willows shopping centre again, where I got in rather a lot of mall walking. I thought I would fail to manage much retail therapy. However before I left I went to the Woolworths food store. As well as left over items from my previous shopping list, I also managed to find the 4 for $5 champagne flutes and wine glasses, so I stocked up our shelves for the day we break the last of the few existing glasses. I also bought four news papers, thus showing my faith in traditional media. All this reading also gave me an excuse for not doing much else.

Rain! Although we had a minute or two of sprinkling on Thursday, this was the first rain of the season. Only a few millimetres of rainfall, but enough to have us rushing around closing windows as water came in. I could have avoided watering the garden ... maybe.

Which Macintosh?

What I want is a replacement iMac for my nearly five year old iMac G5 ALS. However the glossy screen on all recent iMac makes that model impossible to use. I sent my even older PowerBook G4 1.25GHz off for reuse elsewhere. The MacBook Pro in 17 and 15 inch sizes have an optional matte display. However I really want a desktop computer (with large hard drive), not a notebook computer.

Primate Lab Blog's Mac Benchmarks say my iMac G5 ALS rates as 1045. My slightly older PowerBook G4 1.25GHz rated as 659. Even my original MacBook Air rates as 2016. A recent iMac would rate slightly over 4000. Even a Mac mini would rate slightly over 3000. That tends to argue that raw performance would not be a problem.

I never did migrate to my MacBook Air (insufficient disk space). There are issues in migrating to Intel from PPC, which make using Firewire in target mode safer than using Migration Assistant.

Sunday 8 November 2009

National Broadband Network White Elephant

It is increasingly apparent that the Labor government's uncosted proposal to build a A$43 billion National Broadband Network (NBN) is a white elephant. Assume it can be built, at that cost, this makes about $3000 of tax money from every family in Australia. However it is intended to be commercially successful. However if you do not care about an internet connection (as perhaps a majority of people where I live feel), or if you are happy with your present (possibly mobile) connection, why would you sign up?

This NBN is just aimed at recreating a government monopoly on telecommunications. This is the same government that wants to censor the internet. This is the same government that is abusing its market power in an attempt to structurally separate a public company. If Telstra are failing (as I believe) to meet the public access requirements of their takeover of the old PMG POTS network, then the remedy is via the courts, not by fiat from a government that has no mandate to ruin a public company.

Monday 9 November 2009


Put out more solar garden lights, mostly to get them off the floor in the foyer. Also because I do not believe there will be any garden changes for some considerable time. Irony is that the weather is overcast.

Speaking of irony, Save IE6 campaign is a left over from April Fool's Day. Contrast Tim Berners Lee on writing the WorldWideWeb browser on NeXT.

I returned to ripping DVDs onto hard drives, since I had picked up a bunch of DVDs at sales now I live in a large town. I had (finally) built enough bookcases (about 15 linear metres), so I was able to put all the DVD cases on display, in alphabetical order. Being short of disk space for the next bit of processing, I sent off for another 2TB hard drive. I also ordered a display spider, so I can calibrate the colours on my displays.

Tuesday 10 November 2009


Shopping early in the morning, mostly as an excuse to wander around the newly revised Willows shopping centre. It seemed an excellent location to take an early morning walk. I failed to find any of the items I was seeking in Sam's Warehouse, but perhaps that sale started later.

Mighty Mouse Batteries

After several days of warnings my Apple Mighty Mouse batteries finally gave up running. Replaced them with another two Lithium Ion AA batteries. Hope I can find my note of the previous set of replacement batteries.

Power Station Figures

A typical coal fired power station uses just under 2 kl of cooling water per MWh produced. Stanwell power station, for example, typically produces around 10,000 GWh per year, and used around 20,000 megalitres of cooling water. A very few coal power stations (Gladstone, for example) use once through sea water cooling, at additional engineering costs, and require a coastal site. Once through river cooling is not an option in Australia due to water shortages. Millmerran and Kogan Creek in Queensland are dry cooled power stations, which involves considerable increased costs, and lower thermal efficiency, thus more coal burnt for any output. Nuclear typically runs at lower temperatures, and requires around 2.5 kl per MWh.

Wednesday 11 November 2009


Early morning shopping was an almost total waste of time. Luckily Jean had listed some food to get (of which I found about half), or I would have accomplished nothing except to get a long walk in the air conditioned Willows shopping centre.

Paul from the door place arrived. He took away our two security doors that were binding on the uprights. He thought they would be back the next day.

The Remembrance Day ceremony took place as scheduled. The very minor amount of rain caught some of the airmen taking part in the ceremony, but most guests were under shelter.

I was the last person to lunch, but Penny hustled up a plate of roast pork for me as soon as I opened the door. Sat with Geoff and Margaret, as none of my usual lunch companions were there on this day.

Mac mini

Mac mini arrived while I was away at lunch. Now I have to set it all up. But first, I need to clean out the old computer. What a drag. I am not good at clearing out messes, whether in computers or on the floor.

No Dam

Queensland will not have a dam on the Mary River at Taverston Crossing, according to a decision by Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett. The Treveston Crossing dam was always a poor idea, due to the generally shallow dairy area behind the dam location. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd probably wants people to forget his role in December 1989 when the Goss labor government cancelled Wolfdeen Dam (another shallow dam area). Australia is a lousy continent for dams, as we lack mountain areas. The country is too flat for dams. However I am not aware of any dam in South East Queensland built by a Labor Government. If that continues, what they should do is increase the size of Borumba Dam.

The Traveston dam would have cost about A$2 billion, and provide around 100,000 megalitres a year, storing around 200,000 megalitres. About $10,000 a megalitre, or $10 per 1000 litres. This is very cheap for water supply. Compare that with the far greater cost of household water tanks.

The South East Queensland does have a water supply problem. South East Queensland water use in towns is now low by developed country standards, after nearly running out two years ago. The shortage of water will not go away. Regular seasonal water falls in SE Qld are insufficient to fill dams. The dams tend to fill only after unusual rainfall events. However unusual rainfall is somehow considered part of the normal rainfall pattern. Only deep dams collect enough water from these unusual rainfall events to allow the water to be spread through the rest of the dam network. There is a pressing need for much higher dams.


Desalination using reverse osmosis has left a trail of failed plants, many of which have never been used except in test. It works best when you need to use it all the time, and run it 24/7. Pity about the power drain. It works worst when you mostly have sufficient water, and therefore try mothballing your desalination plant. Guess which way they are used in Australia?

Thursday 12 November 2009


Interesting talk to residents by Kirwan police. Sounds like they have their hands full in many areas, with feral parents a continuing problem. Advice on securing the home, especially against opportunistic theft. Our security chief was also attending. Luckily we do have good security people, and watchful neighbours. However I believe we will add security lights, especially for areas not as well covered by street lighting. I have also been considering security cameras.

No sign of the regulars at lunch, so I sat and talked with a few of the other folks. Naturally the regulars arrived late. Spent entirely too much time in the bar afterwards talking with Gary and Peter. However we did solve all the problems of the world (sorry, no space for details).

Al Gore BS

Al Gore seems to have a 100 foot houseboat called Bio-Solar 1 at Hurricane Marina in Smithville, Tennessee. A custom-built Fantasy Yacht built specifically for Gore by Bill Austin of Sparta, Tennessee. Said to run off bio-diesel, although since the marina dock is said not to sell bio, who knows where he get fuel. I bet the jet ski does not run on bio-diesel. Although claimed to be the Toyota Prius of houseboats, any boat that size uses heaps of fuel.

Gore also has a 10,000 square foot home in Belle Meade, near Nashville, Tennessee. This is around four times the size of the average US home built in 2006. Associated Press reported it used 191,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2006, around twelve times the state average for residences. Since then the home has been retrofitted to be Gold LEED compliant. It now includes 33 solar panels and ground source heat pump (inaccurately called geothermal) cooling.

Carbon Offsets

Ethical travel company drops carbon offsets, due to doubts about its effectiveness. Carbon trading is a dangerous obsession, allowing speculators to grow rich but are not delivering the emissions cuts promised, say Friends of the Earth. There is no scarcity of carbon dioxide, so trading in it is trading in vapourware. It is a return to the papal indulgences of the past, where you buy the right bit of paper, and your sins are forgiven, in advance, so you can go right on sinning. It is a pyramid scheme racket.

Friday 13 November 2009


There must have been over 200 people at the Morning melodies one of the residents had organised. About 80 people stayed at the restaurant for lunch, as I discovered when I arrived. I left early, after staying to assist in folding and storing the tables used during the morning event.

In the late afternoon, Jean and I took a walk around Carlyle Gardens. We ended up in the bar getting a beer. Jean eventually decided she would stay for dinner. This was a couple of roasts and roast vegetables, served as a buffet. One of the neighbours was concerned the quantity of food was inadequate. I always thought there was too much food.

Old Computer

Since my old computer was a top of line iMac, it had a 400 GB hard drive. This somewhat exceeds the capacity of my new Mac mini. Since I had only 80 GB free, I had to offload a fair heap of older content from my old hard drive. Luckily I had a new 2 TB LaCie external drive on which to place the older content. Mind you, the copy and delete steps each take forever. USB is so slow compared with Firewire.

No Clean Coal

Clean coal is about as likely as safe tobacco. Carbon capture and storage will probably work in a relatively small number of small scale capture schemes, in a few of those areas with suitable storage. It will increase power production costs at least 50%. It will also use probably 20%-30% of the power output of the coal fired power plant involved. So technically, you can demonstrate carbon capture and sequestration working.

In practice, carbon capture and sequestration will simply not work well enough to be worthwhile, except in special circumstances. Just the infrastructure costs alone make this technology implausible. It is probably economically viable at a carbon dioxide price around A$100 per tonne. This is many time higher than existing carbon dioxide pollution taxes, or emissions trading market prices.

The only possible carbon dioxide conversion process I can see that has a chance is conversion of carbon dioxide to cattle feed and biodiesel via algae, as pioneered at James Cook University, with limited Queensland government support. A 5000sq m test facility at James Cook University has produced 14,000 litres of oil and 25,000kg of algal meal from every 100 tonnes of CO2 consumed. You capture the carbon dioxide (probably via ammonium carbonate), circulate it through sewerage waste water in the presence of fertiliser and sunlight, and rely on oil producing algae. MBD Energy is building a small display plant at Loy Yang power station in Victoria.

Best guesses are only a 50% reduction in carbon dioxide. In addition, biofuel and animal feed simply releases the carbon dioxide a short time later. However biofuel displaces fossil fuel. Plus the lower cellulose in algae should reduce methane production from cattle because less methanogens should be needed in rumen stomachs to break down cellulose.

Saturday 14 November 2009


Off early in the morning for a walk around Carlyle Gardens. Then I drove to the newsagent early to collect all four newspapers. Plus some food shopping at the Sunland IGA. That left me most of the day for relaxing and reading the papers, just like I planned.

Alas, although we planned to roast the lamb for dinner, we had no appropriate vegetables. I see roast lamb as mostly an excuse for roast vegetables. So I returned to the IGA to collect potatoes, butternut pumpkin, a carrot, and a sweet potato. That was more like what a roast lamb needed. I peeled and cut up far too much of these while preparing.

Jean and I took a walk around Carlyle Gardens in the late afternoon. The distance, after the earlier walk, was enough to persuade Jean to take it easy. Jean let me stop at the bar while she headed home. Various folks were gathering for the evening meal.

No Mathematics

It used to be new maths. Who Needs Mathematicians for Math, Anyway? asks Sandra Stotsky. So in the interest in ensuring children never fail, the US educational system will ensure school pupils also never succeed, especially in the watered down system of mathematics taught by inadequately qualified teachers. The problem is the belief traditional curriculum needed to be more engaging and relevant, which are code words for only teach the easy stuff. You end up with incompetent school leavers, some of whom return as incompetent teachers.

Sunday 15 November 2009

Shelter for Mail Boxes

The new shelter for the mail boxes received its roof sometime early Sunday morning. The roof does not actually include ridge caps as yet, but most of the sheet metal is up there. Interesting the folks were working on a Sunday.

Book Prices

Labor caucus rolled Competition Minister Craig Emerson on exposing book printing and book production to competition by parallel imports. Steve Gibbons, Labor MP for the marginal electorate of Bendigo, wanted to protect the 300 jobs at McPherson's Print Group. So did the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, and Labor Left. It is a sad day to see Labor protecting monopoly pricing.

The Productivity Commission recommended reform to the A$2.5 billion book industry. They found prices in Australia were a third more expensive than US or UK prices, and in some cases half as much again. This is the same protectionism crap that left Australian cars overpriced by nearly 60% in the 1970's. It did not save Leyland Motors then. It just meant everyone in Australia paid more.

Unlike the Hawke and Keating governments, who supported consumers, the Rudd government seems incapable of making any decision that will impact upon producers or unions. Emerson basically told consumers, if you do not like local book prices, buy online overseas or buy ebooks. Booksellers in Australia are already disappearing. This decision simply speeds that up.

More on Book Prices

The distributors rip us off.

Monday 16 November 2009


Early morning walk. The building for the mail boxes was now sporting an (incomplete) metal roof. It was installed on Sunday. That is a great leap forward. Took some more photos of the roof.

Mark, the building supervisor from Finlay Homes, arrived early to ask how our fixes were going. Told him the doors had been taken away on Wednesday, but had not yet been returned. We all phoned Paul at the door place. They got back to us, to say it would be done this afternoon.

Went over to see the doctor. Appointment 9:45 a.m. Got in closer to 10:45 a.m. Got my prescription, but could not get the motor traffic medical report. Need to see some clinic about that. More red tape. I know Gary gave up on the idea of driving the resident's bus when he encountered all the red tape. No wonder the Social Club have problems getting drivers.

Saw Kevin in the computer club rooms about the application for an internet booth for training seniors. More red tape. Not going to be easy to provide whatever documentation the government want regarding our ISP and internet connection, since it is a shared line that the club does not own. Moreover the value of the line exceeds the value of the computers on offer.

Walk back home through the heat and take in laundry. Back to the restaurant for lunch with Bob and Ray. E.T. not there. One story is she has been taken to hospital.

Paul delivered and installed the doors around 2:30 p.m. I got on the phone to Leigh to advise her that was our last repair item, except for the downpipes.

I went for my afternoon walk, and checked the construction of the mail box building. Nothing further visible since the work on Sunday to partially put the roof in place. There bulldozer was in the background, busy moving fill about. I am not sure whether this is for the nursing home area or not. Had a chat with various neighbours on my way around.

It was sufficiently hot today that Jean closed her room and started the air conditioner. Although I felt fine during the day, I did run the fan during the evening when the breeze stopped.

Mobile Intel CPU

Intel's 32nm 1.20GHz dual-core Core i7 640UM launches in Q1 2010 for $305, does 2.26GHz in Turbo Mode. The integrated graphics core (IGP), integrated memory controller (IMC) and northbridge (IOH) are all part of this 32nm Arrandale-based CPU. It has an 18 Watt TDP. Intel appear to have renamed HyperThreading as Simultaneous Multithreading (the i5 does not support this, although the i7 does). 4MB of cache, a 1066MHz FSB, and its H55 chipset supports switchable graphics. This means a discrete graphics chip can be added. I sort of expect this Arrandale CPU to appear in a high end Apple MacBook Pro in early 2010.

Tuesday 17 November 2009


We went for a walk around Carlyle Gardens early. Lots of wallabies hanging around. I went off food shopping around 8 a.m. Went mall walking, since the mall was not busy, but only the food sores were open. Collected the food shopping, and did the self checkout stuff, and got it home around 9 a.m.

The gardeners are fixing things the landscapers got wrong (low ground cover behind plants that will grow tall). I asked about something to kill nut grass, that keeps cropping up in our garden. They will give me the name of the stuff we need.

Off before 10 a.m. to the talk about the DCM solar power plants for our roof. Still the same, six 170 Watt panels for a 1 KW plant. One difference is they now say they need the occupants to be home during installation. No maintenance needed, except rain to clean panels. Carlyle Gardens is checking insurance, at behest of the Residents Committee. Questions from audience about homes equipped with their own mains connected emergency generator.

Computer club meeting afterwards with Kevin and Clive. Seems the red tape is being overcome, as they complete the submission for an internet kiosk, from which they can give (further) lessons to other seniors. Just one more request of Leigh to go, we all hope.

National Supercomputer Infrastructure

Australian National University National Computational Infrastructure has a 140 Teraflop SGI Altix 3700 computer. Professor Lindsay Botten expected a Petaflop system in about two years. That is a big jump from the desktop SGI we had at UTS a decade and a half ago, when Professor Botten was head of school there.

Olympic Crap

I am delighted to see Australian government payments for elite sport finally questioned. Why should taxpayer money be pumped into the Australian Institute of Sports? Why pay for any sports other than those that benefit the great mass of citizens? This is just buying bragging rights. If the government wants to support sports (and I do not believe it should), then that support should be directed to encouraging exercise in sport by everyone. I think the entire Olympic movement is crap!

Wednesday 18 November 2009


We drove off early in the morning to collect concrete blocks. The Ring Road provided a fast path to Ingham Road. We were lucky that the concrete block supplier still had the sandstone like blocks with one rough face. However 25 of them would weigh well over 400 kg. We collected 13 and drove home with them. They sure seemed to weigh enough when I unloaded them. We returned to collect the remaining blocks. I think they should look good as a garden edge.


Senator Nick Xenophon said today in Parliament that Scientology was not a church, and Scientology was a criminal organisation (AV presentation). Scientology was founded by science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard, who famously said the way to get rich was to start a religion. Hubbard also wrote Dianetics. Nick Xenophon wants a Senate enquiry into Scientology. A long ago Victorian government enquiry said Scientology was evil. Regardless, in Australia, Scientology avoids tax like a religion.

You have to ask why all religions are not taxed just like any other business? Or at least, why are religions not taxed on those parts of their activities that are not charitable in nature?

Sustainability Declaration

When selling their homes, Queenslanders will soon have to complete a 56-point questionnaire detailing the property's environmental credentials. This sustainability declaration is another piece of red tape from this kleptocratic nanny state.

Thursday 19 November 2009


During my early morning walk I noticed that the mail box building now had proper ridge caps on the metal roof. Inside, the mail boxes now included house numbers. This is getting very close to completion. There is still a need for a suiable pathway, and the security fence will have to be moved.

Woolworths for food shopping. I gather everything picked on Jean, but I eventually carried the food to the car. By then Jean had headed to BigW. We were both after underwear. But I could not resist buying a DVD of The Man from Snowy River and Clint Eastwood's Pale Rider from the cheap bin. The self scan checkout at BigW seems to have issues compared to Woolworths, although we eventually got it to accept everything. Jean was thoroughly annoyed by then.

Busy morning. Two garden guys whipper sniping grass edges. The lawnmower guy has his truck parked opposite us. Mark the gardener talking with Mary across the way. A curtain and blind installer next door. The concrete garden edging guy has arrived and is setting up his equipment. All we need now is the black helicopters to land.


Way back when I bought my first Apple PowerBook, it came with an example electronic magazine reader called Zinio. I never discovered any merit in the concept. It seemed to attempt to make the magazines appear identical to the original dead tree paper version. Doubtless convenient for the desktop publishers of the paper version, but often a very poor match to the display of a computer. Others have written about Zenio format in critical terms. Basically, this allows all the hidebound paper layout guys at the magazines to go on pretending they are publishing to a piece of paper, thus neatly negating almost all the benefits of online reading, but allowing them to continue their A4-limited habits.

The main problem however is that Zinio use yet another proprietary format for magazines. I am not the least bit interested in yet another format war. If you want to provide magazines for computers, use something that is an international standard like XHTML. Note that the village idiot of web browsers, Internet Explorer, will not display XHTML.

The Zenio web site shows why using proprietary software is a mistake. It contains content written in Adobe's Flash. The web site runs slower than I can believe. It even had a sample article, in Flash. This does not display on my iPhone. Game over, as there is no point. I stopped looking.

SF Movies

A little list of science fiction movies on DVD that I do not have. By implication, DVDs to look for, especially at $2 sales at Sam's Warehouse. Despite most of them being really cheesy.

The Brother from Another Planet (1984). The Lathe of Heaven (1980) from Ursula LeGuin novel. Looker (1981) from Michael Crichton. Tron (1982). The Thing (1982). The Ice Pirates (1984). TimeRider. Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone. Capricorn One, Stalker, Outland, Blade Runner, The Hidden, Spaceballs, Starship Troopers, Children of Men (2007), Things to Come (1936), Invaders from Mars (1953), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), The Blob (1958), Le Jette (1962), Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964), Santa Clause Conquers the Martians (1964), Quatermass and the Pit (1967), Colossus The Forbin Project (1970), The Omega Man (1971), Night of the Lepus (1971), Westworld (1973), Dark Star (1974), Flesh Gordon (1974), Killdozer (1975), Death Race 2000 (1975). 1983’s Brainstorm with Christopher Walken. A Boy and his Dog (1975). Cherry 2000. Night of the Comet. Earth Girls are Easy. Howard the Duck. D.A.R.Y.L. The Running Man. Leviathan. Krull. LIfeforce. Space Camp. Innerspace (1987). Tenku no Shiro Rapyuta (aka Castle in the Sky) (1986). The Last Starfighter (1984). Dune (1984). Brazil (1985). Trancers (1985). Enemy Mine (1985). Back to the Future (1985). Flight of the Navigator (1986). Akira (1988) anime. Miracle Mile (1988). Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989).

Friday 20 November 2009

To Airlie Beach

Up before 5 a.m. and off in Jean's car. Fuel at the 24 hour service station near the Ring Road. This time by waiting in a small queue, I managed to get to the standard unleaded fuel pumps. I notice the service station charges extra if you pay via credit card.

Inkerman was a laugh. The pub is mostly built. When I walked in the door of the shop, I was asked if I was a plumber. Liquor licensing inspection is Wednesday, but no plumber in sight. I took a few more photos of the outside of the new pub.

BigW was well and truly open when I finally reached Cannonvale. Could not find anything on my shopping list, so in disgust I checked the DVDs. Got about $200 of bad SF and animated DVDs to fill gaps in my collection.

Post Office at Cannonvale was a dead loss. Card to collect an item. However they can not find that item. They keep asking if I have already collected it. Cannonvale is so inconvenient to me that I only get there about once a month. No, I have not collected it. Resolve not to renew Post Office box, now I have twice had the Post Office at Airlie Beach closed by this arsehole government monopoly. No, I have no idea how anyone will send me mail in future.

Went to the friendly Government agency at Cannonvale. The nice staff rolled eyes about closed Post Office (they obviously see a lot of this). Changed my driving license address to my residential address, and attempted to change the address for Seniors Business card. I can not think of any other state government authorities with my address.

Rose spotted me at Coles, and told me about Alison's 50th birthday celebration. She promised to mention me being in town to Alison. My iPhone had already advised me about Alison's birthday, but I am not sure where it got that data from! It was only a note in Glen's entry, as far as I knew. Very spooky.

Oil Tar Rocks

These arseholes from Queensland Energy Resources (QER is partly owned by the Ziff family of the USA) plan to export 9000 tonnes of oil and tar shale rocks from Stuart mine north of Rockhampton. The rock may contain between 60 and 200 litres of oil per tonne. The rock will be processed (basically steamed until the crap gets poured into the atmosphere) at Rifle, Colorado. A plant in Australia has been closed after residents around the area suffered dramatic health effects they blamed on toxic processing byproducts. There is intense political and environmental opposition to the plant at Stuart, which could produce up to 60,000 barrels of oil a day.

A similar proposal by the same QER people for the Macfarlane deposit near Proserpine was stopped by a 20 year moratorium by Anna Blight's Queensland Labor government. That proposed plant would be aiming at 115,000 barrels of oil a day. This QER company must be stopped, at any cost. Shale oil is one of the filthiest technologies that exist, and one of the most energy intensive as well.

Today in Airlie Beach

I went to the Airlie Beach newsagent to collect accumulated computer magazines, plus the local newspapers. Missed one newspaper, but Jim later gave it to me. For some reason I was unable to locate copies of the Australian MacWorld magazine.

Chemist supplied me with my usual range of essential tablets. I was contemplating visiting the deli to get ham and cheese, but decided I really needed to start cleaning out the freezers instead of buying more food.

Visited Jim at the office, mostly to say hello in case there were computer problems. That worked out well. He took Nick and I to lunch at Capers on some coupons he had in plentitude. Nice meal, but Capers are always better than I deserve for lunch. I am not a gourmet.

I later managed to find a couple of tricks to work around some computer printer issues they were having, and phoned them through to Nick. However I still need to find better, less messy, solutions to Leopard (Mac OS 10.5) no longer supporting an easy change to black and white Postscript printing. I think a filter via ColorSync should do it, but lost track of exactly how I intended to do that (I do not use a printer with my travel computer, so I have no test printer drivers).

Jim dropped in after work with a nice bottle of wine, which we somehow demolished while sitting on the balcony of my apartment at the Whitsunday Terraces. His wine is always better than anything I am likely to have on hand. I really should do something about that.

Saturday 21 November 2009


My favourite breakfast folks were again not at the Airlie Beach markets. No one seemed sure what had happened to them, so I hope they are OK. They celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary a year or so ago, so are no longer young.

Rex was at the markets. Rex was also very visible in several issues of the local newspaper. However in their write-up, they somehow managed to miss that Rex started the the entire markets, and ran it long before the Lions were ever involved. I must organise to take Rex to lunch or dinner again.

Saw Steve, who was again doing his singing at the market. He recommended a couple of commentators on various topics, so I will have to seek copies of their work.

Glenn was at his stall, and as I had anticipated, kindly invited me to Allison's birthday party that evening. After I took the vegetables home, I collected some wine for the party, and gave the bottle to Glenn to take home in his truck when he left the market.

Climbed the twelve flights of stairs from the main street of Airlie Beach to my apartment at the Whitsunday Terraces. Wasted way too much time reading the weekend newspapers, and getting annoyed about politics. I am not sure why politicians feel they need to lie about everything. Oh, right, it is called spin.

Smoking Biohazard

Smoking cigarettes around Apple computer creates biohazard for repair staff. Apple void warranty repairs for smokers, reports The Consumerist. Tobacco smoke has long been a cause of damage to computers, with lots of photos available.

CNN picked up the report. How smoking can ruin your Mac. Got page of responses. AppleInsider also picked up the report. Smoking may void Applecare warranty due to health hazard. This received hundreds of replies. Personally, like Apple, I never liked smoking around computers.


I took a taxi to Alison's birthday party at Cannonvale. Nice group of people there, with various interesting snacks. Far more interesting than anything I took. Despite this being Schoolies week, I was able to easily get a taxi for the return home to my apartment at the Whitsunday Terraces in Airlie Beach.

Sunday 22 November 2009

Morning Walk

I went to the twenty four hour McDonald's in Airlie Beach for breakfast, having missed my bacon and egg the previous day. Read their Sunday paper, which made buying one pointless. The main purpose of that walk was to climb the 12 flights of steps to my apartment in the Whitsunday Terraces afterwards. That is my exercise program.

Got to see a heap of the Sunday morning current affairs programs. I should skip all the current affairs programs, as it just raises my blood pressure. Then I watched a mess of the DVDs I had bought, while reading any left over newspapers.

Murdoch vs Google

Google indexes most of the web, and summarises content relevant to searches. Google place advertisements near search results, and are paid by clicks through to sponsor sites. Their customers are the advertisers, not the people doing the search.

Rupert Murdoch has for months been complaining about Google making money from media web sites. A simple robots.txt file will ensure Google does not index your web site. Murdoch's News Corp could easily exclude Google, instead of complaining about it. However what Murdoch wants is to be indexed, but paid for the content.

It is possible Microsoft might pay Murdoch to allow the Microsoft Bing search engine to index News Corp sites, and disallow Google. I guess Murdoch hopes all search engines will then bid to include News Corp content. That should be fun. Microsoft would have yet another loss making sideline, as a search engine. Murdoch's news would be bypassed by most, even for historical archived content.

Basically, who cares about newspapers? Who cares The New York Times (largest newspaper in the world) is no longer represented? Look, the fat guy is avoiding the buffet. Let's all cheer, because there is more for us. Reporters will still get paid. It will just be the income will be a tenth what it once was, and the staff cut to a tenth what it once was. Everyone will read from exactly the same syndicated feed, and Big Brother will arrive via the Press rather than the Government.

Market vs Politics and Xmas

Markets are a method of proportional representation, said Milton Friedman. The great advantage of a market is that it permits wide diversity. You do not need to accept what the majority want, provided someone is willing to produce what you like. For example, I loath Microsoft Windows, but can instead use Apple OS X.

Politics in contrast require and enforce substantial conformity. For example, the recent episode of idiocy centred around an emissions trading scheme that I think is a pointless mistake that will fail to produce the nominal desired result of fewer emissions. The politics of give-aways, such as the stimulus for schools, guarantees poor results, for the same reason Xmas presents are bad economics.

Monday 23 November 2009


Home Hardware had a sales catalogue in the local paper last week. So I made a long list, mostly security lights and Xmas lights, and checked it twice. What I failed to check was the date on the catalogue. Last week the local paper included the catalogue for next week, starting Wednesday. While Home Hardware would be happy enough selling me the stuff, the vast majority had not arrived as yet. All I managed to get was a few switched power boards, and a couple of packets of Lithium AA batteries for my Bluetooth wireless keyboard and mouse. As usual the staff at the hardware store are great at helping you look.

I also tried the business stationery store. No desk like I wanted. They were also helpful and produced catalogues. While snooping around I did find a 31 pocket expanding file, so I can use the 43 folders system for flyers and the like. News agents never have these, and I invariable forget to look elsewhere for them.

Still Life with Table

So I built a table. A fairly malformed table, with relatively few right angles. Part of that was only having a hand drill available for doing the drilling. However it does have a table top that glides out. The space exactly fits my recliner chair, so I can just pull the entire table surface towards me. Alas, the more I use it, the more I realise that it is not a suitable solution to where to put the computer. Guess I will put the new table back in the closet it was carefully designed to fit into.

Some idiot keeps phoning Jean's phone line and sending fax junk down the line. I hope they go away. Last time they called I shouted rude things down the line very loud. Sometimes that helps me. Some (very few) fax systems actually pass sound back to the sender, so I can hope!

Vehicle Emissions

Does anyone else find it peculiar that we have strict standards on vehicle pollutants, but that this does not include carbon dioxide? No mandatory standards for automobile emissions. The industry talked their way into average emissions over the entire vehicle fleet. So guys who want big vehicles can still buy them. So we have a 12% reduction in average vehicle emissions over the past six years, and the Australian automotive industry is ahead of schedule in meeting a voluntary target of 222 g/km of CO2 by 2010. Australia’s voluntary emissions target of 222g/km by 2010 is nearly double the European Union’s mandatory target of 120g/km by 2015. We are way behind Europe on car emissions. However the number of cars keeps increasing, so emissions are actually going up, not down.

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Drive to Townsville

On the road late, for me. Although the sun was not up, it was already light at 5:15 a.m. No problems until 15 km short of Bowen. The main highway was blocked by police, ambulance and fire engines. A four wheel drive vehicle had rolled, and caught fire. It was totally burnt out, and had set fire to the roadside verge. I hope the occupants got out before the fire caught them.

Stopped for fuel at Inkerman. Their pub is coming along fine, with essential folks like the plumber having already arrived and connected it to the septic tank. However soon they will have various government inspectors doing their thing. Hope that all is ready. I had a meat pie for breakfast, and that was a mistake. Next time I will see if they have bacon and egg cooking.

I reached Carlyle Gardens a little before 9 a.m., after a longer than usual drive. Luckily there was little unpacking, apart from boxes of stuff to recycle. With no recycling at Airlie Beach these days, I throw regular recycling material in the car to take away with me.

ETS Sucks

All emission trading schemes suck. The Greens want to reduce the standard of living of the entire world, usually from a position of entrenched privilege. The socialist far Left see control of every aspect of aspect of private life. Prescribe what you can do with your property, how your home will be built, how you can travel, and everything else that uses energy. The bankers and financial manipulators who brought us the global financial crisis wanted tradable property rights for emissions trading. Basically power seekers, and rent seekers.

The workable ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions are regulation, and taxes. Regulate the emissions from cars. We already know exactly how much CO2 every car produces. Reduce the allowable level, just like we did successfully with other pollutants. The highest emission cars are Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati. Which cars do you think could most easily afford to add $15,000 worth of fancy batteries for hybrid use?

However the main emissions in Australia come from the brown coal power plants in the LaTrobe valley. So tax them. They will charge the extra costs to Victorian electricity users. No one will use brown coal power unless they have no other choice. Industry from Victoria will move elsewhere. The social and political disruption will be enormous, and visible.

In contrast, an ETS attempts to hide the costs. However the power plant operators and others will manipulate it so they do not have to change their emissions at all. An ETS is a total waste of effort. The people who support it are interested in financial manipulation, not in emission reductions.


Windows 7 was the topic of Peter Bennett's talk to the Carlyle Gardens Computer Club group. Peter does computer repairs and installs Windows for many of the computer users at Carlyle Gardens. I always point Windows users at Peter for computer support, as he obviously knows his stuff. Peter had sensible things to say about moving from Windows XP (it is costly and hard, so if you do not need it, do not bother). Wait until you replace your computer. Peter did a nice potted history of Windows, to help bring attendees up to speed.

I was pleased to see Open Office used for the presentation. This is the free and open source alternative to Microsoft Office. My partner Jean has been heavily involved in writing the manuals for Open Office. Competer Bits and Bytes has a new web site. After the presentation there were the usual excellent snacks.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Welfare Management

The problem with accepting tax money from the government is the usual who pays the piper calls the tune. So compulsory income-management for all welfare recipients is to be introduced in Parliament today. These are the same restrictions the Howard government introduced for remote Aboriginal communities as a misguided part of the failed intervention. Exemptions will be available for some welfare recipients if they can demonstrate responsible behaviour.

The only way to try to keep government intervention out of your life is to have nothing to do with the government. This would be a lot easier were not so many governments turning into nanny states.


We went shopping at Coles at Willows. We sure seem to get a heap of stuff, compared to what I recall eating. Some of it is sort of intended as cyclone supplies, but there was little bottled water available. Jean got her Willows discount card. A check of BigW provided nothing for either of us (a day early for some sale items). However in JB HiFi (for once not playing loud, obnoxious music) Jean managed to find a belt clip cover for her iPhone. Now she just needs a data pack for using the iPhone.

A bit after 10 a.m. the lawn watering system came on for our lawn. I checked the water pattern. The corner of lawn between our garden and driveway does not get watered. When we do the garden sprinkler system, we will need to make sure water goes on that corner of the lawn.

There was a box of a dozen Ord River Rum from Hoochery Distillery at Kununurra in the east Kimberley, Western Australia's Oldest Continuously Operating Distillery, awaiting me at reception. I phoned Jean to bring the car, as a box that heavy was more than I wanted to carry a kilometre in the summer heat.

The September Analog science fiction awaited me. That was peculiar, as the January February double issue of Analog had arrived the previous day. Sounds like mail delivery is worse than ever.

Thursday 26 November 2009


Shopping at Bunnings this morning, aided by their helpful staff. Various solar lights, and additional security equipment. When we returned home we put out the laundry, and then I assembled 16 Solar Magic garden lights. One dead battery, but all the rest were fine. I installed the 16 lanterns in the back garden, in a similar manner to those our neighbours installed.

Had a lengthy talk with Alan and Nellie, nominally about emergency responses for this side of Carlyle Gardens. This degenerated to hilarious stories of delays in moving here. Reminded me somewhat of a Monty Python sketch, and we were certainly laughing a lot.

Power Off

Jean reports that her air conditioning went off at 18:51. All the air conditioning is connected to Tariff 33, which allows Ergon Electricity to switch it off at peak power demand times. The air conditioning power came back at 19:22. Jean says that the air conditioning does not go off during weekends. This is consistent with lower demand then.

Friday 27 November 2009

Death and Taxes

I had been attempting to find some forms on the website of the Australian Taxation Office. Failing to understand what the forms meant (I did not believe I could successfully fill them in), I attempted to contact the ATO via phone. Could not even get onto the phone queue the first few days I tried. This time I got through to their automated system. Follow the voice prompts, with voice input (at least for yes, no, and digits). Following the prompts, I was able to get what I wanted organised in a few minutes. First automatic voice activated system I have liked in ages. Congratulations to the ATO.

Emergency Training

We went to the Carlyle Gardens auditorium for the emergency training. This was basically radio protocol to report problems in case of cyclone or storm damage this wet season. Off to our fourteen respective areas (each of a couple of streets) to play with the radios.

This was mainly Base, this is are 14, over, 14, this is base, over, followed by area 14, house 544 has turned into a Police Box, send Dr Who, over. And so on.

Our group of four rapidly found a place where we could receive communications well, but not send them. Over several test calls we determined which areas were in good range of base (basically stick to really open areas). Two of our members had never used radios previously, so I thought the trial went very well.

Black Friday Apple Sale

Bought a bunch of gadgets online during the annual sale Apple usually have on Black Friday in the USA. This is not actually a sales date in Australia, but given Apple rarely discount, I will take small savings when I can.

Last month I sent off my Apple PowerBook as a replacement for an older PowerBook owned by an overseas fan. What I wanted was an iMac. however I can not tolerate the reflective glossy display on the Apple iMac. However Apple fairly recently made their 15 inch MacBook Pro available with a matte (non-glare) display. That should make an excellent replacement for a PowerBook.

As well, now there is an emissions trading scheme in Australia, I fear stability of power supplies may be affected, especially longer term. Changing to computers that are less dependent on continuity of electricity supply seemed worth at least considering.

I also ordered a carry case, Bento 3 personal database, a wireless keyboard, and an all in one scanner printer (the printer has a cash back option that negates most of the cost).

Saturday 28 November 2009


I went shopping early in the morning. While I hate food shopping, I love gadgets. But Woolworths for the snacks for the block party had to come first. I also found some disposable drink cups at the chemist.

Annie spotted me, and told me Carlyle Gardens had a display at Willows. It was a pretty cute display, with lots of photos of residents. I noticed Ray and Annie on one poster, and took a photo of both of them in front of the picture. Our neighbours Holgar and Alexis were on another poster (actually they were in several photos). After talking to the folks at the table, Ray and I went off to Target seeking little objects for Ray to place in the new mail boxes, just so people had something to find when they tried their new mail box keys. Ray had just obtained the keys from the builder.

Bought one of the small Zed computer desks from Sam's Warehouse, now that I could finally locate them. Lugged it way across the car park to where I had left the car. I am hoping I can make use of a variety of the parts from it.

Sunday 29 November 2009

Emission Trading Scheme is Fraud

It appears the proposed Australian emissions trading scheme will prolong the life span of coal fired power plants. That hardly seems to be likely to do much to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Even the Greens think the ETS sucks, and are voting against it.

Just look at the figures. A$4 billion to the dirtiest coal power stations, out of A$7.3 to electricity generators. The condition seems to be that these coal power stations continue to pollute! This is just what was predicted. Heavy polluters become rent seekers, and make no change to their behaviour. Garnaut had it right. No compensation whatsoever to power producers was the only realistic solution, just like he wrote in his report. The problem is the Victorian LaTrobe valley power producers say they will simply turn off the power. Time to call their bluff, but no government will be game to do that.

Water Sprinklers

The small water sprinkling system between the houses started working sometime after five this morning. I went out and checked where the water fell. It seemed to me that the areas where the grass was not growing well had been getting at least some water. I had watered the bare looking patches on Saturday.

The large watering system to the east of the house sprang to life around 10:20 a.m. All the pop up sprinkling heads appeared. That seems to be providing good coverage except at the back of the house, between houses, and also between the front garden and the driveway. Just not enough range in some places there.


We took a walk this morning, before it got too hot. The mail boxes now have a complete ceiling, as the folks who were working on it on Saturday must have completed it. Now all we need is a proper path to the mail boxes.

I built the small computer desk I got cheap at Sam's Warehouse. Not too bad an assembly. To be honest, I bought it mainly for the components, because the complete desk is cheaper than a set of casters, a Z frame, and a set of drawer glides. Not that I could ever find casters in that thread size when I looked in hardware stores. After building the table, I moved the casters to the glass table I had assembled some months ago, to replace the flat pads that came with it.

It was sufficiently hot and humid today that I finally gave up and turned on the air conditioner during the afternoon, for the first time since we moved in. The weather cooled down well when clouds gathered, so I did not need to leave the air conditioning on. At 6 p.m we started getting steady rain, albeit very light. I count that as the first real rain of the wet season.

Monday 30 November 2009


No change to the mail boxes when we took our early morning walk. However the ceiling over the boxes looks complete and well made. No sign of a new ramp or path through to the boxes. I hope no-one who is unsteady on their feet gets too ambitious about walking into the mail boxes through the garden. Which reminds me, maybe that area needs a garden seat.

Several trucks and trailers arrived around 7 a.m. They appear to be a Ditch Witch ditch cleaning gadget, and little bulldozers. As well, the fence digging gadget was back. There was also a large truck with posts and rails for the massive looking fence. They certainly all made a ferocious noise during the morning, and through until around 3 p.m.

My first delivery from Apple is scheduled today, with the delivery being collected in Townsville at 7:15 a.m. So I have been anticipating it arriving early in the morning. Still anticipating ... more anticipating.

Fastway van arrived around 9 a.m. However that turned out to be for Jean. The delivery of toner cartridges for her HP 2550 Laser Printers. Jean had found them at a very special price, and does tend to go through them fast. I also ordered a set, since I plan some printing soon.

Express Mail delivery van arrives, with two parcels. They both turned out to be Jean's steampunk books from Amazon. I sure hope Jean actually gets around to making a steampunk costume for the 2010 Worldcon in Melbourne. A little later, Jean got her delivery of the Windows 7 update. Way too many delivery trucks stealing all my anticpation!

My delivery arrived while I was at lunch. This seems very standard. At least Bento worked to license my version of Bento 3.

Kill Open WiFi

Kill open Wi-Fi networks seems to be the aim of the U.K. Digital Economy bill, as professor of internet law Lillian Edwards explains in this article in The Guardian. Obviously there are heaps of people who are unable to cope with setting up a secure WiFi network. There are also heaps of people with older computers that can not use a secure WiFi network. Is it not time to tell the government, all governments, to stick their laws?

Perhaps excluding media downloads is the aim. The MAFIAA (Music And Film Industry Association of America) have been working towards this, via pressure on government and via courts. Places like McDonalds may find it all too hard, and a great free WiFi service will disappear.

Eric Lindsay's Blog November 2009