Eric Lindsay's Blog March 2011

Tuesday 1 March 2011

Internet Access Bad Again

I had trouble connecting to the internet when I checked at five. Our provider had me on It came good after a delay. Thirty minutes later the internet access was again lost. I had to switch power off before the router became visible again. Now the IP number is


We went for a short walk at Willows, and a short shopping trip at Coles, basically restocking things. Alas, I could not resist Coke as it was cheap and I was almost out. My plans to stop drinking the stuff keep coming unstuck. I also bought a copy of The Australia, but have to admit the computer and IT section is less and less use to me.

We were away late for our next trip, to Rising Sun Honda, but did not have much trouble finding it. One short cut failed, as the street was closed as they hauled away trees fallen in Cyclone Yasi. The Rising Sun Honda sales guy Tim was very efficient. We handed in our bulk buy discount card, he zipped through a limited range of paperwork. Showed us how to start the generator. Warned us never to use Ethanol petrol (not that we would ever use it - Jean's Subaru mechanic gave us the same warning). About five minutes later we had a Honda 20i EU generator in the back of Jean's car. We had a generator change over switch put in the house a week ago.

Jean collected a flyer about taking a motorcycle riding course. Before we drove off, I suggested that she have a look at some of the motorcycles. They showed us a really nice clean traded in Suzuki 250 that looked just like a classic motor bike. I find the new motorcycles look too angular and futuristic. The major problem is that most motorbikes need you to be able to loft your leg pretty high to get onboard. Easy when you are twenty. Not so easy four decades later. Jean did look at some motor scooters because of that problem, but their geek point score is low.

Carbon Tax

The day before the 2010 election, the Prime Minister of Australia lied to the electorate. Julie Gillard assured the public that there would be no carbon tax. She reserved her options on an emissions trading scheme, one of the items that brought previous Prime Minister Kevin Rudd down. Treasurer Wayne Swan also said no carbon tax during its three year term. Having lied about bringing in a tax, it is hardly surprising to find most of what is said about a carbon tax is also a lie.

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Internet Connection Bad Again

My internet connection is once again really slow, this time at eight in the morning. It was working well enough around six in the morning. I have an IP number of at the moment. Can not connect to Google. Network connections to iTunes time out. Traceroute slows to a standstill.


I completed my protest letter (called Carlyle Moats) about drainage to our resort manager here at Carlyle Gardens. Said my home might be my castle, but I did not want a moat. This is the first time I have actually used Apple's Pages publishing package to do something colourful (I have used the more formal word processing features a little). I was including heaps of photos. Seems easy enough, although I suspect the old Microsoft Publisher might have an edge in ease of use in some areas. I had to do that letter now because the district manager was expected on Friday.

Off to Willows for our walk. Then on to Beacon Lighting for yet another replacement CFL downlight bulb. No way these last an average of 8000 hours. The youngster serving was not familiar with the CFL downlights, but we eventually found the right one.

Bunnings hardware was confusing. We were missing a U bolt spacer for the mounts for the car top carrier, but I did not know the term for the metal plate we wanted. Finally found some flat metal plates. If I can locate a large enough drill, and a drill press, I should be able to adapt it. If not, I will have to use a bastard file … well, actually a round file, but who can resist.

Spotlight fabrics for Saint Patricks Day ornaments. Stock was almost depleted, and already on special. Got a large green shamrock hat, and some green streamers. Luckily I have some items on hand.

We bought more rum at Dan Murphy. This is getting serious. I am sure we got some rum a few weeks ago.

Power Outage

At 7:41 p.m. we had a power outage. No electricity from the Rasmussen sub station. Stage A of Carlyle Gardens was out of power, as was everyone in the older section of Carlyle Gardens from around the street level with us. The outage cause was not explained on the Ergon call line. Power on Tariff 11 came back at 9:23 p.m. so the outage lasted 1 hour 42 minutes. Air conditioning power for Tariff 33 did not come back for about another 20 minutes.

My wine cooler temperature rose to 200C over the time of the outage. When power resumed, it dropped back to 170C in about 30 minutes.

A sewerage worker came along around 8:30 to check why the sewerage pumping station by the drainage ditch was not operating. There are about 400 pumping stations around Townsville, and six emergency services workers. I took the opportunity to get a decent look at the controls for the two pumps, and the pit. I was told that pit served only Carlyle Gardens, and that it had sufficient capacity for several days. That sewerage is pumped to another station on Bowhunter Road, which has a backup generator. That station would be filled in an hour or so from the area it serves. It pumps through to the settling tanks at the sewerage works way down Bowhunter Road. It seems the emergency services workers got a couple of new generators during the power crisis following Cyclone Yasi. Now they can connect generators (about half the size of their big trucks) and pump the shit along to the next station.

Thursday 3 March 2011

No Internet Connection

I tried to connect to the internet at 4 a.m. No connection. Then a very slow traceroute to a numeric IP number. Then my connection to the ADSL modem comes up via WiFi, showing my external IP number is This infrastructure garbage is getting to be a pain.

Now Safari has crashed, after opening several windows and multiple tabs from my history. First time in ages that has happened. It sends an automatic fault report to Apple. Well, when the internet is working it does.

Back from lunch, and once again I have no internet connection. After the usual interminable wait for a numeric traceroute to work, I was able to connect. My assigned IP number is now

Apple iPad 2 Event

I followed the MacRumorsLive Twitter feed of the Apple event at 10 a.m. Pacific Time (USA west coast). Most of the rumour sites are slow. MacWorld seemed a better site to follow. Steve Jobs on stage, looking thin. 100 million ePub books sold a year via iBooks from 2500 publishers, 200 million credit card details held, Random House joining iBooks with 17,000 books. 100 million iPhones sold. App Store paid $2 billion to developers, and there are 65,000 iPad applications. Then on to the 15 million iPads sold in 9 months, taking 90% of the market.

Newly revised iPad 2. Dual core A5 to ship in bulk, faster graphics, but still low power drain. Front and rear video cameras, gyroscope, lighter weight, HDMI mirrored output at 1080p via US$39 adaptor from dock connector, and charge iPad while doing video out. Thinner, at 8.8 mm instead of 13.4 mm (the iPhone 4 is 9.3 mm). In black or white. Prices unchanged. Storage space unchanged. Battery life unchanged (how did they manage that?) Shipping 25 March many countries, with iOS 4.3.

Smart covers, in five colours, in each of polyurethane (US$39) or leather (US$69). Magnetically autoalign, switch iPad on when you uncover the display, has microfibre interior to clean display.

Safari is snappier, with Nitro Javascript from OS X. iTunes home sharing. Wirelessly stream AirPlay. Preferences for iPad switch, for either rotation locking or muting. Personal WiFi hot spot of iPhone 4.

New PhotoBooth for video effects. FaceTime video chatting to iPhone 4. Randy Ubillos demonstrates $5 iMovie for iPad. Xander Soren demonstrates $5 Garage Band for iPad. Promoting iPad squarely for media generation, not just consumption.

Want to know why Apple introduce new products? This Wired interview with Steve Jobs from a decade ago gives good hints.

Most significant item in the whole presentation. Apple holds details of 200 million credit cards, all of which can be used with one touch purchases. That may be more than even Amazon.

Carbon Tax

The name carbon tax is a lie. Carbon is soot, graphite, diamond. Soot was mostly removed by laws against pollution ages ago. No one is proposing taxing graphite in lead pencils. And diamond carries its own scarcity tax. This is not about carbon. But saying carbon may bring to mind dirty, messy sooty black gunk.

A carbon tax should be called a carbon dioxide tax, because it is about the bubbles in beer. Or a carbon dioxide equivalent tax, if it includes methane and a few other greenhouse gases. Even calling it a greenhouse gas tax would be more honest. How can you talk with honesty about something whose very name is a lie? This government and the greens start with a lie, and continue with a lie.

Friday 4 March 2011


I am still trying to write my article for FLAP, but despite arising early, seem no closer to a reasonable result. Got an email reply from Leigh about drainage issues timed for 5:25 a.m. so I replied at 5:30 a.m. Jean and I went mall walking at Willows, leaving just prior to eight. Jean managed four times around the Willows complex, which was not a bad distance.

The egg shop did not have extra large eggs, but production was back to large eggs. Not too bad as a recovery from Cyclone Yasi. We bought a dozen.

Ian had several truckloads of people at his house setting out construction mesh for concreting. He was getting pebble finish concrete paths put alongside his home to let him walk around without sinking in mud. I had Jean drop me off. Talked with the boss of the concrete outfit. They will call later and give me a quote.

I rushed out into the blazing sun around 11:20 a.m. and headed for the Carlton Theatre. Saw a very large white wading bird and phoned Jean so she could check it out. Luckily a minute later Barbara drove past and offered me a lift, so I did not need to walk in the morning sun.

The disaster committee thank you from Lend Lease started late. Geoff had a DVD of slides from Jo-ann, and I recognised many of them as coming from me. Other photos were from Leigh and Ray. It was good to see the hard workers on the disaster and social committees recognised by Lend Lease, with a little speech and a trophy. LendLease also put on Subway snacks, and drinks at the bar.


I left the air conditioner on all day, blowing at the Hewlett Packard colour laser jet 2550 printer. At around 9 p.m. I sent a page to be printed. It worked, and worked well. So around 15 minutes later I sent the second page in my three page document to the printer. It stuffed up, with a whole range of colours not printed at all. As I have mentioned many times previously, I really hate printers.

Carbon Tax

Will any greenhouse gas tax in Australia change the world? No, it will not. Not even if it worked. Even if by some magic trick, Australia managed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero, it would make essentially no difference to the world. Even if we managed to sequestrate twice as much greenhouse gases as we produce, it would not make a difference. Well, if the IPCC are right, and their calculations are reliable, stopping all our greenhouse gas emissions right now might make a difference of around 0.01230C by 2100. Just like our population relative to world population, we are too insignificant to count.

Saturday 5 March 2011


Our walk in the mall went well, with us managing to get around four times. We had a little food shopping to do also. Plus I bought four newspapers. Jean thinks I get mad when I read about politics in the newspapers. Not true: I get furious. There is a difference.

Jean was kind enough to drive me to the discount chemist some distance down Kern Brothers Drive, so I was able to restock with generic prescription tablets in a timely manner. The discount chemist is substantially cheaper than buying via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

I spent the day reading the newspapers. It felt good to relax, however I just get mad about the political idiocy in Australia.

Mouse Batteries Dead

The batteries in my Apple Wireless Magic Mouse needed recharging tonight. So I left them charging overnight. What I probably should do is have some extra fully charged NiMH AA batteries on hand.

Carbon Tax

One purpose of the tax is to raise the price of coal-fired electricity until it can be replaced by natural gas. The other purpose is to fill a $10 billion budget gap. That is it. No higher purpose.

After Copenhagen died without agreement, the silly gooses in government made a commitment at Cancun in 2010 to a 5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from Australia by 2020. That is 5% in total, not per capita. That is politically very difficult to do. Especially when you would expect to actually have around a 20% increase, due to more people and a better standard of living.

The quickest way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions would be to close Hazelwood, the filthiest, highest greenhouse gas emitting brown coal power station in the world. It was originally scheduled to be closed in 2009. Then you would have to ration electricity in Victoria, and get an immediate 3% reduction. It would cut into Labor's manufacturing heartland. So it will not happen.

Instead we have a tax designed to force electricity producers from existing already paid for coal fired power stations into gas fired power stations. Natural gas producers love this idea. Natural gas (methane - itself a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) produces about half the amount of carbon dioxide as does brown coal when burnt (about 30% better for black coal). Four hydrogen atoms in methane to one carbon atom, so it produces steam and some carbon dioxide. Coal has a lot of carbon by comparison.

Another big tax over the next few years also partly fills the budget deficit left by the failed mining tax. Export exposed industries will be subsidised, at least the ones that can leave the country. So will low income voters. If you are not in those categories, you will simply have less to spend.

Sunday 6 March 2011

Internet Connection Not There

The internet connection was not available when I looked at the computer this morning at 5:30 a.m. The WiFi connection to my router was fine, and it as using IP number I started a numeric traceroute to wake up the connection.

I had twenty minutes of good operation, and then the internet connection slowed down to utter useless on a bunch of overseas sites. iTunes always timed out. Some Australian sites were still fine.

I can not see how a National Broadband Network will solve these connection or speed issues. The only real additional use I can see for a working NBN is to permit internet video, such as YouTube, Vimeo, or IPTV. And of course live porn. I can not see any of that being a productive use of bandwidth, let alone money.

I also notice that the Twitter web interface has been totally useless for days. It must be more reliable for some people, but given it works at most 50% of the time for me, I just do not see that it has any value. I have a very low tolerance for unreliable systems. Twitter long ago exceeded my tolerance.


I went for a walk around the village, at a very slow pace. The humidity is unbelievable. Like walking in a sauna. The gauge shows over 80% humidity. I also took the opportunity to deliver the last month of the Whitsunday Times to Neil while I was walking. My walk time was well over eleven minutes per kilometre, more like twelve actually.

Watched the Sunday public affairs programs on TV. Meet the Press on Ten, and then Insiders and Inside Business on the ABC. I believe the signal is digital. There was a momentary loss of signal every now and then through the programs. Others have complained about this also.

I did more printing of my letter to Leigh complaining about the water against all sides of the house. I want to start a political movement about this, to ensure whoever buys Carlyle Gardens is totally aware of dissatisfaction. Mind you, freedom of the press would be a heap easier if the Hewlett Packard colour LaserJet printer would actually work reliably.

Carbon Tax

How high would a carbon tax need to be to force electricity away from coal power stations to natural gas (methane) power stations? Brown coal will be the first to suffer, since it produces far more greenhouse gas emissions than black coal power stations. However it seems likely to me that the tax would need to be at least $60 per tonne of carbon equivalent emissions to make a bunch of power stations change over to natural gas.

So what happens with a tax of about $20 a tonne? Prices rise. Trade exposed industries like alumina demand compensation. Most of the rest of us pay a little more for our electricity. Most of the cost of electricity to households is for transmission lines and distribution, and that percentage keeps rising. So doubling the cost of fuel, for example, will not double the cost of electricity. It is actually a lot more complicated than that.

Monday 7 March 2011


I lurched out at five a.m. to the sound of flooding rain on the roof. However the internet sprang into immediate life on IP number, so that was a good start. Twitter still does not do anything at all. Then, an hour and a half later, Twitter suddenly started working. Not that I had anything printable to say by then. Speaking of printing, the Hewlett Packard colour Laser Jet printer managed to print two pages correctly in the past two hours.

The heavier rain has flooded the drainage trench to the east. When the rain eased, I dug a bit more trench where the irrigation pipes are, so the water could get away. I am gradually locating the high spots around the house, and lowering them. This may take months.

Momentary power outage at 7:03 a.m. when the electricity went out. Now we have thunder. Weather radar is still showing incoming rain.

To Willows for our walk. Then to Domain Central to visit the newly opened Next Byte Apple store at 103 Duckworth Street, Garbutt. Looks very nice, not totally unlike an actual Apple store (high praise). They say they will have two introductory training courses in a few more weeks.

On to Roof Racks and More, once we found just where they were. Part of their sign was down from the cyclone, so we sailed right past them at first. They did not have a replacement for the Subaru roof rack mount piece we are missing. However we were able to get a 12 volt DC metal auto fan, something I have wanted every time the power goes out. I just have to solder on some connectors so we can use it. It rained on us when we tried to get back to the car.

We tried to get a replacement for the Subaru roof rack mount at Key Motors on our way back, but had no luck. We may have to get a metal fabricator to make us one. One is reputed to be at 50 Beck Drive, which is nearby.

Internet Out of Action Again

The internet is out of action again, during heavy rain, at 12:58 p.m. Very slow connection to iiNet when I did a numeric traceroute, although each hop is quick. This is not a problem with line speed. It is elsewhere in the infrastructure. The internet was more reliable when I was using dial up. Slower, but more reliable. Now 1:05 p.m. and the internet is back in action. Who knows why it was in either state? My external IP number did not alter all day.

Apple Magic TrackPad Batteries

The rechargeable NiMH batteries in my Apple Magic TrackPad went dead around midday. I had to recharge them. This note is only entered so I can keep track of battery life on various devices that are using recharged NiMH batteries.

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Internet and Printing

I see we are back to having the internet off when I first bring my computer out of sleep. It came up fairly quickly after a traceroute to a numeric IP address. This time I have been assigned IP number

Internet went out at 10 p.m. without any indication of why it had happened. Did another numeric traceroute.

On the brighter side, the Hewlett Packard colour LaserJet printer managed a half dozen or more pages yesterday. It also did the page I sent it first thing in the morning. However then it seemed to swap between a line of garbage, a correct page, or absolutely nothing at all.

Printing my flooding letter to the administration for other people (to encourage further complaints), I managed to complete 10 single sided copies of three pages, or 30 sheets of paper. There were 10 faulty pages, so the failure rate for printing was 25%. It took around four days to print that many pages. I am really sick and tired of printing in the humid tropics.

Encouraged by this printing, I tried more. The first page of a nine page article had 14 copies that were good, and ten that printed garbage. No idea how many simply silently failed to print (lots). So I tried again today. Sixteen copies with three garbage and one colour problem

Portable Battery Fan

Isn't it incredible that I could search the web for a 12 volt battery operated fan, and not find anything of use in Australia? I found a handful overseas, but nothing for sale in Australia. Not at the 12 Volt shop, not at any of the caravan dealers. I did find some expensive DC fans at one boat accessory place. Yet walking into a 4WD accessory shop provided a 200 mm 12 volt DC fan, for $40.

Now that I finally have a 12 volt DC 200mm portable fan, I need to make it useful when the power is out. It is designed for mounting on a truck dashboard or a boat bulkhead. The assumption is that you have 12 volts DC available through the wiring harness. This is not the case in a regular home.

We bought a cheap 40 cm cube pseudo-wood furniture piece with a door. That should have space for lead acid batteries inside, as well as a smart battery charger. The top is a place to put the fan on where it can be secured at a reasonable height. I also want to put the cube on caster wheels, for easy movement.

Carbon Tax

There is already a pseudo Carbon tax. That is the Renewable Energy Target.

Wednesday 9 March 2011


Internet works, for small values of works (I did not have to goose it to start). Twitter can not get its entire interface to start. Facebook comes up flawlessly. It is a pity Facebook's maltreatment of privacy means I hardly ever use it. I certainly would never give Facebook accurate information.

Printing with the Hewlett Packard colour LaserJet 2550 printer continues to be a total pain in the arse. Three pages in 90 minutes, plus one page with garbage, and at least five that did nothing at all. Now up to eight pages in two and a half hours.

The Internet went out of action again at 9 p.m. I notice my external IP number is now I goosed it with a numeric traceroute, which worked about as fast as swimming in molasses.

Carlton Theatre

Another Carlton Theatre problem, but very much as expected. I commended Geoff for withdrawing from a stressful situation. I doubt anything else would work.

Had a phone call from Doreen, at nine, so I explained the need for providing the program, and all the music, as early as possible for a rehearsal. Carlton Theatre is booked enough that scheduling a rehearsal at short notice is a problem. I am away for a fair percentage of the next few weeks so I am not available on either of the potential rehearsal dates. Had another phone call going over the same territory about what you need to organise for a rehearsal.

We should not have to explain to people who have organised musical events previously what is needed before a major event. It is fair enough to have to explain to volunteers who have never previously organised an event. This whole Carlton Theatre gig is a real time waster for volunteers. A better system is needed. At the very least, a question and answer sheet and checklist for people proposing to organise a theatrical or musical event.

This evening, between fighting with the printer, I wrote a mildly aggressive Question and Answer sheet to give to intending users. Next I need to write a concert checklist, and that will be savage.

Carbon Tax

Australia has to do something about its high greenhouse gas emissions so as to set a moral example to the world for low greenhouse gas emissions. Bullshit. Emissions are approximately proportional to GDP, which in turn is proportional to living standards and population, modified only slightly by energy efficiency (the thing the Chinese are banging on about). Absolutely no-one wants lower living standards. That is what economic immigration is all about. Most countries specify emissions per capita, because it makes poor countries look good.

What happens when you compare countries by CO2 equivalent metric tons of emissions per year per square kilometre? (You can check all these calculations using the WolframAlpha engine.) The USA is 665. France is 763 (and uses nuclear power for most electricity). Clean green Denmark is 1223 (windmills don't work well). Britain is 2305 (but improving). Japan is 3452. What about Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and so on? Insufficient data to tell. So who are world champions for low ? New Zealand is 134. Russia is 103. Canada is 64. Australia is 51. In fact, Australia is about half the world average. If every country had a sustainable population, there would be no issue.

Thursday 10 March 2011


I started printing at 5:30 a.m. Mostly the printer appears to accept the download. The download light flashes. However then the Hewlett Packard colour LaserJet 2550 silently fails to print anything. Every now and then a page prints correctly. Then I can probably print one more page soon after. However the third page within five minutes has the colours wrong. Still, I managed to complete 20 copies of another page by mid afternoon. On the last few, the yellow toner light was on steady. However they still seemed to actually print correctly.

No longer prints correctly. Jean had an old yellow toner cartridge. She installed that. The printer passes its startup tests … and fails to print correctly. Eventually the (previously used) replacement yellow toner cartridge settled down, and I actually got some printer output.

Carlton Theatre

Concert program. I checked with the office both before and after lunch. The concert program I wanted was not there.

I had a phone call from one of the people intending to perform at the concert. They did not have a CD of their music. This was not one of the people I had been advised needed music. They had a tape. We have no tape recorder in the theatre (as far as I know). I sort of assume they actually mean a cassette recorder. They have no idea what outputs are available on their own tape recorder. If it has a line level output maybe something could be done (in a very inconvenient manner, that will be of low quality). I could not quickly locate a version on the internet that did not include someone singing the lyrics. This concert is just shaping up as an unprofessional mess.

Luckily Geoff knows both of us, and was willing to take a look at copying a tape to a CD. I had no luck finding a substitute on the Internet.


I shovelled more stuff out of the drainage trench and into the boxes I had been putting the excess soil in. Mark had decided he might be able to use some of the turf at home (since it would otherwise be thrown out). He thought he could dump the excess soil in their stockpile when they had a bobcat over on Friday.

Back from collecting eggs. Internet is not working. Goosed it with a numeric traceroute, which worked agonisingly slowly, despite each hop showing up as 50 ms or so. Twitter still basically is too slow to even contemplate. I certainly can't get to the point of attempting to log in.

The Residents Meeting was this evening. Standard reports, with no real drama. I think Ray's attempt to get pre-support for cost rises are doomed to failure. But it was a brave decision, Mr Chairman. We were able to intercept the chairs before the keen folks put them all away. There is the movie tomorrow.

Carbon Tax

Which initiative of government produced the greatest greenhouse gas emissions reduction for each dollar spent? Banning the long used low efficiency incandescent light bulbs would probably be the winner. There were basically no Australian manufacturers, so there was little political backlash from producers.

Replacements were available, albeit at a higher cost. People grumbled about that, but the higher cost was still relatively low. Plus you could promise a longer life, and claim this made the costs the same or lower. I think that claim is bullshit, but you could make it on the basis of manufacturer's claimed lifespans, and actual retail prices.

Now it is true that every replacement light globe technology was technically inferior to the light from a standard incandescent bulb, but they were not inferior in ways most people noticed. The continuous spectrum of a light bulb matches the black body spectrum from sunlight a lot closer than does fluorescent (or LED) lighting. These technologies produce multiple light peaks, that visually approximate white light. Newer T5 tubular fluorescent lights with quad phosphor coatings are improving, but all these lights are essentially relying on the chemistry of multiple phosphor coatings on fluorescent tubes. Most of us may not notice. Graphic artists and photographers are pissed off about light quality.

As an aside, I notice Olsent Halogen globe warm white twin packs at $4.50, in ES or BC fittings, in pearl or clear, at the Home hardware store. They claim to last up to 2000 hours. These are essentially a slightly more efficient incandescent globe. 53 Watts for a claimed 75 Watt output. Does anyone seriously think these save much power compared to the traditional 60 Watt globes we used to buy?

Friday 11 March 2011

To Airlie Beach

I could not sleep, and set out before five. I noticed Ian standing outside his home as I drove slowly through the darkened resort. It rained for about thirty or forty minutes in the dark, making it hard to see for driving down the Bruce Highway. As an aside, the rail to Cairns has been out since Sunday. The Bruce Highway is closed north of Townsville. Not impressive for the major highway in a first world country.

Inkerman only had past dated chocolate milk. I felt deprived, and consoled myself with a candy bar, before continuing.

I reached Michele's a little after eight. I had neglected to ask about 12 volt DC battery operated fans. To my immense surprise, they had the 14 inch Endless Breeze. The web site for this device seemed unreachable, so I thought they had closed. I can not imagine any other shop that would have had these. I was very pleased, except about the price.

At Centro Whitsunday, the Mitre 10 hardware store did not have the plate I needed. Next I tried AutoPro. I did find a Fish Plate the U bolt fitted. Alas, it would not suit the actual luggage pod. Nor did BigW. Had a chat with Leading Edge Video. Finally collected too much ice cream and other pseudo food from Woolworths (except I forgot to get a tomato to go with the ham and cheese), before continuing home.

Whitsunday Terraces

I took photos around the Whitsunday Terraces resort. Many items that were mentioned at the previous committee meting have been fixed. The finish make good work from some contractors to remove rail mounts was done, and the edges of the slab painted. The barbecue table had been cleaned and had a wood finish on it. The previously cleaned paths seemed even better. A waterproofer and painter was outside the Strand Apartment. Saw Ron doing balcony divider work for an owner. I was very pleased with the progress.

However there is still no sign of action on the blocked gutters. These is still rubbish outside in Anchor block, including a chair frame. There are also some doors that have mould all over them. I think many have been cleaned of late, however 61, and the laundry in Florin are very bad, as is the Strand Suite.

I went through all of Florin Terrace as I left, and then all of Anchor and the top of Barnacle when I returned. Still a lot of checking to go.

Airlie Beach

During my walk through the main street of Airlie Beach, I noticed the barber shop was empty. So I managed to get my haircut without having to wait in a queue. Saw one of the people I knew and caught up on news for a while.

The news agent had the past two issues of the Whitsunday Times. Luckily there were no more computer magazines.

Michael and Mel appeared after five. They kindly invited me to drop in and have some Mexican food and beer for dinner. Talked about small Fisher and Paykel drawer size dishwashers, that alas would not fit. I complained about the number of gadgets I can not buy anywhere.

Star Trek - The Bad Experience

I hoped to have some time to spare, so I decided to watch a science fiction movie. I have been buying SF movies on DVD for years, whenever I see one I don't have at any sort of reasonable price in BigW or wherever. I don't usually have time to watch them, but buy on the chance that I will watch them someday.

I unpacked the first box of the colourfully packaged, digitally remastered original season of Star Trek. Put it in a Philips combined VHS and DVD player. The DVD player thought for a while, and then refused to play the DVD I had bought, retail, in Australia a month or so ago. Wrong country. This DVD set was for USA only.

Luckily I had a few other DVDs on hand. So I decided on the latest Star Trek movie DVD. Stripped the shrink wrap plastic from the box. The box the DVD is in will not open. It seems to have a lock showing. Nothing I do will open the DVD box. I finally attack the box with a large screwdriver, mangle the box and smash the lock. Now I can finally watch the movie. Which starts by warning me about the perils of stealing copyright videos.

It would have a lot easier for me to view this movie if it had been on my computer in the first place (I do not own a TV set, so DVDs normally play on my 30 inch computer monitor). I have three movies on my Apple iPad at the moment. They each cost me 99 cents to borrow for a month from the Apple iTunes store. They were real easy to obtain (Apple have my credit card number). I could play these movies on either my computer or my iPad, although I do have to remember to move them to whichever screen is most likely to be used. I will probably even manage to watch at least one of them.

Paramount, you have made your point. Your products are a bad experience. From now on, the only Paramount products I will buy will be Paramount tinned salmon, which I admit is also in a hard to open package.

Japan Earthquake

I see a massive 8.9 scale earthquake off the north eastern Japanese coast, generating a tidal wave. The photos of the tsunami are dramatic and frightening. There were several preliminary earthquakes over the past few days. Looks devastating for such a crowded island. I can not imagine they will not have terrible casualties. I hope that supplies and help reaches them rapidly.

A gas plant is aflame. They mentioned at least four million building around Tokyo without electricity. Mobile phone systems are down in some places.

Nuclear power plants go into emergency shutdown when they detect the earthquake, and plants are cut off from the grid. Seems they also need additional power for the cooling water systems, which appeared to fail when a plant was hit by the tsunami. One reactor seems to have a loss of coolant problem. They say no radioactive leakage, which would continue to apply unless the uranium oxide cladding is damaged by heat. I look forward to the technical report on how that happened.

It seems possible many small islands across the Pacific may be hit by tidal waves later. I wonder if we will hear about them from the hysterical media.

Saturday 12 March 2011

Whitsunday Terraces

The garbage truck went around the Whitsunday Terraces at 7:06 a.m. Garbage bin at Florin Terrace was half full and smelly, but had not been put out in time for the garbage collection. I could see bins out at Endeavour and Driftwood Terraces. I could not see any rubbish bins out further down the hill. It turned out that all the bins except for Cutlass and Florin had been put out for collection. I remonstrated with Allan about that, since the contract says bins go out every day, no exceptions. Actually I had a productive chat with Jan and Allan, and I am hopeful about the future of the Whitsunday Terraces (for the first time in a year or more).

There is now a damaged white sedan in the car park of Florin Terrace. There is a Victorian number plate on the back. It appears to me to be abandoned. That makes about three abandoned vehicles.

The gutters are still full of growing vegetation. I took more photographs as evidence of the long term continuing lack of action. Still, despite the many continuing problems, there has been work done, and improvements made by the new managers Q Resorts have installed in 2011. This despite them having to cope with two cyclones immediately they arrived. I am feeling a lot better about the future of Whitsunday Terraces.

Airlie Beach

The markets were disappointing. Much decreased in number, and many of the stallholders arriving late, as it was not worthwhile to arrive early. Several businesses have already closed, and others had the closing down signs out. I did find that there was a $300 Rabbito copper plaque, so I must tell Blue about this.

The usual food places were not at the markets, so I went to MacDonalds instead. They at least were open. Four newspapers at the news agent, before I walked back up through the Whitsunday Terraces. I am taking a different route each time, so I can take photos for the Body Corporate committee.

I wasted a lot of time reading newspapers, and watching the terrible news from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.


No party tonight was what I thought. Glenn was away, and Alison unlikely to arrive. Rex had said he could not drive. Peter had planned to come, but had to cancel at the last minute. That seemed to only leave Jim. Then David arrived, although he was mostly here collecting photos of the Port of Airlie marina. Rex phoned. Myra had arrived home, and they were driving in to join us. Got a pizza, and had our party. Michael and Mel arrived towards the end of it.

Sunday 13 March 2011

Whitsunday Terraces

Went out between rain showers to get more newspapers. Checked yet more areas in the Whitsunday Terraces as I walked up the twelve flights of stairs. But I basically vegetated watching Meet the Press, and then Insiders and Inside Business.

Transferred all of the recent photographs of Whitsunday Terraces from several different camera cards to the computer. Mostly I think I managed to get them into appropriate folders. Seemed to take a heap of time. The 13 inch display of my MacBook Air is too small to get a really decent view of details in the photos, and it is the details that I need.

Airlie Beach

I started reading ANZAPA, and interspersed writing a few comments with viewing the unfolding disaster in Japan. I was pretty annoyed at the concentrating on the nuclear power plant issue, considering most of the commentators on TV obviously had no clue about how blowups happen.

Had a chat with Jim later in the day, when we had a red wine. I had just made some toasted dinner rolls, and had ham, cheese and tomato to garnish them.

Apple iPad 2

The variable clock speed dual core Apple A5 CPU in iPad 2 models torn apart is still made by Samsung, despite rumours Taiwan's TSMC would also be making silicon chips for Apple. Looks like Apple is holding the clock speed below 1 GHz, probably to help power consumption. The A5 is a 12.1mm x 10.1mm die, against the previous smaller A4 single core CPU with a die size of 7.3mm by 7.3mm, so it is more than twice as large a silicon area. That will push up costs since you would get fewer chips per wafer. Apple also need to source chips for AppleTV, and for iPod Touch.

However, Apple may use this A5 chip in TSMC's 40nm process in most of their iPhone 5, thus dropping power drain. It probably depends on how many A5 Samsung are willing to produce. The other factor is the physically larger CPU may simply not fit in an iPhone or iPod Touch, leaving a feature size shrink the only way out. TSMC are spending well over $5 billion on expansion.

The iPad 2 uses 512MB of Samsung's 45nm low power DDR2 memory, which is a smaller feature size than the previous 256MB of DDR memory. Elpida is also reported to be supplying memory. Meanwhile Globalfoundries (ATIC and AMD) are doing a $5 billion expansion into 45/40/28nm ARM CPUs. I wonder if Apple money also went there?

Monday 14 March 2011

Airlie Beach

It rained all morning, which made me reluctant to take many more photographs around the Whitsunday Terraces. However eventually I had to go out in the rain to collect the stainless steel drying rack from the stainless steel welder. On Friday they had told me the rack was ready. Turned out that the joints had not been pickled. I also asked to get a washer plate for the Subaru luggage pod, as I had failed to find a substitute in several hardware and automotive stores. So I spent some quality time at the nearby Centro shopping centre. I did get a missing DVD, and a few apple slices. Collected the now cleaned drying rack, so that means I can do laundry. Well, if it ever stops raining.

At three I returned to the stainless steel welder to collect the new washer plate. The holes were not drilled yet. They did it while I waited. Luckily I got back home before someone stole my parking spot at the Whitsunday Terraces.

I continued working mostly on ANZAPA. I do not seem to be doing it all that quickly. I just do not seem to be able to stick to it. Watched my DVD of District 9 while I was making some mailing comments.

Assanage Ambush

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assanage ambushed lying Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on the ABC's Question and Answer show. He asked about the Australian government providing information about members of Wikileaks to other governments. His point was that the Australian government should be supporting Australian citizens, not helping other governments prosecute them. Wanted Julia Gillard charged with treason, which was a neat (albeit meaningless) turnaround. All good fun.

Apple iPad 2

Apple changed the Imagination Technologies graphics processor in the iPad 2 from the PowerVR SGC 535 to the multiple core PowerVr SGX 543MP2. The shader pipeline is twice the speed, as is hidden surface removal. Synthetic benchmarks show a clearly superior GPU, at least five time quicker than in the original iPad. Not that it was a slouch.

On a benchmark basis, the new iPad 2 is approximately the performance of my first Apple Macintosh, a 1.25 GHz G4 PowerBook, which is about seven years old. The iPad 2 has the same minimum RAM. However the Powerbook had a 15 inch 1280 x 854 display, while the iPad 2 has a very nice display showing 1024 x 768 pixels. The PowerBook had an 80GB drive, whereas the iPad comes in 16/32 and 64GB. The PowerBook retailed for US$2599. The iPad 2 starts at US$499.

There is little reason that some people could not move from an old computer to a tablet and get a much nicer result.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Garbage Bins

I noticed the rubbish bins were not out for Florin and Endeavour Terraces this morning at 6:38 a.m. Bins were out for Driftwood and Compass terraces (I could not see further down the street). We will have to draw this to the attention of the Whitsunday Terraces Resort Management, and arrange to get further reports on failure of disposal of garbage. When I walked down the street after the garbage truck had collected the rubbish bins at 7:18 a.m. I noticed that bins were out except at Endeavour and Florin Terraces. Both had half full bins, which I put out.


I continued writing mailing comments this morning, while the rain poured down from time to time. A tradesman came along to work on Jim's apartment again. Some work was also being done yesterday. Took a walk down to the street when the rain stopped for a while to get breakfast, and collect a newspaper. Got the ANZAPA mailing comments completed, and started on FAPA. Still way behind on this. I also managed to get some of the cleaning up done.

Whitsunday Terraces

On the way back through the Whitsunday Terraces from the street, I noticed some more issues with drainage from beneath the swimming pool area, where the two high roof apartments are. The drain pipe along the side of the building and over the doorway terminates at the elevated pathway. Then water dribbles down onto the metal support structure for the steps. It also attacks the air conditioner there. That pipe has to be fixed, and redirected into the small circular garden at the top of the steps from the car park.

I took my camera through all the car parks, and photographed the cars there around midday. The idea is that I can do that again next time I visit, in the hope of identifying the cars that never move. These may be abandoned.

Our chairman Doug turned up, so I had several chats with him during the day. Jim turned up and gave me the 2009 BCA (Building Code of Australia) handbooks.

Blowups Happen

Blowups Happen by Robert A Heinlein (1939)

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Leaving Airlie Beach

I was late leaving, so it was after six. Drive non stop to Townsville. Flood stops traffic just prior to entering Townsville. Just how come the major highway north south gets cut every time it rains? Beyond Townsville, to Cairns, the road has been cut hundreds of time in the past few years. Towns can be cut off from supplies for weeks. This is like a third world country. Big plans for airy fairy stuff like an NBN, but can't get a road to work.

I unpacked the car, and realised my room looked more like a dump than anything else. SMS to Jean to tell her I was back, with the car. Collect Jean for doctor's office.

Stop at reception. Concert list not available. Finally return to house and try to start clearing the mess.


Concert list was available at lunch time. However the music is not noted, nor who needs it. Drop a note to Geoff. Jean and I manage to have a peaceful lunch at the restaurant, as we can not face trying to make something at the house. Box of toner at Reception, according to note at door. Emails re concert, which worries me as there is no indication in the concert list of knowing how to set up for sound.

Had a phone call from Doreen. One of the musicians from the Beat will be doing the music on their equipment. I do not need to worry, except to come along to help. This makes me worry even more rather than less.


I wonder when eHealth will start working? The Australian government is spending a fortune (almost a half billion dollars) on fancy computer communication, pushed by Health Minister Nicola Roxon. To avoid political blowback, it is pushing Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR).

While it all sounds good, I am not convinced it helps doctors on the ground all that much. It would need to be real helpful to justify that amount of money. Which really is the problem with government spending. When it is not their money, they are not really trying to get the best possible value for it. They are trying to get results they can spin to look good.

Thursday 17 March 2011

Music for Concert

I went to see Geoff regarding moving Ray's cassette to CD. Geoff has a cassette player, which I do not have. The transfer was not co-operating with Geoff, despite that being something he had done several years ago using some Windows programs. I had brought my MacBook Pro computer along to have a go, and after several tries, got the music in by using QuickTime player.

The audio quality of the original seems poor to horrible. Probably recorded via microphone on a cassette recorder from a keyboard. There is also horrible noise at the end of the cassette tape. So I will need to remove the horrible noises. Had lunch with Geoff and Margaret at the restaurant after all that effort.

Updates and Issues

Downloaded updates for the utilities on my computers this morning, while on the cheap segment of Jean's ADSL connection. This included updates to iTunes, which were needed before you could use come other features. It should have been done long ago, but who has time? Also the connection was working fast, which was nice.

Updated to Bento 3.06 database application on my Macintosh. This is not the latest version. Downloaded the latest version of Bento 4, after a real struggle to pay for it. The link went to the USA site, which loses your details when you attempt to put Australia into the link. Then there were issues in accepting security codes. The USA price was US$29, the Australian was $34, so even with the current exchange rates, there is a slight premium. Lot better than it was. Filemaker gave a US$20 discount to owners of Bento 1, 2 or 3.

Updated iPad to iOS 4.3 before lunch. It seemed to work, but that was on WiFi. Later I updated the iPhone 4 to iOS 4.3. It also seemed to work. Did not receive any calls, but that is not unusual (mobile numbers are not in the phone book).

Later in the evening, away from home, I discovered my iPhone did not work. Somehow the SIM was locked by Telstra. I could not switch from the SIM lock screen. Since I did not have any idea what the SIM lock number was, I had a bricked phone that did not work for anything.

I first got a mobile phone after a heart attack so I could call an ambulance in an emergency. Not impressed by this SIM lock garbage. Luckily the only consequence this time was I could not send my traditional Saint Patrick's Day drunk in green costume while holding Guiness photo to an Irish friend. However what if I needed to call the emergency number?

Saint Patrick's Day

I had good memories of the Saint Patrick's Day of two years ago, when I drove a car load of stuff here, but had nothing to eat in the house. The Social and Activities Club once again put on a party and dinner dance using Heart Beat as the band. The bar was lively from five. I quickly got a bottle of Guinness in my green cooler. I also had a green glass tumbler for Jameson Irish Whiskey. I also had green streamers and other such festive aids.

The restaurant served up individual beef guinness pie, mash potatoes and peas, which I always enjoy (we don't use potato at home, and Jean can not eat peas). This was followed by hazlenut and Baileys mousse. The meal started a little later than the advertised 6:30, but I got some nibbles when someone at our tables mentioned being peckish.

I spent a fair bit of time running around taking photographs. I threatened everyone that the only photo that was not blurred would be in the Carlyle Chronicle.

I was lucky enough to win the best Irish dressed male, thanks to a choice of green hats, one of Jean's shirts in sort of tropical Irish colours, and a long floppy tie. Won a bottle of Kilkenny Cream. Our neighbour Lexi won best Irish dressed female. Holger probably should have won best Irish dressed male. Despite the continued festivities, I came home early, because I just had too much to do. Didn't do me much good, as I found myself nodding off anyhow, instead of completing the work.

Friday 18 March 2011


I was up before four. Can not sleep. Can not get a lot of stuff done, as it will make too much noise. I organised to get the Whitsunday Terraces web domain. This web site is primarily so I have a place to put my photographs of the resort, where they can be more easily accessed than via email. Many people can not easily accept large photos in their email. Usual credit card issues before it all went through.

Shopping before eight. After a brief walk, we plunged into Coles, where I immediately found they had the fancy Chocolate Obsession ice cream on special. Opps, there goes the diet.

Since I was not getting much else done in a timely manner, I thought I would start burning CDs of the photos I took on Saint Patricks Day. I had at least a half dozen people who said they wanted copies.

Managed to drop all of the St Patricks Day photos in mail boxes before lunch. Jean had pointed to me being short of sausage, so I ordered sausage for lunch, and took two home for later.

Happy Hour went as usual, but with a reduced audience, although the meal was popular. Having two events earlier in the week will do that. Mary was back, on crutches, but getting around. After it was all over I had a nice chat with Vic. He tells me his son Ian will be doing some plumbing work on Stage A. I had heard that from Leigh, but had managed to mangle the spelling of the surname in my head, and had not realised the family connection.

Music for Concert

I seem to now have all the music for the concert. Collected the last music from the concert organiser at the Happy Hour. Put it into iTunes when I got home. Burnt an extra copy for the concert organisers. Walked over to the mail boxes and put it in their mail box, as promised.

Now I just need to learn how to clean up the music so that the levels are all consistent, the noises suppressed, and the lead ins the same length. Plus decide what format I want it in that I am absolutely sure everything can play.

I think that has to mean something antique like AIFF, identical to a standard audio CD. Since I do not actually have an audio CD player, I can not even check it works.

Since I have no idea what the band person who is doing the music will use, I do not know whether they want CD, memory stick, or what. Nor do I know if the concert organiser got the music to this band person long ago, or not.

Mike Glickson

Mike Glicksohn born 20 May, 1946 in Portsmouth, England. Mike Glicksohn died 18 March, 2011. Mike Glicksohn was a great fan, both in his 1970's fanzine Energumen (with Susan Wood) and at conventions for many years after.

Saturday 19 March 2011


I went to Willows with Jean for a short walk. Got all the newspapers. We did a little shopping, but failed to find anything Jean wanted in BigW. I had hoped to have sufficient spare time to read the newspapers, but kept finding other urgent things to do.

Sunday 20 March 2011


I had a relaxed morning, reading the remaining newspapers. I also set the computer up as a TV, and watched the Sunday morning public affairs TV programs, including Meet the Press, Insiders and Business Inside. Alas, politics still annoy me. So does digital TV. The free to air TV channels (I do not have Austar) keep suffering very momentary signal losses.

Jean made pancakes for lunch, since we had picked up some real Canadian pure maple syrup. We gave up buying maple syrup when it went over $7 a bottle, but we found some on special at that price. Alas, one lunch and we use half a bottle.

Drainage at Carlyle Gardens

It rained! A very brief but very heavy downpour, that registered yellow on the BOM weather radar. The ditch I had dug along the eastern side of the house was unable to cope with the massive inflow from the garden side, so the brickwork and air conditioners got wet. However I did find some more high spots in the ditch to shovel out later.

The western back of the house had water pouring into the sewerage overflow from the gardens behind us. What could not get away added to the water coming from our gutters and the adjoining house gutters, and turned the western side of the house into a flood area. While I have dug a short ditch at the front between the houses, it is not sufficiently long (or wide) to actually have much effect. It does not penetrate the area that is damming the water.

Several other houses further up the street have even more severe drainage issues on one side or at the back. I met several other inmates also contemplating their drainage. I took another bunch of photographs, so I could send my usual complaining email to Leigh (who must be tired of photos of pools of water by now).

My ditch did help drain away a lot of the water on the eastern and front side of the house fairly quickly. However I obviously can not leave it as a ditch forever. Sooner or later I have to make it a proper drain. The trouble is, I probably can not dig it deep enough due to the rocks, and what I have so far is not sufficient as a drain. I also hate the idea of putting the drainage right alongside the foundation. That is entirely the wrong approach. I need a slope away from the house for at least a metre, as specified in the BCA, and the drainage out there a metre away. However the irrigation system is in the way.

No sign of Ian the plumber as yet, although others tell me he has visited and promised to return.

Whitsunday Terraces Problems

I made a variety of notes of problems at the Whitsunday Terraces, to forward to the Body Corporate committee. This is taking way too much time. Especially as I have to write a photograph handler before I can add substantial content in the way of photographic evidence.

The history of the Whitsunday Terraces resort seemed a reasonable starting place, as I already had a few notes.

Monday 21 March 2011


I did not schedule anything else today, due to Jean's hospital visit. I did do laundry early, since that needs no follow up until it is time to take it in. Naturally I washed the wrong things, or so Jean tells me now. Despite the then late hour, I also washed the bed linen later, hoping the remaining heat in the day would dry it before we got dew in the evening. That seemed to work.

I heard more bad news from a friend of both Jean and I. Her husband has to come to Townsville for treatment at the hospital. More when they know more I imagine.

Whitsunday Terraces Problems

Whenever I had some spare time I added further notes to web pages about the history of the Whitsunday Terraces resort, and other areas throughout the resort. There is a lot of potential material, so at some stage I need to start prioritising what to do. I can not really work on the photos today, despite wanting to add a lot of pictures. I did look through some photos to identify pages that were worth attempting to write.

Music for Concert

I had a phone call just before dinner, asking where the CD of music I had collected on Friday was. The music had not been available for the rehearsal on Monday afternoon.

I was startled by this, as I had put the CD (and a spare copy I had made) in the concert organisers mail box around 8:30 p.m. on that Friday. It turned out they had forgotten the music was to be returned immediately, and had not checked their mail box.

One thing I do know is that I will never be involved with another concert, under any circumstances.

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Solar Power

Solar power is great, if you only want power six hours a day, and only want 35% of the nominal output of your solar cells during that restricted time.

To replace diesel for hours a day at some Outback service station that is not on the electricity grid, solar is a wonderful idea. Reduces carbon dioxide emissions, reduces oil purchases from overseas, helps the rural economy, helps small business survive. Elsewhere, at the moment it is overpriced and inefficient. Wishing for green solar pixie dust will not change that.

If you really want to replace coal with something that produces little greenhouse gas emissions, in an industrial economy, you have to at least consider nuclear (and put up with far more expensive power).

Power Use

At 6:45 p.m we were burning 2.04 kW using three Fujitsu inverter air conditioners set by default at 250C. Being a clear day, outside temperatures were above 360C mid afternoon, but were much more reasonable towards evening. Power use after the Tariff 33 air conditioners went off at 6:54 p.m. was 0.55 kW, mostly from lights in three rooms and computers, and probably fridges.

The little thermoelectric wine cooler makes me suspicious. The fans are always operating. So I put a Wattmeter on it. Looks like it is pulling around 75 Watts. Not as bad as I feared. Then it dropped to 17 Watts at 54% Power Factor. Back up to 75 Watts at 54% Power Factor when the fans cycle on as it fails to hold the temperature steady. But why such a Power Factor? Must have a switch mode power supply to provide a much lower voltage to the thermoelectric elements.


I had no luck spotting Ian the plumber, so I guess it was not his day to visit. I was told that he had been around on previous days. I decided that I was going to get the drainage problems with our house fixed one way or another (and digging drainage ditches forever is not in my plans).

A heap of people seemed to be having TV antennas installed, being distrustful of fibre optic connections. Not sure that is the issue, but not having a TV, I am reluctant to speculate.

I took Jean's car over to the Carlton Theatre. Had lunch with the usual mob. Geoff and Margaret were there, by pre-arrangement, so we went into the Carlton Theatre. Geoff showed me where the various microphones and cords were. Left the keyboard connected, just in case.

This evening I got nervous about the music again, so I burnt a complete CD of the music involved, in the correct order. Cut the copy of Ray's cassette down to get rid of the noise at the end. Put a copy on a USB memory. Moved it all to my main computer and synced a copy to my iPhone as well. Surely three copies will be enough? Especially when someone else is in charge of the music. It all wasted a lot of time.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Concert at Carlton Theatre

I was surprised to find that Doreen had sold around 250 tickets to her concert at the Carlton Theatre. That was most impressive. There were around 25 of the large circular tables out, with about ten chairs average on each. Some volunteers who are also members of the social club had put the tables out yesterday, and were now putting plastic plates on them. There were sandwiches and slices of cake, mostly by the same volunteers it seemed.

Alas, the air conditioning was not co-operating, with only the front and stage air conditioner working correctly. The middle air conditioner was out of action, with what turned out to be fused parts. The back of hall air conditioner did not seem to be operating. Not having the baffles switched to the auditorium was part of it, but it later tuned out that one part of this air conditioner was also not operating. This left it very hot for the crowd.

Luckily Darrel of the Beat was providing the sound system, and was running it. He had a professional mixer console with a dozen inputs, and a full range of separate foldback speakers for those on stage. He also had at least a half dozen good quality stage microphones. He had sufficient inputs to cover a couple of keyboards and a couple of guitars, as well as a few roving wireless microphones. This setup was much better suited to the multiple people on stage than the usual Carlton Theatre system of multiple roving wireless microphones, only two stand microphones, and two foldback speakers paralleled with the main speakers. Our main two speakers are mounted high above the front of the stage, for best effects over and past the dance floor, and we have the potential for two mid hall speakers. It is the difference between a professional music system, and a very good quality public address system with the ability to handle some styles of music input.

Darrel had also remastered the canned music to equalise levels (just as I had), with digital copies on his computer, and a CD on a portable CD player. Alas, the computer system failed partway, and he had to continue with the CD. I had provided a CD made from Ray's cassette tape. His cleaned up version of the music was much better than the version I had made. I had eliminated some startup artefacts and noise at the end, but his version had also removed a lot of tape noise as well. His roving microphone also got far better voice levels out of Ray, who I find difficult to bring up to a sufficient sound level. This is why you want a professional sound person, rather than an amateur.

Garbage Disposal at Carlton Theatre

As far as I can tell, the Carlton Theatre does not have its own separate garbage collection service. For example, I do not recall a separate wheely bin. I hope that I am wrong about this, so perhaps someone knows otherwise?

After the TOTS concert today, with five large bags of fairly crushable rubbish on hand, we found that the industrial bin the restaurant uses was already too full to accept any further rubbish.

Luckily, I was able to borrow Jean's car (thanks for driving Jean). This let me easily dispose of two bags in the Administration rubbish (thanks Leigh), two bags in Doreen's still empty bin (thanks Doreen, who does not have a email as far as I know), and the final bag in our bin. Being the evening before garbage collection, they were not much of a space problem for any of these.

Organisers of future events that have a food component should be advised that there are issues with the removal of rubbish. It is another reason for pointing such events at the restaurant for the supply of food (and removal of rubbish).

Thursday 24 March 2011

Internet Access

I was awake at 4 a.m. so I tried to use the internet. No connection, according to the ADSL router supplying WiFi. Told the router to get on with the job. It said I had an external IP A traceroute to a named resource immediately after this got through fine.

Not that this helped any for Twitter or Facebook. Twitter basically never works at all, and has not done so in weeks. Facebook showed one page, but could not manage to bring up anything more than three hours old. As usual, I gave up on social applications at that point. I hear that running your life via the Cloud is the next big thing. Seems like vapourware to me.

When I tried connecting at 11:35 p.m. the internet connection was gone again. Back again a few minutes later, with no indication of why there is a problem. However my IP number has again changed, this time to

Concrete Paths

I had a phone call around 9 a.m. from the concreter, saying he would be here at 7 a.m. on Friday. That was good news.

However I needed to move the 26 or so 40 cm square flat concrete blocks in the garden bed out of the way, as well as the many concrete blocks we intended as a low garden fence. I thought the far side of the driveway would be a reasonable spot.

Must have been well over a tonne of concrete blocks. I seemed to be moving large concrete block from about 9 a.m. on. This resulted in my feeling totally wrecked. I do not know how the people who do this for a living ever manage it.

I drew up some marks on plans of the house, indicating where the exposed aggregate concrete was to go. It had all been measured, but I had phoned about an additional few things. Jean kindly printed some full size colour photos I had found indicating where irrigation services might have been.

Now if only it does not rain.

Apple iPad 2

I stayed up until midnight. The Apple Press Release I had read said they would start selling the new Apple iPad 2 at 1 a.m. online (at 5 p.m. in stores). Since Apple in Australia have their headquarters in Sydney, I decided that meant Sydney time.

To my surprise, the Apple online store did not do their usual closing for changes. The iPad just changed to an iPad 2 without any fuss a few minutes after midnight. So I ordered online. Scheduled in 2-3 weeks, plus several business days. The cover I ordered at the same time is also about a three week wait.

As an aside, today is the tenth anniversary of the first release of Apple's Mac OS X 10.0 (Cheetah).

Friday 25 March 2011

Concrete Paths

I was up at six, having had fitful sleep during the night. It rained heavy at 1:15 a.m. And again a little after two. And again at three. Not good for a construction site. I went outside at six and squelched around in the muddy grass. Both sides of the house had waterlogged soil by them. The front was flooded. This looks really bad for actually getting any concreting started.

Garry and his mate came with his truck at seven, ready to start the concreting formwork. However there was no chance of actually doing so until we get probably a week of fine weather. We will phone him again when we return from our trip.


I finally caught up with the plumber!

Happy Hour

I went early for the Meet and Greet.

Saturday 26 March 2011


Still life with newspapers, make me mad.

Futile Earth Hour

Instead of fading out of view, more companies get roped into publicising this futile little demonstration of exactly why giving up electrical appliances for an hour is useless. Namely that power produced does not decrease by any substantial amount, because you can not turn down any mainstream power station in such a short time (well, except hydro-electric).


Pat's wonderful curry party, around 20 (mostly) neighbours.

Sunday 27 March 2011


Current affairs programs on TV. Labor lost NSW.

Whitsunday Terraces

Made links to the Whitsunday Terraces.

Monday 28 March 2011


Did anthropogenic carbon and methane emissions start Holocene era? asks palaeoclimatologist William Ruddiman.

Newspaper Suck

Just what is up with Australian newspapers on the Internet. The majority of pages I try to view simply do not open at all. The Age server does not respond at all. The Sydney Morning Herald is hardly better. Maybe it is a ploy to encourage people to drive off and buy a newspaper?

Whitsunday Terraces Photos

Finding Whitsunday Terraces photos.

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Internet Access Gone

Overnight my Belkin ADSL modem router lost its internet connection. Telling the Belkin router to reconnect brought up IP number A traceroute to Google after that indicated the name servers were working, and that I had fast hop times.

Whitsunday Terraces

Selected and renamed 135 Whitsunday Terraces photos.

Apple WWDC

Apple WWDC sold out in 8 hours!

Staff Training

Geoff showed the Carlyle Gardens sales staff how to use the Carlton Theatre public address system, and the stage lights. Now we can all go on holidays at peace with the world.

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Whitsunday Terraces Photos

I had apparently written earlier, to cope with weird file names on photos intended for the web. This just cleans them up, turns them all to lowercase, replaces spaces with an underscore, since you can not use spaces in file names on the web.

So that cleaned up the 135 photos in a few seconds (once I discovered I had already written this). I had decided to go with rather large 1280 x 960 photos, since the idea was to show problems, not to do a traditional web site. I did reduce the quality of the jpg when I exported from iPhoto, to reduce the file size somewhat. However I finally returned to a medium sized 640 x 480 photo, linking to the large 1280 x 960 photo.

Whitsunday Terraces HTML

I had also written to generate the boilerplate HTML needed to display an image. It generates a paragraph tag containing an object tag. Why not the more standard img tag? I wrote these pages in XHTML. If I use img (or br or hr) I would have to use a self closing tag. However if for some reason I then had to serve the pages as HTML instead of XHTML, all self closing tags would be invalid. So I only use self closing tags in the head element, and never in the visible body. They would still be invalid HTML, but should not affect browser parsing at all.

The object tag includes the data attribute for the location of the photograph (including the directory, and the file name plus all the correct punctuation to make that work). It also includes a title attribute, in which the file name has spaces restored. This is just to aid search engine optimising, by providing additional relevant words in the photo file names and title attribute.

Since I had to provide height and width attributes for images, I extracted them automatically using the OS X scriptable image processing system (sips), followed by tail and cut to extract the actual pixel count I needed. WIDTH=`sips -g pixelWidth ${FILE} | tail -1 | cut -f 4 -d ' ' -`and also HEIGHT=`sips -g pixelHeight ${FILE} | tail -1 | cut -f 4 -d ' ' -`

When including an object element, you have to specify the content type attribute. Alas, I had generated this by extracting the file name extension, and assuming this was the image type. Which it mostly is. Except that iPhoto exports images as .jpg, however RFC 2046 calls for them to be jpeg not jpg. Easy to retrofit with a search and replace, but not very elegant, so I modified above to do it before generating the HTML.

Whitsunday Terraces

So far I have selected 135 photos to be used in the Whitsunday Terraces web site. So I am writing new web pages as fast as I can tolerate. Which is not real fast. I do not want to concentrate only on the bad stuff. There are a lot of positive things about the resort. It still has one of the best locations in Airlie Beach. Real Soon Now I will write software to generate proper photo galleries, so that I can show off the most recent photos from the Whitsunday area.

I asked Apple for an iPhoto enhancement.

File - Export lets you export selected photos with the file name extension .jpg. However MIME indicates such images are image/jpeg It would be really nice if Export would let me select .jpeg as well as .jpg We really are no longer stuck in the days of MS-DOS. Four letter filename extensions are fine. It would be nice if I didn't have to add that little extra step in my post processing for web use.


Jean and I went to the restaurant for lunch. Allen had computer problems, and asked for help. Neither of us could figure out why WiFi was not working under Windows XP, although Jean got a lot further with it than I did. Both of our iPhones could pick up the WiFi network, so we are pretty sure the problem is not the network. However neither of us use Windows XP.

Jean had the Ploughman's lunch. Dave reminded me that I had missed the sausages yesterday, so I had that. We both had leftovers for dinner. I took some of Lyn McConchie's Farm books to Pat for her to inspect.

Thursday 31 March 2011


Try to fix camcorder batteries for our neighbour Mary. Gave her back the night light battery and holder, not that it helps much when the gadget itself does not charge them during daylight. I never did figure out how to fix that gadget.

Later I visited with our neighbours, along with Mary and Allen. Heard a sad tale of a cancelled JetStar flight, with at least some passengers not advised the flight was cancelled. It was even still up on some airport annunciators.

Solar Panel Outputs

March was another rainy month, perhaps worse than February. There were no long term power failures, unlike the 93 hours electricity failure during Cyclone Yasi.

The solar power inverter shows it has produced 1128 kWh to date, and operated for 3468 hours. The solar power output figures last month (February) showed it generated 1022 kWH in 3103 hours of operation. So the total hours operating in the 31 days of March 2011 were 365 hours, during which it generated 106 kWh. About 3.4 kWh per day, or 290 Watts per operating hour. Remember, this is a nominal 1 kW panel.

Meanwhile, the new electronic meter in the outside meter box is showing I imported 1335 kWh on E1, exported 320 kWh on E1/E2, and imported 1711 kWh on E2. I imagine this will be since it was installed.

The electricity accounts for the quarter show the solar panels provided 109 kWh electricity feed in over 87 days. This provided a $47.96 solar feed rebate on our electricity bills.

Eric Lindsay's Blog March 2011