Eric Lindsay's Blog September 2011

Thursday 1 September 2011

AirPort Extreme Flashing Amber

I checked the Apple AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi base station (802.11n 2nd generation). The light was still slowly flashing amber instead of being a solid green. However the internet access still worked. I had AirPort Utility 5.5.3 on hand. This indicated the AirPort Extreme 802.11n (second generation) had firmware release 7.4.2. However the latest version was 7.5.2. The AirPort Extreme base station was annoyed because it did not have up to date firmware. I wonder how it found out?

The AirPort Utility downloads the update, and applies the firmware to the AirPort Extreme base station. You are disconnected from the internet for a few minutes while the update takes effect. No problems, and I now have the green light back.


I have noticed mosquitoes last night and this morning. Not happy, as I can not see any water standing near the house. Does this mean there is water I can not spot, or is the drainage ditch the problem?


I like the way communications work in modern life. Five a.m. message on my phone to start the laundry. Since there was no light on in Jean's office, she must have sent an SMS from bed.

Netgear ADSL2+ Modem

I have a Netgear DM111P ADSL2+ modem on hand. This uses the Broadcom BCM6338 chipset, and the hardware is based on the Dynalink RTA1320. Might be time to start replacing the Belkin that has issues from time to time. The Smart Wizard setup for Netgear is Windows only. However there is an HTML manual on the CD-ROm that comes with the Netgear modem, and you can find the Netgear DM111P ADSL modem manual online.

Seems like the best idea would be to ignore most of the Netgear routing facilities, and turn on RFC2684 Bridging, ignoring PPPoA or PPPoE. So the Netgear just acts like a dumb modem. What I see on the web is that the Netgear goes well as a modem only, not so good as a modem and network address translation router. At least with Apple AirPort Extreme, which is what I was checking.

However that means I would have reconfigure any AirPort network, which currently bridge from the Belkin modem router. Might just connect the Time Capsule to the existing Belkin router for the moment, for testing purposes.


I was at lunch at the restaurant with Ray and Olive when Jean phoned. The electricians were coming at one to complete the house wiring. Seems talking to Duanh produced results. I got back to the house a little after one. Wayne arrived soon afterwards.

Replaced four of the circular fluorescent lights that hum. These were the cheap Chinese 32 watt circular T8 with a thin base, in the ensuite, kitchen, office and bedroom. The replacements were Australian made Green-Lite 32 Watt circular fluorescents. It will be interesting to compare the results.

Cat 6 cable through from the Hills Home Hub in the garage into the inside of a kitchen cupboard. I figure a wireless access point covering the lounge is handy. Plus we may include drives there.

A powerpoint high on the outside of the kitchen island bench, but under the bench. This is being fed from inside the cupboard where the Kleenmaid dishwasher gets its power. We saw that in one of the display homes before we bought, and could never understand why it was not included.

A 15 amp power socket in the garage, fairly near the front. That could run a spa, but you can plug regular 10 amp power leads into 15 amp sockets.


I glued together the transparent plastic covers of the emergency lights. Each had suffered several falls too many, and the covers were close to falling apart. Jean's Tarzan's Grip seems to have helped. Might need a little touching up of glue later.

Time Capsule

I was pleased about how easy it was to configure Time Capsule on the network. I stuck it in the cupboard, connected a laser printer, connected an Ethernet lead to the structured wiring, and powered it up. Unlike the older AirPort Extreme 802.11n (second version), the Time Capsule model has a built in power supply. I fear that might mean it gets even hotter.

A few minutes operation and I was able to run the AirPort Utility, and configure the Time Capsule. I had all the required details on hand, so it did not take long. Plus I was just having it bridge to the Belkin ADSL modem router. Having three WiFi networks is perhaps a little excessive. No visible issues in operating it. This despite having to power down everything when the electrician was connecting the new 15 amp garage wiring to the meter box.

Printer Problems

I connected the Hewlett Packard LaserJet 2550 colour printer to the Time Capsule USB port. It showed up on my Apple easily. However the first print page sent resulted in some faded pink output, nothing that could be read. The next few pages I set to rendering colours as grey. They printed. A bit faint, but enough to use.

After that, the printer sat there indicating it was receiving a page, but did not print anything. This persisted through a power cycle. You certainly could not rely upon it for actually printing. If it were not for the four expensive cartridges of toner still on hand, I would toss the HP LJ2550 printer out at the garbage dump, like we did for the other identical we had.

I think Hewlett Packard need a new business model. I have changed from regarding them as a high quality manufacturer of reliable electronic devices, to thinking of Hewlett Packard as purveyors of utter consumer garbage. This is a sad decline for a firm that was once a showpiece of Silicon Valley enterprise. See Al Lewis on how to kill HP in one year.

Friday 2 September 2011


I managed to sleep through until after five, which for me is a real good night. Put laundry on. We are too lazy to go shopping for the few remaining things on our list, none of which are urgent, although lack of them means other things stay in the to do queue. After an egg for breakfast, I glued some more of the fluorescent light cover back together. Seems I missed some of the gaps on my first attempt.

Later I soldered the new 6 volt SLA rechargeable battery into the least damaged of the cyclone lights. Could not find all the screws that held it together, but I found sufficient elsewhere. I have the light on charge, to see if the repair actually worked. If it does, I can try to repair another two of the lamps before the wet season.

I saw Jo-ann at the office to tell her we had four surplus 32 Watt circular fluorescent lights that we removed yesterday available to anyone who wanted them. Leigh seems keen on a bench or two for residents, following my email. Wants the Social Club to come to the party on benches. That would be nice.

Usual suspects at lunch. Sue, Ray, then Dot arrived, and finally after we started, John.

Bringing in the laundry. Such an eventful life.

We started on the dishwasher. It seemed to have a three year old transparent blue plastic film on the door. Turns out that the Kleenmaid dishwasher is actually one of those stainless steel finish models. Who looks at a dishwasher enough to figure that out? We just thought the colour scheme clashed with the kitchen.

Happy Hour at the bar. This time the Computer Club were the ones running the fund raising event. Usual decent crowd. I hope the Computer Club made a good amount from their efforts. I had the roast pork, beef and vegetables for dinner. Left just after seven.

Apple TrackPad

I had to recharge the AA batteries in my Apple trackpad this evening, as the batteries for the Bluetooth connection had gone flat.

Saturday 3 September 2011

A Bird in the Hand

I had to catch a bird before we could go to Willows. When Jean opened the door from the house to the garage, a bird flew into the house from the garage. Yesterday afternoon, I chased a magpie out of the garage. It seemed to be going after another smaller bird, also in the garage. I thought I had managed to get the smaller bird out of the garage, but it appears I failed.

I ran a curtain over the bird when it attempted to exit via a window (not alas a window I could open). Jean got me a towel, so I gently caught the bird and took it outside to the garden. It seemed happy enough to fly away.


I note Jean walked around Willows three times during our shopping trip. I did less, as I took various items back to her car. Multiple newspapers. The shopping from Coles. A visit to BigW, a visit to JB HiFi. Jean sent me an SMS to remind me to get a bread roll for my dinner.

Kelly, the Homecare lady, dropped a package of their catalogue items off just after ten. One was a door track brush for me at Airlie Beach. Never could find these there. The main item was a two level wooden stand for Jean to assemble. This was to display the primordial rock vases and items in her art niche. Probably better than anything we would put together.

Hewlett Packard Split

A full page advertisement from Hewlett Packard in the back of the first section of The Weekend Australian. HP to split off their Personal Systems Division (PSD = personal computers) as a separate company. Boasts about how large the PC division is (true). Does not mention how it is going for actual profit (not so good). Tablet hardware goes with the PSD, but webOS (and the Palm patents) goes to the HP Office of Strategy and Technology.

Sunday 4 September 2011


I went for a walk around Carlyle Gardens this morning just as the sun was rising over the hills. Dropped the Whitsunday Times in at Neil's place on the way. Two chores in one. Did not help my weigh in, as I still can not get rid of any extra body weight.

A very lazy day. Read the last of the weekend newspapers, while watching Insiders and Inside Business in the morning. Jean made eggs and bacon for lunch, and we opened some champagne to drink with it.

At six I went to the Fathers Day dinner that the restaurant had put on in the Carlton Theatre. Bob got me to start up the sound system so he had a microphone. I was sitting with neighbours Holger and Lexi, in fact we had a little group from Stage A.

Menu was Guinness Pie, mashed potato, and peas, including mushy peas, and gravy. Followed by cheesecake and ice cream.

The entertainment was Jamie Allen, who proved a good singer. However several people complained about the volume. We need to ensure anyone sensitive to sound levels (and there are plenty of them) is sitting down the back of the theatre, away from the stage. Closer to the food in fact.

Allan and David ran a raffle with various little prizes they had come up with. Plus a hundred dollar door prize. It was all like a regular Social Club event, which I imagine was partly the aim, now the old Social Club is gone, and the new social club does not intend to cater food events themselves.

I tried checking the weather radar on my iPhone, but OzWeather is crashing every time I access the radar. I may need to take action.

APA Report

I managed to complete eight pages, including comments, for FLAP. Sent the pdf of them off to Gary via email. Reused a considerable amount of that material to do eight pages for ANZAPA. To my extreme wonder, on the third try, the printer printed the entire eight pages, so I can use them as masters and get OfficeWorks to print the stuff.

Monday 5 September 2011


I slept well, and was not up until six. I am continuing the never ending cleanup of my computer. It is like herding butterflies.

Went to my first meeting of the Carlyle Gardens Social Club committee, if it is voted in as a committee. Tweeted What is the superlative ofSo What? So fucking what! This is a mistake.

No movie for me today. I had contemplated attending the Reading Cinema for a movie at ten, but the meeting killed that idea. No lunch for me today either.

Luckily Jean wanted to test the EasyMeals lamb shanks, so we cooked both for dinner. Not bad. Talked with Ethel and Mary about trying a bulk buy sometime, since Mary had tried some EasyMeals.

I turned the electricity on the solar hot water booster for about two and a half hours during the afternoon, as the cloud had reduced the heat in the tank during the past weeks.

We pruned some of the green stuff (probably plants) in the garden, since the mowing contractors would normally remove pruning waste on Tuesday morning. Jean's efforts at spreading the drainage gravel over the garden continue. I poisoned some of the onion grass that is so hard to kill off.

News Limited

I do not know what is happening, but just about every News Limited newspaper loads over the internet like a pig. This does not encourage me to go out and buy a newspaper. It encourages me to totally ignore anything from News Limited. The same thing happened when the New York Times went behind a login wall. I never linked to anything from them or retweeted anything from them again./ Why waste the time of other potential readers?

Tuesday 6 September 2011

No Internet

I did not have an internet connection at six this morning. Traceroute to a numeric IP address got stuck at the router number. I made a WiFi connection via FastGnome to gnome1, but when I logged in, it showed a connection to an external IP of A second numeric traceroute woke up the internet connection.


I eventually remembered I wanted to do laundry, since my phone was indicating fine weather. Not that the cloud cover made that convincing.

There was a Lulu parcel delivery by Australia Post just after nine. When I collected it for Jean, the garden water sprinkling system was still operating. I imagine it had been watering since six. I had to go through the tedious process of programming the sprinkler computer yet again. No idea why it did not switch off after 30 minutes as was intended. It had been operating correctly for several weeks. At least the mowing contractors had removed the clipping we had put out front.

Lunch with the usual mob, including Jeff and Pat. Holger was testing his RC helicopter in the Carlton Theatre. Makes a great site for that sort of nonsense, as there is no breeze.

OzWeather is still crashing on my iPhone, when I access the Townsville Weather Radar, despite my having deleted the app and let it reinstall. Not at all sure what the cause is.


I did the last of the FAPA mailing comments today. Threw in the material I wrote for FLAP (no overlap in membership). For some unexplained reason, this time the HP LJ2550 laser printer managed to do the whole six pages of printing masters in one run. I am astonished. However I still loath printers. I certainly would not attempt to do 38 double sided copies.

Wednesday 7 September 2011


I was up just before dawn. Did not seem to accomplish very much. After breakfast, Jean set off to get food. She was also going to get the first Wednesday of the month copy of The Australia for me, as that contains the monthly literary supplement. I stayed at her place in case of deliveries, and in case All-Safe phoned, which they did.

While I was trying to get organised with the All-Safe folks, an ambulance arrived at Duncan's place. Allan and Mary were also on hand to help.

We walked to lunch at the restaurant. Dave had drinks on the table before I even reached the door (Jean had gone ahead while I talked with Duanh). She had the giant hamburger, which was back on the menu. I had not noticed the sausage, eggs, hash browns, salad and chips on the menu yesterday. So I had that today, and took a heap of it back. Jean even talked to John, Dave and Allan. This socialising may have so traumatised her that she will never go out for lunch again.

Went to the pub at five, for the usual chat with Ray, Jeff, Ian, Harry and Ron. Bit of interest from the last two regarding the new Social Club, but they are not in a position to do much.


I had a call before nine from Simon at All-Safe. They had the dimmer for my skylight. They also had the solar roof exhaust fan. They will call this morning to install these last items.

The SolarTube dimmer is a lightweight butterfly valve, driven slowly by an electric motor. The control box is powered by 240 volt mains, with a low voltage control lead to a switch. Before installation could commence, the dimmer had to be opened. That needs a nine volt battery. Luckily I had alligator clips to connect one side of the battery. It took a fair while to get this gadget up in the roof, since there was some adjusting to make the reflective tubes meet correctly.

The second item was the SolarStar roof vent fan. They sprayed the surround Dune colour, to match the Colorbond roof. That fan has to go up near the peak of the roof. I wanted it on the Western side. Two reasons. One is that Leigh, our Resort Manager, wants additions to the rear where they are not as visible. The entire Eastern side of our roof is visible to pedestrians, however the West is not. The second is that the solar panel will spin the fan lightly even when the sun is to the East, however I want the fan spinning fastest towards the end of the day when the sun is to the West. That is when most hot air will have accumulated under the roof.

The All-Safe folks departed just after eleven. Now I just have to locate Duanh to do the electrical fittings for the dimmer.

I happened upon all three electricians trucks when Jean and I were walking to lunch. Told Duanh and Wayne what I wanted, and our movements in the near future. Maybe I will get lucky.

Unsubscribed from AVAAZ

I had an email from AVAAZ carrying on about how dreadful it is that Murdoch papers are against the Labor government passing a bill to cut carbon emissions.

First, a carbon tax is nothing to do with carbon emissions. Carbon emissions are soot. We have decent laws against soot and similar pollutants. We tell industries they can not produce so much shit. In contrast, a carbon tax is just another tax that governments will piss against the nearest wall.

What AVAAZ mean is carbon dioxide equivalent emissions of greenhouse gases. A carbon tax does nothing about these. It just costs the middle classes more for their electricity and so on. It does not cost the poor more. They will not be able to afford electricity for heating next winter (there is a reason sales of those Snuggle portable blankets are up). It does not cost business more. They are either trade exposed, and thus get tax relief, or they will pass the costs on to customers. D'oh!

An emissions trading scheme that includes purchase of overseas emissions is the equivalent of Papal indulgences. It does not touch the sin. It just ensures rorting. The only emissions trading law that reduces emissions is the Cap, not the Trade. If you are going to do a Cap, you might just as well start prohibiting certain emissions (like was done with incandescent light bulbs), and let industry sue the government in the courts. You could start with Hazelwood brown coal power station in Victoria, which might be the filthiest in the world.

No-one is willing to put their finger on the real pollution problem. That there are about five to seven billion too many people on Earth for its carrying capacity. If you are not mentioning population growth, you are not being realistic. So no-one is being realistic.

I responded by unsubscribing from AVAAZ. Just another waste of time.

Easy Meals

A delivery of two boxes this afternoon from the folks at Easy Meals we had seen at the Open Day events. That was 50 pre-cooked meals, including five more lamb shanks, for the cyclone season. They store at room temperature, and can sit for many months. Space is a little lacking in Jean's pantry for the contents of the box, but I imagine she will sort them out soon.

When I ordered I had cut down on the curry packages, which Jean doesn't eat. There were three of each of four different curry meals for me to take with me to my place at Airlie Beach. I stuffed them in the box for her car.

Backup Drive Died?

After an unscheduled power outage without a proper shutdown, it looks like my backup drive does not want to operate. Not in Finder, and Disk Utility can not see the drive. The blue operating light is on, and it sounds like the drive spins up.

Seems like some sort of USB issue, as I can see the backup drive when I connect it to a different computer. This is unlike my old iMac G5 Western Digital backup drive, where the drive motor does not spin up.

Thursday 8 September 2011


I was awake early. Since I could not sleep, I got up and started checking email. Then I had a fight with the external hard drives. However I noted that the water sprinkling system seemed to have turned on and off at the correct times this morning. Glad one computerised item worked this morning.

There was a large grey wallaby outside on the lawn when I was having breakfast. It contemplated the communal garden, and then ambled over to start eating all the new shoots on the various shrubs. Jean and I started telling it to eat weeds instead.

Jean gave me file cabinet space (in the kitchen) for the paperwork from the Whitsunday Terraces. That crap nearly filled a drawer of an admittedly shallow filing cabinet. A bunch of it needs culling.

The water sprinkling system I installed for Jean seemed to perform correctly this morning. On around six, and off a half hour later. Still do not know why it had issues on Tuesday.

The mowing contractors are here at Stage A on Thursday. I thought they were now doing this side on Tuesday? They certainly have been for several months.

For the second day in a row, Jean walked over to the restaurant with me for lunch. She even helped me set out a bunch of chairs for the Social Club Committee vote, and the Resident's Committee meeting this evening. I ended up putting out probably a bit more than half the chairs required by the time we left after lunch.

External Hard Drives

I tested external USB hard drives. Neither external hard drive appeared in Finder, so I assume the USB has failed once again. This makes the idea of relying on external USB hard drives for day to day operation just about impossible. However the amount of media I have will not fit on any internal drive. This is a really useless situation.

I had to reboot the Apple Mac mini computer (with both USB drives already powered up) before the two drives were ready to use again. This is really tiresome.

Watts Up

I used my portable wattmeter to check how much power various 240 volt GU10 light bulbs used in a portable lamp. At the time the mains voltage was showing 244 volts, which is higher than the nominal voltage (this influences power used, for some lamps).

The very cheap quartz halogen incandescent bulbs drew 51 Watts. These produce well over 900 Lux at a distance of a metre. One argument against them is their life span is low, usually claimed to be 1000 hours. Replacement globes are also low cost. I have seen packs of three for $2.

The next trial was a compact fluorescent downlight. A Crompton 11 Watt GU10 which started at 10 Watts, and worked up to a peak 11.5 Watts, before falling off to 10.7 Watts. That also had a power factor which varied from 65 to 75. These globes produce a mere 96 Lux at one metre. In short, the quartz halogen incandescent simply produced more light per watt.

A similar compact fluorescent downlight. A Lucci Envirolux 11 Watt GU10 4000K cool-white, with the same 96 Lux output at one metre as the Crompton. This drew exactly 11 Watts. These cost over $13 each at Beacon Lighting.

A FutureBrite GU10 LED downlight that was nominally 5 Watts actually drew 4.5 Watts, with a Power Factor of 61. It provides 250 Lux at one metre. This LED is by far the best performance per Watt, but is also a much more expensive bulb. It also will not fit correctly in the luminaire in which I tested it.

iPhone 4 Reset

I reset my Apple iPhone 4, in the hope that this might fix the strange behaviour of OzWeather. This formerly well behaved app had started crashing every time I accessed the Townsville weather radar. Downright weird, as the iPad version had no problem. So I sent a note to the developer, OzPDA.

OzWeather 2.5.2 on iPhone 4 crashes whenever I access Townsville radar. iPad version of OzWeather works fine. I just installed the iPhone version on my iPad, and that also crashes on Townsville weather radar. I note Mt Stuart radar has been replaced by Hervey Range in mid August, and wonder if this is relevant? Looks like the older versions may have used Mt Stuart (checked on iPhone 3gs with older version).

Resident Meeting

I arrived early for the meeting. As requested by Ray, I set up the wireless microphones. I am most unhappy with the new main microphone. Have to crank all the volumes up way too far. Must talk to Geoff about that. I notice the preset gain is already cranked higher than usual.

Ray called for a vote on the formation of a new Social Club committee, led by Olive. That got the unanimous vote of these assembled, so that is on the way. I hope being on the ocial Club committee does not cramp my social life … wait!

The Resident Committee meeting went well, and quickly. Leigh did her usual swift but comprehensive report. I did not let her get the black microphone, or I would never have managed to stop feedback at the volume I would have needed. The red microphone worked fairly well, but not great.

Ray singled out insurance brokers and finding insurers. Insurance is an increasing issue. Simply harder and harder to get after the disasters of the past year or so. Re-insurers will not touch certain areas. As a result, you sometimes can not get a single quote in North Queensland. I think (hope) Ray managed to get the issues through to those who bother to attend.

MacBook Air

I am finding it hard to read the tiny display type on my new MacBook Air. It is going to take a bunch of fine tuning to get this working as a replacement computer. No wonder Apple are trying to full screen applications.

I cranked Menlo Regular font up to 18 point in Fraise, so at least I can now see it. The original must have been closer to 12 point. However it is obvious that Fraise (derived from Smultron) is pretty much unsupported. I need to find a really decent text editor, preferably with syntax colouring for (x)html. It would be even nicer to find a free version, but I would pay for something I really liked.

Friday 9 September 2011

To Airlie Beach

I was away late, well after five. First stop was a little fuel for Jean's car, before I got on the Bruce Highway. Drove nonstop to Centro at Cannonvale.

Saw Alison in Centro almost as soon as I arrived. No luck with DVDs in BigW. Brief chat with the owner of Leading Edge. Bought minimal food (mostly Coke and milk) in Woolworths, as this is a very short stay at home.

Fuel from the independent service station, since the Woolworths one rarely acknowledges anything on my Evryday Rewards card. They gave me a 4 cent per litre discount anyhow, for presenting a Woolworths receipt. That was nice.

Off to Whitsunday Shopping Centre, to check the bank. Glyn helped fix my unexpected new cards. Alas, I did something wrong, and need to contact the bank by phone, which I hate doing.

The Apple computer shop was still closed, so it must have been prior to ten. Coles had none of the fancy ice cream on special, so my diet is not going to be any more spoiled than usual.

Airlie Beach

I walked through the Whitsunday Terraces, noting that a lot of rubbish (but not all) had been removed. Visited the hairdresser, who had found a comb for my hair clippers. Collected magazines and one newspaper at the news agency. Next was the bottle shop for some rum and vodka to sock the mostly empty cupboard. The Whitsunday Terraces were looking better, although the barbecue was not clean. Not sure who is delegated to do that.

Video of the Day

Sarah Connor Chronicles, season one.

Saturday 10 September 2011


I started the laundry, and did the sheets. Off to the Markets a little later, to get breakfast and chat with Glenn. I collected the weekend newspapers, and put of the laundry on the rack to dry in the beautiful sunshine. Back to the markets for a while. Spend most of the day reading the various newspapers.

Video of the Day

Sarah Connor Chronicles, second season.

Party Evening

I had my usual Saturday party. Jim arrived first, with Glenn and Alison not far behind, and Rex but not Myra just behind. Jonathan and Jodie arrived soon after. Three pizza and garlic bread were barely enough. Not sure I want the Mexican pizza again, but perhaps I am being too sensitive. This went so well it was close to midnight before the party ended.

Sunday 11 September 2011

Media Morning

I watched Insiders, followed by Inside Business. I had to drive off after eleven. Did another nonstop drive to Townsville to return Jean's car. I need to try the buses.

Media Non Afternoon

I tried to watch Meet the Press. It was replaced with sports, so I was thoroughly pissed off with Channel Ten.

Monday 12 September 2011

OS X Lion Lockup

I started a text editor called Fraise, adjusted some preferences, and managed to lock up my trackpad (and keyboard) so thoroughly that I had to power down my new eleven inch MacBook Air to recover. Not sure what caused that. Must check the error logs later.

Now to update my blog entries for the past day.

Drive To Cairns

We left before eight, having gone through several rounds of forgetting items that we know very well we like to have available. Refuelled before getting on the Bruce Highway. Jean was driving her car for the 366 km trip ti Cairns. We had to go through a lot of bushfire smoke at Black River as we left the Townsville area.

At Ingham we checked the SuperCheap Auto, and Jean found some seat belt pads with purple trim, to make the seat belts a little more comfortable. I took photos of the Ingham telephone exchange with my iPhone, for a web site that uses such photos. Jean drove off, while I walked and checked shops for Akubra hats. Found her at the Brumby bread shop, eating an apple turnover. Not to be outdone, I had the same with cream … Jean helped eat it. That was about 120 km along the road.

Ed had warned about traffic repairs, and consequent delays, after his trip to Cairns. While there were a lot of delays, very few of them were really long. Well, the last few seemed to take a long time.

There was a steep ascent, temporary road, and an even steeper descent at the Geirangum Range, where an impressive new road is being installed. We we really seeing lots of tree damage from Cyclone Yasi in February 2011. The power lines are doubled, one set on each side of the highway, and have frequent cross connects. I imagine this is standard in cyclone areas for exposed power distribution systems.

Cardwell had several destroyed homes, and sand everywhere. The Hinchinbrook marina seemed back in operation, despite the number of boats destroyed there by Cyclone Yasi. We had homemade pies there. We used the facilities at the tourist center (and gave them a donation). We had seen their displays before, but they now had a new pamphlet room that had an impressive range of tourist brochures.

Jean gave up driving while we were in a queue stopped for roadworks, so we swapped places. That was at El Arish.

Nothing in Innisfail for us, despite walking the main street, and moving the car to a better location. I did take a photogrph of Bob Katter's office, but attempts to see where he might be buying his Akubra proved fruitless. I should have walked in and asked his office staff.

I did not like the drive to the Cairns Harbour Lights serviced apartment hotel near the waterfront casino and the ferry terminal. Always seemed to run into blocked streets. However we finally did find the entrance. No real problem after that. We even got all the luggage to the room in one trip, by around 2:30 p.m.

One amusing incident at checkin at the Cairns Harbour Lights apartments was that Jean had booked there partly because they offered free Internet access. We found each apartment was wired with Ethernet connections via their structured phone wiring, which would have been awesome in the 20th Century. Alas, these days our computers do not even incorporate Ethernet. We expect the more convenient WiFi wireless access instead. That was available in the lobby.


I wandered off seeking breakfast information in the Cairns Harbour Lights apartment hotel. Before I knew it, I was outside checking their breakfast cafe (similar to a Coffee Club, but several blocks closer). So I continued to Woolworths, and got Jean some milk for her tea. I continued, and checked the Cairns Night Market, which is how I know what Coffee Club had.

Jean wanted to go to Barnacle Bill's seafood restaurant, and get their 30% Early Bird special pricing. We left the Harbour Lights hotel around 4:30 p.m. The restaurant was about three blocks up the street, once we reached the Esplanade. She had the Karumba barramundi, with about half an avocado, while I just had barramundi fish and chips (three fillets of it). We had a $43 bottle of Margaret River Leeuwin SSB. It was an outstanding meal. We were out well before six. We were so full we could hardly walk. Not good when we both wish to lose weight.

Pricing quoted was for cash. Amusingly, the bill came on one of those American Express credit card signing pads. However if everyone is looking for cash, and putting a surcharge on credit cards, I will need to withdraw more cash from a money machine.

Took the remains of the bottle with us when we left. Our wine stopper leaked, but luckily the bottle was - mostly - upright in the bag. I wish restaurants would not steal the screw top. Must throw out that faulty stopper, before we take it on some other trip.

Jean checked the night market for macadamias. I checked two Aussie Bush Hat stores, looking for an Akubra (I want the Arena model). Could get a Territory, but not an Arena. Luckily the main store is also nearby, and on my shopping list.

Tuesday 14 September 2011

Cairns Morning

We went to the Al Porto breakfast cafe around the corner from the Cairns Harbour Lights. Jean had a country breakfast, while I had scrambled eggs on toast. even that was almost too much food for me.

We went for long walk along Esplanade, right to the far end. We even got good readings on the GPS exercise applications in our iPhones. The distance was over 2.5 kilometres to the end. Had a chat to a newly arrived Coles Manager who was obviously far fitter than we were.

Jean was getting tired by the time we returned, but the walk exceeded five kilometres. Sushi still closed in the Night Market, which given it was not yet noon is almost reasonable. Jean returned to the hotel.

Cairns Shopping

A little bit of a rest, then off to Cairns Central Shopping, which is about a kilometre. Sushi for Jean and nothing for me (the lunch places were crowded).

QBD bookshop, where Jean found an outdated Brisbane map (not nearly as outdated as the other one she has). Jean headed back to the Cairns Harbour Lights.

Office Works were too busy to do my printing. Not a good start to getting that done.

Guided by my iPhone Maps application, I walked back to Talk to the Mac, where I bought a Twelve South folding steel Compass iPad stand, a Just Mobile AluPen iPad stylus and an Apple Magic Trackpad. I also asked about the other Apple store, that my iPhone Maps did not indicate (it does not have Apple in the title).

Off a few blocks up the same street, to the iShop, where I saw purple computer bags, and realised I had to tell Jean about them.

Cairns Evening

Barnacle Bill's seafood restaurant where Jean had the bugs entree, and a side salad, and I again had barramundi fish and chips. uckily not as large as previously.

Walking back we noted well lit trees, garnished with LEDs. Lots of fruit bats flying around, perhaps discouraged by the festive lights.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Mastering Printing

I walked over one and a half kilometres, past the Cairns Central Shopping area to Office Works. Got there just after they opened at eight.

Despite the early hour, Office Works were too busy to do the printing that morning, something we never encountered at Office Works in Townsville. They still had printing to do from the previous day. I left my printing masters for ANZAPA and FAPA, to be collected around three or three thirty.

I noticed they had those LiveScribe Pulse pen devices for taking meeting notes. These do an audio of the meeting, and correlate your notes (on special paper) with the time of each section of the recording. I have a feeling this could be handy for taking notes at some meetings, so I bought one. I can do essentially the same thing with an iPad using a note taker like Pear Note.

Walked back to the Cairns Harbour Lights apartments. While walking, I phoned Jean to let her know I would be late for breakfast.


A late breakfast at Al Porto again. This was followed by a walk. First the iShop, so Jean could check out the purple bags for herself. None met her standards. Then to Talk to the Mac, where Jean bought a stylus just like mine, except in red.

On to Cairns Central Shopping, where we covered all the areas we had not previously covered. Jean sought books, and got a somewhat dated Brisbane map (not as old as her previous edition).

Jean bought sushi for her lunch, and left with her spoils.

I visited Aussie Bush Hats, but could not get an Akubra Arena in my size. Instead I bought a replacement for my Akubra Territory, which was now too small (they shrink over the years - or maybe I got a swelled head).

Printing Pains

I left for the Office Works to collect my printing a little after four, as I needed to be back by five, and the walk takes nearly 20 minutes each way. Ducked through several arcades, which thoroughly confused the GPS exercise program in my iPhone. It thought I had covered two and a half kilometres, in record time. Not likely.

My printing was not even started, despite estimated completion around three. The Office Works staff seemed under great pressure, but they started my printing. Insufficient printers, perhaps, but a work flow problem also in that they were continually interrupted. It seemed one person was consulted about most problems (and solved them) but at the expense of her efficient processing of items. Perhaps in busy times they need to limit front counter staff, and have someone concentrating on running the printers flat out. However my experience of printers in the tropics is that they can not sustain their claimed output.

Getting the printing done for my APA contributions involved 230 double sided sheets of paper, collated and stapled. 29 copies of 8 pages for ANZAPA, 38 copies of 6 pages for FAPA. That came to $38.81. The postage will probably be the same again, especially as USA postage probably still includes extra costs to cater for their absurd security paranoia.

Then one of the copiers decided to operate in single copy mode, so it was a lot slower than typical. I did not get away until after five. I phoned Jean to let her know of the delay, and arranged to meet her at the restaurant.

Cairns Evening

We again went to Barnacle Bill's seafood restaurant on the Esplanade for dinner. Jean again had Bugs Royale, which they class as an entree despite the size. I had the Barramundi Karumba that Jean had tried the first day we were in Cairns. The wine was yet again the Leeuwin Estate Margaret River Classic Dry White 2010. By arriving and leaving early, we got the 30% early dining discount, which made the tariff much more reasonable.

Jean felt up to attending the Night Market this time. She did a very logical path through the entire (small) site. Got a flexible green tree snake in wood, done so that it flexed as the string that strung it together moved, to add to her other wooden snakes. She also found some change purses, something I failed to find a decent version of at the Airlie Beach markets.

Thursday 15 September 2011


I took three bags down to Jean's car before seven. I am not sure how we managed to expand our baggage to the point of needing multiple trips to pack it in her car.

Off to breakfast at Al Porto again. This time Jean had the salmon version of the Eggs Benedict. Slight delay when they forgot her spinach side order. I had poached eggs, which is probably what I should have had each day instead of the bulkier scrambled eggs.

To Townsville

A long drive to Townsville. We did not go via Jaycar. Stopped for traffic controllers at the road repairs several times. refuelled outside Innisfail. The loos at the park in Innisfail were disgusting. A meat pie each at Cardwell. We were back at Carlyle Gardens and unloading before three.

Way too much physical mail on hand when Jean checked the mailbox. Only two of my envelopes were real mail, as distinct from generic junk. I need to work harder at getting rid of the last of the physical mail.

I heard a noise outside. Allan turned up wanting help with a recalcitrant car repair. Not that I know anything much about cars (I hate them). I finally managed to connect the new rear light, but it did not work. How does that Nissan light get an earth return?

My own repairs were going equally bad. No Firewire 400 to Firewire 800 adaptor, so I still can not check that old Firewire backup drive.

Trying to set up MacBook Air as my main computer. Difficult, when the display is too small to see. iCal could be adjusted, but I failed to find any font adjustment for Address Book.

Friday 16 September 2011

Carlyle Morning

Up early. Tried to use the old Firewire hard drive I brought from Airlie Beach, so I could check what was on it. No luck. It has Firewire 400 connectors and cables. My portable MacBooks either lack Firewire, or have Firewire 800 connectors. I went looking for alternate cables. Only found 6 pin Firewire to 4 pin Firewire, nothing to 9 pin.

After breakfast Jean wanted to visit Willows for food shopping. I tried BigW, but they only had obsolete Firewire 400 cables. Jean suggested it was sufficiently late that I could visit JB HiFi. They had three different Firewire cables by Belkin, one stack of which was the 6 pin Firewire 400 to 9 pin Firewire 800 cable I needed. A bit expensive at $35, but I would have paid almost that much over the internet, and had to wait a fair while.

I wasted most of the morning on Body Corporate matters for Airlie Beach. I do not need this crap in my life.

John called in to offer a 15 inch LCD monitor. That was kind of him. Alas, the Carlton Theatre needs a much larger display, say something like a 40 inch model. We want something people can see from the back of the room.

Carlyle Lunch

I was late to lunch, which was unexpectedly in a different corner of the room. Ray and Dot were there, and John arrived much the same time I did. I had sandwiches, given the results of my weigh in after the Cairns trip.

Carlton Theatre

I noticed the Carlton Theatre fridge, along with the Social Club fridge and freezer, had all been moved out of the small bar space the restaurant leases in the Carlton Theatre. This seems to have been done by folks from the resident's committee, at the direction of Carlyle Gardens management.

The bar had been locked up for a short while (about a week) by the owners of the lease, although the Carlton Theatre group had long ago arranged that we have access to our fridge. I later found that Geoff had been given a key by the lease holders as soon as as he returned from his vacation.

Seems like there is a long and probably sorry back story to this mess. I do not want to deal with this stuff.

Social Club Happy Hour

I went to the bar for the new Social Club's second Happy Hour. Not as many people there as usual, so I hope it is just that folks are away, not that some are staying away deliberately. Geoff did not want to do the microphone work (he had other issues on his mind), so I did the announcements. Seemed to go well enough, thanks to good support from the new committee. I even got shouted a drink by the bar.

Saturday 17 September 2011

Update Apple

I updated my tiny Apple MacBook Air. This included a Thunderbolt firmware upgrade, so there was a double reboot when the software installed. Not that I have anything that uses Thunderbolt as yet.

The calendar on the iPhone is a bit on the wimpy side. Many of the former Psion mailing list folks had suggested changing. I had tried the very pretty Calvetica. However the closest thing to the old Psion Agenda seems to be Week Calendar. I did want something that synced with the Apple facilities, so a complete stand alone calendar was not appropriate.

Notetaking at meetings might be easier with decent software. I decided to check out Pear Note for Mac, which records audio (and video), and synchronises it with notes you are taking, or slides you are showing. Since that is a bit expensive, I might find the less extensive Pear Note for iPad at US$4.99 cheaper and of sufficient function (the iPhone version is available later). It even takes notes in rich text.

Ordered a Lilypad solar powered iPad battery and carry bag from Wireless NRG via Kickstarter. I hope it arrives sooner than the Oona.


I awoke early, and could not get back to sleep. Went out and used the computer to get some downloads. I still have a lot of fiddling to do. The water sprinkling system I installed for Jean seems to have failed again. At eight we drove to Willows. Walked around, and I collected the four weekend newspapers. Wasted time reading substantial chunks of them.

Homemade hamburger for lunch at home.

Carlyle Gardens

A meeting at the restaurant about access to the mini bar, organised by Geoff, who was seeking a solution. No issues really, which is what I expected. Just people doing silly things, and later realising it needed to be handled in a different manner.

The bar lease owners Allan and Dave co-operated, as they had long done with the Carlton Theatre group. Luckily Olive from the Social Club was walking past, so we had a signed agreement between the bar and the Social Club before four.

I am not seeing why we are having such issues with this. I just hope this is the end of it.

Got bought yet another glass of wine, thus declaring my pecuniary interest in the matter. Decided I must be doing something right. Wish I knew what.


Installed Tropical Software's TopXNotes on the MacBook Air. I bought this as part of a MacUpDate bundle. I also have the iPhone version that will sync notes with this via a WiFi network. Note taking software that does not sync with the iPhone is getting less use.

Unfortunately TopXNote seems buggy under Lion. Could not move a file into a group folder. Note names changed to folder names. Could not drag and drop text files into it. Luckily after I restarted, it improved a little, because my next step was to delete it as not even worth evaluating.

The Find routine is broken. Import of text does not recognise line feeds, although when it exports them it seems to retain line feeds.

Sunday 18 September 2011


I walked around Carlyle Gardens with Jean, a little over two kilometres. Jean was not pleased with the prospect of walking prior to breakfast. She did scrambled eggs as compensation.

Once again reset the water sprinkling system controller. The original batteries were down to 1.3 volts, so I replaced them. Hope it works for several more months. I need to check the timing on Tuesday morning.

Watched Insiders and then Inside Business, while I finished the newspapers.

Long talk with Ray about Carlyle Gardens village issues. The various groups need to talk more. Too many bits and pieces that no-one else knows. That meant I skipped lunch.

Watched Meet the Press, and then The Bolt Report, and that completed the public affairs for the day. Then more work on this tiny computer. Getting this working right will be interesting, in the Chinese sense.

Apple Lion Problems

I tried using the Markup Validator S.A.C. 0.6.4 to check if my XHTML markup was correct. Got a perl error. First time that has happened. I wish I knew the real cause. Just looked it using Google. It seems the latest version is not compatible with Apple's OS X 10.7 Lion operating system.

So I tried the W3C online HTML validator. That page does not connect. Nor for that matter does the Jigsaw CSS validator. This is not a good start. They did have the Unicorn unified validator working, but for some reason it could not grab my CSS 3 file. Still, I was able to validate my XHTML at least.

One major problem with even looking up things on a web page is that Apple's default system fonts are way too small to read. Does everyone at Apple have perfect vision? I have the minimum font size for Safari to display set at 18 points, but that does not help with the status bar and other system items.

Monday 19 September 2011

Install Programs

I had used Migration Assistant to move my applications to the new MacBook Air. However since my old user name was different, I had to also move my data to my new account.

Lion does not let you see your ~/library folder, which is sensible since fiddling with it can stuff up programs. There are many ways around this. The easiest in Finder is to press the Option key while in the Go menu. This then shows the Library folder.

I transferred copies of my databases from Cultured Code's Things todo program, and from Filemaker's Bento database to the new user Library folder. Also the licence keys. These copies will become the Master version, and I will every now and then sync the databases back to the Mac mini, so I have a working backup elsewhere. I have the iPhone and iPad versions of these programs, which sync over WiFi.

I also formerly used Cultured Codes's XyleScope CSS tuner, which is now free. The web inspector in Safari and other browsers reduces the need for something that shows how the document object model DOM is applied. Alas, it grabbed first rights to open .xhtml, so I had to change that. It also can not handle xhtml past version 1, and I use the somewhat different xhtml 1.1. I think that this will not be much use.

I had a list of a heap of programs I had bought but had not used for a while. I transferred their support files into my Library as well.

I had version 4.6 of WestCiv's StyleMaster CSS editor, originally from 2006. That is now updated to version 5. I do not really update my CSS as often as I should. Too many ancient web browsers out there unable to cope.

I bought a copy of version 1 of Acqualia's Picturesque photo beautifier around 2008. That seems to now be updated to version 2.

The strangely named Cyberduck ftp file transfer program. Unfortunately this turned out to need a Java plugin that no longer comes with OS X, so I will need to find a different FTP program.

The equally strangely named Houdah Geo geotagging of photos. I got it via a promotion.

NetNewsWire is my standard newsreader for RSS feeds. I also bought the iPad and iPhone versions.

Bad Day at Carlyle Gardens

I should have gone for a walk, since the day started bad and got worse. Snack instead of breakfast. A Social Club committee meeting that took too long (all committee meetings take too long, in my view). All sort of stuff I disagree with at both my homes. I am tired of being agreeable about things I think should have been fixed long ago. I am tired of rules that are accepted when convenient, and ignored when inconvenient.

This is the day I started to dump Carlyle Gardens official activities. If not here for the social support, then why be here at all?

Software Devils

In seeking a replacement for the CyberDuck ftp program, I looked at Flow, from Five Details. I had that via a MacHeist Nano bundle, so trying it out seemed a good idea. It was not. All manner of frustration.

So I tried MacRabbit's Espresso web development program. It is sort of a lighter weight Coda style integrated web development program. I had tried Coda some time ago, but kept crashing the SubEtherEdit module of it. All manner of frustration with the FTP side of Espresso also.

I eventually enabled ssh on Dreamhost, because nothing I tried seemed to allow correct behaviour when using FTP. Checked exactly where my files were placed. Did not help at all. I still have no idea what Dreamhost are actually doing. However I do now know how to make my FTP programs behave, and it is not the way the Dreamhost support notes and wiki say it should be set.

Tuesday 20 September 2011


A good start to the day, with laundry being done before six. As well, the garden water sprinkling timer deigned to operate at the set time, and for the set duration. I hope that continues.

Software Devils

I finally seem to have Flow FTP working the way I want for the Dreamhost websites on my test computer. The problem is at the Dreamhost end (their setup is really simple, but not what I expect). Once you know what is happening, setup goes just fine. But why were there so many contradictory instructions out there on the web?

Later on, in the evening, I also installed the fixes to Flow FTP on my travel computer. I think this will be needed when I start updating my web site about Carlyle Gardens, Townsville. I really only get around to an update of web sites when I have something to complain about. Pity, but that is how it seems to work.

I started Airlie Beach Bum to complain about the destruction of Airlie Beach by the Meridien Port of Airlie Marina construction. I started Whitsunday Terraces to complain about how that once great Whitsunday resort had been degraded in 2010 and 2011. Luckily the Whitsunday Terraces resort is now under new management.


Off to the chemist to get drugs (side trip for newspaper). Bunnings for devices to clean out gutters, and pipe extenders to reach distant gutters. Jean was actually seeking to fill her travel shopping list at Kathmandu. Being forewarned, I sat and read my newspaper. A-Mart, where we failed to find a suitable chair for Jean. Dan Murphy, where we really filled the back of the car with booze, which basically made the whole trip a success. The new Jaycar store, twice as much floor space as previous, where three of seven items were not yet organised on their shelves. I did get the replacement batteries to solder into the cyclone lamps, and I did find the anemometer for checking fan efficiency. I think I need to make an extra list and return.


I was late to lunch. Usual suspects on hand, Pat and Jeff, Dot, John, and Ray. I offered Ray the surplus concrete garden blocks that we have on hand, for his garden edge.

While at lunch I also chatted with Geoff and Margaret, who were sitting nearby. Saw them later so we could get the fridges out of the dressing room for Saturday, and back to the mini bar where they had been. We hoisted the freezer up to the stage, and put it out the back of the stage. We also moved the chairs in the dressing room out, so that it was free as a changing room for the fashion show on Saturday

We will need to return on Friday morning to put out tables for Friday afternoon, and for Saturday.

Carlton Theatre

The mini bar the restaurant leases in the Carlton Theatre has been blocked off by Carlyle Gardens management on Monday by a great wall of pin board.

This is a ridiculous management response to an equally silly locking of the bar door last week. The Social Club signed an agreement with the bar lease owners on Saturday that solved the door problem. The great wall solves nothing, least of all access to the lighting and air conditioning controls.

If this nonsense is going to be typical and continue, then I do not want to live in Carlyle Gardens. As it is, I am dammed if I want to contribute any further to this community. I have resigned from any further involvement with the Carlton Theatre.

I am making two futile gestures of protest. One is a sign saying Tear down the Berlin pinboard up on the pinboard. The other is I no longer wear my festive tropical shirts in Carlyle Gardens. I wear those shirts to places I enjoy.

Wednesday 21 September 2011


I was unable to sleep. Got up early to work on the computer. Reported the line tearing bug in CSS columns in Safari to Apple.

Jean and I drove to the city transfer station (aka the garbage dump) and dumped the old desktop dishwasher that did not work, and several other items. I want to clean out as much junk as possible, in preparation for a potential move. Stopped at Coles afterwards for a tiny amount of shopping.

Caught up with Duncan. As I did, Geoff phoned me and wanted to see me prior to lunch. That talk took a while. Had hash browns and stuff I should not eat for lunch.

I burnt the Garden Competition photos to CD that evening, and also pulled another ten gigabyte of photos off camera cards onto the hard drive. I am way behind. These photos date back to our July trip on Outback Spirit. I need to add geolocation data to the exif metadata on all those photos. Especially now I own HoudahGeo to do just that.

Carlyle Gardens

As I suspect will now become a pattern, I ignored the one o'clock information talk by Lend Lease on insurance matters. It was foreshadowed and covered by the Resident's Committee meeting earlier in any case.

Margaret had earlier asked me to take photos of the prize giving for the Carlyle Gardens Competition and Flower Show, at 5 p.m. in the bar. Margaret, Sheena and Jo-ann seemed the ones doing the work. There was a staggering quantity of prizes given away by the many helpful sponsors. I was most impressed. Alas, there was no prize for most chaotic rock collection in a so called garden. That would be my only chance.

It is unlikely I will continue to participate in these events at Carlyle Gardens. I am already committed to a few things, but basically I now want out of all of them. My plans are now to expedite the decluttering of the house we lease at Carlyle Gardens. I no longer regard that as a home. I am sorry that I put money into improving it. Plus I intend to renovate the apartment at Airlie Beach, with a view to living there as much as possible.


I deleted the CyberDuck FTP application on my MacBook Air, since it needed Java to operate. Apple no longer supply Java (and I can not think of anything else that uses Java). I am unsure how much interest Oracle has in keeping Java in good shape (look at the way OpenOffice was - eventually - discarded).

Opps. The ~/Library is no longer visible in Finder in Lion. Apple hid it so users would not accidentally remove items they should leave alone. Luckily in Finder you just need to use the Option key with the Go menu to make Library show up. Then I could delete Cyberduck's support files from the Application Support folder.

I will probably use either Flow or Espresso for my ftp sessions. I seem to have paid for copies of each from one of the cheap bundled packages of software.

However first I wanted to ftp my blog, which goes to a different server. For that I usually use a little shell script called that I wrote long ago. However on a new computer, I can not read type on the Terminal, nor does my $PATH contain my ~/bin directory. I enlarged the fonts and set that to be the default. While it seems like OS X 10.7 does things different to previous, moving a copy of my .bash_profile file into my Home directory seemed to allow me to add ~/bin to my $PATH but I feel like I am wandering all around the world just to get a little change made.

Since I was checking hard drives using my MacBook Pro, I started using Handbrake for converting my already ripped DVD video_ts folders into h.264 encoded MP4 movies that Apple deign to accept. Looks like the first one will take almost two hours. I am tempted to find my Turbo264 USB hardware, and see if that speed things up. No, Turbo264 is not compatible with Lion.

I increased my cursor size, and the cursor still looked decent rather than pixelated. So I note that the cursor in OS X Lion is now HiDPI, like Windows, unlike in Snow Leopard. I really wish Apple would pull their finger out and get Resolution Independence working correctly.

Thursday 22 September 2011


I was up around five. Put more movies in the now empty conversion queue. Replied to email. Social networking is a trivial zero sum game. Any time spent on Facebook (which I dropped weeks ago) is time that can not be used for email, where measured response is a more likely option.

I was delighted to note that my sprinkler system again worked, switching on at six and off a half hour later, just like I set it. I hope this means the old batteries were the entire problem.

Jean and I ran away from home, to Willows. I wanted Dymo labels for the empty label maker. Now if I can only remember just what I was so anxious to put a label on…

Dropped the CD of photos on the Garden Competition winners off at the office. Forgot to organise several other things, like tell them when I was away. Tried the chicken skewers on rice for lunch, and followed up with a lemon tart and ice cream. Had a chat with Olive and Val from the Social Club while they were there.

Carlton Theatre

My protest sign, Tear down the Berlin pinboard, in the Carlton Theatre, had been torn down. But was it unofficially or officially torn down? So I pinned up another one. I can keep that up for ages, until I get bored with it.

Julia Lies (again, and again)

I would rule out anywhere that is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention. Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Radio 6PR, on Thursday 8 July 2010, less than a month after the political assassination of elected Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on 24 June 2010. Malaysia is not a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention. East Timor is a signatory, but declined Julia's kind public offer. Papua New Guinea is a signatory, so Manus Island is included. Nauru signed the Refugee Convention on 17 July 2011. Yet these four unpalatable alternatives were picked as the places to send refugees. Makes you wonder.

I don't rule out the possibility of legislating a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, a market based mechanism, [during the next parliament] I rule out out a carbon tax. Prime Minister Julia Gillard, one day prior to the 2010 election. So what is now being urgently debated in Parliament? A Carbon Tax.

Actually, a Carbon Tax is not what is being debated (that was a Liberal taunt initially). There are a series of interlocking bills, which explicitly exclude a carbon tax as such in one bill (thus it must be excise), and explicitly include tax elsewhere. I suspect there will be a successful legal challenge to the bills as being unconstitutional under section 55, but ianal.

It seems politicians habitually lie. But some are less lucky about it than others.

Computer Work

My Handbrake queue was empty, so the video_ts to h.264 conversions on the MacBook Pro had run out sometime during the night. I put another half dozen items into the queue. I sure hope these automated conversions are good enough. By mid morning I had about 20 movies done. So that seems to indicate that conversions alone may take months.

I added another bunch of movies to the transcoding queue after lunch, and yet another bunch mid afternoon.

Since I was transcoding, I also decided to add a little more metadata to my list of TV series. Many entries in Bento were lacking the number of DVDs, and I had never included a field for the number of minutes of video. These will help when considering file space needed. Bento now has a few spreadsheet style actions, so I can at least count checked items, and get a sum of numerical items, without resort to a spreadsheet.

Friday 23 September 2011

Sprinkler System Carlyle Gardens

I was surprised when both the Eastern and the back water sprinkler systems started operating this morning at 6:30 a.m. However there is still no sign that the sprinklers between the houses are operating. Not that there is any guarantee I would notice if they were operating in the small hours of the morning, but I would think some evidence of water would remain. Since the grass is still growing, I sort of assume something is watering between the houses, but I have mostly known that it was happening in the past.


I was up at five. Still a fair number of movies in the transcoding queue, so I did not have to rush to add more. I added another half dozen after breakfast.

I tried to use Australia Post's online postage calculator to calculate postage. It does not work. Never gets to a result. The frustration of using postage for anything is infuriating. The calculator worked when I tried another smaller computer, but I can not read the web site on that (I enforce large type faces on web pages on small computers, because otherwise web pages are too small to read).

Jean and I drove off around eight thirty. Stop at the Carlton Theatre so I could put out some chairs where it would be obvious which ones should be used. However Geoff had already done that. Next we needed fuel.

Our main purpose was to visit Domain shopping, where Jean wanted to check Kathmandu and Pillow Talk. I looked into Pillow Talk (hmm, better let Jean decide on that one), Dick Smith and Betta Electrics while Jean was in Kathmandu. She got… travel things. We bought some new pillows also. We even checked Anaconda and Spotlight prior to departing. I gave up on going to Jaycar. We did get eggs on the way back.

Walked to the restaurant for lunch, with Ray, John, Dot, and Sue. Geoff came along later, since he was over there.

To add impetus to my foul mood, I did the first pass through my tax returns.

Carlton Theatre

Geoff asked me not to put up any more of my Tear down the Berlin pinboard signs in the Carlton Theatre. I agreed, since he asked. Lacking that silly outlet, I am now more angry than ever.

I also found that the security folks were going to be locking the doors and putting on the alarms around five each evening for the Carlton Theatre. I know some people park behind the theatre and use the theatre as a shortcut through to elsewhere (not sure what the elsewhere is). Several of the village facilities are locked before evening, under lease clause 5.2.b. Sounds like the Carlton Theatre is dead at night.

Carlton Theatre certainly is dead for me now. I have two last events to attend, tonight and Saturday. Luckily I am going to be absent most of the time from next week until November.


I downloaded Google SketchUp drawing program, while I had reasonable internet access.

A word processor? I have Pages for heavy duty work. So I downloaded Bean, a lightweight word processor, in the beta version.

Carlton Theatre

The Carlton Theatre looked really festive for the tenth birthday, with helium balloons from Krys and bright plastic table clothes. I imagine Jo-ann organised much of the venue. The Carlton Theatre is ten years old so the excuse was a celebration of this birthday. I thought it half that age, although the state of the carpet shows how wrong I am. Plus there was the presentation of an award by Angel Flight, recipient of a fund raiser some time ago. It was also a meet and greet for new residents, which is held from time to time. The most impressive thing was how many residents attended and sat down and chatted to each other, when there was an excuse, without any entertainment being promised.

Geoff was running photos from Jo-ann on screen, but had to use a computer to do so. I was obscurely pleased to see this, since that was my preferred solution also. I had wanted photos at a Craft and Open Day event a while ago, but did not have a suitable computer to connect to the projector. I did put together a single DVD of photos that worked for the photos, but lost the music track.

I was also glad to hear Geoff say the usual main microphone was not working well. I had disliked it on that previous use (gave it to Ray, as he has a strong voice), and mostly used the other microphones, especially for Leigh. The former Carlton Theatre group has bought a new radio microphone to replace the old main one. I doubt if even resigning from the Carlton Theatre group will prevent Geoff from improving the sound system, so I can see that new microphone will get integrated into the system sometime.

I was fairly busy helping sell tickets for the Social Club, and then doing the number calling. Not very entertaining for anyone, I fear.

Leigh warned me about my Berlin pinboard notes, saying she would breach me. Since I now want to leave Carlyle Gardens, I did not respond well, saying I would leave. Hard to argue with someone who knows the rules (I assume she means lease clause 7.8.b). We did have a civil conversation later, which is probably a good thing. However I am basically going to stay away as long as I can, until I either cool down or persuade Jean that we should sell up and leave Carlyle Gardens.

Saturday 24 September 2011


I was awake at two, which is not good. When it finally got light I abandoned the computer and put some of our surplus concrete garden edging blocks in the boot of Jean's car. Walked over to the Carlton Theatre after seven. Holger was already at the Carlton Theatre, helping Geoff arrange the tables and chairs for the Fashion Show. Jean came to collect me for shopping and helped with the last of the chairs.

Jean and I unloaded the first instalment of concrete blocks for Ray as we left the village well before eight. We took another load before lunch, and another in the afternoon. If only I could empty the garage as well. The Carlton Theatre event ended early. After dropping off concrete blocks I went there to help with tables and chairs, but they were already all away.


Seems opting out of Facebook several weeks ago was a good move, if early responses to their new Timeline are correct.


I have been running the Handbrake transcoding non-stop for six days now on my MacBook Pro. Now through to the M titles, in the general movies. It does occur to me that it might run a tad quicker if I made the target drive the internal unit, rather than an external USB drive. But then I would not have sufficient drive space for the movies.

These limited size laptop style hard drives (or even worse, solid state drives) are the bane of my media acquisition life. A quarter or a half a terabyte of drive space on a top of line portable. However external desktop drives are generally one to four terabyte. I still do not have a good system for dealing with this difference.

No, the cloud does not impress me. Not at the storage prices and download costs that prevail. To say nothing of all the places we visit that do not have internet connectivity.

Sunday 25 September 2011


I went seeking the source of the mosquitos that had turned up last night. Did not find any standing water, but I suspect the gutters. Used surface spray, in an attempt to get rid of the mosquitos.

We took the last 17 of the 47 extra concrete garden edge blocks over to Ray's place. Saw Nellie working on new flowers for the entry garden (she says the old ones had issues). Dropped a copy of the Garden Competition winners photos over to Margaret. Finally time for breakfast, and hanging out laundry.

Removed four boxes of Applix 1616 equipment from the garage. That freed up a fair amount of space.


I finally crashed Handbrake, after nearly a week of transcoding. Restarted it, after a few issues. I had to redo the outstanding queue. By late evening, I only had a dozen of the general movies left to transcode. They should complete overnight or sometime tomorrow.

I wanted to rip some more DVDs, but my old Mac The Ripper 2.6.6 would not work on my Mac mini (which has a DVD drive) without the Rosetta compatibility software for the old Motorola or IBM Power chipsets. However I still had my vintage iMac G5 from 2005, running Leopard (OS X 10.5.8), and Mac The Ripper works on that. I do not have the disk space to do everything, but I was able to start ripping during the afternoon. There is no need for a fast computer for ripping, as once MTR removes the Content Scrambling System and Regional Zone nonsense, the speed is almost all determined by drive access time.


I was able to package most of the old Applix computer during the evening. This was the last of Andrew Morton's Applix 1616 (ETI 1616) computers that I built. Plus the monochrome multifunction monitor that handled the GUI that Andrew ported. The last box was extra floppy disks. All of these will go to Alan in Victoria. This removes my last memento of that period. All that remains are some online copies of Applix manuals that I did as the pretty print versions.

Monday 26 September 2011


I saw the final general film item from my old films hard drive was being transcoding to H.264. Three westerns to transcode. Now I can move some more movies to the drives, and start ripping more original DVDs.

The movies databases I keep in Bento need to be changed to include which films have been ripped, which have rip issues, and which are transcoded to H.264. Just means adding a few more tickbox columns.

I decided that I could transfer some of the SF movies a little indirectly, by using my old Firewire drive that contains the backups of my vintage Apple PowerBook G4 1.25GHz. That computer is long gone, but I still have a viable backup. Plus I had 80GB of free space, enough to transfer a few more movies. Alas, doing feature extraction did not work well at all. Almost two thirds of them were failures, something I did not discover until I wasted a lot of time transferring them to another computer for transcoding.

I also discovered that the original giant double width WD drives have Firewire 800 and Firewire 400, as well as USB. I can just connect the SF films collection direct to the old iMac G5, which has Firewire 400. That is better than using the WiFi, and lamenting not have sufficient structured phone wiring connections in the room to use Ethernet. I might revise my plans to add more Ethernet.


I loaded the Applix boxes into Jean's car. Took them to the post office. It is a startling feeling of power to be at the Post Office counter, see a queue of impatient people out the door, and realise you are the person who caused it.

Coles had my favourite Chocolate Obsession ice cream on special. Jean said I couldn't get it. What I really need is my own tiny ice cream freezer. Also I need a rational way to reconcile that with a diet, which may not be easy even for someone as illogical as me.

Tuesday 27 September 2011


I should have taken an early morning walk to drop things off for people. That would have counted as helping empty the house. Instead I continued moving video files.

Jean stayed home to await a delivery. I went to Willows to collect the newspaper. Stomped around the shopping centre in a poor shadow of proper exercise.

Coles still had the $2 solar lights, so I bought an entire flat of them (20) for the front garden. I can't even buy a replacement battery at that price (I tried).

Checked some dishes in BigW, since I want something smaller (so I do not fill it with as much). Denise happened to be passing, looking relaxed now, and we had a long chat. Interesting how everyone sees different sides of the same things.

Geri on her tricycle asked me about using the BBQ area. Bruce soon came along in the big 4WD to ask the same. Another thing I have no idea about. I have never used the area myself. The fridge there (in the change room) seems to have come from Management for residents to use. I need to read any paperwork the previous Social Club passed along, but so far no copies have reached me. Lack of email is going to restrict this new group a lot, in my view.

Lunch with Geoff, Margaret, Dot, Ray, John, Jeff, and Pat (who was in a rush). I failed to notice the pizza Ray had ordered (but I don't like eggplant so it would not have worked). Ordered a hamburger, having totally failed to notice the traditional pastie on the menu. Ray says he only saw 41 concrete blocks at home, but we actually took 47 blocks over to his place on Saturday and Sunday.

Helped put some chairs out in the Carlton Theatre for an ethnic meeting tomorrow. I had no idea that there was anything on.


I used the old version of Mac The Ripper again on the vintage iMac G5 to rip the full DVDs to a disk image this time. Sony DVDs certainly cause more problems than most. I never did figure out why Star Trek XI gave so much trouble. I saw the movie in the cinema, and bought a DVD of it, which I watched once. It is the sort of movie I might like to watch again when travelling.

Not much room on my hard drive in the vintage iMac G5, but when complete I moved the ripped movies to the physically large SF Movies hard drive via the Firewire 400 connection. I still have to re-shelve the DVDs. Even 80GB of transfers took an hour or so (I let it run while I was at lunch). I was surprised to find the drive I put them on was almost full, but it was actually only a 1.5TB one.

I formatted another new USB 2TB hard drive for OS X on the MacBook Pro. I transferred the Firewire hard drive to the MacBook Pro, and connected via the faster Firewire 800. Then I could start Handbrake to work transcoding some of the science fiction movies into H.264 so I can actually carry them with me now that hardly any of my computers have a DVD drive.

Transcoding is still really slow. I might get a few dozen movies done in a day. My Bento database says I have over 450 movies, although many would be on two DVDs (I don't bother with second DVD features, since I am not a movie collector). However the (incomplete) TV series database says there are over 550 DVDs in that collection. They sure take a lot of shelf space. I built six custom bookcases to fit DVDs and some paperbacks.

For some reason, when I go into JB HiFi, or BigW, or a video store, I usually come out empty handed. I am not finding many DVDs that I want that I do not already have. The TV series work best, since a lot of stuff never appeared on Australian TV, and I am only encountering it now on DVD. In some ways it is awkward that DVDs are vanishing, as I got into it very late in its history. Probably missed some specialised items that will never again be released.

Computer Club

I always enjoy the Carlyle Gardens Computer Club events. This evening Treasurer Jeff showed us jigsaw programs, and how to use them. I was amazed at how sophisticated the various jigsaw programs are. There was even a web based jigsaw version, with offline mode. Some of the members are obviously still using dial up, or have limited download access, so being able to use it offline is important.

The ladies provided the usual incredible supper afterwards. I always enjoy the scones, jam and cream, but must admit that egg sandwiches just make my evening. Had a fine time chatting with a few of the members.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Apple iPhone Rumour

How to make up wild stories based upon a single piece of evidence. Apple released an invitation to their media event.

The email invitation consists of four Apple icons from an iPhone, set out two by two. The icons are for iCal, Clock, Maps and Phone. The words in the invitation are Let's Talk iPhone.

Obvious first step. Note that iCal shows Tuesday 4, which means October. Note that the next Tuesday 4 is September 2012. Clock shows 10:00, the time Apple traditionally has these press events. Maps shows a pin at 1 Infinite Circuit, Cupertino, near Route 280, where Apple has its Town Hall auditorium. The Phone icon shows 1, indicating a call. Everyone was expecting Apple to release an invitation for a press event for that or a very similar date.

Now for the rumours. Four icons. Therefore Apple are releasing only an iPhone 4 upgrade. Besides, the date is 4!

Lots of four in there. Add all the numbers shown. 4+10+280+1=295. Add the digits. 2+9+5=16. Divide by the number of icons. 16/4=4. So it is about an iPhone 4. But the Route 280 is incidental, and points to 1 Infinite Loop. So 4+10+1+1=16, 16/4=4, and we still get to iPhone 4. I love some of the stuff out there!

However there is the 1 in the Phone icon, indicating a call, so maybe that means only one iPhone. But four in Cal plus one means iPhone 5. No, maybe the one just means one event. Or maybe that Apple is Number 1. We will be deep into numerology before long.

Let's Talk iPhone means Apple have added Siri and Nuance voice technologies so you talk to the phone and it responds to voice commands. Not that this is new in phone technology. Many phones already do this. Some badly. Works a treat in libraries, cinemas.


No delivery this morning.

Saw Olive at lunch and chatted with her about the Social Club. We are all looking for more committee members and extra helpers. If we do not find extra people, there will be limits to what is done. Geoff and Margaret were there, so we concluded the Carlton Theatre accounts before I left. Geoff will email me any further details.

Walked over to the bar after four to see how Olive was getting along with ticket sales for OctoberFest. She did not need any extra help, and ticket sales were steady for the first day.

Stayed at the bar for a while. Some of the usual suspects there had their tickets already.


I started transcoding my main collection of science fiction movies, since all the new items were done. With a bit of luck all the titles starting with A will be transcoded by tomorrow morning. Meanwhile I found a dozen more general films, and ripped them using Mac the Ripper on my vintage iMac G5. Still having a plastic wrapper around a DVD is a bit of a giveaway that I have neither seen nor ripped them. Must search more rigorously on the shelves of DVDs.

Hard drive space for transfers is getting to be an issue now, just for the stand alone movies. I have no idea when it will make sense to rip the more massive TV series. I have not even checked how much (if any) space I save with H.264 transcoding.

Thursday 29 September 2011

Online Shopping

So there was an online deal that I could not resist, last Thursday from Dick Smith, but available only for one hour that evening. A thirty inch TV for under $300. So after some fights with the login, I placed an order on Thursday 22 September. Dick Smith auto confirmed the transaction at 7:27 p.m. At 4 p.m. on Friday 23 September, Dick Smith sent an email saying the order had been despatched. Gave me a tracking number with StarTrack Express.

StarTrack Express had nothing on their web site through the weekend. Sometime after lunch on Monday the goods had reached Sydney. Sometime late on Tuesday they had reached Brisbane. Then on Wednesday 28 September at 2:39 p.m., they had reached Townsville.

So much for instant gratification.


It looks like I have completed the A science fiction titles today. The Handbrake queue was empty at 5:28 a.m. I finally checked the file sizes. It seems the 46 DVDs (mostly between 4GB and 7GB) had averaged a little over one gigabyte when transcoded to H.264.

This is all seeming a plausible way to have an entirely digital viewing flow, ideally from anywhere within the house. All the movies would probably fit on a single drive. All the TV series on another (larger) drive.

Now that I am buying a TV set, it makes the case for an AppleTV for video streaming somewhat stronger.


I was up well before five. When it got a little more light I put out the last of the garbage. Checked samples of the new solar garden lights from Coles. I think the term crap summarises them reasonably well. But they were cheap. At least I am now getting an idea of which lights work least bad.

Amazon Fire Tablet

Useless in Australia, or elsewhere, for now. Should sell well in USA, to media consumers. Not for creators, at least as yet. Android needed a front end makeover, and maybe Amazon were the ones to do it right. Amazon are selling the sizzle cheap, looking to make their money from content sales. Following how Amazon Fire goes will be interesting longer term, and Amazon are all about longer term sales.

Taxi late late late. It was their second try at getting us a taxi, and was sent to the wrong address. Jean had phoned the taxi despatch several times. Thanks to help from neighbours a street away, I eventually tracked the taxi down to House 554 a street away. Took him down the garden path to get to our place. Luckily we always build a lot of time into our taxi bookings, since so many taxi drivers are unfamiliar with how to reach us.

DJ1520 Townsville to Sydney flight boards late, takes off late instead of 12:45 p.m., and then was delayed landing in Sydney at 3:45 p.m., instead of 3:20 p.m. The plane also ran out of snacks, and beer. Plus it seems Virgin now stock Pepsi rather than Coca Cola. I was starving.

No food I liked at Sydney airport. More accurate, not much in the way of small snacks. I eventually got a partly toasted slice of raisin bread at McDonalds, for $1.50. Not sure why they think a trouser press can perform in a satisfactory manner as a toaster. Most be some Post Modern culinary trend.

DJ662 from Sydney to Canberra was scheduled to depart at 5:05 p.m. for a 23 minute flight. It left at 5:50, and we arrived in Canberra at 6:28 p.m. Despite the short flight, the Virgin Australia staff managed to hand out a small tasty snack. At least we did not need to wait for a taxi to Woden.

The Quality Hotel seemed very pleasant. A large room with two double beds. Multiple cane chairs and a round table for visiting knights. Ethernet and WiFi in the room, at the usual excessive charges of third party Internet connection providers. Lots of room, although no cooking facilities (except a toaster and electric kettle). There was even plenty of room in the fridge, without removing their soft drinks.

Karen was bringing boxes into the Reception and Dealer Room area for Conflux, so I was able to assist with one last load.

We dined at the Colonial Kitchen in the Woden Tradies Club attached to the Quality Hotel. Jean liked her Caesar salad. I had a chicken schnitzel with pizza topping. It was both strange, and larger than I could manage to eat. Jean helped with that.

Electricity Readings

I had to take reading of the electricity generated by the solar panels one day and seven hours early, since we would be away at the end of the month. The solar inverter was showing 1815kWh generated in 5487 hours. The actual electricity meter showed Tariff 11 at 2191kWh purchased, Tariff 33 at 1873kWh, and the export of power from the solar panel at 652kWh.

Friday 30 September 2011

Canberra Morning

Our after breakfast exercise consisted of walking to the Woden Westfield shopping centre for some food for the room, like milk. It sort of drizzled on us as we walked. We walked until noon.


I saw Lewis and Marilyn fairly early. Lewis now has a laser cutter, which sounds pretty cool. Conflux seemed heavy on panels and book launches.

We were able to have a long chat with Zoe. Amazing person.

Angry Robot Hour book launch. Not that I had even heard of Angry Robot previously. Sounds like they are big, as they launched five books, three by Kaaron Earren, plus one each by Jo Anderton and Trent Jamieson.

We attend the opening ceremony at 6:30 p.m. This was followed by aCanberra Sceinec Fiction Group (CSFG) event, as they had a new story collection.

Bad news. Ian's luggage missing. Late party in bar (that was not bad news). Sleep badly however.

Solar Panel Outputs

I was away at the end of the month, so figures are extrapolated. The solar power inverter produced 1820 kWh to date, and operated for 5500 hours. The solar power output figures last month (August) showed it generated 1684 kWH in 5155 hours of operation. So the total hours operating in the 30 days of September 2011 were 345 hours, during which it generated 136 kWh. About 4.5 kWh per day, or 394 Watts per operating hour. This is a nominal 1 kW panel.

The actual electricity meter showed Tariff 11 at 2192kWh purchased, Tariff 33 at 1873kWh, and the export of power from the solar panel at 662kWh since installed. I had imported 1726 kWh on E1, exported 490 kWh on E1/E2, and imported 1800 kWh on E2 as at the end of June 2011. So the electricity meter shows consumption in three months as 466 kWh on Tariff 11, 73kWh on Tariff 33 (no air conditioning), and exported 172kWh of solar power. This is pretty close to the meter readings.

The electricity accounts for the quarter [not in as yet] show the solar panels provided 171 kWh electricity feed in the past three months. This provided a $75.24 solar feed rebate on our electricity bills.

Eric Lindsay's Blog September 2011