Eric Lindsay's Blog February 2012

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Carlyle Gardens

I dumped a bunch of pebbles in the trench on the Western side of Jean's house, to bring some of it level with the concrete that did not fill the trench. I hope this will let the mowing contractors get at that area. Next I need to fill the remaining smaller portion of ditch with soil from the garden. I took a bunch of buckets full of soil from the garden, and have now technically also filled that part of the ditch. I think it needs a heap more once the soil is tamped down. However it is way too humid to continue that.

I got attacked a lot by the ants. I have responded with more ant sand anyplace they are near the house.

The quantity of recycling I brought back from Airlie Beach was sufficient to fill Jean's recycling bin. I do hope that eventually recycling will happen in Airlie Beach. It is not convenient to fill Jean's car with recycling.

Apple Support Issues

I can access AirPort Utility 5.6 for Mac OS X Lion from my late 2011 11 inch MacBook Air running OS X Lion 10.7.2 connected via my Time Capsule. However going to the same address from my late 2009 Mac mini (same OS, same connection) produces a 404 error from Apple. How can that be? Then ten minutes later, the same previously dead link started working. The internet is just getting less and less trustworthy.

Why not upgrade to AirPort Utility 6? I don't trust Apple these days. That version of the AirPort Utility seems to have thrown away most of the things I would want to do to a router, for the sake of facile simplicity. If Apple keep doing this sort of shit, I will stop recommending them. I will check back when version 6.1 of the AirPort Utility appears, and see if the missing functionality is available.

Rulers of the World

There is a super entity of companies that rule the world, according to Zurich physicists Stefania Vitali, James B. Glattfelder, and Stefano Battiston in their paper The network of global corporate control. They selected 43,060 transnational companies from a database of 37 million companies, and checked the ownership structures. 147 companies control 40% of all transnational corporations. Only one was a manufacturer. Many were Wall Street banks.

Thursday 2 February 2012

Carlyle Gardens

It rained, which made it had to fill the remaining ditches with soil from the garden. However I did get the Western side all filled with dirt or river gravel. I am sure the rain will pack it down, and more will need to be done, but it is started.


I had my party at midday at the restaurant. Only half the attendance of the previous year, however we collectively (and with help from a few hangers on) got through abut five bottles of champagne by two p.m. I even took a bread roll and some of the nice ham back for a light dinner.

Friday 3 February 2012

To Airlie Beach

I awoke late. Hardly anything to put in Jean's car this time. I was on the road before 5:30 a.m. A large convoy of giant tyres on large trucks pulled out behind me near Ayr. So I continued non-stop to Centro Whitsunday. Meanwhile, Hamilton Island offshore from Airlie Beach had 125mm of rain dumped on it overnight.

It was sounding as if lots of shops in Airlie Beach are likely to avoid renewing their leases when due this year. If this is the case, the town centre will look bad.

Shopping at Centro Whitsunday was a disaster. Cheap chocolate milk, and half price chocolate ice cream, but you needed to buy two. The fridge freezer is absolutely chockers, and keeps making I'm too full noises. I had some crumpets for breakfast when I arrived home.


I started on the B's. Which is to say, I did not see any A's. Set up iTunes on the old iMac G5 with another new Library, and started ripping my classical music CDs into Apple Lossless. I sort of doubt I will complete the B's today. There is a rather large box of the CDs, especially when you consider that none of them are in CD cases these days (I removed the boxes long ago). I ripped 46 CDs with a B composer today. Looks to me like I have at least six times as much to do.

Body Corporate Meeting

I went to the Annual General Meeting. I guess rain is a partial excuse, but we were three people short of a quorum, which is not good in terms of owner interest. I phoned Jim and we got his proxy. No luck with Matt's number. Greg managed to get Rusty's proxy. Then a last person walked in, and we were go. I think everything will pass easily.

The Boy Corporate committee managed to get an additional new volunteer, an idea I really like, so I withdrew my nomination from the floor. I hate seeing the committee less than full, since you never know which additional person will spot some critical issue that needs to be dealt with.

Saturday 4 February 2012

Airlie Beach

I was awake late, and did not get up until six. This despite getting to bed at ten. I had to get up several times in the night, as heavy rain continued, and I had to check if rain was entering the doors.

It is still a dull, dark day, with full cloud cover. Again no chance of drying laundry. I doubt there will be much happening at the Airlie Beach markets.

There were maybe a dozen late arriving tents at the markets, and hardly anyone wandering around. No breakfast there for me. The main street was empty. McDonald's staff told me they had only seen a dozen people that morning (I was the only customer, a very strange event). I checked the hairdresser (she had appointments), and collected some newspapers. Very sparse all through the main street.


I moved to Chopin in my ripping of audio CDs to Apple Lossless. Some of these CDs dated back to 1989, so I fear some may be near failure. Since almost all were recorded by orchestras from eastern Europe, I am not locating much album art to accompany them. Indeed, most of the actual cover art is either very plain, or simply text.

By the end of the evening I had ripped 107 CDs in total, and was into Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Still lots of CDs to go.

Sunday 5 February 2012

Airlie Beach

I have good weather, according to the forecast and the radar, at least by comparison with all the days around Sunday. So I started laundry as soon as it was sufficiently light. By 7:30 a.m. I had the laundry out, had ripped another half dozen Mozart CDs, and had walked down to the main street and collected the newspaper. Saw another of the unit owners at the Whitsunday Terraces removing weeds. I was able to tell her which trees Tony was scheduled to remove from Florin Terraces. No trace of Greg, and the office could not (would not?) tell me where he was staying.

Drive Shortage

I see Seagate claim the Thailand floods last year mean hard drive production this year will continue to fall well short of demand, with prices pushing up. Manufacturers expect to be short 150 million drives in 2012. I would love some 4TB hard drives, as that would just about let me consolidate all media on a single drive.


Just as well Apple Lossless cuts the size of audio CD rips in half, compared to uncovered AIFF. I can not get 4TB drives, and will need to stick with 2TB. The audio CD ripping has gone past the S's. I have also started putting the ripped CDs into file boxes to keep things a little more tidy.

Monday 6 February 2012

Airlie Beach

I was awake prior to five. The weather forecast yesterday was for mostly fine today, but I had managed the laundry yesterday in any case.

I went for a four kilometre walk past the Boathouse Apartment at the Port of Airlie Marina, and around the lagoon, before it got too warm. Turned around at the western end of Airlie Beach main street, as the sun was rising above the hills to the east. I was able to stay mostly out of the sun by walking back along the main street, in the shade of the (mostly closed) shops. Picked up another bag of rubbish in the grounds of the Whitsunday Terraces as I walked up the twelve flights of stairs. For reasons unclear to me, the Florin Terraces rubbish bin was not out as yet, despite the other Terraces having rubbish out. So I put the garbage out, just like I did on Saturday. Two different people. Are Rusty and Ron collaborating on missing the Florin bin just to annoy me?

Caught up with the hair dresser when she opened at 8:30 a.m. Since Jean was not around to protest, I had my hair cut short.

Caught up with Greg at the office. Shorter hours are likely, as a sensible approach to cost control. I am promised some photos from within some of the rooms.

Tony and the tree cutting crew were on hand, doing the council land clean up. A heap of trees above Florin Terrace were removed and mulched by the crew. A very noisy process.

Internet Connection Broken

The internet connection was down, so I can not really do any more ripping of audio CDs for the moment, as there is no connection to Gracenote for metadata. The connection came back around 7:30 a.m. It lasted until about 11:30 a.m. and then dropped again. Internet came back at 4 p.m. but had dropped out again by 5 p.m. It came back around 6 p.m. but was gone again by 7:30 p.m. Back again at 8 p.m. Dead again at 8:30 p.m. Internet back again at 8:50 p.m.

Anyone who thinks cloud computing is any use obviously does not live in a regional Australian area.

Plus the Apple keyboard has once again lost the Command left arrow and Command right arrow key functions. Either the arrow keys, or the Command key, work fine in isolation. Indeed, the Command up and down arrow keys work fine. This seems to be a bug in Lion. I rebooted (shades of old versions of Windows) to fix it.

Dick Smith TV Set

Dick Smith offered their own brand 42 inch TV set today at $369, with free delivery. I have one, It chews too much power, the 8 watt audio is crap, and it can not handle the forthcoming MPEG4/H.264 TV channels, but other than that it is perfectly reasonable. It is not like there is anything useful available on TV, so it would only be used for the odd movie from DVD, and showing photos from a computer via Apple TV.

I took the big TV stand from here to Jean's place, but have not set it up in the lounge for her yet. Have to empty my bookcases and remove them to make room. I have been considering such a cheap TV set for Jean's lounge, but really need to ask her about it. So I did not bother to buy.

If the price was so good, why didn't I bother to buy? Because I think TV sets will get even cheaper, especially with online retail competition from Kogan. I also think the Australian dollar will be pushed even higher by currency speculators. I can imagine the Aussie dollar buying US$1.20 within a few months, before being dumped.

The other reason is that Woolworths are trying to dump Dick Smith, as they make very little profit. They will certainly close 100 stores. I can not imagine anyone being willing to buy the remaining Dick Smith stores, so there is a possibility Woolworths may decide they can use the money invested better elsewhere, and close up. Not much value in a warranty then. This is not a big deal, as you only get a one year warranty anyhow.

Ripping CDs

I had continued ripping the audio CDs of classical music into Apple Lossless all day. The CDs were mostly not in the crystal cases, because I could not spare the space for that. Plus I threw out the old CD sleeves. The plastic of the old sleeves had not coped well with even the indirect light in the tropics. They were basically in flakes of crumbling plastic, some of which stuck to the CDs. Not good for thrusting into an optical drive.

I put all the CDs (and their paper covers) into new sleeves, in big but reasonable looking plastic CD boxes I bought from BigW. I can get around 120 CDs into each box. I will probably hide the boxes on shelves well out of the way. Although the boxes look reasonable, they certainly do not look good enough to actually display.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Internet Connection Fails

I was delighted to find the internet connection was still working at 5:15 a.m. So I sat down to use it while it worked. Alas, internet access stopped again before six, and did not come back by seven. So I bought a (dead tree) newspaper instead.

The internet started working again (I guess Jim re-booted his NetComm NB5 ADSL modem). It was dead again later in the morning, although by then I had read a stack of news.

The internet was back around 2 p.m. so I started with online lookups again. Reliability would sure help. Given how many people in this area report lousy connections, I am loath to actually sign up for a yearly ADSL contract.

Whitsunday Terraces Garbage

I saw Rusty put out the garbage bin for Florin Terrace at 5:07 a.m. I guess I can blame Rusty rather than Ron for the rubbish not going out on Monday morning (I thought garbage was a bit early for something Ron might be asked to do). Not putting it out then must be deliberate on Rusty's part, so I will ask him why? I sort of doubt it is really just to annoy me.

I collected a bag full of rubbish when I walked back up the stairs. Saw Rusty at Cutlass Terrace, so I put the bins in at Driftwood, Endeavour and Florin Terraces on my way back home.

Airlie Beach

I walked down the stairs to the newsagency at seven. Lucky I did not go early. One staff member had just returned from the home deliveries of the newspapers. They were still getting the tables out from inside, so I helped them with the outside stuff before collecting The Australian.

There is a big cruise ship out in Pioneer Bay. However I doubt they will enjoy the weather. Sweat is dripping from me, due to the excessive humidity. It is well before eight, and the temperature has hit 300C already. I am contemplating closing up and putting on the air conditioning. However I thought I might attend the shopping centre first. Checking for the Centrelink location soon put me off that idea.

So I put the air conditioners on instead. Both main rooms. To hell with saving on power bills.

I pulled apart the tall but narrow stand near the door. The 2.1 metre high wood will be perfect for uprights for replacement bookcases for the ever increasing number of autographed novels. I should be able to fit the wood in Jean's car, if I can partly fold down the front seat, and run the wood diagonally across the whole car. Now, if only I could figure where to find the wood for slightly longer shelves. There must be something that can be recycled.

Avoiding Government

I must admit the thought of fighting with the Cannonvale Post Office to get some international stamps to send an urgent airmail letter to FAPA did not attract me. Interestingly, I looked on Google Maps for the Post Office, as a check on accurancy. Google Maps (incorrectly) show a Post Office in Airlie Beach, however it moved long ago, and then closed (twice). Google Maps show the Cannonvale Post Office on the wrong side of the wrong street, about a half kilometre from where it really is. Not a good start.

The other nearby place was the government's Centrelink (no, I have no idea why Government departments get trendy names). If I can find it. Google Maps can not find Centrelink in the Whitsundays at all. Not the one at Cannonvale, nor the one at Proserpine. Not a good start. The government web site says 224 Shute Harbour Road, Whitsundays is the address. However their map of un-named streets is near useless, even at full zoom. That indicator must be somewhere in the Whitsunday Shopping Centre. However the shopping centre signage and painted map do not show it. I checked the signs last week when I first went looking for Centrelink. Nor do I recall seeing Centrelink there (not since it moved from near the former sports store long ago). According to this map showing Centrelink at Whitsunday Shopping Centre, it is still where it used to be. Got me beat.

I am told I want to ask about a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. During a brief moment when the internet was working, I read the application form. I hate the intrusive thing. The only reason I can see to ask for a Health Card is to get a discount on the Darwin to Adelaide Ghan via Great Southern Rail. If I can't get a discount, then I just won't take that train trip. I hear Great Southern Rail are dropping the number of trips becuse they do not have sufficient passengers. Problem solved. No reason to see Centrelink. So no visit to the Whitsunday Shopping Centre in the heat for me today.

Decline in Europe

I am glad Australia's European trade is only about 4%. The decline in Europe accelerates, thanks mostly to deficits by spendthrift governments. I take as a proxy for this decline, the lower sales of personal computers, which Gartner claim went down 16% year on year. The PIIGS were worst, with a 30% decline. Apple, as usual, had a sales increase of at least 15%, not including iPad tablets.

Wednesday 8 February 2012


No internet first thing in the morning, which is not unusual. Still no internet access when I returned from breakfast and my walk at 7:40 a.m. Lucky I bought a (dead tree) newspaper. The internet was operating when I next checked at 8:40 a.m.

Airlie Beach

I was glad to find the predicted overnight thunderstorms were not nearly as bad here at Airlie Beach as the weather forecasters and evening news had predicted. I guess I can manage another walk, if I put a sticking plaster on my damaged toes.

Forgot the sticking plaster, but managed a four kilometre walk without apparent damage to my foot. The newsagency was not coping all that well with new delivery staff, and at seven had still not started delivering newspapers when I collected my one.

I saw Rusty and asked about the Florin rubbish bins not going out. Nothing in them was the answer. I think that is right. Rusty tends to go through around five (or whenever it starts getting light), and they are empty then. Lots of people in Florin leave for work before seven, just before the garbage truck arrives. The bin is usually half full when I check between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. Grump! How do you solve that one?

Finally put the broken power board back together, after fixing the extra long lead with an earth leakage detector. I really do not want to risk using power tools outside without earth leakage protection, since rain happens without notice, and humidity means your hand may be covered in moisture at any time. One major problem with power boards is the new models are too flimsy to trust. Only the old ones are well constructed, but pieces of them break and need to be repaired. How do you solve that one?

Worked on getting the DC and video wiring in place for the security cameras. The wiring will be a real pain. I have two of the four locations worked out so far. Too much of a drop to the ground over one of the other spots.

Internet Speed

At 10:07 p.m. my internet Test Results from Oz Broadband Speed Test using Optus mirror. Your line speed is 3.38 Mbps (3384 kbps). Your download speed is 423 KB/s (0.41 MB/s).

This is faster than anything I can get in Townsville, despite being a shared line transmitted via an old, slow Apple Airport Express WiFi connection. Nothing helps speed like being two blocks from the exchange. The problem is a lack of reliability.

Thursday 9 February 2012

Internet Operation

I was delighted to note that the internet was still operating at 5:30 a.m. So I ran another speed test.

I had even better test results from Oz Broadband Speed Test at 5:34 a.m. from the same Optus mirror. Your line speed is 5.4 Mbps (5396 kbps). Your download speed is 674 KB/s (0.66 MB/s).

Speed declined later in the day, as congestion increased. Test Results from Oz Broadband Speed Test at 9:34 AM from the Optus mirror. Your line speed is 2.44 Mbps (2442 kbps). Your download speed is 305 KB/s (0.3 MB/s).

Whitsunday Terraces

I was awake at three, and not sleeping well from then on. At 5:30 a.m. I did battle with an Asian kitchen gecko that had managed to sneak inside despite my every effort. Crawly Cruncher was my sword.

We were scheduled to have rain, but the sky was clear, so I did laundry while I had the chance. Alas, I did not take a walk, except up and down the steps a few times for rubbish (bins were missed out again), and a few more times to start loading Jean's car with recycling rubbish for the return to Townsville.

Jim dropped over in the evening. I can see I will have to update the stocks of gin and tonic. I was able to show him how to get a list of possible spellings in the Apple dictionary pop-up (Function F5 shows potential spelling, if you can get the start right). He in turn warned me that I probably had a C section steel beam above the main full height doors and windows. I have an increasingly bad feeling about how easy it will be to mount the video surveillance cameras. More accurately, how to run the cables. I fear a super long concrete drill bit may be in my future.


I also continued on to ripping the last few audio CDs. The score looks like 220 classical music CDs, occupying 60GB in Apple Lossless. Plus about 90 CDs with singing, occupying about 20GB. Unfortunately, it seems copying these 80GB of files to backup on the iMac G5 will take about three hours. Next I tried the full drive, 1.45TB. It says that will take 39 hours. This is not a good figure.

I started a different media backup using my MacBook Pro at 10:15 a.m. The 1.45TB (WD to LaCie-Hitachi) should take about 11 hours. We shall see. It failed on one file. I have had to split the copy into multiple folders. However it was complete at around 8 p.m. So the MacBook Pro file transfer is at least three times as quick as the iMac G5. It seems strange that a USB file transfer appears to be compute bound. USB simply isn't all that quick (although I admit it is a poorly designed method of handling file transfers).

Reality TV

Why does a TV need a tuner? It is not like a TV station will ever show anything worth viewing.

So I connected up the old VCR/DVD player, to replace the likely faulty Laser HD007 DVD player I have already returned to BigW three times. The old DVD player can not always handle phase transitions, and certainly does not manage anything outside Zone 4. However unlike the newer player (which only had composite video), it does have component video outputs.

I may have spoken too soon about the old Philips VCR/DVD player. It seems totally unable to play (stutters too much to view) transition parts of some DVDs. These are mostly DVDs with heavy copy protection.

Meanwhile Apple TV operates without having an internet connection, at least for your own DRM free movies. I gather Apple TV would be useless for DRM infested rented movies without an internet connection. However video to the TV from my iPad fails after a period (say a half hour). You essentially have to resych the streaming of a movie. this seems related to screen blanking of the iPad, and seems to be a bug. I was testing with 2001. As I have commented previously, AirPlay from an iPad to Apple TV does not appear ready for prime time.

I checked the old iMac G5. The 1.45TB USB to USB transfer continues. It started 11 a.m. yesterday, and still has 21 hours to go.

Telstra Results

I see Telstra added 958,000 mobile services in just 6 months. Sol was a pain in the arse, but jumping on HSPA and extended geographic reach was the right thing to do for Telstra. This is also the last time the revenue from fixed line will exceed the revenue from mobile. $4,534m from fixed line products, down 6%. Mobiles were $4,393m, up 11%. 80% of Telstra’s new broadband customers were to its wireless networks, who now number 2.746m mobile broadband users. This compares to just 2.519m retail fixed broadband customers. You should note many other ISPs are using Telstra lines for fixed broadband connections. Another 136,000 customers abandoned the PSTN last half year. PSTN revenues fell 9%.

The only calls I ever get on a landline are charity collectors and wrong numbers (I am on the Do Not Call register).

Friday 10 February 2012

Internet Weird

I see the internet is acting weird at 5 a.m. I can do a numeric ping, so I do have an internet connection. However I could not get to Google's web page (using that name simply because a search is a good starting point). A traceroute to one of Google's Domain Name Servers gets through in nine steps. A short while after that, access via a web browser restarts. This seems to me to indicate Jim's ISP (Voice2net) domain name servers are not doing their job. Or as an alternative, that I am not being allocated an IP number. At 5 a.m. it is unlikely to be congestion.

I wrote too soon. No access on the web to an arbitrary domain name. Since I had an open instance of Google, I clicked their link. That opened Ozspeedtest instantly. However things were not downloading from them. The numeric traceroute was taking several minutes to complete. A connection to Whirlpool took several minutes to open. A connection to ADSL Exchanges took several minutes to even produce a partial page. The score so far is 3 web pages partially opened in 20 minutes.

In essence, my internet connection is way too slow to actually use at all. This is not a problem with the copper link as far as the exchange. This is a problem with the ISP infrastructure.

I ran an Oz Broadband Speed Test 6:57 AM from the Optus mirror. Your line speed is 2.71 Mbps (2711 kbps). Your download speed is 339 KB/s (0.33 MB/s). This was after the internet had stopped stuffing up.

Looks like the Internet is stuffed up again as at midday. No idea why. Pings all fail. However the problem is not in the equipment here, it is somewhere outside. The internet started working again around 2 p.m. but failed again within an hour. It stayed failed all afternoon.

The evening Oz Broadband Speed Test at 9:13 p.m. Your line speed is 4.81 Mbps (4806 kbps). Your download speed is 601 KB/s (0.59 MB/s). Not bad at all.

Airlie Beach

I had an iMessage from Jean at 7:30 a.m. saying she was back in New Zealand after a wonderful Antarctic trip. We exchanged a fair few messages, and I know when her flight will arrive on Sunday.

How many trips down the stairs will it take me to load her car with heaps from here? I have reached seven trips so far.

Google on Shit List

Google have finally managed to join Sony (rootkit on DVDs) and Facebook (privacy breaches) on my list of companies I do not deal with due to their evil nature. It didn't help any that Google Maps are unable to locate Centrelink offices in regional Australia like the Whitsundays, and have post offices (including some long closed) at the wrong locations.

Google are in the process of purchasing Motorola (for their patents). Google have stated they will continue legal action regarding the use of essential FRAND patents for GSM and similar mobile phone chipsets.

Alternative search engines I like include DuckDuckGo (which does not track you) and Blekko which does not include spam, and Ansearch Australia only search engine. Other possibilities are metasearch Dogpile, Microsoft's Bing, private search via metasearch ixquick. There are many more search engines.

Printer Fails

I needed to print something for an apa. Not that I had any printing paper here at Airlie Beach. OK, I found I had bought some paper at BigW. Now to see if the old Brother DCP-150C ink jet multifunction printer I found in a closet still actually works. It is giving low ink cartridge warnings for one cartridge. I am pretty sure I never used it for anything except as a low quality scanner, and that was probably three years ago. The multi-function printer was one of those gadgets that was given away free as part of some bundle.

I have a bad feeling about this. No drivers on my MacBook Air computer. And the internet connection has failed yet again. Just what I need. Looks like another computer might have an old driver, so I guess I will try printing from that computer. The Brother drivers thought I had some ink in the cartridges, although all three colour now show as low. I told it to print in black only, since that showed as half full. Half an hour later I had a bunch of blank paper, and had cleared several paper jams. What I did not have was any sign of the printer actually working as a printer (actually one grey heading printed). The printer would work as a scanner, although not a particularly good scanner.

I found that the Brother printer driver included a Unix Printing System test page. That printed, in very faded black and colour. However the critical point was that every part of the printer worked, for low values of worked. I think something might be totally stuffed in the entire printing software system.

I am not sure why I bother to accept these useless free printers. The manufacturers just want to sell you ink. I strongly suspect that I will be throwing about three old and new printers in the dumpster in the next few days, and telling anyone wanting printing from me that they can go to hell!

Different Printer Works

There is another printer here, a HP Photosmart Premium C310a, also part of a bundle. No drivers naturally, and with the Internet out of action, I can not download any. It is reputed to work directly with an iPad, but I doubt that will work. The Internet came back for long enough for me to try to find a printer driver, but failed again before I could find the driver. I am so sick and tired of these arsehole printers and their damn drivers.

The Internet came up again. Now I am just hoping the idiotically large HP printer download for Lion will complete before I lose the connection again. 40MB downloaded. Five times that to go. 61MB. Keep going. 100MB, half way there. I am sick and tired of this shit. Ten minutes and 140MB. It got there. Only 20 minutes for less than 200MB.

The install of the printer drivers worked. The only real gotcha is that the internet enabled WiFi printer can not manage to complete its connection to the Apple without having a USB cable connecting them. D'oh!

Also, you can not complete all aspects of the printer software install without having an internet connection, which by then I lacked. However this got my eight pages printed. Now I just have to find a copy shop to make 36 copies for FAPA.

Saturday 11 February 2012

Leaving Airlie Beach

I was up at 3:15 a.m. Showered and Jean's car packed. On the road again. I took the Bowen turnoff at four. Insufficient fuel to be sure of reaching Townsville meant I had to stop at the turnoff to Collinsville, outside Bowen, to fill the fuel tank. There are not a lot of petrol stations open, and that one is a Coles Express, so I could use my 8 cent off coupon. None of the other fuel stops I passed were even open at the hour I went through.

Collected the accumulated mail, and started unpacking the car at 7:30 a.m. The weather looked good, so I started a load of laundry. Off to Woolworth, the newsagent, and then Coles at eight. Shopping went better than expected, although as usual I missed some items. Unloaded the frozen stuff from the cooler into the fridge and freezer. Off to the egg shop at nine. Laundry out on the line to dry as soon as I returned.

Carlyle Gardens

It was stinking hot. Well, perhaps more humid. I put the air conditioning on at ten. About that time I must have run out of energy, because apart from sorting mail and reading some it of, I got little done. Geri had stopped while I was unpacking to ask about extracting a photo for her. I said I could probably manage it.

Geri dropped over late afternoon. I did manage to extract and convert the photo, without difficulty. Gave some advice on backing up family material held on computers. Basically I do not trust USB Flash sticks for archives. I could not demonstrate the content of some unknown .avi (formerly Video for Windows) files on a USB Flash stick, as Apple's QuickTime does not handle them without plugins (which QuickTimeX will pass to QuickTime7, if that has Perian plugins). I am a little surprised VLC did not pop up and volunteer to handle them. It was nice to take a little break and have a chat.

Got the first iMessages of the day from Jean around this time. There were issues, as we had both changed locations. However we seemed to have links going both ways by late afternoon. Not sure why the iPad is not displaying messages (except for one).

Connected the lightweight Dick Smith 105cm TV set I had brought with me. Did not get far, as the remote had disappeared. Insufficient onboard controls to run it without a remote. I remember picking up the remote and the manual to pack them in one of the boxes. I hope it is still at Airlie Beach, and not lost during the packing and moving. The TV would be useless without the remote. Deeply unimpressed.

Internet Speed

In Townsville I have a generally reliable internet connections, but it is very slow. Test Results from Oz Broadband Speed Test at 9:59 PM. Your line speed is 241 kbps (0.24 Mbps). Your download speed is 30 KB/s (0.03 MB/s). Well, at least that is four times what a dial up connection would have provided. Must try again early in the morning when few people are awake.

Sunday 12 February 2012

Internet Speed

No better speed in the morning . Test Results from Oz Broadband Speed Test at 6:13 a.m. Your line speed is 232 kbps (0.23 Mbps). Your download speed is 29 KB/s (0.03 MB/s).

Test Results from Oz Broadband Speed Test at 1:20 p.m. Your line speed is 227 kbps (0.23 Mbps). Your download speed is 28 KB/s (0.03 MB/s).

Test Results from Oz Broadband Speed Test at 7:32 p.m. Your line speed is 93 kbps (0.09 Mbps). Your download speed is 12 KB/s (0.01 MB/s). ADSL in regional areas is a heap of shit!

FRAND Patent Fight

I see Apple files complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief against Motorola. This means Apple asked the court to prevent Motorola suing Apple for the use of declared FRAND patents incorporated in chips purchased and used by Apple. Motorola have been sending legal letters to chip manufacturers with FRAND agreements, specifically revoking their licence to pass along FRAND based chip licences to Apple, and Apple alone. You can find a court copy of the Apple complaint against Motorola regarding FRAND patents. It sets out clearly the basis for the request, and covers the history of FRAND patents.

Motorola used to do some great stuff. Now they appear to be mere patent trolls. How wonderful for Google's purchase of them.

Jean Returns from Antarctic

I was up late, and had two messages already from Jean. She was on the way to Sydney airport. I did laundry, since it was reasonably clear this morning. Jean iMessaged from Brisbane airport, and when she boarded her plane on time.

Jean iMessaged her plane had landed just as I was walking in the front entrance of the Townsville airport at 10:50 a.m. I had left her car in short term parking. We were on our way with her large bags by 11:15. Not much traffic, unlike when I was leaving Carlyle Gardens at 10:15 a.m. I had allowed extra time so I could collect tablets at the discount chemist on the way to the airport.

Printing Problems HP B109n

I did not have much luck with the old HP Photosmart B109n printer. The internal test prints all work fine. So we know it works as a printer.

However when I attempt to locate it via Bonjour, the printer does not exist. The manual has disappeared. If there was any CD with it, that has disappeared (not that my Apple has a CD drive). I downloaded a manual from HP, after a search. It listed how to connect to a network. That has a single sentence relating to the Mac that makes little sense and does not work.

About the only useful thing I can do is connect via USB, which given where the printer is and the drives attached to my computer, is little more use. Too much stuff to disconnect first. At least then software support appears in my Print and Scan preferences, since it ca be automatically included with Lion. However this does not help me connect wirelessly.

Rating for HP N109n. Not a functional wireless printer. Close to useless. I believe it may have worked (to some extent) with earlier versions of OS X.

Printing Problems Canon LBP5050N

So I tried the Canon LBP5050N colour laser printer. The Mac detects it via USB. However there are no drivers for it, so it can not be used. It seems that, despite encouraging words on the box, it does not really support Macintosh OS X.

After a long search (most links were dead) I found would provide links to an Asian source for Mac_CAPT_V340_uk_EN.dmg. Alas, three attempts to download it over 30 minutes got stuck. Never got beyond 7.5MB. I killed all except the largest download. By 45 minutes, I had reached 18MB. At 50 minutes I had reached 22.5MB. One hour reached 26.3MB. It took over 80 minutes before I had all 37MB of CUPS driver downloaded.

The printer support install was an old fashioned horror. Why in the hell do you need to close applications on a multi-tasking system to provide printer support? Canon's install system was antique.

My attempt to connect to the printer via the network from an Airport Extreme failed totally. Everything thinks it is installed. You do the install from Airport Utility 5.6, from the Base Station Edit menu on the menu bar. However it simply does not print.

Monday 13 February 2012

Internet Speed

Internet speed sucks this morning. Test Results from Oz Broadband Speed Test at 7 a.m. Your line speed is 125 kbps (0.13 Mbps). Your download speed is 16 KB/s (0.02 MB/s). This is about twice what a dial up line manages.

Test Results at 5:38 p.m. from Oz Broadband Speed Test Your line speed is 31 kbps (0.13 Mbps). Your download speed is 16 KB/s (0.02 MB/s). This sucks also.

Carlyle Gardens

Yet another laundry, this time of Jean's travel gear. We left late, and thus had time to hang the laundry out to dry.

Jean dropped me at the copy shop. The first eight of my FAPA mailings came out single sided, rather than double sided. The young attendant seemed surprised at anyone mentally calculating how many sheets of paper were printed, and what it cost. It goes with being obsessive. I was able to put FAPA into the mail at the Post Office at Willows, so I hope everything arrives in good time.

At BigW I found a black ink cartridge for the failed Brother DCP-150C printer. However I also saw they had a 42 inch AWA (their own brand) TV set for $398. I caught up with Jean, and told her of my plan to get a new TV. I had brought the 32 inch TV from Airlie Beach, but the remote had disappeared. So the 32 inch TV would not work. Buying a new TV provides a working remote. Bit of a problem at the checkout, as the pricing was inconsistent. They honoured their sticker price (maybe it was left over from a weekend sale).

Late afternoon, installed and tested the new 42 inch TV set in Jean's lounge. Connected the BigW DVD player as well. That worked just fine. It seems Jean's Wii Fit needs the same composite video and left right RCA audio connections as the DVD player. I will probably look at getting a more capable replacement DVD player sometime. Maybe even a BluRay, since that will have HDMI output. We also have some rearranging of furniture to do, sometime, since there are five bookcases in the same area. Books were next on my list for rationalising.

Brother Printer Doesn't

I tested the Brother DCP-150C printer with the expensive new black ink cartridge. The problem was not the ink cartridge. The printer still can not print in black, even from its own self test. The ink actually travels through a tube to the print head, so I imagine either that tube or the print head is beyond repair. That adds yet another printer to the bunch to be thrown out. Keeping it for the scan facility is not worthwhile.

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Internet Speed

I checked the speed of the ADSL connection this morning at around 6:15 a.m. Test Results from Oz Broadband Speed Test. Your line speed is 229 kbps (0.23 Mbps). Your download speed is 29 KB/s (0.03 MB/s).

Test Results from Oz Broadband Speed Test at 10 a.m. Your line speed is 421 kbps (0.42 Mbps). Your download speed is 53 KB/s (0.05 MB/s). Not as stuffed up as earlier in the morning. This is an anomalous result. Traffic congestion should be higher later in the day.

Test Results from Oz Broadband Speed Test at 3:07 p.m. Your line speed is 1224 kbps (1.22 Mbps). Your download speed is 153 KB/s (0.15 MB/s). This is also an anomalous result. Traffic congestion should be higher later in the day. This result is faster than I have seen in many days, by a factor of three or four.

Test Results from Oz Broadband Speed Test at 7:13 p.m. Your line speed is 1052 kbps (1.05 Mbps). Your download speed is 131 KB/s (0.13 MB/s). Still faster than for days.

Test Results from Oz Broadband Speed Test at 9:15 p.m. Your line speed is 1363 kbps (1.36 Mbps). Your download speed is 170 KB/s (0.17 MB/s). Even faster than for days.

Apple TV

I attempted to install an Apple TV in Jean's lounge room. It prompts you (in voice even, so the TV HDMI is working perfectly) to select your language, and connect to your router. Entering the password via the remote is tedious. Then the Apple TV gets stuck at "Activating …" setting date and time. I intend to leave it running for several hours, in case the problem is the absurdly slow internet connection.

So far installing every Apple TV I have tried has been a total pain in the arse. There is always something wrong. I need something that does not rely upon an internet connection. I finally managed to get the Apple TV to install by switching my entire ADSL Firewall off. This is not an acceptable method in these days of rogue internet attacks.

I had a lot of trouble with the Belkin ADSL router while attempting to get better control of the Firewall. I basically need a lot more capable ADSL modem, in terms of routing control and especially Firewall rules. The Belkin one is mostly on or off. I want to be able to block specific domain names or IP addresses, especially of advertisers. It is the only way to reliably block most of these creeps.

The reason I wanted the Apple TV AirPlay facilities operating is that I anticipate us having multiple devices capable of full AirPlay operation in the next few months. Obviously the existing Apple iPad 2, but also via software changes in our Macintosh computers.

Carlyle Gardens

I had lunch with Ray, Dot and Jeff at the restaurant. I told Jean of the menu for the Valentine's evening meal. Not that I expected either of us would attend.

I started moving books in an attempt to clear out more books from the bookcases in Jean's lounge room. I cleared some more of my books that had been stored in the bedroom, thus increasing the space Jean had available there. Just some hardcovers to go now.

Retina Display

I thought my iPhone 3g display looked pretty reasonable, until I bought an iPhone 4, with a 960 by 640 pixel count in a small screen. The high pixel count retina display in the iPhone 4 made all the other phone displays look like a piece of shit (POS). It also prompted an arms race in display quality, so most smart phones now have high pixel counts.

I thought my iPad, and my subsequent iPad 2, also had a good display. 1024 x 768 pixels is not bad, 132 pixels per inch, on a 9.7 inch (diagonal) display. However every now and then I compared it to my iPhone 4, and ended up dissatisfied. If an iPad 3 is released with a 2048 by 1536 Retina display (264 ppi), I am sure I will be unhappy with the lower resolution of the original iPad and iPad 2.

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Internet Speed

Test Results from Oz Broadband Speed Test at 5:44 a.m. Your line speed is 1372 kbps (1.37 Mbps). Your download speed is 171 KB/s (0.17 MB/s). Speed is again good this morning.

I was able to download the OS X 10.7.3 operating system uploads, each over a gigabyte, while we were away.

Test Results from Oz Broadband Speed Test at 11:40 a.m. Your line speed is 1321 kbps (1.32 Mbps). Your download speed is 165 KB/s (0.16 MB/s). Speed continues good. This is very encouraging.

Carlyle Gardens

I went to Willows with Jean, and we managed four times around the walking course. JB HiFi did not have any composite video switches. BigW had a small All in One remote that might switch off TVs. Must check further. Nope, it needs to know which set you wish to switch off. Pity.

The restaurant had rack of lamb, left over from the supplies they got in for the Valentine's Evening dinner. I love an excuse to have rack of lamb. Came with a half dozen chops too.

Google Bypasses Privacy

Google and other advertisers have been bypassing security settings in Safari on computers and iPhones by setting cookies using iframe to trick WebKit into deciding the computer user is deliberately interacting with the advertising site. WebKit used to allow this. This sort of shit is why I want to block everything from DoubleClick (and other advertisers) at the router firewall level. It is not enough to use a etc/hosts file to block advertisers, as this level of action is not available without jailbreaking an iPhone.

Thursday 16 February 2012

Car Service

Jean went off with her car to get it serviced. She got dropped off about an hour later. I cleaned off the porches, and vacuumed a few places with the vacuum cleaner we had unexpectedly found in the garage. we had only been looking for it for about two years. Timing was good. The other cleaner just broke.

Carlyle Gardens

Jean walked over to the restaurant with me, where we were able to get a rack of lamb each. Only three chops this time, but larger ones. No wine for her, since she would eventually have to collect her car.

I could not face the prospect of going over to the restaurant in the evening to attend the wine tasting. I basically do not want to attend any social events at all. I have pretty much given up on wine also, except for a glass with lunch when I am at the restaurant.

Friday 17 February 2012

Carlyle Gardens

I moved some of the river pebbles into plastic boxes, in a futile attempt to clear a space next to the garden wall. Three boxes full so far this morning.

Splurged on all sorts of two for the price of one items at Coles and Woolworths when we went to Willows for our walk. Seems to have completed the shopping list.

Another rack of lamb at the restaurant for lunch, where Ray, Dot and John attended. Dave gave me samples of the wines from the wine tasting. The cab merlot wasn't bad. They are thinking of making it one of their regular stock.

I could not face the prospect of the social club evening, so I did not attend. I simply do not want to see anyone. I think I should resign from it. I only joined because Geoff and Margaret asked me to make up the numbers. Instead I moved some more river gravel. Alas, I soon ran out of boxes for shovelling gravel into. Must find a few more boxes soon.

Could not face the prospect of eating dinner either. The effort of throwing out material seems to have slowed also. There is another printer I need to test and probably discard.

OS X Mountain Lion

Apple released some details of OS X Mountain Lion 10.8, and developers can download a preview. Seems Apple may now be aiming at yearly updates, much like iOS. This should put pressure on slow developers. More iOS like apps, especially Notifications (replacing open source Growl), Calendar (replacing iCal), Contacts (replacing Address Book), Messages (replacing iChat and FaceTime), Reminders (replacing ToDo in iCal), Notes (replacing Stickies). Even the About This Mac says OS X and not Mac OS X (the paranoid may now say soon it will iOSX).

AirPlay has been added to the developer's version, so I got the TV sets and Apple TV running in plenty of time.

Syncing via iCloud between iOS devices and Mac apps as a general system service, backed with local storage.

Google Caught in Cookie Jar

I see that the Wall Street Journal reports on Google Being Caught in Safari Cookie Jar. This iframe trick to bypass cookie blocking has been a fairly open secret for some time. WebKit developers discussed it in Bug 35824 - Relax 3rd party cookie policy in certain cases. There are no easy solutions that do not break some legitimate web pages.

That is one reason I have always wanted to remove iframe (despite some legitimate uses) from HTML processing. There is a bug fix report (ironically provided by two Google engineers about seven months ago) in the WebKit repository.

You should also remember that Rupert Murdoch owns WSJ, and hates Google (as do I). None of this reporting is motive free.

The best solution, in my view, is to have a sufficiently robust and configurable router firewall that you can block every advertiser domain name and IP address before they get anywhere near consumer devices. This will have performance implication. Browsing will be slower. Long term, some web sites will fold due to lack of advertising revenue.

Saturday 18 February 2012


I dropped the aluminium cans in the recycling bin when we went off to Willows via the hardware store. We walked around Willows about three times, and I collected the newspapers. We did not buy anything else, since the stores did not stock what we wanted.

We both moved books all over the place. My science fiction has mostly moved to the front of the house. Jean's science fiction has mostly moved to the rear. Unfortunately, very little in the way of books have actually moved out of the house.

More river pebbles moved into one of the additional plastic boxes I cleaned out. You can almost get at the garden wall now. If I can find another few plastic boxes, I believe I might get the wall cleared. It was too hot outside to do much work.

Retail Fail

I simply can not find a stainless steel drying rack for clothes anywhere. I even checked the local hardware store. Decided to use an old fashioned length of rope for hanging up clothes to dry. You retailers just lost another sale. I am not going to buy what you want to stock. I am going to buy what I need, and if you do not stock it, then I will not buy anything. Get with the program!

Library Funding Cut

In California last year, library funding by the state was cut to zero for the second half of the year. This cut was triggered by a shortage of expected budget revenue. Even Rick Perry in Texas only cut state library funding by 88%.

Sunday 19 February 2012

Newsagent Retail Fail

I tried to collect the Sunday newspaper at the Willows newsagency. There were a couple of queues for the two people serving. As is traditional, some people just buying a newspaper, and who had the correct change, put their money on the counter or gave the money to one of the people serving and walked out.

Some woman came to the counter, ignoring the queues, and the attendant asked Just the paper? However the woman then fumbled in her purse and also produced some sort of lottery ticket to check. I am sick and tired of these entitled arseholes jumping queues. I left the line, put my newspaper back on the pile. With only a little luck, this is the last time I enter that newsagency. There go the newspaper sales, and any magazines I might have bought. Retail fail.

If you do not have the staff to always cover any queue (and that can almost be taken as a given), then fix the queue. A little re-arranging of goods for sale would have forced a single queue situation, distributed to the two staff behind the counter. Then customers could police the queue jumpers.


I cleared some rubbish out of the garage, but it was mostly to make space for more rubbish. I had returned the steam mop and the Karcher water pressure cleaner, plus Jean had found the original vacuum cleaner I had insisted was not at my place. Need space for them all in the garage.

We went to Willows for Jean's walk. She was having a struggle with her walking, but got around three and bit times. I got to watch Insiders and Inside Business when we returned. Jean made bacon and eggs for lunch, which was a real treat for me. My weekly morning weigh in had me down to 72.4kg, so I figured I could probably indulge.

Unemployment in Australia

Is the government statistician correct that unemployment in Australia fell to 5.1% in January? Of course their figures are right, in the sense that they are consistent with previous measurements, and use the same methodology, and are seasonally adjusted the same way. However, like many other countries, the ABS definition of unemployed applies only to those in paid work less than a hour a week. The ABS looks at the numbers seeking work, as it has done for decades, and as is done internationally at least in the OECD. This allows international comparisons. However unemployment is a lagging indicator, and seasonally adjusted figures are not as much use as trend figures.

The trouble is, the figures feel like a fraud. What you need to pay attention to is the percentage of the workforce in full time employment (commonly at least 35 hours a week), vs the percentage in part time employment (around 30%). In part time, you need to look at average hours worked (around 17 hours), and how many want to work longer hours (about a fifth). In general, people who want more hours of work tend to find more work, over time, with the big question being how long it takes. You also need to look at the participation rate in the workforce. Did so many become discouraged by having only a few hours of work a week (minimum award work hours are typically three), that they dropped out of the workforce entirely?

Luckily the ABS also tends to report on underemployment, which is the thing to keep an eye on. What I think is that in following months, we will find underemployment has greatly increased. I suspect businesses who have managed to retain staff will now start finding they finally have to let some of them go. So I believe there will be an increase in unemployment also in the next six months.

Monday 20 February 2012


I was awake around three. Not a good start to the day. Used the computer until it was times to start the day. Ate too much raisin toast. Walked and shopped at Willows with Jean. Never did get enough in any one store for a fuel discount coupon. Jean decided eating out for lunch was not going to work for her.

We have our own person bush curlew in the garden out the back. All went well until an errant wallaby nearly bowled the curlew over when the wallaby was startled by us being on the back porch. The curlew did not seem worried by us.

Book of the Week

Charles Stross The Trade of Queens, sixth and last in his Merchant Princes series. Ends with a bang.

Tuesday 21 February 2012


I am expecting some deliveries sometime. Jean suggested that one of us stay here to accept things from the postal service, especially as some items never arrived. Since this discussion was prior to Willows opening, we did laundry before breakfast. We put the laundry out. Fang, the bush curlew in the back garden, ignored us as usual.

Dave from the restaurant phoned. Bad connection, but it was a computer issue he hoped I could fix. When I went to the restaurant for lunch, I was able to fix the install. More by luck than knowing how to work Windows (which I never use). I just cut and pasted some registration details, because I did not trust myself to successfully type such a long string. So maybe a typo was the original problem.

Movie Metadata

I started looking at putting cover art on my ripped DVD movies. However cover art is just one element of metadata. MP4 (H.264) movie files can contain their own internal metadata, and this is the correct place to put metadata of all sorts. I started searching for someone who had already solved this problem.

Macintosh owners can use MetaX to tag your movies right. MetaX is based on the open source Atomic Parsley. Alas, the quality of the metadata it picks up is low.

Housing Loans

Average gross weekly full-time adult non-overtime earnings in Australia were $1296 in the private sector, $1416 in the public sector, in August 2011, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (6302.0). Net earnings are after tax and other up front deductibles. A prudent bank will probably consider you can not afford to spend more than 30-35% of your gross non-overtime earnings on loan repayments. Somewhere between $390 and $450 a week.

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Carlyle Gardens

The water sprinkling system sprang to life at 6:30 a.m. this morning. This thoroughly surprised and soaked Fang, the bush stone curlew that has been staying in the back garden. We have not seen Fang for the rest of the day. All of which reminds me that I much switch on the front garden tap, so that watering system can work on Thursday morning.

Jean went off to Willows walking and shopping while I awaited parcels that once again did not arrive. I worked on getting my original MacBook Air ready to send to Tahini in Tasmania. Just need a software update of the security, which I am doing now. We did find all the original packing boxes, once I thought to look in the right place.

Went to the pub in the late afternoon as I usually do if I am here on a Wednesday. Usual crowd. The bar stayed open an extra half hour, which amused us regulars.

iBook ePub DRM Removal

I see reports version 3.3 of Requiem removes Apple's FairPlay DRM from iBooks, as well as music and video. I can not find a working copy of Requiem to test this report.

Until I can easily and reliably remove DRM, I am not buying any book from iTunes. I will accept free books with DRM. I do buy (heaps of) ePub science fiction from Baen. Also a few technical ePub books from O'Reilly and TidBits. The rest of the publishers. No sale. Not ever.

Thursday 23 February 2012

Printers Are from Hell

Printers Are from Hell


I had lunch with a bunch of the folks at the restaurant, as usual. Dot and Ray, Jeff, but I think not Pat. Seems to only ever be Allen and Dave serving, with the chef hidden away in the kitchen.

Friday 24 February 2012

Carlyle Gardens

I stayed here while Jean took her walk at Willows. This seemingly did not help in getting any of the numerous outstanding deliveries to arrive. While waiting, I used surface spray where the ants were infesting the side of the house. The ants always get to be a pest when it rains overnight like it did.

Saturday 25 February 2012


I wished Jean a happy birthday. Did laundry, which subsequently got rained on. Went shopping, without finding anything decent for breakfast, so I brought back a packet of crumpets. Ate too many crumpets.

Wasted a lot of time reading the weekend newspapers. They only get me mad, especially when the politicians are being particularly silly, as they are at the moment. The labor Party is tearing itself apart in front of an uncaring public, who are sick of all the politicians and their posturing.

Jean and I drove to the restaurant for dinner. We were both able to get a nice rack of lamb with mint gravy (the last two). Drank some Jacobs Creek champagne. Being her birthday, Jean actually had two glasses. However she had been smart enough to do her weigh in this morning, rather than Sunday morning as usual.

Thunderbolt on iDevices

It is not going to happen. Yes, technically you can find some ARM designs that incorporate PCIe. However an ARM can not drive them to full speed. Plus current generation SSD as used in iPhone is too slow to need more than Firewire speeds. Even if it could, the Thunderbolt port (being identical to mini Display Port) basically is too thick for the iPod Touch, although perhaps Apple could find a way to cram it into an iPad.

That said, at some time Apple will change the present docking port, which is also far too large. More devices connect via WiFi (computers for wireless sync, AppleTV for video, AirPort Extreme for audio). More connect via Bluetooth (keyboards, headphones and microphones). More connect via the Cloud. Power is probably the only item that is still essential (and induction charging is well understood). However induction is inefficient, and Apple do not like inefficient.

I would not mind seeing a variation on MagSafe, including the orientation independence. Having to check connectors are the right way up is so 20th Century. Apple at one stage were trying to design a MagSafe with an optical feed down the centre. Long term, that would be nice.

Sunday 26 February 2012


I was told by Jean that not one but two bush stone curlews were in the back garden now. The birds did not seem too worried about us putting out the laundry after we returned fro out walk at Willows.

Sunday is my day for watching Insiders and Inside Business in the morning, along with glancing at the weekend newspapers.

More eBooks

I went back to the new Baen Books site to get some more eBooks in ePub, without DRM. I simply do not buy eBooks unless they are DRM free. Took rather too long about perusing the web site, and ended up downloading 78 books. Many of these were in the monthly bundles, so although the price was good, I already had some books. Also there were some I was not interested in, so a few authors I do not read got some royalties.

I also went to SF Arizona and got all of Michael McCollum's 1980's and 1990's hard SF in eBook format. I had really enjoyed his approach. I think he is also supplying other SF authors, so I must take a look at them.

Monday 27 February 2012


It rained this morning. This stirred up the bush stone curlews to go hunting for insects in the side garden. Meanwhile a family of wallabies wandered along. The joey was about the same height as the birds. Jean keeps trying to get photo of the curlews.

Jean went off to Willows for her walk while I stayed waiting for the deliveries.

We looked at the front weed garden towards evening. It is a disaster. We clipped some scrub and put it out for removal in the morning. The weeds around the edge are terrible. I think the ants bring the weeds. The ants were sure enthusiastic about attacking us.

I shovelled a few more plastic tubs full of river pebbles. No more tubs left, and I now have ten filled with rocks. Time to get some weed poison.


I have been awaiting a fast delivery since the consignment notes was lodged at 10:42 a.m. Tuesday 21 February in Melbourne. By 10:50 a.m. Thursday 23 February it had reached Brisbane, which at least is the same state. At 8:58 a.m. Monday 27 February it was scanned in the Townsville depot, which at least is the same town. It arrived about 4 p.m., after the courier driver stopped at Reception to have a look at the model of the village.

Kogan eBook

I have to say that eInk displays will never strain your eyes. On the other hand, unless you have really decent light, you can not actually read them. Seems more like dark grey on light grey than black on white. It is also real slow on page turns (reputed to be quicker than Kindle). Did come with about 1500 free ancient eBooks in ePub. Metadata on them sucks. You could at least include the authors.

Tuesday 28 February 2012

Apple ID

If you need to know more about your Apple model, get your serial number (from menu Apple, About This Mac) and go to

Apple keep track of all your service at Sign in with your Apple ID. This site gives details of all your registered Apple products, and what support you have had for them. For example, it lists your Applecare coverage, and lists past problems.

Try for service and repairs.

Wednesday 29 February 2012

Solar Hot Water Rebate Stops

As I predicted, the Federal Labor Government has cancelled the five year old $1000 solar hot water rebate (renewable energy bonus scheme) started by Malcolm Turnbull. This is four months earlier than expected, after spending $320 million on around a quarter million households. Cause is overspending in other areas, and stopping now rather than at the end of the financial year will probably save $70 million.

Solar Panel Outputs

The solar power output figures last month (January 2012) showed it generated 2405kWh over 7060 hours. The figures for February are 2533kWh over 7419 hours. So the total hours operating in the 29 days of February 2012 were 359 hours, during which it generated 128kWh. About 4.4kWh per day, or 356 Watts per operating hour. This is a nominal 1 kW panel.

Home and Away

AB 8, CG 21

Eric Lindsay's Blog February 2012