Eric Lindsay's Blog April 2012

Sunday 1 April 2012


I was up well before five. This is not the start to the day I wanted. So I started pissed off with the performance (if you can call it that) of the internet. When the sun finally came up, and put enough light on the solar panels, I was able to take the monthly electricity readings before there was any change to the figures.

We had a gap between putting out laundry, and me hiding to watch Insiders. Jean loaned me her fancy Canon camera, and drove up the ring road. I wanted photos of the numerous solar panels on homes in Carlyle Gardens. Alas, the ring road is not really sufficiently elevated above the flood plain to get a good photo.

Eggs and bacon are our Sunday lunch treat. I had pretty much forgotten to have breakfast, so that was good.


At least the internet was working, for somewhat faster than dialup values of working. I was getting 50 KB/s, which is about what I got on the very first Broadband ADSL connections in Airlie Beach. This speed (and I use the term ironically) would be fine, if there were not so many web sites that seem unable to write a single sheet web page that does not exceed a megabyte. Given that I close the web page if it takes longer than two or three seconds to display, I reckon I give up on about a quarter of all web pages. Your customer walked out of your shop, because he didn't like the treatment you handed out. Pissant idiots working on web design. Go back to doing stinking billboards, you bloody vandals!


It was Sunday. The only day I watch TV, with public affairs shows. So I settled down at eight to watch Insiders. No sign of it. It had been an hour early previously because of idiotic Daylight Savings Time in a bunch of confused states. So now it reverted to the correct time.

Afternoon viewing is usually Meet the Press, followed by the Bolt Report. Nope. These were replaced by some stupid sports event. Bah, TV! Why bother?

National Broadband Network

So, the NBN cover list of communities is out. The next three years of National Broadband Network target sites, about a third of the total planned. Did that include Condon, to fix our pathetically slow internet connection? No, it did not. What about Airlie Beach, where I again live much of the time? No, nothing is going in there, nor anywhere nearby.

How about my birthplace of Zetland and Waterloo. No, NBN skips around that. Maybe Mortdale, or Hurstville, where I lived as a teenager. No NBN there either. How about Faulconbridge? Springwood, Blaxland, Katoomba, Blackheath? No, nothing going in the Blue Mountains. Maybe Penrith, where I also worked for a fair while? No, nothing to be installed there. Maybe Warren, where I worked in the country? Nothing even nearby. Given there are more NBN connections planned in NSW than anywhere else (except Labor states), this paucity of hits is surprising.

So if the NBN Norwegian Blue is not nailed to the perch, the very earliest I could expect to see a connection any place I have ever lived is sometime after September 2016.

So someone must get lucky. Who? More than 3.5 million to get NBN fibre lists numbers by state. Golly gosh, Tasmania gets every household covered by NBN. I see ACT gets every household covered by NBN. Even the Northern Territory is 90% covered by NBN.


I finally pulled the last of the paperback books from the bookshelves, where I had an ebook version of that book. To my surprise, that consolidated all the remaining science fiction to the entry to the house. Over the past attempts I have emptied five or more bookcases.

Asian Kitchen Geckos

I started making a solid attempt to kill the Asian Kitchen Geckos around the house, and in the garage. I still believe one of them probably shorted out the garage door opener. I managed to spray three of them with a good dose of Crawly Cruncher insecticide. They really do not like that stuff.

Monday 2 April 2012


I was up a little after five, working on my computer. No breakfast, as I had to walk to pathology for my annual blood tests. Jean walked with me, and then continued on her way. I was first in the queue for when pathology opened at seven, at the local doctor surgery within Carlyle Gardens. I surrendered my first place in the queue to a chap heading to work, since my next appointment was some time off. Not too many holes in my arm.

Jean drove us to the Stockland mall, some distance away on Ross River Road. We were interested in seeing how the major changes to this mall were coming along. The answer seems to be that there are a lot of building sites, with some places moved to their new locations, but by no means all. I wanted the real Telstra store. Jean wanted to see if Myers had actually arrived (no). There are some spots that look relatively complete that look pretty impressive.

We also stopped at Woolworths for some light shopping, since we had run out of milk. Just as well I had to fast prior to the pathology tests, as milk on cereal had not been an option.

I cut out a heap of the fast growing plant in Jean's garden, and piled it up for the mower people in the morning. Jean noticed this activity, and brought out her new flame thrower. Lots of fumes. Not sure how badly it hurt the weeds. She eventually retired coughing a heap from the fumes.

Telstra Store

I needed to use Stockland mall because it is the only one that has an actual Telstra owned TLife store, rather than a franchise. It opened at nine, with us as the first customers. I was getting the only remaining phone line at Airlie Beach transferred into my name, instead of Jean's name. It was just chance that my line was the one we had closed down previously. Got a very helpful senior attendant, who battled what looked like an enormously complex Siebel database form. She seemed confident she had wrestled the process into submission.

I have to admit to having put off this telephone change for … well, probably at least a year. The prospect of tackling Telstra for changes was daunting. I kept thinking of all the problems still left over from the previous change. We shall find out in a few days whether this name change has worked.

If all is well, we can go back to the store in a week or so and I can get an internet access account for Airlie Beach. At least there ADSL2+ is now available, unlike at Carlyle Gardens.


I kept trying to update metadata for my H.264 versions of DVDs. tagChimp seems to lack a heap of what I thought would be popular DVDs. I decided my best strategy was to put aside DVDs lacking data. In another pile, I put the DVDs that had jacket details of the Chapter names. At least I can type those into tagChimp whenever I get a break.

I sampled the first DVD of several SF TV series. Nothing! I suppose the versions of the DVDs sold in Australia are too different to get a match, but it sure seems strange. Cleaning up the metadata is going to take forever.


I finally got around to putting my mailing comments for ANZAPA into Apple Pages. Since that by itself hit the 6 page limit I can send in a prepaid postage envelope, I will stop there. Jean printed a master for me. I will get multiple copies printed and mailed tomorrow at Willows mall, if I am lucky. Just as well I left extra time in Townsville to get this stuff done. It is all taking far longer than I hoped.

Tuesday 3 April 2012


An early morning walk. Not much I wanted on hand for breakfast. The Mitre 10 hardware store did not have the stubby hammer I wanted. I was able to get some cheap extra folding chairs for the balcony, in case some party grew too large. I also spotted a little ratchet screwdriver, to replace the one I had ruined by leaving it out in the rain. I was happy to find that.

I had the masters for ANZAPA on hand, and Jean dropped me at the printing place. Chatted with the guy doing cartoons there. He had a twelve inch Wacom drawing tablet. Seemed to know what he was doing. I was able to send the ANZAPA contribution off when I walked over to the Post Office.

Spotted Jean shortly after inside Willows, walking away from me. So I walked behind her until I was able to phone. Then stopped the call as she hauled out her phone to answer. She caught me at it. I think we managed to get a few missing supplies for the fridge.

I went to the restaurant for lunch. Dot was there, and John also. Pat and Jeff were there, but are leaving soon.

Ray gave me a magnificent paper tray for Jean. I showed it around the table, as it was wonderfully done. Tasmanian oak, with inlays, and brass handles, plus a green felt base. Jean will end up with the fanciest office fitting around.

Climate Change Cuts

Jobs to be cut by around a third at Department of Climate Change. They are starting by looking at voluntary redundancy. The Gillard Government want a total 4% efficiency dividend from the Public Service going into 2013, to help pay back their excessive budget spending.

There is no Prime Minister in our constitution, so why is Julia still here?

State Government Voting in Whitsunday

In the Whitsunday electorate, the winner was the energetic Liberal National Party (LNP) candidate Jason Costigan. He won in each of the 24 booths on primary vote alone (perhaps 90% of voters do not give preferences in optional preferential voting, so distributed preferences have little effect). LNP 44.73%, sitting ALP member Jan Jarratt 26.99%, the impressive new Katter Australia Party (KAP) candidate Amanda Camm got 22.52%, and trailing the field was the Green's personable Jonathan Dykyj with a depressing 5.76%.

Some individual booth figures are interesting, for their indication of who lives where in the electorate. It is also interesting that the ALP had poll position at the top of the ballot, just as in the previous election. Did not do them any good. The Katter Australia was last on the ballot, and I suspect some voters started at the bottom and worked their way up as a protest vote. I know I did.

In the tourist town of Airlie Beach (which has an influx of big city seachangers such as us), LNP was 45.16%, ALP was 22.80% (Jan Jarratt failed to support the town on several high passion items), KAP's Amanda Camm had an astonishing 21.85%. As you would expect with a city influx, there was a reasonable amount of Green support, with them taking 10.19%.

Nearby Cannonvale is an industrial support area for tourism, and also has a considerable city seachangers influx. LNP 44.36%, ALP 26.76% (Cannonvale not as pissed off with Jan), KAP 19.53%, and Greens a still reasonable 9.35%.

Proserpine is a former cattle town, now equally a sugarcane (and allied crops such as coffee) area. LNP were 37.99%, ALP 28.76%, just beaten by KAP at 29.59%. No-one there liked the Greens, who got 4.07%, which is probably typical of most booths away from the tourist areas.

Wednesday 4 April 2012

NBN Bullshit

So according to Juliar, NBN will cover 3.5 million premises in three years, in around 1500 suburbs. That is an enormous task (luckily the three years stated is realistically over four years, since NBN actually count commencing planning, rather than really getting the work done). However NBN was originally going to fibre Australia by 2020 (now revised to 2022), so they would really need to ramp up installs very quickly. So far, despite all the initial hype, less than 30,000 premises are passed.

How quickly can you build? For the initial 3.5 million, 1.17 million a year. You have 250 working days (unless you want to pay overtime and burn out crews) a year, so call it 4700 installs a day (NBN say their peak install will be 6000 a day). You can't do wire pulling with less than a two person crew (although I suspect the crew will need to be larger). You need to install cable from your hub, mount the internal or external box, connect power. I find it hard to believe an install crew could manage more than one an hour. Especially when sometimes householders will be away, access to premises is not available, permission can not be obtained (especially in multi-dwelling units), crew will be sick, weather prevents installs. So you will need a minimum of 600 crews. Now personally, I think well over 1000 crews would be more realistic.

I have seen estimates allowing a half day for install. The fibre in the street and to the wall crews are certainly different to the crew that put the boxes on your inside wall (which might well be one person). Since the householder has to supply an electric socket within three metres, an electrician is not required. However the inside guy would have to drill through your wall to get at the outside fibre termination box. Allowing an hour for all this strikes me as very optimistic.

What are the chances of a really solid installed base by the time of the next election (late 2013), and the next double dissolution? Two years of installs should be over two million. Since Tasmania (and Tony Windsor's Armidale district) has priority, I find it difficult to realistically believe there would be more than a million premises passed on the mainland by the election.

Air Stash

I wanted an Air Stash. I have wanted one even since I heard of them, but they were not available in Australia. This is a little gadget that acts as a WiFi web site. It uses an SD card for memory. The idea is that you can put files on your memory card and carry them with you. Then wirelessly access the AirStash files from say an iPhone or iPad, without having to use your cellular phone download allowance.

The AirStash people have a web page that says Maxell sell them outside the USA. After several misadventures with pages that did not go to the right place, I found AirStash on the Maxell Australia site. That directed me to an online retailer. The price was acceptable. So I started an online order for an Air Stash.

Once at the shopping cart, my only option was to start an account. I do not want an account. I just want to buy something! I want to give you a credit card number and have you send me an AirStash. However there was no way I could just buy the only item they sell that I have any interest in. I am not going to be a return customer. You have nothing else I need. Yet you still want me to open an account. Why?

Well, your potential customer just walked out of your online shop. He is not coming back. Plus he is now pissed off about wasting time tracking down Air Stash.


Internet access this morning was woeful. A 150 MB download from the iTunes Store took over 36 minutes. Ping times to Google's numeric address were taking more than a half second. Something is totally stuffed in the infrastructure. It is not just the lousy ADSL line speed (500Kbps, or about ten times dialup.)


No walk this morning. Did not go out for lunch, ate scraps to empty fridge. Did not go to the bar in the afternoon. I did spray the plants along the house wall and the garden edge with a herbicide Jean bought. I hope it works. I also sprayed the ants that seemed to be invading the walls of the house. Finally sprayed the Asian Kitchen geckos again.

Went chasing online stuff, most of which appeared to have some detail missing. I fear I will have to resort to phone calls to straighten them out. All this correction of things that should have been done correctly in the first place is a bit of a waste of time. I can't even blame staff in a lot of cases, because I know the systems they are forced to use are broken. This is not good for anyone.

Thursday 5 April 2012


I couldn't sleep, and got up just after four to use the computer. Jean turned up around six to complain that the noise was the all-night construction work on the Ring Road. When she opened her window, she could hear it clearly. I had been also hearing the noise, but the cause had not penetrated my thick skull. I bet that helps explains waking tired so often.

We went for a morning walk around Carlyle Gardens, since Jean was also awake early. Upon our return I went out again to take samples to pathology at the doctor's surgery. Got back in time to snatch a few slices of raisin toast. Then we were off to Willows for food shopping before the Easter weekend.

I went to the restaurant for lunch. Not many there. They reminded me that the Friday social event had been moved to this evening.

I wandered over to the bar for the social club fund raiser. Lots of people sold me tickets for various things that were on my list to support. Sue asked me to sit with some visitors, who were contemplating buying into Carlyle Gardens. I encouraged them, for the life style. I have my issues with management, but it is about one aspect of the place, not with their general performance.

Caught up with a few other people during the course of the evening. Sue seemed to win heaps of chocolate Easter bunnies. Well done. I told Ray about the one hour sale of 32 inch TV sets at Dick Smith.

Back at the house, I consulted with Jean and then ordered some 10 inch Android tablets from Kogan. It will be interesting to see how they perform compared to the Apple iPads that we normally use.

Updating iLife

I finally realised I could update iLife from the Mac App store. I had been using iPhoto 9. I could update for free because the Mac App store counted my Apple ID as having access to iPhoto 11 due to me having an (unused) iPhoto 11 on my MacBook Air.

This is turn means that I can now check whatever problem Frank is having with iPhoto 11. Maybe I can see something of use to him.

iMac Anti-Reflective Display

I keep seeing rumours of a non-reflective display perhaps coming on a new Apple iMac. I certainly hope it is true. I have never been able to replace my very old Apple G5 iMac (ALS) model. Every time I walked into an Apple shop to check a new iMac, I simply had to give up because of the glare from the reflective glass surface of the iMac.

I got a matte 15 inch MacBook Pro, which is pretty reasonable for travel. For home use, I got a 2009 Mac mini, and use that with a big Dell matte monitor. However I could really use something with a proper desktop CPU, decent drive space (in excess of 2TB), and a display that is not so reflective that it would drive me insane.

I checked out museum quality glass (99% transmission), which is fabulously expensive stuff. It would do the job, if you had some way to actually seal it to the underlying display. However the multiple nano thickness anti-reflective coatings are probably too fragile for office use. I have been stuck not able to buy an Apple desktop for something like six years now.

Greek Suicide

I see pensioner Dimitris Christoulas wanted to send a political message about the inequities of Greece's crushing debt crisis. So the 77 year old tragically suicided by shooting himself in Athens.

I have a modest proposal. Instead of suicide, use your gun to try to kill one of the financiers or politicians you believe, after diligent inquiry, is most responsible for your plight. A prisoner in a jail gets treated better than a pensioner in most first world states. That would send a message.

Friday 6 April 2012


It is the first day of the Easter holiday. Not being religious, I pay no attention to former religious festivals. If stores were open (I do not know if they close), neither Jean nor I would go anyplace near them, because they would probably be crowded on a holiday. We try to avoid stores on the weekend for the same reason.

On the other hand, we did take a walk around Carlyle Gardens. Jean probably set the fastest time she has managed.

I finally found the correct fitting for the Karcher high pressure water spray. Might even get some cleaning done this weekend now.

Checked the weeds around the house foundations. None seem to have died from spraying them, so I pulled them up by hand. Bah, humbug!

Sprayed those irritating Asian kitchen geckos again. Not seeing any effect from spraying so far.

Crumpets for breakfast, crumpets for dinner. This may not be a balanced diet.

iPhoto 11

I installed iPhoto 11 (9.2.3), and ran it this evening. It spent a half hour or so converting my old photos (35,697) into a different arrangement of its database. The Welcome to iPhoto popup (which can be accessed from Help) includes a Getting Started lesson guide. This does not appear to be clickable, nor indeed to actually do anything at all. WTF? I am not going to be much help to Frank if I can't figure them out myself.

It seems that the Getting Started with iPhoto is a set of lessons and videos that are built in to the iPhoto Help system. Looks like the videos are actually downloads from Apple, which with our lousy internet speed is somewhat marginal.


I think I need to replace our self contained Clipsal Cent A Meter electricity energy monitor with a Fluksometer. These provide open source web based community monitoring, via an Ethernet connection. You need a power socket in or near the meter box. Plus either an Ethernet cable connection, or a WiFi network. It all looks pretty cool. Plus the Australian agent is one of the good guys.

Here are details of an Australian Fluksometer installation. Like me, David Rowe has solar panels, which complicate the install of the current clamp for the meter. He details the changes he needed. You can buy a Fluksometer plus cable clamps from his shop. Since I have feeds for Tariff 11 and Tariff 33, plus the solar inputs, I think I would need three clamps. Plus three inputs on the Fluksometer. I know they can handle two inputs, but can they handle three? More research needed.

Saturday 7 April 2012


A walk around Carlyle Gardens with Jean just after six. We put laundry out, despite some clouds in an otherwise fine blue sky. We tried Willows just before eight. Woolworths not open, Brumby not open, the newsagent not open. We left and continued to the chemist at The Avenues. I was able to get hot cross buns at the Brumby there. I totally forgot that Jean had also wanted fresh bread (luckily she noticed). The Woolworth was still closed, for unknown reasons. The news agency here was open, and I was able to get the weekend newspapers.

Being efficient meant we could not go to the egg place. Back at Carlyle Gardens, I had hot cross buns for breakfast. At nine, we headed for the egg place. Gate still closed. Looks like another casualty of the religious holidays.

Jean decided on another walk in the evening. Only a kilometre, but she was keeping up a good pace. I had to run a lot, but that was because of various people stopping to ask questions about using an iPad.


I see The Australian newspaper have an extensive section today on their own online version of the results of NAPLAN tests at all schools in Australia. Their site is said to make comparisons between schools easier.

I started to look for my own old schools, Waterloo and Kogorah. Then I realised there was absolutely no point. My last year in school was fifty years ago. Fifty years is a long time in what happens to a school. For all I know, the old brick buildings have finally crumbled into ruins. School days have faded into irrelevance.


In the morning, Jean restarted the Belkin ADSL modem and wireless access point. My 2009 model Mac mini no longer seems able to even detect that particular access point. It is using a Time Capsule on 802.11n, but on a 2.4GHz channel, with a transmit rate of 130, and RSSI of -51. On the other hand, my MacBook Air often seems to prefer to connect to the same Time Capsule on 802.11n on the 5GHz channel, with an RSSI of -45, and a transmit rate of 300. In contrast, the Belkin ADSL is only 802.11g, with an RSSI of -60, and a transmit rate of 1!

Jean tells me we have used 80% of the ten gigabyte allocation available in peak hours. Rather surprising, as we both attempt to do large downloads when in off-peak hours, from around 2 a.m. to midday. Plus we do a lot of downloads from the free zone.

On the other hand, if we got shaped to a much lower speed, would we even notice it?

Hotel Free WiFi Tricks

A web developer discovered hotel WiFi network doing Javascript code insertion into requested web pages. This means they can modify and customise access, including showing their own advertising. RGNets is the group doing the advertising injections. If you hate advertising, you might see about blocking whatever they advertise. Or maybe just avoid any hotel that uses these tricks.

Solar Power Output

I took some measurements of the power output of the six solar panels connected to the SunnyBoy inverter. It was fine with some cloud. Max 850 Watts at midday, followed by cloud at times.

Time, kWH, Total kWh 9:15, 1.24, 1.24 10:00, .52, 1.76 11:00, .48, 2.24 12:00, .30, 2.54 13:00, .30, 2.84 14:25, .78, 3.62 15:00, .11, 3.73 16:00, .20, 3.93 16:33, .02, 3.95 17:00, .01, 3.96

Sunday 8 April 2012


I started the washing machine at six. I hate how long that European style front loading thing takes to finish doing a load. It finally finished at 7:35 a.m. after we retuned from our walk. So that is 95 minutes for a load of washing!

We went for a walk around Carlyle Gardens while the laundry was running. Towards the western end we were startled by a large wallaby scrambling to get away. Normally the wallabies do not worry about slow walking humans. However then a large brown dog jumped out of the bushes. Obviously friendly, well fed and well trained. However later it came upon Martini, and frightened it. Nothing on the stout collar of the unknown dog to show who owns it. I hope it has enough sense to be able to get home, as stray dogs and an aged population some of whom may be unsteady on their feet are a bad mix.

Jean had prevailed upon me a few days ago to make up a mess of pasta sauce, so I started around 10:30 chopping up the onions and garlic. I had them browned and put aside before eleven. The kilogram of wonderful lean beef from the butcher at Willows was browned soon after. Herbs added, pre-mixed sauce, red wine and various other ingredients added, and the onions and garlic put back for it to all simmer by 11:30 a.m. Seems a little bland to me, but if I make it to my taste, Jean may not like it. I can add chillies later for my serves.

Solar Panel Output

I am taking half hourly readings of the one kilowatt solar panel output. Since the existing panels face east, we put more power into the grid (we virtually never run air conditioning in the morning), which is great for our economics. Of course, poor people who can not afford solar panels are the ones paying for this middle class indulgence. However in terms of maximising output, it is not as good, as the solar power falls off rapidly as the sun swings to the west. I imagine we will get most of our power prior to midday.

Not mentioned by solar advocates is that power output drops to a quarter whenever you have a cloud occluding the solar panel. Way to go, if you are powering air conditioners. For smelting metals not so good.

I continued to take readings of the output of Jean's solar panels every half hour through the day. Results were even better today, as there was less haze and virtually no clouds until later.

Time, Watts, kWH, Total kWh 7:00, 237, .05, .05 7:30, 380, .15, .20 8:00, 506, .23, .43 8:30, 603, .28, .71 9:00, 663, .32, 1.03 9:30, 710, .33, 1.36 10:00, 738, .36, 1.73 10:30, 840, .33, 2.06 11:00, 275, .30, 2.36 11:30, 885, .26, 2.62 12:00, 839, .32, 2.94 12:30, 210, .16, 3.10 13:00, 298, .25, 3.35 13:30, 185, .20, 3.55 14:00, 597, .20, 3.75 14:30, 344, .26, 4.01 15:00, 343, .10, 4.11 15:30, 117, .13, 4.24 16:00, 27, .04, 4.28 16:30, 29, .01, 4.29 17:00, 17, .01, 4.30 17:30, 10, .01, 4.31 18:00, 1, .0, 4.31


I have too much in iPhoto to conveniently put it on my MacBook Air. However iSlimPhoto says it will cut down photos to a size that just fills the MBA display. This might just be the answer for photos that will only be used on web sites in any case. Or I could just organise the 35,000 photos better?

Monday 9 April 2012


I was awake at four, which was not good. Jean turned up around six to accuse me of raiding the fridge. We went for a walk around Carlyle Gardens. I am continuing to record the performance of the solar panels every half hour.

Solar Power Output

I took solar power panel readings from the six panels every half hour.

Time, Watts, kWH, Total kWh 7:00, 244, .06, .06 7:30, 397, .16, .22 8:00, 513, .23, .45 8:30, 602, .28, .73 9:00, 665, .31, 1.04 9:30, 705, .35, 1.39 10:00, 729, .35, 1.74 10:30, 742, .36, 2.10 11:00, 740, .38, 2.48 11:30, 729, .38, 2.86 12:00, 699, .36, 3.22 12:30, 782, .35, 3.57 13:00, 622, .25, 3.82 13:30, 615, .25, 4.07 14:00, 419, .28, 4.35 14:30, 494, .23, 4.58 15:00, 380, .12, 4.70 15:30, 293, .13, 4.83 16:00, 125, .08, 4.91 16:30, 39, .03, 4.94 17:00, 18, .02, 4.96 17:30, 8, .0, 4.96

If Religion is the Question, Faith in No Answer.

I watched the Q&A session on atheism between Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, and evolutionary biologist and atheist, Richard Dawkins. Dawkins had just flown in for the Global Atheist conference in Melbourne next weekend. It was nice that Q&A was not full of the same politicians yet again. However it promised to be the same sort of Punch and Judy show, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Pell generally had the better responses, and was more humorous. He does a good job of promoting the ridiculous. I did like his point that adding a human soul during evolution was not like adding whiskey to the soda. I also particularly liked the Tweet about someone who believes in an magic sky fairy (Pell) accusing Dawkins of hallucinating (he did do that). The laughter that greeted Pell's line of preparing some young boys in England showed exactly what the Australian audience thought some priests were up to in their spare time. A meme whose time has come.

The (self selected) smartphone poll of 20,000 responses seems to show that for many Australians, religion has passed its use by date. 76% said religion did not make the world a better place.

I continue to regard the religious as delusional, deluded, or frauds. Among founders of religious institutions, I think it is clear that L. Ron Hubbard and his Scientologists are outright fraudulent money scamming arseholes, leaching on the deluded. I do not have a view on Jesus, since I doubt you could prove that any such individual actually existed. Mohamed was obviously an illiterate self-serving pussy whipped fraud, who conveniently heard messages that made his own actions right, whether that was brigandry, or child sex molesting. But don't believe my views. If you actually care, read their holy books for yourself.

MacBook Air Hot

I returned from lunch to find that my (closed) MacBook Air was warm. This is not at all reasonable, as it should be sleeping when the lid is closed. Without a sleep light, you have no real idea what state it is in when the lid is shut.

I think this is related to all the internet activity all these computers are so prone to do in background. Not that I have located the problem area as yet.

Tuesday 10 April 2012


We went for our regular walk at Carlyle Gardens in the cool of the early morning, pausing so I could post Jean's letter. Covered over 2.5 kilometre by the time we were back before seven.

Lunch at the restaurant with Sue, Dot, Ray, Geoff and Margaret. Ray stole my hamburger. Neither of us are sure how he managed that. Allen replaced it.

Saw Frank on the path. I need to help him come to grips with his Apple iMac, and now with his new iPad 2. But first I should send him a note about the new Flashback Java Trojan malware. Not that he is likely to have Java even installed.


I have been collecting photos of classic composers, as I am unable to find artwork for the many old CDs I have ripped to iTunes (the original covers are … pathetic text only). So I propose making my own album artwork. Step one is collect photos of painting of the composers. Step two will be finding royalty free photos of the musical instruments. So a photo of a full orchestra for orchestral works, and likewise for chamber orchestra, string quartet, piano, harpsichord, violin, and so on. Step three will be finding a nice font for the text.

Internet Access Shaped

I hit shaping of the internet speed by iiNet at 51 kbps around 10 p.m. tonight. This is the first time we have been close to hitting shaping for exceeding our main download quota. I have absolutely no idea why it is happening. However I am deeply suspicious of the new Apple software that seems to be updating everything very frequently. Another possibility is photo streaming.

Luckily it is near the end of the access month, so we will have another month of quota soon.

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Dreamhost Down

My various web sites hosted by Dreamhost are all down and out of action. They are having issues with about 38 of their servers. Internet always seems to have issues somewhere. Bummer.

Around eleven I noticed the various web sites were back in their correct places. Seemed somewhat later than Dreamhost had suggested. Luckily I do not need to have everything up all the time.


Jean checked on the internet. We were indeed being shaped by her ISP. We are still not able to identify exactly what the larger data flows are exactly. None of them are totally out of line with normal daily activity, with typically less than 300 MB a day in peak hours. We could perhaps have managed a little better with off peak hours, but we usually hit them and freezone fairly hard at appropriate times.


We took our early morning walk via a different path, as we were threatened by the revived sprinkler system. Got back at seven after a two and a half kilometre walk.

I chatted with Olive and Sheena from the Social Club at the restaurant. I also saw Leigh sitting there, and talked with her afterwards about the TSwitch hearing loop install in the Carlton Theatre. I also suggested considering a QR Code figure on top of the Carlton Theatre. Now I need to write a proposal regarding it.

Bill Mitchell

I like Bill Mitchell. Some lovely economics articles, especially if you are left libertarian.

Thursday 12 April 2012

Friday 13 April 2012

Saturday 14 April 2012

Sunday 15 April 2012

Monday 16 April 2012


I was up late. Jean decided she would take money and attempt to pay the hotel bill (slipped under the door) at seven before we were actually leaving. I had raided money machines when we arrived and on Sunday when we realised the hotel charged a commission for using credit cards. There was a disputed transaction for drinks on Thursday evening. My single rum and coke had changed to a $35 bill, which seemed excessive even for an expensive hotel. The Hilton decided changing it to the correct billing was too hard, and wiped the bar bill. That was nice of them. Although not having bar errors would be nicer.

We caught a taxi to the Melbourne airport just before nine. Lots of traffic, including some incredibly snarled traffic jams, but none of them in our direct path. So we arrived at the airport in plenty of time.

Electronic Boarding Passes

Jean had decided to test phone based boarding passes, since we had no printer available. However we had baggage, and needed printed bag tags from the automated check-in regardless. No queue, and a helpful Qantas staffer. This meant we could get a printed boarding pass as well. It seems likely that the phone based bar codes did not always work perfectly at the moment of boarding. So we never got around to testing them. Still, it was interesting to see them.

Melbourne to Townsville

I did not enjoy my Qantas flight from Melbourne to Brisbane, nor the rapid transit to the next flight from Brisbane to Townsville. The 800 model has way better seats than the 700. However Qantas has managed to cram the seats so close that I absolutely hated the flight. This was especially so when the large gent in from rammed his seat all the way back. My reading matter was so close to my nose that I could no longer even focus on it.

The Qantas staff try to do a good job handing out snacks, but all too often they have nothing to offer than I would consider eating. Jean is in an even worse situation, as she has to check the contents very carefully in case of allergic problems.

I keep seriously considering whether each flight I take should be my last. It surely can not be good for hotels and tourism if people who can afford to travel are wondering if it is time to stop flying?

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Overpriced Electric Cars

I see the all electric Nissan Leaf is to be sold in Australia at A$51,500 before on road costs. What a wank!

It seems a perfectly reasonable vehicle, in terms of quality and so on. Obviously with the 140 km range it is aimed at commuters, perhaps as a second vehicle. You need to get it back to your own specially equipped garage to charge it for eight hours via a 15 amp outlet. While the $10,000 lithium ion battery pack pushes up the price, the total seems out of proportion.

I gather the price of the Leaf in the USA is closer to US$36,000. I simply can not see paying the sort of premium involved in the Australian model. It makes no economic sense. Plus with most states on coal power, I suspect it makes very little environmental sense either, except in Tasmania.

The people who seem to mostly use hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius are high mileage taxi drivers, where the lower fuel costs make sense. I do not expect any electric vehicle I have seen to change this equation.


We went to Willows, since there was no fresh food in the house. I collected a newspaper. Jean found food, and left me to pay for it. None of it was stuff I liked, like Chocolate Obsession ice cream. I need to organise the shopping lists, and cross out things like lettuce and replace it with ice cream.

Off to the restaurant for lunch, a little later than I should have been. Sue and Dot and Ray were there, along with Clare, and Jeff and Pat were back from the Whitsundays.

Wednesday 18 April 2012


I was up early. Jean decided she could not face a trip to Stocklands. However I did get a Telstra notice that the phone had been changed to my name. So things are progressing at Airlie Beach.


I happened to find that Smultron, the text editor I have used for a long time, was available again. I had been contemplating changing from Fraise (and indeed had been using Text Edit for the past few months). However my choices seemed limited. I was considering BBEdit, whose price was now half the original hundred dollars. While there was no doubting the power of BBEdit, I had never felt comfortable with the free TextWrangler from the same folks. So I remained reluctant.

This time two versions of Smultron were for sale ($5.49 each) in the Mac App Store. No big deal if I ended up discarding both. I would have been happy to pay for the early version, but not via PayPal. I do not trust PayPal with access to a credit card or account details, and they will not accept money any other way.

The two versions were because Smultron was merely a slight update to the original, but was for Snow Leopard and earlier Macintosh operating systems. The latest Smultron 4 was Lion only, and very different. I suspect I will need the early version for bulk edits of dozens of files simultaneously, but that is not my typical use, except when making mass changes to my web sites. So a trial of both seems warranted.


I started setting up the Karcher water pressure spray when I returned, since Jean was away. She did not want to listen to the swearing. Hose all kinked. Fittings found messy and hard to connect. Power points and tap water access at different end of the house, so getting both connected is a bit of a pain. The western side of the house was too hot for me, so I did not get much done there. Did as far as I could reach on the eastern side, plus the awnings. Seems to blast a lot of dirt out of crevices around the house. I did clean the back porch, for rather rough versions of clean. Got totally soaked, and so covered with blasted off dirt that I had to take a shower afterwards (despite already being wet).

Apple Training

I went over to see Frank at four. Went through a mass of things to help him come to grips with his iMac. However he is using several programs I am not familiar with, so I need to look up some of his issues. By the time I finished, it was after five. That was a bit too long. About 30 or 40 minutes is all I should try for, as there is too much to absorb. What I really need is to provide training notes as well. I am sure there will be others beside Frank who would appreciate a hand, as Apple gets more popular within the village.


I was late to the bar. Jeff said I was supposed to head there at four. Only he and Ray were present, at least until the bowlers appeared. I am not sure where Ian and Ron and Bob are, but it did not seem likely they were ill. We stayed until the bar closed at six thirty.

Ray had not been able to put his new TV set in the right position, so we headed over to his place and proceeded to dump the massive old TV in the garbage bin (it was garbage night). Put the new TV in place. Moved his chair to viewing position. That all seemed organised by the time we left.

After getting back, I went hunting geckos again. Managed to spray about four of them with Crawly Cruncher. There are still at least two that I have not been able to locate.

Thursday 19 April 2012


I was awake way too early. Downloaded heaps of things over the internet in the early morning to take advantage of off-peak download capacity. Also the ADSL was running at over 200 KB/s, which for our area of Carlyle Gardens is pretty good. I sent Frank a bunch of links to training material for using an Apple computer.

Off to Stockland, and back again. Downloaded more stuff, including books on iBooks Author, and backlogged apps, while the internet was working.

Got my pathology results from the doctor, after waiting an hour past appointment time. This is about standard, so I had a magazine with me (and an iPad loaded with stuff). My blood sugar has crept up over two years from 5.8 to 5.9 to 6.2 on the most recent test. That is too high. He says get another test.

To the restaurant for lunch. Can not decide what I want, and get a steak sandwich, hold the chips. It comes with chips anyhow. The restaurant now has a big banner for their new Willowglen wine range.

Not back at the computer until around two. Sit talking with Jean for a while instead of working.

Tried to find the surviving Asian kitchen geckos.

Big Pond

I was able to visit Stockland Shopping Centre, thanks to Jean being able to drive me there around 8:30 a.m. We even arrived early, surprising both of us, given the potential for road delays during the Ring Road construction. At Stockland Shopping Centre I waited impatiently for the Telstra Store to open, which it did a few minutes after nine.

This is an actual Testra owned store, rather than a franchise. I was able to get the same knowledgable assistant. She once again did battle with the Siebel accounting system for about a half hour. So now I am signed up for Big Pond internet for two years at Airlie Beach. I hope this expensive ADSL2+ connection actually consistently provides a fast connection to the internet. Preferable without any more accounting issues like the one that blighted my New Zealand trip several years ago.

Friday 20 April 2012

iTunes Sucks

I tried to download a free iPhone app called Pocket last night. iTunes said I had to login, despite already being logged in according to the top of the Apple iTunes window. However it would not let me login, repeating the login prompt all the time. Restarting iTunes did not help. It was exactly the same this morning, but as I got angrier and angrier, I ran out of time to continue to fight with it.

I don't want Apple iTunes on my Mac. It causes me more trouble than any other application except Safari. If I wanted to continue to fight with buggy computers, I could have continued to use cheap crap computers and Microsoft Windows, which I totally dumped in 2004. The way Apple and Lion (OS X 10.7) are going, I will be dumping Apple this year.

The iTunes issue looks like yet another change in their security system. However restarting iTunes was not sufficient to bring up the demand that I provide answers to a new set of unbelievably stupid security questions, to which I will not be able to recall the answers. That only worked when I rebooted the entire computer.

So I finally, after two days, managed to download the Pocket app. It got stuck in processing for a while, but eventually decided downloading was complete.

Lion Sucks

I think Apple's Lion (OS X 10.7) operating system sucks. I can not recall having so many problems with an operating system upgrade. This is exacerbated by the way the Apple Safari web browser keeps eating all available memory, and refusing to release it.

I have removed all the Hewlett Packard printer support from the Library, since I have all the HP printers in the garage ready to go to the garbage dump. HP are another company I will never buy from again. A pity, as they once made great gear, including printers.

I removed the new DEVONthink helper from login items, in case that is contributing to the constant grabbing of all memory, and slowdowns. Rebooted again. I might as well be on a cheap Windows machine, and just reboot every time I walk away from the desk. Life is too short for fighting with computers.


I had to walk over to Pathology this morning for a fasting blood sugar level test. I wonder what effect absolute fury has on your test results?


I went to lunch. Only Ray was there, from our usual Friday bunch. He gave me the button I lost when helping to move his old TV set. Lunch was ham steak with pineapple, on a bacon and cheese bun. That was a little different.

I was busy during the afternoon. Did not want to interrupt things to go to the social club Friday evening fund raiser. I am not attending much at all these days, and suspect I will continue to avoid pretty much all events in Carlyle Gardens in future.

Sprayed some more of the plants trying to grow around the edge of the house. Also sprayed some weeds in the garden. It seems the previously sprayed weeds did die off, it just took a lot longer than I expected. I manage to spray two more of the Asian kitchen geckos latter in the evening.

Saturday 21 April 2012


Up late, at six. We went to Willows. Newsagent opened late, so we shopped in Woolworths first. Found several of our regular items on special, so we stocked up. Not much luck in Coles, but we started making another list for Monday. Jean failed to get her hair dye in BigW. Out of stock. I was able to get all four weekend newspapers.

Battery Levels

Over the past 24 hours, each of the Bluetooth wireless devices for the Apple computer has run out of battery. I have recharged each. For reasons not clear to me, mouse and keyboard showed 100% after charging, but the touch pad showed 91% when the charger thought it was all charged. The mouse batteries got really hot and took a long time to charge from 7%. The keyboard batteries charged very quickly from 19%, and did not get warm. Weird.

Sunday 22 April 2012

DVD Metadata

I again wasted a lot of the day adding descriptions of chapter titles to the H.264 conversions I had done from DVDs. As I had gone through the most recent iteration of adding metadata, I had put aside every DVD where the metadata was not already included in the H.264 file. Now I went through pulling out all the DVDs that had a list of Chapter titles on the paper cover stock. One of the reasons for a failure to get the data from tagChimp originally is that many DVDs sold in Australian were packaged with different Chapters to the overseas version. So I could not get the data automatically, as the chapter count would not match the Australian DVD.

It was easy, albeit tedious, to type each Chapter title in to the H.264 in MetaX, so they could be updated on tagChimp. Every now and then a DVD cover would have a different number of Chapters to what I had ripped. These went into another pile for further processing when time permitted. Most of these will prove to be due to carelessness by the Australian DVD distributors.


I had my weekly does of TV watching, which for me means public affairs. In the morning, ABC's Barry Cassidy Insiders, followed by Alan Kohler's Inside Business. In the late afternoon (aided by a large whiskey and dry), I watched 10's Meet the Press, followed by The Bolt Report.

Monday 23 April 2012

DVD Metadata

I again wasted a lot of the day adding descriptions of chapter titles to the H.264 conversions I had done from DVDs. This time it was DVDs that did not have descriptions on the cover stock. The vast majority of these do have Chapter titles as part of the scene selection. The trouble with DVDs is you have to wait ages. First some advertising bumph about who is the producer or distributor. Plus an FBI or other cop warning that every DVD pirate ignores. While all this happens, you are locked out of the menu selection, so you can not get to the list of scenes. DVDs these days are less use than pirated movies.

So it took a long while (much of it spent doing something else while waiting) to get these Chapter titles transferred into the H.264 files, and sent to tagChimp via MetaX. However I need to complete this soon. The last three computers I bought did not have a DVD drive. I can not see a lot of point in actually having a DVD drive in a computer, but that is where I want to store the movies I have bought.


Hid in metadata all day.

Tuesday 24 April 2012

DVD Metadata

I did more metadata. I completed details of all the easy to correct DVDs I could find. Alas, the piles of problem DVDs is formidable.


I hid in metadata as long as I could. Went off in her car with Jean, and we refuelled it. Some shopping at Willows, and I collected the newspaper. Then back to the metadata.

I did have an enjoyable lunch at the restaurant with Sue, Dot, Pat, Clare, Ray and John on hand. I stayed as long as I could, since I had a doctor's appointment at two.

Leigh saw me in reception. She mentioned some psych students from JCU who visit each year to do surveys as part of their course. Sounds lengthy, but I could do it if I am on hand there.


My blood sugar level is back to 5.9, which is technically in the standard range. Chatted for a while about the future of Australian jobs. Neither of us seem optimistic.

Computer Club

A wonderful informative session on selling things on eBay. It has pretty much convinced me not to bother trying to sell on eBay. I see a garbage bin in the future of my junk.

Wednesday 25 April 2012

To Airlie Beach

We managed to get everything into Jean's car, and were on the road by six. There are still a lot of construction delays on the Bruce Highway. A bit of overcast helped keep the rising sun out of my eyes. Stop an hour or so later at Home Hill, where council staff were cleaning the facilities. That town has the best facilities along the way. However very little else was open.

We stopped at Inkerman for bacon and eggs for breakfast, since they were open. Given it is ANZAC day, we were not sure anything would be open. Jean could not get a connection from her iPad to the Telstra 3G data network at Inkerman. My new iPad connected fine. No idea why there is a difference.

Jean took over the driving. In the Whitsundays, the two main shopping centres were closed, which is unusual for a tourist area, even on a national day. Service stations were open.

Airlie Beach

It took five trips to unpack Jean's car. That is a way less than usual, and two of those trips were for food, which was real hard to stuff in the small fridge freezer. It seems that many items are now in the correct, albeit possibly temporary, location.

The temperature had been climbing. It reached 300C around midday, which seems a bit high for the end of April. We ran the ceiling fans, although I did not bother to power up the air conditioner main unit.


Jean could not connect with the internet via Jim's WiFi. My iPad was claiming that the iPad password to the Airport Express was not being accepted. I have no idea why this connection is not working. However even if anything did connect to the Airport Express, the internet connection beyond the Airport Express is dead.

I sent out a bulk email to say I would run a party. However the iPad is claiming the address format is wrong. So I do not know if the email was actually sent. I must send a feature upgrade request to Apple.

I restarted Jim's internet connection late that afternoon. That seems to have got us connecting to the internet for the moment.


I was delighted when Jean went through all the sensible possibilities for dinner, and then decided on pizza. I have the Dominoes pizza store app on my iPhone, so (after some expected senior citizen fumbling) I soon had an order placed. then it was down the twelve flights of stairs. A remarkably short wait. Then up the twelve flights of stairs, not nearly as quick. Still, I did the twelve flights of stairs in five minutes. The Runkeeper app on my iPhone thinks I covered four or five kilometres at about 50 kph. Not likely.

I ran into Graeme and his wife on the stairs, so I invited them to the party on Saturday.

The Domino supreme classic crust was really nice, although I think we got BBQ sauce rather than the default tomato sauce - it worked much better than what I thought I ordered.

TOR USA to drop DRM

I have been on the TOR email list for a while now. I was sort of thinking of dropping out of it. The ebooks (often) have geographical restriction. They have Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). Except for a few samples, I never buy DRM infested products (unless, like DVDs, I can easily remove the DRM). So every year I would buy a few hundred dollars (well, I guess it runs thousand now) more Baen Books that are DRM free, but never the TOR books. This despite TOR having many, many authors whose works I want in ePub. I am real glad Charles Stross wrote about ebooks and DRM.

Just the other day, I ordered a Fujitsu SnapScan 1500M scanner. I had decided I was going to move all my financial and business paperwork into electronic versions. However at the back of my mind was also the possibility of cutting the spines off any paperback for which I could not find an ebook version, scanning them, and seeing what the OCR software made of the resulting mess.

I would much rather just buy the book… again.

Thursday 26 April 2012


I grabbed email when I got up. Jean decided she could not face an early morning walk, even for breakfast at the Coffee Club. I went for my walk, but my legs were so stuffed from the run up the stairs yesterday evening that I could hardly move. So my walk was only two and a half kilometres. I did check that Coffee Club at the Port of Airlie Marina were indeed preparing to open for breakfast at seven in the morning. Since the newsagent also opens at seven, I collected back issues of the Whitsunday Times, minus one missing issue.

I also checked at Reception, and found I had a parcel delivery to collect from the Airlie Beach Post Office. That will be for my BigPond internet connection, sent to an address that can not accept mail.

Laundry, before it rains. One of those confounded Asian kitchen geckos had been living on my airing rack, and using it as a jungle gym. I thought the spots were rust. So now I have another cleaning job thanks to those geckos. doing laundry meant I was late for breakfast, late showing, and late getting to the hairdresser. Jean had driven down, and had been slipped into an appointment in place of someone who did not turn up. I missed out today.

We drove to the Whitsunday Shopping Centre at Cannonvale, which also includes the Airlie Beach Post Office. I collected my undelivered BigPond parcel.

Jean encouraged me to actually check Centrelink, something I had been ignoring.

We walked down the street to Hogs Breath Cafe for lunch, at Jean's suggestion. She was concerned we might encounter rain, as per the weather forecast, if we had dinner there. Lunch worked pretty well, with our favourite steaks. We even managed to get through them. We were amused to notice Pepperjack Shiraz on the wine list, alas at an awesome $13.25 a glass or $42 a bottle. This is our standard red wine at home.

We walked back via the beach path. Stopped at the T shirt shop. This had several amusingly worded shirts. I stopped to chat with Mark and Jodie before they left. I also stopped to chat with John.

Later in the afternoon I chatted with Graeme and Carol at their unit.


I was encouraged by Jean and others to attempt to get a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. I had been ignoring this (as I do most things from governments), as the only thing I thought it of use for was getting a discount on Great Southern Rail.

Centrelink at Cannonvale was a surprise. We had visited perhaps a decade ago, I think to deliver a parcel to someone who worked there. It was now a giant, modern looking open plan office. Good service as well. A helpful staff member produced a multi-page form, which we completed (for inadequate values of completed) at a table in the open space. One of their staff came over as we finished, and at their desk helped us get anything missing into the form. It appears I have now completed the formalities of getting the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, even if I am not sure I will ever use it for anything.

Whitsunday Terraces

I found that on site managers Mark and Jodie were leaving. I am very sorry to hear this, and wished them well in trying times in the future. I heard of a fire on a balcony, under circumstances that should never have occurred. I also learnt Pete has been doing some of the light gardening work, at the behest of Mark and Jodie. It is all a sad tale I fear.

Old El Paso Spicy Bean Dip

I had an email response from General Mills. They tell me their Old El Paso Spicy Bean Dip is no longer made, due to reduced customer demand. Pity it still appears on their web site, to confuse simple people like me.

Hmm, I wonder if I can recreate the recipe. They do sell Jalapeno peppers, so I have a starting point.


I collected the BigPond package (from Brightstar Logistics) from the Airlie Beach Post Office at Cannonvale (don't ask). It contained a flyer, an optical disc, and a modem filter. I guess that is how Telstra add value (I did have a filter, but it is possible it was not sufficiently well specified for ADSL2+). I was delighted to learn there was a PDF for Macintosh users on the optical disk. It is a bit of a pity that Apple have dropped optical disks on the major two of their computer lines, in preparation for totally dropping optical media.

Oh yes, and Jim's internet connection dropped out again sometime in the afternoon. I restarted it again around four.

Friday 27 April 2012

Internet Works

I was very pleased to note that our internet connection via Jim kept working. Despite this, I started doing the redundant data connection via my own phone line. I had a Netgear DP111P ADSL2+ modem on hand. Technically I had the information from Big Pond on how to get it all connected.

Alas, neither the Big Pond pamphlet, nor the CD, contained anything particularly relevant to Macintosh users. There was actually some Macintosh software, for a Thompson modem we did not have. The one useful item was an ADSL filter (I had one, but who knows how good it was). Luckily if you have done it before, connecting the ADSL modem is easy. I would have liked to have had a list of the appropriate settings, but defaults in modems are often fine. I had two passwords from Telstra. Needless to say, the one associated with the reference number on my Telstra paperwork was the one that did not work. Luckily changing the defaults on the ADSL modem is fairly easy.

When I connected, Telstra popped up a user satisfaction survey. I did have a few things to say about my satisfaction levels…

The internet connection via Jim dropped out around 5 p.m. I restarted it. I guess I will be doing some hot spot configuring on the internal connection tomorrow or Sunday.

Ripping DVDs

I finally started ripping the boxes of DVDs I had brought along, after checking that I did not already have rips of them. I imagine I will get all of a half dozen DVDs done by the end of the day (I did seven). I simply put aside all the items that seem to have issues, for attending to later. Persistence will eventually overcome most of these piles of DVDs.

A few old DVDs, like Nautilus, continue to defeat me. They seem to be via Royal Oak Entertainment. They truncate to a few seconds of video ripped, on both the old Mac the Ripper, and on Handbrake using the VLC routines. I still have methods three and four to try, but just set all the obstinate DVDs aside for later work.

Launching a Smartphone?

I was delighted to see Vlad Savov in The Verge ask How long does it take to launch a smartphone? It seems the 37 smartphones announced two months ago at MWC2012 are still only represented by 11 models actually available in shops. Usually only in a few countries - only two in the USA, one in Australia, for example. Only the HTC One S is widely available internationally. It is a lot easier to claim your next Android smartphone is great when no-one has seen or reviewed it.

Saturday 28 April 2012

Fire Alarm

I was awoken before three by the fire alarm for the Whitsunday Terraces. I could not see any problem when I finally went wandering round. The fire brigade folks were checking Driftwood Terrace, but not running out hoses. Greg had been here since Tuesday, and was also checking it out. I have no idea who the night staff are, now that the resident managers have resigned.

I hear on the grapevine that Unit 29 had a fire a few weeks ago. Combustible fuels stored on the balcony, is what I heard. Storage of flammable liquids is in breach of the Whitsunday Terraces by-laws. The real estate agent should have seen this during their routine inspections.


I noticed that my wireless connection to Jim's connection to the internet failed at 5:30 a.m. It was working and then simply stopped working. So I checked the direct modem connection that I now have to BigPond. That was still operating. Next step will be to see if one specific item of equipment at Jim's is failing. It may simply be the rather old Airport Express I installed. It does run hot. Alas for this theory, Jim's internet connection came back spontaneously within a few minutes. I figure that has to mean it is outside that is the problem (this time).


I went to the markets after Jean left. The showers had eased somewhat when we took her luggage to the car, and were hardly apparent when I reached the markets. There was sun when I returned. The markets were pretty much a dud for stalls. None of my favourites were there, including where I usually get breakfast.

I was able to get a sausage sizzle from an Autism Awareness Month charity booth, probably run by Rotary, along with a ticket in whatever they are offering. Looks like local Whitsunday businesses contributed heavily to the prizes. Good to see.

One interesting sight was a guy trying to earn money by making sand sculptures on the beach. He had completed a very impressive dragon, with fire in each nostril. Nicely done.

Ripping DVDs

I made my third attempt at ripping the DVDs of The Golden Compass, and The Social Network. I am not sure why I am bothering, as I do not really want to watch again. So far Mac the Ripper (old version) has failed on The Golden Compass. The DVD Player says The Social Network is Title 1. There is a lot of hesitation when I tell Handbrake to start converting Title 1 to H.264. The rip seems like it will take about three hours. I suspect it will be a bit of a dud. So far there are about a half dozen duds on the DVD re-rip pile. On the other hand, I have nine DVDs ripped today, and some have been double features, making at least 12 movies. Progress!


Pete and Dawn, Jonathan and Josie, Graeme and Karen, Rex and Myra, and I made nine. A lively group. Three pizza just covered the party, with a garlic bread left over. I probably should keep more non-alcoholic drinks on hand. Both orange juice and water were popular. I need some more beer also.

Sunday 28 April 2012


A morning walk for breakfast. Watched public affairs shows Insiders and Inside Business. Leftovers for lunch.

Asian kitchen geckos abound again. Although with the air conditioner being switched off, at least that is not at immediate risk. I got several of the geckos, but missed at least two of the vermin.

Restaurant Bookings

A restaurant can not afford no-show reservations. Taking phone bookings wastes time (and phone calls often go unanswered), so many restaurants accept bookings via internet. I would not bother to go to a restaurant that requires a booking (except in regard to a group booking by someone else). If I spontaneously go to a restaurant, and it has a queue, I go elsewhere. Often that is back home to check the scraps in the fridge. Restaurants are generally not my favourite place to eat.


A poor day for ripping, with only four DVDs done towards evening. However they included Seasons One and Two of Yes Minister. The metadata thus had to include separate files for all seven episodes for each season. This of course revealed I did not have the third season, nor Yes Prime Minister. So I added them to my DVD shopping list.

I also found a way to reconcile the chapter lists of a couple of rips with the actual DVDs. This let me add the chapter titles to several more rips, making a total of eight DVDs completed before I gave up for the evening.

Solar Panels at Whitsunday Terraces

I want to investigate solar panels at Whitsunday Terraces. The Body Corporate committee enforce the Whitsunday Terraces by-laws, under the Body Corporate And Community Management Act 1997. So the question is whether I can do so, mindful that the roof is not my property, but is a common area.

An interesting item at Body Corporate And Community Management Act 1997 - Sect 180 explicitly says a by-law must not include a provision that has no force or effect under the Building Act 1975, chapter 8A, part 2. In turn, Building Act 1975 - Sect 246O says you can not have a rule (d) prohibiting the installation of a solar hot water system or photovoltaic cells on the roof or other external surface of a prescribed building.

Monday 30 April 2012


I noticed that the MacBook Pro doing transcoding duties was no longer connected to the internet. I guess the new BigPond connection dropped out last night. Checked what was happening, without any solution. That wasted 23 minutes. Rebooting the ADSL modem brought the connection up again. The problem is, it should not drop out like that.

I am now keeping a record of the various settings the ADSL modem is picking up from BigPond. It does not correspond with what I originally had, nor with the defaults that BigPond say I should have.


I went for my morning walk, but by now late enough that I had the sun in my eyes part of the time. I did not buy a newspaper, as I have no small change. Managed to cover about 4.3 kilometres, at a reasonable pace. My thighs are starting to get used to the hills again.

My very quiet neighbour is leaving, and cleaning out her rubbish. I scored a little set of plastic drawers, which might help keep some clothes in order.


I had failed to get District 9 to rip correctly. I had 26 chapters, but 28 were showing on the DVD. A rip straight to transcoded H.264 with Handbrake resulted in only a few seconds of content. DVD Player shows the main feature is Title 1, but ripping that only also fails. I attempted to use RipIt. Got a playable rip that seems complete when I run it, however Handbrake fails to transcode more than a few seconds of it. Now I am trying a direct rip via Ripit, straight to H.264 via the VLC CLI.

Sony have been a pain in the arse about Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). If I had noticed District 9 was via Sony I would not have bought it in the first place. I would have waited and bought a second hand copy, so they did not make any money on it. Moon was Sony, but I had bought that second hand from a Video Ezy sale.

Ever since Sony BMG put a rootkit on Sony CDs in 2005 I have refused to buy any Sony product. I will not be happy about Sony until the dried out corpse of that evil corporation is swinging on the scaffold of bankruptcy. Then I would want the rootkit ridden corpse of Sony quartered, and buried at the crossroads, so it never returns.

Whitsunday Terraces

I see the grubs that either live here or walk through are still throwing rubbish around the grounds. I collected a bag full of rubbish as I walked back. A pity no-one enforces littering laws, as the side streets of Airlie Beach are disgusting.

Solar Panel Output

The solar power output figures last month (March 2012) showed it generated 2643kWh over 7783 hours. The figures for April are 2764kWh over 8125 hours. So the total hours operating in the 30 days of April 2012 were 342 hours, during which it generated 121kWh. About 4kWh per day, or 353 Watts per operating hour. This is a nominal 1 kW panel, operating under cloud and rain for some of the month.

Home and Away

AB 6, CG 19, T 5

Eric Lindsay's Blog April 2012