Eric Lindsay's Blog May 2012

Tuesday 1 May 2012


I was awoken by rain around three. A little later I heard what sounded like the watering system out of control, so I went down the steps to check it. Just a downpipe dribbling on elephant leaves. I am not sure the sprinkler system is working.

My early morning walk was 4.8km, according to Runkeeper. Down the street past the Port of Airlie Marina. Back via the Markets. People were setting up ready for the cruise ship that arrived in Pioneer Bay before six. I walked the beach path to the other end of Airlie Beach. Arrived at the newsagency just in time for it to open. Got The Australian. My shins did not like the steps and climb back up the hill. If a mere 50 metres up wrecks me so much, how to hill walkers manage?

Made Eggs Benedict for breakfast, discovering some cracked eggs that disrupted my preparations. Then just before 8:30 a.m. walked to the barber (busy, as expected). So I continued along to the markets and had a chat with Glenn.


I had a failure on both overnight DVD rips. These were Fugitive Mind and Nautilus, on which I have now tried three different rip methods. I can rip them to the hard drive and view them (Title 1) without the DVD, so the copy protection is compromised, but that is not what I need. When they are transcoded to H.264, I only get the first 20 or 30 seconds of warning message in the transcode. Someone did something very clever somewhere, and it is disrupting my transcoding.

I gave up on those three DVDs for the moment. Started to look at the giant box of DVDs of TV shows I brought with me. Picked A for Andromeda, with a mere three DVDs, and ran into slowdowns adding the metadata. This promises to be real slow. Also I suspect heaps of the DVDs on the shelves will need to be looked at again.


I failed to get a couple of iMessage replies out via Jim's internet connection. A quick test shows that it is again out of action. That was around 9:30 a.m. but it could have been out since late last night. I restarted it around 10:30 a.m. At that time my public IP address was

Jim's internet connection seemed to get partly stuck again around 11:30 a.m. Numeric ping and traceroutes work. Web pages mostly do not come in. The problem seems to be poor DNS. Then at 11:37 a.m. the DNS is up again, and web pages appear.

Internet connection out again at 11:55 a.m. At 12:10 p.m. I restarted just Jim's ADSL modem, but not the Airport Express (which was still showing a green light). Was able to ping numeric addresses after. My public IP address is now

Internet was down again at 2:45 p.m. Could have been down for a while. Rebooted Jim's ADSL modem connection. My public IP address is now Sigh!

Although numeric pings work, the internet connection simply goes dead from time to time. Then we get a timeout on ping soon after. Not impressed. I restarted Jim's ADSL modem a few minutes before five. My public IP address is now

The Telstra folks phoned around five to see how I was getting along with my new connection. It is working fine (although not everything is on it) so I had a nice chat with them. Hope my constant complaints about their Windows centric activity have some effect. They do make more concessions to the fact that Macintosh exists. Not sure they have really come to grips with iPad yet, but someone there is aware.

I noticed Jim's ADSL modem was down again at 8:40 p.m. This is getting silly.

I swung the Ethernet cable from my Netgear DP111P ADSL2+ modem connected to Telstra over to the Ethernet input of the Apple Time Capsule. That seemed to work. Now the problem will be whether it continues to work.

Time Capsule

I had started my Time Capsule. So that meant I could also tell my MacBook Air to use the Time Capsule as a backup disk for Time Machine. Using the two different Time Capsules provides automatic off site backups, albeit not always as up to date as each other. It seems to me a reasonable compromise, if it works. Alas, there seem to be issues with running two different Time Capsules.

Wednesday 2 May 2012


I was up around five collecting email and the like. The WiFi network connection via the Time Capsule to the Netgear ADSL modem and thence via Telstra was still working.

My six o'clock walk past the Port of Airlie Marina and back along the beach path was pretty good. Walked more than five kilometres, Runkeeper said, before I spoiled it all by entering McDonald's for breakfast.

Real estate agent was next door when I returned, doing an inspection. New tenant due today. Agent says there was a real surge in tenant numbers about a month ago, but it is back to being slow now. They got their cleaners in to clean what was cleaned the other day. It looked clean to me both times, but anyone who has seen my place knows my standards are not high.

Off to the barber again for 8:30. This time I got a nine o'clock appointment, so I went for a short walk. The sand sculpture folks were at the beach, doing a really nice big dragon. Saw one of the local cleaners on the street, who says he is so busy he can not keep up. There goes one chance to get this place more tidy.

Met my new neighbour, who seems a nice young chap. He did not seem terribly impressed with the steps either.


I have been getting a reasonable internet connection via Telstra BigPond. However my computers claimed they could not see my Time Capsule (via which they were connected to the internet) for backup purposes. AirPort Utility could not see it either. Weird. I eventually rebooted, and then got the Time Capsule to update its firmware. My automatic wireless backup has now worked a few times since then.

DVD Metadata

I have been using MetaX and adding metadata to tagChimp for a 1990's TV series Dark Skies history as you know it is a lie. However a mere five DVDs and 20 episodes of data have had me stalled for the better part of 24 hour. I am real glad I started with a small test case. Emptying that big box of TV show DVDs is going to take forever!

As a change of pace, I started working on getting the H.264 file names to match the contents (as distinct from names like ST-E S1_01, which I mistakenly used when ripping the original DVDs). The correct way to name TV shows is whatever the majority of people are using on tagChimp, because that will save effort later on. That should keep me busy for a fair while. So far I have done Star Trek Enterprise. Since I do not recall ever seeing the actual show, I connected the newish Kogan Blu-Ray player via HDMI (it seems I had not done that previously), and watched the DVDs of the first three episodes during the evening.

Evening Entertainment

Someone on the Airlie Beach foreshore is shouting a song this evening. No idea what the event is, but the loudspeakers are distorting. Now an MC is murdering the microphone, for all the young ladies? Entertainers? Who knows. I keep forgetting how much of a pain these entertainment events are in Airlie Beach.


I are monumentally pissed off to note that after a few days or working perfectly, my new hugely costly Telstra phone line and Big Pond internet connection at Airlie Beach has failed around 10 p.m. Just like every other internet connection I have used over the past year has randomly failed. I had better reliability (but much lower speed) when everything was on dial up.

Internet Phone Fraud

A mumbling call from Mumbai. It seems my computer has a virus, and Microsoft want these kindly folks to do something about this, presumably at vast expense. I laughed at them.

These virus phone calls are close to a fraud, intended to get your credit card number. They persuade people to put remote control software on a Windows PC, and then install helpful software.

If I were running the phone system, I would see if I could block every phone call from whatever area they are using as their base.

If you do not see this as a problem, think about what happens when the National Broadband Network arrives in your area. Every phone call is then done directly as an IP mediated data connection. The cost of a phone call is effectively zero (which is true today, but the phone companies are reluctant to admit it). Spam phone calls will skyrocket. I predict the end of the fixed line phone will follow shortly thereafter.

If I did not need a phone line (well, the copper wire part of it) to connect to the internet, I would not have a fixed line phone at all. Despite being on the Do Not Call register, almost the only phone calls I get are spam telemarket calls, mostly from charities.

Thursday 3 May 2012


So around five in the morning, I restarted the ADSL Modem, with a direct Ethernet connection to the computer. Numeric pings and traceroute worked, and now I had a working domain name service. I did speed tests, which show I am getting nothing like the ADSL2+ speed I am paying for. I am getting 3.3 Mbps or 412 KB/s. Uploads 815 Kbps. So I plugged the ADSL Modem Ethernet cable into the Apple Time Capsule router, and connected via WiFi. Success.

Why did the Telstra service die at 10 p.m. last night? No idea. I have made no change to any of my settings.


A cruise ship, Pacific Dawn I believe, has entered Pioneer Bay. After re-connecting to the internet, I went for a six o'clock walk along the foreshore. Got ambused by garden sprinklers on the path across from the marina. Tents were going up at the markets, so I chatted briefly with Glenn. Collected the local Whitsunday Times newspaper. Not back home until nearly seven thirty, having walked just over five kilometres in just over an hour, according to Runkeeper.

Eggs Benedict for breakfast, this time with no mistakes in the preparation. However the sauce is not exactly authentic (I got it from a bottle). I must see about doing my own sauce sometime.

It was too hot today for me to want to walk back down to the main street and markets. Especially as I did not really have any need to do shopping.

Advertising on Twitter

I was on Twitter, complaining about Telstra and BigPond, when I saw a Promoted Tweet. This is a fancy way to say inline text advertising. It is marked as a Promoted Tweet in grey, at least on the Twitter web page. I found four in my Timeline, plus one in a list of suggested people to follow.

I wonder when the first Safari extension to block Promoted Tweets will appear?


A very limited start to correct metadata. Just getting the correct name on each episode of some H.264 transcodes from Star Trek Voyager DVDs. Even that took most idle time in my day. I just changed another file name each time I passed the computer.

I have found I failed to transcode two episodes, so I have to fix that. No, the issue was a lot of two part episodes are encoded on the DVD as a double length feature, so there is no error.

Continuing with Star Trek, I have two sets of The Original Series. One is the cleaned and remastered USA set, in NTSC (ugh) which the music dealer at Cannonvale had on hand (at fabulous expense). However I had not realised that JB HiFi had organised a PAL version of the remastered set, and I had bought that sometime and stuck it on the shelf. So I had ripped ST-TOS twice. Just as well, as the PAL version is much nicer. However I seem to have an extra episode or two for each season in the PAL version. Checking the DVDs, it looks like the final DVD for the first season has a lot of additional material. Otherwise the first season titles seem identical. I guess I will change the H.264 file names for these as well.

Email Protocols

I fear moving to a new Internet Service Provider (ISP) in one place means manually changing things like email, originally set up elsewhere with a different ISP. I do not trust advertising supported cloud sourced Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) email, like GMail, especially from companies such as Google that make all their money from advertising. BigPond, for instance, are outsourcing their mail to Microsoft Live.

While there are good arguments for using IMAP, there are no good arguments (except being cheap) for using mailing systems paid for by advertisers. In particular, your email history and content is held hostage on their servers. If they decide to dump email (like Google dumped many other beta products) your email disappears (unless you have deliberately kept local copies).

So I would always be sticking with a paid, contractual relationship with my email provider. In this case, for most of my email, I am stuck with Post Office Protocol (POP), where you are responsible for keeping your downloaded email on your own local computer. e-mail clients using POP generally connect, retrieve all messages, store them on the user's PC as new messages, delete them from the server, and then disconnect. I also believe this suits the intermittent nature of internet connections in rural Australia better than the continuous connection of IMAP.


A new ISP does not have to mean your email address changes. Receiving email with all your old addresses can remain the same, if you own your own email address.

Sending email outbound can be a problem. In general, an ISP will restrict how you can send email, especially on the default mail Port 25. This change happened starting around 2004, and is basically a reaction to spam email. So your outward email via Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) must work the way your ISP says. In general, you will have to authenticate that you are entitled to send email. This can be hard, because you may have a different ISP settings when at home, at work, staying at a hotel, or using a mobile phone.

Sending email via iiNet uses as their SMTP server. Sending email via Telstra BigPond used as their SMTP server, until very recently, so now almost everything you find via Google or other search engines is now wrong.

BigPond now uses Windows Live (basically HotMail), which uses addresses and for BigPond email. The inward POP mail server requires a secure connection (SSL) on default SSL Port 995. The SMTP server requires a secure TLS connection on default TLS Port 587 (at least on MacMail, iPhone, Outlook). You can find Telstra BigPond basic email settings.

Smultron Text Editor is Back

A while ago I was delighted to find Peter Borg's Smultron Text Editor was back. This is great, with some cautions. There are two versions. Old style, a slightly revised version of the old, but enough to make me decide to delete the stalled Fraise fork of the editor. On my small MacBook Air display I did some find tuning of fonts (menlo regular 18 point) so I could see things. I left the text black, gave the display background a very slight tint, and set the current line to white. Just gives a little barely perceptible visual cue as to where you are. I also left invisible characters like paragraph markers in aqua, so I could find them if I wanted them, but so they did not mostly stand out.

My reason for wanting to have the old version of Smultron available is that every now and then I throw 40 or 50 files in it for bulk editing. That seems a better match to the bulk task than the new Lion only version, which I will also test soon.

Smultron for Lion

I started using Peter Borg's Smultron Text Editor for Lion. The great advantage of Smultron (vs more elaborate editors) is that the learning curve when getting started is exceedingly low. There are editors with far more features, but typically you need to work harder to make use of all the features. This effort does not make sense, unless you tend to live within an editor all the time. In which case, you will probably want an editor customised to your work, such as programming (TextMate or BBEdit), or writing web pages (Coda or Espresso). Smultron is a good starting point for either of these tasks, provided they are not what you do full time. So I am writing the xhtml for this blog using Smultron. However I spend very little time actually doing so. Little bursts of a few minutes every few hours is typical. For the past few months, while contemplating a new editor, I was using Apple's Text Edit. before that, I used Fraise, and before that Smultron. I dropped them because they were not being updated a few years ago.

Limits to Search

I sent Apple an enhancement request for their Safari web browser. Dropdown search field list only offers Google, Yahoo! and Bing as options. I assume Apple has contractual arrangements with each. However can fussy users have an initially empty fourth position, into which a user could add their own choice of search provider (such as DuckDuckGo or some specialised search), perhaps via a defaults setting in Terminal? Sometimes Apple add what I ask for, if others also request it.

Friday 4 May 2012


I was up late for my walk, but still managed half of it around the Port of Airlie Marina before the sun rose from behind the hill. Managed to walk about 5.5 kilometres, according to Runkeeper.

Laundry as soon as I got home. I didn't want to disturb the new neighbour by starting a washing machine at six. I eventually managed to get two loads of laundry out into the sunshine.


I added episode names to ST-TOS, season 2 before breakfast. By comparing episode starting scenes with the USA version of the DVD set, I was able to do this a lot quicker. It sure looks like the JB HiFi Australian set of ST-TOS has a lot more extra commentary material. At least, I seem to have ripped more of it.

ST-TOS season 3 was more of a challenge. The JB HiFi version (in the tin slip cases) with eight, eight and seven DVDs, nominally contained less than the USA version. The USA (fancy plastic collectors boxes) version had ten, eight and seven DVDs. However when I checked the episodes, my H.264 transcode of the USA version lacked Season 3, episodes 21 to 24, which correspond to the sixth DVD. Sigh!

So I retranscoded all of DVD 6 of the USA edition of ST-TOS, third season. We will see if it corresponds with the same transcodes from the Australian JB HiFi version. At the rate I am going, my last DVD player will have died before I get everything transcoded correctly.

Alas, tagChimp did not seem to be supplying MetaX with data for well known TV shows. I am reluctant to type everything in myself when I am certain the metadata is already available out there.

Cursor Keys Broken

An annoying Apple OS X bug, which I think is specific to Lion. The Command left arrow, and the Command right arrow keys lose their cursor movement binding. This is not a configuration problem. This is a repeating bug.

Solar Power Installations

I notice little is said about the limits of grid interactive rooftop solar power installations. The Australian electricity supply is specified as 230 volts (+10% -6%) in Australian Standard AS60038. This sets minimum (216) voltage, and maximum (253) voltage. Until 2000, this was a nominal 240 volts, while West Australia was 250 volts, both of which are higher than many countries.

A grid connected solar inverter is required (AS4777) to disconnect within two seconds if the mains voltage exceeds 255 volts, is below 210 volts, or if the frequency is outside 50Hz ±2Hz. In areas where the supply voltage is close to the limits (typically new residential housing suburbs not fully built out), voltages tend to be high. If a large number of rooftop solar panels are installed, it can push up the mains voltage sufficient that some solar inverters will trip. Then the householder gets no feed in tariff until the voltage goes down again. That should be pretty rare, but it is a terribly important safety issue that solar inverters do not feed power back to the mains when the mains are out.

Saturday 5 May 2012


I was up late, with the sky already lightening. Still no luck with tagChimp's database, so I checked the news and email. Too lazy to do a long walk, so around 7:30 a.m. I walked to the markets. Usual egg and bacon roll, usual sassing with Bruce at the stall. Saw Glenn, and Rex, and a couple of other locals. Collected newspapers, and an Australian MacWorld, on the way back home. By then it was over thirty degrees, so I opened up the rest of the doors in the hope of cross breezes.


I was not doing well with access to metadata. So I picked a TV show unlikely to be in tagChimp, namely Earth2. I started adding metadata to my H.264 transcodes. Seems it will take me about two days per season (luckily there is only one season). I found one rip that was only included two chapters. So there is a good reason for adding the chapter metadata from the DVD. Sometimes you find bad transcodes. I kept going back to the computer, and completed the metadata for the entire 22 episodes of Earth 2, including all the Chapter titles.

USB and Firewire

The first thing to understand is that Firewire and Universal Serial Bus (USB) were designed for different purposes. Intel co-invented USB in 1994 as a slow (12 mbps) single master to multiple slave peripheral bus, in which the CPU is heavily involved. USB has little opportunity to offload overheads. USB was intended to be cheap. Various kluges have improved the capability of USB, however it can never become a system bus.

So USB was a great idea for a keyboard, or a mouse, or a graphics tablet. Once speeds increased to 480 mbps (USB2) in 2000, it was acceptable for disk drives, including USB Flash drives. The greatest advantage of USB was it was a cheap design.

This did not mean USB was universally accepted originally. Computers came out with a full range of legacy connectors for keyboard and mouse, even though they had USB. Rather ironically, the first computer to drop separate keyboard and mouse connectors in favour of USB was the original Apple iMac.

IEEE1394 (aka Firewire) was better for smart peripherals, because it was a peer to peer system, not a master slave system. Firewire was designed by Apple around 1985, and with others extended to IEEE1394 in 1995. It was intended to connect things like streaming video from a drive or a smart camera to a computer or a smart display. Alas, we basically never got any smart displays. Television and large display monitors basically entirely avoided Firewire. I recall trying to find a monitor with Firewire. No luck.

Firewire was more expensive, but for continuous video, a nominal 400 mbps original Firewire easily outpaced a nominal 500 mbps USB2 port. Plus it did it with hardly any CPU intervention. However it was more expensive. The average computer user avoided Firewire, because of cost. They never realised why it is better for some things.

Sunday 6 May 2012


A police wagon on the street outside, with the bright flashing light, around 5 a.m. I figured I might as well get up and check the internet. I went off for my morning walk a bit after six, and walked over five kilometres. I think the twelve flights of stairs are a bit easier now.

Pete dropped in during the afternoon, and we sat and talk. Not as much work done as I planned, but it was a Sunday after all.


I guess it will all depend on whether tagChimp is letting me have fill in data for episodes. If not, I might start correcting file names for SeaQuest DSV, which I feel was under-rated SF. On the other hand, there are three long seasons of it. Might do something shorter, so more is crossed off the list.

Instead I did the metadata for Crusade, since that was a mere five DVD 13 episode season. For reasons not clear to me, the DVDs contained first titles consisting of the first two episodes, of the three on each DVD. The menu system was also weird, so if you played individual episodes, the third had commentary by writers and directors and others. The mastering of DVDs by the studios is sometimes just weird.

OS X Command Arrow Keys Dead

The Apple OS X Lion bug with the inoperative Command Left Arrow and Command Right Arrow keys persists, despite restaring applications. I will try a reboot. This shit is just like I remember Windows.

Yes, a restart fixed the Command key bug. Hard to blame a configuration issue when a restart fixes it.

Crazy Climate

I hear Suncorp will refuse to insure homes in Roma and Emerald, both of which had a flood or two in the past few years. We humans have a bad habit of living on floodplains. Or along tsunami swept shorelines near fault lines. Or river deltas below sea level. If you had decent choices, you would not live there. This may be yet another indication that file system earth is full.

Thunderbolt and USB

The first thing to understand is that there is absolutely no realistic technical comparison between Intel's Thunderbolt and Universal Serial Bus (USB). USB is a peripheral bus. The technologies are even more different than USB and the superior Firewire.

Intel's co-invented USB as a cheap single master to multiple slave peripheral bus, in which the CPU is heavily involved. USB has little opportunity to offload overheads. Various kluges have improved the capability of USB, however it can never become a system bus.

So USB was a great idea for a keyboard, or a mouse, or a graphics tablet. Once speeds increased to a nominal 480 mbps (USB2), it worked well with slower USB Flash drives, and it was acceptable for disk drives. The greatest advantage was it was a cheap design.

USB3 (late 2008 but only just starting to become available) has increased the speed of a USB connection ten times to a nominal 5 gbps. Obviously there is no need for this for a mouse or keyboard, but like USB2, USB3 is backward compatible with slower peripherals. So USB3 will improve the connection speed to external hard drives. This will be all that the average computer user will understand.

Incidentally, at the time I write this, not a single Windows driver can run USB3 at the full claimed 5 gbps duplex speed. This would be the case even if there were single hard drives out there that could sustain those speeds (there are not). So do not expect to see an instant 10 to 1 speedup over USB2. It does not work that way.

In contrast, Thunderbolt is a system bus. It essentially extends Intel's internal system PCIe bus to external devices. This difference will not be understood by the average computer user, who will mainly see the higher price for Thunderbolt.

Monday 7 May 2012


I woke early, to cool weather, and could not get back to sleep. Alas, I do not seem to be able to get any decent work done either.

Some drunken Australian yobbo idiots went wandering along the main street just after five, shouting out and disturbing the peace. The nightclubs close at five. I fail to see why the pubs are permitted to stay open until after midnight to cater to drunks. It is obvious the pubs and nightclubs in Airlie Beach fail to exercise responsible service of alcohol (that is, stop serving drunks). The pubs and clubs are basically drug dealers, making money from the young and the foolish. The police reports of continued overnight violence support this. I think it is well past time to take the same sort of attitude towards public drunkenness as has been taken to smoking in public. Make it uncomfortable and unfashionable. Close the drug dealers earlier in the evening, not in the early hours of the morning.

Internet Access

I had a brief loss of internet access around 1:30 p.m. just after accessing YouTube. That was only for a few seconds. Long enough for me to try a numeric ping, and note a failure to get any packets through. It came back on a second attempt at a ping.

At 2:30 p.m. I was unable to do a Google search. A ping and a traceroute to Google's numeric IP address worked. So did a traceroute to However there was no access to Google via my web browser. I could not get through to my USA hosted web site that holds this blog. I could get through to Australian universities. No contact with my other web sites (on a separate USA host). Then, all of a sudden at 2:50 p.m., I could get a very slow connection that soon cut off.

A numeric ping to one of Google's public DNS addresses started fast, and then got stalled for a while in Telstra Brisbane. At Telstra Sydney, it hit one of Google's addresses, and started bouncing around addresses belonging to Google in Sydney. Claims to have eventually got there, but with about five addresses not showing. I think the links to the USA are having problems. I eventually got a partial load of my site at Server101. Same sort of partial load from Dreamhost.

Restarted Jim's ADSL (a third party connection, but using Telstra exchange connection) at 3:12 p.m. and connected to it via WiFi. Started getting connections after a bit of a delay. Interesting. But is it a co-incidence? Switched back to Telstra BigPond, and everything got slow again. So the problem could be my ADSL modem (I doubt that), but is not the Telstra exchange here in Airlie Beach. The problem is somewhere in the Telstra infrastructure.

I have one computer connected to one phone line, another computer connected to Jim's. So there are two separate connections. However the common failure points could include the actual wiring (not that, because pings were getting through). More likely Telstra equipment in Brisbane or Sydney. Now getting timeouts on numeric pings on both lines at 3:50 p.m. I hope this means someone from Telstra has rebooted their equipment in Brisbane or Sydney.

Restarted both ADSL modems at 4:07 p.m. Numeric ping working. Numeric traceroute slow via Jim's Telco in a Box. Web pages coming in. Jim's modem went down again. Mine stayed up. Ozspeedtest shows 798 kbps or 100 KB/s, which is not startlingly quick.


I was very slack today with TV show metadata. All I did was correct the file names for the three season of Seaquest DSV. tagChimp keeps insisting (via the web) that it has tagged this show. However MetaX can not bring in the data. So I did not manage to add a single tag.

Telstra Use Windows Live

I gather the Telstra Big Pond internet service provider (ISP) now using Microsoft's Windows Live for their email. My impression was that Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) is proprietary, not compatible with the two internet email standards (POP and IMAP). Apple's iOS based iPhone and iPad do have Microsoft Exchange Server support, which I am told is pretty good.

Thunderbolt and USB

Thunderbolt extends Intel's exceedingly fast internal PCIe system bus outside the computer box. This completely changes how you might design your computer system, especially for portable computers. This is the big thing that Thunderbolt makes possible.

As Anand Lal Shimpi said in a later Windows motherboard review. The beauty of Thunderbolt is it's near invisible to the OS. You don't need to install any drivers to take advantage of it, just plug your devices in and as long as your devices have driver support they'll just appear. The OS has no idea that your SATA, Ethernet or RAID controllers are sitting a few feet outside of your box, they all appear as normal PCIe devices. That expresses it better than my original paragraph.

The importance of Thunderbolt is not in the speedy specifications. Only geeks care that each channel supports 10 gbps, in each direction, for two channels, for a total of 40 gbps. Each channel is forward compatible to 100 gbps, which implies a future 80 times USB speeds.

USB has significant CPU overhead, unlike Thunderbolt's custom chips. These overheads get far worse for USB3 (it is the speeds). USB3 does not (as far as I know) handle committed writes, RAID, NCQ, as needed by ultra high speed drive access. USB is a peripheral bus. As a peripheral bus USB works just fine. That is not the same thing as a system bus like Thunderbolt.

Tuesday 8 May 2012


I left a little later in the morning, and walked with the rising sun behind me along the Bicentennial Walkway to Cannonvale. This takes you past some delightful seascapes, plus various resorts from before the GFC. As you pass the mangroves at the Cannonvale waterfront there is the start of the new Botanical Gardens. I stopped several time for photos, but still managed five kilometres in an hour.

The Brumby's bread shop had snack sized meat pies, so I had that for breakfast. Shopped in Coles, once it opened at eight, for things I should not get. Luckily there was a taxi outside at the rank, so I was able to get home before the ice cream melted.

Pete dropped in. I want to get gardens in Florin Terrace cleaned up.


I had internet this morning around five. However when I returned from Cannonvale, I found I had no internet at 9:23 a.m. via BigPond. Numeric ping and traceroute fail to get through. I need an ADSL modem with really decent line diagnostics. I could not even get to its web page.

My netGear DM111P ADSL modem was showing a red light for internet connection. I power cycled the ADSL modem. It had a lot of green lights flashing as it restarted. Pings times showed minimum 331, average 515, maximum 685, with a standard deviation of 114 millisecond, and a dropped package. That is fairly obscene, but the connection might still be getting established. Pings should be around 50 ms, with SD of less than a millisecond.

A minute later, at 9:34 a.m. I had 59.5, 60.9, 61.9, with a SD of 0.650 ms. This is more like it. My public IP address is now Internet is working.

Internet connection is out at 10:22 a.m. Modem warning light is on. Powered down. Powered up modem at 10:31 a.m. decent ping times a few minutes later. My public IP address is

A guy from Telstra phoned me at around 5:30 p.m. to check if I was happy with the connection. During our conversation the matter of not having ADSL2+ speeds came up. He was going to check, once their system started giving decent results, and phone me back in a half hour. Not that this happened.

Noise from Marina

The construction equipment at the Port of Airlie Marina is once again noticeable. They appear to be making a car park at the far end of the Boathaven Apartments. They have a concrete pourer out there, and had a large pad area constructed over the past few weeks.

Federal Budget

For five successive tough budgets, Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has pissed money up against a wall. This mob couldn't run a tap. A tough budget is one in which you actually reduce spending, not one in which you increase spending. Labor are hoping fiscal drag will produce taxes well above population increases, and that this inflationary increase in taxes will cover their additional spending. About all you can say is that spending did not increase as fast as it might have.

Not that the Liberals were showing any great merit when Peter Costello held the Treasury portfolio. Their last six budgets did exactly the same. Costello could never manage to hold Howard's giveaways in check.

Wednesday 9 May 2012


My internet connection modem was showing a red disconnected light at 4:25 a.m. I power cycled it at 4:34 a.m. I can not connect with the ADSL modem when the red connect light is on. This means no remote diagnostics and no remote reboot. Ugh! It is now blindingly obvious there was a reason that NetGear DM111Pv2 ADSL2+ modem had been sitting in a box in the garage. My IP address is now, according to the modem. Outside world concurs.

The internet connection dropped out again around 11:45 a.m. No numeric ping even. No warning. Just timeouts. I power cycled the ADSL modem again. Back up briefly, but with lousy noise margins of 6 dB. Down again after a few minutes. Power cycled again at 12:47 p.m. to bring the connection up.

Internet connection out again at 1:05 p.m. with the flashing red light. Power cycled the ADSL modem yet again. Signal to noise is still pathetic at 6 dB. My public IP address is now

Internet is out of action again at 1:32 p.m. Modem showing red light again. Power sequence brought it back up after a while.

Internet out of action again at 5:30 p.m. No red light as yet. Modem claims that it is still connected. Numeric pings fail. Numeric trace route fails. Modem still claims it is connected, with acceptable signal to noise reading. After a few minutes, numeric ping comes back up. The web comes back shortly after. This had nothing to do with my equipment.

ADSL Modem Figures

Looking at the ADSL2+ A line statistics as supplied by the modem, my downstream line rate was 18055 kbps, attainable line rate 22260 kbps, noise margin 12.7 dB, line attenuation 26.2 dB, and output power 20.2 dB. However the download speeds I get, say at 5 a.m., are more like 3200 kbps. This is way below what the modem thinks can be achieved.

First, while excellent, that 26.2 dB line attenuation is more consistent with a Telstra exchange distance calculated closer to 2 km than the actual 600 metres. I do know the 30 year old main Telstra line across Waterson Way has been chopped at least once by a digger, which is a bad way to treat copper wire (and even worse for optical fibre). You do have to remember that the relationship between attenuation and line distance is totally theoretical. Ideally it is 13.63 dB per kilometre for a certain gauge Telecom wire, under perfect conditions. Conditions are rarely perfect. Telstra might have used different wire. They tended to use heavier gauge for long country runs in the past, but I suspect they gave that up some time ago.

Second, the noise margin of 12.7 dB is fair to the low end of the good range. I was really hoping for S/N above 20 dB. Given the distance to the exchange, it is not very encouraging. Either there is a lot of shit on the line, or the line contains multiple patches or poor punch down connections in the resort switch rooms.


I managed a 5 km walk at a good pace, under 10 minutes per kilometre. Stopped at Brumby's and got one of their snack pies. I must watch this habit.

Pete dropped in and we had a look at the Whitsunday Terraces grounds. I caught Greg just prior to him leaving. I also confirmed Rose would be back.

Blew up an egg in the microwave, when I found a hard boiled egg was not. Well, the microwave needed cleaning.

I installed some of the programs I had downloaded. I had put the registration details into Scrawl, so I was able to cut and paste to get them registered. Flying Meat's Acorn image editor (cheap because I had a previous version), and Voodoo Pad, on special. I also installed Clarify. Each wanted to update itself first.

A late night by my standards.


Completed metadata for SeaQuest DSV.

Thursday 10 May 2012


I was up and adding metadata early. Went for my walk, and was threatened by rain. The Port of Airlie marine is indeed constructing an absolutely gigantic car parking area around the entrance and eastern side. The concrete pouring equipment has been there for days.

The Lagoon was surrounded by bicycle riders on a fund raiser for cancer. Channel 7 outside broadcast was there, and I subsequently saw them on the 8 a.m. news. I took a few photos of the mob scene as I walked through. Walked more than five kilometres in my hour, and even collected the newspapers.

I did the laundry somewhat late as a result, so it did not go out on the balcony to dry until after eight. Luckily despite the odd cloud, it was all dry around lunchtime, and I brought it in.

Jean was doing heaps of iMessages, reporting an amazing array of visits to commercial premises. Willows for walking. Centrelink to do something about forms for me. The university to take care of more of my missing forms. Dan Murphy for something she was short of, but no beer for me. Good Guys to get a Roomba cleaning robot on special.

At two, I thought I heard a tap dripping. It was a small amount of rain dripping from the rooftop. Good timing for bringing in laundry.

Pete phoned mid afternoon to say the car had broken down. Not good for him.


Doing metadata for Terminator The Sarah Connor Chronicles. None of the DVDs have any chapter information on them, which does save me some typing. I completed these around midday.

Continued on with metadata for the single season Odyssey 5.


I had a working internet connection in the morning.

The ADSL modem says Sent/Received Data 25,455,083 / 1969379022 bytes prior to downloading iPhoto for iOS. After it was 26,270,943 / 2091862107 bytes. So the Sent overhead was 815,860 bytes. The download was 122,483,085 bytes. This is reasonably close to the 113 MB Apple say in the App Store.

Thunderbolt vs USB

Friday 11 May 2012

Internet Down

I grabbed a bunch of news to read at 5:15 a.m. Around 5:30 a.m. I noticed the ADSL modem was now showing a red light indicating no internet access. Sure enough, numeric ping or traceroute got nowhere. At 5:36, the red light turned green again. Ping and traceroute started working. My public IP address is now My line attenuation is 20.4 dB, however my signal to noise is absolutely lousy at 6 dB. No wonder I get dropouts.

Internet connection is down again at 9:44 a.m. when I tried it. No red light this time. Modem claims to be connected, but only for 4mins 3secs. Internet connection back up again. My public IP address is now so obviously I have been disconnected for a time. The modem was showing the connection was ADSL, not Auto. Attainable line speed 11,000 kbps, which is higher than ADSL, lower than ADSL2+. I assume the lousy signal to noise is a factor.


A walk of better than five kilometres, but my pace was not all that startling. I had breakfast from Brumbys bread shop. Must learn to avoid their mini sausage rolls, and snack pies.

Whitsunday Terraces

I had Pete do about four hours work in the Florin Terrace garden. Makes a remarkable change to the appearance of the place, even with that little bit. But that is less than half of one level out of six, for one building out of six. Seems to help establish my view that more work is needed on the gardens. I see at least 200 hours of work just getting the mess in the gardens straightened out. I can not see it being handled on less than about 30 hours a week, given how much of a mess it has been in the past three years.


I started working on Season One and Season Two metadata for Star Trek, The Original Series. I have both the digitally enhanced versions of this, the USA NTSC, and the JB HiFi PAL version. This means there are two sets of rip, with the Australia version looking better than the USA version. This is often not the case, as some Australian produced DVD sets are pathetic.

Due to my errors, I have to redo some of the Season One metadata. However I did complete Season Two.

Saturday 12 May 2012


No morning walk for me. Instead I will walk to the markets, when there has been time for them to set up.

Got my usual markets breakfast from Bruce. Chatted with Glenn and Alison, who were not able to come to the party, as they were housesitting for David and Eva. Chatted with Rex. Chatted with another Glen, for Padgett area, who was complaining about his internet connection dropping out.

Seemed to take a heap of time to cover the markets today. Not back until around ten. At least I had the weekend newspapers.

A small cruise liner arrived in Pioneer Bay around midday. Not so impressive in daylight, except when the sun lit it sideways, but it looked very nice at night all lit up with artificial light.


I continued working on Season One metadata for Star Trek, The Original Series. I have both the digitally enhanced versions of this, the USA NTSC, and the JB HiFi PAL version. Had that completed by around 6:30 a.m.

Just discovered why I had not started Season Three. The last four episodes are missing, which means I failed to rip them from the DVDs. So why can't I find the pretty plastic boxes in which they are contained? Must be somewhere. Somewhat later. Discovered I had made a typo in the file names. Added the metadata for season three, and it is now all complete.


I had a heap of people, despite so many being away. Ron dropped up from 60, and helped with some beer. Jonathan and Josie soon appeared. I knocked on Jim's door, and he came over. Pete arrived. Rex brought two WWOOFers, Michael and Ellen from France. Rose and Chad came, with their children (and pencils and paper for them to draw). Dave from next door came later. That made fourteen, I think. I sure am glad I had bought a couple of extra chairs. Got through four pizza and garlic bread. Nothing left over for me, and that was after Ron left.

Sunday 13 May 2012


I was pleased that the internet connection had stayed up all day yesterday, and still worked this morning. My public IP address had been stable at for some time.


I went for a later than usual walk, and kept it short. Watched the public affairs shows Insiders and Inside Business on the ABC, while I read the remains of the newspapers.

Jean reminded me I needed a bus ticket. Apart from Greyhound's dreadful web site (text fields make no allowance for my default fonts being larger than their tiny impossible to read text), I was able to buy the ticket. But they said to print it. Opps!

Jean and I spend some time trying to configure iMessage to be even more use. I had been getting inconsistent results with messages not reaching all my devices. It seems anyone with an Apple ID had is no longer an email address has issues. However if you do have an older style .mac or Mobile Me Apple ID, you can not change it. Makes for a bit of a catch 22.

Wireless Printing

I have a newish HP Photosmart Premium C310 series wireless printer that came with my MacBook Air computer. I had even used the printer about three months ago. However now it did not want to work. I further note that I loath printing, since it so rarely works. What is worse, after fiddling around, I got it working, but I have no idea which of the things I did was the magic trick to start it. It was showing on the network, and showing ink levels, just not there as far as printing was concerned.

Apple iPad Cellular

I am delighted to note that Apple now list iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular, instead of iPad Wi-Fi + 4G. I have no idea why Apple Australia initially used that formulation of 4G, especially when they were warned about the issue. I am pleased that they have now changed their web site. But why did they not do that in the first place?

I also look forward to a more distant future iPad with real 4G. Something that does not exist in Australia (or anywhere else commercially) at the moment. No, LTE is not 4G. It never has been, and a press release does not change that. LTE is 3.9G, and too slow for 4G. LTE Advanced (and advanced Wi-Max) will be 4G, and these exist only in laboratories. As well as telling Apple, ACCC should also be telling Telstra not to advertise their LTE version as 4G. Same goes for that little Wi-Max outfit in West Australia that list their stuff as 4G. These communications companies should stop their bullshit about having 4G, until such time as they actually have it.

As an aside, I note that on Telstra HSPA+ network in Townsville, my new iPad tested at around four times the speed of my iPhone 4. It was also many times faster than the Telstra ADSL connection.

Apple iMessage Beta for Macintosh

I think the Apple iMessage (Messages) beta for Macintosh computers is getting into interesting territory, albeit areas well trodden by other message systems previously. I never got into Blackberry (I am not in business). I never trusted Skype, due to their heritage. I don't trust Facebook or Google (nor anyone who makes their money via advertising). AOL seemed a declining power, and one that never made a lot of sense in Australia.

So about once a year, I brought up a copy of the open source multi-message protocol system program Adium on my Macintosh, and went to a half hour meeting. That was it for the year.

In contrast, I have been using Apple's Messaging system a lot for ad hoc messaging to a very small number of people. However the ability in the beta to send photos, large files, act as a pathway to FaceTime (something I have never used due to perceived bandwidth limits), and screen share, means I just might find it more handy on my computer, as distinct from on an iDevice.

Monday 14 May 2012

Leaving Airlie Beach

I did not want to leave Airlie Beach, but despite this, I had a ticket for the seven a.m. bus. I was up before four, which was not a good start. Decided to attempt to copy some recalcitrant camera cards to a drive. Naturally at 4 a.m. it worked, but takes about 50 minutes a card. Wonderful, just plain wonderful. Luckily I did finish copying in plenty of time. Plenty of time to fill iPad with newsfeeds to read, and get breakfast.

The weather was good, so I walked along the foreshore in the vicinity of the bus stop. Covered about 1.7 kilometres before the bus arrived, on time.

To Townsville

I had a seat to myself, as the bus had less than a dozen people on board. This is fairly typical. Uneventful drive to Bowen, and on to the breakfast stop at the Delta Roadhouse. I usually can not get much to eat here, as the bus timing is short. However this time I could have a leisurely raisin toast as second breakfast.

Afterwards I chatted with the driver as he replaced a headlight bulb. The access to the bulbs in these new buses is rather interesting. Takes very little time once you know how, but is sufficiently obscure that remembering it is difficult. I have seen it before on that model, but my mental picture was lacking a few steps. the driver had done it once before, but his image was also incomplete.

Alas, running DVD movies on the bus TV seems standard for some runs. We got an anime with owls fighting some sort of war. This was followed by what seemed to be a 1960's musical about Baltimore. I tried to ignore both. Takes note to pack ear plugs for all bus travel.

The various road repair stop made the bus late. I was keeping Jean advised by iMessage. We pulled into the Townsville bus terminal after midday, rather than 11:30 as scheduled. Jean was a little late collecting me, as she had run into various road repairs also.


It was a time of discarding, at least at Office Works. Jean had brought along all the old laser printer cartridges. Looking in Office Works for another lap desk for Jean. None in stock, try next month. I bought a NetComm NB14 ADSL modem. It was cheaper than the older NB6 model. At this stage I have no idea why my internet connection is so bad, so I am basically collecting parts I can swap.

Jean wanted lunch, it being past her usual lunch time. We went to a supermarket near the eye specialist. The area has a sushi shop and a cafe, so we were able to get lunch. Then across the road to park underground at the eye doctor.

I was basically along to drive Jean's car back home for her. After the eye doctor puts the drops in your eye, you are useless for driving for hours.

Carlyle Gardens

I had a heap of mail to get through, but most was parcels. There was a TNT card at the door, indicating a delivery to Reception, since no-one had been home. They were still open, so I drove over to collect a big parcel.

That parcel turned out to be flexible iPad stands that would clip into furniture. These were from Twelve South, who make good solid gear we have used in the past. I had ordered two stands from Apple when I had seen them, thinking they might be of particular use to Jean. Looking like it may have been a good idea. Jean already has it mounted next to the bed.

The best wrapped parcel was a Fujitsu 1500M SpeedScan. On my way to a paperless lifestyle, I will need to convert lots of old papers into scanned and OCRed documents. This style of sheet feed scanner is one of the steps. Another of the steps is the DevonThink document handling database system I also bought recently on special.


I was delighted to note Jean had got another Roomba robot vacuum cleaner. The Good Guys had one of the less fancy 530 models on special, and Jean had been at the Good Guys at an appropriate time.

Tuesday 15 My 2012


I was up early fighting with accumulated paperwork. No walk at all. Did have some nice egg on toast for breakfast.

I loaded the three accumulated dead printers into Jean's car. We took them to the dump. Along the way was a large roadside sign for an Christian Outreach College. Just below that was another sign, saying Laser Skirmish Here! All I could think was Praise the Lord, and Pass the Ammunition.

Shopping took us to the hard to reach Good Guys store. They still had the Roomba vacuum cleaners. However the price was not nearly as good. That I could resist. I had never been to the Good Guys store previously, so I took a bit of a look around to get an idea of what household equipment they stocked.

On to Jaycar Electronics. Had a lot of fun grabbing tech stuff. Helpful staff who are now used to the store seemed to be able to locate what I could not find. Their weather station looked easier to connect to the computers than the old one I have been fighting. Got more power measuring equipment, essentially to supplement or even replace the Oak version originally installed. I want to automate all the data collection here. Filled the boot of the car with our booty.

No luck really at Spotlight. Jean found some synthetic flowers, but not the Bird of Paradise we wanted. At the moment, they do not really seem to match the ribbon rock vases into which she wants to place them.

On home. Forgot to collect a newspaper.

Apple iPad Personal HotSpot

I downloaded the Apple iPad 5.1.1 update a few days ago. Now there is also a Telstra carrier update. The combination of the two has enabled a switch in my new iPad (3.9G) to act as a personal WiFi hot spot. At this rate, I may need to buy a larger data download for when I travel. This is real handy, given the absurd prices major hotel chains want for internet connections.

Not available for the original iPad and iPad 2.


Greenpeace care about money more than about the environment. Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore dropped them in 1986, and they have gotten worse since.

Wednesday 16 May 2012


I was up late, but we still managed to start the incredibly slow washing machine around six. Put out laundry before setting off. Fuel for Jean's car. Visit to the chemist for me (Jean was not so lucky with their stock). Then back home.

Lunch at the restaurant, where I talked with Sheena.

I went over to a sadly unpopulated bar around 4:40. Jean walked with me, as part of her exercise. Only Ron and Harry there. Jeff turned up later. Even later the bowls folks turned up in force after their game, so the bar stayed open later. Allen and Dave locked out of bar, while throwing out last two customers, Jeff and Eric. Luckily Gary came to the rescue.


Why eBooks Are Better

Your bookmarks don't get blown away by the wind.

Thursday 17 May 2012


I was not sleeping well, despite being tired the previous night. Got up soon after four. This was probably a mistake.

The slide scanner Jean bought from Jaycar is making rattling noises. This probably means it is broken. I checked some of the stuff I bought, and found a faulty Watts Clever watt meter. We will return them tomorrow. However that means that today I had better check what else I might want to buy at Jaycar, since we only rarely drive there.


We lost out internet connection at 7 a.m. I think it was the Belkin router that went out. I power sequenced it, and internet access returned.

Shopping Online

I found some LED light globes I had been looking for in the Altronics May flyer that came with Silicon Chip. No shop nearby. So I tried ordering online, and added a handful of other items.

I could not get past entering my details in the ordering system. No idea if the bug is in my browser or in their Javascript. So after a second attempt, a hundred dollar order walked out of the online shop.

Small buyer, but total sales are often made of lots of small buyers. Having to set up an account is something that annoys me at the best of time - I might be a customer who will only ever want one item. Why not just sell me the damn thing?

Electric Imp

Electric Imp is going to be awesome for gadget makers.

Friday 18 May 2012


I slept badly. Got up just after four, since I could not sleep anyhow. Updates downloading, after a struggle. 436 items of email! Holy Bejesus. The after we returned from shopping, another 172 emails arrived! After lunch, yet another 53 emails.

We went to Willows to get food for the weekend. Then collected the eggs from the egg farm shop. Unloaded Jean's car.

Off across town to Jaycar to return some faulty previous purchases. Jean took the opportunity to upgrade the broken slide scanner to a much nicer self contained unit. The helpful staff tested my replacement Watts Clever watt meter. It was faulty also. They ran through about three before finding a working one. Not a good sign. I also grabbed some fluid flow rate sensors and controllers, and a self contained USB temperature and humidity data logger.

Lunch at the restaurant, after taking my umbrella and battling rain. Ray was there, then I saw Dot at the counter. John joined us later.

Jean took the Bird of Paradise flower over to the bar in the evening. Dave grabbed it, and said he would let me know what he found. Saw a bunch of people there. Looked like the Social Club was getting a very good role up for the fund raining on Friday. I won a meat tray, but I had an excessive number of tickets. I bought up tickets because I had been missing for so many weeks, and wanted to make up some donations. Jeff and Pat kindly gave me a lift home.


I decided to download updates for the computer, since it was outside peak times and in our mostly underused offpeak time until 8 a.m. Finally located the power switches in the dark. Put rechargeable batteries in the trackpad, keyboard and mouse, switched on the backup drives, turned on the monitor, and started the Apple Mac mini for the first time in three weeks.

You know what is coming next. The keyboard came up, but not the mouse. So I restarted the trackpad as a alternative. The computer complained that another computer had its IP address. Well, that happens when you are switched off for three weeks. A couple of bit of fiddling got the mouse going, but I had no internet connection. Nor did the first lot of fiddling with the Network Preferences fix it. I had to delete the WiFi connection, and reestablish it, before the computer would drop the old DHCP assigned IP number and request another IP number from the router.

At this point, the internet connection, which had been nice and fast (by our pathetic country area standards) since 4 a.m. decided to go into slowdown mode. Ping times between 343ms and 510ms, with 45ms standard deviation. The ping times should have been closer to 50ms. Bah, humbug. So 50 megabyte downloads are taking an hour. Cloud computing? Bah, humbug.

I started fine tuning the downloads, prioritising short ones. This at least will reduce the 53 item queue length a little quicker.

Saturday 19 May 2012


I am back to fast ping times, at least prior to five.


I was up early again, due to not sleeping well. A bit after four, but I could just as well have gotten up at three. Big and small egg each for breakfast. Not as overwhelming as two of the large eggs. We went to Willows for the newspapers around 8:30 a.m.

Walks today. I walked over to see Wally about converting a VHS tape to a DVD for the helpful staff folks at the newsagency at Airlie Beach. Later I saw Frank and helped him get a few more items working on his iMac. After showing how to get selected photos over to his iPad, I suggested iPhoto for his iPad. He is doing so well with iPhoto on his iMac that this seemed reasonable (I had not been going to mention it at this stage).

Sausages from the meat tray for lunch. Good.

Jean walked over to the bar with me, since Dave had phoned about the flowers. He had found us a nicer Bird of Paradise at the shopping centre he used. I left money. I suspect he will do better at choosing than we ever would in any case.

Another sausage for dinner. Burnt.

Email count down nicely, but still formidable.

Sunday 20 May 2012


We took an early morning walk to deliver newspapers. While doing so, the laundry was running. I was later able to watch the public affairs shows while Jean took her prearranged phone call.

Just as well we did laundry early, as the weather did not look great around lunchtime. Jean cooked us up a great bacon and eggs. I had to retrieve the now dry laundry in a rush, just in case.

Apple Store was closed. I bet the free falling Australian dollar against the US means price increases. Just before I bought a bunch of stuff.

Social Club

The Social Club had their quarterly general meeting this afternoon. I was supposed to go. Even intended to. By the time I was due to leave, I could not stand the thought of attending. So I didn't. I don't think I have been to any events in the Carlton Theatre since my disagreement with Leigh about treatment of the bar.

I had even paid for an evening meal for Jean and I after the meeting, but neither of us wanted to attend.


I don't get it. Mark Zuckerberg is an absolute genius. He retained total control of Facebook. He sold, what, 15% (421 million shares) of Facebook (2.7 billion shares) for $16 billion, so he and his mates take their pay off. That makes Facebook worth over a hundred billion dollars! If their revenue last year was a billion, that is a P/E of over 100! Are all the investors insane? You have to remember that Zuckerberg really doesn't give a shit about the money. Look at him, he still lives in a modest home, and wears a hoodie. Like Steve Jobs, he wants to change the world. And he does not have to worry about what investors think, because he has absolute control. Doesn't anyone else see Bubble? Wanders away, shaking his head.

Advertising revenue. With over 800 million people signed up, and probably a billion soon, growth is impressive. Mostly in places with less income than the first world. But can you make money from them? Click through rates for advertising is less than one in 2000. Social is not a marketplace.

As a matter of public disclosure, I never saw an advertisement on Facebook. I guess my filters worked pretty well. I long ago closed(1) my Facebook account, over unresolved privacy issues. Not that I ever put much that was risky on there.

1. You never really close a Facebook account. They keep whatever data you put there, in case you are sucked in again. Storage is cheap.

Monday 21 May 2012


I was up at six, completing a download from 1:30 a.m. Jean appeared around 6:45 and scurried around saying we were late. So we took a two kilometre walk. We were not going to go shopping, but we ended up with a few items on the list. I claim the tipping point was Jean was able to score points for buying a cooked chicken.

Checked with the Darrell Lea store for a dark chocolate bilby left over from Easter.

Ordered Babakiueria - Barbecue Area - an indigenous film the ABC showed some time ago (1986?). The JB HiFi staff were very helpful in this. We had not realised there was a DVD of it.

Another DVD I spotted at JB HiFi was Terry Pratchett's Going Postal, so I bought that. I wonder what other of his novels have been turned into films?

While at JB HiFi, I also got a replacement Apple Magic Mouse.

When we returned, we briefly weeded the garden, for small values of weed, and even smaller values of garden.

Dead Magic Mouse

I had a dead Apple Bluetooth Magic Mouse. The trouble is, while I suspect a faulty connection in the mouse (it was intermittent several times earlier), I can not exclude a software problem. Bluetooth on a Macintosh with Apple peripherals is normally reliable, but there are so many screwy things that happen with Bluetooth that I am never sure the problem is not software, despite rebooting the Mac mini.

So I bought a brand new Apple Magic Mouse when we visited JB HiFi. It did not work either.


I woke around 1:30 a.m. so on the way back to bed, I started various iTunes downloads. The offpeak download times are between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. so I like to throw as many large items into that timeframe as I can.

The internet access this morning at six was showing numeric pings of between 50 and 400 ms, but almost all above 200 ms. Not impressed. It was back between 40 and 50 ms around 11 a.m. without my changing anything.

Facebook IPO

Facebook. A billion shouted voices beneath the ocean of commerce. All froth and bubbles.

Tuesday 22 May 2012


Up at five. Walk a few kilometres around Carlyle Gardens with Jean around 6:30 a.m. By our standards, it was cold.

Drive to Willows, mostly to collect The Australian newspaper. We did a little more of a walk.

Continued with mailing comments on FAPA, something sadly neglected for far too long. I had a (missed) deadline weeks ago.

I had the steak with Diane sauce for lunch. Those at the table were Ray, Dot, ue, Pat and Jeff. Dave had kindly collected several synthetic flowers for Jean to try in the Zebra Rock vases we bought in Kunanurra.

After returning from the Carlyle Gardens Computer Club, I booked a ticket on the bus to Airlie Beach on Thursday.

Bought another bunch of O'Reilly eBooks. However the download speed at the moment is so pathetic that I may wait for the morning to try to download them again.

Space X in Orbit

A Space X Falcon 9 spacecraft attained stable orbit early this evening, after a last minute abort of takeoff a few days ago. On-board cameras let an international audience view the flight from the rocket. We watched the solar panels deploying. They will be testing systems for several days, prior to attempting a docking with the International Space Station.

Computer Club

I went to the Carlyle Gardens Computer Club. Wally gave me the VHS video conversion to DVD. It was really nicely presented.

Phil Gorbett from JCU Teaching and Learning Development gave a great talk on lifelong learning, and the changes the internet had made to university education. This naturally took a little longer than average. I noted afterward that Phil was a former Linux enthusiast (compile his own kerel type of stuff), who knew of Andrew Morton and so on. Now, like many, he is complaining about Gnome 3.

Scored two wonderful fruit scones with jam and cream afterwards, along with half an egg sandwich. They are not using mayonnaise. They use something else with their eggs. Wish I knew what.

Magic Mouse Fault

I had the same problem with the brand new Magic Mouse. For a brief time it lost contact via Bluetooth. This happened twice in the evening, only for a few seconds. That is how the lost contact problem started with the original Magic Mouse. Must be a software issue with the Mac mini.

Wednesday 23 May 2012


I was up just after four, to download stuff on offpeak internet time. We started laundry just after six. Went for a walk around seven. Decided to cancel the Jaycar visit, and do that tomorrow, when we will be in that area anyhow.

Visited Frank to help set up more of his iMac. I still can not figure how to extract an address book from Outlook, but I have never seen a Macintosh with the latest Microsoft Office previously. The text file I extracted looked a real mess. I am starting to think maybe get Excel to read the text file, and hope it makes sense of it. If it does, surely Excel can export as something useful, like CSV.

The restaurant had a fixed menu. A bunch of people waiting for the First Australian Regiment (1RAR) band concert. I gave organiser Blue ten bucks as a donation to Legacy, since I was uncertain when I would get back.

Went over to the bar, but had missed the soldiers. Stayed for the usual wednesday afternoon session with Ray, Jeff, Ron, Ian. Dave was missing, doing military things, but Allen seemed cheerful enough about working.

O'Reilly Books

I like O'Reilly eBooks, however the download time sucks. O'Reilly are using Amazon's S3 servers. The download speed is a pita, which is partly why I started downloading at 4:20 a.m. I did get all the ePub downloaded.

I was away from the computer from seven to eight. Got 338 megabyte download in one hour of a 460 megabyte 53 minute iOS training video. They offered to let me stream it. Not likely! Whoever thinks cloud computing works is off their gourd.

Who Will Go?

So the question is whether Craig Thomson or Peter Slipper will be first to fall to media pressure. Which will give up their Parliamentary position first? I think Thomson might crack. But I think Slipper may decide retiring as Speaker is the better tactic. I do not give a shit, as long as we get to an election, and throw out the bums.

Thursday 24 May 2012

Solar Hot Water

As with May 2009 during which we were first at Carlyle Gardens, the 250 litre solar hot water ran out. I guess due to inadequate evacuated tubes (only ten, when twenty would be more reasonable), and excessive clouds day after day. I switched the electric booster on around 8 a.m. On my figures, a 3600 Watt booster should bring up the tank temperature in about two hours. Seemed to work.


I am still trying to download the iOS training videos I bought from O'Reilly. The Amazon S3 stuff is dawdling. I will not manage to get the two hours of videos downloaded before I leave at ten, despite starting them at 3:45 a.m.

I managed all except the last 46 megabyte video, in the series on interfacing iOS to external devices via an Arduino.

Great Stone Robbery

Ian came along as I was putting the egg shells in the garbage bin, attempting to beat the arrival of the garbage truck. He wanted stones, for his daughter. A very short conversation, as I had just scraped my egg out of its boiling hot shell onto a slice of toast for breakfast, and I wanted to get stuck into it. I yelled out to Jean to check she did not need the pile of river pebbles in our driveway. Told Ian to go for it.

A little later, there were shovelling noises outside. His energetic daughter was getting stuck into putting the stones into an amazing variety of buckets. Ian was helping. When Jean returned, the whole pile of stones were gone. That sounds great.


I got up before four to start a download. Got up again before five, and continued working. Internet access sucks. Basically no point in trying to use video.

Finished packing my bag. Jean cooked a few eggs for breakfast, while I did the toast. Ian saw me putting the egg shells out in the rubbish bin after we started trying to have breakfast.

We left just before ten. Chemist visit along the way, and I got a few newspapers for my trip. On to Jaycar, where we were able to get the TV switch, and a gadget to let Jean use a speakerphone with her MacBook Air.


I was booked on the 11:30 Greyhound bus from the Townsville Sealink terminal. Jean had dropped me off about 45 minutes prior to then, since we had uncharacteristically been running early all morning.

Alas, when I looked at the food service, I did not see anything I thought I could realistically get for the bus trip. I read the Townsville Bulletin, and tried to forget my rumbling stomach.

The Greyhound bus arrived before schedule, and left only a few minutes after the scheduled time. I like the Greyhound bus seats way better than Qantas airline seats, which I guess shows how hideous airlines have become. I was unable to resist the stomach rumbles, and ate the biscuit I had in my bag just after midday. I had hoped to holdout until one, given I had no other food.

The journey to Airlie Beach is scheduled as a rather swift 3:40 minutes. Basically non-stop, except for a very quick loo break at Guthalungra (the driver and the returning drive were first in). I was thus able to take the time to buy a Nestle's Aero chocolate bar, as a false diet compromise between greed and need.

Arrived in Airlie Beach around 3:20 p.m. Given the continuous road work delays, that was not bad at all.

Dropped the video tape and replacement DVD back to Helen at the newsagency. She seemed very happy about being able to watch her favourite show again. I wonder how many other obsolete VHS tapes are out there, being played once every three or four months until they die?

Dropped into reception. Sounds like things are continuing well enough.


I turned on the hot water service. Opened doors. Watered pot plants. Unpacked my bags. Despite being just a small shoulder bag, I seemed to have lots of little bits of paper in it, each needing to be put in its proper place. All that paper crap is going when I go paperless.

I tried the internet, but NASA want you to have Adobe Flash (no chance I am installing that crap). Tried NASATV on my iPad. It sort of worked, but I guess my internet connection was too slow, because it was audio only. I have 2464 kbps or 308 kB/s, which is pathetic when I am only two blocks from the telephone exchange.

Space X

I was hoping to view the Space X flyby of the International Space Station. The NasaTV channel is a no go in Australia (we first tried to get it 15 years ago from a cable TV company). The iPad NasaTV application was only giving me audio. AppleTV did not seem to be coping at all with streaming. The Apple iOS Remote app basically did not seem to work at all. No idea why not, but probably user error (attempted use out of range).

Cree LED Light Bulb

I had bought a Cree XRE-Q2 3.3 Watt 120 lumens cool white 100-240 volt LED light bulb at Jaycar (ZD-0366). It had the small E14 Edison Screw mount that would suit the standing lamp Michael gave me. This bulb was a cool white (5000-7000k) type that makes me look like a corpse. Like most LEDs, the dispersion angle is low, 380, although a 60 is also listed as available on the box. So it is basically a spotlight for task lighting, not for area lighting.

I did find it very comfortable to use for reading the local paper, as long as I paid no attention to the colour of my flesh. I had a letter complaining about NBN advertising in the paper.

Friday 25 May 2012


I was awake at first light, which was about 20 minutes earlier at Airlie Beach than at Townsville. Less of a hill for the sun to surmount, maybe? It soon started raining, so I did not want to go out for a walk, nor to buy food at the NightOwl convenience shop.

Not really much breakfast food on hand. No milk, no orange juice, no perishables. Lousy weather, with excessive rain. Plus it is cold. It is around 230C, which for me is cold.

Bought orange juice and milk from the Night Owl around midday. I could not do soup for lunch until I had some milk to add to it. Plus the temperature has dropped to 220C, which for me is cold.

It is raining. Not impressed. Stayed inside watching Star Trek Enterprise on DVD, for the first time. The carelessness with which some of the season titling was put together on the official DVD set is astonishing, for such a valuable property. Episode numbers were wrong repeatedly.


I started looking at what metadata I could add, having done Star Trek TOS previously. It seemed to me that later shows in Star Trek would have to have lots of metadata on hand. So I checked in tagChimp, and that seemed to support that theory. However I had labelled my rips ST-V or DS9, or some other short version file name. For Star Trek, I had included the episode name in the metadata, since these had good titles on the DVD boxes. I used Name Changer to rename all the files to full show titles as well.

I had all the DVDs on ST-Voyager and ST-Enterprise on hand, along with the boxes. Alas, the shows were un-numbered for ST-Enterprise. I had numbered them S1E01 and so on, but season one actually started with a two part episode that was included as a single item in my DVD box set. So my file names were out by one for the first season. I renamed them all during the morning.

By very late evening I had added appropriate metadata for the first three seasons of Star Trek Enterprise. Since I was watching the shows from the original DVDs, spotting errors in the rips was easier.

Dragon Spacecraft

I am delighted to note that the Star Walk iOS astronomy program knows where the Dragon commercial spacecraft is, and will show it. Awesome.

Alas, the linkup to the International Space Station will not be until very early morning our time, and I will not stay up to hear how it goes.


CheatSheet keyboard shortcuts for any application.

Saturday 26 May 2012


I had a hard time sleeping, due to the cold. Found a light blanket. Later on, when that was insufficient, I added a heavy blanket. Lucky we had such stuff on hand. By the time I got up late at 6:30 a.m., the temperature has dropped to 210C, which for me is cold. I found a jacket, as well as long pants.

It is raining, despite the previous forecast of fine. Forecast is now light rain. The forecast is rain every day of the week, heading towards even heavier towards the end of the week.

During a bit of a lull in the lightly misting rain, I went to the markets. A half dozen dispirited occupants of wet canvas gazebos. Nothing I wanted there, so I went and got breakfast. Collected the newspapers, but I had forgotten a plastic bag, and had to stuff them under my jacket like a hobo to get them home dry. Did not get a decent walk. I will be lucky to get to a hundred kilometres this month, unless the weather clears a little. That is not what is forecast.

Whitsunday Terraces

I took out the garbage, only to find the bin was not out, so I took it out. Rusty probably figures it was not sufficiently full. I take the view that a contract saying it goes out every day means just that, especially when the Body Corporate committee of the time specifically wrote it into the contract, under advise from previous management rights owners. The problem is you never know when someone has dumped a load of badly wrapped prawn heads or the like in a bin.


Doing metadata on Star Trek Enterprise, season four. There are two sets of original data in tagChimp, so MetaX is filling in most of the fields for me. I would not mind better cover art, but it will do for the moment.

Dragon Docks with ISS

I was delighted to learn that the SpaceX Dragon capsule has been docked with the International Space Station, using the ISS's Canadian manipulator arm. This is the first commercial resupply of the space station, taking a non-essential 521 kilograms in a demonstration flight. The eventual aim is cheaper flights to orbit, using proven technology and cheaper commercial rockets.

Forty year old billionaire Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, has been setting a sparkling pace since he co-founded Zip2 in 1995. He co-founded the company that eventually became PayPal. He is also co-founder, chairman and CEO of Tesla Motors electric car company. He is chairman of solar panel producer SolarCity.

I particularly appreciate Elon Musk's pragmatic approach to using renewable energy. Sell the expensive prototypes to the rich. Use their money to bring prices down. Make complementary power sources.

Audio Pass Through

I wanted to check on the audio pass through from my Kogan Blue-Ray DVD player, via my 42 inch Dick Smith GE6810 television's RCA output, to my audio amplifier. I do have a sound feed through from the HDMI connection. My tentative conclusion is that you probably need to run the HDMI volume at full to reduce noise degradation in the TV. I could hear noise passed through. This would mean you need to control the volume via the amplifier. However I do not have a remote volume control for the amplifier. Hmm, maybe I should build one.

Sunday 27 May 2012


I was up late, with the cold. Went for a walk to collect a newspaper when they opened at seven, partly because it was not actually raining. Met someone I knew vaguely and had a chat before continuing. Could not resist a snack pie from Brumbys.

The weather was sufficiently fine that I started doing laundry. It stayed so fine that I had the laundry dry by mid afternoon. The sunlight even helped warm my rooms.

Took another walk to get a pizza for lunch. It sure takes a while to get used to the Domino pizza iPhone app when you do not use it often.


I have done metadata for the first four seasons of Star Trek Voyager.

Audio Pass Through

I am having problems with volume levels on this.

Prime Minister

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

Monday 28 May 2012


I see a small cruise ship is anchored out in Pioneer Bay. The weather was clear of cloud last night, and the inside temperature has dropped to 200C. However I will be able to draw all the curtains after six a.m. to let the sun start to steam in as soon as it is above the hill. Meanwhile, I am doing a load of laundry so I can set it out to dry when I walk to Cannonvale for shopping.

I left for my walk at 7:40 a.m. Unless I was in the sun, it was cold for the tropics. Took about 45 minutes to get to Cannonvale. Had a snack pie for breakfast.

Since Centrelink was just opening I went in to change the addresses that had gone wrong on my brand new Seniors Health Card. As anticipated, their data base was not dealing gracefully with apartment numbers when the building sounded like a street name. Sanity checking did not expect insane names. They were very helpful, and tell me it will be fixed.

ShoeBiz was opening. I went in and bought another pair of Teva sandals. Nice to have a spare again. They tell me some sort of tropical bug eats the composite soles of rubber shoes.

Coles had Chocolate Obsession ice cream on special. I filled a Jaycar bag with groceries, including more Hollandaise sauce.

Returned at ten, with a taxi driver I know. I had seen her visiting Rod when he was next door, and she visited with Gingie at New Year. She said she was enjoying her new work.

Walked to markets, since there was a boat in the harbour.


I have started adding metadata to Star Trek Voyages Season Five.

Completed Season Five metadata for Star Trek Voyages just after I returned at ten a.m. By the end of the evening I had completed metadata on all of Season Six. I found one dud H.264, so I had to pull out the original DVD and transcode that particular episode again.

The Season Seven details of Star Trek Voyages on Wikipedia were missing director and screenwriter. Luckily IMDB had badly devised versions of these on individual episode pages. I downloaded those pages, but decided doing the actual metadata editing could wait until the next day. It is terribly boring.

What I would really like is to just be able to buy well done high definition versions, in H.264 and some relatively uncompressed format, with accurate metadata. However as long as Blu-Ray has DRM plus obnoxious messages and advertising, I will never buy any of them. So I waste my time transcoding, and the movie companies do not make any extra money. This is a loss for everyone.

Ultra High Definition TV

A new draft International Telecommunication Union (ITU) recommendation for the Ultra High Definition TV (UHDTV) specifications. It includes technical details for both 4K (3840 x 2160) and 8K (7680 x 4320) displays.

While it is good to see such high level specifications (an 8K 40 inch TV would be retina resolution close up), I am not sure when they would be used. TV stations generally do not manage to broadcast 1080p even now. Their best is 1080i. I can not see broadcast TV matching these resolutions.

Indeed, at the moment I do not have one piece of commercial media that needs even 1080p. Blu-Ray uses 1080p, but I never buy anything infested with digital restrictions management (DRM). Only computers routinely make trouble free use of 1080p and higher definitions.

At the moment, surely the only non-production 4K or 8K uses would be for modern cinemas.

Apple iSight Camera

A new Apple peripheral, the iSight video and still camera. Small, water-resistant and robust point and shoot sightseeing and happy snaps camera. No external controls, no camera jargon, no complex settings. Focus and exposure via small touch screen, with automatic HDR, reference grid, and photo hints. Automatic face recognition and focus, plus automatic identification of your friends. GPS model tags locations. Built in memory is not removable. All photos sent via iCloud to your PhotoStream (optionally to Twitter, Vimeo, etc.) when you are in WiFi range. Your iPad or AppleTV is your main viewer. Social is the main share point.

This gadget is imaginary, for now.

Tuesday 29 May 2012


I was up early, before it was light. It was cold inside, but at 220C at least it was better than a few days ago. The forecast indicated we might avoid rain, but it did not seem like fine weather was likely. I am very pleased I did extra laundry yesterday, when it was very pleasant.

My walk was to get the newspapers. However I extended it until the local shop opened at 7:30 a.m. and looked for leak to make potato soup. No luck, so I got onion and shallots. The major reason to make soup is to have an excuse to run a heat source inside the room. I have already changed the light bulbs back to incandescent for the minor extra warmth over the next week.


I completed the metadata for Star Trek Voyager by lunchtime. Could not decide which to do next. Looked at Star Trek Deep Space Nine. It seems some of the DVDs put some episode 1 plus 2 together as a single episode. I did not always notice this to adjust the episode numbering (by going from 1 to 3, rather than 1 to 2). Always some obstacle to decent metadata. Looks like I am not the only one to miss this, judging by all the incorrect metadata out there.

Whitsunday Terraces

The hosing down of the car park seems pretty pointless. None of the accumulated leaves were blown away prior to the hosing. I am not sure there is any understanding that the point of hosing is to actually clean the car park! Sigh!

The railings underneath Florin Terrace are being pulled out. So the replacement metal railings are finally here. About time!

Regressive Taxation

Support regressive taxation. Run more lotteries.

Wednesday 30 May 2012


I lost internet connection sometime slightly before 8:15 a.m. Numeric ping and traceroute do not get past the Apple TimeCapsule. NetGear ADSL modem is still showing a green ADSL connection light. Destination net is unreachable is the report.

I switched my wireless connection on one computer over to an alternate ADSL modem (belonging to a neighbour). This is connected via the local affiliate of Telco in a Box, which naturally still connects via the Telstra network. That connection initially allows numeric pings and traceroute sort of works. Traceroute started to get unreachable hosts, and then continued, and eventually failed to find a route, but then got one. I started an additional terminal session, and numeric pings continued to work. Other internet functions worked via this alternate channel.

I power cycled my NetGear ADSL modem at 8:35 a.m. Numeric ping and traceroute come back. Internet access restored. I suspect either a fault in my modem, or an outage at Telstra lost the modem and it did not realise it needed to reconnect.

Internet connection out of action again at 10:05 a.m. Numeric ping and traceroute stalled. Back again in less than two minutes. This is not my modem. This is something in Telstra's internet setup.


I was up late. We have fitful sun through threatening clouds. However it has not actually rained. Still cold by tropic standards, but the interior of the apartment is at 220C.

The guys pulling out the railings underneath Florin Terrace arrived sometime around seven. I can hear them working.

Despite the fitful sunshine helping stop the apartment being too cold, I still cooked myself an Egg Benedict for breakfast. Partly using up stuff in the fridge.

The rain started around three. Better than I expected.


I finally started metadata for Star Trek Deep Space Nine. The existing metadata for Season One is almost always off by one for episode numbers. This is because the Paramount Boxed set combined episodes one and two into a single double length episode. This should be labelled 1-2, and the next episode labelled 3. However most people have labelled it 2.

First World Problems

Cooking potato and leek soup for lunch. This was because cool weather was forecast. I figured running the cook top was a good excuse to help warm the apartment. So what happened? The sun sort of came out. The apartment peaked at 270C, which is warmer than any other day this week. Sigh.

I had bought potatoes and onions when I walked along the foreshore to Coles at Cannonvale a few days ago. Why did I forget to check for leeks? I did later find some wimpy shallots at the 4Square market in Airlie Beach. Close enough for my sort of cooking. I guess.

Put out all the ingredients, because I forget things. Cooked the chopped onions. Looked for the potato smasher. No potato masher. Looked for large fork. Boiled potatoes for much longer. Mashed. Sort of. At least I had lots of butter… frozen. Added butter and milk. Added herbs. Threw in cooked onion and shallots.

Wait a second. Where is the bacon? Grabbed the bacon that was still in the fridge. It was not middle rasher, it was already trimmed. Have to do. Put the cook top up to high, and fine chopped bacon into a pan. Damn! Why is the pepper so wimpy? Could I have left it way too long? Probably.

This sort of thing is why I normally eat at the restaurant when I am at Carlyle Gardens.

Whitsunday Terraces

I note a whole heap of hammering from the construction crew who are removing the old wooden balustrade. Nev was there carrying in new balustrades, which I believe were ordered around January. I was hardly surprised to learn that the curved sections for the stairways had not yet been delivered.

Julian Assange

I see Julian Assange has lost his attempt to remain in Britain. He will be extradited to Sweden to face investigation regarding possible sexual assault charges. Britain was unlikely to allow the USA to grab Assange for USA material published on WikiLeaks. Will Assange be at more risk if held in Sweden? I have no idea.

Apple Disruption

In the beginning was the command line. Apple disrupted personal computers, by popularising the Xerox WIMP interface with the Macintosh. In the previous decade, it disrupted portable music players, and the entire record industry, with the iPod and iTunes support infrastructure. More recently, Apple ripped the majority of the profits from the mobile phone industry with the iPhone. Then it extended that to the nascent tablet computer with the Apple iPad, and tore a hole in personal computer sales. Which industries will Apple attempt to disrupt next?

Photography, television, and textbooks.

Good enough omnipresent cameras in phones have already damaged the profits in the low end camera market. However low light gathering ability is severely constrained in tiny cameras, and zoom is difficult. Apple have been in cameras before, with their early QuickTake line of digital cameras. I can not see them going after the high end digital SLR camera, as it is too specialised. I see an iSight camera.

Television will be hard, as there is no profit in screens. I do not see Apple even attempting to compete by making a large display. Some sort of extended AppleTV ecosystem making a second (or third) display for your existing iPhone, iPad and Macintosh.

The conquest of textbooks begins with small steps. First iTunesU. Then iBooks extending beyond PDF and iPub. Next free iBook Author for Macintosh. Sample school textbooks.

Thursday 31 May 2012


I could not access the internet at 4:19 a.m. Mt NetGear ADSL modem was showing a red ADSL fail light. I power cycled the modem. The ADSL fail light stayed on.

I checked again at 4:40 a.m. The modem ADSL light was now green, and internet access was available. This indicates the fault was at the Telstra exchange, not in my equipment.

Internet access lost sometime around 10:15 a.m. The modem ADSL access light is red, so the other end disconnected. I connected one computer wirelessly to my neighbour's ADSL modem. That line is working, so the problem is not a general fault. The problem is specific to my line to the exchange (but could be a faulty modem).

I power cycled my NetGear ADSL modem at 10:27 a.m. Brought it back up at 10:30 a.m. Connection restarted at 10:32 a.m.

My internet connection went down again at 4:32 p.m. Modem ADSL connected light remains green. Numeric ping and traceroute fail. Connection via my neighbour's ADSL modem (and Telco in a Box) still works. So something went out between my modem and the Telstra exchange, however it is not the exchange equipment in general.

Power sequenced my ADSL modem at 4:42 p.m. After it rebooted, I got my internet connection back at 4:46 p.m.

Internet dropped out at 6:51 p.m. The alternate connection was still working. Restarted spontaneously after sending some numeric pings at 7 p.m. I did not touch any of my own internet connection equipment. How on earth can this be related to my equipment?

Decided to start recording my public IP address after all outages.

Internet out of action again at 7:09 p.m. A numeric traceroute got through at 7:10 p.m. Again, no change whatsoever to my equipment. My external IP address is now What the hell? Why would Telstra change my external IP number while I am connected?


I went for a walk down the main street at seven. It rained on me. I collected my newspaper and went home.

Solar Panel Output

The solar power output figures last month (April 2012) showed it generated 2764kWh over 8125 hours. The figures for May are 2858kWh over 8460 hours. So the total hours operating in the 31 days of May 2012 were 335 hours, during which it generated 94kWh. About 3kWh per day, or 280 Watts per operating hour. This is a nominal 1 kW panel, operating under cloud and rain for half of the month.

Whitsunday Terraces

The balustrade construction crew were at work throughout the day.


Metadata through Season 5 of ST-DS9.

Home and Away

AB 21, CG 10

Eric Lindsay's Blog May 2012