Eric Lindsay's Blog November 2012

Thursday 1 November 2012


I took my missing solar panel readings as soon as it was light enough to power up the inverter display. This actually give the most accurate reading, as the display powers up before any power flows into the house wiring.

We had breakfast, and then discarded any left over food unlike to survive until our return.

The last of the rubbish out. The garbage collection was after eight, so I could take the bin in well before we needed to leave just after ten.

I had failed to seal my bag zippers with twist ties. Bit of a delay while I attended to this.

Jean Zooms to Airport

We no longer trust the taxi service in Townsville to find the house. Not that they are helped by the maps. For a short absence, we leave Jean's car at the long term airport stay. Jean zoomed across town to the airport in great time.

Then things went a little awkward. The surface of the long term car park is being repaired. The number of spaces is much reduced. We spend a little time driving around before spotting one empty spot.

Join a long queue for Virgin bag drop. Jean had as usual printed our boarding passes. We were through security in plenty of time. As usual, Jean set off the detectors, which is another reason we do not like cutting the time too fine. Jean grabbed a large focaccia sandwich at the airport cafe. The plane we were to take landed a little late, and we had a little wait while passengers exited.


A fine flight on Virgin's DJ1518 Townsville to Sydney direct. It was on the usual 737-800, but the seats looked (and felt) new. Way more comfortable in these Virgin planes than it is in JetStar or Qantas. Jean shared some of her focaccia with me, and I had a cooked sausage left over from dinner. A bit over two and a half hours, and we actually landed about ten minutes late.

Not much of a wait for luggage. We were headed for the overpriced Air Train service by four. Two minutes after reaching the platform we were on the way to central Sydney. Telstra cellular on the train was working fairly well for me, although it often dropped from 3G to E. We went around the city circle to Town Hall, and after getting our directions, went along the underground mall. While not a mistake to continue to Town Hall, it probably would have been almost as fast to walk down from Museum Station.

I loath the crowds in Sydney. Especially when I have luggage.

Waldorf Apartments

The receptionist was still at the Waldorf Apartments on Liverpool Street, which was handy. We ended up on the fourteenth floor, which reduces city traffic noise nicely.

We will probably make Waldorf Apartments our default Sydney apartment hotel space. You get a decent size bedroom, a splendid lounge, and a decent size bathroom (separate bath and shower, plus washing machine and dryer). Plus a kitchen large enough to even have a dishwasher. Not that we ever do a lot of cooking, but we like being able to get breakfast without going out.

The building is perhaps a little old, but not enough to worry about. Looks like it was built for long term accommodation. The location is also generally good for what we are doing in Sydney.

Shopping for Food

We went shopping at Coles, for the making for breakfast. Got a bit carried away on some items. I saw our favourite ice cream, reduced to $5. I did not tell Jean about it. She found it, and promptly put it in the shopping basket. Not my fault our diets are shot!

A bottle of expensive Pepperjack shiraz. $28, when I was buying it at BWS in Airlie Beach for $19! Ouch! Jean got herself some sushi for dinner, being about to collapse. I went out and got some slices of a faded pepperoni pizza and an Hawaiian pizza. Not bad, but not all that tasty either.

We both collapsed pretty early.

Friday 2 November 2012


I was not awake until almost seven, which for me is very late. Had breakfast in the apartment, and then set out for some serious shopping.

Jean meanwhile headed for the Australian Society for Technical Communicators conference, she being the serious member of this trip.

As I walked through, I noticed free WiFi at the Queen Victoria Building (QVB). It has the usual giant illuminated Xmas tree of lights. I decided to climb stairs to get my photo of one of the stained glass windows. There is a potentially great photo there, and I can not get it to work. However the GPS in my Panasonic camera did finally decide to agree that it was in Sydney, near Town Hall.

At the Apple store I joined the queue to get the new iPad mini. See below.

Across the road, Darrell Lea was disappointing. Imported brand name items, none of the old stuff at all. I bought some chocolates at The Nut Shop in Strand Arcade. However I notice that Haigh's Chocolates are the same price. Thinks, perhaps a visit to Haigh's?

JB HiFi had a few items, but I am not really sure I want to get more DVDs. Undecided. I guess I will visit again.

I crossed to Georges Camera Store. Not really expecting an affirmative, I asked about point and shoot ultra zoom cameras with GPS. To my surprise, there was an entry level Fuji Finepix F550EXR camera with GPS, and a 15 times optical zoom. Seemed to have all the right options, so I bought it as a second camera. I intend to get rid of my other cameras, and use only those with a GPS in future. Metadata just keeps getting more and more important to me.

Jaycar on York Street deserves a decent second look. I am sure they are hiding stuff I would use, but can not think what I need at the moment.

Checked the Event cinema complex. Maybe it is just me, but not one thing listed on the show times made the slightest impression on me. I really wanted to attend the Gold Class cinema, but the movies all sounded boring. On a second visit I found the program listing, in a font so small I can not read it without artificial help.

Apple Store

I arrived at the Apple store a few minutes before eight. The queue for the new iPad mini did not seem all that long. I took a few photos. Until I realised the queue went around the corner. Still, it was not a horrible queue. Acting spontaneously, I joined the line. Chatted with security guys, and people in the queue. When the Apple staff started handing out the purchase cards, I went for white 64GB iPad mini.

In to the store about a quarter after eight. Rounds of applause from the staff when each group entered. Up the marvellous glass stairs to the top floor. As someone behind the Genius Bar became free, they took the next customer. I added earphones and a camera card connector to my loot. My request for a smart cover got lost in the general noise level, and I did not notice. I did notice the new credit card sled they have for iPhone. Very spiffy as a cash register substitute. Much nicer (and smaller) than the old third party model I saw several years ago.

As I prepared to depart, a staff member offered setup help in the store. I thought, why not? At last there I had WiFi. Several others were also doing that, including some people who had never owned an iDevice previously. If you have not owned an iDevice, let the store staff help. Plus sign up for the courses on using the gadgets. You really end up so far ahead on the learning curve.

I have done this iPad setup several times before, so I soon had my new iPad up and running with my Apple ID. A staff member asked if I wanted anything, and I remembered the iPad cover. Got to use the Apple Store app from my iPhone to scan and change the cover to my account. I have never tried that before, and was impressed by the speed and ease. By then it was about 8:30 a.m. or maybe a little later. Much quicker than trying to buy an iPhone.

Sydney Walk

I could hear the jack hammer noises from the second floor renovation. Since that was scheduled between ten and one, I decided to go out again. First I needed to charge my MacBook Air.

Stopped at QVB and made yet another probably unsuccessful attempt to get the photo I wanted of their stained glass window. If only I had packed the mini tripod.

I wanted to sync my now fully charged MacBook Air with my new iPad mini. However I also figured I needed a connection to the internet. The Apple Store seemed a likely location, so I went up to the top floor, since the genius bar is the least crowded part of the shop. It took me until after three for all the files transfered. By that time my MacBook Air was down to 35% charge. For a while I did not think I would manage to install 135 apps, nearly 800 books, and about 700 musical items.

Got another slice of pizza on my way back to the apartment. I had missed lunch. Drank another mini Coke. Counted and decided a Coke was missing. Recalled putting one in the freezer last night. Opps! While the aluminium Coke can was greatly distorted, it had not actually exploded. Remarkably ductile stuff. I put the can in the sink to thaw out.

No eBook For Me

I could not persuade iTunes to give me my pre-paid copy of John Birmingham's new serial eBook Stalin's Hammer: Rome. Indeed, at first on the afternoon of Thursday 1 November I could not find the book. Not listed in iTunes under John Birmingham. So I searched for Stalin, and there it was. It took most of a day before it showed up on iTunes under John Birmingham. Yet others were obviously seeing the book yesterday, when it was released.

iTunes seemed not to recognise me at all when I tried downloading it. Refused to accept my password (and just kept asking for it, time after time). iTunes already had me logged in to my ID in iTunes, according to its own main screen. Sometimes I think this is partly because my usual internet connection is just too slow. Nothing I can do about that.

So I downloaded a free eBook. That worked. Next I tried a paid app I had been going to get. That worked. Therefore iTunes surely actually does recognise me. I tried it on a Mac, on an iPad, on an iPhone. So what does iTunes have against my getting a pre-paid eBook? Beats me.

On the other hand, I have not been impressed with how buggy iTunes has been for me for books and music (works just fine for apps). I keep thinking it may be because my Apple ID is not an email address (I do have an email address linked to my Apple ID). I have an old ID. Too much software linked to it to throw it away. However my email address (for Apple) can not be at because they no longer support it for email. Their iTunes support page says change to a real email address, but (Catch 22) there is no way to do so if you have ID, because they can not be changed.

I believe it is fairly obvious why most of my eBooks were bought via something (anything) other than iTunes. Entirely apart from the DRM issue. However I do recall Baen Books were not nearly as good as now in the very early days, especially in keeping track of which books you had already bought. I sort of doubt O'Reilly were either.

Open Wireless Network

In a disaster, we need access to communications, even when centralised systems are down. An Open Wireless Network might be a good first step towards that. Lots of other advantages to the public as well.

Saturday 3 November 2012


I went for a walk to the Apple store, where I could collect my email via their WiFi. Not much around town that attracted my attention. I do probably need to return to Jaycar. Possibly also JB HiFi.

Jean had already headed off to the Society for Technical Communicators conference, where she would remain all day.

Returned to Waldorf Apartments after managing to contact David about a meeting.

David Visits

I had not managed to catch up with David for several years, so it was good to see him again. He had managed rather more travel than we had over the past year, which was somewhat of a surprise. Everything happening at once, which seems the standard reason things work that way. Since Jean had returned from Antarctica, he asked for any advice she could give for his March trip.

We also checked over where each of us would be during the total eclipse of the sun that will occur soon. His group will be based in Cairns. Jean and I have a motel booking up towards Port Douglas way, at Trinity Beach. We talked about whether we could meet up afterwards.

We had a somewhat late lunch (I had lost track of how late I returned to the hotel) downstairs, at Mamma's. I no longer know which Sydney restaurants might be reasonable, and this was at least convenient.

Apple II in HTML5

A strange find. An Apple II emulator in HTML5 (well, actually doubtless mostly Javascript). I find it hard to believe. Even the font looked right. It let me write a little loop in BASIC. Wow!

No eBook For Me

Of late, iTunes on my Mac has been saying John Birmingham's Stalin's Hammer: Rome is a book I have purchased. No option to download it. It is not in my local iTunes index of books I have purchased. Just had a thought, and checked the internal list of book authors in Finder. No luck there either. However that does not mean it is not there under bad metadata.

The missing book also shows up in the list of books not on my iPad. iBooks will not let me download it, but at least it acknowledges I have bought it.

I did hear one other pre-purchaser say they received an email from Apple early on 1 November, advising the book was available. I did not receive any advice from Apple.

Hot Spot

I decided that since my iPhone had been in flight mode all month, that I must have a stack of data left for the next week. So I put it into Hot Spot mode, and shared the phone 3G with my MacBook Air over WiFi.

Sunday 4 November 2012

Sunday Morning

We were up late, with no scheduled activities except our morning walk. The weather looked beautiful.

A Darling Harbour walk, in sunshine that gradually turned cloudy. We crossed to the far side, and returned via the bridge. A sign indicated there are fireworks at 8:30 p.m. every Saturday, so that is what I heard (and only partially saw) last night. A rowing race between Sydney and Melbourne University was the water entertainment. We continued until we could see the site on which James Packer wants to put a second useless casino.

We stopped in at the Apple Store, and collected mail. Not very busy really. I am not sure if they have any iPad mini left. Probably not.

Runkeeper claimed we had walked 5.8 kilometres in just over seventy minutes of actual walking time. It got totally confused in the concrete canyons of the city, or when we went underground in the QVB. A little less than five kilometres would be more realistic. Despite this relatively short distance we collapsed into chair or lounge when we returned to our suite at Waldorf Apartments.


I went for another walk around midday, as my exercise program has been pretty much stalled for the past month of travel.

Apple iPhone HotSpot

We found that Jean's Apple iPhone 3Gs would not permit her to use it as a WiFi hot spot. This facility is only supported on an iPhone 4 and higher (if your mobile phone carrier also supports it).

Unfortunately, neither her USB nor her Bluetooth connection would work either. No idea why they fail. They should both work, according to iOS: Understanding Personal Hotspot. If they do not, iOS: Troubleshooting Personal Hotspot should cover getting it going.


I see Britain has invaded all except 22 countries in the world, says Stuart Laycock. Looks like he is right.

Andorra, Belarus, Bolivia, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Guatemala, Ivory Coast, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mali, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Mongolia, Paraguay, Sao Tome and Principe, Sweden, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Vatican City better watch out!

Raspberry Pi

A cheap hobby single board computer for promoting computer science via play.


A tablet-oriented education platform for children in the developing world.

Monday 5 November 2012


Morning has broken. Why?


We had plenty of time to have breakfast, and walk to Town Hall station. The ticket machines required the usual study to identify the set and sequence of buttons you needed. If you did it more frequently than annually it would be easy. Since like Jean I now have a Seniors Card, I could get a discount $2.50 ticket outside peak hours, which has to be a public transport bargain. Still, I guess having some money come in is better than trains running empty. A very short wait for a fast train as well.

The walk from the station (1.5 km) was something I expected to take around a half hour, maybe forty minutes, based on a previous time. It took a little over twenty minutes. We are getting faster at it again.

Karen was on leave this time, so Graham was a little disorganised for once. Still, we were both getting good results, so we left pretty happy. Not much needed to be changed, so it was mostly a matter of touching base about future events.


A bit more of a wait for a return train. Also by then it was feeling pretty warm. I was glad I had worn my sandals for the walk. The train was not air conditioned. I suspect only the one carriage. But it was tolerable, and again a reasonably fast journey.

I had to go out again to get cash to pay the hotel bill. Like many hotels, they make a 1.5% surcharge for credit cards. I could see no good reason to pay extra, since the online map showed a nearby money machine. We may leave sufficiently early to make it unwise to count on reception being open.


I had brought a bunch of paperwork with me. While the deadlines were not immediate, we have enough in the queue that I really needed to get all the reading done, and most of the responses, before we headed home. I would have preferred to have spent more time catching up with people this trip, but sometimes that simply does not work.

One section of responses almost completed by last night. I would like to slack off tonight, but really need to continue work. I never seem to manage all that well at working at the airport or during the flight.

Monopoly is Theft

Monopoly is Theft

Virgin Passbook

I see Apple Passbook works with Virgin Australia flight tickets. Came down automagically when we checked in to Virgin web site using an Apple iPhone. It also worked fine for bag drop, and checkin. At the gate, after the scan, they gave us a little piece of paper for the cabin crew.

I think I will need to move Passbook out of the Bad Apple folder. Not that I know of anything else that uses Passbook. That probably only leaves Cards, Game Centre, iTunes and Weather in the Bad Apple folder.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Leave Sydney

Up before six, but everything is packed. Use most of the last of the items in the fridge, and put the rest out in the rubbish.

We left the Waldorf Apartments around 7:15 a.m. A short walk to Town Hall station, mostly via the underground shopping area. The tickets to the airport are a gouge at $15.40 each, but it is more convenient than a shuttle. We were at Kingsford Smith Domestic around 8 a.m. People in jockey costumes on toy horses were horsing around. Lots of strange hats on display. Jean and I shared a big breakfast once we were through security.

No problems using Apple's Passbook depiction of a boarding pass on our iPhones. Worked just fine.

Flight DJ1519 to Townsville was very uncrowded, unlike the flight to Sydney. Our row had three people, but across the way was unoccupied, so we soon redistributed. The other passenger was headed north for the solar eclipse.


A longish wait on the tarmac for the gate position to become free. We had landed a few minutes early. Bags out quickly. Machines accepted parking ticket and credit card. We were on the way before midday.

Stopped at Willows to get chicken for lunch and dinner, and some milk and orange juice. Jean had air conditioning on before I realised it. A few parcels full of books for her at the door. Unpacked. Made laundry ready.

Avoiding Melbourne Cup horse race. Hate sporting events. Note it is said to be world's richest handicap race. Knew money was involved. So basically it is fixed by the handicappers?

Still No eBook

I tried to download Stalin's Hammer: Rome eBook by John Birmingham. Pre-purchase is acknowledged. However I can not download via iTunes or iBooks. Bummer!

David says he can not download the same book either, and he is going via a totally different bookstore via Android, not iTunes. What gives?

Apple's Express Lane trouble shooting does not work at all. My MacBook Air is eligible (I checked online). OTOH, it is Melbourne Cup day. Plus the internet is taking about an hour per hundred megabyte of download. Maybe I am too slow for them?

iTunes Stopped Working

I now find that iTunes has stopped working entirely. Activity Monitor says iTunes is not responding. Using (Command Option) Safe Mode to start iTunes does not help (not that I thought I had any third party extensions).

I tried iTunes as an Admin user. After attempting to start me as a new user, iTunes stopped responding.

Next I tried rebooting (shades of old versions of Microsoft Windows), however I could not even shut down. After getting ready for bed, I used the power button on the unresponsive MacBook Air.

iOS Resolution

I note the original 3.5 inch diagonal 3:2 aspect ratio iPhone display pixel count was 320 x 480. The pixel size for the original is 163 pixel per inch (ppi). This doubled to 640 x 960 on the iPhone 4 with the Retina display. It went to 640 x 1136 on the iPhone 5. iPhone 4 and 5 is 326 ppi.

The original iPad with a 9.7 inch diagonal 4:3 (197×148 mm) display had 768 x 1024 pixel count, or 132 ppi. The iPad Retina display is the same size, with 1536 x 2048 pixels (more than full HDTV). The problem is, the A5X and A6X CPU and GPU just chew through battery life. You can tell from the way they heat up. The iPad 3 and iPad 4 have gigantic batteries, around 45W. That is larger than in my MacBook Air.

The new iPad mini with a 7.9 inch diagonal 4:3 display has the same 768 x 1024 pixels. The smaller screen size means it is 163 ppi, exactly the same as the original iPhone. Battery is relatively small, at least by comparison with the full size Retina iPad.

I think we can assume that when the technology is there (namely lower power consumption, and maybe a slightly better battery), then the iPad mini display will double to the same 326 ppi Retina display technology of the current iPhone. This will be a nice reuse of existing but by then mature technology. I figure Retina resolution could be as close as the update after next. I am sort of assuming a processor update mid 2013. I also hope for a less reflective display. The current iPad mini display is way too reflective.

Apart from the technology not really being available at the right price, Apple can use the new model to get a good feel for where they can place their pricing. Is the iPad mini selling well at all? Is that because of its size? Or because of its price? I am certain Apple run very good modelling on that sort of thing, but you need real figures to feed your models.

Wednesday 7 November 2012


I started the MacBook Air. Downloads of under 200 MB of updates took the next 20 minutes, thanks to the increasingly slow internet here. However it seemed to be working.

iTunes was now starting again. I looked in the iTunes store for John Birmingham. The book Stalin's Hammer: Rome was listed as Purchased. Clicking on the book icon brings me to a page, just for the book. This shows a price of $2.99, which immediately changes to Purchased. No option to download the book again.

I went to the iTunes Home page, which greets me by name and account (meaning it recognises who I am). On the right in Quick Links there is a link to Purchased (New). I click there, and select books. This lists 23 books, and no longer includes Stalin's Hammer. I click Not on this computer, and Stalin's Hammer is not included. What gives?

Birds in Gutter

I hate this. Birds carrying on in the gutter. Presumably making a nest that will block the gutter once it rains. It is difficult to get at the gutter. Up with the ladder, and implements of destruction. Mess all over the place. Final flushing out with the hose. Nozzle comes loose from hand piece. Water all over me. Not what I want at six in the morning.


I started the first load of laundry around 5:30 a.m. Second load started before we went shopping.

Shopping in BigW at Willows was fun. A toastie press for $8. I wanted one at Airlie Beach, and at that price, why not? A toaster (to replace the ancient one that can not take thick bread) for $12 (less than half the usual price). An orange juicer. The low cost juicer did not look as well designed as the Kambrook brand name, so we got that.

Saw Dot in the Coles when we were getting food, so I heard about the lengthy Melbourne Cup Day event. Seems Krys fell over - high heels? I hope no injuries.

Hid at Jean's place all day, trying to catch up on stuff. Did not succeed, mainly because I kept trying and failing to download that $3 ebook. However I did finally understand why it was not working. I just do not know why Apple made that error.

To the pub for usual Wednesday session. Ron, Harry and Ray were there, with Allen and Dave presiding at the bar. Very small turn up. No sign of Jeff or Ian. Watched the International Space Station pass over around 6:30.

Took a flashlight and the Crawly Cruncher outside, and killed some more of the pernicious invasive Asian kitchen geckos.

Apple Support

I make another attempt to find out why a book I have purchased in iTunes will not download. Enable cookies in Safari and connect to Apple Support in Australia. Run my MacBook Air serial number in, and confirm I have a three year hardware and support contract. I do.

I click through to the ExpressLane online help. I am signed in as my Apple ID. I click Your Products. The web page stalls. I click all Apple, products, select, iTunes, and store, then I select downloads. I get directed to a technical article which tells me how to do what I have tried a dozen times. The only other option is email, which does nothing.

So I went back to the AppleCare page, and clicked on the option to contact Apple. It flashes blue, but does nothing else.

In short, Apple support on line is a total waste of time. Just like it has been a waste for the past six days.

I still do not have the book I purchased. I seem to have no way to get it via Apple. How likely do you think it is that I will pre-order another book soon via iTunes?

No Shit

A new test for bowel cancer - no shit.


I am glad to see USA is not a majority rightwing nut job country. For a while I was wondering.

Great to see the lesser of two evils won. Now see if you can get the TSA under control. Maybe kill a few less innocent people with drones, in countries that are nominally allies. Close Guantanamo. Ease up on the stupid war against drugs. Maybe see if you can avoid having record numbers of citizens with a criminal history for victimless crimes. Maybe avoid jailing more people per capita than any other country.

Apple in Decline

I have mentioned my battle with Apple iTunes to obtain a pre-ordered book, namely Stalin's Hammer: Rome, an ebook by the talented and entertaining John Birmingham.

This book problem was entirely to do with Apple software. iTunes let me pre-order. Then iTunes failed to charge my credit card. So the book shows up as pre-ordered. Later it showed up as purchased, but I had no way to download it. On my iPad, it shows up as something I can download. However it will not let me actually download. I can not even buy it (again), because I am already listed as having purchased it.

That is not the only issue with Apple. I was also unable to use the ExpressLane help system (it just failed to let me complete anything), nor was I able to contact Apple via my three year AppleCare contract. The book problem was solved (for me) by the publisher Momentum emailing me a copy of the book.

Apple make some great hardware. However I fear they are starting to run behind on software fixes. The idea of bringing out a new operating system annually (in two widely different variants) sounds great. However I think Apple no longer have sufficient great software people to sustain that pace. I am not sure there are that many great software people. Hence things go wrong, frustratingly wrong, and fixes are slow.

I gave up Microsoft Windows in 2004 because of frustration with the software. If I give up on Apple, all I have is Linux. For an end user, Linux sucks. It may not suck as bad as it used to, but for anyone except geeks, it still sucks.

Thursday 8 November 2012

Apple in Decline (2)?

An article in The Guardian by former Apple (and Google) engineer Dan Crow. We've passed peak Apple: it's all downhill from here may be right. Guys like this are real bright. You do not work for both Apple and Google without having smarts.

Dan fingers Maps as a pointer to Apple making the user experience worse. It is true. Apple's new Maps application is not as good as Google's version of Maps. However I would argue that Google Maps on iDevices was going nowhere, compared to the competing Android version. These days, Apple owning Maps is pretty fundamental. Competition comes down to Google having way better data, and way more GIS people working on their Maps. Maps of my remote area are just a joke, as are the satellite photos (unrecognisable blurs instead of a town). However updated data can be purchased and integrated. I certainly hope that happens soon. My gut feeling is the deposed executive Scott Forstall was right about going that way, but overhyped what they had. Plus he was a software guy, and Apple needs to improve its software.

The other side of the new Apple Maps is I was able to use it in Berlin to navigate, without a cellular connection. That simply did not work with the old version (I had an iPhone with iOS 6 and an iPad with iOS 5, so I was doing direct comparisons). So, is that actually an improvement?

However the main thrust of Dan Crow is that Steve Jobs was the master visionary (and nitpicker) at Apple. Rigid control, from the top. Without that vision, can Apple keep the same focus on a great user experience? Will Apple fall to infighting and groups protecting their turf?

How many other people will drop using Apple?

Trump This

Donald Trump proves dinosaurs not extinct after all.

Old Mac Address

I hear Apple are likely to update former .Mac and .Me email addresses so that you can use them again in iCloud. No mail about that here, as yet. Maybe sometime in the next few weeks?

Worse Homes and Gardens

I hate it when you water the dry patch of lawn behind the house, turn it into mud, and then the mowing contractor comes through. We missed the date, having just returned. Luckily I was able to intercept the contractor before he got his big ride on mower bogged in our new mud puddle. I am glad I remain on friendly terms with the contractors. I know some people seem to have issues.

The pot plants out the front needed watering. Given how little interest we have in gardens and plants, a solution is needed. I see two. Get rid of the plants, which has the advantage of being easy. The second is to fit a watering system to the pots.

Kickstarter Scanbox Plus

My Kickstarter crowdsourced funded Scanbox Plus just arrived. No instructions, because you do not need them. This is a real simple, but very handy project to make it easier to scan documents with your iPhone.

No more hacking cardboard boxes with my Swiss Army knife, and finding the duct tape when I want an iPhone stand for photographing documents or receipts. I used to do that a lot for photographs of small objects. However cardboard boxes are bulky and tend to clutter up the place, so I ended up throwing them out when I thought I was through with them. I like the use of magnets for holding Scanbox together, so I can mostly leave it folded flat for storage. I think Phil Bosua did a good job on this.

Next I am looking forward to LIFX: The Light Bulb Reinvented, also a Kickstarter funded project. This is much more high tech, and will stretch the designers. That still has a few days to go to funding, however they have a sensible approach, so I have high hopes. Phil Bosua is part of the LIFX team as well.

iOS Update to 6.0.1

I started the iOS software update in iTunes on my MacBook Air just prior to midday. Just over 800 megabyte, which means it will take nearly two hours to download. That is only for the iPad mini. I imagine there will be similar size downloads for other devices.

Luckily we want to pull a bunch of downloads into this month. Our mostly unused (we were away) download quota this month will expire soon.

At 1:19 p.m. the iOS download was ready to install. The iPad mini was rebooting at 1:26 p.m. All completed at 1:27 p.m.

I started the 1.1 gigabyte iOS 6.01 update for my iPad 3 at 2:17 p.m. Estimate is the download will take three hours. The download of 1.1 gigabyte completed at 4:30 p.m. The iPad 3 is now backing up for the install. Software update is going through. Completed iPad 3 at 4:42 p.m.

The iPhone 4 iOS 6.0.1 software update is 887 megabytes. Started download at 5:05 p.m. Download completed at 6:51 p.m. I trust anyone reading this realises why I do not stream movies?

Other Upgrades

I also started updating Bento on my MacBook Air to 4.1.2. That is another 192 megabytes to download. Started at 1:34 p.m. The download completed at 1:57 p.m.

Bento no longer seems to be much use at linking with Contacts (Address Book), Calendar, or iPhoto. I am not sure what the best approach will be to using it. I do not really use these functions in Bento in any case.

Another annoyance is only being able to sync my Bento database from the Macintosh to two iOS devices. I can certainly see Filemaker not wanting you to sync to two iPhones. But I have a full size iPad, and now an iPad mini. It would be convenient to be able to sync to all device.

Fuck Apple

God damn Apple and their fucking pathetic iTunes web page support! If iTunes would let me access my account details, I might be able to fix it myself. How many time do you have to go through trying to log in? Especially when the iTunes shows I am already logged in correctly, but will not let me at my account details to change pre-orders.

Then you go through the Express Lane web support page, and find that when you get to the bit about emailing Apple, it does not do anything at all! Fuck you Apple, and fuck the camel you rode up on.

Fix it Apple, or your customers will leave.


I just bought Clear for Mac from RealMac Software. This is a fairly simple list manager. Easy (and fun) to use (on the iPhone). But I found it was better for me than most more elaborate lists. First list manager I have used that really did replace paper. The new Macintosh version of Clear syncs with the iPhone via iCloud. One list. Two places. All good (if it works).

Later note. Sometime overnight, the new Clear on the Mac synchronised with my iPhone version of Clear. They both have the same lists now. Yes!


I did not leave the home. Not for a walk. Not for lunch. Not to collect mail. The warm weather is only partly to blame. Did not want to see anyone.

I did start a new Twitter account, cgcctweet, for the Carlyle Gardens Computer Club. I want to be able to Tweet when a new article is published on the Carlyle Gardens Computer Club web site. Alas, I can not use Tweetbot for this, since Twitter have limited the number of users of Tweetbot on the Mac.

Friday 9 November 2012


We were off to the Domain area very late. First we had to get eggs from the egg farm. Checked if Geoff and Margaret were in. Since the door was open, we loaded the Apple HiFi sound system, and dropped that in to Margaret on our way out.

We gave up on shopping at Domain, and went straight to Dan Murphy to load up on booze. Found Jean's favourite WA classic dry white. No boxes. Got the other liquid supplies. On the way home. Jean lamented she was not sure a half dozen bottles would last until Xmas. It was about then we realised we had never gone back to collect the half dozen white wine. She will run out. Vodka is not a suitable substitute for wine with a meal. I guess we might be able to have champagne a little more often.

Carlyle Gardens Computer Club

I started a new twitter account cgcctweet for infrequent Tweets about new pages on the Carlyle Gardens Computer Club website. Can not get to it via Tweetbot, due to Twitter limiting account numbers by third party applications. I can use Twitter's own OSX client.

Sent a note to Laurie, the Carlyle Gardens Computer Club secretary. He bicycled past towards midday. It seems Jo-ann and particularly Pattie were thinking the new web pages should all be on the official Carlyle Gardens web site. I really doubt that will work. Commercial web sites have to do things so very different to amateur web sites. For one thing, their web designers tend to cost $100 or so an hour.

No luck catching Pattie or Jo-ann for a talk after lunch. Both were out on the electric buggies. On the other hand, I had a very nice lamb chop for lunch. Afterward, Allen got out some of their private stock. $8 a glass, but very nice.

Jean drove me over to the bar in the late afternoon for the social club get together. I caught up with a decent number of people. Another glass of the nice private stock wine. Lots of lottery tickets. Gave some money to the RSL for the Poppy coin. More to the Social Club fundraising.

Shenna, the Social Club President, asked about getting an email account. It seems like the Carlyle Gardens Social Club needs their own domain name. So Shenna, as President, formally asked me to organise this.

Catholic Connection

An account of the Catholic connection in Australian politics. Cover ups of child sexual abuse continues. Unreported deaths linked to paedophile brotherhood.

Internet Censorship

A sensible decision possible on Australian internet censorship. It looks like the Australian government has dropped the previous stupid mandatory censorship scheme that arsehole Stephen Conroy proposed. The secret list that (once leaked) was seen to include an innocent dentist. That was the good bit.

However ISPs will be required to block the worst of the child porn (as per Interpol list), under the existing Telecommunications Act. Many good ISPs (like Internode) correctly refused to block internet access, except where legally required to do so. This is also a fail. Why should anything be censored? Go after the arseholes who produce illegal content.

The Australian Christian Lobby should butt out of what people do on the internet, and pretty much anywhere else. Your great sky fairy does not exist, so how can you be sure you are right?

Garden of Weeden

A former Carlyle Gardens gardener, Laurie, who is well known and liked by residents, has started his own garden business. He dropped over just before midday. We showed him our 25 square metres of problem garden (we are not garden people), and talked a little about what could be done. He seemed to understand. So most of the former garden gets nuked (sometime), replaced by stuff that is easy to maintain.

Advertising - Nobody Gives a Shit

A Short Lesson in Perspective from Linds Redding about TV advertising campaigns. In the long run, nobody gives a shit.

The author, Linds Redding, a former New Zealand art director, died of cancer last month.

Negative Gearing

Get rid of negative gearing on existing property. It is just a tax lurk for the well off. Capital can deduct costs of earnings; labour generally can not. How is that fair?

Corporation ≠ Human

I am delighted to see Montana passed a State referendum Initiative No. 166, saying corporations are not human beings with constitutional rights. It is well past time that corporations stopped being treated as having human rights. Time for USA to eliminate SuperPAC as well.

I hope this becomes an historically important first step to taking back overt control of politics from the corporations.

What Romney Lost

A hard hitting post of What Romney Lost by Garry Wills.

China Famine

It is well to remember that China is run by a brutal military dictatorship. Between 1958 and 1962, Mao's directives caused more people to die of starvation than has ever previously happened. Just another case of socialism not working very well. The same pragmatic powers still run China.

Saturday 10 November 2012


It was not exactly the crack of dawn, like it was when I got up, however it was early. Jean put the soaker hose out the back, and started it to help with the browning and wilted lawn there. It promptly started raining.

Off to Willows, where Jean managed a decent walk. I bought lots of newspapers. It looked like the Xmas shit had hit BigW. Not much luck with food shopping. Woolworths had TipTop Cafe Raisin Bread (30% fruit) at a high price, over $5. Coles had it at a slightly better price. I bought the regular TipTop Raisin Bread (25% fruit) instead, since it was $3. We need to test the new toaster. Jean got some yoghurt.

I walked over to the Carlyle Square to check the arts and crafts fair. There were a lot of tables out. The entire sheltered area around the quadrangle was occupied by tables. A short chat with Clive, about replacement iPhones when your battery dies. Some nice woodwork inside the Carlton Theatre. Not that I have filled the box I bought last time.

Somewhat later Sue asked me if I would drive Heather home, as she seemed unwell. Several people ended up helping. She was fairly steady and getting around the theatre by then, with help. A little later I drove her home in her car, and made sure she was settled in at home.

I walked back to the arts and crafts. Managed to buy a last sausage sandwich from the Carlyle Gardens Golf Club volunteers. Stopped in the bar for a beer. Dave gave me a salad sandwich, from the surplus stock the bar had made. Walked home.

The Last City

I happened upon a free book, The Last City by Nina D'Aleo, tweeted by Momentum Books. I downloaded it, partly to test whether iTunes was actually allowing me to obtain some books, partly to test whether something strange was happening just with Momentum Books.

No problems with the download. All my issues getting a Momentum book (John Birmingham's Stalin's Hammer: Rome are with Apple's iTunes Store, probably specifically with the accounting side.

Superannuation Rip-off

Is superannuation a rip-off for average workers, as former Treasurer Peter Costello claims. If your fund manager is getting you the industry fund average 0.61% last year, or minus 0.17% of the past five years, then yes, it is a rip off.

You need a good fund manager, while remembering that no-one gets investing right all the time. Sometimes that means a retail superannuation fund, despite the higher fees.


Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc’-ra-cy) – a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

I know how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Have a recession. A 1% global decline in CO2 in 2009. Once business picked up, there was a 5% increase in 2010. 3% increase in 2011. Coal use went up 5% in 2011. Over the past decade, average annual worldwide emissions increased by 2.7%.

As usual, total emissions are pretty much proportional to gross domestic product, which is essentially a product of living standards and population. China is highest at 9700 million tonnes, USA second, EU third, India, fourth, and Russian Federation fifth at 1830 million tonnes. Of the top ten emitters, only Germany (6) and the UK (10) have signed Kyoto.

Australia is around 14, with 430 million tonnes. Emissions per person from Australia have increased 19% from 1990 to 2011. Total emissions are up 57%, partly reflecting increased mining, and a 24% population increase.

Meanwhile, figures from Climate Change Australia say 551 million tonnes from a 1990 base of 418 million tonnes. Emissions per person down 0.8%, and a population increase of 33.5%. Does anyone take any of these fictitious figures (especially the first lot) seriously?

The figure to watch is probably emissions per dollar of real GDP, which fell from 0.61 kg CO2 per dollar in 1989-90 to 0.40 kg CO2 per dollar in June 2012. A decline of 34.4%. How low can you go? I have been assuming in developing countries emissions would run around a kilogram per US$ in 1990 prices.

Carlyle Gardens Computer Club

I caught up with both Pattie and Jo-ann at the Arts and Crafts Fair. Neither had any interest in the new Carlyle Gardens Computer Club web site being on the official Carlyle Gardens site. The story got totally distorted by the time it reached me. Pattie would just like a link to the official site. She tells me it is changing son in any case. That is the sort of thing I would have done in any case. No drama to be seen here. Move along. Move along.

Nuke Subs

I was very happy to note the conservative opposition call to buy the Australian Navy up to a dozen Virginia type nuclear submarines from the USA. I have thought for years this was a better option than Collins type diesel submarines. The distances Australia needs to cover to protect sea lanes makes nuclear submarines the obvious choice. Building our own submarines is mostly a make work scheme for inefficient South Australian manufacturers and unionists. OK, China will hate it. So what. Care to count up how many nuclear submarines they have?

Sunday 11 November 2012


A variety of birds outside chittering at 5 a.m. They sure are noisy. Since the weather was fine, Jean decided we would do laundry. While the second load of washing was running, the sprinkler system came on. I think it misses the clothes hanging on the line.

Insiders, followed by Inside Business. My sole TV viewing seems to be public affairs.


A George Takei tweet today. Marriage equality AND marijuana laws passed? Now we know what Leviticus really meant by A man who layeth with another man must be stoned.


I brought in all the little individual solar lights, since the garden was scheduled to be destroyed. Stuffed them in a box on the back porch, with the panels exposed to the sun.

Later I tried to get one of the two solar floodlight kits out of the garden. Lots of tugging wires out from under vegetation. At least I could see the panel. I eventually freed up three spotlights and one sensor from under the vegetation. I can not even see where the other kit has been enveloped by the vegetation.


Life at Nauru detention centre horrific.

Good Labor

I wish we had more Labor parliamentarians who are as sensible and pragmatic as Energy Minister Martin Ferguson. His department has just delivered a difficult white paper on energy, which I hope people will read. We need more people willing to see what works. I suspect this means Labor will try to get rid of Ferguson. The Greens will absolutely hate the white paper.

What Programmers Want

A great article by Michael O Church on What Programmers Want. Specifically mentions programmer productivity is totally unlike many commodity jobs. The best are 50 times as good as average. However only people at much the same level can really appreciate just how good they are, so you can not really benchmark them. These folks can easily leave if pissed off. They can take any job they want. They are always in demand.

If you manage programmers or software engineers, you really need to read this article.

As a total aside, but relating to programming, a slightly old list of 45 Free eBooks for Developers and Designers.

Monday 12 November 2012


I was up early, soon after four. Not sleeping well. Not ready for our trip. Certain I have failed to pack essentials, despite bag being larger than when we went to Europe.

Not coping with getting rid of paper. Must try harder. Leaves paper strewn floor without regret.

Packed car. We were ready to leave soon after seven.

Leave Townsville

I took our last item to the car at 7:20 a.m. The rubbish to get rid of on our way out of town. Can not leave it in our bins, as they are not cleared until Thursday morning, and we do not want to leave it out front. If we leave it in fridge, there is insufficient room for rubbish next week.

Jean carefully took the correct road out of Townsville, and the correct road north, overcoming normal instincts. Heavier traffic than I expected around the Northern Beaches. Some delays for road construction.

Ingham 90 km north at 9 a.m. We found the Brumby's bakery. No apple slice, but Jean got an apple danish, and I got an apple turnover with cream. Left Ingham at 9:15 a.m. with showers harassing us There is another bakery on the other side of the wide road. We should try that on the return trip.

Lots of stops at roadworks going through the reconstruction of the mountain section. Much waiting for lollypop people who control our lives. Observed willy wagtail catching insects beside the traffic line. Not much else to do. 3G reception a bit slow. Going again at 9:40 a.m. More delays on the way through to Cardwell. So much construction at Cardwell that we did not stop. Also it is only 50 km from Ingham. Heavy rain further along. Not enough to threaten road, just enough to annoy.

On past Tully, where you always expect rain.

Passed through some of Innisfail, and then stopped at the big park. Walked main street, and eventually got pies for lunch at Brumby's. This show lack of imagination.

I visited Bob Katter's office. Asked about his hats. Was told he gets them at Charters Towers. Then devastating news. Akubra may stop making the Arena model. How horrible!

Passing through heavy traffic at Cairns by 2 p.m. When we got to the northern side, we stopped at the big Springfield shopping centre. Parking place sprang out. Shopping in Woolworths for biscuits, and bananas. Luckily Jean later found a cooked chook at Coles. A bottle of her favourite white wine. On the road again.

Trinity Beach

I pulled into Castaways Motel, where we had booked long ago. No room for us. No room for us! The toilet bowl had broken, reported by guest leaving that morning. Plumber says no way for a replacement to dry in the available time.

Luckily the manager had been able to arrange a room for us at The Palms, about 500 metres around the corner in Moore Street. They had a late cancellation.

Drive to the Palms Apartments, in Moore Street. This is one block from the beach. They look busy. Our room is not ready yet. Give us an hour.

Walk across the street to the Trinity Tavern, at a much fancier establishment. Drink a beer each. Use their free WiFi for a half hour. Room at the Palms is ready on our return around 3:30 p.m.

Telstra Mobile Hot Spot

I see my phone has used 363 MB of 3G data this month (while we were in Sydney for five days). I have 661 MB of data left, out of a gigabyte. I have one day to use it. So I might as well. Switched on the Hot Spot function, and connected my MacBook Air via WiFi this afternoon. All seemed well.

When I returned from dinner, I tried to connect to my iPhone via WiFi. As far as my computer and my iPad were concerned, the iPhone was not using WiFi. No idea why. Although maybe it is the change to iOS 6.0.1. I updated the iPhone to 6.0.1 on Thursday. I bet I have not used Hot Spot extensively since then.

I connected my MacBook Air to the iPhone via USB cable, which is far less convenient. I connected my iPad mini via Bluetooth, which took several attempts. It also stopped working fairly quickly, although it did connect later.

Meet Lawrie

We were able to catch up with Lawrie, who had room 202. We went to dinner at the Trinity Beach Tavern, which serves giant meals. Lawrie says his WiFi tethering is not working from his Android phone.

Beta Blockers Fail

A popular article on the ineffectiveness of beta blockers for post heart attack treatment. They slow the heart. Idea is to give damaged heart muscle some rest. However normal intervention to open blocked arteries means heart attack victims now are not the same as a decade or so ago. Those taking beta blockers do not live any longer than those not taking them.

References β-Blocker Use and Clinical Outcomes in Stable Outpatients With and Without Coronary Artery Disease, and Effect of Exposure to Evidence-Based Pharmacotherapy on Outcomes After Acute Myocardial Infarction in Older Adults.

Carvidiliol is both a beta blocker and an alpha blocker. So now I am wondering whether I should stop using it. Guess I will make some appointments.

Budget Fiction

I recall Kevin Rudd repeatedly claiming to be a fiscal conservative during the 2007 election campaign. I believe that phrase did reassure voters concerned about the economic rectitude of Labor. It turned out that former Prime Minister Rudd (and Gillard) were actually big spenders, blowing about $50 billion. Those two are up there with the discredited Whitlam government for being idiots with money. Particularly once the excuse of the global financial crisis was present, on which they spent an additional $70 billion, a lot of it wasted.

These days, neither Labor nor the coalition make more than the slightest attempt to produce a responsible balanced budget. Governments can borrow money, tax money, and print money. Labor has consistently spent more than it has, and is desperately clutching at taxes. It has no idea how to balance a budget, consistently spends more than taxes bring in, and shuffles its budget figures in a futile attempt to hide that it is incompetent at budgeting.

The Liberals are also promising big spending policies, with no idea apparent about where they will get the money. This stupidity started midway through the Howard era, mostly with excessive middle class handouts. Despite which, Costello did leave $20 billion of budget surplus, $40 billion in the future fund (and paid off up to $86 billion of past Labor debt, although that was mostly by selling stuff the public owned). Hockey's promises to cost policies in the last week of an election campaign are just utter garbage, even if actually acted upon.

Neither side are able to explain to the public that you can not always do what you want. Economics is about using scarce resources, and resources are always scarce. If you do one set of things, it generally means you must give up something else. Neither side are admitting you have to give things up. It is not worth paying taxes to either side, because they are often wasting the money they do have.

A lot of the mendicant public meanwhile are acting like spoilt children in a candy store, screaming they want it now, and they want it all. Grow up.

Apple Misleads

UK Court shows Apple makes misleading statement.

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Trinity Morning

I was awake early. About four. I was especially awake after I stubbed my foot on the hob into the bathroom, and crashed into the door.

Started using the computer at five, this being a slightly more acceptable hour than four. The tethering of computer to phone was working fine via the inconvenient USB cable. The phone says the personal hotspot has two connections.

It seemed to be getting light outside around 5:15 a.m. That argues that being ready for the eclipse tomorrow from around 5:30 or so would be in order.

We went for a walk along the pleasantly shaded beach side walkway at Trinity Beach. Covered a bit more than 2.5 km over an absurdly long time. Still better than no walk.

I had switched off the iPhone hotspot before I left for the walk, and switched it back on afterwards. USB cable tethering to my iPhone continued to work when connected. No sign that WiFi is even present on the iPhone.

Amazon DRM

I like John Birmingham. Amazon a bottom feeding Hell beast. Quite so.

Toll Roads

I would never invest in a toll road project, or almost any combined public private enterprise. To get funding, and beat competitors to the contract, they make optimistic traffic projections. Or more charitably, they make unrealistic traffic projections, and as a result, get funding. Then they need to do a capital reconstruction. Then the original investors lose their equity, after being lied to. Just looks at the number of toll roads and tunnel projects that only make money for the second or third wave of takeovers.

Just do not buy in. If a construction company is promising the earth, they are probably lying, or deluded. If the road project is so very valuable to the business community, then the business community needs to fund it. If government is to fund it (and mostly governments have thrown money away), then they need to clearly indicate the social merits for losing money on it. Typically governments do not do this (see NBN).

As an aside, rating agencies are incompetent.

Visualise Data

A Javascript library for Data-Driven Documents. Visualise your data, by converting CSV to graphics, without tedious DOM manipulation. Looks interesting.

Light by Moore's Cloud on Boing Boing

I like seeing Light by MooresCloud: Kickstarter for open, net-controllable lightshow and mood lighting noted on BoingBoing by Cory Doctorow.

Wednesday 14 November 2012


I was up early, and Jean not long after. We collected our cameras and some breakfast makings, and walked across the road to Lawrie's apartment at 5:30 a.m.

Lawrie had a great balcony position above the beach, with a reasonable angle on where the sun rose. The low clouds were a problem, often obscuring our view. However we got breaks from time to time, including during part of totality. We were mostly content to watch, but did take some photos. Photos, and a movie actually.

Jean boiled some eggs for us for breakfast. It was a very enjoyable morning.

Nanny State Bicycle Helmet Laws

The only proven thing helmets protect us from are fines. Objecting to Australia's ridiculous bicycle helmet laws has led to my licence being suspended and property seized, says 52 year old freedom to cycle blogger Sue Abbott.

The nanny state should just get out of the way, and stop coming up with victimless crimes. Helmet laws discourage people (like me) from cycling (especially in tropical Queensland). Helmet laws make bicycle hire and freely available borrowing of bicycles more difficult. Sure they decrease low speed deaths and injuries. However maybe having more separated paths for cyclists would be even better. Maybe driving slower would be better?

However I suspect the easiest one is keep a helmet law (if it exists), and simply fail to enforce it, beyond a verbal warning. Most people would probably wear a helmet, where convenient, but if not convenient, then they are not penalised.

My own attitude is stuff that. If my destination is close I will walk. If slightly more distant, take a bus, a taxi or drive a car. Bicycle to reduce carbon emissions? Stuff that.

Google Transparency Report

Government surveillance is on the rise, according to Google's Transparency Report on government requests for user data, or to remove content. See Australian government user data requests. Here is Australian government removal requests (many relate to court orders regarding defamation).

I do not like Google. This is because their business model is to sell you to advertisers. I attempt to block this. However Google often do good work.

Australian Wildlife Conservancy

AWC and Google Earth develop a virtual tour of AWC Sanctuaries. Part of Google Outreach.


I believe the 2007 to 2010 push by the Rudd government for harmonised occupational health and safety laws by 2012 has produced unworkable results in NSW, Queensland, and possibly elsewhere. Harmonised OHS laws across Australia are probably a good idea. Indeed, the Howard government was talking about the idea in 2006, as part of their annoying attempt to federalise everything. However these model OHS laws (pushed in 2008 by then Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, the Honourable Julia Gillard), as encouraged by the Commonwealth via bribes, are terribly badly devised in some areas.

As some of my readers may know, I resigned from my voluntary positions this year. This was a result of my interpretation of various laws affecting volunteers. I now strongly advise never volunteering in Queensland (and much of Australia).

In the past, OHS related laws have considered who has reasonable and practicable control of the work. Now employers are automatically guilty for accidents under duty of care. You could however mount a defence based on who has control. That aspect of who has control is dismissed in the harmonised OHS idea. Given criminal charges are involved, you really would need a harmonised court system as well.

Some of the benefits of harmonisation are overstated. Most Australian businesses operate in a single state. Multi-state businesses are rare, around 1% in number.

Under harmonised model laws, volunteers are also subject to prosecution and conviction. This problem was publicised in NSW by the Scout's Association.

South Australia has modified their OHS to ensure those working for not for profit organisations or as body corporate officers are no longer at this risk. Bill Shorten is still claiming in press releases this is harmonised OHS. It is not. SA heavily modified the original model OHS laws.

I believe the present Queensland NLP government will seek to amend the harmonised OHS act passed by Labor in late 2011. Victoria and West Australia reconsidered harmonising OHS, with Victoria rejecting it. Tasmania has delayed implementation. As an aside, states following the harmonised OHS laws were essentially offered a bribe by the Commonwealth Government, so there was considerable effort in complying. In short, the model OHS laws pushed for by Gillard are now being rejected as unworkable.

Trinity Beach

I took a walk in the morning sunshine for photos of the area. Too many steps to get some of the views that I wanted. Especially it was too hot for me. However it had been too cloudy on previous days.

At the local shops it became apparent that rents were high, and land values not in line with the tourism downturn. However the smaller amount of development and concentration on apartments seems to have avoided the closed down town syndrome currently afflicting Airlie Beach.

I had a lunchtime snack with Lawrie at the Trinity Beach Tavern while Jean hid. Lawrie's snack was large, so I ordered chips. That was large too. I never met a meal there that I could manage to finish.

We had other folks to meet, who had been inland for their eclipse viewing. Lawrie and Jean head for Trinity Beach Tavern a bit before the time their hire car was due. I hung around outside.

David, Adeline and Robert arrive in a small hire car around 6:40 p.m. I had waited outside for, and had communicated with David via message or email. It was good to see David again, and meet Adeline and Robert from Canberra, who had been doing the driving. Some lively conversation, mostly about the eclipse viewing.

AdTrap on Kickstarter

A nice idea. A custom Linux box to trap internet advertising, from Get AdTrap. You could always do this on a computer via your hosts file, however phones and tablets are not as easy. You could place your own filter box between your ADSL or cable modem, and your router, but then you have to do the work. At around US$120, this advertising blocker sounds worthwhile.

40 Hour Work Week

A plea to bring back the forty hour work week. It is more productive than overwork, especially in knowledge workers. One exception may be engineers with Asperger syndrome.

Thursday 15 November 2012

Trinity Beach

Arise, warbles the five o'clock chirper. Go away, say the still slumbering. Car mostly packed soon after seven. Washing up done. Sitting around mucking about with computers at the moment.

Jean collected Lawrie from his apartment building at 8:15 and we headed off south. Traffic was heavy, I guess everyone was leaving after the eclipse.

After Innisfail we diverted inland to Paronella Park. we had been there a couple of times over the years. Lawrie was not expecting this, but we wanted him to see one of the stranger and more interesting tourist destination. José Paronella’s dream was to build a castle. Owner Mark Evans greeted us in the car park. It is that sort of place. Local resident Kylie gave us a great tour. It really is that sort of a place. We had lunch there, but by now were running a bit late.

Jean had found the sunlight and heat at Paronella Park too much. She was rather burnt by the time we reached Townsville. We dropped Lawrie off at his apartment near Flinders Street. It looks pretty comfortable, and is handy to a lot of the downtown.


I tried to do something on Amazon. Site crashed. Ptui!

GST Increases

I note repeated flag waving for increases and broadening of the Goods and Services Tax, which currently diverts 10% to the government on about 60% of the economy. Items excluded include health, education, and fresh food. Given the government itself is a major purchaser of health and education, I am not certain charging itself is particularly efficient. As for fresh food, I suspect home vegetable gardens will flourish.

Using VIM like Textmate for Rails

A list of VIM commands for Ruby on Rails programmers moving from TextMate on Macintosh, by Jack Kinsella. If I used VIM, I would be using this great guide.

Google Advertising

A horrible figure. Google runs an advertisement 30 billion times a day. What a waste of energy. Someone clicks on one of the 30 billion adverts 13 million times.

Google's advertising revenue in the USA in the first six months of 2012 was over US$20 billion. The entire print media advertising take, newspaper and magazine, was $19.2 billion. Most newspapers and magazines in the USA are not going to survive.

Just block advertising and be done with it. The internet was way more attractive before the advertising arseholes got at it.

Friday 16 November 2012


I was up at five. Laundry started. Eventually, laundry out. We drove to the discount chemist. Out of stock, so I will need to return. Jean got other stuff, and was rewarded with a teddy bear. We wanted a toy for the 1RAR Band concert. At Willows doing shopping. Eggs at the egg place. Then to the Doctor to make an appointment. Collect mail. The day had hardly begun and I felt tired.


Collect Lawrie just after eleven, and show off some of the suburbs. We went to lunch at the restaurant at Carlyle Gardens. I took Lawrie for a walk through the place, howing him the facilities here. Walk back to home, and talk there for a while.

Jean drove Lawrie back to his hotel around 3:30, via Ross River Road and the old highway, so he could see some of the older pieces of town. We were able to return home via Bayswater and Dalrymple Road just before the sun got low enough to get in our eyes. I have no idea how car commuters manage that drive each day.


I have no idea where I filed the multicolour LED light globe Bunnings with its remote control. Maybe I should check the lamp drawer?

I just wrote down that the December issue of Silicon Chip is missing, and then recalled it is still November. Getting worse.


Jon Oxer is converting an existing weatherboard house into a smart house using Arduino and connecting everyday items. Watch his videos on how he is doing it.

Twitter to Die

A sad case, with twitter about to emulate My Space. Dalton Caldwell notes Twitter is pivoting. Sounds more like Twitter is being a dick about other client developers. It has a former My Space executive on its board. It is about to die.

Not that Facebook is an alternative. Facebook is a control freak managed garden.

Saturday 17 November 2012


I was up late. Skipped breakfast in the hope of finding something better when we went out for newspapers. Beck Drive had traffic controllers on it, while new line marking went in. Not much of a delay. We walked around Willows for a while. I collected far too many newspapers (which have increased in price). We visited Woolworths and Coles, and I was able to find crumpets and chocolate milk, so my breakfast is secured.

The high humidity meant that we closed up the house and put on the air conditioner. This is the first day this season we have run the air conditioners all day.

I hope to spend much of the day reading and discarding paper. Way too much old paper handing around here. Recycling day is Thursday.

Fall of Capitalism

A whole heap of scandals involving money and sex reported by Mike Mangan. He wonders if this is the beginning of the end of empire.

Pay Australian Tax

It seems Apple will be billed an extra $28 million for taxes in Australia. Apple in Australia is owned by Apple Operations International, which is a subsidiary located in Cork, Ireland. I gather this is in turn owned by an Apple company in the tax haven British Virgin islands. Apple had revenue of $4.87 billion, and paid $94.7 million in tax in Australia, about 2% of revenue.

Google and Amazon do not even admit to selling anything in Australia.

Back Porch Light Fails

The automatic sensor light on the back porch has failed, leaving both lights on. It turned on when Jean went outside, and then never turned off. I suspect insects in the housing.

It is wired independent of the regular light switch, so switching off the light does not turn it off. The only way I can see to get rid of the light is to pull out the tubes. Then we have no lights at all on the back porch.

The trouble with all these fancy systems is they are not reliable at all. That one did not even outlast the fluorescent tubes.

Untrustworthy Certificates

An article in Nature by Ben Laurie and Cory Doctorow on the need to secure the internet. Software engineers must close the loophole used to intercept online communications. One problem is disallowing any site not identified. Does not sound workable to me.

Free Books from DRM

I see yet another reader will not tolerate DRM on ebooks. Especially when treated like a criminal for demanding it. The big publishers can shove their books. I am going to treat them like I treat Sony. I will never buy from them.

Sunday 18 November 2012

Early Morning Gadget Chores

I am not happy about the quality of various devices around the house. The cheap Chinese crap just breaks down. Hoses are typical.

I got the ladder out and disconnected the back porch lights, since the automatic detector system had failed last night and left the lights on all the time. This mean we now have no back porch light.

I replaced the alkaline AA batteries in the OWL wireless power monitor receiver and the Lithium AA batteries in the transmitter. This meant I had to resync the transmitter and receiver. Personally I think those systems should have a trickle power feed, and a backup battery, not operate exclusively from battery.

I replaced the AAA batteries in the outside temperature transmitter for the little weather station. Again, I had to resync the wireless channel.


A bad day for laundry, according to the weather forecast. Indeed, it was dribbling a bit when I went outside to replace batteries in transmitters.

My weight was 72.7 kilograms. Blood pressure 115/69, and pulse 48.

After breakfast I dragged several boxes of river pebbles for the garden through the house from the back porch. This was greatly assisted by using the luggage trolley Jean had kindly found in the garage (now it was no longer too hot to enter the garage). I did discover that the handles of the plastic boxes were starting to give way. I guess the sun got to them.

Unable to do online banking. The site seemed to be in maintenance mode this morning. A fair enough time to do it, except it seemed to remain in that state all morning.

iTunes Dead Again

I tried to use iTunes just before lunch. It does not appear, but is listed as running. According to Activity Monitor, iTunes is not running. Stopped second user from running. Tried again. iTunes does not start. All my software is up to date. iTunes is consistently a piece of shit of late. I can not see anything in the Console error logs.

Perhaps a reboot of the MacBook Air? Doing a backup first, as backups have not run for two days, and I have no idea why they stopped. Backup fails to start. Looking for backup disk. No idea why this is happening. Shutdown was failing to proceed. Shutdown still fails to work. About this Mac also fails to work.

After the (power switch) reboot, iTunes is working. The Backup has completed, for the first time in days. About this Mac now works. This is just like old Windows computers. Reboot to fix all problems. That sucks.

Swancon 2013

Jean has been organising a whole heap of travel to Swancon 2013 in Perth for us. Membership to Swancon at Easter. Qantas online for flights Townsville to Brisbane to Perth, and return. She managed to find the award points to put us in business class for the flights to Perth, which was pretty impressive. I thought we had used all our award points last time we went to Perth.


I completed converting my mailing comments on ANZAPA from text into Pages this evening. I think I will print these four pages in the morning when it is cooler. I doubt the printer will be very happy in the heat. I need to come up with more material to do additional pages.

GOP on Copyright

I was utterly astonished to see the Republican Study Committee Policy Brief: Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it. They were so sensible about the original Constitutional purpose, to promote progress. The faults of copyright, as an attack on capitalism, and so forthright about how to fix it, by revision to a limited time.

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries; (Article I, Section 8, Clause 8) USA Constitution.

Naturally someone retracted and hid the document within 24 hours. Idiots.

Monday 19 November 2012


I was up late, almost six. No chance of doing laundry, with threatening clouds. The humidity was terrible already, and the inside and outside temperatures over 26° which would be fine with lower humidity. We decided to take a walk in the newly renovated Stockland instead of Willows, and check it out.

On the way out of the village we dropped a large stack of Whitsunday Times newspapers in to Neil. More paper gone.

Paper was my target in the living room once we put on the air conditioners. If I was confined inside, I would get rid of stuff. There sure seems a lot of it.

The air conditioners on tariff 33 went off at 6:51 p.m. and came back on a half hour later. I guess that means power consumption was not all that high.

Stockland Townsville

I wanted to visit the new Myer store in Stockland Townsville at Aitkenvale, just to see what the new store was like. This is the first Myer in Townsville. We used to visit Stockland, although it is not as convenient as Willows, since it had bookshops. When the bookshops closed (Dymocks in May 2010, Angus and Robertson liquidated later), our visits dropped off. Our last visit was May 2012, to use the only actual Telstra owned retail store in Townsville.

We arrived at Stockland about a quarter past eight, and found ourselves in a new to us parking area. There was a lot of construction noise, with stores obviously rushing to be ready for the Christmas sales.

Surprisingly few shops were showing signs of opening, unlike our regular shopping centre at Willows. We walked around a couple of time, to get an idea of what shops had moved where. The food court seemed usable (some food courts do not have what we consider good food). There seemed a nice mixture of high class and low cost shops (all high end is boring). I spotted a Garrick's CameraHouse, and recalled advertising indicating I could probably buy an EyeFi WiFi enabled camera card there. The Telstra shop was still in Stockland, so I could check on whether it was possible to get hold of an iPhone 5 as yet. Plus I had rather a lot of card points that apparently could be spent in Myer, if they had anything I wanted.

Around nine, a noisy alarm went off. There was a voice over the alarm noise, but the sound from the speakers was so muddy we had to stop and listen to it several times to even make out the first word. Emergency. The rest was garbled. We gradually made out that they wanted people to leave. The rest of the message was still too garbled to understand. I was not impressed by the announcement system.

My experience with alarm systems is uniformly negative. At Carlyle Gardens, both our smoke detectors are on their third false alarm. Can anyone give me any good reason to rely upon them? At Whitsunday Terraces, almost everyone simply ignores all alarms, since they are usually caused by drunks setting off external alarms.

We went and stood outside for a while, until they started letting staff back a few minutes later. Then we slipped past a security guard, got back to the car park, and drove home. So that was my last visit to Stockland this year. No checking of Myer, no iPhone, no camera card. Bah humbug to shopping.

Israel vs Palestine

Israel vs Palestine. Is this the first war to be tweeted live, by the Israeli armed forces? Truth is the first casualty, as usual.

Book View Cafe

A nice online bookshop. BookView cafe is published author owned and operated, sells ebooks without DRM. Basically a co-operative publisher of ebooks. I liked the look of some of the titles, so I imagine they will eventually join the many other unread ebooks on my iPad.


Can I write off last year's taxes as a bad investment?

Electricity Prices

If you assume (as I did) that the people having problems with electricity price rises are pensioners, then you come up with bad solutions. Pensioners mostly seem to manage to keep their power bills down, by foregoing use of electricity (which has its own problems). I was contemplating a scheme like the tiered power California uses. Typically if you use well below average power, you are tier 1, with the lowest price per kilowatt. As your power consumption increases, you move up through the tiers, and the cost per kilowatt increases dramatically. This has the desirable result of reducing power use, and especially peak power use, which is good for both emissions and distribution issues. If the formula is well done, the electricity authority makes an appropriate profit, and low power users get cheap electricity. It all sounds good.

However it seems established families with several children have the most problems. They do not seem to be able to substantially drop their power use. Under a tier scheme, they would probably pay even more than now. Not the sort of thing a politician likes to hear.

Apple iMac

I am awaiting release of the newly redesigned late 2012 Apple iMac desktop computer.

The show stopper, for me, will be the reflections from the glass. This is very important when you live in the tropics and generally have generous light flooding your room. I gave up on iMac back when when Apple moved to having a mirror glass finish around 2007, and have had to make do with compromise computers ever since.

The new model iMac is reported to have two fundamental additional display improvements as well as the usual high end in-plane switching (IPS) displays Apple have used for years. IPS displays in my opinion are fundamentally better than the more common twisted nematic (TN) display. I have been getting around the general computer lack of IPS issue by using high end Dell (27 inch and 30 inch) monitors with IPS. These Dell also have the advantage that they come with a matte anti-glare coating. Matte coating are always a bit of a problem. They basically work by making the display more lumpy, so as to reduce mirror reflections, and diffuse reflections. You still get reflections, they just scatter in all directions. There are issues with matte coatings, as they make displays less clear. The real solution is to use low reflection (1%) museum glass, but that stuff is scarce. Also museum glass is fabulously expensive (my guess is it would add around $300 to the cost of a display).

One improvement due from Apple is that the protective glass is now fully laminated to the display, instead of having a small air gap. This prevents condensation and dust getting into the gap. More important, it reduces the internally reflective surfaces at the air gap. This is the technology used by pretty much all decent mobile phone displays. However I did not believe anyone would be able to get the production yield to make it workable with large displays. Full lamination is a tricky and delicate industrial process.

The other improvement is the anti-glare treatment. Apple are to begin using the same plasma deposition treatment used in some optical lenses. Again, this is something I did not think possible industrially at an economic cost on such large displays. Apple claim a 75% reduction in reflectivity. However they do not reveal the actual reflectivity, which is the important figure.

Tuesday 20 November 2012


I was up at five. The sky looked threatening to me, so I did not start any laundry. At six, Jean started laundry, having decided the sky now seemed sufficiently clear. I think she will get away with it.

However the confounded European style water saving washing machine contraption took until almost eight to finish. So we were late hanging out the laundry. Late setting out for the service station for fuel. Late getting to Willows.

Jean made a booking for getting replacement glasses. The plastic of my prescription sunglasses is now crazed, and looks ready to break, so I also made a booking. Seems we may be able to get some sort of kickback from Medibank (I don't know).

No luck finding 3TB hard drives at the price I wanted in JB HiFi. Stopped to chat with several of the Carlyle Gardens residents in the shopping centre. Any suggestion I was contemplating gooey cream covered pastry at Brumby's is completely deniable. That is just where we happened to be talking.

We put the second load of laundry out as soon as we returned. Humidity is a real issue, and it is reasonably warm. Jean turned on the main air conditioning. We will chew through electricity this quarter.

Lunch at the restaurant, with only Ray (who had expected to be away) at the table. Jean drove me over, and subsequently came and collected me.

Jean had an appointment at the hairdressers in the afternoon, so she drove us both over to Carlyle Square. It soon became apparent that the doctor was running around 45 minutes behind. I had brought a newspaper with me to read (plus 700 books on my iPad). Got my prescription. Not so good on the matter of checking whether I could reduce use of beta blockers. I need to find a heart specialist to give an opinion as to whether the current combination of drugs is still realistic. They were first prescribed over a decade ago.

Interesting that the young (these days everyone seems young) reception staff had not been aware of some of the facilities Apple Passbook gives for plane flights. I showed them a Virgin Australia pass on the phone.

Over to the bar for a small beer to fortify me for the short. but very hot, walk home.

Carlyle Gardens

It seems Lend Lease are putting in a new village manager, said to have a great deal of experience, from Melbourne. She takes over on 3 December. I was sort of hoping local Jo-ann (who knows everyone) might get the job.


I will be trying out the Kaleidoscope 2 beta for a while. I have sometimes had a need to compare things on computers. I usually use ad hoc methods. Kaleidoscope is one of the world's best tools for spotting differences in images and text, and now it supports merging of files and folders, too. Kaleidoscope integrates directly with Git, Subversion, Mercurial, and Bazaar to fit perfectly in your workflow. That all sounds pretty comprehensive, and handy. Plus I do not need to write bits of that myself.


If God made Man in his own image, why aren't we invisible and non-existent?

Airport Security Kills

As I have been saying for years now, Airport Security Is Killing Us. An article by Charles Kenny, pointing out that USA residents driving instead of flying kills more people than all the terrorism (outside war zones) put together.

Google Book Scanner

I see Google have open sourced their plans for a linear book scanner. Hardware and software. Build your own.

Wednesday 21 November 2012


I was up late, well after dawn. It was nearly a quarter to six. Off to the discount pharmacy to collect my new prescription, plus the one they had not been able to fill last week. The price of that prescription is substantially higher than previously. No idea why. Investigate.

Willows for walking. Jean managed three complete circuits. We collected orange juice. Then to Mitre 10 for 50 mm casters. They sure are expensive these days, at $8 each. I was astonished at the price, considering they did not even include screws. We really needed eight casters, but had to make do with four.

Dropped the toy teddy bear in to the Carlton Theatre for the 1RAR band Xmas toy distribution. Blue was there, talking with the senior officers in the band. The 1RAR band do a great job, as does Blue in organising this for us.

Off for the next appointment.

I did not manage to return to the Carlton Theatre until the concert was over. Luckily Jean had driven me there, so I avoided the heat to some extent. Helped put some chairs away in the theatre. Then I was able to have lunch in the restaurant with three young soldiers from the 1RAR band, relatively new to Townsville. Blue always allocates the seats, so the soldiers meet residents. As always, very nice young folks. I bought them each a beer. They had not even realised they would be served lunch, and nor that there was a pub here.

I went back to the bar just before five, mostly thanks to Jean driving me over. It was still very hot and humid. Harry, Ian and Ray were there, plus the bowlers. Allen and Dave were holding down the bar. No sign of Ron, or Jeff. Had a nice chat over a couple of beers. Luckily the weather had cooled a lot by six when I walked back. I gather it was officially the hottest day for this time of year since 2009.

The air conditioner on tariff 33 switched off at 6:51 p.m. exactly. Luckily I had been able to indulge in a half hour of pre-cooling my room by then.

TV-B-Gone Gone

I received an overseas parcel from Cornfield Electronics containing a TVBGone. However I had ordered two TV-B-Gone, so one is gone. It was a flat rate parcel, so perhaps a second is on the way. Hope so.

Click Frenzy Titanic Sale

Click Frenzy Titanic sale sunk.

Thursday 22 November 2012


I was up well after it started to get light, at around 5:15 a.m. Started laundry at six, since I thought I could get away with it drying.

We were off to Willows Shoppingtown for our walk in their large air conditioned area soon after breakfast. Three times around. Jean again failed to find tops in the clothing store. I found all sorts of things I should not buy.

Then on to Sunland Plaza. The Walters Super IGA at Sunland Plaza had neenish tarts, right out there in the open. I have been looking for these for months. IGA staff tell me they always have them. Who knew?

Jean gave me a loan of her car, rather than me having to walk in the wet season heat. Hairdresser, for a much needed haircut, since I had finally managed to schedule an appointment. While there, Geoff and Margaret turned up. I chatted for a while, until I recalled that I had a lunch appointment.

Lawrie's Birthday

We met with Lawrie for lunch at a nice teahouse at the Palmatoreum on Natham Road over near the university. This was to celebrate his birthday. Lawrie had been staying with Wil, who arrived not long after we arrived. It was a very enjoyable meal. I should avoid ice chocolate drinks. Way too good. We dropped Wil back at the university afterwards, and reached home just before 2:30p.m.

Brisbane Apple Store Abandoned

A long planned Brisbane Apple Store at MacArthur Chambers has been abandoned by Apple. The $11 million project was first noticed in April 2011. The prime contractor went bankrupt in February 2012, but work recommenced a few months later. Now comes word the project has been abandoned by Apple.

Does not send a great message about Apple's faith in Brisbane as a business centre, nor about the building renovation industry in Australia. Apple does however have several suburban stores near Brisbane.

Oh yes, nearly forgot. Apple is doomed!

Carlyle Gardens Social Club

I noticed my domain hosting service had completed the transfer to a different computer system for hosting. I had been away a bit, too busy to check. The hosting service had warned me of this change. Normally no problems in such a routine (albeit infrequent) move, but I do not like making any alterations while it is happening.

So, the new domain now exists. I set up an email account for the president of the Carlyle Gardens Social Club. Once that is tested, I will add a few other accounts.

Friday 23 November 2012


I was up before five. Checked the one day annual Apple store sale, just in case. As expected, nothing I wanted there. When it was open, we collected eggs from the egg store.

We collected Lawrie from where he was staying around ten, and took him to the airport. Then Jaycar to look at gadgets. Geoff phoned me while I was there, looking for a temperature and humidity recorder, so I picked one up for him. Jonathan phoned me, annoyed that the stairs at the terraces were closed. me too. Dropped the recorder off.

Lunch with Geoff and Margaret, and others. Ray reported on workshop issues, with OHS problems pushed out from LendLease. Seems a nasty situation to me for volunteers unless the harmonised OHS laws get overturned. John arrived. So did Dot, so it was a lively table. A fair number of other tables full also.

After Jean and I returned from the optometrist, we both hid for the rest of the day. Jean tells me she is organising another USA trip for herself.

I was up reading Weapons of Choice, one of John Birmingham's novels, until nearly midnight.

Carlton Theatre Doors

I see that the doors to Carlton Theatre from the restaurant were repaired and replaced today. I have a bad feeling about this. They were real heavy doors, they seemed to me to be delaminating, as well as whatever other problems they had. But I basically wonder how robust the track system is, and whether this repair will last? It will be interesting to check in a year or so.


I had to get the car back home before one, so Jean and I could attempt to get new glasses at OPSM at Willows. Jean went in first for her appointment, while I sat outside and read. I tried wandering, but there were enough crowds that I could not manage to take a decent walk.

OPSM had some great looking gadgets. Retina scan that took seconds to get a real clear photo (they file the digital image for comparison with the next scan). The examination seemed comprehensive and pretty quick considering the variety of checks.

Dual focus glasses recommended for computer use. That fitted in pretty well with what I had been considering. I use a 30 inch display a metre away when I can, but when travelling have only an 11 inch display. Plus iPhones and iPads really are for close up use, and have tiny, incredibly sharp text. I am coping with the old glasses, but the lenses in the old titanium frames have probably been replaced three times. The frames will break sometime.

I thought for a while they were not going to have a frame that suited me. I like really large coverage, and the trend these days is still for vey small frames. Luckily they found a large pair of frames in a drawer. For once it turned out they were cheap, rather than costing a fortune. The device for taking face measurements looks rather like the robot Number 5.

The real replacement I wanted was my prescription sunglasses. The plastic frame is now crazed all over. I am not sure how come it has not broken already. OPSM were pushing Oatley, but I could not abide how they fitted. Found a pair of frames I could accept. Not cheap either. Alas, when OPSM tried to run them through the ordering system, the data said they were not prescription compatible. The paper tags say they are prescription compatible, but appear to be wrong. So I could not get replacement prescription sunglasses.

Pity, as OPSM offer a 50% discount on the second frame if you buy two at once. They say they will continue to check new deliveries in case something suitable comes in.


It seems Discus is the largest Django application. Has anyone ever seen Discus actually work? Every site I see that mentions Discus for comments has no visible comments, and has a loading problem. Discus seems to me an utter waste of time.

Saturday 24 November 2012


I was up late, around six. Nice mostly clear sky, so I imagine it will be stinking hot later. We went to Willows for our walk in the air conditioning. Jean walked around three times. I collected newspapers, and some crumpets that were on special.

Jean gave up on the temperature and humidity around eleven, retreated to her office, and put on the air conditioning. Around midday she emerged to make herself some lunch, and put on the main air conditioning.

Internet is incredibly slow tonight. Hours into a download that is not all that large. Well under a gigabyte, but many hours to download. Internet is pathetic.

Jesus Wept

A classic case of religion being bullshit. Tears trickled down the statue at the Church of Our Lady of Velan Kanni. Now Sanal Edamaruku faces jail for revealing tears trickling down a Mumbai church statue came from clogged drainage pipes. Did the Catholic Church there see a chance of profits from pilgrims? That might be too paranoid. However there is no place for blasphemy laws.

Goggle Better Than Apple

An interesting observation. Google is getting better at design faster than Apple is getting better at web services. It seems true, at least to me. Apple have been doing some great work with hardware. The software, much more of a mixture. Some of their stuff these days is simply infuriating.

The other side of it is that Apple just want you to buy their hardware, and lock you in to their ecosystem. Google want to sell you to advertisers. I know which I find least evil.

Light by Moore's Cloud

Any internet enabled device too dumb to run its own web page does not deserve to exist.

Sunday 25 November 2012


We were up about five. Both of us checked our weight, and were rather pleased at the results, which may even be lower than previously. We went to Willows before eight for our walk, and were pleased to notice some parts of the air conditioning running. Several of the cafes were open.

Our usual treat, bacon and eggs for lunch, with champagne.

Late afternoon. A small wallaby was hanging around on the back lawn, eating it all up. Did not seem too worried when I went out to bring in some stuff.


I finally needed to upload some web pages to my web host. Dreamhost had sent me an email some time ago saying that I had been moved from glassjoe (hosted in Los Angeles) to a host in Virginia on the USA east coast. No complications expected, so I had basically forgotten about it.

So I fired up Cyberduck, a file transfer protocol application. It turned out that Cyberduck needs Java to work. I did not realise that until the popup asked if I wanted to download it. Java now comes from Oracle, not Apple, and I do not need it for anything else. It is no longer included in Apple OS X. I basically see Java as being slightly more of a problem than a solution (I long ago got rid of my books about Java). So I decided not to bother with Cyberduck.

Some time ago I must have bought Yummy FTP from the Mac App Store. So I tried that. Password wrong? Not likely. I am fastidious about passwords. Some other setting wrong? I tried every possible variation, without success. Typical computer issue. First world problem.

So I tried using ftp manually from the terminal application. Still a password problem.

Luckily I had earlier used my web access to the Dreamhost panel to set up some email. I located the spot that would let me change the user ftp access password. I changed the ftp access back to the obscure combination I used. Now Yummy FTP could access and upload my new web pages. But what a waste of time!

Google Spreadsheet as Database

An article by Jens Finnäs about using Google Spreadsheet as a database. Continues with how to extract the data for publishing on the web with JQuery, graphing the data, and using it as a Atom feed.

Interesting ideas on that website about data. It is basically about how journalists can learn to use data scraping and generate interesting visualisations for their article writing. Lots of code examples.

Shopping Frenzy

I saw no signs of a shopping frenzy.

Monday 26 November 2012

Tweet in the Night

A tweet in the night, at about 2 a.m. The second smoke alarm in the ceiling, at the other end of the house, was chirping. I had to lurch out, find a ladder, and remove the battery (I also removed the alarm from the ceiling mount). These nanny state alarm gadgets are starting to really annoy me. I reckon I stand more of a chance of falling off the bloody ladder than I do of being involved in a fire in the home.


We were up late, thanks to being awake yet again because of the smoke alarm. Did laundry, and hung it out just before going to Willows for food shopping.

You would not think it would be so hard to find 9 volt batteries for smoke alarms. It seems everything must work on AA or AAA, not 9 volt. We will need to try again at some other store.

We had ordered turkey bonbons at Leonard last week, for collection on Monday. Went to collect them. They had expected us Saturday (we had been in Willows on Saturday). Plus they were chicken bonbons, not turkey. I am not sure how such a complete misunderstanding happened. They now assure us turkey bonbons are not available until about two weeks prior to Xmas. Maybe we are too used to Susan at Cannonvale, who usually knew what we wanted before we did.


I was able to get to the local Readings cinema for a 10:30 a.m. session, thanks to Jean being kind enough to drive me there (and collect me afterwards). Pulled a loyalty discount out of my pocket. Seems to have expired 16 November. Last year! Seems I do not get to the cinema very often. In fairness, they have been closed for renovations.

Ticket prices seem a bit excessive at $15.50. The confectionary bar even more so, with $4.50 ice creams, and $3.50 chocolate bars. However given the low attendance numbers, I am not sure how cinemas make a profit. About 5 people in the row I sat in. I could have easily found an empty row further back.

Skyfall was fun. The usual excessive chase scene opening, on motorcycles over roof tops this time. The James Bond titles, very nicely done by Adele, with lyrics pointing to a franchise reboot. All about ageing. Judi Dench looked her years. Daniel Craig looked his years. Eventually Bond finds the villain, Javier Bardem channelling Julian Assange. A wonderful, over the top psychotic villain. There were some wonderful, understated lines. I think I will buy the DVD, so I can hear them again.

Tuesday 27 November 2012


I was up after dawn, around 5:30 a.m. No laundry to do. We went for our usual morning walk in the air conditioning at Willows. Jean went around four times, and looked ready to continue. However the horrible Xmas music made it all a bit of a trial. I collected a newspaper.

Lunch at the restaurant, after Jean drove me over. A full range of the usual suspects. Pat was there, as was Ray. Dot arrived, then Sue, then John. Geoff and Margaret were at an adjoining table, so I talked with them later. Jeff arrived fairly late, so I gave him my chair. I did not get away until around two. Sure was humid during the walk home.


I attended the Carlyle Gardens Computer Club end of year Infonite. The guest speaker was the ever popular Peter Bennett, talking about the Cloud, and cloud computing. It is a hard topic to get across to people who have never really thought about remote access.

The supper was awesome, being the last meeting before Xmas. The ladies, who always do a great spread, had outdone themselves.

I had put the Carlyle Gardens Computer Club website up, so that the committee could check out the early pages.

Apple Supply Problems

It appears some Apple suppliers are having problems producing components for new Apple devices, such as iPad mini and iMac. This has probably slowed Hon Hai production in the busy pre-Xmas season.

AU Optronics (AUO) were probably intended to supply 40% of the LCD panels for the new iPad mini. Rumours are they are having production yield problems with the 7.9 inch panels, and are down to around 22%. There are totally unconfirmed reports that AU Optronics may have been suspended as a supplier pending fixes to problems.

LG Display are the major supplier. It seems obvious Apple are trying to spread their purchasing over a wider variety of suppliers. Probably a reaction to Apple's continuing disputes with Samsung, who are also a major supplier.

Production of the new Apple iMac is also constrained, with full production unlikely until 2013. No-one seems to have seen one. This was mentioned by Apple CEO Tim Cook in their Financial Conference call to industry analysts. I want to see if the new display technology has solved the mirror reflections from the display that have prevented me updating from my iMac G5.

Barnes and Noble eBooks

A report that Barnes & Noble Decides That Purchased Ebooks Are Only Yours Until Your Credit Card Expires. If true, it yet again reinforces the view that only DRM free eBooks are worth having. If a book is infested with DRM, just refuse to buy it.

The other side of this report is it relates to downloading your books again, if your credit card has expired. If you buy a physical book, you do not expect the publisher to replace it if you lose it. If you buy an ebook, it is your responsibility to ensure you do not lose it. Sure, it is great publishers like Baen and O'Reilly let you download again. It is still your own responsibility to make backups.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Palestine Observer

In a bit of an historic backdown, Australia will not oppose Palestine winning observer status in the United Nations. Australia will abstain in the vote. There has been strong pressure from the United States and from the Israeli lobby for Australia to oppose Palestine's bid.

Personally I do not see how you can have a two state solution to the conflict if you do not allow one part to be a state. This regardless of whether the government is Hamas or not.


I finally completed an extra contribution for ANZAPA. The new Brother HL3045CN printer networked in the cupboard was working fine, with the new black toner cartridge. Well, except for not being able to show me toner levels.

So I printed my 27 copies. Jean had her own magazine, same length. Plus I had a previous set of printed mailing comments to send. Now all packed up and ready to go to the post office. How primitive.


An ant attack. I laid down powder around the outside of the house wherever I saw ants. I hope that discourages them.

No laundry and no visit to Willows today. Jean seems to have been overcome by all the exercise she was doing previously.

I walked to the pub for the Wednesday evening social. Chatted with Clive as I passed his house. Talked with Pat, who knew a number of the retired Ergon folks having their usual Xmas party at the restaurant. Saw Harry, Ron and Ian briefly. Talked with Jeff. Since a meal was on Allen and Dave were not closing until late.

Management Garbage

A nice article by Matthew Stewart on the management myth. A philosopher derides MBA thinking.


A Joe Queenan extract from One for the Books.

A wonderful snark from Doc Searls asking do we really want the web to be a strip mall when it grows up?

Thursday 29 November 2012


I was up before five, despite not getting to sleep until late. Jean did not emerge until far later, and did not look too pleased about it being morning.

We mailed our ANZAPA contribution to Bruce this morning, ahead of the deadline. I hope sufficiently ahead to cope with Xmas mail delays.

After our walk around Willows, I headed for River's clothing. I had been told of cotton tropical shirts being available on special. I was not the only person from Carlyle Gardens there. Bruce and Jeri, Ian from near the entrance, and at least two others. I managed to find three tropical cotton shirts, in varying sizes, that more or less fitted.

The restaurant had a lunch on for Hanna's people. Must have been over 50 of them. A bit of a delay in cooking as a result. However the turkey I had was wonderfully soft and easy to eat. I was sitting with Jerry, who has a bit of a struggle with a full meal. He ate everything on his plate.

The doors between the Carlton Theatre and the restaurant seem to be almost completed. Looked like the final painting was done.

Jean had a mid afternoon message that OPSM had her glasses. We drove there. She collected her glasses. I was able to collect mine also, although my SMS was not through. That was handy.

The paperwork here still threatens to overwhelm me, so I plan to run away. Probably not a good reason, as the paper just stays where I left it.


I booked a seat on the 11:30 a.m. bus south for Friday. To my annoyance, the fare was ten dollars higher than usual. That is probably a function of booking so late. Now I just need to pack any work I think I might get through in between cleaning and parties.

International Space Station

I dragged Jean outside to watch the international space station fly overhead at Townsville at 7:59 p.m.

Food Insecurity

An ever increasing global temperature will lead to food cost rises very rapidly. It is already too late to avoid this.

Samsung Advertising

An incredible advertising and promotion spend by Samsung, compared to competitors. Just shows you can sell a person a galaxy if you advertise it enough.

Web Applications

A whole new way to not provide write once, run anywhere programs. Mike James explins why web applications fragment web standards. There is no standard, when you target a web browser api. Web apps will not solve anything.

Friday 30 November 2012

Which Tablet to Buy

I like David Pogue's summary of which tablet to buy for Xmas.


We went to Willows for our walk. After the third time around, I visited Coles for snacks for the non-stop bus journey. I also got a newspaper for the trip. Jean did four times around the building.

Bus to Airlie Beach

I was lucky enough to have Jean drive me to the bus station (a fairly hideous involved trip otherwise) for the 11:30 a.m. bus to Airlie Beach. We arrived about 15 minutes early, with no sign of the bus. Luckily it arrived soon after Jean left.

The bus left on time. Driver Dave, returning from holidays, made truly excellent time. No stops for roadworks. No slow drivers in front. He made an unofficial comfort stop at the BP service outside Bowen, for almost 15 minutes. Despite that, and slow traffic on the back road into Airlie Beach, we arrived at the bus stop just before three. I was very impressed. I would probably not have made such good time by car.

Airlie Beach

It is warm. Especially noticeable mid afternoon as I carried my two bags up the hill to the Whitsunday Terraces. I was carrying far too much paper with me.

I noticed that Anchor Terraces is getting made over with the replacement stair rails below parking level.

Seems the old sleepers between Compass and Driftwood Terraces have been replaced with a concrete block wall. Plus the few inconvenient steps between these two buildings have been replaced by a concrete path, Much better access. I am really very pleased with what I have noticed so far.

Dropped in at reception, but Rose was not there. I went up the stairs after that unavoidable first part of the hill, to stay in the shade.

Solar Power

The solar power output figures last month (October 2012) showed it generated 3469kWh over 10203 hours. The figures for November are 3626kWh over 10586 hours. So the total hours operating in the 30 days of November 2012 were 383 hours, during which it generated 157kWh. About 5.2kWh per day, or 409 Watts per operating hour. This is a nominal 1 kW panel, operating with fine sunny conditions for most of the month, and with 11 days of an empty house.

Home and Away

AB 1, CG 19, T 10.


My internet connection came up as soon as I switched it on.

Eric Lindsay's Blog November 2012