I hung around at the house after cooking scrambled eggs the way I like (lots of butter in the pan as the base) for breakfast. Jean went to Willows. Alas, although my parcel had reached Australia on Monday (according to Consume), it did not arrive. We had planned to leave early this morning, but it was not to be, as we awaited the package.
I tried Clarifi, a screen capture program. You can easily do screen captures of the whole display using the built in Apple screen capture commands Shift Command 3. Likewise, Shift Command 4 provides crosshairs so you can capture a particular region of the display. If you then hit the SpaceBar, the crosshairs turn into a camera for capturing sections of the display.
I doubt there is anything seriously wrong with Google's Android as an operating system for smartphones. There is something seriously wrong with the Android support infrastructure. This chart of Android devices that accessed Android Market in the 14 days prior to 1 February 2012 clearly shows what is wrong. 1.6% using Cupcake and donut (Android v1), 7.6% using Eclair (v2.1), 27.8% using Froyo (v2.2), 58.6% using Gingerbread (v2.3). Only 3.4% using Honeycomb (v3), 1% using Ice Cream Sandwich (Android v4 - announced October 2011). (Since they have not even been officially announced yet, we will not mention Jelly Bean, nor Key Lime Pie.)
Android users are stuck in the past, not updating their devices. Maybe none of the Android updates are worth having? More likely, the manufacturers selling the gadgets are not supporting their customers. Typically manufacturers sell and forget.
If a potential Android buyer, you probably should keep that in mind. If you are an Android developer, you do need to note your market is somewhat fragmented.
I like this web idea. Sketch, simulate, and share schematics online from your web browser with Circuit Lab. Need a modern web browser naturally. Seems less restrictive than the iOS circuit packages that have appeared to date.
I still had no indicator that my parcel had arrived. I packed up everything ready to leave. Jean prevailed upon me to cook scrambled eggs on toast again. As usual, she went to Willows for her walk. When she returned, I packed the car. I wanted one of the bar stools at Airlie Beach, if I was going to be working on metadata on the computer at the kitchen bench.
As we prepared to leave Jean remarked we should drop the Whitsunday Times off at Neil's place. Plus there was the bowl from the restaurant to return. So we collected these, and dropped them off at their respective destinations on our way.
I cut through Reception after my delivery at the restaurant, to meet Jean who was parking her car outside. The new Australia Post parcel delivery person was there in Reception handing some parcels to the office. I asked about my parcel. She said she remembered seeing it in the van. Out at the van, I was at long last able to collect my long awaited package. This made me very happy about our minor delay prior to leaving.
I was pleased that Jean decided to drive her car. We stopped at Home Hill. At Inkerman we shared a sizeable chicken and salad sandwich, and a carton of milk. Jean had me drive once we reached Bowen.
Shopping for minor food supplies at Centro Whitsunday. Just beat the mums with school kids, and escaped. Just beat someone else to our usual parking spot.
Only five loads up the stairs from the car, and some of that was because they were an awkward shape. The bar stool and the clothes dryer for example.
Jean decided she wanted her Hog's Breath Cafe slow cooked steak dinner as early as possible, so we walked down the hill into Airlie Beach around five. Naturally I found distractions.
I saw Nev in the Driftwood car park, cleaning up glass from a collision. The powder coated aluminium stair supports had not appeared damaged. Nev tells me Neil will be here tomorrow, for some of the new railings. Going to start with Florin Terrace, for once. It is one of the larger and harder sets of rails.
Hog's Breath hardly had anyone in it just after five. Good service. Jean and I had decent steaks at Hogs Breath. We also indulged in a glass of Penfold Thomas Hyden shiraz each during the meal, as we liked that wine last time. No room for extras, although Jean got stuck into the ice cream in my freezer when she returned.
I was able to raid the bank money machine during our walk back. That seems to cover anything that might have been urgent. One of my plans, to get a Subway sometime, seems to have fallen flat. It looks like the Subway is totally out of action. Looks like either major maintenance, or removal of equipment. With the Deli no longer in town, getting decent food, like salads, is harder. Luckily I hardly ever eat decent food.
It arrived. Seems the battery has at least a partial charge, despite me not being able to provide it with much sunlight, and that only for about an hour before we went to dinner. When we returned I plugged in my iPad 2. The LilyPad promptly started charging the iPad. It completed bringing the iPad from about 80% charge to 99% around 9 p.m. I am hoping for good sunlight for charging in the morning.
Internet via Telstra at Airlie Beach is totally stuffed, yet again. ADSL will only connect for seconds, if at all. I have rebooted Jim's ADSL modem twice already. No luck in getting a connection for any length of time. Now the connection totally fails at the ADSL modem. Nothing out there. I had better service back when I was on dial up.
Telstra 3G Mobile connection on the iPad also fails to work. It figures the fallback is also dead. The Telstra connection finally started again on my iPhone around 9:30 p.m. It started again on my iPad a few minutes later.
So around ten I went to Jim's and checked. The Apple WiFi was indicating a bad connection. I booted the ADSL modem again. This time the Internet came up via the ADSL. No idea what had taken it out.
I see the Internet connection is once again dead, when I checked it around six. I went and restarted everything. I now suspect that the Apple Airport Express is unable to cope with the excessive temperatures in the closed room. However the external internet connection is also down very often, both ADSL and mobile phone. The newsagent tells me all their cash register and ticket selling system are out of action. Floods further south may be to blame.
The internet died again when I returned from the market soon after nine, and stayed off all day. Ptui!
I could not see the bedroom air conditioner button in the dark, and pressed the wrong button (all the others from the same company have a different layout). No wonder it did not work. I got the one from the other room, and used that. However in the morning it was apparent that the batteries were also weak. Put AAA batteries on the shopping list.
Most of the people I know at the market were away. Jean found suitable limes and vegetables. I had breakfast at MacDonalds, and was able to chat with Nev.
I made some sandwiches for us for lunch, with Jean insisting I make nutritious stuff. Luckily she made up for this with dinner, insisting on pizza (and eating ice cream afterwards). I ordered online from my iPhone, using the Dominos app. It certainly seems elaborate and detailed. Worked fine too. The only bad bit was walking up the twelve flights of stairs again. We each had a glass of the Pepperjack shiraz with our pizza.
The lever arm of my old Jason recliner chair came loose. The shaft is now very rusty. Luckily I had the correct sized Allen Key, so I was able to put the recline arm back on. Note. Using the lever on a recliner does not turn it into an exercise machine, no matter how much I would like to count it as one.
Got solid hits of Crawley Cruncher on to three of the Asian kitchen geckos near the air conditioner this evening. Two of them leapt off the balcony to the car park two floors below. I hope they are gone for good.
I had propped the LilyPad case up inside the room, so the morning sun from about 6:30 a.m. could stream on to it. This was through the mesh insect screen, so I planned to put the case outside once I was sure it would not rain. When I returned from the markets at about 8:30 a.m. the iPad in the case was pretty warm to the touch.
I decided it would be better to remove the iPad, and see how the LilyPad case and battery handled the sunshine temperatures here. Think Hawaii in mid summer. I basically want to see just how far the LilyPad can be pushed in keeping the iPad 2 charged.
Decided I had better follow instructions, and fully charge the LilyPad with the 2.1 amp iPad USB charger. It took around four hours for the green light to extinguish. Then I charged my iPad. So the trial of how long the charge lasts starts tonight, and 9 p.m. I used the iPad until 10:30 p.m. so that is 90 minutes of use so far.
I do not recall ever seeing DLNA - Digital Living Network Alliance certification on any TV (Dick Smith and BigW AWA), SetTop Box, DVD player (Laser HD007 and Kogan), phone (iPhone) or computer (Macintosh) I own. Considering I do not have an Android, Blackbury or Windows phone, maybe the lack on the phone is not surprising. It is intended to let multimedia content pass easily from device to device. Then I read it was started by Sony in June 2003. Considering Sony installed root kits in their video offerings, I am deeply suspicious of any from Sony (actually, I have refused to buy their products since then). It also seems to be infested with a proprietary DRM called Digital Transmission Content Protection or DTCP-IP.
Not a good start.
I was awake at four. Instead of a glass of Pepperjack Shiraz with dinner, I should have had something more suitable. Not a rich Pinot Noir, nor a fruity Pinot Grigio. Perhaps an anti-diuretic wine for geriatrics, Pinot Moore.
Took some notes on the computer at five, while I awaited the dawn, and then gave it up in favour of reading the news on my iPad. I moved the big TV set so the sound of it would not annoy Jean.
Jean and I took a walk down the steps around seven, and along the new path to the Boathouse Apartments. We had breakfast at the Coffee Club. I had the Eggs Benedict, which was very filling.
I watched Insiders, followed by Inside Business, as my public affairs programs for the morning. Managed to complete reading the weekend newspapers.
Got rid of another of the Asian kitchen geckos this afternoon. It had obviously been making a home in a cupboard. I washed out the cupboard.
I started using the LilyPad case and iPad at 5:30 a.m. this morning, and continued until 6:30. That makes 2:30 of use. Then I left the LilyPad case where it got reasonable daylight inside for much of the day.
Used the still fully charged iPad between 2:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. so that makes 2:45 minutes use so far. More use of the iPad between 5:15 p.m. and six, making 3.5 hours. Another hour between nine and ten, making 4.5 hours use so far. iPad still has the plugged in to power symbol on it.
No internet connection via ADSL.
General Motors is stopping the Chevy Volt production line for five weeks. I gather GM has stockpiled (3600) round a half year of sales (7700 last year), as customer response is disappointing. Well, do'h. A US$40K car with two power systems does not sell? Who would have thought it? A Prius is cheaper, and also has a real engine connected to the wheels.
The batteries in the Volt are reputed to cost between US$9K and US$12K. You can buy a whole (small) car for that price. The batteries sound like the killer on electric cars. Actually batteries seem the killer for almost everything that runs off electricity.
I see this morning that the LilyPad battery is no longer powering the iPad. iPad was showing 97%. I used the iPad between 5:45 a.m. and 6:15 a.m. I also used the iPad around 10 p.m. for a half hour. Total time used so far is 5.5 hours. I am disappointed that the 10,000 mAh battery in the LilyPad did not handle more time than 4.5 hours providing external power. I would have hoped something close to 10 hours. However perhaps the initial charge was insufficient.
It was clear, with no rain, and horribly humid. However the highway north of Townsville has been cut by floods over the past week. As the weather forecast tomorrow is storms, Jean decided she would head back to Carlyle Gardens a day earlier, so as to miss the rain. This leaves me with no additional food shopping done, but that hardly matters as there is plenty in the fridge that needs using.
Jean got away just before eight. Restarted Internet access. I had a chat with Jason, who was headed to work. Jean iMessaged me from Home Hill around 10:20 a.m. She was home by midday.
I took a walk in the late afternoon, but the main street was far too hot and humid, so I trudged up the twelve flights of steps once again.
I went to Jim's around eight, and checked the ADSL. The lights seemed OK, however my old AirPort Express was giving an orange error signal. Restarted both by powering down and then up.
A traceroute to Google's numeric IP address 220.127.116.11 now seemed to be working. Web browser did not initially find domains, but after I went to Google, the connection seemed to remember that it should check Domain Name Servers for IP addresses. I doubt this will continue to work for long.
To my surprise, the internet connection was still working at 4:30 p.m. Alas, it was too slow to be a lot of use. I am typing these notes while I wait for a web page to load. Graphics heavy pages like The Verge are simply showing vast numbers of white outlines that are intended to contain artwork. Not a particularly useful result. I do not even attempt to use any web page that involves video.
I looked up WHDI - Wireless Home Digital Interface. Wireless mirroring of full HD video. One standard, all devices, it says. Sounds good. Formed by Amimon, Hitachi, Motorola, Samsung, Sharp, Sony and LG Electronics.
Seems to be using a 40 Mhz channel in the short range unlicensed 5 GHz band. One immediate problem is that it seems to want HDMI connections, which I avoid because of the DRM problems infesting it. I do not want HDMI anywhere near my main computer. There is an WHDI stick, transmitter and receiver, emulating an HDMI cable. No software needed. If you have appropriate connectors on your media equipment (most recent TVs have HDMI), this seems an interesting wireless choice.
I downloaded a bunch of references to partitioning Apple Macintosh, to see what problems are encountered. Using Terminal diskutil resizeVolume seems to be undocumented in early versions of OS X, although Lion has a man page. I am pretty sure it only works on Intel systems with a GUID Partition Table, and HFS+ partitions. I am pretty sure you can not do this on a drive with a Master boot record (MBR) partition. Use diskutil list first to get details of the drives. Using diskutil resizeVolume to increase the partition size will probably assume no other partition is in the way. It will doubtless invalidate the boot volume, however I believe you can use bless to fix that.
Comments about using the Disk Utility make it sound like there is either a major bug in the resize routine, or you simply can not use it in a variety of circumstances.
Seems first step is to document Jim's system, including the OS version. I can do an Automator script to do that, so I have a detailed list on hand. Then find what shape his backups are in.
I was awake at five. Very humid still. The internet is still working. So I web surfed for a while. Took a walk down to the main street. Had breakfast and collected newspapers.
Hid inside in the air conditioning most of the day. This is mostly to knock down the humidity, as the temperature was acceptable.
It appears the pending launch of the Apple iPad HD has occupied available air freight capacity out of China. Apple appear to have book so much air freight capacity that rates have increased 20% and shipments are hard to find.
I am not happy about the gardening in the Whitsunday Terraces. Any time I can recognise a weed, it means things are not under control. This is pretty typical of the rainy season, when it is so hot and humid every green thing grows, and outside work can be hell. I keep thinking this place needs some interested owners with good gardening knowledge (which excludes me) to recommend plants that will not cause problems and still look reasonable. Making it look like an English country garden is too labour intensive, but there must be some species that work in some areas.
I started with about 900 ePub books. However these had downloaded incorrectly, with a .html extension. You can fix that from Terminal, or via a shell script. I decided to see if an Automator workflow could do it. Yes, the files have to be selected, and then renamed, so only two actions. The rename action is not sufficiently flexible to do more than very plain renaming.
I found some dud files, so I am down to 895 files at the moment. Then I found some duplicate files (obviously not with identical names). So I am down to 889 files. Still too many to do by hand. I also had to clean up titles that were not in the correct case, but there were only a few dozen.
I used the iPad in the LilyPad case an extra hour today, in two sessions some time apart. That makes a total of 6.5 hours usage, and I have 85% capacity in the iPad. The LilyPad has been exposed to very good indirect light, but only rarely to direct sunlight (too hot for my comfort). No way the solar panel is going to be delivering even the rated 0.8 Watt. However to directly charge an iPad, like from a wall socket, you want something like 11 Watts (the modified iPad 5 volt USB charger delivers 2.1 amps).
A small cruise liner entered Pioneer Bay in the early morning. However the weather looks damp. Jean had reminded me it was the first Wednesday of the month, so I walked down to the newsagency to collect The Australian. Alas, the Literary Review had not returned. I had hoped it was just gone over the holidays, but that seems unlikely.
I went to Brumby's and collected fresh bread, and some hot cross buns, as a consolation prize. That is the modern first world solution to a first world problem. If something goes wrong, eat something sweet. Thus making longer term health problems from overeating.
Does anyone ever forget to eat? If not, why is everyone advertising food. I don't think advertising bad products should be a tax deduction for companies. Let them pay for it out of their profits. Mind you, I would like to get rid of heaps of advertising. In the case of spam email, termination with extreme prejudice sounds about right.
I am getting 3.65 kbps or 456 KB/s on Oz Broadband Speed Test at 8:20 a.m. Jean tells me her connection in Townsville is almost unusably slow at the moment. We both thought of flooding as the cause, but the Airlie Beach connection is basically along the same trunks.
I did not have any luck in cleaning up the titles of the directory of ebooks. So I tried writing a text file to do it. I could not persuade Fraise to handle regular expressions the way I thought they should work. So I downloaded Text Wrangler, which I seemed to recall could do what I wanted. For a while I thought I would fail using that, but I finally got what is left of my mind into the right state. Massaged the file, fixed a bunch of things that either needed escaping or were just not how I wanted them. Ended up with a file to do a clean rename of about 870 items (I had done a few obvious duds manually). Set permissions, and let it rip. Rewrote the things that were wrong. Rinse and repeat.
I had still missed a few duplicates. Also missed a few file names with forbidden characters. However now I was ready to start looking at book metadata. I started Sigil, but it warned a later version was available. So I downloaded that. Install protested, so I had to delete the older Sigil version first. Testing each of the 884 new files is going to take a heap of time, if I can not find some way to automate it.
However the first one had minimal (but sufficient) author and title information, and cover art. Not that I think there is an ePub cover art standard really.
Oh crap, I just noticed a bunch are labelled Frederick Pohl. So the existing metadata may be bad, where it exists. I have all of them in paperback, and they clearly say Frederik Pohl, as does his website. Also, Fred Pohl is alive and doubtless still holds copyright on those works.
Apple seem to have selected Sunpower's E20 solar panels for their 20 MW solar power plant at their Maiden, N.C. data centre. These Sunpower panels are reputed to be 20% efficient. Why didn't the journalist link to the regulatory filing which says
Each of the photovoltaic installations will consist of multiple SunPower E20 435-watt photovoltaic modules on ground-mounted single axis tracking systems. Sounds like a serious installation. May handle as much as 5% of the likely total power consumption.
I decided to have another go at the movie metadata, as a respite from the ebooks. To my surprise, Meta-X (or wherever it gets its data - TagChimp) actually located data on some movies. I had been going through some of the titles and fixing the names. Removing underscores and other stuff, and just generally making them look like a proper tidy film title.
I only had four Westerns, so I did them first. The Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns. One or two had metadata, according to Meta-X. It turned out to be reasonably easy to add at least minimal metadata and cover art from iMDB.
This made me bold enough to do the animated movies. I checked two of them in iTunes, and they seemed OK. By the end of the evening, I had pretty much done the Australian movies as well. Good start, but there are a massive number still to go.
I admit I was up before four. I often wake at that time. Internet was working, which after the weekend outages was really great.
Check Apple web site. Damn, nothing new up. Press Refresh. Pound refresh multiple times. Apple Store is in lockdown mode.
Find a bunch of web sites doing live refreshes of the Apple iPad event. Loop Insight was pretty much out of action within 20 minutes. Jacqui Cheng of Ars Technica mostly continued in action, with some outages in their Scribble Live stream. However the information content was low. Maybe Ars are much better when they have time to think about their content. Dan Moren of MacWorld pretty much stayed live through the event. Not much time to think of the implications of the reports. The Verge did pretty well, but were let down by their live feed, which got stuck several times. They had a nice range of photos. The stand out performance was by All Things D, who stayed alive the whole way through the event. They had decent sized photos, and a fair bit of text going out, with good details. Well done.
I started checking the Apple Store at four. The Apple event finished about 5:20 a.m. The Apple Store was almost impossible to access. My iPhone Apple Store app was solidly locked up. I made repeated attempts to get through on my computer via the Apple Safari web browser. Most attempts ending with the store crashing on me. I finally started to get reluctant but working access around 8:20 a.m. Yes, I had been trying, on and off, since five. What was that about buying online being easier than in a shop?
Updating revised Apple apps? That is a joke. My phone has been attempting that non-stop for about six hours now. The App Store is swamped by demand. I did manage to update the iPhone operating system to iOS 5.1, but had to leave it overnight to complete.
The whole internet Cloud slowdown situation simply proves over and over again that the internet is a festering pustulant piece of shit.
I was not getting any data into MetaX from tagChimp. I eventually decided it was broken. It started giving me data again after failing everything before Dances with Wolves, but getting Dead Poets Society. MetaX and tagChimp kept working most of the day, unlike iMDB, which disappeared for a couple of hours in the middle of the day. I am only partway through the general movies. I don't want to even think how long the science fiction will take.
I started the science fiction this evening, after starting to get the file names into better shape. Most details came from tagChimp, so I continued while that was working. Finally gave up just prior to midnight. There are more movies in the science fiction bookshelves than in everything else combined.
I guess the summary is that LTE (Long Term Evolution, incorrectly labelled 4G) is no use to iPad owners in Australia. The basics are that Telstra are the only outfit to have LTE. Just deployed late 2011 in the CBD of capitals and large regional centres.
However Telstra have had to reuse their old technology 2G 1800MHz GSM band for LTE, for lack of a better frequency allocation. All Australian phone carriers use 900MHz and 1800Mhz for their 2G GSM phone fallback.
UMTS/HSDPA 3G frequencies used by phone companies are confusing, unless you have a four band phone. The original ATT iPhone in the USA used 850MHz (same as Telstra, Vodafone), so that worked in Australia on these two networks. Telstra ran their 3G network exclusively on 850 MHz, with a fallback to 2100 MHz in some congested areas.
The original iPhone did not use 900MHz. Optus and Vodafone reused the 2G 900 band for 3G in rural areas. This is why neither company were much use with an earlier iPhone outside city areas.
Finally, 2100MHz, an exclusive Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and 3 Mobile 3G band. This works well in densely settled Europe. Which is great in city areas, but not nearly as much use as lower frequencies in country areas where you are looking for range, and really, really need 850 MHz (or lower).
If you use Telstra, you want a phone with UMTS 850 MHz. Telstra will start dropping their 3GIS (non NextG for phones that don't have 850 MHz) support for the 2100 MHz band starting now.
Moving to LTE, Telstra have repurposed their 2G 1800 MHz GSM frequency, for lack of available frequencies. However basically this seems an interim move. Hardly any LTE phone will have 1800 MHz available (it is basically Australia and Europe only). Essentially everyone is waiting for the 700 MHz former TV frequencies to become available, but there are still analogue TV signals being used in the capital cities.
In Australia (and internationally) the new Apple iPad is using LTE (700, 2100 MHz), UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz), GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz). However no-one is Australia has 700 MHz, and 2100 MHz is already occupied, so LTE on the iPad does not work.
I didn't awaken until nearly six. The iPhone iOS 5.1 install had completed. Collected the newspaper, and saw Jodie at Reception. The gardens are pretty sad, with lots of weeds. Needs someone who actually understands (and cares about) plants and gardens.
I am not having any luck with the DVD metadata. MetaX does not seem to be getting anything at all from tagChimp, even for well known movies like Ron Howard's Apollo 13. I may have to limit myself to just fixing file system names for a while.
I had reached the J mark by breakfast time. Finished the entire list of files before nine. tagChimp still does not seem to be responding.
I had a look at some more movie files. It looks like I have basically been totally wasting my time. Although I had checked a couple of test files, my only way to do that properly is put them into iTunes (I can not fit them in there as yet). In the animated movies, it seems only my two test files actually worked. No sign of any updated metadata in any of the other files. I do not even know why they are not working.
It my be that MetaX has not been updated since Leopard. It seems to be based on Atomic Parsley. Perhaps MetaX only works sometimes under Lion? Or maybe the user interface is shot, so that I am just getting things wrong all the time.
However it is not worth continuing with MetaX for OS X, unless I can figure out the problem. MetaZ is still in alpha. I need to find some Mac OS X program that actually handles metadata reliably. I also need to find a way to test the files without involving iTunes. This sucks. Lostify no longer seems to exist. IDentify2 is Snow Leopard.
The iPhone iOS 5.1 install from midnight had completed by the time I got up around six. Usual SIM lock problem. Now to download new Apps from the very slow Apple App Store. This stalls me taking a walk, as I always carry my phone with me. Pages installed, after an hour of download. Three to go. Numbers had started by 7:15 a.m. Garage Band by 8:15 a.m. This is not good. The App Store download capacity must be totally jammed.
Since I had the iPhone updated, I started the iPad iOS upgrade. That was not too bad. Updating to iPhoto, and getting my four iApps took until after eight in the evening. I know ADSL sucks in rural areas, but this delay was mostly at Apple's end.
In the USA, Consumer Reports bought a Fisker Karma, a luxury hybrid electric sedan that sells for over $100,000. It stopped working before they could check it. Until electric hybrids are mainstream, consumers are at risk buying what are essentially prototypes. so far, very few hybrids have been sold.
As an aside, the Toyota Prius hybrid (actually more an electric assist) is very popular with taxi owners in Australia. Lots of short range stop start driving, so fuel economy shows up as very good. Taxi owners tend to get rid of the vehicle after a few years.
Between Two Worlds.
It was the only day this coming week with a chance of rain weather forecast, rather than heavy rain. So I started laundry at six. Had that hanging on the new stainless steel drying rack before seven, and started another load of towels.
The markets were not well populated. I got my usual breakfast from Elke and Horst, and later an ice cream from the Hard Rock stand. Everyone thinks times are tough, especially people also running shops on the main street. Subway and others are now closed, as I expected several weeks ago.
Came across Allison, who tells me Glenn hopes to return for next weekend. There is a cruise ship in on Saturday, and two more on Tuesday. I decided next Saturday was therefore a good day to hold a party, and invited them.
Saw Jonathan handing out pamphlets at the Green political stand, and invited him to my usual party. The Greens seemed to be the only political party at the markets, unlike last week when everyone except Labor was there.
Chatted with Rex, and various customers. Rex had some almost ripe Fruit Salad Fruit at his stand. He complained about slow internet speeds.
Collected the newspapers. No sign of the Financial Review. I asked. We eventually found the missing 25 copies, buried inside a pile of weekend Courier Mail. Between the two of us they were soon out in their empty display spot.
I have been using MetaX the wrong way. Lots of little boxes you must click, when you grab metadata from tagChimp on the internet. The only movies with metadata were those I had done manually.
The movies with missing metadata were ones where I had got automatic metadata. The only reason half the movies were tagged was that half the time, no metadata ever appeared from the internet. However my own metadata was totally incomplete, because I had filed away all the DVDs, and could not reference them for details of Chapter Titles. This is a mess, as essentially all the metadata is either missing or very incomplete.
I started redoing all the movie metadata, while MetaX was actually connecting to tagChimp over the internet. I now seem to be doing better. It is not helping that every now and then iMDB just disappears from the web. It usually comes back, but that can take several hours. There are a lot of movies where no metadata appears to be available. This especially applies to the more obscure Australian movies in my collection.
Messages Found in an Oxygen Bottle.
I cracked some eggs into a bowl for a later breakfast. That way I could throw out the shells and other non-kitchen rubbish before the garbage truck arrived. Down the hill to the newsagency, while the garbage truck was headed up. They are back to using the manual truck on Sunday. Up the stairs with the newspaper. The garbage bin had already been brought back in.
Jean iMessaged me about some furniture at SuperAMart. Looks as if it would do, at a pinch. Not the right size, but what is? Internet access crashed half was through my reply. Jean responded by telling me how often the internet had been down in Townsville this week.
I went and restarted both Jim's ADSL modem and my Apple AirPort Express WiFi access point. The green light came on after a few minutes, so I went and checked the connection. The Domain Name servers were not supplying IP addresses. I did a few numeric pings and traceroutes to 18.104.22.168 followed by named pings and traceroutes to places like Google. Could get Google on a web page, but it took ages for tagChimp and iMDB to come good. Eventually the connection woke up.
Not that this did much good. MetaX is still unable to use tagChimp to get chapter metadata for movies. After trying a half dozen, I gave up. tagChimp's stats page says the connection is working. tagChimp APIs may start working later in the day. That has happened.
An Ozspeedtest shows the line connection speed is 5.64 Mbps (5639 kbps), with a download speed of 705 KB/s (0.69 MB/s). That is about 75% of the allowed speed on ADSL1, so the Internet problem is unlikely to be speed in itself. This is what I do not believe the NBN proponents understand.
Internet failed again around 8:30 a.m. I restarted Jim's ADSL modem before nine. Network up again. However tagChimp seems to be down, both on the web and via MetaX. Web connection came up. MetaX IPA connection still does not work. Internet connection speed is halved, but that is probably because the speed test is sharing a connection with a half dozen other web pages attempting to load. tagChimp was still down at eleven. tagChimp started again around 1 p.m. I spent a lot of time getting as much data into the computer as i could while it did work.
Off the Charts
I have never seen a company as close mouthed as Apple. However at the same time, when they do say something, there are almost always clues that make it more meaningful.
An Apple statement said
new iPad has been off the charts. If you check shipping dates, you can see that actual delays are well over a week. All pre-shipped iPads have already been presold, and most continuing production for a week or so after the launch date. Apple's main problem is getting sufficient supplies.
The new iPad is going to revolutionise how you play useless games while taking a shit.
I have been saying it for a while, but the estate agents and property touts deny it. Residential property sales have plunged. In Brisbane they dropped by 36.9 per cent. In all 34,368 properties sold in Brisbane last year, compared with 69,226 in 2007. Total sales in Australia in 2011 were only 373,000. Probably just as well for banks, as they did not have the money from overseas to keep loaning.
I was awake early, mostly due to rain around four. Did some exercise, and went for a short walk along the main street to get breakfast. Even more shops seem to be closed. On the inland side of the street, the formerly thriving coffee shop near the hair dressers seems to be closed. I also get the impression that the excellent tourist travel bookings place near the nightclub may be closing. Back at the Whitsunday Terraces, I collected a whole bag of rubbish just getting up from the street via Anchor Terrace. The people who walk through there are absolute grubs.
The internet was working when I tried it around five. I downloaded some stuff to read. When I tried it again just before eight, the internet was no longer operating. Seems to be a connection timeout on the old AirPort Express. I suspect it is not handling the heat.
I checked the connection. Seems the ADSL modem was down, but the AirPort Express could not figure that out. I had to power down both before things started working around 8:30 a.m. I am now back to adding metadata to rips of DVDs. The trouble is I need the actual DVDs here, so that I can also add chapter titles. I am making a list so I can go back and fix chapter titles.
Internet out of action again by 9:30 a.m. I managed to add only a handful more metadata to DVDs before it went down. At least I collected my email.
I restarted Internet again at 10:45 a.m. Slowly and steadily filling in missing film metadata. However around 12:30 the iMDB stopped responding, so that puts a crimp in obtaining more data for the files. Internet died again at 2:30 p.m. Time for lunch maybe? Rebooted at 4:30 p.m. Internet died again at 5:30 p.m. Restarted. Died again at 6:30 p.m. Restarted. I did get most of the movie metadata done, except for chapter titles.
In a fragmented and badly served music player market, ten years ago the iPod quickly established a telling combination of sufficient features (it was not always technically superior), and ease of use. Most important, a support ecology of iTunes, and music sales. However Apple kept making iPod incrementally smaller, lighter, and cheaper, while adding feature. They even killed off their own best selling model, and replaced it with a totally new iPod. Apple is a tough competitor, and their basic attitude is they want all the high price market. iPod still has 70% of the music player market. The only real competitor is the mobile phone.
iPad is heading down exactly the same path.
I awoke late, and did not lurch out until 6 a.m. Did some exercise, causing untoward groans. The internet was still working, to my considerable surprise, so I opened scads of web pages for reading later.
Walked around the Port of Airlie Boathouse Apartments. To my considerable surprise, the fancy sales office had (again) been moved, to right near the apartments. The giant truck it was on was pointed at the water. I fail to see how they will get the truck out. I suspect they should have put the truck in the other way around, and backed into their final spot. I guess they will back up, block, remove the truck, and do a second lift with the truck the other way around. I hope this was planned, rather than an accident.
Bought newspaper. Had hot cross buns for breakfast, for a healthy diet. Put on the air conditioning after midday, when the humidity reached the insanity level.
I ripped the CDs I had bought during the Russian trip. Finding cover art was … interesting. I have a heap of classical music with no cover art. However many of my CDs lack cover art, as the originals were essentially text on a generic background, dating from the late 1980's. I can get iTunes to provide me a list of items missing artwork.
In attempting to find the Chapter Names for the DVD rips, I decided to go to the original rips, and see if DVD Player would list the chapters. I got the first drive connected, and discovered five DVDs that had not been transcoded. Another step backwards.
Downloaded RipIt, and used that on some troublesome DVDs. RipIt lets you try it on ten DVDs, which seems fair enough as a trial. I got results on StarTrek XI (wonderful revival of the franchise), and Disney's original Fantasia (for nostalgia). Fantasia rip got stuck in a loop about 25 seconds from the end, but eventually completed. Then I used Handbrake to transcode to H.264, and finally MetaX to add proper metadata and cover art.
Pixar's stuff seems harder. Glenn told me I had to see Wall-E, so I bought the DVD a few months back. It did not rip when I sleep walked Handbrake through it o automatic. The first try with RipIt just ended up stuck for an hour. Damn! Checked Wall-E in DVD Player to see what the main feature was (Title 53 of 99). Luckily if you Cancel Handbrake opening the DVD automatically, you can then use the Open File (Title Specific) menu item. We shall see if that works.
I have now had a TV set for three months. The only thing TV is useful for is watching live sports. I don't watch sports.
I was awake before four. Eventually got up, did exercises, and decided walking in the rain well before dawn was not a good idea. Checked rips.
I finally went for my walk around 6:30 a.m. Got mugged by plovers protecting their young as I cross the field to the marina area. I suspect the marina may move the sales office (perched on a truck transporter) to a new site they are clearing next to the Boathouse Apartments. I wonder just how many are still unsold?
Jean phoned just after 10 a.m. She is getting a TV stand at SuperAMart. Wants to know what wine to buy at Dan Murphy, if any of our favourites are cheap.
Steady soaking rain from about midday. Lots of it. Now changed to steady, soaking horizontal rain. I must get the weather station hardware working.
I checked the overnight Handbrake rip of Title 53 of Pixar's Wall-E. Seems to have worked. Plus MetaX and tagChimp supplied the metadata. However that reminded me that when I viewed Wall-E (using the BigW Laser HD007 DVD player that kept failing and being replaced), there were a few Pixar shorts that were fun (the robot replacing the outside light). I must check on the DVD sometime for these.
I had some DVDs that turned out to be Sony (after the rootkit incident, I do not knowingly buy any Sony product). So far I have tried Handbrake with Title specific imports on Daredevil, Ghost Rider and Red Dog DVDs. I was able to add the missing Chapter headings for Red Dog.
The Princess Bride may not have copy protection, but it sure seems to have an issue with the phase transition. Didn't work on a couple of DVD players, nor did my rip complete. I am trying it again. Now tried three or four different methods, without getting a working copy. Maybe I need to try some totally different DVD drives?
I found another half dozen DVDs that had bad rips, so I re-ripped all of them, and added Chapter names. This seems like an ongoing issue. I will set up a smart folder to show potential bad rips automatically.
I also looked at metadata for SF TV series. Ouch! That part of the job will be a real pain. My rips do not seem to correspond with the tag metadata available. Maybe I included some of the bonus material, instead of only the episodes.
I see that the internet has died again at 8:23 a.m. this morning, after working for several days. No wonder I am cynical about anything involving cloud computing and internet connectivity.
Rebooted the internet stuff around 10 a.m. Seems to have come back OK. Internet died again at 1:20 p.m. Got it working. Died again around 6 p.m. I restarted it soon after. So it goes.
As a test of Kogan (cheap online consumer electronics importer), I bought their cheap Blu-Ray player. While I know I swore I would never buy a Blu-Ray disc (because of the copy protection), and so far never have bought Blu-Ray, I am starting to waver. This is partly because I keep hearing the Blu-Ray copy protection has been cracked.
The other reason is it seems some Blu-Ray packages have digital copies already properly ripped (as distinct from ones with lousy digital copies). Recently, Apple have started making digital copies available for download if you own the original, from an optical copy. I must check just what objectionable things the studios have done to this seemingly great idea.
As far as I can tell, the studio Ultra-Violet plays anywhere scheme is useless, and tedious trouble. It might just be slightly less trouble than previous schemes. It relies on their DRM servers being up (and your internet connection actually working - hollow laugh) initially. Then it seems to need custom hardware I have never seen, and mostly heard of. So this UltraViolet scheme is less flexible than ripping from a DVD. About the only good ideas I can see is there is no region codes, and they are attempting to make it easier for consumers.
A Beautiful Friendship.
I checked for internet access at 5:30 a.m. No connection, numeric ping dies. I restarted the ADSL modem at 6:30. Numeric ping works. Still no domain name service. I started a numeric traceroute to 22.214.171.124 (Google). It was getting through. Webpages with an IP address in my cache, like Google, were getting through. Started a named traceroute to Google. Unknown host. So the ISP Domain Name server is not functioning. The internet problem in Australia is not (just) lack of speed, it is shitty configuration. A second traceroute to Google produced the usual multiple IP addresses, and went with 126.96.36.199.
So I can finally actually try to get a web page up. About 20 minutes after first trying to use the internet.
Luckily the internet stayed up for the rest of the day.
I was awoken by rain around five. Got up and did my exercise, however I am not walking while it is raining. Too likely to slip on the wet and slime covered pavements.
Ate whatever was in the fridge (which basically seems to be giant eggs). Starting to get boring. Actually, starting to get really boring. It does not help that there is no longer a deli in Airlie Beach, and the Subway has closed. Must make shopping list.
My new iPad is listed as shipping. The iPad 2 I currently use is the best tablet available today. Tomorrow, it will look like shit by comparison. And it will still be the second best tablet available. I saw this with the iPhone 4. Once you start using a retina quality display, you never want to go back to the fuzzy display of the previous model.
Power outage at 7:38 a.m. Just sufficiently long for me to decide to shut down my hard drives before my UPS ran out of battery power. Then the power came back up. Jim's UPS held the ADSL modem and so on up for long enough also.
It is starting to sound as if Mozilla may take a more sane (pragmatic) approach to H.264 video encoding. They seem to be muttering about supporting H.264, if the underlying operating system has H.264 exposed. About time. Ogg Theora was always way too obsolete, and possibly encrusted with old patents. Google's VP8 or WebM was a
who cares also ran. Yes, H.264 costs money, and is patent encumbered, but all the software is available. Plus there is hardware support in mobile devices. Mozilla were just being ideologically silly to not support H.264.
I stopped installing Firefox when they did not have H.264 support. I am certainly not going to encode video for my web sites in anything except H.264. It is the mpeg4 codec used by DVD optical discs. Once the TV stations wake up and smell the bandwidth, they will change from mpeg2 to mpeg4.
Apple and Microsoft both support H.264 in their web browsers. Google's Chrome supports H.264. That leaves only Firefox and Opera not supporting H.264.
Although Google said in January 2011 they would move Chrome to VP8, and drop H.264, they did not drop H.264. Adobe said they would incorporate VP8 support in Flash, like they have H.264, however they still do not have VP8 support. In my view, VP8 is not worth the extra encoding time.
Modern versions of Windows expose an H.264 codec to third party software, so Mozilla could use that. The only people left out of this are those using Windows XP and Vista. Please stop making tech decisions based on people stuck with an obsolete operating system. They can use third party web browsers, with built in H.264. All of which leaves Firefox and Opera as the only web browsers not capable of displaying video on the web without a plugin.
I had an internet connection when I woke up. Not a great connection. I used it for a while. Then by 6 a.m. the internet connection had disappeared again. A numeric traceroute eventually reached its destination. The problem is not the physical connection. It is the domain name support on the way. Then at 6:21 a.m. we are back to having Domain Name resolution at good speed. At 6:28 a.m. domain name resolution drops out again. When I tried at 6:51 a.m. domain name resolution was back. These problems are totally unrelated to the physical infrastructure. An NBN fibre connection would make no difference.
Internet was out of action again when I returned at 10:45 a.m. Restarted ADSL modem and router. Nothing. No response to a numeric ping. A few moments later I can get a slow outside connection on a numeric traceroute. A couple of minutes later the Domain Name service came up again. Internet is back to a complete stall at 11:05 a.m. Internet dead again at midday. Restarted ADSL modem and access point at 12:40 p.m. It took a long while to start working, and still obviously had issues.
Internet was totally out of contact at 3 p.m. Rebooted at 3:45 p.m. but there are still domain name problems. Internet dropped out again fairly soon. Rebooted. Dropped out. rebooted around 7 p.m. Name servers had mostly dropped out again around 11 p.m.
The electricity supply glitched for a second at 9:02 a.m. Again at 9:03 a.m. Again at 9:05 a.m. Again at 9:06, and again.
I suspect Topher Grace's 85 minute remix of Star Wars three overlong prequel movies was the right way to handle the Star Wars prequel. The indulgent prequel that George Lucas allowed in the cinema was laughably bad in many places. Sure, the effects were wonderful, but what about the story? I bought copies only for completeness.
A Rising Thunder.
I had a message from Jean that TNT Express had delivered my new Apple iPad to Carlyle Gardens. So it did arrive on Apple's scheduled release date. I had been tracking it via the TNT web site, and via Consume.
I was awakened several times in the early morning by rain blowing in the doors. Despite having them mostly closed, the northerly wind was blowing rain far across the tile floor. I got up well before five, since I could not sleep anyhow. Since the internet was working (briefly), I used it.
The inclement weather did not seem to be encouraging anyone to visit the markets. At seven, I could not see even one stall holder tent on the grounds. I thought I could delay my visit somewhat. Raining at six, again at seven, again at eight, and again at 9:30 a.m. Boring.
It rained a heap. I took advantage of a break in the rain to walk to the Port of Airlie Marina opening. They were basically washed out, although all the shops were making the best of it. The radio station was there, and I think they had live music. The newspapers reported 600 visitors, a number that surprised me.
I got rained on when I attempted to leave a few minutes later. By the time I collected the weekend newspapers, I was totally soaked.
Rex phoned to say he could not make my party. Indeed, most people will probably not, given the foul weather. Rex later told me he had over 75 mm in his rain gauge. Jonathan and Jodie from across the way came over, and that was the total attendance.
I started using the internet at 4:45 a.m. when I got up. At around 5:15 a.m. the internet stopped responding yet again. Others have complained to me about internet problems. However in some cases they conflate email problems with web access problems, and have no idea of how each might relate to general internet access problems. As most are not interested in the technologies involved, I doubt I could get many of them to learn enough to actually use even minimal command line tests like ping and traceroute.
Compared to fixed line connections, mobile devices have little total bandwidth. Smartphones are more and more popular. Sales this year will exceed that of computers.
Web sites are getting heavier and heavier. Bandwidth chewing was once anathema to web designers. Now they assume unlimited download capacity. Users will increasingly switch off heavy downloads, even going back to suppressing the download of images.
Build Faster Mobile Websites With ‘Adaptive Images’ via media queries is a starting point for adaptive images. However just using max-width image scaling does not help bandwidth.
The Matt Wilcox Adaptive Images code handles resizing large images on the fly, so a web site builder does not need to supply multiple images. Most Adaptive Images approaches need an Apache 2 server, and PHP5.
For the past three years, I have attended Saint Patrick's Day events at Carlyle Gardens. I should have been attending (and helping organise) the event there today. Instead I am more determined than ever to have nothing further to do with Carlyle Gardens. I need to put my in resignation to the Social Club, something I should have done when Geoff resigned. That would be far easier if they had an email address. Nothing wrong with the Social Club, but I am never there to help.
I was reading an article by Robert Moor called Bones of the Book, which starts as a review of The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books. He was reading on his iPad. However few of the 26 authors even mentioned eBooks. One
compared e-books to astronaut food; another to Mortal Kombat. One wanted eBooks just like paper books. It sounds like authors are even further behind than publishers in coping with the future.
In the last essay, the novelist Reif Larsen
makes an obvious but often unmentioned point: the book is a technology born of its circumstances, and ancient ones at that. Wax tablets or scrolls gave way to the
codex’s bound papyrus or leather membranae. Moveable type and decent paper took the book from a rare and scarce possession of the literate rich to the (universally educated) public at large.
It is a fascinating article, which covers several other experiments with eBooks.
I started Jim's internet at 10:35 a.m. It came up without further issues. I downloaded a heap of web pages to read. At 11:22 a.m. I noticed I had lost contact with the internet again. Restarted internet at 3:30 p.m. Internet started crashing again at 4:20 p.m. I rebooted at 4:30 p.m. Internet died again around 8:22 p.m. Internet died again around 10 p.m.
I see Rolls Royce have killed their electric car. The fully electric Phantom-based 102EX concept car isn't going to make it onto the production line. Customers wanted more range and faster charging. Hardly surprising. Why would you want an inferior vehicle?
Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf both missed their fairly low 2011 sales targets by a considerable number. Electric vehicles would be a wonderful disruptive technology, if they only worked better. The only area where electric cars are better is low emissions, which hardly anyone cares about.
I was awoken around five by the wind streaming from the south west under the influence of the low (and possible cyclone) in the gulf. This was bringing cool, but humid weather. Without internet access, I can't check if the cyclone actually formed.
It was getting close to garbage truck time when I rushed out with a bag of rubbish. The steep wet road was such that the garbage truck kept slipping its tyres as it tried to climb around the corner. The driver eventually had to back off part way down the street, and take a run at the corner. The slope of Golden Orchid Drive really is excessive. I know of many examples of trucks and buses being unable to navigate it.
I restarted the internet just before seven. Internet went down gradually at 8:44 a.m. Restarted at 11:30 a.m. Internet out of action again at midday. Jim got back and restarted his internet. Internet went out again in the early evening.
Apple buys advertising rights to moon. Contracted ARPA for orbital battle laser for images.
It basically rained all day, under the influence of the monsoonal low that had formed over the gulf. This just keeps bringing in humid air, initially from the ocean to the south east. This swings around to even more humid air from the north east as the monsoonal low heads further south. Bah, humbug. Flooding again.
Planes failed to land at Hamilton Island due to rain. The Sunlander train was stopped from heading further North at Mackay. The Bruce Highway is blocked by flooding at many spots.
According to Horace dediu at Asymco:
Today Apple announced both a dividend and a share re-purchase plan which, when combined, will consume 45% of Apple’s current US cash reserves.
The dividend will be $2.65/share/quarter and the buyback will cost $10 billion over three years. The dividend will therefore cost about $2.5 billion per quarter (starting next quarter) and the re-purchase will cost about $833 million per quarter (starting next fiscal year).
However, note that Apple’s cash has been growing far more quickly. It increased by $16 billion last quarter or $37 billion over the last year. This rate of increase is itself increasing.
Apple needed to reduce the volatility of its stock. Some funds are precluded from owning shares that do not pay dividends. This change may increase the number steady holders of Apple shares. Shares were being diluted by stock placed with staff. A buyback and retirement of shares would reduce this dilution. The amounts involved tend to make sense.
Apple are also paying these amounts (US$45 billion over 3 years) from domestic cash. This avoids 35% tax liabilities with bringing overseas earnings into the weird USA tax system. Apple essentially said it intended to continue to hold sufficient USA cash to run its entire business.
The interesting political issue over the next few years will be when Apple starts paying its Chinese manufacturing partners directly in Yuan rather than in US dollars.
In mid afternoon, Apple put out a press release saying they had sold over three million of the new Apple iPad. That is not bad sales for three and a bit days, even if they did include more countries than usual (US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Switzerland, and UK).
Seems like Apple have an even better hand on their supply issues on this launch. On the basis of the iPad 2 sales of over 15 million last quarter, I was seeing the main problem with 60 million sales for the rest of the year being actually producing those numbers. I am starting to wonder if that number of iPad sales exceeded even their most recent iPhone launch? In just three days, Apple have sold a quarter of the number of Android tablets ever shipped.
I awoke late. It had been raining when I went to sleep. It was still raining in the grey dawn. Not the pleasant place Airlie Beach normally is. Every surface in the apartment seems suffused with condensation. The floor, the walls, everything feels damp. Paper in notebooks is limp with moisture.
I put the Florin Terrace rubbish bin out during a bit of a lull in the rain before seven. Some other garbage bins were already out, but not all of them.
The rain lifted enough that I can now see that there is a cruise liner anchored out in Pioneer Bay. I sort of doubt many of the market folks will bother to chance the weather. There were actually two cruise liners nearby, Pacific Dawn and Ocean Princess, but one was around the other side of the headland.
No newspapers. The roads are all cut by floodwater. Despite the tornado in Townsville that did more home damage than Cyclone Yasi, Jean tells me she did not have any wind problems there. She had water on the back patio last night, but it drained. The grassed areas at the back are still under water.
I noticed the internet was up when I checked at 6:30 a.m. So I used it while I could. Internet went out while I was trying to put material into tagChimp (so I can not use MetaX when the internet is out). Internet came back up around 12:20 p.m. Internet out of action again around 2 p.m. Started again around five. I kept working on TV show metadata.
Senate passes another Labor tax today.
Paying more tax to the Australian government is about as sensible as handing a bottle of vodka and the keys to the family car to a teenager.
A Gene Tells You To Eat More, according to Baoji Xu, Ph.D., an associate professor of pharmacology and physiology at Georgetown.
The research team specifically found that a mutation in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf) gene in mice does not allow brain neurons to effectively pass leptin and insulin chemical signals through the brain. In humans, these hormones, which are released in the body after a person eats, are designed to "tell" the body to stop eating. But if the signals fail to reach correct locations in the hypothalamus, the area in the brain that signals satiety, eating continues.
I hate the state politicians so much that the only acceptable option is to sell my vote.
Alas, I can not do it. See the Criminal Code Act 1899 (QLD), section 98C (Bribery). Bloody spoilsports.
It is well past time that every meeting governments have be published in full on the Internet. Govt piracy meeting completely censored is just one example of why. If companies think their meetings with governments are commercial in confidence, maybe they should stop meeting with governments behind closed doors. To their credit, the Greens demand secret piracy docs.
Who got invited? Digital Entertainment Alliance of Australia (represented by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft), the Australian Content Industry Group (represented by Music Industry Piracy Investigations), the Communications Alliance, Telstra, iiNet and the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, represented by first assistant secretary Richard Windeyer.
If copyright holders are unhappy with the actions of ISP, then they should take their concerns to the ISPs, or they should take it to court. Oh wait, they did take it to court. Now they do not like the result. So what has the government got to do with it?
Who got left out? The producers and creators of the content. The purchasers and consumers of the content.
The government continue to treat us like mushrooms. The only thing the government is good for is growing mushrooms.
I have too much media for a portable computer. Recent portable Apple computers have used solid state drives. These are small. Great for speed, not so good for storage capacity. I have 45,000 photos, and growing quickly. My music (in Apple Lossless) occupies around 100 GB. My DVD movies (converted to H.264) occupy at least 1.5 TB. Apple solutions (iCloud, or storage on a MacBook) do not work on this scale. Nor does DropBox, or any internet connected method. Internet is far too slow, and often not even available. I could carry an external drive, but external drives connected by cable to portable computers are not really convenient.
Apple expect your media files to be available via iTunes for streaming elsewhere, such as to an Apple TV. I mostly want to work on media when home or at the holiday apartment. Each location has an Apple Time Capsule, for WiFi network backups. I could attach an external drive to a Time Capsule, and would then have space for my media.
If you just want to use an AppleTV for displaying media, you can jailbreak Apple TV and add XBMC. XBMC can directly access a network drive. XBMC can not access protected media, which is yet another reason to never include DRM infested files in your media collection. I decided I did not want to use that method.
You can tell iTunes to move your media to an external drive, and not to copy your media to your internal drive. However before doing so, you need to understand how iTunes handles media files. In particular, the difference between the media file content, and the database that keeps track of the details.
There is a big problem with Time Capsule for streaming media. Wireless is simply too slow. If your iTunes media is on an external USB drive connected to your Time Capsule, you have a bunch of things slowing down the streaming. USB drives are a bit slow. Then the video goes from Time Capsule via WiFi to your computer (where iTunes runs). Then the computer has to send it to Apple TV via WiFi. There just isn't really sufficient time. If everything is running 802.11n, you may get close. If you have physical Ethernet cables for all the Gigabit Ethernet connections, you will be fine. However that rather defeats the attempt to go wireless.
I was unable to buy a newspaper for a second day, after being awoken by a gully washer storm just after 4 a.m. However the internet was working.
The Bruce Highway north to Townsville is still closed by flooding. I was somewhat surprised to see the Mackay Mercury was available. I had thought the Bruce Highway was also closed to the south.
We actually got a few seconds of sunshine around 8:20 a.m. First I have seen in about a week. The tourist town of Airlie Beach seems absolutely dead at the moment.
In the early hours (4 a.m.) the internet was working really well. I downloaded some software updates on the laptops while it was working.
When I returned from my walk around 8 a.m. the internet had stopped working again. A short inspection showed the WiFi had decided to disconnect while the MacBook Air was sleeping. The actual internet connection was alive.
If the global warming models are correct, natural gas is not a good transition fuel. Greenhouse gases, climate change and the transition from coal to low-carbon electricity gives some figures for the long term problems of anything except a transition to no emissions power sources. Gas is simply not good enough.
A long book review by Jesse Hicks of THE IDEA FACTORY: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation, a book by Jon Gertner. Maybe the special conditions needed to create a Bell Labs can not be created again. However it is something Australia desperately needs. It could perhaps have been created at CSIRO, and maybe for a while it was, but was not allowed to continue.
I note a Whitsunday Times newspaper item that Pacific Star came adrift from its mooring, and was pounded into the rocks at Cannonvale. I believe the vessel was very badly damaged, with wreckage along the foreshore. If it is the same vessel, Jean and I travelled out to the Great Barrier Reef on that soon after we arrived in Airlie Beach.
A blue sky! After weeks of rain, we have a blue sky, with decorative clouds on the northern horizon over Hamilton Island. So I started doing laundry for the first time in weeks. I had a walk, and got breakfast on the main street. Still no newspapers. The road north to Townsville had opened at Giru again sometime this morning, but the delivery folks were not sure it was worthwhile to send a truck through since it was so late. Opened up all the doors and windows to get the place started to dry out. I started a second load of laundry at 8:30 a.m. and got both of them dry. It was dry all day.
The internet remains up this morning. Amazing. It was still up when I returned from my walk. However the internet connection was out of action at 8:37 a.m. I took the opportunity to connect to my Time Capsule wirelessly, and let time machine back up my MacBook Air. When I checked again at 8:49 a.m. the internet connection was back up.
Web connections are not working. However ping gets through to a numeric address. Basically the domain name system was asleep for a while.
If one in ten are at diabetes risk because one in two are obese, why do we keep advertising food, and screening cooking shows?
Happy sixth birthday Twitter. When are you going to learn to talk?
It appears Australia consumers pay most despite cheap wholesale electricity. At least according to some comments. I notice the retail price quoted is at way higher than I see. I also notice the carbon equivalent emissions seem to be for brown coal power stations, so the entire analysis may be about Victoria. However the point that retail prices are high whereas wholesale prices are low is valid.
Renewable energy schemes add about a cent per kilowatt to wholesale costs. The new carbon tax will add about an extra two cents to wholesale costs. The power stations are competing on prices, and are often pretty economical (except in peaks). The blame is being sleeted to regulated prices for distribution networks, which do not issue bills, and are invisible to consumers. They also have absolutely no incentive to change. Indeed, their profits depend on not changing, and being able to overbuild for peak electricity.
Part of the solution would be better pricing information for consumers. The answer would include a smart electricity meter, done correctly. As far as I can see, smart meters at the moment are as dumb as posts, and at best provide historical figures. You can not even get readings inside the house. Nor do you see the instantaneous load, nor the peak pricing at the instant. This whole electricity distribution industry is open to someone making a technology to disrupt the current charging model.
I was delighted to note that newspapers had made their way into the newsagency for the first time in three days. At least that seems to prove that the Bruce Highway to the north is once again open to traffic.
The left and right arrow keys have failed on my MacBook Air. This is some sort of weird software issue. The hardware is working fine.
Had another lot of scrambled eggs for breakfast. I see I am down to a half dozen eggs.
A very large truck arrived and made a real job of getting around the corner. Lots more noises. Now it is blocking the entire Florin Terrace car park. Not sure what they are doing. Keeping an eye on them. Looks like 56 moving in.
During the afternoon I managed to remove the mortar for the remaining spare balcony tiles. I think I have enough for replacing all the drumming tiles.
I see rumours of a 4 inch or a 4.6 inch iPhone 5 display. The current 3.5 inch (diagonal) display has a 3:2 aspect ratio, shows 960 x 640 pixels, at 326 pixels per inch. That is 2.94 inches by 1.96 inches. Going to a 4.6 inch display, and keeping the same aspect ration, would imply 1.314 times the screen dimensions. That would be 3.86 inches by 2.57 inches. If you kept the same pixel count, that is less than 250 pixels per inch. Hard to call that a Retina display on a phone. Even a 4 inch display would be 288 pixels per inch.
If you change your pixel count, everything developers have designed on screen would need to change. Same applies if you change your aspect ratio, say to the 4:3 used by the iPad (9.7 inch diagonal display). On the other hand, a 4 inch iPhone with the original iPad 1024 by 768 resolution would have a screen size of 3.2" x 2.4" with 320 dot per inch. Retains the retina tag. Provides a slightly larger display. Developers could use X2 for iPad displays. But it would still be a lot of work to make buttons easy to reach for thumb typers and so on.
Most current model phones other than from Apple use a long and narrow 16:9 aspect ratio. That has possibilities with a display of 4 inches diagonal, or slightly more. You could keep the phone width almost the same, and decrease the top bezel. A certain amount of notification information is probably going to appear there in any case. However I still think the whole 16:9 aspect ratio looks silly.
Now maybe 4.6 inches for an iPod Touch that was also a remote control for TV? The iPod Touch does not need to fit in a pocket, yet could compete with cheap Android tablets.
I plugged my Time Capsule (TC) Ethernet cable into my MacBook Pro, so that TC could share the WiFi connection from my neighbour. Then I told the Apple TV to Update Software. It whirled around for a while, and then told me it was up to date. Given the Apple TV was on 4.4.4 and not iOS 5.0, it was most assuredly most up to date. I tried this a couple of times. Looks like yet another fail for the Apple TV, although it could equally be internet access issues.
Can not connect to YouTube or PhotoSharing server via Apple TV. It seems the Time Capsule is not sharing its internet connection at all. However if I connect my MacBook Air to the Time Capsule via WiFi, I can do a ping to a numeric address. I can do a traceroute to a numeric address. The traceroute is exceedingly slow, and does not deliver any names along the route. I can not get through to Google on the web browser. So I tried a traceroute to google. A named traceroute returns
unknown host, so the problem once again seems to be related to the Domain Name Service via the internet. I can not surf the web at all (no domain names). A powerdown and reboot of Time Capsule did not change the situation.
If I select computers, the Apple TV can see my MacBook Air's iTunes library. It can download the music there (only one song there). The Apple TV can play that song. So the major problem still seems to be the internet (again). Probably too many levels of network address translation, on too indirect a path. Only having my own internet connection is likely to solve it. But first, I probably need a phone line.
You can draft 3D models in Google's SketchUp, available for OS X and Windows. Add the open source Image Magick for graphics conversion routines so you can use CadSoft Eagle printed circuit board designs. Add EagleUp to SketchUp for electronics, which draws on Maxwell for Google SketchUp to produce even better realistic rendering. That whole package lets electronics designers work out their packaging in 3D prior to building final design prototypes.
Safari Web Content Guide for iPhone.
I love the idea that we get to throw out the State Labor government today! However I did not need to wake before five to do it. Nor did I need it to start raining. However early morning rain is better than through the morning if I am trying to walk to the polling booth at eight. It did not rain on me, and the walk was reasonably pleasant, with cloud often moderating the sunshine. No waiting, so I was through and iMessaging Jean around the same time she sent messages about being in a queue for voting.
The problem with Labor has little to do with the personable Anna Bligh. Indeed, she performed well in media terms during the flood disasters last year. The problem is Labor lied by omission about asset sales coming into the previous election. They overspent on popular items, without fixing many fundamentals. Plus they had some bad luck with the water supply, which led to more overspending on desalinisation. No-one has the guts to say that sometimes the proper solution to water is to build another dam. Having a major city run out of water is usually an indicator that the area is overpopulated.
Going into the election, Labor attempted to sully the reputation of Campbell Newman, their unorthodox opponent. The Labor attacks were as vicious as I can recall in a state election. Personally they made me more determined never to vote Labor.
The results started coming through early. I had left a TV on in the other room, so people every now and then left the balcony and checked results. It was an absolute massacre for Labor. I fear they can not act as an effective opposition any longer.
Lights on the water out in Pioneer Bay. A small cruise liner is anchored offshore. I did not need to know that at five a.m. Walking to the polling station and back gave me about 4 kilometres of exercise. I have slowed down a lot.
The markets were very small, but heaps of tourists from the small cruise liner were visiting. None of my usual breakfast places available. I had a chat with a few of the folks who will probably attend my party tonight. I picked up some hot cross buns for lunch.
It must have been the right day to have a party. Glenn and Alison, closely followed by Rex and Myra. I reminded Jim and he came over, bringing a cold bottle of Pepperjack shiraz (I had already opened one for Glenn). Jonathan and Josie were still doing election stuff, and arrived a little late. David and Eve had said they would be there and arrived a little later. Not sure what happened to Gingie, who had emailed she would be there.
Ten people can easily go through three large pizza and three garlic bread. Get extras next time I have that number on hand. I need to get more chairs. Maybe the folding ones from the supermarkets.
Jim showed off some of the capabilities of Star Walk. I brought it up on my iPad, as that lets people get a better view than is possible on an iPhone.
Jim brought his guitar along. Jodie went and collected her guitar. We had some good music going there. Hope the neighbours did not find it too noisy.
Labor in Australia have been ordering gold plated drains, so they can piss your money away. Bring on the Federal election!
Internet is working!
I wonder how few seats Labor will retain? There are suggestions single digits. In fact, so few seats that Labor will not be officially entitled to political party status. Sure makes it hard to be an opposition.
It will also be interesting to see how many seats Bob Katter's Australia Party will get. It seems at least two seats. However voting numbers in far north electorates will be interesting. It looks like over 15% in around 20 electorates. That seems a substantial protest vote.
The Greens had a slight drop in their vote. Not too unexpected in a conservative swing.
Former Labor Premier Anna Blight has resigned as leader of the Labor Party, and has resigned from the Queensland Parliament, effective Friday. Her excuse is she could not continue to lead the party, or even contribute to the Labor Party. She was member for South Brisbane since 1995. This means that her electorate will be forced to the additional expense of another by-election shortly. I have news for members who resign for the good of their party. You were not elected for the good of your party. You were elected to serve the members of your electorate. I have serious doubts about whether one of the previously discarded labor members such as Andrew Fraser will be be able to win her seat. What a mess.
I followed Jean's progress via iMessage whenever she stopped for a break from driving. She arrived after eleven, by which time there were parking spots available. She even brought left over food.
By that time I had taken my morning walk, bought additional newspapers, checked election results, had breakfast (well, hot cross buns), and watched Insiders and Inside Business on ABC TV.
Someone in a blue tray table tradie truck broke part of the new safety railing at the Florin Terrace car park at 11 a.m. I could not see the number plate, but I suspect Jason in 61 may know who the driver was.
It started raining in the afternoon, when we wanted to go to Hogs Breath cafe for dinner. There was some serious wind overnight.
I was awoken around four by things crashing over in the howling wind. Not a good start to the day. I got up and started using the computer. The overnight copying was still running. Looked like it would not complete until at least eight.
I managed around 4.5 kilometres during my morning walk. Got rained on far too often.
I don't think Jean managed to leave the apartment at all today.
The Reserve Bank has three targets. Inflation constrained in a narrow band. Minimise unemployment. Contribute to the general welfare. However they have one silver bullet. Interest, specifically the cash rate. Worse, the banks can not be killed by that silver bullet, and set rates independent of the cash rate. Stand by for even more jawboning.
Kevin Rudd -
there is no way – no way – that I will ever be party to a stealth attack on a sitting prime minister elected by the people.
Former Prime Minister, the right hypocritical arsehole Kevin Rudd.
Only a psychopath with a giant ego would line up again after being comprehensively rejected by the overwhelming majority of colleagues. Steve Gibson MP Tweet
And yet you all made that psychopath your leader and let him be PM and then FM on us. You broke it you own it. Correllio tweets in response.
I was up around five. No time for a walk. When I could I put the garbage out, and started packing Jean's car. It took five trips to pack the car, and I had already taken two trips to put recycling in it yesterday.
Set out at 6:15 a.m. but had to return a few seconds later to turn off some of the equipment connected to a UPS.
I was driving. Stopped at the Coles Express just past Bowen for fuel. Stopped at Inkerman for a bacon and egg breakfast. I got my copy of The Australian there. Stopped at Home Hill. Stopped at various spots for traffic lights on road repairs, or for flagmen.
Jean drove from Inkerman. A circuitous route into Townsville so I could visit the University, and drop off a cheque at the ever efficient bank. I get so few cheques that I forget how to handle them in these days of electronic everything.
I collected mail. Unpacked Jean's car. Filled the recycling bin with stuff from the car. Started on the mail (much reduced now almost everything is electronic). There were three parcels, and a few magazines.
Went to the restaurant for lunch. Caught up with Pat, Dot, and Ray. Sue soon arrived, and Clare unexpectedly joined us. Jeff eventually arrived. I was so full from the late breakfast that I could only manage to eat a sandwich.
Geoff and Margaret were at another table, so I chatted with them. Persuaded Clare and Geoff to attend the Computer Club Infonite that evening.
I attended the March Infonite that the Carlyle Gardens Computer Club had organised. Peter Bennett gave the main talk, about the new computer terminology members might be encountering these days. Peter very kindly made his Carlyle Gardens presentation notes by Competer Bits and Bytes available online from his computer web site.
I couldn't sleep, and got up before five. Took the various back issues of the Whitsunday Times with me during my morning walk, and dropped them off. The GPS figures for that walk are insane.
Not much walking at Willows, as Jean was not doing well with the walking. Nothing I tried to find in Coles or BigW was there. That seem standard. Got some more DVD metadata checked, but it is slow going.
A late visit to the pub, where I chatted with Ron, Ian and Ray. Clare turned up for a while. Allen was serving up little fish bites and chips as a bar snack. Dave was in fine form.
The number of company businesses collapsing has doubled to 1123 in February 2012, from 518 in January 2012. February is always a high month, but this is 31% above 2011, and 47% higher than the five year February average of 766 bankruptcies.
Rates are high in Queensland, especially in retail tourism areas. Nor has West Australia escaped.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is good at sticking to her script in interviews and talks. A Disney animatronics robot is also good at sticking to the script.
I was awake early again. Managed to miss a bunch of things I intended to do. I went to the chemist, with Jean driving, so we could both collect prescriptions. It seems all of my pharmacy stuff has now reached generic standard, so my cost is lower.
Willows for a walk. This is not the only reason we visit Willows Shoppingtown, but it is a major one. Finding something e want to buy is just a bonus. Although I didn't find much I was seeking, I did notice Coles had 240 volt LED GU10 downlights at around $12.50. Given the last lot of such bulbs cost me more than $50, I will try these. I have been expecting cheaper versions to start appearing.
Meanwhile I tried to find rechargeable AAA batteries for the solar garden lights. All those batteries I can find are two or three times the cost of the $2 lights. It makes repairs difficult. Jean later found the same lights in Coles at $10 a pack of 4. With 17 garden lights still working, I am not sure I need to buy replacements just yet.
Stopped at the doctor, and made an appointment for tomorrow for flu shots.
I walked over to the restaurant for lunch. Checked it out, and phoned Jean with the all clear. She walked over as well. She had salmon, and ate it all. I had crumbed lamb, and could only eat one of them.
Everything is taking excess time. I did not get to bed until after midnight due to computer issues. Finder locked up while running some deletes on a remote computer. Activity Monitor locked up when I tried to quit the Finder running 100% of CPU. Then the mouse and keyboard seized up. I had to power off (shades of old Windows computers).
Everything is taking heaps of time. The stupid cursor keys have given up on the Air, due to what seems to be a software issue. The mouse keeps failing on the Mac mini. I got a new piece of iPad software called Tapose, and it does not seem to respond to page turning when in portrait mode. Pity, as I had hopes for it.
I was awake before four, but managed to get another hour of sleep. Went for a morning walk around Carlyle Gardens with Jean, mostly before the sun came up. Lots of folks were taking their walks. The wallabies were all over the place.
Fight with Telstra web site to get bills sent electronically. When it was all done, Telstra sent me an acknowledgement email that appeared blank. Their idea of HTML and reality are way different. That Siebel accounting system seems to be producing garbage.
Next on the list was credit card statements. Bounced on the web site, but managed to get started after a phone call. Very helpful chap on the other end of the line. So that appears to be working. I am not impressed by either, but I need to find ways of getting around the lack of mail delivery.
Visited the doctor. Had to wait an hour, but I have my annual flu shot now.
Dot, John and Ray had finished their lunches, but sat around for a while chatting as I got a hamburger. As usual, I could not even finish eating it.
I could not face going over for the Social Club Friday evening fund raiser. I need to resign from the social club.
I went through a file of close to 900 ePub eBooks, checking them against my bookshelves. Took most of the afternoon, but I have pulled out a waist high pile of paperbacks to go on the discard pile. Unfortunately the eBooks in iTunes will take even more time to handle.
I lost internet at 4:20 p.m. Had to restart Jean's ADSL modem twice before it restarted correctly, around 4:30 p.m. Around 8:30 p.m. I noticed that the entire internet had slowed down to a crawl. It was taking about minute per gigabyte to download web pages. I found a few phantom processes (automatic updates on iOS systems) and turned them off. The internet is still incredibly slow. Around a minute a megabyte, or something like three times dialup speeds. It is hard to believe.
Ping times had increased from a typical 50 ms to around 1000-2000 ms, which is stupidly high.
Earlier I had looked up when the National Broadband Network (NBN) was going to reach this area of Townsville. Not on the list at all. Not even starting before 2015, on current plans.
I had no internet connection first thing in the morning. A numeric ping via TimeGnome failed every time. Gnome1 did not want to permit Wi-Fi but eventually woke up. A numeric ping found no route to the host, and timed out.
I restarted Jean's Belkin ADSL modem, and connected to it at Gnome1. Numeric pings are now showing
destination net unreachable. I had multiple timeouts on the ping. Some were getting through, with times of around 60-80 ms. 47% packet loss. A few minutes later I still had timeouts and around 37% packet loss. Ping times fluctuated wildly. 50% loss. Basically unusable.
Luckily changing to TimeGnome (router connected to Gnome1 via Ethernet) solved the ping time and reliability problem. The issue seems to be the Belkin ADSL modem router, which must not be able to take the heat in the garage.
Internet speed tests via Oz Broadband Speed Test showed Oz Broadband Speed Test of 221 kbps or 28 KB/s, about three to four times dialup. After a second ADSL modem reboot, I started seeing Oz Broadband Speed Test of 1600 bps or 200 KB/s. This is a lot better, albeit still too slow for many web sites. As for streaming video, forget it.
The solar power output figures last month (February 2012) showed it generated 2533kWh over 7419 hours. The figures for March are 2643kWh over 7783 hours. So the total hours operating in the 31 days of March 2012 were 364 hours, during which it generated 110kWh. About 3.5kWh per day, or 302 Watts per operating hour. This is a nominal 1 kW panel, operating under cloud and rain for a substantial part of the month.
The actual electricity meter in March showed Tariff 11 at 3105kWh purchased, Tariff 33 at 3081kWh, and the export of power from the solar panel at 1022kWh since installed. I had imported 2671 kWh on E1, exported 855 kWh on E1/E2, and imported 2417 kWh on E2 as at the end of December 2011. So the electricity meter shows consumption in three months as 434kWh on Tariff 11, 664kWh on Tariff 33 (for air conditioning), and exported 167kWh of solar power. This is pretty close to the meter readings.
The electricity accounts for the quarter [not in as yet] show the solar panels provided 128 kWh electricity feed in 75 days to 29 March 2012. This provided a $56.32 solar feed rebate on our electricity bills.
I see the futile but feel-good tokenism of Earth Hour has left another bunch of suckers sitting in the dark between 8:30 p.m. and whenever. Maybe with candles. Did any power stations shut down? Did it save any carbon dioxide emissions? You don't even need to ask. Like Juliar's Carbon Tax, it did nothing. It all is as effective as Sergeant Schultz in
Then there will be the folks sitting in the dark, lit only by the glow of a 500 Watt plasma TV screen. Way to go!
AB 25, CG 6