Eric Lindsay's Blog July 2012

Sunday 1 July 2012


I was up early and on the computer. Morning walk with Jean, who is determined to get up to five kilometres a day before her USA trip. We did 2.5 km.

Back inside, I watched Insiders on the ABC, followed by Allan Kohler's Inside Business. He mentioned formerly working for Fairfax, and now working for News. I read pieces of the Australian Financial Review while watching.

Bacon and eggs for lunch. Continued on the computer, without any visible results. I need to rationalise my use of list programs, and move most over to Apple's Reminders before OS X 10.8 appears at the end of the month.

Meet the Press at four, followed by the Bolt Report. He had the notoriously scrappy Anthony Albanese as one of his guests. Pretty game guy to appear on such a right wing program.

Evening walk with Jean, covering another 2.5 km. So she managed her five kilometres a day.

Sausages for dinner for me, mostly burnt. We are attempting to empty the fridge and freezer. Don't know how those sausages got lost after I won a meat tray at the pub.

Recycling Apple Dies

In the past, Apple have been able to manage a fairly high recycling rate on their computers (based on a test Dell devised). However Fix-it say the new Apple MacBook Pro Retina display model can not be repaired. It is also unlikely to be easily recycled by hand labour. It basically has no removable components. Even the battery is held in place by glue.


I see Apple's iOS has a Reminders application for ToDo use. This appears to be a preliminary version of something also partially available via iCal. I get the impression it is not intended for elaborate, ordered lists. I can not even find a way to move tasks within each list, although you can re-order the lists. You can also move tasks from one list to another (using the More option when an item is selected).

So the best matches to use are lists of items (including repeat items) to be done on a particular day, or at a particular location. You can set geofenced alarms for when you arrive at or leave a specific location. That location based idea seems to be the most immediately of use.

I decided to set it to remind me to put out the garbage when I arrived at Carlyle Gardens, if it was a Tuesday, and repeat every Tuesday I was at that location. However the Location feature seems to stay on all the time. Given how quickly Location services eats battery life, I am not sure this will work well. After a couple of hours of battery attack, I switched off Locations for Reminders. That pretty well makes the whole Reminders app pointless.

I gather there are some updates to Reminders to be released with iOS 6 in a few months. Maybe that will provide sufficient improvements. There will also be a Reminders application for Macintosh when OS X Mountain Lion appears at the end of July.

Monday 2 July 2012


On the computer around six for last minute transfers of files. I wanted Bento synchronised with the iPhone and iPad, as well as the usual iTunes sync.

A walk with Jean, to cover another 2.5 km. It was pretty cold, down to around 170 after a clear night.

We had run out of bread in the freezer, but had some crusts to go with our boiled eggs. It is a local Townsville holiday, being Show Day. This moving feast is determined by when the travelling show arrives in town. Last weekend it was at Proserpine. So we were not sure any shops were open.

Luckily all was open at Sunland Plaza. I bought a newspaper for the bus trip, and some snacks at Brumby's. An apple turnover with cream should make me hyper.

To Airlie Beach

We came upon a Greyhound bus a little after eleven as Jean drove me to the terminal. So Jean got to see the numberplate. I had thought they were all in the DOG series. This Queensland plate was 723 PUP. Jean was amused.

This was of course the Cairns, Townsville, Airlie Beach, Mackay express service. We pulled into the depot just after the bus. Plenty of time, since passengers had to depart the bus. Sixteen passengers continuing on, mostly to Airlie Beach. I noticed some passengers showed their ebook (with bus ticket in the browser) to the driver as a boarding pass. The drivers are mostly matching names to their clipboard anyhow.

We were off on time, on the non-stop run. The driver did make an unscheduled five minute comfort stop at Home Hill, which has about the best facilities between Townsville and Airlie Beach. Some passengers (and the driver) indulged in cigarettes. The driver had never seen the electronic cigarettes, but one passenger had used them. The gadget was shown in the movie the driver had just shown.

Made good time to Airlie Beach. Arrived soon after three.

Whitsunday Terraces

I saw Ron even before I opened the door. Some of the people at the bottom of the resort had been throwing rubbish out of their unit into the surrounding grounds. Some people are just grubs. Ron cleaned up the mess. He also advised Rose of the mess. Luckily those people are departing in a day or so.

When I caught up with Rose, she told me things were going well. She finally has a new gardener. I met Anders a little later. A young chap who was busy clearing out Anchor Terrace. If he has only been here two days he is doing pretty well. I know what sort of a mess Anchor Terrace was not long ago.


My IP address is


I started adding metadata to Earth Final Conflict. Although tagChimp contains many of the episodes, I am not able to extract the information via MetaX. No idea why it totally fails to find entries I can see on the web interface to tagChimp.

Tuesday 3 July 2012


I was up well before six, which was before dawn. I was able to sit at my computer and watch the dawn. I started laundry around 6:20 a.m. after some nearby residents went off to work. Laundry out in the sun on the drying racks by 7:15 a.m.

Walk to Cannonvale, via the boardwalk and the new botanic gardens. Reached the inland Whitsunday shopping centre around 8:15 a.m. having covered just over five kilometres. Beautiful cool weather for the walk. Actually had I not been walking briskly, I would have been cold.

Did my sensible shopping. Like crumpets on special! Chocolate Monte on special! Ice cream on special! Caught a taxi home, as you do. The little fridge is really crammed, and I still need some more party supplies in it.

Mid morning I walked down to the newsagent and collected the very last copy of The Australian newspaper. Just as well I did not leave that walk until later.

I saw Andre, the new part time gardener, still cleaning up vegetation, but now moved from Anchor Terrace to underneath Barnacle Terrace. He has a real job in front of him. I had a spare plastic bag, so I collected a bag full of garbage on my way through the resort. That is about standard given the grubs around here these days.


My IP is which means my ADSL connection to Telstra BigPond went out during the night and reconnected. Why such a churn in IP addresses?


I had done a little metadata entry on the first season of Earth Final Conflict. When I completed season one after midday, I realised there was nothing on tagChimp for any of the following four seasons. Indeed, I did not even have a list of the names of the episodes on the DVD. Gave up for the moment.

Later in the afternoon I started entering metadata for Farscape. That had somewhat better metadata on line. Also I have the DVDs which list the titles, and I have already entered the episode names on my filenames. Alas, some of the existing metadata does not correspond to the actual DVDs. I completed metadata on season one of Farscape, and just started season two.


I finally looked at Google's GMail on my laptop computer. What a mess! My recollection on a large desktop display was of a relatively easy to navigate webmail. On a laptop, Gmail simply sucks.

Enough of that. Now I have no ensure that no email I actually want to read ever gets to my gmail address.


A long list of population doom articles. Population, Consumption Threaten Earth’s Future—Who’s Surprised? Points to IAP Statement on Population and Consumption. Another Earth Is Headed for Disaster, Interdisciplinary Team of Scientists Concludes summary. Nobody is paying any attention.

Meanwhile, check Green Agenda on Sustainable Development for a nicely paranoid take on the long term Green agenda.

Wednesday 4 July 2012


I awoke late, with it already light. By our standards it was cold inside, at 210. However the sun rose above the hill within twenty more minutes, and brought a welcome warmth to the entire place.

Managed to boil over the milk for my hot chocolate. Took longer to clean the mess than drink the stuff. I should not operate kitchen equipment before I wake up.

The weather station I wanted to assemble is missing a long phone style RJ11 lead. Plus, I realise I need the mounting points where it will sit before I can complete the assembly. Grump.


I had started entering metadata for season two of Farscape, so that continued in the morning. I have been lucky with the data from tagChimp via MetaX for that series. Completed season two mid morning. Continued with season three, and completed that by late afternoon. I started working on season four in the evening.


I had a working internet connection (with the same IP number as the previous day) until 7:32 a.m. Then the internet connection dropped out without warning. The modem's red internet light came on.

I power cycled the Netgear ADSL modem at 7:37 a.m. Got a green light. Ping and traceroute now working again. My new IP number is No sign of why the modem line dropped. Nothing changed at my end.

Phone Costs Increase

Telstra’s new range of Every Day Connect plan call costs will jump from 90¢ a minute to 99¢. Connection charges for each call will go up from 35¢ to 40¢. Data drops 500MB a month.

It looks like each of the mobile operators are increasing their charges. I wish some of them would just sell me an annual pre-paid data package (like with the iPad), and some sort of minimal call package (I hardly ever use the phone functions of a phone). The only thing the carriers can provide that I want is big fat data pipes.

Address Book

I need to prune my Address List of Duplicates, and toss obsolete Cards. But even that will probably not reduce the lists enough, especially when it transfers to my iPhone or iPad. Over 800 addresses is plain silly. Alas, you can not sync Smart Groups. However you can select all the contacts in a Smart Group, make them into a New Group, and sync that. Look at Smart Group conditions like Email Is Set and Phone Is Set.

See this excellent Christopher Breen article Five fantastic Address Book tips for an account of using Automator to send Birthday Greetings. More tips in How to email groups with Mail.

Thursday 5 July 2012


I was awake early. Gave up trying to get back to sleep and started using the computer before five. At least I got to see the cold dawn. The southerly winds have dropped temperatures outside to around 160C. Inside the apartment dropped to around 200C. Full height glass doors across the front, and no insulation, will do that, especially when it is windy.

The local hairdresser has changed hands, so no more gossip collecting for me. I guess I will start using the hairdresser at Carlyle Gardens now. Collected some Strongbow Original cider for one of the attendees at my party. Looks like BWS has Pepperjack Shiraz on special, so I may restock here.

Andy was still hard at work on the plants in the area beneath Anchor and Barnacle Terrace. There is a visible difference already.


Internet connection failed at 11:53 a.m. The red internet fail light was on the ADSL modem. There was no change in conditions here. I started bombarding the ADSL connection with ping and traceroute.

Power sequenced the ADSL modem at 12:03 p.m. Connection returned around 12:05 p.m. My IP number is now

Internet connection failed at 12:59 p.m. The red internet fail light was on the ADSL modem. There was no change in conditions here.

Power sequenced the ADSL modem again at 1:05 p.m. Working again after modem came up at 1:08 p.m.

Internet connection failed at 2:14 p.m. Modem lights still green. Back within 30 seconds. My IP is


I completed season four of Farscape around eight this morning. I started on the 2007 TV version of Flash Gordon around midday. Unfortunately, although tagChimp contains the data, MetaX is unable to extract it. Plus the internet went unreliable (yet again).

eBook Reader for Macintosh

I found another eBook reader for Macintosh from L.Y.Mesentsev. It handles ePub (as long as there is no DRM) amongst several other formats. Also available in the Mac App Store for around $10. I have been using Bookle, but will try this also.

Friday 6 July 2012


I guess I slept well, as it was only just starting to get light when I got up to watch the dawn. It was 200 inside and 160 outside, with the cold wind from the south still with us. I started reading news on the computer and adding metadata to rips of DVDs.

Went for a walk along the beach path. Stopped at the money machine. Collected some beer for my party on the way back. Getting very slow walking up the twelve flights of stairs. The painful split on my heel is not helping the walking.

Charged the multimeter. Essentially set the switch to charge, and plug the test leads into 240 volt power socket. However the reported battery voltage seems to drop rather quickly. Instructions said it just needs a five minute charge, and after that the solar cells take over.

Started assembling the new weather station. Some of the instructions are essentially impossible to read. So is some of the embossing on the plastic parts. Lots of taking pieces apart for a second try. I still have one screw left over and can not see where it was supposed to fit. The instructions for what plugs in where could use some help. It really does use rechargeable AA alkaline batteries. I thought everyone had given up on them?


I continued adding metadata to the 2005 TV series Invasion. Getting some incomplete data from tagChimp. The material on IMDB, Wikipedia, and on the DVD covers seems to mostly match on this show. Completed that during the late morning.

Next I decided to move on to Lexx, since there seems to be stuff for that on tagChimp. Season one was four movie length episodes, so that was easy. Season two of Lexx was much tougher, but I did finish it by mid evening.


I see that my IP address is now, so it seems to have changed again overnight.

Telstra Big Pond internet connection lost at 11:58 a.m. in the middle of normal operations. Modem lights still green. Traceroute and ping back at 12:03 p.m. My IP has been changed to, so the connection was lost at the Telstra Big Pond end as well as at my end.

Telstra BigPond internet connection lost at 6:23 p.m. as I was using it. Red internet access light is on ADSL modem. Trying a traceroute to bounce connection back into action. Red internet light turns green again at 6:29 p.m.

Telstra BigPond internet connection lost again at 6:45 p.m. while using connection. I still have a green internet light. Connection came back at 6:47 p.m. with as my IP number.

Telstra BigPond internet connection dropped out at 7:35 p.m. while using the connection. The green internet light on the ADSL modem turned red. I started hitting it with traceroute. Connection came back at 7:37 p.m with as my new IP number. Grr!

Electric Pigs in Cyberspace

I found a link to a review on Electric Pig in the U.K. The web page flipped up a note about new European rules on using cookies. The note would not go away without me accepting their cookie tracking. That is not informed consent. That is just staying stuff you to potential viewers.

Well, I do not accept their tracking cookie policy. Electric Pig can get stuffed. Turning off javascript as well as cookies gets rid of their idiotic popup. Fuckwitted arseholes.

Debt Kills Economy

In a developed economy real growth should equal the population increase plus productivity. People want more than they can afford. Governments oblige via debt. But a recession to clean out old debt would prevent future borrowing, so governments print money to inflate debt away.

Saturday 7 July 2012


I was up at 5 a.m. Unable to sleep. Have hangover, without even getting to have a drink, which I feel is really unfair. Took rubbish out to the bin, only to find it had rained overnight. It is wet, cool and miserable. Not much activity visible through the cloud at the markets site. I wonder what my chances are of getting laundry done?

The fire alarm went off, so I decided to wander off to the office. People in Unit 7 had set off the external alarm (how?) The fire brigade arrived about then, to switch off the alarm in the office.

The markets were almost empty, although it was no longer raining. A lot of cloud. I collected newspapers, and a snack pie for breakfast at Brumby's.


I lost my internet connection for a moment at 5:47 a.m. is my IP number this morning, having changed again overnight.

Telstra BigPond internet lost again at 11:34 a.m. without any change to my activity. Started traceroute in an attempt to push it back into action. The red internet fail light is lit on the Netgear DM111P ADSL modem. A ping starts working at 11:34 a.m. is my new IP number.

Internet unsteady at 11:38 p.m. but I still have the same IP number as previously.


I have started the metadata for Lexx, season three. This is a shortened season, with thirteen episodes. I completed that season prior to breakfast.

There are twenty four episodes in the last season of Lexx. I completed season four metadata just before my party started.

Apple Recycling Dead

I see Apple have withdrawn from EPEAT green certification, saying their future product directions may no longer be compatible with the EPEAT environmental standard. Apple have pulled all 39 of its computers and monitors from EPEAT. The most recent 2011 Apple iMac had received the highest level Gold EPEAT certification. Apple did not submit the recent Retina display MacBook Pro for EPEAT certification. None of the iDevices have ever been submitted.

It is obvious that future Apple products will be incompatible with EPEAT Required Criteria R. which states:

All desktop and notebook personal computers shall be upgradeable with common tools, including memory drives, chips and cards that can be changed or extended. In other words, the original carefully constructed requirements are now utterly obsolete, as technology moved on. Personally, my last chip level repair to a computer was well over two decades ago. Might have been closer to three decades.

Watch for attempted protection rackets by green groups in the near future. Might take a while for them to notice.

Meanwhile, Apple recycle computers and phones in Australia via third party recycling companies. Your old computer (any brand) is eligible when you buy a new Apple computer, even if you buy online.


My special guests (because they were headed overseas) could not make it, but we had a good time despite that. We had Jonathan and Josie, both alas recovering from flu, and their friend Jill. Rex brought WWOOFers Dave and Aann from New Zealand. Last to arrive were Rose and Chad, and the children (takes note to wash any tiles marked up with washable pencils). We managed to get through four pizza and four garlic bread, which was not bad at all. I may need to up the pizza orders in future, maybe with extra garlic bread.

The wine was hardly touched. Two bottles of bubbles, and most of a bottle of Pepperjack shiraz. I had stocked some cider and some beer. I think the children went through a bunch of orange juice, as well as water, so I must make sure I always have plenty of both on hand.

As an aside, all glass, plastic and non-food contaminated recyclable rubbish from my parties is taken to Townsville (when I have Jean's car available). So I do not attempt to recycle the pizza boxes. It is placed in the usual Townsville recycling collections for treatment.

Green Attack

As I predicted, Labor (NSW right) are attacking the Greens. Saying to drop support for Greens in the election. Sounds like both parties may put the Greens last next election. It could not happen soon enough. The Greens in Australia are totally gaga.

Sunday 8 July 2012


I was up just before six, on a dull grey morning, well before dawn. The wind gusted at the eaves from time to time. When it was time, I watched current affairs shows Insiders, and then Inside Business.


My internet protocol number had changed again overnight, this time to I noticed the modem readouts claimed it had been connected for just less than an hour, rather than since yesterday.

Access to tagChimp was too slow to use. I ran Ozspeedtest at 6 a.m., and found I was getting an absolutely lousy speed. The connection is too slow to complete the minimum size (600 KB) legacy speed test to the Testra Big Pond mirror. Finally took 511 seconds for the test. A line speed less than 10 kbps (which is less than dial up).

According to the Netgear DM111P ADSL modem, my download line attenuation is around 25dB, my noise margin around 9.6dB. My ping times to (Google's public DNS connection) are around 60 ms, however I am getting up to a 30% package loss.

Just what in the hell is wrong with Telstra BigPond?

I power cycled the ADSL modem at 6:25 a.m. Getting a red internet connection fail light after a few minutes of coming up. Now on green. Ping and traceroute running OK. My IP number is now Line attenuation 25.9 dB, noise 6 dB. Line speed is now 2111 kbps, download speed 326 KB. Not startlingly good.

Telstra BigPond internet connection disappeared at 11:28 a.m. Pings not working. Traceroute not working. Back at 11:30 a.m. with new IP number

Telstra BigPond internet out of action again at 11:43 a.m. This time I have a red internet failure light on the Netgear ADSL modem. I power sequenced the ADSL modem at 11:48 a.m. Ping and traceroute started working again at 11:49 a.m. is my new IP number. Line attenuation downstream remains 25.9dB, noise 6.0dB. Something is fundamentally wrong with this connection.


I can not believe it. Tony Abbott, leader of the opposition, is appearing on the ABC Insiders programs, which is normally pretty much left wing.

The usual attacks on methods of turning around people smuggler boats. Barry asks how would it work? Tony says it will work the way it used to work. Going around and around, going nowhere.

As long as Australia is attractive to refugees (and it should be), and there is a business model for smugglers (and there is), then boats will come. One fundamental for a government to be considered legitimate is it must been seen to be capable of protecting its borders. It is part of defence of the realm. The current Australian government fails. Not terribly badly by the standards of most countries with land locked borders, but still a fail. There is no humane way to change these three parameters, so you get to choose which inhumane path you dislike least.


I only have the first season of the 1995 version of the classic TV series The Outer Limits. I decided I would have time to add metadata for the 22 episodes in that season. Seems I am missing many extra seasons in DVD. I do not recall seeing the DVDs for sale anywhere, but there might be seven seasons.

Education Revolution

I am not sure anything beats a curious child sitting on one end of a log, and a great teacher sitting on the other end of the same log. However Education is Undergoing a Startling Revolution — Let’s Support it! Because we may have no choice. One Tablet Per Child: Technology Making a Difference reports on airdropping OLPC tablets with solar panels into two villages in Ethiopia. No instructions, and all the villagers were illiterate anyhow. It will be interesting to see the results of this two year experiment.

Monday 9 July 2012

Leaving Airlie Beach

I was up around five, doing some last minute downloading. The weather is a sullen overcast, but not particularly cold. There was a tourist ship out in Pioneer Bay. I arrived at the market site about ten minutes before the bus was due at seven. The people I usually chat to at the markets were not there. God move I suspect.

The Greyhound bus arrived around 40 minutes late. I doubt the driver will manage to catch up on the missing time. For some reason the driver assigned seats. However the seat number stickers are mostly missing. The seat I was assigned was already occupied, so I ignored it, like most people. Only nine boarded.

The Bowen stop was about 8:50 a.m. The driver wants to be gone in ten minutes. There are three school buses ahead of us, so the usually marginally adequate facilities are totally overwhelmed. Must have been queues of 30 ladies for the loos, and about the same queue at each of the two serving points for food. No chance of buying anything. The driver is trying to get away. Still two people missing, etc.

The bus refuelled at Guthalunga, for the first time since Brisbane. Having 1000 litre tank lets you do that. Just don't look at the fuel bills. Took at least 15 minutes to pump that much fuel, even with the high speed nozzle.

Reached Townsville after midday, about 40 minutes late. Jean was there in her car to collect me.


Jean drove to Sizzlers, although at 12:30 we feared it might be crowded. School holidays was done, and there was plenty of space. Jean had salad bar, and skipped the dessert. I had steak and chips, and we shared a glass of wine. I discovered I had forgotten my breakfast tablets (no having breakfast will do that), so I had them after lunch around 1:30 p.m.

We stopped at the medical centre, as I needed a prescription renewed. The doctor did not like my low blood pressure (he is used to the low pulse). Maybe I died? Maybe it was too close to taking my prescription medicine? That now seems very likely to me. The doctor wants me to take some readings morning and afternoon, and see him in a week or so.

It was around three by the time we reached home. A long day for me. Way too much accumulated mail (and email) on hand. Must do something about this. Also, it has been raining, fairly heavy, since we got back. I wonder how bad the drainage will be?

Jean did a spaghetti sauce meal from some sauce I had made a while back and frozen. A better meal than I expected for dinner. Massive rainfall from around 10 p.m. Rainfall like that tends to keep me awake.

The Rain

It rained, and continued to rain into the night. The surrounds were soaked. The surrounds were flooded. Not impressed. July is in the dry season, not in The Wet. Not impressed with it being cold either. Climate change. Global warming … wait!

Australian Electricity Market

Is it possible to use 100% renewable energy in the Australian electric power grid? This paper Simulations of scenarios with 100% renewable electricity in the Australian National Electricity Market by Ben Ellistona, Mark Diesendorfb, and Iain MacGill indicates it might be possible. It makes a great introduction to the topic.

Tuesday 10 July 2012

The Rain

It kept raining overnight. A record daily downfall since 1950. One of our neighbours said over 88mm. Some official rain gauges were showing over 100mm for the 24 hours.


We drove off as soon as we could manage after eight. I was able to collect my prescription tablets at the discount chemist, which means my stock is looking a bit more healthy.

Back to Centrelink. We stood in our own queue of two for a short while. Then the lady who had helped us previously noticed us, and came over from her desk. She seemed very relieved that the cards had finally gone to the correct address. Jean just wanted to advise being overseas, which is one thing Centrelink say to do. It also appears if you specify a return date, you do not need to advise you have returned to Australia.

We were let out the side door, which was very helpful, given how heavy the rain was by now.

In Willows for a short walk. I spotted SuperFeakonomics on special. Managed to find the slipper style lightweight shoes in the Payless Shoe Store. Bought two pairs for $30. They seem somewhat heavier duty than the previous pair.

Jean iMessaged me that the now closed travel agent was selling off their bright orange customer chairs. I bought five for $100. Getting them into the back of Jean's car in the now torrential rain guaranteed we were both thoroughly soaked. Jean did however manage to get a bunch of other European travel tickets organised, for trains and hotels.

We drove over to the restaurant for lunch, since it was still raining. I treated Jean since she would have walked had the weather been better. One thing we discussed was me sticking around to receive a package Jean had ordered. Plus I was expecting a printer to arrive sometime.

After lunch, I walked to Reception to tell them officially when Jean was preparing to leave, and when she would return. While I was there, the Australia Post parcel contractor brought Jean's parcel in (since we had not been home when she arrived later than usual due to the rain). She also had my printer in the back of the van, so I hauled that out. This set of co-incidences somewhat freaked our receptionist, but it has happened at least once before. Jean walked in, grabbed her package, and brought the car around the front to make it easier to take the printer back.

Printer Arrives

I had spotted a cheap Brother HL-3045CN colour laser printer from Dick Smith a few days ago. Since it was under $200, I ordered one, despite misgiving at how well I could ever expect printers to work for me. I hate printers.

When I visited Reception, the Post Office parcel contractor walked in, and told me the printer was in the back of her vehicle. So it arrived well before the tracking system told me anything.

Printer Fails

I fear Jean is having heaps of trouble with her Cannon LBP5050 laser printer. This has been working fine for her for ages (except for not being available via the Airport Extreme connection). It is now refusing to accept that she has US size paper in the printer. Produces an error, as if it were not sensing it. This is printing via Windows, not via Macintosh. The LBP5050 seems to be a GDI printer, so all the software has to work for it to print from a computer.

Maybe the printer is jealous about having more than a single printer in the house. Or maybe the high humidity finally got to it and rotted something. I hate printers.

Darrell Lea Closes

An abrupt shock to sweet lovers. Iconic Australian chocolate company Darrell Lea goes into administration. Established in 1927 as a family company, and still controlled by the family. They are attempting to sell the company as a going concern, to help preserve 700 jobs in the Kogorah base factory. There are around 1800 shops selling Darrell Lea, 69 of them owned by Darrell Lea.

I have been buying Darrell Lea sweets since I was a child. Most recently from the store in Willows that changed stock a few months ago. Jean and I also used to always buy their chocolate bilby (or two or four) at Easter.

Telstra ADSL Exchanges

I keep finding dead links to the Telstra lists of ADSL enabled exchanges. This is the latest location on Telstra Wholesale. It also lists IP DSLAM TopHat upgrades to specific street cabinets.

Airlie Beach ADSL has been constrained, according to third party databases.

Register Apple Products

I suggest owners register their Apple products with Apple, for service, support and home insurance purposes. It is quick and easy, and provides a convenient place to look them up for your own purposes.

Apple keep track of all your service at, although this location can be a little hard to find. Sign in with your Apple ID. This site gives details plus photos of all your registered Apple products, and what support you have had for them. For example, it lists your Applecare coverage, and lists past problems.

You log in to these services using your Apple ID, the same one you use for iTunes.

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Walking Today

I am pleased to note that, despite the cloud and threat of rain, Jean and I managed a fair number of walks. The record rain in July delayed our initial walk, but cloud cover kept the temperature comfortable. By walking up and down the streets within Carlyle Gardens, and checking the mail, we covered over four kilometres before breakfast.

Jean walked to the restaurant with me for lunch. Partly because we had very little food that was suitable for an actual meal. By having a Ploughman's lunch, I actually had something you could argue was more healthy than her seafood platter.

Jean also walked over with me at happy hour in the bar, although that was purely for the walk. So her total walk was well over seven kilometres for the day.

Brisbane to Host G20 Summit

Tens of thousands of commuters and workers are expected to be inconvenienced by security when a bunch of first world tall poppies fly in for their political talk fest in 2014. Expect the usual anti-capitalism protests, destruction of nearby shops and fire bombing of anything inflammable. Must be wonderful for Brisbane.

All so Julia can make a political announcement while she visits Queensland to shore up her rapidly falling approval ratings. You would think a smart person like that would have gathered a few clues from the state election results, where Labor dropped to seven members in Parliament.

OS X 10.8 Notification Center

Notification Center comes from iOS to OS X in Mountain Lion, and even allows Tweets from the desktop. It allows you to view and manage notifications from applications, which were previously a somewhat inconvenient popup. However mainly Notification Center is for social push notifications, including Email and Messages. On iOS, I block many notifications as time wasters, and avoid social networking (except for Twitter, which is sometimes of minor use).

Thursday 12 July 2012

Before Dawn

We had an alarm set for 4 a.m. I was driving Jean's car through the heavy rain and darkness well before five. Indeed, we reached the Townsville airport around five. Not a lot of sitting around really before Jean's flight to Sydney via Brisbane was called. With the plane sitting on the ground overnight, it was very likely to take off on schedule. By then numerous flights had left for the mines.

As I feared, I got a little lost returning. Missed the street I intended, guessed at the next option, but could not see well enough to be sure I had taken it until I was a fair way along. I was back at Carlyle Gardens a little after six, still in the dark and rain. I packed Jean's car with the old (heavy) book stand, which at least gets it out of Jean's living room. I managed to fit three of the orange waiting room chairs in the car, albeit not easily. Some other stuff crammed into crevices, also not easily.

I set off before seven, still in the rain and the dark.

Bad Trip

I encountered army convoys. A lot of them. They are required to travel somewhat slower than standard truck speeds. Between this delay, and the rain, it was a fairly annoying trip. I stopped at Inkerman for fuel, and a drink. Luckily I was able to pass the convoy ahead when they had one of their standard driving breaks. I did not even try to pass some of the dump trucks on the road. Viewing conditions were poor, and there are not a lot of decent overtaking stretches.

Reached Centro Whitsunday well after nine. My real shopping success was unexpected. Some cheap canvas shoes (the sizes do not match anything else), which I wanted as a lightweight spare for travel. Woolworths had Arnott's chocolate biscuits on sale at $1.49, which these days is a very good price. However having the market guys claiming that is half price ignores everyone remembering very well that these same biscuits used to routinely cost below $2. It is a wonder they did not say something about Carbon Tax.

I saw Ron at the cafe at Centro. He tells me he still has a leak in the ceiling. This rain is sure going to expose problems that have not been corrected.

Airlie Beach

I could not unload Jean's car, because it was raining too hard. Made lunch from leftovers in the freezer, despite plans to go out and collect something. The weather radar is showing Airlie Beach and Mackay coping heaps of rain, while Townsville may have cleared up.

I finally made two trips from the car after three, bringing up two of the orange chairs. Not much rain then, at least for the duration of two short walks up the stairs.

Jean's Progress

I received iMessages from Jean. Arrived at Brisbane as I reached Inkerman. Touch down in Sydney as I reached Centro Whitsunday. Taken a train from Domestic to International. This was followed by a series of messages from the Air New Zealand lounge as she waited for the flight to be called. Judging from when I got the last message, the flight took off around the correct time. Jean was comfortable in Business, checking the menu, wondering if they would still have rack of lamb when they reached her.

Email Fails

I have had trouble recently sending email, despite there being internet standards. Sending email is just fine using Jean's ISP. We are using iiNet's general email settings for outward email. iiNet sees the ADSL is directly connected via it, and causes no problems at all.

During travel, sending email is a problem. Many people solve travel email problems by using Webmail from their web browser. They use popular advertising sponsored free web based email services based in the USA such as Google's Gmail, Microsoft's Hotmail, or Yahoo! Mail (popular in the USA).

Personally, I find advertising in email offensive, and do not want to inflict it on correspondents. I do not want my email addresses, or those of my friends, stored by an advertising company. The above USA based email services are also subject to government search under their Patriot Act. Web based email clients may be inconsistent in their rendering of fancy email. I do not think these webmail services are acceptable.

My email hosting service only provides POP mailboxes. It does not supply an outward SMTP server (since your ISP usually handles outward email via SMTP). Nor does my hosting service supply IMAP, the other popular email communications protocol. The advantage of IMAP is the mail host keeps all your email on their servers. This means you can access it using any device, as long as you are online.

I have many email aliases (one per company). However when I travel, I use mail on my iPad. I can send POP email from the Apple email app, via Gmail's SMTP. However then the send address I choose is suppressed, and the Gmail address substituted. I do not know whether this is an Apple iOS problem, or a Gmail problem, but at one stage Gmail did that deliberately. This is unworkable, since I never use the Gmail address except for spam suppression. So I removed the Gmail address, and email would not longer send. Sigh.

At Airlie Beach, using Telstra BigPond ADSL, I can send via BigPond, but not via my mail host. Outward emails with mail host addresses are rejected by BigPond because the mail account can not be identified. Sigh.

I finally managed to send emails from BigPond, presumably via iiNet, by adding the iiNet account SMTP details, and leaving BigPond to use SSL on port 557. Sigh!


Internet started, is my IP.

BigPond Email Issues

I first checked from the standard Apple terminal application that BigPond email was actually working. The commands used to retrieve mail from a POP3 server by an email client are a series of text commands with single line responses from the mail server. The POP3 commands are as per RFC1939. This step establishes that glitches are probably elsewhere than in the mail connection.

BigPond email and account settings can be hard to find now they are moving (during 2012) to Microsoft's Windows Live. As an Apple user, Windows Live (and Hotmail) is essentially useless to me. Which is not the same as not working.

Inward BigPond mail POP Server: server requires a secure connection (SSL) on default SSL Port 995. Outward mail SMTP Server: requires a secure connection (TLS or SSL Encryption depending on the mail client) on default TLS Port 587. Outward SMTP mail requires authentication.

You can also set up an Apple iPhone to use Hotmail in iOS 5, if you happen to have any use for Hotmail.

OS X 10.8 Safari 6

A unified search, URL entry, history and bookmark field for Safari. The SnapBack button goes, but Reader is always visible. Share Sheet is more visible. Tabs now preview using the Show All Tabs button at the right of the tab bar. There is an iCloud icon to share open tabs between devices. Given I typically have dozens if not hundreds of tabs open, that sounds like a disaster.

Notifications preferences is included in Safari Preferences. There is a Do Not Track preference, correctly worded as Ask websites not to track me, since there is no reason they would follow your wishes. Appearance pane has disappeared, so you can no longer select default fonts, unless you write your own style sheet (I do this to suppress advertising images).

Reading List now works offline. On the other hand, the slightly wimpy RSS reader in Safari and Mail has disappeared (I always used the stand alone NetNewsWire application anyhow).

Friday 13 July 2012


I am still recovering from a mostly sleepless night on Wednesday, and the early drive. Did not get up until after six. Since rain was only threatening, I unloaded the last of the items from Jean's car. That was mostly the bulky, heavy bookcase come TV stand. Jean had found a much nicer replacement for Carlyle Gardens, and wanted it out of her living room.

It rained pretty much all afternoon. A thoroughly depressing day.

Jean Report

Jean had iMessaged around 4:30 a.m. to say she had reached San Francisco. It seems her Australian purchased USA SIM card on T-Mobile did work in her unlocked iPhone (it was my former 3GS that I bought outright). More messages around ten when she reached her hotel in Portland. She had managed to change rooms so she stayed in the same room before her conference, and during the conference. Plus the room had free WiFi, so she could get some work done easier.


I completed metadata entries for the thirteen or so episodes of the 1970's single season show Planet of the Apes, despite a late start. Not real sure why I bothered, except for completeness prior to dropping everything into iTunes.

I started adding metadata to the old The Invaders series fairly late in the evening.

Apple Rejoins EPEAT

A classic Apple PR letter about rejoining EPEAT, from retiring Apple hardware head Bob Mansfield. Basically all eligible computer equipment is back in EPEAT. Apple are pushing for changes in the IEEE 1680.1 standard, to include improvements not currently covered.

Personally, I do not give a stuff about EPEAT certification. It seems mostly just another pay money to get listed certificate body. I think the standard on which it is based is at least 18 months obsolete, and not all that relevant to actual environmental improvements. For example, no phone is eligible for EPEAT. To a large extent, EPEAT attempts to solve an older problem, not always the new problems. An Open Letter from Robert Frisbee, EPEAT CEO, on the front page of their web site, suggests this may be happening.

I have worked extracting components from electronics for reuse, thirty years ago. Screwdriver disassembly. Hitting boards with a heat gun to drop chips in a bucket of water for testing and reuse. Using an air chisel to shear components off a board. The plant was an industrial wasteland at Botany. Sure, the iron went to Sims metals, the copper was pulled, the gold extracted with dangerous chemicals (that was where the money was). Being able to do this easily with unskilled labour is neither cost effective nor sensible. I would not be sorry to see it change.

At home, I measure improvements in my computer energy efficiency with a watt meter. Actually, in my usual OCD way, I measure every electrical gadget with a watt meter. The results from Apple are astonishingly low. In some cases, in sleep mode, I can not even measure a power drain.

Recycling is something I used to do. Now, I give working, but older, Macintosh computers and iPhones and iPods to friends. Since 2004, when I started buying Apple products, I have not had any of them fail outside warranty. However I like new products, when they are better, as is usually the case with Apple. So the older models become gifts to friends not currently in a position to buy new products. In due course, they will probably be returned to Apple for them to recycle.

Repair is a different issue. The new Apple models are far more difficult to repair. Again, personally, I do not care. Buy a warranty to cover you for three years, and you will probably find the equipment outlasts its value to you. I did my last chip level repair about 25 years ago. Soldering a $30 surface mount chip to save buying a $100 motherboard did not make any sense. In Australia, no-one bothers to make repairs to anything electronic that costs less than $500. Most of us have a life.

In the future, fewer and fewer of Apple's devices will be EPEAT registered, unless EPEAT changes. There are no phones or music players registered. The Retina style notebook computers will not be registered. If sales of the Retina models are good then other models will take the same path. EPEAT will be irrelevant. Apple will just not announce it is leaving EPEAT. But that will be the result.

I suspect this was another Adobe Flash power play moment for Apple. They wanted to go fast in one direction (faster Flash code, or different recycling aims). Adobe and Green Electronics Council's EPEAT were cautious and slower. Apple dropped Flash. Over a five year period, Adobe have now also dropped Flash for mobile. I look forward to seeing Adobe Flash disappear from web sites. Now Apple have dropped EPEAT, and EPEAT are probably changing more rapidly.

In fact, it has already happened. I note that all four models of the Apple 15 inch MacBook Pro with Retina display are now included in the EPEAT database as Gold level. However this is because companies such as Apple do their own evaluation of how well their product can be recycled. EPEAT verify certification much latter for a sampling of products. So the whole EPEAT certification project is manufacturers blowing their own environmentally friendly trumpets.

OS X 10.8 Dictation and Speech

A dictation feature, like on the iPad, has been added systemwide, although it is turned off by default. This requires a network connection, as the speech is decoded via Apple servers and returned as text, which raises privacy concerns.

The previous stand alone speakable items speech recognition system for system control appears to have disappeared in favour of dictation.

Text to speech appears unchanged. There is still an extensive range of voices available for download from Lion. Some of them are fairly large.

Saturday 14 July 2012

Sparrow Mail

I saw on The Verge history of Sparrow that the third party GMail email client Sparrow was on sale half price at $5, so I bought it from the Mac App store this morning to handle Gmail on my Macintosh.

I have excluded Gmail from Mail, because it is a terrible match to Mail's normally good mail handling. As well, the web interface to Gmail (which I thought was once reasonably good) seems entirely awkward on a small display. However, since I use Gmail for filtering out spam (Google has the best spam filters), I do not as yet want to drop my Gmail account.

The result of all these was that I only checked my Gmail account once every few weeks. So real mail that reached Gmail accidentally tended to get totally ignored. Sparrow seemed to offer a way around these issues. There is an advertising supported version for free, but the last thing I want to inflict on friends is advertising. I loath advertising in email, or most anywhere else.


A dreadful looking, overcast day. Not actually raining when I woke around five. However I am not in much of a hurry to walk to the markets, as it looks mostly damp and empty.

The markets were sparse when I took my walk there. I had a long chat with Rex, who seemed to sell more coconuts than I have seen before. Once a few people start drinking from green coconuts, everyone seems to want them. However it takes a while to hack them into holders and open the top. Rex also sold out of West Indies limes.

I collected the weekend newspapers on my way home. In reading most of them during the day, I am struck at how poor newspapers seem to be getting.

None of my favourite breakfast places at the markets. I ate scraps of things through the day to start emptying the fridge and freezer. Not very satisfactory.

During the late afternoon I got everything off the old stand I had the TV on, and installed Jean's old (and heavy) long wooden bookcase stand. I will need to reorganise the wiring sometime. It is a real mess.

Watched a movie (Batman Begins) until far too late. However the numerous commercials did mean I edited a fair bit of metadata during the breaks.


I completed metedata for the two seasons of The Invaders. The DVD cover notes were pretty good, so it went fairly quickly. No issues with the internet connection, nor with tagChimp.

In the evening, I also added metadata for the first short (nine episode) season of Sliders. This is in a single DVD boxed set with the second season. However the cover notes do not say which episode is in which season, and I initially had several season two episodes labelled as season one. Luckily I noticed that before adding metadata, and held over corrections for the morrow.

Jean Reports

I had iMessages from Jean mid afternoon, reporting on a party she had attended at the conference. It seems they moved it from a distant bar to the bar in her hotel. She met a few people she knew only online, and seemed to have a fine time. I also followed a little of the conference tweets on Twitter, since I wanted to try TweetBot on my iPad (nice program).

OS X 10.8 AirPlay Mirroring

AirPlay (originally AirTunes) is added to recent Macintosh systems with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Apple's AirPlay wireless encrypted audio and video distribution system has been included with iTunes via Airport Express (audio) since 2004. It appeared in iOS via Apple TV (video) in the most recent iPad and iPhone.

Mirroring allows you to display whatever appears on your screen on a large TV or projector display, without awkward cables. This is processor intensive, since two displays are used, scaled to suit the resolution, and converted to suit TV style displays.

Sunday 15 July 2012


I had to change the names of the files for the second season of Sliders. When I originally ripped them, I thought the first and second season were the same length, and added the season details on that basis. The Australian DVD set of the two seasons just lists which episode is on which DVD. It was not until after I had completed metadata on nine episodes of season one that I realised that there were thirteen episodes of season two. Opps.

I started metadata on season two of Sliders when I returned from my morning walk. I completed season two just after lunch. I completed metadata on season three of Sliders late in the evening.


I was up late, to what seemed favourable, albeit overcast weather. Although I took my walk around seven, the sky soon became a sullen grey, and the southerly wind was cooler than I enjoy. At least it did not actually rain.

I had breakfast on the main street, and read the Sunday paper. This so called newspaper is getting even more trivial than ever. The mess in the grounds of the Whitsunday Terraces has built up far worse than previously over this weekend. What are the homes of these grubs like?

Settled in to watch the public affairs programs on the ABC this morning, starting with Insiders. Right wing of NSW Labor dumped on the Greens, just as I suggested some time ago. However this seems partly a proxy for picking a fight about whether someone (Bill Shorten or even Kevin Rudd) should replace Julia Gillard as leader.


My internet connection must have gone down at sometime during the day, as my IP number had changed to by late evening.

RIM meets its Waterloo

I grew up in an industrial slum called Zetland, and attended the Waterloo school. Many years later, in 1984, in another country, Research in Motion set up in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. It made a great difference to the town, eventually becoming the largest employer.

Now I never ever grasped the appeal of RIM's Blackberry device. It became so popular in business it was sometimes called the Crackberry, implying addiction. But I was not a business person. To me, email was mostly something to be avoided, not something to be embraced. I tried to minimise my email use. To get off mailing lists, nit to be added to them.

So it comes as little surprise to me to see the decline and possible death of RIM. To the very limited extent I understand its centralised business model, it is not something I ever wanted to see or use.

Monday 16 July 2012


I was up late, nearly seven. However the threat of rain had receded, so the first thing I did was put a bunch of clothes in the washing machine, and get it started.

I took a walk and got breakfast while the laundry was being washed. Hung it out, and started a second load. By midday I was starting to wonder about that decision. It was overcast and threatening rain again, plus it was cold (by my tropical standards). I took the mostly dry laundry inside again.

It was mostly sufficiently cool that I found it a good excuse to run hot water to do the washing up.

Monday night can be interesting for public affairs on the ABC. The 7:30 report, and Q&A. Maybe TV is only a wasteland the vast majority of the time, rather than all the time.


I started adding metadata to the fourth season of Sliders. The IMDB cover art is the wrong season, but I was able to find cover art that corresponded to my season four box. I completed season four metadata for Sliders mid afternoon. It appears that I have never found season five DVDs.

I started working on metadata for Roswell, as I may be able to complete all three seasons within a few days. I did manage to complete entry of Roswell season one metadata by the end of the evening.

Seeing Around Corners

Seeing through wall, from any viewpoint using spatial-light-modulator.

Email Address

Avoid choosing any email address that includes trademark from a company supplying your mail service (that means, avoid Google's Gmail, Microsoft's Hotmail, mail from AOL, Apple or Yahoo). The company may close. Or, like Apple, they may change email addresses from .eworld, to .mac, to .me, to .icloud. It is not worth the risk of losing contacts.

Avoid email addresses related to a computer or mobile brand, such as .mac. You may buy a machine from another company.

Avoid email addresses in the name of your spouse. You may divorce.

Avoid email addresses relating to your physical address, such as Carlyle Gardens. You may move.

Avoid silly email addresses. You may like Star Wars, but being is silly. Also George Lucas has probably taken it.

The best permanent email address is one relating to an unchanging aspect of you, such as your birth name. Difficult if you are Dick Smith. You should have grabbed your family name decades ago, when the internet first started. Now, you probably have to compromise. However you need to own your own, unchanging domain name. It typically costs around $10 a year.

Remember you can often automatically forward email from one address to a preferred address. For example, forward Apple iClould email elsewhere.

Holden Volt

I see the Holden Volt is coming soon to Australia. The Holden Volt gets good reviews. Alas, I predict lousy sales. Long range means it is not capable of making my most common trip on battery (600km return with no charge point available).

The electric motor specifications look great at 111kW and 368Nm. It is basically just like a diesel electric train, with a 1.4 litre 63 kW petrol motor with a 36 litre tank running a generator to recharge the 16 kWh lithium ion battery pack. The petrol engine would probably give it close to a 900 km range. The battery pack comes with an eight year warranty. I love that motor idea.

The USD$39,145 price tag will probably be A$60,000 for the Holden Volt here. It has essentially the same chassis as a Cruze, the cheapest model of which sells for A$21,490. That +A$60,000 on road price will kill the Holden Volt. The USA price even as a straight translation would probably kill it. However you have to add driver side conversion, freight from the USA, 10% GST, and probably luxury car tax. A real pity.

If I did not use a car to drive from Townsville to Airlie Beach, and just used it around Townsville, I could see a real solid case for the Holden Volt, at the right price. Probably the only time the petrol engine would switch on in day to day use would be the automatic run once every 48 days to keep itself lubricated. However you would need to be a real well paid technophile to buy it.

Tuesday 17 July 2012


I had an internet dropout at 8:02 a.m. ADSL model connect light is still green. Numeric ping and traceroute fail. The connection returns at 8:07 a.m. My IP number is now changed to No indication of cause. I have changed nothing in my equipment.

Internet failed again at 11:49 a.m. Pings and traceroute fail. Lights came back immediately, but there was still no contact.

This time the ADSL modem red internet failure light has come on. Power cycled the Netgear DM111P modem at 11:57 a.m. The modem could not get on to the internet. The red internet fail light is still on. Power sequenced a second time.

Finally the internet light went green at 11:59 a.m. Ping and traceroute get through to numeric addresses. I can not get a connection to Google on my web browser. Numeric traceroute fails after 12 steps at 12:04 p.m. Numeric traceroute back at 12:05 p.m. I have been assigned IP

I can not get connections via my web browser, which relies upon Telstra's Domain Name Servers being available. Telstra's primary domain server is timing out on almost half of all pings sent to it. The Telstra BigPond connection in Airlie Beach is a piece of crap!

No web connection still. Decided to power sequence my Netgear DM111P ADSL modem again at 12:22 p.m. Powered up modem at 12:24 p.m. I had a green on all modem lights at 11:25 p.m. Numeric ping and traceroute works to Google's domain name server. The Telstra Domain Name Server at is still timing out on 40% of all pings. My new IP number is

Telstra Domain Name Server is totally out of action at 12:32 p.m. All pings to now fail. A few minutes latter the connection was back. I gave up in disgust and went to Dominos to buy a pizza (obviously the iPhone app was not connecting via the WiFi).

When I checked again at 2:15 p.m. I had a connection, although my new IP was now The Telstra Domain namer server is still timing out a lot, with a 40% packet loss on pings. Bah, humbug!


It was dreadful dull when I finally got up this morning. The weather reports were for fine today, but that certainly is not the case. Lucky I did the laundry yesterday, and brought it inside to complete drying overnight. It stayed overcast all day.

Pizza for lunch, despite not being able to order online due to the unreliable Telstra BigPond internet connection. I walked down and ordered, went and collected a newspaper, and waited to collect my pizza.


I am still working on metadata for Roswell. I completed season two by lunchtime. There was good metadata on line for season two. Nothing online that I can see for season three, so it was slower to get that done by the end of the evening. Even then, I had not added chapter titles.

Census Statistic

A quick look at 2011 Australian Census Statistics.

I am pleased to note religious affiliation is still slowly falling. Roman Catholic did best, with an absolute increase in numbers, to 5,439,268, but this was a 0.5% fall to 25.3% of the population. Most other religions did a lot worse, often falling in absolute numbers. As expected, the religion of most was some form of Christian. On the other hand, no religion increased from 18.7% since 2006 to 22.3% in 2011, a 3.6% increase, for an absolute number of 4,796,787. On current trends, no religion will be the largest single group next Census. For the first time, there are even a couple of small towns where no religion is an absolute majority. This has never happened previously in Australia.

There are major population anomalies, with far fewer people than expected. Only 21,507,717 were counted, 300,000 short of what was expected. This feeds into the purported housing shortage, which now seems to me a convenient construction and housing industry fiction. There were 9,117,033 private dwellings, 89.3% (7,760,320) of which were occupied (leaving 10.7% or 934,471 unoccupied). Of occupied private dwellings, 75.6% (5,864,573) were houses, 9.9% (765,978) were semi-detached, 13.6% (1,056,236) were apartments of some sort. 0.9% (66,666) were some other sort of dwelling.

Now housing industry (National Housing Supply Council) estimates in June 2010 were for 8.7 million households, 900,000 more than the actual 7.8 million households. These folks also think there is an undersupply of 228,000 homes. On the other hand, Morgan Stanley now say there is an oversupply of 341,000 homes. Opps!

A few years back, these NHSC folks said there was a shortage of 85,000 homes. However their figures included 9000 to address homelessness, 35,000 for those staying with friends and relatives, 13,000 to house marginal residents of caravan parks, 26,000 to increase the rental vacancy rate to 3 per cent, and an extra 2000 to round up to the nearest 5000. Can we all say bullshit? What do we see at present? An increase in the number of people in each home. This is probably caused by housing not being as affordable, after having a two decades of generous price increases and a further decade of housing bubble. Most of these unhoused people can not afford a house, so while there may be a social problem, there is no unmet demand for commercial construction. Do'h!

The other thing is that land used to be cheap, real cheap. That cheap land continued until sometime in the mid 1990's by my memory. I do not have any idea where cheap land has gone to now. Expensive land is a real push factor in housing cost increases.

Then rents go up, and with nearly 30% of households renting, governments get anxious. Low rents have been the great saving mechanism for ages. The median weekly rent is a mere $285. For that to continue, the median home price need to be way lower. Investors expected capital gains from housing price rises, not to make money from the rents. That hope is getting killed off, so now rents need to be commercial, and compete with over 5% returns on fixed term from a bank. If you assume flat capital gains, fixed costs (rates, insurance, maintenance) of around 5% of investment, and you want a 5% return, then you need rents to be around 10% of your purchase price. This means $200 a week per $100K invested. Rental metrics can not justify further house building for rent, and only cheap credit keeps the whole house of cards stacked up. However it is all very granular. A house near good facilities close to a CBD is going to hang in pretty well.

Wednesday 18 July 2012


It was a little cool, but the sun came out. For the first time in a week, Airlie Beach looked the way it should. Of course, I am scheduled to leave tomorrow.

I was hoping to catch up with Doug from the Body Corporate Committee, as I heard he was due. However Ron tells me he is probably not able to make it.

Three loads of stuff into Jean's car in the afternoon. Mostly plastic and glass bottle and paper recycling, since I take that sort of stuff to Townsville where recycling is supported. I am hoping to get there in time for the recycling collection.

The Apple online store was down this evening. I wonder what is happening, if anything?


I added the chapter or scene titles to season three of Roswell. Luckily the DVDs had the scenes organised so that it was easy to read them. However I wonder how many other TV series have missing scene or chapter titles? I fear I will not be able to resist checking.


I see the world governments are now US$46 trillion in debt, 65% of GDP and increasing. Meanwhile, total debt is said to be about 420% of GDP (I do not believe this figure), so it perhaps can not all be blamed on governments. And no-one can easily pay it back. What a surprise, that people can not hold the line on spending money they do not have, and that no one else had. Enter the banks, who made credit out of thin air. If you are a bank, and in trouble, you borrow from a government. Until governments run out of money. So you could always borrow from a bank, and after thirty years of this, the bankers figured that since they were getting rich, they must be doing an absolutely great job.

What comes next? Oh yes, you inflate it away, if you are are government. Except who would buy government bonds except at a great rate of interest? If they do, you can not afford to repay the increased debt anyhow. So they will try inflation first.

So, everyone needs to economise. Except that has not happened in government in the past four years. I see no evidence it will happen in the future. 2006/07 Taxation Receipts $272 Billion, Taxation Expenses $253 Billion. Nothing like selling assets to help the bottom line (although surpluses from 1996 to 2007 is not bad). Once you run out of assets to sell, it gets harder. 2011/12 Taxation Receipts $330 Billion, Taxation Expenses $371 Billion. On the other hand, expenditure is up 40% over five years, some of it to help ride out the GFC.

Private debt is way worse, and much of it went into overpriced housing.

If the government does economise, expansion of the economy will cease, and employment, production and savings (in banks and investments) will all tank. People will deleverage for ten years, and hold money, if they think they have a safe place to hold it. The result is deflation.

Our entire economy is hooked on easy money and handouts. It is based on a convenient lie. Most Western Governments are insolvent. They have already effectively maximised the tax they can charge, passed out much of the collection as bribes, and borrowed to keep spending. The money supply should increase only proportional to any increase in the working population, and increases in productivity (with some fiddling because investing in production does not show up at once). However an ageing population means fewer people working, not more (worker immigration helps hide that). Plus how do you increase the productivity of an orchestra, or a doctor, or a…

Midnight Closing

I am sick and tired of the repeated drunken violence in the streets. It is time to tell all companies they can not make money out of socially reprehensible activities. Bring the closing time for pubs and nightclubs back to midnight. Who cares what drug pushers (of alcohol) and loutish drunkards want?

Thursday 19 July 2012

Leaving Airlie Beach

I had a bad night. Awake just after midnight. And around two. Slept poorly. However I must have slept for a while, because it was almost five when I got up.

I left Airlie Beach around 5:15 a.m. The Highway around 5:45 a.m. Reached Inkerman around seven. I drove straight through, and was relatively untroubled by peak hour traffic as I was heading in.

Dumped the accumulated cardboard and bottle in the recycling bin. Dumped part of the contents of the fridge in the rubbish, since that had not yet been collected. Unloaded Jean's car in haste.

Carlyle Gardens

I noticed the fridge was essentially empty, so I drove off to Willows, despite being a little late. Both Woolworths and Coles appeared a wasteland. I could not see anything that attracted me. Well, I could see things I should not have, like crumpets. Did not buy anything, not even DVDs at BigW or JB HiFi.

Organised an appointment with the doctor for Tuesday. My machine gets my blood pressure right. Still no way I can repeat his very low reading from last week. I will also get a flu shot.

Came upon Geoff and Margaret at the restaurant. They recommended a nice roast beef. It was too. Geoff was seeking some background on using the Apple MacBook Pro. I dropped in around two. Did not get away until around four thirty. I hope I was some help.

Lights Out

I switched on the lounge room downlight lights. Bang, as the circuit breaker safety switch opened. Found a torch, reset the outside circuit breaker, noting with disapproval I have only one lighting circuit. Tried the lounge lights again. Bang. Reset circuit breaker. Tried other lights. The other lights are fine.

Phoned Duane. He will send one of his sparkies in the morning.


I lost my reading glasses. I was using them, and next time I wanted to read something, there were nowhere to be found. Back before I got laser surgery on my eyes, I was fanatical about leaving my distance glasses in one spot, because I had absolutely no chance of ever finding them again if they were no in a known place. When I got decent eyesight, I became blasé about where I left my glasses.

An increasingly futile search, repeating the same search pattern time after time. I checked outside where I had reset the circuit breaker. Eventually I remembered I had an old pair of glasses so I got them out. I eventually found the glasses. They had slipped out of my shirt pocket when I had bent over to get something out of a bag, so they were on the floor behind the bag, in another room.

Grump. We need some technology to find glasses.

Friday 20 July 2012


I had 156 items of email in the queue, and I have only been away for a week.

I started installing my half dozen server 101 mail addresses on the little MacBook Air. I have more control of the email settings from OS X than I do with iOS. In particular, if you run your own POP server, have multiple identities (I have a half dozen), plus many aliases (around 70), iOS just does not seem to cope well. Particularly if you send email from multiple locations, as I do. Some common IMAP mailers, like Gmail, sabotage the use of aliases. Others, like BigPond, are so careful to not allow spam that they are hard to use, since their SMTP is always fighting your default POP3 setup.

It did not help when I discovered Apple's Mail checked by default every five minutes. No, thanks, I will check at a time I want to waste time checking mail, which is to say, let me do it manually. I am not interested in receiving mail all the time. Once a day is fine. Once a week is finer, but I usually can not resist that long.

Time Machine Fails

I had a pop up message saying my Time Machine backup drive on the Mac mini is read only! Excuse me, when did that happen?

Disk Utility says that the entire external backup drive Verifies without errors. I ran a Disk Repair, just in case. After that, the usual backups proceeded without further issues. I have no idea what the cause was, but there are several accounts of similar issues on the web.

Rusting CrimSafe?

The CrimSafe security mesh doors that are rusting are scheduled to be replaced this morning. No, I have no idea what happened in the original install. The crew are supposed to arrive at 7:30 a.m. As I write this, it is after 8 a.m. I hope this is not going to be another futile wait.

At 8:30 a.m. I picked up Jean's phone to call Signature Glass and aluminium about the doors, which their web site lists as SecureView. I never use phones, so I had not even considered picking up the phone. The strange dial tone that indicates a message was warbling away. I got on the internet in an attempt to find out how to use Telstra Home Messages 101. Hmm, it seems you dial 101. The three messages were all from Signature Glass, presumably telling me not to drive 300 kilometres for an appointment they will not be keeping.

That was it. They were not going to arrive. Now rescheduled for Tuesday morning.

Diverting Telstra Messages 101

I decided I had to divert Telstra Messages 101 so that it sent an SMS to my mobile. I think you can imagine how well this worked when I got to the bit about a PIN when they called my mobile. Your PIN is too short. Your PIN can not consist of consecutive numbers. Your PIN is too long. Your PIN can not be understood. We are cancelling this call because the customer is too dumb to complete our simple service.

So I found an alternative. I cancelled the Telstra messages 101 service entirely. Luckily this was something I could manage to do via the touch pad in an easy manner.

Now at least people who did not get their call answered know that they did not manage to get their message through. Suits me. Jean can change it when she returns, if she wants to.

Lights Out

I had a visit from a sparky in the morning. Wayne simply replaced a couple of the stupid compact fluorescent GU10 downlights in the lounge. I have had them fail several times before, but it as always been a simple failure. This time one Crompton had blown out in full. Must have been hanging in enough to keep blowing the circuit breaker. Not impressed by this.

It also seems more than somewhat silly that this is a maintenance item in the village. Not that it is not a valuable service to anyone who is a bit shaky about getting up on ladders, or who has trouble removing the very stiff rotating fittings from the ceiling. I noticed Wayne used a screwdriver to remove the fitting, so even they have problems. Now that I know that this shorting issue is a continuing problem, I will simply replace the lights myself, as I have done for all the previous CFL that blew out without taking out the circuit breaker.

As an aside, I am gradually replacing the GU10 downlights with 240 volt LED downlights. These LED come on instantly at full power. The highest power I can find so far is about 5 Watts, which provides about three times (300+ lux) the light level of the original 11 Watt CFL (100 Lux). None of these are anywhere near what a 55 Watt halogen downlight emits (900 Lux). However Wayne tells me they found some 11 Watt LED globes. Must get one and check the light output. Hmm, were did I put my Lux meter?


I was up early awaiting the door folks who were not fated to arrive. I filled in time starting laundry at six, and did a second load around nine.

Had to stick around also for the sparky (who arrived as specified, and fixed things in a timely fashion, as always). Leigh was driving one of the receivers past at that time, and stopped for a brief chat about drainage. I assured her I could provide a set of July photos of the drainage not coping. So it goes.

Lunch at the restaurant with Ray, Dot and John, although I was running behind time by the time I got there.

No shopping done since I arrived, so I headed for the IGA at Sunland. Got sufficient for the week, albeit not a balanced diet. Had iMessage from Jean, and messaged back to her when I returned.

Saturday 21 July 2012


I was up around 5:30 a.m. The inside temperature had fallen below 180C, which is way too cold for me. So I slaved away over a hot computer until I realised I needed to get the newspapers. Drove Jean's car to Willows and collected the newspapers. Took a bit of a walk around Willows for exercise, but did not find anything I really wanted in Woolworths, BigW or Coles.

Soon after I returned home I had a phone call from the travel agent. Our itinerary had arrived. I drove back to Willows and collected various items for our European trip.

Seeing the house in daylight reminded me that I wanted to do some cleaning of the mess. Primarily finding and chucking obsolete things, but also dusting after moving. So far I have filled and emptied the vacuum cleaner dust bag once.

Microsoft Loss

It was expected, but finding Microsoft made a $492 million loss this quarter still somehow seems shocking. This is the first loss since Microsoft became a public company in March 1986. Basically Microsoft wrote off the US$6.3 billion it spent in 2007 buying advertising business aQuantive. This is not a cash loss, just writing off non-performing assets. Advertising is about 4% of Microsoft revenue. Most of their profit still comes from Windows operating system sales to computer manufacturers, their Office division, and increasingly, (like IBM) from services.

Obviously it is better to get the costs and losses out of the way before launching Windows 8 on 26 October, and the revised Office 2013. This way Microsoft will be able to show a clean boost in earnings in the next two quarters.

Google Buys Sparrow Mail Client

I am not sure I would have bought the independent Sparrow email client for Macintosh a week ago had I known that Google were going to buy Sparrow. On the other hand, it was half price. No more development for that product? Or a great future?

Google's web client for Gmail seems so horrible on a smaller display that I can not believe I ever thought it acceptable. Hell, I once thought Gmail was great. Maybe it was better on a large display? Or maybe in my security paranoia I disabled something in the past few years that the web version needed for decent results? Maybe it changed? Paul Buchheit, the original Gmail developer, left Google around 2007. Whatever the problem, these days I loath the web version. So I wanted something that would let me get at my (little used) Gmail. I admit in the past few years I mostly used Gmail for its exceedingly good spam trapping ability. For privacy reasons, I do not want any of my regular mail being processed by Google.

Apple's Mail client works well for me, especially from home on a Macintosh. However I travel a lot, and do not always have access to my ISP's reliable SMTP. If outward mail from my many POP accounts accidentally managed to get sent via the Gmail SMTP address, it is delivered as if it came from Google's Gmail. The same problem exists for ISP BigPond, which I use at my holiday home. This understandably confuses recipients. Some recipients are automated systems that rely upon mail appearing to come from specific addresses. Plus I may not get to see their replies for weeks. So I did not want to deal with Gmail or BigPond in Mail (especially on an iPad or iPhone).

The combination of lousy web mail and potential problems sending mail made a separate mail client just for Gmail worthwhile. Especially since Sparrow is awesomely quick and simple.

Brother Printer

A number of minor issues with the new Brother HL-3045CN printer, mostly relating to it being a compromise buy, based entirely on the Brother HL-3045CN printer being offered cheap by Dick Smith on one day. So, it is not wireless, it is not Postscript, it does not know about iOS devices, and it is probably a GDI style printer (unlike the similar WiFi enabled HL-3075CW). Oh yes, and it is too large to locate anyplace convenient. However it is cheap, it is an LED printer, and it does colour. It may even do colour cheaper than the local copy shop will do a photocopy.

Last time my black and white photocopies at the local copy shop cost 10 cents a side (which I think was the discount price). To add insult, the copy machine was having issues, and printed with lots of dark markings on the pages. Sigh!

I dragged the packing box to the living room, pulled the 20 kg Brother HL-3045CN printer out. Removed the very obvious packing material as per the instructions, and installed the toner cartridges. The printer was able to do a satisfactory self test.

The printer has USB (but no cable), and Ethernet (also no cable). My MacBook Air does not have Ethernet (I connect via WiFi), but I may later be able to connect the Brother printer to my Time Capsule router Ethernet. However the first step is to find a USB printer cable in the junk pile.

Another minor issue is the printer support comes on a DVD. However Apple are in the middle of dumping DVD drives. My last four computers have not had an optical drive. The number of times I need an optical drive is miniscule. Luckily an Apple Macintosh with an optical drive can share that drive with another Macintosh wirelessly. So that is what I did. It printed a simple page.

Australian Car Industry

The car industry sells a million cars a year in Australia, in a $120 billion business. Only about 13 countries can actually build a complete car, and one is Australia. However, you really need to sell around a half million cars a year to have a viable industry. Cars built in Australia were traditionally large. A decade ago, large car sales were a quarter of the market, and they typically returned a good profit margin. In 2011 fewer than one in thirteen were large. Small cars are a quarter of the market, and profits on these are lower. Compact SUVs about 12%.

In 2005, about 388,000 cars were built in Australia, about half of them exported in the past. This figure has decreased year by year, and is now around 230,000 a year. In short, Australian buyers are increasingly abandoning Australian built cars. Since the major buyers of Australian built cars are business and government (56% and 19% in 2007), Australian consumer preferences are even lower. Sales of Australian-made vehicles fell from 85% in 1986 to 14.1% in 2010.

In May 2009, a total of 329,000 people were employed in the automotive industry. Four out of five were male. Automotive Repair and Maintenance sector is the largest employer (137,000 or 41.6%). The second largest is auto retailing, with nearly 60,000. Actual auto manufacturing employs fewer than 40,000 people.

Australian made cars are high greenhouse gas emission vehicles. They averaged 247 g/km compared to the nation’s average of 212 g/km. European Union requirements are 130g of CO₂/km by 2015 and 95g of CO₂/km by 2020.

Sunday 22 July 2012


I awoke too early. Slept badly. It was too cold all day, despite sunshine. As usual on Sunday I watched public affairs shows Insiders and Inside Business in the morning. Meet the Press disappeared in the afternoon, replaced by some sports event of no interest to me (I can not think of any sports event that interests me).

The garage disgorged some wood for shelves. I think I have some ideas of how to use them to make some more space. Alas, typically the first step in making more space involves strewing junk all over the place.

Using iCloud

I have issues with using iCloud, mainly because internet access in country Australia can absolutely suck. When I am at Jean's place, I have a relatively reliable (as long as you don't mind rebooting every week or so) internet connection. Alas, at 4.6km from the Kirwan telephone exchange, the connection is slow. Sometimes, if you are really unlucky, it is dial up pace. Cloud computing does not work all that well when the internet does not work all that well.

Apple expect you will be using iCloud in Mountain Lion to automatically store documents. Steve Jobs outlined this vision for NeXT at WWDC in 1997. He debuted iCloud at the 2011 WWDC.

Not Smart State

After nine years of being The Smart State, Queensland dumbs down. The Beattie government pushed the Smart State message and logo, for example on car number plates. To save money, the Newman government have dropped it.

The motto will be replaced by The Welfare State, under truth in advertising laws.

Windows Store Trial

It seems the Microsoft Windows Application store will allow programme developers to provide a potential downloaders with a seven day free trial of their programmes. I have no idea how well this will work in practice when Windows 8 is released. However my gut feeling is that it is a great move.

Buying Mac Apps and iOS Apps is often a crap shoot, especially for new products.

Monday 23 July 2012

Tax Justice

Tax Justice have just released estimates of money hidden in offshore tax havens. A staggering total hidden by the ultra wealthy.


Apple's open source Bonjour (their name for zero configuration networking) works well. Bonjour lets computers and printers connect to a network automatically. It also lets applications such as Things and OmniFocus share records between different computers. Without zeroconf, a network administrator must set up services, such as Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and Domain Name System (DNS), or manually assign names to devices. But not everyone is satisfied.

Apple Contacts in OS X 10.8

Apple's Contacts (the renamed Address Book) for OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion makes changes to make it more like the iOS version, accourding to this review of Contacts. It still uses the unconvincing skeuomorphic book interface. However thankfully you can now see your groups without moving to a different page via a silly bookmark (must have been a large source of complaints).

Searches confined to a group now stay confined, until you pick another group. Sharing contacts is easier, via Email, Messages or Airdrop. This sounds easier than exporting a vCard to the Desktop for further processing.

On the other hand, Look for Duplicates is still utterly useless, as it tells you nothing about what lines are duplicated, nor even which records are involved. The only way I can see around that idiocy involves Applescript for extracting Address Book records, and Unix command line utilities for processing them.

There is a certain measure of Facebook support coming. Given I would never rejoin Facebook, this is no use to me. However I gather it is no more obtrusive than the existing Twitter support.

One issue I have with almost all contact applications is poor treatment of family groups. Typically they all live at one address, and have one or two main phone numbers. However each family member is likely to have an individual email address and mobile number. Same complication applies to company contacts. There still seems no easy way to indicate a group with many features in common, but some individual differences.

Apple Calendar and Reminders in OS X 10.8

Apple have split Calendar into two applications, Calendar, and Reminders. This change in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion reflects the separation of Reminders in iOS 5. A review of Calendars and Reminders says there is a new monthly calendar sidebar. Searches are smarter. Notification Centre is integrated.

Reminders is now a separate application, just like in iOS 5, and including associating a reminder with a location. It will be interesting to see if it works better than the iOS version of Reminders, with I felt slow and hard to use. iCloud will have a web version of Reminders.

Raisin Toast

I had bought a loaf of cafe style (thick cut) raisin bread for toasting. It was cheap (on special), and I love raisin toast for breakfast. However the Goodman Fielder Mighty Soft brand seemed inferior. Great bread taste, I have to admit. Hardly any fruit. Next time, I must ensure I buy TipTop. I am sure that was substantially fruitier.


I did not feel like eating most of the day. Suddenly hungry at 3:30 p.m. so I rustled up ham and a couple of large poached eggs on toast. Thus fortified, I cut through a thicket of sprouting bushes in what is loosely called the garden. Then I sprayed poison over anything that looked like it might be a weed. The mowing contractor usually comes through Tuesday morning to take away green waste, so the timing was right.

Copy iTunes Media to Another Computer

I wanted to copy some of my iTunes media to my MacBook Air. There is a lot of iTunes Support material, but sometimes you have issues due to external causes. I can not transfer everything the easy way with Migration Assistant, because the very fast solid state storage drive in an Air is far lower in capacity than an older style spinning magnetic hard drive. Windows users migrating to Macintosh should see OS X Lion: About Windows Migration Assistant for help in moving your data.

Since each computer can connect to the same WiFi network, the first step is to enable Home Sharing. There are plenty of other methods of transferring files between computers, but for iTunes, Home Sharing is probably easiest.

I wanted some representative samples of Apple mediated items first, in case there were gotchas. So I transferred a few early protected book texts, and a protected MPEG4 movie (Harry Potter). Next were the 116 (three albums plus singles) purchased AAC music items I had. A bunch of other books. All these seemed to transfer just fine.

The first gotcha seems to be that iTunes Library Home Sharing does not show the iOS Applications. That does seem a bit of an issue. I wonder what else is missing? You can always download apps direct to your iOS device, but given how poor the internet works in rural Australia, this is not your first choice.

Since an iOS device can only be synced to a single iTunes Library, I suspect when connecting to the new iTunes Library, you will be offered the chance to transfer your purchases. This argues that the first task will be to remove as much stuff from your iOS device as you can, except for Apps.

Or cheat, and manually transfer all your iOS Apps to the new computer over your network.

Give Back Tax Powers

If the Commonwealth Government were genuine about Federation, it would give up the monopoly taxation powers it stole from the States in 1942 citing wartime emergency. The monopoly on income tax held by the Federal Government is essentially fraudulent. It should drop the income tax powers, and stop Section 96 grants to states. If the Commonwealth Government will not do that, it is time for Queensland to leave Australia. Bring on a referendum.

Olympics Piss Off

The Olympics can piss off.

Tuesday 24 July 2012


I had a basically sleepless morning, from about one until five. So I woke up late, around seven. My appointment with Signature Glass had been moved to sometime between one and two, so my morning was free. I had hasty raisin toast for breakfast. Drove Jean's car to the service station and (finally) refuelled. Stopped at Willows to collect the newspaper and take a short walk.


I walked across Carlyle Gardens, dropping the accumulated Whitsunday Times off as I went. The doctor saw me fairly quickly. My blood pressure was back to being about what it should rather than the anomalous 80/60 he recorded a few weeks ago. I gave him the readings I had taken, most of which were fairly typical for me. He got a little distracted when I showed him RunKeeper, and just how much information could appear online.

I can see all doctors starting to worry about be replaced by telemedicine from Mumbai. It is not a future I favour, I thought, as I walked home, tracked by RunKeeper.

Morning Interrupted

I walked over to the restaurant, planning an early lunch with friends. Just reached the restaurant door when Signature Glass phoned, to say they would be there in ten minutes or so. Explained I could not stay and walked home, arriving a few minutes before Signature Glass.

Now I no longer have two rusting security screen. More accurately, I am missing two screens. I also had the eastern side windows measured up for security screens. I hope that the screens are replaced this week.

Finally Lunch

I phoned the restaurant. People were still there, so I walked back to the restaurant and chatted with them for a while before my lunch arrived. Gave Ray my workshop fees, and extra for Jean's membership. Chatted with Jeff and Pat. Dot was there, and Sue also. It turned out Geoff and Margaret were at another table, chatting with their musician friend about the concert they were organising in the Carlton Theatre.

Jean iMessaged me as I was walking back home. We passed some messages back and forth to bring each other back and forth. She was in a motel that had a mostly working internet connection.


I walked over to Carlyle Square for the Computer Club Infonite at seven. They had Matt White, the local Telstra shop sales manager, as a guest speaker. He was great, absolutely great. Talking about Telstra phones, connections via 3G and LTE, and internet tablets. I hope it answered a bunch of questions.

After the meeting, over the usual delicious scones, jam and cream, I was asked if I would give some hints about using an iPad to a new owner. I walked home after the social talk. At least this time I had an excuse for not eating dinner.

Mail in OS X 10.8

Mail 6 in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion adds email from contacts designated as VIP to a smart folder, and you can also apply special rules to them. New find layout similar to Safari. Sending emails of a web page now adds Reader view and PDF to the existing web page and link. Rules, account details and mailboxes are sent to iCloud, for use on another system.

Notes in OS X 10.8

Notes is now a separate application, syncing to iCloud, and looking much like the iPad version. Now handles rich HTML graphics (although Notes in iOS 5 does not yet). Basically an email oriented note taker, not a full featured text editor. Seems a little weird to me.

Wednesday 25 July 2012


I slept really badly yet again. Awake at one, and finally got to sleep around five, so I did not get up until seven. I want to go back to Airlie Beach, but I have to await the return of the security doors and delivery of some parcels to Carlyle Gardens. I did not feel like eating, and skipped breakfast.

No sign of a T square, or anything I wanted for doing more bookcases in the built in wardrobe. I did find pretty much all the wood I wanted, so I guess that is something.

Did some tutorial work about using an iPad. The usual issue of a half hour session taking well over an hour. Then on to the restaurant for a decent lunch. I checked the Computer Club room, but there is no large screen TV there. It needs a large screen for iPhone and iPad tutorials, in my view.

At Reception, Jo-ann discovered there was a form for security screens, so I filled that in. No call from Signature Glass yet about the return of the security screens.

During the rest of the afternoon I felt totally wrecked. I guess I got a few things done on the computer, but it did not feel like it.

Five O'Clock Swill

I walked over to the bar for the Wednesday happy hour. Clive caught me. He has finally got a connection. Neither of us can understand why it takes so long to get a fairly standard ADSL connection fixed. He wants to tackle the books first, and then get some help on using his new iPad, if he needs it.

The usual crowd at the bar. Ron, Harry, Ian, Ray, Jeff. The bowling blokes. I had a chat with Olive, whose Social Club I have been unfairly ignoring. She has organised her Bingo group, with a nice roll up of attendees.

Two unknown younger men entered the bar, asked for a drink. Allen declined, as they were not accompanied by a resident. I followed them out, and noted they walked off inside Carlyle Gardens. I reported the incident to Gary, our night caretaker. I gather that sometimes people are present without having been authorised by the office. I do not like that idea.

As usual, Jeff and I were the last out, at six. We sat outside with our last drinks, chatting with Ray until he headed off for dinner, but were both home by seven.

Melbourne Building

I wonder what is happening in Melbourne property? I hear apartment starts are 80% above trend, mostly inner city by large developers. However high ask prices for existing property means the vast majority are not cleared. With no bids, the lack of clearances seems to be ignored, which I do not understand. There is obvious demand, but at far lower prices. So I see prices are realistically down considerably from peak. Not the 40% or so I see in Airlie Beach tourism properties, but substantial for a capital city. I think they will become far worse.

You need to remember homes and residential apartments are the ultimate consumer indulgence. They are not an investment, they are an indulgence. So what drove up prices? I think it was mostly easy credit.

State Income Tax

Federal government should return 1942 wartime income tax powers to the States, as promised, so that States have more of the funding they need to handle their responsibilities. State revenue covers less than 60% of their expenditure. Federal revenue covers at least 125% of Commonwealth expenditure. Time for some states to secede.

Thursday 26 July 2012

Downloading OS X 10.8

I started downloading the newly released Apple OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion operating system from the Mac App Store at 4:52 a.m. Alas, there does not seem to be any way in Launch Pad to tell how little of it has downloaded after a few hours. OzSpeedTest during download is returning 26 KB/s, which implies a download time exceeding 42 hours. Not impressed.

It must have speed up later to around 140 KB/s. Download was complete by 1 p.m. So that was around 500 MB an hour! For obvious reasons, I will be doing a boot USB drive from the download for the other two computers. I eventually used Lion DiskMaker, an Applescript which automates a procedure that must be done right, for Mountain Lion. I made my Lion boot USB last year manually, but it does take a few minutes.

I must try to send a donation to Guillaume Gète, since PayPal apparently does not like me at the moment (the feeling is mutual). Hmm, how come I can donate via Kickstarter? Ah, that uses Amazon.

Install on my MacBook Pro took almost exactly an hour. That machine has been through a lot of operating systems, without being cleaned out. I really should degunk it. I will try Mountain Lion for a few days before moving to my other computers.


I turned water on to the automatic water sprinkler system on around 6:15 a.m. The tap had been off during our unseasonably rainy July. However I can not recall what time (or even day) it was set to water the garden, except it runs for a half hour. I wanted time for the poison I spread a few days ago to work on the weeds before watering. I guess I will check a little later to see if the sprinklers seem to be working. Yes, looks like it started watering around 6:30 a.m.


My current internet download speed 28 KB/s, around 4X dialup. I notice this because I am trying to download the 4GB Apple OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion install. On the other hand, the connection has not disappeared since I arrived, unlike at Airlie Beach. Also the connection speeded up later.

Why Pay For Olympics?

Why should the taxpayer fund the Olympics? There are world records being set and beaten all the time, in all manner of countries. Why not just pick a date? Whoever is ahead at the time wins for their country. No fuss.

TV stations seem to like it, so they can sell viewers to advertisers. Fine, they can pay to film whatever they like, as can the advertisers. Why should the taxpayer pay?

It seems the Sydney 2000 Olympics cost taxpayers $420 per household. It seems household consumption went down A$2.1B, unlike the claims before the games. Security costs. Employment was full, so the Olympics poached staff. The tourists did not arrive afterwards. See Modelling the Economic Impacts of the Sydney Olympics in Retrospect – Game Over for the Bonanza Story? by James A. Giesecke, John R. Madden.

It seems the London Olympics will cost the U.K. taxpayer £11 billion, or about £420 per U.K. household. With recession, the stimulus is probably welcome, but the games crowd out social welfare. I wonder if the average household will consider it all worthwhile?

Friday 27 July 2012


I was up and reading the news feeds on my iPad before six. OzWeather says it is unlikely to rain, so I stripped the bed, loaded the washing machine and started it. Then I thought I should do some housework, so I started Jean's iRobot vacuum cleaner running in the bedroom. Unlike me, it can get underneath the bed. That seems a good start.

Nothing accomplished today, except a bit of cleaning, and moving papers from pile to pile. Mostly making a mess of them in the centre of the lounge room, since Jean is away and not seeing the mess.

I walked to the restaurant for lunch, and saw Ray, Dot and John. Geoff and Margaret had a chat about the Carlton Theatre, and potential improvements. Seems there may be some activity happening there. I hope so, but these days I have basically given up on Carlyle Gardens. I do not want to be here. I no longer go to any social events. If the fridge had not been empty, I might not have even gone to lunch.

Transport Infrastructure

I had email long ago from Jean saying Kogan were sending the Android tablet. Considerably earlier than their original estimate. However the transport infrastructure in Australia simply sucks. Online acknowledgement from Toll on Thursday 19 July in Melbourne. On for delivery in Melbourne Sunday 22 July. Sorted to destination while still showing Melbourne on Wednesday 25 July. Sorted to destination in Brisbane on Friday 27 July late afternoon. It sat in Melbourne for a week? WTF?

Apple OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

I had not heard of any disasters regarding updating to Mountain Lion, so around 10 p.m. I decided to update my MacBook Air. I had previously transferred the Install app via AirDrop to the MacBook Air. I was not positive this sort of action would work, but it did seem to work, and fairly fast at that. Faster than my older MacBook Pro. About the only anomaly is the fan was fairly noisy. Fan noise continued after I rebooted, but this simply seems to be Spotlight doing its index.

I guess when I look in the Mac App store it will simply show I can download Mountain Lion, but have not done so. Maybe? That is how Lion shows up. Yes, that worked. The Mac App Store did notice my copies of iWork need to be updated, and wants to assign them to my Apple ID, which is fine. The App Store decided they had already been accepted by my Apple ID, and therefore I can download them.

It seems iPhoto and iMovie also had updates. I started them, but my download speed is so pathetic that I will probably go to bed before the few hundred megabytes download. So I cancelled the iWork update, which requires a reboot. No, I am not sure why it requires a reboot. Ah, just spotted an SMC Firmware update, so that will be why it needs a reboot. That probably enables the Power Nap option (continues backing up the system and doing preventative maintenance while asleep, if it has mains power). I left that iWork download to run overnight.


I do not understand the relentless pushing of chef shows on TV. Of course, they are cheap to make, and you can claim they are an Australian production for broadcast rules. For all I know, you could claim they are drama. But really?

One large first world problem is fatties, and their health issues. What percentage of the population is obese? What percentage of school children are obese? Having TV shows about food is criminally insane.

A modest proposal. Food related TV shows should all be rated consenting adult only, and shown after midnight. Advertising food in any of its forms should not be taxation deductible from company costs.

Saturday 28 July 2012


I headed out early to the Mitre 10 at Sunland. Chris there was very helpful. Amongst other items, I ended up with a swag of power boards of various types. I am tired of having power switches hard to get at, and intend to solve that by using power boards with foot controls.

Collected newspapers. Crumpets at Woolworths. Ice cream at Coles, on special. More power boards at BigW, this time Jackson models with five separate output leads so you can easily have oversized plug packs scattered around.

Apple Dashboard Widgets

Apple Dashboard Widgets are now totally confusing. Instead of having a widget manager, you can (eventually) get widgets to wiggle like in iOS. However since Apple do not seem to accept that you might want to delete their Apple supplied widgets, you do not have an X on them to remove them. The first thing I tried to do was delete the Ski Report (I live in the tropics). By the time I finished mucking around, I had three active copies of it to remove from my Dashboard. Sigh.

Will it work for others? I don't know. But with two out of three of the new Apple users I am helping having come to OS X via iOS devices, maybe it will work real well.

Phone Rage

I answered the telephone three times today, each around meal times. In each case I clearly identified myself. Result. Phone hung up. Someone who did not identify themselves asked for someone else. Phone hung up. I strongly suspect these are charity phone calls, possibly from overseas. Our phones are on the Do Not Call register. Why are charities exempt from checking their lists against the Do Not Call register? If I wanted to be called by charities, i would give them the number and consider it an established business relationship. Instead, if I find out what they represent, i make sure I never contribute to them.

Just wait until the National Broadband Network is here (probably in 2020). Why would I bother having a (fake) (landline) telephone then?

Light Bulbs

I am not happy with the Government ban on incandescent light bulbs. Incandescent lamps are the best match we have to actual sunlight. Basically the light from the sun comes from it being hot. Incandescent lights work the same way, but at a considerably lower temperature. They are basically a safe product (except for heat), when used in a correctly designed lamp holder.

The compact fluorescent downlights we have are not a good lighting solution. Basically they are mercury infused gas discharge lamps that produce a lot of ultraviolet light, and a mix of several phosphors on the inside of the glass is used to convert that to a simulation of white light. However you have strong peaks in several colours, which together look reasonably like white. Not good enough for photographers or artists. You can compensate partially for this by using a mixture of different style fluorescent lamps. In commercial premises, you usually find the maintenance people responsible for replacement do not understand why the architect specified a certain mix of tubes. So after a while the lighting is a mess. That was certainly the case at UTS.

In addition, fluorescent lights should be treated as toxic waste, due to the mercury. You should not throw them out in the rubbish.

Sunday 29 July 2012

Apple OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

I had been devastated (well, mildly annoyed at least) to find that the Install OS X Mountain Lion app had been consumed on each of the Apple computers on which I had installed it. I was expecting the one I downloaded correctly on my MacBook Pro from the Mac App Store to be consumed during the install. However I had made a copy of it prior to allowing the install to run, and AirDropped it to the MacBook Air. The Air also consumed its copy, even though the App was not located in the default position, and had not been downloaded direct from the Mac App Store.

Plus the additional copy on the MacBook Pro had also disappeared. Now that was cute. No, that was not cute. That was user error. I forgot to hold down the Option key. It was not an extra copy, it was was simply an alias to the original (just what I inadvertently told it to do).

Last night I set about downloading another (free) copy on my Mac mini, starting around 10:30 p.m. to get the maximum download time in my ISP's off-peak download time from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. That download was still running at 6:30 a.m. with what looked like about three quarters done. The Install OS X Mountain Lion download actually completed at 6:45 a.m.

OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Complaint

I send Apple feedback on any OS X item I think is in error. Here is my first complaint about Apple OS X Mountain Lion.

Menu Bar Battery no longer has an option to show the estimated time battery life remaining. The only options available are the default battery icon, and a percentage of battery life. I would like the time estimate available in Lion return.

OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Mail

So Mail complained it needed to update the Mail database. I had so little mail on this system it hardly had time to ring the starting bell before it was complete.

Inward mail all failed, except for the useless BigPond one. What happened to all my mail host settings? It is as if Mail did not send the POP3 password. Outward email via SMTP seems to work. Connection doctor does not give any indication that Mountain Lion is sending my username or password.

Basically my email workflow is totally destroyed in Mountain Lion. Now investigating least bad way to revert to Lion.

Battery life in Mountain Lion is shit. I wish I had totally ignored this upgrade.

Augmented Reality Social Life

Augmented reality social life film, about 8 minutes. Really well done. Sight by Sight Systems A short futuristic film by Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo, who say this is our graduation project from Bezaleal academy of arts.

iOS Apps

I like the idea of CardRui. This lets you photo the cards in your wallet, so you do not have to carry as many wallet cards. Does not help with MagStrip cards or one with chips, but may work with scan code version. I am trying it out.

May be replaced by Apple's Passport card, when that appears.

Monday 30 July 2012


I awoke early. Thanks to advice from Server101 that SSL was probably the Mail problem, I was able to fix receiving mail. It seems that the Mail 6 install wizard insists that SSL be switched on (to protect the contents of your email in transit). However since Server 101 does not use SSL, the Wizard fails. What you need to do is accept the broken mail account. Then, you need to go to Mail, Preferences, Accounts, Advanced, and untick the default SSL setting. In addition, the account name will be wrong, since Server101 use a four letter four digit unique name, rather than your email account name. No big problem to fix, once you realise these two items need to be changed after the Wizard fails. However these problems are really irritating. My tolerance for computer glitches these days is close to zero.


I was up early. Crumpet for breakfast. No sign of the delivery I am expecting for Jean, which is a pity. On the other hand, the splashback behind the stove is a lot cleaner. Made nachos for lunch again. During the afternoon I set the dish washer to work. This is the second time I have managed to make that run. However the dishwasher takes close to three hours to actually complete its run.

Apple Support

I had an email in the afternoon from Clive, asking about settings for a Macintosh. That gave me a wonderful excuse to abandon the hot dishes in the dishwasher. I wandered over and saw Clive. I think I may have helped a little, as I got a few things working. I am still pushing multiple accounts, with the Admin separate, and a backup drive for Time Machine.


Does anyone (except awesome athletes) actually give a shit about the Olympics? It is not as if any of the rest of us can do that stuff.

Religion Sucks

How to suck at your religion.

Tuesday 31 July 2012


No sign of the Kogan delivery for Jean I have been awaiting since about Thursday the week before last. That is, the first notification was 19 July. The tracking site has a motto Toll Ipec, If it's urgent. This must be getting the non-urgent treatment. Next door got a delivery of something this morning, from another company. I bet they were not waiting over a week.

Townsville forecast 9 to 24C. Memo to weather gods. We are in the tropics, god dammit! I blame this unseasonable cold on global warming.

I went to Willows at eight to get the newspaper and some toothpaste. Just realised the reason I can not find them is I managed to leave them in the boot of the car. Well done.

Lunch with my usual friends Pat, Jeff, Ray, Dot and Sue at the restaurant. I was a little late arriving. I tried some of the Oakley Tic Toc wine. Not bad. Maybe better than not bad. Not happy with the price, but… Went to Reception after to ask Liz if they had seen my missing package. Nope. Leigh tells me of problems getting things purchased. Too many lawyers spoil the broth maybe.

Doctor asked a resident if they drank more than two or three drinks a day. The doctor was told they spilled more than two or three drinks a day.

Back home. A knock on the door. A delivery, but not from Toll. Not what I expected either. Jean’s standing desk arrived today. Looks like some assembly required. Retired to recliner chair to contemplate this. It seems that Jean's large standing desk has arrived, on a whole pallet. I dragged that into her room. Not expected, but Jean will be pleased.

A phone call from Reception way after they closed. Liz tells me my delivery went there a few minutes ago. She says they will open the door for me, since they will be working back for at least another half hour. As an aside, those folks really do put in a lot more hours than they are paid for. They do a great job. I walked over. Jean's Android tablet has arrived from Kogan via Toll. Yeah! Finally. After about 12 days of transit.

Since I was over there, I dropped into the pub where the usual reprobates were gathered. Had another glass of the Tic Toc wine. Good stuff. Allan and Dave were handing out mini sausage rolls with a really nice tomato sauce. Turned out that it was Woolworth's brand tomato sauce. Same as I use at home. My version is not nearly as nice as their bulk version. This seems unfair.

I walked back home from the pub at six in the evening. There were seven wallabies congregated on the bridge, waiting to mug the drunks.

OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Battery Life

I suspect Mountain Lion has utterly stuffed the battery life of my 11 inch MacBook Air. I used it this evening, and dropped the fully charged battery to under 20% in less than three hours. Battery life is now around 3.5 hours instead of around 5 hours. This is way less battery life than I was getting under Lion.

Solar Power

The solar power output figures last month (June 2012) showed it generated 2948kWh over 8782 hours. The figures for July are 3043kWh over 9116 hours. So the total hours operating in the 31 days of July 2012 were 334 hours, during which it generated 95kWh. About 3.06kWh per day, or 284 Watts per operating hour. This is a nominal 1 kW panel, operating under cloud and rain for some of the month.

Do I need to mention that if it were not for the excessive feed in tariff there would be little point in buying solar panels at current prices. The panels themselves are already at a reasonable price per Watt output. It is the additional install price that kills them. If they are not cheaper to install, it does not make sense to do so.

Apple on DOW?

I see Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. said Apple is considering a stock split, which could prompt it to be added to the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Given Apple almost never say anything about what they are considering, I doubt anyone knows. However Apple have since March paid a (very small) dividend. This makes them the only tech company near their value, paying a dividend, but not on the DOW.

So typical. A company that actually makes a great profit producing a restricted range of far better than average products. That is extremely well run. That does not play political games, or fudge sales figures. So the business talk is about Apple joining a another totally rorted equities markets indicator that is simply a large gambling den, distorted by insider trading by high frequency traders. Why would Apple give a stuff?

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Home and Away

AB 15, CG 16

Eric Lindsay's Blog July 2012