Eric Lindsay's Blog August 2012

Wednesday 1 August 2012


I was awake excessively early, even for me. Although mobile, I did not seem to be able to cope with doing any of the outstanding writing on my ToDo list.

Off to lunch somewhat late. Dropped into the office to tell Jo-ann the doors had arrived. Carlton Theatre where Geoff, Margaret and Peter were testing sound systems. I had lunch with Margaret, and Geoff turned up before it was too late for his lunch. I think the TV install is basically underway. I'd chatted a little with Leigh about that, when I had encountered her unexpectedly a few days ago.

Doing anything much at home was a mess. I think I have basically given up on getting anything into ANZAPA.

Off to the pub for my usual Wednesday social session. Clive stopped me. I hope he gets an Outlook account. Geoff phoned while I was there, so after chatting with Clive, I dropped into Geoff's place and helped him set up an Outlook account. So I was more than a little late seeing Ron, Ray, Harry, Ian and Jeff at the pub.

Packed Jean's car. Hope I have remembered everything that is needed. At least the two remaining chairs are packed.

Facebook Timeline

It seems the Facebook social web site have made their Timeline layout mandatory for anyone still resisting using it. I hear a certain number of complaints, many of them from people who value privacy (and do not like continual change in privacy settings). I also hear people say it is great.

Facebook obviously had so many issues with privacy that after an initial (and interesting) use for a few months, I terminated my account with extreme prejudice. Facebook was great for finding lost acquaintances. There is a big difference between acquaintances and friends. I hope I managed to get rid of every last trace of myself on Facebook. As an aside, if you are in habit of labelling photos of me on Facebook, please stop doing so. If I thought any of you would do so, I would ask you to remove any photos of me you put on Facebook.

Facebook delenda est.

Outlook Mail

I see Microsoft have made available as an email address service. I am not sure of their reasoning, since they had long ago bought the popular Hotmail, and I think had Windows Live? Here is a review of mail service.

Last night was goldrush time in terms of getting desirable email addresses like your own name without funny numbers after it. You could also get about five aliases, so that added to the number of names you could grab. Given how much I disliked Google's Gmail the last time I used the web interface (I used to think Gmail was pretty good), maybe Microsoft will get some more leverage against Google on this version of the mail service. I thought the web interface was reasonable.

No, I have no idea who has, nor who has but you can bet someone fast moving has them. No, I have no idea how Microsoft intend to make a profit from this, except they have a small space for advertising.

Security Doors

I am sitting around awaiting the refurbished security screen doors from Signature Glass. They are supposed to arrive soon after nine. So at 10:45 a.m. when I phoned them I was told he should be here soon. The doors arrived just before midday, and were installed soon after. It was great to finally have that completed.

National Broadband Network

I keep wondering about the sale model for the National Broadband Network (NBN). First, you can not spend $40B, and claim you will cover bond costs, and make a profit, without raising prices higher than whatever (admittedly inadequate) existing network needed to charge for already paid for infrastructure. That is just not possible if the number of users remains the same.

So one question is how many potential NBN users are out there?

How Browsers Work

A really cool description of how open source web browsers work, in terms of their tokenising, syntax parsing and rendering. Very, very nice article that anyone serious about writing web sites should read.

Another article is Modern Web Development the Webkit Inspector which explains web development toolchains. Great piece of work on how to use a free tool.

Thursday 2 August 2012

Leaving Carlyle Gardens

I was packed, perishable fridge contents and all, and on the road about a quarter after five. A clear cold morning, with the car thermometer reporting outside temperatures down to 9° as I passed Bowling Green national park. Not happy with this global warming this winter.

Non-stop to Centro Whitsunday, arriving just before 8:30 a.m. Alas, I have no shopping list for Woolworths. Got ham and cheese, some stuff to make hot chocolate drinks (on special), and some crumpets (on special). Also I tend to mostly be able to cope with toasting a crumpet. Must make a shopping list.

Checked Harvey Norman. They have a $130 Brother laser printer. If I get my ANZAPA contribution written, I might drive over and pick up one of those printers. The office supplies place that had a copier have closed, not that I can reach them without a car. Speaking of which, Jean's car showed below half, so I refuelled it. That way I can get back to Townsville even if none of the service stations along the way have opened at the time I am driving.


I connected to Telstra BigPond internet as soon as I powered up the NetGear DM111P ADSL modem. My wireless access is via my Apple Time Capsule. Telstra have assigned an IP number at around 10:15 a.m.

Internet connection dropped out at 10:30 a.m. The internet light is out. Light back. Connection back at 10:32 a.m. My IP is now

Telstra BigPond internet connection fails again at 10:58 a.m. Modem internet light is still green, but flashing at times. Ping starts working again at 11 a.m. My IP number is now

Airlie Beach

I dropped into reception and saw Rose, Chad and a tired Jasmine who is soon to have a birthday. Sounds like the security system upgrades are possible. I wouldn't mind seeing the sixteen existing official security cameras augmented by another capture card and about half as many extra cameras again. Camera coverage is good, but you can always improve it a little once you have experience of where problems arise.

Continued on, and was lucky enough to be able to get a haircut at Scissor Sisters (now with new owners). Nineteen years experience, so I once again look as good as I am ever likely to look.

The wonderful folks at the newsagency had a pile of back issues of the Whitsunday Times awaiting me. I was away about a week and a half longer than I hoped.

Reheated the potato, bacon and shallot soup I had in the freezer. That made a pretty good dinner.

Time Capsule Backup

A small anomaly in my computer backup routine when I arrived. I use a tiny 11 inch Apple MacBook Air as my travel computer. Not much solid state drive on it, only 250 GB. I have an Apple Time Capsule acting as a high speed wireless access point for WiFi (802.11n) at each location. Since these Time Capsules each have a 2 TB drive, this is where my MacBook Air gets backed up wirelessly every hour. It is a very convenient system, providing both on-site and off-site backups almost automatically.

When I arrive at each location, I have to remember to tell Time Machine Preferences to use the Time Capsule at the new location. I also have to ype in the network password, even though the Time Capsule is how I am (automatically) connecting to the internet.

First backup at the second location after installing Mountain Lion. I was expecting around a 5 GB backup. It was close to 30 GB. At the moment I have no idea why. This second backup dates back to March, when I installed the Time Capsule in the second location. The first location backup dates back to September 2011.

To Hell with Telephones

I had a phone call, probably from Mumbai. My computer has a problem, etc. This is the standard scam to trick you to pay them to install spy software. They seemed to know what the Do Not Call register was.

Then just after dinner, someone phoned. Soon after I picked up the phone they hung up. Just why would I want to have a telephone?

Old Software

In my quest for the cause of what I believe is declining battery life, I decided to get rid of all the PowerPC software on my MacBook Air. Basically there is no chance of this running, so it is not causing the battery issue, but it is just old gunk that is not needed. This old gunk is there because I have transferred files from computer to computer for years, going back to 2004. New owners of a Macintosh should not have any of this cruft.

Macintosh Lion and Mountain Lion systems will only run applications compiled for Intel (or Universal applications). Earlier Intel Macintosh systems will run PowerPC applications in a software compatibility mode called Rosetta that is no longer available. Older PowerPC based Macintosh like my iMac G5 ALS will only run PowerPC applications. They can not run Intel applications at all.

Click the Apple icon at the left of the menu bar, and then click About This Mac. Next click More Info. This brings up System Information. Go to Software, and click the Applications list. Next sort these by clicking Kind. Anything that is PowerPC should not be there.

Apple Thunderbolt Display

I have neglected setting up my Thunderbolt display for way too long. The computer side is easy. Connect the Thunderbolt display to a power point. Connect the double connector Thunderbolt cable built in to the monitor. MagSafe power connector to the Apple portable computer. Thunderbolt connector on the cable to the Thunderbolt port on the Apple portable computer.

Pair Bluetooth wireless keyboard, Apple magic touchpad, and mouse to the computer. If the pairing of all the Bluetooth devices does not take place automatically, open System Preferences and pair manually. Pairing manually should only be needed the first time.

Close the lid of the computer. The video will transfer automatically to the Thunderbolt display. If you leave the computer display open, you will need to decide if you want to mirror the display, or run two displays, with one as the main display.

If you have them, use an Apple Thunderbolt cable to connect a Thunderbolt hard drive to the display Thunderbolt passthrough connector. Remember that standard rotating hard drives are far too slow for Thunderbolt connections. Any Thunderbolt drive needs to be either solid state (and thus of small capacity and great cost), or needs to be RAID. The only full speed RAID array I know is the six drive Promise Pegasus. Since a two drive spanned external drive can not saturate a Thunderbolt link, you can connect two or three such drives via Thunderbolt passthrough.

If slower speed external drives are satisfactory, you can connect a Firewire 800 or slower USB 2 drives to the Thunderbolt display.

The real issue is how to organise all this hardware so that it is connected elegantly, and is easy to use.

Friday 3 August 2012


I was still connected to the internet at six in the morning, however overnight my IP had changed to Numeric ping times to Google's public Domain Name Server were also very irregular at first at minimum 61/ average 122/ maximum 270/ standard deviation 70 ms. After a few minutes that settled down to 61/63/68, and a standard deviation of less than 1.4 ms.

Telstra BigPond internet access dropped out at 6:42 a.m. Numeric pings time out without reaching Google's DNS. The NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is showing a red internet fail light.

I power sequenced the NetGear DM111P ADSL modem at 6:52 a.m. It retrained and got all green at 6:54 a.m. Numeric pings now work.

When I returned to the computer at 7:50 a.m. the Telstra BigPond internet was down again. Numeric ping fails. NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is showing a green internet working light. The connection returns at 7:54 a.m. without any change to my equipment. My IP is now The same IP number was still operating when I returned from shopping at Centro Whitsunday at 11:45 a.m.

The Telstra BigPond internet connection dropped again at 12:27 p.m. The NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is showing a red internet fail light. I am hitting the modem with numeric ping. Time to nuke a pizza. Gave up at 12:32 p.m. and power sequenced the modem. By 12:34 p.m. the modem internet fail light was green. Ping was working. Internet connection restored. My IP number is now

Telstra BigPond internet connection dropped out again at 2:18 p.m. Numeric pings and traceroute do not seem to be bringing the connection back. The NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is showing a red internet fail light. Power sequenced the modem at 2:21 p.m. Modem has a green light, and connection is back at 2:22 p.m. My public IP address is now

Apple Thunderbolt Monitor

I checked the sleeping power drain of the Thunderbolt setup. 6.5 Watts, powering the Thunderbolt monitor, and the Apple MacBook Air, plus the LaCie TwoBig Thunderbolt Drive, and an iPhone. Not perfect, but not too bad as a phantom power drain.

With the computer sleeping, but the hard drive not sleeping, it was around 45 Watts. With both awake, and computer charging, over 100 Watts.


I was up around six in the pre-dawn light. The sun rose above the hillside around seven, and the glorious warmth poured into the room.

One day after my neat haircut, and once again I look like a shaggy dog (true story).

Saw Jim in Harvey Norman when I drove there. He had enlargements of some bushfire results, and especially how within days the ants were gathering the fire scattered seeds. Wonderful earthy colours. In the course of talking, he kindly offered me a desk just like his one. I gather he has a storage shed full of them.

However in terms of shopping, it was pretty much a disaster. I looked diligently for furniture in both Harvey Norman and Burnups. Jim's offer had sounded good when he made it, and was sounding better and better the more I looked.

I ordered some DVDs not available in Australia in the video store in the mall. At VideoEzy I bought my first Blu-Ray optical disk. So I can finally try the Kogan Blu-Ray player I bought at the start of the year. If the player fails to work, or if I can not bypass the copy protection to move them to my computer, then I would not be buying any more Blu-Ray. Blu-Rayge. This does not sound like a great business model for Hollywood.

Tried to get a bread roll for dinner at Brumby's during my afternoon walk. They had closed early due to a staff illness.

Dropped in for drinks at Jim's that evening as arranged. He also offered sausages with onions and potatoes for dinner, which was way better than anything I would have managed. We watched the Hawthorn vs Geelong AFL match. Very close match right to the end.

Galileo motor control iPhone camera on Kickstarter

It seems the Galileo iOS robotic iPhone camera platform is late. I am not surprised. It seems a fair step for the Motrr folks to move from the Joby and the Gorillapod devices to full production of this much more sophisticated gadget.

Telstra BigPond Email SMTP settings

A lot of setup details of BigPond Email with Windows Live is online at the BigPond web site. Telstra also have a list of frequently asked questions about BigPond email settings.

Usually you can only use an SMTP server to send email if you are physically connected to the same network. You can only send email through a BigPond SMTP server if you're connected to BigPond's network as your ISP. This is exactly what most people want, since their email address is given them by their ISP.

I use a third party mail host (Server101, or sometimes Dreamhost), so that I can use my own domain name. So I need my outward email address to be FROM own domain. However my mail host does not provide SMTP outward mail (they are not an ISP). They suggest using the SMTP of your ISP (which often works if you are always at home). In fact, using iiNet's SMTP at Carlyle Gardens works. It passes through the FROM email address I give it. Perfect.

I never use my BigPond email. However they are my ISP at Airlie Beach. If I send via BigPond default SMTP settings, my FROM email addresses are ignored. Mail goes out showing a BigPond return address. Good if you use BigPond for email. Not what I would want.

If you use a third party SMTP (such as the one Google provide for Gmail), the same problem of the wrong FROM address will happen (it used to work fine, I think).

BigPond started blocking Port 25 around 2004, because of spammers sending spam email from compromised computers. However BigPond do provide a workaround. Use outward port 587, and authenticate into your actual mail host.

You can use a secure SMTP server while travelling, say the one you use at home. You authenticate to the server with a username and password. It knows who you are, and will send your email. At least, some ISPs (like iiNet) offer this service. Others may not. The ISP to whom you are connected (say BigPond) has to offer you a method of passing your email through without using their SMTP server.

Brother Laser Printer

I set out for Centro Whitsunday, and Harvey Norman, having decided the only solution to the printing problem was to have a black and white printer available. I basically print 30 copies of 10 pages every two months, and 40 copies of 10 pages every three months. I do not need fancy. My ANZAPA contribution is around 300 pages. Having 300 pages printed costs me around $30. So it sounds like buying a printer is no more expensive than using a copy shop.

Instead of the $129 Brother HL-2250 with network, I found an older model HL-2230 at $69. Takes the same toner and drum, but is slower, no network connection, and no duplex facility. The reduced capacity toner in it should be good for around 700 pages.

So who is going to employ the person in the copy shop? But it gets worse. After a few toner replacements ($61 for 2600 pages) the printer needs a drum replacement that costs more than the printer did. So the precision mechanism in the printer will enjoy a trip to the dump. Does anyone see this as a good economic or environmental model?

The 1% Solution

Head on a pole solution to wealth redistribution.

Saturday 4 August 2012


I drove Jean's car to collect the table Jim had kindly offered me. Despite Jim doing most of the hard work, I managed to wreck my back in helping extract the last piece of the table from under the two desks it was sitting under. It must have taken us the best part of an hour. By great good luck, even the large 900mm by 1800mm desk surface would slide into the back of Jean's Subaru Forester (with the back seats down. I thought it would just miss fitting. Indeed, we put the table top on the roof rack before trying the boot.

Off to the markets, where I saw a heap of folks I know, including Glenn back early. As an aside, keep an eye out for Devlin Black on the Amazon best seller list. I did not head back until nearly one. I had been OK while I was not moving, but on the way back I seemed to have aches in every bone. My left leg in particular did not want to work as I walked up the hill with newspapers and a bread roll for lunch.

By late afternoon I was feeling totally wrecked. I hope part of it is because I woke up around 4 a.m. and got up soon after.

There was a barbecue I had intended to attend, but I felt so wrecked towards evening I did not even leave the apartment.


I tried the internet when I returned from collecting Jim's table at 9:15 a.m. Telstra BigPond ADSL is not connected. Ping does not get through. The NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is showing a red internet fail light.

Back from the markets finally, so I power sequenced the NetGear DM111P ADSL modem. Internet connection was back at 1 p.m. My new IP number is

Telstra BigPond ADSL is not connected at 1:32 p.m. Ping does not get through. The NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is still showing all green lights. At 1:36 p.m. the red internet fail light came on. At 1:37 p.m. the Internet connection returned for ping. At 1:38 p.m. ping failed again. At 1:39 p.m. 50% failure rate on ping. That continued at 50% at least packet loss for several minutes.

Power sequenced ADSL modem again at 1:42 p.m. At 1:45 p.m. I had four green lights on the ADSL modem. Pings all timed out. No connection on modem.

I powered up the NetGear DM111P ADSL modem again at 1:54 p.m. Four green lights at 1:55 p.m. Internet connection restored. My public IP address is Pings working in 66 ms. Web access available.

Telstra BigPond technical support is on 133933.

Telstra BigPond internet connection went down at 2:21 p.m. while I was trying to log in to my account. The NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is showing a red internet fail light. The green internet working light came on a few minutes later. is my IP number at the moment.

I could not get email at 4:37 p.m. 12% package loss for ping. Google web page will not come up. Modem lights all green, but internet is flashing green. At 4:42 p.m. I guess technically ADSL is working. Slower than dialup, and I still have a 12% packet loss on ping. You can not actually use the connection for anything at all. It takes several minutes for a web page to load. My IP address is still, but the connection is way too slow.

I noticed the NetGear DM111P ADSL modem was finally showing a red internet fail light, so I power sequenced it at 6:10 p.m. My IP is now Ping is irregular with 30ms standard deviation, but no lost packets. Ozspeedtest shows 1.36Mbps downloads, which sucks (but not as much suck as not having sufficient speed to download a web page).

Apple iPhone 5

I see Sharp have confessed to having display orders (possibly for IGZO) from Apple (probably the crashing profits in Sharp forced a market admission). Leaked repair parts show the home area shrunk from 18mm to 15.4mm. The top also shrank. The display glass is the same 51.6mm wide. However the length is 90.25mm, against an iPhone 4 length of 76.65mm. That makes space for a 16:9 ratio display, replacing the original 3:2 display. If the resolution remains the same as the iPhone 4 display (960 x 640), then the width is still 640 pixels. However the height is now something like 1136, an extra 176 pixels or something close to that.


I had bought eight CDs at the markets, some jazz, some John Denver (which Jean likes), and one new age. To my delight, each was available via Gracenotes so I had no metadata to add when ripping them to iTunes.

Two series of DVDs tagged with data from tagChimp. Torchwood: Chidren of Man and also Quatermas, the 1967 version. Metadata was available, so I only needed to make corrections.

Telstra Charges

Telstra have increased their fixed line charges. Not much, but it is the first fixed line increase in nearly a decade. The whole baroque pricing structure of the phone companies shows a desperate attempt to keep making money from old infrastructure, against rising maintenance costs, despite using contractors all over. When an internet call overseas is cheaper than next door, you know you have a price gouge situation.

Most utilities charge a fixed access fee, and then a price for amount used. The whole weird cap idea in mobile phone calls and data with artificial dollar is simply economic thuggery. The phone companies are now basically big, fat pipes, but their accountants hate this. They do not offer any service (try getting a problem fixed to check this) apart from being a big fat pipe. So realistically all services should be charged as data. People who just make phone calls should hardly pay anything except line rental. Those downloading torrents should pay heaps.

GFC Part 2

I was always told you could not spend your way out of debt. I guess I do not understand how governments work. Might be a little easier if you can print money, and force people to accept it, so you inflate away your debt.

Governments tend to be much better at starting recessions than they are at boosting economic recovery via low interest rates. That is pushing a string. You do not have any levers until after fictional wealth has been destroyed. Houses are not an asset. They are a liability. You make money on housing when estate agents persuade others to buy into your Ponzi scheme.

Where does economic growth come from? It is the product of population and productivity. There are limits to how much more productive a doctor or an author can be. Until someone finds a way to partially automate them out of a job. Like they did most musicians. Then you get increased productivity, but at the expense of existing industries. You think the Australian car industry or manufacturing can all survive? Crazy.

Self funded retirees often used to be able to afford to indulge themselves in little luxuries. With interest rates zero, and housing crashing, and investments giving lousy returns, those folks are not spending much. Funny thing about that.

Sunday 5 August 2012


Telstra BigPond internet connection is out when I arose in the dark at 5:55 a.m. The NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is showing a red internet fail light. I power sequenced the modem. Internet connection back by six. My IP number is now Ozspeedtest shows 1.92 Mbps, which I have to admit is both good (compared to Carlyle Gardens) and lousy (compared to what ADSL2+, or even ADSL1, should do).

Telstra BigPond internet broken again at 7:51 a.m. The NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is showing a red internet fail light. I power sequenced the modem. Internet connection back.

Internet connection is unreliable during the morning. Ping keeps failing about half all attempts. Unable to access web pages. I power sequenced the Netgear DM111P ADSL modem around 8:50 a.m. My IP number is now

The Telstra BigPond ADSL connection to the internet at Airlie Beach is lost again at 10:53 a.m. It was working a short time ago. A red Internet access fail light, and then two minutes later it is green again. Working again.


I started with V The Original MiniSeries from 1983. Side B on my rip only had 21 chapters out of the original 29, so none of the chapter metadata matched. I started a re-rip using Handbrake. Sigh!

LuckilyI was able to find metadata for V The Final Battle online, via tagChimp. So that was completed by eleven.

Next short series was the 1980's Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles. I mostly had to insert the chapter titles, but it was done by lunch time. The trouble is, I think I am now down to mostly badly ripped items.

Started on the South African filmed Charlie Jade. Looks like there are two pseudo copies of each of the four episodes on each DVD. I had extracted the first detected episode of each DVD in one piece, which is not exactly much use. I decided the least bad approach was to use Handbrake and rip the four episodes again for each DVD.

I soon found that the DVD cover metadata was wrong about which episodes were on which DVD. Found corrections. I had all six of the DVDs ripped by dinner time. Now I am starting to add metadata, which is taking a fair while because tagChimp only has a limited number of them already. I completed only one DVD out of six before bed.


I dragged the big newly assembled table to the only place I thought it would fit. Cleaned it up, which took a bit of detergent and (mostly) a fair bit of water (to get rid of left over detergent). It cleaned up rather nicely. I glued the edge of the desk laminate I had broken when I dropped it. Luckily that is at the back. Started deciding where to put the various bits of equipment. All seems to be going well.

Watched Insiders, and then Inside Business. In the late afternoon, Meet the Press, and then The Bolt Report. I decided to watch the new BluRay Apollo 18. It is pathetic Blair Witch type jerky camera work. Utter garbage.

Nexus 7 Decent Android Tablet

In Technology Spectator, Neerav Bhatt reviews Google's Asus built Nexus 7 android tablet, running the latest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system. He says: The reality is that until now there has been no worthwhile competition in the tablet market. The choice for any logical buyer has been iPad first and daylight second. In short, the Apple iPad has been two years ahead since launch, just like the Apple iPhone was five years ahead of the competition at launch.

The fact is that Google paid PC and electronics manufacturer Asus to make a 340 gram Android tablet at the right price ($270 and $320) and at the right quality. It boasts an IPS display, at 1280x800 resolution, and has a 1.2 megapixel front facing camera for video chats. Unlike some Android tablets it includes accelerometer, GPS, magnetometer and gyroscope. Anyone who gets off on decent specifications will be happy.

That Google has to custom specify shows clearly the merit of Apple's argument that to make a great computer, you need to control both software and hardware. Unlike Apple, Google probably at best break even on the cost of the 8GB model, and make a small profit on the 16GB model. The heavy emphasis on the Google Play store shows where Google sees profit.

What will the other Android tablet makers do? There is little doubt Samsung can make some technically nice equipment. Most manufacturers however will do what they do now. Find some way to squeeze their margins, and make a moderately pathetic tablet. We have a couple of OEM Android tablets from Kogan. I remain utterly astonished they got them to market at the price they did (just under $200, on special).


I used to write everything in plain text, because every computer system understood it (and still does). Then I started writing everything in HTML (which is a plain text markup language), but some people find that hard to read. John Gruber felt similar, but wanted some markup that was easier than HTML. So John Gruber invented Markdown as a real simple markup language humans could read that would convert easily to HTML.

See this two minute explanation of why use Markdown. Then read Markdown primer from TUAW.

Lots of programmers thought Markdown was a good idea, so they used it in websites (like Tumblir) or in applications (like writing text or advanced text with headers in the Day One) journal application).

Monday 6 August 2012


I was pleased to note my Telstra BigPond internet connection was still working at 5 a.m. this morning. My IP number has changed to

I lost my Telstra BigPond internet connection at 9 a.m. Back up a few minutes later. Then intermittent. Lost internet access at 9:11 a.m. Netgear DM111P ADSL modem is still showing green connection light. Back again. Internet lost again at 9:30 a.m. Back again a minute later on Internet lost again at 9:37 a.m.

Gave up. Power sequenced the Netgear DM111P ADSL modem again. Ping and traceroute back, web pages back. My IP is now Internet down again at 9:43 a.m. Internet back again at 9:45 a.m. My IP is now Internet connection down again at 9:51 a.m. Connection back up at 9:54 a.m. Your public IP address is

I have never experienced such lousy internet service as what I am getting from Telstra BigPond. If I drop it, I will not just cancel BigPond. I will also cancel the fixed line phone, and my mobile phone. If people want to contact me, they can send a letter. Oh, just remembered, the Post Office do not deliver here. Guess I will really be a hermit.

Jin tells me he has not been able to get an internet connection all day. Indeed, when I gave him access to my wireless access point, he still did not get a connection. Had we not drunk so much gin and tonic, I would have investigated that further.


I was up awake at four, etc. Got up at five in the pre-dawn blackness. Went for a walk at 7:30 and got breakfast on the main street while I read the newspaper.

Tried and again failed to make any sense of Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K760 for Mac web page. Their Notify Me button simply never works. Even after I turned off the default of blocking Javascript. Why these places do not simply put a regular link to a static web page with a form is beyond me. I sent their general email address a request that I be notified when I could buy the confounded thing in Australia. It was not helping that the internet connection was popping up and down every few minutes.

I tested the two hard drives Jim had given me. The one terabyte is weird. Verifies OK without errors as a GUID file system, but Disk Utility says it is not mounted. Despite which, Finder shows and navigates a complete file system, but the content of each file (all of which seem about the right length) is garbage (this includes PDF files). Finder preview is not displaying the length of the music.

The 1.5 TB drive is not readable at all. I have now reinitialised it as Mac OS Journalled. Seems OK. I dropped over to ask Jim what he wanted done with the drives. He said keep them.

We shared some gin and tonic. His computer connection was not working, all day. Nor could I get his computer to work via my WiFi link. Very strange. I showed him Sight on Vimeo via Apple TV. Glad I downloaded it. He borrowed Barbecue Area.

World Wide Web History

First world wide web site ever 1991.

Print House Gadgets

Printable houses using sand and magnesium based cement binder. Printable houses are coming, probably soon. Contour crafting includes service conduits. Maybe Roger Dean could design interiors.

Battery Life

My MacBook Air battery state changed from somewhere near 85% to 79% overnight. Maybe it went out and did something at a nightclub? After two hours of web surfing and taking notes using Smultron, (minus some time when I drank hot chocolate) it was down to 37% by 7 a.m. So, 42% down in two hours. That equates to somewhat less than a five hour battery life. In the past, a similar mix of activities would easily reach five hours use, and sometimes stretch past six hours. So my gut feeling is I have lost 10% to 20% battery life.


I continue to work on metadata for the Charlie Jade series. There were about 18 in the search in tagChimp, but they were not very complete. I completed the Charlie Jade series mid afternoon.

I started on Buck Rogers, which really is a dreadful TV series. I only have the first season. Looks like everything was done on a complete DVD basis. I started Handbrake extracting the entire set of six DVDs, and the last one completed overnight.

Stop High Frequency Stock Trading

A problem with high frequency computer stock trading. It is way too dangerous to allow to continue. Knight Capital blew near a half billion due to a computer glitch. Share price plunges to a quarter. Why in the hell should shares be traded faster than at the close of business each day? Why is there not a Tobin financial transactions tax on all trades, and all mooted trades? This shit is just gambling, nothing else. It has nothing to do with better pricing information.

If this sort of stuff is not treated, I intend to pull everything I own out of the stock market. Regardless of losses.

Tuesday 7 August 2012


Internet was working at 5 a.m. My IP number was, which means it changed overnight.

Telstra BigPond internet connection at Airlie Beach dropped out at 10:45 a.m. My NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is showing a red internet fail light. I am hitting it with pings and traceroute. Green light back two minutes later. Ping and traceroute start working. My public IP address is now.

Telstra BigPond internet connection went down again at 12:24 p.m. NetGear DM111P ADSL modem lights are all still green. Ping and traceroute fail. Connection back after a minute or two. My IP number is now.

Telstra BigPond internet connection down again at 2:25 p.m. My NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is showing a red internet fail light. I am hitting it with pings and traceroute. No sign of it working at 2:34 p.m. I had to see Reception so I decided to fix the Internet connection when I returned.

Power sequenced the NetGear DM111P ADSL modem at 3:03 p.m. I have an internet connection again now. My IP is


I am adding metadata to the H.264 transcodes of Buck Rogers. Luckily tagChimp already has a pretty good set of data available. I completed that just before lunchtime.

War of the Worlds had names of episodes in the file name, but looked a mess on tagChimp. I decided it could languish at the back of the pile a while longer.

I started adding episode names to the existing transcodes of Earth: Final Conflict. I had done season one a fair time ago. So I added episodes to season two. By the end of the evening, I had completed the file names through season five.


I visited the locksmith the resort usually uses. Since I was there early, around 8:30, he had not disappeared elsewhere. I took with me photos I had just taken of the problem locks. He decided it would be best if he checked the locks, and could do that this morning. Progress.

While in the nearby supermarket, Rose saw me. She tells me putting locks on the master key system is something the body corporate pay for.

The locksmith arrived, and swiftly went through details of all the lock changes needed. He called me later in the morning with a quote, which I accepted.

The fit of the main door is poor, and does not meet BCA for close fitting. As well, the new door is already warping. Jim advises building out the frame, as the least bad solution to the lock situation.


I went to Centro area to see the locksmith. He will attend the premises. Saw Rose while I was doing some shopping in Woolworth's at Centro. Rose happened to be shopping there also, and advised me about the locks.

I dropped into reception to see Rose in the afternoon. She asked if the grounds seemed cleaner. When I walked back, I did not even fill a small plastic bag with rubbish I picked up, so I have to count that as cleaner.

Jim dropped in later to return DVDs. We paused for a G&T. He advised adding some meat to the door frame that the door does not fit well. I doubt I have adequate tools here to do so.

Brother Printer

I tried a remote DVD install of the printer driver software for the Brother HL-2230 laser printer. The CUPS printer software versions on the DVD were obsolete. Downloaded a slightly later version from Brother online. At least it identifies the printer.

As an aside, I failed to get the WD hard drive Jim gave me to format. Jim had warned me it was stuffed. I thought I would be able to manage that.

Wednesday 8 August 2012


I lost internet access via Telstra BigPond at 7:03 a.m. despite it working overnight. The NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is showing a red internet fault light. Since ping and traceroute did not kick the connection up, I power sequenced the ADSL modem at 7:07 a.m. Internet access returned at 7:09 a.m. My IP address is now. When I returned from Bunning at 9:30 a.m. the internet was still operating, but my IP number now

Lost the internet again at 10:20. Ping is showing a 70% packet loss, but the NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is still showing four green lights. Hit the connection with ping and traceroute. Still showing 27% packet loss. Very slow access. Most web pages will not come up. My IP address is still, however connection is really slow. By around 10:45 a.m. connection speed was restored, and my IP had not changed.

I lost my Telstra BigPond internet connection again at 4:35 p.m. The NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is showing a red internet fault light. However it turned green again a few seconds later. Ping and traceroute both fail. The connection came back spontaneously at 4:40 p.m. however my IP address is now.


I was up around four, reading news on my Apple iPad. After breakfast, I headed for Bunnings in Cannonvale, who tell me they are open around 6:30 a.m. I did not need to wait. I could have been shopping before breakfast.

I was seeking wooden edging to fix the terrible gap between my door and the door frame. The door is secure, since it is on a deadbolt deep into the frame. However the door is also intended to be close fitting, and it is not. What I needed was rectangular 4mm by 30mm edging. I could find 4mm edging in 20mm or 35mm. I bought a piece of 5mm x 30mm rounded, but it is just a little too snug.

While at Bunnings I bought heaps of switched power boards. I am determined to get the equipment here connected in a sensible manner. I do not feel crawling under my new desk to switch things on or off is sensible. I also bought some new GU10 LED downlights. Another batch of LEDs for me to test for actual power consumption and real light output in lux, rather than what is on the box (usually lumens, if anything).

I must have been bored; I washed the ceiling of the bedroom. Well, actually, there were some luggage marks there, from when we had bags stored on top of high furniture. They were bugging me when I lay down to ease back pain. A stepladder, and a combination of Zoom cleaner and a nylon scrubber got rid of the marks. It did not help my back.


I have started adding metadata to season two of Earth: Final Conflict. I completed season two just before making scrambled eggs for lunch. I did better than expected with season three, and completed that just before dinner. Then after dinner I managed to complete season four, which is a whole season more than I expected today.

IT Price Enquiry

I see Ed Husics stirring about the information technology price enquiry into excessive prices in Australia. Like him, I think the excess costs for business here are… Well, I think they are obscene. If I were in business, I would probably be more vocal.

Luckily, I am a consumer user. One company that declined to front the enquiry was Apple. Being an Apple spokesperson could be a delight. No comment would be all you would even need to say. Perhaps a suitable job for some person unfortunate enough to be born with a duplicate chromosome 21.

However over the past few years (and unlike in the more distant past), Apple's own pricing in Australia has been remarkably competitive with USA prices. The items that remain excessive tend to be iTunes music, where I believe prices are basically set by the large music distributors.

Electricity Charges

Is anyone in doubt that electricity charges need to be modified? Tristan Edis does a nice short course on why there is so much waste in our electricity distribution system. Also on why changes are unlikely.

Then Alan Kohler takes a swing. Stop moaning about electricity prices. With the wonderful executive summary The beautiful thing about the politics of electricity prices is that everything is true.


I am so sick and tired of the media coverage of the Olympics. I am fine with some TV station having an exclusive (I can just totally ignore that channel for a few weeks). But why is this crap on the nightly news? If you are interested, you can follow the winers on Twitter quicker than the news shows can.

So a bunch of energetic young people with incredible genetic endowments, have focused their energy on astonishing levels of training, to accomplish physical feats I can not even imagine doing. So what? I am not interested in any physical activity I am not doing myself. Nor do I see why taxpayer money is being used to support these commercial activities. The Olympics is straight commercial. If someone wants to run a business, let them pay for the whole thing from gate receipts and media sales.

Turns out I am not the only one. Down with Olympics and their twisted values.


Don’t be fooled into thinking Samsung are the good guys, says Mic Wright in an article about power, corruption and lies.

Samsung’ supplier Factory Exploiting Child Labor says China Labor Watch. None of this dirt is one sided.

iPad vs Mars Rover

Curiosity Mars Rover has more cameras and fewer brains than an iPad. Does that make one useful and the other useless?

Thursday 9 August 2012


I must have slept well. It was 5:40 a.m. before I awoke. My left leg is still hurting, now that I am using an upright chair to reach the right typing height at the new desk. Also, I seem to have completely covered the entire surface of the desk with gadgets. Essential gadgets, I claim.

After crumpets and hot chocolate for breakfast (it was cold, by tropical standards), I started the washing machine. Had a chat with John on the way out. Walked down to the newsagency, and brought back far too many newspapers.

It took a while for laundry to complete, and longer to hang it out. I did more metadata entry while I waited.

Off to Bunnings hardware, in another attempt to find reasonable wood for the door frame fixes. All I can get is the 4mm x 35mm trim. I guess I will check how horrible the task might be. It actually looks like the 35mm trimmed may be just about perfect.

I took photos of the aluminium strip available, in case I can use that to build my hard drive stands. In the lighting section I found an Osram GU10 LED downlight. That makes three LED downlights I can test. I also found an intelligent colour change LED bulb, complete with remote control.

My Thunderbolt monitor went blank at 10:45 a.m. just for a few seconds. I did not even have time to check if other power sources were off. Monitor died again at 10:59 a.m. Other power sources were still up. And again a few second later, and again. My MacBook Air powered from the monitor is still showing a green power light. Again blank at 11:02 a.m. I do not like this. Blank at 11:06 a.m. again. Multimeter shows my power feed is running between 248 and 249 volts, which is higher than the nominal Australian supply. Monitor failed again at 11:15 a.m. Multimeter showing power supply between 249 and 250 volts AC.


I have started on the last season of Earth Final Conflict. I need to check who is listed as starring on the box, as that show was notorious for losing its stars during its run. I was slow completing this season. It took until around 3 p.m. to complete the season.

Next I reluctantly started metadata on a Canadian show, War of the Worlds. Despite this, I managed to get the first season completed by tea time. Not too shabby, although there is a lack of data, especially for the final season.

Opps, spoke too soon. I just recalled there may be data for the second season. Yes, inside cover of the DVD set, in light grey on a black background. Maybe I can read it in the morning light?


I see the internet is still running overnight. My IP address is, which means it changed overnight.

Telstra BigPond internet connection failed at 11:06 a.m. NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is still showing all green lights. Ping is failing 90% of the time. Failure rate down to 50%. Higher failure rate at 11:15 a.m.

NetGear DM111P ADSL modem at 11:19 a.m. is showing a red internet failure light.

My multimeter is showing my mains supply is at 250 volts. I am wondering if both ADSL modem and Thunderbolt monitor are failing when the mains voltage is high? They would probably both be designed for a maximum of 240 volts. On the other hand, since when were switch mode power supplies that fussy?

I power cycled the NetGear DM111P ADSL modem at 11:31 a.m. Multimeter still showing mains power at 250 volts. When the modem had geen lights I tried a ping. Destination net unreachable. Power cycled my Apple Time Capsule WiFi access point. When it went green tried again. Still fails. Power cycled the ADSL modem again at 11:38 a.m.

Ping is now working. Web is working. My IP address is Time 11:40 a.m. Multimeter still showing 250 volts AC.

Telstra BigPond internet connection failed at 4:06 p.m. NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is showing a red internet failure light. Power cycled the ADSL modem at 4:15 p.m. Internet connection with IP address now at 4:17 p.m.

Telstra BigPond internet connection failed at 10:46 p.m. NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is showing a red internet failure light. Both multimeters are showing just over 250 volts AC. The ADSL modem showed a green light after two or more minutes of nothing happening. My public IP address is now.

Mains Electricity Voltage

I was having issues with several pieces of equipment. I plugged in a multimeter. Looks like the voltage on the electric mains is running very high in the daytime.

My multimeter is showing my mains supply is at 250 volts around 11:20 a.m. I am wondering if both ADSL modem and Thunderbolt monitor are failing when the mains voltage is high? They would probably both be designed for a maximum of 240 volts. On the other hand, since when were switch mode power supplies that fussy? Time 11:40 a.m. Multimeter still showing 250 volts AC.

At 3:44 p.m. my multimeter was showing mains power at 253 volts! I tried another multimeter, and got 250.7 volts.

Colour Changing LED 240 volt light bulb

I got a RGB colour changing 240 volt ES light bulb in Bunnings at Cannonvale. Mort Bay E27-A 5 Watt LED, made in China. A fair bit heavier than a standard ES bulb. Comes with an infra red remote control. Set it to white, or any of 15 colours. Grab a colour you like for next time it powers up. Or set it to cycle through 768 colours. You do need clear access to use the remote, but it works at a fair range. I love it.

Apple Reflections

I just discovered why Apple uses reflective mirrors for their computer displays. At night, you can sit with your back to the TV, and still watch the program.

National Broadband Network

I saw a good liveblog of the NBN 3 Year Corporate Plan presentation from Angus Kidman at Gizmodo. This NBN 3 year corporate plan for 2012-1015 is the first one that is close enough to being realistic to make it worth complaining when targets are not met. The previous (mostly unmet) targets were always mostly hand waving and pious hopes. Plus there were a heap of one off delay factors like the Telstra contract, political issues with ACCC insisting on 121 interconnect points, and changes in how things would be done (Optus HFC contract, build drop connect every building without asking, no backup battery for phone calls).

The price increase generally quoted (around 4% worst case) is not a blow out. It is unwelcome, but it partly reflects multiple changes to how things will be done. Connecting every building increases capital expenditure, and possible future returns, but decreases operating expenditure. Using more Telstra dark fibre decreases capital expenditure, but increases operating expenditure. Following the money trail would be murky at best.

One item that worries me is the tremendous increase in indirect operating expenses. It remains my belief that, if the high risk NBN is to pay even a non-commercial 7% dividend on funds received, the connection and use cost will have to end up high. So high that many low income people will decide they are unable to afford to connect to the NBN at all. The average $20 per wholesale customer quote these days is a sweetheart deal. NBN is expecting $40 by 2015, and eventually $100 (presumably mostly from a limited number of enterprise premises). Some of the cashflow figures stagger me. $7bn of operational cashflow by 2028 (hefty 75% profit margin) based on average wholesale charges of $80 per user? That has to mostly be from much higher enterprise charges.

I believe both the percentage and the absolute number of households connected to the internet by fixed line by 2020 will be lower than it was in 2010. This in turn means I believe the digital divide will be even wider, not less.

Friday 10 August 2012


I was awake once during the night, when the moonlight flooded in through the balcony window. Apart from that, I slept well, and did not awake until six.

Internet was out. Messages started coming through from Jean when I restarted internet.

Did not find Chad at Reception, but I did find new local phone books. I grabbed some and delivered them to John and Jim.

No more luck finding Chad in the afternoon, but I did get to the bank, and get some blank tax forms from the newsagent. Two more things to cross off the list.


I see the Telstra BigPond internet connection failed overnight. NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is showing a red internet fail light. I power sequenced the ADSL modem at 6:12 a.m. Multimeter showing mains just below 250 volts. My IP address is now.

Telstra BigPond internet connection failed around 8 a.m. NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is showing a red internet fail light. Pings and traceroute fail. Power sequenced ADSL modem at 8:07 a.m. Connection back at 8:12 a.m. IP address is

Telstra BigPond internet connection failed around 5:42 p.m. NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is still showing a green light. MetaX failed. Ping does not get through. Internet came back about two minutes later. My IP address is now.

Telstra BigPond internet connection failed around 7:54 p.m. NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is showing a red internet failure light. Ping does not get through. The modem went back to four green lights at 7:55 p.m. Ping still does not get through. Connection to the internet came back spontaneously at 8:04 p.m. My IP address is now.

Apple DisplayPort vs Thunderbolt

I have an Apple MacBook Pro notebook computer from 2009 with Mini DisplayPort. The display connectors look identical to Thunderbolt. Can I use DisplayPort with newer Thunderbolt displays from 2011?

Basically, no. A Thunderbolt computer or display from 2011 can drive an older (Mini) DisplayPort monitor display. However (Mini) DisplayPort from 2009 can not drive a Thunderbolt display.

How can I tell which connector is which? The DisplayPort symbol on your case is a rectangular box with a line on either side of it. A bit like this|☐| The Thunderbolt connector has a stylised thunderbolt near it.

Why are they not compatible?

DisplayPort can only drive displays. It is basically a faster, smaller computer version of previous display connectors like DVI or HDMI. Why not use these? DVI connectors are way to large to fit on the edge of a modern portable computer. HDMI is a limited TV standard that forces restrictive uses on a computer. Neither are suitable for future computer use. Apple displays are already much higher resolution than is provided in high definition TV.

Thunderbolt is a dual purpose ☯ data port. As well as providing DisplayPort (which is why it can drive a DisplayPort monitor), it also extends the PCIe internal computer bus outside the computer. It is not just for big displays, and not just for very fast external hard drives. Although Thunderbolt is much faster than any other external hard drive port available. So fast that no traditional hard drive can even keep up with it (you need at least six drives in a spanned RAID array).

Thunderbolt extends the high speed guts of your computer operation to external devices. Expect future external audio and video processors that are far more capable than any inside your portable computer.


I started adding identical short and long description to the second (final) season of War of the Worlds. In the daylight I could actually read the writing on the black inside cover of the DVD set. I completed entering the descriptions before lunchtime.

I had bought a few more new DVDs, so I started transcoding them, and adding metadata. Babakiueria (Barbeque Area), and Terry Pratchett's Going Postal (I transcoded that as a single movie). I had also finally found (in JB HiFi) the third season of the BBC political comedy Yes Minister, so I transcoded and added metadata to that before dinner. Mind you, by then dinner was pretty late.

National Broadband Network

I think you need to understand that NBN premises passed are not the same as connected, using, and paying. Premises are passed / covered when the shared network and service elements are installed, accepted, commissioned and ready for service. This is basically the build drop of passive optical fibre to the outside of the building. To actually connect, the fibre needs to go through the wall, into a powered network termination box NBN have installed inside the premises.

The figure for commenced is also pushed past its proper use by some commentators. Commenced may well mean that the build drop is still up to twelve months away. However it is in the pipeline for completion.

NBN new predictions for existing homes passed by fibre are FY2013 (June 2013) – 286,000. FY2014 – 1,129,000. FY2015 – 2,499,000. FY2016 – 3,862,000.

Phone Spam

I hate phone spammers. So today I got two autodialler calls with no-one on the other end. Plus two charity calls. I am on the Do No Call Register. However charities and politicians are exempt. If I find out which charity has called me, I make sure I never, ever donate to that one again. If this annoyance in the home does not stop, I will rip out the frigging phone!

Testing Web Sites

It is not really testing web sites. It is testing what different web browsers make of your web site. Top 10 Free Web Apps to Test Cross-Browser Compatibility. Very handy.

Google Map Maker

I think Google still have the best maps around. I missed the first of August launch of Google Map Maker in Australia. Now we can make those little corrections for walking paths and other things you can only find via local knowledge.

Google are adding new dimensions to maps, as this Engadget live blog of a Google presentation shows. On the other hand,I checked a much sharper view of the Whitsunday Terraces, and found the sat photos were still over three years old. Carlyle Gardens are not as old, but close to it.

On the other hand, here is why you should contribute data to Open Street Map instead of to Google.

Aussie Pepper

I heard about Aussie Pepper, obtained from Australia’s only Black Pepper farm. Levis & Louis Campagnolo, at The L & L Pepperfarms, 537 Lever Estate Rd, Silkwood, 4856 QLD, Phone 07 4065 2169 near Innisfail in far north Queensland. I believe you can buy direct llcampagnolo at bigpond

Saturday 11 August 2012


I was up early, in the pre-dawn darkness, with just a hint of light over the top of the hill. I started adding metadata at 5:28 a.m. as both the internet and tagChimp were co-operating.

By 7:30 a.m. the sun was warming up the rooms really nicely.

Saw a bunch of folks at the markets this morning. Rex, and later Myra, who have a prior event this evening. Glenn, and later Alison, who probably will turn up.


I started adding metadata to the British political comedy Yes, Prime Minister. Apart from spelling errors, there seems some good metadata already on tagChimp. I prefer a more detailed long description. The other thing missing is the chapter titles, but I can not read them on the DVD boxed set until it is daylight. They are stuck under the plastic so the cover can not be removed for easier reading. Luckily there are only six chapter titles per episode, so I can return to these and edit them in daylight.

The first season of Yes, Prime Minister now has metadata, including the chapter titles. And the sun is not yet showing above the hill. Not too shabby. Alas, there are errors even in the ABC production of their cover art descriptions. Fat Accompli indeed!

In checking Yes Minister, I found a considerable number of data errors, such as screened dates. I had to make corrections to every file. Grump.

I started the backup. After many hours, the backup died at The Shadow. I hope this does not foreshadow general failures in the main drive.


Telstra BigPond internet connection failed around 11;43 a.m. NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is showing a red internet fail light. Pings and traceroute fail. Came back up within a few minutes. My IP address is now. Changed to around 1 p.m. after a brief dropout. Late in the evening it was


It was a little late when Glenn and Alison arrived, bringing another guest, a librarian. Jim arrived, along with Gingie who had made a long drive here. Much later Chad arrived, bringing Emily (and a bunch of coloured pencils for her to play with).

Got to demonstrate the colour changing light bulb with the individual remote control.

Sunday 12 August 2012


My time machine backup had not automatically transferred to the Time Capsule here. I still seem to be seeing some issues with totally automatic backup to multiple Time Capsules. Perhaps this is because it is the first such backup of the MacBook Air to this Time Capsule since I changed to Mountain Lion?

The backup of the main movie disk via the MacBook Pro is about seven hours into the process, with about five hours to go. I sure hope it completes this time.


I was delighted to see Telstra BigPond internet still working this morning. My IP address is still unchanged overnight at

At sometime in the afternoon the Telstra BigPond internet connection dropped out. I noticed it at 5 p.m. Tried ping to boot it to life. However the NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is showing a red internet fail light. I power sequenced the ADSL modem at 5:07 p.m. Internet came back a few minutes later. New IP number

I lost Telstra BigPond internet sometime late in the evening. I wonder if it went out while I was trying to test email? I am sure I grabbed some web pages around that time. No, if mail thought it was offline, it would indicate a read failure. The NetGear DM111P ADSL modem is still showing four green lights. I vary between 40% packet loss and totally lost. Can not get Google to do much. My IP address is now


I awoke before four, and could not get back to sleep. I started adding data to Google's Map Maker. What I should do is add it to Open Street Map instead.

Twig USB to iPhone Connector

A very cute ultra portable USB to iPhone adaptor that also works as a tripod and stand. A Kickstarter project by Jason Hilbourne. Looks like it is getting closer to the production stage.

Big History

I was delighted to learn that Narara Valley High School in NSW is one of two schools in Australia attempting to teach a Big History syllabus, with assistance from Macquarie University Big History Institute. It tries to teach thirteen billion years of history, and explain life, the universe, and everything. I particularly like the way such courses provide multiple origin or creation stories from different cultures.


A diy cyborg body hackers.

Apple Stuff

I did more playing with the AudioEngine USA sound system. Obviously an Apple Airport Express works fine as a sound transfer source, since it has both optical and analogue audio outputs. I joined an Airport Express to my WiFi network, and it did indeed work just fine. Even the new AirPort Utility worked fine.

However I wanted to also get the Apple TV to put out audio. The HDMI only works on the TV, which has lousy speakers, and lousy pass through of sound elsewhere. Since AppleTV does not have an analogue audio output, I connected its standard S/PDIF optical output to an AudioEngine Digital Analog Converter (DAC) via a TOS optical cable. The DAC provided the analogue output I needed for the speaker system. Works fine. It also provides a high quality headphone output.


I had more of a problem with the update to Things 2. It unexpectedly needed an email address for its Cloud synchronisation. I prefer the Bonjour WiFi synching in some ways.

Perhaps I allowed insufficient time after setting up a new email address for it. I never received any of the emails regarding the account. I did get the first of the test emails I sent, but not the next four. Something seems totally stuffed with email, yet again. No wonder I loath this Cloud crap.

A day or so later (late Monday) I found the emails. My mail server was not paying any attention to the alias for a while - maybe even overnight. So the emails all got diverted to my Gmail address. This is what I use to handle all email to addresses I do not recognise. Google have great spam filters, however I hardly ever look at it, since it is not my mail email address.

Monday 13 August 2012


I was delighted to note my Telstra BigPond connection was still operating when I checked it at 6 a.m. However my IP address is now, so that changed overnight. By late afternoon it had changed to IP address is, however I did not notice a loss of internet (I was not using it much).

Airlie Beach

A cruise ship is out there in Pioneer Bay. That means markets should be on this morning. I tried taking a photograph with the old Kodak ultra zoom camera, but the batteries were flat again, both sets. The dawn light would have made a wonderful photo, albeit at far too great a range.

Started laundry, and set off for Bunnings at Cannonvale. I kept changing my mind about what I was going to build. However I was pretty sure it included a lot of 240mm wide timber, which they had in convenient 1200mm lengths. I had four cut in half, for shelves, plus four more for sides. The cuts are a little different in length, but at only a few millimetres, closer than I would have managed with the hand saw. Plus it saved me so much time.

I want the printer and associated gear off my new desk. I do not think I have a suitable drill (only a hand drill) or screws here, but will not have time to build the thing this trip in any case. I have basically had a great time on my three visits to Bunnings. Very helpful folks there.

Put the laundry out on the drying racks on the balcony on my return. I notice I have another broken weld on the stainless steel airing rack.

Off to the markets. Glenn was there, busy selling pirate booty to the tourists from the ship. I was really tempted to get myself some chips, something I have not had in months. However I decided to continue my quest to empty the fridge and freezer instead. I did get a little walk, about two kilometres, in a leisurely fashion.

Packing Jean's car took relatively little time. Maybe two trips, mostly involving gadgets (power boards and LED GU10 downlights) I bought at Bunnings for Jean's place. Which reminds me that I need to test both the power drain and more importantly, the output in lux and beam dispersion of the LED lights.

Things Going Wrong

I am not getting anything through the email system to the new alias (except for a late arrival of the very first item I sent). Maybe internet was out? No. Maybe mail had failed? I had a few emails from elsewhere, so that is probably no. So I sent an email to an old alias, with a cc to the new alias. They should both end up in the same mailbox. Results inconclusive, but it probably failed.

I tried a final test. This time the mail got through. Now to try it again from the application. Yes, this time I did receive a verification code. The application has accepted it. Now to try the same app on the iPhone. OK, that seems to be done. Next the iPad. The app crashed first time, but then worked. I sent the usual crash report off. It seemed to synchronise also after that. I just hope they all keep working.

Late Monday I found the missing emails. My mail server was not paying any attention to the alias for a while - maybe even overnight. So the emails all got diverted to my Gmail address. This is what I use to handle all email to addresses I do not recognise. Google have great spam filters, however I hardly ever look at it, since it is not my mail email address.

Computer Backups

The backups have been running pretty much continuous for the past few days. A twelve hour 1.5TB session that I try to run overnight, plus a number of runs that take an hour or so. Yet people keep asking why I want to get away from USB, and use appropriate Thunderbolt drives. It is the speed, folks, it is all about the speed. As movies become more important for users, it will get even more important.


I disconnected from my Thunderbolt monitor. Found that one CPU was pegged at 100% because of Imagent, something to do with FaceTime instant messages. Which I am not using. Battery was plunging as I watched.

Activity Monitor did not Quit Imagent. I had to Force Quit. I do not seem to have a Messages thread, which surprises me. However Kernel Task (PID 1) is running about 24%, which seems excessive. Then the backupd started as Time Machine did its backup via WiFi. A few minutes later and everything was back using very little CPU. The fans shut down also. Battery down 20% in 20 minutes.

Copyright Right, TPP Wrong

A betrayal by politicians supporting Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Why should copyright exist at all, except that it benefits the citizens of a nation? However the continual extension of the term of copyright donates culture to rent seeking arseholes in plush corporate seats.

Copyright should exist only for natural persons who created the item. Ideally it should terminate within a decade, unless renewed by the natural person. It should terminate upon their death, or perhaps if they have dependent issue, upon these dependents reaching maturity. Companies should only be permitted to lease, not own, copyright.

So what is the general public to do? The only thing I can see is to forego the pleasure of buying copyright books, movies and the like owned by companies. Just give it up. Stop buying. There is plenty of material not owned by corporations. Use that.

Tuesday 14 August 2012

Leaving Airlie Beach

I never set alarms these days. Woke before five (I could tell by where the moon was), and after a little more packing of Jean's car, was on my way at 5:15 a.m. It sure gets cold inland a little. Passed Bowen around six. Starting to get some light in the sky behind me soon after. A few trucks on the road, but no problems with them. I did not stop, made good time, and pulled into Jean's place a little after eight thirty.

It took only a few minutes to unload Jean's car, thus adding to the already considerable mess I had left all over the floor.


I had a shopping list Jean had sent me via iMessage. So off to Willows to collect food. I rather fear Jean will be displeased. The cost of tomatoes and lettuce was so high I could not bring myself to buy either. I did get her some fruit. I think I have everything else, except bread. I want that fresh tomorrow. Unfortunately I also have a rather large collection of things I should not have, like chocolate ice cream and chocolate biscuits.

Desultory cleaning of small fractions of the house while I went through the accumulated mail. The bits I worked on previous, like all the kitchen cupboards, make up such a small area they will not be noticed. Watered the plants, something that needs doing again soon. Some ants have built a nest in Jean's blueberry bush pot. It does not look happy.

Lunch at the restaurant with the usual gang, Pat and Jeff, Dot, Sue, and Ray. Checked with the office about Google Maps. They will get back to me.

My last iMessage from Jean was around 3:45 p.m. She had boarded her Los Angeles flight to Sydney.

Went out and sprayed the tattered remains of the foliage attempting to invade the foundation with more plant poison. It seems to be working rather well. Moved the two large wooden bookcases, which was a lot of effort. I have made no effort to move things back on the shelves, as Jean may decide the large bookcases are too overwhelming.


I suddenly noticed the fan was making a noise in my Apple MacBook Air. A quick check in Activity Monitor showed fsck_hfs was hogging CPU. This is the HFS file system consistency check preening the file system. Why would it need to run?

It was basically my WiFi connected Time Machine backup verifying the existing backup on the WiFi mounted Time Capsule that had not been used for several weeks. OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion had found and mounted my alternate Time Capsule Time Machine backup. So now I appear to have a fully automated, on and offsite backup system. Formerly I had to manually switch between the two Time Capsules at the different sites.

Nice one, Apple.

Brother Printer

I have the new colour printer sitting on the dining room table. Well, to be more honest, the Brother HL-3045CN more dominates the dining room table. At 40cm wide and 50cm long (not including space to open the thing) it will not fit in my closet. I can see I am going to have heaps more trouble with the printing stuff.

The Reading Room

The Reading Room is social reading, which seems hard to operate. DRM infested, I guess. I gave up.

Open XML Works!

I see Microsoft Office 13 is fully Open XML compliant. It was only 2008 that the Microsoft Office Open XML format became an international standard. Yet somehow Microsoft could not manage to make their own products follow their own standard for four years.

Wednesday 15 August 2012


I am getting the usual pedestrian internet connection speed. Oz Broadband Speed Test at 06:20 a.m. using iiNet mirror, and the legacy Javascript version. 600 KB took 4.63 seconds. My line speed is 1056 kbps. My download speed is 132 KB/s. Yawn.


I started the laundry working after my shower, so I guess that was around 6 a.m. I got an iMessage from Jean at 6:28 a.m. saying she had landed in Sydney. Put laundry out on the line, and drove to the chemist to collect my tablets. iMessage from Jean around eight saying she was checked in. At nine, saying she was waiting to board her flight.

During this time I also got a bit more food for Jean. Plus I finally dumped the empty Coke cans from the garage in the RSL recycling collection cage, so they can be sold for scrap.

I was a little early driving to the airport, arriving about a half hour early. Bought a newspaper while I waited. Jean's flight arrived a little early, which was good. No dramas with luggage or getting home. Not even a lot of traffic.

Went to the bar this evening, with Cathy in charge. The usual bunch. Ron, Harry, Ian, Jeff, Ray, and the left overs from the bowling.

By the time I got home (around seven) the house was dark, no movement. Jean had predicted she would crash early. I put rubbish and recycling bins out, in case the trucks came through early in the morning.

Plain Pack Tobacco

I have to congratulate the Australian Labor Party and Attorney-General Nicola Roxon on their principled stand on plain (drab) package, and lurid health warnings on cigarette packages. The High Court have ruled against the tobacco companies.

If tobacco (or alcohol) were a new discovery, it would never pass a fitness for purpose test. When used as directed, tobacco kills people. No company would be permitted to sell it. The owners of the tobacco companies are murderous pond scum whose business should be illegal. It is great to have a win against these dangerous drug distributors.

I have no problem with people taking drugs. I think it is stupid, and self destructive, but lots of things humans do are stupid. I have no problem with individuals selling tobacco. As individuals. I see absolutely no reason drug distributors should be able to hide behind the protection of a company structure. The normal reactions of a company (or almost any organisation) are those of a sociopath. I want anyone selling tobacco to be personally liable for the harm they do. To be honest, I would prefer they be hauled out against a wall and shot, but you are not supposed to say that these days.

Flash Dead

Adobe give up Flash support on Android, as at the latest release. Flash is now officially dead for phones and tablets. So why do web site creators insist on using it still?

Carlyle Gardens Computer Club

I saw the soon to be retired president of the long running Carlyle Gardens Computer Club. I often see Clive in his garden as I walk to the bar, which could suggest I walk to the bar too often. I suggested a web site for the Carlyle Gardens Computer Club.

I also suggested one of the early things to put on a web site was something regarding Kevin's work in the early days, and continuing right through as Secretary. I think that tremendous effort needs to be acknowledged. However I do not know the early history of the place.

Living Spaces

I have left an incredible mess in the lounge room. Everything off the two tall bookcases is on the floor while they were oved. However they will not have the same stuff put back in them. Everything from my closet, which needs a wooden construction for DVDs right at the back, so they can not be put back yet. The corner of my room where the bookcase was removed is a mess of cables. I can not use my computer because all the wires were pulled out.

Thursday 16 August 2012

Carlyle Gardens

I started the laundry real early, a lot more so than I like, around 5:30 a.m. At least that was one thing started. Another load two hours later. The early morning mist was severe. I had my doubts about doing laundry once it was light enough to see the mist. Have not seen that previous mornings.

Moved the junk in the lounge room into the dining room, with means Jean now has space to move junk from her room. Not sure we are advancing much. Moved the printer from the dining room table into my closet. Needed to move other things, like the Time Capsule, to make the space.

No cheese in the freezer, so I did not manage nachos for lunch. Left a note for Jean who was off somewhere, and walked over to the restaurant for lunch. Had a chance to chat with Krys and Ed over lunch.

Frank caught me a little later, while on his way to cards. So I organised to see him tomorrow after lunch, and fix his problem sending email.


I had a phone call from the manager of Bunnings at Cannonvale. She was following up on my store satisfaction survey form that the cashier was encouraging customers to fill out. I can not even recall another retail store (except Apple and Kogan online) follow up on customer satisfaction. The Bunnings manager seemed very helpful.

I now find myself wondering what services I missed at Bunnings, as a result of not being a frequent DIY customer. There are certainly things (lots of things) where I would be happy to pay for service. Indeed, almost the only reason I DIY is I can not find the items I want for sale anywhere. I do not want to build my own furniture. I do not believe I am much good at it. But if you can not find the furniture you want, what alternative is there?

I Wish My Mother Had Aborted Me

I Wish My Mother Had Aborted Me writes Lynn Beisner, giving the reasons. Needs to be more widely circulated.

Why Christian right is wrong about abortion is another.

Daring Fireball Visualisation

A really neat visualisation of Daring Fireball transition from Desktop to Mobile. 10 Years of Daring Fireball: Article by Article. The topics John Gruber has been writing about since August 13, 2002, created by Kemper Smith at Distant Shape.

The Mike Bostock devised D3 tool used is great. Replace Flash with javascript. See this The Wealth & Health of Nations for an example.

Friday 17 August 2012


I was awake early, before four. I did not want to disturb Jean, so I could not really start doing woodwork. Eventually sat in the dark with my computer. I later discovered Jean sitting in the dark with her computer.

The weather has turned weird again, with a very heavy and miserable looking morning mist. Luckily I had done all the laundry by now, so that was not needed this morning. By eight thirty the sun was up, has dispersed the mist, and all was good with the weather.

Jean drove off. I continued to make (bad) supports for a DVD shelf in the closet. If I can get that completed, I can get stuff off the floor and back in the closet.

Went to the restaurant for lunch. Saw Dot, John and Ray. Dropped over to help Frank with his computer after lunch. Took longer than I expected. Like, whenever has doing anything with a computer been quicker? Humans are not really intended to interact with computers.

Apple HiJinks

I had another lesson today about the difficulties even bright and engaged people have coping with some aspects of computing. Now that computers are part of everyday life, people use them for social events, like sharing photos from iPhoto. Except this Apple iMac newly updated with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion insisted on using a very old (no longer existing) Gmail account to send photos. Being closed (or at least having the wrong password), no mail was sent. Since there was a Share with Facebook item, he used that. It worked… the first time. Turned out the account was not in his name, and Facebook had changed the default email address (to one he did not even know existed).

No Gmail account in Contacts, nor in Outlook. I set up Mail, but there was no Gmail account there either. I could not find it in the Previous Recipients (not surprising if Outlook was his primary emailer). Nor could I find it in Outlook. Instead, it seemed exclusive to iPhoto. This is weird, since all evidence is that the Gmail account has not existed for several years prior to purchase of the computer.

I also discovered several passwords were missing. Several other important things had never included a password. I was horrified.

The more I think about this stuff, the more I realise that passwords just do not work. Too many places want them, however users are never told which passwords are important, and which are trivial.

There is material for numerous articles or tutorials on how to get through these problems. Especially, on how to do the things that are important to you on a computer.

Computer Science

I see former Mozilla Javascript evangelist John Resig (JQuery library) at the Khan Academy is redefining the introduction to computer science. They are using ubiquitous web browser based Javascript as a first language, something which seems intuitively right to me.


Is Disqus always broken? Everywhere! Cloud computing? You have to be joking!

Belkin ADSL2+ Modem

I needed to look up what the old model modem router was. It is a Chinese built Belkin ADSL2+ Modem with wireless 802.11g router, bought from Harvey Norman in August 2008 for $130. Model number P57788au-B, part number # F5D7633au4A, version 7000au, serial number 824031574.


A nice comparison of email clients from WikiPedia. Also now Sparrow is unsupported, How to make Gmail work well with Mail.

Saturday 18 August 2012


I lurched around after six, wondering how much worse my bones would feel. Mist everywhere but it soon cleared away. Jean and I were soon engaged in clearing out our rooms, and much else that was in the way. Jean moved her computer onto a temporary desk in the living room. I eventually got mine on a temporary stand, so I could finally use it again. Lots of crap for us to both remove.

365 emails outstanding. Download, delete, delete, etc.


It was just before two that the disassembling of Jean's office reached the point where she needed me to hold things so they did not fall on her as she unscrewed desk bits from underneath. Then I had to move the desk pieces into the lounge, where they will doubtless get in the way for ages. I was surprised the twenty year old corner desk actually fitted through the doorways.

We had the old furniture disassembly and moving mostly done by four. Except for one large piece of Jean's corner desk that now squatted in the living room. Not a good look.

I had bought tickets to a concert starting at two. Did not make it. However at least I contributed something to their fund raising.

Selling Facebook

I got an email from Kogan. I have bought some electronic gadgets from them, so their emails are accepted. It said Vote on gadgets. Given I like gadgets (I have supported eleven gadgets on Kickstarter), I clicked the link. Despite the link pointing at Kogan, it redirected me to Facebook. That made me mad. If you want me to visit Facebook, put in a Facebook link (that I will ignore).

I used to have a Facebook account, until I realised how utterly contemptuous Facebook was about privacy. I found a heap of friends and former acquaintances on Facebook. That was good. Then I started seeing the dark side of always fiddling with privacy settings. Now, I do not want to go anywhere near Facebook. I closed my Facebook account, removed their cookies, and installed extension to stop them tracking me. I will not be returning. I do not like companies that silently push me to Facebook.

The last company that made me mad (Gerry Harvey with his garbage about the lack of GST on internet sales) lost my business. I did not enter a Harvey Norman store for around a year. Hard to sell to someone who never visits.

Kogan, you can be next.


I lost internet access at 5 p.m. No access via Ethernet from the Belkin ADSL modem router. Power sequenced modem at 5:16 p.m. Got one page, then internet failed again.


I want to get rid of the crap. Throwing it out is tempting, but I was raised with the idea that you never threw working things away. If they were broken, you repaired them. I still can not easily bring myself to just throw things out.


I see Disqus is still broken. Cloud computing? You have to be joking!

Sunday 19 August 2012

Google Maps

I liked Google Maps, 10 handy tricks, from Mashable. Ranges from setting both home and work addresses for easy access, to complex tricks.

Internet Shopping Sucks

I wanted some small bags to hold a mobile phone and other like objects. If you can use it to clean the thing, even better. Small white microfibre sunglass bags seemed like they would do. Better order about twenty.

On the third try to get through the online order system of one of the suppliers who did not think they were nearly out of stock, I gave up.

The internet competes with retail stores, because retail stores never seem to stock what I want. The internet does not compete well on service, because the whole experience of doing anything on the frigging internet is an exercise in total frustration.


I watched the various current affairs shows today, as usual. Insiders, Inside Business, then in the afternoon Meet the Press and The Bolt Report. Jean made us an early bacon and egg lunch, with champagne, which was a welcome break.

Jean had been working on her new electric standing desk for much of the day. Lots of photos taken of the impressive new desk. I am jealous.

I installed one of the old Apple TV boxes to the TV in the cupboard. Plus the Brother HL-3045CN printer fitted on the shelf above it. Since the Apple Time Capsule is in the same closet, I connected the USB from that to the printer. Although, perhaps I should have used the printer's own network capability. I did manage to buy my bus tickets online, which gave me a chance to test the printer (it worked).


Why pay any attention to government?

Monday 20 August 2012

Carlyle Morning

I was able to get a bunch of crap done in the morning. Packed my small bag (mostly computers). Jean drove me to Sunland (Brumbies dinner rolls). I had some ham and cheese with me. Jean took a different route that missed the city centre, and delivered me to the ferry and bus terminal around 11:15 a.m.

Caught the 11:30 bus from Townsville to Airlie Beach. This time I had difficulty sitting comfortably in the seat. Despite rain, construction slowdowns, and a bit of a windscreen wiper repair, the non-stop bus made good time. The Greyhound bus arrived in Airlie Beach before three.

Whitsunday Terraces

I walked up the hill really slow, pausing at Reception. Rose told me Doug was here for a few days. It seems the resort is again full, something expected last week with the fun race, but it was very good to see it continue.

Anders was working on the Endeavour Terrace vegetation. I had not expected to see him so far through the resort for a month or more. The gardens were really opened up in many places. Looks like he is hitting the worst areas, and intends to revisit them later. Lots of tree stubs removed at ground level. The clinging vines are being attacked, both around the foundations, and where they are strangling other trees. I am very happy with the progress on the gardens.

Stopped at Doug's unit on my way home. Doug invited me in, and we had a bit of a chat about how the Terraces are going. It was good to see Janet was recovered enough to travel this time. We all seem happier about how the Terraces were going.

A roaring outside. We all headed for the balcony. Planes flying past, low level, in formation. Six roaring red and white Pilatus PC-9A turboprop trainer aircraft. It was the Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes aerobatic display team!

We had a splendid view from the balcony. The Roulettes did what seemed a very long show, with many stunts. They did the Roulette Mirror, with one plane flying inverted above another, only metres apart. Impressive does not even start to describe it.

The Roulettes had been doing a morning show at Mooloolaba, before the four o'clock show over Airlie Beach. They will be at Hamilton Island on Tuesday and Wednesday.

When I saw Jim and Gingie on their balcony, they ended up inviting me to a pasta dinner. Much wine consumed. I did slip out to my place for a minute to put down my bags, and again to find a nice bottle of wine.

Apple Stock Value

I do not pay much attention to stock values, however Apple now holds the record for the highest dollar stock value of any publicly traded company ever. It overtook Microsoft's former record (although inflation means Microsoft would have been valued higher). Apple is not the only company to exceed US$500 billion stock value. Cisco Systems, Exxon-Mobile, General Electric, Intel and Microsoft all did so.

The differences are that Apple set this record during troubled economic times, not during a boom.

More critical, Apple do not have close to monopoly status the way Microsoft (90% of operating systems), Intel (80% of PC CPUs) or Cisco (70% of networking) had. Apple have less than ~7% of the total phone market, less than 20% of the smart phone market. Plus eventually almost all phones will be smart phones. Plenty of room to expand.

Even more critical, Apple's stock is still trading at less than 11 times earnings. Each of the other companies mentioned above had P/E over 60 when they peaked. In short, the others were all working in boom territory. Apple is not. It is displaying the sort of value you could expect from their actual earnings. Actually, the value of Apple is understated by the market. Apple have well over $100 billion in cash on hand.

I believe Apple will be the first company to reach a market capitalisation over a trillion dollars.

Life is Short and Random

I do not see why we are not supporting genetic screening to improve children, rather than just screen out problem genes like cystic fibrosis and Down’s syndrome. Yes, I have watched Gattaca. Eugenics does not need to be a Nazi plot. Not the only one to say this.

Genetically engineering 'ethical' babies is a moral obligation, says Oxford professor Julian Savulescu, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics. We are all accidents of our history. So which parents will start using positive genetic screening? I believe ones who want gold in the Olympics for their country. Keep an eye on former Olympians.

Mind you, I think a better choice would be to reduce the incidence of two copies of the short version of 5-HTT. Then just watch peer group craziness in groups of youth drop.

Tuesday 21 August 2012


I was up late, with the glow of the rising sun clearly visible on the horizon. It must have been at least six o'clock. I discovered that when I arrived in party mode last night, I had neglected to switch on the hot water service. I had also neglected to get shopping for breakfast. Opps.

Went for a walk. Read a newspaper and got breakfast at McDonalds. Bought The Australian and collected the local Whitsunday Times at the newsagent. Bought milk, orange juice and bread at the 24/7 Night Owl. I need to walk more than just a few kilometres.

Saw Nev and his construction crew hard at work on the handrails of Endeavour Terrace. Some of the old wooden rails are already out. It will be great to have that construction solidly underway.

Anders the gardener was also hard at work in the same area. He has really been opening it up, with removal of weed trees.

Asked Doug about the door repairs, and about putting in solar panels.

Wooden Printer Stand

I have started constructing my printer stand. It is 1200 mm high, because that was the length of the radiata pine shelves I found in Bunnings. I like radiata pine for indoor structures because it is cheap and easy to work. The stand is 640 mm wide, because a single cut (by Bunnings) gave me a series of 600 mm shelves for the inside. The longest printer I have is less than 500 mm.

Very slow work with a hand saw and a hand drill. Mostly it was slow because I have been careful to measure twice, cut once. A lot of time wasted trying to locate screws and the like amongst the limited junk on hand here.

First I added a shelf support at the bottom of each upright. The main reason for this was not really to support a shelf. It was to provide a sufficiently wide surface for mounting the trolley wheels. Having the shelf stand about 60 or 70 mm above the floor means a robot vacuum cleaner can clean under the printer stand.


I started ripping the three Charlie Chaplin DVDs I had bought. City Lights, Modern Times, and The Great Dictator. I used HandBrake for the ripping, since that transcodes direct into H.264. Used MetaX to add the metadata. For reasons not clear to me, nothing turned up for Modern Times, although tagChimp had it listed. All the chapter titles were wrong, as these DVDs were done with only eight chapters.

Mighty Monitor Apple Dashboard Widget

I added John Starmer's Mighty Monitor Dashboard widget, since that tracks your battery levels on your Bluetooth mouse, keyboard and trackpad. In particular, if you are using Apple's battery charger and NiMH rechargeable batteries, you can specify that, and get closer results from Mighty Monitor. It is a very sensible little widget if you use Bluetooth remote input devices.

Must figure how to get money into Paypal so I can make a contribution (I am not giving Paypal access to my credit card, and they do not accept cheques).

When installing software into Mountain Lion from an unofficial developer you will get a warning. Control click the application, and you will be able to force the install. Be sure you are happy about the source of the application.

Apple Software Applications from Neatberry

I discovered two dollar Tuesday cheap Apple applications deals by Mike Dattolo. The advantage of these places is discovery. I do not have time to check every program, even if free. However a small fee encourages at least running through how it works. Plus, you do not spend money unless it sounds like it may be of use. The big problem with programs is not paying for them, it is discovering them in the first place.

I had tried Fumy (paint with smoke), and it was fun, but not all that much use to me. Now I tried Neatberry's PhotoStyler. See PhotoStyler in the Mac App Store. It applies filters and effects to photos. Hundreds of photos resized, cropped, rotated and shadowed for web use. This is all stuff you can do with the command line tools, or by writing an AppleScript droplet. However an application that saves you the time and energy of doing so seems a good tradeoff.

Apple Software Applications for Movie Metadata

A lot of my time has been wasted using the open source, multiplatform (Linux, Mac, Windows) HandBrake to rip and transcode movie DVDs into H.264. Followed by a Mac version of MetaX to add movie metadata like cover art (also actors, producers, directors, release dates and so on) from Internet Movie Database and Wikipedia to the H.264. This metadata is often obtained from tagChimp, and my own metadata (if new or corrected) goes into the tagChimp movie database for anyone else to use. It is crowd sourced movie metadata.

I like to get this metadata done before moving movies into iTunes, because I do not know any easy way to add the metadata later. Why not let iTunes add metadata? Because it is sadly lacking in detail. By associating the metadata on actors, directors, producers and chapter titles to the actual file, these details go wherever you move the file. This is not always the case with iTunes added metadata.

iFlicks lets you tweak metadata direct within iTunes files. Great for those movies you did not get around to tagging properly. It does a heap more as well. It is accessed via the (underused) Services menu, and is AppleScript compatible. Get iFlicks from the Mac App Store. It seems to obtain metadata from The Movie DB.

I mentioned AppleScript. This is just one of many Apple OS X operating system features that may not be known to new Apple users.

Apple Delivery via TNT

An astonishing delivery for some Apple items I ordered yesterday morning around 10 a.m. prior to catching the bus. They were lodged at 1:32 p.m. and delivered by TNT the next day at 12:17 p.m. So Sydney to Townsville, 2200 kilometres, in 23 hours. Now that is good service!

Carbon Tax on Electricity

I see estimated figures on our electricity accounts relating to the newly applied Commonwealth Government Carbon Tax (the one we were not going to have). I phoned Ergon (initially about another matter) and organised to cancel any payments for Green Power. We have been paying extra for Green Power for ages. If there is a Carbon tax, then I am not paying extra.

It is sort of like finding Pay TV still has advertising. If I pay, I will not tolerate advertising. If Pay TV has advertising, then I will not pay for it. Ever. After twenty years of not even having a TV set, that is an easy decision.

Not so easy is whether to avoid contributing to Green causes. Indeed, just what is a Green cause?

Wednesday 22 August 2012


I was only up a little prior to six. Must have slept well. It is overcast, but not all that cold. Ants have appeared at the new computer table Jim gave me. I never eat at that table, so I do not understand why it attracts them. I would have thought a kitchen would be a better target. I surface sprayed them a couple of times pour encourager les autres.

Doing woodworking.

The AirTunes speaker system is working fine to the AudioEngine 5. I have been testing a bunch of the jazz recording for sound quality. Seems good, for those I have tried.

Wooden Printer Stand

I continued measurements for the wooden printer stand I am making. I decided 430 mm between centres would allow a minimum of 400 mm for the height of the bottom shelf. The largest printer I own fits easily into a 380 mm space, so if the printer ends up on the bottom, it will fit.

I went down a mere 350 mm from the top, to allow a shelf height of 330 mm. That should easily f it a ScanSnap scanner, if that does not get the top position. This leaves a slightly higher middle shelf, for maximum flexibility.

I did briefly consider a whole series of holes, plug in bookcase supports, and drop on shelves. I feel that is too flimsy in radiata pine for anything on wheels. Plus all the additional holes would take forever to drill. If it were not such a long walk to the hardware store (about six kilometres) I might have gone out and bought a cheap electric drill.

It seemed to take forever to drill a dozen more holes in each of four uprights with the old hand drill. After that there was the countersink bit, which was soon blunt. Not good.

I did get started with drilling into the end grain of the first shelf, but gave up when it got dark. That long drill bit is basically stuffed. Also I probably would have been better off with 50 mm screws rather than 60 mm. Also when Bunnings cut the shelves, they are off square by between three and five mm. I have no tools to fix that. Hope I can warp things enough to cope with screws.


I reckon the Eurozone will crash. Trade is slowing there. Much of Europe is in recession or stalled, and not likely to grow for several years. Not even to grow at the same rate as population increase.

Unemployment is over 10% on average, and youth unemployment is Greece and Spain is horrible, with general unemployment averaging 25%. Even Germany is not really growing, although at least they still have reasonable employment. This is the sort of thing that points to the importance of flexible employment policies. If you can not sack, you will not employ. Flexible hours make it possible to keep staff on to match demand, as we saw in Australia during the GFC. Hours dropped, but at least people kept their jobs.

Just in time delivery systems are going to break down. People in North Queensland already tend to store emergency supplies for cyclone season. I reckon it might be a good idea to expand that a heap, since the stores do not have giant warehouses these days.

Kickstarter Gadgets

I like the crowd funded venture capital source Kickstarter, so I have backed several Kickstarter ventures. I have received an Oona iPhone camera support from The Oona. I have also received an environmentally friendly LilyPad solar power case for iPad, now renamed KudoCase. They also have other gadgets now.

Kickstarter Gadgets

Galileo Bluetooth iPhone controlled robotic pan and tilt stand from Josh Guyot and JoeBen Bevirt at Motrr was funded in April. They have some delays, but these guys behind the Joby and the Gorillapod™ camera tripods look well placed to do a good job. At issue is the complexity of what they are attempting. Even with good prototypes, there will be issues.

Kickstarter Gadgets

Steve King's Hand Stylus is a capacitive stylus for tablets and phones. It has several features I like, but the main one is a finer 4 mm point. Now one potential issue with a finer point is you will probably need to press harder to get sufficient point contact. For some things, especially broad art strokes, you may also want a thicker 8 mm stylus in your art tools. This Hand Stylus was funded in June, and I expect delivery soon. I suspect I will like it a heap.

Kickstarter Gadgets

Knut is a WiFi enabled device with interchangeable sensors and a mobile app, by Richard Pasek and Jay Gondelman. Knut by Amperic was funded early July. A bit hard to explain. The inventors started off wanting to monitor aquariums. So they devised a portable, battery powered smart device with a web server, that could accept a variety of sensors. Temperature, humidity, vibration. Knut sends you an email or a CSV file periodically. This one sounds really handy for ad hoc automation and data collection.

Kickstarter Gadgets

Scanbox turns your phone into a portable scanner. In Melbourne, Phil Bosua came up with a folding platform to hold your iPhone above documents you want to scan. It clips together with magnets. I have cut out cardboard boxes innumerable times so I could scan a bunch of documents. But the boxes always end up in the way, so you chuck them out, only to find you need to make another copy stand. Scanbox solves this copy stand problem.

Kickstarter Gadgets

Hone Bluetooth 4 key finder for iPhone 4 needs a Bluetooth 4 capable iOS device. Hone is small enough (15 grams) to use as a keychain. Geoffrey Litwack designed it. You autopair the Hone device and your iPhone 4 or iPad 3. Then you can let your iOS device tell you as you get closer to your keys. Living in a retirement village, I increasingly need a few Hone.

Kickstarter Gadgets

The Kick pocket lighting studio for photos or video was funded in late July. It basically is a battery powered fill in LED light, capable of an almost infinite range of colours. It is controlled by the Kick App on an iPhone, connecting to the RiftNet WiFi the Kick provides. It can sample any light you can photo. Plus it has a range of effects available. Start out with fill in white light, then add some warmth. You can also use it standalone, by taking manual control. Kick comes from Rift labs, who have been working on great lights for a long while. Funded late July.

Kickstarter Gadgets

Twig USB connector to iPhone is a very short, flexible combination of USB cable and tripod stand. Ingenious idea, especially for travellers. Comes from Jason Hilbourne at 3D Product. Funded late July.

Kickstarter Gadgets

Strata by MetaWatch is a Bluetooth 4 smart watch for your iPhone 4s, from former Fossil Watch execs Bill Geiser and David Rosales. MetaWatch will check messages, see who’s calling, control music, view weather, and more, all from your wrist. The software is open sourced. These folks seem to have been in the smart watch area for nearly a decade. MetaWatch blog here. Funded late August.

Thursday 23 August 2012


I was up a little before six. To the north the sky looked clear, but the south east hillside was covered in a dirty cloud. I did woodwork (very slowly) and did not go out for the newspaper until after ten. By then, it was too hot for me.

Buffalo Portable Thunderbolt Hard Drive

I received an advertisement for a Buffalo MiniStation portable Thunderbolt (and USB 3) hard drive from ePowerMac. The Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt drive got reasonable reviews.

I guess getting the bad points out first would be an idea. It only has a single Thunderbolt port! This means that it has NO passthrough via a second Thunderbolt port. It must be the last drive on a Thunderbolt device chain. If every device manufacturer makes that decision, how do you run multiple Thunderbolt devices?

It has a SATA 3.0, 5400 RPM, 8 MB cache, Samsung ST500LM012 hard drive. This is way too slow to saturate a Thunderbolt connection. Using a slow rotating mechanical hard drive drops Thunderbolt performance to barely better than USB3 transfer speeds. This device is basically only of use to owners of 2011 and early 2012 Apple devices that have Thunderbolt, but not USB3.

You can (with difficulty) pull apart the device and install a solid state drive instead of the regular hard drive. This increases the performance to about two to three times the regular hard drive (it will probably halve the drive capacity). Since you can not buy a bare Thunderbolt enclosure from anyone, this makes the Buffalo device the only path for those hobbyists wanting to install their own Thunderbolt solid state drives.

One good point is that it comes with a short Thunderbolt cable. Most (even expensive) Thunderbolt devices make you buy the (expensive) cable separate. There is a reason no-one could do better than Apple's $55 price for those Thunderbolt cables. The Thunderbolt cables have custom electronics in each end.

Wooden Printer Stand

I continued with my wooden printer stand. By lunchtime I had the first rectangular section put together. It was already abundantly obvious that the radiata pine was a little warped. I will have to force a bit of a bend in the wood for the inner two shelves, which are cut slightly shorter. The shelves are also not exactly square. Bunnings table saw is off about 3 to 5 mm. Not that I have anything to correct that. By then, the drill bits were blunt, and my old fashioned hand drill was loosing its handle. Do not say anything about me flying off the handle.

The second rectangular section in the late afternoon. I lacked several tools I needed, so I had to cheat. So I just glued the two rectangular sections together, without the crooked shelves. Piled every piece of office equipment I could spare on top of them as weights. Hope I don't hear a crash in the night.

Whitsunday Terraces

I wandered past Endeavour terrace. Nev's construction crew have lots of the old wooden railing out. The new powder coated aluminium railings are going in really well (except when pieces are missing). Looks like they might be completed by the weekend. Four buildings to go, and some of them are already partially completed.

Friday 24 August 2012


I was awake before five, unfortunately. Maybe it was hearing the garbage bin go out. I started reading news feeds on my iPad, until it started to get lighter. Took out the garbage at 6:30 a.m. Since it was obvious my neighbour was up, I also started a load of laundry. I can not start laundry too early, as the roof still drips condensation until the sun is up reasonably well, sometime after seven. The weather forecast is not great, but it sounds worse tomorrow. Plus it looks like it may be a mostly clear day. So air drying should work.

It did.

Late in the evening I happened to see Watchmen, which seemed distinctly different to the usual run of superhero comic made into movie. I must find which version it is. I have a DVD that is an animated version (not that I have had time to view it).

Wooden Printer Stand

I started adding the crooked shelves. Used the beading I had bought accidentally as tacked on as supports for the shelves, until I could screw the shelves in place.

First side was hard, due to the blunt drill bits. I kept the too short shelves in place with more spare 4 mm beading. That let me get a few screws in place. At that point I realised I had twelve screws, not the 24 I needed. No more long thread timber screws, 60 mm x 10G, countersunk head, Philips Drive. Grump. Had to use some shorter temporary screws for the centre holes.

I put the stand on its side. Piled a bunch of office stuff on the side, to push in the bulging sides. Not enough. Piled more stuff on it. Partly sat on it. Got screws in, for sufficient values of screws. Took a long time.

I still need to get a dozen more screws, to replace the temporary ones. Plus I need 48 plastic screw caps to hide the screws.

It is becoming more and more obvious that the proper way to handle these construction projects is to design them on a computer. Then get precision pre-cut pre-drilled panels delivered. Sort of like a model aircraft kit. Can I actually buy such stuff from Sizewise? Or anyone else?

iTunes Error

I kept getting an iTunes warning message, when playing music from my external hard drive. The iTunes Library file cannot be saved. The required drive cannot be found. You can turn off this warning, but it is better to find the error.

In iTunes Preferences, Advanced, there is no location for the Library. A bit difficult to understand, as one message is coming up for each song played (iTunes wants to increase the song played count and date). It is easy to understand what happened. The external hard drive switched itself off when the computer went to sleep overnight (not sure why - this does not always happen). iTunes was still awake. But did not find the drive it was last using. Starting the drive did not help, because iTunes did not try to find it again for Library files (despite finding music on it). You just have to start the hard drive while iTunes is closed. Start iTunes, and it should find the music library once again.

Geothermal Power

I see Origin Energy have given up on their partner Geodynamics on Hot Rocks power. I had great hopes for their deep drill water injection into hot granite steam power experiment in the Cooper Basin. I even made sure I got an inspection of their Innamincka Deeps Joint Venture when I was last near Innamincka.

I still see no reason it should not work. However it looks like the technology Geodynamics need might be more tricky than expected. I will still keep an eye on results for Habanero 4, and hope for good news.

Messages Not Delivered

I started to have problems around midday with Apple's Messages application. I got a big red exclamation point, and a Not Delivered message every time I sent something. However I was getting the usual delivered message to start, and a bit later it would change to Not Delivered. This happened only on the device (iPhone or iPad) I was actually using to send the message. Jean was getting the same problem on her messages to me.

Various cures on the internet. Permissions, and so on. Most sounding more like witchcraft.

My Messages are repeated on my MacBook Air. When I opened the Messages application (no longer a beta), I noticed receipt of messages had stopped around midday. So both the delivered, and the Not Delivered indicators were correct. iPhone and iPad took delivery. MacBook Air did not receive the Messages, hence the later Not Delivered appearing.

After some checking in the Messages Preferences, I noticed the MacBook Air included a spurious AIM address. I am not sure how it got in there. Left over from some experiment with the beta? Somehow transferred from an older Macintosh? Nor do I know how it became activated.

I am likely to continue to have problems with Apple's preferred way to identify users. I have an older Apple identity, from the days when Apple were selling access to file space. I think it may have been a freebie to start with, but I know I paid for at least one year. However I never found anything useful to do with it (despite Apple having various interesting offers). So now the email address by which Apple know me is completely different to my Apple ID (which I think is a good idea anyhow). However it seems these older Apple IDs can not be changed.

Great Artists Steal

An article in the New Yorker by Malcolm Gladwell. Xerox PARC, Apple, and the creation of the mouse.

Saturday 25 August 2012


I was up in plenty of time to see a real pretty dawn. Jean was iMessaging me, so I messaged a photo and then emailed it full size. The Photo Stream feature in iOS and OSX works really nicely, if you have the internet connection.

A cruise ship snuck into Pioneer Bay in the early morning.

The Airlie Beach markets were very crowded by passengers. Not sure how many were buying stuff. Plus the weather has turned warm. Actually it has turned hot. I chatted with Rex, and Glenn. Saw Marlene, and her mother Irlene, as I was leaving. Collected the newspapers. No idea when I will have time to read them.

Cleaning up inside the apartment. This is taking too long.

Great Artists Steal

A tape recording has surfaced. At the 1983 International Design Conference at Aspen, a young Steve Jobs predicted the future. The Center for Design Innovation have it available on their blog.


iPhoto Import

I decided to take the next (easy) step in changing all my computer activity over to the MacBook Air. I imported all the photos on my iPhone into iPhoto. It looks like the July and the August Photo Stream material came right along, which I guess is good. I am glad I am testing this with throw away photos, rather than something from a trip.

Photo Stream showed an active spinning upload icon for a really substantial time. It has been running for around two hours now. If iCloud think they need to put all 1000 or so photos up on their web site, this could lead to problems. The upload speed from Airlie Beach is not great. From Carlyle Gardens it is pathetic.


I announced my usual party, however David and Eva, and Glenn and Alison had prior events. Plus Jonathan and Josie were off sailing. So numbers sounded limited.

Rex phoned a little before the party, to ask about cancelling and going to a restaurant. However I am reluctant, because I had a complaint once from Pete, who turned up to an empty apartment (I do not know what happened - I was here).

Marlene and her mother Irene turned up first. Rex and Myra soon after. Much later Jim arrived. The pizza arrived. Everyone headed off early. Rex and Myra were just leaving when Chad and Rose and the two children arrived. Water spilled (reminds me the floor needs washing), but nothing broken. Good to have a last chance to chat with them.

iTunes Backup

I told my iPhone to back up its apps to the MacBook Pro. This will take a while. Meanwhile I have lost all except the relatively few Apple Store music, books and movies. I have new Apple Lossless rips of all the music. I have all the books duplicated. Not so sure about the metadata on the books. I have a bad feeling about the quality of the metadata. This will probably get interesting.

This whole problem started because, for the first time I can recall, the quantity of data we can store on a computer has declined. The trade off for going from the well established, but slow, rotating magnetic media hard drive (spinning rust) to solid state memory has been much smaller memory. Since I recall the advantages of the Psion solid state memory in the 1990's, it is a trade off I am willing to make. But if you have terabytes of data (as I do) it means major changes in how you operate.

Sunday 26 August 2012


I was up early. I had done most of the party clean up, except the washing up. My iPhone transfer was in an interesting state. Luckily I should only need to do this once.

Watched the ABC public affairs shows Insiders, and then Inside Business. Ate breakfast (reheated garlic bread left over from the party). Read some of the many accumulated newspapers while that was going on. Who says I can not multitask?

That was a welcome break from cleaning up the apartment, and putting things away in a tidy and well devised manner. Well, hiding things wherever they would fit in cupboards is more accurate. Luckily it does not seem all that bad when you just do one little collection of crap at a time. It also seems that you are not getting anything done.

Pete dropped in for a drink around two. Asked about connections for a set top box. I explained and showed. All these gadgets just seem to confuse people.

Eric Butler was a traitor

I often disagree with Phillip Adams, while continuing to enjoy his columns in The Weekend Australian. I also think the Press Council generally make reasonable decision in cases of dispute. The Australian editor Steve Waterson wrote about a case last year with Phillip Adams condemning Eric Butler as an anti-Semitic traitor. Nigel Jackson complained. Given the history of the League of Rights, I believe Adams has the right of it. Steve Waterson continued The executive secretary of the council, shared my view, telling Jackson `Phillip Adams is entitled to his opinion, and the editor of The Weekend Australian Magazine was under no obligation to publish your letter.'

Adams was right. Despite any voluntary war service, Eric Butler was an anti-Semitic traitor.

Neil Armstrong Dies

The first man to walk on the moon. Neil Armstrong dies at 82. Wink at the moon.

The Big Bang Theory

I watched The Big Bang Theory. Critics are right. If you took out the laugh track, it would just be a dull documentary on autism.

Playboy Interviews Dawkins

A review by Jerry Coyne of a Playboy interview with Richard Dawkins about atheism and evolution. Some nice quotes. Not online so I can not link the original.

Monday 27 August 2012


No one born since 1935 has ever walked on the moon. A dozen humans have done so, eight of them still alive. The youngest is 76. What chance humans return to the moon before the last moon walker dies?

Leaving Airlie Beach

I was up early, as usual. Grabbed a bunch of stuff down from the internet. Copied the transcodes of the movies I ripped onto a USB drive. Only about 15 minutes, and it was before five. Then it seemed like a good idea to copy the photos that may not have made it into the Mac mini. Not so good, there was 14GB of these. I split them between three 8GB memory sticks. The final one, just before six, to a Lexar USB, said it would take an hour. Opps! The bus leaves at seven.

I reached the bus area a few minutes after the bus. Luckily unloading always takes some time. The Greyhound bus left Airlie Beach on time. A reasonable run to Bowen, breakfast outside Bowen with 40 minutes available. Despite the inevitable (and generally welcome) road works, the bus pulled into the Townsville terminal at 11:35 a.m.

App Dot Net

AppDotNet FAQ.


I was collected by Jean a few minutes after I arrived at the bus terminal. We had been co-ordinating as usual via iMessage. Went to a fairly empty Sizzler for lunch. They have a light meal, and tiny steak and chips, and one plate to the salad bar. That was still more than enough for me. Jean had the usual salad bar.

Government Efficiency

I mentioned earlier applying to the Commonwealth Government Centrelink folks for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. Several people told me applying was a good idea. Three visits later, six cards later (I got four, Jean got at least two), Centrelink had managed to get our addresses correct in all respects.

Now I have nothing but praise for the courtesy and helpfulness of the public servants on the Centrelink staff at two different offices. I do feel they are likely badly served by their computer systems, at least when anyone has a complex address. However six or seven letters (even computer mediated) is not efficient.

Jean recently told Centrelink we were taking a holiday. This is apparently something their rules say you should do if you are on their books in some manner. So we each got a lengthy letter in government gobbledegook, about how they would cancel various things we do not receive, if we did not return when we said we were returning. And, by the way, if that happens, tell us. Sigh!

Newspaper Dumps on Pearson

I see the newspapers dumping on Noel Pearson.

Tuesday 28 August 2012


I wasted the morning trying to get rid of old magazines. Each contained something of potential use, so I did not want to simply discard all of them. However Jean encouraged me to clear the path to the door, so I got started ripping out articles. Very slow work.

We went to the Mitre 10 hardware store before eight. Hair clipper set of $10. This is cheaper than finding a replacement for a broken comb on the old set. Thus we trash the urban landscape with garbage dumps. Who has not dreamed of a shaver than could shave for a thousand years, and not lose its edge?

At the hardware store, I got the screws I needed to complete my Airlie Beach shelf construction. Also another of those stubby screwdrivers that will fit in the kitchen drawer where the tools live. Plus an indulgence, a $20 wireless remote reading thermometer, since our ones seem to be broken. We also did food shopping at Willows.

Lunch at the restaurant, where Cathy was looking after the shop. More people present than I expected. At our table, Dot, Ray, Pat and Jeff.

Carlyle Gardens Computer Club

I went to the annual general meeting of the Carlyle Gardens Computer Club. Many of the long standing organisers of this club were stepping back to less active duties. They have done a wonderful job over more than a decade in making the computer club at Carlyle Gardens an active organisation within the Carlyle Gardens Retirement Resort. The club holds a monthly meeting on the last Tuesday evening of the month, almost always with a guest speaking about some aspect of using computers. In addition, the club regularly holds tutorials in the club's computer room. The Carlyle Gardens Computer Club has 119 paid up members, making it the largest club within the village.

The new committee are Bob Bowd as President, James Phillip as Vice President, Laurie Wickham as Secretary, and Jeff Stickley remains as Treasurer. Committee are Leone Cunningham, Jennifer Gimm, Kevin Poschalk (past Secretary) and Clive Rattlidge (past President).

The Fight Between Apple and Samsung

In general, Android based phones should not have major problems with the recent court decision. However in differentiating one manufacturer from another, they will need to be more creative in how they skin the phones. Given Android seems pretty good without skinning, I expect only a few of the larger manufacturers (like Samsung) will continue to skin. Samsung will also probably do a fair bit more with Windows phones.

I believe that in six months time, there will be more, different, inventive phones available to the consumer. However it will be harder for the consumer to decide which is best for them.

Some manufacturers may cross licence some Apple patents. This should not show up in consumer prices (hidden in TelCo contracts), however it may make it even tougher for most phone manufacturers to make enough of a profit to survive.

Differentiation on the basis of hardware will probably increase. Larger screens, more memory, more pixels in more cameras, more dot points in advertising. All these tend to cost more in manufacturing, which again affects margins of Android makers more than it does Apple (who for example are managing to run on half the memory of a typical Android phone). Consumers will need to be more careful that the phone they buy is suitable for their actual use. Some cheaper phones will lack hardware required by some applications.

I fear many manufacturers will get some technically great phones out the door, but then not be able to support them with software updates.

Telstra 4G Expansion

I see Telstra announce 4G network to double. A continued aggressive push into Long Term Evolution (LTE) in the former 2G 1800 MHz band by Telstra. Obviously Telstra can not move its desirable 850 MHz longer range band from 3G over to LTE. Meanwhile, legacy TV channels are still squatting on the 700 MHz band, because governments are afraid to tell beer swilling, TV watching, couch dwelling, urban bogans they need to buy a set top box and stop blocking progress.

Wednesday 29 August 2012


I was awoken by condensation dripping down the drainpipe outside the bedroom. Lurched out into the pre-dawn to check my mail.

Destroy surplus magazines.

Phone calls about Apple, from yet another new owner. I do think some help is needed with these.

Saw Leigh about whether Carlyle Gardens would object to a Carlyle Gardens Computer Club web site, since Laurie had concerns. Try to help her find the cause of missing sync. Too long since I have looked at Windows for me to tell what it was doing.

Fish and chips for lunch.

Destroy surplus magazines.

Go to pub. Drink to forget magazines.

Destroy surplus magazines.


Gizmodo links never load.

Gizmodo gives up after too many redirects. I suspect it wants a cookie and spits the dummy when it can not get it. Bad Gizmodo. No links for you!

In contrast, Gizmodo Australia will let you get at the same content. For example, Apple's secret employee training manual.

DNLA Shambles

I wonder who is using DNLA?

Volt Battery Flat

Is it true that General Motors have stopped producing the Volt electric car? Gizmodo report so. I blogged a while ago that the price was too high, in Australia.

What Gizmodo do not say is that GM are stopping production for four weeks. That is an entirely different spin on the topic.

Big Tobacco Strikes Back

I see Phillip Morris Asia claim they are discriminated against, because they are based in Hong Kong. They used to be Phillip Morris Australia, until they moved their subsidiary to Hong Kong to make a complaint using the Australia Hong Kong investment treaty.

However world trade rules apply country to country, so a company can not complain. Next up is Ukraine, about to complain about Australia's tobacco laws. They do not even sell tobacco here. They are just a corrupt, bought out government. Peter Martin is doing a great job exposing these tobacco company schemes.

The tobacco company executives are scum who should be hauled out and shot.

Thursday 30 August 2012


I was up before four, when the downpipe outside the bedroom started dripping and echoing. Decided ripping pages out of magazines might disturb Jean, even at the other end of the house.

Eventually continued ripping pages out of magazines. The 200 litre recycling bin was completely full of paper before the truck came to haul the recycling away.

Parcels arrived. More gadgets, like a Draytech ADSL modem, plus a bunch of cables. Later in the day the Logitech Bluetooth wireless keyboards arrived.

Linking Carbon Trading to Europe

I think the latest idea of linking an Australian carbon dioxide equivalent emissions trading scheme to the rapidly failing European Union is pretty loony. Linking to any country at all is practically a guarantee that the trading will be gamed by unsupervised tricksters. Between banks faking LIBOR, Greece ever being included in the European zone, and the crap their central banks are doing now, why would you ever want to link anything to Europe?

Linking to Europe is silly. Europe is about 13% or so of our trade, much of that U.K. and Germany. Why not larger trade partners like USA or China or Japan? Oh yes, I remember. They are not stupid enough to have a tax.

About the only good news is the $15 floor price on carbon has been dumped. Just how much of the government's efforts towards emissions trading are going to be left? This would not be so bad except money raised from the Carbon Tax (the tax we were promised we were not going to get) has been pissed up against the wall as compensation for those paying the tax.

Next expected news item, Julia singing money can't buy me love. Maybe as a duet with Craig.

Strong Passwords

A nice tutorial on how to Generate a Strong Password using Mac OS X Lion’s Built-in Utility, on How-To Geek. It saved me the trouble of writing one myself.

MacBook Air Battery Life

I used my Apple MacBook Air from about seven in the evening. Sometime after ten it just closed down on me after running out of power. I had last noticed it having about 20% of battery life left. Two things relating to updating to Mountain Lion. I have never previously managed to use enough battery to have it shut down. Plus the lack of an always visible battery life estimate is a pain in the arse. I do not give a stuff what percentage of my battery is left. I want an estimate of how much time I might still have.

I posted feedback to Apple to complain about both battery life and lack of a battery burn time estimate.

Sticky Notifications

I have been following a developer named Matt Gemmell on Twitter for a short while. I forget exactly why; something he wrote.

Recently I noticed his company Instinctive Code has a new application called Sticky Notifications. It is pretty straightforward. Popup notifications that appear in Notification Centre (or Growl) for those moments when you know you will get distracted before you return to the task. As a senior citizen, I have that problem all the time.

Matt writes about the problems you need to solve with your Sticky Notifications application before launching it on an uncaring world. He has some nice details of it there. Including the one I always wonder about, which is can I use it on each of my Apple Macs? (Yes)

It has some neat abilities (including an Automator action). Seems more than likely it will be worth the three bucks Matt wants. Also, you can download it for free from his web site, so you can check it out. Which is what I am doing. Also available from the Mac App Store.

If I get my tax return mailed, I will know it works.

Friday 31 August 2012


I did not awake early, for once. On the other hand, the prospect of doing my tax returns at six was such I would do almost anything to avoid starting. Jean said she was going looking for furniture at AMart, so I went along. She found a chest of drawers that she thinks will work. We did not return until eleven.

Facebook Truths

It's Becoming Clear That No One Actually Read Facebook's IPO Prospectus Or Mark Zuckerberg's Letter To Shareholders, says Henry Blodget. Very accurate.

Facebook's sense of mission is one reason I no longer have a Facebook account, and never will have one again. Twitter, you are probably next to go.

Solar Power

The solar power output figures last month (July 2012) showed it generated 3043kWh over 9116 hours. The figures for August are 3170kWh over 9467 hours. So the total hours operating in the 31 days of August 2012 were 351 hours, during which it generated 127kWh. About 4.1kWh per day, or 362 Watts per operating hour. This is a nominal 1 kW panel, operating with fine conditions for most of the month.

Home and Away

AB 19, CG 11, T 1

Eric Lindsay's Blog August 2012