I was awake well before five, despite celebrating New Year Eve. Weather was better than expected. Also it seemed likely the roads would be clear during the holiday. So I closed up the apartment, took the last load of boxes to Jean's car, and set out.
Triple threat. The expected people wandering around roads. Near highway, not only a wallaby, but also peacocks. After that the trip was trouble free. The sky even cleared around Bowen. I reached Carlyle Gardens around 8:30 a.m.
I unloaded the accumulated recycling from the car into the recyle bin. Between newspapers, bottles, and plastic containers, it was almost full. I have not really put out many of the five thousand sheets of paper that went through the scanner.
During the day, I ran identifiable papers through the shredder. Took many loads of shredded material out to fill the remaining space in the recycle bin.
A classic day for the internet. Thirty years ago today, TCP/IP became the standard internet protocol, replacing network control protocol (NCP). TCP/IP was devised in 1974 by Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn, but took a while to displace others.
Now it is time for the thirty year old IPv4 to be replaced by IPv6. We have already run out of numbers.
A visit to Willows to get our walk in the air conditioning. We dropped the empty aluminium cans in the RSL recycling bin on the way out of Carlyle Gardens. After a few times around Willows, we collected a little food in Coles. I also remembered to get some sausages at the butcher as we were leaving. Rush home via mail box. Second breakfast (raisin toast).
Off across town to Jaycar Electronics. Six items on my phone list, from the flyer in the latest Silicon Chip magazine. Alas, we could only get three of them. The rest had not arrived as yet. I wanted to tell Rex about the Ultrasonic Water Tank Level Meter with Thermo Sensor, since the remote operation will probably interest him.
I did get some items from Jaycar. One was a miniature WiFi access point, with an Ethernet connector, for when Jean is travelling. Much smaller than taking a more powerful, but more bulky, Apple Airport Express. Another gadget was a magically tiny USB card reader, for travel use.
Back home, for a brief while, before we rush out again. Jean sees reception. Visit doctor. Got in on time. Miracle. I had three magazines to read with me, just in case.
Phoned Jean (who had not reached home in the car) and got a lift back, rather than suffer the heat.
Making myself sausages and baked beans for lunch. A beer matched that better than the champagne Jean had with her more civilised lunch.
Finished reading two issues of Analog that had just arrived. November and March. Mail seems stuffed.
Filled a 220 litre recycle bin with old newspapers, and with papers I had scanned.
I see house prices sink for second year, according to The Age. Usually newspapers are in denial about property prices. Rismark say 0.4% decrease, following a 3.4% decrease. I think houses are grossly overvalued. Work backwards from their rental value to get a more accurate figure.
Reserve Bank slashing interest rates to make it easier to buy a house that is already overpriced is little use. Prices of homes are absolutely absurd in Sustralia, compared to many overseas areas. This is especially so in an underpopulated land. Quality of most home construction is abysmal.
Not falling far off the fiscal cliff solves nothing for the USA. They are still spending more than they earn. Printing more is only a partial solution. Inflating the currency is only a partial solution. If they were not a reserve currency, their problems would be worse. Other countries are trying to avoid using US dollars as a trade currency.
I started scanning old paperwork with a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 a month or so ago. Got more done than I expected over the past month (over 5500 sheets scanned). Discovered Paperless 2013 is promoting gadgets and software for going paperless. I am interested in seeing what tips @paperless2013 will provide on Twitter.
A good day for laundry, so we started that at 5:30 a.m. Jean had to head off early. Back in time for breakfast, so we did go to Willows for a walk. Four and a bit times around Willows. No luck in BigW. Discovered one shop ha apple slices. Must try to forget this. Crowds in newsagent too long to get a newspaper. Walk was fine. Shopping sucked.
We were so late the Post Office was open. Jean had a list of needed envelopes (but no money with her). Ten pre-paid 500 gram envelopes, and 10 pre-paid 3 kilogram packages cost over $150. No wonder people send stuff electronically whenever they can.
Hid inside in the air conditioning for most of the day. Worked on doing my FAPA mailing comments.
We just watched a really nice pass of the International Space Station over Townsville at 8:07 p.m. Picked it up about 45 degrees above the North West horizon, through almost directly overhead, almost to the South East horizon. One of our best views, for almost six minutes, with only a few clouds. Thanks for the tracking ISS email, NASA.
It looks to me like Google have embraced evil in their quest to lessen the grip Facebook has on social media. They are attempting to force people to use Google+, presumably so they can sell you to advertisers more effectively.
Facebook pushed privacy so hard that I dropped my Facebook account, and dropped contact with several hundred of friends who apparently no longer use email. I do have a Gmail account (not a Google+ account). I hardly ever check it to see what spam has accumulated. I can drop Gmail too.
A glimpse of eternal life via Islam. Wait until you are dead folks. Pie in the sky when you are up on high.
I can not say I am sorry to see netbooks, these poor excuses for computers, die out. Acer and Asus are ending their netbook production, incuding the Eee PC. In 2009, it was claimed netbooks would sell 139 million. Now it is closer to zero.
Early $199 netbooks ran Linux, and ran it reasonably well. Big mistake. Users did not want Linux. So netbooks moved to Windows XP, increasing size, increasing (licence) costs, decreasing battery life. They had just become a dreadful notebook computer! Basically regular Windows notebook computers were way better, and did not cost the user that much more.
The GFC hit, which encouraged netbooks. Computer sales generally slowed. But more and more people were realising netbooks were a heap of shit, at least as a substitute for a Windows notebook. More important, computer manufacturers got absolutely no margin selling a netbook. Heaps of work producing them, for bugger all profit. Why would you continue?
An account of how adding lead in petrol probably caused crime surge in USA in the 1960's and 1970's. Boys are more susceptible. Twenty years later, they are the criminals. Lots of correlations between lead and later crime found, in multiple countries, and even states and cities.
It has been said before. Without the laugh track, The Big Bang Theory would be a documentary on autism.
I suspect Ubuntu on mobile phones will be too little, too late, if Ubuntu still has lag problems. The (limited) photos seem like they have gone for looks rather than fundamentals. Probably no choice, if you need to convince phone companies to offer Ubuntu phones. I have a bad feeling about this.
A drive to Willows after breakfast. Walked around five times, which was not bad. I snacked on an inferior apple slice. Remembered to raid money machine. Then off to get eggs.
Laurie the gardener was across the way, with our neighbours. He is spending next week here at Carlyle Gardens. Says he will attend to our garden then. Great.
Email said parcel had arrived. We had come in the garage, and opened the front door. Did not see it. Went out and looked again. Giant parcel behind chair in doorway. Virtual reality is more accurate than reality.
I have fuel use data for an older car in a Filemaker Bento database. These are just a flat file database, essentially SQLite3. A simple database, with elegant forms handling. However I have a couple of years of fuel use data for Jean's current car in a Apple Numbers spreadsheet. I am only doing simple arithmetic on the rows and columns. Which to use going forward?
Bento will export into Numbers. Numbers will export into Bento. So there is no problem moving one to the other. Numbers will do graphs, and at some stage I may want some graphs. Basically probably only CO2 emissions, so nothing fancy. On the other hand, I suspect Numbers will get unwieldy for data entry once you get enough data into it. Undecided!
All issues of Omni Magazine available on Internet Archive.
Watched International Space Station go over Townsville at 5:08 a.m. Brighter sky, with moon, and sun about to rise. ISS was lower on horizon, and faded earlier. Better viewing in the evening. Cool morning by tropical standards. I mention that for sweltering southern Australia.
An article by Frank Partnoy. Can you trust USA banks to report their assets correctly? Probably not.
Off to Willows for our morning walk. Five and a bit times around the floor. Not bad.
Only two newspapers were available, The Australian and the Townsville Bulletin. Checked on a later turn around. Found the Financial Review had not made it to the sales area. So that was three of the weekend newspapers. sales assistant told me copies for Woolworths had arrived, but not their ones. I went into Woolworths later and got the Courier Mail.
Saw Duncan making his now bare front garden into a vegetable patch. I asked him if he would look after any parcels that arrive. I shall have to find something for him for all his help when we are touring.
Mint the Trillion Dollar coin. Prove the US dollar is just about worthless as a reserve currency. Then get rid of the idiotic debt ceiling law that made a stupid idea seem slightly less stupid.
We have run out of IPv4 addresses. However use of the replacement, IPv6, is still very limited.
I went outside before the sun was too hot. Moved the accumulated small white solar garden lights from a dilapidated box into the Carlyle Gardens side garden. There they will at least be exposed to sunlight, and thus get some charge.
I also moved all twenty of the colour changing solar lights from the front garden into the Carlyle Gardens side garden. Only broke one light. This move was because Laurie was expected to remove most of the weeds from the front garden next week. I wanted to give him a clear run at the garden.
This evening, the small white solar lights have all basically failed to operate at all. Many of the older, larger lights have also failed. Boo, hiss, batteries are piss.
I encountered one of those damn Asian kitchen geckos inside my room at 6:35 a.m. I shall have to find it and kill the pest.
Jean tells me we will have bacon and eggs for breakfast, mostly as a result of lacking food in the place. We did have bacon and eggs! I even had toast. Jean's diet is going well, and she skipped toast.
Off to Willows after breakfast. Five times around the shopping centre. Saw Big John there. He looks at us trudging past the cafe in bemusement. Checks tile floor for wear marks. I bought a bread roll for lunch, to go with the left over salmon.
Just as well breakfast was large. Lunch sure was not sufficient.
Saw most of the last episode of Merlin. Followed the legend as I recalled it pretty well.
No sign of the 7:14 p.m. pass of the ISS. Seemed way too bright to see it.
No dinner. Ran out of stuff in the fridge. Went to bed hungry.
I have been adding figures to the fuel use spreadsheet I did ages ago. Do I need to mention that spreadsheets are a pain in the arse? Totally lost in how to replicate relative formula through the thing. I am certain the convoluted way I am doing it (generate more rows, then paste the formulas in bulk) can not be the proper way to handle it.
Still, the figures from 2008 through the end of 2012 are now done. Better than nothing.
GM is good, says Mark Lynas.
A late morning for us. I was hungry, so I toasted the crust of the raisin bread, and had a chocolate milk around 6:30 a.m. We started laundry late, and the dishwasher late. Then off to Willows, where we walked around five times. I bought a couple of bread rolls for lunch and dinner.
Off to Jaycar.
Got petrol on the way home, using a Coles 8 cents off coupon.
We put out the laundry, and cleared the disk washer. That is a few more things crossed off the list.
It started raining (briefly) on our laundry at eleven. we scurried around getting things onto the lines that are under shelter. Bah, humbug!
The tiny wireless access point we had bought at Jaycar on Wednesday had shown no sign of coming up with an actual WiFi signal. It showed power and Ethernet lights. Jean tested it extensively without luck. I could not think of anything she had failed to test.
That was a pity, as it seemed perfect for travel. Jean had been intending to take a more powerful (but somewhat larger and heavier) Apple AirPort Express. I use these Apple Airport Express boxes all over the place. For connecting the stereo amplifier, for extending networks, or as a stand alone wireless access point (they are multi-purpose). The Airport Express do a marvellous job, and are pretty small. However for travel, even smaller is better. I showed her these new (cheap, about $30) Jaycar gadgets in Silicon Chip. They looked much smaller and lighter than the Airport Express, attributes always nice for travel.
So we took the tiny wireless access point back to Jaycar. They gave us a replacement without problems.
When we got home, Jean tested the replacement wireless access point. The wireless connection came straight up. So the original was indeed a dud in that area.
A few minutes ago Jean got our boarding passes organised for our two flights tomorrow. We did not want to bother printing them, as we are cutting down on paper use. Qantas emailed through link details, and the passes are online on their web site. My iPhone offered to put the passes in my Passbook application. Seems handy enough.
A lot of noise outside, on this hot and windy day. Luckily it is a little further up the street. The construction crew seem to be connecting downpipes to new drains outside each house. This morning they reached the house next door.
This afternoon they seem to be cutting through the concrete surround at some houses. This seems in preparation for connecting the downpipes to the ditches and drains they are installing. They left this afternoon, with little flag barriers all over the place where the ditches are open.
A tweet. Average Australian maximums over last 5 days make new climate record 39.2C 39.5C 39.3C 39.2C 39.7C. Not record breaking in Sydney, luckily, but close.
Taxi arrived at 7:30 a.m. Right on schedule. The young driver provided a very smooth trip to Townsville airport. We were in plenty of time.
The air tickets were on our phones, complete with QR Codes, and transfer to Apple Passbook. No paper.
I discovered the airport newsagent had a fairly full range of Darrell Lea chocolates, unlike the store at Willows. I must remember to get more upon our return.
Our Qantas flight QF967 to Brisbane left Townsville on time. Arrived on time in Brisbane at 11 a.m. Our next flight was from the adjoining gate lounge.
Jean set out to hunt for food as pretty much as soon as she arrived at the Brisbane airport. Came back with a flavoured yoghurt, which she declared sufficient.
Our Qantas Brisbane to Sydney flight QF529 opened for boarding at midday. Took off on time for he flights of a bit over an hour. Thanks to Daylight Savings, that meant we arrived at Sydney around three.
Luggage was quick, once we figured where to go in the unfamiliar Qantas terminal.
We trudged to the convenient underground railway station. Tickets have gone up to $15.90 now. About what a taxi would cost, I imagine. But we usually do fairly well with the train, if we do not have too much luggage.
Hard to cross the street at Broadway. The hotel has changed name from the Marque to the Rendezvous Studios Hotel. We ended up with a very comfortable room on the top floor.
Rendezvous Studio Hotel
We were given a very nice large room on the top floor (12). The room had a view of the Central Railway clock tower. The bed seemed larger than King size A half size bottle of wine from the mini bar was $16, which seemed reasonable. We had been out to find Jean some sushi for dinner.
I visited UTS, despite the oppressive heat. Caught up with Mary. The lifts inside are totally weird now.
I saw it on Twitter.
Any sufficiently advanced economic system is indistinguishable from a pyramid scam.
Why The Fight Over The $1 Trillion Coin Is The Most Important Fiscal Policy Debate You'll Ever See In Your Life, by Joe Weisenthal, goes through the history of coinage manipulation.
A Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 scanner for iOS. Wirelessly connects (WiFi) to an iPhone or similar. Scans 25 double sided pages a minute. Said to be available in Australia. Not sure I believe it is available in Australia. But I sure hope it is.
I was delighted to find that the Rendezvous Studio Hotel provided three hours of (slow, they said) WiFi access to their guests per day, without a password. I took advantage of that to catch up with the news on my MacBook Air. Jean tells me you can get a magic number for 24 hour access, also free to guests.
Despite the WiFi access being said to be a slow 256kbps, it seemed no slower than at home at Carlyle Gardens. So I was satisfied.
A day with reasonable temperatures, according to OzWeather on our iPhones. Since they source directly from the Weather Bureau, it is probably pretty reasonable.
I was awake at around 4 a.m. Daylight Saving Time, which to me on Eastern Standard Time is actually 3 a.m. It was fairly light in Sydney anyhow, what with all the neon advertising all over the place.
My internet connection to the hotel WiFi was no longer operating. We had been warned we needed a magic number to access this after three hours of operation.
I walked to the main Sydney Apple Store in George Street. I mainly wanted to look at the displays on the 27 inch iMac. Since these did not have the same glossy glass, I was hoping I could finally get a replacement for my antiquated iMac G5 ALS from 2005. The screens were very much less reflective than in the past. The staff told me the new Fusion drive models had arrived, and were awesomely quick.
Before I left I used the Apple Store app on my iPhone to scan and buy a spare 12 Watt iPad power supply. It still feels weird.
Breakfast at the Rendezvous Hotel with Jean, just after nine. I had managed some fairly quick walks, but it was well under two kilometres each way.
Jean and I then walked to the Broadway shopping centre, and found the Apple Store there. This was just to collect another Apple Store that we had found and visited.
The refurbished shopping centre was interesting. I saw a Camera House and bought myself an overpriced EyeFi WiFi enabled SD camera card. I have been wanting one for years. However they were not available in Australia until very recently.
Is it right to attack humans in a friendly country with armed drone aircraft? The USA has been doing just that for years in Pakistan. Is it a surprise that relatives of victims hate the people doing the attacks? Six missile strikes so far in the first eight days of 2013. Thirty five dead. Lots of drone strikes, being tweeted by Josh Begley as @dronestream.
A nice article in TechDirt by Tim Cushing Australia Says Let's Update Copyright For The Digital Economy; Legacy Industries Say Let's Pretend It's Still 1968. Submissions for copyright reform are mostly depressing rent seeking.
About to board Great Southern Rail’s Indian Pacific train in Sydney. Headed across the hot centre of Australia to Perth.
The train should be available to us after two. It is scheduled to leave at 2:55 p.m. They promise us a drink in the lounge.
A lot of sitting and waiting for the staff, which gave us a chance to get settled in. I eventually collected Jean's drink from the bar, and brought it to her in a disposable coffee cup.
An excellent dinner in the Queen Adelaide dining car starting around 6 p.m.
I see Cory Doctorow says Positive externalities thrive online, in a Guardian article Just because something has value doesn't mean it has a price.
An interview with HTML5 editor Ian Hickson by Bruce Lawson.
I was awake several times in the early morning, as the train had little issues. At 3:20 a.m. we had a long stop, which I thought meant we had hit something.
The six o'clock announcement was we were running about three hours behind. We had hit a kangaroo, and that caused the air brakes to fail.
We went to breakfast fairly early. Jean sensibly ordered poached eggs, rather than a full cooked breakfast or one of their other fancy breakfasts. The chef could not resist a nice garnish anyhow. We sat with a young couple from Sydney, and it was good to see younger folks using the train.
We were scheduled into Broken Hill at 6:40 a.m. It was past 8:30 a.m. when we arrived. We had about 20 minutes on the platform, to walk and take photos. My camera finally synced its GPS to Broken Hill after about ten minutes. We were fairly close to the place we have stayed at previously on visits to Broken Hill.
Travelling again around 9:20 a.m. Broken Hill Time (which is a half hour off, just like Adelaide time).
Parallel to a real bitumen road. We once saw two cars within a minute. A blue van, and a white 4WD. Amazing. Saw an emu, not on the road. Vegetation much more prevalent than usual.
We bought a very nice Port Phillip Estate 2009 Pinot Noir from Mornington Peninsula to go with lunch.
Jean finally started walking three paces behind me. Then I realised it was so I had to open all the train doors for her. #IndianPacific
We arrived in Adelaide slightly after the 3:05 p.m. schedule. Roman met us at the platform. We did some walking and talking for an hour or so, before we had to re-board the Indian Pacific.
An impish proposal to mint a trillion dollar coin to solve the USA debt ceiling was never really serious. Technically the Treasury could mint it. However it would not be accepted by the Federal Reserve. So it solves nothing.
Except it would demonstrate the fictitious nature of fiat money. It particularly demonstrates that money creation does not have to be exclusively via the private banking industry.
A government is not like a small business, which goes bankrupt when it runs out of money.
Money is the creation of the state, said John Maynard Keynes.
A requirement that certain taxes should be paid in particular paper money might give that paper a certain value even if it was irredeemable, says Edwin Cannan in his comments on Adam Smith's work The Wealth of Nations because
The money of a State is not what is of compulsory general acceptance, but what is accepted at the public pay offices... A government can mint as much money as it pleases. Unless they are a pseudo government that has passed its money making control to someone else, as in the Euro zone.
One of the past reasons for a gold standard, milled coins, and guaranteed weight, was because people did not trust governments not to cheat them when making coins. This mistrust was because government invariably did cheat them. Seigniorage dates back thousands of years, and is the (typically minimal) difference between the face value of a precious metal coin and its cost of production. Essentially it is an interest free loan to government for the life of a coin. Lost coins represent a permanent loan. However governments always tend to debase coinage.
With governments creating money, there can be no real scarcity of money. However there can be consequences. Normally unlimited money leads directly to inflation. Think Germany in the 1920's. Or Hungary after WWII. The trillion dollar notes from Zimbabwe in 2009, where in the capital Harare, a hundred trillion dollar bill would not buy a bus fare. In 1998 their inflation was 32%, in 2008 inflation in Zimbabwe was 11,200,000,000%. At one stage prices were doubling every 31 hours. Zimbabwe abandoned its currency and started using US dollars and South African Rands, since no one would accept the government money.
So who will be next to crash in the developed world? I have to wonder about Japan. Heavy government debt, mostly shortish term, of well over 200% of GDP. Half the government budget goes on interest and pensions for an increasing elderly population. The roll over rate is over 50% of GDP per year! Luckily mostly held by its own people, who have long accepted desultory interest rates from banks, who in turn buy government bonds. If they stop trusting Yen assets, one musical chair will be gone. Japan has great exports, and huge foreign assets. Enough chairs? I doubt it. Japan is a bug looking for a windshield.
Will China go the same way? It is also financed by household savings. If instead of the 7% to 9% GDP increases predicted last decade, China actually manages only 3% to 4% real GDP growth this decade? It is already wasting a heap of money funding production facilities that risk not being of much use. This depresses household consumption (the only final purpose to productive investment). It also means there is a heap of internal debt that will not be repaid, if debt is really rising faster than the ability to service that debt. Predictions of higher GDP than the USA this decade? I think China is poised to stall late this decade. Looks like many Chinese business people think likewise. Capital flow out of China is enormous, over US$400 billion a year. 61.5 per cent of applicants for the Australian Business Skilled Migration Programme were Chinese.
Thanks to various episodes of quantitative easing (a bit of flim flam to get more money into circulation), the USA money supply has exploded since 2008. However inflation has been muted. The question is why? Lack of full employment I guess. You can pump money in without too much inflation as long as unemployment is high.
I like this quote from John Mills (On credit cycles and the origin of commercial panics. 1868):
Panics do not destroy capital; they merely reveal the extent to which it has been previously destroyed by its betrayal into hopelessly unproductive works. See Rudd's Building the Education Revolution, with waste factors between 25% and 55% (not that schools are evaluated for the economic return). More important, the ridiculous prices of many homes in Australia, which display every characteristic of a bubble.
A visual simulation of the 6502 CPU. Cool!
We turned up early for the 6:30 a.m. breakfast. Cornflakes, followed by Eggs Florentine. A real large feed by my standard.
Bought a nice Tahbilk 2009 Shiraz to go with lunch.
A somewhat desolate spot for resupply. The town is now reduced to four permanent inhabitants, servicing the train. It was once sufficiently large to have a school. Not too far distant is the ocean, so you could call it a seaside town in the desert. Took a bunch of photos, once my camera GPS had located itself.
I took a walk along the platform after we arrived around seven. That was boring, so I took a walk to town. Alas, that area of town nearby mostly appeared closed. I did see a functioning (but closed) Collins Bookshop, which I felt a good sign..
Most of the people I saw wandering around were others from the train. I took photos of some statues using my iPad, which seemed happy to attempt the difficult night photos.
More wandering along the platform. The train is 600 metres long, according to my GPS, and would not all fit next to the platform.
After I had walked my distance, I joined the lounge bar car (one of the only entrances open). Restricted myself to a Coke, and catching up on Twitter and email. There was a decent Telstra 3G signal at the platform.
Retired to the cabin not that long before ten. The train left before eleven.
A good night of sleep, as train time was turned back an hour and a half. The train staff tell us they had two stops for electric issues. Jean recalls our gadgets beeping as power went back on.
We turned up early for the 6:30 a.m. breakfast. Cornflakes, followed by Eggs Florentine. A nice start to the day, with the usual great service on the Indian Pacific.
We are scheduled to reach the East Perth rail terminus a little after nine.
A family statement on suicide of Aaron Swartz, tragically young. The computer community is grieving the death of Aaron Swartz, who did some great work on RSS, Creative Commons and Reddit. His lover, Quinn Norton on Aaron. His JSTOR exploit was not hacking, nor criminal, it was at worst inconsiderate. JSTOR realised this, dropped their own case, and asked the government to drop the case.
I had managed to walk right past Ann when we emerged from the train. Don and Ann met us at the station. Luckily Don was more obvious, although had he been totally shaven as when fund raising, I would have missed him as well.
The luggage collection point was invisible to me, despite being reasonably well signed. Eventually found it, mostly by watching the trolley of bags arrive.
Susan met us inside the terminal shortly afterwards. Jean wanted a place to walk. A big shopping centre, Centro Galleria, was the rendezvous point. We met up at the Jamaican Blue coffee shop, where Susan was a regular customer. Apart from being a little noisy, it was a good spot. Jean got her walks.
The shopping centre was crowded with stuff in the centre aisle. This made it had to walk, once the lunchtime crowds were there. We later went upstairs to the food court for lunch. Seemed very reasonable in range. I had 3/4 of a mini Hawaiian pizza.
Don and Ann kindly gave us a lift to the Perth airport. They also sat with us talking for a while after we disposed of our luggage. They had to head off for another appointment, about the time we needed to pass through security.
The interior area of the Perth airport used by JetStar is being renovated. It was very crowded as a result. We sat at a different gate. I had trouble finding the facilities, off a way near the shops. I was able to buy a few newspapers.
We boarded a bit late. The JetStar text travel passes on Jean's phone did not read correctly (too low on the page), and we had to wait for another assistant to have a try to read it at the gate. Did not take long, but it reduces your confidence in the phone tickets.
The JetStar Perth to Adelaide flight 975 was absolutely packed. No spare seats. The good news was a jet stream gave us a ground speed of around 1000 kph, so the flight took only a little more than two hours. Far quicker than we expected.
The seats on the relatively new airliner were also pretty reasonable, in terms of comfort. It was lucky neither of us are tall, as the seat pitch seems insanely close for anyone with long thigh bones.
No problems on the ground at Adelaide. With the time zone change of 150 minutes, it was mid evening. A quick taxi ride to the Chifley hotel on South Terrace.
A gigantic room. We contemplated going for a meal. Too much trouble. We considered the room service menu. No meal was our decision. Got some computer work done instead. We each have a fairly high data allocation.
A Continental breakfast nice and early, just after seven, when they opened. Ten dollars, which seemed reasonable for the range available. Not that I was all that hungry, despite not having dinner.
They had a pancake machine, rather like the one we had first seen in Sydney on this trip. I gather the pancake machine only arrived recently, and staff did not receive training in using it. Lucky they had a manual. Naturally I could not resist pancakes.
A chat with Roman, who arrived while I was busy with a survey. Luckily Jean went down to talk with him. I came down the steps a few minutes later, and Jean escaped.
There was a very handy area with lots of chairs. I managed to arrange tea for Roman. We chatted about technology, which Jean would hate. Roman had to leave around ten. Jean came down to farewell him.
A wonderful rant by John Moltz on Office for iOS may be coming, but does it really matter? However what he is saying is does printing matter?
And really, good riddance to printing. Printing is horrible. Printers are horrible. Printing software is what people in Dante’s Ninth circle of Hell are condemned to use over and over. A pox on you if you ask me to print something these days; a plague on you and your house if you ask me to fax something.
We had a pre-arranged late check out at eleven. The hotel ordered us a taxi. A helpful and conversational driver took us via the sights to the Parklands train station.
A short queue for luggage or check in. We were certain now that our luggage would easily fit in the cabin. After that we headed out to the platform. A minute or two after we arrived at carriage H, we were able to board. It was 11:30 a.m.
We had our baggage unpacked and arranged a few minutes later. The Ghan left on time.
I had not been sure we would get lunch, since The Ghan left after midday. Lunch for us, on a full train, was at 2:15 p.m. The usual delightful Great Southern Rail menu. We bought another bottle of the Port Phillip Estate Pinot Noir to accompany the meal.
Gazed at scenery, in between catching a Telstra 3G signal and attending to our overly complex computer social life. For the first several hours, the trip was a reprise of country covered a few days ago on the Indian Pacific.
Dinner was more of a problem. We had a choice of 6:30 p.m. or rather late. Jean, as always, took the early meal. It did mean we were still feeling full from lunch when we had dinner. Despite which, I could not resist adding dessert, making two that day.
I was awoken at midnight (train time) by a beep from my phone indicating a direct message. No Telstra signal by the time I checked the phone. The train had halted for two hours at Manguri. I could see absolutely nothing outside except salt bush. I have no idea why we stop there.
After that I had trouble sleeping. Dropped off eventually, to awaken around six train time. The sky was already light.
We headed for breakfast before eight. Rather crowded, so it seems many had a similar idea. Ordered the Eggs Florentine, which came without smoked salmon. I had always thought the essential item was salmon, but it seems the essential is spinach (which I dislike, despite Popeye the Sailor).
I was in minor trouble with Jean for not noticing something she had not noticed.
A bit of bad planning on my part. The breakfast was a brunch. We could have gone back before midday for a snack. I could have bought myself a drink for the afternoon. None of that happened. All my fault.
We sat watching the scenery go by. Less dry than the typical highway view, I suspect.
It was hot when I dashed out to the terminal for photographs. Around 1:30 p.m. working towards the hottest part of the day. I managed to get back on board the train before the staff locked it all up. We have been to Alice Springs many times, and so I did not want to make the ten minute or so walk into town in the heat.
Stayed on board The Ghan, in the slightly too cool air conditioning. I had anticipated this, and had brought a pair of Qantas business class airline socks with me, for wearing in the cabin.
Reports from returning passengers round 4:30 p.m. were that it was hot. We have been to Alice Springs multiple times. I certainly did not think it worth braving the ten or fifteen minute walk to the town in that heat.
A departure from Alice Springs on time at six. We had a six thirty dinner scheduled. We arrived early, not being very organised. Adam got us a table anyhow. The train crew on The Ghan were great. Managed all three courses! Plus part of a nice Tahbilk shiraz. Back at the cabin by eight.
As always, the cabin stewart, Joe, had noted us being away. We do try to put out the card to say when we leave. The beds were down, and Joe even left chocolates on the pillows.
I think there is a housing bubble in parts of Australia. House prices are far higher than the traditional 3-4 times income level I was used to when I worked for a bank. Loans then were made on around 30% of the principle breadwinner's income being available for housing. Plus we wanted to see steady savings for the previous three years for the deposit. Banking was a very conservative profession back then.
You typically had loan to value ratios (LVR) around 80% back then, not the 95% (or 105% for USA) of the boom. So to put it in today's values, someone on $60,000 a year was expected to be able to repay say $20,000 a year (which is 33%). If they managed to save $20,000 a year, they would have a $60,000 deposit, or 20% equity, and could borrow $240,000 to buy a home valued at $300,000. A rough calculation with simple interest on $240,000 at a generous 6% gives $14,400 in interest, and $5,600 off the loan. A loan period of a bit over 20 years.
If the LVR is say 95%, on the same deposit you could borrow over a million dollars. But you could not pay it back, unless your repayments were around $6000 a month. But banks were willing to go over 33% repayments, and started accepting dual incomes, and prices around a half to three quarters of a million came within range. It was all a matter of how much credit you could get.
I hardly need to mention that a first home owners grant basically boosts your deposit capability. This disproportionately boosts the loan you can borrow. In my view, it directly leads to higher house prices. I think Bob Hawke got that totally wrong back in 1983. However it was not to help home ownership. It was to boost the construction trade. Back when I worked for a bank, windfall gains like that were not counted as part of your savings pattern towards a deposit.
Look at housing as an investment. If investing, you want your income stream (rent) to cover your outgoings (rates, water, electricity, insurance, maintenance), and allow you to reduce your borrowings (interest, repayment of principal). Do the sums for most houses, and they are not a good investment, unless you are counting on capital appreciation. However buildings typically decline in value (although inflation may make it look like they are not). So really you are looking at land value increases.
Finance is basically hedge if you really are covering all the costs, and paying down your investment. You can sell at intrinsic values, and pay out any remaining debt with a profit. Finance is speculative if you rely upon negative gearing and land appreciation. You are not covering costs, and need to refinance from time to time, because you are not covering repayments. If you lose your outside income, you have problems.
I think there are a bunch of rental properties that are basically in pyramid finance mode. You are not covering repayments, nor interest. Only capital appreciation lets the game continue. The asset price has nothing to do with fundamentals. When the last new potential buyer stops playing (or fails to get finance), the game is over. That is where I think a heap of Australian properties are sitting because of the 130% boom (after inflation), starting around 1996 and probably ending in 2010.
In Australia, net rental returns of 1.7 million people in 2 million properties went negative around 2000. Losses peaked at around $9 billion a year in 2007, and are now declining (as is the interest rate). Outgoings tend to be around 50% of gross rental income. Interest rate reductions help a heap, but outgoings plus interest still tend to sit between 90% and 130% of rental. 60% of investment housing loans are interest only (and 25% of owner occupier loans are interest only). This is insane.
Household debt used to be around 20% of GDP. It peaked at around 97% of GDP in 2010, and has dropped a little since (still over 90%). Price to rent ratios (once free of wartime price controls around 1950) skyrocketed, because who would build rental housing under price control? Housing was really scarce. You tended to have several generations living in a home. As rental housing made sense, and was built as an investment, the ratio gradually declined over decades. It took off again around 1996, and still sits around 75% higher than it has since 1880. This is a bubble.
I think housing was fundamentally overvalued about 40% as at 2008. However this is a regional figure, not general for all of Australia. There are multiple housing markets in Australia.
So how long before someone comes along with a pin to burst the bubble? There are so many vested interests that can not afford to notice the problem that I do not expect much change for a while. Australian banks would be decimated by a plunge in housing values, since that is where their
investments are going. Whatever government is in power would be blamed, so they will pretend all is well. The whole real estate and construction industry would fall over. Very few institutions have any interest in rocking the boat.
A good night sleep, despite the train moving. Must have stopped at Tennant Creek sometime around midnight.
An almost on time arrival at Darwin rail terminal at 5:49 p.m. It was near six thirty before the complimentary buses organised by Great Southern Rail set off for the various hotels. We got a distant view of Darwin. The Mantra on the Esplanade was the second stop, so we did well.
Checked in without real issues. Jean had to go back twice to straighten up the breakfasts included in our price (it was a special deal).
The Mantra restaurant prices were fair enough by Darwin prices, which means somewhat higher (25%) than I expect. We walked out the back door to Mitchell Street, where the backpackers are. A Coles was there, so we bought milk. A Liquor Land also, so we bought a $28 bottle of Pepperjack shiraz ($20 is what I strive for at BWS in Airlie Beach or at Dan Murphy). Two kebabs cost $25, which is also about 25% more than I expect. I could have found them at $8 each in Sydney, which is not a low cost city.
Our suite room was a bit old, and there were visible modifications. Just what happened to the bedroom door? Why is the only decent light not in the lounge?
Why in a wheelchair accessible bathroom can you not reach the toilet in a wheelchair. Well, that one is obvious. Because someone built in a closet to put in a washing machine, dryer, and laundry tub. You could not properly open either the washing machine lid (hits the dryer) or the dryer (hits the closet door).
The kitchen seemed self sufficient enough. Not that we plan to cook much. Bar style fridge is a bit small for a self contained unit, but suffices.
I did our laundry, at least that which would fit in the moderately destructive but fast washing machine in the Mantra hotel room. Started it drying, on regular, in the wall mounted dryer.
An hour later, when the dryer stopped, the clothes were not dry. They were not even heated. The dryer itself was not warm. I set it going again, this time on delicate fabrics, in case one high heater element was damaged.
It was getting late, and I fell asleep.
I once again used my Apple iPhone 4 to generate a wireless hot spot. This worked fine, so Jean and I could both connect our MacBook Air computers to the internet. My monthly Telstra data pack had renewed a day or so ago, and I have a gigabyte of access each month on the phone. That is normally enough for us when travelling, since we mostly use WiFi when available.
I checked the dryer about 3:30 a.m. Still not dry, so I restarting it.
A bit after four, Jean woke up. I told her about the clothes dryer not working. She stopped and then restarted it.
When Jean checked around six, the dryer was running really hot. The clothes were all wrinkled like prunes. Sigh!
I put another load of washing (and some of the more wrinkled previous wash) into the washing machine around 7 a.m. It seems the secret of making the dryer actually dry is perhaps to twist the dial around 360° before moving it to your selected time. This time the dryer did put out hot moist air, for an hour, and dried that load.
Clothes dryers are absolutely pathetic. No wonder some people own irons as well. Sun drying on a line is way superior. Global warming win!
A full breakfast was included in Jean's Mate's Rates booking at the Mantra. Usual bacon, scrambled eggs, sausage, tomato, hash browns, and baked beans. They had some pre-made Eggs Benedict, which surprised me.
We went for a walk through downtown Darwin for an hour or so, until a little after eleven. It was a bit humid, but otherwise acceptable if you were in shade. The weather bureau says 32° and 65% humidity.
As we walked, we recognised numerous places we had visited previously when in Darwin. Mostly large building, and arcades, as smaller stores tend to change a bit.
I got a photo of the giant fan in one building. I had read about the company that supplies them when chasing a high efficiency airfoil for house fans.
Newspapers come at a premium. The Australian, $2 elsewhere in Australia, $4.10 in Darwin, when we found the large newsagency.
Jean found a sushi place to buy a lunch, while I snacked.
We went out for a walk in the afternoon. As long as you were mostly walking in shade it seemed fine. We are used to the tropics. Not the same as liking high temperatures and humidity. Certainly not as bad as southern capitals last week.
Checked the cinema complex for the location of Sizzler. There was a bar in the location, so I guess the Darwin Sizzler did close. The Hobbit was only available in 3D. I loath 3D, and Jean did not want to view 3D either. We did grab a schedule, in case we change our mind tomorrow.
Off to Subway to get Jean a salad for dinner. Looked gigantic, but seemed mostly lettuce. I made do with a Red Rooster quarter chicken and chips, and put much of the chicken meat in the fridge for later.
I tweeted to a friend:
Printing tickets? How quaint. When do you imagine Ticketmaster intends to join the 21st Century?
Bundesbank to pull gold from New York and Paris, in a stunning display of interbank trust.
A late start to the day, which promised showers. Full breakfast included so we ate up hearty.
A walk along the waterfront park facing the Esplanade. We managed almost two kilometres despite the humidity. Even at 9 a.m. it was something like 84%. The actual temperatures were not all that bad.
Back at the large Mantra hotel room, trying to catch up with our computer work. I went out and got tickets for the airport shuttle early tomorrow morning. Jean went out and collected sushi for her lunch.
I did not know it at the time, but today there was an information session at Carlyle Gardens, Townsville. This was presumably organise by Lend Lease, as the people who manage Carlyle Gardens day to day operations, at the behest of the Receivers.
On 15 October 2010, Justin Walsh and Chris Munday of Ernst and Young were appointed Receivers and Managers of Carlyle Villages Pty Limited (in liquidation) and as a consequence assumed control of your village.
… We are planning to place your village on the market early this year and we feel it is necessary to now provide you with further information. We see this as an important step in returning the village to normal operation.
The Receivers, together with management from Lend Lease, would like to update you with respect to this announcement and to discuss any questions that you may have in relation to this.
The reports I had the next day was that it was pretty much played as a dead wicket. Lawyer talked for maybe 20 minutes, and did not say anything. Questions, we had a lot, answers, we had few. The feeling I get is that Lend Lease may possibly be interested in bidding, but are constrained from doing so by their being the village operator. So the place goes up for bids. When or if nothing worthwhile happens (as I feel is likely), then maybe the state government authorities would consider allowing Lend Lease to bid.
A study of the use of Tide laundry detergent as money by drug users, by Ben Paynter. I have to come clean and note that New York Magazine is not always a reliable news source.
I think this is the best short explanation of why CD music sound is as good as it needs to be. You simply can not tell the difference using 192 kHz sampling or 24 bit depth.
We were up well before dawn, around 4:30 a.m. Our bags were mostly packed. We were doing our check out at the Mantra reception not that long after five. The Airport Shuttle arrived on time, at 5:25 a.m. Did about three more stops, and then we headed for Darwin airport.
Darwin airport was a little smaller than I expected, but there were no problems with it. I joined the Air North queue, as we were flying with them on a Qantas code share. We had not been able to get tickets sent to our phones. Jean was dubious about this, as in her (greater) experience, you go to the ticket provider. However it turned out Air North had us listed, and handled our tickets and bags just fine. Shorter queue also.
Took a while for Jean to get through security. She found a seat with space for two in the crowded airport waiting area. I wanted a copy of The Australian ($3.70 at the airport), but they disappeared between me first seeing them, and returning to collect one.
Our Air North flight TL182 (QF2685) took off on time at 7 a.m. To my delight it was an Brazilian Embraer 170, which meant 2 + 2 seating, and decent wide seats. No frills, such as video systems. However the flight was only a little over two hours. We both had stuff to read on our iPads.
The cabin crew served us a sort of traditional hot breakfast, eggs as a spinach omelette, sausage, baked beans, hash brown, with a small orange juice as well. More than I expected. Also I scored a small can of Coke, and Jean two cups of tea.
It was an enjoyable flight. We were even given a copy of the NT Times, a newspaper one must experience to believe. To my delight, they once again managed to fit a crocodile story on the front page. Their record seems to be five crocodile stories on the front page.
I had a window seat 5A on the left hand side, far enough forward to mostly miss the wing. As we approached Townsville we broke out of low cloud from the monsoonal low in the gulf.
I was able to attempt a number of photographs of Carlyle Gardens as we flew past a kilometre or so away. Morning is a good time for aerial photography, as we pass on the east, and thus the homes are well lit by the morning sun. I tried a few other photos of Townsville as well, such as Willows Shoppingtown, and especially at the airport. There was a plane with The Australian (newspaper) as its livery. Shows someone is covering the north.
We were separated at the airport. I forgot to buy any Darrell Lea chocolates at the newsagent (the only place in Townsville to stock them). However I managed to gather all our bags from the belt fairly early, and lurch out to the taxi rank. I messaged Jean that I was in the taxi queue. I was just about to phone her when she appeared.
A taxi ride home to Carlyle Gardens, arriving just before eleven. Our neighbour Holger was outside untangling our almost destroyed hose. Seems the drainage people had used it.
We dumped bags, turned on routers, and opened the garage. Collected our accumulated snail mail. Set out for the egg shop. Collected eggs. Off to IGA to collect milk, orange juice, and a chicken for Jean's lunch.
I took some of my wrinkled badly dried shirts outside on hangers, and hosed them down. Hung them up to dry. Humidity is bad!
Jean dropped me back at the restaurant, so I had my usual lunch with Ray, Dot and John. Dropped into Reception, but Liz only had once piece of junk mail for Jean. She sent me an email, so I had her email address at reception. After lunch, John asked me to advise on a cable from his video camera to his TV. I was certain he would be able to get longer versions.
A claim by Reuters news that Sharp are stopping production of iPad retina displays. Who knows? The conclusion elsewhere (probably needed by stock manipulators) is Apple is doomed.
A few background items. Sharp (and LG) had problems producing a-Si TFT production line display panels in the quantity Apple needed. All the early 2012 retina iPads had displays from Apple's rival Samsung (which Apple are attempting to disengage from as a manufacturer). Sharp seemed unable to match its IGZO panel technology to Apple demands. Hence the retina iPad 3 came out with a massively increased backlight capacity (reported 72 LEDs), and a massive battery (more capacity than in a MacBook Air), to cope with using the wrong display, all in a thicker case.
Does anyone seriously think this was the design Apple wanted when they first released the 2012 retina model? They did not have the technology to build what they wanted in mass production.
Does anyone think the Lightning connector retina iPad 4 is what Apple want to be building? They have been able to speed up the CPU and graphics, while reducing power. They still do not have the display panel they want.
What about the iPad mini? It is an iPad 2 shrunk. Literally. Sure, it has the Lightning connector, but in other respects, it is an iPad 2. Works fine. It uses the display panel technology sizes that formerly went into the iPhone 3Gs. Makes a great test bed. If sales tank, Apple do not continue with that display size. If sales take off, Apple move retina to it, and eventually make two models, with and without retina.
So the real questions are can Sharp make an IGZO display in the quantities Apple need? When? Who knows. Apple's major problem at the moment is its suppliers find it really hard to make as many units as Apple can sell, at the quality Apple demands.
If wondering about where Apple is going, you might wonder about what capital items they have been spending unprecedented billions and billions on over the past year. New HQ and new cloud storage would not account for even a third of their expenditure.
We were delayed in starting the laundry. The washing machine was not started until 6:15 a.m. The weather report seems to indicate today is as good as it gets for laundry.
It turns out half the cereal packages are now short dated. So I had cereal for breakfast.
Off to Willows for our morning walk in the air conditioning. I collected the four weekend newspapers. Got asked for $12, because one item had doubled up on the register. Alas, mental arithmetic does not seem a strong subject any longer. Inspection of the cash register tape proved my point.
On the fourth turn around we stopped at Coles to buy (mainly) fruit and vegetables for the week.
We put the second load of washing out on the line when we returned, despite threatening clouds.
An automatic backup via WiFi to my Time Capsule did not occur since I reached Carlyle Gardens. Perhaps the MacBook Air is wanting to do the older Airlie Beach version first?
However I had an internet connection via the Time Capsule here. Plus the backup file was visible via WiFi in the Finder. The whole idea of the system I am using is to ensure on-site and off-site backups without checking for them to act. I had to start the current backup manually.
Additional backups started working automatically every hour after the first one.
A mostly bare garden greeted us when we returned to Carlyle Gardens. Laurie had managed to remove a jungle.
I saw Laurie on Friday at the restaurant. He says he will return next week, and do more. Talked of the plants he intends to put in.
I went out and took a few photos of the bare garden. I also noticed some of the solar lights were now exposed. I tracked down the bare wires and removed these lights and the solar panel.
An interactive tally of gun deaths in USA since Newtown massacre of children at Sandy Hook school.
A predictable take on climate and Australian heat wave from Tim Flannery. Good summary of recent events however, for doom merchants.
The Australian Bureau of Meterorology made a statement about extreme January heat.
The last four months of 2012 were abnormally hot across Australia, and particularly so for maximum (day-time) temperatures. For September to December (i.e. the last four months of 2012) the average Australian maximum temperature was the highest on record with a national anomaly of +1.61 °C, slightly ahead of the previous record of 1.60 °C set in 2002 (national records go back to 1910). In this context the current heatwave event extends a four month spell of record hot conditions affecting Australia. These hot conditions have been exacerbated by very dry conditions affecting much of Australia since mid 2012 and a delayed start to a weak Australian monsoon.
It is pretty humid here in Townsville. After breakfast we drove to Willows for a morning walk. Three times around, but Jean is having walking problems. She also had shoes, rather than her walking boots.
Retired to our offices and switched on the air conditioning. I let my mail computer download several hundred emails from the server. Might finally start getting these in order.
Jean made bacon and fried eggs for lunch, which is our usual Sunday treat when we are home. I had toast with mine, because I like gooey egg on my toast.
Copied a bunch of photos from the Panasonic camera card onto my laptop computer. Sydney trip in November, eclipse near Cairns, Paraluna Park, and the Indian Pacific and The Ghan train trips.
On expectations the Chinese fourth-quarter GDP figures will be a 7.9% increase (up from the weakest in 3 years 7.4% in the third quarter) speculators are proclaiming a continued boom, and great times for the rest of the world. Pundits are saying 8.5% GDP growth in China in 2013. China helpfully puts its economic statistics on a government web site (in English as well). Only three weeks after the end of the quarter, not three months like Australia). It looks insanely great.
It looks so great I have to wonder where the capital is coming from? Most of it must be internal. How do you finance that sort of growth rate without ending up unable to repay?
The trouble is, I do not believe a word of it. I think that, like most governments, they are lying. Or, more likely, being lied to. If production was up that much, why did electricity use not go up in proportion? Why was import growth so low?
I also do not think successful Chinese businesses believe the figures.
China tops the list of developing countries sending illicit money abroad, either to offshore havens or to financial institutions in developed countries. About half a trillion dollars seems likely. If so, trade surpluses will actually be far higher than the reported US$183 billion reported in 2010. So import growth will also be lower than reported.
Wealthy Chinese seem to be increasingly organising permanent residency outside China. I gather around 60% of the business residency applications in Australia come from wealthy Chinese.
I believe that over the current decade, real Chinese GPD growth will be seen to be closer to 4% than 8%.
Longer term, this is the first year in which the working age population of China decreased. Population between 15 and 59 was 937.27m, a minor decrease of 3.45m from 2011. Not much of a drop, and people are still moving from the countryside to the cities (now over 700 million in the cities). However long term even China may be headed for a labour crunch.
A masters degree relating to making your own cube sat earth orbiting satellite from Robert C. Griffith. I recall a similar item on Kickstarter. Great to see more individual participation in orbital science.
Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book. - Cicero (106BC-43BC)
Up late, and so the laundry was started late. The weather forecasts say this is a bad day for laundry, and all the following days will be worse.
Off to the chemist. I got all my prescriptions from the discount chemist. Plus heads for an electric toothbrush that had been giving noise problems. Jean got a bunch of stuff.
To Centrelink. Jean's forthcoming trip is two days longer than they allow. She will have to reapply for cards when she returns. Annoying. The rules used to allow longer than six weeks. There were two greeters, each with an iPad. They seemed to manage to get names and reason for visit transferred to their computer system. I noticed the number of security cameras seems to have increased. Medicare is also well represented there now, something I did not notice previously. There were three people ahead of us in the queue, and none following.
Walk in Willows. President of the Computer Club saw me. Asked about printing from iPad, and making collages of photos.
A request from our new President of the Carlyle Gardens Computer Club. Asked about how to print from an Apple iPad or iPhone?
You do need to understand that the corporate Apple view is that many traditional computer functions are obsolete or too difficult for users. Apple sees them as needing replacement with something better. When Apple believe something is obsolete, they dump it. Usually several years before their users are ready to dump it. So there is this continual complaint:
Why doesn't Apple allow X? It is not that they could not support it. They deliberately choose to push the market where they think it needs to go. Apple are willing to lose customers to push the market elsewhere.
Apple dumped floppy drives a decade before Windows computers did. Apple are dumping optical drives (CD and DVD), never accepted Blu-Ray, and started this about three years ago. Apple are dumping hard drives (replacing them with more expensive and lower capacity solid state drives). Apple are probably preparing to dump traditional printing.
Apple use a custom AirPrint driverless technology to allow any iOS device (iPad, iPhone 3Gs and later, iPod Touch 3rd generation or later) to print to an AirPrint certified printer that is on the same WiFi network as the iOS device. Only some iOS apps make printing available. Apple applications iBooks, Mail, Photos, and Safari offer printing. This decision to offer printing is made by the application developer. For example, games are unlikely to offer printing.
If your printer is on the Apple AirPrint printer list, it should print. Some printers may require a firmware update from the printer manufacturer. Most common AirPrint printers are from Brother, Cannon, Epson, Hewlett Packard, Lexmark, Ricoh, and Samsung, although there are others. If you want to print from an iPad, and are seeking a suitable new printer, check the list before purchasing.
If you do not have an AirPrint enabled printer, read on.
I have a copy of Avatron's Air Sharing, which is intended to let you view files on your iPad or iPhone as a remote drive. However it also supports printing on Mac OS X and Linux (not Windows).
Ecamm's Printopia for Apple Macintosh (US$20) allows your iPhone or iPad to print via any printer attached to your Macintosh computer, or to an Apple Time Capsule or networked printer accessed from your Macintosh. It lets your Macintosh pretend to be an AirPrint printer. It appears in your System Preferences. You can also
Collobos Software offer FingerPrint 2 (US$20) to allow printing from iOS to some printers connected to a Windows computer. There is a free trial version available with watermarks. It essentially lets a Windows computer pretend it is an AirPrint printer.
There are several iPad applications that attempt to provide printing to any printer. I have not tested any of them.
Many of the regular printer manufacturers have free applications intended to make some of their printers compatible with an Apple iPad. You can often find links to such applications on the printer maker web site. Here are some in iTunes. Brother iPrint and Scan. Canon Easy Photo Print. Epson iPrint. Hewlett Packard ePrint. Lexmark Mobile Printing.
Readdle are a well known app maker. They offer Printer Pro (US$7) for printing to WiFi printers (and via a helper application) via Mac or PC. Try their free Printer Pro Lite to test if it works with your printer.
A nice NASA Earth Observatory map of record breaking Australian heat anomalies on 8 January 2013. The warmists will love that.
We were off to Willows for our walk. Got separated. Jean did six times around Willows. I kept trying to find her, resulting in a lot of high speed walking. I have been seeking stuff for emergency supplies packages, like spare toothbrushes and so on. Also got a 4 TB hard drive at JB HiFi for $235. Good enough.
Jean dropped me off at the restaurant. Cathy was serving, and both Allen and Dave were on hand. Pat was there, as was Sue. Ray was there. Dot soon turned up. John turned up later, and Jeff much later, when we were all finished our meals. The restaurant air conditioning was not on, as far as I could tell. Conditions were pretty marginal in my view. Walked home, not all that hot (only about 30°C), but very humid.
I am trying to complete ANZAPA. Mailing comments are fine, but none of the articles are hanging together. Not one. So far I have produced utter garbage.
Forgot to have dinner. Not good.
A commentator, Mark Shields, said
since Robert Kennedy died in the Ambassador Hotel on June 4, 1968, more Americans have died from gunfire than died in all the -- all the wars, all the wars of this country's history, from the Revolutionary through the Civil War, World War I, World War II, in those 43 years.
This is true. with about 1.4 million firearm deaths to 1.2 million in war.
An article by Tim Flannery. The future for biodiversity conservation isn’t more national parks. The Australian Wildlife Conservancy is a possible pathway to a solution. Tim Flannery is a director. Disclosure. I donate to AWC, as they seem to me to be the best chance we have.
An important research note from Morgan Stanley. Investment Lessons from Financial Repression, caused by the unsustainable amount of public sector liabilities. If you treat government future liabilities, and future income potential like a corporation, you have to conclude most governments are insolvent. Official debt figures are bullshit. That was part of why the Future Fund was created.
How will governments wriggle to evade this? Explicit or indirect limits on interest rates (for example, by Reserve banks). Creation and maintenance of a captive, domestic investor base (as in Japan). Direct ownership of, or extensive management over, banks and other financial institution (financial institution takeovers in U.K and USA).
Government and private sector are highly leveraged in most countries. Most developed countries have a negative net value. The present value of their income streams (tax revenues) is less than that of their liabilities (including future health and retirement liabilities). Most would need to retire debt at between 5% and 15% a year, and they can not manage this. This means that the public sector must eventually impose a cost on the private sector.
To escape this debt burden, countries can either grow their way out, restructure or default on the debt, or inflate the debt problem away. Growth is very unlikely to reach the necessary levels, while default is politically unattractive. Inflation is the remaining option. High inflation is not necessary, provided there is a policy to suppress interest rates so real rates are negative, which liquidates the debt burden. This is what is happening.
Taxpayers who will see tax burdens increase. Public Services face lower government expenditure, and scaled-down government programs. Bondholders have not seen government bonds default as yet, but there is currency devaluation via inflation (quantitative easing), plus taxation and regulatory incentives on institutions to purchase government debt at uneconomic prices.
I was awakened by rain around 3:45 a.m. Moderate rain continued for an hour, with intermittent rain after. I could not sleep. Checked the drains around five thirty, and the water had gone. Moderate rain started again after six. This is really the first real monsoonal rain of the season, and is about a month late.
Hungry, probably because I forgot to have dinner yesterday. Toasted last slices of raisin bread for breakfast.
Off to Willows, despite the rain. Way to much walking in wet squeaking sandals. Difficult to find anything in shops. Did get a magazine. And a news paper. Not sure why. Newspapers just make me even more angry about the government.
Too wet to walk to the restaurant for lunch. Toasted the crusts of the raisin bread, with lots of the little remaining butter. Still not satisfied. Made baked beans on toast. Better.
Townsville seems to be centre of a whole deluge over the past few hours. Moats at back and on western side of house. Demanded Jean stop it raining. She laughed at me.
Jean kindly drove me to the bar around five. A phone call from Jeff had demanded my appearance. A half dozen stalwarts were present at the bar.
Our regular bar attendant was not there. I suspect the bar owners felt they could not take the time off, and thus had to work the bar themselves.
More reports on the meeting regarding the putative sale of the village, action starting on 14 February. Not a lot of new information.
David threw us out at six. However I was doing rather well by then, thanks to drinking fast, and attentive service. Jeff gave me a lift home. He also gave me the seat cushion and shot glass left at his place around Xmas time. Pat had mentioned they had them when I saw her at lunch yesterday.
I note the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos in 2012 claimed
Malfeasance and outright fraud [in finance] are extraordinarily damaging but also, fortunately, extremely rare. What utter bullshit. Fraud is endemic in large financial corporations. However they seem immune to prosecution.
I don't believe this. H P Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu drawn as a children's book in the style of Dr Seuss, by DrFaustusAU on Deviant Art. It is simply an awesome piece of work.
I am now officially tired of the monsoon rain. The house has a moat at the back and to the west. I had to jump up to make sure that the garbage was out, as I was running late.
No visit to Willows for walking. However Jean kindly dropped me at the restaurant for lunch. I chatted with Jerry, who used to work for the railways. Told him about the Indian Pacific and The Ghan trip we made.
Dropped into the office to tell them the times I would be away. Liz was off at lunch. Iain the security guy would notice we were away anyhow, but better to fill in the details with the office.
I had a call from the President of the Social Club. The new email address I had organised for her while I was on holidays was causing conniptions. I had not realised that Microsoft had moved all their mail agent duties over to Windows Live (I thought it was a renaming of Hotmail). Between us we managed to nut out what changes needed to be made to allow access. Glad she has a level head, because computers always stress people.
I set up a test account on the social club, and did some experiments. Looks like the Domain Name Servers are not really aware of the account as yet. Little wonder it is not cached. That will improve.
I had better organise myself a dinner ticket for the Australia Day celebrations. Might not be any food in the house by then.
I completed my ANZAPA zine. Restricted it to six pages, to get the weight right. I never did manage to get a decent article into it. Two bits of junk, plus the comments.
Despite the humid monsoon weather, the Brother HL 3045CN printer actually operated well. Doubled sided and all.
I hate hills. If it is not an uphill struggle, then you are going downhill.
A late start to the day, with a heap of shops to visit. All of them needed to be early, which just does not work when they are at the other ends of Townsville.
First was the chemist, and that went very quickly. We had planned to be past there prior to it opening at eight, but that was not to be.
Next was OfficeWorks. I wanted a spare printer, like the one I have. Long search. They are out of stock. Suggested I buy online. If their website will deign to work, I will try that. OfficeWorks is one of many e-commerce sites that dislikes my web browser settings. We could not find the tray table Jean sought. The mesh fabric office chairs did not work. We forgot to check the office furniture place next door.
Jaycar followed. The staff there are good at looking stuff up on their computer system. The register spits out a little shopping list so they can help you find the stuff. I was able to buy every item I had on the shopping list on my iPhone.
Back towards home and Willows. Mailed the contributions we had each done for ANZAPA. Then Woolworths, which listed many items we get at half price. Not unexpectedly, almost all these items were out of stock. In fact, I think every single half price item was out of stock. Got orange juice (we were nearly out), and baked beans (a restock of cyclone supplies) on special, but nowhere near half price. Not very successful. I hear the road north and south of Rockhampton is cut by floodwaters. This happens during The Wet. The highway is also cut north, which happens all the time.
The egg shop, where we were given an extra dozen standard eggs, with our dozen large, as our loyalty bonus. That is a good place. John was there, and somehow recognised the car.
I was lucky enough to get a lift to the restaurant with Jean. Chatted with Allen, who lamented he had not seen Geoff and Margaret. Dot soon arrived, as did Ray. I gave Ray a loan of the moisture tester I had bought at Jaycar. John turned up, so I asked him why he was not eating eggs at home.
The long missing Geoff and Margaret turned up. Geoff asked about using an AppleTV, and also about using the original model iPad I had loaned them.
Sure was humid walking back.
The Carlyle Gardens Social Activities Club evening at the pub was reasonably well attended for such a humid day. I managed to catch up with a number of people. Most expressed surprise that I was back in the village.
All the extravagance and incompetence of our present Government is due, in the main, to lawyers, and, in part at least, to good ones. They are responsible for nine-tenths of the useless and vicious laws that now clutter the statute-books, and for all the evils that go with the vain attempt to enforce them. Every Federal judge is a lawyer. So are most Congressmen. Every invasion of the plain rights of the citizens has a lawyer behind it. If all lawyers were hanged tomorrow, and their bones sold to a mah jong factory, we'd be freer and safer, and our taxes would be reduced by almost a half. -- H.L. Mencken
A new video standard has been approved by the ITU. An advance over H.264. The H.265 video standard is also informally known as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC). It enables video streaming with about half the number of bits required by H.264. No chip level hardware support for a year or two.
I could not sleep. Too humid. Got up before four to catch up with work on the computer. Thereafter kept wanting to go to sleep.
Willows walk with Jean. No sign of the Australian Financial Review at the newsagent. I was able to get the other three weekend newspapers, all of which I believe are printed in Townsville. Woolworths had not restocked its shelves. They had a sign out blaming flooding on the main highway south for the lack of stock. We walked around the shopping centre four times.
Returned home in the now blinding sunshine, and put on the air conditioning, mainly due to humidity rather than heat.
Do I give a stuff about Australia Day? I guess not. The thing I want from Australia is secession for North Queensland.
Could have gone to the Social Club's Australia Day dinner (I had bought a ticket). They wanted you in Australian costume. All I had was green for St Patrick's Day. Best I could have managed would have been
Most inappropriately worn national costume of a country you didn't come from.
Townsville was 33.8°C.
We were late up, so the laundry was late starting, at around 6:30 a.m. Somehow the washing machine was set for 40°C instead of 30°C. So the slow idiot eco-thing washing machine has been slothfully sloshing clothes around until it is after 8:30 a.m. I hate that washing machine. I want a washing machine like I used to have. Sure it would destroy clothes, but it would do a wash in under half an hour!
We did not reach the Willows shopping centre until nearly nine, an hour late. No sign the newsagent ever got copies of the Australian Financial Review (AFR). Neither Coles nor Woolworths open until later. We did four walks around. Saw John there, and carried on about eggs.
Afterwards Jean drove me to the Sunland shopping area (across the road). She found the Australian Day edition of the AFR for me. IGA did not have chocolate milk. Eventually found the Neenish tarts. Also some Dick Smith Australian made drinking chocolate, just to test an Australian made product you understand.
Jean is all packed. No overweight bag either.
I noticed that the internet via iiNet had stopped working at 5:57 p.m. Numeric ping failed. The router menu showed we were still connected. I restarted the router remotely via the menu system.
Router software menu now shows no internet connection. ADSL status is connected (at 1500 Kbps too slow a data rate). No actual connection.
We have dial tone on the fixed telephone line. Since we never phone anyone, we did not test it further.
No internet connection on Telstra's 3G mobile network either. About a quarter of an hour later, the Telstra mobile network was showing
No Service at all. All connections were still out of action three hours later.
Townsville was 38.3°C on Sunday 27 January 2013, the hottest day since 18 December 2005, when it was 41°C. The hottest January day on record in Townsville was 44.3°C in 1994.
A visualisation of USA Drone Strikes in Pakistan. Plus how the drone strike map was made with MapBox by Chris Herwig. Living under drones is really bad for a civilian population. Not winning many hearts and minds there.
Up at four and packed by 4:30 a.m. to drive Jean to the Townsville airport for her flight to Brisbane. The streets appeared totally empty. We did not see another car for a fair while, so driving was easy. We entered Townsville Airport before five.
The queue was considerable. After fifteen minutes the queue was out the door. The local Channel 7 cameraman was there filming the queue. The airport counter staff had absolutely no working passenger systems. So they could not issue boarding passes. All they could do was collect luggage. Even the luggage handling conveyor was out of action. Passengers took their (manually tagged) luggage to a baggage cart, which airport staff dragged away when the cart was full.
Jean's flight was set to depart at 5:55 a.m. I left the airport at 6:45. Jean's booking was confirmed, and the plane was on hand. It is a flight where the plane is at Townsville overnight.
No idea when the flight departed, nor when Jean will manage to get her flight Brisbane to Sydney.
The short term parking payment machine told me there was no charge. The exit gate for vehicles was open. I guess that was also afflicted by the Telstra communications breakdown.
I drove back to Carlyle Gardens via almost empty streets. Arrived around seven. It was already rapidly warming up.
Hid inside in my air conditioned office all day. After five, when it started to cool a little (to 35°C) I dropped over to Mary and Alan's party across the road, with a well chilled red wine. That was fun.
No internet connection. I have rebooted the router numerous times. However the fault is not at my end. The reboots are just to make sure the router realises when the connection comes back.
According to a very short note in the Townsville Bulletin, Telstra cables were washed out by floods at Kingaroy last night. Landline, internet and mobile phone services to Northern and Central Queensland all seem to be totally out.
This has taken out airline terminals, ATMs and store EFTPOS services. No idea when service will be restored. Service has been out for over 21 hours as I write this.
I tried to get a news broadcast, via the rarely used television. The television is showing No Signal on all channels I tried. I do not know if this problem is the equipment at my end, or whether Carlyle Gardens reception have switched off the fibre optic cable in the office. The TV signal was working sometime in December last year.
Got a message from Jean on my phone at 3:53 p.m. Router commenced to connect to the internet. I can ping and traceroute. Can get Google web page. Missing anything from Twitter older than a minute. Mail still not functioning at all. Rebooted mail agent. Got eight emails.
I started constructing the USB power monitor that was in Silicon Chip in December 2012. I had bought the kit when last at Jaycar. Not many parts involved, however I am increasingly unlikely to see well enough to do many modern kits. Luckily Jaycar had already soldered in the more tricky surface mount components.
A wonderful bit of typography. Macular - the impossible typeface by Jacques Le Bailly a.k.a. Baron von Fonthausen invokes Escher's impossible drawings. Pity it costs over $270, but it is hard doing a decent typeface.
I was a bit later than I planned getting up, but that probably means I slept well for once. Started laundry. Breakfast. Laundry out, and second load started. Willows for a walk. This time I used the new Moves app to track my steps. Moves seems pretty good.
Back home. Discovered I had left the milk out of the fridge. Shades of primary school. Hope it survived. Second lot of laundry out to dry. Replaced the burnt out CFL light in the dining room.
Drove Jean's car to the restaurant for lunch, given the outside temperature was 38°C in the shade. Present were Pat, Dot, Sue, Ray, and later Pat's husband Jeff arrived. I also saw our neighbours Holger and Alexis having lunch at another table.
I checked with Liz at reception about our lost TV reception. She did not know anything about deliberate changes being made.
I managed to leave my bag (with the remains of my lunch in a plastic box) behind at the restaurant. Realised it as I was about to park. Drove back and collected it. Getting more forgetful by the day. Should have taken my bag with me when I ducked out to reception.
Pattie phoned me later about a dead phone, but with it being a wireless phone, I could not suggest any test for the line. I did suggest Reception hold onto an old style phone so the line could be tested, or for emergencies. I mentioned my lost TV reception.
Replacement CFL light I put in the dining room this morning flickers on and off. No idea why. I guess tomorrow I will try clipping it into the socket again. The extreme heat may be causing issues. Roof cavity heat is ridiculous. I do not think I have any more spare CFL lamps.
I saw two of Duanh's electricians redoing ceiling fans in the very overheated Carlton Theatre before lunch. I showed them how to switch on the front air conditioner (switches are hidden behind a door and around a corner, in a cupboard). Asked them about my faulty sensor for the back porch light. They said they would do it this afternoon.
Duanh's two young electricians arrived and replaced porch light sensor. Will test it tonight. At least I can turn the outside lights off and on manually now. Just tested the sensor. It works fine now. Great to have it replaced.
This is one problem with living in Queensland in a leased house. Normally I would just do these routine electrical repairs myself. However these days there are too many nanny state laws.
I viewed the International Space Station pass on Tuesday Jan 29 7:27 PM, Visible: 6 min, Max Height: 54 degrees, Appears: SSW, Disappears: NE. A very nice pass, with backlit low cloud to the south west. Clear sky otherwise.
An Apple announcement of 128GB version of Retina iPad 4. Hmm, isn't Microsoft Surface tablet just out?
I was up around 5:15 a.m. It is cooler, at 26°C outside. Inside temperature is still 28°C. Humidity is very high.
Mucked around not getting much else done on the computer until it was time to go refuel Jean's car. Then Willows for my regular walk. Did over 6000 steps, according to the Moves app on my iPhone. Remembered to get money out of one of the hole in the wall ATMs. No shopping, but when the post office opened, I mailed a single sheet contribution to FAPA. Felt that was very inadequate.
Stopped at the office to put in the form for electrical work. Stopped to collect mail, and chatted to Ray (from this side). Started putting stuff in the recycling bin.
I ran some water from the cold water tap into glass bottles, and put them in the fridge to get cool. This was a little after nine, as I had forgotten when I got up. By midday, the cold water tap was running hotter than the hot water from the (insulated) hot water service.
I soldered the components into the USB Power Monitor this morning. Initial testing showed it working. At lest, it measured a known voltage correctly. I still need to calibrate it.
Eight months of lies, for a 14 September election. Eight months of politicians bleating. Australia is doomed! Glad my TV reception broke down back in December.
I walked over to the pub around four. It sure was hot in the direct sun. The shade temperatures were over 35°C. I do not like to think what it was in the direct sun. Luckily a cool beer or three awaited me at the pub. Cathy was back behind the bar. Ian was there. Bob soon arrived. Jeff, followed by Ray, and then Harry who was not liking the heat at all. Cathy had some bar snacks for us, sao biscuits with ham, cheese and tomato topping.
My resistance must have been lowered. Ordered some batteries, HDMI cables, and power boards from Dick Smith. Ordered a Brother HL-3045CN printer from OfficeWorks.
A two year old wind turbine falls over. Luckily no-one was around when the accident happened. A 35-metre Endurance Wind Power E-3120 turbine has collapsed near Holsworthy U.K. leaving the tower lying on the ground on Sunday 26 January 2013. The turbine at East Ash Farm in Bradworthy was erected in 2010 by Dulas Ltd, and had a five year warranty.
A speech by the Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the National Press Club was reported mostly in terms of her new glasses. The PM's speech was reasonably informative, and heavy on factual outlines, but you would not know it from the reports in the press.
I mailed my FAPA contribution off to the USA today. The two pages (one sheet) of paper, weight between 50 and 250 grams, cost $6.20 for postage. I note this for future reference if printing is offered by the Official Editor of FAPA in the USA in the future.
Amazon Profits Fall 45 Percent, Still the Most Amazing Company in the World, because shareholders value it at an insane price. Didn't you notice. It lost money (again).
Australian Government caretaker conventions, in aftermath of an election being ordered, apply after the House of Representatives is dissolved.
I did not awake until well after six. Put some more rubbish out with the garbage. Seemed to sleep well enough, despite temperature still being 27°C at 6:30 a.m.
Felt totally out of it all morning. Did not even feel like breakfast. Drove Jean's car to Willows, and took a walk in the air conditioning. Bought ham and cheese for dinner, a loaf of Brumby's 12 cereal mini loaf bread. I want to see if that size fits in the sandwich maker.
Made a ham, cheese and tomato sandwich for lunch around 2 p.m. Too lazy to do more. Temperature rise seems to have stopped at around 34°C, but it is still too humid. Collecting things to pack in Jean's car.
Dropped in on Allan and Mary's perpetual afternoon party. Asked Duncan to take care of any parcels that manage to get left. Who knows what adventures await.
Had ice cream for dinner. This may not have been the best dietary choice.
An explanation of Australian National Electricity Market can be complicated. There are tools like NEMWatch to assist in visualising the market. EX2View's two screen software displays Australian National Electricity Market demand in a form suitable for traders.
The solar power output figures last month (December 2012) showed it generated 3785kWh over 10989 hours. Figures in January are E-total 3938kWh, h-total 11384 hours. So the total hours operating in the 31 days of January 2013 were 405 hours, during which it generated 153kWh. About 4.9kWh per day, or 377 Watts per operating hour. This is a nominal 1 kW panel, operating with fine sunny conditions for most of the month.
The Ergon electricity meter in January showed Tariff 11 at 4321kWh purchased, Tariff 33 at 3903kWh, and the export of power from the solar panel at 1722kWh since installed. I had imported 4212 kWh on E1, exported 1633 kWh on E1/E2, and imported 3656 kWh on E2 as at the end of December 2012. So the electricity meter shows consumption in January 2013 as 109kWh on Tariff 11, 247kWh on Tariff 33 (for air conditioning and hot water), and exported 89kWh of solar power.
AB 1, CG 19, T 11
I like this Modern IE tester from Microsoft.