Eric Lindsay's Blog March 2013

Friday 1 March 2013


I was awake at four, but then managed to get some more sleep until six. It soon started raining, so my walk and my shopping trip were put aside. I made a poached egg on toast for breakfast.

Jean reports in from Las Vegas, ready to head off to dinner with friends.

During the morning I figured out a possible method of supporting the shelf I brought with me for the built in closet. The radiata pine flexes too much to span a two metre shelf, unless I can add supports. I had been contemplating just buying more wood, but decided I really should use up existing wood, if I can find a method of doing it. None of the existing wood can span two metres, which makes it more awkward.

Late in the afternoon I used a file on the nine book case shelves, just to ensure there are no sharp edges. If the weather and balcony ever dries out, I should be able to see about starting to put Estapol polyurethane wood finish on the shelves. That needs two coats, so I need to start in the next few days.

It started raining in the evening. Slightly annoying, as I may have got a few more outdoor things done if it had not rained.

Scanned mostly empty fridge and freezer for something to eat. Found two small slices of frozen pizza, so I guess that is dinner. This diet stuff is the absolute pits.


I managed to scan several large folders of Applix magazines I did in late 1989 and 1990. I suspect I will find a few more of these (although I could not find them when I looked), but it made a really decent start to the recycling work.

Further scanning was mostly unearthing small collections of paper, and scanning them to an appropriate folder. It is taking a fair while, but the piles of paper are visibly diminishing, even after only two days.

Broken Screwdriver

I found a Dick Smith electric screwdriver at the bottom of a drawer. Like several other devices, it had that hideous rubber paint on it. This means that paint had melted and gone sticky. Also the batteries (3 AA NiMH) were dead. If not for the paint problem, I could have pulled it apart and replaced the rechargeable batteries (although soldering AA batteries is a bit of a pain). As it was, I pulled out the motor and gearbox. It is actually a rather nice little motor. It is complete with a reversing switch.

Surely I can subvert the motor into something else? Curtain opener maybe?

Rosella Shuts

An Australian icon, Rosella sauces, closes it doors today. It went bankrupt three months ago. No buyers on hand. 75 staff lost jobs. I probably need to get the latest AusBuy list of which Australian companies still exist in Australia. I am going to return to deliberately targeting Australian owned companies.

Downloads Suck

I saw in the morning that Apple iTunes offered a mildly interesting 99 cent movie rental of the week, and that it was in HD, not standard definition. So I paid my 99 cents and started the download at 6:30 a.m. The movie download completed at 6:45 p.m. Yes, over twelve hours to download a movie.

Twelve hours to download an iTunes rental movie, on a line doing 0.38MB/s, when it should take about 3 hours. Line speed is bad, but not the only problem. The NBN will probably never get here (or I will die waiting) but the problem is backend, and a 100MB/s line will not fix backend.

Remember this is at Airlie Beach, where the internet is four times the speed it is at Townsville. I like being at Airlie Beach, and part of the reason is the internet is not nearly as slow.

It certainly explains why I kill any web page that starts showing a video (I loath that practice). It explains why streaming is never a good idea. It explains why my Google searches almost invariably exclude YouTube. Video on the internet simply sucks.

TV Viewing

I turned on my TV in the evening. Channel 11 screens Star Trek Voyager episodes from some uneven time around 8:40 or so. They have so many commercials on that I got little bits of social networking and paper scanning done on the computer across the room during the time. The Apple Thunderbolt monitor is so reflective that I can tell when the TV show starts again.

I prefer to use my computer rather than a mobile device because I can block most of the advertising from web sites via browser extensions and custom CSS. Mobiles do not make the same anti-advertising facilities as easily available. Advertising on TV? That is what you have a mute for.

I used my iPad for news reading via RSS feeds while the shows were on. I tend to delete RSS feeds that include advertising. So TV viewing is a three screen affair. I doubt it is much value to advertisers.

Saturday 2 March 2013

Early Morning Wakeup Scream

I was awoken around 3:30 a.m. by heavy rain and a woman screaming. Sound carries in the night, and you can easily hear traffic on the main road 300 metres away. I went from door to door around the apartment trying to decide which direction the screaming was coming from. It sounded like the next block over. I could see movement on the stairwell, and two people arguing, one exceedingly loud.

I was just getting dressed to go out and check the disturbance. It became obvious the woman was screaming because she was accusing the bloke of two timing her.

Went back to bed, but I could not get to sleep due to the rain. Decided I might as well write up some stuff on the computer.


I doubt there will be many tents at the market. The rain from the east is very heavy, at least over Airlie Beach. Very localised, according to the weather radar at Bowen.

Hungry at 5 a.m. Raid fridge. All I can find is bottles of tap water I brought from Townsville (the local Proserpine tap water is often terrible due to manganese contamination). Decide water might shut up my stomach for a little while. I have one very large egg and four very small eggs from the egg farm in the fridge, but will save them for another day. Hmm, I have on hand some lemon marmalade from the markets. I should use that up sometime.

Nearly eight and it is still raining. I can not see tents at the markets. Hardly any cars parked there. Using binoculars, I can now make out four tents.

Rain contracted to offshore, so I walked down to the markets. There were five vendors there. I spend $20 on a vac pack of three grain fed rib fillet steaks from Kemp Meats at Sarina. Packed yesterday, which is fresh enough. I think I will be eating steak for the next few days. Also got a half dozen limes, so I think rum punches will feature.

No copies of the Courier Mail at the news agency. They did not get many copies delivered, and had already run out. I bought The Australian, and The Financial Review.

Had a nice rib fillet for dinner, washed down with a second rum punch. I like this diet!

The sky looks a horrible yellow as the clouds gather to set rain falling. I do not like this sort of night.

Amanda Palmer on Asking

A delightful TED talk by Amanda Palmer on The Art of Asking. How do you let people pay for music they love? Maybe this is the new model of patronage.


Only China and USA have effective climate policies, via population control. Thank you One Child policy, and gun lobby.


I found several more folders of material to be perused. It looks like I put them aside because I had realised they would be very messy to organise and scan. Just when I thought I was starting to get through the scanning.

Drones in USA

A report on Homeland Security use of aerial Predator drones in the USA. A redacted version of the drone specifications (I downloaded a complete version which is probably no longer available) obtained by Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).

Does this shit remind of The Terminator?

Sunday 3 March 2013


I was awake early, between four and five. After the giant steak last night, at least I am not really hungry. Wait a second, I am still hungry. How could I be hungry after what must have been a 250 gram steak only eleven hours ago?

It is still too dark to see the sky, but I suspect it is overcast. Weather radar is showing rain well offshore, but mostly not here at Airlie Beach. A little later, I can see 10/10 cloud. I do not think the laundry can be done.

I went for a walk this morning, before the sun rose above the hillside. The clouds mostly reduced the glare, so I did not take my hat or sunglasses. Covered three kilometres, and then stopped at Maccas for breakfast. They have the Sunday Mail newspaper available for customers. Alas, no political scandals.

Continued to the news agency, where I was greeted by name. I like local shops that manage to do this. Their driver had brought back issues of the Saturday Courier Mail, which I had been unable to buy on Saturday. So having read the Sunday paper, I bought the Saturday version. I often do not get around to reading it until the next day in any case. Now I should also have sufficient newspaper to use as a painting dropsheet when I paint my shelves.

All the cloud hanging about means it is horribly humid.

A sneezing fit as soon as I got back home. Plus I seem to be getting a blister on my left little toe. I do not like this.

There is a shitload of washing up the morning after cooking a steak. This despite using foil on the oven tray for fat drippings. I have trouble with the little chromed bars in the stand.

Did scanning for much of the day. Very slow finding and organising stuff.

Late night movie was Inception. I found it difficult to follow which level of dreaming was involved. It still seemed an impressive thing to attempt.


I rarely watch TV at Carlyle Gardens (no TV for the past decade or so). However when they went real cheap, I bought a few TV sets. I do like a couple of public affairs programs on Sunday. The fibre optic connection at Carlyle Gardens went out in December, and I have not bothered to have an antenna installed. However at Airlie Beach, the free to air connection works whenever it is not raining heavily. So I binged on TV. Even watching evening TV.

I came upon a program called The Hoarder Next Door. I have known hoarder. The late Kevin Dillon comes to mind. However many fans have a touch of hoarding, but please to be sure to call it collecting.

A Coup D'état in Spain?

A former Spanish general speculates on how Catalan separatists may provoke a military coup d’état to support the Constitution in Spain. An interesting story.

In Australia, the Federal government has far too much power to meddle and interfere in matters reserved to the States in the constitution, like health and education. This is encouraged by the fiscal gap whereby the States are responsible for most of the services, but the Federal government, supported by the Courts, raises most of the taxes. John Howard's government attempted to provide the States with the Goods and Services Tax. Too little, too late.

I believe the Federal government could solve the fiscal gap by returning the personal income tax powers (seized in 1942 for a long gone war) to the States. After all, there is no provision in the Australian Constitution for succession, the other increasingly attractive option.

Solar System

A really nice animation of the solar system moving along as a vortex. Gives a better feel for the solar system than as a flat diagram. Alas, the artist managed to transpose Jupiter and Saturn, but you can not have everything. It still looks great. As does his Our galaxy is a vortex.

Burning Books

They were mouldy, unread and long out of date. So why did I feel so bad about burning my Britannicas?

Monday 4 March 2013


I slept through until almost six. Dealt with some incoming stuff on the computer, and continued scanning.

Off to Coles. A stop at the bank to try to determine why my credit card had not been paid out. Seems the bank is simply doing it late for February. Bought a heap more stuff than I intended at Coles. Strawberries and grapes, tomatoes, various small helping dips (packs of three very small containers - only way it will work for me). On the list were milk and orange juice, and both were longish dated.

Hung out the laundry when I returned. Despite light cloud cover, the solar influx is fierce. Humidity is stupidly high. Very typical of the tropics in the wet season. However unless rain sneaks in from the west, I should soon have the clothes dry.

A late breakfast of toast with lemon marmalade. I get the home made marmalade from a stall holder at the local markets. I tend to get my jams and pickles there also. Had one of the little 60 gram containers of tzatziki from Coles as a mid afternoon snack.

Not a pleasant day. The temperature has gone up to nearly 32°C and the humidity is still high. A fair breeze blowing, but not enough to compensate for the temperature rise.

I cooked myself another of the rib fillets I got at the markets from Kemps Meats at Salina. Awesome. Just add salt. Somehow I got the grill just right (rare on those poxy little portable stoves). Decided to have some of the left over red wine as the perfect end to the meal. I am so full. However this time if I feel hungry later, I also have some potato salad on hand.

No Future

I loved Disney's EPCOT in Florida, when I saw it many decades ago. Now it seems Disney view is stop thinking about tomorrow. An article by Zohar Liebermensch In New Geography makes that clear.

No wonder, when the family is finished. Birth rates below replacement in many if not most developed countries. Just who do you think will look after you in your declining old age? It will not be the next generation. There will not be enough of them. Look forward to a lonely death.

Thunderstorm Warning

I just had a early warning of thunderstorms and high winds, covering a 500km stretch from Mackay to Ingham. It was issued at 2:01 p.m. I just got the laundry in from the drying rack, since it was all dry. Been very humid, but I have full sun on my balcony. The sky has light grey clouds over most of it, with patches of blue. The weather radar is showing a shitload of rain in Cairns, offshore, and at Mackay, but so far mostly missing Townsville and Airlie Beach.

Around five there was rain. Very steady rain. I had to shut the doors against it. Later I could open the doors a little to a very welcome cool change that accompanied the rain.


I scanned the last of the left over fanzine sheets today. At least, I hope they are the last. Then I did the Applix Hardware and Construction Manual. The paper is leaving the place at a great pace. However I think there is another box of papers. I guess that is tomorrow.


I continued with the construction in the closet. After my first plan failed, I decided to sacrifice another piece of old wood to make a couple more shelf supports. That let me use the shelf wood, which was too short for my original plan. No additional materials needed so far. I even found extra screws for the clothes hanging rod. The rod supports had long ago lost the associated screws.

The construction did not fit. I feared that would happen, but hoped I could manage to slide it all into the space. I did not want to cut the hanging rod, mainly because I could not find a hack saw. Finally accepted it would not work. Found a square file (where is the triangular file) and used that to cut the excess metal off. A right pain, but workable.

The closet shelving is finally done, this evening. It sure would have been easier (and a heap quicker) if I had been able to get one of the local carpenters to do the job.

Prime Trust

I chanced upon the ABC current affairs show Four Corners this evening, this time reported by Stephen Long and presented by Kerry O'Brien. It was concerned about betrayal of trust by companies. I could only see Four Corners the once (iView does not work without Flash, and streaming is useless in any case).

One of the example Four Corners choose was Prime Trust. Since we bought into a former Prime Trust retirement village, now in receivership, I was interested in the account of Bill Lewski. Retirees' nightmare: anything goes if you disclose, says Stephen Long. Update on Australian Property Custodian Holdings Ltd in its capacity as responsible entity for The Prime Retirement and Aged Care Property Trust. What happened to $60 million? Wooldridge faces boot from boards. The Prime Retirement and Aged Care Property Trust product disclosure statement. People who think they were stung Prime Trust Action Group.

Tuesday 5 March 2013


I was awoken by rain in the dark around five. Went around closing doors against the rain. By then I figured I might just as well get up. Feeling a mess, partly because I foolishly stayed up late watching ABC shows like QandA, and partly due to drinking two glasses of red wine.

It has been raining. It continues to rain. It will rain in future. Plus the Bowen weather radar is out again, or maybe still.

I took a short walk to the news agent. Got lots of news papers, as today may be boring. It rained as soon as I entered the shop. So instead of taking more of a walk, I walked up the hill to home again. Not good for exercise.

Time for breakfast. But first, as well as opening doors, I will put a fan (or two) on. The humidity now it is raining is totally insane. There is a low off the coast that just might manage to get to cyclone status over the next week.

I had a long phone call from Ken, my former Faulconbridge neighbour who now does an incredible amount of travel. He had encouraged me to work for NSWIT many decades ago. He tells me some of the buses in South America have great seats. Indeed, some have lie flat beds, like fancy planes. It was great to hear from him. Plus I had a wonderful excuse not to do boring things with paper or computers while chatting.

The rain is really pissing down this afternoon.

No Nuclear Weapons

No nuclear weapons anywhere says Desmond Tutu. I agree. Australian uranium should only be sold to compliant signatories of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (so not to India, Israel, North Korea or Pakistan). But Australian uranium should also not be sold to signatories who have not removed their nuclear weapons (as per the treaty), so no sales to Britain, China, France, Russia or USA.

DRM Chair

A DRM chair that self destructs after eight uses. DRM makes so much sense for consumers.

Quinn Norton on Aaron Swartz

A long article on Life Inside the Aaron Swartz Investigation by Quinn Norton. Why are we putting up with these government arseholes?

Apple Doing Fine

I don't think the financial market comments understand Apple. You get articles like Eying Apple by James Surowiecke in The New Yorker. Such a worry that Apple does not make phablets. Apple does not have a low cost phone. Not! Apple's main problem is that it finds it hard to build enough product to meet demand. It does not need to fill all niches. Especially niches that make little profit. Apple makes 69% of all phone profits. It is performing great, in an area that will only expand a certain amount more. This is not a problem.

Apple is not a steady growth company like Johnson & Johnson, or a market-share chaser like Amazon. Apple will innovate again, into areas that make sense, and will make money. That is what happens when your aim is to make the best products, where they offer a decent profit, and concentrate only on doing great work.

The stock market response is particularly weird. Companies with almost no tangible business have P/E ratios that make no sense. Apple is great value (even with its low dividends), and has enough cash on hand to buy most of Wall Street. Besides, most people buying Apple stock these days are just speculators. Apple does not need their capital, it generates all it needs internally. There is no reason for Apple to give a damn what the wanking shareholders think. Especially the hedge and other funds.

The business commentators get Apple wrong all the time. Apple Stores, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad. Some wanking business commentator said they would not work. In each case, Apple destroyed a bunch of existing businesses.


WebKit for Developers, by Paul Irish.

Legalise Drugs

Harvard Economist Jeffrey Miron on Why Drugs Should Be Legalized.


I opened up the ancient file box with my personal papers in it. Took out folders, and mostly put them in the pile for things that seemed too complicated for a first pass through. However a fair number of folders were ones where the relevant content was already in a spreadsheet or data base. I had to bring some of these up to date with anything missing. Then I scanned the actual papers and put them in the bag for shredding. Slow going, but lots more paper will depart.

A look inside the Apple Lightning Digital AV Adapter is a tiny ARM SoC with 256MB of RAM, according to Panic. They were concerned they could only get a maximum of 1600 x 900 video out, not 1080p. They wanted raw HDMI out of the Lightning port, but that is not what happens. Panic speculated (not unreasonably) that Airplay was involved.

this comment explains more. Specifically, Airplay is not involved.

The most relevant bits seem to me this: Lightning is a serial bus. There is no clever wire multiplexing involved. Contrary to the opinions presented in this thread, we didn’t do this to screw the customer. We did this to specifically shift the complexity of the “adapter” bit into the adapter itself, leaving the host hardware free of any concerns in regards to what was hanging off the other end of the Lightning cable.

To me, that kind of fits into the Apple approach. Lightning is a smaller, smarter, and especially lower power drain replacement for Apple's 30 pin connector, with the smarts in the cable. Better than MicroUSB+MHL? That I am not so sure about. However Apple's old 30 pin connector ended up supporting USB, VGA, HDMI, Firewire, composite video, s-video, analog audio, which is a lot of legacy support. The effect of the Lightning connector is to remove the need to build a variety of power heavy output circuitry (which many people will never use) into an iPhone or iPad.

Lightning will let Apple reduce production cost, and maybe even size. Not as convenient for the minority needing such outputs, but that is how Apple work. Apple can send USB2.0, USB3.0, Analog audio, Digital Audio, HDMI, Display Port or any new standard through it, in theory. It also has the advantage (for Apple) of vendor lock in. Plus if Apple really do a small device (iWatch?), they need to get rid of peripheral support inside it.

Wednesday 6 March 2013


I awoke in the dark at 5 a.m. with the rain still drizzling down. I have a hangover, which seems entirely unfair since all I drank yesterday was a very small glass of Galway Pipe port. I think I may still be dehydrated.

The weather radar is showing a lot of rain offshore. It is drizzling here, too wet to go out, too light to show well on the radar.

Electricity outage. I walked down to the main street, and checked that everything was out. Bought an apple pie at Brumby's for breakfast, and several news papers to read.

The rum punch after the book shelf painting may have been a mistake. I emptied the rum bottle. And the ice cube collection, but that probably was harmless.

Electricity Outage

A power outage at 6:43 this morning, when the electricity supply went out for all of Airlie Beach. Power was not restored until around 9:15 a.m. If this is gold plating by the distributors, I would hate to see neglect. I thought we now had two lines through to the area, since power is much more reliable than in the past.

Freelance Journalism

A sad tale of why freelance journalists find it hard to make a living.


It did not actually rain after nine. 10/10 cloud keeping the temperature down, but not rain. So soon after midday, when I had some shade on the balcony, I went out with my shelves and a painbrush (which is how I think of a paintbrush). Painted all nine shelves, one side and edges, with Satin Estapol. Left them out on the balcony to dry and outgas.

I bet it rains soon!

Out again at 4 p.m. and painted the second side of each shelf. Used the same paintbrush, which I had put in a pot of water. I do not have any mineral turps. Besides, paint brushes are cheaper than turps. Luckily I have several brushes from a cheap pack.

Headache. I blame the Estapol. I hate paint.

Rain at 4:30. Rush and bring boards inside. Hope flow of air through the other room is sufficient to reduce the paint fumes.


I am failing to get stuff from the internet. Been like this since about four. Pictures from Twitter. iMessages on MacBook Air. Shortened links I tried to open. Ping is missing about 35% of all stuff sent. Traceroute is working. Modem lights indicate it thinks all is well. This is not good.

Ping seems a bit better at 4:30 p.m. Still can not get to common web sites like Google. This sort of shit is why I will never rely exclusively on internet based computing. The internet connectivity in regional Australia is absolute shit.

I decided to reboot my ADSL modem at 4:44 p.m. Although the modem is not at fault, sometimes a reboot helps. That proved to be the case today. I mixed myself a rum punch (in case of failure), and by the time it was built, I had my internet connection back. Including being able to download mail.

Internet is stuffed again at 7:23 p.m. Pings are losing 35% of their actions. I get some stuff over the internet, but many connections simply time out. Internet is shit, once again.

Amateur Archives

Amateur Beats Gov't at Digitizing Newspapers: Tom Tryniski’s Weird, Wonderful Website.

Resurgence of Apple

The rise of the Internet and the resurgence of Apple by Yoni Heisler.

TED Conference

A description that makes sense. Inside TED: the smartest bubble in the world A week-long journey into a temporary utopia, by Joshua Topolsky.

I do not watch the videos from TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design). Connectivity is too shitty to bother with YouTube or the like here. So while I was aware of TED, I did not get it.

Killer Drones Legal in USA

Obama Administration Says President Can Use Lethal Force Against Americans on US Soil. No wonder so many conservatives in the USA want to hang on to their guns, regardless of the death rate. For whatever good they do against drones and Homeland Security armoured vehicles.


A forthcoming article by Evan Soltas on The Rise of Finance points out that the financial industry now makes roughly half of all nonfarm corporate profits in the U.S., a share which has risen five-fold since the end of World War II. Employment in finance went from 4% to 6%. In addition, the average hour worked in the financial industry generates nearly 30 times the average per-man-hour profit in the rest of the economy. That's up from six times the average in 1964. Another comment was finance accounts for less than 10% of overall value added yet pulls in over 50% of the profit.

Thursday 7 March 2013


I was awake before dawn to a partially clear sky, with many suspicious clouds. I think I will start painting the boards for shelves early.

Good morning of work. Computer work for a while, then I painted nine shelves, and did half my exercises. Went for a walk through Airlie Beach before seven, and had breakfast. Bought the news papers, and then helped news agency get their network connection back. Found a photo of the Indian Pacific for Jean. About to do more scanning. And it is still only 8:15 a.m.

Jim dropped in while I was preparing to paint shelves. Good excuse not to rush to painting. iPhone problems. More accurately, too much data being eaten, and no good way to find what ate it.

Jim dropped back towards evening, which made a good excuse for us to have a G&T and a bit of a chat.


I think I will start painting the boards for shelves early. So I did. Even before my walk.

I painted nine shelves before the sun rose above the hill. The weather looked fine, so I left them on the outside chairs on the balcony. During my walk, clouds started to gather, so when I returned, I brought some of the boards inside, out of the sun and potential rain.

Afternoon, and the sun is now off the balcony. My shelves feel dry to the touch. Time to paint the other side.

The wind started blowing just about the time I finished the second side of all nine shelves. I hope not too much wind blown junk drops on them and sticks.

Budget Deficit

In 2011-12, the Australian Government general government sector recorded an underlying cash deficit of $43.7 billion (3.0 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP)). The fiscal balance was in deficit by $44.5 billion (3.0 per cent of GDP). All these figures are from the Australian government budget papers 2011-12. Goods and Services Taxes of $46 billion to be disbursed to States are included in these figures. GST was not included in the 2006-07 budget. Australian Government general government sector net debt was $147.3 billion (10.0 per cent of GDP). Australian Government general government sector net financial worth was -$358.3 billion negative at the end of 2011‑12. Net worth was -$247.2 billion at the end of 2011-12. Total income of $338 billion was 23% of GDP. Individual and withholding taxes were $148 billion, and company tax was $67 billion. Spending of $377.7 billion was 25.7% of GDP.

In 2006-07, Australian Government general government sector net worth improved by $16.8 billion in 2006-07 to around -$6.1 billion, largely reflecting the strong budget surplus. Net debt, which reached zero in 2005-06, improved by $25.4 billion over the financial year to -$30.8 billion. All these figures from Australian government budget papers 2006-07 Goods and services tax (GST) revenue (In 2006-07, $39.6 billion in GST revenue was provided to the States) collected on behalf of the States and Territories netted off revenue and expenses, but is included in 2011-12. Australian Government general government sector net financial worth was $45 billion surplus at the end of 2006‑07. Net debt was -$30.7 billion surplus at the end of 2006-07. Total income of $237 billion was 22.7% of GDP. Spending of $219.4 billion was 21% of GDP. Figures including GST follow. Total income of $278 billion. Spending of $259.4 billion.

The Lie Factory

Politics - The Lie Factory

Friday 8 March 2013


I was awake late, almost six. It was already light, and the birds had been doing their dawn chorus. My plans for an early morning walk took a big hit when it started raining heavily soon after six.

Made myself a poached egg on toast for breakfast, and that was the last of the giant eggs I had on hand. The pile driver at Port of Airlie Marina started noisy pile driving around 7:30 a.m. while I was cooking breakfast.

Cyclone Sandra has formed, as expected, well out in the Coral Sea off the east coast.

I had my last piece of steak for lunch. It had lasted pretty well in the fridge. Next time I will need to either get an even smaller quantity (not likely to be an option) or else unpack and freeze some. I am having some of the left over wine. However I am increasingly suspicious of red wine. May need to give up red wine. Keep telling myself it is good for my diet.

Jim dropped in. Off to his place with a bottle of gin so we could have a heap of G&T. Excessive quantities of gin consumed. I think I had three G&T, which is a lot for me.

Did manage to get his Flash based course to deign to allow sound again, after installing Google's Chrome browser as a way around the problem with Safari. Not sure which part of the install got that working. It sure did not work first try. I hate and loath Flash.

Lurched back to my apartment around 8:30. Watched Star Trek Voyager until rather late, while continuing to scan medical records into the computer.


I returned from Jim's place around 8:25 p.m. The ADSL modem was showing a red no internet light. I rebooted. It still showed no connection. Ping showed the same. I powered down the ADSL modem again. Same result, no internet connection. I kept powering down and and powering up the ADSL modem for an hour. Stuff Telstra Bing Pond and their fucking unreliable internet connection. Big Pond is a piece of utter shit!

The internet connection came back spontaneously about two hours later.


A meshed network of private delivery drones suggested by John Robb. Open drone network vs closed logistics. How to build Dronenet. How to roll out Dronenet. How an internet of drones will be built.

Tips to Purge Paper

I enjoyed Tips to Purge Paper by Tom Watson in the Seattle Times.

Saturday 9 March 2013


A leg cramp around 4 a.m. left me almost unable to walk. I thought G&T helped avoid leg cramp. I certainly drank enough of it yesterday evening to have avoided cramp. Not happy. Also my reduction in alcohol plans do not seem to be doing well, at least on Friday.

Overcast and cloudy, looking like rain. There is a small cruise ship out in Pioneer Bay.

Off to the market, when the rain squall passed. There were a fair number of tents there, given the poor weather. I saw Rex, setting up his coconut stall for the first time in about four weeks. The butcher did not attend the markets, so I was unable to get myself any more steak, Nature's protein bar. Sigh! Had breakfast on the main street, as the market people I usually buy from were not there.

Way too hot and humid. Reading the excessive number of newspapers I collected. Realised I simply had to start writing an apazine that was too close to the deadline. Thank goodness for email.

Jim took me to dinner at Mangrove Jack's. He had coupons for the dinner. Wanted advice on a new computer. I hope I got the essentials across. He is smart. I am sure he followed my meanderings. Watched Brisbane vs Collingwood game on Fox while there at Mangrove Jacks. The tempura battered fish were gigantic. I managed to eat one by skipping a lot of the batter. Picked at the other fish (which was a little underdone). Ate the non-lettuce bits of the salad, to the extent I could. Could not resist the odd chip or two, but left most of them. This after avoiding a lunch because I was sure the meal would be large.

Did more on my apazine comments after I returned home. Alas, after the first deadline, I have another one.


Not encouraging plague species seems sensible, so I do not donate to charities that discourage birth control and abortion.

I wish people would stop linking to the New York Times. It is behind a cookie paywall. If a link does not connect, it is not a link, just junk.

Cool and clear, walk is near. What a beautiful day: Labor out in W.A.


I am continuing the scanning. Personal papers occupying 1,335,526,604 bytes (1.34 GB on disk) for 1,165 files. Other papers occupying 1,989,028,381 bytes (1.99 GB on disk) for 276 files. More papers keep creeping out from underneath other stuff, like cockroaches.

Who Stole Solar Max?

I want to know who stole our Solar Maximum? Look at the sunspot number graph. It stopped heading for the expected peak. Hardly any sunspots.

Daylight Saving Tweet

What a wonderful life without Daylight Saving in Queensland. Get up when it starts getting light, or when the birds get too noisy.

Why doesn’t Queensland have Daylight Saving? Because we never did learn how to tell the time.


A number of articles about increased longevity. New Study Validates Longevity Pathway: Findings Identify Universal Mechanism for Activating Anti-Aging Pathway. Mentions resveratro increases the activity of a specific sirtuin,SIRT1, that protects the body from diseases by revving up the mitochondria, a kind of cellular battery that slowly runs down as we age.

Anti Aging Drug Breakthrough Achieved talks of David Sinclair's article Evidence for a Common Mechanism of SIRT1 Regulation by Allosteric Activators, and reveals how interaction with a single amino acid in the SIRT1 enzyme is crucial for the ability of drugs that can activate the enzyme.

Sunday 10 March 2013


I was up before six, feeling pretty good despite the red wine at dinner. Cool and fairly clear, so I took a 45 minute walk down to Port of Airlie, past Boathouse. Then across the land, and along the Airlie Beach foreshore. There were market tents being set up, as another small cruise liner is out on Pioneer Bay. That walk, and back through town, got me back my end of town just after seven. Got a couple of hot cross buns at Brumbys for breakfast, and collected the Sunday Mail.

The hill back up to the apartment feels worse than ever. I am continuing to have trouble with my right calf, which cramped badly a couple of days ago. It did not like my walk.

Watched a bunch of current affairs programs. Insiders on ABC. The Bolt report followed by Meet the Press on 10.


I have been scanning medical records today.

Ninja Blocks

I just ordered the Ninja Block kit (they made another 1000 of them). It is another Australian Internet of Things company. Plus the sensors sound just what I need soon.

Food Tablets

I liked Rob Rhinehart's account How I Stopped Eating Food, followed by the chemical composition of Soylent. This is crazy stuff. When I was a kid I wanted food tablets, so I did not have to waste time eating.

Monday 11 March 2013


I am utterly wrecked. Gorilla exercise program wants me to alternate eight squats and eight push ups for ten minutes. Collapsed in heap of jelly closer to five minutes. All the previous exercises gave me a number of reps to do, and I took my time doing that number of reps.

It rained as soon as I tried to go out to the news agent. Bah, humbug!

I notice the storage shed behind the BWS has been pulled down. There is a little bobcat device there, and a truck taking away the rubble. There is more land than I really recalled beside the car park. I have to wonder about the foundations of the rumour about a Woolworths going into that area. Woolworths have opened a lot of new stores in their battle with Coles.


A failure of the Scan to Folder program from the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500M scanner. This happens every now and then. I can not find any way to fix it apart from powering down everything and rebooting the whole computer. This is typically massively inconvenient and annoying.

ABC Watch

The ABC seem to do a good job of Monday evening. These days, about the only worthwhile TV channel is the ABC. However I can not see why tax money should be spent for my entertainment. All TV stations need to pay competitively for their frequencies. If they are unable to pay, the relevant frequencies should be auctioned off to someone willing to pay. Perhaps for mobile phone use, where there are actual buyers needing more frequencies.

The 7:30 Report agonised excessively over Labor defeat in W.A. Well d'oh! If you are not seeing the absolute loathing for Labor in country areas, you have simply not been looking. Julia was wise not to travel further West than Mt Druitt.

Media Watch carried on about NBN loving by (knowledgable) ABC staffer, Nick Ross. He is basically a games geek. His long article on NBN was heavily biased, but pretty well done, unlike much that appears. I do not mind people disagreeing with me about NBN, but dislike it when they have not even read the literature or thought through the economics.

Q&A had two person debate on Education which was different to their usual format. However I have to ask why there is any Federal education ministry when Education is exclusively a State concern? Nothing to do with Federal, who should not even have a department covering education. The problem is the money mismatch between Federal taxation, and State responsibilities. It could be solved by the Federal government giving the seized Income Tax powers back to the States. WWII has been over for many decades. There is no taxation emergency.

Self Healing Integrated Circuit Demonstrated

Creating Indestructible Self-Healing Circuits from High-Speed Integrated Circuits laboratory in Caltech's Division of Engineering and Applied Science.

Tuesday 12 March 2013


I woke up before five with what felt like a massive hangover. This is very annoying considering I have not drunk any alcohol for several days.

I went for my morning walk, timing the east portion to miss the sun rising above the hill. It sure got warm once the sun was actually up, but the last of my walk is under the awnings around Airlie Beach shops. Most of the shops are empty. A depressing sight.

Collected newspapers. Avoided buying more bread at Brumbys, because I already had fruit loaf in the fridge, planned for breakfast.

Started the laundry, since the weather looks suitable for drying it on the balcony.


Over 8000 pages into shredding and recycling after scanning with Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500M scanner. @Paperless2013

I have been scanning all my old taxation returns. It turns out the papers go back to 1964. Some paper that old is getting a bit fragile. Especially the tax returns I had torn apart and jumped up and down on. The ScanSnap still seems to mostly handle it anyhow. At the same time, I entered summary figures from each year in a CSV file (in my Inflation folder). Analysis some time later.

Firefox Web Browser Now Irrelevant

I see the Firefox web browser can now be considered irrelevant. I will no longer bother testing for compatibility with it. Mozilla again rejects porting Firefox to iOS.


I hope my tax money is not spent on Australian cricket teams who get sacked for not doing homework.

Why does Australia even have a Minister for Sport? Do they go out and coach a team? Waste of my tax money. #Auspol

Australian media reform balls up. Another wasteful government overview body. Government needs more dead bodies, not new ones. #AusPol

Wednesday 13 March 2013


I slept badly, so I got up to use the computer before five. Despite this, I was somehow late for my walk. Had breakfast on the main street, since I was out of milk at home. Collected The Australian. I am really not looking at these newspapers as much these days. Time to dump them all seems to be getting closer and closer. Time to move to the paperless house?

Another small gecko inside. Killed it.

Web Pages with DRM?

A warning about DRM. If HTML get shafted with DRM, I would drop any web browser supporting the DRM version. Even if that meant never updating my computer. What I wish Tim Berners-Lee understood about DRM by Cory Doctorow,explains how DRM is forced upon consumers.

Folks, the only real response is to boycott the product. DVDs are a dead end. So is BluRay. So is Adobe Flash. So are Amazon Kindle books, and ePub with (various incompatible) DRM. If the only format sold is DRM, and you really, really want it, then steal it. Then find the artistic creator, and buy them a drink or something. But the best response is ignore it, and encourage others to ignore it.

Drink Container Deposit Scheme

A report on drink container deposit schemes. 38% of waste collected by Clean Up Australia was beverage containers. Coke chokes the NT container deposit scheme, and why Coca-Cola Amatil (Fanta, Mountain Dew, Lift, Sprite, Mother, Powerade, Pump water, Mount Franklin water, Kirks and Becks) is against them.


Fifty years of taxation returns and supporting documentation now scanned. I also extracted the major figures (income, taxable income, tax paid) for each year to a CSV file. Must look up CPI for all those years, so I can also normalise the figures. The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500M continues to do a good job. 9272 pages scanned to date.

Avoid Free Services

If you do not pay for it, you have little control of how long it lasts. As an alternative, consider whether you really want advertisers to support you?

Adobe BrowserLab is shutting down immediately, so you can no longer test your web pages on various model web browsers. It does list a few alternatives.

Google will shut down Google Reader, so those following RSS feeds using it need to find an alternative. You can download an XML file of which feeds you follow. You have until July to find alternatives.

How to Search

I hate searches. It is right up there with finding the misplaced car keys. The search system for the Internet is broken. Here are Google's free self paced classes on how to Search. Try them. Search is so bad you really do need 50 minute lessons in how to do it.

Thursday 14 March 2013


I did not sleep all that well. As the birds started their pre-dawn chorus, I got up at five and started working on my computer.

Went for my morning walk a little after six. Cool before run rises above hill. Good distance at a good pace. Had breakfast at the only place open on the main street. Bought newspapers.

Jim asked for help moving Mail app. I have not gotten around to doing this on my own system. Then finally realised Migration Assistant will do it all very well.

Electrician phoned to get access to put in the TV antenna. They get the key from the office. I foresee complications from this, getting into the garage. But perhaps it will all work.


My Horrorscope: Aquarius. You receive feedback regarding an error report you sent back in 1998.

Old guys from a-bit-child-rapey cult pick old guy to be supreme guy for non-existent sky fairy in palace of stolen loot. Humanity!

The best Pope tweet I saw was from Chris Breen. Adversus novam bulla, idem quod vetus boss cum Jesuita liquamine. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss with Jesuit sauce.

iOS Updates

I started the iOS updates on the iPhone. Got a phone call when half way through. Figures. No dramas, except for needing to find the SIM Unlock code yet again.

Started downloading the iPad 3 update just before midday. Connection is slower now. About 30 minutes to do the job.

iPad Mini upgrade now complete. It downloaded pretty quick. How many Android devices did you update today?

KC's to Close

A very popular bar and restaurant KC, at Airlie Beach, is to close at the end of the month. Not enough customers with the main street ripped apart. They will attempt to reopen in about six months.

Why I Left Google

The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus. James Whittaker on Why I Left Google.

Nicely covers why I avoid Google as much as I can (and why I am no longer on Facebook).

Embedded Botnet

A wonderful article on Internet Census 2012 - Port scanning /0 using insecure embedded devices using the Carna Botnet. Embedded devices like routers are often open.

Friday 15 March 2013

Leaving Airlie Beach

I slept badly. Since I was awake early, I took the last two loads down to Jean's car, and left at 3:30 a.m. Apart from being really dark, I made good time. Saw one small bandicoot lik animal on the road, but managed to avoid it.

Too early into Home Hill for even the bakery to be open. So I continued to Townsville. Jean sent an iMessage a little after 6 a.m. saying her international flight had landed. Another that she was through landing procedures.


I sent some replies to Jean when I arrived at Carlyle Gardens. Collected the accumulated mail as I drove in. Unpacked the car, and put any cold stuff in the fridge or freezer. Loaded the washing machine and started that working. Dumped a heap of paper in the recycling bin. Put more paper by the shredder for more work.

Off to refuel Jean's car. A bit of a wait in the queue. Then the discount chemist for my usual tablets. Back to Willows, and Coles for food shopping. The fridge was basically empty. However despite being really hungry by then (only 8:30 a.m., but I had not had much to eat yesterday), I could not decide on much of the food shopping. Missed several obvious items, but got essentials. Off the the egg place, for two dozen eggs.

Back at Carlyle Gardens, I hung the laundry on the line to dry. Finally checked my weight, 72.5 kg. So I need to grow taller. Poached the last old egg, and had it on toast, so I finally had breakfast, about 9:30 a.m.

Collect Jean

I left latter than I expected, fooled by a battery wall clock that was ten minutes behind time. Arrived at the Townsville airport a few minutes after the flight had landed. Jean iMessaged me from the baggage area just as I walked through the front door of the compact Townsville airport building.

She had a distinctive new bag, the old one having fallen apart, so she had to spot it on the belt. We were driving home about ten minutes after I arrived. No parking charge, as we were below the minimum short term stay time.

First Successful Powered Heavier Than Air Flight

Gustave Whitehead, 14 August, 1901, this being his 21st powered aircraft. Whatever happened to the Wright Brothers?


The garden is a disaster. Laurie has supplied a couple of really nice decent size crotons, and a pine, plus about five other smaller plants. However the weeds have sprung up everywhere. Covered the whole garden, in less than a month. Not at all sure what I could do about the weeds. I need some plant that can outcompete the weeds. In short, a weed that is not considered a weed.

Saturday 16 March 2013


I was awake around 5:30 a.m. for small values of awake. It turned out that Jean had been working in her office from sometime after three.

I took a brisk walk around Carlyle Gardens for exercise.

Off to Willows around eight, so Jean could remedy the defects in my shopping yesterday. I collected the weekend news papers. I really should give up on news papers. I tried BigW and was driven out by a fire alarm. Various Carlyle Gardens residents were also shopping at Willows, and kept me appraised of where Jean was. I caught her in Coles, as expected.


I pulled some grass and weeds out alongside the house. Then pulled some of the weeds from the eastern side of the garden. It is apparent the weeds can grow far faster than I can remove them, especially as my visits are infrequent. Also I do not give a damn about gardens.


I got excessively annoyed at one of the door fittings. It is falling apart, and I can not see how they originally fitted it. However the retaining screws are obviously loose, without any apparent way to access them.

Jean fiddled with the door, and a piece I thought was fixed dropped off in her hand. It was a press fit with a rubber seal. So that was how you got at the internal bolts. I pulled the lock apart to study the entails. It turned out to be undamaged. Just needed to be put back together with all the bolts snug and secure, and the problem was solved.

Libre Office

A short interview with Jean on the free, open source Libre Office at the SCALE conference.

Javascript Refresh

Javascript Refresh is a course on using the modern Javascript language.

Sunday 17 March 2013

Saint Patrick's Day

I had been to each St Patrick's Day celebration at Carlyle Gardens since we arrived here. This time I was away the week when the tickets were being sold.

Later I found the President of the Social Club and made a donation. She tells me the event and the various clubs and societies around Carlyle Gardens have raised over $10,000 for Bundaberg flood relief. It was interesting that the flyer for the event specifically mentioned distribution would be via Argyle Gardens and our own efforts, not via Government or charities. Who mistrusts Government?


I was awake around five. I think Jean must be returning to Australian time, as she was also up at five. My weight is down to 71.8 kg. but a lot of this is probably dehydration. I would like to get down to 68 kg.

Jean found some bacon, and cooked us bacon and eggs for breakfast. I was out working on removing weeds from the garden. The bacon and eggs were a real treat. I do not cook myself bacon these days.


Stop the cyborgs, preserve some privacy, ban Google Glasses and pervasive spying, before it is too late. Stop the Cyborgs

Who’s Afraid Of Google Glass? Especially now Privacy is dead. As Bruce Schneier notes The Internet is a surveillance state. Plus it is centred on an armed state.


I pulled up weeds from a small area of the garden. Blistered my fingers on weed roots. Probably by now infected with some incurable earth borne disease. Took over an hour to do a tiny amount. Pulled out weeds along the edge of the garden. I guess I am starting to get some idea of where to put plants, if I can solve the weed issue.

Later I took some clippers and trimmed some of the sturdy green monster plant at the back of the garden. I found another tarp, so the gardening waste can be taken away by the lawnmower contractors early on Tuesday morning.

I wonder how filling the garden with concrete would work?

On the Business of Literature

A long thoughtful article On the Business of Literature by Richard Nash, in the Virginia Quarterly Review.

Monday 18 March 2013


I was up late, nearly six. Checked items on the computer before the sun was over the hill. Went for a quick walk around Carlyle Gardens, and managed to maintain better than a kilometre every ten minutes. Then it was garden work.

Had a hasty breakfast, and then off to CentreLink. Luckily no forms involved, and they were able to persuade the computer to revive that which did not need to be cancelled. So that was good for Jean.

Willows for walk and food shopping. I had no luck finding the sort of battery shaver I wanted in BigW, nor in finding an egg poacher. Jean waited for the hairdresser to open. About ten minutes after they were scheduled she sent a snappish message she was tired of waiting. We met at Coles, and bought more food.

Back home, where we hid in our rooms in the air conditioning. I worked on my ANZAPA contribution, still ahead of the deadline. We skipped lunch, as we had plans.

After Jean visited the chiropractor, we went to Hogs Breath Cafe for a late lunch. They had a special that included their rib fillet and their chocolate mud cake. So much for our diet today!

I could not eat anything more during the day or this evening. Way too full. Dreading checking weight, so I will probably forget to do so.


I broke off pieces of the almost indestructible green and purple plants (whatever they are), starting when I returned from my walk about 6:40 a.m. Jean had found the little miniature mattock for me, which really helped. I was able to dig a few holes and plant a half dozen of the green and purple plants. I hope they thrive.

I also planted a cutting of the tall purple plant over on the eastern side of the garden. I sort of plan to extend the range of that also, so the other side of the path.

The major problem still seems to be the massive number of weeds. I am starting to see concrete as a cure. I must get some mortar. Maybe I can fill all the cracks between the concrete garden surround, and the concrete block garden surround. That might discourage some of the weeds from there.

In the early evening I cut some more of the weeds out. Do not seem to be making much of an impression upon them. Plus I think some of the new plants from the gardener are dying. I wonder if the watering system has failed?

State Politics

First time Queensland LNP MP Scott Driscoll, Member for Redcliffe, seems way too heavily associated with the Regional Community Association of Moreton Bay (RCAMB). The non-profit is intended to provide emergency social services to the homeless, etc. Funding of $1.6 million from State and Federal Grants. However a company owned by his wife Emma got $120K in fees from RCAMB. Just breaking as I write, but this absolutely stinks.

iCloud Sync

I can not rely upon iCloud. Clear, the iPhone app I use for shopping lists, seems to have given up sync via iCloud. This is really making that product far less use. It worked fine at one stage. I suspect the problem is Apple and its iCloud stuff and its interaction with third party apps. The Apple branded stuff (at least Calendar) still seems to sync OK.

Safe as a Bank

Is it safe as a bank? Not if you are in Cyprus. Latest Eurozone decrees grab up to 10% of bank depositor's funds to prop up the banking system. Legally it is a wealth tax. I guess the idea is Cyprus is small. Unlikely to affect the Euro much.

In essence, this ECB and IMF money grab also steals perhaps tainted KGB money put in Cyprus for safety. I do not think that is a sensible move for them. Note the Vladimir Putin reaction. I think the Russians will take this very badly indeed.

What it does change is whether anyone has any faith in banks. The reason bank deposit guarantees were instituted, after the Great Depression, was that small holders took their money out of banks. It was safer to stuff money under the bed. I see a generalised bank run in southern Europe. That would be very, very bad.

Depositors will stop trusting the numbers on statements, and start demanding cash. So will tradesmen and shops. Next thing you know, e-commerce will be dead. There is not enough cash to possibly do that. That is why bank runs are so bad. The stage after that is to stop trusting government fiat money.

Investing in shares of safe manufacturers might be a reasonable move. Investing in ammunition manufacturers another. Some areas will head for insurrection.

[A note a few days later. The Cyprus Parliament rejected the EU bailout by 36, a large majority, with 19 abstaining. There were no votes for it. Someone got some sense.]

Tuesday 19 March 2013


I was up a little after five. The weather feels steamy and humid. Back to the wet season. I thought for a while mowing contractors were not going to collect all the garden clippings I put out. Luckily they were just running a little late.

The wall clock is totally wrong. Must be a failed battery.

Off to lunch. Dot turned up. Much later Ray turned up. Gave Sheena some money for the fund raiser. Seems Carlyle Gardens has raised more than $10,000 for the Bundaberg flood relief effort.

My roast beef lunch was late arriving, relative to Dot. However I had eaten as much as I could by the time I had to head off, so I put the remains in a box for later. Allen put it in the fridge for me to collect later.

I had to leave for my flu shot at the doctor. Despite not having to see the doctor, that still managed to waste about 45 minutes. I did read some of the latest Analog while waiting.

Dropped in at the office, in the hope I could find what was happening with the TV antenna. I could see the electrician's car outside. No luck.

Back to the bar to sink a pot of beer. Was able to chat with Jeff, who had also turned up.

Late in the afternoon I replaced the dying battery in the kitchen clock with a good one. I also replaced the faulty from arrival CFL GU10 downlight over the kitchen table. That is the last of the replacement CFL bulbs we have on hand. In future, any purchased replacements will be LED, and I hope also internet enabled. We will use up the replaced CFL as needed.


I found that the garden watering system timer had failed. That may explain why the new plants were looking so poor. It must have been failed for a week or so, although I thought it had run sometime recently.

It took a while to find something that would let me detach the timer from the hose system so I could run the water sprinklers manually. I let it run water for about a half hour, which should help the new plants in the garden. I may need to do the same thing in the afternoon. However I suspect nothing will really help the garden.

Later in the day I replaced one of the blocked sprinkler heads, so yet another corner of the garden area got water. For that matter, so did I. Luckily it is more than hot enough that water is enjoyable.

Soylent Two Months

Two months of eating Soylent.

Pharmacy Gravy Train

Pharmacy gravy train drives up the cost of prescription drugs by Rollo Manning.

Sealing Wax

I received a packet of sealing wax from David.

Folding Desk

I want a folding desk bed, to maximise the use of space in my room. Sort of. Tried to convince myself various commercial models would work. Came very close to buying. However something was wrong.

Design challenges: Desk surface able to rise parallel to floor (no need to unload the surface) to a greater height, for use as a standing desk like Jean has. Parallel supports? Bed (perhaps the existing folding couch from Sam's) then has space to fold down from under the raised desk. I need to be able to take a nap at times. Bookcase or storage one end? TV at other end, so I can relax and watch whatever while on the bed.

Start by taking measurements of everything. Then find balsa and make a scale model. Then work out mechanical linkages.

Wednesday 20 March 2013


I was up at about five, and started working on the computer. Too dark to start pulling weeds from the garden.

Back from pulling weeds. Extremely grumpy about waste of time and effort.

Sulked inside at the computer all day.

Jean returned with food shopping about 3:15 p.m. Hurled it at me and told me to put it away in the fridge, as she only had a two minute turnaround time.

Jean messaged me to say she would get me some material for another tropical shirt. It is covered in killer whales. Then she messaged to say she would get me some Chivas Regal in Dan Murphy. I like the way this is going!

I went over to the bar for the usual Wednesday afternoon piss up, now that the bar was actually open again. In an attempt to continue my diet, I changed from wine or beer to whiskey and soda. By the end of the evening, I was fairly certain this move had disadvantages.


I wasted about forty minutes ripping weeds that grew in the past month out of the so called garden. I had sprayed them with poison last night, until I ran out. So I hope that poison helps suppress the continued growth a bit.

Once I had a few clear areas, I dropped a half dozen large concrete pavers into the areas, to reduce the area weeds could easily cover. They join about a dozen pavers we put in a year or so ago. If there is no bloody soil, then the weeds will have more trouble, right?

The whole idea of a garden now infuriates me.

The Economy of Terror

The Economy of Terror, about visiting the USA, by Mike Lee. Covers why I never visit the USA these days.

Diamonds are Bullshit

A post on why diamonds are bullshit as an investment, by Rohin Dhar. Diamonds as an investment is all an advertising con job. More diamonds are being produced than ever, and all the old ones still exist.

Have Book Publishers a Future?

Book Publishers Scramble to Rewrite Their Future by Evan Hughes.

RSS Feeds

I wondered what would happen after Google Reader disappeared, along with the feed information it stored for many people, including me. I have basically been using NetNewsWire for my RSS feeds, syncing to Google. It is pretty good on a Macintosh, and the iOS variations are acceptable. BlackPixel say Net News Wire will return, with new features. They failed in their attempt to use Apple's CoreData and iCloud for sync. After my experience with Clear, I do not find that sync issue surprising.

Open Energy Monitor

An open source energy monitor system for Raspberry Pi and Arduino. Monitor and display electricity, solar generation, temperature and other environmental data with web-connected wireless sensor nodes based on the Arduino platform.

Thursday 21 March 2013


I could not sleep. Rain keeps waking me, so I closed some exposed windows. The garden looks flooded.

Too much whiskey at the bar. So I probably need to find an alternative drink.

Jean went off after breakfast to deliver her car for service. She was not back in their courtesy car until nearly ten.

I drew the short straw (she wanted wine with lunch, and I forgot to eat), so I got the curtesy car to collect her car. No problems, except sticker shock. They replaced two tyres on the front, with the front tyres being rotated to the back, as directed by Jean.


It turns out that the timer for the water sprinkler system was merely running late. This does rather explain why Jean saw it working, on a day when I thought it had not run (I knew when it should start and finish). Since it was sitting on the table, I inspected it this morning and found the valve had opened about a half hour or more late. However it had worked.

The Spill

Egged on by churnalists carrying on about leaders instead of policies, former ALP leader and Gillard supporter Simon Crean asks Prime Minister Julia Gillard to call for a spill. I can only assume Crean was subject to a brain fart, can't count, or planned to resign his seat prior to the next election. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott scents blood, and tries for suspension of standing orders, as a prelude to a no-confidence motion. Gets 73 to 71 with support from some Independents, but suspension of standing orders needs an absolute majority of 76. Abbott never had the numbers to roll the government, but did get a majority.

Gillard quickly calls the spill for PM and DPM. She is a tough and fast politician. The Man Who Would Be King, if anyone liked him, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd doesn't have the numbers, and knows it. He declines to stand, which is sort of what he has been saying publicly for a year, since he lost a previous challenge pretty badly. Now he can say he keeps his word (implying others do not). Simon Crean, who said he would stand for deputy, also does not stand. Gillard stands for PM. Wayne Swann again stands for DPM. There being no challenge, there is no vote. You do not even know what the numbers were likely to be.

This seems all part of Rudd's revenge. He seems to be a hater. If he won the spill, and won the election, he would just be knifed again later by Caucus, and he knows it. Caucus can not stand him. If he were PM, and lost the election, he would go down in history as a loser. If Julia loses the election, he can say he would have helped, if only the people who knifed him had allowed it. Only if Julia as PM wins the election does Rudd lose. Labor is now more of a shambles than ever, with several good people now on the backbench, and more headed there.

Resident's Meeting

I went along to the quarterly Resident's Committee Meeting this evening. Had not had dinner, and was already feeling exhausted when I arrived. Allen at the bar quickly produced a drink to fortify me, and spontaneously produced a small plate of chips for me to snack on. It really helped.

The restaurant was topic of some agitation early in the meeting. The restaurant was once run by the Carlyle Gardens resort owners, who also ran the whole place. It was not exactly economical. After Prime Life bought the village, there were several changes to restaurant managers. Eventually the costs got too much, and the restaurant was to be closed. A last deal was struck to have the then current manager lease the restaurant, on a two year plus two year lease. The second two year period expires at the end of August. This lease will not be renewed.

A new lease arrangement will be organised. I believe the current leaseholder could apply again at that time.

Some residents use the restaurant a fair bit. Not however sufficient numbers to make it an viable business proposition, in my opinion. You can see this is the gradual reduction in staff. Some residents refuse to use the restaurant at all.

I was surprised to find the topic of converting to a gated community was raised. With the receiver in charge, there was no commitment to providing gates at all, and especially not soon. But the interesting point is people feeling it was needed.


A little bit of public hounding of a transgender schoolteacher by Richard Littlejohn in the U.K. Daily Mail. He's not only in the wrong body... he's in the wrong job Later the Daily Mail blocked access to the article. Perhaps because the victim, Lucy Meadows, is dead. Enjoy your hatred. This stuff gets remembered on the internet.

[A later New Stateman comment Press regulation, freedom of speech and the death of Lucy Meadows on media intrusion and disrespect, by Jane Fae.]

Friday 22 March 2013


I slept until well after six, and really needed it. I felt a total wreck yesterday.

Went to the restaurant for lunch. Ray and John were there. An absolutely giant hamburger from the new, young and fit looking chef. More meat in it than I have eaten in ages. Talked a little with Allen and Dave about their views on the meeting yesterday.

Visited to office to once again complain about not having a light in the mail box in Stage A. I am not even positive that an electricity feed was installed, although I thought it had. All the other mail boxes have lights on all evening (I think they should only go on when someone is nearby).

Garden work. Ugh!


A new Australian MOOC Open 2 Study launched in Canberra. I believe by an Education minister who resigned from the Gillard government the same day.


I dug a few more holes in the garden, after the sun was out of the sky. Humid, but not too hot really. So three or four more of the purple and green succulents have been spread around. I found some sticks, and poked some deep holes nearer the rear of the garden. I put cuttings of the tall purple plants into these. Laurie told me I could not kill these. We shall see. I watered all of them, and will repeat the watering tomorrow, if it does not rain heavy overnight.

Great Balls of Fire

Molten plutonium nuclear reactors. What could go wrong?

Rudd Knifed

An outraged article on how Kevin Rudd was knifed by the Labor Party, by Joe Hildebrand.

To recap:

Julia Gillard forced Rudd to dump Labor’s emissions trading scheme, sparking a war with the left and crippling his authority on climate change;

Wayne Swan forced Rudd to adopt his mining tax, sparking a war with the right and crippling his authority on the global financial crisis;

Then when Rudd was caught in the pincer of those two appalling misjudgments they both conspired to decapitate him and take his place.

I gather that Joe Hildebrand was normally a Labor supporter.


A runaway government money printing press has caused hyperinfaltion 56 times before. Now hyperinflation is heading for Iran, if sanctions do what they are intended to do.

Saturday 23 March 2013


I was up a little after five. Sleeping in air conditioning helped a lot.

We went to Willows Shoppingtown in the air conditioning for our walk, but Jean was having knee problems. Was this despite or because of the comfortable shoes? Who knows. We both used the Moves app to check our paces, and got reasonable matches given our different strides. However the distance was way too high. My matching of Moves and Runkeeper when walking outside is close, but I am walking at a much higher velocity, and taking much longer paces then.

We checked the chocolate shop for a large Darrell Lea dark chocolate Easter Bilby. Luckily they had only small milk chocolate versions, which we do not consider worth buying.

I declined an invitation to the pub starting at four, as I had an ANZAPA deadline. I would have very much liked to go. Not that it would be good for my weight loss program, especially now I have reduced my alcohol consumption.

I watered the garden using the sprinkler system towards evening. No idea whether the plants are surviving or are about to curl up and die.


I continued to work on an ANZAPA mailing. Somehow I managed to get twelve pages written, complete with a few photos and a bunch of graphs. I saved the whole issue as a template, for future use. If it turns out I will only mostly be using the printer for ANZAPA, then I may as well do a little more than my usual six pages.

For the first time in ages, I decided I would use some colour. Part of that is I should no longer need to print anything in colour except for ANZAPA. The Brother printer worked fine, so I was able to print out all the copies required.


I was not impressed by media coverage of the Labor Party political spill a few days ago. I was so unimpressed that I did not buy any of the newspapers when I looked in the news agent in Willows. If someone as addicted to newspapers as I am gives up on them, newspapers are really in decline.


A history of the discovery of global warming by Spencer Weart.

It is no good arguing about climate change, because denying global warming is a religious position. Logic and evidence will be as much use as they are in arguing about religion.

Car Theft in Townsville

A major increase in car thefts in Townsville, with 7000 cars stolen since 2000, according to the Townsville Bulletin. Car thefts up 118 per cent since 2010 when 449 cars were stolen. Last year 979 cars were stolen. Unlawful use increased 66 per cent from 2010-11 to last financial year, the highest in the state. Unlawful entry offences also jumped 12 per cent. Inspector Ian Haughton said 323 vehicles had been stolen from the Townsville district (an area bounded by Ingham, Palm Island, Bowen and Richmond) this year.

Townsville Crime Alerts and Discussions spokeswoman Torhild Parkinson said she feared that victims would take matters in to their own hands.

TOTAL number of vehicle thefts by local government area (2012); percentage increase/decrease on 2010:

1. Brisbane: 2843 51%
2. Gold Coast: 1971 26%
3. Logan: 1672 79%
4. Townsville: 979 118%
5. Moreton Bay: 873 45%
6. Ipswich: 666 46%
7. Cairns: 590 34%
8. Sunshine Coast: 375 0%
9. Mackay: 303 51.5%
10. Toowoomba: 290 -18.5%

TOP 5 Townsville suburbs for car thefts (2012):

1. Kirwan 140
2. Kelso 77 
3. Douglas 62
4. Condon 55
5. West End 54

(Source: National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council)

Sunday 24 March 2013


I was up a bit after five. Weight was 71.8kg, down a little on yesterday, up from the 71.5 I hit about a week ago. Organised clothes into the washing machine and set it running. Despite how slow these idiotic ecologically sound washing machines are, we were able to hang the clothes out on the line before we left at eight. We even put a second load into the washing machine.

Willows for a walk. Jean was again slowed by her knee. However she persists in the walks. I forgot my parcels for ANZAPA, but returned to the car and got them. So they are in the mail to Melbourne now.

Jean kindly drove me to the restaurant for a lamb lunch. Not sure it was lamb (seemed a little older), but it was pretty good. I washed it down with two red wines. Sat with Jerry, Annie and Gary. Sunday must be about the only day Gary and Annie can get to the restaurant. I brought back an enormous box of left overs.

Now I feel totally wrecked. Hardly able to focus on the computer screen.

The leftover lamb roast provided several slices of lamb and a couple of potatoes for me to have for dinner. However there is still a 250 gram box of left over vegetables in the fridge. Just how much food was on that plate?

Monday 25 March 2013


I was awake before five. Eventually I got up and opened the doors, to let the cooler morning breeze in through the security screens. The various reports of intrusions in the area tend to make you adopt a fortress mentality. My weight remained at 71.8kg, which seems impossible given the size of the lamb lunch and dinner.

Kim Dotcom Residency

A hint of political pressure in how Kim Dotcom was granted New Zealand residency. Did the FBI think it would be easier to extradite him from New Zealand than from Hong Kong or Switzerland? Interesting, for a person who did nothing wrong in the USA.

It is well past time to eliminate copyright entirely. Maybe time to kill off Hollywood, if that is what it takes. Copyright is entirely devoted to granting a Government enforced monopoly to distributors. It is about power and money. It has bugger all to do with protecting creators of content. Most of them probably need a different model by which to earn a living. Copyright has bugger all to do with promoting invention and creation.

Apple Contacts

A while ago, when Apple's Contacts application on OS X was Address Book, you could add a photograph. Now every time I try to add a photograph (or even open the spot where you drop a photo), Contacts beachballs. I have to force quit to get out of it.

I swear ever since Apple started doing well with iPhones, OS X has got buggier and buggier. I got my first Apple MacBook Pro in 2004, because I was thoroughly pissed off at Windows XP. I have had about a half dozen since then (all of them still working, although in the hands of other people). I have been contemplating another Macintosh. Now that is likely to stay contemplating, rather taking action in the next month or two. Apple, if I drop using a Macintosh, do you really think I will keep using an iPhone and an iPad? Well, do you punk?

RSS Feeds

I think Jacqui Cheng got it wrong. Why keeping up with RSS is poisonous to productivity, sanity. Marco Arment explains sane RSS usage. You do not use RSS for high throughput news sites. Let someone else filter them for you, via a social network like Twitter. You want to reserve RSS for low frequency outputs, say by programmers whose application you use. Marco explains and gives examples of sites whose RSS you would use. However we need a replacement for Google Reader RSS by July when it shuts down.

Sydney Monorail Closing

The Sydney monorail will be pulled down in June 2013, after the NSW State purchased it.

Tuesday 26 March 2013


I had trouble sleeping, as often seems the case prior to travel. Awake often during the night. My bag weighs 11kg, so naturally I think I have failed to pack things.

We completed packing, had a small breakfast. I took the few small bags bags of garbage and dumped them in the bins near reception. Mailed Jean's book to Bruce.

The taxi collected us at 9:30 a.m. and had no trouble finding the place. That was good.

Townsville to Perth

No queue at all at Qantas at Townsville airport. We had perhaps an hour, which we spent in the small Qantas Lounge, using their Optus based WiFi. Jean could not resist the scones, jam and cream. I had a hard time resisting that also.

We boarded QF971 to Brisbane on time, and were off at 11:30 a.m. for the 90 minute flight. Jean and I were the only passengers in Business Class. A nice pepper steak pot pie with vegetables and mashed potato for lunch. I got Jean's nut cupcake, since she could not eat it, and gave her my bread roll. I had expected a fairly largish meal (by my standards). A nice glass of shiraz to go with it.

We landed in Brisbane on time. Alas, our QF597 flight to perth, scheduled for 3:10 p.m. is now scheduled for departure at 4 p.m. Qantas sent SMS to each of our phones.

We settled into the Brisbane Qantas Lounge, where I typed these notes.

Our Qantas QF597 to Perth left almost an hour late, after 4 p.m., for the five hour flight. A medical emergency at the Perth end had delayed them there. To my considerable surprise, we had an Airbus A330. I thought these were on the Sydney and Melbourne to Perth, but not on the Brisbane to Perth. Newly refurbished planes were expected on the Brisbane to Perth run, but only from the end of March. This model A330 had lie flat beds in Business Class, which was pretty full. There was a problem with our seat allocation. Jean's booking was rejected, and there was a fair bit of activity in straightening it out. We suspect Jean's original seat number was one assigned to plane that was not doing the run. She ended up alongside me, as original, but with a revised seat number (the original seat number did not exist).

Leaving late meant that dinner was also late, which worked much better for us. They offered a drink soon after boarding. We later got a vodka and tonic (Jean) and a G&TT (me). A smoked trout entree, with mushy minted peas and goats cheese. My main was the lamb chops, with pureed pumpkin. Jean perforce had the fish course, since everything else had nuts. We were plied with several refills of the pinot grigio (XXX). A nice chocolate and caramel ice cream for dessert. Along with a McWilliams botreis (XXX) dessert wine. It was an excellent flight, but I drank too much, despite declining several offers of refills.

The luggage was very quick arriving. Almost no wait for a $32 taxi ride to our hotel. We were off around eight or so.

Ibis Styles Perth

A former choice of Swancon, back when the hotel was called the All Seasons. The Ibis Styles Perth is less than two kilometres north from the main streets of Perth. As usual with Accor, they make a fairly high charge for using a credit card, so we pre-paid cash, which put a really serious dent in our cash supply.

Jean's card key did not work. However the door does not latch closed easily, so it was actually open. We did not discover this until later.

Web Based Outliner

An online Little Outliner editor from Dave Winer at Small Picture. All done in HTML5, saves text locally.

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Ibis Styles Perth

A decent range of items at the included buffet breakfast. I like having a good feed first thing. The fresh and canned fruit selection at the cereal bar was rather impressive. So much so that I decided I must try to emulate it more at home.

Shower curtain is visibly dirty. I do not expect the maid service to spot that, but the cleaning supervisor should.

One chair is pretty uncomfortable, the other merely uncomfortable. That is a very subjective measure. A pillow helped.

The room is a decent size. Lots of space, a bag stand, and sufficient storage space for our second bag.

Like almost all hotel rooms, the lights suck. The only place in the room you could read at night was sitting in the corridor outside the bathroom. Lucky computer screens glow in the dark.


A walk into Perth, down William Street, across the railway line, to Hay Street. It turned out to be more of a walk than Jean expected. We visited the Perth Apple Store (I got a mini DisplayPort to VGA adaptor for my talk). Used the Apple Store app to buy it. Still feels a bit weird.

We wandered around the Mall a bit. Eventually located an ATM and a toilet. Coles, where we collected food supplies. It was closer to the hotel than either of us believed. Still well over 8000 steps.

I skipped lunch. Later in the afternoon I went for a walk away from the city. I even located the BWS store about 15 minutes walk away. Only food related place of interest was a nearby kebab place.

Jean and I walked to the nearby kebab place and brought back a kebab each for dinner. I had hoped to find a Subway, but no luck with that.


Am I throwing out the baby with the bathwater? Maybe. Facebook seemed to me more like bobbing for apples in a sewer.

Tweeting at #swancon using iPhone hotspot to Telstra 3G. Ibis Styles Hotel WiFi is a tad expensive.

Please revise the Australian passport to include hopping kangaroo, like Finland passport

Kim Dotcom's Raw Extradition Deal

Kim Dotcom's raw extradition deal.

Apple iCloud Sync Issues

I see more about problems with Apple's iCloud sync. Ellis hamberger at The Verge askes Apple's broken promise: why doesn't iCloud 'just work'? MOApp Software Manufactory Why all my iOS Apps are on hold - or iCloud sucks Part II and suggests using third party data sync that works. Another is Midnight Beep giving up iCloud sync. Brett Simmons says Why Developers Shouldn’t Use iCloud Syncing, Even If It Worked.

That sort of stuff tends to confirm my view of iCloud. Neat when it works. Horror when it fails.

Copyright is about Supression

True Purpose Of DRM: To Let Copyright Holders Have A Veto Right On New Technologies. See also Ian Hickson on DRM and Copyright. It is just another government monopoly.

Best response, in my opinion, is to stop buying products infested with DRM. Just stop buying.

Thursday 28 March 2013


I woke up several times during the night, after collapsing early. However I did get a better sleep than the previous two days. Nowhere near the time shift I need for a convention.

Up around six.

This time the breakfast buffet seemed better. No visible difference in the food available. Hot bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, baked beans, tomato. Followed by rice cereal drowned in peach, apricot and pear, with mixed berries and passionfruit. Toast with marmalade to close. Over breakfast I read parts of The West Australian newspaper, and The Australian.

Jean and I went for a walk into Perth well after nine. Down William Street, and then to the right for a while. We did find a Subway, rather a ways from the hotel. Back to Williams Street, and across the railway. We came across White Dwarf Books. I took a few photographs in the square while we waited for them to open.

We wandered around the Mall for a fair while. Totally failed to find the Woolworths in the building we were in (it was downstairs on St George Terrace Level), so we went elsewhere to find a Woolworths. That was just to buy some bottled water, since we had forgotten it for the walk.

We found a real live actual Darrell Lea shop. Asked about chocolate Easter bilby. They told us they were not made. So we checked, and also did the right thing by not eating them. Why does this not feel like a win?

Upstairs at EmEx100, where Jean had some sushi, and I had a small chicken avocado salad from Sumo Salad.

We walked back via the pleasant campus and library area. Back to the hotel just after one in the afternoon. Over 9500 steps, according to Moves app on my iPhone.

Jean collapsed on the bed, reading her Apple iPad. I tried to catch up on reading on my convenient 11 inch Apple MacBook Air, whose display is just a little too small. I was using my iPhone wireless hotspot to connect to the internet.

Went downstairs to the lobby for an hour or so, with a copy of the January February Analog. Nice spot under the stairs with comfortable seat, and a little fountain making a garden of tranquility. Did not see anyone I knew. Left because the air conditioning was freezing my toes off.

Jean sent me out a little before six to get her a kebab for dinner. She kindly gave me a large hunk of it. I doubted I could eat so much. Scoffed it all in record time. So much for diet.

White Dwarf Books

White Dwarf Books were opening around 10:30. It is a very attractive looking bookshop, lined with even dark stained bookshelves. We bought a few books, although none really on our list of ones we were waiting for. C J Cherryh's Intruder for Jean. A copy of David Brin's Existence for me. The prices were pretty fierce, about three times the USA cover prices. I suspect this is now a factor in the decline of Australian bookshops. We know how much books should cost. If we buy eBooks, that is what they cost. A cheap copy of F Paul Wilson's old SIMS from maybe a decade ago.


A startlingly large Stargate has appeared this evening on the stairway upstairs from the lobby at the Ibis Styles Perth convention hotel. Nicely lit with lots of LEDs.

I finished reading the January February issue of Analog.

NBN Internet Plans

NBN internet plans.

Friday 29 March 2013

Swancon Morning

A buffet breakfast at the hotel around seven, very soon after it opened.

After nine we picked up our convention memberships, at registration in the foyer on the ground floor. Lucy Sussex came over and chatted to us, as we tried to sort through the convention timetable. The single folded A4 sheet of paper for the programme had type too fine for me to read without reading glasses. Julian Warner was in the doorway to the registration collection area a bit later, so we got to chat with him later also.

We attended the opening ceremonies. Swancon 2013 had a fine audio visual, however we could see only the top parts of the screen from our position towards the back of the combined Champagne room on the ground floor. We could not see the guests at all.

I chatted with various people, including GoH Charlie Strauss, and more briefly with John Birmingham, instead of attending another panel. I had thought to see Educational Futurism.

I did attend H P Lovecraft: Using the Cthulhu Mythos. GoH Charlie Strauss has his whole Laundry series (which he tells me he hopes to continue) in which the Cthulhu mythos occupies some of the background space. I am sure I will enjoy the direction in which he wants to head.

I snacked on bread, ham and wasabi in the room for lunch. Not such a good idea after all.

I finished reading John Barnes Directive 51. Daybreak, a deadly meme infects human minds and persuades large numbers to attempt to destroy human life on Earth. The attacks are distributed, seemingly random, but totally deadly. However we do not even know we are under attack until they happen, because there is no central co-ordination. Just a spasm of death.

Swancon Afternoon

I chatted a fair bit with Charlie Strauss, and his wife, during the afternoon, since we have some background in common.

Caught up with Danny Oz outside the auction, and contributed some money to his charity fund raiser for ovarian cancer. Later in the afternoon, I saw him being shorn for the cause. He looks fairly startling with half a head of long hair, and half a beard (opposite side). The ultimate in comb over.

Alas, the Ticonderoga Book Launch held little of interest. I also missed Visions of Political Control Through Environmental Design, which seemed a properly paranoid topic.

I attended Fortress Australia, on Australian defence policy. That was nicely done. It is an area in which GoH John Birmingham has experience, so he was also on the panel.



I caught up with Jean over dinner at the hotel restaurant. She was finishing a hamburger. I had barramundi and chips. We were sitting with Don and Anne. The restaurant echoed a lot, so the noise level made conversation a bit of a challenge. It was good to catch up with them again.

Swancon Evening

I attended All in the Manual: Writing Realism and Technology, with GoHs John Birmingham and Charlie Strauss.

I wanted to attend the GUFF winner panel, on European SF Literature and Euro Fandom. However by ten I was already falling asleep, so I returned to the room and so to bed.

Saturday 30 March 2013

Swancon Morning

Up late, by our standards. It was after seven before we were ready to go to breakfast.

Sat in the room after breakfast, and read for a while. Jean was back to working on her computer.

I attended part of the panel on Alternate Histories. Afterwards I watched John Birmingham's GoH speech. he did a fine job, using his family as an illustration.


I picked up a hotel copy of The Weekend Australia after breakfast. I read that in the room over the next hour. It seems Fairfax did not have the resources to publish The Financial Review between Thursday before Easter and the Tuesday after Easter. I wonder how badly that reflects upon their likely future?

Swancon Afternoon

I watched Charlie Strauss's GoH speech. He also did a fine job of his talk. Looking forward to new books from him.

We saw Grant Stone, already headed out of the convention, and chatted briefly. We hope to catch up with him on Sunday.

Swancon Evening

I accompanied Jean to dinner in the hotel restaurant. She had the barramundi and chips, and shared some of the chips with me. We each had a Boags Draught beer, which at $8 was little different in price to the bottles, but the contents seemed larger.

The masquerade or costume parade was on while we were downstairs in the lobby. Swancon is blessed with a remarkable range of costumers.

Sunday 31 March 2013


Up late, after sleeping very badly. Breakfast was after eight. Since I had not had much to eat yesterday, I was pretty hungry, and went through three courses.

Lucy Sussex was preparing for her morning talk, but we exchanged a few words as we passed on the way too and from the buffet. Also as we checked the morning newspaper. Did not look sufficiently attractive for me to even pick up a copy to read.

I told Lucy I wanted a drone, so I could shoot missiles at someone. She asked if I had any enemies. I admit finding worthwhile targets may be a bit of a problem.

Attended the Bond after Skyfall panel. The movie reboot of the Bond books seemed to me very well done as a movie, entirely apart from yhe earning potential of any James Bond movie.

Next was Whose Future Is This Anyway? I like the near future techno speculation such panels typically involve.

Missed the afternoon panels. Swancon 2014 was launched before dinner.

Missed the Social Media panel, as I am not much of a social media person. I did see How Are We Moving Towards a Vision of a Sustainable Future, which had the usual optimism. Personally I can not see it. Wanting more is natural, and desirable. Unlikely to change. Meanwhile, we probably have six billion more people than the planet can sustain with any sort of decent life. I can see no possible compromise there. I collapsed early.

Daybreak Zero

Reading John Barnes Daybreak Zero. This is the second in his Daybreak series. An infectious meme to kill off humans (for the good of the planet, etc) lodges in enough high tech activists for their attacks to come close to killing everyone. The attacks continue, in the devastated world after all plastics and electronics have been destroyed by bacteria and nanoplagues. Devastating nuclear weapons have destroyed several centres that may have formed a core to rebuild. Any major electric activity is being attacked by robots slinging EMP weapons from the moon.

Solar Power

My estimated solar inverter output figures are 4200kWh in 12100 hours (based on figures on 4 April). The previous figures in February were E-total 4067kWh, h-total 11722 hours. This makes 133kWh power generated in 378 hours. 5.5kW per day or 352 Watts per active hour, in March. Panels are 1000 Watts nominal.

The Ergon electricity meter on 4 April 2013 showed Tariff 11 at 4441kWh purchased, Tariff 33 at 3986kWh, and the export of power from the solar panel at 1926kWh 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 the first quarter of 2013 as 229kWh on Tariff 11, 330kWh on Tariff 33 (for air conditioning and hot water), and exported 293kWh of solar power.

My power bill for three months also arrived, showing meter readings over 89 days as at 27 March 2013. Tariff 11 was 4432kWh, or 235kWh used. Tariff 33 was 3984kWh or 354kWh used over summer (away for over six weeks). Solar exported was 1903kWh in total, or 276kWh over the three months. The sale of solar was a credit of $121.44, leaving a slight credit surplus for the hottest quarter.

So I am not complaining about electricity prices, but large use households without solar would be having issues, in my opinion.

Home and Away

AB 14, CG 11,T 6

North Korea

It seems North Korea have a declared war with South Korea. North Korea seem a bunch of utter nutcases, but speculation is there may be an internal power struggle making their actions appear even more lunatic than ever. This declared but so far inactive war is distinct from the undeclared wars where U.S. drone shoot missiles into six countries with which they are not at war. Situation normal, that is, insane. Normally North Korea are more nuanced, in their own insane way.

I have only spent a very brief period in South Korea, but what I saw seemed impressive. I would hate to see lives ruined by the insanity of war.

Eric Lindsay's Blog March 2013