Eric Lindsay's Blog April 2013

Monday 1 April 2013

Swancon Morning

I had another very decent buffet breakfast with Jean around eight. The selection of fruits was wonderful, and I had a full bowl with my cereal. About the only thing wrong was a lack of the tiny little chocolate cupcakes I had so enjoyed on the other days.

Took a copy of The Australian back to the room, and caught up with the right side of the news. Somehow I failed to attend any of the morning convention events.

After midday I attended 20 Minutes Sideways - Urban Fantasy. It was very much a Monday morning panel, as GoH Charles Strauss commented to me as he left.

Swancon Afternoon

I finished reading Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312, of life in that year. It was too episodic and chaotic for me. Thoughtful, and very well done speculation, as always with KSR. However it was self indulgent. I was very pleased Jean had picked it up second hand. Had I paid $30 in the airport bookshop, I would not have been happy.

Swancon Closing Ceremony

It was a good convention. Great to see various people get recognised, for all their work with little reward except recognition. However it continued for a long time after I left. Was it too self indulgent?

No Easter Eggs

I saw no sign of Easter Eggs over the Swancon weekend. Nice too see a piece of commercial shit like Easter totally ignored. Especially in a country where a tremendous number of people are overweight or obese.

Tuesday 2 April 2013


I was up at a reasonable hour, catching up on Twitter (I could not face anything more complex). Went to breakfast with Jean. The Ibis Styles hotel was busy putting down new carpet most places we walked.

We encountered the newly clean shaven (second half of head and second half of beard) Danny Oz, and a few other fans at breakfast. I remain unconvinced by the shaven look, but I could be prejudiced by retaining my (white) hair. That was about the last of the Swancon holdovers. Danny leaves mid morning. We saw the few other fans also taking their bags out of their rooms for the trip home.

Morning Walk

A walk into Perth, before it got too hot. We basically went to the Apple store on Hay Street first, before they got crowded. Then to the large three floor shopping centre between Hay Street and St George Terrace.

Onward to see the fine bronze statues Jean had discovered. This showed businessmen from five eras striding towards a building. Four had outstretched right hands, ready to make a deal. The last, 2004 model, had a mobile phone to his ear. It was absolutely beautiful, and I had to photograph it despite indifferent lighting.

Through the wonderful park, complete with seats and shade trees. People were sitting on benches playing pinball with each other on their Apple iPads. Whoever thought tablet computers would not catch on was just plain wrong.

I photographs a relic of a bygone time, the giant statues showing a series of ink pen nibs. It will not be long before children will not understand what these represent.

A few more photos when we had a good view of the Bell Tower by the waterside.

We walked along the riverside, until a lack of shade trees forced us into the open. A pair of fire engines were there, preparing for pump training. A bit too hot, so we retreated to the pub near the wharf, so we could join out pier group. Alas, Jean's plan was sunk when the pub was not open. We were checking out some nearby bronze swans. Well, mostly I was ensuring I got one inappropriate photo. We noticed the pub doors now seemed to be open, it being eleven o'clock.

Into the pub, a seat at a table looking out over the Swan River. Jean had a Hahn Premium Light lager, and I had a Speckled Hen ale. Caught up on most of the Twitterverse there, in between watching the pump training by the fire brigade.

Back to the shopping centre, this time trying to stay in the shade. Jean had some sushi, with more to take back to the hotel. The Sumo Salad place was busy, and the salad I wanted depleted. I skipped lunch.

It was rather too warm for comfortable walking, reaching about 31°C, however the humidity was a mere 25%, making it tolerable. We stayed in the shade as we walked north up William Street back to the hotel. Well over 10,000 steps by the time we reached the hotel after 1 p.m.

Apple Store

A second visit to the Apple store in Hay Street, Perth. We were later, so it was more crowded. Once again I checked the reflections on the display of the new iMac. Much better than the previous model, but still somewhat reflective. In checking that, I also looked up whether you could use the iMac as a Thunderbolt monitor by invoking display mode. You can.


I was able to put all the scrap chicken bones (left over from the incantations) into a plastic bag. This was helpful. Soon after we settled back into the room, the maid arrived, so we were able to get rid of the incriminating rubbish.

Much of my afternoon was occupied with trying to recall the events of Swancon, so I could write them down.

Reading David Brin's Existence, which is shaping up to be the equal to John Brunner or Charles Strauss for near future high tech acceleration.


If you are broke, and in debt, but still want to spend (as people do), you might try to borrow more. You may even have some security on hand, like property. Any competent lender who looks will demand a higher interest rate from you. The lender might then attempt to reduce their exposure to potential bad loans by packaging debt into securities, and selling them to others. That is how the USA housing crash started.

If you are a country, and not a total dead loss place, you are assumed to have both tax powers and power to issue money. Which means in essence you have the security of the output of all your population. So you can almost always get loans. Maybe without much of an interest increase, even when your debt is high.

Unless you are a Eurozone country. You no longer manage your own money. So as your debts increase, the interest rate at which others will loan you money increases. Sooner or later, you find repayment just about impossible. Taxes are not enough, and the peasants are revolting. However you can not inflate your debts away, because you are not able to issue your own currency.

Wednesday 3 April 2013

Leaving Perth

I slept really badly. Went to bed early, but awoke before midnight. Perhaps drinking the left over can of Coke™ was a bad idea. Tossed and turned without sleeping, until the 4:45 a.m. alarm. Not a good start to the day.

We were able to pay the remaining cash for the hotel room without problems, slightly to my surprise. We had failed the previous evening, as the day was not complete, and their accounting system could not cope with completing the transaction. I am not sure I like this Accor trend to high charges for credit cards; convenient for them perhaps, not so much for customers if a money machine is not handy. So we were awaiting our taxi at 5:15 a.m. A taxi turned up, but not for us. Shortly before our scheduled time, our taxi arrived.

We had an interesting drive to the airport. Our taxi driver managed to get into a dispute with another taxi driver, regarding driving skills, or lack thereof. Otherwise it was a smooth and fast trip, arriving before six.

The customer operated checkin terminals were plentiful. Soon spat out our two tickets each, and our baggage tags. Qantas had staff who helped with the sticky luggage tag. The automated luggage handler worked, although I had to re-seat one bag before it scanned correctly.

We had a fair while to wait in the uncomfortable seats at the crowded Perth airport. Just like Townsville airport early in the day, the Perth airport was full of mine workers in high visibility clothing. The destinations were all mine sites all over West Australia.

iPad Goes Flying

I found an iPad in my seat pocket when we boarded the new looking Qantas 767-338. Raced to ask the flight attendant about the iPad, fearing some previous traveller had left it. She said it was a toy for travellers.

The bright red cover, which I had thought a regular Apple cover, actually clearly says Qantas. It has a locked on case that includes location tracking, and is also locked to the Qantas in flight entertainment system called Q Streaming.

It seems in their refurbishment of the 767, Qantas decided it was a lot easier (and would weigh less) to experiment with a commercial iPad and WiFi as their inflight entertainment system. The 767 has tiny screens that deploy from the ceiling about every half dozen seats. The refit includes five dual-band 802.11n wireless access points through the cabins. The Q Streaming system is based on Lufthansa BoardConnect.

Best idea they have had. They made a sort of fabric iPad holder on the back of the seat. With the sturdy cover on the Qantas iPad, you can just fold back the cover, slip it through the flap, and there it is on the seat back. That is a much better idea than trying to awkwardly prop it on the meal table.

I had a bit of a look at the content. Seemed a typical white label application for airline style content. If I did not have a good bok with me, I would have been happy to use it for a little light entertainment. I saw a fair number being used.

Perth to Townsville

I mentioned finding an iPad in the seat pocket and thinking a traveller had left it behind. The newly refurbished Qantas Boeing 767-338 we flew QF 650 from Perth to Brisbane had good comfortable seats, although we were in row 46, only about ten from the back of the plane. The two four two seating worked well for us, with Jean having a window seat. We would prefer Business, like we took to Perth, but lacked the points to upgrade.

The other advantage of the west to east trip is prevailing winds blow from the west. Getting to Perth from Brisbane typically takes at least five hour. The return from Perth to Brisbane is as little as four hours for the 3600 kilometre. As we get older, that extra hour does make a difference.

The Spanish scrambled eggs and potato based vegetables were fine for breakfast. Qantas also provided a small (45g) but tasty humous and biscuit snack later in the flight. Jean had brought a fair bit of food with her (in case there was nothing she could eat) so I got her humous snack as well.

Haiku Fan

I saw an advertisement for Haiku Fans in the Qantas inflight magazine. It looks stylish enough to win an Australian International Design Award, for whatever that is worth. Haiku Fans claim high efficiency, 80% more efficient, so I was interested.

For the past couple of years I have been lamenting the inefficiency of ceiling fans with pancake AC motors, and flat pressed fan blades. I want something with an efficient DC motor (which I think is the easy part), and airfoil blades. I looked at designing my own low speed airfoil. It looks hard. Aeroplane propellor design assumes movement through the air, so the standard texts do not seem a good fit for designing a fan. Public domain low speed airfoils are limited. The best airfoil matches I can find were on human propelled experimental aircraft like the Gossamer Condor.

It took a while to find the technical specifications for the Haiku Fan, which was on the Big Ass Fans web site, not the Haiku site. The Haiku installation guide was also there. Later I found similar information on the Haiku site.

I was unable to find any details at Haiku Fans of the actual air movement at each speed, nor the actual current draw at each of the seven speeds. I was unable to find any details of the actual measured noise levels at each speed. I tend to regard these are something that should be available for a fan being sold at high price as high efficiency and quiet.

There is an LED light module option as well. It sort of looks like that may not be ready to buy.

Brisbane to Townsville

We were each able to get a decent walk in Brisbane airport. Our seats were reasonable, considering they were part way up one of the terminal extensions. Nothing much interesting happened, except another Carlyle Gardens resident spotted me, and said hello.

We were on QF976. It was pretty comfortable during the 90 minute flight. Arrived pretty much on time at Townsville. I stopped to buy Darrell Lea orange chocs. Luggage was out about the time I was. The queue for the taxi was not instant, but we only had to wait about five minutes. Home without issues.


I took solar system readings. Collected physical mail, of which there was a lot. I got the first load of laundry ready to run.

Mr Ghost on Kickstarter

I had a package containing a Mr Ghost, an EMF field detector for the iPhone. This was yet another Kickstarter project.

Apple iPad

Today is the third anniversary of the launch of the first Apple iPad.

Thursday 4 April 2013


I was still wrecked in the morning. Even worse, my weight after the Swancon convention was back up to 72.5kg.

Luckily Jean started the laundry not all that long after six. At some stage I decided the garden water sprinkler had not worked, so I removed the automatic timer, and started it manually at 7:30 a.m. Luckily I remembered to shut the water off before we went to the shops.

We were late for breakfast (one hard boiled egg). Late putting out the laundry on the line. Late going to Willows Shopping Centre. Late doing our actual shopping, despite only managing to walk around the centre about three times.

BigW had what appeared to be a suitable weed poison, so I picked up one of them. Showed Jean a folding water bottle. Unlikely to be much good, but at $1 worth trying. Found an awesome poster, a Keep Out Games at Play design. We knew just who needed that, but postage costs killed the idea. Jean had a Gift Card, so we purchased using that. Then discovered it was a $30 card, not a $20 card. Must go spend the last $10 before it expires.

We did the food shopping in Coles somewhat late. Then back to Carlyle Gardens.

Got a missing address from Reception for a wrongly addressed envelope. I thought it was just up the street, but could not recall the surname (and our local phone book is from 2009).

Rift Lab's Kick Fill in Light

A Rift Labs The Kick pocket lighting studio for photos or video using the iPhone arrived. This is another Kickstarter pledge.


I was reading David Brin's Existence, and completed it late in the evening. It was a great piece of near future fiction, up there with John Brunner and Charles Strauss. Reading it was fun. Neglecting reading on the computer, so I seem far behind.

Went to bed far too late. I think I must still be on Perth time.

Orb Ring is Bluetooth Earphone

Hybra Orb Ring is Bluetooth Earphone. Want! Well, maybe. Battery life?

Record Heat in Perth

I think we left Perth on the right day, yesterday. This was the hottest day in Perth in 12 years.


I am not very interested in fancy food from some chef. I gave up playing with my food when I was a child.

Friday 5 April 2013


I awoke really late, after seven. I absolutely must still be on Perth time. After an egg for breakfast, we headed for the discount chemist. $20 for two of my prescription. I resisted the apple slices in Brumbys.

At Willows, we took a shorter walk. Got a two way hose fitting, for the outside tap on the east at the back of the house. It seemed a more robust fitting than the plastic one we are using at the front. A better design for the house would have been a front tap on the east near the garden, and a back tap on the west, instead of a front tap. Although I guess some people may wash a car.

Saw Peter and chatted with him briefly. Later saw and chatted with both him and his wife, who has joined the zipper club about five weeks ago.

Caught up with Jean at the Coles, where she rang up $80 of groceries. Astonishing.

Off to the egg shop, not only our dozen large eggs, the dozen small ones you get for being a regular customer. Plus a pineapple sold from a van. All good.

Way behind. So I ripped up old cardboard boxes, in a desperate attempt to pretend I was not behind. The recycling bin is mostly full now. Must work on the remaining small space. Too much crap around here.

I saw Pat at Reception. Good she was wandering around. Lunch with Ray and John.

In the very late afternoon I went over to the bar, and had a couple of small beers. I thought the Social Club was doing their usual Friday evening event, however it turned out to be the RSL running it this time. Same people attending. I like to try to get over on the Friday evening. Otherwise who would believe I am ever here?

Sonnet Echo Thunderbolt Dock

I like the look of this Sonnet Echo 15 Thunderbolt Dock with audio, 4 USB 3.0, SATA, eSATA, Thunderbolt, Firewire 800 and Giga Ethernet. Plus space for a drive, and support for an optical drive. Not available yet.

Google Blink Web Browser Engine

The official account of Why Google is doing a fork of Webkit. What the previous document actually means. Google is (probably) evil.

URLs as UI

A pet hate of mine is forgetting that URLs are UI. I hate URLs that are plain ugly. Andreas Bonini says URLs are for People, not Computers. Apple get this right. Many big web sites do not. Viewers are more likely to ignore links that are ugly. URLs should stay the same. Hence URL shorteners are a bad idea and should be avoided. RFC3986.

Saturday 6 April 2013


I was late again. On the other hand, my weight was down to 71.5kg. Started the laundry after six. Egg for breakfast, since Jen was kind enough to boil one for me.

Willows for a walk. Tried Coles to get the air blower vacuum they had advertised. Found a floor manager who told me the store had only received two, and they were gone in a half hour. I had cynically thought they would only get three. Insufficiently cynical.

While I checked the news agency, I did not buy any newspapers. I suspect I am through buying newspapers.

The weather looks threatening. When we returned from our walk, we put the clothes under cover. Around lunchtime, I brought all of them in. They were dry by then.


I had stopped managing to get anything done by about four. Was contemplating reading a novel. While I was putting more stuff in the recycling bin, Jeff came by to suggest going to the pub.

That worked a treat. Got there just before it rained. Ian came in, looking much better than I expected. Chatted with Jeff, and the people behind the bar. A plate of mini spring rolls and fish bits appeared. Later a plate of mini party pies. The bar treats us awesome. There were a fair number of people in the restaurant, and the new chef was cooking. In the early evening, Allen told us there were a couple of extra rack of lamb available, if we wanted to buy them. We did. A great meal.

The only trouble is that Sunday is my official weigh in, and my diet is utterly destroyed.

eBooks Killed by DRM

An article by Jane Litte on how independent booksellers are being killed partly by DRM on eBooks. Lists various failed independent and smaller bookshops, in the USA market.

I will not buy ebooks with DRM. Why encourage it? DRM is absolutely no use to me as a reader. That is one reason I do not even bother to look up links to Amazon Kindle books.

Sunday 7 April 2013


I went to bed early, and awoke way too early. Around one a.m. I finally got up around two a.m. and started downloading operating system upgrades from Apple for the computers. Back to bed after four, but could not sleep anyway, despite feeling tired. So I got up again, and continued to work on the computer. My weigh in showed 71.6kg, so that was not near as much of a gain as I expected.

We took a walk at Willows. Since the local markets were on outside, we went out there. Saw a guy from Robotronics demonstrating a new 3D printer. I had no idea anyone in Townsville was playing with these. Looked very cool.

The afternoon was overcast. The light faded quickly after six, making for a gloomy evening. Not impressed.


I finally got up around two a.m. and started downloading operating system upgrades for the computers. Our internet off peak period is between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. so most completed downloading around six. Not all that large. Just that the internet speed here really sucks.


Instead of reading newspapers, I completed reading John Scalzi's Redshirts. Just why do the redshirts always die? Because that what the script says. So how can a redshirt change the future? That was great fun.

Should Libraries Die Off?

An author, Terry Deary of Horrible Histories, says Libraries have had their day. Why should entertainment be free?

Why Terry Deary Is Wrong: The Case For Libraries is basically what about people too poor to buy a book?

Monday 8 April 2013


I was up at six. I did some garden work, and got totally pissed off with gardens. Cereal for breakfast, but can not find much fruit to go with it.

Off to Willows with Jean, so I can stomp around and get over my bad mood. We walked around five times, about our maximum. Jean found some travel pamphlets.

Had what Jean had left of my rib fillet for a very late lunch (about four). There was so little that I had it as a steak sandwich. With tomato sauce, because Jean says I need to eat vegetables.


I finally remembered the green garbage collection was tomorrow, so I went out with clippers and gave battle with the hedge in the garden. Put a tarp full of green waste out on the driveway.

Tried to open a Roundup spray. As usual with those stupid child proof sprays, you can not open them with anything less than a heavily applied screw driver. They are not childproof. Totally pissed off with the whole concept of having a garden. They are just a total menace. Sprayed the shit out of everything green in the garden that did not look like a plant.

Lunchtime, but the weather is overcast and cool. I went out with the Roundup spray to kill weeds around the house foundations. The damn pump on the bottle has now stopped operating. I got Roundup all over my hands.

Evening, and coolish for the tropics. I pulled up a handful of the green and purple plants, dug some more holes, and planted them. I am encouraged in this by the number of previous similar plants that have not (yet) died.

Put down some more pebbles around the inside edge of the garden. This has the advantage of reducing the number of boxes full of pebbles lined up against the wall.

Decided to do my gardening with concrete in future.

[Tweet] How do I totally destroy a garden so it never grows anything again? Especially weeds!

Parcel Prices Rise

I see Australia Post parcel prices rise today. Looks like a substantial increase in some of the weight ranges I use most often.

This morning, before I heard of the increase, I was trying to think when was the last time I sent an actual letter. Pretty sure it was not this year.

I used to send parcels regularly (every two or three months) to two USA destinations, and one in Melbourne. A year or so ago one in the USA changed to fully electronic delivery via email. Last month the other USA destination also offered electronic access.


Are the South Park people making a sequel to Team America: World Police? So appropriate.

Apocalypse Codex

I finished reading Apocalypse Codex by Charles Strauss. In this the world of The Laundry meets Peter O'Donnell's Modesty Blaise in a wild romp in evangelical Christianity gone even more insane. Just what will become of Bob Howard, if he survives this adventure?

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Microsoft Office for Mac 2008

I believe today is when Microsoft drop support for Office for Mac 2008. No more security updates. Microsoft do not regard Office for Mac as a business product. They do 10 year support for business products. They do five years of support for consumer products.


#nbn supporters talk as if connection was soon. ADSL2+ in a year would help me more than gigabit fibre in a decade.

In 2006, more Dial Up connections than DSL. In 2012, more mobile connections than fixed. Which future is #nbn in?


I was up a little before six. Weight 71.4 kg. Garden watering system did not work automatically. No real idea why it is failing this time. Off to Willows after breakfast. We walked around five times, more than an hour of walking. Seems to work well for Jean as long as she is talking.

Apple Store on Internet will not work. Useless tossers. Bought some stuff from Kogan instead. Not as convenient, but their store works.

Lunch at the restaurant. Already present were Dot, Pat, Sue and Ray. Jeff arrived just as everyone left.

Online shopping, from Kogan. The Apple Store seemed borked. Also got my online Greyhound bus tickets to and from Airlie Beach.


I noticed the garden watering system did not work automatically. No real idea why it is failing this time. I connected the hose to a regular tap and did it manually. I must remember to check again on Thursday morning at six and see if it has started working.

As I was walking to the restaurant, I was stopped by Laurie, our gardener. I had not seen him for a fair while. He said he had been busy, however he had a load of mulch. Said he would be over in the afternoon to do something about our garden. I messaged Jean about that.

On the way back from the restaurant, I saw the regular Carlyle Gardens gardeners. They offered me pieces of a large succulent plant they were removing from a garden. They told me they were slow growing. I gladly accepted. When I got home, Jean and I planted the three pieces around the garden. Hope some of them survive.

Bloody gardens!

Apple Store Dead

I tried to buy some stuff from the Apple Store. Seems that the web site has issues. No way to log in using Safari.

Tried again on the Apple Store later in the afternoon. The whole checkout system seems to be borked. No orders for you. It did however save my shopping cart.

Tried my order again in the evening. Store not working.

Moved to a different computer. Store still not working. Used Firefox. Innumerable requests for setting cookies, and to modify cookies. About 15 minutes later, I was finally able to place my order.

Bloody internet shopping!

USA Drone Warfare

Obama drone war kills others.

Wednesday 10 April 2013


I was not up until after six. Weight 71.3kg.

Walked five times around Willows with Jean. Not very quickly. Some shopping, in my case mostly stuff I had bought previously and forgotten. Labelled all the tins with the date, so at least the older ones get eaten first.

Laurie turned up to do the garden.

I walked through mist to the restaurant. Chatted with Jerry, who I invited to my table when he arrived. Brought home over 400 grams of delicious leftover chicken and bacon pasta. Enough for two meals for me.

Wasting time tweeting about evils of National Broadband Network plans. Both sides of politics have shit ideas.

Walked through the rain to the bar about 4:30 p.m. Ron at the end, Ray, Ian looking better, Jeff, Don, so we had two amateur radio operators. Drank too many beers.


25Mbps now would be more use to me than 1Gbps in a decade. ADSL2+ in a year would be more use to me than fibre in a decade. #NBN

What economic incentive is there for Telstra to improve connection speeds outside CBDs? No competition outside 1000 big exchanges. #NBN

SFA bar faster porn? “@ashermoses: Casting around for experts who can explain what we can do with 25mbps vs 100mbps now and in the future”

Labor’s #NBN has great aims. But it should be on budget, the remote area subsidy explicit, and encourage competition. Execution is bad.

If country areas were not uneconomic for internet, someone else would install ADSL2+ in Telstra exchanges. They don’t. #NBN

Coalition #NBN is a mess. Bring NBN on budget. Mixing subsidised access and competitive demand is recipe for disaster.

Not likely to work. “@ashermoses: What do people make of this argument that vectoring will allow copper to go up to 100Mbps?”

Coalition upload speeds will be shit. Nature of tech. “@ashermoses: How do the upload speeds compare between NBN and Coalition plan?”

Both sides have shit schemes. Fundamentals. “@terryfrost: The #NBN argument at the moment is pretty much The Jetsons vs The Flintstones.”

Did Fox buy out LNP #NBN scheme to protect their TV and media interests? Looks like it.

Movie download took 12 hours. Streaming video? Just shut browser window. ADSL2+ soon beats better fibre later, for me. #NBN


Laurie the gardener turned up this morning, with a trailer full of mulch for our garden. Jean hid and refused to look. I moved one row of smallish stones to another row, out of the way of the mulch laying. Garden now appears like someone professional did something. Laurie replaced one dead plant (one of the tall red variety he was sure even I could not kill). Amazingly better.

Reserve Bank Reserve Fund Low

Is the Reserve Bank Reserve Fund too low, as the LNP claim? Testimony of Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens at Standing Committee on Economics - 22/02/2013 - Reserve Bank of Australia annual report 2012. The Governor clearly wanted to retain all the RBA earnings, to rebuild the fund. In one year, it was depleted more than the current holding of $1,913 billion. RBA thinks holding 10% of assets at risk is prudent. That would be around $6 billion.

Thursday 11 April 2013


A lot of rain. I woke up just before three, and could not sleep due to rain on the roof. Got up and started socialising on the computer. Not a great move.

It was raining, and the temperature was low by tropical standards, at around 20°C. I found long trousers and some airline socks. I had to go out and switch on the solar hot water booster. The water was no longer hot, or even all that warm.

A delivery for Jean. A while later, two parcels from Apple for me via TNT, ordered late Tuesday evening, shipped yesterday. The local delivery folks are great. That was real quick!

Jean returned from Spotlight. She got some fabric material for a bed cover. We had some left over material from chair covers, but not enough for a bed. She got some plain colour to match, and will use that for the sides. It should look as if we plan rooms.

Jean also had her X-rays of her problem left shoulder. On a CD, not film. Luckily the CD came with viewing software. Looked wrong to me, but then I have no idea what a shoulder should look like.

Rain all day. I completed almost all of the first draft of my FAPA mailing comments during the afternoon.


Protest Monsanto patents on food crops, via Avaaz petition.

Mutual interference at concentrated end mostly. “@ashermoses: Who can explain why copper upload speeds suck and FTTH uploads don't?”

Not another NSW shell game of announcing a rail line? Old! “@JuliaGillard: 40mins from Newcastle to Sydney ...#NationBuilding TeamJG”

Economic Models, Real Behaviour

Do you really have an economic equilibrium, like Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) models predict? I find that hard to believe, after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Who imagined a housing market crash in the USA would trigger a world crisis? Who imagined banks were routinely making toxic housing loans, and hiding them in feral financial instruments like collateralised debt obligations (CDOs)?

Coles and Woolworths do not stock products than can not hold at least 10% of their market area shelf space. So I can no longer get the Old El Paso Spicy Bean Dip I used to make nachos. I treated nachos as an emergency hot meal, when I could not be bothered cooking, or going out to a restaurant, so I made them moderately often. So I stopped buying corn chips for the nacho base, which meant I did not nibble on open packets of corn chips. I pretty much stopped buying grated cheese for the topping. I reduced my use of avocado. I cut down on cooked chickens (I could use the scrap chicken meat in nachos, even if I had frozen it). I stopped buying taco or other sauces to add a little spice to my nachos. I had no incentive to get thickened cream, in case I needed it for nachos. I stopped replacing the dark ale that I tended to drink with my nachos.

One tiny change, and a whole range of my purchases went away.

Shodan Search Engine

Shodan Internet Search Engine helps find exposed internet cameras, routers, VoIP phones, and industrial products. Scary stuff out there, with a heap left unprotected.

Blekko internet search engine is pretty much spam free.


No sign that the automatic garden water sprinkling system is working at 6 a.m. Mind you, rain has been pissing down since about 2 a.m. so water is not exactly needed of the garden.

I went out in the rain and pulled the timer off. It seems to be wrong. So when it gets sufficiently light, I will once again attempt to set it.

Bloody gardens!

Euromoney and Cyprus

Bank of Cyprus has been named as the Best Bank for Private Banking in Cyprus, by the internationally acclaimed magazine Euromoney in 2012.

The Bank of Cyprus wrote off millions in loans to local politicians. There were major shifts of capital out of Cyprus days before the banking system was locked down on 15 March 2013. Offshore banking on Cyprus is gone. Similar to Iceland and Ireland.

Bank of Cyprus depositors could lose up to 60% of their savings, says The Guardian.

The largest banks in Cyprus are insolvent, but too big for the government of Cyprus to save. The Cyprus economy was over 81 percent based on services, including banking. The banking system in Cyprus according to Standard & Poors was over five times the size of the estimated GDP of $23 billion for 2012.

Interestingly, household wealth in Cyprus is second highest in the Eurozone, in contrast with second poorest, Germany. This is partly due to the price of houses.

Cyprus Financial Crisis: Deposit Confiscation visualised.

Australia and Money

Finance minister of the year 2011: Swan confounds his domestic sceptics says Euromoney in 2011. Yes, the same magazine that praised the Bank of Cyprus before the crash.

The Australian domestic banking system has been supplying credit of around 145% of GDP, much the same as in China, New Zealand, and Sweden. In contrast, Cyprus was at 330% in 2011. Some others Japan 340%, U.K. 212%, USA 234%. In Europe, Portugal 204%, Ireland 225%, Italy 157%, Greece 153%, Spain 230%.(Figures from World Bank.

Credit was much lower in the past. You need credit to help an economy grow (low credit economies are usually moribund), but I see a credit bubble.

Australian figures from 1980 to 2011 were 43.5, 42.6, 38.5, 41.2, 42.1, 49.5, 53.2, 54.8, 57.0, 70.4, 70.2, 70.6, 74.6, 75.1, 77.3, 80.2, 83.2, 83.3, 87.8, 91.1, 93.2, 94.8, 101.3, 105.1, 109.8, 114.3, 119.7, 136.9, 144.5, 144.1, 146.6, 145.1

I found a graph of Australian bank credit as a percentage of GDP.

USA from 1980 to 2011 were 120.2, 115.2, 122.3, 127.4, 128.6, 139.2, 148.5, 150.4, 149.5, 153.3, 151.0, 158.7, 160.6, 165.0, 162.9, 173.1 178.7, 187.1, 197.5, 209.0, 198.4, 206.1, 198.8, 214.4, 221.5, 225.4, 235.5, 244.4, 224.4, 234.4, 233.3, 234.9

Withings WiFi Scale

A Withings Wireless scale WS-30 arrived from Apple. The connection to my iPhone did not exactly follow the quick start pamphlet in the box, but was actually even easier. The scale insisted I set up an account on the Withings web site. I did my usual rush to establish yet another email alias on my mail host, and then set up an account. No problems with that, except for having yet another incompatible password.

The Withings scale seemed to have no real problems in establishing my weight (perhaps 200 grams higher than the other scale we have). It does get very picky about how much weight I should lose. Says my Body Mass Index is 25.3.

While the setup was easy, I am now traumatised by having a weighing machine picking on me!

Rule 34

Novel of the day, Charles Strauss Rule 34. Future noir police procedural that is totally out of this world. Just what is killing spammers?

Carbon Tax

Targets for Global Climate Policy: An Overview by Richard S.J. Tol notes 75 studies with 588 estimates (-$25 to $325) of the proper value for a carbon tax.

Carbon tax paper summarised in Bloomberg by Evan Soltas. Suggests making the carbon tax a 30 year zero interest Government bond paid by polluters. They get back anything left after costs are evaluated 30 years hence, to set a redemption value. Allow a secondary market in the bonds, to set predictions of future values.

Future Big Apple Announcement

I expect Today Apple is getting rid of passwords. I expect this sometime in June (WWDC) or October (new iPhone with finger print reader) this year.

How to sell a fingerprint reader as helpful rather than intrusive.

Friday 12 April 2013


I was up at six. Weight 71.3kg. The new Withings scale seems to estimate 200 grams higher than the old scale.

Finally managed to complete a bunch of things at Carlyle Gardens, downloaded the last of the email, and so on. It rained on and off, which is not a good sign for going to Airlie Beach.

Jean drove me off at 10:30 a.m. We stopped for fuel for her car. Despite this, we got to the bus terminal pretty early. I had about a 10 minute wait, and then the Greyhound bus arrived, pretty much on time, despite a change of bus (the other one was bung).


Shortened web links are evil (and also do not work). Just stop using them.

#NBN Lesser of two evils? Both sides of politics are evil. #auspol


A non stop bus trip of 3:40 got me to Airlie Beach. More people on the bus than usual (26, so there were probably 20 empty seats). On the other hand, there are now only three buses a day, rather than the four that went last year.

It was raining in Airlie Beach. Not too hard, so nothing in my (canvas) bag got wet. I picked up some fruit bread and some milk at Brumbys. They tell me the town has been really slow. Visited the news agent. They had not put my newspapers aside for the past four weeks. Not good. I may need to try to find some (inferior) alternative to the news agency.

Did not do all that well in setting up things when I walked home, although at least the internet came up straight away. Very distracted from working hard. Finally gave up and put on a DVD of StarGate Universe, while I read my mail and dealt with stuff on my computer. Had a couple of slices of left over pizza from the freezer for dinner. Watched Star Trek Voyager while reading Twitter and online news until late.

Despite only being mid April the wind and the rain is making it cool (for the tropics).


It seems Microsoft and allies use the well funded FairSearch to attack Google's search, and Android. This lets them do negative advertising against Google without being themselves directly associated with the attack.

Business as usual, but a handy place to look up Google abuses and reported issues. Remember, Google is an advertising company. The overwhelming majority of its profits come from advertising. Users of Google are the product they sell to advertisers.

Media Has Lost It

Munchkin Fury at Maggie Ding Dong Song headline in The Sun. The media have lost it and gone totally batshit insane.

Saturday 13 April 2013

I awoke before five. Overcast, and dark, and cold, with the wind whistling and gusting around the windows. Not impressed with the start of the day.

There is a cruise liner from Sydney parked out in Pioneer Bay. The markets were pretty poorly staffed, beneath a threatening cloud. However it gradually got patches of blue before ten. I ate breakfast on the main street, collected a package of chilled rib fillet steak from Sarina Meats.

I collected a few newspapers, despite having sworn off buying them. The Whitsunday Times is still missing. Helen said she would ask Jo and the other news agency staff if they knew what had happened to the missing Whitsunday Times.

Fire Alarm

The fire alarm in the Whitsunday Terraces went off at 2:08 p.m. As usual, pretty much everyone ignored it, until it stopped about eight minutes later. To many false alarms from that sort of system, until the only reaction is to ignore them.

Apple Order

I had a survey from Apple, about my previous order.

Something seemed totally wrong with the Apple online store when I used it on Tuesday 9 April. Search totally failed (I had to use Google to locate items I knew were available). No response to search from the Apple Store. I could not log in or so it seemed. I could not complete my order using Safari, despite attempting two or three times during the day and evening. It did however seem to save my Cart, which means it must have logged me in. I wonder if OS X upgrade earlier had borked all my Macintosh? Other online stores (Kogan and Greyhound) did work on the same day. Tried another Macintosh, No luck. Switched from Safari to Firefox, and still had issues, However eventually I was able to place my order using Firefox. Never had so much trouble placing an order via the Apple online Store.

Goods arrived midday Thursday, via TNT, as estimated by Apple. Very good delivery time for regional Queensland delivery thousands of kilometres from warehouse. Goods undamaged.


Peter and Dawn, Rex, reminded Jim, Jonathan and Josie. Jim showed Rex how to build a tin lid whistle, and the result was agony. Souded like chickens dying. Chad and the children arrived, having just driven into town from their holiday. Four large pizza and three garlic bread consumed. One and a half bottles of red, one and a half bottles of champagne.

Sunday 14 April 2013


I seemed busy in the morning. Caught up with Twitter, while I recovered from champagne last night. Started laundry. Went for a walk around Airlie Beach. Jo at the news agency found me Whitsunday Times for last week, and has fixed the order system for the future. When I returned to the news agency from my walk, I subscribed to Renew and Australian MacWorld via them.

I grilled myself a nice rib fillet steak for dinner.

Execute Atheists

In seven countries, you can be executed for being an atheist. All of them have Islam as their official religion. Tell me again why I need to be tolerant about intolerant god botherers?


Daytime TV. Fat people demonstrating cooking? Shows and viewers a bunch of losers. Luckily TV now broken.

Return income tax powers to the States. “@theqldpremier: PM's actions on Gonski show why Fed/ State relations require reform… #qldpol”

Faster #NBN internet needed for downloading entertainment. Let the entertainment industry pay, not the taxpayer. No NBN waste at all.

Why the Netbook is in decline The iPad is simply better than a SmartPhone or a laptop for a few common tasks.

. “@strangedave: @ericlindsay you have a surprisingly backward looking and conservative idea …” But am I wrong about how internet is used?

@strangedave Not like I will know either way on NBN. The only fast internet I will get this decade is via mobile phone.

FTTP NBN may have great value, but should be on budget. @strangedave I fear payback means takeup will exclude bottom few deciles.

FTTN may mean large %age can continue to use cheap, slow, competitive connection @strangedave No guarantee, but FTTP must increase costs.

Do you really believe FTTN install will be any quicker than FTTP? @strangedave This stuff will turn up every election.

Install FTTP in Greenfield, CBD, University, as now. Ignore HFC area for now. Satellite feed costs already locked in. @strangedave

No commercial reason for anyone to update 4000 Telstra exchanges beyond ADSL1 (not even ADSL2+) @strangedave Why I am ADSL1, for the moment.

I do not believe either FTTP or FTTN will pass more than 50% of premises this decade. @strangedave Dead money will tell.

I actually have (Greenfield) FTTP, but no backhaul. @strangedave Even the TV feed via fibre has failed, so no TV.

Hills Home Hub and structured wiring through house. @strangedave But nothing comes in on it (except ADSL1 from a slow fibre RIM).

A Telstra TopHat this year on our RIM would be more use to me than FTTP in a decade. @strangedave As far as I can tell. But who would do it?

Politics: the art and science of getting what we want from others, using any means short of actual violence.

Nukes Safest Power

An account of the safest power supply on the planet is nuclear. The least safe is coal. Commentary on the next big future.

Monday 15 April 2013


A humid start to the pre-dawn day. I caught up with stuff on the internet, which is sort of like drinking from a fire hose. After breakfast, I started walking. Collected money from a convenient ATM. Walked along the foreshore from Airlie Beach to the Cannonvale Shopping Centre. Not as decent a walk as usual, only four kilometres.

No luck getting the missing local newspapers at the Whitsunday Times office, but at least it was (sort of) open at 8 a.m. Shopped at Coles. They had Chocolate Obsession ice cream on special. I also bought some fresh fruit, and restocked a few minor items. Not much, because I intend to run down the cyclone supplies over the next few months.

Caught a taxi back to the Whitsunday Terraces. Not carrying ice cream all the way back. Did not get the Indian taxi driver. Too tricky about forgetting to start the meter (although I know how much typical trips cost anyhow).

Wasted the whole day. Watched Stargate Universe DVDs. Even watched TV in the evening, ABC Q&A from Launceston, Tasmania.


A man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure. Margaret Thatcher in 1986. She was right.

We need a heap more Bitcoin style non-fiat currencies. It might help better understanding of how money works (or does not work).

Bitcoin is deflationary by design, which encourages hoarding. Money encourages development when it circulates. Seems a problem.

@paulkidd: @ericlindsay and your point … ? Bitcoin like currencies are a wonderful way to experiment with money supply. No consequence.

“@paulkidd: @ericlindsay and your point … ?” Someone auctioned 10% of their post tax earnings for the next 10 years. Base currency on that?

I couldn’t find a good Abbott quote. @strangedave: @ericlindsay approving quotes of Campbell Newman and Thatcher in one day. Good grief.

Buses are not really economically or environmentally viable. @strangedave Continuing to waste money on them just delays solutions.

As I said, Thatcher was right. @strangedave: @ericlindsay that’s irrelevant. Quote was about rider, not public transport policy.

Having to = fail. @strangedave: @ericlindsay so, you are sticking with the idea that using public transport = failed at life?

People all deserve better than current model public bus transport. Time to build better. Instead of Fast Train. @strangedave

I got a bus licence so I could drive our community bus to the shopping centre. @strangedave We need even better than community buses.

If you can’t afford a car by 26, you are a failure. @strangedave You may choose (as I do) not to own a personal car. Thatcher was right.

You may also, by reason of age or infirmity, no longer be able to drive yourself in current model cars. @strangedave Better cars needed.

You bet! @strangedave: @ericlindsay ok. You do think poverty = personal failure. You really are one of Thatchers people. Urgh.

What, tax all 18 billionaires? @IanWoolf: . @witmol tax the billionaires, not struggling students! Estimated max taxes available $3.6B.

I hope Google style self driving cars can eliminate most buses, taxis and 50% of all private cars@juliettewoods @strangedave Insurance

Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it. ~ Descartes

Potential of self driving cars is the right word. @strangedave Long way away, alas. I will not see it.

A self driving car could be shared amongst multiple people. Order when needed. Abandon when you arrive. @strangedave

Not if most do not own a car. @strangedave: @ericlindsay still FAR more congestion, more fuel, far more driving in aggregate than buses.

@strangedave: … But no solution for rush hour commuting. Except if hire prices drop as car fills with people, in rush hour. Solutions?

You could replace low capacity bus runs. @strangedave: Most buses I see (country area) have very low use.

Agreed re congestion. Pricing? @strangedave: @ericlindsay no, congestion if the problem. Also, peak load is more expensive to provide.

Yes, + bid for your route. @strangedave: now, self-driving, responsive adaptive route, smart buses on the other hand....

Exactly the same as electricity peaks. My solar does not help when my peak aircon is as the sun goes down. @strangedave On Tariff 33 switch

Scarce resources can be allocated by bid or by queue. @strangedave Bid at least improves cost recovery. Alternatives?

Medical is another allocated by bid or by queue @strangedave

Bid could be by numbers to destination X @strangedave: there are non-monetary bid mechanisms, etc.

Wait until life threatening? @strangedave: @ericlindsay medical good example of how queue system can be complex, nuanced. not just FIFO.

Not all nuanced systems work well. @strangedave Public health and vaccinations more cost effective.

Yes @strangedave: no, but life-threatening does get to go to the front of the queue. But costs often higher than prevention.

Public health and medical intervention seem way too disconnected. @strangedave Better integration needed.

Indeed. @strangedave: or, for that matter, a single solution for complexity of transport. Transport not a single system.

Why should the car companies be given a cent from taxpayers ?#qanda

If an Australian car company wants me to buy their cars, they need to build something I want #qanda

If you want to buy green power you can do so on the electricity web site. Just leave me out of it. #qanda

Dam the Franklin and export hydro power. Wind turbines on the Tarkine coast. #qanda

Who is willing to pay for pristine environments? Tasmania will revive when it is the only cool place left in Australia. #qanda

Planes are cheaper and quicker than 19th C trains. Especially when government is broke. #qanda

Easier to move the population of Tasmania someplace more popular. #qanda

Handy Web Tools

20 Incredibly useful tools and resources for Web designers.

Intel Down

Intel will release it first quarter figures soon. Sales will be down, albeit not a real lot. Income will be down, even more, to well under US$2.5 billion. Growth will be negative, pretty much continuing a two year trend. This despite Intel's high end processors getting ever faster. The world of computers is changing. Most people have little need for speed.

I am pretty certain that my next desktop computer will be my last. That assumes that I even buy a desktop computer. Even then, my main reason for going desktop is larger hard drives (to store a media collection). However hard drives are the weakest point of a desktop computer. They are too slow, unless you use hybrid solid state drives or a RAID array to compensate.

So it is entirely possible that I have already bought my last desktop computer.

Tuesday 16 April 2013


I was unfortunately awake and up before five. Should not have drunk the left over champagne last night. Collected email, noticing some I had overlooked previously.

Distracted by terrible Boston Marathon bombing reports, with graphic videos and photos, well covered by news outlets. We are rarely mentioning the 37 dead and over 300 injured today by bombings in Iraq.

Took a walk rather late in the morning. Just around the town, as it was already too warm. I collected The Australian and a copy of The Coastal Guardian at the news agency. Also an iPad magazine that had a USB to Lightning connector plastered to the cover. Resisted the temptation to buy a party pie or mini sausage roll from Brumbys.

Continuing to work on my computer club talk.

Watched more of Stargate Universe.


What in the hell happened to the sun this morning? Sitting up waiting for it to appear. Get on the job @TheTweetOfGod

My Back is not demented. @alan48: How Exercise And Other Activities Beat Back Dementia Just the rest of me.

About time we got some light out there from @TheTweetOfGod Now when are You going to part the bloody clouds? Fuck prayers, I am demanding!

Do not mark your skin with tattoos Leviticus 19:28 @canofwormstv: Should being tattooed affect your ability to find work? Bible says.

Meanwhile, claims US bomb kills 30 at Afghan wedding.

@witmol: So Thatcher's funeral cost £10m. What the hell can you spend £10m on? … Making sure she doesn’t come back? Zombie Thatcher movie.

TV Feed

The Channel 7 TV feed at the Whitsunday Terraces abruptly blanked at 6:08 p.m. Another channel was OK, and 7 came back a few seconds later. Wonder what went wrong this time?

Bomb Terror

It seems two exploded bombs in Boston, with shrapnel. Reports (unconfirmed) of two unexploded bombs. Timers from clocks or timer chips are easy (and do not need bloody count down timers like in the movies). No surgery reports of nails or ball bearings. I am guessing a mad local bomber, not international terrorists. We shall see.

Probable lesson for terrorists. Unsophisticated timer bombs in a densely packed crowd operating on a schedule. They are probably more destructive than sophisticated remote control bombs with better explosives and custom shrapnel. Not a lesson I would like to see heeded.

Portion Size

The power of portion size is hard to overcome, says Dr Lenny Vartanian, a senior lecturer in the UNSW School of Psychology and an author of the paper.

Portion sizes in restaurant and at home have increased dramatically since the early 1970s, and are thought to have contributed to rising obesity levels.

I am figuring I will have to give up eating in restaurants. A lot of this relates to uncontrolled portion size. At least at home I can use very small plates.

Wednesday 17 April 2013


I was up before five, listening to condensation drop onto the dark balcony.

Went for a walk through the town, and had breakfast while I was there. Some more progress visible on the main street upgrade. Will it be complete mid year? I doubt it.

Cheques Are So 20th Century

I wonder if cheque depositing is solving a disappearing problem? I have not received a cheque in years. I would not send more than one cheque a year. Direct deposit, EFTPOS and credit cards have almost totally replaced cheques in Australia. Cheques are so 20th Century.


Checks are so 20th Century, in electronic age with direct deposits, EFTPOS, etc. Does anyone still use them?

Car owners. Give the roads back to their original owners - bicyclists! Get off my road.


A wonderful article by John Quiggin on how Bitcoin disproves the Efficient Markets hypothesis.

Attempted reply to Turnbull

I have Opticomm GPON fibre to the home in a retirement village in Townsville. No backhaul. After four years, the fibre no longer even provides a free to air TV feed. No-one knows what failed.

My Telstra copper (also four years old) via a RIM has been mildly unreliable from day one. Supplies 1 Mbps ADSL1 download, much less upload.

The only decent speed connection I have is via the mobile network, and who can afford downloading much on that?

I would love fibre backhaul (as I suspect would many of my neighbours) to this already fibre connected area.

Oh yes, and four attempts to actually leave a comment on the web site failed to get past the Captcha. Finally found the cookie problem causing that failure.

Rainbow Warrior

Thursday 18 April 2013

I awoke around four, which was not a good start to the day. Read Twitter for a while. Prepared things for the laundry. An early morning walk, breakfast when I again reached the main street. The news agency now seems to have my Whitsunday Times newspaper on its computer system. At least, there was a label on it. Hope this works.

Ran the Roomba in the bedroom. Most other rooms are too untidy to permit running it. Takes note other things need to be removed. Especially from the floor.

Jean tells me her Subaru is making funny noises from the front somewhere. This started after it was serviced and had the tyres replaced. Mutters about replacing car.

Watched Star Trek: Deep Space 9 in the evening, since three back to back episodes were running on Eleven. Watched is a euphamism for sitting with my back to the TV while I worked on the big computer screen. Maybe this working technique is why I do not get much from media?


Frances Coppola, last December, on the threatening world of negative interest rates.

How Quantitative Easing actually works.

Are small ultra high power fast charge batteries for electronics coming soon?

Silicon Chip

I was reading Silicon Chip magazine. They have just produced a new revision of their web site, offering page turning versions of 100 issues of Silicon Chip hobby electronics magazine, looking just like the original paper version. They suggest a 20 inch monitor, ideally with 1920 x1080 or higher resolution.

The Silicon Chip web site offers three resolutions for each issue. Low is around 20-25MB, medium around 35-45MB and high resolution 50-70MB. Better be prepared for a long wait for downloads. Unfortunately, the web site uses Adobe Flash, so I am unable to view it.

The previous Silicon Chip HTML web site up to November 2012 (and back to 2002) is still available.

I guess I will simply rip pages out of the more recent issues, and scan them to searchable PDF, for my own copies.

Friday 19 April 2013

Leaving Airlie Beach

I was awake well before five. Not good, as I will be a wreck later. To the bat computer. Then rush to get ready for the bus at seven.

The bus at seven was late, and left Airlie Beach a good half hour late. About 15 boarded at Airlie Beach, of whom four were male. It seems to me women backpackers are far more adventurous than males, at least if you judge by frequency of travel. There were about another half dozen people on the bus, so it was only half full.

Made up time at the rest stop outside Bowen. Reached Townsville about ten minutes late, at 11:40 a.m.


I was lucky that Jean was in a position to collect me from the bus terminal, co-ordinated by iMessage before and during the trip.

A stop at OfficeWorks, where we collected the desk that Jean had ordered. Her office will soon consist of one big desk. Or so it seems to me.

Then Jaycar, to collect a light bulb. I wanted one of the 900 lumen ES27 LED bulbs I do not seem to be able to find anywhere except Jaycar.

Off to Sizzler for lunch. This is pretty cheap, as they encourage seniors with discounts, so the two meals totalled about $27. My long standing exercise deal with Jean is I will always buy her meal if she walks to the restaurant. This is not a case of her walking to the restaurant, but she did come and collect me at the bus station. It seems more than reasonable I pay for a meal.

Stopped at Spotlight fabrics, who were still having a sale. Actually, I am not sure they ever stop having a sale. Jean showed me the purple sheet sets she had spotted previously. They did not have the size on one side, but did have it on the other side of the package. So I wandered around the store clutching two sets of sheets. Jean showed me the fabric end runs she had spotted. One was space planet scenes, with space suits. Another was just multiple planets, which looked lovely. There was a third I liked, with musical instruments, and plenty of that available. I wanted the music one for concerts. The end runs came to 3.8 metres, 5 metres, and I got 2.5 metres of the musical instruments, which is enough for a shirt.

Last stop, and perhaps a mistake, was at Key Motors, to check seat comfort in new model Subaru Foresters. Who knows what has changed in the design over the past four or five years. To me, it seems the main thing was that they are now much larger. We also sat in the VX or whatever the smaller model is. Seats did not seem as comfortable. Pity, as the size was better. It took a fair while to look there. if we had not been short on time for everything, it probably would have been better done a different time.

We got back to Carlyle Gardens a little after three. I spent much of the afternoon unpacking, reading accumulated mail, and generally feeling wiped out. Not a good start to the evening, when I was even more wiped out.

One good event. Secretary Laurie from the Carlyle Gardens Computer Club brought me some handwritten notes from Kevin relating to the history of the computer club over the past decade.


Get rid of Progressive government slavery in Australia. List of changes for LNP #auspol

LED Lamp Globe

A standing lamp that Michael left here. One uplight in it, one reading lamp. The reading lamp had a small incandescent glove in a small Edison screw fitting. I found an E14 Cree LED lamp, probably from Jaycar. Stock number ZD-0366, 3.3 Watts, Cress XRE-Q2, 120 lumens cool white (5000-7000K) with a 38° lens angle. That seems to work, although it is not bright enough really.

Saturday 20 April 2013


I was awake not long after five. Sitting at computer with a hangover, which is unfair since I had not had anything to drink except milk and water for days. Hmm, I had a chocolate milk last night. I am starting to seriously consider whether I have a problem with chocolate, or something in it?

My weight had gone up during my stay at Airlie Beach. Having ice cream and Coke on hand probably a factor. Now 72.2 kilogram. Grump.

Turned on the water for the garden. Put the new sheets in the washing machine. I was able to hang the sheets on the line before we left for Willows. Plus put another load in the washing machine.

Off to Willows for our walk. Found the advertised cheap electric outdoor blower vacuum in an aisle at BigW. Maybe I will finally get rid of the accumulated leaves. We also found a garden water system timer. I hope it can be set to do the water sprinkling at the correct time.

Collected eggs from the egg farm shop before heading home.

Started ripping up accumulated cardboard boxes, and putting them in the recycling bin. Gary drove up in the electric buggy. Asked if we had some spare boxes suitable for packing books. We were able to give him a few.

Jean had put the air conditioning on in the lounge and in her office, since it was very humid.

Sheet laundry in. Second load of laundry hung on the line. Started a third and final load of laundry. Took that load in after three, leaving the porch free for me to clean.

Had a salmon roll around five, as a late lunch.

Very tired during the evening. To bed a bit after ten. If I go to bed early, I wake up early.


I know our leaders hit Peter Principle levels of incompetence. Goes with the job. However are they now also bug fuck crazy?

Christopher Joye explains Major Bank risk and equity ratios in Australia.


I assembled the $48 Rok blower vac we bought this morning from BigW. The assembly manual is printed so small I found it hard to recognise the components. Several pungent words were said, as I sought correct screwdriver. Impossible to disassemble once put together, due to one way screws. The lead is about 30cm long, so you have to supply a long extension lead. Very noisy in operation. I sucked all the crap off the back porch in the afternoon, leaving the porch cleaner than it has been all year. For best viewing results, take off glasses.

Assembled the new cheap folding steam mop that arrived from Kogan. I actually wanted that for doing the tiles at Airlie Beach. Not such a good move. No different in size to the steam mop we already have. Pity. Something smaller would have been more convenient.

Internet Census

Port scanning /0 using insecure embedded devices - Carna Botnet

Sunday 21 April 2013


I was awake soon after three, unable to sleep. Got up at four, since I was not having any luck getting back to sleep.

Weight at official weigh in is 71.9 kilogram. Not very helpful, but better than starting with a 72.

Now officially starving. Find something as a pre breakfast snack. Diet going well (irony and traces of nuts).

Jean made us a breakfast of eggs on toast, and tomato. The lawn sprinklers came on, but I was able to rush out before they hit the tap, and turn on our garden watering system as well.

I spent a fair bit of the day writing notes for a presentation to the Carlyle Gardens Computer Club.


I started some iTunes app downloads a bit after 4 a.m. They seem to be running incredibly slow. As do the App Store updates. I would have thought this time of morning would be reasonable, in terms of lack of competition for bandwidth. It seems not. Oz Speed Test says 1027 kbps, which is pathetic for ADSL. Well, at least it is 20 times what a Dial Up line would provide.


Global warming can not happen too soon for me. @DonnaMHanson: Lovely sunny day in Canberra and 6C. Bracing but beautiful. #conflux9


I managed to pry open the battery compartment of the new water sprinkler timer. Once I actually found batteries that were not flat, that seemed to work fine. The timer is easier to use than the previous model. The Townsville council say we can water Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The old timer, when it worked, could cope with that. The best I can do on the new timer is to have it water every second day. So it will be right one week, and wrong the next week. Sorry council, tough luck.

Assembled another one of the big Grange Brilliant curved floor lamps (100024/15 - Chrome) that Bunnings sell. I had collected a 9 Watt 900 lumen E27 LED bulb from Jaycar. I think that lamp will end up working well. Well, I thought that until I realised the foot switch was stuffed. The three plastic pillars that hold it together had sheered off. So now the cover fell off. The substantial brass bus bars inside were totally exposed. I strapped it up with tape, for the moment, until I can seal it with plastic glue.


I poked a few more holes in the wet ground with a thick dowel. Cut some of the tall red plants, ripped off the lower leaves like Laurie the gardener told me, and stuck them in the ground. The last few have not died as yet, which is a really good sign.

I also dug a hole and dumped a piece of one of the purple and green plants in it. I like those succulents, because it seems even I can not kill them. Amazing!

Most of the time wasted was ripping out some of the tall green bushes that seem to sprout roots through the whole place. They survive, even thrive, but are messy. My neighbour Lexi, who seems to know about plants, ripped them out of her garden. She did not like them at all. If I can rip a whole bunch out by Monday evening, the lawn mowing contractors will take them away on Tuesday morning.

Ran the watering system for a while.

Then I had a very substantial glass of rum, diluted slightly with Coke. The only part of gardening I actually enjoy.

Evolving Stupidity

We are probably evolving a smaller, more stupid brain. Thank the end of the ice age, agriculture, but even more, it is easier for stupid people to survive and breed in a larger, complex society. Plus we domesticated ourselves to reduced violence. Domestic animals are all more stupid than their wild ancestors. We used to selectively kill off the more aggressive humans around us, up to 10% of the young men of some tribes.

Monday 22 April 2013


I was awake before five. However I did have a reasonably long sleep.

Weight is 71.7 kilogram, according to the Withins scale. This time my phone did not instantly show my weight on the Withings app. The scale works great, but connectivity is fraught. Or delayed. Or just plain weird. This whole trend to Cloud based apps actually sucks.

Went out and attempted to kill one of the early morning Asian kitchen geckos. The reduction in the number of these pernicious imports seems to be encouraging more native skinks and lizards.

We went for a walk at Willows. Did the entire thing about four times, which was reasonable.

After the evening Tariff 33 air conditioner halt, the AC in my room did not restart. This has happened a few times previously recently. The controller looked wrong. I could not reset the clock. Seemed to be in a weird mode. So I reset the remote. AC still did not come on until I dropped the temperature to 22°C. Way too low, unless the thermostat is also totally wrong.

We discovered some of our tins of cyclone supplies must have made it through way too many seasons. We threw out a half dozen tins of soup or something. Then we started cleaning up the mess that had escaped from one of them.

I had a substantial glass of rum with a little Coke again tonight. It seems to be that sort of season.


I emptied some more plastic containers of river pebbles into the garden this morning, in an attempt at weed suppression. Some of the plastic containers are breaking under the weight of stones and the UV in normal sunlight. At least I am redistributing the heavy containers somewhat.

In the late afternoon I really attacked those big green bushes. Jean wanted them clipped to below the height of the awning. I clipped them to about head level.

Then I attacked the smallest cluster of them, already stripped of all leafy branches. After about half an hour I had managed to hack and dig it out of the ground. The pile of greenery to be hauled away is awesome.

On the other hand, I feel stuffed. A shower, followed by a large rum slightly diluted with Coke. Still the only part of gardening that I like.


Nestle attempts to patent natural fennel flower. Sign petition against patent.

Just what we need, a conservative in a dead job. RT @paulkidd: Governor-General John Howard #beafraid #beveryafraid #auspol #fb

Now is perfect time to stop. @mikejanda: … auto industry subsidies. Now is not a good time to get rid of them.

Australia does not produce its own transport fuel supplies. Why should it produce its own vehicles? Stop the car maker subsidies.

I love dinosaurs, @upulie: You just don't care enough about dinosaurs, do you [sulks] but I couldn’t eat a whole one.

Electric cars and solar garages should be insanely great. Government arseholes do not get to charge excise and tax on the fuel!

Cancelled Trip

A first for us, and not one I like. For the first time I can recall, we have cancelled a booked trip. We were not sure we would be sufficiently recovered by then to make the journey in June. This was across the top from Cairns to Darwin with Outback Spirit, with a fair amount of camping involved.

Tuesday 23 April 2013


I was awake soon after four, which was not good at all. Got up before five, to continue working on the computer.

Weight 71.5 kilograms.

Jean headed off for appointments around ten. I kept working on the Carlyle Gardens computer club web site.

I headed off to lunch. Pat, Dot and Sue were there. Ray and John soon arrived. Jeff was much later. The restaurant had rack of lamb available, so I had that. My favourite.

Late in the afternoon I dropped a complete set of Lyn McConchie's books over to Jeff, since Pat had said she wanted them.


I like AudioEngine 5+ powered speakers with Airport Express @cstross: Biggest worry: amp might be dying.

Advertising is in slow decline, partly through disbelief. Business funded by advertising is being disrupted. Newspapers, Google, etc.

Last new antibiotic around 1987. Bad @paulkidd: I’ll be glad when I finish these antibiotics and the horrible metal taste leaves my mouth.

I am rich! @RobertHoge: In the future iPhone 5 connector cables will be the sole world currency. I have five iPhone 5 cables.


The new garden watering system switched on at 6 a.m. as scheduled.

When I heard the mowing contractor's truck, I rushed out to help the driver dump my large tarp full of bush clippings in the back of the truck.

Carlyle Gardens Computer Club

I gave my presentation on the Carlyle Gardens computer club website to those attending this evening. Although I tried to lighten the tone, I need to go a little further down. I left some (a lot) of the more complicated stuff on the web site.

Laurie seems very anxious to have the home pages look more like a normal web site. I guess I will see about accelerating that. The problem is many normal web sites are totally stuffed.

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Early Morning

I was awake before three. Since I could not sleep, I got up and started downloading updates for the Apple MacBook Air. This is a really bad start to the long day ahead.

Download speeds are absolutely pathetic, despite nothing else happening. Updated all my Apple iDevices, despite the slow internet.

Weight 71.4 kilograms. This despite a rack of lamb for lunch yesterday (I ate everything on the plate as well), plus three half fruit scones with jam and cream after the Computer Club meeting last night. I fear I will not fare as well over the long weekend in Canberra.

I took Duncan a case of Carlton Mid beer, in thanks for him looking after our place (bins and plants) so often when we are away. Actually all the neighbours look after us.


Buying existing shares is just gambling by spoilt children. @BGR: Tim Cook vs. Steve Ballmer by @zacharye

@BIG_ASS_FANS What is typical total air movement (per Watt) and sound level per setting on Haiku? Not listed on website?

Thor got rid of the Frost Giants. @TheTweetOfGod: They won't make a movie starring Me but Thor gets two? … What have you done lately?

Segway in Qld, coming soon! I want one, now. #auspol #qldpol

A Segway would be a perfect electric second vehicle for shopping. Good move Scott Emerson.

Apple Financials

A slight year on year increase for iPhones, which is where Apple gets a heap of its revenue. I am not convinced lack of a giant phone is the problem. Personally I prefer the iPhone 4 size.

A huge increase on iPads, but a smaller revenue per unit (hello iPad Mini). That means no retina model for the iPad Mini this year. However maybe the potential new version iPad Retina will come close enough?

Macintosh is down slightly year on year, to just under four million this quarter. All traditional computers are down over the past four quarters, Apple no so much as most. Computers are no longer the giant in Apple's revenue.

Pretty much what I expected. Apple guidance was pretty accurate. I suspect it will remain pretty accurate. They will increase their share buyback.

To Canberra

We drove off in plenty of time. No delays reaching the airport. We had our luggage through by a little after ten, which left over an hour prior to boarding.

I bought more Darrell Lea orange chocs at the airport newsagent, just in case there are not sufficient at the convention. Hope I remember to get some on the return trip.

No problems with security, except Jean was studied intently, as usual.

Sitting grabbing free WiFi from the Qantas lounge at Townsville. Our iPads remembered it from the previous trip in business a few weeks ago.

QF971 Townsville to Brisbane was pretty much full when we left on time around 11:30. We were way up the back in seats 23D and 23E. Luckily the 737/400 Qantas use now has reasonable seats.

Qantas fed us an undistinguished but eatable silverside, horseradish, mayo and cheese panini, and I scored a small Coke. Good enough for in flight fare.

Arrived in Brisbane a little after one, and took about a quarter hour to leave the plane.

QF957 Brisbane to Canberra boarded at ten to two, so there was not much waiting. This 737/400 was also full, and we were in the same row way out the back. The snack Qantas handed out scored highly for being Australian, and scored low for being probably poisonous to anyone with allergies. I liked it, and they did have apples for others. Got yet another small can of Coke.

We landed in Canberra early. I promptly got lost in the newly refurbished airport. Eventually found Jean already at the baggage area, having gone there the long way (very few signs up as yet).

The taxi to the Rydges hotel was a relatively short drive. Reasonably quick as well.


We sat around in the extensive lounge area near the Rydges Bar. Saw a variety of fans who had arrived early for the convention. Some of tese at eat headed out into what we felt was far too cold an evening for meals at the restaurants outside.

The Rydges restaurant were happy to deliver meals to the lounge area. We bought steak sandwiches from their light menu. These were anything but light, overflowing a large plate, although a lot of that was chips, and a large panini style bun. It was very good.

How Governments Steal Your Money

Negative Real Interest Rates such as cash rates and bonds lower than the inflation rate, so your savings evaporate.

Currency Devaluation via inflation. This includes things like income tax rates that are not inflation adjusted, so the government take always ramps higher.

Capital controls, so you can not easily or legally stow your money overseas. Or simply outlawing alternative money such as gold, as the FDR did in the USA in the 1930's. Owning gold was outlawed.

Default on the currency. Lots of countries have simply defaulted, and refused to pay what they owe. If a central bank is holding equities, it is time to get your money out of that country.

Thursday 25 April 2013

Rydge Canberra

I slept poorly once again. Awake around two. Must have managed to get some sleep during the rest of the morning, although it did not feel like it.

Jean seem to be having more trouble with her left shoulder. This trip is not working well for looking after her shoulder. This despite the efforts of the physiotherapist.

Deployed the iPhone HotSpot yet again. I discovered during the morning that the Rydges hotel had free WiFi, without a password. So I was able to use that WiFi and conserve my limited (one gigabyte) iPhone download capacity.

At breakfast we found a two person table. I realised a little belatedly that GoH Nalo Hopkinson was at the next table. Saw Terry Dowling across the room. As were Jonathan Strahan and Sean Williams. A little later Lync and Stephen appeared. I was not expecting them. We had a bit of a conversation.

The Rydges buffet seemed very reasonable. The poached eggs in water were still runny. An excellent range of bread for toasting. The fruits were a little limited. I overate, despite my diet, which I feel says enough about the quality of the buffet.

Around Canberra

Jean and Lync went for a walk in the cold Canberra air. So they had a nice chat while they walked.

We had done some snooping using the Maps application to find where stores were. The Coles would be open from one that ANZAC afternoon, according to the Coles application.

Jean and I later walked to the Coles to get snacks and drinks.

Conflux 9

I collected my Conflux 9 membership badge. If you fitted the ribbon correctly it would show the marked side without flipping over. I wish conventions could be convinced it is worth the extra effort to print names on both sides of the badge.

Collected my show bag. Tropical Dragon editing and proof reading is Barbara J Holten. Phillip Berrie's Transgressions sorcery fantasy is available from Smashwords. Fragments of a Broken Land is a fantasy novel by Robert Hood from Wildside Press. Donna Maree Hanson offers a young adult space opera Rayessa and the Space Pirates via Harlequin digital. Edwina Harvey had a Peggy Bright Books bookmark with a ruler. Very sensible.

It seemed that Conflux was holding its steampunk High Tea in the attractive Atrium area around the time we went wandering out. No idea what costumes attendees devised.

Conflux Evening

A book launch of Cat Sparks The Bride Price, a short story collection published by Ticonderoga.

As is often the case the evening prior to the convention officially opening, they held a cocktail party for early attendees. That was on from around 7:45 in one of the larger event room.

Friday 26 April 2013


I was able to use the free Rydges hotel WiFi to check on Twitter, and collect my email using my Apple iPad Mini.

Since we had the breakfast buffet included I ate rather too well early in the day. I would love to do a giant breakfast at home, and skip most other meals.

My first (and only) panel was at ten. What was great about SF when you were young. I am not at all sure I added much to the panel. It was to feature Rose Mitchell, Russell Blackford, Julian Warner, Phil Berrie, with Paul Ewins moderating. At least we did not outnumber the audience.

Tablet Computers

Talk with Pauline Dickinson, including about tablets. Jean contributed greatly when we came across her.


Dinner with Jean included an impressive Caesar salad for her. I had an Hawaiian pizza with enormous chunks of pineapple. Sitting on level below Pauline so we chattered to her for a while. When LynC and Stephen arrived we moved to a larger table.

Conflux held a Regency Gothic Banquet in the Forrest Room during the evening. As it was organised by people heavily influenced by Gillian Polack (and to an historical recipe provided) I am sure it was a masterpiece. These days I avoid all convention banquets (and most food events) because there is simply too much food available in daily life.

Conflux Evening

Chatted with Danny Oz who appears in fine shape.

Regency Dancing is not my thing. At school I totally avoided dancing. At conventions that have live music, and especially disco, I try to remain far away. Far, far away.

Kissing in Space was the last panel I attended. I used much of the time I was nominally listening to catch up on a tweet stream.

I was exhausted, and went off to bed a little after ten.

Saturday 27 April 2013

iPad Mini

I was awake at four. So I got up and started using the iPad Mini. No hotel connection this time. Only a passworded Rydges Guest login. For which I had no password, at that stage.

I plugged my iPhone in to charge and checked my Mobile HotSpot was working. You sometimes need to reconnect, but the Mobile HotSpot usually works fine. The problem is always the fear of inadequate data availability via the mobile phone network. The speed usually exceeds hotel WiFi. The mobile data is way faster than ADSL at Carlyle Gardens.

This trip without my MacBook Air, I have been using my Apple iPad Mini a lot. I basically bought the iPad Mini as an impulse buy. I saw that the line at the Sydney Apple Store on release day was not all that long. While I would like a Retina™ display, the iPad Mini has actually been very handy, using the iPhone as a HotSpot. I can tolerate the display not being Retina™, as it is still very good. The main problem with not having Retina™ displays is that once you see it, the quality of the Retina™ display simply spoils anything else for you.

Song of the Slums

I note the launch of Richard Harland's latest steam punk novel Song of the Slums at 1:30 p.m. Terry Dowling did the launch. 1846, and rock and roll is about to be invented. Jean bought a copy for us.

Speaking of Richard Harland, I had bought the last few flat plasma display discs from a vendor towards the Market Day closing time at the convention. Artist Lewis Morley had admired these, so I gave him one of them. I figured he would do more with it than I ever could. He did. He built it into Richard Harland's Steam Punk guitar, which is absolutely awesome.

Conflux Evening

I noted the Acacia lounge on the ground floor had a Masquerade Junkyard Cathedral at eight, continuing the Conflux steampunk theme. Since there was music and a DJ, I ignored this event. Later I noticed that it did not seem as noisy as I feared, and with some trepidation entered the area. Even managed to get the odd left over snack or two.

Sunday 28 April 2013


Nothing to report.

Rent Seeking

The rent seekers are typically finance, insurance, real estate (FIRE). They are all non-productive at worst. Negative gearing should be long gone. If taxes were efficient, there would be a one page form (at worst), and a 20 page manual (at worst). No exemptions whatsoever. No need for tax accountants and tax advisers. Taxes that work least badly are those that are hardest to dodge. Taxes on the unimproved value of land (you can not move land) would also tend to move land into its most productive use (to pay the tax), and reduce holding land for later sale. Use it or lose it, do not speculate on it. Land taxes take into account infrastructure improvements around them, and help capture the value these add. Taxes on spending (GST), but it needs to be on everything, including food, health, education. One problem is like any flat tax it is regressive. The poor feel it worse. Death taxes, probably above a threshold. Everyone dies. Income taxes are not that great, as they reduce incentive, plus there are many exemptions. Inflation is basically a tax on thrift, in place to reduce unemployment. Turnover taxes on finance, and on financial bids. Sell labour on eBay.

Monday 29 April 2013


A leisurely morning, as our flight was not all that early. We did not bother to go to breakfast until about seven thirty. Saw Lewis and Marilyn sitting there, who were soon joined by Bill Wright.

Heading back to the room, we were able to say goodbye to Cat Sparks, who had launched her book at that convention.

Whenever I checked twitter, there were tweets from convention members of their way home, or back at work. A number had headed off to a writing workshop of some sort. The Rydges hotel had free WiFi, with very good coverage through most of the hotel.

Checkout went fine. We paid cash, since so many hotels now charge fees on credit cards. They organised a taxi for us, and sid it would only be a few minutes.

Taxi arrived very quickly. As usual, not a native of Australia, but he chattered about his trip to Sydney the previous day with his family. Did a very quick trip to the airport, so I tipped well.

Canberra to Brisbane

A decent airport now at Canberra. Fully automated baggage handling, as is now standard at new refurbishments. The ticket machine did its job, spitting out bag tags and the four tickets. Even the bag drop machine did not give much trouble. The only thing we had to spot was where security had their scanners.

We actually ended up waiting a fair while for our flight, since we had managed to arrive and get our bags checked so quickly. The Qantas lounge was leaking free WiFi. I do not think the airport people care about keeping it limited these days.

Qantas QF952 boarded on time, and took off just prior to eleven. Jean had managed to get us row 14, a little more forward than on the way down. First day after a long holiday, and there were a fair number of children in the area. I thought that the usual panini tasted stale. The silverside seemed suspect to me.

We had over an hour in Brisbane, as we had arrived on time. Free Qantas WiFi in the Brisbane airport, although I think this time they did limit it to a half hour per device.

We boarded QF974 on time to Townsville, for a departure just prior to two. Row 20 this time, which clears the wing at the rear, but we were on the wrong side for photographs, even if we had a window seat. A nice cookie as a snack. The Qantas 737/400 Qantas put on that run seems to have reasonable seats. The seat to seat spacing only works for short people (which we both are). We also had the good luck to have a smaller than average person seating in the row with us. Arrived before our scheduled time, which was pretty good.

Arrive At Carlyle

We had no airport problems. I paused to collect Darrell Lea orange chocs from the news agent at the airport. The staff remembered me, which is in many ways a bit sad. I reached Jean at baggage just before my bag appeared on the baggage conveyor.

The parking machine worked flawlessly, and we soon had the bags stowed away in Jean's car. She drove, and at four the traffic was busy but moving quickly.

We collected the considerable quantity of mail from the box on the way in to the Carlyle Gardens village.

Tossed all the black clothing into the washing machine, together with the new dark purple pillowcases. About time we had enough dark clothes to wash those pillowcases. That was all ready for the morning.

I went out to the garden about five, and worked clipping the last shrub.

Collected a beer from the fridge, and went over to say hello to my neighbours at their regular afternoon gathering. Duncan had checked the place. Someone else had taken our bins in, but that turned out to be Mary. Duncan had later taken them around the side.


I went out to the garden about five. I clipped out any of the shrub that still showed green leaves. Put that in a bundle for the mowing contractors in the morning. It really was not a lot. Somehow I did far more than I thought last week before leaving for the convention. The hard bit will be getting out the roots of the shrubs.

Australia on Renewable Energy

I notice Australia may be able to run on renewable electricity, according to Labor Government sponsored preliminary draft of a new Australian Energy Market Operator 100% renewables study for 2030 and 2050.

The input assemptions for the 100% renewables study are not totally unreasonable (unlike the Zero Carbon Plan folks). The demand schedules seem plausible. The reliability is unchanged, something often a sore point with renewables. I am not convinced modelling the regional distribution as only 43 location polygons is reasonable, but if probably suffices for a study. The geothermal and wave figures seem to me excessively optimistic. On the other hand, I believe there is additional scope for hydroelectricity augmentation.

The findings are nameplate capacity of over twice demand is required. If only 10% load shifting is modelled, I find this hard to believe twice suffices at the required reliability. I doubt the availability of sufficient biomass for fill in use. The hypothetical cost of a 100 per cent renewable power system is estimated to be at least $219 to $332 billion, depending on scenario, without land acquisition or finance costs. It actually would be much more, as retirement of existing resources is (reasonably) not considered. Distribution costs and stranded assets are not considered. On the other hand, AEMO would clearly hate to actually be in the future of their report.

Wholesale electricity prices were estimated to be $111 to $133 per megawatt-hour, including 10% financing costs. This is about three times what you would expect from general coal fired power stations. I am not really seeing a plausible economic argument for moving from coal. I have long said the only way is to consider carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases a pollutant, and progressively ban their generation.

Tuesday 30 April 2013


I did not sleep well, but it was still better than at the convention. Up just after six. Jean had already started the laundry running in the washing machine.

After eating a buffet breakfast for five days, plus the odd restaurant meal as well, my weight had gone up to 72.7 kilogram over the six days away. Not happy with this.

I asked Jo-ann at Reception if she had a form for genetic modified organisms in the garden? She did not. However she thought glow in the dark plants sounded cool.

Lunch at the restaurant with Pat (Jeff arrived only a little later), and Sue. Dot soon arrived, as did Ray. Allen and Dave were doing a first aid course. Jodie was working the bar. Fair number of people eating. No resolutions on the future of the restaurant.

I ordered the pie. It turned out to be a gigantic thing, a whole oval plate of mince. Took half of it home for later. Helped the diet along by having Death by Chocolate cream cake with ice cream and a chocolate mint wafer. Surely could not influence my diet and weight loss program?

Garden very late in the afternoon. Mosquitos appeared.


Not Govt money to spend. @TheKouk: … in the time the budget went … to a deficit of $12b, Australia's GDP was $1.5 trillion Context

So a surplus should be easy. Cut wasteful spending. @TheKouk: A budget deficit of $13 billion is equal to 3 days GDP. Just observing.

Works for me (unlike sync apps). @viticci: You’d think 9 months would be enough to fix Messages for Mac. But no. It’s still unusable.

Just ignore them, same as overstayers. @danilic: To keep asylum seekers out of Australia the coalition wants to build a moat.

You wouldn’t like my cuts @strangedave: @ericlindsay people always say that, as if there is a line item in the budget labelled 'wasteful’…

Do you believe in free trade and capitalism, or is it all bull shit? @ModeledBehavior: Before we import goods do we make firms …

What Century you from? @boltcomments: women [who choose abortion] should have made the choice of not getting pregnant in the first place

Fetus as parasite. @boltcomments: the foetus is not part of their bodies ... The whole feminist “my body my choice” ignores this fact.

? @boltcomments: What the hell is going on in this country Too many right wing idiots?

Former Labor leader Mark Latham on LNP lies, Andrew Robb in his book Black Dog Daze.

You can not be too well off. Having more really is better, at any level.

Mines get Fuel Tax subsidy to build their own roads. @IanWoolf: … fossil fuel subsidies - corporate welfare

Solar Power

My solar inverter output figures are 4318kWh in 12445 hours. The previous figures in March were E-total 4200kWh, h-total 12100 hours. This makes 118kWh power generated in 345 hours. 3.9kW per day or 342 Watts per active hour, in April. 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. New figures for the end of April 2013 are 4558 purchased on Tariff 11, Tariff 33 is at 4076, and solar power export is 1972. Use for the month of April is 117kWh, air conditioning use is 90kWh. Solar export is 46kWh.

I missed the light to get the last inverter readings, and had to do that at first light.


I went out to the garden early in the morning with a container of Roundup weed killer. Sprayed any weeds appearing above the mulch or between cracks between the concrete blocks. There sure seemed a lot of them for only six days away.

Late in the afternoon I dug out more of the shrub. Managed to get another (small) set of roots out of the ground. The two large sets of roots still remain. However I do now have some open space into which to scrape the earth from around the remaining two root systems. This sure is proving a pain in the arse.

Original World Wide Web

The original World Wide Web, on the same site where it originally appeared, exactly twenty years ago today.

Home and Away

AB 7, CG 13, T 10

Eric Lindsay's Blog April 2013