On the air, briefly?

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I’m back on-line for who knows how long. This is the eighth day with no internet, except for brief interludes like this one. I have learnt that promises from iiNet are worthless. I’ve been on the phone to Support every night for the past five nights. I was on the phone for more than an hour on Saturday night. Worthless. They say they’ll get a replacement modem to me, but they don’t. They say they’ll phone me, but they don’t. They say they’ll SMS me, but they don’t.

They are supposed to phone me after 10am today to come out here and replace a modem or otherwise fix the fault. That’s a promise. I’ll bet they don’t.

PS: They didn’t. Written Tuesday 1249am after being off-line all day, a brief? respite.

The fault is absent at the moment. I hope it shows if they come. That’s the trouble with intermittent faults.

Meanwhile, another sleepless night last night, so I’m drooping. I’ll try to get an hour before 10am.

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The balloons went up

This is my edited production of my trip to Northam last Wednesday to see the lift off of the Australian Hot Air Ballooning Championships 2017.

It was a perfect day, a clear, cloudless blue sky with no wind at the surface, although obviously there was wind above from the east.

I went with my friend Geoff Williams in his lovely BMW M335i. We had a little trouble finding the launch paddock, and were assisted by a gorgeous Scandinavian young lady (long white hair) who was driving in front of us. At one point she stopped as she realised we were following her and walked back to talk. She saw two options, forward or back, and we agreed to press on forward. We both arrived just in time.

I was shooting with my OSMO gimbal camera and my Panasonic FZ1000, both in 4K resolution. I had one in each hand! Crazy, but there was no time for a tripod and it was shoot or lose the opportunity. It worked. The Pana was in my right hand and I had to operate it with one finger, but it worked.

The OSMO let me down again as the software app on my mobile phone which is used to control the camera and see the vision (ie the viewfinder) crashed every time. So I shot the whole thing just aligning the lens by eye. It’s a 20mm equivalent, very wide, so it worked OK. I shot about 9 mins continuous, just sort of waving it around very slowly.

It’s taken a lot to edit it and upload but here it is.

More pics:

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My iiNet wifi modem has been crashing for hours at a time, but it’s up now and on-line. I have made a serious complaint to Support and they’re sending a replacement modem for me to test next week. It will take 3-5 working days! For a 45 minute distance from Subiaco to here. Pathetic.

I’m also getting serious drops in speed i.e. congestion at peak times, down to as low as 2Mb/s, when I’m paying for 25Mb/s. Not happy, Sam. I’m going to ask for a rebate of my billing as they can see when I’m on-line or not.

I also object to having to diagnose my own problems and swap modems myself. I’m the customer. Why should I have to do it. I also know that configuring the replacement modem will be a pain. It’s not simple.

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I’ve had a nice comment on one of my posts from December last year. I wrote about a phone call I’d had from a friend called Graham Baptie from my Trigg dog walking days.

Well, his sister has seen the post and commented that she hasn’t seen her older brother in 25 years. How about that? It was a very nice comment, thanking me. I’ve emailed her back asking if she wants me to put her in touch. Uh oh, I thought I had his phone number, but now I can’t find it. I may not be able to deliver on that one. I don’t know where she is. Graham is Scottish. Maybe she’s in Scotland?

Nice work

 

Edge

 

Isn’t that neat? I’m impressed by whoever the graphic artist was who thought of this.

I saw it on a small sign in a coffee shop the other day and I’ve redrawn it so as to post it here. This is not a scan or photo, I redrew it in a drawing program. It was easy enough to remember, and that’s the key to good advertising, that it sticks in your mind. It’s some student organisation’s logo.

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I’m writing this at 4am. I can’t sleep again, although I slept easily for 90 mins from 1230pm this afternoon. I’ve just had some hot milk cocoa, sugar free stuff.

I’m reading about lupins. They’re a big crop in the WA wheat belt and the seeds are highly recommended for diabetic blood sugar control. Apparently WA produces 85% of the world’s supply.

They are a type of pulse, a bean, and they can be ground and used as flour like chick peas and lentils or made into flakes. One of the places to buy them is Farmer Jacks supermarkets and there happens to be one of those a few streets away from here. I’ll go over there today, maybe.

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Aaaarrrgh, too tired to think straight. Time for another try at sleep, I think. Cheers.

More troubles

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What is it? Answer: Mars! Beautiful.     Courtesy JPL/NASA

If you’ve been trying to phone me since yesterday afternoon, you would have failed. My iiNet-supplied wifi modem has been refusing to function since about 6pm yesterday, which means no internet, but more importantly, no phone. That’s the thing about having the NBN – if it doesn’t work, you lose your phone service too. Your mobile phone still works, but not everyone knows the number.

I’ve had another sleepless night – I could tell when I tried to sleep at about midnight that it wasn’t going to come, so I gave up trying at 1.30am. So at 2am, after many attempts to get the modem to lock in, I phoned iiNet’s support number on my yuppie phone. At that time of the morning, there was no queue and I got straight through. (The lady was in South Africa, by the way.) The result was that they would send me a replacement modem for me to test, and it would arrive in 5-7 working days. Whaaat? That would mean no internet for a week or more. That’s unthinkable these days.

I said hang on, I’m in Perth and iiNet’s in Perth, why don’t I go to their offices? OK, seems viable. Meanwhile, could I email them to arrange a time. Er, I can’t email them, my connection’s not working. Oh, yeah.

Anyway, I sat at the computer for the rest of the night, periodically resetting the modem (powering off and on) without success. I wasn’t doing nothing, by the way, I was pruning old files and reading saved articles.

Then at about 6.30am I suddenly realised the modem had locked and was working again. Hallelujah. I was going to “drive south” to get a replacement modem today, but I’ll delay until Wednesday now, when I have to go down anyway for another reason.

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So that’s yet another electronic problem I’ve had. I’ve also spent nearly an hour trying to work out how to reset my house alarm, another electronic device. It was locked in Program mode after my battery change a few weeks ago. I found that answer OK, but now the Tamper icon is flashing at me and I’m not sure why. I’m reluctant to open the cabinet again because I know that will trigger the alarm, and when I’m up the ladder, it’s hard to get to the keypad to stop the screamer.

My point is that electronic problems are cropping up all the time these days! I’m more capable of fixing them than most people, I’d say, so how are other people with no electronic knowledge coping? You can’t call a repairman any more – they’ve been driven out of the game by high costs and people discarding equipment and replacing it if it goes wrong, rather than repairing it. A house call by someone to fix these small problems is not viable these days. Such a visit would cost $100 or more.

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Minnie, my beautiful dog, who never caused a problem.

The bloody barking dogs are back! Next door’s two dogs, that is. They were silent for some weeks until recently, I know not why, and I’d grown used to the quiet, but they started up again a couple of weeks ago. On one occasion, I timed it as a bark every three seconds, on and on, for an hour or more.

Yesterday, Sunday, the owners seemed to go out about noon and one of the dogs came around to my side of their house and lay there whimpering and whining for an hour at least, driving me nuts. It’s no good me trying to quieten them – that just sets them off. The owners came home about 6pm, I think, and they quietened down, but they’ve started up again now at 0845. If I go out to my garage, they rush over to the fence and start barking at any sound I make. I have never heard the owners try to quieten them, never heard them shush them. I hate this!

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I’ve been meaning for some time to write about the incredible number of cliche words in use by journalists and others these days.

The absolute worst is iconic. It started to be used about five years ago and I have a little running game with myself about the earliest time in the day, each day, that I’ll see its use. It has become the most over used word of all time, I reckon. I’ve even heard it used about five times in one TV program (one of the UK bridges series). Can’t journalists find any other word to use apart from iconic???? It’s even morphed into iconically!

A new atrocity is starting up: beginning sentences with “So”. I heard an interview with a guy the other day where he began every answer to questions from the interviewer with “So … ” whether it was needed or not. This is a new trend and is catching and spreading.

My continuing bete noir is “You know”, of course. Some people seem incapable of speaking three words without inserting “y’know”. It’s chronic. It’s driving me nuts. Everyone’s doing it, even UK BBC-type people. Once you start hearing it, it’ll drive you nuts too.

I’ll have to continue this later. Too tired at the moment.

I’m contactable again

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That’s someone else’s car, but obviously they suffer too. My own insomnia troubles continue. I can’t get to sleep at night, but I can during the day. But only for about 2-3 hours, so I’m existing on that small amount of sleep most days/nights. Or using a sedative and sleeping for 8 hours, but feeling hungover next day. This is terrible.

First, my NBN speeds are back to normal – 25Mb/s. That glitch last week righted itself.

Second, my landline phone is working again. If you’ve been frustrated trying to phone me in the past couple of months, sorry. It went faulty sometime in June while I was away, and although I reported it to iiNet at the beginning of July, nothing happened. Then I switched to the NBN and couldn’t get it working on that either. My complaint was finally attended to by iiNet last Thursday with emailed instructions and after some complicated setting up at my end, bingo, it finally worked. Now I’ll be able to receive those lovely people from India offering to fix my computer if I’ll just give them my passwords and bank account numbers.

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Third, I’ve had a win with my OSMO gimbal camera. I couldn’t get any control or pictures after what I thought was a failed software update.

I found a new firmware update and instructions on the DJI website, and after a bit of confusion, it seemed to have worked. “Seemed”, in that some things worked, but I still couldn’t see any pictures.

To cut a long story short, the clue came when I switched the histogram display on. I could see it changing and if I waved my hand in front of the camera, the histogram followed suit. Therefore I figured the camera must be working.

Then it occurred to me, it used to work with my old Sony phone (it uses your mobile phone as the display and controller). Maybe …

That was it. I found my old phone, connected by wifi, and there were my pictures. So this is annoying – the OSMO will work with my old, very slow, not-very-good Sony hand phone, but not my new superfast OnePlus 3T. Damn.

This might be OK, in that I can just leave the Sony permanently on the OSMO, but it’s so slow to switch on, load up and connect by wifi. I might have to look for a faster second hand phone of some compatible type.

At least that’s fixed. I think I’ll sell this OSMO.

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Aaaah, spring has sprung. It happened over four or five days last week, I’m sure you noticed. One day we were shivering in the rain, a few days later it’s 23C, sunny and blue skies, with more to come. The daylight extends past 6pm. Lovely.

So much for the NBN

Tested just now at 18:26 on Tuesday 22/8/17.

This is 1/5 the speed I was getting on ADSL. It’s unusable.  As well, I emailed iiNet Support two days ago about my phone not working – no response.

This slow speed has just cropped up – it’s been good up to now. Annoying. Looks like I’ll have to diagnose it myself.

Just as I’m having to diagnose and fix my DJI OSMO handheld gimbal camera. I can’t get a picture from it. It’s just blank, even though it’s powered up. I suspect I have to update the firmware, but grrrrr!  I’ve had little use out of this device since I bought it in May last year for $970. There are BIG problems with it, but they’ve shown themselves slowly and it’s out of warranty now. In the state it’s in at the moment, I couldn’t even sell it. Grrrrr!

I’ll get there, but crumbs, we shouldn’t have to debug our own problems.

Solved

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Silver sea.    © PJ Croft 2017

The mystery of the passport is solved. I was nearly going to go back to Clarkson PO today to try again to find my new passport, but put the trip off. Then about 3pm there was a knock at the door and the postie was there with a registered letter. I could tell straight away that it was my passport.

Funny, I could have sworn I said no to registered post because the woman at the post office told me if I wasn’t home, I’d have to go in to the city to retrieve it. Oh well, all’s well that ends well.

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Trigg 2011   © PJ Croft 2017

I wrote in the last post about the book I bought that had that odd bird-shaped illustration. The book is Fermat’s Enigma, one of a series on maths put out by National Geographic. They are being sold for $14.99 in newsagents, stuck onto a large card. Unusual. They are cheaply printed, with no colour, but are an attempt to reach younger readers, I assume. I’ve bought two so far, the other one being on higher dimensions – i.e. above the three we can visualise.

Actually, I’ve never had trouble visualising the fourth dimension, time. I can see in my mind the three, x, y and z simply moving across the visual field with the passage of time. But note: although the three x, y and z axes can be positive or negative, the time axis can only ever be positive and increasing. Otherwise we would be going back in time. Why is it so?

Anyway, Fermat’s Enigma is about a seemingly simple proof – that no three positive integers a, b, and c satisfy the equation an + bn = cn for any integer value of n greater than 3. (Corrected. Who spotted my error? I had written 2!)

That is, x2 + y2 = z2  works (this is Pythagoras’s theorem, 3 squared plus 4 squared equals five squared), and x3 + y3 = z3 works. But no more, not for 4, or 5 or any other number. How odd!

I find this amazing. It had seemed to be true since ancient times but no-one could prove it. Pierre de Fermat 1607-1665, a French nobleman, claimed in 1637 to have found a proof, but it was lost, and in the following centuries no-one else could come up with a proof.

Until 1995, when a British mathematician at Cambridge, Andrew Wiles, came up with a proof, and won a Nobel Prize for his effort. He worked on his proof for several years and when he thought he’d done it, an error was discovered. He nearly gave up at that point, but kept on it and finally found the definitive proof.

But how odd. x2 + y2 = z2 works, and x3 + y3 = z3 works, but no higher powers work. Why?