This is uncanny!

I was talking to someone just a few days ago about telemarketing (or scam) calls from India, and I said I haven’t been bothered by them for at least six months. Also, that I’m on the Do Not Call register.

The phone rang just now and immediately I could tell by the satellite delay and the noise of the call centre that this was one of those calls.  How did they know? Did they read my mind?  Are they listening in on my phone conversations?

However, this one was a bit different. I had asked for Caller Line ID to be activated on my phone a few days ago.  “It’ll take a few business days, sir” and I forgot all about it.

This time, when the phone rang, it announced “Call from overseas. ….  Call from overseas”, repeating.  When I picked up and answered, I could hear my voice and this message being echoed back, then the line went dead.  I think the Indian call centre must have heard this and decided against talking to me.  Good.

Why did I answer?  Because we’re organising this reunion and one of our old school chums lives in the US (we think).  I’ve sent emails to him and kinda hoped we might hear back.  He’s the type of bloke to pick up the phone and call (especially since his company pays for the calls.)  Anyway, it’s good to know that CLID will identify and tell me when a call is from overseas.



Cairns 1997 © PJ Croft 2014

I really do think a black cloud is hovering over me, hurling lightning bolts of bad luck.

First (recently) there was the travel agency failing to pass on my deposit for the P&O cruise.  Then the fridge not working in my cabin (my complaint, passed on to P&O by the travel agency, still hasn’t been answered.)

Then the Pioneer Blu-Ray player went dead a few weeks ago (still under warranty).  Won’t even power up.

Now my Logitech Harmony Touch remote control has died as well. There’s nothing but “” on the screen and my attempts to reboot it have failed.  If I could open it and remove/replace the battery, I would, but it’s sealed up tight.  That’ll have to go back too.

Then today I took a cheque, which I’d never cashed, that I’d found in my filing system, to the bank. (It’s a refund of a fee from a Radiology firm.)  It’s dated 22/9/2012.  I didn’t think it would matter, but it does – there’s a 15 month time limit on cheques.  It’s “only” $52.  I’m tempted to let it slide, but $52 is $52 – maybe I’d better contact them.


I read Silicon Chip magazine intermittently. It’s the only Australian electronics magazine left out of four or five 30 years ago and I often feel I should support it.

But it’s the world’s most conservative magazine!  You would hardly be able to tell the difference between this month’s issue and one from 30 years ago.  Almost every sentence ends with an exclamation mark! Gosh, gee, wow!  The typeface is the same, the black borders to every illustration are the same, and even the content is much the same.  This month I reckon they published the 534th Drill Speed Controller project.  I reckon there’s been at least one drill speed controller every year since 1978.  Or a Musicolour, or an electronic ignition for cars, or an electric fence or a 20W amplifier in a matchbox.

Too bad, most of the time.  But the editor is a Climate Change Denier in Capital Letters.  He believes it’s all a hoax and that the CSIRO is “hysterical” in its warnings. He won’t accept all the IPCC reports or the Royal Society/American Association of Science report. He supports Ian Plimer, the loopy South Australian professor who’s written a book denying Global Warming, even though he’s a paleontologist, not a climate scientist.

In this month’s (April) issue he devotes the editorial to pushing his views.  That’s his right – he owns most of the magazine – but he has no qualifications in science, only in business.

I feel sorely tempted to send him a rocket, but it would be a waste of my time.  Any sane person must take the evidence seriously.  Personally, I believe it’s too late.  The tipping point has been reached and passed. Global warming, sea level rise, ocean acidification are unstoppable now.  I’m glad I don’t have kids, because they’d better get used to living in a hot, hotter, drier and drier climate.


I was in the shopping centre today (Yay! JB HiFi have opened a shop at Ocean Keys, Clarkson, about 5Km down the road from me), when I passed a woman doing photography of kids in one of those big booths in the mall.  She was lifting a kid up in the air and making cooing noises and the flashes went off and another frame was captured.

Then it hit me.  She can do this without an assistant now, with a very high probability of success.

First, autofocus is now so quick and so accurate that as long as the kid is in a zone, the camera will latch on to focus.  But more than that, face recognition!  She would know where the frame is that the camera sees, and as she lifts the kid into frame, the autofocus latches on and the face recognition works its magic and fires the shutter.  No need to be behind the camera, hoping to get it right, just let the electronics do the work.  The magic of electronics.