Back again


Sydney lightning N27n

Sydney storm, with aircraft. 1987.  © PJ Croft 2016

Brrrr. This is the coldest, wettest winter I can recall for some years, although I’m sure the statistics would prove me wrong. It seems that way, anyway. My farmer friends confirm that the farmers are very happy. This feels like it used to be back in the 70s and 80s, when we got more than “showers”.


Speaking of showers, my shower has a dripping tap. But it’s these crazy star shaped handles that you need a special tool to remove.


I’ve bought the tool (about $4), but the rings are corroded and the tool just bends. So I followed the recommendation and bought spray to “unfreeze” the ring. I wasted my money – they still won’t budge. I’ve bought circlip pliers but I can’t get a grip with those either. Nor can I unscrew the cone shaped covers – there’s nothing to grip and the wrench just slips.

As well, the handles are sharp, rough and spiky. The guy who designed these must have been a plumber. The cost to get a plumber to replace these tap washers would be more than the price of the new taps. It would probably pay for the plumber’s holiday in Bali.

That all adds up to hacksaw! I’m going to cut the spindles off and bash grooves into the covers to grip onto. I’ve bought complete new taps at a cost of about $45 a pair (I think).


About ten years ago when flat screen TVs were becoming mainstream, I used to tell anyone who’d listen that a new technique was to modulate the backlighting of the screen depending on the light and dark areas of the picture content.

Unfortunately for my listeners, I was talking rubbish. I thought this was the case, but I realised later I was ahead of the curve:

From a professional TV web site this week: The most important technology baked into the [Sony] Z-series sets is undoubtedly the Backlight Master Drive. At CES, the 85-inch prototype contained 1,000 zones, but the consumer units may have expanded that functionality, down to pixel-level. This means that the LEDs that comprise the backlight are each individually dimmable.  The effectiveness of this backlight array is enhanced by a high precision lighting and dimming algorithm.

I was about ten years ahead of my time. I should have patented it.

These new Sony Z series are touted as competing with LG’s OLED screens, but using LCD. But the smallest Sony is 65 inches at a price of US$6,999 ! The LG 55 inch OLED is presently A$3,995 and coming down. There’s no question which one I’d choose.


I was at a shopping centre for lunch yesterday. I used to visit there regularly a few years ago. What a disappointment. Missing:

  • the Dymocks bookshop
  • the food hall where I used to get my Turkish flat bread thingies
  • the Harvey Norman store
  • the Tandy electronics store
  • the Croissant Express cafe that was so good I used to make special trips

And others I’ve forgotten. All that’s left is women’s clothing and accessory shops, one men’s clothing shop, jewellers, gift/trinket shops and the  usual Coles/Woolies/K-Mart. This is the trend these days. They wonder why we buy on-line – we can’t get what we want in the shops any more. I can’t, anyway.


Similarly, web sites don’t want us to use ad-blocking software. But take a look at The West today – it’s so blanketed by a giant ad that you can hardly work out what’s editorial and what’s ad. The Guardian, my favourite site, jerks up and down as the ads load much more slowly than the editorial, and distract with their moving/animated visuals. I use ad blocking, I’m afraid.