They’ve gone crazy, and they’ve got the nuclear codes!

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Donald Trump’s mind

This is astounding. This is frightening. This can’t be happening.

The Director of the FBI appears to have either gone mad, or shown his political bias, or been got at, bribed or pressured. I suspect the latter. There’s no other way to explain his amazing action in making these unfounded accusations about Hillary Clinton with eight days to go to the election. This has given huge ammunition to that madman Trump and his lunatic supporters.

Trump is simply incompetent to be president of the USA. He is ignorant of politics and especially foreign affairs. He lies so often and so stupidly that no other head of state or government leader would ever be able to take him seriously. How could anyone take his word on anything when he is just as likely to change his story a week later? He knows nothing about other countries, nothing about international law, nothing about ethics and integrity. Not to mention his misogyny.

Worst of all, Vladimir Putin will twist him around his little finger. He will be so weak compared to Putin that Putin will trick him into some disastrous actions. I think there is a serious risk of nuclear weapons being used if Trump becomes president.

I never expected to say this, but I think an assassination is needed. Let some gun-nut with a licence-to-carry take a shot at him. He must not be elected president. This is scary!

Women of America, you MUST vote! Even if you don’t like Hillary, she is the only competent candidate. Do you really want a bumbling, dishonest, lying woman-hater as your president? You MUST vote for Hillary.

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Hillary’s mind

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I’ve been to Thailand, to Bangkok, once (and Phuket briefly, for less than a day) and the Thai people are very nice. But what a fucked up country. I don’t see myself ever going there again.

A country that has military coups about every seven years is no place to be. Even as a tourist, you could be in danger. To me, it’s not worth the risk. Even in the holiday resorts the stories of drugs and crime put me off.

But they’ve excelled themselves now. The Thai military government is asking other countries, Australia included, to arrest and return people to Thailand who have been accused of insulting the monarchy. Uh, no, guys. This is paranoid crap. This shows what fools you are.

This lese majeste law is a serious danger, even for a tourist. A couple of Facebook bloggers were handed jail sentences of 28 years and 30 years recently, simply for writing something interpreted as insulting to the Thai monarchy. Thirty years in a Thai prison! That would be worse than a death sentence.

I’ll never take the risk of going to Thailand again, so they miss out on my tourist dollars. And the monarchy? Ponced up medal wearing loonies. They’re all corrupt. So come and arrest me, you Thai military fools.

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I’m still on the job of ripping all my CDs to hard drive. It’s a mammoth job and even though it’s slightly boring, I actually enjoy it.

For some reason, I’ve always liked doing repetitive work, even when I was working at Channel 7. Quite often we had to make many copies of some circuit board, or wire up many complex connectors. I used to volunteer. For some reason, I enjoyed it, I think because I can put my mind into reverie mode and feel a sense of achievement as the results pile up. Once, I had to wire up 12 custom back plates for rack mounted PCs, each back plate with about five multi pin D-connectors and others. It took me about a fortnight and I was proud to say that there were no mistakes. All worked perfectly. Unfortunately the PCs were only in service for about three years before the whole system was scrapped. It was an enormous waste of money and time. Sydney thinking.

Anyway, back to the subject of ripping. I’ve been using software called Cyberlink Power-to-Go, a very versatile bit of software that does everything. Easy to use.

But it doesn’t read the track names (except for a few discs – don’t know why they worked). For ordinary “pop” CDs, I usually don’t worry about naming tracks, I just name them “01 Rolling Stones Forty Licks d1” for example, and so on 02, 03 etc. Another program, ACDSee gives me batch renaming, so that only takes about 30 seconds per disc. (And if I want mp3 conversions, that’s a batch process too. I can convert a whole folder of .wav files to .mp3 in about three minutes in one operation.)

But for classical music, I want to know the actual music titles. I’m thinking where I’m  listening in the car while driving, where I want to know what the composer and piece is. These require me to go through and name each track from the CD sleeve booklet. Ugh. That takes a lot of time and effort.

This afternoon I’ve tried a new piece of software called dbPowerAmp CD Ripper. I’ve known about it for years but now I’ve downloaded a trial version and installed it.

Bazinga! Somehow it knows the names of all the tracks and makes these the file names. It also allows me to select an image of the CD cover from the web. I suspect it might be finding the track titles on the web from the disc key number  – not sure.

Anyway, although it’s taken me a bit of practice to get the rhythm, working up to speed, the time saved in not having to name the tracks is fantastic. I can rip a CD, complete with track names, in about 3 minutes. I’m doing “pop” CDs (anything that’s not classical music) where I don’t really need the track names, but to get them is a bonus.

But this means I’ve ripped hundreds of discs so far with no track names before I found this program. Am I going to go back and rip ’em again? No way.

I haven’t done many classical CDs so far (about 50?), and I’ve got hundreds to go, but having automatic track naming for these will be fantastic. dbPowerAmp. It costs about $65 I think. I’ll be paying for my copy.

The next stage is to find software that will display screens of CD covers and allow me to select and play on my hi-fi system, from a hard drive. I’ve ripped them all to .wav format, same as the original on the CDs, so same quality. It’s all good fun.

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I got my Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro-S back last week, and as I said, the battery was completely drained, 0%. Thanks Samsung. Anyway, it’s up and running.

But the fault isn’t fixed. It still won’t go to sleep by pressing the power button briefly, as it used to before their BIOS update. It’s either full on, or full off.

However, yesterday another BIOS update came through. I don’t control this – it just appears and installs itself, then restarts. Did it fix the problem? Nope. No changes as far as I can see.

So the device is not actually faulty – it’s working as Samsung intends it to, apparently. I’m not happy, but there’s not much I can do except complain.

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In addition, I emailed Targus in Sydney to say that the 4-Prt USB 3.0 Hub with Fast Charging I bought at a cost of about $79 will not recognise any USB device plugged into any USB port on the hub.

Their reply is:

As I understand your situation, you seem to be using a USB-C (male) to USB-A (male) cable to connect from the Tab Pro-S to the Hub high power port – which will deliver power at 5V 2.1Amps but will not deliver communication support. The reason for this is that the Hub needs to be connected to a supported Operating System via the Hub’s upstream USB 3.0 Micro (male)  to a USB  3.0 Type-A host port (female) cable (as included in the pack), OR.. if an adapter to Type-C is used it will need to be a USB 3.0 (female) to USB-C (male) adaptor cable (which will make the Tab Pro-S the ‘host’ device) and will allow the applicable drivers to be loaded by the host system (Tab Pro-S) in order for the hub to work – However, please note that USB 3.0 hubs do not support power delivery via the supplied upstream cable.

If you require both USB-C power & data then you will need to look for a dedicated USB-C hub ‘with’ power pass-through support… which will then allow you to use the USB 3.0 ports on the hub, while charging your Tab Pro-S at the same time.

I hope this makes sense.

You must be joking, mate. It’s gobbledegook. To me, this says the device will never do what I want. Therefore it’s not fit for the purpose I bought it. Therefore I should be entitled to return it for a refund. This will be interesting. Sigh.

There’s an echo around here

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Isle of Skye   (C) PJ Croft 2016

I had an echocardiogram last week at Joondalup and the sonographer’s name was Michelle.

I had another one yesterday at Hollywood Private Hospital in Nedlands and this sonographer’s name was Michelle too. Echo…echo…echo…

Yesterday’s was before and after an exercise stress test, the dreaded treadmill. Phew! The first couple of minutes at 10% slope and fast walk were OK, but the next few minutes at 20% slope, i.e. uphill, and very fast walk were hard going. No chest pains, but my muscles turned to jelly and I had to call a halt. Then it was quickly back onto the bed and another echocardiogram while I huffed and puffed and calmed down. No problems found as far as I know. But I felt very, very tired for the rest of the afternoon. Had to lie down when I got home.

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This warning is from the US CERT web site, so it’s real:

Alert (TA16-187A)

Symantec and Norton Security Products Contain Critical Vulnerabilities

Original release date: July 05, 2016
Systems Affected

All Symantec and Norton branded antivirus products

Overview

Symantec and Norton branded antivirus products contain multiple vulnerabilities. Some of these products are in widespread use throughout government and industry. Exploitation of these vulnerabilities could allow a remote attacker to take control of an affected system.

Norton and Symantec used to be highly respected in antivirus and system repair software. Yet now this government department is warning that their antivirus products are full of holes! You have been warned. This software is pre-installed on a lot of new systems and you’re pressured to pay to keep it running. Don’t do it!

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Kuala Lumpur    (C) PJ Croft 2016

This is from an ABC News web site article by Ian Verrender:

Our business leaders are focused almost entirely on the elimination of penalty rates for the lowest paid in society — ironically so they can boost their own personal bonus payments — while the Government tears itself apart battling an imaginary foe in the shape of rampant union power.

Industrial disputes are at historically low levels; at about 100,000 lost days during 2015, well below the average 172,000 during the [time of the] Australian Building and Construction Commission.

And the second is that despite scaremongering of a wages explosion just four years ago, wages growth is now the slowest on record, rising just 0.4 per cent in the first quarter of this year after decelerating through most of 2015.

This means that since inflation is about 1.1%, most ordinary people’s wages are going backwards. Except for the upper management types, the carpet walkers. Their wages are exploding at rates of 15 – 50% or more, with massive (~$million) bonuses for doing what most of us would call just their jobs. Why do managers need incentive payments to do their jobs?

Upper managers are ripping you all off! They are stealing from their companies in a giant con job. They moan and groan about penalty rates for ordinary employees, but pay themselves salaries that amount to robbery of the company treasuries. Why? Because they can get away with it. They are greedy thieves. Lying about having to attract the best talent. Continuing to take their massive salaries and bonuses even if the company profits are falling. Thieves.

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An example, from overseas, admittedly:

“Former chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey David Samson, pleaded guilty to on July 14 2016 to bribery by using his official authority to pressure the parent company of United Airlines into starting a non-stop flight from Newark NJ to South Carolina for his personal benefit.

“… United executives were pressured into adding a flight between Newark airport and Columbia, South Carolina, near where Samson had a vacation home, knowing it would lose money.”

“… United implemented a weekly schedule. Samson used the flight 27 times between October 2012 to January 2014.”

At least he was found out, but he just had to resign. The report says nothing about any penalties. Amazing. From Airliner World magazine, September issue. I read widely 🙂

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Kyoto   (C) PJ Croft 2016

I got my Samsung laptop back today, after six weeks away being “fixed” from a Samsung BIOS update.

I took it to the lunch table at the shopping centre to test it, and it was completely dead. Wouldn’t power on. Terrific. I went back to the Samsung booth and we found that the battery was completely discharged, 0%.  Thanks very much! So I’ve had to bring it home and charge it (3hrs) to test it. Result? The fault is still there. You can’t put it to sleep using the power button. It’s either on, or powered off completely. I suppose I can use the Windows on-screen power switch, but this is a change from the pre-BIOS update. I wanted the BIOS update rolled back. They haven’t done it. I still have to check whether the intermittent boot up problem is still there. And I said the volume buttons are reversed from other tablets and I thought it should be possible to change this in firmware.

Not happy, Samsung!

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UN Secretary general Ban Ki Moon is “incandescent with rage” over the Syrian and Russian barbaric bombing of Aleppo, deliberately targeting civilians, hospitals, medical staff and aid convoys. I agree.

It occurs to me that (a) the RAAF would never plan and carry out air strikes of this type; (b) Australian pilots would refuse to carry out such strikes even if they were ordered; and (c) if anyone did do such acts, they would immediately be charged with war crimes.

What kind of barbarians are Russian and Syrian pilots? They are sub-humans. They are uncivilised criminals. Russia likes us to think of them as an advanced country. No they’re not. Russians are war criminals, barbarians.

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New neighbours have moved in. I wonder what they’re like. Not Russians, I hope.

At the place where I often buy lunch at Joondalup, I asked the woman where they are from, thinking I would hear Spain. But no, I was surprised to hear Iran. Very nice people.

All quiet

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Bangkok’s in the news. This was 1992  © PJ Croft 2016

All quiet on the Western front. The cold continues. We had one glorious 32C day last Wednesday, but it’s back to the 18-20C days and the feather doona’s still on. As is the wind cheater. Sick o’this.

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Bangkok 1992, at the Temple of the Dawn. I remember with some sense of horror that I handed my camera to a couple of local boys to take this shot for me. They could have run off with it, but no, they were OK. It was a Nikon FE2 with 35mm Nikkor, K64, by the way.

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The Temple of the Dawn, Bangkok 1992   © PJ Croft 2016

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Phuket 1986   © PJ Croft 2016

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Busselton 1990  © PJ Croft 2016

It’ll never rain again, of course. I’ve noticed ads for Bosch Aero-Twin windscreen wiper blades recently, and being tired of the noise, poor wiping and vibrations of my present pair, I decided I had to have these new marvels.

I went to Repco last Friday and the first thing I saw on entering was a wide display of wiper blades, but every one of them was a Repco branded product. Not a Bosch to be seen. I nearly walked out on the spot.

But I went to the counter and stood there. Two guys were having a conversation behind the counter and they ignored me. I waited, but they just moved off. Another guy was on the phone and ignored me. I nearly turned and walked away again. Finally a guy said, “Are you being looked after?” NO! I wanted to say, no, does it look like it? but I stuck to being polite. I asked if they had the Bosch and he sucked his teeth, spent an age looking up the computer, asking what make, model, year and even engine size, and finally said to wait.

Amazingly, he came back with a correct pair, one short and one long. Caramba! That was the good news. The bad news? The price was $36.50 each, $73.00 for the pair!. I nearly backed out, but after all that …  So, they’re on, and I’ve done a short clean with the windscreen washers, commendably silently, but it’ll never rain again, now, I’m certain.

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I had an echo-cardiogram this morning, a surprise test ordered by the cardiologist. No problems found, according to the sonographer, although I won’t know the full story until I see the doc next Tuesday.

There was the usual chaotic parking at Joondalup Hospital. This place is notorious! Luckily I arrived in a lull and managed to get a spot within 5 mins, but when I came out to go to my car, the cars were circling like vultures, waiting for any spot to become free. Of course, as I’ve done before, I walked straight to my car and headed for the gates, forgetting to pay my ticket. Luckily I was able to reverse and go around to the pay station, parking on a No Parking sign while I paid. I got away with it, but this parking area is terrible! We are people with illnesses, yet we are forced to put up with this disorganised chaos.

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Since I was at Joondalup, I called in to the Samsung kiosk to ask the whereabouts of my tablet/laptop. It’s now the 6th week away for a repair that was supposed to take 3-5 working days, and my fourth visit to the booth to ask about it. They’re supposed to phone and/or text me when it’s back, but I hear nothing.

This is the fix for a problem that occurred after their BIOS+system software update of 3 September. The PC was sent to Sydney and I got a call after two weeks away asking for permission to wipe my hard drive! Why do you need to do that for a BIOS problem? “We need to do it to fix your PC, sir.” I said NO! Just send it back. I’m told it was despatched from Sydney on 4 October, but has not yet found its way from the Perth office to Joondalup in more than a week.

They tell me tomorrow or Wednesday. I’m getting sick of this!

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I’ve set the wheels in motion for the gastric operations, but just getting to see the surgeon to set a date to have the band removed takes a month. Everything takes a month with specialists! I first started asking to see him in February, and it took until 23 September to resolve my last query. Now I have to start again, as this is a new query.

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I admit to a morbid fascination with the Trump lunacy in the USA. What next for this embarrassing clown. Some words for the USA in general and the Republican Party in particular: shameful, humiliating, embarrassing, repugnant, stupid, cringeworthy, laughable. How Republicans can support this ugly, lying, incompetent fool is beyond me.

I watched the second debate with fascination and I’ll have to record the next one on Thursday.

Actually, not so laughable. This cretin, this fool, is dragging the US political system through the mud into disrepute. It’s almost inconceivable that he could become president now, but if he did, he would be the laughing stock of all civilised countries. Other more capable world leaders would be reluctant to deal with him. No-one could take the USA seriously any more.

I don’t have any problems with Hillary. She’s the only credible candidate and must be elected.

Spare me, please!

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I went down to the iconic Fremantle on Saturday to the iconic RPYC yacht club on iconic Fremantle Harbour. It was, y’know, a, y’know, wintry, rainy, y’know, day, and y’know, I was a bit y’know, cold. But in such an iconicly great y’know, location, I doubled down on the food and y’know, drink, and met y’know, lots of iconically great friends, y’know.

And we doubled down on Alex’s birthday, y’know, ’cause she’s such an iconic woman, y’know? She knows how to y’know, talk without upspeak. Y’know? Yeah, no. It was … yeah.

I am so sick of these cliche words! Iconic has become the worst cliche of all time, I think. Double down is the latest, appearing in the last six months, and every journalist in the world has decided it has to be used.

As for y’know, y’know? Listen to people on TV or radio these days. They cannot speak without saying “y’know” every fourth or fifth word. It’s an epidemic, a blight, a worldwide infection, a pandemic of y’knows.

I try very hard to avoid using these words myself, but even as conscious as I am, I find a “y’know” creeping in occasionally. I manage to avoid the other two, though.

Upspeak? It’s the way young people speak with an upward inflection at the end of every sentence, as if asking for the listener’s approval. That’s when they’re not using “like”. Like, y’know, I was at the movies, like, and I saw my , like, boyfriend, and like, he was y’know, gross. Like.

Uuuurrrrrgh.

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I have more than 150 rather nice images of Fremantle, that historic city, taken since 1976. These are just a few. All images © PJ Croft 2016

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Having a bit of spare time recently, I’ve started the mammoth job of ripping all my CDs. When I moved house three years ago, to save weight and bulk I took all my more than 1,000 CDs out of their cases and put them into soft sleeves, then into plastic boxes or albums. I saved the case inserts so that I can refer to them.

That means I’ve got nine boxes of about 50 discs in each, plus another six large soft cases with at least 50 discs in each. That’s just the discs in the boxes or albums. There are many others on shelves and in stacks.

It’s become so bad that I no longer know what I’ve got and I can’t find discs when I want them.

So I’ve started the ripping process. I’m taking the tracks off as .wav files, unchanged from the CD format. If I want mp3s, I can just make copies. It’s all automatic these days. The thing is, you can go down in quality, from wav to mp3, but you can’t go up, from mp3 to wav.

I’ve done three boxes so far, 125 discs, occupying 65GB. That’s taken about a week of 2-3 hour sessions on a few days.

Two problems: what do I do now with the physical discs? And what do I do with the paper booklet inserts? I suppose I could advertise the CDs on eBay or something?

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I think I’m going to have to have the gastric sleeve operation. I’m finding it harder to keep my blood sugar under control, my legs are getting worse, and I can’t seem to get my weight any lower. I need to lose 20kg or better, and keep it off.

It’s a drastic step, but the fear of the ravages of diabetes is a good incentive. Besides, I’m sick of not being able to find decent clothes in my size.

This means I’ll forget about car changes and eastern states drives for now.

Wrestling with myself

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Busselton 1990   © PJ Croft 2016

I’m wrestling with myself. Guess what … I won.

What’s it about? I have a two month gap between now and my next Bali trip mid December. I feel like doing something with it, and my long delayed idea to do a driving trip on the east coast beckons. Using Frequent Flyer points, take a free flight to Adelaide, Melbourne or Sydney, buy my long desired second hand car and hit the road. It’s the best time of the year to travel (except in SA, maybe) and it would be good to have some warm weather.

The car? After long consideration, (forget Mercedes), I think it has to be a Honda MDX.

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2005 Honda MDX

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2005 Honda MDX

This was Honda’s first serious 4WD SUV, but they were only sold here between 2003 and 2006, when they were dropped in favour of the HRV and CRV. They are still being made in Japan and the USA, but we don’t get them, dammit.

I don’t need 4WD, but it has on-demand 4WD,  only kicking in when the car feels as if it’s losing traction. The engine is a 3.5L V6 and has a great Honda reputation. Only trouble is, fuel economy is around 14L/100km. Ugh. Still, I only get 12.5L/100km in my present car, but since I do so few kms, I only fill up about every three weeks. My car is 15 years old, nearly 16, and has only done 145,000km. It had done 72,000km when I bought it in 2003! It still drives beautifully, but I want a bit more lux as I get nearer the great exit door. Someone said, why not drive it east anyway? I would nearly do it, but the cost of fuel on the Nullarbor is so high that flying is way, way cheaper. And I want to change!

Back to the Honda: The problem is, people hang onto them and nearly all have done 130,000km and upwards, some up to 300,000km. I think this shows the durability of the engine, but I wouldn’t take on such high mileage cars.

I have my eye on a 2005 model that’s only done 104,000km, asking $10,999 in a private sale. It’s in Sydney. Private sale = buyer beware, no warranties. Hence my struggle. There are very few dealer cars, I’d say because dealers don’t want such old cars on their books. Dilemma.

I had an idea for a Ford Territory Ghia, and it’s still a viable prospect, but the Honda has more luxo for half the price. The Territory goes for around $20,000, the Honda for around $10,000. I like the look and feel of the Honda more, I think. Dilemma.

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One thing I’ve been considering is that if I want to drive the Nullarbor, I’ll have to spend one night each way out on the road, sleeping in the car. But I need CPAP, so how to do it? I wouldn’t want to risk flattening the car’s battery running the CPAP all night, even assuming I could adapt it for 12V power (it’s 240/110V only). Later: no, it’s 12V DC as well.

In Hardly Normal I saw the answer: it’s one of those new Lithium-ion battery packs that has enough grunt to jump start a car, several times. 20Ah I think. This one also has an air compressor, a powerful LED torch and several USB sockets. All in a carry case for $199.

So if I buy a 12V-DC to 240V-AC inverter, that should comfortably run my CPAP, I reckon. Plus giving me the peace of mind of a spare car battery, in effect, and a tyre pump out in the middle of nowhere. Good plan? I think so. Now to price 12v-240V inverters.

Later: hmm, I’ve I’ve just found the ideal inverter at Jaycar’s website, a 12V DC to 230V AC model rated at 150W for $59.95. Weight 400g.

I’ve checked the CPAP machine – amazingly no power figure is shown, just 110V/240V AC. But it also runs off 12V DC (separate socket) and that’s shown as 2.5A. So that’s 30W. Easy. I could run two of them, one for a partner as well <g>. I know a lady who uses CPAP. Ideal.

2,5A for 8 hours equals 20 Amp hours, the capacity of the Li-ion battery. Hmm, just enough, but a recharge would be needed next day. I’d better test this out before I go.

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Busselton 1990  © PJ Croft 2016

Quoting GetUp:  “In the aftermath of the South Australian blackout Malcolm Turnbull has called an emergency gathering of state energy ministers this Friday. In the lead up, he’s been spouting lies about renewables causing the blackout, and calling on states to abandon their strong renewable energy targets.

“Energy experts all agree that South Australia’s blackouts had nothing to do with the state’s leading renewables program (and everything to do with a bloody great big storm).”

This is me: Malcolm Turnbull, before he became PM, was all in favour of carbon dioxide emissions reductions, green energy, renewables. and so on.

But in order to become PM, he had to cave in to the hard right of the Liberal Party, the climate change deniers, the coal mining lovers, the anti-renewables, the anti-wind tower, anti solar energy Neanderthals. And that’s what he’s done! He’s switched from believer to denier, simply because he wanted to become PM. That’s why we call him Malcolm Turncoat. He’s a traitor, a self interested, self important, gutless, do nothing PM in the great Liberal Party tradition.

He’s also a bankster. Yes, that rhymes with gangster. He’s successfully stymied a banking royal commission to protect his mates in the big banks, because he used to be one of them! The results are there for all to see – the bank CEOs are just sleazing their way past the Senate inquiry, with slick, rehearsed, lawyer-vetted answers that satisfy no-one. Well done, Turnbull, you bankster.

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I spoke to someone on the phone this morning and he started coughing. He’s got the same thing I have, an endless, persistent cough that drives me nuts. I’ve had it for around two weeks so far and although the sore throat has subsided, the cough is still pretty bad. Keeps me awake at night. Deep down, almost no phlegm, dry tickle. Ugh.

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I was talking about lawn mowers a coupla weeks ago. Last week I bought a Ryobi line-trimmer as a first step. Someone said, with my small area of lawn, wouldn’t the line trimmer do the whole job? Probably would, I agree.

Anyway, I bought a 1000W 240V electric model. Too bad about needing a power cord, it’s only a short distance. Battery models are a rip-off. They seem cheap, but the cost of the batteries at around $200 almost doubles the price. This is an extreme example of the cheap printer/expensive ink rip-off. Not for me.

But on the first use, within 5 minutes the line had disappeared back into the spool, and I had to disassemble it to get the line out again. GRRRR! This is a universal problem with line trimmers. The bump feed works as long as you keep bumping, i.e. feeding the line out, but if you forget, you’re back to re-threading it again.

There’s a suggestion around to forget the line spool and just attach long cable ties to the spool holes. I could try this in a reversible way. No harm done. Must do it.

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I have to go to Fremantle on Saturday (birthday party at RPYC Fremantle clubrooms), so I thought I’d take the train, so I can drink. Hmm, what time, so as to get to the Freo station at 10.45am? Hah, Transperth, web site, itinerary all mapped out for me. Leave Butler station at 09.25am and get to Freo station at 10.44am. Not bad.

I think I’ll take the one before, at 9.10am, to get there at 10.29am to allow for foul-ups.

Dammit, I have to wear long trousers! I hate wearing longs. I’ve got so used to wearing shorts and sandals that anything else feels weird.

Times have changed

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Poor thing. Koala in SA floods. From ABC News web site.

Amazing. It’s 4.35pm on Saturday afternoon, and my mobile phone rings. It’s Spec Savers at Clarkson. My new glasses are ready for collection. Would I like to make an appointment to collect them. An appointment?

I say, are you open tomorrow, not really expecting them to be open on a Sunday. Yes they are, what time would I like? Oh, surprise me, I say. She sucks her pen for a long time and finally says “Ten to two pm, would that be OK?” Checking my diary, I say “Oh gee, I guess so.”

My point being, making an appointment to collect some goods I’ve ordered for a Sunday afternoon. Amazing. Perth used to just shut down at 12.30pm on Saturday, didn’t it? The street lights used to go off at 1.20am every morning. Banks used to close at 3pm every day. We had to drive to the airport if we ran low on fuel outside business hours. Amazing.

Not knockin’ it, mind.

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Darling Harbour, 2000 Olympics. © PJ Croft 2016

It’s 4.45pm on Saturday afternoon, 1 October, second month of spring and it’s still blowing a gale, raining intermittently, and I’m cold. The forecast is for three more days of this, at least. This is very strange weather. I still say it’ll switch soon, quite suddenly, to warmer weather, I just wish it’d hurry up. I’m going to a 70th birthday party next Saturday and the dress code is “nautical flair”. I think I’ll be wearing my pea jacket and gloves.

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Don’t buy a cheap Sony phone! Mine is an Experia M2, I think, (you won’t find the model name anywhere on the phone). It cost about $250 so it’s not exactly cheap. But it’s crap!

It’s as slow as a wet week, can’t keep up with what’s going on, locks up so hard that you can’t even turn it off, reboots itself and changes its setting by itself. Not happy, Clive.

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Similarly, my Navman GPS has started locking up while I’m driving. The route display won’t update, although the voice instructions are happily talking to me and keeping up.

But I can’t even turn it off and on again. It’s locked so hard that the power button actually operates about 5 mins after I’ve pressed it. There’s a recessed reset button, but you need a paper clip to operate it! This is crap.

This only seems to have started after I did the latest system software update a few weeks ago. Grrrr.

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Also, HP have started incorporating small ICs (chips, to you) in their printer ink cartridges. If you buy non-genuine ones, it refuses to work. Lesson? DON’T BUY AN HP PRINTER.

Which reminds me, about five years ago the HP B9180 printer was supposed to be the duck’s nuts for a photo printer. The reviews were glowing. Marvellous. I nearly bought one. I think Mike Johnston of The On-line Photographer http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/blog_index.html did buy one. I think he actually returned his for exchange, but the new one was just as bad.

Then the fault reports started popping up on the web forums. Mechanical faults, paper feed faults, ink cartridge faults. HP kept up with it for a couple of years, then dropped the printer from their range and effectively ceased support. Lucky I didn’t buy one!

Hewlett Packard used to be one of the best electronics companies in the world. They were revered for their test equipment in electronics engineering. Top shelf.

Then a woman was appointed CEO and decided to change them to being a computer company. The test equipment division was sold off and became Agilent, and now it’s changed its name again to be Keysight. Confusing. I don’t know what their quality id like any more, because they have little visibility.

Likewise, HP printers used to be top wozza. No more. Not even mid shelf. HP computers? Just another brand, nothing special. How tragic.

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© PJ Croft 2016

Well, I’m complaining about the cold, wet weather, but this and South Australia’s storms and floods are just a consequence of the changing wind patterns around the world due to climate change. Make no mistake, this is global warming in action. It’s happening now, it’s not some airy danger in the future.

A report today says that after the Paris talks last year where governments agreed to take action to limit the global rise to 1.5C by 2030, almost nothing is being done. In fact, we are already on target to go above 1.5C by 2020, and the rise is now unstoppable.

Australia, of course, is doing almost nothing to mitigate atmospheric emissions of CO2. The Lord Rabbott and his ultra-conservative buddies in the Liberal Party have stymied all our efforts, little as they were, and Turnbull is caving in to them as well. Witness his attempts to shift blame for the SA power crisis (the bloody wind blew the pylons down!) to some kind of consequence of renewable energy.

Whaaat? This is just plain craziness. So much for Turnbull’s green credentials. He’s captive to the hard right and so he abandons his own principles.

It’s too late. This is how the world ends. Global warming is now unstoppable. Kiss your arse goodbye.

I used to be an optimist. I’m not any more.