‘Appy New Year

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If only I could sleep like a dog.

No news is good news. I’ve been quiet but all’s well. But my sleeping is all over the place, and it seems to be getting worse. Almost every night I lie awake until 3am or 4am before getting to sleep, many times not sleeping at all. I then need to go back after breakfast, hoping the sleepiness I feel after eating will do the trick, but sometimes, like yesterday, even that doesn’t work. I lay there yesterday for two sessions of 90 mins each without success.

Yet today, after getting about 4hrs last night, I slept after breakfast from 10.30am to 1pm, and more.

I’ve followed all the tips, darkening the room, (if darkness is so important, how come I can sleep in the daytime?), turning off all electronic devices, leaving them outside the room, and so on. Probably if I ate some carb loaded food late, before bed, that would work, but that’s the way to weight gain in my experience.

Of course, if I got more exercise so that I’m physically tired, that would work, but it’s chicken and egg – I don’t exercise because I’m so tired. I can hope that the haematologist’s plan to wake my bone marrow up to produce more red blood cells in mid Feb will give me more energy. I’ll know soon.

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The title is a pun on “apps”. I never had much interest in a smart phone, but I find myself becoming more and more reliant on my phone. The latest is as a controller and viewfinder for a drone. My good friend KG bought me a ‘reasonably priced’ drone for Xmas and you have to scan a QR code in the instruction book to download the controller software. Therefore I had to install a QR code reader app before I could download the controller app. Amazing technology. The QR code was printed small and looked scrappy, but no problem, it worked.

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The drone (there are two in the picture, but there’s only one in the box)

I’ve succeeded in getting the drone to fly around the room without a problem even without the controller software, but the idea is that the phone clips onto the controller and shows the output from the camera in the drone and records the video as desired. That’s next on the list after I’ve recharged the lithium-polymer battery from the drone itself by removing it, plugging to into a USB adapter and charging from the laptop.

This is amazing. I don’t know how much this thing cost, but I’m sure it was less than $100 (in searching for that image, I found it cost $69). For that, you get all the plastic parts housing the four propellors and a blaze of LEDs, a high def (720p) colour video camera, the Li-Po battery, and a wi-fi transceiver. The hand held controller has another wi-fi transceiver, two joysticks and numerous buttons and switches, and all the electronics to process all this – a computer in other words. All this for peanuts!

I forgot to mention, you also get a pair of goggles that take your phone and act as a VR viewer (the green thing, bottom left in the picture). They’re moulded plastic lenses, but they’re quite high quality. I haven’t tried that yet. Won’t be long now.

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In the past ten days or so I’ve been watching the Netflix series, The Crown. All I can say is WOW! I would give this a rating of 9.9/10. It left me panting for more. It is absolutely some of the best television I have ever seen, utterly spellbinding. It’s the story of the British monarchy from around the time Queen Elizabeth II was born, and covers the death of King George V, the succession of Edward VIII, his abdication to marry Wallis Simpson, the succession of his brother, Liz’s father, King George VI, his death and her succession to the throne in 1953.

Although Netflix is a US company, it’s a British made series of course. This is only the first series, ten one hour episodes. It leaves me panting for the next series, which was released on 8 December. Series three is being made now. Being Netflix, it only comes via Pay TV but I got mine at a friendly DVD shop in Bali, two DVDs at $1 each. My new TV is capable of networking and seeing Netflix. Will I be able to resist until I can get the Bali DVDs? I doubt it. The Pay TV feed will be in High Def as well, whereas the DVDs are fairly poor SD.

A large part of the series is devoted to current affairs of the time, with large parts devoted to Princess Margaret and her affair with Peter Townsend, and Winston Churchill, played superbly by John Lithgow. I can’t cover all the highlights here, all I can do is marvel at the editing and the resemblance of the actors to the real people, and the period cars and street scenes. It’s so true to life.

I could go on, but all I can say is I feel privileged to have seen this piece of television. This is what TV’s all about. It brings history to life. Coupled with the recent eight episode series of ‘Victoria’ on the ABC, I know far more now than I ever did about events that I’ve mostly lived through. If you get the chance, watch it.

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