Bunker doings day 127

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The Denon SACD player. See below. It’s in bits now.

Lovely morning so far. Lots of rain last night and it looks like we’ll get more today. Yesterday reached 23.5deg, the warmest July day for three years. Great, more please.

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Busy morning: I’ve had electricians, one master and one apprentice (who had to get up in the ceiling) to change the wiring on my dining area pendant light and install two LED downlights. I bought these new lights last summer but it had to wait until winter to install them as with a tin roof, it would be too hot up there.

So, lovely, the switching works now as it was intended to do on the original plans. The plan hadn’t been followed when the house was built – they’d wired the dining pendant lamp to the wrong switch. Now I can have just the pendant light on, or the new LED down lights only, or both. It’s such a bright sunny morning that I can’t see the effect yet, so I’ll have to wait for tonight.

The electrician said their rate is $140 an hour. Wow. The plumbers cost me $150 an hour a few months ago to install my new kitchen sink mixer. And he took the old one away – I didn’t notice at the time and I think that was a bit naughty. Anyway, this job cost $259 including a bit of cable and one lamp which had blown.

The main man had a strong British accent which he said was from Northamptonshire in the UK. Then he asked me where I was from (implying that I was from the UK too). Ha, no mate, I’m seventh generation Aussie and proud of it. But we do go back to the 13th century in England, Devon and Cornwall. I have the book to prove it.

Croft_Castle_Croft Castle 6 by David Merrett - Flickr Croft Castle. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons - httpscommons.wikimedia.orgwikiFileCroft_Castle_6

Croft Castle  by David Merrett Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org

I’ve wanted to go to England for the last few years to see Croft Castle in Herefordshire and lay my claim to at least one brick, but this virus has put a spike in those plans for the foreseeable future. Even if travel was possible now, I wouldn’t dare to go to England. The virus is rampant there – world’s highest death rate per capita, more than 46,000 deaths. Ugh. So I don’t know if I’ll ever get to see our heritage now. Crumbs, I’ve been to the UK four times, yet I never took the trouble to see the castle. It shows the truth of  “do it now, or you may not get the chance.”

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The poor bloke was moaning and groaning – when I asked, he said he had a couple of broken ribs (probably cracked?) from falling off a ladder a few days ago. He was a mature guy, in his fifties I’d guess. Falling off ladders is one of the major risks for guys, I read recently, even resulting in deaths. Hmmm, I still need to get up on a ladder myself to replace another downlight. Yeah.

Then when the Silver Chain cleaner arrived an hour later, she soon started moaning too. She seemed to have rolled her ankle as she came to my front door. She finished my cleaning but said she’d have to drop the rest of her appointments and go home for the day. It’s a battleground here, I tell you.

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I’ve come across a bête noir word of mine, pre-prepared, as in pre-prepared sandwiches. I hate this. If it’s prepared, why do they need to add the pre in front?

Also, I’ve written before about starting answers to questions by starting with “So”. Almost everyone interviewed on TV or radio does it now, even doctors, scientists, highly qualified and intelligent people: “So, we have done experiments…”; “So, the budget deficit for next  year will be…”; “So, I attended the meeting last week…”; and so on and on. It’s another pandemic which has infected speakers from all over the world, even BBC people. So stop! It’s redundant.

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Now that I’ve got the Sony DA3000ES amplifier, bought some months ago and not yet in service, I’ve been wondering what to do with the existing amp, a Pioneer VSX323 AV amp. Lo and behold, an ad popped up on Facebook Marketplace two nights ago wanting to buy a good amp. I jumped in and answered him with my model and price.

He replied very quickly and said he’d take it, no haggling, could he come and collect it “tomorrow”, which would have been yesterday. Yes!, I replied and told him I’m in Butler.

Unfortunately he lives in Mandurah and he wasn’t prepared to come all this way. “What if I meet you in Freo?”, I said. Nah, won’t be up that way either. Lost the sale, unfortunately. I did consider doing the drive down there so as to grab the sale while I can. I don’t mind a drive like that, especially in the MX6. Maybe I should send a message again and say I could come on the weekend?

For sale, Pioneer VSX323 5.1ch, 100W per channel, four HDMI inputs, AM/FM tuner, all the inputs and decoders you can eat, $175. Excellent, 2014 buy, unmarked condition, no faults.

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My two second-hand buys earlier this year have not been trouble free, I’m afraid. The Sony amplifier seems to be OK except for one thing – the volume control on the front fascia. It’s an encoder type where it turns an optical disc with a sensor that counts pulses (just like your car radio and most other things these days). Turn it slowly and the volume goes up slowly. Spin it fast and the volume jumps up fast.

But mine only raises the volume slowly, if at all, no matter how fast you turn it. Funny, it seemed OK when it first arrived, this problem has only developed recently.

It works fine from the remote control, so that narrows the problem down to the area of the rotary encoder itself, not the circuit it feeds. I’m not afraid to tackle it but with the SACD player in bits at the moment, I don’t really want to be taking another front panel off, with all its screws. I might just put it in place and rely on the remote, which is what I’ll be doing anyway. The front panel knob works, it’s just slow and erratic. Of course, if I put it into service, I’ll never get around to taking it out to fix this fault. Hah.

The Denon SACD player is a bit more serious. The first problem is that it won’t play anything except normal CDs. It won’t read either Super Audio CDs (SACD) or DVDs, which it’s supposed to. The guy who sold it never mentioned that and I didn’t think to take an SACD to check. He did demonstrate that the Eject button wouldn’t work, though. No worries, I said, I’ll fix that.

But now I’ve found it’s not just that button, most of the buttons on the front panel are very reluctant to work. Again, I’m not fazed. In a case like this, power supply! It’s almost certain to be a power feed to the front panel is low, if not the main power supply.

I’ve got the front panel off (with a million screws!) and had a look and can’t see any burnt or swollen components, so I’ll have to find a ‘mini-tast’ switch (tast means switch in German) and replace the Eject one.

Meanwhile I’ve got the main power supply board out – it’s a lovely old style analogue supply with two big electrolytics and many smaller ones to check and replace. It’s a bit like changing the piston rings and valves in a car after a certain mileage.

In addition, I found the complete laser assembly for this model is available on eBay, so I bought one for ~$35 from the UK and it arrived last week. If the power supply “rebuild” doesn’t fix the fault, I’ll change the laser. The service manual was available from the web so I’ve got the full instructions, plus a test voltage to measure to test the existing laser. TBD – To be done. What did we ever do before the internet???!!

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I made a donation on the internet to the ALP campaign in the Eden Monaro by-election a few weeks ago, just  $20. Today I’ve had two paper letters, one from the ALP campaign manager there thanking me for the donation, and in a separate letter, a paper receipt.

This is crazy, I don’t want paper letters and all the rigmarole that entails. Someone had to fold those letters, stuff the envelopes, stamp and post them, then Australia Post has to sort them, transport them interstate and deliver them. It’s such a waste. I read them, then put them straight into the bin. I’ll have to email them and say, “Don’t waste trees, don’t waste time, don’t waste energy!” Just do things by email.

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Which reminds me, my land-line phone is still not working since the internet outage about a month ago. I’ve checked everything I can, and I’m paying for this service, so iiNet, fix it! Or maybe I should just drop the land-line. My mobile seems to be reliable enough these days. I went mobile-only back in the Trigg house in the late ’00s but it kept dropping calls so I went back to land-line as well. I’ve been reluctant to terminate it because I’ve distributed this 9562 xxxx number everywhere and I do want to be contactable. Who knows who will try to contact me, fail and not have my mobile number?

Funny how we always had paper phone directories with our name, number and full street address before, but they’ve gone bye-byes and there’s no directory for mobile numbers. Why? I think there should be.

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Which reminds me, I got a text message from the Commonwealth Bank yesterday telling me that $96 had been deposited into my savings account. Huh? It turned out to be from WA Seniors. It’s an annual goodie from the State government. Good stuff.

But I’m not using that CBA account any more. It’s still active, but I’ve disengaged myself from that bank due to their unethical and bad behaviour.

So I got onto the web (yeah, as I said… ) and found their web site so I could change my bank details. But to look deeper, I had to log in, and found I don’t have a login. I had to try to create one.

I said “try”. It wants a lot of detail, including a passport type photo and all the other stuff. But when I got to login name and password (i.e. create one and enter it), I struck trouble. Their web form will not accept ctrl-V, paste, into the password box, nor will it let you see what you’re typing (only dots). Huh?  I use a password manager program (Dashlane) which has a password generator. This lets you copy the randomly generated password to the clipboard and paste it as required. But I couldn’t paste it into this WA Gov form.

Eventually I wrote the password down and manually typed it in, but without being able to see my typing to check that it was right. Then I found it wants another copy of the password and again, you can’t paste!  Aaaarrrgh.

Finally, I got it right and hit the complete button. Error. Please try again later. So I waited a while and started again. Same result, Error.

Fed up by now, I phoned the land line number. An elderly lady’s voice answered and after explaining the problem, she said she can’t take my new details over the phone, it has to be done on a paper form which she’ll post out to me. But she needs my new address to send it to (they still had my Trigg address and phone and old email address) so she took that down over the phone, with my mobile number. If she could do that, why do I have to fill out a paper form as well?

I asked about the error messages. Yes, she said, our web site has been crashing a lot lately. Probably because everyone’s doing what I was doing. Makes ya wonder.

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Similarly, I’m still waiting on DHL to collect the faulty Lenovo laptop for return to Sydney. It’s the end of the second week of emailing and waiting for instructions. I did get an email from DHL on Tuesday, after asking Lenovo to give them a prod, and I was told the pickup would be today. But no, Lenovo phoned this morning and asked what’s happening. I told her, and gave all the required numbers and she has rescheduled DHL to come tomorrow now. Two full weeks it’s taken. Meanwhile, they’ve still got my money and I have to sit here and wait for someone to come. Grrrr.

At least my friend is happy now. He was upset by the faulty Lenovo (it obviously couldn’t have been QC checked properly) and didn’t want to deal with them again.

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The Lenovo laptop camera fault.

He saw a Dell of the same specs in JB Hifi last weekend and after talking to me about it (thanks, KG) he bought that instead. It was $100 cheaper than the Lenovo, too. Bonus. He had trouble setting Windows 10 up on it but took it back to where he bought it and they sorted him out, so he’s up and running on a brand new modern PC at last. His old laptop was running Windows XP, so was way out of date (20 years?). This new one will be a revelation.

The main thing he wants, and I have to agree, is that if you run Microsoft Word in Win10, you can dictate speech straight into it. It has speech-to-text built in. He wants that and I don’t blame him. I bought Dragon Naturally Speaking a few years ago to do the same, and although it works and is easy to use, I found my brain just didn’t seem to take to talking my thoughts. I find I can type at just the right rate to follow my thought-speech. Strange. My brain seems to run just ahead of my fingers, which follow my thought-speech. I guess I should give Dragon another try.

On the other hand, if I upgraded this PC from Win7 to Win10, which I should do anyway, I would have the speech recognition because I’ve got MS Word. Must do it.