Bunker bulldust day 212

© PJ Croft 2020

Back again. I feel like writing again so I must be feeling better. Helped by the nice warm weather, no doubt, but not helped by the side effect of the medication I’m taking – insomnia. I suspected this effect last time I was on it about a year ago and I’m sure now. I forgot to take it on Friday and had a really good sleep that night, but took it again yesterday and had a rotten night last night, as every night is now. I regularly see 4am, still awake. I’ll have to ask the doctor for an alternative. It’s lucky I don’t have to be anywhere in the mornings as I’m sleeping late.


Back to coincidences: in the West yesterday Rob Broadfield wrote about the word marron and how in WA it refers to our freshwater crustacean. But marron is French for chestnut* (I didn’t know that). So in the new episode of Victoria last night, when served her dessert, she says, “Oh, marron glacé, my favourite.” Bingo, twice in one day.

*Actually, it’s French for brown, but chestnut brown is a colour in Anglais, oui?

Likewise, a couple of weeks ago, I read a word I’d never heard before, Ouroboros. It’s the name of the symbol of a snake in a circle swallowing its tail. I read it in a techo article in Wired (yes, really).

The following night in Endeavour on ABC-TV, he sees it on a scroll in the museum and says, “Ouroboros, it’s the symbol used from ancient times to represent eternity.” How’s that, twice in two days for such an obscure word and seen in two such disparate sources! I jumped in surprise.


It’s very pleasing to see the solid Labour Party win in New Zealand yesterday. Jacinda Ardern is a remarkable woman and leader and I’m a great admirer. I’m an increasing fan of NZ – they seem to do everything well, from what I read anyway. Of course I don’t know everything about the country and I’m sure there are rough edges, but what I’ve seen, I like. I must go there when this damned virus is over.


I’m up to episode 10 in series three of The Big Bang Theory that I mentioned I’d restarted watching on Netflix. That makes about 50 episodes I’ve watched in the past three weeks or so. I must admit Sheldon is starting to grate but the humour is remarkably consistent.

I’ve just ordered the paperback edition ($10.95) of Kunal Nayyar’s book Yes, My Accent is Real: and Some Other Things I Haven’t Told You. He’s the guy who plays Rajesh Koothrappali. Crikey, his earnings are reported as $20m in 2018 and $23m in 2019, making him the third highest TV acting earner. Nice work!


I’ve had a Technics portable CD player since the mid ’90s and I’ve used it quite a lot over these last 25 years or so, always with headphones for quiet listening. So I was quite disheartened when it ceased to produce any sound about a year ago.

I put it aside but recently I’ve opened it up, hoping it might be something obvious, but there isn’t.

The guts
The underside, showing the suspected transistors. Too small.

No burnt components, but since it uses only two AA batteries, that’s not surprising.

I suspect it’s the output transistors for the headphone socket, since there’s a certain amount of shorting happening when you put the plug in. But I’ve looked at it and decided it’s a write-off. There’s no way I can desolder these tiny components, and even if I could, I very much doubt I could get replacements. Even if I could, soldering them back in? You need special soldering tools for this work, and it’s expensive.

So, what a pity. This is a lovely piece of work and I really like it, but it looks like it’s going to landfill. Criminy, a laser assembly, a small electric motor, all that fine electronics, destined for the bin. Oh well, at least I can say I’ve had my money’s worth for 25 years. I think it cost somewhere near $250 in 1995, yet I can buy a new one, albeit a fairly low quality generic brand, from Jaycar for $45.

This is the problem with servicing electronics, the parts are dirt cheap, but getting the parts and the cost of the time to do the exceedingly fine work to fix them. It’s cheaper to scrap the item and buy new. What a waste.


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