Traps for young players

Traps for young players.

Recently it occurred to me to see if there’s such a thing as a car MiniDisc player. It seems to me this is the ideal application for MiniDiscs – they are small, completely enclosed in a caddy, virtually indestructible, immune to magnetism, heat and probably sunlight, and most of all, easy to pick up and handle. Trying to get CDs out of their cases and insert them is quite dangerous while you’re driving. MiniDiscs stay in their cases. As well, CDs are very easily scratched and damaged. MiniDiscs are protected.

Anyway, it seems Pioneer did make one, with the strange Japanese/English/Italian name of Carrozzeria. See picture above of a used one for sale on eBay. Cupla hundred bucks – nice, I thought.

But look at the specifications on the label. FM 76.1 – 89Mhz. Uh oh, this is obviously a Japanese spec. Our FM band (and the rest of the world’s) is 88 – 108MHz. In other words, if you buy this item, you will not be able to receive FM in your car. At least they give you what looks like CB channels (VHF, UHF …)

Another thing to watch for: Japanese and US FM radio receivers will be marked as 75μS de-emphasis. In this country, we use 50μS. This refers to a deliberate slope in the audio high frequencies, applied befroe transmission, designed to increase HF signal to noise ratio (decrease HF noise).

The effect of ignoring this would be an increased “brightness” or peaky HF. It probably wouldn’t be too noticeable unless directly compared to a proper Australian spec device, but …

The other thing to be wary of when looking at Japanese items for sale on eBay is the voltage they run on. Many Japanese items are rated for 100 – 120Vac. If you want to run it here, you’ll need to buy a step-down transformer. They are readily available at Jaycar and Altronics and not too expensive, considering they won’t need to be high powered for small items.

So it pays to look closely at gift horses. Especially when they have Japanese characters in the display.


For the past couple of months I’ve been watching Line of Duty on Netflix. Wow! Wow!!

I was late coming to this program. It was made in 2017, I think. I was somewhat put off by the brutality in the first episodes. I watched a few but it was too tough for me then.

But recently I’ve come back to it and I’ve just finished series 4. This would have to be one of the best police series I’ve ever seen. The stories are so complex, yet so believable. The acting is just superb. Yes, it’s very tough and a bit hard to watch at times, but after each episode I’m left with my jaw drooping on the floor. Wow. Recommended.


I did my weekly shopping today and the price rises are jaw dropping as well. I’ve become a Greek salad maker these days, and capsicum is the main ingredient for me. I could hardly believe it today, yellow capsicum has jumped from around $5 per kilo a few weeks ago to $15.50! Green is $8.90/kg and red is $11.90. I chose one red and one green today and got away with about $3 each.

My bill came to $162.75. That’s a new record for me, the highest checkout bill I’ve ever had. That’s for a week’s worth of groceries, it will probably last me more than a week.

For over 20 years (since 1 November 1999, in fact, when I ‘retired’) I’ve been keeping note books and documenting every cent I spend. That means I’ve got a complete record of all my grocery spends, so now I’ve decided it’s time to spreadsheet them. It’s not hard. I made a start just now, beginning at 1/1/2021, last year. I want to show the rise this year and the effect of the sudden rise in inflation, because I’m certainly noticing it. Stay tuned.


I’ve just poured myself a glass of red wine, and as I expected, it’s almost black, such a dark red that you can’t see through it. The brand is McWilliams Durif. Strange name, but beautiful wine. NB: I had opened this bottle and had one glass more than a year ago. It’s been sitting upright on my shelf ever since, tightly screw capped, and it still tastes brilliant. I’m no expert, and it could be affected by air, but it tastes fine to me.

But in virtually every movie and TV program, especially those from the UK, red wine is pale, transparent, like rosé. Good luck to them, but if I ask for red wine, I want it as dark and opaque as possible. Unless it is rosé, of course.


While at the shopping centre today I heard a young girl nearby speaking excitedly and turned just in time to see her do a couple of cartwheels, then without breaking stride, do a complete backflip – a full feet over head, fully airborne somersault. My jaw dropped here, too. This is a hard, terrazzo floor. If she’d mistimed it, her head would have hit the floor. Wow again. I smiled at her but she didn’t see me. Well done.

Which reminds me, in the same shopping centre a few weekends ago, I noticed a large number of teenagers and young guys milling around, about 30 in total, half inside and half outside the doors. It soon became apparent that they were two seemingly rival groups, daring each other, with a bit of pushing and shoving, swirling around, moving back and forth, inside and outside.

It didn’t get serious and two security guards did a good job of talking to them and breaking them apart, directing one half out another door. There was no pushing or shoving. It took about ten minutes of talking but it worked and they disappeared. That was lucky. I wasn’t too close but I was considering leaving.


I read last week that the cause of the plane crash in China several weeks ago, at first thought to be mechanical failure, is now suspected to be due to a rogue pilot committing suicide. Another one! Taking around 150 people with him.

With the loss of Malaysian Airlines MH17 over the Indian Ocean five years ago also strongly believed to be the work of a crazy pilot, and Germanwings crash in France a decade or so ago with 150 passengers also, holy cow! This is becoming a fairly regular occurrence. Perhaps we should be demanding certificates of sanity on the airlines’ web sites before we book our flights. Who would have thought this could be happening?