Bunker bulldust day 101

A supernova in the Large Magellanic Cloud, which lies about 160,000 light years from Earth.

Supernova 1600 in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

I’m watching a documentary on the Hubble Space telescope at the moment. It’s a 4K Ultra Hi Def download from YouTube and it’s magnificent. So sharp! And the music alone is worth listening to. It’s about 45mins long but I had to stop last night. I’ll finish it tonight.

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I would have posted day 100 yesterday but I was robbed of the chance by iiNet, the ISP. My internet connection failed yesterday at about 10.20am. I waited a while (an hour or so), cycled the power on my modems and rebooted my PC. Nothing.

I phoned iiNet Support at about midday and over a very low level phone line (they’re a phone company, but their phone is always too quiet!), and a very heavy South African accent that I could hardly understand, they led me through a complete low level reset of my modem and all its configuration. Result? No change.

“I think you’ve got an authentication problem.” Big help. I explained that I’m on HFC (Hybrid Fibre Coax) with Opticom as the provider. Will they call Opticom to report it. “No, I can’t do that.” Why not? “We don’t talk to Opticom.” What??!!

“I’ll put in a report to my manager and we’ll get back to you.” When? Needless to say, they didn’t. I had no internet all night and still this morning.

I did finally get a call from a woman, again heavily accented and hard to understand, who said someone will call to arrange a time for a tech to call here, as they think it’s a hardware fault. Will I be home? Of course I will. Did I get a call? Of course not!!!

Suddenly, at 10.18am, the red light turned green and I had internet back again. I had to reboot the PC to reestablish the connection but it’s been OK ever since.

Someone seems to have called at about 4.50pm but I missed the call.

I’ve put in a very bad report on their customer survey, saying I’m going to switch away to a new ISP. My experience is that iiNet say they’ll do things, but they just don’t. They promise something will happen, but it doesn’t. I’ve had enough! Don’t use iiNet.

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6000

Saturn, imaged by the Cassini spacecraft. One of the great pictures of all time, IMHO.

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Car_1

I’m changing the car radio/CD for a Pioneer touch screen AV unit with DAB+ tuner. This view makes me think of a patient on an operating table with his guts exposed and all the tubes and veins and nerves exposed.

I need to drill two large holes in the plastic surround. One will be for another cigarette lighter socket (at present, it’s in the centre console arm rest “cubby” which is hopeless. The other will be a USB socket for the USB input to the AV unit. This will require very careful drilling as I don’t want to make a slip or mistake.

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Woolies

I’ve just been out shopping at the Woolies at Butler. look at this mess. No shopping trolley wipes and an overflowing bin. I am not a fan of Woolies.

Bunker Bulldust day 99

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The 50mm normal view. Can you see the drain on the other side?

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Zoomed in, 2000mm hand held. Nikon P950.

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2000mm hand held.

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2000mm hand held. Nikon P950

Another beautifully warm winter day, 20deg. This is very easy to take. I’ve only been wearing a T-shirt all day.

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Bloods taken for the three monthly check this morning, which required fasting, so I had a very nice brunch at the shops afterwards. The cafe is roped off to make us stay apart so it was a bit crowded, but it was OK. That doesn’t make sense, but you know what I mean.

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I had a very nice comment left on the blog yesterday that’s still giving me a warm feeling:

I happened to randomly stumble across your blog when I was looking at purchasing a Mazda MX-6 and saw that you had written about the exact same one I was looking at! I’m actually looking at purchasing a car very soon and I never expected that it would result in me finding your blog.

I never comment on blog posts, or even read blog posts, but yours is so real… It’s quite inspiring and I’d love to be able to build one like this I could look back on later on in my life.

Just wanted to let you know that your blog has been a bit of joy in my day.

Crumbs, you don’t get that every day. I am very pleased.

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What an amazing kerfuffle about the sexual harassment by the former High Court judge. It’s still developing; another prominent Perth woman lawyer has revealed today that she’s been sexually harassed many times in her 30 year career (so far), but she mentioned two particular judges of the WA courts (who are now retired) who made deliberate physical assaults on her on occasions, and one even found out where she lived and went to her house on more than one occasion such that she considers he was stalking her. He was a senior judge! She can’t name them but she was completely believable and serious. How far does this go? It seems there are more revelations to come in the eastern states case. It’s astounding.

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I heard on the radio this afternoon that if you go for a driving test, the car must have a handbrake in the centre console between the front seats. This is because the inspector must be able to pull the handbrake on in an emergency situation.

I didn’t know this. It’s interesting to me because the Honda MDX has an American style foot operated parking brake. It must be legal because it’s an Australian spec model, but there’s no handbrake between the seats. I bloody well wish there was, because I hate the foot brake. I keep reaching for the handbrake, forgetting the footbrake. Guess I’d better not go for a driving test.

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As a result of Liberal government pressure on the ABC, in the form of freezing of funding regardless of inflation, the ABC has now announced further cuts. The 7.45am full 15 minute radio news bulletin, the last full bulletin left, is now gone, replaced by a 5 minute bulletin. This cuts into the 30 minute AM news program, reducing it to 25 minutes.

This is on top of the cuts of AM and PM a couple of years ago from 60 minutes to 30 mins. and the loss of the Lateline 30 min TV news digest program last year.

This filthy Liberal government are engaging in deliberate suppression of news and information. Have you noticed that Mid West TV, the community supported TV station is gone? This was a decision by Malcolm Turnbull a few years ago when he was Communications minister. It was delayed for some time, but Mid West TV went off air last year. Turnbull’s ruling was that the government needed the spectrum space and the community TV could just go onto the internet. Has it? Who knows? But I doubt they have many viewers now.

This Liberal government is deliberately suppressing information. They have become intolerant of news and comment. They are pursuing journalists they don’t like, they refuse to answer questions, they show their dislike of probing questions, they pursue whistle blowers with sheer vengeance.

This government is instituting a totalitarian state by stealth. They MUST be resisted! I will be writing a lot more on this.

Bunker bulldust day 96

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Nikon P950 @ 2,000mm hand held.  See below for the normal eye view.

Another glorious winter day, 23deg and yay! it’s the winter solstice and the days start getting longer again. Our winters are not hard to bear, but I do prefer the summers.

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A couple of weeks ago I mentioned my belief that the tendency to left wing progressive politics is directly related to intelligence. High intelligence = Labor, low intelligence = Liberal (actually they lie as usual, they are conservatives).

Here’s a quote from The Guardian today: “In western countries, people with high education levels have been moving steadily to the left, while people with less education have been moving to the right, as French economist Thomas Piketty’s latest research shows.”

So it’s not just me.

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Yesterday I mentioned Crikey, a web site dedicated to a deeper analysis and with a bit more irreverent and iconoclastic viewpoint. It  was started by Stephen Mayne, who’s best known as a shareholder activist. He buys shares in companies so he can attend annual shareholder meetings and ask hard questions of the CEOs, CFOs and board members who don’t like being put under pressure. I’ve known about it for several years but being a paywall site, I held off subscribing.

However, in this lockdown period, and saving money by not having to spend it on fuel for the cars (noticed that?), I decided to subscribe at last. I’ve taken out a three month subscription at the moment for $55, but I think I’ll continue, especially as they’re offering 12 months for $99.

When you do the sums, it’s a 5-day a week newspaper for 38c a  day. Likewise, I subscribe to The Guardian for $120 a year. That’s a 7 days a week newspaper for 33c a day. That’s a lot cheaper than printed newspapers were. The only drawback is it’s harder to wrap the food-scraps up in. 🙂

I raise the article about how priests in the Catholic church are simultaneously employees and not employees according to whether the church is in court or whispering in the PM’s ear as an inspiring article. It revealed something that hasn’t been in the public’s knowledge and needs to be known.

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P950b

Nikon P950

I mentioned that I’ve received my new camera, shown above. Its claim to fame is that the lens goes from 24mm at the wide end to 2000mm at the long end. That’s longer than the longest telephoto available in the film days. That would be pretty useless without image stabilisation and/or a tripod, but stabilisation is supposed to allow hand holding in good light. I put it to the test yesterday. Here’s a scene at 50mm, normal eyesight view:

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You can just see a yellow spike in the water just to the left of centre (right click and choose View Image to see it bigger). Now here’s 2000mm:

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That’s sharp! Handheld and with no post-processing sharpening. Here’s another shot:

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That’s the 50mm “normal” view. Here’s 1000mm:

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And here’s 2000mm:

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Here’s the reverse view at 135mm, medium telephoto:

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See those rocks in the distance?

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There’s a shag on the rocks. All handheld in a moderate breeze. I’m impressed. I shot a bit of 4K video too but I can’t show it here in its full quality due to this website’s limitations. I’ll just say it’s nice, although you do need a tripod at the long end when shooting video.

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A few weeks ago I made a complaint on iiNet’s website about having to buy an extra data package due to exceeding the 250GB monthly limit. I said that most other ISPs have no limit, and Telstra in particular have been upgrading their 25Mb/s customers to 50Mb/s at no charge. It was boosted by an article I read recently that said “the vast majority” of Australian customers are on 50Mb/s. I felt, in view of my 7 year loyalty, that I should be better treated.

A couple of weeks later I got a call from iiNet, in a very hard to understand accent from their South African support centre, with a satellite delay to make it harder, to ask me about my complaint. I explained it all again and the guy said he’d pass me on to the next level.

I was put onto another lady who turned out to be in the Philippines. I explained it all again and she put me on hold while she talked to her manager. Eventually she came back and said someone would give me a call about it.

Needless to say, no-one has called. Meanwhile, I’ve noticed that TPG, iiNet’s parent company, are advertising Unlimited Data in their advertising.

I think that’s it for iiNet. I’m going to switch away. They used to be the best in the business when they were Perth owned and supported, but they’re crap now that they’ve sold out to TPG who have a reputation for being ruthless. I’ve been unhappy for some time and there are alternatives. Time to give them the big kick.

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Bunker bulldust day 94

20Nov16 585

Sanur, 2016  © PJ Croft 2020

A beautiful day, only 18deg but I don’t seem to be feeling the cold. I had washing on the line yesterday when it was so wet, but managed to get it dry and off the line just before it started raining again. It’d had a nice rainwater rinse.

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I’m pretty upset at the moment. I’ve just read an article on Crikey Why In God’s Name (I’m a subscriber, more on that in a minute) about the Catholic church in Australia. It’s been in the news because Catholic priests have been getting JobKeeper payments of about $1500 a fortnight since they started in this pandemic period.

But this is about double what priests are usually paid and the church has been asking the priests to return about half this payment. This is illegal. Employers, nota bene, are not allowed to withhold any of the JobKeeper payments or set any conditions for employees to receive it. The government pays the employer and the employer must pass it on, 100%. So, the Catholic church is acting illegally by asking its priests to return half their payments.

But since so many Catholic priests were found to have been sexually abusing children and young men in the past decades, it has mounted a legal defence that the church is not an employer and priests are not employees, so the church can’t be held legally responsible for the crimes of the priests.

So if they are not employers, why are they getting JobSeeker payments for their “employees”?

Well, it’s because they asked the Prime Minister! He’s a real God Fearer, don’t forget, a member of that Happy Clappy organisation called the Hillsong Church. Although he didn’t disclose it to us, he authorised the Catholic Church to get the JobSeeker payments. It pays to have friends in high places, doesn’t it?

So, although no members or employees of media, theatre and the arts, and no universities or employees of unis are eligible, and are “dying” as a result, the PM’s church friends have been given special treatment.

Do you feel any outrage? Do you see any hypocrisy? I’m so angry!

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Along the same lines, ever since Australia started its own system of awards for service, the “Ocker Awards” as they’re sardonically called, people have been a bit cynical about who gets them. It turns out we’ve had a right to be, because Crikey has done some analysis of who’s been getting these gongs. And lo and behold, it turns out that the awards committee that chooses the recipients is stacked with Liberal Party members, and up to77% of the awards have gone to Liberal Party members. What a surprise!

Let’s never forget the ludicrous new awards that that loony Liberal polly, Tony Abbott, instituted without any authorisation, without even telling his own cabinet before announcing them, the Australian Knighthoods. What a joke. He made three Aussies Australian “Knights”, thus instantly devaluing the existing top Ocker Award recipients, then the following year he made the Duke of Edinburgh an Australian Knight! It was obvious that the Jook thought this was ridiculous, although he was too polite to say so.

The Liberal Party of Australia is a corrupt institution and is an embarrassment to this country. I despise them.

Bunker bulldust day 92

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Ball’s Pyramid, 551m, off the coast of NSW, featured in the TV program mentioned below. That’s Lord Howe Island in the distance. Credit: NSW Tourism

Wow, day 92, three months of self-isolation. Not really. As I’ve said, it’s no hardship for me and I don’t hesitate to venture out now if I need to. In fact next Tuesday I’m going to meet up with one of my “photo-dawg” mates for a brekky at a restaurant, the first time we’ll be doing this since early February, I think. (I can tell because I write all my spending down in my notebook, remember? Very useful.)

It will be an opportunity to show some photos from my new Nikon P950 camera, I hope. I was going to go out just now but the rain set in so I’ll wait a while. It should be OK a bit later.

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Lord Howe Is

Lord Howe Island.  Credit: NSW Tourism

I’ve been singing the praises of the ABC’s co-production, with a French company, of Australia’s Ocean Odyssey, about the eastern Australian ocean current. What a magnificent program. It’s shot in high definition and it shows, beautifully detailed colour, perfectly shot and graded. The underwater shots of fish and mammals are fantastic. There have been two one hour episodes and I think next week will be the last one. Highly Recommended!

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Screenshot_2020-06-17 ASTER Web Image Gallery

Oh yeah?

Er, I don’t think so. A South Pacific Island in the middle of Western Australia? If you click on the link, sure enough you get an image of a tropical island. 🙂  I guess I might try and contact them to tell them of this mistake.

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I’ve been reading a biography of Albert Einstein for the past few weeks. It’s one of those door stopper books, about 10cm thick, almost too big to hold. Have you noticed how big and thick books have become in the past decade or two? As I say, unwieldy and difficult to hold when you’re reading in bed, which is the only time I do read books these days. Consequently I only get through 10 or 20 pages a night, which in a 550 page book, which this one is, takes many nights.

Anyway, I was wondering if it would hold my attention (it was only $9.99) but it definitely does. Einstein himself was really just an ordinary bloke although being more than 100 years ago, the times were pretty different to now. He had a good sense of humour and seems to have been quite a nice bloke. He had love lives and married, fathering two sons. One was quite like him, but the other son had a mental condition and needed care. Unfortunately Einstein fell out with his wife and although it took years to get a divorce, he moved away from Zurich to live in Berlin with his new love. She was actually his first cousin, but it didn’t seem to matter.

Anyway, I’m gripped by the book. The author (an American) has done a magnificent job of research, incredibly detailed with references. He even goes deeply into the science, explaining first the Special Theory of Relativity, then the later steps to make the General Theory. I suppose it helps if you know a bit about it before you read it, and it would definitely need a strong interest in physics, but that’s me. I’m only about 40% in but I look forward to bedtime to get into it.

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The other thing I’m reading is Silicon Chip magazine. I’ve been a regular monthly reader for decades and have not thrown an issue away since 2013  (yes, storage gets a bit ridiculous). In fact I subscribed for the first time a couple of months ago so I get them in the mail now.

I wanted to look up a model railway project a few weeks ago, and once I started reading and going through other back issues, mainly 2014 to 2017, crumbs, it’s like I’ve never read them before. I’m really enjoying reading them as if they’re fresh issues again.

But wow, electronics has changed. I can do the older stuff, but so much now is based on the Arduino microprocessor, which is a computer on a small printed circuit board. It’s very cheap, about $10-15, but you really need to understand how to program them and connect it all together. I’ve been left behind in this area.

The other thing is that electronic components are a bit difficult to handle and solder now.

IMG_20200617_145403

See that white thing on the right? Now look closer and see the tiny white thing just above centre? Now look even closer and concentrate on the small white rectangle at the bottom of the grey area. That’s a surface mount resistor! It’s so small it’s hard to see, let alone pick up and solder. There are no wire leads, you have to place a tiny drop of glue to hold it in place, then use a tiny soldering tip to solder each end to a pad on the board. Yow!

See the black thing on the left? That’s a plastic container, upside down. When I detach it from the cardboard and sticky tape and turn it over:

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I’ve placed it next to an SD card to show the size. That’s a surface mount integrated circuit. Again, it’s hard to pick up and will need very careful soldering to the printed circuit board. Yoweee! My eyes are a bit bleary these days and this is getting a bit hard for me.

Anyway, I still find it interesting. These are two “hard to get” components for a Silicon Chip model train controller which I’m thinking of building. Two actually. I’ve bought two sets of PCBs and these parts. They are actually for an old style DC controller to get me going. I’m a great believer in DCC but as I’ve said, the controller is Arduino based and I just don’t understand it. (This is the January issue, this year.) There’s no kit available so I’m faced with building this quite complex thing from scratch. I’m baulked by it. Annoying.

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I should add that I’ve been reading these electronics magazines since 1960 when Dad gave me my first copy of Radio, TV and Hobbies magazine, as it was then. That’s 60 years! I was trying to build a crystal set at the time, when we lived in Rockingham. That’s what got me started in electronics. Thanks Dad!!

R, TV & H became Electronics Australia in the 1960s sometime, and I claim the credit for the introduction of the Letters to the Editor pages as I wrote making the suggestion in about 1966. The letters pages started  the next month. I never got any acknowledgement, though.

Electronics Australia died in the 1980s, amazingly. It seemed to be a fixture, but not so. Silicon Chip had started up “just down the road” with one of the EA journalists as the new boy, the upstart. And thank goodness, it’s still going now. The original upstarter was a very, very conservative editor (no such thing as global heating, etc) and I thoroughly disliked his attitudes, but he’s retired now.

Which is leading me to say that they’ve scanned the entire output of the magazine from its inception back in the 80s and all these issues are available as PDFs on USB thumb drives. They’re not cheap, costing $100 for each decade, $500 for the lot. I might buy the ones from the late 90s through to now, two or three sticks at $100 each. Then I can give away my collection of the paper issues a last.

A couple of weeks ago I actually got a bit ruthless and tossed my entire collection of about 30 issues of Mercedes Enthusiast mag into the recycle bin, along with about 20 copies of DIYODE, the other electronics hobbyist magazine. I kept thinking I was going to scan the interesting articles, but I never got around to it and lost interest.

This DIYODE magazine is another example of projects all based on microprocessors and using 3D printed parts. This is all a bit beyond me, I’m afraid. I’ll stick to my model railways. Actually, what better application is there for 3D printing? I would love to be able to make my own small plastic buildings, bridges and so on. But at ~$1400 for a good 3D printer, I’m not ready for that. Not to mention the space it takes!

 

Bunker bulldust day 89

Lake Hillier WA

Lake Hillier, WA       Picture The Guardian

It’s a little more like winter, but I haven’t been tempted to wear anything warmer than my T-shirt yet. Lovely 20deg days with a bit o’ rain and a bit o’ sun. Nice.

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More WA shots…

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Albany, WA. Calm waters, or ocean surf, take your pick.

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Off Coogee Beach.

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This is a shot of a right-wing anti-vaccination/Covid-19-is-a-hoax demonstration in Sydney last week. Funny lookin’ star on the flag, yeah? It’s missing a point. This is the six point Jewish star. Seems to me, THIS IS A PSYCHO OP. Anyway, since when does our flag have a red background?

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How about this?

You received this message because you are a registered member of Meetup. You cannot unsubscribe from Meetup emails that provide important updates about Meetup’s policies. Please visit your account settings to adjust all other email settings.

What?? You cannot unsubscribe? I don’t even know what this Meetup mob is. I don’t remember joining it and I don’t want their emails.

OK, I’ve had a look at their website and I vaguely remember something about it but I don’t remember how I joined, I haven’t done anything with them, and I can’t find any way to unsubscribe and disengage. Crazy.

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Things are getting back to normal. I went to the Clarkson shopping centre on Friday and the cafes and food hall are open again. I didn’t actually eat there because I’ve developed different habits now – I skip lunch, mostly, so I don’t need to eat in the afternoon.

However, despite only having two meals a day, and small meals at that, my weight stays stubbornly at the same level. I eat much less than I used to 20 years ago, but I weigh more and I can’t get it off. It’s because I’m less mobile, I know. Sigh.

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People complain that it’s hard to find work. I put an ad up on NextDoor, the neighbourhood website, looking for a young person to clean and polish my cars for payment. Answers? Nothing. So what are young people complaining about?

I also just answered a Facebook ad for car radio installations, telling the guy what I wanted done. He immediately said no, didn’t want the work. Phut!

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Dull day today. Not much happening I’m afraid, sorry.

 

 

Bunker bulldust day 85

26Aug16_R

Taken with a 400mm lens, Bali 2017  ©  PJ Croft 2020

We’re only 11 days away from midwinter, 21 June, and it’s still 24deg, a bit cloudy but plenty of blue sky and sun. Merveilleux. Big rain forecast for tomorrow and Friday, though.

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I used a French word there, not that I speak French, I don’t but I like to put on a faux act 🙂

I must comment on the ABC’s Sunday night program (I can’t even remember the name! Operation Buffalo, that’s it). It’s obviously big budget with big stars but it’s so ridiculous it’s almost parody to me. There’s a supposed British army general who is supervising the British atomic weapon tests at Maralinga in the early 1960s and when he is taken out into the desert (at night, in his scarlet dress uniform with medals!) to see Aborigines, he tries to speak to them in French! “Parlez vous Francaise?” His nick name is Cranky. I think Wanker would be more appropriate. The three Aborigines are sitting around a roaring, blazing camp fire, dressed in what seem to be clean clothes straight from Coles. It’s ludicrous. This program doesn’t seem to know whether it wants to be serious historical documentary or comedy. The acting is awful, the script is atrocious. I’ll watch the remaining episodes but….

It’s not a patch on the program in the weeks before, Mystery Road. That was absolutely superb. It’s set in Broome, which is fictionalised as Gideon, and stars Aaron Pederson. He is fantastic. He has almost no facial expressions but he doesn’t need to, he conveys menace and determination as a good cop tracking down drug dealers up there. Broome looks nice although you don’t see much of it. Lots of side stories which are hard to follow at times, but I would watch it again. Recommended.

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I wrote (ranted!) last week about the Robodebt scheme, where the Department of Human Services (aka Centrelink) levied unwarranted debts against the poorest, weakest members of society, and were found to have been acting illegally. They are having to refund hundreds of thousands of those illegal debts amounting to an estimated $710 million.

That was last week. Now the figure has been revised and guess what – it’s doubled to around $1.5 billion! That’s $1.5 billion that has been ripped off the weakest, poorest, disabled members of society, money that could have been spent on food, medicines, car repairs, household services and all the other things that keep society going.

Once again, the minister responsible, Stuart Robert, is making no comment and definitely no apology. It’s despicable!!

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Everyone who knows me thinks I buy cameras at the drop of a memory card, but the fact is that the last time I bought a camera was 2016. I admit I have a lot of cameras, in fact to jog my memory I’ve just started a database to list them with serial numbers, and I have nine digital cameras. Oh, ten if you count the very first one from 2004 which is in a box stored away. And one dates from 2008.

Anyway, all this is leading up to saying that I haven’t been very excited by photography for a while, and so I’ve made the jump to a new camera which I’ve been eyeing for a while and which I hope will get me going again.

P950a

P950b

Nikon P950

What’s exciting about it? The lens. It starts at 24mm at the wide end but it zooms to 2000mm! That’s like a telescope. Normally that would be mandatory tripod territory, but the image stabilisation is so effective that it’s fully usable hand held, they say. It’s tested here Nikon-Coolpix-P950-review with a big sample gallery, and the sharpness and quality from a fairly small sensor are just remarkable.

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Fully zoomed. It’s a physically big camera but not too heavy.

P950c

The tests show incredibly good detail, even zoomed right in, although atmospheric pollution in the tester’s location (Seattle USA) reduces contrast. In our clear air it should be fine although heat haze will always be a problem here in our warm weather.

But that’s not all. It shoots RAW (i.e. digital “negatives”) and video at up to 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) at 30/25fps progressive (non-interlaced). That’s remarkable.

I haven’t got it yet. I bought from an eBay store which says their stock is in Sydney, but I got an order confirmation email which implied that it may have to come from Hong Kong. End of the month, anyway.

So, my first new camera in nearly five years. Yah!

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My West Indian lime tree is now producing limes much faster than I can use them. I’ve got a bag of halves in the freezer for drinks, but I have another dozen or more on the bench. I’ll have to juice them. Picking them is a dangerous job. The spines on the branches are deadly. I have to use a long-arm squeeze-handle picker-upper.

I read a few weeks ago that you shouldn’t wait for fruit to fall, you should pick it off the tree because by the time it falls, fruit fly can get to it. OK.

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I had a Facebook message today from my very nice Bali friend from last year, Kasih, asking when I’ll be coming back to Bali. I had to reply, sorry, no can do. First, we’re not allowed to travel outside Australia at the moment, but mainly because I can’t risk it. I’m in the highly vulnerable category for Covid-19 and I could never feel relaxed about being in Bali, even if I could go. I would be too nervous. Any cough or symptom would have me on edge. Sorry, I can’t see any way I would go until we can be sure that either we have an effective vaccine, or sure that the virus has been eliminated. Neither seems likely this year and probably not next year either.

My friend thinks she’ll go back there later this year. I think this is wishful thinking. Even assuming air travel is allowed then, it’s still too dangerous. Indonesia doesn’t test properly and under-reports its cases, making it appear safe when it’s not. An Aussie died of the virus there last week. He must have been a resident I’d say. That shows that it’s still a hotspot.

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Aaaah, beautiful sunshine. Time to get my washing off the line before tonight’s and tomorrow’s rain.

Bunker bulldust day 84

One of my former colleagues has posted on Facebook about the great times during the Americas Cup defence in Fremantle in 1986/87. These are a couple of my pics from that time.

AC boy flag Feb87A

Americas Cup Fremantle 1987  © PJ Croft 2020

Kookas 1+2+3 Nov86A

There were three Kookaburras, did you know?  ©  PJ Croft 2020

I’ve had to remove the slide show because it was taking too much space.

Bunker bulldust day 83

08 09 23_0166

Ely Cathedral  2008  © PJ Croft 2020

Another byoot day, 24.4deg and virtually no wind. Lovely.

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    It defies belief, how nasty, awful, horrible donald trump is. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, also a former chief of defence staff, in other words pretty well qualified, has said what everyone knows, that trump is not qualified to be president and he won’t be voting for him in November. And Powell is a Republican.

So what does trump do? He acts exactly like a child. “Oooh, he said nasty things about me so I’m going to say nasty things about him.” This idiot just attacks anyone who criticises him, just like a schoolboy in the yard. He’s a child!

Yet the Republican Party, that venerable US political party of old, usually referred to as the GOP which stands for Grand Old Party (it took me years to work that out in the days before the internet), sits back and stays silent. They don’t care how bad their candidate’s performance is, all they care about is being re-elected in November.

How can nearly half of Americans support this clown? His performance in office just gets worse and worse, week by week, yet nothing shakes their faith in him.

It’s long been my belief that support for the liberal, progressive side of politics (that’s small l, not Liberal) is directly related to intelligence. The more intelligent you are, the more likely you will support progressive parties and policies. Conversely, the less intelligent, the more likely you are to support the conservative side, the less progressive, the ones who oppose change. In fact if you look at the bell curve of IQ, I’ll bet that voting intentions line up with conservative voters on the left, low IQ side, and the progressive voters will occupy the right, high IQ side. I’ll do some research on this, I think.

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Les bateaux Paris

Paris 2008    © PJ Croft 2020

I’ve spent a lot of time working with a new program I’ve found to build a web site. I suppose it’s a bit surprising that I’ve never had my own web site and to be honest it’s because I’ve never known how to do it. I’m not bad with most software but I don’t know everything and web sites have always been a mystery to me.

Anyway, this new software (new to me) is called Wix, http://www.wix.com. It’s an Israeli company and it’s all drag and drop, no coding needed. It’s free if you have your own domain (hosting site) but they’ll host it for you for a basic cost of US$10 per month, or more realistically US$14 per month for a few extras.

It looks quite good with lots of templates to choose from, and it’s fairly easy so far, but it doesn’t take long to get bogged down. I started trying to build folders of my images but I seem to be endlessly changing things to the way I want them, then finding it doesn’t look right and having to lose the work I’ve done, then doing it again and so on. No doubt a teenager could do it in his sleep, but I’m not sure it’s the software for me. I’ll post progress if it happens.

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080924-DSCF0040

Nottingham, UK.  ©  PJ Croft 2020

I’m using a lot of software from a UK company called Serif these days. They’re based in Nottingham. Serif of Nottingham, geddit?

They used to sell fairly mid-range software but a few years ago they decided to go big time and compete with Abobe, the US 500Kg gorilla that produces Adobe Photoshop which they only rent for a monthly fee. In other words you go on paying and paying.

So Serif have produced three main programs under their Affinity brand, — Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer and Affinity Publisher. Unlike Adobe, you can buy the software for a very reasonable once-off price (usually A$50 approx.) and it’s yours to use as long as you want. You get upgrades within versions but if you are happy to stay, that’s all you pay.

I’ve bought all three programs and the Designer was half price during the lockdown period, about $25. Bargain! Recommended.

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I do actually have a website – it’s this one. Although the host is WordPress.com, I pay $30 per year for my own domain name which is http://www.bullsroar.me  The “.me” means “me, myself, I” if you follow me. But I can’t display my images except in-line and I want to do more than that.

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Having got rid of that old Sony TV, I’ve been doing some tidying up in that room and bingo, I’ve found something that I’ve been looking for for more than a year. It’s a JVC car radio that I bought in 2012, a double-DIN Bluetooth unit, AM/FM and CD of course. I wanted to put it into the Magna before I sold it, but damned if I could find it. I found it in a box that was hidden below other stuff.

Now, what to do with it? I have a nice Kenwood DAB+ radio/CD/USB/Bluetooth in the cupboard as well. In the Honda I have a JVC double-DIN touch screen AV unit, plus the original Honda 6 disc CD changer that I took out.

The Mazda has a Sony Bluetooth/USB/phone single DIN that was in the car, so that’s OK. (But I can’t get it out of demo mode!)

In the Verada I have the original Mitsubishi 6 disc changer in the dash, but there’s a disc inside and I can’t get it to eject. I have a “new” second hand JVC DAB+ A/V double-DIN touch screen unit which I want to install.

So, got that? That makes a total of five, or is it six, between three cars. Ridiculous. If I could only get started.

Bunker bulldust day 80

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Trigg Beach 2004 from yesterday.

Trigg beach July75

Trigg Beach, same as yesterday but July 1975, 45 years earlier.  © PJ Croft 2020

Perth skyline 88

Perth skyline June 1988. Not many tall buildings.  © PJ Croft 2020

Perth Rlwy Syn 76

Perth Station from Forrest Place 1976   ©  PJ Croft 2020

Palace Hotel 1980

Palace Hotel before the Bond erection  1980   © PJ Croft 2020

Barque Endeavour July88-12

Barque Endeavour July 1988   © PJ Croft 2020

Just a few of many hundreds of my photos which are getting a bit historic now. A bloke should publish a book, I suppose.

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It’s been suggested that I’m wasting my breath, getting upset for no purpose after my venting about Robodebt yesterday. OK, let me quote a few relevant phrases:

All that is required for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.  (Burke)

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.  (Niemöller)

The only wrong thing to say is to say nothing.   (Meghan Markle)

These were said in vastly different contexts but they still have application to this evil government’s depredations on the weakest members of society. The view of the Liberal Party is that the best way forward is for government to get out of the way of entrepreneurs and businessmen (and women) so that they will build businesses and the wealth generated will trickle down in the form of better wages.

The problem with this idea is that no matter how you fiddle the figures, the wealth does NOT trickle down. The money is staying at the top. CEO and senior executive salaries have skyrocketed but wages have stayed stagnant. The gap between rich and poor is growing faster than at any time in history. The multiple between shop floor wages and top executive salaries since the 1950s has grown from about 10:1 to 300:1 or more. It’s not just in other countries, it’s happening in this country too.

The other Liberal Party attitude is that if people are poor, it’s their own fault. They should just get a good job! That’s an actual quote of this party a few years ago (Joe Hockey, then treasurer, now ambassador to the USA). Just go out and get a good job, that’s all you need to do to get on.

The problem is, good jobs are becoming scarcer, automation is taking jobs, both skilled and unskilled, wages are at their lowest level of growth since the 1930s, wage theft by employers is now endemic, training opportunities and apprenticeships have been ruthlessly cut for a decade, TAFE has been gutted and university is now almost unaffordable.

So if you’re one of the thousands who can’t get training or experience and can’t get a job, you are forced onto welfare and a payment which is about 50% below the poverty line.

And that’s where the next nasty Liberal Party philosophy cuts in – if you’re on welfare, you’re probably going to cheat. So they devised this Robodebt scheme of looking at tax records, making assumptions without evidence, then sending letters without warning accusing people of cheating and demanding they repay a supposed debt. This is a debt that in most cases doesn’t exist. They, Centrelink, don’t have to prove it, you have to prove you don’t owe the money.

So the next step is the debt collectors. Documentation of a suicide due to Robodebt

One death is one too many and there were many more. That’s why I will speak out in my own small way. I’m not going to stay silent while evil flourishes.

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More quotes from an article in The Monthly today:  One robodebt victim, blogger Andie Fox, wrote about her own difficulties with Centrelink as well as a private debt collector, and had her personal Centrelink records “mistakenly” sent from Minister Alan Tudge’s office to a Fairfax journalist, who then wrote an article questioning the validity of Fox’s claims.

Debts were raised against the dead, the intellectually disabled and the homeless. All the way into 2019, in fact, the Morrison government was still contemplating an expansion of the robodebt dragnet. The whole grotesque scheme was always, quite obviously, an ideological exercise: an attempt to blame the structural problems of a capitalist economy upon the poor.

I can’t write any more today – I feel sick.

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Yes I can. Here’s an article from 2016:

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge told A Current Affair last week that people who owed debts to Centrelink could end up in jail, but the government’s new automated computer system chasing welfare debts makes a basic mistake that is leading people to believe they have been unfairly targeted.

“We’ll find you, we’ll track you down and you will have to repay those debts and you may end up in prison,” Tudge told the program. The government says it is chasing up $4 billion in welfare debts through a new automated system that matches people’s income declared to the Tax Office with their income declared to Centrelink over the same financial year.

Minister for Human Services. What’s human about that? Threats of prison! For debts! What’s next, transportation to the UK on prison ships?