Bunker bulldust day 122

Feb08 VS3

A snap that worked. © PJ Croft 2020

Brrrrrr. By northern hemisphere standards it’s not cold, but by my standards it’s brass monkeys. It was only 17deg max yesterday and I’ve been forced to put on an extra layer of insulation on top. Still wearin’ me shorts and sandals though. Crumbs, a bloke’s got standards to maintain.

If the doctor was right about chillblains, I’ve got ’em on most fingers now. Red, itchy lumps. Just a few, you wouldn’t notice them. I was forced to use a steroid cream last night and it worked well, stopping the itching. I’m not sure about the chillblains explanation. They don’t look like chillblains to me.

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Like father, like son. The son of a former, very well known and remembered premier of Western Australia has outed himself as a liar after being exposed in a news article.

This guy, 30 years of age and a self described wealthy businessman, promoted an animal park he was developing in a NW town by saying he had bought and was importing two Sumatran tigers from the guy in Arkansas or Florida or somewhere who made a big splash in a Netflix show. Trouble was, when the reporter talked to the TV show guy, he denied the sale and said he’d never heard of this West Aussie.

So it turned out this local guy just lied to promote his business venture. Bare faced. At least he’s admitted it.

It should remind us that his father, when Premier of WA, was also partial to telling lies. He made promises to get elected that he never went close to keeping and in fact he came close to bankrupting the state treasury. He went from a balanced state budget with low debt from the previous Labor government to us being left with a state debt of $15bn which we’re still battling to reduce. He also said he was going to build a gas pipeline from the North West Shelf gas fields near Broome to Perth and provided figures at a press conference about it. But the reporters straight away saw errors in his figures and pointed them out to the premier’s face. He just stonewalled. It was amazing and so embarrassing. He denied the errors even though all the reporters could see them. So he was a liar too. As I said, like father, like son and like Liberal.

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ABC News 18 July 2020: “Seventy-three millionaires paid no tax in 2017-18, while Australia’s richest people live in Sydney’s Double Bay, on average earning more than 13 times the nation’s poorest, who live in central-west Queensland.” [Yeah, the rich are reporting artificially low taxable incomes because they’ve had all their dodgy deductions. The real ratio wouldn’t be 13x, it would be 50x or more.]

“There were 73 Australians who earned more than $1 million in the 2017-18 financial year that did not pay a cent of income tax, up from 69 the year before.”

Year after year, it’s the same – when you’re rich, paying tax is optional. Most choose the option of dodging tax completely. Their accountants grow rich themselves by devising complex schemes that skirt the law. In my opinion, this is criminality.

I know someone who thinks this is a game. He boasted to me about how he paid no tax because he “put everything through his family trust”. He boasted about “playing games with the tax people”. He denies it but I know what I heard. He wasn’t joking.

People who dodge tax still drive on the roads and freeways, use the airports, use the weather services and customs and border patrol, take their Medicare refunds, use the NDIS, want spouse and child allowances, want all the government payments they can get, but don’t want to pay for them.

Why is it that the government can’t devise laws which would force the rich to pay their fair share? It’s because they are great mates with the barons, with an eye on their own retirements or departure from parliament when they’ll benefit from the largesse of their rich mates. It’s a club. It’s large scale corruption and no-one is doing anything about it.

Except Michael West https://www.michaelwest.com.au/  I admire this guy tremendously. He is dedicated to exposing corruption and dodgy characters in politics and business, and he puts himself in the firing line of legal threats. As I say, this is the kind of person I admire. Tax dodgers? Low life.

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I’ve just been reading about transistors, billions of ’em. I’m sure you’ve heard of Moore’s Law, that the number of transistors that will fit on a silicon die doubles every two years. That prediction was made in the early ’70s and ever since then, it’s held roughly true, to the point where we reached 1 million in about 1990, 1 billion in about 2000 and we’re now up to about 50 billion. That’s 50 billion semiconductor junctions in an area of about 4x4cm max. Almost all the area of a CPU chip is taken up with the connecting wires and pins to the outside. All gold wires and gold plating.

This is territory where the interconnections between the junctions are around 7 nanometres in width. 14,000 would fit in the width of a human hair. Look at the line marked 10nm. That’s where the silicon chip interconnect lines are.

increasing-energy-wavelength-visible-light-graph

The wavelength of yellow light is about 600 nanometres! This is why the tracks can’t be seen by ordinary light microscopes. This is the size of bacteria and smaller than blood corpuscles.

Nanometre

That’s the second division here, between 1-10nm.

These lines in the silicon are so fine that they require the use of x-ray lasers to etch them. They are far smaller than the eye can see and smaller even than light microscopes can resolve. They require scanning electron microscopes to see. This is fantastic technology, and there’s far more to it than the average person knows. The book I read recently, Exactly, by Simon Winchester goes deeply into this.

People have been predicting for years that we’re reaching the limits of Moore’s Law, that we simply can’t fit any more semiconductor junctions onto a chip. Well, guess what. Some researchers have developed new techniques that break the barrier again. Hah, since I started writing this I’ve lost the article that led me to it. More to come… 🙂

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Do you know about M-Disc? Do you want 1,000 year durability of your backups? I do.

I’ve known about M-Disc for a couple of years and I’ve just got into it. I’ve just bought an LG external DVD drive which plays CDs and DVDs and records normal DVD-Rs, both write-once and rewritables. But these work by the laser in the drive heating a dye layer on the DVD, changing its reflectivity. Because it’s an organic dye layer, it can change over time and these discs are not guaranteed beyond about 10 years.*

The laser in an M-Disc drive, on the other hand, is a bit more powerful and actually burns the pits into the surface of the disc so that it’s permanent. By permanent, how about 1,000 years? That’s long enough for me.

Expensive? How about $24 for the drive and $30 for a box of five 25GB discs? I call that good backup value.

I have about 50,000 images on my hard drive, not all mine but most are. I consider them priceless. If I lost them I’d be distraught. I’ve got them backed up in a few different ways including the “cloud” (ASUS servers in Taiwan) but that requires internet access to retrieve them. I’ve also got a couple of portable hard drives but spinning disks are going to fail at some point in their life (right at the very end, actually). Solid State Drives (SSDs) have no moving parts but have a finite number of read/write cycles to them.

No, I’ve got all these but I’ve ordered three boxes of five M-Discs and I intend to save everything important to them and store them off site somewhere. For posterity? Who’ll care?

The other thing to do is to put the images into books and I’m doing that, but it takes a lot of time. Each book costs about $40 for 14″x11″ hardcover, 20 pages. That’s not bad too as they’re very accessible, but they’d burn in a fire.

* Back in the early 2000s I was using rewritable DVDs extensively and I was buying an unknown brand from BigW at about $5-10 each (? probably a lot less – can’t remember). I was a little worried about their durability, but now 20 years later, they continue to work fine. I can’t recall ever having a problem unless they got physically damaged. You can have a win.

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Speaking of images:

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The colours on my screen are glorious.

I’m remaking my Japan interactive slide show from around 2005. I must apologise to my reader to whom I had promised a copy – I found glitches in it and had to remake it, which has taken some time, but it’s almost finished. Next week I hope.

The software is called PTE-AVStudio (previously PicToExe). It’s a Russian team and from fairly primitive beginnings 15 years ago, it’s a polished product now and very easy to use. Wnsoft – there’s a free trial version – the full price is US$139 which is not cheap, I admit. I started years ago so all my purchases are upgrades.

Bunker bulldust day 120

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Isn’t that a lovely shot? It could be a Flemish artist painting. It’s the fleet of Dutch sail ships which are still active, but in fear of loss to bankruptcy due to lack of business. Picture: The Guardian

A real winter’s day today, a bit of sun early but lots of good rain and clouds now at 2.30pm. Not cold, but quite humid. And now steady soaking rain at 3.10pm. Lovely.

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I’ve just been reading an advisory notice from CHOICE about this brand of hand sanitiser:

Screenshot_2020-07-16 Mosaic Brands hand sanitiser fails the lab test CHOICE

Although the label says 70% alcohol, tests show that it only contains 23%. Does the company apologise and withdraw it from sale? Nope. They dodge and twist, prevaricate and dissemble. Pressure from Choice seems to be working.

In their article, they warn against hand sanitisers that don’t evaporate, don’t smell like alcohol and leave your hands feeling greasy. Guess what I’ve got:

Sanitisers

Both these fit that description – they don’t smell like alcohol, they don’t evaporate and they leave my hands so greasy that I have to wash them off under the tap. I don’t really want to use them. The left one came from my pharmacy and the turquoise one came from Aldi. Will I complain? I don’t know. The labels say 70% alcohol but without a test, who’s to say.

I think I’ll see if they fit another test – do they burn, as alcohol should. Tune in for the next exciting episode.

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To me this dodgy sanitiser is just another example of dirty business from companies we were urged to trust by former PM John Howard in the 1990s when enterprise bargaining was the thing. He told us we could better negotiate 1-on-1 with our employers rather than collectively through our unions. Hah! Time and time again in this present time, employers are engaging in “wage theft”, underpaying employees any chance they get, defying awards, withholding pay unlawfully, dismissing employees without their entitlements, putting out faulty products as in this case, you name it, businesses are doing it.

Obviously not all companies and businesses are doing the wrong thing, but neither were the scores, hundreds of unions. You never heard about the good unions such as the APESMA, now known as Professionals Australia and it includes:

  • Association of Professional Engineers Australia (APEA);
  • Professional Scientists Australia (PSA)
  • Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA)
  • Professionals Managers Australia (PMA)
  • Professional Architects Australia (PAA)
  • IT Professionals Australia (ITPA)
  • Collieries’ Staff and Officials Association (CSOA)
  • Translators and Interpreters Australia
  • Local Government Engineers Australia (LGEA)
  • Professionals Contractors and Consultants Australia

These are all “unions” by definition, yet according to Liberal Party ideology, they are all bad by association. It’s pathetic. Right wing blind ideology, pure and simple.

My union was the PREI when I joined it in the early ’70s, the Professional Radio and Electronics Institute. In the amalgamations of the ’80s, it became the CPSU, TCA (Technical, Communications and Aviation) Division. I hated that CPSU acronym. Communist Party of the Soviet Union! Surely they could have chosen a better name, but we were stuck with it. I was involved in union affairs then and I’ll never forget the warmth of my reception in the Perth and Sydney offices. The union people were great.

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BeetleCameraWEB012

I love electronics! This is a complete video camera with wi-fi transmitter and battery glued to the back of a beetle. It weighs 0,25g so the beetle wouldn’t even know it was there. The camera can even pan under control from a smart phone app. Fantastic.

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That reminds me, I said a couple of weeks ago that I had uninstalled the government’s CovidSafe app from my phone as it was said to be ineffective and insecure.

Well, I’ve since read that it’s been quite extensively revised and should now be safe enough, so I’ve reinstalled it again. Although for a program that we’re assured doesn’t track our movements, why does it ask permission for our phone’s location data when you install it?

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It’s remarkable how WA is so free of the fear and restrictions of Victoria and NSW, and the rest of the world due to this virus. We really are an island-within-an-island as long as our borders are closed. But although I don’t fear the virus (much), I do fear for the future. It looks as if this isolation will last a very long time, I mean years. It’s very hard on small businesses in this state.

On the other hand, maybe this could be the push this state needs to develop more industries and manufacturing. We have all the resources we need, especially cheap power both from solar and wind, and natural gas from the North West Shelf. Sure, gas is getting a bad press for its potential methane leakage, but these are problems that can be solved.

We have a large skilled workforce itching to get suitable work. Money is available at the lowest interest rates ever. All it needs is some courage and good ideas, and there’s no lack of the latter.

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10884

I’m about half way through the Einstein biography I mentioned a few postings ago. The author is Walter Isaacson, publisher Simon and Schuster. All I can say is wow! This is so well written, yet so detailed and well researched. Everything is footnoted. He must have spent years putting it together.

The amazing thing is, as well as being a good writer, he goes into quite a deep level of the physics and seems to have a good understanding of the subjects he’s writing about. You can’t gloss over Einstein’s work (and the other amazing physicists and mathematicians of the time). If you want to talk about relativity, space-time, unified field theory, tensor calculus and quantum mechanics, you’d better know your subject or you’ll be dismissed as trivial. This author knows the subjects. I am so impressed.

I’m up to the early 1930s with Einstein arguing strongly and with conviction against quantum theory. It’s strange that a man who had to fight against sceptics who questioned and campaigned against relativity (time is not constant, clocks run slower, measuring rods get shorter etc) himself became a sceptic of this new theory that was also so hard to accept if you believed in a constant universe. I’m only half way into a 550 page book but I believe he never accepted quantum theory to his grave, even though all the great minds know its truth, however bizarre it is. Great book, recommended, although you’d better like physics. It could be monumentally boring.

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Isn’t that magnificent? The Statue of Liberty Nebula. © Martin Pugh

It’s a finalist in the Royal Observatory Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition Astronomy Photographer of the Year This is just one of many beautiful photos. Have a look.

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Bunker bulldust day 118

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Fremantle Jail, April 2008, Canon G9  © PJ Croft 2020

Started out grey and raining, turned out blue sky and sunny. I had sheets out on the line overnight for a fresh rainwater rinse 😉 but they were nice and dry by 2pm. One had fallen on the ground. Ugh. But these are paving slabs so it wasn’t dirty.

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I forgot to mention – I fell out of bed again last night. Or I should say, I threw myself out of bed. At 1.20am.

I was having a dream where some guy was a devil in human form. He was menacing and about to attack a woman I know – no, not you dear. He was unclothed from the waist up and had his back to me and was standing over this woman, ready to do something bad. I came up from behind him and tried to wrestle him away and that’s how I came to wrestle myself onto the floor. OUCH! My knee was grazed on the carpet. I didn’t know what had happened for several seconds, still half in the dream. It’s lucky I don’t hit my head or face on the corner of my bedside cabinet.

Then I had to get up off the floor. Lucky I’ve got my Grandpa Rail, a seniors’ hand rail screwed to the wall. I struggle to lift my weight now, but I managed after a while.

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I’m just reading the news about the release of the “Palace Letters”, the letters between Sir John Kerr and the Queen leading up to The Dismissal in 1975. Many people alive now wouldn’t remember that damnable incident, but I do. I was 28 at the time and living in the flat in North Beach Drive, Tuart Hill. I can clearly remember listening to ABC radio one afternoon for a live radio commentary about what had happened and what was going on.

For anyone who doesn’t remember, the Labor government led by Gough Whitlam had been going through a series of scandals and political struggles with the Liberal-Country Party opposition led by Malcolm Fraser. There’s no doubt there was a degree of incompetence in some of Gough’s ministers, including Rex Connor, the resources minister, involving a loan of up to $4bn, a huge sum at the time (it’s a party order of Red Rooster now), from a middle eastern source.

The Liberals always thought they were the natural party to rule (still do) and Malcolm Fraser hatched a plot, there’s no better word for it, for a coup to take over government. He persuaded the Governor General, Kerr, to dismiss the Labor government using the so called “reserve powers” of the British Queen, our Head of State. And he did it, on 11 November 1975. I remember it well. November 11 is Remembrance Day, of course, where we remember our war dead each year. What an appropriate day.

It was a damned outrage and remains so to this day, a bloody stain on the Liberal Party that they can never be allowed to forget. All three protagonists have died now, Gough, Kerr and Fraser, and you can’t libel the dead, so despite Fraser’s late in life conversion to more progressive “liberal” views, he remains a traitor as far as I’m concerned, to be damned in history as the leader of a coup! Kerr was just a fool, unfit for this office. He also died in disgrace. He never lived it down, to be reviled by true blue Australians who think we should control our own affairs as a republic.

Anyway, the point of all this is that Kerr wrote a couple of hundred letters to “the Palace” and the Queen while he was hatching this plot. He must have written them almost every day which just shows his insecurity, in my opinion.

These letters are in the Australian National Archives in Canberra but have been embargoed for 30 years. We have not been able to see them.

The embargo period ended in 2012, I think, but the director of the archives still refused to release them to a researcher, Professor Jenny Hocking of the Australian National University. It’s a long story, told here. She had to take the case to the High Court to get a ruling that they are not private correspondence and must be released.

But even now, National Archives of Australia director-general David Fricker delayed releasing them for 45 days, until today. Why he is so determined to hide them, only he knows.

Finally, today, they have been released and they show that Kerr spoke mostly to Sir Martin Charteris (he died in 1999), the queen’s private secretary, and they show that this guy was giving advice to Kerr about whether he had the authority under Australia’s constitution.

So this unelected official in London, who was not an Australian citizen and would not be eligible to sit in the Australian parliament, was leading Kerr in his views. Views which resulted in the success of Fraser’s coup. Gross interference from London in Australia’s affairs, leading to the dismissal of a legitimately elected Australian government.

It was an outrage then and it remains so. The Liberals are forever stained with this monstrous coup. We should never let them forget it. Shit, it makes me angry.

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Some more pics from the Canon G9 I used to own:

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Hay St, Perth, April 2008  ©  PJ Croft 2020

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April 2008. This is dominated by a huge apartment building behind it now.

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Perth, St George’s Tce, April 2008.  © PJ Croft 2020

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Perth, April 2008  © PJ Croft 2020

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North Beach, April 2008  © PJ Croft 2020

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Blue Mood.   May 2008   © PJ Croft 2020

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Blue Mood II   © PJ Croft 2020

There’s a story behind these pictures shot on Charles Riley Reserve, North Beach on 1 May 2008.

This was my dog exercise area for more than 20 years and I used to carry a camera pretty often. On this day, I’d just received a new lens for my Pentax K-5, a Sigma 10-20mm (still got them both, lovely combo). I was walking around the ovals on a glorious late autumn afternoon carrying this camera and lens, taking shots of all the colour, as shown in the bin shot and the sporting equipment. There were school kids everywhere, using the sports stuff – that’s why it was there. I took a lot of shots, including some of the kids in their colourful gear.

I went back to my car and was loading the dogs and my gear in the back when two guys came and stood in fairly threatening poses, one each side of me. “G’day mate. The women [mothers of the kids] have noticed you’ve been taking photos of the kids. What’s it all about?”

I was pretty shocked at this attitude, as you can imagine. I just said I was trying out this new lens and taking in the colourful afternoon. Then I showed the guys the pictures on the camera’s LCD, pointing out that with such a wide angle lens, the figures in any shot are very small. I also said I walk here very days and had been doing so for 20 years or more.

The situation relaxed and I was able to disengage, but bloody hell, I was shaking. They had been accusing me of being a pervert, taking photos of young kids. I was very, very upset. It’s not something you ever forget.

In subsequent days I researched the legal position, and legally I was perfectly within my rights. Anyone is entitled to take photos in a public place and if people are in the photos, the photographer does not have to have permission, unless the images are to be used for commercial purposes. If you are in a public place, you cannot object to someone taking your photo or recording video of you.

I printed out a card stating these legalities (there are more) and carried it in my wallet for a few years. I haven’t had any trouble since, but I’m always conscious of my rights when I’m out photographing. No-one should accuse me of anything and should expect retaliation if they accuse me or give me trouble. I know my rights.

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One of my buys from the Wish web site was a set of diamond grit coated circular hole saws. For about $10 I got a huge range from about 6mm to 50mm diameter drills. Diamond grit, eh?

I’ve just had to drill a hole about 16mm in diameter in the plastic cubby bin for my car, to take the extra cigarette lighter socket. Plastic. Should be easy with these diamond saws, yes?

Hah. Bulldust. Getting it started was difficult enough as there’s no centre drill bit, but eventually I got it going. But I drilled and drilled until my arms couldn’t take it any more. I reckon I got about half way through this plastic, about 1,5mm thick, but the saw just seemed useless. I wasn’t getting any where except to make a shallow circle. I had to use a mini grinder with a finely tapered bit to drill a series of small holes around the perimeter and then grind the joins out. Success at last, but I’m not too impressed with this diamond saw. They’re meant for concrete. I wouldn’t like to try it. But they were so cheap, even if I get one use from them, it’ll be worth it.

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Still no word from DHL as to when they will be collecting the Lenovo laptop. This is taking a long time. Too long.

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Bunker bunkum day 116

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Shot with Canon G9  Nov 2007. See below. © PJ Croft 2020

Blue skies, warm air, luvverly. More please. But good rain all this week, we hope.

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Aaaarrrrgh! I said a couple of day ago that I’ve found my old Photobook projects so that I can update them and order more copies. Well, that was then, this is now. The one I’m working on crashes the program every time I try to get beyond page 6. I can’t proceed.

I’ve only been changing the font size and paragraph spacing (leading) so I can’t see why this would be causing a problem. OK, maybe if I start a new instance of the old file and see how far I get by only making a few small changes every few pages? I’ll try that and report. Trying to find the cause of crashes like this is very hard. I’ve rebooted and no other program is running. I’m on Windows 7 so Microsoft won’t be interested since support has finished. Oh well, battle on.

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I’m still on Win7 because a few years ago, when MS were offering free upgrades to Win10, every time I tried to upgrade I got an error message with an obscure code and couldn’t proceed. This was after the gigabyte sized download had occurred. I was still on ADSL at that stage with a slowish download (250Kb/s I think) and a download limit.

I tried multiple times and tried to follow the instructions on the MS forums for this known problem, but nothing worked so eventually I gave up. My Win7 was working fine, so I’ve stayed with it.

The free upgrade period ended so that sealed the deal. But now I’ve found an article that shows how you can still get a free Win10 upgrade, even now. But step 1 is “Ensure that your BIOS is up to date.” I’ve downloaded the latest BIOS from Gigabyte (my m/b is 2013 and has never been updated), but I’m hesitant to do the update, knowing that these things can go wrong. I guess it’s time to bite the bullet and do it. Tomorrow, OK?

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I’ve mentioned the Lenovo laptop I bought for my friend, that turned out to have a faulty camera (the laptop, not my friend). I first emailed them about it last Monday, asking to return it for a refund.

They sure weren’t in a hurry. It’s taken an average of 48 hrs for a reply to each of three emails I’ve sent, but finally they’ve agreed that I can send it back and they are even going to pay for the return freight courier, DHL. So now it’s all repacked and I have to await an email from the courier to arrange a pickup day/time. The wheels grind, but exceeding slow.

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Speaking of Microsoft, the new Flight Simulator final beta is being released on 30 July. But they’re calling it a ‘closed beta’, which presumably means only approved testers can get it. Frustrating. It’s supposed to be terrific, a big leap above all previous versions and I’m definitely going to buy it. I own the last big version from around 2007 (I think) so it’s been a very long wait. I’m no pilot (take off, fly a little bit, crash!) and that’s why I never put much effort into it before, but this new version has long flights programmed into it, requiring no skill but providing fantastic views from all over the world. That’s for me. I just hope it serves meals and free drinks too.

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My lime tree is fruiting like mad, more fruit than I can use. I’ve juiced a couple of dozen and frozen the juice into cubes, but I’ve put a few cubes into drinks and urrggh, even when frozen, it’s sour. Plenty of flavour but I’m not rushing to use them. I wonder what else I can do with fresh limes?

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Canon G9   Photo DPReview.

A photography web site I visit nearly every day wrote about the Canon G10 camera yesterday, saying how much he liked it. It reminded me that I used to own a G9 and there’s a funny story about it.

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Canon G9   November 2007  © PJ Croft

Around 2009 I think, I sold mine to a friend. He took it on a drive to Victoria with his teenage son (no border restrictions in those days, no sir). They camped at various places on the way there and back, with campfires and tents.

When he got back he brought it to me to show me an odd artifact on the pictures, like a worm in one corner. Yes, literally like a small, fleshy worm in the bottom right corner of each picture. Weird, yes?

He explained a bit sheepishly that one night while camping, he’d gone to bed in the tent and this problem became noticeable next morning. He said he’d taken the battery out the night before and had left the camera on or near the grass in the tent with the battery door still open. It seems this worm had crawled into the battery compartment and got through a small gap into the interior of the camera, onto the image sensor! I said, weird, yes?

So the question was, what to do about it. I said the camera is unusable as it is, so you’ve got nothing to lose by letting me have a go at taking it apart to see if I could get the worm out.

So over the next week or two I proceeded to try to dismantle the camera so as to get at the sensor. I proceeded very slowly and carefully, one step at a time and got quite a way in, but I just couldn’t get any further without major dismantlement, beyond what I felt I could do. So I put it all back together for him, fully working, as good as new except for the worm. In the process of all this, by the way, I got a couple of good belts from the flash capacitor! Ouch! That flash capacitor retains its charge even when the camera’s been off for quite a while.

We mulled it over for an hour one morning and my friend took it across the table and proceeded to take it apart as I had done, but when he reached the point where I had stopped, he just kept going regardless of the risk of damage. And that’s the way it went. I was wincing at the cracks and crunches as he prised things apart, trying to get at that sensor. It was as if he was out of control. determined to get there or bust.

Well, it was bust, I’m afraid. I wasn’t going to offer any more help (or criticism) and he couldn’t get it back together, so exit one camera. All for forgetting to close the battery compartment door.

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Bunker bunkum day 114

Tini + me Oct96 008

Me in 1996 while I was living and working in Jakarta. That’s the housekeeper at my lodgings, Tini. She was so nice, couldn’t do enough for me, especially when I caught typhus. I mention this as I remember how fantastic Indonesians are (in Bali and Java anyway, all I know). If you get a chance to go, don’t hesitate. You’ll love Indonesia.

Another beeeyootiful day. Only 15C max, they tell us, but the sun is warm when you’re in it. I’ve been to the doctor this morning and one thing i showed him was two small lumps on the side of the right hand ring finger which get as itchy as hell if I scratch them. He told me they are chillblains! I haven’t had those since I was a boy. I  remember getting them on my ear lobes and pinnae in cold weather. They dried up and the top layer peeled off in those days.

This morning he showed me that it’s poor blood circulation, shown by whiteness under the skin on that side of the finger and other parts of my hands. Remedy – either massage your hands, or wear gloves, or buy warming pads, the type where you mix two chemicals together in plastic to get an exothermic reaction. It hardly seems necessary, it’s not that bad.

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My visit was to see the results of my 3-monthly blood tests and the news is not good. My HbA1c is up to 10, whereas I’ve had it down as low as 7 (good control) a year ago. My cholesterol is also up from around 2 to 4. That’s still under the “bad” line, though. The answer is very obvious, eat less, lose weight, exercise more. I don’t understand the cholesterol change. I never normally have any trouble with that. I mentioned that in the past few months I’ve been following web advice to take a teaspoon of MCT Oil, Medium Chain Triglyceride. It’s supposed to boost your energy levels. I hardly noticed anything so I’ll pour that down the sink.

I feel my diet is OK. I never eat junk food, I usually only eat two meals a day (skipping lunch) and what I eat is healthy stuff. But, too many carbs, including beer, and too much sitting. Yeah, writing these posts. I may have to quiet down.  Ha.

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PB140015

Beijing 2014   © PJ Croft 2020

PB100198

Taking her lunch home? Joking – anyone who loves dogs is OK with me.

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Huh? Say again?  Beijing 2014  © PJ Croft 2020

China is a worry. I have nothing against the Chinese people, but their government is a Communist Party military dictatorship and they show repeatedly that they  are bare faced liars, hypocrites, oppressors and their word can not be trusted.

They said today that Australia must stop interfering in their affairs (i.e. Hong Kong) and breaching international law, yet they’ve shown no respect for the 1997 agreement with the UK government and the HK people. Anyone should have known this would happen. The Chinese government simply cannot be trusted or dealt with on a normal level. They breached international law by their annexation of the South China Sea islands, yet despite the ICJ ruling that it is totally illegal, they thumb their nose at us.

We’re in a difficult position. Australia, and Western Australia in particular, is hugely reliant on the Chinese buying our iron ore. Hugely! Any disruption to that would cause massive dislocation here.

That means we have to grit our teeth and be as polite as we can, while still standing up to them. It’s not easy, given the slanderous bile coming from the Chinese embassy in Canberra.

Surveillance of Chinese students here, industrial spying (and every other kind), insertion of Chinese agents in political organisations here (especially Liberal Party groups), one Chinese member of our federal parliament whose loyalties are questionable, political donations to MPs and party functionaries (in expectation of influence, of course). The list goes on.

The clear message is, China is an enemy of Australia and is not to be trusted in the slightest.

What gets me about the Chinese government in all these tactics is that they don’t have an ally in the world, except maybe North Korea. Every country in Asia would oppose them in any conflict. I shudder to think of a military clash, but even though China has 1.4bn people and massive nuclear armed forces, India has 1.3bn people and massive armed, nuclear forces too. Add in this country, Australia, which although small, has some pretty potent firepower and it’s well trained and led. Then add Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, then the US and Europe and you have a very powerful counterforce. China would be mad to start anything. The problem is, they are mad.

The other thing is that history shows that oppression and evil never wins in the long run. How long the long run is, who knows, but the two world wars showed the way. Throughout history every attempt by tyrants to rule the world loses in the end, usually with the tyrants’ death.

Not much point in thinking or talking about this, is there?

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There’s a good article by Paul Keating (former Australian PM 1993-96 and the best PM Australia has ever had, in my strong opinion) in The Guardian today about the Superannuation Guarantee Levy. This is a scheme introduced by Mr Keating which started in 1993 with a small levy on employers of 1% of the employee’s salary to go into a superannuation fund for the employee’s retirement. The levy was to be slowly increased by 1% each year to a maximum of 12%. The whole idea was to take the load of age pensions off future governments and to give the employees a better income for their retirement.

It also had the effect of building a large fund to be invested on behalf of the employees in Australian businesses and enterprises. That fund stands now at around $3trn – that’s three trillion dollars.

Of course, in 1993 the employers objected mightily and predicted the sky would fall. In fact, nothing of the kind happened and the levy reached 9% while I was still working in 1999. But then it stalled when Liberal governments got in. Now it’s supposed to start moving up again, by 0.5%. Again, the right wingers are saying it’s the wrong time.

The problem is, for employers there’s never a right time. I was active in the union in the 1990s and I remember the National Wage Cases well. Every increase was vehemently opposed by the employers. Even when business conditions were the best in many decades, they predicted that any increase in employee wages, however small, would ruin them. It was so predictable.

Paul Keating points out all the fallacies in his article, including that one of the loudest opposing voices is David Murray, chairman of AMP. That company was shown to have committed serious breaches of ethical behaviour, amounting to some criminality in the 2000s and onwards. Their management, led by Mr Murray now, lost me almost all my $20,000 investment in AMP shares. Their management for the last 30 years has been abysmal. Time after time they were led into rotten investments by their top management until the shares fell from around $20 to their current level of about $2. What a fool I was to think they were blue chip. So Mr Murray can just shut up.

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Edifier 1

I mentioned my Edifier computer speakers a few days ago as being marvellous for the money. I got an email from a local computer firm referencing these – these are the big brothers to my desktops. They’re still quite small, but big enough to consider using them for main hi-fi speakers, having an amplifier of 120W per channel built in. They are wireless too and remote controlled. The only problem is, $1039 per pair. I must admit I would like a pair!

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I forgot to mention – War of the Worlds on SBS last night, first two one hour episodes. Phwoooaaar, I loved it. This is my kind of program. I was tense and uptight, it was that good. It’s a silly story, of course, an attack from space, but it still makes a great story.

And it was all the better for being a European TV production. No stupid Yanks. I’m hooked.

Bunker bunkum day 113

Bromo rim guide 73

Mt Bromo, Java 1989.  See below.   © PJ Croft 2020

Brrrrr, my fingers are cold enough to hurt. It’s only 15degC in the house, not very cold, but even so, I’m a bit chilled. It’s probably the music I’m listening to that’s chillin’ me.

It’s Rüfüs, a Sydney band that I quite like. It’s not music I’d normally listen to but one of their music videos was playing on a TV in a hotel room in Bali a few years ago (wow, time flies!) and it imprinted itself on my mind. I’ve bought a couple more of their CDs recently. I’m listening to Du Sol, Solace Remixed. It’s a bit doof doof but I can stand it. 🙂

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In the photo above, the guy is standing on the rim of Mt Bromo, the volcanic crater (and so was I, taking the photo). The mountain in the background is another volcanic cone, Gunung Batok, I think. Anyway, I was prompted to post my photo because the Guardian did a photo essay yesterday on a ceremony by Indonesians on Bromo and I was shocked at how badly littered it is now. Indonesia’s Yadnya Kasada Festival in Pictures, The Guardian

Bromo steps 77 (2)

Yes, I climbed all those 200 nice clean steps. My photo 1989

 

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This was recent.   © Juni Kriswanto/AFP/Getty Images

Unfortunately, hordes of people, no litter bins and how would you clear the bins anyway? It’s become a trash heap.

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© Juni Kriswanto/AFP/Getty Images

I’m so glad I got there when I did, 1989.

Boy, that was a great trip. Perth to Bali for a few days to unwind, bus to Gilimanuk at the NW tip of Bali, bus ferry across the strait to Banyuwangi on Java, then continuing by bus and small van with drivers to the small village which was the access point to Mt Bromo.

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The horseman and pony to take us the ~kilometre to the rim, just after dawn.  © PJ Croft 2020

We woke before dawn and walked down a long slope in the pre-dawn mist to the sand plain, where we took horses (ponies) to the crater rim in the background. I lost a good Swiss Army knife there somewhere.

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The horsemen and their ponies waiting for us for the ride back.  ©  PJ Croft 2020

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You can see the steps up the crater. Quite a gloomy place, at times.  © PJ Croft 2020

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I’m there, the solo figure standing on the rim of an active volcano. No guard rail in those days. It was fine.  © PJ Croft 2020

This was such a great trip I could write a book about it, and I have, but it’s too expensive. Maybe I’ll do another one. I seem to have a lot of spare time these days. You too?

Bromo group 16

These were the staff at the guest house. Yes, I had a good time!  1989

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Speaking of music:

Abba
Biblical title of honor, literally “father,” used as an invocation of God, from Latin abba, from Greek abba, from Aramaic (Semitic) abba “the father, my father,” emphatic state of abh “father.” Also a title in the Syriac and Coptic churches.

There you go. And you thought the group’s name came from their own initials. This definition came from the Etymological Dictionary http://www.etymonline.com. As its name says, it shows the etymology of words, how they are derived or came into use. I find it excellent whenever I’m not sure of a meaning or how to use a word. Recommended.

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How did I get there? I found an article in The Guardian today on Johannes Brahms 1833 – 97. I’ve rediscovered his two piano concertos. Wonderful music, in particular the second (slow) movement from the piano concerto no. 1. It’s become an ear worm but one I don’t want to dislodge. I hear it in my head at any quiet time and wake up with it still there in the morning.

My feeling for Brahms before I read this article is that of a German composer who is good enough to be one of “the three Bs” (Bach, Beethoven, Brahms) but never quite makes it compared to the big two (not forgetting the big M, Mozart). My feeling about Brahms is “grandeur, majestic music, very serious, never lightweight”).

From the Guardian article: “Brahms’s works rarely feature among lists of the most well known classical tunes. But then his music never aims at instant effects; he never bothered with the distraction of opera, and he generally avoided religious music.”

That’s where I saw the word liturgical and looked it up, which led me to Abba, and the rest is history, as they say.

I’m listening to the Piano Concerto no. 2 at the moment. Phwooaaar.

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I’m rather pleased at the moment because I’ve rediscovered something else. In the past eight years or so I’ve made quite a few Photobooks of various kinds, mostly of my pictures but especially, two books of the Croft family history.

_Front Cover

Late last year I was sending some old photos to my cousin Lisa in California and mentioned these books. She’s very enthusiastic to have copies, but when I went to the Photobook web site to order more copies I found my orders from a few years ago had not been saved, so I thought I’d have to redo them from scratch.

Voila, yesterday I discovered that the templates are stored on this computer, so I’ve been able to reopen them and bingo, ready to reorder. Of course, this gives me the chance to fix things.

One thing I’ve discovered while composing these books is that you’re never finished. There are always small typos, missing or extra punctuation marks, things which could have been said better and so on. It shouldn’t take me long to fix these and then I can place orders. The composition from this computer is sent over the web to the company in Melbourne, from where it gets sent to the printers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, who do the job and send the packaged book to me in Perth. Turnaround time is pretty reliably 10 days. Or was before the corona-virus.

In this case, I hope I’ll be able to put the addresses of my cousins’ (two of them) in the US and have them sent directly there.

Which leads me to the next book project. It’s amazing what you find when you rummage (there’s a word I must look up in the Etymological Dictionary) around in your folders. I’ve found several chapters of something I started some years ago, my memoirs. I’d forgotten that I got a lot further than I thought, so this is my next book.

Except! Photobook are very sneaky. Once you’ve composed your book in their software, you can produce page proofs but they aren’t high enough resolution for you to print your own book on your own printer. They want your money, you see.

So for these memoirs, I really, really should continue in my word processor and then copy and paste the text and images into a Photobook project. That way I could produce a printed book But it would be far too expensive. Their prices are about $30 – 40 for only 20 pages. Extra pages are somewhere around $1 per page. I did a book about 10 years ago and kept adding pages to total about 110. I ordered two copies and each one cost about $230 I think. Lovely book, and I’ve still got it on my shelf, but what was I thinking?

No, compose in a word processor and publish to a PDF file. That costs nothing to produce and you can distribute it on USB sticks, or if you really want paper copies, you can take the PDF document to a printer and get a bulk deal.

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Which leads on to “My Life and Times at TVW Channel 7”. I’ve virtually finished my contribution to Ron’s book project, but he only wants 2,000 – 3,000 words and four pictures. Ron, mate, no can do! Mine is 8,000 words and climbing, with dozens of pictures. I can’t dumb 33 years and hundreds of pictures down to your puny idea.

Ron is complaining (on Facebook) that no-one is sending in contributions, but maybe his conditions are too tight. I can’t do average – if I do something like that, it will be my best and that means I don’t fit his criteria. Sorry Ron, to do as you require, my contribution would be bland and generic. Nope.

Anyway, I might do mine as a Photobook, but expanded to be an Engineering History of TVW. After all, I was there from the days of valves (tubes or ‘toobs’), then the start of the first transistor equipment, then the first ICs, then the birth of the microprocessor, LSICs, full blown computers and PCs, analogue everything, then digital everything. I lived through it all. I’m busting to write about it.

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I must thank the people who are starting to follow this blog from different parts of the world. I seem to be notified of a new follower every few days now, with occasional very nice comments. I thank you very much. I hope you find the blog of continued interest.

I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong but I cannot find the widget that lets me show Followers on the blog title page. I suspect I have to upgrade to a higher cost plan to get it. I’ve thought about paying for the next level but haven’t seen the need yet. Maybe.

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Aaaah, it’s warmer now that I’ve got the air con going on heat. It’s a bright sunny day so with solar power, the air con should be running off the panels at no cost. Similarly, dishwasher and clothes washer. Solar power, best thing since… solar power.

Bunker bunkum day 112

Yogya dancer 291

Jogjakarta 1989    © PJ Croft 2020

Brrrrr, bit nipply. My washing’s on the line. I think it might dry, if I keep my eyes open and bring it in before it rains again.

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A few days ago I said I’d uninstalled the CovidSafe app from my phone because it has proven useless at what it was designed for. Not one person has been traced out of the six million downloads in three months.

This article: CovidSafe The Flaws (The Saturday Paper) bears me out. A guy called Jim Mussared, an expert in web software, having worked at Google on their site reliability team, looked at the app when it was introduced and immediately saw flaws.

“The day COVIDSafe launched, it took just four hours for Mussared to confirm his suspicions, and worse. Not only could the app be made to recycle the identifier, but it also broadcast the phone’s model and name along with it, transforming it into a “beacon” for anyone looking.”

He tried to contact the government departments responsible but got nowhere:

“At 1.19am, he sent his first email to an address listed on the Department of Health website to handle privacy inquiries. There would be no reply.
“It took eight days before Mussared spoke to someone at the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), after he tried any department or organisation with a connection to the app, including the CSCRC. He describes the period as like “yelling into an empty room”.”

I’ll leave you to read the article, but the essence is that the Australian Government paid more than $1m for an app that not only doesn’t work, but was full of holes for hackers to exploit and broadcast your phone’s ID to others with the means to exploit it.

Yet when this guy tried to alert the government “experts”, he got nowhere. They don’t want to know. Depressingly familiar, yes? I wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t pursued by ASIO or some other government cop force as a whistleblower or something.

If there’s any good news, it seems the app has been updated with proper security now, but it doesn’t automatically update on your phone. You have to download it again and reinstall it. Will I? Maybe. How pathetic. The bungling that goes on within government defies belief, and it costs us millions and billions of $$$. It doesn’t inspire confidence.

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Ramayana dancer 344H

I know it’s not Bali, it’s Java.    © PJ Croft 2020

News today that Covid-19 is rising fast in Indonesia, and Bali is not immune to it. It’s going to be a long time before I will dare to venture there again.

I know someone who sold his villa in Sanur before all this corona virus started. Lucky man! I suspect the prices of villas for foreigners will be on a steep downward slope now.

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More later. Nap time.

Bunker bunkum day 111

Bromo dawn3V

Mt Bromo, Java, 1989

Lovely blue sky out there, if a little rainy at times, and nippy. I suppose if I wore something over my T-shirt I might not feel the chill so much, but that would require me to get moving, something I try to avoid. 😉

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The saga of the Lenovo laptop continued yesterday. I phoned Lenovo support and after a short wait I was answered by a very nice Philippino sounding female voice. It turned out that yes, she is Filippina but resident in Malaysia, don’t know where. Her name is Jhoesly, pronounced Joshly. Very nice.

After I told her the problem, she got me to download and install a program called LogMeIn which, with a code she gave me, allowed her to take control of the laptop and do things just as if she were me. It was uncanny, seeing the cursor/pointer moving around on the screen, all controlled from Malaysia.

Anyway, she could bring the camera up and see the fault for herself – the blob (she was searching for a word to describe it for her report and I said, just call it a blob. I don’t think she was familiar with that fine English word.)

Finally she invoked a complete restart from scratch, which took some time because you have to go through all the Windows 10 setup steps. That meant she lost control and so we ended the support call after she initiated a case number and got my order number and so on.

Needless to say, after the long Win10 setup process, the fault was exactly the same. So I sent a fairly long email to Lenovo Support in Sydney (I assume that’s where they are) with a screen grab of the camera blob and asked for a return authorisation for a full refund. Copy to Keith.

So far I’ve had a fairly prompt acknowledgement of my email, but nothing more, which is a bit annoying. It’s been 24 hrs now. I’ll send another email saying, “Please respond” and see what that produces.

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Bromo dawn2

Back to the problem of the Honda not revving when I put my foot on the accelerator – what did we ever do in the days before Google? (Answer: took it to the service station, or the service station mechanic would come here in the case of an immobile vehicle, maybe… )

Anyway, a search on Google for Honda MDX no accelerator response brought up plenty of listings. Obviously this is a fairly common problem.

The answer is that Honda uses a Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) and this often goes faulty. It seems to happen when the car has not been used for some time (my case) and produces symptoms just like mine, either no throttle response at all, or rough running, or poor idling. One listing said it has a battery in it which is not user replaceable and has a life of about 5 years, and that the TPS should be replaced every five years. A battery?  Seems a bit incredible.

There are plenty of YouTube clips showing how to replace it and warning of the high cost of getting a dealer to do it. It looks straightforward so I did a search and found the part is available from AliExpress in China for A$50 plus $10 freight plus GST, about $67 all up. So I ordered it at about 9pm last night and was surprised to get a reply email about 30 mins later to say that my order has been processed and the part is being dispatched. At 9.30pm!

I just have to wait now – maybe next week for delivery? Lucky I have another car … or two.

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Meanwhile, I’ve finished making up the adapter wiring to match my Pioneer A/V radio to the Mitsubishi and it’s ready to go in. But first I have to stick the digital antenna to the windscreen and thread its cable down the left A pillar, behind the dash to the radio position. It seems difficult, so I’m hesitating, but these things often turn out to be easier than you think they’ll be. Just do it!

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Bromo dawn3Y

All the time I’m sitting at this PC and writing this, I’m listening to music on a pair of “computer speakers” I bought a couple of years ago when they were “on special” and which have turned out to be marvellous! I’m a hi-fi nut and I’ve been listening to good loudspeakers for many years – KEF, JBL, Tannoy, B+W, Wharfedale – so I reckon I know good sound when I hear it.

These computer speakers are bloody lovely! They’re a Chinese brand, Edifier, which is a bit embarrassing. Chinese speakers? Well, I’m happy with these.

C5066_1

C5066_2

They have a 20W per channel amplifier built in and you can stream audio to them using Bluetooth if you want to. I don’t.

Clean, uncoloured sound, a surprising amount of bass, all the volume you’ll ever need, for $149 the pair. Since that includes the amp, it’s a bargain. You can still buy them from Altronics but not at that bargain price I paid. Recommended.

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Speaking of Altronics, I need to go there now to buy a cigarette lighter socket to add to the Verada while I’m installing the radio and all the guts are out. The socket in this car is in the arm rest cubby hole and that’s too far from the dash for me. I’m not lighting cigarettes but I’m feeding power to my GPS and it’s too far for the cord. I need a socket further forward. I’ll do it today.

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Bunker bunkum day 109

Moon5Jul20b

This just happened. There was a full moon tonight, rising just after sunset. Unfortunately cloud covered the early part of the rise, but this was at 6.43pm when the clouds cleared. This was shot with my new Nikon at 2,000mm hand held, ISO 100 approx, f6.3 1/500s.

Moon5Jul20c

This was at 6.47pm, ISO 110, f6.5 1/500s. I’ve added some sharpening and level adjustments.

At the same time, a thunderstorm has started up – no rain yet but the lightning is flashing every few seconds and the thunder’s rumbling in the distance. Although that could be my stomach, since it’s dinner time. 🙂

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Browsing Facebook Marketplace just now, I was amazed to see this offered for sale:

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It’s the Holden Piazza, made by Isuzu in the 1980s (this is a 1986 model). It was always regarded as one of the prettiest cars on the road, but it seemed to be just a legend, sustained by the occasional photo in the car magazines but never seen for real. Here it is, in Perth, yours for about $9,000. I still think it’s lovely, 34 years on.

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Yesterday I mentioned group photos I took in Japan. Here’s another favourite:

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They love having their picture taken.  © PJ Croft 2020

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This is my favourite. Kyoto station.   © PJ Croft 2020

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Purple shoelaces!  ©  PJ Croft 2020

 

Bunker bunkum day 108

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Gion district, Kyoto 1992.  © PJ Croft 2020

What a glorious day, warm sunshine, clear blue sky, about 23deg. Winter?

But did you notice – last month was our warmest June on record, at an average max. of 21.4degC. Global heating is real.

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Aaaarrrrgh, this Lenovo laptop is getting annoying. After my friend’s wasted trip out here yesterday, this morning I’d nearly finished getting it set up with him as the user and installing several free programs when he phoned and said he’d come out here again (I was going to drive it in to his place, but he said no, he’d come out here).

I forgot to say on the phone that I’ve discovered that the camera set into the screen seems to be faulty.

IMG_20200704_134651

The image from the Lenovo laptop camera. It varies a little when you wave your hand in front, but never gives any more than this.

That’s it. That’s all you get from this Lenovo laptop camera. My friend said, “I’m not going to accept that. Unless it works 100%, it’s faulty. Send it back and I want a refund.”

I tend to agree, but he was annoyed again, and I was embarrassed, and it was another wasted drive, and I’m the one who has to do the return and get a refund. I  tried going to on-line support, but their support section is down for the weekend for maintenance. Yes, THIS weekend.

I was tempted to say that this is what you get when you choose a low cost computer, but I was the one who recommended it, knowing his price range. On paper, it’s great – Core i3, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 15″ Full HD screen and a DVD drive built in for $742. Good specs.

But a faulty camera. So back it goes, with me having to do the repacking and sending. I won’t dare ask for reimbursement of the shipping cost. Bugger!!!!

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There was pretty bad news for photography fans like myself this week – Olympus are folding their tent and giving up.

It’s not a complete abdication – they’ve sold their photo hardware manufacturing business to a company called Japan Industrial Partners. What this means, we don’t know yet. Will Olympus equipment continue to be manufactured? We don’t know. A press release or two suggested it will continue in some form, but we don’t know.

I first bought into Olympus in the early 1980s with the OM2-SP (Spot Program) and over the years I bought quite a bit of their gear, mainly second hand. At one stage I had the 18mm, 21mm, 28mm, 50mm, 135mm and a couple of Tamron zooms with the Adaptall mounts – the 28-50mm and the 70-150mm Tamrons. As a matter of fact, I replaced a dropped and damaged 70-150mm Tamron just recently for $50. It’s a very handy lens and sharp enough, though not up to modern standards. My OM2-SP is sitting up on my shelf now.

Mainly, I wanted Olympus for their macro and flash systems and I found almost all of these second hand: T28 flash, T32 flash, T-Power control 1, T8 Macro flash (one side of a pair), and the T10 Ring Flash. Plus several adapters, connectors, cords and a tilting flash handle that got hot and drained its batteries each time I tried to use it. It was stolen in my burglary in 1991.

I still have almost all this gear in a box in the garage. The OM2-SP sits on the shelf collecting dust, and it’s even still got a half finished Fuji slide film in it. I must finish it and get it processed, if I can find an E-6 processor in town. I think there’s one. I have no idea what’s on the first 20 or so frames. That’ll be interesting to find out. Even though the film has been sitting in the camera for 20 years or so, I’m sure it will still give me results. They may be not as good as when the film was new, but with scanning and digital processing, I’m sure I’ll be able to get good results from it.

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By the way, on my Japan trip in 1992, this very same OM2-SP was one of the cameras that took all these shots I’m posting. I took the OM2, its 28mm Zuiko lens and the 50mm Zuiko, I think. And I took a Nikon FE2 with the 75-150 Nikon Series E lens.

PS: no, I forgot – the Nikon I took was the F601 and the main lens was a Tokina 20-35mm, with the 75-150 Series E. The 20-35mm was a great choice – it’s ideal for interiors and hand held shots in low light. Wonderful results.

Can’t remember what else – maybe a Nikon 35mm lens? And for the first time, I shot the entire three week trip on Fuji Reala colour negative (print) film, buying rolls of it as I went from shops in Japan. I shot about 36 rolls, mostly 36 exposure. Each roll of film cost about A$8-10 (?), so the cost of the film alone was substantial (36 x $8 = $288), but when I got back to Perth it all had to be processed and prints made. Each roll cost about the same – $8, so another $288. In 1992, that was big money.

The interesting thing is, at the time I liked the prints and put them all into those sticky-paged albums. I was pretty proud of the results.

But after I “retired” in 1999, I had the time to spare, and I bought a Nikon LS4000ED film scanner. I’ve still got it here. That 4000 means 4000dpi, meaning high resolution! The files are about 35MB for each image.

I spent about four months, maybe more, and I scanned every single one of those 36 rolls x 36 exposures, and the results were magnificent! If I thought the prints were good, the scanned images were a revelation. I can’t show a comparison because the prints are long gone, but this:

r14-007 print ver

was flat and dull in the store print, but it leaps out from the screen. Likewise:

r14-005 print ver

I still have all these Japan images stored on this PC and as you can tell, I like ’em.

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Speaking of Japan, the gardening program on the ABC last night was on Japanese gardens and in particular, the Kenrokuen gardens in Kanazawa. (I’d almost forgotten those names.) We went there and I have these shots:

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Kenrokuen Gardens.   ©  PJ Croft 2020

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Kenrokuen Gardens, Kanazawa. With tongue firmly in cheek, this is the Japanese Olympics Garden Viewing Team on a training exercise.    © PJ Croft 2020

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They were posing for some group photo, but I stole the shot. Lovely girls, but look at the top left girl’s expression.   © PJ Croft 2020

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Likewise, I’ve had some old slides sitting in plastic slide pages (remember them?) for many years and I pulled some out a few days ago. Some have stuck to the plastic and deteriorated badly, but they look like abstract paintings now. I need to set the scanner up again to get them into the computer, but I’m quite excited about it. ASAP.

I’ve also got some shots of places that family will recognise from long ago, but shot on infra-red film. Interesting.

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There’s a full moon tomorrow night, and it will have Jupiter and Mars aligned with it. Now that I have my Nikon P950 with its 2000mm lens, I would be able to get some good shots. However, the weather forecast is for cloud and rain, I think. Same for Monday when the alignment repeats, but again it’s 100% forecast for rain. Ho hum.