At last, at last!

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I’m finally on the National Broadband Network (NBN) with a connection to the fibre optic cable network. Notice I don’t say connected to fibre direct. That’s because the cable guy who came yesterday to connect me said, “Sorry mate, you connect by twisted copper to the nearest node.”

What??!! My ISP says I have Fibre to the Home. Nope, they’re wrong. But he said not to worry because they are finding they are getting better speeds over the copper than the fibre. I find that hard to believe.

Anyway, the connection took more than an hour, requiring the installation of a new coax cable from the external box through the wall to a new connector plate on the inside wall. Crumbs! The guy was only 30 and was fit, and had done this before because he just set to it, no need to stop and think. He actually unscrewed and lifted some of my roof corrugated sheeting to get access for his “snake”, standing on the top platform of a 2m stepladder while he was doing it. It was wobbling and I would have been petrified, but he just rode it.

So then he connected his Opticomm modem and then connected that to the iiNet wi-fi modem that had arrived last Monday and said, “Right, I’m off.”

What? What about the rest of it, getting me on-line. “No mate, I don’t work for iiNet, that’s their job. See ya”, pocketing the extra fee I had to pay him (in cash) to do the wall cable and socket job.

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Today I tried to log in to the new wi-fi router with no success. To cut a long story short (phone call 1 = 49 minutes, phone call 2 = about 15 mins) and two or three new user names, SSIDs and two new passwords. I’m finally on. The iiNet support woman was in Capetown, South Africa, by the way. Cherelle.

The first thing I did was run Speedtest. Result – 1.l27Mb/s.  Huh? Same as I had before. Oh, you have to wait 24-48 hours for the speed to come up. Since I’m paying for 25Mb/s, it’s a bit disappointing.

I’ve just checked again – 5.6Mb/s, about the speed I get in my Bali hotel rooms. Patience, patience.

[Tuesday 18 July: speed is now 24.5Mb/s down and 4.9Mb/s up. Bagus!]

I also assumed I’d be getting a VOIP phone in the package – that was definitely my impression. Nope, I have to buy it myself. I can just plug my existing phone into the back of this new modem. That means I have to relocate everything. Tomorrow ….

One good thing – she said I’m due a rebate on my month’s fee for this billing period of $60. Yes, I agree with that.

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Now I hope I can finish fixing one of my other laptops, the one I’m selling.

It was totally screwed up, reaching the desktop, but not allowing anything beyond that. (When I last looked at it before I left for Bali on 3 June, it wouldn’t even power on. Reset button? Nope. Samsung. Not impressed. That’s why I’m selling.)

I had a brainwave – make a Windows Recovery Disk on another of my PCs. I used a USB drive and it took ages, more than an hour.

But eventually I had a bootable recovery USB drive. After finally being able to get into the BIOS to make it boot from the USB source, I plugged it in to the faulty laptop and bingo. It booted and everything was back to normal. I went back to the BIOS to ensure it booted from the hard drive again and restarted. All good.

So I decided to do a complete re-install of Windows as per the Settings menu. It started OK, but I soon found it was downloading a complete new copy of Win10 with all the latest fixes, a 4GB download! Over my slow ADSL connection. Last time I looked, after more than 12 hours it was at only 16%.

I’m hoping now that when I next power this on, it will resume at my new fibre speed.

I’m pretty pleased that I’ve been able to do all this myself, instead of needing to put the laptop in to Samsung for “repair”. It takes me a while to think it through, but I get there. Not bad for an old bloke. 🙂

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What a remarkable time we’re going through in this country at the moment:

  • The head of a very high profile government department has been sent “on leave” while something is investigated.
  • Next, one of his deputies is also sent on leave, and subsequently resigns. Both these have to do with inappropriate affairs with junior females.
  • Two executives of the AFL resign, and it comes out that it’s for the same reasons. Unrelated to the first items.
  • One of the highest level Greens Party senators resigns, because someone points out that, being born in NZ, he holds dual citizenship. The Constitution forbids it, so he has to go. He’s been in the Senate for years and is one of the really, really good guys IMHO. Tragic. I think if he renounces his NZ citizenship he should be re-electable.

There’s more but my brain is fried at the moment. Later.

It’s that word again!

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Bangkok 1988   © PJ Croft 2017

What word? Moana. What is going on? A few months ago I wrote of the strange coincidence of three very similar words appearing withing a couple of weeks: Moama, Moana and Momoa. The first is the name of the NSW town where a woman tragically drowned her son; the second is the surname of the Australian representative in this year’s Eurovision song contest; and the third is the title of a Disney movie. I might have them a bit mixed up, sorry.

Then last week, a guy’s name appeared in the West Australian newspaper, someone named Moana. Then in yesterday’s West, there’s a story about a building in Perth called Moana Chambers. It doesn’t seem to be related to the previous story.

Five times! Five times in five months. I’ve never heard this name in my 70 years of life before, but now it keeps appearing. Sure, it’s not exactly the same, but …. this is weird.

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I’ve just had to top up my internet data quota again. I’ve used my whole 20GB monthly allowance in six days! That’s the six days since I got back on Sunday 2 July, to yesterday, the 8th. What is going on? Five years ago I didn’t even go close to using 20GB in a month.

It doesn’t matter much, since I should have the fibre connection and 250GB per month within a week or two. But I’m finding that data is downloading at night even when I’m not using my computers. Why? How?

I must admit – computers, plural. I have a desktop and two laptops which are always on, even though they’re “Asleep”. Clearly, they are not fully asleep. This is spooky.

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Sony VAIO Blu-Ray laptop

Actually, now I have another (third) laptop. About a year ago I sold my Sony VAIO laptop, which I bought in 2010, to a friend. It was top-of-the-line then, carbon-fibre case, 8GB RAM, Centrino processor and most importantly to me, a Blu-Ray drive that not only plays, but records Blu-Ray discs. Did I ever use it to record? Well, er, not actually, but I might want to 😉

It’s beautifully small and light (1.5Kg, hmmm, feels less) and it means I can watch movies in my hotel rooms without carrying a separate DVD drive, and record backups to CDs and DVDs on the move.

Anyway, I knew my friend wasn’t using it much as he’s not a computer nut and has another larger laptop (he said, to be honest, he hadn’t even used the VAIO), so yesterday I bought it back from him for what he paid me for it ($400). I missed it, and it’s valuable to me.

So, now I have two desktop Core i7 PCs (I built one in 2009); plus a Dell XPS15 15″ Core i7 laptop with 4K display touch-screen; plus an ASUS tablet PC running Windows 10 with detachable keyboard and touch-screen with stylus; plus another Samsung tablet PC, also Win10 touch-screen that I’m selling; plus the Sony VAIO 11″; and a Samsung 10″ tablet running Android. That’s seven PCs. Am I a nut case? Or a computer case.

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Actually, the Samsung tablet PC that I’m selling is a basket case at the moment. I was trying to remove myself as a User prior to passing it over to my other friend (I do have more than one … ) when the computer seemed to do a convulsion and hung, and now it won’t boot properly. It gets to the desktop, but with limited functions (no This PC shown, for example) and won’t do anything.

OK, go back to the emergency partition and reload the O/S. Nope, no way to get there. No reset button that I can find. No way to reach the BIOS. Samsung Help is no bloody help at all because it assumes you can reach the desktop with functionality. I’m going to have to put it back to Samsung and ask them to do it, which will cost me, because it’s just out of warranty. Not happy with Samsung.

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Tower of London with Roman Wall  © PJ Croft 2017

I’m wrestling with myself – do I do this last-gasp trip to England to see Croft Castle in September, or do I let it go another year in the hope that I’ll feel fitter and more energetic next year? Hah! I think the answer’s self evident.

But there’s something wrong with my left eye – it’s constantly smeary, as if my glasses are smeared, but they’re not. And my left leg is a mess with swelling due to the “veinous insufficiency” and intermittent ulceration. And my right hip is becoming sore, burning pain at times. We know what that means, don’t we?

I have a referral to the Lions Eye Institute where I’m hoping they will diagnose a cataract or two and fix it, but I know that will involve waiting weeks or months for an appointment, and I need to go on this trip in September. Why? Because it’ll get too cold later. September and October were absolutely ideal in ’08, with warm sun and long evenings. Shorts and T shirt weather.

I  wasn’t injecting insulin or Byetta in 2008 either. It’s not a big deal, but I would have to buy more while I was away and it costs quite a bit without Medicare.

I think the answer is clear: do it! Do it now! Next year will be too late. I’m nervous about it, because I know it will be strenuous and I’m much less fit for it than I was in 2008, but that was such a great trip that I want to reproduce it. I guess if it proves too hard, I could turn around at some stage, but that’s being defeatist.

Time to start adding up costs. I still have my spreadsheet from 2008 where I logged every cent I spent, so I know what to expect. The total then was about $15,000, but I wouldn’t do as much this time so I’ll aim for much less.

By the way, I was in London, in the vicinity of The City, on the day when Lehmann Bros collapsed in September 2008 and the GFC began. I wonder what I could precipitate this time. With The Dump in power and Kimmy Boy playing with his nukes, anything could happen.

Troubles

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I’ve got phone troubles. Apologies if you’ve been trying to ring my home land-line phone. You would have heard the first two long tones of a dial-up modem, then fading away and disconnection. On my handset I see “Check tel line”.

I must admit it’s very convenient for the two robot charity calls I get every day. It automatically hangs up on them, the pests. They never give up, even though I never answer them.

Anyway, I’ve called iiNet Support and I’m just waiting for them to call me back on my yuppie phone. Useful things, those, at times. I made a big mistake by installing Facebook on mine, though, and I’m plagued by notifications. I’ve uninstalled it. Same for YouTube. These are incredible time wasters.

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OK, iiNet have called back and I’ve enrolled my voice in their computer for future voice verification of my identity. Amazing.  They heard the fault when they rang me, so they’ve scheduled a technician to call around some time in the next week. Seems to me it’s an exchange fault, but it’s their money.

I also said I’ve found I can’t receive international calls (i.e. from Bali) on my “handy”. However, while I was on the line, I looked at the settings in iiNet Toolbox and found that it was set to bar outgoing international calls. My problem is incoming, but still …  I’ve changed it to allow calls and she said it can take up to two days to take effect. Really? Anyway, I’ll try a call later.

I also found the switch to allow my number to be listed with my address in the printed White Pages directory, so I’ve set that to Allow as well. That also takes two weeks.

Finally, I actually made the application to move to the NBN yesterday. I have FTTH, Fibre To The Home, available, so I get full speed up to 100Mb/s if I want it. But I’ve chosen 25Mb/s with a 250GB monthly data allowance for cost reasons, but I can change it if I want to. One reason would be to get 4K programs from Netflix, but I don’t need that.

This change means my home phone becomes a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone, and I’ll lose my service for 2-5 days while they swing it over. That’ll be next week some time.

So all in all, it’s all happening. Phew!

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A few more things

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The rugged NW of WA   © PJ Croft 2017

I forgot to mention an incident at Denpasar Airport on Sunday. I was walking in the main concourse past the departure gates and right in the middle of the main entrance area, I spotted a cardboard box tied with blue twine on the floor, with no-one around it. I watched it for a minute or so and saw no-one who seemed to belong to it, so I was getting a bit alarmed and looking for a way to call security..

A guy walked past with a badge and a walkie-talkie. I yelled out Maaf! Maaf! (Exscuse me) to get his attention. He turned and looked at me and at that instant a guy who looked maybe Japanese hurriedly claimed the box, looking embarrassed as he did so. Idiot.

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My phone battery was getting a bit low, so I looked at two free wi-fi counters, hoping to plug into a USB socket for charging. But they don’t have USB sockets, only mains power sockets for your charger. So no good to me. Why not provide USB sockets?

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My new phone, the OnePlus-3T, is great, but it automatically downloaded a 1.3GB update of the Android O/S without my permission. Now I can’t choose my desktop “wallpaper” any more. The only choice is OnePlus’s rather garish and busy multicoloured screen, which makes it hard to see the apps and text.

I’ve searched high and low several times for a way to change it, but no luck. Similarly, I can’t find a way to stop automatic updating of apps and software. I don’t care about many of the apps and don’t want to waste bandwidth with updates, but I can’t find a way to disable it now. I guess I’ll have to hit the forums to complain.

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Through my Lovina friend Vero I’ve met a Bali woman called Fetty who I’ve mentioned before, has a degree in IT but works from home as a chef. For Idul Fitre, she delivered this box of food, just for me! Free, a gift. I was astounded. It’s a mix of two meat dishes, beef and chicken curries, glutinous rice packed in those woven palm leaf baskets, various other savoury dishes and rice cracker snacks in the left front. The round balls are sweets. It was easily enough for two, so that was dinner for one night, with leftovers. It was very nice of her.

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NW of WA   © PJ Croft 2017

I was reliably getting between 5 and 6Mb/sec in my hotel room at the Taksu. It was fantastic speed. compared to the 1.2Mb/sec I get here. It made all the difference. I could watch video clips without any hesitations. I’m tired of watching the spinning circle at home.

So this time, it’s time to start the NBN process. iiNet tells me I have FTTH, fibre to the home, ie right to my house, not to a box down the street and copper wire phone line from there, which is Turncoat Turnbull’s second rate plan.

I started clicking boxes tonight, but it requires me to phone them, so I’ll leave that to tomorrow when I have my wits about me. But it’s time to get the wheels rolling.

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I saw the doc today and my left leg, although it looks pretty ugly after the bandage was removed, has healed OK, so the nurse didn’t do anything. Just leave it exposed.

I also have a referral to the Lions Eye Institute to ask them about my bleary left eye. Then after that, I have to have a colonoscopy as my Fecal Occult Blood Test came back positive. I had one only 2 1/2 years ago and it was all clear, but I’d better follow this up. Ugh. And some dental work is needed. I admit to a phobia about dentists, but it has to be done. Double ugh!

Plus I had blood taken today to try to diagnose my extreme fatigue, I feel so weak I v=can hardly stand up out of a chair st the moment. Something’s wrong.

 

Some pics from Bali to Perth

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Evening clouds over WA

Home again after a reasonably pleasant flight from Bali to Perth today. Brrrrrrr, it’s cold in Perth, compared to Bali. It was 12C when we landed at 6pm and it must be about 6C now at 11pm. I’m still too wired to go to bed yet.

I had booked seat 2C, an aisle seat, but joy, oh joy, I found that no-one filled the two seats beside me, so as soon as the seatbelt sign went off, I slid over and had the row to myself. No-one grabbed the other seats, so I was able to have the middle tray down for my nasi padang lunch. Lovely. I had to endure the seat in front of me fully reclining in my face, and noisy kids behind me, but it was a reasonably comfortable flight. We took off 30 mins late, but landed on time. I was surprised to hear the captain announcing the landing – it was a woman pilot. Captain, no less. Bagus!

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My flight was at 2pm and I was through immigrasi and into the lounges by 1215pm. I thought to have a coffee and biscuit while I waited, but the prices at Denpasar Airport are just ferocious! A coffee ranges from $4.90 to $6, and a hamburger is $18.90. These are even higher than Perth. I was so astounded that I walked away. I’m not paying that.

OK, so I had an ice cream. I was even more astounded: $6.80 for a single small cone. I only pay $4.50 at my local shops for a much bigger serve. Moral: take a cut lunch.

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I stayed my last three nights at my favourite hotel, the Taksu Sanur. What a pleasure this hotel is. I didn’t have a prior booking, but they had a room and it looked out over beautiful greenery on the ground floor to the kids’ pool. The staff all remembered me, as this would be the fifth or sixth time I’ve stayed there and I recognised a lot of them, too. It really makes me feel good when they greet me by name and remember my previous stays. I tell them I’ll be back, and I mean it. I don’ wanna stay anywhere else. The rooms are huge and immaculate and I don’t have a single complaint.

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We also had dinner two nights running at the Stiff Chili restaurant on Semawang Beach. The breeze off the ocean is so strong that they have to put screens up. Once again, they remembered us from previous visits and we had a good old chat with Wayan, the Balinese waiter who speaks excellent Italian. How? He just picked it up from customers. V speaks quite passable Italian too, and she says he’s good.

In fact Veronika is pretty clever herself. She speaks High German, Austrian German, excellent English of course, Spanish, passable French and Italian. As well as some basic Latin from school in Vienna. Not bad, eh? I’m impressed!

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Now for some pics shot from my window seat this afternoon. The air was very hazy, but with enhancement …

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1 Near Wickham

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12  Rays of light.

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So endeth four weeks in Bali. I must admit, I’m a bit Bali’d out at the moment. A bit tired of the horrendous traffic, the suicidal driving, the haggling and so on. I’ll be back, though. Not sure when. I talked of doing a trip to England this year, but I’m not sure I’m up to it. Fatigue is becoming a serious problem and I can’t walk far without conking out. I did walk from the Taksu to the beach restaurant two afternoons in succession, though my leg muscles are complaining. Must keep at it, I guess.

Some pics from Ubud to Sanur

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This is Putuh, daughter of Kadek, the pembantu or cleaning lady.

Better today. Not the big loss I thought yesterday. But a dose of the back-door-trots to keep me confined to my room.

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I was really worried last night as my ulcerated left leg had swollen to twice its usual big size (I have a bad vein, leading to pooling of the blood). I thought it might be a repeat of the problem I had last trip when my right leg got infected, requiring i/v antibiotic at BIMC, at a huge cost, nearly $600 I think.

No, after a good sleep with my leg up on a pillow, it was back to its usual slim, shapely, svelte size this morning. 🙂

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While I remember, I’ve been meaning to mention that service stations sell LPG, of course. Guess what it’s called? Elpiji, of course. How logical.

They also sell nitrogen gas for your tyres. You pay Rp10,000 (A$1) for a fill. I can’t do this at home, afaik.

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This morning I tried to check my Air Asia flight home on Sunday, only to find it is not listed on the Manage My Bookings web page. Grrr.

So I’ve just spent quite a long time in Web Chat with Nisa, and she assured me it has been recorded and would appear. Does it? It does not, an hour later.

OK, I’ve got my original printout of the booking from when I made it six weeks ago, so I should be OK, but …

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Now for a lot of pictures taken during the drive from Ubud to Sanur yesterday. Most of these were shot from the moving car. The camera chooses a shutter speed up around 1/1200sec or faster, so little or no camera shake. I also shot some 4K video outside the car window, nice and clear, but I can’t show it yet. All these shots have been edited, cropped, adjusted for rotation and exposure.

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Lake Bratan, near Bedugul

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Closer view of the village. Can’t find the name.

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Watering the bat. See him hanging there?

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Same shop, bats and an iguana. The sign says, “Don,t be photographer from the top of the car” (sic)

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Hallo sir, where are you from, you buy T shirt?

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Genuine authentic Indonesian boomerangs.

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No caption needed.

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Waiting for business.

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Looking SE, Gunung Agung at left in the clouds. The buildings at right are an abandoned half completed hotel.

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The blue shed.

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Traditional Bali

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Stocking the shop.

That’s all for now. Bit cloudy today, nice and cool. I’m going to walk about 800m to a restaurant on Semawang beach, the Stiff Chili. Yum. Meeting my love again. Nearly lost her. We’ll be OK.