Thursday, July 19, 2018

Myki Madness

BAD is still in Barcelona. Let's hope no one takes her to a Spanish gay bar.

Today's post was supposed to be of photos of Paris, but photo posts are harder work than just ranting with my fingers rattling the keyboard.

I know what some or your cities' public transport stored value cards are called. The names make little sense to me, with only the Octopus Card with spread tentantacles making any sense at all. Victoria's is called Myki. Maybe there is some sense in the name, My Key, to public transport.

For some weird reason, in Victoria our Myki cards expire after three years and they have to be replaced. Three years ago,  R had to replace his Myki so he went to Flinders Street Station to do so. It was painful.

If you catch a tram in Melbourne, you do not have to touch off with your Myki. You do on buses and trains. The reason is that it would cause great delay to trams as everyone touched off as they leave a tram. Our trams are very busy vehicles and depend on moving with minimal loading and unloading delay. Did you hear that that? No need to touch off on a Melbourne tram. Yes, looking at you Farm-ily.

So, R did not touch off his Myki on the tram when he went to Flinders Street Station, but to replace his Myki, he needed to touch it off. Who would have guessed that? He was sent in a train barrier and then out again. Because he was 'in the paid area', for less than 15 minutes, he would not be charged.

The rest of the process neither of us can remember.

It was time to renew his Myki again. He did touch off on the tram to ensure a smooth process. The exchange from the old to the new was no problem, until we got home. He was told by the clerk (in an autocratic manner, I say that clerk is pronounced as clark on my blog) that he would have to change his auto card top up details with the number of his new Myki. Fine, we will do that online.

He spent half an hour trying to do so, and I spent half an hour trying to do so, and there seems no way to do such a simple thing at the Myki website, but we couldn't.

Now we have had a computer and been connected to the internet since about 1996, so we are not really people who don't know how to turn on a computer. Nevertheless, we are stumped. I can only think there might be a time allowance for the things to update at Myki. If not, it will be an old fashioned phone call to the Myki org, who are always very helpful. We think the same thing happened the last time.

I will say though, with auto top up, normally our Myki cards work without a problem. But what is the need to replace our cards after three years? It is nonsense. I know our London Oyster Cards will work the next time we are in London, as long as they have credit, and I know they do, and that is surely five years after we last used them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Our train system grew and then shrunk

BAD is in Barcelona.

How much work must have gone into this animated graphic. Just brilliant, about the expansion and shrinkage of Victorian Railways. You begin to see it start to disappear in the 1970s and increased greatly after the Lonie Report in the 80s. Some time earlier in England came the Beeching Report, which lead to the closure of many railway lines.

So, go to the above website and you may have to click animate on the left.

I don't think an animated map has been made for New South Wales, but here is a static map for Sydney folk to see when your nearest station was opened. Included is the date when each station opened. Nice work by someone.

Below is a map of Melbourne's trains system. Our naming of lines is absolute rubbish because they keep changing the name. Both London and New York do line names very well, with London having names for lines and the name doesn't change, and New York names their lines with letters such as the A Line, not terminus names as Melbourne foolishly does. Nevertheless, I think our train map is easier to follow than Sydney's. Frinstance, how do I get to Hornsby. I catch the T1 line, but T1 goes three different ways. How do I know? Not that I really want to go to Hornsby.

Ok, no map of Melbourne. It is too hard to find the right one. I've spent enough time on it. But to give you a taste of what I mean, the St Albans line became the Watergardens line as the suburban system was extended, and is now the Sunbury line. The Epping line became the South Morang line and is about to change names again. It is so silly.

Go to this link and see how Victoria's country train system expanded and then contracted. The animated map is just a brilliant piece of work. Yes, I linked to it above, but I can't be bothered editing any more. The large gap on the right is the mountainous Great Dividing Range. For travellers, the final map is not as good as it looks, as a number of lines are slow freight lines, slow because of neglect. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A Shocking Crime

Make no mistake about it. Shocking crimes of active and passive negligence were committed in London preceding, during and after the Grenfell Tower flats went up in a spectacular blaze of fire last year. I have added the reporting of the investigation by The Guardian to my RSS feed.

It is almost impossible to understand how this could have happened. Given where we live, in a highrise building, anything like this is of great interest to me.

Every official department failed. The local council who was in charge. The local government's hired minions. The government. Builders. Architects, and worst of all the Fire Brigade. Having mentioned the Fire Brigade is not a reflection on the extraordinary bravery and self sacrifice of the fire fighters. They were ill prepared and not even vaguely properly trained for this type of fire, never mind their lack of equipment and failed communication devices. But so many firefighters put their own lives at risk to rescue people, and rescue people they did. Nevertheless, 74 people died. That is shocking. I think this one report of one day of the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire kind of sums up everything you will read about the firefighters efforts.

I've never seen any reports about the 999 workers who were receiving calls from residents in the tower block. What must it like be for them to be talking on the phone to residents and them saying that help is on the way, as the person just dropped off the phone because they were being burnt or smoked to death.  The stuff of nightmares. (subsequently I have heard evidence from some 999 call takers)

A firefighter at Grenfell Tower prepared to die when his oxygen almost ran out during the attempted rescue of a 12-year old girl because the fire lift failed, the public inquiry has heard.
Christopher Secrett, a crew manager at North Kensington fire station, placed himself in a corner of the smoke-logged stairs, so his body would not be in the way if he died, and tried to text his mother, the inquiry heard.
Secrett described how he was responding to a call for help for Jessica Urbano Ramirez on the 20th floor and had climbed with colleagues through thick smoke and extreme heat up 14 storeys.
They should have been able to take control of the lift but that failed and carried them only six storeys. If it had worked his air would not have run out and this was “one of the major faults” at Grenfell, he said.
Radio communications between firefighters in the tower also failed, he said. “I knew we were in trouble,” he told the inquiry. “It was just too hot and I was running out of air.”
Jessica was found dead on the 23rd floor.
Secrett’s testimony came on a day when the horror of what faced the firefighters in the early hours of 14 June 2017 became clearer than ever.
They described bodies falling from the building, including one that hit a firefighter and another whose leg came away from his hip when firefighters tried to move him.
John O’Hanlon described the scene as “absolute carnage” and like a war zone, likening it to 9/11. “We noticed somebody had jumped and landed on the playground,” the firefighter said.
“I had seen a blur and heard a thud. It was going so fast I knew it wasn’t a piece of debris. He landed around 10 metres from me.”
Secrett said he saw the same man lying in a garage where he had been put. His separated leg was next to him where he lay in a pool of blood.
“I remember one casualty I had was a young girl, she was roughly the size of a two- or three-year-old,” said O’Hanlon. “She looked to be of Somali descent. I believe she may have been dead. I laid her down and her eyes were rolled to the back of her head. That face will always stay with me.”
O’Hanlon told the inquiry that when he first got to the scene he was reminded of a hotel fire in Dubai he had seen on YouTube, but he said he had had no training in responding to such exterior cladding fires.
The London fire brigade knew about such fires because it had compiled a slide show about the risks of combustible cladding in July 2016, featuring the Dubai blazes, the inquiry previously heard.
O’Hanlon was one of the first to enter the fourth floor flat where the fire began and described how even though firefighters were pumping at least 240 litres of water per minute on to the burning plastic window surround the flames would not go out. He said the outside of the building was “roaring” like a burning gas main.
There were also “heated discussions” between firefighters over whether enough was being done to save people, said Daniel Egan, a fire safety manager who was responsible for relaying information from 999 calls from people inside the tower to the firefighters entering the building.
Egan said he had repeatedly told the firefighters at the bridgehead about two adults and two children inside flat 133 on the 17th floor, but believed they had not been reached, and described the response as frustrating.
Secrett, a firefighter for 19 years, said he had never experienced heat like he felt in flat 176, where Jessica lived with her family.
“At this point, the temperature just soared,” he said. “It went from what I would call normal hot to unbearable. I dropped to my knees and I think I actually lay down on the floor. I knew we couldn’t stay there. I crawled out and called to firefighter [David] Badillo that we had to get out of there.”
“I grabbed his arm and told him I was running out of air so he was to stay with me and we needed to get out. The temperature got even hotter. I remember lying on my belly and it took me a while to get back on my knees. I thought it was going to flashover and go. Flashover is when the temperature increases and increases until everything in the room will self-combust.”
They were also with Chris Dorgu, a firefighter whom they lost in the heat and smoke as they started to descend, but neither man had the energy to call out for him.
“I looked at my gauge and saw I only had 15 bar left,” Secrett said. “I was in big trouble. I put myself in a corner of the stairwell because I did not want to be in anyone else’s way if I didn’t make it out. I tried to get my phone out of my pocket to text my mum but I couldn’t get the phone out.”
Dorgu emerged and they came down together “stumbling, falling and crawling trying to get down”.
After spending time in recovery, Secrett started carrying the dead and injured from the block.
“It was raining debris everywhere,” he said. “Someone had jumped out the tower. He hit a firefighter on his back. There were lots of people there who went to help so I continued to help by putting out fires. There were taxis and mopeds nearby catching fire.”
The inquiry continues. Absolutely criminal. People should be gaoled. 

Buddha's Day

BAD is in Salerno, Italy.

My number of unfinished and unpublished posts was rising rapidly, which usually leads to a Flood Friday. Instead I have finished them and as you may have noticed you are getting two posts a day for the last few days. I am hovering around twenty, of which ten are permanently not for publication or have been published and then pulled.  Still, I am doing better than Snoskred with 60 unpublished posts.  Here is the first for today. I don't think there will be more two posts a day.

Too much writing and not enough photos of late. These were taken a while ago of local celebrations at Federation Square for Buddha's Day. There is not much to say about the photos.

A politician speaks. I know who he is, but it doesn't matter.

Pouring water over a miniature religious figure. Not baptising I shouldn't think.

I made a twenty second video with a pan of the scene. Turn up your sound and you will hear the bells of St Paul's Cathedral ringing. To my ears, it sounds like bell ringing practice for first timers. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

So not a gamer

I've never been a gamer on the net. It just does not interest me, but yet........

Mother had a black and white AWA Deep Image tv (Australia Wireless something. I can't remember ) in the seventies. It was a stylish modern television with a nice legs and and a very handsome timber veneer.  Mother still had the tv into the eighties and was rather late into colour tv, with her next set being a Rank Arena. My younger siblings had some sort of game thing they could plug into the AWA tv. I think it was called Pong. It was good fun, to hit a ball a bit back and forth from the control sticks. (I don't remember the control sticks, but it can't have been touch screen).

Such a simple game, but we had such fun.

Our Late Friend back in the early noughties asked what I was doing with my old mobile phone. He suggested I should give it to his partner as a gift. No way, I replied. It has Tetris on it and I can't find it on my new phone, so I will keep the old phone to play Tetris. I never did play it again, and eventually I put the phone into a phone recycling bin.

But yeah, things like Super Mario, Sim City,  etc all go above my head. I don't know about them and I am not interested at all to find out about them.

I quite like pinball machines though.

What about you? Do you like online game playing? I hear a deafening silence.