Saturday, May 14, 2011

Phone Diary Day 4

Yesterday I installed the Tram Hunter application to my new phone. It just happened to be a vile day for Yarra Trams service, as I was able to observe. Tram Hunter is very like Tram Tracker for iPhone, a live tram arrival time app. Thank you Mr Andy Botting, well done.

For some reason during my first attempt at downloading my first app, it stalled. After some time staring at the puzzling icon, which I now know is the download icon, I tried again and so I had two downloads going. The second worked fine but the first was still stuck. I found I can drag the top of the screen down and hold it and then cancel the download.

As R predicted, he keeps missing texts because of the lack of a repeat nag. I have to send him a text and if I don't receive a reply quickly, I then ring his phone to draw his attention. I have bookmarked Handcent app for him to have a good look at. It looks pretty good to me.

I shall continue on customising my phone and then probably have to do a reset and lose it all. It's a life.

Not quite normal

Well, that was an interesting couple of days. Blogger failed to proceed, ate posts, ate comments and now has been set back to where it was before it all went wrong. I still have one post missing, the latest, and some comments. I suppose it will be fixed eventually.

One thing that pleases me is that while I could not write anything, no one else could either, except for those smug types who use Word Press or other. We were all in the same boat. Comrades in suffering. Anyway, busy weekend working for me and I feel disinclined to write anything much until all is restored.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I ain't cheap

Just because I drain the liquid soap bottle and squeeze the bejesus out of a toothpaste tube, it doesn't mean I am cheap. I just don't like waste. I didn't mean for the tweezers to be in the photo. I must have been giving myself a good plucking. Nothing quite like a good plucking.

New phone day one

The jump to my old phone was quite a step. I learnt how it worked in time. My new Samsung Galaxy S is not such a challenge. My initial issue is that I don't like the text message set up. I like an inbox, a sent and a draft folder. I guess I may well download the app that Fen uses. I like the nag feature that Samsung has used for text messages for the various phones.

Maybe it is because I am getting old, but I am just not so excited about my new phone. It has so many things I can click on that will cost me money.

At this point, I can imagine downloading only three apps. Who knows what the future will hold once I really get into this new portable telephone.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Reprieve for Scott

It is good news from Indonesia that the convicted drug mule Scott Rush has had in execution on appeal reduced to a life sentence. Two others of the group still have an execution sentence hanging over the heads. That's not a pun as Indonesia shoots them to death, not hangs them by the neck until they are dead. But Rush is the one media has focused on. The other two don't look so good through the lens and have foreign names.

But just in case you have forgotten, Rush was one of four mules who were caught taking drugs into Indonesia. Taking drugs into Indonesia is a curious thing itself. Why would you?

But that Rush was caught was an utter disgrace. His parents contacted the Australian Federal Police before he took that fateful trip and informed them of what their son was about to do. Did the police stop him? They did not and allowed him to be caught and sentenced to death in Indonesia for what would be a possession charge in Australia and dealt with leniently.

At the time Australian Federal Police was presided over by one Kevin Andrews. He is still in politics. I get personal when someone performs as badly as Andrews did. The hat upon his bald head is dyed a very bad colour. He made no apologies for his department's actions.

Did he learn any lesson. Oh no, he then went on to preside over the Haneef case and defend himself and his department to the bitter end against the indefensible. Kevin Andrews is a disgrace, as are many of the left over serving coalition politicians. Once Malcolm returns, I am sure he will get rid of them, starting with Andrews and Bill Heffernan.

Carless in Melbourne

A few weeks ago a truck gave R's car a decent bumping when it was parked at his work place. R's car is in for repair for three days and he must use mine to travel to work, hence my week off work. I was owing myself a week off anyway.

Today (several days ago now) I went to our local Bunnings Hardware store in Port Melbourne. We have decided to be environmentally responsible and not throw out liquid paint but buy paint setter which turns the paint to granules to throw out in the rubbish. More importantly? we needed some heavy duty picture hooks.

I suppose we have been to our new local Bunnings six times, always in the motor. But of motors, I had none at hand. I'll get the bus then.

I knew a bus went past the big hardware store, but which one?

For ease I should have called on the telephone and asked. Instead, I spent more than half an hour on the net working it out. 232 is the go. What took time was that I was checking for other buses that might go there. I caught a bus to town and then crossed the road to the bus stop and caught the 232. Punctual, as it should have been because it had only come from Vic Market, although I don't know what the bus might have done before that.

The bus took me along a route I am not very familiar with and don't want to be, but once into Williamstown Road there was as convenient stop right at the big hardware store. I bought what I needed and unlike me, browsed for a while. Well, I knew I had just missed a bus.

The actual point of writing this is that very very few people would use public transport to go to the large Bunnings store, or any Bunnings store. So while I did not expect there to be a display case with a bus timetable, or even a tram timetable, as a tram is not far away, I would have at least expected a pedestrian walkway in from the street, rather that mixing it with cars in one of the many driveways. Perhaps public transport users and people within walking/cycling distance don't spend much in Bunnings.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Phones

First mobile phone, 1996 I think. Four more phones, always Ericsson, which became Sony Ericsson. That is until the last phone I bought second hand on Ebay. The day after I received the phone, the seller was struck off Ebay. Close call.

But I was very happy with my Samsung Ultra Touch. I could either use the slide out keyboard or use the touch screen. There is nary a scratch on the screen, so it must have a tough screen.

But I, or should I say we, have been mulling over these new phones, like the iPhone 4 or the Samsung Galaxy S. R's phone is even older than mine, bought in Singapore when we were travelling to England. His charger has a 'skippy plug' on it, so that it fits our electric sockets. While my phone is still quite respectable and still being sold, R's was very old fashioned. R just loves Samsung's nag feature for when a text message arrives. Every minute or so, it nags you to read the message. Mine, the Ultra Touch, has the same feature. It can be switched off.

So which did we get? Ha, you think I will let you off so easily.

It was using iTunes that really put me off Apple products. I did not like the 'trapped' feeling I had. I ditched iTunes eventually and I think at James suggestion I just added podcast updates to my Google Reader. It works. It works for lots of web sites as well as alerting to new blog mates new posts. Screw iTunes. I can steal off the internet if I need music.

But all the kiddies are using iPhones. All the modern and hip people seem to be using iPhones. iPhones have the most apps. My head was telling me iPhone.

R and I discussed it endlessly. Me pointing out the advantages and disadvantages and thoroughly confusing him and myself in the process.

Saturday dawned and once we were rid of the Bone Doctor who had stayed overnight, we journeyed into the city. 'Bone Doctor', I said, 'we are going into town to do some consumerising. Our phones are old and we need new ones. You haven't made your bed properly or pushed your chair in? No matter, you can leave as we go because we need to move a car to let you out. Ta ta. Say hi to Sister and Little Jo.' It is all a joke. We had no intention of buying new phones. Just looking.

We went to large Telstra shop on the corner of Bourke and Swanston streets. They even had some phones plugged in so that they were operative. Last time we were there, for some reason a guard blocked us from going upstairs. It was 'closed'. This time the guard suggested we did not go upstairs. 'All the phones are down here. No need to go up there. It is not staffed.' R was very annoyed at not being allowed upstairs. He always goes for the conspiracy theory while I always go for the incompetent.

We had a play with both models of phones. They seemed rather the same. The cost seemed rather high. We are both out of plans and given that we stick within our respective $20 call/sms/mms/data limit each month, it was appearing that it would cost us between $50 and $60 a month per phone. Bah. I am not sure how I will get a cheap phone, but I am not paying that, not when we have to maintain a landline so Mother can call us to call her back, as she is not a local call. We don't pay for local or STD calls from our home phone. Telstra has tied us up very nicely.

I had a vague memory of another couple of phone shops run by Asians. First one to mind must have gone, along with the cinema in Bourke Street. The nearby arcade has one but it is Optus. What about the Asian one at the corner of Lonsdale and Swanston? It is a Telstra place. The attractive young man realised he had some serious customers who knew more than he did, so he handed us over to his boss. His boss was fantastic. While we were only looking, he offered us a deal that was too good to refuse. We stay on our own $20 plans and pay an extra $20 per month to pay the phone off. I was prepared to buy a phone outright, but over two years, this was cheaper.

While R signed up, I went outside to think if this was all right for me. I decided yes and went back in and interrupted R's signing up with that I will have one too. I will add the extra $10 charge for 1.5gb of data. I have no idea why, but for some reason, R's phone has slipped into my name, so I don't have to do any paperwork. However, R snaffled the last phone in the shop and I can't pick mine up until three days later. I don't care really. So R has his new phone. He is not happy that it doesn't seem to have the text nag feature, but he asked me if there might be an app for that. Possibly but it will take me some time to work out this new beast. Do you ever really work them out and know all that they can do? Otherwise, he is quite happy with his new phone.

Down the track I might give an opinion of the phone once I get it, but as you may have observed, I rarely have an opinion on much in life.

Ah, which phone? Be patient.

I knew a new model had just been released and the phone shop was selling us older phones. Seems the new one is cut down version of the old. There were a couple of features on the older one that the new one did not have. The new one was smaller, but did not look as good. Because I could not get mine straight away I am guessing, he gave us cases for them. I don't like cases but R is happy with his case. His case and my lack of case will stop us picking up each other's phones and walking out the door with them.

Reminds me of my Sydney plastic friend. He once asked me how he can remember to always pick up his mobile phone and not lose it? I told him, just imagine your boyfriend going through your texts on your phone. Reminds me further of the day when I picked up R's wallet instead of my own and went to work when a tradesperson was coming and needed to be paid.

Oh, you have read all that you are still unsure of which phones we bought? The android Samsung Galaxy S.


Firefox is my preferred and default web browser and it has just updated itself and I don't like what it has done. Apparently it is faster and sleeker. That may well be, but I was very used to the layout of the old Firefox and I am somewhat annoyed. I suppose I will get used to most of the changes, but still.

My group of buttons, including Home and Refresh, have been moved. Refresh is a circular arrow at the right of the address bar and home is on the far right. I used to have them both on the left.

I am not sure what it is called, but the activity bar at the bottom only shows when a webpage url is being hovered over and clicked. I like it right across the bottom.

I am not a tabber. I don't use tabs. I have tried, but I just don't like them and I can see no benefit to me. I right click on a link and open in a new window, but in the right click menu, the order of open in a new tab and open in a new window has been transposed. All day I had been opening new tabs and forgetting and wondering why new windows weren't opening. And then I would click on the x to close the window I was reading and closed all of the tabs I had open.

Maybe you can tinker with it and return it to something similar to what you were used to, but the method is not immediately obvious to me.

Monday, May 09, 2011

State Funeral?

Excuse me? Is there more than one Lionel Rose? Don't tell me the alcoholic pugilist who made money from beating other blokes into a state of insensibility and who served time in gaol for criminal acts is getting a State Funeral?

I suppose next it will be ex Western Australia Premier Brian Burke who gets a State Funeral.


iPhone 4 or Samsung Galaxy S

iPhone 4 or Samsung Galaxy S

iPhone 4 or Samsung Galaxy S

The decision is made.

(well, it's exciting to us anyway)

Lindy poll result

Did Lindy do it?
Lindy did not do it and that she served time was very wrong56.3%9

Lindy did it, was punished, but on the discredited evidence, she should not have been convicted31.3%5

Lindy did it and got away with it12.5%2

total votes: 16

Hangin' with the birds

Now that the wretched Grand Pricks has finished and Albert Park is returning to normal, we took a late afternoon walk. It was the second day of what really felt like winter. The lake is wonderfully full and is very healthy, thanks to the planting of some filtration reed beds where the stormwater run off enters the lake.

Here is a pelican. While the lake has been stocked with fish of late, Mr Percy seemed to be happy to nuzzle around in the grass beds. Normally black swans would come to us if we stopped and hovered, so I can only conclude swans keep away from pelicans. I have only ever seen one or two pelicans at the lake at a time.

I believe this is a pacific black duck, but I stand to be corrected. Sis in Law has a duck and it gets along well with the chickens.

This is a red billed coot, a variety of coot named because of....

This is a purple swamp hen.

But while we had enjoyed nature, we had to cross a ten lane road on the way home. Somehow I don't think the truck rolled backwards up a slope. Much more likely that the driver of the expensive black car was texting.

Sunday, May 08, 2011


Freeview is starting a new series of advertisements this week and would like to have you believe the organisation, comprised of all television stations, is an altruistic coalition who's task to educate us about digital tv. It is not quite as altruistic as it may seem.

I feel the need to educate any of you who don't know and about to buy a pvr, or digital tv recorder. Some tv equipment will have a Freeview sticker on it, and some will not. Without knowing exactly what Freeview is, it sounds good and you would be tempted to buy the Freeview labelled product in preference to the non Freeview product, especially as they are sometimes cheaper than the equivalent non branded product. You should straight away smell a rat because of the price difference. I can well imagine salespeople fail to mention any disadvantage with Freeview branded products.

The first issue is of no great concern to me but it may be in the future if I buy and external hard drive and connect it to the recorder. Think of the external hard drive as just adding more storage space or to perhaps transfer a tv show to your computer or to another digital recorder or to just permanently save something. Freeview branded machines do not allow this, although there may be a complicated work around.

The second issue is the fast forward is restricted. I think our machine can ff at 120x. Freeview is restricted to 30x. If you don't think that is a big deal, wait until you get a machine and see how you end up using it.

The third issue is the one that really gets up my goat and that is the ad skip feature. Freeview does not allow the ad skip feature built into many digital recorders. I will only talk about our latest digital recorder, but our first and dodgy one and the smaller bedroom one both have the feature. There is a skip forward button and a skip back button. On our machine the time you can skip forward and the time you can skip back is alterable. I have our skip forward set to 30 second jumps and skip back to 20 second jumps. If we are watching something recorded, press maybe six or seven times and your are through the ad break in about four seconds. How good is that? Sometimes you go too far forward and if you really need to see the very start after the ad break, just skip back the 20 seconds. This feature is disabled in Freeview recorders.

So in summary, all Freeview means if you are buying a digital recorder is that it must comply with certain standards, which I believe they all do anyway, but your machine has been hobbled to ensure you watch the ads, although you can manually fast forward through them still as you would with a vcr.