Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sage Technical Advice from the Experts

I can't remember the figure now, but when we bought our first computer it had a large hard drive, large enough as the salesman said, that you could not possibly fill it. It was something like 2gb. Wrong. We now have two hard drives, a total of 2 terrabytes rather than gigabytes. It is adequate, for now.

When we bought our new Hyundai in 2000 it came with a driver airbag. What about the passenger, we asked? Airbags are just a gimmick for US drivers who won't wear seatbelts, stated the salesman. They will be dropped here after a year. Fourteen years later it is nothing for a car to have six airbags.

5gb is a huge download limit. You couldn't possibly need more, we were advised. We now have a limit of 100gb and use about 35gb a month, for the desktop, notebook, tablet and two phones, plus another 250mb for my phone.

If your tv is too big, you won't be able to see the picture properly. We advised the person of the dimensions of our room and he calculated the size. 106cm (42") seemed ok initially but we soon decided it was hard to see properly from the kitchen. The present one is 116cm (46") and again we wished we had bought a bigger one. My rule of thumb is similar to my rule for painting. The painting rule is work out how long painting will take and double it. For a tv, work out what size you want and go one or two sizes bigger. Contrary to what I normally think, things can be too big though (really Andrew?). Friends have a tv that is just too big. It must be over 200cm (80").

While I am talking of tech stuff, last week the mouse started playing up, doing a left click when it was supposed to be a hold down. It is our third cordless keyboard. As with the others, a sender unit sat on the desktop. The two former ones were very unreliable but this one has been good. They all came with installation cds, which I may or may not have used.

This new one has no sender unit with a cord to sit on the desk, just a USB thing to plug into the back of the computer, as we use for the note book. That is all I had to do and it all just worked. Have we finally reached the much promised age of plug and play?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lovely train

Isn't this a lovely looking steam train. It must have one of the last designs. It is of the same design as the more famous Mallard engine, used on the English north eastern railway. Yes, the line we will travel on in May.

Obviously it is not in regular service now but runs special services on the Great Western Railway from Bristol Temple Meads through the Somerset countryside and the along the Devon coast to almost Dartmouth (a ferry ticket across the river to Dartmouth is included in the price).

I wish there was a bit more seriousness for preserving our railway heritage in Australia. I hope to visit the Transport for London museum when we visit, but we won't have time to see the brilliant National Rail Museum in York. We have seen the excellent rail museum in Tokyo where visitor numbers far exceeded expectations after its opening. Our National Rail Museum in Port Adelaide is not bad, but it is a case that money needs to invested into the museum to attract paying crowds.

In England, we may be able to visit the Beamish Transport Museum and or the (George) Stephenson Transport Museum in North Shields.

Anyway, it is lovely to see the Torbay Express going through its paces.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A visit to the botanic gardens part 2

After viewing so many cactus, it was time for an early afternoon tea, so I headed for the Botanic Gardens cafe.

Why would someone sneak into the gardens at night and ringbark this gum tree? Ringbarking is chopping away a circle of bark which will cause the tree to die.

In the softness of the well watered green garden, the city buzzes away in the background.

A peak through the Moreton Bay Figs.

This is the Separation Tree, where the citizens of the newly proclaimed Colony of Victoria celebrated their separation from the Colony of New South Wales in 1850. It is not for the first time,  but again someone ringbarked the tree. It is such an important historical tree, staff have made a huge effort to help it in its distressed state.

A boat? For what reason?

Ah, Edwardian punting. You can see they are watching me taking their photo. I thought of hanging around and giving them my card and upon request, emailing the photo to them. But there was a professional photographer there to do that, for a fee of course.

While I had coffee, this bird drank from the milk jug at an adjacent and deserted table.

While I was taking the photo, another bird checked out my coffee cup, and ok, there was the remains of a muffin. Whose? Mine?

It was just a normal weekday, but plenty were out enjoying the sunshine, or seeking shade.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A visit to the Botanic Gardens Part 1

R has finally properly retired. My last day off work before he finished work was a bit weird. I wanted to take advantage of not telling anyone where I was going or what I was doing for the last time. I simply walked to the Botanic Gardens, something I could do quite happily with R anyway.

Cactus are not my favourite plant, nevertheless, I admired the ones that surrounded the volcano in the Royal Botanical Gardens of Victoria.I took lots of photos and I'd better break this into two posts.

How would it be to live in the apartment block overlooking the gardens.

This is a cactus.

This is cactus.

This is a cactus.

This is the volcano, renovated and filled with water.

This is a cactus.

The water reticulation system. Water is pumped uphill and then flows downhill. Remarkable?

These plant islands float around and their roots purify the water and add good bacteria.

This is a cactus.

City views, all very phallic.

This is a cactus.

This is a cactus.

This is a cactus.

This is a cactus.

This is a cactus.

This is a cactus. Ever so phallic.

This is a cactus.

This is a cactus.

This is a cactus.

This is a cactus.

This is a cactus.

This is a cactus.

Not so sure that this is a cactus.

Not cactus, surely.

Could be cactus.

No more cactus in part 2.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dear Ms Quentin Bryce

Well, I better do it correctly, as that is not the way to refer to her at all.

Your Excellency, the Honourable Ms Quentin Bryce, AC Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. (my commas. I thought they looked right)

As our Queen's representative in the office of  Governor General of Australia you are owed respect. No matter how anachronistic your position is. Does modern Australia really need a Queen's representative in Australia? Do our States need Governors, also the Queen's representatives.

That is seven people on the public payroll, plus their expenses and a retinue of staff. It would be unfair to describe them as people to open fetes, but that is essentially what they are, fete openers.

I will now address you as Ms Bryce, assuming such informality will not have me reported to our Queen and she won't put me in the Tower of London.

Ms Bryce, I think you have acquitted yourself well. Even our dubious Prime Minister Abbott seems to approve of you, or he would not be giving you the status you are about to receive. But truly Ms Bryce, I wonder if The Abbott's hair brained scheme of reinstating Dames and Sirs would not have gotten off the ground if you had not indicated you would accept such a title.

Australia abolished Kinghthoods and Damehoods in 1986. Surely it is enough to have a a couple of letters after your name, so often for people just doing their paid job. Ms Bryce, you already have an AC. Don't you think you are being a bit greedy by wanting to be called Dame Quentin? The pomposity of it is unbelievable. The anachronism beyond the pale.

Am I  being distracted from the really important and mostly destructive things that our government is doing? Yes, but  I am so disappointed in our Governor General Ms Bryce for accepting a Damehood. You sold out sister. You've gone down in my estimation.


The English Daily Telegraph reported on the most misspelt words. I have some sympathy.

1/ separate, not seperate as I have at times spelt it. I know it now.
2/ definitely, the second i and e float around this word and they have for me.
3/ manoeuvre, I have seen different spellings for this word. I can never write it without checking.
4/ embarrass, yes, I have gotten this wrong too, but I have learnt it.
5/ occurrence, yes, while I do know how to spell it, I have in the past got it wrong.
6/ consensus, easy word to spell, what's the issue?
7/ unnecessary, maybe a decade ago I realised I could not spell the word and learnt it, the hard way.
8/ acceptable, I don't think I have a problem with this one.
9/ broccoli, how are we expected to spell foreign words? But I can this one without a problem.
10/ referred, how many r's, how many f's. I expect I have gone wrong with it at times.

Some of the other words in the list are:

bureaucracy, that is a hard one and I have to check it

connoisseur, another hard one I would struggle with it if I had cause to use it

particularly, no problem for me.

questionnaire, two n's or one? I think I am ok with that one.

entrepreneur, I just know I would get this one wrong.

parallel, I had to learn this for work, many years ago.

How do you go with them?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Shame File

This bloke, David Graham, was travelling on bus. He was drunk and horrifically abused a French born student studying in Australia. The You Tube video of the abuse filmed by another passenger on the bus went truly viral, with over four millions hits. Graham has been gaoled, but only for a few weeks. Public shaming is better, and here is the not the so bright exhibit.


I can't recall where, it may have been work related, but I have had some interaction with the bloke below. His looks are memorable and he is a nasty piece of work.  I would be very surprised if he was not already well known to police. The slight but ever so clever Marcus Wong got the better of him after Marcus heard him muttering sotto voice some very racist remarks on an Elizabeth Street tram. While it has not gone viral like the afore mentioned situation, Marcus has received some media attention and many hits on You Tube and his blog.

I am racist, and so are you, and don't tell me otherwise. However, in 2014 we know that we cannot racially discriminate. If we want to say things about people from other countries, we keep them to ourselves and among close friends. It rather depends on who says it, but if a friend makes what could be construed as a racist comment, I judge them on their history and their general attitude to people. Not one of my friends or family would be openly racist. They are not into hurting people, for any reason.

Moslem, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, doubters and non believers. European, African, Asian, Middle Eastern, American, or native people, we are all human and come from the one source. We should naturally treat each other politely and with respect.

Not so for this rich prick Jeff Hunter, who carelessly opened the left hand door of his taxi cab into the path of cyclist who hit the door and fortunately was not injured too badly. She had both a helmet and handle bar camera and recorded the incident, including him refusing to give his details after being involved in an accident. Had he have profusely apologised for being in the wrong, which he was, confessed he made a grave mistake and maybe offered her $100 for her distress, his picture would not be here.

What is wrong with people? Why are they not adjusting to the fact that cameras are all around us?

I thought this article published under editorial in the right wing Murdoch paper The Australian was meant to be humorous irony. Yes, I was a bit amused. I followed the link back to the Australian. There is no name attached to the piece, but unbelievably the piece was serious. While I rarely agree with The Australian editorial pieces, I appreciate that they are often sensible, well written and well argued. But lordy, take a look and judge for yourself. Apogee? I know there is such a word, but I don't have a clue what it means and I'm not going to look it up as I shall never use it.

 I've have emboldened some of the more outrageous parts.

THE arrogant sense of entitlement in our inner cities is also evident in the ever-growing number of cyclists snaking their way through pedestrians on overcrowded pathways, darting between cars and clogging-up lanes on our congested roadways.
The problem of city cyclists reached their apogee in Melbourne this week when a cyclist was “doored” on busy Collins Street, after a passenger opened a taxi door and a rider crashed into it. Neither the taxi nor its passenger could be deemed at fault because a narrow “bike lane” inhibited the taxi from stopping next to the kerb. The passenger was lucky to avoid serious injury.
What makes this incident even more absurd is that, although the lane was marked by a bicycle symbol, it was not actually a dedicated bicycle lane. Melbourne bike lanes must have signage, fixed to a pole, that shows the start and finish of a lane, as well as clear markings on the road itself. The state’s bicycle operations officer — yes, there is such a position — admits there is confusion for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists. Cyclists, including the one “doored” this week, are using cameras to film such incidents so they can make insurance claims. The Victorian government imposed even tougher on-the-spot fines in 2012 for people who opened car doors in the direct path of cyclists.
For too long, authorities have bowed to the demands of selfish cyclists and their lobby groups. Truth is, our cities are dominated by cars because they are sprawling. We have no equivalent of Amsterdam and should stop pretending we do.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Selections

River is very regular at posting her Sunday Selections, and Jackie and Elephant's Child often do too. Here is my contribution of mostly random photos this week.

The question does arise, why? Corner of Swasnton and Lonsdale Streets.

This is looking out from a Bumblebee tram in Bourke Street. It is very difficult to see properly and they are now looking very shabby on the outside. They were relatively new when I took these photos.

Job Warhouse has closed  in Bourke Street. It used to sell fabrics and bolts and bolts of fabrics were piled around the store. The brother owners' father set up the business. They could all be terribly rude to the customers and if they judged that you weren't really there to buy, then they would ask you impolitely to leave the store.

Also in Bourke Street, Pelligrinis has been serving coffee since 1954, perhaps earlier, and was the first to import an Italian coffee machine.

What is behind these walls? It is the Melbourne Club garden. A couple of old duffers who had no doubt been inside the club partaking of a brandy were leaving. This is the corner of Little Collins Street and Ridgway Place.

The plane trees have to be seen to be believed. They are monsters .

A cozy little outdoor eating area in Meyer Place.

Just off the top of my head, The Palace in Bourke Street was once a picture theatre and then became a live music venue. A developer wants to demolish it to build a highrise building, naturally. My Non Dreaded Nephew attended a couple of protests to save it, but at this stage its status is still unclear.

I was walking past the lovely T & G building and I spied this mural in the entrance.

Then this nice pair of sculptures in their own alcoves to the side.

The Westin Hotel driveway with quite good lighting.

If you are familiar with Melbourne, you might be puzzled about these signs, given that the two streets run parallel. At the new extended western end of of Collins Street, it now curves to the north and meets Bourke Street.

Most of my readers are fans of modern architecture, aren't we children!

The wheel, and last week we took a circuit on the wheel. More about that later.