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Shared Circles including Mat Bettinson

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Activity

Average numbers for the latest posts (max. 50 posts, posted within the last 4 weeks)

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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 22

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2015-07-13 01:03:06 (22 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

American gun-kooks threated by Australia

The NRA has kicked out an article attacking Australia's tough gun laws that were enacted after the Port Arthur massacre. I can only assume that this is motivated by the fact that many commentators keep referring to Australia as an example of the fact that you can actually reverse your gun culture, even if gun-ownership is endemic, and that it would seem to have the result of no further mass gun-crime events.

It's actually reasonable to call into question how effective the gun laws have been, and only really from one scientific position. There's not enough data. These events happen with very low frequency, we might have just been lucky. Most people in Australia, however, are perfectly capable of realising that it being quite hard to obtain guns does in fact make mass killing springs with multiple military firearms rather... more »

Most reshares: 4

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2015-06-03 14:23:40 (1 comments, 4 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

Shut up and TAKE MY MONEY!

Most plusones: 28

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2015-03-10 06:06:00 (3 comments, 3 reshares, 28 +1s)Open 

Hard waste comedians.

Latest 50 posts

2015-07-29 23:04:04 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

Answer on @Quora by 9th grade student to "How do German kids feel when they learn about what Hitler/Germany did in World War II". Outstanding, interesting comments on her answer too including an exchange with a holocaust survivor.

Answer on @Quora by 9th grade student to "How do German kids feel when they learn about what Hitler/Germany did in World War II". Outstanding, interesting comments on her answer too including an exchange with a holocaust survivor.___

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2015-07-25 11:39:14 (8 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Fabulous new Chinese app from nomadic Android dev +Mark Carter​. Look up Chinese words anywhere on your mobile. Man... Now I just want a button to add a Pleco flash card. Hmm, and I can't help think there might be a more elegant on-off method than the notification bar... Gesture maybe Mark? 

Fabulous new Chinese app from nomadic Android dev +Mark Carter​. Look up Chinese words anywhere on your mobile. Man... Now I just want a button to add a Pleco flash card. Hmm, and I can't help think there might be a more elegant on-off method than the notification bar... Gesture maybe Mark? ___

2015-07-16 05:12:27 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

When  'low dropout' isn't low enough

This is a techie 'lectronic post, beware. Linear regulators are in just about every sort of electronic device. The goal is to take some unregulated power and produce a nice steady regulated output. The most typical example is taking a lithium battery which may range from 3.7 to 4.1V and giving you 3.3V to run your chipery.

The worst case scenario here is a regulator that must manage the small 400mV difference between a nearly flat lithium cell and the 3.3V power output. These devices exist, they're called low dropout regulators. I bought a couple off ebay and put one in a project and forgot about it. The problem is that as my lithium battery ran down, the circuit behaved strangely, the voltage would drop as a WiFi module slurped some power periodically. 

It turns out that the ST LD1117V33 I was using needsab... more »

When  'low dropout' isn't low enough

This is a techie 'lectronic post, beware. Linear regulators are in just about every sort of electronic device. The goal is to take some unregulated power and produce a nice steady regulated output. The most typical example is taking a lithium battery which may range from 3.7 to 4.1V and giving you 3.3V to run your chipery.

The worst case scenario here is a regulator that must manage the small 400mV difference between a nearly flat lithium cell and the 3.3V power output. These devices exist, they're called low dropout regulators. I bought a couple off ebay and put one in a project and forgot about it. The problem is that as my lithium battery ran down, the circuit behaved strangely, the voltage would drop as a WiFi module slurped some power periodically. 

It turns out that the ST LD1117V33 I was using needs about 1V of headroom. It was well out of the comfort zone. I replaced it with a Microchip TC1262-3 (I think the dropout range is in the region of 65mV!) and everything was solved. The moral of this story, even if you think you know what something does, always read the datasheet. Side note, why can't these fuckers agree on a standard pinout for a simple 3-pin TO-220 regulator!___

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2015-07-13 01:03:06 (22 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

American gun-kooks threated by Australia

The NRA has kicked out an article attacking Australia's tough gun laws that were enacted after the Port Arthur massacre. I can only assume that this is motivated by the fact that many commentators keep referring to Australia as an example of the fact that you can actually reverse your gun culture, even if gun-ownership is endemic, and that it would seem to have the result of no further mass gun-crime events.

It's actually reasonable to call into question how effective the gun laws have been, and only really from one scientific position. There's not enough data. These events happen with very low frequency, we might have just been lucky. Most people in Australia, however, are perfectly capable of realising that it being quite hard to obtain guns does in fact make mass killing springs with multiple military firearms rather... more »

American gun-kooks threated by Australia

The NRA has kicked out an article attacking Australia's tough gun laws that were enacted after the Port Arthur massacre. I can only assume that this is motivated by the fact that many commentators keep referring to Australia as an example of the fact that you can actually reverse your gun culture, even if gun-ownership is endemic, and that it would seem to have the result of no further mass gun-crime events.

It's actually reasonable to call into question how effective the gun laws have been, and only really from one scientific position. There's not enough data. These events happen with very low frequency, we might have just been lucky. Most people in Australia, however, are perfectly capable of realising that it being quite hard to obtain guns does in fact make mass killing springs with multiple military firearms rather less likely.

The NRA instead claim there is 'growing consensus' in Australia that the gun laws have not been effective. I think many of us would find this a curious claim, it's the first I've heard of it. They hyperlinked growing consensus with two articles, which presumably passes for a citation in gun-kook land. The first is a 2005 SMH article citing the head of the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, who basically made a lack-of-evidence argument and pointed to rising illicit gun ownership. Likely NRA supports wont read to the bottom of the article where the police commissioner pointed out that if nothing else the laws had shored up registration, storage and licensing. The second quoted article was an academic article published in a British journal by members of an Australian gun lobby group. So realistically, the NRA's claim is false. Two citations a year apart 10-years ago cannot adequately demonstrate 'growing consensus', particularly when one of them is basically a bit of astroturfing from a pro-gun lobby group. 

Ultimately, the NRA says 'there will be blood' argument, a classic rehash of the standard gun-nut argument that guns somehow make us safer. That the lack of guns will mean that a gun-totin' crazy will do more damage because people can't stop them. I find it depressing that they're looking to Australia to make this claim, with a complete absence of evidence and bucket loads of conjecture, when all they needed to do was look to their own shores to see that mass gun-ownership has done precisely fuck all to stop gun massacres in the US. E.g. total number of gun-crazies killed by armed member of public = nil.___

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2015-06-15 00:18:34 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

Fake Nexus 5 batteries under the spotlight

The LG Nexus 5 doesn't have a user replaceable battery as such but it's not too difficult to do. There's plenty of online guides and there's also plenty of kits with a 'genuine' LG BL-T9 2300mAH battery and a few tools to help you disassemble your phone. I got one from an Australian supplier that wasn't shy about banding around 'genuine' in the listing. It looked exactly like the OEM battery. It was quickly apparent that it wasn't. So I removed the battery and had a closer look side by side. The wrapper is a very nice fake. On the back side you can see the battery lacks the LG serial number printing and the wrapper is a little more messy, presumably as it was done by elderly ladies in a Chinese 'shanzhai' (fake) factory. Presently I'm unsure how one lays ones hands on a real LG battery.
 ... more »

Fake Nexus 5 batteries under the spotlight

The LG Nexus 5 doesn't have a user replaceable battery as such but it's not too difficult to do. There's plenty of online guides and there's also plenty of kits with a 'genuine' LG BL-T9 2300mAH battery and a few tools to help you disassemble your phone. I got one from an Australian supplier that wasn't shy about banding around 'genuine' in the listing. It looked exactly like the OEM battery. It was quickly apparent that it wasn't. So I removed the battery and had a closer look side by side. The wrapper is a very nice fake. On the back side you can see the battery lacks the LG serial number printing and the wrapper is a little more messy, presumably as it was done by elderly ladies in a Chinese 'shanzhai' (fake) factory. Presently I'm unsure how one lays ones hands on a real LG battery.
  #nexus5   #android  

We should understand this in the context of my earlier post about 18650 batteries and how 95% of them on eBay (particularly anything branded Ultrafire) are re-wrapped fakes claiming capacities well over any real 18650 battery. They are in fact recycled from old laptop batteries.___

2015-06-12 05:40:08 (13 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

How to archive an old site

I've got an old blog. It's been abandoned but I wrote a lot of good stuff on it, stuff I'd like to keep. That said, it seems like a bad idea to just keep trying to pay for the hosting and not taking an active interest in maintaining the security of the Wordpress.

What I'd like to do is just retire it. I'd like to archive it ideally, but I'm not sure how. I've been thinking about it and I don't think there's a lot of merit in leaving it online for everyone. So maybe I should just slurp it all up with a site scraper and shove it on my own personal cloud for long term storage. 

Anyone got a view?

How to archive an old site

I've got an old blog. It's been abandoned but I wrote a lot of good stuff on it, stuff I'd like to keep. That said, it seems like a bad idea to just keep trying to pay for the hosting and not taking an active interest in maintaining the security of the Wordpress.

What I'd like to do is just retire it. I'd like to archive it ideally, but I'm not sure how. I've been thinking about it and I don't think there's a lot of merit in leaving it online for everyone. So maybe I should just slurp it all up with a site scraper and shove it on my own personal cloud for long term storage. 

Anyone got a view?___

2015-06-11 05:31:14 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

I tried to order stuff from Element 14, an electronic component supplier. They seemed to avoid stocking nearly anything that's useful for a hacker. Like no temp/humid sensors in through holes, none of the dead common parts like DHT22s. Dead common stuff just missing or with inexplicably ridiculous pricing. 

I couldn't even buy some dead common transistors to fix an old amp. So I reluctantly head over to eBay... managed to get everything with a mix of aussie and Chinese suppliers. I thought I'd pay over the odds but no, it was cheaper than the basket of E14 equivalents, and E14 wanted more money for postage on top...

This isn't huge news or anything but it does mark the last time I'll even try and buy something from E14. That seems sad. 

I tried to order stuff from Element 14, an electronic component supplier. They seemed to avoid stocking nearly anything that's useful for a hacker. Like no temp/humid sensors in through holes, none of the dead common parts like DHT22s. Dead common stuff just missing or with inexplicably ridiculous pricing. 

I couldn't even buy some dead common transistors to fix an old amp. So I reluctantly head over to eBay... managed to get everything with a mix of aussie and Chinese suppliers. I thought I'd pay over the odds but no, it was cheaper than the basket of E14 equivalents, and E14 wanted more money for postage on top...

This isn't huge news or anything but it does mark the last time I'll even try and buy something from E14. That seems sad. ___

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2015-06-09 00:46:21 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

Winter is coming

Shop front on my local high street has recruited John Snow to spruik a range of skincare products. The undead can be hell on your complexion.

Winter is coming

Shop front on my local high street has recruited John Snow to spruik a range of skincare products. The undead can be hell on your complexion.___

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2015-06-03 14:23:40 (1 comments, 4 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

Shut up and TAKE MY MONEY!

Shut up and TAKE MY MONEY!___

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2015-06-02 04:54:21 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

It's grim in Melbourne.

It's grim in Melbourne.___

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2015-05-28 07:33:55 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

Woohoo, mX to close

Which means they wont shove it in my face as I pass through the turnstiles while offering the 'newspaper' It's basically full of celebrity gossip and weird text-us-your-whinging pages. It started out as a proper tabloid, light for sure, but it had stuff in it. The more they went after the gossip horseshit market, the more they were in peril of being made redundant by people looking at Facebook on their phones.

It also means it wont litter all the carriages. I will miss some of the rent-a-totty that Rupert hires to hand them out though.

Woohoo, mX to close

Which means they wont shove it in my face as I pass through the turnstiles while offering the 'newspaper' It's basically full of celebrity gossip and weird text-us-your-whinging pages. It started out as a proper tabloid, light for sure, but it had stuff in it. The more they went after the gossip horseshit market, the more they were in peril of being made redundant by people looking at Facebook on their phones.

It also means it wont litter all the carriages. I will miss some of the rent-a-totty that Rupert hires to hand them out though.___

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2015-05-23 02:14:29 (5 comments, 1 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

Short handheld video of the same guy/gal when they were a pair.

Short handheld video of the same guy/gal when they were a pair.___

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2015-05-23 01:58:52 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

And one returns

It seems this chap lost his mate. The pair or rainbow lorikeets regularly visited our balcony, squawking and carrying on in the hope they can cajoul me or the missus to put some seed out. Sadly this guy has been solo of late, which usually means his or her mate has been killed (I can't tell sexes of these). Same thing happened a couple of years ago in steps, one of them turned up with an eye missing. I would imagine that the colour scheme is rather helpful for bird of prey. They sure are handsome though.

And one returns

It seems this chap lost his mate. The pair or rainbow lorikeets regularly visited our balcony, squawking and carrying on in the hope they can cajoul me or the missus to put some seed out. Sadly this guy has been solo of late, which usually means his or her mate has been killed (I can't tell sexes of these). Same thing happened a couple of years ago in steps, one of them turned up with an eye missing. I would imagine that the colour scheme is rather helpful for bird of prey. They sure are handsome though.___

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2015-05-22 06:53:03 (5 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Eurovision semis

Woo, it's here! The eurotrash kitsch overload and this time they've even asked the aussies to take part, I mean that's practically Europe right? Having reviewed the semi finals, this is what I reckon:

Latvia - Aminata, Love Injected (lol!). My pick of the bunch. World class female vocalist with a fairly simple anthemic piece, almost triphop percussion to it. There's something about the contrast of her pure high end with the 8-bit bass in the chorus. Makes the hairs rise on the back on my neck, wow!

Russia - Polina Gagaarina. Very powerful song. It's let down a bit by Polina's inability to sing in a non-sonorous register but fortunately she doesn't have to do that for long. Perhaps Aminata can teach her.

Sweden, Mans Zelmerslow, Heroes of time. This guys is very good indeed but unfortunately the song has been... more »

Eurovision semis

Woo, it's here! The eurotrash kitsch overload and this time they've even asked the aussies to take part, I mean that's practically Europe right? Having reviewed the semi finals, this is what I reckon:

Latvia - Aminata, Love Injected (lol!). My pick of the bunch. World class female vocalist with a fairly simple anthemic piece, almost triphop percussion to it. There's something about the contrast of her pure high end with the 8-bit bass in the chorus. Makes the hairs rise on the back on my neck, wow!

Russia - Polina Gagaarina. Very powerful song. It's let down a bit by Polina's inability to sing in a non-sonorous register but fortunately she doesn't have to do that for long. Perhaps Aminata can teach her.

Sweden, Mans Zelmerslow, Heroes of time. This guys is very good indeed but unfortunately the song has been forced into the Eurodance genre in a way that makes it a bit too busy. The start of it, where he just sings, is brilliant. 

Belgium. Loïc Nottet, Rhythm Inside. I don't know why this hasn't got a lot of chat, I think it's great! Boom, click click. It's got rhythm. Head and tails above the eurodance shite. 

Serbia. Bojana Stamenov, Beauty never lies. Big lass sings a rousing anti fat-shaming song. Slow start but builds up to a trance break that's really quite good.

Netherlands. Trijntje Oosterhuis, Why. Why-ay-ay-ay-eye. Come on, if you're going to sing in English you can do better than that dutchies :) It's competant and inoffensive though, Trijntje can sing, even if none of us has a chance of pronouncing that name. 

Lithuania. Happy song, doesn't take itself too seriously. Has actual music rather than Eurodance.

Ireland. This is a perfectly good song, but it's not upbeat enough for success I think. Shame, because Molly Sterling certainly has the pipes to do it.

Funny shit: Finland's granddad rock band. Italy. Nuff said.

The elephant in the room is Australia. Guy Sebastian's song is quite clearly the best on offer. I think it might have been rather more diplomatic to put something shit in like everyone else. I can't imagine the moaning if it does well.___

2015-05-07 22:39:08 (8 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

Looks like the UK is voting for more economy-destroying austerity. It never ceases to amaze me the power that politicians have to get people to vote against their own best interests.

Looks like the UK is voting for more economy-destroying austerity. It never ceases to amaze me the power that politicians have to get people to vote against their own best interests.___

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2015-05-04 00:24:22 (18 comments, 1 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

Don't buy a Jura coffee machine

This is a Jura Ena 5 super automatic coffee machine. It's actually pretty good, it's made many great coffees straight from beans at the push of a button. The problem is the great lengths the manufacturers went to ensure that you can't even clean it yourself. The side panel, removed here, was robustly fixed to the side of the unit. The bottom line is they want you to send this for a service for things when it goes wrong. The problem is they make it impossible to clean the inside of it, which is actually what goes wrong on these things. They fill up with spent wet coffee grains that promptly hosts thriving mould colonies. It's nasty.

I've worked with electronic devices for a long time so I'm reasonably equipped to defeat a number of the casual schemes manufacturers use to keep you out. This was on a whole other... more »

Don't buy a Jura coffee machine

This is a Jura Ena 5 super automatic coffee machine. It's actually pretty good, it's made many great coffees straight from beans at the push of a button. The problem is the great lengths the manufacturers went to ensure that you can't even clean it yourself. The side panel, removed here, was robustly fixed to the side of the unit. The bottom line is they want you to send this for a service for things when it goes wrong. The problem is they make it impossible to clean the inside of it, which is actually what goes wrong on these things. They fill up with spent wet coffee grains that promptly hosts thriving mould colonies. It's nasty.

I've worked with electronic devices for a long time so I'm reasonably equipped to defeat a number of the casual schemes manufacturers use to keep you out. This was on a whole other level. The side panels are locked to the back of the case via a devious system. The company logo needs to be pried off the back revealing an insert that can be rotated and removed. Then there's one last protected screw that needs to be removed, whereupon the lock mechanism can be raised, allowing the side panels to slide back. That protected screw was unlike anything I've seen. It needed a female M5 reverse threaded tool to remove the screw. I don't have one, I've never even seen one. 

At this point I was thoroughly pissed off that I couldn't clean out the rotting coffee I can smell and glimpse by prying off a bit of case. It's well out of warranty, and there's no way I'll reward their evil by getting a dealer service anyway. When I can't fix it, it's going in the bin. So I just snapped off a peg from the locking mechanism. I couldn't get the locking panel clips on the front to disengage, it looks like there's a tool needed for that (or possibly more patience), so I snapped those off as well (see bits of red at the front of the case).

I sort of understand why they'd want to stop people from servicing the guts of this thing, but what's unforgivable, and which should be outright illegal, is stopping end users from making their unit hygienic. The build up inside was truly disgusting. Even in terms of regular two-weekly cleans, where you will need to wipe the tamper disk, this involves contorting your hand in from the bottom of the device up inside the guts to wipe the disk. They don't tell you this in the manual. I had to ring them up after owning it for a month because it no longer made coffee, at which point they explained how I could contort my hand to perform this cleaning maneuver so it would at least work. (Also let's not go there about how it's designed to use their own custom water filters and whines when it needs a new one - I don't use one at all since my water is super soft)

So anyway, fuck these guys. You may of course reasonably conclude that super automatics are bullshit and buy a proper espresso machine (no argument) or even one of those pod coffee makers. That said, my first experience of super automatics was of a Saeco in an office setting and where I ended up servicing it because no one else would. It was trivial, you could pop off the cover and lift out the entire mechanism and clean it up, lube where necessary (the machine!) and so on.

Building a food-related automatic piece of machinery and denying users access to the working is a prick of an idea. Don't buy a Jura.___

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2015-05-01 09:33:36 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Nifty. Took a good long time to convince PTV to release their data... but now they have.

#Melbourne   #PTV  released their public transport as #Opendata  in the #GTFS  format.  Using #ArcGIS  and some #networkanalysis  I have been playing with creating commute catchments.  

If you need to be at the main Flinders Street station for 9am on a Monday, and you dont mind walking to the bus/train/tram stop, this is a map showing you how long it would take you.  

This kind of analysis is really useful for me  as I am trying to buy a house and don't fancy commuting for more than an hour. ___Nifty. Took a good long time to convince PTV to release their data... but now they have.

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2015-05-01 09:26:36 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Asus Zenfone 5

The missus needed a new phone. So I went looking for a non-massive, LTE capable phone that does the freq-bands now and in the future in Oz. It would also be a low-end phone, or at least low-end money. Things have changed though. I got her this 5-inch Zenphone 5 thing, snapdragon 400-based. It's a bit of a cracker actually. Pretty good looking, good screen, not quite as much res as my N5 but it's snappy. The model has been around for a year but the A500KL version is better spec with LTE and costs less than AU$300. Bargain!
phones.

Asus Zenfone 5

The missus needed a new phone. So I went looking for a non-massive, LTE capable phone that does the freq-bands now and in the future in Oz. It would also be a low-end phone, or at least low-end money. Things have changed though. I got her this 5-inch Zenphone 5 thing, snapdragon 400-based. It's a bit of a cracker actually. Pretty good looking, good screen, not quite as much res as my N5 but it's snappy. The model has been around for a year but the A500KL version is better spec with LTE and costs less than AU$300. Bargain!
phones.___

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2015-05-01 01:55:14 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 8 +1s)Open 

Solar charger test run. The wife finished yarn bombing the solar panel frames. The four you see here fold up in a stack for transport. Total output is about ten watts which it seems to easily attain. Currently charging up the battery pack/usb module also in the picture.

Solar charger test run. The wife finished yarn bombing the solar panel frames. The four you see here fold up in a stack for transport. Total output is about ten watts which it seems to easily attain. Currently charging up the battery pack/usb module also in the picture.___

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2015-04-23 23:50:10 (6 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

Australia to keep retarded 'negative gearing' system

Negative gearing is a peculiarly Australian middle-class welfare system whereby you can simply invest in a property and offset the costs of that property (such as the loan) against your tax bill. Australians of means are virtually fools to invest in anything else, which of course means that the housing market is distorted. It's been repeatedly fingered as in need of urgent reform. Now Joe Hockey says it's staying, on the basis of warnings about rent prices and and so on. Of course what it's really about is that that every lib MP has a nice little slice of the action, and all their rich mates are similarly feeding from the middle class welfare trough. Squeal!

Australia to keep retarded 'negative gearing' system

Negative gearing is a peculiarly Australian middle-class welfare system whereby you can simply invest in a property and offset the costs of that property (such as the loan) against your tax bill. Australians of means are virtually fools to invest in anything else, which of course means that the housing market is distorted. It's been repeatedly fingered as in need of urgent reform. Now Joe Hockey says it's staying, on the basis of warnings about rent prices and and so on. Of course what it's really about is that that every lib MP has a nice little slice of the action, and all their rich mates are similarly feeding from the middle class welfare trough. Squeal!___

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2015-04-23 07:52:01 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

The international face of Australia's climate denialism

Aussie government dismantled the Climate Council packed with climate scientists, economists and energy experts. They said it was because they couldn't find the money but everyone knows it's because they don't like what the experts were telling them. 

So what to do? One needs some sort of legitimacy when defending the fucking outrageous lack of meaningful action on climate change. Ahah, how about funding a think tank at a a cash-strapped aussie university which will be more amenable to what we want to believe? Behold, the $14 million "Australia Consensus Centre" which will bring the 'Lombard consensus methodology" to Australia. This methodology is chiefly one of writing a load of tosh and then footnoting with variously fake data or misrepresented conclusions which has been the subject of... more »

The international face of Australia's climate denialism

Aussie government dismantled the Climate Council packed with climate scientists, economists and energy experts. They said it was because they couldn't find the money but everyone knows it's because they don't like what the experts were telling them. 

So what to do? One needs some sort of legitimacy when defending the fucking outrageous lack of meaningful action on climate change. Ahah, how about funding a think tank at a a cash-strapped aussie university which will be more amenable to what we want to believe? Behold, the $14 million "Australia Consensus Centre" which will bring the 'Lombard consensus methodology" to Australia. This methodology is chiefly one of writing a load of tosh and then footnoting with variously fake data or misrepresented conclusions which has been the subject of an entire book. Yep that's Bjorn Lombard, the governments go-to yes-man in times of climate non-crisis.

Prof Tim Flannery pointed out that Lombard had "no credibility " in the scientific community. Lies! He's head of prestigious think tank that we've just created,  no one will listen to that lefty Flannery. [I imagine this is how Peta Credlin phrased this when she talked the PM into doing it]. I despair, I really despair. 
 ___

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2015-04-22 00:16:02 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Australia: Investigative journalism is not welcome here

Here is a thought experiment, based upon the new Australia reality that was enacted in law last week.

Suppose that a senior civil servant in Australia uncovers some major wrong doing and chooses to become a confidential source for a journalist. Imagine someone in the government gets wind of that. Revealing information is usually a crime. Like, for example, the student that was convicted of leaking the dubious secret scholarship for the PM's daughter. Journalists are typically protected to avoid this scenario, although it apparently didn't help the student in this case.

So, government man reports crime and asks police to apply for access to all of the communications meta data of the journalist (and now this must be held by all telecoms operators for two-years). Apply to whome? An unknown magistrate. The... more »

Australia: Investigative journalism is not welcome here

Here is a thought experiment, based upon the new Australia reality that was enacted in law last week.

Suppose that a senior civil servant in Australia uncovers some major wrong doing and chooses to become a confidential source for a journalist. Imagine someone in the government gets wind of that. Revealing information is usually a crime. Like, for example, the student that was convicted of leaking the dubious secret scholarship for the PM's daughter. Journalists are typically protected to avoid this scenario, although it apparently didn't help the student in this case.

So, government man reports crime and asks police to apply for access to all of the communications meta data of the journalist (and now this must be held by all telecoms operators for two-years). Apply to whome? An unknown magistrate. The secret 'beak' will be petitioned by two lawyers, one that will argue that we must reveal the journalist's source for they have committed a heinous crime and made us look bad, and the other that will argue against granting the order on the basis of public interest. No one knows who any of these people will be, other than the government appointed them. 

The public interest advocate can't tell the journalist that the order has been sought, which also means they can't possibily be prepared to mount a public interest defence. They only information they will have access to is whatever they are told by the investigating police.

The application for the order cannot be made known by anyone orr they may face 2 years of imprisonment. Journalist information orders we're talking about here, not terrorist sympathisers. The journalist's metadata is handed over without them ever knowing, the source is identified and the the government will no doubt ensure that there are repercussions for making them look bad.

This is by far and away the worst abuse of power that any industrialised nation has enacted in recent years. All of these powers have been justified in response to the terrorism threat, of course, but there's absolutely zero case for applying them in this way against journalists. What's worse, both major parties are onboard with it. Probably because they've both been hurt by leaks in recent times.___

2015-04-16 00:32:05 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 8 +1s)Open 

Quora: How do professors know if you plagiarized or not and what tools do they use?

Fantastic answer:

So far this week, using what appears to be your real name, you have asked the following questions:
"I have a 3000 word paper due real soon, but I haven't started on it. What are some tips to help me finish it faster?"
"What is the best website to have an essay done for you and all you have to do is pay a certain amount?"
"I  have a 3000 word research paper due in a few days and writing is one of  my weaknesses. What tools or suggestions can I use to help me write my  paper?"
"What is one good 3000+ research paper on bipolar disorder that I can see as a reference?"
"How do professors know if you plagiarized or not and what tools do they use?"
I think it is safe to say that, at this point, anypr... more »

Quora: How do professors know if you plagiarized or not and what tools do they use?

Fantastic answer:

So far this week, using what appears to be your real name, you have asked the following questions:
"I have a 3000 word paper due real soon, but I haven't started on it. What are some tips to help me finish it faster?"
"What is the best website to have an essay done for you and all you have to do is pay a certain amount?"
"I  have a 3000 word research paper due in a few days and writing is one of  my weaknesses. What tools or suggestions can I use to help me write my  paper?"
"What is one good 3000+ research paper on bipolar disorder that I can see as a reference?"
"How do professors know if you plagiarized or not and what tools do they use?"
I think it is safe to say that, at this point, any professor who suspects you of plagiarism will be able to confirm it with a quick Google search of your name.___

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2015-04-12 02:31:38 (1 comments, 2 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Fake battery eBay apocalypse

Recently I set about building a solar battery pack. I hadn't used lithium cells before so I just popped on eBay and saw there were heaps of sellers doing the standard 18650 cells with 5000mAH capacities. For not a lot of money. Many, most even, claimed to be UltraFire branded. Later on I found that the cells I ordered (picture below was from the listing, and the vendor was in Australia too) were nowhere near that capacity. Worse, they didn't all behave the same which is bad in a lithium pack. Now my alarm bells should have kicked off when I observed a radical range of prices. In many cases vendors are claiming to sell large boxes of them for a few bucks a shot. I paid about $15 for those four cells, which is less than half the real cost.

After a bit more digging, I found that actually the highest real 18650 capacity is around 3400mAH.... more »

Fake battery eBay apocalypse

Recently I set about building a solar battery pack. I hadn't used lithium cells before so I just popped on eBay and saw there were heaps of sellers doing the standard 18650 cells with 5000mAH capacities. For not a lot of money. Many, most even, claimed to be UltraFire branded. Later on I found that the cells I ordered (picture below was from the listing, and the vendor was in Australia too) were nowhere near that capacity. Worse, they didn't all behave the same which is bad in a lithium pack. Now my alarm bells should have kicked off when I observed a radical range of prices. In many cases vendors are claiming to sell large boxes of them for a few bucks a shot. I paid about $15 for those four cells, which is less than half the real cost.

After a bit more digging, I found that actually the highest real 18650 capacity is around 3400mAH. Ultrafire themselves do not claim to make any cell larger than 3000mAH. There's many reports of these cells basically being re-wrapped cells from recycled laptop batteries. 

I've run into my share of problems with Chinese fakes on eBay for electronic products, some of them quite sophisticated. Batteries have always been a poor one, NiMH cells are the same. Lots of claims of very large capacity. In essence, if there's a number spec attached to something, it's very difficult to get anything out of China that actually conforms to the spec. I've recently seen that with solar cells too.

Anyway, placed an order for some genuine Panasonic cells. They cost $40. As always, you get what you pay for. I just wish it wasn't so hard to differentiate good deals from too good deals.___

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2015-04-11 04:45:04 (15 comments, 1 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

Solar powered phone charger

This here is a Saturday morning's hack session. The little food container houses four 5000mAH 18650 Ultrafire batteries, protection board (essential for multi-cell lithium setups), 5A 4-way USB output board (with buck regulator) and another buck regulator with constant current and constant voltage settings appropriate for charging the lithium cells. All up it's surprisingly light at 270gr. By contrast, a commercial 4xAA battery box weighs 150gr loaded with NiMH cells and would struggle to charge a Nexus 5 fully once, where as this is good for over four full charges. It'll even charge an iPad. The switch toggles on/off USB output so there's no parasitic load when not doing something. 

Just to be clear, this represents zero engineering. It's entirely made out of various modules purchased from a nice man in China via the modern... more »

Solar powered phone charger

This here is a Saturday morning's hack session. The little food container houses four 5000mAH 18650 Ultrafire batteries, protection board (essential for multi-cell lithium setups), 5A 4-way USB output board (with buck regulator) and another buck regulator with constant current and constant voltage settings appropriate for charging the lithium cells. All up it's surprisingly light at 270gr. By contrast, a commercial 4xAA battery box weighs 150gr loaded with NiMH cells and would struggle to charge a Nexus 5 fully once, where as this is good for over four full charges. It'll even charge an iPad. The switch toggles on/off USB output so there's no parasitic load when not doing something. 

Just to be clear, this represents zero engineering. It's entirely made out of various modules purchased from a nice man in China via the modern miracle of eBay. All up the parts cost about AU$35 including the $1.75 food tub from a local supermarket. 

I knocked this up after some experimentation with some solar panels. Originally I intended to use the flexible variety which cost a little more but I liked the idea of building a sort of solar cowl around a backpack. Pictured is one that cost me $28 and is allegedly good for 4.5W. Is it fuck! I bought a set of four dinky little raw solar panels rated at 2.5W each and each one dishes out substantially more than the flexible one. I'm planning on making some sort of foldable solar pack for that.

I haven't done anything with lithium cells before. They're quite impressive really, although there's a bit of fuckery to make sure everything is safe. I found I was essentially on my own in that regard. Most hacker stuff is based on single cells, with match cells in parallel to uprate the capacity. I really didn't want to run a powerful boost DC-DC converter for this so I went with 4 cells in series with protection. After testing this, a single panel immediately fires up the main buck converter and trickle charges the battery, with more sunlight (or cells), the converter raises the output to the desired setting and kicks in constant current mode of about an amp, until cell voltages rise and then it tails off to very little. The protection board will sink that with no problems if I attempt to overcharge.

All I need to do now is build the foldable thing for the solar panels. Not quite sure how to do that yet, I'm inspired by the ones made out of heavy duty woven nylon, but I don't know how to do that. I'm toying with the idea of making a paddle pop frame for each cell and then have the wife 'yarn bomb' the surround, that would be nifty.___

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2015-04-02 00:13:30 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

The war of the 100 letters

The UK is having an election. A conservative newspaper published an endorsement of the incumbent Conservative government with signatures of '100 business leaders'. The Guardian took a look at the list. It's basically a load of rich people as you'd expect, The British Labour party made their own in response, but sought to be rather more representative. The letter to The Mirror, worded as a 'reply to fatcat Torys', is backed by a range of people including businessmen, actors, nurses, firemen, shelf stackers and 'people on zero-hour contracts'. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/100-mirror-readers-reply-100-5443593

Curiously, the British press seems more concerned to cover the original Tory letter. I get the sense that progressive voices are having an increasingly tougher time being heard in Blighty.

The war of the 100 letters

The UK is having an election. A conservative newspaper published an endorsement of the incumbent Conservative government with signatures of '100 business leaders'. The Guardian took a look at the list. It's basically a load of rich people as you'd expect, The British Labour party made their own in response, but sought to be rather more representative. The letter to The Mirror, worded as a 'reply to fatcat Torys', is backed by a range of people including businessmen, actors, nurses, firemen, shelf stackers and 'people on zero-hour contracts'. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/100-mirror-readers-reply-100-5443593

Curiously, the British press seems more concerned to cover the original Tory letter. I get the sense that progressive voices are having an increasingly tougher time being heard in Blighty.___

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2015-03-31 21:55:47 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Aussie coalition declares war on environmental NGOs

The coalition's 'environment committee' has voted to launch an enquiry on the tax-deductible status of environmental non-profits on the basis that they engage in political activism. The essence of it is that Liberal/Nat MPs don't like the fact that they're opposed by NGOs in relation to things such as coal mining and the barrier reef. This process has been building since mid last year when Nationals Queensland MP George Christensen said the "register needs cleansing" of green groups and that "we need to weed out those working against the decisions of government".

I listened to Liberal MP Alex Hawke on Radio National breakfast this morning. Rather than frothing at the mouth about greens trying to take away coal jobs (like Christensen did), he pitched it as an issue where donators wouldn... more »

Aussie coalition declares war on environmental NGOs

The coalition's 'environment committee' has voted to launch an enquiry on the tax-deductible status of environmental non-profits on the basis that they engage in political activism. The essence of it is that Liberal/Nat MPs don't like the fact that they're opposed by NGOs in relation to things such as coal mining and the barrier reef. This process has been building since mid last year when Nationals Queensland MP George Christensen said the "register needs cleansing" of green groups and that "we need to weed out those working against the decisions of government".

I listened to Liberal MP Alex Hawke on Radio National breakfast this morning. Rather than frothing at the mouth about greens trying to take away coal jobs (like Christensen did), he pitched it as an issue where donators would not reasonably expect their donations to go towards political activism and instead would expect money to go to "good work", which presumably means planting trees in places where the government doesn't mind. 

Aussie governments have tried this before. After a lengthy legal battle, the High Court ruled in favour of Aid/Watch in 2010, an organisation that predominantly carried out activism in relation to Australia's Foreign Aid activity. The High Court found that Aid/Watch, and therefore charities in general, have a right to participate in political debate. Fucking right they do! 

I mean I'd be worried if I contributed to an environmental charity and they weren't engaging the government, given that our government is essentially the major impediment to meaningful action on climate change. But oh no, we shouldn't use taxpayer's money (which is how they phrase tax-deductability) to fund such activism. Oh fucking really, but it's just peachy when the government spends $14 million on misleading advertising campaigns for their unpopular Higher Education reform? You hypocritical bunch of cockbags. #auspol  ___

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2015-03-26 22:25:55 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

Just what America needs, a full on batshit crazy anti-science climate change denialist for a prez.

Just what America needs, a full on batshit crazy anti-science climate change denialist for a prez.___

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2015-03-13 23:49:28 (6 comments, 0 reshares, 19 +1s)Open 

Shook my head in amazement at the new Macbook. Apple disappearing up it's design arsehole, vanquishing all ports, slapping in a crap mobile processor. It thought it was just me that thought this was depressing but no, look at this testimony from Apple's chief engineer!

Shook my head in amazement at the new Macbook. Apple disappearing up it's design arsehole, vanquishing all ports, slapping in a crap mobile processor. It thought it was just me that thought this was depressing but no, look at this testimony from Apple's chief engineer!___

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2015-03-10 06:06:00 (3 comments, 3 reshares, 28 +1s)Open 

Hard waste comedians.

Hard waste comedians.___

2015-02-24 19:14:08 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

By golly there's a lot of adverts on American TV. Also, people seem to be quite happy to conduct their lives without loud advertisements playing in the background. 

By golly there's a lot of adverts on American TV. Also, people seem to be quite happy to conduct their lives without loud advertisements playing in the background. ___

2015-02-05 08:53:36 (8 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Macbook today. University loan job. Student has made their video presentation in iMovie on it. Then on the day it is to be shown, the thing wont boot. Or rather, after about three hours it had a progress bar that moved half way, while heating up the laptop.

Someone who knows about Macs says, what about recovery mode? Oh aye, they have that do they? Of course it's some secret vulcan death grip combination of keys. Whereupon one is asked to enter a password no one knows. Okay.

So if we get into this, we'd have a recovery console, I ask. Oh no. You'd get some icons allowing you to restore a backup or something.

It's pretty infuriating actually. All this computer stuff around which I'm singularly unable to figure out how to diagnose much less fix. That's to say nothing of the UI abomination that MacOS is. I feel pretty confident on that point, having had... more »

Macbook today. University loan job. Student has made their video presentation in iMovie on it. Then on the day it is to be shown, the thing wont boot. Or rather, after about three hours it had a progress bar that moved half way, while heating up the laptop.

Someone who knows about Macs says, what about recovery mode? Oh aye, they have that do they? Of course it's some secret vulcan death grip combination of keys. Whereupon one is asked to enter a password no one knows. Okay.

So if we get into this, we'd have a recovery console, I ask. Oh no. You'd get some icons allowing you to restore a backup or something.

It's pretty infuriating actually. All this computer stuff around which I'm singularly unable to figure out how to diagnose much less fix. That's to say nothing of the UI abomination that MacOS is. I feel pretty confident on that point, having had to teach Macs to a whole heap of international students that have been lucky enough to never have seen them before.___

2015-02-04 20:48:30 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

No... Tones, stay to the election! #auspolitics  

No... Tones, stay to the election! #auspolitics  ___

2015-02-03 11:28:36 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Undergrad (local) student paper topic: Avoidance strategies for game of thrones spoilers in the tertiary education classroom
Australia Awards international student paper topic: Fundamentals of water treatment to minimise childhood mortality

I'm not making this shit up.


Undergrad (local) student paper topic: Avoidance strategies for game of thrones spoilers in the tertiary education classroom
Australia Awards international student paper topic: Fundamentals of water treatment to minimise childhood mortality

I'm not making this shit up.
___

2015-01-21 21:42:48 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Why does news radio always report on stockmarket indexes, e.g. NASDAQ, FTSE etc? Who actually cares? Anyone that does actually care is surely plugged in with more detail. Particularly amusing is when the markets trend down and suddenly it's being widely reported despite having pretty much zero to do with 99% of people's lives.

Why does news radio always report on stockmarket indexes, e.g. NASDAQ, FTSE etc? Who actually cares? Anyone that does actually care is surely plugged in with more detail. Particularly amusing is when the markets trend down and suddenly it's being widely reported despite having pretty much zero to do with 99% of people's lives.___

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2015-01-21 08:12:06 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

George Monbiot is right. Even our supposedly liberal national broadcasters are complicit in the elitist echo chamber of our media.

George Monbiot is right. Even our supposedly liberal national broadcasters are complicit in the elitist echo chamber of our media.___

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2014-12-23 22:04:53 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 8 +1s)Open 

40 years ago today

Cyclone Tracy wiped out the town of Darwin. I was there. I was three years-old. What I remember is an animal-like howl of wind while I clutched to my mother in a cupboard in the concrete storeroom underneath the house. I have to say, it's not clear to me how much of that is a genuine memory or something passed down through multiple tellings. Anyway, Tracy destroyed the town and my mother and I were evacuated by a RAAF transport plane along with the rest of the women and children. My father stayed to help rebuild. 

The town was transformed by the destruction and rebuild. Previously it was a colonial outpost with tropical two-story housing where living in the louver-walled upper floor negated the need for air conditioning. In the rebuild, everyone lived in concrete bunkers built to the 'cyclone code'. Paranoia about cyclones continued for decades.... more »

40 years ago today

Cyclone Tracy wiped out the town of Darwin. I was there. I was three years-old. What I remember is an animal-like howl of wind while I clutched to my mother in a cupboard in the concrete storeroom underneath the house. I have to say, it's not clear to me how much of that is a genuine memory or something passed down through multiple tellings. Anyway, Tracy destroyed the town and my mother and I were evacuated by a RAAF transport plane along with the rest of the women and children. My father stayed to help rebuild. 

The town was transformed by the destruction and rebuild. Previously it was a colonial outpost with tropical two-story housing where living in the louver-walled upper floor negated the need for air conditioning. In the rebuild, everyone lived in concrete bunkers built to the 'cyclone code'. Paranoia about cyclones continued for decades. Twisted girders embedded in concrete served as an artful reminder for the transient population. For those that were there, Tracy isn't something you forget.___

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2014-12-22 05:01:39 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

Power meter redux

So, as I previously explained, I knocked up this Arduino to measure house power consumption by counting LED flashes with a light-dependent resistor. The quick 'n dirty attempt worked but drained a pack of four AA batteries in less than three days. Largely because it was sat there regularly using the ADC to measure the resistance. I was also naively timing the pulses which I later realised I don't care about. I went on to explore low power ways of doing things, basically putting the controller into sleep mode. Measuring light with an LDR is a little sub optimal.

So what I tried instead was using an LED to sense light (yes they do!) with a simple op-amp and comparator circuit which then drives the interrupt pin on the Arduino. The MCU sits in deep sleep almost constantly, only waking briefly when this circuit fires, to increment a watt-hour counter.... more »

Power meter redux

So, as I previously explained, I knocked up this Arduino to measure house power consumption by counting LED flashes with a light-dependent resistor. The quick 'n dirty attempt worked but drained a pack of four AA batteries in less than three days. Largely because it was sat there regularly using the ADC to measure the resistance. I was also naively timing the pulses which I later realised I don't care about. I went on to explore low power ways of doing things, basically putting the controller into sleep mode. Measuring light with an LDR is a little sub optimal.

So what I tried instead was using an LED to sense light (yes they do!) with a simple op-amp and comparator circuit which then drives the interrupt pin on the Arduino. The MCU sits in deep sleep almost constantly, only waking briefly when this circuit fires, to increment a watt-hour counter. Proper timers just don't work when you do this. So instead I use another interrupt, the watch dog timer, (Jeelib's Sleepy class), to go to sleep for 64ms intervals and just count those. 

Sleepy::loseSomeTime(64); 

This will exit when either the watchdog timer has fired or if some other interrupt has fired (like our flash detector). That's why I'm not calling this for say 6000ms. The pulses don't happen often, when I lose some fraction of 64ms, that's much less of an impact on overall timing. So now the device broadcasts watthour readings every two minutes given or take a couple of seconds. Total power consumption is so low it's hard for me to measure being as it's less than half a milliamp, certainly many months on batteries.

When it wakes up to broadcast it's around 10ma for a few seconds as it waits for server acknowledgement etc. Anyhow, getting mcus to do things via interrupts is cool, I must do more of it.  ___

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2014-12-18 23:38:39 (4 comments, 2 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

Reducing power of the thing to reduce power

So, a few days ago I knocked up this quick 'n dirty micro controller to broadcast timing from the watt-hour LED on my power meter. Ironically, there's no power available in the power box so I just deployed a box of four AAs and a DC-to-DC converter driving the 3.3V power on the controller directly. It should last aggggeeeess. It lasted less than three days. So I measured the draw and it was 25mA. Quite a lot.

The problem is that I was basically running a busy loop, timing the LED flashes precisely. I was also collecting about 20 of them and sending the timing to the server. Later I realised that the timing of the LED is irrelevant. I just need to count the flashes and then record how many occur within a given period and write that to a DB with a timestamp. I basically just need to send a single number and I can put the mcu and... more »

Reducing power of the thing to reduce power

So, a few days ago I knocked up this quick 'n dirty micro controller to broadcast timing from the watt-hour LED on my power meter. Ironically, there's no power available in the power box so I just deployed a box of four AAs and a DC-to-DC converter driving the 3.3V power on the controller directly. It should last aggggeeeess. It lasted less than three days. So I measured the draw and it was 25mA. Quite a lot.

The problem is that I was basically running a busy loop, timing the LED flashes precisely. I was also collecting about 20 of them and sending the timing to the server. Later I realised that the timing of the LED is irrelevant. I just need to count the flashes and then record how many occur within a given period and write that to a DB with a timestamp. I basically just need to send a single number and I can put the mcu and it's built-in RF module to sleep for long periods. As in tens of milliseconds before it wakes up to take an ADC reading of the LDR, and minutes before a short packet is sent with the count.

Quite a lot more code, low power states are tricky. Much of the timers switch off too. None of it matters. The logic on the mcu basically just counts pulses and then sends a packet to the server with an ACK request. If it gets no ACK after a few retries then it gives up and will try again later, but doesn't reset the pulse counter. So essentially as long as this thing runs, the cumulative power consumption written to the DB should be 100% accurate, despite me fucking about with the server code.

Anyway, the result was... 25mA to 2.5mA with the blue LED on (pictured) and 1.5mA with it off. I made the LED reflect the sensor for testing purposes so it's 50% duty cycle, so total power consumption is around 2mA. The radio transmission occurs so quickly and infrequently it's negligible. Let's call the DC2DC converter 75% efficient. Should be less than 1.4mA from the battery pack. With 2000mA batteries, it should run for two months. Bit better than two days eh?___

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2014-12-17 23:35:49 (8 comments, 1 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

Measuring power

Power companies have been rolling out 'smart meters' where I live. I've been meaning to get around to getting data out of the meter so I can keep track of the house power consumption and hopefully do something to lower it. Here's the thing, the +SP AusNet meter I have transmits to the provider via Wimax, which is weird and of course useless to me. The frequency of updates is also very low as provided to my retailer and these bozos wont even give me access to their direct web portal, which apparently is also low frequency laggy updates. 

No worries, each of these has a home access network (HAN), so you can use Zigbee to slurp the data out of it! Err nope you can't because SP Ausnet haven't enabled that either. So it's another thing in the meter you had to pay for, which you can't use. Right, so there's a P1 port on the meterw... more »

Measuring power

Power companies have been rolling out 'smart meters' where I live. I've been meaning to get around to getting data out of the meter so I can keep track of the house power consumption and hopefully do something to lower it. Here's the thing, the +SP AusNet meter I have transmits to the provider via Wimax, which is weird and of course useless to me. The frequency of updates is also very low as provided to my retailer and these bozos wont even give me access to their direct web portal, which apparently is also low frequency laggy updates. 

No worries, each of these has a home access network (HAN), so you can use Zigbee to slurp the data out of it! Err nope you can't because SP Ausnet haven't enabled that either. So it's another thing in the meter you had to pay for, which you can't use. Right, so there's a P1 port on the meter which is basically a serial port. I can access that, right? Nope, there's a 'tamper' kit around the meter which blocks the port. Sigh. So I look up some aussie firms that sell inside monitoring devices which do claim to work with this meter on Sp Lamenet. Haha, guess what? They're measuring the speed of the flashing light. And of course that only gets data onto some LCD display thing, not where we want it.

So LED flashing you say?  I can sort that myself with a dinky arduino with RF module and a light-dependent resistor (LDR). Attached graph is nearly two days of data. The straight line is where the code broke for a bit. 

As I often remind the missus, most things in Australia should be played to the soundtrack of Benny Hill and this smart meter episode is no different. The thing bristles with wireless options and points but in the end the only thing the actual owner of the meter can do is measure the light flashing. Turns out this is good enough, although I'm going to have to venture out to change the batteries every now and again I guess.___

2014-12-12 23:24:50 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

How to fix googles stupid new calendar.

Sick of all your Google Plus contacts showing up in your 'Birthdays' calendar? Check this out.


I'm using Google+ for my social networking but not many of my actual friends are on it - most of them on FB. Regardless, I cant stand FB and will not use it, but in order to make the best out of a SOCIAL network you've got to link with people in order to get movement in your stream. So, if you dont have the actual friends to connect with, you connect with strangers who are sharing your interest. This is all good and fine but why Google decided to pull birthdays of these strangers into my calendar is beyond me. I dont care who of them and when having a birthday, but my calendar is full of these reminders.

So, I wanted to get rid of Google+ birthdays from my calendar without disabling my Google+ profile but also keeping the "Birthdays" calendar of my contacts - here is how.

Apparently, ANY Google+ user who made their birthday available in their profile and added to "Your Circles" will show up in your calendar. "My Circles" is a group that consist of other circles and by default contains all your circles except "Following". The idea behind "Your Circles" group is great - it's a nice quick shortcut for sharing with your usual circles. 

In order for Google+ birthdays to disappear from your calendar remove their corresponding circle from "My Circles".

For example, I just created a circle and named it "Test". By default, Google+ automatically adds to to "My Circles" group. Let's say I've added John Doe  who has his birthday available to the circle "Test" - immediately his birthday will be in my calendar. In order to remove John Doe's birthday from my birthdays calendar I need:
1. Go to Settings of your Google+
2. Scroll down to "Your Circles" section and click "Customize"
3. Remove the check mark next to the "Test" circle
4. Click "Save"
5. Done

This will remove John Dow's birthday from my calendar. Please note that from now on when sharing to "My Circles" the "Test" circle will not be included - but I think it's a minor trade-off which could be rectified by manually selecting all the individual circles you want to share with.___How to fix googles stupid new calendar.

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2014-12-12 05:59:57 (10 comments, 1 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Raw milk kills child, but not THEIR fault apparently

This story is pretty sad. Alternative/health food nuts tend to believe raw is good. A company sells unpasteurised milk which is illegal in Australia, so they sell it as a cosmetic 'bath milk'. A 3-year old child drank some and wound up dead. The lunatic woman that runs this outfit rails against the media and government. Check it:

“To the health department, you have opened a hornets nest, not for raw milk, but for exposing the garbage that consumers are fed, the chemical laden pesticides, herbicides, anti-biotics that are used to grow food to feed families."

That takes a special kind of crazy. Kill a child with your product and then claim it's a 'hornets nest' for all the other products that actually comply with the law. 

Raw milk kills child, but not THEIR fault apparently

This story is pretty sad. Alternative/health food nuts tend to believe raw is good. A company sells unpasteurised milk which is illegal in Australia, so they sell it as a cosmetic 'bath milk'. A 3-year old child drank some and wound up dead. The lunatic woman that runs this outfit rails against the media and government. Check it:

“To the health department, you have opened a hornets nest, not for raw milk, but for exposing the garbage that consumers are fed, the chemical laden pesticides, herbicides, anti-biotics that are used to grow food to feed families."

That takes a special kind of crazy. Kill a child with your product and then claim it's a 'hornets nest' for all the other products that actually comply with the law. ___

2014-12-12 01:56:46 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Contrary to stuff written on the Internet, two-stroke fuel is not suitable for four-stroke generators. I found this out the hard way with an unwelcome distraction of needing to strip the thing, clean the sparkplug and flush the fuel with cleaner. Mechanical stuff, ugh.

Contrary to stuff written on the Internet, two-stroke fuel is not suitable for four-stroke generators. I found this out the hard way with an unwelcome distraction of needing to strip the thing, clean the sparkplug and flush the fuel with cleaner. Mechanical stuff, ugh.___

2014-12-02 13:37:38 (19 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

 Elon Musk is one thing but now Prof Hawking is gibbering about the AI menace as well? <rolls eyes>

 Elon Musk is one thing but now Prof Hawking is gibbering about the AI menace as well? <rolls eyes>___

2014-12-01 01:45:11 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

So, the micro parties to hold the senate balance of power in Victoria. Particularly four seats of the Shooters and Fisher's party. Another conservative climate denialist party, yay. Course the hilarity is that the party is run by a husband and wife team, both winning rural east/west seats while they actually live in the Southern Melbourne suburb of Hampton. <rolls eyes>

So, the micro parties to hold the senate balance of power in Victoria. Particularly four seats of the Shooters and Fisher's party. Another conservative climate denialist party, yay. Course the hilarity is that the party is run by a husband and wife team, both winning rural east/west seats while they actually live in the Southern Melbourne suburb of Hampton. <rolls eyes>___

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2014-11-29 01:21:09 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

This is a great rebuttal of the nasty politically motivated accounts of a 'flabby' ABC that can well afford cuts.

___This is a great rebuttal of the nasty politically motivated accounts of a 'flabby' ABC that can well afford cuts.

2014-11-29 01:06:16 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Voting, zero sum game

And once again the wife and I trudge to the ballot box to vote in the Victorian State election. We have to vote, or you get fined. It's annoying because the wife and I will vote in polar opposites, largely because she's a Christian and will therefore vote conservative. So our votes pretty much just cancel out. Oh well, the sausage sizzle is always good.

Was also interesting to see the fire brigade campaigning at the polling station. Their message was vote for anyone, just put Liberals last. Hah! This year they've re-drawn the election boundary so that we're likely to fall to liberal (about 2% swing) but if the 'firies', as we call them, swing one in 100 then Labor will pull through. I note that lab + green + loony save fluffy possums parties outnumbered lib by 10-to-1 at my polling station. I imagine there's a different picture... more »

Voting, zero sum game

And once again the wife and I trudge to the ballot box to vote in the Victorian State election. We have to vote, or you get fined. It's annoying because the wife and I will vote in polar opposites, largely because she's a Christian and will therefore vote conservative. So our votes pretty much just cancel out. Oh well, the sausage sizzle is always good.

Was also interesting to see the fire brigade campaigning at the polling station. Their message was vote for anyone, just put Liberals last. Hah! This year they've re-drawn the election boundary so that we're likely to fall to liberal (about 2% swing) but if the 'firies', as we call them, swing one in 100 then Labor will pull through. I note that lab + green + loony save fluffy possums parties outnumbered lib by 10-to-1 at my polling station. I imagine there's a different picture at other polling stations, like further out than me which is more rural than metro. #vicvotes     #election2014  







 ___

2014-11-27 00:49:25 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

I think Americans are doing something with turkeys, I can't be sure.

I think Americans are doing something with turkeys, I can't be sure.___

2014-11-26 05:30:13 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

If every man woman and child in Australia was to pitch in $35,500 each, we could buy Apple. Then maybe we could fix iTunes.

If every man woman and child in Australia was to pitch in $35,500 each, we could buy Apple. Then maybe we could fix iTunes.___

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