Tuesday, 11 August 2015

RIP Jenny

Whilst travelling in China, a dear friend passed away just a few hours ago. Here she is with the 9th Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche. She was travelling to meet the 10th Traleg Tulku. We had the good fortune to spend a week with them in their remarkable, isolated home at the end of a goat track, in Tasmania a few years ago. In hindsight I'm so glad we made the time and effort to be with them.
She was a joy to know and her openness was infectious. RIP Jenny.

Friday, 3 July 2015

The Greenhouse Conspiracy

The more I look into Climate Change, the more it appears the popularization (politicization) of the so-called science has rendered the exercise entirely futile. 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

David Cameron wants to ban encryption in Britain

The American mouthpiece, David Cameron, wants to ban encryption in Britain. Funny I didn't think he was such a simpleton. The amount of commerce and business that would be lost in just a single day is beyond comprehension. The downstream affect on economies would be beyond imagination. Yes I know, life in the 1950s was so wonderful David, all we had to do was bug a phone and go-get the bad guys.

The problem is not encryption of the internet, the problem is that law enforcement, getting lazier by the day, thinking they can use the internet to solve their cases and get quick, convenient convictions. The overweight, donut munching cops is a reasonable visual metaphor. With every successful online conviction they get lazier.
The problem is internet crime, the solution is not slashing open everyone's email and reading it. The solution is doing proper police work. 

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Native Orchid Yarra Ranges National Park

Recently whilst on my daily walk, I stopped, as I like to do, to take in the stillness of the forest, and happened to glance down at my feet and noticed this native orchid. I had heard about them from other walkers, but couldn't believe my good luck. Here was this slightly bedraggled example of the native orchid. A quick review of the local directory of Yarra Ranges Orchids and I'm no wiser. However I don't think that matters too much. The beauty of the moment was what counts, for me at least.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

The Interview

Good to see "The Interview" movie available on YouTube. Can't see what all the fuss was about. There ain't nothing sensitive about this feather-weight movie. If you can stomach the "America-The-Great" under current, then its an entertaining movie.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Why Formula 1 is Dead in my Mind

I vaguely recall when I was a kid seeing briefly on New Zealand's black and white TV service, this view of a Can Am car rocketing away from a corner. Needless to say I was captivated, and naturally excited to know a fellow New Zealander was shaking things up in North America.

Since then I've briefly participated, and mostly watched motor racing. The reason I was so drawn to this odd ball sport was the sounds, the sleek looking cars and the drama of the sport. Bruce McLaren seemed to have for me the ideal approach to the sport. He tested, developed and figured things out for himself. Success followed and the luck followed his hard work.

Fast forward to 2015, and whilst the sport continues, its been heavily anesthetized with rules, regulations and transformed into a high speed economy drive. What happened to the gladiators of old who knew how to work the crowd?

For me the cars now, particularly Formula 1, sounds more like a vacuum cleaner conference, or maybe a sewing machine rodeo. The central reason I first got involved all those years ago, is now gone. I find myself drawn more to the FIA World Endurance Championship.

I doubt sincerely the FIA and our Bernie can see beyond the profit motive and actually what's good for the sport. If they want loyal me back, then they need to listen.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Salute to The Greatest Generation

I used to listen to war stories when I was a kid. My Dad would tell me all sorts of stories about the war days. Sometimes Id listen, sometimes Id tune out. In hindsight I so regret the latter. The stories were wonderful and interesting, and I couldn't appreciate the magnitude of what he was involved in. He was most moved by witnessing the 1000 plane formations as they delivered their message and payload to Nazi Germany.

Now that he's gone, Id give anything to sit down with him again and hear the stories over. Only once or twice did I bother to record them. I'm so glad I did. My Dad was Churchillian to the core and couldn't wait to stick it to the Nazis. He did finally get his chance, just at the end of the war when he was old enough, and took great relish in his small involvement in The Channel Islands.

The photo below was my Dad just after the end of the war. I salute you John Dobson.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Loving the Netflix

I decided I had nothing to lose in trying out Netflix on the one month free trial. In Australia, on average there are at least 22 minutes worth of ads for every hour of viewing. We have become so conditioned to it one sort of expects the ads to always be there. 

But I'm not like that. Why put up with annoyances when they can be gotten rid of. And so it is with Netflix. One hits the Go button and whatever is being viewed runs without interruption. Subconsciously I'm waiting for the ads, but they never come. The selection of movies, documentaries and so forth is good and growing. 

Suffice to say I'm happy and haven't watched any TV for some weeks now. Its just not worth it. My viewing habits are: Main Course: Netflix with a desert of YouTube. Forget TV. Its well down the food chain. Iview and iPlayer get the occasional airing.

Personally I don't care if the TV channels fold and disappear. They have had plenty of free time to adapt to the rise and pervasiveness of the internet. Their protection of revenue streams has come at a price. Their failure to adapt is underwhelming and who cares? 

Finally, I haven't decided whether I'll continue with the paid product yet. But I must admit I'm scratching for reasons not to. At $12 a month, it seems good value.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Bye Bye Fossil Fuels

Its exciting that Elon Musk has presented a clear pathway allowing us to transition from old school fossil fuels to 100% renewable. This great presentation he gave seems to provide all the tools and steps we need to at least begin the transition. Whilst our Australian Government has set this wonderful country of ours in the opposite direction, I suspect that again they will switch directions as the Tesla Power Walls and Power Packs enjoy uptake and ultimately freedom from the grid. Here it comes.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Proton Mail now has Encrypted Attachments

Whilst waiting for Google to get its End-to-End encrypted Gmail sorted, I've signed up and begun using Protonmail. Encrypted end-to-end email. So far so good. 

Last night they did an upgrade, and now all attachments are encrypted. Fantastic. All good news. Now all my emails are E2E encrypted as are the attachments. Maybe now law enforcement agencies will have to do some proper police work, rather than munching doughnuts and clicking on things to get answers. Go Protonmail.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Lyrebird Firefighters

Did anyone see the Catalyst documentary last night about song birds? 
Apparently most of the worlds song bird  developed in Australia some 20 million years before the rest of the world. In that instance, Australia became the source of song birds contrary to popular belief. They went onto say, and this is what really interested me, that wherever there are Lyrebirds, there are no bush fires. Apparently the bush fires burns up to the boundary of the Lyrebirds habitat, and then the fire stops.
La Trobe Research is here.
This has to do with the consequences of the lyrebird scraping away at the forest floor. 
Comforting to know that we have a good and active population of Lyrebirds just along the road from here. I knew those buggers knew what they were doing. 

Natural fire management is only a lyrebird away.

More here: http://goo.gl/fSc4e2

Friday, 20 February 2015

Life and Death

Life goes on. 

Death is the only possible conclusion. 

What do I do in the meantime?

Monday, 9 February 2015

How to Quickly Prime Your Fluval Canister Filter in 5 Steps

I've heard and read that many people, having completed the maintenance of their Fluval Canister Filter (105 through 405) spending hours, and sometimes multiple days using the inbuilt priming pump trying to establish the water flow. I was faced with that today, and thought there must be a better way.
Fluval Canister Filter

The filter was all plumbed in, and yet the canister was dry as a bone. Even with the AquaStop valve open, nothing was happening.

This fix is simple and quick. I'll demonstrate on a spare AquaStop valve and a bit of hose pipe I had lying around.

Step 1
The Steps.

1. Remove the AquaStop valve from the Filter, and whilst still connected to the vertical flow and return pipes, insert into the left-hand side of the AquaStop valve (the "In" side) the spare pipe.  

Step 1

2. Open both the AquaStop valve and the capture lever as shown in the photo. 

Step 2
3. Suck on the connected pipe, and syphon the water. Some spillage is inevitable. Quickly remove your mouth to prevent "tasting" the water.

4. Close the AquaStop valve to prevent excessive water loss, and return the AquaStop valve to the filter and reconnect in the normal way.

5. Prime the filter 2 or 3 times, and connect the filter to the wall socket.

The water should flow without hesitation.

Try this the next time should you have problems establishing water flow with your Fluval Canister. Good luck and let me know how you go.

Here is a video of the filter running just after starting up.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

How Hard Can It Be?

How hard can it be to set a decent password. The fact that US Central Command had their Twitter account hacked, as we'd say in Australia, someone "dropped the ball". Its so easy to set decent passwords that will prevent this sort of thing happening. Keepass will generate passwords of any length. And there is plenty of other ways of generating and recalling appropriate strength passwords. I find it hard to believe that such an important account should leave the door open.

You could do worse than spend some time over here at GRC's "How big is your haystack", an excellent resource to help get your head around the whole password thing.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015


There was a time many years ago when I had hair, and it was boofy. And now with the passage of the years, the guy in the mirror is somewhat hairless. Where did it go? Who's got it now? Can I have it back?
Probably not. Think its a one way street.
Its amazing how important hair is to some people. Recently, after a four year travel stint away, upon return and meeting with said close friend, within seconds of meeting, they were talking about their hair. Hoping to elicit positive compliments.
So much for my efforts overseas.
Of poultry consequence, compared to the mighty hair.
Such is life.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Whats Around The Corner?

I guess its that time of year when we all wonder whats around the corner. What does 2015 hold for me? Will 2015 be done to me, or will I set sail with my goals as my navigator. I know goals aren't for everyone, but I've always responded positively to the goal setting process. I'm currently deciding which of the popular Goal Setting software to use. I'm looking at either:

  1. Goalscape
  2. Joe's Goals
  3. Lifetick
  4. Goalsontrack
I really like the strong visual element that is Goalscape.
But I also like and respond to lists. Goalsontrack is great for that. 
So, what is around the corner for you?