Saturday, November 12, 2011

Why is it so?

Have you ever wondered about how we adopt sayings and never actually question their origins or what they really mean? It struck me this morning that we use the term "Russian Roulette" but it seems to have very little to do with Russia - although Wikipedia suggests this is where the "game" originated - or Roulette - except perhaps (again as suggested by Wikipedia) the spinning action and the element of chance/risk involved. And who knew there were (at least) two variations - one where the two players take turns spinning the revolver's cylinder before firing. Chances are this would provide onlookers with better betting options by hopefully increasing the number of turns before one of the players did shoot themselves in the head! The other variation, where the cartridge is only spun once - means on a standard six-shooter, the game (and the players) would have a limited life. And if you were the second player and your opponent had survived three goes - would you pull the trigger? And if the punters had bet on which player would die - and they had bet on you/against you - would you be or feel compelled to pull the trigger. I would have said "who in their right mind would do it?" but then realised that, in my universe anyway, people in their right mind do not put loaded guns to their head and pull the trigger!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Contextual memory

I had forgotten I knew the word ... but as soon as I saw the white pencil under the chair at Zarraffas I thought "someone's dropped their chinagraph"- it's been a while since I even saw one - years ... decades - when I was doing my media degree and we used them for marking radio tape (goodness - that really is a very long time ago!) it is amazing how memory works though, isn't it - we can totally forget we know something until something like that happens. I wonder how much else is rattling around in my brain without me knowing about it?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pioneer One

I have found a science fiction series on the web which is available free of charge but donations are welcome because it is funded from viewer contributions. It's called h and tells the story of a downed Russian spacecraft which has supposedly returned from Mars carrying a passenger - a young man born on Mars (the first Martian to set foot on earth? - although he hasn't actually yet because he's been confined to a hospital bed after being carried from the crash site) and sent back to Earth as the Martian colony runs out of resources. That's the gist of it anyway. It's billed to run three seasons - only one of which is currently available - and while it has been an interesting look into the creative team's vision it has proved a little difficult for those of us without a good memory for faces. Over the course of the production at least two (I think) of the main actors have changed - either totally - or dramatically (heh heh) changed their appearance. I know, I know ... go with the flow - and I am, and looking forward to the next episodes when they are posted.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Nature or nurture or neither?

Boy pleads guilty to killing with axedeclared the headline and I couldn't help wondering if this was about Ivan Milat's relative who took a teenage friend into the Belangalo State Forest (scene of murders for which Milat is currently serving prison time) and murdered him with an axe. The whole thing does raise the issue of nature or nurture - and that if either or both of these influenced the boy to violence.
Yesterday the teenager pleaded guilty in Campbelltown Children's Court to the murder on the night of November 20 last year. David Auchterlonie's grandmother, Sandra, told the Herald last night she was still trying to find any relief in the fact that ''the evil seed of Ivan Milat had finally pleaded guilty''.
Sydney Morning Herald

Friday, September 23, 2011

By George ...

It may be the first and only time but as I was chatting with someone about making a weekly Skype call to Sydney, I was noting that the start of Daylight Savings Time is just around the corner which meant our call time would need to change. Yes, I said, that means we'll bring it back to 8am our time which will be 9am their time. I could hear S do a silent cheer - 21 years later she may never have to try to explain DST to me again (it usually happens a few times every year)!

Friday, September 16, 2011


This morning on the way to work, I was following a utility truck (aka ute) for a roofing company and the signage on the tailgate proclaimed "Colourbond and Zincalume specialists". Well, let's hope they're better at installing it than spelling it. Although there could be something to be said for making sure "U" is in a Colorbond moment.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


The 45th anniversary of Star Trek has led to a few marketing opportunities. You can have your photo added into a Star Trek mosaic. As the FaceBook entry put it:
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Limited Spaces remaining! Don’t miss the chance to add your picture to an officially licensed Star Trek photo mosaic. Each Star Trek Fan Mosaic uses photos submitted by fans as the building blocks that re-create an iconic image. Log on to today to upload your photo and purchase your commemorative print.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Blogging App

I have tried various Apps for blogging from the iPhone and iPad and have now found one that I'm happy with. It's called BlogPress - cost only a couple of dollars - and lets you write - with formatting - and edit blog entries so you can quickly fix that apostrophe or spelling error you wish you'd caught before you published the post! You can also upload photos but I've still to play with that functionality (won't be long now). It's so well-thought out and easy to use that it's made me feel like blogging again.

Fighting for their souls

A Gold Coast Pastor is this week attempting to attract more people to his church by holding a charity "fight night". A boxing ring will be set up inside the church and they hope to attract people who have previously thought churches were just for the "old or religious". The C3 Church, in Upper Coomera, was established three years ago and currently hosts about 350 people at its services. The report in today's Gold Coast Bulletin did not suggest how many were expected to go attend the fight night but it did say proceeds would go to local girl McKenzie Tamala who suffers from a rare cerebral palsy disorder. Parents wanting to attend the event may be pleased to learn that childcare will be available for children from five to 10 (their ages or the hours the care us available?). Only time will tell if this will help convince people that church is a hip and happening thing.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Trekking on

Who knew that it had been 45 years since Star Trek first hit television screens. I had no idea until yesterday when I received a message on FaceBook - and was stunned to realise that I had unconsciously chosen that day to start watching Deep Space Nine - as purchased from JB HiFI during their latest sale. I'm looking forward to watching it even though it will probably never match Star Trek: The Next Generation which is my favourite Star Trek.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Pause for thought

Hmmm ... Does it signify changing interests that instead of going to the Tech pages of Zite (personalized magazine available on the ipad) I head straight for the Psychology and Mind section? It pulls together reports from a variety of sources and there are always at least a couple of articles I bookmark (via Instapaper) to read later. Maybe one day I will get to read them - but for now at least I know where to find them. (One amazing thing about Instapaper is that once you have saved something you the option to send it to someone as text rather than as a link! Much better.). Of course I still do mosey over to the Tech pages - but not first.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Sometimes you fluke it! Some time ago - when they first introduced the stylus for use with iPhone and iPods - I bought the Pogo Stylus which was fine but not perfect. Then I found the Targus stylus at a booth-type electronics store in a local shopping centre. they were kind enough to let me try it out "instore" and I liked it so much I bought two. I sometimes go back to the Pogo just to make sure I'm still happy - and I am - which is why I was pleased to read a comparison report on different brands of stylus in one of the tech press today - and the Targus was a winner!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hot topic

If water takes different times to boil depending on the altitude - can you boil water in space?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

In a word

One of the things I love about the digital age is that you can get a dictionary that will actually say the word for you - and even though it still hives the phonetic pronunciation, you don't have to rely on it - especially if this is something you've never learnt/been taught. Do they still teach it?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Census 2012

National Census Day was today - where everyone in the land stands up to be counted ... or in our case, sits down at the computer to lodge their eCensus online. S had put her hand up for the task - and while she would have preferred to have done it on the iPad, we weren't sure that the eCensus website had been optimised for this technology - so she used the PC. Which is strange because the Census form and questions weren't ... PC. It's not often I take umbrage but I did tonight. I think I was more disenchanted because I had really been looking forward to it ... I'm not entirely sure why but this year's Census had caught my imagination, possibly because there are some major social issues around at the moment and this offered a chance for a true "snapshot" of what our communities and society are about.

The sticking point was the marital status question. There was no option for "de facto". While this may seem like a small point - especially as some people have pointed out that the "de facto" option was available when Person 2, 3 etc entered their relationship to Person 1 - it can not help but skew the results, especially if one's marital status is used as a key demographic in tabulating other information. It could have been fine if you knew every household in Australia is the traditional familial model - but we know they aren't ... there are many variations and permeations.

It would have been fairer, and more representative, if they had included more categories in the marital status question. The available options were married, divorced, widowed, single - and I'm not sure if there was a "separated". It did not give a definition of "marriage" - as in married in a church vs civil union in anything other than a church. It didn't included an option for "not married because I don't believe in marriage but I've happily been with my partner for more than 20 years" nor an option for "not married because my partner for more than 20 years and I cannot marry because it is not legal in this country for us to do so ... and any civil union we enter into overseas is not recognised here" nor an option for "de facto" for whatever reason eg I cannot get a divorce for religious reasons but my wife and I have been separated for 20 years and I have been re-partnered for more than 15 of them and have 4 children by that union. I wonder if "engaged" was an option?

As I said to S, just before I suggested we have no part of this flawed exercise - it looks as though they were doing a proper count but it turns out they were only including you in the count if you were "purple" - whatever "purple" might be.

And who knew that completing the Census was compulsory under an Act dating back to 1905 with the possibility of a $110/day fine being levied for non-lodgement? Can there be Census Conscientious Objectors and how would one lodge a protest - and where?

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Probably not

There's nothing quite like seeing the world through a young person's eyes. This is probably not the advertising approach you'd take to get more people to become organ donors.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Different rules

Of course they are going to have different security requirements and procedures at some grounds - and we've all heard stories of venues who prevent glass bottles being taken into sporting events but this suburban sports field may not be one of them. According to a report in today's Gold Coast Bulletin, back in 2009, Tutaki Olsen walked on to the field of a Melbourne suburban ground after the siren to congratulate a friend whose team had just won - and was hit in the head with a steel headed mallet by a rival fan. He has since forgiven his attacker's "mistake" - although it doesn't say whether that mistake was wielding the mallet - or bringing it along to a sporting event!

Saturday, July 02, 2011


Having trouble sleeping? You may be just one in a long line of sufferers of PDSD- Post-Dramatic Stress Disorder. Simply put, what you have watched or read in the last hour before putting your head down to sleep may have stressed you out of that I'm tired and want to go to sleep state. i'm still reading up on it but it seems that when you are in an Alpha state - as you are when you watch television (or drive) - you are 200 times more suggestible than when you are not in an Alpha state! Seems if advertisers could learn how to tap into this, they would have a way of prying open people's wallets and making more sales!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What say you?

There was an interesting article this morning on what approach you take to life and the people around you. Are you a naysayer or a yaysayer? Despite the obvious first observation - this is the first time I can remember having seen 3 y's in a word - it does give pause for thought. Do you encourage people by telling them they can do something or they can't do something - and what motivates each of us to our best action? Which reminds me, another article from this morning's reading looked at when we put in our "best" performances. According to research, we work best when we are under some pressure to perform - not too much pressure, not too little pressure. How much is too much, too little or just right (why do I feel like some porridge about now?) depends entirely on the individual. Wouldn't that make an interesting HR course in business - how to gauge how much pressure is the right amount for each individual employee to help them produce their best work ... they could call it (apologies to MasterChef) ... the pressure test.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Terms of engagement?

I have been watching the machinations within the new NSW Government, especially as it relates to public servants and their pay and conditions (since I was one in a former life). This statement, as noted in The Sydney Morning Herald, intrigued me:

Mr O'Farrell said the cabinet had decided to shorten the period for retaining excess public servants from 12 months to just three months and reduce severance payments for employees who reject an initial offer of voluntary redundancy.

Isn't this almost the same as a forced redundancy then if people are penalised for not accepting voluntary redundancy?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dangerous precedent?

A Malawian man has been found guilty of circulating false documents after distributing Leaflet predicting The Rapture - the event which didn't take place on 21 May. Saduki Mwambene, a 39-year-old bicycle repairman, was given a six-month suspended sentence because he pleaded guilty to the charge. (Meanwhile, US televangelist Harold Camping who predicted The Rapture suffered a mild stroke over the weekend.). So how long will it be before local authorities start going after other religious organisations/believers and their publications - because, surely, they too must be based on faith.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

If you go down to the woods ...

Police in the south of England last week were called in after a tiger was sighted in a field off the M27 Motorway. Photos were provided by some tourists who were able to capture the images using telephoto lens. A nearby stadium was evacuated and a helicopter was sent in to assess the situation. It was only when thermal imaging was used that authorities realised not was all as it appeared - there was no heat signature - and then the tiger "blew over" from the winds generated by the helicopter. A large stuffed toy Tiger is now being cared for by police who have called it a "most unusual item of lost property".

Without warning

John Birmingham's novel Without Warning tells of a mysterious energy wave that sweeps over - actually lingers on - America causing the disappearance of those it comes in contact with except for their clothes and some "residue". People seeing pictures on the web this week could be forgiven for thinking they were related, but the prank photos (they are prank not real) of people's empty clothes strewn on subways, on motorbikes, and just about anywhere as if their owners just vanished has more to do with The Rapture which was originally due to happen on May 21 but has now been "deferred" (according to those who "know") until October. what will they (the pranksters) think of next?

Flying high

The recent eruption of another Icelandic volcano (not the one with the unspeakable name which erupted last year) means air traffic throughout Europe has again been disrupted - but not as badly as last time. So, if the eruption and ensuing ash cloud is much larger, why is there less disruption? Well, according to some reports it's simply that the policy regarding air travel has changed - allowing flights in denser ash conditions. Hmmm. Makes you wonder what led to the policy being developed in the first place - and how much is "too much" ash - and does it very for different aircraft, different engines, etc?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

That's good ...

Why is it that things in life are never always all good or all bad? I was just marvelling at the "Personalized Mazagine", Zite which is a free application on the iPad. It allows you to "tell" the magazine what content you like or dislike so it can tailor your reading to your preferences. It does a very good job of it - too good in some respects and I would happily read just about everything it serves up if there was more time. Which is where Instapaper comes in - which allows you to save web content for later reading. Which is why I constantly feel behind with my reading and blogging - I'm so busy marking articles for looking at later that I seem to be getting to less of them.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

How do you say it?

If Louis Armstrong was known as Satchmo or Louis - pronounced Loo-ee - why was it that in Hello Dolly, Barbra Streisand's (and why is it that I am more sure of how to spell the diva's surname than first name?) character called him "Lou-is"? And why has it taken a thousand repetitions of the soundtrack (it does feel like that many some times) to realise that?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Taxing times

Why does this not come as a surprise? Apparently income tax was first introduced in Canada in 1917 to finance the First World War - and it was levied at different rates - based on a man's marital status with single men taxed more - 4% of all income. It became the welfare state's greatest revenue source - which no doubt explains why some country's have a personal tax rate of well in excess of 40% for high income earners. Of course tax has been around for much longer - in 10 CE in China, professionals and business were taxed 10% of profits; the UK introduced it in 1798 to fund the Napelonic wars, and the US adopted an income tax in 1861 to help out with costs of the American Civil War!

Monday, April 25, 2011


Finally I have started posting Samagrams puzzles again. A new puzzle is posted each day Monday to Friday! Give them a go - but don't forget to read the instructions on how to play before you begin,

The colours of ...

Why is it that when you have coloured shower gel or shampoo it always lathers white rather than its original colour? The same with toothpaste - especially the striped variety - why does it always come out as white? Where does all the colour go?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Never Thought About It

America's Only Humor Site Since 1958,, recently carried on item titled "7 Hotly Debated Movie Questions That Totally Have Answers". It was interesting partly because I didn't know whether or not to believe it but also because I hadn't actually given the "questions" any thought until then and still haven't really except for the one about ''Groundhog Day". Why did Bill Murray's character have to relive that day? It had never occurred to me to ask that, I've always just accepted it as a plot device to get him to become a "better" person. Does it matter why? Well, according to, in one of the early drafts, his ex-girlfriend of four dates is responsible for casting the spell that keeps him trapped (for 10,000 years?) until he is awoken by the kiss of the (right) fair maiden. Other plots have been made from less but you would have thought she would have had some return for her investment! Two other movie questions addressed in the item: what was in the Pulp Fiction suitcase and did Tony Soprano die?

Just browsing

What does a person's browser history tell you about them - working on the assumption that they haven't used one of these browsers that allows "private" browsing - ie deleting your browsing history lest it be discriminating in any way. When I started writing this blog item some time ago, I was planning to list what was on my browser history but having looked up a few sites over the last week, that may be wise ... for example I looked up Adolph Hitler on Wikipedia to confirm a friend's birthday (she was born on the same day ... really). Some could see this as less than innocent ... especially if it was linked to another URL or two. It's amazing that after any kind of killing spree happens and the media (and investigators) look to make sense of it, they dredge up their history: who they were friends with, what they read, what movies they watched, what sites they surfed, what they posted on their Facebook page or on other social media, how old were that when they killed their first puppy, what the neighbours thought of them. It's unclear if this approach is helpful - does it offer any insight or possible warning signs to help someone to prevent it happening again? Hopefully some good comes of it.

Crisis - choke or panic?

I read a very interesting article today by Malcolm Gladwell about failure - specifically about people choking or panicing in times of crisis - and he used, among others, a couple of sports stories to illustrate his point. One was of particular interest and told of the time a few years ago when golfer Greg Norman lost the 1996 Masters tournament to Nick Faldo. This is often used, in other circles, to illustrate "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory". Even though Norman had started the day well ahead, he had "choked" - which means, in general terms, that he was overthinking his shots and playing like a beginner rather than being able to rely on the internalisation of the learning of golf that had stood him so well over the proceeding years - enough to have earned him the nickname of "The Shark". (The other side of the crisis coin is "panic" where you "don't" think.)
What was really interesting was what happened after Faldo had won the game, which, according to Gladwell's account was this: When it was all over, Faldo wrapped his arms around Norman. “I don’t know what to say—I just want to give you a hug,” he whispered, and then he said the only thing you can say to a choker: “I feel horrible about what happened. I’m so sorry.” With that, the two men began to cry.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The "face" of evil

While they seemed to be fairly primitive in appearance from the start - was that really a bathroom plunger for their ray gun? - the Daleks from the TV series ''Dr Who" have struck fear in the heart of we mere mortals. Why is it so? Why should some robots who go around saying "exterminate", especially when they are totally incapable of negotiating stairs (wheels for feet, remember?), be cause for such terror? Thankfully someone has taken time to consider this and believes we fear Daleks because they are "evil". Dr Robin Bunce believes they represent what we ourselves might become if we let science and technology triumph over our humanity. They are, he suggests, more evil because we recognise they were once "good". And recognise them we do: a Study by the UK's National Trust in 2008 reported that while only 53% of children could identify an oak leaf, 9 out of 10 could recognise a Dalek - although this should not be taken as proof that people really do know danger when they see it!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

On the spot (almost)

Ever had trouble telling your zebras apart? Well, that may be a thing of the past now that Stripespotter has been developed by a team of US computer scientists and biologists. It works a little like a barcode scanner (you can see how that would work with zebras) to allow the recording and tracking of a variety of different animals - not just the obvious.

Too much to do!

Over the last few weeks I have noted about 30 articles which have seemed blog-worthy but as yet I haven't found or made the time to write them up - which is a shame given the topics range from gut flora and how it affects the way we think - through to how prejudice evolves! There's also been some interesting work-place related items. Ah well, Easter is almost upon us - so there's a chance for a catch-up. Watch this space!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

On the case

I admit it - given a choice I would prefer plain packaging for cigarette packets - plain brown that is - leaving off all the "scare" images. I don't think pictures of mouth cancer or eyes or anything else is going to deter a person who really wants to smoke. Maybe it just fosters an "it won't happen to me" attitude. If the Government does legislate here and brings in plain or scare packaging, I wonder how long it will be before someone brings out a line of cigarette cases - or the cigarette manufacturers start giving cases away.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

High price of (some) food

When shopping this morning I was stunned to pay $3.69 for four apples but flabbergasted to pay $2.98 for one not-very-large banana. I think I knew bananas were going to be expensive but this seems to be exceeding the cost we were paying after Cyclone Larry decimated the banana crops a few years back. Hmmm ... may have to save half for tomorrow.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Oh the pane ...

Just when you thought there was some great information available via the web on your smartphone comes this: We're sorry, this story relies on some features that aren't currently available on your mobile device. I may now never know "How to Build A 'Magic' Window".

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cutting remarks

Who ever said "the fastest way to a man's heart is through his stomach" may not have meant that absolutely literally- but now that I have that mental image - it isn't going away.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The definition of disappointment

I was very excited for a few moments there. In looking up a puzzle answer, I came across the suggested word "epigaeous" - wow! What a fantastic word for a game of Scrabble - there's at least one of every vowel and it sounds great (or would if I knew how to produce it ... but, alas, if there is mo definition for it - and there appears not to be - it doesn't count! Oops, always good to get a second - or third opinion - it apparently means "Growing on, or close to, the ground.". (If we play Scrabble together ... you never saw this!)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Giving it up for Lent?

According to a recent study church-goers are more likely to put on weight than their non-church-going associates. While this did not appear to be limited to any one denomination - and there was no clear "winner", it appears that a likely reason for people gaining pounds for piety is that they are more likely to have a bigger social network and eat more often. But this may not be as big a problem as it would seem because other research suggests organized religion will soon be extinct in nine countries.

Getting it right?

What responsibility do bloggers have to make sure that what they post is right? I read a blog today which highlighted the tussle between Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in today's election. Well, no gold stars here because it is not a Federal election but a NSW State election which has little to do with the ongoing leadership of Australia. So what do bloggers do, if anything, to ensure their personal opinion/comment is based on some sort of fact?

New experiences

It's a challenge sometimes to want to try new and/or exciting things (because, let's be truthful here, some new things are NOT exciting) but it's often worth the effort. Must try harder!

Friday, March 25, 2011


Heard on the radio this morning: "Carmel will come back to haunt him.". It's not what they said (karma!!!!) but it is what I heard.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Where there's a will ...

I'm not sure I heard it correctly but I thought it said that a man had been stabbed 27 times and then bundled into the boot of a car - and then he escaped at Uki (a small town in northern NSW) and has survived. Another man has been charged with attempted murder. But wow - what a will to live the man who was stabbed must have. And what presence of mind to know/remember that you can open a boot from inside it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Look out - he's got a ...

... towel! It makes a change from the towel animals Lisa saw on her Alaskan cruise but it's a shame when people use towels not for good but for evil. A man - described in the press as "a speed-fueled bank robber" - used a towel disguised as a gun to "threaten a teller" and carry out "an armed robbery" in Broadbeach QLD last year. After William Edward Hamilton, 33, pleaded guilty, he was sentenced to six years' jail time. I can't help but wonder whether he will be permitted to have terry-towelling in there with him - you'd have to be concerned that given his obviously well-honed towel skills he would be able to fashion some sort of escape equipment ... like a shovel or perhaps even a helicopter!

But what can be done about it?

A parliamentary committee in Queensland is reportedly examining whether death poses a pollution hazard. Hmmm - it can certainly pose a personal hazard. Their concern is that both burial and cremation release "carcinogens with significant impacts on the environment". Will they need to come up with alternatives? I've always thought embalming a loved one and having them encased in a transparent coffee table may be a (good?) talking point but it isn't for me; or perhaps sending them heaven-ward ... and out of Earth's atmosphere. The report I read didn't give the committee's terms of reference nor a timeframe for completion of the study but I suspect there will be lots of people dying for their findings.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Health check

Queensland Health is confident that it's new payroll system - introduced a year ago and plagued with problems - is now "under control". When the system first went "live" - without the benefit of running in tandem with the old system for even one pay run - thousands of nurses and hospital workers were underpaid, overpaid or just not paid at all. The good news is, now that the system's "under control" only 31 staff members reported they had not been paid in the last pay cycle. Hmmm ... this could mean to some that the system still doesn't have its clean bill of health! And could it really be true that the problems with the system have pushed the price of implementing it from $60 million to $210 million?

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Get the picture

Photos are amazing things and I'm sure that many a treatise has been based on then. But have they been based on the original - as in unedited - version or on the effect after the pic has been through some photo editing software? I used to be a puritan about not editing pics but somewhere over the last while I seem to have lost that - as I noticed this evening as I cropped and adjusted the contrast/brightness of a plc taken with the iPhone and really in need of some help. The only problem was working out which software to use - even though I had been determined not to use one, I had kept downloading programs - just in case!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I feel like a goose. I have just looked myself out of my voicemail box for my mobile phone. Yet another reason for recording passwords and access codes somewhere!

Sign of the times

You know you've been playing too many computer-based games when you finish a word puzzle in the newspaper and can't work out why it's not telling you you're got it right (or wrong) ... and you miss the applause!

Monday, February 21, 2011

One phone call?

Once upon a time it used to be (well, if you believed the television shows) that people who were arrested and taken off to jail would be allowed one phone call. Today, I was listening to the radio and the report came in of a teenager who was tweeting on her way to the police station - and this tweet had been picked up by the news media. Does this mean the one-call limit no longer applies - if it ever did - especially if you have a smart phone or another way of connecting to the Internet?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Send me a sign ...

... but tell me what it means! I went to fill the Volvo with fuel yesterday but no matter how hard I tried it wouldn't open (it's linked to the car's central locking - or it's supposed to be). I took the car home and was able to open the "fuel filler flap" after a search on the Internet - and resolved to fuel up this morning. Not to be ... I had pulled into the side street to go into the service station before I saw the fire engine blocking the driveway and that all of the forecourt area was covered in foam ... there had been a fuel leak! So I drove off thinking maybe the third time I try this it will be lucky ... and wondering if this had some particular meaning or significance in life's great scheme of things. Time will tell.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


I recently downloaded an App for my iPad called "Secret Diary" - a place where I could keep all my most secret thoughts under (virtual) lock and key - which is fine in theory but it seems that when I used it the first time - and it's anybody's guess which of my innermost thoughts were recorded there - I set a password which I now cannot remember. Not quite sure how I'm going to reset the password so I can use the App - but at least it was free :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In a manner of speaking

Well full points to Dragon dictation software. After some months of waiting for it to arrive in Australia on the iPhone and iPad it is here and it works very very well. It has very good voice recognition and the user interface is simple and intuitive. It is certainly a pleasure to be able to dictate something and have it come out as a sensible sentence rather than as gobbledygook. It does take some time to get used to talking into the iPhone and using it as a dictation device but it is something I'm going to learn to love. (Of course this piece has been written entirely using Dragon and hasn't it done well?)

Calls are flooding in

There's something about being part of a global economy ... It means you can also get conned from overseas. Apparently international scammers have started targeting victims of the recent Australian floods - phoning them and offering fast-tracking of applications for flood relief for a $200 fee. No such fast-tracking exists. Police have warned that as well as losing their money, victims were also losing their bank and credit card details. Who else has long since stopped wondering how low people can go?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


The news today is that Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman have just become parents again - using a gestation carrier - was that the term they used for their surrogate "mother". The baby, named Faith Margaret, was born late last year. It was pointed out on one of the television bulletins this evening that there may have been a clue to the new addition to the Urban Kidman family because on the sleeve of Keith's latest album is the comment, after he talks about their family, is "All we need is Faith."

A smashing tale

I have just finished watching a series on the ABC called "Collision". It was recommended by a friend a couple of weeks ago. She had seen it a couple of nights before but it turned out that it was available on iView - which is where you can view programs that have been broadcast over the internet. They are usually available for about two weeks after their initial showing. So, this is how I watched "Collision" - and if you're going to, you'd best hurry because the first episode disappears in two days. Hopefully it will be available on DVD at some point because it's worth a second look!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Just thinking

It would be a poor convenience store indeed which didn't sell toilet paper.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The kindness of strangers

We managed to find ourselves on the wrong side of a flooded creek over the weekend and when we waded across, leaving the car on the other side so we could check on the animals (two dogs, two horses) we were surprised when one of the women at the water's edge offered us a lift back to the house - which was 2 kilometres up the hill. We gratefully accepted - given that it's not easy walking in sodden clothes and shoes - and with one of party having a bung knee. Once back, we had a shower/change of clothes and then settled in to drive down in our car (which had spent overnight, when we were stranded in Nambour, at home) to check the creek level. Once it had fallen enough, we did drive through and over - letting our friends be reunited with their vehicle, while we hotfooted it out of there for home. The other act of kindness to mention is the motel where we stayed - the Red Bridge Inn - where we had originally been quoted $165 a room (we needed two) and then $125 - and then a double room (separate bedrooms) for $140 for the four of us.


There are some times you just want to stop and listen rather than walking on by. This was the case as I passed the lunchroom today and heard someone telling someone, obviously a reported conversation, I thought, of a husband and wife: I don't care - you've got your mistress and I need to talk to her.

Friday, January 07, 2011

I wonder ...

what is the big news about to come out of Apple Headquarters? Rumour has it that staff have been told not to take holidays in the three weeks from the end of January - and holiday staff have apparently been retained. Hmmm ... IPad 2, a new iPhone? We'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Not the news

There are just some things that shouldn't make it to the news. I was listening today to a podcast about suicide and I learned that the media stopped reporting on the number of suicides by the general public some time ago. There are, at least, two schools of thought about this - that if you publicise the method of the suicide you can fuel people's ability to commit suicide; but that if you talk about why people commit suicide and what help could have been available you may be helping people who are themselves contemplating suicide. This explains in part the policy of publicising helping organisations when there is a television program about suicide or depression. More of concern was the news today that the father and step-mother of a murdered girl may have participated in an online game involving murder around the time of her disappearance. No-one needs to know this or the details of the game.