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2013-11-30

Roaming trolleys.

I nipped up to Coles near 7 PM the other night and was struck by the number of shopping trolleys wandering about the carpark.
Then observed a mass dumping of cigarette butts near their entry, which led me to think there's a link, but it could just be a nocturnal thing with the trolleys thinking nobody will see them.
In reality this is an example of how the mature generation don't set a decent example for the upcoming generation to follow, we make increasingly tougher laws aimed at the young but they don't seem to have the mentors previous generations had.
For the few minutes it takes to go shopping I have to wonder why smokers can't leave their addiction at home, Grace did for a few years before she stopped altogether but that's a concept very few consider.

2013-11-27

Rainbow Lorikeet.

I noticed a bit of noise and found Rainbow Lorikeets were feasting on the seeds of our palm trees, meanwhile in this quite ordinary photo a luscious mango was ignored, I suppose the palm seeds were more desirable to them.

2013-11-25

Flame tree flower close-up.

The speckled petal must be very attractive to flying pollinators.

Sinabung sightseer.

As per usual I used Google Earth to check on a place of interest, in this case Mt Sinabung in Indonesia, which is a Mayon sized volcano that is erupting.
Then I noticed they had captured what appears to be a 747 in flight, probably heading to Jakarta.
I'd say flight paths may be a bit further away from it currently.

2013-11-24

Impressive artwork.

I wish there were far more things with a classy look like this Man Cave one in our Target store.
I envy the age of decent haircuts and proper combing, though sadly because I'm so frugal and have cut my own hair for 25 years it's been a forlorn hope.
Often I long for the feel of a comb again, perhaps it may happen soon enough.

2013-11-22

A serious discovery.

A serious face for testing if an Olympus remote will work on models it's not documented for.
I heard a rumour and had to find out for myself so I ordered a cheap remote shutter that suits earlier SP models in Olympus' range, happily I found that for some cameras it does. It works on my newer SZ-16 and XS-10 compacts but not on my older TG-610 or E-PL1.
Anyway still a very handy and cheap addition.

Real rain.

It's been drier than usual for quite some time so today looks like a catchup day.
I'm even glad I mowed some grass before it hit.

2013-11-20

Making a switchmode power supply adjustable.

Something for the tinkerers but take care, anything switchmode can be quite dangerous.
Being just a mere bloke who mucks about a bit I found out about a lovely little shunt regulator called a TL431 the other day, it seems all switchmode power supplies use these and they're effectively an adjustable zener diode. I did a bit of reading and theorising and decided to tackle a power supply. The TL431 is the TO-92 cased semiconductor shown as U2 on this board and the voltage output is set by the voltage divider made by the resistors R7 and R8. It looked very convenient that they printed a box and drilled holes for VR1.
So I removed the R7 3k9 resistor and plonked in a 5k trimpot, then magically it worked.

Boy Flowers.

Not my photo, nor do I have any idea who took it but they're a lovely purple, I'm glad whoever shot it didn't fall for the current fashion of stripping any trace of colour from it.

2013-11-18

Another bit of recycling.

The diodes I've been using to give my solar panels a bit of isolation, as well as dropping the peak voltage a tad to ease any overvoltage issues with the regulator, were marginal for the current flow and ran a bit hot for my liking, so I salvaged the rectifier pack from an old ruined alternator.
Much cooler now, and I get the satisfaction of adapting junkbox parts.

2013-11-14

Junk science.

I made a new lamp for over my computer desk today. The broom dowel is designed to twist to adjust the aim.
I bought the COB LEDs but the transistors came from a broken CFL and the odd value resistors from my old collection.It underdrives the LED a bit but there's no need for me to be cruel to it.
Many people now insist on buying warm colour LEDs but I take plenty of photos and much prefer cool colour temperature ones.

2013-11-12

Nice.

The flowers must have enjoyed the treat I gave them, many blooms now.

No problems here.

I had a play with the spark plugs the other day, quite a surprise was them coming out without needing a herculean effort, they must have been installed by a true tradesman rather than a shaved gorilla.
No lead means not having the pain of lead deposits.
While I was there I noted my scribbling when I installed the timing belt. In 14 months I've driven less than 2000 km. I've been in a holding pattern for a long time waiting.

2013-11-11

Legazpi after Haiyan/Yolanda.

Olive wandered out after being bunkered down by the typhoon and it seems things at Embarkadero on the harbour front were that lovely she'll return, I loved it there during my all too brief visit too.
I love pretty things too.

A couple helicopters probably heading for Tacloban City which suffered wicked damage.
Olive will be volunteering to help the emergency supply effort today. 
 Life returns to normal with a PAL A320 taking off somewhat late for Manila, soon it will do a right hand loop around Legazpi.

2013-11-09

Smile.

I just had a call from Olivia, all is well and the roof only had its usual leaks.
I shall sleep with a minimum of worry tonight.

Nice.

At least I found something positive on my trip out to Grace's grave this morning, Flame trees are plentiful here and now are coming into full bloom.
It was foggy this morning so I popped out in the hope of grabbing a foggy cemetery shot, but the fog lifted too soon and instead I found local farmers were intent on watering their sugarcane crops in the noisiest manner possible, involving diesel engines upon which silencers are thought of as optional extras that even if fitted originally are usually dispensed with.

A mango crop coming.

The mango tree must be in a good mood this year, it hasn't grown anything worthwhile for a few years, so I suppose the birds will be happy this year.

Happy birthday to Brother mega today, pity we don't have any more than patchy contact these days.

Reward.

A little later this year but the pretty red flowers in the back yard have bloomed again.
I took one last year for Grace's funeral so as a reward I gave the plants a bit of water and fertiliser this time.

2013-11-08

Haiyan trouble.

Or Yolanda as it's known locally. Olivia is bunkered down at home hoping the damage is minimal.
Our local news has said it's bigger than any cyclone that's hit Australia on record.
I was in contact with a very concerned Olivia last night but I think she's under a blackout now and it may take a few days to find out the result. Flooding for her is a very real worry with past events known to put a metre or so of water through the house. My real concern is the roof that's made of compressed rust will fly away and not just leak as it currently does, the house however is concrete and quite solid.

If immigration had done a bit more than sit on their hands delaying her visa application then she could be monitoring things from here. Frustrating to me is skilled working visas can breeze through the system in a month but her spouse visa has to gather a thick enough layer of dust before the difficult chore of rubber stamping it can occur, despite the system being able to deport her for any anomaly for a couple of years after arrival.
Blue arrow is where Olivia lives.

2013-11-06

Bunkering down.

Olivia has a super-typhoon bearing down upon her, being sensible she had a bit of work done to secure the roof.
I sure hope it stays on and she doesn't cop bad flooding but plenty of preparation is happening, power outages may make communication patchy.
Now would not be a great time to receive her visa, so I suppose that makes it terribly likely.

2013-11-01

Sway bar links.

After I'd finished the tyre job I was surprised by an ultra quick delivery of the sway bar links I'd ordered only a few days ago.
These are the same part as used on the more popular LC Accent so if anybody wants to do their own I suggest you remove the wheel to gain easy access, underneath is OK too but a hoist would be desirable.
I was thinking they would be a taper fit but they're just a simple bolt with the trick being a 14 mm hex on the back of the bolt part that putting an open end spanner onto will aid the removal and fitting.
Pity is that there's still a little bit of a rattle left after fitting the new ones, more homework for Jimmy.

Tyre time.

This tyre's old and cracked, maybe all right around town but if it delaminates on the highway it can cause damage so, I thought it was older but the date code on indicates it's only 8yo but that's still quite long in the tooth. To beat the heat I started early.
 The cracked surface.
I didn't see a spot on the rim so I just aligned the light mark with the valve stem, happily without weights the bubble was close enough to centre that I left it alone.
The work fitting them is the price I pay for being in control of things, buying tyres in regional Australia is full of pain, choice is limited, prices are high, and you have to deal with salesmen who invariably make life awkward. These Goodride tyres I bought a little while back have a UTQG 480 A A rating, shops here rarely sell anything even with a UTQG rating and then seldom above 300, their belief is that despite our straight and generally dry roads that have conservative and strictly enforced speed limits, we should all be driving on boy racer rubber with an expensive brand label on it. In reality under our road rules compressed cardboard would be adequate.