Opinion Australia

One man’s view of how the world might be.

Archive for January 2008

Photograhing Golden Orb Spiders.

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Apart from the fat lady who sits outside the front door and the others of her ilk we have around the garden, we now have one that has made it’s web above the car over the space that will one day become a car port (if we ever manage to keep  any money for more than 5 minutes that is).

She (I assume it’s a she) has managed to cover a span of more than two metres! Currently, she is sitting, seemingly in mid-air, three metres above the ground and swaying gently in the breeze! Eventually some bird will no doubt realise there is a succulent morsel hanging in mid-air and make a grab for it, but until then it just looks odd hanging in nothingness. 🙂

If you’re wondering where the photos are, I doubt you’ve ever tried to photograph a translucent spiders web three meters away that has the sky as a background. I tells ya it ain’t easy!! On the other hand if you *can* come up with some suggestions on how to do it effectively please pass those suggestion on! 🙂

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Written by welshdog

January 31, 2008 at 10:14 am

Posted in General Ramblings

Vale Jeremy Beadle

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Sad to hear that Jeremy Beadle has died aged just 59. He’d been ill on and off for some time with Leukaemia, and kidney problems etc but finally succumbed to a bout of pneumonia.

Jeremy Beadle

I can’t say I ever liked his style and I felt more sympathy for those people he ‘pranked’ than I felt the urge to laugh at them… but he was loved by many, especially during the 1980’s and he worked hard for charities raising millions through his career.

Written by welshdog

January 31, 2008 at 6:22 am

Posted in General Ramblings

Ooops… I talk too much.

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Been said before and it’ll be said again. I talk too much.

I just looked back at todays offerings and realised I’ve spent far too long typing and too little working. Makes a change tho, I’ve hardly been on here for ages and I’ve forgotten how much I enjoy the odd ramble now and then (yes I know… *all* my rambling is odd – thanks for that) an I think I just let myself go (respond to that as you will :))!

On that note I’m leaving – for a while. Probably not long but… for a while. 🙂

Written by welshdog

January 30, 2008 at 2:42 pm

Posted in General Ramblings

Poor U2 – for a few dollars more?

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Bands like U2 have been whinging because the poor dears are losing money to those poor sods entirely lacking in musical discernment who download their music… illegally. Admittedly I’ve never bought anything U2 had produced… but then I wouldn’t listen to them either if I had any choice in the matter and wouldn’t download their ‘music’ even if they said I could do it for free.

It makes me laugh when I read stories like this. These multi-million dollar rich gits with their jet-set lifestyles whinging over what to them is a miserly pittance make me sick to begin with. When they start pontificating about their ‘losses’ it’s enough to make me scream!

Another example is that geriatric set of rocking chair aficionados The Police who reformed and made buckets of money whilst ‘singing’ to backing tracks! Money for nothing is apt… it’s ironic that Sting should have been singing a riff on the track when he’s made millions singing sons he wrote when he was still teaching a half century ago.

I agree we need to protect the incomes of those up and coming artists to whom each cent matters… but for fat cats like these… they need a few reminders of their origins not someone protecting them from the likes of us!! Makes me seethe!

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/u2-get-your-snouts-out-of-our-trough/2008/01/30/1201369193338.html

Written by welshdog

January 30, 2008 at 2:38 pm

Australian Outdoor Wildlife

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Outdoor wildlife is a little more diverse than indoor… thankfully. We still get the usual cockroaches, large and small hiding in the leaf litter but as they don’t do anything except annoy (and occasionally try to come indoors) I tend to leave them be. Likewise the flies are pretty much left to their own devices as long as they leave *me* alone… which they don’t… which of course is where that all goes wrong.

As I said in a previous post, we rarely spray insecticides on anything unless forced to by circumstance and the result is that the garden, small as it is is, is alive with interesting insects, arachnids and other animals.

We have tiny skinks that vary in size from 2 – 3 cms, to 10 – 12 cms… the cat likes to chase those! We had a blue tongued skink here a little while ago but it vanished. We have the usual crop of snails, some small slugs, a couple of frogs that spend all night doing their best to keep us awake.

Birds are around in numbers as well even though the Indian Mynah seems to be displacing the natives more and more. Since I stopped feeding them we rarely see as many Galah’s or Sulphur Crested Cockatoos as we used to, nor do we see the Rosella’s etc. In fact, the only parrots we see regularly these days are the small ‘grass parrots’. On the other hand, the food was attracting cockroaches so had to go. We still get the huge ‘magpie’ (nothing like the UK variety by the way) and have Noisy Miners, but apart from them and the honey eaters that’s all we see regularly.

Spiders we have in abundance. The most obvious of these are the Garden Orb which builds massive webs (1½ metres or more in diameter) made of very strong silk and are a nightmare to walk into… especially at night!! 🙂 We have one of these spiders just outside the front door and she’s the largest one of its kind I’ve ever seen. She has a 2 cm wide body… but I’m not game enough to go close enough to measure the span of her legs !! While there are many others of the same species in the garden… this one must be queen. She’s huge!

We also have  St Andrews Cross spiders and a variety of smaller less well known varieties… including the Redback which is everywhere and poisonous. Luckily they prefer to keep to places we don’t poke around in too often so we’ve been ok til now. Also luckily, so far anyway, we’ve got no female funnel web spiders well as far as we can tell we don’t have any, so are unlikely to have any wandering males going courting in the near future… we hope. The female tends to stay in her burrow, its the male who is the dangerous one of the pair – as you might expect should be the case? 🙂

As for the rest… millipedes, centipedes, slaters, shield bugs and an assortment of visiting moths and butterflies make this a nice time of year to be out in what little space we have and sort of makes me yearn for a larger area to ‘own’ and/or make into a ‘preserve’. It’d be a shame if the local populations of small life was to disappear entirely. I like diversity me!! 🙂

Written by welshdog

January 30, 2008 at 12:48 pm

Posted in Environment

Rubbish Collection: Baulkham Hills

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Life goes on… and as it does, piles of waste and rubbish are generated. As is the way of the world, the local council responded by reducing the size of the waste bin for general rubbish from 240 litres to 140 litres… I assume this was intended to make us all recycle more of our waste.

Of course for the last few months we’ve had twice the number of people here as usual *and* it was over a Xmas period so the amount of refuse more than doubled just as the amount collected was reduced.

The upshot was our bins filling to overflowing within a few hours of being emptied and us having to pile remaining bags of refuse at the side of the garage. There they stayed hiding away sunning themselves until ‘bin day’ when we could be seen scurrying up and down the street in the wee small hours of the morning to dump our waste into the neighbours bins before they are up and watching. Well would *you* like to (repeatedly) ask your neighbours for space in their bins and have them look at you as if you are some sort of profligate monster single handedly responsible for the decline in the worlds resources? No? I thought not! Well neither do we! 🙂

To a large extent this has worked for the general waste, but not for the recyclables which have built up alarmingly over the weeks.

Today I managed to sort *some* of that problem out by the simple, if messy. expedient of persuading the eldest daughter to climb into the bins and jumping up and down whilst I added more of the accumulated crap thus compressing it enough to increase the amount it would hold.

So successful was this… for me at least… that I might well get her to do it again in two weeks time when the recycling bin is due to be emptied next. I’m not sure *she* was too pleased to be in there… and I doubt she’ll be enthusiastic about having to do it again next week, but I’ll tell her this is just a result of living in a throwaway society.

Of course I *could* just pay a little extra on the rates and ask that we be given the old size bin again… but that wouldn’t be as easy as having the daughter doing some exercise. No doubt she’ll understand. 🙂

Written by welshdog

January 30, 2008 at 12:14 pm

More on the failed Samsung SGH-A501

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In January 9th I wrote to Samsung (via their web site form system) about the SGH-A501 model we’d bought for the eldest daughter two weeks before Xmas 2006 and which failed over Xmas 2007.

They responded a few days ago suggesting I ring their technical support for assistance which I did.

They politely said hard luck.

Personally I think this stinks. Samsung is a massive company but even massive companies depend on little people parting with their cash in order to keep them afloat. I doubt my complaint will make much difference but since this is a clear manufacturing flaw maybe other people will read the story and decide other companies will create more reliable technology and not buy Samsung.

In the meantime I’ve again written to them to see if they can come up with a suitable solution.

Dear Samsung Erms,

Thank you for your response.

I contacted the number as requested and was told that regardless of the phone having failed a week or two out of the warranty period there is nothing Samsung is willing to do to rectify the situation and repair/replace it unless we pay the full cost!!

Surely the ‘warranty policy’ has *some* flexibility built into it to allow a grace period for equipment that totally fails immediately after the warranty has expired??

It’s not as if the phone was heavily used or damaged in any other way. We’ve been informed that the issue is actually a motherboard failure and there is little or nothing we could have done to prevent it happening!

As I said in my initial query, I worked for IBM Customer Care and for their technology they allowed a certain period to cover ‘shelf life’ which we, as consultants, were able to use to give people support in exceptional situation such as this.

I have to say I am really disappointed that Samsung finds itself unable to assist in any way and would ask again that you reconsider. I appreciate the warranty period had ended, but telling us that there is no leeway for such situations just appalls me.

I look forward to your response.

I wonder if I’ll get any response let alone one worth reacting to?? If nothing is resolved, perhaps the next port of call should be to establish how best to contact the Managing Director, CEO and members of the Samsung board and send each a message asking for their take on the issue!

Grrr….. !!!

Written by welshdog

January 30, 2008 at 10:45 am

Posted in I.T and similar