The first day of the trimester at work, and I've got an 0800 lecture... for the one (inherited) subject I dislike teaching the most. Bah. And the projector in the room is squirrely. Aaaaaargh! And the room is generallylousy. Double-bah. And my brain is fogged up enough so that I'm quite sure I'm making more of a hash of the subject material than necessary. Sorry dear students! My best efforts at 0800 today weren't really quite good enough.

What a lovely way to begin the week!

[ published on Mon 18.01.2010 18:08 | filed in still-not-king | ]

drumroll

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[ published on Wed 16.12.2009 15:05 | filed in still-not-king | ]
 vienna graffito


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[ published on Tue 24.11.2009 11:38 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Two days ago was the eigth anniversary of my arrival in Australia. Sometimes that feels like yesterday, sometimes more like three lives ago.

Today is also the sixth anniversary of moving into this house. For lots of Australians six years in one place is three lives ago; many deal with houses like crab shells: too small, ugly, whatever? then let's molt^Wmove and forget the old carcass. The housing industry obliges by mainly offering shoddily built disposables. sigh.

[ published on Wed 12.08.2009 20:51 | filed in still-not-king | ]
 washer no more belt

To round out a fairly crappy weekend, this afternoon my washing machine decided to eat its drive belt - of course while spinning at full speed, so as to maximize the damage. Picture me sitting peacefully in the toilet (which is adjacent to the laundry), bang and lotsa thumping and crashing and the lights are out.

Suppose I'm sorta lucky, the wiring loom is ripped apart but not totally wrecked, and the motor bearings seem to have survived their chewing exercise without damage.

[ published on Sun 14.06.2009 21:12 | filed in still-not-king | ]

I'm not "normal" - and I like it that way!
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[ published on Fri 15.05.2009 00:00 | filed in still-not-king | ]

...seeing seven round ice lumps floating tightly packed in your drink glass makes you pick up pencil and paper to determine if this tight packing is possible only when all balls have the same radius.

(Yes it is. Trigonometry is fun.)

[ published on Tue 03.03.2009 10:54 | filed in still-not-king | ]

You know that you live in a Banana...well, non-Republic if the exchange rates between your lifeblood and real money looks like this:

AUD-ATS-0400-0-0-11-2454658-2454748

Source: Werner Antweiler's Exchange Rate stats

[ published on Thu 09.10.2008 08:17 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Last Thursday Conny, Rob and I went for a day trip to Nth Stradbroke island, with a bit of fun (of all kinds) in the preceding afternoon.


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[ published on Wed 08.10.2008 10:28 | filed in still-not-king | ]

We're back, connected once again: some techie must have been in the neighbourhood saturday night, because Saturday 2138 line-sync suddenly reappeared, and today I finished setting up the remaining bits (e.g. inbound POTS-to-VOIP etc.) and verified that Internode didn't make a mess of their part of the service conversion.

Looks all mostly good, except line attenuation has jumped up 10dB (without the previously required inline filter), which makes little sense, and sits now at 50dB downstream. This sucks as it severly limits the achievable sync speeds and makes things a tad more brittle. Ticket open, we'll see.

[ published on Sun 08.06.2008 19:44 | filed in still-not-king | ]
 ex-huntsman ex-huntsman

When Conny went to brush her teeth tonight before bedtime, I suddenly got a fairly urgent/distressed Request for Assistance: she stood mesmerized at the bathroom door, and a meter from her sat an (equally mesmerized) huntsman spider of less that minimal size (maybe 10x10cm with the legs). She strongly dislikes spiders.

And so do I. Usually, smaller specimens I don't bother; they eat bugs and thus are not exactly welcome but tolerated household members (if they stay hidden and out of the geckos' way). But this one was too large for my liking, so it got the bucket-on-top-and-then-poison-inside treatment (huntsmen are very fast). Sorry fella!

Conny asked for this note to any future spider visitors to be posted on the web (maybe spiders use google? dunno): Small and tiny spiders tolerated, large ones very unwelcome. May be dealt with harshly!

[ published on Sun 01.06.2008 23:18 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Oi, get your minds out of the gutter!
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[ published on Wed 12.03.2008 20:01 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Yesterday was lots of fun.
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[ published on Thu 06.03.2008 12:39 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Conny has pretty much settled in, but my brain is close to pastel overload already.

I've had to move just about all my stuff from her room so that she can make it into her den. She brought three fat and one slim suitcases full of things, and her room is unrecognizable.

 2008_01_26-conny-arriving.jpg

The only remainder of my things are my Tektronix scope, the HP function generator and a bench vise on the desk.

 2008_01_26-conny-zimmer2.jpg 2008_01_29-conny-zimmer3.jpg

Cognitive dissonance: the shelf above the TEK and the HP now contains mainly pink boxes, makeup, dolls and other girly gear (instead of soldering station, multimeters, charger, bench PSU and other tools).

School seems to be fine and fun; she has gotten lost (slightly) between home and there twice so far.

 2008_01_30-conny-uniform.jpg
[ published on Fri 01.02.2008 18:59 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Whenever I am optimistic and not expecting trouble, this state of oblivion usually gets cut short, badly, when it rains problems. On the other hand, if I expect bad things and worry, a lot less trouble finds its way to me. This sucks.
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[ published on Sun 27.01.2008 17:00 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Juhuuuuh! Heute hat die Post endlich mein Weihnachtsgeschenk aus Ö vorbei gebracht: Alle 19 Kottan-Folgen, auf 8 DVDs.

Ah, Nostalgie pur. Böse Wiener Gfrasta. Inspektor gibt's kan. 70er Jahre Schädelweh-Tapeten. Danzer-Gstanzln. Ambros. Wunderbar.

Danke, liebe Frau Mutter!

[ published on Mon 21.01.2008 20:51 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Next Wednesday my daughter Cornelia is arriving in Oz, to spend a fun and action-packed year 2008 with me. Well, let's hope the action is of the Good Type...either way, there goes my independence.

In other non-news the weather still sucks completely, it's been so wet and humid over the last weeks that some of my leather gear (bike suit and mountain boots; what did YOU think?) started to get mouldy on the surface. This sucks.

Work sucks, too, with disorganized chaos worse than usual, even factoring in that it's the first week of the semester. But numbers are up, I have about 13 for the networking subject and about 7 for the Silly Subject. What I don't have is a correct timetable, exact enrolment figures, and fun. What I also won't have in two weeks' time is a clueful unix-savvy counterpart in the central it services dept, because that fellow is throwing in the towel.

Not that I can fault him at all; the management and marketing hordes have grown like mushrooms in the wet, while we peons are being kept like mushrooms.

Apropos mushrooms, it's been wet enough for quite some mushrooms to grow in my backyard. Some look very similar to small Parasol but I won't try them.

[ published on Wed 16.01.2008 13:49 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Having two credit cards is fine. Paying them off in total every month is even better. Using them for big payments every now and then is convenient. But having done just that and transferring the (large) amount you owe on one to the other account hurts.

The hassle to get your money back out of the overpaid account is...priceless.

[ published on Sun 16.12.2007 08:43 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Toasting bread conducts more than 30mA.
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[ published on Sun 16.12.2007 08:01 | filed in still-not-king | ]

...bank, that is. I just bought this mobile contraption. Should get it around Wednesday. Test-driving it was fine except for the noncooling aircon which will be fixed before I get the car.

[ published on Mon 10.12.2007 17:00 | filed in still-not-king | ]

A bit over a week ago I mentioned that my washing machine has decided to die - well, to forget how to spin-dry, which amounts to the same. The off-balance detection was stuffed: it would start the motor in high-speed mode but switch off after <1s, repeat 3x, give up and hand me soaking clothes. (Same behaviour with an empty tub.)

The two-year warranty ran out a year ago (no surprise here). So I dismantled the machine and checked sundry other things (like inspecting/reseating the motor brushes) but couldn't find any mercury switch or other obvious means of detecting a bouncing tub. Accordingly, I couldn't fix it directly.

I have no precise idea how they detect an out-of-balance tub, except that the motor has a hall-effect rpm sensor which I think could work (assuming that the tub slows down and speeds up asymmetrically if it's wobbling). Net result of X hours of ripping apart, tracing wires and so on: all inspectables are fine but it still won't work. The only remaining part was the part-mechanical-part-electronic control board, and these things usually aren't cheap.

After a long search I figured out the proper part number (the fact that the machine is a rebadged Electrolux didn't make that search any easier), and would have been able to buy it online at various overseas retailers...for about $150-200..

Luckily ebay came to the rescue: somebody sold one as new-old-stock locally for $50. Add $26 for express postage, 10min for installation and I have a washing washer again. Very nice.

[ published on Wed 21.11.2007 15:32 | filed in still-not-king | ]

This is not my month.
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[ published on Mon 12.11.2007 22:24 | filed in still-not-king | ]

If you have a laminate floor, solidly installed skirting boards and a computer with rattly fans nearby, then a microwave termite detector may indicate movement where there is none (or at least nothing critter-caused).

I had the annual inspection and general spray today, and that reading made for a few interesting moments; I immediately ripped the skirting boards off in the relevant spot and as hoped we didn't find any indication of trouble.

[ published on Wed 19.09.2007 12:25 | filed in still-not-king | ]

My daughter complained last week about the lack of updates on my website; she's checking it every so often but there's nothing new. So, do more, daddy! Ok, I'll try, but much of it will be rambling, unhappy blah.
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[ published on Mon 10.09.2007 23:46 | filed in still-not-king | ]

(And gargoyles are great.)
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[ published on Tue 14.08.2007 11:18 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Mine started even worse than the last one ended.
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[ published on Tue 29.05.2007 14:35 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Yesterday my car decided to celebrate the coming of the merry month of May.

While driving home in the evening, the horn started hooting uncontrollably, on and off and more on and more on and maybe off... Very annoying. Even more annoying is the fact that the horn is not coupled to the ignition, so it kept on randomly hooting after I switched off the engine.

It took me about five frantic minutes to determine that no, I won't find the correct fuse (if there even is one for the horn) anytime soon, yes, hitting the horn pad on the steering wheel has a 50% chance of shutting the sucker up for a few seconds, and finally...blissful silence, when I disconnected the horn. Fortunately on this Fart Falcon the horn is easily accessible once you open the bonnet and even has a convenient quick-disconnect plug close by.

Looks like the foam in the switch pad has rotten away. sigh. Well, at least it didn't fail when I wasn't around; my neighbours would have been real happy with a randomly braying horn during the night...until the battery would have died.

[ published on Tue 01.05.2007 13:44 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Upgrading a sparc64 SMP box from 2.4.32 (solid but doesn't have a number of features the newer libc needs) to 2.6.20.7 has taken me since 18:00, Wednesday.

2.6 on UltraSparcs is...painful. The iptables recent module kernel oopses immediately on load, some other iptables mods are simply not available and still others have been buggy for years, the md subsystem doesn't properly deal with the older meta info, the LVM subsystem definitely fucks up the older lvm metainfo badly (in the end I had to nix one vg hard, via dd across its pvs, and restore it from backup), booting into a ripped-apart mirror doesn't work anymore unless lots of extra kernel params are given etc. etc.

fuck Fuck FUCK! damn all-the-world's-an-intel weenies.

sleep now.

[ published on Thu 26.04.2007 02:51 | filed in still-not-king | ]

why are there days when nothing seems to work out? When you end up in the arvo/evening with a big fat zero on the day's tally? And why do I have oh so many of these days? I'm so sick of this...

[ published on Sun 11.03.2007 17:28 | filed in still-not-king | ]

I can't break eggs cleanly; always end up with some mess outside the pan and/or some eggshell shards in the food.

That's annoying, and maybe one day some genetics wiz might find a way to preprogram a break line into chicken eggs. Maybe. (BTW, the German Sollbruchstelle sounds better and more precise)

Why do I bother with undead not-even-proto-chickens? The last four weeks I've had loads of them, in a (successful) attempt at a low-carb diet (Quite easy in a country like this were meat is good and cheap). This is to get my waistline back in shape and the weight down by a few kilos.

After some startup time it has worked fine, I'm down about 6 kgs (now at 83, 186cm and genetically not meant to look slim) and the flotation ring around the hips is mostly gone. That's the same weight I had a good 12 years ago, and I'm happy.

I've also changed my eating habits substantially, and that way the weight level should be ok to hold. My dad might be proud that his (then un-appreciated) admonitions work Just Fine -- with a delay of almost 30 years: when we were small, he tended to gruffly remind us to chew every bite 30+ times and to put the fork down between bites. My sisters and I were never badly wolfing down our food, but still he felt that he had to rebuke us gruffly. Didn't work then, works fine now.

[ published on Sun 25.02.2007 20:39 | filed in still-not-king | ]

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