Glenn Alexander's Non-interactive Weblog!!!!

(NOW with FOUR exclamation marks)

Okay, it isn't a real weblog, just a place where I will put up (and take down) any random stuff that people in general or even particular people might want/like to know.

2017.08.11:  Those damned torx-screwdriver-using terists*!

* Word shortened for the benefit of those who can't handle more than two syllables.

Customs rejected this incoming shipment (yes, that was the entire shipment!):

Torx screwdriver set and some low voltage power supplies.

I sent a narky letter to the government :-D

Hello Minister,

I would like to enquire why the items in the attached image would fail to clear customs for entry to Australia.

I realise that Torx screwdrivers, as tools that can be used to open and modify the property of our corporate masters that we consumers hold on their behalf in the mistaken belief that because we paid for the stuff we actually own it, can be a really frightening concept to some (terrifying, one might say). As could the idea of powering a Raspberry Pi education (educated people are terrifying to the ignorant too, I realise) computers from a 12-48V power source is against the spirit of the ongoing "War on Education" being enacted by the various governments of our society, but seriously! Get a grip, people!

I don't expect a reply. But even if I took our government* and their agencies more seriously, I wouldn't expect one. :-/

* Which government? Every bloody government!

Note: I would have liked to include the shadow-minister in this conversation, but apparently the ALP doesn't believe in email addresses. No, I am not going to give up any personal information to a foreign private corporation of dubious morality and security for the privilege of communicating electronically with an elected representative! Now get off my lawn!


2017.08.06:  Broke down and bought a smart phone.

I just ordered a Nexus 5x from Kogan. An important thing I want in a phone is long-term OS support. Not just 2 years. Not even the 3 years that Google flagship phones tend to get. My last phone, a Nokia feature phone, is about 8 years old and still going fine for its limited functionality (though rubber bits are starting to fall off lately). The Nexus 5x is actually about two months off end-of-support, but it also runs Plasma-Mobile which the sort of experimental open-source stuff I like to play around with anyway.

The other thing this phone has that more modern Google Flagship models don't (sorry, Pixel), is an actual LCD display. AMOLED is great for vibrant colour and higher resolution at lower power, but has a functional life of only a few years, which is fine if you plan to throw out your phone every 1-2 years, but that isn't how I roll! Start putting silicon micro-LED displays in phones and we'll talk!


2017.05.01:  Ready Player One.

Upcoming film looks good. Everyone is going cyber-insane over it. And the book it is based on. I read the book some time ago, it was fine. For Cyber-fiction (CyFy?), though, it's not a touch on Tad Williams' Otherland series which I love to bits. Well, except maybe book 4: I think that one was written under excessive publisher pressure to get something out! Still looking forward to RP1 though, of course.


2017.04.24:  Ghost in the Shell (2017 live-action version).

As good as the serial animation (SAC)? No. Absolute travesty? Not at all - I liked it. I wish I had seen it at the cinema in hindsight, instead of waiting for it on BluRay - I should pay less attention to the opinion of "The Internet" on these things!

And I have no problem with Scarlett Johansson in the role. She seems to, as well as making pay in the big-dumb-blockbuster roles, have a bit of a thing for niche sci-fi stuff, which I appreciate.


2017.05.04:  Reading: The Entire Dune Series, including the prequels.

Quite a long slog, but worth it!


2016.04.16:  Reading: The Long Earth books

The 4 books in the Long Earth series by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter were an interesting read, though not quite awesome. A most interesting premise driving the story, though it became a bit tiresome by the final book. I am glad I read them, but don't expect to re-read.


2016.03.27:  Why Not Date Your Phone?

If your phone is more interesting than your date, why not save us all some time and date your phone?

Truely! I had to SMS her just to communicate. And she was sitting next to me! Can't even blame 'kids today' since she was 43 years old.

Needless to say, a second date was out of the question.


2016.03.25:  Pet Peeve for the Day

People who take exception to my weight (which is fair, I am overweight) but then spend the second half of a 1km walk whining about how hard it is. Heck!: I walk farther than that to, and from, work each day - by choice: there is a bus stop at the end of my street - and often several times that at work. I don't care how thin you think you look, if you can't walk a flat kilometre on a warm but overcast day without whining, you have no right to take a pot at my fitness levels!

And if the idea of breaking a sweat outside of a gymnasium offends you, please be offended in silence because your vocal offendedness offends me!


2016.03.20:  Reading: The Three Body Problem and The Dark Forest

I just finished reading The Three Body Problem and The Dark Forest by Cixiun Liu (the English translations). Excellent SciFi in its own right and also quite refreshing to read some Earth-centred SciFi that isn't set predominantly in the US!

Looking forward to the translation of book 3 in the trilogy late this year!


2006.11.06:  Phone Spammer Fluffs it up,

Had a nice call a few days ago from one of those annoying "you have won a free mobile phone" scams where the phone isn't so free once you know about the contract requirements. The guy wouldn't let me get a word in edge-ways as he told me how great the offer was. I finally managed to mention that I don't use a mobile*, at which he promptly told me to "F##k off" and cut the connection. I had not, of course bothered to note either his name or the company he was calling on behalf of, which is likely what such companies rely on.

Happily he called me back today. I know it was the same idiot as I recognised both the accented voice and the insulting habit of calling me "Mate" every other sentence. This time I had the presence of mind to note his introduction before politely telling him that he had all ready called me before and hanging up.

So, Alex from FutureMobile, expect your employer to receive a call from the TIO, Consumer Affairs and ADMA.

* no I don't have any intrinsic objection to mobile phones; I just have no need for one at present.


2005.12.23:  Retail is slumping this X-Mas!

I wonder why?

(Click for larger image)

This shirt is one of two bought by my mum for my brother and my brother-in-law. For the less-observant amongst us (such as the QC people at Target), the edging on the collar and sleeve-ends of these shirts have been fed into the machine up-side-down so the fold-over is inside the seam and the raw edges are outside! It would be nice to say we will just take our business elsewhere, but there is NOT ONE major Australian retailer that members of my family (myself excluded) haven't had to return similarly shoddy merchandise to this month. The only reason I haven't had to waste time and fuel (with associated environmental pollution -- shops should have to compensate us for mileage as well as purchase when we return stuff as bad as this!) in this way is that I have boycotted buying stuff this year -- since my family has ignored my request for no gifts, they are all getting last-decade CDs/DVDs I don't want any more (not that they'll mind -- my family isn't like that).

I have nothing against giving gifts. In fact, if I see something that I think someone I know will like and/or use, I will buy it and give it to them immediately. I just object to an archaic religious ceremony being used as an excuse to peer-pressure me into feeling I MUST buy SOMETHING for everyone I know even if there is absolutely nothing on offer that is worth buying or that they are likely to want. I personally prefer good wishes to crap I have to store until I can offload it elsewhere or donate it to land-fill.


2005.10.24:  Dear Mastercard,

Thank you for your kind letter offering me a silver (or gold) Mastercard. I must ask, however: do you really believe that if I was earning over $20,000 (or $35,000) a year that I would need to buy things on credit?

Regards, Glenn Alexander