This second post of this year is not about a hack but about a fairly nifty contraption that I just completed building.

In the local flying club we've had pretty bad experiences with our wind stations in the past. But with the lay of the valleys around our flying sites the local wind conditions often aren't even close to what the publicly accessible coastal stations report, so we really needed something to be done.

So I decided to build a new wind station for the club. Being a believer in the KISS principle I wanted it to be simple and robust, and as self-contained as possible: no grid power, no fixed-line Internet comms, no nothing. As usual I'm presenting my experiences and code here for anybody interested in building their own.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Mon 21.01.2013 17:14 | filed in interests/tinkering | ] almost as good as flying like an eagle. Especially when it's a mellow fellow like this one: today Andrew and I were enjoying a late arvo soar above Beechmont when a substantial wedge-tail joined us from below, effortlessly closed in and, after some lazy circles with/around us, disappeared into the sunset :-)

 eagle above my wing eagle above beechmont andrew and eagle above beechmont andrew and eagle above beechmont
[ published on Thu 25.04.2013 00:37 | filed in interests/flying | ]

from boingboing today i learned that all of the OMNI magazine runs (1979 to 1995) are freely available at (in the usual multitude of useful formats).

the covers and layouts still look gorgeous (at least the pre-90 stuff), the ufo/para/nutter stuff is very much not my cup of tea but there are still some interesting gems in there (wanna see a mugshot of william gibson as a youngster or wozniak with really disgusting sunnies? i couldn't resist laughing about some of the reverse time capsules:

  • 1982's idea of fashion in 2001 is just as ridiculous as the real thing.
  • 1984's forecast 2000 predictions are almost all duds, but their naivety is pretty touching sniff.
  • what they thought of the home office in 2020 in 1991 is a bit closer to reality, but only in some regards.

apart from the weirdo stuff there's another really obnoxious aspect of this (and many similar) american magazines: "story continues on page NNN". ripping apart stories in this fashion and forcing the reader to puzzle them together laboriously is a very american sin - cf: ad breaks forced into films every 5 minutes, dvds with their unskippable anti-everything nasties and so on. no surprise that the modern unwashed masses tend to have the attention span of a gnat, and that the yanks overdiagnose and hype ADHD...

[ published on Thu 18.04.2013 14:26 | filed in brainfarts | ]

For CISPA, that is. It would be really good if it got stopped - and you may be able to help, so please do so!

Note that I'm highly skeptical as to whether any of the damn bastards in power (in any country, they're all scum) listen to the unwashed masses, online or not - but it doesn't cost a thing to express one's displeasure at the latest version of this pretty evil law.

[ published on Wed 17.04.2013 14:06 | filed in interests/anti | ]

bei nachrichten wie diesen muss ich immer gleich an "die gottverdammte pleite" und "1928" von ludwig hirsch denken.

[ published on Wed 10.04.2013 23:34 | filed in brainfarts | ]

I don't watch TV much, let alone series, but this one I liked a lot and thus recommend: it's called Engrenages and it's a French cops and rob^Wkillers (cum judges and lawyers) series with a lot of bite. (It's got an English title, too, which is "Spiral".)

The fun thing about that series is that all the portrayed people are crooked, from the cops to the baddies to the judges and the land sharks. The good are often bad and nasty, the evil occasionally are humane, and justice is often neither just nor blind.

It's lovely, not a single straight line in sight.

[ published on Wed 10.04.2013 20:42 | filed in brainfarts | ]

Almost always when I'm happy about something I've finished/completed/done, it's just a small thing that nevertheless provides satisfaction.

Like getting rid of the really really ugly and impractical door knobs in my house and replacing them with levers. (Whoever invented door knobs never had two hands full.)

 old door knobs new handles

Or receiving my new Japanese pull saw in the mail and immediately using it to fix a small blunder I made a few years ago. My sister recommended a pull saw, and I really like it because it cuts much nicer than all the hand saws I've owned so far. (Naturally the local hardware shops didn't have anything but the usual crap, so I bought it from this guy in Sydney.)

 japanese saw

Or retrofitting all the cabinet doors in my place with soft-closing dampers (Airtic). Or diagnosing and fixing an annoying electrical problem with the car's power window. Or lubricating my bicycle until is whirrs. Or...

[ published on Mon 08.04.2013 21:36 | filed in brainfarts | ]

There's not too many of them (10 in Queensland versus 17 in Austria), many of them are mobile (rescheduled if they should fall on a weekend), and some of them are handled really oddly, for example Easter:

Good Friday: everything is closed, and I mean just about everything including bottle shops.
Saturday: everything is open.
Easter Sunday: everything is closed again (didn't check the bottle shops though).
Easter Monday: everything is open again.

[ published on Mon 01.04.2013 12:50 | filed in interests/au | ]

That's very good to know. For the first time in 12+ years I saw a snake near my house this morning: it was sunbathing/slithering through the branches of a bush just outside my kitchen window. I saw it only because I thought 'hmm, I'll have to cut that back soonish...wait a minute, what's that?'

After a brief bit of online investigation I found out that it's a common tree snake, which is not poisonous according to Wildlife Queensland; its colouring was actually quite beautiful (similar to this blue-green one). Mind you, I still don't plan on going anywhere near the critter...

[ published on Tue 05.03.2013 12:16 | filed in interests/au | ]

It seems that during the last two months there was about as much sun in Queensland as there is green in Greenland (Erik the Red = marketing bozo).
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Mon 04.03.2013 18:59 | filed in still-not-king | ]

There were some minor wall/ceiling paint touchups to do at home, preferrably with a roller because of the nice texture. I still had some small foam roller covers, but the roller handle had vanished.

No problem: here's how I solve minor annoyances like that:

 az's paint roller, mk.1

Locking pliers are great :-)

[ published on Sat 19.01.2013 20:59 | filed in still-not-king | ]

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