Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it.
 -- Donald Knuth

..but just maybe they might mellow a bit, can't hurt.

i just read that the ACT has decided to legalise personal cannabis use; one of the odd things here is that the ACT is the last state you'd expect to make such a move, with a demographic dominated by politicians and governmental agencies.

the other odd thing is that the legalisation means not much, apparently, as you could still be charged under commonwealth laws. oh the convolutions!

[ published on Thu 26.09.2019 17:03 | filed in interests/au | ]
 a full month travelling still covers less than half of oz

i've just returned from a four week road/bush/camping trip not quite halfway around australia.

the plan this time was pretty mininal: let's travel to and through central australia! (off the boring main roads where possible.)

the idea was that i'd go at least as far as alice springs following the outback way, and bail out there if i didn't enjoy the trip; otherwise to continue on to WA via the great central road, and back from there somehow, either via the australian bight or the far north. clearly not an exceptionally precise plan; more an example of making it up on the go.

as you can see on the map above i did reach WA eventually, then opted for looping via the far north and got to broome and the timor sea, thus covering both sunrise and sunset beaches.

read on for some musings from my travel diary and some photos.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Thu 19.09.2019 17:28 | filed in interests/au | tagged roadtrip, camping, outback-way, great-central-road, gibb-river-road | ]

If you are like me, relying on good old MH/NMH and mh-e and exmh to do your mail, then you'll know that there are few decent solutions for synchronizing your MH boxes between computers.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Tue 29.11.2011 15:20 | filed in mystuff | ]

recently i spent almost six weeks in austria: with family, friends and a bit of work. it was a good trip but a little bitter-sweet, too.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Wed 31.07.2019 14:54 | filed in still-not-king | tagged at, oz, travel | ]

last year they printed 400 million 'new and improved' banknotes with a typo on them. nobody noticed for a few months, but then who cares about responsibility (or spelling).

i also suspect that there aren't that many companies outside the australian market that would proudly call their engine starter spray "start ya bastard" and market it for a target audience of 'frail people who are not strong enough to pull a start cord quickly enough'.

the last time i had to use a similar product must have been about 30 years ago, helping my dad to convince one of his his citroen gs/gsa to start...all of which were indeed bastards to get started.

apropos nothing: other australian things.

[ published on Wed 31.07.2019 12:50 | filed in interests/au | tagged oz | ]

for my birthday i got a new(er) camera, a panasonic lumix dmc-gx85 with the standard kit 12-32mm lens; i hope that that upgrade gets me to produce More Better Pictures.

 elise

in the meantime i've also added a tele lens (14-140mm), which reminds my sister of the aardvark in the pink panther cartoons when it is at the the maximum zoom.

 elise elise
[ published on Wed 24.07.2019 18:26 | filed in interests | tagged camera, elise | ]

...is that there's lots of space.

 this map has too many austrias but who cares :-)

we've got 25 million human inhabitants, but less than 500 000 live outside the coastal areas (the yellow area on this map from amazing maps)

 only 500000 people live in the yellow area

you don't have to drive very far inland to get away from everybody.

for somebody like me who can stand humanity in small doses only that's a pretty good thing.

[ published on Sat 20.07.2019 10:22 | filed in interests/au | tagged oz, truesize, space | ]

a bit over a week one of my 6 255w solar panels on the roof decided to develop an earth fault, the inverter sensed that and stopped power generation altogether.

an inspection indicated that all panels are on the way out, not just one. these 'znshine' panels are clearly not much good; they lasted just 8 years, and the warranty is pretty useless: '5 years for faults and defects' and '25 years for output degradation but only if that's your sole problem'...so for all practical purposes '5 years'. meh.

fortunately the solar sparkie that i talked to (who did a good job for my neighbours recently) offered some second-hand better quality for a very good price, and now there are 7 renesola 250w panels on my roof and i'm happy again.

[ published on Sun 19.05.2019 12:51 | filed in still-not-king | tagged solar, renesola, znshine | ]

keith and i spent last weekend on fraser island, setting up two of the new weather stations for fido:

these are located at orchid beach and at cathedral beach;

 orchid beach weather station cathedral beach weather station

with four stations most of the eastern, ocean facing side of the island is now covered. two more stations on the western side (at kingfisher bay and wanggoolba) will follow in the next three months.

things worked out pretty well and we did find a few hours for sightseeing, too; here are a few photos.

 near the champagne pools eurong beach turtles at lake allom kingfisher bay kingfisher bay kingfisher bay ks and az at knifeblade sandblow

to capture the size of some of the big trees i experimented with my phone to get a vertical panorama (up, up and lean baaaaaack), and while not perfect it doesn't look too bad :-)

 looking up, up and up looking up
[ published on Sun 05.05.2019 09:55 | filed in still-not-king | tagged fido, weather, fraser_island | ]

...you disregard the docs saying 'this requires at least two people' and you figure out a hacky way to make it possibly all by your lonesome - even though you do have a friend or two who could have helped you. *sigh*
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Wed 27.03.2019 16:37 | filed in interests/tinkering | tagged tinkering, loner, camping, car | ]

for me A$970 paid for all of a three week, 4922km, camping/hiking/sightseeing/road-trip south along the great dividing range.

2/3 of that went for 420l of diesel (my car is reasonably economical even with the brake parachu^W^Wroof top tent in place), and the remainder covered (national park and other) camping fees, some grocery shopping and a few coffee and cake breaks. i mostly camped in cheap or free places and somehow i can't bring myself to eat out even when i'm on the road (at least when travelling solo), which should explain the low cost.

i've long wanted to see more of australia. being off work right now makes this the perfect opportunity to travel, except that the season is not ideal for visiting central oz (late summer/early fall is both hot and normally the rainy season); furthermore the current drought makes the inland regions a bit less appealing than usual (ie. many creeks and rivers are bone-dry, fire bans in many national parks and so on).

so i decided that i'd tag along the great dividing range towards the south, visiting most of the higher areas on the way - for the views, the hiking and a bit of cooler weather. the tentative plan also included visiting the victorian alps and possibly the great ocean road as well, but that part of the plan went up in smoke - lots of nasty bushfires in victoria, pretty much exactly where i wanted to go - so the eventual southernmost goal shifted to mt. kosciuszko, the highest hill in oz.

here is the whole trip as a single track; read on for photos and more details.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Sun 31.03.2019 14:38 | filed in interests/au | tagged camping, hiking, travel | ]
 not quite edelweiss - flannel flowers not quite edelweiss - flannel flowers not quite edelweiss - flannel flowers

well, this is australia so it's not edelweiß but flannel flowers. the leaves have exactly the same texture though! these were observed at yuraygir national park, on a hilly headland maybe 500m from the beach.

as you might tell from this i've been camping a bit; read on for some more photos and a bit of a report.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Wed 23.01.2019 14:35 | filed in interests/au | tagged camping | ]

not the least because conny gives me these cool gifts, like she did this christmas: a whole box of well-selected shirts from roadkill. most are even wearable in polite company :-)

 eins von vielen neue leiberln
[ published on Wed 23.01.2019 12:12 | filed in interests/humour | ]

today i did a little time travel (a 15 min drive across the border to NSW, where the timing sucks but the alcohol licensing apparently doesn't), and bought austrian beer at aldi:

 egger märzen

it's quite obvious that australian beer prices are mostly driven by very high taxation, when aldi can make a profit selling the far travelled egger märzen not that much dearer than local(-ish) beer: the egger goes for $5 per litre, whereas aldi's nice kiwi low-carb goes for $4.42 per litre (that's aldi prices, the other booze 'discounters' are nowhere near except for headache generators like xxxx gold...).

[ published on Wed 12.12.2018 18:25 | filed in interests/au | tagged beer, taxes, egger, austrian_beer | ]

...but i find that 15w40 and nail polish remover goes really well with my salad.

 spices, recycling, making fun thereof

i'm going camping tomorrow, and i like reusing containers (well-cleaned containers...). obviously i also like making silly labels with my label maker.

[ published on Thu 29.11.2018 17:30 | filed in interests/humour | ]

after reading my recent post about my new car one of my austrian friends asked for more details; not exactly surprising as utes like that are not exactly common in austria.

so here are some more photos and phacts.

 fiddly colorado garage fit comfy outback garage fit

for comparison here is a photo of my old subaru outback, an average length station wagon ('kombi'). the colorado just fits into the garage, ie. iff i drive up to and carefully bump into the wall. stock length is 4.9m, add about 25cm for the bull bar on mine.

 colorado plus canopy colorado plus canopy

stock weight is about 1920 kg (cf. 1460 kg for my previous car, a forester), but this one lugs around a bull bar, winch, canopy and dual battery; installing a lift kit is very much in planning.

it's got about 120 kW and lots of torque thanks to the turbocharged diesel; agility is...well, this is not a race car. it doesn't feel underpowered but there's the inertia of 2 tons of car.

[ published on Mon 26.11.2018 13:18 | filed in interests/au | tagged toy_car, 4wd, chick_magnet | ]

(as in sewing, not faecal matter)

believe it or not, but i do actually own a sewing machine - and i can even operate it (if not exactly well).

it's a relatively old elnita 150, and the only electric bits in it are the motor and the light bulb. i do admire the mechanical design of mechanical sewing machines: two cam drums, a comb full of cam followers, a few levers, a bunch of springs. in this machine that's enough for 15 different stitch patterns.

however, mine doesn't get used often. today i wanted to prep it for some upcoming fiddly fabric work, only to find out that it would only zig spastically, not zig and zag.

after applying occam's razor to isolate the involved ziggy bits it turned out that the issue was just stiffened old grease and/or insufficient lubrication: one follower lever had gotten too sticky to return properly when released. for zig that one gets pushed but for zag it needs to return under spring tension, which it didn't do reliably.

the solution was trivial; a bit of fresh light oil, some soaking time and vigorous exercise of the mechanism and it's all working again. me happy :-)

[ published on Mon 26.11.2018 12:36 | filed in interests | ]

following up on an earlier post, here are a few more reasons why 3d printers are both cool toys and useful tools.

i live in a pretty humid climate, and using vacuum storage bags (for things like spare blankets and pillows) is quite important; but the dyson vacuum that i inherited from my daughter has this nice-but-unhelpful clicky connector that sucks because it doesn't suck -- there's no flat interface that you can press against the bag valve.

so i spent a little time on designing and printing a sucker adapter (in PETG because i wanted to do more testing with the material).

 staubi-adapter in petg

or this one, from earlier this week: the built-in cupboard in my hallway has a broken door catch (cylindrical post in the frame, claspy catch on the door) and i couldn't find any even remotely similar replacement at the (sole remaining :-( ) hardware chain.

however, calipers and persistence and one failed test-print later i've now got a parametric model and an actual replacement part that works.

 broken door catch 3dp fixery uppery to the rescue 3dp fixery uppery done new heatbed

on the last photo you can see my newest mod to my printer, a mk52 (clone) magnetic heatbed. the print surface is PEI on a removable sheet of spring steel, which is held to the actual bed and heater by many strong magnets. when your print is done you take off the steel sheet and flex that, rather than prodding and prying with spatula/chisel/knife.

so far it works pretty well, but the bed is made from PCB/fibreglass and prone to warping. i haven't fully bolted the bed down (like official prusa does it) because i like the ability to level things manually, but i may want to change that later; for now i've setup 7x7 grid level compensation with my smoothieboard clone and that takes care of the imperfect flatness.

[ published on Fri 09.11.2018 16:18 | filed in interests/tinkering | tagged 3dprinter, openscad, tinkering, smoothieboard | ]

i'm now driving what might conceivably be called a chick magnet car -- with the understanding that the magnetic attraction is confined to within the cabin, and the repelling forces work all over the outside. net result: it'll take a woman of superhuman persistence to actually come close...
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Fri 09.11.2018 15:43 | filed in interests/au | tagged chick_magnet, toy_car, 4wd | ]

(beagle as in 'beaglebone black', which is not a dog by any means)

almost exactly three years ago i built a minimal-budget online weatherstation for fido, john sinclair's fraser island defenders org. that station was installed at happy valley and it's been working pretty well ever since - well enough that we followed it up a few months later with another station which ended up at eurong.

both of these were build on a shoestring budget, and for the second i used the same fairly yucky 'authentication' chip setup on perfboard and hacksawed 2mm 2x10 pin connector, and everything was housed in a really ugly fashion inside a weatherproof box.

 second weatherstation for fraser second weatherstation for fraser second weatherstation for fraser second weatherstation at eurong

recently fido got a budget together for four more stations. about two months ago we started acquiring the bits and pieces for these stations, and this time i decided to make everything a bit nicer and easier to assemble.

this new litter of beagles will be housed decently: i designed and 3d-printed a custom enclosure that attaches to the back of the weather station console. thanks to the odd geometry it was a bit annoying to print but the resulting four dog houses look good and work really well.

 bbb mount in progress bbb mount davis second test bbb mount davis second test bbb mount davis second test bbb mount davis second test bbb mount davis second test

this time i've also decided to 'design for manufacturability' (bwuahaha - translate: i wanted less messy manual soldering and no connector butchery). this meant switching to a different pic microprocessor, an 8-pin PIC16F18313, and making a printed circuit board with keyed connectors to make everything a bit more fool-resistant.

the 16F18313 is a little powerhouse, and i found it amazing how much functionality microchip crammed into this chip (datasheet for the 16F18313: 471 pages. 16F88: 228). at au$1.31 it's also much cheaper than the older PIC16F88 i used for the first two stations, and thanks to freely reassignable pin functions it's much easier to route a single-layer pcb for that processor.

but getting it to actually work was immensely painful: none of my infrastructure would deal with this fairly recent chip. my version of xc8 wouldn't compile for it, pk2cmd would not program it (nor would mplabx talk to my pickit2). lots of swearing and fiddling later i've got a working PK2DeviceFile.dat for that chip, and proceeded with the pcb making.

after a little time with eagle (and a brief detour to build a small drill press for drilling the circuit boards) i made these four boards in the most pedestrian fashion possible (read: using the toner transfer method). soldering on the smt connectors was easy, using solder paste. and everything did work the first time round :-)

 beagle notdavis pcb before etching bbb notdavis boards bbb notdavis board testfit

in about a month the four stations will get installed on fraser island and i'll post an update when they're live.

you can find the updated code for the new pic and the board design (in eagle format as well as printable image) at https://github.com/az143/davis_weather.

[ published on Sun 04.11.2018 11:21 | filed in mystuff | tagged fraser_island, weather, fido, beagleboneblack, pic16f18313 | ]
kugelhund

...except that one is not a homeomorphism but rather an example of subtractive manufacturing.

[ published on Sat 06.10.2018 15:05 | filed in interests/humour | tagged kugelrund, kugelhund | ]
catpower

i must say they look very unimpressed with whatever human caretaker that had this attack of the math hahas.

[ published on Thu 04.10.2018 18:22 | filed in interests/humour | tagged cats, boxes, math | ]

i have lots of reasons!
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Sat 08.09.2018 20:54 | filed in interests/tinkering | tagged 3dprinter, openscad | ]
 all politicians suck. all hardware sucks. all software sucks, too.

source: the always awesome pearls before swine

[ published on Mon 03.09.2018 08:19 | filed in interests/anti | ]

last week my colleagues plastered my desk area with all kinds of motivational thingies. lots of grins when i came in next morning; they simply know me too well.

i spread the enshrined good vibes back out across the office and kept only this one, because it reminds me of a hiliarious movie that i enjoy a lot (zombieland)

 gift from my colleagues

a few years back my exwife brought me this gift on one of her periodic visits, also grinning quite a bit. she definitely knows me too well.

the clunky thing is now parked in my living room in a place of honou^Whigh visibility (directly in your line of sight when the entrance door is open). does it repel god botherers and scamsters? dunno; they rarely get to the point of an open door with me.

 geschenk von barbara

a further few years back my daughter gave me this gift. she clearly also knows me very well.

it's what i use for collecting spare change, but unconditionally: i do swear at misbehaving machines, dud technology, lousy situations and general stupidity, in order to stay somewhat sane. i refuse to pay for that :-)

 geschenk von conny

now, what - if anything - might those gifts tell you about me?

[ published on Wed 22.08.2018 18:58 | filed in interests/humour | tagged lostintranslation, giftthatkeepsongiving | ]

i've finally decided to change some things a bit, in the hope that i will (learn|get) to enjoy life a bit more again.

after five years of hard work at opmantek i'm very tired and quite burnt out. so i (have|will) quit my job: i submitted my resignation at the beginning of july, but effective end of december. that's because i like my colleagues and do want to give the company a decent amount of time to find somebody to fill the hole. (and it'll be a hole, not just a gap. cue silly quip about 'No More Gaps' being called 'instant carpenter' by those in the trade. 'instant software engineer', anyone?)

and me, myself and i? i will take an extended break, relax and recharge my will-to-live battery, travel a little across oz and generally take it easy for a while.

well, at least that's the plan. no idea how long it'll last or how much or little i'll enjoy the change, but i think you'll see a few more updates on this here site.

one of the reasons why i've been very quiet lately is that i'm mostly tired and need my non-copious amounts of free time to recharge and for chores, and hence am rarely in the mood to share anything online. well, (we|you)'ll see.

[ published on Sun 19.08.2018 09:28 | filed in still-not-king | tagged worklifebalance | ]

you might find this useful if you've got a 3d printer or cnc setup with an mks sbase board (a cheap smoothieboard clone), and if you want to add one of the typical cheap "LJ" inductive probes (for levelling, homing, whatever).
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Tue 19.06.2018 17:52 | filed in interests/tinkering | tagged 3dprinting, smoothieboard, mks-sbase, electronics, lj18a3, lj12a3 | ]

...you have a trashy little toaster and two slices of bread that don't quite fit, and you're considering the orientation and the general topology of the bread so as to get the maximum even browning of the slices.

[ published on Sat 26.05.2018 15:05 | filed in interests/humour | ]

a little sign of life:

 beachwalking

that's me enjoying the beach in the evening. the quieter beach areas in the evening are pretty much the only thing that i do like about the gold coast.

[ published on Mon 02.04.2018 20:20 | filed in still-not-king | ]

i don't watch much tv. never have, likely never will. ("not much" is no more than half an hour a month.)

i definitely watch no live tv at all as that amounts to cruel and unusual punishment; instead i use my fairly old twin-tuner topfield disk recorder which does time-shift pretty well.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Sat 10.03.2018 12:16 | filed in interests/au | ]

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