23 03 2013

I thought about power being wasted recently, and considered that my router is on when I sleep, and I don’t need it when I sleep.

Yes I could just manually switch it off each night, but I’d probably forget, so I went out and bought a digital timer, which will turn it off, while I’m likely to be asleep, and on again the next day when I am.

But I wondered, The timer is using power too so,  am I using more power than I’m saving?

How much power does a router use anyway?

Apart from saving power, turning off the router now and then is quite a good idea.

It’s strange, but a lot of people think they’re not allowed to turn the router off once it has been installed, but there’s a few reasons why it’s not a bad idea.

1. It saves power when it’s not in use, so switch it off at the wall now and then.

2. Nobody can steal your wi-fi when your router is switched off.

3. Sometimes your wi-fi can get a bit flaky, Switching your router off and on will generally reset your wi-fi signal and you’ll get better performance. NOTE: It’s best to turn your wi-fi off on your computer, or re-start your computer after switching your router off and on.

But back to my timer, I suspect that it uses less power than the analog type with the revolving disc which clicks as it operates, this one has an LCD clock in it which was operating while it was in the shop, and I suspect it uses a lot less power than the Router.

So, I’m iffy about it, will I save any power at all? not sure.

Could Routers be built with something to wake them up on detection of a familiar computer? and then go to sleep when all familiar devices are off?



The hard drive of insanity

14 12 2012

Dear reader, the advice I have for you tonight is simple, write notes.

I was about to go on a lovely holiday with a friend who had asked me if I’d like to take a few days off and stay at the farm with her, Katie was allowed to come too, She’s my Malamute.

We had a few days before the trip and I was preparing to leave, I packed my bags slowly and made sure I had everything, clothes, dog food, dog blankets, harness, electronic gizmos, cameras, chargers, keys…

And I also took care to hide special things I would be leaving behind, the kinds of things which may appeal to a thief, there is some security here, but still, a little extra care couldn’t hurt… and this is where it all turned sour.

To me, a hard drive is not so much an electronic device, but a place which houses perhaps the last ten years of your life… photos, videos, documents, artwork… and to have one of these stolen, well it would seriously upset my apple cart.

I have too many hard drives, you know how it goes, the original, the backup, the backup of the backup, the backup backup of the last backup (or something), not that all the drives are synced, there are more things on some drives than the others, it’s a headache, I want something a lot more stable, please science?

I have a super secret location where I put two, it’s a place I’ve used before, which works, and um… I think I put three there, or so I thought.

There is a vague memory involving me thinking about putting a note in my iphone about where I put the third drive, but I didn’t, I was sure I’d remember… however I’m more certain that I forgot where I put it almost instantly.

I do that a lot, I’m using something and just put it down, two minutes later I have no idea where the thing is and have to frantically search for it.

Holidays were had, things went well, and Katie and I came home.

I have had an illness years back and although I can mostly hold my own these days, my energy can drop like a stone… when I returned home, I was happy, but totally rooted and spent a few days lazing around the house, not being particularly concerned about anything.

Katie was just as happy to lay around the house as I was, she spent a lot of time catching up on sleep.

I think two weeks had gone by when my Macbook suggested that it might be time to run a backup, so I went to pull out these hard drives… and there were two.


Now the place is a bit dark, and hard drives are black, so I placed an arm down there and felt around, but felt nothing resembling a hard drive, just some sort of dust and a spiderweb.

Then I got the torch out, a friend gave it to me as a Birthday gift, and I love it, it could light up the Eiffel Tower from here, and I’m nowhere near Paris.

I searched around with that, and found nothing, I couldn’t quite believe it and repeated the routine a few times until the FACT sank in that the other drive was not there, and would not simply re-appear like Schrödinger’s cat might.

That’s when I began the hunt, the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedrooms, I peered into every nook and cranny, I reached, I poked, I prodded… the more I looked, the more I found fragments of a past life which I had forgotten, old faded photos, and objects I hadn’t seen for a decade or more… but no hard drive.

For the next few days, I slowly tore my house apart looking for the stray item, I was ok at first, it had to be there somewhere, but then yesterday the worry hit its peak.

My mind began playing tricks on me.

Had I only thought I had three drives, did I only have two? I couldn’t remember!

This thought haunted me for a while, I recalled some star trek episode where someone goes missing, but nobody could remember them… but they still had a feeling of loss.

I tried to remember when I last saw it, I had taken it next door to save some things to it, using my neighbours computer, as I was having a technical difficulty with my iphone… oddly I couldn’t save my photos from my phone to my macbook, I knew I could do it on PC, but my PC was down.

Had I simply left it there? unlikely, but plausible.

Then I began wondering if it had been stolen, but by who? The house had not been broken into, and even if it had, then why would someone steal the most hard to find object when there are easier things to take?

The worst things played through my mind, who had been there? friends, a friend was a thief? but who? I contemplated this into the wee hours, it was a truly awful thought. I was still awake at dawn. it had been a hot night and I had been naked in bed with just a sheet over me.

There was another missing object which made the situation worse, a radio, about the size of an iphone, given to Dad as a gift from Mum in the 70s. I have no idea where that went either, but why would someone steal that? had someone just seen it laying there and pocketed it?

Not really, I was sure that I had just misplaced it, but It was about 5am, I was hot, stressed, worried, feeling vulnerable and the paranoia was growing.

I was not being as sensible as I should be.

A question popped into my mind “When was the last time you saw the watch your Mother gave you?”

I knew exactly where that was too.

I got out of bed and had a look, it wasn’t there… things began to get worse, I told myself I’d been robbed, I wondered how many other things, small things I didn’t see every day, were missing.

I tweeted that I’d been robbed, I e-mailed a friend and sent a few SMS messages to others, I was having my Daffy Duck moment.

The drawer which contained my missing watch had another watch in it, I wondered why the thief had taken one but not the other, I decided to examine the remaining watch, I’m not sure why… guess what?

The missing watch was at the back of that drawer.

Oh the relief!

I began to come back down from a possible crime, to simply misplacing something.

It was light, I hadn’t slept, there was stuff all over the loungeroom floor, I started getting messages and phone calls from people who were worried about me.

I left Katie out for a pee, and fed the cat, then went back to bed… where I finally went to sleep.

I slept lightly and woke up often, but finally got up about 3pm.

My neighbour had said that I should go into his house while he was at work and have a good look around, he’s not the technical type and had no idea what the drive looked like.

I thought that was a good idea, and got dressed and ready to do that.

But I remembered the thought that I may have only ever had two drives, and the solution I came up with during the night… while I had hidden the drives, I had not hidden the cables fro those drives, it was only a matter of counting the cables and I should have my answer… it should be easy because the cables were branded with a white sticker.

I walked into my Mums room, where I had left the cables… I put one foot in there and saw something black on the carpet.

It was the hard drive.

I must have stepped past it many times as I hauled stuff out of there and covered the lounge room floor in baskets and drawers and suitcases… it was over.

If I had only found it last night, it would have saved me so much stress, but if I had simply written a note to myself, none of this madness would have happened.

Write notes, folks, for your sanity… write notes.


Choices made

25 06 2011

I think I would have been around fifteen when I decided that one day I’d become a Disc Jockey at a radio station somewhere.

One of the reasons that I wanted to get into radio, was to meet people who I knew from this side of the speaker or screen, a quick talk would be one thing, but a possible lasting friendship would be another, how cool would that be?

As you may know, I didn’t quite reach my goal, and many times I’ve said that it was my declining health which prevented me from going further, and while there’s some truth in that, I think I had another reason for dropping out.

I loved my family.

You see, new radio announcers generally don’t get their start in the city, which is where I live, but way out in “The Mulga” somewhere.

For those overseas, When an Aussie mentions The Mulga, or a place Beyond the black stump, We mean it’s far away, to put it mildly.

For me, a Melburnian, there would have been a good chance that I would have been posted off to Western Australia, Somewhere North of Perth. Several of my radio school classmates headed in that direction.

And I always knew it was on the cards, but somewhere inside I had this nagging doubt that I was any good, I got a volunteer job on a community station in Melton, Which was about an hours travel by train and bus. I was happy to work there, do my twice weekly show, write, produce and edit reels and reels of tape.

Somehow I never really considered that I’d go any further, I wasn’t being paid, but I was happy and I could go home when it was over.

Then someone at the station dropped the word that there was a scout at the station, the kind who looks for potential talent, and I was supposedly on his or her list.

This was exciting, but also frightening… I realised that I may soon have a full-time, paid job… but where?

It was the question of where which got the better of me, I gave up radio soon after.

The thing I wanted most, was to be with my family.

So here I am at home, years later, and the strangest thing is that I’m meeting people via twitter, and sometimes, in real life too. People who I never thought I’d meet in my life, and I love it.

But there’s a tinge of sadness that comes with it.

The person who understood me the most, was Mum, and I know if She had still been here that She would have loved to hear of the People I’ve met and spoken with.

Stephen Tobolowsky, Who has a depth to him which I would never have known about otherwise, Julian Clary a quiet soul who adores his garden, Boy George who seems to be rocketing off at an incredible pace to anywhere on the face of the planet, which I doubt I could have matched even at fifteen.

My Daily exchanges with Carol Duncan and Helen Tzarimas which I cherish, and this insanely long list of names who decided to follow me, famous or not, it hardly matters, it’s astonishing.

These wonderful people help to keep me going, and I am truly thankful for that.

I want to run to Mum and say “You’ll never guess who I met today”, But She’s not here.

Yes I can tell others, but it’s not the same, My parents “got me” it took them a long time, but they eventually did. They knew what I liked and who I liked and I’m sure they would have been impressed that I was finally getting to know people, like I always wanted to do.

While that career in radio passed me by, time with my Family did not, and I have no regrets.


Sleep Walking

13 05 2011

When I was a cub, I was a somnambulist, One who goes for midnight walks and doesn’t even realise it. It used to really freak out my poor parents.

I was probably around five at the time, and although weird people stealing kids in the night didn’t seem to be much of an issue back in the 70’s, (our back door was never locked at night) a missing child has always been a concern.

One night, Dad found my bed empty and went looking for me, only to find me out in the garden, walking around barefoot under the lemon tree… with muddy feet and muddy pyjama legs.

Back then, My Sister lived in the house next door, and we had a gate between the fence so we could visit each other without having to go into the street and take the long way around.

So on another night, the phone goes at our place, It was my Sister telling Mum that I was banging on her back door, and yes, I was completely asleep.

I’m not sure which night it was, because obviously I have no direct memory of the events in question, but after one nocturnal escapade, I woke up in my Dads arms as he carried me back into bed.

I remember waking up and feeling safe, and asking him what was going on, and he told me, softly, to go back to sleep.

This was one of my fondest memories of my Father.

Mum had had enough, but really wasn’t sure what to do, so she bought a chain for the back door, which is still there today… this was used to make sure I couldn’t get out, apparently I could reach the doorknob at that stage, you know I’ve never really thought about that till now, If I couldn’t reach the doorknob, then I must have been standing on a chair to reach it… I suppose.

Of course the chain didn’t stop me sleepwalking, there was still this need to go outside and do my thing.

So, trapped inside the kitchen on another night, I rifled through the cupboards trying desperately to find a hole that lead out into the garden, to no avail.

My parents heard the pots and pans crashing around on the lino and ran out to see what was going on, just me… I was promptly taken back to bed.

Then in grade three, a camp to Ocean Grove in Victoria was organised, and I wanted to go. Mum had been happy to let me go on all daytime excursions with the School but… with the sleepwalking, things might be a bit iffy.

There was a meeting for worried parents who were about to let their kids go on a camp for the first time, and I remember Mum speaking to our Vice-Principal, Mr Kidd, Who was a great bloke… and he assured Mum that we’d all be locked away safe at night, which we were… this wasn’t a camp with tents, more like a Dormitory, with bunk beds.

She let me go, and there was no problem… as far as I know, I never walked in my sleep again, which in a way is a bit sad somehow, because I was quite fond of my little oddity… although honestly, I suppose it wasn’t the safest thing to do.

Mr Kidd was brilliant too, He would tell us stories around the fireplace in the large hall which was mostly used for eating… it was like Hogwarts without all the finery and the magic. But the food was really good, funny how I remember that.

Years later I heard a story concerning another child and their sleepwalking.

In the 70’s we had a holiday home at St. Leonards in Victoria, and our neighbours were friendly and would ask us in for a cup of tea now and then, their house always seemed to be in a state of being built, rather than done, I think it was something for the Hubby, a builder, to tinker with after retirement.

They had an open fireplace, which was handy as some nights down there were bitterly cold.

The Wife had asked her Hubby to set the fireplace up so all she had to do was come out and light it, to get the house warm before breakfast.

He did this, but when She woke, there was nothing but ash.

This confused her Husband who swore that the fireplace had been loaded with wood the night before.

This happened over several nights.

One night, The Husband had had enough and decided to curl up in front of the fireplace and guard it.

During the night, their Grand Daughter, who would sometimes go with them, appeared… and quietly lit a fire, then sat in a comfortable chair until the fire went out. Then she simply got up and went back to bed.

With this in mind, do think about safety if you have a sleepwalker at your place, Hide matches, poisons and so on,
Make sure doors and windows are locked.

And don’t be afraid to ask a professional about it, should it be giving you a sleepless night worrying about what your kids might be getting up to.

If I can offer any comfort at all, it’s that we generally grow out of it, I did…. I think.

Read Susan Fujikis recent experience with sleepwalking.


Our Memory of the old House.

15 03 2011

Last night I came up with an unusual idea, which I tried and found to be quite interesting and I’d like you to try it and see how it goes.

Firstly, it’s best if you’ve known another house or flat, or a time before yours had been heavily renovated, or perhaps it’s a relatives house.

What matters most of all is that you know this house intimately, you know where various day-to-day objects were kept, and probably used them fairly often.

So get yourself very comfortable, and rest, don’t rush this.

Think of walking into the home and walking around, and examining parts of it… what is next to the phone?, what sort of plant is that?, what’s that mark on the wall, the sticky tape adhered to, what do you see when you open the door under the sink?, what’s that bit of string? the brand name on the toilet bowl?.

Now I’ve only used those as a guide, wander this house in your mind, and take your time to examine the bits and pieces, and you may find something you haven’t thought of in years.

This exercise is not to remember large things, such as sofas or paintings, but tiny things which made the home unique, such as a mark or scratch on the old TV.

If you see anything interesting, I’d like to know, it doesn’t have to be about anything that important.


Something interesting about laundry.

20 12 2010

Mum and Jan used to complain about t-shirts which went “boaty” after a while, by that I mean the hole where your head goes through, would sag and look horrible. We assumed that the quality of the shirt had something to do with it, or that perhaps t-shirts needed to be folded, rather than hung in the wardrobe.

I’ve recently worked out why t-shirts do this, Now I’m sure that some of you clever people have also worked it out, but for those who haven’t, I’m about to reveal the mystery so that you can avoid the problem in future.

We’ve always used the washing line in our family, we live in a place where it’s reasonably dry, Melbourne, why use a dryer when there’s so much free, dry air?

The problem is with the way t-shirts are hung on the line.

They are usually pegged on by the seams in the shoulder area, by two pegs, Now because the shirt is wet, even if it’s been well spun out, the entire section between the pegs (draw a line vertically from the collar to the bottom of the shirt) is unsupported, so it sags, and stretches the material.

After a while, the material is permanently stretched and takes on this boaty, saggy appearance.

The way to avoid it, is to fold at least an inch (or half if you like) of the top of the shirt over the line, then use three pegs.

Place a peg about an inch from the edge of each side of the shirt, and place the third right in the middle.

Your t-shirts should last much longer now.

This also works with towels, which suffer the same fate.