Saturday, 4 June 2011


For years in the eighties I’d been using Apple products after Education Queensland conducted not a brief fling, but a semi-enduring relationship with the platform.

I was thrown in at the Microsoft deep end in 1992 when I was reefed out of my school and thrown into a regional manager’s job. By this time the dalliance with Apple Inc was over, and the agency had been churched well and truly by Uncle Bill and his offsiders.

With this new job went an assumption that I was entirely familiar with all the MS applications (Word, Excel, Access etc). I was nothing of the kind – I didn’t have a clue.

It was panic stations for a while. I was so desperate at one point that I lashed out and bought a piece of software called “Dragon Dictate” or something similar. I harboured the vain hope that I could sit in front of my PC and chat to it, and it would earnestly put my gems of wisdom down on paper.

After I sneezed in front of it the first time I booted it up, and the damn thing printed “Tuesday” I woke to the realisation that it was not the magic solution.

 To cut a long story short, many hours and many swear-jars full later, I arrived at the point where I could produce a document (letter or spreadsheet) in sufficient time and with sufficient accuracy to be useful. I simply learned by my mistakes.

Email and file creation and retrieval were pretty straightforward, once I got past the weirdness of leaving hard copies of everything I created. The logic of duplicating the electronic data with paper copies still eludes me, but they still do it.

The job I do these days doesn’t involve an office or a work station, and that’s the way I like it.

My tools of trade now are a laptop, an iPhone and an iPad.

The last two are Apple products, of course, and apart from being wonderful money-spinners for the aforesaid Bill G and his mates, are very useful and intuitive. I seemed to have no problem, even in my looming dotage, to master their idiosyncrasies.

With the exception of the predictive text features, that is.

My iPhone has a real problem with the Aussie vernacular.

I tried to text my daughter to ask her if she’d like to share a cuppa.
“Cuppa” became “chops” so she waited for me at the butchers.

My bride had no idea when she received a text reading “tucks”. I thought I had written “tucker?” You would have thought she could have figured that out. It was lunch time, after all.

Our Optometrist is called “Chas Sankey”. An effort to send a message about meeting my bride there morphed into international travel. “Chad”, is, I believe, somewhere in Africa.

I told my son I was gunna meet him at the shopping mall. It became “gunny” and he became confused. When I replied that his comprehension skills were pissweak; that became “possess”, by which time he began to believe that I indeed had been, or was suffering from galloping dementia.

One favourite family insult is to call someone a “myall”. It loses its impact (and its meaning) when that becomes “Lysol”. The phone doesn’t know about “utes” – it calls them “its”. Not surprising, I guess, considering it was an Australian company that invented that particular automotive genre.

Even stock phrases we use like “I bin bizzee” are corrupted. That one changes to “Is bin buzz”. You can excuse Apple for that. Most people have trouble with our family patois.

Proper Aussie names also confuse it. You get “cunning” for Cunnamulla, and “sift” for Augathella. That last one is from left field somewhere.

There probably is a way of disabling predictive text, but I haven’t yet discovered it.

Friday, 3 June 2011

More Fun with Blot

Andrew Blot is always good for a laugh.

A new blog has emerged which sends him up thoroughly, simply by aping his posts.

I'll give you an example. The original post  -

The Clot Factor's take -

You'll need to click on the screen shots to read them.
Basically he distills Blot's rantings down to their basics. Given the shallowness of his material, it's not difficult, and it lampoons him very effectively.

After being allowed through the Blot moderators for a while, I'm in the doghouse again. This is the post that did the damage -

It doesn't pay to point out the facts in any situation. It always gets you in the naughty corner.
Isn't this the character who waxes lyrical about freedom of speech?

Update -  Most post turned up - a day after it was submitted. A few others posted at the same time didn't. Frankly, Blot's moderators operate with no consistency worth noting.

Maybe they do random samples.....

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Fat Cars for Fat People

It makes sense somehow - if you're overweight, you need an overweight car.

Obama's obese limo got stuck in Ireland. He's not obese, but a helluva lot of his countrymen and women are. His presidential limo sure is.

Only in America could an obesity epidemic influence the automotive market. It seems that even as fuel prices skyrocket in Yankeeland, people still buy SUVs and the like because they're too big to be comfortable in vehicles that drivers in the rest of the world accept as "right-sized".

I guess if the natural order of things follows here, as it most often does, we'll continue to be saddled with the same lumps of automotive lard that have proliferated across the Pacific.

When you drive something as small as an MX5, it becomes an issue as many of the people driving Toyota Lardcruisers and the like simply don't see you.

One of the situations that often makes me smile is when I'm returning to my parked Mazda to be confronted with a driver (more often than not female) extracting a four-wheel drive from the front end of the parking space it's in, as they thought it was empty.

The diminutive proportions of the MX5 frequently fool them into thinking the space is free, and they are well and truly committed before they wake up. I always keep a straight face.

Monday, 30 May 2011


Something is digging up our back lawn.

It is obviously a smallish critter, and it eats lawn grubs.

It leaves small holes (about 10cm deep and 3cms across). It seems to settle on a particular area, usually about 9 or 10 square metres, and gives it a thorough going-over during the night.

This adds up to Perameles nasuta (Long-nosed Bandicoot), which makes sense based on my memories of catching bandicoots as an eight year old in Central Queensland.

We used to get an old pine box, and a piece of corrugated iron. We’d prop one end of the box up on the iron with a stick. From memory, a school ruler (1 foot then, 30cm now) worked well. We’d tie something to eat to the ruler with a short piece of string, and put the object under the propped-up box, well towards the back.

This usually worked as a trap, because the bandicoot would pull the string as it gobbled up the tucker, the ruler would move, and the box would fall. We learned early to put iron underneath, or the bandicoot would dig his/her way to freedom.

We usually put the bandicoot in a sugar bag, and took it to school for morning talk. The hero was the one who put the bandicoot in the sugar bag. They scratch. It would then be released in the scrub some distance from home.

We knew when there were bandicoots about because we’d see the holes.

OK – some mysteries remain.

If bandicoots - how do they get in?

Our backyard is surrounded by a Colorbond metal fence set in concrete. If it is bandicoots, do they clamber their way in from structures or trees down the back?

I always believed that bandicoots can’t climb.

Maybe they’re possums – but possums don’t dig as far as I know.

Whatever critter it is has a weakness for strawberries. They have nicked some nice ripe ones from my daughter’s garden.

She is not pleased.

Sunday, 29 May 2011


I came across this mess whilst out buying mower fuel this morning.

It's obviously been destroyed last (Saturday) night.

I must have led a sheltered life, because there's no way I can understand why anyone would do this. It can't have been easy, probably involved a number of people, and I'd be surprised if bodily injury wasn't occasioned in the process.

Perhaps whoever was responsible used his/her head.

No damage would result to a head belonging to someone thick enough to do this.

Hugh White - Without America

Hugh White is always provocative, and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to criticising current defence policy. In 1995, he was appo...