Are we the new ANZACS

They were cannon fodder in a military war, we are cannon fodder in an economic war.

It occurred to me while listening to descriptions of the Gallipoli front in 1915, and how the British Generals, all from the Upper Class, held the average man in such disdain, that they had no moral or ethical twinge when sending thousands off to certain death.

Today, we have same attitude towards the lower classes manifesting itself in the ideological framing of the last Federal Budget.  Every day as we hear the bills being scrutinised in the Senate we see how the Abbott Government is trashing Australia’s social compact, and attempting to replace it with the dog eat dog society favoured by the nut jobs in the ultra far right and assorted neo-cons.

Attack the lower and middle classes with added health and education costs. Attack the young looking for work.  But no attack on the Upper Class and their many perks – a temporary beating with a wet lettuce then back to the good times.

Tony Abbott and his cohort are showing just as little concern for us as those pommie Generals showed for our forefathers.


ASUS Transformer T100 (Part 2)

Tablet hangs during Windows Update and then won’t boot

I quite liked the T100 however it was always a little flaky.  Occasionally not waking from sleep, sometimes no keyboard would popup for input.

Then it finally failed during a Windows Update.  The updates had been downloaded and were being installed when the system hung with a memory exception error. Since it didn’t respond to either screen or keyboard activity I was forced to power it down.  But bad news when I powered up – no Windows, and worse, no functional recovery partition.  It had to go back to ASUS for Warranty repair.

This wasn’t such a bad experience.  I phoned them, explained the situation, gave them Serial No. and Purchase date etc.  They emailed me documents to print out for their courier to pickup the unit.  The courier picked up the T100 from work, and about 10 days later it was sent back to work via courier – all at no cost to me – which is the correct response in my opinion.  So well done ASUS Australia and the telephone support guys.

The motherboard needed to be replaced as the SSD was damaged. This means pretty much everything except the screen and case is new. It worked far batter from the get go than the old one ever did, it’s a completely different user experience now.



ASUS Transformer T100

How a brief mishap trying to connect to a public WiFi network lead me to do a full system recovery.

I bought one of these and set it up from new – funny how it’s like an Apple Mac or Google Chromebook – you need to be online for it to work the best. Both have a locked ecosystem, and this is no different, Microsoft have now adopted the same business model as the other major players.

I wanted to get into Windows 8.1 because my main laptop is an HP running Windows 7 64bit and I wanted to try out the Microsoft tablet ecosystem so as to keep up with the latest offerings in that space. I naturally wanted to pay as little as possible for a decent solution that would allow me to experience the full UI.

For around $500 (on special offer) it offers a combination of a 10.1 inch Windows 8.1 Tablet running a Bay Trail Quad Core Intel Atom CPU with 64Gb SSD, 2 Gb Memory, 1.2 MP forward facing camera and an included keyboard that turns the tablet into a Windows 8.1 Netbook. It also comes with micro-USB port for data and charging, micro-HDMI port, mini-SD card reader, and headphone jack. The keyboard includes a single USB3 port to connect peripherals.

Construction standards are fairly low end plastic for the tablet case and the keyboard, and the screen fingerprints badly compared to an iPad. However it was obviously built to a price so the keyboard could be included in the hardware bundle.

The software bundle is also a bonus, you get ASUS Cloud storage for 1 year, MS Cloud (Skydrive) and it also includes MS Office Home and Student, which really makes the ASUS T100 a great value proposition – full marks to ASUS.

Performance wise I’m actually quite astounded.  Compared to the older Dual Core Atom Clovertrail tablets this has a far snappier response time, and it comes with Intel 4000 graphics as well, which are more than adequate for the 1360×768 screen. It looks bright with good contrast, and wide viewing angle. Overall a very nice and smooth little unit, the touch is accurate and responsive.

Only one problem has occurred that took some dedicated fixing. It started when I attempted to connect to the Free WiFi at my regular cafe shop. There was a connection, but no Internet. Everything began to run strangely and then locked up. I manually powered down and then powered up again, but the tablet was a mess and wouldn’t respond to touch or keyboard and trackpad. It gave every indication of being totally bricked, and I began to think the unit was faulty.

I needed somehow to restore to Factory Defaults, and reload a fresh copy of Windows from the Recovery partition on the SSD. I managed to succeed by using the hardware key combinations:

  • To power up to BIOS, hold down Volume – key and the power button
  • To power up to inbuilt diagnostics, hold down Volume + key and the power button.

Once I was able to start the diagnostics (by choosing the Windows Bootloader option) the Firmware concluded it needed to be recovered and provided a number of menu options – I picked the one where everything is reset to Factory Default – it also had the option of a reset but leaving user data untouched.

It successfully restored the Factory image, and then restarted, so I could set the tablet up again from scratch.

Moral of the story is even though it looked like it was a brick, it wasn’t, and it is now running as I’d hope. I won’t attempt another WiFi connection at that Coffee Shop. Wonder what would have happened if I wasn’t an IT guy and knew what steps to follow.  An RMA claim followed by denial that there was an issue ?


Murdoch’s Marionettes in a tangle

Murdoch’s puppet Australian Government proves to be so inept that it clearly demonstrates why you should never listen to the opinions of octogenarians.

The implosion of public confidence in the Abbott Government so quickly after the election raises serious questions as to how the Australian voters were sold such a pup. How poorly do these doctrinaire ideologues reflect on the strident assertions by News Ltd media outlets and the right wing apologistas and shock jocks that the old bunch were a pack of infighting crooks, but Tony the Messiah and his 12 disciples were capable of performing miracles in Government. How wrong they were it seems.

I thought we’d get a comical puppet show for our entertainment, instead we’ve got the whole damn circus. Transparent Tony the ringmaster, Jock MacTruss his understudy, Joe Hockus the trapeze artist, Scott Noboats the clown, Chris Pyneochio the acrobat, Julie Bintang the hypnotist, Robb People the ticket collector, and Turnball Fraudband the sound and lighting guy.

The many broken promises in rapid succession has kept the audience keen and engaged, but the triple somersault half-twist back flip with pike by the acrobat Pyneochio left the spectators roaring for less.

Alas the audience are surely heading for another broken promise. The Grand Finale encore performance to close the circus was promised to be a Carbon Tax Double Dissolution. Transparent Tony can’t risk it now the spectators are unsettled, as the audience would surely walk out on his circus and head straight over the road to Shorty Bill’s Amusement Complex where every player wins a prize.

The honeymoon period isn’t even over, and already the brides’ family want her to divorce Tony. All except for old Uncle Cyclops and his brothers, of course.


Chairman Rupert and Tony the Tongue

We certainly now know whose tongue is in whose backside.

The partisan ravings of News Corp about the upcoming election, and their support for Tony the Tongue bears witness to the saddest state of the Australian Polity in my lifetime.

That one man’s commercial interests, and lust for power, could so distort and corrupt a country is a disgrace.

His reckless disregard of the rights of the little people in advancing his self and commercial interests, as seen in UK.  His company stands accused of bribery of public officials, and illegal wiretapping.  Yet he is allowed to dictate the outcome of an election, in the process showing that democracy is a veneer of choice over a base of greed and the self interest of the elite.  Rupert proves that some are so evil, they could be the devil incarnate.

Since the death of his mother and him becoming an orphan, his excesses are untempered by the need for his mother’s approval.  He has become quite a worry to the good order and sustainability of humanity.


Internet becomes Totalitarian Tool

Even the USA Government can’t resist its temptation

The latest revelations about the extent of soft totalitarian use of the Internet and Telco’s by the US government is staggering.  What has USA become since the Bush/Chaney era.  It seems it now stands for the opposite to every tenet of its formation and constitution.

Bush and now Obama show that rather than being the beacon on the hill for freedom around the globe, it now lives in the same dark corner as the dictators and oppressors that it used to stand against.

The USA has lost its way, and it has lost its soul.


Battle of the Trolls

That bulwark of print trolling, The Sydney Daily Trollograph, complains about twitter trolls.

LOL, what a gag.  News Corporations’ Sydney tabloid is running a campaign against Twitter trolls. Yet when it comes to blind outrage directed at others no one does it better than News Ltd bloggers.  In fact, they’re nothing but blogging trolls.

To support its’ campaign “the Trollo” has enlisted the help of some of Sydney talk-back radio’s most notorious trolls.  Trolls trolling trolls and trying to troll us.  Oh the hypocrisy of them all.

Thus we have a situation where a media company, who facilitates print and online trolls under the company banner is conspiring with broadcast media properties.  All mediums are awash with trolls who spew vile bile 24×7 to incite those in society who feel a bitter resentment about their lot in life, coupled with a keen sense of frustrated entitlement.

Is that not the most Orwellian construct of newspeak yet ?


The peasants are revolting

At last the 99% are beginning to see through the charade.

Once upon a time, generally known as the Middle Ages society was in the grip of a rich, powerful and unscrupulous minority called Lords of the Manor.

They were the landowners who controlled the means of food production and had at their disposal an array of ordinary people called serfs.  Serfs were little better than slaves, and were mainly indentured to their Lord so they were unable to be free of the yoke of oppression and abuse handed out by their Lord and Master.  And then in the 1300’s, even the bogan brained serfs tweaked that the deck was stacked against them. “My Lord, my Lord, the Peasants are revolting.”

Cut to today.  The serfs are the 99%, and the Lord of the Manor is now called Chairman of the Board or Managing Director.  We have been conned for centuries that this new fangled democracy thing actually gave the 99% some real power, while all the time we have been sold a lie.

The 1% ruin everything through vile, excessive, unscrupulous greed, and then try and convince the 99% to take a hit to their lifestyle so as to ensure the 1% don’t have their lavish lifestyles impacted in any way. Time for the 1% to take responsibility for their own actions.  If they hold 90% of the wealth, then they take 90% of the hit.  To each his own proportion as to the burden he carries.

Even shareholders of corporations are beginning to see how executive management are stuffing their pockets with company money even while attempting to screw workers for lower pay.  Again, the deck is stacked.  My solution is simple – if a CEO decides to cut employee remuneration costs by moving jobs to a sovereignty with lower work rights and costs – fine – but the remuneration paid to executives should also be lowered to reflect the comparable amounts in the sovereign nation housing their work force.  Why do the workers have to compete with rates in China, while the executives have to compete with rates in Wall St or the City of London.

Level the playing field for all 100%, not just the 1%.

The Nuclear thing

Yet again the risks of using fission reactors to produce electricity is clearly shown.

Whatever possessed the Japanese to build so many nuclear reactors on a homeland so prone to seismic events is beyond comprehension.  In some ways, they deserve all the impacts that this fundamentally flawed decision will lead to.

As an exercise in risk management it is clearly a failure as you wouldn’t need to be a genius to know that often tsunami and earthquake goes together.  So, for convenience and cost saving purposes they located the plants close the coast.

Like the rest of the world I hope the Japanese engineers are able to bring the whole debacle under some sort of control without lasting consequence to the local environment from radiation fallout.

Hopefully this will provide further impetus for developing solutions to base-load power generation that is environmentally neutral.  Coupled with a review of the energy needs in society and the way it is consumed by the industrial and the domestic sectors should assist in aligning energy supply and demand.