Working from Home and Covid19

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It’s the start of my 5th week working from home during the time of Covid19. I am lucky to be living in South Australia where we have had a relatively low death rate from the virus. So far only four deaths and over 90% of people who have contracted Covid 19 have fully recovered. Our restrictions have not been as severe as in other states of Australia. So we can still go to the shops and make so called non essential purchases. This is of course tenuous and could reverse if people become complacent about social distancing and hand hygiene these are basic public health initiatives.

We have not ventured out in this time other than to the grocery shop and hardware shop. We have started leaving our shoes outside or just inside the front door. We wipe down the car door handles steering wheel and anything else that we may touched when out. This also includes the door handles in our house. We have even been washing our reusable shopping bags. On the plus side we have done lots of work around the house. Catching up on maintenance and gardening. Far from being bored we are trying to use our time productively.

I have taken a self imposed break from the news limiting myself to a 15 minute bulletin in the morning and no TV news. The media are really caught up in a cycle of disaster porn. Endlessly repeating the stats that are publicly available and speculating on what horrors are in the near future. This is embellished by experts who really do not know more than the published information. Largely our politicians seem to be behaving more sensibly than they usually do and listening to sound advice from the relevant bodies. Maybe that why we are having such a low rate of community transmission of Covid19 in this country. We are of course fortunate to live on a large island which prevents people sneaking in.

This does not take away from the absolute tragedies that are taking place in Europe and the United States. The death toll on the United Kingdom will no doubt be much higher than the stated numbers when deaths in nursing homes and domestic dwellings are taken into account. The likelihood of a miracle cure or vaccine seem distant now we can only hope that something will emerge.

Walking and Covid19

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I walk near our home , out the front door and into a conservation park. The dogs love it and they walk off leash . Usually we encounter about four or five people on our walks and some dogs. Last night a balmy evening we encountered about 25 people . I dont think that I have ever seen that many people on the walking track in the 25 or so years that I have been living here . Young and old all out walking this may be a small silver lining to the whole flattening the Covid19 curve.

I am guessing that once all the Covid19 restrictions start to return to normal the numbers will go down again. I have seen many posts on social media imploring people to take this as as a moment to reset their lives. Perhaps I am a pessimist but I suspect that most people will go back to their old ways as the Covid19 restrictions are gradually lifted. Enjoy some pictures of the dogs walking in the conservation park .

Google Photos and WordPress

No GravatarJust ranted on my other blog about Google Photos and WordPress. See rant here . I have been patiently trying to seamlessly access my Google Photos to use on this and another blog. Happy to use the WordPress interface but the whole photo thing is becoming a pain. A single image on a self hosted blog works fine. See sample below, the wine was nice. Otherwise I really like Google Photos and WordPress just wish they would get on better.

Nearly had another rant when this wouldn’t publish. Seems the site was auto-updating a plugin.

Addit: Now to add insult to injury the photo alluded to above is saved by alt text. The image itself is gone .

Wine Glasses with a Sunset Backdrop
Sunset at the bar

A Pet Peeve About Books

No GravatarI read a lot Nordic fiction which is translated into English. That isn’t an issue but the names of the books peeves me. There are often several english names for the one title. At least two versions of the book one for the UK and another for the states. Names which do not have any connection at all sometimes the original name is lost. This also makes it confusing when looking for books in a series.

The most recent book I have read is a case in point. The original Danish “Flaskepost fra P” roughly translates A Message in a Bottle from P. The version I read is called Redemption and in the US Conspiracy of Faith. All a bit confusing when trying to track down the next in the series. On the surface it appears that there are twice as many books in the series than is actually the case.

Any way that puts my pet peeve on books to rest, for the time being.

Android 5.02 woes

No GravatarUpgraded to the much hyped Android 5.02 Lollipop. So far my experience sucks. I waited patiently for the OTA version hoping that the initial bugs would be gone.

My tablet a Nexus 7 2012 with sim card capacity runs as though it is full of glue. It slows down progressively to the point where the only solution is an irritating reboot. I have deleted unused apps. Taken away the live wallpaper and so on.

I even tweeted about with the has hashtag #LollipopUpdate. Got a fairly quick response from @googlenexus. Their recommendation was to restart in safe mode. Did that and the tablet seemed to spring into life. Now I have to determine which apps are causing the hassle. I only install apps from the google play store. Haven’t noticed any warnings about compatibility with Lollipop.

Despite my rant I have managed to type all of this on the tablet whilst using a hotspot from my iPhone.

The infinite waste of time

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It is great being able to use a computer to write, you can move the words around, delete add or whatever else you want to do. The tragedy is all the other things that a computer can also do, worse still if it is connected to the interwebs. I will just quickly find another source or just check my email. It goes on and on, perhaps I could tag my photos or rearrange my music catalogue. I am pondering this as I am supposed be beavering away at a rather large writing project. Ahh the old pooter the original waster of my time. The possibilities are endless create another graphic, perhaps there are some updates for my software. Oh there is a new version of the word processor should I update or wait till my project is done. But I suppose it beats ink on my fingers and having to chase birds for their feathers.

A Tale of Three Companies Part 2

No GravatarAfter the initial attempt to get the Air-conditioning unit repaired I had to contact the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs (OCBA). Their advice was to write to the retailer, Origin Energy, as it is their responsibility to organise warranty repairs. On the advice of OCBA I sent a registered letter outlining my troubles to date. The outcome I wanted was a response in 7 days. I received a phone call from Origin Energy four days after the letter was sent. I was advised that they had called Mecair (this being the company that does the warranty work) and they were going to fix the air-conditioning. I waited a further 4 business days and called Mecair to see what progress was being made. I was then told that the part had been ordered. However they were unable to give me an estimated time of repair. They put the blame firmly on the door step of AHI-Carrier who manufacture of the air-conditioning unit.

I then tried to contact Origin Energy as OCBA advised me to. Try as I might I could not get through to them to clarify the situation. I was continually confronted by a phone message saying that “due to unprecedented demand they were not able to answer the phone”. I rang nearly every number on their website, but was unable to speak to anyone. In the end very  frustrated I went to their store in Adelaide. The unprecedented demand was being met by one person on the phone the rest of staff wandering around a nearly empty store! I expressed my frustration very loudly! This is now nearly two weeks after my letter demanding action in 7 days. They are apologetic, nothing can be done today…blah blah. However tomorrow , always tomorrow.

The next day and I get a call from AHI Carrier the manufacturer of the lame air-conditioning unit. I have to re-tell the whole saga which only gets my temper going. He denies that there are any supply issues with spare parts as detailed by Mecair. He promises me that sort it out and get back to me the next morning. He also adds that the initial service guy who came to our house could have made a temporary repair which would have made the unit functional! He promises to get back to me the following morning. Needless to say I have to phone him at the end of day. He promises that the part will be in Adelaide next week and that Mecair will have someone on standby to come out and repair the air-conditioning unit.

This is now about 7 weeks since I started on this ludicrous journey.

The air-conditioner is still not fixed……..

A Tale of Three Companies Part One

No GravatarImagine that you buy a product from a reputable company and the item is also a reputable brand. I bought a Toshiba air conditioner from Origin Energy in May last year. They hook you in with the interest free terms and a 5 year warranty.. Well so far so good. Then comes the air-conditioning unit’s baptism of fire. About 5 months after the installation in November 2009 we noticed a problem. During an unseasonal burst of hot weather early in the season the head unit in the family room was leaking. We had water running down the wall. This little episode took 5 weeks to fix! The heat wave had long passed long before the air-conditioner was repaired.  The verdict was a failed installation.

5 weeks to fix.

The next episode started in May this year. It is winter in the land down under and despite the travel brochures it does get cold. Perhaps it is not as cold here as elsewhere but we still need heating. The air-conditioning unit gradually stopped heating effectively. We dutifully worked our way through the manual as we thought we were using the unit incorrectly. We are sitting in our family rooms with jumpers on and blankets over our laps to keep warm in front of the telly. The telly is no substitute for a heater.

Then we decided to call the Origin Energy to organise a warranty repair. This is about one year after the purchase. I am told that Origin Energy doesn’t sell Toshiba air-conditioners!  I have to convince them that I bought it from them. They eventually gave me a number to ring for warranty work. Then starts the inevitable phone tag; no you need another department, no they aren’t here today they promise to ring back; we didn’t install the unit. Despite promises nobody rings me back.  I call back and convince them that they have come out and repair the unit under warranty. Mecair, the warranty company, eventually relent agree to send someone out this cant be done for two weeks. The guy who comes out, says some part needs replacing and we will be contacted when they get receive it. He can’t even find the compressor unit on the roof. No card is left or any work report in short nothing. A week passes by and I call Mecair to see what is happening. They can’t find any record that they came out here in the first place! Mecair take another week to confirm that they called at our house. They now want proof of purchase before ordering the part, which of course I supply and then wait………………….

It is now five weeks since we called Origin Energy.

Main Course Regret

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Karnataka Food
Image via Wikipedia

Ever been out to dinner or lunch only to discover that you didn’t go with your initial choice on the menu. You were going to have the goat curry but you wandered all over the menu and ended up choosing something else. The food arrives it’s not as good as you had hoped. Across the table sits the goat curry you  have main course regret. This is almost always the result of not going with your first choice. Then you have to endure your dining partner tucking into what should have been yours. Main Course Regret. You should always go with you first choice!

This of course is only exceeded by desert envy. This is much the same. However this is characterized by never being satisfied with whatever desert choice that you make. The other deserts on the table will always be the ones you wanted. A cheese platter is always a second best or at worst an entrée  for desert.

So remeber always pick the main course that first takes your fancy other wise in the words of Edith Piaf “Je Non Regret Rien” which loosely translates as no regrets.

Desert is curlier than you might imagine  it’s really an all or nothing proposition.

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Too hot for the dog

No GravatarThe dog can’t stand it anymore she is outraged by the heatwave. I think a stern letter to the local council is in order. Perhaps we can sue the weather office.