Planet Linux Australia
Last night went pretty well. Once I got Zoe to sleep, she slept well, with only a brief wake up around 2am. Any mosquito bites she sustained didn't seem to give her any grief. She woke this morning at 6am. It makes me think the blackout curtains at home aren't really contributing to her sleeping in.
We had a lazy start to the day. Zoe watched some TV after breakfast, and after I had a shower, fed some bread crusts to the chickens and then we played with the box of dress up costumes for a little while.
After that, we jumped on the bike and went down to check out the trademark of Quirky Cottages, a bunch of converted rail cars and "zoo". There were chickens, geese, guinea pigs, a sheep and a donkey. The rail cars weren't anything much to phone home about (much like the Cow House). In fact the whole affair looked a bit dilapidated.
Then we continued on the bike down to the local playground, where Zoe had a swing for a bit. We walked over to the jetty and watched the passenger ferry arrive, and then bought a loaf of bread at the store and biked back to the house.
It was too early to have lunch, so we just pottered around in the yard. We inspected the chicken coop, and Zoe played on the swings and swung from the rope swing. We tried and failed to catch a chicken, because Zoe wanted me to pick one up.
We had lunch, and then Zoe had some fabulous self-directed imaginative play indoors with the various props the house had to offer, while I put my feet up. Then she declared she wanted to take a nap anyway.
After her nap, I wanted to go back to the beach. I'd gotten myself all organised so that we could try and jump on the bike as soon as possible once Zoe woke up, but there was the requisite amount of stuffing around. I'd put Zoe's water shoes on, so she could ride in the trailer in her swim gear ready to go, but she had a mosquito bite on her foot that was giving her grief, so I cut my losses, and took the water shoes off and put her sandals back on, and promptly left the water shoes behind. We got all the way to the beach before I realised, and so we had to go back and get them.
Once we finally made it back to the beach, I chose a different location than yesterday, just so we would not have any memories of the mud crab incident to deal with. It turned out to be a good choice, because we had a fabulous time exploring.
The tide was even lower than yesterday, and the water was a bit silty, so we didn't do much paddling around in it, instead we explored the rock pools.
We found some tiny (1 centimetre and smaller) hermit crabs. These didn't seem to freak Zoe out, and she was even prepared to hold them. We saw some really small mud crabs. Once we were still for a little while heaps of soldier crabs started coming out, right near us. That was pretty cool.
On the walk back to the bike, I found a crab claw on the beach, so Zoe got to take that as souvenir. I showed her how the claw opened and closed. I think we'll have to eat a crab in the near future, just so she can get a good look at one up close.
I most liked how as the excursion progressed, Zoe became more and more confident with the rocks and the tide pools. Initially she was apprehensive of everything, but starting with the soldier crabs, she'd become more and more comfortable with everything. I'd poke at stuff, she'd poke at stuff. It finished with her being comfortable wandering off to explore on her own.
We got home, Zoe had a shower and then I made dinner while she watched TV. We read some stories and so far bedtime appears to have gone pretty smoothly, which is good. I'm feeling quite exhausted. Tomorrow morning we have to pack everything up and be on the 9am barge out of here so we can race home, and repack to fly down to Melbourne for the weekend.
Well it happened! DrupalSouth was pretty damn magnificent. Learning was done, fun was had, and the community gathered and did what it does best.
There's been a couple of nice write ups by people who attended.
- Glo Digital http://glodigital.com.au/blog/drupal-south-2014-wrapup
- Previous Next http://previousnext.com.au/blog/drupal-south-presentation-everything-you...
- Code Drop http://codedrop.com.au/blog/drupalsouth-recap
- Alex Bergin http://akb.id.au/2014/drupalsouth-wellington-2014
- Michael Birch http://www.regbirch.com/blog/drupal-south-2014
Did I miss yours? Let me know? http://twitter.com/kattekrab
DrupalSouth was so good, we're even running away with the name and going to run it in Melbourne next year!
Some notes on setting up Arduino on Debian.
Add yourself to the required groups – dialout and tty.sudo adduser $USER dialout sudo adduser $USER tty
Confirm the port /dev/ttyUSB0 is being used by Arduino – tail messages then plug in the Arduino.sudo tail -f /var/log/messages # you should see something like: FTDI USB Serial Device converter now attached to ttyUSB0 # out of interest, inspect permissions on port ls -al /dev/ttyUSB0
Logout and login (or run a login shell). Confirm permissions.zsh -l id # you should see something like: groups=1000(sonia),5(tty),20(dialout),...
Install Arduino pre-requisites.sudo aptitude install arduino arduino-core
If preferred, download the latest Arduino environment, run the shell script to start it.cd ~/arduino-1.0.5 ./arduino&
Set the serial port (Tools -> Serial Port) to /dev/ttyUSB0. Any problems doing this, edit the serial port setting in ~/.arduino/preferences.txt
Hello World – upload Blink (File -> Examples -> 01.Basics -> Blink) to your Arduino, go crazy with that flashing LED!
In a supplemental answer to a question taken on notice (PDF) in the Senate Estimates Committee regarding the forced repatriation of 12 and 14 year old Sri Lankan refugees the Australian “Department of Immigration and Border Protection” (formerly DIMIA, etc) said (my emphasis):
In relation to question 2, no, the unaccompanied Sri Lankan minors were not advised of their rights to seek asylum. Australian law does not contain a right to seek asylum, and therefore, departmental practice does not involve advising unauthorised arrivals that they have such a right.
In other words, Australia’s own “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, except this time in defiance of international agreements Australia itself helped forge.
Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says:
Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
You’d have thought the Australian government would have heard of that because their own Human Rights Commission website points out:
Australia was a founding member of the UN and played a prominent role in the negotiation of the UN Charter in 1945. Australia was also one of eight nations involved in drafting the Universal Declaration.
This was largely due to the influential leadership of Dr Herbert Vere Evatt, the head of Australia’s delegation to the UN. In 1948, Dr HV Evatt became President of the UN General Assembly. That same year he oversaw the adoption of the Universal Declaration.
Of course that declaration was not legally binding but Australia was involved in drafting, and we are signatories to, the 1951 Refugee Convention, which in the preamble says it:
recommends Governments to take the necessary measures for the protection of the refugee’s family especially with a view to:
(1) Ensuring that the unity of the refugee’s family is maintained particularly in cases where the head of the family has fulfilled the necessary conditions for admission to a particular country,
(2) The protection of refugees who are minors, in particular unaccompanied children and girls, with special reference to guardianship and adoption.
owing to well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.
The Australian Government site then goes on to say:
The Migration Act incorporates art 1A(2) into Australian domestic law, and gives effect to Australia’s obligation of non-refoulement—not to return a person in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where the person’s life or freedom would be threatened on account of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. Section 36(2) provides for the grant of a protection visa to a ‘non-citizen in Australia to whom the Minister is satisfied Australia has protection obligations under the Refugees Convention as amended by the Refugees Protocol’.
Now the Migration Act itself doesn’t include a right to ask for “asylum”, but it does include the right to ask for a “protection visa” on grounds of being a refugee. To me that’s exactly what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights means when it talks about asylum, not to mention the fact that the Refugee Convention talks about asylum all the time. For instance when talking about not penalising refugees for their method of arrival it says:
The Convention further stipulates that, subject to specific exceptions, refugees should not be penalized for their illegal entry or stay. This recognizes that the seeking of asylum can require refugees to breach immigration rules.
To me this seems to show that the Australian Government itself is either ignorant of its own legislation or just being deliberately misleading. Or both. None of which would surprise me at the moment.
A hat tip to RISE for pointing this out on Twitter:
— RISE (@riserefugee) February 26, 2014
This item originally posted here:
Australian Government says Australian law doesn’t include a right to seek asylum
The Buzzard Lecture Theatre. Evan Burge Building, Trinity College, Melbourne University Main Campus, Parkville.Link: http://luv.asn.au/meetings/map
Suelette Dreyfus: Whistleblowers
Colby Swandale: Vagrant
The Buzzard Lecture Theatre, Evan Burge Building, Trinity College Main Campus Parkville Melways Map: 2B C5
Notes: Trinity College's Main Campus is located off Royal Parade. The Evan Burge Building is located near the Tennis Courts. See our Map of Trinity College. Additional maps of Trinity and the surrounding area (including its relation to the city) can be found at http://www.trinity.unimelb.edu.au/about/location/map
Parking can be found along or near Royal Parade, Grattan Street, Swanston Street and College Crescent. Parking within Trinity College is unfortunately only available to staff.
For those coming via Public Transport, the number 19 tram (North Coburg - City) passes by the main entrance of Trinity College (Get off at Morrah St, Stop 12). This tram departs from the Elizabeth Street tram terminus (Flinders Street end) and goes past Melbourne Central Timetables can be found on-line at:
Before and/or after each meeting those who are interested are welcome to join other members for dinner. We are open to suggestions for a good place to eat near our venue. Maria's on Peel Street in North Melbourne is currently the most popular place to eat after meetings.
Linux Users of Victoria Inc., is an incorporated association, registration number A0040056C.March 4, 2014 - 19:00
I thought it might be a good idea for Zoe to do something out of the ordinary while Sarah was away, to help pass the time, so I booked The Cow House, one of the Quirky Cottages on Coochiemudlo Island for a couple of nights. I'm thinking it'll be a fun goal to work our way around all of the islands in Moreton Bay eventually, and Coochie is an easy 20 minute barge journey from Victoria Point, so it seemed like as good a starting point as any.
So I packed the car up this morning, and after my 8am chiropractic adjustment, we set out. I'd initially thought the barge left at 9:40am, but I was relieved discover it was 10:40am. That extra hour up my sleeve made things much less hectic. It was a 40 minute drive from home to Victoria Point, and we arrived with enough time for Zoe to have a quick play in a nearby playground before we had to drive onto the barge.
The house is nothing to phone home about. In fact the mobile coverage is so patchy, phoning home would be rather difficult. It's an old two bedroom fibro shack, with a painted concrete floor. It's been nicely painted in cow print and themed extremely bovinely. Zoe loved it. There were stuffed cows everywhere. She even found some cow slippers. There's chickens running around loose outside. My biggest beef with the place is the fly screens aren't intact, and there are plenty of mosquitoes about. I'm going to have keep Zoe lathered in mosquito repellent or we're going to have a bad time.
There is a good supply of kids' dress up costumes, and Zoe's been prancing around the house in a pink princess dress any time she gets the opportunity.
I brought the bike and bike trailer with me (which ended up making packing the car more of a challenge). After Zoe's nap, we went for an explore around the island by bike. There was no road around the outside of the island, so we followed the main road along the width of the island, and reached the other side in about 5 minutes. The tide was out, so we decided to return back to the house to get our swim gear and come back and have a bit of a splash around in the water.
We biked back in our swim gear. I'd bought Zoe a pair of water shoes so we didn't have to worry about what we were walking on, and I wore my snorkeling boots. The tide was out, but it looked like it was coming back in. We walked out to a big pole that was in the water marking some rocks and then started walking back again. Zoe was a bit standoffish about rocks in the water, and generally a bit apprehensive of anything strange along the way.
I spotted a mud crab in really shallow water by the shore, and brought Zoe over to see it. It had half buried itself in the sand, so I nudged it with my boot and it came out with its claws out, and Zoe completely freaked out when it started walking in her direction and she gave the most bloodcurdling scream I've ever heard her make (way worse than when she had her last vaccinations) and she climbed up my leg like a rat up a rope.
That was the end of that. She wasn't very interested in walking along the beach lest we run into any more crabs, so we biked back to our side of the island, had an ice cream and returned to the house so Zoe could have a shower and I could start dinner.
Zoe's sleeping in a king sized bed tonight, so we'll see how that works out. Bedtime has been a little bit interesting because of the change of surroundings, and there's been a lot of pining for Mummy. Hard to say if it's because of the nap today or the different sleeping arrangements.
I’ve been lucky enough to be sent some Obihai hardware, so you will see a few posts from me about my experiences with setting it up and what not. I’ve been sent an Obi202 and ObiLine which I should start to tinker with from the weekend.
Unfortunately they arrived today, however they are waiting at the local PO, which means I wont be able to collect them until Saturday morning.
So you’ll be seeing some posts from me about the hardware and my experience. Looking forward to it to be honest, as it looks pretty impressive on paper. If anyone is already using it, drop me a comment, as I wouldn’t mind doing some test calls via the Obitalk number that is provided when you setup an account.
Recently, I’ve been writing based on my linux.conf.au 2014 talk, which you can watch the recording of. Also see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6. My feed feel off Planet MySQL for a bit so you may have missed those posts – so feel free to go on a trip down memory lane before returning here for, well, more of a trip down memory lane.
At the start of 2005, Paul McCullagh started working on a new transactional storage engine for MySQL. He announced it in early 2006, so the majority of initial development was done before Oracle bought InnoBase Oy.
It’s at this point I should correct myself from my Part 5 where I was talking about when Maria started – it was actually at the start of 2005 when the project started, about 10 months before InnoDB Friday. I think this was mostly small scale work at first, before months later having a larger focus on it.
But anyway, let’s talk about PBXT! It had a different architecture than InnoDB and thus could have an interesting set of performance characteristics. The shortest way to describe the original architecture is “kind of log based”. Rows are written to a log file and there’s a handle file that points to where the rows are in the log.
Also, the design had both a fixed size and a variable sized part of the row. The fixed size part was stored alongside the handle in the record data file, so it was incredibly quick at getting the fixed size part of the row.
Not having to write data twice and having really quick access to some columns gave PBXT a quite decent performance advantage for many work loads.
The BLOB Streaming feature that was also worked on (originally just for PBXT and then for any engine) was quite ahead of its time. Think HandlerSocket but think of it done more correctly. HandlerSocket is an awful binary protocol that supports very limited operations and uses two TCP ports (one for reads, one for writes). The blob streaming used HTTP, something that anyone could use and manipulate and proxy and whatever you’d want.
If we look at Paul’s Top 5 Wishes for storage engines, an engine test suite and sane APIs (or at least documented) would clearly have helped. Having to do API tracing to discover when you should start a transaction is probably not the best way to attract developers – the amount of time that could have been saved given better interfaces in the server was immense (and not just for PBXT developers).
So, why aren’t we all using PBXT now? Well… if MySQL had shipped with PBXT, it would possibly have been a different story. There was (and indeed is) a very uneven playing field for MySQL storage engines. If you’re in the main MySQL tree then you’re everywhere. If not, then you’ve got a heck of a lot of work on packaging and keeping up to date with various API changes (not to mention ABI, which since we’re talking C++ and since we’re talking MySQL, changed a lot). With InnoDB being “good enough” for many and actually being forced to improve due to challengers such as PBXT (as well as being in the tree) it just continued to have the majority of the users… and it’s not easy making money as a storage engine vendor – and developing a storage engine does cost money.
With no more than a couple of people working on it at any one time, it’s amazing that PBXT had such a big influence – and we can likely credit many InnoDB performance improvement to PBXT being so much better in some areas.
An interesting side story: I was sending some build fixes/complier warning fixes and other minimal patches to Paul when MySQL belonged to Sun and he mentioned that perhaps it was time he had a contributor agreement. I pointed out the Sun contributor agreement as an example of one that could be used, and maybe he could just replace “Sun Microsystems” with “PrimeBase” and I could submit that to the Sun system – at the very least, it would be amusing. Paul said that sounded like a great idea and I submitted Sun’s contributor agreement (which it expected outside contributors to agree to) to Sun for them to agree to.
Well… a few weeks later I got a response, and Sun wasn’t exactly keen on it – until I pointed out a few times that it was in fact their agreement and then finally it was all okay.
If your company wants people to agree to a contributor agreement: see if they’d agree to it if it was for someone else. It was an interesting exercise.
My right ankle has never been quite right ever since I sprained it in 2008. The ankle is always a bit enlarged, sometimes more so after running.
With all the running I've been doing back in Brisbane, I had this niggling concern in the back of my head that I might be doing myself some long term damage, so last year I packed myself off to see a physiotherapist that was within walking distance of home.
He declared that I had blown out two of the ligaments in my foot from the sprain, and that my calf was compensating for it a bit. The swelling was just scar tissue. He gave me a bunch of exercises to do, and I had some electrotherapy on my calf for a few weeks and I went on my way. I think I'm supposed to do the exercises every time before I run, but that hasn't happened. It's hard enough to make the time to run, without having to prepend a bunch of exercises as well.
One of my neighbours works for my FootDr, so I asked her if they did video run gait analysis, because I was interested in seeing if there was anything I could do to improve my running gait. They did, and so I finally got around to making an appointment for today.
The appointment wasn't as interesting as the one I had in the US, in that there was no fluoroscopy, just manual examination, but there was the video run gait analysis on the treadmill, which was not something I've had before.
I was pleased that my running shoes (New Balance 940's) were deemed correct for my situation. The guy at Sports Basement obviously did a good job of fitting them to me. I was advised to refresh the shoes, though, so I lashed out on a pair of 940 v2's today. My health insurance also paid pretty generously for orthotics, so I'm going to get a pair for them to add to the ankle stability.
The results of the run gait analysis were that, surprise surprise, I am rolling inwards a bit more on my right ankle than my left. Interestingly, my left calf was bigger than my right one, so I was advised to stick with the physiotherapy exercises (yay).
So with the orthotics, new shoes, and forcing myself to do my physiotherapy exercises, I'm pretty satisfied that my continued running isn't likely to do too much damage to my body. The podiatrist concurred that because I'm currently pain free, everything should be good. I just had to live with the fact that my right ankle is going to always be a bit swollen.
Today was yet another busy day.
Zoe seems to have taken to waking up at around 5:30am instead of her normal 6:00am (or a bit later when I'm really lucky). Not sure what that's all about. I did get her to go back to bed until about 6:55am, and then she was happy to just come and snuggle in bed with me for a bit instead of play games on her Nexus 7.
After that we had a leisurely start to day, making porridge with strawberries in the Thermomix, and then biked to Kindergarten. Somehow it still managed to be 8:45am by the time we got there. I was expecting it would be closer to 8:30am. Drop off looked like it was going to be clingy, but then she just waved me off, so that was nice.
I had an appointment at the podiatrist at 11:40am, and that was back near Kindergarten, but further away from home, so I had this grand plan of cycling over there, and then twiddling my thumbs for a bit before Kindergarten pickup. That left me with only a couple of hours at home to work on my taxes before I had to leave again. I managed to make those couple of hours productive though, so that was good.
I biked to the podiatrist, had my appointment, and then it was 1pm and I still needed lunch, so I decided to grab some at a cafe near the Kindergarten. I chilled out there for a while catching up on social media on my phone, and then headed over to the Kindergarten, but was still quite early, so I just hung out on one of the couches they have out by the front door, out of sight of the kids.
The Kindergarten has an A-frame whiteboard out the front that they use to broadcast messages to parents at drop off and pick up time. One of the teachers came out to write something on it while I was sitting out there, and another parent reacted rather negatively to it as it was being written, so I had to go see it for myself. Apparently a child had a suspected gastro bug (he'd thrown up a couple of times). It was interesting observing the reactions of a few mothers as they trickled in for pick up. It's been a while since a gastro bug has gone through the household, so I guess the news didn't evoke a particularly powerful reaction in me. I'm going with the "suspected" and that hopefully Zoe didn't come into contact with patient zero. I guess time will tell. I certainly hope she doesn't come down with anything between now and Sunday, with all the travel we're doing.
I had an accident report to sign today. Apparently a large wooden block hit Zoe in the head while they were packing up a tower they'd made. She had a bit of a lump on her head, but otherwise seemed fine.
Zoe had a nap today, of unknown length, but woke up naturally as I entered the room. She took a fair while to get going though, and was grumpy and uncooperative getting on the bike. I ended up having to do it the "hard way" and we had a fabulous ride back with her doing a tired cry all the way. All the way until we passed a playground, when she snapped out of it and declared she wanted to have a play.
I'd booked myself in for a haircut at 3pm, and a make up swim class at 4:45pm (to cover our absence this Saturday due to our Melbourne trip) so playing in the playground seemed like the perfect way to fill the gap. It was even on the way to swim class. So after I had my haircut, we popped home, grabbed her swim gear, and biked back to the playground for a bit.
Then we went to swim class. This was her third one at her new level, and her progress continues to go very well. It's really exciting watching her.
Zoe took her time leaving the pool, so we didn't get home until after 5:30pm and I hadn't started dinner yet. I whipped it up while Zoe watched some TV, and I managed to recoup all of the lost time after dinner and still get Zoe to bed at a reasonable hour.
Bedtime itself went nice and smoothly. I used the canned goodnight video I asked Sarah to make for the first time tonight, and it was well received and I think defused any potential issues. I'm hoping she'll sleep well tonight, as her mosquito bites don't seem to be actively giving her trouble any more.
Was sad to hear in the news today that Harold Ramis has died. Still not that old either. Will always remember him from Ghostbusters.
Everyone knows pegasus are winged horses right? WRONG! Pegasus used to be ONE horse, so why are there so many now? Even if Pegasus did breed with a normal mare, and the foal had wings they would be useless and only have stubby things sticking out of it’s back. What I would like to know is how the BREED pegasus came to exist! There is only THE Pegasus who, originally, came from Olympus. Who can end my confusion and my one question, who is there suddenly a whole breed of pegasus when there used to be one??
While I think its true that the Labor party didn't cover itself with glory in managing the NBN rollout, I have to say that Malcolm isn't doing much better. Especially now that he's reneged on the 25mbit by the end of 2016 promise he took to the election.
You can see more about the state of the NBN rollout in my Google spreadsheet. I read the boring NBN documents so you don't have to!
Tags for this post: blog nbn politics
Related posts: The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress; Daughter of the Empire; Servant of the Empire; Dublin trip; Mistress of the Empire; I am sometimes amazed by the childlike political discourse in the US
I recently switched my Debian (Sid) laptop from Enlightenment 0.17 to 0.18. After the upgrade my laptop would no longer suspend. A minor but inconvenient problem for which there were many possible rabbit holes to run down and I ran down a few.
All of the leads were dead ends for me but one thing I kept reading was how Enlightenment hooks into systemd if it's installed. Installing systemd was on my ToDo list, so I opted to install it and see if that brought me any E18 suspend love.
My Debian (Sid) installation already had systemd installed:$ dpkg -l | grep -i systemd ii systemd 204-7 amd64 system and service manager
but it wasn't active:$ cat /proc/1/comm init
After the reboot, E18 suspended perfectly. Can't get much more elegant than that :-)
As discussed in one of my previous posts here. I own a Noontec N5 Gigalink single drive NAS. It’s not the greatest thing around, but for what it does do well (basic file sharing) it does the job. I don’t use any other features of the unit, just simply the file sharing side of it.
I wish I never upgraded the firmware, as the one that it shipped with had a much more basic UI for administration, however the newer firmwares you find may be TerraMaster branded, which I honestly don’t like. Although TerraMaster make a unit based off the N5, I just like it to remain Noontec branding.
I found that the firmware available at the page here, is a recent Noontec branded one. So I have installed it and will be using it for now. It is version as per below;
NOTE: The direct link above to Noontec site may disappear over time. Should it do so, I have zipped up a copy and made it available from my site below;
NAS-1Bay-N5_J1.05A_Ver2.35_USB2.0.zip (From: static.heimic.net)
I realised yesterday morning that I will have biked up Hawthorne Road at least once a day for 5 days in a row by tomorrow (unless it happens to rain).
It's not a bad hill, really, it has a sort of a stair-step gradient. There's a short, gentle incline, just to get your heart going, then there's a flat bit, to recover, then there's a less friendly incline, which is both more unfriendly and longer. Then you get to the top, gasping for breath, before there's a short decline and usually a red traffic light.
This morning I had the bright idea of leaving the bike trailer at Kindergarten, so it made the journey home much more pleasant, as was the aforementioned climb up Hawthorne Road in the afternoon.
I spent the day doing Debian stuff, but unfortunately didn't result in a package upload to show for it. Library packages are tricky, and I'm far from experienced or competent at maintaining them.
Zoe didn't nap today at Kindergarten, and wasn't too worse for wear for it.
When we got home, Zoe wanted to make a crown for Mummy like the one she made at Playgroup last week. Unfortunately we didn't really have any good crown-sized paper, so I made a little crown out of some surplus Letter-sized paper, and then Zoe decided to do some painting. The painting devolved into a lot of hand painting of her cardboard box rocket, inside and out. We managed to keep the mess to a minimum.
After we cleaned up, Zoe watched a bit of TV, and my girlfriend came over and together we all made a vegetable stir fry for dinner. After dinner we walked down to the Hawthorne Garage to get some unwanted cardboard fruit boxes, to help with packing for our two night trip to Coochiemudlo Island later this week.
Bedtime went pretty smoothly. Zoe managed to get a bunch of insect bites yesterday, which was the cause of a 4am wake up this morning. They're still giving her grief, so I'm expecting some sort of disturbance overnight tonight.
I'm not an avid Kickstarter follower (if I were, I'd have gone broke long ago). I tend to wind up backing campaigns that come to my attention via other means (in other words, they're in the process of going viral). That said, I've backed plenty of campaigns over the years, and so I'd like to think I have a little bit of familiarity with how they usually operate.
When Ozobot came to my attention, I found it unusual, because they were pre-promoting their Kickstarter campaign before it opened. To me, this looked like a case of them trying to build hype prior to the campaign opening, which was a new one to me. The whole thing seemed incredibly slick, and I was surprised they were "only" seeking $100K.
The product looked like it'd be something cool for Zoe to play with, so I decided to back it anyway. Then all the updates started flowing in about how well it was being received at various trade shows and whatnot. Yet the amount of dollars flowing into the Kickstarter campaign didn't seem to be reflecting the external hype. I was watching the campaign's dashboard with great interest, because as time marched on, it was looking more and more likely that it wasn't going to make its funding target. This seemed highly unusual to me, given the slickness of the product and purported external interest in it.
And then they pulled the plug on the campaign. Purportedly because they were pursuing equity funding instead. They admitted they'd also read the writing on the wall and it was unlikely they were going to make their funding target. I haven't followed other campaigns to see how much of a last minute funding "pop" they have. Usually I've found they've closed at many multiples of their original target, and hit their target well in advance of their deadline, when they're ridiculously popular. My interpretation of Ozobot's campaign, from a funding perspective, is that Kickstarters gave it a big fat "MEH", which surprised me somewhat.
Then the question comes up: was the Kickstarter campaign a ruse all along? Was it just a new way of pitching for venture capital? The videos seemed pretty slick. The product seemed already complete, and $100K didn't seem like enough to take it to manufacturing.
It'll be interesting to see what becomes of Ozobot now.
This morning I noticed some parking bays reserved for car charging in a car park at the corner of Sydney Rd and Glenlyon St in Brunswick (near Aldi). One of the parking spots was occupied by a Plug-in Prius from GoGet . I didn’t even realise that you could get a plug-in Prius in Australia. The charging station is run by Charge Point .
The charging points are about 1.5m high and the cable is about 3cm thick (about as thick as the pipe used for filling a car with petrol), so it would charge a car much faster than could be done with a regular power point.
One big problem with the Charge Point web site is that they don’t give any information on pricing. They sell home charge points (which I guess means just an all-weather two-phase power point) but don’t give a price for that. They sell charge points that can be used by commercially but don’t give a price for them either. Also their infrastructure for billing is apparently based on companies installing charge points and setting a price for the service. Some charge points may offer free service (I guess staff car parks and some government agencies) and others will charge varying rates – none of which is available on the web site. Apparently they have an “online portal” which gives information on such things to registered users – so you have to register to discover what it costs. Of course hardly anyone is going to register before discovering the price, not even when registration is free. But while registration is free the web site demands the make and model of the electric car, so presumably one has to spend $40,000 or more on a vehicle before discovering the price and availability of charging it.
Charge Point can be used as an example of how not to design a web site that promotes a service, or at least how not to promote a service that is aimed at saving money (electricity is significantly cheaper than petrol so it’s of interest to people and organisations that want to save money). The Charge Point site seems to be better suited to showing that the concept can work than convincing people that they should sign up for it. It seems to me that the best thing that they could do would be to prominently display the average cost of all non-free charge points that are open to the public along with an explanation of the price of driving a desirable car (such as a plug-in Prius or a Nissan Leaf) with such an electricity cost.
The “contact” section on the web site only has a link for “careers”.
I don’t think it’s possible to get widespread use of electric vehicles without getting better information out there. It appears that Charge Point is relying on councils to do the work of promoting their business by installing their stations and reserving car parking as Moreland council has done in this case.