Article History

August 2011



Glenn and Tania moving into their new house

Glenn and Tania don't get to move into their new house until the 5th. Mum and Dad will drive down with lots of Glenn's stuff two weekends later. And they might want me for some help. Or maybe there won't be enough room for me. I remember them stuffing the entire back of the Tarago (with all the seats taken out) when they drove stuff down to Canberra for Scott. An alternative would be to hire some sort of trailer to hold everything and maybe only take the Commodore. We'll probably have to co-ordinate with Tania's parents too, so there's likely going to be other possibilities for getting down there.




Saw my GP about the results from the Black Dog MAP test/questionnaire. Unfortunately he hadn't received them.


Dad wanted to check the USB dual-tuner receiver when plugged into a USB expansion bracket connected to the motherboard.

I uninstalled a bunch of programs from my phone. For the last couple of weeks I‘ve been finding that my phone loses large amounts of battery charge overnight. It can get down to 70% or lower after being fully charged when I go to bed. I’ve been turning off the Wifi, and even tried airplane mode to make sure everything was off. But that made no change. Something was obviously waking up my phone (without turning on the screen) regularly to do something or check on something. So I removed a bunch of apps that might be trying to monitor the mobile signal (Open Signal Maps) or get stuff from the Internet (K-9 Mail, Feed Me, Google Reader), etc.

Mum got home early and offered to go driving.


Well it looks like one or more of the apps I uninstalled were the problem. My phone has about 95% battery this morning. I wasn't using the apps I removed so I certainly won't be systematically reinstalling them to find the culprit.

I helped Mario load his ute and trailer with stuff to take down to Glenn and Tania on Saturday (or maybe tomorrow).


Fuck. Firefox was acting weird last night so I closed it shortly before putting my machine into hibernation and going to bed. This morning I start it up and find that the tabs for editing stuff in my Wiki are reporting an error; I need to log in. Damn. I‘ve become a little too dependant on Firefox’s ability to save its session and restore it when next opened. It bitten me a few times before with editing my wiki, but never quite this big. I must remember to save more often.

In trying to restore my un-saved edits, I found Firefox and a few other programs acting increasingly weird. I did find a bunch of NFS errors in the kernel log, which might have been the cause. I ended up closing everything down, rebooting my server (taliesin) with a new version 3.0 kernel, then compiling 3.0(.0) on my desktop machine (saavik) as well and booting into it.

Mum and Dad went out to a Chinese restaurant for dinner. At some point I thought I heard Con fall off his perch downstairs. He does it from time to time and I was preoccupied watching news clips online. Plus I figured Mum and Dad would be home soon. So I didn't go down for a good 10-15 minutes. I had heard what sounded like the newspaper under his perch being torn and though that was odd. Previously when he's fallen off, he's wandered off under Mum's desk (the drawers are at a nice height for him) or the lounge (several cardboard boxes to chew). So why would he tear the newspaper?

When I did eventually go down, I found him at the base of his perch, stuck against Mum's desk, struggling to move. At first I thought he must have just been stuck so I tried to pick him up on the leather welder's glove we use. He was ‘sitting’ strangely and wasn't moving to get on the glove, which was my first indication that something was amiss but didn't think too much about it. I managed to pick him up under his body and he also wasn't moving like he usually does. But I stupidly tried putting him back on his perch, which he quickly fell off of. Oops. I picked him up again and it dawned on me that something was really wrong with him. I put him down on the floor and got the phone. Mum's mobile went to voicemail but Dad answered his. They had finished dinner and were just about to come home anyway.


The vet rang in the morning. He said Con was sitting/standing up and that Mum should pick him up between 11-12.

We went to the computer fair at the show ground. The guy at the door said there had been a miscommunication and some vendors thought it had been cancelled, so only half of the small pavilion was taken up. I was looking for SSD's for my server; the one vendor who had hard disks had (IIRC) 60GB and 120GB models, both too expensive.

I‘m only looking for a system disk (i.e root filesystem + swap + LVM RAID-1 ’log‘) so something around 30/32 GB is more than enough. But it looks like SSD makers are really pushing for larger capacities (and that’s obviously what's going to happen long-term), so I‘m left either getting last year’s technology (slower, perhaps other problems) in the size I want, or a new SSD in a larger but ultimately awkward size. I say awkward because what do I do with a 50-60 GB SSD? I only use maybe 6 GiB for my root fs at the moment, plus a little for expansion, plus swap; maybe 12-16 GiB is all I need. The remaining 40-odd GB isn't enough to store anything really big. The only benefit it would give me is it would really help the wear-levelling of the drive — it could last a really long time!

Mum was looking for a new PSU for Glenn — apparently he blew his up. Did he flip the 110/220V switch on the back while moving? She got one a little over his price limit ($100) but hopefully it's a good one. We almost got two 2 TB hard disks to replace the two 1 TB disks currently in Mars. But the vendor said all 2 TB disks run at a slower rotational speed — 5400 or 5600? So we decided we need to research this purchase more. Dad was looking for a sacrificial card for making his internal TV splitter/tuner monstrosity but ended up not getting anything.

Mum picked up Con from the vet and brought him home in a cardboard box. He was initially aggressive, lashing out at anyone who got near him. Later Mum picked him up out of the box because she reckoned he was trying to get out to her and he seemed quite content to sit cradled in her arms.

Dad and I checked out the new Bing Lee on the highway. We were also looking for mobiles phones for Mum. The Bing Lee is only about half the size of The Good Guys, which we also checked in quickly for phones. Then it was into town to the Telstra shop in the new(-ish) shopping centre. Dad had to pay his phone bill and we could also check out the phones they had there. They had the Samsung Galaxy S ⅱ, which wasn't powered up, as well as the HTC Desire S and the new HTC Sensation. They all looked great but Mum's worried about the price. She's been looking for months now and has to decide eventually.

When we got home, Andrew was visiting. We talked a lot, as usual. Mum put Con on the floor and he walked a bit but was very uneasy.

Con's been wondering about on the floor most of the evening. He's still not with it, nor moving too well. I‘m wondering if there’s been some brain damage or some other injury, but Mum says it's just the sedative. The vet said it would affect him until tomorrow. I really hope he recovers but I‘m not feeling positive about it at the moment. We need to figure out where/how he can sleep overnight. The perch in his cage is likely too high and should be lowered or removed. We’re also wondering about somehow shortening his perch in the family room.


Con's mostly back to normal. Mum said he immediately got out of his cage and climbed up on top when she opened it in the morning. She later put him outside for the day.

Mum and Dad went out shopping and came back with a few things for Con. They had one of those bamboo torches — simply as a cheap source of bamboo. They cut off the end to make a new perch for in his cage. The old one is kinda thin and for years he's kinda hung his feet off the back of it instead of sitting right on top. Mum tried sanding it down to take off the shiny surface but it was still quite smooth.

Did a little more work on my OneWire library for the JeeNode. I imported it into my Subversion server so I can track my work.


Crappy weather and I‘m tired, so I didn’t get much done today.

Installed TheFroyoMod 2.9.2 on my phone.

Working more on my OneWire library. I tried connecting a DS18B20 sensor to one of my JeeNodes but it didn't work. Even without ‘parasitic power’ I still need a pull-up resistor on the data line. But still, I finally got to put my DSO Nano to some use.


Still crappy weather. Mum said to keep Con inside all day, so I let him out to get on top of his cage.

We‘re worried about Con because he isn’t eating much at all. Mum rang the vet and made an appointment for the afternoon. I was wanting to go into town and the original plan was for me to go in with her, so I waited. Then Mum rang again and said I could go in any time. So I did, taking the bus in.

I just happened to meet Alissa as she was just coming out of the shopping centre. We talked a bit about what was going on and then I went in to get a prepaid recharge from Vodafone. Then it was up the street to Leading Edge Electronics. I got a bunch of resistors (sold in packs of 8, which kinda makes sense), a small experimenter's PCB, and a length of telephone cable. Then it was off home. Since I was on George st, I headed over the low bridge. I followed the footpath to the right and onto Stephens lane. Halfway up Mum rang me and asked where I was. She was expecting me home or something; she was hoping to have me hold Con during the drive, so I don't know why she said I could go into town. Oh well. I actually saw her car as it drove down Gilmour street, and she later told me she saw me too. So then it up Tandora avenue, which Stephens lane almost lines up with, and home.

The vet gave Con another sedative and has given Mum some powdered nutrient supplement that is to be fed to Con with a syringe.

I took out a six-way pin header and soldered on a 4.7 kΩ resister between the 3.3 V and DIO pins. Then I stripped the ends of the telephone cable and soldered three of these wires to the header (3.3 V, GND, DIO). I took one of my last two DS18B20's and soldered it to the other end. Then it was upstairs to check the software. Happily, the existing code worked first go. But it was only scanning the 1-wire network. I added code to the ‘OWtest’ sketch to get temperature readings but that didn't work initially. Turns out I was sending the ‘convert temperature’ command properly, but wasn't then resetting the network and resending the device code before trying to read the temperature from the scratchpad registers. It worked then!


Still kinda crappy weather. But the sun did come out a bit!

I opened Con's cage after I had breakfast but he didn't come out. I went upstairs and when I came down a few hours later for a snack he was gone. I searched and eventually found him under some chairs in the lounge room, dozing. I looked for poos around there and stupidly thought it was all clear. I later found that I had stepped in one in the kitchen. I was wearing socks, so I didn't get any on me, but I had tramped it with a few footsteps because I didn't feel it. Yuck. So I had to clean that up. Mum came home during her lunch break to force-feed him this powdered nutrient gunk.

Went for a slightly longer walk — I went down Boyd street, along the highway and then along the creek like I usually do. I didn't like the car and truck exhaust from the vehicles on the highway, so I probably won't do that again in future. It was a little late in the afternoon though. Maybe it would be better earlier in the day.

Worked more on my OneWire library. Eventually I moved it into an Arduino/libraries/ directory in the repository for my ‘Digitemp2’ project. It makes sense to move it there since that's what it'll be used with. I'll also be developing a few ‘sketches’ for the nodes too, so they'll go straight in Arduino/. I'm symlinking to these directories from my personal Arduino directory.


A fairly crappy day. I desoldered the cable I made on Tuesday and set about making it better. I cut the legs of the pull-up resistor a little shorter and managed to get them wrapped around the two posts on the header. This placed it to the side, not on top. I soldered them in place and then got the wires from the cable and wrapped them around too. So that's more rugged. I also re-soldered the DS18B20 sensor to the other end, but I'm not happy with it. I need some skrink-wrap tubing to isolate the legs. I had some years ago in Sydney when I originally made up my old sensors, and I can find the thicker white tubing I put around the whole sensor, but not the thinner red stuff.

Mum said she'd come home between 2-3 in the afternoon to (force-)feed Con the nutrient sludge. I wanted to go for a walk but it was getting close to 2 and I thought it would be better to be at home when she did. But 2 came and went, then 3 did too. Dad came home early and I was just about to head out when Mum finally arrived home.

Went for my usual long walk, in the spitting rain. While walking I thought about these sensors and the nodes. How much power is the pull-up resistor wasting? I only plan on polling the temperatures once a minute, maybe twice. Would it be better to connect the pull-up resistor to the ‘AIO’ pin on the ‘port’ so that the microcontroller can control when to pull up the line? And I seem to remember seeing a comment somewhere about the ATmega having internal pull-up resistors. Could I use them instead? I need to do some research on the microcontroller I'm using.

Con seems to be doing slightly better. Mum and Dad had a roast chicken for dinner last night and so he's getting the bones left over after that. He's been cracking them open with his beak, like he always used to.


A lovely sunny day!

Con's now not doing so well. Mum said he threw up the nutrient stuff after she fed him. He didn't do anything most of the day, just sitting on his cage in the kitchen, dozing most of the time. Poor thing's obviously malnourished. Mum later made an appointment for a bird specialist in Wollongong for tomorrow.


Mum left early in the morning for Wollongong with Con. She got ‘lost’ there and rang up Dad for directions (using Google Maps). She later rang and gave us the prognosis. The Vet said Con had vitamin a deficiency and heavy metal poisoning; the first from not eating enough vegetables, the second we‘re not entirely sure about. It might be his cage or the food trays made of galvanised steel (zinc coated). He’ll keep Con for the week, giving him a few injections, including one that will remove the heavy metals from his body. We might have to pick him up on the way down to Bateman's Bay on Friday.


Another sunny day! But otherwise, kinda lazy.

I went out for my usual walk but wasn't doing so great. I‘ve been really tired the last few days. It’s probably the valerian I‘ve been taking all this week. It still doesn’t knock me out like it always did, but I think it helps with the anxiety. And perhaps it's up to its old trick of building up in my body and making me tired most of the day. Perhaps I didn't notice it for a while because I've been naturally tired anyway.

Mum finally ordered a mobile phone - the new HTC Sensation. Wow. That should last her for many years.

Andrew came over on his bike. Then Liss and the kids turned up. They were coming back from her Dad's place. The kids wanted to play on the trampoline out the back, so I took them out for a while. It was late in the afternoon and the Sun was behind the house/trees (and clouds), so it was getting cold. It wasn't long before we all headed in. They then jumped a little on the small trampoline we got from Grandma years ago. And pulled out the box of toys. And we all talked.

Another weekend without driving practice.


One of my wisdom teeth is acting up. Actually, it's not the tooth itself, but the gum that's mostly covering it. It's swollen up and is pretty sore.

Went for my usual walk down to Learmonth Park and saw the Moscow Circus setting up in the football field over the creek. There were many, many caravans lined up. Are they going to setup the tent and stuff on the main part of Learmonth? I tried to take some photos with my phone, but it locked up. Stupid phone.

I later installed CM7 (7.1.0-RC13-11.08.14) on my phone. FroyoMod seemed to burden the phone even more than recent GingerBread-based CM7 releases. Maybe the Go Launcher is part of the problem.

Mum suggested I get some listerine to help with my wisdom tooth/gum problem. I seem to remember Glenn had some many years ago, but he probably took it with him when he left.


I woke up after 2am with my wisdom tooth/gum aching. I looked through the cabinet in the upstairs bathroom looking for any listerine but found nothing. None in the downstairs en-suite either, which Glenn used. So I made up some very salty water in the kitchen and swished it around the side of my mouth. I also took a paracetamol+ibuprofen tablet.

Mum's new phone arrived just as I finished cleaning up after lunch. I got it out of the postage bag and bubble wrap but left it for Mum to come home because I knew it would want a Google account login on first boot.

Went for my walk again and managed to get some photos of the Moscow Circus. They‘re now got a medium-sized tent set up, so it looks like this where everything is going to happen. Some of the photos I shot were intended to be stitched together into a wide panorama, so that’s what I did. I haven't used Hugin for a while now and there's some strange differences. Most annoyingly, it doesn't work “out of the box”. I have to set all the photos to be from the same “stack” and unlink the image positions in the “Images” tab. The photos eventually stitched together well and uploaded them to my Google+ account.

16 August 2011 photos

When Mum got home from work we all huddled around and set up her phone. I managed to get a vCard file exported from my contacts transferred to her phone with Bluetooth and imported. It took a while to get Bluetooth set up properly though! I also installed a bunch of apps that I use and thought she could use as well. MapDroyd refused to download maps. But a big problem is that my phone is rooted and hers isn't (yet). So a few things that I use couldn't work on her phone e.g Titanium Backup and Clock Sync.

I took half a valerian tablet (1 g) before bed. I think it does help, but have to moderate my use somehow to avoid the build-up effect.


A wet and miserable day. Mum had a late start so I got ‘AppInstaller’ installed on her phone from the market and transferred over the OsmAnd+ APK along with my 'MostNSW.obf‘ map. That worked well. So I guess tomorrow I’ll download from OSM Australia, get the latest developer releases of OsmAnd+ and OsmAndMapCreator, and generate a new map file for Mum and I to use on our phones during the trip.

Didn't go for a walk today because of the crappy weather. But a large circus tent is now visible from our front balcony. I saw some spires going up last night but didn't know what they were for. The weather should be slightly better tomorrow, so I'll really try to get down and photograph the circus site once it's all set up.


Both Mum and Dad have today until next Tuesday off of work. So today we all prepared for the trip to Bateman's Bay.

I downloaded the latest from OSM Australia and started processing it for OsmAnd. I thought I would just process the whole thing and get a map for all of Australia, but it dragged on for a while. Then I had to go out...

Went to see a doctor about a few things. I've had a bad cough for a week or so and he thought it was my asthma. I told him I was taking my Ventolin about once or twice a day for this cough and he said having to use it more than once or twice a week indicated the need for a preventative medication. He gave me a “Symbicort” “Turbuhaler” that I have to take every day. He also checked out the swollen gum on my wisdom tooth and my right ear, which is a little blocked. He gave me an antibiotic for both of those.

Mum picked me up and we headed over to Leading Edge Electronics for a cigarette lighter extension lead. I'll be in the back of the Tarago and will need power for my phone.

Back home I had the OsmAnd map and POI files for all of Australia. But I ran it again to generate my usual “most of NSW” dataset. That went much quicker. I installed the latest development version of OsmAnd on my phone and put the MostNSW files on. Then I did the same on Mum's phone. While I was seeing the doctor, she went to the Telstra shop and had her account transferred to a new 3G SIM (UCIM) and changed her plan. So she can now download up to 1.5 GiB a month and gets a bunch of “free” things (SMS‘s, calls, etc) for less than she was paying before. She said her last several bills were around $60-70 a month with all of the SMS’s she sends to Scott and calls she makes. Yikes.

In the evening Mum spoke to Scott on Skype. Sometime during that the vet in Wollongong rang about Con. A few days ago we had been told that he would be kept longer, so we wouldn't be dropping in to pick him up on the way down or back. But now Con is doing worse again and the vet reckons we should visit — perhaps familiar faces will perk him up and get him eating again, or worse case, it's the last time we see him and say our goodbyes. The last two weeks have been a bit of an emotional roller-coaster with him seeming to get better, only to then get worse again. I'd really like to see him get better and live an even longer life. But if that doesn't happen, a part of me wishes he would hurry up and go. It's horrible seeing him degenerate like he had, on top of being a real inconvenience.

So we‘re once again looking at a roughly six hour trip tomorrow. Dad would like to arrive around 4pm, so that means we have to leave before 10am. I’m still not sure exactly what route we will take over to Wollongong. It looks like we kinda go the usual Sydney way (via Mount Victoria) and turn south at Penrith. Otherwise we'd have to go on crappy roads down to Goulburn and then north-east on some nicer ones. Then it looks like we have a half-decent highway down to Bateman's Bay.

Mum gave me the package of four super capacitors that I ordered a week or so ago. They arrived yesterday but nobody told me.

Sorting out what photographic gear to take. I‘ve been planning to take my Pentacon Six for a little while. The only decent film I have for that is some Fuji Pro 400H and Ilford Delta 3200. I’ve also packed some expired Pro 800Z, CT400 and Lucky SHD100. I'd like to get some good shots with my big fisheye lens. In 35 mm I think I'll only take my Electro 35 because I haven't done anything about fixing my XR-20sp and the P6 takes up so much space. I‘ve packed some FP4+ and Velvia 50, as well as my last HP5+ from the bulk roll and two rolls of Superia. I shot some Velvia in the Electro the last time we were there and I haven’t gotten it processed yet, so I still don't know how well it did. I might just use the less-demanding FP4+ and Superia in it.

I really need to get around to sending all of my E-6 and 120 film off to be processed.


Before I was even out of bed, there was a phone call. It was the vet in Wollongong; Con had died overnight. Damn. It sounded like he was doing okay a few days back. Well, that at least simplifies our travelling plans. Mum called her sister (Auckland) and brother (San Francisco) on Skype to tell them. Grandpa wasn't up or wasn't answering.

I “recharged” my prepaid phone account with an “Internet Essentials” recharge I had gotten back on the 9th and made sure it went through. Okay, so I have 150 MB to use in the next 30 days.

We eventually left about 11:30. We went the usual route — south-west to Cowra and lunch at a favourite café, before turning south to Boorowa, skirting Yass, Murrumbateman, crappy road to Bungendore, Braidwood, and then the final winding stretch down to Bateman's Bay. I started in the back of the Tarago, squashed in with all the other stuff packed for Glenn and Tania. I swapped with Mum at Bungendore when Dad had a toilet stop. I had been using an extension lead to the car power adaptor for my phone, and Mum had a simple USB cable to power her phone from a Belkin dual adaptor in the front. Since both our phones use the micro-USB socket for power, when we swapped we also swapped power supplies.

It was overcast when we left and rained several times on the way down. We arrived and got to check out Glenn and Tania's new house. The last owner ended up leaving a lot of stuff, including an old TV, some curtains, and a bunch of paintings of the walls. And there were of course lots of boxes and other junk from Glenn and Tania having just moved in. Several of the doors got partially stuck when opening and closing them due to them swelling with the humidity.

Dad had to fix the light switch in my room. It had a dimmer on it that had broken — the light only worked when the dial was pushed in. So Dad removed the dimmer, leaving only the switch.

We unpacked all the stuff out of the car; a lot of bedding stuff for us on top of the usual luggage, plus many boxes of Glenn and Tanias stuff. Mum, Dad, and I went out to a local supermarket to buy a few food items for the weekend (little point in bringing that with us). We had roast chicken and salad for dinner. The gum on my wisdom tooth was really hurting, so I didn't eat too much. And it was getting late for me.

My room had no bed (yet), so I got to blow up and put sheets, etc on an inflatable double mattress for me to sleep on.


The inflated mattress wasn't great, but I slept okay. It deflated slightly overnight. While we were having breakfast a delivery arrived — a double mattress and base from a local that Tania had found on Facebook. However, it was not in “good” condition like the person had claimed — there were some tears on the base and stains on the mattress. Oh well. Mum and Dad went out to get some sort of spray to use on the bed. Then I joined Glenn and Tania for a drive to their real estate agent to sign some paperwork and get the bond back for their old apartment. But they needed their bank account details for the money to be transferred. Their agent had told them their signatures were all that was required. So they left a little annoyed.

Then we all piled into the Tarago and went into Bateman's Bay to Bunnings for a few things, mainly a replacement light switch plate for my room. When we got out we had sausage sandwiches from their sausage sizzle. Then we went into the shopping centre for a few things. Mum used her super powers to drag that out for far too long. After that we drove out to the real estate again and let Glenn and Tania sort that out. While they did that, Mum ducked into the small super market there and got a few more things she hadn't found (shopping around Bateman's Bay is terrible) and kept us again. On the way back to the house we drove past their old apartment complex and Tania told us to look for the spot out the front where her Charade sat for a long time. It had broken down and wouldn't start. Removing it was one of the requirements of getting the bond back, which they did only a few days before. So on the grass was a large rectangular dead patch of grass, with grass built up around the edge. It was almost like there had been a garden box sitting there all that time.

It bucketed down in the afternoon. I put my last roll of HP5+ in my Electro 35 and set it for 800 ASA. I got some shots of the pool in the backyard.

We went out for dinner to ‘Heat’ in Batehaven, a wood-fired pizza place. The pizzas were great and we had some gelato for dessert, although they were out of the really popular flavours (chocolate and kalua). My caramel was very nice.

We moved the mattress and base into my room and I moved the sheets onto it.

We stayed up way too late watching In the heat of the night on television.

I took a shower, the first and so far only time I have at their house. The shower recess is a funny little thing, shaped like a quarter of a circle. It has two sliding/rotating doors that meet in the middle, kept closed by a thin line of magnetic material like that used to seal fridge doors. Perhaps I‘ve been spoilt by having used combined bath-showers for most of my life. But this was really quite cramped. There wasn’t much room to move, just turn. Having the shower head on a hose helped at times. I won't go into details...


Finally, a mostly-sunny day. We spent a lot of time out around the pool. Glenn was cleaning it.

At some point I put a roll of Pro 400H into my Pentacon Six and took some photos, mainly with my fisheye lens. Or was that yesterday?

In the late afternoon we went for a drive. Tania had to take back a car she had borrowed from her employer. So we piled into the Tarago and her in the car and drove off to Mossy Point. Deed done, she got in too and we headed up towards Moruya looking for some petrol. I got a photo of an old house across the road from the petrol station. Looking to finish my roll of film, we drove back to the break-water at the heads. The sun was getting low and there were clouds hindering it, but I finally managed to finish the roll.

On the way home Mum dropped into a super market for dinner supplies. We had hamburgers for dinner. Simple but yummy.

We watched a marginal cam-rip of Bridesmaids that Glenn had. I didn't find it nearly as funny as they reckoned it was, but I was so very tired. At least it didn't keep us up as late as last night's movie.


Drive home. Glenn had left earlier in the morning to go to work. We had breakfast, packed up, and left about 11:30. Better weather than when we came down. We stopped in Braidwood to have lunch at the bakery. Not too large, but quite a serious setup. We also stopped later at the Cowra café like we always do.

As we came into Bathurst Mum got a call from the vet in Wollongong. He had done the autopsy on Con and found that he was indeed a very sick bird. Con had cysts all over/through his liver and the vet was surprised he had lasted this long. Poor Con.


A beautiful sunny day. But boy am I tired. Mum and Dad are still home.

I went for my now-usual walk down to Learmonth park. I got some more photos of the Moscow Circus site, this time with the main tent up.

It's strange how our minds work. When we think things missing is just temporary, we don't give it much thought. It might even be a relief. We only miss them when we know they‘re not coming back. Sometime either last night or this night I walked into the family room and caught myself about to say “hey Con!” like I always did. And now when I look out into the backyard from the kitchen window I often catch myself looking for Con in his cage. When he was simply with the vet, it was actually a relief not having to take him out in the morning, bring him in at sunset, and put him in his cage at night. Now I find myself really noticing not just the places he’s missing, but also changing my behaviour. Like keeping an eye out for the weeds he liked to eat.


A very lazy day. I finally got around to ringing up my dentist's office to make an appointment. I told them I was having trouble with a wisdom tooth and the woman on the other end wanted me in tomorrow at 8:30. Mum has an early start tomorrow morning, so she can drop me off on her way to work.


Ugh, I got up early at 7:40. I had a quick breakfast and cleaned my teeth, then it was off to the dentist. The appointment was with Emma, the daughter of my usual dentist. She's gone into her father's line of work. I explained what had happened with my wisdom tooth, she took a look, and recommended I have it out. To do that, she needed a facial X-ray to make sure the tooth wasn't too close to a few important facial nerves. So I set off for a walk down a few blocks to the radiology office. I got to bite on a piece of plastic and have my head clamped by three plastic arms while the scanner turned around my head. That got printed and I walked back to the dentists. She checked it out and gave me the all-clear. We made another appointment for 2:45 in the afternoon. I walked home.

I took a taxi into the dentists. The procedure wasn't too bad. First some anaesthetic gel to numb the gum. That tasted horrible. Then a few needles for a proper general anaesthetic. I forgot that there would have to be needles. I hate needles. She gave that a few minutes to take full effect. Then she started the real work. First she cut the gum since it mostly covered the tooth, plus she needed to get at the bone of my jaw. Then she used a drill to remove the bone obstructing the rear of tooth and that had stopped it from fully erupting. Then she could finally remove the it. This was the only time I felt any pain, very deep and dull. And I heard a crack. That made me jump but she said it was expected. It's a shame she hadn't told me to expect it. With the tooth out she sewed up the gum with two sutures. And put a pad of gauze in for me to bight down on to stop the bleeding.

Being a Thursday, Mum and Dad went out to dinner at the Kelso Hotel. I took a codeine tablet then because the general anaesthetic must have worn out and I was getting a strong ache. My lips had stopped feeling tingly about an hour before.


I didn't need any more codeine tablets during the night. My right jaw is now swollen, just like the dentist said it would.

Glenn's here now. Tania's been here since Tuesday (she could have come back with us!) to go to ‘res school’ (i.e distance education) at CSU. They turned up just as I was planning to go to bed and we talked for a while. They were surprised at how well I was doing after having my wisdom tooth out. Apparently Glenn had a much worse experience several years ago.


Glenn and Tania came over for dinner. We ordered over the phone and then after a while Mum and I went down to the Chinese restaurant on the highway. They were really behind and we waited at least another half an hour before we got our food.


More work on my JeeNode code. It all is compiling now and I‘m happy with it, but haven’t tried it on the hardware yet. So I uploaded the new ‘sensor node’ sketch onto the #2 node with the AA power board and an attached temperature sensor. It wasn't spitting out correct temperature data. After some checking, I realised that the ‘scratchpad’ memory on the the Dallas temperature sensors contains 9 bytes of data, not 8. So I fixed that and the CRC checking worked, sending out readings every few seconds. Then I attached the #1 node and uploaded the ‘receiver node’ sketch to it. It didn't seem to be receiving any readings. I changed it so it was printing out the raw packets and sure enough, they were empty. Zero byte packets. I tried making some changes to the sensor node sketch, but nothing is working yet. It says it's sending out 10 byte packets, but the receiver says they contain no data. I'll have to sort it out later.

Glenn and Tania came over to say goodbye before leaving. They were supposed to arrive around 3, but didn't turn up until after 4. They didn't stay too long and left probably before 5.


Went for my usual walk down to Learmonth and there was one lonely Moscow Circus truck remaining. I actually went rather late, after 4.

Watched the mid-series return episode of Doctor Who. Not overly impressed.


The swelling on the right side of my mouth has mostly gone down, but a funny lump still remains. And the sutures have gone hard. I don't know how long before they dissolve.

Went for a longer walk, walking across Learmonth Park and having a short rest near the skate park before walking back across to continue along the creek.

My pack of 4 small solar cells arrived from the U.S. Finally! I was starting to wonder where they were.


Played around with a super capacitor and solar cell. I took them out on the front balcony in the strong sun light and hooked up Dad's fancy Fluke multimeter. The solar cell slowly charged the capacitor, taking a minute or more just to get to 1 V. Later I tried to solder it all together to power a JeeNode with an AA power board. For some reason it didn't seem to work. I‘m not sure why. At one point I tried measuring the power being supplied by the step-up DC-DC converter and it read negative. I’m really not sure what's going on.

I think tomorrow I‘m going into our local Jaycar stockist and ordering a few cases, connectors, and some shrink-wrap tubing to construct these sensor nodes. Being able to connect and disconnect the capacitor and solar cell should help in figuring out what’s going on.