Friday Salon: Easter edition


An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

Follow that and you should be fine.

35 thoughts on “Friday Salon: Easter edition”

  1. Good morning, gentlefolk. Easter is the important time of the year for all Christians: it is the time for personal humility and quiet reflection and then for communal joy and wonder at all that is good in the world. Regardless of whether you are atheist, deist, agnostic or the follower of whatever religion or belief-system you choose, I do hope that the spirit of Easter brings each of you hope, tranquility and happiness.

  2. I’m working Saturday and Sunday (grass still grows), lunch with my wife’s rellies on Monday. On Friday achieved much in the garden and cleaned up the blog’s category system after the transfer of posts from LP caused incompatibilities. Boring but necessary.

    The biggie last week was our wedding anniversary, and I remembered (I did once only forget in 36 years). Flowers and a quiet special meal at home is good.

  3. I got a bit confused and posted this on the previous Saturday Salon so hope it’s ok to post it here again.

    For anyone who’s interested, my story about getting solar panels for my flat has been put on the Melbourne City Council Smart Blocks website

    I’ve actually got six panels, not three, but apart from that it’s pretty accurate. I wonder if it will encourage others to do the same?

  4. Thanks, Graham and Val.

    Val @ 5, I’m glad your solar panels have worked out so well. Ours haven’t been brilliant. I can’t quote figures, but my main advice would be to be careful about orientation. Ours face slightly north of east, which is not the best.

  5. That’s interesting, though disappointing, Brian. Has your problem just been orientation or is there more to it than that?

  6. Val @ 8, the “more to it than that” is that we paid too much. Too busy with both of us working and we didn’t do enough research, I hate to admit! And, I think, the second time in my life I’ve been taken in by a really good salesman. My wife was too, and that would be a one and only for her!

    @ 9, thanks for the link. I’ll read it later, but it’s 8,500 words or 30 pages if I print it out to read during lunch breaks in my ute!

  7. Oh that’s a shame Brian. Were you an early adopter? I think those risks are heightened when you are an early adopter, but think of the benefits for others. I bought low energy globes for my whole (at that time quite large) house in 1992, and they were junk. But we help to get the industry going by being the suckers who get done over. 🙂 (I suppose)

    I don’t think you need to read the whole paper – probably just the first 10 pages or so is enough.

  8. Val we were fairly early adopters. Just as you now have health insurance brokers I think there should be a niche for people with expertise to advise and design specific solutions to meet individual householder needs.

  9. Brian my local Council, Moreland, and a number of other Councils in Melbourne, are supporting a not for profit enterprise called Positive Charge which plays a role something like this. Google it if you are interested.

  10. Hi. everybody.
    Been off line for a while. My old xp computer froze. No support. Had to chuck it out So I have a new you beaut Windows 8 PC.
    Brian don’t know if the e-mail address is still my e-mail address. Will check with Telstra guy who is coming around the next couple of days to initiate me into the mysteries of Windows 8. After that will let you know or enter new e-mail; address if I have one.
    Have already worked out I can see a picture of myself on one app.

  11. Hi Paul!

    I guess congratulations are in order. Anyway glad you survived the tech trauma and emerged with a bright new thingie!

    The email address is the same and I think should remain that way.

  12. Brian,
    please note my new e-mail address. Nuisance, really, I have to go changing it everywhere. The Glories of Windows 8. I think I’ve already wiped out one app. Still, I have AVG up.

  13. Yes, Paul, email has changed. I’ll note it. Because of that the moderation software thought you were a first-timer. Comments should come through OK now.

    I think you have to move your gravatar to your new email if you want to continue using it.


  14. Don’t know how to get gravatar. I do have a picture of me now somewhere on this computer. Might use that or link to it once I find it again.
    Haven’t worked how copy and all that stuff works on Outlook. Its different to Outlook Express Waiting for my $190 Telstra tutorial on Windows 8 which cost $90 if you cancel it. But I do need the help. I’ve already accidentally obliterated one short cut. [sighs]. Still its fun finding out about this new toy. Hope I don’t inadvertently wreck it before the Telstra expert arrives.

  15. PB if I said any more I’d probably be leading you astray. Best of luck!

    Val @ 9, I’ve read the paper Implicit Bias, Stereotype Threat and Women in Philosophy. Nothing unexpected there. It was a really excellent exposition of the problems within the field of philosophy, where we might have expected better.

    Towards the end she says that we should all acknowledge that we are likely to be implicitly biased. That doesn’t mean, however, that we are bad.

    In fact she disassociates bias and blame. Bias is bad but it doesn’t help to think of or to call a biassed person bad.

    It’s a distinction I had not thought about.

  16. Worse! from The Conversation:

    In a move certain to raise the ire of users of Microsoft’s Windows operating system the software giant has announced that next month it will cease support for Windows 8.1.

    But that operating system is barely eight months old and already an upgraded version of the Windows 8 system that failed to impress many users since its release in 2012.

    Microsoft has this month already killed off support for the long-lasting Windows XP system, so why is it ending support for Windows 8.1?

    The aim is to force users to install Windows 8.1 Update, thus establishing it as the new service and support baseline for users. The Update is actually a cumulative collection of all that has already been released for the Windows 8 operating system plus some new improvements for desktop users.

    I’m not sure what it all means, except its going to end by 16 May. Hopefully Microsoft is going to provide notice of the need for the update. I gather 8.1 is being progressively updated.
    I would have linked to the whole article but I haven’t worked out how to do that yet.
    And even worse, I’ve had to listen to Joe Hockey and his threats for breakfast.

  17. Paul here’s the link.

    I gather there are three versions, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Upgrade.

    Surely any vendor selling you a computer now would have installed Windows 8.1 Upgrade. Selling Windows 8.1 would seem irresponsible. Presumably the answer would be to upgrade to the Upgrade version. I think that if that cost me more I’d feel aggrieved.

  18. Hi, Brian.
    Thanks for the link. Much appreciated.
    Supposedly have technician coming round today.
    only have 8.1 not the update. Updated version has special logo on opening page.

  19. “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning
    We will remember them.”

  20. Seems I’ve sorted out all my problems with Windows. So far as I can work out have a Windows 8, not a Windows 8.1. Or so the Microsoft page tells me. They would be right. wouldn’t they?
    And I’ve worked out how to get rid of the sudden besieging of unwanted apps and have managed to uninstall them.
    Now all I have to do is cancel the Telstra technician, guess.
    That question about Windows 8 is not rhetorical. Would really appreciate information from those in the know.
    btw, don’t know what all the fuss was about. Apart from a scroll bar that occasionally goes about 100 mph it is pretty easy to operate.

  21. Jumpy @23; Caldera? Debian? Red Hat? Ubuntu? Windows 3.3? Commodore? The impulses from an IMB golfball-type word-printing device? Morse Code (enhanced)? Heliograph? Martello towers? ANYTHING except Microsoft’s customer-hating waste of time and money.

    Jumpy@25: Too right. Today is, with Christmas and Boxing Day, an Australian family day. The bludgers who start and who profit from war can butt right out of OUR day and leave us to our quiet thankfulness and sorrow and respect..

  22. Graham, you forgot DOS 3.3 with support for high density 31⁄2-inch 1.44 MB floppy disk drives, but otherwise agree with you and jumpy.

    Yeah .. sorry Paul … I do volunteer @ “Broadband for Seniors” program and since the oldies turn up with their brand spankin Win8 machines, I for the first time in my life drew a line into the digital sand… no more new Microsh$t for me! Having said that, recently computing has undergone another step which is akin to moving to windows and mouse in times gone by, with the recent onset of touch screens and portable devices. Microsoft just did not catch on as smoothly as the Apple and Android platforms did. Microsoft does not do ‘cognitive ergonomics’ very well, thus what you need Paul is someone who loves fiddling with Win8 and can set you straight on your new machine. If you do have Skype and now how to use it, particularly the “share screen” function, I maybe able to find someone to help you online. But honestly, I think you need someone local, perhaps checkout if Armidale has Broadband for Senior program and ask if they would not mind to come and visit you on site just to set you up. I do that sometimes here in Old Tobacco Town, in circumstances like yours.

  23. Thanks heaps for that link, Ootz: didn’t know how it worked, just enjoyed using it (2-finger-typist). Indeed it was DOS 3.3 I was thinking about, not Windows 3.3; my error. Now, back to my cuneiform stylus before the wet clay dries out too much..

  24. Ootz,
    Thanks for that advice. Tablelands Community Support Options, who basically manage all my care needs and who got me an ultra-cheap Windows XP when my Windows 92 went belly up have offered to send a tech person round for a couple of hours to take me through the mysteries. (Though I’ve worked almost all of it out now, I think, except how to e-mail links. Mastered the new People address book. Gawd!)
    GB, know hat you mean about money-gouging etc, etc. Will have to pay to get 2010 or 2012 Office (can’t remember which) installed.
    US, the home of Capitalism. Burn them! Burn them, I say! (I think I’ve had this rave before on LP).

  25. Ootz, good to see you back around the blog. How did you survive the cyclone? I’d been worrying.

  26. Sorry Brian, for not reporting back re cyclone, I forgot that I commented on it here. It was a non event here in Old Tobacco Town. A welcomed 150mm of rain in three days of nice and steady fall, a few leaves and a small branch down. You would not have know there was a cyclone of that magnitude in the region if it were not for the warnings. However, just 30 km away in Mango (that is Kuranda in Thea Astley fiction speak) it was a different story. From memory three houses had major damage from big trees falling on it. Up around Cooktown and Hopevale, where Ita made landfall, they coped most of the damage. There is also extensive damage to agricultural crops and assets, probably more in money terms, than in urban dwellings and infrastructure, as this area has experienced a expansion of crops which are usually grown further south along the coast such as bananas.

    Even though Ita was a ct 5 system it was not as wide as for example Yasi was, so the area that got affected was much smaller. But you never know, so we always prepare for the worst case scenario, which is always alot of work, particularly with such high cat systems. Because every thing loose has to be tied down, secured or packed away and critical parts of the house protected. As it is houses built after 1985 are no worries, as they are structurally designed for such occasions, as research on building damage after Yasi has shown. The real worries are missiles, vegetation or building material etc. and they mini tornados which can form at the edge of the swirling arms. Further, traveling speed and route of these system as well as topography can influence the extent and type of damage. Ita as such was interesting, as no one could really remeber a cyclone of that strength moving parallel between the Escarpment and the Great Dividing Range. This was also somewhat reflected in the constant changes of strength and route predicted of Ita after landfall, as the models were struggling with the topographical complexity and the competing steering forces. Also, interestingly Ita underwent an eye wall replacement just before landfall, which reduced it’s intensity to a cat 4, and once over land it had a reduced capacity to intensify again.

    I was totally stuffed after it, just because of the preparations and even now I am still unpacking stuff again. What makes it worse is that this time of the year my health is usually not in great shape anyway, so I still have to take it easy. However, since the last 6 month I participate in a program called Helpx, which is akin to Wwoofing, except you don’t have to be organic and a farm and it is very well organised online. So I was glad to have had two young helpers at hand with Ita. Ting, from Taiwan and a country boy, was extremely handy while Man, a ‘big smoke’ girl from Hongkong, at least was familiar with what to expect. When I told them it was a cat 5 system they both got big eyes. Anyway, at the moment we have a Danish couple in their early twenties and they both keep me busy in keeping them busy, hence I am usually too busy or to stuffed to comment on here.

  27. Thanks for all that, Ootz. All good!

    A lot of cyclones slide away towards NZ rather than make landfall. Ita seemed to head for NZ as soon as it came across the coast.

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