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Mac Dude

Member Since 10 Sep 2008
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 09:39 PM

Topics I've Started

Opinions are like arseholes,

25 June 2017 - 01:03 PM

everyone has one.

Now that I have that out of the way, I'd like to put forward this -

No, youre not entitled to your opinion.
This is a link I have refereed to previously as a part of another thread, but I think it deserves separate discussion.
From the article :
If Everyones entitled to their opinion just means no-one has the right to stop people thinking and saying whatever they want, then the statement is true, but fairly trivial. No one can stop you saying that vaccines cause autism, no matter how many times that claim has been disproved.
But if entitled to an opinion means entitled to have your views treated as serious candidates for the truth then its pretty clearly false. And this too is a distinction that tends to get blurred.

One point of view I've heard discussed often of late is that the opinion of experts is being ignored in favour of the opinion of people who agree with my point of view no matter how unqualified.  As the article points out, groups like the anti-vaxers and climate change deniers thrive on this sort of stuff.  A classic example was Brian Cox vs Malcolm Roberts on Q&A last year.
Another example would be Trump's media folks and their 'alternate facts'.  You can Google your own examples of that, there are heaps :)
While the article was written in 2012, I think the problem has accelerated of late as more and more people use the internet to push their PoV.
We seem to have reached a tipping point where expert opinions are too easily discarded for what's comfortable.  I also think a part of the problem is that boffins are often/sometimes poor at putting forward an argument that we, the masses, can digest.  Throw into the mix the failure of media organisations to produce quality unbiased journalism (yes that's just my opinion!), and you get a perfect storm of not knowing what to believe.
We can't trust the media, we can't trust politicians, the boffins can't communicate but the alternate fact pushers can which leaves us in a bit of an information pickle (yes, that was a gross over simplification).
Anyway, make a cup of tea, read the article and let us know what you think.
Oh, and yes, I get the irony, an opinion piece deriding the quality of opinions ;)

Home Automation - Anyone in to this?

05 June 2017 - 08:57 AM

I'm currently looking at replacing some major appliances (heating/cooling) and was wondering if i should look at units that integrate with home automation in some way.

That got me looking into what standards exist and it seems that it's still being fleshed out (zwave v zigbee v insteon etc).

This is more than just Google home vs Alexa. Has anyone looked into this in more depth? Any sites or info for the Aussie market would be greatly appreciated...

The age old question, a PC for the relos...

15 April 2017 - 12:02 AM

I'm sure there are more than a few here who get the request from relos - their old desktop running Vista has died and they need a new PC so they call you.

What to recommend...

I've built high end PCs for various folks for gaming, video editing etc, but not really any entry level boxes. You know the type, web browsing, email, looking at photos from their digital camera and that's about it.

I have been wondering if NUCs are the way to go here. Just chuck in some storage and an OS and off you go.

For example, I currently have a request for such a system and was looking at the following :


RAM (replace 2GB with 8)




All up about $550


The NUC above comes with Win10 Home so you're good to go assuming you have an existing display :)


Anyone else had to recommend a PC for this type of use and budget?  What did you recommend?


EDIT :  Thge NUC has the following specs


CPU - Celeron J3455 (2MB Cache, up to 2.3 GHz, quad core)

RAM - 2MB DDR3L(Max 8MB)

Storage - 32GB embedded with Win10 Home pre-installed, 1x 2.5" SATA

Expansion - M.2 Slot, SDXC slot

I/O - 6 x USB ports (2.0 & 3.0), Toslink, Mic, Audio out, Lan port, Integrated WiFi

Energy companies, sigh.

11 April 2017 - 03:42 PM

Over the past few months a couple of young ladies knocked on our door offering us cheap electricity & gas. Both times I went through our bill with them and in the end they agreed that we were on a pretty good wicket and they couldn't hep us.

Today as I was reading about the change in solar feed-in tariff, I decided to check what we were paying and compare it to what the market was currently offering. In the back of my mind was a recent Choice report which condemned telcos and energy suppliers for lowering rates for new customers but leaving their old customers on higher rates.

I went through an online comparison then rang the mob that supposedly had the best deal. After a check of our current bill, this person said we could save between $100 and $120 per quarter.


So they send me the details and after deciphering the quote, my current bill, peak usage, non-peak usage, daily service charges, discounts, rebates and the position of Venus, my little Excel spreadsheet tells me I can save $12 per quarter.

When I rang them back the sales person said that my quote hadn't been processed and could I call back tomorrow.

I'll be interested in what they have to say.

Overall the rates with my current provider are slightly better but their overall discount is smaller (30% versus 34%).

I think I'll just ring them and tell them to match the discount or I'll switch :)

So far so good...

02 March 2017 - 02:26 PM

For the past 10 years or so my weight has hovered between 81 and 85 kgs which is a bit heavier than I should be or want to be.

My flaky memory seems to indicate that my weight has changed in stages. I was quite skinny up to my early 20s, but I was playing soccer, tennis and cricket and had a metabolism that seemed to be permanently on high.

A career in IT isn't necessarily great for keeping the weight off, and as time went by my waistline went out. Every 5 years or so I'd reach a plateau, stay there for a while then creep up to the next plateau. Eventually something had to give (apart from my pants).  Most of last year I hovered around 85kg, and eventually I realised enough is enough, but what to do?

Over the past 6 months I've watched a few shows by a dude called Michael Mosley who is a doctor and he has produced a few docos for the BBC on health, weight, cholesterol and exercise. He is also the guy who came up with the 2:5 diet.

It basically where you fast for 2 days a week.

Based on various research he developed the theory that the human body is designed for a feast/famine cycle. We are good at storing energy(fat) when food is in abundance so that we can burn it during the lean times between antelope kills. Unfortunately in the western world because food is always available we never enter the famine part of that cycle where we burn that stored energy.

Anyhow, the bottom line is that for 2 days you consume one quarter of your average daily calories. SO on a fasting day a male can consume 600 calories and a female 500, usually in two meals, breakfast and dinner.  In between you can have VERY low calorie drinks like coffee or tea in moderation, but no milk or sugar of course.  We had the 2:5 diet book around the house so I started reading it. As he described why he was doing it all the factors he listed for himself, weight, height, cholesterol, blood sugars, etc., were all identical to me.

So on Jan 14 I jumped in.

I fasted for 2 days a week, using recipes out of his book then making a few of my own. I did not change anything about my lifestyle or eating habits on the 5 non-fasting days.


Because there was very little or no sugar on fasting days I noticed that my sugar consumption during non-fasting days decreased. Then the meal sizes started to decrease.  I found myself 'listening to my body' more. Eating enough to not be hungry, but not enough to be full, allowing time for the food to hit my stomach.

To get me through the fasting days, I drink a LOT of water - I've discovered that sometimes when I think I'm hungry I'm actually thirsty. Aside from water I get stuck into the herbal teas and I usually have a long black coffee for lunch. Strange, but I find coffee quite filling.  I also noticed that when I was busy, I didn't miss the food or feel hungry. I had some fasting days where I'd work from 7am to 3pm (moderate manual labour) then I'd go out and play a round of golf in 35C heat but the lack of food didn't bother me.

Yes, the first few fasting days were REALLY hard, but you get used to it. Also, some of the recipes are really yummy so the rest of the family are happy to eat it.

Anyway, I'm posting this today because I reached a milestone, albeit a minor one :)

Since my kids have been alive (over 24 years I think!), I've never been under 80kgs.

Today I hit 79.6kg.

I know there are a lot of people who have lost a lot more, but for me I'm half way to my goal.

And today not being a fasting day I will drink to that :)

Below is the journey so far. You will notice one point where there is a 'pause' in the downward trend. This was due to a weekend away with two other couples where we ate and drank everything that wasn't nailed down.
The idea of the diet is so I can get away with doing that every now and then :)

Anyway, I'm posting this for any folks who have found themselves in the position where they want to chop off a few kilos but aren't sure how to go about it.

As a side note, the current Scientific American has an article on the relationship between exercise and weight loss. In a nutshell, the research indicates that no matter how active or inactive we are, humans generally burn the same number of calories.  I won't go into how this can be here, but for men the level is 2,600 calories. If you consume more than that a day your body will store it...