Geek, transport

Private operator, private profits

My blog's RSS feed has been having problems. This has also affected some email subscribers. I think I've found the problem, so hopefully both are working again now. Just a quick post: The Age and Herald Sun reported yesterday that Metro Trains Melbourne made an annual profit of $29 million, on $786 million of revenue -- despite still regularly missing punctuality targets. I'm not sure th

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Is Google recording your conversations without you knowing?

You've probably heard about the case of the Amazon Alexa smart speaker that recorded a conversation and sent it to someone. Amazon has been forced to explain how Alexa recorded a private conversation and sent it to an Echo userโ€™s colleague without their knowledge. A Portland woman identified only as Danielle revealed the odd series of events in an interview with local TV station Kiro 7, claimin

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Beware of fake email bills – and how the corporates are letting the side down

There are warnings of fake Telstra bills being sent by email. They look like the real thing. The only clue that they're not is that the View/Pay Bill button goes to a non-Telstra web site. The lesson here is: check where the link goes. If it doesn't go to an address that is clearly on the company's web site (telstra.com), be suspicious. ...Which is why I've been asking South East Water ab

Geek, General

The Last Post (of the year)

One last post of miscellaneous stuff to mark the end of 2017. Grandad My Grandad was born on this day in 1924. He passed away on Boxing Day, just shy of his 93rd birthday. Being one of our UK relatives, we didn't visit him much, but we did manage to see him during our UK trip this year. RIP. Some blog stats Total blog posts for 2017: 120 excluding this one. Total comments for 2017:

Geek

It’s August! I’ve got a new blog template

Eagle-eyed readers would have noticed I've put in a new blog template. The intent was to provide more space for photos and table data. The old template (and most like it, in fact) squash them up even when displayed on a big desktop screen. See any problems? Leave a comment. Also, I'm interested to know what's better: a rotating or random header image, or the same one each time (for easy r

Consumerism, Geek

New phone: Motorola G5 Plus

A reminder that despite how it may sometimes seem, not all my blog posts are about transport. If you want to view only the transport posts, try here. For convenience, this link is also on the menu at the top, under Transport. Over the years I've had many mobile phones. Here's an update to that old list: November 2013: Google Nexus 5 -- I did that Apple-like thing of preordering this befor

Consumerism, Geek

I need a new phone

On Thursday night my phone, a Nexus 5 that I got about three years ago, finally started playing up. It would continually boot, with a buzz, and a proclamation on the screen of "Google"! Then repeat. Bzzt... Google! Over and over. Scouring online, I discovered this is a reasonably rare, but not unique, situation. The power button was jammed down. The next morning, before work, I went l

Geek

Master of my domain… or not

A couple of experiences with online hosting services that I wanted to relate. Don't worry, I'll try not to let this get too geeky. NetRegistry domains For years I had a domain name custard.net.au associated with the company I owned that I used for contracting -- this is a common thing in the IT and contracting worlds. I stopped contracting some years ago and wound-up the company (I couldn

Geek, Net, Toxic Custard newsletter

Blog template

After the mess of the last attempt, and noting the large number of people reading on mobile devices (phones 39%, tablet 10%), I've switched to a plain but hopefully more mobile-friendly blog template. Here is a photo of some people doing geeky things to test the pictures. I'll probably do some tweaking, but any feedback on how it looks (particularly on phones and tablets) is very welcome

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The need for speed part 2: Portable hard drives

For the video editors in our family who need to move big files around, apart from internet upload speeds, I was also researching the fastest connection types for portable hard drives. Theoretical speeds: USB 2: 60 MB/s Firewire 800: 133 MB/s USB 3: 625 MB/s Thunderbolt 2: 1250 MB/s (USB 3.1 will apparently be up to 1250 MB/s when it's eventually out there.) USB hard drive manufacturers