Getting my handyman on

Alright, I’ll confess, me and handyman are two words that are just never used in the same sentence. In fact, I’d go so far as to say were I to mention I’d fixed something in conversation people might look at me strangely and say “you?”

My first such attempt was in 2013 when my toilet cistern had started to overflow and leak on to the bathroom floor, it was most annoying. At the time I was rather ill, my diabetes decided to take a turn for the worse just a week beforehand and I was still very much recovering. Despite this I decided to replace the cistern myself, a friend had said it was an easy job to do, swap-out swap-in job; how wrong she ended up being. The difference in mounts between the old cistern and the new meant I was going to have to drill a new screw location, and through tiles no less.

I had not touched a drill at this time for almost 30 years, and certainly never through tiles. Thankfully I watched a LOT of lifestyle programs, thus I was aware I needed to use masking tape to roughen the surface – it worked a treat. Even though it took me four hours to achieve swapping of the cisterns, mostly due to my having to rest long periods, I was chuffed with myself for having achieve it.

Just last week my bathroom basin taps decided to drip, the speed increasing day-by-day to the point I had to get on with doing something about it. My flatmate had done her own basin taps, several times but with negligible success. Before progressing with my second handyman effort I hit YouTube to check how it was done, watching a few videos. Despite the videos, the actual process ended up being slightly different for me.

Removal of the taps was of course standard as per video, however unlike the YouTube videos the damned washer stayed inside the cavity. Try as I may, nothing I had in the house could extract that damned washer/valve from its hold; I was forced to return to Bunnings and purchase pliers. Pliers in-hand I FINALLY managed to extract the valve from its hold, it was little wonder the cold water tap was causing a leak, the washer was near gone. Repeated the process on the hot water tap and reinstalled all tap wear before heading outside and restoring water to the house, nervously.

SUCCESS! OMG! I was absolutely stoked! No drips and taps now turned off far more easily than they had done previously. Handyman effort #2 was a success. I don’t think you’ll be paying me for this anytime soon, but at least I’ve got a 100% success rate so far haha 🙂

First day back

After weeks off since my brother was lost, plus annual leave for Easter/ANZAC Day too, today was my first day back in the office. It was with some apprehension I padded into the office and walked in, just two of the three usual early birds, phew. As expected they offered condolences and asked how I was, initially I was okay, however as I turned for my desk it did start to hit me; deep breaths. 

I typically buy bananas to eat during the week, as I had the week my brother took his life, these were still in my cabinet three weeks later, along with little bugs and a stench I’d rather not have met; I had also left my lunch in the fridge and needed to dispose of that too, thankfully no bugs though. 

My fruit bowl and lunchbox now clean I could finally sit down to enjoy the cappuccino I’d purchased at Aroma; another breath. My supervisor arrived. He’d called me the day I’d had to go to the morgue with my mother and identify my brother, I was slightly a mess as you might expect. He asked me into a small meeting room to have a chat about things, but also to advise of an office global email that’d gone out outlining what’d happened and that I would be away for a prolonged period. Naturally he, and our manager, were concerned as to my reaction at people knowing what had occurred, the email wasn’t meant to include that; I was fine with that as conversely it actually saved me from having to tell people if they asked why I was away. 

My friend Vicki kindly took me to lunch and for a chat, it was nice to get out just for half an hour and talk. It has been funny, I thought coming into this week I was in a different head space, however it shows me it’s going to take a while to deal with Haydn’s loss, thankfully I have a lot of kind and supportive people around. 

Paris terrorism, again


I cast my mind back to September 11, 2001 today with the events in Paris. On that day I was meeting up with my brother and his wife in King’s Park, Perth, they’d just flown in 2 days earlier from Europe and we were having a family get together. Earlier that morning of course terrorists had crashed planes into the twin towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania.

Rather than just being a usual family get together we’d expected you could see, naturally, the concern written across their faces; how would this affect their return to Europe in just over a week’s time. All around the world I guess everyone was in a state of shock, our world had changed for the worse. They did return home to Europe without a hitch, though interim directions from airlines and countries placed some limitations and requirements with travel.

Most might look upon those events and avoid or reschedule their travel plans, however I felt I could just as easily be hit by a bus crossing the road as be hijacked or be shot when travelling. Several days after I decided to book my first trip to Europe, to do tours of the continent and Britain with Trafalgar. I wanted to do first-class tours, and was initially booked on these tours, however due to events the first-class tour of Europe was cancelled and I ended up on the budget tour – this ended up being a wonderful turn of events as I made some wonderful friends on this tour.

Ever since the events of September 11th we’ve seen many terrorist-related attacks on western cities, for what reason I will never understand, it only serves to further alienate. Funny enough I am again to travel to Europe (France) in the coming months, again to travel with Trafalgar, though this time on a budget tour. The terrorist attacks in Paris today do have me wonder whether they will impact on my tour, the date for which I’ve already been forced to swap to an earlier guaranteed date.

I do wish these terrorists, irrespective of their faith or beliefs, might choose just to shoot themselves rather than inflict their hatred upon others, they are such a waste of space.

iOS 11: Hopes

I’ve been a long term user of iPhone, having jumped onboard with its release here in Australia with iPhone 3G. Currently using an iPhone 6S Plus it is amazing to compare that old phone to my own when I come across it occasionally.

Over the time I’ve owned iPhones of course it’s operating system has changed and improved greatly, and even been renamed. However, despite the improvements there are always niggling items we’d like to see improved. For me my wish list for iOS 11 would be:

Podcast app: The Podcast app is generally okay, however Cupertino we have a playback problem, it just randomly stops playing. Initially I thought this related to Bluetooth playback interference from nearby users, however it only ever seemed to happen with this app and a search online revealed others too experienced the same issue. Thankfully they suggested use of an alternate app, Overcast. I’ve just downloaded and will trial before I delete my podcast subscriptions from the Podcast app.

App updates: A move to patching instead of full downloads is long overdue here. When we see Facebook issuing updates every two weeks that now weigh in at 244MB it gets beyond a joke. The other day I had Facebook, Microsoft (Excel, Word and Outlook), Google Sheets, and a few others on the list for update, total download size in excess of 1GB. I’ve regularly updated a Microsoft app only to have them two days later issue an ‘oops, bug fix’ .1 release and another 250-300MB download, I’ve got better things to do than download 10-20 sizeable app updates.

Siri: Let’s face it, Siri is really not that useful, more a casual tech fling with a bit of sass. All other virtual assistants seem well ahead of her now, though I do hear language support is her one remaining win. It would be nice if Siri’s capabilities were greatly expanded, if she could interact with other applications and perform tasks within. It would also be nice if ex-USA support for Siri was greatly expanded, it’s far to USA-centric at present, a large number of features work within that country but step outside that country and support drops off.

Cut/Paste/Insert: I find I go to paste/insert something into an email I’m writing and it’s an almighty effort, wish was easier. Perhaps the addition of a keyboard button might assist here with addition of 3D touch to reveal desired functionality?

Photos: There doesn’t appear to be a means of specifying a face from which Photos app can then learn other photos within your library, it’s so frustrating. I tried doing on my Mac but it didn’t flow through for some reason. I feed discouraged from any continued use of the Photos app on the Mac now, I only opened this app on the Mac in hopes of specifying a face and hoping it might sync via iCloud to my phone and iPad, but this never eventuated.

iTunes Sync: When syncing with iTunes I get annoyed that iTunes will restore apps that i have previously deleted from my iPhone. Why does Apple restore apps to my iPhone when I have removed them? If I chose to delete them surely I don’t want these any longer, right?

I do wonder what Apple is going to announce at the WWDC in June, will be interesting to see if maybe they’ll finally address some things, finally. I did read the other day the iTunes Podcasts app is being renamed Apple Podcasts, so looks like it will finally get some love, exactly what who knows.

Facebook, I’m curious

The past week I have noticed a blank notification within my Facebook app on iOS, I have no idea who this is; maybe it is a Facebook coding glitch?

Facebook iOS app notification shows blank person notification
The notification just shows the standard blank person icon and a time, nothing else. With the other notification included in the image you see (blacked out) a name, what they were doing, on what, and how long ago. 

I’m curious, why is it happening suddenly? Glitch in the matrix? Anyone else seeing this?

Lost my bro

I woke yesterday morning as I always do, turned over the iPhone and noticed my Aunt Janice had tried to call me, twice. Strange, I rarely hear from her. 

Picked up my laptop and as am starting to surf the Internet mum sends through an iMessage text to contact her; at 6 am that’s strange, something must be up, so I respond. “Call me, it’s urgent!”

It was in the next minute I learned my little brother had decided it was all too much and had taken his own life. It was all a little to surreal, I hoped I had heard wrongly, but no, I had not. I later talked to Aunt Janice and learned he’d ended his life with a gun; I have no idea where he got it, access to these being controlled here. 

It makes me sad to know we won’t see him again, he was just 32 years old. Depression is such an unforgiving beast, all consuming and overwhelming at times. 

Sadly my other brother whom he lives with doesn’t know this has occurred, he took a new job on a remote farm with no mobile reception and only returns on the weekends. It is going to hit him so hard once he finally gets the texts, discovering his brother, mate and housemate is now lost. 

RIP Haydn (Dinno)

ADSL line fault

Almost five weeks ago now we started experiencing problems with our Internet connection. At first I though the ISP might have had some problems, or perhaps there was problems in the state with the connection, it’s happened before.

After two days and no notices on news websites or the ISP I gave up and lodged a complaint with our ISP via email, they took a speedy five days to respond; I was not a happy camper. I ended up phoning their support line and, after a 2.5 hours wait, managed to talk to someone, I only just managed to keep my cool about me as I was livid at the waiting time.

Since then we have had the iiNet conduct an initial check remotely, which they rejected our concerns having a problem – I blew up at them at this point, and they kindly reconsidered (yes, sarcasm!). Over we week later we finally had someone come out and test our line, asserting that our line was only achieving 1.1Mbit; prior to this it was 6Mbit but the 1.1Mbit figure I actually dispute as it doesn’t take into account error rates. Finally, as a result of the technician’s visit we were getting somewhere.

A subsequent visit yesterday by the same technician to complete a Time Domain Reflectometer test used to determine whether there were actually faults along our line. He mentioned to my friend that there were possibly three to four faults along our line, though I see the report specified only one fault in our case just 685m from the house. So, next week another technician, from Telstra, will come out to hopefully resolve the issue. Oh god I hope so, I really do hope so, I have never longed for 6Mbit so much.

I have noticed an additional note within our case that, should the attempt to resolve next Tuesday fail and speed remains unchanged, we will be told it is local conditions. I fail to understand how that is given we had 6Mbit previously. I will complain, of course, and advise them that if we don’t get a satisfactory response a complaint will be raised with the Telecoms Industry Ombudsman. This has implications not only for our day-to-day use, but also in the future should we decide to sell the house, not to mention the migration to NBN for us next year.