Category Archives: Writings

Unique Leaf

Turns out that my Nissan Leaf is different to most. There is an additional molded plastic part located at the bottom of the car body in front of the front wheel, as seen here:


Good Housekeeping Tips

Time To Clean House?

I clean my house according to some simple principles
that are easy to remember:

1. If you have just stepped on something and danced around in pain until you slip, it’s probably time to pick up the broom.

2. If you find your scissors by feeling around your dining room table until you feel something hard of the correct shape, it’s time to clear off a few things.

3. If you need a gas mask to open your fridge, you might think about throwing away some of those leftovers.

4. If you drop your comb in the bathroom and you pick it up with more hair than is currently attached to your head, it’s time to sweep.

5. If the neighbors are circulating a petition about the state of your yard, you might consider cutting the grass -but only if you’ve failed to buy them off pie.

6. If your feet stick walking across the kitchen floor, it’s time to mop.

7. If you haven’t seen the floor of your car for a week because of the litter on the floor and ‘wash me’ is written in the dust on the outside of the car, it’s time to take the hint.

EV vs Auto

EV vs Auto

Interesting experience over the weekend test driving two possible upgrades to my 2009 Toyota Yaris.

The first is the 2012 Nissan Leaf.

Nissan Leaf

The second is a 2016 Toyota Yaris Automatic.

2016 Toyota Yaris

A bit of background. I have only owned and operated manual transmission cars. Starting with a Hillman Hunter, then a Toyota Starlet (cira 1980), another Starlet then my current Yaris.

2009 Yaris

Driving the Leaf is a bit like putting a manual in first gear, putting your foot down and feeling a steady surge in power up to road speed without the noise of a high revving car. It’s very smooth and steady.

The experience of the automatic transmission was very different. When accelerating from start, there is a little shudder as the automatic transmission engages and the car moves forward. Then, at around 10-15km per hour there is a discernible surge as the next gear is engaged. This continues a few times up to 50kmph.

As a long-time manual driver I found this disconcerting as I have always been in charge of the engine power transmission through the accelerator and clutch.

Or maybe it was my recent experience with the Leaf (and previously with a BWM i3) for comparison that I was disappointed.

I can only assume that long time automatic transmission drivers adapt to this. I just found it annoying.

The leaf is heavier (1,535kg) than the Yaris (1,035kg) and this does show in that the Yaris just feels lighter and more maneuverable. Also, with its more enclosed dashboard/seating area the Leaf feels a bit more up-market.

The Leaf is also half a metre longer (4.48m vs 3.945m), so while both cars are hatchbacks the Leaf is bigger and feels more like a family car.

Another surprising discovery was that I have become used to the 2009 Yaris dashboard with its digital display and numerical speedometer.

The new 2016 Yaris has reverted to an analog clock style and I was finding it took maybe half a second longer to read the speed.

The Leaf has a dashboard with the speed shown in a high position above the steering wheel. Much Better.


So from my experience (so far) an electric car is just as good (or better than) a manual transmission. I’m sure my next car will be electric.

Not sure if I will go with a Leaf, or wait until some of the smaller EV’s make their way into the New Zealand second hand market.


Wish List

Pininfarina Battista

5 March 2019: Car Maker Automobili Pininfarina claims its Battista does 0-62mph in less than two seconds, 186mph in less than 12 seconds, has a top speed of more than 250mph, and does 280 miles on one charge (only £2,000,000).



The Dean’s Word Processor
(By Graduate School Dean Jerrold Zar)

I have a spelling checker,
It came with my PC.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot see.

Eye ran this poem threw it.
Your sure real glad two no.
Its very polished in its weigh,
My checker tolled me sew.

A checker is a blessing.
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right awl stiles two reed,
And aides me when aye rime.

Each frays come posed up on my screen
Eye trussed too bee a joule.
The checker pours o’er every word
To cheque sum spelling rule.

Bee fore a veiling checkers
Hour spelling mite decline,
And if we’re laks oar have a laps,
We wood bee maid too wine.

Butt now bee cause my spelling
Is checked with such grate flare,
There are know faults with in my cite,
Of nun eye am a wear.

Now spelling does not phase me,
I does knot bring a tier.
My pay purrs awl due glad den
With wrapped words fare as hear.

To rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should be proud,
And wee mussed dew the best wee can,
Sew flaws are knot aloud.

Sow ewe can sea why aye dew prays
Such soft wear four pea seas,
And why eye brake in two averse
Buy righting want too please.

Sourse: Unknown



From the Archives (1997-01-20)


What Things Really Mean

“I’m going fishing.”
Really means… “I’m going to drink myself dangerously stupid, and
stand by a stream with a stick in my hand, while the fish swim by in
complete safety.”

“Let’s take your car.”
Really means…. “Mine is full of beer cans, burger wrappers and
completely out of gas.”

“Woman driver.”
Really means…. “Someone who doesn’t speed, tailgate, swear, make
obscene gestures and has a better driving record than me.”

“I don’t care what color you paint the kitchen.”
Really means…. “As long as it’s not blue, green, pink, red, yellow,
lavender, gray, mauve, black, turquoise or any other color besides white.”

“It’s a guy thing.”
Really means…. “There is no rational thought pattern connected with
it, and you have no chance at all of making it logical.”

“Can I help with dinner?”
Really means…. “Why isn’t it already on the table?”

“Uh huh,” “Sure, honey,” or “Yes, dear.”
Really mean…. Absolutely nothing. It’s a conditioned response like
Pavlov’s dog drooling.

“Good idea.”
Really means…. “It’ll never work. And I’ll spend the rest of the
day gloating.”

“Have you lost weight?”
Really means…. “I’ve just spent our last $30 on a cordless drill.”

“My wife doesn’t understand me.”
Really means…. “She’s heard all my stories before, and is tired of

“It would take too long to explain.”
Really means…. “I have no idea how it works.”

“I’m getting more exercise lately.”
Really means…. “The batteries in the remote are dead.”

“I got a lot done.”
Really means…. “I found ‘Waldo’ in almost every picture.”

“We’re going to be late.”
Really means…. “Now I have a legitimate excuse to drive like a

“Hey, I’ve read all the classics.”
Really means…. “I’ve been subscribing to Playboy since 1972.”

“You cook just like my mother used to.”
Really means…. “She used the smoke detector as a meal timer, too.”

“I was listening to you. It’s just that I have things on my mind.”
Really means…. “I was wondering if that red-head over there is
wearing a bra.”

“Take a break, honey, you’re working too hard.”
Really means…. “I can’t hear the game over the vacuum cleaner.”

“That’s interesting, dear.”
Really means…. “Are you still talking?”

“Honey, we don’t need material things to prove our love.”
Really means…. “I forgot our anniversary again.”

“You expect too much of me.”
Really means…. “You want me to stay awake.”

“It’s a really good movie.”
Really means…. “It’s got guns, knives, fast cars, and Heather

“That’s women’s work.”
Really means…. “It’s difficult, dirty, and thankless.”

“Go ask your mother.”
Really means…. “I am incapable of making a decision.”

“You know how bad my memory is.”
Really means…. “I remember the theme song to F Troop, the address of
the first girl I ever kissed, and the Vehicle Identification Numbers of
every car I’ve ever owned, but I forgot your birthday.”

“I was just thinking about you, and got you these roses.”
Really means…. “The girl selling them on the corner was a real

“Football is a man’s game.”
Really means…. “Women are generally too smart to play it.”

“Oh, don’t fuss. I just cut myself, it’s no big deal.”
Really means…. “I have actually severed a limb, but will bleed to
death before I admit I’m hurt.”

“I do help around the house.”
Really means…. “I once put a dirty towel in the laundry basket.”

“Hey, I’ve got my reasons for what I’m doing.”
Really means…. “And I sure hope I think of some pretty soon.”

“I can’t find it.”
Really means…. “It didn’t fall into my outstretched hands, so I’m
completely clueless.”

“What did I do this time?”
Really means…. “What did you catch me at?”

“What do you mean, you need new clothes?”
Really means…. “You just bought new clothes 3 years ago.”

“She’s one of those rabid feminists.”
Really means…. “She refused to make my coffee.”

“But I hate to go shopping.”
Really means…. “Because I always wind up outside the dressing room
holding your purse.”

“No, I left plenty of gas in the car.”
Really means…. “You may actually get it to start.”

“I’m going to stop off for a quick one with the guys.”
Really means…. “I am planning on drinking myself into a vegetative
stupor with my chest pounding, mouth breathing, pre-evolutionary

“I heard you.”
Really means…. “I haven’t the foggiest clue what you just said, and
am hoping desperately that I can fake it well enough so that you don’t
spend the next 3 days yelling at me.”

“You know I could never love anyone else.”
Really means…. “I am used to the way you yell at me, and realize it
could be worse.”

“You look terrific.”
Really means…. “Oh, God, please don’t try on one more outfit. I’m

“I brought you a present.”
Really means…. “It was free ice scraper night at the ball game.”

“I missed you.”
Really means…. “I can’t find my sock drawer, the kids are hungry and
we are out of toilet paper.”

“I’m not lost. I know exactly where we are.”
Really means…. “No one will ever see us alive again.”

“We share the housework.”
Really means…. “I make the messes, she cleans them up.”

“This relationship is getting too serious.”
Really means…. “I like you more than my truck.”

“I recycle.”
Really means…. “We could pay the rent with the money from my

“Of course I like it, honey, you look beautiful.”
Really means…. “Oh, man, what have you done to yourself?”

“It sure snowed last night.”
Really means…. “I suppose you’re going to nag me about shoveling the
walk now.”

“It’s good beer.”
Really means…. “It was on sale.”

“I don’t need to read the instructions.”
Really means…. “I am perfectly capable of screwing it up without
printed help.”

“I’ll fix the garbage disposal later.”
Really means…. “If I wait long enough you’ll get frustrated and buy
a new one.”

“I’ll take you to a fancy restaurant.”
Really means…. “Someplace that doesn’t have a drive-thru window.”

“I broke up with her.”
Really means…. “She dumped me.”

“Will you marry me?”
Really means…. “Both my roommates have moved out, I can’t find the
washer, and there is no more peanut butter.”

Throw Away English

(written 22/11/1998)
Have you seen “Pop-up Video” on Saturday nights, TV4 at 7pm ?
They play a range of music videos from the 80’s to the present crop. Each video has been “enhanced” by little pop-up messages that display messages about the musician (?), how the video was made and any other useless information deemed necessary. Perfect for the video/computer generation. Pure Rubbish… but is it ?

It’s important in this age of low IQ TV and coke consumerism to distinguish between the current forms of low brow entertainment :

Trash is something of low quality, but with that “let me see” quality. Like “white trash” (low income Caucasians ?), its obvious that this form of entertainment is not aimed at the great minds of our time. But it does have a certain quality about it; we want to look just to see how stupid the gnomes at TV think we are. This probably explains the apparant popularity of the “reality based” shows.

Entertainment This Week
When Animals/People/Trucks etc attack
Shortland St

Rubbish is something that has been thrown out. Its the product of something else and is of absolutely NO value to anyone. The only thing you can do with rubbish is bury it or render it
down to molecular level for use as something else. In TV, it is usually someone else’s idea re-used the fifth time for the New Zealand market. Or it can be just the stuff that other broadcasting organisations throw out.

Examples :
Talk Soup
(If you have seen “Frontline”, you will know that this type of program uses stories that have previously been published in the newspapers – or they make them up to satisfy the advertisers.)
Who Dares Wins
All Game Shows
60 Minutes & 20/20
(These have been thrown out by ABC, CNN etc but TVNZ scrapes them out of the bin and broadcasts them)

Junk is something else. As George Carlin said : “What’s my stuff is your junk”. So junk is something that may be of use to you, but not to me. For instance, the religious programs broadcast at 7am Sunday mornings are probably watched by some of the 20 million sheep who think they are people, but not by me. Conversely, there is some poor programmer in TV2 who thinks that Babylon 5 is junk, why else would they broadcast it at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon. It may be junk to them, but to the better educated, it is a great story.

Some other examples :
Infocomercials/Home Shopping
All Sports Programs
Medical Dramas
American Sit-coms

So in conclusion, “Pop-up Video” is trash, not rubbish. And we will have to be careful in the future defining our low brow entertainment… after all… there is a lot more of it out there.


Genre Delem-nia


After several years of music on a server, it is necessary to create genres and create playlists after some variations, I eventually settled on the following:


Genre Description
1 Ambient Textured/low dynamics
2 BerlinSchool Electronic Orchestral
3 Chamber Small # Instruments, Mainly Acoustic
4 Space Tranquil, Hypnotic
5 Chill Upbeat, light electronic
6 Synthwave Heavy electronic with reverb
7 Trip-Hop Dynamic electronic
8 Psybient Psychedelic + Electronic
9 Downbeat Relaxed Chill
10 Prog Rock Polyrhythmic Rock
11 Rock Blues based
12 Space Rock Long Form Prog Rock Jams
13 Disco Bass heavy dance
14 Post Rock Textured Guitars
15 Jazz Soloing /Lead Instruments
16 Vocal Focus on vocals
17 Orchestral Sympnonies, Concertos
18 Metal Heavily Distorted Guitars
19 Symphonic Metal Metal + Choir, Soprana


Then when I seriously started storing mp3’s on my smartphone, it became apparent that 19 types were too many. This was reduced to just six……..


1 Ambient Soft & Relaxing with low dynamics
2 Electronic Keyboard/Computer created (not in an other category)
3 Rock Bass/Drums/Guitar based
4 Vocal Focus on vocals
5 Orchestral Symphonies, Concertos
6 Metal Heavily Distorted Guitars




BC No Go

Following purchasse of a Chromecast Audio, I am trying to make all my collected music available from my smartphone either via streaming or a saved file. This will mean I can listen from work on headphones or at home on speakers.

Music over the years has been purchased on LP, CD and digital download. This has included a number of online shops, including CDBaby, iTunes, 7Digital and Google Play. All these files have been kept in archives on CD, DVD and hard drives.

The most extensive recent purchasing has been from bandcamp. It is clear that there will not be enough space on my 128gig SD card to hold this music. After extensive testing and looking for approprate software I have not been able to get Bandcamp music to stream successfully to Chromecast Audio.

There was an Android app that would stream a URL. This works OK, but there was no way to get the next track to play. Fortunately there are a lot of artists also on Spotify. I can you through all these artists and get Spotify links.

There are requests for Bandcamp to include this feature, but until they do streaming has to be restricted to Spotify.

Due to these limits, the final music model will be:

1. For any music previously purchased and available on Spotify, provide a link on my page.

2. Everything else gets saved on the smartphone SD card.

3. Apply the De-Clutter Ex Test to all MP3s.

The remaining problem is successfully synchronizing music on my PM under jRiver to the smartphone. I tried lots of methods. jRiver can sync, but it is slow and not always successful.

I tried Wi-Fi methods, none that good and the one I did get to work was just too slow and put files on the wrong place. Most of these work OK synching to the main memory but have problems connecting to the SD card. I managed to get Total Commander to link to the SD card, but it’s sync feature would not work with the SD card.

Most of the problems relate to the MTP drive used in modern Smartphones. My older Samsung S3 would open as the next available drive letter. This made syncing easy, this new method has disadvantages.

Eventually I found a solution in FreeFileSync.





CD Death

Death of the CD

After using Chromecast, I decided to eliminate all the CD’s on my PC that were available from Spotify. When this was done, the MP3 copies of the CDs dropped by 90%. Remarkable.

What I found during this process was that there were a lot of albums (mainly from well known artists) that have been re-issued. Some have been remastered, some have additional tracks and sometimes new cover artwork. It’s also a good way to discover new albums by old bands.

It looks like the CD is dissapearing in favour of online digital distribution, as this graph shows.

Other articles on the same subject:

Rolling Stone


Tech Insider





Chrome Audio

Chromecast Audio
Chromecast Audio has been out for a few years. I decided to try using it at home to stream music from my PC to speakers in the bedroom (and possibly the lounge). Currently these are wired connections and jRiver is the server that streams the music.

The Chromecast device was installed and setup easily. It’s immediately apparent that Spotify can stream music. So can Google Play Music.

Running Spotify from the PC works, but the immediate problem is that when streaming, output to the PC speaker stops. Not a problem at night when just the bedroom speakers are needed, but when at home and moving around it is annoying.

Google Play Music works OK, but the immediate problem is that it will only play music purchased on the app. You can upload 10,000 songs and play them everywhere. I tried three albums and that took a good 10 minutes, so that’s not going to happen.

Running Spotify from the Smartphone in bed is the best improvement. I get access to all the catalog. The only problem is that the app doesn’t have a timer, so it can’t be set to shut-down the music after an hour. And I can’t get the music on the hard-drive to play. Another problem is that if you have saved an album to your device, this cannot be sent to Chromecast. Playing music by the album will fix this problem as the music stops when the album ends.

The best discovery is that my favorite Android music player PlayerPro works with Chromecast. Providing the album is on the device, it can be streamed to the speakers. Even better, the app has a timer. If I put the albums not available on Spotify on my 128gig, I would have access to my entire music collection from my Smartphone…. (see next post).