Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Solubag - biodegradable material for the creation of non-polluting bags

From a Chilean company .... https://www.solubag.cl/  which says "The material was created in 2014"

So I'm wondering why we haven't heard about Solubag. Well, before chancing upon it today today I hadn't seen a mention of Solubag anywhere.

This makes mw wonder what are the pros and cons of Solubag. (Comments welcome)

YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Solubag

Watch at least this onw:  This Plastic-Free Bag Dissolves In Water Within 5 Minutes

And also watch:  Chinese tech help Chilean company create water soluble plastic bag
which demonstrates that the dissolved bags form a potable solution! See the video segments starting at time 0:26, 1:02 and 2:38.

Image result for martini cartoon

So, anyone for a Solubag martini - shaken, or stirred?

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

A few simple tips for ordering (and fast delivery) via Amazon Prime

I joined Amazon Prime very soon after it was offered in Australia (a couple of years) ago, and find it a compelling service offering.

There are some wonderful TV series and movies on Prime TV, Kindle Unlimited is an excellent source of e-books, and Amazon customer service is pretty good (for example, easy returns of unsatisfactory/faulty goods), all which lead me to remain a happy customer.

When choosing and ordering items, there are a few things to consider, which I've tried to demonstrate via three screenshots, which are for my account on Amazon Prime AU (Australia), but should be applicable to other Amazon country websites.

(1) Amazon Prime membership should offer you fast delivery



(2) Seek out the best purchase/delivery options




(3) Choose items carefully

DO YOUR RESEARCH … Amazon items can usually be found at great prices, but not always the best. Be sure to compare with other online sources, such as eBay.

Exactly the same item from different Amazon AU web pages (that is, different sellers) will usually be priced differently.

Once you've decided on a particular item, be sure to search for the identical item on different Amazon web pages.

Sometimes it's a matter of only a few cents or a few dollars. but occasionally the price difference can be huge, below being one glaring example:



Sunday, October 11, 2020

A view of the White House–2020 and 2021

2020 .. "Trump House"


2021 (hopefully) … "Peoples' House"


See There's one headline about Donald Trump that has not been printed but makes the most sense of all
          (Sydney Morning Herald – 11 October 2020)

"…there is one headline that has not been printed but that makes the most sense of all: "Donald Trump suffers from a dangerous incurable narcissistic disorder which makes him incapable of empathy or reason. He is a grave danger to the US and the world."

"In the space of a single week, Trump has exhibited three of the defining features of narcissistic personality disorder – sociopathy in defence of a “false self”, disordered thinking that renders him incapable of reason, and a constant need for adulation. Every headline on this president has spotlighted one or other aspect of his narcissistically disordered mind."

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Allavsoft video downloader – as easy as A, B, C

Website: https://www.allavsoft.com/

I've written previously about Allavsoft’s excellent Video Downloader and Converter for Windows (and Mac) and would like to repeat my commendation that it's an excellent way to obtain offline copies of a wide range of videos found on the Web.

Today I'd like to emphasize how easy Allavsoft is to use.

STEP A: Once you launch this downloader, you simply go to the Web page for a particular video and copy that page's URL (or copy the link of a video from within that page) to the system's clipboard.

A second or two later the link should appear automatically (or else, just click the "Paste URL" button):


Then click the big blue button (with a white arrow) in the bottom right corner of the window.

STEP B: If multiple videos are found on the Web page, you are given the option to download just the first video or all of the videos on that page:


This is especially convenient for downloading complete seasons of TV episodes.

STEP C: The videos are downloaded, and you can easily monitor the download status of each video:


You can play a video, as shown in screenshot (D), either by right-clicking it and selecting "Play Downloaded File…" or by right-clicking and choosing "Locate Downloaded File…" to go to the download folder on your system and then playing it with some other player such as VLC media player:


It couldn't be easier.

Allavsoft doesn't just download each video as single file, in a long-running single download stream, but does it in a smart and efficient fashion by the parallel downloading of small chunks (segments), followed by a short burst of activity at the end of the download to recombine those chunks into a single video file.

The screenshot on the right of the CPU Usage gadget (in Windows) with all 16 threads on my AMD Ryzen 7 processor close to being maxed out for a couple of seconds while this merging of chunks occurs.

You can use Option > Preference… as shown in screenshot (1) to do things like altering the download directory, and to tinker with things like the number of concurrent downloads, as shown by screenshot (2):


A useful tip is that you can hold down the Ctrl key (or the Mac equivalent) to enable access to some additional/expanded settings. For example, normally you cannot choose more that 7 video files being simultaneously down loaded:


However, the hidden/extended preferences allow you to choose up to 30 concurrent downloads (screenshot 3):


My empirical testing indicates that you would have to have an extremely powerful system to even consider going beyond about 10 concurrent downloads, otherwise your system will surely grind to a halt.

Most users will not need to do any such tinkering.

I started in the IT industry when I joined IBM Australia in 1970, and have decades of experience in dealing with software developers/vendors and the degree to which they support (or fail to support) their customers.

I can assure you that, as a paying customer, I have been quite impressed with the responsiveness and thoroughness of Allavsoft's customer support team. They have always replied quickly to any matters that I have raised, often with a few hours, which is a rare thing in the software industry.

In my case they have fixed issues quickly, usually within a day or two (even the same day, in some cases), so you can be sure that they will look after you. Often this may not be any sort of problem with the Allavsoft program itself, but the websites holding videos sometimes change the way that their videos are presented (say, when a video hosting website undergoes a sweeping design change), and Allavsoft have always been able to decipher the website changes and adjust the downloader to handle the changes.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Ugly non-transparent titles still being used by The Conversation

A year or two ago I contacted The Conversation (Australia) and pointed out that the then recent change in the way that titles of articles  were displayed was a turn for the worse.

My attempt to influence this poor design were unsuccessful, so for the last couple of years titles have been displayed as non-transparent areas with a solid white background superimposed on the image that appears at the top of each article, like this one:


Just like Closed captioning (CC) on free-to-air television the solid background is very ugly, and it hides sections of the underlying image (which can block out major parts of TV broadcasts such as charts and weather maps).

In my opinion, the captions should (perhaps selectively) be presented with transparent backgrounds, like the subtitling used by Netflix and Amazon Prime TV. (You may have to use configuration options to change from solid to transparent background.)

It is bizarre that on the home page of The Conversation titles utilise transparent text, such as:


Obviously they could use transparent title text everywhere, not just on the home page, and I remain puzzled why they don't.

I notice that both the  "Africa" and the "Global Perspectives" editions of The Conversation use the original layout, for example:



This is a weird inconsistency.

I promised myself that when once I became an octogenarian (which happened in early July this year) I would try to stress out and stop being annoyed by such things, and try to live a calmer life.

But it seems that I can't. Every time that I read an article in The Conversation I still have the same reaction. C'est la vie!

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Stringent new rules for COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria (13 September 2020)

All residents of and visitors to Victoria should become familiar with these extended rules.


They will take effect from  11:59 pm on Sunday 13 September 2020.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Resolving the mouse pointer "stickiness" problem for multiple monitors in Windows 10

Just like lots of others using multiple monitors with Winds 10, I have been greatly irritated by the way that the mouse pointer tends to "stick" at the monitor edges when you move it between monitors, unless you are moving the mouse fairly fast (when it transitions from one monitor to another without any issues). Do a search such as this one to see some of the history.

There are solutions involving editing Windows registry settings (or using an app called NSM – Non Sticky Mouse to do the editing for you). I tried these suggestions, to no avail, and the mouse pointer still kept sticking at the edge of the monitor.

I had almost given up when, fortunately, I saw a comment by one person recommending that you go to Display Settings and jiggle the rectangles representing the monitors as close together as possible:


There may still seem to be a gap between monitors, but the action of moving the edges of the rectangles so that they slightly overlap seems to have the desired effect.

A reminder that you may have to log off and sign in again (or restart Windows) before  this remedy takes effect.

As mentioned, this seems to work -- but we all know that Windows can be rather quirky (and Microsoft keeps tinkering with these things, so a fix like this may stop working at some pint in time). Only time will tell.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Dying, alone or not?

A weighty topic ...

I have a feeling that, to some extent, we all will die "alone" -- even in the presence of other(s) -- but my choice certainly would be to have the other(s) present.

I haven't yet been present at a human death, my only direct experience with death being with a lovely dog Clyde, who had been very ill, and finally took one last look into my eyes before suddenly expiring on my lap. Dogs are very expressive creatures, aren't they, and I think he realised that something drastically different was happening to him

I wasn't present for my father's death, which might have been alone in a hospital cancer ward (his earlier smoking caught up with him), and I thank that my mother was alone when she died at a nursing home in Frankston.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -  For those without access to Australian newspapers  - - - - - - - - - -

These conversations are among the hardest I have had as a doctor

         Dr. Julia Corfield (The Age - 26 August 2020) 
                     Become a subscriber to The Age
It's a cold Saturday morning in Melbourne and I am a doctor at work in a palliative care unit. I have just reviewed one of my patients, whose body is beginning to reveal some of the tell-tale signs of dying.
His son stands over him and sadly remarks that “this is a bad time to die”.
With strict visiting restrictions firmly in place across Melbourne, there is a very real chance that his father will die alone and he knows it. This is the new normal.
In a state of disaster, there are a set of rules and visiting restrictions for families and friends of those dying in a hospital setting. These restrictions vary slightly between health services, but the message is the same: as few visitors as possible, for as short a time period as is reasonable.
For months now, hospital staff (myself included) have been chanting the mantra of seemingly arbitrary visiting windows, maximum numbers of visitors per patient and numbers of visitors permitted at the bedside.
In recent times, I have found myself asking questions such as “do all six of your siblings need to visit?” or “could your grandchildren say their goodbyes via FaceTime?”. These conversations are among the hardest I have had as a doctor.
Many find these new rules unacceptable, and with good reason. Few people want to die alone, and even fewer want their loved one to be alone in the final weeks, days and hours of their life.
However, these are not normal times, and a balance must be struck between compassion and safety. Across the world, and now in Victoria, we know that many people with COVID-19 are dying alone; but so are those without COVID-19. Both are tragic realities.
Under normal circumstances, achieving “a good death” is laden with obstacles, let alone in a pandemic. An inherent challenge is that a good death is an individualised experience, reflecting the diversity of the human person.
There are some commonalities across what constitutes a good death, and the company of friends and family features almost universally.
A current patient comes to mind ­ a woman in her 70s dying of lung cancer ­ who tells me almost daily that her breathing is bad but the feeling of loneliness even worse. She would like to see her grandchildren, but no children are allowed in the hospital.
Her brother visits, but the allocated two-hour visiting window is not long enough to fill the void created when faced with one’s own mortality. And so on. Her story is not unique.
Dying in a pandemic has brought with it new and more challenging obstacles, ones that make us question what it means to be human. Death is normal, but dying alone is not. So, frankly, when I hear my patients and their relatives say that it is a bad time to die, I can't help but agree.
Ultimately, how we live and how we die tells us about society as a whole. Today, people die alone to protect society and this at least may be a small source of solace. Their strength and determination to push forward and adapt to this strange new world is a testament to the human spirit.
I hope, though, that those dying in this COVID-19 world know that their sacrifice has not gone unnoticed. Every day, their struggles are seen and felt. Many have had to forgo the so-called good death, and that is the undeniable truth.
Julia Corfield is a doctor working in palliative care in Melbourne.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

As for me, I'd like to die with a pungent, witty observation on my lips!
Something akin to the following classic:
           Stan Cross (in Smith’s Weekly, 1933, Australia).

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

A twisted yet really good way to put on a face mask (a COVID-19 usability tip)

On local Australian TV news a day or two ago, I saw a passing shot of a nurse wearing her face mask differently from everybody else that I've seen so far in all the news reports from around the world about this COVID-19 pandemic.

See the image below, where the blue lines indicate  how the loop is twisted (compared with the usual untwisted method in white).
I tried it out "the twist" today, and it seems less likely for the mask to come loose, and it seems to reduce the problem of the ear loops getting tangled up with the arms of your spectacles.

Try it out yourself. What do you think?




For a pointedly different way to wear face masks,
go here.