Friday, December 28, 2018

Being kind to people you hate, and dealing with difficult people

It's time to decide on your next New Year's resolution, and I'm suggesting that in 2019 dealing better with difficult people, even somebody you hate, is well worthy of consideration.

Get some ideas about this from the Medium article:
Why You Should Be Kind to People You Hate

Also there's the excellent (free) Bookboon e-book
    Dealing with Difficult People
    (a PDF with
this direct download link).

This is available at the Bookboon website as a short article
    Seven tools for expertly dealing with difficult peopleimage

That's not asking too much of you, I sincerely hope.

Note that I' have no claim whatsoever for being good at doing any of the above!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Amazon Australia’s men’s polo shirt rip-off pricing

This image was just sent to me by a friend, his written comments say all that’s necessary

He calls it the Amazon “Australia Tax.”


(click the mage to view a larger size)

You must be really vigilant about pricing when purchasing from Amazon Australia, so check each item’s price carefully.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Contrary messages about the benefits of versus harm done by antioxidants?

Medical news items can claim one thing while the latest research from a given source can be pointing to a different, and perhaps the opposite, conclusion.

For example the following (May 2018) seems to be saying that antioxidants are good for you:
       How can antioxidants benefit our health?

However you don't get the same impression from this article (November 2018):
      Melanoma - More evidence that antioxidants speed up tumor spread

  • "... after investigating certain antioxidants that bind to mitochondria, the team has produced further evidence that the substances either do not affect tumor growth or speed it up "
  • "... further research into the mechanisms through which antioxidants influence tumor growth and spread is required."
  • "… we know that once you have cancer, even if it has not been diagnosed, antioxidants can contribute to increased tumor growth."
So the jury certainly is out on this

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Blinkers -- for bicycle riders

Show this review to anybody you know who’s a bike rider:
Blinkers are to bicyclists what parachutes are to parachutists - life saving
                        (Gadget Guy Australia - 18 November2018)

Watch the brief video to see the blinkers in action.


I would like to see a gadget with bright flashing light that sits atop a tall fibre glass pole, my idea being that by being higher than the cyclist's head level it may well be more visible to motorists. IMO the blinkers are lower down, and might not be quite so apparent to motorists. Just a thought, I’m not really sure.

Will I ever ride again?

I have been scared stiff of riding since a couple of years ago, when I was deliberately riding slowly and carefully along a quiet nearby street on the way to a nearby off-road track. The late afternoon summer sun was behind me.

As I passed a parked SUV, its driver suddenly pulled out from the kerb and bumped into me, not violently, but knocking me off my bike into the path of oncoming traffic.

Luckily the approaching cars were far enough away to see what had happened to me and stop without hitting me.  I escaped with some grazing on one arm and the legs.


The driver of the SUV probably didn't check before pulling out from the kerb, and AFAIK didn't use her turn indicators to warn approaching traffic that she was starting to move off.  (She later mentioned because of the low position of the late afternoon sun she didn't or couldn't see me coming. So perhaps she did TRY to check after all, who knows?)

Another of my nine lives was used up by this incident.  I haven't been keeping count, so don't know how many more lives remain.

See the source image

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The smartphone generation

Somebody just mailed these to me.

No comment necessary!















Unfortunately I don’t have any attribution for the above.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Australian Cancer Atlas, and an online melanoma risk predictor

"According to Melanoma Institute Australia, one Australian dies from a melanoma every five hours, with an estimated 14,000 diagnosed each year."

It would be a similar per capita rate in most other countries (Australia’s population is 25 million, in round figures.)

After having a melanoma excised from my scalp early in 2013, I’ve become hypervigilant about skin cancer and read extensively about melanoma research and other news. I like passing important info on to others …

I came across the following story which is good news for ladies who enjoy the sun:

So for the first one instead look at the Australian Cancer Atlas
so put in your suburb's name or postcode and find out your exposure.

Also, I recommend that you try the following one online test:

It’s supposedly for people 40 or over, but might be worthwhile for younger folk too.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Abandoning a domain name can lead to major security exposures

This is dynamite bad news, potentially …

Abandoning a domain name can come back to bite you, research shows

Cybercriminals can use an abandoned domain name to obtain all manner of private information belonging to the company that formerly owned the domain, as well as to its clients and employees, a researcher warns.


Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Winaero Tweaker for Windows 10 version 1809 ("October 2018 Update") has been released

If you're a Windows users, and if you like tweaking Windows to suit your preferences (such as appearance or function) or to resolve issues, then Winaero Tweaker may be right up your alley.

For some background on the developers, see About Winaero. I would say that they really know a LOT about Windows in order to be able to develop such in-depth tweaking functions.

This very handy utility has many useful functions, and you may well find some that are good for you. I've been using it to of the title bars of all the windows I have open across multiple screens, so that the currently active window stands out with a blue title bar (instead of guessing which is the active window, or hunting around for it).


Version of Winaero Tweaker for Windows 10 version 1809 (often called "October 2018 Update") has been released (scroll down to "Useful links for you" to find the download link).

This version of Windows 10 is imminent, indeed it recently started rolling out and caused some users to lose files,  lots of them in some cases (see Microsoft halts Windows 10 update after users lose files)  but this latest automatic update of Windows 10 is sure to be heading our way soon.

The Winaero website has a very useful description of the changes at What’s New In Windows 10 October 2018 Update Version 1809

Also, be sure to read and get some tips from Useful features for Winaero Tweaker for Windows 10 version 1809 "October 2018 Update"

One such new feature of version of the tweaker allows the user to prevent Windows 10 from reinstalling built-in apps. In addition to existing functionality, Winaero Tweaker will stop the Windows 10 updater from irritatingly re-installing built-in apps which were previously uninstalled by the user.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Net Promoter Score (2018) for IBM compared with other top brands

This is for the IBMers out there, current employees and past (including old retirees like me) …

To quote:

NPS is a customer loyalty metric that measures customers’ willingness to not only return for another purchase or service but also make a recommendation to their family, friends or colleagues.

It is a powerful and effective technique, which can greatly increase a company’s revenue if used properly.

The main advantages of NPS are close correlation with a company’s growth and easy collection, interpretation and communication of the data.

Is IBM’s NPS of 27 considered to be good?

Yes, it is.

Net Promoter Score is a number from -100 from 100.

Scores higher than 0 are typically considered to be good and scores above 50 are considered to be excellent.

The industry average for Consumer Brands / Electronics is 45.

Mouse across the infographic on the above web page to see how IBM compares with other well-known brands.

Click on the screenshot below to see the article:

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Refilling ALDI coffee capsules, for limited edition or unavailable flavours

A few months ago I purchased a pack of Irish Cream Expressi coffee pods (capsules), which use the K-Fee pod system.

imageThe Irish Cream pods are one of ALDI’s limited editions, which they sell from time to time and there’s no guarantee that they’ll ever be sold again.

Another limited edition that I’m trying right now is Rwanda, and both of these are shown in the adjacent photo number “1” (click image to view enlargement).

Unfortunately my wife has taken a liking to the Irish Cream flavour, and I had to inform her that when the pack of had been used up there would be no more on offer from ALDI – a problem with ALDI for lots of other items too.

Several years ago I had investigated the emptying of the pods and refilling with non-ALDI coffee flavours.

Back then my results were mixed, because all the pods that I tried had to be sealed off at the top somehow, a my experiments using cling wrap to do the sealing weren’t very satisfactory. So I fairly quickly gave up on doing any refilling.

Because of my wife’s Irish Cream impending crisis, I resumed my investigations into refilling the pods, knowing that this flavour is available from other sources.

CafĂ© Palazzo is one such source, and they also offer my favourite flavour French Vanilla shown as number “2” in the photo.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that in 2016 – unlike when I did my experiments several years ago -- most (but perhaps not all) of ALDI’s Expressi pods in 2018 come with a plastic filter that snaps into place at the top of the pod sufficiently well to prevent the ground coffee from coming out of the pod during the brewing process.

In the photo, number “3” shows a pod that has been washed out, and “4” shows a pod being refilled with French Vanilla coffee. The refilling process is a little time-consuming and a bit messy, but it’s something you can live with.

A little Web surfing (include several demos on YouTube) shows that others had alre1ady mastered this technique some years ago, and had come to much the same conclusion.

I certainly don’t claim the be the first to do this, my post is as much railing against ALDI’s attitude to not repeating Limited Edition coffee pods as much as anything else!

Bad German Engineering - Mercedes C180 coolant expansion system weak points [UPDATED]

Why on earth did the Mercedes engineers use weak plastic connectors (marked A and B in the images below) in the C180 Kompressor model W205 engine coolant expansion system?

These two weak points tend to break, and break again - and Mercedes has the temerity to charge and arm and a leg to replace them.

The cost of the field replaceable unit (image 1) is approximately AUD $150 to $160.

It's crazy that the broken connector (marked A in image 2 below) cannot be purchased separately for a few dollars!

I used copper tubing to rebuild connector A …

Image 5 below shows the finished repair:

Just when I thought that I had finished the repair, to my great annoyance the plastic connector on the coolant expansion tank snapped off. It was too weak to withstand the stress of reattaching the rubber connecting tube at point B.

You can assess just how exposed to being broken it is from image 6 below. When this fragile connector (B) breaks off the entire tank becomes useless, and your vehicle is rendered effectively undriveable.

So it looks like I'll have to try using copper tubing to rebuild the pipe on the coolant expansion tank. Otherwise a replacement tank will be needed, at a cost of around AUD $100, and that's inexcusable.

Obviously not all Mercedes Benz engineering design and implementation features reach the exalted heights often associated with the Mercedes name. So-called "German engineering excellence" – Phooey!

Examine just about any product of any sort (and that certainly includes software), developed by any organisation anywhere in the world, and you’ll find weak points without having to look too hard.

UPDATE (26 July 2018)

Yesterday I filed the end of a 3 or 4 cm length of copper tubing so that it was a snug fit into the hole left at the top of the coolant expansion tank. I also prepared a small copper strip to sit on top of the tubing and used epoxy resin (Selleys Araldite brand, here in Australia) to glue the tubing and strip in place. Then, it being cool winter weather in Melbourne, I waited a day to allow the epoxy resin to set firm.

Here’s what my latest burst of jury rigging accomplished (image 7):


Today I gingerly tested the strength of the bond, and it seems to be pretty strong, I would say at least as strong as the stupid original plastic tube shown in image “6”.

The only thing left to do is to start driving again and keep a watchful eye out for the “Check coolant level” warning, hoping never to see it again. Only time will tell.

By the way, I highly recommend Solvol heavy-duty hand cleaner for washing your hands after work such as this. It comes in a convenient bottle as shown below: