Geographical comparison

In church at the moment we are working through John’s gospel, and a couple of times Arthur has shown us on a map Jesus’ movements around Judea and Galilee, and made the observation that the distance between Galilee and Jerusalem, is pretty similar to the distance between Newcastle and Sydney – a journey that we Novocastrians are very familiar with.  Just to see this visually, I’ve used Google Maps and a bit of cut-and-paste to put the east coast of NSW next to Israel – and the similarity in distances is indeed strikingly close.

(Click on the map to enlarge.)

Prog rock tragic

This week I watched an interesting documentary on the British Prog Rock movement and then followed that up by listening to classic prog rock albums in my collection from the following artists …

  • The Moody Blues
  • Emerson, Lake and Palmer
  • Pink Floyd
  • Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
  • Rick Wakeman
  • Jethro Tull
  • Yes
  • Mike Oldfield
  • Sebastian Hardie (not British.but Australia’s pre-eminent and unsurpassed prog rock band from the seventies)


Walking in Mt Royal National Park

After years of driving on the New England Highway through Singleton, and passing the sign at the turnoff to Lake St Clair and Mt Royal National park, and wondering what’s up there, yesterday I finally got to drive up there and explore a bit. We drove all the way up to the Youngsville picnic area, which was very neat and very quiet.

The information board at the picnic area shows a “Creek Walking Track” and says that it is “long” and “strenuous” and “requires a good level of fitness”. Unfortunately it didn’t give any indication of how long, either in distance or walking time.


So we set off anyway on the southern leg of the loop, with the intention of seeing how far we could get, with the fallback plan of just returning back the same track if we didn’t have enough time to do the whole loop. We didn’t make it all the way down in our allotted time, but from my GPS recording, later loaded into Google Earth, I can see that we made it about two thirds of the way down to the creek. This downhill walk was 2.25km and took 37 minutes, at quite a brisk walk. From this I would guess that the full loop walk would be about 7km and would take about 3 hours to do? One day I shall go back and see how good my estimates are.


Bicycle parking at John Hunter Hospital

I recently had cause to ride my bicycle to John Hunter Hospital, and beforehand tried to find out on the web where, if anywhere, there was bicycle parking at the hospital. I failed to find any information on the web, but on arriving at the hospital did eventually locate a bike parking area. So for the benefit of other cyclists …

A bicycle parking area is located outside the ticket booth at the exit of the main carpark. It is undercover and has the added security benefit that for most of the day there’s someone in the ticket booth, which makes theft of the bike less likely.


Goodbye Windows XP

WindowsXPWallpaperToday, 8th April 2014, Microsoft stops support for Windows XP, which is a bit sad. I always had a fondness for Windows XP, being the first decent, stable, consumer operating system from Microsoft. Over time I even got used to the Teletubby themed default wallpaper. I still have 2 PC’s at home running Windows XP and for what they do (basic web browsing, looking at photo’s, watching TV) the OS performs as well now as it did when it was released.

I really don’t want to upgrade to Windows 8, and the hardware on those PC’s would struggle with Windows 8 anyway, so I’m still undecided whether to retire them, replace them, or upgrade them.

WordPress wp-events plugin breaking the dashboard

I run a WordPress based website that uses the wp-events plugin to manage a calendar of events. It’s been mostly working well, but recently after some update of WordPress, and I’m not sure which one, I found that on the Dashboard page of my WordPress site that I wasn’t able to toggle the various modules to expand or collapse them.  By a process of trial and error and comparing a few different WordPress sites that I have access to I found that the problem was the wp-events plugin – if I deactivated the plugin my problem on the dashboard page went away.

Unfortunately the wp-events plugin is no longer actively maintained, the author having moved on to other things, so I decided to see if I could locate/fix the problem.

Be warned – although I am an experienced programmer, I am a complete newbie in the world of WordPress plugin development, so there’s no guarantee that my ‘fix’ below won’t do really bad things.

Anyway, again by a process of trial and error, commenting out various bits of the plugin code I found that commenting out a single line of code in the wp-events-functions.php file fixed the problem …

function events_editor_admin_init() {
#  wp_enqueue_script('post');

After making this change, deactivating and reactivating the plugin, my dashboard was working again, and the events plugin appears to be working the same as before.

Conjecture mode ON

As far as I can tell this function is including a link to a script file in the page for the purpose of enabling rich text functionality in the event editor form, but I suspect that some update to WordPress made linking to this script redundant, and worse made it break stuff because different scripts were being loaded in the wrong order

Conjecture mode OFF

How Woolworths exploits people with poor eyesight

deceptionAlthough I’ve known for some time that Woolworths “Everyday Rewards” program has little to do with rewards and is mostly an exercise in collecting personalised purchase data, I found today that it is also an exercise in deceiving and exploiting people with poor eyesight.

When you see this discount tag, how much do you expect to pay? $3.50? Wrong. It’s only in the fine, fine print that you read that price applies only if you’re willing to give up your privacy.

How many people (like me today) are being deceived by Woolworths into thinking they’re getting a discount when they’re not? How many people put ‘discounted’ items into their basket and never notice they didn’t receive the discount?

To make matters worse, when I complained to the Woolworths employee about how unreadable the disclaimer is, and how deceptive it is to people with poor eyesight, they brushed off the complaint saying that “there’s lots of big signs around the store” explaining the everyday rewards discounting. I walked around the store and checked – there wasn’t even a small sign that I could see that indicated that some ‘discount’ price tags don’t apply to all people.