Wallerwang Power Station

Wallerawang Power Station cooling tower. December 1985.

In the summer of 1985/86, in the long break between my 4th and 5th years at University, I worked at Wallerawang Power Station near Lithgow, as a trainee electrical engineer.

Liddell Power Station

Not Liddell power station – ABC News gets it wrong. (Actually Bayswater.)

Liddell power station (near Muswellbrook NSW) has been in the news this week, with a bit of a public stoush between its owners AGL who intend to close the station in 2022, and Malcolm Turnbull who wants to keep it open for five years beyond that date.

One of the frustrating aspects of this has been how frequently the media shows a picture of a power station other than Liddell when reporting on Liddell.

I’m familiar with Liddell power station as I worked there as an electrical engineer from December 1986 to January 1988 in my first job  after graduating from university.  Since the media is incapable of showing pictures of Liddell, I thought I’d scan and post some of the photos I took while I worked there. It was an interesting time, as there was a lot of repair and remediation work going on, and I got to look inside a lot of equipment that would normally be unseen.

Liddell High Voltage Certificate.

How long for a ULL ID confirmation?

After years of waiting, the National Broadband Network is finally available at my home address from today.  I had pre-ordered an NBN deal from a different provider than my current phone/ADSL provider which is Optus. My new soon-to-be provider rang me this afternoon to tell me that they are ready to connect me, but to do so they needed me to confirm my ULL ID with Optus.

What is a ULL ID? It seems that it is a 10 digit number (starting with 161) that uniquely identifies the copper line connected to your house. Given the frustrating and time consuming interactions I’ve had with Optus in the past, I wasn’t too excited or hopeful about extracting this information from them.

So how long does it take to confirm a ULL ID with Optus? The answer turned out to be 44 minutes.

Time Duration (minutes) Activity
18:44 – 18:50 6 Try to find a phone number on the Optus website to ring technical support. It is almost unbelievable how hard it is to find a phone number to ring a phone company!
18:50 – 19:04 14 Give up on ringing Optus and have a go with their Live Chat support. After initiating a request for live chat, wait ….

19:04 – 19:10 6 Live chat with service agent for six minutes before she decides that it would be better to ring me and have a vocal instead of written conversation.
19:10 – 19:12 2 Brief conversation with service agent where she understands what the request is and that she will need to transfer me to the technical support team.
19:12 – 19:24 12 Waiting … listening to horrid hold ‘music’.
19:24 – 19:28 4 Brief conversation with technical support agent who reasonably quickly understands what I’m asking for, confirms my details, puts me on hold for a minute or so while he looks up the ULL ID and then supplies me with the ULL ID.



Lets see how things go now with my new provider in connecting me to the NBN.

Jack of those notifications

At work I recently had a laptop upgrade to a HP EliteBook 850 G3. This also meant moving to Windows 10 after many years of using Windows 7. The transition has been been mostly positive, but one thing that bugged me for quite a while is that every time I inserted or removed my earphones, about two seconds later I’d get an audible alert and on-screen notification like …

“You just unplugged a device from the audio jack.
Bang & Olufsen.”

I don’t need to be told that a device was unplugged, because I was the one who unplugged it! Age may be wearying me, but my memory retention is still definitely longer than two seconds.

I was sure that there must be a way of turning of these sound device notifications, but couldn’t find anything in the sound settings. Eventually I discovered that it is controlled by the Windows 10 “Notifications & actions” app.

In the “Get notifications from these senders” section, turn off notifications for “Bang & Olufsen”. I don’t know why there are two entries – I just turned them both off.

Now I can plug and unplug as much as I want without Mr Bang or Mr Olufsen trying to impute that I have a brain the size of a goldfish.

HP2101nw wireless print server on 64 bit Windows

I bought a HP2101nw wireless USB print server for a bargain price from an eBay seller, and I had trouble getting it working on my Windows 7 64 bit laptop.When installing the software to configure the print server, there was an error about the driver not installing correctly, and the configuration software wouldn’t recognise the print server and allow it to be configured.

When I checked the system requirements I found that the HP support page only listed 32 bit drivers for Windows XP or Windows Vista. For a while I rued not checking the system requirements more carefully before purchasing, and thought I’d done my dough.

Img_4155But with a little more perseverance I found that a 32 bit Windows operating system was required only for the initial configuration of the device (to set the WiFi network and password) and after that I was able to get connections to the print server working from other Windows based PC’s.  The steps that worked for me were:

  1. Using a Windows 7 32 bit laptop, I installed and ran the configuration software from the supplied CD, and configured the printer server with the WiFi network and password.
  2. I then downloaded the Windows 7 32 bit driver as referenced in a discussion on the HP support forum.
  3. I was then able to install this driver on the following machines and get them connecting to the wireless print server.
    1. Windows 7 64 bit
    2. Windows 7 32 bit
    3. Windows 10 32 bit


A few months after writing this blog post, the print server just stopped working, and nothing I tried would resurrect it. The purchase turned out to be a dud after all.