Technology

Post image for Fly trap

Fly trap

by cjj on November 24, 2014

In all the decades we have lived in this house on this farm, this is the first year we did not get a break from flies. We were shooing them off our faces all through winter. The frosts were only very light and did not get cold enough to kill them :( In addition, the farms around here are not particularly dung beetle friendly, so there are more flies than there should be and they really ruin the outdoor life. It is no fun gardening or doing anything outdoors when there are flies. Because they are there to degrade the quality of my life I can’t just ignore them, I believe in fighting back!

When I first came to Barraba, a local farmer, Mr Allan, showed me fly traps that he had made and had scattered all around his sheep property. They were trapping flies by the bucket load! And making a big improvement to the health of his sheep. I remember him telling me that he had a plastics company all ready to start making and marketing these fly traps. However, they did not go ahead with it and gave him no explanation. He said that it was obvious they had been bought out by the chemical manufacturers. The people who make ‘sheep dip’ for example,  would go bust if everyone had fly traps like his!
 

Here’s the design:

IMG_8144

1. The top is a piece of fly screen and a rubber band made from an old inner tube. (Yes, we have stuff lying around … called JICs – just in case). You could also use a sheet of plastic, perspex or glass.

2. The top bucket has a hole in the base – the same size as a plastic bottle with no base. Glue the two together so that it’s water tight.

3. Lid of the bottom bucket has an equally big hole cut in it. I used a sheet metal nibbler to cut this hole. It wasn’t easy, but doable.

4. The lower bucket has small holes, the size of flies, drilled about half way down its sides.

5. At the bottom is the smelly bait. I wish I could make it smell like a BBQ so the whole trap could go near the house! I’m working on that idea, but at the moment I put raw prawn heads in there every week or so. Garlic prawns for dinner is a bonus :-)

This is my version of Mr Allan’s design:

IMG_7994

He used 2 x 10 litre buckets, but this one uses 2 x 20 litre buckets. I think he had a pane of glass on the top.   The bait is in the bottom bucket and the trap is in the top. The flies go through small holes in the side of the bottom bucket.     The lid of the bottom bucket has a large hole in it, corresponding to a hole in the base of the top bucket. A bottomless plastic bottle is glued onto this hole. After doing whatever it is they do with the bait in the lower chamber the flies see the sky above them and fly up through the bottle. Once in the top chamber they can’t get out. When they get too tired they fall into water and drown.  

The trap is not too difficult to make. Besides drilling holes, the only tricky bit is to glue the top section of a plastic drink bottle onto the hole in the base of the top bucket. You will need a plastics glue. I use Selley’s 3 in 1.

 

Here’s a little movie that shows you flies going into the trap.
 

 
And looking inside the top bucket.

 
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radar of rain

by cjj on February 13, 2011

the hole in the radar

the hole in the radar

It amazes me how often it can be raining all around us and not raining here. Most often it shows up on the radar, like in this picture. The arrows are pointing to a white bit of radar. White means very very light rain. All the coloured stuff (degrees of heavier rain) moves around but this white bit is nearly always there. If that bit gets coloured it still doesn’t mean that it will be raining here, if I go outside and put my hand out to feel it, it might still be dry. I think the radar is usually right, but sometimes quite optimistic!

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Bigpond

by cjj on September 15, 2010

I had a phone call this morning from Ryan in billing at Bigpond. First off, it was great that he called me because he had read my emails, new what my story was and I didn’t have to wait on the phone or explain it all again. Second, I think I convinced him that the excess usage wasn’t my fault. He doubled his offer and we now have a gig to use. This might be enough because we will only be here for another week. Thirdly, he said if I have any more problems to email him directly, and he will put me in contact with tech support so that I don’t have to bother about phoning.
For the moment I’m satisfied with the outcome so I won’t be complaining to Choice magazine or anyone, but I’m not so thrilled with the outcome that I will be bragging to Choice either. What will be a thrill is if Ryan is really helpful next time I need help.

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Bigpond response

by cjj on September 14, 2010

Bigpond took 5 business days to answer my email. (They promised 2). They asked for a lot of technical information, and gave me the option to ring them. I really didn’t have time to ring, so it was easier to look up all the information they wanted.
Today I got a reply explaining to me that rain can temporarily interrupt wireless broadband, but it should return to normal afterwards. I know this, it’s why I kept working after the storm on the 4th September. He suggested I should get ADSL or Cable to solve this!!! He is assuming everyone has that option.
He then proceeded in a long email to explain how I can keep track of my usage and it is my responsibility to do so. If, after trying and failing to upload a 94mg file I am told by bigpond that I have used 5gig in just a few hours, I don’t think he can blame me for not keeping track of my usage.
After what feels like a very long lecture to an ignorant imbecile, he says he has passed it on to the billing department and they will make a decision about giving me additional usage for the month.

I got an email from billing quite quickly saying they will allow me an extra 500mb. Big deal! I explained to him that really isn’t fair … I’ll let you know what happens.

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yesterday was slow

by cjj on September 6, 2010

Yesterday was another slow day. On an internet speed test it took 445ms to do a ping, about 2 mins to complete the test, but it showed the transfer rate was as it normally is!!

And, after no meaningful work, I’m now up to 8g … in 2 days! Meanwhile the router is telling us that it is on top speed (but it is ‘in house’ reporting). This makes me think it’s not our connection to the tower that is the problem, but another bit of equipment after that. When my uploads slow to nothing, the internet light on the router is blinking very fast, this is what is consuming my data transfer allowance.

It’s not the end server, because it is everything that I’m doing on the net, not just uploading one file.

It’s not my computer, I have a lap top and desk top computer, and both slow at the same time. I can move my lap top in close to the router, and it makes no difference.

I haven’t been game to turn the computer on today. But I have now, it seems okay … wish me luck!

Bigpond/Telstra say they will reply to technical support emails within 2 business days. I sent it Sunday morning. One business day to go.

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Bigpond charging me for their faults

by cjj on September 5, 2010

Impossible usage for 1 day - click here to see the whole picture

We had a little bit of heavy rain today. After that I tried to upload a 94mb movie. It was slow, so I left it while I cooked and ate dinner. When I came back to it, it had only uploaded 30mb and was happening so slowly that I stopped it. A short while later I started it again. It was still so slow that I got a timer out to measure the kb per minute. While I was measuring it the speed picked up and the file then uploaded in about 10 or 15 minutes.

By the way, today is the 4th (well it’s after midnight now, so yesterday … ) and the 4th is our monthly reset date for internet usage.

You can imagine my surprise when I got an email this evening saying that I had used nearly half my monthly allowance … which by the way is $129.95 a month. I thought I was paying $79 and thought that was a lot!!! silly me!

This means, that because the nearby wireless tower was adversely affected by some rain, my upload was slow and I have to pay Bigpond for the privilege!

I can understand that the upload could have used that much data because it was at least 1 and 1/2 hours that it was trying to send the data … little packets that say: can I send this data now, and a message comes back saying no it’s still not working … over and over and over and over … until 4660mb have been gobbled up!

Of course I will ring Bigpond and complain, and insist they reset my 10gig. But imagine how this is happening to everybody every where. What a profit they must make when their equipment slows down! Probably not in such a large amount as this, it’s too obvious, but little bits everywhere to everyone … what an incredible disincentive to keep equipment working efficiently.

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x-plane

by cjj on September 4, 2010

Cincopa WordPress plugin

I have been putting sound tracks onto movies that my hubby has made in x-plane.  I particularly like this movie.

The plane is called Taz and was made by an x-planer called Brett Sumpter. The pilot is by Paul Jones aka dad. This is a low tech plane, but I have a page and half of technical information! Here’s a bit of it:

Specs:
Empty weight 450 lbs
Max gross weight 825 lbs
Fuel capacity 12.5 gallons (75 lbs)

Engine – Rotax 912ULS, 100 hp
26′ main rotor, 7′ fixed pitch prop

…. basic tractor autogyro but with a modern lightweight engine – long travel landing gear + low speeds  & lots of power mean you can go almost anywhere that doesn’t require vertical takeoff.

These x-planers really have fun!

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Poor internet reception

by cjj on August 30, 2010

This photo shows what I assume are 2 phone towers. I believe they are both owned by Testra, Australia’s national phone company (used to be a monopoly owned by the people, whoops I mean the government).

These towers are about 1.6km from our place, and this is the view we have of them. I would call this view something like line of sight.

Why then is the signal so weak? I rang to complain, but was told it wasn’t a weak signal. It’s not possible to argue these technical issues, it’s clearly a subjective opinion. Anyway I asked about an external aerial, there is such a thing, but it will cost a hundred and something dollars. Let’s hope that makes a difference.

My benchmark is talking on Skype. If I can understand what the other person is saying, than I would say I have a reasonable connection. If I can’t understand them, I might as well be using dial-up. Heck, I could usually understand phone callers! That was pre-computer dial-up technology!

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slow internet speeds are not fare!!!!

by cjj on July 21, 2010

I pay $au79 per month for my internet connection and it is so slow I wish I could through it away. It’s wireless but the tower is exactly 2.5km away and is in sight, and yet I get a weak signal according to Telstra’s own equipment. I did a speed test and this image shows the results.

Even in this small image you can see the small blue bar on the left compared to the average in the white bar immediately below it. Telstra are such a rip-off. They know that we have no choice of service, so they don’t have to provide any.

Something that is so frustrating is that Telstra buried a fibre network around the country years ago, it goes right past our front gate, and most people’s front gate, but we have no access to it.

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China renews Google’s licence to operate in China, the internet giant says, ending a long-running stand-off between the two.
Google office sign - 谷歌 - gu ge - Google.

Google in China

Thanks to the BBC news online, the first thing I saw this morning was that Google had been invited back into China!! This is really significant for me, because it was because of their absence that my blogspot blog didn’t work in China, so I swapped it all to WordPress. Would have been worse for anyone in China who had made a blogspot blog. At least I could access mine and move my stuff across … any way, now they’re back, there was no need for me to go to all that trouble.

But I’m glad I did because I learnt a lot. And I like wordPress, though it doesn’t have ‘followers’. (Oh I just found ‘trackbacks’ and ‘pingbacks’ .. I’ll check them out later.)

This morning XuNi said  “I can see your blog, ha ha”    我会看你的博客的, 呵呵

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