This week we'd planned a short two day walk from Glenbrook down through the Glenbrook Gorge then up to Lapstone... actually, some time ago Unfortunately, it was still 36°C at Springwood at 3PM when we were heading off (probably warmer down the hill a bit...), but we were still all smiles heading off.
With just 10 weekends to go before we set off on the Great North Walk 2014, and 2 of those taken up with other activities, we were keen to get our poor old bodies used to track life again (it's been a looooong time since we finished the Bibbulmun Track).
But it's amazing what starting the training does: it's focused us on the upcoming walk in a very concrete way. It's like the mind and body has just changed gear: certainly makes you feel quite different
- Walking is a very unreliable activity with which to charge solar panels:
- Tree canopy: dappled shade to dense shadows.
- Direction changing constantly: Not directly angled to sun
- We were 2-2.5 times short on charging ability, which could be ameliorated by:
- Increase charging ability by adding more solar panels
- Use an extra battery to maximise storage
- FUSE has great portability and flexibility
Our best charging rate (one FUSE Battery per two days) is probably the best we can expect to achieve whilst walking — Though what we needed, for our current battery requirements, was the FUSE to be charged once per day.
We made an appointment with a very helpful fellow down at the Independent Living Centre for an early visit last Thursday. Actually, it was very early... Jesse needed to go to work after, and Hamish said he got there about 6am; so we got up at 5am and picked Jesse up on the way, planning to get there at 6:30am.
The morning went to plan and we rang the bell at 6:30am in a very quiet shopping centre ;)
Jesse was part of HBO+EMBT, who were the Architects doing the Chapel; which was serendipitous, as Jess had planned / hoped to engage in more ecclesiastical architecture and had partaken in International Conferences to that end. After the Chapel had been completed Jesse organised a weekend tour for us; and the whole family headed down for the occasion.
So, we accepted Jesse's Fee Proposal (which we'll keep private, but we did ask to be charged standard rates), so Designer's engaged and we're on our way...
Some time ago (3 years ago now ) I implemented my backup strategy, and it's saved my bacon a number of times. Nothing much has changed over the years, except for replacing BvckUp with FreeFileSync and Paragon with Macrium Reflect FreeEdition, STOP PRESS: BvckUp is back on the list now as version 2 is awesome!
So, if there's one thing worse that your motherboard going pear-shaped it's that all your documents are not available especially when there is an urgent request for a new Christmas Card).
SpiderOak is the software that backs up all my documents. What is especially reassuring is that as well as the most current versions being safe on SpiderOak, all the previous versions and even deleted files are safe there as well (just in case I didn't mean to delete it last month )!
So, the problem: Produce a Christmas Card from previous photos / graphics without a computer in the house
After borrowing a laptop from work for the weekend, it was an easy exercise to
1. Download all the graphics I needed from my SpiderOak repository
2. 'Install' GimpPortable and
3. Create the card
This is what I love about SpiderOak... it just keeps working in the background and gives me a heap of assurance: plus I don't need to worry (too much) about privacy issues as even SpiderOak don't know what their storing for me!
Ok: this project sort of got gazumpped by the worst bush fires the Blue Mountains has ever seen (well, in the last 200 years anyway)... So what's been happening?
Qalcheck did find the sewer and marked it out on site and gave me a report (pdf) which was fully dimensioned. No real surprises. The report locates the sewer and gives it a Depth; this allows a simple calculation to indicate how close you can build before you need to start piering or concrete encasing.
We also got a local surveyor to survey the property, as there was nothing in Council records that we could use. Not sure how the RMS (the new RTA) could do their subdivision without one?
The slope of the last land define what level of adaptable housing the dwellings must be: so it was pretty important to get them done accurately.
I'll also need to go up and do a landscape assessment, as there are quite y few trees (from memory).
The next stage is to do a concept, which we'll get both Council’s and Sydney Water's advice / comments on. That should make the DA process smoother (that's the plan anyway). The concept is quite an interesting stage as it involves defining a brief for the architect: and the more precise the brief the better the concept. So: thinking caps on!
- Concept plans (for Council and Sydney Water)
- Land Use Advice from Council
- DA Drawings
- DA Approval
- Construction Certificate
- Final Occupation Certificate
Maybe "disconnected" is the wrong word?
I really do a lot on my computer, I know at times Sandi suggests a little too much So living without one is proving to be a little difficult: or as our friend Mary likes to quote star trek "It is life Jim, but not as we know it."
Last week the computer failed to turn on, after a series of minor issues (actually it seems to never have thrown off the USB3.0 issues: which just very flaky connections - my last resort was to install a completely new board, which seems to have fixed those issues): the boot drive disappeared, and I had to reinstall windows (first time in my life).
So computer starts to power up (lights go on), then powers down, almost immediately. I'd been in contact with my computer provider (Enspire), and they eventually said to send it down to them: it has 3 months to go on its 3 year warranty.
The techs said it was "bad news": the motherboard was dead, which was shorting out the power supply; plus the data drive had a series of bad sectors. So both were sent off for warranty repair / replace, “which shouldn't take too long".
We briefly discussed upgrading to new components, new motherboard, chip, memory and power supply: but at $1200 it was generally considered that the cost was not worth the performances boost.
After a week of emailing them for updates I realised their definition of "not too long" was quite different to mine! I'm amazed that I didn't drive them to profanity with all my pestering!! They eventually got news and an ETA from ASUS of 3 weeks, give or take.
Devastated I asked if they had something to tide me over until my board came back. But apparently my motherboard, although 3 years old, is 4 generations old, and no spares were kept on site
So 3 to 4 weeks without my computer...
Funnily enough I'd only just bought my first mobile phone, a Sony Xperia Z Ultra (which I'm using now), so I'm not completely unconnected, but it's way different to 3 monitors, 7 cores and 24Gb of memory. Creative works are a lot more difficult on Web /android.