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Friday, 6 December 2019 Dereel Images for 6 December 2019
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TIO complaint
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Yvonne in round 10:00 this morning with the sad news “We're off the net!”. And so it was. NBN planned outage? Presumably. It would be difficult to recognize an unplanned outage, since just about the whole day, every day, is slated for a “planned outage”.

Fortunately it was relatively short, barely half an hour, but it reminded me that I had set a deadline of last week for some kind of action to be taken. Of course none was. So: off to http://www.tio.com.au/ to enter a complaint.

That in itself was a problem. They wanted all sorts of information that made little sense in context, but then there was a box to enter the details of the complaint. OK, wrote that out and stored it where people can find it. Then tried to paste it in to the box. Sorry, only 1200 characters (about 40%) allowed. OK, paste the first two paragraphs and point to the online version.

Finally “SEND”. Sorry, we don't support this browser. Please upgrade to a supported browser:

 
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Now isn't that fun? Why didn't they say before? And what are their supported browsers? There was a link, but I didn't follow it, and I closed the window.

Finally found a browser that met TIO's approval and sent the complaint off. Got an automated reply assigning number 2019/12/02636. I hope that the 02636 don't refer to the number of complaints received so far this month. It reinterpreted “when did you become aware of the complaint?” (March 2015, and in itself the question is strange) as “Complaint date”, which potentially could be a problem: at https://www.tio.com.au/complaints-we-can-and-cant-take I read:

We deal with complaints about things that happened, or that you became aware of, within the last two years. We may still be able to help with complaints that are up to six years old, depending on the reason for the delay. Contact us if you’re unsure if we can help.

I think there's a valid case here: I was told that it would stop, and it didn't.

And then there was this question:


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But what arrived on the copy was:

Your preferred outcome The RSP can't do anything. This is a problem with the NBN.

They also mangled my carefully written text by removing all white space except single spaces, making it almost illegible. But I suppose they're used to reading the vomit that such systems produce.

Here's the content of the complaint:

This complaint relates to the NBN fixed wireless “service” in Dereel, which I have been using since December 2013. It is the only Internet service available, and the reliability is the worst I have experienced in 30 years using the Internet. I first noticed this problem in June 2014 (http://www.lemis.com/grog/diary-jun2014.php#D-20140607-015618).

Most of the unreliability comes from NBN “scheduled maintenance”, which they have been performing on a regular basis for several years now, causing regular outages of up to 8 hours during the daytime, effectively taking the service offline for a whole day (for example, from 17 October 2019 08:38:34 to 17 October 2019 16:29:26). Since August 2016 I have received a total of 81 outage notifications from my RSP, and there have been some for which I have not been informed, such as on 23 April 2018 (http://www.lemis.com/grog/diary-apr2018.php#D-20180424-001301). I have a complete list of outages at http://www.lemis.com/grog/nbnstats.php which currently shows a total of 418 outages amounting to 11 days, 6½ hours.

The first time I complained was on 13 April 2018 (http://www.lemis.com/grog/diary-apr2018.php#D-20180414-015333), when I was told that these outages were necessary to improve service in the future. But they have been continuing for over 2 years now, and there are always new outages on the horizon. Both the frequency and duration of the outages are on the increase. For the months of July 2019 to October 2019 there were a total of nearly 39 hours of outages, an availability of only 98.52%, or an average of 26 minutes of downtime every day. Currently (6 December 2019) there are three outages scheduled for the next 2 weeks, covering a time frame of 12 days, and with potential outage durations of up to 12 hours. I can't recall a time when there has not been at least one outage scheduled.

I lodged a formal complaint with Aussie Broadband on 3 July 2019 (http://www.lemis.com/grog/diary-jul2019.php#D-20190704-050320), when I was told to expect a call back from the NBN within 1 to 2 weeks, with the fault number #6275739. I didn't hear back.

On 14 November 2019 I checked the progress of the fault number, and couldn't find it. I contacted Aussie Broadband repeatedly, but did not get an explanation for the disappearance of the fault. Instead they raised a new complaint with the NBN, #11411861. I asked for a response by CoB 29 November. So far I have had no contact.

I find this level of service completely unacceptable. While I appreciate that it's not possible to maintain 100% reliability, I find that the current situation is not even close to reliable. If I had an alternative, I would probably take it. As a state-sponsored monopolist, I consider that the NBN has a responsibility to improve its services. There is a Telstra mobile phone tower next to the NBN tower. It uses very similar technology, and I haven't heard of any outages with it.

I fear I won't get much satisfaction.


Prima Taste Prawn Mee
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Last time I was in Geelong I bought a couple of spice mixes to try out, along many established ones. Two were from Prima Taste. Today I tried their Prawn Mee:

 
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The most obvious thing that occurred to me was the price. $8 for 3, maybe 4 portions! Add to that meat and prawns and it's really quite expensive.

On the positive side, they go to a lot of trouble. Most of these things are a single sachet; this one had four, including chili powder, fried shallots and garlic powder (!). OK, make it up, three portions. The results: boring! Also not enough. Somehow they have completely missed the mark.

I also have a laksa from them. I wonder what that will be like.


Sick curry tree
Topic: gardening Link here

Since I've had my curry tree (Murraya koenigii), I've had problems with it. It's particularly prone to mites, and I have been spraying it with pyrethrum at regular intervals. But it didn't help much, and a few months back a salesman at Formosa gardens suggested a very expensive product which proved to be soap water.

Repeated applications. To no avail:

 
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OK, time to clean it out completely and repot it. I don't think it's going to die, but it's certainly not doing well. Does it still have mites?

 
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It's difficult to decide if there's anything alive in that mess. It could just be soap film. Too much, maybe?

Mick Solly, the gardener, was also here today, and spent 5 hours weeding, notably removing the yellow-flowering “ground cover” that he had so carefully planted: it had grown to 40 cm high and completely smothered other things, notably (to his pain; he doesn't use gloves) the cacti.


Saturday, 7 December 2019 Dereel Images for 7 December 2019
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More grid power failures
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Another two grid power failures today between 11:36:44 and 11:49:50, each a couple of seconds long, but proof that they were real failures and not brownouts. The PV system has made itself paid for the peace of mind it brings, though today might also be the first day where we had a net credit with Red Energy, our grid power supplier: we consumed 5.3 kWh from the grid (so early in the morning, before the break of day), and fed back 24.5 kWh, corresponding to the price of about 10 kWh from the grid.


More signs of summer
Topic: gardening Link here

Gradually it's getting warmer, and about time too. While Sydney burns, we have been subject to cool and moist weather. But the garden is showing that things are improving. The outside clone of the “Uncle Max” Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is gradually producing buds:

 
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One of the Strelitzia reginae (Strelitziis reginarum?) is flowering, and the Strelitzia nicolai apprear so be progressing in that direction:

 
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And the chili plant that got burnt by fertilizer seems to be shaking it off:

 
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Further afield, we've found two more flowering bushes at the end of Bliss Road:

 
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The first appears to be a Carpobrotus species, and the second an Alyogyne. But I've never seen either in white before. I took a couple of stems of the first, which should grow; I'll have to find a supplier for the Alyogyne.


Exposure compensation
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

I took the photos of the garden flowers with the OM-D E-M1 Mark I, and somehow the viewfinder image didn't look right. Neither did the results. Then I realized: the camera was set to manual exposure, and the photos were overexposed by up to 3 EV.

OK, I can compensate in post-processing. But 3 EV? Tried, and they didn't look too bad, but there was no reason not to Do It Right, so out and took the photos again. Here a comparison of the results:

 
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The first pair were really 3 EV apart, and it shows. My attempts at compensation could have been better, but the first is almost acceptable. The second pair were only 1.4 EV apart.

But a lot depends on what I'm aiming for. On a second attempt, I got:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191207/small/Chili-1a.jpeg
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That looks better, but the background of the chili shows a non-recoverable problem: the label is burnt out. There's nothing you can do about that.


ALDI “Salmon Wellington”
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

A couple of weeks ago Yvonne bought a deep-frozen “Salmon Wellington” at ALDI, and today we ate it.

I should have been warned by the description: “with cheese & dill sauce”. What an idea! It was intended to be put in the oven and baked (50 minutes, 185° in a fan oven). Presentation wasn't good. The pastry was cracked and broken, and the fish fillet itself was offset by about 3 cm from the middle:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191207/small/Salmon-Wellington-1.jpeg
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The cooking time proved not to be enough: the pastry was still pale. So I grilled it for a while, and after another 10 minutes it looked the kind of colour we wanted.

Cheese & dill sauce? What I found was a completely inappropriate béchamel with little to no taste to it:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191207/small/Salmon-Wellington-6.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191207/small/Salmon-Wellington-7.jpeg
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Without the slime it didn't taste too bad, but it would have been cheaper and more flexible to buy some salmon and bake it, probably with a different sauce.


Baking peanuts
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

At the end of last month I noted that air fryers aren't ideal for roasting peanuts. But I've never had really good results in the oven, either. Since we needed it on anyway for the salmon, I heated it up half an hour before and tried baking peanuts in it. 160°? 10 minutes? Not nearly enough. Another 10 minutes? Still not enough. Out of time: I had to put in the salmon, which wanted 185°, so I moved them down a notch. And after another 10 minutes they were almost overcooked.

My guess is that they're particularly temperature-sensitive. Next time I'll think of going for 170° and maybe 20 minutes.


This page contains (roughly) yesterday's and today's entries. I have a horror of reverse chronological documents, so all my diary entries are chronological. This page normally contains the last two days, but if I fall behind it may contain more. You can find older entries in the archive. Note that I often update a diary entry a day or two after I write it.     Do you have a comment about something I have written? This is a diary, not a “blog”, and there is deliberately no provision for directly adding comments. It's also not a vehicle for third-party content. But I welcome feedback and try to reply to all messages I receive. See the diary overview for more details. If you do send me a message relating to something I have written, please indicate whether you'd prefer me not to mention your name. Otherwise I'll assume that it's OK to do so.


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