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Wednesday, 22 September 2021 Dereel Images for 22 September 2021
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A new credit card?
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

I've been thinking about a new credit card for a while now. Why not ask what other people have? Peter Jeremy has a Bankwest “Platinum” card offering zero fees and 55 days to pay—effectively the same conditions as my ANZ card except for the $360 fees. OK, if they're free, I'll take 2.

Yet Another Silly Web form. Fill out what we want, not what is on your documents, nor what make sense. OK, I'm a pensioner. Accepted. And then:

 
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People, I've just told you that I'm not employed! Adjust to $0.01 and it accepted it. And why this requirement for cents? Is that going to make the difference between acceptance and denial?

And then I had to supply two forms of identification: driver license, Medicare card or passport. OK, can do. Enter the date of expiry of the driver license as stated on the license. Fool! We don't care about niceties of driver license, you need to do it our way!


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And at the end, after (once again) having difficulty authenticating my credentials,


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Somehow the whole computer industry is broken. This isn't a Bankwest problem: they all do it. Why?

In passing, it's interesting to note that “Platinum” is an old, worn-out magic word, like “Silver” and “Gold” before it. The Bankwest “Platinum” card is only second-best: the best is “World”, another modern obfuscation.


Google Maps translation of the day
Topic: language, opinion Link here

Ran across this diary entry of 5 years ago today, not completely coincidentally ranting about poor official web sites. As an example, I wrote

it would be interesting to see what would happen if i entered, say, جالان بودو لاما.

What does that mean? i can barely stumble my way through Arabic script, but what's google translate for? asked it to identify the language, and it came up with Jalan Podo Lama, a Sindhi expression.

I don't know Sindhi at all, but that rings a bell. The vowel in the middle word is a و (Wau), normally transliterated as u. So “Jalan Pudu Lama” is more appropriate, and that is the name of a street in Kuala Lumpur. So what does a translation from Malay say? “Go to the temple".

Huh? Where did they get that from? It should translate as “Old Pudu Road”. Never mind, next time I looked it had changed its mind. Now it says “Don't go there” after all.

One issue, of course, is the letter ب. That's a b. But at some point Google Translate turned it into a پ (3 dots under the line instead of 1). And that brought something back to me: decades ago (about January 1962) I showed my stamp collection to Fadel Abdul Kadir, a Kuwaiti. The Malayan stamps had the state name, both in Rumi (Roman script) and Jawi (Malay adaptation of Arabic script, of which جالان بودو لاما should be an example). Instead of Perak, he read “Ferak”: there is no P in Arabic. The Jawi spelling is ڤيراق‎‎. The characters are ف‎ (fa) and ڤ‎ (pa), so he had just omitted the other two dots.

And that has nothing to do with پ. “Pudu” should presumably be written ڤـودو. Where did I get بودو from?

OK, try again: جالان ڤودو لاما becomes Jalan Voodoo Lama, and it's Arabic. Force Malay and we get “Don't go there”. No change.

But then who, relies on Google Translate? More interesting is where I got that snippet from, and why: Jalan Pudu Lama is a tiny road behind one of my mother's offices. I'm not sure I have ever been there, and how did I get the Jawi transliteration?


Thursday, 23 September 2021 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 23 September 2021
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KL Hokkien mee again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Last time I cooked KL Hokkien mee, I noted that something seems to have been missing. After re-reading some of my links, I noticed that many others, notably this one, which asks for “anchovies powder”.

What's that? “Anchovy” seems to be a new translation for ikan bilis. But in fact the recipe is quite detailed and asks for

Substitute for anchovies powder

Actually, dried sole or flounder powder is used in the preparation of Hokkien noodles and not anchovies powder. Due to the rising cost, hawkers decide to skip the ingredient even though only a tiny bit is added as a natural flavour enhancer.

The trouble is, I don't know what any of these mean. What I know as sole or flounder doesn't occur in Malaysia. What's the Malay name?

In any case, I had some old heads and broken bits of deep-fried ikan bilis, so I ground some of them (10 g) in a mortar:

 
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Also added some “baby” choi sam from Woolworths. If that's a baby, I wouldn't like to see a grown one:

 
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To be on the safe side, I also added more garlic. The result? Better, but now too salty, presumably because of the ikan bilis. Next time I'll reduce the light soya sauce, though I'm also planning to look for some KL dark caramel soya sauce, and if I find some that, too, might alter the salt balance.

Apart from that, also too much sauce. I had used more than the original recipe asked for, so this, too, is a matter of adjustment.


Bankwest Credit Card: next step
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Call from a very excited sounding Steve from Bankwest, interesting because he didn't hide his phone number , asking if I had forgotten to add attachments to the email I sent them. Checked, and found that I had written:

Please let me know what supporting information you would like to see for my situation, which is really not uncommon.

But I had made a big mistake by putting that at the bottom of the email message, further than anybody ever reads. Discussed the matter with him, and he understood relatively quickly and sent me an email message with a spam-like subject line and 4 paragraphs of boilerplate and no useful content beyond a PDF attachment with a list of require documents which looks easy enough to fulfil. I need some documents from the superannuation fund, but the rest is easy enough.

What a difference from these horrible web forms!


Goodbye embossed cards
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Somehow this is a week for credit and debit cards. Today my new Bank of Melbourne Visa debit card arrived. No number on the front! It's all on the back in groups of 4 digits. A big difference from the card it replaces:

 
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When did they last have those machines that actually took an imprint of the card? Are they even valid any more? I haven't seen one for years.


Garden flowers at spring equinox
Topic: gardening Link here

Today (in the early hours) was the spring equinox, time for the monthly garden flower photos.


Doctor's appointments in times of COVID
Topic: health, opinion Link here

Yvonne was due for an appointment today with Rod Reddy, the cardiologist. But it ended up being commuted to a phone call. All OK: the only issues were not with the results of last week's checkup, but with her gradually increasing blood pressure. I thought that that could be an indication of excessive medication, but it seems that it's more an indication that the heart is (finally!) working normally. But that requires additional medication, and there's also an alternative to some other medication that has fewer side effects.

And that's the issue with phone calls. Visit a doctor and he can print out the script and give it to you. Here he offered to send it to a pharmacy. Problem: tomorrow is one of those sport-related public holidays so popular in Victoria, so they wouldn't get it before Monday at the earliest.

It wasn't until the call was over (all of 11 minutes!) that it occurred to me that I could pick up the script at their clinic. So off to Ballarat, somewhat hampered by the fact that they have moved from the hospital to a small brick building on the corner of Mair St and Drummond St. Still, Google Maps to my aid:

 
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OK, went there. But first I needed to park. Meter zone! Grr! But in this case, I genuinely couldn't understand the parking meter:

 
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I had the wrong glasses on, which didn't help, but the contrast was so poor that I couldn't read it. I had to take a photo and come back and enhance it to read what it said:

 
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Is that really sufficient? Even after enhancement, the text is barely readable. How do they expect anybody, even with perfect eyesight, to read that? At the very least they could do something about the reflections.

OK, off to the brick building. Not cardiology: a restaurant, and currently closed. Damn! Inaccurate instructions. OK, Google, what's the number of Ballarat Cardiology? +61-3-5329 2111. Call that.

“If you are experiencing chest pain, please hang up now and call 000. Otherwise call us during our business hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m."

That was at 16:20. Damn! I had driven all the way into Ballarat and arrived too late, because nobody told me that they shut at 16:00!


Cooperating protesters
Topic: politics, general, opinion Link here

There have been a number of yourchoice(riots, disturbances, demonstrations) in Melbourne over the last few days. Today they chose the Shrine of Remembrance, the holiness of Melbourne. The authorities are in agreement: that's disgraceful behaviour. The agreement on the word suggests that they couldn't think of any other description. Still, the word has a ring to it, and it suggests that I should call my next Microsoft box disgrace.

And the protesters? Didn't cooperate with police, they say. But that's a one-sided view: several of them produced clear identification for all to see:

 
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It's not exactly a QR code, but those tattoos should be absolute identification of the people in question. Bravo!


Urination as a form of protest
Topic: animals, general, opinion Link here

One of the actions at the Shrine of Remembrance that particularly infuriated the authorities was that various protesters urinated in not very clearly described manners. Certainly not good behaviour.

But it seems that humans aren't the only ones to protest like that. Today I let Larissa and Lena into the house from their kennel area round the back. They wanted to go out the front, but I didn't let them. And a couple of minutes later I saw:

 
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I suspect Lena, but why did she do it? The last time we saw that much urine was with Pedro three months ago, and we have since decided that that was a protest.


Spring equinox and full moon
Topic: photography, gardening, opinion Link here

Not only was it the spring equinox today, but also full moon. And not a cloud in the sky! Just the chance I wanted for a moonlight panorama.

Taking the photos one view (house from the north garden) took about 30 minutes: the longest exposures were 60 seconds each, and it took me a while to get something like correct parameters. One of the failures was this view, interesting mainly because of the stars in the sky:

 
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It'll probably take me a while to produce a workable panorama from the others.


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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