Scifi stuff, available now…

Emotiv headset 

We all take mobile phone for granted, but if 60 years ago you had suggested that virtually everyone would be able to carry around a small handset capable of such things, you might have been thought to be a bit of a dreamer.

Now you can control you computer using thought waves, and you’ll soon be able to converse with a hologram!

http://www.stuff.co.nz/4562061a28.html

http://www.emotiv.com/corporate/2_0/2_2.htm

 

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DYI

TooooolllllsssssI’m doing a few renovations, well, actually it’s a bit more than that, I’ve removed a wall, ripped out a kitchen and am putting an entire new one in along with a new external wall and a load bearing beam to give us a bit more space. To be honest this is a bit more than an average DIY project, but I like a challenge and enjoy making things so I thought I would give it a go.

Here’s some suggestions if you ever feel the need to give up your weekends building instead of something else, like, say, surfing.

Firstly, if you are going to remove any walls, strip walls of wall paper, or you have a house that is old and you want better sound proofing and insulation, start by going to http://www.gib.co.nz and also take a look at Pink Batts web site http://www.pinkbatts.co.nz/. You may well find it is cheaper and faster to simply re gib the walls (gib stopping isn’t as hard as it looks with the right tools), you can also put in sound proofing and better insulation (NZ houses build any more than about 15 years ago seem to have crap insulation). We’re going for a combination of sound proof gib and batts. Both sites have detailed information that might save you a lot of money and time. You’ll also find out why joists are 600 cm apart, before you do any construction – gib sheets are 1200cm wide and in my wisdom I did some of my joists 500cm wide because it looked and seemed neater… guess that’s why it takes three years to train to become a builder!

Other suggestions?

Get a reciprocating saw, with a decent hacksaw blade. If you are removing walls and taking out windows and doors this tool is invaluable, in fact, I’m not sure how you could do the job with out it. I got a Ryobi, I have a few Ryobi ‘power’ tools and they have always been reliable. Mitre 10 Mega seem to have the best prices for these, although I am a bit of  fan of Bunnings, helpful staff, wide range and very good prices – plus I like the idea that some staff are shareholders which might account for the helpful staff.

Whatever you do, don’t buy those cheap ‘house brand’ power tools – ‘G-Force’ etc… they are rubbish. Poorly made they are often inaccurate and bits break off, often because they are made of unsuitable materials. I bought a circular saw and within a month the rob for tightening the angle snapped off, it was plastic and shouldn’t have been. For another $40 I could have got a Ryobi. Dumb decision. Spend a bit more and get something that will last a few years.

So, check out gib and batts, get decent tools, and what ever amount of time you think it will take, double it!

New Start, New Opportunities… uh, right…

Well it was probably long overdue. Having had the ‘pleasure’ of dealing with the Immigration Department on a number of occasions my experience was not pleasant – and I’m a ‘native’ New Zealander.

I suspect one of the problems with the Immigration Department is that the people it ‘serves’ are not tax paying residents. This seems to mean that any pretense at customer service that you would find at any other tax payer funded service, got discarded years ago.

The corruption allegations are not at all surprising, it’s surprising that it has taken so long. I raised this issue with the department in the 90’s, it was around Chinese Nationals being able to pay for visitors visa’s (USD2000 at the time). The only problem was that the department wouldn’t give ‘immunity’ to the Chinese immigrants who had paid for their visa’s, so of course, it never went any further. I got the distinct impression they knew what was going on, but had little interest in stamping it out.

The Immigration department is a national disgrace. No tax payer would accept the rude obstructive behaviour of officers, who may well have taken training in China as some of the bizarre advice and decisions could only emanate from a truly horrifying bureaucratic tradition that is alive and well in China and other communist countries.

This is the first experience new immigrants to NZ have of the country, and I have yet to find a single person who found it helpful or enjoyable. We are competing for quality immigrants globally, and it simply is not good enough to treat potential New Zealanders in such an off-hand way.

You come away from the experience wondering if in fact the goal is to discourage immigrants, because although the web site and literature provided makes it look like we want immigrants, the attitude a of officers is the opposite, often downright rude, convoluted and illogical service all combine to make one wish they could just pay a couple of grand to the officer as a back hander, just to get it over and done with.

Maybe the service needs to be privatised; given a mission statement, a target number and allow some companies to provide a proper service, rather than the corrupt sham we currently subject immigrants too. It surely couldn’t be any worse than what is currently on offer!

Olympic Torch Farce

It’s not at all surprising the communist Chinese dictatorship has picked up on something the Nazi’s dreamt up – the Olympic Torch Ceremony.

“Hey Comrades, if we parade the torch through key countries with a happy smiling rent-a-crowd cheering “go China”, everyone in the world will just know we have become a country that has ‘made it’ and they’ll respect us, and that will give our corrupt dictatorship a tonne of street cred”… duh.

Unfortunately the Chinese ‘Government’ has the finesse and sophistication of an old jandal when it comes to Public Relations. I can only assume that they are so self deluded that they genuinely believe that the rest of the planet will accept the rubbish that they feed the local brain-washed population. Any sane organisation would have got an interational PR agency or someone like Tony Blair in to assist. When you look at it I really do think you could almost put enough spin on it to make the whole thing look positive and have certain parts of the media fawning all over the Chinese ‘Leaders’. Torch run

You really have to suspend belief when completely out of the blue Chinese citizens gather in their thousands outside French supermarkets in China to protest… what no tanks??? oh wait, it’s not about the Chinese ‘government’ it’s those nasty westerners – and if it allows the oppressed citizens to let off a bit of steam then maybe that’s a good thing. I’d like to see the same people try and protest against their ‘government’, the miss-treatment of Chinese farmers, or in support of religious freedom. I somehow don’t see the same level of accommodation. 

If the Communists achieved one thing, it was to put foreign governments in an uncomfortable position, being seen to condone the events in Tibet by putting on a massive and expensive Police guard to protect a stupid flame.

I would imagine some people in democracies must be wondering exactly why so many Chinese have been coming out in support of a regime that in 1989 was quite comfortable about machine gunning it’s own citizens, and no doubt wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

This was neatly summed up in this article today http://www.stuff.co.nz/4497123a10.html when you have a couple of generations who have been systematically brainwashed, what on earth do you expect. 

I have always thought the Olympics was a crock, and this years will be no exception. 

If the unelected dictatorship that run’s China really thought that throwing up a few flash buildings and holding a sporting event, would give them legitimacy both abroad and at home, they are going to be pretty disappointed at the end of it. Once the party’s over and the buildings are crumbling Chinese citizens will re focus their attentions on the many problems internally.

And Tibet, well just like Taiwan, give people the vote and they will make their own decisions. If you look around the world their are plenty of examples of previously ‘inseparable’ parts of a ‘nation’ going their own way, especially once they feel economically comfortable, look at Scotland. 

 

 

 

ANZAC day and the ‘Left’…

I was listening to National Radio on Thursday and a certain left-wing political commentator got himself very worked up about ANZAC day. 

His line seemed to be that government of the day had willingly sacrificed young NZder’s in order to help the Imperialist British prop up the Russian Tsar by opening up a route to supply weapons. With a bit thrown in about gunning down workers on the steps of the palace.

War is a horrible, but sometimes unavoidable thing, and although everyone probably takes something different away from the ANZAC commemorations, I don’t think for a second anyone thinks that the events at Gallipoli were nice or particularly successful.

It was certainly an interesting angle to find some sort of anti socialist plot in the ANZAC day commemorations, and not one that had occurred to me before. I know many in Labour have protested in their activist pasts against war’s such as Vietnam (another anti socialist war) so I suppose it makes sense that the hard core intellectual left would find ANZAC day a cunning plot to distract people from the machinations of the conservative imperialists that the Allies represented during the First World War.

Mind you, maybe if a few more guns had got through to Russia, that might have delayed or defeated the rise of Communism. The Tsar was no angel, but those who followed him could hardly be judged as a particularly successful or compassionate bunch of people.

It would be a strange little world to live in where just about everything can be seen in terms of a socialist struggle against the forces of evil!