Tag Archives: Technology

Global Time Widget

Some time ago I found I was always looking up time zones and trying to work out what the time was where my email correspondents lived.

For a while I found quite a good solution to my problem with a circular gizmo which Reader’s Digest gave away free as a Promo.

Then I found an on board solution. The Iridium Time Converter. It worked well on a Win 98 platform.
I think Iridium then went out of business and the program almost disappeared. Each time I changed computers I googled for it and found it on a few websites run by Ham Operators. The program appeared to be fixed and never changing. An orphan with no long term hope of survival. But it still worked, even in Win XP.

Then I thought I would see if it was still available after having had my current copy for around six years.

I found a newer version! One which shows day and night in moving bands. It has Samoa added into its list of cities. It is basically blue rather than yellow and black.

The file is only available in two places that I could find so I have made its survival a little safer and uploaded it to a file storage site so it is available to anyone who wants it. It is a zip file and when opened lurks down on your task bar until you need it. (That has all changed!)


There have been changes since this post was made.

Now James McPharlane has reclaimed his program and is integrating it with Google Earth and making all sorts of improvements. It is so much better than it was.

Now (2nd July 2009) The New Iridium Global Time Zone File is here.

I wonder if it will work in Vista, on a Mac or in Linux Distros.

(I have updated the posting date as well which may make it a little more accessible.)

Major ATM Security Issue

If you have a debit card or an cardATM card you might want to change your PIN number.

I don’t know how they did it, but someone found everyones PIN (Personal Identification Number).

The entire list has fallen into the hands of the archive and it is printed here.

Mine is in this list … and so is yours.

Now anyone can use your PIN.

All is revealed over the fold

Continue reading

History of the Universe

Have you ever thought about how we know what we know about the Universe?

The macro Universe – that one out there that you look at day by day, and if you look at the moon or the stars, night by night.

That whole wondrous Milky Way and the Constellations and the occasional falling stars.

How do we know how far away are the sun and the other stars?

How did the Big Bang become a part of what we know?

I found this on Gary’s Blog. The original is one of a series of excellent videos on

What this doesn’t explain to me is just when did homo sap get around to seeing shapes in stars? To naming those constellations which we now know only as our “Astrological Signs”?

The Plaeides or “Seven Sisters” is very old because it is known as that both in Northern Hemisphere mythologies and in ancient Indigenous Australian tales.

Taurus appears in the cave paintings of the Ice Age in France and Spain. Yes, I know the Seven Sisters is a part of Taurus.

What of my Capricorn and all the others? When did they appear?

Yes, while I am in awe of the discoveries made by Astronomers and Physicists and Mathematicians, my interests are people and their thoughts. The origins of the myths we are surrounded by. The almost universal myths. It is time for me to begin writing of them.

After nearly two years I need to continue a train of thought.

Anchors A Way

Fremantle, at the mouth of the Swan River was the first settlement* way back in 1829.

It has always been a maritime town and the sea and its sailors are an inescapable part of the landscape.

Over the years, as the rocks and shoals were discovered, many ships came to grief.

It does not seem out of place that along a street near the foreshore is a row of anchors which have been salvaged from some of those wrecks.

That cross piece is called the stock. While the third one along is supposed to have a bent stock for stowage reasons, the one nearest the camera was straight.

Until the storm which sank its ship.

* I will write about Albany another day.

Happy Birthday, Spam – now FOAD!

Spam – the scourge of every e-mail inbox – celebrates its 30th anniversary this weekend.

The first recognisable e-mail marketing message was sent on 3 May, 1978 to 400 people on behalf of DEC – a now-defunct computer-maker. The message was sent via Arpanet – the internet’s forerunner – and won its sender much criticism from recipients.

Gary Thuerk sent the first junk email and it was to publicise new additions to DEC’s System-20 minicomputers. It invited the recipients, all of whom were on Arpanet and lived on the west coast of the US, to go to one of two presentations showing off the capabilities of the System-20. Reaction to the message was swift, with complaints reportedly coming from the US Defense Communications Agency, which oversaw Arpanet, and took Mr Thuerk’s boss to task about it.

Despite Mr Thuerk’s pioneering spam it took many years for unsolicited commercial e-mail to become a nuisance.

In 1993 it was named Spam by Joel Furr – an administrator on the Usenet chat system. Mr Furr reputedly got his inspiration for the name from a Monty Python sketch set in a restaurant whose menu heavily featured the processed meat.

Thirty years on, spam has grown into an underground industry that sends out billions of messages every day. Statistics gathered by the FBI suggest that 75% of net scams snare people through junk e-mail. In 2007 these cons netted criminals more than $239m (£121m). More than 80%-85% of all e-mail is spam or junk and more than 100 billion spam messages are sent every day.

April 1994 saw another pioneering moment in the history of spam when immigration lawyers Canter and Siegel sent a commercial spam message to more than 6,000 Usenet discussion groups. The Canter and Siegel e-mail is widely seen as the moment when the commercialisation of the net began and opened the floodgates that led to the deluge of spam seen today.

The majority of these messages are being sent via hijacked home computers that have been compromised by a computer virus. A lot of modern spam is deliberately malicious, aiming to steal your bank account information or install malware.”

Making Money

From An Untraditional Home comes this indication that blogs may be worth more than we think.

‘Neath Mt Henry Bridge

Originally just a road bridge, servicing a freeway, the Mt Henry Bridge was widened to allow the addition of rail tracks for the new Perth to Mandurah rail line.

It would have been nice if they had standardised the support pylons. This is an ugly, clumsy result.

The original Neath is here