Is this some standard PSU?

24P6820

So the power supply on my MythTV server died last weekend with a bang. I'm hoping it didn't take all the other hardware with it, but first I need to get a replacement PSU in there. One nice thing about IBM hardware is the extensive documentation which tells me the power supply is Field Replaceable Unit (FRU) 24R2555 or 24P6820. All well and good, except the places selling these things online either don't ship to Australia or insist on maximum-cost couriers like UPS or Fedex, so a US$20 part ends up costing well over US$100. An eBay seller in the UK changed his mind and cancelled the sale after discovering postage was going to be £60 rather than the £25.90 he'd quoted me.

So can anyone, perhaps someone who knows their way around the bowels of IBM documentation better than me, tell me if this power supply follows some kind of standard I can source somewhere other than official Big Blue? It doesn't follow the same form factor

Pro-censorship Morans

You really couldn't make this up. The pro-censorship brains trust has descended on article about a death threat received by an anti-censorship campaigner.

SALLY of TOOWOOMBA Posted at 12:54pm today

PORNAGRAPHY IS A SIN AGAINST GOD AND JESUS AND WE NEED THIS FILTER TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN FROM THE INTERNET. THE INTERNET IS CORRUPTING OUR CHILDREN WITH ALL THE PORNAGRAPHIES AND THE WEBSIGHTS. ONLY THRUOGH GOD CAN WE BE SAVED. IF YOU LOOK AT PORNAGRAPHIES YOU WILL NOT BE ACCEPTID INTO GODS KINGDOM. THE FILTER NEEDS TO STOP ALL BAD WEBSIGHTS, AND IT SHOULD STOP COMPUTER GAMES TOO. GO READ A BOOK INSTEAD, MORANS. OR READ THE ONLY TRUE BOOK, THE BIBLE.

Fixing a laptop cooler

Laptop cooler similar to the one I bought

Our laptop had some problems with heat in the recent spate of Summer temperatures. I pulled it apart and gave it a vacuum. Sure enough, lots of dust and a fair few dead cockroaches. To prevent a recurrence, I bought one of those "laptop cooler" products which prop the laptop up and blow air up and over it.

Problem is, the one I bought had little blue "bling" LEDs and really loud fans. The LEDs make me feel like one of those pindicks from the suburbs with a Honda Civic that goes Uuntz Uuntz Uuntz, with a spoiler and an exhaust pipe that leaves you in no doubt where my own anatomy is deficient. The fans were just annoying. Any time I was using the laptop late at night, it annoyed me: bright lights that really wasn't needed, and a bit of a low roar from the fans.

Kneel before my 31337 soldering skillz

So I snipped off the wires leading to the LEDs, which solved that problem. And I put a little variable resistor into the path of the fans, so I can control the speed. I used a 50K logarithmic pot, and now think I should have used a lower value or a linear. Still, works fine.

So now no bling lights, and the fans are dialed down to not make much noise but still move plenty of air. All for the price of a variable resistor, which was about $2.50.

Bling free

Beer's Estate Marrickville

Beer's Estate Marrickville sale 12th December 1891

I managed to find a poster for the original sale of the land our house sits on from 1891 in the National Library of Australia's catalogue. $35 later and I'm the happy owner of a CD with a ridiculously high resolution scan of it.

Some interesting details in the picture. There's a road at the NW end of the street, which must have gone through Henson Park. The street numbering has clearly been reformed at some point, as it appears they numbered in the old style, with the numbers going around in a horseshoe rather than odd on one side, even on the other. And there seems to have been a tram line along Victoria Road. That would've been handy! Thanks Heffron and Cahill!

Explaining to an 8-year old

I've been babysitting my niece today and we got to watching a Goodies DVD I have. After getting through three episodes on one disc, she insisted on watching the South Africa episode. Now The Goodies are good entertainment in the same way as The Simpsons. There's enough dick and fart jokes, and physical humour, for the kids. And there's enough clever, intelligent humour for the adults.

The South Africa episode is a little different though. First I had to explain what Apartheid was all about, and why the rest of the world was boycotting and making fun of the white South Africans. But then how do you explain the cultural significance of blackface to an 8-year old growing up in a (somewhat) more tolerant era? (Hell, there was a biscuit called "Golliwog" sold by Arnott's in Australia in my childhood.)

So that was an amusing insight!

All Tomorrows Parties Cockatoo Island

The spectacular Turbine Hall

On Saturday we went to the All Tomorrow's Parties festival on Cockatoo Island, curated by Nick Cave and the Bad Seas. Loads of fun and it was certainly nice, for grumpy old man, to be at a festival with adults. As Bernard Zuel puts it, Not one on-drugs-for-the-first-time-ooh-yeah!! teenager is seen.

The highlight of the day was, of course, Nick Cave. He's one of the world's best performers, with one of the world's best bands. One of those artists you can never tire of seeing.

Afrirampo were, as expected, mad girls from Osaka. Crazy weird stuff starting with a crowd singalong of "I want to have party at Nick-o Cave's house in Melbourne, with family". Strange weirdness.

Harmonia were surprising. With members from Neu! and Kraftwerk, I expected more gutteral teutonic screaming with angle grinder accompaniment. Instead it was more Tangerine Dream meets The Orb.

After Nicks's set, we wandered over to catch the start of Fuck Buttons. Like the album, their set started harmonious and haunting, and gradually became much noiser. Then we wandered over to the Turbine Hall, which goes from interesting to amazingly industrial with darkness and appropriate lighting. Silver Apples seemed to be an old guy making wacky electronic music with home made instruments. Really bloody good, actually!

Fantastic festival. The weather was perfect: not too hot, not too cold. Crowd felt exactly right, kind of Newtown decamps to the Harbour for the day. The music was awesome. Quite interested to see who they pick next year, and I hope they are successful battling the whingers of Hunters Hill and can have the festival on the island again next year.

Do Not Call means just that

We've received two telemarketing calls from the Police Citizens Youth Club soliciting donations in the last week. Being a charity, they're legally excluded from complying with the government's Do Not Call Register. So they can't be fined for ignoring my stated preference of not being called by telemarketers, but they need to understand that they're giving their organization a bad name by ignoring the list.

Yesterday I used the online form on their site to complain about their telemarketing activities, and to point out that I will now never donate money to the organization. Very quickly I got a response from a Reg Woodleigh:

Thank you for your request.

Unfortunately we do are not able to access this register, and if we were, then we would be happy to honor these requests as it is not in our interests in community support to ring people who prefer not to be called.

For this reason, we maintain a 'House' register. If you can provide a telephone number, we are able to add you to this, and ensure no further calls are made to that number.

I got this initial response really quickly afterwards, but my request for clarification of why they can't access the register (using the signup form on the government's web site, perhaps?) but I haven't received an answer. I can only assume this guy was lying, and the organization is happy to stomp all over the preferences of the people they call.

Rather shortsighted, don't you think? And you expect me to go to every charity in the country and register that I don't want to be called?