Clockwork & blue smoke

On the down side:

  • Start to mow the lawn. New-ish (somewhat underwhelming) electric mower seizes up, stops. When the receipt comes to light, Bunnings say:
    “No, too late, you can’t bring it back and get a different one, you have to take it to the manufacturer.”
    The manufacturer will give us a new one, so, not so bad.
  • Diconsolate, I go prod the power switch on my computer: there is happy in Teh Internetz. Nothing happens! Frowning, I turn the big switch at the back off and on again. There is an audible poof, and ribbons of dense oily smoke stream out. No warranties on that anymore. 🙁
  • Frustrated, but it’s time to pack my work stuff for the week anyway. My wonderful (if horribly expensive) Deuter laptop-backpack has unzipped iself and spilt its guts on the floor during the night. *sigh* I yank on the zip… and it comes off in my hand!
    …fortunately, when I get my gruntle back sufficiently to think straight, this turns out to be fixable with patience and Very Large Pliers.

…Still. *grumble*

On the up-side:

  • E gave me the most magnificent watch of all time!
    Daybird Watch Front
    It’s a ‘daybird’ self-winding all-mechanical watch with elegantly exposed workings. The spinning, glittering parts are powerfully hypnotic.
    The back is transparent:
    Daybird Watch Back
    Which enables you to see the self-winding weight turning as the watch moves.
    It ticks in a hypnotic way too. Fabulous!


We got snowed on last night!

At the road-stop at Ballan:

Snow on a car at Ballan road-stop

Subsequently (taken with out-the-window-blurrycam) police and slithering cars on the western highway:

Snow and police cars, past Ballan

_*SN0W !!!11!!1!*_:

Snow fallin

It was exceedingly nifty, and probably a Good Thing(tm) that E was driving.

Rails for Broadband?

O ye technical types (I can’t think of a better way to ask a bunch of sane technical people a hairy question than blogging it) how hard would it be to cram a high-bitrate, bi-directional signal into an ordinary stretch of train track? The length of said track could be tens of kilometers (metropolitan), or hundreds (rural, interstate)

The thing is, it would be truly sweet to have viable wi-fi broadband on the train, be it metropolitan commuter trains, or rural ones. To do this, one first needs to build a nice stable data pipe between a ground-based point-of-presence, and one or more big heavy chunks of rolling-stock per train which periodically vanish under the earth (or at least dive into deep trenches). After brief thought, the obvious answer is that there’s already a colossal pile of pre-existing cabling in the form of the tracks and overhead power cables (where electrified). Indeed, this is already used for signalling purposes and ‘train detection’.

The question is: can you cram 100Mbps (say) over it without lots of (expensive) new relays and repeaters? Can you do so without screwing up the existing system? etc.

Any insights/suggestions/links, anyone?