Panasonic coffee walk, pre-release of Lumix S1 and S1/R mirrorless cameras

I almost missed the Facebook promoted event “Panasonic Lumix Christchurch Coffee Walk” as when I first entered the Unknown Chapter Coffee shop at 254 Saint Asaph Street in Christchurch CBD, the place was nearly full already and the noise of everyone talking loudly inside could best be described as a “din”. I wandered around and through the shop and out around the outdoor areas also. I didn’t see any “Panasonic” or other advertising and was at somewhat of a loss, so I walked around the outside area then went back in for a second go-around.

It was then that I noticed the folks I’d previously thought of as tourists with wheely-suitcases, sitting at a table where some of those there already had their own high-spec cameras out on the table. As is want to happen in a small city like Christchurch, as I stood by the table someone instantly calls out “Oh hello, Catherine !” It was, it turns out a former work colleague, Shane, back from when we both worked at the same electronics place in 2011. After ensuring that everyone was fuelled up for the walk ahead, we left the cacophony of the cafe, and went outside where Andrew shared around cameras from his Aladin’s Cave-like wheely suitcases, along with a range of lenses, (oh, and neck-straps, as he said, “don’t want to drop any of them” !).

I recorded a very short video clip, where we say our goodbyes an hour and a bit later, as this morning’s “Coffee Walk” around Christchurch comes to an end. Thanks to Andrew (we love you dude, even though you are from Auckland) and thanks to Panasonic NZ for sponsoring this morning’s event. (See my Youtube channel, KiwiCatherineJemma for the video “872. Panasonic Lumix S1/R Christchurch coffee walk”. )

The newly-being-released Lumix S1 and S1/R mirrorless cameras certainly seem to be lovely pieces of kit, which serious amateur and many professional photographers will find useful. They’re well out of my price-range, but thank-you Andrew for making these pre-release models available for people to have a try and evaluate on our walk this morning (including with a range of different lenses).

Apparently the lenses need to be an “L mount” type, of which Panasonic will have 3 variations available upon launch but about 8 suitable interchangeable lenses are already available through other providers.

Facebook had earlier shown over 40 people clicked “interested” to attend, but as it was a total of 10 people turned up (Andrew makes 11) although a couple were already well known to him, being representatives of local camera shops which are authorised Panasonic dealers here in Christchurch. All of the cameras and lenses got returned un-damaged so I’m sure that Andrew’s bosses at Panasonic NZ corporate HQ would be happy about that. Andrew answered many questions, including assurances that full warranty service support (in the unlikely event of it being needed) is offered by an authorised service agent right here in Christchurch.

The new S1 (24 MegaPixel) is apparently aimed more at users who will more likely sometimes also use some of the motion video functions while the S1/R (47 MP) is optimised for people doing entirely still photography. Note that the still photos in this article here, that I took as I trailed along behind the group, (and including the short video clip) were all made using my own Sony camera, (kindly gifted to me by a friend) which has enough features for me to still be learning them !

Thanks to Hugo, from Tauranga (currently a student of Product Design at University of Canterbury) who held the S1 model for me to get a still photo of it, and thanks to Dian who held the S1/R as I photographed it. Those still photos may not display on my Youtube but should display on Facebook and my ‘Blog (SouthernIslesReporter, of 22 February 2019).

Thanks again To Panasonic, and those seeking a high-end camera might well consider the Panasonic Lumix S1 and S1/R cameras. This is not a paid advertisement, but I enjoyed the coffee, thanks Andrew and Panasonic NZ. At the conclusion of the morning, we had to give all the lovely cameras and lenses back to the man from Panasonic (insert sad face here !)




Avoiding an environmental catstrophe, the importance of recycling our e-waste

Alan Liefting spent the first half of his working life as an electronics repair technician, however with more and more things becoming more and more difficult ,indeed near impossible to repair, some years back he decided on a change of tack and helped set up Ecotech Services.

Indeed many companies seem to have deliberately planned “inbuilt obsolescence”. Previously clothes washers would often last 20 years or more. Now seldom do they last much past 7 years. Sometimes it is us Consumers who are partly at fault, with some folks always demanding the newest most shiny new model of anything, whenever a new model is released. (Just think of those “early adopters” that queue up at midnight to buy the latest smartphone, which is almost identical to the one they already have, and which has more features than they’d ever use anyway).

Alan shared his wisdom, and a few funny stories, with about 30 folks present at the Amateur Radio Clubrooms that night. No hang on, I don’t think there were any funny stories, but… he told us about what a problem “e-waste” is nowadays.

Disposed of Electronics are known collectively as “e-waste”. It can include old televisions, microwave ovens, mobile phones, laptops, computers, printers and photocopiers, radios and tape-recorders. Even old headphones and cellphone chargers.

Many of these items contain hazardous substances, poisonous and precious metals in very small amounts. However if you can get those materials separated out, they can be worth enough money to make it worth your while.

Gold, Palladium, Tantalum and Lithium are among the most valuable, along with Cobalt, Nickel, Cadmium, Silver and Lead.

Aluminium is one of the most common, and perhaps one of the easiest to deal with and can be easily sorted out and sent for recycling, whereas although some plastics can be easily recycled, other plastic types contain poisonous compounds and cannot be.

Once separated, the streams of different materials almost invariably go overseas, to India, China or Africa.

New Zealand just doesn’t have the economies of scale, needed to make the extraction and recycling economical here.

Indeed even the labour for sorting and separating out amongst the e-waste, is helped along by volunteers, and some work assistance programs for disabled folks.

The old mantra from 20 years back, as found printed on various shopping bags and the like, was “Reduce-Reuse-Recycle”. Ecotech Services tries to expand that to “Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Refurbish, Repurpose, Resell and Recycle.

Unfortunately for some products there is simply no other choice than sending to the dump. Landfill. Rubber, especially the Silicone Rubbers are a prime example of this.

Aluminium is probably the shining success story, as recycling already smelted aluminium gives one of the best paybacks in terms of energy efficiency savings.

“Biometallurgy” holds promise for the future, using biological processes to extract expensive elements. However it’s only in its infancy at the moment and restricted pretty much to just the research stage, but with high hopes for the future.

Oh and yes there was one funny story after all. It deals with the longevity and toughness of, some at least, of our modern electronics (and the plastics which house them).

There was a tale about a Leopard Seal that swallowed a USB memory stick. The memory stick was later recovered by research scientists, who were studying Leopard Seal dung. After (what one assumes was a vigourous cleaning in disinfectant !) the files on the USB drive were found to be readable.

Thank you Alan Liefting for your interesting talk. I wish you all well at Ecotech Services in Sydenham Christchurch, and thank you for doing your part in helping to save our planet.

Trendy yuppie honeymoon, could cost footballer 10 years in the slammer.

Hakeem al-Araibi left Bahrain under a cloud. He claims he had done nothing wrong and it was a corrupt system that faked up charges against him.

He managed to successfully get asylum in Australia, where he now lives, staying well clear of Bahrain (a country well known for it’s very strict absolute monarchy which is enforced rigidly including with help from Saudi-Arabia’s military, if any of the locals start getting any ideas of democratic change or freedoms, they are crushed mercilessly).

Hakeem’s an ex-footballer and somewhere along the line picked himself up a fiance’/wife. Whether she is necessarily like those “trophy wives” that we see on TV that British footballers have, I don’t know.

Anyway, comes time for the wedding and following that, a Honeymoon. Fair enough, no worries there.

I don’t know where Hakeem al-Araibi was living in Australia, odds are Sydney, but hey maybe he was living down Melbourne way or up by Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Now for whatever reason, instead of just having a Honeymoon holiday somewhere within the bounds of the huge continent of Australia (or even Norfolk Island or New Zealand), Hakeem reckoned it’d be a good idea to fly to Thailand.

So he gets to Thailand and there waiting for him are soldiers with machine guns. Yep, that’s right, there’s an international arrest warrant out for him, from Bahrain’s court.

Now Thailand might indeed be a lovely country with many lovely people, and the exchange rate with Australia gives tourists about a squillion Baht for every  one Australian dollar. But it is governed by a strict military regime.

Hakeem was taken into custody about 2 months ago. He is fighting attempts to extradite him to Bahrain.

Now it is true that Thailand recently allowed a young Saudi woman to escape attempts to return her to Saudi-Arabia, by allowing her asylum attempt to Canada to progress (she had applied to Australia first, but their response was so tardy, that before they had even replied back, Canada had accepted her asylum request and whisked her away to safety.

However that young woman, (18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun), was highly media savvy and was beating the stuffing out of her smartphone, giving social media a right thrashing, so she had a much higher profile in the public eye which helped protect her and ultimately helped her to gain asylum in Canada. Rahaf was very lucky in that media interests in Australia picked up her story promptly from social media, with Australian mainstream media sending personnel to be with her, arriving within hours. Rahaf’s online photos and videos, showing her somewhat Westernised look wearing a tee-shirt and with unveiled face, probably helped her case appeal to the general public at large.

Hakeem is still being held by Thai authorities as he makes every legal appeal possible to avoid being sent back to Bahrain, to start his 10 year jail sentence, in what’s likely to be, little better than a medieval dungeon.

The obsession to travel overseas to a trendy spot for honeymooners, has come back to bite Hakeem on the backside.

Silly silly boy.

No, more than that, he’s a gormless twit who probably has velcro on his shoes because he ain’t got the brains to tie bloody shoe-laces.

Having scored the lucky lottery bonus of having won asylum in Australia, (compared to all those other folks dumped on Manus Island and Nauru for years at a time);  just for the sake of a trendy honeymoon-holiday, he has placed himself in a very precarious situation.

I feel sorry for him as he’s sitting rotting in a Thai jail cell laying square eggs, wondering which way the Thai military, and courts, will jump.

The moral of the story might be, that if international arrest warrants are out against you, don’t be a dickless-Dork, have your blimmin’ honeymoon in Oz.

Yeah for sure, travel  to Western Australia’s beautiful South West corner if you want. Or Darwin, or Tasmania (but not Townsville, they’d had a wee bit of flooding up that way, of late). But perhaps avoid flitting around to various Asian, or Middle Eastern countries which have very different military and political structures to Australia.

Below is a link from The Stuff website from 10 January 2019 about the Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, which makes brief mention of Hakeem’s case.  Printed articles dedicated to Hakeem al-Araibi’s case, seem to be far more elusive.

UPDATED… Hakeem has been released and  has flown back to Melbourne Australia. All of a sudden Bahrain withdrew their arrest warrant. It’s your guess as good as mine as to whether it was the “diplomatic” representations that were made by the Australian government, or whether it was envelopes of cash which held sway in the end.

Landmark study declares people who’ve already bought houses and paid them off, better off financially than people that haven’t

I’ve never read such bullshite in all my life. Who gets paid to write this crappola that’s turning up on lately ? The story I’m referring to (link at bottom) details a Sydney study which found that people that bought their houses in 1992 are better off financially than those who bought homes in 2015.

Those who bought in 1992 spend about 9.5% of their income on mortgage repayments whereas those that bought housing in 2015, spend 61% of their income on mortgage repayments.

Woopy-doo, so those that have been in a home for many years paying it off, and actually have the home partly, indeed mostly, paid off, are in a better  financial situation than peasants who are still renting and trying to buy a home, and also better off than those who just recently moved into a place and are stuck with very high mortgage repayments, because they bought into the market after prices had already quadrupled or quintupled.

Tell us something we don’t know ! Look I was trying to popularise the concept of electric cars, e- bikes and scooters 40 years ago and no-one would listen to me. Now they are a craze taking the world by storm amongst everyone who can afford them and wants to spend nothing on petrol ever again.

For how many decades am I going to have to espouse the idea of not-for-private-profit housing being made easily and cheaply available under a system I’ve called “Community Crofting” ? No worries, someone else will come along soon, with the same ideas, give them a trendy new name, and they’ll be given honours (probably a Knighthood) and a big fat paycheck and folks will kowtow to them and say what wonderful people they are. Remember you heard it here first folks.

Here is a link to the original article about those home owners in the  Sydney area.

NSW State Premier fiddles herself while young people suffer and die

For several years now, there has been call to allow the anonymous testing of pills which young people often bring along to music concerts.

Often the pills have been obtained illegally on the open/black market. Usually they are prohibited drugs like MDMA/Ecstasy, sometimes they might be prescription drugs from unknown or overseas sources, comprising dangerous amounts of harmful ingredients.

For several years the New South Wales State government has actively stood in the way of allowing safety testing of pills.

Just like the old Emperor Nero, who history tells us, played on his fiddle as Rome burnt,  State Premier Gladys Berejiklian has, even worse than sat on her hands and done nothing, she has actively stood in the way of any harm minimisation policies that could have been introduced.

Indeed substantial NSW state police resources get used for various sniffer dog programs around train stations and other public areas in Sydney. Police’s own studies admit the dog sniffing is over 75% useless with “false positives” and innocent people being stopped and searched on the footpaths,  yet money and resources continue to get poured into this known failed, strategy.

They’re probably trying to present a “tough on drugs” image to certain right wing parts of their electorate, but in the meantime, young people  suffer harm and all too often, die.

Given the deadly toll. the current NSW gubbermint’s stance on illegal drugs is appalling. Give people easy, anonymous access to medical tents where help can be provided, and “some” of that help, may include anonymous drug testing or “shooting galleries”. The help may include providing brochures on getting help for drug use.

Look, You can stick up lots of “say no to drugs” posters on the tent’s walls if that makes you feel good. Staff might be mostly minimally trained volunteers, but some could include qualified doctors, nurses or counsellors and so services like addiction recovery and counselling can be offered to those that want.

Compare this… society DOES NOT encourage or support people going crazy and setting fire to their kitchen, whenever their girlfriend pisses them off. However society provides free of charge, a Fire Brigade available a few minutes away in every suburb of every city and town. If ever you need the Firies just call 1-1-1 ( or 0-0-0, or 9-1-1, or 9-9-9 or 1-1-9 etc) .

They’ll come without judgement and help immediately, They don’t care, whether someone went loopy-loo and splashed lighter-fluid around in a drunken rage, or whether the roast chicken dinner just turned itself into a burnt offering due to someone mistaking the temperature settings on the oven Celcius for Farenheit.

The Firies will come and sort out the problem before the fire spreads and the house gets burnt down, and the neighbour’s houses, and  multiple people get killed.

Test the pills, protect peoples lives.

If folks need advice on how to live safer lives in future, give that advice. There’s enough things like cancer and that can kill folks in this life, we don’t need people dying because of a bad batch of pills or a burnt chook.

We’ve got systems in place to deal with kitchen fires. How about getting some systems in place to deal with bad drugs ?

Here is a link to an Australian article by the SBS. Note that some video content might not play outside of Australia.

Five drug-related deaths – Alex Ross-King, 19, Josh Tam, 22, Callum Brosnan, 19, Joseph Pham, 23 and Diana Nguyen, 21

Vikings or White-Supremecists Here in Christchurch ?

Well I just went to a “public talk” arriving about 5 minutes before the advertised start time. Even though they waited an extra 10 minutes, turns out I was the *ONLY* member of the public to turn up as audience.

Yes, correct, they had an actual audience of ONE. Me ! There were three guys there organising it when I arrived and another two of their friends turned up shortly after me. The flyer only turned up in the letterbox just yesterday. Referring to the Norse gods of mythology and the Vikings, it included amongst its text. the phrase “Northern European Ancestry” which can sometimes be code for “White Supremecists”.

So I did some quick background research on Mrs Google, (Just to make sure they weren’t actual Neo-Nazis).  Acknowledging one’s European heritage is fine with me, but I have no time for N.N.Nutters !

I had chosen a fake name to use along with my spare-spare mobile phone number and also a street address I know to be non-existent and even checked out what the postcode for that would be, in case I had to fill in any registration forms.

Silly me as I entered, I introduced myself as “Catherine” (why did I even bother with the false name and email then ! ), Anyway, as it was, there was no “signing in” or initial registration so I didn’t need to give out any actual particulars, false or otherwise anyway.
I made an audio recording of pretty much the whole session, (amounting to a talk of just over an hour long). Along with powerpoint slides presentation which were completely invisible because the laptop refused to play nice with the projector. Oh well, that happens sometimes.

My thoughts had included the possibility of writing a ‘blog article about of this talk. Well the organisers and their two friends seemed nice enough fellows, but without any other audience members for me to observe and chat with, this ‘blog article is likely to be a bit slim on the detail.
They offered cuppa tea and bikkies at the end, but I limited myself to just a drink of water as I’d planned to meet a friend for lunch, shortly thereafter.

This ‘blog article publication is on programmed delay, to allow me if I want, to attend the next 3 sessions over the next 3 weeks, as just a general audience member. It will be interesting to see if any more folks attend the later sessions.

They said that the 8,000 professionally printed colour flyers they’d imported from Holland got held up at NZ Customs and the black-and-white flyer I got in my letterbox was one of a comparative few produced at the last minute. As the other flyers are now here, in plenty of time to be distributed, there could well be a far larger audience for next week’s session.

Sunday’s meeting on the 13th January 2019 had another audience member, giving a total of 7 people attending, including the organisers and their friends.

On Saturday the 19 January and a total of 14 people attended. The projector worked well and we got a substantial lesson (including with handout sheets) on how the alphabet of Runes worked, and how closely it was related to our current alphabet. Note it was already my understanding that the earliest versions of what we might call “old English” was written with Runes and only later was it changed to being written with our Roman derived alphabet.

Sunday the 27th of January was the last of the scheduled meetings. Before the meeting started, as a form of introduction  a film was playing in the background, showing what appeared to be a concert held in a cave in  Iceland  with a huge audience (possibly 1,000 or more)  and singing in a Norse language. Although a full professional camera on an expensive tripod  apparently recorded the event, the film segment we saw came from a secondary camera. What we saw and heard was quite interesting, however I think the secondary camera operator was drunk and he had altered internal settings as the lighting was seriously up the wazoo.

A total of 14 people again, attended this warm sunny Sunday evening. We were presented with  a talk including an audio visual display with information about previous meteorite strikes or comet incursions that could have been responsible for climate effects causing substantial human casualties in pre-historic times. There was also comments made about how early historic records could not be relied upon  to be 100% accurate.

There was some spirited questioning at the conclusion of the presented talk and onscreen slides.

In summary, the fledgling Asatru Folk Assembly as it has been meeting in Christchurch seems to be ordinary people with a genuine interest in learning the old ways of early Northern European and Scandinavian peoples, including the alphabet writing system of Runes and those early peoples’ beliefs and interpretations of gods.

I have NOT encountered any White Supremecist or Neo-Nazi messages within the public sessions I attended. I wish those at Asatru Folk Assembly all the best as they continue to research and learn about the history of early European peoples and their ways.

Christchurch’s fledgling Asatru Folk Assembly can be contacted through their Facebook sub-group at “Fensalir Kindred” on Facebook.

article by self admitted Kiwi bludger in Oz on NZHerald website… but story sounds suss to me

Australia changed their laws back in about 2001, so that although any Kiwis (without a criminal record) can still enter there, and have a right to live and work, but they are NOT eligible for most forms of government assistance. This has included one-off emergency assistance after being caught in bushfires for example.

Yes they do still get urgent medical care as may be required, through Australia’s Medicare system.

Recently a story appeared in the NZHerald online, it quotes from a Facebook source where a woman (who says she arrived in Australia in 2015) made a posting thanking Australia for so generously supporting her and her family.

There is generalised talk about how food and petrol is cheaper (but no mention about how car registration in Australia runs about $600 a year (or more !) because of their lawyer based sue-you-in-court system, as opposed to NZ’s A.C.C. no-fault system for personal injury medical liability).

She claims to have gotten $35,000 as part of a first home buyer subsidy.

Claims that schools and tertiary education to level 4 is free for them all. (I thought they’d clamped down on that ?)

And says about all the child subsidies they get. (Not sure, but does that mean she just lies on her back all day and all night and pops out more and more sprogs so as to claim the multi-thousand dollar each, “baby-bonus” for doing her bit in adding to Australia’s already terrible, over-population crisis ?)

She thanks the Australian government for paying her Superannuation (= “Kiwisaver” or “401-k” equivalent) but in Australia, that contribution, which is currently 9.5% but due to increase, comes directly from the employer (in NZ the most a worker can get is 3% from their employer, and even to get that, the employee has to forgo 3% of their own nett wage first).

She says she’s working full time, but before that refers to getting lots of “concussions (sic) with my health care card”. The HCC used to be made of cardboard and just for unemployed folks claiming welfare and some workers on especially low incomes. Apparently now they are so heavy as to cause head injuries !

Curiously she claims about all the penalty rates they get paid on Saturdays and Sundays, but I seem to recall just in the news lately, the bigwigs in the Federal Rightwing government smiling away merrily as they cancelled penalty rates, especially as it related to the poorest workers who counted on it the most.

She also says her elderly Kiwi parents can get a full old-age pension in Australia. Really ? That’s news to me !

Is the article just seriously out of date or did the woman involved simply spin a tale of porky-pies for her own glorification on Facebook ?

Or do I need to pack my suitcase immediately and hot-foot it to my nearest airport headed Westwards ?

Here follows a link to the article on the NZHerald online site. Be aware that stories on the site may be changed or removed at a future date.