Tuesday, 3 January 2017


In Australia the word "date" is often used colloquially to refer to your anus ... your arse hole. So when people speak of "Date Roll" they may be talking about a type of cake (which is a cylinder not usually a proper roll) or good old fashioned dunny paper.

Another pearl of Australian (and I believe British) english is to suggest to someone when expressing dislike for their idea to "stick it up their arse". Indeed this can be extended to the idea that someone else "stuck something up my arse" when expressing how your own fate on a matter evolved.

So with this metaphor firmly in mind I'd like to discuss how I feel about "updates" ... or as I often term it "up the date".

All too often "updates" are when companies push out (and you often can't prevent it) ideas which make you feel like something unwanted was shoved up your arse.

I've had experiences on this "dating" back many years, when a Microsoft "up the date" of Windows 2000 Professional essentially broke the relationship between CPU Fan and temperature sensors on the motherboard on my computer. I initially thought I had a bung CPU fan (because the computer went into thermal overload shutdown every time it was on more than a while) but traced it back to being "up the dated" by an update.

These days being "up the dated" is getting so common that we even have our phones set so that you don't download "up the dates" by 3G or 4G but we wait till we're on WiFi so that it doesn't blow out our quota.

I mean seriously folks, this has got out of hand. Things do not need to be "updated" that fucking much.

For instance I read that the latest "up the date" from OnePlus rendered issues to their phones:

so you got billed for having this jamed up their date, and then they pull it out (what and like and wipe it on the curtains ...) because it wasn't properly tested.

You often don't even have capacity to govern this as there is now precedent with makers obsoleting their phones by "up the date"

So you buy the phone, you happen to like it, yours is not presenting a problem, you've put hours of work customising it, you need it reliably daily ... you don't have time to take it back and suddently Samsung shoves it up your arse that you are going to be taking it back.

Wake up folks.

Given the massive rate of turn over on phones (to essentially do nothing more than cater to software updates that do nothing more than bloat things out in many cases) you may as well be just renting it.

Of course this is the best of both worlds, you pay for it (yes even on a plan) and then its junk in a little while. Meaning that essentially (in essence) you are renting it but you get less of the benefits of renting with none of the long term benefits of ownership ... oh ... I forgot ... people don't know what long term means anymore.

Yet you love it?

Seems to me people have been up-the-dated so long that they are suffering from identification with their captor.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

2016 INR data

Well, the last measurement for 2016 has come and gone so I thought I'd put up a post with an evaluation of that (for those who are interested in my findings on Life on Warfarin).

its been a pretty busy year with house removations, and then sales, and then moving to Finland all bundled into September, October. I've re-settled into life in Finland (as you'll see in earlier posts) and have been getting into cross country skiing and training most days.

As always the graph axes are INR (LHS) , dose (in mg per day on RHS) and the scale being the numbers of the week. There is a -1 and 0 because I provide a context from the previous year.

The usual seemingly cyclic ups and downs and a little "guidance" needed in the first 3/4's of the year. But despite a bit of a bumpy ride (for the dose line, for me I was fine) I managed to keep my stats looking good. For my own purposes I calculate an INR OVER event as INR > 3.2 and an UNDER event as < 2 So with that counting arrangement I was in range 94% of the time, a pretty good result by anyone's standards (and better than many clinics).

average 2.6
std dev 0.4
max 3.5
min 2.0
over event 3
under event 0
inRange % 94.6

I did notice that the last few weeks has shown a much reduced variance in INR which seems to coincide with being in Finland. I can't think of much else to clarify it as I drink about the same amount of beer per day and eat pretty much the same ... dunno. Either way my approach takes all these variations in stride and I'm pretty sure that if I was being managed (or should that be mis-managed) by a clinic (testing bi-weekly or worse) I'd be all over the joint and perhaps have been injured by it.

My range of 2 ~ 3.2 as mentioned above is even a bit conservative when dealing with the high end as the literature shows that I can go higher into the 4's without stressing about bleed even risk much.

However I've found that INR > 3 makes brusing more annoying (and I was using hammer and power tools a lot till just recently) and so I keep it a bit tighter than is perhaps essential for good health.

Basically its all been good, and my regime of weekly checking and my strategy of dealing with dose changes is working well.

Happy New Year to you all

PS as some people may not be good at reading graphs I thought I'd take a moment to assist in walking through the above two graphs and explaining a little. Firstly the INR vs Incident graph above shows its safest point when the INR is between 2 and 4.5

One can see that reading my INR graph that my INR was between 2 and 3 almost all of the time. Lets clarify that with just looking at the INR plot per week:

so, lets grab that graph (which has INR on its Y axis and put that over the graph that has safety vs INR with INR over the X axis

I've also "mirrored it" to get High on the right and low on the left (just as in the safety graph),
so you can see clearly that my INR range has not strayed into the "risky areas" at all.


Friday, 30 December 2016

take advantage of the future

One of the reasons I like to use RAW mode on my images (and have done for some years now) is to be able to take advantage of advances in image processing.

The same is true with Negatives, which I preferred over slides because I actually wanted prints not projector time. As time went by I was able to get successively better prints from the same negatives and the same is true with RAW digital.

Back in 2007 Anita and I were on a trip to visit my family in NSW in Australia. We stopped at this lookout after some hiking and the light was perfect. However I could see quickly that the JPG produced by my Nikon wasn't doing it justice so I engaged RAW and took another shot.

I tried to get a good image from that RAW file a few times over the years and was always disappointed by the processing tools available, but encouraged as they got better over time. First I was using dcraw then ACR, then Photomatix ... all gave interesting results that I liked, but each was somehow unsatisfactory in other ways.

Just the other day I tried snapseed on the raw file (converted NEF to DNG)

So, as RAW also stores the original JPG too you can actually see the differences between the:

Original Camera JPG

which is very black in the shadows, indeed has the look of a startled squid squirting its escape...

and the RAW that I've processed just the other day with Snapseed:

The clouds were darker and "menacing" as I recall and yet the visibility of the tree (the actual subject) in the foreground is present without being too saturated in colour or too strongly bright.

Despite this being a humble (by todays standards) Prosumer Coolpix 5000 (which was able to make NEF files thanks to a post-manufacture firmware update by Nikon) I was able to finally make a print from my image of nearly ten years ago just the other day.

If I only had the original JPG it would have forever been "well it was nice on the day..."

Images are memories and you can't often know in advance which ones you'll want to come back to as valuable. My trip to these places with Anita is more special to me now than I would have anticipated then. So I'm glad I knew enough to make the right decisions then.

I could say that of so many things ...

Thursday, 29 December 2016


Have you ever noticed that sometimes words get in the way rather than assist? I have come to learn that while convenient words can be both a facilitator and an impediment; its like the old adage: if all you know how to use is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail.

Choosing the right words can be tedious and getting it wrong can result in misunderstandings.

Yet somehow children pick up everything around them, from how to behave, through to how others expect them to conform to their roles (even such obtuse roles as gender roles) without you saying anything directly to them?

Perhaps even before they can say many words themselves?

Sometimes this is quite subtle and sometimes its quite surprisingly blatant.

The other day I was talking with a friend who has bought a new "hot" sports car. Her husband was driving it aggressively and pretty much having fun with their 3 year old daughter also squealing and giggling with joy and entertainment. Later on when "mummy" was driving a bit "tight" into some corners her daughter told her that she shouldn't drive like daddy because it wasn't safe.


Their daughter had already learned a lot about many things (including sex roles) without any of it being explained with instructions.

For some time I've been of the view that words are cumbersome things, but are there because they facilitate communication which can not be done any other way (yet), however they do far more than that as they even define our cultures and shape our capacity to think.

Have you had friends who know you well enough that you can say just the beginnings of something and they understand what you mean?

To me this is an indicator that you have moved past the constraints of words in your relationship and have a communication level which is often called rapport.

Which is sort of funny that we've taken a word with a different meaning from an older usage, dusted it off and put it to use in a new (but related) role.

We essentially discharge all of the meanings of what the word stood for and gave it new ones. Interestingly we don't do this with numbers.

Few native English speakers truly ever learn another language, but those who do often regard words differently and even how to express ideas differently.

Anyone who learns to program a computer either fails to do it well or learns to think outside "words" and think in objects, methods and actions ... even if they are using a non Object Oriented language.

Artists often communicate via their art in more complex ways, but of course it being a "language" that's close to the artist its meaning remains obscure to anyone who doesn't know the artist (and thus the language).

Words are powerful tools, but they also are somehow dangerous, as they limit our ability to think outside them. For many people the words they use define not only what they can say, but how they can think about things. Clearly many people have felt this and turned to other expression forms (like music or painting) to express themselves well.

One of the new media for expression and communication is motion picture combined with rich sound and careful scripting and direction. A well made movie can take someone and introduce an idea in such a rich way that multiple watches of the movie reveal multiple dimensions of depth and meaning to them over time (well sure, not many do it well). One of my personal favourites is the scene from Black Sails where John Silver is being taught about himself by Captain Flint. A compelling scene that is well directed and well acted.

Watching the movie Lucy the other night I see that I'm not the only one who sees things this way.

One of the things that Lucy does is to identify that thinking in specific languages limits her, but it soon limits her ability to communicate with others who are only actually able to think in words. She becomes able to see things and anticipate things which would be impossible for her to communicate with the constraints of words.

Words not only form our thinking but if we are not careful (and keep our thoughts only as words) slow us down as well as limit us.

Words as knowledge containers and transmission media

We could not teach others many of the things we know as a species if we only used words. One could not train a swimmer or teach the piano from a book, yet somehow we look to words as the codification of our society ... words as laws ... usually leads to arguments about meanings.

Some people are fond of of the idea that "if its in black and white" (meaning words on paper) then its clear ... how false that premise really is.

I believe that what holds us back from further development is the reliance on words for communication. I'm not sure how that will form up, or even if it would require us to become more specialised (like insects) to even achieve it. Perhaps achieving it (like it did for Lucy) would require us leaving our humanity behind us ... well as we have known it for the last few thousand years. Will that be good or bad?

Words essentially are auditory ... although writing makes them visual in a way. We are essentially visual creatures with more of our brains dedicated to vision than to sound. We even use words to express this and our need to "visualise" a problem in order to solve it.

Medicine (among other sciences) has benefited enormously from advances in the ability to see things. Lenses gave us microscopes with which we saw an entirely new world. As soon as we could see it we began learning about it ... but then making mud for ourselves by writing it down in an attempt to allow others to see what we've seen without them seeing it.

... as a photographer I've always been frustrated by the situations of people seeing the images I carefully crafted and then (one day when they go there) saying "wow, its so much more than I saw in the picture"

Learning is experiential, and communication is a learned thing too ... so perhaps its time to extend the boundaries of our learning and teach visual as well as auditory words.

Of course to do that we'd need to construct a visual language ...