One of my cousins, divorced from her abusive (and jailed) husband survived breast cancer had the problem of educating her two beautiful daughters to her high standards. She was at her wits end when salvation appeared in the form of her ex-husband’s brother, a successful businessman. He guaranteed that he would pay their education costs for the remainder of their primary schooling & the entirety of their secondary as well.
Plus, my cousin now has another man in her life, kind, passionate, loving & generous himself.
She deserves no less.

Small world

It was 1975, I'd arrived at a new secondary school for year 11 studies. At the first assembly of all 600+ students the teachers were introduced, including the new PE teacher, one Mr Burke, a fellow I estimated to be in his late 20s.
A month or so later, while shopping with my mother after school in a the next town down the road we came upon the aforementioned PE teacher.
Mum asked me if I remembered Denis, the son of her very good friend Dot, from Teachers College in the late 1940s, because that's who Mr Burke was.
Turns out I was about right with my age assessment of the fellow, along with other family members I'd attended his 21st birthday party eight years earlier.

Not yet Zoomed out.

A funny thing happened on the way to the AUSOM Mac User Group's Annual General Meeting: Public gatherings of more than two people were banned as a response to the Covid-19 crises. The group had been dabbling in using the Zoom video conferencing & collaboration app to save a frail but mentally alert country member from the rigours of travel to & from the Genealogy Special Interest Group she was conducting.
With the shutdown of public meeting venues we (I was a member of the organising committee at the time) decided to investigate Zoom in far greater detail, doing a trial run with another committee member's Zoom business account to run a meeting online instead of the monthly April meeting that we'd cancelled.
This was deemed moderately successful but more members needed to come along electronically, so we bought our own Zoom Pro account and ran with that. The physical meetings we used to hold at the main monthly venue used three classrooms with a new Special Interest Group starting every hour and running for 50 minutes with a break of 10 minutes between hourly SIGs.
With Zoom you can set up Breakout Rooms and allocate members to those rooms from the main meeting area, which we designated the Reception. This was "manned" by whoever was the designated meeting host.
When a 50-minute session ended, the participant dropped back into the Reception meeting, to be reallocated another session unless they wished to stay in the Reception or leave altogether. Membership numbers were down on what was possible & it was very apparent that we were all feeling our way through the various aspects of using Zoom.
That's when we set up Zoom training sessions on Mondays & Thursdays at 3pm & 8pm, with each session nominally running for an hour. Breakout rooms were used, depending on the hardware each member used to participate. Most were using computers but some had iPads. The user experience is significantly different between a Mac computer & a mobile device. It's best if a trainer uses similar hardware to the others in each Breakout room.
Those training sessions were attended by 86 individuals, representing 25% of the Group's membership base. A similar number attended the business session of the AGM on May 2, with 91 members & 3 guests involved throughout the day.
This is still not good enough, though. With Breakout rooms only the meeting host can move participants into a Breakout room. However, co-hosts (each Breakout room trainer was made a co-host) can freely travel between any of the Breakout rooms as they desire.
It actually makes sense for each participant to be made a co-host thus enabling them to go from room to room at will. The host allocates a Breakout room at the start of proceedings as each (co-host) member arrives in the Reception meeting, then they are free to go into any of the other Breakout rooms when the current session ends, thus reducing the enormous load the host would experience.
A problem with thirty or more people all milling around (so to speak) in the Breakout room allocation list is that list currently has no search feature, meaning finding the member's name can be tricky.
As the AGM over Zoom was declared a success, it was realised by the incoming committee that further training sessions were necessary to reach & teach members new to Zoom.
They have designated each Wednesday in May, at 3pm & 8pm to be Zoom training sessions. I missed one of the previous round of training sessions through general tiredness, but attended the other 15. I expect to be available for the eight sessions planned for May.

Jabbed in the car park.

Had my 'flu jab today in the car. The arrangement at the clinic is at or near your appointment time you park in the ambulance bay (enough room for two cars parallel parked) and toot the horn once. A nurse protected facially with a full-face clear visor comes out pushing a cart with all the accoutrements aboard.

She then approaches the patient & gets their name before heading back to the cart to get the sterile swab, syringe & bandaid. A very quick jab & slap on the dressing then I'm off.

As far as the nearest vacant parking space in the clinic's carpark to wait 15 minutes in case some reaction occurs. One such reaction is sudden lowering of blood pressure. Should that happen, I was to lean on the horn & keep it tooting until the nurse & a doctor arrive.

I experienced no complications.

Fiery Time

It was January 8th, 1969 and I was returning home from a holiday in the west coast town of Warrnambool, in a car driven by my mother and with my three youngest siblings.

Mum decided to take a deviation southward to visit some friends in a newly-opened dairy farming area approx. 1.5 hours from our starting point. This added more time to the expected 6 hour trip, we originally had 400 km to travel to home.

We did not know what was happening in the outside world, the Heytsebury farming settlement had only recently been opened up, it was recently cleared forest and rather isolated.

My father meanwhile, was unaware of our deviation and was getting worried when we did not arrive home when expected. He knew (which we didn't) that devastating grassfires had cause the death of 17 people who had abandoned their cars at a place on the Princes Highway called Lara, approximately 2 hours from home.

He had heard on the radio that day of a mother and four children who had died in those fires when they tried to escape on foot. Can you imagine his terror and horror at hearing this news?

We knew nothing of this, except that it was a hot windy day, scorching temperatures with a hot northerly wind to make things worse. When we drove through the Lara area we were diverted from the highway onto some back roads because of the devastation and damage.

We could see that there had been grassfires all around but knew nothing of the horrific toll. Mum made the observation that we might have been caught up in it all if we had not taken the southern diversion and added two hours to our ETA.

At the time we couldn't understand why Dad was crying but joyous when we had returned unharmed, if somewhat tired from the trip.

The five kids were sent off to bed and our parents told us of the terrible news about the Lara fires and how lucky we all were that we had avoided it all.

How to combine a USB-C hub with a bit of imagination.

March 123, 2020

I bought VAVA USB-C multi-port hub to use with my MacBook Pro. The ports are PD (Power Delivery); USB 3 x 2; USB 2; HDMI; Gigabit Ethernet; SD & micro SD card slots.

With a USB-C to USB-A adapter plugged into a Lightning/USB adapter and the MacBook Pro’s power supply connected to the PD port, the hub will work with an iOS device, by directly powering peripherals that would otherwise draw too much power for said iOS jigger.

I have some ordinary USB sticks that “draw too much power” when connected directly to my iPad Mini. These sticks show up in the Files app when connected to this powered hub.

There’s a disadvantage to using this hub with a Mac laptop: any peripherals connected while the power cable is in the PD slot will be getting their power directly from outside. The connection to the Mac is then power in and data in & out. Should the power cable become dislodged, then those peripherals are suddenly unmounted.

So when I use it with the Mac, I only connect the power directly to one of the Mac’s two Thunderbolt 3 ports. The hub gets connected to the other port.

What does this button do???

Stooging around with 10Centuries on the blog post setting. I have no idea how to use this but it seems I have 10 or 15 GB available, I think…

Fortuitous circumstance

I still don't know why I chose to vary my weekend visiting schedule to my elderly infirm mother who lives alone but with a good support network.

Normally I go on a Saturday afternoon after lunch & keep her company, sharing an evening meal and making sure she's OK before going back home myself. For some reason I chose to go today (Sunday after lunch instead.

At 1:44 pm I found my mother in great distress, face down on the carpet near her bed, with a duvet covering her shoulders and back. Sometime on Saturday night or Sunday morning she had fallen out of bed & because of her previous back & shoulder operations was quite unable to move from that position.

She was NOT wearing her emergency call pendant because she maintained she'd always be able to reach it if necessary. Circumstances have shown that to be dangerous thinking. Normally a friend visits her for lunch on Mondays, but this friend is having an operation on Monday & wouldn't have been calling on her this time.

Had I not varied my scheduled, who know if Mum would have even survived this time? She was cold, in great pain, alone, frightened and quite unable to reach a phone or emergency pendant.
Her next-door neighbour normally check up on her every couple of days, but she herself has been busy visiting he sick brother in hospital & just hasn't had the time.

I didn't know what to do when I found her. I hobbled next door (my own physical ailments mean I can't run) and with the neighbour's assistance, was able to keep Mum warm, comforted and safe until the ambulance arrived. It took eight ambulance personnel to get her safely outside and into the waiting ambulance - they had to drag her slowly over the carpet to reach the stretcher.

I cannot thank or praise these paramedics highly enough, such consummate professionals although, apparently not everyone feels that way, according to Simon, the first paramedic to arrive. People can be so stupid.

She left in the ambulance 90 minutes after I found her. I then had calmed down enough to contact the rest of my brothers & sisters. One brother was in another town 30 minutes away from the scene, he & his wife came back to spend a few hours with Mum. He called me just as I was heading back home, 30 minutes drive to the west.

She'd had scans & there's no additional back or shoulder damage although we must expect some bruising. They were just waiting for a bed in one of the wards to become free.

Another thing we as a family, with input from Mum, have to consider, is whether she's capable of living alone now. She may have to move into one of the assisted-living facilities around he home town.

Again, I still don't know why I chose to vary my visiting schedule.

My brother told me that both the ambulance & hospital staff believe that the care we were able to provide Mum while waiting for the ambulance was totally appropriate.