Sunday, November 2, 2014

GPS waypoints from Spreadsheet with Gbabel

Hotpluging; I couldn't make this work however.

It doesn’t have to recognise the GPS as a USB device provided it will mount it. You can setup the GPS in the paths and gbabel will read from the files created.  The main task is to get the UTM conversions done which gbabbel does when the unicsv file format is invoked. The documentation talks about  a grid options switch following the file type in the script and suggests you set that up. The GUI has no options for file types but you can manually insert them into the script.
Write position using this grid..
This value specifies the grid to be used on write.

Table 3.1. Grid values for garmin_txt
# idxshortfile-headersample
0dddLat/Lon hddd.dddddS26.25333 E27.92333
1dmmLat/Lon hddd°mm.mmN33 56.539 W118 24.471
2dmsLat/Lon hddd°mm'ss.sS25 25 26.8 E28 06 07.3
3bngBritish National GridTQ 18919 69392
4utmUniversal Transverse Mercator33 U 318293 5637154
5swissSwiss grid776519 167359

Idx or short are valid params for this option.


gpsbabel -w -i geo -f /home/mark/Documents/GPS/geocaching(1).loc -i geo -f /home/mark/Documents/GPS/geocaching.loc -x duplicate,location -o kml -F /home/mark/Documents/GPS/Waypoints_output.kml -o unicsv,grid=4 -F /home/mark/Documents/GPS/geocache.csv

You can also setup multiple input/outputs and filters.  This means you might want to retain the GUI for post survey processing. For instance you can compare two sets of data and flag instance where a point is different between the two sets by a given distance.
The intruiguing thing is that it will work when the script is copied into a terminal (watch for illegal file names ie no spaces). 

The real thumbs up is that gbabel is cross platform and though all my experimentation is being done under Ubuntu this should run just fine under windows. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Forest tent caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria)

These creatures are contained within silk structures. They wander about inside them and seem not to venture out. There are areas of trembling aspen leaves adjacent to the nest that appear to have been grazed

Monday, September 1, 2014

Canadians and Congeniality

To call Canadians "friendly" implies volition. The congeniality they display is so innate and effortless  it almost passes unnoticed.  They are completely deadpan and very funny but inscrutable, to the extent you need to listen carefully to catch their drift.  A shared reminisce about youthful peltings of  US draft dodgers with crab apples, left me wondering if the point of the story was political or horticultural.

The local skate park was quite a shocker. The admonition to "Please use this park in a respectful way" was followed to the nth. Not scrap of paper or trace of graffiti. There is a broom leaning up against the sign which the kids use to keep the park spotless.

The R.I.P. is Bob McWhinnie who commands great respect in this community.

I was walking down the street and a guy hauled me into his house - he was desperate. He had done some home improvements and had a suspicion that there was a problem with tone matching.  Good job he landed on me ! I worked for Kodak for 12 years and have some background in such matters. He needed a disinterested 3rd party because all his circle would have bolstered his work. He needn't have been concerned - my imprimatur was right there. Hardly a surprise. He wouldn't have screwed up because he was Canadian.

But it soon stopped seeming weird. Pretty soon I was inviting myself into peoples houses because it looked like they needed help backing a trailer or some such.

It was bizarre and siren scary.  Canadian girls (18 - 30) in the flower of their prime don’t tart themselves up. A man's eye will pass over them and then double take and see the dignified cotton dress and the wild roses pinned in the hair and just go nuclear. 

A Canadian museum curator will unceasingly see to your education in the most entertaining and delightful of ways. 

I have fallen hopelessly in love with Canada and dream of claiming that I was raised by wolves in Yellowknife (or some such) that I could a piece of paper saying that I AM intrinsically Canadian and therefore cannot be be sent back to Oz because the word sounds scientific. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014


It is much easier to understand the ubiquity of these on inspirational posters, considering their size.

Seen alongside a hand it is apparent that these are much more eye catching than their tiny Australian cousins. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Kalispell, Montana

We crossed into Montana and it looked just like it does in Forensic Files.  We stopped in a town called Kalispell.

We visited Northwest Shooter where a very personable chap named Nick, took us through the safety points and familiarisation with

the TAURUS 1911 .45 ACP PISTOL (IN BLUE STEEL) and a 9mm Beretta. 

Being from Australia where they have insanely restrictive / punitive laws against owning any sort of firearm. Dad and I have barely touched a long rifle let alone a pistol.  Nick took us down to the range.  The 1911 despite making an, at first, unsettling BLATT BLATT, sits nicely in the hand and could be re aimed in about 1 1/2 seconds. After 100 rounds both of us were comfortable and confident.
We surprised ourselves by being able to stay mostly on 9s and x's - albeit at 6 yards. We really took to Nick, very professional presentation and clear instructions. All round, a likeable and engaging bloke. 

What a great day !!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Vancouver Airport

It was a long slog from Perth to Vancouver via Sydney. I arrived about 5 hours early at Perth since the flight out was the "red eye" and had a 5 hour stop in Kingsford Smith. By the time I got to Vancouver for the short domestic flight to Cranbrook I was knackered having spent about 10 hours at the terminal and 19 on the plane/s.

This was where things came completely unglued.

The amount of time allowed to disembark, get through customs and onto the domestic flight is under an hour. A fully loaded 777 - Late. Baggage carousels that pop the occassional desultory bag onto the frequently conking conveyor. Two lots of Customs. A long winding path involving a cuppla lifts. You are never going to make the connecting flight even with a fair breeze.

I wasn't the only one bumped off the first flight and all the rest that day they were fully booked. ~fingers crossed~ fourth attempt. I have a seat on the one that arrives at 21:00.  Another 9 hours hanging about.  I did however go into Vancouver for a little frolic on the Train and a walk about the CBD.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Coaster Bus

The old thermostat housing had corroded through and I snapped the bolt off attempting to remove it. I do have a spare serviceable housing. The clearance is 5 1/2 inches between the fan  and the snapped shank.
I removed the shroud giving me about a foot to work in. Drilled a hole in the existing bolt - it wound up  about 2 mm off centre. I bought an air drill and jst kept drilling into it until I had a hole big enough to tap 8mm. There is enough thread to hold the bolt.  RTV596 as well as a paper gasket will hold it. Minimum torque on the bolt. 

I also scored a reversing camera for the old bus.
The fix was good. Took the old girl for a spin round Malaga. Filled her up with fresh diesel - first in 8 years. All systems are go. Went up the hill brilliantly.

The linkages are not good up/down is OK . The gate slaps about however I shimmed the top end and it is much better.

Experiencing the first heavy rains -  God I LOVE thunderstorms - the roof leaks.

I have B/2B Engine Manual - PN: 98260

Saturday, February 22, 2014


For in fact what is man in nature? A Nothing in comparison with the Infinite, an All in comparison with the Nothing, a mean between nothing and everything. Since he is infinitely removed from comprehending the extremes, the end of things and their beginning are hopelessly hidden from him in an impenetrable secret; he is equally incapable of seeing the Nothing from which he was made, and the Infinite in which he is swallowed up.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Old Summer Palace she aint what she used to be.

This is where I waited until the fire had passed so I could walk back out through the "black".

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Multimedia Noob Doodle.

I have gone on a bit of a tech jag and decided to setup my computers to dual boot and have a fiddle with Linux and multimedia. I called the computers Badger and Mole but there is a slew of other devices on the network. The most promising is the Pi which I have setup as a sound recorder.  They are a fabulous bit of gear - oh to be 10 years old today !!

I put together a little clip from around the house. The song is a rather jolly little ditty which was very popular in the 20's. "The Japanese Sandman" (Nora Bayes, 1920 is a contemporary version. A bit stolid and theatrical for modern tastes. The Lauren Sharpe version from Boardwalk Empire is my favorite and if you have to have a song stuck in your head there are plenty worse than this one.

Linked  annotation is done from youtube editor  page - dead easy.

A Jolly Wallpaper

I have been grooming the big skink to the stage that it is almost hand feedable.  In various drill core farms, over the years , I have made goannas that tame in a week or so. Their smaller cousins are just as tractable it seems.