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Sakura!

Flowers have been on the pink cherry for a few days, but now there are enough that I think we can call it. Hanami has begun. Time to appreciate the blossom.

Sakura
Sakura - cherry blossom.

Lidl Pressure Washer PHD 135 D5

I was not feeling so great on Thursday. So I wanted to pop into Lidl in order to get myself a tub of that weird gloopy not-yoghurt.
It was supposed to be a simple straightforward transaction.
But... Lidl's non-food buckets...

Coming home with Yogurt and...
Coming home with Yoghurt and...

I didn't get around to the yoghurt.

After a windy rainy day, the sun came out (sort of) when I got home. Well, I lie. There was a brief moment of hurricane. The wind was increadibly strong, the rain chucked down, and about four or five minutes of that and then the sun came out.
<shrug>

So I got to work. The first nozzle I tried, the one fitted, had a rotating tip so it could go from a wide spray to a fine (and powerful) jet. It was fun to use, but a bit of a slog.

Smile
Smile!

Had I bothered to read the instruction manual, I might have encountered sooner the other nozzle. This did not have anything to adjust, but it was oddly able to swirl the high pressure water on its way out, which gave a more satisfying scouring effect. It still took time (the concrete outside hadn't been properly cleaned since forever), but I was slowly getting through it.

A light drizzle started, so I had to pack up for the day. In front of the post box? Done. In front of the door? Done.

 

Friday, after shopping, the rain (it had rained a lot during the day) had passed, so I thought I'd do the section between the post box and the door. It was only about a metre, but it meant moving stuff so I left it on Thursday.

I did that.
Then I did out along the front of the bedrooms until the end of the contrete.
Then I did the other way from the front door towards the cow barn until the other end of the concrete.

By this point my shoes were wet and I was covered in all sorts of bits of gunk. So I put my clothes in the washing machine and made cheese on toast and ate that while absentmindedly scrolling BoredPanda. I began writing this but, uh, got sidetracked.
Once the washing was done, bed.

Today? This morning I took the electric strimmer to the front to cut down the unwanted plants. Which were mostly random weeds and mint. I think it's Moroccan mint? Mom had a thing about mint. But I can't stand it, as in it makes me feel like wanting to throw up. Could explain why my teeth aren't great. A childhood of inadequate brushing because putting Colgate in my mouth would be followed by retching and trying to shove a plastic stick in at the same time. Mint... ugh... horrible.

Anyway, that done and the front swept and, ta-dah!

Front done
Out front, now nice and tidy.

I think the most astonishing thing is that I have cleaned this in the past, basically by spraying with water from the hose and scrubbing with a stiff broom. But when I did that, it came up looking white because I was only sort of slightly cleaning the top layer of gunk.
With the pressure washer, a whole different level of cleaning power, it has come up a lovely sandy colour.

 

At some stage, now I have this machine, I'll need to do the wall around back. It's green with... years of gunk and being in a damp place that sunlight never goes. I'll have to get myself some sort of protective clothing as I know that will be a mess.

 

As far as the pressure washer itself is concerned, it was pretty simple to hook up. On the front is an attachment for a standard hose (like the Gardena click-fit type), on the back is where the high pressure hose connects. The high pressure hose clicks into the base of a pistol. There's a piece that attaches to the pistol to make it longer, and the nozzle clips onto the end of that.
Turn on the water, squeeze the trigger until water dribbles out (primes the pump), then turn on the machine. The pump will run for a second to build pressure and... that's pretty much it. Point and shoot. At it's variable-nozzle-on-fine-jet setting, it's powerful enough to rip plants out of gaps in concrete, so I'd imagine tearing holes in flesh wouldn't be much of a challenge. Always be careful where you point it. There is, usefully, a little sliding latch to prevent the trigger from being squeezed. It may be an idea to get into the habit of flicking that when you put the trigger down. Especially if you have young children or annoyed cats.
Around back is a bottle for detergent, and the machine came with a little bottle of it. I guess that might be more useful if you plan to use the device for washing cars. I didn't think spraying detergent all over the place would be terribly good for the plants.

And, well, that's it. Pretty simple to set up and use. The only problem and concern I have is that the rather narrow pressure hose is made of a fairly rigid and stiff plastic that seems to like getting itself in knots. I'm not entirely convinced it's particularly durable, but it seemed okay for the time I was using it. It might just be prudent to take extra care of it, don't drag it across rough ground, step on it, etc.

 

Vassal state

While Mr. Macron's remarks were not the most subtle, and stretched to the point of ridiculous by some parts of the media... he does have a point.
That point being that Europe should be able to decide for itself what conflicts they get involved with, not necessarily be obliged to support one country stirring up trouble.

Of course, America - I'm not sure if this was anything official or just some random Republican shooting their mouth off in response - suggested that if Europe wasn't willing to aid America with Taiwan, then maybe America shouldn't aid Europe with Ukraine.
It's a valid point, but one that so completely misses the point that helping Ukraine isn't because any particular country said so, it's because it is the right thing to do.
Likewise, Macron never said that France (or the EU) should refuse to help Taiwan. They simply want to be able to decide how to do so and not be instructed by a foreign power.

A foreign power, it should be pointed out, who is increasingly anti-China, leading to something of a farce recently with balloons.
Now, it is quite possible that the Chinese government could force Huawei to implement ways of spying on other countries. But, then, it is also quite possible that America could force Cisco and the like to do the same sort of thing. God knows America is suspicious and paranoid. The recent leaks really didn't say anything that people didn't already know, except for a country that puts extreme value in "secrets", they're pretty shit at keeping secret stuff secret.

My personal belief is that "the West" has been content to live under some sort of delusion of "the spying Chinese" for decades. They steal our designs, they steal our tech, they make endless cheap clones that get sold for a knockdown price.
Which means it blindsided everybody that, actually, Huawei's tech is pretty good. They aren't stealing, they're innovating. Countries have been installing Huawei infrastructure because it is reliable and it does the job.
The American response to this has been extreme protectionism. Make up a story about how China could use it to spy (like, guys, did it never occur to you to get kit with the firmware in ROM so it can't be altered?), downplay Huawei's efforts to provide source code to show that there's nothing unexpected in the equipment...but there could be. Well, yeah, but you can say the same thing about any other bit of kit that can be updated remotely.
And, America being America, they are bullying other countries into tossing Huawei kit. For, what? A great sales opportunity for America? An inferior communications network for everybody? Because I simply don't believe this spying crap. Not that China isn't capable, or doesn't have reason, but rather that any country that makes communications infrastructure could do the same thing. America, with FISA and it's secret courts and secret decisions that are so secret you don't even get to know... have demonstrated time and again that in reality they're no different. The only difference is whether or not one considers the US to be benign or not.

Ultimately, the Huawei debacle may (hopefully) provide an important lesson to governments. Under no circumstances should your communications infrastructure be set up in such a way that any foreign government has influence or control over it.
Let's just imagine that France uses lots of X boxes. Cisco, Huawei, it doesn't matter. Now let's imagine that, passage of time, things get difficult. Russia, Israel, Taiwan, North Korea, plenty of problems that could kick off to be a much bigger issue. And, finally, let's imagine that France finds itself in a situation that could be described as hostile with the country that supplied huge parts of its infrastructure.
What a fine mess it would create if the response of that country was to remotely killswitch the equipment. If it can be remotely upgraded, just imagine the chaos that would ensue if the upgrade was "wipe the entire flash, reboot".

That's not to say that such a thing ever would happen, and I think France uses Alcatel kit, but it does suggest that one should be prudent when using foreign equipment in infrastructure, regardless of what foreign we're talking about. Today's friend could be tomorrow's enemy, it's perhaps only organisations such as NATO helping to keep petty squabbles devolving into outright conflict because of the "he who attacks will be answered by all of us" ethos. But note, this is for defence. It's much more problematic when it is used in the sense of "we are attacking, you're all obliged to join in". We're still dealing with the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq all these years later.

 

Econet card

I found this in a box.

ADF10 Econet card
ADF10 Econet card.

Once upon a time you couldn't give these things away. Now they're around £60 on eBay.
Interestingly there is an ADF10 issue 2 on eBay that only has four ICs. This is an early version that doesn't have collision detection. Those that do have six ICs (as mine above). These make for a more reliable network. The collision-free modules may work well enough in a RISC OS machine such as an A5000 as a 25MHz ARM3 is far more powerful than the 2MHz 65(C)02 so can resolve the problem without additional hardware, however given a choice, get one with the extra chippery.

As for this device? I guess... back in the box for another decade.

 

 

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David Pilling, 18th April 2023, 01:59
"de-dollarisation" is coming. The USA has used the dollar as a weapon in the Ukraine conflict, and others want to avoid the same fate as Russia. Expect a rash of new sovereign crypto currencies, including one from the EU. 
 
The rush to build up semiconductor production in the EU and USA is probably so they can abandon Taiwan, rather than stop trading with China.

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