Odd Software for Odd Jobs

January 2016

Port Macquarie, Jan 2016

The family just got back from four nights in Port. We stayed near Lighthouse Beach the first night, and Flynn's Beach the following three nights. We love Port - it's been a long term plan to move there from Sydney. One day!

Lighthouse Beach

I tried to capture the four planets over Port just before sunrise - if you can believe it, this is Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus (diagonally from top left to bottom right), taken on Lighthouse Beach. The Tacking Point Lighthouse is the light at the bottom middle.

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I quite liked this one - this is just Venus, again from Lighthouse Beach:

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The four planets also from Tacking Point Lighthouse, with bonus satellite:

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Looking out over Lighthouse Beach from Tacking Point - the rocks in the distance are where I took the photo of Venus.

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Places stayed:

4K Ultra HD titles

Cool - didn't realise that these would soon be available! Of course, you need to get a new Blu-Ray player. Compared to the normal Blu-Ray they seem to be quite reasonably priced.

For The Martian, at least, it's "Digital HD" rather than "Ultraviolet" (that I could never get to work). At least with these titles you can get an iTunes download code - unfortunately, the Ultraviolet seems to be more prevalent. If I have the choice between downloading in HD on iTunes (usually cheaper and released earlier) or getting it on Blu-Ray with "Digital HD" (a few dollars more and released later) then I'd probably wait for the Blu-Ray version. The picture looks better and you get the iTunes version "for free" anyway. But if the Blu-Ray version is "Ultraviolet" then I'll just stick with the iTunes download.


The Martian UltraHD

(image from Amazon website)

Waiting continues

My family has been battling with the Australian immigration department for almost four years now (I think). My widowed mum-in-law Sue has no other real family except for my wife/her daughter and her two grandkids here in Australia. She truly has no other family.

Unfortunately, her visa application was rejected. Our appeal to the Migration Review Tribunal affirmed the original visa refusal. And our request for Ministerial Intervention was rejected: no public interest, apparently?? This means my Australian-born self with a Masters degree in Engineering, my two Australian-born kids, my naturalised Australian-wife, as well as my parents in Brisbane and my brother and his family (currently in South Australia) are not part of the Australian public and what happens to us is of no consequence.

As she has no other family, and is on a small British pension, if she were to return to the UK then she would both be alone and unable to support herself.

She's been through enough heartache in her life that it's unthinkable that we could just abandon her like that. And as her pension isn't sufficient to pay for bills like rent as well as actually living, we'd need to send her money each month (which my family can ill afford).

Thus, a decision (or lack of) to force her to leave her only family here in Australia would pretty much force my family to emigrate from Australia to … who knows? This would sever the tie of my parents with their grandkids as well as with their cousins.

But, no public interest.

That would be disappointing - I'm Aussie-born & raised, as are my two young kids. And my South African wife is now an Aussie and loves her adopted home.

I'm pretty sure there's other countries that might value our skills - I just wish my homeland of Australia was one of those.

But let's see. We managed to secure a second review of our Ministerial Intervention request.

Hopefully, the Minister will see the merit in allowing a widowed pensioner remain with her family, and thus also allow my family to continue contributing the best we can to Australia (note, the visa costs about $50k plus a $10k bond, so she won't be getting in for free!)

Fingers crossed. It's been such a stressful past few years for our family, not knowing whether we're staying or going.

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