Friday, May 02, 2014

Penalty for not tapping the Opal card is too high

I've been a bit ranty lately about Opal cards. Not working from within your wallet; the wait even at our small station, even when there are only a small percentage of travellers using it; how much it's going to cost me for forgetting to tap on where there is no gate to pass through.

This last point I guess I could chalk up to forgetfulness tax - perhaps it will even train me to remember. A small price to pay I guess, two dollars or so penalty to rewire my brain. Not so costly as to make me do the wrong thing and jump the gate when I realise that I forgot to tap on.

Today however, I realise* that it is a little more costly than I imagined:

Not only do you get charged for a full network journey, but it does not count your trip! Remember that the "weekly travel reward" fare discounting system on the Opal card is based on paying for only 8 trips per week. That means this trip that was charged full price, and not counted in fact cost me $5.67 extra. This changes things a little. I don't know that I will be as inclined to do the right thing at a cost of five dollars.

The whole idea of penalising people for forgetting to tap on or off is a bit wrong in itself if you ask me, but this almost seems like double dipping with the penalty - I mean I did take the trip, you charged me for it, count it. Can't we just presume that most people are honest and charge me for the journey that I usually take? We could do this at the station window if you like - might give the station attendant that used to sell tickets something to do in this new system... The trip at least should count.

Perhaps it is a bug in the system*. Perhaps it will be one that causes quite a bit of extra revenue** in the system: I wonder just how many people are forgetting to tap and as a result paying for 9 or even 10 trips in a week. I wonder would Sydney Trains be inclined to fix this kind of problem if it will be a cost in lost revenue for them to do so.

I wonder.

* Okay, so I did just check on the Opal default fare info page and yes it does mention this. But only mention mind you, I think they should probably point it out more explicitly just how much it will cost you to not tap on or off. And I still think it is too great a penalty, until they have gates at all stations and the only way to "forget" is to "accidentally" jump the gate.

** So not a bug, but I would like to know what percentage of the revenue is trips that are accounted as "No tap to/from xxx"

Monday, March 03, 2014

correct horse battery staple

I have been bad. I have re-used passwords. Mea culpa. Sure I have lastpass and generate great, strong, long passwords for most sites, but what about apple id that I have to type in on the phone, or that I have to type in now to log into my windows 8.1 instance? It is just too hard to remember good secure passwords. Or is it...

xkcd password generator

I have pretty much switched over to using passwords/passphrases of this type when I am likely to have to type the password in, or tell it to someone else ( does not do shared developer accounts, I have to give the marketing guy my password so he can update the app description... but that is a whole nother rant) I just change over to it, still store it in lastpass and have to look it up maybe a few times but after a week it is stuck in my brain, and it stays in lastpass should I ever forget it. These longer passphrases are pretty much immune to shoulder snooping too, just too many characters to follow as long as you are not holding the device perfectly still.

So I was just resetting the password on as I was sick of trying to type in g2A16S0DDFt4efsv just to log in, and generated up something like "look double headed parts". But am foiled thrice by Microsoft's take on what is a secure password:

"Your password can't be longer than 16 characters."

Geez, really? You can't spare a couple of bytes? Okay then, this is less secure... it's not my personal account so - care factor - m'okay: "look double part":

"The password contains characters that aren't allowed."

Wha? Is it the spaces?... It's the spaces. FFS are you serious? "lookdoubleparts"

"Please choose a password with a mix of lower and upper case letters, numbers and symbols."

Well, okay that is probably a reasonable objection, so what do I end up with now? "l00kDoubleParts"

Wow. So easy to remember (see xkcd).

So your advice Microsoft is this: "Make a password with different cases and symbols, wait, wait, not that symbol, good, good, hey no, not so many." Strangely enough, it will accept "password1" which should pretty much be universally banned.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Two weekends ago, we had a luverly delivery in the office…

I took the cabinet in and we set it up!

I just fits in the patrol:

_MG_1886 _MG_1887

in the lobby

Connecting up with Han and Boba looking on:

_MG_1901 _MG_1902 _MG_1904

And finally, the very first game. (In the office.) Which was 1943!

_MG_1907 _MG_1906 _MG_1909

The End.


Saturday, May 21, 2011


That’s it. It is done. Just moved it to my place and tried it connected up to a TV for the first time. Looks and sounds awesome. Here are a couple of pic of the last things I had to complete, the drawer slide, and the handles:

DSCN2464 DSCN2462

And here, for the final time in the workshop, is the finished cabinet, complete with control deck:


Mic helped me bring it over. We had a quick session of 1943, Raiden, Galaga, Mortal Combat and Double Dragon.

IMG_1520 IMG_1518

I have to fiddle with the control mappings a little tonight and then it will be in the office at 1300 hours tomorrow.


Cable Porn

Hard-core wiring action, you can see its cable ties!


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Sunday, May 15, 2011

All done bar the handles.

Worked on hardware installation yesterday.

Completed the doors, drawer and latches:

DSCN2457 DSCN2454 DSCN2453

Attached the deck to the top frame:


One day this week I will pop over and put one last coat on the outside. Another evening will be given over to wiring in the spinner and the trackball. Then next Sunday is MAME inauguration day – I’ll put the handles on the doors and the drawer in the morning, then drive the thing over to the office for a bit of a Sunday arvo MAME Party!


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Last weekend…

Just a pictorial update of the work I did last weekend. (Got a chance to take a photo just now)


Oh yeah. It’s black!

The doors and drawer front are just balancing in their positions… That is pretty much all that needs to happen this weekend: hinges, drawer slides and base, handles, attach the deck to the top frame.

Last night I completed the control wiring for the sticks and buttons, spinner and trackball to go – will need to break out the soldering iron for those. I also had a bit of an issue with the I-PAC controller but after a super fast response from Andy at Ultimarc it looks like it is a case of pebkac and rtfm. Will fix that after the weekend and should be able to deliver to the office the following weekend. The TV might even be on the wall by then… perhaps Smile

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Wiring harness


Got started on the wiring harness last night, did a little more tonight. I have the common ground for all the microswitches in and the active wires in for the player one controls:

DSCN2438 DSCN2439

I took a couple more close-ups of the top side of the control deck. The player one controls, the spinner and the trackball, and the coin button!

DSCN2446 DSCN2442

With the player one all wired in I can now try the deck out. I am just tidying up the machine that will be running the emulator, getting the rubbish off it, and getting MAME and the controller configuration programs on.