Garage door

The garage door was clunking and was erratic in adhering to the “limits”, that is it sometimes banged against the stop  when going up or down, instead of at the programmed point.

The service guy told us that the mechanism that sets the limits was worn and couldn’t be repaired so the only option was to get a complete new motor.   Somewhat reluctantly, we agreed to this and in due course the brand new motor arrived and was installed.  Needless to say, technology has moved on, so we also got a new chain mechanism.   However, the results are great:  everything is much quieter and smoother.

As he was leaving the technician offered me a word of advice:   the mechanism needs to be serviced every year or so.    The reason for the wear in the old motor was because the various components, such as the door springs as well as the operating chain, had got out of alignment, thus putting extra stress on the control mechanism.

Lesson learned:   devices such as this need to have a little loving care now and then!


A good week at Westfield

Couldn’t help noticing that it’s been a good week for the Lowys.

First, Frank gets a knighthood from the Queen.  It’s a British award, and I guess it comes if you’ve developed two of the largest shopping complexes in London.

Westfield London (Shepherds Bush)

Then the Lowys recommended that the shareholders in Westfield Corporation accept a $33 billion takeover offer.

Well, actually the Lowy family own only about 9.5% of Westfield Corporation, but they’ll end up with over $3 billion if the deal goes ahead (although some of this will be held in shares in the bidder, Unibail-Rodamco).  They also get to keep an interest in the Westfield retail technology platform (OneMarket).

I’ve never quite worked out how the Lowys and Westfield managed to construct two large shopping centres in inner London, with no-one else being able to build anything like them.  That said, I think Chadstone is “shiner” and more impressive than either Shepherds Bush or Stratford (although whether or not that makes Chadstone “better” I’m not sure).

Of course, a big difference is that the London centres both have good access to the Underground and rail stations, whereas Chadstone has only buses.


At left - Westfield Stratford

Meriton and TripAdvisor

I mentioned that I’d received an email from Meriton via TripAdvisor seeking feedback about our stay.   The property is allowed by TripAdvisor to ask customers for feedback. The review when posted has a note to it that states, “Review collected in partnership with this hotel”, and by clicking through on the question mark next to this note,  it’s stated that the “business uses tools provided by TripAdvisor …. to encourage and collect guest reviews”.

I wasn’t aware when I wrote my earlier post that Meriton have been in trouble about the way they solicit these reviews.   It seems that Meriton had been “editing” email addresses so that guests who had raised complaints with reception weren’t sent an email inviting them to submit a review.  From the report about the Federal Court proceedings, it seems that about 14,000 emails were “masked”.  Wow, this number in about a year?

Given that at least some of the reviews now appearing on TripAdvisor are less than enthusiastic about some aspects of the Meriton property that we stayed at (such as the lifts), it seems that Meriton are now playing by the rules.  However, because there are so many reviews, any negative ones tend to be quickly smothered by the ones that are basically favourable. Within 2 weeks my review was on the 8th page  of the TripAdvisor review site.   For the record, we were quite happy with most aspects of the accommodation.


Well, lots of rain was forecast, and  we got some, but the forecasts primed us for a lot more.     I wasn’t at home for all the time, but it seems to me that, although there were a couple of heavy showers, these were quite short, and  from this report, it seems there was about 66mm in the city.    Apparently this is a lot for this time of year, but it didn’t really seem to amount to some form of a crisis (even though heavier falls were recorded elsewhere).

So, I really wonder why the SES found it necessary to text me with messages about floods.   These text messages can  now be directed at phones in particular locations, so I was left wondering how I “qualified” to receive them!

Some high rivers in the north-east

On a somewhat related note, in the lead-up to the predicted rainy conditions, I glanced at the Bureau of Meteorology’s weather radar map from time to time.   The technology that enables radar to detect rainfall is obviously interesting, although I don’t understand how it works.


However, I’m not convinced of its accuracy.  On several occasions, heavy rain was shown to be falling where I was, but looking out the window, all that could be seen was light drizzle.



I noticed that there were a lot of reviews on TripAdvisor for our accommodation in Sydney.  Many of the reviews were by “1-time posters”.

So it didn’t come as a complete surprise when I received an email from “”  inviting me to post a review of the property on TripAdvisor.

I have posted a review on TripAdvisor, but not as a result of this prompt.   However, prompts such as this raise the interesting question whether reviews which are prompted or solicited have the same credibility as unsolicited reviews, and whether TripAdvisor ought to facilitate them.   In one sense, if every guest is solicited to post a review, perhaps the sample of reviews is in fact likely to be broader than “self-selected” contributors to TripAdvisor, on the basis that “self-selected” reviews tend in some circumstance to be negative (that is, only people who have an issue are likely to post a review).  However, I’m not sure if this is true in the case of contributors to TripAdvisor, where I think reviewers who have a record of many reviews usually seem to be objective.

Just the same, when looking at TripAdvisor reviews, I always rely more on the reviews written by contributors who have a lot of reviews to their credit.

To India

We’re off to India soon,  and I’ve set up a new blog for this.  It’s here.

And yes, for the India blog, I’ve gone back to Blogspot.  Seemingly, photos on Blogspot can be a higher resolution than here on WordPress (although there are fewer options for re-sizing them).     WordPress have also irritated me recently by imposing an unwanted “rainbow” line across the top of the Dashboard page.   True, it seems easier to search old posts on WordPress, but for now, I’m giving Blogspot another go.   Hopefully I’ll have some wi fi access, and my rather ancient netbook will be up to the task of posting some blog entries.

In the meantime, this blog will go into recess.


An on-line booking

We’re planning to have a few days interstate later this year, so after comparing airfares and the like, I went to the Tigerair site to make an airfare booking.   The site was a little unresponsive once or twice during the process but at the last step, it seemed not to complete the booking.   So, I did it all over again!!   Then it dawned on me – I’d duplicated the booking.

Oh no, in hindsight it was all my fault.   True, the site hadn’t confirmed the booking quite in the manner I had been anticipating, but nevertheless, had I looked at what it more closely, it would have been clear that the booking had been made.

What to do?   With not a lot of confidence, I called the phone number listed on the website.   After listening to a recorded speel dealing with all manner of issues, I got through to an operator (obviously off-shore) after just a few minutes (more quickly than I was anticipating!).

And although it was fairly tedious giving every detail of both bookings, I was told that, yes, I did have a “duplicate booking”.   They’d been made 9 minutes apart, and, to my great relief, because they’d been made directly on the Tigerair website, Tiger would cancel the 2nd one and refund the money!    It might take between 2 to 4 weeks for the money to turn up, but they’d do it!  (see Update below).

A great sigh of relief on my part.   The world of on-line bookings isn’t quite as fraught as I thought it might be.  I wonder if things like this are not unusual, so perhaps it’s good customer relations to allow a little flexibility in such situations.

UPDATE:   The refund was credited to my account by close of business on the next business day.   Much better than I dared to hope!