Record Player

Today's breakfast conversation between me and the kids

"and they jumped on a record player and spun around and…"
me "wait, do you know what a record player is?"
syd "yup"
calvin "yes"
me "what does it do?"
syd "it plays records"
calvin "well, you put a huge black thing like a CD on it, and then it has a needle and you put the needle in one of the… there's scratches all over the big black cd thing, and the needle stays in one of the scratches and gets closer and closer to the middle until the song or whatever is done, and then it's over."

this coming from two kids who saw a typewriter in a museum and went nuts over it.


All Christian Parents Should See This

I rarely do anything other than report on what we're doing here, on this blog.

Recently our church services have been playing videos of different preaching because it takes a lot of work to organize a church service every week when you have no staff dedicated to it. So occasionally a video will be shown.

I saw this sermon (you can listen or download the video)

The main GIST of the message is that parents should not give their children a heritage of believing that being a Christian is following a set of rules.

They should instead endeavor to teach their kids about a relationship with Christ.

It's a huge challenge, and if you listen/watch it may challenge your approach at parenting a bit.

I personally have inherited a wonderful heritage from my family that has taught me the value of prayer, the desire to seek a relationship with Christ, and I do not feel bound by rules and traditions although I honor them, I do not feel they define my salvation.

Many people I know have 'left the church' or 'turned away from God' because their entire understanding of Him is that He gives them rules that they don't fully like or understand.

It's a sad scenario. To lose out on the wonder that is Christ and knowing Him is a tragedy.

One of the things they say about going to the mission field is that you are confronted with things in ten years that would take most people 100 years to be confronted with and as a result your faith is forced to grow quickly.

I have become so addicted to seeing Christ move in my life and around me!! Watching Him work is incredible, and brings me closer to Him. But last night it dawned on me, that many people are losing out on that opportunity simply because they see Christianity as a religion of rules.

The true wonder of this life, is getting to know Christ just enough through our sin clouded bodies, that we want to get to know Him a LOT more later when we're untethered and unshackled in heaven!!!


Stuff I learned

the photo is for fun, lots of war wreckage can be seen in these parts.

For those that are concerned that my skill level might atrophe while here, I thought it might be fun to list out all the things I have learned since January.

In 4 months I have learned the following technologies that I have NEVER seen before:

-Packeteer - how to do packet shaping - We deployed it and I became the resident 'expert' on the topic... the deployment was so successful we were able to improve our network performance by a lot.

-PPPoE - I've only heard of it until now, and now I've setup a server and tested it

-Captive Portal - the concept was familiar, but now I'm intimately informed about this... think Starbucks hotspot.

-FREERADIUS - the leading radius server out there, and now I know it very very well.

-PFSENSE - having never used this box before, I'm very familiar with it now

-VMware VSphere - I'm an admin now on a cluster and have imported many vm's and we've together migrated to an 90% virtual environment!!!

-Net Scopia - a new application for video/audio conferencing that we're testing out.

Many of these technologies are currently leading in the industry, and many of them would be necessary skills for a network technician who wanted to work for say, an Internet Service Provider.

I however have no intention of updating my resume because I enjoy working in the Lord's employ. While learning and using these things has required a lot of my grey matter lately, I have enjoyed learning new things, and wanted to inform anyone who was concerned, that my Lord is keeping me challenged, and up to date. As He always has. I owe every one of my skills and abilities to His guidance. I will boast in the Lord for taking an average mind like mine, and jamming all this stuff into it, admittedly at times, against my will. But in the end He has made me a useful person and I do very much enjoy being useful.



today I was configuring ldap authentication on freeradius for the middle A of the AAA model... anyway... I came to edit the nsswitch.conf file, something I haven't done for nearly a decade....

and this warm feeling washed over me, like a warm blanket,
and I realized ...'aaaaaah... I'm working in unix again. It feels like home.'.

total.... GEEK..... moment.



been having a long few days of experimenting with Captive Portals and Ubuntu.
CoovaChilli, and more.

So.. I decided to take a 2 minute break and enjoy...


When was the last time you had a graham cracker?
Well these Bush biscuits (biscuit is Australian for cookie), are about the size of your hand, and they're thick, and dry and sweet.

And until you've eaten them for a few months, you don't really like them.

Still it's a staple snack over here for me... and something I enjoy with hot tea at 10am and 3pm.

That's right, at work a whistle blows and everyone is free to take a 15 minute tea break.

The last one I took was a few months ago, as I typically don't stop working for TEA because I'm knee deep in some issue.

But today I took 2 minutes, and ate a bush biscuit.

em tasol.
(that's all folks).


Iphone Jury Rig

My latest Jury Rig.

Cell Phone Sim Card

Trying to unlock an iphone 4 and migrate from an old (donated) iphone 2g.

The biggest problem is my iphone wouldn't' unlock… until today.
The second problem is our carrier here, doesn't make micro sims, which the iphone 4 requires.

Most people might say 'well cut it to match' but it's not that simple, Digicel uses the OLD sim cards… so here's what I did.

I live way out in the highlands where we can't get mail or …well anything quickly. So what to do when my new Gevey sim card hack came in the mail?

Well, first, I had to get a micro-sim to fit. Seeing as how mine wouldn't, I posted on the 'wanted' newsgroups and a neighbor actually had the RIGHT kind of SIM!! YES! I didn't have to wait a month to get a new one.

So I got it, and then compared it to my old AT&T micro sim and used my leathermans tool to make the cuts.

I had to make the TOP card look like the bottom card in order to make it fit into my phone. A few well placed cuts later and I did. Making sure to match up the lines of the metal portions.

I put the new micro sim into this device, the Gevey.

After going through all the steps to activate the Gevey it dawns on me that my new sim hadn't been activated or possibly was expired and I didn't know the number of it… and since my phone is not yet unlocked I couldn't make the necessary calls.

Now I have a microsim and no other working device to put it into to make the calls. NO ONE ELSE ON CENTER had a device that would take a microsim….

I took the plastic card the original sim came in.

and cut a piece out of it
and shaped it like a regular sized sim (The top card in the top picture).

But then I cut a microsim shape out of it, very carefully so as not to cut myself or ruin the 'adaptor' I was making.

THEN, I put my homemade sim adaptor into the phone's sim cradle, and snuggled in my microsim into it.. and put it into my old phone, and made all the calls necessary to activate the card.

Then all I had to do what pop it out and pop it into my new phone.


Tools needed:
-1 Leatherman multi-tool
-2 phones
thankfully no bandaids.

If I were in the states, I'd have walked into the closest Tmobile store and asked for a proper micro sim, and it would have taken me 30 minutes.

this process took me a little closer to 2 hours. But I prefer to call it being resourceful.



2010 HIV update.. 33.3 million people living with HIV in the world.

Does that number strike a chord in anyone?

here are some PNG stats on HIV and AIDS... this is all public record.

By Dec 2009 – 28,294 reported cases of AIDS (source: New Zealand AIDS Foundation)
An estimated 1,300 people died of AIDS-related causes in 2009
Approx. 2,400 adults were newly infected in 2009 – 200 each month
Approximately 800 children were newly infected in 2009 – 67 each month
Total estimated new cases each month is 267.
Currently 0.92% of the PNG ADULT population is HIV positive (lower than previously estimated due to improved sampling of the population, especially through antenatal clinics), although this is higher in the Highlands (1.02%) and Southern (1.17%) regions.
Estimated to be about 34,100 HIV+ persons living in PNG in 2009
Approximately 3,000 children in PNG were living with HIV in 2009.
Antenatal testing has greatly increased, from 17 centres conducting the testing in 2005 to 178 in 2009.

The rate is now higher in rural than urban areas and growing fastest in rural PNG.
HIV is reported in all provinces and districts in PNG.
Generalised epidemic – that is it is in all segments of the population, not just high risk groups.
Women are infected at a younger age than the men – but of those infected half are women, half men.
Currently PNG has the highest rates of HIV and other STIs in the Pacific area and for HIV is the 4th in the Asia-Pacific region (after Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia).
Reasons for the Spread of HIV in PNG
Gender inequality and violence against women
Forced sex within and outside of marriage is common
70% of women report being beaten by their husbands.
Women will sell sex for very little – buai, entrance to a video parlour or game room, cigarettes, alcohol or drugs and money. Some girls will sell their bodies for 2-4 kina.
The favorite age of girls (based on personal discussion with many men) is 14-16 years old.
Men and women both have multiple sexual partners – often concurrent.
Polygamy is a long standing part of the culture for men
“Big man” syndrome in which men gain importance by the number of women they have, especially younger ones.
Men often work away from home in logging or mining or as drivers. In Tari, 17 of 20 truck drivers hired in August of 2010 were HIV+. Prostitution is widespread.

Routes of spread in PNG
96% sexually transmitted
Risk of HIV from one non-traumatic episode of normal intercourse is 1:500 to 1:100. (Centers for Disease Control – CDC)
This increases 10-fold with anal intercourse (which occurs in PNG between men and men, especially in prison, and also men and women) (CDC)
Also increases if there are sores from an STI on either partner or is the sex was traumatic.
Risk is a bit lower if the man is circumcised.
Risk is much, much less if condom is worn and worn properly.
High risk areas are:
Markets (all over)
Wharf areas
Church camps, including and especially youth camps
Traditional Feasts
Shows and Festivals
Sports Tournaments
“6 to 6” stops along the Highway
Discos and nightclubs
4% mother to infant
HIV infected pregnant woman transmits the virus to her unborn baby in womb or during delivery 15-30% of the time
Most transmission occurs during delivery.
Transmission rates up to 45% have been reported in areas where prolonged breast feeding is the norm.
Medication to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission is now available at birth (starting in labor) even if the mother’s CD4 blood count doesn’t qualify her for long-term antiretroviral therapy
Reduce transmission from breast milk by safe feeding:
Breast only for 6 months,
Then completely wean and feed with cup and spoon.
Bottle feeding is a killer in PNG. Bottle fed babies (even with HIV+ mothers) are more likely to die from infections they get through the bottle feeding than from HIV.

<1% via blood transfusion or contaminated needles.
Blood transfusion of HIV+ blood is about a 100% risk of infection.
But the virus is killed on contact with air so razors and other objects are not infectious for long.
Risk from a needle stick – needle has HIV+ blood in it and a person is stuck – transmission of HIV occurs in 3:1000 such incidents.

Uh oh, the Sugar is Gone

Ramu, our sugar factory, has stopped making sugar.

Thursday 14th April, 2011

Ramu’s bitter dose


SUGAR consumers throughout Papua New Guinea stand to pay over 70 percent more for sweetness when imported sugar from Thailand arrives on the shelves of their supermarkets and trade stores within the next week.
The reason for this is failure by the Government to grant tariff relief to enable Ramu Agri Industries Limited (RAIL) to import sugar from Thailand under a relief arrangement until sugar production can resume at the Gusap factory.
RAIL general manager Jamie Graham told the Post-Courier in Lae yesterday that the company had asked the Government through Treasurer Peter O’Neill as far back as November last year for the tariff to be reduced from 70 percent to 40 percent.
The minister told this newspaper last week (see clipping) that he had given approval for a one-off partial reduction of tariff for Ramu to import sugar.
This had apparently not been followed through by government instrumentalities to have it gazetted in order for Customs to apply the lesser duty.
RAIL’s sugar production was affected by severe dry spell last year and vandals set fire to 700 hectares of the productive cane fields. When the company became aware that production was projected to drop by 7% and demand up by 15%, it made a submission to Mr O’Neill for the tariff reduction to ensure sugar consumers were not hard-hit with high prices of the sweet import.
Mr Graham said the government assured the company this would be done by January 2011but it reneged on the undertaking.
Mr Graham said late last week he was assured by the National Executive Council Secretary and the Treasury Department that Cabinet would make a decision on the matter this Monday but Cabinet did not meet as planned.
He said Thailand sugar arrived at the Lae port last week and was awaiting clearance. Yesterday morning Ramu instructed their customs agents to pay the 70 per cent tariff on the imported sugar and get it off the wharf. Ramu also had to pay for 10 days of storage and wharfage fees while awaiting clearance.
Mr Graham said the company could not let the sugar sit at the wharf while waiting for the NEC decision on tariff reduction as the costs of storage would increase significantly. He said the company imported 2000 tonnes of sugar from Thailand with another 2000 tonnes to arrive within a month’s time.
Any NEC decision now on the reduction in tariff will be “too late” and consumers will just have to wear the huge increase in the price of sugar once it arrives at the shops. “We have no choice but to pass on the increase to the consumers,” Mr Graham said.
The imported sugar was yesterday being transported to the Gusap factory where it will be tested to ensure it meets Ramu Sugar standards before being packed into the various packaging sizes and transported to wholesalers and shops to meet the outstanding orders.
Mr Graham said the actual price of the sugar on the shelf will not be determined until all the costs have been added up. For every K1000 worth of sugar, Ramu pays the government K700 (70 per cent) and this is why the price will shoot up sharply until the local sugar production returns to normal. Other costs to be factored into the price formula include wharfage, freight and repackaging.
Ramu had planned to import up to 8000 tonnes of sugar to meet the domestic PNG market in the interim. But good news is on the way.
Mr Graham said on Tuesday this week the boiler at the sugar mill was started up which is the first sign that sugar canes are about to be brought into the mill for processing.


ASKIM for tech

an ASKIM is a request for help.

I have a request for help for the readers of this blog.

We have a unique situation in that we are trying to find a way to authenticate all users going out over our network against a RADIUS (microsoft NPS) server.
We need to be able to either LOG their access... OR create a HOTSPOT type of environment where they pre-pay or post-pay for their usage in KB/MB NOT in time.

So far we've proven:
-pppoe server will authenticate against radius but will not log usage...
-hotspot servers like Antamedia don't log in MB they log in time.

If anyone happens to know of a solution that will log network usage in MB/KB and authenticate against radius, PLEASE let me know.

I suspect you'll be working for an ISP or some CHAIN of shops that offer paid WIFI.

it's a hail mary, but our research isn't coming up with the specific solution we need....

we're several weeks into testing out things to remove our current situation.

Currently we're running an ISA server and we want to get away from it.

thank you


The Case of the Missing Cream

"Imagine if you will, a world without Ice-Cream"

A small town, in the middle of Papua New Guinea holds a school book festival and promises that the class who wins the most points in the reading competition will have an ice cream social.

The 6th grade class was so excited that they won, and when the day for the ice cream party came.... there was no ice cream.

*dramatic music* dum dum.. DUM!!!!!!!

Who took the ice cream? Where did it go? Did it accidentally get sold? Why is there not more?

All of these questions required a Nancy Drew like investigation.
The road was out, the bridge was out, the freezer truck couldn't make the 3 hour journey into town to buy some ice cream.

But the ice cream was ordered and in stock, where did it go?

They first discovered that the ice cream was sold, as the DO NOT TOUCH, FOR 6TH GRADE BOOK FAIR!!! signs were overlooked.

But later that was found to be untrue.

Nearly a month later, while doing maintenance on the store freezer the tubs of Dairy-Free, Pseudo Ice Cream were found!

Soon the 6th graders will be rejoicing as the mystery has been solved. Just in the nick of time, as 6th grade graduation is only weeks away.



A few years ago I volunteered on our local branch fire team. At the time I joined there was very little training and we had no gear, but we had a Japanese fire truck.

Since then we've had a fire marshall dedicated to getting gear donated, and we've fought a large house fire.

Today, I've been trained on the operation of the fire truck (pumps, hose maintenance, water usage), proper use of a fire hose, we have turnout gear now and they actually found some that almost fit me well, and the most recent addition to our collection of gear:

SCBA. Think SCUBA without the Underwater... Self Contained Breathing Apparatus.

Yesterday I got trained in how to connect everything, how to put it on, how to breath with it.

I've never been certified to dive, but if you have it's a similar procedure, and we're VERY glad to have this stuff now, so that we can actually enter a burning building without causing harm to ourselves.

Although we pray we never have to, we train as if we will.

Tomorrow we'll be doing a full gear exercise. We have 2 minutes to put on all our gear.

Then after that we'll be doing blacked out exercises where we have to go into a building and find a person and pull them out. We've done this before but not in full gear.

You'd be surprised at how hard it is to find a dummy, in pitch black, in a room you've never been in before, with a partner... and then pull the body out.

Sometimes I marvel at what God is doing in my life.
Who knew years ago that by 2011 I would have actually driven a fire truck and fought a fire, and been trained in all this stuff!

I had been certified in CPR, Infant CPR and AED's (difib units) years ago and found out that I can be recertified here by our clinic nurses.

I'm constantly amazed at the opportunities you have here, to serve and to learn new things... and then be able to use them to support the community.


Giaman Ren

(Geeyah mon rain)

Giaman means 'liar'
Ren means 'rain'

Giaman Ren is when it starts to rain, anywhere from light to moderate rain, but then within a few minutes it goes away, typically while the sun is still out.

Giaman Ren is something you learn to detect when you've been here a while.

For example,
If you've only been here a short while, you may find that on a sunny morning you put your clothes out on the line to dry by the sun (because we don't have dryers), and then a few minutes after sitting down, all your hard work complete, it starts to rain. You immediately jump up and run outside and gather all your clothes to avoid them getting even more wet.... come in side only to find out the rain has stopped.

You have just been duped by Giaman Ren.

But if you've been here a while like we have, you hang your clothes out,
sit down, look at the rain and say 'I'm hoping it's Giaman Ren'... and enjoy sipping your cool water for a few minutes, and then when the sun stays out and the rain goes away you take another sip enjoying the satisfaction of knowing you didn't waste the last 3 minutes of your life.

Of course, if it ISN'T Giaman Ren, then you'll wind up getting soaked while you bring the clothes in, but sometimes that's a risk well worth taking.