A Practical Tip and Life Hack: How to transport AA batteries for your Keyboard and Mouse

A short blog post to get me into writing today – a practical tip on how to be sure you always have batteries with you when you need them.

About a year ago I went Mac – mostly good, some bad, but overall a good choice.  That means that I regularly take my laptop to uni, hook it up to an external monitor, and transport around my bluetooth Apple keyboard and magic mouse.  These are both great devices.  Unbeatable in fact. However, they do chew through the battery power (kind of like my 1985 Jaguar XJ6 is with petrol – ouch!).

Now, I like to use rechargeable batteries – I saw a documentary on disposable batteries, not good. Unfortunately rechargeable batteries don’t last as long as your environment-destroying long-life high-power AA.  So that I don’t run short on batteries, I transport them around with me in a handy case:

Battery Transportation Made Easy

These Eclipse mints are quite good as mints, but they come with this awfully good tin.  Which seems too good to just throw away.  And so, need meets need results in opportunity.  They’re just the right size for transporting AA batteries – but they clunk when you walk around.  So – an old technology solution involving cotton balls:

Battery Transportation Made Easy

And bingo:

Battery Transportation Made Easy

I have two of these, as otherwise it is likely that both my keyboard and mouse will go at the same time.  I just cycle these through the battery charger as needed (I put used ones in a different spot to the fresh ones!) and I’m all good.

Bingo – a practical tip for the risk averse who occasionally think of the environment (except when they are driving their 24 litres per 100km Jag.

Brisbane Floods – the View from Fig Tree Pocket and University of Queensland

Well some of the people dropping by this blog may be interested to see a short video of the floods that have recently devastated Brisbane.

The irony is that you wouldn’ t have known about the floods where I was – I live on a hill – but they were real enough when you went out there.  Particularly to University of Queensland:

And then there was the water racing by at Fig Tree Pocket – again, water views, normally sought after in this city, were suddenly a whole lot closer than was comfortable:

And I have to report – I am a victim of the floods.  I went out on my precious motorbike to get these videos, and hit a pothole the size of a garbage can lid.  That ‘slight bump’ brought a tear to my eye and cracked the fuel tank on my 30-year old motorbike.  Ah vey.

A letter to my blog

Dear Blog

It has been some time since we last spoke. To let you know, I have taken up motorcycling. It is mostly an attractive pastime – except I know that on Saturday we spent four hours by the side of the road trying to fix a motorbike (the 2.5 year old one, not the 30 year old one – being mine). A picture of my motorcycle is shown below. It is a 1980 Honda CX500 and it’s been very reliable overall, and lots of fun to pull it altogether. Since the photo below was taken I have taken off the Ventura Gearsack at the back, and replaced the indicators with standard ones. I’ll find a new photo to send you soon.

Last week I was in Wellington – here’s a bad photo of me and Wellington’s parliament house from that trip:

I was over there to speak to Audit New Zealand as part of my phd research. If you’re not careful, I’ll tell you all about my phd… oh wait, I already did that.

Finally, today it was my pleasure to speak to an audit delegation from China with my Supervisor, Professor Peter Green. I’m sure you’re glad I have no photos of that experience – I will say though it was interesting presenting a quite technical presentation to a non-English speaking audience and waiting for the interpreter to translate. I could tell those of the delegation that could speak English – they laughed at my jokes before the interpreter had translated them.

Oh, and I got to go to the Ashes last week, for the opening day of the test. Here’s a video of Peter Siddle getting his hat trick (caution: strong language – not mine!):

That’s something for the bucket list – seeing a hat trick live in the Ashes at the Gabba.


Micheal Axelsen

PS: I have a mammoth blog post I’ll copy over to here that I wrote for CPA Australia. My favourite visual metaphor: “There are dangers to think about though when it comes to telecommuting. Maybe not the same dangers as skydiving into an apiary wearing only beachwear and honey-scented deodorant, but there are challenges to think about such as team cohesion, security, and that all-elusive ‘work-life balance’.”

Using solar power in Brisbane to power my home with Origin Energy

2386116409_c5f5e185d0[1]Disclaimer:  my wife works for Origin Energy.  But this material was prepared for my brother-in-law and so I thought it was of sufficient interest to post to my blog.  We’re putting this deal in (unless they find that our roof space is insufficient). This is not a special deal for employees at the time of writing. 

Essentially we are talking about the 1.5kw solar panels deal from Origin Energy.  You need 15 square metres of roof space, a north-ish facing roofing and a 10 to 30 degree angle on the roof.  If the angle isn’t there, they’ll need to build a frame to put the solar panel on the proper footing – for which there is a reasonable charge.


Unlike the deal of a year or so ago, this isn’t income or means-tested:


With Origin Energy’s current deal (you don’t need to have Origin as your retail provider) you pay $299 up front and then 24 payments of $112.12 a month.  Total cost:  $2,990 over two years.  You have to sign over the Renewable Energy Certificates to Origin (otherwise it’ll cost you $10K). 

A 1.5kw panel will save you 18.8c per kilowatt hour if you don’t need to draw that power from the grid:


A 1.5kw panel will earn you 50c per kilowatt hour that you don’t use during the day (feed in tariff):


So your saving per day, if you get the average hours of full sunlight per day for your area (http://www.solarchoice.net.au/blog/how-much-energy-will-my-solar-cells-produce.html):

3.85kw (for a 1kw panel)  x 1.5kw x 18.8c = $1.15 per day ($420.05 per annum) – this is your minimum save at average hours per day sunlight.

And could earn you in feed-in tariff:

3.85 (for a 1kw panel) x 1.5kw x 50c = $2.88 per day ($1,053.94) – this is your maximum saving at average hours per day sunlight.

‘Feed-in’ is whatever is fed back into the grid that is not used on your site at that time.  You need a special metering device for this to occur – that is an extra ‘reasonable’ charge  from Energex.

Savings are in the range of $420 to $1,053 per year – and that’s conservative I think.  With sunny days and no cloud you will produce quite a bit more than 3.85kw per 1kw panel per day – but this is the average allowing for cloudy days, sunshine, and dust clouds (speaking of which, I suppose you need to wash them fairly regularly to keep them going). 


  • A 25 year warranty
  • You can only get the RECs once – you’ll have to pay full price for your second 1.5kw panel.
  • Chose 1.5kw panel as it’s the sweet spot for the RECs

Image from Flickr User Powerhouse Museum. Some Rights Reserved.

Guitar, weeping


1964 was a wonderful and a terrible year. The year the Beatles became famous and the year the Vietnam war exploded.

A small room in a small house, in a small Australian town, shows the juxtaposed mix of hope, optimism, fear and hatred. A bible, a child—like poster wishing for world peace, a rough, aging bed freshly made. A recruitment poster declaring that war in Viet Nam needed you to fight for Australia.

The paint, peeling off the walls, gently falling and raining down upon an aging and abandoned guitar. A guitar weeping with flakes of paint to become a mouldering heap of leaded white. A guitar once cared for lovingly by teenage hands strumming chords and dreaming of a life of music, song, peace and love. The same hands later filled with enough hate to hold a gun and kill, maim, and orphan in a war the hands understood nothing of.

Hands once gentle, then violent, all transformed by time and the era. Then killed stone cold dead before the hate could mellow and a black—and—white world fade to gray. The optimism of youth and the contrast of love and hate disguised as love became a bitter well from which the soul never escaped. The bedroom of a beloved son maintained as a shrine, kept as it was so an old woman could keep alive the memory of a life. The guitar wept, all through those long, empty years.

And now, as a deceased estate, this memory could be yours when the property sells at auction later today.

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