Next Reserve Bank rate change will almost certainly be upwards

From everything I am seeing in the Financial Review and the business section of the Australian, the next change in the Reserve Bank cash rate will be upwards. This being the case then the remaining two questions are: by how much will the rate be lifted; and how often will future rate rises be paced?

The general view of the experts seems to be that the reserve would like to get the rate back to around the 3 percent mark; which is double what it is now. And they would like to get back to this level by the start of FY20—which is mid-2019.

Increasing the cash rate to 3 percent would push the market rate for house mortgages up to around 5.5 to 6 percent.

So, the remaining question is: how will they pace the required increases?

Firstly, and this is purely just my input, they have to decide if the first increase happens before or after Xmas. There are upsides and downsides to both options. One of the aims of increasing the interest rate is to try and stop people from going further into debt because Australia's household debt is skyrocketing and out of control. From this viewpoint they would like to increase the interest rate before Xmas—in order to calm down Xmas spending and any further increase in household debt. On the other hand, they do want people to spend at Xmas in order to help the ailing economy. So it is a difficult decision to make.

I think they will do a small increase before Xmas. Possibly not enough to stop people spending at Xmas but enough to get the rate hike started. My money is on a 20 basis point increase (i.e., 1/5th of a percent) before Xmas.

I will be sure to let you know if I was right :-)

Addicted-to-Heels has been inactive for months

I pop over to the Addicted-to-Heels site at least once a week (see link in sidebar) in the vain hope that the owner/editor might have started posting again. However, it is with a degree of sadness that I have to report that nothing much is happening over at Addicted-to-Heels.

The recent history of the editor/publisher for Addicted-to-Heels—as we know it—is that he broke up with his previous girlfriend sometime around June 2016, after having moved with her to Perth. After the break up he moved back 'down south' from whence he came. From what I can gather, he then met another love interest and then started to post again in December 2016 after a six month break. But now he has not posted any updates to his site since May.

It is quite possible the link to Addicted-to-Heels might break if he does not continue to renew the DNS name and/or the site at SquareSpace; which would be a bit of shame.

Thinking about upgrading my computer screen to 27" 1440y

I bought my current photo editing screen in October 2011 for $1,100. I wrote about it here. It is a DELL U2410 24" 1200y screen and it came with a calibration certificate saying it had been calibrated at the factory to be 97 percent colour correct for sRGB.

But DELL have brought the amazing U2717 Ultrasharp Infinity Edge down under $900. This is a 27" 1440y photo editing screen and they are factory calibrated to be 99 precent sRGB colour correct.

This stunning screen only consumes an average of 26 watts of power, compared to my current screen which is almost double that at 48 watts--even though it is both physically smaller and also smaller in resolution (2.3 million pixels on the old one; 3.4 million pixels on the 2717).

I am very tempted.

My only hobby is photography and spending $900 for a new screen that will likely last me another five or six years does not seem too over the top.


Ended up 190th in "Get the Blues" challenge

The "Get the Blues" challenge has closed. I ended up in 190th spot.

This is the best I have done so far in GuruShots. My top picture, as you can see above (on the left hand side), got 940 votes. Even my bottom picture managed 626 votes. I actually expected my picture of the blue pegs to do better than it did.

But I am not complaining. My ranking in this challenge got me my first Top 10 badge, and being in the top 10 percent of almost 12,000 entries is not too shabby.

In case you were wondering what the winning picture was, here it is.

This picture got 1,597 votes. It was taken by Zaklina Antonijevic using a Canon EOS 6D. Zaklina is at Champion level in GuruShots.

MND has been pretty much confirmed

A couple of months before last Xmas (2016) my wife asked me a number of times if I was noticing anything wrong with her speech. At that time I couldn't. But as Xmas approached I did start to notice a slight slurring; the pronunciations were not quite right. So we organised a visit with her GP, who in turn—due to spotting some slight quivering with my wife's tongue—decided to refer her to a neurologist.

The appointment with the neurologist was in the first week of January, 2017. After a number blood tests to rule out some other possibilities, an MRI brain scan (to rule out a stroke or any such similar), and some nerve tests at the second appointment (which included sticking a very fine pin in her tongue), he provisionally diagnosed motor neuron disease (MND) or, as it is known in America, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The neurologist referred us to an MND specialist. I won't go into the huge story behind actually getting to see the MND specialist here (maybe in a later post), but we didn't get to see such a specialist for a number of months after the referral.

When we finally got to see the MND specialist she ran two more blood tests to rule out myasthenia gravis (MG) and something else that I cannot remember the name of. After about two months these tests, which apparently have to be sent to the east coast and take some time to process, were back and were both negative—leaving us with MND now at about a 95% certainty.

So, probably sometime in May we were faced with the most likely fact that my wife had the progressive bulbar palsy (PSP) version of motor neuron disease (MND)—i.e., PSP/MND.