Sunday, December 31, 2006

A project for the new year - Carputer.

Take a Mac Mini and combine a car - you have the Carputer. Or in Paisley, it is known as a Smackhead Target.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I have had a bad case of the Lurgie over the last couple days. The worst aspect of it was the bad chills. Whn I would get out of bed or out from some covers, a shiver would over me nd I would be cold to the core my body. Unfortunately, this lurgie comes with some bad depressive aspects. Waves of depression seem to wash over me whn I have this illness.

Last night the chills broke and I soaked the bed in sweat. Three comforters, a mattress and pillows absolutely sopping wet this morning. But the depression has lifted and the chills are gone.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

My password grid


have fun

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I have tried alot of reflective clothing to keep myself safe on a bike when riding at night and I have been astounded at the number of people cycling at night while wearing dark clothing with only a single reflector or blinking red light on the back. Often the excuse that motorists supply after hitting a cyclist is that they never saw them. Unfortunately while these cyclists continue to dressed like they are about carry out a secret raid for a government agency, I am inclined to believe the motorist.

So far, the best piece of clothing that I have seen on the roads in the dark wet Scottish nights has been these Yellow HiVis Trousers.

I believe that they were being worn by a guy leaving his job at Glasgow Airport but they were unmissable due to the reflective strips on the legs moving as he pedaled. He also had a HiVis jacket on but the first thing that caught my eye was the reflective strips on the legs.

I doubt they are very durable, but for £8.50, you are lit up like a police car.
If you know someone with an iPod or another device that recharges from USB, then this little project makes the perfect gift. The MintyBoost! is a small battery-powered USB charger that is fairly easy to make even for beginners. Just a soldering iron and a few tools and you can save that iPod user from the sad dead battery symbol.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My 2p.

Google Video failed because it created a bunch of users - I still regularly check out the engedu videos from the Google Lecture series.

But YouTube created a community; people could rate, talk about and respond to videos.

YouTube did not beat Google video on the quality of the video, rather it was the interaction between the creator and and viewer.

If we look at the future of entertainment, then television better beware. The most non-interactive medium ever is big trouble from a lot of different fronts. Television high-quality video presented a one-way experience. YouTube is a bad video with a lot of participation.
A new way to "stick" it to the man - the RFID Duct tape Wallet. I have always been a fan of all things duct tape, or my favourite, Gaffer Tape. More colours and easier to work with. Decent gaffer tape is always available where dj supplies are sold.

This is the "tinfoil hat" of the currency carriers, but if it stops people grabbing your RFID details, maybe a bit of paranoia is called for.

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Firefox hack

The first two search engines I add on a new Firefox install are Mycroft and Firefox addons.

No need to browse to Mycroft to add any more search engines and the firefox addon page simplifies adding all of your crucial extensions.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Feeling like crap today with a screaming head - maybe it was 12 hours of painting the pantry yesterday.

The kitchen is looking good - but it still has nothing in it. The painting of the pantry and such means that until that is done - nothing really can be brought out of boxes.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Scottish Gas Engineer had a
which took two cups of coffee being spilled on it and a tumble from the top of the stove to the plywood floor, while running. failry impressive. Too bad they run like dogs and are twice the price of a more delicate portable.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Brilliant Movie transformed into a slaher film trailer.

Liz still does not understand why I like the original.

Office Space - Recut

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Very cool idea.

Project Blackbox by Sun similar to what we heard Google was doing with their shipping containers. but now we get to tak ea virtual tour thorugh one.

Combine an international shipping standardised containers and a lot of racks filled with 250 Sun servers, and things get interesting.

Friday, October 06, 2006

What coders really think revealed by Google Codesearch.
What coders really think revealed by Google Codesearch.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The joy of Cover Browser.

So, I have been playing with iTunes 7 and the new Cover Browser. It has changed the way I look at my music collection.

I guess by using so many digital forms of media, that I lost some of the joy that I experienced in purchasing vinyl. The feel of picking up an album sleeve and looking at the artwork was as much a part of the experience as listening.

Suddenly, obtaining the cover art for an MP3 has become as much a part of the process of encoding a song as getting the album name and track numbers right.

A couple places I have scoured for cover art

Google Images - wide variety of images available, not always the best quality

Amazon - Good selection and fairly consistent quality

AllMusic Guide - Usually have the cover art but it is very slow to search, I usually search with Google using a site: switch

Musicbrainz - They get their art from other sources, usually amazon but, this can be convenient when you are tagging your files, to grab the cover art as well. Musicbrainz Picard occasionally adds album art as a metadata set but this can be a little flaky.

Finally iTunes Get Album Art command - I have found this to be a reasonable way of filling in the majority of album artwork, but it is very dependent on the album name and not very forgiving for slight changes in name. Often I am filling in the gaps where iTunes has found nothing to match the file.

Monday, August 28, 2006

And people say I am difficult to buy for?

How could not know what to get me when items like this exist?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Hell Trip

Well, I took on Toronto Airport and almost won.

The trip started early afternoon in Winnipeg. Earl drove me in and stuck around to ensure that there were not any problems with my luggage.

The luggage weight was not a problem and I setlled down to wait for the flight to Toronto. The timing was slightly tight, and I had about an hour and twenty five minutes to get myself between terminals and checked into Zoom.

The flight was delayed out of Winnipeg and a failed approach at Toronto added to the time. I was standing in the baggage claim at Terminal 1 and looked at my watch and thought, "wow, I still have plenty of time", until I reralised that I had lost an hour and I had less than 20 minutes to get to the Zoom Check-in desk. Halfway there the left wheel fell off my suitcase but I made it with 5 minutes to spare, they took my luggage off me and gave me my boarding pass and stuck my baggage claim ticket to it.

Then they sent me to a set of closed security gates - in fact at this time, the whole airport had closed down. I had to walk back past the gibbering idiots at the Zoom Desk and find an open set of gates to get through security. I breezed through that (after taking my belt off) and got myself to the departure gate. The plane had almost fully boarded and I got myself on and was feeling good until a large couple came along and sat in the neighbouring seats. The wife sat next to me and spilled into my seat for the entire journey, pretty well elimiating any chance of sleep. About an hour outside of Glasgow I started to talk to the husband and after finding out he was from Manitoba as well, we traded Prairie Stories.

I thought I had got through this trip relatively unscathed, until I tried to claim my baggage. Half an hour later as I (and about forty others) watched a single unclaimed suitcase wind its way around the baggage claim area, I knew that this story was not over yet. When I filled in the lost luggage form, I doscovered that the idiots at the check-in desk at Zoom had attached my baggage claim ticket to the portion of the ticket that the airport staff had retained in Toronto. Fortunately the lost wheel should be a pretty good identifier.

Liz met me at the airport and after kisses and cuddles, I got myself home to a warm bed and nice snooze, after roughly 24 hours of travelling.

Good to be home

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Cycle Diary

Ride to Work - Paisley to Glasgow, 10 miles, dry roads, good weather, 18C

First ride in a long time. I finally ran out of excuses. The hot weather and the sight of several old guys pedalling towards Glasgow wiped out all weather and danger reasons for not riding into work. The pensioners pedalling was probably the worst, nothing as a cyclist makes you more ashamed than to see a old guy pedal past as you asre trying to explain the dangerous lifestyle of an urban cyclist.

The ride in was uneventful. I left early, so traffic was light. The early morning air had that heat wave crispness to it with none of the heat itself. All in all, a good ride in, too bad that my body has given up. My legs had no power, and my heart while not at its max heart rate was definitely being pushed. The worst aspect though was th feet. My plantar fascia started to scream a couple of blocks into the ride and did not stop until I hit work. I need to stretch this out and hopefully it will settle down with more riding.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

What the Hell?

Is Lordi the type of music being produced out of the country that gave us nul point failures. So the finns decided to give us Orcish musicians playing Melodic Hard Rock. A eurovision Slipknot to challenge the techno status-quo at this politically driven musical contest.

Well they won. The video of their performance is here.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Kiva lets you loan as little as $25 to a qualified low income entrepreneur in the developing world.

Not sure what controls are available but it sounds like an interesting way to bring folks in the third world out of poverty.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Paisley Beer Festival was last night and the incriminating photos are in.

You can find them here

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

As a guy who peeked and poked his way around a Commodore PET in the early eighties, this mod is very cool.

I still remember trying to explain reverse polish notation to my Comp Sci teacher who was a bit of a diddy.

His last words to me were "document your code more". I should have followed it.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Mark Ho's Artistic Metalwork is astounding. He learned his metalwork like I did, working around craftmen who moved and shaped metal.

His current creation looks incredible.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

It is snowing in Paisley today.

It is Sunday, so I am not sure if tomorrow will be a snow day - instead of a work day.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I have been waiting for the arrival of the Google Calendar for a very long time. These screenshots are the first ones leaked.
Today, I have a couple good Bike Make projects.

The first one is a 500 Lumen BIKE LIGHT for around 10 bucks and the second one is SpokePOV (a Persistence of Vision Mod for your Bike).

Monday, March 06, 2006

A new SNL Digital Short on YouTube.

Starring Natalie Portman, it is probably better than Lazy Sunday - Chronic,les of Narnia.
A new SNL Digital Short on YouTube.

Starring Natalie Portman, it is probably better than Lazy Sunday - Chronic,les of Narnia.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Make a Bicycle Parts Belt.

Better than huge cowboy belt buckle.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

My pal MrBen is documenting his Lent this year.

I decided to do something Lent-ish this year, in the same vein of other Lent-esque things I have done in the past. It is more an attempt to remove my dependency on things in my life (ie. a watch, glasses, etc).

This time it is my iPod.

I have been using it quite intensively to listen to Techblogs and IT podcasts and it occasionally is colliding with other things I want to do.

I am hoping not having the iPod will push the studying for the certifications (one of the things that conflicted with listening to Podcasts).

I am not doing all 40 days - instead I plan on doing a Spurlock Lent period and only do the 30. So March 31st, I will get my iPod returned to me and I will have a lot of podcasts to catch up on.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Monday, February 20, 2006

Who says I am difficult to buy for?

This seems to be the perfect birthday gift.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Paper compression techniques

How do you save a a ton of shipping weight transporting soldiers letters back home? Put the letters onto microfilm and then reprint them when they arrive back in North America.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Something a Flux Capacitor cannot solve.

It is Brokeback to the Future

Similar to the The Shining Trailer remake that came out recently. IEE Wiring Regulations: BS7671, 2001 Incorporating Amendments No. 1 & 2, 2004: Books

I have always turned to this book for inspiration and reflection. It is good to see that others feel the same way about this book that defines the the current genre of British Standards.

I am just waiting for it to appear on Oprah's Book Club.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

This google page is a quick way to get any site on a mobile device.

A great resource for those who remember those wonderful little swedish blocks of joy. I would not spend my entire life collecting or building with them but it is interesting to gaze upon those who do.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Combine a Crazy Screaming Lady, a parking lot and a kid with a video camera and hilarity ensues.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

BTW, I am looking for a new UK Broadband supplier. Zen are good but expensive for limited speed. Any suggestions are welcome.
The long awaited announcement of the intel based powerbook were announced this week(I have been hearing rumours of an intel apple for over a decade now).

I heard one disgruntled apple owner complain of a lack of PCMCIA slot. Apple has chosen the new ExpressCard standard. It will deter some people with expensive PCMCIA cards in moving up, but I doubt it will make much of an impact. Apple is famous to being on the front of the curve and more aggressive in adopting new standard physical formats from the 3.5 floppy in the Apple Plus to USB in the iMac. They have occasionally been proven wrong in their choices eg NuBus over ISA. But for the most part they have been on the right trail when everyone else comes over.

So ExpressCard looks like a winner format for physical hardware card expansion.
I cycled in a wet cold sleet storm yesterday. It definitely showed the improvements I need to make in the bike and my clothing. I don't think that the bad weather will have cleared up by the time I start commuting at the end of March. So, some mudguards and decent layered clothing may be needed to a make my trip into work a reasonable trip as opposed to the frostbite conditions I had yesterday.
Slate have posted the best hack for those milky coffees that are just lactose wastelands.

The short cappucino (8 oz) actually tastes like a decent coffee. If you prefer to order the venti or tall version, then save your money and buy a quart of milk and chuck it in the microwave (for those into wilderness hacks, try just leaving it in the sun).

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

So, I have started the New Year eating roots and and drinking weeds.

Liz has decided that we need to detox, despite the fact that we normally eat vegetarian meals. Yesterday I bought a load of fruit and veg (with most of the fruit out of season) and today I started on the juice and herb teas.

I have experienced the physical effects of caffeine withdrawal and it was not pleasant the last time. I will probably need leads of calcium and selenium to deal with the muscle cramps. No pain killers though on this detox, so it may get interesting.