Friday, 15 October 2010

The stress of dog ownership!

It has been a stressful week at château Nerdsville. Our youngest dog Eddie (a two year old Pembrokeshire Corgi) became seriously ill Monday night.

We were woken at around 1am by the retching sound of something being sick and the pungent smell of you know what! I went downstairs to discover a pile of white foamy vomit in the hall and a small pile of diarrhoea in the kitchen near the back door and a sheepish looking Corgi.

I wasn't overly surprised as Eddie had been off his food and had already had a slight case of the runs when out for his afternoon and evening strolls the day before. So I let him out into the garden and set about cleaning it all up. We all retired back to bed only to be disturbed again at 5am by the sound of a dog running down the stairs and whimpering. I grabbed by slippers and dressing gown and hurried down to find Eddie in the kitchen again. This time I was also met with two largish pools of what initially I thought was urine but as I mopped them up it was obvious this was water with a dilute trace of blood (and was from the bowels as it smelt of faeces)

Eddie was out in the garden again and I found him squatting releasing a jet of liquid from his rear. This wasn't looking good, but have had dogs for many years and have experienced all sorts of stomach upsets. Given the time of day I decided it wasn't worth going back to bed and decided to sit up in the living room with the patio door open to allow Eddie to quickly get into the garden if needed (and I could catch up on the latest downloaded episode of Dexter on the XBMC).

For a while Eddie seemed okay, then at around 6:30am he ran out again to evacuate another jet of liquid. It was starting to get light and I could see that it was bloody again. The wife who was understandably worried reluctantly went off to work at around 7:30am and I went off to shower and dressed and planned to ring the vets to take him to morning surgery. However when I came down stairs I found another red pool in the kitchen this time it had the consistancy of pure blood, this was now getting serious and I rang the vet and was told to come in straight away.

I had already checked on the internet and my suspicions were confirmed as Eddie was diagnosed with Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) This is serious potentially life threatening condition and the cause in most cases unknown but there have been a cluster of cases in and around Nottinghamshire our vet alone had seen three dogs in the last week one of which had nearly died. We were aware of the warnings concerning Sherwood Forest, Clumber Park and other woodland sites but had been no where near them for weeks.

Thankfully following a number of anti-inflamatory steroids, antibotics and anti-emetic injections Eddie has started to make a good recovery, thankfully it was caught early enough so he didn't need any IV treatment. He still isn't back to full health yet, but is much much better.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Jean Michel Jarre

I came down with a severe case of man-flu early last week but recovered sufficiently to travel to Birmingham and The National Indoor Arena on Friday evening to see Jean Michel Jarre in concert. We almost didn't go because I was still feeling unwell and the wife is having problems with her back and was recovering from an epidural steroid injection. I was glad we did go as it was a good night and a very impressive show both aurally and visually, just wish venues could see their way to giving an extra couple of inches legroom!

I had read in a pithy review of an early show that Jean Michel was actively encouraging the use of digital cameras and iPhones during his preformance so decided I would take my aging Casio EX-Z120 digital camera along. Arriving at the NIA we were met with signs banning the use of ALL photographic and recording equipment! Despite this I managed to take the camera in unchallenged and so did many others judging by the vast number of illuminated LCD viewfinder screens visible in the audience during certain parts of the performance.

One slightly annoying point of the evening was one particularly over-zealous steward who seemed to spend the entire evening tapping people on the shoulder or shining his torch into the faces of anyone who dared tried to make a digital memento of the evening - thankfully I was too ensconced in the crowd and was a little less obvious in my actions for him to pick me out, but he did target someone sitting just three seats away!

How ironic then on the last song of the evening Jean Michel did indeed ask the audience to send out a signal using their cameras on Facebook and YouTube! Unfortunately at this point I had already exhausted my memory card (I hadn't took my spare!)

I have uploaded a number of short highlights onto my YouTube Channel.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

A bit of a clean up and some repairs

The original plans for the weekend were thrown in to the air for a number of reasons. I spent most of Saturday with a saw, drill and screwdriver rebuilding part of the summerhouse in the garden and ferrying the old rotten parts and other garden waste to the local refuse tip!

Today (Sunday) I had the house to myself as the wife was off visiting her sister. As the weather has been absolutely atrocious, raining most of the day, I decided to have a bit of a clean up in the den. I'd noticed the fans in the main computer have been roaring under the slightest load recently and as I suspected the reason was the air intakes were blocked with dust and dog hair! While not quite as bad as these it was still pretty shocking as I do regularly check them.

As I had to pull them out from under the desk I decided to have a bit of a rearrange. While doing this I removed a redundant ethernet switch and an unused USB 1.1 hub, both were cheap far-eastern ones purchased many years ago. It now turns out they were a major source of interference on my scanners!

The tidy computer centre (yes the external HD are sitting on a 1980 2001AD annual!)

One other task I achieved today was to replace the backlight on my Realistic PRO2006 scanner.

I purchase the PRO2006 from ebay about four/five years ago, I got it for less than £20 as it was advertised as for repair or spares. It was described as powering up with sound but because there was no display it couldn't be operated.

When I got it (in it's original box with manual) and opened it up it was obvious what was wrong as it appear to have spent most of it's life in a shed or workshop, it was full of fine dust (I suspect from sanding wood) and this has blocked out the LCD display! It also had flecks of paint on the casing. The paint was thankfully emulsion and was easy to remove I just soaked the plastic case in warm water for a few hours. I stripped down the rest of the unit and removed the dust with a can of compressed air and a brush, other than that it worked perfectly!

One downside was the display backlight had faded, the backlight on many of the Realistic desktop scanners is an electro-luminescent panel and their output fades over time. Today I finally got around to replacing the panel, it isn't as straightforward as it sounds as the spare part is no longer available but using the instructions found here I was able to replace it with a panel cut from a larger sheet purchased from Farnell.

The display panel removed from the scanner with original backlight

Original panel removed (top) and replacement panel cut to size (bottom)

The new panel in all it's glory!

The only downside is from this angle you can just see the connector on the panel.

The backlight is now really bright, in fact I have had the 'dimmer' switch activated because it is so bright! I also have a Realistic PRO2022 and the backlight on that is fading too, it is nowhere near as bad as the PRO2006 was, but you can see the marked difference below.

This shows the repaired PRO2006 compared to my PRO2022.

One other benefit of opening up the PRO2006 was I discovered a soldered connector on the shielding behind the front panel had come adrift. I have resoldered this and this has dramatically improved the reception and audio from the unit. Today has been a good day! 

Friday, 1 October 2010

Hamfest 2010

Took the afternoon of work today and went to the Newark Showground for a few hours to experience the National Hamfest 2010 Despite the weather which was absolutely appauling I had an enjoyable time. I resisted the urge to purchase any new equipment, this was difficult as some very nice receivers, scanners and antennas were on sale.

Because of the rain the intended outdoor carboot section was almost none existant which was a pity as I fancied a rummage. Inside it was mostly new 'expensive' gear a few surplus stores and a few clubs and others with some used and 'junk' stuff for sale. It is quite noticable that the cheap chinese import transceivers that are flooding ebay were also much on offer and I suspect if I do take the exam and get my licence I will end up with one of those initially.

In the end I picked up some adapters, a few books and I did take advantage of the RSGB special offer and joined up. I also signed up for the Group for Earth Observation (GEO) the members on the stand were very helpful and this was particularly interesting as the members of the group use relatively inexpensive equipment to receive data from satellites to produce weather images and other earth observation. I dabbled many years ago with receiving data from the NOAA polar orbiting APT satellites which can be done to a limited extent using a normal scanner and a PC soundcard. It was only £20 to sign up and the welcome pack for GEO was extremely generous and consisted of the last four quarterly magazines packed full of information and pictures and a lovely book all about the EUMETSAT system.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Station Report

It has been a few weeks since I dug out my neglected scanners and despite not being able to spend hours with them I have still had an enjoyable time reacquainting myself with them and experimenting.

Despite the growing use of digital transmission systems there is still a lot to listen to on the airwaves. I should note at this point that using a scanner to monitor anything that is not intended for 'General Reception' is illegal.

The Amateur bands are fairly quite around my location, however I was pleasantly surprised to be able to here to receive a number of Amateur repeaters both on the 2 meter and 70cm bands despite appearing to be outside the predicated coverage.

The CB bands are also very quiet but I suspect that is more to do with the high levels of interference I seem to be suffering. I have been struck by the apparent increase in interference (QRM) on a lot of the bands since I last used the receivers. I can hardly hear anything on the short wave HF bands except the more powerful commercial transmitters.

I suspect this interference is down to the proliferation of computers and associated peripherals, wired and wireless networking. Energy saving fluorescent lamps and microprocessor system in all manner of consumer equipment such as TVs, PVRs, DVD players for example means the airwaves are full of noise.

The Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) who represent the thousands of Amateur radio operators have begun to campaign to save the radio spectrum from such interference, specifically they are currently campaigning against the threat poised by the proliferation of PLA/PLT devices (such as HomePlug) these devices use the house mains wiring to transmit network data. However what happens is the wiring then acts an effective radio antenna transmitting the traffic at such levels blocking out other legitimate radio transmissions. This sounds(sic) to be in direct contravention of the EMC Directive of the EU that prohibits the manufacturer of any device that interfers with radio and telecommunications equipment.

However despite representations by the RSGB, the BBC and others OFCOM and the last Government have dragged their heals and refused to act. Hopefully the new Collation Government will be different, but I won't hold my breath. More information at UKQRM
However given all this noise there are still things to listen to, of course I haven't since it is illegal, but if I were so inclined there are plenty of analogue VHF/UHF Private Mobile Radio (PMR) systems still being used by commerical organisations. Such as taxi firms, councils, security patrols or by large business to facilitate communication across sites.

In the past it would be difficult to know the source of the transmission often listening for clues to try help identify them such as names of locations, buildings, streets and people for example. However nowadays it has been made a little easier by OFCOM who have allowed on-line access to the Wireless Telegraphy Register database. The use and allocation of radio frequencies is strictly regulated so now if get a hit on a frequency it is possible to use the WRT website to help identify them.

The air and marine bands are still as active as ever, given my location near to a number of RAF bases it could prove interesting if I were also so inclined.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Ladybird Book - The Story of Radio

I have just successfully bid on ebay for a copy of The Ladybird Book - The Story of The Radio I was browsing earlier and stumbled across Tony Ling's website and it features an altered picture of the front cover and it sparked some nostalgia.

This was a book I was given as a child and remember being enthralled by its contents. As the blurb says the book tells the fascinating story of radio, from the early forecasts of James Clerk Maxwell and the experiments of Heinrich Hertz and Marconi to the modern Post Office Tower (remember it was first printed in 1968) and the use of radar.

Just got to wait for delivery...

I might go looking for a copy of the 1972 Making a Transistor Radio and might actually have a go at building one, but there are some pitfalls in it's design!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Rebooting a lapsed hobby

My current equipment

Ever since I was old enough to handle a screwdriver and a soldering iron I have had an interest in radio communications and electronics. I spent many a hour in my childhood scanning the Medium and Short Wave bands with various receivers (usually scavenged from family, neighbours or saved from the dump!) I constructed numerous long-wire and other bizarre antennas. I even did a presentation on my hobby for my English Language O-Level exam - I really did confirm my status as a weirdo!

I played with borrowed CB radios and would have loved to progressed into owning one or becoming a proper radio amateur but unfortunately I simply didn't have the money.

Then the home computer revolution started and my Dragon32 and Tatung Einstein took up most of my time. I left school and went off to University and when I came back home and got a job I spent some of my money on a new fangled radio scanner, a Realistic PRO2022 from Tandy.

A scanner is a radio that covers a wide frequency range, they are controlled my microprocessors and allowing you to listen in to a huge range of different communications including air traffic control, hobbyists (Citizens Band, Amateur radio), security guards, taxi's and a lot more. Back in the late 80s, and early 90s they also allowed access to the emergency services and the old analogue cellular phones! Connecting it up a computer and using some software you even decode pager messages!

Gradually all the 'fun' stuff disappeared, the mobile phones became digital, so did the emergency services. This along with other commitments, such as moving across the country to a new job, getting married and other demands on my time meant the scanner ended up collecting dust in the attic.

Several years ago I briefly dusted it off and brought a couple of other second hand scanners including a Realistic PRO2006 and a brand new Alinco-DJ3X. I also played around with some PMR446 systems, but sadly again they all ended up collecting dust.

Well once again they are out of the boxes and I am having a fun time scanning around for interesting signals, well if you can count listening to the radio microphone at a local church interesting!

I am thinking of buying a CB as it seems to have evolved from the bad old days into something more grown up. Even becoming a DX amateur type system using something called freebanding not legal mind, but then technically using a scanner isn't!

I am even contemplating taking the Radio Amateur exams and actually achieving a childhood dream, well I do now have access to money and did do an electronics degree!

This time I hope it doesn't all fizzle out and it is looking more promising as plans are a foot for me to have my own shack and I won't be spending as much time on my other hobbies next year.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 07:47 Sorry BBC but your redesigned news site is SHIT! #
  • 10:54 Not sure Goa/Psychedelic Trance is conducive to coding, it was a few years ago but now I'm middle aged, better switch to some Enya #
  • 11:30 Did I really just get album art and retag Atomic Kitten's Greatest Hits..... oh the shame #
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Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 07:41 Not sure about 20Mb/s my Internet connection is back to dial up speed this morning! Pull your finger out virgin! (ohhh errr) #
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Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 12:32 Think I am showing symptoms of OCD, been retagging and getting album art for my music collection (again!) #
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Monday, 12 July 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 09:38 I though the sun was supposed to cheer you up? After this weekend near lethal dose of UV I am downright depressed #
  • 10:04 Dilution #
  • 12:11 Am Mr Grumpy today, really feeling the effects of a weekend standing around judging, ring managing and running the dogs in the sun! #
  • 15:11 So we've gone from living in a fridge to living in an oven just because it's raining... Give me the aircon remote now!! #
  • 15:20 Red Bull Gives You Wings, except if you are Mark Webber.. #
  • 16:07 "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care." #
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Thursday, 8 July 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 15:11 Is this guy really an ex-bouncer? Sounds more like some sort of Rambo/Ninja/Bear Grylls mashup #
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Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 15:07 Caught the latest Futurama episode "Attack of the Killer App" lunchtime an easy lazy parody maybe but still made me laugh #
  • 17:49 Viewers! It's quite sad to see a 43 year old man living such a pathetic life. #
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Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 11:12 I'm not going to work till they catch gunman Raoul Moat - according to man in street interviewed on radio! #
  • 11:17 So the big news today is something sucked off Cheryl Cole, rather than the usual news of who she is sucking off #
  • 11:33 news coming in of 2 mile exclusion zone around Rothbury in hunt for gunman. "Nuke the entire site from orbit—it's the only way to be sure" #
  • 21:07 Have Twitter killed Tweetdeck? #
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Planet Rock - scrobbler

Okay, so I brought a cheap DAB radio last week and have started listening to Planet Rock, sorry BBC 6Music, but I am sucker for classic rock!

Anyhow I have now created a small windows application to allow me to update my account when I am listening to the radio station.

You can find it here

Monday, 5 July 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 09:43 Really need to sort out some sort of mobile connectivity, 10 days disconnected from the net is too long #
  • 13:02 What is more sad, listening to Planetrock or modifying a scrobbler utility to parse the play list? #
  • 15:12 Just heard Whitesnake "Here I Go Again" - Now that brings back memories of unrequited teenage love... #
  • 15:21 Just catching up with the iPhone debacle, so Apple's "fix" is to now accurately show just how crap their RF design is? #
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Thursday, 24 June 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 07:24 Obama really comes across as a petulant idiot #
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Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 09:55 Amazing picture of the Aurora Australis from the ISS #
  • 15:01 Another reason not to turn on the TV, World Cup, Wimbeldon and now BBC/ITV/C4/Sky going on about budget #
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Monday, 21 June 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 09:41 Who would have thought the "squeaky clean" libdems would be the ones with all the skeletons in the cupboard? #
  • 14:21 Nature really does like balance! Hot weather +scantily clad pretty ladies -ugly tattooed topless neanderthals in tkmax tracksuit bottoms #
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Thursday, 17 June 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 10:37 God Damn These Electric Sex Pants #
  • 15:21 Severe Trauma? Don't worry it's only a 20 minute ride to the nearest intensive care unit! #
  • 16:45 Vuvuzela Time! - View any website like you're at the South Africa World Cup! #
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Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 12:17 Think the DailyMash might be on to something! Certainly think a Vuvuzela would help me today #
  • 17:09 Tried to watch Avatar for the first time on BluRay last night - might be technically beautiful, but plot, pacing and acting suck! #
  • 19:48 RT @Lifehacker: How to Silence Vuvuzela Horns with an EQ Filter - Come on BBC/ITV you can do this on the feeds? #
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Monday, 14 June 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 15:16 I hope they don't have to activate the Wildfire team #
  • 16:12 Do all software engineers end up having to fix their own code when someone else decides to try to improve it? #
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Monday, 7 June 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 13:33 Keswick and its raining! Lake out of bounds due to algae #
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Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 11:58 Well the trip to Mordor was only postponed, will be standing in front of the Black Gate this afternoon #
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Thursday, 27 May 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 10:49 Well the good news is I don't have to visit Mordor today! #
  • 10:59 Am I reading the news or some bizarre plot from a television crime series? #
  • 12:14 Listening to The Fountain by Pendulum - bloody hell Steve Wilson turns up in everything :-) #
  • 12:16 Hate online suppliers who don't send out conformation emails #
  • 12:29 Loving "Age Of The Fifth Sun" the new album from God is an astronaut, great music to code with #
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Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 11:41 mmm... averaging 30GB traffic a week (15GB down/up) should drop now a lot of series have finished or been cancelled :-) #
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Monday, 24 May 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 10:27 Just had the lights go out, half the PCs rebooted - was the town hit by a solar flare? Servers at home are offline! #
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Thursday, 20 May 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 09:44 Wenlock and Mandeville sound like a pair of prostitute-murdering opium addicts from the 1880s - via @thedailymash #
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Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 10:52 Watch Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull - May 1st and 2nd, 2010 on Vimeo! #
  • 19:48 Could can I have whatever the designers for 2012 are having? First Lisa Simpson giving head and now Wenlock and Mandeville! #olympics #wtf #
  • 20:08 Melt Wenlock and Mandeville down for scrap this should have been the mascot! Oh Yes! #olympics #mascot #
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Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 10:27 "it did not include being gawped at by misfits for two hours and ending up with a face like a plasterer's radio" #
  • 10:38 Inflation continues to rise looks like interest rates will doing likewise soon #
  • 16:37 Just wasted an hour fighting a problem turns out an explicit cast wasn't working leave it as implicit and it works! #
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Monday, 17 May 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 16:38 Turns out yesterdays police tape and Soco van was for a robbery #
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Sunday, 16 May 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 21:17 Anyone know why the wine rack on bargate was cordoned off with police tape this evening? #
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Friday, 14 May 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 22:49 RT @TelegraphNews It will take a long time for the new boys to unravel Gordon Brown's mess - Teleg.. #
  • 12:05 Just heard an old acquaintance is unemployed and touting for a job #
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Thursday, 13 May 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 12:03 Cameron commuting until industrial cleaners finish work at Downing Street - exactly what state was it left in? #
  • 12:21 "had flown to Hamburg to cheer on The Cottagers." - I very nearly spit my coffee out when I read that! #
  • 17:33 Will they stop your benefit if you turn down this job? #
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Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 10:45 and to underline Labour's abject failure we see jobless figures have risen again #
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Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 15:59 So was Clegg's and Cameron's masterplan always to make Labour implode? #
  • 19:32 Please tell me the Queen's Corgi's have just pissed on Gordon's shoes! #
  • 20:29 Did Campbell just say that Labour have left this country in a better state than when they came in? He should get his drink problem sorted! #
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Monday, 10 May 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 16:36 Well if do we get electoral reform we can look forward to this fiasco every couple of years #
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Friday, 7 May 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 22:05 Jesus the BBC technical team want shooting, knackered displays, broken microphones and harriet harman looks ill #ge10 #
  • 23:00 It will be interesting to find out how much the BBC paid for this technical fiasco? It is just style over substance! #ge2010 #
  • 23:12 Polling stations open since 7am and it seems everyone left it till 9:55pm to go vote? #
  • 23:17 A load of z-rate celebs talk crap about the election while they drink free booze - BBC in depth coverage going back to Sky! #ge2010 #
  • 23:18 Jeremy bloody Vine! Thats sealed it Channel 82 it is! #
  • 23:47 At next election (in Nov?) I suggest Labour give out free watches or alarm clocks to voters! #
  • 23:53 So if exit poll is correct Tories have largest share of vote but the PR supporting parties claim they don't have a mandate.. bizarre! #
  • 00:00 So did alll these students forget to take their polling cards? Goes to show education has declined under Labour? #ge2010 #
  • 02:18 Getting tired now #
  • 02:23 Might be tired but worth it to see that idiot Opik voted out #
  • 02:48 Yah! Conservatives hold Newark! #
  • 04:30 Sorry Ester That's Life! #
  • 08:17 Mandelson sounds like the snake out of Disney's Jungle Book! #ge2010 #
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Thursday, 6 May 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 07:26 Sorry how can "The Polls Open" be breaking news? Not like we didn't know it would be happening! #
  • 15:31 #ukvote NG24 #
  • 17:21 Seem to be indications of a higher than expected turnout. My polling station commented on how busy they had been... #ukvote #
  • 22:01 Lol huge expensive BBC election screen just crashed! #
  • 22:05 Jesus the BBC technical team want shooting, knackered displays, broken microphones and harriet harman looks ill #ge10 #
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Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 11:05 The Palace Theatre is a charming listed building? Went last night it was stuffy, cramped and acoustics were appauling! #
  • 11:09 Just checking the listings.. they have something called "Lady Boys of Bangkok" in November - daren't put that into Google! #
  • 11:18 Just checked and yes the "Lady Boys of Bangkok" is just as described! #
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Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 09:50 I really must stop disconnecting from the grid every weekend, when I reconnect it's like someone has rebooted the matrix #
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Thursday, 29 April 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 10:40 RT @thedailymash: WORD 'BIGOT' LOSES ALL MEANING #
  • 12:33 Big drawback of my job is I cannot brag about when get something working, it's all hush hush top secret stuff! #
  • 12:37 RT @charltonbrooker: Front page of BBC site... resemble a choir singing about the finest boobs they ever saw: #
  • 16:55 Kerry McCarthy, Labour Candidate, Puts Postal Results For Bristol East On Twitter In Web Gaffe #
  • 17:26 Got 2012 and Avatar on BluRay this week, no idea wh en I will find the time to watch either of them! #
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Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 10:36 Being obese perhaps I should vote for my local Labour candidate? Fat Chance! :-) #
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Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 07:13 RT @boingboing Apollo 11 launch, revisited in slow-mo, HD glory - Boing Boing #
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Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 08:35 So Willie Walsh blames the authorities for following the advice of the airplane manufacturers? Insanity! #
  • 08:54 After 5 days of reports of empty airports we are now subjected to endless shots of planes landing and taxiing and inane vox populi #
  • 09:03 RT @yngling: @r4today odd how adonis stated "politicians don't second guess safety experts" seems he's forgotten the drug advisory committee #
  • 19:31 Vince Cable's Flip Flop Smack Down #
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Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 22:11 More Icelandic ash on the way #
  • 10:15 2 days (mostly spent scanning files) and I think victim's PC is disinfected. Now installing MS updates (was running unpatched IE6 ffs) #
  • 11:26 Laurel and Hardy meet Faulty Towers? #
  • 15:45 why are sticking plasters so difficult to open? Not helpful when your finger is bleeding profusely! #
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Monday, 19 April 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 10:28 RT @TomFeilden Just because planes can take off fly around a bit and come back unscathed, doesn't mean it's safe. #ashtag #
  • 12:02 Glad to see the airlines are more than willing to gamble with passengers lives #
  • 12:09 Has Boeing changed it's stand from 1999? "Boeing has always advocated that flight crews avoid volcanic ash clouds" #
  • 15:38 Great the pox in question is a sophisticated rookit/stealth - suspect the only option is to nuke from orbit, it's the only way to be sure #
  • 16:56 Hey our research funding is running out, what about this for an idea? #
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Sunday, 18 April 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 19:57 Why It's So Hard to Tell Which Tooth Has the Ache #
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Friday, 16 April 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 09:14 The leaders debate? funniest comment I've seen "The worst Kraftwerk performance in years!" #
  • 15:19 Not a good career move, infect your PC with malware, try to hide it and then disappear for a two hour lunch leaving others to sort it out! #
  • 15:54 "It popped up when I was browsing Amazon" Funny your history doesn't show you visiting Amazon today! #
  • 17:21 Deleted 3GB of tmp files off idiot's pox'd pc - what's that on desktop? Zip file dated today 'free flash games' for your Archos - doh! #
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Thursday, 15 April 2010

Daily Tweats

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Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 09:26 Finally got around to watching the BBC's Prog Rock Britannia - well as Yes once sang " Yours is no disgrace" :-) #
  • 10:38 So PCs don't need serial ports? So thats why I have 2 USB-Serial adapters plugged in? (Ok it might have something to do with my job) #
  • 14:56 Lava Lamp Centrifuge answers that nagging question would a Lava Lamp work on Jupiter? #
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Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 14:21 Why did I think Tooth Fairy was a horror flick? Well I was sort of right! #
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Monday, 12 April 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 09:11 Is there really three more weeks of this? #
  • 09:45 A lone figure seemingly lost on a b-road with no map, no car and going nowhere? Sums up the state of country #
  • 11:48 Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day #
  • 16:16 Louis Armstrong-What A Wonderful World(Death Metal Version) #
  • 16:49 Three MPs Are Granted Legal Aid To Defend Their Expenses Claims Sky News #
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Friday, 9 April 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 09:18 Shock, horror the general public confused by technology - I blame DSGi :-) #
  • 09:36 Currently Reading: Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: The iPad Luddites #
  • 09:55 "There's only one thing to do at a moment like this: strut!" - listening to Bee Gees Stayin' Alive #
  • 12:07 Given the 'PC storm' this has caused I think some of my friends can kiss goodbye to ever being politicians :-) #
  • 14:51 Just written a dirty bash script that uses wget to backup tweets to an x ml file #
  • 14:54 and just exceed Twitter's max requests per hour :( #
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Thursday, 8 April 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 11:48 RT @alanburkittgray: Guy Kewney, one of the world's best computer journalists has died. See Chris Green's tribute #
  • 12:01 RT @libdemvoice: 'Digital Economy Bill Saints' the MPs who voted against Labour's internet freedom clampdown #DEbill #
  • 12:43 RT @lifehacker Xmarks for Firefox Syncs Open Tabs Between Browsers - Syncing - Lifehacker #
  • 12:54 Well now got the office to myself for a fortnight... can give the headphones a rest! #
  • 14:32 Just watched the latest episode of Southpark - A Facebook/Tron mashup absolutely spot-on satire! #
  • 16:28 Any doubt that Gordon Brown lives in a fantasy world? Then listen to him being demolished by John Humphrys #
  • 16:55 RT @sickipedia: Twitter - Creating meaningless bollocks with a limited number of characters. A bit like "Lost" really. #
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Thursday, 1 April 2010

Daily Tweats

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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 22:55 Vince Cable: just because he started bashing the banks ten minutes before everyone else, that doesn't make him Yoda #
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Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 12:59 Million pound Usenet indexer found guilty #
  • 13:02 Getting all low level and dirty with a framebuffer :-) #
  • 13:08 Scarface School Play (it might be a fake but who cares motherfudger!) #
  • 16:10 So go on then, explain why I bothered prototyping something ages ago only for it to be forgotten about? #
  • 16:15 So no day after tomorrow then? #
  • 16:40 Lords: Analogue radio must die #
  • 21:37 80MB per tab??? I've given you a go Chrome but you aren't suited to my aging laptop with just 512MB of RAM (Progress eh?) #
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Monday, 29 March 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 09:44 RT @TechCrunch The Madness of King Rupert – I Admit, I Was Wrong About Murdoch's Mental State #
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Sunday, 28 March 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 10:53 Reminds me of my student days, Sunday morning doing the housework in my dressing gown with ZZ Top blasting out on the hi-fi! #
  • 15:35 Not sure my dog has got the idea of chatroulette :-) #
  • 15:37 Right off to take the dogs out for a nice walk in the fresh air and lovely sunshine! #
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Saturday, 27 March 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 06:14 Impressed with the McLaren website during qualifying #
  • 16:58 Somewhat ironic Earth Hour coincides with 'Ant and Dec's Push The Button' guess I will :-) #
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Friday, 26 March 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 08:49 RT @libdemvoice: £104 to read the Times online - how will the blogosphere react? > with howls of laughter? #
  • 08:50 RT @paul_clarke: Re The Times: remember that last big investigative piece that had everyone dashing for their unique content? Me neither. #
  • 09:19 The office war continues! Eating my apple very noisily! No doubt be countered by the five minute plastic bag folding manoeuvre :-) #
  • 11:00 I am sure most men would rather lick a toilet seat given where that mouth as allegedly been! #
  • 16:57 Ok ay, they might be wma streams but at least you can opt out of using iPlayer #bbc #
  • 17:12 Lady Gaga, Meet Chatroulette #
  • 17:18 'Switch to Century Gothic to save the planet' #
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Thursday, 25 March 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 10:12 Loving Turn Back to spring - Another Day Calling by @Lee_Thorpe on < please donate @twestivalfm #
  • 11:10 Alien Versus Pooh #
  • 11:20 Dangerous Minds | Jankstarr K: "I'm Fat (And Nobody Likes Me)" #
  • 12:42 RT @boingboing Reality is a quantum computer #
  • 21:40 Watching The Air Hospital on C4. Moving, harrowing and uplifting #
  • 21:45 RT @f47boy: I don't often get goose bumps while watching TV - Air Hospital on C4 is a rare exception, horrifying but simply brilliant... #
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Monday, 22 March 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 11:31 Some days I wonder why I bother? You struggle to get something to work but the way it works isn't good enough for some... #
  • 16:31 Can't believe I am now having to debug code that someone else has refactored from my working original and has broken totally! #
  • 16:45 Okay, so you remove lines of code you think are redundant and it stops working and you wonder why? #
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Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 10:26 Missed the "Are the Net Police coming for you?" Panorama programme last night, just torrenting it to watch later :-) #
  • 10:42 You're Leaving a Bacterial Fingerprint on Your Keyboard #
  • 10:58 Chat Roulette Funny Piano Improvisation #1 #
  • 12:50 Having so much fun with the extended coverage on Google Street View #
  • 16:48 Embedded development tools and Vista really don't like to play together do they? Oh well off to download a 45MB update #
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Friday, 12 March 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 22:29 RT @boingboing Was this week's "Runaway Toyota Prius" driver video a fake? - Boing Boing #
  • 11:58 Female porn director to fight Parliament seat I'm sure she will be welcomed by members in both chambers (not my joke) #
  • 12:02 Female porn director to fight Parliament seat - she should go down well in Westminster (last stolen joke I promise) #
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Thursday, 11 March 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 09:10 Lol.. Boss "are you using the Internet? Something is using the bandwidth!" - mmmm... no! #
  • 11:47 Win a new Nikon D300s (or 2000 photo scans) from @ScanCafe & Scott Bourne. Pls RT. Details here: #
  • 11:50 RT @TimMontgomerie: 100 starlings found dead in front garden 'may have crash-landed while being hunted by bird of prey' #
  • 12:24 High-speed rail plans announced, in other news rail union workers vote to strike. #onlyinbritain #
  • 21:33 Map Strip s a Bit of Anonymity From Chatroulette #
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Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 09:29 Sorry to be pedantic but they are playing 'chicken' rather than 'Russian roulette' but idiots either way #
  • 13:05 Astro-squirrels most read story in the Telegraph and it isn't even 1st April #
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Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 05:31 Fifth Annual SXSW BitTorrent Download Is Almost Legal - MP3s of the best contemporary music makers #
  • 05:44 Low Tolerance for Pain May Be Genetic - well thats my excuse! #
  • 08:30 RT @guardiantech: Should you use ad blockers or not? #
  • 09:57 Listening to: Set Guitars to Kill by And So I Watch You From Afar. #
  • 09:59 RT @kitmalthouse: At last the govt is listening. But we don't want a DVLA for dogs, just greater power and pen alties to deal with the worst #
  • 10:42 BBC news website have changed the picture about the 'proposed dog act' have they realised not everyone has an ugly vicious pit bull? #
  • 14:02 RT @channel4news: what effect is a mass spillage of internet pornography having upon.... (unfortunate turn of phrase?) #
  • 14:08 Listening to: Out Of Control by Dash & Will. #
  • 14:10 Dash & Will... must check out some more tracks #
  • 19:53 "Tr on Legacy" Trailer Featuring Jeff Bridges Hits the Web [VIDEO] #
  • 19:55 Florida woman prangs car while shaving her privates #
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Monday, 8 March 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 17:17 Oh wow.. the internet connection has just sped up, wonder if it due to co-worker going home? :-) #
  • 17:22 What a daft way to stop your spaniel eating the milkman | Jeremy Clarkson - Times Online: via @addthis #
  • 20:06 Chile Earthquake Moved Entire City 10 Feet to the West #
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Friday, 5 March 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 09:13 wonder how many people are still listening to 6 music now it's out the news? #save6music #
  • 10:05 Is Michael Owen made from glass? #
  • 14:07 Argos exposes customers' credit-card numbers in emails #
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Thursday, 4 March 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 09:30 This is so true! #
  • 10:02 Off to the dentist soon to have a tooth extracted and am not looking forward to it at all - what the tooth fairy will leave tonight? #
  • 15:20 RT @boingboing Coming to a theater near you: Missile Command, Space Invaders, and Asteroids. #
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Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 08:36 After watching the last episode of The Big Bang Theory I must resist the temptation to buy one #
  • 08:46 Listening to the new Joanna Newsome album, very unique with just a subtle hint of Kate Bush? #
  • 08:49 RT @r4today: Sir Michael Lyons "the BBC cannot continue to grow forever" but "I don't think we're actually swayed by ratings" #save6music #
  • 08:50 RT @aleksk: #r4today's john humphries is standing up for #6music. i bet he's a fan of adam & joe. #
  • 09:38 BBC iplayer fail plays #6music normal high bandwidth feed okay complains not enough bandwidt h for lower quality version! #save6music #
  • 10:10 Skoda drivers are actually day walking vampires #
  • 10:11 RT @TheOracleSpeak: BBC to cut digital radio stations to fund TV for morons: #save6music #
  • 10:49 RT @bitrebels A Twitter Milestone: The 10,000,000,000 Tweet! #
  • 17:09 RT @EmmaInnes: Michael foot just died and @sallybercow demonstrating how the real labour party died with him, replaced by grubby opportunism #
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Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 06:53 RT @boingboing iPad case with wings - Boing Boing #
  • 06:58 RT @boingboing Not a lie: Valve updates Portal with secret SSTV images - #
  • 12:22 BBC say f**k you to everyone who has DAB by culling two digital only channels can someone explain BBC Alba? #
  • 14:11 Listening to: Hurt by Johnny Cash. #
  • 14:43 What about the millions thrown at a satellite only minority TV channel with no reliable viewing figures? #save6music #
  • 14:44 RT @davidgallienne: BBC 6 Music is an Oasis in a sea of mainstream pap and double glazing, it has no commercial alternative. #save6music #
  • 14:57 RT @peregr1n: If Bupa complains to the government that it hasn't got enough customers, will the government make cuts to the NHS? #save6music #
  • 15:04 RT @jaredashe: Just did the BBC online consultation - ridiculous for them to claim 6 music competes with commercial pop stations #save6music #
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Monday, 1 March 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 22:53 yah! CANADA!!!! #
  • 22:55 now that was a hockey game! Well done #Canada #
  • 08:22 Dare I hope that the system has stabilised? "up 4 days, 15:58" #
  • 09:06 Oh joy another day of listening to some who is sick and shouldn't be in work feeling sorry for himself #
  • 14:35 Back from "Secret Agent Laser Obstacle Lunch" #
  • 14:37 Secret Agent Laser Obstacle Lunch (with proper link) #
  • 20:18 LOL seems Sony are waiting 24 hours to see if the PS3 problem fixes itself - did nobody learn anything from y2k? #
  • 21:41 PS3 problem appears to be down to known buggy ARM processor (remember Zune?) #
  • 21:45 Sad news someone I have never heard of has died #
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Sunday, 28 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 22:19 RT @crunchgear Bill in UK may disallow public wi-fi #
  • 12:33 Firefox why do you need 170MB of memory to show a blank page? #
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Friday, 26 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 09:14 Good job I went for the cheaper dental option yesterday as the tumble dryer packed up this morning and frightened the Corgi !! #
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Thursday, 25 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 08:59 Has the BBC downgraded the RBS loses? I am sure the headline was over £5bn an few hour ago? #
  • 09:01 "many experts had been expecting losses of £5bn for 2009" Experts? Do they ever get any figures right? #
  • 13:42 £450+ on root canal, temp filling and crown or £70 to have it pulled - guess which I chose? & can't have it done on NHS as list full - c**ts #
  • 20:00 RT @markhw42: Brilliant, brilliant Adam Buxton /via @Glinner #
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Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 14:24 I would expect the BBC to be able to produce podcasts with consistent volume levels, the last few I have downloaded have been dreadful #
  • 16:02 How to Take Better Low-Light Photos - #
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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Daily Tweats

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Monday, 22 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 09:45 The world has gone mad, I just cannot be bothered anymore I think I will just sit here mumbling and rocking to and fro #
  • 11:40 I hate the telephone #
  • 13:01 Enough is enough, the pain isn't going away so have put my phobia behind me and made appointment with dentist #
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Sunday, 21 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 07:09 Been showing for the last couple of hours... ng24 6/10 #uksnow #
  • 11:07 Picasa is messing me about again, importing duplicates and hanging up #
  • 17:20 Perpetual motion? You won't be taken seriously using Microsoft Frontpage Express and Comic Sans font! #
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Friday, 19 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 14:37 In the midst of an intergalactic space rock listening session courtesy of Hawkwind #
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Thursday, 18 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 07:15 I hate tossers who can't manoeuvre in car parks, damage your car and then sod off. Just noticed Xtrail got scratched at hospital yesterday #
  • 10:42 can't believe some of the crap I'm seeding to repair my torrent ratio :-) #
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Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 09:46 Boris' video has had 60+ views since midnight! Was it because it was incorrectly tagged agilty corgi! #
  • 11:53 Bunnie's 'counterfeit' microSD problems #
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Monday, 15 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 10:43 knew I should have stayed at home, overdid it in the cold this weekend - feel shivery, tight-chest and now toothache #
  • 11:04 Wow, the economy is going to be safe with the Tories look at their skill with figures and decimal places #
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Friday, 12 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 12:20 RT @TelegraphNews What has Gordon Brown done for Britain since his first Budget? - Telegraph #
  • 16:31 ubuntu system running perfectly now! slight drawback is it isn't running the cctv software anymore, hate it when a plan falls apart #
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Thursday, 11 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 07:14 going to be listening to the Soam Fm mission control feed today #
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Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 22:06 can't help thinking all this fuss about Toyota in the US is a way to boost their domestic car industry #
  • 14:02 I don't f***ing believe it, ubuntu server has crashed yet again with a kernel panic, maximum uptime so far around 10 hours #
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Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 11:35 RT @guardiantech: Facebook is the new threat to Google (not if they keep changing the interface every few weeks!) #
  • 11:36 I just gave my heart to a lonely puppy. Help us raise awareness of homeless puppies: #DogsTrust #
  • 11:55 Would everybody please stop using science to prove things and get back to burning witches and turning lead into gold, please! #
  • 12:26 Apple gets set to shaft its initial Ipad customers #
  • 12:54 RT @Mpdreamz: An average car's codebase is 20 times a s much lines of code as the joint strike fighter major wtf! #
  • 14:30 interesting to hear legal ramifications of driving a faulty Toyota, you can't claim mechanical fault if aware of recall #
  • 16:33 the great and all powerful ubuntu cctv server at home has crashed again, remind me why I migrated from the windows2000 system? #
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Monday, 8 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 09:52 RT @AIannucci: Today's poll: Do you feel sorry for Alastair Campbell? A)No B) Not really or C) I don't think so. #
  • 10:18 RT @bowbrick: I'm announcing a safety recall. More or less everything I've done since I left school has been a bit dodgy. Mind how you go. #
  • 15:50 Man 'breached Asbo by dressing as a schoolgirl' (mind you he does sound like a perv) #
  • 16:54 Tweetdeck updated v0.33 #
  • 19:51 RT @boingboing Best Superbowl photo ever Boing Boing #
  • 19:58 #
  • 21:21 RT @robwinder: very disappointing start to BBC's 'generation jihad' doc, cliched music and shots and a couple of missing 'allegedly's #
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Weekend of unfocussed inaction

Was a quiet weekend, the weather was lousy not raining but very dull and cold. The wife is currently suffering a back problem and is a new prescription of painkillers. She has felt a little odd so decided she would rather rest and take it easy.

I spent some of the weekend tweaking zoneminder and the ubuntu server installation for the cctv system.

I also went through my growing collection of unlabelled camcorder tapes indexing them. They are mostly videos of the dogs doing agility, but there were some other segments and they went back as far as 2007. It was a little emotional seeing Toby, Fred and Basil again, we lost all three during 2008.

My camcorder is a Sony Digital-8 which I purchased back in 2002, it struck me that I have an awful lot of tapes (some from my older Video-8 as well as some on VHS) stored in boxes which rely on an almost obsolescent technology. So I really must get around to archiving them onto DVD and must think about replacing the camcorder. There is nothing wrong with the camcorder but continued usage is likely to accelerate the wear and tear and I would hate to lose the ability to view the original tapes.

I currently have some old 8mm film stock taken by my father dating back to the 1960s which I had intended to transfer to a video form, (I also have the ancient Bell-Howell projector) I really haven't got enough hours in the day for all these projects!

Oh and I also went through my den's collection of boxes and draws sorting out the mass of cables and connectors. Now if I need a specific firewire, usb, audio, scart or power cable then I can at least find the box likely to contain it!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 21:35 RT @crunchgear Google Street View camera car tagged with GPS sensor, stalked around Berlin #
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Saturday, 6 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 07:00 Is Jim Devine the stupidest MP alive? Admits fraud on live TV #
  • 07:28 Devine insisted this type of accounting was normal practice in the union movement! Surprise surprise! #
  • 10:16 Feeling a bit light headed... must be the visit to the barber! :-) #
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Friday, 5 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 10:00 RT @boingboing South African budget airline's fantastic self-explanatory livery Boing Boing #
  • 10:56 enrage the express "DIANA ADMIRERS' FURY AT SICK TWITTER PAGE" follow @dianainheaven #
  • 11:11 Latest Score Labour 3 Conservatives 1 #
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Thursday, 4 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 13:10 linux cctv security system up and running... #
  • 15:23 Oh well so much for linux stability... rebooted server remotely and it appears to have died! #
  • 17:42 Just bought some Jamie Oliver sausages from Sainsburys. Says on packet "prick with fork". Can't argue with that. #
  • 20:40 #savedave #
  • 20:44 RT @boingboing Campaign to "Save Dave," the poor banker caught looking at girlie pics on TV Boing Boing #
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Fortress Nerdsville - Part 2

Well the next stage of the CCTV system was to install the Zoneminder and thankfully it was fairly straightforward, following the process on the link below

The only tricky part was getting the video capture card to be recognised properly. I am able to monitor the camera pictures remotely via the web but at the moment something isn't right as I cannot get any 'events or alarms' to trigger.

And to add to the frustration a remote server reboot has failed to restart so will have to wait till I get home this evening.

Fortress Nerdsville - Part 1

Last year I purchased a couple of CCTV cameras to monitor around the exterior of my home (not that we live in a hot bed of crime, it is just I couldn't resist the technology) They were connected to a 4-input video card (from ebay) which came supplied with some pirated and bug-ridden cctv software which ran for a random number of hours on a Windows 2000 installation before crashing the PC!

I swore then that I would investigate the use of a linux solution to create a proper reliable solution that could be monitored remotely. Well this morning I finally got around to swapping the harddisk in my designated PC and have just installed Ubuntu Server

Next step is to install zoneminder

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 08:55 are pulling FTP support. Time to migrate my dormant blog to wordpress methinks #
  • 08:57 RT @Nottingham_News: SNOW is forecast for Nottingham today. Met Office expect temps to plummet by late afternoon - Time to get the BBQ out! #
  • 08:59 RT @billt: Important letter in The Times today about orphan works and danger of #debill locking them up: #
  • 14:48 RT @guardiantech: Excessive internet use linked to depression, research shows (I can give it up anytime...) #
  • 15:20 RT @iamlittleboots: spent much of last night discussing if gaga is actually controlled by the illuminati #
  • 16:33 some just mentioned a name from the past, brought up not very nice memories #
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Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 23:00 Ubuntu fail.. tried to resize the partition containing home and lost all data therein - oh well at least backed up :-) #
  • 15:35 iPad Keynote in less than 180 Seconds: Incredible, Beautiful, Amazing! #
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Monday, 1 February 2010

Daily Tweats

  • 13:03 Somewhat relieved to have found my missing usb drives. They were hiding in the lining of my laptop bag! #
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No I'm not dead!

I might not be President Umaru Yar'Adua but like him I can claim to be very much alive, it may have been June 2009 when I last posted something other than my daily tweets (and twitter isn't proof you are still cognitive and breathing)

I've been in my current job for 18 months now and still very much enjoying it. The work is varied and demanding. I have been forced to break out of the depressing programming rut I had bounced along for too many years.

The upshot of my new found work ethic is I don't have much time in the day to sit writing blog entries, but after watching the first programme of the new BBC documentary series The Virtual Revolution I thought I really should make posts.. it won't last it never does