Saturday, 17 September 2011
Nowadays, e-mail messages are much larger and I had been having quota problems so I decided that I would look if I could get a better deal. I first tried my existing mail/web host service (flump.net) and discovered that they were still talking about the same packages as I got 6 years ago with spaces measured in MB still!! What is more they have not updated their site in 4 years, I think maybe they have lost interest.
After a quick look around it looked like hostpapa had one of the best deals with pretty much unlimited space/bandwidth and a great set of services for €2.95/month. Compared to my 250MB limit for about twice that. They also offered a free domain for life (as long as you stay with them I guess) so I was able to transfer gardiner-smith.com from from register.com to tucows (host papa's registry) at no cost. Their pre-sales on-line support was excellent and instructions for set was clear
Planning the move was quite nerve wracking making sure that the break in service was as short as possible but I need not of worried. I was given an ip address at host papa which allowed me to set up mail accounts and stuff, then once the auth code had been requested & received from the old registry (requiring a phone call and them pleading with me to stay for 10 minutes) and passed on to the new registry all I had to do was wait. I backed up the old mailboxes and up a redirect on my old mailbox so I knew when that stopped redirecting the new domain address had been propagated. It all took 4 days from signing up to being transferred (with no loss as far as I know). Most of that time was just waiting for the internet to propagate my new address through the global DNS. Now a lll I need to do is shut down the old service.
Upshot is I am now running gardiner-smith with hostpapa. No homepage yet, but you can look at some photos of my new grandson and our China holiday at http://gardiner-smith.com/pictures/.
If all goes well over the next few weeks I might go back to hosting my own blog rather than using bloodspot. Mainly depends on how difficult the migration is.
p.s. The more observant may have noticed a few posts from my old 2002/2003 architecture blog just for nostalgia's sake.
Thursday, 8 September 2011
Given the origins of this blog I thought I should mention the current state of my health four years on from that fateful day 1n 1997.
- I am still alive: This in itself is more than I could have hoped for and I seem to well into the long tail of the morbidity statistics for my condition. Sometimes it is hard to imagine that I am terminally ill.
- Side Effects from my condition or treatments: It is difficult for me to tell which is which, and the doctors can't tell either.
- My Brain-Speech connection still has problems and I lose words and forget names more than is normal (or was normal for me). It may be getting worse, but it is definitely a slow progression ifit is. It is the only thing that still scares me, the idea that I might at some time lose my ability to communicate.
- I still have some insensitivity on my right side but either it has got better or I have gotten used to it, I think this was a by-product of my biopsy, but as I said nobody can prove it one way or another.
- I still get headaches on the left side of my head in the mornings, on waking, several times a week, but they are not severe and they usually go away within 30 minutes.
- Drugs: I only take Timonil (Carbamazepine) 300 twice a day as a precautionary measure against seizures. This to make sure that my regular EEG doesn't show too much craziness in the damage areas (see plot below) because if it did I would be banned from driving. (Given the drugs I am more likely to get banned for other reasons, but more of that in another post perhaps).
- Monitoring: I am now down to 2 check ups a year which comes down to alternate EEG / MRI appointments. Sometimes I feel embarassed taking up the time of the guys and gals at the hospital just so that Professor Neuro can say "No Change"
|Interesting bit is around 3:47 where the sensors (FP1-F7, F7-T3, T3-T5, T5-O1) around my damage get a little crazy,|
but not crazy enough to worry Prof. Neuro thank goodness
Tuesday, 6 September 2011
Sunday, 4 September 2011
Jayden Tyler Moser
Arrived at 12.02am in Baden Weighing in at 3.3kg (7lb 4oz for the imperalists), 49cm long, quick birth mother (Kayleigh) and baby are fine.
This extends the Moser arm of the Gardiner-Smith's to 3.
Saturday, 23 July 2011
Shocked by the news of Amy Winehouse's death, even if it was somehow inevitable that she should die young. Such a wonderful songwriter and an incredible singer. I am almost ashamed that on the day after such atrocities in Norway that it was this news that brought me to tears.
I have not felt quiet this way since John Lennon died and I was so much less of a jaded character in those days.
You will be sorely missed Amy, by this fan and millions of others. Rest in peace my lovely.
Sunday, 17 July 2011
The most important part of the set-up is a Davis Vantage Pro 2. This consists of two major pieces, the ISS (Integrated sensor system) which contains most of the sensors and has to be mounted around 1.2m off the ground. It looks like this:
|ISS, mounting & owner|
The console is also where you plug in the data logger for connecting to the outside world (more on that later).
The ISS contains sensors for:
- Temperature & Humidity (in the white thing underneath) and a powered transpiration unit (fan) to keep the air flowing around them. The power comes from the large set of solar cells on the right of the aspirator.
- Rain (the big black thing which is the rain collector)
- Solar & UV detectors (behind the rain detector, you can only see solar here)
- Wind speed & direction (on the arm to the left of the post)
On the front of the ISS there is a little white box where everything is connected together and then sent via wireless to the console and powered by the little set of solar cells on the front. Together that gives you a great standalone weather station.
This is all very well if you want to keep yourself to yourself but this weather thing becomes much more fun if you get connected to the internet and onward to the rest of the world.
To do that you can plug a USB data logger into the console and connect it to a PC. The Davis WeatherLink software that came with the data logger was pretty crappy on the MAC so I got a copy of Lightsoft Weather Center which has a wonderful set of graphing tools and all the connections to the Internet Weather Networks you could want.
What is a Weather Network?
Weather networks allow you to provide your weather information to them so that anybody can gain access to your weather data. There are around 20 such networks around but most of them have some kind of local focus. Exceptionally the Weather Underground is global.
In the top right hand widget of this blog page you can see, updating every few seconds, data from my weather station via the Weather Underground (WUG) in almost real time! Now isn't that cool? More than that, if you go to my station on the Weather Underground website (try it by just clicking on the widget) you can look at historical data and statistics from the day the station went on line (around 4pm CET on the 30/4/2011).
WUG also uses sets of data from around the area to provide extended info, almanac's and forecasts. You can look at this here or just go to "current conditions" from my station's (IAGKINDH2) site.
So all that sounds pretty cool, so what is all this extra stuff that has been taking up my time during May, June and July? Well first up, was I didn't want to have my Mac on all the time to feed information into WUG. In theory I could have could switched it off and update less often, but that kind of defeats the object of real time don't you think? To fix this a clever German guy (Hi Boris) had already thought of this (and much much more) and produced a piece of linux based software (meteohub) that can run on tiny headless PC's to handle all of your weather data requirements. This sounded perfect and would run on one of the little Alix boxes which I had already experience with when building my firewall a couple of years ago.
After a few issues trying to get the software image on a CF card the Alix motherboard was put into a box, the CF card put in and the Alix booted up. I was pretty nervous about the changeover from LWC to meteohub but once the meteohub was set up and running the changeover went like clockwork. So what you see on WUG is being supplied by my very own 24x7 weather server since 5.6.2011.
Not enough wind (unusual for me)
As you can see from the ISS photos, the anemometer and wind direction sensors are mounted on the same pole. Given our shielded garden this was not good enough for accurate wind readings so the sensors had to go to the roof.
Of course, this is nowhere near the ISS so I had to either run a long cable across the garden or use a Davis wireless kit to have the wind sensors talk directly to the console, I went for the latter. So the 3m mast was delivered along with the wireless kit and I was ready to go.
Disaster, on my first explorations for an appropriate site I discovered the house was falling down (OK exaggeration) due to a split beam that should have been fixed nearly 4 years ago (when I was more interested in staying alive than anything else)! So in came the builders to fix that before the mast could go up.
|The split beam|
So on Saturday 7th July I got out my big scary ladder and with a bit of help from Joss and a few prayers to the patron saint of ladder climbers (St. Jacob, I think) up went the mast and my wind readings became official.
The next day out came the my little ladder to help me mount the wireless box. Unfortunately I didn't spend as much time stabilizing this ladder and forgot my prayers so while I was up putting in the last screw, the ladder decided to leave me hanging on the balcony to which the box was attached. I still have some of the bruises caused by the ladder which I had to land on because their was nowhere else for me to go.
|Mast with Anemometer|
So what else was there still to do?
Well, when I went over to meteohub from LWC although WUG didn't lose any data (as the data logger was still on line to the console and recording until meteohub came online), meteohub itself didn't have any of the LWC data from the previous month and that was needed for other purposes (graphs, pc dashboards etc.
So after finding out the LWC and meteohub respective data formats with some help from Boris (Hi Boris) I set out to brush off my Perl skills (which apparently had gone down the drain) to get my lost data into meteohub. This is a work in progress as I keep finding myself some new weather maths to play with on the way.
So when that is finished I will be able to sit back and enjoy my weather station .....
or maybe not ......
here is stuff on the to do list so far:
- Getting my Meteohub on the Web - so you too can look at all the fun I am having
- Adding a weather (360 degree) CAM so I have records of cloud formations
- Before the winter sets in get my rain sensor heater so as I can measure water content of snow fall too (don't believe me?)
- Virtual cloud sensor for meteohub to record cloud classifications (a whole subject on its own)
- Lobby LWC to support meteohub (I do love their graphs)
- Learn more about weather forecasting
HINT: The cheap way to feed you interest in the weather:
- Buy an i-Pad or use one that you have lying around
- Download weather Pro-HD (CHF 6)
Yet another blow for the trees but at least not as bad as Orkan (Hurricane) Lothar from Christmas 1999 the remnants of that devastation still scar our landscape.
Here are some of the pictures I took of the damage we saw within a km from the house last Friday.
No Comment Necessary
|I know there was a path here last week (really)|
Wednesday, 13 July 2011
Turned out to be another dog.
She is from Italy (can't you tell) and is around 3 years old. She was found tied up at a parking stop next to a motorway. Can anybody understand what kind of person would do that?
Like pepper she loves us all and vice versa but she does seem to be especially attached to Carol, almost literally. So here they all are together (Pepper, Carol & Daisy) in their favorite place, the Kitchen. Actually Carol's second favourite place next to the Garden.
At around 2am, the whole household was awakened instantaneously by the sound of almond sized hail dropping on our roof. As our roof is large and we have no attic this sounded like somebody throwing 1000's of rocks on it. This was accompanied by and the most spectacular thunder and lightning I have ever seen and heard. Most of it was fork but was was going between clouds and the multiple concurrent strikes were unending. Just as we were checking that the dogs were OK (er plural, more on that later) the power went down and the search for candles and torches proceeded. The dogs were actually scared ****less but thankfully without ****.
My weather machine recorded over 30mm of rain (including melted hail, I guess) in the last day and wind gusts of up to 66km/hr. The main storm passed us in about 20 minutes but left a trail of devastation, and I spent sometime afterwards transfixed by its eastward journey carrying with it that extraordinary lightning. You can click on the Metric Underground widget at the right to get the story in numbers.
This morning we had some cleanup to do, but we were lucky, all the slates are still on the roof!
Carol's garden was a mess though with broken plant material littering every corner. The tomato house I built was still standing and had no extra holes which I think is some kind of miracle. Apart from the plants (poor old Carol), the most damage was two broken garden lights (hail had just smashed the covers to pieces) and some quite artistic almond shaped dents in one of our blinds (see the nice pictures I took for the insurance man below).
Now there is just time to batten down the hatches for tonight's expected repeat performance.
Sunday, 1 May 2011
More on this later, but for now just admire the new gadget on this page, just click on it to get the full details of the weather in Kindhausen now! (Ignore wind stuff, anemometer mouting not properly done yet)
BTW, last MRI shows no change in my health, beating the stats by miles now.
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
on the occasion of his funeral,
- Compared to the memory of my father, a great man
- That what few words I have found will be an injustice to that memory
- at the prospect of eulogising such a wonderful warm and loving man
What we all remember is his gentle way of dealing with all of us and that tiny push of encouragement he gave to us to step outside of our comfort zone and thus make as much out of lives as we wished to. We also remember his impeccable morals, and the manners that he showed to every man woman and child of every creed and colour.
Sunday, 3 April 2011
Monday, 14 February 2011
Tuesday, 18 January 2011
Pepper was adopted into the family back in October. She is a Bulgarian bitsa (as you can tell from her bark), we don't know who her parents are but we see Beagle and Appenzeller in her. Here is a picture, What do you think?
Why Bulgarian? Well apparently Switzerland does not have enough of it's own mistreated or deserted dogs so they we have to import them via a dogs home from somewhere that does. I hope her Bulgarian passport doesn't give us trouble at the border.
When we first got her she was scared of everything (shadows, noise, dogs, stairs, the car) except people. She loves our grandchildren and over time she has relaxed a lot and is now house trained.
We had all forgotten how much attention a dog needs, but we all love dearly.
P.S. This entry was my first written on an iPad blogger app as "mobile" browsers have problems with rich text web editors. These Web editors need single character entry and mobile devices do line by line entry like the old mainframe terminals :-)
Hope everybody had a good Christmas season and a good start to the new year.
I know I did.
Did nothing spectacular but spent a lot of time with the family and that is always special. Ate lots of delicious food, as ever, but still managed to keep my weight steady (ish). Now it is time to do the final 6kg to get under 70kg, and then I'll try and keep it there.
Lots of new gadgets around the house over Christmas,
Notebooks (Dell thing for Carol & Qosmio for Joss); Nice but boring.
Bookreaders (Kindle for Amber ; Oyo for Kayleigh
I-Pod Nano (should be Pico) - Trying to wean carol off of the old PJB
Playstation 3 (Mario) - Ho Hum
and the grandchildren got some toys too
but the winner this year (biased opinion) ......
Welcome to my iPad
My toy this year was an i-pad and I have to say I am well impressed. What surprises me most is how the thing slips into your life within a few days and starts to become a natural fit between the desktop and the Phone. The standard jibe of the iPad detractors is that it is just a big i-Phone, and in fact they are right! But having 4 times the screen real estate actually allows it to handle different tasks.
As most of you know, I work at home (about 30% of my time) except when I am visiting customers or attending internal events. In my (recently converted to) Apple world:
iPhone- Goes everywhere in my pocket and keeps me connected and provides the "on the move" applications: Agenda, messaging, timetables, maps, clocks & alarms, breaking news, dictionaries (mobile Leo is just wonderful to have around).
iPad - At home: Provides all of the casual browsing that the notebook or netbook tried to provide, but never succeeded because it all took so long to get going and was not a book format. Added to that lots of easy to use apps, including all of those (non-phone) apps carried across from the iPhone. I just love sitting with my coffee and iPad first thing in the morning going through my agenda and e-mail for the day on a screen that is big enough, but no too big to relax with.
Traveling: I think the iPad is going to replace my notebook PC when traveling. I have all the applications I need to work on the road. Numbers, Pages & Keynote should fill in for Office apps and an easy to use mind mapping tool (iThoughts HD) replaces any thinking I need to do :-)
The proof of the pudding will come in a weeks time when I am off traveling for a few days. But given that since I went back to work at the beginning of January I have only opened my work Notebook PC for two things
1. (Ironically) to use the Cisco IP phone that is (due to some licensing restriction) tied to the MAC (ethernet) address of the PC.
2. To synch it up on to my network server (so all of the docs are already available to all of my devices)
What do I miss in the iPad? : The Phone, I know it may sound odd but it needs the Phone too, and for why? Because I only want to work on one device at a time. So each device needs all of the screen size appropriate applications.
The Apple vision for the end user applications and user interfaces now becomes clear. Many of the Phone & Pad user interface elements already exist on Mac OS as do many of the applications (and since last week they can be delivered through an App store just like the iPhone and iPad). We also already know that the next major version of Mac OS will adopt the multi-page app view and no doubt a few more things from the phone-pad evolution. This means that whatever Apple end-user device you sit with in the future will feel the same and have the same stuff on it. Jobs Done (excuse the pun)
This also answers the question of where does the Notebook and Desktop fit in: wherever you like without compromising on functionality! I feel, at the moment, that for me (human communicators & conceptual and planning worker) the iPhone, iPad (with occasional keyboard connection) & iMac will be just right. But for others (e.g. intensive image artists or wordsmiths) perhaps the larger but 0 spindle notebook format would fit better in the middle, or maybe as well as. Oh, by the way, the NETBOOK IS DEAD (Wanna by one?).
Cloud or Synch
So what is wrong with the iPad, or more correctly, what is wrong with Apple's device succession at the moment? Well actually not much, but when it comes to content management it is a bloody disaster. It is almost as if Apple thought the PC was going to be the central "agent" device which everything was synchronised with when "other" devices were attached. But then they realised that these devices were becoming realtime push and pull slaves to (what we are now calling) the cloud (but which is actually a whole bunch of randomly organised servers using mainly proprietary access mechanisms). Worse than that, they couldn't decide what to use for this inappropriate synchronising.
So we have on-line stuff (like e-mail on imap and files on WebDav) and manual synchronising through the via MobileMe (web), via i-work (web) and through i-Tunes (usb) depending on the phase of the moon. And within i-Tunes there are 2 methods of synch depending on the content being synched. Books, music, videos (things that you might purchase) are synched down through the browser whereas files for specific applications via an apps tab for the device.
Some developers have added some extras too like direct proprietary WiFi synch (e.g. Appigo ToDo) and Dropbox (e.g. iCabMobile, GoodReader, iCabMobile) to try and help out but at the end of the day they are just making it more confusing.
Calling Agent Apple
I think we should forget the USB synch and look towards a personal agent technology accessed via the Internet (I think we can assume that now). In other words something that knows primarily who you are (login), what you are carrying (iPhone, iPad etc) and what the chosen apps (e.g. iTunes) that are available on that device for the different types of content (e.g. MP3 sound) that are available to you. The agent's job would be to keep the latest version of your (device relevant) content on the device. This content may be stored close to the agent or elsewhere in the cloud, but it would be the agent that had the knowledge of where the content lives (licensed content or your own stuff), of the access credentials for the content, and how to deliver it securely to where you are*. Something close to Dropbox technology (try it you will like it) with a bit more intelligence dropped in the box.
I tried to build such an agent over 10 years ago ) and was quite successful for handling my own stuff agent to/from PC, but no other the devices were around at that time. If I remember correctly I used X.400 (mail) & X.500 (directory/security) protocols on a Cobalt Qube (Linux Box appliance) to do the job...... I think we we need a new version :-)
So that's enough for today, my intention was to review my favourite albums of 2010, but I seem to have got carried away on the Apple vision and then got real geeky at the end there.
Let's hope I can get the enthusiasm up to do the top ten before it becomes favourite albums of 2011.
Ian, have a good 2011 y'all