Bag of Spoons
Just off the A1(M)

Mon, 08 Aug 2005

Oh, Canada

Work have sent me to Toronto for a week to do some set-up at a client. This is my first time in Canada. I was lucky enough to get upgraded to business class on the flight over. That's my first upgrade after many flights. For me it meant better food and space to stretch my legs. It would be nice for the night flight going back as I might actually be able to sleep on the lie-flat seats.

I have to say that Canada looks a lot like anywhere USA at first glance. That's in terms of the roads, the traffic and the general building style. There's slight differences in the flags being flown, the use of French on some signs and the use of metric units. I had a brief walk around downtown Toronto. I craned my head back to look at the mighty CN tower and admired the massive Skydome baseball stadium. I've not had a chance to check out the shopping yet.

What's suprising is the sheer heat. It's 32C here and humid. They are even predicting smog. But then it gets scarily cold with masses of snow in winter. I'm often quite glad of the mild weather extremes at home.

[21:05] | [Travel] | Comments | G

Fri, 05 Aug 2005

I have Freecycled!

Like most people I have old stuff lying around that I don't need, but it's too much hassle to sell it. The problem is that I find it very hard to throw things away that others could use. Then I discovered Freecycle. It's a network of people who are giving away things they don't need. You can also put out requests for things you do need. They operate through a series of Yahoo Groups for each area. There are several near me, including one around Letchworth.

I've got some spare materials from our housebuilding project and decided to see if anyone wants them. Last night someone came and collected a long piece of plastic pipe that was left over when we laid our electicity main. It's just been in the garden for a couple of years. Then last night I found out that the local scouts are trying to get rid of all their old stacking chairs. I'm sure someone could use those, so I posted a message about them.

I intend to try and dispose of some more stuff soon.

I ought to get rid of the motorbike I no longer use, but I'd prefer to get some money for that.

Reduce, reuse, recycle and Freecycle!

[08:14] | [News] | Comments | G

Wed, 03 Aug 2005

Water, water everywhere

A while back I heard Anita Roddick on the radio talking about how she never buys bottled water as it's overpriced and wasteful in resources. Since then I've asked for tapwater in various restaurants without problems. I just saw another article on the subject at the NY Times. It points out that you might not want to take the chance in some countries, but generally there's no harm in drinking your local tap water. We now have units to cool and filter tap water at work instead of the old containers that were delivered saving a few lorry trips. At home we have a built-in filter and use it to fill a jug for the fridge. Tastes fine to me. I only buy a bottle if I'm desperate when out and about. Maybe there should be more public drinking fountains.
[13:49] | [News] | Comments | G

Spam can be fun

Spam to my email is almost all being filtered by the server. What reaches me is usually tagged as such and so can be easily redirected. Sometimes I check what's come in before I delete it and there are some gems. One had this lot hidden as white text:

His brothers purple eraser stands-still and still our children purple noisy shining tv is thinking.
The slopy carpet calculates.
His brothers red mouse got an idea.
A given bluish cat looks around.
Any round-shaped underwares makes sound as soon as their round silver book arrives.
Any noisy exam book snores as soon as a given soft odd shaped caw got an idea.
Our well-crafted recycle bin lies.
His silver spoon stares.
A odd shaped laptop fidgeting.
Her daughters noisy hairy ipaq fidgeting.
Any given soft spoon looks around at the place that the hairy stupid book show its value while our round-shaped dog calculates as soon as a given odd shaped purple tv run.
Their soft recycle bin arrives and still their stupid house lies.
Any stupid picture run as soon as a little slopy pensil stinks.
Any white mp3 player fidgeting.
Her stupid kitchen stands-still or maybe a given golden silver bed arrives.
A given white table calms-down.
Her green dog lies or maybe whose round fancy t-shirt stands-still.
Any small carpet walks.
Her little door lies.
His brothers slopy baby makes sound.
Her round-shaped dog looks around.
Mine little sport shoes falls however, a given well-crafted odd shaped clock lies.
A given shining round spoon fidgeting or maybe her silver boots spit or his brothers white pensil calculates.
Her stupid cat stinks.
Our soft white underwares adheres.
The fancy soda sleeps.
Any given white camera arrives as soon as the small green cat looks around or maybe our children stupid eraser is angry.

Another started:

My Lordship/Friend,
Calvary greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,IamEvangelist Esther Dominick, a widow to Late Mike Dominick. I am 70years old; I am now a new Christian convert, suffering from long time cancer of the breast. From all indications, my condition is really deteriorating and is quite obvious that I may not live more than six months, because the cancer stage has gotten to a very severe stage.
My late husband was killed during the Gulf war, and during the period of our marriage we had a son who was also killed in a cold blood during the Gulf war.
My late husband was very wealthy and after his death, I inherited all his business and wealth. My personal physician told me that I may not live for more than six months and I am so scared about this.

It then goes on to offer me the chance of lots of money. Yeah, right! I guess someone must fall for this crap.

[08:43] | [Humour] | Comments | G

Mon, 01 Aug 2005

Yet another social network

I've had an account at Yahoo for many years. I've made use of the email and have a home page set up that shows me various news and cartoons every day. A while ago I heard that they were setting up a social networking site called Yahoo 360, but at that point it was by invitation only. Today I had another look and found that I was logged in and could play with it. You can see my current page here. Not much there yet. I'm not sure what it really offers me that Multiply does not apart from better support for feeds from other sources, e.g. my blog that you are reading. I shall have to play some more, but I'm not sure I can face moving my contacts after all the effort it took to get them on Multiply.

Other news:

We watched The Royal Tenenbaums on TV. A quirky film about a disfunctional family. We enjoyed it.

I'm still playing with Ubuntu. I tried running some of the kids' games using Wine with limited success. I can install, but not run. I did have the wonder of Internet Explorer running on Linux.

I also tried NX as a remote control session from the Windows PC. It allowed me to run a separate session on the Linux box. It's very responsive on my network. I could even play a video without dropping too many frames, but without sound at the moment. It's an option to allow multiuser usage of the Linux box. I need to rearrange my PCs so that the kids have something faster, but it may have to stay with Windows for now.

I had a game on the Disney Lilo & Stitch game that Tilly has been playing and got quite a long way. It's an old-fashioned sideways scrolling shoot-em-up like I used to play years ago. I still have some of my old gaming reflexes, despite not haveing played many games in recent years. I was going to add the link, but can't find it just now.

[13:36] | [Internet] | Comments | G

Tue, 26 Jul 2005


Just testing a post via the web. Please ignore
[08:40] | [Site News] | Comments | G

Mon, 25 Jul 2005

Ghosts in the Guestbook

In an effort to provide some method for people to give feedback on my site I added a guestbook using Ultraguest. There hasn't been much there so far until the last week or so when I've acquired several entries. I suspect that they may be a form of spam, but the service seems to block any links to whatever Viaga/gambling/porn sites they are trying to publicise. I did see one URL there, but it was not functioning as a link and I deleted it.

I ought to have another go at installing the Pyblosxom comments system as well as upgrading to a more recent version. I think I failed last time due to complications with Apache.

At home I am making an effort to exorcise the last Windows PC. There's an old machine running Windows 98 that the kids use for various web games and to play a couple of old educational games we bought. I was curious to see if Wine could emulate enough of Windows to get them working. I've tried one of them and it comes up with lots of errors about not having something to do with music and Google has not found me an answer yet. I was quite impressed that I can now run Internet Explorer, Outlook Express and Windows Media Player on Linux now. I don't really need them, although the company website has a webmail system that doesn't work as nicely on Firefox.

I had a small victory when I tried my Canon i455 inkjet with Ubuntu. There is no specific driver for it, but the BJC7000 one works quite well. Better than I had it working on Knoppix anyway.

We saw Madagascar at the weekend with the kids. It's a fairly typical Dreamworks animation in the style of Shrek. Technically it's excellent, but I prefer the sublety of Pixar films. I put a brief 'review' on Multiply.

[08:59] | [Site News] | Comments | G

Wed, 20 Jul 2005

Another freebie from Skype

Get your free minutes whilst you can.
[11:57] | [Internet] | Comments | G

Mon, 18 Jul 2005

Save the Planet with AMD

My first PC was a 350MHz Pentium II. When I felt the need for more speed I went for the AMD Duron 650 as it seemed to offer the best price/performance on my budget. That was later upgraded to a Duron 1200 that remains my fastest home CPU. Some people still prefer Intel over AMD due to AMDs issues in the past with compatability and lack of performance, but they have come a long way and now seem to be neck and neck with Intel. I aspire to one of their 64 bit chips. Dual-core would be even nicer and would handle my prospective video processing with ease. It will have to wait until I get budget approval.

Modern high-end PCs use a lot of power, so the energy efficiency may be important to those who leave their PC on all day. Tom's Hardware have done some testing on this and it seems that the AMD PCs are much more efficient that the Intel ones. Under full load this can be around 150W as opposed to 250W. Over a year that amounts to a lot of money.

Of course, if you really want to save energy then go for something like the Mini-ITX that will draw a fraction of that power, but is probably not aimed at the power user. I would go for one of these as a 24/7 media PC or file server.

[08:56] | [Computer] | Comments | G

Sat, 16 Jul 2005

End of an era

I've just finished watching the extended version of Return of the King. Due to not making the time to watch my DVDs it's taken me a while to getting around to watching it and, even then, I've watched it in three sessions. The Lord of the Rings films have made a big impression on me. I've read the book a couple of times, but don't remember all the details. I have noticed some of the deviation in the films, but it's mostly not suffered too much for it. I think they are some of the best crafted films ever made. The attention to detail is obsessive. I've watched about half of the extras and these show how much effort went into it all.

Maybe one day I will watch them with the various commentaries. That would absorb several days of my life. That may have to wait until I retire. Meanwhile I expect I will watch them again with the kids when I feel they are old enough, but may do the books first.

[22:32] | [Entertainment] | Comments | G

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