Friday…chilly November Friday!

Time I wrote up a bit more blog – a fairly busy three or four months! So first bit of news is an attempt to get a bit physically fitter. The reason for this is linked to diving! I had ben hoping to go on a diving trip with the dive club to a site down in Cornwall, and one I have been to several times in the past. However, the rules for ex military personnel diving with service clubs on sponsored trips have changed, and I now need a Health and Safety medical! (This doesn’t apply to private dives, or other diving activities).

The HSE medical contains a physical fitness test, so in order to pass that, I have joined a gym, with a view to spending about an hour a day their, five days a week, concentrating on building up my cardio-vascular strength and a bit of muscle development. I have been going for just over there months now, and noticed a significant improvement on both CV performance and body strength, so I hope I’ll be able to pass the medical soon. Of course, getting fitter has other benefits too, I just needed the motivation! Best effort so far on a treadmill is running 1.5 miles in just under 12 minutes!

MotherboardI have also ventured into the world of Apple in that I have built myself a computer running Apple’s operating system. The generic term for this is a ‘Hackintosh’ and it works pretty well. It runs most of the Mac software, and includes ‘Bluetooth’ so I can connect my (non-Apple) phone to it to transfer photos etc. It also connects to the server here (in fact I re-housed the server, and used the older server case to house the ‘Hackintosh’.Case Maybe not the best photo of the case!

The weather is getting colder as we get towards the end on November and it is getting dark by about 4:30 pm. Still, nights start getting lighter in a month or so! :). With Christmas looming, I have bought my first mince pies of the year – I ought to pluck up courage and make my own!

It has been good to catch up with some old friends too, one from my time in the Falklands over 13 years ago! (When I was last really physically fit!)

But overall, I’m feeling OK, still looking for some work, but nothing much around in my field.

So very much onwards and upwards!

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Friday… Mending Road (with apologies to Robert Frost)

Repairs 1It has been a few days since I updated this – perhaps the most notable occurrence was waking up one morning to find this outside the house! The road was in need of some major repair work, various roadworks and the effects of last winter’s cold weather had taken its toll, and I was pleased to see that rather than just spray and chip, the road surface was taken off and a new surface laid. It has certainly made it a lot smoother!Repairs 2I just hope it will be a long time before the road has to be dug u0p again!
No sign of another major contract yet, but I have been quite busy with things around the house and a couple of little projects. On thhe home computing front, both the web server and my own computer have been upgraded to Fedora Core 13 and the various applications also updated to include the latest security patches. I have also spent some time tidying up the gallery, tidying it up a little. I have removed some of the older photos and added a few more.

On the health front, I had my ultrasound scan this week. The radiographer said that she couldn’t see anything obvious, so I will have to wait for the doctor’s report to see what that says. If there is nothing obvious and the enzyme levels are still high, I may have to have a CT scan. There wasn’t any blood taken on this visit – the next lot will be when I have the next ECP session in three weeks time.

But before that, I have another trip to France with Mark to his house. I did make a little mix up with the dates 🙁 as I thought I was going today, but it is Monday – and having looked at the weather, I’m quite glad that we aren’t doing a channel crossing today – really wet and miserable – unlike the weather at our destination which is reported to be sunny. Not sure if it will be swimming pool weather though!

Will be on line while I am out there, so

Onwards and Upwards!


I’m back!

Sorry for the delay in posting, but after my return from France (which now has an edited headline after my ‘Franglais’ was remarked upon by friend Julia!) I had a busy few days doing some work for a client locally, and then I went back to the Dive Dive BoatClub after a longish absence to discover an expedition to Cornwall was being mounted. So although I can’t dive (because I need a diving medical after all the treatment) I did volunteer to go down as expedition cook and general dogsbody. And I had a great time, although cooking two cooked meals a day and sandwiches at lunchtime for half a dozen hungry divers was quite hard work. However I have got the bug back, so I must see about getting a medical, and then getting out and servicing all my dive kit! The picture shows the diveboat – not me driving on this occasion – most of the time I was behind the camera!

I said in a recent post that I needed to do some software upgrading on the server. You may recall that I did an upgrade a few months ago but it stopped half way through so I ended up with a ‘hybrid’ system, partly Linux Fedora Core 10, and partly Core 11 – but as it worked and I was away from home, I left it. However I have now sorted that out and the basic webserver operating system is now Fedora Core 12. I have also updated the photogallery and changed some of the settings. There are one or two new and recent photos of Olivia, but I have removed some of the older ones (or at least removed form general view) but added a few new albums – including one from the last dive Expedition to Porthkerris in 2005. (The last time the club went there too) I’ll be adding more albums later now that the site is running again. In a few moments I’ll be updating the webserving software, and also the WordPress blogging software to the latest and greatest. Most of these are just maintenance upgrades, although the update to the gallery adds a couple of new features – but it all adds to site security.

Nothing much on the job front, but I shall start looking more urgently in September. Meanwhile I have been doing some of the little jobs around the house – sorting out a snaggette on the hot water system, and little things like that.

Good to see you back posting Richard – and it was really good to meet up with you at Simon’s funeral – while a sad occasion, it was great to meet up with people – and I think Simon would have enjoyed the day. And congratulations Gillian!

So on all fronts… onwards and upwards!


Tuesday…Back at work

The end of last week turned busier than I expected, with another job drawing to a close. This is a home networking and fileserver set up, which is almost complete apart from commissioning the file server which I started at the weekend. I did need to do a little more hardware design change to make the data stored on it more resilient (the addition of a second hard drive in a RAID 1 configuration – for anyone interested 🙂 ) but it is all working, so apart from a little more system configuration it is almost complete.

The weather was lovely though, and the lawn has had its first mowing. The lemon tree is still indoors, and was looking a bit sick with scale, but that has been treated, and apart from a bit of branch die back in one or two places, is looking much happier.

This weekend is the Wedding Fair again, although I have another little urgent job at home – to fix the hot water system to one of the bathrooms. There is a sticky motorised valve that I have released in the past. It isn’t a problem when the heating is on as the tank is warmed by backflow from the heating loop, but now the days are getting warmer and the heating is on less, I need to sort it out. I have a replacement valve, but I need to make a small ‘tweak’ to the pipework to fit it.

I have my next round of ECP at the end of April (it seems a long time since the last round) and a check up in May, but I’m feeling well, the cold has almost gone, so…. Onwards and Upwards!


Wednesday… Still busy!

Things have been a bit calmer at work, just as well as I have still been fighting off the bad cold and cough that I seem to have had for most of February! That now seems to be improving, I’m not so breathless, the runny nose is better, and while the cough is still irritating, that isn’t as bad either – although I did have to resort to a well known branded cough medicine!

I have also made some good progress on the last lot of coursework. Pressures on time meant I couldn’t devote much time to it in January, but I finally managed to put some time aside in February, after applying for an extension, and once I had adjusted to the syntax and idiosyncracies of the Python scripting language, I was able to make some good progress – just a case of getting into the the right frame of mind. So the program (or to be accurate, script) is complete and does what it is expected to do, so there is just the design detail and description to finish and I can submit it.

I have some more ECP next week (seems ages since the last session) and it is hard to believe that February is almost over. The lighter mornings and evenings are very welcome, and in just over three weeks the clocks go forward to Summer time – so all we need then is some warm weather!

Onwards and Upwards!


Tuesday… Back at the ‘Ranch’

The ECP passed uneventfully – the Friday morning session seemed to take a long time on the photo-activation stage, but a quick dash to Waterloo, and a stop at M “this is not just food” & S for a sandwich and I was on the train home.

It was a computing weekend. I have just re-activated my Skype account (for anyone who hasn’t heard of Skype, it is a free messaging service) which now includes the ability for video calls. However the use of video requires a suitable ‘Webcam’ and the Webcam I bought wouldn’t work with my Windows version (Win 2K) and while the video worked with the Linux client, the sound wasn’t very good.

The solution is to upgrade the operating systems, and I started on saturday with Windows XP on my aged laptop, And that is where the fun started!

I had bought a new hard drive (clean installs seem to work better)but my (aged) laptop won’t boot off the DVD player. (It was originally fitted with a a CD – I upgraded it) so I needed a way to boot it and then read the install disc. I spent most of Saturday trying this, until I realised that the install disk was a CD – and putting the CD reader back in the laptop solved the problem! And Skype burst into life in full colour and sound!

The next stage is to put Linux on the laptop and make it dual boot (it will be Fedora core 12) and upgrade my other Linux machines (including the webserver) to FC 12, however that can wait for a while as I have some other jobs to do, and I also have some coursework from the last module to com-plete (although that will be easier on Windows XP)

We have also decorated one of tyhe Christmas trees as Christmas draws nearer. We will be doing the same as last year. in that we won’t be sending out Christmas cards, but donating the amount we would have spent to LeukaemiaCARE.

There is one more job to do before Christmas, and that is to find the Christmas theme for the blog!

Onwards and Upwards!


Monday… gloomy evenings are here again!

Having been (gently) taken to task about updating, it is time for an update on last week!

The ECP was uneventful, and becoming almost routine. However I was supposed to see the consultant dermatologist on Monday after the first session – only to find that the appointment had been moved. I was on a large kit – takes more blood over fewer cycles, but the risk that people with low blood pressure (like me) can feel faint. Fortunately I was OK! This was also the first session in the new day centre, on the second floor at St Thomas’s. Nicely fitted out – but the views aren’t as good. The old ward on the 12th floor is being refitted as a swine ‘flu isolation ward.

I had a meeting locally on Wednesday before heading back to Corsham for the rest of the week. I stayed up on Friday night before heading over towards Milton Keynes to visit Bletchley Park – home of the WW2 codebreakers. I have been before but this time I was in a group of like minded people and it was, as before, an excellent day out and highly recommended! Best of all, the ticket is valid for a year – and there is too much to see in one visit!

I hope you all remembered to put your clocks back on Sunday morning! We ‘celebrated’ with the first open fire of the season on Sunday afternoon – but it was good to wake up in twilight this morning!

Onwards and Upwards!



A busy weekend with some long awaited jobs completed! A leaking towel rail in the bathroom has been replaced (this started leaking about 6 months ago, and has been isolated, but yesterday I finally got round to removing it and replacing it with a new one. And also on the heating theme (in time for autumn, I replaced a motorised valve that may not have been seating properly. I’m not quite convinced – the symptom was hot water from the domestic hot water heat exchanger was flowing back into the heating system, and the only way I could see that could happen was if the valve was faulty – time will tell!

Today I replaced a blown lamp on the car foglamps (again in preparation for autumn) after getting the wheel stud freed by the tyre fitters so I could remove the wheel to get access to the back of the front buper. This afternoon I was playing wit the server – trying to get the operating system back to a consistent state. (You may recall that when I did a major update, it updated some of the files, but not all, so I have a sort of ‘hybrid’ system!) I did succeed in getting the install disc to boot from a compact flash card (the server does not have a CD/DVD drive) but the only options presented were to do a full install, not an upgrade, which would have meant a lot of work restoring the coinfiguration and backups, so I will leave it for the moment until I can spend some time to back it all up and then start again with a clean installation.

Olivia stayed last night – so it was an early start when she woke at 6 o’clock and came padding in to climb into “the big bed” where she promptly fell asleep for another 2 hours! Quite the toddler now!

So on all fronts… Onwards and upwards!


Sunday… updates

More updates – this time on the server – and not all sweetness and light!

To recap, the new server has been running Linux, to be precise, Fedora 10. The Fedora Project has just released a new version, Fedora 11, and it is possible to update that on the fly. However, with 1374 of the 1,420 files updated, the system froze, and when I restarted it, the same thing happened, so I now have a hybrid system – some old, some new. Interestingly it isn’t stopping it from running any of the server applications, but I can only log into it remotely, or via a command line interface, the graphical side just will not run.

It seems that there is a problem at the Fedora servers too, so I am a bit stumped – I suspect I may have to reload the software at some point. However as it is all working for the time being, it isn’t too urgent.

To cap it all, last night the main incoming switch tripped – luckily the freezers were still cold, but all the batteries in the uninterpretable power supplies had flattened themselves – I thought the house was quiet when I woke up!

However back on the home front, I had a 3C weekend: cleaning, cooking and coursework! Felicity came home this evening after two weeks away, so yesterday I was doing coursework, today some cleaning and tonight some cooking so she had a meal on her return. In the process I evicted a few alien life forms from the fridge – for those Torchwood addicts, I’m not sure if the 456 were hiding in there…

Tomorrow I have a meeting in Portsmouth, so I shall be returning to Corsham after that!

Onwards and Upwards!

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Wednesday… update time

Another fairly busy week. I was home alone again at the weekend, with Felicity off at Henley, and then on to Hampton Court for the flower show. I arrived home to find the max/min thermometer in the conservatory registering 67C (!), candle wax over the table and floor under some sad looking flat candles, and some decidedly sick looking plants (a rubber plant and a clivia) togrether with a very unhappy looking cyclamen in the kitchen. Fortunately the greenhouse and baskets had received some attention (TLC is probably over-stating it). However over the weekend, I cleaned up the wax, possibly saved the plants and did one or other bits of tidying up.

Rachael came home from Magalufe on Sunday afternoon, while I was doing a full back-up of the new webserver – not helped by the tape drive overheating and one or two other problems. However I got it all done and returned to Corsham on Sunday evening!

On the down side, I discovered that someone in the (large, open plan, air conditioned) office has been diagnosed with swine flue. It seems it was about 2 weeks ago, so we are waiting to see who (if anyone) will be the next to succumb. (Note to self, must ring Guy’s for guidance!)

However all seems well so far, I was out at meetings yesterday, the sun is (pretty much) shining, so…

Onwards and upwards!

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