Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Monday, 23 November 2009
Most people I know understand that they ought to backup their computer, and the majority of those don't actually do it; even the few that do backup don't do it very regularly.
Mozy provide such a service, a little backup utility will sit in your task bar and encrypt and backup your data to an online server. Files can be retrived by the utility or from a web interface. You get 2Gb of free storage, if you need more you can pay for it.
Disclaimer: I do get some more storage by referring people, but I wouldn't do it if I didn't think the service was great.Link
Friday, 9 October 2009
Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, commissioned Kirkham Motorsports build the ultimate, cost is no object, roadster.
The result is this car and you can see how it was built.
This car looks lovely with a capital LOVE, I want one, not that I'm likely to be able afford it. The chassis and most of the hardware is milled out of billet aluminium and it looks incredible.
The body is made from sheet aluminium and then polished to a mirror shine, the stripes on the bonnet are just sanded into the polished surafce.
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
I also use greasypalm, this site gives you cashback for shopping or changing your provider for energy or insurance (among other things), so far I have got more than £100 from them (which is nice). Not only do I have a nice fixed deal from E.On but I got £30 cashback too - bargin
Thursday, 10 September 2009
Thursday, 27 August 2009
Most forms of renewable energy are generally thought of as good and most fossil fuels are thought of as bad. Where does nuclear fall in this range? Atomic energy after all emits no C02 (at least during power generation) but it is not normally seen as all that safe.
Is it suitable to look only at the carbon emmisions of a technology to determine if it is good or not? should other things be considered? Wind farms seem to be the most economically accessible - each turbine can be built for a relitvely small investment which will pay for itself within the lifetime of the device - but some people think they are a blot on the landscape and the fact that they are often in mountainous (and therefore picturesque) areas makes this worse. I think they actually look quite majestic as they slowly turn generating 'clean' power.
Tidal power is another similar issue, the severn barrage could be built to produce nearly 10% of the UK's electricity requirements but in doing so would adversely affect a delicate ecology. Is this good? (would the ecological balance be affected by global warming anyway?) At least tidal power is predictable.
Solar power, wind power and wave power power are not prdicatable - geothermal power is not very viable in the UK (so far as I know) Are we always going to need some dirty power as a base load to cover when tidal power is at an ebb?
I don't know the answer to many/any of these questions. If you do let me know
Monday, 24 August 2009
I normally take what most people say with a pinch of salt, but this analysis of the A380 interface is very telling.
Just to be clear - I have nothing to do with the design of this system.
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
I have long been a fan of the beverage can stove as it weighs next to nothing and works really well.
This stove is so tiny it can be worn as a necklace, there isn't any detail about how long it will burn for but I don't care. it is worth it even if only for aesthetic valueLink
Friday, 10 July 2009
So ... not Green ... not British
What is worse is that they have hijacked the logo of Ecotricity who are (as far as I can tell) one of the greenest energy providers around.
The Ecotricity Van
The EDF van
Some EDF facts
It's just not cricket!
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
A salesperson walks into your office today and tells you that you have to buy a new, pre-built, expensive desk for every one of your employees. You have to buy a new desk today and replace it every three to five years. Additionally, there are no options for the desk and you may not alter it in any way - one desk is all we make and you have to buy it from us. You see, you don’t really own the desk; you’re simply purchasing a license to use the desk. Chairs are sold separately and we have the corner on the market for chairs that are 100 percent compatible with the desk. The chairs are also very expensive.Via LinuxPlanet
Does that sound like a scenario in which you wish to participate? Preposterous, you say? Is it? Now, what if I told you that you do have a choice of desks? In fact, just across the street from your office is an entire mall filled with desks and chairs from which to choose. Here’s the exciting part: The desks in that mall are all free. That’s right, free. Take as many as you want. You want chairs? They’re free too. If you want to customize your desk - or even build one from scratch - you can. What’s stopping you? Go pick up your free desks and chairs.
I’m feeling your reluctance to load up on those free desks and chairs. What’s the problem? Do you believe that there’s something wrong with those desks because they’re free? The free desks and chairs are just as good as the expensive one, plus they’re customisable down to the most minute detail.
If you’re like most, you’ll opt for the “one size fits none” expensive desk. Having choices, even if the other choices are free, often doesn’t make it any easier to choose. Sometimes it’s a “follow the crowd” mentality. For example, if your insurance company, family physician, elementary school and engineering company all bought the expensive desks, who are you to go in some other direction? A mind of your own is a terrible thing to waste.
Who cares if, while using your expensive desk, you occasionally have to open all the drawers and reclose them for the desk to work properly. Again, it’s what everyone else bought and it’s good enough for him or her, so why should you go to the trouble of learning how a new desk works or messing about with some new-fangled chair? After all, if something goes terribly wrong with the desk, you only have to call the manufacturer and someone will fix it, right?
The desk manufacturer assumes no responsibility for the workmanship or the maintenance of your desk. That’s left to independent businesses or individuals who’ll charge you to fix the desk. The manufacturer releases semi-annual patch kits to fix any anomalies you find with your desk. However, there are numerous manufacturer freebies: Cute drawer handles, holographic arm rest decals and fun paperweights to make your desk-using experience more enjoyable.
One word of caution: You should make nightly copies of all your desk’s contents and store them in a larger, more expensive desk that no one uses. Yes, you have to buy a chair with that desk too. Don’t become too attached to your current desk (now that you have it arranged just as you want) - you have to upgrade to a newer, heavier and better version in a couple of years. Not to worry, if the new one is so cumbersome and unstable that your productivity slows to a crawl, the manufacturer will have a better version in a couple of years for you to buy. You’ll buy it and again you’ll be just like everyone else.
Monday, 6 July 2009
However the big question is this where does Lime come from? Lime is produced on an industrial scale by roasting Limstone at over 1000 degrees C this releases huge amounts of Carbon back into the atmosphere, and it takes lots of energy to heat it this hot too. Where is the sense?
Friday, 12 June 2009
My wife has just got a new mobile phone which came with a Wii Fit balance board, so far I have used it three days running (lets see how long I can keep it up).Link
Tuesday, 9 June 2009
Dear Mr. Darling,
Please find below my suggestion for fixing Britain 's economy. Instead of giving billions of pounds to banks that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan :
There are about 20 million people over 50 in the work force. - Pay them £1 million apiece severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:
1) They MUST retire. Twenty million job openings - Unemployment fixed.
2) They MUST buy a new British CAR. Twenty million cars ordered - Auto Industry fixed.
3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage - Housing Crisis Fixed.
4) They must send their kids to school / college /university - Crime rate Fixed
5) Buy £50 of alcohol / tobacco a week there's your money back in duty / Tax etc
It can't get any easier than that!
P.S. If more money is needed, have all members of parliament pay back their inappropriately claimed expenses and second home allowances.
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
Adverts can often provide some much needed income to keep a website going (this isn't just a shameless ask - but if you see an advert that interests you and you click it I do get a (very very) small reward). Do you use tools like Adblock.
Just trying to gauge opinion on whether it is of any use keeping the adds on my site.
Are dog breeds different species?
There are many definitions of what kind of unit a species is (or should be). A common definition is that of a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring, and separated from other such groups with which interbreeding does not (normally) happen. Other definitions may focus on similarity of DNA or morphology. Some species are further subdivided into subspecies, and here also there is no close agreement on the criteria to be used.Wiki
Even closely related populations are normally considered different species if there is some kind of reproductive barrier between them. This could be a genetic barrier - incompatible chromosomes preventing offspring. It could be a physical barrier like a ocean or mountain range.
You could, using artificial insemination, inseminate a Chihuahua with mastiff semen but you might end up with an embryo so large it couldn't be carried to term. A male Chihuahua would not be able to make much progress with a female mastiff without some crampons or other climbing gear. Does this make them different species? Your call
Thursday, 30 April 2009
Climate Change is Not Just Inconvenient Truth, It's Transformational Truth
The Rev. Jim Deming, United Church of Christ, Nashville, Tenn. writes in his essay "From Southern Fried Guilt to Spiritual Responsibility".
...Many of us in the South grew up with the tradition of altar calls, where confessions were public and emotional. But it seemed the "back-sliders" were just as numerous, trundling down the aisle once again as they confessed that they had, as the Apostle Paul says, done that which they ought not to have done and not done that which they should have.Bringing the moral aspect into environmentalism is "going to have a bigger effect on the change that has to happen; more than politicians, scientists"
What then, are we asking folks to do when we ask them to change more than their light bulbs? Is there something I can learn from my "born again" tradition, born in the piney woods of East Texas and the rolling hills of middle Tennessee? What keeps us on the path of environmental righteousness and off the backslider's bench?
I believe that we much understand that we are asking people to change their basic values, not just their lightbulbs, and we go about asking will have a profound effect on the success and longevity of this change. I believe that values are changed when our experiences and observations don't meet our presuppositions, and someone we trust invites us to a new vision of what could be. In this important moment of history, what we are asking of people is deep, for the climate crisis is not just an inconvenient truth; it is a transformational truth based on a new set of values, a new way of looking at the world.
Thursday, 26 March 2009
As well as being a software engineer I am a keen (strictly amateur) sound engineer for my church. We use XLR cables for a lot of stuff, microphones, amps, keyboards. I occasionally can't find quite the cable I'm looking for, would this solve some of my problems? I think it might.
Of course the real question is how much it costs - there is no point shelling out twice as much money as for a 'normal' XLR connector (you might as well buy two normal cables). We do use Neutrik connectors on most of our cables and any connectors that get broken get replaced with Neutrik ones.
Neutrik also make Speakon connectors which I have used once or twice. Speakon are used for Loudspeakers, these seem like the best product around for this purpose. I would happily replace all our speaker connectors with Speakon - especially if anyone from Neutrik is reading this I could do with 6 off 4-pole chassis connectors and 6 off 4-pole cable connectors (that would be grand) or some of the unisex XLR ones to try?
Thursday, 19 March 2009
FreeFotoFreeFotoTwo separate research teams, from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne and security consultancy Inverse Path have been studying the electromagentic emmisions of keyboards. Every time a computer keyboard is tapped, it produces a small radiative emmision. It turns out that this keystroke radiation is actually pretty easy to capture and decode -- if you're a computer hacker-type, that is.
The idea of someone sniffing out keystrokes with a wireless antenna may seem ripped from the pages of a spy thriller, but criminals have already used sneaky techniques such as wireless video cameras placed near automated teller machines and Wi-Fi sniffers to steal credit-card numbers and passwords.
The Ecole Polytechnique team did its work using an oscilloscope and an inexpensive wireless antenna. The team was able to pick up keystrokes from virtually any keyboard. With the keyboard's cabling and nearby power wires acting as antennas for these electromagnetic signals, the researchers were able to read keystrokes with 95 percent accuracy over a distance of up to 20 meters (22 yards), in ideal conditions.
If pulling keystrokes out of thin air isn't bad enough, another team has found a way to get the same kind of information out of a power socket. Using similar techniques, Inverse Path researchers Andrea Barisani and Daniele Bianco say they get accurate results, picking out keyboard signals from keyboard ground cables.Link
Friday, 13 March 2009
The BBC News programme Click, which is "The BBC's Flagship technology programme" really should know better. In order to expose the risk of cyber crime, Click managed to acquire its own low-value botnet after visiting chatrooms on the internet.
Click claim that "If this exercise had been done with criminal intent it would be breaking the law."
However this is not just misleading it is wrong.The computer miuse act section 1, clearly states it is an offence of
Unauthorised access to computer material
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if—
(a) he causes a computer to perform any function with intent to secure access to any program or data held in any computer;
(b) the access he intends to secure is unauthorised; and
(c) he knows at the time when he causes the computer to perform the function that that is the case.
That by the definition of the Computer misuse act is an offence regardless of intent. It take a lot to make me cross. This has made me cross. Very cross.Link
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
The decision - the highlight of Fairtrade Fortnight - will transform Fairtrade chocolate from a niche preference to a mainstream ethical benchmark, bearing the sustainability kitemark on 15% of chocolate sold in Britain. Cadbury's chief executive, Todd Stitzer, said he plans to convert the group's other chocolate brands to Fairtrade "as soon as we can do it". Dairy Milk is the first mainstream chocolate bar to be sold with a commitment to pay cocoa suppliers the "Fairtrade premium" of $150 (£105) a tonne above market prices. When the bars go on sale this summer the value of Fairtrade chocolate sales in Britain will leap from £45m to £225m. Cadbury's pledge to buy 10,000 tonnes of cocoa under Fairtrade terms will triple certified sales from Ghana."Link
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
I saw Alastair Heseltine’s art at Treehugger which is one of this sites I have in my RSS reader.
Alastair is a Canadian sculptor plying his craft in the Pacific North West. He designs and photographs cool stuff relating to the environment. According to his website, Heseltine’s imagery is “guided by the inherent nature of material and by construction systems evolved through mindful observation and play.” He also draws “from the full spectrum of routines and activities that support my practice: Design, craft production, farming and rural life.”
He describes himself as working with mixed media relating to the environment and being inspired by the inherent nature of material and by construction systems evolved through mindful observation and play.
Ain't that the most visually descriptive wood pile you've ever seen? Take a peek (below) at more examples of his natural art. Link
Monday, 16 February 2009
now there is a place that you can order the bits from
They don't look too pricy either. Most importantly they look really cool
Thursday, 12 February 2009
Let us celebrate by singing the Evolutionary Hymn. Wether you believe the theory or not this is an amusing song to the tune of Lead Us, Heavenly Father, Lead Us
Lead us, Evolution, lead us
Up the future's endless stair;
Chop us, change us, prod us, weed us.
For stagnation is despair:
Groping, guessing, yet progressing,
Lead us nobody knows where.
Wrong or justice, joy or sorrow,
In the present what are they
While there's always jam tomorrow,
While we tread the onward way?
Never knowing where we're going,
We can never go astray.
To whatever variation
Our posterity may turn
Hairy, squashy, or crustacean,
Bulbous-eyed or square of stern,
Tusked or toothless, mild or ruthless,
Towards that unknown god we yearn.
Ask not if it's god or devil,
Brethren, lest your words imply
Static norms of good and evil
(As in Plato) throned on high;
Such scholastic, inelastic,
Abstract yardsticks we deny.
Far too long have sages vainly
Glossed great Nature's simple text;
He who runs can read it plainly,
'Goodness == what comes next.'
By evolving, Life is solving
All the questions we perplexed.
Oh then! Value means survival -
Value. If our progeny
Spreads and spawns and licks each rival,
That will prove its deity
(Far from pleasant, by our present,
Standards, though it may well be).
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Do you want to live a light life? It just doesn't sit well with me.
John 10:10 says “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Life shouldn’t be lived “light”. God gave us life that we might live it and enjoy it. Living life light is life without God, like diet coke, its pretty good, sometimes you can even mistake it for the original, but really, its not the real thing.
"I don’t want to live a light life. I want my life to be full fat. I want to experience the world that God created, live my life to the full. But I know that this doesn’t just mean life’s luxuries. If all I did was eat donuts, I wouldn’t be looking or feeling very good. But if I keep it balanced, have some vegetables, do some exercise then it works out quite well.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you go for the full fat, live a life with Jesus then there are going to be some things that don’t always seem so delicious. If you take the diet route then it might seem to be going along very well but in the end its just a bunch of chemicals, its not real."
Image source http://adsoftheworld.com
Thursday, 5 February 2009
Mission Motors has just revealed its all-electric sport bike it looks great and has great specs immediately by the sound of our jaws hitting the floor. After a couple of years of staying almost perfectly in stealth mode, the Mission One is being unveiled today at the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference. The Yves Béhar-designed bike sets a new performance standard for electric two-wheelers with a top speed of 150 mph, 100 foot-pounds of torque at any point between 0 and 6,500 RPM and an estimated range of 150 miles. The charge time is targeted for under 2 Hours at 240VLink
Wednesday, 4 February 2009
This kite is a really clever design, looks like it would be difficult to fly. Apparently it has Quad-line control, asymmetrical framing, stainless fittings, and opposed-bow tensioning for the sail. They come together to make this incredible kite look like it has been digitally pasted right into the sky.
It isn't. Carefully designed by Tim Elverston, this high-end addition to the WindFire collection will really make people stop and think.
Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Wednesday, 28 January 2009
"KeyLemon provides a new experience to access your computer.
Instead of typing your password, you just need to smile to the webcam and KeyLemon will recognize you.
It is fast, simple and convenient. So, start now and create your own and unique face model!"
I don't know quite how good/secure this software is but I installed it and 'enrolled' my face it seemed quite happy unlocking and locking my PC (though it is only a screen saver at the moment). This is an alpha version but it was able to recognise easily where on the video picture my face was, not that difficult a feat you might imagine by image recognition for computers has been a hard nut to crack.
Having unlocked the screen several times without incident I thought I need to try a different face - the easiest one to get hold of was my wife, I asked her to sit down in front of the camera and the screen didn't unlock - fantastic, not only can the software recognise my face it can differentiate between mine and my wifes (ok so not hard I'm bald she has long blonde hair). Try it out see what you think.
Monday, 26 January 2009
It often seems that the stuff that we recycle actually gets downcycled into something less useful - for instance recycled plastic. It can be quite hard to get the purity that the manufacturer want from the material so we end up with things like Recycled plastic lumber.
From wikipedia "When different types of plastics are melted together they tend to phase-separate, like oil and water, and set in these layers. The phase boundaries cause structural weakness in the resulting material, meaning that polymer blends are only useful in limited applications.
Another barrier to recycling is the widespread use of dyes, fillers, and other additives in plastics. The polymer is generally too viscous to economically remove fillers, and would be damaged by many of the processes that could cheaply remove the added dyes. Additives are less widely used in beverage containers and plastic bags, allowing them to be recycled more frequently."
Other products are ones like coat hangers made from recycled paper.
I know that it is better (probably) to recycle stuff but surely it is better to try to avoid downcycling where at all possibleLink
Thursday, 22 January 2009
It is a standby 'buster', the Energenie Standby Shutdown is clever enough to recognise when you have put an appliance on standby - it'll then automatically switch off the mains power.
To switch on again, press the green button on the Energenie. Great for TVs, Sky Boxes etc, and you can use it with more than one appliance as long as the max load of 13A is not exceeded.
How to use the automatic Standby Shutdown
Step 1: Simply plug your appliance into Standby Shutdown socket, then plug Standby Shutdown into a wall socket.
Step 2: Switch on the appliance and use it in the usual way; the automatic Standby Shutdown will have set itself up after two minutes of use.
Step 3: When you have finished, switch the appliance to standby as normal. The automatic Standby Shutdown then automatically cuts off the power after a short period.
Step 4: To switch your appliance back on, simply press the reset button on the device.
You can use Energenie Standby Shutdown with multiple plug sockets, but note that all connected appliances will be turned off when Standby Shutdown automatically activates.