you go, Glen!

Congratulations are due to Glen Estill, who got his two Vestas V82s on the Bruce Peninsula running today. Glen is a pioneer of wind energy in Ontario, and we’re all grateful to him for his tireless work for the industry.

Update: further to my wind turbines from space obsession, I found Glen’s original V80 turbine at 44° 56′ 46.42″ N, 81° 15′ 47.12″ W.

about to be gone

This corner of Bloor & Bedford is about to be gone:

244 Bloor W

It has memories for us, as the first place we stayed when we arrived was just up the road. Breakfast was at Country Style (which became a Booster Juice after the massive Tim’s opened across the road), lunch was from Pita Factory, the daily paper from Gus at the Mac’s, dinner was sometimes at Swiss Chalet #1; all on the same block, all going to be gone.
If you look at the bigger picture, you’ll see that hugin neatly severed a couple of heads. It might smart a little, but with some bactine and gauze, it’ll grow back in the morning.

free bikes at 892 Kennedy Rd

6 or so slightly rusty open-frame roaders; some Raleighs, a Dunelt, and maybe a couple of Eaton’s Flyers. None look rideable, but if you were a three-speed/coaster brake fiend, there are parts galore.

pear shaped plan

I fear my plan to have the T21 as a home server has gone wrong. Looks like the mini-PCI network card has blown, leaving it invisible to the network. Since the screen backlight is dead, I can read no diagnostics … ;-(

Update: Aha! The backlight gods must’ve heard me, for the T21 actually graced me with a visible screen for a few hours. It was down to:

  • A bad line in my fstab which was trying to mount an unattached USB drive. This drops OpenBSD into single-user mode.
  • no dhclient configuration, so the machine would not automatically appear on the network. Since I swapped out the purportedly faulty mini-PCI network card for a spare (what?! you mean you don’t have spare mini-PCI network cards about the house? Tsk.) I had to tell the system that this was the new card to get a DHCP address.

So all works now, and I’m happy. Now to attack the LaserJet 4 duplexer, and swap it onto my refurbed printer …

the outside world

Finally got something useful done with the Thinkpad with the broken backlight. Thanks to lots of help from Paul, and a critical bit of advice from Stephen, it’s now living on my network and visible to the outside world.
What had me initially confused was that both my modem (a SpeedTouch 546) and my Netgear router have NAT firewalls. I had to declare the router as a DMZ on my modem, and the Thinkpad a DMZ on my router. Also, the router’s DynDNS support was only reporting its IP address as seen behind the modem, so I had to turn that off and use dynDNS from the modem.

Security hole? Perhaps; but it’s not as if OpenBSD is the least secure or most widely-used OS. I’ve really only got sshd and thttpd running, so there’s not much to chew on

completely tanked

I spent most of yesterday setting up the aquarium. It’s an 120l one, so it’s a lot bigger and heavier than anything I’ve worked with before. It’s been running since then, getting the water ready, and I put in a couple of plants today. Real plants, that is; not the plastic ones that came with the tank.

The tank’s already got a couple of denizens; some tiny snails that were lurking on the plants. I don’t think they’re anything to freak out about yet. If they’re still alive in the morning, at least I know the water’s not completely toxic.

The biggest problem has been making sure the heater’s working. Today it’s been hotter in the house than the tank, so I don’t know if the set-point’s wrong.

AWEA06: by the river (or in it, nearly)

by a river at AWEA06

We’re not getting the best weather for the conference, but I hear that the coincidentally-running Three Rivers Arts Festival has had rain 18 out of the 20 years it has run, so noone’s surprised.

Conference hasn’t quite started yet, but the preliminary swag is quite promising; yoyos and balsa aircraft.

I spent the day in workshop run by KidWind, who have a school science kit for teaching the basics of wind turbine effectiveness. We got to build wind turbines, and test them. Here’s mine, big wean that I am:
stewart's kidwind turbine

I guess I got some losses near the hub there, but at least it worked. I was the only developer type there (there was a DoE person, and lots and lots of Pennsylvania teachers). I came away impressed, and hope I can work with Michael Arquin of KidWind to bring the project to Ontario.

(This post has the worst GPS location ever; could only get a fix to within 100m, so that’s why the map location appears to be in the river.)

Århus, in the middle of our street

And so our Danish Wind Odyssey draws to a close, after visiting Rinkøbing, Lem and Randers today. We’re up at an unsensible hour tomorrow to fly to Copenhagen. It was a great trip. Will post photies.

so it is true!

First-class airport lounges really do have free beer taps and open spirits gantries. It’s quite the opposite of the little shed that the Midwestern flights depart YYZ from.

i saw saws

You have got to see these folks! The Singing Saw Shadow Show were amazing the other night; wild raucous lo-fi that had me on the edge of my seat. I must get the old saw out and rosin the bow.

The support were interesting. Pyramid Culture, while better than Better Than Everyone, are okay if you want to learn about the perils of artificial sweeteners, face transplants and parasitic foetal twins. Faun Fables produced their art-rock pantomime The Transit Rider; fun, and with a fab rendition of The House Carpenter, too.

But go and see this Singing Saw Shadow Show if and when you can. They will blow you away.

the commitments

When I was testing BlackBerry typed-alike words (dactonyms?) I found that sqlite was averaging about 1 insert per second. This is by no means good.

It turns out that, under Perl, sqlite auto-commits after every write. This slows things down terribly. Here’s how to fix this:

When opening the database handle, turn AutoCommit off:

my $dbh =
DBI->connect( “dbi:SQLite:bberry2.sqlite”, “”, “”, { AutoCommit => 0 } )
or die “$!”;

Then, only commit occasionally — say every thousand writes:

while ( … ) {

…$id++;
$dbh->commit unless ( $id % 1000 );

}
$dbh->commit;

It works out about 1000 times quicker this way.

Hwy86 Turbine

AOC 15/50 near Listowel

I think it’s an AOC 15/50; note the downwind design and prominent blade tips.

It’s near Mornington, which is SE of Listowel on Hwy 86. Catherine and I spent the weekend in Goderich, and we came home the scenic route through Wingham and St Jacobs.

enraptored

They may have lost, but the Raptors put on a good show tonight. They held the Hornets into double extra time.

I think basketball is rapidly becoming my favourite spectator sport. Don’t think I’ll ever be a sportsfan, but there are worse ways to spend an evening.

no nimh joy in my speedlight

I wonder why my Nikon SB-600 won’t work with (expensive) Panasonic 2300mAh HHR-3SPA NiMH cells? It loves Duracells to death, but won’t even fire once with the rechargeables.

(Oh, and wish me luck; I’m about to clean my the sensor on my D70 for the first time.)

Free the Laserjet 4!

I love the HP LaserJet 4+. Built like a tank, good print quality, and now available used/refurb for pennies. Sure, they weight about as much as a Sherman, and suck power like there was no tomorrow, but one of my 4+s has nearly a million on the page count, yet prints crisp and clean.

Last weekend I scored a 4+ with built in duplexer from eBay for very little. It didn’t want to print at first (giving a cryptic 13 PAPER JAM error), but removing the rather beat-up full-ream paper tray fixed that. It may need a new cartridge (at almost twice what I paid for the printer), but I’m happy.

Wonder if I can direct-connect one of them to the ethernet port on Catherine’s eMac? I know my router won’t talk AppleTalk, so we can’t network just one printer.

kotthu roti night in Canada!

Yeah! Amma is back open after the fire. Had my first kotthu roti in months, and it’s as great as it ever was. The place was jumping, and the Sri Lankan bachelors (reluctant) were looking forward to their first square meal this year.

Poondy Bread is back, too, so the neighbourhood smells just like it used to; bread and curry, mixed in with occasional candy (from the Cadbury plant) and biscuits (merci, Peak Freans).

shaving on the go

Neat eBay find; an unused Gillette Travel razor:

Gillette Travel Razor

It is absolutely tiny, and it looks as if it has never been opened, let alone used. The blades are still in their cellophane wrapping, and the razor has its cardboard “blade” in place. I wonder how old it is?
The case doesn’t look very robust (it’s that cardboard leatherette that falls apart at the slightest use) but I’ll be able to shave in style anywhere in the world.