the computer does work

Picked up the new computer from Canada Computers yesterday. High-end it isn’t, but it’s more than adequate. It’s an AMD Sempron 3000+ (on a Foxconn K8M890M2MA-RS2H motherboard), with 1GB RAM, 80GB SATA disk and a DVD±RW drive. There was change out of $400, including tax.

It’s running Ubuntu for AMD64. While there are a few things I don’t have configured, it was all installed in under an hour. It reminds me a bit of OS X. There’s one thing it does better than the Mac; it knows about duplex printers, and assumes you want to be able to print duplex. Under OS X, you have to choose two-sided every time you print. Thanks to Davey for originally putting me on to Ubuntu. My life’s too short to mess with linux configs.

Now I need to move the old hard drive over as a spare, and fit the various cards from the old machine.

clicking loaches!

Our little clown loaches were clicking like crazy after I fed them tonight. It sounds like tapping a tiny pebble against the glass. It was only today that I discovered where the noise was coming from!

people are stupid

There’s going to be some ranting here, so I advise folks to look at this nice picture of a monarch butterfly I took at Bluffer’s Park today, and move along:

monarch butterfly - spotty!

In the park there was a gull that wasn’t moving like the others. I got close to it, and discovered there was a large fishing lure lodged through its beak. I had no way of helping it, and a nearby parks crew couldn’t do anything either. It could fly, just, but the big lure slowed it down, and the trailing fishing line mad it stumble.
I know gulls are often seen as nuisance birds, but no animal deserved
this fate. There’s no fishing and no kite flying in this park because there are so many birds. I’m angry that someone could be so thoughtless.

There’s a picture below the fold. You probably don’t want to see it.

Continue reading “people are stupid”

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

free food from Dexit

Though I still hate Dexit, I have found a place to use the remaining balance — the Pizza Pizza at the corner of Vic Park and Sheppard. Yes, their pizza is still like damp cardboard, but they have passable salads.

They still need to work on the reliability of their terminals, and training staff. The other day they said my debit was authorised, when clearly nothing had come off the tag. They wouldn’t take the cash I offered (their screen showed a green thing), so yay Dexit, free food!

the late bp helium rocked the boat

the late bp helium played The Boat last night, and as a wise man once said, the crowd roared like a lion. I love that psych guitar sound that he has, and the band is really tight together. I got a chance to chat with Bryan — whom I know from fegmaniax — and he’s a fine bloke. He has mad guitar skills, to boot; reminds me of The Soft Boys, with serious effects pedals.
Jack & Ginger were excellent too, as were Henri Fabergé & The Adorables.

RE Imaginations – Renewable Energy Art

I was about to rush off and tell Emma Jane about RE Imaginations – Renewable Energy Art, when I discovered she exhibits on it already.

(They had a nifty display at AWEA, and I just bought an Aleksandar Rodic print.)

it’s over ….

AWEA 2006, that is. Best swag was probably the places that had USB keys; yeah, they’re only 64MB, but these are big enough for tiny Linuxes or restore tools.

Freebies aside, it was a great show, and I guess a few hundred thousand business cards changed hands.

what the tortoise taught us

Just finished Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, the fictional thoughts of Gilbert White‘s pet tortoise. Verlyn Klinkenborg has really captured the pace of the tortoise’s life.

The tortoise/taught us rhyme doesn’t work if you’re Scottish; we pronounce it tor-toys, not taw-TUSS. Lewis Carroll didn’t think beyond the RP.

In memory of Timothy, I’ve geotagged this post with the location of a bridge in a nearby ravine, near which a little turtle used to snooze in the sun.

too many wind turbines in the UK? Hardly!

Flying back from Denmark over the UK the other day, I hoped to see at least some wind farms. In a highly unscientific study, I peered out the window from approximately Nottingham to Iona. You know how many wind turbines I saw? Four. You know how many were working? One. Hardly something that’s taking over the landscape.

And strangely, the one I saw working, at Chelker Reservoir, I used to drive past quite often on my way to Skipton. I’ve never seen more than a couple of those old WEG 300kW two-bladers running. I was frankly amazed there were any of them left. Even from 10000m, you could make out the herky-jerky rotation.

big big blades

Visiting Siemens’ factory in Aalborg, we saw the blade fabrication process. I was pleasantly surprised to discovered that a major component of their blades is balsa wood, which, when combined with clear glass fibre and epoxy, makes a lovely organic-looking surface. It’s a shame that they have to be painted, but environmental degradation will always get ya in the end.

These blades are big:

Siemens B45 blade being loaded on a truck

The above is a 45m blade being loaded onto a truck.

big blades in the yard

Here is a bunch of 45m blades waiting to be finished and painted. You’ll note that there’s still some mould flash on the edge of the blade; that gets ground off. The submarine-like thing on the right is the truly colossal Siemens B52 blade (as a lifelong fan of Kate, Cindy, Ricky, Keith and Fred, the name alone made me happy, even if I knew it denoted a 52m blade). It was so large our entire party managed to stand inside the blade root, with no stooping required.

… with raspberry vinaigrette!

Paul and I often talked of doing this, but I see someone’s done it for real: they hacked the GO Train scrolly LED signs to read Stephen Harper Eats Babies.

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.

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.

no standard offer goodness for WindShare

Tallking to the OPA today, it seems that WindShare doesn’t qualify for SOC because it’s behind ExPlace’s meter. Aargh!

Update: I got a call from the OPA; they were wrong. Grandfathered embedded generation such as the WindShare turbine will be eligible after all.

This wind study brought to you by the Canadian Nuclear Association

So there’s a new report on wind integration in Canada, written by The Conference Board of Canada. People are picking up on it, and even the doughty Refocus quotes… electricity from onshore wind is uneconomic in comparison with traditional alternatives“. Hmm.

So I read the report, and what do I find in the Preface?

As part of an ongoing initiative to investigate energy policy options and the future of the Canadian energy system, the Canadian Nuclear Association contracted The Conference Board of Canada to conduct a comparative study of various countries’ experiences with supporting and implementing large-scale wind projects.

So we’re expected to believe that the CNA would wish to have an objective and non-partisan report written on wind power, eh?

eulogy for plant

You were a christmas Poinsettia three years ago. You quickly grew spindly and grew towards the window. You survived repeated failures to water you, and yet you kept growing. You even gave us some red last year.

You had only a couple of tiny leaves yesterday, and you looked so ill. I had hoped to give you a summer in the garden, so you could die as summer faded. It didn’t happen.

Goodbye, plant. I shall remember you when I sweep up your crisp dry leaves.

How to dismantle an nuclear power station

… [the] process is only projected to be completed by the end of this century, as it is not considered safe to start dismantling the highly radioactive core until the 2080s

 — BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Tackling the UK’s nuclear legacy