The Porsche Arrived Today!

Posted in Geeky Tech Stuff on January 27th, 2006 by Coffee

Well, ok, it’s not a car, more’s the pity, it’s only an external USB hard drive that I can now use to transfer files between the superbox and the faster computer upstairs so I can edit the recordings and burn them to DVD there. But it apparently was designed by Porsche. Made by LaCie. I have to say I can’t quite see all the design work has come in. It’s pretty basic, and was cheap, but seems to do the job.

One small thing about it is that the drive activity LED is orange for idle, and, errrr, yet another orange for working. It would be a little more helpful if they were a little more different. Maybe that’s was the design feature.

Waiting for a 2 gig recording to come across a 14Mbs network was doing my head in. Let alone what it would be like to wait for 5 of them! Life’s too short. A 160 gig drive means I can fit all the recordings to transfer on if I want to. I can see that one day I’m going to have to upgrade the drive in the superbox too.

Setting it up on Linux was a doddle, with the help of several web pages. How did we ever do this stuff without the friendly web?!

Setting it up on the box upstairs was a pain in the butt though, as it just would not work. I tried (almost) everything, but it just would not connect properly. After about an hour I finally decided to try using the USB connections on the back of the box, rather than the front. And guess what? It worked first time. So now I know not to bother with the front ones… Hey ho. Who knows why.

That was almost as bad as trying to put printable DVDs through the printer. I was trying for about an hour, and nothing was working. Even reinstalled the printer driver and everything. No luck. The printer would error every time.

And then I worked it out. The printer was too close to the wall, and the DVD tray could not go back far enough for the printer to get to the front of the disk. Did I feel stupid?! Well yes. Quite. But now I know…

Time, gentlemen….

Posted in Geeky Tech Stuff on January 23rd, 2006 by Coffee

Finally got around to another little system admin job that I should have done ages ago. All the system clocks on the Linux boxes should now be all syncronised to the “real” time from an internet server.

They all connect to one box on the network that gets it’s time from central net servers. I thought that was a nicer way to do it than to keep bugging them for every box.

One box gave me a bit of giref though. For some reason it just wouldn’t sync right, and the time daemon would just disappear without a trace. Finally worked out that it was due to the system being an hour fast, and so it was too far out of sync to allow it to automatically fix itself. I don’t know how long I stared at the apparent time before I actaully saw what was right in front of me.

Probably a good job I got around to this if it was that far out!


Posted in Geeky Tech Stuff on January 22nd, 2006 by Coffee

And yet more interactivity between the boxes. Now I’ve set things up so that the programme schedule and control of recordings on the superbox shows up on the other web server. At least to anyone on the internal network currently with a bit of .htaccess goodness.

Seems to work pretty well, although I suspect there is still a bit of configuration missing on the web server for it to work perfectly.

But then I know that I can set it up to allow me to record shows from wherever I happen to be in the world if I’ve forgotten to programme it all before we go anywhere….

The Brick Lane Curry

Posted in Food and Drink, London on January 20th, 2006 by Coffee

YUM! Friday night down Brick Lane for a good ol’ curry with friends.

Always a fun experience running the gauntlet of the hard sell boys all trying to entice you into their particular establishment. “Free pompadoms!” “First drink free!” “25% off your food!”…

Hard to know when you’ve got the best deal you could, but it’s all so cheap anyway that it really doesn’t matter. We ended up with the first drink free and 25% off the food…. But then there were only 4 of us. The more of you there are, the harder you can bargain!

It is one of the experiences that make London, London, though.

Quiz Night!

Posted in Food and Drink, London on January 16th, 2006 by Coffee

Well, it was quiz night down at one of the local pubs (The Ship and Whale) where we just happened to be for a friend’s birthday.

We got third!!

Yeah, ok, so there were only 4 teams, but you know….. At least the birthday girl got a Spitfire towel as a prize/birthday prezzie!

Time for a trip through the Guinness book of records and the top 40 for the last few decades before we go back! But I think we may have to sometime. All good fun.

Good food too!

Paneer Kababs

Posted in Food and Drink on January 11th, 2006 by Coffee

Yum, yum, yum!

We made paneer kababs for tea last night from the latest Olive magazine.

Put 250gms of paneer cheese cut up into decent chunks, half a red pepper and half a green pepper cut into squares, and some red onion cut into squares in a big bowl. Add a good dollop of olive oil, a clove of crushed garlic, tsp of grated ginger, tsp garam masala, tsp dried chilli flakes, 2tsp ground coriander, a dash of lemon juice, and some fresh coriander. Mix well and cover and stand in the fridge for half an hour.

Thread it all on some wooden skewers that have been soaking in water for half an hour, and then grill, turning now and then for about 8-10 minutes unitl they’re golden.

All good. I reckon they’d be really good on a barbie too.

Choccie Pudding

Posted in Food and Drink on January 6th, 2006 by Coffee

Heat the oven to the standard 180 degrees (160 fan).

Mix 150g self raising flour, 50g ground almonds, 100g roughly chopped dark chocolate, and 200g caster sugar together. Mix up 175ml milk, 50g melted butter, and an egg. Add the liquid to the dry stuff. Spoon into 6 ramekins.

Mix 150g of dark muscovado sugar, and 3tbsp cocoa powder. Gradually stir in 300mls of boiling water. Spoon this over the spounge mixture.

Bake the puddings for 20 minutes. Lower the temp to 170 (150) degrees. and cook for another 10 minutes until the spounge feels firm.


(source: Olive magazine)

A Mailserver That WORKS!

Posted in Geeky Tech Stuff on January 4th, 2006 by Coffee

Finally! I’ve managed to get a mailserver set up that actually works!

When I had to reboot the server so that they could replace the electricity meter downstairs (which annoyingly made me miss the target of having the server up for a whole year with no kernel issues) I had a small surprise. Appearing in my gmail account were some emails from this blog system about users and posts. How the hell were they appearing?!

Investigation showed that on the reboot the mail programmes were back up and running, after I’d given up and turned them off a while ago, and in the meantime some parts of the system had been updated and sending mail to the outside world worked.

Getting the receiving of mail to work took quite a lot longer, and a few more hairs being pulled off the head, but I think I’ve finally cracked it. Even with anti-virus and anti-spam measures in place too. Yippee!

And I can even collect it from the server using the Thunderbird email client over an encrypted connection too.

Finally, all up and running, and all from an accident!