Christmas has come early!

Posted in Geeky Tech Stuff on May 30th, 2006 by Coffee

Yippee! Look what arrived for me today! A whole heap of electronic bits and pieces to play with from Digikey. I love the Digikey catalogue. I don’t understand what half the bits are, but it’s still fun to pour through the 1200 or so pages.


Now I just have to work out what to do with it all, and how they all can work together to do interesting things. Like flash a light, and tell me what the temperature is and vital things like that. But it’s going to be a fun winter! Just have to wait for summer to finish first, I guess. Unless we’ve already had it, that is.

David Gilmour: On an Island Tour

Posted in London on May 29th, 2006 by Coffee

A night at the opera?! No thanks, I’ll take a night at a David Gilmour concert at the Royal Albert Hall over large lasses in viking helmets any time! And thanks to Bec winning the work tickets, we managed to have a perfect view from one of the boxes as well.


Absolutely cracking night. Superb music, songs, sound and lights (even the obligatory laser). And the special guests were a bonus… Rick Wright, Crosby, Nash, and err… Bowie!

After having been to see a couple of gigs at the Royal Albert Hall, it’s so hard to go drag myself to any other venue for a concert now. It’s just such a nice, cosy venue for the size.

A Proper Coffee

Posted in Food and Drink on May 29th, 2006 by Coffee

Today was the first day that I tried out my Egyptian Turkish coffee maker thingee. Yum, yum! All a bit involved, but with the help of the guide from here, it all went relatively smoothly. But yes, I did make a bit of a mess….


Is this what I think it is?!

Posted in Plants and Gardens on May 29th, 2006 by Coffee

When I was doing the daily check on the chilli plants on Friday, I noticed something new appearing at the top of them. I suspect that this has to be the start of the flowers! Yippee! And best of all, it looks like there are quite a number of them starting to sprout. Now all I have to do is to work out exactly when to try to pollenate them. Hmmm.


Another thing that I’ve learnt about chilli plants is that they like doing pushups. Well, one pushup a day really. Either that or they go to sleep. Their leaves all sag and droop down sometime during the early evening, and by morning they are all back up spread wide. I’m not sure what time in the morning, but it must be early. It’s so noticable that even Bec worked it out!

The Engine House

Posted in London on May 21st, 2006 by Coffee

Another day where we thought we’d go see a bit of London history.


The Brunel Engine House is just a few blocks from us, so on another cold wet Saturday, it seemed like a good idea to go visit. We’ve walked past it so many times saying “we should go there one day” so it was about time we did!

I think the word for it is quaint? Our lounge is about the same size as the museum (oh alright, it’s a tiny bit bigger than our lounge), but at ony a couple of quid, who cares. Some interesting stuff about the Thames tunnels and things. All interesting enough for us to buy a little book to read while we were sitting in the nearby pub afterwards.

The Photos Are Done! Finally!

Posted in Computers and the Web on May 19th, 2006 by Coffee
Chew baby!

Yes, though it’s taken a while, the sorting of the photos of the trip is finally finished and they are up at the usual place (if you don’t know, or can’t remember, where that is, send me an email…) Well, I say finished, but we haven’t bothered yet to do any cropping, straightning or touchups yet, but I’m sure you’ll cope….

We’ve even put together a guide which is here to tell you what we did and what you’re looking at. It might be worth keeping a copy of that page open and handy while you’re going through them. Just note, if you’re the first to look at a photo it might take a while to open as the poor liitle underpowered server here tries to resize it so you can see it…. You can either just wait for them, or come back later when we will have hopefully have gone through them all and it should be faster.

Anyway, enjoy! And we have lots more if you really need to be bored! Let us know if there are any you really like too, just so we know which are the really good ones.

A Bit Of Culture

Posted in London on May 14th, 2006 by Coffee
Museum Visit

After our wander around the chaotic Cairo museum, we were told that the British Museum here in London had Egyptian display that was much more clearly labelled and organised.

So as we had a Sunday with nothing planned, we thought we’d go have a look. And they were right!

It was interesting to wander round there having seen all the stuff in Egypt. We’d point items out going “we went there” or ” that looks like the ones at Karnak, and sometimes we’d even be right. Some of the other displays such as the Egyptian burial ritual displays were put together with a whole heap of information alongside and really told the story well.

While there certainly a lot in the Cairo museum, the sheer volume of it all, and the way that very few items were labeled, made it all a bit overwhelming and almost disinteresting. That said, there were some areas there that had obviously had a lot of work put in to them, and were a joy to walk through, like the Tutenkhamon display.

We also had a wander through some other bits of the British museum, but after about 2 hours we’d had about enough, especially as we kept getting lost due to some of the linking galleries being closed, and so we decided we’d have to go back and finish wandering around some other time.

But at least we’ve had a recent dose of London culture!

Chilli Update

Posted in Plants and Gardens on May 8th, 2006 by Coffee

It’s been a while since I updated you on the chilli plantation. I’m sure you’re all waiting with bated breath…

Well, I left the little ones at work while we went on holiday. Not a good move when it’s a hot office, and the Easter break! Apparently there was only shrivelled up things when the crew got back to work. But they managed to revive some, and they have managed to stay alive so far. But not growing too fast since. Although I’ve come to suspect that they really don’t like the little peat pots they are in, for some reason.

The two plants that I left at home, as I had no room left to take them to work, surprisingly, have started to flourish. I don’t get it, but I’m happy about it! The ones in the white pot in the photos are the ones left at home, the 2 little ones are the ones that had a holiday at work while we did.

Growing Up

This weekend’s job is to repot them all. The big ones need a bit more room already, and I want to see if some of the little ones decide to take off in a bigger pot. We’ll see.

The 1Wire Adventure Begins

Posted in Geeky Tech Stuff on May 2nd, 2006 by Coffee

Tonight was the first chance I got to play with my new toys. I got iButton and 1Wire starter kits from Dallas-Maxim and have been itching to see if they all work. And they seem to!

What is all this stuff? It’s little chips and button thingees that can be put on a very simple network that can do things like measure temperature etc. And eventually, if I can find, remember, or learn enough electronics, control things as well. They can also act as electronic keys too. One small step on the home automation highway.

The first “experiment” will be to see if I can get things sorted out enough to be able to record temperatures from around the house and get the web server to print out nice little graphs of it all. Shouldn’t be too hard, I hope. Not much in the way of other electronics or fancy software required. I’ll post a link when I finally get it all working.

Now that it’s all nice and warm outside, that may be longer than I had originally planned though…

The Confusion and The System of the World

Posted in Books and Films on May 1st, 2006 by Coffee

A couple of weeks holiday, and another public holiday when we got back was enough to get me to the end this superb series.

I have one big problem with it though. There are no more books! The way it’s written makes it something that you feel should just go on and on like Eastenders or something. And that is in part, I think, due to the way it ends. In some big trilogies, absolutely everything seems to get resolved and explained away etc, but in this series just enough does. Even right up to the end, even though there is a climax, or reckoning, if you want to see it as that, you get the feeling that life will go on and there is more coming in life for all the characters.

Now I just have to wait for a year or two to forget enough about it all to read it again….