More chutney chucking

Posted in Food and Drink on October 7th, 2008 by Coffee

Yup, we liked the chutney so much that we decided to make some more last weekend.  And it helped to use up some of the veges still in the fridge….

We’ve almost chomped through the first one now anyway, and by the time this one’s brewed up properly we’ll be ready for it!


How could anyone be so stupid?!

Posted in Rants And Rambles on October 2nd, 2008 by Coffee

I seem to have come across some stupid people lately (including our landlord, of course), but today I found a new one…

The last thing you want to move when you’re shifting flats is stuff you don’t need to.  Especially when it weighs a bit and you’ll just have to get rid of it after moving. So, as Bec was out at leaving dos, and as I has a whole heap of other coins to take to the bank to be transferred to light, paper money I thought I’d empty out the piggy bank that we’ve been using to hold the bedroom door open when we’ve wanted a bit of air through and bag it up



About an hour struggling to peer through the wee slit with a blunt knife in hand,  I finally managed to get it all out.  If it wasn’t for Bec’s old habit of saving all the £2  coins she was ever given, I would have given up after about 5 minutes! And if it had gone on for about another 10 minutes longer I might have “accidentally” dropped it on a large, heavy hammer….

Megan, are you reading this?!  I think it’s all your fault really as I seem to recall we inherited this from you when you bailed leaving all your 2p coins behind!

I can see why now!


But at least that’s a little but less  weight to transfer to the new place. Assuming I can be bothered to take it to the bank before then!

Chutney Chomping

Posted in Food and Drink on October 2nd, 2008 by Coffee

We had a spectacularly bad experience last night with a new recipe.  Somehow we managed to turn some rice noodles into an almost inedible mess, so we were searching for other things to fill us up for the evening. There’s not much instant food in this house at the best of times, but there’s even less now we’re trying to empty the cupboards pre-move.  But we remembered the chutney that has been brewing in the back of the fridge that we mentioned in a earlier post.

MMMMmmmmm! Good!  Especially with a nice bit of mature cheddar on some cold toast (we’re almost out of crackers too!) We liked it a lot, and we’ll definitely keep it in mind for any more courgettes that are going to go to waste in the fridge!

No photos, as we were so desperate for food that we just pigged out!  Luckily there’s a bit more to go…

Starting to gain control…

Posted in Geeky Tech Stuff on October 2nd, 2008 by Coffee

I finally managed to get a working “system” together after months of playing around and trying to learn far, far too many things at once. Not that it really does much at this stage, but as a proof of concept and a confidence booster it’s been very helpful.

The system is made up of 4 parts:

  • An “echoserver” on a pc that waits for clients to connect, and sends anything that any connected client sends to it to all other connected clients. (I actually have 2 versions of this one: a “quiet” version that just does it’s job in the background; and a second version that shows all the stuff that comes through in a nice window so I could see what was being transferred  through it and work out why it wasn’t quite what I expected).
  • A graphical client that has some button on it that send commands to change some outputs through the echoserver.  It also listens for responses to the command and changes the image and state of the buttons depending on the response. There could be as many of these clients as needed. The next stage for this client is to try to re-build it for my N800 touchscreen tablet.  (If I can control the lights wirelessly  from across the room then all of this might actually impress Bec!)
  • A PC client that listens for relevant commands, and when it’s got one it like the look of it forwards it to a Microchip Pic microcontroller attached to a serial port.  It also relays back the responses from the Pic to the network.
  • The microcontroller unit itself.  This does the fun stuff of… Ta Da!  Turning some leds on and off! 8 individually controllable outputs at this stage, though it could easily be more or less… Excellent!  Of course the microcontroller could really control anything,  but leds will do for now until the system’s fully tested and debugged.

All in all it’s been fun, challenging, frustrating and rewarding to get all this together.  A lot of thanks should go to a heap of people that take the time and effort to write tutorials on web sites, author clear books, and answer questions in internet forums.  But there’s too many to thank, or even remember!

Now the hard bit.  Working out what could potentially go wrong and seeing if I can break things, working out how to avoid those things, fixing them, then testing to see if I can still break it in new and exciting ways. Then rinse and repeat…..

Luckily winter’s coming!

A super Tuesday surprise

Posted in London on October 1st, 2008 by Coffee

Some days you’re lucky, and some days you’re not.  Yesterday was one of those lucky days.  Actually, maybe it’s been about the only lucky day for a while, but I’ll take it.

Why was it lucky? Thanks to a guy at work’s girlfriend, he and I got a last minute invite to the Arsenal v Porto Champions League match.  Free tickets in a corporate box event!! With free food and drink chucked in for good measure!


Wasn’t going to turn that down! Even if it meant leaving Bec pining at home for the evening.  Sorry Bec!
Great game too. 4 nil to the Arsenal!

Let’s hope it’s the start of a lucky streak!