Wednesday, 31 August 2005

Ice hockeyJust made a movie from an 1999 DV recording of ice hockey in Milton Keynes, digitised from a Sony TRV900 using Movie Maker 2 on my HP nx6110 laptop and encoded to .3GP using some shareware thingy for playback on mobile phones. The file is 428Kb, at just over a minute long. Sorry that its rather loud!

A screwdriver - or is it?Just to outline how absurd some of the legislation brought in during the current Government's term has got, here's a story I heard today regarding 'health and safety'. A local company was contracted to install some blinds at a detention centre for asylum seekers. Having completed part of the job, they were contacted by a 'health and safety' officer, who said "you've installed these blinds using PoziDrive screws". "So", the installer replies, "what's the problem?" Mr.H&S replies "the inmates might remove them and use them as weapons". So, would you sooner be attacked by someone with a screwdriver, or a set of window blinds? Lets think - which would make a handier weapon...?

"Energy price rise for six million
The company's domestic electricity charges are going up by seven percent and its gas charges are rising by 12%. Powergen announced the increases - adding £52 a year to a typical 'dual fuel' bill - in July, blaming large rises in the wholesale price of energy. British Gas has previously warned that its gas prices may rise too by a further 15% in the coming months.

Of course your bills will only go up if you use the same amount of energy as you are using now. I you use this as an incentive to use less energy, you'll save money.

Will the chancellor choose to ignore these price hikes for his next calculation of inflation, I wonder? Everything seems to be going up at least 12% and yet inflation gets reported as only about 2%. Now why is that, I wonder? Is it just to con the public, to make them think the chancellor and the government are doing a good job? Or is there a more sinister reason - related to the fact that interest paid on the billions people have invested in National Savings is derrived from the official figure for inflation...?

BBC NEWS | Business | Energy price rise for six million
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Tuesday, 30 August 2005

"House prices down again in August
House prices fell again in August, with the interest rate cut at the start of the month appearing to do little to revive the marketplace, figures show. The average cost of a property in England and Wales fell by 0.1% in August, according to property website Hometrack. Prices fell by 0.2% in July.

'House prices have failed to respond to the recent interest rate cut and continue their stagnating negative trend, which has now gone on for well over a year,' said Hometrack's housing economist John Wriglesworth. 'While transactions have picked up a little this month, a further reduction in new buyers and a further increase in supply suggests no prospect of price rises in the near future.'

Could it be, I wonder, because houses are too expensive?

BBC NEWS | Business | House prices down again in August

"Creative wins MP3 player patent
One of Apple's main rivals, Creative Technology, has been awarded a patent for the interface used on many digital music players. Creative said the patent applied to its players, as well as some competing products such as the Apple's iPod and iPod mini.

This sounds like another one of those patents awarded by some judge who doesn't understand the concept or the technology. At the end of the day, its a patent on such a blatantly obvious concept that its pretty hard to think of any other way of doing this. Its basically a patent on the idea of a menu each for 'artist', followed by 'album', followed by 'track'. Isn't that the way CD players have worked since they were invented - years before MP3 was even thought of?

BBC NEWS | Technology | Creative wins MP3 player patent

Monday, 29 August 2005

After today's 3-2 victory over Boston United, Northampton coach Colin Colderwood paid "tribute to effort, commitment and determination". Were you actually watching the same game as us, Colin? We very nearly lost that game, we sat back so much. Why is it we always do that? Goal difference can count, you know. We should be burying these teams.

Friday, 26 August 2005

D-Link DBT-120Bought a second D-Link DBT-120 via eBay to use with my HP nx6110 laptop (also bought via eBay) and have spent nearly all of today trying, and so far failing, to get it to work under XP Home SP2. On the other hand, plugged it into my at-least-5-year-old Apple G3 Powerbook, with OS X 10.3, and its working and browsing the files on my Nokia 6230 mobile phone in less than five minutes. Bluetooth support was supposed to have been improved by SP2 - obviously a new definition of the word 'improved' with which I am not familiar...

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"Action demanded on Menezes probe
An inquiry into the leak of findings about the death of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes has been demanded.

This is pathetic. If there's anything that deserves an inquiry its the killing itself, not a stupid leak to the media. For goodness sake, Clarke, get a grip.

BBC NEWS | UK | Action demanded on Menezes probe

Thursday, 25 August 2005

"US states bypass Bush to tackle greenhouse gas emissions
America's north-eastern states are on the brink of a declaration of environmental independence with the introduction of mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions of the kind rejected by the Bush administration.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | US states bypass Bush to tackle greenhouse gas emissions


"9 States in Plan to Cut Emissions by Power Plants
Officials in New York and eight other Northeastern states have come to a preliminary agreement to freeze power plant emissions at their current levels and then reduce them by 10 percent by 2020, according to a confidential draft proposal.

9 States in Plan to Cut Emissions by Power Plants - New York Times

Further indications that the 'Texan village idiot' is now more widely ignored in his own country when it comes to actually doing something about the environment.
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Wednesday, 24 August 2005

Northampton vs QPR, Carling Cup, 23 August 2005

Northampton Town played QPR in the first round of the Carling Cup last night and to the amazement of the 4500-strong crowd managed to beat them 3-0. Goals from Andy Kirk (defensive error) and Scott McGleish (overhead kick) were followed by a penalty from Eric Sabin shortly before full time. Mark Bunn had his first full game in goal for the Cobblers and did a very credible job.

Tuesday, 23 August 2005

There's more to inkjet printer cartridge recycling than meets the eye. Printer manufacturers make big money out of these little things - where the ink costs around £1000 a litre, more than the most expensive vintage champagne - so they don't like other companies refilling their cartridges and selling them at half the price (or less). In response, Epson fit little chips to them, and you'll find, if you look into sending cartridges off for recycling, that they often won't accept Epson cartridges and as a result, more plastic goes into landfill.

And to make matters worse, recent EU legislation called the "waste electrical and electronic equipment directive" has been incorrectly interpreted by the UK Government which might mean a massive rise in the price of recycled/refilled cartridges.

"£150m printer ink refill industry 'under threat'
"Prices of printer ink and toner cartridges will rise by £10 to £50 and the industry that recycles them will be wiped out because of the way the Government has chosen to apply a new EU law, ministers have been told. Industry sources are likening the Government's handling of the EU waste electrical and electronic equipment directive, which comes in next year, to the "fridge fiasco". In that case the Department of Trade and Industry inadvertently closed down an industry that sent refurbished fridges to Africa. The companies say the Government's interpretation of a new EU law will force them to close and mean an extra 20,000 tons of waste going to landfill each year. They have accused the Department of Trade and Industry of being too influenced by the big printer manufacturers which make huge profits by selling printers cheaply and cartridges at relatively high prices. This practice was criticised in a report by the Office of Fair Trading last year.

The point at issue is whether an ink cartridge is a "consumable", like a piece of bread in a toaster or a bus ticket, or a piece of waste electrical equipment, which the European directive requires to be recycled or re-used. When the directive was passing through the European Parliament last year, MEPs inserted last-minute changes which they thought prevented manufacturers from inserting chips to prevent ink and toner cartridges from being refilled and re-used. The DTI is considering how to turn this EU legislation into British law by the middle of next year. It has told industry that it takes the view that printer cartridges are consumables and not covered by the new directive.

Charles Clover, Environment Editor, Daily Telegraph, 26/05/2003

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Monday, 22 August 2005

"'Piano Man' discharged from care
The so-called Piano Man found wandering in April has been released from hospital after his condition improved.

On Monday the German foreign ministry confirmed the 20-year-old man, who has not been named, was from Bavaria and had flown home on Saturday. It was reported that health and social workers said they were 'stunned' when he proceeded to give them a virtuoso performance. However, newspaper reports now suggest he was only able to play one note continuously.

Perhaps thats just journalists doing some of their typical "build 'em up then shoot 'em down" nonsense?

BBC NEWS | England | Kent | 'Piano Man' discharged from care

Shots from Sunday's Luton and District MCC motocross meeting at Old Park Farm, Toddington are now up on my sports photos website.

Friday, 19 August 2005

Have a butchers at my neighbour's photo website: | | Glenelg Galleries |


Photo from flickrSunset
Photo uploaded to flickr 19 Aug '05, 8.14pm PST by hockeyshooter

An impressive sunset this evening, captured by my Nokia 6230.

Thursday, 18 August 2005

One of the ink cartridges in my HP 2510 all-in-one inkjet has finally run out (that's lasted a good few months - much longer than the Epson I was using before). Inside the box of the replacement is an envelope I can use to post the used one back to HP for recycling. For all I know they might just refill it and resell it - not that I'd have anything against that since it would be better to reuse rather than recycle it. But its post paid, airmail, to France - not exactly environmentally-friendly, methinks, to fly it to France. So its going to get put in a recycle bin next time I go to Staples instead.
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The first episode of a new eight-part series aimed at reducing the waste we produce in our homes was aired this evening. They must have found the most wasteful family in the country - among other crimes against the environment there were regularly committing was having their heating on all the time, with the thermostat set to 28 deg.C! The family were wasting about £10000 a year on energy and food.

BBC - Homes - TV and radio - No Waste Like Home

Excellent spoof site on one of the UK Government's recent attempts to panic the great unwashed:

"Welcome to the Preparing for Emergencies website
In an effort to worry the public and convince them to vote for us again next year, and because George Bush asked us to, this website includes the common sense advice found in the Preparing for Emergencies booklet, and information on what the government is doing to protect the country as a whole. (Hint: we're praying really, really hard.) National editions of the booklet will be available here when we can be arsed to get translators to put them into your crazy moon languages.

Preparing for Emergencies - Homepage

Missing Sync iconHaving forked out $40 for Missing Sync from Mark/Space to get my iCal calendar synchronised with my Outlook 2002 calendar at home, I found that synchronisation was impossible via Bluetooth. A quick Google search threw up the following solution:

Missing Sync - Bluetooth troubles
About a week ago, I got myself a new toy running Windows Mobile 2003. Since Microsoft decided the current standards in PIM synchronisation weren’t good enough for them, and came up with the ActiveSync protocol stack which, of course, is only available for Microsoft Windows, I had to go out and buy a software product to get this done on my Mac. I chose Markspace’s Missing Sync. I had a lot of trouble getting bluetooth synchronisation to work. I paired my phone with my Mac, and hit 'connect via Bluetooth' in the PDA’s ActiveSync utility, but then it would just say 'Opening Port' and hang there forever. On my Mac, I could see the device get connected, but that was just about it.

Although Michel is using 10.4 the same solution applies to 10.3 - its just that you have to use a separate application called "Bluetooth Serial Utility" in order to make the changes to the Bluetooth 'serial' port from modem to RS-232.

Michel's Exhaust | Missing Sync - Bluetooth troubles
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Wednesday, 17 August 2005


Photo from flickrClematis
Photo uploaded to flickr 17 Aug '05, 1.34pm PST by hockeyshooter

We've not had much success with clematis on the front of our house (which faces West). These plants have been in a good five years or so, but this is the most flowers we've had at any one time. I do water them regularly. Maybe the rather sandy soil is not right for them?

"Minister backs A-level standards
The government has defended A-level examinations against claims that it is becoming easier to achieve good grades. Education minister Lord Adonis told BBC Radio 4's Today programme standards had been maintained and brighter students were now being 'stretched' further. Last year's pass A-level rate was 96%, but this is expected to rise to 97% when 265,000 students receive their results on Thursday.

By 2008, everyone will pass. So there will be no point in setting the exams. And no point in studying for two years. So sixth formers might as well just take two years off and we give them the A levels anyway.

BBC NEWS | Education | Minister backs A-level standards

"Leak disputes Menezes death story
Leaked documents appear to contradict the official account of how police mistook a Brazilian man for a suicide bomber and shot him. The documents, from the probe into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes and leaked to ITV news, suggest the he was restrained before shot by officers [I think we already knew this]. The documents, including witness statements, also suggest Mr de Menezes did not hurdle the barrier at Stockwell tube station, as first reports previously suggested, and was not wearing a padded jacket that could have concealed a bomb. The latest documents suggest Mr de Menezes had walked into Stockwell Tube station, picked up a free newspaper, walked through ticket barriers, had started to run when he saw a train arriving and was sitting down in a train when he was shot.

What's the betting that not one police officer will be prosecuted over this? But I do think the MET commissioner should resign, as all along he has condoned the officers' actions.

BBC NEWS | UK | Leak disputes Menezes death story

Monday, 15 August 2005

HP nx6110My very-nearly-new HP nx6110 laptop arrived today and I've been setting it up. I've not owned an XP machine before and frankly would rather have 2000, but that's what the machine came with. Setting up has been quite a long procedure, and you get the feeling the software is trying just that little too hard to be helpful. Got the wireless networking to work, although entering the encryption key is a bit of a pain, plus I had to find its Mac address (which isn't printed anywhere) to enter into the Netgear router.

The machine is very nicely made, well put together and easy to use, although the mouse buttons seem a little cheap with too much movement. I also disabled the 'tap' feature on the mousepad as it was way too sensitive - I really must get a USB mouse for it. It has a multi-format flash card reader which seems to take everything other than the most common type - compact flash - which is, of course, what I use. But my old PCMCIA adaptor works, plus there is a firewire socket too, so with the right cable (4-pin to 6-pin) I should be able to plug my Canon EOS1D straight into it.

Next job is to up the RAM to at least 768Mb, perhaps even 2Gb if I can find a couple of 1Gb modules at a realistic price.

"Drought Threatens Crops and Shuts River in Midwest
CHICAGO, Aug. 14 - Rick and Rhonda Richards drove two and a half hours last Monday from Nashville to Metropolis, Ill., to hit the slot machines there, only to find that Harrah's riverboat casino had closed two nights before for the most unexpected of reasons: low water levels on the Ohio River. A drought ravaging parts of the Midwest this summer had left the boat nearly on the river bottom, making it difficult to board and disembark.

As the worst drought since 1988 has deepened across parts of the Midwest, low-water levels are doing more than just inconveniencing gamblers. They are turning parts of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers into virtual sandbars, causing towboats and barges to run aground and delaying shipments of petroleum products, coal, chemicals, agricultural goods and road-paving materials.

The delays are threatening construction projects throughout the region, and the higher transportation costs could ultimately make this year's harvest of corn and other crops too expensive for some international markets, commodity analysts and barge-shipping officials said.

Meanwhile, crops have suffered in the relentless sun. In its report on Friday, the Agriculture Department said it expected corn yields to be lower this year in 29 of 33 corn states, with the largest decreases in Missouri, Illinois and Kansas. Soybean yields are also lower than last year, especially in Illinois and Missouri.

So the reason Bush gives for not signing the Kyoto Protocol is that it "might harm the economy". Surely environmental change is already doing just that?

Drought Threatens Crops and Shuts River in Midwest - New York Times

Friday, 12 August 2005

"US trade gap widens as oil soars
The US trade deficit widened by 6.1% in June to $58.8bn (£32.5bn), as the soaring cost of oil boosted imports to the world's biggest economy.

But instead of saying "lets all try to use less oil" Bush will continue to show his complete contempt for the environment (even that of his own country) by drilling extra wells in places like the Alaskan national parks. You're the reason, Mr.President, that oil prices are so high in the first place - you've made the world, and especially the Middle East, less stable.

BBC NEWS | Business | US trade gap widens as oil soars

Thursday, 11 August 2005

"Actress Barbara Bel Geddes, best known for her role playing Miss Ellie in TV soap opera Dallas, has died at her home in Maine aged 82."

We used to watch Dallas almost religiously, although not quite to the extent that Terry Wogan used to go on about it on the radio.

BBC NEWS | Have Your Say | Barbara Bel Geddes: Your tributes

Audioscrobbler is still not working, after at least a week of their system not accepting data from music players like iTunes. The website has been redesigned and the URL has become, but there's nothing on the (extremely slow) front page to indicate that the client software needs to be reconfigured. The project now smacks of commercialism.

Tuesday, 9 August 2005

"A European Sahara?
The great desert has leaped over the Med. Is climate change to blame—or man and his works?"

Another excellent article from Newsweek portraying a worrying future for much of Europe.

A European Sahara? - Newsweek: International Editions -

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"House prices too high - Prescott
John Prescott said the price of houses in Britain is too high except for people already on the property ladder. The deputy prime minister was speaking as he unveiled the next stage of his plan for £60,000 starter homes.

Tell us (non-home owners) something we don't know. We've been simply priced out of owning a house. But if the government had stepped in sooner, to control the runaway prices, we wouldn't have this situation. Was there any reason why they didn't? Perhaps there was an election coming up?

BBC NEWS | Politics | House prices too high - Prescott

Photo from BBC News website"Discovery returns safely to Earth
The crew of the shuttle Discovery has touched down successfully in California after the first mission since 2003's Columbia disaster. Discovery landed at Edwards Air Force Base at around 1312 BST (0512 PST; 1212 GMT) after bad weather forced a change to the intended Florida landing site.

Welcome home, folks. Surprised me that they chose a night-time landing.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Discovery returns safely to Earth

Sunday, 7 August 2005

Can't say that I was particularly impressed with The Cobblers' performance against Lincoln City in their first League Two game on Saturday. That was a long way to drive to see the team throw away a lead yet again - I was hoping that we had left tactics like that behind us. Credit is due to Lincoln as we completely dominated the first half and the first 10 minues or so of the second. We went 0-1 up but they didn't give up. Their equaliser was one of those silly, scrappy goal mouth efforts which we always conceed because none of our defenders seem capable of any control of the ball when they try to clear it.

First home game is against Boston on Tuesday night - I expect a big improvement - and a win.

Friday, 5 August 2005

Photo © Chris Valentine"Ethics issue for citizen snappers
Budding amateur photographers and citizen journalists should not be tempted to become star stalkers says the founder of an amateur photo agency. Kyle MacRae, whose agency Scoopt represents mobile snappers so they get paid for their work, said there are serious ethical issues at stake.

Its good that someone has finally seen that members of the public should be represented by an agency when they submit their images.

"Following the London bomb attacks and Asian tsunami, news outlets have been keen to exploit mobile snaps and video."

'Exploit' being the operative word here.

"Such hazy snaps usually taken by amateurs who witness events before they hit the headlines are proving valuable to traditional news organisations."

For 'valuable' read 'free'.

"Although Mr MacRae is passionate about the potential impact witness or citizen journalists can have in changing what becomes newsworthy, he said that should not mean people go out deliberately searching for that elusive scoop. This week, the Chartered Institute of Journalists also warned news organisations against actively encouraging people to do that, adding that people should be paid for their contributions too."


"'The BBC News site does not anticipate paying for these contributions,' said editor Pete Clifton. 'My feeling is that the vast majority of people simply want to join in our newsgathering process and nobody has been talking in terms of making money when contacting us. If people can make money then good luck to them.'"

Well, I think that's pretty sad. And exploitative. As I've said on here before, I'm certain that if people read the small print, they'd think twice about submitting.

Having said all that - you should read the full terms and conditions on the Scoopt website. Not for the feint of heart.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Ethics issue for citizen snappers

Photo © BBC/Associated Press"Art prankster sprays Israeli wall
Secretive 'guerrilla' artist Banksy has decorated Israel's controversial West Bank barrier with satirical images of life on the other side. The nine paintings were created on the Palestinian side of the barrier. One depicts a hole in the wall with an idyllic beach, while another shows a mountain landscape on the other side.


BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Arts | Art prankster sprays Israeli wall

"NYPD clarifies bomb disclosures
New York police insist they were right to release details of the bombs that killed 56 people in London, even though they had not been vetted by UK police. Deputy NYPD commissioner Paul Browne said commissioner Raymond Kelly was right to include details of the devices in a briefing for security experts. But Mr Browne said he regretted making an erroneous statement saying the details had been cleared by the Met.

No apologies, then, for any affect you might have had on the investigations and prosecutions in this country?

BBC NEWS | UK | NYPD clarifies bomb disclosures

Thursday, 4 August 2005

The SweeneyThe unofficial website of The Sweeney is back on the streets, so loosen your tie, pour yourself a scotch and tell yer bird to shut it.

This is one website I am very glad to see back on the web.

THE SWEENEY - Unofficial Web Site | back on the streets

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"Vicar stunned by sermon surfers
Thousands of people have downloaded a Suffolk vicar's sermons after he posted them on the internet last month. The Rev Leonard Payne, Vicar of St Nicholas' Church in Wrentham, said the response had been overwhelming after he posted them on the Apple iTune store.

This is, of course, podcasting.

BBC NEWS | England | Suffolk | Vicar stunned by sermon surfers

"Galloway praises Iraq 'martyrs'
MP George Galloway is being accused of putting UK troops at risk after calling insurgents in Iraq 'martyrs'. During a tour of the Middle East, Mr Galloway spoke of 'poor Iraqis' using the most basic weapons to write the names of their towns 'in the stars'. Any loss of civilian life is profoundly wrong, says the party, but it blames the US-UK coalition for turning Iraq into a war zone by their invasion. Mr Galloway claimed the insurgents were ordinary Iraqis defending their country against 'foreign invaders'.

Sorry, George, but these insurgents show absolutely no respect for the lives of the their own countrymen, having killed thousands in attacks that plainly show no regard for life whatsoever. If they think they are following their faith by such actions, they are very misguided. But as for the comment by Falkirk MP Mr Joyce that "...British troops at greater risk..." I think that's tosh.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Galloway praises Iraq 'martyrs'

"London bombs 'set off by mobiles'
The bombs that killed 56 people in London on 7 July were probably detonated using mobile phones [used as alarm clocks], New York police officials have said. They were made in Leeds from household chemicals like hair bleach and stored in a powerful refrigerator, they said. Commissioner Ray Kelly was briefing New York security industry bosses on information given to NYPD officers monitoring the investigation in London. Scotland Yard has refused to comment on the US claims. The NYPD said UK authorities were happy for them to release details.

Sounds like another unauthorised leak to me. If Scotland Yard wanted this information made public, I hardly think they'd be using the NYPD as their press agents.

BBC NEWS | UK | London bombs 'set off by mobiles'

Green credentials

Photo from flickrGreen credentials
Photo uploaded to flickr 4 Aug '05, 9.16am PST by hockeyshooter

I've just taken a set of photos to illustrate some of the steps we've taken to make our household a little more respectful to the environment. I also drive a small car, with a small engine, and car share.

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"Bad to the Last Drop
IT'S summertime, and odds are that at some point during your day you'll reach for a nice cold bottle of water.

Bottled water is undeniably more fashionable and portable than tap water. The practice of carrying a small bottle, pioneered by supermodels, has become commonplace.

Here's someone who agrees with me that bottled water is illogical (since hardly anyone can tell the difference between it and tap water), environmentally damaging (with all the transport, refrigeration and waste plastic bottles going into landfill) and insulting (to the millions of people in the world who don't have drinkable tap water - or even any taps at all).

"Clean water could be provided to everyone on earth for an outlay of $1.7 billion a year beyond current spending on water projects, according to the International Water Management Institute. Improving sanitation, which is just as important, would cost a further $9.3 billion per year. This is less than a quarter of global annual spending on bottled water."

Bad to the Last Drop - New York Times

An interesting site on sustainability at a domestic level in action in a house in Oxford, England.

The Yellow House

"Sustainable Energy from Greenhouse Gases
Coal Mine Methane (CMM), a hazardous waste escaping to atmosphere from abandoned coalmines, has a Global Warming Potential ('GWP') 23 times greater than carbon dioxide. In the UK, this gas, seeping into the air from up to 1,000 abandoned mines, is estimated to contribute as much as 13 mtpa of carbon dioxide equivalent to the atmosphere. The capture and use of this potent greenhouse gas as a sustainable energy resource, whether from landfill sites or abandoned coalmines, not only reduces emissions by a factor of 87% but also substitutes for imported fossil fuel.

There are seven CMM capture projects in operation in the UK generating about 30 MW and these benefit the environment by capturing emissions equivalent to the removal of around 310,000 cars from the roads. Capturing CMM and converting it to electricity saves 9 times more CO2 per KWh generated than wind power. The largest plant in Europe, built by Alkane and its power generation partner Scottish & Southern, at Wheldale, Yorkshire produces enough power to supply 10,000 homes.

I guess this is one of those technologies that Bush's new global warming consortium could 'trade', especially to China who have lots of very large coal mines.

Geological Society | Abstracts | Sustainable Energy from Greenhouse Gases

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Wednesday, 3 August 2005

"...the Google of VoIP looks like it might be Skype, which was almost sold last week to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for $3 billion."

Now, let me guess: will VoIP get easier and/or cheaper under Murdoch? Or not? Mmm.

PBS | I, Cringely . July 28, 2005 - Skyped

Tuesday, 2 August 2005

I might be a fairly heavy blogger (at least by some standards) but I don't think I can manage staying up for 24-hours. Is enough going to be happening in peoples' lives for them to be able to blog once an hour for all that time? I guess we'll see.
In trying to get a particular web project to pass WAI Level 'A' accessibility standard, I have indirectly found that the DOCTYPE declaration line I have been using in all my pages since the year dot was actually complete. I was using:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">

...whereas I should have been using:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "">

It only makes a difference in IE under Windows - no other browser cares! Quite why W3C's own validator didn't pick up on this I don't know.

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"Sidestepping Senate, Bush sends Bolton to U.N.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush plucked his long-stalled nomination of John Bolton for U.N. ambassador out of the hands of the Senate on Monday, naming the controversial nominee to the post through a recess appointment. 'His mission is now to help the U.N. reform itself to renew its founding promises for the 21st century,' Bush told reporters.

His mission is to do your bidding at the U.N. Mr.President - the USA is no longer represented at the U.N. - George W. Bush is. - Sidestepping Senate, Bush sends Bolton to U.N. - Aug 1, 2005

Wildlife observations

Photo from flickrWildlife observations
Photo uploaded to flickr 11 Jul '05, 12.15pm PST by hockeyshooter

On my way to lunch today I saw a large flock of house martins gathering on a roof and coming back from lunch they have all disappeared - so I think they must have chosen today (nice, clear weather, not too hot) to migrate. Also making their first appearance are comma butterflies on our buddlia bushes.

"Wakeboarding debugged
OK, so it’s taken me two years to get up on a wakeboard. What the heck. Mind you, I don’t actually try this very often, but I had a great opportunity last week, and a fine instructor named Andres spotted the ‘bug’ in seconds

A big up to Marc for taking up this amazing sport.

"One blog created 'every second'
The blogosphere is continuing to grow, with a weblog created every second, according to blog trackers Technorati. In its latest State of the Blogosphere report, it said the number of blogs it was tracking now stood at more than 14.2m blogs, up from 7.8m in March.

But many of these blogs wil be inactive. People set one up, make a few postings, then run out of ideas. The number of active blogs is much lower.

BBC NEWS | Technology | One blog created 'every second'

Monday, 1 August 2005

Photo © Associated Press"Last journey for aircraft carrier
One of the navy's three aircraft carriers sailed into Portsmouth for the last time on Monday before retiring after 25 years of service. Critics have raised concerns that her retirement has left the navy with only one aircraft carrier, HMS Illustrious, while HMS Ark Royal undergoes a refit. Strike carrier HMS Illustrious will take over from Invincible as the service's flagship at a ceremony off Portsmouth on Thursday.

HMS Invincible is being taken out of service six months early - a move that critics have said is to fund the ongoing military presence in Iraq. The crew will be given new postings and the vessel will be handed over to the MoD's Disposal and Reserve Ships Organisation where it will be mothballed until it is sold in 2010. The vessel had a £64m refit in 2001 and acted as the Royal Navy's flagship in last week's International Fleet Review.

That's just four years ago. £64m for four years. £16m a year. Why didn't it remain in service until 2010? Perhaps we just can't afford it now?

BBC NEWS | England | Hampshire | Last journey for aircraft carrier

"Growing Call among Californians to Sack Plastic Grocery Bags
Plastic grocery bags are filling landfills, clogging storm drains and waterways, jamming recycling machines, harming marine animals and littering roadsides. Close to 90 billion are used in the United States (population 300 million) every year, while just 5 percent or so ever get recycled into another useful plastic product.

Our government hasn't even introduced a plastic bag tax yet - such a simple move and they can't manage that.

ENN: Environmental News Network | Sack Plastic Grocery Bags