Saturday, 31 December 2005

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Northampton Town managed to loose against Peterborough today - the Cobbler's first league loss since the end of October. It was a pretty pathetic performance - again.

Friday, 30 December 2005

Vodafone Mobile Connect card

Photo from flickrVodafone Mobile Connect card
Photo uploaded to flickr 30 Dec '05, 5.30pm PST by hockeyshooter

Managed to persuade a Vodafone Mobile Connect card to work with the Pay-As-You-Go SIM card I use in my Nokia 6230 today. The card is a 3G/GPRS/WiFI PCMCIA device that basically works as a modem over Vodafone's mobile network, enabling me to send photos from sporting events almost anywhere in the UK. The card reverts to using GPRS if 3G isn't available in the area (like where I live, it appears). I did have to tweak one settings to get it to work with a PAYG SIM - that is the 'APN' which I had to change from 'internet' to '' - information gleaned from the staggeringly helpful 3G Forum.

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Wednesday, 28 December 2005

Save Enterprise"Star Trek is 'most missed' series
Sci-fi series Star Trek is the show most people want to see returned to their TV screens, a survey has found. Originally broadcast in the US in 1966, it topped a poll of more than 1,000 viewers commissioned by UK interactive TV firm Home Media Networks.

Paramount were so stupid to have cancelled Enterprise.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Star Trek is 'most missed' series

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Tuesday, 27 December 2005

Its snowing!

Photo from flickrIts snowing!
Photo uploaded to flickr 27 Dec '05, 11.20am PST by hockeyshooter

Some snow overnight, but more coming down this morning. Quite big chunks of it too! Just a shame, from the kids' point of view, that its a few days late.

Monday, 26 December 2005

Northampton vs Mansfield

Another league 2 win for the Cobblers puts them fourth in the table. The final scored owed much to Mansfield keeper Kevin Pressman who made some terrific saves. But he was beaten by a free kick from David Hunt that may turn out to be goal of the season. As a neighbour spectator rightly commented "I didn't know we'd signed David Beckham".

Today saw the annual Boxing Day "Wild and Woolly" motocross event at Blisworth near Northampton. Not quite as cold last year, but still pretty muddy. I think more riders took part too. Congratulations to whoever it was keeping the numbers clear - made a change to be able to work out who was on each bike. But somehow I managed to completely miss #26 - sorry Pete.

Sunday, 25 December 2005

Campaign Against Political Correctness logo"The Campaign Against Political Correctness believes in free speech and thinks that the silent majority have been left without a voice for too long. We believe that people should be proud to be British and not ashamed to protect Britain's history from those who want to re-write it."

New Tories are even considering making PCness an election issue.

"Tory MP Philip Davies, who was elected this year, said he wanted to wage a campaign against 'this silliness'. He cited the example of a Somerset museum which took BC (Before Christ) off labels to avoid 'offence'."

You have received a new message

Photo from flickrChristmas day 2005
Photo uploaded to flickr 25 Dec '05, 2.10pm PST by hockeyshooter

Rushmere lake, Heath and Reach, on Christmas day 2005.

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Photo from flickrChristmas day 2005
Photo uploaded to flickr 25 Dec '05, 1.47pm PST by hockeyshooter

The Ouzel, near Heath and Reach, on Christmas day 2005.

Thursday, 22 December 2005

I have finally managed to send a photo from an HP h5550 iPAQ to the Internet (in this case an account on Fotki) via satellite phone. I found I needed the Thuraya people to enable data transmission on the account. Once I had the right serial cables, had QuickLink Mobile software talking to the phone, and with the account enabled, I was able to establish a data connection using their own service. No further networking settings were needed on the iPAQ. Alas, again Fotki's image embedding doesn't work, so I can't display the image here - all I can do is provide a link to the web page it is on.

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Wednesday, 21 December 2005

"Senate blocks Alaska oil drilling
The US Senate has narrowly blocked a Republican-led attempt to allow drilling for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Supporters of the plan fell four votes short of the number needed to prevent opponents using a filibuster - or delaying tactic - to derail the vote.

This is marvellous news. Just goes to show there are some in the US Government who have respect for the environment.

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Senate blocks Alaska oil drilling

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Tuesday, 20 December 2005

SPB ImageerHave been playing a lot more with this image browsing/editing/uploading software for the iPAQ and I must say that, given it is so incredibly cheap, it is fantastic to use. It just needs a few more features and settings and it could then compete favourably with another, much more expensive option that I have also bought.

Friday, 16 December 2005

"Ramp creates power as cars pass
A road ramp that uses passing cars to generate power has been developed. Dorset inventor Peter Hughes' Electro-Kinetic Road Ramp creates around 10kW of power each time a car drives over its metal plates. More than 200 local authorities had expressed an interest in ordering the £25,000 ramps to power their traffic lights and road signs, Mr Hughes said. Plates in the ramp move up and down as vehicles pass over them, driving a generator. Depending on the weight of the vehicle passing overhead, between five and 50kW can be generated.

Interesting idea, but the energy has got to come from somewhere, and that's got to be from the vehicles that go over them. Which means burning extra fuel. So is this really such a good idea?

BBC NEWS | England | Somerset | Ramp creates power as cars pass

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Thursday, 15 December 2005

"Congress presses for torture ban
The US House of Representatives has supported a call to ban cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of foreign terrorism suspects. It voted 308 to 122 to back a measure passed by the Senate to include the ban in new defence spending legislation. The symbolic move by both chambers is not binding on the White House, but is seen as highly embarrassing.

Goes to show most US politicians weren't prepared to accept Condi Rice's brush-off that appears to have placated their European counterparts (at least to some extent). But what exactly does not binding on the White House mean?

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Congress presses for torture ban

Tuesday, 13 December 2005

Mobile photo sending

Photo from flickrMobile photo sending
Photo uploaded to flickr 13 Dec '05, 3.11pm PST by hockeyshooter

Have been spending the day juggling with an iPAQ h5550, a Navman GPS/Compact Flash sleeve, a Nokia 6230 mobile phone and various bits of software, trying to send photos to the Internet. Have come across SPB Imageer, which at just $15 does a pretty neat job as image browser, simple editor and Internet sender. Sadly it can only send to Fotki, alas, and not Flickr - which is a real shame because although Fotki go to a lot of effort to make images linkable (so that you can embed them into your blog, for example) I could not get it to work here. So I had to manually copy the images to my Flickr account instead. So far I've only had it work via my own wireless network, so the next challenge is to use the Nokia as a GPRS modem (although I have a feeling the service, on my Vodafone account, isn't actually enabled) via Bluetooth.

Sunday, 11 December 2005

© Getty ImagesThis is the most stunning image I've seen this morning of the huge cloud of smoke still being produced by the fire. The Fire Brigade said they would not be able to start putting out the fires until they had a large supply of foam - if they started too soon, and then ran out, the fire would just take hold again. That white thing bottom right isn't a farm gate - its a five story building.

Luton airport still operating as normal, but with the M1 closed, it might be difficult getting there. The Fire Brigade are sending appliances from all around the area, but it will be a difficult fire to fight because of the extreme heat and the danger of further explosions.

Sky News are now showing the MultiMap page with the aerial photo I blogged earlier. CNN have picked the story up. Live pictures are showing police officers wearing paper face masks. ITV News are showing a closeup view from a fixed CCTV camera.

An eyewitness is now saying "half the sky is black; there isn't a cloud in the sky - the blue half".

ITV News are emphasising the statement from Herts Police that no plane was involved - any mention of a plane was pure speculation.

One of the oil companies have just said that their employees on-site are both OK, but several companies use the site. It provides fuel to Luton Airport, which is only 10 miles away. The police are suggesting local residents keep doors and windows closed, but I'm guessing most are actually outside watching it. Live footage now being shown on BBC News shows a massive column of smoke rising hundred of feet into the sky, with flames still visible at the base of it. Witnesses heard at least three explosions.

The police have just stated they are treating the incident as an accident. There is a strange smell in the air, which I would guess is toxic. The fire continues to rage, with flames and smoke towering into the air. "A sight you wouldn't expect to see at 6 O'Clock in the morning" said one eyewitness very close to the scene, who had helped to rescue a security guard trapped in his hut at the industrial estate next to the site. He also said he did not hear a plane.

People living nearby have, according to a witness, lost the roofs of their houses!

Here's a map of where the terminal is.

There seems to be a few reports of witnesses having heard an aircraft before the explosion, but given the area is under the approach to Luton airport, that's hardly surprising. "A huge cloud of black smoke" is visible from many miles away; "gigantic" flames leaping hundreds of feet into the sky. Very little official information has yet been released. The M1 is closed in both directions.

One witness believes there to have been "very large structural damage". A hotel nearby is being evacuated. "A massive fire; explosions still happening." The fog must be dispersing there as a helicopter flew over one witness. "The sky is black with bright orange flames". Another witness said he could see "billowing white smoke; only half the facility has exploded; four or five oil containers still in tact.".

Police have officially confirmed both the incident and that there have been casualties at the Buncefield oil storage depot, Hemel Hempstead, in Hertfordshire, England. Witnesses reporting flames up to 60ft into the air. The weather is pretty cold (just below freezing, with frost on the cars) and there is quite a thick fog, so this is going to hamper the emergency services.

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First report from Sky News. People have reported having heard it in Milton Keynes, even further north than where I am.

According to BBC News, police have just confirmed the explosion at the fuel depot. Unconfirmed reports of injuries.

An eyewitness stuck on the now closed M1 is seeing many fire engines and ambulances. Explosions are still happening.

Buncefield Fuel Storage Depot appears to have suffered a massive explosion. Blast damage has effected buildings up to a mile away: windows blown out; one persion could open their front door.

BBC News have now picked up on it. Flames visible from several miles away.

Its now 20 minutes later and Sky News are carrying reports that the explosion was very near or in Hemel Hempstead. They're suggesting it might be at a fuel depot situated near the M1 motorway. Flames visible in the sky. More fuel tanks exploding.

I was just awake at 06:05 this morning when I heard an enormous explosion. I got up and looked out the window, but couldn't hear or smell anything else.

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Saturday, 10 December 2005

"Song sites face legal crackdown
The music industry is to extend its copyright war by taking legal action against websites offering unlicensed song scores and lyrics. The Music Publishers' Association (MPA), which represents US sheet music companies, will launch its first campaign against such sites in 2006.

MPA president Lauren Keiser said he wanted site owners to be jailed. He said unlicensed guitar tabs and song scores were widely available on the internet but were 'completely illegal'. Mr Keiser said he did not just want to shut websites and impose fines, saying if authorities can 'throw in some jail time I think we'll be a little more effective'.

Perhaps you'd like to let the CIA take care of these people for you? Have you actually bothered asking your artists and composers if they have any objection to kids learning to play an instrument through imitating their music?

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Song sites face legal crackdown

"Last-minute climate deals reached
Mr Clinton attacked a central plank of the Bush administration's resistance to targets for cutting emissions - that it would harm the US economy.

If the US 'had a serious, disciplined effort to apply on a large scale existing clean energy and energy conservation technologies... we could meet and surpass the Kyoto targets easily in a way that would strengthen, not weaken, our economies,' he said.

Well said Mr.C. Of course, it remains to be seen if the UK can reach the targets its already committed itself to for Kyoto - at the moment, our emissions are actually increasing...

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Last-minute climate deals reached

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Thursday, 8 December 2005

Inuit sue US over climate policy
People living in the Arctic have filed a legal petition against the US government, saying its climate change policies violate human rights. The Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) claims the US is failing to control emissions of greenhouse gases, damaging livelihoods in the Arctic.

I don't think they've got any chance of succeeding because they cannot prove that its pollution from the USA that's responsible for the problem (although given the USA is the most polluting nation, a sympathetic judge might just say "oh, we know its you lot"!), anything that can embarrass the Bush administration gets my support.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Inuit sue US over climate policy

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X-Men 3Trailers are beginning to appear for the third X-Men movie - here's a link to a high definition one on the Apple movie trailers website (needs QuickTime 7). It looks good. Glad to see Halle Berry still in the cast, although having Famke Janssen in the cast list is a bit of a giveaway! Of course, given the spread of extreme political correctness, by the time the movie comes out it will probably be called X-Persons.

Apple - Trailers - X3 - HD

Copyright © 2005/2006 20th Century Fox

Wednesday, 7 December 2005

Ever wondered how Google manages to search through so many millions of pages, representing tens of terabytes of data, so quickly? According to an IEEE article, they use a network of over fifteen thousand "commodity-class" (that's off-the-shelf to you an me) machines, combined with clever software that distributes queries and includes fault-tolerance. The machines are geographically distributed, so that earthquakes, large-scale power failures and the like can't bring down the entire system. Several generations of CPU are in active service at any one time and they buy only the most cost-effective machines, rather than the fastest.

Tuesday, 6 December 2005

Tiny iPod"Doctors issue warning on iPod finger, the latest hi-tech ailment
It could be time to discard the adage that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. With Apple Computer's iPod digital music player continuing to sell well, and the tiny iPod nano set to be one of the must-have gifts this Christmas, physicians are now warning that the first cases of a condition they are labelling 'iPod finger' have started to emerge.

'Handheld music machines are extremely popular and users are constantly using small, difficult buttons with the same finger in a repetitive motion,' said Carl Irwin from the British Chiropractic Association. 'The nature of modern technology means that these devices are only going to be getting smaller, and I would not be surprised if hand and finger related injuries become one of the most common repetitive strain injuries that chiropractors treat.'

...writes Bobbie Johnson in The Guardian, Tuesday December 6, 2005. I would have thought you'd be just as likely to suffer RSI from texting with a mobile phone - and millions more people do that than listen to an iPod.

Guardian Unlimited Technology | Technology | Doctors issue warning on iPod finger, the latest hi-tech ailment

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Monday, 5 December 2005

"Recyclers' rubbish dumped abroad
Councils are investigating what happens to their recycled rubbish after the BBC revealed 500 tonnes had been shipped unsorted to Indonesia. According to the Environment Agency, about half of the 8m tons of green bin material thrown out each year in the UK ends up overseas.

Extraordinary. Recycling material takes energy. Transporting it takes more energy. The government encourages us to recycle, specifically with its landfill tax (which has also led to flytipping) and now it turns out that we're exporting waste instead.

See Real Story, 19:30 GMT tonight on BBC1.

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Real Story | Recyclers' rubbish dumped abroad

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"Sorry, prime minister, your legacy will be a disastrous foreign war
In his old age it will seem monstrously unfair to him, but Tony Blair will be remembered for one terrible misjudgment. We all enthuse about a will, if we stand to inherit something from it. It is hard to suggest, however, that the prospect of a legacy from Tony Blair is rousing the British people to excitement.

Blair will be recognised by history as a consummate politician, orator, vote-winner. It seems unlikely, however, that he will be judged to have used the power he gained to much lasting effect. To a remarkable degree, he has presided over Britain rather than ruled it.

Galling though it must be to him, Blair's legacy will be Iraq. It is plain that, whatever the outcome, it will not be a happy one. Whether or no the coalition forces swiftly depart, the saga will drag on for years, poisoning western relations with the Islamic world. It is unlikely that Iraq can be sustained as a unitary state. Much more bloodshed is to come.

...writes respected author and military historian Max Hastings in The Guardian.

Guardian Unlimited Politics | Comment | Sorry, prime minister, your legacy will be a disastrous foreign war

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Sunday, 4 December 2005

Round Three of the FA cup as been drawn and, providing we can beat Stevenage in our replay a week Tuesday, Northampton will face Crystal Palace. But think of non-league sides Burton and Burscough (whose second round match was postponed because the pitch was unplayable), one of whom will meet Man United!

Stevenage vs Northampton, FA Cup

The Cobblers travelled to non-league Stevenage Borough for their FA Cup 2nd round game yesterday. A near capacity crowd, in front of BBC Match of the Day cameras, witnessed a to-and-fro performance, with Boro by no means outclassed by a typical lack-lustre effort from the Cobblers. Boro scored first and for a long time it didn't look like Town would manage to get a single goal after that. Things changed after a cracking shot from Town's Pedj Bjic and Boro conceeding a penalty, leaving the Cobblers fans very vocal. But Boro bounced back to force a tie just minutes later. Final score: Stevenage Borough 2 - Northampton Town 2. The replay is to be held at Sixfields, week after next.

Saturday, 3 December 2005

I must apologise to the guy I splashed this morning as I drove out of Waitrose car park.