Near future foundry (by )

When we moved in, I was very excited about the prospect of turning the little garage into a foundry. Even thought it started off tidy and I optimistically hoped that I'd have finished my backlog of work by the time I had all my tools moved in, I ended up busy all the time and it slowly filled with boxes of stuff.

However, come the flood, we had to move much of the contents of our home out into storage. Then more, as the electrician needed to rewire the whole place, so we moved most of the large static boxes from the little garage (our vast crockery+cutlery+glasses empire, our Christmas decorations, our bulky garden toys, that sort of thing). And the nice electrician put many more power points around it (three double sockets spaced out, rather than one waaay at the back!).

And then at the house-re-warming party, my pyromaniac nerd friends got all excited about the fabrication possibilities of the foundry...

So, I've been clearing the place out, and tidying up the results of several years of things-being-shoved-in. And sealing up the gaps, too; after the garage was built against the house it seems to have moved several centimetres away from it. Somebody went around the outside sealing the gap with cement, but they missed a big bit behind the gutters, meaning that daylight shines in through the gap.


A few months back I went up a ladder and packed the gap with cement.


But there's still a bit of light peeking through, and some more up where the roof is (although, by some miracle, no sign of water coming in when it rains), and a large cobweb-infested dark gap around the inside.

Light comes in through the crack where the wall meets the ceiling. Not good.

So I've been going around the INSIDE sealing the gap up with expanding foam (a delightful material to work with).

The foam didn't go as far as I'd thought - I need to sort out some more...

This stuff ought to fill the gap

And putting foam strips around the front door to seal the gaps there up, too, and putting a block of wood in to fill a hole in the door jamb, in the hope that the place will stop being a haven of creepy-crawlies.

Nice foam strips to keep the creepy-crawlies out A block of wood fills the HUGE GAP in the door frame It took a foam strip on each side to fill this monster gap

TechAdventure 2008 (by )

Sarah and I went to TechAdventure in Bristol on Saturday.

It was fun! We'd both been rather sad about the fact that we'd not really gotten into the local geek scene. Almost all our nerdy friends are London-based. So we were keen to go to a local geek event...

So we swapped some EPROM programming and erasing gear for some books and a patch panel at the swapshop.

I was rigged for motion capture:

Me being rigged for motion capture

We have a video of me moving around with the rig on. It's rather dark, so you need to turn the brightness and contrast all the way up to see it properly...

We saw John Honniball and a tiny subset of his extensive collection of ancient computers.

We saw a guy who'd made a plotter from a turntable and a horizontal carriage from a printer.

And we saw and participated in a whole bunch of other stuff...

And we met loads of people. Which is great, since we want to meet more tecchie people from this neck of the woods!

The Cost of a £1 Bucket (by )

One of Barbaras buckets had found its self lodged in the trout pond behind our house - how it got there is something of a debate. Barbara had asked Alaric to retrieve said bucket early afternoon yesterday whilst he was dealing with something on the van in preparation for us going to the bank, so he said he would putting it on his list of jobs to do that day.

Barbara went out for her meeting and due to work running late Al started his outside jobs after she'd left. These where mowing a section of lawn and retrieving the bucket. Dad asked if he needed any help and Al said it would be great if Dad could don the waders and retrieve the bucket. Then they noticed the bucket was no longer in the trout pond - obviously it had washed over the little water fall there and gone behind our house.

Normally such things get lodged in the weir but no bucket so dad began to wade upstream in search of the bucket. But alas, no sign of the bucket was there and just as he began routing around the bushes right by the water fall of the trout pond a swarm of insects started really attacking him but he tried to ignore them thinking the bucket must be stuck in the bushes. Anyway in trying to swat away the midges and fight the bush he accidentally knocked his glasses off of his face - splash.

Straight in the water - he spent about an hour and a half searching for them with a magnetic poky stick Al has. Dad needs glasses to drive and needs to get back to Essex by Thursday morning for a hospital appointment. This meant he was refusing to get out of the stream and eat his dinner - in the end I got in the stream to look for them and sent him inside.

I found bits of old barbed wire so rusted the barbs are no longer evident, bits of hinges, old nails, bits of very rusty squashed cylindrical metal, a galvanized steel sheet and a bracket but no glasses. To be fair on the magnet we have no idea what exactly the frames or screws where made out of so were sort of just hoping they were going to be magnetic.

Unfortunatley the cold water though it numbed my foot and acted like the cold treatment I've been doing to bring the bruise out did mean that I painfully collided with not only the bank of the stream down on the green house corner where it gets deep but also in the house when I first came in - mainly due to the fact my mother had moved our fold-up tables legs to get access to the window over the stream - she had put them across the path straight into the kitchen - I wasn't expecting them to be there and did not see them (I blame the stinking cold I have which is Jeans fault, which is dads fault, which is Mr Mike's fault which is Seb's fault and so on). Pain ouch - my poor right foot its really taking a bashing at the moment.

Anyway we had all just given up and retreated inside the house for warm drinks and Al had taken me upstairs to try and see if we could strap my ankle up but the bruising is just too bad for me to allow it too happen - it was at this point my art teacher walked in in his wellies saying he'd just trodden on his glasses (well actually he came to say he could pick me up and take me to my class as he turns out to be one of my neighbours but then he mentioned his glasses :/ ). He then had a drink with us and offered to look in the stream as well - so off he went wading through the stream in search of the glasses - at no point had anyone seen the bucket.

The art teacher left and then Barbara came home and I told her what had happened and then found out the missing bucket had been retrieved by her that afternoon because Al had taken too long over it and she considered it an urgent job. So the £1 bucket that cost a pair of glasses, my white trousers getting mucky, lots of time and one even more screwed up ankle was in fact not missing at all and already rescued rendering the whole fasade completely and utterly useless.

I knew it was going to be a bad day when one of the first things I did was hit my forehead on the corner of the old metal vice/clamp whilst trying to move a pot of paint. I blame the cold.

Smelly Cat (by )

Poor Minni has been getting abit smelly and then I noticed that her bottom looked a bit odd and she kept cleaning it all the time. She was also beating up the poor kittens and turned out to be prime suspect for poor Heliums injuries last week.

I picked her up to look at her properlly and lo! She appeared to be leaking the brown stuff which was to say the least skuzzy plus it had me worried - I thought she might be having a prolapse and got very unhappy as I thought she was going to have to be put down.

Al took her to the vet this morning and much to our relief it was an infected anal gland so after some rough prodding/cleaning out of the gland by the vet (resulting in icky brown slime) and some antibiotics injected into the infected area she seems quiet happy and far more even tempered than she has of late.

The down side is that obviously this was another £30 odd quid and she is going to have scar tissue there making her more prone to this sort of infection in the future :/

Still all in all we now no longer have a Smelly Cat!

Public Key Cryptography (by )

Last night, I somehow managed to pull off the first ORG key signing event successfully!

We exchanged proofs of identity - the ostensible purpose of the event. And the ORG people spread the word about ORG to everyone who attended (and even at least one random person who came up and asked what we were doing), and we all had good discussions about digital rights and crypto.

One topic that came up was the one us cryptogeeks rarely worry about too much:

Why bother?

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