jpdw's blog

HP Microserver - who needs a NAS?

A few weeks on from getting the HP Microserver and it's working out even better than expected!

I mean, with the current long-lasting cashback this has a net cost of around £140. For that price you can get a reasonable (Netgear) NAS. For a little less, you get no actual drives in it. For a little more, you get 1Tb. Bang in the middle is the HP with 250Gb and 3 spare bays for more drives. Official bays. And more space for more drives....!

New home server - HP ProLiant MicroServer

After running several different MiniITX servers over the last 7-8 years I've now upgraded to a new HP microserver. Attracted in part by the awesome price (£139 inc VAT after a £100 cashback from HP) this little server should finally allow us to run a number of different things from a single machine. And at a relatively low power consumption and cost.

For the last couple of years, the home server has been running Windows (for Cortex) with a virtual FreeBSD running DHCP/DNS etc (FreeBSD chosen mainly because it seemed to run better on this server than Ubuntu or Fedora).

Planning permission !

We got planning permission !

Granted with Conditions - but the conditions are things we'd expected anyway. So effectively -- we got what we wanted !!!

Running drupal 6.22 on PHP 5.1

Upgrading this site to the latest 6.x release of Drupal seemed to go fine, but I started to get emails warning of cron failures. The specific error being recorded was

Fatal error: Call to undefined function json_decode() in myhostingpath/sites/all/modules/twitter/twitter.lib.php on line 258

Now, although I'd forgotten I'd even got a twitter account or that I'd got a twitter module installed, I assumed that disabling the module in mentioned would just have thrown a similar error for another module. So best to fix the problem.

So in the interests of helping anyone else who's (googled for and) got this problem here's how I've fixed it:

New tomato record

Just processing the last of this year's tomato crop. In total this year, we've had 21.4kg of tomatoes - thats only counting the usable ones, so the 3.4kg of ones that started to rot on the plants during late September might have lifted the figure further if they'd ripened. But still that beats our previous record, from 2008, of just over 20kg ! The figure does include just over a kilo of toms from the allotment so the garden yield is only just over that of 2008.

Things move along

One thing that is certain about continuity (and normally proved right) : Things change and move on. They evolve. Continuity ceases or breaks eventually. Sometimes this brings change that is better, sometimes it's just different (=code for "maybe worse but we don't want to put it that way").


Its been a while but for a strange set of reasons I'm off travelling this week.  Some random and useless statistics have occurred to me:
  • This will be the first time I've been on a plane for almost a year (a while back, 11 days was a long time)
  • This will be the furthest I've been away since the girls were born in June 2008 (yes, further away than I was when they were born
  • ... and the longest trip too (4 days / 5 nights)

iPad + Coffee = oops

Sat here doing some work (and drinking a coffee) at one of my regular en-route stops and there's a fella just sat down at the next table with an iPad.  As he sat down, he nearly toppled his coffee over the thing.  I, jealous of course because I'm still using a device with an old-hat actual keyboard, was forced to suppress an amused smile :-)

Flock - Any good?

A while back I stumbled upon Flock.  I looked at it and moved along (as you do).  Now for some reason I thought I'd actually try it and see what I thought of it.  I'm not really decided yet.  Is it a separate app or just some clever add-ins for Firefox?! Blogged with the Flock Browser

New raised planter

Two years ago we (with help of many friends) replaced the deck at the back of house. The old one was beginning to rot and even the patches of hardboard or ply over the more rotten bits were starting to break up. So over the weekend a new deck was built (see here The design left a narrow unused strip down one side of the new deck.

I want a weekend

Such a long time since I posted *anything* on here. It's currently nearing the end of day 10 of last week. Okay, a bit of weekend working is sort-of expected occasionally and not a real problem, but 20 hours on Saturday & Sunday (forgetting a late night on Friday) is on the excessive side. Just to make it work, a lot of that time was spent sitting in a dusty-building-dust-ridden basement or the more comfortable (but still lacking daylight) corridor of the hotel above the basement.

Yet more smugmug amazingness

Every time I play with smugmug there is a new feature (or so it seems). I've just found the show off feature that adds a slideshow to any website .....

Updated photos

Since the girls were born in 2008, we've inevitably taken loads & loads more photos (it's true, newborns & small children are the most photographed things on Earth). All this photo-taking meant our hard disc I used for keeping them on got full, and for one reason & another upgrading it was going to be a bigger job than just buying a new one and plugging in. So it got put off.. and for about a year we were only downloading photos off the camera when it was full and putting them on one laptop or another.

Freeview just cost me £25 ....

Recently watching the BBC on Freeview I kept seeing "free Red for 6 Music". I pressed Red 'cos there was nothing else on and watched/listened to the La Roux / Heaven 17 session (

2010! First crop of the year!


Our first "crop" (if you can call it that) of Goji berries, picked on 7th January, so our first crop of the year !!!