jpdw's blog

Rolling back the stairgates

For about 5 months now we've had a stair gate across the living room doorway, to keep the girls from crawling out into the hall, stairs, kitchen etc,.

On the rare occasion they got out (when we'd left the gate open) they'd head straight for the untidy pile of shoes and start chewing on the laces. Or mess with any of the other junk accumulated in the hall.

Parcelforce Parcel Farce

It seems that Parceforce is also affected by the Royal Mail post worker strike. Probably not really suprising but what is annoying is that Parcelforce are specifically telling customers that they are not affected. To quote directly from Parcelforce's website:

"It's business as usual for all Parcelforce Worldwide services during the current Royal Mail industrial action, so
you can continue to despatch your parcels with confidence.

I'm not sure what you can have confidence in!


I am getting swamped in Thinkpads but the only one that's any good has got to go back :-(

I can say this at the moment: an NDA exists

I've been looking at the text of an NDA (for something completely unrelated to any work activity, I should add), which includes the clause that the recipients cannot even acknowledge that the NDA exists, despite the fact that the invitation to take part in the activity which will be covered by the NDA was advertised to a reasonably wide audience (and certainly to more people than will volunteer to sign the NDA) -- ie meaning the existance of the activity is known about by people under no obligation to keep it secret.

Intel Wireless broken on Ubuntu 9.04

2009-12-21: Update - Working just fine with Ubuntu 9.10 !!

After using the Auto Update on Ubuntu 9.04 recently, the Intel wireless in my laptop stopped working. More exactly, it would associate to the same-old AP configured in the Network Connections applet, but after 20-30 seconds trying to authenticate it would fail.

The output of sudo dmesg would be along these lines:

[ 1494.509061] wlan0: authenticate with AP 00:1d:68:0a:fb:11
[ 1494.511257] wlan0: authenticated
[ 1494.511264] wlan0: associate with AP 00:1d:68:0a:fb:11

Late night Blue-light upgrade - the longest Sunday

During Sunday evening on the ward the staff concluded that Amelia's condition was not improving & she was still struggling with every breath.

The next step was to put her on a ventillator so thankfully the grandparents dropped everything and came down to take care of Bethany so we could both stay with Amelia at the hospital.

It was decided at around 10pm to go down the ventilator route. This also meant that she would have to be moved to an intensive care ward and to another hospital as Ealing doesnt have the facilities to maintain peadiatric patients on ventillators.

Amelia back in hospital

Unfortunately we had to take Amelia into A & E this morning because she had got bad respiratory problems. After a stint in resus she was sent up to the ward.

Illness strikes...

The twins have got a cold. Unsuprisingly, what one gets the other gets a day later. Poor little things.

Amelia seems to have it worse than Bethany but they both have their moments, so we'll delay cleaning the kitchen carpet till they're over it....!

BeBox router config

I've been trying to do some fancy stuff with my "BeBox" broadband router. The GUI makes the thing look quite restrictive in what it can do but really that's deceptive as it seems to be pretty powerfull little device. First up, reconfiguring the DHCP scope... strangely the GUI seems to allow you to add pools of addresses but not delete or edit existing ones. Maybe this is simply to ensure there is always at least 1 pool but there isn't even an obvious way to disable DHCP if you dont want it.

More Vista hating....

I've just found that Netstumbler wont work on Vista. For years I had it on my XP HP for occasional use. Now I need to use it more regularly (in part because the Vista UI for WLAN selection is so naff) and it wont work at all. Time to try Vistumbler

The Nokia E71

Now the Vodafone SIM is working I can play with the Nokia N71 that came with it. So far it seems to be an amazingly good phone.

Of course it makes phone calls & sends texts, but it also has good usable PDA functions (email -- POP/IMAP, calendar etc) all of which syncs via usb or bluetooth with outlook. And an easy to use WiFi interface to not only webbrowse (as an alternative to it's GSM/UMTS interfaces) but also to use built in apps like the VoIP/SIP client, Internet radio, email client, etc,...

And unlike the Windows Smartphones the battery seems to last a long time too.

Welcome to Vodafone....

It's 3 years since I had a Vodafone phone ( well except for a £10/m SIM that I only had for 4 months for the quidco credit ). In the past I had reasonably good experience of it Vf for business use ... good coverage, reasonable customer service when needed. So it seemed a good choice for my new business phone.

Here's what their website says about their service : "Our aim is to help you as quickly and efficiently as possible."

Vista: What were they thinking ?

Until now, a vista laptop was to me, similar to the attitude I had to kids till last year (when our twins were born):
- Something that seems OK for a few minutes, but thank the lord I can give it back to its owner

But now I've got a new laptop and it's got Vista on it. Aagh.

Vista, by default, asks before running anything that might use the network or reconfigure the system. So for me, that's pretty much every time I touch the damn thing (this 'feature' was turned off pretty quickly).

Twins born in different towns?

Sounds pretty unlikely doesn't it?

But according to their new passports, one was born in the town we live, the other was born in the adjacent town. We guess the mix up comes from the way the hospital they were born at is in the adjacent town (just) but the registration district for their birth certificates is our town. And different people at IPS have done the two passports!

CFLs in the kitchen

I'm not fully convinced about CFLs.
Are they really better for the planet?
Do they really save money?

But despite my sceptism, I'm putting CFLs into our kitchen GU10s