Wulf's Webden

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Tuesday 23 October 2018
by Wulf

Scratching an Itch

There’s a part of programming which is wrestling with ambitious plans to create a fully fledged application; I’m used to the end of the pool which is more about scratching itches.

What I mean is when you realise you are having to take several steps to perform a common task and that it wouldn’t take long for a few minutes working up a short script to pay itself back. A couple of examples from this morning while working on the database I maintain of songs we’ve sung at St Clements: I updated the page that displays after I’ve added new songs to give a link to the dynamic ‘charts’ page and I’ve also written a short shell script to run on the live server to install the updated version of the database. Minor things but something I handle every week and, if I shave half a minute off each time, I’ll have clawed back the time investment by the end of the year.

Monday 22 October 2018
by Wulf

Service Battery

I was a bit concerned this weekend when a ‘service battery’ notice popped up on my MacBook. End of life? A bit of online research led me to a simple method for recalibrating the battery (eg. see maketecheasier, skipping the SMC reset section).

All I needed to do was get the machine charged up, use it for a couple of hours on power and then unplug and keep going until it put itself into a preservative sleep and leave it there for at least five hours before fully recharging. I tend to use the Mac on power most of the time so it felt odd just letting the battery run all the way down. I didn’t have to use the device all the time – just keep an eye on it to prevent it going to sleep early.

Seems to have worked. Certainly for now, the warning message has gone away.

Sunday 21 October 2018
by Wulf


“To sleep, perchance to dream…” (Hamlet 3:1:71)

I think I must have been too busy this weekend – I set my head down for a quick nap after I’d finally finished cooking and eating the Sunday roast and woke up about four hours later, having entirely missed the jazz jam I’d been planning on attending.

So, not quite the Sunday I’d planned but one of the things I did manage to do was get another homebrew fermenting. This was another take on Graham Wheeler’s Theakston Old Peculier clone. I was very pleased with the Pe’haps brew I did earlier this year and there’s still time for this one to be ready for Christmas.

Vital stats: 1,610g pale malt, 100g light crystal and 65g chocolate malt. 10g fuggles hops, 8g challenger and 5g goldings. Into the fermenter with Nottingham yeast at a starting gravity of 1.053.

Saturday 20 October 2018
by Wulf

Fairly Shelfish

I think it would be fair to say that today’s DIY output is recognisably shelf like. If the weather is good enough tomorrow afternoon, I might put in another one or two.

Note to self though – as well as the alcove getting wider towards the bottom, it also gets wider towards the front. Next time, measure and check dimensions more thoroughly. It isn’t off enough to be a disaster but I’d like to do better.

Thursday 18 October 2018
by Wulf

Trouble at the Root?

A couple of months ago, I posted about an experiment in propagating basil hydroponically (ie. in water). Roots did grow as expected and after a while, I changed the water and added a bit of Baby Bio to keep them going, as I was off on holiday for a week. Finally, about a week or so ago, I got round to potting them up in to soil.

The result? Failure. Most of the plants failed to establish in the new medium and, of the two survivors, one only lasted a couple more days and the other, as of this morning, looks like it is definitely pining for the fjords.

What went wrong? I need to re-watch the instructional videos that got me started but I suspect I left it too long between roots forming and getting them into soil. My guess is that there was probably a plastic phase, where the roots could adjust to a different environment, but, by the time I made my move, they had lost the ability to adapt. Or maybe the tiny rootlets that were too small to see with the naked eye had already rotted away by the time I made the switch.

Next time, I think I need to act earlier and also leave some in water as a control.

Wednesday 17 October 2018
by Wulf


… really necessary on a bicycle? My understanding is that a bell has to be fitted at the original point of sale but the Highway Code in Britain only suggests that a bell is a suitable way of meeting the requirement of being considerate of other road (and, by implication, shared path) users.

That said, having neglected the bell that came with my bike so long that it had locked up, I’ve found that my new daily route makes something I did want again. I cycle on a shared path that runs past the Oxford Spires Academy and, especially if I make a slightly later start, there can be large gaggles of school children spread out in lines and walking in the same direction I am cycling. I’ve noted that they seem good at heeding the bells of other cyclists and so I invested a whole £4.82 on a Widek Decibell this week, which arrived yesterday evening.

It was easy to fit, using a heavy duty rubber band rather than requiring a screw and it has a perfectly audible sound which is just what I wanted. I got an early start today and turned out not to need to ding it once. However, it probably won’t be too long before it earns its keep and feels like it ought to last a good, long time.