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The life and times of james Hart: his family, his music, life in Luton and his occasional escapes onto the internet.

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Thursday, 27 April 2006

grinding to a halt... (techie)

Sometimes I'm glad that I only look after a small home network (well, OK, I'm partially responsible for a fair number of other things at work... but at this stage, not the network!) since last night I discovered the latest reason why my hard-working Linux box was running so slowly.

I use ports 8000 to about 8007 for MP3 streaming, so set ports 8000-8100 to forward to my web server, in case I wanted to get a little more creative with the numbering.

More recently (as I mentioned a little while ago) I set up Squid proxy server and Dan's Guardian to add a bit of parental control to Chris and Lenni's surfing. This uses port 8080 as a proxy, which you set up in Internet Explorer, and the job's a good 'un.

When I investigated the slowness last night (a painful process, considering how long it took for each command to be dealt with) the Squid and DansGuardian processes were being hammered - why? Because naughty people had found my open 8080 port, and were using it as a proxy for their internet traffic! (whoops!) The joke, of course, was on them, since all traffic was being watched by the puritanical Dansguardian, so I don't think they'll have got far!

I've set the port range to 8000-8079 now and - unsurprisingly - things are running more smoothly. I think there's a lesson there somewhere...

Links of the day:

  • preview.local.live.com : As a concept, it's impressive; in action, it's quite eerie, but is it actually any use? Walk around a 'virtual' San Francisco!
  • techrepublic.com.com/2300-1035_11-6058410-1.html : A news story about the first poster to appear on Google Earth... well, OK, so it's actually an overlay that is cleverly (and accurately) placed over the Google Earth co-ordinates - it'll be a couple of years before it can be seen for real, and even then it'll not be at nearly the same resolution.
  • www.stupid.com : a website that doesn't need any more description than the URL...
  • www.mus-ic.co.uk/images/blog/2006-04-27/bs_6008.pdf : I discovered last week that there's actually a British Standard (and an international one, too) for making tea - it's BS6008, and some wag printed out a copy and stuck it up in our kichen area.

  • www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc1149.html : There's also an official document on internet traffic by carrier pigeon. Slightly less use, I might venture to suggest..

Posted by james at 10:38 AM

Friday, 14 April 2006

Our first geocache and contraptions

Lenni and Chris find their first geocacheI've mentioned geocaching on a few occasions in previous blog entries, and yesterday we all had our first immersion into the (what will certainly be very enjoyable on a warm, sunny day) modern equivalent of 'hunt the thimble'.

We ended up at one of Luton's few historical monuments - Someries Castle - and (although Google Earth made it a little too easy!) had a small tupperware pot in our hands in no time...

That was Monday - now it's Good Friday, with much of the week being obliterated by work, including a rather late night wrestling with some new software that turns out not to be any better than the previous version. It's been educational, though, which is the main thing.

We've got a mainly family-based weekend ahead - I have a rehearsal with Jude tomorrow, and an Easter celebration with Beth's family at her Grandparents on Sunday... so soon is it Monday again!

Not much else to report - well, nothing that I can recall.. I'm sure if anything occurs to me, I'll blog it, though!

Links of the day:

Posted by james at 8:39 AM

Friday, 7 April 2006

Birthday and comedy

Lenni's birthday bedroomAnother week over - it's Lenni's birthday today. She loved the presents (thank you!) and her new-look "little girl's" bedroom. It's a bit of a shame I had to work, although - as always - the day went quickly. I was Lenni in spirit, though.

Tomorrow's a return to (hopefully) regular rehearsals with Jude - I've saved up for a slightly bigger guitar amplifier suitable for taking on stage, and it'll hopefully help with my sound.

In other news, I'm pleased to announce that the BBC have launched their first comedy podcast! The Now Show, their topical comedy show, is available to download and subscribe to. Competition, maybe, for The North South Divide, but it's in a completely different league, I think!

Link of the day.

Posted by james at 9:36 PM

Wednesday, 5 April 2006

beauty and books.

A very, very brief entry - I wrote another one a couple of days ago, which I'll upload when I get a spare moment!

I quite admire Dove's straightforward and sensible Campaign For Real Beauty as a cause. Having seen websites that explode the artifice of what we're faced with every day, I think it's great that there's at least one company that's running against it (despite the obvious great publicity this will generate!) More 'normal' women in advertising, I say!

Before I go to bed (it's been a busy day of pensioners' lunches, picking up a cooker for Dad and helping Beth redecorate Lenni's room for her birthday) here's an interesting use for a load of old Mills and Boon books.

Posted by james at 11:03 PM

Monday, 3 April 2006

birthdays, youth hostels and wagon wheels

Another full week - whether I can recount every detail of it is another matter, though. It was Beth's birthday on Friday, which we celebrated in muted style before Christopher went to school, since we were driving up for a weekend in Derbyshire with some of Beth's surrogate friends.

The stay in the Youth Hostel was reasonable - I really think I've been spoiled with these Youth Hostelling experiences, since on all the occasions we've visited them, we've gone as a family, and had a room to ourselves - much like a hotel. It was a shame that the weather had been so damp, because a few outdoor adventures would have been great fun; the five minutes we did spend outside resulted in a fairly liberal coating of almost-peat mud, so it was a case of making the best of the internal facilities (which were really good, too - there was a playroom full of toys, and a games room with a pool table) during Beth's meetings and the waits for lunch or dinner.

Poor little Lenni has had a nasty cough, though - hopefully that's on the way out now, though, and we'll all be healthy for Easter.. Christopher broke up from school today, so that will help (I hope!)

Enough of the family matters. During my workdays, I've been listening to the eclectic, yet classy www.radioparadise.com, and enjoying amusing viral emails from colleagues such as this. Marvellous.

Podcasts of note and whimsy:
Total Podcastrophe : A fine fortnightly comedy podcast presented by Paul, the English bloke, and Judy the anaesthetist.
The Random Guide To The Galaxy : Two boys and some daftness
WOB : An amusingly camp pair of American bloke and a load of nonsense.

Links of the day:

Posted by james at 8:58 PM

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