Monthly Archives: April 2012

April 2012 Round-up

OK, April seems to have floated away, so it’s time for the usual end of month summary thingy.

Weight

April 1: 221.6 pounds (15 stone 11.6 pounds, 100.5 kg)
April 30: 217.4 pounds (15 stone 7.4 pounds, 98.6 kg)

Well, that was actually my weight on April 22, as I was away from my scale from then until May 1, so we’ll just assume it’s sort of right. But that does show a drop of 4.2 pounds (1.9kg), which is pretty good for an incomplete month.

Eating

I have been resisting the sausage rolls, which is probably where most of that weight loss came from. Four nights in a hotel with big breakfasts and some nice evening meals, followed by five nights at my brother’s house, which may have involved eating out, pizza and wine shouldn’t have helped, but stay tuned for the first weight report in May.

Exercise

I logged just under 30 miles of walking in April. Not as good as March, but a week away and some diabolical weather did limit my opportunities a bit.

Posting

No significant change there – this report brings the total to 59

Stuff

Went to Bristol, set up some stuff, stayed in a hotel, had an unexpected trip to Wales, yay.

Stuff Report – 30 April 2012

Exercise: Cardiff and Penarth walk

It’s my last day in Wales, and as my brother had to go to work, I took myself out for the day. I took the train into Cardiff, with only vague plans in mind, which I was ready to change depending on the weather. It rained a bit on the way to the station, but not too much..

My first vague plan was to visit the National Museum, as it’s been a few years since I last went there, and in the meantime the art gallery has been expanded, improved and generally made better. Or so I’ve heard. Of course, I’d forgotten that it doesn’t open on Mondays[1], so I had to settle for walking past it. I then moved on to Plan B, and took another train to Cardiff Bay, where I had a bit of a wander, and took some pictures before setting out to walk to the Cardiff Bay Barrage. I’d only intended to walk part way out so I could get some pictures of the bay from it, but somehow I ended up going all the way across, then up an infinitely steep hill into Penarth. By the time I got there, I was a bit worn out, so got yet another train back to Cardiff. I had a toasted teacake and an excellent espresso at the lovely Plan Café Bar, then went back to the station to return to Pencoed.

I remembered to pause the Garmin app when I got on trains, but forgot to resume it after a pause at the end of the barrage, so it hasn’t tracked my full walking distance, but this at least gives an idea of where I went:

Cardiff and Penarth

Cardiff and Penarth

Add on about a mile for to and from Pencoed station and probably another mile of untracked wandering, and that’s a pretty good walk.

One picture for now – this is a close-up of the Merchant Seafarers’ Monument at Cardiff Bay:

Merchant Seafarers Memorial

Merchant Seafarers Memorial

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Aperture: ƒ/11
Shutter speed: 1/40s
Focal length: 92mm
ISO: 200

The sky was mostly grey, with occasional bursts of sun. It only started to brighten up properly when I got on the train back to Pencoed, mutter.

[1] This is the case with a lot of museums in the UK – I think it’s because they’re open at weekends, and they need a day for sorting ut, tidying up, or maybe just letting staff have time off.

That’s a good idea…

The latest bit of lunacy in the ongoing international sport thingy[1] has gone beyond silliness and petty bullying[2] into the realms of insanity. BBC News reports that the authorities are seriously considering siting surface to air missiles on top of people’s flats. Now you don’t have to think too hard to come up with reasons why firing missiles over heavily populated areas might not be an altogether good idea, such as where all the bits of the missile and whatever you’ve fired it at will come to earth, but the excellent Charlie Stross has given it a bit more thought, and covers it quite nicely, so I’ll pass you over to him:

Olympics 2012: A Bruce Schneier Moment

Oh, and Richard Wiseman has a possible explanation, that makes as much sense as anything:

[1] As I mentioned last year, mentioning the thingy by name might get me into trouble. And according to the Grauniad, it’s got madder since then.
[2] Thugs Private security staff have been trying to prevent photographers on public land taking pictures of venues

Flash Crash – A fix of sorts

I’ve recently been having a problem. Playing videos on YouTube has been making Chrome get upset. It gets a few seconds into a video, then the Flash plugin (oddly described as the Shockwave Flash plugin, but never mind) crashes. Restarting the browser, clicking heels and whistling tunes backwards didn’t improve things at all.

A bit of searching turned up numerous articles suggesting that this sort of thing was normally caused by a conflict between Chrome’s baked-in Flash plugin and the separate one installed for other browsers, and that some value of cursing and disabling one or other of them would restore normal behaviour. Well, I tried that, and it made no difference.

Figuring this would go away in some future Chrome update, I reverted to Firefox, where exactly the same thing happened. So, what with the weather meaning I’m not stepping out into the wilds of Wales today, I took the time to do a bit more digging. I found reports from other people having crashage[1] issues with various browsers, which does sort of point the finger very firmly in the direction of Adobe’s latest Flash update.

My digging did lead me to something that seems to work for YouTube, but won’t help for any other Flash crashing issues you may have.  If you have a sufficiently equipped browser, you can get YouTube to present videos in its “experimental” HTML5 format. I enabled that, and I’ve been able to watch videos that were crashing previously. Give it a try if you’re having the same issue:

YouTube HTML5

Adobe are apparently investigating this issue. A better result would be for everyone to stop using bloody Flash because it’s completely rubbish.[2]

[1] Most words can be improved with the addition of “-age”
[2] Quite apart from its memory and CPU hogging tendencies, it leads to websites being developed that look pretty but are very hard to use, what with them not letting you use the  back button or bookmark pages.

Stuff Report – 29 April 2012

It’s a lovely day for not going anywhere. Howling wind gusting up to speeds of “where did that house go?”, rain, temperatures more appropriate for February[1] and all that kind of thing. Lovely.

Your picture for today is of one of the Bristol Harbour ferries. They’ve got a nifty network of these, which seems like a good idea, as they cut out some quite long walks.

Harbour Ferry

Harbour Ferry

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Aperture: ƒ/6.3
Shutter speed: 1/160s
Focal length: 47mm
ISO: 100

 

[1] This is the weather getting back at us for that warm period earlier in the year. I think somebody’s applied a randomiser to the British weather. Err, a more powerful randomiser than the one that normally delivers random weather.

Stuff Report – 28 April 2012

Exercise: Short walk

Had a short walk with my brothers this morning. We had vaguely thought of going to Porthcawl, but it was too cold and windy to make a visit to the seaside all that attractive, so we didn’t.

Your picture for today is a statue of Samuel Plimsoll, inventor of the line.

He invented lines

He invented lines

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Aperture: ƒ/5
Shutter speed: 1/320s
Focal length: 80mm
ISO: 100

Stuff Report – 27 April 2012

Went out shopping with my brother this morning, then our other brother arrived from the depths of West Wales. Pizza was eaten. Wine was drunk. A DVD was watched[1].

Today’s picture is another one from Bristol, the rather fine St Mary Redcliffe church:

St Mary Redcliffe

St Mary Redcliffe

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Aperture: ƒ/9
Shutter speed: 1/400s
Focal length: 50mm
ISO: 200

[1] Somehow, I’d missed Mrs Brown’s Boys completely when it was on. This would seem to have been a mistake

Stuff Report – 26 April 2012

My last day in Bristol[1] went according to plan. Finished setting some stuff up, tidied up the loose bits of cable, arranged for the big pile of boxes to be removed. It’s amazing how many boxes you need for one small office:

What a load of rubbish

What a load of rubbish

Camera: iPhone 4S
Aperture: ƒ/2.4
Shutter speed: 1/20s
Focal length: 4.28mm
ISO: 80

After that, I got a train to Newport and another one from there to Pencoed. My brother joined me on that one at Cardiff.

Here’s another picture from Bristol – it’s a sculpture I passed each day going between the hotel and the office:

Phoenix

Phoenix

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Aperture: ƒ/16
Shutter speed: 1/20s
Focal length: 58mm
ISO: 200

 

[1] Until the next one

Stuff Report – 25 April 2012

Exercise: Short walk interrupted by pizza

Another fun-packed day of setting up today. Got the office printer/copier/scanner delivered, installed and working.  :bouncy: Did some more setting up of bits and pieces on the laptops.  :bouncy: Set up the BlackBerry thingies.  :bouncy: And indeed generally got things done.

After that, I came back to the hotel for a bit. It wasn’t an evening for a wander – dull, grey, and with a hint that the quite impressive rain that fell this morning might return. So, I had a short walk to a different branch of Pizza Express, where I had the dough balls again, followed by an Etna pizza (spicy ham, roquito peppers, etc) and possibly a dessert. A couple of glasses of wine may also have been involved.

This was a really busy city centre branch – at much the same time yesterday, the Harbourside one was almost empty, but here I actually had to wait for a table. Shocking!

I’ll now treat you to some more of yesterday’s pictures. Here’s a view of Brunel’s SS Great Britain. I’d love to give this a proper visit one day, but for now, here’s a picture from across the water:

SS Great Britain

SS Great Britain

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/250s
Focal length: 35mm
ISO: 100

And here’s a scary giant beetle thingy:

Scary Giant Beetle Thingy

Scary Giant Beetle Thingy

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Aperture: ƒ/5
Shutter speed: 1/15s
Focal length: 58mm
ISO: 100

It’s probably art.