17. June 2012 · 1 comment · Categories: General · Tags:

I’ve had a Roomba for a few years. One thing I’ve always been curious about it whether it actually does clean the whole room and whether all areas get cleaned equally. So I decided to try a little experiment.

More »

Recently a small piece of the door seal on our washer dryer came out in the wash. It was small but enough to mean water on the kitchen floor so it needed replacing.

The solution seemed simple. Order a replacement seal. Fitting it however was a problem. More »

That probably won’t be what you want though. For example our recent adoption from a recently deceased friend was developing a fascination for clawing at the carpets and rugs. Min decided that we should get a scratching post. I thought a scratching post was, well, a post, but Min had other ideas so we now own this 4 foot tall thing:

Note the absence of a cat in that photo. I joked with Min when we were buying this thing that the cat would probably be more interested in the cardboard box it came in than the scratching thing. Sure enough:

But not only is the box more interesting, the plastic wrapping that this post thing came in got more attention!

Needless to say the various toys we got her get ignored. That green bit of rope in the top picture however, which is a discarded piece from an old Ultras flag, is the greatest toy ever.

*sigh* At least Simon understands.


We got my mum a new bed recently. Turns out the cat was rather fond of the old mattress 🙂



It seems that our new government is digging its heels in and the rest of the EU (probably Germany) isn’t happy.

So let me put the scenario into perspective. Ireland cannot borrow from the market at the moment, we are apparently going to stay a free market capitalist country, so we will be getting money from there again. What we need is money from the EU/IMF in the interim to get us through the mess we are  until we can borrow money cheaper from the market than the IMF.  The silly rate we initially agreed to was never going to be paid, the idea was that by making the money available the markets would open up again to Ireland to cheaper cash. That hasn’t happened, so we’ll need more money, and we’ll be taking it at a sensible interest rate. And by sensible I mean a rate that the Irish economy can actually have a hope of paying back. That’s the rational thing to do. And if they don’t give it to us at a sensible rate the precious Euro will collapse. And the longer that the rest of the EU takes to cop on to this the heavier a battering the Euro will take in the precious markets.

The last government may have gone cap-in-hand, the new lot, even if I don’t like them, seem to realise that we have plenty of cards in our hand.


I needed to get some new surdo beaters for the SRFC Ultras. Unfortunately these are about €15 to buy. So I decided to try and make some rather than buy them.

After a couple of iterations I came up with a beater that seems to work well. The challenge is to come up with a beater that sounds right when hit hard. I had a proper beater to compare to and also a nice big surdo to hit. The neighbours probably didn’t appreciate the testing.

So heres the optimal way I found.
Materials needed:
sweeping brush handle.
old (clean!) thick socks
duck tape

1. Cut the top 10cm or so off the toe of the sock. This will be the covering on the beater.
2. Cut the rest of the sock into strips.
3. wrap a strip around the head of the beater and tape in place. repeat until you have no more sock, or until is about the right size and shape.
4. Cut the bottom off the baloon. Then stretch the baloon over the the material. Do this three times. This compresses the material the right amount.
5. Lastly fit the sock over the baloons and duck tape it in place.

Hat tip to Cardinal Fang over at instructables http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-your-own-drum-surdo-beaters/ for the idea.

So after about 7 weeks fermenting its nearly time to bottle the elderberry wine. It’s cleared and I’ve added some fermentation stopper. I’ll chuck in a campden tablet and bottle it on Sunday hopefully.

Tasting it tonight its clear that its going to need to mellow a bit. Well, a lot. I might try a bottle after 6 months, but this stuff might not be drinkable for years!

Still, once this is in bottles I can get onto something else 🙂

I have some data that I need to come up with a way to graph. I’m using the Light Pollution from Thüringer Landessternwarte, Tautenburg, Germany and our friends at Kuffner-Observatory, Vienna, Austria. I have this unit hooked up to take a reading every second. It records the temperature, and data from three light meters, one designed to capture low levels of light which is of interest to us for light pollution (plotted logarithmically below). Anyway the units for these are all different and I cant see a way to plot them all on the same graph with rrdtool. In practice I probably don’t want to plot them all, but I do want to overlay mathematical models on the graphs. For example to plot the altitude of the sun and/or moon altitude and phase on the graph to see how that correlates to the light meters.

So any suggestions on what I can use to create these? Data is in a mysql database; need to be able to script the graph generation also.

By the way Dalkey got down to -6.3C during December, and snow on the ground does seem to cause an increase in light pollution. It’ll be interesting to compare some of this against an identical sensor on the top of the physics building in Trinity and if we can get it, air pollution data for the month. Basically we’d expect the increased albedo to increase light pollution, but snow has a reputation of clearing particles form the atmosphere so perhaps with less particles the light pollution is somewhat reduced. Lots of questions to answer 🙂

Heres the basic data for most of December to give you an idea at what I’m lookng to merge:

Woke up to a garden full of the little fellas today. Plenty around the estate too. Not a great photo but you get the main features. I noticed the local mistle thrush getting very worked up about them suddenly appearing on its turf! More info from Birdwatch Ireland.