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Author Archives: Paul

About Paul

I'm the geek.

Expecting Something Taller

 

We had a very nice little (if a little twee) B&B booked for Niagara, about a mile up the road from the falls (and the main hotels). As we discovered later, this was a very good move: the centre of Niaraga Falls is pretty grim. The big hotels seemed to be just plonked in the middle of run-down residential areas; the restaurants and bars all look dirty and tacky.

Nice house (small car) Hmmm, classy

On first sight, the falls didn’t seem as impressive as I expected. I thought they were going to be much, much taller. It’s hard to get an idea of how much water is going over them… until you get up close to them on the boat, or see how wide the river is above them.

imageWet Water, lots of water

Since Monday was the Canadian “Civic Holiday” (yes, that’s what it’s officially called), there were fireworks over the illuminated falls on Sunday evening.

Boom!

On Monday, in between doing the White Water Walk and the Niagara Falls Boat Ride, we went for a drive, following the river north towards Niagara-on-the-Lake. The original plan was to find a winery, but by the time we got parked up in the town, we decided to just find some lunch and have a wander around. Apparently the town was modelled on Stratford-upon-Avon, and it shows… it’s even more twee than our B&B.

Obligatory cow photo…

 Obligatory cow picture

A little reminder of our wedding:

Wedding reminder

And finally, that’s what you call a sandwich:

Proper sandwich

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Posted by on Monday 4 August 2014 in Travel

 

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Tidy Oiler

The tidiest Scottoiler installation I’ve ever done, and that’s probably because I’d only ridden the bike out of the showroom that morning…

Much inspiration was taken from AndyW’s guide, with a slight difference in feed pipe routing, plus mine’s a vSystem rather than an eSystem.

Dual Injector on a custom bracket fitted to the end bolt of the chain guide under the swing arm:Dual Injector

Oil feed house is routed around the inside of the swingarm to meet the brake/ABS lines…
Routing along brake hose

… and then continues with them under the guard that runs over the top of the swingarm…
Under hose cover

… and reappears in front of the hugger, to run along the swingarm…
Along swingarm

… and up behind the right panel to the oil reservoir:
Behind side panel

This is the view you’re met with when you remove the rider’s seat. There’s a frightening amount of stuff under there:
Scary

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Posted by on Saturday 22 March 2014 in Motorbikes

 

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Ham-fisted Idiot

That’ll be me, then.

First time on a motorbike for four weeks, and I’d forgotten that the roads have got colder, the tyres were cold, and the Falco’s just a little bit more powerful than the Elefant…

At least I got out of our street. Just.

Picked it up, restarted, rode back to the house, and taped up the indicator so it wasn’t flapping around. One of our neighbours was leaving for work just as I got back to the house; I still managed to beat her into Newcastle. 🙂

As well as the pictures, I snapped the end off the rear brake lever too, but I hardly ever use it so I’m not too worried…

Doesn't appear to be leaking, but that could be expensive.

Doesn’t appear to be leaking, but that could be expensive.

A bit of polish, that'll be fine.

A bit of polish, that’ll be fine.

Most of that will T-Cut out... maybe. The bottom bit will barely be noticeable once it gets some dirt on it.

Most of that will T-Cut out… maybe. The bottom bit will barely be noticeable once it gets some dirt on it.

Sacrificial end of the brake lever did its job.

Sacrificial end of the brake lever did its job.

Repaired with gaffa tape, for now.

Repaired with gaffa tape, for now.

 
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Posted by on Wednesday 11 September 2013 in Motorbikes

 

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He’s doing it again…

Time having faded my memories of getting out of the water and being colder than I could ever remember, I’m doing the North East Skinny Dip again this year. There’s a sponsorship page here, if you should feel so inclined, but I’d much rather people just came along and joined in. Maybe we’ll get in the record books this year…

(P.S. This year’s charities are the National Trust and Mind.)

 
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Posted by on Sunday 8 September 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Proper Stotties

After making the suspiciously healthy-looking wholemeal stotties last week, out of necessity rather than choice due to not having enough strong white flour, I decided I should do it properly and make some stotties that really looked like stotties.

Despite one small deviation from the recipe (you’re meant to rub margarine into the flour before adding the other ingredients; I forgot, and substituted some sunflower oil in with the liquid later instead), they seemed to have come out about right. Certainly recognisable as a stottie by anybody born within spitting distance of the Tyne!

The only thing they’re missing is being filled with some nice thick pieces of bacon and a few lumps of decent black pudding

image

image

 
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Posted by on Monday 29 April 2013 in Cooking

 

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Not quite fast enough

The next thing I needed to try was check whether the network was fast enough to watch HD content on the Raspberry Pi, direct from the NAS. These are linked via 85Mbps Homeplugs, which should be fast enough, but I don’t seem to be getting anywhere even a decent ‘real world’ speed, never mind the theoretical maximum. At the ‘client’ end, the Homeplug is plugged in to one side of a dual socket, the other side being used for an extension that provides mains power to a router, the TV, HTPC, DVD player, PS2, Wii, Freesat tuner… that lot probably generates a fair bit of noise. I’ll rearrange the connections so the Homeplug is more isolated, when I can work up the enthusiasm.

At first attempt, the video I tried to watch was stopping to buffer several times a minute; completely unwatchable. Then I realised that the old HTPC was still powered up, with a BitTorrent server running and who knows what else going on. Turning this off seemed to be enough to make the difference, bringing the occurrence of buffering down to about once every five or ten minutes. Not good enough for the all-important ‘spousal acceptance’, but I was willing to put up with it for one show.

These problems should be solved after the weekend, as there’s a set of 500AV Homeplugs turning up, which should be more than capable of providing the necessary bandwidth. And I’ll have to rearrange a load of wiring anyway, when my broadband connection gets moved to BT Infinity, so it’ll be a good opportunity to optimise the network connection.

I was also hoping to be able to use a remote control directly via the TV without needing an IR receiver, but the TV’s too old to support the necessary standard (CEC). (Sounds like a good enough reason to buy a new TV to me…) I’ve got a USB-UIRT lying around somewhere, that should do the trick…

 
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Posted by on Thursday 18 April 2013 in Geeky stuff

 

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It lives!

Well, that was ridiculously easy. I’ve had DVD players that were more complicated to get working than that.

I followed the straightforward instructions at the Raspbmc website to put the installer on an SD card, plugged it all together, and… magic!

image

The Raspberry Pi powered up and warned me to grab a coffee while it downloaded things. Raspbmc started downloading the latest versions of everything it needed, rebooted a few times to install stuff, then sat at the main configuration screen waiting for me to choose a language. It’s a good job I didn’t need a coffee, I wouldn’t have had time to get one.

image

Now, I’ve just got to work out how to control the thing. Took me longer to find a USB keyboard and mouse than everything else. I’ve already got it connecting to the NAS so I can play music and watch videos; photos don’t want to display for some reason, that needs further investigation.

Next steps are to play about with the network settings to get it running fast enough to watch HD content direct from the NAS, and figure out how to use an infra-red remote control (although I’ve already got it working with the Official XMBC Remote app on my Android phone, which will do for now).

 
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Posted by on Sunday 14 April 2013 in Geeky stuff

 

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