No cash in the attic


I’ve been busy frantically trying to de-clutter the house to put it on the market (again) and uncovered a few ‘historical’ artefacts along the way. Dusted off first was a newsletter from an old holiday job:

I spent a couple of couple of summers doing various odd jobs fixing circuit boards, testing hardware and watching half of You Only Live Twice over and over and over again on finished machines. I think my least favourite job was sticking bits of masking tape on disk drive fronts to have them resprayed. Or maybe it was peeling off all the bits of masking tape when they came back! Amazingly it appears that Lightworks survived its spell with Tektronix, and is now about to be released as an open source project. Will definitely be trying that out sometime, although it might have to wait until we’ve moved.

Talking of disk drives, I also found a big stack of Windows 3.1 install disks:

Don’t think either of those will fetch much at auction, but they were a nice distraction from the rest of the junk heading straight for a bin bag!

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Not Mashed


Last weekend saw the second London Hackday, now called Mashed, and it was great to hear that CurrentCost mania is continuing to spread, with Rich and Dale’s CurrentCost Live project winning the Guardian prize! (See the presentation that led to fame and fortune on YouTube!)

Rich and Dale weren’t the only people from Hursley at Mashed, nor were they the only winners! Steve Godwin also had a winning entry with Twitter on TV. (No video that I can find as yet!)

I missed this year’s hack day but it looks like Mashed was another great weekend, even keeping up the tradition of opening the roof from last year! There were some members of team supernova back again and hacking though. Paul was interviewed about his project(s) on the day, and still had time to get Travel Streamr working. Jim’s call for Carbon Goggle helpers clearly worked and you can see the results in action on YouTube.

Mashed might be over but I hope that doesn’t mean the end to the projects it created. SLorpedo has certainly made one or two appearances since last year. Watch out for more CurrentCost, TV Twittering, Travel Streamr and Carbon Goggles in the months ahead. (I’m also on the look out for more details about the other projects, so leave a link if you have one.)

Update: finding a few of the twitter bots that got a mention to add to the tweetjects @jthouse follows. Also discovered that Carbon Goggles made an appearance in the BBC news article on the event. (25 June 2008)

Using Yahoo pipes on the Freeview OTA update schedule


Having a Sony Freeview box that has a tendency to lock up when the software update feature enabled means I should check the Engineering Channel Download Schedule every week. I don’t. Seems like an ideal exercise for my first play with Yahoo pipes!

My first impression of using pipes has been pretty good, although pulling out the right information from the source for a web page is a bit of a pain (don’t look too closely at the regular expressions!!) but that’s not Yahoo’s fault. (Maybe some more filters tailored to sorting out the wheat from the HTML chaff would be nice though.) I was also trying to use the last updated text on the site as the pubDate, but have so far failed to get that to work; I could get a separate feed of one item with a nicely formatted date in, but haven’t yet worked how to add that to each item in another feed.

Still, I did get something that looks like it works, although my guess is that I might need to tweak it over the next few weeks as new schedules come out. So, if you want to keep up with Freeview updates, or can suggest any improvements to my regular expressions, here’s the ‘Freeview OTA updates‘ pipe!

Update: found an example that could work for getting the date into the pipe. Also tinkering with a new pipe, which got off to a false start with a “failed to parse non HTML page” message for the Romanse real time traffic page. Luckily the BBC traffic site seems more cooperative.

Update: sorry about the small blockage in the Freeview pipe. I called dynarod out and it seems to be flowing nicely again now! (12 Feb 2008)

Happy 300th birthday!


I might be getting on a bit, but my old school is really showing its age! I just caught something about it reaching its 300th anniversay on BBC South Today as I was leaving this morning. Strangely Shinfield isn’t big news, so it took a little tracking down, but I finally found the story at 6:25 in the online version of the lunchtime show (unfortunately it doesn’t look like that link will be any good after today).

It looks like I completely missed the main celebrations which were back in May. The school has a page about this year’s celebrations and there is more about the school Richard Piggott created on British History Online.

A few years ago, quite randomly, I spotted a small display cabinet about Richard Piggott and my old school in Hursley House, which is where I work. I was pretty surprised to see it the first time I walked past! I might investigate what became of it as I haven’t a clue what it actually said now.

So happy birthday Shinfield school- it seems like 300 years since I was last there!