The year of DIY SOS


First of all,

Happy New Year!

Now that all that Christmas nonsense is out of the way it’s time to attempt to get back to writing posts a bit more regularly. Before anyone gets too excited that is likely to mean a lot of rambling on about fixing up our new house; 2011 was the marathon house buying year but 2012 is going to be a whole Olympiad of jobs that need doing on the house of many leaks!

Given the number of leaks we already have, one job that I’m not planning to do myself is replacing the bathroom. We’re still trying to figure out the best way to fit everything in without everything looking odd or squashed. My pencil and paper scribbles have evolved into a highly realistic 3D rendering quick 3D sketch in Second Life to see what it might look like. Apart from our bathroom looking extremely small when dropped in the middle of a field on its own, it was a very simple way to get a rough visualisation.

I haven’t quite managed to use bathroom sketches as an excuse to buy a Galaxy Note… yet… maybe if it was just a little bit cheaper!

The other project I keep contemplating is whether to put in some structured wiring. While decorating and pulling up floors would seem like the perfect opportunity. Unfortunately there’s no obvious place to put a so called ‘node zero’. I guess I could put a patch panel in the loft and defer choosing the final location until later. Would that work? And is there an easy trick for running cables behind dot and dab dry lined walls? Using 8 or 16 pair cable seemed like it might make things simpler than pulling through multiple cables, but that doesn’t seem particularly easy to get hold of in the UK. There’s a good chance decorating will just overtake any ideas about installing ethernet cables but I haven’t completely given up the idea.

Next job: sanding.

Remember The Milk Filofax pages


After experimenting with Remember The Milk a bit recently, I’ve set out on my annual quest to be a bit more organised with renewed optimism… and a little project to put off doing anything on the to-do list! I’m still not ready to go paperless, so I wanted a way to print out the Remember The Milk lists. To start with I had great intentions for not procrastinating, so attempted to just buy the Filofax Print to File software. I still think Filofax are insane charging for software that would encourage me to buy more of their computer paper: I’ve had an unopened pack for ages. Sadly the Filofax UK site is broken so I tried the US site instead, which is when I discovered just how insane they really are. To start with, you can’t use the same ID on both sites, and when I tried to register again they insisted on a US shipping address… erm… for a download?

Oh well, time for a quick and dirty, and free, alternative. Quite pleased that I’ve resisted investing more time in a ‘proper’ tool to print this kind of thing (I really like PocketMod but I just end up with more disorganised with bits of paper all over the place) – saving the Remember The Milk list and a bit of HTML to lay things out, and for some blank to-do pages, was good enough. I also rediscovered a handy hole punch for completely DIY Filofax pages:

I didn’t get the layout to work with a single page, so I just cheated and used a front page:

<html>
<head>
<title>Filofax Personal (front)</title>
<link rel="stylesheet" href="filofax.css">
</head>
<body>
<div class="print-page" id="front">
<div class="filofax-page">
<!-- Page 1 content -->
</div>
<div class="filofax-page">
<!-- Page 3 content -->
</div>
<div class="filofax-page">
<!-- Page 5 content -->
</div>
</div>
</body>
</html>

…and a back page instead:

<html>
<head>
<title>Filofax Personal (back)</title>
<link rel="stylesheet" href="filofax.css">
</head>
<body>
<div class="print-page" id="back">
<div class="filofax-page">
<!-- Page 6 content -->
</div>
<div class="filofax-page">
<!-- Page 4 content -->
</div>
<div class="filofax-page">
<!-- Page 2 content -->
</div>
</div>
</body>
</html>

With a short style sheet for both.

body, html {
border: 0mm;
margin: 0mm;
padding: 0mm;
}
.print-page {
width: 297mm;
height: 210mm;
padding-top: 39mm;
padding-bottom: 0mm;
margin: 0mm;
}
#front {
padding-left: 12mm;
padding-right: 0mm;
}
#back {
padding-left: 0mm;
padding-right: 12mm;
}
.filofax-page {
float: left;
height: 171mm;
width: 85mm;
margin: 0mm;
padding-top: 0mm;
padding-bottom: 0mm;
}
#front .filofax-page {
padding-left: 10mm;
padding-right: 0mm;
}
#back .filofax-page {
padding-left: 0mm;
padding-right: 10mm;
}
.content {
height: 171mm;
width: 85mm;
}

So much for not procrastinating; I think this blog post took me longer than the printing! (The HTML source kept getting mangled by WordPress, hence the place holder comments for missing object tags where the Filofax page content should go!) I’ll book that dentist appointment and get on with the rest of the to-do list tomorrow…

Happy New Year!


Following Dan Power and Crysta Anderson’s lead, I’m going to kick off the new year with a look back at the most popular posts from 2010. So with barely a pause and not even a drum roll, the winners are…

1. My second CurrentCost development board circuit

Way out ahead at number one is the only circuit board I’ve completed and put to regular use. Still working fine, apart from a brief pause when the batteries ran out. Kind of regretting replacing the batteries just in time for the recent spell of cold weather!

2. Master Information Hub: Getting Started

Not a close second, but still respectably ahead of the pack, this post is one I regularly point people to the first time they use the MDM Workbench. Hopefully it’s helped a few people out this year.

3. New clock radio

Leading the pack is this surprise entry to the top ten. Unlike some Joggler owners, I still use it fairly regularly and, apart from the occasional experiment, I’m still using the O2 software it came with. I did give Jolicloud another go yesterday, to see whether a little bluetooth keyboard helps; nice, but just not quite fast enough to switch permanently. Might give MeeGo a try next.

4. Get off my hashtag

Had a really interesting chat at the last homecamp about tagging, so this is a subject I’m likely to return to this year.

5. Weather Underground + Mashup Hub + Pachube = orb food

Maybe it’s just me but I get quite excited about the potential that this kind of data mashup has. Perhaps it’s because I’ve seen what you can do with enterprise data and software like Message Broker; now imagine the possibilities with open data and simple ways for anyone to manipulate it. (That’s not manipulation in the political sense of course!)

6. Master Information Hub: Social Bookmark Services

This follows on from the number 2 post, while the third in the series has some catching up to do and didn’t make the top 10. I also have some has some catching up to do; I hope to get to the next instalment early this year.

7. Liberal Democrats can’t win here

Politicians, gotta love ’em. I wonder how these graphs will look if we get proportional representation for the next election.

8. Home Easy ambient orb

All soldered together but not yet receiving that lovely data from the number 5 post. I’m currently pondering whether to just hard code things ‘for now’ or hack some more so that the three orbs could be programmed using the BlinkM sequencer.

9. Digital House Arrest

Politicians again. Really. Very. Annoying. I never did get a reply to my last letter to my MP, Chris Huhne.

10. Manifesto

Given that all politicians seem to be as bad as each other I was half tempted to stand as a RON (reopen nominations) candidate Anyone else up for a For The Win party next time?!

Highly commended: It takes two

Not actually in the top ten but this post about Hedge End twinning deserves an honourable mention for the great comments about Frome’s twins.

Happy new year!

Big box of blogs


Just a quick post to end the year/decade; not a review of the past, or predictions for the future, but a few weblogs you might be interested in taking a look at after the hangover. I’ve been meaning to sort out a proper blogroll since I gave up using Technorati to keep track of my favourites. It was tricky to come up with a short list and there are plenty of other excellent blogs in my feed reader which didn’t quite make it this time round, some just because they’ve gone quiet. Anyway, without further ado, here’s my blogroll of 2009:

diamond geezer

This isn’t just some amateur blog like the one you’re reading, it’s a London finest blog. Regular features, cutting wit, days out by proxy, the underground and an all round great read.

Alex Bowyer

Canada is probably the only country I’d consider emigrating to* so it’s a fascinating perspective on a country I’ve only visited a couple of times. (* Still pretty unlikely so don’t panic if you live there!) Plus there’s technology and, apparently, life after IBM!

Kellypuffs

Wonderfully eclectic. Pft.

Hub Solution Designs

A brief detour into work related territory. This is still the most interesting master data management blog I’ve found, confirmed by Dan’s most recent “Hidden Costs of Duplicate Customer Data” post. I guess MDM might be a bit niche, so moving swiftly on…

Staring At Empty Pages

Has certain similarities with diamond geezer with “On highway exit numbering”, “Clumping, and throughput in public transportation” and a “Faulty logic” series, but not from London. A trip to Japan was a bit excessive in comparison to diamond geezer’s local jaunts though!!

Strange Maps

Some brilliant maps. Some… not so good, but still worth a look if you like maps.

Sustainable Suburbia

Probably the most geeky on the list, and it should be familiar to anyone who’s been paying attention to Homecamp. Read this one for arduino, gas monitoring, boiler control and RF electronics, although it’s the Lister engine I really like… just don’t tell Jo!!

That’s all for this year. Hope you have a very happy 2010.