My Blog

I suppose that this is really a blog, though I hesitate to call it that. The real bloggers seem so much more interesting. I cover stuff which I find interesting, and I hope that you will too.

If you really want, you can get an RSS feed of Chateau Gladstone news here:

For more information about what I'm interested in, see the Ponding pages.

Topic: Internet Radio   Internet Radio - Just incredible  23 Aug 2002

The Librarian of Congress has decided that the people most affected by his decision to tax them out of existence -- namely the small Internet Radio Stations should not be allowed to be part of the ongoing lawsuit about these taxes. This argument is that they are not "an aggrieved party who would be bound by the determination". Aggrieved they certainly are, bound by his determination - definitely. Maybe they aren't a "party". See Radio and Internet Newsletter for the full story.


Topic: Pond   Updated the inbound link display  28 Jul 2002

A couple of sites (watergardening.infopop.net and gardenweb.com) added links to the pondcam. I decided that it was about time to improve the link counting script. The new version collapses and summarizes the list rather better. It also allows you to see just the top 40 referring sites.

Remarkably, a bunch of sites just link to a single image, namely hole.jpg. I suspect that Google image search is the way that they found it, but currently for the search 'hole' it doesn't show up till the second page.


Topic: Pond   Pondcam streaming  14 Jul 2002

I've finally added the links to allow people to see the streaming video from the pond. See: Windows Media (100k), Windows Media (40k), RealVideo (100k), RealVideo (40k).

I've limited the outgoing bandwidth to 300k so you may get a 'busy' page sometimes.

If you use the links that are in the pondcam section, then you should get video day and night. (At night, I stream the video that was recorded 12 hours earlier.)


Topic: Pond   Two large Golden Orfes died  8 Jul 2002

Last week, during the very hot weather, two of my Golden Orfes died. I don't know whether the heat got to them, or they were chased by the other fish, or what, but I found them floating amongst the plants. The other two orfes survivied.

The pond temperature reached 92F during this time. I'm not quite sure how to limit it -- maybe I could add cold water. You can see from this graph that adding cold water does have a noticeable effect. The reduction is (obviously) much larger when the water temperature is higher.


Topic: Weather   Major storm blew through  28 Jun 2002

Last night a significant thunderstorm blew through. The lightning stroke rates were quite impressive (see the graph), peaking at 20,000 strokes per hour. What is better is that the 1-wire weather network held up. I'm chalking this up to the surge protection that I added to the network.

The pondcam held up, and the UPS kept everything running while we were out of power. I use an APC UPS that I got from Sams Club with apcupsd to control it.

Some piece of my hifi rack was not so lucky -- sound now longer travels from the cable box to the amplifier and out to the speakers.


Topic: Internet Radio   This whole CARP thing is a mess  24 Jun 2002

If you have missed it, the Librarian of Congress finally issued the report which has set the rates for streaming music over the 'net. The net effect is that most small legitimate webcasters are forced out of business. It turns out that the rates were set based on a deal between Yahoo and the RIAA. This interesting as this deal was specifically designed so that small webcasters could not compete! Further they (Yahoo / Broadcast.com) had already figured out how to cheat the RIAA -- by using multicast and claiming only a single stream.

It is a sad day when US based net radio starts to die due to the greed of a few fat cats at the RIAA.

Why am I upset? I did the streaming support for JReceiver to allow the Rio Receiver to play 'net Radio streams. I'm also working on ffmpeg which allows streaming of live audio and video streams to RealOne and to Windows Media Player (and many other things as well). This is what drives the pondcam on this page.


Topic: Pond   Goldfish caught eating a salamander  29 May 2002

Argh! This evening, I observed a four inch goldfish with half a salamander hanging out of its mouth. This rather suprised me as I assumed that the goldfish wouldn't go after anything that big (the salamander was probably three inches before it got munched).

I had added the salamanders to the pond last fall when a friend gave me a bunch that he had rescued from his swimming pool filter. Until today, I hadn't seen any, and now I think that ignorance of their fate was probably bliss.


Topic: Pond   The pondcam is back  16 May 2002 (Updated 22 May 2002)

I am fiddling with the pondcam -- it is back in the water but I am trying to get a good picture. So, for the next few days the picture may be at a funny angle or similar.

I am also experimenting with streaming better video, but I have not yet found a solution for netscape and IE that doesn't cause problems in (at least) one environment. I wish browsers and plugins were more compatible!

Update: For IE running with WMP7, you will now get a stream at a good frame rate. The bad news is that it doesn't work well over a slow line (unless you have your WMP preferences set to correctly specify your connection speed).


Topic: Pond   Yet more plants arrived in the mail  21 May 2002

I ordered a bunch of plants from World Plants out in Oregon. I received a Juncus Filiformus for the pond, and various other small plants. However, the real motive was to get a Gunnera Manicata. I admit that I am suffering from a severe case of zonal denial, but I felt that if I put it in a large pot, and stuck it in the basement / garage over the winter, then it ought to survive. It currently has four leaves, the largest is under a foot across. In a fit of madness, I potted it up in Miracle Grow -- the stuff that is supposed to double the size of plants. We shall see!

I also got a Ginkgo Biloba Tree. This should survive the local climate, and will make an interesting addition to the regular garden.

I have no affiliation with these guys, except as a satisfied customer.


Topic: Pond   New plants for the pond  15 May 2002

I ordered an Egyptian Papyrus from The Watergarden Shop along with some other supplies. Two plants arrived remarkably quickly and are now already sending up new shoots. Of course, I'm not following the instructions on planting, but if it gets as big as they claim, then I'll have to repot it.

I also ordered Super Clear from them to try and clear up the murky water. I was suspicious of the bottle which said 'results within 24 hours'. However, within 24 hours the water was distinctly clearer. I don't know whether to accord credit to this stuff, or whether the filter/waterfall combination got their act together.

The only failure was some floating plants that the fish promptly ate.

Anyway, they are a store that exceeded my expectations. [I have no connection with them, apart from being a satisfied customer.]


 Topic:    

Rolodex

ffmpeg
Open source audio/video streaming software -- this drives my pondcam

spf-pobox
Information about SPF (Sender Permitted From)

cwop
The Citizen Weather Observer Program is a loose collection of amateur weather station operators.

gunnera
Neat description of the Gunnera Manicata -- a truly monstrous plant!

jreceiver
Open source server for the Rio Receiver -- this is what I use.

docsearls
The Doc Searls weblog -- he seems clueful and I read him.


Philip Gladstone