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: Weather   1-Wire Barometer woes  5 Oct 2001 (Updated 28 Oct 2001)

I'm in the process of building a 1-wire barometer to add to the weather station. However, it isn't going very well. See the progress page for the full story. Update: I'm going to add an instrumentation amplifier to do the level shifting, provide some gain and buffer the input to the A/D.

Update: It now works much better with the instrumentation amp. I'm leaving it running overnight to see if it really works (i.e. measures the pressure)!


Topic: Pond   Lots of Salamanders  26 Sep 2001

I received 28 Northern Two-lined Salamanders from a friend who scooped them out of his swimming pool. We added them to the top pond and they promptly vanished. Some of them climbed out and hid under the rocks around the edge. Some of them climbed up plants. Some hid under rocks on the bottom.

I guess that this is more than enough for one pond. We will see in the spring whether they return to breed!


Topic: Pond   Picture gallery working again  19 Sep 2001

It turned out that the fish gallery stopped working when the unix time rolled over to 1000000000. I was using alphabetic sorting to find the most recent image (the image names contain the unix timestamp). This doesn't work as I didn't have leading zeros on the old 999999000 numbers. I wonder how many other people have been bitten in the same way.


Topic: Pond   The Pondcam is BACK!  27 Aug 2001

I finally got around to replacing the pond cam. I'm using a small NTSC camera mounted inside the old housing. I'll update the camera construction web page over the next few days with more details.

The focus doesn't appear to be quite right, and the water is rather cloudy so the image is not all that it might be. I also haven't yet added the anti-fouling circuitry. I am using a glass view port rather than the pexiglass one which was starting to cloud up.


Topic: Pond   One of the frogs is in the newspaper  14 Aug 2001

As you may recall (if you are a frequent visitor here), we evicted a number of bullfrogs earlier in the year. The recipient of one of them wrote up her experiences for the local paper -- the Framingham Tab. You can read the article here.


Topic: Pond   Code Red Worms!  3 Aug 2001

This is not really a pond issue, but I stuck up a page to monitor the progress of the Code Red worm. If you don't know, this is a computer worm that infects Microsoft IIS servers and replicates quite virulently (for the first 20 days of each month).


Topic: Pond   Pondcam repairs  3 Aug 2001

This weekend should see the pondcam reactivated. I bought a CMOS 640x480 camera that seems to work nicely, and I was also given a piece of coated glass to use as the front window. By passing a small current from the glass and another electrode, the idea is to prevent algal growth. Apparently this scheme works in the ocean, but according to the literature, nobody seems to use it in freshwater.  more...


Topic: Pond   A Salamander arrives  16 Jul 2001

OK -- the salamander arrived by car from a friend's swimming pool where it had fallen in. You can see a picture of it on the Pond life page. I stuck it in the top pond as I suspect that the big fish might eat it. We will see whether the frogs eat it anyway.


Topic: Weather   Another big storm  30 Jun 2001

Another big lightning storm came through and destroyed various bits of equipment. This is the reason that the weather readings stopped after 6pm today until I replaced the 'dongle' that is used to interface the sensor network to the computer. I also lost the mouse (it melted!) and various bits of networking gear (hub, print server). It was all on my UPS and surge supressors, but I guess that not much can be done for lightning. I have a whole house surge supressor as well. I'll put up the lightning photographs soon -- I managed to capture some strikes on video.

Update The print server has recovered but it looks as though the webcam didn't make it. Still, this may be an excuse to get a better camera!

Update I had disconnected the 1-wire network from the dongle on Sunday July 1 before the next storm came through. Unfortunately, one of the temperature sensors seems to have gone shortcircuit in the second storm. It was just wired to the end of a long peice of wire, and I guess that the induced voltage was too large (although since it is all twisted pair, I don't really understand it). I think that the new network will have more voltage supressors, but I'm nervous about the capacitative loading that it will introduce.


Topic: Weather   The storm of June 20, 2001  20 Jun 2001

In spite of the weather forecast, this wasn't a bad storm. I did get a couple of lightning pictures. See the storm page. I've also included the various weather charts for the day, and the graphs are somewhat interesting (if you like that sort of stuff).


 Topic:    

Rolodex

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

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

spf-pobox
Information about SPF (Sender Permitted From)

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

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

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


Philip Gladstone