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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
Anyway, they are a store that exceeded my expectations. [I have
no connection with them, apart from being a satisfied customer.]
Internet radio is in danger
3 Mar 2002
It turns out that the RIAA are (effectively) trying to kill Internet Radio
using the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel. The long and short is that
broadcasters need to pay copyright owners for the use of their material.
Thus an Am/FM broadcaster pays a fixed rate (set by the government) for the use
The rates and other requirements are now being set for Internet
Radio. The proposed rates are excessive (I think) and the
reporting requirements are outrageous (I think). For other information,
you can go to Beethoven.com
or the CARP website.
Happily, you can still comment on this subject. My comments can be
found at CARP Comments.
Leonids of 2001
18 Nov 2001
We saw the Leonids this morning, and very nice they were too.
I got a couple of photographs which are worth looking at (out of 200
which I shot!)
Pondcam turned off for the Winter
11 Nov 2001
This weekend is the pond cleanout weekend. The camera is out
of the pond, to return in the spring. It turns out that there is a
small water leak as there was about a teaspoonful of water
inside the housing. Happily it hadn't reached the camera module
This year we have too many plants to fit in the bottom of
the pond, so some will have to overwinter in the basement.
We are going to leave the baby fish (now up to three inches)
in the top pond. This means that I need to get another pump
and airstone for it. Unfortunately Tetra have stopped making
the TetraLuft pump that I use for the bottom pond.
Update: I got a Tetra DW96 and hooked it up, and it seems to work.
I can't take the waterfall pump out as one of the valves doesn't
fully close any more. I need to visit Home Depot to get more
What a lot of hits!
28 Oct 2001
Somebody added a link to this page from a pond chat bulletin board.
The number of hits that I got was about 10 times my daily
Open source server for the Rio Receiver -- this is what I use.
Information about SPF (Sender Permitted From)
Open source audio/video streaming software -- this drives my pondcam
Neat description of the Gunnera Manicata -- a truly monstrous plant!
The Doc Searls weblog -- he seems clueful and I read him.
The Citizen Weather Observer Program is a loose collection of amateur weather station operators.