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.
Snake in the Stream
2 Sep 2002
Over the weekend, a couple of the neighbourhood kids were over looking at the pond, when one of them spotted a snake in the stream. I happened to have my camera handy, and I tried to get a picture of it, but it slithered off.
A bit of further investigation revealed that it was hiding in the 'toad house' that has (as far as I am aware) never housed a toad. I got one (not very good) shot of it. I think it is a Ribbon snake rather than a Garter snake.
This may explain where some of the small frogs have gone.
My four year old daughter had earlier reported seeing a snake chasing a frog (which got away) when she was staring out of her window. I doubted her story at the time, but no more!
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.
Updated the inbound link display
28 Jul 2002
A couple of sites (watergardening.infopop.net
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.
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),
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.)
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.
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.
Information about SPF (Sender Permitted From)
Neat description of the Gunnera Manicata -- a truly monstrous plant!
The Citizen Weather Observer Program is a loose collection of amateur weather station operators.
The Doc Searls weblog -- he seems clueful and I read him.
Open source audio/video streaming software -- this drives my pondcam
Open source server for the Rio Receiver -- this is what I use.