Saturday, October 28, 2006


It seems that we have now successfully completed buying a flat. Amazing. We are to Zurich in a weeks time and it looked like everything was going to take too long because of issues with the strata title plan but everything is ok. Contracts exchanged. Bank talking about settling in a week. We've got the keys under licence. Amazing.

I've been reading Luneray's Buying a Home series on Get Rich Slowly while we have been going through this and empathising. Her report of her closing trials meant that we were very careful in reading the contract and checking all the terms. Very helpful.

And now I have to put my computer down and start packing :-)

Saturday, October 21, 2006


I put my first stuff on freecycle today. Within a
few hours I had three takers. Pretty impressive. They all seemed to
feel that they needed to appear enthusiastic and deserving. I thought
they were doing me a favour allowing me the double bonus of getting rid
of something I don't want and being able to feel good because it wasn't
being thrown out.

If this first one is successful we'll have to do it again.

Monday, October 09, 2006


I was just doing the google vanity thing and searched for bristley. My excuse was to see if my one piece of useful information on my blog - the flickr setup information - was visible. Answer - no it's not. Instead I found that there was a URL - which I discovered was a page that you would not want to link to at work as it had nudity on the front page. Nothing nasty or horrible - just some guys site with a group at a party naked.

Maybe I should have done this search before I picked a nickname. Mine comes from bristlenose catfish because before we went to Switzerland last year we had about a hundred all bred from Mr and Mrs Bristlenose.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Originally uploaded by bristley.
We went to Bunnings today - that's a Australian hardware store chain. On the way we went to the petrol station and put air in the tyres and cleaned the windows because up until about 2 weeks ago, we hadn't used the car for more than 3 months. Afterwards Dear Reader suggested that as it looked like rain we should go for a drive in the hope that this would wash the car. It's a little bit dirty after it's long hibernation in the garage.

We ended up at the beach and went for a walk downwind. It was amazingly windy and the sand was being blown so much that we walked back along the road as Dear Reader did not have glasses to protect his eyes.

Along the way we observed the dragon in the photograph which was slowly trundling into the sea.

We tried to drive back along the Wakehurst Parkway and luckily Dear Reader paid attention to the yellow sign which said "Closed" and we pulled over to the side of the road where we could see the fire which was obviously stopping traffic. So we turned around, went via Manly and listened to the radio where they told us that there was a fire around the Wakehurst Parkway :-)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Freevo Setup

We watch our tv on Linux using freevo. It works very well most of the time but late last week, we had a hard drive suddenly start making ominous noises. We had the OS on one hard drive and we save all of our data on another and luckily the system drive was the one that decided to sound very ill.

Dear Reader gently copied all the data off it and then quickly turned it off. He scrounged another drive and so we spent part of our public holiday reinstalling the system drive and configuring it all to our liking using the backup as a template.

We had been running the 2.6.16 debian kernel and are now running that again. After trying to use 2.6.18, it panicked in something to do with ACPI and so we went back to a kernel we knew worked.

I'm just writing these notes so that next time something happens, I have something official to refer to.

We have two digital video cards a Twinhan bt878 clone and a Nova-T clone.

lspci -v says:

00:09.0 Multimedia video controller: Brooktree Corporation Bt878 Video Capture (rev 11)
Subsystem: Twinhan Technology Co. Ltd VisionPlus DVB card
Flags: bus master, medium devsel, latency 32, IRQ 5
Memory at e2000000 (32-bit, prefetchable) [size=4K]
Capabilities: [44] Vital Product Data
Capabilities: [4c] Power Management version 2

00:09.1 Multimedia controller: Brooktree Corporation Bt878 Audio Capture (rev 11)
Subsystem: Twinhan Technology Co. Ltd VisionPlus DVB Card
Flags: bus master, medium devsel, latency 32, IRQ 5
Memory at e2001000 (32-bit, prefetchable) [size=4K]
Capabilities: [44] Vital Product Data
Capabilities: [4c] Power Management version 2

00:0a.0 Multimedia controller: Philips Semiconductors SAA7146 (rev 01)
Subsystem: Technotrend Systemtechnik GmbH Technotrend-Budget/Hauppauge WinTV-NOVA-T DVB card
Flags: bus master, medium devsel, latency 32, IRQ 12
Memory at e2002000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=512]

With this debian kernel they almost work out of the box now. You need to blacklist a module for the saa7146 module. You add this line to the bottom of /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.

blacklist stradis

Then you add the dvb-bt8xx module to the bottom of /etc/modules file because it doesn't know which one to load or something equally funky.

The other thing to do is to download the kernel source package, untar it and in the /usr/src/linux-source-2.6.16/Documentation/dvb directory, run

./get_dvb_firmware tda10045

for our version of the card and copy the downloaded firmware file to /usr/lib/hotplug/firmware.

Then you can run tzap on the two cards and check that they work. You'll need a channels.conf or to do a scan like normal - I could just copy from the old box.

We also had to set up X to talk to our tv and go through our freevo settings.

What's great is that it's the first time that box has had a clean install of the os in ages and it had a lot of cruft of stuff we'd tried out over the years. It seems to be running a lot faster.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Rocks

The Rocks
Originally uploaded by bristley.
We went to see an Incovenient Truth today. We both really enjoyed the movie and came out thinking about energy efficiency of appliances and measuring power usage.

We then had to decide how to get home. Normally at night after a movie or dinner, we'd probably catch a taxi home. Somehow, after just seeing an Incovenient Truth we felt this would be somewhat, "inefficient" shall we say. We looked at the stairs going down to the station instead we decided start walking home and see how far we went.

As we walked over the bridge I took a lot of photos in the hope that some would work. I had my little cammera in a bag and propped in on the rail along the edge of the bridge on a 2 second timer and quite a few seemed to work. This is looking back towards the city across the Rocks and I like that it has the side of the bridge in it.

The bridge looks astounding at night - the lighting really highlights all of the structural pieces and there shape. I should go back there one day with a tripod and my real camera. I really wanted to get the span from the side but from my handy railing I couldn't get the angle I wanted. A lot of them worked out ok. I was quite pleased.