Bog Roll ::

It's Not Magic, It's Work!

25 Jul 2010


When I finished my first degree I spent a summer working for John Ashworth & Partners. It was a very interesting job and at the same time I learnt a lot about the paint industry and how poor most paint actually is.

One of the things they invented and I got to play with is ECOS*, their zero odour paint system. It is a 100% volatile organic free paint system. Basically it is a water based system that actually works.

The problem with ECOS is the same as the problem with Linux and a whole host of other things, it doesn't matter that you are vastly superior to the brand leader, the fact you are not brand leader make it almost impossible to sell the stuff.

Now I own my own home, I have to put my money where my mouth is and actually buy their paint to use on my own house. For the past few weeks I've been running down paint the house came with, soon I'll have to buy fresh and it's going to be UK invented, UK made, top quality stuff!

* Warning, the ECOS web site is a bit hippy and full of tree hugging nonsense, but the paint that is in the tins is brilliant stuff.

12 Jul 2010

Redcurrant Jelly

I've just finished this year's batch of redcurrant jelly. We got the redcurrants from the PYO farm on Saturday, yesterday I processed them down to juice and today I cooked them to jelly. We started from about 1.5 kg of juice to which I added the juice of a lemon and 1.5 kg of granulated sugar. Yield from this was 6x370 g jars and one slightly larger jar, so not huge.

We did redcurrant and strawberry last year, so it's been two years since our last batch of redcurrant jelly, and my better half has been missing it as it's her favourite!

11 Jul 2010

Busy Weekend

This weekend has been and will continue to be busy.

Friday evening started with reassembling my bike chain - a rather messy business but it's done now.

Yesterday we went to Andover in the morning. We started at the Le Creuset warehouse sale, where we got a good price on a 3-ply 24 cm/6 l casserole pan, nearly half the retail price. We then went into town and did a quick whizz round Waitrose getting all the stuff we can't get in Basingstoke. On our way home we went to our local PYO farm to get redcurrants (Ribes rubrum).

In the afternoon we went down to "The Chalkies" to help the local Wildlife trust carry out a Cut-leaved Germander (Teucrium botrys) survey. Several hours later we made it home for a round of house work.

Today started with more house work and several hours turning redcurrants into redcurrant juice suitable for jamming tomorrow. The dining room currently smells of turpentine as we have waxed the dining room furniture today. Turpentine may may not be very good for you but it smells fantastic and as it evaporates out of the polish it leaves a gorgeous wax shine behind!

Next I have to realign the derailleur gears on my bike and the then it will be time for a nice cup of tea!

07 Jul 2010

Novatech V13

Last year just before Xmas/New Year I bought a cheap Novatech V13 small notebook. Though Novatech say it's made in the UK, it's quite clear that it's actually a Clevo W83T made in China.

Installing Debian on it was interesting, it has no optical disk, so I had to do the install off a USB device or PXE boot over the network. It was happy to boot off the network, but alas the Debian stable kernel didn't have the JMC250 driver in, so the install couldn't proceed. It was happy to boot from an image on a USB hard disk, and after copying a kernel over from Debian testing, I even had a functioning network.

I don't have WiFi at home, my router predates cheap WiFi, and as wires are cheaper, faster and more secure than WiFi I've not bothered to buy a WiFi access point. The Clevo W83T has a fairly new Realtek 8191SE WiFi chip-set. While Realtek provide a driver for Linux, it only went into the 2.6.33 kernel, which isn't yet available in Debian testing.

Today I downloaded the Realtek driver direct (rtl8192se_linux_2.6.0017.0507.2010), built it and loaded into the 2.6.32 kernel I'm running at the moment. Press the right button on the keyboard to activate the WiFi chip-set and the KDE Network Manager now says I have an active WiFi and would I like to join a local network.


01 Jul 2010


A few days ago I bought a cheap ATI Radeon AGP graphics card to try and extend the life of my desktop system.

The first bug I encountered was that the OpenGL compositing in KDE4 wasn't stable. I added some extra bits to the xorg.conf config file that is supposed to help (it didn't seem to on it's own) and I told KDE4's kwin that it wasn't to do a compositing compatibility test, it should just do it. With that all in place, OpenGL worked and everything was fine and dandy.

Yesterday I upgraded my Debian "squeeze" system and AMD/ATI's fglrx driver was upgraded to version 10-6-1 from 10-5-1. When I restarted X it crashed horribly. Apparently this is a known bug in Xorg and you just need to make sure you have BusID "PCI:1:0:0" (or whatever) set correctly in your xorg.conf file.

Today I diligently updated my xorg.conf file and restarted X and it worked. However now all KDE4 windows are blank and I can't use them, so I've gone back to the open-source radeonhd driver until I can figure out what I need to tweak next to fix it.

Not that I'm complaining, I am running Debian testing and I am playing with fire in using the AMD/ATI official drivers, which are noted for the unreliability...