Sunday, March 29, 2009

The spud cannon.

For those who dip in and out of the Maggot Sandwich on an occasional basis, and who may not be familiar with my home setup - the photo above (click for a larger version) shows the operations centre of Pewty Acres, where the whole Blog update gets nailed together each Sunday afternoon. I work from home quite a lot, and also do a lot of radio listening and operating in what little spare time I have - the radio gear is at the other end of the bench, hidden out of sight in this photo. You can see my DAB radio on the window sill, along with my cordless home phone. My work laptop is at the far left of my work bench (actually a three metre long kitchen work surface - it's great!) Sandwiched between the Roland studio reference monitor speakers is my all singing and dancing Apple iMac 24" with bluetooth wireless keyboard and mouse. to the extreme right is my 1 Terabyte backup drive, which is connected to the iMac by a Firewire 800 cable. The cable going through the window frame is a bit of a giveaway - it leads from my Icom VHF / UHF transceiver to the large colinear antenna I have mounted on the chimney pot. I spend many hours in this room - as you can probably see why.

After much prevaricating, I have finally given some attention to my Asus EeePC, on which the operating system installation died a few weeks ago for no apparent reason. I installed the full desktop version of Kubuntu Linux (Ubuntu with the KDE, rather then the default Gnome desktop user environment), but the new whizzy KDE 4.1 desktop (which looks a bit like Windoze Vista) was just too much for the low powered netbook and it ran like a asthmatic slug on Valium. It is now running the stripped down Ubuntu Linux specially for netbook PC's called (not very imaginatively) EeeBuntu.

After my comments about Michael Jackson a couple of weeks back, I read in the News Shopper that he is going to be a local resident for a while; apparently he is renting a large mansion in Chislehurst, according to the super, soaraway Sun. Of course they have to put a spin on in, and make great capital out of the allegedly haunted Chislehurst Caves which the mansion is apparently close to.

A couple of the local low - lives have taken to making others more aware of their nefarious existence. They have removed the sound deadening baffles from their wheezing 49cc mopeds in the vain hope that this will make them go faster than their 30mph limit. All it really does is make the motors - that would come second to many hair dryers in a power contest, sound even more like a bunch of wasps in a biscuit tin. The inept riders twist the throttle on their steeds and rather than leap forward with sudden acceleration, the tinny whine from the under powered engine just gets louder and even more irritating.

My quest for an "interesting" car when I eventually decide to purchase one has taken another side route. I am fascinated by the output of probably the most exclusive and discreet car manufacturer in the world. Many people will never have heard of the long established company - They don't have any dealers or third party franchises, they do not advertise and have only one showroom. You can read more about the world of Bristol Cars and their supply of bespoke motor vehicles for discerning gentle people by clicking here. Unfortunately they are ruinously expensive, even second hand. I can but aspire I suppose.

This weeks' video clip is interesting. It shows a small group of American Radio Amateurs setting up an antenna for the 160 metre amateur radio band (this is an area of the radio spectrum just off the top end of the Medium wave AM band on a domestic receiver, and very long antennas are required to send and receive signals). For this and several other bands, one of the best ways to erect the antenna is to sling it as high as possible between two tall trees. These Americans have found a way to do this involving the eponymous Spud Cannon. Watch on and wonder...

1 comment:

  1. Er Hugh, death by misadventure isn't exclusive to Chav's playing on the railway lines. I'm sure the odd well-to-do middle/upper classes get selected out of the gene pool from time to time.