Archive for Thursday, 25 June, 2009

As Others See Us

Thursday, 25 June, 2009

ModelI was quite amused by an article in today’s Daily Mail.  One of the women featured is guaranteed to garner no sympathy what so ever from the female readership of that paper.  The reason is obvious from the photo on the right.  It does not matter what the poor dear imagines she looks like, she is 27, drop dead gorgeous, and the paper’s stylists have dressed her in a floaty silk summer dress.  Well, I say dress, strappy top would be more appropriate.

The outfit is more suited to the 17 year old girl who was  also featured in the article. She showed a great deal of sense and maturity by choosing to be photographed for the article in a rather mumsy pink cocktail dress. Proving that despite her Despite her self image problems, but she drew the line at the outfit in question.

Base Under Siege

Monday, 15 June, 2009

The BBC has an official Web Site for Doctor Who, but since the series returned to the screen in 2005, it has not featured an official Web Forum for discussing the current series and its long and glorious history.  The slack has been taken up by Shaun Lyons’ Outpost Gallifrey web site.  The problem is that Shaun Lyons main interest is in organising Gallifrey One the annual  Doctor Who convention in Los Angeles and all the other features on the Outpost Gallifrey web site are like a cuckoo in the nest.  A few years ago, there was a sort of divorce when the Outpost Gallifrey Forum became the Doctor Who Forum and many of the extra features of Outpost Gallifrey disappeared.

At the beginning of the month, Shaun Lyons finally called time on the DWF, announcing that on 31st July, 2009 the forum would close.  At this point, in steps Steve Hill, who has been the Chief Administrator at the DWF for a number of years, with the announcement that he and the people who had been running the DWF for the past few years would be starting up a new forum called Gallifrey Base, which would take over from the DWF when it shut down.  In fact Shaun Lyons has said that when the DWF shuts, he will be reassigning the domain to Steve Hill for him to use with Gallifrey Base, so that there should be a seemless transfer.

Gallifrey Base actually opened on Saturday, 13th June, 2009, my forty second birthday.  I thought this was absolutely brilliant, because  if I joined the day the forum opened, whenever I posted to it, it would show 13th June under my name in the Date Joined field.  Best laid plans and all that, as by the time my account was activated, it had moved onto 14th June, 2009.  I know it was a silly little detail, and I was extremely grateful to Michael Blumenthal, one of the Administrators at both Fora for changing my profile.


As for the Forum itself, it is still early days.  It still has the look and feel of the Doctor Who Forum, being powered by the vBulletin forum software that ran Doctor Who Forum. Also most of the catagories and forums from that web site reproduced on the new site.  I should imagine that most of the members of Doctor Who Forum will move over to the Gallifrey Base.

The Union Taff

Tuesday, 9 June, 2009


Union Taff Version 1 : Subtle Addition

Over the years, there have been a lot of complaints that the Union Flag, the official flag of the United Kingdom does not contain any reference to Wales. The original Union Flag was formed by combining the England’s Cross of Saint George with Scotland’s Cross of Saint Andrew.  The modern Union Flag also contains the Ireland’s Flag of Saint Patrick.  Surely it has been argued that since Wales is now seen as a constituent part of the Union, and not just somewhere annexed by the English it should have an element in the flag.  I have seen a number of aesthetically unappealing designs that superimpose “Y Ddraig Goch”, the Red Dragon onto the centre of the flag.  However, I think that attempts to integrate the Cross of Saint David, a gold cross on a black background would be best.  Again, I have what I thought were pretty cack handed attempts to do this.

union-taffUnion Taff Version 2 : More Obvious Addition

To the left are my attempts, although they are probably none too original. Two versions, one very subtle, like the way the Cross of Saint Patrick was incorporated into the original Anglo-Scottish design, and the second a more in your face addition. Which one do you, my faithful readers prefer?

WIFI Woes Again

Saturday, 6 June, 2009

It is almost a year since I bought my E-System 1201 laptop.  It took me a while, but with the help of my friend Ruth,  the built in Realtek RTL8182  Wireless Network Card was made to works under Ubuntu Linux.  Unfortunately, since the upgrade to Ubuntu Linux 9.04 (Jaunty), I have having problems with the WIFI set-up on my Laptop again. At first I thought that it was a problem with my ageing  wireless router, so I started using the T-Mobile  3G dongle I use down the caravan whenever I wanted to go online with the laptop.  However, my iPod Touch found my network strait away without any problems. The problem it seems was with WPA2 encryption system that keeps unwanted users out of my network.  When I tried switching this of and leaving an open network, hey presto I got connected.  So I downloaded the latest version of NDISWrapper, WPA_Supplicant and WPAGUI hoping that the latest versions of these pieces of software would solve the problem.  No joy there.

Some research suggested that the problem was with the latest version of the Linux kernel.  Other network cards do not work with  2.6.28-11-Generic kernel, and reverting to the previous edition might do the trick.  This is only partially successful my laptop connected to my home network for about 30 seconds and then disconnected again, it tried to get back in, but after a few minute with the little icon in the panel spinning away, it just gave up. Obviously something further up in the system was objecting to the downgrade in the kernel and was squishing the secure connection to my home network.

At the moment I obviously don’t want an insecure network, so I still have the WPA2 set on the router,  or stop using my iPod,  I am back to using the 3G dongle on the laptop.  I hope that as this is a known bug in the Linux Kernel, then it will not be too difficult for the people who devote their spare time to constantly improving Linux, the open source operating system, will find a solution to this bug for the end users like myself, and I will be able to use my home network.  I am only sorry that I cannot provide any detailed information that might make their job easier.

Update 3rd May, 2010 : A few days later, an update to the Linux Kernel solved this problem.  Since then, the upgrade to Ubuntu 10.4 (Lucid) truly knackered the laptop, so it now runs on LinuxMint 7 (Gloria).

Bustling Away

Wednesday, 3 June, 2009

Last night, whilst scanning through the Doctor Who Forum, I spotted a discussion about whether Karen Gillan’s character should be from the past, the present or the future.  It started me wondering what would her character look like if she were from the 1880′s for example.  I knew that there was a photo of Miss Gillan online when she was modelling a very Victorian hairstyle, so using GIMP, the Linux image manipulation software, I cut her head from that picture, and superimposed it onto a suitable picture of a woman wearing something from c1884.  And below is the finished article. Even in the full rig Victoriana, Miss Gillan would still be absolutely gorgeous.

And whilst I have far too much time on my hands whilst I am waiting for the pain in my feet to subside, I will probably do more of this cack-handed image manipulation.