WIFI Woes Again

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

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.

Doctor Who : Planet of the Dead

Written by : Russell T. Davies and Gareth Roberts
Directed by : James Strong
Produced by : Tracie Simpson
Starring : David Tennant
Guest Starring : Michelle Ryan, Lee Evans, Nona Dumezweni, Paul Kasey, Ruari Mears, Victoria Alcock, David Ames, Glenn Doherty, Adam James, Daniel Kaluuya, James Layton, Keith Parry,  Ellen Thomas and Reginald Tsiboe.

1. Plot:

motivator7064637 International Jewel Thief Lady Christina da Souza has just stolen the priceless Cup of Athelson from a museum.  Unfortunately for her, things go a bit pearshaped and to avoid capture by the Police she hops onto the on the #200 bus to Victoria.  The Doctor is tracking a rogue space-time wormhole and follows her onto the bus.  As the old Bristol VR double-decker bus is being perused by police through a tunnel, the bus vanishes through the wormhole.  The police are completely baffled and call for assistance from UNIT.

The bus arrives on a desert world that is completely devoid of all life.  Miles and miles of empty sand that have formed into a sea of impressive dunes. Traveling through the wormhole has mangled the vehicle completely, fortunately the engine is still running and the axles are still in tact.  The problem is that the axles of the nine and a half ton bus are deeply embedded in the sand, and without the protection of the bus, anyone passing through the wormhole will be fried.

The Doctor and Lady Christina go to explore their surroundings and are captured by two surviving Tritivore merchants who’s ship has crashed into the desert.  When their ship left their home-world to travel to Sehelios, the planet was a heavily populated with a  high tech civilisation built on a lush and verdant ecology.  Something had reduced Sehelios to an empty desert in just one year.  The Doctor and the Tritivores discover that the swarm of semi-metalic flying creatures that is approaching the bus and the crashed ship are responsible for the destruction of this world, and they are now generating a wormhole that will take the Swarm to Earth…

2. Thoughts:

This was Doctor Who‘s first ever venture into the Vistas of High Definition television, and it featured the most ambitious foreign location shoot since The Two Doctors back in 1985.  Was it worth the effort.  Oh yes!  Most definitely.  Even on my increasingly decrepit SD television, the whole thing looked amazing.  The scenes on the desert world could only possibly have been achieved in Dubai, or somewhere with a genuine arid sand dune environment.  (Although there are still a couple of idiots on the Doctor Who Forum who think the same effect could be achieved on  Aberafan beach with CGI augmentation.)  The emptiness of the ravaged world was breath-taking.

The story was co-written by Russell T. Davies and Gareth Roberts.  Elements of Roberts 1984 novel The Highest Science are plainly visible. The Highest Science was one of the very few entries in the Virgin New Adventures Doctor Who endofthelineseries of novels that is worth reading because it is one of the few book in that series that actually works as a Doctor Who story.. In that novel a carriage from a commuter train heading to London is transported down a wormhole, and the passengers face an implacable foe on an inhospitable world.  In Planet of the Deadus, but the rag-tag group of survivors remain.  It is a shame that the militaristic and xenophobic cyborg turtles, the Chelonians that featured in that novel still seems to be beyond the limits of a BBC television budget.

The threat in this story is a swarm of ravenous metallic flying sharks that hop from planet to planet via wormholes they generate as it flies around a planet, devouring everything in sight.  The Doctor calls the swarm “A force of Nature” but for me there is nothing natural about them.  This Species just screams to me some sort of biological doomsday weapon that has destroyed its creators and gone feral.  I cannot see evolution, no matter how screwed up the creature’s home-world might be, ever producing anything that destructive.  Evolution favours the fittest, who pass their advantage on to the next generation and  the Swarm leaves absolutely nothing behind to nurture the next generation, so cannot survive for long enough to develop their bizarre method of moving onto their next target naturally.

Another thing I cannot see evolution producing is a race like the Tritivores.  Heads and digestive systems like houseflies and humanoid bodies, nope never in a billion years. If they had that shaped head and guts, the creatures should have had fly shaped bodies with six legs and wings.  Which leads me to the biggest gripe about this story.   If the ship was  crewed by insects, why did it have a communication system that fitted so neatly into a humanoid ear. It just does not make any sense. I honestly do not see the narrative necessity for the Tritivore survivors on the planet either.  The Doctor could have gained all the information he needed about the situation from the equipment on the ship.  It seems that the Tritivores were either there simply to give Character Options something they can market as an action figure, or as a way to bulk up a standard 45 minute script to the required 60 minutes.  .

After the events of Journey’s End, The Doctor is once again flying solo, terrified of the effect he has on his companions’ lives.  In this story he is teamed up with Lady Christina da Souza, an upper class thrills junky who does really stupid things, like stealing a priceless artefact from a heavily guarded museum, just for kicks.  Christina was played by Michelle Ryan who recently starred in the ill fated remake of  The Bionic Woman in the US, but who is best remembered in the UK playing Zoë Slater from the soap opera EastEnders.  Her character is so utterly annoying, automatically assuming that she is the born leader because she is an aristocrat and everyone should follow her instructions implicitly.  And yet despite all her airs and graces, she is still a criminal who flouts the authority of others without a second thought.  I was so glad that in the end, the Police caught up with her, and really annoyed at the Doctor for helping her to escape.  I suspect that had this been the start of a normal series of Doctor Who, then Christina would have run into the TARDIS and spent the next few years of her life (one series on TV) doing the cosmic equivalent of Community Service with The Doctor to pay society back for her past crimes.

The people on the bus showed the better side of Human Nature in a crisis. A vast improvement on the unpleasant Daily Mail reading mob who featured in last year’s story Midnight who showed the nasty side of Human Nature in a crisis. On their own, they were a bit wishy-washy but as a team, that quickly bonded under difficult circumstances, they proved to be unbeatable.  My favourite character was Carmen, the mild psychic woman who had her powers enhanced by the proximity of the wormhole.  Her occasional pronouncement added just the right amount of creepiness to the proceedings.  Her final warning to The Doctor underlines the fact that he is soon to regenerate, although he has no idea about this yet.  It certainly ramps up the excitement level for the remaining specials.

It is nice to see that UNIT is making a more regular appearance in the series. I hope that when Steven Moffatt takes over full production of the series, he will continue to use the new UNIT command structure that Russell T. Davies has introduced. In this story we saw a squadron under the command of the no nonsense Captain Magambo, who first appeared in the alternate time-line of last year’s story Turn Left.  Although the decision to leave The Doctor and the bus stranded on the wrong side of the wormhole was a little bit short-sighted, It is a good thing that the civilian scientific advisor, refuses to follow the malcolmorder.  Magambo gets one of the best lines for a member of UNIT ever, when she comments “at last, guns that work.”.

And on the subject of Dr Malcolm Taylor, as portrayed by comedian Lee Evans, why did he have to speak with such a clichéd Pontypandy Welsh accent?  I expected  better from BBC Wales, and from an actor whose family originated in South Wales, who was born just across the Bristol Channel in Avonmouth and knows exactly what a real Welsh Accent is supposed to sound like.  Apart from that, I thought Malcolm was a great addition to the series, doing exactly the same job that The Doctor himself did for UNIT back in the 1970′s, with a similar blasé attitudes to military authority.

Despite its faults, I enjoyed this story, but for me there was nothing really special about it.  Yes it was nice to see the series finally entering the age of High Definition filming and broadcast, but it struck me as being a bit pedestrian.  A good story to start a regular series with, but nothing above and beyond that.


3. Stars:

3 out of 5

Saving Aunty

BBC Coat of ArmsThe British Broadcasting Corporation was founded in 1927, when the government of the day bought the existing British Broadcasting Company Ltd because they didn’t think purely commercial concerns could provide a high enough quality of programming. The BBC is known and loved throughout the World. Well loved by everyone except the upper echelons of the Conservative Party, not that they would ever admit to this though. This hatred has nothing to do with the “Usual Complaint” of political bias, because all politicians, Right, Left or Centre believe the BBC is biased against them. This is all to do with their basic political dogma. se The success of the BBC proves it to be wrong at every single level.

The Tories believe that nothing good can come of Pubic Services ever. However, the BBC constantly produces high quality award winning programmes that are huge rating successes.
The Tories argue that public services can never make a profit. And yet, the BBC owns a number of successful and highly profitable companies, such as BBC Studios and Post Production Ltd, the largest Production Facilities House in Europe, which made a profit of £6.1 million in 2006-7.
The Tories claim that anything financed by either taxation or anything that looks like a tax, like the Television Licence Fee is a drain on successful commerce and enterprise. In reality the reverse is true. The industries that directly support the BBC in Wales are booming since the BBC began commissioning more and more network drama productions that were made in Wales.
The Tories argue that public services diverts funding to commercial projects that would create jobs, services and profits for the British Economy. Again in Wales, this is proving not to be the case. The proposed BBC Drama Village is the centre piece of plans to regenerate the Roath Basin in Cardiff Docks. Construction of a new multi-million pound home for all of BBC Wales’ successful drama productions and the new home for successful long running medical drama Casualty will create hundreds of badly needed construction jobs and when the facility is up and running it will generate hundreds of high paid and high skilled jobs that will be a great boon to the Welsh and UK economy.

The Tories are faced with a problem. Openly admitting they are going to do in Aunty would be electoral suicide, any move to destroy the BBC will have to be done stealthily, if they win the next election outright. How do they do away with such a successful nationally and internationally respected organisation? By making it look like an outdated basket case that desperately needs to be closed. They will do this by playing silly devils with the Licence Fee. In the United Kingdom, it is a legal obligation for anyone owning a piece of hardware capable of receiving a broadcast television signal, whether from any sort of aerial or over the Internet to hold a Television Licence. The cost of this licence depends on type of equipment used and is administered by the Television Licensing Authority. The BBC is funded by the surplus made by the Television Licensing Authority from the administration of the Television Licence Scheme. This is what makes the BBC unique, it is State Owned, but not State Funded, so can remain politically neutral at all times. Unfortunately, President Blair shared the Tory’s disdain for the BBC, so when the current Licence Fee was set by the Government, it was set at a level that did not supply the BBC with enough funds. The BBC owns a number of profitable businesses that have cushioned the Aunty, and it is the money that it earns from these companies that have prevented the quality of the Corporation’s output from falling. David Cameron has said that as soon as he becomes Prime Minister (its not in the bag yet you arrogant twerp) that he was going to freeze the Licence Fee at its current level, ending the BBC’s right too increase the cost of the Licence Fee to take into account the current level of inflation each year. This would be a crippling blow to Aunty, as although £3 per year rise in the Licence Fee does not sound like much, multiply that by number of Licences issued, and you get a serious hole in the BBC’s income. And then in 2012, the BBC and the Government will renegotiate their agreement with the BBC over the Licence Fee. The Tories wont be able to abolish the Licence Fee ifthey win the next election, as it is protected by the Royal Charter that governs the BBC. They will probably cut the Licence Fee, and they have said that they think giving a portion of the Licence Fee to other organisations that provide Public Service Broadcasting in the UK (exactly who that is is a mystery, they certainly cannot mean ITV) is a good idea. Without the money it needs to run all the services it is mandated to run, the Corporation would implode. It would have to cut jobs, channels, services and programming like crazy, and the BBC would look like a disaster at the very time that its Royal Charter is due for renewal. The Tories will say, “look at the BBC, it clearly is not working, lets not bother renewing the Royal Charter and close down the BBC”. With a few weasel words from the likes of the Daily Mail and poison from rags like The Sun, this deliberate policy of mismanagement would result in the United Kingdom and the World will losing something of immeasurable value. Nation would no longer be able to speak peace unto Nation through the medium of the BBC.

No doubt the Conservatives hope that by asking Greg Dyke, the former Director General of the BBC (who remains a strong supporter of the Corporation, despite the shabby way he was treated by both the Blair Government and the BBC Trust) to investigate the Broadcasting Industry in the UK for them, that the Public wont realise how much they despise the BBC, and that by the General Election the public will also have forgotten David Cameron’s little slip about the Licence Fee. Sadly for them, but fortunately for everybody else, along came lose cannon Daniel Hannah MEP. Hannah infamously appeared on FOX News in the US, claiming that the National Health Service was a “60 year old Stalinist mistake.” and that the American people should reject President Obama’s attempt to reform their healthcare system. Daniel Hannah said on the BBC that he no longer had a Television Licence because he only watched BBC programmes on the BBC iPlayer. So he can hypocritically enjoy the products of the BBC without parting with a brass farthing to pay for them. No matter how hard Conservative Central Office tries to claim that this maverick right-winger does not represent what the Tory Party really thinks, the more it becomes apparent that Hannah is the true face of Tory Policy in the run up to the General Election Which means it will be even harder it will be for the Tories to hide their hatred of the BBC.

So on Election Day, fear that EastEnders, Doctor Who and Top Gear will disappear from our television screens forever might be what saves Gordon Brown’s bacon. That the love of Aunty will prevent Smiling Dave from getting the keys to Number 10 Downing Street. That the average voter will vote with their TV remote control and install in power the government that is most likely to preserve the BBC.

Michelle Ma Belle (A Doctor Who Update)

zoeappeal.jpgLong term readers of this web log might remember way back in 2006, when I was  interviewed about Billie Piper leaving Doctor Who, by Rin Simpson from The Western Mail.  In the resultant article it was stated that Michelle Ryan was one of the actresses who might be taking over from Billie.  Anyway, that was a wrong guess, as Freema Agyeman was cast as Martha Jones, who seamlessly replaced the character of Rose Tyler.  However, there has been a clamour from some fans for Michelle Ryan to be cast as the companion ever since.  So it now appears that the lovely Ms Ryan,who in the meantime stared in the ill-fated remake of The Bionic Woman, has been cast as Lady Christine da Souza, the main guest character in the upcoming Easter Special The Planet of the Dead. This has resulted in in a lot of hooting from certain elements on the Doctor Who Forum who do not want to see a former soap-opera actress in the series, as for some reason they don’t think she is a very good actress.  Well, just watch the famous clip below and say that Ms Ryan is not a good actress.

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It remains to be seen whether Michelle Ryan’s character, Lady Christine da Souza, is just a one-off for this special or if she will return at the start of Series Five [31] when Matt Smith takes over as the Doctor.  There are those who vehemently believe that Mr. Moffat would not want to use a character created by Russell T. Davies after he takes over as head writer.   That “M” wants a complete clean sweep and will be creating his own character tobe Doctor#11’s new companion, and have her introduced in episode 5.01.  I don’t really see this argument holding any water.  Doctor Who is now a highly successful ongoing television drama series that uses the talents of some of Britain’s top script-writing talent.  There will be a massive amount of continuity before, during and after the switch-over from RTD to “M”.  If that means that the two men are working together, so that The Doctor has already met his future companion before he regenerates, then so be it.


Given the vile winter weather that has plunged much of the country into Siberian conditions, I am bet the team at Upper Boat are glad that they have all the UK location work for Planet of the Dead safely in the can.  The crew took advantage of the fact that the Bute Tunnel on the A4232 in Cardiff Bay was closed for maintainance to film the shennanigans involving The Doctor, Catherine da Souza, UNIT and a red double decker bus on what would normally be a very busy busy stretch of road.

toasted busThe crew were hoping to keep the identity of their foriegn filming location a secret.  And then news started to leak out about an old Bristols VR double decker bus that got badly damaged whilst being shipped out to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates for filming.  Pictures appeared in various national and international newspapers, and it was revealed that it was indeed the vehicle that the Doctor Who production team were using for the foreign part of their filming.  So the team are faced with either getting Russell T. Davies to do a major rewrite to his script to accomodate this accident,or ship a third Bristol VR Double Decker out to the UAE pretty sharpish.  I suspect that they will have to ship another bus out, as footage of an undamaged bus returning to Londiff has been filmed, even the imagination of RTD could cover up so much damage. It is interesting to note that whilst the top deck has been completely mangled,  the bottom deck got off reasonably lightly, except for the window by the seats that matched the ones that Michelle Ryan and David Tennant sat in were sat on in the Cardiff Bus.  Spooky that.

The new Doctor Who Magazine reports that the upcoming specials will be filmed and broadcast in High Definition.  This could well be a sign that the whole series is now moving onto the new recording technology, joining the spin-off series Torchwood in the twenty-first century.  Off course, this transition is not without problems.   Everything that appears on screen, such as props, sets, costumes and make-up will have to be upgraded.  Minor details that would not have shown up on a standard 625 line interlaced PAL screen will show up as clear as day on a 1250 line interlaced PAL-HD screen. One of the things preventing the move to HD was said to be the difficulty of rendering all the computer generated special effects.  Obviously the good people at The Mill had new faster computers for Christmas that have solved all the prior production worries. As I have yet to purchase an HDTV, then this does not really affect me yet, but for those who have inveted in new technology, it can only be a step in the right direction.

Lonely Heart

Name: John Campbell Rees
Age: 39
Height: 5′ 11″
Marital Status: Single (Never been married) looking for a woman
Children: None – would like children.
Employment: Full Time – Library Assistant
Eduaction: Graduate – BSc (Hons.) Combined Studies 2:1 from the University of Glamorgan.
Star Sign: Gemini
Orientation: Heterosexual
Politics: Old Labour

Interests: Good food and drink, travel, reading, films, television, news and current affairs, politics, DIY, Gardening, maintaining my web log, attending science fiction conventions, technology and science, Rugby League and Rugby Union.

Martha and her Uncle JohnMe by the BAD WOLF graffitimacmillan_w_.jpg

Who am I looking for:

  • A woman between the ages of 30 and 38. Height 5′ 5 to 5’10”.
  • Hair colour in order of preference: redhead – brunette – blonde.
  • She should be a non-smoker
  • Has to have a good sense of humour who shares the same interests as I do.
  • Marital Status : Never been married or Divorced
  • Religion: Any

Well, there are the basic facts about me in black and white. Single and hating it So, as I have nothing to lose, I am posting this Lonely Hearts type entry on my Web Log, in the hopes that it will lead to a lasting relationship. After all, there are three and a half years worth of entries on this web log acting as a far more detailed profile than anything you could possibly find on a proper Internet dating sight.

If you have read this and would like to get in contact me email searching@gardd-lelog.org.uk.

The Journey of the Browncoat Cat

No, the title of this article is not a spelling mistake.  It is that time of year again.  The end of January, and I decided to have a spring clean of the Web Log. You cannot failed to have notice that I am now using version2.0 of Ed Merritt’s Ocean Mist theme, with a customisable colour scheme, giving my web log a pleasant green all over look. The most important change is the fact that the URL of this web log is now http://www.gardd-lelog.org.uk/browncoatcat.   So, if you have The Journal of the Browncoat Cat bookmarked in your Favourites, you need to up date the link. Two years ago, I moved the of Vorcampbel’s View web log from 20six.co.uk’s  increasingly erratic services to a WordPress Web Log hosted by http://wordpress.com, renaming it The Journal of the Browncoat Cat in the process.  With a change in web hosting for my domain, I decided to be adventurous, and host my own WordPress installation on the domain.  This is how I did it.

The move was an interesting process.  First of all, I tried installing the WordPress MU installation that is an option with my new hosting service Netfirms.  I decided that this was too much like staying on wordpress.com, as it was very safe and secure.  So I decided to install a completely independant version of the software.  Now in order to do this, I needed to establish a MySQL database somewhere.  This was one Netfirms service I decide to avail myself of, as the whole MySQL  thingy appeared to be complicated one step too many, best to walk before you run.  Also, Netfirms will make a regular back-up of this database, which in addition to the regular back-up that I will be storing on my desktop PC should give my data some extra security.

So with database established I downloaded the Filezilla FTP Client and the WordPress Software from http://wordpress.org and followed the Five Minutes Installation Guide and sure enough, after five minutes my brand new web log was up and running.  However, I now had to start the process of transfering nearly half a decade’s worth of contents to its new home.  This took considerably longer.  Under the Tools Menu on the Dashboard of my wordpress.com web log, there is an “Export” option available.   I downloaded and saved the WordPress Extended RSS file this generated, a rather ungainly .WXR format file that was over 4.5Mb in size.  This should not have been a problem, as the “Import” option found under the Tools Menu of the new Web Log said that I could import a .WXR files upto a maximum of 8Mb. I selected the downloaded file and clicked on the “Import and Upload” button.  My browser chugged away for a few minutes before the screen changed and it asked me who I wanted to assign as the author of the entries to be uploaded and did I want to copy over the attached files?  I assigned the articles to “admin” and confirmed that I wanted to upload the attachments, then clicked on the “Import” button.  Once again the browser chugged away and eventually a list of imported files appeared and stopped somewhere in November 2003, nowhere near a complete import.  So I hit F5 on the keyboard and the web browser chugged away again, more files were uploaded, but this time it stopped at somewhere in February 2004.  Again I hit F5 and a page informed me that I needed to re-install the wordpress software.  On checking, I discovered that the MySQL database had thrown a hissy fit and in my panic I deleted the damned thing and started again.  After the third or fourth attempt, I reasoned that maybe if I cut the file down into a number of smaller, more manageable .WXR format files then I the database not be so highly strung.

Looking at the structure of the .WXR file in the Bluefish HTML editor, I worked out how and where to edit the file.  The first thousand lines of code were related to various catagories and tags that are used by search engines to make the web log visible to the outside world.  This was followed by the actual contents. Each Item whether it be an article, or a comment or a multimedia file was nested within a pair of <ITEM></ITEM> HTML tags, so if I created a file with a header consisting of all the “tag” code and ended the file with the HTML tag </Channel> as a footer, I  could create fifteen or so bitesized .WXR files containing about 300Mb of nested <ITEM> tagged items.  This took the good part of the day, and I was ready to start uploading to the new home.

Unfortunately once I got as far as May 2006, the MySQL database threw another hissy-fit.  I decided to call it a night and go to bed.  The following day, when I switched on my PC and fired up Firefox, to my delight I discovered that the database had calmed down and I was now told that WordPress was already installed.  I discovered that if I left the importation process and did something like surf The Doctor Who Forum for half an hour, then I could go back to the web log once the database had been calmed down, as that did not have to be re-installed every time.

So that was it, the web log was more or less imported.  There are still a few problems, most noticably that the files were imported “as is” so the <IMG> tags still point towards the Media Library of the old web log at  WordPress.com.  This is not a bad thing, as the majority of multi-media files have not transfered over to the Media Library of the new web log.  The error message “remote server not responding” would appear after the file name during the importation process, and the process would move along to the next file.  In total, only 210 of the 417 JPEG files have moved, none of the video or audio files are sitting on the server of my new web log. It looks as if I will have to do this manually.

So with the contents migrated to the new location, time to get some plugins to make the instalation work more smoothly, and a theme to make it look attractive.  So Mr. Mullenweg or anyone else from WordPress’ parent company Automattic happen to be reading this, can you please add an automated way of adding themes to wordpress.org blogs, in a similar fashion to the “Add New” function under the “Plugins” Menu will load and activate new plugins from the .zip file that is downloaded from the Internet.

So away we go, a new chapter in my web logging begins.

Hail to the Chief

So, the end of one era and the beginning of the new.  Barrack Hussein Obama has now been inaugerated as the Forty Fourth President of the United States of America.

Bacon*, Celery and Mushroom Soup

Latest experiment into the World of home made soups made with the water used for cooking Sunday’s cabbage and potatoes as a basic vegetable stock. This way, any of the goodness from the vegetables that was lost in the cooking of Sunday Lunch is not wasted:

4oz back bacon*
5 large stalks of Celery
8oz of Onions
8oz of Mushrooms
2 large cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 Pints of Vegetable stock
Black Pepper to taste.

  • Chop the bacon into small cubes
  • Chop the celery stalks into small cubes
  • Finely chop the celery leaves.
  • Finely chop the onion and crush the garlic.
  • Peel and quarter the mushrooms.
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan
  • Fry the onions, garlic, bacon, two mushrooms and celery for five minutes on a medium to high heat.
  • Add the stock and celery leaves, bring to the boil and then simmer for five minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms and simmer for an additional two minutes.
  • Liquidize the celery and onions, and half the mushrooms.  Return this to the pan and heat through.
  • Serves two to four, depending on appetite.

*Vegetarians can omit the bacon.

I used a peice of bacon from a back of off-cuts that was bought in Aberdare Market, which was cut into cubes.  Although I have seen pre-cut cubes of bacon in handy sized packets on sale in  LiDL that would work just as well.

You will notice that I have added no additional salt to this recipe.  With all the salt in the bacon and the stock any more would be overkill.

I like a little bit of interest in my soup, which is why I kept half the mushrooms whole.  You might prefer a completely smooth soup and liquidize everything.  Doesn’t really matter, still tastes the same.

Hanging on the Telephone

It is fair to say that after seven years the old DECT phones that I had in my house had come to the end of their working lives.  The rechargeable batteries were no longer holding a charge, which as would not have been a problem, simply replace the batteries.  Unfortunately the handsets were no longer connecting to their base stations, so the new batteries would have been a waste of money.  They still looked good, in fact I have yet to see a DECT that look sexier than the old Venturer DECT phones,  but they had had their day, time to be ruthless. I wanted to replace them with a new set of three DECT phones, because I have become used to the convenience of being able to move around freely whilst talking on the telephone.

wharfedaleFlicking through the Daily Mirror yesterday morning, I noticed an advert for a set of three Wharfedale Orb DECT phones being sold by Argos at half their usual retail price.  As soon as I got home, I hit the Argos web site, and sure enough the Aberdare shop had one pack left in stock. Quick as a flash I reserved them, and after lunch headed off to pick them up.

As I have said, the old DECT phones looked nice, but the sound quality was never that stellar, and as the batteries began losing it, they became  inaudable.  So the big selling point for the new DECT phones was the name Wharfedale.  This is a company that produce excellent quality loud speakers for Hi-Fi and Home Cinema systems, so there should not be any difficulty in hearing whatever was being said on them at my end.

These DECT phones score over their predecessors in that they have a much better range.  For some reason, with the old Venturer phones, my back kitchen was a blindspot for them, and they would not work in the garden either.  These two areas are no problem for the Wharfedales.

So all in all, I am very happy with my purchase.