Archive for the 'Blog on Site' Category

Hide and seek

Posted by on January 3rd 2012 in Blog on Site

Being a child of the Sixties meant that I grew up with a minimum of technology. Radios were crackly things, TVs were monochrome affairs with valves, cars ran on 5-star 101-octane leaded petrol. Not much changed when the Seventies arrived - OK, so radios got transistors, TVs got colour and 5-star juice was banned, but we still had no computers, no internet, no GPS.

Navigating in the hills was a test of ability and self-confidence. Armed with just an O.S. map, a sighting compass and an inkling of the magnetic declination it was possible, on a good day, to be able to triangulate a position to an accuracy of about 10 yards. It was enough, and I never got misplaced (until years later when I went walking with a new ice-axe that hadn't been de-magged and which affected the compass-needle more than I'd have thought possible).

The Eighties came and went with no major improvements to hill-nav. New maps, perhaps, but not much more.

In the Nineties there was rumour of something called GPS but it was all tech-speak and military back then.

The Noughties saw the start of the change. Commercial GPS receivers started to become available to folk who didn't drive a Harrier VTOL to work. Just like mobile phones, they started off big and expensive, and gradually slimmed down to something that you could both afford and carry without a back-up crew. GPS was wonderful, occasionally it was as accurate as the old map & compass method, but at least it worked without visual references. The downside was power - if your device ran out you were stuffed if you didn't have a back-up plan. At this point I should perhaps mention that I started to use a Garmin Geko - a basic and functional bit of kit, perfect for my needs. I still carried maps and a compass, though. Just in case.

Internet, GPS and mobile phone technologies eventually slept together and spawned a whole variety of eejut-proof devices that would run GPS routines on things called "apps" (or "programs" if you had a Windows-based phone). With these, you could find out where you were, where you'd been and where you were trying to get to, you could have this served up on a map in "real-time", you could check the weather forecast and choose to ignore it, and you could phone home to tell your loved ones that you wouldn't be home in time for your kippers and Ovaltine.

During this period of enlightenment I upped the stakes and used an O2 Orbit phone, a Windows-based thing that would run Memory-Map software. It was an excellent bit of kit which served me well for several years until I changed my service-provider and got myself an HTC Wildfire. For a while now I've been using an app called "MMTracker" which does pretty much all that Memory-Map ever did, so it wasn't much of a change for me.

Even so, none of these hand-held devices (not even the map and compass) ever pin-pointed my position as precisely as is possible with today's web-based technology. Recently, a friend alerted me to a free service that provides fantastically-accurate positioning, and when I say accurate, I mean it - we're talking sub-metre stuff here.

I must say that I'm really impressed with it. If you want to give it a try, start here.

WTFIGOH, Northeastern Illinois University?

Posted by on August 3rd 2011 in A bit of a rant, Blog on Site

WTF is going on here?

It wouldn't be so bad if the pic was of somewhere in Bulgaria.
It's actually a pic of the Eastern and the Far Eastern Fells of Cumbria, England.
I should know, it's my image!
Creative Commons?

Another link

Fitness Footwear

Posted by on July 12th 2010 in Blog on Site, Shiny new kit

At the back-end of 2009 Adam Smith, Marketing Specialist at Fitness Footwear Ltd., contacted me about reviewing some of his wares in return for some web-exposure for his company. At that time he was offering TNF footwear on a review-and-keep basis but I had to decline as I don't have TNF-shaped feet. Nevertheless I put him in touch with a few other bloggers from my vast blogroll in the hope that they could share in this mutually-beneficial enterprise. Some of them accepted his offer which resulted in the following reviews:

Well, Adam must have been happy with what he'd got out of the deal, as he's been contacting previous reviewers to offer them the chance to review some more goodies as part of his current promotion of Merrell Footwear. Indeed, he asked me for links to even more potential reviewers for his next promo, so I contacted some more folk in order to send him another list of bloggers who have expressed an interest. Please don't be offended if you've not been contacted by me regarding this opportunity - I had over a hundred potential candidates and there was no way that I was going to submit details for all of them. I'm sure that you'll understand my predicament.

Anyway, this time around we've decided to chip in with the review process. We'll be posting about it sometime soon.


Posted by on July 3rd 2010 in Blog on Site

I thought I'd share a few bits that I found on the interwebnet yesterday:

How To Ask Questions The Smart Way. Forget the subject matter and consider the underlying principle. This should be mandatory reading for the clueless.

A brilliant disclaimer. Scroll down to and read the red text.

CRKT Eat'N Tool. Only $6.99 for a spork, bottle opener, screwdriver/pry tip, metric wrenches and carabiner multi-tool. Looks like a bargain cool gadget but check out the shipping costs... a shade under $30 to have one 1.5oz item shipped to the UK? No thanks.

Blogroll update

Posted by on January 15th 2010 in Blog on Blog, Blog on Site, Blogroll, Site update, Thanks
Tags: ,

This post by Martin prompted me to update my "GOTO" blogrolls to include a few more blogs and sites that I've bookmarked over the last few weeks.


Links added so far this year include:


They take the total to over 200 links, all supplied free-of-charge, none of them conditional on the target site having a reciprocal link.

I think I'll be having a links sort-out sometime soon - some of the dropdowns are dropping down a bit too much, so they need recategorising rather than culling. If you've any suggestions as to how to do this in a meaningful and useful way, feel free to let me know.

Anyway, feel free to have a mooch through the links - there may be a few that you've not seen before. If you find any errors or omissions, just holler and I'll get it sorted out.

Thanks for the heads-up, Martin 😎

xkcd science

Posted by on October 5th 2009 in Blog on Site, Just for fun



Centrifugal Force:

Gravitational Mass:

For more stuff like this, start at

Awesome pics

Posted by on July 13th 2009 in Astrostuff, Blog on Site, Pics

For those of us with interests in photography, vulcanology and astronomy, I've found a site that ticks all of the boxes.

Just click on the following pic to be transported there (in a digital rather than a literal sense):

© Stromboli online, photo by Dr. Marco Fulle

© Stromboli online, photo by Dr. Marco Fulle

My thanks go to Dr. Fulle for his approval of the use of this thumbnail photo on my blog.


Posted by on June 26th 2008 in Blog on Site

I just clicked on the "Syrup" link in the footer of this blog, to keep up with current events there.

Imagine my surprise to get the following message:

You have been blacklisted from the website for spamming.

That's curious. All I've done is submit a couple of constructive comments and asked a few questions about the theme. Nick's responses have all been fine.

It's got to be an error unless my site's been hacked/hijacked, but I can't contact Nick Berlette (the theme's author) to discuss this matter, as I can't access his contact page due to the ban.

Hmm. I'm a bit stuck here.

Nick, if you're reading this, please whitelist me, or at least let me know why I'm blacklisted, as I've no idea what I've done wrong.


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