Friday, October 31, 2008

You spell Mendecourt with an "H"!

During the 1980s when I lived in Houston, I entered into a long and sporadic correspondence with representatives of the British Army to try to find out more about my father's Military Cross, awarded (official language says "won") during the First World War in northern France.

That is all I knew at the beginning of the search. By the end I had received a typed commendation that reproduced the citation that went with the medal. The key was that my father was in charge of a section that overran a German machine gun position at Mendecourt.

And there the story died on me. I had always assumed that Mendecourt simply disappeared in the mud of the First World War trenches.

Then today April said "I wonder if Mendecourt starts with an "H". Hendecourt. A quick Google search revealed enough to get us excited and the village of Hendecourt-les-Cagnicourt revealed itself as a location of two Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries.

I knew that my father was an officer in the Liverpool Regiment so further affirmation was found in the details of the action in 1918. The Liverpool Regiment, along with a Canadian division, were involved in the action.

The official Gazette for the medal was then discovered (again by our in-house expert, April) and everything tied together except that the Gazette was printed in wartime so there is no mention of the location.

The full citation should now read:

2nd Lt. Leslie Charles Ashton, 5th (attd. 8th) Bn, L'pool R., T.F.

Hendecourt-les-Cagnicourt, France

For conspicuous gallantry and good leadership. When the enemy attacked he led his platoon forward to meet them and drove them back, inflicting heavy losses. Later, he led his platoon with great determination in an attack, and, encountering an enemy machine gun, he killed the gunner and captured the remainder of the team. It was largely owing to his excellent example that the attack was successful.

We now have some additional information to work with, in particular the location. The village did survive and the Upton Wood (British Army code name, apparently) cemetery will no doubt have the remains of several of my father's comrades.

This has me thinking about the entire scenario once again and in the day of the internet it would seem a good subject for a website, perhaps using

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Peak Oil mischief

Today the newswires are all over a report by the Peak Oil Group that sensationalizes a future lack of oil will be a greater threat than terrorism.

I guess the first thing we should ask is who exactly is the Peak Oil Group? Not surprisingly it is made up of alternative energy resource interests, though its chairman is an "ex-oil industry executive". So they clearly have an axe to grind and are currently concerned that, with oil prices dropping, their projects are beginning to look a lot less economically viable. Hence the scaremongering.

The second question we should ask is if the statement is actually true that there will be a future lack of oil. Yes, oil is a finite resource, so it will run out "some day". What has fooled the pundits so far is naming the date when oil production peaks. At one time the peak was estimated to be around 1950 but so far technology, exploration successes and wildcatters' guts have put far more oil into the pipelines than anyone has ever imagined. And the same is probably true today. I say probably in that there are political pressures due to most of the oil being under the control of a few countries, in particular, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran. That is where the terrorist threat is greatest so it is hard to see how one threat (peak oil) is greater than the other (terrorism) as they are potentially linked in an earth shattering way.

It behoves us all to desire and expect alternative energy sources, but these need to be economically viable and sustainable. Unfortunately wind and solar energy systems are not economically viable except in very special circumstances. The cost of making solar electricity panels, for example, far exceeds the savings we can expect from them. Wind energy can work with other energy sources but not replace them. The Scandinavian model demonstrates this type of potential viability, where Denmark sells its wind power to Sweden (when the wind blows) and buys Swedish hydro-electric power back when it doesn't. The problem is that some of the infrastructure is idle most of the time, requiring excess capital investment and operating costs.

By comparison oil continues to be the most versatile, cost effective energy source we have.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The new MacBooks and Firewire

I had a good look at the latest MacBook and MacBook Pro yesterday and bemoaned to the Apple Store sales representative that Apple no longer fitted any Firewire port to the MacBook and only a Firewire 800 port to the MacBook Pro. For those of us with several portable Firewire 400 only hard drives, this seems like a backward step.

In fact it isn't. Fortunately. The Pro will be the only model to consider in the future, mainly because we use SuperDuper to create bootable back up discs which apparently do not work using the USB port (I haven't tried this but have read that only Firewire drives are bootable).

So, if I upgrade to a MacBook Pro I will need a 400 to 800 adaptor like this one from Sonnet. That's a small price to pay for progress, I suppose, but much smaller than the cost of upgrading some of my PPC-only software.

Meantime I just keep on trucking with my four year old PowerBook!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Google Earth for iPhone

Well, I am sure that this news has traveled around the planet a few times already, so my post is more concerned with what I did when I found out that Google had released Google Earth for the iPhone.

I first found out using Newstand while standing in the Exeter Apple Store (using their free wi-fi) at 10:30 a.m. this morning.

At 11:30 we were sitting in Café Rouge, drinking chocolat chaud when I decided to visit Apps and download the Google Earth App using O2's 3G signal. This took a minute or two and another minute or so to set it up.

At 12:30 we were waiting for a diagnostic check on our car's computer and the dealership has free wi-fi. So I started to experiment. The GPS is coordinated with Google Earth just like it is with Google Maps. No streets, as far as I can see, but superb aerial detail of the Exeter area. Then, by accident, I allowed the iPhone to tilt and immediately the software started to download and render an oblique view. Fantastic!

So then we came home and I went exploring geographically and took this screen shot of Cabanes de Fleury, our favorite Mediterranean beach:

The view is oblique, looking due north at the mouth of the Herault river. Beaches to west and east are equally good but Cabanes de Fleury is located on the western side and is the "wilder" of the two. I have since turned on lat and long as well as altitude which enhance the details if that is what is wanted.

All in all, incredibly easy to buy (it's free!) install and operate, I would have to think this is an absolute ***** winner.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mouse Traps!

Following from our recent wiring problem with the car I went to the local garden center and bought two mousetraps, shown here:

Each trap has a different purpose. The larger trap is a humane (for the purchaser, I presume) trap that doesn't kill the mouse. The mouse enters at the right end, trips a lever which closes the green "door". The idea here is that the mouse can be released back into the wild. The traditional mouse trap in front, aptly named "Little Nipper" is very effective at eliminating the mouse altogether.

So why buy both? Well, my rational goes like this. A wild mouse has inadvertently strayed under our car and found it has a partiality to electric cabling. Annoying though this is, the mouse is basically in its territory. On the other hand, if a mouse takes up residence in our attic (we have had this happen before in another house) the mouse is now in our territory and must go!

I know that chocolate is supposed to work better than cheese. But I ate the chocolate myself.

Fun with Writing Pad

Writing Pad is an iPhone app that allows you to "speed write" text using the virtual keyboard. Basically you run your finger through the letters of a word and the software cleverly works out which word you were trying to "type". It's quite accurate and will give options when there is a potential choice. With practice I would think it is a quicker form of typing than the basic keyboard. The text does have to be copied and pasted into another application, though and this is where the iPhone lets the app down. The only way forward that I can see is to e-mail the text.

The screen shot shows some nonsense I typed in by randomly moving my finger over the keyboard. The last word, sociopath, was a bit of a surprise but you will see that the software also came up with an alternative that would be preferable!

One additional comment that applies to quite a few apps - it works best when the iPod is removed from my incase leather case. That makes it a lot less productive unless I buy a different case!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The hypocrisy of it all!

EDF (French company, by the way, that controls much of our electricity distribution and prices) is sponsoring the Birmingham Half Marathon. So what?

Well, the official title of the race is, wait for it:

The Race Against Climate Change

So don't bother to enter, it's not a race anyone is going to win! The climate will change!

This gem was provided courtesy of BiNS, one of the best sites around for digging up interesting bits and pieces of Birmingham news and nonsense!

Parliament fiddles while the planet burns?

Although you won't see much about it in the "oligarch" soaked pages of the media these days, the UK parliament will debate the Climate Change Bill next week.

Just what will the Climate Change Bill mean to us all? Here are some thoughts:

1. It's a tax. Well, not a tax sensu stricto, but the means (i.e. excuse) for increasing taxation.

2. The Bill looks to targets set for the year 2050. Not many current MPs will be around by then so whatever they decide will be moot for them. The claim that they are doing it for future generations will be examined below.

3. The UK (and maybe Europe, though this is looking less and less likely) intends to set an example to the rest of the world. Who in their right mind thinks that China and India, never mind the Third World, is going to sit up and take notice?

4. Industrial lobby groups are already positioning themselves to obtain opt outs. The airline industry is one such entity that may well be exempt. This will mean that individuals will end up being disproportionately penalized.

5. The UK is a small (<2%) contributor to global CO2 emissions and will become even smaller as other nations take over our once famous role as a manufacturing nation. By focusing on service industries, the UK is in fact exporting its share of CO2 emissions to other countries. Again, the targets being set will be disproportionately distributed onto the shoulders of the individual.

6. As the political will in the UK declines, so the politicians need a new stick with which to control the public. Environmentalism is the new Socialism. It's simply another way for a self-styled elite to control the rest of us.

7. The net result for future generations will be that the UK will slide down the economic ladder of nations, its influence as a political power will erode and taxes will increase to breaking point. More and more of the workforce will be in the government's employ, ensuring that the political status quo stays the same, further propelling the UK into obscurity.

Much of what is in the Climate Change Bill is actually good common sense clothed in gobbledegook. But to exhort us to be economical, to save money, to be responsible for our lifestyles and so on is to admit that ordinary people are still smart enough to be able to think for themselves and act accordingly. Listen to any government minister talk on the radio and it becomes increasingly clear that the last thing they want is for people to be independent of government.

Even as Parliament debates the Climate Change Bill ordinary people will be re-cycling, building compost heaps, re-using plastic bags, turning down their thermostats, sealing windows for the winter and adding more insulation. Why? Because they see the sense in it. But their eyes will glaze over when the subject of their carbon footprint comes up on the ten o'clock news.

[And remember, much of the "science" on which anthropegenic global warming (AGW) is based is being shown to be invalid - the "hockey stick" being a prime example. Politicians are being incredibly selective about what they believe is good science and there are precious few politicians who have ever studied science]

Friday, October 24, 2008

"And welcome to the world of downloading endless apps!"

So said Pete in an SMS after I announced my purchase of an iPhone 3G. He's right, of course. It's the apps, stupid!

While the iPhone comes loaded with some very useful standards, including phone, e-mail, browser, iPod, calendar, photo album, camera, Google maps, iTunes, etc., etc., the real world has a whole range of add on applications (now called apps) that "enhance the iPhone experience".

What surprises me is that most of the apps I have actually bought have cost either nothing or no more than $5. These are the apps I have found the most useful so far:

Newstand ($4.99): a very useful and tweakable RSS reader which easily opens up those teaser RSS summaries into Safari.

Traffic UK ($1.99): I used to wonder whether the notorious M5 had traffic problems. Now I don't have to!

Flashlight (free): Great for finding the bathroom in strange hotels in the middle of the night!

There are plenty more but so far I am not ready to evaluate and report on them. Grocery Gadget Shopping Lists ($2.99) looks to be useful while Light Table ($0.99) also has promise.

The disappointments include London A-Z ($9.99, the most expensive app I've bought) and Apple's own Remote (free), designed to help operate the Apple TV but it cannot do anything about the volume control.

Web-based apps using Safari include and just recently the Birmingham Post which is excellent (tip of the hat to BiNS).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Of mice and technology!

Our car started to do strange things recently, and the gas tank problem has already been reported here. Today the car went in for a diagnostic check and the service agent called after about two hours with the news that we had had a mouse living on top of the gas tank! Apparently the wires had been chewed and that had given rise to the various problems!

So now we have to deter the mouse from setting up residence in order to avoid future expensive repair bills!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


This report concerns climate change protesters who accuse the police of exaggerating turnouts in order to justify their numbers and costs. I suppose over-egging is to become a new by-word. But surely "over-exaggerating" is a superfluous term?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Flickr milestone!

500,000 views and rising. Well, according to my Flickr stats page, that is.

Quite amazing!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Since records have been kept!

Don't you love this! MPs will have a longer Christmas break this winter. Longer than since records have been kept! Thirty years!

Actually, they should be given around 52 weeks a year off. The world would be better off without their interference!

Dafter than daft

I simply despair at reports (and the research that was conducted) that lead to this!

Thingamagoop Movie "Dunkirk"

Dunkirk from Pete Ashton on Vimeo.

OK, this is a five minute movie made under interesting conditions, best described here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Driving on Empty

A few days ago we filled up the tank, then drove about 50 miles. Yesterday morning the gage registered nearly empty with the computer readout saying "55 miles remaining". Had someone siphoned out most of the fuel? Not really a possibility, but we filled up the tank, only to find that it was, in fact, already nearly full. So the gage was playing up?

We continued to drive, confidant in the knowledge that we had plenty of fuel. The computer registered fewer and fewer miles remaining and the needle continued to fall toward empty. Finally we had no fuel left, according to the readouts. Yet we continued to be able to drive!

Wonderful, we have a car that runs on air!

The bad news is that there is something obviously wrong and that something is probably not cheap to fix.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Stable Climate?

Philip Stott points out another wonderful example of the certainty of belief in global warming. In this example James Cameron calls for the push for a "stable climate" not to be de-railed by the current global economic fiasco.

As Stott points out, "stable climate" is as good an example of an oxymoron as you are likely to find.

Put another way, a colleague recently suggested that "climate" is what we like to predict, while the "weather" is what we get!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Financial Crisis and Fighting Climate Change

According to some European politicians, the two cannot go hand in hand. Quite so, fighting climate change would cost Europe even more than the financial crisis, which at least can be said to be man-made.

As is often said here, climate change is not something man should be fighting in the first place and anthropogenic global warming is a fiction worked up into fact by those who are looking for the "new religion" to replace communism and socialism. So what can Europe do about this conundrum? After all, some countries now have "Ministers of Environment and Climate Change" and they must be able to keep their jobs.

Well, the simplest and most honest solution would be to stop mentioning climate change and start talking about economizing. Honest economizing, that is. Not banning certain light bulbs when their replacements are environmentally no better, but promoting the idea that turning those unnecessary lights off would save money. The sceptic public should understand that rhetoric and might even accept it.

Overcrowding on trains not so bad

But only if you change the definition of overcrowding!

Note also the report that of the 1,300 new carriages the government promised 18 months ago, only 423 have been ordered and none of these has been delivered.

My recollection of train overcrowding in the London commutes I did over 10 years ago is on a wet morning and the smell of damp Barbour jackets, a peculiar odor to put it mildly!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Mac Notebook Computers. . . .

I own a four* year old Apple 15 inch PowerBook, complete with 1.5MHz PPC processor. Not the fastest computer around these days but it seems to just about handle Aperture and the other power hungry apps I depend on.

So it is with only a passing interest that I read the revelations from Cupertino concerning the latest upgrades to the MacBook range. Sure the technology is getting better and better, slicker and faster, cooler and longer running. Etc., etc., etc. But if I don't need to upgrade, why should I? Besides that new iPhone was not exactly cheap!

*Yes, four years old, quite a long time for computer ownership which says a lot for the brand.

rss, opml and newsreaders

The iPhone continues to amaze and exceed expectations. It is also pushing me into new areas of internet experience and know-how. To whit, rss readers.

I first tried NetNewsWire as I already have it on my PowerBook but their iPhone app seems quite buggy and simply forgot some of my feeds even though they are registered with Newsgator.

So I paid the princely sum of $4.99 for Newsstand as it has good reviews and seems to be more stable and more flexible.

So then I had to import my feeds. Not so bad, really. I first exported all my NetNewsWire feeds as an opml file and then uploaded this to a new, free, account on Once uploaded the iPhone app quickly downloaded the file and with a couple of key strokes I am in Newstand heaven. Well, 1033 items are now waiting to be read!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Tories' Transport Plan

The Conservative Party has released some new plans that include no new runways at Heathrow and Stansted but new high speed rail lines from Heathrow to St. Pancras to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

At first look the ideas make some sense. But it is only when you think about the apparent illogic of serving Heathrow with high speed rail and yet not building an additional runway that the good sense begins to come clear:

Basically the high speed rail links will enable travelers to and from London to use additional airports at Birmingham and, possibly, Manchester. At the same time it is probable that much European traffic from the Midlands and North will divert from air to rail and pass through St. Pancras, thus reducing some travel in and out of Heathrow.

High speed rail will apparently take only 45 minutes from London to Birmingham. That almost puts Birmingham International (BHX) in the same "time-radius" as Gatwick but with the bonus that Birmingham is a much more efficient airport!

Well the plans are a start, at least!

Banks - do we own them now?

"With the nationalization or part-nationalization of banks, does this mean that we, the people, now own the banks?"

"Of course not! The government has bailed out the banks, you silly billy!"

"But wait, if the government has infused funds into the banks, where did the money come from?"

"Why, the taxpayers, of course!"

"In which case, surely it is the taxpayers who own the banks?"

"Not on your life, you surely don't think the government is going to let you think you are a shareholder, do you?"

"Why ever not, aren't they supposed to be public servants, as in 'servants of the public'?"

"The government doesn't think like that. Anyway, soon the government will employ more people than all the private sector, so it will be self-serving."

"And what of the rest of us?"

"Consider moving somewhere else."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Shelter from the Storm

Courtesy of the Custard Factory. Be sure to play the movie!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hindsight is 20/20 vision

It's interesting how the very same people who either were doing or watching in the banking world now tell us they knew all along there was a problem with the global banking industry. From presidents to prime ministers to the IMF and central bankers, it would appear they all woke up a few mornings ago and found layers peeled off their eyeballs allowing them to see the truth - but all too late.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hiking with iPhone GPS!

We have a set of books describing walks around the UK and they always turn out to be varied, interesting, and sometimes challenging for map-reading.

Today was no exception in the latter department because the books are old and whole areas of timber had grown up in the past 30 years! So when the route stopped making sense I switched on Google Maps with satellite images and hey presto a blue symbol popped up to show us exactly where we were! I hadn't previously switched the unit on out of doors and had no idea just how good the GPS function is!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Road to Escondido

This is the title of an album featuring J. J. Cale and Eric Clapton, released in 2006. It is another duet style collaboration (I am also thinking Robert Plant and Alison Krause, Raining Sand) with voices that complement each other nicely. But of course there is more in the history of this album - J. J. Cale wrote Cocaine and Midnight Special, both of which have helped to maintain Clapton's position at the top over the years since Cream.

I'm writing this partly because, in the late 1980s, I had the opportunity to see and hear J. J. Cale at Rockefellers on Washington Avenue, Houston. Although Rockefelllers is still standing, it has been closed as a performing venue for many years (do tell me this isn't so anymore!). It was an intimate setting to see and hear the greats, including B B King and Lucille!

But J. J. Cale's concert was a huge disappointment at the time - he seemed totally disinterested in his fan base and didn't work too hard in reeling out his various classics. It is nice to hear this newish album, though, as it sets him back up on a plinth of fame for me.

It is interesting that neither of Clapton's big hits are covered on this album and there may be good reasons that stem from Clapton's period of substance abuse. The story I remember is that Michelob Beer used Clapton's Midnight Special for more than a year of TV commercials before Clapton suddenly revoked the right on the basis that selling beer was not what he felt he should be doing.

Philip Eden on the Weather

The Daily Telegraph weekly comment on weather (Saturday, back page) by Philip Eden always makes for interesting reading. Today he has written an interesting feature on how government agencies abuse the statistics with the word "unprecedented".

But, isn't that what governments do?

Monday, October 06, 2008

What are banks for?

This is an interesting and complicated question, so I will start with some hoary chestnuts - the old sayings we have had over the years about banking.

1. So you want a loan? You have assets? OK, we'll lend you money against those assets. You don't have assets? Oh, dear, no deal.

2. You owe us $20 billion. You can't pay. You're important. We'll work something out. Oh, sorry, I misunderstood, you owe us $20 thousand. You can't pay? You're not important, we'll take your property. Thank you very much.

3. We're Jewish, you're not. We're foreclosing tomorrow. (a hoary chestnut much quoted in America's Midwest,and not my opinion)

4. Yes, we'll look after your savings. . . .

5. When times are good we're going to charge you extortionate interest rates. When times are bad we'll increase those interest rates. Well, the times are bad for us. . . .

6. Yes, we know the Central Bank just cut their interest rates, but that's for loaning us money, not you. So we are going to raise the interest rate on that loan we have with you. Just because we need a (dividend/bonus/helping hand/condo in Sarasota)

7. You're a small business about to go under? Well, why should we help you? We are a big business going under and we really need to walk away with one of the bonuses we are accustomed to. Oh, you have employees about to be made redundant? Tough luck is all we can say, after all, we are suffering just like everyone else.

And so it could go on. Banks - do we really need them?

Now, the truth is we do need banks. But don't you think we need banks that are properly regulated? Banks that fear that they can be audited and found out for the ultimate sin of kiting*? Our politicians are currently making all sorts of whimpering sounds that could be construed as excuses. Their complicity needs to be exposed. The central banks - where were they? On vacation, presumably. Ministers of finance? Hell, most of them were bankers yesterday so they cannot be trusted.

The mattress seems like a good place after all.

*Kiting - not an expression you hear very often because those who do it don't advertise. Banks are apparently quite good at kiting - which simply put means you borrow money and use the funds to establish credit against which you borrow more money. Banks borrow money from central banks, the same central banks that are now bailing them out! By any definition in the book, that's kiting.

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining!

Europe's attempts at controlling climate change are about to crumble.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Flickr Malaise

Lots of things going in in our lives at the moment and for some reason I have lost interest in belonging to the Flickr community. This has happened to other Flickrites so I imagine the urge will return.

I am uploading a few images from recent weeks as the mood takes me, but there is a large backlog building up out in the Aperture/iPhoto workshops!

iCal starts to be really useful

The iPhone seems to be the last piece of the iCal zig-saw puzzle that has had me disappointed for some time.

The combination of computer (with iCal), MobileMe and iPhone means that I can add or edit an iCal entry on either the iPhone or the computer and its updated entry will be copied to MobileMe and then synced to the other device within 15 minutes, assuming the receiving device is switched on, or when the device is activated.

So, for example, I have shopping list set up for Monday morning. As I think of things to add I simply add them to the nearest device and hey presto, the update is synced. So that on Monday, when I go to Exeter with the iPhone I will have all the items on the list. No excuses for forgetting anything!

Oh - so there is a downside!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

iTunes Genius

I view most upgrades with a good dose of suspicion but iTunes 8 was an essential upgrade to go with the iPhone. Inside iTunes 8 is an interesting concept brought to life, called Genius.

Basically, through some wizardry of artificial intelligence, iTunes' massive database can be tweaked to analyze your music and make up playlists based on any single track you select.

This may seem a bit pointless, but to be honest I tend to select and play albums and thereby don't go near many of the tracks that make up my iTunes music library of 3,300 "songs". Genius has the ability to find lost music I don't go near and it is surprising just how much of it is gathering digital dust on the hard drives.

So here is Playlist 1, courtesy of iTunes 8 Genius:

Friday, October 03, 2008

iPhone 3G

So finally, I own an iPhone! The Pay and Go version was released on September 16 and the price, though high, is competitive with other smart phones purchased without a contract.

I am most impressed with:

The Buying Experience: 02 has a store round the block from Exeter's Apple Store and the employees at each store know each other well. This really made a difference. Plus both specialists I spoke with own iPhones so they are very familiar with the product. Apple could not sell me a Pay and GO (I know not why) so I met with Ben at O2 and he was most helpful. I had purchased and activated the unit within minutes and then we chatted about a few things such as user tips on saving battery use as well as some neat Apps. I then bought a leather case by Incase at the Apple Store and chatted with Alex, also very helpful.

The Setting Up: This was surprisingly easy but time consuming, mainly because I first had to download a an updated OS for the iPhone (I had already downloaded a whole suite of PowerBook upgrades yesterday). Before I knew it my iCal, Address Book and safari Bookmark preferences and Mail accounts were synced so that I could receive and send e-mails once the new OS was installed. Selecting files on iTunes was easy but again the transfer time for around 12 GB of data was quite slow. I copied two movies, the first season of The Wire, selected albums and podcasts. I also uploaded all my Canon IXUS 70 images from iPhoto.

The Apps: I have downloaded only three Apps so far, all of them free. Remote is neat but does not control volume on the Apple TV (that requires the TV's remote which is infra-red). Remote works anywhere we have wi-fi, which is all of the house and a lot of the surrounding space.

O2 has really good coverage where we live and a signal inside our house is normal (Orange requires all sorts of machinations to stay connected).

I have not tried the phone away from home yet so there will be more on this subject when I have had time to test and experiment. First looks, though, suggest the iPhone 3G with 2.1 software is a fantastic product!

The VP Candidates' Debate

Well, I missed it, seven hours time difference being too much after a long day of work. But I have just noted this excerpt, reported in the Houston Chronicle's first comments:

On the environment, Palin declined to attribute the cause of climate change to man-made activities alone. "There is something to be said also for man's activities, but also for the cyclical temperature changes on our planet," she said, adding that she didn't want to argue about the causes.

Biden said the cause was clearly man-made, and added, "If you don't understand what the cause is, it's virtually impossible to come up with a solution."

The irony here is that Biden assumes the cause is AGW with a certain political arrogance whereas as "Pit Bull Palin" is actually more scientifically correct in stating the uncertainty and mentioning temperature cycles as a contributing factor.

Score one for Palin?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008 is back!

And so is the blog. Expect entries to do with iPhoto 7 in the next week or so. Then we'll turn our attention to Aperture.

Reignac, Touraine

Reignac, Touraine - Isere
We drove through this large village on the way to Chenonceau and decided to look around on our return later in the day, if we had time. It was well worth it! The village is divided into two parts by the Indre and its floodplain. The chateau and mairie are on the northern bank, the ordinary folk on the southern bank.