[Euros Hoylake 2011]

A week ago I was in Hoylake, England to watch the Scottish team compete. I took plenty of photos and video of the event (with multiple cameras). As usual France, The Netherlands and Germany had most of the top 10 pilots. Maggie did very well against many of the German pilots. Fortunately at least one Scottish pilot (#38) did manage to beat Kevin (#42) who moved to the England team last year.

I don't have any GPS track logs from a pilot this time as I needed it myself to track the time of all the video cameras. The large blob of red and orange in the bottom right is the caravan area where I took all the race photos:
[My GPS track at Hoylake]

Simple Pure Soap is awful

My local ASDA has stopped selling their Smart Price soap and the next cheapest alternative is Simple Pure Soap. There's no "Value" soap in Tesco either so I had to try the "Simple" soap. It costs four times as much and smells awful.

Comparison of both soaps
ASDA soapSimple soap
Size125g125g
ColourWhiteEggshell
ShapeRounded (reasonably smooth edges)Rounded (too thick with hard edges)
Price9.3p per 100g40p per 100g
SmellLightly scentedAwful

3D printed replacement parts

My freezer compartment doors now open and close instead of lifting out thanks to Adrian's 3D printer:

Base layer of printed plastic insert Finished printed plastic insert Comparison of printed and original parts

I've had to glue all but one of them in place as some of the plastic to hold them in has actually broken off the door itself, but they work quite well:

Move Over IPv4 (Bring on IPv6)

Move Over IPv4 (Bring on IPv6)

Over 300 people from the UK Internet community got together to mark the end of IPv4 at the London Transport Museum and promote the adoption of IPv6.

Ed Vaizey MP did an introductory speech followed by an review of IPv4 by Prof Peter Kirstein (UCL) and IPv6 by Simon McCalla (Nominet). After a short panel debate on IPv6 readiness there was a mock handover of 185/8 from IANA to RIPE NCC. Finally, Gary Feldman performed his RIPE55 song "The day the routers died" (a parody of American Pie).

I took a few photos and some video. The Internet survived unharmed (although I did turn it off at one point, sorry if you were using it at the time).

Enumerating ip6.arpa

Based on an idea from a NANOG post I created a script to walk an ip6.arpa zone and list all IPv6 hosts.

It works surprisingly well:

$ ./ip6dnswalk.py 2620:0:1C00::/40
2620:0000:1cfe:face:b00c:0000:0000:0003 www.v6.facebook.com.
2620:0000:1cfe:face:b00c:0000:0000:0004 login.v6.facebook.com.
2620:0000:1cfe:face:b00c:0000:0000:0005 hphotos-sjc1.v6.fbcdn.net.
2620:0000:1cfe:face:b00c:0000:0000:0006 apps.v6.facebook.com.
2620:0000:1cfe:face:b00c:0000:0000:0007 m.v6.facebook.com.
2620:0000:1cfe:face:b00c:0000:0000:0008 register.v6.facebook.com.
2620:0000:1cfe:face:b00c:0000:0000:0009 check6.v6.facebook.com.
2620:0000:1cff:dead:beef:0000:0000:0000 pr01.sjc1.tfbnw.net.
2620:0000:1cff:dead:beef:0000:0000:0001 pr02.sjc1.tfbnw.net.
2620:0000:1cff:dead:beef:0000:0000:0002 bb01.sjc1.tfbnw.net.
2620:0000:1cff:dead:beef:0000:0000:0003 bb02.sjc1.tfbnw.net.
2620:0000:1cff:dead:beef:0000:0000:0004 pr02.pao1.tfbnw.net.
2620:0000:1cff:dead:beef:0000:0000:0005 pr03.pao1.tfbnw.net.
2620:0000:1cff:dead:beef:0000:0000:0006 bb01.pao1.tfbnw.net.
2620:0000:1cff:dead:beef:0000:0000:0007 bb02.pao1.tfbnw.net.
2620:0000:1cff:dead:beef:0000:0000:0008 ae0.pr01.sjc1.tfbnw.net.
2620:0000:1cff:dead:beef:0000:0000:0009 ae0.bb01.sjc1.tfbnw.net.
2620:0000:1cff:dead:beef:0000:0000:000c ae4.bb01.sjc1.tfbnw.net.
2620:0000:1cff:dead:beef:0000:0000:000d ae2.bb01.pao1.tfbnw.net.

More details and a method of preventing this are in my ip6walk git repository.

Bluetooth

Three different eBay sellers have all sold me USB Bluetooth adapters (at costs varying from very-cheap to brand-name-premium) with duplicate addresses*. I'm currently waiting for the third one to stop ignoring the law (and me) so that I can return the most recent purchase.

I was ready to give up and decide it was now impossible to buy genuine Bluetooth devices that comply with the Bluetooth Specification when I tried purchasing some Belkin adapters from Amazon, and it turns out that despite the increased cost these actually have unique addresses.

* Bluetooth adapters with duplicate addresses means that if you happen to be using your adapter within range of someone else who got theirs from the same manufacturer's batch, you'll get conflicts accessing devices because there will be two devices on the network with the same address. Avoid Dynamode and cheap unbranded devices.

VDSL2

Speed test: 35.93Mb/s down, 8.25Mb/s up, 19ms ping Ping test: 28ms 1ms

Finally. It took an extra 17 days to work around BT's inadequate ordering system, and then another extra 10 days for BT to send out an engineer before they could discover that they needed to override their Dynamic Line (mis-)Management system in order to allow the upstream line rate to be 10000Kbps... for a few more hours. Followed by another 3 days for it to slowly automatically increase the speed because they're incompetent and unable to override the system. Additional delay provided by AAISP caching the line check result too aggressively.

[Belgium De Panne 28/09 - 02/10/2010 World Championship Kitebuggy]

A week ago I was in De Panne, Belgium to watch the Scottish team compete. I took plenty of photos and video of the event. Scotland didn't do too badly, even managing to beat a couple of other countries, but The Netherlands, France, and Germany had the top 10 pilots.



Based on GPS track logs it looks like I didn't actually walk to France on the Thursday as the course stopped short about 100 metres from the border:
[Buggy GPS track at De Panne]
Red parts are slow, green (turning to blue) parts are faster. The maximum speed was 38 MPH. The French border is the line perpendicular to the course at the bottom left.

Map data ©2004-2010 OpenStreetMap contributors.
OpenStreetMap data can be used freely under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

RS232

Every cheap "Serial to USB" adapter I can find uses a PL2303 chip with active low signaling, which isn't the same as a real PC serial port. Fortunately FTDI sell real adapters. The US232B has 9V high, -9V low outputs and its inputs are open low at 0V.

Energy Supplier Customer Retention

| 3 Comments

The Scottish Power tariff I was on ended a week ago, so I tried to change to their currently available cheapest tariff. Unfortunately they won't let me do that: Please be informed that ScottishPower is not offering Online Energy Reward to its existing customers. This service package is only available for the new customers.

This is ridiculous. In order to get their cheapest deal I would need to change supplier twice. They don't even advertise that this isn't available to existing customers. The website just hides it from the list of tariffs if you're viewing the "existing customer" version. (It's also difficult to get from the marketing summary to an actual price list for each tariff; there's no direct link).

Their other options all strangely have £50 penalties for changing tariff or supplier early... perhaps they want to stop people leaving for those suppliers like themselves offering new customers the best prices.


I can find the cheapest suppliers using online comparison websites, but the cheapest option means separating Electricity and Gas so I'd have to deal with two companies who will most likely both give good deals only to new customers and both make arbitrary guesses at future usage so that I end up paying for it all in advance.

Either I repeatedly change supplier every time one or more of them have "new customer only" deals or cease caring about how much it costs and stay with one of them just because it's easier. I've been doing this with Scottish Power for several years now (on whichever tariff appears to be cheapest - this is deceptive because you end up stuck on one while they bring out a cheaper option).


Another option which I've wanted to do for a while is switch to a "Green" Energy tariff. This is easier because the best tariff isn't necessarily the one that has the lowest price. Ecotricity have recently started doing a Green Gas package too, which means I don't end up negating any benefit from sustainable electricity with my gas usage. They're also making good progress towards generating 100% of the energy they sell themselves from renewable sources.

Why does it take several weeks to change energy supplier? I can understand that the first 2 weeks are caused by vulnerable people being sold tariffs on commission by rogues, but why is the additional time required?

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Content authored by myself is just my honest opinion. If you find any words or pictures menacing or offensive, stop reading now.

Jabber

simon@arlott.org.uk
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