29 August 2009

August Bank Holiday

Sympetrum sanguineum @ Buscot Park

Close to Uffington White Horse


22 August 2009

Benyon's Inclosure

Strangely I did not have any problems with working out roughly where the 7 (seven!) Tx were located. After two cycles I had them a picking sequence sorted out 2-6-1-4-5-7 and then 3 last. I think optimum route was 2-6-5-1-4-7-3.

The controls were hung low and only 43 seconds 'chasing' time per Tx made finding them during or just after the transmission difficult. The problem then was do you run on in the last "good" direction or stick around and hunt. But this was as expected.

The really challenging thing was that within 200m of the Tx I found it really difficult to get a clear direction. Even moving around to mitigate the effect of reflections from mature trees and terrain-screening - in many places I was getting bearings from all directions. Even listening to the background-hiss rahter than the done did not help - the hiss was more directional but often misleading. I also struggled with distance estimation - some of the Tx never really got that loud.

Above is my "route" to #1 (magenta dot, click on the picture for a larger version)

Can anyone tell me what was going on?

The RED arrows are my initial bearings. The one pointing due south was the last 'good' one before things went confusing. #1 was nice and loud and the bearings were 'clear' (unambiguous)

MAGENTA came next - strongest signal was towards the houses across the road. As I moved south east I got signals down the spur and finally towards the green. Signal was not that strong - so perhaps I should have carried on further east. This would have saved a lot of trouble - but the next bearing pointed North West...

GREEN 1 - here on the open woodland - I was getting signals from all directions - even from the south. Moving around helped a bit as some was coming from the large mature tree trunks. The loudest signal came from across the re-entrant - so back into the green and hunt around. Worried that the signal was weak (on my dial >500m)

GREEN 2 - on the path. First bearing pointed south and then bent to south east as I ran. So back into the green and crawl around a bracken filled clearing. None of these directions sounded at all reliable.

BLUE - None of this was making sense - so I decided to abandon and go for high ground. So back the way I came - indistinct bearing along the slope - but this could just have been a reflection or the effect of slope-screening. Bearing turned rapidly as I came to the end of the green. Still no clear direction from the tone - I was going from the strength of the hiss

PINK - nothing found after a good hunt - so back up to the ridge to triangulate. Running up the path - bearings from all directions. Possible one from the east. There was Bob T - at the path junction - did he get a clear bearing? In desperation I ran down the clearing into the green and did a "sweep" and ended up on the hill side.
YELLOW - this time a better group of bearings - still not clear and still not loud. It is either on the slope (where the blue bearing pointed) or down in the ditch to the east of the path. Once more sweep of the slope, back on the path (Frank confirms that #1 can be found) and a quick 'nip' to look in the ditch and the light green. Nope. Nothing - give up and go for #4.

CYAN - On the way I noticed that #1 was about to come up - and Bob was close by. Again confusing bearings and not that loud - but a "possible" to the north made me look carefully in that direction - and there was #1!

So that is "got within 250m and then took 8 transmissions "

Number #2 was easy by comparison. The bearings go..


I am to blame for the GREEN
I should have followed the MAGENTA further
But note I ran along the ditch after the CYAN bearings and got within 5 metres of the Tx. I looked all along the bottom of the ditch and on both sides and still did not see it. Putting the Tx in the open was a nice challenge - but the drawback is you have to hang it very low - and anyone finding the Tx will give it away to others.

21 August 2009

I assembled my new PC myself.
I installed Ubuntu 9.04
Here are the things I had to do to get things running:

1) Enable USB in Virtual Box (Ubuntu host, WindowsXP hosted)


Add yourself to the vboxusers group:
sudo gpasswd -a YOURUSERNAME vboxusers
Find the devgid for ‘vboxusers’:
grep vboxusers /etc/group
It will return something like:
Add this line to the bottom of /etc/fstab, replace the devgid number with your devgid:
none /proc/bus/usb usbfs devgid=125,devmode=664 0 0

I am not sure I really had to do this - as although windows said it had a USB controller working (under hardware) there aws a second USB item - in the yellow question marks: no driver installed. I told it to install the driver - and then it worked

2) Get DVD's to play

Set up the mediabuntu repositories (I am sure there was a more direct way of doing this in 8.10 - using add and remove programs - but I can't find it in 9.04)


Ubuntu 9.04 "Jaunty Jackalope":

sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/jaunty.list --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list
Then, add the GPG Key:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get update
You may be asked to accept this package even though it cannot be authenticated. This is normal; typing "Yes" means you trust Medibuntu.

Playing Encrypted DVDs

To play encrypted DVDs, the libdvdcss2 package is essential.

If you have added the entire Medibuntu repository, you just need to install the package using APT:

sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2

3. Getting 5.1 sound to work on ASUS M3N78-EM with Realtek ALC 1200 Ubunto 9.04

A. Put a 5.1 DVD in the DVD drive (ha! - I was using a DVD that had only stereo!)
B. make sure all the sliders are up to max - Master, PCM and all the 5.1 channels
C. Tell Ubuntu about the card

Proper fix for > Realtek ALC1200 Audio = no sound

Problem is that Ubuntu does not find the card. When it does it will appear in the volume control devices dropdown

Fix for Realtek ALC1200 thanks to DJAMU


Just create an option config file in /etc/modprobe.d/

sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/hda_intel.conf
and paste this in it.

options snd-hda-intel model=auto probe_mask=1
save this
reboot ( or restart your services etc ... )

check your volume is up... (as it will quite often reset)

have fun...

Then go to volume control and select the options

Headphone (turn OFF),
IEC958 (turn ON),
IEC958 Default PCM (turn ON). At one point there was the option to choos 6 or 8 speaker - but this has disappeared.

D. Now we must tell PulseAudio we have 6 speakers:


In the terminal, type the following:

gksu gedit /etc/pulse/daemon.conf

This should open up the configuration file in gedit. Once open, scroll down to find the line ; default-sample-channels = 2. Remove the semicolon at the start of the line and change the line according to your surround sound configuration:

  • For 2.0 channel sound: default-sample-channels = 2

  • For 4.0 channel sound: default-sample-channels = 4

  • For 5.0 channel sound: default-sample-channels = 5

  • For 5.1 channel sound: default-sample-channels = 6

  • For 7.1 channel sound: default-sample-channels = 8

and then test (For 5.1):

speaker-test -Dplug:surround51 -c6 -l1 -twav

E) Enable VLC to use all 6 speakers

Then there is the problem getting VLC to permit use of 5.1 - if you try to select it keeps on saying that the 5.1 resource is busy.

Audio output failed:
The audio device "surround51" is already in use.
Audio output failed:
VLC could not open the ALSA device "surround51" (Device or resource busy



"Here's the setup in VLC that now works for me (pretty straightforward, actually):

- First, select "All" in "Show Settings" in the options menu
- Under "Audio", I have "High Quality Audio Resampling" enabled (it is by default, I think)
- "Use S/PDIF when available" is disabled
- "Peak Protection" disabled, too

- The selected Audio output module is "ALSA audio output"
- In the sub-options of "Output modules", I selected "HDA Nvidia: ALC888 Analog (hw:0,0)" as my ALSA Device Name
- Under "OSS", I enabled "Try to work around buggy..."

Now I can select "5.1" from the Audio Device menu when playing back a DVD, and it works."


13 August 2009

The Watkin Path - 2009

The Watkin Path doubling as the Khyber Pass in

"Carry On Up The Khyber" - 1968

You are now leaving British India!

The Devils-In-Skirts (3rd Foot and Mouth)

The Burpas are coming...

Looking down to Yr Aran - the last of my 280(ish) peaks

On the final summit...

Looking back toward Snowdon from Yr Aran

It was a bit busy at the top, there is still a very strong whiff of "sewage" and don't even think of trying to get a coffee if you have a train to catch...

The final 11 peaks

Gallt Y Wenallt

Y Lliwedd (above and below) - looking very nice

Early on an August morning - Nant Gwynant - a little light breakfast before setting out to complete the Welsh 2000's

12 August 2009

Flying ant day Mark II: After descending the mountain - the rain stopped, the sun came out and so did the ants - seemed to make the most of the only dry surface around - the roof of my car

The summit of Mynydd Graig Goch is one of these lumps of rock. It was very wet indeed - weather forecast said "clearing in the afternoon" - well I couldn't wait. This 'hill' was promoted to a 'mountain' in 2008: 19th September 2008 New mountain in Wales (official!)

Fern (?) close to the summit - the fauna was unlike most nearby mountains - lots of Cowberry (or Lingon) and strange ferns and stuff

Spectacularly red mountain ash on a nice bit of gors/cors:

Bridge over the River Dee - on the A458 - special detour required on the way to North West Wales

11 August 2009

A little night out in Manchester...

Yate's Wine Lodge - I can't remember what it is called:
It is gin and wine and it's hot and scrummy

Spectacular bar

Corbières Wine Cavern - yes it really is a cavern, and it does, still, have a very good jukebox - I have even heard of some of the bands. I was hungry - so I had a hot chocolate - because it would be two hours more before we got to a restaurant.

06 August 2009

The Burwarton Show... very nice

English Longhorns

Yes - that man in putting baby powder on that cows botton

say "baaaa"

A British Blue - the big bum is by design - they cross them with general purpose cattle as a "terminal sire" - so the "for meat" offspring ends up just how Mr Tesco wants it