Wednesday, 28 January 2009
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Its all to do with web pages and wireless speeds. Just recently the loading of pages has got painful, so I googled slow mac connections and found this useful bit of discussion and tips. It has speeded up my machine, but I'm still not happy as I've been doing some scientific side by side experiments with my vista laptop and it seems to win out just about every time and sometime the web pages take a lot longer to actually connect. The above fix has helped but I need MORE performance from the Mac.
Its on trial and I do like it but, but, but - there is something not quite right. I am of course overlooking all the positives the Mac offers, but I expect computing perfection.
So on the off chance anyone has advice on connecting Macs to wireless (draft n router) please get in touch. Also how do I measure the connection speed and signal I am getting??
Answer in the comments if you will be so kind.
Monday, 26 January 2009
Leia, our rescue dog is an absolute pleasure. We could not have hoped for a better natured dog. She is settled into our family life so well. Today we are having her spayed (horrible term) One of out responsibilities in having a rescue dog is to make sure she does not have pups. Its a shame as she has such a nice temperament, but equally any pups she might have would mean other dogs may get left un homed, which is not what we want. I will go and collect her later, I'm sure I'll have to build some trust bridges, after I took her to a place where they caused her pain and stress, but she is so devoted to the family (especially me, which makes me very happy) so I'm sure she will soon recover.
Andy from Khayamanzi comments that many boaters have interests in either motorbikes or steam engines etc. I am one such person. I blogged a while ago about my 'new bike (ish)'
I really like my Ducati, it fits the bill for the occasional ride out and the trip to Waterlily via Ashbourne is a cracking ride out. However I have a hankering for a touring bike. I would like a Pan European but they are really for serious touring. So I am being draw to swapping my P&J for a Honda Deauville (horrible name)
So what do you think...... Not as sexy as the Ducati but very usable? Decisions, decisions - I think a road test is on the cards (plus I need to get a sensible price for my Ducati if she is to go)- I'll let you know.Car
Seems like a transport blog this. We are looking to get rid of our T reg Rover 420 for something I can get insured for my lads to drive (they are both taking lessons at the moment) To add them to the Rover insurance would be £2,200 , absolutely daft. To insure my eldest for his own car, even the lowest group was £1,500 So we are looking for a 1.2 Polo 5 door to swap the Rover for, at least when they pass their test they can get insurance, even if it is silly money.
I really wish I could be a little more carefree. Planning is something I do, and I think I do it too much. As an example re the motorbikes above - I am thinking about what I'll do when the time comes to spend more time of the boat (retirement or semi retirement) Should I keep the motorbikes - should I even think about exchanging, will I get the use of if the bike, should I sell the bike and put it to the boat painting fund....... I user to be undecided, but now I'm not sure....... I think, no I will plan not to plan so much in the future !
There is much other stuff going on but this is a primerily a boating blog so I'll leave the jam making concerns for another day,
Saturday, 24 January 2009
Friday, 23 January 2009
When we are aboard - especially at weekends the more regular (live-a-boards) boaters can be observed with their wheelbarrows bringing home the red stuff.
I have read that keeping the boats diesel tank full stops condensation getting in the fuel system. When we picked Waterlily up from the brokers she had a full tank of Diesel. I am sure it was not the broker who filled her up, more likely the previous owner as he seemed quite on the ball over his boat maintenance. Just a shame for him he never saw the other side of the winter,
Thursday, 22 January 2009
First one was to fit a decent external aerial. I have brought one from Wilkinsons that when I 'built it' it was far too big. I replaced in on a trip to Litchfield on the Saturday with a much more compact one that now sits very purposely on front cratch board using a proper aerial pole. I also tidied up all the cable for the aerial and satellite so I can plug whichever I want to use in - I like tidy cables !
I then replaced the plastic curtain track above the front doors with a nice brass pole to match it to all the other poles on the boat - not sure why the last owners used the plastic on the front curtains - it was very obvious when you came aboard.
I repaired the shower and sorted the lamp out in the lounge. All in all a very proactive morning. Doing these jobs gives me a better understanding of the boat and makes it feel more like mine (even though we have owned her for coming up to two years)
I found a receipt when clearing out a drawer that related to the fitting of the inverter and also a third battery. This help the history of the boat as we were unable to get any info from the previous owners as sadly the gent died which was why Waterlily was on brokerage.
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
A big issue is that there is no available software for the Mac using the broadband dongle. When I plug it into my little Sony it finds the software on the dongle and installs it. I can then see the data I am/have used and also the strength of connection and what connection I may get. Non of this is available for the Mac.
Rachel's solution is not to bring the Mac on the boat and use the Sony - I like the Mac, screen size, performance and keyboard, so I am loathed to stop using it because of threes incompetence (Vodafone do an application for the Mac but my work Vodafone dongle only gets GPRS on the boat, and they do not say there is 3g or HSDPA coverage at my moorings - BUT 3 Do !)
I tried the modem when back at home and it was much better on the Mac, but still without software I feel cheated and the connection on the boat was more reliable on the PC. One thing to try will be a long USB cable with the modem in a bag on the roof, it could be the boat is blocking the signal. However, as I will then not be able to see the lights flashing (this gives the speed of the active or potential connection), this is even more reason to get the Mac software sorted.
When I phoned 3 they just said keep checking back to their web page - quality customer service, not.
Steer clear of 3 I say they do not understand customer service or support Macs
Ok some more information - I wrote the above on Monday and scheduled it to be published Tuesday. Andrew on Granny Buttons does this so it must be the right thing to do !
I posted to Canalworld.net asking for advice and a really nice bloke called Richard Fairhurst replied and pointed me at a CheetahWatch this does everything the 3 software should do if it existed So stand up and take a bow Richard.
I really do not like to be beaten and will stubbornly think through solutions if I can. So I started looking for external ariels for the Modem to make it better (less risk of it going into the cut) but them it occurred to me I use my Mac at work and use my Vodafone phone via bluetooth using something called Bluetooth Pan network - effectively making my phones data network available via bluetooth connection to the Mac. I have acquired a good phone that will allow me to have the same set up but with the 3 sim in it. It works much better as I think the ariel built into the phone is so much more efficient and the connection seems solid - see below....
My vodaphone HSDPA network (solid connection to HSDPA) 1125 KB/s down 272 KB/s up
My 3 HSDPA network in the phone (solid connection to HSDPA) 1130 KB/S down 272 KB/s up
My 3 dongle HSPDA 1561 KB/S down 348kb/s up*
*Sounds good but the big issue is that the connection was jumping from HSDPA to WCDMA (3g) and this is with CheetaWatch showing a good signal.
Phew.... So bigger is not always better (ladies take note). I really need to go to the boat to repeat this experiment but putting the phone outside to get a better reception and to be fair to the dongle to do the same (downside will be the cable length)
I'll report back.....the Mac might have a reprieve yet
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
The way we drive to our mooring takes us over the visitor moorings at Bagnall lock, a quick scan of the moored boats and I saw what I thought to be their boat. We were intending to wind Waterlily to run the engine and get her facing the preferred direction (up the junction so's to speak) so we set off and I duly met Sue and Vic doing a large scale wood cut for the roof. Well Vic was doing the instructing while Sue did the moving. In Vic's defense he had a bad back after apparently carrying candles (brought at a knock down price) from a shopping trip in Burton on Trent. I hope Sue won't mind me commenting, she is tiny (I'm no giant ) but she was lumping the wood around very efficiently and with much enthusiasm.
It was really good to meet both Sue and Vic - they really are a friendly couple. On the photo's Sue takes Vic always seems to be missing a smile, (sorry Vic) but when I met him he was really friendly and has big smiles - note to Sue, get more pics of Vic smiling ;-)
Now I am back sitting driving this office desk I really am envious of their nomadic and free lifestyle
My Pic is not very good but I want to get it on the blog for posterity.
I need to check if both trees are still there ;-)
Take care you two and keep blogging.....
Monday, 19 January 2009
Yep, over our weekend aboard they all went into the cut !!
After winding the boat on Friday we were returning to our mooring when Rachel suggested we should stop for eggs at NB Mothers Peal on the off side between Bagnall and Common locks. We hailed her as we approached and while holding Waterlily breasted (just about) we did the transaction - then we asked for a bag of kindling wood and as she moved around the boat she disappeared and we heard a splosh - lucky for her it was on the bank side and she went in to to her bum level. We felt really bad - we never even laughed ! She took it in good heart but she earned her £5 for a dozen eggs (fresh that day) and a large bag of wood bits.
Later that evening after some Guinness and wine and a lot of frustration trying to surf the web, I'll blog about that later, I had my 3 broadband dongle hanging out of the window, I pulled the cable to get it in and it came off where it joined the extension cable - 12 gigabytes of future use took a dive in the cut !!!!
I was not sure if it would float or sink, as I rushed outside it was not floating... but luckily (on 2 counts) the canal was quite clear as no boats had been moving, and I had the white version of the dongle. I could see it lying in the mud on the bottom. I used my garden rake (from doing BW's job of mowing and clearting my mooring grass) to locate it after failed attempts with the boat hook. Every attempt disturbed the masses of mud on the bottom. In moving down the side of the boat, plop, in went my slipper, that was thinking about sinking in sympathy with the dongle(my slippers are black) but was lifted out by the boat hook just in time.
I eventually recovered the dongle and feared the worst, I took out the sim and left in to dry out near the stove overnight. I was very please to find it was still working when plugged in the next afternoon - just a shame the Internet connection from 3 was so poor...
Then on Sunday when Rachel was cleaning the boat she decided to give the duvet a good shake and managed to shake my pyjama bottom into the cut... once again the boat hook did its stuff.
I hope that these episodes complete the cut dipping for the wells family for 2009 !
Thursday, 15 January 2009
Welcome aboard my humble blog,
Edited to also include Pickles No. 2 Welcome aboard Pete and also John & Fiona from NB Epiphany plus Heather from WB takeytezey and Pip and Roger from NB Windsong
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
I wasn't shopping to buy one - but when checking out my double skin chimney at Shobnall boat yard I clocked one on their stove so it was an impulse buy.
It went straight onto the stove on the boat and with only a two hour Wilko log in the Squirrel it was spinning like a top. It did feel warmer, a more even warm if you knw what I mean and the boat did get warmer quicker, we'll see how it goes and report back.
The Smartgauge is doing its job. Normally we'd run the engine on every visit, but last time aboard it was saying the batteries were down to 69% so the engine was not run. Hopefully this weekend we'll take Waterlily down to Alrewas to wind her so she'll get a good run and charge, I'll record the before and after readings on the smartgauge.
Sunday, 11 January 2009
So having read the thread on battery monitoring I bit the bullet and drove over to Beaston Marina this morning and parted with £150 and left with a small box of electrics that is seemingly well recommended and is known as a smartgauge. This little (and it is small) gadget will tell me what the voltage readings are for my leisure batteries as well as the starter. It will also tell me what % of charge my leisure batteries are at. This is what I wanted and it will give me the info I need to allow me to correctly charge the leisure batteries up and monitor usage.
So this afternoon I went to the boat and spent a couple of hours fitting it. The actual wiring up is simple (part of the attraction) getting the wires to where I wanted to mount it took the time.
I wanted it inside the boat so I could check the readings without going into the cold - plus I was not 100% sure it was weather tight. In the end I got it in installed on the side of the small wardrobe at the end of the bed, just near the rear door.
It was working straight away and giving the following readings
As installed with the engine running
Leisure - 13.90v
Starter - 14.15v
After 15 mins and the engine off
Leisure - 12.60v
Starter - 13.35v
No doubt the leisure was down as I was using the lights.
The % charged on the leisure batteries was 74% but this will not be accurate until a few cycles of charge and use have taken place.
Another nice little job done and the benefit will be gained over the coming year.
Friday, 9 January 2009
My lack of cruising action has got me thinking about where we might find ourselves this year on the boat. Our first trip on Sylph our shared ownership boat was up the Caldon. I like the route to Stoke from Fradley, a long week to Frogshall basin will be in order.
When we brought Waterlily up from Whilton in 2007 after we had purchased her we had a great run up the North Oxford and the Coventry. I'd like to re run this, maybe taking in the Ashby in a two weeker.
One thing we will not be doing this year is taking our two weeks in the school holidays. This year our youngest finishes sixth form so from about mid May we will not have kids at school any more and so be free from taking holidays in the busy periods.
They haven't been coming on the smaller holidays we have had recently, they just like the cruises (big ships not canal) and the America trips - there's a surprise!!
So we will be mainly overnighting during the summer holidays, in and around Fradley, it can be the best way to enjoy Fradley in the quite summer evenings.
So, The Caldon and Ashby will be the 2009 destinations...health and wealth willing
Thursday, 8 January 2009
Mr Tony Blews stand up and take a bow for writing this for us after Andrew suggested it would be a good idea to have a UK version of a similar US ranking tool.
So my blog is registered and for one time only is ranked number 2 of only a few that will very soon pass me and leave my scribbles in the dust.
So for the record,
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Its so annoying that this industry, this company that actually makes things - what our country was built on - basic industry, is allowed to sink without trace whilst the fat cat bankers are bailed out after playing monopoly with our money, going unchecked for so many years.
I really feel for all those good hard working individuals that have worked at the factory for so many years. Good luck lads and lasses in getting some other meaningful employment.
My last memory will be of listening to the distant clatter of proper work early one morning while walking Leia to Trentham lock when we moored near by last summer.
I hope the Armitage factory will keep going as this also is one very iconic landmark on the canal near us. All those toilets are a fantastic metaphor for the industry the canal supported and relied on ..... I'm off to find a dark room !
Monday, 5 January 2009
So after looking forward to a nice week and a bit off, it all slipped by mainly in bed feeling poo. My first day of feeling anything like normal and I'm back at work. This is made all the more frustrating by reading my regular blogs, and enjoying their descriptions and photo's of the ice on the cut. I have just checked back to when we were on board last year and were frozen in
So a thank you in no real order to the following for my iced in fix for tonight. I will try and get to Waterlily before the ice goes way....