Saturday, 30 March 2013

To imber and beyond

Today was a drive out to imber on Salisbury plain. After returning home five minutes into the journey for the forgotten GPS and avoiding pot holes we were once again on our journey. Up by the ridgeway there was still some snow in the shade which I was surprised to see.

We did some drivebys on the way out before getting to imber as they were setting up the signs for the public.

Frodo met another frodo dog and actually took notice of it.

Now for a walk around the village before the tourists. It was kinda creepy hearing the whistling through the trees and buildings, like a nuclear bomb had gone through the area as the buildings were just bricks with no glass or doors. We saw some ammunition by the side of a building and left it alone.

After a nice walk we got the virtual answers, worked out a puzzle and solved the multi before taking a drive to the other end and then up a gravel road up to two drivebys. Did wonder do speed limits apply on Salisbury plain or on its byways?

There was lots of abandoned tanks on the west side of the plain along with regular patrols and strategically placed patrols to ensure no one trespassed.

We then got the multi a trad and the puzzle which I messed up and soon realised as it pointed to an area I wasn't allowed.

On the way home we got a earth cache and some drivebys along with a nice 2 mile series by roobydoo which started off muddy but got better. Half way round we found two caches at one hmmmm. Never found the bonus, maybe the second cache was that? A few church micros and the day done.

Got home to find my ecig spares had been attempted delivery by post office but as they needed a signature they couldn't leave it, so trip to post office Tuesday.

However knowing a ecig shop had opened in Oxford I took a look at their website to find a new one in Witney and knowing corn street meant parking outside. Got some juice from the friendly staff in vape shop and a new tank as they didn't sell the heat elements on their own and all I was left with was a rather over used tank that now tasted rather burnt.

Once home I had another go at rewicking the burnt atomisers to find they work again, but did get some nice red bull ecig juice and banana flavour that I'm yet to try.

Now it's time to log the caches for me and frodo and get my projects ready for raspberry jam tomorrow in Milton Keynes.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Internet up/down

I've never had that much problem with my current Internet provider. I've been with them for nearly 10 years.

Not a big company and not many people have heard of them and usually beats the big name companies on service.

Back in the early days you could phone up and tell them what's wrong and pretty much sorted out there and then. However these days they are turning more and more into a free serve type ISP.

The latest is my Internet keeps dropping, it might be on 1 minute, 5 minutes or even up to an hour before it disconnects. All through they can see the connection lost and reconnects, they have blamed my router for disconnecting as there is no reported issues on the line.

A call to 17070 option two for clear line test shows my line is fine to the human ear, however the sound to noise ratio is sitting between 1 and 9 averaging out at around 4 or 5. The att is around 45 and my connection which is normally 12mbs is anything from 5 to 7 and sometimes 12. The upload which normally is 1.1mbs is now half.

So a quick fire email off to the company that makes the router and now have two of their guys looking into this. They cannot be 100% sure it's not the router but very certain it isn't the router. On sending the screenshots they need I await their response before going back to the ISP.

I've been told the cold and all this wet weather could have an impact on the connection, but surely this would have happened ages ago and not start at the weekend?

Well watch this space I will update as I know more.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Help anyone?

Not been up to much apart from trying to program an 2x16 lcd the number I can't think of off the top of my head but is in the photo below. I've tried various python scripts to no avail and only the test option on berryio seems to work.

My next project dtv with a USB dvb t stick is on realtek drivers but again can't seem to get it to work. I think it's 2383u and works fine on windows, but raspberry pi? Grrrrrr.

Any help would be great.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Lcd working hurrah

Ok it's not written in python yet but it's a start.

Using a program called berryio available off the GitHub I was able to get my lcd screen running as you will see from my picture.

The berryio program runs from a web browser and can turn on/off gpio pins as well as tell you what's running.

It also has useful stats and other useful functions on the browser page.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Drive by caching

Today the weather looked good and a ton of driveby caches had been released. We looked at doing some then a small walk but as we arrived at the first one the skies went black and down came the rain.

The first one was on the edge of Harwell aera and as I approached the cache could see a forgotten old building in these woods. This followed by a couple more were ftf s for us, in notmal terms it neant first to find, no one else had found them yet so there wasnt any disturbance to point where the cache is.

The next was simple, however the one after it which according to the gps was in a gateway area wasnt there. ok i might have failed to spot it but the area was littered with adult magazines, bottles of yellow liquid (urine) and the smell of public toilets so left it. the next was quick and easy and the one after before rejoining the a34 was another ftf for me and frodo.

Next to the old esso site which is now a hotel and business behind it. ive always thought it be a good place for a cache and now one here with a secluded spit to stop muggles seeing you.

Next just as easy, but then things changed couldn't find next got ftf on the next and left the next as some kids were by it as a football match was on at the school.

As we got near Wantage we decided to get the last driveby of the day being in a layby on the way to great shefford. As I approached it I could see the container looking at me.

So the dnf s today will have to wait for another day.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

New lambourn series

Saw these come up last night and was going to go for them in the dark but decided I couldn't be bothered so saved them for today.

Sixteen caches in all including a multi and puzzle. It was two degrees when we left and once out at number one the wind chill brought it down to minus eight.

In my car I have various Geocaching equipment and clothing and decided I better put on my camo jacket as its waterproof and takes the wind off you, but hat, gloves and body warmer I left in there but wished I had put on.

As we worked our way round it became evident that even through the ridgeway is restricted to motor vehicles that the local farmer had ripped up the ridgeway. Now don't get me wrong he needs access to his fields etc, but surely the right thing to do is hardcore the track or plough it up and re flatten it instead of all these deep ruts and big puddles everywhere.

It wasn't till we got to number ten that I realised I had missed some letter equal number clues for bonus, by the time we got to fourteen I had given up as I only had three of the six bonus clues and the wind had picked and and was even more cold causing me to eventually to unpack the hood in my dpm camo jacket and put it up to protect my rather cold ears. Still with three clues I plotted the likely place the cache would be and sure enough there it was just hanging there.

This put of the ridgeway I thought I hadn't been along but on the way back there is a sharp left bend going down hill, this brought memories back of when me and a friend mountain biked from chain hill all the way along to white horse hill in the early 90s and how I had just managed to stay on my bike whilst my friend came off. How a lovely summers day to a cold wet and miserable weather of today can change the look of the landscape.

Once back at the car I had to gently rock the car out of the parking spot as it had sunk a bit in the mud, once out I drive for the next half mile leaving muddy tyre tracks on the road and mud still flicking off the car.

A nice walk which will be much better done in summer.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Swindon way

Out near Swindon today clearing off Hannington and high worth. On the way out we managed to do a bus stop drive by series but as frodo was getting impatient for a walk we went and did the few mile walk first.

This was a lovely walk a great forest on one part with many hidey holes. Half way round frodo found the leg of a baby deer and decided not to let go of it stopping well ahead of me each time to have a munch on it.

On the way back into high worth I had another look at well hidden micro of which kept taking me to the middle of the path whilst google maps to something else. As me a frodo was about to give up we noticed something not in a container and picked it up, it was the new log roll with only one signature within. So we placed it somewhere safe and will let the cache owner know.

Next cache was a find but the rest where dnf s, must have been the fact we didn't have the lucky deers leg. Not settling on an end of day with a dnf we went to letchlade and picked the last one off to end the day with a find and now back in the top 80 of uk cachers.


Looked at my blog today to find nothing had published from yesterday. Annoyed as my memory can be very short termed at times I opened up my blogger app and there it was with a note published failed retry, phew.
It's been raining overnight so the planned trip to Winchester way is off as the weather like this makes me sad where as weather like yesterday makes me happy.

Well we have a few close by so will do them today.


Down Basingstoke way today to pick off the rest of a loop I started a couple of years ago and some more. So off to woot ton st Lawrence where there was a nice church to park by and on with caching.

We had already done well with some drive bys on the way over and a little way in we bumped into a cacher called misty&mike or at least I think that was his caching name.

As we worked around we did keep going off route to pick the odd one or two up and noticed that its been the first time since last summer that we have been out caching in t shirt as it was a rather tropical 15c and now home my face is letting me know its had a bit of sun.

We got to watch two farmers, as one had finished ploughing and sowing another then went in with another tractor to spread some grey stuff over the field. We only dnf d one as it was where the farmers were so didn't want to draw attention and could see Hannington transmission mast and Basingstoke from various vantage points.

In all we walked about 8 miles in 3 hours and was even planning another route but decided not to and now glad we didn't. Then it was off home with a few driveby caches to do. The car certainly enjoyed itself an average 44mpg on way out 42mpg on most of way back which settled to 38mpg as I cleared the engine out on the way home (keeping to speed limits of course).

I really should start logging this weeks caches but at moment cannot be bothered to dig out my laptop which I can upload all in one hit with. It's not just me I have to log but frodo s as well as he had given me great company this week on my week off from work.

Oh we saw some alpacas too here are some pics.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Geolympixs series and drivebys

Today we spent the afternoon out doing some Geocaching. The weather wasn't cold but not hot, it was nice. The sun was out as we attempt one of the last two series left and on the way out got a couple of drive by geocaches at the side of the road before ending the day doing the same. We even got one thanks to footloose that I kept dnfing (did not find) who spotted it straight away.

The series was nice, just one huge hill at the start after walking along a partially flooded road, but once on the tracks they were relatively dry with some nice scenic views.

We kept finding advertising for someone's book so on behalf of the owner I removed them as he likes he caches to be maintained but usually by his friends when they do the caches.

We also did plenty of snail mail caches which were fake snails stuck to mail boxes.

On the way home I needed to get 50 litres of fuel as the fuel light came on 30 miles from home. Now many know my car needs a minimuim of 98 Ron to run well, 95 Ron which is normal unleaded seems to make it sluggish and trip into limp mode and the mpg fall to that of a 4x4. However 99 Ron which is 2 Ron higher than normal super unleaded seems to do the trick so it was either shell or tesco s for fuel choosing tescos as its only 5p a litre more than unleaded whilst shell is 7p more and currently 2p a litre more than tescos being about £4 difference.

Now I'm not one to worry about fuel prices but 5 or 6 years ago petrol was half the price it is now. Ok taxes have gone up on it in that time but recent figures have shown that sales are actually dropping by a billion litres a month. So at current calculations that's 12 billion per Annum and 85% of the fuel price is tax at a rough figure of £1.20 loosing the treasury 14.4 billion a year. It's this one thing aka fuel costs that governs everything in this country from shop prices, parcel delivery charges to how much money we have in our pockets each month. Surely by removing the current fuel tax to just cat plus vat (cap tax at 40%) this would at a rough calculation bring fuel prices down to about 70p a litre and then bring shop prices down, lowering inflation, put more money into the everyday joe bloggs picket meaning he and the family can go out for a nice meal each month and buy extra stuff each month which would in turn create more jobs, less people unemployed more people with disposable incomes who then spend and surely the amount of money lost on fuel tax cuts would be made back easily with money being brought in with vat? Surely it's a win/win situation?

Maybe I should run for prime minister lol

Friday, 1 March 2013

Few caches

Not really up for much today so got a few caches, a drive by that has eluded me for a while whilst we were in the area, then to Oxford to get uc19 picture cache which was a nice 3 mile walk. Well it was till we met two dogs on the way back and the pit bull one tried to bite frodo. I kicked out at the dog narrowly missing it for the owner to scream insults at me and to leave her dog alone. She then asked if her dog had attacked frodo to which I said yes and she told it off making me think its done it before. I told her a few polite things including I would be contacting the police to which she asked me not to, this shows to me again that the dog has done it before, just lucky my steel toe cap didn't make contact as it was a good swing at it.

The cache was wet and missing a logbook so I signed me and frodo in on a business card I had and placed that in the cache. We also found another cache we did a couple of years ago that was half filled with water a mushy and black logbook and no trackable as the description said so forwarded off a need maintenance to the owner.

On the way back we got one at Marcham and signed frodo into the other one there to find the same that it needed maintenance as someone has nicked the container.

As we got near home there was a speed trap on a road known for speeding, now I have no problems with this as if you look ahead of yourselves you will see them stood there in hi viz jackets and there was lots of them pulling one car after another, as I always keep to the speed limit especially in built up areas and cos of the cost of fuel I drove by to see one cop give the action with his hands to not catching me, now this has annoyed me. Surely they are there to prevent speeding as all money raised goes to the treasury or do they have to catch x number a day or have some sort of bonus system? Answers on a postcard.

Anyhow it reminded me I had a broken radar detector that needed a new windscreen mount that had shattered into pieces back in the winter and I had a spare visor mount so with a small drill head I drilled through the mount so I could screw it to the window bracket that had broken and yes it's working. I know that by the time it lets you know you been caught but the times it's caught the scatter and made me check my speed (to which I was already at the correct speed) is certainly a safety point.

Maybe it should be included on dangerous roads where it sends out a random beam at the cars and those fitted will slow down? Surely it be cheaper than speed guns and more mobile? Maybe it's a raspberry pi project to look at?

More pi fun

Didn't do much today, took dog out with ball catapault for a walk and later on played with the pi. Thanks to the guy had written some simple python scripts and with them got my ultrasonic module working, pir and my stepper motor (hurrah). With playing with the coding of the script I was able to get it to move at different speeds so maybe soon I can do something with it for a Geocaching project.