My Blog

I suppose that this is really a blog, though I hesitate to call it that. The real bloggers seem so much more interesting. I cover stuff which I find interesting, and I hope that you will too.

If you really want, you can get an RSS feed of Chateau Gladstone news here:

For more information about what I'm interested in, see the Ponding pages.

Topic: Weather   Innumeracy a tale of $2.09  10 Sep 2002

I bought a small power connector in Radio Shack for $1.99. It came to $2.09 including tax. I initially handed the clerk $2 and a quarter which he entered into the cash register. I then handed him another four cents for a total of $2.29. This completely floored him, and it took some explaining that I now wanted 20 cents in change.

On to BJs for a few items -- one of which was a gallon of milk. The checkout person managed to give the milk to the person in front of me, and charge her (on her credit card) for it. The checkout person was completely flustered (I think that she had not been working long). I offered to give the $2.09 (for the milk) to the person in front of me as that would solve the problem. This solution was agreed. However, as I'm walking out, I observe that I have been charged for the milk as well (on my credit card). At this point, I decide to write off the money and give up.

John Allen Paulos has written a wonderful book called Innumeracy that deals with the poor state of arithmetical knowledge in the general public. Definitely recommended.

Topic: Pond   Hydra  2 Sep 2002

My water filter is infested with Hydra. I got some pictures - this is typical.

I don't really want to disturb them, but I need to clean out the filter!

Topic: Pond   Snake in the Stream  2 Sep 2002

Over the weekend, a couple of the neighbourhood kids were over looking at the pond, when one of them spotted a snake in the stream. I happened to have my camera handy, and I tried to get a picture of it, but it slithered off.

A bit of further investigation revealed that it was hiding in the 'toad house' that has (as far as I am aware) never housed a toad. I got one (not very good) shot of it. I think it is a Ribbon snake rather than a Garter snake.

This may explain where some of the small frogs have gone.

My four year old daughter had earlier reported seeing a snake chasing a frog (which got away) when she was staring out of her window. I doubted her story at the time, but no more!

Topic: Internet Radio   Internet Radio - Just incredible  23 Aug 2002

The Librarian of Congress has decided that the people most affected by his decision to tax them out of existence -- namely the small Internet Radio Stations should not be allowed to be part of the ongoing lawsuit about these taxes. This argument is that they are not "an aggrieved party who would be bound by the determination". Aggrieved they certainly are, bound by his determination - definitely. Maybe they aren't a "party". See Radio and Internet Newsletter for the full story.

Topic: Pond   Updated the inbound link display  28 Jul 2002

A couple of sites ( and added links to the pondcam. I decided that it was about time to improve the link counting script. The new version collapses and summarizes the list rather better. It also allows you to see just the top 40 referring sites.

Remarkably, a bunch of sites just link to a single image, namely hole.jpg. I suspect that Google image search is the way that they found it, but currently for the search 'hole' it doesn't show up till the second page.

Topic: Pond   Pondcam streaming  14 Jul 2002

I've finally added the links to allow people to see the streaming video from the pond. See: Windows Media (100k), Windows Media (40k), RealVideo (100k), RealVideo (40k).

I've limited the outgoing bandwidth to 300k so you may get a 'busy' page sometimes.

If you use the links that are in the pondcam section, then you should get video day and night. (At night, I stream the video that was recorded 12 hours earlier.)

Topic: Pond   Two large Golden Orfes died  8 Jul 2002

Last week, during the very hot weather, two of my Golden Orfes died. I don't know whether the heat got to them, or they were chased by the other fish, or what, but I found them floating amongst the plants. The other two orfes survivied.

The pond temperature reached 92F during this time. I'm not quite sure how to limit it -- maybe I could add cold water. You can see from this graph that adding cold water does have a noticeable effect. The reduction is (obviously) much larger when the water temperature is higher.

Topic: Weather   Major storm blew through  28 Jun 2002

Last night a significant thunderstorm blew through. The lightning stroke rates were quite impressive (see the graph), peaking at 20,000 strokes per hour. What is better is that the 1-wire weather network held up. I'm chalking this up to the surge protection that I added to the network.

The pondcam held up, and the UPS kept everything running while we were out of power. I use an APC UPS that I got from Sams Club with apcupsd to control it.

Some piece of my hifi rack was not so lucky -- sound now longer travels from the cable box to the amplifier and out to the speakers.

Topic: Internet Radio   This whole CARP thing is a mess  24 Jun 2002

If you have missed it, the Librarian of Congress finally issued the report which has set the rates for streaming music over the 'net. The net effect is that most small legitimate webcasters are forced out of business. It turns out that the rates were set based on a deal between Yahoo and the RIAA. This interesting as this deal was specifically designed so that small webcasters could not compete! Further they (Yahoo / had already figured out how to cheat the RIAA -- by using multicast and claiming only a single stream.

It is a sad day when US based net radio starts to die due to the greed of a few fat cats at the RIAA.

Why am I upset? I did the streaming support for JReceiver to allow the Rio Receiver to play 'net Radio streams. I'm also working on ffmpeg which allows streaming of live audio and video streams to RealOne and to Windows Media Player (and many other things as well). This is what drives the pondcam on this page.

Topic: Pond   Goldfish caught eating a salamander  29 May 2002

Argh! This evening, I observed a four inch goldfish with half a salamander hanging out of its mouth. This rather suprised me as I assumed that the goldfish wouldn't go after anything that big (the salamander was probably three inches before it got munched).

I had added the salamanders to the pond last fall when a friend gave me a bunch that he had rescued from his swimming pool filter. Until today, I hadn't seen any, and now I think that ignorance of their fate was probably bliss.



Information about SPF (Sender Permitted From)

Open source server for the Rio Receiver -- this is what I use.

Neat description of the Gunnera Manicata -- a truly monstrous plant!

Open source audio/video streaming software -- this drives my pondcam

The Doc Searls weblog -- he seems clueful and I read him.

The Citizen Weather Observer Program is a loose collection of amateur weather station operators.

Philip Gladstone