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: Pond     26 Aug 2000

We bought two more Shubunkins from Tropic Isle as a birthday present for 'Grandma' and we hoped that she would leave them in the pond for us to look after. Happily, this turned out to be the case.

I feel very mean putting them in the salt dip before introducing them to the pond, but it doesn't seem to kill them (1lb non-iodized salt to 1 Gal of water). They stay in for 15 seconds -- by the end they look almost dead and are not moving. Then I transfer them to the pond and they sink to the bottom. But after maybe 30-60 seconds they start to swim off and by the following day, they seem fine. I hope that it kills the parasites!

Topic: Weather     13 Aug 2000

I finally added the current temperature to the pondcam. It is all done in a very murky way and is not as general purpose as I would like. The trouble is that anything that happens on a per-frame basis had better be cheap (under 0.1 second of CPU) otherwise it starts to saturate the system.

The final approach is that the data collector writes out a file containing the current temperature every 3 seconds, and then it is read in by the camserv code (the current time is substituted) and then added to the image (now uses imlib2).

Topic: Pond     12 Aug 2000

I found a small black fish which is turning gold. I think that this is our first baby!!

Topic: Weather     7 Aug 2000

The problem appears to be in the rain guage connection. More investigation required.

Topic: Weather     5 Aug 2000

It now seems to be working fine (after routing the 1-wire bus through the surge suppressor). I don't really know why.

Topic: Weather     4 Aug 2000

The replacement DS9097U arrived from Dallas and the system is now recording temperature and rainfall again. However, it seems much less reliable than before -- it works for a minute or so, and then stops for a minute (with the circuit being reported as shorted). I wonder if some water has got into the wiring (especially the underwater temperature sensor).

Tomorrow I will route the circuit through a regular telephone surge suppressor. I guess that I'll try and narrow down the circuit problems.

Topic: Pond     23 Jul 2000

We added two new Shubunkins to the top pond. Hopefully they will eat some of the bugs up there! While in the store (Tropic Isle), we saw the feeders that we bought last year. We had forgotten how small they really were, and how much they had grown in our pond.

The camera is now connected through a surge suppressor. Lets hope that this provides some measure of protection.

Topic: Weather     21 Jul 2000

Dallas Semiconductor are shipping me a new dongle (DS9097U) to drive the instrumentation bus. The general consensus was that the ESD protection did it's job, and absorbed the energy. However, it fails open, so there is now no access the the bus.

The replacement will be protected behind a regular telephone line surge suppressor. Who knows if it will help?

Topic: Weather     19 Jul 2000

I realise that the reason that Linux will not boot is due to the CMOS setting of the graphics card shared aperture now being 8MB rather than the old 2MB. For some reason Linux doesn't detect the amount of memory on the motherboard (over 64MB) and so I had to hardwire it.

The ethernet card still works (hooray). It appears that the video capture card is dead -- or maybe the camera is fried.

It turns out that the video cable is not connected to the capture card -- I disconnected it when I was trying to figure out what was broken. Reconnecting the cable fixes that.

The temperature and rain gauge sensors are not operational -- the instrumentation bus does not detect the presence of any devices. Having said that, it also doesn't detect the presence of a shorted out bus, so I suspect that the interface dongle may be fried.

I now have surge suppressors for the video wiring and the instrumentation bus wiring.

Topic: Weather     18 Jul 2000

A big storm rolls through, and though the promised hail does not appear, there is a nearby lightning strike, and the pond server gets into a funny state. It reports that the CMOS battery is low (which is unlikely). I reset the CMOS, and it no longer will boot Linux. The system is attached to a UPS so I am hopeful that it isn't really fried.



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

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

Information about SPF (Sender Permitted From)

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

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

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

Philip Gladstone