GCR Winter Steam Gala 2012

GCR – Great Central Railway


It was a cold but brilliant sunny afternoon at the GCR Winter Steam Gala 2012 (on 28th Jan). I took lots of photos and videos. The event ran all day but I only arrived in the afternoon and here’s my platform ticket:

GCR Winter Steam Gala 2012
GCR Loughborough Central Platform Ticket (both sides) on a Winter Gala Day 2012.

The GCR advertised 12 loco’s in steam and I saw 9. There was continual movement at the Great Central Station, Loughborough, and I did my best to capture it. I walked down to the shed at the north end of the station and found a few things to photograph and video on the way. It became very difficult to video the Royal Mail train leaving due to its delay and the hustle and bustle on the platform. I was only able to video it in the end by holding my camera above my head.

Here is the Featured Image for those who can’t see it.

Note: Interactive Google Maps are used in this post. Help using them can be found here.

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Venus Transiting the Sun on 5th-6th June 2012

In the feature image you can see Venus transiting the sun on 8th June 2004 – the first transit since 1882

Venus Transiting the Sun on 5th-6th June 2012 won’t happen again until 2117. Remember not to look directly at the sun and focus the sun onto a white card with a telescope/lens. Unfortunately for us in the UK this transit will be nearly over when we can see it which will be at dawn. People in America, Asia, the Middle East and the Arctic Circle will be able to see it during their evening or day time. Now on 6th June we are getting close to midsummer’s day so the sun will rise in the north east at 04:45 BST in London and at dawn there are usually a lot of buildings in the way of the sun. So you will need to be in flat country, on a hill, in a sky scraper or in a plane to see the sun at dawn. Also you won’t want any clouds in the way.



Since the event, Venus Transiting the Sun on 5th-6th June 2012, Many articles have been written and many photos were taken through telescopes all over the world as you can see from this Google search request.

Further Reference

The Faster-than-Fast Fourier Transform

Improving The Fast Fourier Transform

The Faster-than-Fast Fourier Transform can replace the Fast Fourier Transform to save processing time when digitising an analogue signal.

For a large range of practically useful cases, MIT researchers find a way to increase the speed of one of the most important algorithms in the information sciences. – Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office.

You can read it all here: MIT News Office.

Well this might be the case but it could so easily be that everyone takes it at face value and embodies this algorithm into all new electronic sound and video processors. We may then find all our music and video content degraded as a consequence. Then it will be too late. With the Faster-than-Fast Fourier Transform processing sound and video is quicker and cheaper so we’ll be stuck with it. Musicians who prefer analogue sound reproduction may find this degrades digital sound further. On the other hand it could improve the quality.

iPad Survives Undamaged After Extreme Fall


It’s becoming quite popular to send cameras up to the edge of space for one reason or another. This is one of the latest which an iPad survives undamaged.

See How An iPad Survives Undamaged After An Extreme Fall.

NOTE: The article quotes, “….with the blackness of space and the bright curve of Earth providing a stunning backdrop.” However, if you watch the video carefully you will see as the balloon ascends and the horizon moves across the scene that the curvature of the earth varies from being convex to concave. This suggests to me that the camera lens has a lot of distortion and so it cannot be relied upon to give a good impression of the curvature of the earth.

Changing a Watch Battery


My wife’s wrist watch stopped working the other day. Usual problem – flat battery. So I popped onto the Internet and ordered four, from JewelleryForAll on the Amazon Marketplace, @ 45p each with free p+p. They arrived on 14th Jan 2012. A little late I thought since they were ordered on 3rd Jan 2012, but never mind they were cheap enough.

The Battery I Ordered

The new watch battery came in a package like this: Packaged Cell

When extracted it looks like this on the +ve side, the side which faces up in the watch. The colour is of course silver but this image allows the engraved text to be seen: +ve side of cell

This shows the -ve side, the side which faces down in the watch: -ve side of cell
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Using the Character Map application in Windows

Accessing The Character Map Application

It reminds me of an unusual dice when I see this icon. It has a beauty about it. What is it? It’s the icon representing the Character Map application in Windows 7, found on the Start Menu under Accessories > Ease of Access > System Tools.

The Character Map application is stored in the Windows\System32 folder and is entitled Charmap.exe. I keep a shortcut on the desktop or Dell Dock so I can get at it quickly.

If you want to do something similar on a Mac try this.

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Wikipedia Protests by turning the English section OFF for 24 hours on 18th Jan 2012

Wikipedia OFF for 24 hrs
This is the image of Wikipedia today – 18th January 2012

Wikipedia Protests! What exactly is it doing?

Wikipedia protests against SOPA and PIPA by blacking out the English Wikipedia for 24 hours, beginning at midnight January 18, Eastern Time. Readers who come to English Wikipedia during the blackout will not be able to read the encyclopedia: instead, they will see messages intended to raise awareness about SOPA and PIPA, and encouraging them to share their views with their elected representatives, and via social media…..Learn more.

What are SOPA and PIPA?

Why is this happening?

Do you care about infringement?

Isn’t SOPA dead? Wasn’t the bill shelved, and didn’t the White House declare that it won’t sign anything that resembles the current bill?

Aren’t SOPA/PIPA as they stand not even really a threat to Wikipedia? Won’t the DNS provisions be removed?

What can users outside of the U.S. do to support this effort?

Is it still possible to access Wikipedia in any way?

I keep hearing that this is a fight between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Is that true?

In carrying out this protest, is Wikipedia abandoning neutrality?

What can I read to get more information?