GCR Winter Steam Gala 2012

GCR – Great Central Railway

Introduction

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.

Reference


Addendum

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

Introduction

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

Introduction

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?

How many times can you fold paper? How about 13?

How many times can you fold paper? How about 13?

Doesn’t paper folded enough times create a stack that reaches to the moon?  Well it doesn’t here. However you would need a suitcase to carry it around if you wanted to protect yourself against being taken short. (It  is toilet paper after all.) The students at St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Massachusetts asked how many times can you fold paper? They went on to break the record. See below:

Have a look at this article about it in New Scientist.

Changing Text Styles on Windows 7 Sticky Notes

Windows 7 comes with Post-it® style Sticky Notes which can be stuck all over the desk top. Although you can change the background colour from a context menu and format the text from within the application, using Ctrl+Shift+[various keys] as per the Microsoft Instructions, the text style and colour can’t be changed from within. However you can change many things by cutting the text from the note and pasting it into Microsoft Word, if you have it, or WorPad if you don’t. (Use whichever starts quickest for you.) Most people are familiar with Notepad but not all are familiar with WordPad which is a cut down version of Word and is included with Windows. WordPad resides on the Start menu in the Accessories folder. Here is an example of what can be achieved:

windows 7 sticky notes
Sticky Note Example

From within Word or WordPad you can also do the things that the Microsoft Instructions suggest you can do using Ctrl+Shift+[various keys], e.g. Make a bulleted or numbered list, embolden, underline, italicise, strike through, increase text size incrementally and decrease text size incrementally. This may be the only way to change these things if you run a hot-key program which has been used to re-allocate the Ctrl+Shift keys required.

Perpetually editing your notes in Word or WordPad can be time consuming. All you need to do is have some notes formatted in the way you like and then copy and paste the already formatted text from an existing note to a new one and then edit it.

Here’s A Little Brain Teaser

Introduction

My mentor drAnalog has advised me how to use Google Analytics to produce statistics of site visits. The analysis has thrown up some interesting results and from them I have concocted a Brain Teaser for your delight. Sorry no prizes given but you have the satisfaction of taking part.

My Brain Teaser

  • Some Derby people made 21 visits to this blog using an unspecified number of computers which we have to assume kept the same settings for each visit they made and hopefully used the same service providers each time.
  • 13 visits were made using Internet Explorer, 6 using Google Chrome and 2 using Firefox browsers.
  • 16 visits were made with Windows PC’s and 5 with Mackintosh computers.
  • 18 visits were made via btcentralplus.com, 2 via ntl.com and 1 via virginmedia.com (service providers).
  • 18 visits were made using 24bit colour and 3 using 32 bit colour systems.
  • 8 visits used 1920×1200, 7 used 1366×768, 4 used 1280×800 and 2 used 1680×1050 screens.
  • 19 visits use Flash version 11.1 r102 with Java support and 2 use Flash version 10.0 r32 without Java support.

What was the minimum number of COMPUTERS needed to make the 21 visits to the blog?

I suspect there might be enough data to deduce the answer but I can’t guarantee it.

Answers posted in comments will be seen by others.