Microblog: A very long article Wikipedia article on the orientation of toilet paper [Jun 7th, 22:52] [R]

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Old Speckled Hen

Categories: [ Beer/Greene King ]


“First brewed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the MG car factory and affectionately named after an old MG car used as a factory runaround: The Owld Speckled Un.”

Just another ale, not bad. Contains malted barley.

Morland Brewing, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England. 3.5% alcohol.

[ Posted on April 30th, 2010 at 23:32 | no comment | ]

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Ring for Jeeves

Categories: [ Books/Wodehouse ]

ISBN: 9780091748333

© Amazon.fr

Published in 1953.

While Bertie Wooster is attending a school where he learns to darn his own socks (in the 1950s, the rich are not that rich anymore, and Bertie is preparing for a potentially less bright future), Jeeves is employed by Lord Bill Rowcester who is in desperate need for money if he wants to marry Jill, the girl he's engaged to. With Jeeves' help, he has become a bookmaker at a horse racing field, but because of two horses who won against all odds, he now owes three thousand pounds to a Captain Biggar. He and Jeeves manage to escape him and go back to Lord Rowcester's home, an old abbey he cannot afford to maintain and that his sister Monica, who is staying there too, hopes to sell to a rich American widow, Mrs Spottsworth. As it happens, Mrs Spottsworth knows Captain Biggar from her past, and since Biggar arrived at the abbey (in search for the owner of the car the bookmaker had fled in) and was recognized by Mrs Spottsworth, Monica invites him to stay. Additionally, Bill had met the widow in Cannes years ago and knows her too (which make Jill terribly jealous). Biggar eventually identifies Bill as the bookmaker and is distressed to learned that he is unable to pay him. Biggar needs the money to bet on a horse in the coming Derby in order to become wealthy enough to propose to Mrs Spottsworth (they are in love with each other, but Biggar doesn't want to be accused of marrying her for her money). Biggar then manages to convince Bill to steal Mrs Spottsworth's pendant, which Bill does successfully. Biggar disappears on the morning of the Derby, but the theft is dicovered and the local police is called. Biggar's horse comes second, but Biggar comes back and returns the jewel (he didn't dare pawning it). Mrs Spottsworth claims it doesn't matter if he's poor and they get engaged. She also buys the Abbey (to be taken appart and moved to California where the climat is not so damp), allowing Bill and Jill to get married.

[ Posted on April 25th, 2010 at 23:00 | no comment | ]

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010


Categories: [ Grumbling ]

Ari mentioned this afternoon that “reliable”, in an expression such as “a reliable politician” means “able to lie again”. Makes perfect sense to me.

[ Posted on April 22nd, 2010 at 18:29 | 3 comments | ]

Antenne TV

Translation: [ Google | Babelfish ]

Categories: [ DIY | TV ]

L'antenne d'intérieur active pour la télé fonctionne relativement bien, sauf quand des conditions indéterminées (en général l'après midi) font que la reception est vraiment mauvaise et que MPlayer plante lors de l'enregistrement. Après avoir lu je sais plus où (probablement dans Make), j'ai étudié la possibilité de construire une meilleure antenne. Je ne suis pas sûr d'y être parvenu, mais celle que j'ai fini par construire fonctionne plutôt bien. En fait le problème principal est que le mur situé entre le salon et la chambre à coucher augmente considérablement le bruit (le rapport signal/bruit donné par la carte DVB est nettement plus bas lorsque l'antenne est dans le salon que dans la chambre à coucher, et le taux d'erreur est plus élevé).

Après une première expérience avec un simple dipôle de 22 cm (prendre un câble d'antenne de 75 ohms, dénuder 11 cm, séparer le blindage de l'âme, torsader le blindage et le replier d'un coté, replier l'âme de l'autre coté pour obtenir un T) où j'ai découvert l'effet du mur, j'ai voulu développer une antenne qui soit adaptée aux fréquences des deux bouquets TNT que je regarde (YLE à 546 MHz et MTV3/Nelonen à 786 MHz).


Les deux fréquences étant éloignées l'une de l'autre, ce n'est pas une tâche facile. J'ai fini par obtenir un résultat théorique plutôt bon avec une biquad munie d'un réflecteur plan (voir le fichier NEC2).

antenne_1 J'ai alors construit la biquad avec une tige d'acier plaquée de cuivre (destinée à la soudure) de 2 mm de diamètre. Le coté d'un petit carré mesure 122 mm.


Je l'ai soudée à 10 m de câble d'antenne 75 ohms. Je comptais mettre l'antenne derrière la porte de la chambre où elle aurait été invisible, mais la réception était bien meilleure à coté de la fenêtre. J'ai donc dû rajouter une rallonge de 3 m.


Je me suis rendu compte qu'installer l'antenne dans la chambre à coucher avec son réflecteur situé 10 cm en arrière n'allait pas être facile (comprendre : ça va dépasser du mur et ça va être très moche). Mais les performances pratiques de cette antenne sans son reflecteur sont semble-t-il suffisamment bonnes (on n'est pas très loin de l'émetteur) : le taux d'erreur a été divisé par 16, et j'espère que ça évitera à la réception de devenir tellement mauvaise que MPlayer plante.


Les performances théoriques (meilleur gain net dans la partie haute de la bande de fréquences que dans la partie basse) contredisent les valeur (qui valent ce qu'elles valent) renvoyées par la carte DVB (taux d'erreur plus faible dans la partie basse de la bande). Je suppose qu'il existe une source de bruit externe plus forte dans la partie haute que dans la partie basse qui explique cette différence.

[ Posted on April 22nd, 2010 at 13:27 | no comment | ]

Amazon Images

Categories: [ IT ]

In Abusing Amazon images you learn how to abuse Amazon images, creating images of an Amazon product with whatever tag overlaid on it (such as a “99% off” bullet).

But the interesting part is that you can get images in any format with the following syntax: http://ecw.images-amazon.com/images/P/ASIN.01.size_info.jpg .

Useful values for size info are:

  • THUMBZZZ for thumbnail
  • TZZZZZZZ for medium-size
  • nothing for default size
  • L, LZ or LZZ for large
  • AAxx, xx is the size of the largest dimension
  • SXxx, xx is the width
  • XYxx, xx is the height
  • SSxx, xx is the size of width and height (image is padded with white)

Plenty of other features are available, I now use SSxx for the blog so that I can add size/height attributes to the IMG elements in the HTML and WAP 2.0 versions.

[ Posted on April 22nd, 2010 at 13:14 | no comment | ]

Sunday, April 18th, 2010


Categories: [ Cooking | Books ]

ISBN: 9781416560784

© Amazon.fr

After CookWise, another very interesting summary of current (2005) knowledge on food and cooking sciences, this time focusing on baking. Compared to CookWise, the recipes are measured both in exotic and metric units, but it contains some amount of repetition from its parent volume (especially the bread part in the end).

[ Posted on April 18th, 2010 at 17:53 | no comment | ]

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010


Categories: [ Books ]

ISBN: 9780060512804

© Amazon.fr

Two parallel story lines: World War II and modern times.

World War II: Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse is an american geek of maths, who befriends Alan Turing and Rudolf von Hacklheber at Princeton and joins the very small circle of code breakers after the attack on Perl Harbour. Along with Bobby Shaftoe, a Marines sergeant, and the mysterious, former-priest Enoch Root, they lead Detachment 2702 which is performing tactical deception operations to hide the fact that the allies are able to break many german codes. During one mission that Waterhouse did not take part in, Shaftoe and Root are made prisoner by Günter Bischoff, a U-boat captain, who although he is a German, doesn't approve of the Nazi's politics, and who eventually becomes their friend. They are all three stranded in Sweden for a several months where they meet von Hacklheber who is trying to escape from Goering's clutches, before Bischoff returns to the Kriegsmarine and is given command of a new, advanced submarine (because he blackmailed Dönitz, Großadmiral of the Kriegsmarine, to reveal information about hidden war gold). Shaftoe then tries to rejoin the US Army in the Philippines, where he befriends General MacArthur; Shaftoe has a girlfriend and a son he has never seen in Manila and wants to find them. He eventually dies in a commando mission while taking a japanese fortress where human computers are generating random streams for a not-yet-broken japanese cipher nicknamed Arethusa. Waterhouse, who built the world's first digital computer using valves, manages to break the code. He discovers that the Japanese have been hoarding gold in a secret cache on an island in the Philippines. Their plan was to create a new currency backed by gold, to be used after they have invaded the whole South-East Asia. Goto Dengo, the japanese officer who designed the cache, was, with a Chinese slave named Wing, one of the few survivors among the people who worked there, since the Japanese officers where to kill all the Chinese slave workers before commiting suicide. Since Arethusa was used for rallying Bischoff, von Hacklheber, Root and Goto to Shaftoe's funeral, Waterhouse manages to go there and has a discussion with Root who convinces him that the gold best remains hidden forever. A later discussion with his superior, Earl Comstock, who is convinced Arethusa is a sovietic code and later founds the NSA to do so, decides Waterhouse to steal the punch cards containing the Arethusa messages and to replace them whith pure random data. Bischoff and von Hacklheber eventually die when their submarine, loaded with Japanese gold from a less-secure cache meant to fund the dig for the main one, is sunk by the americans.

Modern times: Randy Waterhouse, grandson of Lawrence Waterhouse, is working in the Philippines at laying telecommunication cables between the Sultanate of Kinakuta and Manila. He's working with his friend Avi Halaby for Epiphyte(2), a startup aiming at creating in Kinakuta a data haven named the Crypt, and eventually the first electronic money based on cryptography. The startup uses the services of Douglas MacArthur Shaftoe, Bobby Shaftoe's son, to do the underwater work. They find Bischoff's submarine and its gold, which leads to Epiphyte(2) being sued by the Dentist, one of its investors, for not-strong-enough contract with Shaftoe's company, which would prevent the investor to get his hands on the gold. The Dentist has no proof there actually is gold, this attack is only a way to force Epiphyte(s)'s members to give him a majority of shares. Shaftoe then works hard to get the gold out of the submarine before The Dentist's goons can investigate the area. While on a trip back to Manila, drug is planted in Waterhouse's bags and he's sent to prison, but “someone” interceded in his favor and he's assigned a decent cell and allowed to keep his laptop. Since a digital copy of his grandfather's Arethusa messages are stored on his encrypted hard-drive, Randy suspect that he will be spied upon in his cell. At first he suspect the Dentist to be behind his emprisonment, but after a conversation with the latter he starts to rather suspect the Chinese general Wing who was also interested in the Crypt. He therefore works on Arethusa without ever displaying its ciphertext on-screen. At some point, a mysterious man with whom he had had e-mail conversations about cryptography and the Crypt appears in the cell next to his; the man is Enoch Root. When he eventually manages to break it, he displays faked information on his screen about the location of the gold, and is “magically” released from prison. When Avi learns about the gold, he wants to acquire it to back Epiphyte(2)'s electronic currency. They meet in Tokyo with Goto Dengo, whose company is already bulding the Crypt, to convince him to help them dig the gold. With Shaftoe, Root and a few men, they go to the island, where they manage to find the entrance. By injecting huge amounts of gasoline and air into the tunnels, they melt the gold and extract it in its liquid form, while Wing is digging at the wrong location.

[ Posted on April 6th, 2010 at 17:31 | no comment | ]

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Butcombe Blond

Categories: [ Beer/Butcombe ]


“Continental hops from Slovenia and Czechoslovakia hops… bottled to celebrate Concorde's final flight back home to Filton, Bristol… Citrus, floral hop”

Bitter, just another ale. Contains wheat and malted barley.

Butcombe Brewery, Bristol, England. 4.5% alcohol.

[ Posted on April 1st, 2010 at 20:30 | no comment | ]