At work I needed a cheap laptop for a computer-illiterate user. Giving them Windows, would have meant that they would have had to keep up-to-date with Windows Updates, with all the potential issues that would cause, along with the need for malware protection. It would also have pushed up the cost, a laptop capable of pushing Windows along reasonably decently, would have cost a few hundred pounds at least.
Generally I would just have purchased a low-end Lenovo laptop and installed Ubuntu onto it, but I was aware that Ebuyer had recently launched an HP255 G1 Laptop with Ubuntu pre-installed for £219.99 inc. vat (just £183 if you can reclaim the VAT). Continue Reading
At a dinner party a few months ago, the host asked if I could repair their go-kart, using my RepRap 3D Printer. Apparently the steering wheel had broken off and the Chinese supplier refused to supply only the steering wheel. I accepted the challenge, but did warn that PLA was not the ideal plastic for such a repair, being somewhat brittle.
I decided to approach the problem by removing all the broken plastic from the back of the steering wheel, and designing a new part to slot over the steering column nut and bolt onto the remains of the steering wheel.
After a magical sailing season last year, we have decided to trade up to a bigger boat and that means that we need to sell Welia. This does feel a bit like we’re parting with one of the family!
For more information, please visit http://welia.info.
A soft shackle
I’ve been looking into the best method for attaching sheets to the foresail. Metal shackles are dangerous and can rip holes in sails, bowlines are unreliable knots when not under pressure, and a continuous line looped in the middle through the clew is likely to compress the clew over time.
The ideal solution appears to be to splice soft eyes into the end of each sheet, and attach them to the clew with a “soft shackle”. Being a lover of knots, I thought I’d give it a go and this was my first attempt. The surprising thing was the cost – I used 5mm Marlow Excel Vectram 12, at a cost of £5.91 per metre, which is enough to make a single soft shackle. The reason is the strength 5mm Vectram has a similar strength to 10mm braid on braid, 2400kgs breaking strain.
I followed the instructions in this video, which resulted in a 5 inch loop, too short for the intended purpose. A second attempt with a 7 inch loop looks long enough; although I have not yet tried it on the boat. The next step will be to splice soft eyes into each sheet.
Our built-in De-Dietrich microwave over has been broken for weeks. Initially the door catch had broken, but a replacement catch DIY-fitted had not fixed the problem.
De-Dietrich’s service agent wanted £195 to come out and fix the oven – a ludicrous price for a 13 year old microwave. Other appliance repair centres would either not repair microwave ovens at all, or particularly excluded De-Dietrich.
Fortunately one such appliance repair person recommended that we contact Visual Eyes in Farnham, Surrey. We did so, and the next day a nice man came and fixed our oven for £40.
Great service, thank you Visual Eyes.
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PDFTK – The PDF Toolkit
I have long been a keen user of pdftk, the PDF Toolkit, but am frequently surprised when people have not heard of it. True, it is a command line tool, but it is easy to incorporate into service menus, scripts etc and doubtless there is a GUI front-end for it somewhere (in fact there is one linked to from the above page).
Clearly a blog post is called for, but, whilst you wait for a post that will never arrive, here is a link to some examples that should open your eyes to what is possible with pdftk.
To get started on a Debian-based system:
$ sudo apt-get install pdftk
$ man pdftk
Anyone who has enjoyed the dubious benefits of working with IPSEC will find OpenVPN a delight, but what do you do with your client.ovpn file once you have it?
If you spend most of your time in a terminal anyway, then I would suggest just putting all your client.ovpn files into ~/.openvpn, renaming them in some appropriate way, and then using them simply by typing: