Starting To Feel Like Christmas!

I don’t know if it’s the sudden cold snap, but I am starting to feel more Christmassy !

To help get into the mood it’s time to get the cards done, or buy next years if you are super organised!

Check out these cards (PDF Catalogue) from the Scottish Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Yahoo Support is Improving

I have started to have lots of issues whith the Yahoo toolbar for Firefox.

As a travelling consultant who regularly flits between home, office and multiple client sites and multiple PC’s at each site it is a boon to be able to access my bookmarks especially at any PC I use. For YEARS I have been using the Yahoo Bookmarks service, and since it was launched I have been using the Yahoo Companion or Yahoo Toolbar.

Recently it has stopped showing me my buttons on the toolbar:

Yahoo Toolbar Broken
Continue reading Yahoo Support is Improving

New Toys

Took delivery of some new toys on Wednesday:

Davro Astro BoomerangDavro Traditional BoomerangDavro Outback BoomerangDavro Falcon Boomerang
Continue reading New Toys

Exposure

Exposure is the heart and the art and the act of taking a photograph.

In film cameras, the film must be exposed to light, the light causes a chemical reaction to occur which captures and records the picture.

In a digital camera, the action is the same except, instead of the light falling on a chemical soaked film, it lands on a sensor. Think of the sensor as the camera’s eye, it “sees” the light and records the picture.

I don’t really want to use an eye as an analogy as your eye has a very clever brain behind it helping out. To simplify things your eye needs just the right amount of light to see. Too much light and you are blinded, time to put on your polarised sunglasses (more of this in another article I think), not enough light and it is too dark to see.

The “right” amount of light, is what’s known as the correct exposure. You are letting in just enought light to record a good photo. Continue reading Exposure

Photography Tips

Emma decided to to photography at school this year buit is not a formal course, just a teacher that is taking her through it.

She is enjoying it, but is not feeling that she is getting much from it.

Sarah has also expressed an interest in learning more.

I thought I would write a series of short articles just coving my understanding of the basics. This will help to consolidate my knowledge and act as a reference for the kids.

Dimensionally Modelling A Recursive Hierarchy


Creative Commons License photo credit: gadl

I was recently asked how to include a recursive hierarchy into a dimensional model.

What do I mean by a recursive hierarchy? This is when an entity (a table) relates to it’s self. Take the following example from an Oracle database:

EMPNO ENAME JOB MGR HIREDATE SAL COMM DEPTNO
7369 ‘SMITH’ ‘CLERK’ 7902 ’17-DEC-1980′ 800 NULL 20
7499 ‘ALLEN’ ‘SALESMAN’ 7698 ’20-FEB-1981′ 1600 300 30
7521 ‘WARD’ ‘SALESMAN’ 7698 ’22-FEB-1981′ 1250 500 30
7566 ‘JONES’ ‘MANAGER’ 7839 ‘2-APR-1981’ 2975 NULL 20
7654 ‘MARTIN’ ‘SALESMAN’ 7698 ’28-SEP-1981′ 1250 1400 30
7698 ‘BLAKE’ ‘MANAGER’ 7839 ‘1-MAY-1981’ 2850 NULL 30
7782 ‘CLARK’ ‘MANAGER’ 7839 ‘9-JUN-1981’ 2450 NULL 10
7788 ‘SCOTT’ ‘ANALYST’ 7566 ’09-DEC-1982′ 3000 NULL 20
7839 ‘KING’ ‘PRESIDENT’ NULL ’17-NOV-1981′ 5000 NULL 10
7844 ‘TURNER’ ‘SALESMAN’ 7698 ‘8-SEP-1981’ 1500 0 30
7876 ‘ADAMS’ ‘CLERK’ 7788 ’12-JAN-1983′ 1100 NULL 20
7900 ‘JAMES’ ‘CLERK’ 7698 ‘3-DEC-1981’ 950 NULL 30
7902 ‘FORD’ ‘ANALYST’ 7566 ‘3-DEC-1981’ 3000 NULL 20
7934 ‘MILLER’ ‘CLERK’ 7782 ’23-JAN-1982′ 1300 NULL 10

From this we can see that there is a recursive hierarchy within this table between the empno column and the mgr column, the mgr column shows the employee that is the manager for each row.
Continue reading Dimensionally Modelling A Recursive Hierarchy

Backwoods Survival

Sarah, Connor and I just spent a fantastic day with Patrick McGlinchey from Backwoods Survival School on the outskirts of Glasgow.

We started off the day with a discussion on what “Backwoods” actually means and how it’s as much about preparing your mind as it is your body and your kit. Patrick was able to describe just about every plant, weed, shrub and tree that we passed and gave us the chance to sample all of the edible morsels that we could find as we walked through the woods. We also discussed the materials that could be obtained and what could be made from them, this included everything from cordage to fish traps to which wood was the hottest and brightest to burn.

We then had a long talk on knife safety as much for my benefit as for Sarah (12) and Connor (8). It was then time to put these skills to the test. Connor had chosen to make a bow and arrow whilst Sarah and I would be making a fire bow. Again plenty of time was spent showing us the steps required. One of Patrick’s principles is to learn by doing. He may well show you how to do something, but you don’t take what he starts and finish it, you have to reproduce the steps he has shown you. This obviously takes a little longer but is MUCH more rewarding.

Now The Arrow

The only complaint that I could possibly have is that; as I had to pay so much attention to completing my own task, I completely missed the finer details of how to make arrows. I’ll need to see what Connor remembers. The only bit I picked up on was using dried dogfish skin to sand the shaft.

Our creations complete, it was time for a well earned (I thought) cup of tea. Patrick demonstrated fire starting using a fire bow and also using flint and steel in conjunction with some fungus.

First the fire, THEN the tea !

After the tea it was time to put my firebow and my stamina to the test. I did manage to get it burned in. I did manage to produce smoke. I even managed to burn my finger, by poking it in to “see how hot it was”. The main thing I was struggling with was bowing level, so i was a bit stop and start. I will be practicing this over the next few weeks.

Next it was time to “hunt” for our “dinner”. Patcick had brought along one of his hand made blowpipes and we took it in turns to pop a handily placed balloon. Despite my previous reputation as a blowhard it was Sarah who had the best combinatio of puff and aim.

It was then time to head back to the car, sampling some more nibbles on the way and also giving Connor a chance to try out his bow and arrow in an open field.

All in all a fantastic day, proof of the pudding, the kids want to go back again. I am going back, I have booked to go on the next available Backwoodsman course which lasts a whole weekend.

Emma’s Progress

Not a lot of updates on Emma’s progress recently so here we go.

Emma’s power in her arms and wrists has deteriorated severely over the last few weeks.
This we have seen comingĀ  for a little while, we have been helping her to eat for six months or so.
The biggest impact this is having is that she can no longer use the keyboard on her laptop: so her online presence on Bebo and MSN has been brought to a premature end.
She has already been assessed for alternative input tools such as an eye controlled system. This happened when she was last at Rachel House so I never got a chance to find out more.

More worryingly the muscles in her throat are starting to weaken so she has started to choke on her food occasionally.

September Weekend Holiday

I have just realised that it has been ages since I have posted here.

It has been a fairly uneventful holiday so far. Did some decorating:

  • Connor’s bedroom ceiling (he has not chosen main colours yet)
  • Main bathroom
  • Upstairs Hall
  • Stairs
  • Downstairs Hall
  • Downstairs Bathroom.

All painted.

Time for a day off now.

Tomorrow, myself Connor and Sarah are off to meet Patrick McGlinchey he is the main instructor at the Backwoods Survival School.

I’ll update here with all of the things we cover.

Ross

Selective Colour

I suggested a possible change to a Flickr friend’s photo.

From

To

You can see the original here.

I thought it would look better fully monocrome with just the lips and the flowers in their original colour.

Here is how I did it.
Continue reading Selective Colour