blog:mbfOrbiter - free space flight simulator (22.12.2005, 14:31 UTC)
My friend Joe, the man behind Galway.net sent me a link to Orbiter - a free space flight simulator. It looks very cool and is on the queue of things to download via my measly dialup. I thought I'd post about it now rather than waiting for it to come down. Seriously, though, three posts in one day? I mustn't be well...
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blog:mbfThe History of Spice, the Geography of Flavour (22.12.2005, 14:02 UTC)
I'm still learning about cooking and the way I try to learn is to concentrate on a geographic region for a while and experiment with the flavours normally associated with the region. I associate certain spices and herbs with particular regions. What I find fascinating is which herbs and spices are also used in neighbouring regions, which are dropped and the new ones that are introduced. Most of the flavour geography is as much political as it is to do with natural geography (i.e. where p...
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blog:mbfGraphing the POTB-o-sphere (22.12.2005, 11:27 UTC)
I wrote some code a couple of months ago to grab the front page for all the blogs on Planet of the Blogs. The idea was to figure out which blogs on POTB link to each other. John Breslin has taken the code and run with it, creating an initial graph of the POTB-o-shpere. You can see what I wrote implemented into POTB here. There are a few caveats regarding the data gathered. If the blog main page as defined by the POTB blog database doesn't contain links or if they're generated by some java...
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blog:mbfNovember Searches (2.12.2005, 15:16 UTC)
I get way more visits to this site via search engines than direct linkage. Here's some of the more interesting search terms from November 2005 in no particular order... toe of frog Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble. Fillet of a fenny snake In the cauldron boil and bake; Eye of newt and toe of frog, Wool of bat and tongue of dog, Adder's fork and blindworm's sting, Lizard's leg and owlet's wing, For a charm of powerful...
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blog:mbf'Twas a dark and Coole night. (18.11.2005, 16:35 UTC)
It's good to freak yourself out once in a while. On Tuesday, the weather had been pretty bad all day, so the dog didn't get a walk all day. This makes for a frustrated dog and, by extension of her resulting behaviour, a frustrated me. It finally cleared up around 5pm, but was still a bit drizzly. I thought it might be nice to go to Coole Park, seeing as the trees would keep any rain off if it started again. By the time I got there, it was quite dark. I took a route through the woods t...
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blog:mbfThe quest for broadband (18.11.2005, 16:21 UTC)
Anyone who reads Maura's blog is well aware of the fact we would really like broadband in our little neck of the woods. I noticed on the RTE news site that Irish Broadband have launched WiMAX broadband services in Athlone, Arklow, Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Ennis, Galway, Kilkenny, Killaloe, Letterkenny, Limerick, Newbridge, Portlaoise and Wexford. Woohoo, says I and proceed to check out their website (handily not linked from the article). I can find nothing on their site even announcing a p...
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blog:mbfVirtual packing (2.11.2005, 20:04 UTC)
The server that hosts this website (and a bunch of others) is moving IP address. And there was much rejoicing. Yay! Doesn't sound so bad? Well, it's a pain. Mostly for my own benefit, the list of tasks are as follows: Change the TTL for the DNS for all 12 websites hosted here. Luckily this only requires changing two lines in one file as my long-term laziness anticipated this eventuality Take the opportunity to do a major upgrade on the new IP, which in turn creates the f...
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blog:mbfDo not Pass (1.11.2005, 23:48 UTC)
I assure you I'm not [drunk] officer, I've only had a few ales.I love long exposures. I had to do a bit of touching up on this and the last two photos. They were all taken in the dark with a high film speed (400) so they were a bit grainy. A little despeckling and sharpening, though, and they look a lot better. Photo taken on May 14th, 2005.
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blog:mbfMistress Maura (1.11.2005, 23:25 UTC)
Finally congrats to Maura on getting a 1st in her Masters Degree in Screenwriting. Luckily the graduation isn't for another few weeks, although I do plan to have a good few late nights while she's off in L.A. No photo, because she hasn't graduated yet. I can't wait to see what search terms the title of this post attracts.
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blog:mbfThe other M and M (1.11.2005, 23:24 UTC)
The other M and MThe other M and M Reason the second for my shattered state last week: I was at Martin Feeney and Maura McHale's Wedding in Castlebar. Many congratulations to the pair and I wish them all the best together. Note: to those who may be a bit confused, these are two entirely different people to me (Martin Feeney) and my wife (Maura McHugh).
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blog:mbfTiernan Mahon Martin Feeney (1.11.2005, 23:22 UTC)
I was in London just over a week ago to attend the christening of Tiernan Mahon Martin Feeney (not looking so impressed with his head-wetting in this photo). Congrats to my older brother, Shane, his wife Patricia and, of course to Tiernan himself.
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blog:mbfTiernan Mahon Martin Feeney (1.11.2005, 23:22 UTC)
Tiernan Mahon Martin FeeneyI was in London just over a week ago to attend the christening of Tiernan Mahon Martin Feeney (not looking so impressed with his head-wetting in this photo). Congrats to my older brother, Shane, his wife Patricia and, of course to Tiernan himself.
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blog:mbfShattered (29.10.2005, 01:14 UTC)
I've got a blinder behind the eyesAttending a christening and a wedding in different countries within the same week is not a recipe for a healthy liver. This photo, taken April Fools' Day 2005, accurately depicts my current state. Goodnight.
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blog:mbfShepherds' Delight (20.10.2005, 05:37 UTC)
Sunset BeachSunset on Ballyloughane beach in Renmore. Photo taken Oct. 11th, 2005.
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blog:mbfSilver Strand (20.10.2005, 05:35 UTC)
Splosh!This and the last photo were taken on a beach called Silver Strand near Barna woods. Photo taken Oct. 13th, 2005.
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blog:mbfRock Pool (20.10.2005, 05:29 UTC)
What month is this again?We've had some unseasonably good weather in the last couple of weeks, so our dog Minnie got to go to a couple of beaches and I got to hurt my shoulder throwing things for her to chase on these beaches. Yes, this was taken on Oct. 13th, 2005.
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blog:mbfIE is so very broken (20.10.2005, 02:20 UTC)
I like to keep my html and css very simple - mostly so I can understand it later. I've been working on a new design for this site on and off for the last few days - mostly using overlapping elements for a look that I like. Then I tried it out on IE to see what it looked like ... random display errors everywhere. I don't understand how IE positions elements. margin-left: -30px ends up looking more like margin-left: -70px. Bits of elements underneath poke through randomly until I set the...
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blog:mbfSpiced vegetable Couscous (20.10.2005, 02:17 UTC)
I haven't posted a recipe in a while; so here's another Middle-Eastern type of dish with some Irish influences. Ingredients Enough couscous for 2 people 1 large or 2 small spuds 1 red pepper 1-2 carrots 4-5 mushrooms a few frozen peas 1-2 cloves of garlic 1-2 scallions 6-9 dried chopped apricots or a handful of raisins A couple of sundried tomatoes Any other veg that takes your fancy a handful of pine nuts or chopped almonds 2 tsp turmeric 2 tsp cu...
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blog:mbfOctober observations (7.10.2005, 23:52 UTC)
Not really anything to do with October, but... Imagemagick command-line tools rock. I wanted to create a lot of thumbnails of pictures and do some other image processing at the same time. I turned to the gd toolkit and started wrote a C program to do so. Now unfortunately these thumbnails have to be used with Internet Explorer and well as Firefox, so truecolor pngs with proper alpha transparency are out (IE does a very poor job of handling them). I had to use palette-based transparenc...
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blog:mbfHopeful death of the captcha (21.9.2005, 04:24 UTC)
I've removed the captcha from the comments. There's a 4 part set of tests that any request to add a comment has to go through, but hopefully it should all be transparent to the commenter. It should stop the spammers, if not - back to the captcha. It's possible to do a lot of very clever stuff with mod_rewrite and php once you sit down and think about it. They've been my weapons of choice for the last few days.
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blog:mbfScumbag Spammers Redux (17.9.2005, 07:02 UTC)
Just for fun (yes, I know - I'm weird), I though I'd collect a little information on the scumbag spammers that have been making life annoying for me. I've already made it so that they get no benefit from what they're at, but they muddy up my access logs and the resulting reports, so the next step is to make them not have a detrimental effect on me. There's a sysadmin saying that came to mind as I was going through this exercise. "Go away or I will replace you with a very small shell scr...
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blog:mbfGrounded Red (13.9.2005, 19:26 UTC)
Can't I sunbathe in peace?Possibly another common darter otherwise it's a ruddy darter based on the shape of the abdomen. I stood up after I got a couple of shots of this guy and he flew up and hovered a couple of feet infront of my face. The he twisted his head around a lot more than I thought was possible. It was a sort of an exorcist moment. I guess they have well articulated necks. Photo taken August 3rd, 2005
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blog:mbfBamboo Dragonfly (13.9.2005, 19:23 UTC)
Fighter Squadron ready, Sir!This may be a female or immature male common darter, or it may be a black-lined skimmer. It looks a lot like a skimmer, but it would be out of its environment. In any case, it looks to me like a futuristic japanese bio-mechanoid space fighter with its swept-forward wings and bamboo-like abdomen. Photo taken August 3rd, 2005
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blog:mbfCommon Darter (13.9.2005, 19:18 UTC)
Just chillin'There are times I wish I had a nice Digital SLR - like when I see these guys hovering in mid-air and I need to take a shot quickly. Donations to the "Buy Martin a Canon EOS 350D fund" are very welcome. This is almost certainly a common darter - one of the more common dragonflies in Ireland. A lot of people seem to be very wary of dragonflies, thinking they might bite or sting. They do neither. They can't even catch their prey in their mouths - they form a sort of basket wi...
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blog:mbfScumbags (13.9.2005, 18:33 UTC)
What's the story with poker these days? It's this new craze that's hitting all the cheap lowspots across all media. It's on all the cheap slots on satellite TV instead of the tame psuedo-porn text-in cash-cows. It has also taken over from porn as the top spamming scumbag industry. I've had to turn off trackbacks on my blog mostly because of these poker spammers. They've also been polluting my referrer logs (even though they're not public and I don't have a list of top referrers on ...
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blog:mbfBat Catch and Release (28.7.2005, 04:20 UTC)
Curses, foiled againExcellent, it was confined to one room with very little clutter for it to interfere with and, bonus, there was an open window it might fly out of. It flew to the window several times, but didn't manage to notice that it was a way out. Why is it that flying things can manage to find the smallest gap through which to get into a house or light fixture, but can never seem to figure their way back out again? Maybe it's blind panic (sorry). At this stage I was looking t...
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blog:mbf (28.7.2005, 04:16 UTC)
Just hanging aroundOnce I got over the "Frickin $DEITY, it's a bat" shock - well, that and the ducking - I thought of what I could do to get the bat out of the house without harming it. First I needed to get it out of the office - way too many places for it to scurry and hide in. And, yes, they do scurry when they've landed - well half scurry, half creep in a fairly disturbing manner. I thought of waving my hands about to get it to shoo, but bats are blind. Now I know they use sonar ...
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blog:mbfIt's curtains for this bat (28.7.2005, 04:16 UTC)
Just hanging aroundOnce I got over the "Frickin $DEITY, it's a bat" shock - well, that and the ducking - I thought of what I could do to get the bat out of the house without harming it. First I needed to get it out of the office - way too many places for it to scurry and hide in. And, yes, they do scurry when they've landed - well half scurry, half creep in a fairly disturbing manner. I thought of waving my hands about to get it to shoo, but bats are blind. Now I know they use sonar ...
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blog:mbfMoths and other nocturnal beasts (28.7.2005, 04:13 UTC)
Where is Gojira?Given that I live in the country and tend to sit in a lit office late in the evenings, I'm used to things flying about, butting their heads against the lights - and in the case of tiny fruit flies, parking themselves on my monitor. Moths in particular tend to flitter around the light bulbs, casting interesting shadows on the wall. This particular moth had had enough of the flittering and was having a rest on the bathroom wall. The interesting lighting is from a hand-hel...
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blog:mbfA bunch of Gamers (10.7.2005, 03:51 UTC)
Many years ago a small group of software developers, sysadmins and ... well, we were all hardcore geeks — we got together for the sole purpose of playing a bunch of network games together. We decided to make a weekend out of it as we were at it. Part of the bold and cunning underpinning of this plan was that, seeing as how we were all geeks and knew how to build computers from parts and install operating systems, there'd be no hardware or software incompatabilities to cause any pr...
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