Sunday, August 30, 2009

It's a geek thing

I don't normally blog about work stuff, but something I did recently I thought was pretty cool - in fact so cool I am blogging about it...

It is an installation of Windows XP being performed on a virtual machine running on a remote Linux host being accessed via Hamachi and VNC from a Windows virtual machine running on a Mac OS X host...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Spotify Vs iTunes

I've had Spotify installed ever since Gail Porter reviewed it on the Gadget Show in April. I've used it increasingly since then until right now when I realised I've not used iTunes (in which I have a lot of purchased music) for weeks! Over the past few years I've scrobbled all the music I've played in iTunes and on my iPod to and now this suggesting new music for me to listen to in Spotify!! I'm loving the combination of Spotify and

I've not used my iPod since my holidays as in the UK I listen to Spotify over a 3G connection on my Dell mini 9 netbook as I'm usually on the train or something!

I'm now considering the monthly subscription to Spotify which gives better quality music and no adverts. Though at £9.99 it is a hard sell over the free version - perhaps at £5 a month I'd jump.

My iTunes collection is looking rather lonely now...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Skyride Glasgow

Skyride Glasgow - 06
Originally uploaded by barry_williams.

Today I decided to something energetic...

Years ago I bought a bicycle and used it about 4 or 5 times and then stored it in the shed or garden occasionally washing it...

Skyride is a push to get more cyclists out and about, so they closed portions of the roads between Glasgow Green and Bells bridge. Marshalls and police then directed thousands of cyclists around this traffic free circuit.

I went around the circuit twice - enjoyed the atmosphere and regained my cycling enthusiasm, I even signed up for a "Skyride local" around Bellahouston park next week!!

This was quite a large event and included some celebrities (Sir Chris Hoy, Ross Edgar and Gethin Jones) along with mountain bike stunts and extreme BMX. I could even say I cycled along with Chris Hoy - but so did a few hundred others...

Quite fun - this photo is of "Rock God" one of the tricyclists who played out music whilst doing the circuit. I quite liked the "make some noise" drummers from Real Radio under Glasgow Central Bridge along Broomielaw.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dell 5530 / Ericsson f3507g 3G Signal Monitor on Linux

A few months back I made a python script available which monitored the Dell 5530 / Ericsson f3507g mobile broadband modem in Linux providing network, access type and signal information to a file for other programs (such as Conky) to pick up and display the data.

I've since updated this program to now use PyGTK to display a status icon indicating the signal strength and the access type. Through this icon the radio state can be changed to enforce 3G only, GPRS only or 3G preferred connections (aswell as turning the radio off).

The script should work in tandem to network-manager so you can still get online using something you already use. The only addition is a new status icon with your signal strength - something ModemManager should resolve when it becomes available as standard in a few months time. If you can't wait that long and want signal monitoring, then this is for you!

Additionally, if you use vnstat to monitor your bandwidth, clicking the status icon will display your current months usage for ppp0.

Dell 5530 / Ericsson f3507g 3G Signal Monitor for Linux

Update: Now lives on GitHub at

Hopefully someone may find this program useful! If you do, why not consider donating to Multiple Sclerosis? There is a sponsorship button on the front page of my blog or at JustGiving

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Great Scottish Run 2009

A quick announcement on behalf of my wife Louise and her sister (Anne) who are running the Great Scottish 10K Run this September. They are running for charity and raising money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland.

Louise and Anne have set up a sponsorship page on JustGiving and whilst these are hard times for everyone - I would be thankful if anyone can donate even the smallest amount!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Cool Map

This reminds me the episode in Futurama where aliens in Omicron Persei 8 (about 1000 light years from Earth) in the 31st century watch TV programs from Earth's 21st century.

Few assumptions to be made - assuming background noise didn't swamp the transmissions and they were sent in all directions from Earth rather than spiralling out with the planet's rotation. Still a cool map!!