Dave's Blog

This blog is mainly about the things I know and love... technology and gadgets. There's a bit of customer service stuff in here too, both good and bad. There's also some environmental and political comment, and some very personal stuff too. These articles should be regarded as solely the opinion or experiences of the author. If anyone feels that they have been unfairly represented by these articles, please contact me. Any comments are solely the views of the commenters, and unpleasant comments will be removed.

Gadget Updates

Since Clare died in July I've been miserable, I've had a lot of time on my hands, and significantly more disposable income than I was expecting, given that I'm not at work. Coupled with a need to be cheered up, and a "you only live once" philosphy, I've bought rather more gadgets than I have in recent years (perhaps too many). The list so far includes:

  • Ruark R2 mk3 Internet radio (which I actually bought while Clare was still at home)
  • Nikon D750 full-frame SLR
  • Google Nexus 9 tablet
  • Marantz M-CR511 hi-fi network streamer, with Wharfedale Diamond 220 loudspeakers
  • Epson XP-760 printer/scanner
  • Toshiba Chromebook

I hope this is the end of the current spree, although a new car (not a Volkswagen) is on the list too. I hope to publish at least a cursory review of each of these over the coming weeks and months.

Edit: In January 2016 I bought a Volkwagen Golf. Who would have thought it, eh?

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Annus Horribilis

Plans were afoot. There was talk of a trip to Snowdonia at the end of September, I had rejoined the Institute of Advanced Motorists in order to retake my advanced driving test, and I had started to play badminton regularly. In addition, there were a number of things I wanted to do in the autumn, call it a bucket list if you like. Then it all went wrong.

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Read more: Annus Horribilis


It started in spring 2012 with just a few minor symptoms. Nothing too specific...

These are my personal thoughts of Clare's three year struggle against the cancer that finally took her life on the 2nd of July 2015. Please don't read it unless you really want to, and please bear in mind that it's quite bleak, because that's how I feel at the moment.

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Read more: Walls

And On That Bombshell...

The furore surrounding Jeremy Clarkson's suspension by the BBC, and the cancellation of several episodes of Top Gear, continues.

The petition to the BBC to reinstate him (at the time of writing) has exceeded 900,000, and it looks inevitable that it will reach one million. Regardless of whether Clarkson did or didn't punch the producer, allegedly regarding the absence of steak, I wonder if those million-ish people would be so enthusiastic if they'd just been punched by a colleague? There can't be one million amateur boxing motoring enthusiasts, surely?

If you assault someone at work a suspension is the least you should expect, and it doesn't matter who started it. I'm not a huge fan of Top Gear, because there's not enough real motoring journalism. A bunch of over-payed people cocking about in cars is often entertaining, but doesn't justify alleged casual racism or violence. Needless to say, I haven't signed the petition.

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36arn is IPv6-enabled

This website and the 36arn.co.uk mail server are now IPv6-enabled. In other words, they are accessible using the "new" 128-bit address scheme, which will become ubiquitous as the pool of 32-bit addresses runs dry and the demand for connected devices (the so-called Internet of Things) increases.

Many parts of the world already have a well developed IPv6 infrastructure, but the UK is dragging its feet in my opinion. My ISP, PlusNet, has had various trials of IPv6 for a while. However, there is no sign of any kind of roll-out. There are a number of issues related to IPv6 which seem to be causing ISPs to put it off, insteading looking at stop-gap alternatives such as CG-NAT. I personally think that the main reason is that although IPv6 is relatively easy to understand for the technically minded, it is more difficult for non-technical or semi-technical people to understand. Things like NAT, with which many people are familiar, don't really apply with IPv6.

In this article, I'll explain how I've managed to deploy IPv6 despite my strictly IPv4 ISP, and my less-than-helpful domain registrar!

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Read more: 36arn is IPv6-enabled

Local Strawberries

My local fruit and veg man (Natural Choice in Barnards Green, Malvern) has been delivering us strawberries recently, as part of our weekly box. It is worth mentioning how delicious these strawberries are. A beautiful rich red colour, and a sweet and intense flavour. But that's not what prompted me to write this short piece...

Hulls. At this point, most people under a certain age (30?) won't know what I'm talking about. To explain, the hull is the bit of the strawberry you get left with when you firmly grasp the attached stalk, and gently pull. You end up with a stalk with a cone-shaped bit in one hand (the hull), and 100% delicious strawberry in the other. You don't have to get a knife and cut the end off (increasing waste), and it's much quicker. Unfortunately, dehulling (if that's a proper word) a supermarket strawberry is pretty much impossible, and they don't taste as nice either.

I'm really glad you can still get tasty strawberries from small local suppliers. Come on big supermarkets, bring back proper strawberries!

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