I hadn’t planned on a special Easter post this year, but this one has been lying around for a while, so I’d just like to say Happy Easter to everyone with this little update. Althought there might not be happening too much right here at the moment, I’m still posting photos daily over on the Photograpghy Blog and I’m posting some spacey news regularly over on Google+ too, so I’m definitively not out of the loop. But now on to the news…
A couple of weeks ago, I finally moved the blog to the new Bibra.eu domain, something I wanted to do since sometime last year, but I never got around to it. This actually involved creating a complete copy of the site and putting a redirector in place of the old address, so I wouldn’t have to change every graphics url and all files are still in both locations – luckily, I have plenty enough webspace for that. On the surface, the address switch changes nothing because all old urls are still valid and will be simply redirected to the new domain if they’re visited, so there will be hopefully no dead links. The other two websites, DVDLog and my Photography Blog are not affected by this and still remain at their current addresses.
Another feature I’ve recently added is SSL encryption for all my sites – I discovered that my provider All-Inkl.com has added easy support for Let’s Encrypt certificates a while ago and of course I took advantage of that. This is mostly a way for myself to encrypt the WordPress backend, but all three websites are available with SSL encryption now. Although keep in mind that parts of the sites, especially some of the graphics, will still be loaded over unencrypted connections, so this is only a half-secure solution from a visitor’s perspective and I’m aware that Let’s Encrypt certificates aren’t really worth that much. For that reason, I haven’t made the SSL encryption mandantory, but you can put a https:// in front of my websites and they will be fully working.
That’s all for now – as usual, everything here is more or less constantly under construction and if something is broken, please don’t hesitate to tell me here in the comments.
I finally did it – I got my Internet line upgraded! For the last eight-ish years, I’ve been on a DSL-6000, which meant about 6 mbit/s downstream and only about 0.5 mbit/s upstream. That was not really an issue years ago when there were no video chats or huge files to upload, but nowadays, such a slow upstream really becomes a terrible bottleneck as file sizes increase and bandwidth for live video is necessary. In addition to that, my internet provider, the German Telekom, had been bugging me to upgrade from the old ADSL and the analogue phone line to VDSL and VoIP telephony, so I finally decided to take the plunge and make the change – even though the last upgrade eight years ago resulted in a two week outage and an odyssey through the call centers. But I’m happy to report that nothing blew up and for the last two weeks I’ve been finally enjoying really fast internet.
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So, the first two weeks of the new year are almost now over and maybe it’s time to get going here again – but with what? I have to admit that I made absolutely no preparations for a new year’s posting at all and I’m really not in the mood for a look back at the dreadful last year that saw me losing my mother and almost my home. So I’m just going to wing it and pick the few best bits of 2016 and how they’re going to continue in the new year. Of course, after I finished this introduction and wrote the actual article, it did turn out to be the typical recap I post every year, but with more of an outlook to the near future. So, let’s have a look at what 2017 has in store, because this year can only get better than the last!
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I’d like to wish all family, friends, regular readers, commenters and all other visitors Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, A Happy New Year or any other Holiday Greetings you prefer! As you know, I prefer Happy Newtonmas because Isaac Newton was born on December 25th, but I’m very democratic in that respect and let everyone celebrate the the holiday they like.
There’s not really much positive to say about 2016 from my personal perspective and so I’ll postpone the traditional end-of-year roundup to either between the holidays or early next year. I haven’t really decided if I’m going to take a break posting over in the Photography Blog, but I probably will share the usual round of photos all through the holidays. There’s still lots to post and as usual you can also follow me on Google+, Twitter or Facebook to get everything from me in one place, although answering comments and other writing might be a bit light over the next couple of days. But next year I’ll try to get everything rolling again properly around here!
Also, thank you to everyone – you know who you are – who kept me sane in the last half year. I really wouldn’t have made it without you!
MERRY NEWTONMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Yesterday, my mother Angela unexpectedly passed away and we are all very, very sad and miss her terribly. I’ve made another short post over on the photography blog and I’ll say a bit more about my wonderful mother when I’ve recovered from this sudden event. I’d like to thank everyone who already sent me condolences and great words of hope. I’m going to be okay and will continue with everything soon, I may just be a little bit more quiet than usual because I have lots to do in the next days. Angela will stay alive through me and my memories of her and our whole family will never forget her.
I’d like to wish all family, friends, regular readers, commenters and all other visitors Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, A Happy New Year or any other Holiday Greetings you prefer! Of course, I like Happy Newtonmas because Isaac Newton was born on December 25th, but I’m very democratic in that respect and let everyone celebrate the the holiday they prefer.
This is my traditional end-of-year posting with a roundup of things I’ve been up to this year – which turned out to be a lot in 2015! It was a very busy, productive and relatively peaceful year for myself and especially good in the hardware department because there have been quite a few technology updates around her. In addition to a new tablet, I also got my first smartphone in 2015 and finally replaced my aging laptop with something well, a bit less aging. This means that working on the websites and other related projects has become much more comfortable recently with less holdups due to slow or breaking down computers and other devices.
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Recently, I noticed that the different font rendering under Windows 7 broke the layout of the top menu on this blog a little bit – this never bothered me because I had no other operating systems than Windows XP on my computers before I got my new laptop! But because the layout was also a bit wonky under Android, I have fixed this now and also slightly overhauled the top menu. To make room for a long needed Science button, I made the plunge and changed the site logo to BIBRA.EU. This domain has been active for a while and already redirects to the blog, but next year I will move the whole site to the new address. Otherwise, everything is going to remain the same here for the time being, meaning that it’s still going to be my all-purpose blog for everything that does not fit into my other sites.
There’s also something else going on… I completely forgot to mention it here because I was so busy, but I have been building a new website for the WSH Crew Google+ Community this Summer! This means that the old Hangout Schedule Index which I had been maintaining here on the blog is now a part of the new website, but apart from some major layout improvements it is still the same page administrated by yours truly in cooperation with the other WSH Crew admins Nancy Graziano, Hugo Burnham, Silvan Wespi and Jim Meeker. The WSH Crew Community is also the reason I don’t write as much about science and astronomy here on this site at the moment, since we are posting all the interesting news over there, but I will probably still write the occasional article now and then. For everything else, go and join the WSH Crew Community – it’s a nice and cozy place and in addition to lots of space news we always keep everyone updated about which hangouts are happening.
So the changes here are actually not very earth-shattering, but at least I got around to work on the site a little bit. Maybe there will be more improvements along the way sometime!
For a long time – actually since 2008 – I had been using an old Compaq Evo N610c business notebook as my primary work computer, but in addition to being seriously underpowered nowadays and rapidly losing screen brightness, it has been giving me some other trouble recently as well. Earlier this year, my last large harddrive failed and because 2.5″ IDE drives are nearly impossible to get now that SATA has taken over, I have been reduced to using the laptop with one of the two last 40GB drives I had in reserve. The last straw was only a couple of days ago when it suddely didn’t want to turn on anymore – after removing the optical drive and the battery, the problem suddenly vanished again, but now I fear that this might happen again and the laptop could finally stop working completely.
Because of the difficult harddrive situation, I was already looking for alternatives and found out that the IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad series has already been supporting SATA drives at least since the T60 series, which has become quite inexpensive on eBay recently. Although I had not intended to buy a new laptop this early, the slowly failing Compaq worried me so much that I finally made the decision to do it right now – and last week, I snagged a very nice Thinkpad T61 with a big 15.4″, 1280×800 display, 2GB RAM and a 1.8 GHz Core2Duo processor. It’s not a brand-new machine by any means, but still a huge upgrade over my old laptop. The amazing thing is that I bought it from the same seller I got my Compaq notebook from back in 2008 – a dealer who refurbishes leased computers and gives a one-year warranty on used articles, so I’m on the safe side.
It arrived yesterday and as expected it is in amazing shape – the only signs of use are some small scratches on the lid and otherwise it looks like completely new. The only part I will probably replace soon is the 80GB harddrive it came with, mainly because I want to put something bigger into the laptop, but also because it has a somewhat high power-on hour count. It also came with an unexpected and very welcome surprise: a built-in sd card reader in front of the palm rest, something which I had not expected at all. There was absolutely no driver trouble when I installed Windows 7 and everything works perfectly. I expect that in a couple of days I will have everything up and running again and then I can finally do some work without being interrupted by ageing hardware!
This will only be my fifth notebook, but my first Thinkpad. I guess I should write a retrospective blog post on all those machines that came before it – except one of them, all are still around in working condition! This will be an interesting project for the fall, so stay tuned :-).
Well, this happened yesterday… it was actually even a little bit hotter. I can’t remember when we last went over 35°C, but the 36 to 37 were really a surprise. Fortunately it was still dry and later last night we got a much needed thunderstorm which cooled things down considerably. Today it’s “only” about 30°C which feels comparatively cool to yesterday, but for tomorrow the forecasts say somethingf about 36°C again. So I’m taking thinks veeeeeeeery slowly at the moment and thanks to having both a solid new tablet (more about that later!) and a smartphone at hand, I really have no reason to even think of switching on a computer in this sort of temperature.
I also managed to figure out how to get a smartphone photo right into the blog without having to go through the computer, so making quick article thumbmails like this one are not a problem anymore even though the quality is not the best and I obviously can’t do the round edges I usually do with a pictue frame mask in PSP. Photo processing except for quick smartphone shots is also not really comfortable (yet?) under Android because getting the photos off my camera is somewhat difficult and there are simply no mobile photo editors that really fit my needs. But since I have a LOT of already finished photos ready to post and I’m not in any danger of running out, that doesn’t really matter and the photo posting will continue as usual over on the Photography Blog – and I even might have a movie/dvd-review coming soon over on DVDLog later when the temperatures are a bit more normal again.
So stay tuned, keep as cool as possible and I hope everyone can beat the second mid-European heatwave of this summer!
A couple of days ago, we were still freezing out butts off and it was so cold at night that we had to turn on the heating – and now the first mini-heatwave of the year has arrived. The temperatures in the image are not exaggerated, the outside balcony thermometer even shows 32°C and compared to the barely over 20°C in the last few days, this is really warm. So don’t expect any major stuff from me, but I’ll be posting the usual round of photos and I even have an article over on DVDLog ready for the weekend I’ve totally forgotten about later this weekend.
I’ve also had a sort of computer meltdown in the last week when the harddrive of my work notebook began to die slowly. This is an old laptop with IDE interface, so getting replacements is very tricky and the 160GB drive I’ve been using for two years or so was already a used one given to me by a friend as a gift. Now I’m down to two 40GB drives, and that does not leave much harddrive space for photos and other stuff, which I now have to keep on the big computer. The downside in this kind of weather is that I don’t like to switch the computers any more than I have to and the smartphone and tablet are not really good for working on photos – but I have a big enough stash to last for at least two weeks to post anyway.
My plan is to get a slightly newer work notebook this fall – I’m eyeing a Thinkpad T60, which has the advantage that it already supports SATA drives, making the hardddrive situation much less problematic. This notebook is now already in the sub-€100 price range on eBay and I think it will be a nice replacement for my aging Compaq N610C.
I’m actually finishing this post with my tablet on the balcony and it’s actually quite nice with a bit of wind right now – have fun everyone with the nice weather (if you have it too)! :-)