Thursday, January 14, 2010

Scary stuff!
Now, Tony Blair had a vision ten years ago, it was that we should have a National Grid for Learning! This was a bit like President Kennedy saying that America will go to the Moon before the end of the decade back in the 60's.
Here we are 10 years after Tony Blair's vision and look how we have moved on in the on-line, digital world of the internet and mobile technology! The guy got it right and invested money into the technology so that schools could harness it.
As we now approach a General Election I am bothered...
Who has the vision now to move on the technology?
David riding his bike or Gordon twiddling his thumbs?
It needs someone now to pick up the NGfL and move it on, otherwise our children are going to lose out and return to the BBC computer days.
What are your policies David and Gordon?
We need to know!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Frozen Digital Britain!

What an amazing image!
Snow from above! (Click to enlarge)
We are now in the grip of the coldest Winter ever. The whole country covered in snow, here around 10" of frozen snow on the ground and roads terrible!
Tonight temperature down to -10 and still falling. The toilet has just frozen up and i'm flushing salt down it to keep it clear! Icicles like I have not seen since the 1960's hang outside my house and there is no end to the freeze!

Gosh...this brings back memories of the 1960's when Mum took us to school all wrapped up in balaclavas, snow piled against the front door and icicles hanging from the gutters. (Mum used to break some off to suck on the way to school!)
Schools never closed then, we would make slides and throw snowballs in the school yard and have great fun. Now all the schools are closed (including mine) and when we are open the kids are not allowed to play out in the snow!

I don't know ... Health and Safety gone mad!!!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Brass Monkey Weather!

The term "Brass Monkeys" is an accepted phrase used in the English language to indicate that the ambient air temperature (or weather) is cold. This use stems from a longer phrase "It is cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey". This generally perceived as a humorous reference to some unfortunate Brass Monkey who loses his testicles if the weather is too cold. Another derived phrase (but irrelevant to our story) is "it's cold enough to freeze your balls off".

The origin and true meaning of this phrase is actually totally unrelated to any form of animal or its testicles. Back in time to the period of the Napoleonic War, the great gunships of this time carried many cannons on various gun decks. As an efficient method of storage and delivery of cannon balls to the cannon for firing, a "Monkey" (this term is used to define a table and/ or a rail) made of brass was used to hold the balls. In very cold temperatures the brass would contract or even break thus allowing the cannon balls to roll off the Monkey onto the gun deck. Hence the sailors would say "it is cold enough to freeze the balls off a Brass Monkey".

Now brass has interesting properties, made from Copper and Tin, it is a good conductor of electricity and is hard wearing. Some of my VHF / UHF projects in the past required tuned lines, so I used brass for some of the thinner gauge lines because you could buy it at a hobby shop quite cheap.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Let it snow!

OMG! I have not seen snow fall like this since the 60's!

We have now had snow all the way through Christmas and New Year and last night it never stopped snowing. Spent today at school as we battled to keep the school open, but tomorrow the school is shut. Kath couldn't get to work for the second time in the last two weeks because of the roads.

My poor antennas look sad, but tonight I went on 2m SSB to work some stations in the contest and chat with some real Radio Amateurs. Really enjoyed it! I'm now seriously thinking of getting some new antennas for VHF. Maybe even re-building a yagi array on the chimney and a rotator.

Still thinking...