Monthly Archives: August 2005

Project Noddwr Gets a Home

Project Noddwr, as described in a previous post, now has its own home at The site is a bit of an experiment – it is my first use of the Drupal content management system.

Don't expect to find too much there yet – “real” work comes first and even that has ground to a temporary halt as Smiffy's got the Dreaded Lurgy. (Note to non-South Australians and for posterity: there's so much Lurgy going around Adelaide at the moment that the already weak medical system is stretched to its limits. This current batch was brought home by my wife from a dog show.)

Update, May 2007

In the two years since this post was originally written, ill-health (not the lurgy mentioned above) has prevented me from pursuing this project. Please see the post The Fate of Project Noddwr for follow-up information.

Smiffy Gets Hacked

I had a call last night from my ISP to say that my server (on which Smiffy's Place is hosted) had been generating exeptional traffice – Gigabytes of it.

I am willing to put my hand up and say that I've been hacked; no client data has been compromised and no content on the server was damaged – I am just in for a hefty bill for all the bandwidth that my unwelcome visitor managed to eat up. I have isolated and fixed the vulnerability that go them in.

MORAL: No matter how small your service, if you are an IT professional running systems connected to public networks, at least once in your career, you will get hit.

The silver lining to this little cloud is that I have written a programme to spot processes run by the httpd owner that shouldn't be there – I'll post a link soon.

H5N1 Lands in Russia

I have, for some time, been of the opinion that the threat of international terrorism is trivial when compared with the likes of global warming and the next viral pandemic.

According to a BBC report, the H5N1 strain of Avian Influenza Virus (“bird flu”) has now appeared in the Urals – the sixth region in Russia so far to be affected.

All it will take is for a small mutation to allow H5N1 to jump the species barrier…

UPDATE/CORRECTION: H5N1 has crossed the species barrier; as yet, however, it is not transmissible human-to-human.

Pains au Chocolat

pains au chocolat
Photograph of cover of 'Comment Faire Son Pain'

My wife and I love pain au chocolat, and I eat it despite my dairy allergy (pre-dosing with antihistamine required!). However, it's been a long time since we've been able to get hold of any and France is 10000 miles away.

Having just obtained a copy of 'Comment faire son pain' (how one makes bread) through Amazon's French site, I thought I would give this a go myself. Some twenty hours from start to finish (much of that rising and resting time), the finished product was well worth the effort.

To those who claim that the preparation of Viennoise type breads is difficult, I will borrow a phrase from my IT background and say "Read That Fine Manual". Follow instructions and all should be OK.

Regarding the book, if you can read French, I would recommend it to any aspiring "Artisan Boulangers". When 55 flour is called for, I use Allied Mills Superb Bakers Flour. (I get this in 10kg sacks at a very good price from Gaganis Brothers in Hindmarsh.)

A Flour Matter

I have long been labouring under the misapprehension that the French word 'blé' was the equivalent of the English 'barley'. Having now acquired a couple of French books on bread, I thought that the time was ripe for me to prepare a translation list of flours and grains. I have added German into the equation as many of the grains in question have relevance in brewing – Germany being one of the Great Brewing Nations. Listings are under the botanical names of the various plants.

Additions/corrections/new languages are welcome – please post them as comments against this post and I'll make sure that they see their way onto the list.

Smiffy Returns

I will start with an excuse: I have been busy. This is why there have been no updates to Smiffy's Place for a couple of weeks. I have been mostly tied up with work, but much has happened, some worthy of comment. I will report on significant things out of sequence and in due course.