Monthly Archives: October 2005

Fergus Takes Ill

Getting towards fire danger season, a couple of weeks ago, I started working on our firebreaks. A nasty noisy and a nasty smell from ‘Fergus’ the tractor told me that something was amiss. Symptoms pointed towards a blown head gasket; all prepared to replace this, I removed the rocker box cover and was disturbed to find a valve missing. A spring had failed, the valve had dropped, smashed the rising piston and fractured the cylinder liner. That’s as far as I know at the moment – Fergus went on an ambulance today and was admitted to the G & J East Hospital for Sick Tractors.

For those who aren’t squeamish and don’t mind the sight of oil, I have taken pictures.

Fergus winched onto recovery vehicle
Fergus taken away by ambulance.

Go, Team Canada!

Those that know me will probably raise an eyebrow at the idea of me being in a team – but this isn't sport.

For some time, on and off, the spare CPU time of my various computers has been taken helping to find drugs to treat the likes of anthrax, SARS, smallpox and malaria, as part of the D2OL initiative.

Until recently, I have been a lone “cruncher” but, just over a month ago, joined “Team Australia”, where my statistics are amalgamated with those of other team members. I was rather disappointed to find that I was the only team member who seemed to be contributing any results. The long and the short of it is that my allegiance has now moved further north in the Commonwealth and I am now batting for Team Canada, a nice friendly bunch, I have to say.

I would encourage others to think about participating in the D2OL – the software is free to download from the project site, takes little in the way of resource and, of course is making the world a safer place to live. Please don't be discouraged by the site looking like it is way out of date – this is being addressed but, more importantly, the project is very much alive and possibly of more immediate relevance than the likes of SETI at Home.

Pool Ornament (Class: Reptilia, Order: Squamata, Suborder: Sauria)

Lizard with my finger, for scale

Having had a strimmer around the swimming pool yesterday, I went out to fish out some of the grass and discovered a live pool ornament. I managed to catch it – getting it to sit on my wrist – and relocated it to under the fennel in the kitchen garden.

Anyone know like to tell me the species?

UPDATE – this is a dragon; which specific one, still unknown. Come on, all you herpetologists out there, let’s have a name! (Both Cecil and Rodney have been suggested, although that wasn’t quite what I meant).

Computers, who’d have ’em?

I have never seen a CPU fail in service before. That is, until yesterday. I found that my main machine had stopped – dead. After a spot of parts substitution from my backup machine I found the cause. To paraphrase John Cleese, “‘E’s passed on! This CPU is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! (Advanced Micro Devices) ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the motherboard ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is electronic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible! This – is an EX-CPU!” I would add the final comment of the version from the Secret Policeman’s Ball, but this is a “family friendly” ‘blog.

So, I’m now running a rather slow machine, with the backup machine even slower, having robbed an old Duron CPU from one of my test machines.

These little things are sent to try us.