Saturday, 26 June 2010

Ubuntu Lucid Lynx and my Bluenext wireless adapter

Update : I can get round the issue by using static IP address - i.e. bypassing the DHCP as this appears to be where the problem lies. Just turn off DCHP by selecting manual in the IPV4 settings, give yourself an IP address (make sure it doesn't conflict with what the router may assign to others on the network - you'll need to do this on the router), set the gateway (usually the internal network address of the router for example), and the DNS servers - which could be the router and your ISP DNS server. I didn't set anything for search domains.

Qualcast Suffolk Punch mower - review

I've been thinking for some time that I need a good mower that leave a constant cut height and decent stripes on the lawn. The sit on I have is great for long grass, but is terrible for getting a decent finish.

The recent death (and non-availability of the required spare part) of my scarifier made be think of a cylinder mower with a changeable cassette system so I can also use it as a scarifier

So, with that in mind I decided on a Suffolk Punch 17sk from Qualcast (I think also re-branded by Atco and Bosch - although Qualcast and Atco seem to be owned by Bosch so not surprised).

A search of the net found me a good price on the mower plus the scarifier cartridge from Alton Garden Centre - £50 cheaper than anywhere else with free next day delivery which really was next day - very impressed.

I unpacked the box and was also pleased to find they had thrown in the required engine oil, as it comes dry.

So, unpacked, assembled, and filled with oil in about 15 minutes. The very first pull on the recoil started of the Kawasaki 3hp engine, and it fired and ran instantly - also very impressive. The engine appears very similar to the Honda GX series, so hopefully will be just as reliable. It is very quiet in use, and doesn't appears to be really straining at all when cutting.

Anyway, long story short, the mower does everything it says on the tin - lovely stripped grass and all equal height. I also tried the scarifier cassette - changing this involves undoing a few allen head bolts, sliding the blades out and the scarifier in, and doing the bolts back up - about 5 minutes. Again, the scarifier works really well, although it exhibits the same issue as my previous scarifier - the bucket fills up very quickly as the thatch and moss is so 'fluffy'.

So, in précis - very pleased. Will report back on long term reliability - only had it a day!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Ubuntu Lucid Lynx (10.02)

Since I bought a new PC I've not had any of the problems with upgrading Ubuntu that I had with the previous box (with its very old Nvidia graphics card). However, the recent upgrade to Lucid has shown up an obscure fault. Although he rest of the system is brilliant given its cost (i.e. nothing), my wireless adapter is misbehaving, which it didn't do on earlier versions. On boot, it simply doesn't start up the connection, well, actually it does, but then drops it again. The adapter is a BlueNext USB wireless thingy. There is a bug already flagged in the Ubuntu reporting system for this one so I am not the only one.

The only workaround so far found is to plug in a different adapter (A 3COM one from other half's PC), and get the link working, then plug in the Bluenext, which will also start working, then unplug the 3COM, and the Bluenext keeps working. Most odd.

Ubuntu bug report here..

Lights buzzer on my Honda Civic

The buzzer that sounds when you leave the car and have left the lights on has not been working on my 02 plate Honda Civic for at least a year. I've tried to find the buzzer on the circuit diagrams I have on CD, but to no avail, and was reminded that I really must do something about it after finding a flat battery one morning a couple of days ago.

A quick Google didn't show up much information on how to replace/find/diagnose the buzzer, but one webpage said that sometimes the drivers door switch can fail. So this morning I took a look. First indication of a fault was that the drivers side courtesy light doesn't come on when the door is opened - even after a year, I hadn't noticed this - no idea why. This is a smoking gun pointing at the switch in the door, so after pulling off a cover from the screw, I removed the switch from the door jamb. There was obviously a problem, because the switch itself wasn't firmly attached to the rubberised carrier, so I reattached it, with a satisfying click, remounted the switch in the door, and the interior light came on. Hurrah. Tried the lights with the door open - and the buzzer noise filled the air like a Beethoven concert. Well, perhaps not that good, but satisfying nevertheless! Although the swtich was still working, because it had come lose from its carrier, it wasn't earthing to the chassis, which was requried as it there was only a single power wire to the switch and no return except via the chassis.

So, a year or more of occasional flat batteries was fixed by three minutes work with a screwdriver.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Boss guitar pedal spares - Good Story!

Many years ago I bought a second hand Boss guitar pedal from a friend - at the time it had a broken potentiometer and missing knob, so didn't cost a whole lot. It's a Boss MZ-2 Digital Metalizer - nice pedal. Anyway, after at least ten years I thought I should at least attempt to sort it out, so to get a basic price I decided to phone Roland, who make Boss kit, to find out what they charged for the spares. I intended to get a basic price, then source the parts myself to get the price down, as was expecting the prices from Roland to be typical of manufacturer spares - i.e. over the top.

To my complete amazement, the price for the new pot and knob, INCLUDING postage was just over £5. I nearly bit their hand off! Amazing that in 2010, I could buy spares for a pedal that went out of production in 1991, and at a sensible price.

It took about 15 minutes to open the pedal, de-solder the old pot and solder in the new one, and the icing on the cake was that it actually worked afterwards!

Thanks Roland - Well done! You have at least one very happy customer!