My Blog

I suppose that this is really a blog, though I hesitate to call it that. The real bloggers seem so much more interesting. I cover stuff which I find interesting, and I hope that you will too.

If you really want, you can get an RSS feed of Chateau Gladstone news here:

For more information about what I'm interested in, see the Ponding pages.

Topic: Weather   Is winter ending?  12 Mar 2006

The ice has finally melted from the pond, and all the snow has gone. Our thoughts are turning to spring and summer projects -- including ice cream. We have put together a list of Birthday Icecream Flavors that tell you what your special flavor is, based on the your birth month.

Topic: Weather   First big storm storm of the season  9 Dec 2005

We received 13.5 inches of snow today. I guess that the snow started at about 7 AM. At 8 AM we had between 1 and 2 inches. We then received another 12.5 during the day till it tapered off at about 4 PM. The total is 13.5. You may wonder how that can work out -- it is because the later snow compresses the earlier snow. See the Snow Measurement Guide for the full gory details of how snow measuring should be done.

If you are interested in measuring snow, then check out CWOP Snow Measuring to see what you need to do.

The major problem with performing these measurements (apart from having to go outside in the cold weather) is trying to find a suitable ruler -- it should be marked in tenths of an inch. These are very hard to come by in the US.

Topic: Weather   GEOURL is back online  4 Mar 2005

GEOURL is a neat website that has come back online after a long period of downtime. It allows you to find websites by geographical proximity. For example, these are the websites near me.

I notice that DeviantArt has local users. I must confess that I really don't understand it, even though my niece has a gallery.

Topic: Weather   CWOP makes it into the New York Times  30 Dec 2004

CWOP is the Citizen Weather Observer Program. This is a loose network of amateur weather station operators who feed their data into NOAA's Forecast Systems Laboratory. From their it moves all over the map.

The New York Times had a nice article entitled Hobbyists Fill Out the Weather Map which told some of the personal stories behind the technology.

This is relevant to me as I run the Weather Data Quality service. This takes data from the FSL and reformats it and then e-mails it to weather station operators as requested. The data shows how their station readings compare with the surrounding stations. This often allows the operator to spot problems with their sensors.

Topic: Weather   Innumeracy a tale of $2.09  10 Sep 2002

I bought a small power connector in Radio Shack for $1.99. It came to $2.09 including tax. I initially handed the clerk $2 and a quarter which he entered into the cash register. I then handed him another four cents for a total of $2.29. This completely floored him, and it took some explaining that I now wanted 20 cents in change.

On to BJs for a few items -- one of which was a gallon of milk. The checkout person managed to give the milk to the person in front of me, and charge her (on her credit card) for it. The checkout person was completely flustered (I think that she had not been working long). I offered to give the $2.09 (for the milk) to the person in front of me as that would solve the problem. This solution was agreed. However, as I'm walking out, I observe that I have been charged for the milk as well (on my credit card). At this point, I decide to write off the money and give up.

John Allen Paulos has written a wonderful book called Innumeracy that deals with the poor state of arithmetical knowledge in the general public. Definitely recommended.

Topic: Weather   Major storm blew through  28 Jun 2002

Last night a significant thunderstorm blew through. The lightning stroke rates were quite impressive (see the graph), peaking at 20,000 strokes per hour. What is better is that the 1-wire weather network held up. I'm chalking this up to the surge protection that I added to the network.

The pondcam held up, and the UPS kept everything running while we were out of power. I use an APC UPS that I got from Sams Club with apcupsd to control it.

Some piece of my hifi rack was not so lucky -- sound now longer travels from the cable box to the amplifier and out to the speakers.

Topic: Weather   Leonids of 2001  18 Nov 2001

We saw the Leonids this morning, and very nice they were too. I got a couple of photographs which are worth looking at (out of 200 which I shot!)

Topic: Weather   1-Wire Barometer woes  5 Oct 2001 (Updated 28 Oct 2001)

I'm in the process of building a 1-wire barometer to add to the weather station. However, it isn't going very well. See the progress page for the full story. Update: I'm going to add an instrumentation amplifier to do the level shifting, provide some gain and buffer the input to the A/D.

Update: It now works much better with the instrumentation amp. I'm leaving it running overnight to see if it really works (i.e. measures the pressure)!

Topic: Weather   Another big storm  30 Jun 2001

Another big lightning storm came through and destroyed various bits of equipment. This is the reason that the weather readings stopped after 6pm today until I replaced the 'dongle' that is used to interface the sensor network to the computer. I also lost the mouse (it melted!) and various bits of networking gear (hub, print server). It was all on my UPS and surge supressors, but I guess that not much can be done for lightning. I have a whole house surge supressor as well. I'll put up the lightning photographs soon -- I managed to capture some strikes on video.

Update The print server has recovered but it looks as though the webcam didn't make it. Still, this may be an excuse to get a better camera!

Update I had disconnected the 1-wire network from the dongle on Sunday July 1 before the next storm came through. Unfortunately, one of the temperature sensors seems to have gone shortcircuit in the second storm. It was just wired to the end of a long peice of wire, and I guess that the induced voltage was too large (although since it is all twisted pair, I don't really understand it). I think that the new network will have more voltage supressors, but I'm nervous about the capacitative loading that it will introduce.

Topic: Weather   The storm of June 20, 2001  20 Jun 2001

In spite of the weather forecast, this wasn't a bad storm. I did get a couple of lightning pictures. See the storm page. I've also included the various weather charts for the day, and the graphs are somewhat interesting (if you like that sort of stuff).



Information about SPF (Sender Permitted From)

Open source audio/video streaming software -- this drives my pondcam

The Doc Searls weblog -- he seems clueful and I read him.

Neat description of the Gunnera Manicata -- a truly monstrous plant!

The Citizen Weather Observer Program is a loose collection of amateur weather station operators.

Open source server for the Rio Receiver -- this is what I use.

Philip Gladstone