Thursday, October 19, 2017

Support in Chinglish

The Gorse Fox is always impressed by great customer support. Though he has had problems with one of the security cameras the manufacturer has been very responsive and is sending a replacement. The latest note that the Gorse Fox had from them this morning is a masterwork of Chinglish:
Thanks for your quick reply.
Please try again with this new one, this is a real excellent product in this IP camera market, as we addressed much attention and energy on in it. So hope you have an very enjoyable time with this item. Besides, we are always be here waiting for this again trail, real hope it can do a good job for you soon. Please keep patience to wait a one more days, ok? I am so sorry for all inconvenience we caused again. Please remember to let us know when you received it and have it worked.Ok?
If something you have any confusions when you use it, please contact me momentarily, ok? I will do my best to make it right for you.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Dozen

The day started with heavy rain. It was not looking pleasant for football, but The Gorse Fox and his crusty old lads wouldn't be stopped by a little splash of rain. As it happened, we didn't have to worry. The rain had all but cleared by the time we ran out onto the pitch.

The Gorse Fox was playing for the 'yellow bibs' and we were a man short. Having said that we were all very mobile and that made up for a lot. By half time we were 4-0 up and the Gorse Fox had scored one of the goals from a free kick.  In the second half, we gained a player (somewhat unnecessarily) and that completely unbalanced the teams. By the end of the game we were 12-0 up, and scoring at will. Looking back on it, we should have kept the sides as they were in the first half. We were having to work very hard, but were doing well.

Meanwhile Urban-Cub and Ellie were back at home and the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox spent the rest off the day with their company. After lunch the Gorse Fox was able to help Ellie settle when she was getting fractious, and she eventually fell asleep on his lap for and hour or so.

It looks like the Silver Vixen has succumbed to the cold bugs that Gorse Fox has been harbouring. Let's hope that she gets over it very quickly.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Kicking around

The Gorse Fox decided that despite his cough, he would be playing football this morning. He wasn't feeling 100% but assumed a bit of a run about might help shake things off. The first hour saw him playing for the 'yellow-bibs' and we had a pretty good time. All the games were close and we won 1, drew 1, and lost 1. Gorse Fox was warming to the task and set for the second hour.

A change of personnel and with to 'red-bibs' saw three more games. Again it was a sweep of 1 win, 1 draw, and 1 loss. A good couple of hours of exercise and no coughing fits (though they do tend to cluster in the evenings).

The Silver Vixen was away with her coven for the day so the Gorse Fox spent the afternoon analysing the Faircloth families of Cambridgeshire to see if he could make head or tail of who begat whom... and more to the point, who is his 7th great grandfather. Another hour or so should help narrow things down.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Stormy Monday

The Gorse Fox was delighted to sleep right through last night without having to sneak downstairs to prevent disturbing the Silver Vixen with his cough. Not only that but the Silver Vixen dealt with Jasper, so the Gorse Fox had a bit of a lie-in.

Ex-hurricane Ophelia is forecast to hit the western approaches today. This meant it was quite warm but it was very cloudy or dusty (apparently there is a lot smoke from the wild fires in Portugal and dust from the Sahara). After lunch it became so dark that all the street lights came on, the garden lights switched on, and Jasper started asking for food. It was so dark that the Gorse Fox half expected an attack from Saruman's armies of Orcs.

Most of the day has been spent fiddling with the security camera and trying to reactivate the FTP on it. (It works perfectly on the other camera). In the end he has written to the manufacturer.

He also spent time on the Law branch of the family tree and has made a few more breakthroughs which turns out to be quite exciting.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Bugs and back

The Gorse Fox's bug won't die off. As a result he got up soon after midnight when his coughing fit began. He decided it was again unfair on the Silver Vixen so went down and slept in a chair in the living room. Not ideal, but at least the coughing settled down and didn't disturb the Silver Vixen too much.

A message from a cousin who is working on the family tree triggered a load of research first thing this morning. She had made some assumptions about a couple of generations on the Law branch of the tree - the task for the Gorse Fox was to find some evidence that either confirmed or denied her research. It took a few hours but the Gorse Fox was able to confirm her assumptions and drive that branch of the family back a further generation.

On another tack entirely the security camera had stopped squirting images to the ftp server and wouldn't display on the phone. (It did however carry on recording). In the end a factory reset was required and complete reinstall. That wasted a couple of hours and whilst it's working again the alarms aren't being sent across to the ftp server.

That afternoon was spent back on the family tree - on the research that the Gorse Fox had started in the last day or two.

Saturday, October 14, 2017


The plan had been for the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox to go across to Urban Cub's and look after Ellie whilst Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete went along to the developer and made their various choices for the new house. It sort of worked. The Silver Vixen went across. The Gorse Fox, however, stayed put. His cough/cold had hit with vengeance, in fact it was so bad last night that Gorse Fox slept downstairs so as not to disturb the Silver Vixen. (Note to self: Living room floor is not comfortable - and Jasper can still find you when he wants you to wake up).

While the Silver Vixen was out, the Gorse Fox spent the time wading through the family tree. So far, though he has found some mistakes, the information he found yesterday looks sound and he can support the findings with his own research and separately located sources. He's now got as far as his 7th Gt Grandfather in that branch of the family - but has clues to two further generations. For real detail he should try to get up to the Cambridgeshire Archives for a few days (ideally before they more to Ely).

Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete got back from their selection meeting. From what the Silver Vixen was saying, they are very excited and the choices they have made are very nice. The Gorse Fox looks forward to seeing them all.


The Gorse Fox was checking footage from the security camera this morning. It seems that we have a little chap doing his own thing with the web.

We still need to decide where to site the second camera - will try to give that some attention today or tomorrow.

Friday, October 13, 2017


The Gorse Fox  and the Silver Vixen have had a quiet day. The Silver Vixen has spent much of it sorting out her wardrobe and digging out the change from summer to winter apparel. The Gorse Fox has spent the day buried in the various genealogical indexes. This started as a simple exercise of checking the citations for one part of the family, then moved into more of an investigation as some folk identified in the census didn't turn up in the civil registration. A by-product of this was looking at the trees of various other researchers. Most of these were immediately discounted. One, however, intrigued the Gorse Fox. It was documented with citations and sources and looked as if it may be the result of sound research. Aft this proves to be true, this researcher has driven that part of the family from the Gorse Fox's 3rd Great Grandfather all the way back to his 9th Great Grandfather. Very impressive. So far the Gorse Fox has checked the first new generation and agrees with the conclusions. He suspects that driving back further will require access to original Parish Registers and that may require a trip to Cambridge.

The incipient cold, or whatever, finally seems to be emerging. The Gorse Fox has developed an unpleasant cough, or in fact it's more of a bark. He is trying to tame it with the trusty Fishermen's Friends - but having little success.

Thursday, October 12, 2017


It was a bright day. A tad cool, but generally nice. The plan was for Urban-cub and Ellie to spend the day with us. They arrived soon after breakfast. Ellie had not slept well. That meant that Urban-cub had only had about 3 hours sleep and was feeling the after effects.

We went through the latest papers and documents for the new house and then discussed her recent review with her managers, prior to her return to work. Finally we discussed the fact that her current tenancy is coming to an end, and what should be done about it (as it doesn't coincide with the availability of the new house). As if telepaths, the landlord made contact and asked to see her. This forced the issue. Urban-cub was straight with them and it looks as if they are going to be quite reasonable. They will confirm the suggested arrangements tomorrow.

As it was so nice, we took Ellie out for a walk. (Well, strictly speaking, we did the walking she sat there observing the world from her buggy). The Gorse Fox suggested she keep a scrap book and write up the story of her walk when we got back - but she didn't seem interested. (What can you do with a 6-month child???).

Urban-cub returned, Ellie was collected and a modicum of peace and tranquility was a restored.

Last month it was Two Hats' birthday. Due to other pressures we didn't get a chance to celebrate. Today was that chance. The Sonning Crew gathered and drank some bubbles and then made our way down to the Indian Restaurant. As usual, we were very well looked after and the food was lovely.  We had a super couple of hours of chat and laughter before taking a leisurely stroll back. Subjects ranged from upcoming holidays to lost phones, security cameras to politics. All in all a very pleasant evening (in fact a very pleasant day).

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Still fighting

The Gorse Fox is still fighting off some form of cold. He seems to be winning, in that it hasn't really developed, but he is feeling a couple of degrees off normal and has a slightly sore throat. He didn't let this stop him from playing football again today.

Urban-Cub had asked the Gorse Fox to print some more documents and so he dropped them off with her on the way across to Worthing. Slowly the 'lads' gathered at the sports centre and we went out into the grey autumn morning and split into two teams. The Gorse Fox played as sweeper again, but that didn't stop him from ranging forward when the opportunity allowed. He provided the assist for the first goal, then with a charge up the right touch line, scored the second from distance. The game was quite tight, but we increased our lead before conceding. The game finished off 5-4 to our side. Close as usual for a Wednesday.

Back home the Gorse Fox made a couple of minor improvements to the housekeeping software he wrote for the ftp server on 'falcon'. Then he spent the rest of the afternoon looking for a way of viewing the raw '264' files that are created by the security camera. This is clearly not easy. There were plenty of suggestions online, by none worked. It looks as if the Gorse Fox will have to find a way of wrapping the file and playing the encapsulated data. He thinks he may have found the way to do this, but that'll have to wait for another day.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


The Gorse Fox is clearly fighting off a bug. He had a disturbed night and was considering skipping football today. He decided to try and work it off (what ever 'it' is) so changed and headed out for Worthing.

Urban-Cub had some papers for the new house that she needed printing so the new printer chugged those out and the Gorse Fox dropped them off with her as he drove by on the way to Worthing. Football went along the usual lines. In the first hour, the Gorse Fox played for the 'blue bibs'. Though it looked as if we were going have a hard time, we ended winning 2-0, 4-0, and 2-0 and played some lovely football in the process.

In the second hour, the Gorse Fox played for the 'red bibs' and this worked out fairly even with a 2-1 defeat, 2-2 draw, and 4-0 win. The Gorse Fox is glad he made the effort but feels drained this afternoon.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Screen time

It's been a really good day. Some may not agree, but the Gorse Fox has spent the whole day in front of the computer(s). It started with a review of the images captured by the security camera - just to see if any adjustments were needed. It was interesting how quiet the area is overnight. Basically, no motion was detected between 11:30 last night and about 5:30 this morning. That seemed extraordinary, but the Gorse Fox has no reason to doubt the sensitivity of the camera (given it picked up a moth flying by the night before).

Next he decided to write the housekeeping routine that would keep the ftp server from filling up. If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing properly, so even for a simple task like this he sketched out a basic design, wrote the documentation, the wrote and tested the code. He's now set it to run automatically every morning.

The afternoon was spent on the accounts. The Gorse Fox has been allowing them to tick by for the last few weeks. It was time to have a bit of a deep dive and spring clean. Several hours in front of the spreadsheets were very satisfying. This isn't finished but it's getting there. He'll continue this activity when his eyes uncross themselves.

The Silver Vixen spent some time baking again today. She has to take something with her to a meeting this afternoon. Yesterday's effort was a prototype. Our joint analysis was that it was absolutely delicious... so today's baking was making the actual show 'n' tell for the meeting.

On a side note the Gorse Fox seems to be fighting an incipient sore throat at present. He's been drink copious amounts of water so has no doubt it will be an active night for the plumbing tonight.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Cook off

It's been a grey an uninspiring day, weather-wise. Once Jasper was fed and roaming, the Gorse Fox got stuck in to the spreadsheet that is helping Urban-Cub with all the house-buying decisions and budgets. To make it easy to share and collaborate on, he has developed it as a Google Sheet. In the past he has used these fairly extensively, but his default is always Excel. It didn't more that a second or two to adapt from one to the other. As always this spreadsheet will evolve over time, and in so doing will become more sophisticated and more accurate.

The Gorse Fox examine the overnight footage from the security cameras. Some of the blemishes and artifacts seen the previous night had gone. (The Gorse Fox had attacked the area round the cameras with a brush to sweep away any insects or arachnids and their traces). He still hasn't cracked the technology to allow him to view the videos on the Pi or the Mac, but he'll do some more research when he gets time.

Football was the highlight of the morning. A five versus six game. The Gorse Fox was on the yellow 5 man team and thought the orange 6 man team were going to hand out a good thrashing. That's not how things played out. By half time we were 3-1 up (including one goal from the Gorse Fox). The second half started badly with two quickly conceded goals to bring thing even. Then, however, we scored again and started to exploit our lead and mobility. Another goal from the Gorse Fox added to the total and we ended up 7-3 winners.

Back home, meanwhile, the Silver Vixen had been emulating Mary Berry. This afternoons dinner was already being prepared (don't you just love slow-cookers?) and then she progressed on to some baking. There's a wonderful smell emanating from the kitchen.

The Gorse Fox spent the afternoon with playing with 'falcon'. He wants to write some cleanup code that will strip out old recordings and old images. There are several approaches one could take, but again he returned to Rexx. He wrote a test routine to try out some of the techniques that he would need then put it all to bed for the day... after all, there's a Lithuania-vs-England game this afternoon. Hopefully, it can't be as bad, as pedestrian, and as uninspiring as the game against Slovenia last  Thursday.

Saturday, October 07, 2017


The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen didn't have any specific plans for the day. With an ever increasing accumulation of stuff for Ellie, the Silver Vixen decided to clear some cupboard space so that she could pack it all away. The Gorse Fox returned to the Raspberry Pi 'falcon' that he had started to configure yesterday. Using his configurator program (which he wrote last last year) he built the scripts that were specific to 'falcon' and ran them through(*). He now has a Pi Model 3 B running as an ftp server storing the inbound files on a 64GB USB stick.

Specific accounts and repositories have been set up for the inbound ftp connections and the security camera(s) configured to use those accounts. Now, the camera deposits stills and video onto 'falcon' whenever it detects motion. The Gorse Fox must just write some code to clear the accumulation of files - say keeping just the last 3 days or whatever.

Urban-Cub dropped in with Ellie - she had some questions about the new house and wanted some copying done so that she can get their id information countersigned and sent off to the solicitors. She wasn't here for long - a bit of a whirlwind trip.

We settled back down to our respective tasks and the phone rang. It was Mrs Tiggywinkle. She and Badger were in the area and asked if they could drop by. Well, that was a no-brainer. It is always so nice to see them. We sat and chatted for a couple of hours drinking tea, eating biscuits and catching up on all the respective news. They are staying nearby overnight then going grape-picking at a vineyard near Goodwood in the morning. Sounds like fun as they get lunch and a wine tasting thrown in.

(*) He likes this approach to building working Raspberry Pis. It means that he can do a complete rebuild, if necessary, just by installing the master image then re-running the configurator with the scripts written for that Pi.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Lights, Camera, Action

The whole morning was spent in the garage. It was all about planning, obtaining, and installing. The planning was answering the question, how do we get power to the security camera? The obtaining was a trip to the shops to get the requisite cables and sockets and the installing should have been the installation. Two Hats, however, offered to help. He had already installed his camera so knew the potential pitfalls - more to the point he knew the Gorse Fox doesn't like working with electrics.

Plan A went out the window (actually the door - there is no window in the garage). The simple socket / extension solution that Gorse Fox had developed was changed. Two hats decided to run direct cables and not use the sockets as such. This took a while... but it worked and the Gorse Fox now has working power where he wants it and six spare outlets. The security camera is up and switched on and we can now monitor the area immediately outside our house.
The Gorse Fox is very pleased with the quality of the image.

The afternoon was spent with a spare Raspberry Pi Model 3. The Gorse Fox had decided to bring it slap up-to-date and to use it as an ftp server.

The afternoon sort of ran away with him... and he didn't finish. That is something that he can restart tomorrow. The idea is to see if he can get the security camera to dump video onto the ftp server when it detects motion. That way he can keep it for longer than if he depended on the camera's internal storage.