glasgow sunset

glasgow does enjoy some cracking sunsets on occasion. it might be due to being on the west of scotland? don’t know. this was a stunner.

glasgow_sunsettaken on the 28/09/15. looking west with anniesland court in the foreground. it isn’t a great photograph but that sky…

i. made. bread.

for the first time. or rather i bought a bread maker and it made bread for me for the first time. a morphy richards 48280 fastbake. don’t think i’ve ever written anything on here about food. have i?


it’s certainly not the most modern of machines but behaved very well indeed. it does the lot…all you have to do is put the ingredients in at the start (paying attention to the order in which you add them…the yeast must not come into contact with any of the liquids). here’s the recipe i used (which is included with the handy instruction manual that came with it).


in between kneading cycles the bread maker beeps and you can add extra ingredients…i added fresh olives but this is the stage you would add seeds or raisins or other items that you might fancy. there’s a handy crust darkness setting…mine will be remaining on dark but you can choose light or medium. from start to finish it took 2hrs and 53min (there is a fastbake mode but what i’d read implied that it wasn’t too useful and results inferior). here’s what it produced (apologies for the horrible photo).


the bread had a nice, open, texture and a decent crust. i served it with balsamic glaze and extra virgin olive oil mixed together in a bowl. tasty. next, wholemeal…

wordpress on openshift forcing https for admin panel

i spun up a wordpress install on openshift. no problems with that as the install is as easy as installing it on a regular host. i did run into an issue though as the admin panel was being forced to use https with the default redhat certificate. this will lead to problems down the line as said certificate won’t match your domain (or subdomain). the solution is quite simple. let’s disable https. open the file


and go down until you see the following section. simply change ‘true’ to ‘false’ (without the quotes) and save the file.


| WordPress Administration Panel
| Determine whether the administration panel should be viewed over SSL. We
| prefer to be secure by default.
define('FORCE_SSL_ADMIN', true)

now go back to the / of your install and give it

git add .
git commit -m 'disable https for admin panel'
git push



from knightswood to partick in 1:42

bought one of those dashboard camera thingies. not to record accidents or bad drivers (though that may come in handy) but to make videos and then speed them up. here’s knightswood to partick in 1:42

copying cyanogenmod zip to android phone error

error while copying a cyanogenmod zip image to an android phone’s internal memory using windows 7 and got the error ‘cannot copy item the device has either stopped responding or has been disconnected’.

the solution? give the zips an alternative extension. so i renamed ‘’ to ‘’. transfer went fine. now you just have to rename again and lose the ‘.jpg’ extension. quite why this happens with android 5 i don’t know. never had it with any of the previous versions.

bank of scotland web site with firefox 40 and terrible performance

been a firefox user since before it became firefox and have stuck with it throughout. have used other browsers but have always came back to firefox. why? well mainly as i find the sync feature very handy and there are lots of decent extensions (especially security-based types). over the years i’ve heard people complain, increasingly, about performance issues but i’ve never encountered them…until firefox 39 was released.

i bank with the bank of scotland and often use their web site to do small tasks instead of going into one of their branches. this was great until firefox 39 was installed. pages taking minutes to load and the whole browser would become unresponsive during this time. i thought this must just be a glitch and more tech savvy people than me will have fixed things with firefox 40. no…with firefox 40 the bank of scotland web site is virtually useless.

is it just the bank of scotland web site then? fired up a portable version of chrome 44 to see. after enabling javascript for two domains we’re back to a responsive and fluid experience. so firefox it is then. at the moment the problem, for me, is just this one site. if i stumble across more that cause firefox to grind to a halt i’ll be giving it the shove. might start going with vivaldi which i’ve been testing a bit.

current backup regime

my home setup: all linux boxes (and VMs) go to a 4TB Netgear NAS over SMB using CrashPlan’s free version (encrypted and incremental. might do a wee piece on that soon).
NAS to 2TB external USB twice a month (this is drive is stored remotely the rest of the time).
i realise that my data is then only being stored in two locations but another 2TB drive isn’t an option at the moment.
server setup: backed up nightly to Amazon S3 using Jungle Disk. VM snapshots taken a few times a week. files and databases also archived to Dropbox.


fitbit charge

i’ve had a couple of ‘smart’ wearables. a pebble watch (good) and a sony smartband (might not be called that but it was pretty useless whatever it was called). recently spotted the fitbit charge for a good price (n.b at lot less than they’re advertising on their page). a simple looking activity tracker. i wasn’t expecting a great deal from it but have been pleasantly surprised. let’s start with the device itself.

fitbit_on_wristthe OLED screen stays dark when not in use to conserve battery but when you double-tap the screen it lights up and you can view the current time, number of steps taken, calories burnt and distance travelled (when i got to 10,000 steps it displayed some fireworks to celebrate the ‘achievement’). it feels good on and i’ve found that i forget i’m wearing it. a rubberised band houses the electronic gubbins and there’s a charge point on the reverse. one caveat…it isn’t waterproof. i think they say it’s splashproof. i won’t be risking wearing it in the shower. the strap has two buttony-type-things that snap into corresponding holes to adjust the width. i bought the large version and i’m using the 6th and 7th holes. it’s best to leave a pinky finger gap free. it comes with a ‘wireless’ dongle (read: messed about with bluetooth) so you can sync it with your PC but it’s MS and mac only so isn’t of much use to me (there is a way to get it working with linux but i haven’t tried it yet) so instead i went with the android app. this syncs the charge with your phone…assuming your phone supports bluetooth 4. there’s a slightly out of date list of devices to be found on their site. i have a z3 so am good to go. the app will sync with your charge constantly (well, at very regular intervals) if you want it to but i don’t want increased battery drain on my phone. i just enable bluetooth went i want to sync and this works well. many activities are tracked. here’s my progress after being up and about for 11 hours (mostly at work)

fitbit_android_1it seems to be reasonably accurate though i’ve heard of an extra 5% being added to your step count which would then effect distance and calories burnt.

after another few hours i’ve got to this point

fitbit_android_2not bad. the android app also syncs with the fitbit servers so you can view your progress (and retrospective history) on your dashboard. that looks a lot like this

fitbit_dashboardthe sleep monitoring, which i haven’t mentioned up until now, seems quite accurate too though how it will deal with my bouts of insomnia remains to be seen. so it’s early days for the fitbit and me but i’m enjoying it so far. interesting to see how different routes to my bus stop in the morning differ for example. might get me to take the stairs more than the lift. it apparently should last a week on a single charge. i would like it to be waterproof but maybe the more expensive models do that.