August, 2006

22
Aug 06

My phone is broken

If I don’t reply to any calls or messages for the next wee while, I’m not being super-rude. Thanks to a combination of bad luck and me just being an arse, I managed to drop my phone on the road and have a car run over it this morning on the way to work.

What a donkey.

UPDATE: fair play to Orange – they got me a new phone within twelve hours of me reporting it to them. My numbers are backed up to my Mum’s computer, so I should be able to get them this weekend. I’ve only just noticed you can store the numbers to the memory card, which is much more useful than the phone memory.

I don’t spend much of my life crossing the road or dropping my phone. For both to happen at the same time seems a bit unlucky!


13
Aug 06

Fast forward in Opera

Fast forward is a totally wicked feature in Opera which allows you to use the forward button/gesture/whatever to navigate to the next page in a sequence. Something like the next lot of search results or the next page in a tutorial. You can also use the space bar to page down and it will automatically forward you to the next page when it hits the bottom. Pretty cool.

A file called fastforward.ini provides the config for this (in Gentoo it is in /opt/opera/share/opera/ini/). In order to make fast forward work properly with PHPBB based forums (I want fast forward to go the next page in the thread, not the next thread), I brought the weighting of the next <link> to below 100. This seems to fly in the face of the default setup which ranks it with the highest score. While this is understandable since the link element is for navigation, I’m not that convinced by some of the poor uses of the link element I’ve seen.


13
Aug 06

Remapping caps lock (again)

I was using xmodmap to re-map the caps lock. I’m not sure why – a better way, which means it also works on the console, is to alter the keymap file. For me (using Gentoo, UK keymap) this was as simple as:

  1. cd /usr/share/keymaps/i386/qwerty
  2. gunzip uk.map.gz
  3. vim uk.map (change “Caps_Lock” to “Escape”)
  4. gzip uk.map
  5. loadkeys uk.map.gz

7
Aug 06

Cairgorm 4000ers

I ran the 4000 foot hills in the Cairngorms yesterday (Braeriach, Cairn Toul, Ben Macdui and Cairn Gorm). It’s the classic and most obvious round in the Cairngorms and was one of the best days I’ve ever had in the mountains. Brilliant running and definitely recommended.

Although it’s far from being a properly long run, it was a spot on introduction to longer distances in the mountains for me. I took it steady, but felt pretty good and definitely had some more miles in my legs (although maybe not too much more ascending…). I’m totally hyped for this stuff and I’ve got some cracking monster days out in the works for next summer.

The Scottish Hill Runners website reckons it is 25 miles and 7600 feet of ascent, but I parked a bit closer and so probably did a couple less (but I also took in Sgor an Lochan Uaine, which I don’t think they counted).

What an excellent day out.


1
Aug 06

Arkle and Achnashellach

Stuart and I headed up to the north-west for couple of days biking at the weekend. We made good time to Ullapool on Friday night but then arsed around so much looking for somewhere to sleep that it was 2am before we parked the van on a little pier near Achiltibuie and drank some of Stuart’s very nice, posh whisky. There were some spooky noises coming from below the pier when we were bivvi-ing, which I swear weren’t because of the whisky. As expected, it was a brilliant place to wake up and we were hyped.

We’ve had a route up that way on the hit-list for more than a year and were super excited. It comes recommended on a website as well as a bunch of forums and we also had a personal recommendation. So it was a real pity that it was totally shite. The views were moderate and the trails were dull. And, no, I don’t mind hiking with my bike. Admittedly, I’m a self-confessed mountain bike snob, but I couldn’t really recommend it. Perhaps worth doing if you’re in the area and can’t get to Torridon, but definitely not worth the drive. Still, it was another day in the hills, which is never a bad thing.

In case anyone’s interested (but more importantly, because I’ve got a cool new toy!), here are some files from the route. This sort of stuff would be much cooler if Scotland had decent aerial photos:

I’ve left the section where we missed a turn in there – it’s tricky to spot (or at least it was for us) and it might help someone.

On the way out we found a large shed/barn which was clean, sheltered from the ever worsening weather and accomodated us, the van and two cheery, chirping birds with acres to spare. After a wash in the river, we managed a quarter of the monster tin of 100 hot-dogs (thank you Phil sandwich!) and a plate of pasta before crashing out. Stuart liked his bivock (bivvi-hammock thing).

On Sunday we headed down to Achnashellach for a route that I had spotted on the map on my last trip up there – Gleann Fhiodhaig, west to east. It’s a nicer route than Arkle – a little climb, then ever so slightly downhill singletrack with just a little too much lumpy grass to have to contend with to be really good. Not as good as some of the other rides up there, but probably still worthwhile and with some fun, muddy singletrack to get you back to the road. No GPS data for that one, I’m afraid – managed to run out of phone battery half-way round.

I felt like I hadn’t been up north for ages and it was a great weekend. I need to see about getting a couple of long weeknds away before the summer is out – this recent rain has got me all keen to squeeze what I can out of the rest of the summer.