Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – library update

July 4, 2014

After installing the new library fibre broadband,  I found this highly accurate update to to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.


Well almost accurate. I would consider the addition of ‘well-stocked vending machines’  to ‘survival’. It can all get a  little tense when they run out of Haribo.

Electrify your shed, solar power in the allotment. Well pumps and light!

July 29, 2013
Where most of the thinking goes on.

The now electrified shed/greenhouse

It’s that time of the year again, and the summery weather has released me from my wintry slumber, and in the mood for invention! So I recently upgraded our allotment shed with a 12v solar battery, a well pump (That pumps out of our well) , a solar panel and 12v plug and lighting.

The system consists of a 10 Watt solar panel, which is connected to a 10 Amp charge regulator (all from eBay). Cost was around 30 pounds. Together they charge three 12 volt, 7 Amp Hour ride on ride-on toy batteries, connected in parallel (Scrounged over the last few years, but not very expensive).

The batteries are charging very quickly from even this small panel, providing plenty of power for the caravan sump pump that is suspended down the well (A whale submersible 12v pump, again purchased online). The aim is to give our allotment the ability to survive without mains water. And it very almost does. We learnt very quickly that you have to pump the water into barrels every day, as the well refills daily and a hot day can use up all the well water! Four barrels seem optimal.  The barrels are attached using hose connectors, the type that you use to fix broken hoses. I drilled a hole into the top of each barrel using a hole-saw, and screwed them in. If you attach all the barrels with hose connectors they will fill up one after another. Slightly higher than all the other hose connections is the drain away, and that drains directly into the fish-pond if the barrels ever fill up completely.

15 minutes is about enough to fill one barrel, so you will want to keep an eye on it. I also discovered that the pump hardly made a dent on the battery, at least during a sunny day. We have now lighting in the shed, thanks to a 12v LED bulb all the way from China, and a caravan plug. The magic of a 12v caravan plug is that you can plug in a converter that lets you use 12v car socket devices, such as mobile phone chargers!

Have a look in the gallery, and give it a go. You don’t need to use fancy toggle switches to control everything, but I heartily recommend it!

Welcome to 12 Things Librarians….

September 18, 2012

Welcome to all the Librarians taking part in the 12 Things social media programme. Hope you are enjoying it, and you found my blog of infrequent updates and occasionally informative posts!

LED Light Tube Bicycle Light

January 17, 2012

Light Tube Bike Light

Quick creation for my bike. Light tube from Poundland, and a torch mount for rifle barrels from eBay.

I am really impressed by what a great bike light it makes. Cost around £3.50, and much brighter than most LED rear lights.

I keep a small Knog light on my bike however, just in case. It was from Poundland after all!

In other cat related news

August 12, 2011

From the ever brilliant local newspapers, came a front page I just had to share. All the local newspapers in Stafford are a great read, especially as they focus mainly on bin related news and spinechilling tales of ‘young people seen hanging around at the park’  (The park that has a modus operandi of ‘place where young people of the local area can hang out’). Never a dull moment!

But getting a whole two cat related articles on the front page of the newspaper is in my opinion a work of art, especially as one article should actually read ‘Cat may have been put in skip, or then maybe not, or perhaps it was?’ ! Sherlock Holmes would be shocked.

And its not like there isn’t any other News Going On At The Moment.

Note: To the people who lost cats, sorry to hear about that. I am fond of the furry things myself (comes with the Librarian badge I suppose), so I hope they catch the awful people responsible for killing your cats.

DIY Library Catalogue Computer

June 17, 2011
Or how to create a Library Catalogue Computer for free(ish), with whatever you have in the store cupboard, using Linux and the tame e-resources Librarian (That’s me).
The Library where I work has so far been succumbing to my evil machinations, specifically on the theme ‘Put Linux on everything that doesn’t work properly’. I have no desire to constantly fiddle with unreliable IT resources, not when I have far more productive things to do.
Our newish Linux Web server and Content Management System has been, if not a roaring success, at least a loud hurrah. And it hasn’t caused me a single significant problem since I hit the ‘online’ switch.  And it’s cheap, which is jolly good news.

Music that makes you go faster!

May 30, 2011

Yesterday I managed to knock 20 minutes off a 1.5 hour bike route I ride regularly on Cannock Chase.

The only difference was the new Track listing on my MP3 player, mainly very loud music that I wouldn’t listen to in polite company.

So in the spirit of sharing, I list the music that should now be banned, along with cheese and crisp sandwiches and hobnobs as my own personal performance enhancing drug.

Read the rest of this entry »

A gripping yarn, featuring my seriously old computer graphics card.

March 31, 2011

I have sitting in my computer something old enough in computer terms to be regarded as a true survivor, an Nvidia Quadro NVS 280 graphics card. It is sitting there in a rather unassuming (although slightly coquettish) manner, but I thought it really needed a bit of recognition.  Read the rest of this entry »

A quick interlude

January 17, 2011

My bi-yearly blog entry is as ever random, however I have been working on something longer. All about my experiences using Calibre, Linux and a Kindle for all my e-book reader needs. Spoiler, its pretty awesome.

In the interim, here’s a picture of the top tube of my single-speed road bike.

Holiday in Scotland

August 1, 2010

A candle outside my tent on the banks of Loch Lomond.  The weather was uncharacteristically excellent, although the midges were swarming with a furious vengeance.


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