News items for tag notablog - Koos van den Hout

2021-03-27 I bought a secondhand morse paddle and made a video about it 2 weeks ago
For a while I had a notification set for someone selling a morse paddle. Finally one came along at a reasonable price so I bought it.

And.. I mentioned this detail to some people at work. Who had an idea of what a morse key is, but didn't know about morse paddles. So with my big mouth I said "I'll make a video about it". This was triggered by the fact that I recently learned about OpenShot non-linear video editor which is available for Linux too.

So I created a video. And found out making a video of 30 seconds is a lot more work than 30 seconds. I watched some tutorial videos about OpenShot first and thought about what I wanted to show. I haven't added spoken comments because I didn't feel like doing those too.

The video isn't great, I can see several beginner mistakes. But I get the point across of what a paddle does. There is a continuity problem because I used sunlight. Which isn't very constant. And I made several clips because I didn't think I would get everything I wanted to show right. But now there are changes in light and a bit in camera angle, even with using a tripod.

And our neighbours were busy hammering indoors, so that can be heard too.

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2020-12-29 Some updates to parts of my homepage 3 months ago
It's the christmas holiday and that gives me some time to fix things that have been on the wishlist for a while. This includes some parts of the scripts that make up my homepage.

The update was a learning process, I found out getting caching right is still very hard and I learned about preformatted text and the CSS grid which worked differently than expected. All fixed now.

This is now fixed, and I may find more things to fix in the (near) future.

Changes include:
  • The pages are now using a CSS grid
  • Pages have a usable righthandside
  • Updates to the footer have been made on all pages
  • The history function of the newstag page has been fixed to give usable permanent urls
  • The IPv6 check is active on more pages

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2020-12-27 Taming preformatted text in the CSS grid 3 months ago
I found out the mobile version of my homepage was a lot wider than the desktop version (which tries to fit on the screen). This didn't show when I learned about the CSS grid for Camp Wireless.

The difference is that my homepage regularly uses log samples which are displayed as preformatted text. I used the grid width 1fr which allows for the full width of <pre> items. Changing this to 100% fixed it. The desktop version uses two columns and those are already split using percentages of the full screen width.

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2020-12-27 I'm still wardriving from time to time 3 months ago
I haven't written anything about wardriving since I noticed I fell out of the WiGLE top 100 but I still do it from time to time. At the same rate as I wrote back then, switching on the WiGLE app on an Android phone when I realize I may be in an 'interesting' area for finding networks and I have the time. I don't go out on wardriving trips on purpose, but there are enough networks to be found.

By now I have dropped to the number 312 rank in the WiGLE user statistics. I guess there are other wardrivers a lot more active and plotting every day wardriving expeditions.

WiGLE also logs found bluetooth devices and there are a lot of those out there.

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2020-12-24 Getting caching right is still very hard 3 months ago
After switching my websites to https I found out caching works differently on https (for good reasons) and files included by lots of pages got reloaded a lot.

So I added some caching hints. I especially did not want the stylesheet to be reloaded constantly. So I added an ExpiresByType directive to cache stylesheets for a week.

But on the change of camp-wireless to a new stylesheet and programming language I got bitten by this: some browsers had the old css code cached and saw no reason to check for updates. The site looked strange (but wasn't really broken).

I recently made some changes to parts of my homepage too, also going to the CSS grid model, just like the changes in Camp Wireless to the CSS grid model. And I had the same problems with the CSS in the production version. It took a bit of searching to find the source of the Expires statement, it was in the .htaccess file.

Now fixed to a much shorter cache time, it is quite possible to have versions of the pagecode and CSS differ in the browser.

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2020-09-13 A weekend with some radio: first hand-paddled morse contact, a new country and data contacts 7 months ago
After lots of other things a weekend where I made time for amateur radio. I set up the endfed antenna and used a mast to raise the antenna at the end of the garden a bit, which hopefully increases the range a bit.

The big new thing was the last radio contact of the weekend: I decided to get on the air with the paddle as an exercise in morse. After looking for a contact at a reasonable speed where the exchange would be more than just callsigns and signal report I heard someone call CQ on the 40 meter band at about 20 words per minute. So to exercise my sending and not try to decode everything at 20 words per minute I cheated and used the computer to decode most of the morse code. I answered with my call and some basic information, with the printed CW QSO example in front of me. The other radio amateur had the patience to listen to my relatively slow speed (12 words per minute) and I had the contact. So I ended with a good - ..- which is morse for TU which is the abbreviation for "Thank You!"

Earlier in the weekend I made lots of FT8 and some FT4 contacts, just getting more calls in the log. I saw some for me new countries active. I managed to get French Guadeloupe as a new country in the log, and Saint Julia on a new band.

My notifications for the Bulgarian Saints showed me that LZ595IP was active in PSK31. I haven't used that mode in a while. I made the contact, so now I have that call in morse and PSK31, still looking for other modes.

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2020-08-28 Vandaag een stuk gaan fietsen maar het viel tegen 7 months ago
Dankzij het thuiswerken de laatste maanden viel mijn conditie recent toch flink tegen. Omdat ik voor de toekomst wilde plannen heb om door Europa te gaan ligfietsen vond ik het een goed idee om eens een stuk te gaan ligfietsen vandaag. De tijd was wat beperkt dus ik had al een plan gemaakt waar heen te gaan (een keer naar het Oosten) met diverse mogelijkheden om terug te keren als de tijdlimiet er aan kwam.

Maar ik had er niet op gerekend dat ik onderweg meerdere regenbuien mee zou krijgen en ook nog door een beweging mezelf zou openhalen aan een scherp deel van de fiets. Toen leek het me toch een goed idee om terug te gaan rijden maar dat ging uiteindelijk weer vlotter dan gedacht. Hier en daar is de keuze in routes soms wat beperkt. Uiteindelijk toch relatief veel 'bekend terrein' en minder ver gekomen dan ik verwacht had. De resultaten vielen ook een beetje tegen: 23.81 kilometer gefietst met uiteindelijk gemiddeld 13.90 kilometer per uur (inclusief schuilen voor de regen). Als ik serieuze afstanden wil afleggen in een langere fietstocht moet er toch meer uitkomen.

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2019-08-26 3000 items on my homepage and counting 1 year ago
Over 3000 items I was just wondering about the number of newsitems on my homepage and did a check. An interesting value popped up: 3000.

Yes, a round 3000 items since I started writing more than 20 years ago (or rather: 7456 days ago) : I've created a virtual bookcase with an overview of books I like/read.

Graphic created with Retro Wave.

Hat tip to Wil Wheaton, who mentions 6584 days - Wil Wheaton dot net

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2019-06-20 De afhankelijkheid van xs4all verminderen 1 year ago
Sinds april 1993 heb ik een xs4all login account (ja, van voor de start, mijn account is met de hand aangemaakt door Rop Gonggrijp). Sinds begin 1992 had ik al een xs4all uucp account voor, tegenwoordig omgezet naar een bsmtp account (waarbij mail binnenkomt bij de xs4all mailservers en na de spamfiltering doorgestuurd wordt naar mijn server). Maar met de laatste plannen van KPN om het merk xs4all te gaan stoppen en zaken samen te voegen ben ik toch bang dat de unieke redenen om daar te blijven langzaam zullen vervallen.

Wat ik nodig heb is een plek met vast IPv4/IPv6 en een aardige uplink snelheid. Via xs4all kan dat gewoon thuis, maar misschien is op den duur een virtuele private server en een goedkope thuisaansluiting met daartussen een vorm van vpn ook een werkende oplossing.

Dus dan is het ook tijd om langzaam minder afhankelijk te worden van de bsmtp service voor en langzaam maar zeker mijn eigen domeinnaam voor e-mail in te voeren als primair adres. Wie weet heeft de bsmtp dienst bij KPN ook niet het eeuwige leven. De extra opties die van xs4all een goede provider maken voor een hobbyist zitten bij andere providers vaak in een zakelijk pakket of worden niet aangeboden.

Ik kon altijd beweren dat ik het e-mail adres wat ik gebruik gewoon ouder was dan spam e-mail.

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2019-03-17 Still working and sometimes struggling learning morse 2 years ago
Every week there is an hour of morse training at my radio club, see article CW cursus op PI4UTR (Dutch). And I'm going there every week I can, as learning morse is an important part of my amateur radio resolutions for 2019.

We're training with the G4FON morse trainer which uses the Koch method (order of characters to learn) to learn morse and so-called Fairnsworth timing (playing the dits and dahs of the characters at the high speed but leaving room to think about what you just heard).

I am doing ok, now we're getting to the level of 37 characters I have a hard time remembering the newest characters. Constant exercise seems the only way to fix this a bit, making exercises with just the characters I keep making mistakes in, although I can go blank again on new characters when switching to testing the whole set. As soon as I get reasonable low amounts of errors I'll try to raise the speed (by raising the effective speed, the dits and dahs of a single letter still come at 15 words per minute).

I want to learn this, with the plan to pass the Belgian CW test some day, and get up to enough speed to be able to participate in morse parts of contests and DX contacts. But there will be a lot of practice before I'm at that level.

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Meningen zijn die van mezelf, wat ik schrijf is beschermd door auteursrecht. Sommige publicaties bevatten een expliciete vermelding dat ze ongevraagd gedeeld mogen worden.
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Other webprojects: Camp Wireless, wireless Internet access at campsites, The Virtual Bookcase, book reviews
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