Looking to buy a new bike…

Ages ago, when we left Swindon, I gave my bike away on Freecyle. I’ve regretted that for a while now and recently decided to buy a replacement.

After a fair amount of investigation, I’d pretty much decided on a Boardman MX sport 2014 as it gets good reviews, looks good and wasn’t too expensive. Unfortunately of me, I discovered, they don’t make that model in a frame size large enough for my legs to keep pedalling whilst turning corners! My knees hit the turned handlebars..

To be honest I really wanted to buy a bike from an independent bike shop and not from Halfords, now it seems I have to.

I’m now looking forward to next week and having a proper look at the 2015 range from Scott at a shop here in on the Island in Newport.

Updates to follow…

Adverts and Popups

The internet is filled with webpages which are in turn filled with adverts – and a bit like spam, they seem to breed!

Most of my spam problems have now been controlled by setting filters as “tight” as possible on my normal email accounts and forwarding all the junk collected to a gmail account. I then collect my normal email and gmail normally as part of Outlook’s normal mail cycle so that all mail is collected centrally on my main PC and deleted from the mailservers. Any spam getting through after this is neatly mopped up by my old favourite, SpamBayes

When I’m out and about I still collect mail on the iPhone or iPad, but this time the POP collection process is set to leave mail on the server. It seems to work for me!

Anyhow, back to annoying popups and adverts; I’ve tried a lot of ad-blocking software (usually configured as a browser add-on or extension). They work but require updating from time to time and, of course, add-ons slow down the browser. While searching for solutions the other day I saw mention of an open-source solution called Privoxy and decided to give it a try. It’s still early days, but things are looking good!

This might get a little techy but I’ll do my best to keep it simple; Privoxy works at network level outside the browser and therefore doesn’t care which one (or 6!) you choose to use. Essentially, your browser now send requests  to Privoxy, it gets the page, filters out all the stuff you don’t need then forwards the nice clean, ad-free website to your browser.

OK, this does require a couple of small changes to your internet settings, but they are very easy to make. I won’t go into the detail here as the software authors have done a great job in producing all the info you need in a nice understandable manual – in fact everything apart from the small setting change mentioned just works straight “out of the box”.

Privoxy is available for Windows, Linux, Mac OSX, and quite a few other operating systems and once installed it allows you to route all your website requests through it.

For the moment I am using Privoxy on OSX, Windows and Mint Linux machines and all work perfectly – the next step is to “donate” a Raspberry Pi to this little project and put the software on that, which would allow me to remove the individual installations on each machine and route browser requests from any of them through Privoxy on the Pi.

There’s more for me to learn but things are looking good.

Whoops, I should have mentioned that Privoxy is free although, of course, donations are welcome.

IW Planning Applications

Suburban Milky Way
The Milky Way On My Doorstep – Copyright Chad Powell

A lot of you will know that I have been pretty busy lately with the IW Dark Skies project.

You can follow what we are up to at Darkwightskies.com

Well, I need some help – if you care about this Island, please take a look at our latest post and read about two plans which, if implemented as they stand, will seriously affect our skies.

Feel free to comment on the post there or perhaps you’d like to make your feelings known to the IW Planning Department or the companies concerned.

Whatever you choose, we need your help.