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  1. Reaching 30

    June 23, 2015 by Daniel

    Here I am. Thrity.

    I don’t know why but it seems quite a milestone and I had a fabulous time celebrating it. Kate surprised me to a trip to Paris, having arranged for the kids to stay in Morecambe with her parents.

    We flew Ryanair to Paris-Beauvais and were staying in an 4th floor apartment for 2 nights basically in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. Fantastic! We had such a great time, I’d forgotten how much I enjoy travelling.
    The first evening after getting in an recovering we had a walk around the immediate area with the aim of finding somewhere to eat. We wound up on Place Joffre, walking past Ecole Militaire and Champ de Mars (with it’s square trees!) eventually going into L’Ogre.
    What a place to happen onto! The food was fantastic, same goes for the wine! I had Entrecote and a Montepeyroux red.

    We walked back to the apartment past the Eiffel tower which was lit up beautifully.

    What a way to spend your 30th!

    The next day we had tried to get up earlyish but took advantage of a child free lie in. I went out to get pastries and coffee and then we left to walk around Paris for the day. We’d looked at pre-booked tickets for the Tower the night before but discovered we were to late for that so we thought we’d go along and see how it went.


    We arrived at the tower and started queuing around 10. By 10.30 we were in and up!

    Amazing view, I only had a distant memory of going with school – 1999 I think.

    Afterwards we continued walking along the Seine, diverting as we saw something interesting. We had lunch on the steps of Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, passed the Grand palais and place de la concorde carrying on through Tuileries Garden up to the Louvre. We’d been told that’s way to much to just ‘pop in’ to so resolved to look properly another time. We then headed north to the Pomidou centre, stopping for an iced coffee and some shopping.

    After that we went to Notre Dame, some more gift shopping and caught the Metro from Saint Michel to Invalides (eventually anyways – went the wrong direction for 2 stops!).

    For our evening meal we caught the Metro after a nice walk from the apartment to Assemblée Nationale up to Abbesses, which we hadn’t realised was pretty high up – which meant lots of steps up to the surface! We wandered around a little bit and found ourselves at La Cave a Jojo and ate three courses, sharing a Boeuf Bourguignon (and of course a bottle of red!).


    The next morning we did a little more browsing and shopping on Av. des Champs-Élysées, and then caught the Metro sorrowfully from George V to Porte Maillot where there is a big shopping centre and our coach to the airport was leaving from.


    What a fantastic city, we packed a lot in – but there was so so much more we didn’t even attempt to do. I can’t wait for the next time – lot’s of other places to go on the list too though!

  2. #GE2015 Thoughts

    May 11, 2015 by Daniel

    Another election over with, this time some quite big surprises.

    When the exit poll came in I think everyone was shocked. It was way off of what the opinion polls had been saying for months. So everyone wrote it off really – Paddy Ashdown said he’d eat his hat – but the exit poll turned out to not quite even go far enough, the Conservatives ended up with a 12 seat majority, something nobody expected.

    So the analysis starts voters weren’t asking themselves ‘Which of the two parties do I want to win?’ but ‘Which coalition do I want? but I keep going back to this blog by Paul Mason Three new tribes of voters will dominate this election it goes to explain why perhaps there are all these disenfranchised voters who feel nobody speaks for them. The small parties they might want stand no chance under FPTP.

  3. General Election Time 2015

    April 1, 2015 by Daniel

    Here we go again.
    We’ve moved into a different constituency this year so a bit of catch-up is required to look at our new political landscape.
    At a local council area level, it’s a broadly Conservative area, but Parliamentary wise, it’s Labour – since 1997 where the majority has gone from 13k to about 4k in the last two elections. So it’s getting closer but not as close as Bury North was/is.

    Currently standing are:

    James Daly Conservative Party (currently a councillor in Bury)
    Stephen Rock Liberal Democrats
    David Crausby Labour Party (incumbent)
    Harry Lamb UK Independence Party (UKIP)
    Laura Diggle Green Party

    I’d encourage anyone to use things like to guide them on who actually aligns with their views, however I’ve started to look at the candidates individually too, where I can, with what’s available.

    We got a leaflet from David Crausby yesterday and so were looking at his record on They Work For You, it highlighted something I didn’t know, that he was one of the MPs that voted against the Same Sex marriage bill. I tried to do a little digging on his reasoning and to be honest I wasn’t satisfied with what I read (MPs Split on Same Sex Marriage Plans – The Bolton News). I hope this gets some follow up in the campaign.

  4. George is 3

    March 20, 2015 by Daniel


    Time flies really doesn’t it!
    It’s George’s third birthday. It’s been another amazing year – he’s come on so well. Recently it seems his confidence has really gone up – he’s now speaking much more to adults. He’s determined to do lots for himself, standing up wee’s etc.
    He’s really into a few things at the moment, Pirates & Octonauts mostly.

    For his birthday itself we’re going to the zoo and then tomorrow (Saturday) we’re having a party at home with an ‘Under the Sea/Octonauts’ theme.

    Happy Birthday George!


  5. Obsidian Cyano Starmap

    November 4, 2014 by Daniel

    Kate with Florence

  6. Remote Time Machine

    October 10, 2014 by Daniel

    I thought I’d write down some notes in case I ever want to come back to this.

    Basically I had to do a restore from backup the other day. I had backups but they were a little dated and I wondered if there was a better way that swapping round all my disks to do a local backup.

    We’ve got a pretty quick internet connection and I have some connections through work so I can play with things a bit more than most people might be able to.

    I was looking at using my Raspberry Pi to act as the file server. I haven’t got around to this yet because I have better things to do than mess around with computers when I’m at home.
    But I thought this is still flawed, what I really want is a remote backup and for it to be done with Time Machine, because hey – that works great!
    It solves several things for me – any local external usb storage takes up valuable ports, desktop space, opportunities for other things to be stored on the drive… also, if you have a catastrophe – the disks are still on site!
    What I like to do is have my work machine and my home machine and have them have backups of eachother’s files.

    So here’s a solution, it’s not perfect but it does work.

    Take advantage of the magic of SSH tunnels.

    OK they are a bit scary on the face of it. But they get you around so many of the restrictions that the big bad scary Internet places on us.

    Basically things are pretty much walled off only to work on the local network because it’s known and safe(r), yeah that’s another story but run with me there.

    So here’s the magic line:

    sudo ssh hostname -l username -L 22:

    Basically, take the stuff that goes through port 548 that’s on the ‘hostname’ server and use the localhost port 22 address for it instead.

    Port 548 is for AFP/Apple Filing Protocol and is basically what Time Machine likes for doing its stuff on a network.


    The Server End

    Once you’ve got this round your head, you can set up your file server. I was just testing this out so I fired up an Ubuntu VM and followed this article.

    Note in scope here: Being able to access your server from your home network. You need something that’s publically accessible really.

    Time Machine

    To get it to work on your Mac, make sure your magic SSH tunnel is in place, check you can mount the network drive by pointing at afp://, get your password right etc. Then go into Time Machine preferences and add the disk.

    Boom you are done, or you’d think right?

    Turns out there’s a little more. Now you are doing something odd, Time Machine doesn’t expect you to be mounting an AFP share through a weird port so when it stores the password to access it in future it doesn’t quite store the correct address to use. So you need to go into Keychain Access and under the System Keychain you’ll see a Time Machine Password, just edit the “Where” field in there to include “:22″ at the end of the URL and when Time Machine next runs it’ll run over the Internet to your share.


    Bonus HFS+ Round

    Follow steps 2 and 3 on this page to use the drive attached to your VM on a HFS+ partition, that way if you ever have to restore just bring the drive home and it’ll be so much quicker as you can mount the drive locally rather than wait for all those bits to move over the series of tubes.

  7. International Babywearing Week 2014

    October 9, 2014 by Daniel

    Here’s something I wrote for my friend Dom.

  8. George & The Cinema

    August 15, 2014 by Daniel

    This was so much fun, he’s asking lots about going again. Which makes me very happy.


    Planes 2 new poster (2)

    We went to see Planes Fire & Rescue, obviously he loved the first one so we knew he’d like it. Just wasn’t sure whether it would overwhelm him or not.

  9. Exim 4.83

    August 6, 2014 by Daniel

    We use Exim extensively at the University of Manchester, I suppose it’s historical reasons, a lot of distributions don’t include it as the default MTA any more.

    We’re now for the most part on a combination of redhat and exim, exim isn’t included in the usual repositories for redhat anymore and the ones that have it are quite out of date.

    For Exim 4.82 I proposed that we ought to have our own repository and start building Exim for ourselves since the versions we had were getting more and more out of date. So it’s much easier now to update our servers with more up to date versions of Exim.

    One of the trickier parts of the build was the dependency on opendmarc-tools which in turn requires some Perl modules: Zlib, Bzip2. It turns out that the version of perl-IO-Compress I’d put into the repository had some issues as some of the Perl modules have been moved around. I managed to find a newer version that fixed the depsolve problems I was having.



    One way we use exim is to send authenticated mail from users that are not using the main Exchange system. Exim 4.83 is a bit more strict about encrypted connections and one thing that broke was querying the LDAP servers to authenticate users.

    I had to put a line in like:

    ldap_require_cert = allow

    To get it working again.

  10. Camping Trip

    July 28, 2014 by Daniel

    Just got back from an Epic 9-night camping trip.

    We started off with Sling Dads camp in Staffordshire, then camped for the week in Hereford ending up in Oxfordshire for Natural Mamas Big Camp.

    We had a great time, it’s pretty tough camping with a toddler and a newborn actually, not enough pairs of hands, etc but it was really lovely.