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  1. 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!


  2. Obsidian Cyano Starmap

    November 4, 2014 by Daniel

    Kate with Florence

  3. 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.

  4. International Babywearing Week 2014

    October 9, 2014 by Daniel

    Here’s something I wrote for my friend Dom.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.



  8. Trialling a Firespiral

    July 9, 2014 by Daniel

    We had a lovely weekend this past one, a day out in Manchester and then a bit of walking around the neighbourhood on Sunday.
    We were lucky enough to have been lent a couple of wraps to try out, lichen sand 100% cotton birch trees and an Indigo Cyano 50% linen seafoam, both by Firespiral.

    I think the colour of the Lichen Sand would be great for more formal occasions, but also for Summery days like we had at the weekend. It was very supportive more so than the Cyano was even however that one being Linen does need a bit more breaking in. It’s difficult to understand how it’s done but all Firespirals arrive much softer than others it seems, so you can get going straight away.

    It was a pretty warm day for Manchester but neither felt too hot especially the Lichen Sand, which seems to have been made for Summery days and we were carrying our newborn all day and the toddler quite a bit.

    I’m not much of a wrapper, but when I get the chance I love it, I’m getting the hang of the fwcc with our newborn (with help from Hold Close!), we’d skipped straight to back carries with our first but I found the Birch Trees Sage very easy to fwcc with.

    All in all it enabled us to have a full weekend around the city, we got the train in and had no trouble getting around and there’s just that special feeling you have of being close to your kids, responding to what they are interested in looking at and being able to react to it.









  9. Florence

    June 19, 2014 by Daniel

    On the 26th of May, our daughter Florence Emmeline was born at North Manchester General.
    It was a beautiful labour, starting on the Friday night going away, coming back again and finally we went into hospital on the Monday (after going in Sunday night and home again as things weren’t happening). Kate didn’t quite get the midwife led unit she wanted but was able to have a lovely room in the labour ward instead which was for all intents and purposes exactly the same (except the ‘equipment’ was less well hidden).
    We got in around 11 o’clock and Florence was born at 1.28pm in the pool.
    Kate’s labour was so different to her first with George, she wasn’t being monitored, she wasn’t on ‘the drip’ and needed no pain relief. She didn’t even use gas & air, just breathing techniques and a strong grip on my hand with some massage before she got into the pool.
    Kate said that the pool really helped her and I think she would recommend it to anyone.

    Florence had a great start and did much better with feeding in the first weeks than George did. But about a week in we found that she was still losing weight so we needed to start ‘topping her up’. So the routine of pumping and sterilising began after a quick trip to Mothercare to get some essential replacement valves for the breast pump. We were topping her up 1 Fl Oz every 3 hours. The suspect also that she has a slight tongue tie, but we weren’t convinced that was a major contributor to the problem, it was more just that we make kids that don’t put on weight to start with – at the next weigh in she was expected to put on between 40-80g, she put on 140g.

    Due to the top ups routine I took a third week off of work, having only planned the two ‘statutory’ weeks and leaving a bit of leave in reserve. But it was obvious Kate or I weren’t ready for me to return. I write this 4 days into my first week back. It’s been a stretch I think – another child certainly makes time management even more difficult – but I think things are going well. We are still figuring out how to juggle a toddler and a newborn, getting the evening routine done without issue is going to take some more practice. George seems to want only Mummy as he falls asleep at the moment which is frustrating as Kate is tied up with other things. George has only let me put him to sleep a handful of times since Christmas and I’m left feeling like I’m not doing enough otherwise or something wrong. It’s just getting the ‘handoff’ timed right so that’s Florence is settled and George hasn’t gotten too worked up.

    We’ve managed a trip out to the Zoo which was a lovely day and this week we went out for my birthday to Bowl. Both times were really fun.

  10. Now I Am 2

    March 20, 2014 by Daniel

    I can’t believe we’re here already (I know, I know, I’m probably going to say this every year). My boy is now two years old.
    He’s gone from this
    To this

    In a Year?! At his birthday last year he was juuuust about walking around.

    He left ‘babydom’ and hit full toddler around the end of Summer 2013. Now it’s March and he’s 2 we’re into proper sentences, he sleeps in his own room – for pretty much most of the night. We’re well into potty training – he’s mostly there but has the odd off day.
    We think that’s he’s very aware of the imminent arrival of a brother or sister. I’m sure he’s going to make a great brother. Recently both Kate and I have been a bit under the weather and he’s been very caring toward us, asking if we are OK.

    We’re going to the Zoo for the day and having a party with his friends and family on Saturday – it’s going to be a train theme – He adores Chuggington (although it’s fast being eclipsed by Pixar’s Cars or Planes depending on his mood).