Longest Day of the Year

Tomorrow will be the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere.  One of the things that means everywhere North of the equator is longer days.  But here in England, the days are longer than one might think.  For example, as I’m writing this, the time is 10:10pm and the sky is still light.  Below is a picture I took last week with my camera phone at 10:10pm.

13 June 2012 night sky at 2220

Look at that!  Incredible the amount of light on the horizon.  Tomorrow it will be even more so.

Oh, in addition to staying light longer, the sun also rises earlier.  I’d have to look it up, but we sunrise has to be about 5am this time of year.  Now, one disadvantage is it gets dark sooner in the winter.  For example, it is full dark (no light visible in the sky) by 4pm in the winter time and it doesn’t get light until about 8am.  Oh, in case you are wondering, we live at 51 degrees north.  That is 10 degrees shy of the 61 for Anchorage, Alaska but 13 higher than Washington DC and 4 higher than Seattle’s 47.

Internet Redux

Ok…this might not be a big deal to any of you out there, but I wanted to write about it.

Have a look at this graph:


What is it?  That is a screenshot of the WAN bandwidth going through our strongvpn router set-up.  What does this let us do?  It makes any device connected to this router look like it is in the US.  But, for the past few months, we’ve been fighting slow speeds…really slow speeds.  HOWEVER, yesterday, I made some changes and, once the internet settled down, it looks like the problem is resolved.  We went from getting < 1Mbit/sec to this.  And look how constant it is….no big bursts…no slowdowns…just plain old good data transfer.  Now this is pretty good considering that we get about 8Mbit/sec off the VPN.

What’s the big deal you ask?  Well, we went with Virgin Media (and are paying them 30 quid per month instead of 7.50 with Sky) because they were the only ones who would offer us unlimited unshaped internet where we live.  This is what I’m paying for…not the performance we were getting.  Hopefully it stays!

[Update 2012-06-19 19:08:27] Ran a speed test this evening.  Here are the results:


[Update 2013-10-02 13:33:47] We are getting FIBER!

Cyndi’s Birthday

Cyndi wanted to go see The Phantom of the Opera in London.  I told her to get the tickets and we’d go.  Well, we went and she had a great time.  I had an ok time…there were holes in the play that I wish would have been filled in.  I liked Wicked better…..  After, we had dinner at the best BBQ in London.

To Victoria station

Phantom of the opera

The phantom redux

Cyndi at the phantom

[Updated 2012-12-26 14:34:31] Some of the links didn’t work.  I updated them.

This is the wettest drought I have seen

I’ve been places where water restrictions were put in place in the US.  I’ve lived places with limited fresh water.  I understand that a 10 inch deficit of rain can’t get made up for in a single 10 inch deluge.  But this is the wettest drought I have ever been in.

A hosepipe ban went into effect back in March. You can find another article on the 2012 drought here.  We had 2 really dry hot weeks around then, but it has rained a good 75% of the days since those two weeks.  Here is a picture of some street flooding:

Drought in England 2

What Song Is This?

Play the song above and tell me what it is.

Go ahead.

Have you done it?

Well, if you are American, you’ll say it is “My Country Tis of Thee.”  If you are British (or Canadian, Australian, etc…) you’ll say it is “God save the Queen“.  Oh, and if you are English, it is your national anthem.  I hadn’t thought much of it (because you don’t hear it all that often) but we’ve heard it quite often recently with the kickoff of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.