Sunday, 27 September 2009

DNS Trouble

I was alerted by the nice people at SiteUptime that my website had stopped working at about 7:30am this morning. I had planned to go jogging with my dad and had friends coming over for lunch. I just had time to get on to putty to see if I could see what was going on. Lighttpd wouldn't start -- complaining that it couldn't resolve the domain name. A few ping attempts later it was clear that nothing would resolve. I didn't have time to figure out what had happened, but the support at RimuHosting is really superb. I sent them a support ticket and within 30 minutes their techie had updated my /etc/resolve.conf with their newest DNS cache servers and everything was working again. I can't recommend RimuHosting highly enough! They have a nice script to fix the resolv.conf in case you were wondering :-)

Monday, 21 September 2009

First Geocache Published

In a very proud family moment we've just published our first ever Geocache. You can find it on the Geocaching web site with the ID GX1YXPO. The first two people have already found it. The first one got to it at 0745 the morning after the listing went live. A Monday too!

How to Copy URL from Symbian Web Browser

I've finally figured out how to cut'n'paste from the standard Symbian Web Browser on my E71 phone. On the E61, my previous phone, I installed the Opera browser which gave me easy access to copy the current URL. I've not bothered to install Opera on the new phone. The Symbian browser lets you look at the current page URL using the Tools >> Page Info setting but has no way of copying. The solution I found was to bookmark the page that I wanted the URL of and then edit the bookmark. From the edit bookmark page a simple CTRL-A and CTRL-C did the trick.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Maths Lament and Dice Games

One of the home ed lists I'm on pointed me at this wonderful maths essay: It is the sort of thing that makes you (ok, makes *me*) yearn to be a mathematitican. A passage half-way through got me thinking: "SIMPLICIO: Then what should we do with young children in math class? SALVIATI: Play games! Teach them Chess and Go, Hex and Backgammon, Sprouts and Nim, whatever. Make up a game. Do puzzles. Expose them to situations where deductive reasoning is necessary. Don’t worry about notation and technique, help them to become active and creative mathematical thinkers." That struck a chord. Our eldest is now seven and although very good at mental addition and subtraction, we're struggling to get him interested in multiplications or any writing. (I know I shouldn't worry, but that's easier said than done.) Then I had an idea. He loves cricket, could I make up a game that would need multiplication and involved cricket. What I came up with was to throw three six-sided die and multiply the resulting numbers to get each batsman's score. E.g {2, 4, 3} results in a score of 24. You then of course need to add up the scores to get the team result. This game in hand #1 son wrote down all of the names of the English and Australian cricket teams (I helped with spelling) and did lots of multiplication. Past experience says this game will stick for a week or two then we'll be on to the next thing. Has anyone got any pointers to other games that need multiplication as part of the game play? Any suggestions for other simple dice-based sports simulations?