Categories
Ireland

Voice Over LTE is on now

My wife and I both noticed a new “VO LTE1” icon next to the 4G symbol on our phones this morning.

Apparently that’s Voice Over LTE.

Voice over Long-Term Evolution (VoLTE) is an LTE high-speed wireless communication standard for mobile phones and data terminals, including Internet of things (IoT) devices and wearables. VoLTE has up to three times more voice and data capacity than older 3GUMTS and up to six times more than 2GGSM. It uses less bandwidth because VoLTE’s packet headers are smaller than those of unoptimized VoIP/LTE.[1] VoLTE calls are usually charged at the same rate as other calls.

Wikipedia

So now you know if you see this icon too. Let’s hope Eir/Gomo aren’t planning on removing 3G support any time soon like Verizon in the US is. Reception can be patchy in many parts of the country.

Categories
General

High Altitude Surveillance Aircraft over Ukraine

This tweet prompted me to look up flightradar24.com and look for the remotely piloted aircraft observing what’s happening in Ukraine right now.

I won’t pretend to know anything about the capabilities of these craft but a “Northrop Grumman RQ-4B Global Hawk” with the flight designation FORTE11 is flying all over the country.

It was joined by Forte12.

A third drone was launched from Sicily and is flying the same flight path as FORTE12.

To learn more about what’s happening there follow Gavin Sheridan’s Twitter list of “Ukrainian accounts, journalists, news orgs, foreign journalists in or near Ukraine & OSINT”.

Categories
General

Almost Got It

On the 22nd day of the 2nd month of the year 2022 I was almost in time to photograph the time display at 20:22. Almost.

Categories
Ireland

The devastating effects of Storm Eunice

The west coast of Ireland woke up to severe winds this morning as Storm Eunice hit the country. After a lull at 7am wind speeds picked up again and the trees behind my home were swaying alarmingly. Three roads out of Blarney have been blocked by falling trees already. Some who believe the storm isn’t that serious have commented that many of those trees were old trees with pre-existing conditions and they were going to fall anyway.

Cork has been devastated by the storm. In the photo above you can see a poor cow that has been blown into a tree in Emmett Place near the Opera House. Emergency services will shortly be on the scene.

How will we survive at all?!

Categories
Animals

Tetanus? I’m good for another ten years

Ah, Mommy Cat. We have two cats. They’ve lived with us for more than 13 years. Originally there were five but the three boys wandered too far and unfortunately were lost to cars on a nearby road.

Mommy Cat, the matriarch of all she sees, brought her kittens to us way back in 2009. The only girl of the litters she bore is Hoppy, so called because she’s missing a part of her back foot. It doesn’t slow her down though. When she wants to she can run like the wind, or hunt silently and bring us “gifts” to the back door.

Mommy Cat is still half wild. After all these years she will barely tolerate us touching her, and only while she’s eating cat treats. For many a year she would sit on the window sill, rain or shine, hail or snow, looking into the kitchen. She would never come in unless the back door was left wide open.

Until a few weeks ago that is. Much to our delight she came in and didn’t flinch (too much) when I slowly and quietly closed the door behind her. She ate some food. Looked around. Wandered through the legs of the kitchen table. Sniffed the legs of the chairs. She even went over to the dog’s bed, and lay down, watching us through lidded eyes.

We were amazed. At 15 or 16 years old she realised she didn’t have to run out the door when we approached. She realised it was nice and warm inside and she was safe inside. After a while she went out again into the night, and her bed outside in a kennel.

Things only got better and better. First thing in the morning she came in with her daughter, meowing in a croaky voice. Slightly unsteady on her elderly feet, but she still has an appetite.

Soon enough she was staying in the bed all day until I coaxed her out, but then she started staying in all night. She obviously has good bladder control as she had to be pushed out in the morning!

This continued for the last two weeks but she’s the worse for wear. Her fur is matted, her paws are yellowing. We could see she was doing better being inside in the warmth but one morning we smelled something nasty. Her matted fur was the source. Out she went again and my wife washed the dog’s bed, adding bleach to help get the smell out. We decided something had to be done.

Later that afternoon we acted. Mommy Cat needed to be brushed down and cleaned. I now wonder what the hell we were thinking we could do since she was half wild. Our attempts lasted all of about two minutes. Wearing kitchen gloves, I slowly crawled up to her, put my hand out to catch her. Quick as a flash, she twirled her head around and bit down hard on my finger!

Mommy Cat ran out the door and blood pumped out of my finger as I ran cold water over it into the sink. It slowly stopped but was very sore to the touch.

Of course I had to then get a tetanus shot. The last time I got one of those was in the mid-nineties. Thankfully this time it was in the arm. I have a dose of antibiotics to take for the next week, and my finger is all bandaged up. It’s still very sore but hopefully the infection won’t go anywhere.

On the way back from the doctor we stopped at the local vet to get a trap. It’s a small cage, about a metre long with a panel that slides open at one end to put the food in, and a door at the other end that swings up and is held up by a spring loaded catch. When the animal steps on a plate the door swings down behind them. Our vet knows how to handle cats. They’ll be able to clean her up and check her health.

Mommy Cat? Thankfully she didn’t take off. She came back later in the day looking for food. This morning we put out the trap. Hoppy had to be kept out of the garden because we knew she’d go into the trap without a thought for any food. Mommy Cat is smarter. She must have been starving but she never went into the trap, even though we put tuna and cat food in there. I think it’ll take a few days for her to become used to seeing it. We’ll leave the trap out for the next few days and hopefully we’ll be able to get her to the vet.

She’s in again tonight. It’s cold out. Best place for our elderly cat.

Categories
tv

When Diego heard a cat

Our chihuahua Diego’s favourite time of the day is when I tell him, “we watch TV!” He looks up expectantly and runs into the living room. We’ll sit down on the couch and Diego will jump up on one of us and settle down for a sleep and gentle rubs.

We’re going through the 1978 series of All Creatures Great and Small right now. It was prompted by the appearance of the new series but my wife prefers the old one so I bought her the box set for Christmas, ripped all the DVDs so we can play them through Plex on the TV. Watching one episode a night, this will keep us going for quite some time!

Last night we watched Tricks of the Trade, an episode where James Herriot finds a tiny black kitten at the side of the road. He brings it to the farm he’s visiting where the kitten is cared for in a wonderful way.

However, before the kitten comes home he is loud in his attempts to gain attention, meowing for all to hear, and that includes Diego. He sat up straight, looked at the TV and watched for several minutes!

It’s not the first time he’s watched All Creatures Great and Small. In other episodes the sound of dogs barking and people calling after them has grabbed his attention and he’ll look up sleepily at the TV, I’m sure wondering where those dogs are.

If you like the new series, you’ll love the old one too. If you haven’t seen the new series but have fond memories of watching it in the past go out and buy the box set and enjoy it all over again!

The box set is on the Golden Discs website, but can also be found on Amazon. However, Golden Discs was much cheaper. YMMV.

Categories
Games

“Hello World” on the BBC Micro

You too can create a simple “HELLO WORLD” loop on the BBC Micro by visiting the Virtualbeeb website.

You can also play a selection of games! I used to play Elite on the C64 and that’s where I got my demoscene handle from but I had never played it on the BBC.

On the C64 it’s a single load. The whole game fits into 64KB of memory. No loading from tape or disk once it loads, but I was shocked to hear the virtual disk drive start up when I launched out of the space station! Once into space the reassuring sight of the local planet loomed in front of me. S and X, < and > changes my direction of flight while A fires.

I can’t remember how to slow down so my attempts to fly back to the station and dock again didn’t work out so well!

My secondary school didn’t have this machine. We had a dozen or so Commodore 64s so this was probably my first time using one and it was fascinating. Even if it is only an 8 bit machine, I still think it’s amazing we can emulate it in a browser in JavaScript.

If you’re nostalgic for the BBC Micro you’ll love the Virtualbeeb!

Categories
Animals

A Dog Named Beau

Today is the day I first heard actor Jimmy Stewart read his poem about his dog Beau. You should hear it too. It’s beautiful.

A dog named Diego

I can’t post something about dogs and not include a photo of my dear little Diego. His muzzle is a little greyer than in the photo above but he’s still a puppy at heart, loving to play and go for walks. He’ll also happily accept cuddles, sit on your shoe for comfort, or curl up in a ball on top of you if you’re relaxing on the couch.

Categories
Ireland

Storm Barra is upon us

Gusts of 130km/h were predicted and a gust of 156km/h was recorded off Fastnet Lighthouse but it’s not been too bad in Blarney yet. Fences are still standing and the wheelie bins are tucked away safe!

Cork Beo have live updates on their website as the City has all but shut down and the river has started to flood surrounding areas. It’s a good day to stay inside if you can!

Categories
Photos

My dog is the master of this

Any time we go out Diego does his best to let us know that we can not possibly go out without him. This is why I’ve been spotted carrying him around supermarkets in a special carrier bag, or been booted out of other supermarkets for having him in that bag or in town where life would really be much less stressful if he wasn’t with us.

Being cute is very tiring