Posts

Jimny Car Batteries and a Smart Charger

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I've previously written about my 2007 Suzuki Jimny and explained why I think it's such a great little vehicle. In this post I give an account of how the starter battery was rejuvenated by a 'smart' charger and take a look at the brands and specifications of battery which can be fitted to this model of car. One cold February morning in 2021 my Jimny refused to start. The engine failed to turn over and it was clear that the battery was the culprit. To be honest I felt a little guilty. The car had been garaged almost continuously throughout the first year of the coronavirus pandemic and had been started only once each week when it was allowed to idle unattended for 20 minutes or so. Several days of temperatures below zero had been the final straw. I reckon that the seven year old battery had done remarkably well to last as long as it had under those circumstances. The outcome was that I would have to purchase either a battery or charger. Fingers crossed, I opted for the l

Posting Blocks of Code on Google Blogger

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This blog is hosted by Google. In the past I've considered the pros and cons of using Google's Blogger and why I chose Blogger for this blog. This article looks at how snippets of code can be neatly displayed within posts using a few lines of CSS. I opted for the  Contempo Aqua  theme for this blog, but regardless of the theme you decide to install it's probable that you'll want to customise its appearance to some degree. I decided to keep things simple and not to edit the HTML content of the theme's template. The few changes I've made have been achieved by the addition of  CSS . To add CSS, starting from the Blogger dashboard, follow these steps... Click Theme . Under 'My theme' click Customise . From the resulting menu choose Advanced . Use the down arrow then click Add CSS . Insert and then  Save  your CSS code. From time to time I'll provide explanations of modifications that have been made

Football Fortunes, View the Book Online

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Elsewhere in my blog I've posted an article about a book I had published in 1996. It was reviewed by the Sunday Times and described as a trainspotter's paradise . The subject matter was football results forecasting and betting. Football Fortunes is more than a little dated, but even so I spent a couple days scanning its pages to compile a PDF file which can be viewed online. Improbable perhaps, but someone, somewhere may still find something of interest. I hope so! Here's a link to view or download Football Fortunes . The following extracted images, which you may wish to check out first, provide a flavour of what the book is about. Football Fortunes deals with results forecasting with sections devoted to football pools, probabilities, fixed-odds betting and the role of computers. The challenges of football results forecasting are considered including the collection and analysis of data. Various approaches are appraised and success rates analysed. There's a brief hist

Biennial Plants and Sunflowers From Seed

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For many years I've enjoyed a spot of gardening. In fact there have been several occasions over the years when I've been employed as a gardener. That's included in Scotland and when living in the Northern Territory of Australia. I also studied plant biology as a component of my BSc degree in 1985 at the University of St. Andrews . I'm by no means an expert but do try to grow a variety of different plants each year. Unfortunately what can be achieved in my Dunfermline garden is limited by its small size and difficult location. An enormous sycamore tree, which I've pictured elsewhere in my blog, hardly helps my efforts. The following photographs were taken over the spring and summer of 2019, although preparations began the previous year with the sowing of biennial seeds. I generally sow biennials indoors on window sills during June and July. I have a greenhouse but it's more convenient to tend a small amount of germinating seeds in the house. Seedlings are pott

Football Fortunes, the Trainspotter's Paradise

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In 1996 my first (and last) book Football Fortunes was published. It was described by the Sunday Times as "a trainspotters paradise". A curate's egg of a review, although I do confess the book is one for anoraks. The book was written in an age before internet gambling was commonplace and the football pools and bookmaker's fixed-odds coupons were the most popular way to place bets on the outcome of matches. Football Fortunes. Results Forecasting, Gambling & Computing. W.A.Hunter BSc BA The blurb on the back reads as follows. " ... MAKES VITAL READING for those interested in soccer results forecasting, the football pools, or fixed-odds betting. Comprehensive advice is provided for both the novice and experienced bettor. Beginning with the fundamentals of results prediction and the laws of probability and odds, there then follow detailed explanations of forecasting systems and staking strategies. To improve your fortunes, there are many origina

Carrion Crows and Wood Pigeons Nesting in my Garden

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In the summer of 2009 wood pigeons nested in my front garden. That's not remarkable of course, but on this occasion they chose to nest in a small cherry tree only six feet from an upstairs bedroom window. The arrival of the pigeons coincided with my purchase of a video camera and was the perfect opportunity to test it out. I set up the camera only inches from the slightly open window. The quality of the video (in terms of clarity at least) is excellent. The episode remains strong in my memory as my mother's bed was sat adjacent to that window. She was bedridden and her dementia was by that stage severe. Although mother had lost her speech I was aware that she was intently watching and listening while I filmed and contributed an Attenborough-esque commentary. This is the video. The camera was a Canon HG20. I uploaded the  video to YouTube in August of 2009. It has accumulated over 16,000 views. There was a  sequel  but it failed to achieve the acclaim of the original movie. In

Billiard Balls, Sequence and Logic Puzzles

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A few years ago I created a series of billiard ball puzzles. They were posted on my pool websites and on Facebook. Here they are again. Just click on each of the images for a full screen view. Ball Heads Puzzle The first puzzle is self-explanatory. Simply provide a value for the final image in the series. Balls in Sequence Puzzle This next one is all about sequences. Select the 6th in sequence from images A, B, C, D and E. Pyramid Balls Puzzle Below is a 4-sided, square base pyramid formed by pool balls. There are four layers numbered from top to bottom 1, 2, 3, 4. Individual balls have these points values…  Red = 1  Yellow = 2  Blue = 3  White = 4  Black = 5 Each layer consists of balls all of the same colour except that a single black ball is out of sight somewhere within the pyramid. The sum value of all of the balls in the pyramid is 53 points. In which layer is the black ball ? Poolean Logic Puzzle There are three pool balls. Red, yellow and blue. They are numbered 1, 2 and 3, but

Facebook Trolls, Covidiots and Scottish Nationalism

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The creation of this blog during isolation has proved to be a welcome escape from the cesspool which Facebook has become. I rarely visit my Facebook account, but today made an exception to retrieve old content. It didn't take long before I came across a Facebook 'friend' denying the very existence of the pandemic. It beggars belief that anyone can still seriously suggest that it's all been a big hoax... some kind of cleverly crafted conspiracy. Others attempt to play down the seriousness of COVID-19 and more recently dispute the effectiveness of vaccines. No doubt there are those who have genuine misgivings concerning vaccination, but I can't help but think that others are simply attention-seekers routinely disposed to taking bloody-minded and contrary views. If you are standing at a bar quietly supping a pint with friends and the village idiot arrives on the scene it's possible to turn away and shuffle along a few feet. Social media on the other hand provides a