I saw a fox once!

Close-up of bike wheel

This getting healthy lark is coming along nicely. That’s two days in a row now that I’ve cycled into town to meet up with Jane after work and cycle home with her.

I’m finding that I’m now beginning to get into the way of eating healthily and regularly. I’m still following the guidelines in the Men’s Health book The Testosterone Advantage Plan and even within the last two weeks I’ve got more energy, I feel stronger, and I’m not snacking between meals on chocolates, biscuits or jammy sandwiches; which is great!

Yesterday, while cycling up through the back streets of Corstorphine we encountered a fox. Just like this one:

Illustration of a fox
“I saw a fox once!” (Illustration from goodness knows where. It’s been in my clipart collection for years.)

It was standing on the pavement, having just walked through someone’s garden gate — not actually through it, like a ghost would, you understand — and was standing watching at us. We stopped the bicycles and watched it right back! Politics aside foxes are quite beautiful creatures.

We didn’t see the fox today.

p.s. Kelvin, today’s title was specially for you.

Look what I spotted: a bungalow on stilts!

Entrance to the Royal Victoria Hospital has a small house built on top of an archway.
One of the entrances to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Today I celebrated a Eucharist at St Ninian’s, Comely Bank for the first time. It was quite a lovely wee service, using the 1970 Scottish Liturgy (the grey book), followed by coffee in the hall. I look forward to going back and becoming more involved in that community for the next few months.

On my walk back to the car, which I’d parked across the road from the Royal Victoria Hospital, I noticed this entrance (above) to the hospital. I’ve seen it loads of times before as I’ve driven or cycled past, but today I stopped and really looked at it properly for the first time.

It’s great! It looks like a perfectly normal bungalow. Built on top of a … well, it’s not even a proper arch! It’s definitely an entrance, though. It’s a bungalow built on stilts, and as far as I know it’s not built on a flood plain. It’s the sort of thing I used to build with Lego™. And if you look closely the walls have all been slated, as though the slater (roofer) just got carried away.

“Right! I’ve finished putting slates on the roof … You know what would look really cool …?”

A couple of hours later.

“Finished! Ta-da!!”

I suspect that it originally had more windows too! I mean, the whole bungalow there does look a bit like the roof for the non-arch, so I’m not surprised that the slater got confused!

I saw a light on in there as I passed, so it must be used for something. A gang hut for the nurses, perhaps?

IVF clinic appointment

Test tubes
Photograph from iStockphoto.com.

The long awaited update on the fertility category very nearly didn’t happen as both Jane and I thought that our 3pm appointment today was at 3:30pm.

About an hour previous I had opened my filing cabinet, pulled out the “Fertility” folder and checked that the appointment card was there. It was. And it said 3:00 pm.

Remarkably, without breaking any speed restrictions or violating Her Majesty’s Highway Code we arrived at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at 3:05pm, having driven about 11 miles through the centre of Edinburgh and picked Jane up en route. Our guardian angels were obviously working overtime to clear the traffic ahead!

I had thought that today’s appointment was a follow up from the last Fertility clinic appointment in October, but we’ve now progressed to the IVF clinic. Same department, different team, different specialisation.

I think there had been some misundertanding as the doctor we saw thought that we were going to pay for the first cycle. No, no, no, no, no! NHS for the first three cycles, if you don’t mind. Anyway, he took more details, ticked some boxes and asked us questions like: Do you smoke? Do you take any illicit drugs? Have you ever fathered another child? (The answers were ‘no’ to each of these, by the way.)

That being the case it wasn’t too long before he ticked the “Eligible” box and signed the form to say that Lothian NHS would kindly finance our attempts to have a baby.

After a couple of samples of blood, to test us for HIV and Hepatitis, we were on our way again, assured that we’d hear from them again sometime within the next eighteen months, or so. We could be looking at around March 2007 to begin the process.

We’ve taken away with us sample forms that we’ll have to fill in nearer the time about what we’d like to do with any ‘left over’ sperm, eggs or embryos. I’d never considered that before. It is one of those important details that we’ll have to decide carefully. Assuming that all goes well for us, they could be the chance for another couple to have children too, but with our biological material — and I have a kidney disease that has a 50% chance of being passed on, so I’m sure that will be a consideration too. Important things to consider.

The BBC has a good article about what IVF is, for those who are interested. Or who just like following hyperlinks!

New WiFi card in my Psion

Two Psion 7Books with different sized WiFi cards in them
Spot the difference: The difference between the Lucent Orinoco WiFi card and the Buffalo AirStation cards in a Psion 7Book.

This evening I installed a new (to me) WiFi card in my Psion 7Book. Out went the Lucent Orinoco Gold (above left); in went the Buffalo AirStation WLI-PCM-L11GP (above right).

The main difference, as you can see from the photographs above, is that the Buffalo is much shorter, and doesn’t block the stylus port.

You can really see the differences here:

Lucent Orinoco WiFi card next to the Buffalo AirStation WiFi card
The much longer, and bulkier Lucent Orinoco Gold WiFi card sitting beside the slimmer Buffalo AirStation WLI-PCM-L11GP.

Hard reset before installing

In order to get the Buffalo card to work — having been using the Lucent Orinoco for months — I had to perform a full hard-reset (which involves removing the batteries and waiting a minute) and reboot the 7Book from scratch with a Compact Flash card containing the latest EPOC R5 operating system (NetBook OS v.1.05 (450) R158). Both cards use the same chipset, which I think is why I had trouble trying to install the Buffalo. I got some advice on the PDA Streets Psion Place forum to perform a full hard reset and it worked!

Psion WiFi resources

There are two major internet resources on setting up WiFi on a Psion Series 7, netBook and hybrid ‘7Book’:

  • WiFi on a netBook on Pscience5
  • EPOC FAQ(ish) on Ian Sylvester’s website

Getting your hands on these WiFi cards these days can be a struggle. I managed to get both of mine on eBay UK for around £30 – 40 each. But it took some looking, and waiting.

Opera 5.14 for Psion

The other important resource, that I’ve not found linked anywhere else, is the tip on the Opera Knowledge Base about switching off the annoying popup message in Opera 5.14 each time you submit a form — it warns that the form hasn’t been encrypted, even when the encryption warning setting is disabled in the preferences:

It involves editing the Opera.ini file adding the line Warn Insecure Form=0 beneath the [USER PREFS] section. And it works!

So there you have it. One of these days I’ll get up to speed and add all this to my main Psion website; in the meantime it’s here for reference.

I now just have to reinstall the rest of my favourite applications on the 7Book. The joys of hard resets!

Nearly beaten by a switch

There is a switch at the front of the Toshiba Satellite M70 laptop
Beware: there’s a switch on some laptops that disactivates the WiFi card. It can take some effort to discover it, however!

Last night while I was round at my parents-in-law I said that I’d help my father-in-law set up his new Toshiba Satellite M70 laptop. I’d already been around a few weeks before and set up their BT broadband.

“Is it connected to the broadband?” I asked.
“No.”
“Okay … do you have the information I left when I set up the broadband? We’ll need the router name (SSID) and the WEP key.”

They did, and I duely entered them. I then entered them again, this time spelling “duly” correctly.

“Right … that should connect now.”

Would it? No! In fact, it didn’t work for the next thirty to forty minutes. I tried everything that I could think of. I even installed the excellent NetStumbler to see if it could sniff out any local networks to determine whether it was just theirs that I couldn’t see.

It couldn’t see anything! Nothing at all. Which was weird because Jane’s Mum’s laptop could see two networks including their own. “Weird,” I thought, “it’s almost as though the WiFi card isn’t switched on … but it says here that it is activated.”

Turns out that these fancy new Toshiba laptops have a physical switch at the front of the case to physically switch on or off the WiFi card. It’s for use in hospitals and onboard aircraft.

When I flicked the switch then it connected! I think there’s a lesson there for us all.