My African Christmas Tree

The Baobab tree is native to Africa (and India) , I used one for a Christmas tree this year! (see above image and gallery too) I Googled Baobab and found out that it’s leafless, exceeded in trunk diameter only by the sequoia tree. The trunks of living baobabs are hollowed out for dwellings; rope and cloth are made from the bark and condiments and medicines from the leaves; the gourdlike fruit (monkey bread) is eaten. Bloody amazing!

Back up your data!

If you know me then you’ll have heard my rant about always backing up your data. Here is a story of how one poor woman lost the thesis that she had been working on for almost 7 years! Seems that she kept her only copy on a tiny zip drive in here purse and when her purse was stolen she really was up shits creek. With a little detective work she remarkably managed to find it in the end. Here is the story and perhaps it will make you go out and buy a pack of CD-Rs or blank Dvds and make a few backups! (Perhaps I should also write up a mini tutorial on how to make backups ???)

Here is the story from the Washington Post.

I know of a similar story where my good friend and old boss at Freespeech Brian Drolet had his laptop the attached external backup drive swiped out of a recording studio in NYC – ouch! From know of think of your data and it’s backup being like Sodium and water. You don’t want the one to be anywhere near the other (if you don’t remember what happens when you mix the two, let me take you back to high school chemisty class with this video!) (See this great article on what happens when you throw a larger chunk of sodium into a kiddy pool!)

Smart Car Crash at 70mph!

Smart is the brand name of a little golf cart like car offered by DaimlerChrysler AG in Europe. On first setting eyes on this little toy you may wonder how it would hold up in a frontal crash with a concrete barrier! Well, wonder no more (the little tyke in the video below was doing 70mph before it was forced to stop in under one second!)

There is a rumor that they are coming to the USA in 2006? Might not be a bad idea as they get up to 70mpg and are not as fragile as you might think. I wonder how your teeth will look after a wreck like this. Me thinks they may fall out of your mouth, cartoon like, in little shards and make a broken glass sound as they hit the floor? More info from MSNBC and another article from edmunds

Update – Sept 2006 – A sighting!

While walking El pooch o in my neighborhood one evening I came across a Smart parked on a busy street. It appeared to be owned by a dealer as a glossy flyer was stuck in the window. Until you see a Smart in the flesh you don’t realize how bloody small it is and also how really cute and stylish it is. As far as the US goes I don’t really know, we’re all use to huge cars and even the entry level cars (Honda civic and ) are mid sized compared to Europe. There does seem to be more of the so called “pregnant roller skate” type of vehicles on the roads lately (Toyota Yaris, Suzuki Aero etc.) so I think people are gradually moving to smaller vehicles as they realize the days of $1.50 per gallon gas prices are over.

Make a Favicon.ico image using OS X and IcoMaker

Favicons are those little images that come up in the URL bar to the left of the URL in your web browser. They are also displayed on the browser tab if you’re using Firefox. Here’s how to make em’ (this is the “very quick” version). See Steve Cooley’s Site for a more detailed version.

1) Choose you image and resize it to 16 by 16 pixels. (Use an image manipulation program of your choice – Photoshop, Iphoto, Gimp etc. ) You’ll want an image that is not too complex as the larger image may look good at full resolution but when it’s resized down to the size of a postage stamp it’ll probably look like shite! Choosing an image or piece of line art that’ll look good the 16×16 resolution is probably the hardest part of the whole process!

2) Download IcoMaker from this link. It’s free and will convert your image from jpg (and other image formats I believe) to the .ico format.

3) With IcoMaker launched select File > New Document. A little multi-pane window will open. Next import your image into IcoMaker by doing a File > Include Image. Choose a 16 x16 copy.

4) Save the file as favicon.ico and upload it into the root directory of your website!

There you have it, happy Faviconing!

Map GPS Coordinates to Maps online

Just found out a nifty way to map a GPS point online. You can use MS’s terraserver found here. Look at the bottom left of this page and you’ll see a field to enter latitude and longitude. This value should be in a decimal format so if you have say 109 mins and 30 secs of Longitude you’ll have to divide the seconds by 60 to get it into the correct format for Terra server to play nice. The correct Longitude format is then 109.5 . It appears to work fine although the maps returned are topo like and not street maps like ones you will find at

Now for google. Tis a little more complicated, you have to enter the data in the URL – here is an example:,-109.456

It’s basically in the format of,long. You can also add some kool things like display all the pizza joints in that area. See all the features of this jewel in see this article on wikipidea.

Andy Andrews on PBS

I’m horrible at reading books and am always looking for the study notes, you know, the summary of the entire book in a page or so. Don’t get me wrong I love a well written piece of fiction like J.M. Coetzee’s “Life and Times of Michael K” but throw a not so well written self help book like “The Celestine Prophecy” at me and it’ll end up on the bed stand for weeks. So I watching a PBS program by this guy called “Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success” by Andy Andrews. Seems like a nice bloke but ha! here is a little summary of the seven decisions:

1. The Buck Stops Here – Taking personal responsibility

2. Seek Wisdom – Search for understanding and discernment

3. Be a Person of Action – Being a courageous leader

4. Have a Decided Heart – Overcoming double-mindedness

5. Choose Happiness – Possessing a grateful spirit

6. Forgive others – The power of grace and mercy

7. Persist – Perservering with faith until the end

So now you know! Get to it. Perhaps more on it at a later date.