Sunday, 30 December 2007

Funny comic

Heh, I thought this was rather funny.

As found here:

Friday, 7 December 2007

Most Improved! w00t!

At the Christmas party I was shocked to receive the "Most Improved Paddler Award" Check out my cool prize in the picture...

I'm still really enjoying kayaking with the university club. I'm heading off to north wales with the club later today and I just wanted to say thanks to everyone in the club for making things so fun!

Also a HUGE thank you to my Fiancee, Daisy. Without her I would have given up on kayaking after my first try, I was TERRIBLE really tippy, scared of the water and really sensitive to even the smallest riffle! I'm a bit better now, I can roll on both sides (in a pool...) and can do a few more funky things. I'm looking forward to going for either my 2 or 3 Star at some point in the new year. Until then, Another big thank you to everyone!

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Folk Night at the Bay

Pub Basement
Originally uploaded by hyakuhei

It turns out that every Tuesday there is a folk night at The Bay (Y Bay, Seafront Aberystwyth)

I was at the very cool folk night, chilling out and listening to people playing out their favourite songs when I took this photo, I don't often do moody stuff but I think it works pretty well :-)

Friday, 16 November 2007

Wacca Wacca

Wacca Wacca
Originally uploaded by hyakuhei

Beware that which lurks within unguarded bathrooms....

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Kayaking is not a crime! Please help the WCA petition the Welsh Assembly

The Welsh Canoeing Association (WCA) are currently lobbying the Welsh
Assembly to introduce legislation which will confirm free access to
the rivers of Wales. The power to introduce such legislation was
transferred from Westminster to Cardiff last July, and we are
currently in a position where Assembly members are seriously looking
at the WCA proposals. If passed, canoeists will enjoy much the same
rights on the rivers in Wales as currently exist in Scotland, and the
pressure will greatly increase on Westminster to follow suit
for English rivers. Getting this legislation passed in Wales
therefore should be a priority for paddlers everywhere.

So how can you help?

Firstly, sign the WCA's petition at It doesn't
matter whether you live or indeed paddle in Wales or not. It will
take about 30 seconds to complete.

Secondly, forward this email to other canoeists.

Thirdly, talk to non-paddling friends and relatives and ask them to
sign the petition.

The Government of Wales Act (2006) requires the Assembly to act on
petitions received if an issue falls within their powers, so this
petition can make a difference if we get enough people to sign. It
worked in Scotland with the Land Reform Act, there is no reason it
can't work in Wales.

For more information please visit

Many thanks

The Kayaking is not a Crime Team

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Fantastic: How to calculate a tip the Geek Way!

Leaving no bit unturned this enterprising geek is embedding all sorts of information into his credit card transactions!

read more | digg story

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Friday, 6 July 2007

Software Engineering Principles

As a software engineering student I pride myself on writing easy to follow, well thought out code. However, being rather vain, I don't like people to think that because the code appears simple, it was written by a simple person so sometimes I thrown in a one-liner, just to keep people awake... Here's todays one which I wrote by accident but decided to leave it in, I will comment it of course.

afl |= (0x1<<position) << ((fec_ptr->branch_position) ? 16 : 0);

meh, simple things....

Thursday, 28 June 2007

ATLAS End Cap Toroïd

ATLAS End Cap Toroïd
Originally uploaded by hyakuhei

Today was a big day for the ATLAS experiment, the moving of a huge Toroïd end cap for the ATLAS experiment. This huge part was slowly transported by two HGV cabs, one in front pulling and one behind pushing. This was a slow and steady operation, if the Toroïd leans further than 5 degrees the whole thing comes toppling down!

You can see the rest of the pictures in a little album I put together here :


Wednesday, 20 June 2007


Originally uploaded by hyakuhei

For a picture I took with a camera phone, I'm quite pleased with this.

Monday, 18 June 2007

Almost done!

Yes thats right my friends, my time here in Switzerland is almost done!

On Friday the 13th of July at 17.30 CET I will cease to be employed by CERN, I will cease to work for the PH/AID department, I will cease to be a Technical Student and I will be going home!

Work has been pretty manic over the last week or two. The project that I have been working on for the last few months is called TPCC [Time Projection Chamber Configuration], This project is entirely my own work and I was given a great deal of freedom with the design and implementation. I'm happy to report that TPCC was recently used intensively in the testing of 8 chambers (1/4 total) of the TPC here at CERN.

TPCC, is an extremely decoupled system with multiple entry points that was designed to be used in undefined environments to manipulate front end electronics via the "DDL" which is a full duplex fiber link. It uses a server, client and a control system. Each client listens for commands from the server and performs various functions, in parallel using restricted linear recursion to attempt to transparently recover from errors (after all, these electronics are pretty new)!

The officially preferred system for configuring the TPC is using something called the DCS or Detector Control System though I'm pleased to report that it was TPCC that was used just last week for the commissioning of the TPC. This involved very intensive testing of my software, and I'm glad to say that apart from two (related) bugs which were fixed on site, it performed very well and has been praised by people far above my pay grade - apparently they were rather surprised when informed the system was designed and implemented by a student in a few months!

The scary thing for me is the data that was used to do the configurations. After all, this is the data that scientists will crawl over now to clarify that the TPC is working correctly and that it is ready to "go live" when the real experiment starts. The configuration data (were talking configuration data for well over a million sensors here) was also created by me. In one night, hacking away writing a little program in C that spits out (currently) 160,000 Lines of SQL for insertion into the database. This data isn't checked or validated by anyone and whilst the (vain) student in me rejoices at the opportunity the engineer in me shudders.

I consider myself very lucky to be at CERN, I'm one of five Britons picked to be here this year. I consider myself even more lucky to be working in PH/AID and the project that I am involved with. My work is being discussed at high levels and has real potential to make a genuine contribution to the development of the Time Projection Chamber and high energy physics. I'm not sure where the credit ends up for all this but so long as part of it rubs off on me, I'm happy.

Thank you CERN

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

My New Camera

I spend far too much money!
I've picked up a nice black EOS 300D with a Canon 28-90mm lens...Yay!

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Photography: my new hobby!

Last week I was mooching around some second hand shops in English town of Tewkesbury when I happened upon a camera and a little further inspection and it turned out to be an old 35mm SLR.

I've always had an affinity for high precision equipment, watches, optics etc. Whilst I've never really had a camera before this old lump was only £8 so I decided to buy it. Its a Chinon CM-4 from what I can tell its about 20 years old. It takes Pentax K mount bayonet lenses and is fully manual.

I'm loving it! I've shot 3 or 4 rolls of film already! Of course I should wait and make sure that the shots develop correctly but I'm having fun all the same!

I know from reading here and in other places that I've made many elementary mistakes but I think I got some decent shots, after all, if the shutter speed is not so low as to create the dreaded camera shake and the TTL indicator tells me I'm on the money the picture should come out reasonably well.... It may not be a good picture of course but hopefully I will be able to see the thing I was pointing at!

I'm learning a lot at the moment, I really enjoy using this fully manual camera, of course there are thousands of advantages with newer camera's but at least at the moment, if there is a problem with a shot there is only one person I can blame

The only thing I would like to have is a Depth Of Field preview so that I can check that the apature is set correctly for the photo I want to take.

My mother commented that I seem to have expensive hobbies, how nice it is that I pick up a new one just before my birthday :-D

If anyone can give me any hints or tips, particularly for airshows as I have one coming up, That would be great. I also have a 210mm lens for that one, should get me a little closer!


Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Work Stuff

Well, my bosses here seem to be happy with my work. They have just offered to extend my contract for a further two months, which is the maximum they can extend it for.

I'd like to stay but I am going to go home, to my part time consultancy job and most importantly to spend some quality time with my future wife. I can't wait!

Monday, 14 May 2007

Sunday, 13 May 2007

New Equipment at work

Horay, I finally have my RCU setup for testing concurrent access via the DDL.

In this picture, we have the aluminium frame for a tpc sector, which holds 6 RCU's. Each RCU has 2 Branches with 2 Front End Cards on each branch.

It might not look like much but its really quite cool :-)

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Yet Another Screenshot

Yet again I was using dr17 and was amazed how pretty it can look with virtually no effort.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Module Choices

Semester One:
CS31310 Agile Methodologies
CS33110 Small Real-Time Systems
CS34210 Visualisation
CS35110 Internet Architecture and Operation
SE31410 Server-Side Software
SE39200 Distributed Systems

Semester Two:
CS35710 Ubiquitous Computing
CS35910 Internet Administration
CS36410 Intelligent Robotics
CS38010 Professional issues in Software Engineering
SE33010 Formal methods in Software Engineering
SE39220 Distributed Systems

Next year looks like its going to be rather tough. I've tried to avoid the maths or AI heavy modules which has left me with some very knowledge based (as opposed to concept based) modules with 100% riding on the exam. Oh well, lets see how it goes..... The final year looks far better.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

HD-DVD Decryption key

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0. It's the HD-DVD processing key you can use to decrypt and play most HD-DVD movies in Linux. Movie studios are going ballistic over this leak, so Digg the story up and make it reach the front page. The first time, the story got removed.

read more | digg story

Friday, 27 April 2007

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Bike Love

This week I've had motorbikes on the brain! I can't stop thinking about having one. More than anything I'd want an aprilia rs125 as pictured above. Its a fantastic handling bike, does 0-100kph in 6.7 seconds and will keep on going all the way to 190kph. Of course, I'll never take it above 60 kph....

On a serious note, I really do fancy a change from cars. The picture above is the 2006/7 model of RS125. I can't afford one of these but perhaps I can manage a 2002 or something similar. One things for sure, if I do manage to scrape together the pennies for a two wheeled pocket rocket, I'm going to have to prove to those that I love I can use it properly and safely. My mother still calls them "DonorCycles"

Well I can't afford one anyway but I'm trying to come up with a way to get one!

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Cool Desktop

My desktop screenshot, running enlightenment and a number of cool modules to monitor CPU, Temp, Battery, Wifi, Weather and a cool screen shot module.

The applications shown are the "About Enlightenment" screen in the top right. Also shown are emixer and eedit. Which are part of the small e-app-dev project.


Tuesday, 17 April 2007

My first Enlightenment Application

Simple text editor, incredibly simple, it wont even open or close files!

It will resize,scale,scroll and correctly present exit dialogs though!

Not bad for an afternoons work and learning a new TK.

Screenies and more details at:

Friday, 13 April 2007

Enlightenment Rocks

Enlightenment is a desktop shell for people who like good software standards.

Some friends and I are starting to develop applications based on the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries. To that end there is a multi user blog set up at

A wiki will be created if and when the blog cannot communicate effectively.


Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Another feather in Java's cap..

The clever boffins at Oxford University's Sub department of Particle Physics have written a pure Java x86 emulation environment with support for fully virtual peripherals.
I first came across this story on TheRegister
Obviously the sand boxing of the JVM makes this an ideal environment for testing "hostile" applications, Viruses and Honeypots etc.

The main thing I'm going nuts about is the speed. I'm tired of having the same old arguments with C++ coders. "Java is slow". Its just not. The hostspot (JVM) performs some amazing Just in Time compilation optimisations. Maths has not been slow on Java for a long time, FFT's are on a par with C++ speed wise now. Now I have an impressive benchmark to show alongside systems like Qemu and VMware. Unlike these systems though, JPC is fully platform independant and according the site hosted by the research team will run on any recent Java enabled device including mobile phones. Finally I can play my old dos games on my phone!

What I'm most excited about is the support for fully virtual peripherals. Working in my department means I am often exposed to new hardware and new protocols. The ability to prototype this interaction in a rapid development environment like Java could really improve the way peripheral protocols are designed in future.

The futures bright. The futures Java.


*Yes* I realise I have become one of the accursed fan boys.

Bloody Hell, It works!

I worked late again last night, only till about 9pm but this time I was triumphant!

My distributed configuration application passed its first major test, grabbing the Front End Electronics configuration information from my central database, parsing it and rebuilding it and then pushing that data to two front end cards.

key: DCS:Detector Configuration System RCU:ReadOut Control Unit
Pre push latency:
2 seconds AFL start (Design constraint, I cant change this.)
0.5 seconds Database query. (This can be increased by a factor of 4 or 5 using prepared statements and 'views')
0.1 seconds Data parsing and rebuilding. (Taking data from the DCS Schema and putting into a useful state)
Push benchmarks
4.8 seconds to Push the 2096 (131 * 8 * 2) registers to the altros. (Via the RCU instruction memory)
8.9 seconds to Push the 2096 and perform 1 to 1 read write checks.

I think these figures can be greatly improved but based on these rough numbers I can estimate the time it will take to perform a whole Time Project Chamber configuration:
Presuming an average partition size of 18 Front End Cards per RCU that makes an altro push time of
4.8 * 9 = 43 seconds.
Due to the limitations of the Front End Cards and the power supply available at the pit the cards have to be stagger started sequentially, waiting 0.6 seconds per card:
0.6 * 18 = 10.8 seconds.
Total: 53.8seconds + unknown DB latency for multiple requests (est 3seconds);

In short, I think that we can confidently commit to having a full TPC configuration in less than 1 minute. The improvements to the RCU firmware should allow building of large instruction memory blocks for multiple register writes, this could improve the performance by a further 20-30% by my estimates.

In short, Woohoo!

Monday, 26 March 2007

Late night randomness

Yet again I find myself unable to sleep and sat in front of my computer at god-knows-what past midnight.

So, its late at night and I'm sat in front of my computer, logged into a screen session at work via ssh and editing code. *Why?*

I think I have a bit of an obsession, at least with this current project, The deadline for integration testing is mid-April yet here I am, editing code, making sleepy mistakes and updating my blog!

In Gentoo related news, I actually got some work done today, I lurked on bugzie for a while, answered a few user queries and requested that a couple of packages get stabilised.

Slowly but surely I'm becoming more active in Gentoo as a whole rather than just the security stuff.

Well, time to try and sleep again I guess.


Sunday, 25 March 2007

Sleepy Sunday Morning

*Yawn* *Stretch*

Its a very sleepy Sunday morning for me, I'm going to head over to the sports centre, practice some archery for an hour or two, come back have some lunch and then get ready for the afternoons festivities....

I'm off to the cinema with John H. and my new friend Matt. We are going to watch the film '300' and then "discuss" its merits of a series of beers.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

FEC2RORC Library

For those of you that are interested in what I have been doing at CERN, the documentation for my fec2rorc library is available on my webspace.

The reason for me uploading it to my website is that I get annoyed looking around the work servers for my documentation, particularly when I'm not at work! (Why I'm working from home, on a Saturday evening I have *no* idea).


Photos of FOSDEM and the Motor Show

After working late last night I slept in today and felt surprisingly refreshed so today I'm striking things off my todo list.

I've uploaded the pictures of Brussels and of the Geneva Motor Show to my facebook albums.

If your not on facebook you can follow these public links:

Photo's of Brussels that I took whilst wandering around:

Photo's of the Geneva Motor Show


Summer of code.

My summer of code applications seem to have been well received.

I've been hanging around on the relevant channels on IRC and had a few good comments. I had a good email conversations with Jukka Zitting from Apache.

The Apache GSoC is by far the hardest of the three that I may possibly get the chance to be a part of. They are all interesting projects though.

The one I seem most likely to get at the moment is writing a 'shorten' plug in for the Audacious media player (think "winamp"). Shorten is a loss less audio format but it has some dodgy licencing so it will be my job to write a fully open source alternative codec.

This suits me because I really like writing low level time-dependant code that has real world effects.

I'm off to upload my pictures from the Geneva Motor Show and FOSDEM in Brussels.


Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Google Summer Of Code

For those of you that don't know, its GSoC time again!

You can read the info on GSoC here:

Gentoo have yet again been selected for GSoC and you can see the current Idea's here:

I'm applying for a few different projects this year, Gentoo-Java, The Apache Foundation and Audacious are currently my best chances.
Gentoo Java would centre around developing an application for the configuration of the Java environment on a Gentoo installation.
My application to The Apache Foundation involves working to build an online showcase for the free implementation of JCR called Jackrabbit.
I have applied to Audacious to develop a ".shorten" audio decoder plug in.

I hope to send a couple more applications today and tomorrow.

Hey all,

A big hello to the friends I made at fosdem (phreak, christel, djay-il, Betegeuse, diox, Kingtaco, spb, griffen26, hkBST, DrEeevil…..) It was great to meet you all!

Fosdem was really fun, diox did a great job setting up for the meal and the hostel, It was fantastic to meet so many geeks and debate the merits of everything and anything in a nice friendly and often beer fueled environment!

The only bad thing for me happened on Saturday afternoon. I packed my laptop in my bag and left it at the back of the Gentoo dev room whilst I went outside to talk to some developers. When I got back the bag had moved and when I took out and powered on my laptop the screen was broken! I use my laptop not only for all of my gentoo development (Security, Forensics and recently Java) but as many of you may know I come from England but live in Switzerland, my laptop is my life line to the UK, my friends, family and my fiancee.

I’m setting up a webpage soon to ask for help from the community to get my laptop back to working (or replaced, the price is about the same). Any donations are welcome and all will be recognised by me personally.

Your donation will also entitle you to one free (hug/beer/coffee/backscratch) at any developer conference you meet me at. Also if you come to switzerland I’ll hapilly take you on a guided tour of some of the experiments that we have where I work (European Organisation for Nuclear Research - CERN).

So thats about it for now, I’ll setup a website shortly and I kindly ask that you consider linking to this on your blogs :-)

Special thanks to

  • phreak“
  • Kingtaco
  • djay-il
  • Greywolf
  • My Hungarian Friend
  • diox
  • hansmi
  • tomaw

Who have already made donations. The running total at the moment is 148 USD ! Please keep those donations rolling in to or click the donation button:

Thanks again!