tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:/posts Simon Rumble's blog 2017-02-13T22:04:14Z Simon Rumble tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/1130745 2017-02-12T23:18:14Z 2017-02-13T22:04:14Z Passed my amateur radio license exams

Yesterday I passed my Standard amateur radio license tests. I spent quite a bit of time cramming lots of knowledge in my brain using the video course from the Radio & Electronics School, then took the exam out at the Waverley Amateur Radio Society.

I decided to go straight for the "Standard" license because I have little interest in voice and morse code modes. I want to jump straight into HF digital to communicate around the globe, and possibly play with bouncing signals OFF THE MOON.

The course was really fun. Good revision of my Year 11 Physics (which was a very long time ago, and I didn't really pay enough attention at the time) and Mathematics. Then while working through radio physics, practical receivers and transmitters there were quite a few "a ha!" moments where things I'd always wanted to know suddenly became clear.

In the end the exams were quite easy. You can get 30% wrong, which is pretty lenient, and the multiple choice format means usually two answers are obviously wrong, so your odds can be pretty good even when you're not sure.

It's made me think I should now go for the Advanced ticket. Lots more to learn and I actually really enjoyed learning again.

In 4-6 weeks (why does it take so long?) I'll hopefully be on the air as VK2VSR. See you there.

Notes on the course and Linux

I run Linux and the Radio & Electronics School's course assumed you're running Windows, so here's some pointers.

Ask Ron for the DVD image and mount it. Then uncompress all the video files with (the quotes mean the wildcard string isn't interpreted by your shell, which will not do what you want):

unzip '*.exe'

I converted the video files to mp4 so I could play them more easily on my tablet. I also sped them up because Ron talks very slowly, which might be fine for some but made me impatient. I did that with ffmpeg like this:

for f in *.wmv ; do  ffmpeg -i "$f" -filter_complex "setpts=PTS/1.7;atempo=1.7" "$f.mp4"; done;

The drill software runs almost perfectly using Wine. Just associate ".exe" with wine and you can double-click on them and work through them.

Finally, I created this cram sheet to drill myself on some of the rote learning components. I'm not brilliant at rote learning, so needed to work a bit on this. The phonetic alphabet wasn't too hard for me as I spent my childhood flying around in little planes with my Dad and evidently learned it through osmosis. The rest isn't all that obvious and just has to be crammed in. You could also memorise the frequency bands which are part of the regulations exam, but I just assumed they'd end up being absorbed by my 30% pass margin.

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/1104288 2016-10-31T20:24:45Z 2016-10-31T20:25:04Z Halloween in Marrickville

Big night in Marrickville. Our area keeps getting bigger and bigger every year. We had a bunch of mates around for the festivities, quick barbecue then out onto the streets to scrounge sweets. Lots of fun and some great costumes. The home made Stay Puffd Marshmallow Girl and the separate Ghostbusters were great!

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/1102167 2016-10-25T22:59:13Z 2016-10-25T22:59:41Z Open Australia are doing amazing stuff

I've been hovering around the open data movement for a while. I lived in London through the early development of what ended up becoming They Work For You around the amazing NTK-driven London tech scene. I've not actually done anything in the space though. I cheered from the sidelines as a bunch of Australians ported some of the tech to the Australian parliament and have been a heavy user of Planning Alerts. Up to now though, I haven't even managed to make it to the pub meetups. Having kids will do that to you!

Lindsay relaunching his Got Gastro finally drove me along to the Open Australia Foundation's pub meetup. It's so refreshing meeting a bunch of smart, motivated people doing really interesting things in the public interest. Really inspiring and I'm feeling fired up to do some stuff now.
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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/1077034 2016-07-29T00:10:15Z 2016-07-29T00:12:13Z Hot damn this tune will get your toe tapping

John Peel famously took the needle off The Undertones' Teenage Kicks and immediately played it again, it was such a perfect pop song. He was, of course, absolutely right.


I had the same reaction hearing Eli Paperboy Reed's Cut Ya Down the other night on FIP. Theoretically it's a problematic piece of music: it's a take on a traditional gospel song and retains all its fire breathing god bothering ways. It's also a white guy (a Yankee no less!) doing his take on a juke joint jam. But holy crap is it an amazing piece of music. Have a listen.

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/1076032 2016-07-25T23:09:12Z 2016-07-25T23:09:13Z The Cure: still going strong

I've been to four gigs by The Cure now:

The Cure remain one of the most amazing live bands. Incredible to see them again. Had a fantastic time.


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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/1065841 2016-06-22T02:10:35Z 2016-06-22T02:11:53Z Couple of interviews I've done recently

I did an interview a while back for CMO magazine about the emerging "Chief Data Officer" role. It's out now and you can read it online here.

Seems I'm on IDG's radar this year as someone who likes the sound of his own voice and is handy for a couple of quotes. I also did an interview with CIO magazine earlier in the year, viewable here.

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/1017032 2016-03-20T22:27:10Z 2016-03-23T23:57:12Z MeasureCamp Melbourne March 2016

On the weekend I went to MeasureCamp Melbourne and it was amazing. The idea with an UnConference is that the agenda gets worked out on the day. Everyone shows up, throws some things they'd like to do up on the board and we get into it.

This event brought together some of the finest minds in digital analytics from around Australia and New Zealand. The talks were diverse and interesting, the people friendly and knowledgeable and the venue just right. A great time was had by all!

I'm pushing for the next one to be in Sydney in September, then we can alternate between Sydney and Melbourne. If you can help organise, that'd be great. First step is to find a venue.

Slides from my sessions

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/993389 2016-02-14T21:48:20Z 2016-02-14T22:03:47Z Passata Day 2016

In which we turn 215kg of tomatoes into delicious bottled tomato pulp

Yesterday we did what has become an annual tradition, turning a bunch of tomatoes into passata, a tomato pulp with the seeds and skins removed. We transformed a huge wall of tomato boxes into two 44 gallon drums of bottled passata in one big 8 hour push.

The process is pretty straightforward:

  1. Wash the tomatoes
  2. Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water
  3. Push the tomatoes through the passata machine, which separates skins and seeds from the pulp
  4. Push the seeds and skins through the machine two more times
  5. Bottle the pulp into clean bottles with a leaf or two of basil
  6. Sterilise the bottles in drums of boiling water

At the end of that, we end up with mountains of shelf-stable tomato pulp. Perfect for when you need a little bottled sunshine in the depths of winter.

Of course the tomato gets everywhere and it's a pretty messy day, but lots of fun and the results are delicious and super useful.

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/950835 2015-12-16T02:12:13Z 2015-12-16T03:40:11Z Snowplow is at the heart of everything we do

Here is the presentation I gave at the Snowplow Meetup Sydney last night. In it I talk about all the ways we've been using Snowplow. You can also view the original format on Google Slides here.






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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/935906 2015-11-19T03:07:43Z 2015-11-19T03:07:43Z We're in!

We moved in last weekend and are back in Marrickville. It's been a long slog and there's still a bunch more work to be done before we're completely finished, but it's looking good.

Awnings and privacy screens on. Networking set up and we now have access points throughout the house (using the amazing Unifi APs). The beautiful piece of bespoke joinery we had made for the kitchen was installed and looks fantastic.

Now we just have to set everything up. Still some painting to be done and a few odds and ends.

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/932297 2015-11-12T02:43:47Z 2015-11-12T02:43:48Z Move in this weekend

Huge amounts going on in the house. We move in on Saturday which is enormously exciting.

Yesterday Holly managed to score a bunch of turf for free on Facebook, so this morning I was back at the house digging up the soil and laying turf. It looks good and cost nothing, which is nice.

Slate roof is going on, floors getting sanded and coated, outdoor pavers going down and the front fence is being done
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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/930496 2015-11-08T21:30:08Z 2015-11-08T21:30:50Z Home stretch

We're moving in next weekend. It feels like it's been a very long time, though realistically it's been pretty quick.

Yesterday we dropped in to check out progress. Rooms getting painted, bulkheads installed in the kitchen, renders applied and the slate roof is being replaced.

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/927040 2015-11-04T05:53:21Z 2015-11-04T05:53:21Z Final details happening

Popped in this morning to check on progress. There were about 8 tradies on site putting in finishing touches. Painting, plumbing and carpentry all going on. All happening to allow us to move in the weekend after next. Very very exciting!

Details are looking pretty awesome. The render and lime wash on the outside hempcrete looks amazing. Look at the bevelled edge on the corner in the photos below.

Window reveals have been oiled and look stunning.

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/921835 2015-10-25T03:59:06Z 2015-10-29T00:15:05Z We have a move in date!

Big milestone reached this week. We got the builder to agree to a move in date. Everything should be finished enough for us to move in by 14th November. There might be some stuff still going on but all the big stuff should be done. Pretty exciting!

This week saw the benchtop, sink, oven and stove arrive and get installed in the kitchen. Plastering and rendering is going on and some fans got installed upstairs.

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/919017 2015-10-18T21:57:16Z 2015-10-18T21:57:17Z Stairs done, rendering happening, plastering underway

Popped in on Saturday to check the place out. Rendering of the hempcrete is underway. Plastering the internal walls is ongoing. The stairs are complete and look fantastic. Bathrooms getting waterproofed.

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/916456 2015-10-14T00:59:59Z 2015-10-14T00:59:59Z Yakkity Sax improved everything

So I did this timelapse video of us setting up camp over the long weekend. It was pretty awesome but then I hit upon the idea of dubbing in Yakkity Sax. Immediate and massive improvement.

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/916449 2015-10-14T00:09:43Z 2015-10-14T00:09:43Z Cladding done, plastering and rendering underway

The exterior cladding to the first floor is complete and looks fab! Recycled blackbutt timber. We're going to let it weather to grey.

Inside the first layer of render is going on hempcrete, plastering is happening on internal walls and bathrooms are getting waterproofed. Appliances have started arriving: stove, microwave, fans all there, oven and sinks still to come.

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/915654 2015-10-12T01:19:36Z 2015-10-12T01:19:36Z Kitchen and cladding

Things are moving along pretty quickly. Popped in on Saturday to have a look. The exterior cladding looks sensational. Really happy with how that looks. Kitchen is going in and looks vibrant. Appliances arrive this week and next it seems. Plastering is continuing. Feel like we're getting towards the end.

In the photos you can see the massive pantry we'll be getting. The keen eyed will notice the ethernet that'll be going into a patch panel.
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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/914608 2015-10-08T23:50:04Z 2016-05-09T16:44:46Z Animation of the story so far

I've been taking photos from pretty much the same position throughout the build, so I thought I'd string them together in a dodgy animation.

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/914576 2015-10-08T22:16:58Z 2015-10-08T22:16:58Z Kitchen going in

Popped in this morning on the way to school dropoff to look into progress. It's looking incredible. Kitchen is going in downstairs. Plastering happening everywhere. Exterior cladding going on the outside back wall. Very exciting!

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/911276 2015-09-30T06:53:34Z 2015-09-30T06:53:34Z Lockup, stairs in, solar hot water in

Popped in today and there's lots of progress.

Yesterday, all the glazing was finished. We got keys and the place can now be locked up! On Monday the stairs went in. Today the pantry under the stairs was done. Also completed today was the solar hot water.

Very exciting to be getting this tangible progress!

Builder explained how the big crack above the back windows happened. That was the end of one days' work so it became a seam, which then cracked. He's going to cut a big chunk out. re-form it up and redo the hempcrete for that 

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/909748 2015-09-26T04:28:46Z 2015-09-26T04:28:47Z Bath is in!

Popped in this morning to check on progress. There's lots happening and the place is basically weatherproof now. Windows are in, roof is on. External cladding has been happening and it looks beautiful so far. Recycled spotted gum boards.

Upstairs the bathroom waterproofing is in place, plumbing and electrical work happening and insulation in.

Downstairs the bath has been installed.

One piece we're a bit concerned about is the hempcrete above the doors at the back of the house has developed a massive crack that stretches quite a way. Not sure what the builder will do about that particular thing, but I'm sure we'll find a solution.

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/908857 2015-09-23T22:37:45Z 2015-09-23T22:37:45Z Exterior moving along
These photos from the builder. It's looking quite amazing! Cladding is lovely and crisp.

Apparently the bathtub went in yesterday.
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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/907595 2015-09-21T03:36:21Z 2015-09-21T03:37:16Z Windows are in!

Popped in on Saturday to check on things. The windows are in and they look fantastic. Double glazing throughout and they're beautiful things.

Also delivered on Friday was the recycled timber to used over the hempcrete as external cladding.

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/906032 2015-09-17T01:04:49Z 2015-09-17T01:04:49Z Windows arrived, chimney complete

Dropped in yesterday to check on site. Windows have been delivered and they look awesome. Double glazing throughout so it's gonna be quiet and perform well temperature wise.

Yesterday they finished the chimney extension and were working on flashing and roof detailing. All looking pretty damn good.

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/902291 2015-09-07T23:08:14Z 2015-09-10T19:20:39Z Hempcrete complete

I popped in on Saturday to see the house and there's been much progress. The hempcrete was almost complete and it's looking amazing. Even with walls and windows missing you can hear the deadening of sound inside the rooms from the thick, thick walls. Have a look at the thickness in the pictures here.

Word from the builder yesterday that the hempcrete is now complete and they're moving onto cleanup. Windows arrive later this week.

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/900394 2015-09-02T05:09:50Z 2015-09-02T05:09:50Z Ground floor walls done

Ground floor walls were completed yesterday. I popped in this morning to check out progress. They're moving really fast with the hempcrete and the wall downstairs, which we're thinking we'll leave as is, looks great.

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/899335 2015-08-30T22:42:58Z 2015-08-30T22:42:58Z Walls going up

On Friday the first hempcrete walls went up. Holly took some photos.

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/898512 2015-08-27T23:59:14Z 2015-08-27T23:59:14Z Hempcrete!

Holly just sent these through. The first Hempcrete wall is going in as we speak!

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Simon Rumble
tag:blog.simonrumble.com,2013:Post/897785 2015-08-26T07:14:22Z 2015-08-26T07:14:22Z Getting ready for Hempcrete

Popped in this morning to check on progress. Formwork for the hempcrete is going in. They should start on the hempcrete on Friday or so. I've booked in a day of leave to help out, cos I'm curious to see how it's done.

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Simon Rumble