Hadrian’s wall


This is the second weekend in a row we’ve managed to get out and explore the beauty of the world around us, and I’m loving where God has placed us in the world. We walked along a picturesque section of Hadrian’s wall – like the Great wall of China, but not quite as great. It was built with much the same purpose: to keep out the northern barbarians – in this case the Scots. Continue Reading…

Invisible roadworks

2013-02-09 16.35.08

In Australia roadworks were traditionally done by the local council, and though for many years it has been subcontracted out to private companies there is still a general image of ‘council workers’ who dress in reflective gear and sit by the roadside smoking cigarettes. I’ve discovered recently that it’s the same in England – except for the name.

All around the world I have seen this same phenomenon. I can’t imagine why the government needs to install traffic cones along a 3 mile stretch of the motorway where there is no appearance of any work being done or any damage to the road. Do they just do it for fun?

I decided that I needed to look this up on the web. The Highways Agency twitter account mentioned the closed lane:

#M6 northbound between J39 and J40 | Lane(s) blocked http://bit.ly/sutXS1

Still, I found it very difficult to find out WHY the lanes were blocked – as the highways agency doesn’t allow you to search in the past (though it’s helpful for the future – http://www.trafficengland.com/disruptions.aspx)

Eventually I found this on a cached version of the advanced driving website:


M6 northbound between J39 and J40 | Northbound | Resurfacing

On the M6 northbound between junctions J39 and J40, minor delays can be expected at peak times due to carriageway resurfacing , between 8 pm and 6 am, from 5 February 2013 to 8 February 2013.

I passed through on the 9th of February, so I guess they finished the job and decided to leave the cones in place one more day (or more!). Oh well.

Yesterday I saw some guys doing works on the road while there was snow coming down and wind blowing it everywhere, so I guess that kind of makes up for it.


Untitled 2On Monday I launched the newest revision of the Transform website http://www.transform.om.org/. This is the first website I’ve created by using wordpress – and it’s not half bad looking. I was really surprised at how swish a website can look with the right themes and customisation – and a few plugins.

Here is a look at the website itself. The fairly wide image in the middle is a slideshow with 5 images that take you to some of the site’s pages for more information – and the last slide is a link to a youtube video that opens up in a pretty lightbox and plays right away. That’s pretty cool. This is all part of the theme I used called ‘Duotive’.


The website can be viewed in several different languages such as French, Italian and even Korean – thanks to a fantastic plugin called qtranslate. All the links have a 2-letter language code somewhere in the URL to keep the language. Personally I would have prefered a cookie or a session variable, but this seems to work fine.

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It also pulls all of the short term missions opportunities for Transform participants into the website. The best part of this is that the options change depending on which country you are from – so with geoip country detection, the options are correct for your country and your currency. I used a simple rss feed reader and customised the code pretty heavily for this.

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The gallery is also pretty swish. The videos are hosted by OMNItube – something I’ve helped work on at OMNIvision for a while now – the advantage being no ads. The picture gallery is a part of the theme again, with nice lightboxes. The second video has subtitles based on the language you are viewing the site in, but this is just done with seperate videos at the moment.

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Lastly the prayer map is pretty cool. You click on one of the Mediterranean countries and it gives you a short bio with links to full information and how to pray for the country.

I’ve had some ups and downs with the website. The contact form that comes with the theme has no anti-spam protection so the owners got spammed as soon as it went online. Of course there’s always a better plugin available so I just dropped one in and the problem is solved. All in all, wordpress is a great CMS for simple and complex websites – there’s no reason to waste time with Joomla.

Photographing a walk in the woods

I was delighted yesterday to go for a walk in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Aira Force is a waterfall in the Lake District in the North of England. I must say it was breathtaking. A great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

VLUU P1200  / Samsung P1200

I would have taken my Sony DHC-HX1 semi pro camera on such an excursion but – as so often happens – I pulled it out of the case to find it had no charge left. I guess you just need to leave the battery on trickle-charge and take it out when you want to use it.

Anyway I ended up taking a lot of photos with my Galaxy S3. I’ve never been a fan of smartphone cameras for hobby photography, but to be honest taking photos with this phone was really fun. The colour reproduction and lighting were fantastic, and the camera is so clever that you barely have to touch the controls. Yes, I missed having 20x optical zoom (the S3 has nothing) but there was plenty to take in without zoom.




One design flaw I’ve found about Android phones is that whilst there is now a shortcut to the camera on the lock screen, launching it still requires you to unlock the phone to use it – I believe the iPhone 5 allows you to use the camera without unlocking the phone – this means my wife is already taking photos of that amazing thing while I’m still fiddling with my phone.

But, why complain? The S3 did a fantastic job and meant I didn’t have to haul around my big camera on such a lovely expedition.


Start here

I’ve decided to re-start my own personal blog page so that I can write about cool things that I discover, hacks that I figure out and problems that I solve. Also I’ll probably complain about lots of little amusing things. This blog will be less ministry-update-dinner and more random-thoughts-and-ideas. My wife and I will still maintain our ministry blog at http://www.youngfam.net/ weekly and we encourage you to read it to stay up do date with what God is doing in our lives here in Carlisle.