This is the website for Owen Carter, a British guy who has been living in Amsterdam for the last 15 years.
I’m afraid there is nothing earth-shattering here, no solutions for World Peace, no cures for peoples ills.. Just a few of my photos and ramblings.

It was the..

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danc’d in their heads,
And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap —
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
“Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer and Vixen,
“On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Donder and Blitzen;
“To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
“Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys — and St. Nicholas too:
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound:
He was dress’d all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnish’d with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys was flung on his back,
And he look’d like a peddler just opening his pack:
His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples: how merry,
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face, and a little round belly
That shook when he laugh’d, like a bowl full of jelly:
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laugh’d when I saw him in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And fill’d all the stockings; then turn’d with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight —
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
—Clement Clarke Moore

RIP Lilly, my friend.

She was an old fish, long lived but finally reached the end of that road. I’ve been looking after her for some time now and was rather sad that the warm weather seems to have finally broken her spirit, and taken her from me.



Which is better, a dedicated GPS datalogger or an android smartphone?

I decided to try a little experiment; I have a QStarz BT-Q1000XT GPS datalogger (based on the MTK chipset), and it gives very good results.
But I recently got a smartphone with GPS, a Samsung Galaxy s3 mini, and have been recording tracks on it using the standard ‘My Tracks‘ app that comes from Google.
I’d noticed many errors and deviations on the results from my phone, so I decided to try a little experiment. I put both the phone and datalogger side-by-side in the cabin of my boat and sailed about for a bit, I then compared the results.

Qstarz - s3mini comparisonQstarz - s3mini detail

In the attached images the BT-Q100XT is the blue track, and the s3 mini the red one. You can clearly see the s3 mini is drifting off at times (causing ‘kinks’ in the track) while the BT-Q1000XT stays fully locked on. I guess this is a good demonstration that the GPS features in mobile phones still have some way to go compared to a dedicated device and chipset.

You can explore this as an interactive map here.

For reference: Both GPS devices were placed side by side within the open hatch of my boat, partly sheltered by the cabin roof.

  • QStarz BT-Q1000XT set to fix every 500ms, recording a track point every 5 seconds or 1m (whichever is sooner), running firmware ANX_130-B_1.3_C01 and read via BT747 v2.x.1975
  • Galaxy s3mini/MyTracks running with default (non user visible) configuration, Model GT-I8190, Android v4.1.2 (kernel 3.0.31-809600), My Tracks v2.0.4

[I exported the results from My Tracks, and imported them into the same app. that I use for downloading from my datalogger, and then used this to make two identical maps which I have combined (by cutting and pasting the relevant HTML) into one.]

Pleased to meet you!

quackA new friend on Museumplein in Amsterdam.

Are we sitting comfortably?

Perfect way to watch fish
Sometimes I just want to stare at my fish for ever..
..and most of my friends think I’m potty.

Hannu’s Boatyard

Brilliant! building boats from minimal materials; working boat designs from a single sheet of plywood.
I offer you Hannu’s Boatyard; full of free plans for nearly free boats.

    Optical Illusions for Cats.

    too tempting to resist

    Well, ok; I’d never considered if cats can see optical illusions, though it is obviously a topic of considerable concern 😉

    The kitten here can obviously see the moving ‘snakes’ in this famous illusion.

      … Continue reading.

    Rip off merchant workaround.

    I need to buy a new printer.. why. Because HP make printers that fail very quickly. First they chew through cartridges like crazy (an ‘XL’ cartridge printed, maybe, 50 sheets.) and now the printhead has been declared ‘dead’ by the printer, and it refuses to print from the brand new HP XL black cartridge I   … Continue reading.

    Where I live

    A friend of mine found this; a look at the nature where I live (in Dutch!).
    Today, however, it looks more forbidding in the snow!

      It’s just political correctness gone mad

      A good definition:

      Political correctness is a clumsy term for affording people different from you a modicum of courtesy.

      Nicely Said; Martin Rowson.

        Lots of rottenness about.

        For once; I am in agreement with David Cameron.

        He added: “There is a danger if we are not careful that this can turn into a sort of witch hunt, particularly about people who are gay, and I’m worried about the sort of thing you are doing right now, taking a list of names   … Continue reading.

        Our Masters of War

        There is nothing I can add to this; the world in a nutshell.

        Come you masters of war
        You that build the big guns
        You that build the death planes
        You that build all the bombs
        You that hide behind walls
        You that hide behind desks
          … Continue reading.