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I sometimes come across stuff on the web that catches my eye

iPhone camera built from the packaging of the iPhone box


The Register recently posted...

Most iPhone owners probably just chucked the handset's box in the bin seconds after leaving the shop. Not designer Scot Hampton - instead, he turned Apple's packaging into a 35mm film camera.

erm, not me - I love the way Apple package their products, so I tend to keep the boxes declaring them just too beautiful to throw away. In fact their boxes are just as pretty as the kit inside them!


If you think this is just a mock up image, read more to find out that Scott has actually put the components of a film camera inside. Incredible. 


'About Me' Podcasts from Class JF9 and Internet Safety for children, teachers and parents

Class JF9 podcasts at Kings Road Primary School ChelmsfordThis week has been a 'getting to know each other' type week and Class JF9 have been working incredibly hard find different ways in which they can communicate information about themselves. Pupils have used Podcasting to record information about themselves and place this online so that it can be listened to online.

Perkins 3D animated construction of a Perkins Diesel Engine Screensaver

One of the biggest draws to my blog site has been the Deutz Screensaver which shows the construction and operation of a car motor engine. I posted the animation because of the educational benefit it brought to the Scouts who were learning all about car engines. In fact, we stripped down a car engine to its component parts. What we weren't able to show was how the engine operated, which is where the screensaver did it so wonderfully well.

Thanks to Yoseph Santoz, a reader of this blog, he pointed me to another screensaver which shows the construction and working of a Diesel Engine. Rather than using drawn artwork, this screensaver appears to be using 3D representations of the actual parts. It's amazing. Thanks Yoseph!

This version is compatible with Windows only, although there is an mpg movie contained within the zip archive for playback using QuickTime on a Macintosh or Windows PC.

Download the zipped file here:

Perkins Animated 3D Diesel Engine Screensaver (perkins_1104d_install.zip) (28Mb)

Take a look at the Deutz Screensaver if you haven't already done so. Download the Deutz Screensaver.


Add live video from a built-in or plugin iSight camera on a Webpage using Quartz Composer

This page only works if you are using an Apple Mac computer that has an iSight camera either built into the computer or has an external iSight camera plugged in.

As you'll see, below is a QuickTime movie embedded into a webpage. The QuickTime movie makes use of the Quartz Composer engine and feeds live data from the iSight camera. Quartz Composer is built into the Mac OS X operating system, hence it is restricted to working only on Macintosh computers.

take a look and see what all the fuss is about!


Want to build this into your own pages?

It's simple, here's how:

  1. Copy and paste the following HTML code into a webpage...

    <object classid="clsid:02BF25D5-8C17-4B23-BC80-D3488ABDDC6B"
    width="320" height="240" codebase="http://www.apple.com/qtactivex/qtplugin.cab">
    <param name="src" VALUE="http://www.jonathansblog.net/userfiles/live_isight_video.mov"/>
    <param name="autoplay" VALUE="true"/>
    <param name="controller" VALUE="false"/>

    <embed src="http://www.jonathansblog.net/userfiles/live_isight_video.mov" width="320" height="240" autoplay="true" controller="false" pluginspage="http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/" />

  2. You can download the live_isight_video.mov file from this webserver. (CTRL click the link and Save As...)


Thomas visits Stepping Stones School and helps build our Radio Controlled Cars

Last week was very busy but fun and included a surprise visit from my good friend, Ali and her family. Thomas, her son, is keeping a blog detailing his visits since he arrived on holiday. Take a look at Thomas' Blog for more details on what activities 6 year old boys enjoy in the UK.

Without hesitation, Thomas discovers where and how he can help.

Thomas is well known to the pupils here following his visits to the Stepping Stones Advent Calendar that we ran last year.

From all at Stepping Stones, thank you for visiting and we wish you safe passage whilst in the UK and on your journey back to New Zealand.


A quarter of.... playing back those childhood memories

I have been reminded of my childhood several times recently, the first being 'connected up' to my secondary school friends who I pretty much left behind when I moved on to University. Have you ever wondered what happened to the Apple and Custard sweets that as children we used to buy a quarter of from the local newsagent?

Check out A quarter of...


Two in-tents

Colin recently purchased a new tent for the Orion Scout Troop in Billericay.

My friend and Scout Leader, Colin, my nephew and I helped erect it.

Max and Jonathan sitting inside the Coleman tent.


The classic Donkey Kong arcade game four storeys high


The classic arcade game, Donkey Kong recreated on a four storey high building (left).

Built entirely from 6400 Post-It notes and 10 people in only 5 hours, this took some patience and planning.

This isn't the first time I've seen a classic arcade game recreated on the side of buildings, or even using the fabric of the building to interact with the game. Take this video, for instance, showing Tetris played on a very large scale. The students had re-wired the lighting system for the entire block of apartments and used a computer to control each light independently. Watch the clip.

In fact, having searched a bit deeper, someone in France has created the ultimate game playing experience... just look at the choices of games you can play, and all from your mobile phone handset.


Pack your bagel in a CD spindle

"Now this is incredibly clever: using an old CD spindle as a bagel-sandwich protector for your packed lunch."

....and simple too.


Google TiSP - another Google April Fools prank

I know, I know. Toilet humour, but hey...

Yet another classic April Fools prank from the Google comedy store. This one is great. I love how they mock up webpages with that almost authentic edge....

How can Google offer this service for free?

We believe that all users deserve free, fast and sanitary online access. To offset the cost of providing the TiSP service, we use information gathered by discreet DNA sequencing of your personal bodily output to display online ads that are contextually relevant to your culinary preferences, current health status and likelihood of developing particular medical conditions going forward. Google also offers premium levels of service for a monthly fee (see below).

Installation instructions | FAQ | Press Release


Oh dear... exam paper blues

Since here in the UK, we are very much in the season of exams, I found this and thought I'd share it. Apart from the rather serious reality that these answers are pupils' actual responses to an exam paper, they are really quite amusing...

It really goes to show pupils are much more prepared to have a go and be wrong than not have a go at all. As someone who is teaching some GCSE courses, this is an approach that I encourage, not least because:

a) you might be right.
b) you might be partially right and therefore scrape some marks.

If only marks were given for creativity whilst answering an exam paper...

Here's my favourite...

Take a look at some more exam answers.


Latest gadget: Giant novelty matchstick / lighter

As my friends will testify, I simply love novelty items and gadgets... this is my latest gadget. A Scout who participated in the Now Get Out Of That challenge event that I helped organise for the Billericay and Wickford Scouts last weekend. The event demands that each hiking group cooks a hot meal at midday. Since most of the groups either forgot or didn't think to bring matches, this device was used ever such a lot - lifesaver!
Buy online from Amazon - only £3.99 (the perfect novelty gift for friends and relatives!)

or, this stainless steel version:


Calling all bloggers in Hindhead, Haslemere, Farnham, Grayshott

It's so quiet here in leafy Hindhead, that I've had an idea. It started with being contacted by fellow blogger, Jess of Hindhead who had me wondering if there is anyone else out there who is blogging in Hindhead or in the surrounding villages, Haslemere, Farnham, and Grayshott.

I've found a few, but it would be great to establish a longer list...

So, who do we have already?

If you are blogging in Hindhead or the surrounding areas, get in touch. Leave a comment, or email (address above.) If there is enough interest, we'll start a Bloggers of Hindhead social group, which might one day end up doing useful stuff - who knows!?


'Marmite Squeezy' Art


Go on... have a go... you'll either love it or hate it.



BAFTA film entries, 60 Seconds of Fame Competition

The judging for this year's 60 Seconds of Fame competition, created and sponsored by BAFTA and Orange is nearly complete.

The competition has been open to buddying filmmakers who are aged 16 or over. All you need is access to some film making equipment, a digital video camera or video capable mobile phone and a computer with which to edit the film.

I was particularly impressed by the guidance notes offered on the website... useful for any video project with youngsters. The guidance notes are simple and straightforward, and after being involved in the judging process over the past few days, clearly many of the filmmakers had listened to this advice in producing the high quality films.


The pages I found most useful were:

Take a look for yourself, and make a point of looking at the entries for this year. Winners from each region will attend The Orange British Academy Film Awards in 2007. The overall winner will have their film featured during the Film Awards broadcast.

Hopefully, the competition will be repeated again this year. See the 60 Seconds of Fame website.

30 years on - this is just the beginning for Jonathan too!

Goodness... it's just dawned on me that I'm as old as Apple. (read about Apple's History here.)

and yes, this is just the beginning for me as well.

.... I like that thought.


Happy New Year.


Re-living the Tamiya Hornet - superb off-road buggy

Much of the past two days has been spent building the re-released version of the Tamiya Hornet radio controlled car. This car was a big success in the 1980's and it was then that I began an interest in model car building and racing. Nearly 20 years ago, I spent much of Christmas Day and Boxing Day building the car with my grandfather.

Today, all the memories of building The Hornet came flooding back - my Christmas present yesterday was the re-released Tamiya Hornet. Vivid memories of how grease was applied to everything in the gearbox and seemingly everything else in the room (!) and how time-consuming the construction of the wheels were with all those screws and nuts, nevermind the intricacy of painting the body and applying the various stickers to the outside.

The hardest task in the build was cutting the body from the vacuum formed plastic and masking up the irregular shaped windows. It didn't help when I later discovered the masking tape was more porous than I had hoped, and once removed, left traces of paint on the acrylic plastic that I had hoped to leave transparent. However, a quick solution to this is to use nail varnish remover which, like Polyfiller is to walls, hides a multitude of sins. Apply nail varnish remover sparingly to cotton wool buds so as not drop the fluid on the rest of the paintwork. Paint can be removed quite easily using the buds working at patches of paint. Then wipe clean to leave no trace.

The Electronic Speed Controller is a massive improvement over the previous servo operated wiper board which I recall became troublesome and unreliable after only a few uses as it depended upon good contacts being made for the car to operate reliably.

I seem to remember there being an alternative fixing for the rear gearbox that eliminates the rocking action that takes place when the car first accelerates. The replacement brackets prevented this rocking action and therefore the full power distributed through the rear tyres. I have yet to find this item, so if you remember this part, or indeed know where I can buy one, please mail me.

It's a great feeling recalling fond memories of the past and all the challenges that are associated with making the car run faster. Reminiscing with my brother yesterday evening brought back the vocabulary we used on an almost daily basis.

Visit Modelsport UK to find other re-released cars, such as the Lunch Box, The Frog, Grasshopper, Wild Willy, and the Clodbuster.

If you are about to order your Radio Controlled Car, why not contact Modelsport UK and quote "jonathansblog" and see if that might be worthy of a discount. Many of you have already purchased your cars from Modelsport UK and have been very happy with the service.


A Kiwi Jingle Bells - a New Zealand version to the traditional Christmas song

A good friend, Ali Hughes in New Zealand, sent the kids at Stepping Stones the alternative version to Jingle Bells. This is the Kiwi version, the lyrics of which reflects celebrating Christmas in the summer months.

"Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way
Christmas in New Zealand on a sunny summer's day, ah!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way
Oh what fun it is to have a Kiwi holiday!

This fantastic book is accompanied by a music CD with instrumental, spoken and sing-a-long tracks.

Listen to a short extract from the CD (Apple QuickTime, 600kb).

Buy online.


Online Advent Calendar

It's that time of year again...

Stepping Stones school have produced an online advent calendar. Join in the fun for yourself.

Other advent calendars include...

Suggest your favourite advent calendar below.


One lump or two...

Selector mugDrink Selector MugHow cool is this ?

I've long been interested in the problem of knowing who drinks what drink (tea or coffee, sugar / no sugar, milk / no milk etc) in the workplace. This might be a solution to that problem. Whenever this problem is muted around Stephen Powell, he often refers to a tea and coffee database, which includes data about people and their drinking preferences.

The Drink Selector Mug offers an alternative solution which although, empowers the user, kinda assumes there is someone else making the drinks - if only...

Cream ceramic mug with stainless steel selector rings

Twist rings to reveal your choice of drink and your milk and sugar preferences!

This would make a great Christmas present for someone... perhaps for a teaching friend, a work colleague, or just a friendly face.


How Projects Really Work (v2.0)

This amused me. View the cartoon


Deutz Engine Screensaver - download animated construction of a motor engine

Our Scout unit are working towards their Mechanics badge. One of the parents, Mike, works at Ford Motor Company and brought this rather cool screensaver along yesterday evening. The screensaver takes the viewer through the various parts of a motor engine as you watch it being constructed in front of you. Sadly, the screensaver is for Windows PCs only... Watch the Flash animation and download the Deutz Engine screensaver. I wonder if there is a tool to construct Screensavers for Mac OS X from Flash movies? You can now download the excellent screensaver from this site.

Please keep this service running.

Due to the enormous interest in downloading this screensaver from this site and the large amount of traffic coming to my server host, I would really appreciate a donation towards the hosting costs of this service. Many thanks for your understanding.




** Download software list UPDATED 22nd July 2009 **

Now available for Windows Vista

Downloadable options:




Please support this screensaver development.



** UPDATE 31st October 2007 **


There is another animated construction of an engine, this time a diesel engine made by Perkins which can be downloaded from this website. Download the Perkins 3D diesel engine animation.




12hrs in Keswick: the Total Objects Adventure Challenge

We attempted and completed the Total Objects Adventure Challenge last weekend. This is a 12hr challenge, and involved 3 disciplines, canoeing, mountain biking and climbing Skiddaw, England's second highest peak.

The team included, Sandy Seagrove, Mieke Uglow, Larry Sullivan and me.

Some spectacular photographs were taken, thanks to the girls. View the photographs online.

See also Jonathan's Mobile Blog for some more images from the weekend.

Our team finished 6th out of the 13 teams (well done team) and collectively raised £52,700 for CARE International and will go towards key projects around the world.


Cards straight from the compost heap

These are fantastic. I saw these cards on a stall in Guildford and captivated my interest, probably because they appropriately match my sense of humour....

"At the bottom of every garden, if you dig a little deeper into The Compost Heap, is a feast of endeavour just waiting to be enjoyed. Every plant, flower or vegetable which might be found lying on The Compost Heap, from time to time, have lives of their own."

The Compost Heap, www.compostheap.net



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