Archive for March, 2011

This is my second lunch time bike ride. Once I have four I will look into creating a dedicated page for them. This one is a fairly short ride that takes you to a lovely spot to stop and have lunch. Maybe even go for a paddle, skim some stones or dangle your toes in the river. It takes you 1.8 miles to the old mill on the Darn Road which is a track that follows the Allan water between Bridge of Allan and Dunblane.

Here’s the video:

Here’s the map:

As a GNU/Linux user I tend to try and automate tedious tasks as much as possible. Here is a handy script that can be used to split up a video file without all that pointy, clicky, nonsense. This script has come in very handy for creating my cycling videos as it enables me to easily separate the real-time sequences from the sped-up sequences. You need ffmpeg (in case that is not obvious).

Simply provide your video file, and a text file containing the cut points in seconds, one per line e.g.


The last line in the timings file should be the length of the file if you want your split files to go up to the end of your original.

You then run it as follows:

splitavi video_file.avi timings_file

Here’s the script:

my $infile=$ARGV[0];
my $timefile=$ARGV[1];
print "Using infile $infile.\n";
print "Using timefile $timefile.\n";
my $counter=1;
my $start=0;
my $end;
open TIMES, $timefile;
while(my $time = )
    chomp $time;
    $end = $time;
    my $outfile = $infile;
    $outfile =~ s/(.*)\.avi/$1/ ;
    $outfile = sprintf("%s%03d.mpeg",$outfile,$counter);
    my $length = $end - $start;
    print "Running ffmpeg -i $infile -ss $start -t $length $outfile\n";
    `ffmpeg -i $infile -ss $start -t $length $outfile`;
    $start = $end;

It is my intention to create a website showing some of the rides that can be done during a lunch break for those working or studying at University of Stirling.
Readers of my blog can get previews of the rides as I complete them and get the video online. I’ll wait until I have a few more before I start to create a dedicated site.
This 4 mile ride around Easter Cornton took 20 minutes. The video is 7 minutes long as I have sped up the less eventful parts of the ride.

My first video is available here:

and you can view the map here:

There is a lot of bluster about AV at the moment so I thought I’d offer my thoughts on why I will be voting Yes to AV.

It’s not an ideal solution but it is a step in the right direction. In particular I want to vote No to First past the Post.

I live in a constituency that is a fairly safe Labour seat. The only party to come close to challenging Labour are the SNP. I would never consider voting for either of these parties. Because of this my vote is wasted. Even though someone counting all votes nationally will see my vote it will never count towards anyone getting into power.

So for me, while AV is not what I want, it is a step in the right direction. Only when my “contrary to the herd” vote can actually mean something will we have true democracy.

The idea of cloud computing is one that has me worried.

Just recently I discovered that due to a cock up I had deleted someone’s important files off a server that I administer.

The lesson here is, “if it is important to you then keep it on a computer that only you control”.