View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Closing notes

Approaching midnight after a day of experimenting with Flock (too cluttered, although potentially useful) and monitoring a tragedy some 200 miles from here. I think all hope is now fading fast for the 8 people still missing from that helicopter that went down off Rattray Head, north of Aberdeen. Eight bodies have been recovered from the water and are currently en-route to Aberdeen on board MV Caledonian Victory. The AIS for North East Scotland told its own story, with a clutter of ships in the area of the accident earlier this evening.

More tomorrow.

Helicopter crash - update

Latest reports suggest that all 16 on board the helicopter, which crashed into the sea 40 miles north of Aberdeen, may have died. The bodies of 10 were spotted in the water, indicating that the aircraft crashed rather than made a controlled landing on the water.

These reports are as yet unconfirmed.

Aurora Borealis

The Northern Lights should become more noticeable over the coming few years. In the year 2012, the sun should reach a maximum in a 11-year cycle of activity. This means that areas of Earth near its poles (both North and South) will see an increase in the Northern / Southern Lights. Apart from it being pretty, the Aurora can accompany severe magnetic storms in the earth's atmosphere. This is caused by charged particles being blasted our way by the sun. As they are captured by the ionosphere (a layer in the atmosphere), they can generate a magnetic pulse. In an event in March 1989, this pulse was so strong that it tripped out electricity networks across the USA and Canada. The accompanying Aurora was visible as far south as Cuba.

Flock - part 1

The one thing I am not liking about Flock is the way they handle imported feeds. I downloaded my feeds from Google Reader, and I have those categorised into two sections for  J-land (blogs I read regularly, and others I have on file), news, Scottish blogs, etc. Well, that got messed up a little on uploading into Flock. Can live with that though.

You can also write blog posts through the browser, monitor Twitter as well as Facebook. I am getting less enthusiastic about Facebook, but that is nothing to do with Flock.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Helicopter ditching

A helicopter is reported to have ditched into the North Sea off the east-coast of Scotland at around 2pm this afternoon, an hour ago. A major rescue effort is underway, with lifeboats, a reconnaisance aircraft and search-and-rescue helicopters being directed to the area, 35 miles east of Crimond in Aberdeenshire. Will update as news comes in.

Back in February, a Puma helicopter ditched into the North Sea about 125 miles east of Aberdeen. An alarm is thought to have failed, and the aircraft had flown into a fogbank upon approaching the oilplatform it was heading for. All 18 on board survived the incident without injury.

Flock Browser

I am currently exploring the Flock browser. It has come a long way since I first looked at it a few years ago. Today's version allows you to pull all your social networking strands together in the one browser - Twitter, Blogger, Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket and others. Looks like a useful piece of kit, and one that is not very widely used.

Wednesday 1 April

So what April Fool fooled you? Or what April Fool did you play on others? I nearly got taken in by Google's Cadie (see their homepage today), much like Google Tisp a few years ago. Remember that? Internet connection through the sewerage system.

Nice sunny day in Stornoway, but I do not trust the cloudscape or the fact that we have a reasonable breeze going at the moment. It is supposed to get up to 16C this afternoon; could yet happen, it's 12C at the moment (midday).

A yacht that came adrift in galeforce winds at Rodel, Harris, last week had tried to tie up to a mooring buoy. Unfortunately, the buoy was no longer attached to the seabed. This had apparently been reported for the past 3 months, but no action was ever taken. The yachtsman had sought shelter in Rodel Bay because of the conditions. The buoy is owned by the local council, and they are now looking into the matter. The yacht was holed below the waterline and nearly sank.