It’s considered bad luck to change the name of your boat!

I’m absolutely a sceptic when it comes to superstition, but I do like tradition and I would never have changed the name of the boat. The previous owner but one owned the boat for twenty odd years. It’s a ship’s lifeboat conversion and she bought it from the guy who did the conversion in the nineties.

A motorboat called Nora motoring along a peaceful river

She was always single handed and she said the name of her boat “Saucy Jack” was well known. So when she sold the boat and bought a new one, fifteen years or so ago , she wanted to keep the boat name so that people will know it was still her, and give her a hand with mooring. Her new Saucy Jack is still moored at Tiptree marina. An Aquacraft 40’ or something similar.

She sold it to a guy who moored it at Cathedral Marina, Ely and lived on it there. A condition of the sale was that he had to change the name, and he chose “Nora”.

We both hated the name when we bought the boat, but it has grown on us.

An old motor boat that looks a little like a fishing boat moored outside a pub

In the first few years of owning the boat I asked a boating friend a lot for advice. He used to answer the phone “Noraid”, which was amusing if in bad taste.

In hindsight it was a bad decision to buy that boat as our first boat. Because it’s a lifeboat conversion nothing is standard, and some parts of the conversion were done with poor materials and even less skill. It’s been a steep learning curve.

For example I would have struggled to point out where a boat engine’s gearbox was when we bought the boat. Since then I’ve changed both gearboxes twice. First time with a friend’s help, then three times on my own.The gearboxes are too small and only just rated for the output of the two large Perkins diesels (4.5l – 60hp). They overheat which causes the plates to slip. They lose shardds of metal which then ruins the plates and then need to be rebuilt. A bad design. The port box was a Hurth HBW150r and rated for engines of 10-60HP. The port engine had a ZF Gearbox with even lower output a ZF10M. I replaced this with a ZF15m (ZF bought Hurth sometime ago) which had the exact same alignment for the prop and engine. I then replaced the starboard gearbox with a ZF15m (the newer version of the Hurth HBW150r). Then I’ve had both boxes rebuilt.

A clean gearbox sat on a wooden desk.

There are some threaded holes on the side of the box. Here you can attach a box and pump water through it to cool the gearbox. Apparently this keeps it cool and makes them last a lot longer. However, they are next to impossible to find. I saw one once at a boat jumble. The guy wanted £200!

A pair of dirty gearboxes on a bench.

yet another wonderful wintery day

What a wonderfully frosty and misty day today. However, the appearance of the sun, as it tried to burn it’s way through the mist, made a noticeable difference to the weather in the hour long walk. The ground was frozen solid on the walk out, but was muddy on the way back. I think we have seen the last of the cold weather in Cambridge.

A misty winter landscape with a low sun over a ploughed field

On the way back..! A misty winter landscape with a low sun over a ploughed field

..and the ice on the shallow ponds were thick enough to walk on. Just look at those bubbles frozen in the ice.

A frozen pond looking down at vegetation and bubbles frozen in the ice.

Zsh and Its Searchable History

So I guess this says a lot about me and the limited things I do on my Linux box as well as the power of ZSH’s searchable history, but I find myself rarely typing commands from scratch. Instead typing the first few letters of the command then using the up cursor arrow to search for the last time I ran that command. It is so, so useful. Rarely do I need to grep my way through my .history file. For commands such a checking a Duplicity backup to Backblaze’s B2 buckets, where I need long strings of my keys it is essential. But for even simple commands like updating my Gentoo setup it is just so useful.

Can you remember this every time?
Duplicity collection-status b2:// [22 character string]:[22 character string]@BucketName/folder

I should remember this one, but I never remember those parameters…

Emerge -uDNav @world —keep going

For bash that was:
history | grep xxxx
– Then typing the line number.
– Hitting ctrl-c to kill that command
– up cursor key then editing the command before hitting return.

With ZSH I type the first few characters and then the cursor. Even when you search and use the line number it allows you to edit that command before running it.

By default this behaviour is not enabled. But edit your .zshrc/.zprofile files and bind the UP/DOWN cursor keys to these two options:
bindkey "^[[A" history-beginning-search-backward
bindkey "^[[B" history-beginning-search-forward

Oh and if you use zsh (it’s the default shell on macOS nowadays) then you really should use Oh My Zsh

Tapbots Tweetbot Memorial

Tapbots called it a day on their Twitter client Tweetbot. All quite sad really, but I guess inevitable. After I stopped using Tweetdeck, Tweetbot became my favourite Twitter client both on macOS and iOS. It was just so easy to swap between accounts and to tweet as a different accounts without switching accounts.
I got onto the beta of their new Mastodon client for iOS, Ivory, a week or so ago. I’ve just bought an annual subscription.

The Shit Show

Craig Hockenberry’s blog post about the last day of Twitteriffic working is acerbic and brilliant. It’s all because of Space Karen’s blocking of most popular third party Twitter clients from their API. I never used Twitteriffic. I used the web client, then Tweetdeck and finally settling on Tapbots set of iOS/macOS clients (which have also stopped working).
Since the buyout I’ve more or less stopped using my personal account. I’m reluctant to delete it as it’s been active since 2006, but it’s not been much fun over the past few years. I have kept three other accounts active. My work account, a campaign account and a village news account. I should let these die too really.
I opened a Mastodon account when Space Karen first hinted he wanted to buy Twitter (thanks Raj!) but never really used it. But since November I have. A much pleasanter place.
So far I’ve been using an iOS Mastodon app, Metatext, on iOS and macOS (Apple Silicon right!). Luckily Tapbots are working on an iOS Mastodon client, that I managed to get on the latest round of TestFlight beta apps yesterday.
Note: I’m posting this in an attempt to revive my blog. Instead of Marsedit (my usual blogging tool) I’m using Drafts with the WordPress Action.