Monday, October 25, 2010

Squishy Circuits

Fantastic and fun-looking play to learn idea for kids. Squishy Circuits: "The purpose of this project is to facilitate electronics education to younger students. Our hope is that through the use of this tool, students will better understand electronics concepts, become more interested in engineering, and ultimately participate in playful learning techniques. This page is dedicated to sharing out research and guiding the further use and creation of squishy circuits."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The 2010 New Zealand Ice Cream Awards

The New Zealand Ice Cream Manufacturer's association has called for entries to the 14th New Zealand Ice Cream Awards which are to be judged in Auckland from Monday, 26th APRIL 2010.

The specific objective of the Awards is the raising of standards and promoting the quality of New Zealand Ice Cream.

They have 12 separate categories including Standard, Premium, Low Fat, Gelato and Sorbet. Last year’s supreme award was won by a Licorice Gelato.

The closing date for entries is Wednesday the 14th of April 2010

Full information at The New Zealand Ice Cream Awards:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Frasers Café - Great Customer Service

7 PM on a Sunday night and Tessa and I felt like going out for breakfast. Tessa really felt like bacon and eggs while for me there was no special reason, but on a day that started with cheese and tomato sandwiches, and had cupcakes and Easter biscuits for lunch, having bacon and eggs for dinner seemed somehow logical.

We went up Mt Eden Road and ended up at Frasers Café where we've been several times before and always enjoyed the fare, but it was well past the time when they stop the day menu and switched over to the night menu.

When we asked if they could do us the meal from the day menu, the waitress immediately checked with the kitchen and agreed to our request. So it was a "Power breakfast" at 8PM, cooked to their normal high standard and greatly enjoyed by both Tessa and I.

Full marks to Frasers, both for the food and for the excellent service.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hush my dear, the bunny's near

It seems like only yesterday were doing Valentine's and now we are only 2 weeks out from Easter. This year seems to be vanishing even faster than last.

It's the first full year of my fiancé, Tessa's, gourmet baking business Sweet Expectations and as each special occasion comes around she needs to do a brand new special page on her site for Les petites gâteries de la saison. Tonight we added the page with her list of Hand made gourmet Easter treats.

 So if you're in Auckland and want some delicious hand made Easter treats,
check out her web page and get on the phone.

Remember, there's only 14 shopping days 'til Easter.

Photos by Tessa Clement (née Shoebridge) and Copyright © 2010. All rights reserved, used by permission.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Bruce Clement's Summary

I've just created a new "Autoblog" Bruce Clement's Summary that is intended to give a brief summary of my on-line activities.

It's going to be largely auto feeds and snippets.

First up will be an auto feed of my daily twittering, the first installment of which was originally here, and I expect to add other data later.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Musings on change

On Saturday Tessa and I went up to the top of Mt Albert and looked across to what had once been my teenage home, just as I had stood there and looked across a many times when I was a teenager in the 1970s, before I moved away from first home, then Auckland and now back. The trees are taller and it is harder to pick out the house among the trees, but the mountain is the same and in many ways the house. All around there is change, the new motorway, changed buildings, but the basic layout of the roads is unchanged and so is the geography.

Businesses aren't like that, many of the iconic businesses of my youth and early adulthood are still around but merged or changed beyond recognition. I have a life insurance policy taken out in the late 1970s with Norwich Union, this afternoon out of curiosity I visited their web site to discover they are now Aviva and I vaguely remembered hearing of some merger, perhaps it's middle age, but I feel nostalgic for the old name.

Tonight Tessa and I went to another of my old haunts, Albert Park, for the Chinese lantern festival which I really enjoyed. Again things had changed, when I was in my late teens and early twenties and frequently visited the park it was different, Central Auckland was very much a city for the English descendants, now it is a much more vibrant, truly multi-cultural city the festival was attended by a truly multi-ethnic mix of people, another change that has made Auckland better and stronger, just as the business changes make them better and stronger. While we were there we saw the first fresh durian I've seen in Auckland (canned and frozen don't count) we bought some and ate it as we walked ... a middle aged Asian couple stopped and remarked that they thought Europeans didn't like durian.

The mountain and the stream remain, the people change and those of us remaining change with them.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cool pictures of feathered dinosaurs from New Scientist

Ten artist's drawings of feathered dinosaurs discovered by Chinese Palentologist Xu Xing ranging from the 34cm, 4 winged, Anchiornis huxleyi to Guanlong, a feathered ancestor of Tyrannosaurus rex and the 1.5 Tonne Gigantoraptor, Fossil finds by Xu Xing and his team have helped show the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds. See gallery at New Scientist

Friday, February 12, 2010

Chocolate eggs threated by witches' broom

With Valentine's day this weekend and Easter just around the corner, I Ggoogled a bit and found out that New Scientist reported a year ago that supplies were threatened by a fungus named witches' broom and a virus called CSSV (cacao swollen shoot virus). Cacao is the plant that grows the beans that we grind, ferment and roast to make cocoa ... the raw stuff of chocolate.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Site Cloning Experiment

A few months back I had a few of my domains developed into mini-sites, but for various reasons I didn't switch on Adsense monitoring until a few days back so I didn't actually understand how well or poorly they were doing – silly mistake that I always advise other people against.
Because there's some related keyword pairs I might go after, I've decided not to publicly say exactly which domain name I'm talking about.
While doing some research last night I noticed that one of my better performing minisites that has it's name formed ( was receiving a lot of hits for the search term Xxx Zzz. It was on the front page of Google for this search but near the bottom.
For an experiment I decided to see what would happen if I cloned it to for a perfect match to the keyword. Already I'm seeing some things that surprised me.

Day 1


Here's my log and results (All times NZDT):
9-Feb-10 22:20
Registered the domain name
9-Feb-10 22:20-23:00
  • Cloned the site to on my server
  • changing all occurrences of XxxYyy to Xxx and fixing a couple of grammatical errors.
  • Added links to the new site on 3 of my sites.
  • Registered it with Google Analytics and placed the link code in the pages.
9-Feb-10 23:09
.nz zone file reloaded, DNS resolving and site live. Visited the site and checked it out. The Adsense Mediabot spider visited all the pages I visited.
10-Feb-10 07:28
Googlebot visited the site retrieving robots.txt, and / (Index.php)
10-Feb-10 09:06
Googlebot returned retrieving all the pages linked from index.php.
10-Feb-10 14:08
Yahoo! Slurp retrieved robots.txt, /, and /default.css
10-Feb-10 18:24
Googlebot returned and re-read / (NB: Did not read robots.txt)
11-Feb-10 00:01
Waking up to having missed something I created a Google Alert for Xxx Zzz

Analysis of day 1.

  • Mediabot is practically real-time (expected).
  • Googlebot found the site fairly quickly. Not sure if this was because of Analytics, Mediabot, or from scanning my other sites. Having read the first page it came back and read the rest fairly promptly.
  • Yahoo! Slurp is none too shabby on the initial read either. It didn't have the extra aid I gave Google, yet found a brand new domain in only 15 hours.
  • Either Slurp didn't like what it found, or is a lot slower than Googlebot in reading the other new pages. I find it a mystery that it gave priority to reading the css file over reading the other php files though.
Based on experience with adding pages to Tessa's Sweet Expectations site where it took 8 or 9 days for Google to notice an added page to an existing site I'm not expecting anything for a few days. I'll check periodically and update this blog with news of how it progresses.

Day 2

Very Quiet day. The only activity on the site was a return visit by Googlebot at 01:45 which just requested robots.txt - a 404. No sign of Yahoo Slurp or Microsoft's Bing spider.

Day 3

A couple more spiders visited: ScoutJet and Yandex, with a return visit by GoogleBot. In each case they fetched robots.txt and the homepage. Still no sign of Yahoo Slurp or Microsoft's Bing spider.

Day 4

A ScoutJet returned and spidered the site. So far Google and Scoutjet have both spidered the site, Scoutjet's directory isn't publicly usable yet, and Google isn't showing any pages for the site, yet.

Day 5

Yandex returned and read the robots.txt (I'm going to stop reporting minor search engines now, they've obviously found the site). Google re-read the index page and robots.txt only. A ScoutJet returned and spidered the site. So far Google and Scoutjet have both spidered the site, Spandex's directory isn't publicly usable yet, and Google isn't showing any pages for the site, yet.

Google sent its first real traffic today (1 visitor), and it was on the search I expected, I need to wait a few more days to check it wasn't just an aberration before declaring success, but for now at least it's looking hopeful.

Interestingly enough, this is only day 5 on a newly registered site, nearly twice as fast as day 9 on an existing site as in the Sweet Expectations Valentine's day page.

Day 6

Google revisited and re-spidered the site. They also sent another visitor and I received a notification from Google Alerts that the site exists. The visitor sent by Google was on a bit of a long tail keyword phrase that it matched up against the privacy page or all places, still the web browser went to a couple of other pages in the site; not ideal, but better than nothing.

Day 7

Quiet day, Yahoo! Slurp visited today and spidered the site. No sign of Google or any traffic from them but this doesn't matter as they have obviously decided to accept the site. Interestingly enough, still no sign of Bing. Bing sends traffic to one of the sites where I posted a link to the new site so it's either not interested in this site or has just given it a low priority for its spider.

As I've partially achieved my objective, and want to watch things for a few weeks I'm going to shut down this log now, with just occasional updates as significant changes occur.


Google was very fast off the mark indexing the site, and added it into the index faster than I expected. Slurp indexed the front page pretty fast but was quite a sluggard indexing the rest of the site. Bing has been noticeable by its absence, and I'm wondering if they are sharing their spidering with Slurp already.

Google has also sent traffic a lot sooner than I expected. Given that it's a brand new site (The one I cloned had been registered since 2006 and been in its current form as as a mini-site for 3 months) and there are almost no incoming links I'm surprised it got out of the sandbox at all. The only question in my mind now is will I get enough traffic to justify the registration fee?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Living beach ball, another giant single cell

A while ago I bloggged on Giant Single Cells. Here's another one courtesy of New Scientist The single-celled xenophyophores shun the convention that single cells are microscopic. Syringammina is a brute, growing to a width of 10 centimetres, sometimes even twice that. The cell branches and splits into hundreds of tubes, which ramify and interconnect in a hugely complex network. It also bends the single-cell convention of having only a single nucleus: Syringammina has many, scattered throughout its tubes.