“Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world” —Tien Yiheng

Sunday, 3rd March, 2024

The raspberry pi newsletter informed me the very first rpi came out 12 years ago on Thursday just gone. I had one of those very first rpis. They sold 10,000 in the first batch and I was waiting on the website to buy one. I sold it a while ago as I upgraded but I probably should’ve kept it as part of internet history. Although to do what? Sit in a drawer and probably do nothing?

Can’t decide about this KX2. It’s a lovely radio, perfectly designed and capable, ideal for traveling and portable out and about. It, a bit of wire and a light telescopic pole and you can get on the air anywhere.

It’s like a GRIII with a 35mm lens 😅 but it’s pricey. I have a portable radio I can take with me, but it’s like a D850. I can bring it, it is more capable but it and the extra stuff aren’t small.

I’ve told myself I’ll watch the eBay auction first then maybe offer on the forum one. But I haven’t decided what price would make me bid or what to offer - I also doubt they’ll budge much from their listing price given the rarity of the item. Maybe if it sits in the forum for 3 weeks they might but it’s not even been 3 days yet.

Maybe in Thursday, I should take my D850 up the “mountain” and see how it is. The battery arrangement is the biggest issue. I have a whacking great golf buggy LiFePO4 battery, which is great if you drive or I’m in the garden and I’ve parts of LiPo battery which I was going to make my own but never got round to it. Nowhere in the U.K. sells them and nowhere else ships here.

Saturday, 2nd March, 2024

Went outside this morning to put out some rubbish. Was a light drizzle but the air felt so fresh and envigorating. Made me want to go up a mountain and feel the satisfaction of a day in nature and hard work climbing it.

Dad is coming to visit today. Better tidy up…

Like buses, another KX2 has shown up on the second hand forums. This one has a tuner and nice box and things. It does come with a signal link box for digital modes that I’m not really interested in. I suspect they won’t really want to sell it without that but I could always sell it on myself. It’s just a bit pricey… £1350. A new one from Switzerland is likely around £1500 and doesn’t have the case and bits. Think I’ll see how much the eBay one, without a tuner, goes for. It’s already at £620 and there are still 3 days left. I suspect that these are the current prices as supply is so low and demand is high.

I did end up offering for a 2m/70cm FM radio, a Kenwood V71A, that I saw on the forums as well. Not sure how much I’ll use it but seems like a sensible thing to have a decent 2m/70cm FM for local / satellites, that’s not a handheld, for sitting in my shack. Will just need to setup the antenna for it…

I love haribo sweets, and eat too many. Yesterday I bought a packet at lunch time but they repeated horribly on me all day. Like drinking very cheap, off brand orange juice, so acidic and artificial. Made me think that I should stop eating them. I’ll have to find something else to substitute as not sure I can just go cold turkey on them.

Thursday, 29th February, 2024

Leap! 🐸

I played about with Quarto to see if I could make interactive plots with python. Seems like you can only really do it with ObervableJS, aka javascript. That’s a shame, but if I thought about it not surprising. There is pyscript which lets you run python in the browser. Maybe not too hard to learn as I only really want a small subset of things, I just worry about writing formula in JS vs python. I should do some basic javascript learning, like functions, syntax etc. would be useful in lots of places. I did start from a book about…3 years ago but only got as far as chapter one then never quite got round to it again.

A portable HF radio that I’ve wanted to get has shown up on ebay today. Elecraft KX2. It doesn’t come with an internal tuner, but you can buy those separately and fit them yourself. The KX2s have been in production shortage since COVID and have still to recover. I presume it must use some component that is now not a mainstream one following manufacturing getting back in operation? Not sure. If I order new it’s 16 week wait from the US. Also the UK importers have stopped stocking them so I’ll have to import from the US or EU, so no doubt at great expense. So seeing one used for sale is rare. The last one I saw was on the forums last summer. In fact someone I met on the radio matrix chat is the guy that bought it. It came with all the bells and whistles and he paid £900 for it. The one on ebay is already at £510 and it doesn’t finish until Monday. I think a fair price for it is £700 but I bet it goes for way more as so many people are wanting one. I’m nto sure how much importing a new one will be, perhaps £1500? Although I should work out how much all the bits I’d want as well will be and is it really that much cheaper than just getting a new one from Switzerland. Plus it would have the newest design and bigger battery and all sorts. I’ll see what its price is on Monday afternoon and decide.

Wednesday, 28th February, 2024

My wife dug out her senior school maths notes on advanced higher mechanics from over 20 years ago. She’s getting ready to teach advanced higher mechanics come next term and wanted to get up to speed again with it. So far she’s just been teaching “dumb” maths which requires no thought when kids ask questions. Stuff like volume, area, simple angles etc., but now it’s going to be a bit harder and needs some thought ahead of time. Anyway, her notes are in immaculate condition for paper and handwritten stuff. Puts my shoddy internet wiki to shame.

As part of teacher’s continuous development, she’s getting some courses on website making. Some of the maths teachers maintain google sites of materials. I immediately jumped in and shouted “I’ll help you make a site!”. Probably I need to calm down a bit. However, I think quarto would be great to do it - static site, but also with the ability to have interactivity, so sliders to change angles and speeds and whatever so people can see the changes. I might work on an example page with some stuff.

I’m excited to make a student resources page on mechanics maths. Give me soemthing productive to do, an excuse to play with python and quarto some more too.

Although right now a friend and I are playing Factorio and optimising manufacturing. It’s a bit like work but in the evening. A bus man’s holiday as my mum would say.

Had to upgrade iCloud storage to 200GB. Probably could’ve deleted some photos to keep within the 50GB but also can’t be bothered. I think putting all my photos into iCloud then later removing them as confused its tiny brain. I have loads of empty albums or worse, albums with one photo in it, even though I chose to delete them all. I’d like to go back to it one day but not sure I want yet another subscription.

Tuesday, 27th February, 2024

I like how Outlook email reports messages from Microsoft as junk 😅.

I’ve been generally feeling fine about work. Nothing bad, maybe nothing good, but we had a management meeting today and after that I was mad. Not quite sure why as it was a pretty benign meeting. I have a txt file on simplenote or some app that I’ve used as my work rant place. I try to avoid reading the historical entries but it stops me endlessly thinking about pointless stuff.

Can’t decide on the part time working idea. Wife is supportive but she did point out the days off are short. The kids are at school 9-3, so I’d really only have 6 hours that day for myself. I’d still enjoy that time and having it every week would be good, plus I like picking the kids up from school and seeing them before I get home at 5pm feeling tired and trying not to be too grumpy. I wondered if there was some half way option of just taking extra holidays to see how it went.

I have to do school pick up next Thursday, so I’m going to take the whole day off. That’ll be a whole day alone to do what I want. A taster of what it could be like. The problem with a one-off is that it’s not really representative, but still. I should plan a little otherwise I’ll sit on the computer until school pick up and do nothing. I wonder what the weather is…supposedly sunny, but we’re too far away to believe that. There’s always the go up a “mountain” and play radio. Might be safer doing a dummy run in the back garden first though.

I don’t forget. I just remember later. – Dave Rogers

Monday, 26th February, 2024

Watching the tinderbox meet up on blogging.

The refurb T480 arrived today. It’s very clean and looks nice. I think they replaced the keyboard as it has slightly different key markings and I think that means it’s not a legit one. I also think it’s not legit as the trackpoint doesn’t work, which is really annoying. I could get away without the trackpoint but it also means the buttons don’t work and I quite often use the trackpad but with the buttons.

I went on a wild internet goose-chase trying to find a solution and so far there’s nothing. I can’t tell if it’s software, firmware, or hardware. I’ve tried the Windows firmware and then Lenovo firmware but makes no difference. The best link details manually installing the firmware but that doesn’t work for me. I’ll keep going, maybe I’ll try disconnecting the keyboard and reconnecting it?

It might not matter as I could use it as my docked laptop for the radio or second setup at home. However, it bothers me. I could try linux on it just to see if it’s windows. Probably a live CD (USB) would be fine, or maybe just drop debian on it.

I could send it back, but it was quite good value with an eBay promo.

If I do keep it, and the trackpoint doesn’t work (and I don’t want to buy a replacement keyboard), is that I need to figure out the combination of the thinkpads and uses. There’s one for my wife (has to be Windows), then another Windows one for minecraft, then one for the radio which I think should be Linux. I was going to go with the oldest for me, the newest (in generation) for Minecraft, then this one I just got for my wife. Not sure if the trackpoint buttons will be annoying for her too.

Snore. 😴

Sunday, 25th February, 2024

I’ve always like the idea of a single speed bike. So simple. Painful if you’ve a hill to negotiate though. I suspect there’s a metaphor there somewhere.

I saw an old Kenwood microphone that I’ve been looking out for come up on eBay for not too much. It was still £80. It looks lovely and I notionally had the idea of using it with this mini wyse pc I have to connect to some of the digital ham networks. The thing is, I’m never going to speak to anyone on it. There are some local area groups which would be fun to join in and maybe get to know people but…I’m not that bothered.

Building it and the setup is fun, using it…meh. (Like building a new blog in tinderbox but then never writing anything 👀)

So I shouldn’t buy it. Was bad enough buying the computer and bits. They were cheap though, and I could reuse it for other stuff, but still I’m not using it at all.

Maybe something for the eBay sale promo.

I did turn on the radio today. Didn’t make any contacts, wasn’t a shortage, just ended up not having enough time. I know it’s obvious, but having the radio in the garage isn’t very conducive for using it outside of the warmer months. I thought I wouldn’t mind but I do. Not that there’s anywhere else it could go. There’s already too many things in the office plus noone wants me shouting to some Italian whilst they’re using the computer.

Friday, 23rd February, 2024

I just activated a promo to have free ebay listings until late April. That’s crazy…free sellers fees in the biggest market place! I need to sell some stuff. But what?

  • Computers to then upgrade?
  • Cameras to then upgrade?
  • Junk that I never use 👈clearly this, but there are times when I sell stuff then later wish I hadn’t…

I could consolidate everything down, e.g. sell all my cameras and lenses and just go with X100VI, I could sell all my computers and just have a mac ,

I picked up Legends II book, a collection of short fantasy stories by Robin Hobb, George RR Martin, Orson Scott Card, Tad Williams, Neil Gaiman and several others for £5 on abebooks or somewhere online. It’s a little tatty and smells like it’s been in warehouse for a while but it looks good.

Thursday, 22nd February, 2024

Phone for the kids birthday. Downhill from here? 😅 she’s already asked to install the YouTube app, which I’ve said no too…it’s not like she doesn’t have access to all the other devices in the house.

Think I overdosed on reading the previous series as I’ve only read about 5 pages over the past week of my new book. It seems good, but I feel like I want a break from reading. I think it’s also breaking into a new book after reading the same thing for over a year.

Used my iPad in an offsite meeting today to make notes. Definitely prefer it to the idea of using a handwritten remarkable (or equivalent) device. Plus then I can transplant the text into my logseq for future reference.

My RAM sticks arrived for the laptops. £16 per stick of 16GB seemed like a good deal. Now they’ll all have 24GB.

Debated signing up to Lightroom last night. I have some photos from the party at the weekend and they could do with a bit of editing. They’re all of indoors and low light so some processing and colour adjustments would go a long way. Apart from the black and white ones, the Acros straight out of camera looks great.

Thought about just signing up for a month, processing a bunch of photos and then leaving again. Did look at educators discount which my wife is eligible for. Adobe only has the full package - good discount but I don’t need premiere pro and whatever else. Capture one has a discount too, but not sure if a teacher qualifies. It’s also for a year’s subscription.

There’s always open source programmes 👀

Not sure I’ve set the parent controls correctly 😅

Work has approved a training course which is where my mum lives and in the school holidays so no issues with child care. So that will work out nicely.

Tuesday, 20th February, 2024

I saw two Remarkable tablets in the wild today! They’re so thin. Although I did think they might be too large for me. I can see being larger is better for writing on but for carrying around I’m not sure. I also think I wouldn’t really use it. I like taking notes using a keyboard, because I’m faster and it’s readable afterwards. For me, I’d rather use an iPad with the smart keyboard and 1Writer or something to make notes. Logseq would be good if I could get it to sync to my work notes. Work I can only use OneDrive, and iPad I can only use iCloud…I could try git but it’s more prone to messing things up if I’m not diligent with commits.

Friend and I have started playing Factorio again. I’ve setup a server at home, and installed the Space Exploration mod, which the website says it’ll add another 1,000 hours gameplay 😅 Possibly we’ll get bored before then, but it’s a fun game to play together whilst chatting. Keeps me from debating if I should sell all my camera gear and just get a X100VI. What a terrible name.

Monday, 19th February, 2024

An interesting article about raising children in the advent of revolutionary AI. I found the chart on happiness reaches a minimum at age 50 interesting. The article links to another one, where it talks about trying to enjoy life now, and not when xyz happens in the future. This is interesting as I’ve been thinking about work and life and have been debating about part time work, going down to 4 days a week. 3 would be ideal but that’s too much of a pay cut and not sure about flexibility at work on that. I need to do some financial calcs, and test with HR would would be impacted (in case there are things I don’t know), plus can I go back to full time if I wanted. The intent being to enjoy more time now, for myself, with the kids, and not just be on the long clock to retirement. I think having time for myself during the week, will make me more appreciative of the family at the weekend. There are risks that I just spend the day faffing on the computer and do nothing and maybe that’s okay sometimes but otherwise be more organised and plan things out. Do I take the day when my wife is off or should we be offset?

Sunday, 18th February, 2024

A busy weekend, now back home and tired. Not a moment on the computer the whole time!

Bought a T480 off eBay…was 25% off and seemed like a good deal for £150. Making some best offers on 16GB sticks of RAM to upgrade all the thinkpads to 24GB. Windows 11 with 8GB just doesn’t work, unless you don’t want to open anything. It’s terrible but there you go. Probably have two windows machines - minecraft and one for wife to use for swim coaching and work and stuff - and then the other can be my linux/ham radio computer. Think that works out well.

I realise I have a collection of mini PCs under my monitor…a Dell Wyse for some digital ham radio thing I never did, a Intel N100 with dual NIC for making a router (that I might never do), and a G4 Mac mini which I installed a SSD, more RAM and the latest version of Tiger, but have not used since. I think I should install Leopard (?) as then more software will work, however, I need to find a copy of it or a DVD writer as I do have an ISO image. I wonder if my pre-built servers have DVDRs in them, they have some optical drive…not plugged in but that could be remedied. Although buying a USB one, using it and returning it 🙄 would be the easiest option!

Friday, 16th February, 2024

After looking for a new series to read I found a short story by Robin Hobb that’s from the series. It is a tale that’s referred to in the books a few times but now an actual story. Unlike the rest of the series, this one is only about 2.5 hours of reading vs. 16+ hours.

SIM card for daughter’s phone arrived today so I started setting it up. Weirdly it wouldn’t make a new iCloud account if I used her phone 2FA but my one. Anyway got past that. The parental controls are many and detailed. Not really sure I’ve got it right but I’m sure I’ll soon be told.

Had to pick up one boy early from school today as he is ill, and then the little one came home with terrible conjunctivitis. We’re meant to be away this weekend for a family party. It did cross my mind that maybe I’d have to stay home with them and the others go to it. Probably I’m just tired, but that does seem appealing. 🤫

Was noticeably milder this morning and was boiled in my cycle stuff when I got to work.

Used DeDRM from GitHub in Calibre to convert some of my kindle books to epubs. Notionally for when I get a kobo. Seems like everyone is using kepub, but I’ve yet to look at what they do.

I should go to bed early as someone is going to be up in the night coughing or crying, and tomorrow night isn’t likely to be a good one.

Thursday, 15th February, 2024

Well last night ended up being my 2am reading to finish my book. I couldn’t have gone to sleep even if I wanted to anyway.

It was the ending that was most befitting.

Need to reset my kindle though as it keeps playing up and closing the book and telling me to redownload it.