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

Monday, 22nd April, 2024

I visited this site and read some of the past entries. Barely comprehensible! I’m reading “How to win friends and influence people” and there’s a line in there about how someone signed off his letters with “dictated, not read”, and how rude that was. This was in the time of secretaries and typewriters, but it applies now with voice dictation/ AI generated.

I didn’t design a new layout last night, I watched loads of videos on Lego trains, particular automating parts and the various ways it can be done.

Sunday, 21st April, 2024

Tried cutting the lawn yesterday but the mower didn’t start after being in the garage or winter. I mess around with it for awhile I couldn’t get it. I’m guessing there’s a bit of fuel that’s dried or blocked up somewhere in it but I’m not sure I can figure out how to clean it. What’s annoying is today it’s now raining so yesterday would’ve been the best day to cut it.

I also get really annoyed with gas powered mowers just want to get rid of it and get an electric one. Perhaps when I get this sorted out I’ll sell it and get one as I thought would be annoying but I wouldn’t be certainly a lot less annoying than the moment not starting, but there’s also quite a few with chargeable lithium batteries. A guy at work recently got one with lithium batteries, it does his whole lawn with one charge, and his lawn is probably bigger than mine. The only thing is is little bit pricey.

I ordered a boatload of Lego track pieces off bricklink last night but cheap though getting used parts and also found some software where you can design your own track so I made a double loop one looks quite fun. I think I said it before but Lego trains is an absolute rabbit hole and the stuff people do it insane which is suppose isn’t surprising given this Lego and trains.

I really want the 9 V system because that just runs off mains and not messing with batteries and the trains go backwards or forwards without any fancy arrangement because it just changes the polarity of the voltage however as it’s not made anymore it’s quite expensive.

My experiment of using the voice input on my phone is fine…until I re-read my posts. Sorry! They’re gibberish!

Saturday, 20th April, 2024

Bought a Lego train today. My plan to get two trains and a bunch of track was probably a bit excessive so I just went with one train and some extra track. we had a good afternoon of building it all together. I’m sure my wife will still think it’s excessive. Although the squish mallow that I bought the little one probably is excessive, but the boys had the train so it didn’t seem fair for her to have nothing.

Wife is away this weekend, but I don’t have everything that big planned other than playing Lego!

Thursday, 18th April, 2024

My obsessions with Lego trains have died down now. Although I am waiting for the IR controller and battery to arrive from eBay to set up on the 1960s train that we have from my wife’s grandparents. The whole 10 AAA batteries needed kind of put me off a bit. With the reviews saying the batteries only last up to 2 hours, and rechargeables aren’t really very good because their voltage is lower than non-rechargeable batteries.

Instead, I’ve just been watching loads of YouTube videos about setting up off grid solar and batteries yourself. Once someone takes you through it doesn’t really look that difficult and you’re not integrating it with the wiring of your house or the grid collection so that simplifies things a lot. My concern is locating the solar panels in the best place and then having the batteries and everything in the garage and how far can I run the cables between the solar and the charger? Voltage drop is the issue and if I use big enough cable it should be fine. But how big is big enough? I’m sure the internet can answer that.

My idea is to then run the computers and maybe radio off of the solar battery. I think the inverter that I’m looking at has a mains backup so that if the batteries get too low it will start charging it from the mains to keep the battery healthy. Probably it’s more efficient if I had some system to switch the computer and users to the mains if the battery gets too low, but that might be more complicated.

I’ve been using my phone and the iOS dictate button to write these recent journal entries. It’s pretty good and I can write a lot more in a shorter space of time. I just can’t be around anyone who can hear what I’m doing.

But will the solar/battery thing just be like everything else and I spend a week or so intensely researching and end up doing nothing whatsoever.

Wednesday, 17th April, 2024

Recently signed up to Octopus agile which is electricity tariff that gives you 30 minute interval pricing just like how the national grid does. The upsides of this is that I charged our EV car and actually got paid to do it the other night. It was pretty much less than one pence per hour the whole night there were several periods of zero pence and even one period of negative pence. Downside is between about 4 and 7 pm. The making get up to 35p or more which is higher than I would’ve been paying on the flatmate tariff today is one of those days and even overnight it was still 15p however that’s a lot cheaper than the fix rate so even if I don’t change my usage it still should save about 30 to 40% my electricity bill a month.

Given now have a reason to change my usage I’ve started to set timers on tumble dryers and washing machines and dishwashers to try and utilise the cheapest periods particularly overnight and starting down the rabbit hole of home storage.

If you use Home Assistant and storage systems that integrate, then you can choose when it charges and discharges to maximise the value. You don’t have to go to the extent of installing solar on the house.

My only frustration is that our fuse box is under the stairs and is really impractical to add things to it. When we got the EV charger installed we had a cable cut through the ceiling and another room to get out to the garage. We’ve since plastered it all back up and painted it again, but now I’m worried that to add anything gonna have to cut through them again. I wish I’d done some kind of future proofing and installed two cables or a bigger one or whatever but at the time, with a fixed tariff, a battery didn’t really seem worthwhile on its own and would need solar as well and they had a 15+ year payback period so I wasn’t that excited about it.

Not the end of the world to cut through the plaster again and I am wondering if we could squeeze some storage under the stairs but then I worry I’m just setting myself up for difficulties if we do want to install solar in the future although maybe future me can worry about that.

It would be fun to install a home storage system myself, and a lot cheaper, but I don’t think I know what I’m doing so it’s probably not a good idea. Maybe I could get an electrician to install the fuses and things and I could do the battery part. If I’m trying to fit it under the stairs, I want the smallest system possible and that’s probably a commercial solution.

What I could do myself with install a Wi-Fi relay on the electric immersion heater on the hot water tank and I’ve seen people configure Home Assistant to turn stuff on when it’s the zero/negative pence periods and so they could make use of that free electricity to heat the water.

I’ve also thought about setting a small off grid solar/ battery system to power some radio SDR and receive antennas so I could have a little offgrid receive station and maybe learn a bit about inverters and using Home Assistant and things without spending too much money.

So many projects so little time.

Sunday, 14th April, 2024

I don’t understand why people use WhatsApp to call people, send text messages and leave voicemails to individual people. Why not just use the native phone/messaging app?

My parents do it too, even between people who both have iPhones. 🤷

Friday, 12th April, 2024

Went into a Leica store today. Was fun to look and I asked about some M3s they had and looked at them. Very nice but I’m never going to use it as I don’t even use the M2 I already have. Plus the prices are just getting more and more.

Going to a wedding next month and I had thought about bringing the M2 for that.

Tuesday, 9th April, 2024

After spending the week at Legoland I now want to Lego all the things. Wall boards and bricks for writing and “doodling”, Lego trains in complex tracks with cities and different areas (all able to be controlled via python and web apps these days), going all through the house!

I’m sure when I get home, I’ll do none of these.

I don’t want to get the camera. Didn’t really think about it but I’m not bothered. I’d actually much rather have a GR3 (possibly x as not sure I can get used to 28mm) as it’s so much more useful.

Read a thread about summit activators (radio) and how they make their YouTube videos. Thought about doing that for a while but I know video editing and general production is so time consuming. I like doing it but I just have no time for that. I also feel like I don’t do one thing for long enough to warrant a video channel about it. Bit like blogs. It just needs to be a general, all sorts things that I like to do. A lot of people make the videos for themselves, which is also like to do. But for now I’ll settle with just enjoying the walk and views and radio myself - maybe a blog post about it.

This is if I can tear myself away from all this Lego building I’m going to be doing. 🧱

Monday, 8th April, 2024

So when I got the email saying I didn’t win a chance to buy an expensive, limited edition X100VI, I wasn’t really that bothered. You can only collect it in London from the store in person on one specific day, plus it costs nearly £2k. Yes, it’s limited edition but I’m not entirely convinced a limited edition digital camera is all that interesting. Ironically, this weekend I was reading an article on the FT (can’t find a good way to link directly) about collectible items, and how they’re generally a terrible investment idea. Of course people have made fortunes on them but usually it’s something from 1960-odd that’s was bought for £2000 (in old money) and now is worth £2 million.

Anyway, this evening I got an email saying they have one for me…presumably someone else didn’t show up and I was next on the list. It also happens to be a Saturday that I could get to London with a bit of rearranging of my schedule, vs. Previous where it was when I was in another country on a family holiday! So I could buy it…

There’s stuff like, would it fit in my hand luggage unpackaged, as I’m sure as not putting it on the hold on my flight home. Because imagine having to open it just to bring it back. Not because I wanted to open it. There’s the thing, buying a camera, not opening it because “it’ll be worth more” and so this is an investment? Now maybe I should just instantly relist it…get people who are disappointed they can’t buy it or even those that want a regular X100VI but can’t buy one for months as it is.

I checked ebay and there are a few listed, about 17 in Europe with 6 or so in the UK. Current lowest listing price is £2700, which is £800 over RRP, and sort of reinforces my belief that it’s not worth it. It’s not worth it for the money, and it’s not worth the money for the camera.

I still want it.

But I’m probably not going to rearrange things, and spend money to travel down to buy it. If it were a limited edition MP…I couldn’t afford it anyway 😅

I’ll see what I think in the morning, although we’ll be off to the Lego House and be busy all day so I won’t have time to do anything or think about it really.

Not used my camera this whole trip. Too impractical. I’d rather spend £2k on radio stuff…or perhaps I should use the £1200 of radio stuff I just bought. 👀

Sunday, 7th April, 2024

I’ll take it as a compliment when Danish people can’t tell if I’m Danish or British.

Friday, 5th April, 2024

Didn’t even take the camera today. Just my iPhone. Just as well really as it poured down most of the afternoon. We had waterproofs and the kids found it fun. Plus it meant all the rides were deserted so we just went on them again and again. Weather’s meant to pick up for the rest of the trip so that’s good.

Finished my first book in a while the other night. After obsessively reading the last few books of the previous series, I’d slowed down a lot. Mostly as I’ve ever up going to bed at 11pm or later most nights and I read two pages and fall asleep.

I’m on Children of Time sci-fi series about humans in the future and how they destroy themselves but also go out and explore the stars. It’s pretty good and I’ve started the second one now.

Thursday, 4th April, 2024

Easter holidays! Nice to have some time off work as well.

I always get nervous travelling, I’m sure in 10 years time I won’t be able to leave the house 😅 because of this I’m very organised with where we go and logistics of things, however, I still don’t relax until we get there.

I debated for a long time over what lens(es) I should take and in the end just picked the 35mm f1.4. The 18-55 is probably the travel lens but I find it feels long, physically, and…I don’t know just not fun to use? Perhaps I’ve just used the 35mm for so long it’s hard to change. I’ve got a new bag/box for the camera, a Lowe pro CS60 (I think), it’s hard shell and small. I’d actually bought it for my KX2 radio, which it fits perfectly. There’s only space for the body and one lens. Maybe two of one is the 27mm pancake attached to the body. But this is ideal for me. Small, fits in the backpack with protection from alll the other stuff rattling around.

Tuesday, 2nd April, 2024

The winners of our ballot to purchase the Limited Edition Fujifilm X100VI camera have now been drawn, and therefore we regret to inform you that your entry was unsuccessful.

Probably for the best.

Sunday, 31st March, 2024

Happy Easter! 🐣

Been playing a lot of Last Epoch with my friends online for the past week or so. A good Diablo experience.

Took part in the CQ worldwide WPX SSB contest this weekend. Just casually mind, but it’s a great time if you want to work DX. (Translation: voice contest, work all prefixes (for points) and so many countries show up). Think it was my first time speaking to Japan, China, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, and maybe somewhere else. Heard Argentina and Caribbean islands and all sorts. Only made about 45 contacts but was great fun.

Making a new tiny transformer for my portable setup, the 3D printed box and winder that I made, looks good but is practically annoying. Especially for fitting in the tiny LowePro CS60 case I bought to house the radio. My aim is to fit everything I need in this box, as my up a mountain, trip out, travel abroad pack. Just need to solder it together and measure the performance of the antenna and cut to the right length.

Off on holidays soon, and then trip with work, so won’t get much time at home to do things for next few weeks.

Want to get things planned for when I start my days off. Radio stuff but also thinking the garage needs sorting, including painting the concrete floor. That’ll be the annoying part, but with better weather then I should make the most of it.

Neighbour has just got a robo mower. Looks nice…would save time. Pricy though.