November 2023 Entries

Wednesday, 29th November, 2023

I have a copy of this site on my work laptop, for writing on it from there, but I feel like I should remove it as it’s quite personal. I can just use the github website to add days and edit it if I want.

Im enjoying Ruskin Bond’s little book. Lots of nice thoughts about writing, not getting hung up, simplifying things and enjoying the natural world. Again, reading it at night is nice, but it’s tricky to capture things I want to make notes of.

Work colleague gave me some winter bike tyres with studs on them yesterday. I’ve not fitted them and did some research about using them when it’s not snowing etc. Seems that it’s fine and it’s more about the hassle of switching tyres or wheels. I should’ve fitted them last night as it snowed overnight. Only a tiny amount but certainly cold and potentially icy.

I’m not actually going to be cycling the rest of the week, so I’ve got a few days or can wait until the weekend to fit them.

Monday, 27th November, 2023

Printing… brb

Sunday, 26th November, 2023

Technically, it’s still Saturday when I’m starting to write this, but I suspect it’ll be Sunday soon enough. My sister tells me that when she was in China, the cure to all ailments was hot water. So I’m having some hot water whilst this cough keeps me awake at night. Also left the bedroom so I don’t wake up anyone else.

I’ve got to the end of the books I have in the Enderling saga. There are still 4 or 5 or maybe more left to go, and I’ve asked for them for Christmas. This leaves a month where I have to find something else to read. Given it’s been absolutely ages since I’ve read anything else, I’m not sure what to do.

I poked about on my kindle to see what else is there, and randomly picked “Book of simple living. Brief notes from the Hills” by Ruskin Bond. No idea where I got this one from, but likely during my time seeking out ways to simplify. It’s been quite a while since I went down this journey - simple living, less things, stoicism, that sort of stuff. Reading this book is very easy but very thought provoking. This is a book I should read when armed with a pen and paper, not lying in bed falling asleep. Although then I’d fret about where to write things as “I need this forever”. So probably the iPad or a computer but then that spirals out of control into looking at things.

So many good nuggets in it. I like that he’s used his typewriter for 40 years, but saddened that it can no longer be repaired, but he’s happy to keep using his pen and fingers as he’s done for the last 80.

When we were abroad, everything was temporary, and we knew we’d move. So nothing was important and everything could wait. Now we’re settled, and most likely (or hopefully) going to stay here for the next twenty years - although why? - and now I feel like I’m giving in to social norms, particularly buying things. Somehow also related is my desire for financial independence, which seems to have slipped away as I slowly reside myself to having to work for much longer. To me both of these come down to too much stuff and wanting more stuff.

My clever brain tells me all these things I’ve bought are tools and useful and not a waste. Like this 3D printer! The number of creative things it opens up is huge so maybe that one is okay. There are also so many educational things to build that are stimulating and interesting for the kids. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t that much…£240, plus a few £10 rolls of filament. That new/refurb iphone was a lot more…

Maybe because it’s late at night but I think I need to get back to my core aspirations. Not being driven by material goods, which in turn should lead to better financial decisions. Maybe re-reading some of the books I’ve not looked at in a long time and reading for the first time some that are sat on the shelf.

There are quite a few radio things I want to do but buying everything is expensive. I want to buy everything to shortcut the time and get straight to it but the journey is perhaps as much fun as the end point. A good point being a rotator for satellites that does both rotation and elevation. Commercial ones are about £600. There are designs for ones where the parts are about £200, maybe less, but it’s quite the project. However, would it not be more satisfying to build it? Even if it takes 6 months.

It is hard to be motivated to build things in the winter, as it’s cold and dark. Even if I’m in the garage, it’s still not as fun as sitting outside and doing things.

Maybe I’m being too black and white and too harsh/oppressive on myself. I think a revisit to the financial spreadsheet and set things out and then have money that can be spent.

Money often costs too much. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

To take a quote from this book I’m reading. I also liked this one:

Cold weather doesn’t care if you coat is old or new. – Bhutanese wisdom

Still have a feeling that there’s something else there that I’m not understanding. It’s quite the experience to stop dead in your tracks and ponder some words in a book. Reading the fiction, fantasy novels is great entertainment but I never stop to consider it.

Now it’s Sunday.

Time to try to go to sleep again in the spare room I think. The hot water was nice, I actually want some more.

Saturday, 25th November, 2023

The problem with democracy is everyone has an equal vote.

But a government shouldn’t jump off a cliff because its population voted them to.

Cleaned up the typewrite and put in new ribbon. Looks lovely and ready for Christmas!

Friday, 24th November, 2023

The third typewriter arrived and I opened it to a stench of smoke. I complained and the seller immediately refunded me. Which was nice, although I still have to post it back and he’s yet to provide his address.

Bought a refurb iPhone 13 Pro from ebay. Supposedly in Excellent condition. A voucher off, and (supposedly) 20% cashback promo as part of Black Friday, will make it the cheapest it’ll be for probably another year. The plan is to give my old one to our oldest as her first phone on her 11th birthday…as seems to be the tradition, such that she has a phone before going to the senior school. I might get a new battery for it from Apple. It say it has 81%, and I think they suggest it’s fine until under 80%. I research to see if people think it’s worthwhile. Anyway, this means I’ve got time to transfer and sort things out and not rushing to get a new phone too near the time. Got the green one as everyone says it looks nicest.

My free Xbox controllers arrived from Microsoft today. So that’s nice. Just wish they’d respond so I can cash out the rest of the vouchers. They do respond but it’s turned into a mess…maybe my fault for raising multiple tickets but each time has been a different issue. The problem is they look at my account and see a ticket and go “oh you already have a ticket, respond to that. Closing this one”. Even thought they’re for different issues. I replied to everything and may write a really long one again tonight to try and explain everything. Although given they didn’t read the previous ones probably means they won’t read this one… I just want to cash out before Monday so I can get my free XBox to go with the controllers! Not that I really want an XBox. They kids will play on it, but they already play on the old one I got locally in January, and don’t really care or notice. But I want to get it as it’s “free”, just a year of searching Bing and doing silly things. If they don’t sort it out before Monday then the vouchers I do have in there have to be spent before February otherwise they expire. So hopefully they’ll have a boxing day sale.

This used to be the big sale of the year in the UK. Now it seems Black Friday is that…or they have them both but neither are as good as they used to be?

Switched my gas and electric supplier. Was surprised to see that they’ll do it within 2 working days. I’m sure it used to take 4-6 weeks!

Thursday, 23rd November, 2023

I want to make some photo books and notebooks for people for Christmas, and this is where I wish I had a nice photo library where every set of photos is ranked and labelled, so I could filter by 5⭐️s etc and then make a book in no time.

Wednesday, 22nd November, 2023

New car has a delivery date, got the EV charger install schedule (although with the electrician who was not quite as professional and organised as another one…which keeps nagging me in the back of my mind). That’ll be good though…

Still not sure I want to sign up to yet another subscription for iCloud storage…

Seen some film sales, and went to look but boy they’re still expensive. £35 for 5 rolls of Kodak Gold 120 film, I suppose that’s not bad but at 12 shots it’s probably not a good use for me. Yes medium format but what I shoot, I can’t see that. I’m probably better buying two rolls of Portra 800 35mm for £37. I should look what’s in my film box as I’ve not opened it in ages. Might even be some Portra 800 in there I was saving. I like the idea of cracking out the film camera for Christmas, and ISO 800 would definitely help.

Had slightly better results today with Microsoft reward points. Managed to cash out £90 worth on my wife’s account and ordered two controllers, so more people can play at the same time. Just my account now…which has been locked down and I have to wait for support. Hopefully, after 2 days it’ll be the same as my wife’s and I can cash out the rest.

With all these issues I’ve been “I’m never doing this again”. But here am I still collecting points…after 11 months it’s kind of a habit, so hard to just drop, and I have cashed out nearly £200 already, so it can work, and I know what to do next time…i.e. start earlier. I don’t quite have enough for a series X, but I have a good percentage. If I keep going, what am I saving for next year? Well I can cash out to Amazon vouchers, so basically anything then…not quite as good exchange rate between points and amazon vouchers vs. Microsoft store points but still.

I can’t believe John Candy died in 1994. I know it was a while ago but if you’d asked me I’d have said 2005 minimum.

I see Apple are doing apple gift cards for BF, I wonder if that stacks with the EDU store discount. Feels like we’ve spent a fortune this month though 🙄

Tuesday, 21st November, 2023

My Lightroom subscription expired today. I bought it one year ago in the BF sale where it was 50% off. It’s not on sale right now, maybe this Friday or Monday it might be. However, I’m not sure if I want to renew it. I don’t really use it. I’ve been notionally backing up my photos to it and making the occasional edit but no way does that warrant it.

I think I’d much rather pay for 2 TB of iCloud and have all my photos in This evening the kids were looking at photos and videos on the AppleTV and enjoying old moments. That made me compare the options and I realised that no-one looks at the photos when they’re in Lightroom. Even when my wife uses the computer to make photo gifts, she just looks through the folders. When I did show her everything was in Lightroom and could search by person, it was then another step of exporting the photo so it could be uploaded to the album making site. “Yeh, I’ll just look through the folders”.

So do I get iCloud and then how am I uploading all my photos to it? I’ve tried using the website,, to upload but last time I did it seems to miss or skip a few photos at a time and it’s not obvious what is missing. So that’s a chore. I think I could use my iPad, and somehow hope that it figures out the offloading as I don’t have enough space on my iPad for all the photos.

OR….I get a mac…I had a bid on a 12” MacBook from 2018 on eBay but I retracted it today. Whilst it might be a fun toy, it’s not really that useful. I’m better off getting a Mac mini and then having it hooked up to my main monitor or just on the network and connect to it via vnc.

But is this just some subliminal self-justification to buy a mac? So what if it is 😅

I have a big rant about Microsoft reward points and how I can’t redeem them and it’s Black Friday sales. But I’m too tired to write it all out.

Got the second typewriter, which is the actual one for my sister. It’s in lovely condition, pretty much all works. Needs a little clean up and I’ll replace the ribbons and it’ll be like new.

Still have one more typewriter to arrive 🤣 That one does need more work. Think it has a foot missing and other issues, but it was cheap compared to other listings of the same model. Also looks really nice when cleaned up, at least it did on some YouTube videos I watched of it. So I’ll add that to my list of things to do…

Sunday, 19th November, 2023

I’ve managed three days in DayOne. It doesn’t actually take that long to write a few things. Probably still going to print this year as a book, otherwise I’ll get out of sync.

Used the typewriter this morning. Was nice, although the auto ink reversal isn’t working. So I just unscrew it and manually wind it all the way back. I should investigate how to fix it. It could also do with a clean. Had thought about giving it to my mum as her mum used to have the same one.

She probably wouldn’t use it.

Not sure I can get back to writing letter and posting photos like I wanted to.

Saturday, 18th November, 2023

I really like typing on my ipad with the Smart keyboard. I went to the Apple website to see what its proper name is, and what I said is that, but also see there are quite a few options now. There’s a folio version which looks identical but perhaps a different connector as it’s compatible with different iPad models. The only other difference is the way it’s structured, with a back panel and offers two viewing angles.

Then there are the magic keyboards, which looks like real mac keyboards with a trackpad. Think I’d have to try them in store to be convinced to spent that much on them.

I had an offsite meeting on Thursday and I took my iPad to make notes. I enjoyed it so much more than if I had my laptop there. Perhaps I should do it more often at work? Although I do have logseq on my laptop at work so there’s that. Plus we might want to schedule meetings in the meeting and having a full OS and apps is useful.

But I like using it for this blog, and my DayOne. I’ve kept complaining I don’t write in DayOne much any more. Instead of complaining I started today and wrote something. I need to catch up the rest of the day but something beats nothing.

I’ve also spent a lot of time reading the Kinopio docs. I get sucked into the cool looking pages that people make and want to do that myself, but then also get enjoyment from white text on a black background like this.

Shared it with my sister, who loves cutsie things and her paper journal is full of artwork and stickers and washi tape etc. Obviously she immediately 😍’d it.

I also looked at and I like the idea of it but not sure I need another thing to figure out.

My problem is that I can’t just use the software, I have to research it, reads the docs, look at power users, watch YouTube videos on it and generally seek to find the most perfectly optimised and cleverly designed way to build and use it. By which time I feel overwhelmed and burnt out and I’ve not even made a Hello World post with it yet. This might be why I like plain text as I’m already at max level by just typing.

I want to live just in an iPad. I wonder if I should try it for a week. Or I should buy a MacBook. I really like/miss those 12” MacBooks from 2018 era. The ones with a single USB-C port, a slow m3 CPU, and a keyboard with zero travel. It’s like an iPad but a whole computer. But maybe an iPad is better…hmm can’t tell. I might look at them on ebay and see how much they are. If not too bad then maybe….

I spend too long looking at deals on hotukdeals. If I don’t need something then why am I looking to see what’s on sale. But sometimes I find good things that are useful and we will want to get but should get now as it’s cheaper. However the app has turned into my doom scrolling on my phone. I’m torn between deleting the app and not. Think of the deals I could miss!!!

Enjoying Masayoshi Takanaka music that I found somehow via Kinopio. Specifically “Oh! Tango Suerte”.

Wanted to write on the typewriter this evening but it’s now 2130 and I feel like I’ve still not finished things I was going to do.

Friday, 17th November, 2023

Ended up going to bed, lying and thinking about work things, then getting up and writing on my iPad and emailing it off at midnight. Helped but I still then couldn’t get to sleep and so read for ages.

Had all the kids today as schools are off for in service day. We had a busy afternoon and now everyone feels tired. We didn’t do all the things on the list, which I suspect will be the first things asked about…

Remarkable has a sale and as a “Connect subscriber” (which I’m not but whatever), I get an extra £20 off BF sales. Wow, £477 for a tablet, pencil and cover. Close that tab.

I see Kinopio has an iOS app. Part of me wants to make myself use this, just for when others look over my shoulder and go “wtf is going on”.

Could also accomplish that with vim/emacs/anything in the terminal.

But I could be learning Tinderbox…although being on the web is nice for kinopio.

Thursday, 16th November, 2023

The secret to waking up is to wake up way earlier than you have to. When you have 1-2 hours where you can just sit there calmly, drinking coffee, and not be rushed, you feel ten times better. Later on, you can work on being ~productive~ in the a.m. too if you please.

Simon Sarris

So I should get up at 5:30, to have an hour of peace…I feel like this rule applies to people who start work at 9am or later. My hour of peace is 10-11pm. Also going to bed earlier, else you’ll die - or at least feel like you have.

I had a meeting at a company who is near Costco today. I thought about going in and buying a TV, but with “black friday” week approaching it didn’t seem sensible. However, good deals can be had all year round and I think retailers offload crappy stuff on Black Friday. So maybe I should’ve got a TV.

Although I can’t decide if it should replace the lounge (the room where the kids aren’t allowed toys and is generally kept fairly nice) or the play room (self explanatory) TV. The lounge is a hand-me-down from my mother. A 40” Samsung something from 2015 ish and the playroom is a 42” from 2007. I could swap them all around. The 40” sounds small but the room is quite small and I don’t want the TV to be overbearing, and the playroom is much larger, and where the Switch gets played. I suppose it doesn’t really affect what I buy and can then try in both places.

My boss has asked me to do some work this evening…she’s very nice and never asks unless it’s really important…it’s also appraisal time in two weeks and recency bias is always a strong one…

At this meeting I met a lady who is from Derry (think Derry Girls) and said that her friend from school is the writer for Derry Girls, and her school, teachers and her sister are all very clear characters in the TV show!

All I’ve done is send memes to my boss about the work but not done anything.😬 It’s writing a letter and I prefer making a spreadsheet. The hard part is that someone has written one already but it’s not great, but hard to pin down why it’s not great. Is it easier to start again or to edit it? I can’t decide and so I’ve done nothing.

Wednesday, 15th November, 2023

Success! We have a typewriter! £25 for a nice blue Silver Reed Silverette II. Sounds like it needs a little clean up with sticking keys and some new ink. So I’m pleased with that.

If nothing else, as Jack would say, it’ll make a nice shelf Queen.

Now do I cancel all my other eBay offers… 😅

I did cancel one offer but left the low bids in place and I ended up winning another typewriter! It’s a very nice looking Smith Corona Viceroy Deluxe. In lovely cream and brown. Screams 70s, but I think it looks mint. I’ll be keeping that one.

I think I still have a one more low ball bid to ride out. We’ll see how that goes.

Lifetime subscription to Kinopio for $200 is very tempting even though I really struggle to know how to use the site. I love the idea of it and the craziness of it but no idea otherwise. It’s quite the opposite to an outliner, which I really like.

I spent a while looking at OpenBSD last night. This happens every 5 years or so, and I re-read about it’s approach and think that’s such a good way to go about making a operating system. I might even install it and then realise it’s a lot of work to set it up and learn its ways that I give up and forget about it again for a while. I even started looking at Sparc64 hardware on ebay. Whew! And I thought macs were expensive.

I did look at some old PowerBooks and G4s, some running OS 9, but they were either very battered or in excellent condition with original CDs and all sorts but with a huge price tag. I also think I got my G4 mini for a steal as they’re not cheap, at least not last night when I looked.

Bike got a puncture today. That was chore.

Work is super busy and I still need to do somethings as I’m completely scheduled tomorrow but it’s 10pm and I’m tired.

Tuesday, 14th November, 2023

Every so often I get the feeling I need to start again. With everything. Then it’ll be much better. Sometimes I get that feeling but I’m not quite sure what I’m starting again. I’ve certainly restarted websites and wikis several times, although not actually for quite a while now. Perhaps that’s progress or perhaps I’ve just given up and am distracted elsewhere. Maybe I’ve learnt to just throw stuff into Tiddlywiki and not worry about tags etc. that much. I’ll find it later or maybe I won’t. I’d like to be able to curate a lovely garden 🪴 of notes and reflections but it’s not in my nature. It’s quite the opposite of my nature and so it requires a huge effort to make myself do it. As it’s just myself making me then I usually win and therefore don’t do anything.

I just find it pointless and a waste of time. I don’t get incredible learnings or ah-ha moments or great new content, I just get a rehashed version of me thinking about buying things, worrying about buying things, and telling myself I should try harder next time.

It doesn’t stop me from liking the idea of setting goals and working towards them, vs. just floating along. Maybe I should just set myself one goal and try and do that.

That goal is decide between a black or white car charger…black is black and probably can’t go wrong with it. Although looks ugly? White is cool but will probably get dirty. I’ll be fit against a grey wall, between brown garage doors, and the main colour of the house is pale. So I think white would go better on average, but maybe the specific location is bad for white. I mocked up a photo with it overlaid on top. Probably I’ll ask my wife what she thinks and go with that. Classic. Then I should schedule the electrician.

The garage emailed me and asked if the order was right, with the specs etc. Then also said let them know if I needed a brochure. It was as if I could change my order, even though I chose a car in stock as I want to get it soon. Seemed weird to me. No doubt part of the process and everyone agrees it’s pointless but has to be done, so don’t question it.

Reminded me we’re getting fabric seats. I don’t mind that but I’ve got used to leather and it’s so much easier to clean when the kids make a mess. However, to get leather I had to get the top model, which has so many pointless add-ons I didn’t think it was worth the money. The main thing that put me off was the sound system, a Bose blah blah blah, but the subwoofer was placed in the boot, right in the middle and in the way of luggage. Seems like a poor choice but no doubt they had nowhere else to put it.

Wife said black before I could finish talking.

Typewriter shopping is fun! There are so many I want, I’d forgotten about many of the models. If I’m lucky all my lowball offers will come to something and I’ll have too many, and the perfect excuse of lowballing and accidentally winning them…

I’m keen to scour eBay and see what other vintage stuff I can find…I saw a laptop the other day which had a wheel where the trackpad is like the old iPod. Think it was Fujitsu? Something I’ve never heard of.

Oh I also saw someone build a digital radio setup but using an old fashioned mic and speaker. Digital radio is like VoIP combined with radios, so it uses the internet and has rooms and other stuff, but can also work radio to radio. It’s like having a VoIP phone but an old style rotary one. ☎️ I’ll add that to the list of things to build…

I’ve looked at digital radio several times, so many pi hats and add-on boards, but I didn’t find it appealing. If I want to talk to people over the internet I’ll just use Discord…but this was such a cool build that I might do it just for that. I had wondered if I could then use it for Teams calls at work 😅

Once again sat at the bureau on my ipad and enjoying the experience. Wife kicked me off the computer to work on the calendars some more. And continue to remind me what a poor selection of photos we have this year. Got her in Lightroom searching by People, useful for marking their birthdays in the calendar.

A friend at work, his son is getting quite into hacking about on old computer stuff. Nothing extraordinary but things like running Windows XP in a VM to play some old games and even run old browsers (he really likes the history of browsers!), or getting the Wii controller to work on the PC. He now wants a N64 for Christmas, which is unfortunate as so does everyone and the prices are insane. I suggested getting a Wii U as no-one wants it but it’s got a great hacker community and some good games available too. But that’s probably not what he wants to hear! I thought about giving him the G4 mac, as honestly, I’m never going to use it. I’ll give him the CDs with System 9 on it too, and a few links to that old mac stuff page.

Sometimes remembering the past is better than reliving it.

I think I’d have to install Leopard on the G4 mac to get the most recent PPC version of Tinderbox to work and so much faff for me not actually to use it. What I really want is a M2 (or M3 if that’s coming?) Mini to have for fiddling with.

Sunday, 12th November, 2023

Seems like some typewriters are available for reasonable prices on eBay. As long as you don’t want very popular models, particularly the Hermes 3000, you should be able to find something for £20-25. I bid £20 on one tonight but it sold for £22. Not that I could’ve bought it for £22, as if I’d bid again then it would’ve been higher as someone else wanted it. However, if I find one that ends during the day mid-week I have a good chance of getting it a 1 bid sale price. Tempted to get another one for myself…why? No idea, but have a feeling of acquiring old things because they only get scarcer. Reminds me of old M glass…

I also fell down the rabbit hole of wanting to run OpenBSD on some random old laptop, this was an adjacent warren to the vintage mac one I’d been on after upgrading my G4 mini to a SSD. I think vintage stuff is more convenient in laptop form, as then it doesn’t occupy other hardware - like monitors, keyboards etc. I also thought about running openBSD on the G4, but it’s nice to open it and just use as is! I thought about install Classic OS 9 on it as well but I’ll save myself the wasted time of installing it, poking about, and then ultimately not using it/reinstalling OS X again. It’s already hard enough to use as a computer.

Well let’s see where eBay leads to tonight. Reminds me of buying things because I’m bored…or something like that…

Got a free GPS receiver chip from a radio guy. No idea what I’m going to do with that. It’s literally a rectangle of metal.

Turns out I never fully updated the G4 before. I did one set of Software Updates after installing the OS and assumed that was it. This time I’m on round four of upgrades, so I wonder what it’ll be like when I’m finally done with them all…could it actually be useable without issue?

Saturday, 11th November, 2023

I need to recognise when I’m tired and should just go to bed and not stay up until 11:30 looking at crap on YouTube and the internet.

Went on the radio at lunch time today. Was nice just to use it and not fret about antenna or radios or building something. The garage setup is nice but it’s noticeably cooler than the rest of the house! The new 27” monitor is nice. Just got the laptop hooked up to it so far but a dedicated machine would be good.

I should just get a box to run Linux on. I still sort of want a mac but seems weird if I got one for in the garage!

My wife is making the family calendars which are presents for everyone and feature photos each month but also photos of people on their birthdays. Supposedly it’s much harder this year as “I haven’t taken enough good photos”! She also said all my film photos are better.

I’ve not taken any film photos this year…

It’s been a long time, and I think I’ll be somewhat rusty, and the first few rolls will be a little lame. However, even a lame film photo looks good 😅

I should take some film photos, just casual ones that don’t really matter. Although I don’t have time, or necessarily want to spend my free time, developing and scanning film. I suppose I can send them away.

It’s funny as now I’m in the lounge watching Dune whilst my wife is on the computer. Often the situation is in the reverse!

Was watching the Sampsons with my daughter this evening, on season 10, which is circa when I was watching it at school. It’s funny how I still remember things from it.

I got sucked into /r/headphones last night, but it was interesting how so many of the top posts were about the fact that there’s so little difference between all these headphones and how many people have forgotten the purpose is to listen to music, rather than buying things. So many “hobbies” are really just buying things as one is bored. I’m guilty of that. It’s not just the buying, it’s the build up, the research, the imagining of the scenarios that are being solved and the satisfaction of doing so. Only to then buy it, realise it’s not really want I wanted and I’d imagined so much. For then the cycle to start again.

Doing real things helps prevent it, even watching films, or playing games is better. It comes back to being away from the computer because I can’t use it without getting sucked into some rabbit hole and come out needing to buy yet more things. It’s not that I want to never buy anything, but just find a good balance.

Friday, 10th November, 2023

This guy and his videos makes me wish I could commit the time and dedication to learning to play a musical instrument.

Then I was lost in youtube videos of public piano playing.

I also want to buy this. But I don’t have a CD player, in fact…I think only my Mac Mini G4 has a working CD player…haha

I’m drawn towards the physical CDs though. I can play all the same songs via Spotify etc. but yawn.

However, I probably won’t buy them or do anything.

Watching all these youtube videos on (faked but who cares) impromptu public playing, reminded me I like a lot of classical music yet have no idea of any of their names. It also makes me want to find somewhere to listen to music that’s not the computer.

Thursday, 9th November, 2023

You say ‘amateur’ as if it was a dirty word. ‘Amateur’ comes from the Latin word ‘amare’, which means to love. To do things for the love of it.

Wednesday, 8th November, 2023

My new radio shack monitor arrived today. Grumbling noises of unnecessary things came from the wife 😅 It’s very nice though. Just a plain Dell 27” 1440p but tidy design, and not even an ultra fine(?) (top end) model.

Although I’m thinking I need a dedicated computer as I’d like to setup remote operation of the radio, and so it needs a computer there all the time, and I’d be using the laptop to connect. Mostly so I can operate in a different room around the house, rather than away from home, although that would be fun too.There’s no obvious solution to do this though. The manufacturer of my radio does make a remote box, which has a web interface, but it’s £280 and you rely on them for software updates. There is software that can do it but some is just as expensive and I was hoping for some open source solution. Probably there’s something out there, I just need to find it.

There are radios made by flex radio which are designed from the start for remote operation, and they are absolutely amazing. They also make a remote control unit which looks top quality and the whole thing it what I’d love. A friend I’ve made via radio, has one and he gave me a tour and it is lovely. He controls everything via the software on his Mac or iPad and it is lovely. The downside is the absolutely eye-watering price. It’s not excessive, and is competitive with top spec radios but it’s still £4k region. One day perhaps…

Tbh I’d be better off spending £4k on some mast arrangement and antenna! But that’s less subtle to sneak into the house 😅

I’m liking top spiral notepads of late, specifically Rite in the Rain brand. I found this via a radio YouTube channel, where he uses them for logging whilst outdoors. Maybe I’ll do that but mostly I use them indoors. However, I like the thickness of the paper and the slight waxy coating, gives the paper a nice feel.

Saturday, 4th November, 2023

So far this year I have about 2,000 photos that I’ve kept on my computer. The same time last year I had just over 5,000! My wife comments that I have taken fewer photos this year and the numbers don’t lie. She has just started the holiday calendars she makes for the family with my photos, and is worried there won’t be any. I’m hoping she can find 12 nice ones out of the 2,000!

Thursday, 2nd November, 2023

I decided about the monitor for the radio shack computer. Just went with the 27” 1440p Dell that’s on sale. Has USB-C so I can easily use my existing laptop with it. So I don’t need to buy a computer and it’s quite easy to use. Feels good to make a decision and stop thinking about it.

I’m wondering about using Logseq for personal stuff as well as work. I can sync it between work and home computers via OneDrive, so that’s handy. Although do I want that stuff on the work computer? Hmm…perhaps not. I feel like I should tidy up some of the logseq things but it’s good at hiding all the old stuff, so that’s fine. I often find I only tend to look back a couple of weeks for stuff and after that it doesn’t matter.

Could do with some cheat sheet pages with useful figures or stats to hand. Maybe goals and whatever, but otherwise I think the simple daily journal is fine. Oh also an achievements list?

Thinking about a new TV this Black Friday…I want a LG C2 OLED but not sure I want to pay those prices, even in sales…The TV it’ll replace is 16 years old so feel like we got our money’s worth. In fact it cost the same as what a LG C2 would now, although it was 16 years ago money so now that would be a million pound TV.

The monitor choice keeps the Mac mini option open 😅 Actually, I might keep Windows for a while as one of the satellites, Greencube, has some software that a ham made but it only works in Windows.

Someone semi-near is selling a hex beam antenna. This is quite big but smaller than the huge 20m yagis people have. It would be okay on the side of the house. Not sure I’m ready for such a big thing. Not sure I’m ready for everyone else to see it.

I should start looking for typewriters for my sister for Christmas/birthday. If I can find a decent one for £50 that would be perfect.

Wednesday, 1st November, 2023

Yesterday I kept thinking “why can’t I make a decision”. Computers, radios, cameras, it’s all the same. I go round and round and round. Maybe I make a spreadsheet of options with rankings and scorings. Sort by “best” but the truth is, there is no best. It’s always “best for x” and sometimes I do x but sometimes I do y. Or even 🚽. But I only want one, or I only want to buy one, and so then I’m stuck between options. The worse part is (or perhaps one of them) is that I invent scenarios that I need to account for. So now I have multiple situations to try and account for. I’ll then be biased into something and go “this is perfect”. Then the next morning start doubting myself.

Well, today I made a decision and ordered a Nissan Leaf EV car! We’ve been managing on one car for four years and it’s starting to get tricky. Especially as the kids are getting older and doing more things. we’re finding we’re needing to be in two places at once on opposite sides of town. There are also times when I’d like to go and do something but can’t as my wife has the car.

Work have launched a salary sacrifice EV scheme, so you pay before tax. Now you’re still buying a new car, and therefore paying for the depreciation but the tax offset mostly hides it. It’s also very convenient as it includes insurance and servicing etc. Technically I’m just renting the car for the whole time. However, I still wondered if a used IC car would be fine. Plus there are so many models and specs.

I don’t really care about cars and this was one of the cheapest and generally got a good review, so I went for it. Now why can’t I apply this decisiveness to everything else!

Probably because I care more, even though everything else is a fraction of the price that I’ve committed to with this contract. 🤷‍♂️

I’m currently sat at the bureau in the hallway, with a cup of tea and writing this on my ipad. I’m very much enjoying this moment. It’s also reminded me how much I like the apple ipad keyboard Smart Cover. I could use this all day. I much prefer very low profile and minimal movement keys over mechanical keys. It’s funny given I’ve probably had about 15 of them. Not had a mechanical one for a long time and I mostly just enjoyed building them vs. using them.

I was chatting on a radio discord to another guy in Scotland and he looked up my blog and things and commented on my typewriter. He then proceeded to send me a photo of his. He’s younger than me, maybe 25-ish (he finished university in the last year or so, and maybe even younger) but he’s into old stuff. The photo he sent me was an indication that he would become one of those eccentrics you see in the Tinderbox meet ups. Makes me smile.

I had a weird thought of trying to just use my ipad for everything. I think it was mostly so I can keep using this keyboard but everything else about that would be terrible.

Maybe I should look for a 12” MacBook. They had the zero mm travel keyboards.

The radio projects I want to do are becoming more and more involved. Like when you do some DIY and after 30 minutes you realise that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. Makes me hesitant to start them. One such example that I want to do, is a permanent satellite operating station. This would involve two 7ft yagi antennas mounted above the roof line with a rotator that changes elevation and direction, connected to a computer controller to adjust as the satellite moves. We have a gable end that I thought “wasn’t that high and I could mount it there”. I went outside and looked at it the other day and realised that 4.5m (15ft) is actually quite high. This is just the roof line, and then the poles would extend above them with those two antenna on them. Not sure how I was thinking I would mount and access it. Or that I was imagining building it at ground level and somehow carrying this 3mx2m cross structure up a ladder and placing it on a pole attached to the house.

I really want to build it but I’m not sure I practically can. So I just do nothing and think about it. Really I should try and use satellites with the handheld antenna I bought specifically for it. I’ve yet to use it, mostly as there are about 10 things I think I need to do first in preparation. Such as buy a bag to keep all the things in for when I take it out with me up a mountain. (Creative scenario planning).

What would be more suitable would be to make a smaller satellite rotator and fix this yagi I have to it. Then just take the radio outside with the laptop (oh wait a Mac mini wouldn’t work now…) and play with it in the garden during the day. Much more cost effective and probably I’ll get bored of satellite operating, so why construct a huge thing on the side of the house? (Because I want it).

There’s also no rush. I just got licensed this year. I don’t have to do everything this year.

I mentor a young engineer at work, and we were talking about end of year performance evaluations. I was giving him advice on this. All the time thinking “I should really do this myself”. At the start of the year I suggested he keep a work journal, to help with his evaluation but also for his professional chartership. He’s actually been doing it, and that makes me feel bad as I started but by about March I’d stopped. I think because I was trying to make it too complex/smart and really I just needed to write something with a tag, and then try to summarise it at the end of the month.

I could just keep waffling on here.

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