Drum kits?

Arduino, Music, Technology No Comments »

I’ve just seen this link:

Make your own drum kit

So I am going to:)

On top of the Raspberry Pi – I’ve ordered an Arduino starter kit already and with the winter coming in and kids wanting to play – it’s a good time to start and this I think is a good first big goal after doing all the little learning projects that get you this far.


I want to ride my bicycle…

cycling No Comments »

bike pathA friend proposed the idea that he would like to do some long distance cycling in South Africa.

Why not?

Well, personally, having been there, I can think of a good few reasons why not but I will not digress. What I will say though is that while that may be the goal, it’s a very good idea to get some smaller successes under your belt first.

That got me to thinking about what and where are some long distant cycle paths in Europe. So a little Googling and Bob’s your uncle…

EuroVelo is a network of routes set up by the European Cyclists’ Federation connecting many European countries. Currently there are 14 routes but it is expected that these will increase substantially by 2020. The routes can be found here:

EuroVelo Cycling Routes

A recent article from The Worldwide Cycling Atlas gives a little more information on these routes together with some hopping off points for further exploration.

For Brits the Telegraph has a good article on a number of UK Cycle Routes. It’s not totally comprehensive but is a good start.

For those in The Netherlands, there is a good blog that contains quite a lot of information on cycling in The Netherlands (and it’s in English). NL Cycling – Long Distance Paths. And speaking of cycling in The Netherlands, if you need a great route planner…

Nederland Fietsland Routeplanner

Probably this is not a bad place to start out if you really want to do some long distance stuff. The routes are safe, there are lots of camp sites & repair shops and maybe the best bit – it’s all FLAT;)

I’ll post more paths and stuff as I find them. If you have any favourite paths then let me know – I’ll happily publish them.





Google Plus, do no evil?

Uncategorized No Comments »

I like Google Plus, much more than Facebook. It’s more secure and is security model is more useful. Additionally it sort of integrates with the other Google apps. This on the face of it is a good thing.

So, what’s the problem?

I took some pictures on my phone, these are set to sync to my Google Drive for backup and reuse. Now, I may publish these from G+ or I may want to do whatever with them. This you would think it’s a fair thing to do.

I also prefer to use a tablet or phone at home rather than laptop, even for map and such, including WordPress.

This morning I go to write something based op one of the pictures I took and stored on G+.

Could I find a way to download on the tablet from G+? Could I not! It just doesn’t seem possible. Maybe I need to look more info this but seeing as this stuff is supposed to be about creating content and making it easy to do so, it all seems rather strange.

Of course, if it’s simplicity itself to publish within the Google ecosystem but to get things outside?

I could, I guess, link into the picture on G+ from here but that would be advertising for Google and also maybe I don’t want to do that? Maybe I don’t want to let folks know what my G+ account is? Privacy and all that.

Google benefit from this behaviour, it helps people stay locked into their stuff. Trying to move from a ring fenced environment outside has been made deliberately difficult to serve the advertising and data mining frenzy that is Google.

A call to arms?


Stop using Google? It may be the only way but I don’t think effective. Probably best to do what everyone else will do and sync upto Dropbox instead and forget about flexible content delivery and management systems.

Do no evil ? Maybe not but low grade annoyance seems okay.

Raspberry PI

Raspberry PI, Technology No Comments »

After much delay, I finally got the Raspberry PI up and running.

It’s now running Wheezy on an 8Gb card clocked to a modest 800MHz. It’s slow running X but this I knew.

What really did surprise me was the lack of effort needed to connect it to the wifi. Really was a case of bang in a USB dongle, use the wifi-config tool to set up the SSID info and boom – it’s connected. Well impressed. It’s also stable which is even more impressive.

One thing though to remember – the PI don’t do good on an under powered power supply – so using that old black berry charger rated at 500mA just won’t cut the mustard. Samsung’s USB Travel charger is rated at a very nice 1A. LIKE.

What am I going to do with the PI?

Well – for now – just brush up on Linux and Python etc. I will try turning it into an FM Transmitter. Of course this is probably illegal but the range is only 100m +/- and use a frequency that is not (much) used;) And it won’t be 24/7.

After that?

There are some cool things to do with simple I2C bus stuff and then maybe look at interfacing to Arduino and generally messing around. All good fun.

BBQ Lamb Leg

Food No Comments »

No photos on this one – just a few observations:)

Get a leg of lamb. Most likely it’s quite mature lamb but hey – beggars can’t be choosers. Mine was about 1.3  kg with the bone removed. I think it was butterflyed but I don’t know.

Marinade in wine, olive oil and lemon juice together with onion, garlic and a bit of whatever else takes your fancy (fresh rosemary is nice). Leave it in there for a few hours, preferably over night. Yes – covered and in the fridge. Turn it a few times.

Fire up the BBQ. Use indirect heat and keep the temp at around 150 to 170 deg C. I’ve got a Weber and it has side bars to hold the coals. This is a nice idea but I’m not 100% convinced. I’m going to try this again and put the coals to one side rather than splitting them to each side. I have a feeling the temperature will maintain easier and also – when it comes colder – will be hotter (if you catch my drift).

Make sure to put a drip catcher under the meat. Well – if you want the BBQ to stay clean that is. If not – hey – don’t. It’s not me that will have to clean the smelly mess after a week of it festering.

NOTE – the drip catcher not only catches the juice from the meat but it also heats up that juice and helps to keep the inside of the BBQ moist. This helps prevent the meat drying out.

Once the BBQ is hot enough (I use Weber Premium briquets – about 30 – and make sure they are good and hot before I place them. Hint – when the instructions say make sure all the coals have grey ash on them – listen to it. It’s true!)…

Put on the meat and put the lid back on quickly but carefully. Don’t throw it back on – the draft will waft up the ash onto the meat.

Leave the meat on for around 30 mins per 500g (at 170 deg C). Adjust time accordingly. I noticed that my BBQ dropped to around 140 deg C after 30 mins but stayed there – this is why I will try positioning the coals different next time. Turn once.

To check it’s done – use a meat thermometer in the thickest part.

When done – take it out and let it rest under foil.

At this point – BBQ your veggies (aubergine, courgette, paprika etc). You will probably need to adjust your coals – or even use some new ones. The Weber premium briquets are great but they are very fragile once lit – the tend to disintegrate when being moved around.

When all is done – serve:)


What to try next time?

Well – other than the coal positions – I will maybe try lower temp for much longer. This gives the meat a less tough texture (I can’t for the life in me think of the proper word).

Most likely I’ll blog about it.


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