2020-11-28 : New 3D Printer

New 3D Printer: Vertex Delta

This is one of these gadgets that I've been wanting for years - pretty much since they first came to market... but I've just never been able to fully justify it. Technically I can't now, but there was a good sale on at Pimoroni for a Vertex Delta 3D Printer that I just couldn't pass up on.

This is an open source hardware platform (with 3D models of all parts should I need to print any - which I've had to already after breaking a bracket that holds the print bed in place), that runs Marlin, open source embedded 3D printer software (no... it's not firmware!). There is also a freely available slicer: Ultimaker Cura which itself is composed of open source libraries etc. which (best of all) even has a native appImage for Linux!

There are thousands of 3D models of all sorts of things on the Thingyverse, and when it comes to having to design a model myself, then FreeCAD is also available for Linux!

Let's see what I can print :-)

2020-11-10 : New Raspberry Pi 400

New Raspberry Pi 400

Now some may think that having more than 10 Raspberry Pi computers is a bit excessive - I don't :-)

So, when a new one was announced, the Raspberry Pi 400, I felt that I really needed to add it to my collection (which takes this up to the 17th Pi that I've bought!).

It's basically a Pi 4 (bit a bit quicker - 1.8GHz compared to 1.5GHz) with a new board layout to allow all connectors to appear on the rear of the unit, and built into an official Raspberry Pi keyboard... just like the good old days of (in my case) the Acorn Electron and Atari ST where this was the case. However, the Pi 400 is way more powerful than any of the 1980s and 1990s computers, ovbisouly!

I'm initially playing with the 64-bit version of Ubuntu Server but since it's a "computer" as opposed to a headless server, I'm going to install Xubuntu desktop on it too.

2020-09-19 : New SOHO Router

DrayTek Vigor 2760 and TP-Link TP-WA1201

Nothing too exciting - yet another network device, hopefully to improve Internet connectivity reliability and throughput.

A DrayTek Vigor 2762 (on the left) has replaced my Netgear D7000 Nighthawk... not that the D7000 was a bad bit of kit, but every few months it needs a power cycle as it locks up, and I've no idea what the firewall throughput is like.

The D7000 will go on ebay soon I think - as its still worth a bob or two!

It has VLAN capability, so if I reconfigure my gigabit network wiring slightly, then I should be able to re-introduce guest Wi-Fi access for Internet only (without them having access to my whole network).

2020-07-23 : New Laptop

Inspiron 14 5485 Laptop

At times I missed not having a wee laptop (like my old Eee PCs - 701 and 901), so I eventually bought another one.

Having read about All the major Intel vulnerabilities I opted for an AMD processor - a combined CPU and GPU as it turns out: AMD Ryzen 5 3500U, which together with the NVMe drive makes for quite a nippy wee laptop!

2020-06-07 : Website Template Updated : v2.23.0


  1. Added ability to insert html pages from html pages with a special HTML comment. Similarly, the ability to include PHP files and call PHP functions from similar HTML comments.
    For example:
    <!-- insert user_includes/A_Common_File.html -->
    <!-- php_file ./user_includes/a_php_file.php -->
    <!-- php_function a_user_function(1,4) -->

New Setup Variables (see <setup-sample.php> for details)


Bug Fixes


2020-05-05 : New PC Speakers

Creative GigaWorks T40 Series II

Sweet... after having the same Desktop PC speakers for nigh on 25 years, the constant humming eventually started annoying me - spending all of my lock-down working day and most of the evening in front of my PC. So I treated myself to a new pair: Creative GigaWorks T40 Series II

They sound very nice :-D

2020-04-09 : More Server Memory

It bothered me for a while that my desktop PC had more RAM than my big server (especially since the server it runs a Linux VM with several Minecraft servers within it).

So, a pair of HP Enterprise 862974-B21 2400MHz 8GiB ECC DDR4 added to the box. Since the other two DIMMs are only 2133MHz, the whole memory system runs at 2133MHz.

A bit of a panic after they were installed though! The PC just kept rebooting after the BIOS POST. I tried swapping the DIMMS around and then just put one of the new ones in at a time thinking that one may be faulty. Nothing! Back to the old configuration... and the server still rebooted after BIOS POST!

After trying various things (including removing the battery), a CMOS reset appeared to do the job. Server functionality restored ... and the Linux VM has twice the RAM allocated that it used to!

2020-03-31 : New Wi-Fi Access Point

Netgear D7000 and TP-Link TP-WA1201

Nothing too exciting - another network device, but through necessity rather than a want/need.

Basically, the Netgear D7000 (pictured on the left), when configured to not use its internal DHCP server, doesn't always pass DHCP requests correctly: the DHCPDISCOVER and DHCPOFFER are okay, but then the DHCPREQUEST (and hence DHCPACK) don't pass through. It worked flawlessly for a year or two, but gradually lost functionality. No idea why!

It was initially doing this with the 2.45GHz access point, so I used my spare TP-Link TP-WR1043ND Wireless N Router ( Modified to run OpenWrt ) as a dedicated 2.45GHz access point. However it is now stopping the 5GHz access point too.

So, this new bit of kit: TP-Link TP-WA1201 AC1200 Access Point provides both 2.45GHz and 5GHz in a discrete box - I think discrete boxes are the way to go... these all-in-one units cost a lot to replace when one vital part of the unit stops functioning (hence why I had so many "spare" Wi-Fi Access point / ADSL modem / switch / router boxes at one point)!!!

Obviously, I've had to update my gigabit network wiring slightly to accomodate this :-)

2020-01-10 : PowerWatch 2 (Luxe)

PowerWatch 2

Woo hoo! Exactly a year and a day after backing the Matrix Power Watch 2 on Indiegogo it finally arrived. Initial impressions are that it's far from being a smart watch like my Pebble Time Steel is, but hopefully with several itterations of phone and watch software updates it'll get somewhere close.

Of course, the main reasons for backing this are the use of thermoelectric power to charge the watch (plus solar) and its built in GPS and heart rate monitor.

Impressions from the first few hours of use:

  • Paired to phone and upgraded the embedded software with no issues, although had to re-pair afterwards.
  • The up and down buttons will take a bit of getting used to as they're on the other side of the watch from my Pebble Time Steel!
  • Step counter (as others have noted) is a bit pish to say the least.
  • I definitely prefer the way that the Pebble does notifications - even the 10 seconds or so of displaying on screen as soon as they arrive.
  • When this watch can give me weather / sunrise / sunset information (amongst other things), it will be getting on a par with Pebble... apps that I currently have on my Pebble Time Steel (for example, just to give an idea of what a smart watch should be capable of):
  • Yes, I'm comparing it to Pebble: both were/are start-ups. Both have multiple crowd-funded products - both watches that I have are 2nd time around crowd-funded products. However, the Pebble OS / phone app / infrastructure / features were far more advanced than the PW2 appears to be - possibly because they had an SDK and app / watchface store at the first generation.
  • Lastly... now I may not have the biggest of wrists, but this was the first time I've ever had to remove all links and put the strap as far into the clasp as it goes - what sort of wrist is this strap designed for?!?!

2020-01-04 : Website Template Updated : v2.22.0


  1. Changed the method of page stat file locking: now uses flock to determine exclusive lock on the actual file instead of creating a lock file, which was causing issues while testing my cluster-pi web server.

New Setup Variables (see <setup-sample.php> for details)


Bug Fixes


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