jpdw's blog

Heating system re-vamp

At last, the long planned heating upgrade has been completed.

The main reason was to replace our old boiler which really struggled to heat the house during winter. The boiler was 15 years old and "F" rated according to the government website, so replacing it with a new A-rated unit should save gas too, which of course saves a few £££ as well. At the same time it was going to be an opportunity to get the rads fitted with TRVs.

Keen to make things even more efficient we also wanted to zone the house so each of the 3 floors could be operated independantly.

Planes & Trains

I've just arrived in Antwerp for a few days of business at the main office.

Eager to make the most of the day (and originally due to walk straight into a meeting on arrival) I booked for the early journey from London.

Nowadays there are 3 main choices for me:
1) Fly Heathrow (07:00) to Brussels and then a 30-40 minute taxi. Leave home approx 05:30
2) Fly City (07:40) to Antwerp then a 10 minute taxi. Leave home approx 05:00/05:15
3) Eurostar (06:00) to Brussels, get the 09:20 from Brussels to Antwerp then walk 5 minutes. Leave home approx 04:30

Traditional Easter weekend - yup, DIY, DIY, DIY !

It's been a traditional easter weekend with wall-to-wall work on the house & garden. Mostly the garden; typical when it's cold & wet too. So far only one visit to B&Q!

The power of many people has yet again been proved with a complete replacement the old decking to the rear (which was rotting) with lovely new in just 6 hours (including stops for bacon butties, coffee, tea, pizza, tea, coffee,....).

Drupal upgrade etc

Drupal 6 was out a few a couple of weeks ago, so I've finally upgraded the site from the release candidate. Seems to be working fine.

Also removed all the blog drivel from the front page. So you really have to look for it .

Friday evening, the weekend beckons (hoorah). This weekend is about removing some old cast-iron pipes we uncovered last weekend. That'll be fun!

UK TV Listings site/application

Been a long time... But try googling yourself

Are the sneaky fellows at Yahoo crippling existing MusicMatch installations?

 So, if you read the above, you'll know I've re-downloaded & re-installed the latest MusicMatch Jukebox.  But are Yahoo pushing out malware that cripples  the installations of  troublesome folk that have resisted the "upgrade" to Yahoo Jukebox or worse... like me.. "downgraded" back the  better features of MusicMatch ?

Long Live MusicMatch Jukebox

Musicmatch JukeboxI've been using MusicMatch Jukebox for years - I think since something like 1998/99.  Anyway, a long time.  It was such a good app that I quickly paid for their "plus" version which even included future upgrades.  Fab.  Happy as can be I kept on upgrading from time to time through till 2007.  But the upgrade to Yahoo Music Jukebox was utter rubbish so I've got rid of it.  Seems I'm not the only one that hated it.

Soundbridge .... cooool gadget

Not exactly brand new on the market, infact the Roku device on which this is based (er..oem'd?) is several years old.  However, for under £45 from UK (r)etailers, this unit is a really price for something that till now has cost a lot more. 

Even better,

website woes & drupal upgrade

Yesterday I found that this site was broken. The homepage would load fine but any attempt to access linked pages or articles gave an "internal server" error. After a bit of poking around & some support emails to the friendly people at ukfsn (Jason) it appeared to be related to drupal's use of mod_rewrite. But why now? I guess the webserver was recently upgraded or tweaked and this revealed that drupal wasn't playing well and imposed some new limits on it.. causing it to break.

A quick hi to my 2nd highest "referrer'

Drupal gives a nice log of referrers - web sites that lead to hits on this site. The logs usually show a variety of google & yahoo servers hitting the site - which is good & gets me on the search engines. But I was suprised to see that the 2nd highest referrer was a former colleague of mine, Jamie Glover. Bizarre! Anyway, Hi to Jamie & your nice new website ! /jpdw

Simple heating control via Idratek Reflexes

More messing with Idratek - this time Cortex

Now that the Idratek bits have been running fine in the study for a couple of weeks, I want to move to actual 'trial' the kit rather than just play with it.

For me, the target application is improved control over the heating in the house - especially as it's got colder we've really started to notice considerable differences in heat levels between the 1st floor (which can be quite hot) and the 2nd floor (which stays chilly).

A week off work.... doing work...

The week off in November has finally come. For a change we decided to spend the week at home doing various DIY stuff. The whole week enables us to get some bigger stuff done that would otherwise take several weekend -- and even longer because of the need to tidy up at the end of each Sunday.

More Idratek... Playing with Reflexes

Whilst "Cortex" seems to be the main 'brain at the centre', one of the slightly different things about the idratek kit seems to be that all the modules are autonomous to a degree... ie they sit on the network and communicate with each other to a certain level.

As at the moment the only Windows machine I have is an old power-hungry & slow machine, I'm not keen to have it running 24/7 while I trial Idratek kit in a couple of rooms... Later on having a low-consumption (ie <20w) mini-itx machine wouldn't be a problem, but for now it's out of time, cost & therefore scope...