June 2020


As another month comes to an end, a quick digest of things that June brought…

Black Lives Matter

June seems to have been another one of those months full of “there are weeks where decades happen”. As a family we spent one of those weeks educating ourselves a little. Starting out with the BBC’s ‘Sitting In Limbo‘ about the Windrush scandal we went on to 12 Years a Slave, 13th (thanks for the pointer Bryan), Desiree Burch’s Tar Baby and The Hate U Give. We almost didn’t get past the trauma of 12 Years a Slave, and clearly if that stuff is traumatic to watch in a movie it’s even more traumatic to have it as part of a cultural heritage.

Windows upgrades

I upgraded my desktop and laptop to Windows 10 version 20.04, which brings with it the Windows Subsystem for Linux version 2 (WSL2), which has some noteworthy improvements over the earlier WSL.

I also upgraded to the new Chromium based Edge browser, as it’s been my habit to run my work O365 subscription in Edge so that it’s partitioned from personal stuff, and  hopefully something like the Microsoft Employee experience.

And there’s the new Terminal application. I’m still a little sad that it doesn’t include an X-Server, but it’s come on a long way since I first looked at it. It’s taken up residence in my pinned applications, and I find myself jumping in there if I need to really quickly try something on a Linux command line.

Pi stuff

David Hunt’s post on using a Pi Zero with Pi Camera as USB Webcam inspired me to try that out. Unfortunately the cheap Pi Zero camera I bought didn’t have the low light performance to work at my desk. But that got pressed into service as a replacement for my Pi A MotionEyeOS when its USB WiFi dongle stopped working. I’ve subsequently bought the new Pi HD camera, and that certainly does have the right performance to be a better webcam.

Along with the new camera I got another Pi 4 with this gorgeous milled aluminium heatsink case from Pimoroni:


Jo (@congreted0g) put me onto cheap HDMI-USB adaptors now available on eBay. I managed to snag one for £8.79. It’s great to be able to see a Pi boot on Open Broadcast Studio (OBS) on my desktop rather than messing around with monitor inputs (especially since my ‘lab’ monitor has found a new home as part of my wife’s teaching from home rig).


There are a whole bunch of conferences I should have been at over the past few months, but they’ve been delayed and refactored as virtual due to Covid-19. June brought the first batch events that kept to their original schedule whilst switching from in person to online – CogX, and DevOps Enterprise Summit (DOES).

DOES definitely managed to be more polished in terms of presentation. Organiser Gene Kim has obviously been thinking about things a lot, as laid out in his Love Letter to Conferences; and he was also able to enlist the help of Patrick Dubois, who’d already learned a lot from a previous event. Benedict Evans also has some good thoughts in Solving online events, because it’s going to be a while before we rush back to planes and hotels and buffets (and it might just be a good thing to have much larger communities engaging online).

It was also good to see AWS Summit going fully online. I’ve attended the London summit since it started, but for the past few years I’ve decided not to endure a visit to the ExCeL. So it was good to be able to join the breakout sessions as well as the keynotes without schlepping out to the Docklands for a performance of security theatre.

YouTube music and videos

There are times when I want to listen to or watch stuff from YouTube offline, and it turns out that ClipGrab is the tool I needed for that.

AirPods Pro

My right AirPods Pro developed an annoying rattle, and it seems that sadly this isn’t uncommon. Thankfully Apple Support were pretty swift in sending me a replacement.

Air Conditioning

The UK isn’t a place where it’s normal to have air conditioning, but the last few years have repeatedly brought days stretching to weeks when I wished I had it. Of course when the heat wave comes, the A/C units sell out in a flash. So this year I got ahead of the game by ordering a Burfam unit.

I took a bit of trouble to connect the exhaust through to a roof vent:

Which included making a plenum chamber adaptor, fashioned from an old fabric conditioner bottle:

It worked great for my trial run, but sadly seems to have stopped working now that the mercury is passing 30C :( Let’s see how Burfam support deal with it…

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