December 2020

31Dec20

I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad for a holiday break… In this post, a brief pupdate, some new toys, People Powered, the history of PCBs, toiletry vacations, and some Pi and VR stuff.

Pupdate

Max continues to grow, and get used to being part of the household. It’s been really fun having him around during December, though I do wish for days with better weather so we’ll both be a bit keener about going out.

Stuff I bought

reMarkable 2

A few folk I know bought and raved about the original reMarkable e-ink tablet, so when I heard there was a new version available I couldn’t resist. So far I’ve not had much opportunity to take advantage of it, but my first impression is that it feels almost like an alien artefact in terms of size, weight and build quality – it is remarkable.

Snugs

I’ve had some custom fit Snugs Flight earphones for a few years, and love the comfort, noise isolation and sound quality. I also wear earplugs when riding my motorbike, which I consider necessary to avoid hearing damage from engine and wind noise. So when Snugs released their new Moto product I thought it would be good to get something potentially more comfortable than disposable earplugs, which can become a bit of a pain after an hour or so, and that would also allow me to listen to music and/or navigation instructions.

The fit is VERY different from my Flight earphones, as it fills much more of my ear. But they seem very comfortable. Due to it being winter I’ve not yet had the chance to try them out properly, so I’ll report back once the roads are dry again.

Quad Lock

If I’m going to be listening to my phone (especially for nav instructions) then I don’t really want it in my pocket, I’d like to have it visible.

After watching a few online reviews the Quad Lock system came out as the one that was most solid and least intrusive. Since it was Black Friday sale time I ended up getting the case for my iPhone SE 2020 plus the bike mount and a couple of car mounts.

I’ve yet to try the bike mount on the road, but the car system is super nice and easy.

AirPods Pro Crackle

I’ve already had replacements for both sides, and it seems the left one is failing again. Here’s hoping that Apple have finally got a fix into how they’re making them. At least they’re now acknowledging the problem, and have extended the replacement period past the original one year warranty with the AirPods Pro Service Program for Sound Issues.

History of PCBs

Bryan Cantrill asked on Twitter:

I’ve been enjoying “Pick, Place, Podcast” from @CircuitHub and @WAssembly (ht:
@kc8apf !), and now I’m searching in vain for a book on the history of the PCB; surely there is such a thing?!

I though if there was such a thing then surely OSHPark‘s Drew Fustini (@pdp7) would know about it.

In there end it seems that there isn’t a book, but there is this wonderful video from Zack Freedman:

People Powered

A few months ago I was chatting to Dick Morrell about various things, and I brought up my incomprehension of the (mostly Indian) audience joining some webcasts that I’d been doing with colleagues. He suggested that I should read Jono Bacon’s People Powered.

In the end the book didn’t answer my specific question, but it does do a great job on building and leading communities (and leadership in business more generally), and I find myself recommending it to people, which is always a good sign. My journey through it was helped by Jono running a book club over the past few months, which if nothing else gave me encouragement to get through the chapters (and along the way I switched from eBook to audio book so I could walk and ‘read’ at the same time).

Toiletry Vacations

I used to travel a fair bit, and I’d generally bring home the little bottles of hotel shampoo, conditioner and shower gell as they’re handy for when the kids are visiting friends or when we have house guests. Well… neither of those things have been happening much lately, so I decided to start using up my stash to break up the monotony of pandemic groundhog days. It’s amazing the difference that having some different smells at the start of the day makes, especially when those smells evoke places visited in the past.

Raspberry Pi stuff

When I started booting my Pi4 from an external SSD I just cable tied it to the underside of my passive heatsink, but I might have been tempted by this neat modular case system if it had been around at the time.

Beating Beat Saber

Some good progress, helped by more VR workouts during vacation time…

I’ve finally managed to Full Combo all of the OST3 levels on Expert. Burning Sands finally succumbed, and Full Charge came a few days later. Meanwhile Crab Rave from the Extras also fell into place for me, leaving just FitBeat before I’m done with that set.

I’m still finding the Camellia levels too tough on Expert, so I’m ploughing on with Hard for those, with only GHOST and What the Cat?! left to do.

Having played so much on the bundled levels I finally caved and bought a music pack from Panic! at the Disco. I’m loving the songs, but the play is quite easy, so I came close to clearing all the levels on first run at Expert, and they all fell within a few tries.

I’ve also managed to complete some OST1 levels at Expert Plus, which I once considered impossibly fast and complex – so practice does bring progress :)



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