January 2021



He’s getting more used to the rhythms of life with us. There’s obviously a distinctive sound to my lock keyboard keystroke, as he’s up and stretching before I’ve had a chance to change my glasses.

Speaker fix

I was watching The Midnight Sky[1]. It has a bunch of scenes in a spaceship, with very deep rumbling in the background, except I was hearing lots of snap, crackle and pop. The (not really sub) woofer in my Mission FS-2-AV setup had popped its foam (again):

Last time this happened I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to source replacements, as the original Audax AP170MN2 speakers weren’t available any more from Mission, and the same fit Audax AP170M0 I used were getting hard to find (and I suspect by then were old stock).

Things were actually better this time. Barrowbiker’s Replacing the sub-bass driver on a Mission FS2-S pointed me to Visaton W170 speakers available from CPC:

A high quality bass/mid-range driver designed as replacement for many loudspeakers from AR, Gale, IMF and Mission. Stiffened paper cone and a generous magnet ensure high power handling and good bass extension.

They aren’t perfect, as the plastic surround is just a bit too high for the cover to fit properly, but at least my surround sound is back to sounding great.

Living room PC

Continuing the theme of home cinema related stuff…

The Gigabyte Brix I’d had in the home cinema room got replaced by an Amazon Fire 4k, as it’s just easier for watching stuff on Netflix and Prime. But over the last year we’ve been watching lots of comedy etc. on Zoom, and having cables dangle to my laptop wasn’t the best – especially with the new pup.

So the Brix has found a new lease of life on the back of the living room PC. It’s great for watching Zoom events, and I’ve also added a camera for when we’re doing calls (and party games) with friends and family.

Stream Deck

Switching to the recurrent theme of ‘we’re all streamers now’, I finally got myself an Elgato Stream Deck, which now gives me handy buttons for mute/unmute and start/stop video. It works better with Zoom (proper API?) than Teams (which needs the right window in focus to send key presses).

reMarkable 2

Last month I mentioned buying a reMarkable 2 e-ink tablet, noting that ‘I’ve not had much opportunity to take advantage of it’. With my daughter going back to online learning she was looking for a better way to handle pdfs, so I suggested she try out my tablet. I suspect that I won’t be getting it back, as it seems to be the perfect device for (as my friend Paul would put it) ‘Victorian schooling on Microsoft Teams’.

As I concluded in a thread on Twitter:

I expect that within the decade we’ll have such things at a $50 price point, and for replacing paper in schools I can see them working in ways that iPads and laptops haven’t been able to (because it turned out iPads & Chomebooks/Macbooks != education digital transformation)

Transferwise and eTrade

I’ve been a fan of Transferwise for many years, as I find myself having to hold and spend $ and € enough for them to save me a bunch of hassle and expense with their multi currency account with its associated debit card.

I also have an eTrade account that’s a relic of my time working in banks, and where I now hold my personal account of US stocks. It would be great if I could seamlessly (and freely) move $ between eTrade and Transferwise via the ACH Network, but when I tried it was fine sending stuff to eTrade, but I couldn’t pull from Transferwise.

That’s now fixed :) Transferwise recently rolled out new accounts for $, and it seems that the do support debits as well as credits. At least that’s what I thought… A few days later I got this in an email:

Right now, you can use your account details to have money sent to your account, but merchants can’t debit money from it. We’re working on that, but in the meantime, any debits will be rejected.

Some merchants charge a fee for rejected debits, so please don’t set up any direct debits just yet. We’ll let you know as soon as we’ve added this feature.

So maybe things have been soft launched, but they’re not quite ready yet.

Car shopping, MOT checker

My daughter is almost old enough to start driving, so I’ve been shopping around for a used car for her. Something that’s proved invaluable is the MOT history service, as it seems pretty useful at helping to flag lemons with maintenance issues, and cars with dodgy history (like one promising looking car that had gone backwards 2000 miles in a year).

Dry first half, Elvis AF

In the past I’ve done Dry January, but recently that’s become more like Dry first half of January, as my now adult son usually likes to toast his birthday.

This time around I was pleased to see that Brewdog have released an alcohol free version of one of the beers I usually have in the fridge – Elvis AF.

It’s easily the nicest alcohol free beer I’ve ever tried. So nice in fact that I’d seriously consider a can of it in place of the 6.5% original. Here’s hoping that it’s not a ‘Limited Edition’ for too long (or that at least it’s back next January).

Raspberry Pi Stuff

I finally got around to installing the ESXi 7 Fling for Raspberry Pi, following the guide on the official blog. I’m sure it will come in handy as Arm becomes more mainstream in the cloud and on people’s laps.

I also moved my home DNS from OpenWRT to some Pis. Bind on OpenWRT kept on crashing with out of memory errors, and I think Pis using SSD rather than SD cards, and on UPSs should be sufficiently reliable.

Beating Beat Saber

I got a little board of trying to Full Combo FitBeat on Expert and GHOST and What the Cat?! on Hard, so I bought another music pack – Green Day. Like the Panic! at the Disco, the levels are pretty easy, and I found myself getting through initial runs on Expert with just a few misses. I’m enjoying the music though; Green Day is one of those bands that fell into the young kids void of my musical experience, and clearly I missed out.


[1] In the end, not a film I’d greatly recommend. I wanted to like it, but there was just too much bad science to be believable, and that ruined it for me.

One Response to “January 2021”

  1. Thanks for the best saber post. I just purchased the oculus 2 yesterday. Beat Saber is up next

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