12 February 2024

More gadgets

 My Sony tablet has been running continuously for 11 years. It's still going strong. Batteries wearing out? Oh no they don't!
However, it's OS is old and won't run new Apps well or not at all. So now I have a Samsung Tab A8, not the expensive one in the adverts but mid-range. I don't play Android games, so no problem.
It has some Samsung bloatware, but that can be suppressed. It needed tweaking, mostly to stop the beeping notifications about everything. The battery isn't as long-lasting, otherwise fine.

Having sat on my Sony phone, I also went Samsung for a replacement, the A23. Same comments really.

I do recommend getting cases for these devices.

10 February 2024

The gasman cometh

A year ago British Gas sent a subcontractor to our road to replace the elderly pipes with plastic ones. They dug holes. The holes filled with water.

I live at the bottom of a valley and the water table is about a foot down in winter.


They filled up the holes, apologised, and came back in the autumn. Success, though it took a week.

Path reconcreted, lawns resown with grass seeds, meters relocated outside the houses, £50 compensation for the disruption.

Would I like a smart meter? I already have an electric one. Sure! It's fitted, but after several months isn't online. I contacted them, they claimed to be working on it but I suspect this was a lie.

Smart Home

 It's been a couple of years since I posted about Tech stuff, so let's catch up.

Phillips Hue smart lights use a wireless USB connected Hub. They can be programmed to switch off at night and can be dimmed.

Tuya is a Chinese in the cloud wifi app that can control all kinds of appliances. I use mine for electric radiators and an air cooler. The app takes some effort to understand but is improving.

Oh, yes, I turned off the gas central heating. Another blow against global warming!

So far so good, but then came the home battery saga. My local authority had a scheme that recommended installers for solar panels/ batteries, so I ordered a small 3Kw battery. Delays and more delays followed, and it took almost a year to complete the installation. The company was too busy fitting more profitable solar panels and kept lying to me about completing the job.
The actual system works fine now, it stores excess output from the panels during the day and then puts it back in the evening. It is modular so more batteries can be added later. The app has one remaining bug, it's not calibrated to zero against the solar panels.

Solis inverter and Pylon battery. Yes, Chinese again ..