Author: Mick

Visual Studio Code for the Web

Background Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is a lightweight source code editor which runs on your desktop and is available for Windows, macOS and Linux. It has built in support for JavaScript and Node.JS and extensions available for other languages such as C# and Python etc. More info at: https://code.visualstudio.com/docs Bringing VS Code to the […]

Captain Kirk Boldly Goes …

Captains Log 13102021, Blue Origin successfully completed its second human flight into space on board the New Shepard spacecraft on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. The flight included astronauts, Dr. Chris Boshuizen, Glen de Vries, Audrey Powers, and William Shatner. Star Treks Captain Kirk, “To boldly go where no man has gone before“, a.k.a. 90-year-old William […]

Move Desktop folder out of OneDrive

A couple of new machines in the house, LDK with a DELL Inspiron 14 Laptop and MPK with a DELL OptiPlex 5090 Micro Form Factor Desktop – more on that later. Moving the Desktop folder out of OneDrive on Windows 10 Of course, OneDrive is closely integrated with Windows 10 which is not universally appreciated, […]

A15 Bluetooth Speaker

Recently obtained the Lenrue A15 Bluetooth (wireless) speaker having previously blown up the Cambridge 5.1 Sound Surround system which has been around for more than 20 years!! It was purchased from Amazon at around £30.00 https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bluetooth-LENRUE-Enhanced-Waterproof-Portable-Matte-Black/dp/B089LLT2P8 What’s in the box 1 x LENRUE IPX7 waterproof Bluetooth Speaker 1 x 3.5mm Audio Cable 1 x Micro […]

Whittington Arms

Visited the Whittington Arms restaurant near Lichfield at lunchtime to celebrate MPK’s birthday. The Whittington Arms Tamworth Road, Lichfield WS14 9PS https://www.thewhittingtonarmslichfield.co.uk/ Enjoyed a great meal at reasonable prices. RACK OF LAMB MAPLE-GLAZED ROTISSERIE PORK BELLY BUTTERMILK CHICKEN, SOMERSET BRIE & BACON PIE FRESHLY BATTERED LINE-CAUGHT COD NOURISH BOWL ASIAN-STYLE CRISPY DUCK SALAD

National Memorial Arboretum

We visited the the National Arboretum, near Alrewas, on 23 September 2021. The Arboretum was the idea of Commander David Childs CBE who believed a year-round national centre of Remembrance was needed in the UK. It is part of The Royal British Legion, but operates with a separate Board of Trustees and has independent charity […]

Twycross Zoo

As a birthday present LDK received an Animal Adoption (Gorilla) pack at Twycross Zoo. Each adoption helps to support their conservation work and to help care for animals at the zoo. The adoption pack includes Photo of your chosen animal Adoption Certificate and an animal fact sheet A soft toy of your chosen animal One […]

New Bits and Pieces

A number of recently purchased items. Recently I needed to read a CD on my Surface Pro device which doesn’t have a CD/DVD drive so looked to see what USB devices are available. Noticed a drop in performance between connected devices and it turns out I was using USB 2.0 cables to connect USB 3.0 […]

WebP – an image format for the Web

In a recent update of one of my blogs, to use the latest version of WordPress (5.8), the release notes mentioned that WordPress now supports WebP Images WebP is a modern image format that provides improved lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. WebP images are around 30% smaller on average than their […]

Blue Origin First Passenger Flight to Space

Jeff Bezos successfully competed a flight into space on 20 July 2021 aboard the rocket New Shepard, produced by his company Blue Origin, together with 3 other passengers Mark Bezos, Wally Funk and Oliver Daemen. They all became astronauts officially when they passed the Kármán Line, the internationally recognized boundary of space. The flight lasted […]

NSO Pegasus – Surveillance Software

An interesting story is running on the Guardian newspaper (UK) about Pegasus, “the spyware manufactured by NSO Group, the Israeli purveyor of weapons of mass surveillance“. Huge data leak shatters the lie that the innocent need not fear surveillance The story mentions how the software, when installed, can be used to convert a mobile phone […]

Home Location Register (HLR)

Mobile Phone Data A company based in Hong Kong, Velocity Made Good Ltd, provides a service to obtain realtime mobile phone data https://www.hlr-lookups.com/ Background All mobile network operators are connected within a system called the SS7 signaling network. The SS7 transports data about subscribers, networking, voice calls, and SMS text messages between the carriers. Real-time […]

Video Work

I recently needed to record a video of my screen to capture the path being taken by hurricane Elsa and discovered a screen capture utility, built into Windows 10, that enables a user to record their display. In the past I’ve used 3rd party software such as Camtasia, from TechSmith https://www.techsmith.com/video-editor.html and Snagit (also from […]

Hurricane Elsa

The first hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, Elsa, was first monitored by the National Hurricane Center as a tropical wave on June 29. Here it is passing over St Lucia approx 09:00 to 21:00 UTC on 02 July 2021 (also on youtube at https://youtu.be/_5YVsGoOm9o) and another recorded a few hours later, from 22:00 […]

Bobette ( or Mint ? )

As mentioned previously, a new plant was growing from the base of Bob the Bonsai. Thought it might have been a new Chinese Elm tree and replanted it into its own container to see what would happen. Main leaves were growing large and thought it needed a haircut. After trimming, the leaves had a distinct […]

Mandelbrot Pictures

I remember being fascinated with Mandelbrot pictures ( and their theory ) in the early 1980s before venturing into fractals and later developing a 3D Terrain Modelling application, using fractals to “roughen up” the surface, as part of the Medusa CAD system portfolio. On a recent TV program there was mention of a series of […]

Plant Update 2

It’s been a strange time for this seasons seedlings with slow growth not helped by cold days and nights, with the occasional frosty night since the initial seeds were sown around 25 February 2021. This is what is currently available for this seasons crops. Sprouts and Cauliflowers These plants appear to be growing OK, but […]

TP-Link TL-WA850RE Wifi Extender

Recently there was a problem with the wi-fi range extender (to improve the wi-fi signal in the office). Trying to find the manual was difficult so I decided to write it up here with links to the relevant manuals. The TL-WA850RE Wifi Extender was relatively cheap, although may not be the best one available, and […]

Trip to Bourton-on-the-Water

Bourton-on-the-Water is a village in Gloucestershire within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is about an hour and a half drive from Lichfield. There are a number of car parks, although they could be filled up pretty quickly. We went on a Monday and had no trouble parking (at £5.20 for 5 hours) […]

Ingenuity has flown

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter took this shot while hovering over the Martian surface on April 19, 2021, during the first instance of powered, controlled flight on another planet. It used its navigation camera, which autonomously tracks the ground during flight. The image shows the shadow cast by Ingenuity on the surface of Mars. You can […]

Getting ready for takeoff

The Mars helicopter, Ingenuity is being readied for its first flight. The target date will be “from 8 Apr 2021” for Ingenuity to make the first attempt at powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet. Before the 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) rotorcraft can attempt its first flight, however, both it and its team must meet […]

Microsoft Edge Updates

I’ve used many web browsers over the years and I’m currently using the Microsoft Edge browser across all platforms including iOS, MacOS abd Android. It is based on the Chromium open source project and other open source software. Find out more about Microsoft Edge at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/edge Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to […]

Pictures from Mars – 002

Recently pictures released by NASA from the Mission 2020 to Mars. All images are from https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/multimedia/images/ Update 05 March 2021: As of 05 March 2021, there are currently more than 7,400 “raw” images available from the Perseverance mission at https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/multimedia/raw-images/ This is the best location to view images as they arrive back on Earth. Credits: […]

Pictures from Mars – 001

Recently pictures released by NASA from the Mission 2020 to Mars. All images are from https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/multimedia/images/ and are made available by NASA/JPL-Caltech Part of a video taken by several cameras as NASA’s Perseverance rover touched down on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021. A camera aboard the descent stage captured this shot. One of the six […]

Perseverance lands successfully on Mars

Nasa’s Mars Perseverance Rover has landed safely on the surface of Mars at Jezero Crater after a 203-day journey travelling 293 million miles (472 million kilometers). Confirmation of the successful touchdown was announced in mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California at 3:55 p.m. EST (12:55 p.m. PST). The first images were […]

COVID-19 Vaccination

( +updates 18 February 21, 11 March 21 ) The vaccination program for COVID-19 in the UK continues apace, with the first 4 groups being vaccinated nearing completion. The first phase was completed within the UK Government prediction of the 15 February 2021. The second phase starts with people aged 65 – 69 and at […]

have i been pwned?

“pwned” derives from the word “owned” (intentionally misspelled) and its used to indicate that you’ve been controlled or compromised, typically as in I was pwned in the Twitter data breach A data breach is where data has been exposed either intentionally or by accident from a system that that has been accessed through security weaknesses. […]

Tianwen 1 – Mars Mission

China’s Tianwen 1 unmanned spacecraft is set to enter an orbit around Mars on Wednesday 10 February 2021 following its successful launch on 23 July 2020 from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province. It is the second of 3 separate missions to reach Mars (by UAE, China and USA) which launched in July […]

UAE – Hope Probe

It’s getting crowded at Mars! There are currently 3 active missions to Mars and the first has arrived. The Hope Probe, Tianwen-1 and Mars 2020, all launched in July 2020 when the Earth and Mars were especially close to one another, to reduce travel time to the Red Planet by about two months. Emirates Mars […]

COVID-19 Stats 05 Feb 2021

This snapshot is taken from data supplied by the NHS at https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-daily-deaths/ The data contains information on deaths of patients who have died in hospitals in England and had either tested positive for COVID-19 or where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate. All deaths are recorded against the date of death rather than the […]

Mars 2020 – 2 weeks to landing

Perseverance is due to touch down on Mars in two weeks time, Thursday 18 February 2021, at approximately 20:55 GMT. It has travelled around 275,800,000 miles so far and there are around 16,670,000 miles remaining to reach Mars at a speed of 48,795 mph. https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/timeline/cruise/ The rover will begin its descent towards the surface at […]

USB Soundcard

There are issues with the soundcard resulting in poor playback (fading high to low intermittently on playback) in my (old) laptop (DELL XPS-15 L501x) which has lasted more than 10 years (so far). I tried updating the audio drivers (Realtek High Definition Audio) as recommended, but this didn’t resolve the issue. The Dell audio system […]

COVID-19 Stats 23 Jan 2021

This snapshot is taken from data supplied by the NHS at https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-daily-deaths/ The data contains information on deaths of patients who have died in hospitals in England and had either tested positive for COVID-19 or where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate. All deaths are recorded against the date of death rather than the […]