Friday, 31 July 2020



That's a word that conjures up images of dinosaurs, trilobites or the giant sloths of South America. But since these have never been known to exist in modern times, to us they are just visions from the past. None of us alive today have had the opportunity to see one, or touch its warm, living body. But what I am thinking of are the modern creatures who have only recently become exctinct, or today face extinction. The Dodo is a classic example. The Tasmanian Tiger is another. Animals like the Orang Utan - thought to be one of humankind's closest relatives - today face extinction.

What would it be like to look at a photograph of an animal and say "Yesterday it was alive, today it is extinct", and know that we had it within our power to have prevented it from becoming so?

Soon, we will have the power to create new species, by means of genetic engineeering. Perhaps, then we could recreate the dodo and the Tasmanian Tiger. But it would be much easier to have let them live, and let those alive today continue to live, than to destroy all and sundry in the name of progress.

We must do something soon to solve the problem before we render even ourselves extinct. For example, if just a small fraction of the money spent on weapons was shunted for research into, for example, the synthetic production of the raw materials for which some of these animals are hunted, or if it was used for the construction of research stations such as the one on Jersey*, then perhaps some real progress could be made.

It gives me hope when I see organisations like Greenpeace, and the excellent work they do. And mining and lumber companies are now recognizing the value of spending time & effort on rehabilitating the envonment which is providing them with their livelihood.

We are making a little progress, and there is still a long way to go. Let's hope we stop killing before it is too late. I can just imagine, many billions of years in the future, the new dominant species on Venus looks through its telescope at the barren face of Earth and wonders if it ever held intelligent life.
I sometimes wonder that, too.

*The research station in Jersey, sometimes known as "The Stationary Ark" involves itself with the keeping, breeding and studying of rare and endangered species.

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Repurposing the Pixel Purse

Once the LED panel and its associated gubbins have been removed from the Pixel Purse there's not a lot of useful stuff left. After all, it's a gimmick, and hardly functions as a purse anyway. There's enough room inside for a smartphone, which you can use to program it, and not a lot else.
One thing that is left is the battery compartment. Now, I'm all for repurposing rather than throwing away, so I decided to try to reuse this one useful part left.

I first decided to cut the compartment away from the surrounding plastic. I didn't think this would work too well but I thought "What the hell, I'll try it anyway."

It actually wasn't too bad. The plastic is quite soft, and I was able to cut through it with a Stanley knife and some nail clippers. The problem is, it took about half an hour, and really battery holders are not that expensive. Is it really worth it?

Of course the other option is to simply use the compartment still in place. The compartment is on its own panel; not a part of the outer shell of the purse, and there's enough room for some electronics such as a Raspberry Pi or Arduino.

I think that works, if you don't mind the pink.

I've kept one of the outer shells; I've got some ideas for it...

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

I bought a house!

Finally, my house purchase is nearing completion. Next Friday (6th) is the handover.

This went rather quickly at the end; there was a flurry of activity this last week, what with signatures, bank transfers etc.It's a typical scenario with how house sales proceed over here, there's a deposit you have to pay (usually 10%), then the remainder on completion. However, the standard practice seems to be that you pay the deposit, along with the remainder, all at the same time on completion.This also happened when I was buying Calne. I was waiting for the solicitor to tell me what deposit I needed to pay, plus bank details etc., and it never happened. Then, on completion, they simply told me to pay the full amount.Anyway, that's all done now. Now on to the next step. I would like to build a small extension onto the side of the house. I would like a proper laundry/utility room, and there is a space for such a room at the side of the house, behind the garage. In fact, the previous owners must have had the same thoughts because the searches fetched up a building approval for a "Lobby and wet room", which hadn't been built. Hopefully I can use that same approval so I don't have to go through the approval process myself.


In addition, there is a little panhandle to the back of the property, with a small shed at its end. I'm hoping I can do something with this, i.e. build a larger shed that can be used as a workshop. The existing shed is rather small and I think it was a kid's playhouse or something.

So there it is.