• Benvenuti in Italia

    Time for a new adventure… back late December I handed in my notice for a job I hated in a company I saw no future in and it came at what should have been a good time as we were planning to move house and the commute wouldn’t have been practical. Leaving the job was a good thing, despite the stress of “now what will I do?”, coupled with the stress of buying a new house and moving. The house purchase fell through due to the builders dicking us around to the point that we got tired of it and ran out of time ..

    I needed to find a new job, so I’d accepted a new contract role outside of the UK, as you might be able to tell from the title of this post (or if you follow me on the social media sites), I’ve now moved to Italy for the job. I will post more about what and for whom I’m working once I know the protocols (if any). Suffice to say, it should be a very good change with loads of future possibilities.

    Castello di Lerici
    Castello di Lerici

    So, where am I?  I’m living (or will be once I find a flat) in Lerici, Italy. You can read more about it by clicking on the link. I arrived here on Feb 15th with Yuki, she will be staying only a couple of weeks before going back to the UK, thanks to my mum for looking after the kids while we’re away. Hopefully in the next 2-3 days I’ll get a flat sorted out and with any luck I can move in next weekend when my airbnb runs out. We looked at number of flats on Saturday and 2 are candidates. One is in Lerici while the other is just up the road in San Terenzo. San Terenzo does have one advantage, it has the local beaches, so stroll down the road from the house and boom… well splash!

    Seville Oranges on the trees
    Seville Oranges on the trees

    The amount of adjustment this will require is something else, but so far, the experiences of the last few days here have been nothing but 100% positive!  Even shopping for groceries at the local Co-Op or other small shops, cafes etc, very positive and enough English to get by, I’l pick up the Italian language easily I think, doubt it’ll be to conversational levels but enough to get through life day to day. The basic phrases are pretty easy to pick up, and the locals seem to appreciate the attempt to use their language. I will try to learn as much as I can, it will only make living and working here that much easier. At least at the office everything is conducted in “English”, I put that in quotes because while the official language of the work place is English it is accomplished with a multitude of accents from all over the world (so I’m told). I find out on Monday when I start.

    I will be posting loads of pics no doubt, if you’re not ready go and follow me on Instagram!  Go on over and check out some of the pics. I will eventually put together some photo albums on Google Photos and they’ll be linked in future posts or through other social media links.

    Just a short blog post to give an update, hopefully I’ll find more to write about as time goes on down here in Italy. I hope to have many weekend adventures while here.

  • Resistance is .. wait what?

    It’s really been a very long time since I’ve dabbled in electronics and things have really moved on in that time.   Sure I’ve kind of kept up with things over the years but only at a higher level.  Getting back into it I’ve found some newer nomenclature (I suppose for a lack of a better name for it) and had to do some quick Googling for confirmation of my suspicions.

    So back in my day (yes, I’m old enough now to be able to say that) values were written with s decimal place .. ie:   4.7K Ohm etc .. however, things have changed a bit and for better (as is usually the way). It was always a pain to read the decimal place depending on the manufacturer and the font selected.  The new method is much better!  However while doing some research I find that there are some errors that can be made (or inferred), let me show the simple table below collected from various sites and forums.

    New abbreviationOld method
    0R250.25 Ω
    350R350 Ω
    * NOTE lower case k
    4700 Ω / 4.7k Ω
    * NOTE lower case k
    5M85.8M Ω / 5,800,000 Ω
    4L74.7 milli Ω (apparently used in current shunts)
    1V61.6 Volts
    293K15293.15 Kelvin - Don't mix up K with k, see notes above

    I know it’s not earth shattering news to a lot, but this posting is hopefully helpful to someone if nothing else it’s a place for me to document some of my findings while rediscovering something I once really enjoyed.

    Thanks for reading folks and until the next posting.. I’ve got a number of draft posts I’m working on that relate to my journey into the world of home automation and Internet of Things (IoT) that I’m building out.  You would have had a glimpse into some of this in previous posts recently.


    This gallery contains 1 photographs in all as   photograph etc.

  • ESP8266 – Changing Wifi Hostname

    My recent fascination with the Wemos D1 Mini (ESP8266) devices has been very enlightening. These devices are very capable and there is so much reusable code out there for them that programming them is made very easy.

    One thing that I’ve recently been trying to figure out is how to change the default hostname when they join a WIFI network, by default they join as ESP_xxxxxx where the x’s are the last 6 characters of the MAC address of the device.  This isn’t very useful when you have 3 or 4 of these.  I figured there must be a way of changing this and there is.

    It took quite a bit of digging and picking bits of code from many discussions on many forums.  So, I’ll pull it all together here in hopes you’ll find this page and find it useful.

    So, how is it done?  Pretty simple, the following bits of code need to be added to your code and I’ll include some functioning code that I currently use.  See the comments in the code for where these should go, and look at my full script.

    This is my full code for my Wemos D1 mini + DHT22 + Thingspeak

    Please feel free to use the above code and share.  This code was taken from a number of sources and combined to do what I needed it for.

  • Sour Milk?!

    Posted on by rob

    We’ve had some issues at the office with milk going sour, usually over weekends.  This long weekend was extra bad as Tuesday morning we had to bin 7 x 4pint bottles of milk that had all turned to nasty smelling cheese over the course of the 3 day weekend.

    It was suggested that we put a thermometer in the fridge, sure it’ll work, but it can only show you what the temp is NOW and not over time.  Soooo being a geek and very new to the world of Arduino, I knew I had to find a way.

    Click here to see Photos of devices used

    Enter the ESP8266 12-E and a DHT22 plus ThingSpeak.  I found the code I was looking for, thanks very much to “Chispa” over at #GoChispaGo.   The code only need a couple of minor tweaks plus a load of translating since his was in Spanish 😀

    The code is pretty straightforward (says a guy that really doesn’t have any programming experience with Arduino’s).

    Building the project was simple, the ESP8266 is powered by a USB cable and phone charger plugged into the wall and the DHT22 is plugged into 5vdc, ground and pin D4 on the ESP8266 board.

    I got it working just fine though so I’m well pleased about that.

    The data is logged to a chart: https://thingspeak.com/channels/321768

    And the code used is as follows.

    Feel free to take the code and play away for your own needs.

    ESP8266 next to 20p
    DHT22 sensor next to 20p

  • Make any glove touchscreen compatible!!! AnyGlove

    Posted on by rob

    NOT a paid advertisement!! I was looking for a way to turn normal gloves into ones that would work with my phone/tablet. I’ve tried gloves designed for touch screens but never found a pair I actually liked, usually I found they were too thin and my fingers got cold. I found a product on Amazon called AnyGlove and after watching some videos decided to give it a go myself on my fav lightweight but warm Karrimor gloves.

    I like these gloves because of the size and the warmth and now I’ll be able to fly and operate my drones while keeping my fingers from freezing.

    AnyGlove Original for fabric gloves – http://j.mp/AnyGlove-Original
    AnyGlove for Leather Gloves – http://j.mp/AnyGlove-Leather

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