One of my photos

Moving to Mastodon

November 21st, 2022 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Technology

I’m not sure I can cope with all the hassle of moving to, and learning about, a new platform, but if Twitter does go completely tits-up it is either that or abandon social media completely.

I have mixed feelings about it. There are good and bad aspects to social media. If I decide to just not bother than it would free up some time and probably have some mental health benefits but by following various local feeds (companies, organisations, councillors, charities) you do get a feel for what is going on in the area, and following various record companies and bands means you can see what new music is out there.

And, of course, there are all those accounts like RAF Luton, Fesshole, or Accidental Partridge that just make life a bit more amusing. I try not to get too distracted by all the serious politics.

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Bad financial planning a speciality

November 21st, 2022 · Posted by Skuds in Life

It is nearly December. The time of year when I remember how bad I am at financial planning. Already my e-mail inbox is over-flowing with reminders of annual payments and subscriptions that will be due in the next month. So far it is RAC membership, motorbike insurance, motorbike tracker subscription, CostCo membership, and probably a few more I have forgotten about. I am also aware that January I will need to get the car serviced and taxed.

I guess that one lesson would be to stop getting new vehicles in December and January. I know I am making savings by paying up-front instead of monthly, but it doesn’t feel like it when everything comes along at the same time. If (when?) I decide to move up to a bigger bike I must try to remember to do it during the summer!

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Together in electric dreams

November 3rd, 2022 · Posted by Skuds in Life

With all the talk of massive energy bills I found myself in the strange position this week of complaining to my energy supplier that they are not charging me enough for electricity, which is not something I thought I would be doing.

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Digging in the crates

October 30th, 2022 · Posted by Skuds in Music

At the moment I am still enjoying the novelty of having a turntable again and the rituals of playing a vinyl record. For a start there is that way of holding an LP by the edges and flipping it over, which just can’t be taught or described; you just do it, and even after so long the muscle memory is still there. The same goes for the lifting and placing of the stylus, but the biggest pleasure has been re-discovering the rituals of browsing.

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On the road again

October 26th, 2022 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Having spent a week seeing, and trying to avoid getting run over by, all those mopeds, scooters and motorcycles in Istanbul I was getting a bit of an itch to get on my own bike for a bit of a spin and today I had a good excuse. I needed to pay some cash into the bank and our local branch is closed while it moves location, meaning a trip to Horsham, Redhill or East Grinstead.

I decided to pop over to Horsham today, because the BBC weather app on my phone said that it would be rainy the rest of the week but dry today. Of course, as soon as I arrived in Horsham it started pissing down, making the return trip a lot less pleasant.

I have to say that I was very impressed with how the Piries Place car park accommodates motorbikes. For a start it is free to park bikes there, which is always a good thing. The next good thing is that there are about a dozen or so bike spots which are all of a decent size, with metal brackets suitable for using a bike lock, and right next to the entrance. It makes a change from what you see all too often – room for only a few bikes as an afterthought with spaces that, if they are marked at all, are so small there would be no room to get off the bike. In addition, there are separate narrow bike entrances between the barriers, which lead straight to the dedicated spaces.

All very civilised. Other car parks could learn a lot from Piries Place.

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Getting some use out of the new black passport

October 25th, 2022 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Last week I had my first taste of overseas travel since before the pandemic, and the first outing for my new black passport. It wasn’t my first flight of the year: I have had three flights out of Gatwick this year, but all of them were up to Glasgow which is not (yet) a foreign country, so no passport was needed for them. The destination this time was Istanbul, a place that I have never been to before, but fully intend to go back to some time.

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Video nasties

October 12th, 2022 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Today’s post saw the arrival of my belated birthday present from the NHS: a bowel cancer screening kit.

Obviously this is going to involve me posting a stool sample to some laboratory. The kit contains an instruction sheet for doing all this, which includes a QR code which can be used to see an instructional video. I don’t know if I dare to follow the link. No idea if the video will be an animation or even a live-action demonstration of how to do the actual harvesting. Either way, I can’t imagine it being something to cast to the big TV.

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(Yet) Another birthday-related post

October 12th, 2022 · Posted by Skuds in Life

No apologies for mentioning my recent birthday again. It was a big one after all. This is about people that I share my birthday with.

I already knew that I shared my birthday with Seb Coe, Lech Walesa, Julia Gillard, Wim Kok, Silvio Berlusconi, Michaelangelo Antonioni, Les Claypool, Cervantes and Lord Nelson from looking it up on Wikipedia years ago, but noticed a few more when I was reading the ‘today’s birthdays‘ column in The Times.

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Eye in the sky

October 9th, 2022 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Technology

It looks like I now have a hobby at last. For my 60th birthday the kids clubbed together and bought me a drone. A proper serious one. Apparently there are implications and extra conditions for drones of 250g and over, so this one is 249.5g but very sophisticated. In fact it is so sophisticated that is knows that my house is within the Gatwick airport no-fly geofenced zone so it refuses to even take off indoors!

It looks like I am starting on a steep learning curve of the technical aspect and the legal restrictions. While it is frustrating that I can’t even test it at home or in the garden, it is so small I can easily bung it in a backpack and head out somewhere remote to get the hang of it.

Expect some aerial photography here some time!

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Born to be mild

October 9th, 2022 · Posted by Skuds in Life

The last time I posted about motorbikes was back in November last year, when I passed my test and was thinking about what bike to get. Of course there has been some activity on that front. I did go out and do the stupid thing and buy a bike in December, when it was going to be too cold and miserable to enjoy it properly for months.

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