Lewis' Homepage

Its all a matter of time…

CMT and minimalist shoes

Long time no blog!

I felt compelled to write a new blog entry as I have had a small revelation in my life with respect to shoes. Now you might be thinking 'Shoes? what is so special that it can be classed as a revelation?'. Well over 10 years ago I was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (generally known as CMT). This is a degenerative nerve disorder that damages the peripheral nerves, which can lead to problems with feet / legs, hands, and in some sever cases breathing.

Now I am lucky, I have a relatively mild case of CMT, where my hands are generally unaffected (save for a little loss in sensation), it is my legs and feet that don't fare quite as well. I have considerable loss of sensation in both feet (from the mid foot forwards I can't feel too much), and loss of muscle in the lower legs. This makes walking somewhat more challenging and tiring, with increased possibility of tripping up (balance is not something I take for granted!). It also means that my feet are not normal shaped, they are rather wide due to muscle wastage. This has meant that buying shoes is a challenge, most shoes are narrow and I simply can't wear them. To top it all off my right foot is a full size smaller than my left, which compounds the issue as the widest part of my right foot is in the narrowest part of a shoe - due to needing to buy the larger size for my left. Shoes shopping has never been fun!

That all changed when I discovered minimalist shoes from Xero Shoes....

Read more

Smart Home

netatmo thermostat

So in the past year i have got into smart home devices / automation, specifically through smart assistants Siri and Alexa.

Stage 1 my initial foray was simply with a smartplug, which was purchased to make my life easier - to switch on / off a lamp in my living room where the normal switch was inaccessible. Initially as I have a lot of Apple products it made sense to use this with Siri, but the stumbling block was that the smartplug, in this case made by TP-Link was not compatible with Siri :( Never fear, as I have an always on Raspberry Pi I can run homebridge! Whats that I hear you ask, well it is a package of software that provides comparability for a range of smart products with Apples Homekit system. I got it working without much effort and I was happy... for a while...

Read more

Pi for everyone!

.... well more specifically Raspberry Pi :)

I got a Raspberry Pi mini computer as a birthday present and I am very pleased with it. If you have not head of the Raspberry Pi it was originally conceived as an affordable device to introduce children to programming and hardware development and was designed in conjunction with schools. There is a vibrant community on the internet designing and running all-manor of different projects using them.

A Raspberry Pi model 3BFor some time I have been conscious that running a home server all the time is using quite a bit of electricity, and in attempt to reduce that decided to get the Pi. On a side note I have also managed to reduce the number Wifi points in the house - thanks to a new more powerful router I have been able to remove a number of repeaters that I had setup.

So I received the latest version of the Pi, the model 3B, which is faster than the original with extra RAM. The actual mainboard as you can see from the photo to the right is very small, not much bigger than the palm of my hand, and even in a case it is very small. So not only am I saving electricity I am saving space as well :)

I am using it with a version of Debian Linux OS called 'Pixel' as a file server to feed the various media players round the house with video files. It has a fully functioning Linux desktop which I can manage remotely from either my iPhone / iPad / or laptop. I am also seeing what other projects I could use it for, perhaps something hardware related?

2 1/2 More gigs!

Long time no post - well in the past 2 months I have been very busy music wise - JustB (going to have to change the band name) have had two gigs:

  • Rutsfest - June 2016
  • Ming Chew's 40th Birthday - July 2016

Rutsfest was a great outdoor gig, with two large stages, a summer festival if you will. Unlike some venues there was no preference given to bands with each band getting 30 mins to play, even those late in the evening. Sound was good as there was a sound engineer running the desk / PA / foldback. We had a great time (despite one or two musical hiccups) and are looking forward to playing there next year. The only downside is that Elliot and I had to rush off as we had a party to get to in Southampton.

Ming's Birthday was a much more private affair at a discrete venue in Kennington - http://www.toulouselautrec.co.uk/ Usually it is a jazz venue, but on that evening we introduced it to a bit of rock! This was solely a covers evening and due to the mixed audience we decided to mix up the setlist to include a wider range of genres and also added a female singer (Lisa) to bring some extra variety.

It was also a special evening for me and it was the public debut of my other band 'BleachBurn' - a prog metal band. We did a short 30 mins set consisting of 3 originals and 2 covers (that'll be the prog songs taking up the lion share of the 30 mins then!). As far as performances go I think I can say I was very happy as we performed our original tracks very well, which was quite a trick considering that Peter the drummer had to deal with a drumkit with a lot fewer toms / cymbals - he had to re-write his drum parts on the fly. Even better the music actually went down quite well, with my hardest critic (Carol) being complimentary :)

With 2 1/2 gigs so far this year I am hoping that we can do some more, you never know it might even become a regular thing ;)

How to get handoff to work with your Mac / iPhone

So having got a new Macbook Pro with Bluetooth LE I was looking forward to using handoff between the two devices, but nothing I tried worked. There were varying suggestions such deactivating handoff on either / both, and even removing and then re-adding the iCloud account from either / both. Again nothing I tried worked, until I read a single post on the apple discussions pages which simply said:

Airdrop must not be on!

I turned Airdrop off and lo and behold it worked immediately!

Show more posts