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FOUND! – Glass cover for lamp!

September 2nd, 2020

When we moved into the house 14 years ago, a victorian lamp at the rear of the house was missing a glass cover. I blogged about it here Wanted: glass cover for lamp

I’ve been searching for years to no avail.

and oddly after recently searching the internet for an “SW 10 Tapco Subwoofer made by Mackie”, I FOUND IT!

The lamp is actually an SW 10 made by Coughtrie, Glasgow. They still make the same lamp!

and I’ve finally obtained vintage parts to refurbish the vintage light, which is probably 60 years old!

SW 10 glass cover

SW 10 glass cover

SW 10 glass cover

SW 10 glass cover

SW 10 glass cover

SW 10 glass cover and reflector

PS I didn’t find the subwoofer!!!

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Return to HDCD it only took me 10 years! (Part 2!)

July 20th, 2020

I’ve recently been reminded after installing my new “balls” or Cambridge Audio “Puds” on my DAC – see here – S700 Isomagic DAC “puds” – rubber balls!,  that these outboard DACs (digital to audio converters) have the HDCD chip manufactured by  , which Microsoft purchased all those years ago. This chip decodes the HDCD information. My Arcam Alpha 5 DAC does not have this technology but roll forward 10 years, and some vintage DACs do have this ability to decode HDCD. But it is unlikely that we will ever see this technology incorporated in modern-day DACs, because rumours are that Microsoft requires a payment of $400,000 for the license!!!

and after Googling about HDCD, I found this – 10 Years ago, I blogged and wrote about HDCD, as a reminder it’s here –Hidden information on some Music Compact Discs – HDCD

I had forgotten!

It has also been removed from Windows media player in Windows 10, so it looks like the only way to play HDCD content, is on a vintage DAC!

Why Microsoft purchased the technology, not to use it, and to price it out of the market, when digital audio content is now on the rise Hi-Res Walkmans, e.g. Sony NW-A50 Hi-Res Walkman® Portable Audio Player, USB DACS, FLAC and lossless audio are on the rise again.

When we ripped to MP3, we were trying to make the rip as small as possible, to conserver storage space on our hard drives, my first MP3 player had only 128MB storage cards, today storage is cheap, and we are now ripping to lossless formats, e.g. FLAC, DSD, DSF.

In this modern-day when recording studios record to digital media and not analogue tapes, not sure why HDCD encoding is not used more, other than the lack of equipment to play it!

You need to have a CD Player that can decode HDCD or an HDCD encoded digital file. The CD I’m playing is “Brothers In Arms [2005 – 20th Anniversary Edition]”

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S700 Isomagic DAC “puds” – rubber balls!

July 18th, 2020

These are the “puds” for my S700 Isomagic DAC!


Cambridge Audio "Puds"

Cambridge Audio “Puds”

These little rubber balls, sit underneath the isomagic DAC to prevent vibrations!


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HOW TO Rack a Raspberry Pi – RPi1B+, RPi2, RPi3

June 25th, 2020

I’ve had a few Raspberry Pi located around the office plugged into network switches, and I wanted to tidy them up, so this is how you network rack a Raspberry Pi i 1B+, RPi 2 or RPi3.

The rack kit is available from Lincoln Binns – RP 19″ Rack Solutions


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Have I been deaf all the years ? Two DACs ! I’ve been re-awakened…. and MP3 suck!

June 23rd, 2020

Finally, after almost 14 years – I’ve completed my new office layout! (Sorry Lindsey for taking so long.. I told you I would get round to it!).

Which has given me the opportunity again, to re-connect my “HiFi” which has sat in the corner of my office, gathering dust – literally? 

After re-wiring all the interconnects, making sure the cables are connected the correct way because they are “non-reversible, the signal must flow the correct way”, and re-wiring the bi-wire on the speakers.

I played the Compact Disc “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd <—– the amount of detail and the stereo separation was amazing… it’s like I’ve had my head in a bucket all these years listening to streaming music and MP3s!!!!

This is not just a normal “HiFi” – Cyrus Amplifier, Cyrus PSX-R – connected to Cyrus 782 speakers – Sony CD Transport – feed into three DACs, clock synced.

Cambridge Audio S700 DACs

Cambridge Audio S700 DACs

Cyrus 782

Cyrus 782

The DACs are Cambridge Audio S700 – Isomagic – designed by John A. Westlake of Pink Triangle (1991) fame, he later went on to work for Cambridge Audio (founded 1968), when Cambridge Audio was a proper HiFi company, not to be confused with the re-branded Richer Sounds brand, since 1994, when it was purchased by Richer Sounds.

I believe John has now semi-retired, but he left us some great legacy HiFi products, and one day I’ll own a Pink Triangle DaCapo DAC!


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NHS COVID-19 App for Smart Phones – did it ever work ? – waste of UK Tax Payers Money ? – Fake App ?

June 18th, 2020

When the GOV.UK stated they were testing an NHS COVID-19 app for smartphones to track and trace, I managed to get my hands on the app for iOS (Apple), and I tested it… in May 2020 using this test kit – this is an nRF52 Development Kit – Bluetooth Kit – connected to a computer, you can “sniff” Bluetooth traffic…

nRF52 Development Kit

nRF52 Development Kit

I never saw any Bluetooth traffic between iOS devices (Apple) and on a few forums, I asked questions, does it actually work ???? and for weeks I’ve been asking what has happened to the App ???

Today I find out… this:—-

Looks like it’s been abandoned, did it ever work ?

UK virus-tracing app switches to Apple-Google model


NHS COVID-19 app switches to Google/Apple Model!?

I’ll probably be bundled it the back of a black van after writing this, so see you around!



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Rainbow Beeswax candles complete for our NHS staff and essential workers keeping Britain going through COVID-19. 

June 14th, 2020

after a week of melting and pouring different coloured layers for the rainbow, here they are

Rainbow Beeswax Candles

Rainbow Beeswax Candles for our NHS staff and essential workers keeping Britain going through COVID-19. 

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Project office busy light using a Raspberry Pi Zero W – so Andy does not walk in on a web conference in his pants!

June 12th, 2020

My little project has been completed which I blogged about here 

A lot has changed in the world of computers and computing in 40 years, since I used that Video Genie!

The Problem

Now that Lindsey and I and both working from home, and in two different offices, and spend most days on Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, WebEx etc in meetings with work colleagues or vendors it is difficult to tell if we are “BUSY” engaged in a meeting, and microphone and webcam are on!

also to stop me walking into Lindsey’s office, semi-naked just wearing my pants!

The Solution

A Raspberry Pi Zero W, which is a small wireless computer running Linux, with a LED display, which can be programmed with an Available (green), Busy (red), Away (yellow), Party (rainbow) mode status light!

At present there is a small web server, to toggle your status, but I’m still working on the integration with Alexa, Google, Siri and Apple HomeKit and Hue!

Lindsey just says – “I could have used a post-it!” – but where is the fun in that!

Busy Status Light it’s Party Time, and it’s POETS day!


Parts required below

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Making rainbow beeswax candles Part 1

June 11th, 2020

So I have a surplus of

  1. beeswax.
  2. glass jars.
  3. coloured crayons.
  4. candle wicks
  5. wick pins

and a professional wax melter to make beeswax canldes

so inspired by Kirstie Allsopp’s son on Keep Crafting and Carry – Episode 3 

Let’s make Rainbow Candles! Yippee!!!

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Photo of a dog rose (Rosa canina)

June 9th, 2020

Whilst on a flower related theme…

Whilst on one of our daily walks at lunchtime I came across this spectacular dog rose (Rosa canina), so here’s quick photo.

A dog rose

A dog rose

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