Week 150: Round numbers

Happy new decigigasecond! The Unix timestamp ticked over from 1,699,999,999 to 1,700,000,000 on Tuesday evening. That’s 1.7 Gs since 1 January 1970 in UTC. As far as I’m aware, decigigasecond isn’t a word. It is now.

I reached a 2000 day streak on Duolingo. That’s about five and a half years of daily practice. I certainly find it much more enjoyable since I set my profile to private to opt out of the leagues.

I managed to book an appointment to get our gas and electricity meters upgraded. I do have reservations about the privacy and security implications of smart meters, but they’re pretty much unavoidable now, and they do provide advantages, like not having to go outside and peer at numbers, and access to tariffs that vary by time of day.

Plus, we already have smart meters, just ones that are operating in a very non-smart mode. Technically, they are SMETS1 meters that were supposed to be upgraded. Several deadlines later, that clearly isn’t happening, and so energy companies are supposed to replace ones that haven’t been upgraded with SMETS2 meters, by the end of the year.

Every time I went to Octopus’s page, usually to submit a reading, they asked me to book an installation. Every time I tried, it failed with an unknown error. Eventually, I wrote them a slightly sarcastic email, explaining how I would love to help them meet their obligations. They said they could do it on Thursday. Unfortunately, they didn’t say when on Thursday, so I’ll be stuck in waiting.

I’m looking forward to not having to take readings, but I’m also hoping to be able to monitor usage and cost in near-real-time using Octopus’s API

A strange thing happened on Friday. As I went to prepare my bicycle, I heard an engine running. I came out of the back gate, and instantly I turned into the road behind, a dark grey unmarked late-model Transit van drove off. I rode through the passage towards the front of the house, where an almost identical van also suddenly drove off. I followed this one to the end of the road, where I noticed a little camera lens mounted in the back door.

Maybe it’s coincidence, but it did look very much like a stakeout. I hope not.

I listened to live jazz based on the work of William Byrd by David Gordon and Tenor Madness, part of the London Jazz Festival. If jazz standards can be based on popular tunes from the 1940s, why not popular tunes from the 16th century? It was unusual – it was the first time I’d ever heard harspichord and viola da gamba in a jazz context – but excellent.



  • A quick fix for ChromeDriver incompatibilities on Linux

    If you have some tests that use ChromeDriver to run in a browser environment, and you’re seeing errors like This version of ChromeDriver only supports Chrome version 114, and you’d rather do some useful work than waste time fixing stuff that worked last week, here’s a quick fix that worked for me on Linux. Something similar might work on Mac OS. I’ve no idea about Windows.

    More …

  • Week 149: Mission to Uranus

    I underwent a gastroscopy and colonoscopy on Wednesday, but the procedure wasn’t actually the bad part. That would be the preparation.

    More …

  • Remapping mouse buttons in Wayland

    For reasons that I won’t go into here, I switched my desktop computer from an X.Org session to Wayland. One thing that didn’t work was my customised trackball button mapping. That was never particularly user-friendly under, but under Wayland it’s not supported at all. Or rather, it’s delegated to the desktop environment, and as I’m using Gnome, there’s scant customisation available.

    But that doesn’t mean we’re out of luck.

    More …

  • Week 148: A refund appears

    When we decided to give up on the obviously failing London Solar Together scheme last year, I’d written off the £150 deposit/survey fee that was all we’d paid. The sketchy company that was doing (or, mostly, not doing) the installations has followed its inevitable course into failure, like many of the directors’ previous companies: dissolved after going into administration; same again; this one too; and this one; currently in liquidation; also in liquidation. In retrospect, it shouldn’t have been a surprise. The result, however, is that Solar Together have given us the deposit back, so in the end we haven’t lost anything at all.

    More …

Older entries can be found in the archive.