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.

Instead of trying to get solar panels on our suboptimal roof, we’ve invested in a solar park that can be offset against our bills. There don’t seem to be any skeletons in the directors’ closets this time.

On Friday night, we travelled to the distant land of Highbury for the birthday of a mutual friend (and successful matchmaker: she introduced not only the two of us, but also two other couples in attendance). I ate the most delicious carrots I have ever had in my life. I never imagined that a carrot could taste so interesting.

I enjoyed the evening, too.

We went to Cambridge for the weekend. I wanted to visit the Retro Computer Festival and we combined it with an overnight visit to one of L—’s university friends. Unfortunately, there were no trains to Cambridge, but instead of the dreaded Rail Replacement Bus Service, we were able to get a lift from Royston, the nearest point with a train service.

Even though the UK wants to make you think otherwise, it’s not unreasonable to want to take a train at the weekend, is it?

The festival was fun and interesting, and worth the hike through a charmless business park to get there.

I was impressed with how many people had managed to get old systems running, or in some cases, like the brand new Apple Lisa, build them from scratch.

The display that fascinated me most of all was the set of Tektronix vector graphics terminals. I’d always assumed that these worked like an oscilloscope, but they’re actually more complicated than that, using a flood gun and different beam levels to allow both persistent and transient drawing.

The most beautifully realised project was the IMSAI replica, at 1:1 scale in the X and Z dimensions (but a lot less deep).

I spoke to a few people that I only knew from online, and bumped into my old colleague James from GDS days.

I might have joined a choir.

Links of the week: