Roku Express 4K

Back in the mists of time I used to watch video on my TV using an XBox that I’d modded with a mod chip, running XBMC. It played videos off a Linux file server. While everyone else was playing DVDs on their telly, I was the oddball streaming video.

Things have progressed, and after a few failed attempts at streaming my own video to various media PCs I finally discovered Jellyfin and the app for the Roku streaming media device. Also by this time I was watching quite a lot of YouTube and the Roku was a better way to watch YouTube instead of using a Chromecast. They worked fine, but needed a phone, and could only do YouTube.

The Roku device I owned worked fine until a few years ago when it started buffering, stalling and just plain acting weird. I did a bit of investigation, found some oddities with my WiFi, fixed those but the Roku still wouldn’t play video properly and it was super irritating.

I came to the conclusion video that we watched five years ago was probably at a lower bit rate than what we watch now. And either the 2.4ghz WiFi my Roku used couldn’t cope, or the device itself was a bit underpowered.

Either way I finally gave in and bought the 4K version, and so far it seems to work great. No buffering, no weird black screens instead of video. I did have to force it to 1080p video only though, otherwise Netflix decided to try 4K and my TV doesn’t do 4K so all I saw was a black screen.

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DofE 2024

Where I probably walked more miles than the children, and everyone got very very muddy.

Last weekend was the annual Duke of Edinburgh silver expedition, and once again I was herding children around the Yorkshire Dales. There wasn’t any snow this year, but it was raining and there was plenty of boot-sucking mud.

Normally I spend the weekend bored, sat in a car watching kids roam the countryside using a Spot tracker in each groups’ bags.

This year, they decided they wanted to go off-piste and discover the wilderness by themselves. And I got to do my steps stomping about trying to find them.

Some of these miles were earned simply walking around the campsites, or trekking off from a convenient carpark to find a path junction where I’d planned to meet the kids. You can do a lot of steps if your toilet is a five minute walk away. It kind of shows how sitting still at your desk really isn’t a healthy lifestyle. You don’t need to stride off across the countryside to get some exercise, just put things out of arms reach so you have to get up and move a bit more.

You also see some quite amusing things on your wanderings. I wonder what the story behind this road sign is…

These lot probably know… They know everything. They’re probably reading this blog post right now.

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Tech bubbles are so annoying

To a man with a hammer, every problem is a nail. I remember when next door’s kid was learning to talk and form his own opinions, everything coming out of his mouth started with “daddy”.

The tech world is just as bad. AI is the new hotness, we’re actively encouraged to use it at work, and it’s creeping into everything from summaries of Amazon reviews to spam comments on my blogs. Can we get over it, figure out it’s crap for writing thoughtful content, but very good for writing summaries of existing text and move on?

I was looking for a plugin for WordPress and everything now seems to have AI shoved into it, even if it’s not a sensible idea.

I’m not saying AI is bad, going to murder us in our sleep or turn into Skynet, but I wish the tech world would stop latching onto the new shiny thing and jamming it in every orifice regardless of whether it fits or not.

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Machine Translation is better than Chinglish.

I don’t think Google is very good at translating Thai. I mean, it’s infinitely better than me at it, but even I can tell this is probably wrong…

It had another go and was somewhat better.

I’m fairly sure this isn’t some sort of game, but it containing berries is likely…

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Hi, I’m a spammer, I notice you are avoiding my emails

To be blunt, Claire I didn’t ask you to email me in the first place so I don’t quite understand the passive aggressive tone here.

Also that amazing article you found was a two sentence Mastodon post about the battery level in my car. If that’s what you consider amazing… yeah maybe hire some decent writers.

And if this is supposedly a personal email to entice me into doing something with you, why’s it got an unsubscribe link? 🤔

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I guess I need a cover for my webcam…

Uh oh, looks like I need to cover up my webcam better… Someone on the Internet infected my PC with some remote access software and recorded me watching non-advertiser friendly video.

Scams today are so tedious and unimaginative…

Hello there!

Unfortunately, there are some bad news for you. Some time ago your device was infected with my private trojan, R.A.T (Remote Administration Tool), if you want to find out more about it simply use Google.

My trojan allows me to access your accounts, your camera and microphone. Check the sender of this email, I have sent it from your email account.

You truly enjoy checking out porn websites and watching dirty videos, while having a lot of kinky fun. I RECORDED YOU (through your camera) SATISFYING YOURSELF!

If you still doubt my serious intentions, it only takes couple mouse clicks to share the video of you with your friends, relatives, all email contacts and on social networks.

All you need is $1200 USD in Bitcoin (BTC) transfer to my account (Bitcoin equivalent based on exchange rate during your transfer). After the transaction is successful, I will proceed to delete everything without delay.

Afterwards, we can pretend that we have never met before. In addition, I assure you that all the harmful software will be deleted from your device.

Be sure, I keep my promises!

If you are unaware how to buy and send Bitcoin (BTC) – Google: Where to buy Bitcoin (BTC), to send and receive Bitcoin (BTC), you can register your wallet for example here: www.blockchain.com

My Bitcoin (BTC) address is: 1EH41rY38ZwshtqCF3hKzjaFQhVaZ7zrNH Yes, that’s how the address looks like, copy and paste my address, it’s (cAsE-sEnSEtiVE).

You are given not more than 48 hours after you have opened this email (2 days to be precise).

As I got access to this email account, I will know if this email has already been read. Everything will be carried out based on fairness! An advice from me – regularly change all your passwords to your accounts and update your device with newest security patches.

Like where do we even begin? If you’re going to scam money out of me I’ll need a bit more proof than some words in an email. The Russian ladies on Snapchat at least send photos.

I miss the Nigerian scams, they had a story behind them instead of “send money please or I release your dick pix, thanks”. You could also reply and sometimes they’d reply back to you. I can’t even reply to this boring thing.

It’s like the boring “Microsoft Support” phone calls.

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Please read the top line for me…

Went for an eye test last weekend, mostly because we were sent a £10 voucher through the mail and I’ve never had one. Everyone else in the family has glasses and they seem mystified that I don’t. “We all wear them, bet you need a pair, get your eyes tested and find out”.

So I did, they’re fine. Well, the right one is a bit oval, but only a bit. The only thing the optician said was that my eyes are very dry and that I should use eye drops. Squirting those in my eyes is a new form of torture I’ve discovered. They don’t hurt, I don’t dislike it, but the reflex to shut my eye when they see objects moving towards them takes a lot to override. This is a reflex that can detect pieces of Dremel cutoff wheel flying at my face and deal with it before I’ve even noticed the blade has snapped. A droplet of water must be comically slow by comparison.

The eye test itself was kind of interesting, I had a 3D scan of my eyes done too which involved looking into a machine that scanned a red line up and down each eye. Then there was the other machine with the balloon in it that did some focus testing and then blew fucking air at my eyeball from a point blank range. “Oh this might make you jump a bit but it doesn’t hurt” the nice lady said as something started extending towards my eyeball. “We use air to test the pressure of your eye”. Aha, well after having it done multiple times I think my eyes are fine, they’ve not popped.

The actual optician (optometrist? which one is it?) also had a good peer around inside my eyes using the brightest light I’ve ever seen. You think the sun is bright? Go get an eye test. “Put your chin on here, look at my left ear, this is going to be a bit bright”. No shit. At one point he was fiddling round with a microscope having a really good look at the back of my eyeball and everything lined up perfectly so that I could see a perfect image of my own retina. I’m sure nature never intended on the light sensing part of an eye to see itself.

We also had the traditional reading of the letters game, and some fun with different lenses being stuck in front of my eyes. “Tell me which number looks clearest… number one… number two?”. After a while I just got confused as successive lenses looked identical… “Number four… or number two?” … “err? I can’t tell? Same? is that a valid answer?”. “Ok, when I do this does your vision get worse or better?” “Nope, worse, it’s all blurry”… “Hmm, and this way is clearer” “Yep”.

I guess I must have been consistently confused to get a reading of zero for both eyes. I am quite sure the way this is done removes any bias I might have towards glasses or not. Like when immigration asks you the same question six different ways just to check you’re not lying.

For all the science behind distance sight testing, close up testing seems to involve being given a sheet of paper with writing on and being asked to read the tiniest text on it. “Can you read the smallest text on this page OK?” … “Yep, looks fine”.

So yeah, eye drops and “come back in two years, you might need some then” was the verdict.

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Forgot to tax my car…

Vehicle tax is a thing here, every vehicle must be taxed. If it isn’t your insurance is invalid and all the ANPR equipped police cars driving the streets will find you.

Except they’re supposed to send you a letter reminding you it’s about to expire. Not an angry red letter telling you it has expired. Also this letter was dated 15th August and I received it today a mere week later. In the same batch of mail was some tat from China posted on the 16th of August. I’m fairly sure mail from China isn’t supposed to arrive quicker than mail from Wales…

So I logged in and “paid” my £0 for the coming year.

With my old car I used to have a yearly direct debit set up and the money would just leave my account automatically. I guess they can’t do that with this one…

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Modern Society Illustrated

Here’s a photo that perfectly sums up modern society…

Chairs need instructions explicitly telling the user it is for sitting on, and that it isn’t a step ladder.

Of course the warning label is not attached to a chair because of course it isn’t, even though it tells us not to remove it. That person probably used it as a step ladder while riding it down a corridor.

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Using a non-Tesla EV on a Super Charger

No, there’s no drama, no weird thing. It just works, just like any other CCS charger. Elon doesn’t come out and give a free hand-job while you wait or anything. About the only piece of excitement is the mildly confused looks from actual Tesla owners when you roll up.

Also the charging leads are really really short, if your charging port isn’t on a side it’s unlikely to reach. And if your port is on the “other” side to a Tesla it might be hard to park up if they’re nearly full as you might need to go into the wrong bay for the unit that’s free.

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