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About Us

My name is Alan.  And I love technology and being outdoors.  But these facts alone are not that important, really.

What's important to me is that our inquisitive kids grow up loving technology, and not to be intimidated by it. That they empower themselves by understanding how the things that they interact with everyday work. Then - just maybe - they will even become the engineers of the future. Imagine stuff. Then, build them.

...So when our eldest girl challenged me to build a robot ("Rosie"), I became (unusually) determined.  I wanted to show her what could be done and how. After all, there is nothing more exciting and encouraging than seeing technology come alive. Move. Groove. (Sometimes) quite literally.

This is my personal blog that documents the continuation of that journey, as a series of wacky blog posts.

These inventions aren't going to change the world, nor make anyone any money. But that's precisely the point. Because it's about proving that, with enough curiosity and determination, anyone can get acquainted with technology and enrich themselves with a deeper understanding of the world.

Lastly, it goes without saying, life is always an unpredictable journey. Since this blog was first started a number of years ago it has evolved into something a little bigger. Unwieldy and chaotic, at times. What used to house seemingly innocuous experiments using a Raspberry Pi, now features rather convoluted IoT demonstrations and cloud computing. But one principle continues to remain central to our posts: we never forget to approach our projects with an abundance of humour. We never forget to have fun, nor take ourselves too seriously.

You can read more about our Mission Statement here.

You can also follow us on Twitter: 


[May 2020] ...And in an exciting new personal development, I have also begun work at Amazon Web Services (AWS).

As such, this is that obligatory disclaimer to state that this blog post reflects my personal opinions and exploits only, and in no way represents the views of my current or past employers!



LoRa-Wan Kenobi

In the regurgitated words of Michael BublĂ©: It's a new dawn .  It's a new day .  It's a new Star Wars film .  For me .  And I'm (George Lucas, and I'm) feeling good .  Unfortunately for Canadian Mike, the Grammy that year was won by the novelty disco classic with the famous refrain: We love IoT, even in Planet Tatooine * . *Not true. Clearly, the Star Wars producers didn't sincerely mean the last Jedi the previous time around.  Return of the Jedi, released during the decade that spearheaded cultural renaissance 2.0 with the mullet and hair-metal , was less economic with the truth.  Either way, we're going to take inspiration from the impressive longevity of the money-spinning space-opera and reboot our franchise with some Jedi mind tricks.  Except this particular flick doesn't require an ever-growing cast of unrecognisable characters, unless ASCII or UTF counts.  In place of an ensemble gathering of Hollywood stars and starlets, we will b

Battle of BLEtain

The trolling . The doxing . An army of perplexing emojis. And endless links to the same - supposedly funny - viral video of a cat confusing a reflection from a dangling key for a golden hamster, while taking part in the mice bucket challenge. Has social media really been this immense force for good? Has it actually contributed significantly to the continued enlightenment of the human (or feline) race? In order to answer these poignant existential questions about the role of prominent platforms such as Critter, StinkedIn and Binterest, employing exceptional scientific rigour equal to that demonstrated by Theranos , we're going to set up a ground-breaking experiment using the Bluetooth Low Energy feature of MicroPython v1.12, and two ESP32 development boards with inexplicable hatred for one another.  And let them hurl quintessentially British expressions (others call them abuse) at each other like two Wiltshire residents who have had their internet access curbed by the co

Hard grapht

You would all be forgiven for assuming that bar , pie and queue line are favourite pastimes of the British .  Yet, in fact – yes, we did learn this back in GCSE maths – they are also mechanisms through which meaningless, mundane data of suspect origin can be given a Gok Wan -grade makeover, with the prime objective of padding out biblical 187-page PowerPoint presentations and 871-page Word reports (*other Microsoft productivity tools are available).  In other words, documents that nobody has the intention of ever reading.  But it becomes apparent over the years; this is perhaps the one skill which serves you well for a lifetime in certain careers.  In sales.  Consultancy.  Politics.  Or any other profession in which the only known entry requirement is the ability to chat loudly over a whizzy graph of dubious quality and value, preferably while frantically waving your arms around. Nevertheless, we are acutely conscious of the fact that we have spent an inordinate amount