Saturday, 27 August 2016

Man cave: Day 366 - finally done

Exactly a year ago I posted that my garage conversion was finally starting.

Today I finally received the completion notice from the council.

The huge delay was caused by the fact that the project as a whole, for which I contracted BW Reed & Son Ltd, did not, as a whole, meet building regulations.

There were several issue which meant that the builder had to do a lot of work to prove the unconventional way he did the insulation did meet some of the regulations, and that took time.

But the final issue was ventilation - fresh air. To fix meant either a big fan, or windows that opened. The fact I have an outside door, which I can always open to get fresh air, and in internal door leading to a utility room with windows that open, and hence I could leave open to get fresh air, apparently do not count!

The solution I went for in the end was windows that can open. I am unlikely to actually open them, as I have air-con, and it would, most of the year, defeat the point. But they can be opened, and that means we do now have the final building inspection sign off.


Next step would be to work out who to blame?
  • The builders, BW Reed & Son Ltd, were engaged to do the garage conversion, and in that to meet building regulations. They arranged (and I paid for separately) a number of contractors to do things like electrical work, windows, flooring, decorating, etc.
  • The electrician put in power sockets, network sockets, and so on. The builder thinks it is his fault as he should have quoted for and insisted on a suitable fan.
  • The glazier is aware of some building regulations (such as secondary exit from bedrooms), and the council say that a glazier should be aware of regulations as they have to comply when simply changing windows. The glazier was not aware of the fresh air requirement.
I've asked the glazier if he thinks he should have know building regulations. I may ask some other glaziers. Changing the window cost £585, actually the same as the original window installation. So this is a straight extra cost for the mistake that somebody made. I may even try asking the CAB.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

How many times do we have to explain it?

Now the French and Germans are at it - wanting to ban true end to end encryption. See article.

It is not complicated - such things can never work as intended and can only harm normal people.

Please spend 4 minutes listening to me try, once again, to explain it - and tell people.

Drones and police

Interesting story today from a friend...

He too has a new Phantom 4, and was practicing flying in the fields that back on to his house a few weeks ago before he went on holiday.

He was not videoing, and whilst it has a camera he was only using to control and monitor the aircraft, so the CAP722 3.7 exception means it is not a surveillance aircraft at that point. Well, we think so anyway. He was being careful, not flying over people or houses. Indeed, much of the field is not even within 150m of a congested area so surveillance aircraft would be allowed anyway.

He just got back from holiday to find a card from the police asking to talk to him. He was worried it was about the drone, and indeed, after about 4 hours of chasing them, the right person finally managed to talk to him and explain that it was.

Well, sort of.

Someone had complained to the police that a drone nearly flew in to their conservatory. It was not even my friend's drone, but someone else's in the road. They found the kid with the drone and he said my friend had one too, so they went to speak to him as well (and he was on holiday).

They told him (and the kid) to just be considerate. They explained that they get a lot of complaints about drones and there is nothing they can do about it. They even confirmed that if the kid had flown in to the conservatory and broken it, that would be a simple civil matter (no intention of causing damage) and would not even involve the police.

This is good in some ways, not so good in others, and raises some interesting questions...

1. Why did they not simply tell the complainer that "there is nothing they can do about it" rather than wasting time tracking down two other people and talking to them? I am sure they would have managed to say that had it been a ballon or a paper plane.

2. Why did they not actually know that some of the drone flying is illegal, e.g. surveillance over or within 150m of a congested area without CAA approval? They told my friend he was fine to fly his drone if he is considerate. It is even in an ATZ, though for sub 7kg drones that is not a factor.

3. Why are people so hyped up over drones - why not talk to each other if something is causing annoyance in some way instead of wasting police time?

Anyway, good news that they were not being arses about it - that is perhaps the important message here. My friend has now been briefed on all of the relevant rules to make sure he is flying legally anyway. Rumour is that next year the rules should be simplified, and for low altitudes be much more relaxed - I do hope so.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Help to Buy ISA

The scandal is reported in The Telegraph.

Now, I can understand why the government don't pay the bonus until completion - else people could cash the ISA and get the bonus as part of buying and then back out and keep the bonus. Makes sense!

What makes no sense to me is why, even with that caveat, that cannot work. The whole process of buying a house means various fees, and a deposit, and then a mortgage that gets actually paid on completion. I can understand the deposit being handed over on exchange, else you could find people don't have it on completion. But why can one not "hand over the ISA" at exchange too. Some legally binding commitment that on completion the ISA is cashed and used as a whole, with the bonus, at completion. After all the mortgage itself is like that, not actually paid until completion but all part of a legally binding process set up at exchange.

I am shocked it is not simply a signature on a suitable contact at exchange that gives the solicitor the ability to cash the ISA with the bonus at completion to make up with the mortgage the purchase price.

This cannot be beyond the wit of the legal profession, surely?

360 degree images

I wondered how you make one, and I googled, and the advice was to use the Google Streetview App.

So I had a go - here is the video


This is what the image looks like flat!

And this is what it looks like on Facebook


P.S. Yes, that video, I know. I should have pointed it so I was in the middle, and should not have had auto focus, especially when the microphone was sat on the camera and pics up the focus motor noise. It was done badly and I was buggered if I was going to do all that again. I hope it conveys the message though...

IBM Model M and Filco keyboards

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Maybe it was Unifi after all

DEAR PEOPLE FROM THE FUTURE: Here's what we've figured out so far ... (denvercoder9)

And another post on WiFi... The ongoing battle to stop our iPhones losing connection when roaming between Unifi APs.

The latest change seems to have worked. I really hope I am not coming back next week and updating this post to say otherwise. But really, it has been several days now, and no problem.

The change was to put the APs (Unifi AC Pro and AC Pro LR) on firmware 3.7.5.4969.

I had to change the controller to unifi5 to get this latest version

deb http://www.ubnt.com/downloads/unifi/debian unifi5 ubiquiti

The iPhone is not off the hook entirely though - as even when it did not get DHCP and knew the WiFi was therefore not working, with a self allocated 169.254 address, it would still try and use the WiFi and not the 3G even with WiFi assist. So it was being dumb. But not as bad as I thought...

The other change in the latest firmware and controller that I have noticed is 14 more 5GHz channels, so 18 rather than just the 4 we had before. This will help avoid interference from other APs.

So, fingers crossed. This may be the answer.

P.S. One case of losing DHCP since...