Sunday, April 30, 2017

Driving All Night (And Day)

Prince: Cream

How did Marcus and Agata get all the way from North West England back to Lausanne Switzerland.

Mostly by driving thru the day & Night.

But it was not all fun.  There was planning & a large part of it was preparing our video and audio entertainment sources to keep us going whilst on the road.

Thank You For the Music

 Our first audio source for the trip was Audible.  We downloaded about 1GB of audio.   We listened to this rendition of the Bible for several hours.   Since we are only in the Old Testament so far there is only so much savagery, stupidity and killing we could put up with.  We had to stop [listening].

 Marcus downloaded over 6 hours of BBC Radio 4 Drama, Comedy and Documentaries.  Including things like Book at Bedtime and Beyond Belief.

BBC Downloads only work in England.  Hmm.

We used our Spotify Family subscription to download at least 12 hours of our favourite music.

All our music is played from our Smartphone via Bluetooth to the Pioneer radio in the Motorhome.

Our Shopping

We made some recent UK food discoveries.   It's now quite possible using Almond, Rice or the above Oat based milk substitute to avoid using milk from Cows.   There are ethical and energy saving reasons to make this switch.  We left with some supplies to continue our experiment whilst in Switzerland.

Friend Requests

The Global food market never quite made it to Switzerland.  So fellow Global residents have been messaging us with pretty specific food requests.  Including Wotsits.

We even brought back Cadbury's Cream Eggs.  A feast is planned this coming week to all members of Zimfit.  

Driving in a motorhome takes a long time.   You will not be averaging over 100Km/hour.  Lucky to get to 80Km/hour including modest stops.   So we had the time to see the sights whilst driving.

Google Maps
We use Google Maps for Navigation with Navigon pre downloaded App on Agata's iphone as a backup.  The Navigon app has a special Motorhome mode which can guide you away from low bridges.  Whilst that is useful Google Maps satellite view is actually better.   Requires a good Internet connection obviously.

We slept in the Motorhome at Dover.  Well for a few hours anyway. Because from Calais it will be another 800Km of driving and we need to be as rested as possible.

Bug Cleaning
Bugs, cementing themselves onto our windscreen are a constant problem.   A motorhome has the aerodynamic profile of a brick and this certainly does not help reduce the bug count.

We are constantly reminded even at French service stations that the threat of Terrorist attack is now a way of life.  I can and will  never forgive the terrorists for forever changing our daily lives to one of constant vigilance.


It's been about 30 years since we saw promotions for Glasses at petrol stations.  I think these are retro trendy glasses.  Luckily we don't need such.  Though does anybody?

Fuel Costs

Fuel costs do vary between countries and on or off motorways.  But you just have to grin and bear it.  Same goes for French Motorway tolls.  From the UK to Switzerland one way; it's a base fuel and toll cost of over 250GBP.

So to us minor variations in fuel prices are irrelevant.  Also, we can't get too phased or annoyed by service station food and beverage prices.  In the scheme of things they are small-ish (vs fuel and toll costs) and provide a welcome break.


At every stop, and they were every 100Km or so we got out and did some exercise.  And some stations had outdoor Gyms.  Tremendous!

Internet Helped, yet again

On our 1200+ km drive we have had one constant companion.  The Internet.  From a base 500MB/day load whilst streaming BBC Radio4 and other music sources in England,  to over 1.7GB/day in downloading BBC Radio4 sources and Spotify albums before the trip.  And about 1.02GB on the day of travel using Google Maps et al.

This is a polite request:   Whilst Internet may be optional today it will be mandatory tomorrow.  Make sure your Internet works, and works well,  Globally.

Sunday Sermon: Religion, Evolution Of

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Saturday Calmer

Something Like This

It has been another frantic week for Marcus and Agata.  But I hope you feel from the character of this posting, that things are still on the up ...   Sent to us in the last week :-))

Photoshoot Complications



And Finally

We hope that we have reset your Saturday Karma ready for the Bank Holiday

Bon Weekend.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

An End to Vista

I was neither shocked or surprised to hear that Microsoft Vista support ended on April 11 2017.  Here is the link

The life of Microsoft Vista was between 2007 and 2009.  So if you are using this for productive use today, some 8 years later you are both a terrible cheapskate and a little bit stupid.

Operating Systems develop,  new Security threats are found, so you owe it to yourself to stay at a reasonable current and supported level of software be it at the Operating System or Application level.

But I still use Vista!
Having said that I still use Microsoft Vista. But in a controlled and isolated form.  My excuses are:

- It's running, 32 bit mode inside a Virtual Machine
- It does not need, and has no Internet Access
- I paid for several licenses
- I only use it to run a Cromemco Cromix Emulator,  ZEMU.  It is of course documented here.  And though the emulator can run in many versions of Windows I have a clone-able Vista image I use for testing only.

So what was wrong with Vista?
Personally, and you may quote me, that relative to other Windows Versions, I found Vista quite acceptable.

- Aero interface: was fine
- A Standard Start menu
- 32bit and 64 bit variants
- .NET framework Programming Interface

To me,  as a licensed user with a powerful computer and decent Graphics, nothing was wrong with Vista, either functionally or from a reliability stance.

I mean compare it to the Tiled User Interface and Presentation of Universal Apps of Windows 8 and 10.  Yes well, the mis-step design issues it was famed for IMHO are smaller IMHO than current generation Windows :-)

I will Prove it!

Windows Vista Resource Toolkit

For so many years the Resource Toolkit was an impressively large Technical book and some companion programs to help you understand and make the most of your Windows Operating System. 

And when I bought this Vista Toolkit book in 2007 I realised the quality of the documentation had reached new heights.  At the risk of sending every reader into a coma I have the entire contents to share with you.  Ready to see what is in Vista really?

So if nothing else, if you are still awake, I hope I convinced you that the Resource Kit at least is worth further investigation.

And Resource ToolKits?
The Resource toolkit was always the defacto technical way to dissect a new Windows release.  I suspect it gave the competition too many ideas.  The documentation was just that good.  You could read it and understand Microsoft's intentions in a flash, and then squabble about how it was actually implemented.

Today in 2017, Microsoft has rather given up on this documentation format.  I do note there was a Windows 7 Resource Kit but nothing more.  

And So
Vista, I realise your time for commercial use has been and gone.  If you are reading this Blogpost from an Internet connected Vista PC.  Stop immediately and upgrade :-)

DeWalt DCD785 Power Tool Made Us Smile

Subtitle:  Happily Screwing

Marcus and Agata are just delighted with our DeWalt compact hammer drill and here is why

It Broke Down
Years ago Agata was presented a toolkit from her father and every time we use it we think fondly on him.   But after years of service the Bosch hammer drill contained within just broke down.

It was time for something new.  So we googled.

We found that these days you can buy a cordless Electric Drill.  And that it can also perform a hammer function.   

Relative Values

We have also owned several Bosch IXO electric compact screwdrivers.  We even got one with a motorised Wine Bottle opener!  We thought there was simply no better electric screwdriver.

But as of today we realised that we were so very very naive

DeWalt DCD785 Compact Hammer Drill Driver

At just over 130 GBP from a DIY store we unpacked our DeWalt DCD785.

There is the unit itself

2 x 1.5Ah Lithium Ion Batteries

A charger

No drill bits or adapters or ends

Yes it is Brilliant!
This device can be used either as a screwdriver or a Drill ( & Hammer Drill).  

There are 2 gears, Forward Reverse, Hammer Off/ On

A progressive on switch allowing you to continuously vary the RPM, necessary for screw-driving

Torque upto 60 Nm   ( much more than other entry level machines)

Able to drill into Concrete, Wood, Metal: basically anything

Compared to the Bosch IXO, there is absolutely no comparison

2 Batteries means 1 can be charging one whilst you use the other

4Ah batteries instead of 1.5Ah can be purchased separately

Torque sensitive chuck that you set between 1 and 14 so that it only screws upto that torque and freewheel ratchets after that.

 Some Sexy Pictures



We have now realised that the IXO is not so great after all, this DeWalt is just a whole new level of screwdriving and drilling.

Considering the price, really recommended.