Selling Up

Back when I lived with my parents, I had a great time building various projects, which even won me a car. I put a lot of hard work and money into building a rack from scratch, creating a whole-house-audio system from various parts along with the software, and wiring up the house for networking.

Well, the time has come to dismantle many of my projects. My parents are itching to put my old room back to use, and I need to gather as much cash as I can for an exciting excursion to the other side of the world next year. I have felt some tears forming, but I just remind myself what it is in aid of and all of the unknown projects that are yet to come.

I have started listing much of the equipment on eBay. If you’re interested in home automation, want to build your own rack, or you have a professional need for some of the AV equipment then please take a look and bid on things that take your fancy.

More equipment will be added tomorrow – mostly the PCs that I no longer use. This includes 2 rackmounts and an old gaming rig.

‘Tis the season for gingerbread

Last year in the run up to Christmas, I found the best gingerbread I had ever tasted, being sold by bakery chain Cooks. I liked it so much that I bought a batch for everyone at work to enjoy. Unfortunately there wasn’t any of the same this year, so I decided to give it a go myself.

The key to trying to match those sold by Cooks was going to be the mix of spices – their dough didn’t contain just ginger – and baked consistency, as they were nice and soft. Continue reading “‘Tis the season for gingerbread”

Look after the pennies…

“In the current economic climate” it is important to watch your finances closely. Until recently I’ve been very skeptical of link aggregation sites and affiliate schemes but after a recommendation, and feeling the pinch, I signed up to Top CashBack to see if it was for real.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, cashback sites like this act as affiliates – directly or indirectly through affiliate networks – for online retailers and service providers. When you use the site to browse to these online merchants, any purchases you make are tagged as having come from the cashback site. The companies then pay a percentage or fixed amount to the referring site. Instead of pocketing the money for themselves, they give it back to you.

So far I’ve raised a few pence shy of £150 over a period of maybe a year. The things I’ve purchased are things I would have bought anyway, so I’ve only gained – just have to remember to go to the cashback site first. The larger cashbacks tend to be with insurance and utilities, so when it comes time for me to renew I’ll be looking out for the best combination of cashback and price. I’m hoping I’ll pass £200 before the end of the year.

It takes time for the money to become payable to you, but you can track the progress of your transactions and raise queries manually if something doesn’t track. The time to payment depends entirely on the retailer you’re purchasing from.

This site in particular is a good place to find offers and discount codes, and there is a very active forum community (although I don’t use that feature much).

It’s entirely free to use – no fees at all, and at the moment you get 101% of the cashback you earn (normally 100%). You can also invite friends and family, and receive a fixed bonus for each person who signs up. You can help me out by signing up through my referral URL of and in turn I will have helped you by pointing you to this valuable resource 🙂

Stuff for sale

Over my many years of computer enthusiasm I have collected many bits of electronic stuff. I am now flogging the things I no longer need on eBay. There are some bargains in there, so please take a look:

Computational Heating

This morning I really struggled to get out of bed. Being very tired still, in a nice warm bed while outside it was -7 C and my room probably wasn’t far off that, it took some convincing that I really did need to go to work. While laying there, between drifting in and out of consciousness, I got to wondering if I could make my room a little warmer without changing the central heating settings or adding another heater. I had the idea that I could set up my computers to respond to temperature.

Continue reading “Computational Heating”