ThinkPad Z13 SSD replacement

One thing I’ve loved about ThinkPad laptops for many years, is the upgradability and repairability. Ever since the early days, it’s been possible to noodle around inside a ThinkPad. Sadly, some of the modern X1/Ultrabook line, and some others, are less upgradable than previous generations. My year-old ThinkPad Z13 has a few options for noodling around inside though, including storage. My Z13 shipped with Ubuntu out of the box. I wanted to try something different, but didn’t want to wipe the OS off the SSD. [Read More]

Eufy RoboVac: Three years later

Back in 2021, I reviewed the Eufy RoboVac 30C (affiliate link) vacuum cleaner. I’d owned the device for three months by then. Enough time for it to chew up some socks, cables and shoelaces. In between all that, it did some vacuuming! So I thought I’d re-visit the blog, and figure out if it’s still a decent device, three years after initially buying it. We named him Harvey. Harvey the cleaner, after the character played by Harvey Keitel in Pulp Fiction. [Read More]

Diamond Rio PMP300

My loft is a treasure trove of old crap. For some reason I keep a bunch of aged useless junk up there. That includes the very first MP3 player I owned. Behold, the Diamond Rio PMP 300. Well, the box, in all its ’90s artwork glory. Here’s the player. It’s powered by a single AA battery for somewhere around 8 hours of playback. It’s got 32MB (yes, MegaBytes) of on-board storage. [Read More]

Pro Breeze Air Fryer Review

Like many during The Event I bought an Air Fryer. Specifically I got the Pro Breeze XL 5.5L (affiliate link) from Amazon. I honestly didn’t do a tremendous amount of research, just reading a few reviews and using those as my basis for what to buy. The Pro Breeze models come in different sizes, and the reviews for the smaller model suggest the larger 5.5L one is preferable. I’m lucky enough to have enough kitchen workspace to leave it out on the side, so went for the larger model. [Read More]

Scanning Frustration

“Printers are devices for causing pain and frustration. They also sometimes print stuff out.” - Me, many times over the years. I have an HP LaserJet 100 MFP M175nw networked laser printer / scanner / copier. I’ve had it since 2013 where it’s generally worked okay most of the time. We don’t print a ton of things in this house, but when we do, it’s typically urgently required for work or school. [Read More]

Hunting Down A New Laptop

My most “recent” laptop history looks a bit like this: Toshiba T1910cs (~1994) Toshiba T2100cs (~1995) Sony Vaio PCG-C1 (~1998) Dell Inspiron XPS Gen 2 (~2005) Toshiba Portege M400 (~2007) Apple MacBook Pro (~2010) ThinkPad X220 i7 (~2012) ThinkPad T450 i7 (~2016) There have been other, non-primary computer devices over the years like the Intel Classmate, ASUS Transformer, Asus EEE 701 & 900, EEE 1000HA, Dell Latitudes, Toshiba AC100, Pinebook, Pinebook Pro, an Entroware Athena and, briefly a MacBook Air. [Read More]

The Best Toaster

If you know me well in person, or online, you’ll almost certainly have heard me evangelise about the best toaster you can buy. If so, you are excused from reading any further. However, I may test you on this text at some point. So skip reading it at your peril! There are no affiliate links in this post. I do not seek to financially benefit from your enjoyment of deliciously toasted bread. [Read More]

Magewell HDMI Capture with ffmpeg

Three years ago I bought a Magewell USB HDMI capture device (affiliate link). It’s a neat, reliable and well made, if expensive device. I use it to capture the output of computers, mostly to get pixel perfect bug reports, and to make some videos for YouTube. I prefer these hardware solutions over the software screencasting counterparts, as they tend to be more reliable, and don’t consume resources on the computer being recorded. [Read More]

Xiaomi Redmi AirDots S Review

This is a somewhat belated review, as I’ve had these headphones for over 6 months now, but I use them often enough for a long term review I think. Also, I’m no MKBHD, so this isn’t a deep dive into the audio response of these things. Set expectations accordingly. This is more of a ramble than a review. I’m no audiophile. I tend to listen to music while working on whatever headphones are nearby. [Read More]

Two Displays & Two Computers

In my messy office I have a main desk I work at. I have two portait displays on a hefty, but inexpensive BONTEC Dual Monitor Stand (affiliate link), clamped to the back, to lift the monitors up off the desk. The monitors are 3-year-old, low-end 24" ASUS VS248HR (affiliate link) “Gaming Monitor’s” 🤣. I recently bought a Raspberry Pi 400 which also sits on my desk for quick-release arm64-action! The problem I have had with other Pi’s is the spiders web of cables needed, and additional keyboard. [Read More]

Ouya was a Success

On 11th July 2012, the Ouya burst onto the scene via popular crowdfunding site - Kickstarter. It was billed as “A New Kind of Video Game Console” which sold for $99/£99 at launch. It was essentially an Nvidia Tegra 3 based ARM System on Chip crammed into a tiny box which sat under / near your TV and was operated with supplied bluetooth game controllers. They far exceeded the target of $950,000, reaching $8,596,474, setting some high expectations among the backers and interested onlookers. [Read More]

Eufy RoboVac 30C Review

3 months ago I bought a Eufy RoboVac 30C (affiliate link) vacuum cleaner. Now feels like a good time to write a review. Before The Event we had a cleaner at home who came once a week. We no longer have a cleaner and I’m now the only adult in the house, so figured I could do with some help cleaning up. In short, yes, I’d recommend it, if you have similar requirements to me. [Read More]

The Best Portable Spectrum

The Sinclair ZX Spectrum was the second computer I ever owned, a natural upgrade from the Sinclair ZX81. I still own a small collection of Spectrums which work perfectly after a bit of light refurbishment thanks to Mutant Caterpillar. They’re not often setup to play with, due to the space needed. Some Many of the Spectrum games are absolute classics, and still remain fun to play now though. There’s plenty of ways to play under emulation on desktops and laptops. [Read More]

Double Your Network Speed with This One Trick

The trick: Read the manual. I pay for 100Mb/s downstream Internet connection at home. For months I’ve been getting around 50Mb/s at my desk, and 100Mb/s over wifi on my phone, under optimal conditions. Here’s how I ‘fixed’ the ‘slow’ Internet (essentially LAN speed) connection at my desk. I use a bunch of TP-LINK “Powerline” adapters around the house to get wired networking to each room. “Well, that’s your first problem, Alan. [Read More]

Keyboards, Old and New

Over on r/mk you’ll find a community of mechanical keyboard enthusiasts. People who enjoy collecting, building and showing off their primary computer input device. Like any collector community, it’s a fascinating glimpse into the world of people passionate about something we all likely have used, but don’t feel especially invested in. I’m certainly no MK afficianado, but I use keyboards all day every day, so like wine, I can appreciate a relatively good one, but I’ll also tolerate a cheap and crap one if pushed. [Read More]

Goodbye Pebble - Hello FitBit

I’ve never really been a massive watch nerd, my daily driver had been a Casio F-91W - the choice of the terrorist (apparently) - and retro classic. I’d seen other nerds using Pebble smart watches (monochrome, more industrial looking), and absorbed their positive influences about the devices. I wasn’t super enamoured about the overall design of the watch though, and it appeared to have some limitations I wasn’t happy about. [Read More]

Counting to 100 Million

This article previously appeared on I’ve moved it here to consolidate my blogging About 10-15 years ago, back in the heady days of Hampshire Linux User Group, we had a Wiki. It ran a heavily patched version of UseModWiki that we’d modified to add anti-spam and anti-abuse protection. We’d affectionately called it “AbuseMod”. It’s still kinda there, but I don’t think the content is ever touched. We used it to co-ordinate meetings, take notes, and some other fun sillyness. [Read More]

Multiple GPUs in a Skull Canyon NUC

This article previously appeared on I’ve moved it here to consolidate my blogging Every 3 years at Canonical we get a laptop refresh fund. With it we can buy whatever devices we need to work. I used my last one to buy a ThinkPad T450. The most recent one arrived in November this year. I was considering replacing the ThinkPad with a desktop computer of some kind. I can certainly keep the T450 for portable work, but I mostly sit at the same desk all day, so figure I may as well get a desktop rather than a laptop. [Read More]

Straightforward Linux Backups with rsnapshot

This article previously appeared on I’ve moved it here to consolidate my blogging I hang around in technical support back-alleys. All too often a new person turns up asking for urgent help. Their system is catastrophically broken and they have no easy way to fix it. With a bit of help they can usually come to a fork in the road. Do they wipe and re-install, or keep fighting with the computer to get it working. [Read More]

Spotify on the Raspberry Pi 400

I recently ordered a Raspberry Pi 400, I couldn’t resist. I’ve bought a few Raspberry Pi’s over the years, with a couple installed around the house. The Pi 400 struck me as quite the game-changer though, with a built in keyboard-enclosure and accessible connectors. The fact it reminded me of my youth with memories of the Sinclair Spectrum where everything is housed inside the keyboard helped a bit. One omission which struck me as odd was the lack of audio jack. [Read More]