Category: Gadgets

These are posts about gadgets and any kind of tech.

September 30, 2011
Tonight, I am playing with a new toy, the ProQ Eco Smoker.

This is cold smoking, not hot. The small mazelike device (the ProQ Cold Smoke Generator) is filled with wood dust (“today, I will be mostly using oak”) and set to smoulder with a small tea-light, which is removed once the dust catches. After that, it will produce smoke without heat for up to 10 hours.

September 29, 2011
Lots of stuff happening here, but I haven’t been finding the time to write about it.

I have a visitor staying with me – Sovay is a collie belonging to and , who are off for a few days. It has been pretty painless, apart from her thinking that my trying to get her to bed last night was actually a really fun run-around-the-room game. Am blatently using her as an excuse to get out more regularly for walks.

July 7, 2011
I haven’t done that much on my Barbduino BBQ Controller project for about a month. No good reason, other than simply doing other stuff.

After hesitating over how the device is going to connect to the outside world, I decided to abandon the idea of a WiFi shield, and bought a standard Ethernet Shield instead. The reasons for this were various.

June 4, 2011
Earlier, I posted about my plans to build a digital controller for my Traeger pellet grill using the Arduino open source microcontroller board.

I’m new to the Arduino (although not to programming), so my first step was to buy a simple Arduino experimenter’s kit and do some general non-BBQ projects, to familiarise myself with the kit and its capabilities. This is still ongoing. I made a point only to buy the Arduino kit, and not the add-ons I might later require, such as the WiFi and LCD Screen options – doing so means I will learn to walk before I run, and limits my spend, in case the project doesn’t fly.

May 21, 2011
About the same time that I bought my Kindle, I noticed the Wii Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock full band kit was being sold by Amazon for a ridulously low price of 60 quid. I ordered a copy, on the principle that even if I decided I didn’t want it, I would easily sell it on at a profit.

I did open it up, to check everything was there, but then it sat in its box for over a month, because I was too busy to do anything with it.

May 11, 2011
Is anyone else (who reads this) playing with Arduino? It’s a kind of open source electronics kit.

I’ve just ordered the StartFun Inventor’s Kit to get me going, which is a heap of varied components together with an Arduino Uno controller – an easily programmable microcontroller. It looks a lot of fun, and it is possible to build quite a bit of stuff with a minimum of soldering, which suits me. It means I can play away developing my prototype, then call in a friend with a steadier hand when I have something worth building.

April 14, 2011
April 1, 2011
FM radio reception has always been a bit hit and miss in my area, which is why I have a couple of DAB radios around the house. However, my bedroom clock radio is still an old FM model (10 years!), and lately, I’ve found things worse than ever – decent reception when it wakes me up, but the moment I start walking around the bedroom, the signal comes and goes.

So I have just bought a replacement – the Pure Siesta Flow. This has a total of 4 alarm registers, which can be set to different day ranges – hence you can have a totally different wakeup routine at the weekend, without having to change anything. When the alarm goes, you have a choice of sources:

March 29, 2011
Back in January, I wrote that I had been thinking of getting a Kindle, but had been put off by the relative prices of ebooks to paperbacks.

A couple of things have happened since then to give me a new view on things.

February 27, 2011


Wanting to copy some MP3 files to my HTC Desire, I have been frantically searching for the USB lead for it, which had to be there somewhere. Then I realised – it is the same lead that is dangling out of the power supply.

February 25, 2011
I mentioned in my previous post that as my HTC Desire is a work phone, I will not be using it for calls while I am in the States, due to roaming costs. Which is why I wanted to look at VOIP again.

I have had a VOIP/SIP client on my phone for some time – SIPDroid. It is a popular client, and I could use it to make calls through my work VOIP phone system. However, it would never ring when a call came in, which limited its use.

February 24, 2011
Today is my last day at work for a while. I have a busy weekend ahead of me, getting all my clothes and stuff together and packed, and doing my guitar practice; then on Tuesday next week, I fly out to San Francisco for a 3 week holiday.

The trip will include staying with various filkers throughout the California state, attending Consonance, and spending time exploring both Los Angeles and San Franciso.