My Home Brew Setup

Around ten years ago I gave home brewing a try in my parents garage, the setup was very simple and consisted of the basics such as plastic buckets, syphons, tap water, etc. The beer produced was of a poor quality but the process was fun. Now that I have my own place with a bit of space I decided to give it another go, however this time with a slightly better setup.


The fermenter I’m using is the “Grainfather Stainless Steel Fermenter”. It has a 25 litre capacity, is made from scratch resistant stainless steel, has handles for easy movement and pre cut holes in the sealable lid for an airlock. On the inside it has litre measurements stamped so you can easily tell how much water you have added.

The stainless steel makes it easy to clean and sterilise between uses which is a bonus. This bit of kit should last a few years with good care and cleaning.

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Our Covid baby journey

I think everyone can agree life has been challenging in many ways since the Coronavirus pandemic began. The disruption caused by multiple lockdowns and the inability to go about our normal lives. Not being able to visit family or spend time with friends. It has been a very unique and tough time for all in many ways so I wanted to describe how it affected our journey through multiple pregnancies and our first born son.

It was the first week of March 2020, just as the pandemic was beginning to intensify across the world. I had been away for a few days on a work trip to Amsterdam and it was becoming noticeable that concerns were rising. People had not started wearing masks but I had been unable to buy any anti bacterial hand sanitizer in all of London, Brussels and Amsterdam, the panic buying had begun!

I returned home and over the next few days myself and partner received the joyous news that she had become pregnant, we were over the moon to say the least. Due to the rising news stories and talk of what could be to come, the happiness was mixed with a degree of anxiety as to how we may fair in this situation. At this point both of us were still commuting into London on multiple forms of public transport so we felt susceptible to the risk of infection. There had been very little studies on the virus or the long term effects so the possible risk to a pregnant woman and baby were concerning. Thankfully my office closed that week and hers shortly after, just in time for the first national lockdown.

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The infrastructure behind

I built as I regularly play Smite game with friends. The initial aim was to create a clan based smite stats site just for fun. However it has evolved into quite the project and stores around 4GB of player data including over 5,400,000 match records.

Smite stats relies on the official Hi-Rez Smite, Paladins and Realm Developer API (more details can be found here). The API provides a source for all player and match data. Consequently if the API became unavailable then the site would cease to provide real time data. In that case it would be more of an archive of smite stats data.

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Arduino RC Tamiya – Part 3 – Adding Wifi Control

Last time we replaced the standard receiver with a custom coded Arduino. This allowed us to program the car ourselves and run simple automated scripts to turn around in a circle. In this post we’ll enhance our remote control car so it can be driven over WiFi.

The Arduino board we have been using is WiFi ready, due to its secure ECC608 crypto chip accelerator. This is perfect as we can use the readily available Arduino WiFi library in our code.

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Run for Heroes 5K

With the current COVID-19 lockdown situation it can be all but too easy to accidentally stay in your home for a few days without doing any of your permitted daily exercises. I’m guilty myself of submitting to the mindset of “Oh I’ll just go running tomorrow…” and then never actually making it out the door.

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Remote Control Arduino Tamiya

Arduino RC Tamiya – Part 1

This is my first blogged side project and it’s quite an exciting / fun one. I hope this set of posts inspires you to get involved and give it a go yourself.

What is this project?
This project is about taking a standard remote control Tamiya and replacing the electronics (in particular the receiver) with an Arduino. This then allows the introduction of custom C / C++ code so we can do anything we want with the RC car! One particular interest I have is to make the RC car remote driveable, via Wifi for example so that friends can drive around my location. Once that works there’s a future step to add a mounted phone to the car with an app that would allow friends to have a telepresence.

Why would you do this?
There’s two reasons for this, the first being that we’re currently stuck in-doors due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and there’s nothing to do so I need something to keep my creative and constantly logic solving mind at peace. The second is that when I was 11 years old I received and built my first Tamiya, a TL01 and have missed crashing it into things. What better way to get back into that then let a robot drive into things at full speed… Okay I’ll try to avoid that but robotics and programming can create some interesting scenarios.

What’s the plan?
As of writing I’ve already dived head first into this project so firstly I need to update on my progress so far, here goes:

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Hello World

As with all new blogs that feature a level of tech talk, Hello World!

I’ve decided to have another go at writing a personal blog, I’ve written a few over the years included topics not limited to: Arsenal, getting started in Web Design and running 500 miles for charity. However they’ve never stuck around due to a mix of server migrations / breakages and a loss of interest in the topic. I’ve decided this time to make it a bit broader and implement a more reliable back-end setup to ensure it sticks around!

So what will this blog be about then if you’re not picking a particular subject? Good question, it’s going to be a mix of all my interests; a bit of work, coding, sport, random side projects, etc. Hopefully it will end up quite diverse but also somewhat interesting to people.

Enough rambling, let’s go down to some serious blogging.

See you in the next post!