Monthly Archives: September 2019

Node-Red 1.0 b3 Trials

Node-RedThis one is only for Raspberry Pi / Node-Red fans. ALL SORTED – everything works – so this is here merely to help others and maybe to encourage a better setup for I2C, RPI GPIO in Node-Red 1.0 official, serial and SQLITE3? Here’s a thing – don’t even THINK about upgrading without making backups first. For the record at this point at the time of writing, I’m running Node-Red 1.0 B3 on a Raspberry Pi 4

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Node-Red Persistence

Node-RedHow could I POSSIBLY be so SLOW? For many months, after originally coming up with my own mechanism for making Node-Red variables persistent across power cycling – and then promptly forgetting about it, I’ve been conveniently ignoring the relatively new official way to do this…

This morning, just out of boredom I thought I’d have a read up… and…

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Xiaomi Mi 4 Smart band


On the surface of it the Xiaomi Mi 4 looks like it’s predecessor, the Mi3, but it is NOTHING like it. The original was/is a fine, mono display smart band which my wife LOVES, but the Mi 4 is a full colour model while still retaining the best part of a month battery life – 20 according to Xiaomi and I went WAY past that with some very enthusiastic use including downloading hundreds of watch-faces – the band has hardly been off my wrist (now including swimming in the sea and taking showers) and I’ve only just charged it as the battery was showing 18%.

Xiaomi have provided us a much needed watch face library and this smart band also supports various independent watch-face libraries and apps including the Amazfit app. I love it and the watch face you see to the right is my NEW add-on favourite. The Mi 4 blows the socks off both the Huawei Honor Band 4 and 5 (good as they are) – at least in terms of choice of watch faces.

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RPI4 Network Lesson

Updated September 06 2019

This blog entry covers a wide range of issues I’ve had and resolved since the introduction of the Raspberry Pi 4 single-board computer (SBC) and the “Buster” update to the (Linux Debian-based) Raspbian operating system. Enjoy, technical readers using the RPI may find this very useful.

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The reason for the title is simple – I’ve just had my first (favourable, exciting, even) experience with Xose Perez’s multi-purpose Espurna IOT firmware on some of my Sonoff power controllers.

SonoffRegular readers will know that I developed ESP-GO and usually flash either ESP-GO or Theo Arends’s Tasmota firmware onto my Itead Sonoff boards. Because of the FLASH size limitations on these Sonoffs and many similar units I’ve been gravitating towards Tasmota recently and generally it works well, controlling relays and handling MQTT communication with my Node-Red/MQTT based Raspberry Pi home control systems. I’ve been using release 6.6.0 of Tasmota since it first appeared but here we go – time for change?

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Photo Apps

Deep Art Effects for Android and IOSIt just occurred to me that the sub-title of my tech blog infers anything to do with gadgets – and most sunny summer days  I find time to take photos, usually of gadgets but also of friends, scenery and local events. I do have a blog for photography – a relatively new blog and until today COMPLETELY forgot to add subscribe, log-in and log-out buttons.

Thanks to forgetting to give it a “subscribe” button” – I probably end up writing to myself most of the time. Anyway, the phone is a “gadget” – and regular readers know that I cherish my Xiaomi Pocophone. The same readers also likely know I’m a great fan of the Android “Snapseed” app which handles most photo processing “essentials”, despite being free. Well, my NEW photo toy is very cheap and called “Deep Art Effects”. More of that over on the photo blog.