A Brand New Year is Upon Us

Welcoming 2023

Happy New Year everyone – I’m sure most of us have high hopes for a better year this year.

2022 has been a mixed year here at tech.scargill.net, old favourite such as Banggood have not been having a good time and have been very quiet, meanwhile I’ve made all sorts of new industry contacts around the world. In the UK it’s easy to think that Covid is behind us yet large numbers of people are still being infected with the now somewhat muted disease.

Back in my base in rural southern Spain, things have been relatively normal aside from the inevitable price hikes partly thanks to the Russian-Ukraine conflict but over in China, industry is still in trouble thanks to the effects of the Zero-Covid policy and its quick reversal – one of the side benefits of running a tech blog is that I get to chat to people all over the world – widening my perspective on all that’s going on.

Back to my own (relatively trivial) issues, during my Christmas stopover in the UK I’ve been keeping the blog up to date despite being in a new base with no traditional broadband and struggling with everything including my own incompetence in picking, earlier in 2022 a not-very-sensitive 4G router (details of the Kuwi device elsewhere in the blog).

In the summer of 2022 on a brief visit to the UK I had the router mounted on the roof of our new UK base (2 storeys) which seemed like a great idea at the time but now, in the depths of Northeastern England winter, I’m trying so far unsuccessfully to get someone out to retrieve the SIM from the roof so I can fit it into my latest GL-iNet 4G router (Spitz V2, covered elsewhere in here) and meanwhile suffering at the hands of LycaMobile who appeared to offer a great deal in mobile data in the run-up to Christmas but who in reality failed to provide ANY meaningful support over the Christmas period when I had massive issues getting data out of them.

As you might imagine, the blog includes not only text but images and video and I’ve been severely hampered over christmas by the need to grab mobile data from various sources including roaming data on our phones. Early this month I’ll be back in full swing but I’d like to put in a word for Spanish mobile operators DigiMobile and Xenet who’s roaming support has kept me in operation and someone who shall not be named who’s sharing his BT Hotspot data with me. Outside of the UK you may not recall but back around 2007 while living in the UK I was enjoying the early FON network which turned ordinary folks’ broadband into hotspots assuming both the home user and mobile user were part of the FON network. That then somehow transformed for the UK into BT Hotspots. At the time I had no use for these but over the christmas I’ve become re-acquanted with the latter. Consumers with a BT account can use this facility when away from home to share a portion of the WiFi of other participating BT broadband users (within range).

Between BT Hotspots, my Spanish roaming and the pretty awful O2 signal thanks to the KuWFI router, I’ve managed to keep writing while family do the inevitable TV/movie Christmas bingeing, you may note I’ve had lots of new stuff in the mail and in the next few days I’ll have even more to talk about here in the blog. I hope my subscribers have had a nice break and I look forward to 2023 at it develops as I’m sure do many of us.

Update: Broadband sorted – the BT-Broadband hotspot is making a good backup and I’ve thrown the rubbish Lycamobile SIM in the bin. STILL no response from them despite having a go at their social media.

Total aside – the free WLED software (I just LOVE his URL – https://kno.wled.ge/ ) has just been updated to handle addressable LED arrays – I’ve just ordered an 8*32 job from AliExpress delivery mid-Jan – should be good for some scrolling message fun which I’ll no doubt write about. Meanwhile – keep warm – this might help 🙂


6 thoughts on “A Brand New Year is Upon Us

  1. Hi Pete,

    Happy new year! I followed from an old blog post of yours from years ago about controlling 433mhz sockets, and your name rang a bell. Back in the 80s did you own an Exidy Sorcerer?


    1. Hi Adrian

      I most certainly did. Started with a Sinclair Mk14, then a NASCOM-1 then in no particular order – Exidy Sorcerer, Act Sirius 1 (called Victor 9000 in the USA), can’t remember some of the other machines I had – oh, yes, Commodore PET, Original IBM PC, 100-BUS-based PC, Spectrum, ZX-80 then ZX-81… a white laptop – ZENITH (bulky job but my wife’s dad knew someone at Zenith in the USA).

      433Mhz sockets – well, after years of Tasmota and ESP8266/ESP32 which I still use, I’m getting into Zigbee with great success now.. 🙂



      1. Hi Pete,

        I’m still very much old-skool with the 433mhz sockets, mine are controlled by Raspberry Pi’s. I wish I’d found your blog post when I was originally building things back in 2016 though!

        I thought you might like to see that Sorcerer again, I’ve owned it since 2006. It’s one of my favourite machines in my collection, and back in 2018 I fully restored it. It always goes down well at retro exhibitions 😀 https://binarydinosaurs.co.uk/Museum/Exidy/



        1. Thanks Adrian

          I use Raspberry Pi 4s (with apologies to anyone trying to get a hold of these in the current totally avoidable chip shortage) – you still have the Sorcerer? Right – lets have a look… MAGIC – yes I recall now I put S100 bus on the Sorcerer – fun times – though how I afforded it is anyone’s guess. Well done for restoring it. I have to say, I started with the MK14 – you may recall it didn’t have a proper stack – and after reading what Americans were doing, it nearly put me off computing for life – about the best I could manage was to put my name up, scrolling, on the display.. how things have changed – and here we are in 2023 – seemingly on the cusp of Quantum computing.

          Now if someone can just stop nature and the Russians finishing us off so that we can keep the pace going… Want to have a play with what we can do today? You might find this fun… https://chat.openai.com/chat (unbelievable if you ask questios you’re sure Google can’t handle) and at the other end of the scale see this update to WLED – https://kno.wled.ge/ I’ve just sent off to AliExpress for an 8*32 WS2821b display module to push this to it’s limits – more sometime early February on the blog…


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