So a quick review of 2022. Not done one for at least a decade.
I started writing this during Christmas, then a few updates. I wanted to add links and photos. But hey, it’s now February and I have not. I should learn from this. I either blog lightly, or not at all!
So I got more and more into regularly gaming. From starting again after not playing anything since Quake (the first), during the pandemic, to this year regularly playing games, and even treating myself to a Steam Deck (which is wonderful). Witcher II, Fallout 4, Elite Dangerous, God of War, and of course Minecraft with my daughter. I’ve got her into gaming as well. Starting the year with games that she’d played on Apple Arcade, Sneaky Sasquatch, then moving onto Minecraft with me (and others), then onto the Steam Deck. She loves Alba, Sonic, Stray and Slime Rancher. Other games she’s tried but failed to get into are Planet Zoo (which her cousin plays),
Apart from a new GPU (see above for the reasons, AMD RX 6600XT) and Steam Deck (also see above), then I’ve not done hardly anything. no RPI’s Arduino’s or anything properly geeky. However, we did upgrade to Gigabit FTTP which is very, very cool. I also switched my office switch from a dumb Netgear 16 port GS116 to a Netgear GS724t. Old tech, but quite reliable (and at £20 on Facebook quite affordable!). This is linked with two aggregated links between the house switch. Same router but an earlier hardware version.
I did switch most “home services, TVHeadend, Minecraft server, Motion cameras and a few other trivial things to Docker. I also moved these from my Gentoo workstation to a new headless Debian box made from bits and pieces I had lying around (well I did upgrade RAM and CPU from eBay!). I guess on that topic I also finally switched from Mythtv to TVHeadend, when I added a second satellite dish as I found that all French TV services are broadcast unencrypted on multistream feeds from the 5W satellite. I also switched from a pair of TBS tuner cards to using a completely separate Digitbit R1. That broadcasts the four tuners as DVB>IP, which means TVHeadend can use those as tuners over the LAN. TvHeadend also acts as a recorder. TVHeadend just does not have the legacy baggage that Mythtv does. Much less functionality, but much simpler to configure (no need for a Mysql db to store settings and recordings, just a fairly simple HTTPS interface).
The Digitbit’s firmware is quite ancient. but it is trivial to boot for a new firmware via a USB stick (without having to flash the onboard storage) and there are a quite a few forks of that older firmware that support Multistream.
Clients are a number of RPI’s (running OSMC) and a dedicated client from OSMC called Vero 4k. Which is a lovely bit of kit
I also got a Quest Pro II. Facebook blah blah but it’s cheap and standalone. I’m not easily impressed but some of the apps are pretty wonderful. Downside is that our house is quote small and we have so few spaces to walk around in VR! I could use the garden, but then I would look a bit of a tool! Resident Evil 4 in VR is bloody scary, but I’ve yet to acquire my VR legs and can only play for 20 minutes before nausea takes over.
I carried on with the outdoor kitchen and added walls (using rural style corrugated sheets) plus completely weather proof kitchen cabinets (using treated wood and marine ply. All exposed cut edges were soaked in epoxy, and topped with quarry tiles. I need to do the other side. but perhaps when it’s warmer.
In sadder news our dog died. Zorro, our ten year old black lab, started wheezing and it turned out he had a mouth melanoma that was affecting his breathing. Treatment was possible but would have meant removing most of his jaw and chemo for months. Nothing you could put a dog through. Sadly he was put to sleep in the boot of a friend’s car and died in my arms.
I had a pretty bad year for growing stuff. Potatoes, cabbages (in poly tunnel), strawberries and tomatoes (grow bags on the balcony) were great. But everything else did badly I can only blame my laziness in watering during the heatwave. Even our courgettes failed! Better luck next year.
Finally managed to get camping, both for a fortnight in France (super warm), and also at Bluedot festival (brilliant music, shitty weather! Again see below).
I also upgraded our camp kitchen, with a brilliant foldaway kitchen, and a camping stove (Cadac) that has double burners, two griddles, and connects to a gas unit that uses three cheap, ubiquitously available, aerosols gas canisters. It provides a regulator for them too. I’ve always thought they are a little on the dangerous side. But with this bit of kit it makes them very usable and very safe.
We also had a good year for boating. The boat needs a LOT of work doing still. But we had a good few outings including one with the village.
Our own health is decent. LN had Covid over NY (which made that quieter). I’ve still not had it (that I am aware of).
The world continued to become a scarier place. Both nationally and internationally. What is happening in Ukraine is beyond horrendous. However, I decided that ranting at the news is pointless. Whereas I’ll never forgive any unrepentant Leave voters, I guess I’m used to it. Still I had a good day out on the Rejoin March back in August.
It was a good year for live music. Made the Bluedot festival, which had too many decent bands to list (although Yard Act are brilliant!). saw Billy Nomates, Fontaines DC, Scalpings and Working Mens club.
I properly made the move to Mastodon. Twitter was only ever a pleasant social media community in the early years. For some time it’s been both essential to keep up to date with local and national news, but also very unpleasant to be in. Mastodon is some time away from replacing that function, but by being a pleasant place to be in, it works for me. I think Elon Musk has done us all a favour. Back when I joined Twitter (2006) I thought it was a bad move to put all our communication eggs in one company’s basket, but in those early years it seemed to work and before long everybody and their rabbits had an account.
Finally I decided I need to stop doing as much “community stuff” as I have been doing. As well as the village newsletter which I have done for over ten years, I am also a school parent governor and part of a local campaign to prevent a sewage works being built on Greenbelt just outside the village. I find myself spending a hell of a lot of time, but both those latter two tasks have a lot of frustration. One for an incredible lack of communication and the other for manipulative people that are quite incompetent too. If either were paying jobs I’d have left both a while ago.