Posted in Cars


Time to start a new subject.

Something that I have always been interested in is cars.  From a very early age, cars have dominated a large part of my life.  I think it all started with my grandfather.  To me it seemed like he always had a new car.  In reality, more often than not, it was a new car every three years.  Probably because he was too lazy to worry about the UK MOT required for cars 3 years and older.

He never drove anything that could be considered cool or cutting edge, apart from a 1990 Mini automatic in black.  Well, I liked it.

My car history is not extensive, but has been eclectic so far.  I am only going to list the cars that I have owned and driven as my own, not ones bought to sell on.

Morris Marina 1800 Super (Harvest Gold)
Fiat X1/9 (Gold)
Ford Escort XR3i (Black)
Ford Escort XR3i (Black) (Yes another one)
Rover 216 GSI (Black)
Alfa Romeo 33 Sportwagon (Metallic Green)
Rover 620si (Metallic Red)
Suzuki Vitara SoftTop (Blue)
Suzuki Grand Vitara (Black)


Toyota MR2 Mk3 Roadster (Black)
 photo My-MR2_zpsa360f627.jpg
Mini Cooper S (R53)
That’s it.  The last two, are my current cars.

To come, repairs and modifications made to my cars …… maybe.

Posted in Computing

Raspberry Pi Expansion Board

I’ve been looking for sometime now at various ways to connect my RPi to a VGA monitor.  There many posts on the web about how to achieve this.  Some have had success using inexpensive HDMI to VGA adapters, some have used more expensive HDMI to VGA signal converters.  All of these methods have had varying levels of success and failure.

I myself have tried the inexpensive route only to have my old VGA monitor die on me.  To be fair this could have been a result of it being kept in the attic for the past few years, slowly collecting dust.

After a few more nights scouring the web for a reliable way of achieving this I came across the expansion board below.


I was quite surprised with the features of this board, especially given the price and the fact that they deliver free to the UK.

HDMI to VGA (powered from expansion board)
Built in USB HUB (powered from Expansion board)
Real time clock (RTC)
Card reader (SD and micro SD)
RS232 Master port
Darlington Driver ports (8 Channel)
Alternative power connector, allowing different standard PSUs to be used.

It arrived within a week, and was up and working within an hour. The only thing I haven’t done, is connect the reset switch, as I don’t fancy doing any soldering. I haven’t got a steady enough hand.

Overall I think this is very good value for money and has allowed me to plug my RPi into the VGA port of my monitor, allowing me to keep my MAC mini plugged into the DVI.

Posted in Cooking, Weight Loss Journey

Progress so far…..

A long overdue update, sorry.  Well it has been 8 months now since I started my diet, and apart from a couple of setbacks, the weight is still coming off.  59lbs down, somewhere between 8lbs and 14lbs to go.

One of the side affects of rapid weight loss can be issues with gallstones, and unfortunately this has recently happened to me.  So I am currently on an even more strict diet so as not to aggravate the condition whilst I await treatment, which will probably be a gallbladder removal operation.

On a lighter note, I have now started doing cycling and circuit training.  Both are tiring, but very enjoyable.  Just purchased a new road bike so hoping to get out a lot more and clock up some cycle miles.

One of my favorite meals at the moment is wraps.  The content varies but the usual suspects always make an appearance, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, balsamic dressing.  The star of the show also varies, but usually it is fish fingers, chicken or turkey.

Another favorite is porridge, made with rice milk, as I have to cut out dairy products at the moment.

Posted in Weight Loss Journey

BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)

Have you ever wondered what your body uses in calories for just staying alive.  Well you can work it out yourself.  There are many websites that have handy little calculators to do this for you, but the nerd in me wanted to know the formula behind them, so here it is.

Men – BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) – ( 6.8 x age )
Women – BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) – ( 4.7 x age )

The formula to calculate BMR is accurate for the majority of people. However, it does not factor in muscle to fat ratio, because of this, it will underestimate the calories burned by persons with very muscular bodies and overestimate those burned by clinically obese people. If you fall into these categories, you should use a formula that calculates BMR for your body composition.

BMR will decrease with age and increase with weight and height.

Posted in Weight Loss Journey


I have just purchased a FitBit One, and I must say I love it.  Basically it’s a small unobtrusive device that you carry around with you, and it measures your activity and gives you feed back, via the Fitbit website, on your progress.

It counts the number of steps you do during your day and the number of floors climbed, this is converted into a calorific figure which can then be added to your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), to give you a net calories burned for the day.  If you link this website with your MyFitnessPal website it will give you a net calories remaining figure for that day.  This should allow you to control you calorie intake, no matter what your activity has been like that day.

Another function of the device is to monitor your sleep pattern.  A good way to see how dieting is affecting your sleep.


Posted in Weight Loss Journey

Tips on weighing yourself

I have read quite a few articles on weighing yourself.  Here are the top five tips I have picked up.

  1. Always use the same scales.  Do not use other peoples scales or scales found in shopping malls etc.  They will almost certainly be setup differently and their accuracy will be different.  They may tell you that you have gained or lost a different amount of weight than your own.
  2. Weigh yourself on a flat and rigid surface.  A surface that has some flexibility in it will give a slightly incorrect reading on your scales.  ** If you have been on a diet for sometime, it may be advisable not to change the location of you scales, as this could change the reading.**
  3. Always weigh yourself with no clothing on.  Clothes can add a surprising amount of weight
  4. Always weigh yourself at the same time.  I weigh myself weekly on a Thursday morning whilst getting ready for work.
  5. Don’t rely on weigh ins alone, take measurements and photographs.  It is as much about how you look and feel about yourself as it is about how much you weigh.  Don’t forget if you are exercising as well, muscle weighs more than fat.

Good luck!!