Category Archives: projects

First Retirement Project Pretty Much Complete

So the first of my retirement projects is near enough complete. It is up and running and needs some tweaks and of course regular maintenance.

So what have we got?

Well we have a nice shiny new built media centre. This comprises a nice widescreen telly with 2 Rapsberry Pi’s attached. One is a web server running some Home Assistant, NetData and some python scripts that I have developed. The second Raspberry Pi contains Kodi and Recalbox. This gives me TV, movies, music, E-book and image viewing and also retro gaming with clones of some old favourites such as the ZX Spectrum, Atari 2600, Atari, ST, Sega Megadrive and SNES. This is a really cool setup and I have added some decent headphones, a soundbar and an external DVD setup. A 2TB hard drive is attached. Finally there are 2 games controllers, a keyboard and mouse.

So what is left to do?

Well the 256GB MicroSD card needs to be upgraded to a 1TB one – there are still loads of games, PDF, songs and movies I want to add. More Python and PHP scripts need to be added to the webserver as when I get round to writing them and I could do with adding a Pico style projector for bouncing stuff off the back wall. Home Assistant needs some development work too. In time I should also like to do more with the integration of my Google Home Mini.

Apart from these nice to haves this project is complete and it is working well..

The biggest problem I am going to have with this project is deciding which of the 400 or so retro games from 80’s and 90’s I wish to play.

So the first project is ready. This should keep me quiet for a bit.

Inflatable Roof Racks! You Must Be Joking!

Er…Nope 🙂

Back in 2005 I bought on behalf of Naytencourt.

This was a great business that I gradually expanded prior to sale and it worked very, very well. It stocked over 5,000 electrical goods and gadgets.

This was one of my more popular websites and it gained a lot of traction and with it great sales performance. Everything from standard products for the home, garage, garden, car, kitchen and bathroom such as kettles, toasters, electric toothbrushes, dehumidifiers and vacuum cleaners and some more outlandish things too.

Of particular note was its range of inflatable gadgets and USB-powered gadgets. USB Lighting – check. USB Coffee warmer, oh yes! This could also keep a Greggs sausage roll warm too! USB Battery charger before they came good and popular – yes. Great for an emergency hour on a trusty Nokia.

USB Fridge? Oh yes. Kept 2 cans of Coca-Cola cool on a hot day on in my case a can of Coca-Cola and some Mars bars!

Inflatable swimming pool? check! Inflatable hot tub and jacuzzi? Check. Great bit of kit this. Great fun and a talking point in the garden. Inflatable waterslides and pools? Again, check. A really fun toy and really got people talking. The children loved them too and they were very safe. A big seller too. We also stocked inflatable dinghies, kayaks and surfboards.

Now on to the surprise. Inflatable roof racks! These were always a talking point, a surprise to most people as most people were surprised by just how good they were. They were even more surprised when they saw how it handled a mountain bike and roof box on the motorway at speeds over the national limit! Customers also loved how easy these were to deploy and decommission and how little space they took up in the house. Made of ballistic-grade rubber, they were puncture-resistant and very durable. These became a really big seller and I was proud to stock them. I regularly ran out of stock on these!

I think that these roof racks really were the product that kept our customers coming back for more and I was regularly asked about what I would come up with next after the roof rack.

I do miss this business but it’s not just that. What I so really miss apart from the bundles of support and care they showed me, especially when I needed stock in a hurry was their sheer inventiveness. I too was always wondering about what they could come up with next! 2005-2010.