A song a day - Day 5 - Elbow - The Stops

A couple of friends have nominated me on FaceBook to post a song every day for seven days, and nominate someone each day to do the same. This is Day 4.

~1 min read
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London Java Community

Just a quick post to say that the London Java Community (LJC) now has its own website. Barry Cranford has set the site up to publicise the group, which is rapidly growing in size, and its activities and events. Barry has done a great job with the community so far and continues to provide great events for Java technologists.

~1 min read
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Mobile Phones

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Home Automation

Getting hold of Bulb energy usage data (part 2).

About this time last year I posted an entry where I detailed my ideas for using the Samsung SmartThings ecosystem to get hold of my home’s Gas and Electrical usage data. Since then I have developed a simple SmartThings App which achieves this, so thought I’d share the details.

11 min read

Getting hold of Bulb energy usage data (part 1).

Over the last year or so I have been slowly building up a collection of home energy metrics. Things like boiler runtime stats, heating zone temperature and demand etc, they have been incredibly useful in helping me understand the various characteristics (heat up time, temperature loss rate etc) of the different rooms in the house.

2 min read
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Moving domains…

It’s time for a tidy up - I have decided to stop using the domain, which was bought for me as a birthday present many years ago. Instead I’m going to move everything over to, so this blog will be moving from to

~1 min read
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Ignoring non-source files in Eclipse

Having recently started using Eclipse an initial gripe of mine was that there didn’t seem to be any way to tell the IDE how to identify different types of files, specifically there appeared to be no mechanism of identifying and excluding ‘non-source’ files such as derived or distributable files. This causes several annoyances one of which appears in the ‘Open Resource’ search function (CTRL + SHIFT + R); when executed this function searches the entire Workspace for files matching a given pattern, this causes any files which are duplicated during distribution to appear multiple times in search results, once in the source folder and once in the duplicated location.

1 min read
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Software Development

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How to allow ICMP ping on a Unifi Security Gateway WAN Interface

I recently signed up with thinkbroadband for free Broadband Quality Meter (BQM) service. Once configured they send ICMP ping requests to my WAN IP address and collect the data to provide me with a picture of my broadband availability/ latency etc. They do all this for free and surface the data in a useful graph, which can be used to interpret various behaviours of my broadband connection, including the reliability of my provider!

3 min read
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Automating Ubuntu 21.04 Server image builds with Packer and Virtualbox

I recently decided to write some tests for one of my Ansible roles that I’ve been making a lot of use of. The plan was to use Ansible Molecule to apply the role and drive the tests. Reading the Molecule docs this seems to be a fairly straight forward task for the majority of cases, essentially you spin up a Docker container, provision your role and run your tests. Unfortunately in this case the role I wanted to test was responsible for managing Docker containers, so there was no easy way to run the role itself within a Docker container without causing some sort of Docker-in-Docker inception!

4 min read
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