Road tax in the Netherlands

I ran a bunch of car weights and fuel types through the government website that tells you what road tax you’ll pay. This is the result at the time I did it, for my own optimisation process – check it yourself before buying a car! Weight is the GVW I believe, not the kerb weight.

Skull Crusher Coffee Review

I purchased a 500g bag of this from against my own better judgement, when my usual coffee source (Union Coffee ran out.

On opening the bag I was struck by a burnt bitter odour. Not a good start.

Time to try the beans, I ground them to a medium grind in my hand burr grinder to give it the best chance.

Tried it in the French press, couldn’t even take more than a mouthful. The smell only hinted at the flavour. Burnt, bitter, yet somehow bland at the same time. Next I figured I’d test out the pour over option. No improvement there either.

So I left the bag in a sealed jar in the dark for a week or two and in the mean time I picked up a vacuum brewer, just for the fun of it. I tested out some of my remaining least favourite option from Union. It took away the hint of bitter and smoothed it out nicely, so I figured let’s give the Skull crusher a go again.


I can honestly say Skull Crusher’s offering is awful in my opinion. It tastes worse than the cheapest airport coffee I’ve ever tasted. They seem to confuse “strong” with “flavour”. However this is obvious in their marketing, with hindsight. There’s no mention of flavour anywhere, and all the reviews state “strong”, nothing else. And I can hardly believe the reviews are not massively moderated, almost no negative reviews – even the best coffees have folk who prefer something else.

In summary; save your cash for a proper coffee, one that doesn’t advertise frantically on Facebook.

I’ve nothing to disclose, but I’d recommend spending your hard earned cash in somewhere like or You’ll get a flavoursome coffee that is just good at waking you up.

More NowTV disservice

Back in I showed a nice long interaction with NowTV who refuse to validate email addresses when they are supplied with them by customers. That simple act of sending out an email to check the email address is correct before entering it into a database of account information. Even the most basic websites do this routinely in order to prevent mistakes and sharing of private data. NowTV don’t do this. They allow customers to put in any details they want (including mistakes and purposefully wrong data) and immediately begin sending information to them. In this case, further personal contact information.such as phone numbers and account access info.

What’s worse is their customer services team on tell you to connect the online chat, as their twitter team is just a forwarding front. The online chat tells you that you have to just block them and that their validation method is asking people to check the address is correct.

So now I’m enjoying more NowTV spam and getting the personal details of their customers sent to me again. If I were a criminal I could use info like this to get cash and more details from the customer, but nowtv don’t care about that. They just want you to stop complaining.


Reading and wondering how this ties in with Vaughan Gething expects there not to be crowds in shops. Opening up retail spaces to the public after a period of lockdown *will* end up in crowds unless you implement staged return of people and orchestrate their access times – since you can’t do that, you’re going to have crowds. No point asking nicely for the public not to crowd – sheeple are insane, and no part of their response has been logical or controlled so far. People were asked not to panic buy loo roll, did that work?

It’s like throwing a loaded gun into a playground and asking kids not to shoot anyone.

Temper Gold USB temperature sensor

I’ve been using some of these USB temperature sensors with an RPi to log a number of house heating/power generation/use parameters.

Exact model used, image from original sales link (

I’ve found them to have a pretty whacky offset error (2-3C at room temp) which is easy to correct, but they have a horrendous “sticky” temperature characteristic. It isn’t a ceiling, as shown above, it’s a sticky value. If the temps pass a long way away from this point it continues to update – it just seems to get locked into a value rather than update it. This was noted by Steve Timms ( too and seems to happen at fixed temps on each device. For me, it’s infuriating as it’s right around temperatures I want to have accurate data at. I honestly couldn’t recommend these to anyone because of this, but they do the job for now.

Garmin Fenix 5 – Strap and Skin irritation or Allergy

No idea why Garmin’s products seem to do this to me, but this happens whenever I wear them…

So I had to return my Vivoactive HR because it leaked when swimming in the sea, at 12 months and 2 weeks old.

At first, Garmin refused to accept it under warranty/guarantee and said I’d be charged for repair. I tried to return it via Amazon but they had removed the returns link. I pointed out that under EU law, I had 2 years to return it and they instantly sent me a returns label email – nice try, Amazon. So I gets me a Fenix 5 – lovely looking watch, good features – does what I need……

Almost instantaneous red colour appears, then over the day my skin peels and falls off. This gets continually worse unless I leave them off for a week or two and it clears up. 

And it’s not just the strap area by the looks of it.

Contacting Garmin I was told to wash it (by a number of different folk, in a number of different ways – IPA, water, soap and water, leave it on in the shower, take it off in the shower) – thanks, like I don’t wash lol I tried all of the above, none of them work.

The only answer, to using a watch designed to be kept on 24/7, is to take it off for a week at a time, or put up with my arm peeling and looking very angry.

This doesn’t happen as much with a cheapy chinese stainless steel strap (only around the watch body area, not the strap) so it looks like the primary cause is the strap material. It happened with my VAHR too. Unfortunately there’s no decent alternatives out there other than a half kilo of stainless.

I’ve no idea if it’s an allergy, some form of irritation, or what. But it’s not really acceptable. If Garmin would hurry up and release the Ti strap I’d be really happy, other than the price tag which is half the cost of the watch again for a strap.



Some new kitesurfing products on Shapeways

Here’s a GoPro mount for your kite board fin plate (needs a brass insert for the thumbscrew)….

and here’s a board leash for those of us who ride in places where a leash is useful – again, attaches where the fin plate would be…

NOW TV – non-customer disservice

So recently someone signed up for a NOW TV.

They used, either accidentally, or on purpose, one of the aliases from my google email address. For those who don’t know, google takes email addresses like and also gives you the aliases, and a few others. This seems great, except you can’t actually send an email from them, that I know of. Anyway, someone used one of the aliases of my account to sign up for NOW TV. I tried emailing NOW TV  to let them know, but they didn’t respond. So I ignored it and eventually their systems auto-cancelled the application. All good, you’d think. Until I started getting spam from NOW TV to that alias. So I fire up an email to ask nicely if they could remove my email address (expecting the usual “email us from that email address to confirm, please”, which is another issue). Here’s how that case is going – I emailed asking if they could remove my email address from their list, explaining exactly what had happened so far and about the google aliases….

Thanks for contacting NOW TV.

I understand and I’ll try my best to help you on this.

I have checked with the given email address and seems there is no account linked –

To check and help you further, I will need few details to access your account.

  1. Are you the account holder? 
  1. Can you give me the first line of your address and postcode?
  1. The last four digits of the payment card registered to your account please?

Awaiting your reply.

So I reply with:


Yes, the problem with this is that gmail uses aliases,,, are all aliases of my account. 
One of these was used to create account  xxxxxxxxx, which may or may not have been cancelled/inactivated at this stage – I don’t know, it wasn’t my account in the first place.
However now I’m getting spam via the email alias that someone else used without my permission.
Figured this would do the trick, along with the previous email. Here’s the reply…

Thanks for reverting!

I can understand how much important this is for you.

However; please reply back to this same email with the below details so that I can locate the account and help you further :

  • Please help me with your full name and email address to which you have NOW TV Account registered?
  • Are you the account holder?
  • Can you give me the first line of your address and postcode?
  • Last four digits of the payment card on which you have been charged.

Awaiting your response.

Hope your issue will be resolved soon. 🙂

Hmm, you’re not getting this are you, NOW TV? And I’m getting a different responder every time. I can see I’m in for the long haul….

Hmm I don’t think you’re actually reading my email. I don’t have an account, I never did. Someone used my email alias to sign up.

Here’s the response (spot a pattern?)…

Thanks for contacting NOW TV.

I hope you’re doing good today.

I request you to please check with your family members and friends if they have used your email address to create an account and let us know about the same.

Awaiting for your response.

Well I’m awaiting a response from a normal human who can read and understand my emails. So I try to point that out…


They have not. And they would not use that email alias, as I’ve never given it out.
So what is the response?…

Thanks for reverting!

Sorry for the previous probing email that was sent in error.

However; please could you help me with the screenshot of any one of the marketing email that you are fetching by us with the dates ,mentioned on it so that we can get this checked further.

Awaiting your response!

So I dutifully obeyed and send the image, with the header info, to show the problem. Awaiting their response, after “reverting” (seriously?)

Awaiting response….

Thanks for your reply.

We know the feeling when something like this happens. 

To be honest we would not want this to happen with anyone. 

However,would request you to contact bank and stop payments so that no further payments are taken.

Hope this helps ! 

03/05/18 – Update:

Thank you for contacting us.

I understand how it feels if something like this happens.

I too would not like to face a similar situation as it relates to your hard earned money.

We tried locating your account with the details you provided sadly we are unable to locate such account with the charges you mentioned.

Hence we request you to please get in touch with your bank and stop any further payments to NOW TV.

And so the saga of wasting my time continues! I’ll update with more as it comes in! Clearly this is an auto-reply system.

I try the chat system:

KIRTI -: Thanks for contacting NOW TV, you are talking to KIRTI. Can I start by taking your full name and email address, please?
null -: Hi
null -: You don’t have a record of my name because I don’t have an account with you
null -: And I don’t want to give it to you because you’ve no reason to have it
null -: Please remove from your spam list and check I do not have an account registered with that email address – it was fraudulently used to try to set up and account and now I’m being spammed by nowtv
KIRTI -: I understand your concern.
Don’t worry I’ll try my best to sort it for yo.
KIRTI -: 8you
KIRTI -: Sorry for the typo error.
null -: details all of the conversations I’ve had so far
null -: I’m tired of repeatedly asking for a VERY simple thing and getting nonsense in reply
KIRTI -: I totally get it and I want to help you further. Can you give me the first line of your address and postcode, and the last four digits of the payment card registered to your account please?
KIRTI -: Are we connected?
null -: yes
null -: OK, so you’re not reading my messages
null -: you do not have any account info for me
null -: I NEVER HAVE
null -: you have scraped my email alias from a fraudulent account application which did not use my details other than my email address
null -: and now you won’t remove it
null -: I’ve even provided the original account application number
null -: because that got sent to me
KIRTI -: I get it, but i need to check it so that I may remove all your details.
null -: only an email address
null -: why would I give you more details
null -: you can’t be trusted with the ones you have
KIRTI -: Can you tell me whether you were charged and if yes how much amount was it?
null -: It’s not my job but….have you even read my emails?
null -: Let’s walk through this.
null -: 1) Someone applied for an account with their details and my email address
null -: 2) I didn’t respond to the email I got, so their fraudulent account was never set up
null -: 3) I started getting spam emails to the email address used in that account
null -: 4) I contact you to remove it, and you won’t without all my details, which you don’t have anyway and I won’t be giving you.
null -: just search for the email address I gave you in the emailing lists you have, remove it, and we’ll all be happy
KIRTI -: Please give me moment.
KIRTI -: I will make sure your issue is sorted today.
null -: thankyou
KIRTI -: Can you help me with your full name please?
null -: xxx xxx
KIRTI -: Thanks.
null -: but that was not used in the original account setup
KIRTI -: Okay.
KIRTI -: Just a couple of more questions to access the account xxxx.
null -: The fraudulent account setup was 623286802490
KIRTI -: Yes, but I need your full address postcode and the last four digits of the card to access the account please.
null -: but it’s not my address
null -: i don’t know it]
KIRTI -: Help me with all possible address, let me check.
null -: no
null -: absolutely no way I’m giving a company who can’t be trusted with details any more details
null -: you have the account number and the email address, if you can’t remove it I’ll find a legal route
KIRTI -: Believe me xxxx, I’m trying my best to get this sorted right away.
KIRTI -: Our customer’s details are very secure with us.
null -: apparently not
null -: or maybe too secure because you can’t find them 😀
KIRTI -: We will not be able to access the account without the correct information
KIRTI -: Are we connected?
KIRTI -: I haven’t heard back from you, if you still need help please let me know otherwise I’ll have to end our chat.

So, no luck.

Waterjet cut tool

So the Surf’s crank pulley issue led to the requirement for a tool to be made to hold the crank and pulley still while undoing the centre bolt. The centre bolt is torqued to 360Nm so I need a tool with some meat. I whipped up a DXF of the idea and went to  where they cut it from 6mm plate steel for me. Super quick, super friendly service – well recommended.

Voltarol Medicated Plasters

Totally didn’t expect these to work Voltarol Medicated Plasters but was pleasantly surprised. I assumed these would be barely noticeable in performance and, having just twinged my back again for the first time in ages, I thought I’d risk the £10 for 2 (seems a bit steep).  I stuck one on and went about my day.

After about half an hour I noticed the absence of pain, even when doing things that normally trigger agony. Very weird. Oral medication rarely is this effective. unless it’s prescription.

The one negative I did find, and it IS a fairly big negative, is that if you’re not careful one corner will roll off your skin. The now upward stick face sticks to your T-shirt and gradually, without you knowing, rolls itself off and sticks itself to itself/your tshirt and you CAN NOT get the damn thing apart again to re-apply. On my first one it was reaching about the 10 hour mark, so I wasn’t too annoyed, but if it happens in the first 10 minutes, as it did on my second one, you lose a £5 plaster in 10 minutes. Super frustrating. Not sure how this could be resolved, but the folks at Volterol might have a smart idea!