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.

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…

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!

CNC Machine now back alive again

I’ve been tinkering with the G0704 based CNC machine’s spindle controller again, and now it’s able to step and direction control to give me fully automatic spindle speed control.

As you can see, it’s now at least able to home itself properly again. Soon the touch probe will be here and I’ll be able to start making chips again, but I’ve still got some motor guards to make up and the flood coolant pipework to sort out.

CNC nearly alive again

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