Tag Archives: tigger

Weight and Stuff Report – 31 December 2017

Weight: 226 pounds (16 stone 2 pounds, 102.5 kg)
Steps: Very few

Up again today…

I’m having a quiet day in today, getting the washing done, catching up on more TV and generally relaxing.

The final photo of the year is this one Tigger insisted on

Tigger and some other guy

Tigger and some other guy

In case of doubt, Tigger is the one on the right.

DeLonghi Autentica Plus Coffee Machine

It’s a whole five years since I last mentioned the espresso-creating kit installed at Losing it HQ. That was a bargain-priced Saeco machine, which did its job for a few years before developing an annoying problem. While continuing to produce perfectly acceptable coffee, it became a bit awkward to use, as one of the coloured light elements that made its informative display work totally failed, giving the impression it was off when it was actually on. So, it was replaced by the then current equivalent model (at a similarly discounted price from John Lewis). That one avoided having a fancy display, and just had illuminated buttons, which seemed like a more resilient option. That one worked nicely for about two and a half years before developing an occasional reluctance to build up pressure and deliver coffee, not to mention a slight dribbling from its bottom. As it was a low-cost (as these things go) device, it didn’t seem sensible to spend money on having it service, repaired, or whatever, so the hunt was on for a replacement.

I always like to see these things for real rather than relying solely on online images, so I had the usual wander around the department stores. The first thing I noticed was a distinct lack of Gaggia or Saeco on sale. Presumably after swallowing the brand, Philips lost interest in marketing to consumers – the big kit for cafés is still around.

The next thing I noticed was a lot of DeLonghi machines – they used to have more basic ones, but while I hadn’t been paying attention, they’d clearly been doing some serious development. I spotted a few possibles, and went away to do the research. I eliminated the more fancy ones with built in milk tanks that can (depending on model) do anything from making it easier to froth milk up to creating a milk shake for people who don’t really like coffee (or “latte”, as some call it), on the grounds that I’m not the kind of person who thinks milk belongs in coffee. This still left a larger number of machines than seemed necessary, but hey ho and all that.

More digging led me to this model – nice features, useful display and (most important) reviews suggesting it would indeed do the job required. The only problem was the price – at around £450, it was a fair bit more than I was comfortable with paying. Experience suggests that about three years is the lifetime of a coffee machine in my kitchen, so I feel moderately happy spending around £300 (give or take, more or less). Mind you, that price was a lot better than in one shop that had it at its earlier price of £650, which is a lot more than I’d have even thought about.

So, more research. And I’d almost decided to leave it for a bit, when I had another look on the manufacturer’s site (yes, I’d had a look at all instruction videos and the PDF of the manual, it’s what I do) and found that they’d reduced the price to £319 with free delivery. Well, that turned it from a “maybe later” into a “take my money now” kind of thing, and I ordered it.

It looks like the Autentica range of machines have been superseded by some functionally identical, but cosmetically different ones, so they might well have been looking to clear stock, which suited me fine – especially when I noticed that the original price was apparently over £700. I have seen it on sale more recently at £399, so it may be a general “end of line” thing, but I still got the best deal, so there.

A few days later, it arrived and I wasted no time in setting it up. As always with a new bean to cup machine, you have to make a few coffees before it comes through in full strength. It’s important to remember that, as otherwise you might get the idea that your new machine doesn’t make proper bloody espresso, which would be Very Bad.

After a bit if a tweak of the grind size control and setting it to “extra strong”, it started to deliver as good an espresso as I’ve had anywhere. I use the Espresso Crema blend from Pumphrey’s in the Grainger Market, which is a dark, strong roast that is the best for my taste, and it works as well with the DeLonghi as it did with the Saeco.

Maintenance is a bit different – the grounds box and drip tray are combined, so it’s a simple matter to remove and empty both daily. The water tank is at the rear of the machine, so you may need to think about where you place it for easy access without having to move the whole thing. A water filter is included, and unlike the one that came with the Saeco, is the right size, so I’m using it.

When I bought it, DeLonghi had an offer on – register your machine and get some free stuff (the more expensive the machine, the more free stuff you get). I got two packs of descaler (this will be needed every few months, useful), a water filter (recommendation is replace every two months, so useful again), some stuff for cleaning the outside (nice), a cloth, a spare cleaning brush and three 200g packs of coffee beans. Nice.

One useful feature I should mention is the automatic start setting. So long as you set the clock on the machine, you can set it to start up at a particular time of day. It will wake up, warm up, do its rinsing thing and be ready to deliver coffee when you get up. I like that – it means I’ve had to change my routine, so that I fill the water tank in the evening rather than the morning, but that’s fine.

So, nice kit, bargain price. The equivalent model in the newer “Eletta” range is over £700 (and I see mine is now out of stock at DeLonghi, and listed at a similarly painful price), so it looks like I got my timing just right. I love it when that happens.  :tigger:

Weight and Stuff Report – 29 December 2017

Weight: 224.5 pounds (16 stone 0.5 pounds, 101.8 kg)
Steps: 6,202

What? Down again? Yes, that’s another new low for the year.

It’s been snowing here, which meant I had a nice trudge to collect a parcel and buy breakfast this morning. The trudge was such fun that I declined to trudge back and got the bus instead.

I then had a wander around Newcastle (mostly sticking inside Eldon Square, and avoiding the slush).

Today’s picture is a special guest appearance from Tiggercam, showing the brains behind this operation. Well, he’s sitting in the chair, so I presume he’s in charge…

The boss

The boss

Tiggercam has been upgraded

Tigger told me he wasn’t satisfied with the webcam (it was a bit low-res, not to mention low-budget), and insisted that I get him a new one, and a mini-tripod to make it easier to carefully position it. Here’s the new kit in position:

Live!

Live!

Camera: X70
Aperture: ƒ/14
Shutter speed: 1/30s
Focal length: 18.5mm
ISO: 3200
Taken: 10 December, 2017

Tiggercam is really really back now

I mentioned recently that I was attempting to bring Tiggercam back to life. Well, I played around, and couldn’t find any software that was quite as flexible as the late lamented Evocam, which has two problems:

  1. It’s no longer available, much less being developed or supported
  2. It had a total lack of webcam detection on macOS 10.13

I recalled that the Mac Mini that I haven’t used for a while might work, so I hooked it up, and as it’s still running macO2 10.12, and still had Evocam installed, it could be left to look after itself. And after the usual muttering about cables[1] I got it sorted out, and Tiggercam is now live. I might even look at getting a less rubbish webcam for it…

Tiggercam - now live

Tiggercam – now live

[1] It’s the way that they always manage to wrap themselves around each other…

Shameless self-promotion time

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I’d shifted my photography site to a new home, and that it was ready for your viewing pleasure.

Well, over the last few days, I’ve added a few new albums to it, so if you haven’t had a look lately, now would be as good a time as any. On the homepage, you’ll see a random selection of some of my favourites, and the Galleries drop-down menu will lead you to more: it’s got London, Edinburgh, air shows and Tigger, with more to come. Here’s that link again:

Les Bessant Photography

Skagra Lives! Or, Shada is coming!

With all the fun of site creation and site fixing, I didn’t have time to mention this before. But can I just say Woo!! Hoo!! with added  :tigger: ?

Shada is the Great Lost Story of Doctor Who. Not a wiped 60s classic, but a never-completed six-parter from the glorious Tom Baker/Lalla Ward era. And it was written by Douglas Adams, which is enough reason to mourn its non-completion.

It’s been brought to semi-life before – there was an animated version with Paul McGann as the Doctor, and the finished bits were glued together with narration by Tom Baker into something you could sort of watch but was not really satisfying. Both of these appeared on DVD a while ago.

But now there’s some distinctly interesting news. A new complete version is ti be released, with a combination of remastering and animation. The original cast (yes, Tom!!!!) are back doing the voices for the animated bits, they’re working from the original scripts and it’s by the same people who did a good job of the last unexpected release, The Power of the Daleks.

As is usual these days, its first release will be as a download from 24 November, with round shiny things for us old traditionalists following on 4 December, so that’s my Christmas present to me sorted out.

Details and a sample bit of animation here:

Doctor Who TV report

Oh, and I think I’ll add one more  :tigger: for that.

Weight and Stuff Report – 24 August 2017

Weight: 235.6 pounds (16 stone 11.6 pounds, 106.9 kg)
Steps: 6,860

Down a wee bit today. I’m taking a few days off work  :tigger: , so today has been a bit of a relaxed one. After catching up with odd bits of paperwork, I took the bus into Newcastle for a visit to the Dino Jaws exhibition at the Centre for Life. This was good – some animatronic dinosaur heads, some static displays, good information on evidence of what some dinosaurs ate, and more. These guys seemed to be enjoying an early lunch, though:

Lunchtime?

Lunchtime?

Camera: iPhone 6s
Aperture: ƒ/2.2
Shutter speed: 1/17s
Focal length: 4.15mm
ISO: 250
Taken: 24 August, 2017
Location: 54° 58.0338′ 0″ N 1° 37.2245′ 0″ W

After that, I had a bit of a random wander, popped into the Hancock museum (sorry, still can’t do that Great Auk North Museum thing) to look at some Roman thingies, then came home.