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First up, please excuse typos. I'm sitting outside in the sun writing this on a tablet and it's not so easy to see the screen.


Alibaba order

The post arrived today, and with it a small padded envelope containing three ESP32-Cams.

Three ESP32-Cam modules
Three ESP32-Cam modules.

That was the good news. The bad news is that I didn't get a peep out of any of them, wired up in the exact same way as the one I was currently using.

All of them, dead.

I tried just powering it from the serial connector instead of from a separate 5V supply (not recommended as these serial things don't tend to output much power) and still nothing. As a bit of cargo cult hardware hackery, I did something a bit useless and moved the ground wire from the GND terminal by the serial port to the GND terminal by the 5V input.
And the thing burst into life, spewing a lot of gibberish about softAP and such...

I (689) wifi: wifi power manager task: 0x3ffdfd8c prio: 21 stack: 2560
I (722) wifi: mode : softAP (0c:b8:xx:xx:xx:xx)
I (731) wifi: mode : sta (0c:b8:xx:xx:xx:xx) + softAP (0c:b8:xx:xx:xx:xx)
I (735) wifi: mode : softAP (0c:b8:xx:xx:xx:xx)
I (3882) wifi: n:1 1, o:1 0, ap:1 1, sta:255 255, prof:1
I (3885) wifi: station: 4c:02:xx:xx:xx:xx join, AID=1, n, 40U

I probed with a multimeter, and that GND pin next to the serial port doesn't appear to be connected to anything.

With that peculiarity sorted, I was able to build and upload my slightly revised camera software. It flashed okay, but didn't want to boot - it kept tripping the brownout detector as soon as the WiFi started up. Moving it from the PC (about 4.7V) to a power brick (solid 5V) got it running via the serial adaptor.

What a bloody pain in the arse. I really need three ground pins - one to be the 0V for the power, one for the serial port for uploading firmware, and one for grounding GPIO0 to switch boot mode. But, alas, only two of them are actually connected to anything.
I wonder if this was the issue with the one I sent back to Amazon? Well, it says GND right there on the silk screen. It's not my fault if the thing isn't wired up as documented.

Once it was running, and once I'd changed the device names in the Livebox settings so they weren't both trying to be "espressif-1", I was able to connect to both and everything was working as expected.

A screenshot of the second camera in use
A screenshot of the second camera in use.


Chronopost are arses

Expecting a delivery from Amazon, my heart sunk when I saw that they were sending the parcel out with Chronopost.
But, okay, I received a message saying my parcel would arrive between 10.08am and 11.08am. So I was up, around, and for half the time outside literally right next to the letterbox.
The post with my little camera gizmos came, and went. 11.08 came, and went. 12.08 came, and went.
Just afterwards, I saw a message on the status page saying that the driver had attempted a delivery but I was absent, and a slip had been left in my letterbox.
Like hell I was absent
Like hell I was absent.
Which was complete bollocks.

Straight on the phone to Chronopost to point this out. The person was like "I understand why you are upset, the parcel will be left at a pickup point near to you".
I fired back that I have to go out now to pick up the parcel because their driver couldn't be bothered to do their job?
They repeated that my parcel will be left, soon, at a pickup point, it's close.

So I made a complaint with Amazon. Who called me back and even had somebody speaking to me in English. They weren't amused, so this story is being sent to the people who deal with the delivery companies.

About half an hour later, when a bar in the nearby town opened, I received a message saying my parcels were available there.

I went and picked them up. The person at the bar pointed to the four parcels (two of them mine) and said if you don't live in a town, they don't even bother.

Bringing my parcels home
Bringing my parcels home.

When I got home, I did a live chat to an Amazon customer service guy and asked if it would be possible for them to add a note to my account to not use Chronopost again. I can wait a day more for Colissimo (basically, my post person). I was told that they could certainly add such a note, but how parcels are delivered is determined at the time of ordering based upon availability, location, weight, etc etc. They couldn't guarantee to use any specific carrier for my next order.
I said it doesn't matter who, so long as it's not Chronopost. This isn't the first time I've had Chronopost blatantly lie about turning up. The absence of delivery notification is always a giveaway.

As to what I ordered? Well...

Tea and beans
Life's essentials: tea and beans.

Another 1,100 bags of Tetley, to keep my stock going. Even though this cost €40, it's far far cheaper than French tea (which is like €3 for 24 sachets).
And, since nowhere around here is inclined to want to stock British stuff any more (Brexit, customs, etc), I decided to get 24 cans of beans. This also cost about €46, which you probably find shocking if you can go into Waitrose and purchase a six pack for... holy shit, £5.50 these days? When I left the UK it was like half that!
Anyway, my 24 tins cost about £40. Which is more than the shop costs, and they had a pretty horrid markup. But, on the other hand, free delivery (<cough> sort of </cough>) and the pack weighed about 12kg! According to their website, a 12kg parcel would cost about €30 to send. You know, to help put it into context.

And here are all the beans on the shelf. So I can have, tonight, a chicken burger with chips and beans. Oh, yes! ☺

How many beans make three beans
How many beans make three beans?



On the way back from collecting my parcel, I noticed the fibre slung onto a lot of new poles. There are loops of it all over the place, so it's definitely a work in progress. But what struck me were the new poles.

Wooden pole with fibre optic
Wooden poles carrying fibre optic (the metal pole carries copper).

My local exchange is a dinky little houselet by the road in between my village and the next one over. It probably serves both. For historical reasons, all of the telephones are wired up to the big green distribution panel in front of the Mayor in the village. Way back when they probably had a bundle coming under the road, and the exchange was retrofitted at some point because everybody wanted internet and such.
By road using the shortest route, I'm about 2.5km from the exchange. The route that the fibre optic appears to be taking is about 3.4km (because there are houses there). The route my copper phone line takes, to the village and back, is 4.7km which is why my ADSL tends to hover around 3.6 megabit. Sucks for a family, but it's enough for me to watch standard definition Netflix, and it's reliable so streaming radio works.

Anyway, can we please just take a moment to appreciate and marvel that our forthcoming high speed communications network is going to be built by channeling light down microscopic glass(ish) filaments? I mean, whoa.


Right wing hypocrites

Go to the Daily Mail website, there are dozens and dozens of pictures of terrified children, and quite a few parents are looking right at the camera and I can tell exactly what they'd like to say to the parasites photographing them, and it isn't polite. But it is justified.
Suspiciously there's not a peep about Megan. Nor Harry, for that matter. For they might have to own up to the fact that they're being dragged through court for their (alleged) phone hacking. Oh, and that they managed to use Human Rights laws to stop the reporters concerned from being named.
You know, the exact same Human Rights stuff that they rail against time and time again.
Convenient, innit? Bloody hypocrites pond scum.

Then again, the Mail has form in faking things. I mean, you don't think Ephraim Hardcastle is a real person do you? I think the name was resurrected by Nigel Dempster back in the '80s and it's currently... didn't Peter McKay retire?
Whatever, I don't care. I just know it's a pen name for one of their journos to write under while obviously not having the balls to stand up and own their own words.


Right, so I'm going to go make dinner. So beans are one of my five a day, says so on the carton. Then chips, that's potato so counts as another. Then ketchup, so I'm up to three. Chicken has to count as one (meat protein), and bread/cheese/mayo can count as the last. ☺



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Mick, 7th April 2023, 14:14
I've got full fibre now and I must say it's an absolute dream ! I had G.Fast before which was so unreliable I bought a GSM failback router as misery mitigation.  
Is Orange going to glass you up any time soon? 
I've got a very good deal for my fibre connexion but it won't stay that way. They are owned by an investment company who offer good deals to start with and advertise only £2 extra when out of contract, but that is all advertising lies. My bill already went up £3.75 mid contract, I'm paying half the full price so I assume that end of contract will see a £30 increase. I will downgrade if that happens.  
Courier company sounds typical. Driver probably not given enough time to complete round. Anyone out of the way takes extra time so delivery gets sacraficed! It's your fault for living somewhere nice ;-)

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