Thursday, 20 December 2018

Winter Solstice: End of the Road

So the clouds and the dark are here in abundance now.



As Christmas rolls in on Atlantic winds, my ability to get panels in front of sunlight is diminishing. The odd nice day here and there provides maybe a couple of hours of weak light, which isn't quite enough. The risk of my phone failing when I'm somewhere random is pretty high, and the situation isn't helped by a recent Android upgrade.

(Fairphone released an Android 7 update recently. The battery management when not in use seems good, but I'm getting a lot of battery drain under normal usage, like writing this post. Yesterday I had a drain from 40% to zero in 10 minutes, indicating perhaps something more fundamental is wrong.)

So I'm going to call it for the year. I think I have just enough battery left to last till tomorrow, which symbolically is the winter Solstice and the shortest day. I like the synchronicity there, and so plan to use my phone as little as possible today, and end the solar cycle after 7 and a half months. Which ain't bad.

(My Pebble watch already switched back to mains a week or two ago.)

I'll use the next couple of months to take stock - maybe a review of the year, what I've learned, and what I want to do differently next year. With a bit of luck, the light will be ok again from February onwards, so I'd love to get my plan sorted out before then, ready to go. Maybe permanently in-place panels, more batteries, etc. That kind of stuff. Also, MOAR READING about electricity generally, probably.

So if you've been reading these posts, thanks for that. It's been a long time since the start of May, and hopefully this blog proves that it can be done.

To the future!

Saturday, 1 December 2018

The Bleak Midwinter: A Guide to Minimalist Phone Activity

I knew clouds would make things interesting (see last post). An abundance of sunshine allows for laziness - it's the deep darkness of winter where necessity becomes invention.

Currently battery levels are low - I have maybe 2 or 3 charges left, which is 2-3 days on normal summer use. It's Tuesday today, and the next predicted sunshine is for Friday. That's a bit too close for comfort.

So I can't skip to the Southern hemisphere quickly, or seed the air with magic cloud-dispersal beams. I can only change what's in my control - and that comes down to what my phone is doing.

As a guide to future me, and for anyone else interested in phone efficiency, here's a rundown of what I'm doing to help save battery life as much as possible. And judging by the battery chart for the last two days, it's having a good effect:


Two days is a lot better than one day. (The upwards blip three-quarters of the way through is when I plugged directly into the solar panel.)

So here are some current suggestions.

1. Uninstall non-essential software

Some people can live with only a few apps. I'm curious about what's out there, to get interesting ideas. And I have kids, and yes, sometimes a phone is the easiest way for a bit of peace and quiet. So there's a fair amount of 'gumph' on my phone.

Step one is to uninstall what you don't need. This has three aims: first, stop any unnecessary background tasks/data usage. Second, to avoid any extra load caused by installing updates (especially if you have them turned on automatically, via your usual app store). And third, to stop using your phone for distractions. Sorry kids! Here's a pack of cards instead.

2. Block network access

It seems annoyingly difficult to control how much apps check in to their home server - a lot of them let you turn off notifications but it's not clear whether they still request data or not. Assume that they do, because capitalist tech and it likes to know everything about you. But that all takes energy too - I often see a battery drop of a few % straight after connecting to wifi for the first time in a while - I assume a bunch of apps are making the most of the renewed connection.

On Android, a couple of apps can help here. I've started using these:
  • NetGuard, available on F-Droid and Google Play - this runs as a VPN and gives you fine-grained control over which apps can connect under either WiFi or Mobile Data conditions.
  • Net Monitor, also on F-Droid and Google Play -  this lets you see which of your apps are making connections in the background, which can be useful when trying to work out which ones might be taking up more energy than others.
Do a bit of detective work to see what's connecting, but ultimately, lock down network access for anything non-essential, and feel free to open it up later on, on a per-app, per-need basis.

3. Install a screen time/prevention app

This has been my favourite part so far - there are plenty of apps out there to help you monitor and cut down how much you use your device. I've been trying out:
  • YourHour (Play Store) has been my favourite app so far - it's one of many that tracks device usage, and you can set it to only track certain apps, show you an ongoing timer for each, and set a daily limit (although it doesn't seem to lock me out after this limit). It's great getting to the end of the day, and realising you've only used for 10 minutes, without worry. I've also got a lot more reading done.
  • Off The Grid, available on the Play Store - this locks your phone down for the time you set, allowing you whitelist one app for free, and allowing incoming calls. I whitelist my messaging app in case I need it. I'm not sure if I'll be paying 89p a month to whitelist further apps though, and will probably look for free alternatives. Still, it's a useful app to start with, and good for those bursts of time when you think you'll be tempted to fiddle with your phone.
  • Peace of Mind+ (F-Droid, Play Store) originated from the Fairphone stable and is now available for free. It doesn't lock you out like Off The Grid, but does put you in the mindset of just not using your phone.
There are a whole bunch of these kinds of app these days, which is probably a good thing. I don't have the battery to install too many ;-) so let me know if there are any in particular that you think are good.

4. Turn on Battery Saver mode

I started doing this when I was on holiday and started running out of juice. Back then, I was also manually disabling background data, but I suspect battery saver mode and using NetGuard basically covers it.

On Android 6, it's fairly easy to access - I drop down the top menu, tap the battery icon, hit the three dots and go into "Battery saver". There are probably faster ways to turn it on and off, but it doesn't matter too much when you're only using your phone 10 minutes a day ;-)

The main issue with killing off background data is probably around instant messaging apps, such as Signal and WhatsApp. You may want to avoid battery saver mode if you're expecting urgent communication. Personally, I don't use WhatsApp, and the few other people on Signal generally don't require an urgent reply...

5. Figure out the energy-expensive apps

Over time, as I've got more sensitive to battery usage, I've noticed certain apps  and behaviours really drain the battery, so I've started avoiding these.

In general, I find the Camera app - with its live video view - fairly intensive. So back to good old analogue film there, whoop!

6. Lock everything down overnight

Finally, just get really paranoid about battery usage, and keep a close eye on what your phone battery is doing incessantly ;-) At night, stick everything into Airplane mode, try out Greenify to kill off unwanted processes, and remember to turn it all back on again in the morning! (Device automators such as IFTTT and Easer don't seem to have the ability to set Flight Mode under Android 6, but YMMV.)

In addition to all this, I've also started switching off Bluetooth when absolutely necessary (which means my watch no longer gets notifications - I do prefer the gentle buzz and otherwise silence, over udio prompts though, so will try to turn this back on soon). And I'm trying out locking the screen to Portrait Mode - I have no idea if this saves anything though.


Has it all helped? See for yourself...





Getting about 2.5 days on a single charge, which makes a big difference in this weather. I figure I can harvest about 5000-6000mAh on a sunnyish day, which is only maybe 2 or 3 charges, so the difference between 2 days and 9 days is huge.

The grey days and rainclouds are persisting as I near the 7-month milestone. Will I make it much further though?

Friday, 23 November 2018

Grey days...

Well, this doesn't look great.



Not with 2 out of 3 batteries mostly drained. This might be it, end of the line for an unbroken run. Or I can try to eke out what power I can, depending on how thick the cloud layer is. I'm already monitoring my phone usage with an eye on keeping it down, and starting to uninstall unnecessary apps.

Crunch time.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

6 months milestone, finding winter space

This post marks the 6 month milestone of going solar-powered, which is about twice as my as my previous effort. The phone I'm writing this on and the watch it's connected to haven't seen mains electricity since the end of April.

Even better, we're now into the start of November, a month and a half after the equinox, and my three little batteries are still pretty full.



(The grey battery was on 4 lights, but dropped to 3 in the five minutes it took to get the photo...)

(I'm thinking of naming the batteries. Maybe Huey, Dewey and Louie after Silent Running's little helpers?)

The extended summer, probably thanks to climate change, has seen fairly dry weather with a decent amount of light recently, and I've been able to keep things topped up despite often having to start off in shade, and unplugging batteries in the 6pm dark. The grey battery seems to charge up whatever, but Big Red may possibly prefer to start with some voltage - I'm not convinced it charges if it starts out in the dark, with sunlight showing up later on. A simple experiment with some shade and a USB power meter should tell me though.

More generally, I've been mostly occupied with issues of space, and the idea of land ownership that goes with it. In built up areas, the big challenge of winter is in battling the long, pendulous shadows which are much more pervasive and unpredictable than in summer. My old charging spot is no longer viable. And while we're lucky to have a decent sized garden on a south facing slope (despite the effort to mow grass up it), I'm aware people in flats or smaller plots might struggle to find a decent spot as the sun gets lower. I can think of a few places I've lived where this experiment just wouldn't be viable past September.

But this is turning into a different, socio-political question, which I'll return to one day. For now, I'm concentrating on the basics - such as being ready to come up with a suitable tilting mechanism to hold your panels. Or "appropriating" whatever you can find lying around that fits the bill...



As I try out different places, I'm becoming more aware that being able to either fasten your panels and batteries, or get them at the right angle, is a key part of 'nomadic efficiency'; portability is one thing, but effective portability is another thing entirely. I can imagine an accompanying set of travel utilities, such as carabiners, bits of string and wire, and lightweight angled blocks to get everything just so. And that's assuming you don't plan to track the sun as the earth spins on, soundlessly and endlessly.

Anyway, time to sign off to save on battery. Keep your leads short, your screens clean, and your software lean.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Oh, poop

Most days I get home and rush to check how much power has been transferred into my batteries. Yesterday something else got "transferred".



The dangers of outside harvesting ;) Still, at least it wasn't on the panels themselves.

September is hitting - feels like autumn is trying to approach, but the warmer summer is still keeping it at bay a little. Sunny day today, and I'm pretty much at full charge capacity. Ambient light is keeping me topped up well still.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

17 weeks - on shadows and cables

17 week update. Weather-wise, we've started to see some signs of Autumn approaching - people have talked of _putting the heating on_, and backpacks tend to contain a mix of sun cream, and waterproofs.

That said, it's still mostly warm, if cloudy, and the sky is having a blue period this weekend, so should be good to get a full charge up. Saturday has been very warm indeed.

However, warmth for us doesn't necessarily make for good charging. The main difference in noticing now is in shadows - it takes longer in the morning for the sun to reach my standard charging slope, and it leaves it faster in the evening. There are also extra shadows passing over during the day - the long fingers of chimneys now reach further than in the summer. And the solar panels seem to perform best when they are completely free of shade - a small patch can drag the power down quite a bit.

The importance of cables

A few weeks ago, I ended up reading about USB charging cables for an evening, which descended rapidly into the basics of electricity and resistance. This was kicked off by seeing some claims of "fast charging ports" on USB power meters (more on these below) - these turn out to remove 2 of the 4 connections within a USB connection, namely the 2 which transfer _data_ instead of _power_.

In cable terms, removing these 2 data wires generally means that there is more physical space for the power lines. Bigger power lines means less resistance from the walls of the cable, which means more _current_ and faster electricity transfer.

This rate of transfer is really important as charging gets harder, as above - we need a faster flow rate to fill the same battery in less time. Not only are there fewer sunny days, each day gives us less charging hours. (And, I assume, the Sun is weaker than in the height of summer?)

Generally, wires are about "28 gauge", but fast-charge cables (usually supplied with tablets with larger batteries) are "24 gauge" - see this blog post for a good explanation. I was about to order some new cables, but checked quickly, and the Syncwire cables I have already seem to do the job. (The Amazon page explicitly says they do full transfer speeds up to 2.4A.) So woo.

Length matters

Today I also realised I have a really short USB cable that came with one of the batteries - as in, 10cm rather than my 1m Syncwire ones. In theory, this should improve the amps too, as less length means less resistance as well.

So I plugged it in and measured it - wow! What a difference! No clouds to affect measurements - the 1m cable was giving me about 0.8A, while the tiny wire pushed that up to about 1.05A, so an extra 25% or more power.

The disadvantage, of course, is that it's harder to arrange your battery so that it's out of the sun, but I find it's usually OK to tuck it behind the panels anyway. I'm going to have to rethink my cables very soon - it really feels like maximum efficiency is the only way to go, with the days getting shorter so quickly.

Bring on the equinox!

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Hold all my calls (overnight)



One of those small changes in routine recently - I've switched back to putting my phone on Airplane mode overnight. I'm sure I used to do this, and stopped for some reason - maybe I wanted to keep my watch connected.

I had mixed results just switching off WiFi overnight though. Got a gut impression that the power management in Android 6 was better when left to its own devices, as it were. Sometimes the phone seemed to use more battery overnight when I turned the WiFi off. Airplane mode seems to give a consistent, fairly flat line though, and I lose a few % on my charge, but generally a very minimal amount. Airplane mode also removes the risk of falling back to network data usage if I've left that on.

Sadly I don't have controlled experiments on this stuff. I seem to have developed a bit of an "instinctual" approach, which works for experimenting quickly, but leaves write-ups a little vague and subjective ;)

Anyway, for now I'm sticking to Airplane mode overnight for both my phone and my watch - the setting for both is easy to get to so only takes a few seconds. (On the phone, I do a double slide-down, and there's an Airplane option. On the Pebble, I've set up a long-press shortcut to toggle it.) Given my routine is fairly regular - young kids wake me up early so not many late nights - I'm thinking of using an automater like IFTTT or LibreTasks (for free software fans) to toggle Airplane mode. Making power management easy is the name of the game, when it comes to getting a process and mindset in place.

Fairphone have also announced that Android 7 is coming , probably in the next month. The default power management will be different again, so expect some new experiments when it hits.

Solar clock: 16 weeks, 2 days, and counting

Friday, 17 August 2018

New hardware



More details to follow soon, but I've been hitting the hardware this week. Here's a sneak preview of a cheap but useful USB power meter I picked up to measure things. Already finding it extra useful, and battery charge is up to about 90% across the three batteries.

I've also learned a bit about cables, which I'll write up in a separate post soon too.

Monday, 13 August 2018

The Holiday post - how to stay charged in a strange place

Having returned recently from a week in France for holiday, I thought I'd write up some quick notes on how solar life went.

Details: We were out there for just over a week, staying on a shady campsite for most of it, and in a more urban setting for a couple of days. The weather was basically sunny and hot, until the last few days when we hit storms and clouds, with intermittent sun.

Having seen the forecast before we went, I was pretty confident that topping up batteries wouldn't be a problem. Some types of travel might be harder (eg. cities with high buildings, or walking tours where you're always walking south with the sun on your front?).

The ideal routine for charging batteries is to leave the panels and battery somewhere all day, or at least as long as possible. This meant an interesting first few days, scoping out the campsite, looking for possible good spots. But what counts as 'a good spot' when you're traveling around?

1. Decent angle for solar input. At home (see previous post), I have a handy low shed roof, angled at 45 degrees and south-facing. It turns out that such a handy surface isn't always available - in this case, most of the campsite was shaded by trees (good for humans...) or roofs were high and inaccessible. You might need to climb a little. Or you might be able to find a decent tree with sturdy branches that you can 'nest' the panels in. Get creative when looking, be bold.

2. Somewhere you can leave a panel for as long as possible. Bearing in mind that the Sun moves round (or, ok, the Earth does), you may need to move your panel part way through the day. It took me a day to realise this so lost half a day to shade, and I ended up picking two sites, and knowing roughly when to transfer the panels from one site to another. Don't forget to pick your panels up at the end of the day! But also - don't let your solar routine ruin your holiday activities ;-)

3. Somewhere generally safe. This is trickier. You'll have to use your intuition and sense of trust here - are the people in the area generally trustworthy? Or are there any people you can ask to keep an eye on your panels? I ended up leaving mine by a cafe which was open from early til late - the campsite was safe enough, to be honest, but I asked the cafe staff if I could leave the panel there, and let them know when I picked it up. Be safe, be respectful.

My second spot was near our tent, but slightly out of view. There was public access to the path it was by. My main concern was more about dogs peeing on the panels, rather than someone pinching them, so I experimented with attaching kit to a nearby fence too:




With spots and security sorted out, I managed to do some semi-decent charging up. I also used the holiday as a great excuse to throw my phone in a bag and leave it there as much as possible. Apparently data roaming in Europe works just like being at home these days, so there are no more data excuses for not checking emails.

But staying off the phone meant my battery life got stretched out more. Not as much as I hoped, I admit - I spent some time tidying up my phone when I got back home, but more of this in another post. Enough to say that turning off Background Data made my phone oddly unresponsive, and I'm not sure if it helped the battery much overall. One to experiment more with, anyway.

So, that was holiday. It's not easy when everything is unfamiliar, when you're not so sure how long you have to re-settle. Take enough batteries, get them charged as much as possible before you go. Recce like a pro. Preserve your energy. Take what sun you can get.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Recap: 10 weeks on solar power

I wanted to start the 6suns blog with a re-post of a write-up I did at 10 weeks of running off solar power, which was originally posted at my main blog, De-scribed. Apologies if you've read this before, but it's a good place to start...



Last weekend, mid-July, marked the 10-week point of running my phone and my watch off solar power alone. I figure if we're going to turn the British summer into a molten hellpot through global warming, I might as well benefit from it. Here are some notes on how I've done it (not complicated) and thoughts on what I've picked up along the way (not profound). I did also run for about 3 months on solar a few years ago, with a different setup, but the gist was the same. It's good to know not too much has changed compared to back then. Broadly speaking, there are three main things that I think are useful when moving to solar power at this level: hardware, including solar cells (natch), an understanding of battery use, and the right mindset. Bear in mind that this is a fairly amateur approach to solar power, intended to run USB devices only. More nomadic people, such as those with camper vans or house boats, have bigger setups, which I haven't looked into yet. My main aim is to be portable with just a rucksack, if I want to be, and to power a bare minimum. So here we go... [ Note: Forgot to add in my routine here, will update later to include thoughts, but generally I just charge up when there's good Sun ;-) ]

 

1. Hardware

I fairly rigidly stick to charging my devices from USB batteries, and charging the USB batteries from solar panels. I've read that the draw from phones is more 'controlled', which makes it harder to charge fully - and it certainly seems hard to reach 100% battery on the phone when plugged straight into the solar panels. But sometimes the direct charge is useful. Anyway, here's my current setup:
  • Phone: I'm running a Fairphone 2 at the moment, just because I like what they're doing. So long as you can charge your phone by USB, it shouldn't matter too much. Support for later Android versions is helpful, as they seem to improve the battery life I think?
  • Watch: I'm wearing a Pebble Time smartwatch, because the phone is slightly too big to keep in a pocket and I like having (sparse) notifications for messages, etc. The Pebble Time has an OK battery life, and I use GadgetBridge to keep it linked to my phone.
  • Solar Panels: I'm currently using a 20W KingSolar array, which has 4 panels, charges 2 devices via USB, and folds up nice. Looks like Amazon don't have the 20W version at the moment, but you can browse for similar things easily. When browsing, it's the Wattage you want to pay attention to - higher Wattage gives you more charging power, i.e. you can charge faster and more when it's sunny, so you can support more and bigger batteries. I paid £30 for the 20W version, which seems to be a good level for the devices above and batteries below. My previous effort used a 10W Opteka array, which was about £50 at the time - this shows you how much solar panel pricing has dropped in 5 years. I still have the 10W as backup, but rarely use it.
  • Batteries: I don't know a huge amount about battery performance, I'm sorry to say. I have 2 USB batteries that I run off, one more portable than the other, but have no idea how to test their efficiency, etc. They seem to do the job though. The portable one is a 10,000mAh EasyAcc power pack, and
    the heavier one is a 22,,400mAh EC Tech power pack similar to this one.

    Choose your battery based on mAh and reviews. For my phone, I get 2-3 charges off the 10,000mAh battery, and 4-5 charges off the 22,400mAh pack, so enough to last me about a week, depending on use. I've also just added a 20,000mAh Besiter power pack to the collection, because it's sunnier than I can use up batteries at the moment. I'm in the process of giving it a full charge via the mains, then a full discharge on other devices, before solar-charging it. I'd like to add a second portable battery, so that I can charge a portable one up while I'm carrying one around - I tend to use the heavier ones when I'm at home (eg overnight charging), unless it's an emergency. Whatever you choose, read the reviews a bit. I've found it's useful to have a larger battery for charging up on really sunny days, but I don't want to carry such a heavy thing with me all the time. I don't think it's a good idea to charge one battery from another...
Previously I've also charged up headphones from solar power, which I might start doing again. My Kindle didn't seem to like being charged from a battery, which was annoying, but I don't use it too much. A future plan is to also revive one of my Pirateboxes, and run this off solar power as a portable wifi hotspot - for p2p networks such as Scuttlebutt? Oh here's a picture of the two batteries being charged up.
It's helpful to find a standard place to lay the solar cells out, that faces the Sun, and isn't obstructed by shade. I've had spurious results starting out charging in shadier conditions - I'm not sure the charge increases when the Sun comes out more, but need to do better testing here.

2. Battery usage


Once you have the ability to charge batteries from the Sun, and devices from a battery, you're basically good to go. The second useful thing is to then control how your battery is being used - this will sort of come naturally once your phone is being filled with precious, inconvenient energy, but here's what I get up to.
  • OS: I'm running Android 6, but will probably switch to 7 when Fairphone release their upgrade. There are apparently improvements to battery life. YMMV with Apple.
  • Monitoring: The Battery Usage screen in Android is a good starting point for keeping track of battery train and apps using battery. I also use the  BatteryBot app to show me a 1-100% battery indicator on screen, so I can see exactly what's going on.
  • Optimisation: There are all sorts of good articles on how to save battery under Android which are worth looking at (I need to revise my own settings all the time too). Currently I'm using Greenify to turn background apps off, but your efficiency may vary. There are probably similar efforts for Apple, but I'm afraid I have no experience here. Generally, turn off as much auto-sync stuff as you can, including emails, etc.
  • For my Pebble watch, I keep all extraneous animations off, and limit vibrations to a minimum. I currently get about 4-5 days of use before having to recharge.
  • Software: This is where it starts getting harder, and you have to start considering what you really need to get from your devices. Personally, I have a decent set of apps on my phone, and so long as they're configured right, I can only use them when I need to. There's no straight answer to this except to install stuff, try it, uninstall it, and see if it makes a difference. This is all about battery life vs your own life, so see below for mindsets. My one guilty pleasure is Pokemon Go, which I play with son 1. This is a right battery hog, especially when there's a lot of screen and network activity (eg during battles). I also find that the live screen when using the phone's camera eats battery up.
Otherwise, battery usage is one of those ongoing battles. After a time though, it can become almost ... fun? A challenge, if you will. Which brings me on to....

 

3. Mindset

 

This, for me, is the most interesting aspect of the whole exercise. Why do we take electric power so much for granted? How do we know where our power comes from? Why are our devices so geared up for continuous usage, and an addiction to perennial consumption? Why must there be an app for everything, instead of just letting things happen offline? There are two main aims of running off solar power: first, be resilient by decoupling from megalithic power networks. Dependency on something which you can be cut off from isn't something that the taopunk aims for, so independence is to be valued. Yes, we're still dependent on people making the devices and the solar power and the software, but that's a different conversation :)

The second aim is to rely less on constant power, and to value the potential energy that we do have. It's an interesting exercise to realise that your phone will shut down - and with it, your connection to the whole world - if you fritter away your battery on novelty games. If we want to preserve what we have for later, we need to take our time, relax, find other things to do. Convenience is a luxury, but one we've grown used to. Which isn't great. So I've found myself much more closely tied to the weather through this. I check the forecast daily, and how I use my phone is dictated by what the weather looks like over the next week. I will hold off heavy usage for a day if it's cloudy and my battery reserves are low.

There's a certain hard limit on my tech usage, which I like, and the hard limit comes from nature itself. That restriction forces some good practices. A focus on Efficiency for one. A push to Do Other Things, to look around and sketch instead of stare at a game, for another. Basic, so simple, yet so forgotten. Given the current heatwave in the UK, I think I could expand to using all 30W of my solar panels and run off 4 batteries eventually. This, in theory, would keep me going for a couple of weeks. At some point, the weather will switch though, and the solar route will fail me. I'm trying to work out how to get to a point where I can keep going through the winter - should I charge up more batteries? How many would I need to get through, say, October to April? Or should I go full 12V solar panels like a proper nomad? Anyway, hope that helps.

Please do leave feedback here, or via Twitter (@6loss) or via GnuSocial/Mastodon (6gain@loadaverage.org) - I'd love to hear about others' experiences, and any tips for improving what I have. It still feels like there's a lot of potential here...

Welcome to 6suns

Hello - this is 6suns, a new #solarpunk blog from Graham/Scribe/6loss/etc to write down updates and thoughts about running off solar power.

At time of writing, I've been running a smartphone and a smartwatch off solar power alone for 14 weeks - more details will be posted soon, but it's now the month to start thinking ahead to Autumn, so the challenge should start getting harder over the next 3 months.

I'll be posting short updates and photos here, as a sort of diary. You can follow along via the RSS feed here, or links to updates will be auto-posted to my Twitter stream at @6loss. (Any tips to auto-post to Gnu Social appreciated!)

The challenge so far has been fairly straightforward - the British weather has been very warm and sunny this year (thanks, climate change!) but I've learnt a lot about batteries, phone efficiency, and routine along the way. I suspect I've still got a lot to learn, which is what this blog is about!

If you're along for the ride, thanks for reading. Do drop me a line one way or another with any feedback.

- Scribe
Sunday 12th August 2018, Seaford, UK