On 23rd November Spain are requiring that all visitors have a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of arriving in the country. Due to an upcoming trip I have tried to find the options for getting this test done – in a suitable time frame and with reliability of the results to be returned in time. Certificates will be accepted in digital or paper format, but it seems this is one more hoop to jump through for travelling now :/

So Where Can I Get This Test Done?

Below is a summary of my findings so far. I am based in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire so there is a focus for locations nearest to me. All of the tests issue a certificate for travel, which will include name, date of birth, passport number, test type and result.

A quick blog on what I had during the Corona virus outbreak. Maybe it was COVID-19, maybe it was just flu, but I’ve never had something quite like this, so I thought I’d just write up my experience here.

About me – I am 38, male, good health and fitness (a keen mountain biker, climber, runner), I eat a healthy vegetarian diet and have no underlying health issues and don’t usually catch whatever is floating around, or if I do, I have lower or shorter symptoms than most.

Day by Day Symptoms

Day 1 – Friday 20th March 2020

I was at work, and just towards the end of the day I started with a slight cough. I didn’t really think anything of it, just drank more water. By the evening the cough was persistent and dry. I kept feeling a prickle in my throat – a bit like what hayfever does to me when the pollen on trees comes out – around March, but this felt slightly different, but similar to that. I felt tired so had a very early night, and then started shivering in bed. I slept OK but for a long time -maybe ~10PM – 8AM without waking up, which is unusual for my normal 7-8 hour good night sleep requirements.

I called 111 in the afternoon of this day – they advised self quarantine and no need to visit a doctor or hospital at this point. I agree with this – I don’t think being around other ill people would be a particularly good idea, and if the symptoms do not worsen, then I would only be a burden on what is I can only imagine a slightly stretched health service.

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I recently got a Pixel 3a to replace my dying Honor 9, and here are the steps I used to unlock the bootloader and obtain root. Note – it was running Android 10.

Unlock Bootloader:

Root: I used the Boot Image Patching Installation Method from here:

When rooted be sure to turn off
Automatic System Updates under developer settings

I intend to take the AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions as my next exam, but first I’ll need to study – so below is my list of resources to help prepare me for the exam:

Yesterday I sat the AZ-103 Microsoft Azure Administrator Associate exam and passed 🙂 I took it via the online proctored method to save going to an exam centre, and have a mixed feeling over this experience compared to previous ones.

The Good

  • I didn’t have to travel to an exam centre, as my local ones are all 45 minutes – 1 hour each way and parking is usually an issue.
  • I didn’t have to sit in an exam centre – these are usually in pretty run down locations, with ageing PCs, 4:3 screens still (!) on very old Dell PCs, and the heating / cooling is nearly always wrong, or another exam candidate is making noises, rocking the row of tables, etc
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I appreciate this post might be controversial, but I often enjoy seeing the aircraft outside the grounds of airshows, usually as they are making a turn, using more throttle away from you or perhaps seeing them from different angles. Or simply the tickets are sold out, or sometimes you don’t agree with the pricing (contentious!). I enjoyed seeing the Vulcan’s last flight outside of Bournemouth airshow like this from the cliffs – I’m glad I did, as otherwise I would never have seen it fly for the last time.

For the first time I tried to view the Royal Internation Air Tattoo (RIAT) in RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire from outside the show, and being such a popular show in land there were plenty of viewing options. I ended up in Lakeview Park and View, but I have listed other options below:

Lakeview Park and View

I couldn’t find much information about this site online before I left, but just happened to stumble upon it.

Location: ~0.5 miles West of the airfield, just off the A417 to the west of Horcott Lakes:

Cost: £15 per car

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Overview of Azure services:https://nnmer.github.io/azure-services-map/dist/

Azure-links on GitHub: https://github.com/BMichaelJ/Azure-links

Azure Certifications: https://iainfielding.com/azure-certifications/

Microsoft Azure Documentation: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/azure/

Microsoft Learning on GitHub: https://github.com/MicrosoftLearning

AZ-103 – Microsoft Azure Administrator

Skylines Academy Azure Study Resources (Powershell Reference Guide, Naming Standards and Tagging, AZ-103 Study Material Links):

Recently I’ve been running hashcat for some proof of concept WPA cracking with the below specs:

  • CPU: i7 4790k (mild overclock @ 4.5GHz)
  • GPU: 1 x Powercolor RX580 Red Devil ,1 x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660
  • Motherboard: MSI Z97-G43
  • Case: Cooler Master 370 Elite
  • Cooling: Air: 1 x 140mm fan intake (front), 1 x 140mm fan intake (side), 1 x 120mm exhaust fan (top rear)

With this set up it would run about 245KH/s but I after some time (minutes to hours) it would hard power off with similar symptoms to a dying or overheating PSU, only I wasn’t convinced. I’ve long fancied upgrading to an all in one CPU liquid cooler but I don’t fancy messing around with a DIY version – I’m sure this gives the optimum cooling result, and a the engineer in me loves to build, fiddle, and optimise things, but I just wanted a drop in solution, so I opted for the Corsair H100i Pro as it was readily available is probably one of the best 240mm coolers (2 x 120mm fans).

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I recently read this quite interesting book called Never Split the Difference, about negotiations. The author was a hostage negotiator and I came across a YouTube video of him somehow and I found the subject quite interesting of how he almost uses ‘mind control’ to lead the hostage to give up the hostage. There is something mesmerising about hearing and watching Chris Voss speak, so I ordered the book.

The book covers some interesting areas around human psychology, the brain, human behaviour and communication. I found it a fascinating read and there is a handy crib sheet at the end summarising each chapter. I feel this will help me to become a better negotiator in all areas of my life. 9/10

02. April 2019 · Write a comment · Categories: Books · Tags:
The Man With No Face

A quick review of a book I’ve just finished reading on my new Kindle Paperwhite on my commute – The Man with No Face by Peter May.

It is a pretty well written murder mystery based in Brussels in the 1970’s. A Scottish reporter is sent there to investigate a political murder – very apt in light of the current Brexit situation. What struck me as interesting was the very fine attention to detail that Peter includes to help create the effect in the tense situations.

Overall I enjoyed it, being an easy read and a pretty good story 7/10