Turn an old TV into a Smart TV

So here’s something that has worked well. We had an old TV that we wanted to give new life to in the form of so called ‘Smart TV’ functionality and went for an external streaming device. There are a few manufacturers producing external devices, Amazon has its Fire TV, Google has Chromecast but there are alternatives too.

After some research, we went for a Roku streaming stick which was cheap, low res (since the TV is low res) and it has a wide variety of streaming channels available such as Netflix, Youtube, Google Play, BBC iPlayer, Wuaki and more. The Roku even has a phone app for an extra control option.

If you want to go this route to upgrade an old TV, consider whether you want ethernet and/or WiFi connectivity, the resolution needed, i.e. does your TV and connection support the high resolution offered by the device? and services offered. Also consider vendor restrictions, e.g. will a Google or Amazon device lock out other vendors. The Roku is neutral in this respect which was appealing.

How to have peaceful shopping trips with children

I think I’ve cracked it, how to have peaceful shopping trips with children.

  1. Have peaceful obedient children who don’t run off or argue
  2. Wait till they are older and more sensible

Ok ok, so 1. is but a dream and whilst we’re now part way to 2., after some increasingly successful shopping trips I feel moved to share these ideas. Continue reading “How to have peaceful shopping trips with children”

Winters in Germany

I lived in Germany for thirteen years mostly near Munich and some years we had really great winters. Now back in the UK  it’s basically always wet, cold and windy, it’s winter with none of the good bits.

I remember a lot of snow clearing, the endless fight to get a parking space, clear a parking space from snow  and prevent the car being buried by the daily passing snowploughs. And how after a few days of -10 to -20, a temperature of only -3 or -5 then felt relatively warm. Of scraping ice off the insides of car windows, handbrake turns and drifting around corners, the woods looking like Narnia, that wonderful sound of snow crunching underfoot, snowball fights and sledging. Decent winters.

Houses in Germany are built and insulated really well and cars have winter wheels with a set of winter tyres,  the country is well set up for winter conditions. I miss decent winters but, when it’s mild that’s good too.