Playing with the TFL APIs

So I often get annoyed coming home from work that the platform indicator board at South Kensington only displays very close trains.

It turns out that the API they offer has lots of useful data, that isn’t shown on the platform displays. Surely that’s not a hard fix if they have the data…..

Anyway this now works on my phone and my PC…. Yes it’s rough and ready, but it’s for me!

Oyster / Oyster Replacement over a wider area (PAYG)

Yes the government are doing a consultation on making more pay as you go options available.

This in my opinion really needs doing, but there are two big things I want.

One monthly and annual caps (ideally with X day a week options to cover part time commuters).

Two if the technology needs replacing add longer range RFID too so they can see when I have gone through my home station in the evening. Currently having a season ticket on there means according to the rules I “should tap out” not “must tap out” if you force every to tap out you end up with a stupid queue…

I’d really like to see this working nationwide at some point, but to do that you’re going to have to have the option to put tickets on unless advance fares ever go away, which would make me sad! Then I still remember being in Rome my walk up ticket didn’t cost much at all, why can’t we just have affordable walk up fares?

The phone line is fixed

Photo showing work starting at 3, when appointment was 8 till 1

So the phone line did get fixed before 1pm, thank you sky for getting BT openreach to deal with the fault.

I am told there was a flood locally with lots of BT vans in the morning, hence guess them fixing that might be related.

What was slightly annoying was making sure I was at home for an appointment when there was no visit, but at least there were less work interruptions that way.

The local Petrol station is currently cash only so I wonder if they also lost phone lines. Then businesses tend to get better SLAs so would be surprised if they weren’t fixed before us.

The phone line is down

So I got home to the phones saying check phone line and did the whole moving furniture to check the master socket and still no phone line.

The good news is the broadband hasn’t died with it, but of course a half broken phone line makes me worry it will break some more.

Sky took about 18 minutes to answer my call to report the fault, but were quick to run a line test and then book us an engineer visit once I had escaped the queue. Will it stay broken to Wednesday which is engineer visit day?

Uh-oh… I’ve had an idea

Chatting to some friends last night I came up with an idea….. I want to visit a place in the UK for every letter of the alphabet.

For each letter I’m going to choose a place I like the sound of and make that the place I go to. My definition of go to is going to be find a sign with the place name and take a photo of that, but a sign from a vehicle window doesn’t count.

Although I really want to start soon, just because I’ve found out it exists I want to start with a place called “Ae” so looks like I need a trip to Scotland! Shortest place name in the UK….

B is decided already and will be Bacon End.

Commute with “snow”

So there’s a tiny dusting of snow on the ground and the temperature is above freezing. So far the winter timetable just means less trains, not more reliable ones in my view.

This said according to the Met Office forecast it is going to dip back down to zero degrees centigrade, and snow at the same time so maybe conductor rail icing will become an issue.

So when the train gets very squished due to the cancelling of other trains I have come down the line to the terminus at Hayes (Kent) first. This means I now have a window seat sitting facing the direction of travel.

Damn winter timetables

So tomorrow we get a winter timetable on the Hayes (Kent) line. I can’t make my mind up on how I feel about this. It is good in that we are more likely to actually get a train to London, but bad in that the trains that do run are almost guaranteed to be full to bursting.

I do wish they waited to see what the weather actually does before deciding on the winter timetable, but I guess it helps logistically to do it early.

If it all goes wrong expect another post!


I love this musical as of tonight I’ve seen it twice.

Not quite your standard happy ending musical, but it tells a story and it tells it well. It is my current favourite probably as it breaks some of the norms. Blood Brothers is also up there, again it breaks the happy ending norm.

Many powerful songs in there and some brilliant acting, can I book more tickets yet?

That said so much new is on London! I need to see it all!

Hamilton still seems to manage a full house every night. That’s pretty damn impressive.

I love my radiator valve

Yes you read that right. I really love my radiator valve. It’s an ET SPIRIT value I got from Reichelt (based in Germany, please Brexit don’t break me buying toys from our European neighbours)

Photo of the ET Spirit Radiator Value

What I really like about this valve it has something called FLiRS (Frequently Listening Receiver Slave), which in simple terms means it is always listening out for Z-Wave commands sent to it and wakes up for them without getting through batteries too quickly. So if I decide it’s too cold in my room I can set a new temperature from my phone or my PC and off it goes and as it was too cold very soon you’ll hear the valve open (not too loud) then the click click of the metal radiator getting warmer.

Also love the fact the configuration setting allow the screen to show the set temperature the right way up for the UK.

I’m using HomeSeer for the back end of my Home automation. They deserve some praise too, I’ve got a fairly old HomeTroller Zee which was their first Raspberry Pi based HomeSeer system and I ordered the plug in to make it work with Hue lighting before I learnt that to use plugins you need the Zee S2. On requesting a refund on a Sunday I was having a friendly e-mail chat with someone based in the US, then they’d processed the refund by Wednesday.

Thanks to being able to schedule events in HomeSeer I wake up to 22 degrees and go to sleep at 16. I do like a cold room to sleep, but hate getting up in the cold. I’m getting a bit annoyed with IFTTT and the fact it doesn’t seem to always want to talk to the HomeSeer cloud hence I’m currently pondering do I get an upgrade so I can get HomeSeer talking to my Hue Devices or do I buy a Samsung Smart Things hub and use that so I can talk to Zigbee type devices? I’ll keep pondering from now as it’s not the end of the world yet. the reviews for the SmartHub are not being the most promising.

It is not embossed – Debit Card

So my bank sent me a new debit card after the ticketmaster data breach. Thank you bank for looking after me, but I was surprised when this bank card turned up that it no longer has embossed numbers.

As my friends pointed out to me on Facebook where I made a short comment on this change, I can’t actually recall the last time I made a transaction with a retailer using a card impression machine. As soon as I’d seen the card was flat I was straight onto asking Google if this was normal. That got rid of my fears (irrational ones) of this change, but it would have been nice if Natwest had mentioned in much of the post they had sent me this was a change too and not to worry about it.

This change is actually probably better for me as non embossed cards go better together in the wallet, but I wonder how well printed as all my embossed cards loose the silver ink after a while. I guess it is a wait and see….

The biggest pain is I now have to teach Amazon and many other places a new number, and of course all the good websites won’t show you your whole card number if it has all rubbed of that could be interesting.

Oh and I need to go and make a chip and pin transaction before I can use contactless, this makes me want to use a self checkout in a quiet shop so people don’t think I’m mad for using a contactless card for under £30.