Fruit Picking at Benty Farm Tearooms 2022

Another activity we took Benjamin to do – raspberry and strawberry picking at Benty Farm Tearooms in Thurstaton, Wirral.

We went in the afternoon of Saturday 23rd July 2022. We took our one year old Benjamin and his five year old friend. It had been raining in the morning, so it was wellies all round.

Entry is free and you pay for what you pick. It was £6.50 per kg for strawberries and £9.50 per kg for raspberries. No comitments or minimum spends, just pay for what you pick! You are encourage (by signage) not to eat anything in the fields, but that is hard to explain to a berry obsessed 1-year-old – we tried, but not very hard. He had a great time though!

The set up in the field is really excellent, there are solid walkways throughout, completely accesible by pram (and maybe even wheelchair). Half of the strawberries are at ground level and half are elevated about 1m off the ground. There are excellent trellis structures around the raspberries to keep them contained and easy to pick!

The set-up was much better than we expected and they still has ALOT of berries left when we went, we did not struggle to find what we wanted.

We filled a punnet of strawberries and half a punnet of raspberries and they were delicious!

Overall, a great activity, really well organised. Highly recommended!

Linode and WordPress: Adding SSL for HTTPS

For years, I have self hosted WordPress on Linode with no encryption. Using Ubuntu and Apache. This has been alright, but in recent months (years?) browsers display a symbol showing they are insecure sites. I decided to address this.

From a little reading it appears that I need some signed certificates and to reconfigure my apache config files to add support for SSL and https. I looked into doing this with self signed certificates, but I do not think that is an option after a little trial and error. The easier solution by far to this is using certbot from EFF, using a let’s encrypt certificate.

Continue reading “Linode and WordPress: Adding SSL for HTTPS”

Quick Action Shortcuts in MATLAB 2018b


For years I have used the Shortcuts in the Quick Action Toolbar to speed up my MATLAB workflow. To create one, I used to just click the button highlighted below.

Quick Action Toolbar in 2017b

Last week, I upgraded to 2018b and the ability to create Shortcuts in the Quick Action Toolbar appears to have been removed completely.

Quick Action Toolbar in 2018b

This was the conclusion I came to after clicking around for 10 minutes looking for where the functionality has been moved too.


Eventually, I found it.

In MATLAB 2018b, there is a whole new feature called Favorites (no UK localisation! 🙁 ), this can be found in the Home tab under code, as seen below. This is what shortcuts where in 2017b, but supercharged.

Favorites lets you save snippets of commonly used code and allows them to be quickly accessed from the Favorites drop down list. They can be added and removed from the Quick Action Toolbar quickly using buttons in the Favorites list.

You can even create Favorites directly from the Command History, by hovering over a selected line of code (or several lines) and clicking the star that appears on hover.

The full documentation of this feature is available on the MathWork Website here.

Teckin Smart Plug / Socket with HomeKit using homebridge


I wanted to automate my outdoor lights to enable timers and motion detectors to trigger them to make the house a little safer and easier to navigate at night. I have not decided on an activation method yet, but the first step, will be to just get them on HomeKit. I considered smart bulbs, but that would mean i’d need to change the existing PIR fixtures and I do not need to dim them or anything, so this seemed overkill. I can disable the PIR on them all and set them to always on, so a smart socket will do the job great!

I started looking for HomeKit smart sockets in the UK and the choice is very limited and often pricey.  I decided to just try a Teckin £10 socket from Amazon, which was not HomeKit compatible, but I was certain I could work something out with homebridge.


The Teckin Smart Plug is just a Tuya device and uses a cloud API for actuations, not controlled locally on your network like all other HomeKit devices. This may have some security implications, but all comunications seems to be encrypted and secure, so I am happy to use this for now.

The homebridge plugin that I ended up using to control the socket is homebridge-tuya. I struggled to get the tuya-cli link-wizard to work to identify the id and key of the device. The connection initial process seems very flaky. I do not know if it is due to my mesh network or what, but i spent hours on this bit. In the end I resorted to identifying the id and key for my switch using Charles on macOS and this method from an older version of the Tuya node API.


It works great in HomeKit!

Now, to find a good way to trigger it from motion outside. 🤔