Using the Pentax Optio WPi waterproof digital camera

Recently I a bought a Pentax Optio WPi camera, which is engineered to such a high standard that it is waterproof without any modifications down to 1.5 metres. So when I went on holiday to Bulgaria last week, I couldn’t wait to test it out in the swimming pool.

First of all, I filmed a clip of me breathing underwater…

and then took another of my girlfriend swimming “doggy” paddle…

By now I was coming up with loads of ideas of cool things to film, so I asked my gf to film me diving in the pool over her head…

All in all, I think the Pentax Optio WPi is the best 200 GBP that I have ever spent on a gadget. They have now released a new version, the Pentax Optio W10 which has a bigger LCD screen on the back (2.5 inch instead of 2.0 inch) and it can take 640×480 video clips instead of 320×240, and what’s more it is even cheaper at 160 GBP!

In case you are wondering, we stayed at the Kempinski Grand Hermitage Hotel, which, with 5 stars and costing less than £350 for a week including flights, was a fantastic bargain!

SPF breaks e-mail forwarding

I just realised today that SPF checks break traditional e-mail forwarding methods, where the envelope sender is preserved. However, there is a fix called SRS (sender rewriting scheme) that creates a new unique envelope sender at the forwarding domain, that can be re-mapped by the MTA to the orginal sender, should any bounce messages come back.

You can read more about this at the SPF Forwarding FAQ and also on this overview of SRS implementation.

Home power generation

I am currently investigating the viability of installing a micro wind turbine at home. This D400 Wind Turbine looks like a good one. It costs £3450 for 2 of them, full installed and wired into the home grid. You can then get a grant of up to 30% of the cost of this from the governments Low Carbon Buildings Programme. That brings our total cost down to £2478.

Low Carbon Buildings Program Grant

In order to qualify for a grant your home needs to fulfil certain criteria. For instance, you already need to be using energy saving light bulbs throughout your house, have a thermostat on your heating system, have sufficient loft and cavity insulation. Further details can be found on the application itself.

Doing the sums

The typical yield from each turbine in an urban environment would be approx 660kwh per year. Electricity is typically less than 10pence per kilowatt hour, so that 660kwh would equate to a maximum saving of £66 per year. Two of them would give us a max saving of around £132 year. This is a return on investment of about 5.3%, or in other words it would take around 18 years or more for the turbines to pay for themselves.


Of course, energy costs are rising all the time, so they would likely pay themselves off quicker, and these sums do not take into account the fact we should be paying a premium to protect the environment.

The moral of this story? Economically, home power generation does not yet beat buying electricity from the national grid, although prices are likely to drop significantly as more Chinese manufacturers join in the fun. Environmentally, it would probably still work out a lot cheaper to source your energy from a supplier who uses 100% renewables such as Good Energy. However, over the next few years, as prices fall, this is likely to be a major growth industry.

Right now, the best way to save both money and the enviroment is to reduce consumption in your home, and energy saving light bulbs are a must have!