Monthly Archives: January 2021

Picked Olives, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal, small holding, defender of - my meu girrasol creed :)


Is all but over. Weatherwise we have had a couple of cold weeks where you had frost and frozen pipes. But is has warmed up this week and some of the almonds have bloomed. It been a mixture of sunshine together with cloud cover and light rain.

almond trees, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve

LE300 wind turbine from Leading Edge, AlgarveThe little LE300 wind turbine has been helping keep the lights on during periods of poor insolation. I have been pruning my own trees around the property. I have been taking my time with this. It’s going well and I am not going anywhere. I had my first avocado thus year. Of the Hass’ variety. Organic avocados, Hass variety, Algarve, Portugal

.fico em casa , over here , Algarve, Portugal oruned olive trees, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal

I have been experimenting with making cookies. The almond and lemon ones turned out decent. There weren’t many olives to be had last year but I managed to pick a few for pickling from the Belgian neighbours’ trees. Picked Olives, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal, small holding, defender of - my meu girrasol creed :)

I currently have 5 dogs in the house. True four are still only puppies but they are driving me insane. 🙂 I really hope I can find good owners for them and soon.

organic farming, sweet potato, Algarve, Portugal, real transition lifestyle
Another first for me. 1 kg of sweet potato. Grown in a large pot. The ones in the ground didn’t do well in the heavy clay soil.

Text to Speech

Cold January days so more time for reading, Due to my particular situation I can’t read books. As you can see I can read and write quite well well on the computer using standard ‘Accessibility’ tools and by improvising using different font/illumination settings.

Google-text-to-speech engine and a good read, the war on horror

I recently discovered Google Play books on my Android smartphone. It can use the Google text to speech engine which surprising works offline and works rather well. I ‘read’ “The War on Horror” which I found to be quite a good read. This is a free ebook. Brits would feel equally at home with the various themes explicitly presented or alluded to in this book. It brought back to the fore of my mind how we usually manage to achieve just mediocrity when aiming for excellence. If we started out aiming for just mediocrity the results are guaranteed to be dire.

Evie ebook Reader and Google Play Books on Android smartphones

I discovered an excellent ebook reader on the Android Download store, Google Play. The name of the application is Evie. It is a really good ebook reader! It has style and elegance and superb functionality. I am not sure who the creators/developers are but well done to them!

Evie, ebook reader for Android devices
Screenshot of Evie on my smartphone

Evie can use various text-to-speech engines including Google’s text-to-speech engine which surprisingly works offline. The voice of Brian (British english) is rather good. I use it to read .pdf books from my former degree courses, and technical manuals amongst other ebooks. You can change the engine. Amazon has gone the 100% cloud way. Their text-to-speech engine, Amazon Poly works only when you are connected to the internet. There are other text-to-speech engines that work offline. You can download and use these with Evie. Most of these require to be purchased but many offer a try-before-you-buy option.

Installing Linux with Persistence on a USB stick

This was covered by myself in this previous article when I first ventured into the world of Linux and Ubuntu.

I have learned some new things now and this is a follow up to correct some inaccuracies. Firstly, you should not install Linux on any FAT file system including FAT32 as these file systems don’t work correctly with linux file permissions.

Choose a partition size greater than 6GB preferably 10GB minimum for the primary partition which will contain the linux OS files and boot loader. Create a 4GB linux-swap partition as previously. Choose the ext4 journaling file system for the primary partition.

Ubuntu 18.04 partitioned with G-Parted

During installation I made a mistake and installed the ext2 file system which is a legacy linux file system and does not support journaling. A Journaling file system verifies the state of a file during the copy/move process by keeping logs. If a power outage occurred during the file copy process the system would know about it and inform the user that the file was not transferred/saved successfully. There is no such tracking with a non journaling file system and the corrupted file would be saved as a valid entry. I will have to see if I can convert from ext2 to ext4 without having to re-install.

Ubuntu 18.04 installation ext2 primary partition

The rest of the installation procedure for a portable Ubuntu linux 18.04 is still valid.

References: LinuxFilesystemsExplained – Community Help Wiki