Saturday, 28 December 2013

Grinding Halt

It was only a matter of time, but it seems my active push of late has finally led me to falling ill, yes I'm really run down, and the holiday season has let me relax enough to let a massively heavy chest attack me.  Nothing like as bad as the proper pneumonia I had earlier in the year, but enough to bring progress on all things house & decoration to a halt.

All I've managed game-wise is to extend my branch mining in Minecraft, and to gain access to the first real zero the A6M2 in WarThunder - yes by proper I mean the one without the fucking floats....

But I really need to get better now, I want, nay need, to finish the room here... I need the two big walls plastering and then the whole thing painting, and then I want to get down the carpet shop and pick out some new threads for me to plod about on...

And then I need to start the laminate flooring downstairs.

This later endeavour is already beset with problems, the foremost being, I don't have a power saw or jig to hold the planks and so it'll be wonky as wonky-McWonkerson.... I need to therefore invest in a mitre saw bench/clamp/something... And then I need to actually prepare the floors, the front room floor has a large bulge in it, near the doorway, which is not conducive to laying a flat laminate floor on top of... gah.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas

That is all... So, over to Jessica Frech...

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

WarThunder - Progress

With the man lab v1.0 up and running - this is plastered and a new desk from ikea - I've gotten some WarThunder time in... probably too much since its now 3am...

I have been enjoying the Japanese this evening though, and have made over 60% progress to my first real zero... Now this is not to mention my navy zero, but this borked piece of shit really struggles in Arcade, and is not quick enough in Historical battle...

I have enjoyed pulling off water landings however, and even got repaired for this landing... not often one lands the navy zero... lol

Monday, 23 December 2013

Man Lab - Plastering Planning to Finish the Alcove

I'm actually writing this on like the 18th, but there were lots of posts planned and scheduled, so you're getting it today - late as it were.

Tonight I'm going to try to get the left hand side done on the main wall, but I'm doing this in two steps because of my poor mixing so far... So, I'm going to get the skim bead up on the left of the main window - the blue squares...

Next I'm going to do one mix and try to get from the wall around the left most window, now I've already got skim bead around this window, and I've already done the inside of it... so its smooth, the wall above it however has that bulge mentioned before, so its going to be a shit.
Whilst that's having a moment to set I'm going to clean the bucket and get clean water... Then smooth the first left most skim out... and clean the wall corner up... And then its the second mix and I'm going to do the blank flat wall between the two windows.
Now this skim has to get to the radiator at the bottom, there's no gap at the top of the radiator below the sill, so that's as far as we can get along the bottom there, and then blend and taper off the skim at the top there...

Problems with this section is that the top left of the right hand (main) window has been rebuilt in bonding compound, so I need to scrape some of that away, also the whole area above the windows bulges.

But, once this skim is done the desk can go up.... And the plan is that it'll fit into the alcove I've already plastered... here's my MS Paint powered 3D rendering...

So the desk, and shelf want to go in like this:

The reason being... a) to get it done... b) the desk fixings can go up... c) the father-in-law coming xmas day can help cus the desk to size and fit the shelf.

Now, this whole plastering effort he's going to take the piss out of, but... hey I've seen the plastering done by someone else in our utility room... that's god awful plastering compared to mine, and the wife seems to like my efforts here.

Oh, I've also been trying to drop hints to people that I need a simple DIY skimming plastering course, there is one I'd go to in the local area, but it seems to be more of other details I don't need... like putting up dry lining board... and then another which seems exactly what I want is like 80 miles away... Both courses are expensive, over £180 for one and £225 the other... I'm in negotiation with the wife to go on one, but this room needs finishing before that, so... Wish me luck.


Right, the plan above I wrote last night, and here I am in the morning after some success.  But not before an absolute disaster.

I started out with my first mix, and thought I was happy with it... I'd PVA'd the target area, I'd cleared up around the place... The mix was ready to pour and prepare, so I started... whisking with the drill... and yeah it was peaking, it was like a thick double cream... Oh hell... It was just too sloppy... Just a touch too sloppy... but I didn't realise this really until more of it had slopped onto the floor than got ont he wall, and then what had got on the wall was so finicky.

So I tore it and scraped it back off the wall... and despaired... I cleaned all my tools and then smoothed the little I had left around the window over... The inside of the window is now near perfect...

But I was determined to get something done... So I mixed again... this time when it was peaking I added another trowel full of powder... it looked way too thick... But... i got it on the wall... and I got it smooth...

This is the purple area, now its awkward the corner is shitty - because I'm so bad - and there's a lump in the wall just above the window, so I did from the lump down to the floor, around the window sill left... And I got it perfect, this little bit and this mix was by far my best so far...

With the ignimony of the first mix poured into a bag and disposed of (well its in the car ready to go to the tip) I was really happy to get at least this small slice of wall done... and so smooth, its really nice, I got it on, got it smooth, let it cure until tacky then I stroked water over it and polished it up, its really really nice.

Tonight therefore I have the same process to follow and its going to be in 3 steps, baby steps....

So, the first thing is a thicker mix above the bulge to fill the wall in.

Then another mix to go below the window sill smoothing it all out.

Whilst the second mix is curing, I can polish the first, and then whilst the second is curing I just wait.

Then polish the second and make sure I'm happy with all this.

Finally for tomorrow, its a bigger mix and I do the wall area number 3... it'll probably go right to the radiator as well.

This will be a clean up and then polish, and I really really need a thorough clean, there's plaster everywhere.

I need to scrub the skirtings and the windows.  This third area being done marks the end of my plastering before Xmas, because I've found a dodgy area of the walls which I need to check with the father-in-law about - I think the lathe behind it is rotten.

And I can get the desk up, now there are two very good reasons for putting the desk up, the first - the one I'm most excited about getting a look at - WarThunder patch 1.37 is out... with whole new progres model.

And then DayZ stand alone has his Steam - finally - as an open alpha for £20...

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Rhett & Link

I'm into watching Rhett & Link on Good Mythical Morning... I find them interesting and funny.

I've therefore been working my way though their back catalogue... However...

You can find some very uncomfortable moments...

You can see the request from Link has Rhett worried...

Saturday, 21 December 2013

WarThunder V1.37 - Impressed

Had my first flights in WarThunder 1.37 last night... I like the new progression system... Also I noted there's a large increase in the numberof crew skill points one can receive.

I flew every nation, and had wins for them all, plus a loss as Germans and a loss as Americans... So I flew out seven times.

I'm a little preturbed I already own the 109 F3 and F3 Trop...but have to research the new 109 F1's... lol

New Job Title

The Big Reveal "Software Engineer".

The big reveal for what's been stressing me at work... Redundancy, specifically the retirement of the system I had worked on for the last 8 years and the disposal of the department I've worked as part of for the last 10 years.

Now, working anywhere for 10 years is a big ask in this day and age, so to suddenly be told you're going is a big worry.

All the members of the department were basically redundant from the roles we were all in, however, one new role in a different department was to be created... So was there going to be a big race for this one new role?

The answer is no, I was the only applicant from the old department for the new role, and  early last week all the other members - all my old troubles - departed with their cheques, and today I got my new job title and indicated where I'll be moving to.

The only real rub is, for 10 years I've worked with a pair of headphones on, listening to music, my iPod or whatever, rather than the quite loud office ambience in here.  I mean I work in a gaming area, so there's squawks and chirps, whistling, shouting, swearing and banging all the time... But the new department no headphones.  Now I'm a big believer that headphones are a bigger pro than a con, I accept you can be isolated from talking to people - or rather not listen in on whatever they're up to, but as soon as someone engages with you you can whip them off and be there... But their main pro is that they afford a level of self, a level of separation, especially important for a developer concentrating on code.

I strongly believe in the results of studies proving music creates stable brain waves allowing concentration to improve, literally you are able to zone out your audio senses, which otherwise would have you jump or skit at any thump or bump.

Apart from that however, the new role consists of working on supporting lots of systems created over time, but also some new little bits and bobs which seem to be excellent.

This has, of course, been bothering me, and until Thursday last week I was still only getting between 2 and 4 hours sleep a night with worry.  However, I've since cleaned out all the junk left by my departed colleagues - thanks for leaving so much shit - and I've been set about new little challenges before Christmas.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Apple iPad v Laptop Drivel

Some of the things you over hear in the office, primarily from the technofeeble, today's gem...

"I'd never go back to a laptop, not since I've had my iPad, its primarily how fast the iPad is"

Really, what laptop did you have?

"An old thing"...

So I'm guessing 512MB of RAM, probably a crippled Celeron Processor and B class wireless... and it's slower than an iPad, no surprise there...

See this... (Reaches into bag)... This is my Core i7 3Ghz Laptop with 12Gb of DDR3 RAM a dedicated nVidia 470GTX graphics card with 2GB of DDR5 and N class wireless... It is a might quicker than your iPad, and wholly more useful, and also not being spied on by their highnesses at Apple.

It's not locked down, I can run Windows, Linux and OSX on this (yes I can in a virtual machine, and I do)... So, really... What does you iPad offer?...

Built in Obsolescence... Check.
Locked down features... Check.
£400 bill for a new one... Check.
No replaceable battery when it wears down... Check.

"But your laptop cost thousands" they retort with a triumphant air...

No, it cost just over £500 two years ago, so its a might less than that now, how much is that new iPad Air you're ordering... £399... really.... so I get all my added power, and usefulness and openness, for £100... sounds a cheap deal, see you on the flip-side, or is that Apple Flipboard?

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Read the Specification 2

I've often chided others for not providing me a clear specification, well today I have to chide myself... bad Xelous... BAD BADDD!!!!... For not reading the specification.

Now, in my defence, it was not my fault... The specification was IMPOSSIBLE to attain, and I made the obvious assumption that the person handing it down to me was not an utter fail-tard, not an unreasonable thing to do... But they did fail and so I failed and I'm BAD.

The problem is a system, a widely used system - with many units floating around - which the company produces is equipped with an nVidia GeForce 7300 graphics card.  And I was tasked with exploring the possibility of using OpenGL on this hardware, and the manual I was handed was for OpenGL 3.3, so I set about creating code for this.

None of the code worked, nothing, nada, zip... I looked up tutorials, I contacted online tutorial writers, I looked through forums, I searched for ways to see if the code was wrong, or failing... Nothing, it was saying it worked and was working... But nothing was being displayed so somewhere something was lying.

Frustrated I resorted to basics... and the most basic level you can get to using a library like OpenGL is... "Are these calls supported"...

The new features in OpenGL 3 require G80, or newer hardware. Thus OpenGL 3.0/3.1/3.2/3.3 is not supported on NV3x, NV4x nor G7x hardware. This means you need one of the following NVIDIA graphics accelerators to use OpenGL 3:

So there you go, my fault I should have looked earlier, my own fault... But the other guy, boy should he have thought about this before passing me a manual.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Man Lab - Plastering Progress 2 - Window sills

My woeful attempts to mix plaster continue, last night I thought it a good idea to mix just enough to go around the small window, so after fixing the beading I sorted out about a pint and a half of water... I poured in the plaster until it peaked over the top and began mixing - being so shallow I mixed by hand - then added another couple of trowel fulls of powder... but it never got just how I wanted it, it stayed on the trowel so I started to use it... And this time it did smooth out wonderfully and work beautifully once on the wall, but getting it on the wall was almost like catching smoke...

It was so soft and so wet it slopped all over and I don't have the technique of dexterity to get it on the wall in quick time.

But that said it was so soft and workable for so long I got time to work it around the window, smooth it and then apply some on the first wall I did to smooth its edge - not that I made a good job of this - but I got to repair the top left corner a junction not just between two walls but a sloping ceiling too, so it was awkward.

Tonight I intend to mix a half bucket up and do below the window up to the sill and then along the top.

This wall is the biggest challenge, because its not flat, the plaster area over the large wooden lintels bows out, it seems naturally to do this and is quite sound but this bow means to get my plaster straight I need to build up about 1/8th of an inch at the top border smoothing down to near zero about 2 inches above the window and then skim just the tiniest amount of plaster up to the window bead and then I need to plaster out against another 1/10th ish of an inch below the window down to the skirting.

Luckily the radiator is not coming off, so I just need to do the main bit of wall between the windows and then I can look at the other main wall... but with around the windows done I can also rope the father-in-law into actually helping fit shelves and the desk - he's got the power saws for it :)

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Using the Singleton Pattern

We all know and love the singleton pattern, whereby you can ensure you only have one instantiated copy of a class, and can refer to that instance of the class at will?  Yes... Very useful for holding configuration if you're not totally familiar with the pattern.

In C++ we might have a singleton like this:

---- Singleton.hpp ----


template <class C>
class Singleton

Singleton() {}
~Singleton() {}
static C* s_Instance;
// Prevent copy
// Prevent assign
void operator=(Singleton&);

inline static C& Instance()
if ( !s_Instance )
s_Instance = new C;
return *s_Instance;
inline static void DestroyInstance()
if ( s_Instance )
delete s_Instance;
s_Instance = NULL;

template <class C>
C* Singleton<C>::s_Instance = NULL;



So this class gives us a basic singleton build into a class, so if we code:

-- Config.hpp --

#ifndef Config_CLASS
#define Config_CLASS

#include "Singleton.hpp"

#include <string>

// Forward declaration
class Config;

// Actual declaration
class Config : public Singleton<Config>
friend class Singleton<Config>;
std::string m_Path;
/// Constructor is private
/// as the friend singleton
/// instantiates your class
/// with no params
Config ()
const std::string& Path()
return *m_Path;




Nothing majorly wrong with this - I've not run this code through a compiler, to it just looks right and hopefully you get what I'm on about so far.

So our class derived from the singleton uses it, but each time we need to write a singleton we need to include this construction, and I've seen some people using macro's to replace that... so you might have:

#define SINGLETON_START (class_name) \
class class_name : public Singleton<class_name> \
{ \
friend class Singleton<class_name>;
And then:

#define SINGLETON_END() };

So forearmed we can now have our config look like this:

-- Config.hpp --

#ifndef Config_CLASS
#define Config_CLASS

#include "Singleton.hpp"

#include <string>

// Forward declaration
class Config;

std::string m_Path;
/// Constructor is private
/// as the friend singleton
/// instantiates your class
/// with no params
Config ()
const std::string& Path()
return *m_Path;




Now, there's nothing wrong with this code-wise, its big crimes however are not obvious and in my opinion out way the benefit of using it.

So the benefits are the ease of declaring the inheritance and the friendship, it smooths that all out to a single line.

But the drawbacks, lets start with the plain text, code completion instantly breaks, it does not expand the Macro for the class definition.

Next, the physical act of using a Macro like this obfuscates away some code, and we're not talking about a trivial piece of maths we're talking about our class definition, so we instantly can't really use any of the decent document generators on our code, we could after using our own pre-processor to expand the macro ourselves, but its a real pain in the bum.

So this pattern is of use, and the macro can be of use, but using it is really a case of DO, or DO NOT... I'm on the DO NOT side, and I'll be adding this to my personal coding standards document soon.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Man Lab - Plastering Progress

So, I set about actually plastering... The first small wall was great, and I'm 90% happy with it... But the second wall, what a struggle... The mix had started to cure in the bucket within 10 minutes... I think either I did something wrong, or I'm unaware of quite how quick this stuff sets, but I had the first wall on and roughly smooth in about 15 minutes turned around and boom struggle, the second wall took ages to get the main bulk on, always getting heavier and harder to work until in the end I was resorting to patching little bits with finger fulls of very watered down plaster... literally running it with my fingered into the gaps and then floating the trowel over the top.

The biggest problems for both walls is the join between them, I get the impression plastering from the corner was a mistake, especially as it's an in-ward bend.  As I was smoothing one side, the pressure would push the other out, so that's lesson one, do one wall at a time.  Also plastering up to the skim bead was smoothest, so I'm going to put skim beads all around the windows without a doubt.

The next thing was smoothing it, I'm pretty sure at one point I smoothed really well, but then the next it was difficult, I need to learn from somewhere the skimming polishing technique a bit better, because I was expecting my trowel to be wet and then carry small amounts of plaster with it... But it didn't and it dug in, so my motion was sometimes right, sometimes wrong.

Another mistake I made was vibration, there are two or three distinct points in the plaster where I was under reaching (so not stretching out to far, I was pulling my trowel down and left past my own body too far) and the edge vibrated, this left ripples in the plaster which remain there now.

Finally, I masking taped the skirting, but plastered over the top of the tap, I should have taped 3mm away form the wall on the skirting.

All in all though, its better than what was there, its flat, it'll take a colour, and I've had my first experience.

My next job is to put the skim bead up around the windows, take down the blinds and plaster the inside of the window sils, this way they can be done when I come to do the whole rest of the main wall...

The skim beading around the small window and its plastering I may even do tonight.

I've clearly got to get quicker getting the stuff out the bucket and onto the wall, and I need to learn more about mixing it, because I mixed it as I'd seen in videos, so it was a thick cream which held a shape or peak... but it went off so quickly.

Either way, this is the first step to placing my desk and setting back up my gear, so I have to stuck with it.  I have to remember all the Full Real Battles in WarThunder I'll get once I'm done.

R.I.P Peter O'Toole

Sad news that Peter O'Toole has passed away, one could sit and wax lyrical about his talents all day, however I feel it sufficient to just say thank you.

One of my favourite films is "How to Steal a Million" where I find his character sublime, I much prefer him in that mischievous, warm, role to that of this stellar portrayal of Lawrence.

All his work will remain in the cultural mix I'm most certain, though perhaps we could all collectively ask for High Spirits to be expunged from his records, on grounds of good behaviour since?

Peter O'Toole (1932 - 2013)

Friday, 13 December 2013

Tale of Two Jacks

I'm a bit of a film buff, and I've come to the conclusion we could have seen the quiet sinister Robert DeNiro from Meet the parents in 2000 around 15 years previously if the casting for Brazil had gone differently...

De Niro plays the part of "Tuttle" in Brazil, but he originally wanted to be the far more nuanced "Jack Lint", played by Michael Palin.

Palin as a national treasure in the UK is surprising and perfect in the role of Lint, he brings the stable family man side of thing to fruition and adds a professional air, and you so easily just go along and assume that the chap is just a normal office worker, that is until you see blood on his apron, he's a professional, ruthless and utterly unscrupulous torturer for the government.  And that makes Palin's portrayal of Lint all the more gruesome.

However in 2000 De Niro gave us the comedic, but brooding, slightly worrying portrayal of another "Jack", this time Jack Byrnes... The quiet study constructed below the house, the lie detector, they have that echo of Jack Lint in them, and I wonder how would Brazil have been different with DeNiro away from the swashbuckler role of Tuttle and into the more evil role of Lint.

I'm not so sure at the time (1985) DeNiro would have been as openly accepted as the friendly family guy, but his reputation would have been easily accepted in the torturing role.

Could the two swap places in time?  Perhaps not, through Palin's repute as the "Nicest man on the BBC", bring thoroughly milked by the role.  But perhaps if DeNiro had the Lint role, the quiet guy a murderer at heart the "Meet the Parents" collaboration would have been very different.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Robin Hood in North Carolina

In case you missed things, I'm in Nottingham England, the land of Robin Hood - an international phenomenon ignored in this his fair county...

But Robin Hood is not ignored everywhere...

Like Jacksonville North Carolina... I was happy to be looking for directions, and somehow the system got stuck in the US, and... Well... This is what I saw....

I was impressed, streets with classic names... 

Monday, 9 December 2013

WarThunder - Earning Crew Skill Points

Earning crew experience points in WarThunder, this has been a pet peeve of mine with the title, as it really seems to be the biggest grind fest in the game, but the one most easily remedied with a cash injection... Now, I have subbed to WarThunder, I have spent money on Golden Eagles, but I've no disposable income, I just moved, I have to decorate, I have issues at work which means we need to keep as much money aside as possible, plus it's Christmas and so we've had to buy gifts for folks.  So Golden eagles are right down there on the priority list.

Now, crew skills are essential in Full Real Battles as I want to play, strangely the vision skills apply differently in FRB & Historical battles.  It seems a tad complex to me, but essentially you still see the enemy dot... right out to infinity, but it has no text/information written around it until the range of your view point perspective... Specifically they call this mechanic "Sighted", and I'm not sure whether the skill applies more importantly in FRB & HB than in Arcade, and arcade just has "Sighted" set to a fixed distance?

Anyway, getting crew skills...

I tried to get skill points in my other planes, I've followed tips by Krebs and others... But I can't play like them, I'm not that good... I mean recommendations like "Get 6-8 kills and then fly out your other planes" is pretty... well unrealistic, in a game where the average player gets between 3 and 5 kills per game, and ground kills still don't count for much - even if you're in a bomber - its so annoying.

For example, I flew out in my reserve and rank 1 Russian planes, got a win, 5 air kills from 3 planes (twice myself being shot down)... plus 9 ground kills... I got 1 crew skill point on one plane, and 2 skill points on the other.... Dismal, for a not bad result.

Next Japanese... I got one skill point on one crew, for a five plane fly out, 8 air kills, 3 ground kills (including a destroyer) in a match we lost... So loosing the match, despite getting a decent result... Indeed in the Japanese match I got Battle Trophies for being in the top 3 on my side, so an extra 1000xp... But no crew skill points.

I just wished I had some idea how/why they were applied/awarded, I might have to read the forums - and their inevitable speculation on the subject - but having a variety of crews only with 30-50 skill points is not cutting it above rank 5...

At least I have one well trained crew on the British - over 250 skill points - so they can access training/expert on the planes and I use them for FRB... but I really want other nations in my FRB, but I can't spare the cash!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Manlab Progress - Sunday

Today was a case of just mixing 50/50 PVA and liberally applying it to all the holes in the wall...

The place looks like a small arms fight went off, you really start to appreciate how messy war is on your plaster walls when you come to remove a eight decades worth of rawl plugs and full their holes...

There's a good machine gun layer above the window where various curtain rails have been stuck up, cracking the plaster in the process... Then they even had those annoying hooks to hold the curtains back... There's of course the smaller window too, and it's got the top left corner totally missing, so I've built it back up in Bonding.

No big problems really, though my bonding mix was a little lumpy, so I have rough patches... But, I'm going to smooth the walls down with wet & dry anyway, so that'll get sorted.  I'll also get a chance to smooth the rebuilding by the second window too.

I suppose one thing which got me was that I had cleaned most all the holes out, even use the vacuum cleaner to remove the dust the moment the wet PVA hit the old plaster it oozed horrible mixes of dust and PVA, it looked for all the world like these many holes were bleeding ready brek.

Over the rest of the week I hope this bonding goes completely off, and I can clean up any drops on the skirting, mask the skirting, put up the skim bead and tape the inner corner... Then I might even try my hand at the skim coating plaster on the two minor walls...

Oh, and I'm going to have a nicer door fitted, going to get the father-in-law to hang it, maybe three for all three upstairs rooms, cus these doors are crap with a side order of WANK.

Man lab Progress - Saturday

I'm writing this post Saturday - well the wee hours of Sunday actually - just as a quick missive about the man lab, today I've spent like 3 hours stripping wall paper - and about the same time cleaning up - which thanks to a steamer machine was not as painful as previous plaster stripping endeavours were.  However, said wallpaper was covered in cheap emulsion paint... And the paper itself had a sort of plastic sheen... So the unless you scratched the paint and top surface off the paper was impervious...

But the heat from the steam would melt the paint, so there was this thick slick of pink shitty paint heading down the wall.

The walls which had the damp on them from the ingress of water however, when I steamed over them, they sort of bled black... Mould I assume, the plaster looked okay, just a little darker than other areas.. but the steam really bought out the spore I think.

The room smells a little funky right now, second hand... But I'm excited to prepare and try my hand at plastering... I may even get to try tomorrow on the two smaller walls...

Also, the walls were just utterly full of old rawl plugs... Like every other foot a plug... I'm down to 1920's plaster on lath backing, clean and paper free... removed three layers of paper, and this emulsion.

So, I have one large wall to fill and put the skim bead up on the corner, then there's two walls at 90 degree's to one another, which are the left and back of the alcove where the desk will be built in.  Then the main front wall, which has two window openings... Now that front wall needs so much bonding and smoothing, there are just dozens of bullet like wounds in the plaster going into the wooden window lintel.

The walls have had to be let to dry out and I've pulled all these plugs out, and I've cleaned up... So all the shreds of paper are out, the window sills are clean and the skirting board clean...

Tomorrow, which is today, which was Sunday... It'll be time to mix up bonding and patch all these walls, the main bonding area is going to be in the corner at the elbow 90degrees between the two small walls in the alcove, because that needs fixing after years of neglect.

Hopefully though, with the bonding on I can put the skim tape up in the corners, and then go get a second skim bead to cut to size and fit around the windows.

The only thing I'm thinking about now is how dry the walls are, they clearly sucked all the moisture out of the paper when it was hung, so I'm thinking PVA it.... And then PVA it again just before the plaster skim coat...?

On, and I'm NOT taking the radiator off, they seem to use a custom/rare tapping connector, and since changing the heating is not a priority, its staying as it is... But I have taken the inside curtain rail down, so both front windows are down to just cheap, see-through roller blinds.  I may not get much lie in...

Finally, if I do do the two smaller walls in plaster, I'm going to look at fixing/buying a floating corner shelf to hold the printer up there out of the way, that could get fitted when the plaster is set... Alternatively, it'll have to wait for the large front wall.

The wife wants me to delay plastering until xmas, but I'm not up for a delay, to be honest I think I got a LOT done today, tomorrow is the final prep, and then I'll maybe try to do one wall, and then next weekend do the rest.

In other news, I may at sometime over the next week get some very good news... Or some very bad news... work related... if its bad, expect me to vent, if its good I may not be able to tell anyone much, so I'll just code word it... lets agree the code word is... "Juggling"... so if I'm "Juggling things in the office"... You'll know its good, and I can tell you the good news probably after Valentines 2014... Yes it is that secret.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Manlab Progress

Man lab area update, the hole in the roof has been sorted, the roof lead fixed, the hole plugged with new board and its been bonded into place with a swathe of well... bonding...

The corner where the main desk will be has been stripped and is partially ready for plastering, but I need to next move the power supply, there is a dual plug precariously placed just down the wall from where the desk will be, so I'm going to chisel out a channel, run a new power cable from there and power it up... Or perhaps lift the floor boards (but this will be a pain) and check what cables go where.

I plan the sort the power, prepare the walls and then re-skim plaster (just an all in one coat which I'll polish) to make the corner flat and even, and the two main walls flat and then around the two windows flat... The ceiling is an unknown quantity, as I remove the paper off of the other walls I'm going to check the ceiling.

Either way, I'm going for flat painted walls, and for now leaving the build in cupboards and stuff - despite their being older than me - and I'm going to fix my desk to the wall as a permanent fixture with 2x1's and also float a shelf above the desk for the printer and paper to sit upon out the way.

The final thing might be to get a long drill bit and bring a dedicated network wire up from the hub in the front room, but that's a while away in the plans.

The other little job I still have yet to finish is wiring in the outside light, this thing was a pig to put up, because the kit it came with was basically so cheap (the whole thing cost a tenner) that it took my own rawl plugs and my own screws to actually fix it to the wall, because the kit supplied ones were so shite.

Friday, 6 December 2013


My first computer was a Commodore 16, but my second computer, and the first one I really programmed on (in Pascal) was my Atari ST, and I love the story of how the ST came together... I wish there were a book, or a documentary about it, as there are for the Amiga 1000.

But anyway, one source of the history of the ST is Dad Hacker...

On the first part of his ST History posts he makes this statement:

Stress: A number of us learned how to juggle. One of the DRI people had a nervous tick in the form of a "quacking" sound, and this spread through the group (a year later some of us were still doing it a little). The word "fine" became a pejorative: "Don’t worry, everything will work out just fine." How are you feeling? Fine, okay?

And it had me thinking, I worked in a particularly stressful place during my degree, and I developed a nervous Coooing...

Like a pigeon, I'm sure if Paul, Leon or Dave are reading this they'll remember me cooing.  They took the piss, but I really could not help it at times, sometimes I was totally oblivious that I was doing it.

I think I developed it out of a kind of mental juggling act I was carrying out thinking about the servers being looked after, stressing if the phone would ring to make me have to drop whatever I was doing and do an IT support run, or just the incessant clatter of the mechanical machines knitting on the factory floor, from which we were separated only by a 1.5 inch plaster board wall.

Whatever it was, I didn't quack, I cooed... And really well, I'm cured now, and can't impersonate a pigeon at all, so where my brain came up not only with that sound, but the ability to do that sound, is beyond me.

Plastering Prep

I have plastering gear...

I'm going home in a few hours and I'm going to start prepping my walls...

God help me.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

WarThunder, 109's & the Plastering Challenge

I spent a good couple of hours in WarThunder on Saturday night, my first long-ish gaming session in days, and I decided to take my brand new Messerschmitt 109's out... So this was the F4 and F4 Trop.

I have five German crews, so I also took out the 109 E-4 and E-1, and then made the final slot one of my Do217's... Anyway...

I got my arse handed to me in massive derision... Flying the F'4, I was terrible and the opposition so good, so this is a seed step up from rank 6-7, where I was comfy, to 8+...

Now, as I've already mentioned my crew skills are particularly low, so I have no considerable skill points here.

But the level of competition and their skill, especially with the Arcade UFO flight models, they handed me my minced ass right up.

I did better in my rank 5 US crews later, making an average of 6 kills per fly out, and in one case getting 4 air kills and all my teams ground kills (11+) but of all these games played, I got not a single win...

However, I got to do no full real battles, this was because phase one of the man-lab conversion started, I've moved the desk out and took the PC down - so I was playing on my laptop, which never helps - and I've started preparing the walls for work.

Unfortunately the father-in-law has thrown a huge insult at me, when he said "so you'll need a plasterer" and I said... "I can't afford one, so I'm going to have to do it myself"... his instant reply, like this reply came from his gut, without any intervention by his brain or morality, his reply was... "Well that'll be fucking shit".

So, I'm now determined to do it, and do a good job and then refuse to do his plastering if he ever asks... Which he won't, but at least I'll just stick two fingers up in his position.

The problem with setting up at plastering of course, it firstly plastering is an art... and secondly, I'm no artist.... But finally, I have absolutely NO plastering gear.