Friday, 30 August 2013

My Man Lab

So, we're currently midway through the legals of exchange buying a second house, we're moving into this second one and looking at selling or renting out our current one - if anyone is interested in a perfect 2 bedroom mid-terrace great price for a first time buyer drop me a line I'll point you to our listing...

But the new house has a 17'11" x 6'11" out building, which is going to become my lair, and these are my plans for it...

1. Add a lip at the door end to stop water flowing in from the drive way
2. Ensure Damp proofing*
3. Fill & seal the roof gaps
4. Clean up the two windows
5. Line the inside with polythene*
6. Wall frame with 1/2" frame
7. Run power and network leads around frame.
8. Add insulation to frame
9. Clad with ply over the frame
10. Lay laminate floor**
11. Secure the doorway
12. Add spot lights & main floodlight strip

In the long run I'd also want to remove the old garage/wooden doors and add a PVC French Door.

I can't wait, I'll have to keep you posted with my ideas and progress pictures...

* Damp proofing and lining is all about our being backed against a Canal, so there's lots of water sloshing around.

** As an interim measure we're going to be laying a laminate floor in the house, so the man lab will get the carpet from the house moved into it as a stop gap measure.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Killer Curry

No, no killer as in "good, killer as in really its tried to snuff out my life.

I worked late at the office Wednesday, didn't get in til past 10pm, so the wife just said, heat that curry up - she had had the other half...

I thought she'd cooked it and I just needed to heat it up... wrong, I heated it up, but it was uncooked, being a curry however, it tasted fine...

Oh holy mother mary - I may not have believed in you 24 hours ago - but I'm pretty sure I saw you on the edge of our bath laughing at me as I prayed to the porcelain monster and shat a whole camel through the eye of a needle.

Needless to say I've not been at work today, I've been at home, I feel much better just now, but as I've been laying here and throwing up there, I've been churning code over in my head, I am midsteam of a high pressure project at work and I need to get this part of it gone and done, I even left my machine on and running at work... I was that into the zone.

Hey ho, lets hope I sleep like the grave tonight, then I might have a fighting chance to get up and get on with things tomorrow.

Pussy Calories

The inexorable march of the Southern Grease ball has reached Nottingham, let me explain I have no issues with Southern people, not grease ball salesmen, but put the two together in an urban sandwhich shop in Nottingham City and you have a receipe for laughs.  And hell did I have issues not laughing at these three guys behind me in the queue.

First they were high-fiving about how pumped up they were about the gym the night before, and they were sucking each others cock about how much they'd sold today, then the third was commiserating about his lass at home opening his mail... "She put her mail down and started opening hers, faaackin' hell, I thought she'd be abowt to find aaaht how much I owe the tax man!"

You could have sliced his accent off, thrown it in to the window and known the direction to Essex, like a fucking Ender Pearl in Minecraft!

Anyway, we shuffle along, shuffle along, shuffle along, and they're going through the menu, and this is where they introduced me to a new phase...

"What you 'avin'?"

"Ah, er yeah thinking about the track tonight, might have the Turkey, just salad like you know"

"Just Turkey?"

Here it comes...

"Just Turkey?  That's Pussy Calories"....

Pussy Calories, yes the eternal pissing match of male ego has now focussed on the contents of a sandwhich.  "Just Turkey? That's Pussy Calories"...

And so they start to escalate what they're having, "I'll have chese on mine then, just one slice!"

"Shit, I'll have grated cheddar on mine and just burn it off on the weights"

"Right, well I'll have an Italian BLT"

"Hurrhurr, well I'll have a faackin' meatball sub, end of, right there!"

And they were bulling each other up!  They were like playing the old school yard "My <insert inflective> and beat your <insert inflective>" game over a sandwhich.  Fucking hilarious on so many levels, lets just hope that whoever these three knuckle heads are with don't breed with them.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The not so phantom whistler

Remember that guy I've mentioned before who whistles in the office all the time.... Well, he's at it with a vengeance today.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


Previously on these pages I talked about getting into GPU processing, well I'm officially setting off on this project for reasons of exploration, but also to help you guys out there – the average programmer – get an easy grasp on the topic step by step.

I've no idea how this all works, so my first port of call has been the nVidia Developer Zone regarding Cuda... … And I've spent a fair amount of time reading up on things.

My immediate problem was the dropping of library names and buzz words, which I have no idea what they are, and the page does not directly explain “MKL BLAS, “IPP”, “FFTW” all obfuscating abbreviations which in this days of rich information content on the internet its inexcusible to see them listed with no references.

Another item talked about is “OpenACC” directives, which as the page explains can speed up your loops in Fortran or C... But again there's no link to what “OpenACC” is.

Stepping forward to the “Getting Started” page and firm information is still obfuscated, I think perhaps nVidia's page – as informative as it is on the whole – is trying to not drop too much technical information on the programmer too quickly.  However, this is an advanced programming topic, anyone wondering in to attempt this has to be of a calibre able to soak up more information more quickly than this site seems to dole it out.  Though I have an expectation for there to be a sudden and deep learning curve begin any second.

Our first step is going to be what appears to be the simpler of the items listed, GPU Directives, which are part of the already mentioned “OpenACC”.  These are going to help parallelise loops in code – C code for us.

The page explaining this is fairly well featured, and this tantalising image is presented:

The immediate problem with this “open” standard however is that the companies supporting it are turning it into proprietory tool chains.

Without the tool chain – the compiler and linker – understanding what you're asking of it, your code won't contain or leverage the GPU for you, it'll just be plain old CPU driven code.  The page presented even goes so far as to present trials of software compilers to help gain access to the technology.

Unfortunately a 30 day trial isn't really what I'm after, and not really what I think an “Open” project should end up as.

Indeed crawling the net searching for further details one finds a plethora of content deriding Compilers for their lack of OpenACC acceptance, or even posts prophesying the arrival of OpenACC or even OpenMP support “in 2013”.  But it seems here now in 2013, its still not arrived:

Without tools readily available it leaves you rather stuck as to how to proceed investigating OpenACC.  My next step was this PDF document, explaining the directives:

This is really a nuts and bolts approach to getting your C application to use OpenACC loop practices.  A good introduction.

The big problem with this however, is that it all references back to the Portland Group's proprietary compiler.  To which one can only get a 30 day trial.  Something I'm not open to signup up for just yet, at least not without a whole series of OpenACC code to run through it in short order.

Monday, 26 August 2013

T34 - Another WOT Disappointment

And the T34, appears to be an utter waste of time... The highest Penetrating gun on it, doesn't seem to Pen, its highest view range turret doesn't seem to spot, the engine is lack lustre, the armour is acceptable if angled so long as you're not facing tier VI, but you're always being faced off with tanks higher than you, or with more fire power than you (Hellcat anyone?)

I know World of Tanks is not a simulator, its not historical either, but this is so off whack, its worse than the last let down - the Tiger - which basically stopped me wanting to play...

I dunno how anyone makes the T34 pay, I dunno how anyone ever got it to Pen like they did against me previously, basically, its rubbish.

And whilst in it, I feel like Oscar the grouch with the lid down...

Sunday, 25 August 2013

World of Tanks - Grinding to the T34

I've reinstalled the machine with Windows 7, and sure enough all the networking problems I was having have gone away, but I'm pleasantly surprised with how spritley the machine now is.

Vista must have been really really in efficient, for example, running World of Tanks, I would run her only in medium to low settings to get 20 fps...

With no changes of hardware, just an update to Windows 7, and I'm now in 1680x1440 resolution, high settings for everything and I get 50-55fps.

Its so pretty....

That was the main victory of the evening, which I spent enjoying with lots of rounds of World of Tanks.

My first discovery was something I had spotted before, but I think will take the next patch to explain, you see you now get missions in the game.  Or at least the rewards for the mission, but you don't have any way of knowing what the missions you have are.  They maybe listed somewhere, but no-where I've spotted in game.

In patch 8.8 however, which is coming soon, WarGaming are adding a way to spot what the missions are.

The night however, as enjoyable as it was, did result in a spectacular number of Defeats for me, despite my best efforts.

Sometimes I was simply out played, sometimes I was clearly stuck into odd matches, and I was spending a lot of games in my T-80 Light tank - an odd machine, grinding the XP for my T34.

But my efforts were not helped with derps like this

Or grease balls like this, whom I spotted on numerous occasions sat in strange locations usually at the back of the pack waiting to pick off enemy targets which the rest of the team - whom are lower tier - have softened up for them... Basically reaper creepers, that's the term I'm going to invent for them.

I did get my T34 before ceasing playing for the evening, and I even unlocked the high-pen gun, but I'm not happy with the vehicle, its match making is pretty terrible.

And I'm also stuck with the news that my favourite tank - with my most trained crew - the VK30.01H is about to be turned from a tier 6 medium into a tier 5 heavy?  Go figure, Jingles has made comment about this, but... Argh, I just want to smack WarGaming.

It might be time for a break and return to war thunder, in which I have also been playing recently, and made a level with my Japanese aircraft.

Also still enjoying Elite Frontier...

Cuda and more at home?

One of the big projects I have in the back ground is going to involve using the graphics card processing power, I've got some graphics cards around the place, all of which are nVidia branded, but from what I'm reading ATi driven cards will better suit the processing I want to do...

It maybe time ti do a decent review of the two, I might send missives out to nVidia and ATi, see if they'd like to collaborate with a programmer to leverage a decent review of a product or two.

I see so many reviews of graphics cards are just covering their use in games, their packaging or even just how they can fit into water cooling loops or cases.  The other side of graphics card use if high performance computing, not a common thingin the home, but something which could be put to much better use than it is today - used primarily in cracking other people's wireless network passwords. lol

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Windows Reinstall Progress - Bowser Device?

Yeah, last night I started my windows reinstall, of course it started with a back up of lots of data.... Nearly 6,000,000 files later, I have moved a lot of stuff, I usually don't have this amount of files, but I had a server failure in 2011 and recovered the files to a folder creatively called "DesparateRecoveryNight"...

So, having spent hours copying these from the mail hard drive onto the two secondary drives I set about checking out why the system might be playing up, and I found a rogue piece of hardware, or at least a driver for something which I can neither say I own, nor identify...

This device was say in "Other Devices", listed as installed correctly and called "Bowser"...

No, not that Bowser - least I hope not, could he be after my 'shrooms? - but I don't have a device anywhere I remember coming in as Bowser... And of course searching the internet about it simply gives you references to the above dinosaur boss, or it gives you people whom have miss-spelt "browser", about which this was neither...

I disabled this device listing however, and a few (but not all) of the network problems I had been having stopped... And despite Windows all along reporting no use of network bandwidth, my router showed a 95% drop in out-going packets, I can only assume I've got a nasty at this point.

So I fire up a virus scanner - 1 result - but this was part of DirectX which always comes up as a false positive...

My plan going a heads is to scan all the other additional drives, reboot into my linux partition and back up that data, then reinstall Windows 7.

I'm on Vista 64bit so its time to retire it.  My laptop was the test for my new Windows 7 license, but its since been wiped over with Linux Mint... so my Windows 7 license is free for my mail gaming PC :)

Friday, 23 August 2013

Carlisle Castle Custard Creme

I would be far more impressed if this were full sized, I mean, this fits on a table and there's  stack of chairs back there to compare it with... The staff of three local baking firms should hang their heads in shame!

I mean, if it were a full sized replica then I'd be impressed, as I strolled along battlements of baking... But not this, its not even sculpted, they've just stuck custard creams together, its a waste of a good biccy, and a bit of an eye sore....

I mean, they could have baked a version of this, the right shape... or made it in fruit cake and then outside layered it in icing which at least looked more real, than using cheap ass custard creams....

And people can sample a piece... "Here try this stale, over handled, oft painted, custard cream"... Yum... NOT.

"We hope people enjoy a visit to the castle".. yes me too... "as much as they will enjoy a bite from this impressive cake"... erm... NO....

Its not a cake, if a fucking jaffa cake is not allowed to be cake, then custard cremes stuck together like this are not a cake either!

I mean, what next... Jammy Dogders mascarading as Lasagne?

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Dubstep Vehicle

There's a guy lives on our street, he's got a problem, an obsession... Its his car, he's got an old X reg Volvo the kind your Dad would own, and he's constantly out polishing, washing and hoovering it... And its got those stupid huge speakers and sterio in it, you know the proper cliche type... "I spent more on the sound system than the car" type...

Anyway, he's always out playing this stupid noise - I would say music, but its not its just noise... Buuuuurrrrrrrrrr.... Drrrrrrrrrr... Gaaaaaaaaaaaaa....... zzzzzuuuuuuuuummmmmmm... No beat, no rhythm, just vibration.

Its stupid, but hey ho... anyway, I was trying to find an example of the sound he plays to tell someone who lives in Southampton, show them an example like, and I can't find out, clearly I'm too out of touch with "da youth" to know what the sounds he plays are called.

I guessed at DubStep, but DubStep has a pattern, a rhythm... and quite points to accentuate the change in tones... this stuff he plays is just droning monotone vibration shit....

But, in searching for this kind of music I've found two gems on the the YouTubes, here they are...


Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Brummies on Led Zepplin

Do you like Music? Do you like Review? Do you like Brummies? Then have I got a find for you!!! 

And not just one, but two!

Now, for those of you out on the interwebs whom have only come across a Brummie accent by occassionally seeing that annoying personal injuries advert, or a segment of Jasper Carrot, these two are the real deal... Well, sort of, they're from near Birmingham... ish. Kind of.

In case you're wondering why I'm linking this, the thin Jarvis Cocker look-a-like on the right is my good mate Sam, best man at my wedding...

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Windows Reinstall Time

My main PC at home has been a bit of a patched up pig of a machine for a while, it is a very old install of Vista Ultimate 64bit, it had the broken power supply for like seven months and only recently was fixed and brought back into use.  Its a fabulously specced machine, but I'm getting lots of little niggly problems with it.

Not least is a horrible stammering network lag.  Streaming video, playing games, anything with persistent network usage results in horrible lag.  At first I had thought it was just the wireless, but that signal is stable, and the other machines in the house is rock solid streaming.

So it comes down to Windows Reinstall time, now, luckily I do now have a spare Windows 7 64bit Professional license to use and so can install Windows 7 in place of vista, for gaming.

This leaves me with the decision of which base linux distro to go with?... I was thinking maybe its time to go for a highly tuned Arch, but really I want a pretty generic and stable release which I can pick up and run with coding C++ and OpenGL for a project I have coming up.  And Arch, as configurable and customisable as it is, is not a platform which is "off the shelf", far from it...

I'll have to think on about this, Mint might be the solution, certainly Ubuntu is no longer in my favour.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Work and YouTube

So, after the horrible end to the week, I'm starting the new week in the office - gah.

The one consolation is I've caught up on a whole bunch of youtube content whilst coding this new system for the boss, and I've lined up a new game I'm going to take an interest in... And that's EverQuest Next.

I was never in EQ or EQ2, I used to read however, Karen stopped updating not long after I was on Darren's Podcast.

The main portal for everquest next is over with the sony folks at... But YouTube content for the world wide announcement of last week appears to be the best source of information:

The other big tech news of the week has been Google going dark... 2 minutes outage in the West coast US, and 40% of the net traffic dropped out... that's an impressive amount of carry for one company, but perhaps makes one wonder quite how ubiquitous use of google is, this very blog is a google based product...

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Long and Fraught

It has been a long and frightfully fraught day, tomorrow can only get better... We're off out to sort out a new mortgage for a house we're buying... which will be fun.

But, for entertainment this evening, I've left off with my World of Tanks kicker, and I've played a couple of rounds of war thunder... I'm not sold on the whole plane upgrades thing (yet) but I'm so happy to see the oft remarked about broken economy get a fix.

And as ever even on my terrible 260 GTX graphics card on this machine that game looks gorgeous.

However, its not as gorgeous as the other game I've been playing this week...

No folks, don't adjust your sets, that is the graphics, this is actually the best graphics you'll ever likely see in this particular game, for this is Elite II Frontier - the best game ever - but this is amazingly the Atari ST version, decompiled and then stripped of ST hardware called and then converted to using OpenGL on the PC to render... an amazing piece of programming which I can barely get my head around - despite having downloaded the code and had a look - and also an amazing way to re-enjoy this most classic of games.

Not a lot of people know this, but I was so taken with this game that I tried to start a club around it, long before the internet, and before BBS's were buzzing about this game I send a missive off to the late great ST Format and said I'm here talk to me as the Frontier Club.  My parents went mental about this when my little brother showed them in the magazine.

They thought I would need a license or pay tax on whatever I had, so they made me turn it into a free users group, which promptly flopped.

But for a short time I made my first ever bit of cash from these computers, and that little bit of cash I made was turned into a few news letters, envelopes and stamps to mail people their disks back and forth, I had five regular commentators, and for their £5 each "member" of the original list got a couple of news letters, planned to be quarterly, they got some fan fiction, and the exchange of saved games from other players in the club.

My parents killed it tho, my little brother also, to this day - despite my working as a software engineer - they don't seem to realise how much they held me back when I was at the forefront of something popular and amazing, and making money...

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Energy Certificate Farce

Right, at the moment the wife and I have the house on the market.  As part of putting it on the market we have to get an Energy Efficiency Certificate.  So we paid up our doe and sat back waiting for the visit... No visit.

We chased this up, and finally got an appointment, only for it to get cancelled... So we called again, and then they started chasing us around asking for dates and times we could not make... Times when the average person is at work.

Today, in about an hour is the next appointment, but the guy turned up an hour early... He's sat outside right now... The reason for this... we have a house viewing in about 5 minutes time...

Not only is this an utter farse, but a pointless waste of his time, I've had to turn him away, because a house viewer is more important than some stupid certificate... And the guy is early, he called yesterday saying "I'm in the same postcode area, can I come by"... and it was just... "Erm, no we're both at work"...

The mind boggles, this must be the most inefficient exercise ever, all for an energy EFFICIENCY certificate.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Insulting Bastards in World of Tanks

Just thought I'd post this, as it pissed me off, the other night I was playing this very map on World of Tanks, my first ever time on the map so I did on it what I had seen Quickie Baby do, I took to the hill and passage on the left.

In my Stug, I was fast and got there and tried to block the passage, but the M4A3 got me in the side, tracked - in a stug - I was eaten alive.

But, as far as I can see it was the right place to be, I see successful moves always lead through there for the northern forces... 

The trouble was, I was alone, not 100% sure and killed fast trying it... And then - and this is why I come to post - I had an utter and total wanker calling me names in the game.

Guess what you fucking cunt, Quicky Baby does the same shit as I did and it worked for him, because unlike me, he has a decent team with him... I just had you sitting there in the spawn calling names rather than playing, all you did was criticise others and sit farming defence points by tapping enemy coming to cap.  Wanker.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Vine Review Items being Sold

Now I've been an Amazon Vine reviewer for over a year, and I've now got a house over-flowing with books and things, everything I get receives a thorough going over and always get an honest review.

One of the rules of receiving these free items is that one is not allowed to just skim them off of Amazon and sell them for a quick buck, now recently I received a book... I chose it as it had parallels with my Bachelors Degree Dissertation...

And I took a goof fortnight to read it, cover to cover, and posted my review, the book will now take a position on my Technical shelf and look very cool for any of my other IT literate friends coming by...

But that might not be the case with some others, for you see, I noted on the reviews of this book is a review... lets say by "Rodger"... its a throw away one paragraph review, clearly showing the chap never read the book, and had no interest in it, but instead took it from the list of items on the vine list because it was expensive.

And his reason... its listed on e-bay, under the username "Rodger"... for a price which screams - "I got this free from Vine"...

This has me so angry, the lazy, skimming, embezzler.  Its bad enough that the second the Vine mail arrives stuff I've love to try out/review is gone, but then to see this underhanded bullshit, it makes me want to scream.  How many of the pieces of IT hardware I've not had an ice cubes chance in Etna of getting were being skimmed off in this fashion?

I might start taking a look.

And here's the review on Amazon...

George Rodger, if you want to prove to me that's not your e-bay listing, please do so... You decide how, and I'll tell you whether I'm satisfied and hence I will apologise, until that time however, I say that's you listing that book and skimming off of Vine, against the rules - we've already had one update of the Vine rules stating we can't sell things, and a further update only a month ago reminding us we can't sell these things on for a cooling period of 12 months.

Oh and I notice looking at your reviews, lots of them are for technical items, they get a one paragraph throw away review... I can't help but think you need removing from the Vine programme.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Copy, what's a copy? Oh near enough'll do....

I remember the days when the xerographic process was a mechanical physical operation of light and toner on a drum, so your copies - though they came out slightly worse for wear - were identical to the original, there was no digital tom follery and there was no middle man here.

And perhaps there never should have been, save for the cost of duplication, to minimise costs copiers started to use digital scanning, I noticed this rise about twenty years ago, when the office copier, which we'd lovingly beaten into a pulp for splashing us with toner and smashed the glass on by sitting on it, was finally replaced, and we got a machine noticeably smaller and lighter doing 10x the speed.

This new machine of course as powered by a computer, but at the time then the computer was pretty rudimentary, we're talking Pentium 60mhz being bleeding edge, and embedded solutions like in this copier much much more low power, so of course they used a compression mechanism.

I remember distinctly being told this copier had 32mb of ram, in a era of 4mb standard on the desktop, 32mb seemed like acres.  And the technician told us it could have up to 256mb in module updates... ooooo.....

I always trusted the copier, and assumed it did a 1:1 copy, oh how foolish I feel with this news in the headlines.

Of course a computer is doing this, so its using compression, but never ever did I think about this, nor did I ever think it would be a good idea for that compression software to CHANGE the figures on a copy!

I mean, that's the sole purpose of the hardware, to get form a to b the exact same image data, yet it does not?  And then I thought about the comments further, this software is READING, interpreting, the copy its making changing 6's to 8's.. that's not solely just image break up, that's a decision being made, that's OCR, that's bloody worrying.

I don't want machines reading my documents, I don't want the laser printer to refuse to print because my document is stupid, I don't want the machine to make any assumptions that it knows best, the phrase after all is WYSIWYG... What you see is what you get... I don't W Y S I N W Y G B W T M D F Y.... What you see is not what you get but what the machine decided for you.

The whole affair smacks of too technical a result being squashed into the machines to make them cheaper, and an utter and total lack of testing to any decent degree.  The fact that this problem was only spotted in 2013 begs the question whether this is a new innovation back firing, or a long standing issue as well!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

New Dr Who

Why do I get the sense Matt Smith is utterly gutted at being replaced as Dr Who?