Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Bike Road Rage

I agree with this cyclist, as much as I hate to agree with any cyclist.  The car driver here he does not regret what he did, he just regrets getting caught...

And to be honest, he was in the wrong, so why cover his face, he pulled over in the middle of the street, a public place, and publicly berated the guy in the right, so why cover his face he can expect no privacy, its common decency not to shout at people, and to go to the lengths of turning around and following the young chap.

If he's have got out the car to me, I'd have thrown the bike down and assumed a stance to protect myself with reasonable force, up to and not including whacking his head on his own bonnet.

Not that I condone violence, but pricks like that driver need a smack, thinking he's hard.  And mainly I bet he only dare challenge the guy on the bike cus he's young and lightly built.

Unmask the coward and let his employer (if the waster has one) see who he is!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Minecraft - Death Island

Just a quick one, my main Minecraft world.... I died last night.

I was busy collecting resources for an under-sea train system, I have two large deep mines, one a strip mine, and one a branch mine.  And I was after connecting the two with a rail system, and then a rail storage system so I could transfer all my mined resources back to my base storage room in one slick action...

For this I needed some netherquartz... I was careless, and whilst digging through in the nether with an enchanged Efficiency IV pick (which rips through the netherrack like a machine gun) I tore open a lava pool and burned to death in the lava...

My rule kicked in, so I have to start over...

The new world I generated on - which I must give the seed for - was an island... And on this island there was not a single tree... So starting off was very very challenging, but like some Bond villian I now have swam to the mainland, got a bit of wood - and importantly a few saplings - and made a boat and returned to my island, which I'm going to terraform.

Screen shots to follow...

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Dark for a Fortnight

Right folks, I'm going to see you all soon...

I'm about to go around the Darkside, and I'm sorely tempted to quote something from Apollo 8... Going behind the moon and bricking it in the radio darkness of that lonely place.

The reason is, we're about to move, so the home internet is going dark on the 1st, but we're packing everything up, so I'm packing all my home office up and storing things safe for the move - I am taking all the PC kit in my car with me - the wife can run behind like, riding two sauce pans on a bit of rope... Just so long as my PC is safe.

So, I'm not going to speak on here beyond maybe Thursday - from work - as things come together.

I've already told the wife the kit is going back up in the dining room until the outside ManLab work is done, but basically the ManLab work begins after the move is done... I got three different people advising me already... I might just let them do it, if they don't want to charge.

The plan has however run into one BIG problem, the roof has to go its asbestos... But this is a dirty war kind of situation, I got to clean it up and get it out... I've had warnings about it going to landfill and needing permissions, or paying £4000 to get rid... But then I've also had warning to double and triple and quadruple wrap the stuff...

They pulled my old Junior school down as it was full of asbestos... And wankers ruined the buildings.

It's like... ARGH I hate this.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Charlotte Blackman - Landslides

A year ago, I blogged about the tragic day which took the life of our family friend Charlotte.

Yesterday evening her family were featured on Inside Out for the East Midlands, in the UK you can view the program at this link for the next 7 days.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Meeting Mincraft

The last 72 hours have been really busy, so I've not done a lot.  But I have been looking at Minecraft, I've had the game for a while, but never really paid much attention to it.

But, I've started to play, on the proviso if I die... I die, start a new world.  Apparently, and unbeknownst to me, this is Hardcore mode - there's also an ultra hardcore where your health can only regen with a golden apple - but for now I'm not going that far.

I have a couple of successful projects in my Minecraft world, first is a deep branch mine, with a landing pool so I can just leap into it.  The second is a whole underground abandoned mineshaft I found, its actually two mines and one cave system all tangled up, so its huge, and I'm clearing it out and lighting it up... 64 diamonds and like 8 full stacks of iron bars, plus hundreds of other items and I'm happy.

I also got a damn good enchant on a diamond pick...

My next task is going to be to level a snowy island area and then connect it to the original start point I had - where I have cows, pigs & crops growing.

And one other thing, lots of people seem to say "start your branch mining above the bed rock" that's good, but you can get diamonds right down mixed in with the bedrock, so my branch mine has two layers so far, from bedrock I dig all out and fill in with cobble, giving a zero (0) layer, and up to 3 dug out, then a floor above and I dig the next layer up, from 4 to 7.

Here's prof you get diamonds in the bedrock areas... and I have about 25% of my collected diamonds at that layer, so its not to be sniffed at.

Saturday, 19 October 2013


Did I seal cub club?... No.  Let me explain I set about recently fleshing out all the tree's which have changed in my World of Tanks garage since I started playing.  But with only a single garage slot - and no cash to buy any more - I'm having to be conservative about which tanks I own and then unlock.

So, I started with just the Cruiser Mk II, a British light tank which I was able to skip through to jump into the Valentine.  Now, I want to go back to the Val at some point, but I was also watching Jingles videos where he was talking about HEAT rounds.  The first tank I could see where I could use a HEAT round was this baby, with its Howitzer.

And you will find comments from other players about getting one shotted by this gun, and when you do hit and kill its glorious.  But more often than not you don't hit because... well, the aiming time is horrendous - and only exacerbated by having a 50% crew - this is only a test tank to get elite and quit for me.

Anyway, I loaded heat and set off onto the battlefield.... Initially, playing very slowly, very much from the back, I could compete... and I even cleaned up a few games to get big scores.

But, there are two maps which really don't lend themselves to this tank... Himmelsdorf.

Turning and then coming around corners to snap shot, simply can't be done easily, and you find with 18+ seconds reload you're picking your shots and then getting screwed over.

I've been point blank with a T28 right in my sights, 5 meters.... whole enemy tank filling the reticule... fire... MISS....

The arch of the projectile is also very off putting, and then the speed of the projectile, its so so slow.

So, its totally miss with this attempt at playing clever.  Switching up to the Pom Pom gun has not helped, this tank is so slow it can't compete when there's PzII's & III's zipping around you.  Not to mention the plethora of Ruskies running circles around you.

Friday, 18 October 2013

My Wife the Diva Driver

Never would one hear this sort of comment in the news, nor in general really, but my wife is an excellent driver.

I don't mean she doesn't have me going for an imaginary brake, or cringing when she's whipping through gaps too small and you hear a layer of plastic atoms sizzle off the wing mirrors.

But she has today (Monday actually) achieved a feat of driving I could not, and I have to doff my cap to her.

Our small car, the 206, had lots of work on it the other week and all good, but I said at the time - something don't feel right - with the car... Turns out I was right, the transmission/gearbox area has given up the ghost, unable to get the car into gear or get it moving I was forced to abandon my first run to work, and wait for her to come tow me, in the end I was driving the tower and she took the 206 helm... She was deathly scared of running into me so used her brakes a lot, I could feel it... Unfortunately at an island she kept her brakes on as I went to pull off... the net result... the tow torpe safety hitch I'd put in snapped...

But she slammed the car into gear, by sheer force of will, and she godmatically made it drive out of that dangerous location... she drove it and drove it and the thing got home!

I could not move it, I could not get it into gear... and she drove it in third for like four miles to get it home.

I was impressed.... Meanwhile, lets see if I can get hold of my mechanic and get it under repair.

Thursday, 17 October 2013


In 1998 someone came up with an interface for external application to use, when plugging into our system here, this interface started at version 1, and later in 2000 version 2 was released... since then there have been eight further revisions, and in 2002 someone - not me - someone mandated that we would only support from version 3 and above...

All work has since carried on adding features but always supporting backwards to version 3.

The trouble now, eleven years after that declaration, we've moved the software on so much that we can't support that backwards retrograde two steps to version 1 and 2... 

This won't be a problem tho.... no not a problem, in 2002 everyone moved to at least using version 3... right...


Oh shit.

That's right, nearly no-one did, not even our own internal departments, I've been sending mails out since 2005, another chap - Hi Graham - he moved the interface from version 4 to version 5, he sent out mails... The guy - Hi Steve - who moved it from 2 to 3 and 4 he sent out mails.

But here we are fucked, with a dwindling number of plug-ins because idiot developers will always be idiot developers, "It works why change it"... yes, that's a good rule of thumb, but look where its left us here now, look where its left Microsoft browser security!  That attitude simply causes hassle in the long run, for a quite interlude passed.

Now, as the developers of the interface here, we publish our data and standard out, we define how the externals use our software... yeah... Well I wish the two - yes there were two - managerial level persons whom used to publish these interfaces on had actually tested the software coming back from the externals actually conformed to the documents they were publishing.

Because, to have worked on something in 2005 and in 2013 suddenly be asked to go and look at it is a pain, not least because we retired the operating system it was written on, we no longer even support the processor type (16bit) that the thing was released for and you can't run 16bit code in Windows 7 which we now use to develop code with!

Developers the world over, if there's a new interface, take note and use it, don't just think "oh its backwards compatible" and you managers out there, when your brains tell you to do something - like push a new version as mandatory - actually push it - David & Anita I'm looking in your long lost, no longer working here, directions! grrrr.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

When will they leave my childhood alone?

I watched the original Commando with the wife the other night, and laughed myself silly. I love that film, and I love how Anrie refused to play in the sequel and that became "Die Hard".... see these little bits of trivia....

But... but....


Robocop, now this?!??!?!  When will they fuck off?

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Banksy Mate Be Altruistic

With the day I've had I could really do with a break, suffice to say its a costly day, and I've love a shining light to pop my way...

For instance, I could do with winning the lottery...

Or I'd happily swap Mr Banksy £38 a few times - maybe five would be good - for some pictures... I'd even let him pop all reclusive like into the back yard and do them whilst I put the kettle on and he tried to avoid spraying the dogs maybe.

I just need a break, a chance to see my head above water.

This isn't a misery of povery thing, I'm not poor in the classical sense, I just don't ever seem to get a break at the moment, not one good thing has really happened to spark a smile in so long.

Hey ho... Wish I was in New York I'd have had the pneumatic drill equipped rat... and for irony sake the sign saying "$60", who else could say they got $60 off of Banksy?

Late Night News Flash = PS3

The £14.99 PS3 from ebay...Lives, I take all the credit for this, its taken two strip downs, soldering, heat gun, thermal paste, luck, a new Hard drive and the latest firmware update...

But she works...

Had her on the big plasma down stairs just now, signed up to the PSN, went through some pages and things.

Sooo... I just put a few quid bid on an old game or two... Next to see if the other machine can live... Now I have an idea how to fix 'em....

If the other lives, I'm going to have to make a profit and sell it on...

Monday, 14 October 2013

That's Rise Park, not Plymouth

Reading this just now, I was a bit suspicious of the BBC editorial, as I always am... You see that picture is taken outside Rise Park Primary School on Rise Park estate in Nottingham, just to the right there pulling out is the 89 bus to Nottingham City centre... so why do these zombie like kids in Nottingham scare people in Plymouth?

Bloody nancies they are down there, soft nancies... get your zombies out to slow the drivers.

I personally think these bollards are fantastic, they always catch your eye, you always scan both sides of the road, and they're small enough to make you think "that is a young child" so you know a young childs road sense is about as acute as the governments rein on budgets.

Plymouth, shut up and take these on, they're fab!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Pilot Knocked Out!

What have all these screen shots got in common?

Yeah, they all show my pilot getting knocked out, this seems to be happening a LOT, and not just on rookie crews with no vitality either, this is happening on my highly trained Brits and Japs, this is happening all the time to me.

And I'm even causing it a LOT to enemy players.

In one case I was knocked unconscious by a destroyer, another time by AA, so its happening from AI targets too, it just seems to be the current trend it not to knock the plane down, in fact these upgrades allowing airframes and control surfaces to soak up punishment tonight have meant nothing, because puff... dead pilot... just kept happening over and over and over.

Another buggy problem, my Cromwell has been on the sinking side... I've had it get stuck like this, in the ground more than once tonight, ruining my speed - and getting me killed... No idea why, I got good settings, good connection... but... puff ground sucker..

There's no sign of the Artic Silver thermal compound, so no updates on the PS3 rebuild yet... But... we'll see what the postman brings tomorrow.

The final bit of news is WarThunder are announcing their ground forces tech trees tomorrow.. YUM!

Friday, 11 October 2013

PS3 Firmware Update

Right one of the things I have to do with the PS3 rebuild is check them out with a known working hard drive.

So, with a 2.5" SATA hard drive ready - clean - here's the steps I'm keeping to...

1. Format HDD as FAT32.
2. Create a folder called "PS3" on it.
3. Create a sub folder called "PS3/UPDATE".
4. Download the latest firmware from www.playstation.co.uk.
5. Place this extracted firmware into the "PS3/UPDATE" folder we've got.
6. Insert the HDD into an external USB caddy.
7. Plug this into PS3 and power through...
8. Place the HDD from the caddy into the PS3 itself.

And it anything goes wrong I gotta go back into the Recovery Menu...

On the reassembly front I'm still waiting for the Artic Silver paste to turn up.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Track IR for WarThunder, Bargain PS3 and WarThunder Ground Combat!

Right, so I played IL2 and Forgotten battles loads, I even had an X52 throttle and joystick and a TrakIR4 head tracker...

I've just started to pack my current lab/office up to move, and I found the head tracker and I know where the joy stick set it...

It maybe time to hit "full real battle" on War Thunder...

In other news, I got the first PS3 from t'internet... this one was £14.99... Reportedly its broken... Well, After fiddling with the little wire from the Blueray deck, and resetting it to Factory mode - reflashing - and then starting up again, it seems to be fine.

Then there was coverage out over the weekend (from Gaijin, but reposted in English by Jingles) of the ground combat in WarThunder...

Okay, the physics look dodgy... and the integration with air combat had me a little nervous, but boy did it look gorgeous, and Gaijin already make WarThunder in flight mode look spectacular!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

PS3 Strip

So, the PS3's are here.  One is powering on but just black screen, I reckon its either a broken Blue-Ray or a bust HDD.  The other, three beeps and red flashing light.

So, I started with the £14 machine, this is a 60GB version, with the lift up flap expansion ports available, and it just powers on and sits there, having entered recovery mode it reports it can't access the HDD inside, so I swapped the HDD with the other machine, no dice.

I plan to test the drives for both and strip out an old HDD I have in a 2.5" caddy to replace into that one machine and give it another whirl.

Anyway, I set that machine a side.

Now, I'm sorry for no pictures here, I really need to get a camera in here, or sort something out because I used to take pictures all the time - check out my silent fan review and fitting series!

Anyway, I set that machine aside and set about the other... This was the first one I bid on, because it sounded like it needs the classic reseat of the CPU & GPU and new thermal paste job.  I stripped the machine down, and there was lots of dust inside, many dust bunnies and even a spider had made a home in one end.

This machine was a cheaper model.  A 60GB one to be precise without the front panel connectors.

With it stripped down I cleaned everything up, I've actually run out of isopropyl alcohol doing this... now the thermal paste inside was crusted to hell, it was just lumps all out the side of the chips and over the top of the CPU it was just an oily film with patchy coverage - so I'm pretty happy that this may just be the problem, and I need to reset everything.

I have cleaned it up, and put my order for some decent thermal paste in.

I'll get some more iso back from the father-in-law tomorrow and finish cleaning her up and then get the heat going on her.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Parcel Farce

They arrived this morning to deliver the £21 PS3... The wife was in the backyard mowing the lawn, she heard them knock, stopped mowing, walked through the kitchen into the lounge to see the turn get in his van and drive off... she estimates he waited 20 seconds, not even a second knock, just tap tap - which the dogs heard - and.. tick... 20 seconds... he must have already been writing the note slip thing... and boom gone.

I've got to go get the thing from the local post office tomorrow morning, and I am going to complain.

I'm in a complaining kind of mood, I'll tell you all about it when/if I get a reply from the company in question, and you'll definitely hear if I don't receive the kind of reply I want.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Not a post for the Vicker to read - Strange Job Interviews

I was just watching this...

And it reminded me of perhaps the most awkward moment I've ever had in a job interview.

The interview was down in Cambridge, for a programming job, in an office about 700 yards from the Imperial War Museum Duxford... Which, to be honest, was the main draw for me.

Anyway, I remember being led up four flights of stairs, and into an attic room, where the walls were freshly plastered, this was a young, new company, there was a long table and I was sat at one end and then five guys came in.  Four took seats with note pads and stared at me whilst one chap stood by a flip chart of paper.

No-one said a word to me, I stood to shake hands, but they didn't come near, neither did they say a word, they were all very pale pasty looking geeks.  Now, I am also a geek, but back then I was freshly graduated, I had a romping sex life and I had the remnants of training hard at karate on me, so I didn't look too bad with a big mop of hair and a clean crisp suit on I was the anti-pole of these scraggly guys.

They all spoke with posher then you, style Cambridge accents, and they all held their nose when they realised I was a graduate from an ex-polytechnic...

But still they didn't say a word to me...

Next thing, the interview began... they asked me lots of maths like questions, then about my knowledge of internet payment systems - which at that time - before even PayPal was sod all.

And then whilst the chap by the flip chart started to draw something, one of them around the table suddenly asked...

"How do you stand about anal sex?  Either male on female, or male to male"

Stunned I just opened my mouth and closed it again... Was this an invitation?  Did they look so pasty as they didn't leave the office, I'd not seen a woman in the entire place so I was a little disturbed and didn't want to be cock-blocking or volunteering to sausage jockey any of this lot.. not for a job.

"I'm sorry?"

And another spoke...

"You know, fisting, BSDM, real hard core"

There was absolutely no anchor for my brain on this, it was not mentioned in the job description, I had nothing to go on...

"Well, I've been around"

Was my only reply...

"No, not you, videos, pictures that sort of thing?"

Pictures, I had the most gorgeous girlfriend at the time whom I could get to drop suck and swallow she was so horny... so I was not up on the old lads mag end of the market.

Then it clicked, their work, their business was porn, it was internet porn... They looked so pasty as they made their money being online pretending to be the female to male chatters online and charging for it whilst videos played.  And I was being hired because I had a few modules listed on my CV of Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language processing (my favourite module truth be told).

They wanted me to write a chat box, but their approach, the advert, their pay all turned me off the whole thing, they themselves made it all so seedy.

Perhaps there was money in it, I think the legality of the hardcore stuff they were talking about in Britain - at that time - was questionable, and so they did host their services overseas, so the job security was tenuous at best.

I never chased up the company, they no longer exist, and I didn't take the job, but I'd have liked to know how much money - if any - they raked out the masturbatory habits of the world.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

General Programming Tip: Control Alignment on Different Resolutions

I'm going to throw a piece of advice out there, to professional developers, and it might be a piece of advice many don't stumble upon.

Aligning things on your screen... If you have a piece of software, which fills the screen, or has a known size today, don't align the labels or controls on it to just fit that screen, use tricks like dock, and flow layouts, and alignments to layout the screen for any resolution.  It'll take more time now, but if you are planning to support the software on multiple platforms, or for many years, then it'll all be worth while.

Today your screen might be 800x600, and your label plonked on it might sit nicely...

But tomorrow...

Its a higher resolution, and its off to one side... So how might we quickly get around this?  Well, with a single label, its easy enough, make it fit the width of the screen, set the alignment to center... and voila.

Your text will always sit right... and this is a two second job... other patterns to achieve this take longer, but think about it now, save yourself some time in the future!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Funny Old Week

This week I've pretty much sworn off World of Tanks, and been enjoying mixed results in War Thunder.  I say mixed because I updated to 1.35 and started playing with good results over last weekend, the weekend crowd seemed to contain just enough noobs and vets to balance things out.

But as the week progressed there seemed to be only the hardcore element playing, so there was the 1 shot 1 kill cannon brigade, souring through the clouds in their P-39's, and then the undestroyable A20's, despite my filling them with all the lead from a Beaufighter MkXX (so 4x mg and 4x20mm cannon).

Then the Yak9T UFO pilots who just zap you with their xray (literally I was surgically removed from so many different aircraft by P39 or Yak9T pilots as to make me wonder if they were using aimbots or cheats).

In the end, I went to play some Minecraft, now I don't play that much of this, but when I did I just play and dig and build and dig.  But I always play with one rule, if I die I'm dead.  Start over.  Some call this hard core, but I don't.  Its just what I do, so I'm getting really good at setting up a wheat farm, collecting animals and making myself a little house and then I set about digging a shaft to diamond depth.  My problems come along later, when I'm trying to collect XP for enchants.  I go scurrying about and I don't find enough target mobs.  So, in my current game I'm going to try and make a sky placed mob generator and farm it.

I also, this new world spawned right next to (literally 22 blocks from) a zombie spawner, so I plan to dig it all out around and build a trap for that.

Then on the fully side of things I saw this... and I can't but help say that picture looks just like the bitch who lives across the street from us....

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The Great £21 PS3 Risk

I'm not usually a risk taker, and I don't normally buy second hand kit, much preferring a known starting point the manual and all the cables which come with a new bought item...

So its totally out of character for me to have invested the heady sum of £21 on a PS3 console, which is in the Yellow LED of Death (YLOD) state.

My plan is to strip it open, clean it up and see if the GPU needs reballing, reflowing & reseating, or whether it just needs the old refresh of the thermal compound on the chipset.

It could be anything else, the worst case is the re-balling, which I'd not like to do by hand, but with some time, lots of alcohol and plenty of patience I maybe able to clean it up and resurrect it.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

YouTube Going Strange

I've noticed YouTube has started to add the GB feed into my mix all the time, and nothing on it appeals, so every day I remove the GB feed, but every morning that stupid feed is back.  And I've noticed that some of the recommendations I get are getting screwy.

Now, I use my machines alone, I don't log onto my account for YouTube from a shared computer and so the selection of items and suggestions should be mine... right...

Well, check this out...

Okay, Cartoons from the BFF guys... and AGP... and Game stuff, war stuff... Technology and Numberphile stuff...

But there in top six, bottom left of that group... "How to put on a Tampon"... WHY THE FUCK... What... I just can't... I have no explanation for why that's there... Nothing nada no explanation at all... Its either a joke video, or serious, and either way I'm not willing to click it to find out.

I just boggle however how the YouTube algorithm matched that to me and my play list tastes...