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[ website | Beware the Jabberwock... ]
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(no subject) [Posted on Saturday, the 22nd of November 2014 at 12:10 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]

Today is going to be full of karting and thanksgiving party, so this is a post to say that there will probably not be a post today.

Except since this is a post today, it qualifies for NaBloPoMo.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

How's my posting? [Posted on Friday, the 21st of November 2014 at 11:59 am]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[What |sleepysleepy]

Because it's too late for anything sensible...

Poll #1989780 How's my posting?

I should post more...

Epic tales of computer craziness
1(50.0%)
Things that really actually happened
1(50.0%)
Slightly intelligible ramblings about popular culture
0(0.0%)
Inflammable rants about the state of modern society
0(0.0%)
Highly random memes
0(0.0%)
Highly unrandom quizzes
0(0.0%)
Musings and in-depth analysis of whatever I'm playing
0(0.0%)
Genuinely original content
0(0.0%)
I have discovered a truly remarkable topic which this poll is too small to contain
0(0.0%)

I post too many...

Epic tales of computer craziness
0(0.0%)
Things that really actually happened
0(0.0%)
Slightly intelligible ramblings about popular culture
0(0.0%)
Inflammable rants about the state of modern society
0(0.0%)
Highly random memes
0(0.0%)
Highly unrandom quizzes
0(0.0%)
Musings and in-depth analysis of whatever I'm playing
0(0.0%)
Genuinely original content
0(0.0%)
I have discovered a truly remarkable topic which this poll is too small to contain
0(0.0%)

Am I going to pay attention to the results?

Mean: 3.00 Median: 3 Std. Dev 0.00
0
0(0.0%)
1
0(0.0%)
2
0(0.0%)
3
1(100.0%)
4
0(0.0%)
5
0(0.0%)
6
0(0.0%)
7
0(0.0%)
8
0(0.0%)
9
0(0.0%)
10
0(0.0%)

Ticky box?

Yes
1(100.0%)
Nope
0(0.0%)
What
0(0.0%)
Lol
0(0.0%)
Link[ 2 pennies | Penny for your thoughts? ]

Slightly improved file uploader [Posted on Thursday, the 20th of November 2014 at 8:55 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[What |accomplishedaccomplished]
[Who |Ralph McTell - Spiral Staircase [The Best of]]

Anyway, enough ranting about nutters on the road. Remember the file uploader I hacked together earlier this year? Well, I discovered a slight flaw when using it with the Wii U - the filename provided by the console is static, and so later uploads overwrite earlier ones. That's easily fixed...

PHP!Collapse )

The change is only a few lines - the call to move_uploaded_file has been replaced with

      $pathinfo = pathinfo($_FILES['file']['name'][$i]);
      $dest = $pathinfo['filename'] . strftime('-%Y%m%d-%H%M%S.') . $pathinfo['extension'];
      move_uploaded_file($_FILES['file']['tmp_name'][$i], $dest);


The result is each uploaded file has the current date and time appended to it (for example, vorpal.jpeg becomes vorpal-20141120-205045.jpeg). Obviously this will still overwrite files if you manage to upload the same filename multiple times within the same second, to which my answer is meh! As before, feel free to use it under the 3-clause BSD license.
Link[ 2 pennies | Penny for your thoughts? ]

Today's kamikaze cyclist [Posted on Thursday, the 20th of November 2014 at 8:33 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Who |Ralph McTell - The Mermaid and the Seagull [The Best of]]

I really shouldn't pad out NaBloPoMo with driving posts, but today's kamikaze cyclist deserves special mention...

This clown chose to hug the right-hand side of the lane down the hill by Titchfield, entering a right-turn lane without turning right, and then veering across the dividing line into the other side of the road. Possibly he thought he was being smart by leaving a car's width of space to his left, but I try not to undertake someone unless the traffic is queueing and I'm especially not going to undertake a kamikaze cyclist who shouldn't be there as I've now got no clue where he's going to go.

Then we got to the lights at the bottom which turned red with plenty of time to spare, at which point he signalled left and moved over. Initially he appeared to slow for the lights, but then he went straight through the red light, did not turn left, and cut across the traffic now entering from the left on a (for them) green light.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Ph34r my Cucco army! [Posted on Wednesday, the 19th of November 2014 at 9:01 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[What |sillysilly]

Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Today's drivetime fun [Posted on Wednesday, the 19th of November 2014 at 6:48 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Who |Big Giant Circles - In Your Prime [Super Metroid: Reserve Tank: VARIAtions]]

Today's drivetime fun was a pair of unexpectedly long queues. First was on the A27 outside work which normally is shorter, though that said it was flowing quite well (apart from the mess caused when people zip past and then all try to merge in at once).

Then there was the second one also on the A27, this time on the second approach to the crazyabout. This one is always long and slow because of everyone trying to go to Gosport and getting caught in whatever it is they're doing to Newgate Lane, but today was worse because of a accident half-blocking one lane (the cars looked mostly intact so probably more of a bump than anything serious). For added fun this backed up all the way down the sliproad and onto the roundabout, and apparently a yellow box area on a roundabout means "traffic entering can block traffic on the roundabout waiting for the box to clear".

I have noticed a general trend of drivers deciding that yellow boxes apply to other people. I try not to do this and actually do you're supposed to do, which is not enter unless your exit is clear (you can enter if you're turning right and are only blocked by oncoming traffic). This isn't always easy to do - there's one junction I go through where the exit is round a corner and so you can't actually see if it's clear until you're in the yellow box.

Anyway, today I was smart and so did not do what I may have done before (which I am totally not admitting to ) and try to hold the Alfa on the hill using the clutch, and did not then spend the next ten minutes using the clutch to crawl forwards following someone going verrry slowly (apparently while riding the brakes - and no, it's not downhill enough to creep forwards on gravity alone) until suddenly realising that I had very little useful travel on the clutch pedal and so stalling trying to get over the kerb for my flat's carpark (total stall count in the MiTo: probably 9, though something like 6 of those were during the very first evening commute and so I claim they don't count). Nope, today I was good and used the handbrake and hill holder, and sat still rather than trying to match too-slow traffic in front.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

(no subject) [Posted on Tuesday, the 18th of November 2014 at 7:52 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[What |annoyedannoyed]

You know the current state of desktop email is bad when you're seriously considering writing your own email client...

Though really, it's not the email side of things that's the problem - it's the complete worthlessness of the address book in just about every desktop email client. Back when I first upgraded to Windows 7 I tried several programs to find that they all have ridiculous limitations, broken import/export, or broken multiple account support.

All I want is an email client that can handle multiple email addresses per contacts (and I don't mean just a "work" and "home" address, I mean multiple), has an importer that actually works, and can speak to more than one IMAP account. Oh, and I want something that's current and nice-to-use - running Outlook Express in XP Mode is tempting, but a poor solution as it's woefully out of date. All of these are not only long-solved problems, but also used to work perfectly in Outlook Express. So why is it nothing today can do this?

This rant brought to you by starting to write an email and discovering that the Windows Live Mail contact importermangler had thrown away half the addresses in a group. Then having to play the "which of these identically named contacts contains this person's current email address" game to try and repair it. Sigh.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

This evening commute's scores [Posted on Monday, the 17th of November 2014 at 6:57 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[What |annoyedannoyed]

This evening commute's scores:

Drivers who absolutely have to be in front, speed limits be damned: 2
Drivers who objected to me not going as fast as they want: 1
Motorcyclists who objected to me not going as fast as they want: 1
Kamikaze cyclists: 3
Kamikaze drivers: 2

The drive home took twice as long as it normally does, due to someone doing something inadvisable on the Segensworth Roundabout meaning it took over quarter of an hour just to escape from the industrial estate. I'm not sure what it was they did - all I saw were flashing blue and red lights reflected in the cars on the far side of the roundabout (BBC Travel says "accident" - hopefully everyone's ok).

A side-effect of what this did to the traffic flow (everyone was blocked trying to get to the M27) meant that my exit was completely clear... right up until I discovered a set of drivers doing a u-turn across the wide hatchings in the middle of the road to escape their queue ("hmm he's turning right better lift off wait no he's stopping brake oh now he's clear").

Then there was the approach to the holiday inn roundabout with a cyclist without any lights weaving his way to somewhere through the slow traffic. Next the hill down to Titchfield with another cyclist (with a tandem bike - or was it two cyclists?), who decided to suddenly cross the road in front of me ("wtfBRAKE"). And finally the hill the other side, with another light-less cyclist heading up it - and level with a better-behaved cyclist who not only had lights, but was also on the path next to the road.

Sigh. Still, it's not all bad:

Well-behaved cyclists: 2
Drivers who kindly let me in front: 3
Today's NaBloPoMo post: achieved!
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Today's random encounter [Posted on Sunday, the 16th of November 2014 at 10:30 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Where |The Gillies, Fareham, UK]
[What |surprisedsurprised]
[Who |The Raggle Taggle Gypsies [A Taste of Ireland - Disc 1]]

Today's random encounter while out on a late evening walk was turning a corner to see a deer lit up in the eerie grey light of my torch. There was a moment when we just paused and looked at each other, both standing in the middle of the path, before it disappeared off into the misty night.

The surprise is the location, not far from where I last saw one in the middle of Fareham. I was walking through the middle of The Gillies, a local green space surrounded on all sides by housing. One would have thought that it'd be too urban for deer...
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

The LJ Stat-o-matic returns! [Posted on Saturday, the 15th of November 2014 at 11:59 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Who |Deepest Blue - Deepest Blue (Jon Hopkins mix) [Chilled 1991-2008 - Disc 3]]

Because despite not taking part talismancer will still (justifiably) snark at me if I leave it at that, here's a bonus post! Admittedly it's a meme, but it's the traditional NaBloPoMo one, now back for a seventh year...

2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and now 2014:



Top commenters on boggyb's LiveJournal
1boggyb540540
2olego172172
3pleaseremove119119
4pewterfish6969
5tau_iota_mu_c6969
6ralesk6868
7omgimsuchadork6161
8talismancer5858
9Anonymous4343
10mirrordreams4242
11-80Collapse )

Total Commenters: 80
Total Comments: 1897
(not including 461 deleted and 4 screened)

Report generated Sat Nov 15 23:40:31 GMT 2014 by boggyb's LJ Stat-o-matic 1.1 (inspired by scrapdog's LJ Comment Wizard)



Compared to last year there's been very little change - two pairs in the top 10 have swapped position (ralesk and tau_iota_mu_c, Anonymous and mirrordreams), but in both cases only because one person in the pair has posted any comments.

As a minor aside, it took me only a couple of minutes to download the 150MB zip file for Eclipse, and maybe half that to extract it (then five minutes spent trying to work out why it wasn't starting - it'd help if the 64-bit package actually used the 64-bit Java runtime...). Back when I started university doing the same took much longer - Internet access wasn't anywhere near as fast, and both processors and disks were much slower. Modern computing is fast.

Interestingly my 7-year-old desktop is actually more responsive than the shiny new Lenovo T440 laptop $WORK has allocated. The laptop has a high-end Core i-something-or-other (probably an i5, probably 3GHz, definitely 8 cores), 8GB of RAM, and plenty of disk space. Nyx, the desktop, has an old Core 2 Quad Q6600 (2.4GHz and only 4 cores), a mere 4GB RAM... and a crazy fast Plextor M5S SSD. It's no contest, really.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Whatever happened to all the blogging? [Posted on Saturday, the 15th of November 2014 at 11:28 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Who |Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Tracers [Night Castle]]

Well, we're now half-way through NaBloPoMo and I appear to be the only one left still managing a dailyish blog post. talismancer isn't even trying at all this year (yes, I know he said he wasn't going to take part this year, but he's said that before...), omgimsuchadork spectacularly failed at day 2, and unless allegramente posts something in the next half hour or so that's her out as well.

Whatever happened to all the blogging?
Link[ One penny | Penny for your thoughts? ]

Driving craziness all round [Posted on Friday, the 14th of November 2014 at 11:37 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Who |Path Of Destiny ~ Gargoyle [Path of Destiny.mo3]]

Y'know, I could probably fill the rest of NaBloPoMo just by blogging about whatever silliness I encounter on the roads each day. Today's clown was someone who sat very close on my back left quarter while I was going right at a roundabout, only appearing after I'd signalled left to take the next exit. Then at the next roundabout I followed the curve of it round to take the exit straight ahead, only to find that they'd snuck up on my right (fortunately they then continued round - I was half expecting them to charge past and take my exit)! I'm not sure where they got the impression that the roundabout was actually designed for two cars side-by-side as all entrances and exits on that one are only single lanes.

Then there's the SUV (it always seems to be a SUV) that made a last-minute decision that the lane I was in was the better lane for a set of lights and so changed lane right in front of me just as we reached the queueing traffic. I suppose it is actually the better lane if you're following the main road, as the other one just gets stuck in a queue on the roundabout itself. This is one of those things where local knowledge (or forward planning using Street View) helps as then you know well in advance where to be - for example, after a few trips to Horsham and back I now know exactly which lane to be in the M27 to sail through all the junctions around Portsmouth without getting caught up with filter lanes (inconvenient) or the M275 merger (downright evil).

Oh, and as proof that it's not just some drivers but all of 'em that're up to craziness, there's me trying to enter a roundabout from almost-stationary, in 2nd gear. While going uphill. Yeah, not quite enough torque for that to work well in this car... that said, I did make it without stalling (which would have been most unpleasant on the middle of a roundabout).
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Roundabouts and merging [Posted on Thursday, the 13th of November 2014 at 11:57 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]

No underwater roads today, just plenty of drivers who absolutely have to be first in any queue. You know the ones - they race past a queue of traffic, then force their way in when the two lanes merge. There's a pair of roundabouts where two lanes exit, but are quickly shrunk back down to one. I'm not entirely sure why as the road's wide enough for both lanes to continue - and in at least one case, they probably did originally (the space is marked off with hatchings).

I wonder if it'd make more sense to just turn the exit from the roundabout into a single lane? Certainly in both cases traffic queues almost immediately after the roundabout exit, but then starts flowing nicely once the two lanes have merged together. I suppose the downside is that the roundabouts are large enough that you'd have people racing each other to make the exit. That's something I have to watch out for on one roundabout in the morning - checking that nobody's snuck up my inside to try and take the exit I'm signalling for. Or in another case, making sure that nobody's snuck up my inside to not take the left-hand lane of the exit I'm aiming for the right-hand lane of...
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Crazyabout commuting [Posted on Wednesday, the 12th of November 2014 at 11:19 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]

Because of the crazyabout, my commute back form work requires me to approach from a specific direction in a specific lane otherwise I can't get into the car park behind my flat (well... I can, but the entrance is just the wrong side of a no-entry sign and I'd prefer not to accumulate any points on my shiny new licence). To achieve this I have to go round the crazyabout, then take the next exit off the A-road, head down and all the way round another roundabout, then back up a sliproad and merge right one lane (otherwise I'd end up going straight over the crazyabout and have to start all over again).

The sliproad is a bit steep and invariably has two lanes of stop-start traffic in what's marked as only a single lane, so it's good practice for hill starts and clutch control. So far I've only stalled a couple of times on it! I must admit, I do cheat a bit and let the Alfa's hill holder deal with it when properly on the slope (though I do have to watch out at the bottom and top of the sliproad as it doesn't activate on slight slopes - fortunately in my car I can hear a whine from presumably the brake assist pump when it's engaged).

Anyway, today's fun was at the middle of the roundabout on a rather wet and wild evening. Having dodged cyclists (including one twice - I passed him, then he passed me while queueing at a set of lights), people zipping past just before two lanes merge into one, stealth ninja motorcyclists, and a police car blocking a lane of traffic (who moved on just as the traffic approached him, causing no end of confusion to the drivers that were about to overtake him), I then navigated the crazyabout and dropped down into the second roundabout, turned a corner half-way round and discovered a good couple of inches of water stretching across the road. Fortunately I'd already slowed before reaching it as it's immediately before a set of hidden lights, but it was rather disconcerting to find the road replaced by a rather large puddle! I'll have to remember to watch out for that spot after heavy rain, especially if there's a storm surge - there's a river running through the roundabout which is just about tidal, and it's known to flood in extreme conditions.
Link[ 3 pennies | Penny for your thoughts? ]

Flying Officer James Tillet [Posted on Tuesday, the 11th of November 2014 at 9:22 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Where |50.86777,-1.16751]
[What |thoughtfulthoughtful]

Britain is full of reminders of the two world wars, even beyond the war memorials in almost every town and village and the pillboxes that cover the landscape. Take this small, little-known monument I discovered many years ago while exploring the roads and paths north of Fareham...



F/O JAMES TILLET 33454
R.A.F 238 SQN.
K.I.A. NOV. 6TH 1940
NEAR TO THIS MEMORIAL

He died so young, so we
that are left, grow old
knowing only freedom. Let
not future generations
squander such a gift.
Link[ One penny | Penny for your thoughts? ]

Legend mode: complete! [Posted on Monday, the 10th of November 2014 at 11:47 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]

Well, I've now completed legend mode in Hyrule Warriors.

Hyrule Warriors legend mode spoilersCollapse )
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Smile! [Posted on Sunday, the 9th of November 2014 at 11:58 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Where |Fareham]
[What |happyhappy]
[Who |Listening to the sudden rain outside]

As I've mentioned before, earlier this year I subscribed to Not Another Bill (because who doesn't like receiving random presents through the post?). This months present has just arrived... and inside were a rather nice pair of knitted fingerless gloves.

Funnily enough, only the other day I was thinking that what with the current cold weather I could do with finding some gloves - I've got a pair buried somewhere in this flat. They'd be especially nice for driving to/from work as it takes a while for the inside of the car to warm up.

That makes quite a few presents from Not Another Bill which have turned out to be genuinely useful. So far I'm using the chopping board (which arrived just as I was thinking I should buy a new one), a leather key protector, and a frameless picture frame (currently with a Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D poster) that puts me in mind of a Japanese scroll holder. Plus there's the geometric mobile hanging from the living room light, and the brass ruler and clips (which curiously came in a foil pouch). That said, not everything's being used - I never did find a use for the leather card holder, and the rock salt grater just isn't as handy as an ordinary (or not-so-ordinary - I have a one-handed magnetic one) salt mill. Perhaps I need to tidy the table so it can live there?
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Doctor Who series 8 finale [Posted on Saturday, the 8th of November 2014 at 11:59 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Where |Horsham]
[What |sleepysleepy]

So, today was the Doctor Who series 8 finale, and it mostly turned out to be a good episode. A rather fitting one too, what with Remembrance Sunday tomorrow.

Spoilers!Collapse )
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Photos! [Posted on Friday, the 7th of November 2014 at 11:40 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Who |Enigma - Sitting on the Moon [A Posteriori]]

While driving back from work today I spotted a gloriously large full moon just rising over the horizon, partially obscured by scattered clouds. Since I was driving I couldn't really pause and take photos, so once I'd got back to my flat off I set off with camera in search of lunar photos...

Photos!Collapse )
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams [Posted on Thursday, the 6th of November 2014 at 11:42 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |curiouscurious]

While flicking through channels recently I happened across Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams on BBC 4 (if you're in the UK then it's still on iPlayer until next week). It's an absolutely fascinating programme about automata - these being (as the programme summary goes) machines designed to mimic and recreate life. They can be simple, like a cuckoo clock, or incredibly intricate, like this:

There should be an embedded video here. If not then try this link instead.


It's all the more impressive when you realise that the entire mechanism in the writer was designed and built by hand. None of this modern-day CAD or CNC milling - each cog would have been handcrafted. Oh, and it's even programmable (after a fashion) - different letters can be selected to be written. In some ways it's the pinnacle of clockwork automata.

The rest of the programme is equally intriguing - it shows both large automata (like the mechanical turk, known in computing circles for what it isn't) and pocket-sized clockwork with tiny mechanisms (like a small singing bird early on in the show). Interestingly it gives the turk as inspiration for something else entirely - the power loom. The programme doesn't follow that chain of events any further, which is a shame as the power loom eventually became the Jacquard loom and that with its punch-card programming was the inspiration for the early computers.
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Bonfire night filler time! [Posted on Wednesday, the 5th of November 2014 at 8:29 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Who |Children of the Monkey Machine - Fallen Ascent (Tower of Zot) [Echoes of Betrayal, Light of Redemption: II Strife]]

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...


So this year it seems that Lewes will be burninating not one, but two effigies of Alex Salmond. No surprise there - it's become traditional for current politicians to feature in their celebrations. Except Alex Salmond has got wind of it, and is apparently blaming East Sussex County Council and/or the Tories for it.

This would be the ESCC where the Tories, while having the most councillors, don't actually have overall control (20 seats out of 49). And the independent bonfire societies that a few years ago burninated a David Cameron effigy holding a Nick Clegg puppet, to a resounding lack of complaints. So a typical research failure from the SNP, then?
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A nifty feature and a Hyrule Warriors question [Posted on Tuesday, the 4th of November 2014 at 7:37 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, , , ]
[What |curiouscurious]

Today's nifty feature discovery is that the WiiU can take and upload screenshots. The nifty part is that you don't actually need Nintendo's tool to do so, nor is it limited to Facebook/Tumblr/Twitter.

Instead all you need to do is point the built-in web browser at the upload website of your choice, and when you browse for a file on the WiiU you get given a choice of the main screen or the gamepad screen. Pick one, and the WiiU uploads a JPEG of it. Simples!

This leads me to today's Hyrule Warriors question, which who is this and where (if anywhere) is the person in the middle from:

Slight spoilers for Hyrule WarriorsCollapse )
Link[ 2 pennies | Penny for your thoughts? ]

(no subject) [Posted on Monday, the 3rd of November 2014 at 11:18 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Who |Solidus Cave - Hyrule Warriors]

Oh, now that was a surprise.

Hyrule Warriors spoilersCollapse )
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Wii U! Zelda! [Posted on Sunday, the 2nd of November 2014 at 11:33 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, , , , ]

About a month ago I finally caved in and picked up a Wii U, along with Mario Kart 8 and Hyrule Warriors (as a "driving test passed" present to myself). It's not quite as wee a beastie as the original Wii - the console itself is a bit bigger, and the game pad is frankly enormous - but still just about fits in with everything else in the TV stack.

As an aside, GAME do seem to be amazingly bad at actually selling, well, games. I've tried two or three times over the past fortnight to buy the Wii U from the local store, and each time they've had no actual stock despite the shelves being full of game boxes. For added annoyance while they had a couple of nice bundles on offer, it's apparently impossible to place an order for them. Instead you have to order in the components in separately and then pay full price on the lot.

So instead I turned to game.co.uk, the online arm of the same company, wherein they not only had actual stock but had a better deal available and free courier delivery. The latter is less helpful than one might think as "courier" means "someone has to sign for it", but it's easy enough to get it delivered to work.

Anyway, the console. Setting it up was reasonably straightforward apart from the usual fun of getting it to talk to the router (the MAC address is surprisingly well-hidden), and it's quite nifty being able to wander off with the game pad and continue with the setup away from the TV. The only real downside is the ridiculously large system update needed that took a good hour or two to download (and my Internet connection's not that slow either). You'd have thought that since the console came out over a year ago it'd be loaded on at the factory, especially as I couldn't complete the Nintendo Network registration part of the setup without it. Still, eventually everything was updated and configured and I could finally play Hyrule Warriors on it, which is The Win.

Hyrule Warriors also has surprisingly competent AI-controlled allies. Normally AI-controlled players do no end of stupid things and generally fail at achieving the mission objectives, but here I was pleasantly surprised when part-way through one mission a Hyrule Captain (a very low-level allied leader) successfully captured a keep half-way across the map without any assistance. Later on in a different mission, I got given the objective "Protect Zelda from the ReDead Knights" followed almost immediately by the announcement "Zelda has defeated a ReDead Knight!". It's nice when your AI allies can be trusted to actually take care of themselves.
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Vroom vroom [Posted on Saturday, the 1st of November 2014 at 11:39 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]

So, NaBloPoMo!

And I'll start with a real post, albeit a slightly delayed one: I have a car! As mentioned earlier it's not the normal choice for a first car... but normality is boring. So instead of getting a cheap little Peugot or VW Golf or something to run for a year or two, I got this:



Yes, it's an Alfa Romeo MiTo. Specifically the 2009 Lusso variant, with a 1.4l 95hp petrol engine. I picked it up from Paul (of P&K Autos in Newick) two weeks ago, and since then have done more than a few miles in it.

How I ended up with it was rather amusing - the Gnu and I had turned up at the garage and had spotted a Suzuki Swift in the showroom that looked like a good choice, when Paul mentioned that he had another car in his workshop that had only turned up the day before. This car, in fact, which he'd been saving to surprise me with. I was torn between the two - the Suzuki was quite a bit cheaper, and would have been much more convenient for driving around town... but quite simply the MiTo is an Alfa. Additionally while I've only done a little fast driving in my instructors Ford Fiesta (there's the short stretch of 60mph road we sometimes used), it always felt not entirely stable at that speed. allegramente's Alfa 147, on the other hand, would merrily accelerate up Bury Hill with no fuss at all and felt completely stable on the twisty turny A-roads that Sussex is full of.

So in the end despite the extra couple of grand and the more expensive insurance (though only slightly more - it's apparently considered a good first car by insurers), I plumped for the MiTo and haven't regretted it. Like the 147 it cruises along country A-roads and stays glued to the road on the bends, and is just plain fun to drive.
Link[ One penny | Penny for your thoughts? ]

Warning... incoming NaBloPoMo... warning... incoming NaBloPoMo [Posted on Sunday, the 26th of October 2014 at 7:37 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |curiouscurious]
[Who |Prophecy - Unsettling Nature (Miniboss Theme) [Relics of the Chozo]]

Slightly late this year, but at least it's before November!

Yes, November is fast approaching and with it NaBloPoMo, wherein instead of infrequent coherency you'll get frequent coherency. Or possibly frequent incoherency, depending on what time it is when I remember to post each day.

I've absolutely no idea who's taking part this year - omgimsuchadork hasn't posted for ages, talismancer's been rather quiet recently (though for all I know he might have already planned for NaBloPoMo), and my continual attempts to prod elemnar into blogging more never seem to succeed. Maybe I need to offer some sort of bribe or reward or something for successfully posting every day in November?

On the flip side though, not only did Nik of Brokencube finally rebuilt his blog several months ago (and then promptly fail at blogging - this is Nik we're talking about), but pewterfish of Glass Half Empty also ordered replacement parts for his long-dead web server box. Perhaps there'll be some new entrants this year...
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

What is a cloudberry, anyway? [Posted on Thursday, the 9th of October 2014 at 10:06 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[What |hungryom nom nom nom]

Today's random discovery is that while a Kopparberg mixed fruits cider is a bad idea for making a gravy/sauce/whatever for the pork medallion recipe I posted last year, the Kopparberg cloudberry one that I picked up out of curiosity (what is a cloudberry, anyway?) works rather well. Especially with a decent dollop of clotted cream.

Come to think of it I've still got some cream left, along with a couple of apples and half a bag of crumble mix. Mmmm... apple crumble...
Link[ One penny | Penny for your thoughts? ]

(no subject) [Posted on Saturday, the 4th of October 2014 at 11:11 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |excitedexcited]

Having passed my test, today The Gnu and I headed off towards Lewes in search of a second-hand (or so) car for me. There's a garage that he's been using for ages so naturally we had a look there. What I was expecting to do was to look and see what Paul (the owner) has got in the showroom, poke around at one or two cars, and maybe not actually buy a car today but definitely have a chat with Paul about what he has got and what he can get soon (as I don't actually have a pressing need for a car, so I can wait for one I like rather than taking the first one I see).

Instead I put down the deposit today for a shiny '09-reg car, which should be ready in a couple of weeks once it's been serviced and had a MOT. It's a bit more than I was thinking of spending, and not the most practical choice for a first car... but at the same time it's not a bad choice and could work out very well. It's not even that expensive to insure - a quick check at compare the meerkat market gave similar prices to a 1.2l VW Polo or a 1.0l Nissan Pixo. Even an "is this a good first car" insurance checker says yes.

And besides, it's definitely the more fun choice of car :)

As to what car it actually is... well, I'm going to be cheeky and not say which one it is just yet. You'll just have to guess!
Link[ One penny | Penny for your thoughts? ]

Achievement unlocked [Posted on Friday, the 3rd of October 2014 at 4:51 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Where |Fareham]
[What |happyhappy]

I've got over a month's worth of posts I've been meaning to submit once I finally finish off the holiday posts and get the photos off the 3DS (my laptop memory card reader doesn't understand SDHC cards - most annoying), but I can see I'm just never going to get round to submitting them in a remotely timely fashion. So instead I'll just backdate them when I get round to it. And in the meantime...

Achievement unlocked: driving practical test PASSED!



Despite stalling the car coming out of a junction, catching the kerb with the front left when parking at the side of the road, and guessing wrong when picking a lane on approach to a roundabout (wanted straight on, guessed right-hand lane, and found it was marked right only, so had to go all the way round), I only clocked up 3 faults and no fails. Go me!
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Train drama [Posted on Thursday, the 7th of August 2014 at 8:48 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Where |We are now approaching Christ's Hospital]
[What |disappointeddisappointed]

It's rare on the trains I normally catch, but occasionally there's a spot of drama.

This time it was someone standing at the end of the carriage with their music turned up far too loud so that everyone else can hear the "boom-tish... boom-tish... boom-tish" of overpowered earphones. Someone wandered down and quietly asked them to turn their music down (so quietly that I couldn't hear what she said - protip: if your music is louder than someone's voice, then turn it down), at which point the person with the music exploded with "Just leave me alone! No-one else is complaining, the guard didn't complain and he was closer to me than you are, just leave me along!".

Bear in mind this is Britain, so a lack of complaints doesn't imply that nobody minds. There's a certain element of minding your own business when it comes to trains - witness the tube at rush hour, where despite being packed in like sardines no-one complains about the person next to them.

Anyway, she eventually gave up asking, and a few minutes later the guard turned up (I don't know how the guard got involved or why), at which point the guy with the music started accusing the guard of being racist.

Sigh. Because of course it's race that's the reason behind everything, not playing your music loudly or being annoying.


Oh dear, he's still here complaining to the guard about people complaining about his music and not showing respect and discriminating against him.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Yet more driving [Posted on Thursday, the 7th of August 2014 at 8:32 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]

A writeup on time (more or less) for a change!

Yet more drivingCollapse )
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Android FAIL [Posted on Wednesday, the 6th of August 2014 at 9:10 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[What |annoyedannoyed]
[Who |Theophany - The Clockworks [Time's End: Majora's Mask Remixed]]

So I've been meaning to migrate from the Nokia 6210 Navigator to something that's actually supported these days, and the Gnu has given me his old Galaxy Nexus. Now while there's a collection of apps that I've been using and want to find replacements for, all I really need to be able to use it as a phone is to be able to transfer my contacts across to it. This ought to be easy as everything should support vCard these days, right?

I know better than to try sending the contacts via Bluetooth - last time I attempted that with an Android phone, you had to approve each and every single transfer. That said, that was a few years ago so maybe modern Android will be smarter. Let's have a go...

Nope, it's still unusable. I only had to approve the transfer once, but now I've got the contacts in whatever staging area Bluetooth uses I can only import them one-at-a-time. Which is stupid - the ten-year-old Ericsson T39m I had at university knew how to bulk import contacts over Bluetooth, so why doesn't modern Android?

Let's try the offline way instead...

Step 1: exporting the contacts from the Nokia is trivial. Fire up the PC client, wait until it's found the phone over Bluetooth, select all contacts, hit File, Export, and hey presto I now have a folder full of vCards. Simples! I could even do this entirely on the phone if I wanted.

Step 2: importing the contacts to the Nexus. Plug it in to the PC, drop the folder full of vCards somewhere, fire up the Contacts app on the phone, pick "Import from storage" in the menu, select "Import all vCard files"... and nothing happens. Well, that's not quite right, a "Cannot import vCard" message flashed up for all of a second or two.

Apparently the best way to handle a single bad file is to abort the entire process without telling the user which file was broken. Or giving them any way to skip the broken file and continue with the rest. And yes, I know it's only one (or possibly a few) files, because I can successfully import the contacts one-at-a-time. Presumably what I'm supposed to do is binary chop through the contacts until I find whichever file it doesn't like, which is tedious at best.

It never ceases to amaze me how rubbish modern smartphones are at actually being phones.


Edit: it looks like the import failed because one (just one) vCard contained a line like:

EMAIL;ENCODING=QUOTED-PRINTABLE;CHARSET=utf-8:nope@nope.invalid=0D=0A
  =0D=0A=0D=0A


So basically if an email address in a single vCard has trailing whitespace (or possibly is encoded, because of course no-one would ever need to do that), Android's contacts app gives up completely. Sigh.


Edit again: ...and the import has blatted any * or # digits in the numbers. Because of course those can't possibly be significant.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Another weekend in the Alfa [Posted on Monday, the 4th of August 2014 at 10:14 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |accomplishedaccomplished]

Last weekend I was up in Horsham for Jonners' birthday (involving karting, games, and a meal out at Smith & Western), and got to go out a couple more times in the Alfa 147 with the Gnu riding shotgun.

SaturdayCollapse )

SundayCollapse )

And with that, I'm finally caught up on driving blogs! Until tomorrow's lesson, that is.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Three long-overdue writeups for the price of three! [Posted on Monday, the 4th of August 2014 at 10:14 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]

Three weeks agoCollapse )


Two weeks agoCollapse )


Last weekCollapse )


There's not many lessons left until the practical!
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Wii Play Motion [Posted on Monday, the 4th of August 2014 at 9:31 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |sillysilly]

While up in Horsham at the weekend I made the mistake of popping into Game with elemnar while they had a 3-for-2 offer on, and so ended up getting three games instead of the one I spotted. I'm sure this is just a cunning plan to get me to pay for the games so elemnar can then borrow them at some point...

Anyway, the one that caught my eye was Wii Play Motion. It's basically another collection of minigames for the Wii, except since it's by Nintendo these are awesome minigames that you can't help but play with a silly grin on your face (except for the stone-skipping one, which is all calming and zen... most of the time). I could go and write about them... except Pietriots have already done so, complete with videos and a side helping of Reggie, so I'll just link you to that.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

More Alfa driving [Posted on Sunday, the 27th of July 2014 at 10:18 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Who |Fluke - Electric Blue [Puppy]]

I'm hopeless at doing these driving posts in a timely manner, aren't I?

Anyway, Alfa driving! I've been out in the Alfa two more times since the end of June, and according to The Gnu I'm doing much better at it.


The second outingCollapse )


The third outingCollapse )


I didn't get to do any Alfa driving last weekend or this one (the parents were away sorting out family affairs), but next weekend I'm in the area for jonners99_uk birthday and should be able to get some more hours in. Probably best to do the Alfa driving before the birthday karting, though...
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

*melts* [Posted on Wednesday, the 23rd of July 2014 at 9:42 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |hothot]

The disadvantage of living right on the south coast is that, being further south, it gets hotter here. And while technically I am on the coast (that creek outside is tidal), in practice I'm too far inland to get any real sea breeze to cool things down.

And did I mention that today's the hottest day so far this year? As were the past three days as well?

*melts*
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

As time passes slowly by this place... [Posted on Sunday, the 20th of July 2014 at 3:00 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Where |N 50° 50' 25.1", W 001° 15' 34.1"]
[What |hothot]
[Who |Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops - Calling to the Night]

As time passes slowly by this place



Pause awhile, then so must weCollapse )
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Massively overdue driving post! [Posted on Tuesday, the 15th of July 2014 at 8:08 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |accomplishedaccomplished]

So, uh... massively overdue driving post?

Two weeks agoCollapse )

Last weekCollapse )
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

A mid summer's eve [Posted on Tuesday, the 15th of July 2014 at 6:19 pm]

boggyb
[What |relaxedrelaxed]

The other really nice part of having a balcony (in addition to the random firework displays I've mentioned before) is being able to sit out on it overlooking the creek and enjoy a warm summer evening, with a pint of beer (Badger's First Gold) in hand. Shame about the traffic noise from the nearby A32, but you can't have everything.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Today's amusing travel update [Posted on Tuesday, the 8th of July 2014 at 7:02 pm]

boggyb
[Where |50.884788, -1.301319]
[What |amusedamused]
[Who |Hylian Ensemble - Chamber of the Sages]

Today's amusing travel update:

We had been experiencing slight delays over the Hamble Bridge, towards Sarisbury Green. We've just heard that there is now a broken down boat blocking the road (yes, really)...
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Achievement unlocked! [Posted on Thursday, the 3rd of July 2014 at 7:08 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |accomplishedaccomplished]
[Who |Enya - Bard Dance [The Celts]]

Achievement unlocked: driving theory test passed!



For those curious: my score for the theory part was 49 out of 50 (pass mark 43), and for the hazard perception was 60 out of 75 (pass mark 44).

It's definitely a bit more nerve-wracking than doing the practice tests, and while the practice questions are identical to the real ones, the hazard perception clips most certainly aren't. The DVLA are decidedly more inventive with their clips than the Driving Test Success folks - one clip had a dog towing a small child at speed across the road, while another contained sheep being indecisive ("let's go towards the car! Wait, bad idea, um, um, um, run away!").
Link[ 2 pennies | Penny for your thoughts? ]

Normality is boring [Posted on Wednesday, the 2nd of July 2014 at 11:17 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |happyhappy]
[Who |VNV Nation - Arclight [Empires]]

My family has never quite done "normal". Occasionally we feel the need to remind the world of this.

And so last Sunday we stuck L plates on my mum's car, and I drove it most of the way from Horsham back to Fareham, going via Billingshurst and Pulborough, over Bury Hill, and through the serial roundabouts that make up the Chichester bypass. Now, driving their parents' car would be a perfectly normal thing for any young(ish) learner to do. Except we don't do normal, and this extends to cars...



That's me, sitting in my mum's Alfa Romeo 147 2.0 TS, trundling along the A27 somewhere around Chichester. It's a bit of a jump in power from the Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost I've been learning in! Amazingly insurance wasn't stupidly expensive - the AA do a scheme where your instructor can give you a referral code for short-term learner insurance from Collingwood, and a little under £100 covers me for 28 days.

The roads were very different to the ones I usually encounter in my lessons. There's absolutely no fast dual carriageway roads anywhere near me (that 50mph stretch on the way out of Whiteley doesn't count, by the time you've reached 40 you have to brake for the lights at the next roundabout), and only one fast single-carriageway road which only lasts for a mile or so. The A29, on the other hand, follows the ancient Roman road of Stane Street near Billingshurst and so is a dead straight 60mph road. Even going over Bury Hill the road meanders nicely with flowing corners, and the Alfa would happily take the lot at 60 if I let it. And then after that, it's on to the A27 and my first experience of a 70mph dual carriageway - and yes, I did reach 70!

It's also a very different car to drive to the Ford, and obviously has a fair bit more power. Case in point: leaving one roundabout on the Billingshurst bypass where I would have probably been doing 20mph or so in the Ford, the Alfa was accelerating through 40 (fortunately on a 60mph stretch of road!). It's also a lot more forgiving of being in the right gear and having the right amount of power than the Ford is with its little turbocharged 3-cylinder engine. Unlike the Ford however, the gearbox is incredibly stubborn and vague - when going for 3rd gear I was never quite certain what I'd end up in. And of course the throttle response is completely different, as is the biting point on the clutch (and there's a definite lump of resistance in the middle of the clutch pedal travel), and so gear changes at least to begin with were rather jerky. All that aside though, it's just plain fun to drive - while it's content to trundle along at 50 or so, deep down the Alfa just wants to go.

I have to admit, while the sensible post-learner car to get would be something on the order of a Nissan Micra, there is a part of me that's tempted by an Alfa...
Link[ 2 pennies | Penny for your thoughts? ]

Driving onwards [Posted on Friday, the 27th of June 2014 at 8:00 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Where |Barnham This is Barnham Welcome aboard the Southern service to London Victoria]

Another lesson of driving round the back streets of Stubbington, Lee-on-Solent, and Gosport, while trying (and mostly succeeding) not to make a fool of myself.

Driving onwardsCollapse )
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

(no subject) [Posted on Wednesday, the 25th of June 2014 at 5:52 pm]

boggyb
[What |thankfulthankful]

Something seems to have happened at the local Tesco's - the police have cordoned off the entrance, and a couple of fire engines have just turned up as well. At the moment the police seem to be just wandering around outside talking to a few people, so hopefully it's nothing major.

Update: we now have a paramedic, an ambulance, and an Incident Response Unit. And I can now see someone getting kitted up with climbing gear of all things.

Update 2: the local news reports that there's someone on the roof of Tesco's. That explains the climbing gear and the fire engine ladder platform.

I hope they manage to get her down safe and sound.

Update 3: she came down unharmed, thankfully.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Beer o'clock [Posted on Tuesday, the 24th of June 2014 at 6:34 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Who |Track 1 [Skyland]]

I declare it to be beer o'clock!



Back at university I didn't drink much alcohol at all, as I never really liked the taste of it (which as a nice side-effect meant I actually had money to spend). It's only over the past couple of years that I've started trying different ones and getting a taste for beers and ciders. Nice ones, mind you, not your cheap supermarket rubbish that my first year housemates went through vast quantities of (drink, go out clubbing, drink more, come back, drink even more... and then is it any surprise that security on occasion had to pour them into bed?). Myself, I'm quite happy with an odd lunchtime or evening beer, and see no need to drink myself silly.

I'm also getting a bit of an idea now of which ones I do and don't like and what to look for. The key I find seems to be looking for a slightly pretentious or punny name at around 4% ABV (which works out at a sensible 2 or 3 units), like Badger's First Gold (4%), Flowerpots Perridge Pale (3.6%), Badger's Fursty Ferret (4.4%), or Fuller's Seafarers (3.6%). Or for something unusual, pick a really punny name. Today's random beer is Hobgoblin, a bit stronger than usual at 5.2% but with an interesting taste. Definitely seems to have more body to it as well. Hmm... I'll have to remember this one.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Today's demonstration of how having the correct colour profile makes a difference [Posted on Monday, the 23rd of June 2014 at 11:27 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[What |accomplishedaccomplished]

Today's demonstration of how having the correct colour profile makes a difference involves a roll of 35mm film. Specifically, Fuji-brand film (I think a Fujicolor Superia 200).

Anyway, I recently dug the SLR out to take some photos of the local D-Day commemorations, and having finished the roll of film wandered along to Boots to get it developed (being about the only place still around that actually knows what to do with real film). I picked up the prints a couple of days later, and they looked a bit, well, underwhelming. Either the sky was washed out or the planes were in shadow, and there was a definite colour cast as well. I'd also gotten a photo CD on a whim, and the photos on that were also less than I was expecting - only 2136x1534 JPEGs for the "HIRES" ones.

Case in point: here's one of the Boots scans:


I'd seen this before with the photos I took at the Bournemouth airshow last year, but then I put it down to the 500mm mirror lens I was using. This time however I was using a much sharper 35-105mm Nikkor lens, and was expecting more detail in the photos. So I dug out an old Nikon Coolscan III, convinced it and its SCSI card to install on Windows 7 64-bit, and pointed VueScan at it. And got much the same result as the Boots prints. Hmm.

Then I had a poke around in the VueScan settings, found the "Negative vendor/brand/type" options, and experimented. And wouldn't you know, but if you change it from "Generic" to something else, you end up with a very different photo...



That was with the Kodak, Gold, 200 Gen 6 preset - the readme suggests playing around with the Kodak Advantix or Gold presets for recent Fuji films. I'm sure it could still be improved on if I could be bothered to properly calibrate the scanner, but as it stands it's enough of an improvement (at a much higher resolution as well - 3700x2500) that I'm happy!
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Practise, practise, practise! [Posted on Sunday, the 22nd of June 2014 at 10:55 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Who |Enya - Shepherd Moons [Shepherd Moons]]

I'm a bit behind on the driving lesson writeups, but better late than never?


Three weeks worth of writeupsCollapse )
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

But isn't this the entire point of a barbecue? [Posted on Saturday, the 14th of June 2014 at 7:00 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Where |Saltash, Cornwall]

Quote of the weekend, from Craig while manning the barbecue: "Stop being on fire"
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Vodafone mobile internet FAIL [Posted on Friday, the 13th of June 2014 at 5:58 pm]

boggyb
[Where |Cornwall!]
[What |annoyedannoyed]

How to use mobile internet, 2007-style:

A tale of simplicity and successCollapse )

How to use mobile internet, 2014-style:

A tale of confusion and much failCollapse )
Link[ 2 pennies | Penny for your thoughts? ]

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