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[ website | Beware the Jabberwock... ]
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(no subject) [Posted on Friday, the 24th of June 2016 at 8:31 am]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |disappointeddisappointed]

Well. The results are in and remain, with 48.1% of the vote, has lost.

It's going to be an interesting few years.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

LOUD MODE is expensive [Posted on Thursday, the 23rd of June 2016 at 11:30 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |grumpygrumpy]

Hah.

Turns out that the only people who make exhausts for Alfa MiTos are Alfa Romeo themselves, and they only sell it as one complete part. So to fix a blowing flexi-connection at the front requires replacing almost the entire exhaust (everything downstream of the catalytic converter), and the replacement part costs the best part of £600 (because Alfa). Ouch.

I could potentially get an exhaust specialist to bodge it by taking an angle grinder to the exhaust and welding a new flexi-connection in, but it's easiest to just let Halfords crack on and replace the whole unit (plus I'll hopefully avoid having to replace the rest of it in a year or two). The replacement does actually come in two pieces but you can't really replace them piecemeal at first because the factory-fitted exhaust is one single lump.

The Gnu suggested getting the engine mounts looked at as well as a flexi-connection failing could be a sign that the mounts are worn, though that can wait until I head over to Newick for the annual service.

Ah well, it's all part of the fun of owning an Alfa, and here I was thinking that because it's a MiTo it'd be cheaper to maintain - lol nope!
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

LOUD MODE [Posted on Wednesday, the 22nd of June 2016 at 6:18 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |surprisedsurprised]

Today I finally discovered the secret combination of settings to enable LOUD MODE on my car.

Or perhaps the exhaust has worn through.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

I really hope we stay in the EU [Posted on Tuesday, the 21st of June 2016 at 11:33 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |hopefulhopeful]
[Who |Foals - My Number (Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs remix)]

So for anyone living underneath the proverbial rock, on Thursday the UK is holding a referendum to decide if we leave or stay in the EU. I really hope we stay in the EU.

A large chunk of this is I think that as a country the UK is better off within the EU - the common market is very useful when buying stuff from the EU, the various bits of harmonisation help with manufacturing, the ECHR is a Good Thing (once you get past people using it for petty things, like complaining that a footpath being temporarily closed is a breach of their human rights), and so on. There's chunks that could do with reform and bits that don't work so well (I don't think the UK should adopt the Euro, but that's another rant), but overall I'm in favour of the EU.

Another part of why I hope we stay is the leave campaign are a bunch of liars. The "£350 million a week" that they claim the UK would save is a lie, as once you take the rebate into account the UK only contributes about £250m a week. Oh, and we get a chunk of that back through subsidies and funding for all sorts of things so the net figure is somewhere around £170m (source). They're also lying about the UK having to fund potential future Euro bailouts (nope, unless the current agreements change), and are also claiming that remaining will lead to untold immigration. Basically, "leave the EU or immigrants will come over and take the jobs that won't exist".

This isn't to say remain have been much better - they've been flinging their own FUD around (with a general theme of "leaving the EU will destroy the economy") but they don't seem to have been anywhere near as nasty as the leave campaigns. This is important as to some extent this referendum will decide who is PM: if leave wins, then David Cameron will likely step down and Boris Johnson is almost certain to be PM. Which to be fair would be hilarious... but best watched from a minimum safe distance. Like Australia.


It reminds me quite a bit of the Scottish independence referendum from a couple of years ago, where the yes group were claiming all sorts of things would happen which blatantly had no chance (equal control of Sterling? Future UK warships built in an independent Scotland? Joining Schengen without adding border controls with the rUK? LOLNOPE), the no group were being much more realistic about the prospects of a split UK, and both sides ratcheted up the FUD as the date approached. My personal view was an independent Scotland would have been significantly worse off while rUK would do alright, and I think it'd be much the same if the UK left the EU - the UK would suffer, and there wouldn't be a significant impact on the EU.


There was one bit of hilarity a colleague spotted the other day: Nigel Farage was on BBC News spouting some nonsense, and the BBC's automatic subtitles flashed up "Nigel far right". Which I think rather sums up the current state of UKIP - after all, they are full of fruitcakes, loonies, and closet racists.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Nyx problems [Posted on Sunday, the 12th of June 2016 at 4:46 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |confusedconfused]

Nyx has just crashed in some fashion - both monitors spontaneously dropped into power-save mode, and the music that was playing stopped a few seconds later. The keyboard is no longer responding either (protip: the Num Lock light is software-controlled, so if nothing happens when you press Num Lock then things have gone very wrong). So that looks like a rather major kernel fault and I suspect the graphics card is involved (when I first upgrades to the GTX 950, it had a spate of graphics driver reloads - I thought those had gone away, but evidently not).

Except... Nyx is still present on the network. I can ping it from Hemera. The video output has failed, it's not responding to keyboard input... but I can ping it over a wifi connection. I can see the file shares in Explorer. I can even get as far as opening a remote desktop connection, though it gets stuck on "configuring remote session".

Seriously, WTF is going on here? This is unusual even by my computing standards.

Ah well, since it's running and network-visible time to do some poking around. There's a fair amount of remote administration capability built into Windows - most of the stuff in Administrative Tools can control another computer if you've got a suitable account to log in to. So let's see what I can find out!

First off, let's try Event Viewer. Launch Event Viewer, right-click on the top-level Event View item in the tree, pick Connect to Another Computer, and enter Nyx (the same trick works for Computer Management). Hmm... well the Application log shows that Desktop Window Manager disabled itself (this is the service that does all the Aero effects), and then Windows Error Reporting logged a kernel error. Nothing particularly useful here but it does point towards graphics. System log, on the other hand, starts off with a Display log claiming that nvlddmkm hung and was "successfully" recovered (hah), followed by some error logs from nvlddmkm. Now I happen to know that this is part of the nVidia drivers, so I was right - it was indeed the graphics card and/or driver that failed.

Next... hmm, I wonder if I can get Device Manager working? Well, I need to start the Remote Registry service according to the error message from Device Manager (easy enough), and then from the instructions here I also need a group policy tweak and then to run gpupdate.exe, which I can do remotely with Sysinternals' PsExec tool. And with that I now have remote Device Manager! Sadly it's only a read-only view and so doesn't let me do anything interesting.

Well, my conclusion is that there was a serious graphics card/driver error and the system failed to recover the driver, and some aspect of that completely broke the GUI. I can't get any further remotely so my best option is to trigger a remote shutdown (in the hope of preserving whatever state I had in open programs) and then if that doesn't work use the reset button.

And then head out and enjoy the unexpectedly sunny afternoon because my computers are conspiring against me (Hemera's currently refusing to enable its wifi radio so I've got it on the floor plugged directly into the router). I did at least manage to load the latest geocaches onto the phone first, so I achieved something!
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Giant Mecha Kirby! [Posted on Thursday, the 9th of June 2016 at 2:25 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Where |work]

elemnar is most envious that I get Nintendo shinyness delivered to my desk a day before the official launch date (thanks to preordering directly from Nintendo)...

Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Car check time! [Posted on Tuesday, the 7th of June 2016 at 8:39 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |hothot]

Today's evening entertainment is what looks like a sizeable shunt on the A27. I'm not sure what happened or indeed how, as it's after the exits from the crazyabout (so past the most likely point of collision) and I can only see one car that they're concentrating on... but whatever it is is enough that all three services have turned up, the police have completely blocked that carriageway, and the fire brigade are now digging through their bag of toys. I pray that those involved are ok.

Anyway, that's reminded me that last weekend was car check time! Mileage in May was 666.9 miles - surprisingly low, but May's check was late in the month and June's is early so I suppose it all evens out. Unlike in May it's scorching hot at the moment which has pushed up the tyre pressures - they were all 0.05bar over. Oil's at 3/4ths so I left it for now, but I need to pick up another bottle (curiously Tesco have started selling car oil - I wouldn't trust the own brand stuff in anything, but they also have proper Castrol Edge for less than Halfords). And finally it turns out that the seal on the filler tube for the screenwash is indeed leaking slightly. Eh, I'll add it to the low-priority list.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

(no subject) [Posted on Sunday, the 5th of June 2016 at 9:37 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |surprisedsurprised]

Last time I was poking around the innards of Nyx I broke the front panel card reader. Or more accurately, I broke my terrible solder joints on the WiFi card (the memory card reader is plugged into a pass-through USB port I added to the onboard WiFi) and managed to rip one of the pads off when replugging the cable. It's on the to-do list for repairing at some point but low priority as it does mean dismantling half of Nyx to get at the thing.

Anyway, earlier I opened up the side of Nyx to blow out some of the dust, and having put the side panel back on the card reader has started working again. I swear I've not touched any of the cabling for it! Apparently I can fix my computer just by taking the side off and putting it back on.

This all reminds me a bit of one time in the Brighton house where I'd done some upgrade or other on Achilles/Hector (my previous system), and after putting it all back together it refused to start. I checked all the cables were connected and everything was seated properly and it still failed to boot. So in a fit of desperation I stripped the whole thing down, put it all back together exactly the same... and it started fine. I blame Nik's presence for that - it was well known in the Brighton house that he could break electronics just by looking at them.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Woodcut of an owl [Posted on Thursday, the 19th of May 2016 at 11:28 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[What |artisticartistic]

x-posted to DeviantArt



What happens when inspiration strikes at 10pm and I have a play with my metaphorical box of software toys. A photo here, a vector trace there, and playing with settings until it looks right (see the DeviantArt submission for technical details).

Will there be more? Who knows.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

boggyb's highly inaccurate guide to the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 Final! [Posted on Saturday, the 14th of May 2016 at 11:58 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[What |excitedexcited]
[Who |Eurovision Song Contest 2016]

This year appears to be WTF Eurovision. As in, WTF is that dress, WTF is that hair, WTF argh my eyes, WTF how is that even possible, WTF will the new voting system result in, WTF are the judges on (really, UK judges, you voted like that)? So here's my highly inaccurate WTF does boggyb think of it all guide...

  1. Belgium: meh
  2. Czech Republic: I'm not sure why, but I really like this one. It all fits - the lyrics, the images, the theme. This is quite possibly my favourite of the evening.
  3. Netherlands: meh
  4. Azerbaijan: meh
  5. Hungary: So their trick is a mad monk with a giant drum.
  6. Italy: Pretty, though I had no idea what was going on - there's no English subtitles of the lyrics this year.
  7. Israel WTF is that hair?
  8. Bulgaria: And this song's trick is light-up jewellery/clothing that only turns on near the end as just static white. Meh.
  9. Sweden: meh
  10. Germany: Alice (of Alice in Wonderland) is in some sort of gothic wood? I have no idea what's going on.
  11. France: Nice use of the video floor/wall. There's quite a few this year that are actually using this as part of the performance with more than a simple backdrop.
  12. Poland: meh
  13. Australia: This one started slowly, but grew on me - it's another of my favourites this evening. There's also a video overlay at one point but unlike in Italy where it was some random scribbles, here it's actually linked into the choreography and the singer interacts with it.
  14. Cyprus: Well it's presented as being some gritty metal song... and actually sounds like a tame bit of rock (Nickelback is more aggressive). I think they were trying for Lordi's success.
  15. Serbia: Some sort of goth theme?
  16. Lithuania: Another good use of the video floor/wall and overall I like it.
  17. Croatia: So the latest WTF dress is a plastic sheet?
  18. Russia: Oh, that's pretty neat. Heh, it's almost like a game of Rhythm Thief. Wait -- WTF HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE? It's unfortunately let down by the truck driver's gear change at the end - the last part feels like they ran out of ideas and tried to fill the time with a more traditional Eurovision entry - but aside from that, it's very well done.
  19. Spain: meh
  20. Latvia: Yet another good video.
  21. Ukraine: Possibly the best use of the video wall/floor today. The singer is also putting an amazing amount of emotion into it.
  22. Malta: meh
  23. Georgia: ARGH MY EYES.
  24. Austria: Very pretty. I think it'll be overshadowed by the other entries
  25. United Kingdom: Actually a pretty decent entry.
  26. Armenia: meh

To sum up: Czech Republic and Australia are my favourites, Russia's entry DEFIES THE LAWS OF PHYSICS, and Georgia will MELT YOUR EYES with retina-destroying strobe lighting and eighties video effects. But wait, there's more!

First interval act: meh

Second interval act: AWESOME. What they've done is to create a song with every single musical trope from TV Trope's Eurovision page combined with every single winning act - and not only dare to perform the result, but actually make it work.

Third interval act (just after lines close - and no, this is not Heroes): The song is alright - nothing special - but the staging is impressive. They're performing motion capture of the dancers (that's what the little white dots on their suits are for) in real time and feeding it into the video floor.

...And now we've run out of songs and are into the voting. Which is weird this year - no, I don't mean the new system (which supposedly makes it more suspenseful, and definitely makes it go faster) but where the points are going. The top scores are all over the place! Interestingly when it got to the popular vote the public has a completely different opinion to that of the juries... and the voting itself went right down to the wire with the winner unknown until the very end (the combined popular vote ended out handing increasingly crazily high scores, so what looked like on unassailable lead suddenly became very uncertain).

Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

What I listen to meme [Posted on Saturday, the 14th of May 2016 at 8:06 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |curiouscurious]
[Who |Lost In Time [Lost in Time.xm]]

Today's meme is from allegramente over on A letter from home...

"You can tell a lot about a person by the music they listen to. Put your mp3 player, or whatever, on shuffle and list the first ten songs, and then tag 10 people. Rule: No skipping."

I've got a choice of two here: the full set of songs on my desktop, and the dozen hours' worth that's currently loaded onto my MP3 player. I'll start with my desktop since that's what I'm sitting in front of:
  1. La danco de la vento by Andreas Viklund
  2. Brother by Murder by Death, from a HMV 2007 sample album
  3. The Heart Asks Pleasure First by Michael Nyman, from the collection The Very Best of Pure Moods (I always confuse this with the Downtown Abbey theme)
  4. The Nutcracker Suite: Dance of the Reed Flutes by Leopold Stokowski, from the film Fantasia
  5. Tallon Overworld theme, from the game Metroid Prime
  6. Song of the Winds by Warder
  7. In the Line of Fire from the game Command & Conquer
  8. Pyroclastica (Norfair1) by Children Of The Monkey Machine, from the fan soundtrack Relics of the Chozo
  9. A Long Time by Moby, from the album Innocents
  10. Lost in Time by kb
What can I tell from that? Well, I've got a lot of game-related music, and an awful lot of instrumentals (the two are probably related). Only three of the songs there are from commercial albums. There's also a couple of tracks that I don't recall hearing before, while others are ones I recognise instantly. Lost in Time in particular puts me strongly in mind of Falmouth, and also curiously enough my university days - there was more than one evening when I had that on repeat and if you go digging through the archives you'll find it mentioned in one or two of the more rambling posts.

Speaking of Falmouth, it's been many years since I was last on holiday there. Perhaps it's time for another random holiday, maybe in a different cottage. As amazing and awesome as it is to actually stay inside the walls of Pendennis Castle (you even get a key to the sally-port in the gatehouse doors!), there must be many other wonderful and/or bizarre places to stay.

And my music player is still capable of mood whiplash, though it was being relatively tame today - where's the metal?


Anyway, now now for the MP3 player. Let's see what I'm actually listening to at work these days:
  1. Funabul by Cirque de Soleil, from Varekai
  2. Goodnight and Go by Imogen Heap, from Speak for Yourself
  3. Waylands by Nightbeat
  4. Parce Mihi Domine by Jan Garbarek & the Hilliard Ensemble, from Officium
  5. Beata Viscera also by Jan Garbarek & the Hilliard Ensemble, from Officium
  6. Loose Ends by Imogen Heap again, from Speak for Yourself
  7. In nomine XIX 'Crye' from English Heritage's Music from Tudor England (I picked this album up during the last Wales holiday from Stokesay Castle - they had it playing in the shop)
  8. Sanctus also by Jan Garbarek & the Hilliard Ensemble, from Officium (the random number generator likes this album...)
  9. Dan y Dûr by Enya, from The Celts
  10. T.N.T. for the Brain by Enigma, from Love Sensuality Devotion
Currently it's mostly loaded with easy listening music (with the exception of Imogen Heap but that's quite laid-back by pop standards) - good background music when I'm bashing some code out at work. That said there is also some VNV Nation on there, though there's no metal or rock currently loaded.

It also shows how small the MP3 player is compared to my main collection by how many randomly-selected tracks share an album. The player is a mere 512MB, which was crazy large when I bought it back in 2005 or thereabouts but feels rather small these days.


Oh yes, and I need to tag people. Hmm... in no particular order I choose brokencube, pewterfish, pleaseremove, choros, talismancer, ptristan, elemnar, rustica, milestogo13, and olego.
Link[ One penny | Penny for your thoughts? ]

Car check time! [Posted on Saturday, the 14th of May 2016 at 12:45 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |coldcold]

It's decidedly not warm out there today. Yesterday was gloriously sunny and warm, and yet today is gloriously sunny and cold. WTF, British weather?

Anyway, car check time! Last time I posted this was um, February, but I have still been doing the monthly checks, promise! Today the tyre pressures were all spot on (aside from the spare, but I can't be bothered to dig out the compressor for 0.05 bar's worth). Tyre wear on the fronts also seems to be more even these days so I'd call my experiment of slightly under-inflating them a success! Oil-wise, the level was sitting at around 2/3rds so I fed it most of the remaining 500ml. The oil consumption does seem to be a bit higher than last year but it's still well within expectations.

I have spotted what may be a leak on the filler neck of the windscreen washer fluid bottle which is annoying, though I only say maybe - yesterday when filling it the screenwash frothed up and coated everywhere with bubbles so it might be residue from that. I'll have to keep an eye on it, though since it's at the top of the bottle it's only an issue when filling it.

Mileage wise... well in February I did all of 427.3 miles, March was a bit more at 684.9 miles but April is yet another new record with 989.2 miles. Still not reached one thousand miles in a month, though the odometer has now ticked over past 60,000 miles (of which 11,000 are mine).
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(no subject) [Posted on Friday, the 13th of May 2016 at 10:23 pm]

boggyb
[Where |Tesco Superstore, Fareham, UK]
[What |amusedamused]

If you used one of the self-checkouts at the Fareham Tesco at, oh, about 10pm today, and you're wondering where your bank card is... well, you left it in the pin pad. Tesco staff now have it.

The staff weren't even remotely surprised when I pointed out the card to them. It seems their self-checkouts have a glitch where sometimes they'll print out the receipt and tell you to take your bags before you've taken your card out of the pin pad. And we all know what the general public is like for blindly following instructions... (there is a reason why ATMs don't give you your money until you've taken your card back).
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Homegroup and The Prayer Course [Posted on Wednesday, the 11th of May 2016 at 11:36 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |relaxedrelaxed]

Every so often homegroup is at the vicarage, which being nearby I walk to rather than driving (plus because it's south of me, driving back is awkward as I have to go almost out to the M27 and double back - yay, crazyabout craziness). When it was there last month, it was on a completely clear evening and during the walk back the constellations were visible even through the light pollution - oh, it was nothing like the Poultry Cottage in Wales, but it's still amazing how much can be seen even on the south coast.

We'd just started a course on the Lord's Prayer in homegroup (with the imaginative name of The Prayer Course), and in the first video (this one, 9:08 in) there's a bit where one of the chaps talks about how God showed him a particular tree, in what he thought was going to be some massive spiritual event but turned out to be God just going "hey, look, isn't that a good tree?". While walking back the view of the stars put me in mind of that clip, and I had a slight sense of being shown "hey, look, aren't the stars stunning tonight?".

We also tried the cheat sheet that goes along with that video which had a discussion section - they claim 20 minutes, but we spent a good hour or so chatting about the video and the viewpoints in it. Interestingly we decided that we don't agree with all the points in it - praying for parking spaces in particular seems to be a topic that comes up often in our homegroup, and the implication in the video that, for example, not praying for a space means you won't get one didn't sit right with us (not to mention the empirical observation that non-Christians seem to be perfectly capable of finding parking spaces). I quite like that we're actually debating and questioning it, rather than just blindly following along (though perhaps that's just because that's what my namesake did).

The worship/prayer bit at the end was quite good - we took it in turns to read a chunk from Psalm 103 (with some quiet music in the background), with those of us who felt like it saying a short prayer after their bit. It all worked surprisingly well.


This time, instead of a clear sky it's incredibly misty outside (to the point where I can feel the moisture on my skin), which also makes everything look completely different to normal. You can't see the stars, but instead you can actually see the rays of light and shadow from the street lamps and car headlights. It's especially good when there's a tree next to a street lamp as you get the edges of shadow from the leaves blocking the light, or when a car drives past the railings and you see the light sweep across in front of you. There does seem to be a theme here: go to homegroup at the vicarage, and the walk back will be full of wonders to see.

Speaking of homegroup we're now up to the 3rd segment, and again after the video we spent much longer than the optimistic 20 minutes chatting about it, and again we're questioning it and coming to our own conclusions. It's certainly providing good discussion topics! The prayer bit at the end was again rather different - this time, the cheat sheet suggested having everyone pray out loud simultaneously. It's a surprisingly difficult thing to do, especially if (like me) you usually pray silently... everyone was silent to begin with, then someone started talking and the rest of us joined in, and then a few moments later we all stopped. 'Twas all rather strange... perhaps if we tried again, it'd work better with some meditative music in the background? Or maybe do it as a round with each person starting a moment or two after the one before?
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That grass there must be greener... [Posted on Tuesday, the 10th of May 2016 at 12:05 am]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Where |A259, Chichester PO20 1DY, UK]
[What |surprisedsurprised]

Today's driving surprise is a riderless horse (or possibly a pony) crossing the A259 near Merston (not my usual route back from pasta night, but the A27 was closed for road works). It seemed rather unconcerned by the Alfa that had just come to a sudden halt before it, and merely looked at me before plodding off down a side road.
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Partial success [Posted on Thursday, the 5th of May 2016 at 10:46 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |accomplishedaccomplished]

On the one hand...



But on the other hand, the upgraded heatsink is proving to be problematic. The old GPU heatsink was held down by a small bracket that not only clamps the heatsink, but also braces the mouse buttons on the keyboard. This bracket doesn't fit with the new heatsink in place - the heat block is too thick.

Also, the fan in the new heatsink makes a very annoying buzzing noise.

It's a shame really as it does do a very good job of cooling the GPU, but I think I'm better off with the original heatsink. The upgraded CPU is staying - a significant performance increase for all of £8.98 (including surprisingly quick postage) is not to be sneezed at.

Speaking of performance increase, as with all such upgrades it's the numbers that are important. So I've thrown PassMark PerformanceTest 8 at the laptop, and the results are in! Interestingly since the upgrade to Windows 7 performance has dropped slightly and the before score was only 233.9... but the after score is 259.2. The difference is more significant in other areas: CPU performance and 2D graphics both increased by around 20%, and memory got a 8% increase as well. Overall I think this was worth doing even if I am just about to take the laptop apart again to drop the old heatsink back in.

Oh, and Arctic Silver's ArctiClean is excellent for cleaning old thermal grease and pads - it merrily dissolves the stuff without any effort needed. Much better than isopropyl alcohol which doesn't seem to shift Arctic Silver 5 at all.
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Will it blend upgrade? [Posted on Thursday, the 5th of May 2016 at 7:00 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]

So, many months ago I mentioned the tale of the increasingly customised frankenlaptop and how I was considering a CPU upgrade. Well today this arrived on my doorstep...



That's a Pentium M 755 2GHz processor - this should be a nice performance boost over the 1.5GHz chip that's currently fitted. It only took me two attempts to get one through eBay (first one evaporated without the tracking code ever becoming active).



To go with it I also have an uprated heatsink, though that's less for the CPU and more for the laptop generally - the graphics chip only has a pokey little passive heatsink and so gets quite toasty, leaving the fan running all the time trying to cool it and not really succeeding.

So, tonight's challenge is can boggyb replace the heatsink and CPU on a Thinkpad R50p and get everything else that needs doing done? Well, there's only one way to find out!
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pleaseremove's tale of technological woe... [Posted on Friday, the 15th of April 2016 at 11:45 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |amusedamused]

From a Skype conversation with pleaseremove, listening to his tale of technological woe...

pleaseremove: Right. And the next bit of failed technology...
boggyb: Is there any technology that's working in your house?
pleaseremove: ...Skype
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Electric showers [Posted on Sunday, the 3rd of April 2016 at 10:05 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |refreshedrefreshed]

Downside of having an electric shower: water temperature is inversely proportional to water pressure. I can have more water, or more heat, but not both.

Upside of having an electric shower: the hot water never runs out.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Skyward Sword Hero Mode: temple 5 [Posted on Tuesday, the 29th of March 2016 at 10:29 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[What |nostalgicnostalgic]
[Who |Zelda: Skyward Sword - Fi's Theme (Oboe / Low Whistle cover)]

Master, that synthetic life-form... There is a 99% chance that it was the pirate described by the captain.
I can't help but admire the tenacity it has displayed in staying alive and functional all these years.

Fi, after defeating Scervo

Temple 5Collapse )
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Another work surprise! [Posted on Wednesday, the 23rd of March 2016 at 2:47 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]

Pre-ordering directly from Nintendo works very well - they actually ship what they say they will (unlike GAME who ran out of the pre-order bonus for one Zelda DS game - probably Spirit Tracks), and even better deliver stuff early (unlike GAME online who won't even ship until launch day).

So I now have a shiny new copy of Hyrule Warriors Legends, a shiny pre-order bonus (in the form of a compass-like clock), and a very shiny New 3DSXL!

23032016_001

Since I'm at work I'll have to wait until later to set it up and transfer everything across, but I did power up the 3DS (thoughtfully Nintendo shipped it with a charged battery) and had a quick play with the improved 3D display. The front-facing camera now does face tracking and adjusts the 3D display to compensate, and the result is that you can move the 3DS from side to side and tilt it left and right, and the 3D Just Works. Impressive!
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

God is a neapolitan ice cream [Posted on Wednesday, the 9th of March 2016 at 10:53 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |contentcontent]

I think at homegroup this evening we managed to explain the mystery of the Christian Trinity with neapolitan ice cream.

See, neapolitan ice cream is made up of three flavours - vanilla, chocolate and strawberry - and the Trinity is made up of three aspects - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit/Ghost. But it's also a single block of ice cream, and the Trinity is a single thing. You have one ice cream which is also at the same time three different ice creams, and one God who is also at the same time three different things. And you can have a bit of each flavour/aspect, or combine the whole lot together.

There you go - mystery solved!
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

That's not a scrollwheel [Posted on Monday, the 7th of March 2016 at 1:41 pm]

boggyb
[Where |Work]
[What |surprisedsurprised]

Today's discovery is that a ladybird is not a scrollwheel...

IMG_20160307_101937

We think there's a nest or something of the blighters somewhere in the ceiling - every few days another one appears.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

StreetPass Battle [Posted on Sunday, the 6th of March 2016 at 6:42 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |accomplishedaccomplished]

Remember the other day I sat down and worked out the odds for StreetPass Battle? It ended up with 1 in 7ish odds of winning with 145,072 soldiers, or a 50% chance of winning after 7 battles.

Well, I finally reached the magic number (actually got to about 150,000 thanks to splatting a StreetPass monarch with a smaller army), took on the final empire... and won on the first attempt at those odds. Go me!

This reminds me of my first attempt at the treasure chest minigame in Minish Cap, where I got all the way to the end first try. I've never managed to repeat that feat.

Congratulations, my liege! I always believed you could do it!
Wentworth, StreetPass Battle
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Twilight Princess: Prologue (in HD!) [Posted on Thursday, the 3rd of March 2016 at 10:34 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[What |happyhappy]
[Who |Toru Minegishi - Ordon Village [The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD: Sound Selection]]

Tell me... Do you ever feel a strange sadness as dusk falls?
Rusl



(protip: to upload screenshots on the Wii U pause a game, enter the web browser, and you can then upload a screenshot using whatever random photo-uploading site you like)

It's a toss-up between this and Ocarina of Time as to which is my favourite - Ocarina of Time was the first Zelda game I ever played, but in Twilight Princess everything just looked and felt *right*. When originally playing it I found myself at time I often found myself exploring just for the sake of it - the whole world is full of history and secrets to find. What where the ruins in Eldin Province for (no idea, but I found a hidden grotto in the field)? Is there anything down the gorge south of castle town (yes, once you have double hookshots)? Can I get up on to the parapet above the town gates (yes, kinda - and there’s a chest)? Does anything happen in the open-air theatre (no - but if you shoot all the Keese/whatever some rupees fall)? Can I cross to that bit in the edge of the desert (which isn’t even on the map)? The list just goes on and on, and at times I'd just ride around Hyrule Field to see if there was anything more to find.

Twilight Princess: PrologueCollapse )

Next up: onwards to Hyrule Castle!

Ocarina of Time has not been forgotten, and nor has Skyward Sword...
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Today's work surprise [Posted on Thursday, the 3rd of March 2016 at 10:43 am]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Where |Work]
[What |happyhappy]

I arrived at work today to find this on my desk...

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

StreetPass Battle maths [Posted on Saturday, the 27th of February 2016 at 11:25 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[What |curiouscurious]
[Who |Dido - Here With Me]

So one of the extra minigames in StreetPass Mii Plaza is StreetPass Battle, wherein you defeat a succession of opposing empires in a best-of-three succession of battles with a rock-paper-scissors-like type system (type disadvantage wipes out half your troops, then largest army wins). There's some skill in that you can choose how your army is split into cavalry/archers/infantry and then pick which group to send into each battle - with care (and careful use of the spy ability) you can defeat much larger opposing armies.

This all falls apart against the final empire which is a straight run of five battles with each side's entire army. The loser of each battle loses half their troops, and whoever's army is biggest at the end wins. I think the AI's play is random here - certainly it's not the same pattern on each attempt, and rock-paper-scissors has limited scope for trying to be smart.

Anyway, the other day I realised that the odds change in steps as my army grows - adding ten soldiers won't change them, but adding enough to put me over 50% of the opposing army size will. So I thought a bit more and started working the various odds out...


Let's start with my current army, which contains 138,121 soldiers. The final empire has I believe a fixed size of 290,143. To win I have to end the five battles with more soldiers than the AI - obviously, if I win all five battles then I win because the AI will be left with 290,143 ÷ 25 = 9066 soldiers (give or take a few depending on how the game rounds the numbers). But how many battles do I actually need to win?

The answer is two. After winning the first the AI has 145,071 soldiers which is still larger than my army, but a second win reduces that to 72,535 which is less than my army. But I then have to maintain that lead, so I must at a minimum tie the remaining three battles. All in all (and if my vague memories of probability math are right), this gives me a chance of winning of (⅓)2 × (⅔)3 = 0.0329 or about 1 in 30ish which is rubbish. Except there's another path to a win - if I win three battles, I can then lose one and still end up on top (with a result of 69,060 against 36,267). That's got a chance of um... 3 wins times 1 any-result times 1 tie-or-win = (⅓)3 × 1 × ⅔ = 0.0247 or 1 in 40. Overall my chance of success is 1 in 17ish which is still rubbish, and tells me that there's really no point challenging the AI until I get a few more soldiers.


Like, oh, another 6951 or so (surprisingly easy as your army grows based on the size of armies that you StreetPass). At that point with my 145,072 soldiers I can achieve a win with any of:

One win and four draws (or better) = ⅓ × (⅔)4 = 0.0658
Two wins, a loss, and two draws = (⅓)2 × 1 × (⅔)2 = 0.0494
Three wins and two losses = (⅓)3 × 12 = 0.0370

Basically I have to win at least one more time than the AI does. Added up this gives me a chance of victory of 0.152 or better than 1 in 7. So, waiting until I get a few more troops will more than double my chance of success. Nice!


For even more fun, if I hold off until my army is larger than the AI's then the AI now has to win more than me, and I get a 6 in 7 chance of splatting it. So I could just wait until that happens. Or thinking about it, could I expect a win with fewer troops? I've not mentioned that there is a penalty to losing in that 10% of your army runs away, so I'd have to rebuild between battles... but if my army is large enough, then I could run battles back-to-back and have a good overall chance of winning one of them. So, if I have 145,072 × 1.16 = 257,003 soldiers (probably a little more - remember, rounding) then I get 7 attempts before dropping below half the enemy size and have a better than 50% chance of seeing one win out of those attempts. Each attempt still only has a 1 in 7 chance of success so my statement earlier about army size and thresholds still applies - in fact, if I'm patient and wait to replenish my army after each loss I can get by with even less troops. If I lose 6 back-to-back battles then overall 111,931 soldiers run away, but if I fight 6 battles at 145,072 and wait to rebuild after each one than I only lose 87,043 troops.

So, I think the most economical way to sensibly see a win is to battle each and every time I reach 145,072 soldiers, and that'll likely take 7 battles and cost me 87,043 soldiers from lost battles. Alternatively there's always the brute force approach - if I ever get to 8,224,097 soldiers then I will win, because the AI can win all five skirmishes and I'll still have more soldiers left... but accumulating that many will take ages and many play coins...
The path to world conquest is not easy, but let us give it our all!
Wentworth, StreetPass Battle
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The continuing saga of the laptop adventures [Posted on Saturday, the 27th of February 2016 at 7:46 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[What |accomplishedaccomplished]
[Who |Example - Last Ones Standing (Ed Sheeran remix)]

It's been a while since I last posted a status update on the laptop. I'd finally gotten enough of the IBM Lenovo utilities installed that it was approximately functional, but ended up running into a serious stability issue with the wifi software (to the point where the wifi card refused to enable its radio). Since I rather want working wifi, I spent an evening churning through drivers until I found a combination that works.

Step 1 is to totally ignore the supported versions listed in the release notes. They're full of lies and claim that my laptop (an R50p with an Intel 2915ABG wifi card) is supported when the installer thinks otherwise (except when they claim my laptop is unsupported and then install anyway). Fortunately Lenovo are nicer than most and provide download links for older versions, and so after trying multiple ones I eventually ended up with:

Access Connections v6.26.79
Hotkey Features Integration v3.81.0100 (later versions refuse to install)
Power Manager v6.68 (but see below...)
Protip: binary search is the way to do this, as O(log n) is much faster than O(n).

That combination all installed and seemed to mostly behave - importantly, I could now enable the wifi radio again! However that's not the end of the story, because now that I had the power management tools installed I fired that up to put together a better power scheme than the default, and in the process apparently crashed the embedded controller. And wouldn't you know, but the embedded controller is responsible for such things as making the keyboard work. And the mouse. And the display. And, most annoyingly, the power button. The only way to reset it is to remove the battery.

Some searching threw up a known bug where the embedded controller hangs if queried for detailed battery status - I suspect that the power management tools triggered this, as I'm using a significantly newer and shinier version than what was available when I was running XP on the laptop. So, next task is to try older versions of that until I find one that no longer triggers the crash.


On the hardware side of things, the improved heatsink turned up and is waiting to be installed. However the processor upgrade did not appear - the online tracking shows that it never made it from China to Europe and the random eBay seller was not particularly helpful when I initially prodded them over it. I can't be bothered to dispute the transaction for all of £10, so I'll probably try again with a hopefully slightly-less-shady eBay seller.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Name that webcomic, round 1! [Posted on Thursday, the 18th of February 2016 at 9:15 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |curiouscurious]

And now for something entirely different! Yes, it's another name-that-whatever quiz, and today's theme is... webcomics!

To be honest I've no idea if anyone else on my friends list still reads any webcomics (or followed them in the first place)... but I'm sure I'll find out. Anyway, this more-or-less follows the usual rules (except I'm not striking out guessed entries because that makes them hard to read):

  1. Pick some of your favourite webcomics.
  2. Find a quote from each webcomics.
  3. Post them here for everyone to guess.
  4. Strike it out when someone guesses correctly, and put who guessed.
  5. Screen comments and wait a few days (preferably not months) before posting the answers to give everyone a chance at guessing.
  6. Oh, and no Googling! Or Binging, or using any other search engine.

Bring on the quotes!

  1. Can't sleep. Future will eat me.
  2. I'm with the Vorstellen Police, and before you do or say anything you might regret. I direct your attention to the badge and the gun.
  3. Really, Hepzibah? Losing your hold on me over hair?
  4. Daryl? With a grenade? Is there video? Please tell me somebody got some video.
  5. It's... uh... I roll for Bluff!
    There aren't enough dice in the world.
  6. So I slipped out a window and bought myself a bottle of liquid boredom-killer.
    Out a window? We're on the fifth floor.
    You guys hired me for my talents. But you're surprised when I actually use them?
  7. Intruders!
    Nope.
    False alarm!
  8. My choices also didn't include which nostril you want a fire extinguisher poked in, so I believe it would be best if we limited our options to the first two.
  9. Tower of Power!
  10. Instead of office chair package contained bobcat. Would not buy again.
    Guessed by pleaseremove

Remember, comments are screened until I get round to revealing the answers.

Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

This is very important, so I want to say it as clearly as I can [Posted on Thursday, the 18th of February 2016 at 8:55 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |determineddetermined]

Some comments several people have made recently (on- and off-line) about online footprints have got me thinking. And I have thought about it, and decided that there is really only one answer:


xkcd #137: Dreams


Yes, I know this LJ perhaps isn't as anonymous as it could be. But the path of censoring every possible hint as to my actual identity ultimately leads to firing this journal into the sun (along with everything else from my own domain name to my Facebook account, because all of them have ties to my identity - some unintentionally, some because that's the entire point). Because by then I'll have stripped out all the actual content and what's left, if anything, won't be worth keeping.

And I like this journal. It's a place to post photos, a place for musing on games, a place to rant, a place to post the odd tech tip that someone somewhere may find useful, a place to post real life happenings, even a place for fanfic. And it's also a place to interact with others, a place to make friends, a place to discover new things, even a place that results in such crazy randomness as receiving a postcard all the way from Antarctica.

So. This journal is staying, the rants are staying, the fanfic is staying, and the current vague level of pseudo-anonymity is staying.
Link[ 2 pennies | Penny for your thoughts? ]

(no subject) [Posted on Wednesday, the 17th of February 2016 at 6:17 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |confusedconfused]

So if anyone else is confused like I was:

A Nintendo Account is not a Nintendo Network ID, which in turn is not a former Club Nintendo account.

Simple, right?
Link[ One penny | Penny for your thoughts? ]

Southern FAILS at usability [Posted on Sunday, the 14th of February 2016 at 8:31 pm]

boggyb
[What |mischievousmischievous]

A while back I ranted at Southern (a UK train operator) for having taken a perfectly good online ticketing system and replacing it with a shiny new version that's useless for anything where you don't already know precisely what ticket you want to get.

I was particularly annoyed at the time, and after listing a bunch of usability fails I ended the email with:

... Seriously, the National Rail planner is more useful than this!

Since the new site is massively lacking in features and usability, I would like to know if the old journey planner (which could do everything I described above quickly and easily) is available for use? Failing that, do you know of any other train operators or ticket sites that use the same journey planner software that you used to have?

Anyway, they did actually reply to that last year and said...

I am very sorry to hear that you are experiencing difficulties planning future journeys.

Please be advised that we are experiencing some issues with our new website, one of them being the journey planning facility of which you have so highlighted.

Following this statement, we are currently working as hard and as fast as we can to ensure that this issue is rectified as we understand and appreciate that this plays a key part in booking your tickets.

I apologise that I have not been able to help you in full on this occasion, and we appreciate your patience in this matter.

...which to me reads as meaningless marketing double-speak. Certainly they don't seem to have changed it as all the usability issues I told them about are still present! To be honest I didn't really expect anything out of it, though I have been surprised before - a mini-rant I once sent to my bank (which may have included the phrase "blatant lies" in relation to branch opening hours on their website) resulted in a long letter that can be summed up as "well, we've investigated and are pretty sure that our website was right... but we're only pretty sure as we were upgrading the site at the time, so have some compensation anyway in case we were wrong".

Anyway, since Southern's customer service department failed to actually do anything constructive and now Southeastern has also downgraded their journey planner, I did some searching. And it turns out that GWR (which is what First Great Western call themselves these days) are smart and still use the old software package. So if you want to actually plan a train journey, go to GWR's site (who will quite happily sell you tickets for Southern trains!).

Perhaps I should email Southern again and point out that their competitor has a better journey planner...

Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Car check time! [Posted on Sunday, the 14th of February 2016 at 7:22 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |accomplishedaccomplished]

Finally got round to the February car check - I recorded the mileage last weekend (918.8 miles - new record!), but didn't get round to actually doing any maintenance on the car.

Tyre pressures were all within 0.05 bar so I left the compressor in the box, and instead turned to the engine. By now the oil level was down to 1/4 or thereabouts so I fed it 500ml of Bowser oil (psst, Nintendo, you're missing a perfectly good branding opportunity here!) which seems to have taken it to full on the dipstick.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Today's flat discovery: a failing oven element [Posted on Saturday, the 13th of February 2016 at 8:15 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Who |Don Davis - The Matrix Revolutions Main Title]

The oven's been making a very loud rattling noise recently as if the fan was catching on something, so today I thought I'd take the back panel off and see if there's anything obvious. Curiously it only makes a noise once its got up to temperature, so there's some thermal expansion/contraction effect going on... regardless, I decided to check as if the fan is catching on the element then at some point it'll wear through and let the magic smoke out in spectacular fashion.

So, can you spot what's wrong in this photo?



I'll give you a hint: there's two problems. Not only is the fan catching on the element (in fact, the edge of the fan blade is jammed right up against it)...



...but the element is no longer quite circular, and where it's become kinked the outer casing has split:



Time to get in touch with the landlord and get it sorted, otherwise it'll only blow the element halfway through cooking something or other. That'll be the second oven repair/replacement - the last one was a bit over four years ago.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Name that Game, round whatever-it-is answers [Posted on Thursday, the 11th of February 2016 at 10:21 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |accomplishedaccomplished]
[Who |Daft Punk - Aerodynamic [Discovery]]

And now, the long-awaited answers for last year's Name that Game (seriously, I posted the original back in July! I'll have to start setting reminders for these things...)

  1. You thought you could trick me with that fake emerald didn't you?
    So... how did you know it wasn't the real one?
    Because you just told me, fox-boy!
    Eggman and Tails, Sonic Adventure 2
    Guessed by elemnar
  2. Do a barrel roll!
    Peppy Hare, Star Fox 64
    Guessed by crschmidt and elemnar
  3. Oh, Igniculus, fly on by; the lowest of the low I do not spy.
    Oh Aurora, search the sky; because I don't see the highest of the high.
    Aurora and Igniculus, Child of Light
    Guessed by elemnar
  4. It is something that grows over time... a true friendship. A feeling in the heart that becomes stronger over time... The passion of friendship will soon blossom into a righteous power and through it, you will know which way to go...
    Sheik, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
    Guessed by elemnar
  5. Perhaps the ending has not yet been written.
    Atrus, Myst
  6. Sine! Cosine! TANGENT!
    Sho Minamimoto, The World Ends with You
    Guessed by elemnar
  7. Every puzzle has an answer.
    Professor Layton, Professor Layton and the Curious Village
    Guessed by elemnar
  8. Throughout our living nightmare, as we battle with this unyielding darkness, we Chozo see a light. This light glows with promise, chasing the shadows cast by the Great Poison and purifying that which has grown toxic. It is strange, though - at times it looks to our eyes as if the light coalesces into the figure of a woman.
    Chozo Lore, Metroid Prime
    Guessed by elemnar
  9. We can still dance in the dark!
    Raphael, Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure
  10. Truly skilled trainers should try to win with their favorites.
    Karen of the Elite Four, Pokémon Gold & Silver
    Sort-of guessed by elemnar (have half a point for getting the right series)
  11. Objection!
    Phoenix Wright, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
    Guessed by elemnar
  12. I appreciate you!
    Beedle, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
    Guessed by elemnar
  13. You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?
    Happy Mask Salesman, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
    Guessed by elemnar
  14. Metroids are not pets. Metroids are not for target practice.
    Space Pirate computer, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
    Sort-of guessed by elemnar (have half a point for getting the right series)
  15. Perhaps we could start with the memories of that caravanner there? I wonder how they taste?
    No, you will never touch them. Their memories burn too brightly for you!
    Raem and Lady Mio, Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles
    Guessed by elemnar

And, as always, the scoreboard:

crschmidt: 1 point
elemnar: 12 points

To be fair elemnar does have an unfair advantage, given that a lot of those games we both have played... so congratulations to you both, and feel free to carve up the Internet between yourselves as a joint prize!

Link[ One penny | Penny for your thoughts? ]

Happy Birthday! [Posted on Friday, the 29th of January 2016 at 8:41 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]

Happy birthday,

ariskari


And, because Semagic seems to partially fail at telling me when it's someone's birthday, here's all the ones that I missed in January (bad Semagic! No cookie for you!)

Happy birthday,

ksleet

rjw76

ladysparrow

x_chip_x

draiton


Hmm. It looks like Semagic isn't correctly loading birthdays where only the day/month is visible. Which is weird as it's only doing that for some users - for others (generally older accounts), it has loaded the birthday and stored it with a year of 0000. Ah well, I'll add "patching Semagic" to the list of projects...
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Today's driving surprise [Posted on Wednesday, the 27th of January 2016 at 6:08 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]

Today's driving surprise was discovering that half the lights are out on the crazyabout. Specifically, the lights that control the lane that goes through the middle of it. This made navigating it more than a bit tricky, as the traffic on the A32 hurtles through the middle and to the east and I had to try and merge with that on the normal exit from the roundabout.

Rumour has it that these are the only lights in the county with UPS (precisely to prevent this chaos from happening). It doesn't seem to have helped them today!
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Yoshi's Woolly World boss rush [Posted on Sunday, the 24th of January 2016 at 6:48 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |accomplishedaccomplished]



That's the bronze, silver and gold Yoshi's you get from completing the boss challenges. Which are hard - all the bosses have been turbocharged and are much nastier with their attacks, and there's no extra health. Except for Giant Bowser who's still a rather relaxing boss, especially compared to Baby Bowser who's just mean (the number of times I dodged into that boss instead of dodging away from its attacks...).

And yes, I used a Ganondorf Yoshi. It seemed fitting to bash the bosses with another boss :)
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December/January car check! [Posted on Sunday, the 10th of January 2016 at 10:47 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |accomplishedaccomplished]
[Who |Seasons' Passing ~ Nightbeat [seasons' passing.it]]

I forgot to write up the car check at the start of December - as I recall all the tyres were significantly down on pressure thanks to the cold weather. Mileage for November was 871.2-87.1=784.1mi (excluding a journey made in early December before I checked the mileage - the way I do it is I reset the trip counter during the first weekend of each month, except when I don't).

December's mileage I retrieved last weekend - it was far too wet to do anything else - and I managed 531.5+87.1=618.6mi. Given that I spent about two-and-a-half weeks on holiday (got to the end of the year with lots of days still to take) that seems about right.

With today's car check, all the pressures were fine except from the spare which had lost its usual 0.1bar (given that it's inflated to 4.2bar that's not surprising). Interestingly the wear pattern on the tread suggests the tyres are actually overinflated, especially the fronts (1mm more worn in the middle than on the edge) - this is a bit odd as the tyres are inflated according to the book... but then again they're lightly loaded as it's usually just me in the car. So as an experiment I've dropped the fronts down from 2.3bar to 2.2 (leaving the rears at 2.1 as they're less uneven), and I'll see what that does to the wear pattern.

I also need to pick up a bottle of oil sometime during this month, as it's down to around 2/3rds on the dipstick.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

To see God, just look around at God's creation (wasps excluded) [Posted on Sunday, the 10th of January 2016 at 9:52 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |happyhappy]
[Who |Miriel ~ Nightbeat [miriel.it]]

Today's service opened with one of the leaders stating that if you want to see God, all you need to do is to look around at God's creation. That's basically the most important point to remember.

Except for wasps. He wasn't sure what the deal was with those blighters.

Later on there was a presentation about the recently-completed Leading Your Church Into Growth course (which I'd entirely missed, given that last week was the first time I'd been to St John's Fareham in quite some time). I think the tl;dr summary is that it's about getting more people coming to church, by working out what's good and what's not, and making improvements (the welcome pack I received last week is one of those - I don't recall getting one when I originally started going there!). Certainly the church community all feels very welcoming, and I ended up chatting to lots of regulars who presumably all went "New person! Hiiiii!" (and more than one who went "New person - wait, have you been here before?"). This was helped by everyone wearing name badges today - apparently this is a thing this church does a few times a year.

Afterwards I was invited to a shared lunch they were doing - I had heard about it last week, but hadn't made up my mind and so didn't bring anything - but that wasn't an issue because there was loads of food and cake. Especially cake. It's a good sign when a church knows how to do food and cake.
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The 12th day of Christmas [Posted on Wednesday, the 6th of January 2016 at 8:34 pm]

boggyb
[Who |Cambridge Trinity College Choir - I Saw Three Ships [Christmas Carols]]

Downside of it being the 12th day of Christmas: having to undecorate the tree and somehow pack away the lametta without it becoming an unmanageable mess. Why did I ever think lametta was a good thing to get?

Upside of it being the 12th day of Christmas: getting to eat the chocolate decorations that were on the tree. Om nom nom nom.
Link[ Penny for your thoughts? ]

Pasta night [Posted on Tuesday, the 5th of January 2016 at 11:41 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Who |Cambridge Trinity College Choir - O Come, O Come, Emmanuel [Christmas Carols]]

Yesterday's dubious achievement was managing to score -58 points from tickets in Ticket To Ride. Yes, that is a negative score. It's the result of what happens when Matt manages to claim the exact routes I need to complete my tickets, forcing me into more and more convoluted detours until I physically cannot achieve any due to running out of trains. All of this was revenge for my very first turn, where I placed a 2-train route that turned out to be right in the middle of his tickets.

I did manage to at least end on +16 points, thanks to some 5-train and 6-train routes. Go me!

Getting to and from pasta night was a bit tricky - the rain over the previous days had caused the river at Pulborough to rise and spread into the floodplains... and into that little bit where the road dips between the pair of mini-roundabouts and the bridge, waiting to catch the unwary (of which I was not, having spotted the reflections of the village lights in the risen river). It'd only managed to flood half-way across the road, and wasn't as epic as on one lift The Gnu gave me a few years ago where the river was creeping across the A29. The return journey was even more fun - lots of short, squally and very heavy showers between Pulborough and Havant, with the worst around and after Chichester. Not the sort of conditions to do 70mph in (not that that stops some muppets)!
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Happy Birthday! [Posted on Monday, the 4th of January 2016 at 11:09 pm]

boggyb

Happy birthday,

talismancer

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To church, to church! [Posted on Sunday, the 3rd of January 2016 at 12:50 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[What |happyhappy]
[Who |Special Course - Yoshi's Woolly World]

One of my New Year's Resolutions (that I thought of err... about 4 hours ago) is to go to church more often, and in the process actually make Sunday mornings happen. So today having managed to wake up early enough I braved the cold, wet and windy weather to make it to the nearby St John's church.

I've actually been to this one before - way back when I lived at Sunlight Gardens, I was at one point regularly going there. I forget exactly why I stopped - I think it was a combination of the unexpected flat move and generally failing at Sunday mornings. Anyway this is a new year, a newish boggyb, and a chance to try and make some resolutions stick. So, church!

I got there just in time to get a much-needed cup of tea before the service started (did I mention the cold, wet, windy weather?), so they're already up on bonus welcoming points. And surprisingly enough one of the welcomers/readers/person-with-a-name-badge did recognise me from when I was last there. The reading was on Noah's Ark and the rainbow, which is rather apt given the current flooding - though the chap leading the sermon did promise us that he'd chosen it several months ago.

Overall, I'm glad I made it there. Next week's service is at a slightly more challenging 10am so let's see how long I can keep this resolution going!
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SWARM [Posted on Sunday, the 20th of December 2015 at 8:14 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]

I keep forgetting that now I have a car I can actually go places. Like, for example, SWARM - it's actually practical to head over after work (I've previously considered trains but the timings just don't work out). I'm unlikely to do so every week as driving to Brighton does involve going past Chichester (which surprisingly flows very well at around 5:30pm), Arundel ('at capacity' is probably the best way to describe it, with traffic doing 20mph-30mph between the dual carriageways)... and Worthing (which is terribly slow). Then again I was originally only thinking of heading to pasta night every few weeks and that's turned into a regular weekly event, so who knows?

Anyway, SWARM. A couple of weeks ago (I also keep forgetting to make LJ posts in a timely fashion) I drove over to catch up with friends old and new, and to have a go at the Dominion tournament they were running. In the end I only managed one game of that due to being delayed for a whole collection of reasons (not least in Worthing when the driver of a massive crane decided to stop, get out, and yell at a driver that turned across him). No prizes for me - they were for single highest and lowest scores, and mine was an average score. Perhaps another time.

As is traditional at SWARM there was also MtG, and I played a few rounds. The Orzhov deck (not yet posted) put up a valiant effort against a "destroy the world" style deck but couldn't rebuild fast enough once the world was destroyed, while the Mephitic Ooze deck made the mistake of playing against opponents with black decks (at which point the Dross Golems cease to be effective). On the other hand I lent the Spikeshot Goblin deck out and that spent many turns slowly nibbling people to death with 1/1 goblins - it's not supposed to do that, but it worked well enough. Especially when a 1/1 Goblin Sky Raider suddenly becomes 5/1 thanks to Fists of the Anvil. I think if the person playing it had concentrated the damage on one opponent it would have chewed through their health very quickly.

One friend's reaction (Cogs - he acquired that nickname due to playing crazily complicated combo decks) to that deck appearing was hilarious - he recognised it from when I was an undergrad all those years ago. A few moments later he blurted out "oh god it's got Warhammers" as he remembered exactly what was in it - specifically, the troll-worthy Loxodon Warhammers.
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Christmas tree [Posted on Sunday, the 20th of December 2015 at 7:43 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[What |accomplishedaccomplished]
[Who |Dame Kiri Te Kanawa - The Holly and the Ivy [Christmas with Kiri Te Kanawa]]

Because elemnar asked nicely for it, here's my Christmas tree!

Christmas treeCollapse )
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Congratulations, National Trust, you fail at the Internet [Posted on Saturday, the 5th of December 2015 at 4:13 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[What |annoyedannoyed]

Today's discovery is that the National Trust have redesigned their website, and it's a shiny new tablet-friendly one that amazingly is somewhat usable on a desktop. Of course trying to read anything requires crazy amounts of scrolling and waiting while bits of the page are dynamically loaded and fade into view, but at least it's not a complete guessing game trying to work out which parts of the website can be clicked on to do stuff.

This usefulness lasted up until I decided to search for nearby places. Now, every location-based site since, oh, the turn of the century has both list and map views for such results, because maps are an incredibly useful way to show an overview of the results but lists are better for details. Except the National Trust site, which contains no maps whatsoever and displays a grid of tiles that may or may not be sorted in any useful fashion (certainly there's no way to control the sort order). So it's impossible to see which places are actually nearby and which aren't at all (like anything on the Isle of Wight, because that involves crossing the Solent). It's also very hard once you've found a place to work out where it is - the directions page has a link to Google Maps, which drops a pushpin with an unhelpful name (like "1 Church Cottages" for "Hinton Ampner").

And finally because that's not enough fail, searching for events lists the results sorted by location. Not date. And there's no filtering, so I actually can't search for events during a specific time range - instead I have to scroll through pages of irrelevant events that don't start until the middle of next year. Sigh.
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Friend codes! [Posted on Friday, the 4th of December 2015 at 11:07 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|, , , ]
[What |excitedexcited]
[Who |Archons of light ~ ArchAngel [Archons of Light.mo3]]

Typical. I get to the end of NaBloPoMo and my journal then descends into radio silence... though at least I didn't end with a fail this year!

It's been five years since I last posted any friend codes, and since then I've moved on to a new generation of consoles. So, if you've got a 3DS or a Wii U and fancy challenging me to a round of Mario Kart or taking part in the epically bonkers Triforce Heroes, feel free to add the friend codes below!

3DS: 0275-8892-8373
Kid Icarus: Uprising
Mario Kart 7
The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call

Wii U: Torkell
Mario Kart 8
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All hail the Terran Alliance [Posted on Monday, the 30th of November 2015 at 11:58 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Where |Billingshurst]

It's not midnight yet!

Although it was a close run thing getting back to Fareham in time for this post - the game of Eclipse at pasta night lasted several hours, mainly because about half-way through play slowed down as we all started seriously thinking about our moves. In the end Planta (played by Beth) won through a mix of an expansionist policy and racial bonuses, while the Terran Alliance (played by me) came second through a strong economy and a highly effective defensive force (this time round I optimised my ships as glass cannons - armed with improved drives, antimatter cannons and positron computers they stood a high chance of one-shotting anything they faced, but were very vulnerable to return fire from any survivors).
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Thanksgiving Karting [Posted on Sunday, the 29th of November 2015 at 11:26 pm]

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Where |Crawley]

Yesterday's not-an-update was just as well given that the Thanksgiving party ran into today and so I didn't get back in time for a post.

But as is now traditional, before Thanksgiving proper there was Thanksgiving Karting! We (myself, pleaseremove, Jonners, Paddy, Matt and David) were up at Crawley, and for a change were booked on the downstairs track. There weren't enough of us to do a race, so we settled for two 15-minute time trial sessions.

One thing I've always found with karting is you can end up with very different karts in the two sessions. In the first session I had one that did not want to slide at all and struggled to turn tightly - until you turned the wheel almost to full lock, at which point the back completely lost it and drifted you into the barrier. The second kart on the other hand didn't have anything like the same cliff in grip and I could quite easily slide it around the zig-zag on the upper portion of the track: accelerate up the ramp drifting to the right-hand side, lift a bit at the top and turn tightly left into the corner, then once the back starts sliding boot the throttle and turn hard right to get around the second corner before powering down the ramp. Trying that with the first kart just resulted in it barely making the first corner and then flatly refusing to give enough steering for the second.

I still need more work on the rest of the track. On the lower section there's a sort-of double spiral - it tightens into the corner to the left, then unwinds to the right - and I couldn't work out how to make the turn into that complex work. Still, I improved by a good 0.7s between the two sessions, while pleaseremove and Jonners only found 0.4s - so I'm catching up on them!
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