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Thomas

[ website | Beware the Jabberwock... ]
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Pasta night! [Monday 5th December 2016 at 11:45 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Playing |Vesa Norilo - Fuga [Suite for Piano]]

Today's game of choice (as decided by the super-high-tech paper-based voting app) was an epic 6-way Settlers of Catan game, with the Helpers of Catan expansion. The Helpers expansion adds an interesting dynamic to it - the helper abilities can be surprisingly powerful. Hilde (steal 1 resource from a player with more victory points), Jean (trade any resource with the bank at 2:1), and Marianne (claim a free resource if you didn't get any on your turn) all were very handy and generally stayed in people's hands, while Paddy got lumbered with Louis (move a road for free) which isn't particularly useful and he struggled to play that ability. I started with Candamir (substitute 1 resource when buying a Development Card, plus pick the card of your choice from the top three) who has the potential to be powerful, assuming that the top three cards aren't all Knights!

Louise was the surprise winner of the game through sheer quantity of settlements and cities. She got hemmed in by Paddy and I think Matt and so didn't have much space to build out, but it turned out that there was exactly enough space to place four cities and a couple more settlements for the win. It helped that she got a good supply of stone and wheat (9 and 6 were the lucky dice rolls in this game - 7 was surprisingly rare). I got up to eight points in the final round but couldn't manage the final couple of points.

Oh yes - there was also more SCIENCE BREAD with the other tiger bread baton that we froze last week. I tried garlic granules today with Stork spread, parsley and cheese. Verdict was again mostly successful though the bread hadn't quite defrosted and needed quite a bit more time in the oven than we expected. Plus the garlic spread mix was rather uneven, as Sarah found it when she discovered a very garlicky bit! We ended up discussing other possible fillings - I wonder if a hint of chilli would work?
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Advent day 5 [Monday 5th December 2016 at 11:29 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Playing |Vesa Norilo - Polska [Merelta Tuulee]]

Mystery calendarCollapse )

In the Star Wars one, there was some sort of blaster platform thing or other...

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LiveJournal Likes? [Sunday 4th December 2016 at 9:05 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |annoyedannoyed]
[Playing |2]Whistler's Bride ~ Warder/The Feadanaigh Epic [whistler's bride.it]]

Okay, how do likes work on LiveJournal? All I get is an email saying:

"1 user(s) likes this - http://boggyb.livejournal.com/488309.html"

As best as I can tell that's it. I can't see how many likes I have on an entry (for that matter I don't even have a like button), and the like statistics page is empty.

The FAQ does say that this needs the new design and one of the new styles - but I still don't see like buttons even after switching to the new site design (which I'd prefer not to use as it's fallen into the trap of assuming that everything has to be designed for mobile - Vertigo is a far more useful scheme with the left-hand link bar and the smaller journal banner) and previewing my journal in the Air style.

Oh, wait, but if I try the Expressive style then it does appear (so much for that FAQ claiming that Air supports this). Interesting. It seems like there's an entirely new function to generate the likes button:

var int likus_journal_id = $.journal.userid;
var int likus_post_id = $.itemid;
var string likus_url = $.permalink_url;

print get_lj_entry_likus("li", "asset-meta-likus item", $likus_journal_id, $likus_post_id, $likus_url);


And that looks is implemented in the base layer as:

function get_lj_entry_likus(string tag, string class, int journal_id, int post_id, string post_uri) : string {

    # LJSUP-24066
    if( not is_likes_display() ) {
        return "";
    }

    # for js LJSUP-18559
    return """<""" + $tag + """ class="$class" lj-likus lj-likus-journal="$journal_id" lj-likus-item="$post_id" lj-likus-uri="$post_uri"></""" + $tag + """>""";

}


Hmm... I wonder if I can hack it into my S2 style? All this does is add a placeholder HTML element so it would seem the actual like button is generated with Javascript - which is a bit annoying as that makes it hard to customise. I might be able to do something with suitably crazy CSS hackery.

Not that such a feature should need a new journal style anyway. S2 is designed to cope with new features without needing all styles to be redesigned - for example, the way the per-entry links work ("Edit Entry", "Add to Memories", "Share" and so on) is that the S2 engine provides a list of actions and a function to generate each link. So adding a new one is straightforward, and unless the style writer has gone for an entirely custom layout ignoring this list then it will Just Work.

Sigh. It does annoy me that the current trend in, well, everything computing-related is to remove open-ended customisability because maintaining it requires effort, and that sounds too much like actual work compared to rewriting everything in the latest shiny framework.
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Red 7351: Portugal in 2000ish! [Sunday 4th December 2016 at 7:37 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , , ]
[Where |Algarve, Portugal]
[Feeling |nostalgicnostalgic]
[Playing |The Rasmus - Not Like the Other Girls [Dead Letters]]

Speaking of film, I scanned a much older negative the other day (Red 7351). This one is from a family holiday in Portugal, many years ago! Around the turn of the millennium my grandparents sold their house in Falmouth and spent a few years gallivanting around the world (as one does). For a time they were staying in Portugal (somewhere in the Algarve region) in a friends/relatives villa and so we went over to visit. This would have been probably in 2000ish - they left Cornwall in 1999, and this would have been before I started university in 2004. In fact, I'm fairly certain it was 1999 or 2000 as it was before the Spanish holiday and on that one myself and elemnar had recently got Pokémon Gold/Silver which came out in 2001 (I remember the pair of us passing time in the airport by sending Mystery Gift messages to each other). That's got to be one of the more unusual ways of dating photos!

This film is a Kodak Gold 400-6. Being ISO 400 there's a fair amount of grain... and with a basic point-and-shoot camera it was generally very overexposed to boot (I looked up the specs of the Canon Snappy LX-II - shutter speed ranges from 1/45 to 1/180 with a f/4.5 lens. Correct exposure on a sunny day with ISO 400 would be more like 1/2000). Fortunately colour negatives are fairly forgiving of this, though it did mean all the dynamic range was squished into one end of the raw scan. I also experimented some more with white balance as I was having problems with colour casts with the White Balance setting - trying to lock it on an unexposed portion of the film didn't work well (because of the dynamic range issue mentioned), so in the end I went with the theory that colour negatives are balanced for daylight and set VueScan to Auto Levels (which preserves the colour balance of the original scan). This generally worked well.


Anyway, the photos!Collapse )
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Random outing [Sunday 4th December 2016 at 6:58 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Where |Portchester Castle, England]
[Playing |The Rasmus - In the Shadows [Dead Letters]]

Today's random outing was to Portchester Castle, to have a play with the Nikon F-301 before the sun disappeared. Despite the late hour there was still plenty of light and there should be some good photos in there, though as always with film you'll have to wait until I scan them.

Speaking of randomness, today's random "small world" event was with one of the English Heritage staff there. She had to unlock the main door to the castle grounds to let myself and another chap out (because the folks at the church in the grounds had gone home early and locked up!), and while doing so we ended up chatting for a few moments and I mentioned how at Pendennis Castle when staying there you get a key to the main door. At which point it turned out that she used to live in Falmouth! It's odd how I end up bumping into people with local connections - probably the most surprising one was on the ferry to Dublin, when I visited my aunt in Bangor way back in 2006.

Moroccan Mint Tea - interesting. A nice brew to have on a cold evening.
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Advent day 4! [Sunday 4th December 2016 at 12:21 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Feeling |amusedamused]

Today's random surprise was lighting the Advent candle at church - today's the 2nd Sunday of Advent. Normally they let one of the children do it, but on the 1st Sunday of the month they're all over at Messy Church in the hall so the leader suggested that "perhaps someone who's a child at heart" could do it and I was volunteered as being one of the youngest present! Although not quite the youngest as it turned out - it turned out that it was someone else's "8th anniversary of their 21st birthday" (which struck me as a fun way to celebrate a birthday without seeming to be that old).

Anyway, Advent Calendars!

Today"s mystery!Collapse )

Today's Star Wars construction is another starfighter-thing. I'm not sure which way round this one flies - whether the green sticks are engine exhausts or laser beams.

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Advent day 3! [Sunday 4th December 2016 at 12:11 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]

I never did get round to posting this yesterday...

Yesterday"s mystery!Collapse )

And behind door number 3 of the Star Wars calendar is this chap!

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(no subject) [Friday 2nd December 2016 at 11:40 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Playing |New World Orchestra - Ave Maria [Christmas Chillout]]

I do like it when games ask you this sort of question...





This isn't just the classic out-of-lives prompt, but a genuine "do you want to carry on with this course of action" question? Is continuing the right answer, or should you take the out that you've been offered?

It puts me in mind of that cutscene with the Dark Links in Twilight Princess - that one, the first time I saw it, made me pause for a moment and wonder if collecting the Fused Shadows really was what Link should be doing.


I wrote this post while drinking the mint green tea from earlier, which turned out to be rather nice - the combination of green tea and mint works well. I may have to get a box when my current stash of normal mint tea runs out...
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(no subject) [Friday 2nd December 2016 at 9:24 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
I can confirm that the roll of biodegradable bin bags I had lurking in a cupboard are indeed biodegradable. In that they've degraded to the point where they're no longer usable as bin bags.
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Advent day 2 [Friday 2nd December 2016 at 6:22 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]

What"s behind door number 2?Collapse )

And behind the other door 2...



Some sort of starfighter thing? It's not a Star Wars craft I recognise.
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Christmas/Yuletide/Solstice/whatever cards! [Thursday 1st December 2016 at 11:43 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]

rustica's post reminded me that the international posting dates are fast approaching, so before I forget:

Who'd like a Christmas/Yuletide/Solstice/whatever card from freezing cold England?

Comment with your address here (comments screened) or email it to cardplz@thomasmccorkell.me.uk and I'll try and get the cards sent before the last posting date!
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SWARM! [Thursday 1st December 2016 at 4:11 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Where |Sussex University]

So yesterday I dropped in on SWARM on the way back from Newick, and ended up staying for several hours and several games (none of which were MtG!). Unfortunately talismancer couldn't make it, but I did recognise some other faces from my university days including Aaron (a name which confused me no end as he pronounced it "Erin") and Cogs (who's real name might be Ben? I'm not actually sure).

Let's see... what did I end up playing? First Aaron and I did a round of Hero Realms - it's a deck-building game a little like Dominion, except instead of amassing victory points you're trying to splat your opponents. Aaron managed to quickly put together a stupid amount of lifegain with me slowly chipping away here and there. I was managing to weather this attacks reasonably well until he used his special ability to swipe a useful defender from me and it all went downhill very quickly. It's an interesting game and one I wouldn't mind playing again with a bit more knowledge of the cards available.

Next up was Boss Monster. This also went badly for me - I made a terrible decision early on as to which cards to discard and ended up with a dungeon that never really went anywhere, while Aaron managed to put together a nice combo at the end of his dungeon that reliably splatted heroes and gave him extra room cards. Still, a few bits of my dungeon worked well - a boulder ramp at the end is always useful for taking out overconfident heroes.

Kat (or is it Cat? I'm terrible with names) turned up and we gave Discworld a go with the three of us. I've always done this 4-player before, but it seemed to work equally well with three (although the win conditions are slightly harder to achieve). Once we all got our heads round the rules it ran along nicely with chaos left right and centre scrambling several carefully-laid plans. The game ended with no clear winner due to running out of cards, though hilariously if I hadn't ended the game on my turn (I played a random event, got Fog which discarded the remaining cards in the draw deck) Aaron would have won as Vetinari he'd finally managed to get enough minions. He still won on points though, which is rather fitting of Vetinari.

Finally Cogs joined us for Room 25, an escape game a bit like Forbidden Desert but with attitude. The layout is a 5-by-5 grid of hidden rooms which may be green (generally helpful), yellow (generally annoying), or red (avoid the red murder-rooms). This was a hilarious fail from start to finish - our starting square was surrounded with red rooms in three directions, one of which being the Paranoia Room which makes the player randomise their actions, with the only non-red direction having a yellow room which turned out to be a dungeon randomiser (like Forbidden Desert, the layout can be shifted). Things didn't improve when Kat found a Jamming Room (while someone's in there, we're not supposed to give each other any information) and I couldn't tell anyone I'd found the Exit, (or get to it, as my character was in the Prison Room). I rearranged the dungeon to try and break out from the Prison Room at which point Kat made a bid for freedom... into what was no longer a safe room, but now one of the two instant-death rooms. With her out of the game and us still having to find the Key room we were doomed. As it happens we did find the key room in time... but were left with one turn in which to get everyone to the exit which was impossible. All in all, 'twas good fun and another one to play again though maybe without the expansion (which added the Key room).
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Advent day 1 [Thursday 1st December 2016 at 2:38 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Feeling |surprisedsurprised]

This year allegramente sewed together advent calendars for myself and elemnar - they were ready just in time for us to collect last weekend, stocked full of surprises...



elemnar's calendar has a different pattern, but both contain the same surprises so if you've not made a start on yours yet elemnar then don't click on the cut below...

Mystery advent calendar: day 1Collapse )

As it happens I've got at least three advent calendars this year - the aforementioned Mystery Advent Calendar, a chocolate one (there has to be a chocolate one, and this time it's a nice one from Cocoa Loco), and finally a Lego Star Wars calendar that I was given a couple of years ago. Let's take a look behind door number 1...

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Car puzzles [Wednesday 30th November 2016 at 11:34 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |coldcold]

Brrrr. It's quite literally freezing out there - when I left Sussex University (after visiting SWARM) the roof of the Alfa was all sparkly with frost and the temperature gauge read -4°C. Which reminds me, I need to make up a stronger screenwash mix - it froze on contact with the windscreen and I had to scrape a thin layer of ice off!

Speaking of the Alfa, I dropped in on the garage at Newick so they could poke around at the power steering. Result: puzzled. There was one fault code logged - B1067: dynamic control selector on CAN/intermittent - which probably refers to the DNA switch (Alfa's "sport mode" button), but that's been working fine the last few times I've used it and while it does control the power steering one would expect it to just result in the steering staying in normal mode. A flaky battery was a possibility, so the garage did a battery test which reported 513A which is oodles of current (and most of the 600-odd amps it's rated for - the current battery is significantly up-rated compared to the original). So it's still a mystery.

I happened to mention this all to Si at SWARM and turns out he'd encountered something similar in his Skoda - on one trip he had a progressive loss of electrics as he was driving along, including power steering. In his case it turned out that the cable from the alternator had been merrily corroding and had a high enough resistance that it was no longer supplying enough current for the electrics. I'll mention this to Paul as a possibility.
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Blue 1626: Beachy Head sunset, Battle Abbey [Tuesday 29th November 2016 at 11:21 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , , , ]
[Feeling |artisticartistic]
[Playing |Klaus Badelt - The Medallion Calls [Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl]]

Random film time! Today's mystery film is... Blue 1626! Another one from late in my university days. One evening pleaseremove was round, and we (along with most of the house) spontaneously decided to drive to Beachy Head to watch the sunset. I posted a couple of digital photos back in 2007, but I also took the Nikon F-301 with me.

The film is another rebranded Fujicolor 200 (I probably bought a bag of the stuff from Boots) so I'm trying the same settings as last time.

As a random aside, the back of the film has been gunked with something or other, which Boots presumably didn't notice when developing it as the marks are visible in their prints. Since it was the base side rather than the emulsion I attacked it (very gently!) with a few drops of isopropyl-alcohol-containing lens cleaner which quite happily dissolved the gunk. Infra-red cleaning took care of the rest. Result!

Photos!Collapse )
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Pasta night, with SCIENCE BREAD! [Monday 28th November 2016 at 11:13 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]

Okay, so it's just partly-homemade garlic bread, which for some reason we decided to call SCIENCE BREAD. Today's experiment was a tiger bread baton from Tesco's, with a mix of garlic paste, grated cheese, and a little parsley as a filling. I then dampened the crust a little and we stuck it in the oven until it started smoking. Verdict... definite success for the bread, mostly successful for the filling - the garlic paste had a slightly odd aftertaste to it. I think the previous experiment with real garlic worked better but there was a lack of butter to blend the garlic with. The cheese was a good idea but it needs a bit more.

Today's game of choice was two decks of Exploding Kittens combined with the Imploding Kittens expansion. The game went on a surprisingly long time - people kept on surviving explosions by managing to grab defuse cards from the discard pile. In the end it came down to three players and three cards (two of which were explosions).

Speaking of games, I borrowed Settlers of Catan off of Jonners recently and yesterday the family gave it a try. The Gnu's reaction was interesting - after a few rounds of everyone getting to grips with the mechanics he started paying serious attention to the probabilities involved (his comment was the game must have been created by a mathematician). We'd gone for a completely random setup and he managed a good set of starting locations, which he quickly linked to claim the longest road bonus. The victory points accumulated until The Gnu and I were on 9 points each and just needing one more to win - I went down the development card route which had a fair chance of victory, but in the end The Gnu managed to get enough resources to upgrade another settlement to a city for the final point. I can see this being another game to get our own copy of...
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More thanksgiving! [Sunday 27th November 2016 at 11:28 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]

Today there was more thanksgiving - it was Joshua's thanksgiving/dedication service at London Road Methodist.

Oddly enough thanksgiving/baptism was something we were discussing in housegroup the other day - they were commenting that a lot of non-church-goers will get their child baptised as being "the done thing", while regular-church-goers these days are tending to opt for a dedication instead. The reasoning is that this means that the child can choose whether or not to become Christian when they're older, rather than assuming that that's what they will want (obviously as Christians they hope their child will follow them, but the point is that the parents are giving their child that choice).

In other news, I forgot my recommended daily driver rant yesterday, about the numpty on the Billingshurst bypass that decided to overtake a slew of cars in one go. Hopefully the Alfa's hazards lighting up from the near-emergency-stop I did (to avoid ramming him, because that would be unpleasant) woke him up!

And because the roads are full of 'em, I encountered another numpty on the drive back today. A white van tailgated me through Petworth... and then decided the best place to pass me was on one of the mini-roundabouts. Seriously - we exited side-by-side, and he accelerated off into the distance (ignoring the 30mph speed limit) scaring an oncoming van onto the pavement. That's beyond just being obnoxious and is actively dangerous.
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Thanksgiving! [Saturday 26th November 2016 at 11:39 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , , ]
[Feeling |tiredtired]

Today was the day of Thanksgiving celebrations at Beth & Jonners, and so was full of Things Happening.

First off, pleaseremove and I avoided Thanksgiving entirely and instead dropped in on brokencube to visit his new flat (and because Craig wanted a graphics card). It appears that Nik's anti-technology field is currently destroying all his hard disks in sequence... instead for the one that stubbornly refuses to die despite making horrid clunking noises. So that's business as normal for Nik :)

Next up was the pre-Thanksgiving "exercise" in the form of karting! We were on the downstairs Crawley track, which is one with a couple of corners that I've never quite got the hang of. There was enough of use for a race and so the first session was a qualifier where I gradually improved during the session but ended up 8th overall. I spent a good half-dozen laps stuck behind someone which didn't help - I couldn't quite make it past them as they aggressively claimed the apex on every corner... until after a bit when someone else passed me and then punted them at the corner before the ramp. So I sneaked through the gap left behind :)

For the race we did a reverse grid so I started third, and managed a good start up the middle to rise into 2nd round the first corner. I made it over the bridge, braked hard at the bottom to avoid the leader who took the hairpin slower than I was expecting, got shunted by someone but managed to recover, and then two corners later the race was paused. I think I may have left a multi-kart pileup behind me :) The rest of the race went reasonably well (with me gradually dropping down the rankings as the faster drivers snuck past), apart from one bit where I lost it on the 2nd straight after the bridge. It was slightly surreal - the two straights are separated by a right-angle corner which I take flat out, and as I continued to accelerate past the corner I could feel the back slowly drifting more and more out until I lost it and ended up facing the wrong way down the track. That said after stopping there was enough space that I could power the kart round and continue on, so I recovered without causing a yellow or red flag - go me!

I ended the race 8th again, though I improved my lap time a bit, to I think 25.0s (Jonners has the timesheets). One day I'll manage a sub-25s time!

Being a race there were prizes from TeamSport for the top three, and a bonus prize for first place - see, a while back I mentioned at housegroup about the karting and one of the guys went "Ah, I've got something you might like"... which turned out to be a real-life scale model r/c Mario Kart, minus battery and controller (TeamSport chap: "Nice idea, whoever brought Mario!"). So of course this had to become a bonus prize for first place! Perhaps we should get it mounted and make it the annual Thanksgiving trophy?

Finally, 'twas time for Thanksgiving itself! It's not something people generally celebrate in Britain (though Black Friday is now a thing here), but Beth being American hosts a Thanksgiving meal each year and so it's become a tradition in her friends circle. Plus it's a good time to catch up with friends I rarely see, and for those of us who are really prepared (not me! - though I have handed over one present already this year) a chance to hand out Christmas cards :)
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Photographic slice of everyday life [Friday 25th November 2016 at 11:48 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]

There was a request for more photographic slices of everyday life, so here's one!

So the other day I returned to find that in the six parking spaces behind the flat there were six cars and a motorbike - actually, it's worse than that because the motorbike was pretending to be a car and so someone had double-parked. I turned in to the entrance to spot the double-parked car, and seeing as it's hard enough getting out of there when someone's double-parked I decided against trying to squeeze my way in, in the dark, when I'd probably find a lack of spaces and have to somehow get back out. So I reversed back, and parked in one of the marina spaces instead.

Well, 'twas a dark and stormy night and things may have gotten a little wet, judging by the line of seaweed...



Fortunately there's no real risk of cars getting flooded there - the moat a year or two ago was an exceptional event, and even then it was maybe an inch or so of water. I'm sure I've encountered deeper puddles on stormy journeys (the one I found at 30mph in Pulborough one night comes to mind...).
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Board games! [Thursday 24th November 2016 at 11:45 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |thoughtfulthoughtful]

I forgot to mention that I played a new board game the other day. A friend from church is part of a gaming group (I think mostly full of IBM chaps, so he and I are the odd ones out!) and occasionally hosts at his place, so I went along. This time the game was Imperial - in a nutshell, everyone's competing to invest in major European powers to build their empire. The twist is that it's not the players who take turns, but rather the countries, with the player that's invested the most in the country getting to decide what it does. This does make setting up long-term plans tricky as it's all too easy for someone else to wrest control of a country from you and then scupper your carefully laid plan.

In the end I didn't do too well - I misjudged what was happening in the endgame and thought there'd be another round before someone reached the maximum level of investment and ended the game. Another turn or two and I'd have been able to score a good few more points, but oh well. I still had fun which is the important part and it's one I'd like to try again at some point.
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(no subject) [Thursday 24th November 2016 at 12:35 am]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Feeling |sillysilly]

*looks at timestamp, whistles innocently*

Given that I've made 25 (26 including this one) posts this month and it's the 24th, I claim that I'm at least meeting the post count for the month!

*ducks incoming snarkage*
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Random film post! [Wednesday 23rd November 2016 at 12:22 am]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , , , ]
[Feeling |curiouscurious]

Random film filler post! Today's film is Green 3563, and is probably from a similar vintage as the last one. This time it's a roll of Kodak Gold 200-6 which VueScan actually has a preset for!

Photos!Collapse )
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Pasta night! [Monday 21st November 2016 at 11:43 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , , ]
[Feeling |surprisedsurprised]

Just getting to pasta night was hard enough - someone managed to roll a dustbin lorry of all things on the M27 eastbound... immediately before the J12 exit. This basically snarled up the entire M27 as far back as Southampton Airport. So I looked at Google's traffic data, and went "ah-hah, the A27 looks fairly clear, so I shall be Smart and use the A27 through Fareham and Portchester". This was actually a very good idea with only one flaw - to get to the A27 I had to leave Segensworth. That alone took over 45 minutes to achieve as the local roads were equally snarled up.

Today's game of choice was Betrayal at House on the Hill. It's a game of two halves: everyone starts off exploring the haunted house, until enough Omen cards are collected that someone fails the Haunt roll. At that point one of the players becomes the traitor and starts attacking the rest. In this case, Sarah's character became invisible and so we had to try and hunt her down (by guessing where she'd moved to and attacking in that room), while she got to sneak around. It was looking to become a long drawn-out affair until Jonners managed a lucky guess on Sarah's location and an even luckier attack roll that splatted her character in one hit. Definitely one to play again, though like Eclipse possibly at the weekend when we've got more time.

Definitely a wet and wild night, driving back from Billingshurst... not helped by having to dodge I think a dog walker on the A29 followed immediately by a white van man parked at the side of the road opening his door! Fortunately I could dodge into the other lane and didn't hit anyone or anything, but I could have done without that surprise.
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Church physics? [Sunday 20th November 2016 at 11:15 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |sillysilly]

It's not often that a church sermon touches on particle physics.

Today's sermon/talk/discussion/skit/thing (our church does things a little differently on the 3rd Sunday of each month...) was on Colossians 1:15-20, in the context of how science and faith interact. So the leader started off by mentioning the Higgs Boson, or as the media knows it the God Particle.
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Random film time! [Saturday 19th November 2016 at 7:41 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , , , ]
[Feeling |artisticartistic]
[Playing |Awesome - Ancient Stories III]

Random film time! Today's film is... "BJ010859", and it's an old one with photos from several holidays and trips, including Christmas in Falmouth. It's no newer than 1999 and probably quite a bit older than that based on what size elemnar is in the photos! Back then I was using a point'n'shoot 35mm camera - a Canon Snappy LXII.

It's another Boots film, this time with a DX code of 018494 which reveals it to actually be an Agfa Perutz SC 400-2 Color film. Hmm... let's try preset Agfacolor XRG/XRS 400 with 3% white/black points (it's not like I'm doing this for archive purposes and trying for a perfect scan).

Photos!Collapse )
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GCHQ's Minority Report code challenge [Friday 18th November 2016 at 8:56 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Feeling |accomplishedaccomplished]
[Playing |Steeleye Span - Like the Wind [A Rare Collection]]

Today at work my boss stumbled across GCHQ's Minority Report code challenge, and so since the rest of the business seems to have no idea what we should be doing the team decided to have a crack at it.

For reference, GCHQ's puzzle is:

If Samuel transcribed what Louis wrote…
…and Louis wrote what Ludwik translated…
…and Ludwik translated what Tim said…
…then what did Tim say?

Here is Samuel’s transcription:

IN AAAAIAN INAAANAIA IA IAINA AI AA IAIIA IAA AAIAAINN AA IAAANN IAINANI
NA ANNNNMA NAANIANMN NN ANNAN NN AM MNNNN ANI MAAINNIA AM NNAMIA NNAANIN
AM MMIAAMA MMIMAAMMA MM AMAAA MA AM AAAMA AAA MAMAAAAM AM AAIMMM MMMMAMA


CLUE: The key to unlocking the puzzle is identifying Samuel, Louis and Ludwik. There are links between them!

Anyway, after about 15 minutes we had the answer (which in lowercase and without trailing punctuation should have a MD5 hash of 29fa3b97488c805267461800b3c5d1a3). Turns out that if you throw a half-dozen software engineers at a puzzle it gets solved fairly quickly!

Warning: spoilerish notesCollapse )
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Isn't the future wonderful? [Thursday 17th November 2016 at 9:26 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , , ]

So I was chatting with pleaseremove as he was on his way home, and the call dropped. This is not unexpected - his route goes through an area of patchy signal that regularly eats phone calls (Devon is a bit like that).

What was unexpected is that when he called me back, he commented that at the same time as the call dropped his phone received an email. So mobile operators have solved the non-problem of being able to send/receive emails from anywhere, but have in the process broken phone calls. Isn't the future wonderful?

The hilarity is in the past I've worked on phone networks, and so I have some idea of why everything is so broken. The short answer is 4G is awesome for data... and terrible for everything else. And the hilarious answer is there's no need for it to be terrible - voice over 4G should be a straightforward SIP call except that appears to be too much like hard work and so until I think late last year a 4G phone would fallback to 2G/3G to make a phone call. While SMS over 4G is just terrible by design (I should know, I once wrote a IP-SM-GW gateway to deal with it) - there was a wonderful opportunity to remove the 160-character length limit and the crazy 7-bit-packed encoding, and instead the solution is to take the radio-level packets from a 2G phone and tunnel them over SIP.


xkcd #1760


Anyway, after that pleaseremove had the bright idea of trying Skype instead since data seemed bizarrely more reliable than voice calls. Let's see how well that worked...

*** Call from pleaseremove ***
*** Call dropped, duration 01:39 ***
pleaseremove: I give up
pleaseremove: Speak to you whenever

We're not sure what happened. Our best guess is that as he got home his phone picked up his wifi signal, tried to switch to using wifi for data, and ate the call. Because migrating a Skype call from one internet connection to another is Hard... except funnily enough I'm currently working with VoIP tech, and modern VoIP protocols can do this. Theoretically. If whatever WebRTC stack you're using has actually bothered to support it.
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Phoenix Wright: Spirit of Justice [Wednesday 16th November 2016 at 11:14 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Playing |Phoenix Wright - Distant Traces of Beauty (Cover/Arrangement)]

Because I'm clearly not trying to complete enough different games, I bought the latest Phoenix Wright instalment (Spirit of Justice) recently. I am trying to limit the number of unfinished games I've got, honest!

I've actually been playing it a fair bit and have now reached the final case. Being a Phoenix Wright game, the cases are all full of plot twists and turns and nothing is quite what it seems... except for your client being innocent. Probably. And the prosecution being narrow-minded and blinded to the possibility that they might be wrong. Certainly all the cases revolve around taking the prosecution's carefully constructed scenario and pointing out that what actually happened is entirely different... and then after having done so, shredding your own scenario in favour of a third timeline.

There's an overarching plot with references to some of the earlier games which is nice to have, especially as the plot is getting interesting (case 5 in particular has a surprise with who your opponent in the courtroom is). I like it when games put effort into the backstory - they could just have a string of mostly individual cases and indeed the earlier instalments were like that, but it adds to it when there's something to tie everything together. It's a bit like Wipeout 64 - yes, that's just a racing game, it doesn't need any plot at all, and yet the manual hints at a whole world with team descriptions, track design notes, quotes from notable figures in the Wipeout world. It just makes it all so much more.

Plus Spirit of Justice has some wonderfully silly bits of dialogue, such as this gem from Apollo (which reminded me of the whole Boaty McBoatface thing)...



...or later on, this time disagreeing with Dhurke's optimism...



I can see the writers/translators had fun with the dialogue.


One thing that caught my eye, or rather ear: the music for the Dance of Devotion sounds a lot like the opening theme to the first and second Ghost in the Shell films. Is it some sort of Japanese music theme/style?
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The Stat-o-matic retaliates! [Tuesday 15th November 2016 at 11:01 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Feeling |creativecreative]
[Playing |Moonraker [James Bond Themes]]

I really ought to polish this off and post it on Github or somewhere. I've slightly tweaked it since last time: the base LJ stylesheet includes an unhelpful "height: auto !important" style on IMG tags which breaks the fancy bar graph. The Stat-o-matic now retaliates with its own CSS sledgehammer (now with valid CSS)!

[ 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 ]

Top commenters on boggyb's LiveJournal
1boggyb550550
2olego178178
3pleaseremove122122
4tau_iota_mu_c7272
5pewterfish6969
6ralesk6868
7talismancer6565
8omgimsuchadork6363
9jecook4343
10mirrordreams4242
11-85Collapse )

Total Commenters: 85
Total Comments: 1950
(not including 469 deleted and 3 screened)

Report generated Tue Nov 15 23:02:35 GMT 2016 by boggyb's LJ Stat-o-matic 1.2 (inspired by scrapdog's LJ Comment Wizard)

It's all been quiet on the commenting front with a mere 10 comments over the past year. About the only change is the accumulated wisdom of anonymous commentators has been dethroned from the top 10.

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Pasta night, and car glitches [Monday 14th November 2016 at 11:25 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Feeling |sleepysleepy]
[Playing |All Time High [James Bond Themes]]

It's Monday which means it's pasta night!

Today's games were two rounds of Colt Express, followed by a game of Sushi Go. I won the first Colt Express round quite solidly, with the bonus for most shots fired - that plus a good haul of treasure easily netted me the win. The second game went... less well, as everyone else returned fire and I had a hand of not much. Plus Jonners got both the briefcase and most shots fired bonus, so that's a score of $2000 before counting any treasure.

With Sushi Go I managed joint 2nd with Matt - my undoing in that was entirely ignoring the Dessert cards which cost me 6 points at the end of the game.

Onto my car. I've mentioned before that the power steering is a bit temperamental (my car being an Alfa, it's a given that there'll be something weird with it) and occasionally cuts out. Mostly it's just an annoyance as it'll switch off when I'm trying to do low-speed manoeuvring, and reverse-parking a modern car without power steering is hard work. It did once switch off on the Fontwell bypass between the roundabouts which was mildly interesting to handle, but at the same time slightly easier - the force needed is a lot less when the car is moving. Changing the battery a couple of years ago helped, as did learning to give the car a bit more revs when doing slow/tight turns, and it's been some time since I've had an issue.

That run of good fortune ended tonight with it cutting out as I was trying to park behind my flat - the space is uphill and I have to turn tightly into it, and tonight as I was starting the turn the power steering switched off. Most annoying. So the plan is to get in touch with Paul at Newick, and trundle over sometime in the next week or so so that he can read the fault codes and poke around at it - at the last service he cleared all the fault codes so anything listed should be related to this specific glitch.
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Be still and know [Sunday 13th November 2016 at 4:51 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Feeling |thoughtfulthoughtful]
[Playing |Sega - Mute City [F-Zero GX]]

Church today had a strong anti-war message (swords to plowshares and all that - Micah 4:3) - it being Remembrance Sunday, this isn't surprising. This might actually be the first Remembrance Sunday service I've ever been to and taken part in - oh, when I was young we would all go to St John's BBH every week but elemnar and I would disappear off to whatever the Sunday school was called back then (either in the church hall, or down the road at what was called the "Free Church"), while the grownups got on with the rest of the service. But over the years we ended up going to church less and less, and by the time I started university I'd stopped almost entirely except for Christmas/Easter.

But anyway, this year's resolution is holding fast and I'm actually glad that I'm going to church again and getting involved with the church community. It's only taken me, what, 9 years to properly settle in Fareham! Ironically this has happened about the same time as a few work opportunities appeared further afield, one or two I'd have jumped at a year ago but today I'm looking at and thinking that I actually want to stay in this area. This has slightly scuppered the "masters/PhD at Sussex" plan as commuting from here to Falmer is not ideal, although not impossible (and moving a short distance along the coast is not out of the question...).

Speaking of university, one thing that caught my ear at today's service was one of the songs we sung: a variant of God is our Strength and Refuge. It sounded rather familiar, but I couldn't quite place it until the last verse with "Be still and know your creator" - "Be still and know" is Sussex University's motto, and is taken from Psalm 46. There you do, that's today's random trivia!
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Blue 1624: Brighton photos [Saturday 12th November 2016 at 10:30 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , , ]
[Where |Brighton, England]
[Feeling |artisticartistic]
[Playing |Sega - Captain Falcon [F-Zero GX]]

Scanning 35mm negatives is a tricky job - the default settings have a tendency to be very dull, with a poor colour cast and no detail in dark areas. Now, I can't be bothered with trying for a perfect scan but I'm certainly happy to tweak things a little to get a better result, and the easiest tweak appears to be to tell VueScan just what type of film I'm using. Boots own-brand makes this trickier, but I did some poking around and found out that Boots stuff is most likely rebranded Fujifilm and the DX barcode (the black stripes next to the sprocket holes) can be decoded to work out just what it is - I used DXsim to decode the barcode, and then the Dexter database to decode the barcode. Other tweaks are setting the colour balance to "White balance", white and black points to 5% (i.e. the top/bottom 5% of the input range is clamped - this increases the contrast), and enabling light infrared cleaning.

To keep track of which films I've been through, I'm using the stickers that Boots marked them with when processing them. I've not run into any duplicates yet...

Anyway, enough photographic mumbo-jumbo. Today's film is... *digs through box* blue 1624! This is a roll of Boots own-brand ISO 200 (DX number 001304, so actually Fujicolor 200 - I'm scanning as "Fuji Super G 200") containing photos from my time at university, probably late 3rd-year. In fact, they may well be the photos I alluded to in this post!

Photos!Collapse )
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Another cunning plan, perchance? [Saturday 12th November 2016 at 6:18 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |deviousdevious]
[Playing |The Rasmus - F-f-f-falling [Dead Letters]]

(partially x-posted to Another cunning plan, perchance? at ~the-boggyb on deviantArt)

This is not my cunning plan for NaBloPoMo - as it happens, I've yet to deploy my cunning plan (despite it potentially being so cunning that you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel...). But while searching through a crate of stuff the other day I came up with another plan entirely. I realised that although I take an awful lot of photos, very few of them make it beyond a folder on my computer.

Or, in this case, a box full of negatives and prints. See, every once in a while I try my hand at old-school photography with The Gnu's Nikon F-301 and a fistful of 35mm film.

So my new plan is to every so often pick a set of prints, scan the negatives (pleaseremove regularly mocks the fact that I have a SCSI card of all things in this computer, so I ought to at least make use of the film scanner it's attached to - a Nikon Coolscan III), and post the best photos here.

How long will this last? Who knows. You never know, I may keep up with this plan long enough to run out of 35mm negatives and dig out the disc films from the distant past...
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The Inquisitive Mind of a Child [Friday 11th November 2016 at 11:25 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Feeling |thoughtfulthoughtful]

Why are they selling poppies, Mummy?
Selling poppies in town today.
The poppies, child, are flowers of love.
For the men who marched away.
But why have they chosen a poppy, Mummy?
Why not a beautiful rose?
Because my child, men fought and died
In the fields where the poppies grow.
But why are the poppies so red, Mummy?
Why are the poppies so red?
Red is the colour of blood, my child.
The blood that our soldiers shed.
The heart of the poppy is black, Mummy.
Why does it have to be black?
Black, my child, is the symbol of grief.
For the men who never came back.
But why, Mummy are you crying so?
Your tears are giving you pain.
My tears are my fears for you my child.
For the world is forgetting again.
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Bonus bonus update! [Thursday 10th November 2016 at 10:16 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Feeling |determineddetermined]
[Playing |Steven Gutheinz - Icarus [NyxQuest Kindred Spirits]]



Managed it on the first attempt too, and with the Speed Clear Bonus to boot... but only a gold medal. I have a sneaking suspicion that the platinum medal will need a sub-1-minute clear to achieve, which is doable but tight.
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Kirby Planet Robobot [Thursday 10th November 2016 at 9:12 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Feeling |accomplishedaccomplished]
[Playing |Theophany - Time's End [Time's End: Majora's Mask Remixed]]

Bonus post, as the previous one is friends-only!

Anyway, enough ranting. In other news, the other day I did a spot of level grinding and reached this!



Then I shifted my attention to sticker grinding, and with a fistful of Play Coins and revisiting some favourite levels I achieved this!



I'm now sitting at about 97% complete in Kirby: Planet Robobot. All that's left is the final boss of Team Kirby Clash, and then churning my way through the epic boss rush that is The True Arena. Go Kirby!
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(no subject) [Wednesday 9th November 2016 at 8:27 am]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |disappointeddisappointed]

First Brexit, and now Trump.

It's going to be a very interesting few years...
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Name that webcomic, round 1: the answers! [Tuesday 8th November 2016 at 8:45 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |curiouscurious]

Didn't I set a webcomic quiz once upon a time? It's long past time that I posted the answers, so here they are!

  1. Can't sleep. Future will eat me.
    Kestrel, Queen of Wands penultimate strip
  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.
    Ben, A Miracle of Science #365
  3. Really, Hepzibah? Losing your hold on me over hair?
    Larina, Fey Winds #242
  4. Daryl? With a grenade? Is there video? Please tell me somebody got some video.
    The Whiteboard #2008
  5. It's... uh... I roll for Bluff!
    There aren't enough dice in the world.
    Qui-Gon and the GM, Darths and Droids #43
  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?
    Brody and Malik, Afterlife Blues #119
  7. Intruders!
    Nope.
    False alarm!
    Haley, Order of the Stick #768
  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.
    Florence, Freefall #1881
  9. Tower of Power!
    Space Pirates, Metroid: Third Derivative #430
  10. Instead of office chair package contained bobcat. Would not buy again.
    xkcd #325
    Guessed by pleaseremove

And the winner is... pleaseremove, for being the only person to guess any webcomics! Does that mean no-one else is following these? Perhaps I should stick to Name that Song or Guess the Movie.

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Pasta Roast night [Monday 7th November 2016 at 11:46 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]

Tonight's pasta night was a bit different - as it was Paddy's birthday, instead of pasta we had a roast dinner! It's been quite some time since I've had a proper roast for a meal.

While it was being cooked, myself, Jonners, Paddy, Martin and Matt played a few rounds of Smash Bros Brawl. We started off with a very short tournament before settling for three-at-a-time rotation with increasingly silly battles - a good contender for "silly move of the day" was me kamikazing off the side of the screen with Marth's smash ball special (yes, that attack will keep going if it doesn't connect with anyone), but Martin nailed it by, as Bowser, grabbing Jonners and jumping into the pit.

After the meal it was time for some tabletop games - one group choose Kittens in a Blender, another Sushi Go, and myself, Jonners and Paddy gave Boss Monster a go. The basic premise is that you are a boss monster (hence the name), and are building a dungeon with the aim of stomping heroes before they make it to the end and stomp you. It's all wonderfully retro in style, and full of references to the 8-bit era of gaming and culture. Tonight's game was a close-run thing - Jonners almost won with an exact 10 souls while the pair of them tried to disable as much as possible of my dungeon. Luckily for me, they left my Crushinator active and that allowed me to boost my dungeon just enough damage to take out the incoming heroes and reach 11 souls for the win!
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Journal tweaking [Sunday 6th November 2016 at 8:21 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |productiveproductive]
[Playing |Across the Atlas - Jaded]

elemnar pointed out to me the other day that this blog doesn't render well on mobiles. It's a legacy of the table-based design in the Generator layout (which might explain why it seems to have disappeared from the journal customisation pages - or it's just LiveJournal trying to move everyone to the new shinyness regardless of the consequences) which predates anything with a screen taller than it is wide - responsive design is the in thing and is generally quite nice, but requires a lot of CSS tinkering and careful div nesting. Tables, on the other hand, solve an awful lot of web page layout issues with little markup needed (especially back in the dark ages of Internet Explorer 6 or earlier).

Actually making the theme adapt to smaller screens turned out to be trivially easy - all I had to do was disable the min-width attribute on the HTML tag (ironically set in a class named "html-s2-no-adaptive"), and then add a media query so on smaller screens the main entry boxes cease to be fixed-width and just fill the screen. And now on a mobile the entry boxes should fit neatly into the screen, unless a giant image forces the box to grow in which case it'll only break the layout for one entry (at least this is what happens when testing with Firefox's responsive design mode). Sorted!

Since I was tinkering with the style anyway I fixed a few other minor niggles - the bottom-left corner of each post now also contains extra links like Add to Memories and Share, and the link bar at the top of all pages in my journal now once again has the "|" character between links (the S1 version of Generator I believe did this). It also won't wrap the text within a link because that's just silly.
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Remember, remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. [Saturday 5th November 2016 at 10:33 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]

I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

This year Lewes' choice of effigies not only includes a Theresa May with the three Brexiteers of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage, but there's also a collection of three different Donald Trump effigies to burninate! Though I am surprised that there isn't one relating to the recent train strikes and the RMT/Southern Railway dispute (one bit of fallout from the dispute is there are no train services to Lewes this afternoon - the RMT are not doing a god job at rallying public support with their choice of strikes!).

I'm up in Horsham at the moment and there seems to be less fireworks round here than previous years. Perhaps the very cold weather (I had to scrape a thin layer of frost off the car when giving elemnar a lift this evening!) has put people off? In any case, I managed to watch a firework display from my flat last - The Fareham Sailing club hold the odd display from their marina, which being just the other side of the creek from my flat means I get an excellent view from the balcony (especially now that the aggregates place has demolished their giant stone-sorter-thing). It was a pretty decent display, though the chap letting the fireworks off does need to work on his aim a bit and make sure the fireworks go up, not sideways. Still, it's an improvement on the last one where one of the shells detonated on the marina. I can't imagine the boat owners would have been pleased by being showered with ground-level fireworks!
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choros' stag do [Friday 4th November 2016 at 11:05 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]

I keep meaning to make more real life posts here - I've oodles of bloggable experiences ranging from the mundane (computer upgrades) to the exotic (clay pigeon shooting), and yet I never get round to actually posting them. The height of my everyday blogging was during my university days, and since then it's largely declined. There was something of a resurgence in posting over the last couple of years, but still far less than in 2006 during the middle of my degree. That and this year has been downright pathetic as far as posting goes, and even if I post every day for November and December I'll end up with the fewest annual posts since 2003 (and that year doesn't count as that's when I created this blog!).

So in an attempt to breathe some life into this blog and fill it with more than just Let's Play's of Zelda games, here's a long overdue post of choros' stag do from err... sometime last July. Now, all stag dos have a certain element of what happens in the stag do stays in the stag do and so I'll remain quiet about the choice of silly costumes (other than to mention us getting honked at by a fire engine while walking to the pub - so props to Surrey firefighters!). But before the pub we ended up going to one of these outdoor activity places and split into groups to take turns at axe throwing, power turns, and clay pigeon shooting.

Our group started with the axe throwing - basically, you throw an axe overarm at a target. Sounds simple, but it's actually quite hard - you have to be the right distance from the target such that the axe rotates once and then hits with the corner of the blade so that it sticks in the wood. It's all too easy to misjudge the distance and have the wrong part of the axe hit and bounce off, or not be straight on to the target and end up with the flat of the blade hitting. And that's before you get into trying for the bullseye. Something about the level of concentration needed made it all rather relaxing - if you try to take out your frustration on the target you'll just fail entirely at getting the axe to stick, so you have to approach it with a sort of Zen-like level of calm. It became something I could have easily spent the afternoon perfecting, trying to get the motion of the arm and wrist just right to score a reliable bullseye.

Anyway, next the Zen-nature of the day was entirely broken with what they called "power turns". Imagine an oversized off-road go kart with two seats, two engines, two throttles... and no steering wheel. It's completely bonkers to drive, almost entirely uncontrollable, and terrific fun. We initially went in pairs - I paired up with pleaseremove - and took it in turns to fail at a course marked out in the field with rather battered flags while shouting incomprehensible directions at each other. As it happens we had some time left over and so went round individually (they had combined hand brake/throttle controls so one person could control both engines). Those things are mental - when it was my turn I decided not to mess about and so gave it full throttle on both engines, at which point it reared up onto the wheelie bar and hurtled off the start line. I think I took a few corners on maybe two wheels!

The final event of the day was clay pigeon shooting. This isn't your modern laser clays, but proper clay pigeon shooting with actual shotguns that go BANG and fire a cloud of metal pellets downrange with actual recoil. It's another of those things that seems easy but is surprisingly hard - you have to spot the clay, lead it as unlike a laser (or Wii Play's target shooting) the shot takes actual time to travel, compensate for the effects of recoil, and try not to throw your aim off when squeezing the trigger. I did well at first, but then lost my concentration for the last few. The second round was trickier as the guy running it started to mix up the different launchers so you didn't know where the clay would come from, and I ended up with a lower score from the ten clays in the round.
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The traditional poll [Thursday 3rd November 2016 at 10:34 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Feeling |curiouscurious]

As is traditional in NaBloPoMo, I present to you a poll...

Poll #2057002 The traditional poll

This blog has a distinct lack of...

Detailed musings on The Legend of Zelda
0(0.0%)
Photographic slices of everyday life
1(100.0%)
Discussions about the state of modern society
0(0.0%)
Artistic endeavours from experimenting with Corel
0(0.0%)
Tales from the frontline of software engineering
0(0.0%)
The latest and greatest memes to sweep the blogosphere
0(0.0%)
Random insanity
0(0.0%)
Surprising surprises
0(0.0%)

While it contains far too much in the way of...

Overly long musings on The Legend of Zelda
0(0.0%)
Photographic substitutes for actual posts
0(0.0%)
Pointless ramblings about the state of modern society
0(0.0%)
Artistic endeavours from failing at Corel
0(0.0%)
Incomprehensible tales from the frontline of software engineering
0(0.0%)
Out-of-date memes that once swept the blogosphere
0(0.0%)
Consistent insanity
0(0.0%)
Unsurprising surprises
0(0.0%)

But the probability of boggyb paying attention to this poll is...

Mean: 50.00 Median: 50 Std. Dev 0.00
0
0(0.0%)
10
0(0.0%)
20
0(0.0%)
30
0(0.0%)
40
0(0.0%)
50
1(100.0%)
60
0(0.0%)
70
0(0.0%)
80
0(0.0%)
90
0(0.0%)
100
0(0.0%)

And finally, ticky box?

Ticky box!
0(0.0%)
But of course
0(0.0%)
If you insist
0(0.0%)
I know not of this "ticky box" of which you speak
1(100.0%)
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A cunning plan...? [Wednesday 2nd November 2016 at 11:09 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
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Well, I had a cunning plan for NaBloPoMo but part of it appears to have evaporated. This is most annoying.

I'll just have to settle for a slightly less cunning plan. This may cause some delays in enacting the plan, so I'm hedging my bets with this post to meet the daily post requirement.

That said, if I leave it at that talismancer will (justifiably) snark at me for the lack of content so here's something to bulk up the word count a bit...



I took this a couple of weeks ago on a lunchtime stroll. There's a well-hidden path off a roundabout in the industrial estate that heads down a steep slope and into a small patch of woodland that's somehow avoided being developed. The branches either side were a mix of green and autumnal brown except for this one tree, where the leaves had turned this wonderful vivid shade of red.
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NaBloPoMo! [Tuesday 1st November 2016 at 9:06 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
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Today's the first of November, which means it's the start of NaBloPoMo (or possibly NaNoWriMo, depending on which challenge one feels like) wherein instead of inconsistent incoherency I shall attempt consistent incoherency!

As usual, the challenge is to post something every day for the entire month. Previously this has tended to start well and then dwindled into increasingly desperate memes towards the end of the month, but this time I have a cunning plan. And no, it does not involve having a whole slew of posts already written and ready to go...
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(no subject) [Friday 28th October 2016 at 8:50 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
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Because I can't be the only person who's run into this: I think I've found a bug in Windows 7 where icons can disappear from the system tray if an application hides and then unhides an icon. It appears that Windows doesn't rearrange all the icons (as it does when a program adds or deletes an icon), but instead just moves the icons in that row along one space. If you've got more than one row, then you end up with an empty space at the end of that row... which Windows will happily fill with another icon. If the original icon is then unhidden then it pushes the new one off the end of the tray and it disappears from view entirely.

It's most annoying, as RSSOwl minimises to the tray but hides its icon when you reopen it triggering this bug. And some quirk of how the icons have ended up in the tray means it's often the icon for Semagic that vanishes from my taskbar.

Anyway, the workaround is to not use the NIS_HIDDEN flag but instead just add/delete the icon. Or if there's just one application causing it then I think moving it to the bottom-right corner of the tray also solves this, as stuff in the last row seems to be reordered correctly.

I wonder how one goes about reporting bugs to Microsoft?
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Semagic bugfixing: XMPlay music detection [Saturday 8th October 2016 at 9:11 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
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[Feeling |accomplishedaccomplished]
[Playing |Fluke - Snapshot [Puppy]]

I'd forgotten just how primitive the string parsing in C is.

Semagic bugfixing: XMPlay music detectionCollapse )
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Compiling Semagic [Friday 7th October 2016 at 11:40 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
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[Feeling |accomplishedaccomplished]

So I've been trying off and on for a week now to get Semagic to compile, because I want to try and fix a couple of minor annoyances in it and official development seems to have stalled. Unfortunately the build process doesn't appear to be documented, nor are the required dependencies, and it's turning into a game of throwing random dependencies together in the hope that it compiles. For added fun the source tarball contains project files for Visual C++ 6, Visual C++ 2003 and Visual C++ 2005... but it's not clear which one is actually used.

This was surprisingly successfulCollapse )
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(no subject) [Sunday 2nd October 2016 at 11:41 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
Today's discovery is that installing Nero Cover Designer also silently installs something called "Nero Info", which will display popup adverts on your desktop.

Needless to say Nero Info has been uninstalled with extreme prejudice. Congratulations, Nero, you've successfully convinced me not to buy your software.
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Car check time! [Saturday 1st October 2016 at 6:58 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
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[Feeling |accomplishedaccomplished]

I've been a bit remiss in blogging about this (and about so many other things - I only published one post in the whole of September), but the checks have been happening, honest!

The last few checks mainly involved topping up tyre pressures a little to counteract the normal loss of air with time - not that they particularly needed it today, but since I'd already dug the compressor out to top off the spare (at 4.2bar it loses a good 0.1bar or so a month) I did the whole lot. While I was at it I added 500ml of oil as it'd been looking a bit low on the dipstick.

As to mileage, well in June I did a surprisingly low 531 miles, July was a bit more like it at 764mi, August was somewhere inbetween with 620mi and last month I clocked up 801 miles.
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