Friday, 30 January 2009

simply beautiful

Found this during one of my youtube sessions, oh's simply the most wonderful thing I've heard on a guitar in ages, here played by the composer, Maria Linnemann. I have a new goal. I must learn to play this.

Hear also is a better quality recording from another great guitar player, Per-Olov Kindgren , who publishes on youtube. Yes its better played better recorded and yet the composers version is so full of feeling it really moves you.


Happy Birthday and Happy Clients

Happy Birthday Danni, I didn't forget, but my phone would not charge and I could not get your new number to call you. Had to buy a new charger then do a bloody top up as well. Gotcha a nice pressie and will see you when I'm over for the spring Break at the end of Feb. seems like yesterday still :)

In other newswe got project feedback today, even though I'd left out some graphics due to that crashing bug, our publisher was very happy, we even got message direct from the CEO to say he was impressed. Things like that make it all worthwhile.

So Steve, Dino and Karina and I are all off out for a meal to celebrate :)


Thursday, 29 January 2009

no, I am still here

And having briefly met one of my readers today, I thought I should put up something interesting...Hi Phil.


not much to say really, I met one of my readers today, briefly.

Oh and the dev kits arrived which was good as I was really struggling to get a progress build out today but as usual with these things as the time for delivery got closer and closer, more and more things started to break. Including a rather nasty bug that I later discovered was related to some of the rather nice graphic effects I had put into out game.
So despite my best efforts we had to submit a build with a lot of its best graphics removed arrhh
Anway, I hate strange bugs, and after calling it quits around 11-30 I had a few glasses of a nice red alcoholic beverage which Albert Heijn (the local supermarket)
insists is called wine....well at under €2 a bottle, I struggle with calling it anything..But actually its not half bad.

And after a few glass of said red beverage I decided not to let that bug live...and so it is that its now ohhh 3.47am local time.

The bug is dead.

Time for bed.

Bye Phil.


Sunday, 25 January 2009

is it just me?

My Dev kits are finally on the way, cash came out of the account on Friday (I need to check that it was at the same exchange rate as the 1st payment or I will be very pissed) and I got a tracking number for the package....

But remember the last time I sent a parcel somewhere it ended up on a grand tour of Europe...well.

It seems UPS are suffering from a similar problem,

KY, US 01/24/2009 5:13 A.M. DEPARTURE SCAN
01/24/2009 2:13 A.M. ARRIVAL SCAN
WA, US 01/23/2009 7:35 P.M. DEPARTURE SCAN
01/23/2009 6:33 P.M. ARRIVAL SCAN
WA, US 01/23/2009 5:45 P.M. DEPARTURE SCAN
01/23/2009 5:16 P.M. ORIGIN SCAN
KY, US 01/23/2009 1:05 P.M. ARRIVAL SCAN
WA, US 01/23/2009 6:22 A.M. DEPARTURE SCAN
01/23/2009 1:43 A.M. ARRIVAL SCAN
WA, US 01/23/2009 12:45 A.M. DEPARTURE SCAN
WA, US 01/22/2009 10:52 P.M. ORIGIN SCAN

Looks like it went out, had a bit of think, went back to Redmond, then went out again!!

And this is the expedited service???

Oh and in other're not going to believe this...I'm getting another cold.....OMGWTF LOLZ and other text type things only my daughter can understand.

I await the misery with stoic resolve and large quantities of alcohol.


Thursday, 22 January 2009

woooow result

I got an apology from Nintendo.

Yup, I did, they apologized for the delays and said they would review their processes to ensure information was more accurate, and promised to expedite my order as soon as the relevant building of kits was done.

I call that a result, but I'm still needing those kits hoping they will be here early next week.

The project itself is all pulling together incredibly well, we missed our milestone date unfortunately, which I absolutely hate, bugs, sickness and some technical issues were the cause but eventually overcome.

Fortunately the game is looking pretty amazing and really pushes the DS, so if we can hit a delivery this weekend we should be able to catch up. At least the client is pleased with it, if eager to receive the deliverables.

I'd love to give more details/show some pics, but I'm just not able to..Perhaps when its done.

In other news, my health is improving, thanks for asking mum. I picked up a chest infection after my two colds which has kept me coughing every so often to the point that my sore rib, which I injured after Christmas has actually got much more painful. But I'm on the mend so just have to let nature take its course.

This has however brought home the realization I need to sort out a local doctor and get myself registered. Some Anti-Biotics might help clear this up. Definitely on my to-do list for next week.

Finally I have to show you this.

One of my students has put me in his game assignment as a character, I LOOOOVE this, it is soo cool. The Simpson's is probably my favorite TV show and to be depicted as a Simpsons character is just way too cool. I've made this my new avatar for our college forums and can't wait to see the final game.

I've seen some of the other lecturers caricatures as well, they are incredibly funny and I hope they will get as big a kick out of it as I do.


Wednesday, 21 January 2009


I chased them again......
this is what I got.

"We did not have any Wireless Debuggers available and are now in the processes of building them. We will ship as soon as possible. Hopefully within the week."

You probably don't want to see the reply I sent be best...there might be children reading.


Monday, 19 January 2009

More Nintendo woes

Frustation seems to be more and more common when you are dealing with Nintendo these days. They used to be such an easy friendly company to work with now its all, rules regs and beaurocracy.

Oh and apparent innefficiency. I needed to order some dev kits in November for my project, and it took ages to get them to agree the order as I'm still technically a home based developer (we've had this rant before) But on this occasion I am actually working from an office as there are some team members involved in the project, so that managed to circumvent the silly "no home office" rule they have.

But it took so long to have my order "approved" (I mean...honestly...approved? I want to buy something not join a country club). That I was worried it would get delivered during the Christmas break, when of course I was not going to be there.
So reluctantly I had to postpone the order till I got back. Leaving the funds at the mercy of the plummeting $ - £ market. Still I shifted them to an interest account (not that that will generate much with the banks dropping rates to almost nothing now)

Still, on my return I confirmed the order and gave them card details to buy the kits, several thousand US$ worth (the import tax is going to be a pain).
And I waited....and waited and waited...And the funds were still sat in my account over a week later.

An email to Nintendo draw a strange response, "We were updating our card processing systems last week, well let you know if there's a problem with your card". So it hadn't been processed at that point...

A few more days go by, still no funds removed. So I send another email, which this time does draw a response, indicating payment processed and order shipping.
Phew, good, we need those kits quite urgently now.

So this weekend, I check my account, and what do I find...not several thousand US$ missing, but a few hundred....Odd. I'll have to call them and ask whats going on, but as its the weekend I just have to wait.

But lo...guess what, this morning I get a delivery at the office. Rather a small box Dev kits. Just some memory carts that I had also ordered (in the same order).

Stroppy email sent, I'm just hoping they are not shipping/charging the order in 2 seperate invocies..The $ has been getting stronger against the £ in recent weeks so the longer this goes on the more it costs me.

Import taxes seems to be around 22% as well...damm. Buying kit can be a frustrating AND expensive business.


Thursday, 15 January 2009


can't post...busy...deadline tomorrow.

*mum, buy a newspaper, my life really is not that interesting :)


Sunday, 11 January 2009

Feeling Human

I mentioned a few posts ago that I'd picked up another cold soon after (or nearly)getting over a cold I picked up in the Canaries. What I haven't said is how ill I've its not man flu...just 2 colds on the trot, something I can't honestly remember ever happening before. I'm prone to the odd cold like most people but usually a month or 2 apart.

3 weeks of constant heavy coughing, sneezing and a still very sore rib take their toll. I was feeling pretty rough last week while I was giving the last of my lecture weeks and was happy to get through them without spitting out a lung on a students desk. With hindsight I've probably given most of them a similar nasty cold to show up during their exam week...hope not.

Today though...touch wood, I'm feeling much more myself again. Still coughing a bit, and my voice sounds like its being filtered through a cheese grater but my head is clear and I've got some energy back. I even did a bit of hoovering this morning.

Phew...trouble is, I've been looking at the project work I've done the last couple of days....I can't make head nor tail of it, its like reading code written by a drunk/doped up geek, probably going to have to scrap it and go back a few days to get back into it.
I think I should probably have just stayed in bed rather than trying to do anything, but I have a milestone looming and wanted to try to get as much done as possible.

Right, onward an upward! No teaching for 3 weeks so a perfect chance to get a big chunk of work done on my project which has been annoyingly slow to take shape but is finally starting to come together and looking cool.


Friday, 9 January 2009

Fixed my PC

On Monday I let AVG my virus checker run its scan in full, normally I don't do this because there are so many files on my drive it takes about 20 hours to run a full scan. Usually all it finds is a few tracking cookies picked up from cruising the net (even though I am not a frequent dodgy site visitor, you'd be amazed how many trackers you pick up). These are not bad things normally they just make your machine a bit slower so its good to get rid.
On this occasion AVG seemed to find a few other things and I let it "quarantine" them.

I thought nothing more, and carried on working away.

But when I switched it off I had no idea of the hell that would result.

When I booted up in the evening to do a bit of work, my Windows refused to fire up, claiming it was not activated??? Ok no problem, annoying but no problem. It gave me an option to activate it on line so I did...and it didn't'...activate that is...grrr

A bit of research suggested all I had to do was boot up in safe mode, fire up AVG and restore the quarantined files which presumable were the cause of the problem.
Not actually that easy a task when you have a USB keyboard but I managed to fire up in a very very very slow safe mode.
and AVG provides no options to restore files from the virus vault......nice!!!

Now this is a legit copy of windows, though it dates back to probably 5 machines back, and has simply updated itself as I've moved the drives from machine to machine. The COA however is stuck on a PC case back home in my attic, so I had no access to the serial number or recovery CD for that matter (which would be no use as my machine is far from being the original eMachine this windows started life on)

Bugger.. I called MS and of course without the COA I was unable to prove my copy was legit and they refused to help.

Safe mode at least allowed me to dump some important files to a USB key and then onto my laptop so there was no real danger of losing anything...but still I want my big fast mother of a PC up and running.

Some colleagues supplied COA numbers but they were incompatible with my presumably early version of Windows...what to do....what to do...I confess I tried a hack program or 2..but even those failed.

Finally I bought an ebay copy of windows, for about €40. And while I waited for it to arrive I started to back up my PC (in safe mode) in case the quite probable event that the key still would not work and I'd have to re-install windows, I'd risk losing all my tools in the process (I don't have all my master disks with me)m but at least my work and data files could be saved.

Fortunately...the key worked...PC's up and running and the only casualty is .....AVG...which thinks it's license has been hacked....poetic justice I uninstalled it.
I will of course re-install it, since a virus checker in this day and age is essential, but I'll pay a little more attention to what ever it decides to quarantine.



The Winter chill is getting quite severe now. I know that in the UK they've been reporting very low temperatures, but its just as cold if not a little colder here.

One plus side to this is some frankly stunning winter scenes here in Breda. A very light flurry of powder snow last night, combined with a hard frost, has left all the Trees in breda looking like white snow sculptures. Just really beautiful scenes. I'll post a pic soon, but my main PC is currently out of action so I don't have the abilty to transfer pics from my phone.

On the down side, I don't think I was fully recovered from Bina's cold before I started work this week, going out and cycling to work in the sub zero temps has brought about another slightly different no less unpleasent cold.

No fair, getting 2 colds one after the other is probably against the Geneva convention or something, even germ warfare has to have rules...oh that right its a virus.

I don't mind the runny nose so much, but I basically havn't stopped coughing for 3 weeks, and I still have a bloody sore rib.

Ah well, off to the chemist soon for some lemsips.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Sad News

Tonight I had some very sad news, an ex collegue of mine from my days at Creations Software passed away suddenly yesterday, not quite sure why, I'll probably hear in a few days through the old collegue network, though it seems to be asthma related. He was only 41.

I worked for 2 years with Danny Whelan, on 2 Baseball titles for Nintendo, I did the main game code while he did all the menus and stat code. He seemed to like that kind of fiddly work and quietly chugged away with it during both projects, sometimes a little slower than I would have liked but he never seemed to want to give up.

We never got to be great buddies, but we would often share a laugh and a joke and a drink and he was genuinly one of those really nice shining people that you can't ever imagine any harm coming to. I lost touch with him after I left Creations and it later went bust, but we did bump into each other at shows and it was always nice to hear how he was doing. I seem to recall the last time we spoke he was beaming about a new addition to the family.

I don't really know what to say about this. When people you know die it re-enforces your own mortality a little and that can be a bit of a shock. But when people you know, who are genuinely nice decent gentle souls, can be struck down at an early age, it sorta hits that bit harder and just seems dammed unfair.

Danny leaves a wife and 2 young kids behind. I can't imagine the degree of loss they are feeling now, but I do know that all those who knew Danny will be feeling some amount of loss.



Friday, 2 January 2009

And even stranger

Last 2 pics I promise

In this one you can see we are heading towards some recognisable rock formations, again before the odd ones I highlighted. Unfortunatly it was taken from inside the car so has a window reflection and is not as sharp, but it does give an overall view of the area ahead, the depth of the gorge and the noticable absence of power lines or pylons.

Now look at this one, a little see the "power lines" heading down at an angle, but apparently not connecting to any pylons?

Well thats it...I am still stumped..logic tells me they are power of phone cables, but in every other logical way they seem wrong, always parallel to the camera and displaying the same thickness, no evidence of pylons, no memory of seeing them when the pics were taken and generally just being wrong.

I'll have to head back to GC to double check this :D



just before the spooky pics

It's been suggested that the lines are powercables, which logically would seem the best answer, but looking through the pics before and after there was evidence of more lines, not always as oddly parallel but still there...
These pics were taken 30 mins or so before the odd also shows some lines...but there's no sign of pylons and they seem to be heading nowhere upwards
And again bear in mind, we were up in mountains, the roads were very windy and there were sheer drops of hundreds of metres below us. Your average HT powercable would need a fair number of pylons to support them going up such steep slopes and none are visible in any of the pics taken around this time.
We do have some pics taken earlier and lower in the terrain, of pylons and power cables though, which are visible as black lines with noticable sag and regular pylons supporting them.


Thursday, 1 January 2009

UFO's Unexplained Foto Occurances...what???

We had a fantastic time on Christmas day, we hired a little green mazda 2 and headed off into the interior of Gran Canaria determined to get to one of the main summits and view the island through 360degress.
We never quite managed it but we did get some absolutely spectaular views, and with wonderful clear sunshine it was a genuinely wonderful day out.

But today as we were going over the photos, something very very odd caught our eye. At one point we spotted Mount Teide, which is over in Tenerife poking its summit above some clouds and we stopped to take some pics of what was frankly an awsome sight.

Sadly the photo does not quite capture it as well as we hoped but you can just make out the snow capped summit poking up.

But what is even more strange is the rest of the photo.
Can you see those 3 parallel lines at the bottom/middle....We took a few photos in that area and I can assure you at no time did we see 3 lines..At first glance they look like a scratch on the lens, or a light effect or fault in the card, or perhaps cables. But look carefully..its not a scratch becuase other pics are not affected, its not cables because we really don't recall seeing them, and also cables stretched that distance would sag and would be horizontally parallel rather than vertical, and also...zoom in, and you will see the lines go behind the plants in the its not a lens effect or a fault in the card...Also they are incredibly parallel...I mean just too parallel?

Also consider that we took those pics on the edge of a gorge several hundred metres deep, and at least a kilometere or 2 wide which might help to get an idea of how wide this image is and any cables would have to span a fair distance a long way up.

Some more examples



This final image is a little different, it was taken a bit later bit in the same general area, the interesting thing is the lines are no longer parallel at this point but still seem to be perfectly stright and uniform over a vast distance.

I have no explination for this at all..its kind wierd. I'd love to hear opinions?