Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Pride :)

My Students :D


Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Bug Crushing fun

A simple and frankly obvious thing I tell my students all the time, is not to fixate too much on a bug being something you think it is..It may indeed be something totally different elsewhere causing a problem.

I've had such a bug myself, for quite some time now I've been trying to prevent a random speedup in the control system of my game which caused the main character to fly off screen when exiting rising or falling water. (It'll make sense later when you know the game.)

But try as a might, I could not work out exactly why the damn thing would sometimes fly off wildly at speed losing sync with the control system that keeps the character in a block range for collision checks.

So of course it had to be in the move had to be....or in the water routines....or in the key press readers, or or or

I hunted and hunted for this bug in all sorts of places, convinced it was something really complex that needed lots of hacking exception code to correct.

Well of course, it wasn't it was in the end blindingly obvious, I was using a flag to change between speeds and the fault was that I was doing it without checking if I was wholely on a block before altering speed, which meant the co-ord position of the character could bounce off a block and never get to check for a valid collision point..result...sometimes it flew of screen unable to detect the edge boundry blocks.

Ok not a blindingly obvious explination but the main point being I need to practice what I preach.... I will of course tell my students that I can be a bit of a dick sometimes...though not as often as they :).

On the upside a long standing and very demoralising bug has finally been crushed...onward.


Sunday, 27 March 2011

My face is melting

Bina and Jodie, brought back a few jars of Nando's piri piri sauce when she was last over.

We LOVE Nando's but they don't have them here so making our own was an exciting option.

Since my surgery and radiotherapy last year though, I have not really been able to eat anything too hot or spicey, which is upsetting, I was and will always be a Vindaloo and Extra hot Nando's lover, but I am going to have to give my mouth a few years to toughen up before I can indulge again.

So what they brought back was Medium

Medium, ie, a bit hot but not painful.

Its a LIE...Nando's medium cooking sauce is actually molten capsicum in pure form and when added to chicken and cooked results in an experience which is something like sucking on a red hot glowing poker which then turns to lava in your mouth.

Medium.....I used to eat raw chillies, I once had the staff at a resteraunt peer out the door watching me eat a chicken phal (granted with severl gallon sized jugs of ice water), and I used to get Bina's mum to put extra chillies in her curries. now too hot for me, how the mighty have fallen.



Saturday, 26 March 2011

Movie nights rock!!

Had the 1st movie night with the new wired system, what a picture! Everything works perfectly on the movie side and I got a fantastic Hi-def DVD image that is totally cinema quality.
The TV output still gives a pink picture from time to time that needs a singal reset to fix (unplug the cable basically) but other than that its 1000% better and I will be junking those wireless links now. I'll try setting up the cable direct into the projector rather than via a repeater to see if it fixes it....assuming the cable is long seems to be.

Also it was payday yesterday..yeahhh, though that was slightly tempered by the end of month totting up process which showed I'd gone a bit overboard this month on Home Cinema and guitar bits and bobs...going to be a rather austere month next month. No takaways.

Its been fantastic weather all week, but would you belive, we are going to a BBQ later and today the weather is dull and overcast, probably going to rain!


Friday, 25 March 2011



+ This


All kinds of awesome

(ps it also gets a lot of "turn that down" requests)


Thursday, 24 March 2011

Cables == Quality

Cables finally arrived and I got everything hooked up. There were a couple of niggles due to the remote system for the HD switch/splitter using the same IR signals as the TV systems display settings causing great fun as it set up screen modes that netiher display could support!!

But its sorted now...HD quality images now being projected from the DVD player in 720p, using a scart upscaler, and the Freesat box sending direct to the switch.
And with the press of a button (can't use the remote) I can send the images to the projector or the TV in glorious 720p Hi Def.

I do get an occasional "pink" screen on the TV, when going from an HD channel to a standard def channel though, easy fixed by switching channels a few times but still...The coder in me does not like to see an obvious bug, but 99% functional is still pretty good, and the picture quality, with no signal loss or wavy lines is brilliant. I will see if I can shorten the HDMI cable and avoid using an extender, which may be part of the problem, but really its not such a big issue.

Movie nights will be a lot more fun with no microwave interference or image drop at random intervals.



Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Card Fraud Resolved


Card frauds have been refunded and a new account set up. Only got 1 of the sneeky auto renews refunded though, but the major £2,300+ fraud has all been refunded with the interest charges that went along with it.

Normality can now return.


Frustrations...its all a matter of scale

Little bit pissed off that some ebay stuff I ordered to finish off the wiring in the play room have still not arrived. I can probably find a 20m HDMI cable at a store here but it would be expensive...and of course as soon as I buy it, the one on order will turn up...its a bit like getting in the bath when you are expecting a delivery..they always arrive just as you settle in (in fact its a cosmic law..try it if you need your package to arrive quicker, just run a bath)

Its all I need to finish up the media systems and get a big improvement over the current wireless systesm but its going to have to wait till the cables arrive...frustration.

Other frustrations in life are harder to cope with, bad tempered brothers for example, I won't go on about the specifics but it seems both my brothers are now not talking to me. Well I have to say in both cases I really can't be arsed to argue with them, they're being dicks and I'm not interested in saying otherwise just to make them happy. Face book defriending is just a tad on the sad side for a couple of so called adults in their 40's. Very modern though, and I suppse more civilised that storming out of the pub.

When peoples 1st reaction to some percieved offence is anger and insistance on their viewpoint being the only one to be heard then there's something seriously wrong with your reasoning. I have long since given up the desire to go along with things just for a quiet life. I'm happy to listen to and acceptn anyones view point, but I won't be forced to share yours. Get over yourselves. Frustrating.

Other frustrations are on a global scale, the idiocy of governments and politicians is staggering, Libya is now the cause de jour, when similar issues are around in Saudi, Bahrain, Yemen, but choose the easy options why don't you! Frustrating

When is the UN actually going to stop pandering to political heavy weights and try to make the bloody PLANET a safe place for all of us. Too many dictators and too many powerful interest groups taking priority over basic human needs. Frustratung

Comic relief was on in the UK last week, as always showing pictures of terrible suffering in the 21st fucking century we still have babies dying of malnutrition!!!! Frustrating.
Lets not even start on the people of Norhern Japan, that particual bit of realisation we are all human and subject to natures whims, has been skillfully wiped away in the news. Frustrating.

And then to round it off, on Facebook recently I've seen a couple of people stating that cancer is curable and its only the governments and drug companies that are stopping easy cures from being made available so they can make money....shiiit...On every level this is nuts...If it were's too horrible to comment on, and if can people belive such nonsense?? Conspiricy theories are probably the most frustrating, they're like religions, people want to belive in something and refuse to see the simple logic that shows how wrong they are.

Crazy world ...really crazy world..

And I am sat here working on a game project I am dabbling in, trying to get a monkey to create a splash when it enters a rising water level......surreal.
And it wont' work....frustrating.


Friday, 18 March 2011

Self imposed exile for 30 mins

Bina and Jodie are watching something called a Gok on Channel 4??

I felt my IQ dwindling the more I stared at it and decided it was best to retreat to the office for 30 mins or so of string twanging.

hmmm I never noticed before that this shirt just does not go with these shoes!!!!


Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Working at home

Peoples perception of what you do when working at home is kinda strange..There's an underlying belief that you're not doing anything, because you are taking a break watching TV, or playing a bit of guitar or walking the dog or you might as well catch up on some household chores.

Fact is though I am rather busy, though I can and do have many nice breaks, I am working on a couple of important presentations, learning more about networking for next block, going through the PS3 SDK, fixing some bugs in our school developed project, looking at some students submissions for retakes and generally keeping just about on top of the admin I need to do were I working at the office.

So, I'll get to hanging those curtains and using the leaf blower on the garden just as soon as I've done the day job stuff.

Whew....need a break now.


Sunday, 13 March 2011

After a bit of a tidy

So now we get a better idea of the space we have in the upstairs room

Bina working in her corner.

Guitar corner

Media and clothes drying corner :D


Friday, 11 March 2011

The Play Room MkIII

So 1st up some Guitars on the walls ;) Its a bit crowded in there but thats just becuase I've shoved everything in the corner while I do the work.

Before the TV got moved, Lucille,PRS EG-3, Gibson SG and Fender Telecaster.

Fender Strat and a PRS EG-3 super strat. Surprisingly similar, but stunningly different to play.

Then we have the blank wall which is about to be transformed

The Hardest wall in the universe, the top left corner hit a steel support so I had to drill over to the Right a bit.

Frame up

And stick the 50" generation #2 LCD beast up....took some lifting.

Projector source, the projector itself is out in the hall and we have a hole in the wall to beam through. Once I've papered that new wall I'll put a glass frame up there to seal out the noise totally.

And the screen drops in front of the TV

Hooked up and ready?

Now at this point I hit a snag....I discovered that the brackets holding it up were obstructing the input sockets on the I had to take it off again, move the brackets up and install the cables on the TV then reset it.

Piping TV to the Projector ITVHD looks pretty cool, cables tidied up and ready

Electrics are not 100% yer, I'm still using the wireless feed to send the images to the projector, but we have an HDMI switch box and cables on the way via ebay to finalse everything.

TV, Satbox and DVD all route sound through the Home Theatre's Dolby 5.1 and I can also add a PC to it if I choose...not sure I'll bother tbh, but maybe..we do need a central printer server in the house.

Monumental tidy up is halfway done now, just having a wee rest putting this up.


Thursday, 10 March 2011

And the final few bits

Literally, I had to go buy a 10mm masonary bit..and while I was there, some heavy brackets, some hooks, nuts and S hooks to hang the Projector Screen which arrived yesterday.

The TV mount turned up this morning, so I decided to get to it and try to get it all done before Bina arrived back from her overnight UK shopping trip (where she bought me a sweet minature version of Stevie, (unknown to her I had also ordered one on ebay..but ah well her's is nicer))...I didn't quite manage it, since drilling holes in the wall of this house is only marginally harder than trying to cut diamonds.

It took ages to drill the holes to mount the TV frame, and on 1 of them I actually hit a steel girder so had to drill another hole, but eventually the mount went up...TV fitted and a few leveling adjustments later..We had a TV mounted on the wall.

Now the fun bit, the 10 ft long projector screen...again more drilling to get the brackets in place, each hole took nearly 15 mins to drill, and the drill bit came loose a few times from the pressure and was seriously hot. But eventually 4 new holes in place.

Brackets mounted, hooks in place, s-hooks on the screen mounts and hup she goes....
bit of fiddling to get the height right, bit more to get the drop to the right place, bit more to get the retraction right, a small interuption to the process to fix some food for a returned and hungry Bina and eventually we have it looks awesome...I'll post some pics I took on my phone when I locate my little dongle thing for putting the pics on my PC.

After my mild panic about the TV not having an HDMI and discovering it did, I realised as I was checking things out, that the Home Cinema system did not have an HDMI out...doh!!!
So (hopefully) final purchase to the Home Cinema upgrade bill is a Scart to HDMI upscaler...which is quite cool since it means we can also use the Wii on the projector now, was not going to be possible before.

A long hard day...drilling, lifting, screwing, adjusting and tomorrow clearing up...but worth it.

Pics to follow soon.


Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Holy CRAP!!

Stevie arrived today, all nicely packed and safe in a nice sturdy box.

Opened it up, took her out of her Fender bag and there was a pristine Fender Stratocaster, only 2 tiny blemishes on her top edge under the arm which can polish out though they really can't be seen.

Tuned up with what looks like a new set of 10's on her, she has a lovley low action, perhaps a tad too low on the bottom E, as theres a tiny buzz if hit hard, but easy to resolve.

Feels like a near perfect set up Stratocaster.

Plugged into my amplitube amp on IPad, she sounds a clean setting, turn up the tone and...


Those Texas specials are utterly utterly amazing.

This is a stunning guitar, just stunning, depite being a fan made copy of a very pricey custom guitar this has had love and money spent on it and it shows.

The sounds this thing makes are.....oh wow. It blows my much more expensive Suhr equiped Fender Strat Deluxe out of the water in terms of crunchy hot blues tone.

Quite possibly the best, and I mean THE best 200 quid I have ever spent.


Monday, 7 March 2011


And HDMI repeater/connector!!

I'm sure other odds and ends will crop up..
I had a mild panic this morning when I realised I had not checked if the Samsung had an HDMI connector, after all it is an older model we brought over from the UK and is about 5 years old now, but its ok it has a port so Plan B still seems plausable.

Out of curiosity I was looking to see how much projectors are now...They have certainly dropped in price, can't remember exactly how much mine was at the time 2nd hand but it was a few hundred, now you can pick up HDMI capable projectors for under 200, even 150. Must be quite a boom in home theatres to generate that much competition.
A lot of them are cheap rubbish though, and I don't plan to change mine for some time as its a cracker. But good to know when it does pack in I can replace it for what by then will be the price of a computer game rather than a guitar.

Carnival time here in Breda, lots of happy people in silly costumes wandering around..I like the spectacle of it all but not so much the participation, try to push through lines of nuns, popes, teddy bears and smurfs to get to the bar to be overcharged for drinks that now need to be paid with tokens gets a bit'll be back to normal in a day or 2, just the smurfs to contend least those who bought their paint from Halfords ;)


The cost of fun and games.

Spring Break is upon us, so I have a week off and aside from guitar (of course) I am finally catching up on the odd jobs that need doing.

The satellite systems are now firmly tucked away in their respective cubby holes and the TV unit in the lounge is now benefiting from invisible cables and dual sat inputs for full functons. So we have UK TV, Dutch TV and Dutch Cable TV...not that we watch much Dutch Cable TV...its pretty strange.

Next job is the Play Room. We enjoy movie nights and at the moment we're using our hi def widescreen projector to play movies on the wall, its ok but its not perfect.

I've currently set up the TV and DVD system using a wireless system but its not totally stable and we do get signal loss, as well as having to manually plug cables in or switch things off when not used, plus the wall is not really white or smooth enough to get the best pics. And we have a dirty great big Samsung TV up there not being used.

So...plan B... The Samsung is going on the wall, and a projector screen will give us better pics..but its a bit of a chore setting up HDMI cables when you want to use the projector and the TV...Lucky for me ebay is the providor of all things.

Wall mount for the Samsung
20m HDMI cable.
4x2 HDMI auto switch, lets me plug 4 things in, then choose where the images are sent to.
110" Glass bead remote electric screen.

When its all done, we should be able to plug in the Home theatre and Freesat system and choose to watch on TV or big screen. AND we can pick up an PS3 and Xbox for games too...maybe a PC...

Thing is, man these things are pricey, you need to factor in stuff like this when you want to do that kind of system...But it'll be worth it. I'll try to put some woodchip up on the new walls we had added just to finish it all off. I'll post some pics when done.


Wednesday, 2 March 2011


Just won this for 200 quid on Ebay, £200 for a genuine Fender!!!! Ok ok not a genuine SRV, its actually a modified Mexican Fender Deluxe,which is still a very nice guitar, the owner has addedgenuine SRV scratchplate and hot texas pups which are expensive on their own...the stickers are fake but he was of course quite open about that.
200quid!!!! I fucking love Ebay.
Of course it going to be called Stevie, and I'll fit her with heavy strings and keep her tuned down in SRV mode.

omg 200quid!!! I do hope the seller does not back out on it...I'd be very upset having to let it go at that price but it just didn't appeal to the die hard SRV fans who wanted a genuine SRV (£1.5K) or nothing. Me I just like the idea of another quality guitar that someone has spent some time and loving on....ermmm well figurativly speaking..I hope!!

:D Happiness is an ebay bargain, never mind those damn cigars!!


Tuesday, 1 March 2011

aches and pains

I've not really done a lot of heavy physical activity the last year so its no surprise to find that when I do some I pay the price.

Helping my friend Martin move his gear from his apartment to his new house involved a lot of lifting and today I ache....ahhhh yes...the memories of physical I remember why I became a game programmer.