Tuesday, 29 March 2016

ok well yeah, not nice.

really wasn't well today, was seeing double as I was working at my screen and have been light headed and woozy all day, and the coughing...grrrr
Even had to cancel band practice, and I never cancel band practice, but I felt I was not safe to drive.

Strange, its not a flu/cold, but similar symptoms, hopefully will feed batter tomorrow, and get back to work.


ugghhh what is this

So I have a chest infection, a fever, and am producing mucus than I can swallow in real time...but..I don't have a cold..

never had this before, don't like it, feeling shitty but then again not as shitty as I feel with the mega colds.....

But the choaking mucus is horrible, can't sleep with waking up choaking and swallowing....need to find some meds.


Sunday, 27 March 2016

But I didn't get a cold!!

Incredibly I have a chest infection, been coughing and spluttering and bit of a temp...I say incredible, because I never got a cold...usually these things plague me for months, but always just after a heavy cold!

Bahh....hopefully this is something less crippling than the post cold ones of last year....so far just a bit wheezy and chesty cough...


Friday, 25 March 2016

The Collection is comple.......

Well almost,  picked up a Banana Pi M3 on ebay for half price, and a RoseApple Pi (very fast but tends to run hot) as a swap for a Raspberry Pi...and a few Nano Pi quad cores are on there way, and last but not least an Orange Pi PC.
 My 64bit Odroid C2 needs to go back, it has a faulty HDMI but not a big issue.

That's enough now I think, its getting a bit silly, and it'll be damn embarrassing if I can't get the projects to work on anything other than a Raspberry Pi.

But I basically have the base line and high spec models all of the major clones, so that should be enough to get everyone and anyone who reads the book to get their SBC's up and running.

Also happy to see that my lovely accountant, has managed to restore my self employed status, meaning I can claim all these costs back against tax :D they are pocket money purchases though really, its just that I've done a few this month, but $9 -$20 a time is hardly going to break the bank.

Income from the book, small though it is,  will mean I probably will have to pay something this year to the tax man. But hey how, the benefits outweigh the costs.

The projects main framework is now up and running, though I was very surprised to find I can handle around 3000 software rendered sprites on a Pi3...and the Pi2 managed the same, even a model B managed a few thousand... I was hoping (oddly) for much worst performance so that when I demonstrate the correct way to handle sprites the impact with be much more marked.

But not to worry, I'm sure I'll find a good way to screw it up :D

1st games are starting to take shape now though, so will get them all up and running and tidy ready to paste in some source to expand them. Each project will have a base line set up, with the reader expected to type in code to make it all function...I don't want them downloading working games, its important they enter code and get used to it, breaking an important psychological barrier when it comes to learning to code...actually developing the confidence to type it in is a major hurdle for beginners.


Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Coding highs and lows and fuel fraud

I am struggling so much with a work school project,  I've re-written it twice now but still it does not work...I really can't see the fault, its driving me crazy, and stress is never good for coding.

It has me doubting if I can even code any more.

To calm down I did a bit of work on my book projects this lunchtime...wrote more code in 40-50 minutes than I'd been able do do in  3 working days on the work job...crazy... The project code is more complex and needs more stuff I don't quite understand than the work project...but its the simple work project that has me in knots...very odd...

Anyway, that 40 mins, the code flowed, and I cracked several small issues I was having getting my display fast enough to work, it all works fine now and I can code the rest of the projects with ease. I went back to the work project after luch.......nada....

I'll have to sleep on the work project for a bit.

And today I went to get petrol for the car, and for some reason the payment machine at the unmanned station refused to accept my card, giving me a big red X and telling me to take my card back.

I drove away very annoyed and went to a manned station..

But when I was doing a check on my card online to work out how much to pay this month, there was a 50odd euro charge at that petrol station. It did take my bloody card, but the person who came to the machine after me must have though christmas had come and filled his tank.

grrrr.. Sent a message to the card company to notify them of a possible fraud...not sure I'll get a refund but apparently it has happened in the past...fingers crossed.


Sunday, 20 March 2016

Maddog not quite so mad

As much as I really like my Maddog jumbo which I bought from Pat at Maddog guitars in December during my UK trip, its given me a lot of trouble.

Pat likes his guitars set up with the lowest possible action imaginable and yes that is indeed nice,but guitars, especially acoustics are living things and breath and swell in different air conditions, so the problem was that as it bent and flexed the low action ended up being a low buzzing or worse an outright choke. Its become almost unplayable above fret 10.

I'd already tweaked the truss to try to give it a bit of a relief, (a slight bend) but it wasn't having much effect, so time to put some nice bridge saddle spacers I had in one guitars welcome pack to good use.

I only had two, and they were very thin but given how low the Maddog is, I put both in, to avoid having to take it apart again if one wasn't enough.

I must say, that 1mm or so raising of the bridge has worked a treat, still quite a low action with 10's on it, (I'm going to try heavier strings, but will use these for now) making it easy and comfortable to play. The slight rise in action is barely noticeable but now I can play notes around fret 12 and up without any more fear of chokes and buzzes.. yeahh for saddle spacers,

I'll need to see if I can find more, just in case.


Saturday, 19 March 2016

double spacing....not the saviour it seems

Hmmmm so writing has some rules, which the publisher sent me, They don't want me to format the text or add the diagrams in the text, though it does make it easier for me to read...however I don't think that's a big  issue, what I am worried about is my 140 pages in 1.5 spacing with nice 11pt fonts has to be converted to Times Roman 2.0 spacing in 12pt fonts...now its 210 pages

ermmm I don't think I'm going to fit it all in, I'm only 5 chapters in and have a lot more text, code and diagrams to add...

Oh well I'll just keep going and let the editors worry about it :d


Monday, 14 March 2016

Now we're cooking with gas

Had the most odd issue, with the Pi code, try as I might I could not get the bugger to display any texture which was created my malloc, even though I assume it was all 0 and therefore transparent, when I moved data into it, it should have become visible. Finally I discovered that if I used memset to put data in there the textures became visible....then later became visible anyway :(

So I was probably doing a combination of little things wrong until I hit the right things

But no matter, I now have a screen sized texture, the size of which I can control, stretched over a full screen image.. :D

I can make a start proper now on the projects and get things moving on the 1st 3 projects which need this rather crappy code.

time for bed


Sunday, 13 March 2016

reworking the office

Since I'm probably going to be spending a fair amount of time in the office, writing my book (does not sound at all pretentious when I say that now)  I had a bit of a rearrangement of my work station. I like having 3 monitors, it might seem silly considering I have a massive 30 inch baby there in the middle, but when debugging code, having source on 1 screen, debug panels/general mail on another and running projects on the 3rd becomes a nice way to work

The need to hook up my Pi's to a screen during development meant I had to turn over the left screen to it, and switch back and forward on the source button as I needed to. I found this to be a bit of a pain...
So...behold, the old Bedroom TV which was replaced by the old living room TV when I upgraded, which is also an HDMI monitor, has been mounted on the wall exclusively for the various forms of Pi

The Pi's and clones themselves now connect up to an HDMI 5 way switch I not longer use so, I can keep 5 of them hooked up and swap them around as needed.. I'm also getting an old switch unit so I can keep them all networked up and that way all I have to do to try a new target is change a config label.

Though still need to plug in a use so they can use the keyboard/mouse/wifi...I only need to do that when I'm actually playing games on them, and there are ways to convince them to use the PC's keyboard and mouse, which I will look into.


Geekdom rules.


Wednesday, 9 March 2016

:D Well that put a smile on a bad day

Not having a happy day at work at all, no need to explain why, just some differences of opinions that create tension. I was all ready to storm off home to buy a cat to kick, when I got a mail from the publisher.

The book is go!!!!

I repeat the Book Is Go, its been officially approved, contracts can now be signed and I have to get 20 pages a week done so it can be finished in Sept.on and write 10 demo games on a Raspberry Pi :D


Its not going to make me rich or famous but I am going to enjoy this a lot.


Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Being bad is fun

Well at least it is when its to do with coding.
I have been trying to get OpenGLES2.0 to do something its not really designed to do, use RAM based double buffers as a display system. There's no real way to do it, as OGLES2  does not let you do CPU manipulation of a texture once it has been set up.

But its an important  "bad design" decision in my book, which will let them do something that works on almost any machine, yet is clearly very CPU intensive and not using the GPU at all well. (sorry mum this is tech talk)

But I managed to make it work by constantly killing and remaking textures every frame to allow a new buffer to be set up and displayed.. It is genuinely an awful system, but..and this is the point it work, perfectly well, you can display any number of graphics you want with little or no effort, since now you can copy stuff into the display buffer and it will magically appear on screen.

But the point its its wasting the power of the GPU and totally consuming the CPU, but it does make code based manipulating of objects very simple, very clear and very very easy to understand...which is the point. The reader can now easily get the idea that putting things on screen is simple, that will let them focus on doing that rather than trying to make sense of the way OGLES2 needs to be set up to do it properly.

Once I've done a few games with this system and we explain the disconnect between display systems and logic,  I will then demonstrate how truly awful it is and talk them through a way to alter the display system to something much more OGLES2 based with a massive boost in performance...Sometimes the only way to let people see that a bad decision that works, is still a bad decision is to let them do it, and expose the limitations.

It was actually very frustrating working out some way to do a double ram buffer, in the end the constant thrashing of killing and adding tetxures is even worse than I imagined it would be...every time you do that routine, a kitten dies!!! Lots of kittens are going to die now.



Thursday, 3 March 2016

I sense a return of the flatulence

I suspect I'll be farting with fear for quite a while now...The book has taken another mega step forward to being approved....feedback from reviewers of my proposal has been positive and the editor likes it....though the title needs a bit more work still/

I am gobsmacked that in the space of 3 months an idea I had to keep me busy has snowballed into something so big and fun.

The publishing committee are going to discuss it this month, rather than next, so I'll find out in just over a week if this is definite.

In the meantime, I'm having an absolute blast filling in my chapter headings, writing little bits of mindless ramblings to be edited into something more formal later. And even more fun, prepping my projects to lay out the foundations.

Its going to be 6 months or so of hell, writing and coding, but I can't wait!

And evern better news the Colecovision project is almost done, I got some memory together by procedurually generating some graphics and now I just need a nice cosy weekend to myself to wrap it up...

Can't really get better than that.