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Diaries of a dolphin

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The adventures of Captain Fabulous and Minty! [Apr. 7th, 2015|07:10 pm]
Dark Heresy! Warhammer 40K based rpg. A bunch of heroes here to quash the rebellious gangs on a planet. The tone was set by Minta singing "the wheels on the tank crush the heretics". I was an arbitrator by the name of Thaddius. I was randomly given the quirk of "pierced ears", and it was decided that this was because that was fabulous. Fabulous Thaddius, or Captain Fabulous to my underlings. I suspect his actual rank was much lower than Captain. We alos had a psyker with us. He seemed a little too sensible though. Also his scruffy robe and constantly rotating eye wqere distinctly unfashionable.

We were invited to the captains table. Captain Thaddeus chatted about fashion. Minta ate a lot and at some point started to be referred to as Minty.

Ship broke.  Weird stuff was happening, so we went to investigate. The tech priests didn't have a clue what was going on. The Navigator had some vague idea. Minty realised that some of the food had been stolen and went off to investigate that.

We eventually checked the manifests, found a weird-ass devicce claiming to be an "artwork" that was giving off nasty psionic noise. Minty tracked down the food to some random passenger and shot them.

Shortly after the ship was invaded by weird mech type things. Captain Fabulous let out a heroic girly scream and ran away. Minty pulled out her granade launcher and started blowing the alien things up. Captain Fabulous contimued hiding. Our Psyker set about killing the beastly alien things in a methodical businesslike way. Eventually Captain Fabulous regained his nerve. Marched back in there, guns blazing. doing some serious damage at one of the boarders. Minty took a shot and accidentally killed a security redshirt.

Captain Fabulous then picked up his club, made a death curdling (but still somewhat girly) scream, and charged the nearest enemy, leaving the remaining one to Minty - who could now go back to her precision grenade launcher and finish off the last invaders.

Turns out the beastly alien invader things were after the artwork giving off psionic noice. It was now gone.

Our report skipped the part about Captain Fabulous's girly scream, and made it quite clear that the redshirt's death was a mercy killing.
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(no subject) [Apr. 7th, 2015|03:58 pm]
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TL;DR - I went to Sheffield. Saw flickums. There was much snuggling.

I arrived at Manchester via sleazyjet. flickums was waiting at arrivals! Much huggage ensued. Didn't really do much except snuggle, watch Despicable Me, and more snuggling. I want a minion! Flickums made quiche! It was amazing!

Saturday we went to York. Met with sister of Flickums and ate all the food in the pub! She seems to like me! Yay! I am approved of. Looked for Stonegate. I believe we found it. Also had a stroll along the wall. I like walled cities! York is a fine example.

York also has a The National Rail Museum (dirt cheap as well - £3 per person and that's optional). Flickums insisted on paying. Felt a bit guilty abut that but she is very stubborn and wanted to fuss. I got to be a train nerd! Flickums found my enthusiasm "adorkable". Can't get her too fired up over an A4 locomotive though. It's a rather good exhibition for the nerdy railway enthusiast. Lots of trains. Two notable famous names (Mallard and Evening Star). Lots of examples of royal coaches. Edward VII had a bath in his train! They also had the front part of one of the original bullet trains. There was a pointless and dull game about getting the right food for a dinner on the Flying Scotsman.

Did learn that in the early days of onboard catering, if the kitchen was running low on supplies they'd hollow out a potato, put a note in it and throw it at a signalbox. The signalman would telegraph ahead and the next station would have the supplies ready. No information on the number of signalmen injured by low fying spuds.

Went home. There may have been more snuggling.

Sunday, Nova stopped by and we played a game of a Dark Heresy. Will talk about the adventures of Captain Fabulous and Minty later on. Saw dispicable Me 2. Flickums cooked roast ham for us! It was very very tasty! Saw Dispicable Me 2. I still want a minion!

Monday was our last day! :( Spent a lot of time watching silly videos on youTube and played a never ended game of Worms, where we both kept killing everyone through epic incompetence.

Also there was snuggling.
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Comedy tonight. [Mar. 22nd, 2015|10:01 am]
As part of my plan to force myself ot actually not be a hermit, I looked at The comedy group arranged two meetups. Went for one organised by someone I've met because these things are always really hard to find.

So I arrived. The location seemed a little odd. A lobby with a mish mash of signs, some missing. ut the address was right, so I got in the lift and went down to the basement. The door opened. it was blocked! There was nothing but a wall there! At this point I felt "I chose poorly".

So I stepped out and saw another group of slightly confused looking people. We decided to go to a bar to see if they were open later. Went to a kebab shop instead but at least they sell beer. Went back to the venue. They were actually open at this point. So the venue was a dingy club. Actually it was a corridor in a dingy club. And really cold! Plus point is that the bar sold candy floss. One of the oddities in Berlin clubs is they seem to often sell "bier" - a brand with a plain white label tat simply says "bier" on it with a nondescript font.

So the show - it was billed as comedy cabaret but the first chink was just standup, which is the usual mixture you get of ability levels. The last guy was great though. Just a freak show type of thing which involved sticking his hand in a possum trap and his tongue in a mousetrap. For some reason I find that sort of stuff hilarious, despite being so moronic. Or maybe it's because it's so moronic. Also he was being heckled by a load Belfast woman, and he handled it brilliantly!

It's a shame I can't handle late nights. Would have loved to have stayed around for the more cabaret type stuff.
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Comic Maker v0.1 [Mar. 14th, 2015|09:17 pm]
Decided that v 0.1 of my comic editor is adequate to upload. Seem to have spent the bulk of the time getting speech bubbles to a satisfactory point.

I have absolutely no idea how to go about creating an installer. Surely there's a simple free tool that allows you to specify a bunch of files, fill in default directories, and create an installer, but if there is one I have no idea what it is. Decided for now I can shove everything into a zip file. Was hoping I'd be able to clone the repository and all its history to sourceforge but that's apparently not possible.

It is a fully working application. It does allow comics to be created. Wouldn't recommend actually using it for any serious purpose just yet though since the save format is might undergo a few changes.

I really meant to get the special effects (blurring and drop shadow) working today. Took longer than I expected. Blurring took about a minute. Drop shadow took seconds. But Qt doesn't allow me to add both. Nor does it allow access to the draw method from anything that's not a subclass. And it's one of those times where Qt is trying to be far too helpful. It deletes the class when I remove them and I don't want it to! Also had to do some hefty changes to the object to make sure the effect didn't apply to the controls. Finally got it to work but I was really hoping I'd be able to get that and all the GUI stuff working today.

Anyone who wants to have a play with it can nab it from sourceforge. Enjoy. If you can get it to crash, or have any UI suggestions, let me know.
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Redemption 2015 [Feb. 25th, 2015|09:00 pm]

This is the sixth Redemption convention I've been to! Still my favourite con! Hour by hour run down of what went down.
3 days of con fun insideCollapse )
So that was the con that was. Would have liked to have done more gophering. Poor gopher bosses were very short staffed. Will try and schedule that in beforehand next time. Also realise there are a few things I missed. A time turner would be quite useful here. Also I need more time with all my other friends!
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Music Quiz! [Feb. 24th, 2015|01:59 pm]
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The usual organisers of the Redemption Music Quiz couldn't make it! I hated the idea of not having the quiz, so I volunteered as tribute! tlanti agreed to be my incomparable compere, so the quiz was on! Fortunately, we also had Morag - the team's usual scorer - keeping score for us!

A week isn't a lot of time to create a quiz. I need to get the music. I need to trim it, test it and in the case of one round reverse it, slow it down or speed it up (and then pitch shift it back to audibility). Am really pleased I did a last minute check of the questions. Question 9 was completely wrong!

I put on my cat herding ears to get everyone organised. I can't overstate how good the Tech Crew are. They're awesome. "So, I want microphones and I want to be able to play audio from my mp3 player". No problem at all. A bit of tweaking and a sample tune and all was working.
Here"s how it wentCollapse )

If I do this again, will bring chocolates or something to hand out to audience members for getting questions right. Still not sure if throwing the questions to the audience was a good idea. It is good to keep them involved and does mean that there's no need to pick which team to give a shot to.

Glad I did it but I'm more than happy to hand the reins back to Christine and Michael for the next event!
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St. Pancake's day [Feb. 17th, 2015|08:06 pm]

I've always liked making pancakes. There's a certain satisfaction that comes with getting the batter consistency just right. Getting the fat to sizzle in the pan just enough. And as it looks like it's half cooked, we get to flip the thing. One deft flick of the wrist...

And it's back to where it was!

Well, I'm not the most cordinated person ever. Getting the balance between not quite flipping and a double flip isn't easy, but after two or three goes, I have a flipped pancake.

Tasy with lemon and sugar. Or with cherry conserve.

Pancake day has to be my favourite religious holiday!
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Itchy feet [Feb. 6th, 2015|10:21 pm]

I never used to be big on travel. Family holidays were always a little stressful. Then I went on a holiday, on my own, to New York. I loved it! So I was a bit of a late starter when it came to globetrotting.

Really this is apropos of nothing, but thinking of future holiday plans helps keep my happy in the cold dreary winter, so these are the places I want to see:
Warning: Lots of big photos inside. May cause itchiness of the feetCollapse )
I'm sure there are many others.

These days, one of my go-to icebreakers is about travel. So where have you guys been? Where would you like to go?
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MP3 players [Feb. 2nd, 2015|11:57 am]
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I replaced my lost Sansa Fuze with a Sansa Clip Sport. At first I was quite happy with it, despite a few annoyances. I loved that if I dislodged the SD card, it took less than a minute (rather than more than 5) to rebuild the database. I also liked that there was a shuffle option on the song select menu rather than buried in settings.

The problem came when I tried to find a specific song. It wasn't there!

Turns out that it can only handle 2000 songs on the SD card, and 2000 in main memory. I have a total of 4500 songs. Even more annoyingly, I want them all in the same place. For some inexplicable reason, the SD card and the Music folder on the main device are accessed via separate menus. My idea was to shove everything on the SD card, but can fit less than half my music there. Rockbox was my first thought. I need Audible audiobook compatibility and rockbox doesn't support that. Dual boot seems way too much of a hack.

But even discounting that, the Clip Sport was didn't have anything like as nice a UI as the Fuze. That thumbwheel was fantastic!

So I want a replacement. Requirements: Must be new, must be able to handle a micro SD card or have a lot of memory. Must be able to handle 4500+ songs. Must be able to handle audiobooks. Must play songs in track order. Ideally has a thumbwheel and shuffle option on the song menu.

And no, I don't want to use my phone. I never have been satisfied with it as a media player.

Option 1: A new Sansa Fuze
Turns out they don't make these any more. I don't want a used one! Also the long wait for a databse rebuild was a pain.

Option 2: Sansa clip zip
May work. Am a little wary of Sansas now. Also I want the thumbwheel.

Option 3: iPod nano
Twice the price of most players. Also the ones I like are out of production. I don't like touch screens! They're unresponsive. I'd love a 3rd gen but they only go up to 16GB and once again I can't buy new.

Option 4: Sony
Expensive again. Bit of an unknown quantity. Also I have a dislike of Sony's anti-consumer attitude.

Option 5: Some other brand
Even more of an unknown quantity. I remember I got my mum an unnown brand,  and the UI was rubbish. It's very hard to actually get a chance to play with these things.
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The Imitation Game [Jan. 31st, 2015|09:09 am]

So, I rather enjoyed this film, but there were a few glaring historical inaccuracies.

Sherlock Holmes was actually a consulting detective in London and not a code breaker.

Elizabeth Swann actually married Captain Will Turner

Tywin Lannister was lord of Casterly Rock and not a navy commander.

WW2 battles were faught in colour. Black and White was a hollywood invention.


Seriously it was enjoyable. I think you need to accept a certyain level of Hollywood metaphor. A group of experts working as a team industriously breaking codes on a round the clock basis with the full support of the commanding officer would have been accurate but somewhat lacking in drama.

If we assume that Alan Turing is being used as a metaphor for Bletchley Park, and Cdr. Alistair Denniston as the part of the military that thinks code breaking is a waste of time, it sort of works for the historical narrative.
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