Tuesday, November 28, 2006

modbus simulator

Time to talk a little about my hobby, the modbus slave simulator is a pretty little beast intended to simulate a good few modbus slaves, why you may ask, well sometimes (actually all the time if you have not got tonnes of wire and a budget) to build a test-rig for your modbus mastering application with lots of slaves attached to it.

I write this little app in about 3 week-ends and origionally it never spoke modbus at all, but a little know TI protocol. I re-worked the innards to support multiple protocols, and TCP/IP connections (I still want to support UDP someday) a few times over so that Ihave a kind of framework to allow new protocols to be added, but my greatest time spent has been on the GUI. Strange working on a GUI, but my latest work (started a week-end ago is actually on the GUI, and it is very time-consuming. Comms is much easier than GUI. MOD_RSSIM is free (link on left).

Monday, November 27, 2006

All night Starcraft

Well not all night, that is the big downside to having children, they wake you up at 6am any given day, so playing till 2am left me with 4 hours sleep, and no way to catch up on lost time, since my 2 critters do not take naps in the afternoon.
Xmas is coming, and I have to admit, Greg is still the golden boy, Rhys is the energy; the destruction rate has come down a little in terms of how much it costs to replace the things they break, but this time the budget is under pressure.

We finally got to look at what it is costing to survive and well some things need cutting down, we are on to the cheapest coffee, and the internet shopping list is being sorted by cheapest-brand from now on. I suspect eating more fish is good, but it is still not a cheap foodstuff. Trying fish at the moment, since fish-oil is good for the joints. Embarrassingly my knees hurt after a long drive, and since I drive an hour to work each way, I suspect it can only help to keep myself going. I want toget a bike on the 'ride-to-work' govt. scheme. I cant ride, but I will be able to once we move closer to Cambridge. But a bike is a great way of getting down to the shop in the afternoon, since i hate a drive, but walking a mile in the dark is not my idea of fun, how do people do it?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

UK Winters are gray

Well not so far they aren't. I get a mix of white flourescent lighting in ample doses in the workplace, mixed with re-breathed air of dubious germ-load by end of day, and then the prospect of black. Yep black night at 5pm on the road home.

White or Black, but the gray is there, it's a bit well hidden from sight. I think it gets called nanny culture here. It's the kind of thing that suggests I could get the NHS to buy my headache tabs (free), just because I could get grumpy otherwise. Well that's what could happen to heroin addicts who have turned to crime (about 25K per year to feed your habit), because some police officials suspect it may help to give out free drugs to help wean the criminally active addicts. Which is known to be around 80% of the criminal offences, to pay for their habit. All because this would make us safer.

I imagine I will have to suffer headaches in silence from now on, just in case this fool idea actually gets some headway.
The times

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Free web access

Well almost, and in defference of free e-mail services, you may think, wow, all these free things are actually quite usefull. and you might feel justified to complain when the 'free' stuff you get (et-al flashing advertising) stops working.

But spare a thought for thos left in South Africa, they not only have to pay for broadband, but the speed is poor too. Chatting to my Buddy DJ at work is like talking through a long steel pipe, and having some idiot with a 2-way radio relaying the conversation. you get cut up, dropped and all. Gotta get a web-cam; that way I can flood the connection fully, and really tax it, because skype calls use very little bandwidth after all.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A dark day in IS

Hotmail dies slowly http://www.freedomlist.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=18577&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=40

Myself this is possibly marking the beginning of the end for hot/coldmail? faithfully trimming my mailbox to stay inside the idiotic 10Mb limit every single morning has left me a little tired, and even though msn have handled spam so well, I have to say grab me on gmail from now onwards.
After slower access over the last 3 or so days, it has now been offline for about 6 hours running. Dying dying? watch this space.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Snot slide

I think the real reason I enjoy the boys in-between the tantrum phases and all, is the cute things they get up to, say and how they just innocently mess it all up at times. The slot-slide, for those who have not got boys of their own is the bit below your nose that is shaped like a slide on the way down. I am going to go along the lines of why we have ears on either side of our heads... to hold glasses of course, but that kind of thinking cannot explain the discovery and probably not genteel purpose of the snot-slide.

Xmas comming, still not settled on what to get the boys, we have long been of the opinion that they have far too many toys, and need discipline and structure more than they need toys. Rhys needs to be larning to play nicely, play educational games on the computer, and art. When he is in the mood, he creates quite good stuff with felt-pen and paper etc, but generally he is not that way inclined at the moment. I am still not happy with Nedbank SA; I have not got full access to my acct to be able to transfer moneys about and pay people. This really sux, because I have a debt collector after me, but nedbank will not let me pay them. Because I am not able to present myself at a branch to issue an instruction. This fraud thing is getting a bit thick. I am almost going militant with people who screw with security and get up to disconnest dealings without realizing who they really are hurting. take for example the snow culture amongst the pop-stars. Every few lines of coke kills a innocent person on the other side of the globe in the making of the drug. Very f*** clever peter. I know if all drugs were legal, there would be no drug crime, hey this is utopia we are living in, or is it utipia?

Go figure.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


It is not easy getting into things in the UK, I must say you keep wondering about how things really do work, traffic for instance, you see a sign, 70 (miles/hour) and wonder why are these guys zipping past? Then latter on everyone is creeping along at 40 in a 50 zone? what gives, it's enough to get you really on edge.

And now it is damn cold, I hear there is a spray you can use to get rid of the ice on 'yer car windscreen.
I got a scraper, and that works ok, but it does not work without at least some effort. It RSA I could just get it off with a quick swipe, the stuff this last week was a bit tougher than that, and the side windows also got a touch. Next week is warmer at least, so no complaints yet. I have gotten me a really nice jacket, and we went down to St Albans to see the fireworks last night. I think Rhys and Gregory enjoyed it although it was a bit scarry for Greg after a while. They had a really good show, about half an a hour long.

So far so good, My father has a skype phone in RSA, he lives in Cape Town, so I suppose it's time I got one, I have been looking around, but 24 quid is a bit much. You must excuse my typing, this is an english US not UK keyboard. Something on my shopping list, I know, but it damn well works perfectly for everything else, so why scrap a perfectly good keyboard? I have to look out for something else too, the seal around the kitchen door has been muched away by someone with a big knife or a saw, they did quite a number on the door, and it is a bit of a puzzle, but the gap lets in cold air by the tonne now that it is so cold, at least I will have some chance next week to fix. I am in London most of the week on course.

That's the funny thing about training, I am doing the introductory courses still, but I am there 2 months already, the training is just not soon enough to keep up, and they are all booked up. OOOOOO, did not have a nice day on wednesday, the fellow who is in the desk just opposite me had a heart-attack, I've only known Michal for a few weeks, he is a little older than me, and started at Symbian 2 weeks after I did. We are just getting to be friends, in a comeraderie kind of way, becase we are both new at the job, but now he will be off work for a month or so. Michael stays just other side of the bay from Henk and Crista (left RSA about 4 years back) in Brixham, and is renting in the north of Cambridgeshire. it just makes you think about life in deeper context when you have a scare like that.

Anyways, gotta get some e-shopping done for that skype-phone. I can't believe my father beat me to it in the techno-race.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Life is a fragile thing

Well you just get the reminder, in your face when the bloke you are just getting to know just freezes in the chair across from you. Suddenly you have some rushing about and a CPR exercise, all very real this time; in front of you. And the whole time you wonder what happened? A heart attack is not a funny thing at all, probably stress one might say, I'm stressed, but not that badly. I'm pushing myself, but not that much. I suppose I could get mroe excercise, get a bike!

But I am just thinking what is happening to Michael, how is the family coping, was this unexpected? I was happily carrying on with my day, not a thought for the possibility that tomorrow will somehow be totally different. Well it is just a little different, and it is worrisome. I am in no position to do much about it either, living really far away and all. I am thinking that if I stayed much closer I could do more to help out after the fact in some ways. It's all selfish perhaps, but staying closer to the workplace has it's advantages above being able to leave for the office a bit latter in the morning.

As I am a new guy on the team at work, I am trying to get involved in the after-hours activities of the team, a bit difficult if you have got a hours drive ahead of you afterwards. It's worth the effort, but still a factor.

Ha time is a fleeting, and it's time for the monthly banking duties, pay pay pay. I am still stressed about energy/heating bills for winter. We use more gas in the central-heating boilder-system in winter, and the cost per unit also climes over winter, so how do I estimate the effect. Xmas shopping sits bang in the middle of it all, how do folk in the UK cope? I am worried about what the electricity will do, since we have to use the tumble-dryer more now that stuff does not try out.

I am a bit peeved at the comparison and change around the world. Climate change and all, and Pik is dead :-(