Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Xmas

Just wanted to say that for £199 this baby was worth it.

92 km to Kent and then back again in terrible weather one day and bad jam the next definitely saved the arguing about who is driving or holding the map in the right way. Off to oxford to visit Alex and Mirek and little Sophie. Stuart and Liz are comming up, and they are leaving their woofits at home for the day this time.

Navman/satnav works!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Rowan

Right day, wrong photo :-) Loves you lots Rhys Gregory and Conrad.
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Foolery, sir.

"Foolery. sir, Does walk about the orb like the sun; it shines everywhere" Shakespeare Twelfth Night.

Well, we had the Plumtrees' around for curry yesterday evening. Their charge Daniel, managed to stay awake till around 10pm, which was a the latest our critters have ever been up, and so you can imagine we were happy that Gregory was the first to rise at 7.30 this morning. Since Claire was visitingand it was Rowan's birthday, I made most of the brekkie, which did not depart in the slightest from the curry in the evening in terms of calorie-count. Too much supper, and too much birthday-cake by lunch-time is a recipe for a midday nap.
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Sunday, December 16, 2007

The shutdown week

Been burning my way to this week for some time now - wheeee last week of work for the year!

Henk and Christa poste a pic of their little Hunno, and once again I get google mail addbars for things back home. This one was really good (requires venacular) I mean sometimes all you want to do is escape, really escape from a life that seems like a prison with all the modcons, visiting rights, TV, time out for good behaviour. but still prison. They say being paranois can keep you alive; but the stress leeches things from your chemistry over time, and it becomes hard toappreciate the gems like this one photo, which is not of an alien, but is Gregory, really close - something we spend a lot of time doing in fact. It is upside down,
but he does not care. Am I wanting too much, am I missing some pieces of this map? I want the best I can for them, anything so long as I am sane at the end of it all. Perhaps to fall in love is the answer; and I must say there are many distractions that one can follow - but which one will immerse the seeker? I think 2008 will be a good year to find out, until then we will enjoy the winter and all the good things that a holiday season brings.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Sex sells the box

Why do people put a sexy elf on the cover? To sell the box, but even if the game inside sux! ...will it still sell? Apparently it does. I tried out the demos for Spellforce and Spellforce2 (2006), it was easy enough to find and download, and immediately you discover that they come out with a swathe of expansions for extra play, the review ratings averaged around 6 and 7, which meant it was "worth a look, but do not expect anything". The graphics are good, and sound+voices are up to par, and if you had the patience to play through totally linear storylines and non-interactive combat, it would be fine. But I do not. I give it a 4. Basically because it suffers from something a lot of RPG types do, the magic-users are powerful, and die easily, but because it is impossible to pause the game, it is not feasible to swap spells an target properly. (See: Dungeon-Siege 2 from a recent post, which does this very well).
Whoohoo Photoshopping, well in this case picture-publisher.
I am ill this weekend. Having fun with the web cam taking photos of the room, and then giving them an electric effect. Not great, throat is sore - and I am lacking sleep as a result, (from playing spellforce demos more likely) my inbox is starting to flood over a little with Christmas cheer, and the Christmas cards are starting to come and go.
Rhys got very inventive, and has decorated the plain generic cards we sent out to friend in the village-school with some hand-drawn on-the-fly art. It looks more like noughts and crosses, but on closer inspection, the x's are kisses, and the noughts are hugs. I am astounded by the creativity displayed here. I am always wondering, what was I going at that age? The toys of today are so much advanced, the boys have slippers that flash at you when you walk or jump. I never had that, the world has so many more things that go roar, blink, giggle and squeak. I mean a laughing-toy for red-nose day is a disposable SIC with a simple motion-detector based on a loose spring inside a copper tube so it touches the tube when shook. When the battery dies, you turf it out (It costs £4 for batteries, and the toy is only £1). Oh back to the boys, Rhys made hand-prints the other day. All on his own - all prompted when he discovered a old foot-print made by Gregory at daycare back in Johannesburg. Rhys colored in his chalk-board, then wet the board with some paper-towel to make a blue wash. Next step, is two hands on board, then 2 hands on paper. Pretty good results actually. Clean-up was not a mission either, although mom had to mop the floor latter on because they carried on playing with the chalk.
Greg is very chatty when he wants to be, and can make up stories about how and why things are quite quickly. I have a few black T-shirts, with logos on them of course, so I ask Greg, what the TShirt says, and his answer? "Black shirt with letters" of course, how silly of me to not translate the Microsoft Logo like that. Rowan is working a day-shift at the local care-home, which works pretty well for us. It is not far, pays the minimum wage, but flexible. Rowan fits in night shifts normally Tuesday night, so I take the boys to school the next morning, and Greg spends a little longer the next day at the playgroup (called the rosary) Rhys only finishes school after 3:00, so it is a long enough day for mom to get some sleep in. I need sleep too.
I still feel a bit out of things in general. I think that's the winter depression, living with short daylight, the happy vitamins in your blood stop coming from the sun.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Transistor is 60

Article : Wow, and I thought I was getting old. Technology does move a-pace. And to think that a semiconductor used to have at least 5 pins before. Today so much is easier though the cleverness of those who went before, although their "invent" is not really lost and covered over by everyone who appreciates the detail.
Go on, have you hugged a tranie today?
Hey, bring that sheep back!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

How to wrap your presents when you own a Cat.

This applies to having children of <>
1) Clear large space on table for wrapping present.
2) Go to wardrobe and collect bag in which present is contained, and close door.
3) Open door and remove cat from wardrobe.
4) Go to cupboard and retrieve rolls of wrapping paper.
5) Go back and remove cat from cupboard.
6) Go to drawer and collect transparent sticky tape, ribbon, scissors, labels, ect.
7) Lay out present and wrapping materials on the table to enable wrapping strategy to be formed.
8) Go back to drawer to get string, remove cat that has been in the drawer since the last visit and collect string.
9) Remove present from bag.
10) Remove cat from bag.
11) Open box and check present.
12) Remove cat from box, replace present.
13) Cut paper to size, trying to keep a straight cutting line.
14) Throw away first sheet as cat tried to chase scissors and tore the paper.
15) Place present on cut-to-size paper.
16) Lift up the edges of the paper to seal the present, wondering why edges now don't reach.
17) Find cat between present and paper. Remove cat and retry.
18) Place object on paper, to hold in place while cutting transparent sticky tape.
19) Spend next 20 mins carefully trying to remove transparent tape from cat with pair of nail scissors.
20) Look for ribbon. Chase cat down hall and retrieve ribbon.
21) Try to wrap present with ribbon in a two directional turn.
22) Re roll up ribbon and remove paper that is now torn, due to cat chasing ribbon.
23) Repeat steps 13 to 22 until down to last sheet of paper.
24) Retrieve old cardboard box you know is right size for last sheet of paper.
25) Put in present and tie down with string.
26) Remove string, open box, remove cat.
27) Retrieve discarded sheets of wrapping paper, feed cat and retire to lockable room for last attempt, making certain you are ALONE and the door is locked.
28) At the time of handing over the present, smile sweetly at the receiver's face, as they try and hide their contempt at being handed such a badly wrapped present.
29) Swear to yourself that next year you will get the store to wrap the darn thing for you.

Next time you get a badly wrapped present, remember it could be from a cat owner !!!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Retro gaming again

Unfortunately nothing out at the moment seems to come up to the standard of BG and IWD forRPG gamers wanting a system closely alligned to 3rd edition classes and skills. And amongst others I am replaying my selection of games I managed to keep after the relocation; to numb the brain.

Picked up on a guide to playing System Shock, which I missed out on in my youth, if this works, I will be hunting for a box-set to put on my shelf.

On the serious side I am also having some continued requests for my modbus simulator, and it is about time I found a minute or 2 of time to turn this program into a money-spinner or even a job-spinner? Anyways it needs a serious re-coding/re-fractoring. And it just sounds like hours of work with no reward? Well how do you set a goal and reward for a project with no real reward? Make up a reward of course, and this reward to myself will be a domain-name. Still got to think what it will be, either to host this 'orrible blog or to host my programming+code? Well, the best planned ventures with achievable goals are most likely to succeed are they not!

Next I need some coffee!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Little Girl Lost

It is easy to point fingers at a parent who looses a child, well if you do not have your own that is. When a little girl well known by now went missing, I just shrank inside of myself thinking, that could be me, what if my boys crossed a street and were killed, the grief would be the same, but the self-recrimination would still surpass the publics' ire.
My very first question when the news broke was, "Who leaves a child alone in a foreign country? "The answer is probably lots of people who are not like you and me, and I suspect lots of the people at that fateful dinner party amongst them. I really feel they have paid for their mistake now, and only wonder how long does the pain go on, for the rest of your life? The future for Madelaine is very grim and dark, but there is no more chance of redress now than of getting struck by lightening at this point. Can we just bury this child now, I think we have all learned our lesson.
Conrad is not a happy person right now over all this news, if I pick up a paper I need to take an anti-depressant too.
I am wondering if the government (nanny-state) know how to look after their children anymore. They tell parents that you may not strike your child, should teach British values to them, and skip out the bit about going and getting married in a church. We are event told what kind of light-bulbs to put in with a real display of having lost grip when 25 million children's details are leaked through the mail.

The last one to be in a position to criticize UK government, I was surprised by the resignation of the HMRC chief. Similar to the Northern Rock CEO resignation case, the captain should never be allowed off the ship before the water covers her decks totally. I believe the UK govt it-self is not at fault, but rather the mentality on the ground needs bolstering. The child-benefit data (our boys birthdays are out there now too) is like a customer database, most companies guard theirs with their lives, since it's their revenue stream. The silly paranoid stuff about bank details being given, come on gentlemen, do we know how valuable this data is on the street? Even encrypted this data is usable regardless of it taking 5 years to decrypt, because that is when it will be most valuable to fraudsters who want to pose as our sons and daughters and phish and defraud them just as they start out in new jobs. To then spam and attack them through all manner of means when they are gullible and have money of their own to be robbed of. At least re-issue the NI numbers at no cost? Staff at child-benefit unfortunately have been lulled into thinking that children are not customers, but rather a burden on the taxpayer, so scarring off future claimants is not necessarily an evil thing if it lightens the load on the war-chest. Rubbish!, Lets all pull our fingers from our arses, smell the aroma, and then get back to the work at hand instead of staying stuck on a missing girl who, even though we still cry for her, is really lost to us all.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Thanks mom

I suppose I need a thanks-dad post, he also deserves one, and why it is important to spel wel is another. My mom, Julia Beatrice Kretchmer ('nee Walton) was born in the UK, that's important, because it currently makes me immediately eligible for citizenship. Something that was not "fully" the situation when I came to the UK almost 2 years ago. To apply involves proving model citizenship, something that will probably take a while, but untill the time is right, we will move forwards; things like buying a home are next in line if possible. My mum was born in Shropshire, I've been there once, it's probably a bit prettier than Cambridge, but memory tends to do that to anything when you are on holiday bouncing around. So, thanks mum, because according to immigration law, applicants probably need to be Here, for about 3 years to take up the option, and be able to provide references. It's not a simple or cheap process, but much faster than staying and working for 8 years. And in reality, buying a home is probably out of the question until then.

My help-meet (doormat) tells me I write about grumpy things, but it's my diary. And years from now I will say it's my diary, so chew on that! I cannot understand how destructive the boys are lately, not a week goes by and something is damaged. They get spoken to, and they spread flour about next week. The week after it will be crayoning the floor, the future destruction is unpredictable. My mum was patient, very patient; but she never lost her hair. Thanks mum.

Still hacking about, I am amazed that I remember so much, and am building small IC circuits, using trannies again, and now am hungry for more parts to project/bread-board. I've got quite a bit of vero, but have not "committed" much to it yet. The nice thing is the old parts are still very much available, and new things like the CIC (circuit in chip) make to possible to build sound-effect generators for toys for instance, with pretty much 1 semiconductor only. Right now I am building a traffic-light toy. It's not exactly 1/32 scale at all, since this one is a prototype, and I am still working out a way to make it robust enough for kids to play with.
TODO: attach photies :-)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Cyclometer resolved

It seems to have taken hours, in fact I think it's more like 800ms. That's the reaction time on the cyclometer CPU. Definitely no good for timing the green robot (traffic-light!) with. So that's working properly now. Downside it I have to install it on the front wheel of a kid's bike, on account the wheel gap is too great, so I am changing my mounting-strategy a bit to compensate. I would really have loved to have seen some installed photos. I work better with real pictures.

First Ice
First frosty windshield morning, it dropped to 2 degrees last night, so I guess the shade and wind off the fens was just enough to ice it lightly :-). The clocks roll forward soon, at lease that will stay the darkness in the mornings, and give us one 'slow' monday morning. I love the fact that most mornings I can sit in bed for 15 minutes and chat with my lover, or if the boys are 'arisen', talk and play-fight a bit.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Am I unlucky or what?

Sent on tokens for my free cyclometer from Kelloggs. It arrived (even amid the postal strike) but is the most pathetic freebie I have ever seen.
step 1: mount it (simple enough), having fun... measure wheel
step 2: enter setup menu by holding down all 3 buttons for 2 seconds.

that is as far as I can get. Are 50% of these things broken? So far I can get the diameter setup screen if I am super-patient, after that it wants to set miles/km. but it never ever goes out of that screen. I figure the buttons are either just crappy build, or my home is built over an ancestral burial ground, and some ghosties are mucking with the cyclometer. I believe Kelloggs dropped the ball. Have to call them on monday to see if is is returnable/swappable or what.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Snoekie (.pl Snoekie Pookie)

'n troetelnaam. (trans. afr. "Term of endearment"), much like sweetie pie, are totally orthogonal to things like babe or hottie, which are plain and simply not in the same class of describing 'who wears the pants?'
Why have a love-name? Primarily as a way to say, hey we are a 'item' or more correctly a team. My helper Rowan is a lot more than just the one who provides the big and little-men with hot supper, and the ironed shirts. The woman in your life is a very important connection to the goings on of the real world if you find yourself in the artificial environment of an office. Special white-noise is pumped in, the air gets dried out so your respiratory problems act-up, some idiot forces you to 'sit' in front of a machine with a million tiny lights in it. All blinking away demanding your attention. this is not natural, but I digress. "Love dove" means, I loves you. It is not something to call someone when frustrated at not finding anything, or when the mood is low.

Love-dove will be around for a long time (I hope) and although sometimes it looks like I do not care enough, I do worry enough, trust-me.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Social bookmarking #2

I might just be giving it all away, but this morning I had a brainwave. which means that a one-in-a-million event (brainwave happens to travel the universe, happens to have flightpath near to the conrad, brainwave actually strikes me in the cranium - makes it through my thick skull... at this point it all becomes quite futile really. It's probably been thought of already

So here is my idea.
Map-books with a built-in compass; to make them work in a car, it uses a gyro-compass to defeat the electric and magnetic fields in your car's faraday-cage. Well there you have it, if you like some details, just leave a note below :-)

Satnav Bliss

There are few things in this lifetime that cause more conflict than map-reading. I believe it has something to do with caveman mentality. Caveman is out hunting, now this is usually something non-stressful, like fishing could be. But now we are fishing not all alone, but competing; so you get the picture - all these wild drivers on the road, competing for position. some of them are there fishing for fun- on a sunday afternoon drive. But I'm competing! I've got someplace to be, and my navigator is continuously twisting the tatty pages of the map-book about like you do when you are testing to see if a compass still points true-north if you spin around quickly.

Now that gives me an idea for a quick invention, but more on that latter... so we got a satnav. It makes the peace, because when you go wrong, or it goes wrong,you blame the digital box, not your best friend. It is possible to laugh at the funny voice, and even turn the volume down so that the annoying litany can be safely ignored until you decide you really are lost. Overall I was not impressed with the NAVMAN F50. It came with bluetooth, which paired with my phone on the second attempt (The first time I was still fussing with my phone), and just worked, doing all bluetooth/handsfree things without fuss. But the satnav still has bugs, and you discover these on day 1 as well.
After setting up the 5-mile drive home,I followed the prompts, until it showed a quick left-right turn that did not exist in real life. Strange, the road was planned, but the folk who build the new housing estate 10 years ago never put that road in. They were supposed to, and that was not the only issue. On day 2 I typed in a postcode, the unit simply responded with 'no reachable route' and refused to give any directions at all, even though I was 80 miles away, and the navigation error was to the order of a mile or less. Notwithstanding the monument I wanted to reach was a popular POI on a main road... Let's see what happens.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

LUA lightweight embeddable script engine

My compilled release DLL 248K (un-optimised) tells it all, compiler, and runtime all there.
Getting started was not easy, if not frustrating, for such a simple task. in the end, the main resource is, and the LUA wiki, and LUA forums. Amongst the best intro articles I could find: - and, and of course the LUA Wiki. Lua is surprising in 2 aspects. Its' free, and easy to get going once you have the background filled in for you. I suggest digging into the problem, and then just trolling through the reference manual and the LUA online book edition. A pitty ordering a paper copy of the book does not help in a big way, because you only need help getting LUA going for about the first 3 days, pretty much the same time as it takes to deliver if the book was local.
LUA is extensible, and if you have not gotten to this bit in just a day or so, you missed something along the way, other engines take far longer to get extending working in, without any blow-by-blow or click-by-click instructions! something you will not get with LUA.

Why LUA? Well I have decided to get cracking on writting a game, and the biggest issue we could face is not just user-content (modding), but game-desighn. I think keeping the desighn viscosity a bit in-the-air with scripting as glue might allow a direction/desighn change to just 'happen' when needed. The game is to be based on a top-down isometric real-time strategy, with wide unit-upgrade characteristics, which create multiple strategic possibilities. Micromanagement, expansion or defence? which will it be? What part will LUA play, well it's too early to tell, although I can see tonnes of oppourtunity: configuration, AI, 'bulding automation' amongst others.

Electronic kit building

2 things have re-awakened in my fancy world this holiday. One of them is electronics.

Some pics of the little creepy simple light-attracted bug. It took only half an hour to build. This circuit is nice in only 2 ways, cheap, shows how a motor can drive the bug without any gearing, and thirdly simple, having a very low transistor count.

I was dissapointed on 2 counts with velleman. the website is wrongly silkscreened onto the board as . It should be ,they also have a USA office and site. Why on earth screw up something that important. Secondly (but not last) is they give you 2 diodes, but neither of them have a place on the PCB... well actually I used one as a rear-axle.. and that is where the puzzle lay, because the horrid diagram they provided on the box shows a diode to prevent damage if the battery is the wrong way about (would actually heat the diode a bit IMHO, since it is drawn as going across the supply of 2 AAA batteries.) but it is not on the PCB, unless you solder it onto the underside! UGLY.
Overall a nice simple kit. Next is a microcontroller project He He!.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

How to be

I figured out how to tag things with delicious yesterday, it's one of those social-bookmarking things, you start out by tagging sites that you would have bookmarked, to tag a site, you type in 1 romore keywords that may help you find it back. inityiallyI though, this is going to be totally huge effort, but it seems to work better than bookmarking for 2 reasons, it collects by date, so has cronology, and it graphically presents, so it has size. You can also add tags to a mark so that it sends the link to your buddies (or network), that is where the social angle comes in. delicious is also web-based, so your bookmarks are available anywhere.

So it's not evil, will probably not damage my karma, and I can probably drop my 'cloud' onto my blog page right here. (click on it to find my name)

Oh here is one awesome/hilarious Youtube series, primarily about vegetables to get you started - .

Why youtube is evil
Ok not evil, just all consuming. I know Google own it now, and this blog-site. But this is a world of free speech, and youtube does that very well. Youtube is even better than TV, and TV is BAD, in a too-much-of-a-good-thing kind of way. It can eat away at your social life, and productivity. /RANT

Saturday, August 11, 2007

More camping pics

I took lots of pics of the sky, I imagine it will still look like this 100 years from now, so maybe it was a bit pointless.

This one was not

Here are one of those helicopters I was chatting about...

This strange fellow is not directing traffic at all.

Caister castle, In this castle reflection.

It is not well preserved, I suppose that is the problem with all history, people deface it in the present by scrawling their names, pretty much in the same way as they did when if first probably fell into diss-use. I suppose it just started to fall down one day, so everyone ducked. Maybe they were taken prisoner, or worse, it was just too damn cold. Looking around inside the single standing tower was a bit spooky. I mean it is only one tower, the spiral star built into the stairwell is very steep (the original stairs would have been steep and heavier, hence going up or down would have to be done slightly stooped).

The nice part of the castle visit is the vingtage transport collection, with cars and bikes lovingly collected by the owner. The displays are light-hearted, alsmot whistfull, and packed in between is a lot of nostalgia. This was a worthwhile stop for £22 to get us all in.

I think the 'reflection' photo shots were not too bad, seing there is not much left of the castle, but the main wall ruin, and one opposite it. The inner courtward (it appears was divided in two) is well kept, and is a great picnic area. As you can see from the photo, the moat has been dredged, and actually works.

Our tent pitch

World gone mad

Or just a little cheap.

I spotted the fellow above taking these fake chimneys (obviously fibreglass) up north on day 1 of our little camping holiday. I wonder what the world is comming too. I imagine the chimneys are low-maintanance, and the brickwork looks real anything up to 4 yards away, as I drovepast I took a glance (my navigator was aiming the lense) and could see the fake brick-pattern.

We went to Caister-on-sea on the first day after pitching the tent, here is the lifeguard boathouse. The Sea-rescue thing is a big noise on the popular beaches, and there are large helicopters (clearly resue or transport opperations) flying over every few hours.

This statement (see detail below) was also a little too blatantly sexist, I mean what does the lady pilot do?

Your mind could turn in other directions as well, but the signage is just unfair to 60% of the population of the island.

Friday, July 27, 2007

UNIT testing

White box, Black box, Component test; is your UUT realy stand-alone. Is the interface stand-alone? Most likely not. Is the interface automatable? ...sometimes the input or output from software that interfaces with hardware like a fingerprint scanner might actually require that you need real fingers to get good input data because a testing-layer that allows 'fake' input to get injected was never desighned in. I think that for a test engineer, the big headaches are around, have a specified and desighned enough tests, and should not be around things like. "Is it automatable, can I get it stand-alone and in the spotlight on it's own?". Reality is that integration testing will show you which unit tests you should have created, but never thought of. I think these are the ones where I want to kick myself, because a small failure has caused project hiccups.
I imagine there is a good book on this stuff, (unit test specification that is) and how you can go about nailing the beast down to produce quality in the right places early and easily. I must say I look forward to the next Symbian component testing project (probably some blue-tooth work) ,and I have learned a lot about unit-testing in 6 months. I look forward to Bluetooth, because it is something I know little about, and the possibilities there are really wide for some fun to be had.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Who are you?

Asking this question without looking for a 'rhetorical-question' kind of response is difficult of yourself. How can one shout out THIS IS ME!, without being suspected of being a screamer at heart if you are not. My quest for clarity here is currently stemming from a desire to communicate happiness and energy, while wanting to be pretty much left alone, introverted perhaps. Since nobody has time for the quiet fellow in the corner, some 'quiet' folk let themselves get 'out' a bit and quite enjoy the attention; without realizing the damage done to the psyche.

So am I an extrovert screaming to get out of an introvert? Or just plain shy most of the time... on the extreme hand not blowing your own trumpet will never get you anywhere either. This topic will probably get resumed latter.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Warning, may contain nuts.

Sign found on a lanyard, which I thought was intended for hanging things about your neck.

The warning about climbing trees with a rope still around your neck makes sense, but a lanyard intended to not be worn about the part of you that seems to work best of all?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Frequency oh blot

So why would you want to admit your mistakes? Well plenty. In a world where everyone is perfect, you can hardly be blamed for lapsing into paranoia whenever you find there are some things you did not know. The perfect person mitigates this by saying, hey I have not been doing it for long enough. The paranoid madman just gets depressed (me).

Office life is tough sometimes and keeping up with the Joneses is probably goal number 1. Although you cannot ever be sure of your progress if the playing field is strewn with obstacles that you have never encountered before (see above philosophy).

/interrupt F1 GP!
Sometimes I just love the way the brain works, I was explaining to my neighbor James about a new feature I wanted to add to my modbus simulator program. When suddenly while doing on about it I get a brainwave.. Hey there is an easier way to create custom graphical forms, I mean you can use a browser, but everyone has browser favorites. The solution is just to let the user use any browser he wants, and hence no need for embedded a IE-activeX control into my program, just pump out the HTML. I mean having a graphical form inside your program is neato, but it is heavyweight, and for all the control you get, you have to write lots of extra code, then stress about the browser ActiveX stuff being there at all. Nobody wants to wish DLL hell onto their little program do they?

Oh, F1 you say :-) Groovy. Now I am no motor-sport fan, but this weekend is Silverstone weekend. OK enough messing about, lets do some work.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Some children links

coppied from a posting on Pencaitland Primary Blog
Numberjacks games
For Doctor Who fans there’s
Dr who e-books
Dr who music maker
CBBC Wild games
Art activities

Blog taxonomy. the idea that some bloggers blog in one way only: Republishing, junk or research/creative. so this post falls into the first category, so what? Most of my posts fall into the junk category (personal posts of no real value) but what the heck. Heard some clever researcher fellow who loves little things that live in the ocean off antarctica. Invited to talk about global warning, I even got a question in about how bad it can become, his answer, serious! Another thing I got from this whle natural-history thing that he presented was how little accurate data we have about what life was like (temperature recordings, diet, methane, CO2 etc) was going back 1000s of years. The only "time-capsule" historians have of this stuff is things that got trapped or frozen into something. I rest my case, blogging may be boring, but so is molecules of methane trapped in ice 1Km down in antartica that was laid there 60000 years ago so that we can melt it and interpolate global conditions. Next topic is my diet LOL.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Time for more local pics

THe sun sitting low actually I had to drive with it sitting there, quite a nuisance, because for quite a bit of my long trip (50 miles) to the office, it was sitting just below the sun-visor. I think I did my back in a but ducking my eyes out of the sun in the driving seat.

I dunno where I took this one, this was early in the morning. The snow here was still very fluffy, and it never had a chance to compact either, so it almost got to the crunchy stage in spots where it had sat long enough to thaw a little and then re-freeze.

A little bit of snow from in the back yard after Xmas.

Some recent stuff in Cottenham:-)

This is a path along the lip of a draining ditch just a short walking distance behind our rental in Cottenham.

I think this pic was taken with my SE (P990i) The prob with this camers-phone is that the shutter button is quite stubborn, I suppose to stop you from photographing the inside of your pocket:-)

I am still going to figure out why photos aded to your blog appear in reverse order and not in the top-down sequwnce as you add them. I always got to copy-paste the tag in at the bottom as the poster/editor jams it in at the top each time.

Oh yeah, the camera button is quite stubborn on the SE, that means that unless you are really steady, that the extra effort to push on the button ends up jiggling the shot and blurring it. Try harder, well I think the shots will get better in the near future. But all this is hugely outweighed by the ability to have a multi-tool of the digital variety in your pocket, fun phone! Besides I did not pay for it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Real life

Real life will carry on for us all. Sadly I think my boys will not have remembered their great grandparents. They might if taken back to the Willro park village up to number 64, I will remember it clearly. But that does not make the job of carrying on any easier for those that remain.

Mailing a fellow who downloaded my modbus simulator from RSA I remember why driving in the UK is just as perilous. They all drive very close behind you, park on both sides of the road indiscriminate of direction of travel; and then to top it off park so that the road is only wide enough for one vehicle, I am left thinking I am on a farm-road in the Transkei. Well it is worth a laugh, because you get curteous, and you still get dumb, but at least not too many ram-shackles and donkey-carts. I have seen horses and had to follow them at a distance down the lane often enough. So who is complaining?

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Ouma Braam Passed away at 5.00 this afternoon. After weeks of struggling Oupa is lost after 60 years. We are on our way to JHB to support him. There is little we can do other than be there for him. Keep him in your prayers.

This is not best, I cannot help but hold my breath. We miss you Giesje.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Happier campers

Not the camping type? Having a great time in our new village home, it is much quieter, only now I have some pics taken of the surrounds that need to come and get pasted up here. Going into Cambridge is still a bit of a 'mare, the traffic means you have to be sure of where you drive, and rather cycle or bus it. I shall have to try using the bus soon. Boys birthdays/combined-party on the weekend, they are getting bikes; shhh so not tell them, LOL. Rhys is quite a wizard at Iggle-pop game now, having skipped supper the other day to play. This is a sign that children are not born evil, their parents make them that way. I just have to feel a stab of guilt because when I was younger I used to skip meals etc all day long just to read and finish a book. Latter in life I would get stuck behind a screen for hours on end, first programming, then gaming. Children'ses is picking up bad habbitsss. In the old days, there were no games, you wrote your own actually, LOL.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Today's is a bit of a geeky log, WE have lots of news suddenly, moved house (sucessfully if you like)
I have included a lot of pics from a good while back of my PC, why, because I can. something I wasted a lot of time lovingly doing. Why? Why not, like why do dogs lick their balls?
Maybe one day science will have an answer for why boys msut rin through rather than around puddles. This boy likes to fiddle.

OK and some pics of my old workplace, Adroit Technologies in RSA. Yay!
Notice the small library behind my chair (keeper of all things paper/documentified - LOL). Yep, in the UK they ram you into a huge open space full of background hissying noise (aircon) to kill other peoples voices. It takes a bit of getting used to, but you do.
The light-bulbs were left over from a traffic-light (or redlight district) project that I made for a customer demo one year, I think I spent 2 weeks not working and building the demo rig with Powerpoint, ActiveX, VB script and a small spot of soldering while programming the Mitxubishi FX controller.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I can u tube, and you?

it takes a while to upload, and then around 15 mins to an hour before your movie actually becomes available. If you add the hours of editting it,5 minutes to encode it - That's a lot of waiting.

This little program is fun - and I made this one - of our LAN Party in Feb 2007 down in Friars House. I am helping organize another LAN Party soon. And we have a Yahoo group running to promo the whole thing properly. gotta get some work done today, so this is just a quickie.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

LAN Party

After creating a small LAN Party Yahoo group (login req.) And taking some pics... for more pic of the Symbianites I work with having fun. Arranging the LAN party was actually an interresting affair, because it was held in London, while I work in Cambridge. I must say I am not good with names, but here we have (from right) David, Kunnal, Thando and one other person (name escapes me). On the left is Jacques, Ryan and Mr Fisher, myself taking the shot, and also not visible is Matt setting up the camcorder. Big thanks to the guys who did pitch, everyone had a good time, no complaints; so we must have done some things right. In fact the only thing that gave a hitch was the power cables that did not arrive, but we ended up with just enough power points anyway. We will have to use this same space again. I think the LAN Party success is in the welcome and quick setup, which David helped with a lot, since I got there a bit late for setup.
Driving home though London was neato. Zillions of small streets, and it just goes on and on, the lights at night when you cross the bridge is pretty cool, but it is a very busy place. At least my internal compass worked fine, and I just kept on headding north, consulting the map twice, before I found myself on the A1, and eventually in known territory again. Still want to blow some bucks on a satnav, we will give it a while.
So that was a high for 2 reasons, I have passed my probation period 6 months at Symbian and managed to arrange an event (albeit small). I suspect if I had been of the London office I might have found more frag victims, but bones to those that missed out, I will carry on.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Can visitors to the UK get their money back if the weather does not get krappy? LOL

Sat this morning and wrote a letter from Rhys' dream.

Dear Mommy
Sorry that I broke
the cat
Love Rhys Greg Braam

All in a little story, just so from a dream. I suppose it is a short-story of sorts, there is more detail, funny how little people think so clearly. So when I get into the lowdown of what the heck is a middle school. It's a barbaric system where we send our children from one school to another as often as possible to throw them off balance. Somehow someone missed the point when it came to schooling our children.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Why blog regularly?

...sometimes the saddest things pop into your head, or do they? Catchy lines, that try to make your own life larger than it really is. Well I did hear some bad news the other day, BBC radio 2 had some fragments of an interview with a war veteran from WW1, looks funny written that way, but his storey and those of others is not funny at all. This fellow lost 49 of his schoolmates in the war. Those old gezzers are really at their end, but they were just boys when they went off to fight, and still do not know why so many had to die. I am no pacifist, sometimes I just want to blow the whole damn place up, I think that it only about 4 seconds though. I'm getting it down. One day it will be milliseconds, nowhere near enough time to actually even plot and plan anything, what can you do in 4 seconds? I still find it a bit sad though, that we can leave the love we all start out life with, and replace it with so much hate. Still not sure what makes a man believe that his mother would rather that he die for her, than that the whole family should suffer, but at least live and love him.

Is it as sad? no angry as when you get home and find the walls have been turned into an easel. Using a black marker-pen. On the week-end I tried painting over it all, quite succesfull I believe, and Rhy just had to help. Greg was a bit peeved, he was not allowed a paint-brush.

Next thing Rhys finds the tin of paint, and takes it up to his room, he painted his bedside cabinet from black to white. Quite a good job of it, no spilling, I guess he thought black sux, his old cabinet was white after all. I might think it is all about wishing to be home again, but it is just school. Stressful time for little people.