Another glorious day today. In the middle of town they had a rather splendid brass band playing.
Today I got up bright and early to catch the train to London and take part in a webinar.We were talking about "Moving to Windows 10 - the mobility imperative". It was great fun.
After the seminar I took a wander round London and then, after a brief stop at the British Library for a coffee, headed back home.
The video goes live some time next week.
I've just discovered that I'm giving a talk about robots at the university on Monday 26th June. Or at least someone called Rob Miles has been booked to do 30 minutes on whether or not robots will take over the world as part of the Annual UCAS Exhibition which this year is in Hull.
I probably said yes to it when I was drunk. Or something.
Anyhoo, if you fancy coming along on Monday at 10:15 in LR13 in the Wilberforce Building on the University campus it would be lovely to see you. I will, of course, be showing off some robots of my own. And I'll be sober. Or something.
I don't teach at the university any more, but I retain a strong affection for the place where I spent my professional life. They even made me a Fellow of the University, which was very nice of them because I think it means I get to give talks like these.
Spent a chunk of today working on the design for the controller for the new "Troublesome Tanks" game that the "Spooky Elephant Collective" is building.
Because I'm no good at 3D design I create all my objects in Python, running the code inside the FreeCad program. The programming environment in FreeCad is minimal, with no debugging support and error handling. If you get the program wrong it just stops.
I love this.
It really keeps me on my toes. Especially with a language like Python. Anyhoo, the designs are looking good. Now, all we have to do is print them.
I'm taking part in a webinar at the end of this week. It's titled "Moving to Windows 10 - the mobility imperative".
I'm going to get on a train, travel to London, be light, witty and knowledgeable for two hours and travel back. Should be fun. I'll post the link when the recording is live.
I've used Virtual PCs for quite a while. My first proper brush with the technology was when I was building and configuring Class Server systems. I found it kind of magical that I could have several "fake" PCs running inside my one real one. And I loved the way that if anything bad happened to the hardware I just had to spin up another PC on a replacement device.
I've started using them again. I'm writing a "Begin to code Python" book and I'm worrying about the installation documentation. It's important to be able to show the installation just as it would be for someone running Windows 10 Home Edition on their brand new laptop.
So I've built a brand new Windows 10 Home Edition installation on a virtual machine. Took around twenty minutes or so. And the beauty is that I've taken a snapshot of the empty machine, so I can easily "wind back time" to before the installation and practice it again.
I used a really nice guide which you can find here.
Nice day for a christening. Tip for the day: If you're thinking of having a post-baby-dunking bash you might like to consider Khristoff's. They did a lovely buffet for us that included some chicken wraps that were awesome.
I got Arms today for the Nintendo Switch. It's the first video game I've bought in a while. And the previous one was for the Switch as well.
It's a fun game. The controls are easy to use, and you really feel that you're directing the punches, especially if you play holding the controllers in your fists (although more conventional arrangements work too). We had a go at two player mode using two Switches, and this worked very well, with much ensuing mayhem.
There are quite a few tournament types and the various characters are all nicely realised. There's more depth to the single player affair than you might expect, although this kind of game really shines with multi-player. I'd love to get four players together for a proper brawl.
The Switch is apparently doing pretty well. And with games like this it deserves to.
Put a new mirror up in the hall. Now I can check that I look my absolute handsomeist best before leaving the house. It's a very optimistic mirror.
We carefully decided where it needed to be hung and, just before I fired up the drill, I ran my trusty stud-finder over the wall. I bought this a while back. It's a metal detector for wall use. It tells you if you are about to drill into a pipe (messy and expensive) or a live wire (messy, expensive and fatal).
Anyhoo, it bleeped in a fairly conclusive manner right over the spot I'd marked. Turns out that the wires from my mains sockets go up to the ceiling rather than down to the floor. So the mirror is four inches to the left of the optimal positon. And I'm not dead.
I think we had around sixteen robots at the hardware meetup tonight. Some new members, and the possibility of getting some cut from plastic. At which point we can have even more....
Update: Please note that it's the robots I'm having cut from plastic. Not the new members. Apologies for any confusion.
Well, that was nice. This afternoon a chap delivered a rather nice frame with an award in it from the Red Nose Day folks. I'll be doing more lectures in rhyme in the future. Try and stop me.
Ross is bringing his Hull Pixelbots in to c4di on Thursday for our Hardware Meetup. I'm going to bring mine too, to create The Largest Gathering of Hull Pixelbots ever seen on the planet.
If you want to come along too (and maybe bring your own Pixelbot) we start at 6:00 on Thursday in c4di. You can sign up here.
Since then I've been on the lookout for similar, immersive theatre events. There's one on in Hull later this year. One Day, Maybe is based at the offices of Kasang, who are apparently a South Korean company newly based in Hull. I think you should all go. It looks like it's going to be awesome.
Of course I'm only letting everyone know about this now that I've got my tickets...
You can keep all your scary movies. To me one of the most frightening things I can hear is someone ask very quietly "Is this stuff under the sink supposed to be wet?".
We'd just about convinced ourselves that the out of place water was caused by a leak from a pack of wet wipes, when I discovered that a plastic box that was supposed to be full of cleaning materials was also full of water.
To cut a short story shorter, it turned out that the washer above wasn't doing what it should. No matter how tight I made the connection (within common sense "Don't tighten it until it breaks" limits) it still dripped. About a drop every minute. More than enough to fill a big plastic box over a period of a few months.
I'm quite proud of what I did next. One approach would have been to remove the hose from the back of the washing machine and fit a the spare one I keep for such occasions. A fun packed exercise which would have involved dismantling chunks of the kitchen. And puddles. Another approach is to take the washer off the spare hose and fit it to the existing one. End of leak.
Well, that was fun. I've started finding the news interesting again.
c4di is having some great evening events at the moment. On Monday we had CodePen, and today we had Joe Stead talking about future platforms for .NET development. Well presented and thought provoking.
Some interesting musings on how programmers are defined by the languages and tools that they use and how important it is to be looking at what's out there and developing professionally. Plus a look at some shiny new stuff.
I've come away with a list of things to investigate, and I'm pretty sure that most of the people there (and it was a good sized audience) were the same.
One of the nice things about having a 3D printer is that it makes it really easy to iterate designs. I'm working on a new design for the configurable game controller. This version will have a socket for an input device and a bar-graph above each socket. I think I've found a design that sort of works, now to make up a panel.
Oh, and one 3D printing top tip from Rob. Don't use oil on the sliding components. I thought this was a good plan, adding some "3 in 1" until the print head was moving really freely. What I'd forgotten though is that oil is sticky, and attracts dust. So when I fired up Una to print these prototypes she became very upset and pretty much locked up as all the sticky dust gummed everything up. Fortunately, after a good clean-up she's now working just fine.
I never thought I'd be blogging on matters relating to gardening. Perhaps I'm growing up.
However, if you are in the market for some proper tough gardening gloves, ones that actually protect your fingers from all kinds of pointy nasties that you find when taking out a holly bush, then I strongly recommend these, which I got from the local PoundLand. And they cost only a pound.
They're made of leather off-cuts, with the pleasing result that no two are exactly the same.
Codepen is a great idea. Get together a bunch of people interested in code and have them tell each other what they are up to. There were six talks over the evening, ranging from a lovely looking Scrum development management tool, a splendid hosting framework, video game development, first steps in programming and the new application development pattern from Facebook.
I should have taken proper notes, but I was too busy thinking about my talk, which was right at the end. I think it went OK, even though at one point I was reduced to holding my phone up with a web page on it shouting "Look. It worked." As if anyone could tell.
I met up with some folks I've not seen for a while and it was lovely to have a catch up. We had pizzas and drinks and it was a great evening. It was great to see it so busy, but there's always room for a few more if you want to come along to the next one.
Anyhoo, I said I'd put the slide deck up and here it is. Including the answer to the competition question (which I'll probably have to change for next time).
I'm really looking forward to the next event.