Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday Randoms

Oh noes ! Monday ! Don't worry, it's nearly finished.
There's still a little Monday left.

I can't quite remember what I've been getting up to this weekend ! Let's see :

More pooter stuff, more on that in a bit.
Rugby watching - England won but weren't exactly setting a Fear US marker for the rest of the teams.
More rugby - it was great to see Japan come from behind to beat South Africa in the dying seconds of that game. True giant killing effort and you know it's hard won in rugby, because that's how the game's played.
Grand Prix "racing" being meh as usual.
Lots of Warcraft, although perhaps not as much as you'd think.
Tonnes of music listening.

Techie stuff first - the decision to get that new router is turning out to be an excellent one. Before, I'd need to power cycle the Little White Box every evening or so, because the music stream would break up. Once it started to go, it wouldn't come back. Now it does ... The audio has coughed a couple of times that I've noticed but it didn't stay broke.

More techie - how does it do this ?
All streaming depends on buffering. The Littlewhitebox audio stream goes at about 1Mbit/s but not always ... It'll stream a little ahead (only a couple of seconds) to account for any difficulties the network may have. If you watch youtube videos, there will be a light grey in the timeline bar ahead of where you are in the video, then a dark bar for the rest. The light grey is where it's buffered some more in to keep a steady video in case of internet wobbles. For mine, the little blips are where it hasn't managed to catch up with the buffering after the network has done something else.

The network is also a bit quicker too. Part of that will be that psychosomatic feeling of "I have spent money on this, it must be better". Come on ... you know what I mean there ! But it's also in quantifiable things like being able to upload pics to Facebook faster, even if the pic is on the desktop and I'm uploading from the laptop. Oh and having Facebook or Twitter loading with Firefox starting up, previously, Firefox would load faster than the wifi connected and would get confused.

I've also got an answer for my Macbook Air wifi troubles. (More info at the link). On mine, 5GHz wifi works fine, 2.4GHz is just broken. It doesn't work and this is across a couple of routers, locations and networks. The solution is to use a USB wifi dongle. Sorted ! And this got tested over a few hours streaming music. I'll use the built in wifi as standard but have an option now for when I'm elsewhere.

So that makes my network gear :
Apple Littlewhitebox Airport Express - I'd thoroughly recommend these if you want to throw an audio stream across the room to a proper hifi using wifi. It'll send high quality (1Mbit/s up from 256/320) audio across the network, which I pipe through to the amp with a digital optical connection. No loss there, the audio is as good as it can get. Better than if I was using a wire across the room.
TP-Link Archer D5 modem/router - very happy with this purchase. Hopefully I'll still be happy with it after a year or so of letting it do its thing !
TP-Link Powerline networking pair - these did their job, although they're partly redundant now. They'll be handy if I upgrade my telly to one that looks for a network connection, or if I add networking to my Xbox 360.
TP-Link USB wifi dongle - I bought this for my old Windows laptop to have it talk to the 5GHz wifi on the old router. Now it gives me an option to get around the problems with wifi on the Macbook Air.

(Disclosure note - no compensation has been given for the recommendations given above, all stuff bought with my own money ! And that does mean no Lego Millenium Falcon for me, definitely no Lego Death Star, see ? Endorsements can be a good thing)

What else ...

Way too much World of Warcraft. What can I say ? The story has my interest. For now at least. That's how it has gone for me in previous expansions to the game and my experiences have been counter to what other people say. Pandaland was seen as one of the better expansions but I have to say I found it fairly meh. This expansion has been seen as fairly poor ... but I'm caught up far more in the story in this one. Not sure why. Perhaps it's the Garrison. I'm happy I came back in, although I know that it won't last.

It can't last because, funny as this sounds, it has a nasty effect on my body. I tense up more, which my upper body doesn't like. Still, there's more variation here than in Elite. I can see me staying in until the next game comes. That'll be No Man's Sky, which has heaps of hype about it.

Talking of hype ...
I'm currently reading Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke but I'm really tempted to dive into The Martian again. Can't wait for that film to come, hopefully it lives up to the expectations I've had for it since reading the book. It has a magic combination of :

Great science
Drama through accident
Accidents having a "yeah, this could easily happen", rather than the stupidity causes in a film like Interstellar
(Interstellar was an amazing film but most of the drama in that was from the stupidity of the characters)
Excellent (sometimes dark) humour
Wonderful characters
Keeps you guessing, keeps you reading.

Yep. I really enjoyed that book and I'm looking forward to seeing the film. I suspect I'll see it a few times with ... the work-ish friends (CK, CQ, BD), a gamer friend (Luth) and Cupid's Gift if her existing arrangement to see it falls through due to her injury.

Heal up soon Cupid's Gift !

PS My healing ? It's continuing. There are still a few awkward spots but the damage is still steadily receding. Completely healed by Xmas ? I hope so.

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