Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Back again

Hello everyone,

Back again, travels, buying stuff, be well everyone.
Steam sales are on again ...

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Monday, December 21, 2020

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Hi everyone,

Latest post at the new place : Advent Day 17 - X Pod Droid
Pit Droid, (more) Space Games

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Friday, December 11, 2020

Hello everyone,

Elite Dangerous, the Falcon and a bit of disappointed ranting at the world.

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Advent Day 8 and I can't type without tyosp

Hello everyone,

Day 8 is here and I'm still posting over there :

XWings and old flight sims

Saturday, December 05, 2020

Friday, December 04, 2020

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Advent 2020 Day 1

Advent 2020 Day 1 - To Mars via A-Wing ?
Advent time again, happy December. Lego, Ben Bova's books and Mars Horizon today. (And I still detest this new editor !)

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Well that was a race, also impending advent

Well that was a race ... 
Also, impending advent link on the post on the new place :
One note on that post, I talk in reasonable detail about a horror crash today in the Grand Prix. The important thing is that the driver is ok. But I would advise a massive Caution Warning about anything you see about today's race (including my post at the link) if you have car accident or similar trauma.
That racing incident today, mental trauma and advent. (That probably needs an Oxford comma somewhere)

Sunday, November 22, 2020

To Mars and Beyond ?

New game, what's this ?

Health, game, space, annoying bot and I still can't look at the site from the work account (I know I have a few people who'd like to follow it through there over lunchtime !)

Sunday, November 15, 2020

More views from lockdown

Hello everyone,

More views from lockdown and beyond on the new site :
I talk about Birthdays, games, spaceships, CAKE. Also figured out how to make image open properly although why this new blogger editor adds in a space at the start of every post is a mystery.

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Round the World, round the galaxy ?

Hi everyone,

New post up at the new place :

This one is about the Internet spaceships, a little bit about mental health, a game I just started starring a delivery driver in a Bladerunner style city and round the world yacht races.

Monday, November 02, 2020

Brave New Keyboard ... and Lockdown

New post !

At the new place ...

I talk about being out and about a little bit, new techie thing, lockdown and Brave New Resemblance of World.

Oh and the new place still isn't working at work yet.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Gaming in the near future

New post in the other place !

Gaming in the near future.
There we go. I been playing Deus Ex Human Revolution again ... Pictures may have occurred.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Felt like starships

Another new post on the new place !

Here we go :

Internet spaceships and musing about life in a science fiction universe

Yep. More internet spaceships there again. I dipped back into Elite again, plus I've (mostly) enjoying Star Trek Online still.

Oh - one note ... the new site has started showing up in search engine results but it's still being blocked at work. Something to do with Newly Registered Sites. I wonder how long that block runs for ? It'll be a fortnight tomorrow.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Away in a Seaquest

Hello everyone,

New post :

Telly, book, outside, ouch

I noticed something with the other two posts that I've fixed ... Apparently another change with the new blogger editor is that it doesn't automatically make links into links any more. Fixed it !

Thursday, October 15, 2020

New post at the new place !

Here we are, this is the little summary thing I started doing :

Writing, Intros, Pictures and a little pain
Still a lot of work to do there, I'll get back at it when I'm feeling a bit more willing to fight the IT.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

New site !

Hello everyone,

I have a new site ... First post is here:

It's as a direct result of the changes Blogger is now enforcing on users. I'll post all new content there and post links back to it here. Site still needs a lot of shining up though, so bear with me while I work through those issues.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Possible Drastic Change Coming. And the Lander

Hello everyone,

There might be a very drastic change coming here very soon, as in a change of host, change of address and change of platform.

You see, Blogger's been threatening for a few months now to change the interface for Something New and, in short, it's an abomination. Apparently it's due to the technical infrastructure that it runs on needing to be retired and turned off. I wonder if that means, like Farcebook, it's going to be subject to massive slowdowns like what's happened with that interface change. I have access to the old interface with my desktop but as soon as I reload the web page, it'll be gone.

It's actually such an abomination that you can't put feedback in about it when you look at the site on a mobile. And that would be a Google Pixel 4 running Google Chrome on a Google site. Shocking. I'm testing out what the interface is like with this post and my opinion about it is still pretty bad and declining. I await to see the results on posting ... (Line spacing is wrong and I'm not seeing an option to change it. COME ON ! That's a basic feature in anything above Notepad).

So I'll be doing a bit of research on Wordpress and seeing about a possible site migration. If/when I do that, I'll pop a link to the new site in the last post I write here. Hopefully I can do the move clean with a migration over of all of the posts but there's over 1600 of those going back 15 years.

We shall see ! I promised Lego Lunar Lander pictures the other day and didn't deliver ...


4 stages this time, distributed over a series of bags. (Btw, the line spacing looks like it's going to be a major issue with this editor and I think I'm going to need to edit it in the old one, if I can).

Astronaut ! The book this time comes with lots of little history tidbits about the Lunar Excursion Module.

It starts by building up a flat base.

Is that a resident ?

First steps of the lander module. I think someone wants to fly it.

The red and white cylinders are the propellant canisters. It's quite a dense, compact model and goes together nicely. And we see one of the Ladies of NASA guesting there too.

Another helper recruited and the base is almost complete.

Side panels going on. One hallmark of Creator Kits is that they have much more attention to detail with the finish, with smooth blocks finishing off the outsides.

Are those eyestalks ?

Ah ha ! Landing legs.

And that's the lower half complete. The Lunar Excursion Module had two halves. The above piece is the lander, which stayed behind on the surface, spent.

The astronauts travelled in the upper module, which has clever little windows added in which resemble the ones on the real landers.

And away it goes ! Well, actually slightly before attaching the two halves together.

Job done, everything together.

I rather enjoyed putting this one together over the weekend.

Stay safe, be well everyone.

PS Oh my giddy aunt it's not giving me the labels to pick from like it should be doing.

Monday, October 05, 2020

Landing the Trekking

Hello everyone,

It felt like this today when I emerged !
Although a lot of that was self inflicted wounds again after spending maybe an hour too long in Star Trek Online yesterday. I've been enjoying that game, despite its short comings.

Every game has shortcomings (I've gone from hyped to a Nope for the new Star Wars Squadrons game) but we'll stay with our favourites because of what they do well. In Star Trek Online's case, it's a mix of the starship combat stuff, combined with the Star Trek stuff on the ground. They've managed to make it fairly star trekky too, although perhaps more in the Discovery era or DS9 rather than TNG.

However, it has that MMO playstyle again which can wreak havoc with the old injuries I carry and in particular, the shoulder. I felt twinges start up, which I should have listened to ... definitely when they were becoming more intense. And then I stay 30 minutes longer than that in the game and I'm paying for that today. Oh well. It's just moderate pain, which is ok.
I have been greatly enjoying the game though and moved on another 5 levels since that start of the session yesterday.

One thing I haven't done is use the new Elite internet spaceship for anything more than following the start of Drew Wagar's latest tour :
There we go. That's the Icarus Rising, a Mamba class heavy combat ship. I like the design there, there is a huge gun amidships aft, two large guns alongside the cockpit and two little guns up front. They're all on the top side of the ship, whereas the Fer-de-Lance has its big gun on the lower side. (It means that if you're chasing someone in a pitching up motion, all guns can be brought to bear). There's also a huge amount of visibility and the only angle with more than a minimal profile is the top and bottom.

It has great potential ...
... to be used for shooting things as well as following Cmdr Wagar down to a planet in loose formation. That was the only time I got into the same instance as the main group though sadly.

And then there's other ships in a universe long ago and far, far away ... which I've been ignoring in favour of :
There we go. The ships in the spacedock looked great, no idea what they were though. The one to the lower right looks like an improved Defiant class and I think the upper one is actually two. One has a weird massive nacelle and I think the other has underslung nacelles like the Miranda and Nebula class. Looks like there's an Ambassador class (Enterprise C) down there too. I'm current in the Constitution class Dragon Spirit :
And the game would give be another ship at level 20. (Unless I gave them money for a special ship but I don't intend to do that). It is a bit odd though seeing that ship being a main ship in a game that has its main elements start in 2409. The old Enterprise is a bit ... ancient there.

Outside of that, cricket watching was curious yesterday with it being the end of the domestic season with the T20 blast finals day, delayed from Saturday due to rain. I don't intend to watch much IPL. It's a predatory influence on all cricket, to the cost of the game as a whole. And some of the commentators should not be allowed behind a microphone due to their attitudes. It's sometimes telling who gets allowed on to the Sky commentary teams here and who aren't invited back after a guest spell. No, not impressed with much about IPL although English cricket needs to learn from the overseas leagues but not having the finals day months or so away from the main league. Get the competition done in a single block so that the specialist T20 only players can be around for the finals as well as the league, the teams that make it to the finals tend to lose their overseas stars which makes the competition be a bit false.

But there are other issues with the game as well at the moment, although the standard in general has improved since I started with a lot of innovation coming in. I was playing when KP was doing his switch hit (and could play that shot), I'd have been really tempted to try out ramp shots if I was still playing now, if only because pulling those shots off would have hugely amusing consequences for the state of mind of the opposition. If you can knock the opposition out of thinking clearly, then you have an advantage. I used to wear a floppy hat while batting, to give bowlers a target ... you could say that the person encouraging bowlers to aim at his head wasn't the one who was thinking clearly :-D.

And then you shake hands at the end of the game and step away from all the on field psychology stuff.

Landing ? I did a little bit of the Lego therapy over the weekend ...
4D looking suitably impressed there.

However .... After that horrific example of shameless temptation, I better leave that series of pictures for another day as I can see from the scroll bar (it gets littler as the post gets longer) that this one has hit that Certain Length.

Obligatory Outside World Stuff :

Numbers have been going up again here, we're in that second wave that means we should be in lockdown already ... I'm ok. Put that trace app on your phone so you have a bit of warning to tell you if you've been around someone who's been exposed, watch out for idiots and look after yourselves. And that can be reaching out to people, being a Good Person in the communities like I try and be at work and with the various discord communities. If you find yourself doomscrolling in Twit/Book, just step away from them. People talk about fear of missing out but I doubt whether you'll miss out on much there and social media can and will cause a massive hit to sanity. Don't engage with the idiots.

But if you need a bit of help, reach out. We are in extraordinary times. The last time the world saw a pandemic like this is 100 years ago with the Spanish Flu. Be well. Stay safe.

PS I think I recognised a similarity ...
That's the star fighter from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. I wonder if it inspired the Mamba ? Two big engines, very slim rectangular profile, incredible visibility.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Smuggling Cigars and Otherwise Trekking

Hello again,

It's been a week again ! Must post more often. Noot that sure why I'm not, perhaps it's a sense of wanting to isolate from the world, even more than just staying inside.

Lots of nasty news out there at the moment, whether it's the virus situation or the various political situations. I've been steadily unfollowing a few people who I've kept an eye on for a little while. The world's changed and they've changed with it. People write about doomscrolling and if all the people posting do is post Doom, that can be really bad for your mental health.

If it's getting you down, cut it out of your feed and your life. We see that sort of stuff from all over the place, so Fear Off Missing Out doesn't really apply. I've temporarily muted a couple of the Farcebook people, especially when they go overboard with the political stuff and into broken record territory. I used to follow George Takei on the Twitter, he was legendary for jokes and memes ... now totally overly political.

That's not to say that people shouldn't use their voice ... but if they become the cause, they're not what made them fun to follow any more. Authors like James S.A. Corey and John Scalzi definitely have a great balance there. They'll occasionally talk about the world situation but they're more about their work and keeping to Fun Stuff.
Apart from that ... Nurburgring 24 hours motor race was last weekend ! I got set up to watch the whole race this time, with pizza ... And then rain happened ! The two 24 hour races got shifted from June to September this year. Le Mans got away with it, the threatened rain never erupted and it was a dry race, despite some juicy footage of lightning from near the venue. Nurburgring Nordschlieffe was another story though. They got some dry running in but they had to red flag the race overnight, calling a pause due to fog and heavy rain.

There had been a couple of damaging crashes for the leading cars in the half hour or so leading up to the red flag, so it was a good decision.

Only 1 Lexus in the race this year. I like following the RC F's because they're reasonably similar to what I have. Except for the coupe bodyshell, strengthened chassis, uprating all round and ... oh ... 5 litre engine. They were doing ok overnight, although I didn't see what happened to them in the morning after the restart.

The coverage up the field is good, via youtube and there's a good timing site which lets you track all of the cars ... but the coverage isn't great at keeping up with perhaps 2 thirds of the 97 car field for this year.

Still, it was good to watch and the treacherous conditions were keeping the result in doubt all the way to the end.

In real life stuff, I got me some ear drops ... which have somewhat brought my head state back a bit ! I think the ear got so blocked, it was causing pressure on the rest of my head along with the tinnitus and one ear only hearing. But the ear drops have been improving.
Spaceships ? I've been enjoying the X52 Pro stick. It feels easier to use compared to the old one. I'm not too sure why, I think the action might be a little damped so instead of you putting a force in to move it and stop it, the damping stops it. I could do with the throttle being looser though.
I completed the trip back last weekend and along the way, visited one of the Guardian sites which have been left behind by a long dead race. Was that their high street ?
Is that a way in ?
This was a fairly extensive site, although I didn't find a puzzle here. I must come back and do the Ram Tah mission chain, which apparently tells you much more about the Guardians.
I didn't do the trip all at once, this was a stop off at the Eagle Nebula facility.
It was good to be back in civilisation though and Tiamat's Chariot looks great in her new livery.
Someone mentioned that they needed a zebra prop though, which gave me a demonic idea ... That's photoshopped Gimp'd, although there is a Dazzle Camo paint scheme for one of the smaller Imperial ships.
That's a fun thing that the stick can do. It's a bit limited by the display size (3 addressable lines in the middle, that's it for such a big area) and I needed third party software to make it do anything but having the landing pad instructions was cute. And about the most useful thing I've managed to get out of it so far. Maybe combat will be different.
The Community Goal for this week is one that deals in small quantities of good though, so as Tiamat's Chariot isn't really suited for that, Zoomnarr gets a little more flight time. There's an Imperial shipyard near the collection site too with a couple of capital ships ...
Also, some rare goods may give you more than you bargained for. They're actually looking for beer, caviar, cigarettes and shiny fire opals.

Outside of Elite though, I was checking out other internet spaceships last night ...
That's from Star Trek Online. A curious mix of ground pounding combat like other MMOs and space based combat. It felt like Star Trek should feel, with phasers on the ground and something that feels similar to the Starfleet Command games in space.

But ... it's a 10 year old game that looks like while it's had lots of story content for it over that period, it looks like a 10 year old game. It was making me think of Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic and the other games of that era.

A promising start though. That I might not be able to continue for the same reason as FFXIV ! My hand and arm aren't a fan of me today after a couple of hours in STO last night.

A pity.

I've also been in Motorsport Manager :-) Sleepy Dwagon Racing were smashing the competition in the lowest league, so it was time to promote and they've got the points they should need to stay in that league already ... after 3 races. I've got a definite formula for How To Win in that game, which makes it pretty much a certainty that I'll eventually get them winning in the next league up ... but you have to be on your game in order to keep winning. The AI doesn't handle transitions between wet, dry and back to wet, which is a weakness that can be exploited.

I must get some screenshots from MM.

Oh, techie buying may well be adding another thing to the list ... a keyboard ! The Steelseries M800 that I got 4 years ago was a wonderful keyboard for feel ... but is feeling increasingly prone to mis-keying and double tapping of the keys. I'll be looking at Logitech, Corsair or ... (shock horror), the cheapie own brand one from PC World that actually felt really nice to type on.

Although that would mean going outside more ...
That too.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

New Toy, Getting Used to It

Hello everyone,

I've been buying a couple of things ...
There's one. Hoping it'll be good, haven't put it together yet. Been a rough feeling few days, although I think some of that is due to pressure around my head from my poorly ear. Yesterday was headache time, not quite sure why I don't have the headache now !

It was the Le Mans race this weekend, although it was a little different from usual. The race was being run to the same rules, although there were less practice and qualifying sessions. We were also missing some of the competitors in the GTE classes as Ford have pulled out and Corvette couldn't come over due to pandemic. I did get some sleep this morning though and then watched the rest of the race on time delay. It was a good race too, with incidents happening typically when things had settled down.

There was a bit of an end of an era feel about it too ... This was the last Le Mans with the LMP Le Mans Prototype cars before LMDh (Le Mans Daytona hypercar) takes over. It should lead to better racing, with more manufacturers coming in. LMP got a bit too expensive in the last few years, with the hybrid systems coming in and manufacturers pulling out. LMDh should be a good reset.

Nurburgring next weekend should be interesting and there will be many more cars on the much longer circuit.

Oh, I did a start of a Stellaris game overnight as well, I haven't been impressed with what they've been doing in the game lately. The changes brought in intentionally don't seem great and the bugs being introduced just don't get fixed. That's the disappointing thing. But it was good to be in there again with the Nomnivorian Swarm having a good start eating one of the nearby races. Hey ! They declared war on me ... We just bit back. Literally.

What's the new toy ?
There we go, it's an X52 Pro flightstick and throttle unit.
Dwagon included for scale. They're a chunky pair ... So chunky, I think I'll be acquiring a board to put them on like an extender to the keyboard tray they get put on. When the throttle is full forwards, the 4 way switch clashes with the main deck of my desk. The mounting board will let me pull it backwards a bit to give access.

It's got lots of buttons ... and lights too. I'll be looking into how to get useful information out of a little multi function display that's on the throttle. Thoughts so far ... and this may read like a mini review so :

Disclosure note - bought from Logitech, not a free product.

Main flight stick has a really smooth nice action and that wrist rest you see there is moveable upwards for different sized hands. I've had to lift it up so I can access the switches and buttons on top. There's a lovely two stage firing trigger but I wasn't getting on with the lower pinkie trigger that's at the bottom of the stick. Felt like it was getting in the way. The disc at the bottom of the stick also interferes a little with moving the stick off the centre, although that might be a New Thing thing. The obstruction relieves if you rotate the disc, so it's an interaction with the spring.

Throttle is similarly sensitive with moving off the centre, although that could be New Thing thing. It's useful to set up a little dead zone.

There's a nice little thumb mouse on the throttle too, with button and scroll wheel too. I thought this would be great for the discovery scanner system in Elite, where I think stretching to use my main mouse there is damaging me. Having a mouse on the throttle is an amazing concept but I wasn't getting the wiring in my brain to match up with using it effectively. Perhaps it would have worked with more training but I just went "Nah, can't be bothered, ditch it for old method".

On the whole, positive. It feels solid and well made, although oddly it isn't holding to the desk like the Thrustmaster Hotas X did. Perhaps that's because the bases are a little shorter and the controls are bigger, so there's more leverage compared to the base. This should improve when I acquire the board to put them on.

Oh and it's giving me some more options I didn't have before to get better screenshots. Before, I'd have to pose the ship and then move the camera, I wouldn't be able to go back to moving the ship. I can do that now :-D.

Talking of screenshots ...
I left things last week at the Dryau Awesomes and a short hop happened on Thursday taking me to the Keelback Rings. That's a pair of ringed planets that orbit each other quite closely, with distinctive colouration on the rings. Pretty.
Same place, at log in when I returned today. One thing that's simulated is the orbital period of the planets and moons. So when I land, I'll look for a good landing spot that's got interesting surface features ... plus a backlighting sun to bring out the colours of the ship.
Sometimes there isn't a sun around to provide the backlight, you can just see the ship there on the left, with a nebula being lensed around the black hole.

It was a good little session actually, whereas I've been tiring quickly on other runs, I did a few hops tonight via one of the XTE black holes above, finding this ringed waterworld :
I am definitely liking the blue and orange colouration of Zoomnarr. The pop much better than I thought they would.
And my destination tonight was Neon Beacon, one of a few very rare gas giants that has neon green colouration.
I found a very rugged moon to perch upon too. (Although for some reason didn't F10 to save the screenshot of me looking at the gas giant from there ! Oops, next time).

Promising start, took a while to figure out what the new buttons did ... and remap where I wasn't going to get on with them !

More screenshots later and I'll put the Marble Parkour and Lego things together as well at some point. That's going to be waiting for hands ...

I'm feeling my right wrist a bit, although that might be an impact of getting my hand in around that pinkie switch. I've also had the pain again on my left hand, where the knuckles were damaged by over aggressive practice in cricket. That's something that comes and goes, when they bad, the insides of my knuckles feels like there's a broken bone in there ... that was yesterday, they're ok today.

We'll see how those go.

In the meantime though, those virus numbers are going up again here in the UK ... Stay safe everyone, avoid the idiots, wear the masks, hope you and yours stay well.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Top of the Galaxy and other news

Hello everyone,

There may be lots of screenshots tonight ...
There's one. I followed the speed run to the galactic centre with a trip to the top of the galaxy. There will be a certain amount of cheating* going on with how it shows the galaxy but it does still look pretty.

*(that isn't several billion entities being simulated, that's a skybox generated from a prediction, the skybox background is then oriented according to how the camera is looking at it) TLDR - looks pretty.

I think I've caught a cold ... hopefully not anything more sinister than that. I have no idea how catching a cold could happen, although I definitely have the sneezing, runny nose and blocked ears. Odd. Could be hay fever, probably is hay fever because I'm very susceptible to that and can't take anything for it for various reasons.

Looking forwards to watching Le Mans this weekend, although I won't try staying up for the whole 24 hours. Same with Nurburgring the week after. I like to watch teams that are a little way down the field, or teams that have suffered some kind of misfortune and are fighting back. That's usually far more interesting than boringness that can happen up front.

I need to get out and about some too, despite the hayfever and apparent cold. But I won't be going anywhere while I have cold symptoms (I have supplies until at least the weekend, am ok).

Apart from that, I'm managing hands issues again ... The internet spaceships seem to be reasonably neutral with it but more traditional first person shooter type games may be causing issues. So no more Final Fantasy XIV yet but I did have a look at The Outer Worlds.
I'm not sure about this one, it isn't holding me in like I thought it would. I'm actually feeling like diving into a fresh Mass Effect Andromeda playthrough instead (that'll be Fuzzyfreaks and her return to Mass Effect) and there's also the Deus Ex Adam Jensen games (Human Revolution, Mankind Divided).
But there's also the internet spaceships. Depending on how I play, these are better and worse for my hands. I didn't cause that dent by the way, it was there before I landed, not when I landed.

Time to come back down though and that was another pointer from Kamd, a moon with just the right amount of inclination in orbit above its parent planet to really show off those rings. Also geysers ...
And what I could only describe as pipe trees. Tight landing too ...
On to a system called the Eye of Fire, with lovely copper coloured gas giants and rings. But ... there was more ...
I travelled round a little more until the planet was giving me an eclipse and there's a second gas giant there that can be seen through the rings.
Moving on again though and nebulae are pretty. As must be the view from this science station :
At some point, I'll watch the movie The Black Hole again which has the research ship Cygnus perched on the edge of a black hole. It's a Disney scifi movie from December 1979 and as such, there's a lot of silly about it. But I can remember enjoying watching it.
My stopping point for the evening was a place called the Dryau Awesomes ... There's a white dwarf star shining out there and in the lower centre right, you'll see the telltale whorl of a black hole lensing the background.

But that's not where the Awesomes come from :
That's a bit close isn't it ...
There's a fleet carrier nestled in there too, the Buurian Anchorage. I stopped off here to repair the hyperdrive and hand in my exploration data before attempting what's said to be a very hazardous landing. I think I was ok, although landing on that smaller planet there so close to the big one could be a bit hairy.
There we are, perched on a ledge looking at the big planet.
But I moved on a bit from there because I wanted a picture with the star in the background.

Back later in the week. It's been good to see the galactic news service make a return as well. It's back with a bang ... literally ... as several space stations have been attacked.

It's a good alternate world to fly around in, definitely a rather pretty escape from what's happening in this one !

Stay safe everyone, be well.