Unexpected footnotes

I am reading “Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class” by Owen Jones. Borrowed from my local library, a previous borrower has made their own addendum.

owenjoneschavs

It reads “keep them out of mischief“.

There are lots of these. Some reinforce points (or disagree). Some are checking the author’s arithmetic. Why make notes in a borrowed book? There’s not enough time to read it twice and it is unlikely you would borrow the same copy (there’s a waiting list).

Infinity Crate (November)

November’s Infinity Crate arrived this morning. It’s the best of the monthly subscription boxes I’ve received.
 
Captain America t-shirt is a nice design. War Machine Pop to go with the other Marvel. The Walking Dead cushion cover is a hit with my wife (I don’t care for the show). The “also ran” are a Jurassic Park sticker and a Harry Potter figure. Not bad.

Install Android Studio on Ubuntu

Ubuntu

Android Studio is a great development environment and is available on Ubuntu. I’m using Ubuntu Mate 16.10 “Yakkety Yak”.
 
First install a Java Development Kit (JDK). OpenJDK is pre-installed or you can use Oracle Java 8 (there is a great guide here). I don’t wish to argue over your choice – I need to use the latter (my tutor does). Download Android Studio here. – I extracted it to /opt; ran the installer; and used my home folder for the SDK. If you are using 64 bit, you need the 32 bit GNU standard C++ library:
sudo apt install lib32stdc++6

Virtualisation support is interesting. I read two tutorial and Google’s guide. The former makes reference to command line options not in version 2.2.2. These posts suggest this is a bug, but it may now be default behaviour. First enable that virtualisation in BIOS (check if enabled using “kvm-ok”).

sudo apt-get install qemu-kvm libvirt-bin ubuntu-vm-builder bridge-utils
sudo adduser dougie kvm
sudo adduser dougie libvirtd

This results in an error.
screenshot-at-2016-11-25-21-16-19

Using the system version of libstdc++.so.6 works. Add the following to /etc/environment:

ANDROID_EMULATOR_USE_SYSTEM_LIBS=1

It seems snappy but with no feedback I’m unsure if accelerated.

So I now have a development environment set up for my project. The next hurdle is to choose a title. So far it is a: development project; distributed application; and uses Android.

Retro fun with the Nintendo Classic Mini

nintendoclassic2The Nintendo Classic Mini is available, at £49, mine arrived Thursday. A well thought out, well made, fun device. Straight forward setup – plug in and select a language. Only one controller but it comes with HDMI and a USB. I wish it had expansion – a missed opportunity not to have the top loader open and take an SD card. The controller is comfortable and responsive.

With 30 titles (listed at Nintendo), I’ve not got past Bubble Bobble. Each has four save slots, accessed by hitting reset. This is great – one of the worst things about modern systems is not being able to stop and pick up where you left off. There are three screen modes: CRT (scan lines); 4:3 (faithful); and “Pixel Perfect”. I found pixel perfect best with CRT looking blurry.

I’m not going to review the games, you need to take them in the context when made. Some are simplistic, some hard (Ghosts’N Goblins) and several are masterpieces. All attracted the family’s interest, leaving me a spectator!

It is faithful, even sprites flicker. Recommended and I hope Nintendo go on to release a Super Nintendo Classic. Now that would be reliving my childhood.

TM470

After a false start when The Open University opened the TM470 module site, we got back on track on Wednesday. Although the module doesn’t start until February, I need to decide a project to assign a tutor.
 
I read the study guide and project choice pages. Self development is key, by being a reflective practitioner.
 
My project can be research, development or evaluation. It should develop knowledge acquired at level three, where I took:
  • Developing Concurrent Distributed Systems (M362),
  • IT Systems Planning for Success (TM353) and
  • Software Engineering (TM354).
I also want to use:
  • Algorithms Data Structures and Computability (M269) as I enjoyed the subject and
  • Web Technologies (TT284) as I enjoyed mobile application development and gained a distinction.
Developing a mobile application with a software engineering approach makes sense. There are techniques and approaches from TM353 that help. For TT284 I used MIT’s AppInventor but would like to use Google’s Android Studio. I worked through the tutorials and it offers a comprehensive suite of tools and runs on Ubuntu.
 
The trick is to be find an achievable solution to a defined problem. I have ideas but have lots of research ahead of me. I am writing down ideas in a notebook as I get them and aim to decide in the next few weeks.
 
Throughout I am going to blog, more for myself than anything else. I’ve noticed students reaching out for support on Twitter. While being careful about plagiarism, thought’s trigger conversations we wouldn’t otherwise have.

Acer V3-112P static issues

My little Acer V3-112P laptop has been round the world with me but recently developed a fault. It started making a ticking noise (like a capacitor discharging) when it was charging with the lid shut. Unfortunately then the screen stopped working but shining a torch on it showed the back-light had failed.

According to Acer’s support page, static electricity can build up in their devices. I’m turbo this week so I guess I’ll be taking apart a laptop this weekend to see if I can get lucky and it’s just a capacitor that needs replacing.

Fingers crossed.

Edit: Apparently Cold Cathode Fluorescent (CCFL) back-lights are no longer popular and most screens (including this one) have LED built into the screen. So I’m waiting on a replacement screen.

Get your disappointment on with MyGeekBox

Update: it seems My Geek Box read this review focusing on “I thought something might be missing“. So thanks for missing the point, pestering me on Twitter and generally wasting my time.

With some excitement I received the latest My Geek Box, after all it is “the must-have mystery subscription box of geeky goodness, hand-picked and sent straight to your door every month by our passionate team of Geek aficionados.”. One word? Disappointed.

MyGeekBox20161025_155640

It’s a good sized box and it has a lot of room for activities. I thought it might be missing something. So I’m going to talk about what’s in it in the same vein as it was put together – briefly and with little care.

There’s a tee shirt which I think is meant to be the Vulcan greeting but is a skeletal hand. Halloween related maybe?

AquamanUnder this underwhelming appetiser we have an Aquaman figure. I’m not big on DC and don’t really get Aquaman anyway but it seems reasonable quality.

We celebrate Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th anniversary with a drawing.

Next some Marvel shoelaces which the rear of the packet proudly announces as an exclusive to Loot Crate (spoiler – it isn’t).

I’m losing interest to even describe stuff now but next is a comic boldly exclaiming “PANDORICA the exclusive prequel to the hit movie!”. I have no idea what movie it’s talking about and can’t be bothered to open it far less take a picture.

Five items.

This might be an off day for the company but I sure won’t recommend this to anyone.

Disappointed.

Exam time again!

I did the TM353 and TM354 exams this week. The former was a nightmare memory test of trivia and the latter a lot clearer.

TM353 is typical of a number of exams I have sat with the Open University – it’s as if the exam was an afterthought. In all honesty the module can be more accurately assessed using continuos assessment (which it already has). This sort of exam isn’t testing understanding or further reading – simply the ability to memorize small details. As anyone who knows me knows – my memory is bordering on hilarious.

TM354 was much better in what it was testing but again, asks the question why not rely on continuous assessment? Am I likely to remember OCL syntax this time next year? Of course not but I’ll be able to look it up.

Anyway, hopefully I did OK and I’m just left with the Computing and IT  Project (TM470). That starts in January and until then I plan on training BJJ, running, reading and watching a bunch of Netflix!