Great Bentley Half Marathon

I think it was Adidas that ran an advert a few years ago with the strap line “runners – yeah we’re different”.

Driving down to a little village in Essex early on a Sunday to register. Waiting around for an hour and half before the start. People wearing bin liners. Queuing to pee in a trough. Jelly Babies, so many Jelly Babies. A few familiar faces, quick hellos and straight into PB talk. Someone trying to shout over a couple hundred people with directions and rules. 10 minutes – get to the start! Queue, pee, cold so cold, wave to wife. Go. Stop. Go. Shuffle. Stop. Shuffle. Go.

Then peace. As I settle into my pace, my mind wanders. Is that a water stop? Already? its only been two miles. Back to my daydream. Another water stop? Six mile marker, pretty much half way – my math is optimistic when I run. Around mile ten I start to get bored. At mile eleven, miles seem to be much longer than they were earlier. Twelve miles is almost finished. Can see the finish line now and as always someone is trying to pip a sprint finish on me. That’s not happening.

See my wife waiving behind an iPhone, see the line, see the clock (1:46:12). Grab a medal, a Mars Bar and a bottle of water. Maybe remember to stop my GPS. Congratulate a friend on his PB. Drive home. Pizza.

I think Adidas were on to something.

Making time

I picked up Happiness by design, The Organised Mind, Birth of a Theorem, and Periodic Tales a few months ago. To make time I have started getting up an hour earlier.

For the most part its been great (with the exception of Tuesday when I run with a friend). Its working well. Having read Happiness by Design, now I’m half way through The Organised Mind. The latter has taught me that I need to focus on one thing at a time – our brains not being designed to multitask.

Secure Android Development, project preparation, a cold and a new year

It’s been a mixed start to the new year. Watching what I eat for the rest of January, damn you Christmas. Back at work after three weeks off, achieved nothing and left by eleven. My ego got the better of me and I went for a run despite having a cold, so am now suffering. Need to shift it with the first cross country league race on Wednesday. I can’t help wondering why generic medicines are so much cheaper than brand names.

Finally got around to ordering a replacement Acer V3-112P screen. Replacement was straight forward. Like most avionics technicians, I breathed a sigh of relief when the LED panel lit up proving the fault. The old girl is now sitting running a million updates courtesy of Microsoft.

While many Linux advocates eschew Microsoft, I prefer Office (Home Use Program). Like current, I take the path of least resistance and I use Word and Excel so often I know them inside out. Linux is an outstanding development platform, I’m using it for TM470.

TM470 project preparation continues, reviewing both TM353 and TM354. FutureLearn is a fantastic resource with a course on Secure Android Development. Delivered by the University of Southampton, it started last week. I haven’t decided the tool chain yet, particularly versioning. I have used SVN and Bazaar, which I prefer as it integrates well with Launch Pad. I won’t be using LP though so should investigate Mercurial and Git.

Read Original Sin too – best Marvel I’ve read in ages. Like Murder She Wrote in space. A real page turner, I read it in one sitting.

Something that didn’t grip me was the Assassin’s Creed movie. It starts off quite well, with a similar story to the games. It suffers the same problem as earlier games though – the present interrupts more interesting stories in the past. What I don’t get though is why option a game as a property then try not to appeal to that market?

What I haven’t made time for though is the Nintendo Classic Mini. I played a little Ghosts ‘n Goblins – damn I forgot how hard games were then. I always thought as a kid that I’d somehow be better at them as an adult but I guess I didn’t factor in reactions.

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).

My favourite – “Hazel Blears” always annotated “Chunky Kit-Kat“.

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.

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.

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.

I am the product

Why does Sky One advertising grind my gears? Because it does everything it could to grind my gears.

Set start times in the middle of advert breaks – make sure I turn over for a good few minutes worth. Good damn they’re loud too (here). Next we have the baffling advert for the channel itself the only explanation for which I can see is that someone is reall proud of the logo. Now push the festive special “Fungus the Bogeyman” (which in I hated as a kid) and start the show.

Wrong again, apparently despite all the advertising revenue and my subscription charge the show requires a sponsor. It’s clearly a struggle financially to run one of the biggest channels in the UK.

Finally and most irritatingly just before each break the character from their festive special wanders onto the bottom right of the screen and sneezes their show’s name onto the screen.

There is a place for both targeted and unobtrusive non-targeted advertising. I actually appreciate adverts that are relevant to me.

I’m not Sky’s customer, the advertisers are. I am paying  to be the product!

Upgrading to the new 3DS

Bought my kid a new 3DS for his birthday, the device is great but the process to transfer between old and new is poorly documented.

The device came with a pre-installed copy of Majora’s Mask. Except, inexplicably, transferring data from an old device wipes the new device rendering the pre-installation pointless as it has to be re-downloaded. The game is tied to the hardware (not the user ID referred to as an NNID) so I’m baffled as to why.

It appears you can only register one device type to an NNID at any one time (one 3DS, one WiiU, etc.). This is alluded to by a statement on Nintendo’s eShop page: “The downloaded game can only be played on the system it is downloaded to”. I can’t see what Nintendo is getting from this, we know the eShop can identify hardware and the NNID so why restrict the download when access control could still be enforced?

The take away from this for anyone upgrading is:

  • You don’t lose the game – it needs to be re-downloaded. There is no code – it’s available in the eShop on that device.
  • Nintendo expect you to have one and only one 3DS at a time.

On the plus side I now own a 3DS. So that’s nice, although its now sat with a bunch of other stuff I really need to put on eBay but am not quite sure who would want ot buy.