2015 Non Wargaming Projects

My Raspberry Pi
My Raspberry Pi

I had been considering one of these for a while. Jeffrey managed to read my mind and sent me one for my birthday but that appears to have disappeared into the aether, possibly because of the moves from Singapore to Indonesia to the Philippines. He decided to make it a Christmas present and organised another one to be delivered. This time he sent it to his address in Oz. Yep, he gave me a Raspberry Pi for Christmas.

My immediate plans for this little beauty, once I get back to Manila that is, is for a few nights just playing with it, then develop it into a media server for the apartment. I can then use it as a portal into what he describes as “JBOD” storage (JBOD – Just a Bunch Of Disks). Those disks hold my music collection as well as TV series, movies etc. I can’t quite take the step of switching off my copies and purely streaming but then I also spend time away from the Internet.

Anyway, the Raspberry Pi will also allow me to ease access into the collection from outside the apartment so perhaps I will head in the streaming direction.

The electronics kit
The electronics kit

When I was at Jeff’s, before heading to Canberra for Christmas, I noticed that he had an electronics kit that he was building models of things from. Steve down in Canberra also had a kit. Now I have always been interested in electronics but never really got around to having a close look at it, rather outsourcing my electronic needs in my younger days to Doug Reid who understood these things.

I stopped into Jaycar in Coffs Harbour the other day and there was the Freetronics kit. $90 or so. I bought it and will take this back to Manila with me as well. This way I can spend a couple of nights each week mucking around with the computers and electronics, away from the project work that I am doing and at the same time learn something I have been meaning to do for the last 30 years or so.

I shall have a cup of tea before approaching security checks in Sydney on Sunday though! 🙂

Goodbye Google Chrome – the Love Affair is Over

I recently purchased a new laptop. I liked the idea of a hybrid machine – keyboard end running Windows 8 and the screen either acting as a screen or an Android tablet. I bought an Asus TX201L which provided what I was looking for there. Not a bad machine except that there is only 4 Gig of memory on board. This means that I am inevitably running at 95 to 98% memory usage and one of the big hogs is Chrome. Yes, I have too many folders open but really, I am sure that the memory could be handled better.

So, I am now on the lookout for a low memory hog browser. Any recommendations?

And for the record, I would happily upgrade the memory to 8 or 16 gig but #asus don’t make the TX201L upgradeable (#fail #boo #hiss).

Bloody Stupid Processing

thomo_the_lostFaceBook are guilty of it. So is the Asia Wargaming Net. I went to register tonight and guess what? My handle, one I have used for nearly 20 years now, “Thomo the Lost” is unavailable Why is it unavailable? Because useless lazy programmers who haven’t got a brain in their heads think the string “homo” is somehow dirty, or worse, their even lazier team leaders and managers have just accepted some file of potentially dodgy names without considering what they are trying do!

Of course, the truly ridiculous thing is that I can set an in game name that is considerably worse – as in the two of the examples below (don’t read mother, there is a very naughty one there).


In fact, if I replace a “c” with a “k” I can make a much worse combination of letters and that is also accepted!


Thank you Google

OK, I’ll admit it, it’s my Birthday and I’m not getting any younger. Imagine this though:

  • no TV (I can remember when Mum and Dad bought our first second-hand black and white TV)
  • no mobile phones (I can remember by grandmother saying into the telephone “Turramurra 4568 please”)
  • no personal computers (I did my statistics at university with pencil and paper and calculator)
  • no calculators for that matter (I can remember Mr and Mrs Morrison buying me an LED based calculator about the size of a small brick from the duty free store when they took a holiday to Fiji)
  • when the Boeing 707 was an amazing piece of new aircraft technology and English Electras plied the air routes in Australia (yes, life before jumbo jets)
  • when the British made passenger aircraft
  • and lots of other amazing things

So, it was amusing for me to start Google this morning ready to make a search and see the following Google Doodle. It didn’t occur to me what it was for until I hovered over it.

Yep - Happy Birthday to me!
Yep – Happy Birthday to me!

Clicking on the doodle took me to my Google public profile. Now I know that this is not so amazing but it is really quite neat when you can remember

  • life before fast food chains
  • life before supermarkets where a couple of times a week you’d walk to the shops and buy meat, ham and such
  • life before refrigerators (and therefore knowing what the ice box was)
  • life before the Internet
  • and especially life before a connection to the sewer (I can still remember the night cart coming around early in the morning and the swearing of the bloke taking away the full pan of poop as he tripped over one of my toys left lying around beside the house)

Thanks Google – I know it is easy for you to remember the date but it is nice to see the greeting!

OK Social Networks – Enough!

I am going to have to have a close look at how this happens. Let me set the scene. I am doing some recruitment consulting at the moment, specialising in Project Management and Pre-Sales roles, two areas I have a lot of experience in. So I am doing this to help out a mate whilst I am looking for a permanent role for me. I never look for a role I have applied for so it is all squeaky clean and no conflict of interest.

Tonight the boss asked me if I would have a look for a Business Intelligence expert for an organisation working in the Micro Finance area. Sure, says I, “what BI tool are they going to use?”

“Either Tableau or T24″ he says”.

Now T24 I know. Tableau I wouldn’t know from a slice of pizza. So, a quick bit of googling and I turn up the web page for Tableau. That is all well and good then I noticed that there was a news release from the company saying they had made the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence solutions, in the Leader Quadrant and at the head of the field. A quick click on that link and I saw the table.

OK, so what’s my beef? I later went in to check up on my social life in Facebook and to make sure those dimwits had not switched me off “most recent” and slipped me into “top stories” again. They hadn’t but, as I started to scroll down my timeline (I like it chronologically thanks) I came across the following:

Like I want to see this in my social diary!
Like I want to see this in my social diary!

So, on my Facebook timeline I never talk about work or the companies I work for. I don’t talk anything really, other than social issues, wargaming, and why technology keeps failing for Mr Phillip.

If Tableau Software and Facebook think that this is going to have me rush out and either recommend their software or (gasp) buy it, they are seriously mistaken.

A task has been added to my next spare time (when I am not painting little toy soldiers) to scroll through all the settings on Google, Facebook and anywhere bloody else I can think of, and switch off anything that connects.

#fail #whatpissesmeoff dudes!

Some Interesting Naval Reading

There was a post to one of the Yahoo groups I subscribe to recently from Jan who noted:

The Naval War College recently posted the latest of their Newport Papers to the Publications page of their website, and I would highly recommend it to all members of this Group site. This publication is titled:

NAVAL WAR COLLEGE NEWPORT PAPERS 40 Commerce Raiding: Historical Case Studies, 1755–2009

Location is:


It weighs in at 356 pages and 3 Megabytes in PDF format.

An excerpt from the Foreword:

"… A consideration of the range of historical case studies in this volume provides an opportunity to reflect on the ways in which old and long-forgotten problems might reemerge to challenge future naval planners and strategists."

And an excerpt from the Introduction:

"… The sixteen case studies in this book reflect the extraordinary diversity of experience of navies attempting to carry out, and also to eliminate, commerce raiding. Because the cases emphasize conflicts in which commerce raiding had major repercussions, they shed light on when, how, and in what manner it is most likely to be effective. The authors have been asked to examine the international context, the belligerents, the dis­tribution of costs and benefits, the logistical requirements, enemy countermeasures, and the operational and strategic effectiveness of these campaigns. …"

This is right up our street!

Enjoy your games,


Apart from just the mentioned work, the full list of works available from that website includes:

  • Commerce Raiding: Historical Case Studies, 1755-2009, edited by Bruce A. Elleman and S. C. M. Paine (2013)
  • Influence without Boots on the Ground: Seaborne Crisis Response, by Larissa Forster
  • High Seas Buffer: The Taiwan Patrol Force, 1950-1979, by Bruce A. Elleman (2012)
  • Innovation in Carrier Aviation, by Thomas C. Hone, Norman Friedman, and Mark D. Mandeles (2011)
  • Defeating the U-Boat: Inventing Antisubmarine Warfare, by Jan S. Breemer (2010)
  • Piracy and Maritime Crime, edited by Bruce A. Elleman et al. (2010)
  • Somalia… From the Sea, by Gary J. Ohls (2009)
  • U.S. Naval Strategy in the 1980s: Selected Documents, edited by John B. Hattendorf and Peter M. Swartz (2008)
  • Major Naval Operations, by Milan Vego (2008)
  • Perspectives on Maritime Strategy: Essays from the Americas, edited by Paul D. Taylor (2008)
  • U.S. Naval Strategy in the 1970s: Selected Documents, edited by John Hattendorf (2007)
  • Shaping the Security Environment, edited by Derek S. Reveron (2007)
  • Waves of Hope: The U.S. Navy’s Response to the Tsunami in Northern Indonesia, by Bruce A. Elleman (2007)
  • U.S. Naval Strategy in the 1990s: Selected Documents, edited by John Hattendorf (2006)
  • Carnes Lord, ed., Reposturing the Force: U.S. Overseas Presence in the Twenty-first Century (2006)
  • The Regulation of International Coercion: Legal Authorities and Political Constraints, by James P. Terry (2005)
  • Naval Power in the Twenty-first Century: A Naval War College Review Reader, edited by Peter Dombrowski (2005)
  • The Atlantic Crises: Britain, Europe and Parting from the United States, by William Hopkinson (2005)
  • China’s Nuclear Force Modernization, edited by Lyle J. Goldstein, with Andrew S. Erickson (2005)
  • Latin American Security Challenges: A Collaborative Inquiry from North and South, edited by Paul D. Taylor (2004)
  • Global War Game: Second Series, 19841988, by Robert H. Gile (2004)
  • The Evolution of the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Strategy, 19771986, by John Hattendorf (2004)
  • Transformation and the Defense Industry after Next: The Defense Industrial Implications of Network-Centric Warfare, by Peter J. Dombrowski, Eugene Gholz, and Andrew L. Ross (2003)
  • The Limits of Transformation: Officer Attitudes toward the Revolution in Military Affairs, by Thomas G. Mahnken and James R. FitzSimonds (2003)
  • The Third Battle: Innovation in the U.S. Navy’s Silent Cold War Struggle with Soviet Submarines, by Owen R. Cote, Jr. (2003)
  • International Law and Naval War: The Effect of Marine Safety and Pollution Conventions during International Armed Conflict, by Sonja Ann Jozef Boelaert-Suominen (2000)
  • Theater Ballistic Missile Defense from the Sea: Issues for the Maritime Component Commander, by Charles C. Swicker (1998)
  • Sailing New Seas, by J. Paul Reason, with David G. Freymann (1998)
  • What Color Helmet? Reforming Security Council Peacekeeping Mandates, by Myron H. Nordquist (1997)
  • The International Legal Ramifications of United States Counter-Proliferation Strategy: Problems and Prospects, by Frank Gibson Goldman (1997)
  • Chaos Theory: The Essentials for Military Applications, by Glenn R. James (1996)
  • A Doctrine Reader: The Navies of the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Spain, by James J. Tritten and Luigi Donolo (1995)
  • Physics and Metaphysics of Deterrence: The British Approach, by Myron A. Greenberg (1994)
  • Mission in the East: The Building of an Army in a Democracy in the New German States, by Mark E. Victorson (1994)
  • The Burden of Trafalgar: Decisive Battle and Naval Strategic Expectations on the Eve of the First World War, by Jan S. Breemer (1993)
  • Beyond Mahan: A Proposal for a U.S. Naval Strategy in the Twenty-First Century, by Gary W. Anderson (1993)
  • Global War Game: The First Five Years, by Bud Hay and Bob Gile (1993)
  • The “New” Law of the Sea and the Law of Armed Conflict at Sea, by Horace B. Robertson, Jr. (1992)
  • Toward a Pax Universalis: A Historical Critique of the National Military Strategy for the 1990s, by Gary W. Anderson (1992)
  • “Are We Beasts?” Churchill and the Moral Question of World War II “Area Bombing,” by Christopher C. Harmon (1991)

There is some very interesting reading in there, especially if you have spare reading time Smile

Dodgy advertisers stuff up

I saw these two advertisements on the same page when reading Dilbert today. I can’t decide whether she has had a massive pay increase or a massive pay cut!

And on the same page, dodgy advertisement number 2
And on the same page, dodgy ad number 2
Dodgy work advertisement number 1
Dodgy work advertisement number 1

Or maybe she has two Internet jobs? Never thought of that!

Vale Alta Vista

I’ve been a user of the Internet for quite a few years and Thomo’s Hole has had one residence or another out on the Interwebs over that time – certainly since the mid 1990s. Over that period and up until Google came along, Alta Vista was the search engine I used the most – once we moved on from gophers (remember gophers?).

It is with a wee touch of sadness that I bid farewell to Alta Vista. Yahoo, the owners of Alta Vista and who paid a bazillion dollars way back to acquire Alta Vista have switched it off and now use Microsoft’s Bing as their search engine in Yahoo. I will continue to use Google.

Vale Alta Vista.

The Last Telegram

It was noted in Slashdot , Fox News and a pile of other places to be honest that

telegrams no more. Stop. India to send world’s last message July 14

So, the last telegram in the world will be send in India on 14 July 2013.

Today telegrams have become largely irrelevant as a means of electronic communication although I am sure that the Indian rural communities will still miss it. I noted today that my eldest son, now having reached his thirties, had never seen a telegram. I can remember a couple from my childhood.

I can also remember that as I was born 9 years after the end of World War 2 and a year after an armistice in the Korean War, that to my parents and grandparents a telegram was something to be dreaded as it inevitably brought with it bad news. The loss of a son or husband in action was the usual message, or the fact that they were missing and their whereabouts were unknown. Good news telegrams were generally that he had been wounded and was in hospital. In any case, it was almost always dread news.

Good news was sent by letter between people but bad news was sent by telegram. The news and government services were, of course, the exception, in that they were reporting events – some good and some bad.

So, that harbinger of doom, the telegram, ceases in a few weeks time.


Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/06/17/telegrams-no-more-stop-india-to-send-final-message-in-july/#ixzz2WXdsB8nz