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! 🙂

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 42,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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!

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!

Sydney Morning Herald – Yer Dreamin’

imageI received yet another email from the Sydney Morning Herald letting me know that they had now moved from a traditional news print way of selling the news (the news had always been paid by advertisers with the cost of the physical papers being a re-imbursement of the distribution cost) to digital subscriptions. Did I want one?

The Herald was pushing a package where for AU $15 a month I could read the Herald by accessing it through the website. That is $180 per year. OK, that may not seem so bad except that in real terms, the paper version did not cost me anything and came from a newspaper that had many more reporters and journalists than it now does (the Herald dumped so many journalists and reporters into the job market last year to cut costs). So now, in real terms, I am expected to pay more for less!

It gets more interesting however.

imageFor only an extra AU $10 a month (and therefore the princely sum of AU $300 per year) I can get the same Herald but with access from my tablet (iPad in my case, Android tablet in the case of others). So now the Herald expects me to pay AU $120 a year for an iPad app!

Now they are definitely dreaming!

The biggest problem with Fairfax (the owners of the Herald) and indeed News Corporation (Rupert Murdoch’s non-government surveillance organisation) is that they do not really understand the digital world. They have not got the necessary digital vision to see what is going to work for the digital future. For example, in the past, newspapers charged advertisers based on their audited circulations. They argued that this was an indication of the number of people reading the ads, which of course it was not. In a digital world, advertisers can see when the advertisement has piqued the interest of a reader by the reader clicking through so they will no longer pay for a blanket “oh, your ad will be seen by 500,000 people because that is our audited circulation”.

What is the secret to digital newspapers? Simply speaking, either charge $300 per year (and lose I would guess around 90% of your readership and therefore relevance) or adopt a better model – but really, $120 per year for an iPad app – is that the most expensive iPad app ever?

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.