Wednesday, 28 January 2015

No madam, that is not a tablespoon.

I was looking for a decent can opener yesterday - still didn't decide, they're expensive or they're shit and the expensive ones might be shit anyway if they use the weak plastic bearing they use on the cheap ones - and remembered I haven't been able to find my measuring spoon set the last few times I needed it.

So i checked measuring spoons ... and NONE i found in the department stores or kitchen-shit shops were to Australian standard; they only had euro/uk 15ml tablespoons.

Whilst the teaspoon is the same size at 5ml, Australian tablespoons are 20ml.

It's just baffling. I didn't raise it with the staff because I wanted to check my memory was correct first (although i was quite certain as i'd had a somewhat robust discussion with my sister over the fact about a year ago!).

Obviously I could just use 4 teaspoons or some other mix but obviously I can also choose not to buy incorrect measures from a local retailer. Maybe the supermarket will have something correct; they still SOME Australian stuff and not just (dumped) EU brands.

Update: The only ones at the local foodland were actually correct. Although "curiously" the half tablespoon is 7.5ml rather than 10ml; but nobody seems to use dessertspoons anyway so i'm not sure what it's supposed to be.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

"HoloLens" - PR speak for LASER.

To create Project HoloLens’ images, light particles bounce around millions of times in the so-called light engine of the device. Then the photons enter the goggles’ two lenses, where they ricochet between layers of blue, green and red glass before they reach the back of your eye. “When you get the light to be at the exact angle,” Kipman tells me, “that’s where all the magic comes in.”

First part is clearly a LASER because that's how they work. Second part is? Prism? LCD panel? DLP thing?

It sounds interesting enough on it's own without having to fluff the language so badly. At first it sounded like it could be a hologram due to it using a LASER (coherent light) but it just sounds like a projected screen; common sense tells us that there's not enough processing power to render volumetrically at the required resolution to start with.

My guess is that they were worried that the public might be scared of the makers of Windows and the XBOX 360 RROD disaster making hardware that shines a LASER directly into their retina?

But yeah "light engine", FFS.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Yay, NBN is here at last.

Got the nbn hooked up on Friday - and fortunately i'm still in an area they're doing fibre to the home even if it is coming in over-head. Of course most of the country should be getting that too but the total fuckwits running the country decided to show their complete lack of intelligence and add a ton of future cost and grief by changing it to 'fibre to the node' so they can maintain 50 year old copper pairs until they need to go back to the original plan at double the expense, ... but i digress.

It was something i was kind of excited for a few years ago but then I kind of cooled on the idea since the internet is mostly just a pointless waste of time. But then again so is most human activity isn't it? The NBN is mostly just going to be used for ip-tv i'm sure.

The ADSL I had before wasn't too bad so for the most part there isn't much difference so far since most sites were bandwidth limited their end rather than mine but it should be more reliable during wet weather if nothing else (the old modem was getting flakey too and needed a weekly-or-so reboot). I guess the peak (i'm willing to pay for right now) is 2x download and much higher upload (10x or 20x, not sure what it was before) compared to my ADSL, which is better than a poke in the eye.

I am getting a fixed ip address this time and will be setting up a local webserver - mostly because I can and want to but also to play with some web software and move away from google's advertising-supported services. I'm going to try to write my own cms/server/thing based on some experiments I did a few years ago; but it could be a while before I get anywhere because i'm just not in any rush and the weather is too nice over summer (and it's a fairly large undertaking together with me being a bit rusty on the technologies involved).

I'm also going to try to run it on my beagleboard xm too just for kicks - after a bit of a search i found where i'd left it and it seems to be working fine. It should be fast enough for the "expected load".

I'm too lazy to take a picture of it right now but yesterday I finally worked out how to fit the beagleboard and a usb harddrive into a tidy & compact case. I have an old/dead 3.5" USB HDD enclosure made of extruded aluminium that I cut out and filed down some holes for the usb/network slots and had a portable 2.5" HDD I filed down a bit to slide into the other end (retaining all the shock mounting and external case). I have the connecting cable running externally but since it's already got a network cable coming out the same side it sort of "works" and is a lot neater than anything I could come up with when trying to shoehorn the cables into any other reasonably sized box (usb cables are so bulky in a confined area).

I didn't add any holes for the audio/video panel but there should be room for some right-angle plugs should I need it. I guess if i ever replace my burnt out amp I could set it up near that and use it for a radio too.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Another year down [the drain]

So there goes another year. I haven't been blogging much for a while because I haven't been doing much terribly interesting for the last few months. I wrote a few posts but decided against hitting the publish button for whatever reasons.

Work had me busy/occupied and I lost interest in hacking for the time being. I did a little work on a "simple" photo/layout editor (mostly due to how shit the gimp has become) but I wasn't really interested enough to keep working on it. Even the last post about ezesdk was work i did months prior. I've got a couple of months off so perhaps it will rekindle some spark.

I got a PS4 a few weeks ago when a bundle came along that tickled my fancy. I mostly wanted it for driveclub which has been pretty fun. At first i thought the handling was a bit funny - like having truck springs/shocks/brakes on a hatchback - but you get used to it and once you get to the faster cars they are a handful pretty much like they are on gran turismo. Not that i'm very good at it as i seem to fall around the 25-50% mark in terms of the leaderboards. Loading times are nice too, i could say "next gen" but just before I got the PS4 i realised I had the PS2 version of WRC4 i hadn't played (at all?) so was playing some of that. Bare menus and sub 10s loading times for tracks, not to mention weather and so on - Evolution have plenty of "form".

TBH I think the game is somewhat better than Gran Turismo actually - the driving is at least as challenging and more fun, the track designs are considerably better and at least it can keep a solid framerate - and that's before you consider how nice it looks. It really puts into question the silly things that Polyphony were focusing on like "1080p-ish", over-detailed car models, volumetric smoke - all nice but not worth the cost of tearing and dropped frames (i think they're good things to focus on, but the target platform must be considered first). resogun is more fun than I thought it would be, it seems slow to watch but once you get going it becomes very hectic. I tried p.t. - thought it was a bit boring getting stuck in a corridor when I couldn't work out how to advance. A bit skin-crawly I guess but not nightmarish-ly frightening or anything (like typical japanese/korean horror). Pixeljunk shooter is really cool - love the music and it has a nice puzzle mechanic (apart from the bone muncher perhaps). I only tried LBP3 for a bit - the levels are very good but as ever it's impossible to find decent community levels and the networking stuff is rather slow. I have the last of us but haven't opened it yet.

The OS is nice. Just simple and quick. Makes using the PS3 a bit of a drag, particularly with the way patches and downloads are handled. The game installs/playgo stuff is really very good too.

The IP-TV and video support is pretty much shit (the DVD player is ok but it's still the same interface they used on the PS2, which is baffling, not that i ever watch dvds). It has a few tv stations' 'catch up' services available but since the whole interface runs at NTSC-derived 60Hz it just plays back like total shit - the PS3 is far (far) superior here - as it is with almost all media. Actually for some odd reason you can only select NTSC fixed resolutions too, it's impossible to set 576p for instance but you can set a woefully bullshit 480p ...

So yeah, that's about all atm. I've been keeping an eye on some other more interesting stuff like the HSA finaliser from AMD and opencl2, but not too closely because it would take a good chunk of time to get anywhere with it. Today is headed for 42 and at 11am it's already 40 and windy and hot enough to feel like you're breathing inside an oven - so i'll probably just be sitting around the house playing games and drinking beer. Unless I go to the pub to do the same but all my drinking mates are working/busy/married/interstate/os these days so it's usually a bit dull and can become a bit depressing.