06 December 2017

Updating Google Map Entries

I don't generally keep the contact details for my local takeaways in my phone - why should I when they are a simple web search away?
Well when they are either wrong or not immediately apparent.  So I updated the Google entry and included the correct opening hours as well.  This was a simple process, even on a smartphone, and whiled away the time waiting for food to be cooked.  Today I received Google's confirmation email of a successful edit and publication:

The process was simple clicking the suggest an edit link just under opening times:

I wish the update had been sooner because about a week ago my son did a search and placed an order for collection, but it transpired the Yuit Loung the order was placed with was not local... The lesson reinforced: sanity check your search result.

This guinea pig has new and more relevant things to focus.

13 September 2017

Hello World GitHub and Wuthering Bytes 2017

Like many things in life that I feel I should understand or do, like finishing one of many incomplete home DIY projects or my CEng application - it has only been twenty since I registered for that one! - I lack competence in Git.  It was explained to me in an hour session a few years ago now for a complex project, but I could not easily and repeatably login to the development server and so it was a frustrating experience and I moved onto something else.

A couple of weekends ago I went to Wuthering Bytes 2017.  Billed as a festival of technology in the heart of the Pennines and running from 1st to 10th September I had a fun, interesting and sometimes frustrating time listening to talks and participating in workshops.  The Open Source Hardware Camp running at the weekend covered topics: 
  • artificial intelligence and machine learning by Alan Wood
  • RISC-V architecture by Graham Markall
  • micro:bit conception and prototyping by Lawrence Archard
  • the Robot Operating System (ROS) by Nick Weldin
  • Computer Science from the ground up by Ken Boak
  • Do's and Don'ts of building and selling an electronics kit by Jenny List
  • and lastly a favourite of mine Conservatory and Garden Automation by Rod Moody.
As part of the myStorm BlackIce workshop I installed Git and cloned part of a repository: https://gitlab.com/Folknology/mystorm/tree/BlackIce/tutorial/BlackIce/blink.  It was really easy, in Windows using the command prompt:

Anyway, at an Alexa software developers day, we made extensive use of the web interface to Github and the RAW button to simplify code deployment into AWS Lambda and the developer console for Alexa.  The RAW button provides a format free version of the code suitable for a Select All > Copy and Paste into the appropriate destination.  The RAW button is located at the top right of the code box:

Lastly, this morning I followed a short guide on the GitHub website that I had missed before - a Hello World guide.  It runs through the parts of git that I had yet to cover:

  1. Creating a repository
  2. Staring and managing a new branch
  3. Making changes to a file and pushing them to GitHub as commits, and
  4. Opening and merging a pull request
I feel after this I have a better handle on the environment.  Anecdotally most of the functionality is ignored.


08 August 2017


I used to use XMind to for mind mapping, with an academic license, but have just changed to FreeMind an Open Source alternative.

I think it is a good piece of software and have 'mapped' some of my thoughts on how the Live Action Role Play work of Curious Pastimes works.

30 September 2016

New 'Old' Laptop

The morale of this story is: capable ex-corporate tech can be sourced relatively cheaply.

My son just started at a new school and it was recommended that he had easy access to a computer for homeworking.  So with an idea in mind of what he needed I set about investigating potential machines - like I needed an excuse.  In the past I had reason to look into multi core machines with oodles of RAM for number crunching and simulation work like this one:

Quite a beast and ideal for Finite Element Analysis tasks that RAM limited.  The University I work at, and I imagine it is no different elsewhere, dictate that second-user equipment will not be supported or bought.  But if we were then how about this all for under £8k:

The processors are old but very capable with a Passmark CPU Benchmark for a Quad XEON X7560 listed as 15414.  It's never as simple as the summation of the benchmarks, but as an indication that is: 15414 * 2 * 8 =  246k... To put that into perspective the machine I play games on has a benchmark of 3.7k.   For pure number crunching the processing power and capacity to hold a massive simulation is drool worth.


However, I am getting horribly distracted by computer porn and should focus on the task: to identify and source a suitable machine for my son to do his homework on.

Most of the machines in the house are dual core with the exception of the TVPC which was upgraded to a quad core a couple of years ago to enable games to be played smoothly and my PC.  I considered giving him a desktop, my preferred type of machine due to speed and upgrade potential, a spare home theater machine would do, but considering where and how it would be used ended with this idea being quickly dropped.
So the machine would be a laptop, since I feel strongly that a device with a substantial keyboard is required for anything but a bit of browsing.  For size I would have considered a Raspberry Pi a couple of years ago and even though the RPI3 is significantly more powerful than the original it still lacks the capabilities to run smoothly and possible code on.

Investigating laptops I was not surprised to discover the sub-£400 sector offered both big and small screens with anemic supporting hardware and knowing how capable carefully chosen ex-corporate kit can be I snagged a Dell Latitude E6230 for £120 off eBay.  Upgrading the existing 300GB mechanical HDD with the latest version of the 240GB Sandisk PLUS SSD, courtesy of an earlier impulse buy on Amazon Prime Day, and augmented the existing 4GB RAM with an extra 8GB stick by Crucual.  I consider 8GB to be the usable minimum for a Windows system that may be required to do some real work and memory is so cheap these days.

Laptop        110SSD              40
RAM            18
Total cost:   168

With a little work a very capable machine for less than a dual cored atom with 2GB RAM and slow imitation of a SSD with limited size.  PassMark CPU benchmark of 4013 - faster and more capable than my Surface Pro 3 costing *a lot* more, but weighing less and talking natively to my Kinect v2. 

The end result was eminently usable machine that I was so impressed by the quality of the hardware and the availability of low-cost accessories such as the PR02X docking stations with every connection even I could use and USB3 for less than £10 and internal mobile broadband cards DW5530 and DW5620 for around £18, I bought one myself!