The perils for early adopters – Stadia

There has, in the gaming world, been a lot written, tweeted and said about Google’s new online cloud based gaming service Stadia. It has turned out to be pretty much what I expected it to be but that doesn’t stop it also delivering some fresh let downs.

The principle of just using a controller and a “dumb’ screen with a fast internet connection to a service has clearly worked for things like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, we are able to watch UHD content flawlessly (most of the time)

However a game service such as Stadia is a bit more complicated, as unlike a film, a game is rendering content as needed based on input from the users controller, it is not simply a stream of known content that can be cached or buffered. After all in watching a film when you press play, if the film starts 0.5 seconds later to give the buffering a chance to provide smooth images based on network conditions, you just would not notice. In a game you do, so latency and any delays are utterly obvious.

In IoT, especially industrial internet of things we discuss Edge vs Cloud and latency and processing data as close to the source as possible is an obvious solution, rather than round tripping to cloud.

A game is pretty much an ideal case for edge computing, and has been for many years. That does not mean that the edge needs to be isolated, you cache and render locally but may get elements of data remotely, like the postion of other players. Those few streaming coordinates are very different to a full frame 4K image that is rendered remotely, followed by another and another at 60fps.

Hence my experience of Stadia is this…

Glitches in sound, dropped frames intermittent pauses. I have not captured the worst of it as if you capture in game via stadia it captures it at source, and the videos are perfect. So the indicates it is not the end infrastructure for the game but the network between me and it. Google suggests that using the Chromecast box that plugs into the TV you use also use an ethernet cable and plug straight into the router. I do do this with the Xbox One (Due to its wireless interface being so bad) but the PS4, Switch and various iPads, PCs and Macs are all wireless and have no trouble with “networked” games or downloads. That of course is all because the content is local, the rendering is local. My network is a very robust mesh network, ironed out many kinks working from home and being big consumers of digital content over the years. We also have 70Mb broadband.

I wanted the cloud approach to work, in fact we had OnLive on the Cool Stuff Collective back in 2011. It was part of a piece where I descried what cloud computing, 9 years ago. OnLive was trying to get cloud gaming going. In emerging tech we are well used to the ebb and flow of trying and it being too early, waiting then it returns (look at VR and virtual worlds), and eventually it takes but at the moment Stadia doesn’t seem to have it sorted.

It is not just the intermittent breaks in smooth content that are a problem at the moment though. I have a Stadia Pro subscription, one where you apparently get games under an all you can eat subscription. The only trouble is there are 2 games, samurai showdown, a retro beat em up (fast moving so lag matters) and Destiny 2, of which the redeeming feature is that it has cross platform character saves. The rest you buy (and not really very many of those either that I don’t have on other platforms already). None the less I re-bought red dead redemption 2 just to try and support the platform and see what it could do. I have several times been greeted with this experience.

Rdr 2 stadia

The game thinks it lost the controller, the controller is still able to summon up Stadia content, stope the game etc, but none of the buttons worked.

I also stepped away from RDR 2 having paused it for a relatively short period, just a few minutes whilst I sorted something out and returned to this.

Rdr 2 stadia

A Stadia message saying I was dumped out of the game, where the mission had not completed, so was not saved. Some RDR 2 missions take a while and with the choppiness and this the level of frustration destroys the experience.

I was also expecting to be able to play on my IoS devices, but I can’t yet. On the PC the system down scales so will not do 4K images (not that it is in real 4K anyway.

Friending people doesn’t work. Purchases of content (should you want to) have to be on a mobile app not in the system, replays and captures are only viewable on mobile. the list goes on.

Microsoft and Amazon are waiting in the wings with their streaming services. For me the Microsoft and my Xbox Game Pass library and purchased library will be a bigger draw, though the network issues will be the same for any provider. Yes OK, 5G might help, but that’s a way off yet in reality running at full pelt. Latency and physics will alway remain an issue (unless we deal with quantum physics that is!)

Electric Vehicle Upgrade – Big changes – Tech wins.

A few weeks ago we upgraded our EV Nissan Leaf to the newest version of the Leaf Tekna. It is now our 3rd Leaf having been a very early adopter over 5 years ago. The last to we had were pretty similar but the new Leaf has undergone some significant changes, and they are all good I have to say.

The shape and outside styling is a little more angular with cuts and flashes of bodywork and lights, which is pretty much the styling of most of the Nissan range now. In particular the rear lights wrap around to the side of the car.

Leaf old
2017 Leaf
Leaf new
Late 2019 Leaf

The changes on the interior are a little more obvious with a new centre console and a few of the buttons have shifted around, like the eco button and strangely the start button. A new steering wheel has a squared off base, again like many other Nissans in the range.

Our previous two cars had a type 1 charger, and we have an installed cable unit, this new care has the type 2. I thought we would be easily able to upgrade the cable/charge unit but it seems the various government grants to install a charger do not apply to upgrades. So it is around £900 to get a new charging unit even though the installation would just be switching the head unit not the 6 hour job it is normally scheduled to be. However a range of adapters exist, so for £100 we have a solution in place. Not ideal but it made the scheduling of handover of the cars from one to the other less complex.

The big changes are really quire impressive though. We have ProPilot on the car which is a modern driver assistance set of tools. It is not quite a Tesla in the self driving sense but it certainly helps get closer to not having to do the driving. Now purist drivers and petrol heads (I think I am/was one) might baulk at the thought of not being in complete control but we have had a lot of computer controlled safety aids on vehicles for many years, traction control, ESP, ABS braking and even Sat Nav. ProPilot when on a motorway allows the car to maintain its lane, speed and distance from any car in front, handling the acceleration, braking and steering. You do have to maintain hands on the wheel though. If you want to over take you indicate, and start to steer the car then accelerates to get past the car you are overtaking. It is particularly good when the cars in front start to brake. I was hovering over the brake pedal on my first longish journey and it started to brake at a stoppage just before I was about to hit the pedal. It needs white lines to follow and lets you know if it can see them, also lets you know if it thinks it is following a car in front. You can set you comfort distance between you and the car in front as well via a 1, 2 or 3 bar system. It can feel a little odd as it makes small corrections in steering that maybe as a driver I would not bother.

Knowing whether to trust code and systems like this is a tricky one. However on the way back from out recent holiday I got to drive the hire car back to the airport, it was Diesel stick shift Nissan but did have some of the smart features and sensors. It reminded me what an archaic system stick shift is, yes it gives you plenty to do, but it is made for us as a driver to have to adjust to the design of the engine and gearbox. It seemed a right pain. Then when we got back Gatwick I got to drive our 2007 Petrol Automatic Honda people carrier back to Basingstoke. This has almost no driver aids or sensors, except a reversing sensor. It does have cruise control, but I never have used it as it has no idea what is going on in front of it. It is a blind lump of metal. A lot has changed in the past 12 years. When I got back I popped into the new Leaf and headed to the supermarket. With all the sensors running just on local roads it felt brilliant, but it also faster, more fun and much more agile and light to drive than both the ICE cars that day.

One of the other tricks the Leaf has is one pedal driving. EV’s don’t need gears due to the torque of the electric motor. Hence no clutch, but they do have a stop and a go pedal. With a switch on the console you can switch to 1 pedal driving only using the accelerator. If you lift off the accelerator the car slows down using the brakes itself as needed. This feels even weirder that the self driving motorway pro pilot, but it is actually works really well. It is still using all its senses to understand what it in front, even being able to emergency stop, or at least start the process quicker than the driver can. You can still apply brakes, its not they are turned off BTW. As you approach a roundabout or junction and you ease off you quickly start to feel how much to reduce the pedal by, it almost feels the car learns from that, not that it is really. It is also using the regenerative braking to recharge the battery. This is something that they have got better and better at over the years. In stop and go traffic jams it removes almost all the hassle, aside from the delay. Gently creeping forward and stopping dead as you lift off the pedal works really well. I certainly don’t miss the clutch, brake, try not to stall, apply handbrake, repeat malarky.

We did not opt for the self parking option on the car as another 5k was a bit steep for something that is so easy to park anyway with its all round camera and sensors. It even looks out the back of the car both ways for you as you reverse to detect a sudden on coming car or pedestrian.

Other nice things about the vehicle is it now has Apple CarPlay. Plug the phone in and I get music apps like spotify though the awesome Bose sound system. It also reads out incoming text messages which can be responded to via voice commands too. It is a little confusing having the in car voice control and then it side loaded with Siri but I like it.

EV’s always have the range question thrown at them. Not a major problem for us as most journey in this are the shorter town ones, which is why we switched in the first place but both range and power have been upped. I used to press the eco button not the steering wheel in the last one to turn eco off and have a turbo boost to leave a roundabout if needed. So far even in full eco and full energy recovery the car launches pretty much the same it seems. There is a different with eco on or off as to the amount of pedal travel on the accelerator and how much power it delivers but it is still very nippy. Having been a long time Subaru Impreza WRX owner, that thing launched with a very impressive 0-60 but the Leaf off the line feels faster and lighter. EV power deliver is pretty constant so yes it would fall away after the 0-30 but I think many people don’t realise just how quick these things can be. It is how heavy footed or how fast you drive that impacts the range. The last Leaf on full charge indicated a guessed range of 110 miles. This could easily be halved on a motorway at 70. This Leaf indicates around 150miles on charge but it doesn’t seem to tail off on the motorways quite as much. I am sure it can easily do 100-120 miles. Probably the full 150 on country roads.

In short. I like it. EV’s FTW!

Robots everywhere – T9

I was very happy that the Robosens T9 transforming robot that I backed on Kickstarter arrived this weekend. I have backed a lot of interesting things on the crowdfunding site and most have proven to be pretty good.

T9 though made me smile and laugh the most, combined with a slight tingle on the back of the neck. It is not net connected AI, but it is a clever piece of mechanical engineering as it does actually transform from a driving car to a walking and dancing robot.

The instructions and details were a little on the lite side, as I have not yet figured out the angles and coordinates for the 22 joints in the programming environment. I asked a leg to move, got the wrong angle and it fell over 🙂

None the less. Just asking to it transform is pretty cool I think 🙂 It has lots of preset manoeuvres, it even does push ups 🙂

What got me interested in tech

I recently was asked to write a piece for the BCS (this is the professional organisation that many UK techies belong too formerly known as the British Computer Society, but now more global). I have been the chair of the Animation and Game Specialist Group for a few years and obviously I have worked with elements of game tech for a good few years. That includes now at 451 Research with the elements of Augmented and Virtual Reality having an impact on the world of IoT. AR is the User interface for IoT, and is built with game engine workflows and tools as much as any leading edge game.

The piece has a stack of things that seemed to come together and influence my to be interested in tech, much of it Sci-Fi based. In a world where we didn’t have this sort of access to technology we have today, but just enough to hint at where we were heading.

Feel free to go and have a read and reminisce here with The Memoirs of a Bedroom Coder. I had pondered writing a factual book about what influenced me and this weird career path I have taken but I bundled some of those attitudes and thought up into Reconfigure and Cont3xt in science fiction instead. (Which will be free from Saturday 24th August – 29th August) if you can’t bear to part with 99p/99c to read them.

Meanwhile, this weekend whilst checking out the awesome cars at Carfest South on Sunday, the family will also be enjoyed some live music by 80’s icons, Boy George & Culture Club and The Human League. So I am sure my (nearly) 52 year old brain will be flashing back and pondering the future at the same time.

If you need me the rest of the Bank Holiday weekend I will be mostly with my head in an Oculus Rift or PSVR enjoying the fantastic No Man’s Sky update bringing it to VR after 3 years.

Or, out in the garden playing the US CornHole game, chuck bean bags 30 feet into to hole in competition. Its a real sport you know! Its as low tech as I am going to go :).

Cornhole
Cornhole
Pro Cornhole
Cornhole World Championship

Florida line up

We just got back from a family holiday in Florida with 2 weeks of almost constant theme park. That also means 2 weeks of constantly standing in a queue it would seem. However, it’s all part of the experience.

We also experienced some pretty amazing weather. The hot and humid climate would occasionally burst into wet and wild thunder and lighting storms. I was often looking at the weather radar and it was incredibly quick to arrive and depart and very localised a lot of the time.

Overall Disney won over Universal in terms of the best ride/experience (Avatar:Flight of Passage) and the longest queue, for that at over 3 hours. It also had some really nice park food, again at the Avatar Pandora restaurant, a cleverly themed family style meal got a big thumbs up.

Florida
Dinner Pandoran style
Florida
Pandora

Universal seemed to have the slowest food preparation and also was having all sorts of problems with its flagship Hagrid ride almost permanently shut and the Hogwarts one we went on after a horrible queue that someone fainted from the heat and had no support from Universal staff, then the ride went on to break half way through and as we left there was no indication of getting to go around again to make up for it.

Having said that, universal Hulk and Spiderman are still very good and the Harry Potter train between parks is really well done too.

Florida

NASA (A non park day) is always amazing, the scale of the rockets and the achievement to go to the moon 50 years ago is amazing.

Florida
Florida
Florida

Since we last went of course SpaceX now have their own platforms there and had recently performed a launch. We saw a shuttle launch back in 2000, but they are long gone unfortunately.

For all the fancy tech I still really enjoyed a game of Pool in the villa, occasionally just solo practicing potting all the balls in a no rules kind of way. I managed to clear the table on 19 strokes after being stuck on 22 for a couple of hours 🙂

Florida

Another cool experience was he free roaming real world integrated Star Wars experience by The Void company. Something I can heartily recommend!

Florida

I managed to get picked on at the Monsters Inc laugh show and got a sticker for my troubles.

Florida

It was seemingly having an orange tshirt, but I was happily going off brand and sporting my Speedball Brutal Delux retro game shirt 🙂

Magic kingdom

This was part of a theme as I tended to be completely off brand with the shirts. My favourite was taking Judge Dredd to Disney.

Florida

Though I was on message going to Dave and Busters with a Pitstop retro shirt on 🙂

Florida
pitstop

Predlet 2.0 was somewhat freaked out after the excellent Rock n Roller Coaster but somehow enjoyed the spine crushing mission to mars at Epcot

Florida

We had some cracking food outside the parks too. I hardly cooked all week, except steel cut oats or eggs in the morning for breakfast. This Sushi was amazingly good.

Florida
Epcot

Day 1

We all really enjoyed it and whilst I don’t ever want to stand in a queue again I know I will. Its a lot easier with Wifi and an Iphone and older kids that amuse themselves 🙂

Florida

Celebrating Apollo Moon Landing 50th

I am old enough to remember the moon landings, just… I was just coming up to 2 years old and I remember wearing a cardboard box on my head bouncing around the lounge in front of the TV. Every time I see images of the event or hear the radio transmissions I still get a shiver down my spine. It seems a general thing that we don’t remember much before 7 years old unless they are very impactful. For some reason this stuck with me and even if it is just because I have been told it happened I can still see it and feel it and it still triggers a wave of emotions. It’s pretty much what started me on the “how does this work then?” that led to whatever it is I am now as a Doctor of Technology 🙂 It is why I write lunar lander programs as a first thing on any platform or language to see what they can do. From the ZX81 and C64 onwards. It was impossible to resist getting the Lego creations lunar lander model when it popped up.

To celebrate 50 years since the moon landing
Apollo 50 Lego

I spent this Sunday building this. Lego is very therapeutic and of course whilst I was building it was having this waves of memories and feelings and thought about how important space travel is to science in general.

There are a lot of pieces to this build and I thought it might take me a couple of days, but I started for a few hours in the morning, then we popped off to a very energy sapping Choi Kwang Do black belt tag martial arts grading (as you do) and I carried on after that. So I think the total build time was about 5-6 hours. Back in 2011 the Millennium Falcon I got after it had been on our TV show (Cool Stuff Collective) took me over a week several hours a night, but that was because it had already been built and then broken down so the pieces were not in the usual number bags to divide them up.

Millennium falcon pieces

This went on to be played with by very young predlets and did not survive the process with the Lego being mixed into the general pile I believe 🙂 The Lunar Lander will not suffer that fate.

Apollo 11 Lander Lego build

It is a wonderful thing to build and it is amazing how much of its detail gets hidden away, but you see it as a builder. As much a journey as a destination.

It eases you in building the lunar surface with the crater.

Apollo 11 Lander Lego build

Then the main lander base with its legs that was eventually left on the moon. Some nice fuel tank detail that eventually almost disappears.

Apollo 11 lander Lego
Apollo 11 lander Lego

In the side pods are opening doors to show the camera that captured the descent down the ladder and the retroreflector that was left on the surface of the moon to allow scientists to determine the range of the moon by firing a laser at the device.

The core habitable command unit is the last piece, which includes a hatch for the crew to get in and out of the piece that would eventually take them back up to the orbiting platform before being jettisoned to orbit the moon and finally crash land again.

The end result with its sticker and the gold bricks representing the gold foil works really well.

Apollo 11 lander Lego
Apollo 11 lander Lego

The full build step by step (well chunks of it) are in this album on flickr.

That wasn’t the only reminiscing this weekend either as my Kickstarted GoCube arrived too, taking me back to the 80’s this time instead of the last 60’s.

GoCube

This wonderful version of the puzzle is instrument and knows where all its pieces are and what way up it is, an app can guide you to solve the puzzle, set you specific challenges, time you or even play tunes with it. The teaching though is really good. Much less frustrating and more rewarding than the original 🙂 Yay for tech and IoT 🙂

VR is now finally normal in our house with Oculus Quest

Clearly VR has been sort of normal in our house for many years but it has generally needed me to have left something setup or be asked to get it ready to experience. A while back I got rid of the spare bed in my office and put up a bunch of shelves to clear space specifically to let me have the Oculus Rift and it sensors permanently and easily available (I have a new desk for the windows laptop now BTW. However the Rift is still on a PC that needs to be logged into and the chair I sit and work on all day need to be wheeled out of the way and, well I am pretty much always in the room working or not there to help because of work travel. So we have high end great quality VR, but it’s not used very much by anyone else. It would get used if I set it up in the kitchen (pretty much the only other space clear enough room scale VR, but that setup had to be transient, making it a bit of a pain.

3 days work. Much better room now. Still not finished
Full sweep of room setup

The Oculus Go got a bit of interest a while back but because its only 3DoF it is not as engaging as full VR once you have tried that. It is still great for watching movies though.

Oculus Go

The Predlets have seen VR and got to use it since the original Oculus DK1 over 5 years ago they are 12 and 16 now !

We have the PSVR, but the PS4 tends not to get used very much in favour of the Switch and the Xbox. We do have some more recent accessible VR on the Switch with the Labo kit. Which has proved a fun thing, but not getting everyday use as there are other things to do on the Switch.

Nintendo Labo VR for Switch
Nintendo Switch Labo VR camera.

So I was very pleased when the Oculus Quest arrived on release day back in May that it got a bit of family interest.

Oculus Quest

It is a very impressive piece of stand alone VR kit. It may not have quite the grunt of the £1500 gaming laptop and Oculus Rift but it has the same feel and smoothness with full wire free standalone 6DoF VR along with full hand controllers.

It has an almost permanent place sitting charged and ready to go in the Kitchen. Here it is next to the toaster.

Oculus Quest in situ

It has become popular with elemming and the Predlets all just occasionally picking it up and having a go. A firm favourite is of course Beat Sabre but Predlet 2.0 likes Job Simulator, he even asked me to get that one specifically. Also Box VR get used a fair bit as we are all being meeting our movement rings on our apple watches. Predlet 1.0 favourite not the Rift was The Climb and I am happy to see it is due to make an appearance not the device. I am still very enamoured with SuperHot VR. It along with Beat Sabre are some of the best VR experiences I have had.

Is it worth the £400? I would have to say very much a yes. It adds nicely to the collection of 10 or so headsets I have gathered over the years and is very much a state of the art expression. The pick up and play nature of it (it even remembers the guardian set up after you take it off and put it down somewhere else (the guardian is the boundary you draw around your play area to let it warn you if you are near a wall). This all adds to it just working and being a family friendly device.

The only downside at the moment is that it uses only 1 facebook logon, i.e. mine. Some fo the games then assume there is only one user and don’t have multiple slots for save games. So yes all those high beat sabre scores are obviously mine 😉 I am sure they can fix that and I hope they do.

Anyway well done Oculus. Love it!

Cooking with insight

I just took delivery of a new kitchen gadget, this MEATER+ thermometer.

IoT cooking with connected oven thermometer

I had been meaning to get one for a while but was reminded about them during a conversation with predate 1.0 about what IoT actually is and what I cover in my job as an analyst.

It’s a clever piece of kit, it sits in a joint of meat or fish whilst it is being cooked and tells an app remotely what the internal temperature is, so you can get things just right. It is actually a bit more clever than it may seem though. It is really two thermometers one inside the meat and one outside testing the surrounding ambient temperature. That means it can do some calculations and present on the app predicted the predicted time a temperature is reached. It factors in resting time too in the time and the ready indicators. I cooked a chicken breast yesterday for the first time with it, and it had around 5 minutes of resting time once it came out of the oven where it was clear to see the meat was still cooking and getting hotter internally. The chicken came out brilliantly juicy and perfectly cooked. The external temperature sensor is also good because clearly a simple dial on a cooker setting may be a few degrees off one way or another so this instrumentation is providing an actual not a would like to be temperature.

What is also clever is that the wooden block the unit sits in when not in use is also its charger. For the the + version I opted for this block also acts as a bluetooth and wireless repeater, so you don’t have to stand next to the oven with your phone and app to check it. That is a bit frivolous but I like the idea that the holder was also a bit more functional.

The girls are away on New York for a few days for Predlet 2.0 and I have the place to ourselves, and I can experiment a bit more to see what difference it makes with a few smaller meals.

I do a lot of cooking of all sorts of type but I have never cooked a Beef Wellington, but now I think I have to to fully test this gizmo. Beef Wellington is of course notorious for being over or under done as the meat is encased in pastry and you can’t give it a little slice to see if its ok. I will wait until the family are all in one place to do that though.

This may sound like some sort of advert, but I just bought this myself because I like cooking and I like tech. It’s been around a couple of years I believe. Hmm, I am hungry now. Which is a pity as I am back not the Fast 800 track for a few weeks 🙂

Headbanging Easter

I had not got around to posting for a while despite lots of interesting things happening in the World. Primarily this was because on Easter Sunday whilst cooking a roast dinner somehow I managed to slip on oil on the kitchen floor and head butt the work surface on the way down. I/we think this is what happened as I was pretty concussed and the family did not see me go over. They just knew I was on the floor and there were garden peas all over the place. I seem to have been heading to drain the saucepan, but didn’t quite make it.

I knew I was not OK but kept saying I was in my confusion. There was no blood and the bump had not formed yet, but I was driven too Basingstoke Emergency room. I was seen very quickly as head injuries or the level of confusion I was exhibiting need sorting out quickly.

I was asked what happened, but I didn’t really know, also if I had been drinking, which I hadn’t except for a sip of a G&T. I was too busy preparing a meal for 6 of us. I got sent straight to a CT scan and when that was all clear I was discharged but told to not be left on my own for the next 48 hours in case of any complications

The advice was to rest, and so I went from doing lots of exercise ever day to almost nothing.

Slight break in activity
Not much activity!

That first week was a very strange experience. I likened it to being stuck on a very long flight and sort of zoning out. I watched loads of movies as I couldn’t face playing any video games. However, I can’t actually remember which movies I watched, or if I can I can’t think what happened in too much detail. It is hard to tell if this was the brain impact or the stress of thinking about the incident.

Even more strange was the following weekend I realised I had missed buying Mortal Kombat 11 on release day. I went to get it and saw that I had in fact bought it during the week at some point. I then had to check my credit cards to see what else I may have purchased. Luckily not anything else!

Mortal Kombat 11
Mortal Kombat 11

That made for a doubly troubling state to be in. I was busy trying to piece to gather the gap in my memory of Easter Sunday, and the following days. Working in a job as an industry analyst where we need to remember what we see and hear it felt a bit like being a footballer breaking their leg. You know it will get better but will it work quite the same.

I started back doing light exercise, but didn’t go to Choi Kwang Do classes for a few weeks. In part this was to ensure that I did not get any bumps on the head (not that I would normally) but also I was not feeling up to driving.

Luckily with work it was a bit easier to do bits and pieces. Eventually things seems to be pretty normal. I was/am still wary but got back to it.

My first big test was driving 100 miles to Coventry to present to the BCS branch there. The driving was not the worry as much as just not being able to enthuse and deliver a presentation. However, it was game related and on a subject I live all the time too. It seemed to work, I was still able to do that. I drove home right after. When I got home I was totally shot though. Usually presentations take a lot of energy out of me because of the way I do them, but this was quite heavy.

The next big test was a conference in Cork. Flying really had me thinking, wondering if being pressurised was going to trip something. I was lucky it was a short flight though, less time to freak out about that. Also on arriving I was there with Christian Renaud, and we went out for a meal and a chat so I got to exercise my brain a bit in a normal situation. I did find I forgot a few things more than usual in general chatter but in part that probably always happens. Every slight stutter in my though patterns though I was analysing.

At the conference I was on a panel at one point and had to do some quick fire answers on artificial intelligence and industrial IoT. That seemed to work too though I think. The rest of the event went well. I took copious notes rather than relying on any short term memory.

One eventing we went and watch the awesome John Wick 3 and I can say I remember everything that happened in that still. So that’s a good progress marker.

Cork

The following weekend was my daughter’s 16th Birthday so a lot of things going on including a meal out to celebrate with her and some of her friends too. I don’t think I went to weird chatting.

Then I was back on a plane again and an 11 hour flight to California. I was off to the 10th Augmented World Expo. A full on event chatting with vendors and also meeting friends from a long time ago, back in the 2006 Metaverse days. My enthusiasm for the space of course carried me through, but equally made it all a bit tiring. Luckily I could pop back to the room in the hotel and just take 5 mins every now and then.

Reconfigure and Cont3xt were also free for the week so I did let everyone know 🙂 too.

#AWE2019 San Jose augmented world expo
Headset museum (extra exhibit at AWE2019)
#AWE2019 San Jose augmented world expo
#AWE2019 San Jose augmented world expo

The hotel on the last night had a fire alarm that had us all out on the street at 1am, which is never good. No-one was hurt and about an hour later we were back inside.

I got back on Sunday afternoon, so Monday was mostly jet lag and doing expenses. No idea what happened Tuesday either. Wednesday I wrote a report which flowed nicely. The tiredness of jet lag masks most things. Yesterday (Thursday) though I had a hectic morning with doing a school run twice, early morning food shopping too. Then I had 2 back to back inquiry calls, where our customers pay to talk to us. So you have to be with it for that. At the end of the second one I couldn’t remember the name of a few companies, and then felt a little off. In part I thought this was because I was also trying to get back onto the diet regime again and maybe that was too soon. I ate a bit more healthy food and went to Choi. That all seemed to be OK but still felt a little off. Again, this may not be related but you start to doubt yourself I think. I felt a little off this morning too but dived into a report and avoided too many distractions. I think this will pass and is just another kick form the jet lag. It makes sense that it takes as long to clear jet lag as it does for the amount of time you are away.

Anyway, well on the way to normality again, whatever that is. I think like all injuries there are elements of feeling recovered but then overdoing it but exercise seems to be a good thing, lots of blood flow to the brain and positive thoughts.

All in all this could have been a lot worse, if I had still been 20 stone instead of 15 (and less soon) then the angular momentum of that additional weight might have knocked even more out of me.

Watch out out for oil on the floor. It reminded me of this public safety film, one of the many we had to watch in the 70s

Maybe time to bring these back ? 🙂

Games programming – 1984

A wonderful hashtag #MyFirstGamesJob has been doing the rounds. Whilst I am not totally in the games industry, I am not exactly not in it. I tweeted that my first games job was writing a C64 lunar lander that was selected to be printed as a listing in the magazine Computer and Video Games. I had be reunited with a copy of it back during the Wimbledon days at IBM (15 odd years ago and hence lost again!) but now it is sitting online in the wonderful Archive.org

the first 2 pages
the last page

They appear in the issue 28 from 1984 ! the full document is here https://archive.org/details/cvg-magazine-028

I got a whole £10 and a copy of the magazine. The C64 was my second home computer after the ZX81 and really set me on the way to being a programmer and doing al the things I have done in my career.

I had a different back story to this xmas gift one but that’s OK, the writers and producers did what they needed to 🙂

I still lover the analogue nature of gravity simulation and thrusters in Lunar lander. It was a go to genre to try and learn any new machine or language. Also in this version I couldn’t;t get the sound chip to do a long booming noise, it kept only clipping and making a splutter, so I changed the description to say it was running out of fuel. (Need must sometimes 🙂 )

So here’s to 35 years of being officially being a techie, a programmer, a geek and of course a minor celebrity 🙂 I am going to have to get this into book 3 somehow.

(UPDATE 10/4/2019- Thankyou so much to Mark Hardisty for spotting this link to the game with images and a listing 🙂 the internet is fantastic isn’t it !) Going to go get and get the emulator running!

C64 Planet Qwarrk