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
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!
Its March 29th 2019 and I am really happy to have hit my initial weight target after my 800 Kcal/per day plus loads of exercise especially my Choi Kwang Do training. My use of Nutracheck on my iPhone to track everything, my Nokia/Withings Wifi connected scales tracking weight and body composition, my Hykso punch trackers keeping my punch power tracking and my Apple Watch keeping the rest of the activity recorded and my heart rates all logged. In addition I have been eating many of the same things I have always eaten and having little impact on the cooking I need to do for the family. All there to get me to 94.8Kg down from 120Kg at Christmas.
Now I switch to 5:2 – 2700Kcal 5 days a week and 600KCal on two other days, plus the constant exercise. Another interesting experiment in the journey.
I have been really interested in seeing and feeling my speed and power increase in my Choi training and the image below shows the increase in contact speed in general over the last few weeks. I had stepped up training before my 2nd Dan Black belt a while back but this is even more significant as my mass is decreasing and Force = Mass * Acceleration. The indicative impact speeds have gone up due to more to the speed than to the application of weight. Here the total across both my hard pressing PACE drills (2min,1min, 30sec, 15 sec) and my general training and experiments in tweaking technique sees the total average impact speed over the year rising. So it’s gone from 9.5Mph to just over 11Mph. The leap Jan to Feb was higher too.
The individual sessions here below on days right to left and timed top to bottom as the full on impact drill (with kicks too that are not tracked) show a general overall increase balancing number of punches and speed. The last bottom right session dropped a little but that is something to work on next time. The last 15 seconds are at max heart rate when already worn out from the previous sessions. It was still 25 punches (plus some kicks) making contact in 15 seconds.
Having all this tech is awesome 🙂 Lots of IoT measurements to tweak. Now with a new Apple Watch (series 4) I bought to celebrate I will get even more accurate data too on the rest of the moderate exercise and impact on heart rate etc.
Looking forward to a bit more food during the day on 5:2, it seems an awful lot to eat now!
Father’s day saw my headset count++ with the google cardboard style parrot headset for the iPhone to let me fly the Mambo drone and its camera. Its great fun as you would expect. Unlike VR where you move your head to see you end up keeping still as you have to move the drone, but it is like sitting on it. For a little drone its very fast about 10mph according to some of the logs it generates.
I also used Swift playgrounds to program it to fly under code control on the iPad. Which is awesome too. Writing code, flying drones and VR headsets seems like some sort of perfect geek storm to me.
My hand mountable punch trackers from Hykso arrived last week. I can’t quite remember when and where I pre-ordered them but I have been looking forward to trying them out. They are designed for boxers and so geared around punching but I figured that they would be able to respond to our Choi Kwang Do techniques, which include punching of course.
The two sensors, one lights up red one lights up blue need to be strapped to the back of the hand just behind the wrist. I bought some hand wraps but they are a lot of faffing around and I found that my gel hand protectors with the larger wrist wrap hold the sensors nicely. The only problem is that I like to wear my fitbit for hear rate data, and that sits just behind the wrist too. So i placed the left one a bit closer up along the hand.
Pairing on IoS was straight forward, wakes them up with a tap and then assign to a hand.
I tested them just after a class so I was warmed up but in my own dojang. I dived right into a 2 minute PACE drill punching Bob and the bag, to realise I had actually set a 2 minute until we start recording delay. Some techie I am !
So after being even more warmed up I tried again, this with another 2 minute mix of punches, palms and knife hands. It certainly counted all the punches, something that is very hard to do at speed. That in itself is a useful extra training aid especially in the punch for 2 mins, count then, now punch for 1 min and try and get more than 50% of the last count, repeat for 30 seconds and a 15 second blast.
It can be distracting to get lost in numbers, but equally it provides relative indications. The app generates these images for social media, but internally shows a lot more detail, a speed, counter and “effort” monitor breaks down punches and power punches, which I think are anything not an inwards punch in Choi.
What I did notice in the graphs were my “intensity” score dropped mid session but thats when the speed rocketed up. As we often point out in training the more relaxed you are the more velocity you can punch with. A counter intuitive but effective way to focus on effort without effort.
Next I tried just the deceptively powerful reverse known hand for a few seconds. This number may be because it is confused as the hand angle on contact compared to a round punch but to go from 8mph average to 27mph strikes is very telling.
I have seen this on other equipment watching a 3rd dan get triple what most of use could register on an instrumented shield with a reverse knife hand. So for pure contact it is very effective. I suspect elbows, one of my favourite to drive a shield holder back would be along those lines but they are unlikely to register as an impact on the accelerometers in the device. I am not complaining as these are boxers tool not martial arts tools.
If the data is tracking movement and streaming it it would be really interesting to be able to profile moves such as a block and still count them. That would need an open Api or some data export but I look forward to giving it a go.
It fits with the other work I had done exploring using the Kinect
Once I get these darn wisdom teeth all extracted and sorted I can get back to proper training heading to EE Dan (2nd) and these will definitely be a tool in my conditioning arsenal. Lookout Bob!
Those of you of a certain age, maybe not quite as old as me but close, will have really enjoyed played Sega Outrun in the arcades back in the day. Possibly in full car mock up. This tune Magical Sound Shower is a classic from then and I can see the pixelated Ferrari drifting across the track and through all the zones just listing to it. All not on spotify, well done Sega for publishing it!
Also this ! love Nights
And Space Harrier 🙂
Jet Set Radio – Oh no this is becoming a playlist 🙂
Whilst on our summer holiday in glorious California I got an email from the Independent Author Network book of the year awards. It said that Reconfigure was nominated as sci-fi book of the year. This is of course excellent news. I am not sure if I can fit the badge on the front cover, as some of the Amazon rules seem to say you can’t from what I remember.
Anyway here it is. I will add it to the book’s page too
It is still just 99p and sales seem to have picked up recently too. So hopefully people will enjoy it and then come and discover Cont3xt too.
With more reader there is more potential for more reviews, and that all keeps the ball rolling.
My page over at #ian1 will need updating too 🙂
Before the advent of the high end PC and Mac with all the wonderful graphics tools anyone doing any game like programming would be more than accustomed to used some pencil and paper tools to build their graphics. Small square lined paper was the main tool there. Shading in individual little pieces for 16×16 sprite. Usually then converting the rows into the binary, then hexadecimal values that would drop into the data structure to the make the on screen character. Pixel art is still a big thing though and a genre in its own right.
It was interesting to see the emergence of this game making/editing toolkit that abstracts that graph paper a little, not dealing so much with pixels but with larger block and constructs in a game environment. Family Gamer TV posted this video showing it in action.
It is the physical nature of the building and configuration that makes this different to the regular point and click builds, though it can be used for that too. Having a large number of plastic blocks in different colours means kids, or adults for that matter, can gather around the “graph paper” and chop and change their design on the table top. It is not totally clear how you go back to your source code though. Generally building something you have the base components always there. Here you will clear the rack and start again on the next one. Now if it could 3d print you the “source” if you wanted to start editing from a point in someone else’s rig that would be truly awesome.
It seems that Bloxels are doing something right as they can now only ship in the US due to a lack of inventory. I think it might make an interesting change and tool in primary schools though it suggests ages 8+ I know kids younger than that would get the concept pretty quickly.
One thing with graph paper, back in the day, if you knocked it on the floor you still had your design!
I tend to do the family food shopping, being based at home it is good to get out and head to the supermarket, rather than online deliveries. I usually head to Sainsburys because the local store has self scan as you go around. The handset lets you scan the items as you pack them in the bags in the trolley. You then just pay by handing the scanner over (apart from occasionally getting a full rescan by the till operator to check you are being honest), and pay. A benefit of this is that you entire shop is listed on the screen and the price of the item. It is building the list as you go along and giving an indication of the amount you are spending. As the device is so small it does not contain the entire product range/barcode and price references so it is connected to a local network. Interestingly, though, it does not process the multi-buys and offers until it is handed to the cashier. I think this may be partly a systems decision and partly beneficial as the bill is always less than your handset shows.The network connection becomes apparent when something goes wrong with it. Occasionally you scan an item and the device hangs for a little while. Very occasionally, as happened yesterday it hangs completely and looks like it is not coming back. As I was at the end of my shopping trip and heading to the till, I thought I would wait rather than just hurtling off to customer services. The device shutdown and rebooted. I thought at that point I would loose everything from my 45 minute self scanning and have to do the old fashioned way of taking everything out of the trolley and put it on the conveyor belt again. The screen sparked back into life and this happened.
There were a few more screens but it as interesting to see the boot sequence.
Then all the data I had scanned appeared. It was probably only a minute or so, but I was very impressed that the system had a continuous backup, or maybe it is a local cache, of the details. I had to rescan my last two items, as they were the ones it had hung and crashed on, but it worked fine.
Retail is great at mining data and working out who buys what, I assume that they use richer data from the scanners to determine when something is bought. With this constant network connection there is scope for the next generation of these hand held units to deliver more than just the occasional information message.
I can imagine some less tech savvy consumers might be a bit freaked out by the apparently simple little listing device doing all this, and rebooting, which is why it is handy to have some background knowledge of the technology. It made it an interesting little sojourn and break from the current workload. It also showed we are already in an age of IoT, this constantly connected device sorted its own problems out and came back working. Lets hope all the new devices connecting can do the same thing.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an increasingly popular tag to place on almost everything out in the industry at the moment. It has far surpassed any discussion of Web 2.0 or Internet 3.0. In part it works because it does not have a version number. We all know about ‘The Internet’ as a support structure for the World now. The increase in mobile and app usage has helped separate it from ‘The Web” for many people. We used to, in briefings, have to explain the Internet as the connection of all the devices and the web was an information layer on top. The Web is not the the Internet. I think the average person in the street, bar, front room, office etc would probably think of the Internet as getting a Wi-Fi signal or a 3G/4G set of bars on their smartphone.
It is this social awareness, of connectivity, that lets the term IoT resonate with people. We all have devices that are connected to our WiFi or have some sort of sim card in them, that do not need us to be present for them to operate and communicate. Xbox and PS4 patch themselves over the air, dropbox and iCloud etc. synch their fields all over the place so we always have what we need. These are all simple everyday items already connected to the net and doing their thing. So they are obviously part of the Internet of Things, in common parlance.
That common understanding of connectivity and remote action runs into everyday life and therefore into the everyday life of people in business, CEOs, CIOs and alike combined with new product development and consultants helping shape all of industry.
So, yes, it’s another buzzword to hang everything on, but also, yes it’s really very important to us all. In a recent talk to Predlet 1.0’s year 8 secondary school class I explained to them how important IoT as an idea was to their future. Mainly this is because, aside from a technical career path building things, knowing and appreciated the connectedness of things may generate new industries and businesses that they will work in, or hopefully create.
This pitch was on top of the ‘normal’ discussions of virtual worlds, augmented reality, game technology, 3D printing, brain control devices, and open source attitudes. All those are my bread an butter, but they are also part of the general IoT umbrella of concepts and ideas.
One branch of IoT is that of sensors, instrumenting the World to gain a better insight into what is happening. We have had networked sensors for a while, but they are getting cheaper and more detailed in what they can deal with. This branch smashes into virtual worlds, at least it does where I started with it more publicly in 2006. The World of tennis was being instrumented by Hawkeye. The physical position of the ball was/is captured, via cameras and converted to x,y,z positional data. I used that data to re-visualize the ball tracking in Second Life, in a virtual world. That encompassed a visual representation of an Internet of Things style sensor reading of the physical World. That of course is a one way interaction, but allows many people to immerse themselves in the data at the same time online in a shared space. Tracking those people to help understand what they were watching and doing generated a heat map of activity. That is because it is easy in a virtual world to instrument everything. Avatars and objects re being rendered in a space that has to know where they are in x,y,z space, hence it can be collected and reported on. Making virtual worlds and ideal place to try out large scale instrumentation. What if… there were sensors on this, and there were 1,000 of them dotted around a town, how about 10,000? Oh look something is moving, follow it etc.
Whilst on virtual worlds, one of the first projects that arrived on Hursley island in 2006 in Second Life, was an angle poise lamp. To many people it seemed just like a fancy model, but the guys had wired in the distal lamp to the external World. The lamp was connected by the now open source MQTT protcol. A real lamp in the real lab could be turned on and off with an MQTT message that the lamp was subscribed to. The digital version subscribed to the same message so was in synch with the real world. The virtual bulb lit up when the message was sent. This was also built 2-way though, if you hit the virtual switch it also sent the message, just as the previous web page had. We used it as an example of integration and of pub/sub messaging but also to help people understand the environments are not stand alone, or they don’t have to be.
Roisin’s view of the World mocked up during storyboarding the novel.
This detail, about instrumentation and altering the World or knowing what is going on is why I had to label my Sci-fi novel Reconfigure, and the follow up Cont3xt as IoT books in Amazon. Currently if you search for “IoT Books” Reconfigure appears in the top ten of books on the subject. I am not jumping on a bandwagon as such, in the book the World is instrumented and Roisin controls and understands it with an virtual/augment interface. Whilst part of the extension into Sci-fi is made up, the grounding is in a long history of having been ardour this stuff and the experience that brings.
BTW don’t forget, a kindle book does not need a kindle to read it. Amazon has a set of apps and readers for most platforms. So if you want to see IoT in the future, check it out.
This video is doing the rounds, Wired also reported on it. It is the latest instalment in a project from MIT. It uses augmented reality to show you the connections between your connected devices so that you can do things to those connections in the physical World. It is called the reality editor. I has been an ongoing project, see the second video for the one from a couple of years ago.
UPDATE Jan 2016 – They seem to have removed this new video from Youtube. I am currently looking for the right version.
This is very interesting on a number of fronts. Firstly the use of augmented reality to do something that you interact with, not just see adverts etc.
Secondly, it is applicable to the next generation blended reality headsets like magic leap and hololens.
Thirdly, it’s another piece of real technology that makes my sci-fi novel even more grounded in reality. The sort of interface that is used here is the sort that Roisin uses in Reconfigure, except she can move real things in space and combine materials, not just wiring and plumbing as the current technology shows.
It seems strange to write ‘just’ when referring to something so leading edge. It is that odd balance between the joy of some cool technology getting into peoples hands and everyone getting the point rather than nay saying, versus the ‘enjoy this I made it up.’ approach that I am currently taking with the science fiction.
It all is towards the same technology evangelist goal of helping people come to terms with all this change and to embrace and expand upon it.
Here is the original video from 2013 of the fluid interface concept of the Reality Editor.
Just think what you could do with this, and how far you could take it.
Soon(ish) Reconfigure will be a historical document 🙂 I am glad I put some suspense and drama in it too no just tech 🙂