Category Archives: Game Development

Nepal Photos from 1993

Back in 1993 I took a trip to Nepal with my ex-girlfriend Carol. I took a lot of photos on that trip, and finally got around to scanning them in:

http://picasaweb.google.com/mickword/Nepal1993#

Six days of the trip were trekking near Pokara, in the Annapuran region. This is approximately the route we took:

From Nepal 1993

It’s about the easiest trek you can do. We walked for about five hours a day, maybe a bit more, but were really only walking 5-8 miles. It was a lot of up and down though. The heights on the map are in meters.

Where it all began

This is how I got started programming, 20 years ago, 1988:

Actually I started a few years earlier, but this is probably where I really got into writing code, and writing games. That’s a Sinclair ZX-Spectrum in a dK’tronics keyboard. Microdrive on the left. TV as a monitor. Sound sampler plugged in the back, plotter on the right. Cassette player (from before I got the microdrive). I still have that pink folder under the calculator. This is all on my desk in my room at Needham Hall, from when I was at UMIST (now Manchester University).

Books I Have Read on the Kindle

Books I’ve read since Feb 4th 2008, on my Kindle, with a ranking out of five of how much I enjoyed reading them.

1984 by George Orwell. (4/5)
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (4/5)
Sabriel by Garth Nix (4/5)
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (4/5)
A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian, by Marina Lewycka (3.5/5)
What is the What, By Dave Eggars (4/5)
World War Z: An Oral History, by Max Brooks (4.5/5)
Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang (3/5)
Lirial by Garth Nix (4/5)
Abhorsen by Garth Nix (4/5)
13 Bullets by David Wellington (3/5)
American Gods by Neil Gaiman (4/5)
The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman (3.5/5)
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (4/5)
Gate of Ivrel by C.J. Cherryh (3.5/5)
Eat the Document by Dana Spiotta (4/5)
The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester (4.5/5)
In the Woods by Tana French (4.5/5)
East of Eden by John Steinback (4/5)
The Likeness by Tana France (3.5/5)
Duma Key by Stephen King (4/5)

HomePNA Ethernet over CATV Coax

[Update June 2009] The following account might still be useful, but I don’t think the DPH548 is available any more. I would now recommend the NetGear MCAB1001 Adapter kit, which Amazon is currently offering for $180 for two adapters. It gets very good reviews. Someone reported problems getting it working with FiOS, but according to a comment below: “I'm Chris Geiser, the Product Line Manager for the NETGEAR MoCA bridges. The MCAB1001 works fine on the Verizon FIOS network and has been extensively tested.”

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Copy DVDs onto iPhone for free (Windows)

Very easy to do, you just need to install two free programs:

1) DVD43: http://www.dvd43.com
(Reboot after installing)

2) Handbrake: http://handbrake.fr/
– More specifically, install the Windows GUI version.

Then:

3) Insert DVD, cancel any auto-play

4) Run Handbrake, under Source, browse to the VIDEO_TS folder on your DVD drive

5) Under Destination, browse to any folder on your PC where the converted video will be stored, pick an appropriate name for the movie.

6) Under Presets, click on iPhone/iPod Touch, do not adjust any other settings.

7) Click Start, and wait 30 minutes to 2+ hours (depending on computer speed, and DVD length)

8) Drag the converted (.mp4 or .mpv) video file into Movies in your iTunes library

9) On the iPhone in iTunes, click the “Video” tab, then select the Movies you want to sync.

10) Sync, done. Movie will show up on your iPhone’s iPod “Videos”.

Tip: When playing, double tap to adjust the zoom in letterboxed movies.

Fire from afar

We could see Malibu burning across the bay for the past two days. Here it is going up Malibu Canyon. You can see some fire-fighting aircraft.

This is a few hours later, the fire has almost got to the top of the hill.

This is a closeup of the top of the hill in the above photo:

It seems all fairly clear now, although there are lots of fires burning elsewhere, filling the whole sky with hazy smoke.

Six Minute Mile Training

Today was a good day in my inexorable progress towards running a six minute mile. I ran the 1.1 miles to Original Muscle Beach at 6:45 pace. This is quite a leap from my previous record pace of 6:53 a week ago, which in itself was a huge leap from the record before that, 7:02, set just five days before that.

My “training program” is approximately:
Monday – 2 x 1.1 miles, divided by 30 minute low intensity circuit training
Tuesday – Day off
Wednesday – 2 x 1.1 miles, divided by 30 minute low intensity circuit training
Thursday – 3.2 miles
Friday – 2 x 1.2 miles, divided by 30 minute low intensity circuit training
Saturday – 3.2 miles
Sunday – Day off

So really I don’t have a training program. I just do the runs a few times a week, and each time I try to do the best time possible. This is not what the books recommend, but it seems to be working so far. I think this is what is referred to as “low hanging fruit” – I’ve led a sedentary life for so long that my mile time started out so slow that it was inevitable I would make great strides initially. I still don’t feel like I’ve reached any kind of plateau, but I will, and that will be the time for a more structured training program.

For reference, I’m 40 years old, 6’2″ and 160lb. I’ve been running about nine months. I was sat a desk with very little exercise for 15 years before that.