The 2000th Fooyah Communication

I had been saving a few items for this communication and this is going to be a rambler rather than focussed on particular issues. I guess this could be considered my christmas newsletter to the world if you think I care enough about you – actually to the ten people who look at this site I do care. So, what sort of things have been happening?

I’ve recorded a couple of videos for YouTube showing me landing in two New Zealand airports. I’m currently there in my journey around the world and my biggest “problem” is deciding whether to island hop across the Pacific to South America or to head up the ring of fire to Japan and then cross the Bering Straits. I need to look into the range of my T-7 EFT and go from there.

I just had a look on YouTube and I hadn’t uploaded the second video, I shall attempt to do that a little later. I’ve got some music file management to do first because I had helped Kickstarter an album by the artist Faderhead. Their music hits my sweet spot and so I was happy to chuck some money towards his project. I get my name in the thanks in the CD notes.

I’ve reinstalled Twitter onto my phone, not sure why, but I think I have a slightly healthier relationship with that dark place than previously. It’s also nice to see what Cornish Pom is tweeting about.

Just over a week ago, Friday 17 December, I was chatting to one of my work colleagues and they said that they had a PS5. I don’t think I was aware of this and so I acted surprised. The person then told me that to get it they had just kept checking a couple of large UK suppliers websites a few times a week and one day there was stock, so he bought it, drove to a nearby town and owned a PS5. I was slightly surprised this method worked as I had envisioned having to keep checking stock level tweets and getting in long queues in different shops. Just for a giggle that evening I looked on the Currys PC World website and it said they had two bundles in stock! I clicked order and they confirmed that the devices would be delivered on the Thursday [23rd December]. This seemed nice as it would be a christmas present and also a 50th birthday present for me [it’s coming up].

I then keep getting emails from the delivery company saying the delivery date is being brought forward and eventually they deliver it on the Sunday! Just two days later. I was super pleased. I then spent about an hour organising AV corner in the lounge to make sure that it fit.

Early Christmas
Early Christmas

I’ve finally decided to remove the Blu-Ray player from AV corner. It doesn’t get used and on the very odd occasion when I do want to watch a disc I can use the PS5. The PS4 is removed because the PS5 is backwards compatible, so the 4 isn’t needed. I haven’t decided what to do with it yet. I currently have in my possession a PS3 [at work], a PS4 in a cupboard and the PS5 being used. I thought about taking the PS4 into work but the steering wheel isn’t compatible and I’m not getting another one just so I can keep the RACE club going on better hardware.

PS5 in its new home
PS5 in its new home

AV Corner has a 7.1 amp, Nvidia Shield Pro, PS5 and PSVR. There are a couple of cooling fans there to force the airflow as the corner is stuffy and doesn’t really allow for convection. The new system looks good and the PS5 is pretty darn amazing. I’m really impressed with the DualSense controllers. The force feedback on the L2 and R2 triggers is really impressive.

So we now arrive at the lovely xmas present the world decided to give me and that’s Covid. I tested positive the other day. Had a PCR and just waiting for those results. But, given the specificity of the LFD tests, there isn’t really any doubt. I had expected to get it at some point but I would have been happier if it was when I was meant to be at work and not during the holiday season. I felt like shit yesterday and today is better but every joint aches and I can’t regulate my body temperature. Guess I’ll just lie on the sofa and watch a load of shit all day.

I hope the world treats everyone well over the next few days and here’s to my third thousands worth of communications.

In the year 2000 the following were some of the things that happened:

  • The Y2K bug is averted through massive investment and hard work.
  • 800 people die in flooding in Mozambique.
  • A Concorde crashes after taking off from Paris.
  • The Kursk sinks killing 118.
  • I went to the Millennium Dome and it was really shit.

Tasman Sea

It’s been tough, this last term. There’s plenty to moan about and discuss. But I’ll leave that to private conversations rather than let everything be out in the open on this site. If you can believe it I have my limits. I’m typing this as my flight sim heads across the sea from Hobart, Tasmania to an airport in New Zealand. I’ve got about fifty minutes to go. This is the longest over sea flight I have done and I keep looking at fuel levels. I think I might travel the length of New Zealand and then island hop to Hawaii, after that I’m not so sure how to get to the Americas. Maybe I’ll head to Galapagos and the South America. I honestly don’t know. I’m not even sure what the maximum range of my aircraft is. I can tell you that the T7 that I’m flying seems remarkably “loose” in the sky and I’m not sure if that’s the updated aircraft or just my flight sim. I guess I’ll find out when I try and land.

I’ve been tweeting the flights for a while now and I’m looking forward to whatever I’ll do when I return to the start point. I’ll need a new challenge but I’m also hoping that X-Plane 12 will be out by then. If they could make a version that uses multi-core rather then a single core then that would make me very happy. I don’t know how complicated that is but I do know they use an Apple computer for writing everything. I get a reasonable performance at the moment except over very built up areas and so multi-core could sort that out for me.

I’ve been checking online every now and then for PlayStation 5 stock. I was curious but I didn’t think I’d actually end up with a decent result, but . . . the other day I checked Argos and then Currys/PCWorld and it turned out there was a bundle in stock at PCWorld. Well, what could I do? I didn’t think I would buy one but the dream of GT7 on a 4K TV with raytracing got me and I clicked the order button. It’s coming on Tuesday. I need to rationalise AV corner now and think about getting game saves etc over from one machine to another. It’s probably time for the DVD and Blu-Ray player to go. It’s very rare that we actually watch anything on disc and the PS5 can be called into use whenever that ability is needed. I’ve promised myself I’ll try and get into more games over the next year. I want to use the games I have in the library. I will possibly report back on if it’s good or not in about a week.

The kids play mostly PC games when they are here. One on a laptop and the other uses my beast of a machine. I use my own PC for flight sim mostly. My fingers don’t really operate at a ASWD level, they are too used to a PS5 type controller. I could learn but there are other things I’m going to try and learn to push my brain a little. I guess I might reveal those things sometime in the future.

I’ve recently actually paid for a couple of albums. I’ve had Children Of The Dark by Mono Inc. in my head for ages and decided it was time to try and purge the earworm. It turns out that didn’t work and I keep getting their songs going through my head. I’m looking forward to seeing them in concert at sometime in the future. I’ve been wondering about whether it is best to buy an album or to stream music and I’ve mentioned that before on this site. For me, I thought buying an album meant more of the money I’ve spent would go to the artist. If I don’t listen to the songs many times more of the money in terms of royalties goes to the artist than if I just streamed the songs. Now, Daniel Graves from Aesthetic Perfection has said that he makes more money from streaming that album sales because I guess some people play individual songs over and over. I don’t know if it would make my contribution more to the artists as I often only play a song a couple of times and not over and over. It’s something I’m going to think about over the next week or so.

Well, I arrive in New Zealand in about ten minutes so I need to head back to the flight simulator and get ready for landing. I’m really worried about the handling of the aircraft and I hope I don’t crash on the landing as by my own imposed rules I would have to start the flight again!! Keep an eye on Twitter for progress.

This is communication 1997. Here are some things that happened in the year 1997 ACE:

  • Hale-Bopp makes its closest approach to Earth.
  • The UK hands Hong Kong to China.
  • The country went Diana mad. I was left remarkably unfazed by the whole thing and didn’t really care.
  • The Prius goes into production.

That Was A Week, That Was

Absolutely bloody shattered. That’s how I ended this week. Last night, Friday, I ate food and then tried to watch a film. Fell asleep at 2000 on the sofa and then went to bed at 2230 when I woke up. I’ve not even really had the hardest of jobs in the organisation. There are others who are running the testing centre and track and trace and all that and all I have to do is our core business of teaching. Knackering. But also nice to be able to see faces again. Kinda.

I bought a new cafetiere and it came with a coffee grinder so I’ve been grinding coffee beans and testing that type of coffee out. It’s fun, I guess, but not sure if it’s worth it. Especially as I bastardise my coffee with sugar and milk. I then decided to get a filter coffee machine instead of a new kettle. My kettle looks worn out but a bit of descaling has meant it still works fine so I can live with it for a while longer. The coffee machine has a timer and so I can set everything ready in the evening and come down to fresh coffee when I wake up every work day. I will say that having everything done when I walk through the kitchen is a sheer delight.

My home boiler, hot water and heating, has issues and I can’t let the heating work automatically. This has been like this for two months now. I pay money for a boiler fixing service and my initial appointment was to be about four weeks after I initially called them, and while that seemed a long time to me I had to remind myself this is Covid and my system still works to an extent. Then they cancelled that appointment because – reasons and pushed it back to mid March. Now the service company have cancelled that and pushed it to beginning of April. I will have been waiting approximately four months for something to be fixed with a house that is mostly cold. This isn’t the sort of service I pay for. Screw them.

I got a new mobile phone a while back and while it’s the same brand as I normally get it still feels new. Which is nice. Normally I get a new phone, you transfer all your data and you look at it and go “Oh, works the same then” which is exactly what you expect when devices run the same OS. This one feels and looks different somehow and that’s even after one month of owning it! Oh, I also upgraded my sim only contract and now I have 160GB of data a month. I use around 5GB. So, I’m going to have to see if I can max this out. Time to start downloading films and streaming lots of video. There was only one time in my past when I think I went over my data allowance and that was at Linton when I was trying to stream an F1 race.

I also had a bad headache this week and woke at 0200 in pain and not able to get back to sleep. I had to get up and take pills in the night, which I can’t remember ever having to do in the past. Fortunately the pain had gone by the morning and I was able to head in to work. But trying to sleep and having thoughts running through about how to organise work and cadets when you aren’t going to be there is not nice. I think I need to change one of my life rules. If I think I might take some tablets then I should take them there and then. Don’t wait to see if it gets better. Just get those drugs into my system. I have a similar successful rule about work. If I think I’m not sure I can make it to work because I feel ill then that is when you don’t go in to work. That particular rule doesn’t always work because there are other social pressures when working in my sector.

Minecraft Bedrock ran an update which also included a server update so it was a nice distraction to put the updated server on my PC. It’s not a hard job but there’s a list of things that need to be done correctly to make sure everything works properly. Which it does and so I got a nice sense of satisfaction from that. I did have a small panic when the ray tracing didn’t seem to work on the PC but it did after a short wait and so thankfully I don’t have to investigate why. I quite enjoy fixing PC things but sometimes the time involved can be quite high. Things are generally fixed either within fifteen minutes or three hours.

I hate selling stuff on eBay. I recently went through a cupboard and found some old tech items and thought I would either throw them away or sell them. So, I decided to sell them on eBay. I wasn’t sure how much I’d get but it seemed more responsible than just chucking them out. Once tech items sell I’m always worried they decided to stop working in transit and arrive broken. I would never knowingly sell something that doesn’t work [unless I labelled that clearly]. So, once things are posted I have a week of background stress until I get my positive feedback. One item I sold I accidentally labelled it as the wrong model and so that is coming back to me which is perfectly fair because that’s my mistake. I’m happy to correct that. The other item the buyer wanted to return because “it didn’t work”. Now, he had already messaged me asking for the software download and how to get the item working. This indicated to me that he didn’t understand the tech side of things. Then he wanted to return it saying it didn’t work. I messaged him asking if he had followed a detailed list of steps to get it working on his system and I haven’t heard back at all. I suspect he was hoping it was plug and play and I also suspect he was connecting it directly to his PC and not to his router. There are many things it could be and I’m not his personal tech support. So his request to return was denied.

Time to get out for a run and burn off the calories of my take-out last night.

Week Four – Completed

So, I survived another week, but around 7000 people didn’t. It’s saddening to see these numbers and to think it all could have been avoided. “But surely those in charge are finding it tough to make the right decisions, what else could they have done?” I hear you cry. They could have followed other countries who were already successfully combatting this pandemic. This article explains how it’s done well. At least BJ will have killed as many people as Tony Blair and his illegal war, just BJs people were all white and we don’t like that – or I bet we don’t care as I am willing to put money on the Tories winning the next general election.

I had a moan on Twitter about a news headline on the BBC. I read a headline and then I read the article and apparently teachers aren’t any more likely to die of Covid than the general population. I wonder if that’s because we are a mix of people and similar to the general population? Also, the article says absolutely nothing about the rates of transmission and covid positive cases. Just deaths. Not about increased risk of death because of increased cases.

The worry for me is that the BBC seem to be putting forward an agenda based on trying to keep their funding because most other media is anti-BBC because it’s funded centrally and they see the BBC as their competition. Also, the government hate the BBC News because tories are pro-business [really that should be pro-making money for themselves and their mates but not pro looking-after-people] and they see the BBC as a left leaning organisation that stops fair competition in this country. That’s the same reason they don’t like teachers. They think we are left leaning. I think they don’t understand people who would want to help and care for others and not just be out for themselves. Also, it turns out that a secondary effect of teachers is that we look after your children and tolerate their selfishness and try to help them understand the world. This means you parents don’t have to worry about doing all the things you should [how many times do you see that schools should teach about – sex, religion, caring for each other, how government works, how to cook, how to clean, how to look after money] and you can go out and work and grow the wealth of the richer strata of society.

This week British Gas phoned me to say that my boiler technician appointment was going to be moved because of covid restrictions. I guess that’s reasonable but it’s moved from 3 Feb to 31 March. I just hope my boiler doesn’t fail completely in that time. I think it’s the pressure vessel. I also wonder if I’ll need a new boiler due to lack of spare parts. This boiler was installed in 2004 so I’m not surprised it’s starting to fail. And if I need a new boiler that’ll get me thinking about how I could try to go greener rather than burning fossil fuels right in my kitchen. It’s something I need to look into.

I’ve been looking into my phone habits this week, trying to start to block out things that I know do not aid my mental health. I have removed BBC News from my main tab in my browser. I have deleted the Guardian app. I have removed the Apple News App. I am going to try and make sure I don’t look at the news too much. Nothing really changes and I’m no longer able to shrug off the things I read. So it has to go. There are other things I would do when I am not great mentally but because of Covid I am unable to do those. I would go to the cinema a lot. While I’m waiting for a film to start I read books on my phone because I don’t care for adverts or trailers. These are books about aviation and I’m currently reading one about the F-16XL which was free from NASA. I haven’t read any of it since my last trip to the cinema which was [checks this website] in October 2020. I should probably start seeking out films to watch at home but I am making do, at the moment, with NFL and The Expanse.

To help with distractions from political news and the pandemic I have subscribed to Scientific American again. I even paid extra so I could get the print versions of the magazine. I find that the technically dense articles really help distract me from the horror of the real world, even though the science covers all the real world better than any other form of news. I don’t have the first print edition yet but I do have electronic access and so I am reading articles on there. I also read Private Eye and I won’t cancel my subscription but I have found the last few editions just too depressing to read – they explain the corruption and cronyism better than all the other newspapers combined. I’ve just finished an article on Sci Am about social media and how we seek out views that support our ideas etc. The article was called “The Attention Economy” and it backed up many conclusions I had been coming to over the last few months.

In a short while I’ve got to look into car insurance as mine is due soon. II haven’t changed supplier recently and so I guess I’ll be able to save £100 by shopping around. I’ll go have a look. I need to remember that I want to make sure Europe is covered as I’m hoping to get to Germany this year even if there’s no music available to see.

North Downs Panorama
North Downs Panorama

Here’s a view of the North Downs over a pond that shouldn’t exist. The water is a flooded field and spends about a month underwater each year. The road to the left floods too and ironically this is right next to a water works plant.

Phishing Text
Phishing Text

I wouldn’t have clicked on the link anyway but I did enjoy sending this text.

Who Would Design Such A Thing?

As far as I can tell, so almost forever, the save icon for Windows applications has been on the left of the screen. That’s where it goes. That’s where everyone looks for the save icon. A minor issue is that the save icon is an image of a floppy disk which no one has used in over twenty years. Well, you would think that someone at Microsoft would be in charge of consistency but it appears not because their screen clipping tool has the save icon at the top right. I just want to know why.

Because - Consistency
Because – Consistency

Naming Conventions

If you browse this site regularly you may have noticed that the title of the communication doesn’t immediately have a lot to do with the content of that communication. It does, it’s just not obvious.

When I review a film on this site then the title of that communication is the name of that film such as this review of Now You See Me from 2013. There is a page somewhere in the old sites that has reviews of films going back to 2004. There might be stuff mentioned about films in this page which has stuff going back to 2004, I can’t be bothered to read it all.

Some of the cadet camp communications follow a naming convention of using the RAF TLA for the base where I stayed like this one from my first summer camp as a commissioned officer. I used the term BZN for the name of the RAF Station. That way I know I can find the other camps by searching although I think the Cyprus camp was named Via Platres. This was a reference to the name of the village we drove through everyday to get anywhere from Troodos base high in the mountains.

The Lego communications follow the format of Lego XX – Kit Number. The XX stands for the number of the communication of that type. It turns out there have been sixty six communications about the building of Lego sets. The last one is here. I think quite a few cover my building of the bucket wheel extractor a few years ago.

All my album reviews are named Album – Band. This makes a certain amount of sense and along with the movies is probably the only group of communications that is easy to find. Although as I write this I am only up to the P section of the albums by name. I chose to write these alphabetically by album name because I wouldn’t then be writing reviews for twenty AC/Dc albums on the trot. It mixes things up a bit.

The main problem with me trying to be clever about the naming of each communication is that I forget what they were called and end up searching my own website to find what I wrote or thought about a particular thing. This isn’t easy as sometimes I haven’t used the words that I thought I did when writing about that topic. In one communication I reference the Olive Harvest but that doesn’t mean anything unless you have the key to the code.

I’ve basically created a mess with these communications and I love it. It makes things harder to find. I end up seeing stuff I’d forgotten about. It is also slightly click-baity for which I apologise. You see I’ve written something and it won’t be obvious what it is unless it’s in those categories mentioned earlier, I bet you can’t wait to find out what madness lies within.

Not Fitting In

I guess this is a follow up to my choices communication last week. I finished that by saying that I expect to wake up sad at what this country is. I do believe it’s worse than that. I went to bed last Thursday, the day of the General Election, not really thinking about what the next day could bring but hoping for change. When I woke up I looked:

I am not pro-Labour. But I had hoped they would win. Because I care about people and do not want the conservatives leading this country for the next five years. I am not a member of the Labour party, I am a member of the Green party. The Green party has policies that closely match my own ideas about governance and the future of this planet. Next closest would be either the Lib Dems or Labour. The Lib Dems are damaged after being in a coalition with the tories and also electing a religious nut as their leader.

I do think that I feel depressed at what I see is a selfish choice by the country. I do not trust Boris, I have never liked the tories. I have never agreed with what they have done. I didn’t particularly agree with Blair and New Labour but at least they spent money and then saved the economic place of this country. The tories then forced austerity onto this country and the life expectancy shows that. The poor are going to suffer because people are selfish.

I do not feel as though I am part of this country. I do not stand with the beliefs that have arisen from this election. This country has in reality, it turns out, always been a bit racists and a very entrenched in its views of class and society. The country seems to believe that poor people are poor because they deserve it or did something wrong. That isn’t the case.

It’s quite telling that the first thing I did Friday morning was think about where in the world I can live, somewhere I feel my views are shared by those around me. Somewhere tolerant. Somewhere I could feel at home. I’ve never really felt comfortable with the retrospective jingoistic bullshit that this country falls for all the time. God, what a country of assholes.

It Was Better Than That

The other night the colours on display in the sky stopped me in my tracks and I just stared. The red was so deep and rich, contrasted with the black of the approaching night. I tried to take a photograph that would capture the hues but I don’t think it really does the sunset justice. Photographing atmospheric events is tricky and probably requires a deep investment in time and getting the DSLR out. I took this photograph with my iPhone and while the camera is good it’s not great. Also, I don’t do much in post. I like the shot to work. The things I will do are crop and maybe white balance adjustment. I rarely use filters as they seem to be a little “cheat”.

Sunset Colours
Sunset Colours

This view is in stark contrast to the view this morning through the window of . . . . nothing. There is fog out there and my normal uninterrupted view of around ten kilometres of countryside is reduced to 0.05km.

Over-Acting Joystick

Do you ever watch action movies and wonder where reality ends for them? It’s always the little things for me. Those small aspects of controlling mechanical objects that films like to exaggerate and mess up. But, it’s not just film, I see this sort of thing in kids cartoons and other media.

Last night I was watching a submarine based film. It was terrible and had loads of parts to it that I hated. But in it they had a small rescue sub piloted by two submariners. While driving this craft along they, on more than one occasion, had to turn “harder” and then ever “harder”. So, what did they do? They pulled harder on the joystick and made grimacing faces to show that this took more effort than normal to turn this tight. What shit.

Here’s some explanation. When we [humans] first made mechanical devices we had rigid linkages to the control systems and if it was going to take more effort to move the control system then we would have to put in more effort to our hand sized device be that a control column, wheel, or pedals. There used to be a direct mechanical connection from one end of the system to the other. This is fine for objects requiring little force to move control systems as humans can provide that force for a limited time.

Then, over time, our mechanical devices became larger and required more force input to move the control systems. Engineers and designers soon realised that the pilot/driver/controller couldn’t provide all the force [push or pull] required to move the control surface and so they needed help. Also, if large effort was required over a long period of time the pilot would become physically tired very quickly. So, powered control systems were invented.

When a pilot/driver/controller moves the control stick/wheel/pedals they actuate a motor which helps to turn the control surface or device. Now, it starts to get a little complicated. There is required a certain level of feedback force to the pilot through the control column so that they can “feel” what is going on with the aircraft/sub/car etc. This amount of feedback is controlled very carefully to ensure that the pilot can understand what’s happening to their craft while also allowing them to maintain a high level of work without becoming over-tired.

So, in the submarine movie they had the pilots obviously physically straining trying to turn this craft but that would not be the case in real life. Once the control column is moved as far as it will go there is nothing else you can do. It wouldn’t take that amount of effort to maneuver and you can’t turn a little tighter by grimacing. It’s bullshit.

This trope is similar to driving fast in a chase. It always seems the vehicles have another gear to change in to or the driver can put his foot down more. If you are being chased why aren’t you going as fast as possible from the very start. It’s lazy filmmaking because they could do other things to make the action interesting. The producers just settle for the easy.

So, as a rough guide to powered control systems and feedback devices I would suggest that anything before 1950 would require effort to move a control surface. That is a very broad brush. Many bombers had powered control systems and so it’s not the absolute guide but it does set a rough idea of how to spot the crap in a film.