I’ve found a website which looks through all your GT Sport data and makes in nice and clear. I’m not sure what this means. I’m not sure if I want this much detail but I am sure it’s cool. There are a couple of sites that do this:
I’ve been working on a Minecraft mega-build. I don’t think it’s as mega as some of the things made by the Hermitcraft server people but this is still pretty large. I’ve been working around an hour a day for what feels like ages. It started out as an experiment and now I seem somewhat obsessed with it all. I think about the plans as I go about my daily business and some of those have had to be binned as just too extravagant. Once this build is finished I think I might have trouble becoming motivated again in Minecraft, it’s been such a labour that this could end my metre-cubed-block career.
There’s also the problem of saving this build for posterity. That is where I will be upskilling. I intend to record some videos, to be placed on the YouTube platform, of me moving around the world and talking at the same time. I tried doing this in the lockdown and I hated it but I think it’s the only way to record the details of this build. I’m going to be testing recording and talking in other areas of this world to get practiced at this and hopefully be able to sound almost professional when I publish the videos of this build. I’ll also be using the PC rather than the PS4 to complete the screen recordings so that should look at lot better too.
I do not intend to learn any video editing software so I expect my tour around the base will be short clips rather than one long massive video. That way I can maximise the information given. Wait and see.
I had a blast on Gran Turismo Sport recently. I had noticed an update and they added a the Toyota Yaris. I bought that and went for a spin around the Dragon Trail circuit and it was a good fun car to drive even if on Group N300. I wanted more and so went to race online. There was a Gr. 2 race on at Alsace and so I entered that, this would be my fourth race at that circuit. The first was in my Mazda and the tendency to oversteer on the exit of a few of the corners made me a little too slow, so I tested a Beetle and it worked well. This video is me actually winning a race, more by luck than skill as everyone else seemed to have problems, but it’s still a win.
Turns out that today is Friday 13th. Not that I’m bothered by that. I’ve had some bad luck recently but if I linked that to a random date then that would really be pushing the causation correlation fallacy. My recent bad luck is mostly my PC blowing up but also my left leg refusing to work yesterday morning. So far today things have been OK.
Chillblast have sent me a new PSU for the PC and last night I fitted it. The PC powered up and all seemed good, so I powered it down and then cable tied everything in place within the PC cabinet. When I fitted an extra HDD to the PC shortly after it arrived I only had a blue SATA cable and that didn’t match all the other cables so I replaced that for a black one and now the insides of the PC look all lovely. More importantly I have a functioning PC and there doesn’t seem to be any damage from the explosion last week. It all seems to be working well.
Two albums were released today and I purchased them. I expect there were many more albums released that just these two but these were the only ones I cared about. I have, of course, bought the new AC/DC album, Power Up, because. I will listed to that later but I expect it to be full of solid AC/DC songs and definitely not a disappointment. GrooVenoM also released their latest album and I got that too. I like all their music, I do prefer the mix and sound of the first album but the band deserve my support. It’s a nice mix of everything I like and so sounds different and familiar at the same time.
Since my Minecraft server runs from my PC I’ve been doing other things on the PS4, which pretty much means I’ve been playing Gran Turismo Sport which I probably would have done anyway. I was racing with my Mazda and noticed that I had driven quite a distance in it!
If you look at the right hand side lower panel you can see I have driven 3,266 miles in this machine. I think it’s the car I have used most but I could be wrong. Perhaps I should look up the statistics for my Porsche also! I wondered then what my total distance within this one game was and went to my career summary:
21,669 miles in total when I took this screenshot. That’s not too shabby! I’m a little embarrassed of my Sportsmanship Rating because it has been up to a grade B but I’m not sure what happened there. I think I did quit an online race a couple of weeks ago after being forced off the track and ending up in last place but other than that I think my driving is generally OK. I’ll see if I can work to bring that rating back up a little.
Well, since the PC died I’d been feeling a little disconnected from everything. There’s only so much browsing you can do from a phone and using a work computer. I don’t always bring my work laptop home as I have access to all my files using the cloud. But now, I have a full screen browser: I’m using my spare Raspberry Pi.
I have two Pis. One is in the loft supplying Radar 360 with data of aircraft flying around one hundred miles from my house. The other was in the dining room and ran as a Magic Mirror. The Magic Mirror was my first lockdown project and I really enjoyed it. A problem occurred when I updated the software and it removed all my careful programming. Considering I didn’t use it a lot I decided I would re-purpose the DR Pi and now it is running on the main PC monitor and I have a device I can browse and see web information. I’m almost happy again. I just want my PC working again.
Kaboom went something in the house and all the wall sockets died, the sound of silence only returned once all cooling fans slowed to a stop. No noise from the boiler, the fridge, the TV. No music. No Google home. There was light but no rock and roll.
Investigations led to the house circuit breaker and the wall sockets having tripped. I went around and turned off many plugs. The sound came from somewhere in either the kitchen or the dining room so first suspect was the boiler. It is old and makes strange noises at times. Second suspect was the PC. It is young and lovely but loves those electrons. I flipped the circuit break back and some sounds returned – the fridge woke up and started making circulation noises. First plug to try turning on was the boiler. Click. All seemed normal. The boiler clock made its clicking noise and after a short while the gas started burning to warm the house. I was actually slightly upset it wasn’t the boiler, it meant the it was more likely to be suspect two and I do like my PC.
So, I crouched to power up the PC. CRACK and a flash. Everything turned off again. I had found my perpetrator. The PC was fucked. The flash seemed to come from the PSU and so I am hoping that once I can get the unit sent off it will be replaced and no other damage has occurred. Best case scenario is that the PSU alone went NFG and all the data is secure and everything else inside the PC is fine. A medium case scenario is that the power fried some of the processor or GPU and that’s under warranty and so that doesn’t really bother me. Worst case scenario is that some of the data drives are buggered. I won’t lose anything as it’s either all backed up or easy enough to redownload but it would take a couple of weeks to get everything back to normal.
So, I have some mild inconvenience at the moment. I’d just bought a new screen for the PC and I was looking forward to spending time flying around the UK in X-Plane. The PC also acts as my Minecraft server and so my current mega-build has been put on hold. Thinking about it now, I don’t think I have a backup of that world. If it’s gone then I suppose I’ll have a big shrug of my shoulders and start another. I’ll be sad for a while as I had plans and projects to complete but it would be fun starting again.
Annoyingly this all happened just as the UK enters another lockdown and so I’m not sure how long it will take the PC company to get back to me. It might be that they have to shut down for a while and so now it’s all up in the air and I’ll just be sitting here twiddling my thumbs doing my best to avoid ordering a PS5.
It turns out I’m a sucker for some kinds of advertising. Normally it’s the advertising that solves a particular problem I have had or something that’s been playing on my mind. I bought the NVIDA Shield TV after seeing an advert on a graphics card driver update loading screen. I bought a SONOS Move after it was announced and they sent me an email letting me know about their new products. I guess I’m a sucker mostly. I bought a new television after “popping” into Richer Sounds and picking up their catalogue, there was a Philips Ambilight TV on the front. I didn’t buy one straight away but I would think it was within two weeks. I think the adverts have to be technology based for me to want to get whatever the product is. I haven’t been disappointed by my purchases but that might be just the sunk-cost fallacy kicking in.
I get emails from X-Plane about new aircraft, scenery, plugins and ideas and recently they sent one with a lovely F-16 model but that’s coming in a around GBP40 and I don’t really think that is a sensible purchase. Below the F-16 was an advert for a web-based glass cockpit simulator. I didn’t need much persuading, I looked at the shop page and decided I would get it. The current instrument panel I have on my [old] tablet takes ages to load and the refresh rate is quite slow. This would at least mean I could use any browser on any device and see flight instruments.
Just look at that F-16, it’s gorgeous. Except for the conformal fuel tanks over the wing root, I really think they spoil the lines of the craft. So, I bought SkyScout. It works well, it’s a small webserver which reads the data from X-Plane and then serves that to a browser on the LAN. I initially used the old Samsung tablet but it’s so old that the browser isn’t supported anymore. I then used a laptop and it worked really well but I didn’t want to have to keep getting the laptop set up when I wanted to fly around the world. So, I thought about a second monitor for the PC. It’s specification is high enough that it should be able to cope. The choices were about whether to get a small monitor or large. How much was I prepared to spend. Should it have touch capability? I really like the touchscreen I currently have as I can operate cockpit switches just by touching the screen – assuming the cockpit deign has hotspots.
I decided the screen had to be the same size as the current monitor so 27″. This, is quite frankly, ridiculous. I remember when I moved into my current home I had a 28″ widescreen flat TV that was pretty good for its day and that would now seem tiny. That TV ended up being given to Mr Pom, I think I remember carrying it up the stairs to their flat. So, screen size was sorted. The existing monitor has a large bevel and that would mean everything looks uneven but there wasn’t a lot I could do about that. Touchscreen costs are a lot more than a standard monitor so that was an easy decision. It was also quite fortunate as the touchscreen can only operate one of the desktops. So, only one monitor can run a touchscreen and it can only operate one of the desktop areas. I lucked in there.
I opted for a reasonable Philips monitor and ordered another screen arm and also I had to order a DP cable. All of these items arrived on the same day but late and so I decided to complete the build the next day. I couldn’t sleep well and I don’t know if it was tech-excitement or just the fact that I couldn’t sleep well. I also woke up quite well at 0500 and I think this is due to a neighbour leaving for work around that time, I think it’s just enough noise to nudge me awake as I sleep with the window slightly open. This morning there was a full blown conversation happening at 0450 as two people stood outside their RUNNING vehicles and chatted about stuff. I did at least get back to sleep. I love the sound of the rain and I wish it rained more.
The first set up I tried was to have both screens in landscape and next to each other. I think this made the whole unit too large and too much headsweep was needed to look from one edge to the other. The new Philips monitor is the main screen and will be used as the gaming monitor while the old ACER monitor is now the secondary, information giving screen. In this view you can see the system as it was set up for a couple of days.
The aim is to turn the keyboard and ancillary equipment to face the right a little more. As a system it worked well but I did think that having the ACER monitor as portrait would be more interesting and serve a more natural feature as the extra screen for information. I mentioned this to Penguin and he agreed, it seemed that it would work quite well along with fitting within the floor area of the desk and also making the bevel less obvious. So, yesterday morning I spent some time adjusting the left monitor to the portrait position. I needed to perform a little extra cable management and also move both monitor support stands so it would fit in the available space.
This is the current set up and will likely remain the monitor positions for a while. I like it. I think the left monitor looks good and fits better than landscape. Windows seems happy enough with the monitors being like this and the touchscreen still works and maps correctly to the portrait screen. I’ve had to find some wallpaper and set that up as Windows doesn’t want to have slideshows from different folders for different screens and that is something I can live with. There exist plenty of programs that can sort that out but I don’t really want to install more stuff on to the computer. As I write this X-Plane is downloading scenery for the rest of the world because when I installed it onto this computer I only covered Europe and northern America. It’s taken around an hour of download running at around six megabytes per second. My X-Plane installation currently consumes 442GB of my hard drive.
I’ve got a slightly better version if you can’t get to Twitter.
While the structure I am standing on remains top secret I can talk you through what you can see. The green rectangle in the lower left area is my redstone testing area, it’s where I go to practice or test out builds before taking them to their proper installation place. Directly above this in the picture is Beach Station which is just visible but is made of glass and green concrete so it is quite well hidden. The lump of red in the sea is my nether portal. The monolith of obsidian is a monolith of obsidian. Below the red nether portal is a clump of trees with my beach house hidden just behind them. The small wooden structure in a lagoon is the beach bar and above that is my wood farm with height restriction.
Keep a look out for news and maybe a video of the monster build I’m currently working on. I’m currently trying to decide whether to have an external block on the latest layer and I am not quite sure – maybe it should be glass?
At the beginning of the national lockdown I went out for daily exercises with the kids and they talked constantly about Minecraft and I just nodded along. Then, I decided to join in and at least understand what they were talking about. Now, about half a year later, I still don’t always understand what they are talking about but I do at least get some of it. Our second world is progressing well and the luxury now is that we’ve conquered farming and so are able to devote time to “projects”.
I will confess that I have been using a map application to help with guided mining. While cheating I don’t think this is the worst cheat. I also started showing coordinates on screen which feels a little like cheating, but, not the worst as far as I’m concerned. Recently there have been nether tunnels made to progress around the world faster than my minecart railway from the Meadow to the Beach.
A while back I introduced the world to the HOLE via my YouTube channel. I don’t think I wrote about it on these informative pages but I didn’t really have much of an idea what to do. I think the HOLE took about two weeks to dig playing one to two hours a day. Two hours is my limit before I start getting restless.
The bottom of the HOLE is now layered with glass, there are torches placed at the lowest bedrock level and I have also filled a layer of water at the moment to save me dying if I fall into the HOLE. I might or might not remove the water, I’m not sure yet.
I have started a build project in the HOLE. It is going to take some time. So far I think I have spent about a week on it, playing for one to two hours per day. There are a few issues. The main one is resources. After building for a session I am generally out of particular resources and have to spend the next session building those resources up again. It does give me a break from the project I guess and allows me to think about how to design the next stage. The lowest level of the build was almost done as a proof of concept and it looked so good that I decided to carry on. After about a week of building the whole project started to take shape in my head and I now have most of it loosely planned. I know what I am going to do, it’s just a matter of getting the resources and doing the building.
I guess there will be a grand reveal here and on YouTube. I expect this project to take another two weeks to complete the main section of the build. I think it’ll be another couple of weeks after that to build the extras – such as minecart tracks and redstone components. So, given delays and that a national lockdown seems unlikely, this project looks set to last another month. I can’t wait to show people around the project. I will have to come up with some name for it.
It’s taken a while, in excess of ten years, but I think I have completed AV Corner to a working situation. All the hot technology sits in a corner underneath shelves and has a somewhat restricted airflow. I have bought two or three small fans in the past to try and encourage circulation of air but they have ALWAYS been too noise and stupid. Let me tell you that any desk fan, USB powered, that claims to be silent – is not. I recently purchased some shelves that worked really well in creating separation between the units and the last thing I wanted was a QUIET fan just to help circulate the air.
I must have been bored at work when I searched for AV Fans. I’m not sure why I hadn’t used that search term before but I had always gone for “silent USB fans”. I found a company that makes fan units for AV cabinets and they had some options that would work for me. That company is AC Infinity. So, the thing is that the options they had that would work for me were less than GBP20 and so well worth giving it a go. I ordered the Multifan S7, from Amazon and waited for it to turn up. I am fully aware that I could have made something like this using some PC components but this one was delivered working and there are somethings I don’t want to do. I did consider using my Raspberry Pi as a fan controller and that is still an option but it would require more time than I have at the moment.
The double fan unit turned up and once unpacked I tested it. The fans were indeed very quiet. I was impressed. All I had to do was decide where to place them and how to power them. I have gone for a fan which draws air from the Amp upwards towards the PS4 with the hope that it will be both a little cooler than they have been and then the second fan is placed as a general circulation device to the right of the system.
Both fans are powered from the NVIDIA Shield Pro USB port. This means that when the TV is on the fans will be on. It is very rare that the amp is on by itself and the Shield turns the TV on so even when playing on the PS4 the Shield is powered up. There is an option to keep the USB port power on even while the Shield isn’t powered up but that’s not necessary. The fans are indeed quiet and with the TV playing at normal volume you can’t hear them. When playing the PS4 it doesn’t matter what the TV volume is the PS4 is running at the noise level of a RB199. I might take the PS4 apart and give it a good clean. I’m curious to see whether it is clogged up or not.
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