Journals

Instant Mix4 years ago2015-02-27 13:29:07 UTC 9 comments
Scouring out my emails, I came across this gem when I realised I still wanted proof I got my youtube fix almost 8 years ago.
I posted this on a video of the demolition of a couple cooling towers at a nearby decommissioned NPP.
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I shouldn't have been allowed on the internet. How the fuck did you guys put up with me for 3 years before that?
Instant Mix4 years ago2015-02-09 01:05:01 UTC 6 comments
This is why people don't like mathematicians
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The T shirt says
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...
and it was delicious.

What does it actually say?

i 8 ( sigma / sum of ) pi and it was delicious.
.. that is,
I ate all of the pie and it was delicious.

the fact I know that frightens me
Instant Mix4 years ago2014-12-11 01:39:12 UTC 11 comments
So I've set myself a challenge:

From now until mid summer 2015, I'm going to create my own ePOS system.

What is ePOS? It's these piles of shit that every shop and their dog owns:
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Working in a hotel last year, we were stuck with a shittly little till from the early 00's, maybe even 90's. Looking into the cost of how much one of these ePos systems would be, it's fucking ridiculous what they charge. The cheapest they provide for a glorified touchscreen? £500. I spent less money on my bloody beast of a computer.

I've been learning Java as part of my uni course, and being fairly OK with it, i thought i'd learn a bit of SQL and fuck about with that. From my very, very recent proper retail experience I noticed that their system runs on something called retailJ, a java based system that's in fairly wide use - so writing this in Java isn't a far out idea.
I've made similar POS systems on GMOD and made mockups of the UI and systems using Love2d - obviously as Love2D is a game engine and not something that should be run in an actual place of work it'd be useless.

I've got some idea of what I'm doing, and as well as working in retail I know exactly what sort of stuff needs to be kept in databases and retrieved.

My initial plan is to write up the code, get a very basic version working on my computer. Once that's all done, I'll double check whether my previous employer would be interested in the software ( because even if they don't want it, writing a POS system from scratch is pretty good practice ). If they are, I'll grab a raspberry PI, a shitty touchscreen off ebay, polish the thing up and trial it.

If all goes well, hopefully I can earn myself a bit of pocket money.
Instant Mix4 years ago2014-10-19 16:43:37 UTC 2 comments
So I've had a fairly fun few weeks
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Since i've started second year at Uni, i've decided I really should get more involved with socities. I auditioned last year for the Footlights Society which is a musical theatre based one but unfortunately didn't make the cut. ( I didn't realise the musical was a very heavy urban-dance one... and I can't dance). This year however I auditioned and (surprisingly) got in to the Showchoir ( basically the glee club except filled with alcoholics ) and It's been great so far - I've met so many amazing people from it.

I've not just joined the showchoir; Edinburgh University has it's own student-ran theatre, known as Bedlam - which is literally an old church
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They've a resident weekly improv-comedy show called the Improverts, and they hold their own little tech-workshop alongside it to learn some small bits about theatrical tech.Since i've had some interest in the lighting area, I've been attending almost all of these since the semester started and have got on really well with the senior techs and a few of the not-completely-nerdy first years. I got asked a week ago if I wanted to be the lighting operator for a show - and in my blind enthusiasm I accepted, without really knowing what I just signed up for. The show was a round so myself and the lighting team managed to come up with some really funky lighting ( and some really creepy effects as well ).
The show came and went ( and unfortunately we had to turn people away we'd sold that many tickets) and I learned a fair bit about how to actually use Bedlam's lighting desk - which comes onto my next part
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Bedlam's desk is an ETC Element, according to the techies it's a fairly nice ( and expensive ) bit of kit, and is fantastic for theatrical performances, but for live stuff (which i'd attempted to do beforehand) it's a bit awful.
The fun fact about bedlam is that almost all of the senior techies there actually work at the Student's union, and run the lighting for almost all of the union's events - the major one being the weekly "Big Cheese" club night. Because I'd said I was really interested in live stuff, almost every techie replied with "oh just come along to the big cheese and i'll let you go mental on the desk for a bit".

When you're literally invited to freely play about with some smart lights, you can't really turn it down.
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( Slightly outdated image, those moving LEDs were only temp. hired, we've got Martin RUSH MH3s permanently )

So I come in to the venue at 10, the dancefloor is dead as almost nobody comes in that early, and I'm literally plonked in front of the desk and the two techies who'd helped at bedlam started showing me how to use their Tiger Touch II
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nerd part
The difference between the Tiger Touch and the ETC Element that Bedlam has is that the Tiger is almost entirely designed for busking ( fancy way of saying on-the-fly lighting rather than having everything premade ), and is actually incredibly simple to use. Presets and playbacks are available and can be easily created on the fly, if an idea for an effect pops into your head in the middle of the night.

Becomes about 11 o'clock, and I'm expecting the person who is actually employed by the union to run the lighting desk to chuck me out, but he seemed overjoyed that he was now being paid to do nothing, and let me stay were I was. 11 became 12, the venue got packed and pretty much before I knew it I was single-handedly in charge of lighting the now rammed venue.

The annoying thing was that the union had recently had job openings for Tech crew, but I'd literally missed the deadline for a few days. Turns out the positions are re-opening.. next year. The tech people helping me seemed frustrated that I'd not applied, and I was equally pissed off that I had come to the conclusion that I could've been paid money to do something that I was literally vibrating with excitement whilst doing it.

And that's the story how I lit a clubnight with little to no experience, totally bossed it, and how I missed a fantastic job opportunity.
Instant Mix5 years ago2014-06-17 12:37:10 UTC 7 comments
Tough Mudder 2014 : Completed.

What's tough mudder?
A half marathon pretty much completely covered in mud, littered with obstacles designed to push you to your limits. Electric shocks, tight plastic tunnels, massive drops, ice baths... not fun stuff.

Our obstacles differed a bit from last year but the jist is the same
Youtube Video

It's tough and definitely thought I wouldn't be able to do it, but somehow managed to pull through. Last 3 miles were horrific, cramp started to make itself known and my legs were killing me.
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From left to right, Me, Ben, Matty Brown, Ramsay & Johnny

Definitely getting done again next year!
Instant Mix5 years ago2014-06-09 15:32:59 UTC 4 comments
I have this odd habit of finding something interesting and then delving into the deep end onto what it is. I was speaking to my girlfriend about this, almost thinking it was some sort of sign of autism, it's made me OK in some lua coding, haskell, photoshop, and a bunch of other things. I find it strange that I let myself be "slightly OK" with a lot of things rather than amazing at one thing.

So yeah, my latest fad?

grandMA.

I don't even know why, I find lighting interesting and thinking of joining the Edinburgh University Bedlam theatre tech group - was going to last year, but irresponsible drinking took that over.
Although the physical desks cost almost half a grand to hire out for less than a week, I thought it would be quite smart to learn it as the FREE program comes with a 3D visualiser for everything you do in it, so you could theoretically programme a whole show and then plug in a real desk and do the real thing.

It's bloody complicated, and i'm still trying to learn how to properly use timecode, cues and executors but meh.

So far I've made a couple shitty little things
( These are GIFS )
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Instant Mix5 years ago2014-05-09 17:12:27 UTC 27 comments
Sat my Mathematics for Physics exam yesterday.
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I spent a good hour or so on B1. It was completely wrong.
I didn't even attempt B2.
B3 I attempted the very first part, and failed.
B4 was incredibly easy for 10 marks so I think I've screwed it up.

I don't think I've passed.

Isn't there someone here doing engineering?
Instant Mix5 years ago2014-03-25 21:09:34 UTC 13 comments
I have a go at the barman at WhyNot ( club in edinburgh ) as he was doing a "promotion" that if you managed to throw a pound coin into what was a wine bottle cooler filled with water with a lemon in it and get it to balance on the lemon, you win some shots or something. I told him that it's pretty much impossible. About 6 shots of tequila later, I lose memory.

And that's where my fucked up night begins.

I have flashes of memory - I vaguely remember walking on school grounds and trying to jump over one of the fences, I also vaguely remember jumping over loads of people's garden walls , I remember being in some posh housing estate, running up some random hill, arriving at Edinburgh Napier university buildings, and then walking along a long-ass road back into the centre of ediburgh.

Why was I on school grounds? Why was I in some bloody housing estate? Was I getting chased? Why did I leave the club? So many unaswered qeustions - ones that will never be answered.
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Photo my flatmate took when I walked into the flat. I'm a complete mess. My face is completely grazed and think I have a black eye, my hands are ruined, legs hurt like mad, feet blistered... and I haven't slept at all.

I managed to take a video ( why, I have no idea ) when it started to become daylight again, passing a morrisons. ( https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10201350617679012&l=6960608814893549845 if you are curious )

I was looking on google maps and couldn't find this hill I was walking up nor the houses I was running through, however a mate told me the video above was taken near somewhere called Hunter's Tryst - I looked it up on google maps.
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At the very top of the map is george street, the street Why Not is on. To the right of that and down a bit (Near where it says Opium) is my halls of residence.

The red circle is the area the video was taken.

Why on earth was I that far away from edinburgh?
Moral of the story is, never drink snakebites, strongbow, and then copius amounts of tequila and sambucca
Instant Mix5 years ago2014-03-04 23:17:30 UTC 16 comments
I might have got a little too impulsive today.

Before I headed off to uni, I was telling my mates about how getting a mohawk or something silly along those lines would probably be beneficial in freshers week so i'd be more noticeable - sort of like "oh yeah I was smashed as fuck last night but I remember speaking to this guy with a mohawk for ages" - and thought I'd be recognized as mohawk guy.

To be fair, it was something I kinda wanted to have just in general.

Due to something that insanely pissed me off this Sunday, I thought "fuck it" and "I should be more in control of what I want to be" , and popped into the barbers.
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Hair on the left is from not even a week ago - hair on the right; today.

So far everyone likes it, and they say it "suits me" ( apparently I have a very 'angry' walk ). I too am also pretty chuffed with it.. but it's impossible to get a decent photo.

Going to need to invest in a hat though
Instant Mix5 years ago2014-02-26 09:33:41 UTC 6 comments
Last saturday I decided to enter the Edinburgh Uni's Game Dev. Soc. Gamejam competition. Expecting not to even be noticed, somehow after this two day period of working solidly on this game I managed to win with my team.
The theme was "End of the World".

Our idea isn't very unique but it's not been done before - I'll let this image explain.
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It's a flappy bird clone except that it's two player, both players race each other to the centre of the map which is St. Basil's cathedral. Only major difference is that you can fire projectiles across the screen that can hinder the other player.
It's really quite fun, and give it a shot here if you wish.
Link

One of my team-members is really insistent we push it to something like the appstore but I'm not too keen myself; seems too much effort for little return.
Instant Mix5 years ago2014-01-06 18:30:38 UTC 6 comments
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Sweet

Fucking

Jesus.

New years and crimbo have been pretty crazy, but totally shoving that in the shadow was my recent 320 mile trip down to Manchester and back to see The Prodigy performing at the Manchester Warehouse Project. I bought the tickets July time - and unfortunately only a couple months ago I found out I had a programming exam the day after. I'm still waiting to see if i've passed it or not.

But holy fucking jesus christ titballs, don't pass up an opportunity to see these guys. Absolutely fucking insane. The venue - the manchester warehouse project - was insane.
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it was the basement of some converted victorian warehouse - the upstairs is a fairly modern hotel. The basement? Basically empty. It had toilets that had obviously been recently made - brick and mortar, temporary lighting and sinks... the bare concrete walls, lack of anything "homely" made it seem like I was in some sort of illegal rave. Which is an amazing atmosphere to have.

The actual night dragged on a bit. I was expecting the prodigy to be on around half ten / 11, but it turns out they were on at midnight. Midnight. Arriving at 9 o'clock with my best mate, we had to put up with some seriously shite support bands for 3 hours. The first was "Gedo Mega Bitch" - who I later found out was actually married to one of the prodigy's MCs Keith Flint, was terrible. She kept on playing generic drumstep pish with Marilyn Manson videos playing on the LED screens. Boring. And this dragged on for an hour.

Next up was "Black Futures" who were apparently known as Subsource before. These guys were actually really good - it was a live drum and bass / drumstep band (imagine pendulum live but good). It had a drummer, some guy on guitar, the lead vocalist on an ELECTRIC DOUBLE BASS ( all sorts of badass), and some guy on synths.
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I loved their music, they were a bit too drumsteppy for my tastes ( if they focused more on DnB they'd be FANTASTIC) but were definitely one of the highlights of the evening. After that was Caspa - a generic DJ. He had an MC on stage with him , and for an hour and a half he was playing skrillshite and other dubstep - hilariously boring. We left the main area to get check out what else was in the venue. After coming back and finding out that he was unfortunately still on stage, "Jaguar Skills" was on afterwards. He had a much better taste in music, more drum and bass and classic dance / rave songs. One gripe about him though was that he'd stop a song mid way to do some shite self-promoting crap or just do a "I SAY JAGWAR YOU SAY SKILLS" shit. For the half-songs that he played, he was alright.

After what seemed like a bloody eternity, being partially blinded by all the lights that seemed to be scattered about all over the venue like a bad rash, and partially deafened due to simply how loud the speakers were, the prodigy EVENTUALLY came on. We got moved from being near the front to pushed to under some funky light setup in the middle of the venue because people KEPT ON PUSHING IN and considering these were all mancunians in their late 30s, I wasn't in a position to stop them.
Insane.
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These guys were everything they were hyped up to be. Maxim was keeping the crowd under control, whilst Liam Howlett was churning out some of the prodigy's new unreleased tracks - which I swear to god are going high in the charts once they're released. They were that fantastic.
Apart from almost dying from dehydration, the only gripe I had with them was their sound. Keith and Maxim were clear as day, and so was the music, but whoever was in control of the subwoofers deserves a punch - I like me some bass, definitely - but it was at the point where the bass was so intensely loud that it drowned out the rest of the sound - and helped make me deaf in my left ear for 3 days. Eventually managed to get back home at 4 in the morning, and up in edinburgh for my exam at 12.

Video of "Smack My Bitch Up" from the day I was there on youtube.
Verdict : Go see them. I'm making sure I've got some tickets for sonisphere.
Instant Mix5 years ago2013-10-20 20:45:37 UTC 11 comments
I fucked up. I go to a LAN, come back, notice that something is rattling in my tower when I was unpacking .. and well.
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not sure how i'm going to fix this. Going to get some rubbing alcohol / methylated spirits from homebase and find somewhere to buy some thermal grease.. eugh.
Instant Mix5 years ago2013-10-10 21:45:05 UTC 8 comments
haskell's a bitch

first time programming , and i'm given tutorial exercises to which I have no idea how to complete. eugh.
Using the function rotate from the previous question, write a function
makeKey :: Int -> [(Char, Char)]
that returns the cipher key with the given offset. See above for the description of how the cipher key is represented as a list of pairs. Example:
Main> makeKey 5 [(’A’,’F’),(’B’,’G’),(’C’,’H’),(’D’,’I’),(’E’,’J’),(’F’,’K’), (’G’,’L’),(’H’,’M’),(’I’,’N’),(’J’,’O’),(’K’,’P’),(’L’,’Q’), (’M’,’R’),(’N’,’S’),(’O’,’T’),(’P’,’U’),(’Q’,’V’),(’R’,’W’), (’S’,’X’),(’T’,’Y’),(’U’,’Z’),(’V’,’A’),(’W’,’B’),(’X’,’C’), (’Y’,’D’),(’Z’,’E’)]
The cipher key should show how to encrypt all of the uppercase English letters, and there should be no duplicates: each letter should appear just once amongst the pairs’ first compo- nents (and just once amongst the second components).
i mean seriously what the hell
Instant Mix6 years ago2013-09-22 17:23:41 UTC 31 comments
What I've learned from going to Archie's 22nd "bash"
1) Don't talk about TWHL
2) Do not trust anybody with a lambda tattoo
3) Stay away from vodka / bring change of clothes / never go to glasgow
Instant Mix6 years ago2013-07-22 08:41:43 UTC 3 comments
I had the luckiest encounter about a week ago.
As I've spammed here months ago, I'll be studying Computational Physics at the University of Edinburgh in quite literally a couple of months. The only problem I've had however is that I've not really been able to speak to anyone about the subject- considering so few people take it- leaving me partially in a dark place until I actually start the course.
Anyway, I was working in my beautiful little hotel in this beautiful little town whilst it was boiling hot, and this old couple I was serving was asking what I was doing there, considering they'd seen me working there the year before. I told them that it's not a summer job and I've had it for just over 2 years now, and that I'll be finishing shortly to leave for university. They initially got flustered because I'd chosen to study at Edinburgh ( I quote: "Ooh, Missed out on a great education at Glasgow there" ). I then explained that I'm doing computational physics, and they started talking about astrophysics and eventually I walked off because they were boring me with their old ways.

As I was leaving to go to the bar to talk to the manager, another couple stopped me and said "Excuse me, did you just say you were studying Computational Physics?". I could tell he was pretty shocked, considering that was probably the last thing he was expecting to hear - not business or psychology.
Turns out that after a very long conversation (that I could tell the manager was getting pissed off about) , this person who had stopped me actually did the exact same course as me - about 12 or so years ago - at Edinburgh. He's got a doctorate and actually helped with the design and operation of the LHCb experiment at everyone's favourite Large Hadron Collider. Contrary to what the two old farts sitting on the table at the other end of the restaurant, he said that Edinburgh by far had the best physics labs, and the tutors were all incredibly talented and "quirky" people. He gave me his email address and literally said that if there's anything I'm struggling with or worrying about either now or in the future, just to contact him.

It's honestly so useful being able to meet these people, but really bizzare to meet someone so intelligent who'd worked at CERN to be in this really small hotel in this small town.

It's a small world. Oh, and his wife let slip that her daughter was going to the same halls of residence as me. Not telling me her name was probably a good idea :L