Scott T: The Blog

Goodbye, Winter

Posted Mon, Oct 04, 2010 at 8:32pm by Scott
Tagged: everyday, sailing, water

October long weekend is just about over, and the weather was absolutely wonderful - particularly for sailing. Saturday and Sunday held the usual LBYC Opening Regatta - a small selection of photos is available. Both days provided plenty of wind for the sailors, with several people going swimming and quite a number of 'almost' stories being traded on the Sunday afternoon. Also considering that the weekend was one of sailing, I didn't break trend and managed to gain a light pink tinge to my upper arms and nose - fortunately a long way off the bright red glow I've obtained on previous occasions.

Quite incredibly, the water level has also been raised - the current photo used for my header graphic is well and truly out of date.

Not too far off the old pool level at all. Even better news is that with all the recent rain further upstream in the last few weeks, water levels are expected to rise even further which will be great to see.

Obviously, being a long weekend, I was expecting traffic to be fairly hectic. I believe I was ahead of it on the Friday evening (not too many cars to worry about the length of the trip home), however the return leg earlier this-afternoon was a bit busier. One of the ferry crossings was the busiest I've seen it for quite some time, while I've heard that the highway from home to Adelaide got worse, the close to Adelaide you got.

As much as the rain of the past 6 months has been nice, I'm certainly looking forward to the warmer weather of the next month or two - bring on October!

Labyrinthitis (or how to get motion sickness without physically moving)

Posted Sun, Jul 11, 2010 at 9:02pm by Scott
Tagged: everyday
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Labyrinthitis. Not a topic I'd have expected to bring up in this blog again at all, let alone in such a short time-frame. After reading many of the other accounts of people (particularly here) who are diagnosed, I also feel lucky.

I've been 'hit' three times now - the first of which was the worst (even before the fact it was just prior to Christmas). For the first few days, movement was limited to crawling, eyes closed, with shoulder and head sliding along the wall. Each day would find me feeling a bit better, but it was quite a long week - even on day 9, there was some after-effects. The second time ~2 years later wasn't as bad. Walking was possible - as long as I had a hand against something, and recovery was shorter, but it was still a tough week.

Now, just short of 2 years later I get a third dose - or at least that's my first-hand diagnosis given the symptoms. This time around seems to be even less-severe. Walking has been uncomfortable and the worst of the symptoms lasted only Friday evening and all of Saturday. Though today is only 'day 2 or 3', I've been able to do most things without too much trouble.

Even though I've (seemingly) had it fairly easy, hopefully three times is enough... they say bad things come in 3's, don't they? Otherwise, Autumn 2012 - here we come.

"The time has come,"

Posted Sun, Jul 04, 2010 at 9:45pm by Scott
Tagged: everyday, uni

... the Walrus said, "To talk of many things: Of shoes and ships and sealing-wax; Of cabbages and kings". -- Lewis Carol,. The Walrus and The Carpenter

Another four months gone already? I do wish I was able to post a bit more often, but time certainly flies with a full-time job and having to cook every night. As much as I don't miss the Uni work every evening and being in close proximity to 200 other students, I somewhat miss having meals provided as part of the accommodation. I have become quite attached to cooking a stir-fry for tea though, since they're easy to prepare, can be scaled up to ensure left-overs either for lunch or tea the next day, and taste great. I've made a few more 'involved' meals on occasion, but otherwise I like to stay simple. Now for the rundown of activity since Easter...

There's two major events - the first of which is the fact I've now got a full-time job. The major difference I've noticed when compared to Uni life is there's less spare time - mostly based on the fact that at Uni I could get away with hobbies and such when I should have been studying *cough*. On the other hand, the people I work with are great, so I'm happy.

Secondly, I graduated from Uni (with First Class Honors). Although last year was rather hectic - particularly towards the end - I guess it's all been worth it. Graduation ceremony was at the end of April - although the ceremony itself seemed rush, it was great to officially close the 4 years off. Here's a photo of me (or at least my internet-friendly photo stunt-double).

On the slightly less exciting news front, I've also left the world of a simple mobile phone behind. After four years and two Nokias (neither died - both of which still work fine), I've migrated to a smart-phone. The phone of choice is the HTC Desire, which is nearly a hardware identical to Google's Nexus One. Photo below shows the box (with 1:1 scale Desire on the front), with my old Nokia flip-phone sitting on top.

I wasn't really sure what to expect, despite having the Desire in my mind as an 'I want' back in January or February. The touchscreen keyboard is different to get used to (I do quite miss the tactile edge between keys), and the inbuilt dictionary is quite impressive. HTC Sense and their 'FriendStream' app allow easy aggregation of FB and Twitter status updates, while the seemingly border-less tie-in of Google services is great. Although pretty good out-of-the-box, the power is the Android Market (much like the iPhone's App Store). The difference is that entirely EVERYTHING about Android can be replaced via the Market - don't like the default SMS app? Change it. Don't like the keyboard? Try a different one.

A short list of some useful apps I've found:

Overall, I like the phone - quite a bit of power at your fingertips, along with a semi-decent camera (at least it's substantially better than my old phones - still not as good as a dedicated camera), plus it makes phone calls. Battery life with my usage patterns will get 2 days at a stretch (a far cry from the 1 week I'm used to), but that seems pretty normal for a smart-phone. Especially considering it stays connected to WiFi for most of the day.

On a closing note, I've also bought a coffee machine for myself - as a result, the latte art is slowly improving. I expect to get a rosetta sooner or later.

Also, the temperature has been getting pretty low here some nights (at least compared to what I'm used to, though not as cold as some of my friends have to put up with), resulting in the occasional morning of ice on the car. A novelty for me, if nothing else.

Friday Photos

Posted Fri, Mar 26, 2010 at 3:37pm by Scott
Tagged: everyday, sailing

It's been quite a while since the last post - 3 months it would seem - so here's a small snapshot of photos of the past few months.

Firstly, I discovered it's possible to get sunburned while surfing the net. Sounds odd, but certainly possible with combination of laptop and mobile internet. While waiting for my sister at an aquatics course back in January, I set up the laptop and was browsing the net in what I thought was the shade of the car - turns out part of my left arm and leg were showing. The view from the car was rather pleasant though.

The SA Mozzie state titles followed a few weeks later, being held this year at Point Turton. Racing on day one was rather pleasant for those involved. For us on the beach, things were slightly warm, but not enough to make it overly unpleasant.

Although Sunday morning provided a lovely opportunity for a photo, there was no wind at all, so the three races were held in conditions pretty similar to what can occur back on the lake.

Finally, my parents bought themselves a coffee machine for Christmas. After a bit of practice (ie, a few weeks over January, and then nearly a month straight in March), I got my first piece of latte art that I've been happy with.

And that just about wraps up the interesting happenings of the last few months. Hopefully I get the opportunity to post a bit more often (and have some news worthy of posting).

Un-Decoding VDXs

Posted Mon, Dec 21, 2009 at 5:20pm by Scott
Tagged: programming, scummvm

The usual direction when adding support for T7G and 11H to ScummVM is to take the data files, decode them, and get the video and/or audio out of them. Last week in a moment of boredom, curiosity, and 'how hard can it be?', I decided to work on working on going the opposite direction and have a look at encoding instead.

As it turns out, still frames were fairly straight-forward to implement due to the simple structure.

Animation frames were a little harder. Most of the issues resolved to be related to how I was attempting to keep track of palette changes between frames (and the rewriting of the new frame to line up colours common between both palettes but at differing indices), but I also got caught up in some minor logic errors in the encoder (in particular, encoding the same tile using two different methods, and requiring a "new line" opcode at the end of *every* line - not just those that end early). The final result can be found at this YouTube video (sorry - no embedding, since my blog doesn't support it).

Encode speeds currently aren't the greatest yet, the output VDX files are not compressed, and the encoder requires 8bpp Indexed BMPs for use as input, but it's certainly a start for proof-of-concept purposes :)

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