Dead phone

Jun. 10th, 2017 06:22 pm
jack: (Default)
Sigh, my phone seems to have worn out. I thought this one had been treated fairly well, with a case, and not suffering any disastrous drops. But now when I turn it on, it reboots again either immediately before finishing the boot sequence or as soon as I open an app.

I tried removing the case and waggling the buttons, and doing a factory reset and that didn't make a difference. Is there anything else I should try?

Assuming I need a replacement, what should I get? Probably a recent android phone. I used to always get nexus but pixel seem to have got expensive.
jack: (Default)
We went to visit the new north cambridge station, and had a lovely trip to Ely. I hadn't realised we'd actually got to the opening so it was a pleasant surprise.

Overall, it looked really nice, clean, modern, a little artistic, if it works out practically I'd really enjoy using it.

In many ways well provided, like having a lift fairly central and not buried off somewhere, despite a few flaws.

There were some nice touches, like mains and usb charge points in the waiting room, although I did feel, if you're going to add any, why add only four, why not put them round the room? And why not put them next to a shelf?

I wasn't sure quite what trains I was hoping for, there aren't the ones Liv and ghoti had hoped would exist, and for now the connections seem annoyingly inconsistent, but any trains at all from North Cambridge is really nice. I think as I get used to having it available I will find it's really handy; ambling there on the bike puts a train trip in the "why not" category not the "sigh, I suppose so" category even if it doesn't save that much time overall.

My biggest worry was that it would instantly become as busy as the old station, taking a lot of the traffic from north cambridge, and making chesterton into more london commuter belt, and not be able to handle that traffic, but other people seem to think that wouldn't happen. Presumably there is *some* plan for expansion if necessary by people who know (there is still something to be built next to the station judging by the empty lot).
jack: (Default)
Since I started work in bar hill (about 3 months now, eek!) I've been going to the gym here twice a week.

I think I have very slowly started to improve again. I have a long way to go to regain my previous best. I'm not sure if the improvement is due to more reliable running with treadmill, or due to doing weights more strenuously as well.

The paradox of improvement seems to apply to many other parts of my life as well. I'm not happy unless there's something I'm working towards. If I'm failing I'm not *happy*, but if I have *no* pressure, I'm listless in a different way.

I have been slowly learning how to vary the amount I intend to do each day. Some days that's "get changed, reply to emails, go to bed" and sometimes it's quite a bit, but if there's some connection between what I intend and what I do, I feel a lot better, regardless of the actual amount.

I still find it very hard to fit things in though. Ideally I could do things like housework in the edges and gaps, 5min here and there, but it doesn't usually happen as well as it might. Every so often I try to set good habits, and things improve a certain amount, but still short of what would be better.
jack: (Default)
Abi got me into Clickie Zoo (Tironium Tech/Idle Tycoon). A while back I completed the main series of achievements. There's a few achievements for specific things which I haven't bothered to fill out.

But I spent a while fascinated by how big I could get the numbers.

The top level gives 1 gem every 15 seconds (gems are premium currency used to buy various permanent upgrades). I don't think there's any way of increasing that. I've upgraded most of the permanent upgrades as much as I can.

The passive income seems really small compared to what I get elsewhere, even with all of the in-game and permanent upgrades I can easily get. So I could throw more resources into it, but I don't *think* it's going to exceed other ways of making money.

For a long time, breeding animals was the best way of making money. My previous high water mark involved breeding the top animal and selling it to expand its enclosure so I could breed it more, and using temporary boosts to increase its breeding rate, and "fill a random enclosure" until I got lucky and it was the top one.

But now I upgraded the "animal sell price" permanent improvement to where it's more than the buy price, and after getting the net gain for a single round trip to about 10% of the sell price, just spending a few seconds clicking "sell buy sell buy" gets more income than waiting for animals to breed.

Unfortunately, with the top animal, you can only buy/sell in units of 100,000 which is much more than I got any other way, but when you get more money than that, the rate you gain money is limited by the amount you can buy at once, not the amount of money you have. (Although, expanding the enclosure size to >100,000 is really quite expensive too).

Right now the best actions available seem to be:

1. Just waiting for the 1 gem every 15 seconds income, and ploughing it into some permanent upgrades (whose price steadily gets more expensive).
2. Buy/sell trading the best animal to accumulate more cash.
3. Using buy/sell to build up a new zoo and sell it for gems. (This gets gems faster because you're not limited by the size of the enclosure so much when you can keep moving on to the next animal. The gems you get are logaraithmic in zoo size, so building up a small zoo repeatedly is about as good as one big zoo.)

And the goals I wondered if I'd reach are:

1. Go up from 1 Nonillion dollars to see if the game has an abbreviation for 1 decillion (or in fact, see how far it goes before running out if it were possible).
2. Increase birth rate to 100% and see if it crashes/goes infinite. Unfortunately, it seems like even if the birth rate is 100x what it starts at, that might not be that lucrative compared to sell/buy, when I originally hoped that would be the most lucrative thing.

However, I'm not sure there's any good way to reach those than what I'm doing, and getting there that way would be a grind-fest of months, so I'm thinking I will shortly declare myself officially done with the game :)

ETA: Oh yes, you can also trade animals for gems, but only once every two hours, I don't think that's enough to make a difference.


May. 1st, 2017 10:12 am
jack: (Default)
I don't want to count my chickens, but for the longest time, I've had the problem that when I have a day with no commitments, I feel like I have to take advantage of it and do all the things, and typically become overwhelmed by choice and expectation and end up doing not much.

Now, for almost the first time, I find that problem receding. I've no particular plans today, but I'm fairly confident, I'm going to spend a couple of hours hammering out miscellaneous todos, do some reading or watching tv, go for a walk outside, and maybe see Liv and Osos depending how busy we all are, and that's about all. Maybe I'll only do some of that, but that will still be good. But I don't fear I'll do *none* of that.

And that freedom makes it so much easier to do things -- to go for a walk or get into a project knowing that's time well spent, not time I intended to be doing something else.

I don't know if it will last, but despite a lot of angst about getting things done, I think having *some* month-by-month goals has been successful at making me feel *less* pressured.
jack: (Default)
We had a seder for the immediate polycule. Ghoti was amazing at producing food (including little jelly israelites crossing a jelly sea parted to reveal a seabed of matza), and plagues (including the utahraptor (?) who was the firstborn of its family). And everyone including the children was amazing at asking questions.

We played a long-delayed sequel to our first roleplaying session. I feel a lot more confident I get most of the 5e rules now (for lower levels) and could GM for other people. Thank you ever so much to liv, ghoti, colin, B and J for playing!

March goals

Apr. 5th, 2017 09:57 am
jack: (Default)
Goal #1 was to be on time for things. I certainly didn't *succeed* at this, but I think I got a lot better. Not being early, but giving myself enough slack, and leaving when the slack had been somewhat eaten into, and much less often being already late and thinking "I can't face deciding to leave, I'll procrastinate some more".

Goal #2 was to do a tech project. But March was busier than I'd realised, mostly with thronescamp and with seeing lovely people. So I managed to install Android Studio and run the default "Hello World" program (yay, it was really easy), but not add any of my own code to it.

I also had a lot of overdue logistics and chores, which I did *some* of, but some is still hanging over me and I want out of the way.

But I feel better for tracking how well I did, instead of just knowing I need to do all these things at some point. On the one hand, it's depressing to realise how few months I have, and how little time I'm managing to make. On the other hand, I'm clearly making MORE time than when I didn't really plan it.


Feb. 16th, 2017 09:46 pm
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Went to the gym attached to the hotel and spa in bar hill.

It's small, but fairly nice and has a swimming pool with jacuzzi and sauna because spa.

It was busy at 5:30, but fairly quiet by the time I left.

Of course, it's a bit ridiculous starting to go to the gym instead of running outside just when the evenings are getting lighter. But I felt that if I was driving to work, it would be easier to arrange than jogging (and useful because I'm not doing cycling about).

And in fact, I felt like the treadmill and weights both worked my muscles harder than I'd been managing without equipment. Which is good, because hopefully I will start improving again. But bad, because I'd hoped I'd have figured out how to improve without them by now.

They rent towels for 50p. I'm trying to decide if it's more efficient to bring one or rent one. I like the no-hassle of picking one up, and not having several towels drying at home and trying to decide if I can reuse them or if they need to be in the washing. And not to add several towels to the washing load. But if I'm driving, the overhead of bringing a towel as well as gym things is a lot lower. And even if I needed to buy a couple of extra bath towels they would probably pay for themselves. Any thoughts?
jack: (Default)

Last year, I decided to try having month-by-month goals instead of trying to do new years resolutions.

Nov was NaNoWriMo which was what gave me the idea. That was a big commitment, which I think averaged out to about 2h per day, with some "thinking time" on top. Dec was to recover. Feb will be "start new job".

Jan was "learn some rust, if possible contribute to rust compiler". That was a bit speculative, I wasn't sure how big a goal was reasonable. But it turned out fairly well. I think I got a reasonable handle on the basic syntax, and the borrow checker concepts which most people find a hurdle to getting to know it. I build a couple of "hello world" programs to be sure I understood the building and packaging system.

And I built the compiler from source, and submitted a pull request to fix one of the "easy" documentation issues from the issue tracker, and learned how the project was organised. Which is now accepted!

So I think on balance that was about the right amount and specificity of goal. And I count it as mostly a success.

I reckoned the time spent stacked up something like 1 week of work, minus overhead faff, was about the equivalent of an intense weekend hackathon, or a not-very-intense project over a month. Nanowrimo was about twice that (more on some days likely). And some projects lend themselves to a brief burst of activity and others to a longer steady progress.

I'm simultaneously pleased that I *can* expect to focus energy on some projects and actually get somewhere with them. But also depressed that there's only so many months and each lets me achieve comparatively little.

I have lots of ideas of what I might do, but not sure what is most worthwhile to spend that effort on. Some coding projects. Some self-improvement projects. Some social things.

Daily todos

I shifted my daily todos a bit incorporating some ideas from bullet journals (as linked by ghoti).

I started keeping my daily todo-list IN my diary, and when I've done an item, changing the "-" bullet point to an "x" and moving it down to the bottom of the list. So what I'm GOING to do naturally becomes a diary.

I also started, instead of having subheadings, having a few different types. "=" bullet point for largish task. "-" for anything small but needs to be today. "s" for social-type task. (todo and social get postponed in different circumstances and consume energy in different ways.)

It feels easier to plan what I WANT to do, without feeling like I've failed if I don't do all of it.

I also started keeping my actual diary in multiple bullet points with a different bullet, instead of strung together. I'll see how that goes.

I feel like I'm slowly re-evolving a system lots of people already recommended to me. But I couldn't just *do* it, it depends on having confidence that putting things in a list actually works, and I've only slowly acquired that.

Likewise, maybe I don't need to record so much. But doing so was a step in the process of not worrying about it so much. And what's useful I keep, and what I don't need I've got better at just deleting, and not thinking "but I might need that one day".

Similarly, I keep a parallel diary I call my therapy diary for rants where I know they won't seem as persuasive in future but I have to make them. "WHY WHY WHY can't I just do X without screwing it up" "why does y keep going wrong". "this happened and now I feel really bad about it". The idea was, I'd think through the things later and come to terms with them. But actually just writing them down helped a lot. Now I've ranted in it much less often that I did to start with.
jack: (Default)

I went jogging at lunchtime. It was much more useful than last year when I tried that, because I've already got the habit of particular targets. And it was so much nicer running in the light (even in the rain). But I still need to get on with it, not let myself dither before actually leaving.


The last couple of days I've been hitting my nano word targets ok. Once I got a good idea of the characters and situation I was able to plough ahead and just write for an hour or two and get an appropriate number of words. But it's hard to keep that going without being hung up on "I need to figure out what happens in this bit" (I'm trying to avoid perfectionism, and just saying, "I need some plot here, this is plot, it's good enough for now", but even so, sometimes I have inconsistent needs and need to resolve them).

However it goes, I think it's a useful metric for how much time I can plough into a project if I'm determined, and how much it drains me for the rest of my activities.


Did I remember to say? Everything got fixed. We'd accidentally turned the gas cut-off handle (what's its real name?) putting something in the cupboard. After some fiddling, I turned it on again, and got the pilot light lit. And now I know where they are when I need them in a real emergency.


I don't really have anything more to say, except, my thoughts are with anyone who needs them :(
jack: (Default)
At the poly meet, they asked for volunteers to do a short presentation -- now it's a bit larger, the equivalent of Amy's prior "I brought a few q as a discussion topic" when there was often only half a dozen or so.

Except most people weren't sure what to present, so I volunteered to lead a little discussion instead. I started with something simple but interesting, what different sorts of poly are there. I wasn't sure how it would go, but I was sure it would be ok for five minutes. And it actually lasted about 45 minutes of clearly being interesting to everyone, before it reached a natural stopping point and I broke the group up to chat individually again.

Actually, it worked really, really well. Just defining things was interesting to experienced people and newbies both. And there was some productive discussion that I, and the admins, managed to avoid spinning off into long digressions.

I've done very little public speaking of any sort, but it worked really well when I tried it.
jack: (Default)
Poly speed dating again tomorrow! In 3s. I managed to escape doing the programming for the matching algorithm this time :)

What should I tell people about why they should like me?
jack: (Default)

For the cotton anniversary of our first date, we went to the Anchor Sutton Gault and it was really nice and we did good communication about things.

But also, I made a thing! In honour of the Parasol Protectorate books ghoti introduced me to, or maybe Firefly, I made a steampunk parasol. I bought a folding lace parasol, and took some cogs, and attached some to the spokes, and some round each panel of the parasol. And used a picture hook pin to attach one to the top and bottom of the shaft, sized at just narrower than the diameter, and loosened just enough they don't feel loose but do spin.

Having entirely cogs that are fixed without spinning seemed sad, these were great.

And I was really pleased, because I'm rarely able to actually *make* something.
jack: (Default)
OK, Jehova's Witnesses. NOW we're fully moved in.

They were really polite so I didn't have any desire or energy to get into an argument. Although I wish I'd pushed back on what I think are of the risks of harm from actively proselytising, and the things that I think may be harmful in JW generally (without getting into a big theological debate, or criticising these two ladies).
jack: (Default)
I googled to find the website that calculates kevin bacon numbers from IMBD. I googled for "kevin bacon number". Above the top hits, Google gave the answer "Kevin Smith's Bacon Number is 2". Yes, full marks for initiative, but, you know, minus several million for context awareness.

But what I wanted to know was, what counts as film for kevin bacon counting? A feature film? Anything released at a cinema? Anything released at a film festival? Anything on IMDB?

Several years ago, a friend of the family, an aspiring film-maker, made a short documentary film about my brother-in-law. I think it showed at some festival and mostly disappeared after that. But we all featured in it, as did the director in a voice-over (I think?) And at some point since, it appeared on IMDB.

If that counts, she has a bacon number of 3, giving my BiL and I a bacon number of 4, fulfilling a minor life ambition. My competitive brain latches onto anything quantifiable as something to achieve :)

But I really, really want to contribute to a scientific paper at some point in my life :)
jack: (Default)
Next week is the PCC election. I'm not convinced that's a good idea, but if we have one at all, better to have a good one. This time there seems to be less of a broad choice, there are four candidates who are endorsed by parties, even if that was not what was supposed to happen.

My non-impartial summary follows


* "Tough on crime, tough on the causes on crime".
* Moar war on drugs
* Moar police, less back-office expenses


* The same, but more so
* Rah police! Down with political correctness!
* Anti-speeding (as was Con), also pro-resources-for-non-emergency-101


* Some platitudes, more police
* Ex-fireman, ex-Anglia-public-service-lecturer
* Sounds committed to actually going things, in getting involved with communities and bridging them to police


* Positive manifesto steps for preventing crime, preventing re-offending, not just being "tough"
* But via friends-of-friends have heard bad things about him personally

To me, Labour guy sounds best, unless anyone has any other rec?
jack: (Default)
Bought online a cheap pack of 100 plastic key fobs. If you want a spare key ring, there's plenty, and if you want to label some keys (a rarely used key, a spare for a friend, a spare key you're giving TO a friend) it's so much less likely to be lost if you can write a short name on the key fob, or just recognise the plastic fob.

Putting contact details (my email address and liv's phone number) on my mobile's lock screen. Not paid off yet, but a good idea.

Make sure you have SOME spare key nearby, at work, or at a friend's house. It's true, that can fail to save you if you can't access it, but 90% of the time, it will reduce a minor crisis to insignificance.

If you temporarily box up some stuff, or shovel some unsorted post into a bag to deal with later, or put some clothes aside to give-away/grow-into/shrink-into, put in a piece of A4 saying what it is. When you find it again, that will usually let you know whether you want to use it, keep it, or throw it out, immediately without needing to sort through it.

Tie one of your corkscrew/bottle-opener to something fixed so it doesn't wander off round the living room in a party -- having one you can always find is really handy.
jack: (Default)
I did so many things yesterday! I followed up on missing books I ordered. I got a replacement bank card. I checked my car's tyre pressures. I drew a thing. I went shopping. I read about quantum mechanics. I bought some replacement baking dishes.

And I did some work, although not as much as I'd hoped.

And I cooked something from a recipe by myself! For about the first time ever. A saag aloo variant, spinich and potato curry, which I just happened to feel like. It definitely wasn't perfect, but it was quite enjoyable. There's a picture on twitter/fb in just a mo. I was really excited that it worked, and I made the time to try.
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I got my robot-programming game to run on Android! I knew it shouldn't be *that* difficult, but it's really magical seeing something I wrote running on a platform I never expected to run on.

I haven't done any more to the game since last year, so it's not really *playable*, but it runs and you can interact with it.

I used kivy as the UI framework for a python game, because it advertised being able to compile to android, and I wanted to learn more python more than I wanted to learn java. So I developed the program on the PC, using kivy for graphics and mouse events (which later become touch/drag events on a touchscreen).

And then after several false starts, I downloaded a VM set up to the do the "build to android" step with buildozer, updated buildozer to the latest version, copied my source to the VM, I already had generated a buildozer.spec file, and it all just worked -- I got an apk, I opened it from dropbox on android, and there was my game running.

Gotchas, I don't expect anyone to try this with my instructions, but in case you do, things I didn't find obvious: to share a folder with the VM, you need to add your user account to a "can see shared folders" usergroup; buildozer can fail to work on a shared folder, copy the files to a local directory on the VM; you should be able to install the android dev kit etc with or without buildozer, but I couldn't get it to work.
jack: (Default)
Last minute suggestions for things to see in Amsterdam?