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Inside the Mark I Tank

September 27th, 2016 (07:28 pm)
Tags: ,

current location: KY16 8SX

Here’s a really interesting video from the World of Tanks people. Yes, it’s a YouTube video, but you can drag your viewpoint around to see the video from different angles. This is particularly interesting when they’re inside the tank, as you can pause the video and have a good look around. Contains a mixture of exterior and interior footage of real and replica tanks, and game animation.

Weekend - Peter Pan, Bon Scott and Sydney Padua

September 19th, 2016 (11:23 pm)
current location: KY16 8SX

It’s been a while since I wrote, you know, actual words here – nearly six months, which is my longest gap ever – so I thought I’d make a cursory effort and record the weekend.

It started on Friday, with a day off work and a trip on a whim to Kirriemuir where my Dad grew up and where we visited my grandparents for many years. As with anywhere you haven’t visited in a while, there were changes. The Star Rock shop (established 1833) was still there, but across the road was a railway modelling shop that I hadn’t visited before, and I came out with my wallet figuratively lighter.

The square now features a statue of Peter Pan – apparently it’s a replacement for the one that used to stand in the Glengate, but which got damaged – and the Town House which I remember housing Kidd’s the chemist is now the Gateway to the Glens museum.

The Square in KirriemuirWP_20160916_14_53_03_Rich

Inside the museum, there’s a model of Kirriemuir in the 1600s, which I enjoyed seeing, and the silver casket and illuminated scroll given to J.M. Barrie when was granted the freedom of the town. I hadn’t realised he was buried in Kirriemuir as well as being born there – I’d always just assumed he’d been laid to rest elsewhere.

Kirrie’s other, more recent, famous son has also been honoured with a statue since last time I visited. I had seen the flagstone to his memory in Cumberland Close, but now he stands in effigy opposite the Gairie Mill.

WP_20160916_15_03_27_Rich 

Friday evening was spent pleasurably in the company of qidane, tobyaw and Beth.

Perhaps not as rock and roll as Bon Scott, but just as cool in her own way, on Saturday I was on my way home from spending the afternoon with friends in the Whey Pat when I spotted on Twitter that Sydney Padua was in town for a conference of mathematical biographers, and had gone to the Whey Pat shortly after we left. I hopped off the bus again and was able to shake her hand and tell her how much I liked her book (Buy it!). A very pleasant surprise.

Hey DJ!

July 18th, 2016 (09:20 pm)
current location: KY16 8SX




Tea Machine

March 30th, 2016 (04:26 pm)
current location: KY16 8SX

I’ve just spent a week and a half off work on holiday (back to work tomorrow). I didn’t get as much figure-painting or modelling done as I’d usually like to over such a period. My house is a bit tidier though!

I did complete one model that I was looking forward to assembling – an imaginative street-vending tea machine, by Infamy Miniatures. Unfortunately, I can’t direct you to a product page, as their store is temporarily closed while they move to a new location.

As Infamy make 32mm figures, it’s a little bit oversize for 28mm, but frankly, not so much you’d really care. It’s a very crisp and detailed moulding, in a number of parts, all of which fit together nicely. As all of Infamy’s Models seem to be, it’s a bit on the pricy side, but… STEAMPUNK TEA MACHINE!

The first face of the tea machine

I still need to stick some posters in that advertising space.

The second face of the tea machine

Sadly this is a bit out of focus but, moving clockwise around the tea machine, it gives you a look at how it’s powered, and you see some counter-top detail that’s only visible from this angle.

The third face of the tea machine

Moving round clockwise again, a look at the boilers and some of the internal workings (because it’s not steampunk without sticking some gears on it).

The fourth face of the tea machine

There’s a stack each of cups and saucers at this end; the pictures I took to give a good look at them were too poor to use, but you can catch a glimpse of them here and in the previous picture.

The pigeon perching on the chimney is an integral part of the model, and I enjoyed painting it. Animals are fun to paint, and there’s a huge amount of excellent reference material only a Google away.

The chap in a pith helmet enjoying his cup of tea, and the other models appearing in these shots, are ones that I’ve had for a long time and not related to the tea machine.

Open Live Writer

December 9th, 2015 (11:02 pm)
current location: KY16 8SX

Download Open Live WriterWhen I first started blogging, I used LiveJournal’s own facilities to edit my posts, but for many years now, I’ve used Windows Live Writer instead – a program created by Microsoft as part of their Live Essentials suite that just makes editing blog posts much easier, and allows me to save drafts offline before posting, as I tend to be a slow, careful writer. The single most useful thing it does is make posting pictures easy, but there are quite a number of things it just makes easier in greater or lesser ways.

However, it hasn’t been updated since 2012, when Microsoft indicated they weren’t going to develop it any further. That’s kind of OK – as a free app, it wasn’t directly making Microsoft any money so it’s difficult to complain if they decide it’s no longer worth it.

It was really disappointing, though, to think that some day I might not be able to use such a useful program because it just got left behind.

I wasn’t alone in thinking that, and people both inside and outside Microsoft campaigned to have it open-sourced, so that its development and maintenance could be picked up by enthusiasts.

Today Scott Hanselman announced that Live Writer has been open sourced, and you can download Open Live Writer immediately. It’s currently a little less capable than the old version, mainly because of third-party licensing reasons, but I expect replacement functionality will be on its way (some is definitely already planned), and that in time Open Live Writer will be an even better solution than Windows Live Writer has already been.

If you’re a blogger on Windows and don’t use it already, I’d recommend checking it out. If you’re already a Windows Live Writer user, it’s good to know there’s a new future for the application.

If you’re a developer and want to contribute, you can subscribe to the mailing list and explore it on GitHub. Scott Hanselman’s article is a good introduction.

Postscript: of course, having said that the single most useful thing it does is make posting pictures easy, Open Live Writer failed to do so for this post. Still, the original Windows Live Writer still works, I’ve filed a bug, and I’m sure it’ll get sorted out in due course.


Post-postscript: as a result of my bug report, it's already been found and fixed in development in a little over an hour, so shouldn't be too long before it's fixed in an actual release.

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