August 17th, 2004


(Silver) Bullet Train

There may be no such thing as a silver bullet, but the prospect of a bit of training is still enough to lighten the heart and gladden the eye.

Insights has kindly agreed to send its software developers to a bootcamp for Microsoft Certified Solution Developer training. To accommodate those who have a life, we'll be taking it as two separate weeks of training, rather than all in a oner.

I'm not too disappointed to be breaking it up like that - running from 9 in the morning until 9 at night, it sounds most similar to a ten-day open book exam I took once. I remember that as being quite satisfying to complete, but I did need a break afterwards. It was thirteen years ago too, so maybe my marathon days are over.

Insights has grown over the last couple of years, but it's still not a large, cash-rich company, so this is quite a significant investment in us, and praiseworthy.

Dates yet to be confirmed, but it'll probably be some time during the next two to three months.

Digging Your Scenery

The last couple of weekends have both featured visits to annual events for big kids. Last weekend was Claymore in Edinburgh, the wargamers' convention, while this weekend was the St. Andrews Model Railway Exhibition.

I'm not an adherent of either hobby per se, but I do tend towards the wargaming end of roleplaying, as I like games that include the visual element of scale figures on the table. Personally, I also find that a reasonable selection of scenery or props also helps. These range from free (ominous looking chuckie stanes picked out of the aggregate on the unsurfaced access road outside my window in Hepburn Hall in the days when it was still a hall of residence and the road was unsurfaced) or historic relics of childhood through low cost (match sticks for marking boundary lines such as walls) up to the current commercial stuff on offer at the events in question.

The proportion of scenery to figures at Claymore seemd to have increased, with some particularly impressive pieces from a vendor I hadn't seen before, Grand Manner, as well as the usual suspects like Ainsty, Hovels and Scheltrum. Many of the prices are also impressive, which is a shame, but the odd piece is worth it.

At Claymore, I picked up a few things which may make for impressive set pieces at some point, particularly now that there is a UK importer (Newline Designs) for things from The London War Room. It was well worth the trip to Edinburgh, as the most interesting pieces came from another company I'd never heard of, Monolith Designs. Purchases at the model railway exhibition were more in the line of various kinds of scatter for applying grass or gravel to bases, though it's also a good opportunity to buy small-scale tools if you have a requirement. I didn't.

I'm not sure of a year for the picture with this entry, but it was pretty certainly while I was an inmate of Hepburn Hall.