Evil geniuses and world domination are 2 of our goals... we also like Dr Who

Loss of culture

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I’d like to try a thought experiment with you – dear reader.  Imagine that tomorrow you decide to go out and experience some culture.  As this is a thought experiment let’s also assume that money is no object, and that you have the resources to be able to accomplish this – I suppose the question is – what would you like to go and experience?

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Updating the Bunker Wireless

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MacGyver – Role Model for Software Developers supporting legacy systems

I’ve noticed recently that the Chromecast – situated in one of the upper floor habitation pods within the bunker – was getting pretty rubbish Wi-Fi reception.  Why would that be a problem – after all the bunker does have pretty good wired access.

Well the problem is that Chromecast features only a Wireless connection, meaning it has to talk to the main Wi-Fi hub, located 1 floor down – and with the hefty floors of the bunker, the signal has been somewhat lacking.  And this causes a problem when trying to watch MacGyver episodes on Netflix….  This sounds like a job for MikeGyver.

MikeGyver-1 MikeGyver-2

Belkin Share F7D3302 v1 router

Belkin Share F7D3302 v1 router

Just down from the Habitation pod in question, is my main office, and I recently decided that I needed to add more local area bandwidth, as I am currently running a couple of servers.  So I delved into my box-o-bits1 and found an old Belkin Share F7D3302 v1 router.

I was able to get this working locally, but the question was : How do i integrate it with the existing router?  To make this work the router would need to be configured as an Access Point.  To demonstrate this, I’ll draw a quick diagram here:

Titaniumbunker Network Diagram

Titaniumbunker Network Diagram


Configuring the Belkin router was easy.  It has an access point mode, which disables DHCP and firewalls.  I reserved a static IP address on the main router for the Belkin Access point.  The Belkin has a 4 port switch on the back which I connected one of the ports through to the main router and boom – I now had wired access.
The next challenge is relating to extending the wireless network to the upper floor, so that smart wireless devices can connect or switch access points.  Currently the wireless is deactivated for the office access point.
Access Point Channels

Access Point Channels

1All IT Professionals have a box-o-bits – Mine’s actually a set of plastic storage drawers.



OggCamp 2014 Videos

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At this year’s OggCamp we recorded a couple of videos.  We’re still learning – but here’s what I learned about the video production process.

  • It’s really hard to talk and shoot a camera
  • you really need a separate mic to do this sort of thing.



Poop your pants scary

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In a previous post I commented that I might be getting a little old for bands such as Pierce the Veil, and this post examines more evidence of my descent into old age.  Recently Rach went out and bought Alien Isolation because she really wanted to play it.  It is typical that whenever Rach buys a game we end up playing it as a team – typically a frustrated team when I try and explain some three dimensional movement to get her avatar back to what appears to be an item that she missed when scanning the room.  She tends to play, and I shout confusing and frustrated advice.  Eventually she gets annoyed with me, and I get annoyed with her, and we call time there on the game and pick it up again at a later date.  In a way it’s good – we don’t tend to spend a lot of time playing games.  So far Alien Isolation has been no exception.

As is typical I get back from work to find Rach playing Alien Isolation, sat on her favourite comfy chair

POÄNG Armchair - Ikea

POÄNG Armchair – Ikea

with her favourite cushion.

My Neighbour Tortoro Cushion

My Neighbour Tortoro Cushion

She hands over the controller to me whenever it gets too complicated – which it often does.  As a result I end up only playing the most scary, most complicated parts of the game.  It’s left me feeling as though I don’t want to pick up the game and play it – I just know that were I to load the save game at the current point I could find it almost impossibly hard.  The other night I got back from work, and she was running around with a flame thrower.  I just know that were to attempt to load the game on my own that it would be too nerve racking an experience.  I’d hate to be in a situation where I leave her game in a state where she’s low on ammo, or I missed some important key card to access some area of the map – I suppose I’m scared of breaking the game for her.
Also it’s a really scary game, where basically anything that isn’t you is going to try and kill you.  It must be what living in Australia is like.    My game tastes have mellowed – I recently bought Fez for Xbox 360 and I really enjoyed the sedate nature of the game.  Perhaps I’m getting too old for Aliens and explosions…  or maybe the game is just really scary.

I know I’m probably too old… but

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I really like this song  – Be aware there are some swears in this content.

It’s a great song.

Now some may say “Hey – Mike …  Aren’t you a little old for this sort of angsty shouty stuff”. And you’d probably be right.  Personally I think I have a good mix between the shouty and cool.  I’ve recently started getting into cool jazz – I got Time Out and I have even tried some John Coltrane – some of it’s cool,  but I just don’t get some of it.

Anyway I sat here at the laptop, having just fixed the FilmFixer script, and thought “I’ll see what’s cookin’ in the digital amazon music store”.  I racked my brains trying to remember pierce the veil – All i could remember was that it was a bank job music video.  Eventually I found the video and had a look at amazon to see what deals they had.

I dug around and found The war of the worlds – the original 1938 broadcast staring Orson Welles for £0.99, and I eventually found the album that featured King for a day.

The MP3 Album is  £7.49 – or I can buy the CD – which has a free mp3 version of the album for £4.99 – which I would have straight away.  Even with the packaging and postage – that would come to £6.48 – still cheaper than buying the MP3 album.

CD as found in the CD store

Go looking for Pierce the Veil in the Amazon CD store, and you can buy the album for £8.60

CD as discovered in Digital Music

Find the same album in the MP3 music store, and you can buy the CD for £4.99

Orders over £10 get free delivery, so by adding something else i needed, I was able to buy the album for £4.99.  I decided that, as I have much more music these days, that I’d get a larger SD card for my phone, as the 8GB I have at the moment is full, and I hardly have any music on it at the moment.
And the Auto rip was available right away :)


Charity event at work

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At my day job they’re holding a summer fete featuring “guess the manager” – cake stalls and all sorts of cool events.  So for lunch I’m having a burger!


here’s a shot of the carpark


And this gentleman was walking round with samples of a locally made delicacy


Snail Tales – Building an Animatic on Azure

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In the previous post I talked about setting up Jenkins – I have also been able to apply the same instructions to an Azure hosted linux sever.

The instructions are identical – except that the ports need to be connected

Configure ports for Jenkins

Configure ports for Jenkins

Using the endpoint configuration I was able to map the 8080 to port 80.  I needed to set up the security so that anonymous users could see the job status but would be unable to run or add jobs.
I create a user and set up the security like this :
Configure Jenkins security

Configure Jenkins security

Snail Tales – Building an Animatic

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I’m going to start this blog post by saying : I’m not an animator.  I know nothing about animation.  Well that’s not strictly true – I did learn something about animation from this tutorial video :

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New Mug



Rach got a sports direct mug… Here is is on my desk full of vending machine coffee. It holds 3 vending machine cups, whereas the aperture science mug next to it only holds 2 vending machine mugs.  My little jazz Lego guy is in awe of the scale of this coffee!

Snail Tales: Part 1

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I have been working for a long time on a short piece of animation. It’s been made longer by my insistence on using purely Open source software to make the animation with.

I decided to use Synfig Studio and set about creating characters over a year ago.

Of course real life got in the way of this. There was a house move, and of course there’s been my work on Elite Dangerous and Zoo Tycoon as well as the work I continue to do for Hoo on Who. but here are some early tests and work in progress shots for the short.

In the original story board the opening shot was much shorter and it was static but I have decided to make it a longer shot to better establish the kingdom in this early test, there are no peasants, I will add a couple of peasants to the fields and village.

the scarecrow I added on a whim. I had watched the Wizard of Oz a couple of days previous and  trying to think what i could put in the environment to help set the scene, I thought it would be fun to animate a scarcrow. I built and rigged a scarecrow and animated him making a little wave and turning his head to look to camera.

A lot of his animation is masked by the tree currently. I might put the tree on the first  hill so it is well out of the way .


In this shot, the Cat detective is being telephoned by the Queen to come find her stolen money. I wanted to give some contrast to the cat detective’s office, so I designed it to look more Noir-ish and forced the perspective. I always though it could be funny to have the cat play with a ball of wool while taking the call, the idea to put the framed picture of a ball of wool happened as I was designing the background. Originally there was going to be a newtons cradle in the foreground, but the scene was busy enough and I didn’t want to pull focus from the cat.


In this shot, the cat detective is looking through his magnifying glass. I used two copies of the cat detective, and used the shape of the magnifying glass to mask out the larger cat



this shot is tricky and is in the process of being re animated.  The cat detective is climbing up a spirtal staircase, following the dragon prints. The Background was a 3d model I rigged and animated in 3DS Max- still frames were rendered out and the cat detective was then animated to look like he is climbing the stairs. I changed the camera angle to better show the dragon prints. so the cat Detective needs reanimating.


Using open source software has not been easy.  There are certain thing I like to do when animating that Synfig forces to you abandon. In order to combat this, Mike and I wrote Synfig Stage, This software will allow us to compile new scenes with copies of the existing characters in the production. expect a video of it in action soon.

Synfig also has a very steep learning curve, but as with all things, the first time you try anything it will always be hard. Subsequent attempts are quicker and some of the newer chacters have taken less time to rig and in some cases these rigs are more complex than others.  I hope to have a few more shots done soon. in which case ther might be other posts about this (which is why its optimistically called part 1).