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

Tesco Fail

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These are not the products you are looking for...

These are not the products you are looking for…


I though I’d see if I could alleviate the T disc storage situation in the Titanium Bunker Catering Unit – so searching Tesco for Coffee pod holder presented the following page from Tesco.

Captain America’s Blue Pants

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I’ve been working on a number of projects for the bunker – I’ve been working on adding chapter support for Audio Book generation and working with python, pygame and tiled.  All of the previous photos were taken in titanium bunker R&D office – but these photos were taken in the titanium bunker catering unit – I decided to take a break from development of bunker systems, and have a go at painting. And drinking coffee.

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sharing isn’t caring!

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You know what really grinds my gears? When people repost stories without checking them

You know what really grinds my gears? When people repost stories without checking them

I am not a massive Facebook user, I barely post, and mostly I tend to have the news feed on

The news feed is interesting, it’s a way to see what all my friends are up to.

But there’s one thing that really grinds my gears and that’s when people I know share warnings and news stories that are hoaxes or not true.

In the past few days, friends on Facebook have shared and commented on :

For each of these I commented on each share with an article that proves it to be false.

Granted there are times when you share a link and you later realize it to be a hoax, However in Facebook, hoaxes and false news spreads so quickly, because you allow it to happen by blindly clicking share

Let’s think for a second what it means to click the share button.

By clicking the share button you are endorsing the item and passing it on to your friends.  Maybe you don’t think of it that way, but maybe you should.

So, before you click share just take a second. and try these  steps instead:

Google a bit of the text or a description.

There’s a name in the post? (like with the Dell Schanze story) Google the name. The premise of the story is that it is known that Dell Schanze is buying dogs for fighting so there should be a news story right? The picture is a police mugshot. so its implied that Dell Schanze has been arrested before.  so there should be a news story right? so hit up Google and find out more. It could be old news. It could be in another country that has no relevance to you or your friends

Check the police website

Surely a press release will be a more effective way of issuing a warning to the general population, after all it will reach local news outlets , local radio, local TV news, and if it’s very important, it will probably make the national news. If there is a press release, then it should be available from the police forces website. If it has already been published, then it will be on the news. However the 0809 are code story was shared by Greater Manchester Police North on their Facebook Page according to Hoax-Slayer (what’s the betting if that was the case, it just because some just clicked share?). Currently the Greater Manchester Police North Facebook page does have a post regarding the 08090 number scam informing that it is nothing to do with them and that it is fake.

Check news sites

So Lorde’s Grammy awards acceptance speech was censored? nothing mentioned on the BBC news site,  The Huffington Post said her performance without auto tune was pretty bad but nothing about it being censored. If the  TV feed  had been altered (which is what the ‘story’ says happened), all the guests and reporters that were in attendance  could have said something.  In fact a quick Google  after checking the news sites bought proof that it was a fake.

Check Snopes / Hoax-Slayer

There are sites that track and log these hoaxes, I mainly go to Snopes, Hoax-slayer and  thatsnonsense check against those,  you find them in there? then its a hoax

I know there are some terrible hoaxes out there the talking Angela app :

I cant even in words say what I just found out.. I am SHOCKED and want to tell and let my friends and family be made aware so they can make sure their children are safe!!! Angelica stayed home from school today and thank GOD she did. Because she was on her ipod playing a game called talking angela, which is similar to talking tom, anyway as she is sitting next to me this interactive cat says to her hi angelica where is your brother? She says o hes right here next to me the cat says o cool, then the cat says so what do you do for fun? Ang says I dont know, (now im being quiet and listening because I think its weird this angela cat knows she has a brother and is talking to her like a person) then its voice changes and in some weird robotic voice it says angelica when u date what do u do on your dates? She looked at me got red in the face and said nothing, then it said stick out your touunge, ill stick mine out too, it said what are some things u can do with your tounge? I can find many things to do with my tounge it said it said lets intrract w our toungues. I that point I had heard enough I zaid ang shut it off now! I was freaked out called the police departnrnt they came to the house saif they would have the internet investigations unit andpedofile investigations unit look into it, they called me an hour latet and said something is behind that cat!!! They dont know if it is local or over seas. While the police officer was there and ang was talking to him she told the police officer saturday night her cousin and her were on the app w angela and it asked the girls their names what her brothers name was what school they BOTH went to, and it took a picture of angelica!!! This is under serious investigation right now! When I googled talking angela I cant even begin to tell you what creepy stuff came up! Google it for yourselves please!! But some things are the cat asking girls for their phone numbers! And if theyve had their firat kiss!!! Take this app off your phone please! Theres a big chance thid cpuld be a door for pedofiles.the police said they have seen thing *like* this but never actually through a childs app but that they are not putting it past them! The girls told angela the cat on saturday their names and she had a brother and then on monday morning when angelica turned the app back on, It remebered her name and that she had a brother!!! These things ARENT supposed to ask you questions!!! and especially not questions about dating toungues or kissing!! I am disgusted! I dont feel safe at all right now! Knowing that there was some creep talking to my daughter and my neice through a talking app!!! Please if you have this app or any like it the police are saying take it off of your phone!!! Copy and share and send out PLEASE! This word needs to spread! I pray the ocean county investigators can crack this thing open!!!!!
So please if your KIDS use this app please shut it down. Because SOME KIDS told them the name of the school they went to and is now on red alert at the school, and please PASS this on to ALL your friends.

and I am sure there are parents whose response is:

“As a parent, I am taking no chances,  we must share this just in case its true”

No, what you are doing is a knee jerk reactionary thing. You are helping create an atmosphere of panic and hysteria by clicking a button. If you were concerned for your children’s safety, why not verify that the story if actually the case. Also by doing what the message wants,  (Copying and sharing the post) you are in effect saying it was your kids who were affected. distorting the original meaning of the message.

But if we stop for a second we realise how nonsensical the claim actually is:

The post is saying that Apple, a company who charge $99 a year to app developers and take a percentage of profits made from app sales, who enforce strict app programming guidelines , somehow allowed an app  to be added to its store, that could be a backdoor for gangs of organised paedophiles and apple DIDN’T do anything to pull the app / alert the authorities / Release a press release??

Mark twain once said:

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

With social media, Lies are now lapping the truth many times before it has even found its socks and by blindly clicking share or copying and pasting statuses, you are helping fill the world with lies, and to the untrained observer, someone who takes the content of such posts at face value, paints the world in a horrible light.

Don’t believe me? check out some of these hoaxes over on hoax-slayer right now:


Happy Valentines day everyone :)

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Hope everyone has a happy Valentines Day.

Rach bought me a very geeky card for Valentines day :


Geeky Valentines card

And my word, what a lovely present, I’m sure we’ll enjoy every nibble and byte 🙂


Chocolate Spectrum Keyboard

Rach loves her tea, so I bought her this :


Dalek Tea Picture

Recording an album under linux

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Way back, in this post, I looked at the possibility of distributing albums using the Ubuntu packaging process.  Let’s assume that you have recorded all of your tracks using Ardour.  you should be able to apt-get source ALBUM to retrieve the ardour source files for the album, and when you check in the files the package is rebuilt and the binary packages are recompiled.  So – how do you recompile an album?

Well – I think we need to qualify what is a album.  An album is a collection of songs – but it could be argued that we should be supporting a single song rather than a whole album.  This would allow users to create a mix tape album by creating a metapackage that refers to the other album tracks.  So – our smallest element of work is a song, and a song is an ardour project.  Therefore altering a song should rebuild that song.  How do you run Ardour on the server if there is no sound card on the server, and can you be sure that the referred plugins will be available?


Idea :

RESULT : An invisible Ardour session, and an exported MP3 file (or ogg)

I’ll update this blog when I find out how successful that could be.


Mike Hingley (@computa_mike) has shared a tweet with you

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this is epic fail – http://t.co/LyenACsoDS — __Freakyclown__ (@__Freakyclown__)

Bowling and the big red button

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Screenshot from 2014-02-01 20:50:48

Error thrown by the Star City Entertainment page (http://starcitycentre.co.uk/entertainment/)
A PHP Error was encountered
Severity: Notice
Message: Undefined variable: desc
Filename: tenant_gallery/pi.tenant_gallery.php
Line Number

We visited Star City today for a day of fun , and decided to play a couple of games of ten-pin bowling, at the bowling alley.  Now – Star City is a recent building –  its Wikipedia page states that the complex was opened in 2000, and given that ten-pin bowling has a history going back in terms of the modern game to 1840, I wasn’t expecting any issues setting up the game – I mean how hard can it be to set up a ten-pin bowling game in a modern building on modern equipment for a game that’s over 170 years old.


Bowling lane keypad


This is the keyboard used to set up the lane, and it has a mysterious red button – this button is used to confirm that the team is aware that bowling contains an element of risk – and in this risk averse litigious world who can blame the bowling alley for wanting to protect themself – My main argument here is that having paid for the games already, I am not given this information before hand – and then someone else in the group makes that decision for me, and then they do it by pressing a red button – you know – like the red traffic lights that mean “Go Ahead” – it should be a green button. Elsewhere in the system this button is also used for other functions like starting a game, or confirming an action (placing bowlers into a bumpers on/off group). It would suggest that this button is really an “ok” or “Proceed” button. And in the absence of any graphics to go along with that button – then it would be logical to make this button green. And what’s that just below the big red button?  a stop button – oh man if only they had thought about how the user was going to interact with the lane, then they could have perhaps made a “Yes” “No” or “Stop” “Go” button.  Interestingly the  Qubic logo just above the stop button – well that’s a button too – not sure what it does – or even why it needs to be there.


Whose turn is it to bowl now? PIRTUEEN – you’re up.

The keyboard itself is a membrane style keyboard. Sometimes the keys work – sometimes they don’t – the hardware reliability is a potential issue here. If a key doesn’t work then you might need to delete a character but myself, my fellow bowlers and the members of staff were unable to find an undo, delete or backspace button – anything to correct an error when entering a users name. As a result I could no longer be Rock Kickass – badboy bowler with an attitude to match – no … for this game I became ockkika. Now I’m not an expert on Bowling hardware, but the removal of mistakes is something that I have witnessed in the alteration of bowling mistakes in the 1989 critically acclaimed movie chronicling the excellent adventure of Bill S. Preston, Esq and one Ted “Theodore” Logan.  In this cerebral cinematic masterpiece Napoleon corrects a previously incorrect bowling score, but the principle seems sound. Once we entered all the bowlers in, it was time to start the game by pressing the big red button.

Short French Bowling and Epaulette enthusiast Napoleon Bonaparte.

Short French Bowling and Epaulette enthusiast Napoleon Bonaparte.

It became obvious after the first bowl that the bumpers were somehow still up, meaning that my ball bounced from side to side down the lane – and while I appreciate the extra points which helped prevent me from fulfilling my ultimate fate of being a loser at bowling.  We found the menu system, and started to figure out how to turn off the bumpers – the keypad presented an interface where the bumpers could be allocated to bowlers.  But then the member of staff there – who was taking drinks order via IPhone – told us there was a technique for this – there was a button – not near the console which would lower the bumpers – an unlabelled button by the ball ejection device that would drop the bumpers on the lane.  In software this would be called an undocumented feature, and We all know that a ‘undocumented feature’ can cause problems if we rely upon it – Apple even required some IOS applications that implemented undocumented functionality to be rewritten.


See that small, unlabelled button there? that little black one – that will drop the bumpers aparently.

I don’t want to appear too negative about this stuff – I recently wrote how @__freakyclown__ has ruined movies (and to a certain extent real life) as the security insights he as imparted at OggCamp has left me almost constantly looking at things with a view to how it could be circumvented. I recently started reading User Centered Design and all this stuff must be impacting in a similar way – probably the same way that the milk fill line appears in different places on the Quaker Oats So Simple sachet, depending on the flavour, when the instructions are the same (pour 200 ml).

How to improve the experience

The experience of ordering drinks from a staff member using nothing more than an IPhone got me thinking about the application of this technology within the casual bowling space.  Here’s what a smart phone enabled bowling alley might look like.

  • When we booked the lane it might have been an idea to have a monitor show us a QR Code for the game we booked.  All players could ‘subscribe’ to the game via mobile.  This subscription could also record something from the phone – like a client ID, and allow the Bowling alley to push updates to the bowlers, for example alerting them that the lane is ready.  This also could be used to push special offers to the bowlers to drive business to the site.  This reservation system could be used by restaurants instead of the proprietary restaurant pagers.
  • Bowlers could submit their bowler identities ahead of time, and include whether they want bumpers up or down.  Meaning that when you arrive at the lane, the game is already set up.  As the lane is a physical place where players are known to be – it might be possible to order food/drinks from your phone, and have the order passed directly to the bar – payment directly through PayPal? or other services(Bitcoin?)
  • Bowlers could vote for music from a playlist.
  • Bowlers could also potentially suggest new artists for inclusion in the bowl playlist.
  • Bowlers could find out the name of a song that’s currently playing now, and arrange to buy that song (revenue sharing?)
  • Bowlers can share their scores on Facebook / Twitter directly from their phone / application.  The bowling alley becomes a canonical record of the game.  Important for bragging rights.
  • Bowlers can book lanes in advance and share that lane booking with friends from home.

So far I have just looked at the traditional smart phone possibilities for bowling – considering that bowling alleys typically also have arcade machines, and phones also have other communication technologies – such as NFC then I think there are potentially more improvements to the experience.

Hello world on Ubuntu Planet

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I’ve decided to try and blog every day for a month, as part of the UbBloPoMo initiative.  This will be my first post that should also appear on PlanetUbuntu….



Well that was the plan – unfortunately you need to be a member because if you’re not a member then you can’t contribute to the planet.


So… My next challenge… MEMBERSHIP!