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

My favourite things

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Today I experienced the combination of 2 of my favourite things – Humble Bundle and Dr Who.

That’s right – for like $15, you can get your eager hands of a veritable shedload of comics!

Dr Who Companion App

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For the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, I thought I might have a go at writing a Doctor Who app for Android.  My plan is to write something that will provide useful information to viewers watching Doctor Who episodes using the microphone to capture a audio fingerprint of the current episode, and use that to identify and provide episode information and trivia.

I started examining what would be needed to make a usable interface.  Primarily to look at the development tools, and also to try to figure out a strategy regarding art assets.  The big challenge is that Android supports multiple screen sizes, at multiple resolution densities.  This makes a “design and forget” approach to development difficult.  Using ADT it is possible to see how the screens will look in most devices – the following screen shots were taken from my Motorolla Defy mini.  Hopefully, once Dave has had a look, it should start to be a bit better as an application.

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Time Lord Regeneration thoughts.

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Just watching Dr Who – Eleventh hour. Just had a thought… That bit where Anette Crosby was exclaiming “it’s you, you’re the raggedy doctor”… and I thought – yup… That makes sense – after all he did just regenerate, and all that regeneration energy burned up the interior of a type 40 capsule…

Despite all the destruction in the console, somehow all his clothes seemed fine – despite the fact that his whole body appears to be giving off that energy…

Here’s River’s regeneration from Let’s kill Hitler.


River's regeneration in 'Let's kill Hitler'

River’s regeneration in ‘Let’s kill Hitler’

Note how her arms are glowing suggesting that her whole body is emanating regeneration energy.  So if that level of energy can destroy a TARDIS console, room – shouldn’t it be destroying their clothes?  Come on Moffat – let’s have some realism in regenerations 😉 – Surely a Time Lord  / Lady should be naked when they regenerate1.

1 I understand that the damage to the Doctor’s clothes was probably due to the remodelling of the TARDIS, but why didn’t the TARDIS get remodelled when the 9th Doctor regenerated into the 10th Doctor2?

2 I also understand that there’s a special almost psychic bond between Time Lord and TARDIS, and this might go some way to explain the destruction that occurs (but shouldn’t it happen every time?)

better than a name in a hat

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So we dropped ourself in it – sort of. There was a mention made on the April 1st episode of the Dr Who episode randomiser. Now the randomiser was a project idea that we had here at the bunker. So spurred on by the latest episode we started examining the options.  The premise is that there is a piece of software that picks a random episode from Dr Who.

Sounds simple right? Create something that will search through a collection of episodes and return a random one from the list. But there were a number of design decisions that we needed to look at :

  • The Data
    The HooOnWho show looks at a subset of the available Dr Who episode. These episodes are classified as Classic Dr Who, rather than the newer episodes – but how do we classify these? We could use the Dr’s themselves. Now the original series went into hiatus under the stewardship of Sylvester McCoy, and he handed the torch to Paul McGann in the 1997 Movie.Does that mean that only episodes featuring those first 8 Doctors should be used? after all Peter Davison did appear in an episode (time crash) with David Tennant.
  • The Platform
    The TitaniumBunker are primarily a PC house1 (with the exceptions of Rachel’s Iphone and Ipod) and I’m predominantly a Linux user.  The Hooies are mainly macintosh.
  • The functionality
    How should the program operate?  Should the program only select from DVD’s that the HooOnWho Team have access to?  Or should it provide any episode.


Now we do have access to a TitaniumBunker macintosh, but realistically we need to be able to develop on PC, under windows or Linux, and be able to distribute anywhere.  Therefore I have made a few design decisions which I am documenting here.

Data and storage

SQLite seems an obvious choice.  The advantage from this free format is that is supported on Android, IOS, macintosh, Windows and Linux Platforms, and a partially populated Database can be distributed with the application.  A SQLite Database has been created with basic episode information stored within – for example which actors played the Doctor, and will eventually store an episode list, allowing the user to select random episodes from a particular Doctor’s reign.

The Platform

I am currently developing a prototype using Titanium – a Cross platform tool.  Currently the plan is to build the application and make it work under Desktops.  Desktop support is currently being spun off to a separate project.  I personally think that this is a bad idea.  I can see the justification behind such a decision, but I think that this drastically reduces one of the main points for the project.  Primarily that once I am happy that the application works well, that I can make versions of that application available to all desktop and mobile platforms without needing excessive re-writes.  the work to spin off the Desktop side is still work in progress, and nothing is available yet.  Perhaps it will do the project good, but I do get the impression that cross platform desktop support was a happy accident of the Titanium model.  There isn’t even intelli-sense support for Desktop, but this does seem to exist for Mobile.

By trade I am a .NET developer, so the idea that I’m going to abandon a strongly typed language in favour of a dynamically typed language hasn’t exactly filled me with joy – I suppose I have been spoiled by the benefits that the .NET development environment gave me.  Maybe I’m just too much of a dinosaur.

The functionality.

I see the application allowing 2 modes of use.  Primarily the user will be able to add episodes.  Each episode will have a cast list, which can be edited later if needs be.  In addition a DVD will be marked as to whether the DVD is owned by the user, and whether it has already been reviewed.

At some point the user may want to select the random episode.  The user fills in some selection criteria – for example ticking a box for “Only select DVD’s that I have”, Additionally the Search can pick only episodes where a particular actor is involved.  Initially the ACTORS table contains the 11 Doctors, but there would be nothing to prevent companions to be added to the list, allowing the user to pick a random Adric episode, or random .  The User can also select whether to include or exclude DVD’s that have already been reviewed.

Now the interesting part – how do you select a random record from the episode list?  Well a quick perusal of stack exchange revealed this suggestion :


This code allows the selection of potentially any number of random episodes – if you want to pull 10 episodes then replace the limit count with 10.   It all seems so simple.  Development under Titanium Studio is currently stalling a little due to issues I am currently having installing a Database.

I’ll try and keep this updated as I make progress.


1The exceptions to this are : Rachel’s 3rd generation Ipod, Rachel’s Iphone 3GS, and My Ipod Nano (I do run RockBox on it – so I count that as a moral victory)

A Science Fiction Future


I received a text message from Dave today – well the bunker is large and it takes some time to go from the art wing through to the R&D department.

Dude listen to the latest doctor who podcast theres a talk about portrayal of the future might want to share your theory with them and plug site as well btw mac version 95% some gfx need adjusting

I’ve long bored the few visitors we get at the bunker with my theory about the future of technology. The theory goes something like this.

There was a time where technology was owned by the expert.  Complicated technology was totally inaccessible to standard ‘Joe Public’ users. I refer to this as the  Dr Who style future.  This sort of ties in with the origin of Dr Who – back in the 1960’s technology was in the hands of the expert.  In this future scenario the expert holds the keys to the castle.  All the rest of the population can do is scream and hope that the expert can save the day.  But this scenario has the problem that the expert is the weakest link – take out the expert and the technology becomes unusable.

The alternative future scenario is what I call the “Star Trek” future.  In this future scenario technology is accessible to standard users – the ships computer is accessible to all users – the  same computer is used by all the members of the crew from captain down to children in the kindergarten.  The technology is still complicated – as evidenced by the engineering department, but it is presented easily and in a manner that is appropriate.

Consider older technologies – such as medicine.  Historically healing was the preserve of the expert – however the growth of information sources such as printing and books made the medical knowledge accessible to more and more.  I think this shows the typical maturing of the technology.

It sort of ties in with another idea I had years ago – the idea of a multi genre game. A combination of strategy and action games genre.  A combination of “command and conquer” and “Call of Duty”.  As a strategy player you command squads of soldiers around.  As an action game player you take the role of a solder achieving the goals of the strategic player.

Listen to the episode here

New From Titanium Bunker- Where In the World Is Colin Baker?

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Listening to the 20MB doctor who podcast episode 15 I was inspired when Adam couldn’t find his Colin Baker dolly-  Sorry I mean posable action figure into making a short game about the search for said action figure

So now after literally 3 days of development, The titanium Bunker is proud to announce its first software release.

‘Where in the World is Colin Baker’ is an action packed, high octane game with more twists and turns than a twisty-turny-thing. Well, its a lot like battleships, but its still fun to play 🙂

Where in the World is Colin Baker Screenshot2Where in the World is Colin Baker Screenshot2

Grab it here.