drisc's journal

~Chronicles of a tired guy~

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2022-08-30 - Back from my break

Had a bit of a break from working on programming things to sort out my house. DIY takes a while, especially when you are doing it in between going to work. I had a week off in the middle of August but spent the time doing almost nothing as I needed some to time to just sit down and relax after the first half of the year.

I start my next college year in about a week which is exciting, after 2 years I'm finally back to where I should have been at the start of my apprenticeship. With any luck they won't find more reasons to hold me back from the course's that I'm actually interested in.

My retro PC build proceeds apace. I have a Dell GX110 motherboard, a 60GB IDE HDD and CD drive, the floppy drive is on it's way and I've managed to source an expansion card with some ISA slots on it. Burning an installation CD and writing the product key on it was very nostalgic. I have had great success with running a Windows 98 VM in qemu on Windows as well, the only stumbling block has been setting up the VM's network in such a way that I can access a share within the VM from the host. Once I have it working I'll write a blog post about how to set it up.

2022-08-05 - Perhaps Programming PS1

I stumbled across this video several days ago and have been consumed with the idea of learning how to write my own PlayStation games ever since. I've got a Windows 98 VM set up and some basic code written but now I'm looking at finding the DTL-H2000 ISA cards and a system to put them into so that I have what would have actually been used in 1999 to create and test PS1 code.

Aside from being a cool piece of history to own it would be functional as well and provide a system that I could use to try out older OS's on without having to use VM's. The DTL-H2000 cards are rare these days but I've been patient before and I can still work on projects with VM's and emulators until I get my hands on a them. This will be good practice for C and learning assembly as well.

2022-08-04 - Alchemist progress

My static site generator written in C is coming along finally. I have a way to build pages from files that contain content and a way to insert dynamic information such as edit times into those pages. The next hurdle is building a dynamic index page. I want the index to build itself from a mix of pages such as the latest journal page and updated wiki entries. It should also have a link to the latest blog post somewhere and maybe some of the stats that I am gathering such as my latest PSN trophies or average blood sugar. To do this I need to grab individual elements from other pages in the site all within C. Looks like I have some searching and puzzling through to do.

2022-08-01 - RuneScape like it's 2007

I hadn't played RuneScape for a good 13 years until yesterday when I decided to try out Old School RuneScape to scratch a nostalgia itch in my brain. It's like I'm in primary school again working my way up to being able to fight the dragon in the last free quest...except this time I have my own money and can actually pay for a membership. There is so much of OSRS that I never got to experience because I wasn't allowed to have subscriptions to things as a kid.

That changes now, I'm going to have a lot of fun exploring this revived version of the game I played when I was 11.

2022-07-28 - Goodbye Ghost

Ghost, my dwarf hamster, passed away today. I got him just after I started my apprenticeship as a companion, I'd always wanted to take care of a hamster and he was amazing. Such a little character, you can read more about him here.

Night night, hammy boy.

2022-07-24 - Acoustic dampening

Spent a couple of hours sticking acoustic dampening tiles to the ceiling of the workshop, it has helped reduce the echo a lot in there which is good because I plan to record readings of short stories. I've also stuck a few behind the monitors to stop reflective echo from that direction.

2022-07-22 - College Work almost done & working on more site pages

I've had a near constant stream of coursework and questions to complete for the past 2 years so it will be nice to have a couple of weeks of not needing to worry about it before I start the next 2 year course.

Slowly adding more pages to my site and wiki, I need to redesign the index page for both the home page and the wiki. The blog index page follows the HTML Blog format and looks fine for now though I may add some descriptors to the list items later on. The next big page to be added will have a list of my various fuzzy companions both past and present.

2022-07-21 - Meeting Wump and fixing my keyboard

Yesterday I got to meet the cat that I will be adopting. Her name is Wump, named for a sidekick to my Tabaxi D&D character. It took around an hour but she got used to me and felt comfortable enough to fall asleep while I was holding her.

She is the biggest of the litter but still tiny, around 5 weeks old.

Wump at 5 weeks old, standing on the floor

In other news, I have been having intermittent issues with my SliceMK wireless Ergodox keyboard, several switches on the left half have not been registering inputs. I reflowed the solder on the pads that connect the Kailh hot swap sockets to the PCB and most of the switches are now working. One has a lifted pad that is disconnected from the the trace on the board so I used a bodge wire to connect the contact for the Kialh socket to a via under the keyswitch which fixed the issue.

Kailh hot swap socket with a small wire connecting it to a via hole with a blob of solder

2022-07-20 - The Heat

I'm not good with heat.

Spent the past couple of days in a tired stupor, I haven't been able to sleep at night due to the heat in the UK hitting 40°C. Hitting the hay as soon as I get back from work helps since it's not the hottest part of the day yet but by the time I get to work the next day I've already been awake for 9 hours.

I prefer the cold since you can bundle up to deal with that. This heat is only solvable with architecture that allows for airy spaces or an expensive air conditioner. I have neither.

On a more positive note, I used my inability to sleep to play through Stray, the cyberpunk cat game that everyone has been waiting for. It was lovely, the cat controls and moves very much like a cat would and the mechanics that you can do such as nuzzling a robots leg are adorable. I played it on PS5 and when you find a spot to let the cat sleep it's purring actually vibrates the controller in such a way that it feels like you are holding a purring cat which is a really nice detail.

2022-07-16 - First blog post and moving stuff around

I finally wrote a blog post, I've been meaning to start writing stuff for years now but always put it off. Well not anymore!

It's about the build of my office/workshop in my garage. I'm pretty proud of how it has turned out so far, still more to do though. Next I need to build shelving and storage.

2022-07-12 - Boxes

Found a box of cables in the back of a closet today, it contained gems such as Parallel cables, VGA to S-Video adapters and an actual FireWire 800 DV-Cam cable. These will be useful in a couple of upcoming Arduino projects I have planned and it means that I don't have to trawl eBay for old cables.

Another box contained a bunch of old tapes that I made when I was 11 with a friend of mine. He did the voices of some Lego characters and you can hear me just losing my shit in the background, completely unable to stop laughing at his antics.

2022-07-11 - Late shift

Spent today on the late shift at work, not much to do since everything my team is responsible for had the courtesy to not break so I got on with some of my outstanding college work. Should be done with it by the end of next week, only 64 questions to go...

On a related note, I'm so used to using :wq to save and exit documents that I find myself using it in programs like Sublime Text and LibreOffice Writer all the time.

2022-07-09 - Sleeping and Painting

I love the weekend, it means I can sleep until midday if I want. After catching some good ZZZ I moved some furniture around since the gerbil tank is no longer taking up space. The hallway looks more open now that it's not sitting on the dresser.

Wrote and submitted a very short story to the Fantomes zine. It has elements of a larger story I would like to tell at some point but what I submitted works well as a cautionary tale that could be told by parents to their children on that world.

Spent the afternoon applying polyfiller and paint to the walls of that project I mentioned a few days ago. Now that that is done I'll finish the blog post, that will probably be up tomorrow.

2022-07-08 - Jumping back into C

I picked up my copy of The C Programming Language for the first time in a year, cloned Alchemists git repo and sat down to look at it again. Within 20 minutes I had the index page built. I want to keep using Stylus for my CSS pre-processing so I'll have to either find a library for that or write one to parse it. I don't think I can keep using Pug for templating though and I didn't really want to, it's not great for writing articles in by hand.

I finished looking through the Merveilles Town CSS and submitted a pull request for the some small changes. Most of the theme has stayed the same, no major breakages since the last time I looked at it a couple of years ago aside from the profile directory.

It's Thunderfly season which means I will feel them crawling in my hair and under my clothes for the next few weeks. Bleh.

2022-07-07 - CSS Theming and a Farewell

Spent some time going through the CSS of the Merveilles Town theme and adding to it, will probably push the changes tomorrow or this weekend after I've finished more college work.

Said goodbye to my sisters gerbils today, I've been looking after them for about one and a half years while she worked at a resort, they didn't allow pets in the on site accommodation so I took them in. I was sad to see them go but happy that she could take care of them again, she really missed them while she was working.

Willow and Luna sleeping

Willow is the gray one and Luna is underneath her.

2022-07-06 - College over for another year

Started writing up a blog post on a project that I've been working on for the last month. If I'd known about Neon Kiosk earlier I probably would have journaled it, but as it stands a full post is both more practical for linking purposes and so that I don't dump a wall of text and images on the Kiosk.

I've finished College for another year, yet the work continues as I have units left over. Due to poor time management on my part and poor communication from my course leader about what I was supposed to be doing when I was physically in the classroom/workshop over the past 2 years. I've done so much work that simply isn't valid for my course because of a mix up with which 'pathway' I'm on that I've essentially wasted a couple of terms of time.

2022-07-05 - Neon Kiosk and Site Updates

I found out about The Neon Kiosk today and decided to restructure and publish some of my journal entries in the correct format for it. I'll slowly go back though my physical journal and fill out the archive. The included info will probably change over time but I plan to add the books I'm reading and the games I'm playing at each entry after this.

My website is still running on the express.js app I made years ago because I'm lazy and haven't gotten around to actually building Alchemist out into a proper generator yet, it has a basic version written in C and that will expand once I find the time. I recently started using Docker to run all the services on my VPS so when Alchemist is ready I can just have a git-hook pull the latest version, build it and deploy auto-magically. Just have to find the time.