Living in the Now!

Learning to enjoy my life more!

A Big Change

Why Change?

So recently I was working on a web site as part of my college project and after a discussion with another student I realized I have never paid for my own professional web hosting or domain name. It has always been something I wanted to do but never had much need of in the past, I always worked with people who already had hosting and never needed to do anything with domain names. My friend Richard Arkless pointed out how much it would cost to host a site for a year using Go Daddy, so after looking up all the options I decided to take the plunge as the client for my current university project would need hosting with some options.

The Change

This means that I will be stopping updates to this blog and moving it all over to An Unrelenting Mind for the next year at least. Also I plan on morphing that web site into something a little different to this one, but for the time being it’s going to just be the new home for this blog.

My Experience with Go Daddy

My experience with Go Daddy UK wasn’t as easy as I would have hoped, the whole experience of purchasing was a comedy of errors without the comedy. I just want to point out that below were I talk about supporting charity, supporting a charity is a good thing regardless of what country that charity operates, but I live in the UK and I would rather support a charity that does work in the UK or globally. An example is that one of the three charities was supporting US solders, and while I believe supporting soldiers is good I would give my support to my own countries forces before I support another countries forces.

Here is some of the feedback I left Go Daddy UK:

“Well when you try to encourage me to donate to charity I would be more likely to donate to a charity that is a) world-wide or b) UK specific. Also when you say “Charity of your choice” don’t then limit my choices to three US-based charities.

Also had issues with promo code’s, I tried to use the “Linux295” code from the Linux action show. But after realising my mistake and seeing it actually increased my order amount because I didn’t realise I was getting the domain for free. I tried to remove this code but no matter what I did it seemed to be reapplied to my order. it wasn’t till I removed it and added another “go20off6″ did I get the value of the order back down to what I had been offered previously.

Also don’t then notify me that you have changed the amount after I have entered my payment details, I had to go back and look to see what was added. If your going to add tax do it at the start, I am now wondering if I’ve been billed twice and will not be looking forward to explaining this to the bank if I do get billed twice.

It’s almost as if whom ever runs payment processing for your site has no concept of usability and user friendliness. Can’t say I’m impressed, I expected more of such a large name company as yours.”

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31 and Facebookless

Since you’ve been gone

So its been a few weeks since I left Facebook and I can’t say I’ve missed it, only thing I did feel I missed was somthing incredibly minor in the end that I felt glad I wasn’t there to get sucked into it.

Facebook have got such a tight hold over theyer users that it just draws them in, as I type I am also watching last sundays This Week in Tech and Leo Laporte happens to just quickly open his Facebook and he gets drawn in, he exclaims that he wants to check it and post.

This hold over the user is not healthy, and to a certin level this applies to all social networks but I find that with Twitter I spend a significantly less time browsing and checking tweets than I ever did on Facebook, and this has acctually lead to me spending less time on Google plus.

But with Google Plus I find that I can’t scan it as quickly and that even though I spent quite a while building up circles its all stuff I’ve already seen on Twitter so I’m loosing interest in Google Plus, but I’m going to carry on using it for the time being to see how it progresses.

Lets see…

One of the things I’m looking forward to is seeing how many people will congratulate me on my birthday without having that reminder from Facebook. Personally I dont care who does or doesn’t remember me getting another year older, I always find birthdays slightly pointless but its a widely accepted tradition and gift giving is nice regardless of the reason.

But yes this is my 31st birthday, I’m planing on spending the day with my wife and my friend just chilling and having a good time, in a week or so I might have a little family get together and have some food etc.

So far

This year I’ve dropped out of college due to illness, lost my uncle, fallen out with some people. Also had some good things happen to me, me and my sister have put aside our differences and issues we had with eachother, I have made a very good friend whom has become quite a close friend in a very short space of time, Le Mans was a little disappointing when the delta wing got taken out but it was still a good race and provided many thrills. Monaco for the F1 was unusually boring and the European Grand Prix was unusually exciting, possibly the most exciting race all year but for all the wrong reasons.

Yet to come this year is my hopeful return to college and to achive some personal goals.

Recent Pi activities

So since I’ve gotten my Raspberry Pi I’ve been playing with different things, mostly just trying different distributions and following the tutorials on Raspberry Pi Tutorials You Tube channel, not gotten too far with them just yet.

small credit card sized £25 computer running linux on a 19" tft

small credit card sized £25 computer running Debian Linux.

Also I have been trying different wifi adapters with it, installing and getting them to work and thats not as easy as it might sound and I had a lot of help from Phill. At one point I thought I had broken one of my SD cards as when I had completed writing the image to the SD it would no longer be recognised and wouldn’t boot the pi, if I plugged it into anything it wouldn’t even be detected and forums and friends were saying that it was broken and I may as well bin it.

Until I thought I might try it in my camera and it was detected but said it had an error so I went to the format SD option and formatted it too it out and polugged it back inot the netbook and detected it instantly no problem, since then I’ve had to use this a few times to restore a SD to working order again.

I plan on doing more programming with my Pi, although I’m unsure if I should continue with Python or Java or switch to Visual Basic. I know it may sound a bizarre choice but when looked from the perspective of the coming collage studies I will be needing to study VB in collage, I already studied some Java and I only really know how to do really basic stuff in Python.

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Wow where to begin.

This week

I have been using my Raspberry Pi, having a lot of fun with it but I could do with a HDMI to DVI adapter but moneys a bit tight so it will have to wait. Also plan on making a case for it out of Lego, I can’t wait till it’s sorted out and they release the Drivers for the GPU. I did get a USB 3 4 port powered hub for it, slight waste as the Pi is only USB 2 but it’s a solid hub with no stupid styling or extra “features”.

Me pulling faces

Do you Like My Duck Face?

I’ve been to the hospital for a consultation to try and get to the bottom of the illness I experienced over Christmas, lots of tests to be carried out, blood and heart. But it seems to be leaving me and now I only have a episode two or three times a month, and it can usually be sat out and after about an hour I can go back to what I was doing. So soon one way or another I will be back to proper health.

Been watching a few films, see Prometheus and I quite liked it and so did Vicky, but not everyone in our party enjoyed it. And from what I’ve seen on-line there are more who dislike it than like it. Another film I watched was Indy Game: The Movie its basically a documentary following three independent game developers as they put them selves through trials and tribulations, it can also be purchased through Steam.

Coming up

Also starting to get my diet right, cutting out some of the rubbish and getting a few more greens and fruit. Vicky is training for a in-door triathlon at out local gym, I think I’m going to aim to do it next year but I will be there to support her and will try and train with her. Also de-stressing and putting last weeks drama behind me and looking forward to getting back to college soon.

Le Mans this weekend and I’m going to be enjoying some company through the 24 hours, Vicky has decided to watch it with me after she watched it with me last year and her brother Tim will be watching it for the first time. So for 24 hours the diet is going to take a back seat and we are going to enjoy a laid back party atmosphere. (can’t use too much energy or you wont make the 24 hours.)

A computer the size of a credit card called the Raspberry Pi

A computer the size of a credit card called the Raspberry Pi

Going to wire the place so that we wont miss any of the coverage with thanks to Radio Le Mans streaming live commentary on the internet. So Phones will be charged with links to the site for toilet visits and kitchen breaks, the TV will be following the Euro-sport coverage and live timing and twitter feeds on the desktop. So this means altering my sleeping pattern a bit but not a major issue as I’m a night time person anyway.

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The long road

Struck down

I may have already mentioned, I’ve been ill since just before Christmas, I was looking forward to taking a few weeks off college to spend with family and friends. I also wanted some time to catch up with some of the work and see if I could get ahead with my work. Friday night, the first day of the Christmas break, me and my wife Vicky wanted to go to the movies and relax, it was also my first day off from anything in about a month.

After the film we were driving home about 6pm and I was suddenly struck with an overwhelming feeling of tiredness and it was almost impossible to stay awake. Luckily my wife was driving but she could see I was really struggling, and was having difficulty in even comprehending questions. So as soon as I got home I went and slept, I didn’t wake for 12 hours.

Being worn down

Through out the few days leading to Christmas day I could not do much, every time I attempted to work or think about anything technical I would have a hot flush, my head would tingle like my brain was on fire and I would immediately feel tired and need to sleep. It got so bad that Boxing day (the day we celebrated Christmas with my wife’s family because my wife, her dad and brother all worked Christmas day.) I had to repeatedly sleep an hour or so just to be awake for dinner and present opening.

As each day passed I was getting more and more worried about my college work as I was unable to work on it and I kept thinking about the deadlines. Four assignments due in the first week back, two on the first day. This was not helping my stress level and that didn’t help me, each week I would go to the doctors and they would send me for tests but seemed to not really know what was causing it. But saying that it sounded like post viral fatigue but they also needed to test for TIA or Transient Ischemic Attack AKA a mini stroke just because of the neurological symptoms I’d suffered.

Big decisions

As the time drew nearer for me to go back to college I was becoming more anxious about the work I hadn’t done and where it was going to leave me in terms of being able to complete the course. The doctors I needed to relax and rest also avoid stress but I knew that wouldn’t be an option in college. The first day approched and I was still very unwell and not able to make it through a day without needing to rest at least twice, so I decided to notify my tutor of my situation and tell him I wouldn’t be able to attend for a few days. A week rolled by and still little improvement in my condition, I consulted my doctor  who gave me a sick certificate for another week.

I started to think even if I get back soon I’m not going to be in a condition to actually work and started thinking about leaving and coming back the following term to complete the second year. as the week rolled on I became more and more resigned to this and started to feel better as it seemed to release some of the tension and stress I’d been carrying. And then as my week certificate ran out I told my wife of my decision, it wasn’t easy to make and it was hard to follow through with, I kept expecting everyone to try and talk me out of it but no one did.

First day back and I was anxious to talk to my tutor and see what was going to happen but he was busy, so I went to my lessons and went along with the work as I didn’t want to disrupt what the tutor was doing. But also I wanted to see if it would effect me adversely. After and hour I got my answer and it wasn’t good. I then chatted with the tutor about my decision and she said that it made sense but was unable to say if I would be able to do that as things were changing the following term. I needed to speak to my year tutor who was only going to be there for another week before starting a new job.

Eventually I managed to talk to my year tutor who surprisingly agreed with me and said that he also thought it was for the best, so advised me about what I needed to do and I said my good byes to my class mates. It felt so hard walking out of there like that, I was so torn by my want to stay and study and my need to look after my health. But what good is a degree if I’m dead.

But what good is a degree if I’m dead

January went by and I had started to improve but the rate of improvement was slow, I went through test’s like a 24 hour blood pressure test that was normal (surprised me as it was an incredibly stressful day, the boiler broke down, the nurse put the monitor on wrong so I had to get it re fitted.). Febuary, 24 hour ECG test that was normal but when I handed it in I actually felt the symptoms so they put me on another ECG machine immediately and there was no unusual reading. March I go and visit my doctor after a increase in the symptoms and after a lengthy disscusion about the things I was doing surrounding it we had a bit of a break through.

A few weeks before I fell ill with this I had started to get a constant twitch in my right eye, but I had ignored it as a sign of not sleeping enough. I am still getting this twitch nearly five months later, that coupled with my activities meant my doctor suggested that I Take regular breaks from my computer, and allow my self time to mentally unwind before going to sleep after using it. Saying that while I’m sleeping I’m still thinking about work, and I’m waking up and immediately thinking about work even though I may not be doing it and that mentally I am not getting any rest and that its causing my fatigue. I am also to go get my eyes tested as I suspect I may have eye strain.

Little by little

Little by little I’m improving and after a few weeks of getting better I have gone days without feeling ill. I have also started to wear my glasses while at my computer, something I should of being doing all along but never felt that it was important (I know, already had the “I told you so!” moment from my mum.). Still awaiting my eye test due to a two week waiting list but I’m getting there. I did have a little relapse last weekend during a family party I had spent a long time sorting and perfecting a music play list and it had taken a bigger toll on me than I though and I spent the whole occasion sitting and drinking. Not participating as I had hoped, but I did find an appreciation for alcoholic ginger beer and Kentish strong ale.

The road is long but I have till September to get in shape mentally more than phyisically but that should also be a consideration also. My wife Vicky has helped me so much and I wouldn’t of been able to care for my self, so it ‘s with a whole lot of gratitude I say “Thank you Vicky!”. and it is at this point I will say good bye to you my readers as I’ve been writing this for two or three hours and I have only had one break and it’s 5:37am (for those that my not know I’m very much a night person.).

So good night and please don’t be an idiot like me use your computer responsibly and take care of your selves and your health.

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Long time no posts (another “to busy to blog” post)

So this is what’s been going on

Well the title does a good job of summing this post up, but since I went back to college in September I’ve been throwing my self into my study’s. But problems arose the day after we broke up for Christmas, I came down with a very aggressive viral infection. This was then followed by “post viral fatigue” and had a bigger impact on me, my body and my work than just the virus.

After many visits to my doctor, many tests and many hours sleeping, I started to feel well. Two months from getting ill till now and I am now feeling well but still recovering. Problem is I’ve missed much work, and I have to avoid the stress I would need to put my self under to catch up.

Because of this I decided that I am going to sit out the remainder of this year and start afresh this September. This could mean more writing here, and I will post some stuff that I had made while I’ve been away.

And this is what I’ve been up to

One of the things I’ve been getting into is a new racing sim/game (not too sure what direction they are taking at the moment.) called C.A.R.S. or Community Assisted Racing Simulation, more info can be found by going to WMD Portal where people can sign up and get involved.

click image to play video

cars play video

And I also made a collection of clips of crashes from various races in a few different games, it quickly became my fastest grossing views on any video. Says a lot about what people want but it is a good video. Edited entirely in Linux using PiTiVi video editor.

Link to You Tube video

Link to a collection of crash clips

I also purchased a 23″ LED monitor and got £20 of the store price, I got this because I wanted something with a resolution that is a recognised standard so this will do a full 1080p picture. This is so I can produce HD content in a standard HD resolution. This means that I have retired my dual monitor setup for the time being but I have a project in mind for my spare monitors at a later date.

So the first video I shot using this is me drifting a Ford RS200 in slow motion, this video was shot using FRAPs and I did nothing to edit or even compress this video I just uploaded the raw file straight to You Tube so it retains the best quality. The only compression is what You Tube do to all videos, the original file was 1.3 gb.

Click image to play you tube video of a slow motion drift

Drifting in a For RS200 filmed in slow motion in full HD

This has been a quick update and I hope to put  more stuff up here for everyone soon, I’ve got a lot up my sleeve but you will all have to wait for that.

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Fat man with blue hair: A new hope.

Recently I turned 30 and aside from feeling just as child like as ever I decided to do more to loose weight. Well I thought I’d do what any geek would do, enlist the help of my smart phone! Back in June I got an upgrade from my ageing HTC Hero to a new HTC Desire HD.

Profile shots of a Desire HD

Not the newest phone on the market so I felt I could get a deal, but I got it because it has the largest screen out of the HTC Android range. In some cases size does not matter but in this case it very much does!  It’s what I quite often refer to as a “man size” phone, having large hands and fingers I feel this is just the right form factor, and the on screen key board is perfect for blogging on the go.

Anyway back to the topic, I looked around the Android market place and downloaded a few apps and found one called Noom. And its brilliant, it allows me to log my exercise and count the calories of each meal and suggest a daily allotment. Although I have only been using it for a 3 weeks and I’ve yo yo’d a little in my weight but I am much more aware of my diet.

I also found a good pod cast down loader and player for Android called DoggCatcher, there is no free version that I could find but I took a chance and paid the £4 something and gave it a go. and after using it for 2 days I’ve been impressed by it, but also I haven’t once been frustrated or felt as though I was limited by it. This is I feel a good indication of a quality app. So if your looking to get an app to manage your pod casts directly on your phone without having to download them to your computer first and copy them across, check out DoggCatcher.

Currently I’m enjoying the summer holidays from college but the truth is I’m running out of things to keep me occupied so I’m looking forward to going back for the last year of my HND.

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Projects I want to work on

The past few days I’ve come up with a few ideas that I want to do, but atm its a little impossible as I have two assignments to finish and two exams to study for. First one is a texture pack for Minecraft, replacing all the tools with knives, forks, spoons etc. The next project is making a film in Minecraft using the audio from “army of darkness”.

tower bridge and art

Village tower

Because of all the studying I have to do I am keeping these ideas for the summer holidays. I also want to go to the gym once a day throughout the summer break and brush up on Java and databases before the new term. Also if I have time I want to learn more about the level editor “Hammer”. I think its good to have a goal for the summer holidays, stops me wasting my time and keeps away boredom.

On top of this me and my wife Vicky are going to celebrate our 30th Birthday with a BBQ. I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful best friend.

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Wow, busy don’t even cover it!

This past 3 weeks have been a real roller coaster, but I continue to push my self. I’ve just spent the past 24 hours researching and writing 4600 word essay that has to be handed in and already writing in my blog and It’s not even been an hour since I finished it.

Here’s a run down on the coaster ride I’m on, this past moth I’ve been to a funeral, a wedding, visit the gym at least twice a week, working on four assignments and two coursework, keeping the house tidy (ish) traveling everywhere by bus (due to unfortunate circumstances), shopping, cooking, enjoying the start of the formula one season, getting some unfortunate news and some fantastic news (still waiting for my Dad to confirm it though) and a million little things I can’t remember.

But now I’m tired, I’m sleep depraved and looking forward to my bed when I get home from college. I just got to get through this day, hand in my assignment and do my presentation for my other assignment.

Wish me luck, I need it! And the large can of red bull in my bag.

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WTF! What happened to this weeks blog post?

Well there is a good reason why there is no blog post this week (other than this short) I have been to the gym, cinema, sushi, a wedding, my wifes parents house, catching up on college work and watching the start of the formula one season (oh and working on my next blog post)

But I felt the current blog post I’m working on needs more research and polish before posting.

Although I saw Limitless in the cinema, very good film, thought it was quite enjoyable. And congratulations to Elizabeth and Lyndon Payne.

Any way I’m off to get some sleep, until next time.

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Work In Progress

Since last September I’ve been in full time education, studying HND Information Systems. Its a good course and I enjoy studying it, but at the moment I’m falling behind and I need to take action to stop myself from failing. Thing is the cause of this has now lessened considerably but I am still feeling the stress of the aforementioned situation. With the added stress of falling behind and the one thing I do to relieve stress is going to be counter productive.

So I’m in a bit of a catch 22 situation, if I race I neglect my studies and if I study I increase my stress level. One thing I can do is turn my study into a game, if I give my self rule’s and a reward for reaching goals then I could feel some stress relief. But also reward my self with allowing myself some time playing a racing game or Minecraft.

So today I’m going to college then hit the gym for a few hours then home and start the study game.

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