All posts by Tony Blews

Enumerating the Doctors

Since the recent goings on with which Doctor is which, and all the complications, I’ve put together a table to try to explain it. It might be wrong, but it is more for me than for anyone else.

And I think, as I’ve stumbled through this, I’ve finally got a handle on The Valeyard (more later).

 

tr>

Incarnation
Regeneration
Looks like
Doctor #
Known as
Played by
Notes
1 n/a willhart 1 The First Doctor William Hartnell
also Richard Hurndall and later David Bradley
n/a n/a cushing n/a Doctor Who Peter Cushing A human who created a time travel device called TARDIS. Non-canon, so I don’t even know why he’s listed here.
2 1 pattrou 2 The Second Doctor Patrick Troughton
3 2 jonpert 3 The Third Doctor Jon Pertwee
4 3 tombak 4 The Fourth Doctor Tom Baker
(A wax dummy)
5 4 petdav 5 The Fifth Doctor Peter Davison
6 5 colbak 6 The Sixth Doctor Colin Baker,Sylvester McCoy
7 6 sylmc 7 The Seventh Doctor Sylveter McCoy
8 7 paulmc 8 The Eighth Doctor Paul McGann
Now it goes a bit runny
Firstly we have the “Shalka” timeline…
9 8 shalka 9 (alt) “The Shalka Doctor” Richard E. Grant (Animated version)
Then the “Final Death” timeline
9 8 rowan 9 (alt) “The Nineth Doctor” Rowan Atkinson
10 9 withnail 10 (alt) “The Tenth Doctor” Richard E. Grant “The Conceited Doctor”
11 10 broadbent 11 (alt) “The Eleventh Doctor” Jim Broadbent “The Shy Doctor”
12 11 hgrant 12 (alt) “The Twelfth Doctor” Hugh Grant “The Quite Handsome Doctor”
13 12 lumley 13 (alt) “The Thirteenth Doctor” Joanna Lumley “The Female Doctor”
Meanwhile, back on the “real” timeline…
Incarnation
Regeneration
Looks like
Doctor #
Known as
Played by
Notes
9 8 johnhurt n/a The War Doctor John Hurt (Not actually The Doctor)
10 9 chrisecc 9 The Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston
11 10 davten 10 The Tenth Doctor David Tennant
11 11 davten 10 The Tenth Doctor David Tennant Vanity Regeneration
n/a n/a davten2 n/a Handy/John Smith David Tennant Human Meta-Crisis Doctor
12 12 matsmi 11 The Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith
Start of a new Regeneration cycle
13 13 petcap 12 The Twelveth Doctor Peter Capaldi
14 14 jodwhi 13 The Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker
Unknown “Doctors”
n/a n/a watcher n/a The Watcher Adrian Gibbs
n/a n/a curator n/a The Curator Tom Baker
n/a n/a micjay n/a The Valeyard Michael Jaystone an amalgamation of the Doctor’s darker sides from between his twelfth and final incarnations

Now, after all that number counting and trying to work out which numbers apply to which Doctors, if you go by my reckoning then the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) was still only the 12th incarnation, even though he was also the 12 regeneration. To quote The Master from “The Trial of a Time Lord: The Ultimate Foe“:

“There is some evil in all of us, Doctor – even you. The Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say you do not improve with age.”

As the “final incarnation” is far off in The Doctor’s personal timeline, the Valeyard problem has been untangled for now, but could surface in the future as a plot point.

 

 

 

Ports of The Dalek

I’ve decided on what interfaces the Pi-Dalek will mounted on the rear of the case.

  • USB-B socket to accept power for chrging the internal battery (a mobile phone emergency charger. Internally the socket offers a USB-A socket which is connected to the Pi with a short USB-A-to-microUSB-B cable, then the emergency charger, then another short USB-A-to-microUSB-B cable.
  • USB-A socket for memory sticks etc. Connected to the UTG socket with a short UTG cable.
  • HDMI socket. Connected to the miniHDMI socket on the Pi with a short adapter cable.

These will be mounted on the arse-end of the Dalek.  Two on the 3rd row up of the Dalek-bumps on the rear panel (both USB ports), with the HDMI socket on one of the rear flank quarters (3rd row up).

Ideally I’d like them all on the back, but the bumps on row 1 are blocked by the motor housing, while rows 2 and 4 have far too many structual bits behind it.

This still leaves me with the issue of mounting the camera. While I’d love to have the camera mounted to the eyestalk, this is impractical.  Mainly as the eyestalk is missing, but also because the camera module is a huge square blob that wouldn’t look right.

The best I can hope is to mount the camera on the Glacis, between the Whisk and Plunger, just above the top of the skirt. It will still mean that some cutting will have to be done, but it will probably not look as awful.

I’ve also decided that instead of mounting the Pi and Motozero directly to the base chassis, I’ll mount them upside down hanging from the internal ceiling at the top of the skirt. This shortens the distance to where I want the camera to be, and means only 6 wires need to be run down to the base (motor power +/-, motor left +/- and motor right +/-). Everything else will be skirt mounted. So the 40pin GPIO header connection twixt Pi and Motozero forms the split in the arrangement.

A sort of split between the head and body, if you want to make up some sort of analogy up.

I’m sure there’ll be some photos of it when its done.

 

Installing Raspbian on a Pi-zero W

There is so simple way to do this. I’ve tried several times and failed each time. So here is my idea to make things easy.

    1. Download your prefered Raspbian Jessie version from https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/ be it Lite or with Pixel.
    2. Get and install Etcher, and use that to burn your image to the microSD card.
    3. Remount the SD card and create a file on it called “ssh”.  Create another file called “wpa_supplicant.conf” with contains:
      update_config=1
      ctrl_interface=/var/run/wpa_supplicant
      
      network={
               scan_ssid=1
               ssid="yournetworkname"
               psk="yourpassword"
      }
      
    4. This should enable you to boot the Zero-W. It should then get an an address for your LAN via DHCP. All you have to do is check you router, or use Fing (or something like it ) to find it.

IT DOESN’T WORK!

Ah. Do you have another Pi with a wired connection somewhere about the place? Good.

Pop your microSD card from your new Pi-zero into an adapter and boot your other Pi (in my case one of my KODI boxes) and boot it.

Find the machine on your network and login (“pi” and “root” have the password “raspberry”).

As root, run

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade

And, while you have a wired connection, install Apache2 and PHP5.

apt-get install apache2
apt-get install php5

Set your new hostname in /etc/hostname now, so you’ll ne able to identify it later.

After thats done, shut it down, pop the card into the Pi-Zero W, and it should come up and appear on your network.

From Fing or your hub you should be able to get the MAC address and add the to your DHCP.

And it should all work.

Additional note concerning #3 above. If you are planning to use it on more that one WiFi network (example: I use my home network, and also the hotspot on my phone if I’m working on it anywhere but at home), your wpa_supplicant.conf file can contain multiple network entries.  Thusly:

update_config=1
ctrl_interface=/var/run/wpa_supplicant

network={
         scan_ssid=1
         ssid="yournetworkname"
         psk="yourpassword"
}
network={
         scan_ssid=1
         ssid="yourhotspotnetworkname"
         psk="yourhotspotpassword"
}

Put the entries in order of preference.

Resurrection of the Dalek

At last I can paraphrase a Doctor Who serial title again.

This time I’m going to be using a Raspberry Pi-Zero W with MotoZero control board. Gone are the attempts at bashing by own circuitry (which are already in the Model Railway control system anyway), and this time IT WILL WORK!

So, the ingredients for *this* incarnation of the Dalek are:

For now I’ll forego the distance sensors, as I’ve already bashed them into a sort of thermin idea.

Anyway, the key stages for this project are:

To make things easier to track, the new Category Pi-Dalek has been created.

 

Windows XP – Three Years Dead

Windows XP has now been officially dead for 3 years now. Yes it really has been that long since Microsoft cut off support for the wheezing old grampus. Has the lack of support really changed anything though?

Well, for me at least, no. I still use my aging WinXP machine every day. It may be an aging laptop (DELL Latitude X300) with a wonky screen, iffy keyboard and unreliable battery, but having long ago been re-purposed as a desktop (new screen, keyboard and mouse – total cost £35), it is still working remarkably well. Sure, I don’t play games on it (except a hooky version of WoW on my testing server – but shush about that), but nothing else has changed.

The machine itself is nearly 14 years old, which in today’s fast paced computing terms puts it about on the same level as a car built in the 1950s. And like a certain vehicle made in the 1950s, these buggers were made to last (Land Rover Series I, if you wondered).

Like an elderly car, you can’t expect miracles with a 14 year old laptop running a 15 year old operating system. You aren’t going to set any speed records, or impress anyone, but if you know your limits, you’ll be ok.

I still regard computers mainly as tools, so I enshew the bells and whistles and shiny things that attract idiots. I hated Tablets until I was given one, but thats another story.

So for the tools I use: Context, PuTTY, VB6, PhotoShop CS2, Filezilla, the Arduino IDE, OpenOffice, TightVNC and Firefox, everything works fine.

But surely, you ask, don’t you have problems with viruses? Well, in a word, no. Because I’m not an idiot.

 

Crackpot Brexit Theory

So now its time for my Crackpot Theory – which I formulated while having a crap.

Brexit will fail. Spectaculary. And this is why:

The Tories never wanted Brexit, but the Cambot put it in the manifesto because politicians will tell you any old shit to get votes and they didn’t really expect to win anyway.

Sudden shock, they win. Oh crap, we have to carry out one promise, so lets go ahead with the referendum, because nobody in their right mind will actually go for it.

Teresa May appears in a load of photos supporting “IN”.

Boris the Moron is appointed on “OUT” duties, as he is a total buffoon. Surely nobody could agree with that idiot.

Nobody takes this thing seriously, as those in power think that the public have some common sense.

Lies are told (Syria in the EU, £350 million, etc)

Euston, we have a problem. It seems after all that the British public are a bunch of jingoistic, gullible fuckwits.

Brexit wins by a tiny majority.

Cambot realises that as he was on the “IN” side he has to quit, so he makes a speech, wanders off making “do-de-doo” noises and has a wank.

Much butt-clenching terror within the party as everyone tries to not be leader. By now they are playing a game of pass-the-parcel, and the parcel contains a massive turd

Theresa May (Thatchbot 2.0) ends up with her hands covered in shit and realises that she has to come up with a way out of this.

There is no easy out on this. So now she has to adopt the “OUT” stance. She is commited to commiting economic suicide. And no, I’m not proud of that sentence.

Terms are invented. “Red White and Blue” seems to become a way to describe something other than a flag, and a very good Blues band see their website hit counter go mental.

Bound to Execute Order 66 (or whatever), she does the only thing she can to derail things. She puts fuckwits in charge.

Its a well know practice that if you want something to fail horribly, then you assign the task of sorting it out to complete blithering idiots.

And that is where we are now.

No plan, idiots in charge, an absolute disaster.

An easy out. If its all fucked, we can pull the “didn’t mean it after all card” and actually get back to the business of selling stuff to Europe again.

Well apart from France. Don’t start me on the French Protectionist policy. Just go look up the SCART socket for more details about that.

Yes I said I came up with this on the shitter. No, I wasn’t feeling well that day.

Motorising Corgi OO Gauge Blackpool Trams

This is a guide to motorising the Balloon and Railcoach Blackpool trams made by Corgi, using the motor units made and sold by Connexions2011 on ebay (There is no direct link to the specific unit, as eBay items are ephemeral, so you’ll just have to go by the photo to identify the item you need).

This may seem like nothing more that a re-write of their instructions, but it includes my observations and thoughts on the process as it goes along.  With photos.

What you will need

A Balloon or Railcoach model.

balloonbrush
For this I’ll be using the Balloon tram.

A motor unit

motor-unit
(Photo taken from the eBay page – to help you identify the correct unit)

Some tools

  • 3mm Phillips screwdriver
  • A scalpel
  • A Dremel (or cheap Maplin copy)
  • A straight bit of OO track
  • Milliput
  • Superglue
  • Somthing to keep the bits in – I use a Bold 2in1 detergent box – its the perfect size:2016-10-27-08-48-07-hdr

So here we go…

Start by taking out the screws A, B and C.

balloon-step1a

The lifeguards at the ends should just pull away.  Put everything you’ve removed in the storage box. And assume that from now on you’ll be doing the same with everything you remove.

Next get the Dremel (or cheap Maplin clone) out, and drill around both of the metal poles between the wheelsets with a 1mm bit. Make a better job of it than I did.

balloon-step1b

You can now prise the base plate off by inserting a thin blade under each end of it, twisting slightly, and dropping the wheelsets on the floor. You’ll be wanting to pick them up.

Now you should have some twisted melted plastic bits stuck to the ends of the poles.

balloon-step1c

By a combination of whittling, grinding, and frantically twisting with a pair of pliers, these should come off an allow the whole tram to fall apart.

balloon-step1d

At this point you might want to do any dressing up of the top deck that you have planned, such as painting the floors, adding seat upholstery and mounting figures. I’m not doing that on this one.

Now you should have the roof unit with two poles sticking out from it.

balloon-step1eThese have to be removed, but take a lot of wiggling to do so. You might want to unbolt the pantograph/trolley pole mounting to avoid damage. If you do so, remember to re-attach it afterwards, just to avoid the screaming later on.

For now put the upper deck diecast part, upper glazing unit and upper seating area to one side. We’ll get back to them in a while.

Take the lower seating deck, and pull out the steps.

balloon-step1f

balloon-step1g

This is where we get destructive. We need to cut out a large area of the lower seating area. This is also where I deviate from the suggested instructions. The suggested idea is to re-mount the outer wheelsets. I’m not doing that, so I’m cutting the mounting points out and running the tram as a four-wheeler. This is in an attempt to get the tram to negotiate a tighter  curve than a 12″ radius.

I’ll get back to that in a moment, but for now let us deal with the upper deck sections, lower deck casing and lower deck glazing part.

Glue them together so that they all fit. Superglue is good.

balloon-step1h

Now we get to the nitty-gritty. We need to make the motor unit fit into the lower seating deck area in such a way that

If you are squeamish about poor workmanship, stop reading now, cos its going to get really ugly.

Cut out enough of the lower deck to fit the motor in:

cutout

Fit the motor from below:

motor-fitted

Now get it in to place to that the wheels are clear of the plastic and its got this much clearance:

motor-aligned

At this point you should be marking out where to drill mounting holes and brackets and things of that kidney. So I just decided to hold the ends in place with lumps of Milliput:

milliput-disaster1milliput-disaster2

These pics also show that the ends of the baseplate and life savers have been refitted.

Now all that there is to do it put the already assembled upper section on top of it, and have a look at it:

balloon-finished1

balloon-finished2

You can hardly tell that there aren’t bogies under there!

And thats it!

Gilneas – The City That Blizzard Forgot

Back in the long long ago, the before time (ok, December 2010), Blizzard released World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, and everyone got all excited as they usually do. Then people got upset that their favourite race/class got downpowered, then they became happy that they could fly in the old lands for the first time, and that kept them busy for a while.

Alliance fanboys played rolled up Worgen characters and played their way through the new dedicated starting area.  They were amazed to see an amazing cod Victorian-Gothic land with some fantastic architecture and landscape, and of course, big fucking werewolves.

From the brooding darkness of Gilneas City, to the grandeur of Greymane Manor, the Gilneas starting zone is wonderful. It is a series of well thought out quest chains, stunning cutscenes, and… well then it ends. The character getting shuffled off to Rut’theran Village on Teldrassil, and Gilneas is never spoken of again.

Unlike the Goblin (and later Pandaren) starting areas, which are off on separate islands that can’t be returned to, Gilneas is on the Eastern Kingdoms mainland. You can go back there, but it most will have no reason to. There are no quests, no NPCs, no… anything, except a stunning and forgotten zone.

This makes is idea for roleplaying in, and, if you are in to such things, modifying to add quests and NPCs (but that is a subject for another day).

So… onward…

Get to Gilneas!

Well, to put it bluntly, one does not simply fly in to Gilneas.

Horde characters have a flightpoint at The Forsaken Front in Silverpine Forest, which is just north of the wall. (You might be lucky enough to have the Forsaken Forward Command flightpoint in Gilneas itself, but its not guaranteed).

The closest that Alliance players have to offer is Chillwind Camp in the Western Plaguelands, which is a long flight/run over/though Hillsbrad away.

Because of this faffery, if I were to be modding Cata WoW to add new content in Gilneas, I’d make it suitable for Level 60, as by that level the characters can fly in to it. Or, I’d make portals to get there. But I’m clearly not doing that as it is Against The Rules.

No matter how you get there, get there if you can.

Gilneas City

For now I’m just going to look at Gilneas City itself. The surrounding zone is the subject of another time.

So I suppose we should start with a map.

WorldMap-GilneasCity

The city, as you can see, is roughly circular and split in to five areas, which I’ll look at in turn, highlighting all the usable buildings and other features of note.

Merchant Square

WorldMap-GilneasCity-Merchant-Square

  • 1-10 denote open doors leading to small single room areas, large enough to hold maybe one NPC and some clutter.
  • 11 is a small graveyard.
  • 12 is the ruined market square.

If I were doing anything here, I’d put traders in the buildings and the square, and maybe a mourner at the graveyard.

Military District

WorldMap-GilneasCity-Military-District

  • 1  leads to a cellar full of cannons and cannonballs.
  • 2 and 3 lead to stair up and over the the roof, connecting to each other.

Greymane Court

WorldMap-GilneasCity-Graymane-Court

  • 1 leads to a tunnel that exits out in the main zone.
  • 2 & 3 are entrances to a small inn like building with a bedroom upstairs.

Cathedral Quarter

WorldMap-GilneasCity-Cathedral-Quarter

This area is a bit dull. There are no buildings to enter, just two large areas full of tents with Alliance banners by them.

Light’s Dawn Cathedral

WorldMap-GilneasCity-Cathedral

The Cathedral is just one large room. Maybe you could stage a rock festival in here, or even a wedding.

The End

So there’s your quick tour of Gilneas City. I’m sorry there are no actual screen shots, but if you want to see it go visit it yourself.