Merry christmas

Late with the December post, it’s been a very busy month.   I am yet again amazed on how quickly December has rolled around.  Last month I purchased the ZenBook Duo Pro and have now returned it to Amazon for a refund.  This was one of those times I had a feeling the return was not going to be straight forward.  One of those gut feelings.  Laptop was dropped off at a local pick up point (Hermes) and packaged, labeled as per Amazons instructions on the 29th November.  On 1st December it was collected and in transit.  10 days later, still the same status.  Hermes web site states to contact Amazon if any issues.  I spent the next week on the phone and in chat with Amazon sh*t customer service with the same script being followed by them to fob me off.  In the end, I went to a web site called Resolve which will take your complaints and forward them to the UK customer service department.  Once this was done, I had a refund issued within 48 hours.  I have no idea if the laptop arrived back at Amazon or was lost/Stolen by a Hermes employee.  From asking around, it seems this courier company is one to avoid if you want your packages to arrive at your chosen destination.

Having come from a Lenovo P70 17 inch screen down to a 15, I just could not get on with the reduced size and the keyboard.  Being a devoted ThinkPad user, I took a chance with the ZenBook and I did enjoy the dual screens.  It does make a productivity difference but for me it was not enough to replace a ThinkPad.  I put my P70 on eBay and ordered the new P73 model with 4K screen and 32GB memory.  Going forward, I will be using the P73 as my main PC.  When the laptop arrived, I popped the back open to install a 1TB m.2 and a 1TB 2.5 SSD only to find you need an adapter for the 2.5 SSD, a change which came in with the P72.  The P70 was straight forward plug-in and play so I was not happy I had to order a cable to complete the setup.  Why have the 2.5 bay and not the interface to connect the drive.  These laptops are not cheap but I was lucky that I saved just under£500 on black Friday which allowed me to up the memory to 32GB and 4K screen on the order.

I have been looking at Game development engines this last month as I have an urge to create three  2D and one 3D game.   I was hoping to spend December creating something quickly before I move on to my next Windows Application and come back next year to create some more.   As this needs to be something to do quickly, I decided to license Game Maker Studio and Game Salad which I purchased on Black Friday/Cyber Monday to save some money.  I expect to use Game Maker long term but as I have experience of Game Salad, I decided I will use this engine first.  4 Games I want to make are… First Millipede remake but the player defends against Demons/Army’s or some other good vs. evil characters.  Second, Hunch back based on the C64 version from the 80’s.   Third, a remake of my C64 game Crack Mania which is a two player PACMAN clone but based inside a C64 computer.  Crack Mania on the C64 is available on the web and has been cracked by TRIAD.   The 4th game would be a clone of JUNO FIRST.  I love this arcade game and played it for many hours when I was 14 years old.  I may have to write this game in Unity.  Jeff Minter has a mental Lama version of this but is likely to make your brain explode with all the on screen visuals.

Doing a bit of DevOps at work in the form on writing Playbooks in Ansible.  Ansible allows you to create scripts which perform tasks and these tasks can be run local or on multiple systems.  We use Linux at work and use VIM (VI) as the UNIX text editor.   Try using this editor instead of notepad on Windows and you will soon agree that UNIX users are so much more hard core than Windows users J  In the old days I used to write Perl Scripts on Solaris, AIX and Windows.  On occasion I do a little on Linux but most people here use Python which I have not had a chance to spend time learning.

The mighty Surface Pro X.   I am a sucker for new technology and liked the look of the Surface Pro X.  People will be screaming Windows RT, Windows RT and while Windows RT was a chopped version running on ARM, I was impressed with the X’s x86 emulation.  I hardly used my Windows RT tablet and sold it to someone while working at Cambridge University.   I had a surface pro 3 so no need for both.   I still have the Surface Pro 3 so could not really justify spending money on the Surface Pro 7 and you don’t get much money for selling the 3 on eBay.   As I could get the Pro X on a phone contract for 2 years, I opted to take this route at £70 a month.   The only thing to be very very aware of is that the keyboard cover where you can integrate the pen is a special signature edition cover.  I did not realize this so when I ordered my Pro X, I also ordered a cover and pen only to find out when they arrived that you had to stick the pen to the side of the tablet and not in the gap at the top of the keyboard as the keyboard ordered had no room for the pen.  I ended up spending another £250 on the signature cover with included pen.  At least I have spares.  Just something to be very aware of.

On Thursday 19th December we went over to friends of my partners parents for some dinner.  A nice buffet of food.  The only problem is that I have not been well since.  Maybe food poisoning or some other type of bug.   We plan to visit others over the holiday season but I doubt I will be eating anything.  I think for now on, if I have not cooked it, I will not eat it.

So it’s now 22nd December I my plans to create some games have been put on hold due to illness.  Just sleeping a lot.   I hope before end of year, I will have something started.