Bad Horse

A shout out to Brian Brushwood for highlighting this, it’s great and you need to take the time to try it out.

Do a trace route to “” from a command prompt. In Windows this can be accomplished by opening a command prompt and typing the following at prompt.



The Reinhardt back story video is easily my favorite of the Overwatch videos released this year, the Hanzo backstory “Dragons” a close second. Both are well worth a watch.

And here’s a video of Reinhardt gameplay.

Elite Dangerous – Vacation time

Elite Dangerous is a seriously good looking game, but you know sometimes we’re in such a rush to get in and out of the stations that we never really stop to take in the sights and sounds of them.

So with a name like “Big Harry’s Monkey Hangout”, I figured this is a place to stop and take a tour. So here are my holiday snaps of the various parks and administrative centers.

Just arriving at Big Harry's and preparing for docking.
Just arriving at Big Harry’s and preparing for docking.
An impressive administrative centre.
An impressive administrative centre.
A picture from the tour bus.
A picture from the tour bus.

Nice place for a picnic.

Anothe park.
Anothe park.

Elite Dangerous, Control panel

Elite Dangerous, I love it as you might have gathered.

But while playing with a nice Hotas joystick and keyboard is great, I find it somewhat breaks the sense of immersion when you need to use the keyboard or joystick buttons to do things like engage your landing gear or deploy your cargo scoop.

What I needed I said to myself was a control panel, something with switches and buttons.
And there are a number of such things available, but I thought I’d have a go at making one for myself.

To that end I purchased a Teensy 3.5 micro-controller which would act as the brains for my panel. In particular one reason for taking this particular board was the presence of an SD card reader. This will allow me to store my key mappings on an SD card meaning I can easily change the functions of the switches without having to reprogram the controller.

The next major issue I had was finding a housing onto which I could mount the switches. And while a good number are available online, none really fitted the size (and price, yes I’m cheap) for what I had in mind. 

But where there is a will there’s a way. 
So using some spare MDF I had at home. I fabricated a housing to take the switches.

Count the holes, that’s twenty six of them. Six latch switches and twenty buttons.
That should cover me for most cases, anything else can be handled by the joystick.

A quick run of the plane and some sanding to take the edges off, followed by a quick spray of black paint.

Here you can see the tangle of wires connecting the switches to the micro-controller.
Don’t even try to solder these, spade connectors are the way to go.

I’ve not yet wired up the led’s for the buttons, so it’s going to become a lot more crowded in there soon. 

On the bottom you can see the micro-controller and SD card holding the mapping file I’m using, that’s a 8gb card holding a 1kb file. Memory has sure gotten cheap. 

Finally here’s the assembled panel, not perhaps as pretty as the commercial products. 
It works great and thanks to the configuration file is highly adaptable for use in both Elite and other simulators (looking at you Star Citizen).

Elite Dangerous – More Generation Ships

It appears Generation ship are like double-decker buses, you spend ages waiting for one to show and then a load appear in a row. In this case four, the Lycaon which we visited in the last update, the Hyperion, the Odysseus and the Venusian.

LIke before I’ve included the major milestones needed to reach these vessels and as before the backstory for each ship is shown at the end.

Elite Dangerous – Generation Ship Lycaon

The recent Commanders expansion pack along with the introduction of multi-crews also saw the introduction of new mega-ships amongst which was a number of generation ship.

The first of these discovered was the derelict ship ‘Lycaon’ a ghost ship drifting on a solar systems edge. I decided to take a spin over and take a look for myself and see what the story behind this ship was.

I’ve included all the major points you need to hit in order to find this, along with story of what happened (there’s a spoiler warning before for those who like to see these things first hand).

Photograph Organisation

Like anyone who has had a digital camera for any length of time organising your photographs can be a time consuming and frustrating matter. I recently decided to try and bring some order to the collection of numerous folders I had accumulated over the last number of year. Since it might be of assistance to someone here’s how I set about doing it.

My photo’s had at this stage been spread out across multiple drives and folders, some lumped together in logical groups based on the particular occasion (for example weddings, parties etc), while others simply where dumps of the SD cards as they where used.

To stamp order onto the collection I decided to break my collection down into folders divided up into year and month collections, where I wanted to view them in grouping by occasion I decided to leave that to the album software be it Google Photos, Shotwell or whatever. But on disc they would reside in a single directory sub-divided by year and month.

This would help minimise the collisions of names since it was unlikely that similar filenames would be used in the same year/month combinations.

Having settled on a tree structure, the next step required automating the process of extracting the image metadata and copying the image files into the appropriate location.

To that end I made use of the excellent ExifTool, which while a command-line tool is excellent at processing media files for the sort of information I needed to extract for these files.

Once I had installed the software I created a simple batch script to process the contents of a directory and copy the files to a staging area. In my case the staging directory was “d:/stagingImages” which can be changed to your own particular requirements.

The script file exifcopy.cmd is shown below:

@echo Processing [%1]
@exiftool -o . "-Directory<filemodifydate" -d d:/stagingImages/%%Y-%%m -r %1

With both the above script and exiftool executable placed in the same folder, I can add that directory to the systems path to allow it to be be picked up by the command prompt.

Simply calling exifcopy with the source directory as a parameter will cause the directory in question to be queried and it’s contents copied to the staging directory in the structure detailed earlier.

To make the process even move straight forward I also added a new context menu for explorer to allow me to do this with a simple right click of the mouse. The script called CopyImagesToStaging.reg is shown below.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

@="Copy and organise images"

@="CMD.exe /C exifcopy \"%1\""

Now by simply right-clicking a folder its contents would be queried and any images copied to the staging folder.

The updated staging directory contents can then be simply copyed to whereever your images are stored.

Fugitive – Two player card game.

Cue tiniest violin music.

One of the biggest hindrances to playing board or cards is getting both time and people to play these games. And while I have a number of games which work well with three or more players, I’ve a very limited amount for just two players.

Luckily I’ve been introduced to a nice two player game which only runs for ten to twenty minutes, ideal for the lunch time session. 

So let me introduce you to Fugitive, a two player card game of deduction and bluffing.

The theme of the game is of a fugitive attempting to escape the investigator pursuing them by reaching their get-away (the 42th card).

Game play consist of the fugitive playing a hideout card each turn which can be up to three values greater than the last played hideout. The deception comes in that they may play any number of additional cards on top of this card to take them past the 3 step limit, though not all cards are necessarily used as part of the move. Allowing the investigator to be thrown off the scent.

The investigator for their turn gets to attempt to catch the fugitive by nominating a card number which if used as hideout must be revealed (along with any additional cards associated with it).

Should they identify the fugitives current hideout they get to apprehend them.

The cards to beautiful illustrated as can be seen in the samples shown below and additionally as a nice touch if you lay them out in sequence it illustrates the story of the pursuit.