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Month: January 2018

Android Apps 2018

Posted in Software

Outside of the regular applications on my Android devices, I decided to list some of my frequently used applications.

Pixlr

[Free/Paid] Aside from the usual photo focused applications, I often find that performing simple tasks like rotating or trimming a photo isn’t always that straight forward so my goto app is Pixlr. Another feature that I use Pixlr for is the ability to create a varied number of photo collage.

Google Keep

[Free] I use Google keep for all manner of purposes, as you can cut and paste all sorts of things into a note, it’s become my goto application for saving notes and links when I’m out and about. I can then access them via my tablet or desktop when needed.

Pocket Casts

[Paid] This application remains my favourite Podcast, I haven’t discovered a feature that is missing yet. It does cost, but then I’d been using it for years and believe it to be my best android purchase to date

WifiScheduler

[Free] I know there are alot of apps that focus on automating tasks on your devices, however I didn’t want something that need to be tweaked for disabling and re-enabling, Wireless, so this app will switch on and off on a schedule. Which means I’m not spending half the day with Wifi enabled and no networks.

Nova Launcher with Belle UI Icon Pack

[Paid] I can’t imagine going back to a stock Launcher for my Android devices now, the ability to configure small homescreen details is something that eluded me for so long, Grouping Applications on tabs means I only see the common apps first, plus I can hide app I don’t want to see, like the build in HTC apps.

Ticket to Ride Scoreboard

[Free] If you play any Ticket To Ride board game in real life, then this application is a must for taking the pain out of verifying and calculating scores. There are a few apps that do the same thing but had adverts, but this one I have been using for years without a sniff of adverts being added.

My Data Manager – Data Usage

[Free] I’ve been using this app forever as originally I only had 1GB data and the default apps if not changed can burn through data with automatica update pretty fast. This app was a godsend in locating what app are using the data but also daily usage alerts if you are predicting to go over your data plan.

Extended PI

Posted in Hardware

So last year I used part of my bonus to by myself a Raspberry PI, it’s something I’ve wanted for a while now and I thought I’d get a head start to learn the ropes well before Little Troll set his sights on one.

If you aren’t aware of the Raspberry PI, it’s a tiny single-board computer, primarily aimed at teaching computer science, the revision of the board I own (3) has built in wireless, so doesn’t require a separate dongle. The HDMI output is the primary method of seeing feedback from the device, when you are using it with a GUI, this is fine with you have a spare TV or Monitor to use, however in a home with only one TV, it’s a little rude to commandeer the TV especially when you are a guest at someones home.

Luckily for Christmas I was gifted some money and amazon vouchers so, I decided to push the boat out and purchase an official  7 inch touchscreen and a case to hold both the PI board, the screen and the additional wiring.

I liked the idea of the screen and it’s been perfect for the small projects I wanted to attempt while travelling for New Years, one of these was of course firing up Retro PI, which definitively works well on the smaller screen and with some controllers hooked up. I was also pleased that it can all run off a USB Power Bank, allowing us to play games where-ever we fancied.

The only issue with the screen housing is that swapping OS/Boot MicroSD cards isn’t too easy.

My next project is Assembling the AIY Voice project from Google which is effectively a voice controlled assistant, this was my Christmas Present from Little Troll so may try and get it built with him tagging along, before he starts back to school after the Christmas break.

Future projects include getting my Blink(1) working with the PI and learning more Python.

Hello 2018

Posted in About Me

I admit that I’ve been pretty pants at blogging over the last few years, I would like to improve on that, I enjoy sharing thoughts, ideas and ponderings with cyberspace.
So when Vero blogged that she was going to challenge herself to blog each day in January, I though it had been a few years since I did Blaugust and I kind of enjoyed having a goal that can keep me focused.

So this is the start of my new 2018 blog posts, firstly I decided to quickly look back at 2017 and what have been my favourite parts. I’m going to avoid all the worldwide political nonsense because, it gets me worked up and this isn’t Facebook 😛

RolePlaying

I enjoyed role playing so much in my youth but once I started work it fell by the wayside, 2017 for me was the year that I returned to Role Playing and to Dungeons and Dragons. For my clan I started a pre-scripted adventure that has given us 10 months of giggles, admittedly some all of the sessions just descended into chaos and fits of laughter. But I have known these folks for the best part of thirteen years I know that when they are laughing, they are having fun and after all isn’t that the point.

That said I have started running the same campaign with some other friends and it too descended into fits of laughter, so I think the common denominator is me ,Welshtroll purveyor of finest RPG giggles.

I have finally got to GM a Fate game, after owning a collection of the books for some time, I convinced my clan that we could a break from DnD with an excursion into an Achtung! Cthulhu game, which is proudly named “Who do you think you are kidding Mr Shoggoth?” the game of cause has turned into a mixture of Kelly’s Heroes and ‘Allo ‘Allo!

Music

Alongside some new albums by some of my favourite bands I have had the pleasure of discovering (new to me) artists this year, I drift more into the world of electronic music, finding that it complements the heavier stuff and finding some music with a darker cyberpunk theme has been bliss.

Earlier in 2017 I decided that I would give Google Music a bash as my amazon music experience had be fraught with hurdles and miscommunication, that resulted in me having no service from them, but still being emailed monthly to say that my subscription is about to end. I have found that discovering music much easier on Google Music and have made purchases based on those discoveries.

This was how I discovered Makeup And Vanity Set who’s albums I find wonderfully though provoking, in that there is often an album theme that you can use to start the ideas of what each songs is trying to convey.

Streamers and Streaming

This year I have watched more streamers than ever before, thanks to twitch affiliates I have also managed to show my support for those streamers directly either with subs or cheers. As it stands I barely watch any live or recorded TV now, there is a great deals of folks who keep me entertained and with whom I can interact with both during and after streams.

I have always been cautious of considering people as content, (stemming back to how games companies have often delivered a game/world that is sparse on predefined content and expect players to be that content for each other) but I have to admit there are some amazing streamers and communities that have dispelled that belief when it comes to streaming.

Personally I have been streaming on and off this year, hampered slightly by my episode of vertigo. However I’ve been quite pleased with how it has been going and I’ve enjoyed myself quite a bit.
In 2018 I hope to continue to stream with increased with regularity, plus not forgetting that we have signed up for GameBlast for the third year in a row, raising money for the amazing charity Special Effect.

 

I was going to touch on my games from 2017 but I think that will wait until another post, mostly as it was so good.
See you tomorrow