Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Spring forward like a Duck out of Water !

Ah ! Spring is here at last and I particulary like the fact that there is more daylight during late afternoon into early evening with thanks to daylight savings time. It's even more welcoming to see the earlier mornings lighter, quite a difference in arriving to work and returning home in the pitch dark during the autumn or winter months. Although, this would depend upon what time you travel and the choice of working hours. Flexible working hours are really good with leeway for earlier, later starts or an early finish to your working day. Much better than the 9 to 5, unless the company you work for doesn't offer this type of flexibility.

Lego :: ( Let's Build )
Last month I set a an international competition ( giveaway ) to win one Lego Creator 31040 Desert Racers, this closed on Friday 4th March 2016 at 12 noon G.M.T ( U.K Time ).
Thankfully, there was a number of people that entered the competition with the simple method of leaving the comment #ILOVELEGO. However, a few entrants got confused by this, but eventually understood after it was explained futher to them. So, a winner was chosen at random using the YouTube Random Comment Picker by Sandra Cires.
The winner UltraGamerYT GamerCraft 2.0 was chosen and the prize was sent via Royal Mail and took about two weeks to reach them. Upon receipt of the prize, a response and unboxing video was made by UltraGamerYT GamerCraft 2.0. It was great to see their response and the build of Lego Creator 31040 Desert Racers.
I hope to do another international giveaway later this year, maybe late summer. At the moment, a prize hasn't been decided. Perhaps a flight related model ?
Here is one of the Lego Creator 31040 builds. I actually bought two of these sets, one for myself and the other was for the giveaway. I only actually got around to building this over the Easter holiday and found it to be a great build ! :)

Lego :: ( MOC | speed builds )
There might not appear many speed build models this month, even though February brought five. Each month maybe different from the next, although I hope to try an get at least one done per month or more if time permits. I have also done a build ahead of time and recorded the video. However, this won't be available watch until October. Now there's a clue in itself !
The Rubber Duck build maybe small in detail, but packs a lot in personality. I had a lots of fun with the design, which could have been larger. No doubt you could possibly try and build this out of Duplo bricks with a few modifications here and there.

You may remember me mentioning the JK Brickworks YouTube channel last month. He has lots of amazing design concepts and ideas, one of which will be available soon as a Lego Ideas set.
How amazing is this ? There appears to be no limitation with ideas when using Lego and it would be great to have access or even own a huge stock of bricks to build all of these wonderful models. All of my builds are designed using the Digital Designer from Lego. The sandbox of bricks and the 3D model design certainly brings an idea to life. Most of the bricks I order now, are from Bricklink with a few from eBay. Although, I do like the concept of using classic bricks, other types are exciting to use as well. Only leaving the availability and colour an obstacle !

Here is a playlist of my speed builds for 2016 ( Quarter 1 ) so far with more to come  ...

Demoscene :: ( Revision etc )
Ever since owning my first computer, the Commodore 64, I was aware of demonstration programs. These would show off the capabilities of the machine, but also skills of the programmer at the same time. Revision is the world's biggest pure Demoscene event with visitors from more than 30 countries ! For those that are unable to attend, there is always YouTube ! If you are interested in the Demoscene then these videos are well worth a look ...
I was also a fan of the Demoscene on the Amiga and had many disks collected over the years. There must have been a few hundred disks with only a few games. Although I did technically start on the Commodore 64 with thanks to friend at College of Further Education in Oxford during the late 1980's ( the best computing years ). His brother had access to Compunet and let me borrow about 20-30 5.25" disks. As the years passed before I gave up my broken Commodore 64, I must have accumulated a few hundred disks via swapping with contacts, both local and through the mail.

Retro Kit from Years gone by ::
A few days ago, I found some photos of a set-up from over 10 years ago ( around 2001 ). I did have  access to a digital Camera, back then, but the quality wasn't so good. I think the photos were taken with a two or three megapixel Camera, so they might well appear out of focus in places.
Back in the day I used to spend a lot of money on music CD's, before digital downloads really took off. Apart from a PC with Windows 98 / XP, courtesy of eBay, I owned a Commodore 64 with lots software, an old PC ( 486 I think ), a PS one and other bits and bobs.
The  PC ( Pentium 4 or DX equivilant ) I had was powerful enough for everyday functionality with the Internet of course. Upto 2MB Broadband Internet speeds, not breakspeed, but sufficient.
Ah ! The faithful Commodore 64 ( Breadbin ), although not the original one from 1980's that I owned, which was used everyday of it's five year life for up to 12 hours a day. In some cases, right through the night if I was working on programming projects. The PC next to it, was used for transferring 5.25" Floppy disks from .D64 or .T64 via Star Commander. The transfer was slow, taking a few minutes via Serial and Parallel ports. Notice the Great Giana Sisters playing on the Commodore 64 ! :)
Lastly, we have an old PC that was basically used a slave device to transfer Commodore 64 disks. You will also notice a pattern of CRT Monitors, before the popular days of LCD. I will never regret leaving the weight of those behind, LCD screens are much easier to transport today.
Another one from the archives, probably from circa 2001 and when I still had hair. There was a PC elsewhere in our house that my late father used, this was on a what I can describe as a Trolley Desk with sliding tray for the Keyboard.

And finally ...

Imagine being to able to play themes on a the Piano like this ...
Owning a Piano styled like a Nintendo NES would be totally awesome and as equally as appealing for retro events and parties alike !