The Horror ! Enjoying Programming

Something strange has happened in a bored online night recently, I relogged onto Codeacademy and started enjoying learning Javascript on there.

I joined when it first came out and had a go, but found that I was having flashbacks to when I was in college and a printed copy of a COBOL book was dropped on my lap and the lecturer proceeded to read that out in a monotone expecting us to follow and create, despite having no experience at the time.

Programming has been a long neglected skill in my set, I know the basics of most scripting from Perl, batch files and VB experiences in the past, (a recent event in work made me have to knock out an uninstall batch file for our entire estate at the time, thanks to  Adobe and flash player!)

Although aside from my Acorn Electron and BASIC, I hadn’t programmed anything at all from scratch in about 26 years, with the good old Advancing with the Electron book, its challenging learning something complex from scratch but in a decent way.

Meh ! – the sound of uninspired telephony

Perhaps I am all “Technologied” out and needing a break or have hit “the wall”, but I can’t muster any enthusiasm about my next smartphone choice and I am now 9 months out of contract and counting, without a clue about what I want to get next phone wise.

I convinced myself recently I wanted the iPhone 6+, having a 4s already, its a bit of a struggle the small screen, that coupled with the battery life not being great (its in the cycle of getting less and less time out of each supposed full charge now), everything else is pleasant enough, luckily with Apple, I am tight enough not to waste hordes of cash on its locked in ecosystem, most of my apps are free aside from their own productivity apps (which they nowadays give away free with new phones – Grrr).

Seeing the new  iphone that a couple of my friends had now gotten shows that its a very impressive handset, it fits everything I was looking for and more, in that it had iOS on a much larger screen, it takes impressive pictures and the round edges to the device make it better for me than the previous blocky iPhone 5 styling, so I look at how much its likely to cost me, which is where it gets horrible I find.

All of the options in the UK for this seem to make for horrific reading and are pretty much identical between the networks, even with a hefty upfront deposit – £149 for the 64gb model, on top of that my existing provider bill would be nearly £60 per month for the model, which makes it immediately expensive and off putting, (I have a “limit” in my mind of £40 a month being the top end I would pay for any phone full stop).

The 16gb storage option might as well be withdrawn as a “non-option” if their recent iOS updates have been anything to go by, that is nowadays a ridiculously small amount of storage, I don’t want to have to backup, delete data off my phone and update, before restoring for any update and I couldn’t help but wonder where the 32gb option is, as usual Apples choices remain a mystery to their customers.

I don’t intend to update my current 4s past 7.1.2 as I have seen an abundance of videos too showing how frustratingly slow it would become under iOS8 and the thought of Android again fills me with a bit of dread, though there are some very decent handsets available with the same screen size, though I am mainly tempted to jump networks and go SIM only as well for the first time, better to pay £18/20 a month than three times that for a phone.



SSD – Impressed !

Had an early present from my wife and son for my birthday and got a new motherboard and SSD for my home machine, upgraded to a decent Gigabyte motherboard with more than 2 RAM slots and a nice Samsung 120GB 840 SSD.  This is the first time I have used an SSD with windows (my chromebook with flash not withstanding).

I had a little reading to do on how to maximise the setup of the SSD devices and got everything back up and running in no time, then reconnected the existing hard drives I have and booted the machine up.

When I first rebooted the machine I wondered how long it would take to be shocked at getting a workable desktop inside of 12 seconds, compared to the 2/3 minutes previous, no grinding away loading up applications, really really impressive.

After a couple of days getting everything installed it still impressing me on power up each time here and I would recommend it each time.

Mission Accomplished ! – Fen-Yu, Fury of Xuen


Finally after about two months worth of effort its happened, the cape is in the hands of my hunter !  What a feeling of accomplishment (great feeling, considering I don’t buy into the achievement system here because of the effort involved in it !) I cannot get a screenshot up here at the moment, as armoury is broken for my realm, so that will follow as soon as its fixed.

Killed Ordos a day later on the hunter when I was online and Garrosh to finish off the chain completely and see if I can get Warforged gear for my hunter, amusing how Wrathion loses his temper on completion of the quests I thought, nice stuff by blizzard leading into the expansion now, the trailer looks awesome for WoD and is linked below.


All thats left now is to run downfall each week until I get the 4 set bonus on my hunter and gear an alt up too, I am struggling big time to decide what I want to take forward with my hunter, I am tempted to roll a warlock when I pay for WoD in the coming days and see if that can be as fun as I remember, as I have all classes I have any interest in playing now at max level, though I would not mind a tanking class either. (I already have a level 80 one that I abandoned at Lich King – back in the days when I had an abundance of time to play pre-family and did not feel sick at the thought of trawling through that old content to level a character, something I just cannot face doing again at the moment, many alts and levels down the line, so roll on the insta-ding 90 when I buy WoD next month)


No Buff = No Runestones = :(

Now that blizzard have swapped the buffs again for the Valor points one instead of the Black Prince one, I have just completed a clear of 2 of the 4 raids that drop titan runestones and I am still stuck on 7 stones now after clearing them, so the drop rate I was seeing of 1 or 2 per clear, has floored to 0 so far, this makes it for a little bit of a miserable time in game, as only two are supposedly guaranteed drops and potentially this means another 2/3 weeks worth of clears before progressing on the chain.


Internet Explorer

A few weeks of having to revert back to using IE in a work capacity has made me realise exactly how much and intensely I dislike this slow, clunky excuse for a browser and how infuriating it is.  I wasn’t using an “Old” version either, we use IE10 in work and the machines are all decent windows 7 enterprise boxes.

The main massive reason I hate this program is that in my normal internet browsing activities, there are a certain type of website you come across, usually any moderately multimedia rich website like that of the walesonline or anything that links off the Google news page and what you find on these websites loading is that IE freezes up on loading the page, you are locked into the page for at least 10+ seconds if it releases the page at all, this can be despite all major java/flash/shockwave plugins being absolutely up to date also.

I also loathe how much each version appears to differ internally from the way in which previous versions of IE work, I am in an environment where its not really practical to have to explain to users about Compatibility Mode within IE, but I am being forced to train my users about using this feature as every new iteration seems to break pages that they use regularly as part of their work, every time we look at this package and go between versions it has caused issues with browsing.

See more on Know Your Meme

The other thing that forces my hand with IE is any website that uses the Sharepoint technology behind it, MS force you to use this horror because of this technology and its compatibility with their existing platforms, stuff just doesnt work well like Outlook Web Access unless your using this browser.

Its no secret I am a chrome user, on the desktop and chromebook that I am typing this on pages load fast an generally fly along without any issue, same for Firefox which I use a lot also in work, both of those browsers have it right, in that page load times are absolutely fantastic, FF even going so far to allow you options like nglayout.initialpaint.delay to make pages nearly insta-load for you.

MS please either adapt to be a lot better or kill off this product, as both of these better browsers have GPOs and work with your existing AD system, proving you don’t need massive amounts of configurability if you program something to “Just Work”, which they seem to do more securely.

Grind Grind Grind….

I understand that legendary gear is never handed out in WoW and it does require effort on the part of the player, I cannot help but think in what I am doing so far, that even with a legendary item quest being accessible to all as the game has gone casual over the last couple of years, its an irritating grind all the same and lacks the skill needed to complete quests in the past (I say this off the back of having completed the “Hunter” and “Priest” Legendary quest series, I completed them both during the close up of BC not vanilla, but they were even then still challenging).  Elements of skill in quests made for a better sense of achievement than trawling through raids to get boss drop pieces, I can’t help but think that Blizzard has gotten lazy/complacent with this chain and its working through it.

I have just managed to get through the horror of a mandatory PvP element of this chain, which required no less than 12 attempts at the Temple of Kotmogu arena, and about 6 at the silver shard mine, both clearly reminding why I hate PvP where people just didn’t grasp the goals of the arena’s and the fact that PvP gear now means that people who pvp have near tank levels of health, compared to the average joe PvE player (the pvp is now diverse enough, that I think wow would  benefit from a PvP walkthrough event for the arenas, similar to what happens in the DK starting area, working through each arena to explain what goes on and what the objectives are)

Its feeling a bit endless at the moment, having ground out chapters 1 and 2 of the chain, with its endless rep grinds and raid grinds for drops, it had started to get a bit interesting in the travelling around and killing of elite mobs which made it fun (non-pvp quests aside!) to have to get back into the raids and hope for another 20 boss drops to proceed again, averaging over an hour a raid now.

The thing that glares the most at me is that I can’t help but notice the lack of creativity with the chain while progressing along it now.


PvP Horror….

Doing the Legendary Cape quest at the moment and finding myself horrified at having to be forced into PvP to get two wins on two BGs is no fun whatsoever.

I have long loathed and not bothered with PVP, especially since the gear evolved for PvP meaning if you don’t have “Gear” you basically are a walking target with 200k less HP than your average PvPer, added to which getting a win when your in a Random group and have no guild to fall back on, doesnt exactly make it fun at all, especially these days it seems that most Alliance teams are organised to the point a win is impossible for the average random on horde.

Going to be a very random and non-fun sticking point to get past this part of the stage to get a legendary cloak.



TV News

Its a strange thing that I find myself getting angry watching the news and how “dumbed down” it has become in such a short few years even institutions like the BBC are guilty of doing this, at 33 years old I tire watching everything have to be explained or getting broken down when theres an item which is not even overly complex.

What are we becoming ? Has social interest and ability to work out a moderately complex items of news programming deserted our country and its people ?

News should be that, news, not a lesson each time or explanation when on a topic and don’t even get me started on the endless filler of 24 hour news channels, made even worse now that the football world cup is underway !

Heading towards Draenor

I have been playing wow for a long time now, still enjoying a few hours after the boy is asleep, when tiredness allows and really glad that I am no longer anywhere near hardcore in the game as I have been, which is another cautionary blog post in the making, I find myself chugging away now for my first ever Legendary item, the Pandaria Cloak ! made easier by the fact that the game now has LFR raiding, so no need to enrol in any serious guild to get pulled through content or participate in often jealousy/envy based guild politics as I have seen or been involved in within the game previously.

Though I now find myself stuck on the 3000 valor points grind stage of the chain on my Hunter, doing the weekly quests on timeless isle, capped only by Blizzards cap on Valor point grinding.  I have decided that this Hunter is to be my main for ever more going forward into Draenor and beyond, as I no longer have anywhere near the free time or interest in the game to retain a stables worth of max levelled “pet classes” to play with.

I realise that these days I am less socially inclined in game and its quite liberating, in that I largely enjoy all facets of solo play and LFR in game these days and along with the DK/Lock, nothing much solo’s like a hunter and its gotten that I cannot face healing or tanking at all in game anymore, either aspects are just too much hassle or too involved to warrant the extra effort to be sharp for a group or raid.