computing linux Personal

Week 17 – There are lights in the ground, where the lights in the sky have fallen

Busy fortnight.

I’ve got a new address. Istic.Networks ltd has a new trading address, since we’ve joined the Innovation Warehouse. Mostly, this is because I need to manage work/life split a bit better, and having a transitionary commute helps this. Also, it makes my watch happier that I have to walk to work.

Yes, I wrote the phrase “It makes my watch happier”. I am a slave to the little red circle, and soon the green ones, I hope.

This weekend is Odyssey, and all the stuff that brings. Slightly worried at my first NPC role in the system – I’m head ref, this shouldn’t worry me – and the number of small crisises that continue to plague us. They do every time, though, and I’m sure it’ll be fine.

Project-wise, I’ve laid down some solid work on both and PiracyInc the last couple of weeks, but I’m looking forward to having some dedicated time for them next week. I’ve been full-time for my contracting gig for almost ten days straight, which has been a bit of a shock to my system, and the change of scene will be good for me.

Achievements? Well, my Windows-based PLEX media-server developed a fatal flaw, which resulted in a reinstall. I’ve had it with Windows servers, however, so I’ve moved it over to Ubuntu. I still need to teach it a bit about boot systems and file library arrangements, but so far it’s running both better and faster than the windows version. It was originally windows because that was the requirement for Plex’s iPlayer channel, but since that’s dodo’d, there’s not been a good reason for it to stay there.

It also means I can move my OpenVPN install off the raspberry pi and onto a slightly more solid basis.

Fatal flaw in the VPN, though: It will only support one device at a time. Not sure what I did there, but can almost certainly fix that with the move to the new environment.

Failed to write any blog posts. There are five in the hopper, including “Technical Gadgets That Have Not Changed My Life”, “The Explanation of LARP” and “intersection between ssh connections and aerial faith plates”, the latter of which is suffering from being a better title than article.


Computer Games computing Gaming Larp Personal Projects

Week Eleven: Fear and loathing in post-apocalyptic spiritual canada

Missed a Tuesday, then a Wednesday. I’m great at this…

Last week at work was preparation for our first real outing for Skute, where we’re running a music thing at Streetfest. Getting all the content-related ducks in a line has been a bit of a flashback to previous lives doing agency-type things, but with a couple of days to deadline it’s falling in to place, now to fit actually doing it around my day job…

The weekend was Falling Down, a LARP (or probably LRP, in this case) event based on the classic Tribe 8 setting. I’ve got half an article on that, and I need to both finish that and get some photo clearances. The event was awesome. I went in as Kitchen crew, with a full character to play, and managed to get invested in the plot, further my own agenda, and also help cook delicious stew. Plus, I brought along my vacuum coffee apparatus, about which people were suitably awe-struck.

Spent a lot of time on business admin and stuff. It’s almost exactly two years since I pulled Istic out of mothballs, so there’s a block of admin and domain renewal stuff on my desk. Excitement and adventure.

Playtime has mostly been more Fallout: New Vegas, which is probably an article in itself, but this week the final act of Broken Age dropped, so I’ve been working though a replay of Act 1, then the new content. That turned into a review of this slightly disappointing game.

Oh, and I found a new theme I like for Aquarionics. Farewell to the slider, at least for now. I liked the concept, but I need to find a new way of making it work. That’s pretty much the only personal-projects thing to get any love this week, though I fixed a few bugs in Lampstand’s logging and Lifestream’s fitbit tracking.

Title image is some playing around with an idea for the new header, but I’ve got back to traditionalism…


Week Ten: The pros and cons of leaving the house

The wrong question is “What did you do before the internet?”, today. Today’s question is “What do you do after the internet?”. We have no internet, because Virgin are futzing with the wires, and so I have a freshly minted day off and no internet to fuck around on.

That’s not strictly true, of course, since while I don’t have a wired broadband connection, I do have a 4G network living in the air around me. But it’s not great for latency-specific stuff, though it should be fine for blog posts. What did I do this week?


Some bits and pieces for a Skute set piece in a couple of weeks time. Over the last year or so I’ve hacked together a number of quick python scripts to perform common actions – check up on a user, update some content, test the upload system – and lots of them have been hacks to the core database. A lot of them sharing code with the API. This week I’ve been updating some of them to use the actual APIs instead, on the basis that anything I want to do with the data should be possible though it.

A bit more tidying on lifestream modules, including updating some things to use modules instead.


I’ve now done my Empire homework, and am ramping up for crewing Falling Down this weekend. I’m really quite looking forward to that. Brand new system for me, with a lot of people I like and don’t get to play with very often.


Mostly I’ve been playing Fallout New Vegas, because it supports shorter play-bursts than Pillars right now. Having said that, I’ve spent a *long time* on FNV, so that might not have worked ideally.


Week Seven – I’m sure I must have done something


I pushed a thing live.

It took 12 hours, I’m still fixing bugs in it, but it’s there, a new base to start from, and nearly five months work. It could have gone better, but there are ways it could have gone worse.

There was nothing else at all in my working week.


I’ve done pretty much no prep for Empire, and a lot of my good intentions evaporated over winter. So it goes. I’ll turn up in the field on Thursday, and try to learn to care less.

I have made not a single commit to a personal project in the last week. That’s a little scary, and in no way good.

Mostly, the reasons why are in the Small Content Provider post I made earlier this week. A post which got several retweets, a few reblogs, and I saw other people on my facebook timeline discussing it in their own facebook timelines. As a thing to prove my point, it proved my point very well, it got more response than anything I’ve posted here in the last year.


Pillars of Eternity, for more than I’ve played anything in one sitting since Christmas. Also I got into TSW and doinked some golden golums on the head, and defeated the angel in Hell Eternal (though not without dying in the final battle. That last fight in HE is I think the only Elite Boss I’ve never been alive for the final fall of).

Most of the next week is going to be spent in a field wearing various silly hats.

Computer Games Gaming Larp Personal Work

WRP Week Six – As good at weekly as anything.

I used to do this kind of thing monthly in WRP format. It’s as good as any:


Skute’s in the wild, to some extent. Beta invitations have been sent out – the demons of the Play Store beta system are occasionally eating us – and the first few hundred tags are around. Speccing up bits for Phase Three of the backend system, and putting docs together.

Converted PiracyInc’s vagrant provisioning to Ansible as a test to see how easy that was. It was so easy I converted an app for my contracting gig, and today one of the Skute applications over (that already had ansible playbooks).

Again on a PiracyInc -> Skute path, used PiracyInc as an excuse to learn how celery (background task queuing thing) backs onto Flask, and then ported a couple of long tasks (uploads to S3, mostly) on Skute’s media server to it. Can probably extend this to some other tasks later on, but the speed boost on uploads is nice.

Need to work out how this would interface with the main API, which is on Heroku. Pretty sure using a remote redis as a queue store isn’t a great idea, though I’m sure it would work. I’ve got enough architecture problems with remote systems I can’t control or fix if they go wrong. Maybe I’m not thinking with my head in the Cloud enough. It’s possible that our time with Heroku is coming to the end of its lollypop, given we already have AWS servers to do the media stuff. I do love platform consolidation tasks, they make my dark heart glad.

More features & fixes up on Test, as well. Those will get migrated with the next android build…


Did the Empire Podcast with Mark and folks, which went really well. Massively glad I did that last weekend, and not next, as a series of blamestorms and internal bullshit has drained me of enthusiasm for the game entirely. This is probably linked to the cloud of rage and stress that’s currently hovering over me, but I did a toys-external rant this afternoon, and my attendance is now slightly shaky. That said, the toys-external rant appears to have actually made stuff happen.

One of the massive problems with doing freelance work and working from home is that my division line between working and not-working is flakey, which is adding to my current feelings of stress. I kind of need to decompress for a week or so, but can’t really do that until a couple of near-future milestones pass. So I’m becoming increasingly short tempered and unwilling to give any leeway to people fucking about, even when it doesn’t actually matter.

Other projects? There’s a long post on small-time media creators in the age of Facebook that I need to finish soon, but the short version is that everything else I do is trapped in a cycle of falling interest, because even the people who are engaged with the premise don’t get most of the things I produce for it.


I’ve booked for two larps, in a desperate attempt to play more than zero this year (Last year I managed one, which promptly collapsed).

More technologically, The new episodes of Dreamfall & Borderlands’s episodic things came out last week, and I drove through them with wild abandon. It’s interesting that Telltale’s hundred episode history hasn’t quite solved the narrative issues of a second part to a longer story, but to be fair Red Thread hasn’t magically done so either. Both felt like a small and not very important internal arc primarily to cause more questions and dominos to be set up for the main story.

MMO-wise, I’ve wandered back into Elder Scrolls Online to finish up the last area. Nobody I know seems to be playing it anymore – apart from fyr, who’s using my account – and I’ve no idea where social hubs are to find a low-key guild to bounce around with, so mostly I’m playing it as a more restrictive and more narrative Elder Scrolls single player game, with occasional multi-gigabyte patch downloads that don’t seem to add anything. I’ve fallen out of The Secret World for a bit. The new player experience is a massive improvement, and I’d highly recommend the game for anyone interested in that kind of modern-world conspiracy setting, with tinges of Lovecraft around the edges (ping me a for a trial code), but my next stage will be Nightmare dungeons and scenarios, and I need a better build, which means grinding out AP. I’m looking forward to the new issue, and the new dungeon that comes with it.