Friday, 31 August 2012

The last game of Summer

Here at itsgonefunny we are ramping up for the Autumn push after a gloriously idle August. The opening hours sign is back on the door, Aza has taken the boards away for a repaint and we are wondering where the stapler went.

I and 9.5 million UK schoolchildren are making the most of the last days of the holidays by wasting time like crazy.

That screenshot on the right represents approximately 20 hours of my life. I consider this a small investment for such an amazing score.
It's taken from a game called Triple Town. You match 3 bits of grass and you get a bush. You match 3 bushes and you get a tree. And so on. There are also bears (not pictured, I turned them into grave stones - sorry but that's  progress).

You can download Triple Town for free. It's an Android app so you need the right kind of SmartPhone or tablet to play it.

In the free version, the number of moves you can make is limited. You initially get 1000 or so free moves, which is easily enough to get you completely hooked. After that, free moves arrive but you have to wait. Every now and then you are forced to get up from your seat and attempt some of the things on your to-do list. 

Or shall I just click the "Buy Unlimited Moves" button? It would be so easy....

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Left to my own devices

itsgonefunny.com gets annoyingly Parisian in August. We lock the workshop doors and skive for the whole month.

Or so it seems. In actual fact, I'm just back from some field work. I loaded the campervan with electronics and drove it to the Cotswolds to see which technology was most useful in a field. I took Ted the dog with me  to help, Border Collies being one of the most intelligent breeds.

Normally I spend so much time sorting out other people's technology that I don't get to use it. This week, though, the whole adventure was masterminded with the help of various things that need plugging in.

I brought way too much stuff with me and some of it never got as much as a button press. Let's cut to the chase and list the top 3 bits of technology that helped me have a brilliant time.

No 1: Samsung Galaxy S111
It's one of them Android smart phones. Out here in space, nobody can see you blush, which is good because for years I have been curmudgeonly about smart phones. Why would anyone want to access the internet on a teeny tiny little thing like that?, I argued.

Then it hit me. You can access the internet on a teeny tiny little thing like that. You can Facebook about the  experience while actually falling off a cliff. You can Google where to buy obsolete camping gas near Cirencester. Then you can get a map to show you where it is. And then... you can phone them to ask if they're open.

What did I do in the old days? Drive around for days on end looking for signs saying "Obsolete camping gas sold here"? Umm - yep.

No 2: The Campervan Fridge
I've had my lovely 1988 Bambi campervan for nearly 6 months now. The one thing I've never understood is how to make the fridge go. I had a faint inkling that it involved the gas bottle, though this never really made sense to me. Gas making things colder, you what? On day one of the trip I decided to stop being such a baby and RTFM (read the F manual).
So I pulled the flame-viewing mirror out as instructed, twisted and held the grey dial and then switched the Piezo lighting unit to on. Click click click click whoomph then silence. Nothing showing in the aforementioned flame-viewing mirror. I did this 10 times then flounced off to do something more rewarding.
Later I noticed warm air wafting out the top of the fridge. I yanked open the door and there was all my food being chilled. Chilled I tell you! I am most pleased.

No 3: TwoNav App
One of my favourite things to do is to take Ted for a walk, preferably somewhere I've not been before and in  a pleasing circle. On holiday, this has normally meant buying several OS maps at £10 a pop. I love maps but they have their limitations. The main trouble is knowing which bit of the map you are on.
I downloaded the TwoNav app to my phone despite some very cutting reviews. It uses GPS and the internet to draw your trajectory on a proper map of the area. The map is not quite an OS map, but it's good - it has footpaths and trees and so forth. In practice the map starts off fuzzy and weird, then pings into clarity.
I used TwoNav for a 4 mile jaunt in the Forest of Dean. As you can see from the screenshot, you can tell not just where you are, but where you have been as well. As a bonus, you can see how far you've gone and it has a weird enthusiasm for describing your altitude - probably more important in the Himalayas than Gloucestershire.
Incidentally it was an amazing walk. I met two brothers who are digging a mine. For a moment I thought I was having a funny dream, but it's true, you can read about them here: http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/Freeminers-sink-new-shaft-woods/story-11856789-detail/story.html

I have the free version of TwoNav, the paid version costs around £24. The software itself keeps urging me to upgrade as "most of the functions do not work in the free version". They have perhaps shot themselves in the foot there, as it seems to me that all the functions I want work just fine.

Truly amazed by my own devices! I originally had a list of 10 things to talk about, but I do appreciate that you have your own things to play with. So I will sign off here. thank you and good night.


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