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The second week of my holiday

The second week of my holiday started off with a lot of rain. It was forecast to be torrential rain, floods, and thunderstorms. Thankfully, it "rained bloody hard" for about an hour, and just drizzled a lot otherwise.
Just a spot of rain
Just a spot of rain...


Then it got nicer, so I tried the hammock, but work needed done. These are the remains of the epic pile of brambles. The wall was covered, but now more of it cleared.

All in all it's just a-nother bramble on the wall
All in all it's just a-
-nother bramble on the wall.


The GC-161 apples aren't so great looking. This started to happen at about the same time as the potatoes were hit by the creeping mould. I don't think I have any walnuts at all. Well, I don't like walnuts much, but this will be the first year that I can recall it not producing. It's just been... a really naff year for growing stuff.

Pleasant looking apples
Pleasant looking apples.

I did tidy up some of the branches and bits of wood that I had left "to do later". Well, later arrived.

Tidying up the wood bits
Tidying up the wood bits.


Time for the Perseids meteor shower. Which was, actually, a total disappointment. An hour outside, and not one meteor seen. Not one. Predictions were for "about sixty an hour at the peak". Meh.
I did get a photo of the Dipper.

The Big Dipper
The Big Dipper - right way up too!

And this, sort of the direction of where the meteors should be coming from. The wibbly line of stars to the right of centre is Cassiopeia. The Perseids are just below, by the bright star Mirphak (bottom, by the 'h' in the watermark URL) in the constellation of Perseus. The bright (or pretty much only) star on the left is Polaris. So that's North.

Not a meteor to be found
Not a meteor to be found.


I made a new friend.

I even managed to (gently!) stroke it.
I even managed to (gently!) stroke it.
He/she/it is sitting on the floor in a sunny patch watching me write this. Clearly the parents haven't installed the "humans! argh!" upgrade yet.


Went to Châteaubriant on Friday, again. Woke fairly early, so was there for about ten to eleven. A quick whip around the Leclerc (I made a list, woo!) and off to the burger bar.
The guy at Burger King said that I didn't need to show my vaccination pass as I wasn't eating in - which seems a rather dick move on the part of the government given that you need it to eat or drink coffee outside. I mean, it's a gathering of people, right?
I did, however, need to put my name and phone number in a little register (a stack of pieces of pre-printed paper). So I put my name and wrote "(emporter)" afterwards. If some plague zombie turns up two hours later at peak time, NMFP, I'll have been long gone.

This time I got a Double Whopper to microwave the following day, so no tomatoes and no lettuce (because microwaved lettuce is just grim).
I also got a... I'm not sure what sort of burger it was to be honest. It had "Comté" in it (a hard cheese not unlike cheddar, only somewhat stringy). I had extra onions, and thought "hey, I am using my holiday cheques" so in went some extra cheese, because this burger just wasn't greasy enough. ☺
It was actually quite nice. I think having real cheese (rather than those wannabe Kraft slices) makes a big difference.

Putting the cheese into cheeseburger
Putting the cheese into cheeseburger.

I also got two bags of onion rings. Eighteen in all. Nine didn't make it to the Châteaubriant town border, and the rest didn't make it out of Loire-Atlantique.
Finally, one serving of barbeque dip. Because it cost €0,30 and my total was €29,70.
Three cheques later (and, yes, it was kind of expensive!) and I left with a pile of food.

I'll be honest with you. I wasn't actually that hungry following the onion rings. But, hey, I have two cheques left of my "use by the end of 2021" booklet, and one weekend of holiday remaining. When I go back to work, we're jumping straight in to the 7h30 days (they normally start in mid-September) which means I'll be starting at 8.30am. It may only be an extra half hour a day, but couple that with whatever Saturdays we will be working (it's the run up to Christmas and it seems that we will be quite busy!), I can't imagine I'll be feeling too much like going anywhere far. Or at all.
This was basically "something I did on my summer holiday". Some people went to Morocco, I went to Burger King four times...


Yesterday was baking hot. It got up to nearly 30°C. So, finally, time for hammock and some reading.

Swing your cares away (again)
Swing your cares away (again).

I let Wawa come out for a while. Anna is being punished, I went to stroke her like I had done a dozen times and she sliced my left index finger sort of alongside the left edge of the nail (which really bloody hurt!!!1!!). I can't say I have an awful lot of trust in Anna, to be honest, she is still... rather wild.
So Anna didn't get to come out. Wawa did. And Wawa understands that when I say "no", that means "don't try to jump into a flimsy fabric hammock with claws that will shred it". So she just sat down beside/under me and purred quietly.

Wawa and her human
Wawa and her human.


I managed to finish "Emergence" with about two hours to go until it left Prime. I recorded the moment it left and dropped it on my YouTube channel, in case anybody is interested.
Anyway, it was quite an interesting story. But, sadly, cancelled after one season. I'm not entirely certain if Covid had anything to do with this (as it did for "I Am Not Okay With This"). However, I suspect not as American television (it was an ABC studio production) does have something of a track record in making interesting programmes that get cancelled because <some random reason>. I refer to it as "the churn", because that is rather what it is like. Normally I would not have bothered watching "Emergence" as the first thing I do is go to Wiki and see if has been cancelled or not (which is why I'm not going to bother with "Emerald City"), however the premise did sound interesting, so I thought "I'll give it an episode". And that was enough to bring me into the world where a semi-sentient machine is not just a thing, but a cute ten year old that could easily pass for human (even under medical examination). That'll do, any more would be spoilers.


And, finally... I've also been doing something else during my holiday, which is why I've not written much on my blog. No, not watching videos. Programming. Working on something that was prototyped in BASIC in order to play around with the algorithms, and then rewritten in C. It was never intended to be BASIC, I just found it simpler to hack around trying out different ideas in BASIC.

Of course, since the weather was quite nice as of midweek, I dug up that little 7" display panel and my original Pi1, along with a wireless keyboard (you'll see my patches because the keyboard is marked with French layout), all of which could run for hours (like, all the work I felt like doing in a day) from a 15000mAh battery pack.

I'll talk more, in the future, about what it was that I was writing. Just, not yet.

You've heard of Open Source, now experience Open Air.
You've heard of Open Source, now experience Open Air.

The last thing to mention is the massive difference between the Pi1 (an ARM11 running at 700MHz) and the original Pi 2 (a 900MHz Cortex-A7). Going by clock speeds alone, the Pi2 should be about a third faster. But, no, it's considerably more. Building the entire project from scratch on the Pi2 took less time than compiling and linking one individual source module took on the Pi1. How much faster depends a lot on what you're trying to do. SysBench benchmarked the Pi1 at 500 seconds, and the Pi2 at around 70, but then with four cores against one, you'd expect to see 125 tops. Remember, by the way, that RISC OS only uses one of the cores.
Another benchmarking win is on memory access, it's a third of the time of the Pi1. This may be where a lot of the speed increase comes from. Better memory access means better overall performance.



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David Pilling, 16th August 2021, 23:09
A local vlogger went to Anglesey for the meteors, he did capture some, I'm not sure if everyone is looking at the same ones - obviously not people on the other side of the globe. 
I did some tinkering with the Pi Pico earlier in the year, I ended up buying a Pi mk 4, to use instead of my Pi 3, because the recommended build environment was too slow. 
Yes, Pi 4 is better than Pi 3, to the extent that Pi 4 is usable when Pi 3 is not. 
Or to put it another way they continue to fritter away processor cycles (and processors) instead of writing efficient code. 
David Pilling, 16th August 2021, 23:11
... people live stream the meteors on YouTube, so you can see if you're seeing what you're supposed to see.
Pieter, 20th August 2021, 05:29
Those little friends do not seem to be naturally scared of humans. I remember a place with some curious ones that came and licked or tasted my fingers as I sat as long as I did not move my hands too much.

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