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What the hell, Hamas?

I'm quite sure by now that you are aware of what's been going on in Israel. The British PM said that Israel has an "absolute right to defend itself". However, the situation isn't that simple, you see an equally valid viewpoint could be that Palestine also has an absolute right to defend itself.
The thing is that the land inhabited by these people used to belong to those people, and the two are liable to be forever arguing. It's a lot like Northern Ireland, only unlike Northern Ireland the two sides really don't like each other and nobody's looking to compromise.
To add to the mix, just like Northern Ireland, there have been generations of families who were born and raised there. To simply say "invaders go home" won't work as it is the only home many have ever known. There has to be another solution, one that works for both sides. I won't hold my breath.

Yes, the assault on Israel has thrown the Israelis for a loop. It has shocked and scared them, but they aren't going to hold their heads in their hands and give up. Just like 9/11, fear will give way to anger and they'll move mountains to ensure that such a thing doesn't happen again. The scenes of abducting grannies and children will annoy them to the point of wanting to send a decisive message, especially given as tensions in the region mean that other nations that don't like Israel will be looking to learn from this.
The lesson, that will become clear in the following weeks, is that it is quite unwise to pick a fight with a country that not only has the support of the West but also has a very capable and well equipped army. Or, rather, it's quite unwise to be egged on by another country to pick a fight with one so vastly superior in firepower and resolve.

The tragedy is that Hamas won't be the only ones to suffer, hundreds - if not thousands - of civilians (on both sides) are liable to be caught in the crossfire. And after parading around the mostly naked body of a German woman (and not an Israeli soldier like they claimed) and indiscriminately targetting civilians, a lot of international sympathies are going to be with Israel here.
So I can't help but think that Saturday's incursion into Israel will become the trope codifier for "phyrric victory".
Enjoy your minor successes now, guys, as retribution will surely come and it will be biblical.



Maybe during my holiday (week after next), I'll do the wiring I have been meaning to do, to add some extra sockets to the living room. It will require a little more than just hooking some wire into the spare trip switch. For starters, the existing busbars are too short. So I'm going to need new busbars. I also want to install a differential trip switch at ~30mA to cover this newer wiring, as the main trip switch kicks in at 650mA.
It seems that these distribution panels exist only in 8, 9, and 12 way forms. The one I have is a nine, and a twelve is too wide to fit. So I think the little socket here will have to piggyback on the breaker for the living room. That's not a big deal as it's running the surveillance cameras and the living room Pi/lamp/keyboard, and those latter ones will move to a different socket.

The plan is to have a two sockets on the right side of the mantlepiece (sort of near the middle of the living room) for the computer and the vacuum cleaner; and to have one socket at the back of the living room for the amplifier/phone/Livebox, to get away of having a mess of extension leads around the place.

Distribution box
Distribution box.

I did turn the socket around the right way up. It annoyed me... Anyway, if I move the socket a half place to the left, then there should be space for the diff. trip as those require two module widths. If I remember correctly, the feed is underneath, and the busbars hook into the top to take the power across to the MCBs, whose output (to the various circuits and sockets) is underneath.


I went to Lidl again

Oh dear. That non-food section...

If you're like me, you take things apart and the screws, neatly placed wherever, wander off by themselves and it's a bit of a challenge to find the little critters.
Challenge no more. This thing is a metal tray with two magnets on the base. Really bad news for bank cards and floppy discs, but just the thing to keep screws put.

A dish for screws and stuff
A dish for screws and stuff.

On the theme of magnets, I stuck a magnetic strip to the side of the bench-thing that the Livebox/amplifier/phone sits upon. Rather than rummaging in a drawer for pliers and scissors, I can just stick them to the magnetic bar.
This picture is sideways. You might spot three old Liveboxen, various unused phones, a pair of CPL interfaces, and god knows how many wires and connection leads and power supply bricks...

Sticky magnet
Sticky magnet.

As it was inexpensive, I got a weighing spoon! It's really sensitive, so the natural vibrations in your limbs will cause the weight to change a little. It seems suitably accurate, and there's a nice "Sigma" button that when you press it will lock in the current weight, and anything that is subsequently weighed will be added. It is only capable of weighing up to 300g, however it can total weights up to 3000g.
Holding the sigma/unit button for a long time (like 4-5 seconds) will switch between grams and ounces. So 100g is 3.535oz. There's a pleasing symmetry to that.
It is also marked, visually, in millilitres and tablespoons.

Weighing spoon
Weighing spoon.

And, finally, a little gizmo to tell me if the sockets are wired correctly.

Socket tester
Yup, this one checks out.

As it turns out, the ones in the kitchen were not. It wasn't my fault. As you can clearly see from the photo of the three-phase plug in the 27th March entry, the blue wires are commoned in the centre, and the brown wires go out to each phase. Phases are live, the common is neutral, there's no other way that it can work. I can only imagine the manufacturer got the wires back to front or something. So I popped open the three phase plug and swapped the wires around and the plug tester was happy.
It's a three-way plug with big round power switch from Système U (the Super U / Hyper U supermarket chain).

Hang on, this is making me mildly miffed...

<Rick unclips the multiway socket and turns it over, noting the 'security screws'>
<Rick fetches the big blue box of weird screwdriver bits, and selects the matching notched flat head piece - yes, it'll take more than that to keep me out>

There you go, the twats wired the thing up back to front!

Extension lead wiring fail
Extension lead wiring fail.

As you look at the socket, with the earth pin at the top, live is on the right and neutral is on the left, just like a UK socket.
In the picture, it's back to front as we're looking down on the back of the socket, so I've labelled the left and right with respect to the earth, and you can clearly see it has been assembled back to front.
CE and Normes Francaise, huh? ☺


SimpleSeq v0.11

Yup, here's another iteration of SimpleSeq.

Apart from a few bug fixes, the main change in this version is the concept of shifted octaves. This is because while my piano sends notes in the range C2 to C7 (or MIDI values 36 to 96), for some instruments the entire range is shifted up or down.
For example, the guitars are located in the range C1 to C6. The bass and contrabass are in the range C0 to C5. And going the other way the piccolo, recorder, and ocarina are C3 to C8.
Accordingly, if one switches the piano to these instruments, the range of notes returned by the keyboard changes.

Therefore, I have introduced the "octave shift" function. This will map the 61 notes up or down one or two octaves, as necessary. It is a per-channel setting. Press ^K (or F6) to access it.
There is also a separate "Keyboard input is shifted" setting to allow notes coming from the piano to be corrected accordingly. This, as I mentioned, will be necessary if you have set the piano to an instrument that uses a different range of octaves for that instrument, or if you have a piano with more than 61 keys. If you input using the default grand piano setting (and transpose mentally) then you won't need to correct the input.

Setting the octave shift
Setting the octave shift.

The state of this setting is shown in the status at the top of the screen.

Music info
If it says "(O = xx)", then the 'xx' (-2, -1, +1, or +2) will indicate how much the channel has been shifted. If you look at the piano keys on the left, the C's will be marked accordingly.
If this doesn't show and/or the range is C2 at the bottom to C7 at the top, it means there is no octave shift taking place.


Another change is that some things have been improved and changed in the music setup/configuration. As a side effect, the "this channel is in use" flag has moved. SimpleSeq will automatically update the files as you load them, and will prompt you with a message.

Something has changed
Something has changed...
Once you save the file with the updated header, you won't get this message again. However, it's worth noting that according to this change, the files will not work correctly on older versions of SimpleSeq. It's easy to fix - just add a dummy note and then delete it in each channel that is in use (to cause it to be flagged as in use).

Other stuff...

  • Delete got broken in refactoring the code, meaning it couldn't delete controls. This has been fixed.
  • Replicate has been tweaked so anything present in the first bar counts as a bar of music.
  • Two new filters have been added - to increase and decrease the velocity of each note in the current channel by 10. Effectively, it's a way to make the music in the channel louder or quieter, which is why the filters are called Quieten and Louden. I don't know if "Louden" is a word, but it pleasingly goes with "Quieten" so...

Here's the download:

Download (112.13K)
For RISC OS 5 machines with MIDI


I have also put together a video to talk about the octave shifting, as it's something perhaps better experienced than simply read about. Please watch this. I don't have a professional editing/graphics suite. This was constructed using my mobile phone, and an HDMI to USB dongle on a portable (recording the HDMI input) and it took bloody ages to create... using an app on my phone!



Your comments:

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David Pilling, 9th October 2023, 15:40
Makes me wonder if there is a RISC OS runtime, in other words write the software in RISC OS, and the user can just run it packaged up without having to install RISC OS and learn how to use it. 
The project make me wish I'd learnt music - because I would have had to stretch my brain around all that complexity. Must be interesting how that complexity evolved down the centuries. 
In the video it sounded like you were aiming for a "text to speech" presentation - a bit like those videos people who don't speak English produce. Video was good I would not have realised you had any limitations over editing. 
There are loads of free video editing packges - Kdenlive etc. 
Rick, 9th October 2023, 18:06
A RISC OS runtime would be good (and for my needs it would only really need the kernel, ColourTrans, a filesystem, and the ability to load a MIDI module. 
Problem is, there are many possibilities these days. You can't just paste something together for Windows and call it job done. There's Apple (x86 and ARM) and a half dozen types of Linux. 
So it's for RISC OS, and I'll leave the end user to work out how to get that running if they want it. 
I sounded like a bot? Gee... Well, either I suck at making stuff up to say, or bots are getting more convincing. 
Many free video editors. I need something that runs on Android as my PC is just about up to playing H.264 HD. Give it something like HEVC FullHD and if I'm lucky I'll get a frame every second or two. 
My Mi 10T, on the other hand, will happily edit and play back H.265 at 1080p or even 4K (but my ADSL is old and slow so I rarely bother with 4K). 
I'm glad it looked okay. Took a lot of time getting everything synced up when it basically involved poking a piece of glass with fleshy appendages. 
David Pilling, 10th October 2023, 12:48
What is robotic, Robert the Robot in Fireball XL5 or HAL in 2001. Just very clean and detached - maybe you should go in for voice over work. 
RISC OS on Java then. A RISC OS for Windows that worked on Wine would be close enough to running on anything. (RPC emu works on Wine, but we're talking about something that just runs code) 
Despite the ubiquity of computers, it does not mean computational 'grunt' is lying around. Most of the world just has a phone. 
Rick, 10th October 2023, 14:50
<shrug> My phone might be more capable than all my other machines added together. 😉 
Thinking of robots, how about Metal Mickey (or am I giving my age away?).
Rick, 10th October 2023, 19:19
"Just very clean and detached" 
That's how I normally am. The whole "lacking emotions" thing. I do tend to mangle some words though as my mind words a lot faster than my mouth and, well, pileup... ;) 
David Pilling, 11th October 2023, 13:54
If I was after cheap computational grunt... I'd buy a Mac Mini circa 2012 vintage. They're no use for Mac OS because it is no longer supported but for under 100 quid will run Linux. 
Surely at the vide grenier there are PDP 11s, VAX, IBM system 360. 
Problem is that anything old is likely to not be very powerful and nearing burnout. 
Probably my most powerful machine is the core I7 desktop I built 10 years ago - people would laugh at it - MicroSoft won't let me install Win 11 on it. 
Does your phone have a fan - or is ARM a lot more efficient than x86. That might be the miracle of ARM that most of the world has very efficient computing power in their pocket. 
Maybe it would have been an environmental disaster if the world had to have an x86 desktop per person. 
David Pilling, 12th October 2023, 13:47
What David does not say is that he got a Mac mini that had hardly been used at zero cost - pay 100 quid for something that has been hammered every day for 13 years and it makes no sense. And there was the cost of replacing the hard disc with SSD. 
My bet is that cost per Dhrystone bottoms out at a handful of years old. 
Still if you saw a Mac Mini for 10 quid.

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