Brexit: living in Spain

I’m in Malaga (great city, you should visit!) with Automattic, and I listen to podcasts.

Podcasts these days have adverts that are tailored towards the listener. A number of BBC podcasts I listen to usually don’t have any adverts when I download them in Ireland, but here in Spain they have warnings about Brexit for British immigrants in the country, linking to the UK Government Living in Spain page.

Hopefully it won’t be needed and Brexit doesn’t go ahead ..

Prodigy in Wonderland XIII

The death yesterday of Keith Flint left many shocked and reaching for their CD collections but I remembered that one of their songs was featured in a Commodore 64 demo.

Censor Design sampled Prodigy’s “Smack my Bitch Up” and used it as the sound track to the final part of their excellent demo Wonderland XIII. Click play on the video above to see it in action. It’s really amazing!

It’s worth watching the whole video but if the embedded version above doesn’t load at 7:33 then load it from here instead or here’s another video of the music played back by two SID chips which IMO sounds even better!

For those at the back who don’t know, the C64 was released in the early 80s but developers made it work magic and do things thought impossible, such as in this case playing sampled sound!

Edit (2019-03-22): Here’s a version of Voodoo People from Bad Boy by Samar Productions. Amazing what the SID can do!


No need for camera straps on the ISS

The astronauts living on the International Space Station are in a microgravity environment, so no chance a camera will fall to floor. Just leave it next to you until you need it again!

‘Course you might need velcro to keep the camera stuck to a surface for the same reason. Gravity won’t keep it down but air currents in the station will blow it around.


From the NASA live stream of the Dragon 2 capsule that has just docked with the ISS.


Selfies are easy too. 🙂

Road of Excess

Road of Excess by Triangle is a Commodore 64 demo released in 1990 that totally blew me away when I saw it.

Yes, you could play Breakout in one of the parts if you had a joystick plugged into the computer. This demo had quite a few interactive parts.

Lightroom: spot heal bug after DNG conversion

I discovered a bug in Lightroom!

If you apply the spot heal tool to an area in a RAW file (in this case, a Sony ARW one) and convert it to lossy DNG the spot heal will become a pink square. It’s easily fixed by applying the spot heal again but of course this shouldn’t happen.

While on the subject of Lightroom bugs, a long time ago I also noticed that the Transform tool acted differently on the compressed DNG version of a photo compared to the RAW (CR2) version. Hopefully that’s been fixed because that was a couple of years ago and I’m sure someone else has noticed by now ..

Oddities of C64 BASIC

1 BORDER=1

Can you tell me why the very short BASIC programme above has a syntax error?

1 BRDER=1

But then the one with a slightly renamed variable name is perfectly ok?

It turns out it’s one of the limitations of Commodore BASIC V2. As explained here:

Variable names were limited to two letters. Or, specifically, any variable name longer than two characters was truncated, so that MARKUP and MAINTOTAL would both point to a single variable named MA.

Can somebody confirm this? IIRC, the C64 could handle longer variable names, but it’s a long time ago so I could be wrong.

Correct, the first two letters of a variable name must be unique. Also, your example variable MAINTOTAL contains the reserved word INT which would produce a ?SYNTAX ERROR.CarstenKlapp

http://wiki.c2.com/?CommodoreBasic

The word BORDER contains the BASIC command OR that cannot be used in a variable name!

I have no idea if I knew this back in the 90s. I presume I did but it had me scratching my head for 10 minutes last tonight trying to figure out why my BASIC programme wasn’t running.

The (re)discovery that variable names shouldn’t be longer than 2 characters long also explains the terse variable names I used in the BASIC portion of DMSREADER. We’re spoiled these days.

I also discovered that petcat doesn’t like uppercase BASIC commands but I have a nice Makefile now to compile BASIC and ASM portions of Disk Masher and copy them into a D64 for testing so it was a productive night.

From Rio to Waterfalls

Follow along from “I Go To Rio” to “Ritmo De La Noche” to “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall” by Coldplay. I had no idea Ritmo De La Noche had such a history!

Of course there’s a C64 version! Maduplec of BUDS/NATO/Crest fame created a SID version of Ritmo De La Noche for his 1992 Glober demo. Every time I hear that song I think of that demo. I couldn’t find it on Youtube so you’ll just have to fire up an emulator to watch the spinning globe but here’s the SID tune!

I rescued a cat today

Somehow a cat got stuck in the cavity blocks of a wall in Blarney today. My wife was alerted to it by a post on the Muskerry News Facebook page. She was very upset and decided immediately to go up there and see what she could do.

I know the area well as I bring my dog for a walk there most days. I thought I could get the cat out by breaking the block around it so I grabbed a hammer and screwdriver, and for height a plastic chair from the garden.

The cat was so calm and friendly. She didn’t once give out, or try to claw me. She was obviously in distress because she had only her head and a single paw out.

After 20 minutes of carefully digging around her she pulled back into the wall so I was able to break it apart more quickly She came back too soon and poked her head out again, and wouldn’t duck her head back down to make my job easier!

My wife had a brain wave then to get the tin of cat food she had left in the car. We allowed the cat to smell it and made sure she saw us drop a few bits into the block in front of her. A moment later she ducked down to eat and I was able to dig away at a faster pace.

Once again she came up for air, but she backed down again and eventually the hole was big enough and out she popped with a little help! 🙂

I took her off the wall and put the tools away in the car to shouts that, “the cat has jumped up on the wall and is trying to get in again!” Luckily there were humans around to discourage this adventurous side of her personality. I grabbed a few rocks and covered the hole.

I recognised the cat once she was out. She tried to make friends with my dog a few times when we were out walking. Lovely cat, hopefully she’ll keep out of trouble now!

Three days later I went for a walk this morning and the cat is still safe and sound. 🙂