26 May

My Traveller game starts

My Mongoose Traveller went like a dream, it was great. I am running a Star Wars Saga adventure converted week by week and largely on the fly, for Empire read Solomani, for Rebel Alliance read 3rd Imperium (yes but the players chose which side they wanted to be and they chose the Imperium). It’s set in the Gemini subsector and started in a tethered spacesport above the planet Gwynedd. It’s a simple pick up and go mission for the PCs who are all operatives of Imperial Naval Intelligence, which has started to heat up as the SolSec (SS) have started to focus in on their contact and the cargo that the PCs are to collect. After a short bloody firefight (which the PCs survived but which taught them a lot about Trav combat) they have had to abandon plans to go back up the beanstalk to the space station and are now stuck on the surface of Gwynedd, on a mountain full of sheep, rain and locals who not only are strongly Solomani but also Welsh, Methodist and always singing!

I am very keen for advice on how to run Traveller games, a longer set of guns for the players, and the best way to map and record my new planet data.

Now for a movie: http://www.traveller3d.com/traveller-trailer.avi

19 May

Woof woof

Puppy Linux Icon Now I was not a big dog fan but Poppy, Rosie and Reya have convinced there are some okay canines out there and I love Puppy Linux. It’s small, fast, runs from a CD or a USB stick and just zooms along on any old bit of kit. It’s a little quirky at times and you might say that Slitaz or Peppermint are interesting light-fast-clean Linuxes.. and you’d be right I run Peppermint as my backup PC system right now.. but Puppy is CUTE!

Not only that but Puppy 5 is actually based on Ubuntu 10.4 and is called Lucid Puppy! Now I am not going to suggest that you use it as a hard drive installed Linux, if you have an old PC then run it from a CD and it’ll copy to RAM and run incredibly fast in memory (it only is 128mb in size), and if you sometimes wander from PC to PC, then keep a USB or CD version in your pocket so you can boot that lumbering Windows monster into a fast light and delightful desktop.

Woof Timeline

With Puppy Linux, you can carry your programs and data anywhere.

* Easy – Just use a CD or USB flash to boot a PC. Puppy Linux is downloadable as ISO, an image that can be burned to CD or DVD.
* Fast – Because Puppy is small, it can live in your PC’s memory and be ready to quickly execute your commands, whereas in other systems, programs are first read from drive storage before being executed.
* Save Money – Even if your PC has no hard disk (ex, broken hard disk), you can still boot Puppy via CD or USB and continue working. Old PCs that no longer work with new systems will still work good-as-new with Puppy.
* Do More – Puppy boots in less than a minute, even in old PCs, and it does not require antivirus software. Administering Puppy is quick and minimal. With Puppy, you just have to take care of your data, which you can easily save to USB flash (Then forget about your operating system!). Your data can be read by other computers.
* Do Magic -Help your friends suffering from computer malware by booting Puppy and removing malware from their PC (use antivirus that is built-in or can be installed in Puppy). Example – bad Autorun.inf is easily removed by Puppy (Just delete it as well as its companion exe program). If your friend thinks that she has lost data from her corrupted hard disk, boot Puppy and try saving her data!
* Carry Anywhere (Portable) – Because Puppy is able to live in CD/DVD or USB flash, as well as save data to these same devices, you can carry your programs and data with you.


14 May

Convert png to pdf

Linux tip, Fedora tip / howto: convert multiple images to a PDF

back to notes and tips index

Let’s assume you have scanned 10 pages from a book to files page1.png, page2.png, …, page10.png. We’ll use ImageMagick’s convert for the conversion.

* to reduce the final filesize, you can first reduce the color map size of the files, for example:
convert page1.png -colors 32 page1b.png
(increase/decrease the number 32 depending on how many different colors you’d like to see in the final PDF)
* if you’re running tcsh as your shell, you can do all pages in one go by:
foreach f (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10)
convert page$f.png -colors 32 page${f}b.png
* convert the resulting images into a single PDF:
convert page*b.png mydoc.pdf

If you get an incorrect page count (recently I saw this when converting two PNG files to a PDF, it gave me page count of 1), you can try the following:

* convert page*.png mydoc.ps
* ps2pdf13 mydoc.ps
* if stuff from a scanned A4 page does not show up correctly, you can try:
ps2pdf13 -sPAPERSIZE=a4 mydoc.ps

(so you first convert to PostScript. ps2pdf13 is part of the ghostscript package)

all sourced from: http://www.patrickmin.com/linux/tip.php?name=convertpdf

10 May

Nice weekend

After a good Saturday’s gardening and a productive day looking at properties, Matthew surprised me by taking me to see Alabama 3 at the O2 Academy. Like some I have previously over-thought music, but as I get older I appreciate a good tight set of veteran musicians creating a wall of sound with a driving bass and an irresistible rhythm and that’s what Alabama 3 deliver everytime. With three very different front vocalists, a serious guitar and bass troupe, two drummers and a great keyboard player they can sweep an audience to their knees with tracks such as Hypo Full of Love, Mao Tse Tung Said (curiously delivered wearing a Mickey Mouse hat) and Woke Up This Morning. A good mix of new and old tracks.

03 May

May Day Weekend

In between (and sometimes during) rain showers I sorted the greenhouse, planted out tomatoes, mowed the lawn, treated it with lawn sand, clipped the hedge back hard, made paper pots, fitted a door bell and am about to clear the hedge trimmings and then do some pricking out and potting on. Weeding may have to wait. I also unpgraded my desktop from Ubuntu Karmic 9.10 to Lucid Lynx 10.04, mulled a full switch to 64bit, decided that my Samsung hard drive is actually dead, and went to Graham and Claire’s housewarming. Managed to fit in Doctor Who, and may read Sandman before bed.

03 May

Brooker on Bigotgate

“The press held up Brown’s Bigotgate outburst as evidence that he’s two-faced and contemptuous of everyday people, especially those who mention immigration, a subject so taboo in modern Britain that even fearless defenders of free speech such as the Mail and the Express only dare mention it in hushed capitals tucked away on the front page of every edition.”

Charlie Brooker, The Guardian, 3 May 2010