Category Archives: Life

Time for a new car!

I thought it was about time for a new car so goodbye to my trusty old Proton that has gone somewhere to be made into tin cans!


In all seriousness I will never knock Protons again. This one was 14 years old and eventually covered 80,000 mile. It failed last years MOT on a brake light bulb. That’s all. Cost next to nothing to run and started every single time.


Big Apple

Me and the eldest are off next month to the Metallica gig at Madison Square Garden to celebrate his 16th birthday so it is time to book some flights.


First attempt: Opodo ( – 586 pounds each!


Second attempt: Lastminute ( same flight and a 7 quid saving. Wow!


OK time to look at indirect flights. Opodo is the winner this time as the same combination was not offered on Lastminute. KLM 1 : Air France and Delta 0.

Yes I know the flight time is longer and there is more hastle but I’ve saved 420 pounds and the lad will be back home in time for school Tuesday!


Interesting to note that the tax is actually higher than the fare. Who gets 139 quid and who pockets the remaining 230? No wonder the airlines are not making the same profits these days.


Financial Markets

For the last couple of years with the onset of 40+ life (aka grumpy old man according to this kids!) I’ve been tracking the financial markets and in particular the UK housing market as a general financial indicator.

There are lots of websites out there but the two I read regularly are and

In relation to UK house prices the following chart keeps appearing:


Despite studying Math at degree level and thinking that I understand Fast Fourier transforms and associated Complex numbers I still have a problem understanding what the chart above shows!

Does it mean (accoring to the Nationwide) that in February 2009 the average UK house price was down 17% but as of Sepember 2009 there has been a recovery and the average price is now the same as the start of 2009 – I don’t think so. Anyway, if that was the case the figure in January would always be 0%.

Surely a simple chart showing the average UK house price on a per month basis would be easier to understand?

Regardless, as somebody looking to purchase property in the near future I still prefer to use this chart from



A blast from the past

Nice little article here ( about Elite on the good old BBC Micro.


I particularly like the following quotes:

“The BBC Micro only had 32k of memory, but out of that came the screen and machine use, so Elite had to fit into 22k which is less than most emails these days,” said Mr Braben

“We crafted every single byte and would work for hours just to free up three or four bytes so we could put in a new feature or ability.”

“That level of concentration on things have been lost today when you have things that are many megabytes or even gigabytes in size,” he added.

As part of my work today I have been developing a C# .NET utility to compare Genesys configuration snapshots (more in a later posting). I bet every single reference added to the Visual Studio project was bigger than 22k!

I wonder who these days even knows what an Assembler opcode is? What an ‘in memory’ patch is? What the difference is between big and little endian? Does it really matter?

BTW: Does anybody know of any good books about how games were developed back in the 80s? Manic Miner, JSW, Sabre Wulf?