Archive | January, 2014

Ray Bradbury Challenge, Week 3!

15 Jan

This weeks Bradbury challenge story finished.
950 words including authors notes.
And because it was from an image, there’s an automatic cover!

YAY! Rest of the week off!

Stories in the modern world.

13 Jan

Lets face the age we live in.

If you were telling the story of Jack & The Beanstalk to modern kids, Jack would probably come back from market with Bitcoins and not magic beans.

Possibly the Konami code too.
And a bricked Iphone.

Ray Bradbury Challenge, Week 2

11 Jan

Story for week 2 of the Bradbury Challenge is complete!
4109 words. Pretty easy to write something longer if you use Notepad which doesn’t constantly remind you of a word count.

Another prompt from reddit.

Time to consider the two (count them!) Doctor Who Universe stories.
Oh, and just to annoy you? He’s not actually in either of them.
Done writing for today.

Ray Bradbury Challenge, Week 2

9 Jan

Week 2.

I’m deep into the new story which I started writing today.
I’m about 2 hours in and it’s getting fairly heavy. 2444 words!

It came from a reddit prompt and is turning out to be a bit of a difficult birth so far.

I won’t be surprised if it goes over 3 thousand words.
At least I have 6 more days to finish it.

Well, I am done on it today. It’s been a long one.
Back to the coal face tomorrow I guess.

It’s the end of the week as we know it

7 Jan

Today it’s Tuesday.
For you it’s Tuesday, for me it’s Tuesday, for everyone it’s Tuesday.

But it’s not JUST Tuesday.
It’s the end of the week.

Have you gone mad Ray?” I can hear you all asking.

Of course I have, I joined up didn’t I?
But no, not that kind of mad. A different kind of mad.
You see Tuesday, I see the end of the week.

For today is the 7th day of year.
Which means the next day will be a new week.
And the Bradbury Challenge will be back on again.
7 more days to write another story.

It’ll come from somewhere. I hope.
Close your eyes.
Make a wish.

We’re almost there.

Lessons learnt from James Mays Motorcycle Diary

4 Jan

Yesterday BBC2 aired the latest of James Mays Toy Storys, his attempt to build a motorcycle out of Meccano and drive it all the way around the Isle Of Man TT race circuit.

He managed this, but had to do a lot to the bike to make it all the way around.
A couple of the things he did could be classed as cheating.
Like using the golf cart motor.
Like rebuilding the back wheel out of parts they made themselves.

Like all first tries at anything, a lot can be learned from it.

Choice of bike style – Motorbike with side car.
This was James’ first mistake really and everything went downhill from there.
If he’d built a trike then he would have had a lot easier time.
The bike only had power from 1 wheel, trying to move 2 fully grown adult men AND the bike itself too.
A trike would have had power to BOTH back wheels, it would have coped a lot better up the hills.

Choice of propulsion – Chain drive.
Oh dear James, if you saw how much time & effort you put into something which could have been done SO much easier with a simple gearing system using cogs and sprockets. To be honest, I thought the chain would be the first thing to go.
Using the motors to drive just one wheel was always going to be a bad idea.
This is why it was so slow.
The motor system Simmy designed wasn’t a bad idea, it was just poorly implemented.
If he’d looked at his motors like batteries and placed them in series, it probably would have given a lot more power.
Rather than using the overly complex method of trying to gear them up.
With a trike they could have done direct drive, using motors to drive one wheel each.
They used 3 sets of motors, I would have used 6; 3 on each back wheel – effectively doubling the power.

Choice of power – battery.
I’d still use batteries, I just wouldn’t be swapping them out every 2 miles.
What was really needed was some sort of dynamo system to recharge the battery as you drive.
These already exist, I’m sure there is some way to look at how the electric cars do it & adapt that into Meccano.

Time Constraints.
And I’m not talking about how long they had access to the course for.
I’m talking about how long they took to build the thing.
This isn’t a project you do in a few months.
You need at LEAST a year to design, test, prototype and eventually build this kind of vehicle.

If I am honest, I don’t believe James took any part in the design or building of the bike.
I’m pretty sure Simmy did 99% of the donkey work.

If you did this again, and took longer to build a better, more efficient bike I believe the trip around the island could be done in at least 8 hours, if not quicker.

Still writing!

2 Jan

Wrote a short, just over 1300 words today.

Found a good prompt on reddit (based in the Star Wars Universe) and decided to make it a Terminator cross-over.

Quite happy considering I had no plans to write for the rest of this week, let alone for today.
2 days of the year down, 2 stories written.

Ray Bradbury Challenge, Week 1

1 Jan

Jan 1st 2014, 20:30 hrs.
Good news as far as the Ray Bradbury story per week challenge goes.
This weeks is finished, about 650 words in total.

I’ve got the next 6 days off then.

Good start to the yr, this months free ebook released & this weeks Bradbury written.
Despite the lack of having any plan, it still came together, which I love.

30 mins to kill until Sherlock then.
I say Alons-y to you.

Kindle stats, more info

1 Jan

Last year in September I compiled some stats about battery life of my Kindle (K3 keyboard wifi only, now over 2 yrs old) here:- Kindle reading stats.

Now 2013 is over I’ve taken down the calendar and am going to check out how often I charged the Kindle over a year, how long for (if listed) and how long that charge lasted.

Jan 1st – 7th. As the charge had been made in 2012, no time info was written down. 7 days.
Jan 7th – 27th. No charge time listed. 20 days.
Jan 27th – Feb 19th. Estimated 7hrs on charge. 24 days.
Feb 20th – Mar 10th. 9 hr charge. 19 days.
Mar 10th – Apr 2nd. No charge time listed. 24 days.
Apr 3rd – May 12th. 12 hr charge. 40 days.
May 13th – May 30th. No charge time listed. 18 days.
May 30th – Jun 21st. 8 hr charge. 23 days.
Jun 21st – Jul 6th. 7 hr charge. 16 days.
Jul 6th – Aug 6th. 7.5 hr charge. 32 days. Kindle battery totally flat.
Aug 6th – Sep 2nd. 10.5 hrs charge. 28 days. (possible indexing drain on battery after loading 75+ books on)
Sep 2nd – Sep 28th. 10 hr charge. 27 days.
Sep 29th – Sep 23rd. 12 hr charge. 25 days.
Sep 24th – Nov 19th. 12 hr charge. 27 days.
Nov 20th – Dec 31st. 10hrs 40 mins charge. 42 days.

15 charges during the year, 4 of those had unknown durations but assume at least 3 hrs on each as per Amazon instructions.
A average of 24.5 days per charge. It’s an average charge of 8 hours each time.

First free ebook of the year (contains ADULT themes, not for kids!)

1 Jan

Smashwords – For The Lack Of A Spoon —a book by Ray Daley.
For The Lack Of A Spoon – Ray Daley | Feedbooks.

When the Owl & The Pussycat went to sea, it wasn’t such an wonderful journey as Edward Lear would have you believe.

And all for the smallest of reasons.

1st release of the new year, ADULTS ONLY! (contains themes of violence & alternate sexuality)