Canon Selphy and Ubiquiti Unifi

I recently got a Canon Selphy photo printer. It’s a book-sized printer that outputs 6×4″ photo prints using a dye sublimation process. As I don’t print much this is ideal as there’s no ink to dry out, it uses little space, and the prints are comparable to ones I can get from general online photo printing places.

This all seems great but I had great difficulty getting it to work over Wifi on my Ubiquiti network, particularly using AirPrint.

After a lot of head scratching I came across some old forum posts that mentioned UAPSD (unscheduled automatic power save delivery). I don’t really know what that means, but sure enough there is a setting in the Wireless Networks section of Unifi and enabling this fixed all printer problems.

Beat Saber

Beat Saber

This is my current go-to VR game, and is a lot of fun to play. It’s a lightsabre music mashup thing.

It can be particularly satisfying at times, and feels like you’re getting a good bit of exercise too. Meanwhile in the real world you’re just flailing your arms around like you’re being attacked by a bee.

The need for whitespace

I’m a big fan of vertical whitespace, and find it strange that more fuss is made of tabs vs spaces (which doesn’t really affect readability) than vertical spacing (which does).

Here’s a simple code example, randomly picked:

$max_width  = intval( get_option( 'thumbnail_size_w' ) );
$max_height = intval( get_option( 'thumbnail_size_h' ) );
// last chance thumbnail size defaults
if ( ! $max_width && ! $max_height ) {
  $max_width  = 128;
  $max_height = 96;
}

Compared to:

$max_width  = intval( get_option( 'thumbnail_size_w' ) );
$max_height = intval( get_option( 'thumbnail_size_h' ) );

// last chance thumbnail size defaults
if ( ! $max_width && ! $max_height ) {
  $max_width  = 128;
  $max_height = 96;
}

That single extra line makes such a difference when scanning code. Imagine trying to read a book with no paragraphs.

Adverbial adjunct

I know, right?

The internet takes you on wonderful journeys, and today I found out about adverbial adjuncts. My path there began by wondering about the overused and redundant ‘to be honest’ that is added to statements.

To be honest I always lie.

Unsure person

Similarly there is the popular (and probably American) ‘go ahead’, as in ‘I’m going to go ahead’. This is something that seems unnecessary, and almost a meta statement of intent.

I’m going to go ahead and do this thing

Indirect person

One of my least favourite, and not an adverbial adjunct itself, is ‘is there a reason’.

Is there a reason you did this thing?

Passive-aggressive person

The answer is almost always yes, there is a reason. There are probably many reasons. They may not be good reasons, but asking in this way seems like an indirect accusation:

Why did you do this dumb thing?

Aggressive person

I’ve probably used this many times myself and I’m certainly going to try using alternatives.

Fallout 4 VR

Fallout 4 VR

After not touching my Oculus Rift for a good while I’ve had a resurgence of interest. This is mainly due to buying Fallout 4 VR.

fallout4.jpg

I’ll prefix this by stating that I’ve played the original Fallout 4 extensively, sinking countless hours into it (as well as the previous Fallouts). It’s a world and story that I’ve enjoyed a lot and so I’m very biased when playing the VR version.

I’ve read that it doesn’t natively support a Rift, and needs additional work to handle the touch controllers. I can only assume this was earlier versions, as it started up perfectly and before I knew it I was inside the game and looking at my Pip-Boy as I zipped around.

Movement is via the standard teleportation method – you point somewhere, press a button, and get transported. It’s not as natural as the 2D game, but it’s workable, and I’ve not had any motion sickness yet. There is an option for ‘normal’ movement, but I don’t think I’d last long.

So far it’s the most enjoyable game I’ve played in VR. I think part of that reason is that it’s an actual real game from a major producer. It’s not a mini-experience, and it’s not an on-rails shooter. There’s a plot, there’s things to do, and people to talk to. Part of the enjoyment of Fallout is its size, and that it allows you to explore anything and do whatever you want. This really becomes apparent when you’re virtually stood inside the world.

The thrill you get at completing your first encounter is vastly more satisfying than in 2D, and a lot of the imagery makes more sense when viewed in 3D. There are times when you have to take a few moments just to look around and soak in the post-apocalyptic scenery.

One scene that sticks out is when you rescue an actor and his supermutant friend from a skyscraper. After battling your way to the top there’s a section of the building exposed to the outside and you can stand and look out over the city as a storm bears down.

As with most Bethesda games, it’s a little… quirky at times. I’ve fallen through the floor and discovered an underworld. I’ve somehow appeared above the ceiling of a room and can look down, but have no way back in. At one point my viewpoint was at floor level until I ran a patch I found on Github to ‘fix’ the floor. And let’s not forget about the number of times I’ve accidentally dropped a grenade or molotov cocktail on myself…

It’s is fairly tiring, and there’s no sitting down. The resolution of the Rift is still a limiting factor with regards fidelity, and I still find the headset uncomfortable to wear for extended periods. The touch controllers have been used well though, and do bring you more into the world, although it would be nice to see your own body so as to feel a little more there.

Retro Mini Controller

Retro Mini Controller

My daughter received a Retro Mini Controller as a gift. It’s quite a cool looking little device with a tiny joystick, a couple of buttons, and a battery compartment. In fact, it’s mostly a battery compartment – the entire thing runs on 3 AAAs.

IMG_8814.JPG

The box advertises that it has 200 built in games and ‘connects straight to your TV’.

retro mini controller box.JPG

Sadly this means ‘connects straight to your analogue TV via a composite cable‘. As I no longer possess an analogue capable TV I had to resort to using the same HDMI convertor I bought for my C64.

The device boots into a fuzzy menu display:

retro mini controller menu.JPG

The quality may have suffered a lot due to the convertor, and shows similar banding issues to those I saw when using the C64. It also doesn’t help I’m using my phone to capture the screen.

Saying that, I don’t think the image quality is great to start with. In fact, nothing about this device is great. The build quality is terrible. The joystick is soft and mushy and often doesn’t register a movement. The games are… well. They are games, and there are 200 of them.

Here’s Magic Jony:

magic jony.JPG

I only played a handful and they all seemed to be replicas of more well known games. It’s like a really low quality budget deja vu experience.

They don’t appear to be emulated either, and all the games have a similar title screen, player selection, and scoring. I’m actually amazed that someone went to the trouble of creating 200 of these games rather than just emulating a bunch of ROM files.

It’s hard to find out anything about this device, other than it’s sold under many different names. The graphics are NES style, and the games seem like NES games, but that’s about all I can tell.

Looking inside theres a single chip:

retro mini controller.JPG

Looking this up reveals that it’s a Cypress 64Mbit chip. Some kind of system on a chip.

Overall it’s a fun gift, and I’m glad there’s not a princess in sight. It would be nice if it had HDMI output, and nicer still if the controls worked. Sadly I think even with those things the games aren’t worth playing. Still, my daughter enjoyed it, and that’s a good thing for a gift.