Monday, November 17, 2014

Got a new toy...

Haven't updated in a while, been struggling to get a neural network example working, but to no avail (insert sad face). I've shelved it for the moment and am snuggling up to several new ebooks on my kindle, as well as a new toy I've bought, a graphical calculator. Ostensibly, it is to be used for following along the math classes on Khan Academy. We'll see how that holds up XD

I was wondering if I had totally forgotten about powers as squaring a negative number got me a negative. I was like.... (o.0)

Testing on the mac indicated that.. yes... -1 x -1 is 1... so what's up with that?! Evidently, it's how the calculator evaluates such statements, the proper way to do it is with the parentheses. Anyways... here's hoping as I go through all the basics, that I will one day understand calculus.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Down by The Sally Gardens

Must be the weather. Had a sudden need to learn a new tune, and found this lovely piece. Decided to play it on the low F, as the low A just takes a leeeeetle too much breath for a slow piece. I also found a staircase in my apartment that appears to be unconnected to the main living areas, and it had a marvelous reverb - had to try a recording there.

Unfortunately, I don't think I'm that much of a fan of such a long recorded reverb. Its great fun to play with such a long reverb, but I think it's a bit overwhelming. In addition, playing rubato - no tempo - was really difficult. With just the whistle alone, it needs to feed into the subconscious rhythm of the music of as well and I don't think I did too good a job.

Live and learn!

Hallett Cove

Yesterday was a bit cold and very windy, which I thought was perfect weather to go capture some sound waves of the beach. Hallett Cove lies about 40-ish minutes away from the CBD via train. There are two stops, Hallett Cove, and Hallett Cove Beach that provide access to the cove. I got off at the beach stop, and made my way back to the other train station. I would suggest doing it the other way round, as there would be a board suggesting the walk routes to take.

The beach is not one for swimming; it's those kind of beaches covered in rather big smooth rocks. That said, I saw at least two surfers there, not sure how they navigate the rocks...

The photos don't do it justice, nothing beats experiencing this place on its own. On my way back, I noticed that the length of the train stations are _really_ long, easily 3 times the length of the train. I'm wondering why that is so? Is it because of older trains? Or maybe it is planning for the future when the area more densely populated, all they need is longer trains?
Incidentally, this post really should be titled Seaford - as I'd actually visited Seaford to check out whats there. There was a shopping centre... not really my thing :P Along with Moana Beach and the Moana Sands Conservation park.
 Didn't see any specific walkways, but there was a definite trail, so I kept to that.
 Eh, token shot.
 The conservation park. No wolves here, so I turned back.
Had lunch at Barnacle Bill, and it was quite good.

Have to go back to Hallett Cove another day!

Ratchet and Clank HD Trilogy / Vita

So, completed the first and third of the series this weekend. Had a bloody awesome time! Been a loong while since I spent so much time on gaming. I think there's something to be said about the positive mood gains when completing a level :)

The first game was generally very well done, the main "issues" I have is platforming with the gravity boots, the controls aren't very intuitive for me with them, and I've fallen off the (narrow) paths too many times. If they are static paths, no problem, I can just inch through them step by step, but there are some paths that have lava or what not cuts into the path at times and omg it is so annoying to have to restart a section after falling off the edge >.>

The final boss was the other showstopper, I spent all my bolts buying various ammo (I did not have the ultimate weapon) and didn't really get anywhere. In  my frustration, I switched from "hit him from a distance" to "ah, *@&^ this, let's get close and let him eat my blaster!" (fact: I ran out of bolts to buy the more expensive ammo as I died sooo many times :P)

Unbelievably, the blaster, one of the earliest weapons in the game did really good damage to the final boss! In addition, the blaster takes out mines and critters the boss shoots out, and really the only thing to avoid was the shockwave grenades he throws - I couldn't seem to jump over the shockwaves in close, only from a distance.  By the time I reached the final form of the boss, I had run out of ammo for the blaster. Took out the pyrocitor to melt the mines and critters, while waiting for the ammo boxes to appear... then when the blaster was maxxed out. Bam. Dead boss.

The 2nd game has major crashing issues. Online forums indicate buying the digital download avoids this, gah. I bought the cart because it was used, so really affordable. The crashing is a pain, but what seems to happen is the game saves the data, then loads up the next stage. This loading of the next stage crashes, but upon reloading, you continue onwards in the next stage so it's not too bad, just friggin big waste of time.

I found part 2 of the trilogy to be a big step forward, yet at the same time, many things did not appeal to me. I felt the mini games to be a real drag to play, and that the enemy damage/ammo-you-have balance to be skewed towards the end of the game - or its just that I suck.

Fighting with the wrench up close towards the end of the game is not really doable when fighting large vehicles supported by other flying vehicles with gunbound enemies! The 2nd to last stage had me going back to the ammo vendor endlessly to refill my sniper rifle, then back again. Some stages, I basically gave up killing every enemy unit, and just blitzed through them to get to the end zone, as I had no ammo left!

This is the problem I'm encountering at the moment, running out of ammo as I'm fighting the bulk of the enemies, only to encounter a pair of tanks that I can't kill as I'd spent all my long range ammo on the snipers! Gah! I'm going to put the game aside for awhile.

The 3rd of the trilogy plays like a well tuned engine. It is balanced near perfectly, and has so many convenience features like a "buy all ammo" option. In addition, weapons you have and are already maxxed out don't show in the weapons vendor screen, making it very easy to determine what you can buy for, and what ammo you need.

The mini game here was simple, and very easy to get into the zone; I love the MDK-esque parts when you skydive into new areas with other commando robots. Not sure what else to say, it's a very polished game, and the pacing is great, something is always coming up, making it difficult to say, "I'll stop here for the day" without feeling a sense of un-accomplishment.

One fun thing about the trilogy is that weapons from previous games are available, and if you bought them, get them free! I also like the fact that Clank starts out the 2nd game fully upgraded, because the first game had us going around to upgrade him. Characters from previous games also make appearances. Such continuity just puts a smile on my face.

Can't wait for the movie next year, I'll know who all the characters are now :3