I Smile

I jog past a colleague outside the office, pausing for a moment only to apologise for not being able to stop to chat, because I have a train to catch. I always played things by ear and even as recently as autumn, I would have stopped. There was always another bus.

I stand patiently in line at Oxford Circus to buy a ticket to the suburbs, just outside London. I don’t have a pass because my last weekly one expired as I continue to optimise my commuting expenditure. I note that I’m trading a non-renewable resource, my time, to save a bit of renewable resource, my cash.

Skipping down the escalator I keep repeating my mantra, “stay patient”. Arriving at the crowded platform, I read my book for a minute and when the tube arrives, I continue for another few minutes, standing, of course, being jostled, forcing myself to smile because the alternative would just be miserable.

At the inter city rail station, I scan the departure board for the train times. I missed my preferred train by one minute. I don’t curse as I used to. Jogging to the holding area, well, not quite jogging, more a fast shuffle, like the undead on uppers, I find the optimum position for scanning the TV monitor for the platform announcement. Like sprinters, poised, we hope to catch the ‘b’ of the bang as the frame with the platform number appears. It appears. I’m on the move.

Speed-shuffling to the train, I suppress the joy of the small victory of a double seat that will remain singly occupied for the duration of my journey.

I read my book. It was a gift from a man who I respect, admire and like an awful lot.

As I meditate on my status as a commuter, taking small pleasure in trivial trip optimisations and feeling the merest twinge of grief at the most minor inconveniences, I feel also a prick of cognitive dissonance when I look at the title of the book, which is “Punk Rock – An Oral History”

I was once that teenager into punk, who swore he’d never become a commuter.

I smile.

Cmd-Z in Safari

I just closed a tab in Safari on my MacBook and just out of idle curiosity tried ⌘-Z (the default Mac keystroke for “undo”). To my complete surprise and delight, Safari reopened the tab I just closed. Even better, history is preserved when you undo.

I’ve just started mucking around with Unity too, and there are a couple of keyboard shortcuts you should be aware of in the Mac version that I find time-saving. The first is ⌘-P to play the current scene. The other is ⌘-Backspace to delete an object.

Finally, if the cursor keys are a bit of a reach for you, then I discovered this useful list of emacs-based keyboard shortcuts that can be used in any Mac OS X text field. I find Ctrl-A and Ctrl-E particularly useful.

MacBooks and Auto WiFi Depending on Ethernet Availability Using Keyboard Maestro

When I connect an Ethernet cable to my MacBook, WiFi is automatically disabled. When I disconnect the Ethernet cable, WiFi is enabled again. This not standard behaviour. It seems like magic. so how did I do it?

Brett Terpstra recently posted a tip on how to turn a Mac’s WiFi on and off from the shell[1]. I remembered that Keyboard Maestro recently added functionality to allow the triggering of a script when a volume was mounted or unmounted[2].

Well, what does a volume mount have to do with an ethernet cable connection? I only “dock”[3] my MacBook to a USB extender, power and Ethernet. Whenever I plug in the USB extender, my media and backup drives become available. Sometimes I might disconnect my backup drive, but whenever I’m “docked”, my media drive entitled amazingly enough, “Media” is always connected.

So I set up a Volume mounted trigger on “Media” and this executed the following shell script, taken straight from Terpstra’s article:

networksetup -setairportpower en0 off

And I set up a corresponding shell script trigger for when “Media” is unmounted as follows:

networksetup -setairportpower en0 on

Voilà! I no longer have to manually turn WiFi off to take advantage of lightning fast Ethernet speeds when I’m plugged into my BT Infinity 2 router over the Gigabit Ethernet, and I no longer have to remember to enable WiFi when I unplug.

  1. “Quick Tip: Automating your Mac’s wifi power”  ↩
  2. “Major Changes for 6.0”  ↩
  3. I ordered a Zendock a lifetime ago on Kickstarter. They seem like nice people, but it’s been a very long time.  ↩

Reach for the PC

Screen Shot 2014 02 22 at 20 18 45

Finally then, here is the PC build of Reach for the Sky, my toy, soon to be I think, the world’s first Rocket RPG. Yes, that’s grandiose. Yes, that’s tongue in cheek. Oh and there is a Mac version too. Of course. And the Mac version has that lovely rocket sound.

Get the PC build here.

Get the Mac build here.

Remember, it’s just a toy, so muck around with it. I’ll be building a game on top of it.

You can fiddle with the JSON files in the assets folder and see what happens. The good news is that you can fiddle with them without restarting the game. After you’ve fiddled, just hit the Backspace (delete on Mac) key and all the changes will be reloaded.

You can change the sky gradients, the engine power, the atmospheric density at ground and at the top of the sky, the drag on the ship, and lots more. Please give me comments here, or on Twitter @shahidkamal with the hashtag #RFTS

Thanks to everyone for your help so far!

Witness Testimony