My Rambling Thoughts

An Expensive Friday

Season w/ express$208
Child S w/ E$198

$661.12. Good or not, I don't know, but it sure is expensive.

Upgrading to Ubuntu 18.04

Finally, one year later?

There is no standalone 32-bit installer for 18.04, but Canonical allows 32-bit 16.04 to be upgraded to 32-bit 18.04. Hopefully they find a way to upgrade to 64-bit 20.04 seamlessly. (But I may not need this anymore, read on.)

The sudden switch to 64-bit for all major Linux distros caught me by surprise. I thought the transition would take years. I'm also surprised there aren't any breakages. int remains as 32-bit, but long is now 64-bit. My very old code would break, because I used to cast void * (now 64-bit) to int. Later I do the reverse, but even that is not truly portable. It is time to acquaint with size_t, intptr_t and ptrdiff_t.

But I digress.

It is really easy to press ctrl-c when upgrading the packages. Do not panic. Kill dpkg and re-run it:

sudo dpkg --configure -a

The installation was pretty seamless, with just a few config file conflicts (as usual). Except, after it was done, the GUI did not come up. And the kernel crashed after several minutes.

After several hours, I found that the system worked if I entered Recovery mode first, then resumed normal boot. Hmm... could it be related to graphics acceleration?

I added nomodeset to kernel boot command line and it sort of worked. It booted up fine, but there was no local display. (It worked fine in Recovery mode.)

So, the system is limping along now, but I think it is due for a fresh install. It managed to upgrade from 10.04 -> 12.04 -> 14.04 -> 16.04 -> 18.04 (barely). It is time to go 64-bit. :lol:

A new lease of life for my notebook

US$54.99. Free local shipping. ezbuy shipping S$7.98 (0.75 kg volumetric weight after repack; 2.87 kg before). This includes some USB cables.

Battery is the Achilles heel for modern devices. Useful Lithium-ion battery life is around 1.5 years (500 recharge cycles). After that, capacity is only about half. Devices have a far longer lifespan than that.

They are said to last longer if they are charged to 80% instead of 100%.

Old Lithium-ion batteries also get bloated if you over-charge them. You have to proactively stop charging them once they are full.

Some decent game money at last!

So I failed to get the Dice Tower replacement paper money. There are two things I look out for: normal looking bills (not too plain nor stylish) and standard denominations (e.g. 1, 5, 10, 50).

A quick search shows The Game Crafter offers something to my liking:

Two sets: notes in small ($1, 5, 10, 50) and large (100, 500, 1000, 5000) denominations. Each set has 96 cards and costs US$10.99.

It would have been even better if each denomination has a different image (as do real bills).

They also have Power Grid themed paper money, but I don't like the denominations ($1, 5, 25)...

OTOH, they have Power Grid themed coins for US$12.99. One set has 148 coins (56x $1, 30x $5, 30x $10, 16x $25, 16x $50). Sold!

TGC wants US$16.39 + US$2.86 packaging/insurance to ship to Singapore, so I had them ship to ezbuy for US$8.79 + $0.97 insurance. ezbuy shipping S$3.99 (0.50 kg).

This ends my search for paper money. ^_^

Modular Buildings alternate build

It is "easy" to create your own Modular Building, but using only pieces from a single set? That is why these are impressive.

Cafe Corner

The Asylum (Cafe Corner)

Most people, including me, do not realize Cafe Corner has gray and blue pieces, because the red is overwhelming. In fact, there is a small blue apartment alternate build on the back of the box.

Grand Emporium

Wedding Hall (Grand Emporium)

The early Modular Buildings can be turned into other buildings "more" easily due to their blocky nature (more bricks). GE looks the best of them, IMO.

Pet Shop

Book Store (Pet Shop)

The signature Pet Shop colors are all hidden at the back. Very clever.

Tower Bridge

Corner Store (Tower Bridge)

This blew my mind the first time I saw it. A bridge can be repurposed for a building!

Disney Castle

Costume Shop (Disney Castle)

I have no interest in Disney Castle, but this makes me reconsider.

Big Ben

The Lounge (Big Ben)

Not as impressive as the above two, but still impressive.