Haynes Internal Combustion Engine

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Jan 1, 2011 in Tech

First of all, I’d like to say a massive thank you to our good friend Antirealism for buying me and C such an interest Christmas present.

Secondly, I’m not sure what you all did for New Years eve, however thanks to Andy, me and C were kept occupied by the Haynes Internal Combustion Engine.

As we hadn’t planned on going out, to stand in an packed pub, which we’d spend a fortune to get into, to only have to spend the majority of the night queueing at the bar….we decided to get some beer in, and build the engine 🙂

I had no idea these thing existed until the Christmas special of the Top Gear …however after watching it, they were firmly on my radar. You can imagine how grateful we were when Andy turned up on Boxing Day with our present 🙂

The tech spec on the description gives the below

  • The engine you will build is a simplified version of a real car engine. The model is designed to be fun to put together and to help you understand how a full-size four-stroke car engine works.
  • Includes a Haynes manual giving you clear step-by-step instructions to guide you through the build process.
  • Comes complete with all of the parts and tools you need to assemble the working model.
  • The on/off controller includes a sound chip which reproduces the noise of a real engine.
  • For ages 10 years and over.

The engine took us around 2 1/2 hours to build, which wasn’t bad as we were drinking at the same time.

Below are the unboxing and building photos, and a video of the engine running.

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Tallinn Stag Do, the journey there

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Jul 13, 2009 in Brain Dump

The plan

My bro (The groom), leaves sunny Huddersfield at 2am on Wednesday 8th July 2009, picks me up around 3.30am, then picks up another guy from Watford Gap services, then down the M1, round the M25, up the M11, to Stanstead airport for around 5.30am ish, meet the other 4 in the other car, check in, have a few bevies, fly at 7.40am, and land in Tallinn around midday (+2 hours time difference), drink some more beers, goto the Beer Festival, see Moby, have a good time !

What actually happened

We did well, we got to the airport, we had the few beers, and at 7am decided to goto the departure gate…(40 minutes early), however in our wisdom (lets carry our bags as hand luggage as it will save us £16), we totally ignored all the 100ml rule for all liquids. Now this would have been fine if we’d have done 1 of 2 things, either a, not been drinking for the last hour and a half, or b, headed for the departure lounge a lot earlier.

To cut a long story short, the majority of us has toiletries with us, that were way over the 100ml limit, so we were given the option of throwing them, or checking the bag in, most went for the “sure, please feel free to throw my £40 aftershave”, however I gathered up mine and my bro’s toiletries, and took the advice of the security dude, and headed back for the check in desk to check in my bag.

After running through security, then across the airport to the Easy Jet check in desks, then getting stuck behind the woman who had packed far too much in this bag that you could have lived in….I finally got my turn at the check in desk, only to be told that check in had closed for our flight ! WTF!?!…. so decided to run back to security and just ditch everything, as it was now 7.25am. Queued up again, went through security….stood staring at the time, and my bag that had been pushed to 1 side for about 5 mins before somebody finally got around to re-searching it again, I politely told the lady, “Please, my flight leaves in 10 mins, that guy over there told me to go back to check in, but check in is closed, so please just throw everything!”…..this took her at least another 5 mins, as you swabbed my bag for drugs, and carefully removed the toiletries

So anyway, 7.35am, I’m through, I’m allowed to carry on, only to get a phone call from my bro saying, “Never mind the flight has gone!”….Unfortunately I wasn’t there, but apparently some jobs worth from Easy Jet allowed 4 to get on the plane, but wouldn’t allow the other 3 that were waiting for me, however another 2 got back off the plane, leaving only 2 on and 6 of us in the airport with a missed flight!, Please note: the plane was delayed leaving, as it took them 20 mins to get one of the lads bags off !

After 25 mins of us sat there giving it the “So what we going to do now”, we were all call to a collection point, as if it was a normal morning practice for them “If anybody has missed an Easy Jet flight this morning, please make yourself known at check in desk 4″….so we moseyed up, and well as 2 business guys, who had missed their flight by 25 minutes, suggesting that the information on the ticket was ambiguous, and they thought the flight time, was actually the start boarding time …….the future is bright…..

We were then all frogmarched through the airport until we arrive back at arrivals, only to be told the next flight to Tallinn is on Friday morning !…WTF…we needed to put out heads together, so back to the pub it was :)….After multiple phone calls, and about 5 hours of trying to sort out flights, we had a couple of options, fly to Riga, then a 17 hour coach ride to Tallinn, which we agreed on, but when we came to book it, there was only 4 seats free, so scrapped that. Around 1pm and after much more beer we decided the only way we could get there on the same day was…..a flight from London Heathrow to Copenhagen (Denmark), then a flight from Copenhagen to Helsinki (Finland), then a ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn (Estonia). Sounded sensible enough to us, as we did have a stomach full of beer 🙂

The epic journey then began; we booked the flights (£962), and ordered a taxi to Heathrow from Stanstead (£130). As we were waiting for the taxi, my bro had a phone call from his other half to suggest that my card was declined, and I needed to ring my bank. Knowing I had plenty of credit on the card, I rang the bank, but with my name not being to main card holder I needed to get hold of C to authorise the payment. This was an issue, as she was driving to Swindon for a meeting, and doesn’t answer the phone while driving (since bought a bluetooth car kit). We decided to get in the taxi anyway. The hour and a half taxi journey consisted on my texting, phoning, and email C to get her to authorise the payment, but to no avail, only made worse buy everybody else’s partner ringing in to see if we were sorted.

As we pulled into Heathrow, my phone rang, and it was C, I’ve never been so relieved, the conversation resembled the conversation between Luke, and C3P0 when he’s asking him to Shut down all garbage mashers on the detention level, kinda a don’t talk, just fix please. Bless her cotton socks, off she went and 10 mins later I got a call saying, all good, try again, the fraud department had put a block on the transaction, which she’d had lifted. Myself and my bro, then ran to the SAS desk, and paid the lady, I’ve never been so relieved to payout nearly a £1000 on my credit card !

Once we’d received our confirmation, when headed for the check in desk, where this guy wouldn’t let us through, we thought, oh dear here we go, but we were wrong, it was probably the best service we’ve ever had, this guy ran us through the self service check out, helped us pick our seats, printed the labels for our bags, and then let us through to the check in desk….we were finally on our way !

Walked all the way through everything we could, and went to plonk ourselves down in the bar as we had 4 hours before the plane was due to depart, and drank….drank a lot.

5.30pm came round, we went through to departures, and on the plane, everybody slept the entire flight, as it has already been a very long day, and we’d been drinking for 12 hours already.

9.20pm (Denmark time) we arrived in Copenhagen, got off the plane, and went to the pub, as we had an hour and a half before the next flight. One of the lads offered to buy the round, which he regretted, it work out around £8 a pint !

10.00pm, we went to the departures desk, as there was no way we were missing this flight, walked through, all smooth, and again, we all slept on the flight.

1.15am (Finland time), we arrived in Helsinki, collected our bags, and headed for the airport café. As the ferry wasn’t departing for Tallinn until 8am, we spent the next 3 hours sat in the café drinking beer, some lads crashed out, some of us just drank !

When it got to around 4am, we decided it would be a good idea to head for the ferry port very early, as we had to be checked in by 7am. Short taxi journey later, and we were outside of the ferry port. The port itself didn’t open till 7am, so there we were 6, blokes, 24 hours worth of beer in us, dehydrated, hungry and cold. The ferry port was like a ghost town, very windy, no open toilet, which is bad when everyone had a bladder full. After about 30 mins of wandering around, we took up refuge in a couple of bus stops to shield us from the cold, and wind.

After another 30 mins or so, of us dying, we noticed a market was starting to be set up, so 1 of the lads went on a mission to find food. 1 of the first tents he came to, did do food, but wouldn’t be ready until 6am, but told us, 6am on the dot, we could eat and drink there.

I have to say, that has to be one of the longest hours of our lives, we sat there looking shattered, red eyes, and trying not to make eye contact with the locals who were now starting to use the bus stop for it’s correct use. The bus stop was sat facing a clock tower, I think we all spent the hour with our eyes fixed on it.

5.55am, the rain started, and I mean really started, it was bouncing a couple of feet of the ground, and the shelter didn’t really protect us.

Finally 6am came round, and we made a run for the tent, and all huddled around this table. 6 coffees were instantly ordered, and we were just glad to be finally warmer and dryer. We asked what food they had, and she ran through a list of donut related products, and meat pies….6 meat pies it was. When she put down the 6 paper plates, she took 6 “pies” from this box and gave us all one each. I remember everyone looking at each other with a WTF ?!? look, as these weren’t pies as we know them, there were large donuts ?…first bite, again, this is a donut without the sugar…2nd bite, and sure enough there was some kinda of meat, mince I think. To be honest we were all that hungry we just ate up and drank out coffees. At this point the heavens truly opened and we were sat, in a tent, in Finland, in the middle of a thunderstorm, the rain was so bad, we had a small river running past our feet and soaking our bags, it was terrible !

It got to around 6.30 ish, and the rain started to die down, so we decided to make a run for the ferry port. A short run later and we were there, we were finally inside the ferry port, with time to spare !. We all sat on the benches with a big smile on our faces knowing that all we had to do, was get on the ferry. We looked at the boards, they said, in on 3 columns, 7:00, 8:00, 10:00, the next row said, 9:00,10:00, 12:00, and it seemed to say this another 6 times, so we assumed it was boarding time, departure and arrival time.

About 15 mins later, I looked round and noticed the board had changed to 7:00, 8:00, Peruutettu, and 9:00, 10:00, Peruutettu…..this didn’t look good. My bro went to the person in the news stand and asked what Peruutettu meant in English……Cancelled he said……our faces dropped …….

We were told that due to the bad whether, the ferry wouldn’t be going. As the only way from Helsinki to Tallinn was ferry, we were kind of screwed !, we were however told that there was another ferry port where the big ferries were…which was about 10 mins in away in a taxi. 3 of us jumped in the only taxi outside, and we ordered another taxi for the other 3.

10 minutes later, our taxi arrived at the other ferry port, I took a wonder inside to see what time the ferries left, 1 left 7.30am, the next left at 8.00am, however the check in time for both was 7am…..it was currently 6.55am ! The next ferries left at 10am….so we had to get all our tickets and within the next 5 mins, which was fine, apart from there was a queue, and we were still waiting on the other 3 to turn up…..

After a minute or 2 the taxi pulled up, and they slowly walked to the entrance like zombies….I shouted to them, we had minutes to get out tickets and everybody burst into a run. We ran in the building, up the stairs, to a kiosk and demanded 6 tickets, we didn’t even ask the price and handed over our passports, and paid (180 euros), ran up and down the ramps (which where the lengths of the ferry) to the ferries, and finally boarded …..

A very rocky 2 ½ hour ferry ride across, and we were finally in Tallinn !, a journey that should have taken 2 ½ hours, direct on a plain, took an additional 21 hours, and nearly £1300…..but we made it.

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You’re In The Movies

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Jan 4, 2009 in XBOX 360

Well, after drinking a few beers last night, we decided we were ready to play “You’re In The Movies”. The game fires up, and you have some little actionman type dude running you through how to get the best from the game, camera positioning, lighting, etc etc……….then load screen.

We then selected a new movie (“Everyone’s a Superhero” I believe). It than ran us through all the lighting and postioning setting again, took a snapshot of the room without us, and then asked up to come back…..we had become ghosts….
Dependant on where we stood we either got 1/2 a head, or no legs, or I’d shed a few pound as one of my sides had disappeared….
So before we continues, I went back to the main menu, turned on more lights as my assumption was the contrast on the shadows was making parts of us disappear.

Ran through the configeration again, we were still ghosts, with no legs…ran through all the settings but to no avail, so we though, meh…we’ll do it anyway.

The games seemed to consist of running, a lot of running !, not the kinda thing you want to do with a belly full of beer, however in a crazy catch 22 situation, this was the only way you would want to play this game, after a few beers.

We ran through the “virtually run”, “virtually hold weights”, etc, etc. We did however have one major problem, C is 5″ smaller that I, so we ended up putting coins on the floor to mark where we needed to stand to have optimal recognition, but before each “challenge”, we seemed to have to move quite alot to get within the outline, then the camera still failed to correctly pick up movements.

Once we’d endured all the tests, we sat feeling a tad sick (from the beer inside us being shook up so much) to watch the finished production. It seemed to last 30 seconds…….5 mins of jumping about and painful loading times for this ?!?, it did as it says in the title, we were in the movies, well a 30 second click on the Xbox

Foolishly thinking that as it was the first level, and in most games the first level is always a tad lame, we did the 2nd one, again after reconfiguring we still had no legs, still much running, still poor recognition, after about 5 mins, we sat to watch the 2nd vid, and again about 30 secs of….well movie I guess. The thing is, with there only being 2 of us playing, and the game designed for 4, half of the time was using pre-rendered footage for the other 2 “players”, so we got even less screentime.

All I can say is, with is painful loadtime, and poor recognition, I’m glad I didn’t just buy game only (£25 on play.com), otherwise I think I would have been gutted !

I think the only way this would have worked well is with a green screen behind me, and me in a red jump suite, with my face painted red in a kinda Hellboy Stylee.

If I was to be really generous, I would give this a 4/10, as it’s Microsofts answer to the eyetoy, on the upside, I no longer have to buy a webcam for my Vista machine.

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