Was that it then?

11°C, wind & showers

It’s dark, it’s 7am and it’s the last day of the year even though last night wasn’t exactly early, I woke at 6am and at dawn, I can take the dogs out.
No new- year’s resolutions this time ’round- the last few have worked out and there it no real need to wait ’til new year to change something in life. 2007 will see some mountain walking, the same amount of cycling and probably more futile computer game-play.
Currently I have been whiling away time playing "Company of Heroes". A corney name I know but this is rather a good game, see more on this Wiki. It is a little beyond the power of this computer but an upgrade is due in the next quater anyway.
2006 has seen my paintings continue, less rapidly but more concentrated on each one. There has been a price for the time spent on those, that is- fewer animations.
There is the most beautiful birdsong coming from outside, dawn is almost here, and the dogs are wide awake.

Marquis drive

10°C, sunny

Cannock Chase: brisk walking on the Chase which was supposed to be with the 3-peaks team. I was late; mainly due to the meeting point  being off familiar turf. At least I met them at the end & they had walked about the same distance as I did. They also walked over round pebbles of the Bunta-pebble bed, surrounded by treacle black mud from years of forest managment. There were relatively few wild animals, offset by vast numbers of mountain bikers. Some tracks are impassable due to hoardes of those cyclists. Oh well, it looks like fun and unlikely to break bikes like some terrain would. Swinnertons cycles looks like a useful place, I make a mental note of it.

Geforce tweeks

8°C, changing- rain arriving.

Watch out- this section is for a geekiness fix. Skip it if you don’t need to get out more often.

Geforce tweeks for specific games, I didn’t know these were available on my card but here’s the explanation pasted from a Ubi forum:

Right click on desktop and select Properties menu.
Click the Settings tab & click the Advanced button down the bottom.
Click the tab that lists your vid card (6800 in my case).

This is your Nvidia controls. Go to the section called Performance & Quality Settings. In the Application Profiles box, select il2fb.exe and Il2 Sturmovik Forgotten Battles from the Application and Active Profiles boxes respectively.

Now click the Modify Profile… button and select "Modify" from the two choices.

In the next box, select browse, and navigate to the Il-2 Sturmovik 1946 game folder and click on the il2fb exe icon and press Open.
(Back now in the Modify Profile window) Click OK.

Now you can tweak the Nvidia settings…

Make sure the View: Advanced Settings is selected. From the available selections, tick the boxes and set them up as per below:

X Antialiasing settings 2xQ/4x (whichever is best for you)
X Anisotropic filtering – OFF
X Image settings – Quality
Color profile (leave blank)
X Vertical sync – ON
X Force mipmaps – Trilinear
X Conformant texture clamp – ON
0 Extension limit – OFF
X Hardware Acceleration – Single display mode
X Trilinear optimisation – ON
X Anisotropic mip filter optimisation – ON
X Anisotropic sample optimisation – ON
0 Transparency antialiasing – OFF (don’t tick the box)
X Triple buffering – ON
X Negative LOD bias – CLAMP

Now click OK and the new settings should be saved and activate when you start ’46.

Finally, go to the setup tab in your ’46 folder.

Click on the Settings tab and select Custom.

Set Texture mipmap filter to Anisotropic.
Set Texture compression to None.
Unselect Dither
Select Use Vertex Arrays
Unselect Polygon Stipple

Under Extensions:

Tick: Mutitexture, Combine, Secondary color, Vertex Array Extension and Texture Compress ARB.
Leve the others un-ticked.
Select OK to close and save.

This is what I did and found my performance greatly improved over identical settings in 4.05m. If anyone has any improvments to this, it’d be great if they can share them Thumbs Up.

preping the next one

6°C, grey everywhere.

Drawing: getting ready for the nest picture, primarily I am concerned with getting the composition right. The colours are ready in my mind’s eye – all developed by doing the last picture. I have another set of photos of another horse- an almost all black one this time.

The final compo’ should be somewhere between this picture and the thumbnail below. There are several other sketches in that same A6 book- from which a decision could be reached by tomorrow. that scan above looks a bit "off-white"- it’s tricky scanning that book, the pages are more yellow and the gutter deeper than other books used in the past.

Dogs at christmas

5°C, grey but dry

The Dogs have stolen their christmas presents. They took them out of the bag in the wardrobe and sat on the sofa to eat them. With christmas day tomorrow- what else are they going to steal this weekend?
Don’t look at me like that- it’s not funny!


Christmas Music by candlelight
What a Stunning performance in the Jewerly Quater. They orchestrated the pieces to carry us along which meant the audience participation bit was fully supported.
My favourites were Samuel Barber’s "Agnus Dei" and Peter Warlock’s "Benedictamus Domino" for entirely different reasons. I have new CDs. this is the third time I have seen this group perform, the best being Arvo Part and this night.
Best speed tests today:
6.00 Mbps
which means you can download at 764.94 KB/sec. from our servers.
Now we’re averaging 6.6 Mbps, not bad eh?

Shortest day- supposedly

0°C, dense fog.

Added up – this could be the shortest day. the earliest sun-set was last week- on the 13th December and the mornings will continue to get darker for a few days yet. We have 7 hours and 39 minutes of daylight today. By Saturday, we will see an improvement of 6 seconds on that. wow!

Audigy: finally got round to putting in the new soundcard in this computer. Though it still needs some setting up, it definitely makes clearer sounds as well as doing some special effects like echo and reverb on mouse-click sounds too. The biggest change should be in games- we’ll see about that.


7°C, cold, damp and very dull.

CDs: Tom Waits, this is a triple set which leaves me wondering why he can’t release more often so they are spread out & we don’t have to wait so long?

Game: latest incarnation of the Sturmovic flight sim series. 

Which is very nice to have just before the holiday, but I have a painting to finish….

True to my word- ithe painting now finished   ….pitcha tomorrow.
The Tom Waits triple is promising- never one to make a judgement on first hearing, all the right ingredients are there.
Finally– the title comes from the sound a bird made while I was out with the Ladies (both proudly wearing their flashing LED collars).

Faster? is it not so?

7°C, clear.

I may be enjoying a faster internet connections, maybe it’s just the few sample tests ran this afternoon, time will tell. the best speed so far has been 1.65Mbps.
Bristol: today has seen us nostalgically driving over old cycling routes from the years I lived in Birstow. With some over-confidence, I took some wrong turns- ten years has been enough to forget, but the remembering has been rather nice. Cheddar Gorge was just the same, as was Wells.