Plutonic Rainbows

Watchmen

HBO’s Watchmen is a companion-piece to the Watchmen comics by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, set in present-day Tulsa, thirty years after the events of the comics.

First episode is quite compelling. Visually stunning and rewards a repeat viewing. There are a lot of great details you’ll miss the first time. If you’ve seen it already and want a recap, there is one here.

HBO must have spent a fortune on this show. Looking forward to the remaining eight episodes. It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds.

Blockchain in Python

A script that gets a basic blockchain up and running.

import hashlib as hasher

class Block:
  def __init__(self, index, timestamp, data, previous_hash):
    self.index = index
    self.timestamp = timestamp
    self.data = data
    self.previous_hash = previous_hash
    self.hash = self.hash_block()
  
  def hash_block(self):
    sha = hasher.sha256()
    sha.update(str(self.index) + 
               str(self.timestamp) + 
               str(self.data) + 
               str(self.previous_hash))
    return sha.hexdigest()
    
import datetime as date

def create_genesis_block():
  # Manually construct a block with
  # index zero and arbitrary previous hash
  return Block(0, date.datetime.now(), "Genesis Block", "0")
  
def next_block(last_block):
  this_index = last_block.index + 1
  this_timestamp = date.datetime.now()
  this_data = "Hey! I'm block " + str(this_index)
  this_hash = last_block.hash
  return Block(this_index, this_timestamp, this_data, this_hash)
  
Create the blockchain and add the genesis block
blockchain = [create_genesis_block()]
previous_block = blockchain[0]

How many blocks should we add to the chain
after the genesis block
num_of_blocks_to_add = 20

Add blocks to the chain
for i in range(0, num_of_blocks_to_add):
  block_to_add = next_block(previous_block)
  blockchain.append(block_to_add)
  previous_block = block_to_add
  # Tell everyone about it!
  print "Block #{} has been added to the blockchain!".format(block_to_add.index)
  print "Hash: {}\n".format(block_to_add.hash)

Good Battery Management

Some sound advice from Wired UK:

A phone battery is made up of two layers, one of graphite and the other of lithium cobalt oxide. Energy releases when lithium ions move from the graphite layer to the lithium cobalt oxide layer. Charging up a battery shifts the lithium ions back the other way, preparing the process to start again.

What you this tells us is that the real sweet spot for a battery is a 50 per cent charge – when half of the battery’s moveable lithium ions are in the lithium cobalt oxide layer and the other half in the graphite layer. This equilibrium puts the least amount of strain on the lithium ions that power your battery, and basically extends the number of charge cycles it can take before degrading. Therefore it’s best to keep your your battery between 20 and 80 per cent, and regularly top up with partial charges.

The article also talks about badly engineered apps and the downside of trickle charging - which is what I was doing with the Belkin.

Belkin Wireless Woes

Decided to buy a Belkin Wireless Charger two weeks ago and it already seems to have had a detrimental health on the XS Max battery capacity. I’ve previously had 100% capacity for almost a year.

Actually, looking at my diary it is exactly a year ago today that I bought the XS Max, so it’s disappointing that I couldn’t keep the 100% record intact - which I’d achieved by careful battery management. Which brings me back to the Belkin and its effect on battery capacity for the iPhone.

Within fourteen days, it has fallen to 98%. This is due to trickle charging.

According to Battery University, leaving your phone plugged in when it’s fully charged, like you might overnight, is bad for the battery in the long run.

Once your smartphone has reached 100% charge, it gets “trickle charges” to keep it at 100% while plugged in. It keeps the battery in a high-stress, high-tension state, which wears down the chemistry within.

I’m going back to my old way of just using the 30W USB-C every few days and try and put the thought of the £50 I spent behind me.

Pegwell Bay

Haeckels, based in Margate capture the essence of the sea with their parfum.

Unkempt beauty, a natural haven to birds, insects and animals of all shapes and sizes but accessible for man to wonder at its beauty and roam the paths of Pegwell Bay. Along the side of each of these beautiful walks is fennel; growing from bulb to high hollow stemmed bush whilst on the salt marsh that lays between you and sea can be seen orchids, salt marsh thrift and marsh grasses.

Remnants of an industrial past lay all around, clues to its history but all this is thrown into a shadow as the natural beauty of this place truly takes over; the senses are met at all sides with sights, smells and textures which makes walking through and experiencing it a special journey.

Available here.

iTunes Store Down

A sizeable number of iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users are experiencing an issue with some Apple services at the moment. More specifically, there are some reports about an unknown message that has appeared on iOS 13 and iPadOS. The iTunes Store error simply pops up on the screen unexpectedly and for several times.

The Joker

Given all the hype, you could be forgiven for thinking that The Joker is some deep analysis into the mind of someone tipping into insanity. However, I came away feeling as if I hadn’t really learnt anything new. Great performances but I just couldn’t get with it. Maybe a second viewing will change things.

HTRK - Over The Rainbow

Unexpected, gorgeous new LP from HTRK, a follow-up to their recent Ghostly album ‘Venus in Leo’, it’s the soundtrack to Jeremy Peixoto’s Scientology documentary ‘Over The Rainbow’, mastered by Rashad Becker. A rare and unexpected all-instrumental showreel, their suite of original music is testament to a haunting soul that’s long lurked under the hood of their singular, hugely evocative sound.

The soundtrack strips away HTRK’s signature vocals and drum machines in a commission to fit the mood of Peixoto’s feature - a film that seeks to better understand Scientology through a range of perspectives, from psychologists to former members. Jonnine Standish and Nigel Yang use their considerable knack for conjuring haunting, heavy-lidded feels and ohrwurm hooks to map the mood, deploying a trademark, incisive sense of detachment that colours the film’s intersection of real beliefs and ideas of Scientology as a sect.

In the absence of Jonnine Standish’s vocals and Nigel Yang’s 808 boom, HTRK’s musick is pared to its essence of synths and electronics and painted in hazy, illusive strokes from a palette of smudged pastels mutual to both South California and the band’s native Australia. The result is a 13 part mosaic tiling hazy blue cues with aqueous ambient pads and baroque themes, playing out like the atmospheric strokes to LA noir in a way that silhouettes the film’s probing narrative and rhetoric and also reflects its fascination with American culture and the supernatural in a similar way to Eno’s ambient classics or Lynch flicks and their scores.

Ultimately ‘Over The Rainbow’ is an instant play-it-again entry to HTRK’s catalogue, one that supplies a sort of crystal ball window onto their practice and most subtly illuminates the duo’s masterful control of tonal sensitivity and floating, chamber-like composition. A big recommendation to all lovers of classic ambient music, from Pinkcourtesyphone to Gigi Masin, AFX and Eno.

Boomkat Editions