Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tablet Life.......

Over the past few weeks I have been really playing around with my Tablet, and my daughter's tablet. We both have Android tablets, as I do not like Apple, and will not buy any of their products. With the super storm, I was in need of movies for my tablets, and other media to keep us busy during the down times. So after the storm I really did some thinking on how to best use my tablets and media. One idea was to start streaming my media in my house. Now I have a number of systems in my house, and would like for just one point for all my files to live. Having to copy all my stuff from one device to another all the time sucks, and takes a ton of time.

So here is my current lay out of my house.
  • TV room, I have a 64 bit win 7 machine hooked up to the TV.
  • Kitchen, I have a full Win 7 desktop with a HD Monitor, TV tuner card.
  • Bed room, I have a win 7 laptop hooked up to my TV.
  • Office had a win 8 (yuck) game rig.
  • Tablet one, ASUS transformer tf101
  • Tablet two, Samsung player 5"
I do not want to play with the game rig, as I want it for just games, but the rest I want to get all hooked up to streaming. Now I will be replacing my TV room PC with an Android player. This is a small device that turns your TV into an Android tablet. So with my wants listed I headed to Google to see what I could find.

For Video conversion this is what I am doing, and please note this is being done with DVDs that I own.
First I needed to rip my DVDs, and using the TV room computer I installed DVD Fab to do this. This is a free simple DVD ripper. Once I have the DVD ripped to the hard drive, I wanted to make it more Tablet friendly, and yes you do loose quality doing this, but I do not mind the lose. To turn the Vob files into a format I can easily play on Android I use Free Make Video converter. This is an easy and fast tool to do the job. My goal is to get the files around 2gb, and DVD fab will get them to just over 4gb in size.

OK so now I have my videos in avi (mpg) format and I can play on all my computers and tablets now what. Do I copy these to my devices?? No that is a total pain, and this is ware my next find comes in to play. Serviio is a media server, and it took about 15 minutes to setup and run, so I was watching movies on my tablet and the end of 15 minutes. And I mean it, it was very simple and easy to set up and use.
With Serviio I can stream my video, my music, my photos, and more.To view the media on my tablets I install the Serviio GO app from the play store. And to view on my Windows systems I use VLC player, and open the bookmarks. Both of the connections methods I will cover in later posts.

So now my plan is to move the TV room PC to a closet and keep it as my media server, and just connect to it for streaming media. I can connect to the media server from my tablet using a great remote desktop tool called SplashTop. Install it both on a tablet (yes even IOS) and the desktop and it creates a great remote connection.

This hole process is very simple to setup, and I will be doing a step by step of each part in coming posts. The first will be on converting DVDs to vob files (ripping the DVD to your hard drive). If you use a different approach to get your media up and shared please comment, and I will look in to it, as I love this stuff.


GRUNTZ 1.1 released.

Well I have been waiting for this release for some time now and it is here. I was not informed by email that is was ready but I was checking my Wargames Vault account and saw it there for download. So I have printed it out in full color, and will be taking it for a comb binding this week. I have all way wanted to bind my own book so today I got started on that project.

I started by printing the book in parts. Pages 1 ~ 20, 21 ~ 40, 41 ~ 60, 61 ~ 80, 81 ~ 100, 101 ~ 120, 120 ~ 136. I set them to the printer in booklet format, so one one page of paper I will have 4 pages.
OK with the booklets printed I needed to keep the pages together. To do this I stapled them, and yes the stapler does not reach the center of the page. So I took page one of the booklet, and marked it up as so. First I found center, then I had to find the off set of the stapler from its front edge.

In this photo I have a 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, in a make shift jig of a computer (on left), box  (in back), on top of a box (bottom). The paper has lines (click for larger view). There is a center line, then the offset line. As you can see the stapler's front in on the offset line and the staple will end up on the center line when done. I have also marked ware I will place the staples. The only line I draw is the off set in light pencil and cross it ware the center of the staple goes.

In this photo you can see the staples. I just punch the staples through the pages right into the box below, starting with the center, and making sure the pages stay in line before moving to the next two staples.

Now I then gently remove the pages from the box so the staples do not rip through the paper. Next lay it flat with the staples sticking up, and lay a ruler along the staples and start a fold. Once it starts to fold bend the staples over as if they were normally stapled, and finish the fold to complete the booklet.
Now you see the booklets I created using this method. I have 7 in total, and I now have to figure how to put them together as a book. I will start with a needle and thread, and loop through the staples and knot each booklet together. Here is a web page that shows some thing like what I am doing but they are using holes for the thread, and I will use Staples form my holds. I am thinking of gluing a strip of cloth ribbon to the back edge of the outer booklets. Sowing the strips to the staples, and then bending them out to glue to the book cover when done. Kind of like L brackets on the front and back booklet. The I will glue the backs of all the booklets, to the back of my binding, then glue the L brackets to the inside covers.

So I hope to finish this supper geekey project soon.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How We survived Sandy!

So my wife and I were talking about what we need for the future, when another storm or other event happens again. We have a list of items that will will be getting, and keeping in good order, but let me lay out what we did to survive Sandy.

What we got before the storm:

  • Food, but we were not thinking long term loss of power, and did normal shopping. 
  • We got 4 cases of water. 
  • Our medication re-filled.
  • Gassed up both cars.
  • Checked all my camping gear. Coleman white fuel lantern, camping stove.

  • Batteries, Batteries, Batteries, and more Batteries
  • Propane for grill, and camping stove.
  • White fuel for lantern, one gal (we needed more).
  • Glow sticks.
  • Some more odds and ends, like movies for our Android tablets, and other entertainment.
The night of the storm:
Well I was not sure why my company closed the day of the storm, but it did. Sandy did not pick up till late in the day, but she did pick up. Monday gave us time to make sure we had what was needed for a few day with out power. So the storm hit in force, and by 7:30 PM our power was out, and little did we know it would stay out for 9 cold days. Bare in mind that almost to the day last year we had a killer snow storm, and lost power for only 12 hours, and we were thinking the same would happen here. So out came the camping stove, and lantern.

Now my stove is not the one above but very close to it. Also it was broken, and thanks to a toy I was able to fix it. The rubber O ring was missing, and in a pinch I used a Bendaroos to make one. A Bendaroo is a wire covered in a sticky wax, and I wrapped it around the connector and it filled the gap. It lasted till Saturday before it blew out on me.

Ok it is now Tuesday, and there was nothing but leaves, and a few branches in my yard, no damage that I could see. I made my coffee (use camping stove to heat water, then pour the water through the filter on my automatic coffee maker), then made eggs for breakfast. It was not till noon that we ventured out, and were totally shocked at all the damage.

This is just three streets over from mine, and this is now common on all most all streets in my town. I have never seen as many trees, and power poles knocked down. I know all of the photos of the storm came from the shore areas, and as bad as they were, it was terrible in the northern New Jersey as well. So back to the house and break out the games.
It got very cold at night, and the house lost all its heat, so we were forced to bunk up and stay warm at night. For the most part we all slept well under a number of blankets, and unzipped sleeping bags. In the kitchen we were cooking, and that is where the lantern was. With both putting off alot of heat, I decided to hang blankets across the opening to my kitchen, and we were all warm, and watching movies on my tablet.

With the keyboard dock I had 15 hours of battery life. Also a good board game after dinner help pass the time till bed. Our dogs and cat were also going in and out the kitchen to stay warm. We did end up getting sweaters for the dogs. We kept this up through the week.

Friday night brought some really bad news. My Mother was very sick, and not doing well. So I called my brother, left work to see her. I work less that 5 miles from the nursing home she is in, and it took me at least 45 minutes to get there. With all the downed trees, and power poles I was forced to change my route a number of times. Well in the nursing home I was told to say my good-byes to my Mother, and my brother and I did just that.
Saturday November 3, 2012 my Mother passed away.

Now to outline Saturday:
We started the day by taking showers, and this is my own home made shower. We start by putting pots of water on the camping stove, and the side burner on the gas grill. Next we use large bowls for snacks on football days, and a 2 gal watering can. We wash up and rinse off with the watering can. Not a great shower but we are all clean. This takes us two hours, and now of to get breakfast. We found a diner open and that took over an hour to eat, and get back on the road to see my mother. Well we missed her passing by 10 minutes, and I guess that was OK as my kids are to young to see this.
So now what do I do, I asked my self. The nursing home contacted the funeral home, and it all started. The best thing is I took care of the funeral plans 10 years ago, and this process was very simple and not taxing on my already stressed out self. So a big shout out to Par-Troy Funeral home, and the staff. In this trying time of no power, and the loss of my mother they were a great help and comfort to me and my family.
Thank You.

So now that my Mother passed the day is still not over. I end up going home and my bother is there to meet us, and try and get a handle on what needs to be done. So I go to make some of my Hurricane coffee, when my camping stove's toy O ring blows out. I ask my daughter if she has any more Bendaroos and no she does not. So it is off to the local hardware store. I get to Station Hardware only to find a line to get in, and it is full of people looking for plugs for generators, and kerosene. At this point one of the workers states they do not have kerosene, but they do have the heaters. My brother tells me he can get kerosene in PA where he lives so I get a heater, and an empty 5 gal kerosene can, and this is when the magic really started. The father (owner of the store) tells the son to get me the items, but makes a mistake and give me 1 gal of kerosene with the heater. So we go back and forth of the wrong items, and I end up with these items. Now there was no fight, and cross words, they made a mistake, and I now have heat.

As you can see this is a big hit with the kids.

So Saturday started out crappy, and ended up not so bad.... Thanks Mom!
Sunday was a great day only because we had some heat. Monday I was off from work to mourn the passing of my Mother, but the kerosene I got from PA was dirty, and stunk us out of the house. Then we took stock in our supplies, and found we were very close to no fresh food, very low on lantern fuel, ice, and I need clean kerosene.  Tuesday I set out to the polls, and to get more supplies. I was at the polls early to cast my vote, and all I have to say is YES for more years!!!! Next get more supplies! Well that did not go well. I found good clean kerosene, but not lantern fuel. My wife got some food but only small amounts as we could not keep them fresh long. Tuesday night was the coldest nigh of all, and the heater barley did any thing. Also my company mailed me an air card so I can get on the internet and see what is going on in the world. We ended up watching Captain American on Netflix.

Wednesday the last day with out power, oh and a new storm is set to hit:
We made it through the new storm, and we ended the 9 long days with out power. In the end we as a family did a great job of sticking together, and working together to get through this mess. My kids are 7 and 8 and I only put my son (7) in time out once during this whole ordeal. So I want to say here and now just how proud I am of my Wife Mary, Daughter Makayla (8), and Son Noah (7) for all you effort and work to survive Sandy and her aftermath.

I have so many people to thank for there help, and support during this time. My company Compucom sent some help in the way of a gift card to get some food, my boss was calling to make sure I got my wifi card, my co-workers for there support and some supplies, my brother Brad for his help, my wife's family for their help, the local hardware store, and the funeral home. There are more to say thanks to like the power guys and more, so I will just say Thank You to all who helped the victims of Hurricane Sandy......


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

More Orc Dreads painted up!

This weekend did not see allot of painting, but more priming of all my lose Orcs. I am trying to build them into units, and fraction. I did get two more of my Dreads painted, but they need their bases, and banners added.
These Dreads are modeled after the Evil Suns, all things machine! I did not want to place glyphs like the other Dreads, but rather a emblem on the belly was just the right touch for them. The last photo is just for comparison between the different styles of each fractions.
I am still waiting for Gruntz 1.1 to come out, and their army/unit builder so I can stat up the Orcs for Grunts, as well as for USE ME rules.

What I plan for my rules is this, and I know some will argue this but it is how I feel. Both Gruntz, and USE ME are great systems in their own right but they have a defined role in wargaming. I feel Gruntz is a great skirmish level game, and USE ME is meant for Mass Combat.
How I define the two.
Skirmish level games are 50 or less miniatures per side, and Mass Combat are 50 or more miniatures per side. My plan is to field my entire Orc hoard of well over a 150 miniatures, and some day it will be over 200. Gruntz will take all day to play that type of game out.

Now I could simply use USE ME for skirmish level as well, but I feel the games will be over very quickly, and this would only be good if I was going to play a number of games in one night. So I wait for Gruntz 1.1 so I may print off a copy, and get reading the rules.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Orcs are back!

It has been a long time with out a post from me, and I have found some time to post. Or the last few months I have been busy with life stuff, and not been giving my Miniatures any real time. It is now fall, and my painting desk has been getting some attention, and I wan to share what I have been working on.
I am making some changes to this blog, I hat blogger. I am going with a very simple look, and sticking to it. Some of the features work some don't, some ware my blog template got screwed up and I can not fix it.  I will try and add the photo from the top back but that is it. The content is what really matters, any way.

First let me say I have been inspired by a post on TMP regarding Orks. Now I do not use that work for IP reasons, I use the generic term Orc. So this guy has been knocking out some fantastic stuff, that follows the GW Ork clans to a T.

That is some thing I was not doing as I want to keep under the IP radar, but as I really don't care any more I am finishing my Orc in the old codex fashion.

So with out further bla bla bla here are my Boys, and their machines.

    Now if you do not like Fantasy miniatures please do not look any further down.

I got this two miniatures for my Birth Day in August and I love them. I had one yeas ago for my Fantasy Orc arem, but sold the hole army (needed money). So now I have two of them, I have them in my Human army. These are from Black Raven Foundry range sold by Old Glory 15s.

Once more all photos taken with my very fancy camera, and expensive light box.

OK I used my Blackberry Torch cell phone, and my folgers   coffee can light box.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Noel's Log 8-06-2012

Noel's Log ends..................

Well I gave it a try! I released 10 Noel's logs in all, but I did not get much in the way of feed back. I think in total I had 4 comments posted, so I have no way to know if readers like or dislike my posts. I know people are viewing the Blog as last week I had days over 200 hits in one day, with that number of hit, and no comments I can only assume people just want like photos. Writing dose not come easily to me so I will step back from that and just post the meat.

So Noel's log goes away, and I will still share my work through photos..........

It was my birth day this week, and I got minis. My wife and kids got me more BRF dwarfs, and two olaphants. I started to put the later together this weekend but I still need primer to paint stuff. Photos to come.

Also got my three armies up in Universal Battle, so I can have a battle any time I want with out setting up a table.

Thanks for checking in, and come back as I will be going back to random posting rather then weekly posting.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Noel's Log 7-30-12

First let me say that I am sorry for the layout, and template change. The template I was using got messed up, and I was not able to fix it. I spent about two hours Friday working on it, with out success. I have seen others with the same problem, and all solutions have not worked for me.

I hate Blogger!!!!!!!!.

Well this is it, I am not going to play with it any more, you can change the lay out in the upper left and see it how you would like it. Remember the comment section is at the bottom of each post.

On to the good stuff now

I spent time working on my stuff this weekend but just got distracted, by a new PC game. I did base my new Trench 2114 troopers on pennies. They are ready for putty, and prime. I was wrong in the count of them last week, there was an extra leader type, so I got a total of 21 miniatures. I also realized I ran out of primer last weekend.

This week I want to pick up some primer, Hide glue, and look at some ground cloth in a craft store I read about.

I was setting up my large light bucket(light box) in my garage to take some photos of my Dwarfs, and Lizardmen when my daughter asked if she could help. So we setup the bucket, and I let her arrange the miniatures in it. She needed a bet of help as she is a kidder like me, and I would find all sorts of stuff in the bucket next to the minis.

Here she is helping.

Here they are.

I have to go back and do some work on the lizardmen. I did not have many when I got them so I only put 4 to a base. I have now gotten a few more, and will add an extra figure to each 4 figure base.

PC Game:
Q: Well what PC game could take me away from miniatures?
A: Very few games could do this to me but one will all ways pull me away and that is Tribes. With new life in a game called Tribes Ascend!

Back in the day, 1998 there were some great FPS out there, but two of them were the masters. You had Half Life with its (Team Fortress mod), and you had Tribes. I was hooked on both but Tribes all ways won for me. I know over the many years HL, with its TF mod have reigned supreme, I loved the jet pack action of Tribes. I ran my own server for years, then Tribes II came out, and added a darker look and feel. I loved this as well. But I think this did not have the same following as the first one did. Next some half assed game Tribes revenge (sucked big time). 

Now I was poking around and found this game on a review site. Now I love the game play. but I do not like the pay for upgrades, or as some call it pay to win games. Now it is free to play, but advancements are very slow, and if you pick some this you do not like you are stuck with it.

Now playing if for some hours, I was able to rack up some kills with the basic weapons (two) you get to start. Now I like to play the defender, and base repair, so this is not a high kill class but I was getting 4 or five kill per round. 

So that makes me ask did they make this game easier to play or am I just playing like I did in the old days. I think that my skills did come in to play, but I also think the masters of old are not playing this game.

Will I keep playing, most likely no! The play for free games are only good for a while, then they get stupid, and people who do not pay die!!!!! 

May the Die Fall in Your Favor.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Noel's Log 7-23-2012

First I want to welcome a new author to the my blog, Welcome My self!!!
I will now be posting from two accounts. I have a large number of photos on my gmail account so I need to host the blog photos from another account. From now on I am using my second NoelVH account to host photos I am taking, and sharing of my minis.

Work Bench:
This weekend I spent time working on a gift for a friend of mine. This friend is leaving his current job for a new one, and I have been working with this geek for over three years now. I wanted to give him some thing, but I am not a person with lost of $$$, so I was thinking what can I give him. Now I was thinking of this while painting Saturday morning. Opened a storage area on my desk and found some 19/20mm Dwarfs I am not going to use, but are fantastic sculpts.

These Dwarfs are from Splintered Light games, and I got before knowing they were not 15mm. What a shame as these are great minis. So I set out to pant and base them as a desk topper. Some thing to keep the dork/geek in my friend at his new job.

I did not have the time to photo them correctly so please forgive.
So I took 4 of the base Dwarfs, and a Shaman. I think they came out great. I started work on the base, and the minis Saturday morning, and it took about 5 to 6 hours total. The base is layers of plastic card, with a magnetic bottom. I used old GW bases on the Dwarfs. I also got to try my new static grass flock out. I am having fun with that stuff.

OK so I worked on a gift for a friend, but I also finished up my mounted Saber tooth tigers.

I also worked on my cracked earth basing, but all my tests have failed. I did some research on this subject, and found another glue that creates the crackle effect. Hide glue, I guess this it the stuff from the old cartoons ware they sent the old horses off to. It is made from animal protein. Yuk!!!!! But I will try and pick some up this week, and have another go at it. No I did not get a chance to take any photos this week, but will make up for that later this week or my next log.

New Miniatures:
While working on this article I got a phone call from my son letting me know I got some minis in the mail. So I have stopped till I can check them out.

OK I have gotten my first minis from Trench 2114, and I will say I like them very much. I ordered two packs of the Panzer Troops over a month ago on a pre-order deal John posted. Let me say I have a hard time finding just what I want in 15mm. We all know I have no issue with Orcs and such, but for my SicFi troopers my mind is all way looing for what I loved in 28mm, and that was my Warzone collection. Now I was more or an Imp player than the Bahas player. But I had both armies. Well to get back to the 15mm Panzer Troops, John got them dead on for my taste in SciFi troopers.

I got 20 of them total and only opened on bag of 10. There are three poses in this bag. the mix is a bit off. There are three of the guy that look like leaders and I would rather see two of them. This way one bag would make two five man squads. With that said this is my ONLY complaint about these minis. Holding the minis in my hands they have a great feel to them, I see no flash and all most no mold lines. The mold lines I see are in the inner legs, and in areas you really do not see. So perp work will be next to nothing from me. The have good bases, not very thick so should mount very well. The one of the three stand 17.5mm to the eye, the other two are 16.5mm to the eye. They do not look out of sorts in any way to me. The arm, legs, body all look like the fit correctly. The have a high level of detail to them. The detail is heavy, and what I mean by this is it will not get lost in a coat of paint. Heavy in my mind means I can see it from a distance, after paint, and brings a great level or reality to the figure. (if I was a word smith this would be written better).

Over all some of the best 15mm SciFi I have ever owned, and I am looking for more of their stuff to make it to my mail box. John--- you hit a home run whit these miniatures!

Now for three crapy photos. Sorry I did not get a chance to take better photos.
Leader type.

May the Die Fall in Your Favor!

photo from Trench 2114 used with out permission, if this is not allowed please contact me directly for prompt removal noelvh AT gmail DOT com.