Camping Australia 2017 – The Plan

Camping Australia 2017 – The Plan

2017 is going to be a great year. From Mid-march im planning on taking some time off to explore more of Australia. It will be the first significant trip I have taken since my epic 9-month Americas adventure in 2013. We are planning 4-5 months for this one which is shorter but still epic and hopefully sufficient to see and do all the things we want to.

The above map shows the planned route. We are going to leave from Perth and take a few weeks to head north, stopping at some of the best beaches in Australia. We then we take the Gibs River Road across to Kunnanara and finally up to Darwn in the Northern Territory.

We will then continue east to see the Great Barrier Reef on the east coast. We may or may not go north from here up the north eastern peninsula of Australia. After the east coast we intend to make our way back through the centre of the country. We intend to go to Lake Eyre in South Australia (largest lake in Australia when it fills) then back into NT to Alice Springs and then Uluru before finally arriving back at Perth where we started some 5 months later.

To do all of that we have bought a really cool folding camper trailer:

And to pull it a second hand Nissan Nivara:

We plan on doing a bunch of walking, exploring and seeing the natural wonders the country has to offer. To capture the memories from a different perspective I invested in a DJI Mavic Pro which is compact and lightweight and perfect for this sort of trip.

I took it for a spin over xmas and put together this video:

Its far from perfect but my first attempt at video editing. I learnt alot and have a much better idea of what sort of footage to capture while on the trip.

So thats the plan hopefully it all goes well and we dont have any major disasters. I am really looking forward to seeing more of the beautiful country.

5 Games now on the Windows Store

5 Games now on the Windows Store

Over the Christmas period Microsoft were running a promotion to developers; “Publish your apps to the Windows store before the 23rd of December and we will give you some Microsoft store credit”. Well as I had already spent a whole bunch of time learning how to publish natives desktop apps to the Windows Store during the development of Glancer I thought sure, why not capitalize on that.

So as of last week the following games from my back catalog are available on the Windows Store:

Mr Nibbles

Mr Nibbles, the hamster, was a dreamer. One day while longingly looking out the window of his cage he had a dream. He dreamt of emancipating himself from his lifelong prison. He dreamt not just of escaping his cage but leaving the confines of earth itself to enter space! Mr Nibbles dreamt that he will be the first hamster ever to enter orbit.

Follow Mr Nibbles on his quest. Along the way you must help him solve devious puzzles and pass through dangerous spider infested traps.

Get it from Microsoft


Blast wave – Lost at Sea

BlastWave: Lost At Sea is an isometric, challenging puzzle / action game.

Your task as a benevolent god is to guide the survivors of a shipwreck to the rescue zone.

Do so so you have the awesome power of nature on your side!

Using the mouse you suck and blast your way through 16 challenging levels.

Get it from Microsoft


Icy Slicy

Several silly critters and thier things have gotten frozen in the ice and they need your help to cut them out.

Using your mouse slice off chunks of ice in this exciting physics based game!

Controls:

+ Hold the left mouse, then move and release to make a slice

Get it from Microsoft


Monkey Mines

This game is a remake of the classic Minesweeper but with a few twists.
Firstly the board is isometic making for a trickier experience than the classic version.
Secondly the game employs realistic liquid like ripples adding to the excitement.

Controls:

+ Doubble click to uncover square
+ Single click to place flag
+ Click again to place qmark
+ Click again to remove qmark

Get it from Microsoft


Mr Nibbles Forever

Everyone’s favourite hamsternaut is back! Escape the cage, avoid spiders, collect nibbles and rocket to the moon!

Help Mr Nibbles break out of his cage-prison and roam across the dangerous spider-infested backyard landscape before hopping in his handy rocket ship and blasting into space. Each stage contains unique graphics, backgrounds and sounds.

Collect nibbles in game to spend on the mighty wheel in the hopes of winning spiffy new outfits. Each outfit lovingly handcrafted by our hamster tailors comes with unique sounds and effects. Who knew collecting could be so much fun!

Using just the incredible power of tilt and tap you must guide our furry hero on his epic quest to become the first hamster in space. Tap to jump, tilt to roll, collect nibbles, avoid spiders and complete the challenges. Controls so simple even a 3-year old can master them in seconds (trust me on this).

Get it from Microsoft

Introducing Glancer – PC Vitals at a Glance

Introducing Glancer – PC Vitals at a Glance

This post has been over 6 years in the making but im glad I can finally write it.

Way back in March of 2010 I wrote about a new tool I had developed with the snappy name “Windows 7 Taskbar Monitor”. It was a little tool that used Windows’ Performance Counter to show you what the current CPU, Memory and Network usage is:

taskbar-monitor-sceenshot01

The cunning thing however is that I piggybacked on the new (at the time) “progress” value that you could get which would give you a nice visual indication of the current value for each monitor:

taskbar-monitor-screenshot02

To my surprise this little tool has more than justified its effort to create. I have used it every day for the past 6 years and has been an invaluable tool in working out “what the hell is my computer doing?” sort of problems.

Over the years I haven’t really changed it much and 4 years ago I even open-sourced it: https://github.com/mikecann/Windows7-Taskbar-Monitor

With the advent of Windows 8 and the App Store I thought it would bring greater visibility to my little tool if I could publish it to the store. Unfortunately however Microsoft imposed some pretty strict rules with their store which meant that I couldnt use the progress-tasbar APIs that were central to the app.

Fast-forward a few more years to Windows 10 anniversary edition and Microsoft release something called “Desktop App Converter” (formally Project Centennial). This project would allow you to take just about any existing windows app, then wrap it and convert it so that it was safe to use on the store.

Perfect, this was just what I needed to bring Taskbar Monitor to the store. Well (after a number of lengthy hurdles) I finally achieved it. I totally rewrote the tool to use a more modern Microsoft framework and gave it a new name, Glancer:

taskbar-feature2-compressor

storescreenshot01storescreenshot03storescreenshot02

The basic functionality is the same, its just wrapped up in a prettier package and has a few more options.

At this stage its just an MVP. I have plans to add a whole bunch more cool functionality and monitors but I just wanted to get it out there first and see what people thought and then hopefully iterate on it as I go.

Ill be using it daily now so very much have an incentive to improve it 🙂

Currently its totally free but im thinking at some point in the future ill monetize it, probably with a free-trial but perhaps with a “freemium” model.

I also built a website for the project here: http://www.glancer.co/ its a bit basic at the moment but I plan on iterating that as I go.

Anyways, give it a download, let me know what you think!

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/glancer-your-pc-vitals-at-a-glance/9nblggh43gvm

Until next time.