Zombie Apocalypse – the Americans are ready…are you?

If you're    ready for a zombie apocalypse, then you're ready for any emergency.    emergency.cdc.gov

Click for CDC documentation on Zombie invasions and how to stay safe. Note! This is real, not a joke. Can you afford to be unprepared when the unthinkable happens? Do you have your plan? Stashed away water/rations/equipment in a safe place? I’ve got my plan, have you?

If not, take heed and follow the advice from the American Centers for Disease Control and prevention. ­čśÇ

Four Kings or the Ring of fire

Recently, I’ve been introduced to the most brutal, awesome, hideous drinking game know to man or beast.

Its called Four Kings or Ring of Fire.

The concept involves laying out a deck of cards in a joined fan around a drinking vessel (small or large depending on ferocity, change to suit).


cards layout

The players start gathered around the table, and no one is allowed to go to the toilet until game is complete or a game rule allows it.

Cards are drawn by the players whose turn it is, and they must draw the card without breaking the ring. Breaking the ring means skulling, or downing the remainder of the drink said player has, even if its a freshly opened can.

Play moves clockwise.

Each card has a rule attached to it, and these are as follows:

  • Ace – Free pass to toilet
  • 2 – Nominate two drinks to any other player or players, drinks can be distributed but may not be more than two total.
  • 3 – Nominate three drinks, as above.
  • 4 – Nominate four drinks, as above.
  • 5 – Nominate five drinks, as above.
  • 6 – Waterfalls. All players must raise their drink. The player who drew the card must start to drink, at the same time all other players must drink. Any player may stop drinking if the player to their right stops drinking. If any player finishes a drink before play has stopped, they must immediately start another.
  • 7 – Vomit. This is a number game, players must count upwards, however, on reaching any multiple of seven, or a number containing a seven, players must instead say vomit. Upon a player saying vomit, play reverses. Failure to continue in sequence, or failure to appropriately say vomit, or speaking out of turn results in a penalty of one drink.
  • 8 – A ship came into the harbour. This game is a word collection game. The player who drew the card must shout “A ship came into the harbour, and it was carrying <item collection>, and I found <item in collection>”. For example, “A ship came into the harbour, and it was carrying shoes, and I found Nike”. The player then moves round the table with requiring each player to name an item of shoes. Reebok, Adidas etc… Failure to name an item in the collection results in a penalty of one drink.
  • 9 – Bust’a rhyme. The player who drew must start a rhyme. The play moves round the table, each player must complete the next made up sequence to keep the rhyme going. Failure to rhyme results in a penalty of one drink.
  • 10 – Rule master. The player who drew this card can make up any rule they can imagine. Failure to conform or obey the rule results in a penalty of one drink.
  • J – Thumb master. The player who drew this card get the thumb power, and may┬ásurreptitiously┬áplace his/her thumb on any surface (included ones own forehead), the last player to copy the thumb master must drink.
  • Q – Question master. Any player who answers any question from the question master must drink.
  • K – The player who drew this card must pour his/her drink into the┬ácentre┬ácup, adding a quarter of the volume of the┬ácentre┬ácup each time. The player who draws the last King must drink the contents of the centre cup, regardless of its contents.

Breaking the circle results in one penalty only, once broken play continues.

Drawing the last King is the end of the game, whereupon play restarts (if anyone is left standing that is).

This drinking game is definitely the most enjoyable drinking game, involving lots of banter and calling out of rule abusers. I’ve played this twice now, with players only getting really drunk if drawing the last King (the cup held Brandy, Vodka, Lager and Absinthe).

Waterfall is the only hard part of the game if you drink lager, and you are to the right of the player who drew it, it can be more than one can’s worth of drinking….harsh!


Memory lane: IK+

Throughout my life I’ve had a love of computer games, I’ve always enjoyed the escapism and the fantasy aspects. As a child, one residing memory of a great game which featured fast gameplay, two player and strong competition was a game called International Karate + or simply IK+.

IK+ on the C64

IK+ on the C64

The version above is from the Commodore 64 computer system.

I’ve played many fighting games since that time, and I’ve never come across anything so engaging, easy to pick up, and just so much fun.

I found a flash based remake of the game, check it out…is it as much fun as the original? I don’t know, I’m still playing…


I’ve fallen victim to one of the classic blunders

No, its nothing concerning Sicilians or land wars in Asia, its worse!

Check out the following snippet of VB6 code

Dim lengthOfFile As Integer
lengthOfFile = LOF(fileHandle)

wholeFile = Input(lengthOfFile, #fileHandle)

Dim inStrPos As Integer
inStrPos = InStr(0, wholeFile, OldFileName, vbBinaryCompare)

If (inStrPos > 0) Then
‘ We have a match
End if

Nothing particularly wrong with that code, but I kept on getting “Run time error 5 : Invalid procedure call or argument”

After much more deliberation and cogitation that it deserved, I realised I had fallen victim to one of the classic Visual Basic blunders? Have you guessed what I’m about to reveal? Thats right, Visual Basic array functions start from 1 NOT 0… Gah! I’ve done too much C# lately, bah, easy to forget. Whats really galling, is arrays in VB start at 0, but can be rebased with an option switch, one thats not on by default. So why arrays at zero, but all functions for arrays at 1? bah.

The code line should read

Dim inStrPos As Integer
inStrPos = InStr(1, wholeFile, OldFileName, vbBinaryCompare)

Hopefully I’ll be done with this legacy codebase in the next 6 months, then it can be laid to rest for good.

I am the king of rock and roll


Last night, one of our customers had a problem with his data acquisition board, one of the DAC subsystems had failed. Our sales guy was on site, and we needed this system to work. This happened, of course, just as I was about to leave for the day. Our software needed to change its behaviour to set the output channel from a number of channels which may or may not be available on the given board (there are a number of different boards each with different capabilities).

My first attempt last night, turned out not to work, however my boss was on board and hopeful of it working, meanwhile I made a speedy exit.

This morning, and 5mins of extra thought and the problem is solved! Yay! Also, I made up some wires and wired our custom test board myself (all the production folk aren’t in yet). Soldering isnt that bad or hard to do, guess its just practice. I escaped burn/scar/poison fume free! Win!

So, new build of the software shipped out to the sales chappy and we are all go.


Hot dog, jumping frog, alberquerque.