Category Archives: Technology

Collect Music

My Music Collection  is a software database that can catalog a music collection. I have been looking for one for a while, but never found one I like. With a few exceptions, it’s very good.

I tested the demo with the 50 albums I could add. The interface works well and is nicely intuitive. There are lots of customizations you can do to get things just right. The danger is trying to put too much in, with over 2,000 albums and half a dozen fields for each that’s a lot of data.

The first problem I detected was that the searching algorithm seemed to grab any art for a particular album. This resulted in some large files in .BMP and .PNG format that if left unchecked could result in a very large database. I found eventually solution.

The other problem is that there is no way to import a .csv into the database. I solved this by finding another music cataloguing program that would import spreadsheets, that ‘My Music Collection’ could read. So after a lot of work, I managed to import over 2,000 albums with just the artist, album name and year.

For the album art I am doing this manually. Most of the albums are mp3 and the artwork is readily available. It’s just a matter of resizing it down to 250×250 and importing.

Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a way to alter a single field of multiple albums in one operation.

Otherwise it works well.



White Noise

Traditionally, heavy vehicles have beepers that activate during backing, alerting others to their prescience. The problem with these is that they are difficult to locate spatially. Enter the white noise beep. There are easier for humans to locate and are replacing the old tonal alarms. As explained:



Alfa Taxi

Finally, a Taxi that made sense. The Alfa Romeo New York Taxi was a concept car designed by Italdesign in 1976 at the invitation of New York Museum of Modern Art.

It had a length of 4m, a height of 1.8m and could seat five. It also featured a flat floor, space to store wheelchairs, storage under the seats, and sliding doors on both sides, being one of the first cars to have them.

It is based on the front-wheel drive running gear of the Alfa Romeo F12 van, including a 1.3L petrol engine and independent suspension front and rear

Alfa Romeo F12 van

Some of the design principles explored with the New York Taxi were expanded upon with the Lancia Megagamma, a less boxy, more streamlined prototype that gave form to the modern multi-purpose vehicle. Sadly, the vehicle was never made.



Released on this day in 1981 the ZX81, by Sinclair Research. It will go on to sell over 1.5 million units around the world.

Operating system: Sinclair BASIC
CPU: Z80 @ 3.25 MHz
Memory: 1 KB (64 KB max. 56 KB usable)
Storage: External cassette tape recorder at 250 bps
Display: Monochrome display on UHF television
Graphics: 24 lines × 32 characters or 64 × 48 pixels graphics mode
Dimensions: 167mmm deep, 40mm
Mass: 350 grams


Hyundai 45

2019 Hyundai 45

(Final Sliding Door)

Hyundai Motor Company unveiled 45, an electric vehicle concept, at the 2019 International Motor Show in Frankfurt.

Very nice, sleek and minimalist.

And a nice simple interior.


Konrad Zuse, a German engineer (b. 1910) died on this day in 1995. He designed the Z3 computer.

Zuse Z3 replica on display at Deutsches Museum in Munich

The Z3 was the world’s first working programmable, fully automatic digital computer. It was built with 2,600 relays, implementing a 22-bit word length that operated at a clock frequency of about 4–5 Hz. Program code was stored on punched film. The initial values were entered manually.

The Z3 was completed in Berlin in 1941 but was not considered vital, so it was never put into everyday operation. Based on the work of Hans Georg Küssner’s “Program to Compute a Complex Matrix” it was written and used to solve wing flutter problems.

Zuse asked the German government for funding to replace the relays with fully electronic switches, but funding was denied during World War II since such development was deemed “not war-important”.

The original Z3 was destroyed on 21 December 1943 during an Allied bombardment of Berlin. The Z3 was originally called V3 (Versuchsmodell 3 or Experimental Model 3) but was renamed to not be confused with Germany’s V-weapons.

A fully functioning replica was built in 1961 by Zuse’s company, Zuse KG.


Chrysler Portal

Looking for sliding doors ?

Forget the Peugeot 1007, or the Honda Vision XS-1, here it is..

The Chrysler Portal

The important features:

    • Electric Drive.
    • 400km range on a full charge.
    • 350kw DC Fast Charge.
    • Track-mounted seating that can fold flat, slide the full-length of the vehicle or be removed.
    • Sliding, Illuminated, portal-shaped articulating front and rear doors for easy loading/unloading.
    • In-vehicle wireless network enabling seamless integration of personal devices.


In 1956 FORTRAN, the first modern computer language, was first shared with the coding community.

The Fortran Automatic Coding System for the IBM 704 (15 October 1956), the first programmer’s reference manual for Fortran

This was the first computer programming language I used (circa 1977). We didn’t have computers at school, programs were written out in longhand and transcribed to punch cards.

These were collected and sent to a mainframe that ran the program and printed out the results in wide,  punched paper.

The IBM 704 mainframe, which used FORTRAN language

Most of our work was returned where a single punching error, had terminated the program. Just to get a list of the first few prime numbers was an achievement.


Bertram Fiddle

The Adventures of Bertram Fiddle
Episode 1: A Dreadly Business

I first came across this from episode 73 of Smashing Security

This is a Victorian murder mystery game, available on steam and for the Android. It was installed on my tablet at the time (April 2018) and while briefly played, never finished.

With a (little) help from a walk-through the game was completed in an afternoon. It’s a fun little game, with lots of silly wisecracks and puns, mostly referencing things in the 20th century.

Episode 2 Continues the story…..


Prog Day

Today is International Day of the Programmer.

In 1956 The IBM 305 RAMAC was introduced, the first commercial computer to use disk storage.


Then, in 1985 Super Mario Bros. is released in Japan for the NES, which starts the Super Mario series of platforming games.