Opening files from Amiga disks on the PC…

A nrecent commenter asked about the disk images that I’ve recently created… “Can you browse the contents of the disk images you create without loading them imto an emulator”?

The answer is… “Of course.”, and it’s all done using HxC. (Note: Not to beconfused with HxD, the hex editor).

I can’t remember if I mentioned HxC in any of my last posts, but it’s what I’ve been using to get those pretty green circles as shown in my other posts on the subject, but here it is in all its glory.

To load your freshly created disk image, you can either click “Load”, or drag the file onto the program.It’ll confirm it’s loaded by giving you the file name.

Click on “Disk Browser”. If it’s in a format that’s recognised, such as PC DOS, Amiga DOS, etc, you’ll see the disk contents. Note that this won’t allow you to read the files on protected disks / ones that aren’t in a standard format, but hopefully you expected that…

After that, the files are saved onto your computer. Naturally, what you’re able to do with the files is going to vary wildly. In my example, thankfully, the IFF / ILBM image format, along with the HAM variant, open up in a few modern programs. My example below is from XNview MP.

That means if you have a disk of images you made with Deluxe Paint back in the day, there’s a very good chance you’ll find something to open them with. Sadly, the GIMP, as of version 2.10.30 doesn’t want to open these examples. Shame.

It’s not going to do any harm to have a bit of a play around

Happy 21st birthday to this blog!

21 years. That’s a lot to take in. I’d have been sat in a very similar position this time on Sunday, 4th November 2000, behind a keyboard with my legs underneath a desk, as I open my Blogger account, and begin typing about my day, my dreams, my banal, inane life as a 20-yr old Hartlepudlian. At 41, however, the world is a completely different place, and I’m a different person. Everything electrical has a blue LED in it…. Back then, they’d have only been invented 7 years ago. Blogging is a completely different scene too I had friends with blogs, but they’ve all come and gone. the rise of Myspace, and Twitter, then Facebook and Youtube quickly put paid to spending hours toiling over a keyboard. You could allow your audience to have small chunks of your mind without committing reams and reams of text to the ether.

As you know, I don’t really post much on here now. I used to joke about my “both of my readers”, but it’s ofrficially down to zero. I’ve not had a comment on a new post for years now. the only comments that come in now are hits from Google. I suppose I have to type something for people to read, but when I spend hours and get no feedback, it seems such a waste.

Privacy is also an issue. It’s naturally not a good idea to post stuff about myself in as much detail as I used to. I genuinely would have liked to post a lot more about the struggle I had with my foot, but maybe not a good idea to post *everything* in a public forum.

I know I say this every years, but I do have plans. Maybe go into more of a “Charity Shop Shit” type vibe, and start talking about the crap I’ve picked up in charity shops. Make that the permanent fixture. At least after 21 years of doing this bollocks, the bloody site will have a theme of some sort.

I’m sure you’ll be interested to know (lie) that I still do “blog” now, it’s it’s all private. I like “photo hoarding” where I take hundreds of photos when I’m out somewhere, and then add the details to the photos themselves via the IPTC information… Here’s an example from last Saturday…

A day out to the charity shops around Guisborough, Stokesley and Redcar. A particularly cold October day, there was definitely autumn in the air. Another decent haul of CDs, especially from the Herriott charity shop in Stokesley. An amusing part of the day was in the first charity shop we visited, “Frade” in Guisborough. I asked for a carrier bag, got given the pinkest, most floral “carrier bag” I’ve ever seen. Couldn’t have got rid of it quicker, but at least it made a good photo opportunity.
Might put it as my facebook profile pic.

Right, so that’s the celebration over with. I can’t believe I’ve kept it going for so long… here’s to another 21 years! There’s a chance I might have received that fucking Desmonds record by then…

Late Spring snow and early Fall sleet

Well, wasn’t this morning fun? As you’re no doubt aware by the title (which I’m sure I can improve on, but probably won’t), today saw the first heavy snow shower in April for as long as I can remember. Now, snow in this month isn’t that uncommon, but usually it’s just a very brief blast that might last a few minutes, and melt shortly after. Apparently, it was cold elough for it to not even snow, but lay too.

Let’s turn the clock back a few hours. It was 5AM. I’d just finished my weekend late stint at the computer, and was getting prepared for bed. I’d gone for a pee, and noticed the sky was a very weird colour. Sort-of a light grey colour. Although the nights are indeed getting shorter, it was just too early for the sun to be rising. I did a double take, and noticed that the roofs were covered in snow… Yep, it had been snowing, and there was plenty of it too. The cars and the road were covered. Lovely!

Now I’d intended to go to sleep at that point, but I decided not to. I really wanted to see more of this, and get some photos at least. It’s the first time we’d had proper snow for quite a white. We’d had snow earlier on in the year, but…. it wasn’t quite right. It was more hail than snow, and wasn’t that photogenic, if you know what I mean. This was proper snow, the fluffy type, the stuff that piles up on the top of things, sticks to tree branches, and gives everything that wintry, frosty look.

It was definitely the first time I’d seen it since I got the “new” phone with the decent camera, so I decided to break my duck, and actually head out of the gravel driveway for only the second time this year, and the first time for purely a leisure walk. The only other time was Wednesday, as I met up with “somebody”, as he’d ordered some beers and got them delivered to Mercuryvapour Towers.

I’m lucky enough to have a small park area not too far from where I reside, so this was the perfect opportunity to blast out of the camera, At just before 8AM, I donned my coat, and headed off for the first proper “leisure walk” of 2021. I was well aware that the paths were going to be extremely slippery. It appears that the temperatures had dropped again since the snow had fallen, as there was a slight crust of ice forming over the snow. I took no chances, and walked in the middle of the road. The small amount of vehicles that had went through the commoners’ suburban streets had thankfully melted a walkable path. It wasn’t just me who had this idea, as there was another set of footprints oddly going through the middle of the tracks and not actually on them. Surely you might as well have just walked on the path? Oh well. Makes it look like Fred Flintstone’s headed out to get the paper…

It was early, there weren’t going to be many cars about, and if there was, I’d hear them a mile off, crunching through the ice. I was also painfully aware that I hadn’t put my phone on charge for any period of time, therefore it was cooking at about 15%. Considering it was about to take the amout of pictures that it did. For the record, it conked out literally as I got to the front door.

I had a very brief walk through the afore-mentioned park area. As I was taking photos, I had a brief chat to a lady who I hadn’t seen for a good long while – I’m sure I’ve mentioned her in my (unpublished) ramblings, but she’s from the Birmingham area, and used to always get the bus at the same stop as me. The last time she’d seen snow like this, was just after her son was born, and it was just outside Coventry.

There wasn’t that much more to photograph to be fair. The sun was starting to break through the clouds at this point, making way for a typically sunny, if a little chilly, spring day, and just a few hours later, any trace of the snow ever existing was to be confined to memories, and of course, these photos.

On a side note, whenever it snows, I always pile up a little bit to see how long it lasts. I’m not talented or patient enough to make a snowman, but somehow, I managed to accidentally sculpt a silverback gorilla facing away from the camera…

Let’s hope it starts warming up soon, eh?

EDIT: As I’m sure some of you will be wondering (lol, righto), and my usage of the word “fall”, the title of the post comes from the Don Henley song “A Month Of Sundays”. It was the B side to his big hit “The Boys Of Summer”, and also featured on the CD pressing of the album “A Month Of Sundays”, but not the LP pressing. Whenever there’s snow in April, or November, the whole section of that song plays through my head… “Late pring snow and early fall sleet, I held the leather reins in my hand, felt the soft ground under my feet”. It was on the fery first CD album I ever bought and was going to be part of my “10 albums in 10 days” blog, but I never finished it.

Car boots, football, obscure tapes and manky keyboards

hmmm. It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update. I’ve had a bit of writers’ block. Well, I wrote a couple of things, but they just ended in vitriolic rants about certain people. Thankfully, however, last week was a week off work, so I’ve had time to catch up with things that I love. Record collecting, for example.

The last couple of weeks have certainly been part of a record collecting binge. This is the first time since I was a kid that I remember having such a long, hot summer, and since the weathermen have guaranteed long, hot weekends, I’ve been able to arrange trips to car boot sales with Chris. Last week, it was Seaham, and the week before was Sedgefield.

Now, I’m sure I started typing about the Sedgefield one, but I can’t find any trace of it, so I mught have dreamt it, but basically, I bought lots and lots of CDs and records. £2 entry fee, which wasn’t too bad. I just remember knocking out some crap jokes. A guy selling plants, and I said to Chris “they’re mint, them”. Of course, it was an actual mind plant. Shris laughed. the guy behind the stall said he must have been easily amused. I was just happy that someone else heard the joke. On another stall, I commented that one of the CDs he was selling was Absolute Garbage I had to spell it out to the store owner, who seemed to be slightly offended that I happened to be slagging off one of his CDs. No mate, just a crap pun.

It seemed to close early, as most of the people were packing up to go see England play. By the time I’d got home, they’d scored 5 goals. Turned out to be a great day overall.

Another week passed, and it was time flr the first Middlesbrough record fair. This was the first one for two years, and it was nice to have it back! Unfortunately, the day ended in absolute disaster… hanging around for three hours for a lift, only for my lift’s battery to run flat, and having to get the bus home anyway. I was fuming, and my foot went up like a pudding because of it. Great times.

I did bump into Glen – a fellow blogger and ex-work colleague whom I’ve not mentioned on here for what must be a decade, vut we had a bloody good catchup for about an hour. Preally nice to see him again.

Sunday arrived, and another visit to a car boot sale was arranged. Chris wanted some “tat” for “something” – saying what he wanted, and what for might actually spoil a surprise for someone, so I won’t say what. Of course, there’s absolutely no chance that the person involved will ever read this blog, but you never know. Stranger things have happened.

Anyway, we turned up, nice and early at the car boot. Roughly 9AM. There were a queue of cars waiting to get in and set up, but not many buyers. Had we got there too early? Well. Turns out that if you’re a buyer, it costs you £5 to get in before 11:30. the doors then close between 11:30 and 12:30, meaning if you want to get in early, you pay an inflated price. If you want to pay the cheap price, you’ve got to then queue for an hour, and miss out on potential bargains. Crafty.

Seeing as there were very few stalls set up, and it didn’t look that big anyway, myself and Chris went to Sunderland. Honestly, you’ve heard of ghost towns. You’ve never seen a ghost town until you’ve walked around Sunderland city centre at 9:30. My word. Even the pigeons were hobbling about, looking like they had hangovers.

I couldn’t bear the thought of being in Sunderland for any time longer than I needed to, so I quickly abandoned the idea of hanging around there for two hours, then queuing in the baking sun. Instead, I bit the bullet, paid myself and Chris into the car boot at the inflated price. Damn them. their cunning plan worked.

Unfortunately, there seemed to be more stalls selling absolute garbage than music, which, to me was a little saddening, although I did come home with quite a few CDs, a Zodion SS6 photocell for a streetlight, and a cassette tape for a format I don’t actually own…

Ah yes, the humble DCC. I remember, as a kid, I picked up a copy of Q magazine from 1993, that had a huge article on DCC. I mainly got it because it had a free CD on the front. As I’d only picked up my first CD player the Christmas before, any type of cheap CD to expand my music library was always welcome. Though, as a snotty teenager, the articles went more in-depth than what I liked. I think I’d only stopped getting comics at that point. Still, I was interested to see if this format ever made it into the wild. It didn’t, DCC sank without a trace (at least in your everyday consumer spectrum anyway) and I never ever saw one for sale.

That is, until I bought the one above. the guy had three for sale, one unwrapped. He’d clearly, at the time, bought these by accident, thinking they were just standard cassette tapes. I like to think he’s been carrying these to boot sales every weekend since the 90s and this is the first time he’s sold one. Probably not though.

Fast forward a week. If I haven’t bored you already, the weekend was quiet. I didn’t actually go anywhere. Mainly because I couldn’t. My guts were in absolute tatters for 4 days. No idea what caused it, It was a slightly toned down version or what happened to me when I was about 17. I’ll not go into it, but trust me, if I needed to go to a fancy dress party, I could have swallowed some gravel and went as a shotgun. Not nice at all.

Tuesday was the day when I finally mustered up the courage to leave the house safe in the knowledge that I wouldn’t be splattering my jeans. I’d made it my resolution to visit every charity shop in Hartlepool. The first stop was The YMCA shop, where I picked up probably my 2nd best purchase of the day… “No Sound Without Silence” by The Script. Not the type of album I’d normally see myself go for, but when I was in Amsterdam a few years ago, it was the only CD that was played on the coach, and I ended up liking it. Not enough to pay any decent money for, but for 50p, I couldn’t go wrong. It also has the theme to “Mrs Brown’s Boys Da Movie” on it… Terible film, great theme. Sorry.

I travelled from one end of the town to the other. While I was waiting for the bus, I heard a young chav lass shout “Fuck off” to her child. The child was below full speaking age, and was happily gibbering away to his mother Her response… “Oh, yeah, yeah. I had one of those, but the wheels fell off”. I had to laugh.

Towards the end of the day, I headed to the town. In one of the charity shops that shall remain nameless. A lad was looking at some CDs, went to the counter with 3 CDs, but the manager saw he was holding 4 just a minute earlier. Unknown to her, he’d put one back, but it was too late. She’d asked to check in the bag he was carrying. Well. You should have heard it. Not from him, but his mother, who was elsewhere in the store.

“Are you the manager? What’s your head office number? I’ll be reporting this! Do you know how much I spend in here? You didn’t apologise for looking in there”

There were so many things wrong with her argument. Now I know a little about customer services, after being in a role like this, but at the end of a telephone.

Point number 1. You can report staff all you want to a head office. If they’re double checking to make sure that stock hasn’t been stolen, then they’re always going to side with the member of staff. That’s your job. Point number 2. Shops are shops. If you’re offended by someone doing their job, then fuck off. Don’t come back. Don’t buy products from them ever again. If you dropped down dead tomorrow, the charity won’t fold. They won’t be looking out for you, as they stand underneath a big “TO LET” sign with a key in the shutters. No, ther people will buy stuff.

I did feel sorry for the manager behind the counter. I just rolled my eyes, as the complaints echoed out of the store and down the street. It’s probably water off a ducks’ back, but still.

Sorry, I went off on more of a ran than I intended there. I just hate rude people. Anyway you’ll notice that the Script CD was only the 2nd best purchase of the day. I’m sure you’re dying to know the best….

A keyboard. Yes, one of those things that you type into. One of the stores had a plethora of keyboards dumped under the CDs. Now, these were dusty old things. It was clear to see that there was a nice Dell keyboard underneath all of the tat. It looked practically brand new, but with the dust, and a very small amount of key wear.

Now, some places state that keyboards have more bacteria on them than toilet seats. I’ve not looked into that statement in any great detail, but it’s always had me a little wary over 2nd hand keyboards, but at £1.75, this was too good to miss. the knife didn’t come with it, by the way, it was just a make-shift key puller.

It had occurred to me, while approacting the wrought iron gates and gravel driveway or Mercuryvapour Towers, that this keyboard was probably hiding something. Why was it practically unused? Off came the keys, aaaaand….

Oh holy Christ! What the fuck is that? My god, I’d just gotten over a stomach infection, it looked very much like I was on course for another one. I have no idea what this stuff was. These Dell keyboards have drain holes, so thankfully, whatever it was only got caught under the F keys. Out came the Cillit Bang. The smell coming from the muck was ungodly. At a guess, from the colour and the smell, I’d have to say it was vomit, but I’ll never know. After an hour of scrubbing / spraying / wiping down with antibacterial stuff., it came up looking absolutely brilliant, and I can confirm that it actually fully works, because I’ve been typing on it for the entirety of this post!

Percy’s Pointless Pictures

Ahhh. The gallery. It’s been around for several years, and every so often, I’ll upload some photos to it, and I’ll place a link on facebook or something, and then it gets forgotten about, and even I don’t pay as much attention as I should do.

Mainly because I couldn’t think of a catchy name. “The gallery of Mercuryvapour”. What does that tell you? Bugger all. It certainly doesn’t tell you an ything.

Whilst on a trip two weeks ago to Oulton Park (see, there’s the first link to it!) I was taking random photos out of the car window, and Jamie S came out with the phrase “Percy’s Pointless Pictures”. I laughed out loud. It was perfect. And that’s what I’ve decided to call the gallery.

Here’s a trip I took to Whitby.

And what about the recent Kielder Trip?” I’m still recovering from this.

The map on the top of each page is interactive, so if you want to see exactly where a photo is taken it will show you. For those who I attend walks / days out with, this is the reason I will occasionally stop and wait for the GPS to connect, otherwise it doesn’t record correctly, and it puts the location in the middle of the sea somewhere (a GPS location of 99.99999 by 999.99999).

Feel free to have a click around. Oh yes, ignore those Steam screenshots. I’ll probably be getting rid of those when I start to run out of server space.

The gallery has returned…

Some of you will be thinking “Oooooh”, and some of you will be thinking “Oh”. But yes, I’ve managed to get the gallery up and running. For once, this will consist of a collection of photos I’ve taken myself, in the shitty-balls year that was 2012. Despite my ranting and raving in an earlier post, there were a couple of chances to take photos in the year, despite the fact I broke the lens on my big Canon camera.

this time, I’ve also made use of one of the many subdomains I have, meaning it’s a lot easier to access than the other one. Therefore, without further adieu, I bring you…. [drum roll]

gallery.mercuryvapour.co.uk

… well, what did you expect? Fireworks?

Despite it being simply a later version of the software I used to use in the previous incarnation, it seems to be a lot smoother, however, don’t worry if it’s a little bit slow the first time you visit a picture – it now generates thumbnails only when they’re needed. A vast improvement on me having to upload a gallery, then sit there clicking the “Generate Thumbnail” button for every 20 photos I uploaded. The server move also appears to have cured a few of the other kinks I was having.

Comments will once again be open, until the spambots get hold of it.

This is entirely a “work in progress” as you can imagine, so expect to see quite a few more photos popping up during the coming days.