Virtual Reality

Inspired by the apparantly untrue tale that eBay was invented to let founder Pierre Omidyar’s then fiancée trade Pez dispensers, one of the first things I used the site for was to track down a beloved toy from my youth: the View-Master. And despite how the world and technology had changed in the intervening *cough* couple of years *cough*, it was still a bit magical to look at those 3D images again.

Roll on another *cough* couple of years *cough* (it’s very dusty in here, isn’t it?), and View-Master has arrived in the 21st century with a virtual reality (VR) compatible version of their iconic viewer – complete with a little clicky lever on the side for interaction/navigation. 🙂 You’ll need an iPhone/Android phone and apps to do anything with it: it’s pretty much a plastic version of Google Cardboard, but has springs and latches and a wriststrap to keep your phone that little bit more protected (though they do call out that the View-Master is not designed to be a protective case). Continue reading “Virtual Reality”


Writing and Formatting Headings

Documentation users rely on headings to quickly locate content of interest, so they should be easily identifiable and provide meaningful context/keywords in a consistent way. Within these golden rules, though, there’s ample room for customisation to reinforce a particular document/provider’s brand. Continue reading “Writing and Formatting Headings”


Cyrillic characters in LaTeX

This one caused some headaches here, so recording the solution in case it’s useful to anyone else.

I wanted to include a Cyrillic string (copied and pasted from an email) in a LaTeX document whose default fonts didn’t support Cyrillic, but when I saved and compiled the file it was replaced by a string of question marks instead. After much poking around and experimentation, and with some assistance from Dave who is even more proficient in LaTeX than I, this solved it:

  1. First off, make sure you’re saving your document in UTF-8. (In WinEdt, this is set under Document > Document Settings… > Format.)
  2. In the document preamble, define the font family for cyrillicfont to one that matches your main package’s font (or that is close enough, but supports Cyrillic):

    \newfontfamily{\cyrillicfont}{Times New Roman}

  3. In the document body, add your Cyrillic content in the second pair of curly brackets of:



Pokemon Go!

We’ve been playing Pokemon Go (PG) with the boys for a week now, and we’re having great fun. It’s proved an excellent incentive to persuading small people to go out for a walk, and we’re clocking up steps on our FitBits like never before. The walks take a fair bit longer than usual as we have to pause regularly and zig-zag along our nominal route to hit as many pokestops and gyms as possible, and to catch wild Pokemon(s?). We’re also having fun spotting other folks playing, and chatting with cheery strangers who think it’s cute to see a family out gaming together. I’m not sure when I last saw a phenomenon like it. If you haven’t started playing yet but think you might like to, here are a few tips from our experiences. Continue reading “Pokemon Go!”