How To Work With The Unknown

It’s interesting when you watch YouTube videos and one that you have added to a YouTube bot in Discord is one who neatly explains not just the nerdy world of technology but also how solving a problem through coding and the thought processes resonate with me personally.

One of my volunteering projects is to create and build an Access Database at the RAF Museum for the Vehicle Team. The aim of this project is to help collect, disseminate and use information about vehicle exhibits to help conserve and restore where possible exhibits in need.

One of the problems with building such a database project is that you have to at some point need to use code in such a way to make it function. For that, the process of getting code and transplant it into a database can be a challenge. But the video from Tom Scott helps to illustrate exactly some of the problems I face with working on a project that is for the better part a complete unknown.

To put into perspective, when my Vehicle Team Leader asks me if it’s possible to add a certain feature or develop a way to use the database more usable or efficient, I look at the problem by breaking down the options available and then deciding what type of feature or solution that best fits this particular problem.

One of the best places to get some ready made solutions is to actually use the internet; a vast database collection of information that goes on for decades and interestingly enough can still be just as relevant today as it was first posted back then.

Then there’s the iterative process into looking at the code specifically and making it more efficient, removing or replacing aspects of the code so that it will run more efficiently. For example, when a user starts the database and logs in successfully, the coding sequence is to verify and then accept the correct password to the username then it actively target’s the next form designated to the username and then close the login page immediately.

The reason for closing the login page immediately is primarily to help the user use all of the available memory in the computer to run further operations.

For me, it’s standard policy to close any pages when not in use and only keep open pages where necessary, this is because while many computers have spare available memory, the practice of using up all of the available memory is bad practice and it reduces the ability for the computer to compute further calculations or operations. This results in the user sitting around waiting for the computer to finish it’s operation, this would be just frustrating.

An online friend who is into coding and pretty much into computer system programming showed me this video which outlined a way to program a game using less memory than a 1.44Mb floppy disk.

In this video the programmer outlined some of the techniques in cheating the system into having more content for little memory usage and ultimately using code to make the system just as stable and just as efficient compare to say the latest Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 game which as I shockingly found out was a 50Gb base game install and then there is a 50Gb update patch.

So when I work on my volunteering project, I do more than just have a functioning database, I make sure that the database is usable, stable and as efficient as possible and with that, the skill and experience in this respect is highly useful to any employer.

Project Owl

Project Owl has been a very long term photographic night shoot project. The aim of this project is to photograph at night, mainly around London but if the opportunity arises, then anywhere else I can afford to do it, I will do it.

Photographing at night will require good sun down or early sunsets to allow me to make the most of the night, so most of the time the project has been around the November to December period.

So enjoy when I upload to Flickr some of my photos in the Project Owl album

Elizabeth Tower, Westminster Bridge
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge Side Road
Imperial War Museum Guns
Imperial War Museum Guns
City of London

Introducing Binky Airways

For those who don’t know, Binky Airways has always been present for many years. In fact, you may not have been aware that it’s used on mainly my media sites such as Flickr, Instagram and YouTube.

The name “Binky Airways” was created just before I left university to help me consolidate some of my aerospace forum and media sites that I was using at the time. Today, it helps me serve as the online media repository of my skills and activities and will continue to do so for many years to come.

City of London
Source: Flickr (Binky Airways)
Source: Instagram (Binky Airways)
Source: YouTube (Binky Airways)

Brooklands Concorde Nose Lower/Raise

I rarely have an actual holiday from work, but I recently decided to have a proper 2 weeks off and spend time going to museums as my holiday and it was highly enjoyable.

The last day of my holiday I decided to go to the Brooklands Museum near Weybridge and on that day there was a special aviation event taking place. At the same time Concorde was being prepared and one lucky visitor in a raffle got to sit in Concorde’s cockpit and activated the electrical hydraulic system for its nose.

You see, this particular Concorde is unique in that its a full production aircraft that flew but never entered public service and ended up being used mostly as spare parts for British Airways. But before the eventual public retirement of Concorde from public service, this particular example didn’t suffer the fate as the other Concorde’s in that as part of those agreements, they were completely de-certified to fly by deliberately sabotaging many of the systems that made Concorde fly.

This example however didn’t have its hydraulic systems sabotaged under that agreement but volunteers at the museum managed to work and finally activate the hydraulic systems using the original equipment that was still used on the aircraft. Imperial War Museum, Duxford, recently had its nose lowered but used external power systems to make that work. So seeing this one was highly unique in the way it was done.

It was certainly one of the highlights of the day and during my 2 weeks on holiday.