September 23, 2018

Iceland Trip

Tags: Travel, Iceland

It has been a while since I went somewhere new for a holiday, so earlier this month I spent a few days in Reykjavik, Iceland. It was all organised on short notice, and during most of the trip the weather was overcast (so no Aurora), but the country is well worth a visit.

My best photos from the trip are in a short slideshow available here.

June 27, 2018

Scala Logic

Tags: Scala, Technical, Projects

Some people may know that over 20 years ago a did a little postgrad research into computational logic. While not much benefit came out of that work, it did give me an interest in logic. So when it came time to refresh my Scala skills, I thought it might be interesting to try creating a simple logical resolution system. A toy version of Prolog.

Now it is finished, and it doesn’t seem so bad. With some work it could even grow to a full Prolog implementation. It might even be useful in its currently limited state. So I have decided to opensource and release it through Gitlab.

If interested it is available here.

FYI: Gitlab seems like a decent online repo site, so in the future I may put other projects under my page there.

June 26, 2018


Tags: Meta

You may of heard about GDPR recently? Or maybe just received a flood of privacy policy updates?

It is time for one more. Previously this website used some Google 3rd party services that may track visitors (Adsense, Analytics and Search). I have now turned them all off. It was a fairly easy decision to make. I haver tracked the site analytics for many years, so why keep it on? Same for the ads. In over 10 years of running this blog I have earned a few pennies over £75. No loss to turn it all off.

There is still one service on this site that may use cookies and tracking, if you are one of their customers already. That is Disqus, who provide the comments system at the bottom of most pages. Their GDPR statement is available here

May 7, 2018

What Next?

Tags: Meta, Concealed Intent, Work

Behold! The 1.3 update to Concealed Intent has been released!

This release is of course 6 months after it was original planned, but I have just been too busy to get it done. I the end I took time off from work to finish it. It has also been a financial failure, the 3000 sales (so far) have not even covered my living costs during development (at around 10K sales there would have been a profit). So, this will probably be the last significant release for Concealed Intent. There may be a small update to clean up a few loose ends, but basically the game is “done” and “good enough”. It would take a great burst of inspiration combined with a great deal of spare time for the situation to change.

Since Concealed Intent has been the main consumer of time for many years now, what does finishing it mean? What comes next?

Now most of my time is spent at work - a normal weekday job. Supposedly I am a Technical Product Manager at Substantive Research - a London startup working in the post Mifid II research environment. However, most of my time is spent on programming NLP AI systems on research reports (not too much management). It is quite interesting and the conditions are good, so I have no other work plans at the moment.

The problem is that SR takes up most of my time in typical startup fashion. I would like to create further games, and have more ideas than I could ever develop, but can’t realistically get started properly right now. I have lost that naivety. I now know how much work it required to create a commercial game. No longer can I just start with nothing but optimism.

So the plan is to continue working at SR and try where possible to create little game libraries or other projects for fun. If perhaps they could be later used as building blocks towards a proper game, that would be perfect. Although, most of the time I’ll just be a boring software programmer employee.

April 20, 2018

Funding Circle Results

Tags: Finance, Funding Circle

Last year I expected to significantly reduce the balance of my Funding Circle account over the following year. Well, the year has passed and a noticeable amount has been withdrawn, but there is still enough there to get an idea of the returns. So, what happened over the last year?

Here are the returns for the last UK tax year:

Gross: 8.5%
After Fees: 7.5%
After Bad Debt & Recoveries: 6.4%

A lower return than last year (7%), but still a decent return, although not as good as other investments . Gross returns and fees have stayed roughly steady compared to last year. The decrease has come from an increase in net bad debts. It would be nice to think this is due to Brexit issues or a change in the site’s system reducing choice (see below), but I doubt it. I’m fairly sure the rise in bad debts is due to a couple of the real estate loans I added last year going under in the dropping UK property market. Based on the loan-equity ratios for those loans I would expect recoveries to be very high, but that takes time, and right now the loss has to be realised.

Since the last report, Funding Circle have changed their system again. It is no longer possible to choose the individual loans, instead clients are forced to go into an automatic system based on two credit rating buckets. I have gone for the A rated loans. Will lower customer involvement result in better returns? I’m not sure in the current environment. Thus I will continue to slowly drain funds from the account.