Author Archives: macrae

White noise / Ambience

White noise. Backgound noise. ASMR. Relaxation sounds. Focus music.

Whatever you want to call it, you’ll find thousands of people who will promise a life changing experience with their preferred selection. By all means, give it a try. But don’t expect results from the first one you find or whatever is highest rated on YouTube this week. This is the kind of thing that depends heavily on YOU. On how YOUR brain works. On how YOU experience the world.

To get anywhere with this you need to listen to your inner parent-at-the-buffet. “Don’t fill up on the first thing you see. Try a little bit of everything and then go back if you’re still hungry.”

What works for me?

SID tunes on repeat. Yep, music from the now rather limited, but revolutionary when released, SID chip in the Commodore 64.

Repetitive enough to sound like white noise, without being white noise.

No lyrics to get stuck in my head.

Endless selection.


Link for the brave: SID

Gaming. Newer is not always better.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been forwarded various emails, articles, comics, reviews and opinion pieces that all seemed to echo the same basic premise. Old video games are AWESOME!!

They all started the same way, talking about all the benefits of the newer games available for their system of choice. About the interactive controls, racing wheel setups with 6-speed H-pattern shifters, force feedback and 3 pedals with adjustable resistance. Wiimotes, Move controllers, Kinect, dancepads, balance boards, guitars, drumkits and more. Then about the updated graphics, translucency, real-time lighting, weather effects, and resolutions to rival IMAX. Then about the 7.1 surround sound, orchestral scores, professional voice acting and customizable soundtracks. Then the storylines, character arcs, twists and expanded universe. But then a vital question was asked. A question that rendered moot all that came before it. Are they more fun?

Go visit It's awesome!!

Obviously the answer they all came to was a resounding ‘no’, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this. But the reasons they gave were all different.

This is one that almost everyone can agree on. Earlier games didn’t have the photo quality realism, the surround sound or the immersive controller so they needed something else to get you to play and keep playing. They had quality gameplay. Arcades of the 80’s were masters of game design that you could pick up in minutes but would keep you challenged for a decade (special mention here to Ghosts N Goblins). Also, the variation in game design meant you could spend hours playing in an arcade without playing a single genre twice; Puzzle, Fighter, Racing, Beat Em Up, Scrolling Shooter, Maze, Sport and of course Pinball.

I must admit I was surprised when I saw this but it does make sense. Think about two popular games out at the moment “Call of Duty” and “Battlefield”. If you were to take a screenshot of each one then remove all the game stats and HUD (Health, ammo, objective etc)….. would you be able to tell them apart? Die hard fans of the series obviously could but your average gamer? Now take some popular arcade games from the same genre, “Street Fighter” and “Mortal Kombat”. Completely different. Each had their own visual style and each stuck with it through the sequels, you could easily see the differences in the games and appreciate exactly what each one offered. Actually, let’s change that title for a little more accuracy.


Again, it would seem at first glance that the modern games have this won as well, but consider this….. if I played the music from Deus Ex (2000) and the sound effects from PacMan (1980) which do you think you’d recognise first? I thought so. Even though it’s 20 YEARS older. Admittedly, this could be down to the fact that it’s a lot easier for simple tunes to get stuck in your head, something advertisers have known for decades. But I’d like to think it’s because it’s simply good music. As an experiment I found copies of the music from a series of Commodore 64 games made from 1983 to 1990 and played them for one of my brothers. This was music he hadn’t heard in over 20 years but he named almost every single one of them within about 15 seconds. That just wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t brilliant music.

Side note: Check out the SID music archive. Music that’s still being made from the Sound Interface Device from the C64.

I was planning to put in a whole section here about the social aspect of gaming (modern: internet multiplayer VS retro: friends around a TV) but that will have to wait.

To make up your own mind about Modern VS Retro gaming check out MAME, the Multipe Arcade Machine Emulator to play some old-school arcade games on your windows PC. Or for something a litle more recent Good Old Games will have your fix.



In all honesty this entire post was just an excuse to upload a zip file for my brother. But it was fun to write and hopefully at least semi-interesting.

Amateur photography

Like most other IT geeks, I like gadgets. Useful? Good. Electronic? Even better. Complex? You had me at gadget.
So naturally I have a digital SLR camera. I don’t know what half the numbers on the screen mean, nor do I know what all the buttons do, but I like to think I can take a decent photo from time to time. I’ve decided to throw a few of the better ones online to see what others think. If you know anything about photography or just like looking at pretty pictures, leave a comment and let me know if I’m deluding myself.

OK. So those two are pretty similar. I’ll share some more soon.

Memories of a wonderful day

Memories of a wonderful day

During the last week the photo album from my wedding was finished and delivered. To say I’m happy with how it turned out would be an understatement of gargantuan proportions. My wife and I have shown a few people and everyone has agreed that it is simply amazing.

Here’s one particular shot that always seems to pick up some praise…

<a href=””><img class=”alignnone size-large wp-image-25″ title=”MW419″ src=”×1024.jpg” alt=”Photo taken in my backyard” width=”591″ height=”887″ /></a>


Many thanks to Frank Colzato Photography for capturing the day in so many magnificent photos and for producing such an amazing album.

Installing WordPress…… from a Mac


Maybe it’s because I don’t normally work with Apple Mac products. Maybe it’s because I’m not as familiar with OS X as I am with Windows. Or maybe, just maybe……. OS X is an inferior operating system.

Installing wordpress and getting up and running with this site took me about 30mins. Doing the same thing for another wordpress site from a Mac took about 4 hours.

Take from that what you will.

TMac out

A quick update

When you have people in your life that have helped you so many times in so many ways for so many years, that’s called family. The least you can do to repay that is to help them in the same way, as much as you can, for as long as you can.

If you’re lucky, you’ll end up with victory shots like this…

OK……. I……. can’t seem to find that photo at the moment, so here’s a placeholder.

Found it.

WordPress installed

Well, that took a little bit longer than I expected.

But we’re up and running now, time to play around with some templates, add some content and see if this can do all the wonderful things I’ve been told it can.

Stay tuned……… or don’t.