Anyway, on Thursday was a big shopping expedition. We went to the city center, I dropped klik off at the suntan-center and inquired as to the status of my order of the slot-in DVD-ROM at the City-Systems. No, it wasn't there yet, and apparently it would be hard to order, etc etc etc. I tried to buy a serial cable at the Dynabyte, but the sales...thing tried to sell me a null-modem cable instead. And then I couldn't find Hilde's address, so I couldn't deliver the invitation to our birthday party which is still more than a month away...
At least it had stopped raining when I picked up klik, and together we delivered that last invitation. On the way back, I wanted to ask at the ComputerLand for slot-in DVD-ROMs, a serial cable and rounded IDE cables. I started my usual talk ("Yes, not a drawer but a slit..."), and the guy turned around and picked a Pioneer 120S from the shelves: they still had a stack! No ordering, it was in stock! I think my jaw hit the floor then...
We also swung by the games shop Moenen en Mariken, where we bought a birthday-present for paultje and Hans. There is little chance they will read this before they get it (they're in the Netherlands right now, away from home), so I can tell you it's an expansion to Settler of Catan -- the first historical expansion set. I've played that once, and it was an interesting variation to the basic game.
Then it was off to Technica, to get the chips and displays I ordered, and some other assorted shopping that is too boring to mention.
When we got home, we got to work with the displays, just to see how they would turn out. It took us a while to discover the pin-settings of the displays, but when we 'got' it, we made a display to say 'HELLO', just because we could...
It's a bit unsharp, but hey, it's the thought that counts!
Then I wanted to build the programmer for the microcontroller, but I noticed I missed one lousy component! The site I got the programmer from mentioned another programming circuit that was a little more versatile, so I made a list of the components I was still lacking to build that one too.
That evening was the first assembly of the writers group -- the first without the course being taught. In the end, it was just five of us, but it was very instructive. I showed Nanofictionary (a story-telling game) to the group, and they were amused. Luc even wrote it down, I think I made a sale for Moenen and Mariken! ;)
Friday was relaxed and started out with a big bowl of sugar puffs (puffed wheat, coated with honey), which drove the cat almost crazy: he really wanted some of that, but we decided he would have to stick to cat-food...
Then we swung by the Technica again (I swear, the guy is started to recognize me -- I think he only just kept himself from rolling his eyes) -- all in all, the components we were still lacking cost only EUR 1.10, even less than the parking money!
On our way back to the car, we saw a poster advertising .hack//Infection, a PS2-game about, you guessed it, .hack . On a whim, we bought it, just to see what it's like.
When we got home, we built the programmer circuit, but when I wanted to test it out, it didn't work! First there was the whole 'programs can't use the COM-ports directly'-thing in Windows XP, and I just couldn't get it fixed! This was very frustrating to me, and klik had to half-force me to prepare the evening meal. I can get quite mad when things don't work the way they should... Luckily, after dinner, we had the new game to check out, so that kept me occupied.
.hack//Infection is a bit of an odd beast. It simulates a MMORPG -- so you see all these characters running about, played by humans emulated by the computer. But you start right off in the story, which I liked very much.
All the trappings of the TV series .hack//Sign are present: the gates, the water city, the monsters, the board, everything. That's pretty cool too!
This morning, as I was lying half-awake, I suddenly realised what had gone wrong with the programmer-circuit: I had reversed a diode! ("Captain! We should reverse the polarity of the Zener Diode!"). So I changed it, and it worked!
We built the test circuit, programmed it, and it worked perfectly! I was one happy camper!
As I'm writing this, we are at my inlaws. Tomorrow afternoon we'll go to my parents, where we will meet up with paultje, Hans and Joep. Looking forward to that.