Go Ahead

This is something that really bugs me.  united biscuits manufacture a bar under the brand go ahead!™ boasting that its only 74 calories per slice. The brand name, their marketing campaign and everything about this biscuit, is geared towards this being a healthy option.
“The go ahead! brand offers consumers delicious snacks they can feel good about eating”
However in reality the information being provided isn’t very helpful, and doesn’t allow the consumer to make healthy eating choices at all. Firstly there are two slices per pack, so its really 148 calories. Secondly the bars are tiny only 36g each so you don’t get much. Especially when you consider that for 74 calories you can have 231g of strawberries, or 129g of fat free yoghurt, or 19g of sugar. What the bars should advertise is the calorie density, or calories per 100 gram. In which case its a 417 calorie per 100g bar. Admittedly on the back of the packet such information is provided, but united biscuits as well as many other companies use a loophole in the way they can provide nutrition information to the consumer to make it look like a healthy option when actually it isn’t. Especially when you consider that a Mars bar is 467 calories per 100g. But I don’t have a problem with Mars, they brand their products as confectionery sweets and as such everyone knows they are a treat not to be eaten too often. *

So here is my healthy alternative to go ahead!™ if you just take half the sugar and half the yoghurt you have the equivalent of one slice, and if you take all the strawberries, you have the equivalent of the two slices. So pictured right we have two measly go ahead!™ yoghurt breaks strawberry slices and next to them we have one bowl of strawberries, a huge dollop of yoghurt, and more than two teaspoons of sugar. In addition the go ahead!™ bar has all sorts of other crap in it including:

  • Strawberry paste 1.5%
  • Glycerine
  • Dextrose Monohydrate
  • Sodium Citrate
  • Calcium Citrate
  • Soya Lecithin
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Disodium Diphosphate

I am not really sure what any of those things are but my healthy option contains:

  • Fresh strawberries 50%
  • Pasteurised Skimmed Cow’s Milk
  • Sugar

There is no mention of whether the go ahead!™ bar contains any Vitamin C, but being that my option has fresh strawberries in it its packed full of Vitamin C, as strawberries have the most amount of Vitamin C than any other fruit. The yoghurt means it is also packed full of protein and live active yoghurt cultures (L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. Casei). I know which I would rather eat, so I did. It was delicious. The go ahead!™ bar went in the bin.

*Previously Mars had an questionable advertising campaign slogan “A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play”, but the current slogan is simply “Work rest play your part for England” which I think is a responsible way of promoting sport and exercise using the brand

Powers of 2

Breaking with tradition I have decided to do a release on the 16th this month instead of the 8th. Then the following release I plan to do on the 32nd, which of course doesn’t exist so it will actually be the 1st of month. The reason for this is just for fun, and because I would like to have my releases go out on the first day of the month 😉


  • Implemented amf export feature. – Thanks to Steve Kelly for his work on this
  • Allow range values to be treated as though they are vector values.
  • Implemented preferences for edge and vertex size.
  • Added simple about box dialog that displays the RapCAD version number.
  • Improved the tool tips in main window tool bar.
  • Improve memory management for values.
  • Improvements to array concatenation code and some tests.
  • Fixed some defeferenced null pointer exceptions in polygon.
  • Documentation Improvements.
  • Added some more examples
  • Licensing updated.

Version 0.8.0 is available this month. See the Download Page for details.

Desktop Wallpapers Waste Memory.

My colleague often says something along the lines of:

I don’t know why everyone has a desktop wallpaper its nothing but a waste of memory

I thought that this sounded somewhat like an urban myth and decided to see if there was any evidence to support or dispell this claim. Well it turns out that although the wallpaper is pushed to video memory for rendering it cant be kept there as if it were just general purpose RAM. So the wallpaper does have to be stored in conventional memory, but is it a waste?

Well assuming a resolution of 1280×1024 and a 32bpp color (4 bytes per pixel) we get:

1280 × 1024 × 4 = 5 MiB

So I am wasting 5 MiB of my 8 GiB of RAM. As a percentage:

5/8192 × 100 ≈ 0.06%

But yes it is a bit of a waste, I should probably turn off my desktop wallpaper.

Android Development x64 Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal)

The android developer guide suggests you install ia32-libs when developing on a 64bit platform. However this installs some 242 packages. A much more sensible option is to only install the 32bit libraries that are actually needed and then you only have to install 57 new packages. Additionally Quantal Quetzal comes with an up to date version of eclipse (3.8) so you can install this via the package manager as well instead of downloading 3.7 as the guide suggests.

To install the packages simply run the following command:

sudo apt-get install eclipse libgl1-mesa-dev:i386 libsdl1.2debian:i386

The installation of eclipse will also provide a compatible Java runtime required for building android apps.


I like to write up my holidays so that I can look back and remember what I did, trouble is I usually take so long trying to capture everything that I end up not posting them at all. I have drafts for several Holidays that have been sitting there for years. I have decided that I am just going to post what I have written and improve the post at a later date.

New Release

A few things have been added to RapCAD in the last 6 months so I decided to make a new release. Hopefully now that the release scripts are working on the build server I will be able to make releases more frequently, assuming that enough gets added to the code base to warrant a new release. I’d like to make releases once a month again as I think that was just about right.


  • Implemented add assign (+=), and subtract assign (-=) operators.
  • Added some simple examples.
  • Implemented center() module for centering about the bounding box.
  • Fix for cylinder and cube of zero height.
  • Updated icons.
  • Added support for non centered spheres
  • Implemented new functions tanh() sinh() cosh() atan() atan2() acos() asin() exp() pow() ceil() floor() round() min() max() sign() abs() sin() cos() tan().
  • Added warning when function cannot be found.

Version 0.7.0 is available this month. See the Download Page for details.


(Note: This is a work in progress see Holidays)


I arrived in Dalaman airport and was greeted by the Solos rep. It was all a bit confusing because we were mixed in with the Solos sun group, however when I met Sarah we were both relieved that we had got on the right plane, and were with the right age group. We were taken by minibus to the Hotel, I spent most of the journey talking to Nigel who was in the sun group. At the hotel we were introduced to our Solos Guide for the week, We couldn’t pronounce (or remember) his name so we called him by his nickname “Awesome”. Awesome introduced us to the rest of the group. Including the Sarah that I had already met at the minibus there were four Sarah’s in the group which was confusing but this led to some interesting nick names developing during the week. I spent the rest of the afternoon having a few beers and getting to know everyone.

The first day of activities was a Jeep Safari day. It was a really good way to explore the ruins and sarcophagi of Tlos. There was lots of photo opportunities. We then headed over to a beautiful restaurant in Yaka Park full of fountains and waterfalls. We stopped there for a few drinks. The next stop was Saklikent (The Gorge). We were given the option to cross the gorge river using only a rope to stop us from being swept away by the water. Sarah Jeffrey and I jumped at the opportunity, I went first and apparently made it look easy, although I must admit I think I was lucky to not lose my footing as the water was very rapid. Sarah earned her nickname for the week “Zenna” as she crossed the gouge river like a warrior princess! After the gorge walk we had a really nice piece of trout for lunch. I usually don’t like small fish because of the bones, but this trout was barbecued so well, and the meat just slid off the bone. It was delicious. Some of us had signed up for a paddle down the river on rubber rings, so after lunch we got on the rings while the others took the Jeep down to the point where they catch us. Fortunately they did catch us otherwise we might have ended up in Egypt. The next stop was the mud baths, they were nothing fancy but we all got into the spirit of things and slapped some mud over ourselves, apparently making us look ten years younger. Finally on the way back the Jeep stopped off at a Petrol station which had a swimming pool, quite an unusual thing to find at a patrol station but it was nice to go for a dip before heading back to the hotel.

  • Wednesday – Quad biking – Mese and BBQ chicken – Water slide – Turkish bath – Sunset Cruise

Our second activity was a half day of quad biking. We were picked up by bus and taken to the quad bike training course. We were given some simple safety instructions and shown how to use the quad bikes. Every driver had to then do a quick test around the training circuit. Not everyone on the trip was driving the quad bikes and I had Ke as a passenger on my bike. The quad bike course took us round some scenic village roads, then into the forest for some off road action, this was my favourite part as the terrain got progressively more challenging. Sarah Holton was really good at quad biking and so she earned the nickname “Dr Quad”. After we had finished the off road part of the course we rode the quad bikes down into the cove for some refreshing drinks by the bay. After we had ridden the bikes back to the start point we were taken off for lunch in a local restaurant. Lunch was a Meze and barbecue chicken. In the afternoon when we got back to the hotel we thought we would give the hotel water slide a go. It was actually quite fun although a little short, it was nice to just relax by the pool and dry off in the hot sun whilst having a few more beers. In the evening Awesome told us that we could all get a free Turkish bath at Sanctuary, so some of us that had previously turned down the idea decided to go. It was an unusual experience, but good, I felt very clean afterwards and smelled like Turkish soap. While I was there I also had a haircut, and a straight razor shave which was a new experience for me.

  • Thursday – Canoeing – BBQ – Karaoke – Dancing on Bar
  • Friday – Boat Trip – Sunbathing – Back flips – Fishing – Feeling ropey
  • Saturday – Hiking – Chicken Baguettes – Blue lagoon – Bartering – Dinner still mooing.
  • Sunday – Paragliding – Shopping

On sunday we went paragliding

  • Sky Sports
  • about half way through the flight the pilot asked me if I would like to take control
  • Tricks!
  • Monday – Traveling home