Husband, father, geek.

by Chris Pearson

Celebration Europe London 2016

A few weekends ago I was able to go to Star Wars Celebration Europe at the Excel in London. This is a 3 day convention dedicated to Star Wars with many of the big names attending and big announcements made.

I had booked my tickets over a year in advance and went for the last day of the event. This meant having to miss out on a lot of the bigger panels for things like Rogue One and Rebels and having to endure post after post on social media showing me just how much I’d missed out on.

However on Sunday, my eldest daughter dressed as Rey, my wife and I stood in line waiting for the convention to start.

Celebration 2016 passes

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First Imperial Stormtrooper Detachment - Centurion

Within the First Imperial Stormtrooper Detachment (FISD) there are 3 levels of approval:

  1. Basic approval
  2. Expert Infantry Battalion
  3. Centurion

With the increase of each level from 1–3 higher emphasis is placed on the accuracy of the armour to the film used originals.

I passed my level 2: EIB on 7th May 2016 and yesterday, on 10th June 2016, I passed my Centurion approval.

I am especially proud of this because the staff go out of their way to find a nitpick but I was passed with out comment. This is pretty rare so I am really happy with this.

Now to carry this success forward with further costumes. I’ve already started work on my next, a TIE pilot from A New Hope.



TK-10911

Stormtrooper Portrait

I’ve completed my Stormtrooper armour build and had to take some photos to become a member of the UK Garrison. The wife took this one, it came out great.

Update: I now am an approved member of the UK Garrison of the 501st Legion. TK-10911 reporting for duty.


Made In The UK

Listening to a podcast today I noticed something. Halfway through a sentence a guest stopped to point out that the product was made in the US. You can listen to the episode of The Pen Addict at the right point here.

It occurred to me that this doesn’t happen here. You almost never hear some one say that some product they bought was UK made. In fact on the few occasions it is mentioned it’s usually to point out how poorly made something is. See The IT Crowd.


First Grind

For many modern fountain pen users a custom nib grind is a right of passage. This involves taking a fountain pen to some person who will grind away the nib to change it’s shape and so writing characteristics. This is generally to make the horizontal and vertical strokes different widths.

Being a somewhat handy person, and happy to wreck stuff on occasion I decided to attempt this my self. After all the nibmeisters1 had to learn some how.

The plan was to take a stock medium sized nib for my Kaweco Sport which I wasn’t overly fond of, having replaced the nib for an extra fine, and to apply an italic grind to it. This gives a thinner horizontal stroke to a broader vertical.

To ensure I wasn’t making a complete mess of things a quick google was done and some instructions located. I followed some by Ludwig Tan: http://www.marcuslink.com/pens/aboutpens/ludwig-tan.html.

Grinding equipment

  1. A nibmiester is the term used to refer to someone skilled at re-grinding a nib. 

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TKVoice Is Out!

TKVoice logo

After a much longer gestation than I thought1 TKVoice is now available on the App Store.

Download on the App Store

TKvoice allows Troopers to achieve a film like sound when trooping. It will automatically detect your voice, apply effects and even give a static burst at the end of your sentence!

In order to troop, as well as TKVoice you will require a microphone, speaker and a splitter cable though you can test it out with just the headset that came with your phone. Further details on compatible hardware will be added to the tkvoice section of the site over then coming days.

This isn’t the end of the road and I already have several improvements planned based on feedback from beta testers.

I hope you try this out as a more affordable alternative to other hardware units. I look forward to hearing from users.

  1. Apparently the first commit was on September 15th, 2015. 


Pen Hacking

It all started when I bought our wedding rings. Everything was done I just needed to sign the receipt. The manager hands me a Montblanc Meisterstück Classique Rollerball. That was it, cheap pens were ruined for me forever.

It didn’t take long but soon enough I was listening to The Pen Addict podcast and had bought several fountain pens1 and a sea of different inks. Whilst I love using these they don’t always play nice with cheap paper and the ink tends to “feather” a lot. It was time to get a decent rollerball.

Lamy Vista and Montblanc refills

In the interest of cost, the Montblanc I used costs £310, I went with a more budget friendly option: A Lamy Vista. The refill that comes with it is a sort of blue-black and I wasn’t keen on the colour. Whilst I could have just bought a black refill I decided to attempt a “pen hack” and fit the Montblanc refill that started this all.

  1. Current count looks like 7, though I have 1 more coming some time next week. 

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The Decline Of Stack Overflow

Source: The decline of Stack Overflow

I’ve been a member on Stack Overflow for over 6 years. In the early days it was a great site and full of helpful people trying to help.

More recently I find myself agreeing more and more with John. The feel of the site has lost what made it great in the early days, the oppressive feeling is very apparent and I now hesitate to participate.

I don’t claim to have an answer for these problems but maybe it’s time for The Next Big Thing™.


Developing For The Fruit Company

As I mentioned in a previous post I’ve been working on a voice changer app to use with the Storm Trooper armour kit I’ve ordered. Well last night the prospect of this becoming a reality came one step closer.

I registered as an Apple developer.

Now this may not sound like a big deal but it was a £79 expense, so not throw away money. Especially as I have no expectation of earning this back.

This is something I’ve wanted to be able to do for a while so it’s pretty exciting. Whilst this is never going to be good enough to justify a trip to WWDC maybe I might be able to look into future development opportunities like the Apple TV dev kits after this years’ conference.


© 2015–2019 Christopher Pearson, All rights reserved.