Technology updates

Quite a bit has happened recently!

I’ll try and give a bit of info about each, there’s quite a lot to write about though!


An IRC bot which stalks changes to Wikipedia based on regex matches. Read more

caterpie beedrill as minecraft server

Those of you who use my Minecraft server will know that the server known as “caterpie” was bad. Any more than one person connected, and it would lag to the depths of hell. I’ve replaced it with a 1.7G beast of a server, still running as an Amazon server instance.

I registered a new domain! I’m still in the process of setting the thing up though, but that will become my main website, not quite sure what I’m gonna put there yet, but it’ll probably replace what webspace I had at


A couple of weeks ago, the IRC bot that we use over at Wikipedia’s Account Creation Assistance project decided it would stop giving notifications to the IRC channel.

I’ll write more about this at a later time, hopefully soon, but probably when I’ve finished messing with my new site :P

strobe light

Growing tired of the poor strobe light applications available on Android Market, I decided to build my own.

I’ll also write more about this too at a later time – I think this bit and the last one need their own posts.

Minecraft Pixel Art

Hey folks

Just thought you’d love to hear about a few things I’ve been doing in Minecraft recently!


I decided to make the Google Chrome logo from coloured wool in Minecraft.

I took the Google Chrome Logo:

Reduced it to 32x32px (actually, I initially found a 32x32px image :P):

Applied this GIMP Colour Palette to it to adapt the colours to the wool colours in Minecraft (Image -> Mode -> Indexed, using custom palette – you’ll need to right click the palettes window and import it first):
(this is the one I’m actually using, if you use the one above, you’ll end up with this)

Build in Minecraft!

I’m considering building all the major browser’s logos, but I’m having a hard time finding the resources to do just Chrome’s. And Chrome has gone and got itself a new logo in the meantime…

Because I was finding it hard to know what I needed, I also built a spreadsheet. This spreadsheet knows all the requirements for the wool blocks, asks you what you need to complete the project, what you currently have, and goes away and calculates what else you need to gather.

Download spreadsheet

If you want to download it, feel free to. I’ve released it under CC-BY-SA, so do whatever you want with it under the terms of that licence (attribute me and share any changes you make under similar conditions, otherwise do what you want). Details are in the file.

Minecraft and the towers

So, I’ve wasted a considerable amount of free time building what was at first a tower, then a few towers, then an aerial walkway, canal system, boatlift, and now is a fully fledged quadrangle.

The towers themselves are really impressive, the basic structure being a 5×5 square tower with a hollow inside, then building a double helix in the centre:



etc. The bottom is slightly more fancy, in that it started out like that, but I added a walkway through the middle, and sealed off the bottom. Hence:

  • Layer 1:
  • Layer 2:
  • Layer 3:

There’s nothing special about the top, you just need to stop building the glass spiral when you don’t want to go any higher, and stick a lava source in one side, and a water source in the other. If all goes to plan, you should end up with zero cobblestone, zero obsidian, and a nice tower that looks something like this:

water lava tower by day

or by night:

water lava tower by night

I ended up building a glass staircase around the outside edge of the tower to aid getting up and down. Alson if you’re fast enough, you can get down the tower before the lava has finished forming (jumping down into water helps!), and you can watch it form:


Now, I decided to go to the top of the world. Then I decided that wasn’t enough, so I moved 100 blocks and built another. And another. And another.

Here’s three of the towers, the other one hadn’t been built yet (I’m actually stood halfway up it while building it)


Four fancy looking towers still didn’t seem good enough, as I seemed to be able to rattle off new ones far too quickly, so I built a walkway between them right at the top, then a few blocks down a canal system:


… which in itself was starting to look really cool from the ground:


Add a fair amount of water…



I ended up building an extra ledge onto the outside wall of my canal system, and flooding that too to form water curtains:



A 1 block deep trench directly underneath the fall path of the water ensured no unintentional flooding, except for the one time I forgot about doing that…


I decided I ought to make a few “portals” through the curtain so others on the server could easily come and go to their respective bases, so using the 1 block trench idea, I created a very simple doorway with the trench on top:


I also added a boat lift, which is essentially just a column of water, and a drop into a 3-block deep area of water, with a current driving you off the edge. It works really well, assuming you can get the boat to move where you want it to!



More photos can be found here

All in all, I’m pleased with the result, though I’m not so sure about the water curtains.

If you want a look around for yourself, take the backup dated midnight on the 14th from here, and have a look around!