December 04, 2020, 08:52:16 AM

Author Topic: Lockdown - Learn any new skills / Do anything to pass the time?  (Read 1202 times)

Offline Qube

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With the COVID-19 lockdown slowly easing for us mere mortals to return to "the new normal", did anyone pass the boredom by learning new skills?

I'm learning lock picking ;D ( hobby only ) - I started of with a basic starter kit that came with 3 clear training padlocks which although very easy to pick is a good introduction. Using the starter pick set I went on to practice with one of our gate padlocks. Took me an hour+ to open it but I was surprised that it could be done relatively easy for a complete beginner.

After buying a few more locks from our local supermarkets and having success with those I decided to buy a better lock picking set along with a set of "Top of Keyway Pry-Bar Tension Wrench Set". Having great fun learning lock picking and realising it wasn't going to be a 5 minute fad I decided once again to buy an even better lock picking set.

Having exhausted local supermarkets and DIY shops of their locks I dived on Amazon and purchased a pile of higher security locks \o/ - To cut a long story short one of the locks was £40 with a security rating of 9/10 and one of the door lock was anti-pick, anti-bump & anti-drill. I managed to pick open both and although it takes me around 15-20 minutes to do ( still a beginner ) I'm quite shocked that these "high security" locks were opened by a complete novice ( I'm just a genius really ;D ).

Anyway, I've still a couple of high security door locks to pick which I've not taken out of the packet yet and I'll keep practicing until I can do them all in less than 5 minutes each. After that I'll start to learn picking dimple locks and disc detainer ones.

Never thought I'd enjoy it so much but I guess it's the puzzle side that I like.

Oh and I'm also in the middle of building a patio \o/ - Never done it before or indeed building work but watched a couple of YouTube videos to become an "expert" :P. I said to the missus that if I screw it up I'll pay for a professional to do it instead. So I had delivered paving slabs, 1 tonne of sub base and bags of sand. I think I've bought every tool under the sun so I can look like I know what I'm doing :))

So far all the digging has been done ( turf is bloody heavy ) the side borders are in ( amazing what junk is buried deep down ) and yesterday I had great fun manually smashing sub base down with a tamper. I was thinking about hiring a wacker plate but why do that when you can spend more on a tamper and get a good work out ( killing yourself ) by doing it manually ::)

Hopefully when the rain stops and start to put the pavers down I'll not end up with a mountain range looking patio or one that rocks and wobbles with the slightest breeze.

Anyway, that's my exciting lockdown story :)) - Have you done anything new and exciting?
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Offline MikeHart

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Re: Lockdown - Learn any new skills / Do anything to pass the time?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2020, 12:25:23 PM »
Lock picking as a hobby. Nice one.


I am in my 10th or 11th week of home office. So not any extra time. But long story short, i am teaching myself the 3d stuff from the ground up for OpenGLES. Got a nice book and some online stuff so it keeps me  busy.

Offline Pakz

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Re: Lockdown - Learn any new skills / Do anything to pass the time?
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2020, 12:29:17 PM »
On Storage Wars on History Channel I believe they found a lockpick set hidden away in a compartment. It was taken to a expert who valued it. I can not remember the value though. It was valuable I think.

I had started learning Raylib during the lockdown. The rest was as usual just learning pixelart. I had stopped writing music after I noticed OpenAI showcased their music tech which generates music with actual singing. I kind of expect music writing to become a skill not needed in x years time. Though I have gotten a bit itchy in wanting to write more remixes of old game music. I bought a IphoneSE a couple of days ago and Nanostudio and Gadget seem like something I would like to use on it,

Online Xaron

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Re: Lockdown - Learn any new skills / Do anything to pass the time?
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2020, 01:39:49 PM »
Doing full time game work at home anyway so no change for me due to lockdown. ;)

Offline Derron

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Re: Lockdown - Learn any new skills / Do anything to pass the time?
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2020, 01:56:29 PM »
Lockdown = kids at home for multiple weeks. work still had to be done. So less sparetime than before. Learned something new? Hmm, I now better understand people who park their kids in front of TV ... had to do this multiple times the last months (normally I avoid it - and we tinker with paper, glue, pens .... and or build stuff with bricks or play with trains ...).

Skill-wise I only found some time to perfect my skills of buying stuff cheap :D
Bought 2 XP-Pen Artist 13.3 Pro from Amazon WHD for effectively 62 eur each (both with everything still sealed) - new is 329 eur. Now I just need to find the time to really use it (of course am only using one ;D).
Bought a childrens bike from there too - wrong price set, had a slight damaged reflector (these plastic things in the wheels). Amazon totally refunded and wanted me to keep the bike.
Learned how to use a credit card system together with cash back systems to create a lot of "expenses" so to effectively get bonus points for free.

So all in all ... maybe I should say I learned how to save more money (saved kindergarten fees for good!). But sacrificed almost 3 months of sparetime coding time for it. Not a good exchange.



@ lock picking
Should have a more professional toolset somewhere (my father owned a company doing this door opening stuff, surveillance cameras etc.). Never tried myself though (maybe at a cheap bicycle lock  - with much luck :D).


bye
Ron

Offline STEVIE G

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Re: Lockdown - Learn any new skills / Do anything to pass the time?
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2020, 03:28:09 PM »
Like most, I'm working full time at home so have learned nothing other than part time quiz-mastery  ;D

Locksmiths are the biggest shower of robbing bastards on the planet so a good sideline to get into. My ultra secure yale broke last year, locking me out. I got stung for £300+vat to get me in and replace the lock with a £10 piece of crap.  Impossible to pick so had to drill and hammer the thing off. Had no option but to pay as after hours and strangely needed to get inside.

Offline Steve Elliott

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Re: Lockdown - Learn any new skills / Do anything to pass the time?
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2020, 04:49:20 PM »
It's been a mix of being far more productive and taking my coding to a new level, drinking too much and learning some pixel/3d art techniques.
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Offline TomToad

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Re: Lockdown - Learn any new skills / Do anything to pass the time?
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2020, 06:19:39 PM »
Been solving some of the problems on https://projecteuler.net/
Already have 70 of the problems done. 
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Offline Santiago

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Re: Lockdown - Learn any new skills / Do anything to pass the time?
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2020, 06:21:35 PM »
It sounds like a lot of fun about locks, my dream was learning to open safes.

When the quarantine started, knowing that it was going to last a long time, I sat down to take a few maths and think about what projects I was going to carry out in all the time I would have available.

Opt to choose from a list of 5 types of games, and opt for WWII aircraft.

which led me to learn AGK in order to have a better chance in the future business.

I also decided to build myself a joystick for the future flight game, all armed with parts that are lying around here at home.

Learn songs from the beattles on the guitar, and learn a tango on the piano.

At the beginning I had a lot of beer, and I spent my time in world of tanks and programming.

Now I don't drink beer anymore because I want to have 100% brain.

It would be good to have motivation to do some physical activity ...

Aim of this quarantine, like the movie "Groundhog Day", I hope to take advantage of the time and finish Tora.

Offline Xerra

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Re: Lockdown - Learn any new skills / Do anything to pass the time?
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2020, 06:22:19 PM »
Lockdown has changed my routine a fair bit. I rarely had the opportunity to work from home as I work as a systems and data analyst for the local government. Not a glamorous role and mostly involves me using spatial data to do stuff like heat map fly tips in the borough, or possibly helping some numpty to find where they can find documents on the network shared drives.

When we got sent home in March I literally put all my desk equipment in the boot of the car and then set up in my loft so I could work from there. I was lucky that there were already desks and a power supply up there so I could both avoid having to work in the same room as the missus and benefit from an awesome view out of the window. My I.T support isn't needed much now, apart from the case management system database maintenance, so it's mostly just reporting and running our management system for the streets and grounds guys I do now. None of this is usually very taxing so I'm having a pretty easy time of it, to be honest. I'm focused enough to still put in the proper hours of 8-4, even though I no longer have a direct reporting manager, and I do have to co-ordinate a team to an extent, but that's nothing more than a motivation exersize via a whatsapp group. If they're not working as hard as they would be if they were in the office then it's not down to me to have to bollock them, fortunately.

As it's local government everyone who got sent home, even the ones who couldn't do their jobs from home, still gets full pay. A lot of guys I know were lucky like this and have had the last 11 weeks of doing jack and getting paid for it. I'm obviously not as lucky as that because my job could continue, but I've approached it by thinking of the long-term possibility of being able to continue working from home at least most of the week once everything does go back to normal. I'm hoping that it's been noticed that I'm still putting in the hours, even if i'm in the minority and maybe a few hours have been spent just tapping a key on the laptop every so often so I show on the internal communication system as active and online :-)

As for what else I've been doing with the extra time - even if it's just what I've saved traveling, well my coding has got better as I've worked a bit harder on the stuff I was doing. My last compo game got finished in a lot less time than some of my earlier efforts did, and a better game came from it.

I've also been able to save a bit more money than I normally would from being forced to not socialise so much. I like pubs and drinking with buddies. That's probably an area I spend more money than i'd like to admit to. At the end of each of the last three months I've probably been at least £500 richer than I would normally be, which is pretty telling. Naturally I've stuck it all away ready for the inevitable blow out once we do get going again.

I've also talked the missus into doing some ebay sales with stuff she's got in the loft at her parents house. She brought home two football shirts she bought in 1991 for around £30 and we got them sold for £275 almost instantly. I'd probably have never got around to doing stuff like this after coming home from work and not wanting to do anything apart from slack off until bedtime otherwise.

Offline GfK

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Re: Lockdown - Learn any new skills / Do anything to pass the time?
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2020, 04:33:16 PM »
I started cycling again last year after deciding to lose a bit [lot] of weight.

The weather improved - briefly - over the last few weeks so I've been doing that again.  Longest ride currently is 32 miles in a bit over two hours - pretty good considering this time last year I couldn't get up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath.

I wanted to get to my weight goal in under a year, which came and went on 2nd June.  Missed my target by 4lb!  As of today I'm just 1lb short, at 121lb lost in total.  Should have it by Monday's weekly weigh-in.
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Offline MikeHart

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Re: Lockdown - Learn any new skills / Do anything to pass the time?
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2020, 05:41:25 PM »
I started cycling again last year after deciding to lose a bit [lot] of weight.

The weather improved - briefly - over the last few weeks so I've been doing that again.  Longest ride currently is 32 miles in a bit over two hours - pretty good considering this time last year I couldn't get up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath.

I wanted to get to my weight goal in under a year, which came and went on 2nd June.  Missed my target by 4lb!  As of today I'm just 1lb short, at 121lb lost in total.  Should have it by Monday's weekly weigh-in.
Now that is what I call determination. Well done.

Offline 3DzForMe

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Re: Lockdown - Learn any new skills / Do anything to pass the time?
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2020, 06:33:04 AM »
Quote
I started cycling again last year after deciding to lose a bit [lot] of weight.

Kudos, My daughter has taken to loving cycling so she's been using my Road bike (a trek 1.1) and I've been using my 'old' (20 years now!) Specialized rockhopper. Yeah, I confess, I fitted a slick to the back wheel - what a difference its ade. I live in Lincolnshire and it takes bloddy ages to get somewhere that isn't just flattish roads, but now with my new slick tyre - I can get to some of road hills without feeling like its taking all day.  Those powered bikes look bloody appealing, but no, I'm holding off until my mid fifties for one of those bad boys!

Started a new job at the start of this nonsense, which my previous employer was dubious about - nevertheless, despite working from home I've been doing MORE hours than ever, from a bedroom, and to boot I started a Cyberessentials security Cisco course which I hope to finish today.

Oh yeah, nearly managed to code something worthwhile in AGK, might treat myself after finisihing my Cisco course and see if I can get my grenades to go boom and the shrapnel to kill as well as the grenade. Not strictly keeping to the original boot hill. Give me an excuse to see if I can find the particle editor I think I bought at the same time.

Also, started reading Charles Duhigg's, Smarter Faster Better, a fascinating read!

Oh well, off to Cisco land now. ;D  -  where last sunday morning at 0600, (as Robin Williams said in Good morning Vietnam 'What does the O stand for?...…. 'Oh my god its early') I made my first virtual network with a server and 3 hosts, whoop whoop. Although, all the keyboard action has me using an ergonominc right hand mouse configured for a left hand person - finger ache.

So, what've I learned - to do ambi dextrouse mouse control!

Offline GfK

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Re: Lockdown - Learn any new skills / Do anything to pass the time?
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2020, 03:34:01 PM »
Good choice!  My missus has a Trek Dualsport, and I got a Specialized Rockhopper last year.

Literally yesterday I replaced the stock Ground Control/FastTrak combo with a pair of Continental Contacts and I've just got back from a 14 mile test ride.  Made a ton of difference.  Steering is much lighter, much less rolling resistance and almost no tyre noise.  I was getting a bit tired of looking over my shoulder thinking a car was following me and there being nothing there.  ;D

I'm going to get a Specialized Diverge if they ever come into stock anywhere.  It's difficult to get hold of any brand just now, other than crappy Carrera ones from Halfords.
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Offline Xerra

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Re: Lockdown - Learn any new skills / Do anything to pass the time?
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2020, 05:11:10 PM »
The missus cycles pretty much everywhere and mostly leaves her car at her parents house for her dad to use. I was a keen cyclist when i was a teenager and used to be out every day for hours on end. I was probably fit as fuck and didn't really even notice it as I used to go so far. I was thinking of picking it up again and buying myself a bike but I'm not interested in road cycling to work or even going on the public roads at all, if I can help it. There's some nice private roads that cars rarely go down as they are toll roads to anything other than bikes around this area and I fancy using them for a bit of and introduction without having to worry about bike-hating motorists ramming me into a hedge.

Bikes are difficult to get hold of at the moment, even from places like Halfords, because so many other people have picked it up as a hobby during lockdown and bought all the cheap ones. I fancy picking up a relatively cheap bike to introduce myself to it again but I'm not sure really on what to go for apart from it having to be as comfortable to ride as possible because saddle-sore is a bitch. I also would prefer not to have racing handlebars as I could never get on with them. Something general purpose that isn't going to be cycled at speed but would be ok on both roads and a bit rougher cycle paths probably.

You experts got any advice here?

 

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