Cheltenham Local Election Results 2016

In 2014 I wrote a long and detailed post on the Cheltenham local election results. I’m not doing it this year, as the council website has plenty of information now, but I have done a map of the results.

Yellow is Liberal Democrat, blue is Conversative, teal is People Against Beaucracy and gray is an independent who used to be a Liberal Democrat. This is only the 2016 results – the people elected in 2014 are still councillors.


2016 Local Election Results, Cheltenham


April 2015 update of “Ini++ v1.5”

The Multimedia Fusion v2.5 extension manager now contains the April 2015 version of Ini++ v1.5. This is a small update that fixes a problem with one of the expressions.

This version is only available from the extension manager. My website no longer contains the latest version.

The description text for the latest version ends with the words “April 2015 build”, as shown below:

Extention manager

Cheltenham Local Election Results 2014

On 22nd May 2014 there were elections in Cheltenham, as in many other parts of the country, for local councillors. One councillor was up for election in each ward.

There are 20 wards in Cheltenham but one of the wards – Charlton Park – did not vote as one of the candidates died shortly before the election. The other 19 wards did vote but there were hardly any changes in terms of which parties were elected; Park went from Tory to Lib Dem and Leckhampton from an independent to Tory. In addition, some of the parties fielded different candidates. The full results are here.

The following picture shows the vote breakdown across the whole of Cheltenham (in the 19 ward elections which took place) for voters and for those eligible to vote:


N.B. “People Against Bureaucracy” are a local party.

The results of the individual wards are displayed visually in the following pictures. The colours are the same as in the pie-charts above.


As voter turn-out can be quite low, it is interesting to see what percentage of those people they are representing (i.e. those eligible to vote in the ward) voted for them.



N.B. The number in grey to the right is the number of spoilt ballots.

Only the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives stood in every ward. It is therefore interesting to ask what percentage of voters who could have voted for a particular party actually did? That is, the sum of the votes that a party as a proportion of the sum of the voters in the wards that they stood in. It looks as follows:


The map of councillors from this election hence looks as follows:


Each ward actually has two councillors of course, although only one of them were up for election at this time. The following map shows both the newly elected councillor and the other councillor which was not up for election this time around. A solid colour means that both councillors are from the same party.

N.B. As Charlton Park is awaiting election one of the councillors has been drawn in white. It was previously conservative and is likely to remain so when the by-election happens.

Edit 27th May 2014: The results posted on the Cheltenham Borough Council website were originally slightly incorrect due to a transcription error. Two of the figures had been changed and the changes have now been reflected on these diagrams. I also took the chance to make “People Against Bureaucracy” separate from “Independent”, as this seems more instructive.


String Replace object updated

I’ve updated the String Replace extension for Multimedia Fusion in order to support a new action that clears the list of rules.

I did look at updating the extension to support Unicode and properly support the Unicode version of Multimedia Fusion (which includes the new Fusion 2.5). However, the SDK I was using is too out of date and so it would’ve been quite a lot of effort. Therefore the object does not support Unicode and also the array and global string functionality does not work in Fusion 2.5 or the Unicode version of Multimedia Fusion 2.

When the Fusion 2.5 SDK is released I may look at rewriting the object (in a compatible manner) so that it does support Unicode, and also perhaps get it to work on other platforms. I’m not sure yet, but it seems like it’d be a good way to get back into extension development for a possible future Ini++ Lite object. I have mentioned this idea in a previous post on this blog.


New version of Ini++ fixes crash

I have updated the Multimedia Fusion 2 extension Ini++. The update fixes a crash. This crash only occurred when both encryption and disk access were enabled, as far as I know. This build hopefully fixes the problem. It is referred to as the October 2013 build (sorry for it taking until mid-November to release it!)

Thank you to Logan Apple for his extremely useful help in reproducing this problem.

Update: It was reported that Build 258.2 and higher of Multimedia Fusion breaks this extension. I could not reproduce this and it appears to work fine in Fusion 2.5.

Download Link

MMX Instructions

In 1997 Intel added a set of instructions to their Pentium processor that were expected to be useful for audio and image processing. This was called MMX. The major feature it allowed was the adding of four 16-bit variables in one instruction (or alternatively eight 8-bit values or two 32-bit values).

It also features a mode where the value of the addition  ‘saturates’ rather than wraps. For instance, 100+200 = 255 using unsigned 8-bit saturation arithmetic. This is particularly useful in image and audio processing as wrapping often does not make sense in these cases. For instance, suppose we have a bitmap image where, after a header, every value is stored as 3 bytes in a row. Suppose we wish to make the image a bit lighter. It is simple to achieve this, as shown below.

// Assume 'data' is a character array holding the bitmap data, excluding
// the header. len holds the length of this array.
for ( int pos = 0 ; pos != len ; ++pos )
 int newValue = data[pos] + 50;
 if ( newValue < 0 )
   newValue = 0;
 if ( newValue > 255 )
   newValue = 255;
 data[pos] = newValue;

If I run this on my test image (which contains 844,048 pixels) it takes about 3.1ms, excluding the time to read to and write from file.

I wondered how much faster it would be using the MMX byte-wise saturated adding function. I shall be using the MSVC compiler and so MASM style inline assembly will be used. The instruction required is paddusb. The first parameter is a MMX register and the second location is either a MMX register or a memory location. The result is written to the first parameter.

So the basic idea is that we loop ‘data’, send the current 8-bytes chunk into an MMX register, call the saturated add function and then put the resulting variable back into the memory location we found it in. This gives us something like this:

unsigned char* end = data + len;
unsigned char toAdd[] = {50,50,50,50,50,50,50,50};
while ( data < end )
   __asm mov eax,data
   __asm movq MM0,[eax]
   __asm paddusb MM0,toAdd
   __asm movq [eax],MM0
  data += 8;
__asm emms // Restore state
// If data != end the last few should be adjusted without
// the use of these special instructions. I won't do this
// for demo purposes

Note that the ’emms’ instructed is required after we have finished with MMX, as otherwise floating point calculations won’t work properly (MMX and the floating point instructions use the same registers). ‘movq’ accepts a memory address as the second parameter, so we use the location that ‘data’ is pointing to. (We have to dereference it and so it must be in a register. It is not allowed to have an instruction like ‘movq MM0,[data]‘)

The same example now runs in 0.4ms – nearly 8 times faster.

Finally, we can optimise this a little. We are using ‘data’ as a counter and then keep transferring it to ‘eax’. Why not just use ‘eax’ directly? Finally, since we are not short on registers, we should make sure that ‘toAdd’ is always in a register. Let’s leave it in MM1. This gives us the following final code:

 // eax will contain the current offset
 mov eax, data
 // ebx will contain the final offset
 mov ebx, data
 add ebx, len
 // MM1 contains the constant to add
 movq MM1,toAdd
    // load in the value to MM0
    movq MM0,[eax]
    paddusb MM0,toAdd
    movq [eax],MM0
    add eax,8
    cmp eax,ebx
    jl TOP
  // Again, deal with remaining bits here
  // for real production code

It now runs in 0.3ms – over 10 times faster than the original version.

Nothing clever was done here – just some (now) standard instructions were used in the most basic and standard way. However, the increased speed was incredible and so I thought I would share it.

Update to Ini++ v1.5 and thoughts about a new extension

I have issued an update to Ini++ v1.5. It fixes a couple of memory leaks do with the undo stack. The memory leak applied even if the undo stack was disabled. For this reason it is important that every user update to the latest version.

In addition, a minor bug is fixed where the undo and redo stack size could be set to 128 layers. This would actually register as infinite. Now the properties panel will not allow any values greater than 127. If you previously choose 128 it will stay selected, so you ought to be aware of this.

There are still known bugs. I have been able to reproduce a crash with the encryption. Hopefully I’ll  be able to fix this in future, but I do not have the tools available to do so quickly. I apologise for the instability. Thank you to HitmanN and XStar for sending me examples of these problems.

The new version can be downloaded here.    It has since been updated again, see here.

In addition, I wanted to float a new idea. Many people have asked for Ini++ to be ported to other platforms. This will not happen. Ini++ is a monster of an object with many, many features. One only has to look at the file size and options to realise this. Therefore it would be a lot of effort to port to any other platform.

There is a demand for a data storage object on other platforms though, and it seems the format of Ini++ is one that appeals to people. Therefore I propose a cut-down version of Ini++ be created and ported to every platform. This is obviously a fairly big project for me to undertake, and I’m not sure yet that I want to do this. But I wanted to ask people what features are important to them.

Some of the features that Ini++ support are:

  • Compression
  • Encryption
  • Built in features to save the file in specific directories
  • Setting initial data
  • Debugging tools, including a dialog that can be opened at runtime
  • Case sensitive/insensitive options (including the ability to change it at runtime)
  • Repeated groups and items via renaming
  • The ordering of the file is preserved (but comments, etc. are not)
  • Options to auto-save or not
  • Searching features
  • Sorting and reordering features
  • Merging functions
  • Half-baked ‘subgroups’
  • Global data, including across sub-apps. (Is the latter even possible in other runtimes?)
  • Hashed values
  • Get/Set as text, CVS
  • Listing groups and items
  • ‘Perform calculation’ expressions that allows summary information to be easily extracted. Has anybody ever used that?
  • Undo and redo stacks
  • Escape characters
  • Alphanum sorting that puts, say, “Hello 12” before “Hello 3”
  • Interaction with the chart object, array object
  • Functions to get the ‘part’ of a string directly
  • Lots of actions had custom dialog boxes in MMF
  • Saving objects and global values directly
  • Ability to allow/disallow empty groups, etc.
  • ‘Current group’ set of features

Some extra features I was going to add were: Filtering of the object (so that it would changes what the object lists and so forth without actually changing the object), proper subgroups, saving to formats other than Ini files (in particular, making the whole thing work the same but write to the registry or via a server) and full preservation of white space, etc. Unicode support everywhere would be good, too. Encryption is memory was an idea too, but it is questionable how useful that is.

Which features are the most important? If people could tell me (on the Clickteam Forums) their top 5 or so features in order I would find it very useful. Remember, it would take too long to add every feature to every platform, so be conservative.

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