THE BLOG

26
Feb

Africa Laughing?

Has anyone else noticed the laughing over the drum intro to Africa by Toto? I heard it on my way home today, I had headphones in and the surroundings were very quiet, which helped pick out the rather quiet second or two of laughter during the first few bars. A quick Google search revealed no-one else talking about this – surely it can’t have gone unnoticed in such a famous song?!
In other news, I’m working rather hard at my Third Year Project. My presentation is Friday 13th, and there are quite a few little things to sort out by then. It’s going to be a tough couple of weeks! Similarly, Drongo Sealion Magic are through to the final of Battle of the Bands, which is on Tuesday. How we got through is a mystery, we played terribly with a huge number of technical issues, but apparently we coped with them all very well, which is cool. I’m really excited about playing in the final, it would be nice to win it since this might be my last year of doing it, but we’ll see. Fingers crossed!

20
Feb

Cat or Cactus?!

I’ve just launched this new mini-site, which is a Flash game I’ve been developing for a while. It’s a simple premise: you’re given a picture and you decide whether it is a Cat or a Cactus. Simples! And yes, it’s meant to look and sound as silly as it looks and sounds.

http://catorcactus.imaginaryroots.co.uk

16
Feb
08
Feb

Portfolio

I’ve updated the portfolio page, not with adding any more project (just yet, a couple are on the horizon…), but by infusing it with some cool Javascript and AJAX. The script is all inobtrusive, so it should work for people without Javascript, but obviously they’ll be missing out. My only issue with it at the moment it the slight jarring you get when the images slide back together. I’m not quite sure how to remedy this just yet, but I’ll come up with something.

Enjoy, and feedback is always welcome!

04
Feb

Curse of the Warwick Start-Up

Strangely remiscent of what happened last summer, a Warwick Start-Up has been just about beaten to the post today. LasYou, which claims to present you with a map showing the location of all your friends who have the mobile application installed, will be launching today, as well as Google Latitude, which on the face of it appears to offer the same functionality but on a much broader scale. Interestingly, neither have applications for iPhone or Andriod yet, but I’m sure the Google one isn’t far off (as the TechCrunch article says).

Obviously, I have no idea whether LasYou will be offering the same functionality, of whether theirs will be somewhat more specified and use more contextual information that relates to Warwick campus, which obviously Google wouldn’t have. However, the appeal of a global rather than localised service may be too much for people who are interested in this service. I almost hope that the LasYou team do stick with it, and that they succeed, as I’d like to see a Warwick Start-Up do well in the face of such adversity. Google won’t make it easy for them, though…

04
Feb

On Design and Being Annoyed

Sometimes, people really annoy me. This time, it’s a small subset of student “designers” who produce promotional material for societies. Our student’s union has a very active set of societies, and as a result campus is generally always littered with posters advertising socials, events and various other things. There’s nothing annoying about this in itself, but a good few of them defy what I believe to be a very simple but very important rule of design: you don’t use someone else’s brand or product to promote something unrelated. As an example, one society’s poster uses a picture of an iPod as the main focus, the tenuous link being that the event features bands or a DJ. Another’s features scenes from a movie, the link being the movie is vaguely related to something in the event. Although these techniques may be effective, in so much as they grab the attention of passers-by, it’s quite a lazy approach to design, and is, let’s face it, subject to possible legal matters. A good designer can create a poster which is eye-catching without needing to resort to serious plaguerism, and these “designers” should be able to as well.

One other greivance is this: my band was asked to submit a logo for the Battle of the Bands programme-booklet, so I spent a fair amount time making one I was happy with. When I saw the programme yesterday, the logo hadn’t been used, and neither had any of the logos any other bands sent in. The excuse was that only around a third of the bands submitted logos, so they decided not to use any of them. With a bit of stretching and over-dramatizing, this is akin to changing someone’s brand when promoting your own. I can’t decide whether this is through laziness or what, but I still believe it’s bad design practice. If you’re using someone’s brand, and they submit a logo, you should use it.

Sorry for the slight rant, but all this has really got my goat.

01
Feb

Tomb Raider: Underworld

After about a month of gameplay, I’ve completed Tomb Raider: Underworld. This is quite a milestone for me, since it’s the first (real) game I’ve completed in quite a long time, and I believe is the first in the Tomb Raider series I’ve completed since the very first one – although I haven’t played them since the 3rd one I think. The game was, in a word, brilliant. It was damned annoying at times, I personally found the controls to be somewhat unintuitive and non-deterministic in how they actually controlled Lara, but that may have just been the Wii version. The puzzles were often pretty good, too. But the thing that really stood out for me was the level design. Every level had some piece of absolutely stunning scenery, and that really made the game for me.

Also, the gymnastic bits you can do when swinging on a pole was fantastic.

Next up: Quantum of Solace.