Archive for the ‘Creative’ Category

The Twenty Ten Photography Project: January 1st

Jan 1st, 2010

Counting from zero
I took several photos as candidates for the first photo of the project. Some images were intended to reflect the death and rebirth of the year, whereas others were attempts at getting photos of interesting subjects, or merely framing a fairly simple subject in an interesting manner. In the end I chose one of the first pictures I took, and one similar to an image already in my collection. The temperature was pretty much dead on zero, and thus formed a visual indicator of the beginning of the project, and the beginning of the year. Like all good tech geeks I’m counting from zero.

The Twenty Ten Photography Project

Jan 1st, 2010

The Twenty Ten Photography Project
On New Years Eve 2009 I decided to set myself a project for the comming year. I’d take one photograph, every day, for the whole year, wherever I was. As a result, by the end of the year, I’d have 365 photographs representing the year, and what I was up to.

One of the restrictions of this approach is it means that I can’t always use my DSLR. Its size and value makes it impractical for carrying with me every day, and snapping off a few shots before I go to bed isn’t going to result in the most interesting album, even when it is possible. Instead sometimes I’m going to resort to using my old Ricoh digital compact, and at other stages I may even end up taking some pictures on my mobile phone. Learning to work with these limitations, and make the most of them, will be part of the challenge, and will hopefully enforce its own creativity.

Over the course of the year I shall be uploading the resulting photos to a flickr collection, and this blog. While I can’t promise that I’ll be uploading every day, I will try and keep uploads reasonably regular. At times I’ll be uploading more than one picture for each day, but only the single photo added to this collection will be my canonical project photo.

The E3 News You Haven’t Heard

Jun 1st, 2009

As the gaming media turns all eyes towards L.A. for E3 2009, many blogs and news sites go into overdrive. While I’m not at E3 myself, and have absolutely no way of finding out information that isn’t already published elsewhere, I thought I’d still do my best to produce stories that I can guarantee you haven’t heard elsewhere!

Sinclair to Return to the Market

In a surprise announcement, Sinclair Research, manufactures of a number of classic 1980’s personal computers including the ZX81 and the ZX Spectrum, revealed that they were to return to the home computing market.
Founder of the company, Sir Clive Sinclair, revealed that the company had decided that the current market provided an excellent opportunity for the company to introduce its new product. “In the 1980s, Sinclair revolutionised the home computing market, and provided access to affordable computing technology to thousands of homes. It was Sinclair which sat at the centre of the early British computer games development scene, and gave birth to many of today’s prominent developers. In 2009, Sinclair hopes to release a new system, and encourage many of these leading developers to return home.”
Sinclair seemed initially coy when asked about system specifications, but began to reveal more information when he caught representatives from Sony and Microsoft sniggering at the back. “Obviously times have changed significantly since Sinclair last released a system, and the company has not stood still. The new system, the Sinclair ZX Millennium, will have a top of the range eight,” he paused, “Megahertz processor, and a whopping 512Kb RAM, that’s half a megabyte!” Sinclair looked unimpressed with the lack-lustre response from the crowd, and sighed before continuing, “These improvements have allowed us to take full advantage in improvements in display screen technology, delivering a full 576i resolution in a stunning 32 colours, all via your SCART lead for the crispest image reproduction. With the ZX Millennium your games will look just like cartoons, and thanks to the efforts of our engineers, we have been able to completely eliminate the problem of attribute clash.” Sinclair beamed, and looked around the audience for a reaction, clearly expecting this to be a bombshell, “That means that Dizzy can stand in front of a bush, and still look white,” he clarified, before collapsing forlornly after he was met with cold silence.
Karen Farley, of Modern Videogamer (US) asked whether the ZX Millennium would still rely on the cassette tapes used with previous systems. “Of course not,” responded Sinclair, “Our engineers initially toyed with the possibility of distributing games on compact disc, as the ability to skip tracks would allow a user to easily choose which game or piece of software to load, the media also had an improved shelf life when compared to cassette tapes. However we realised that this would show no appreciable improvement in loading times, as games would still be delivered as audio streams. Instead we decided to make the microdrive standard for the ZX Millenium.”
The ZX Millenium will be available from November 2009, priced at £175.

FIFA 1660

EA Sports today announced the release of FIFA 1660. Talking about the game, and EA spokesman said, “Electronic Arts have been developing soccer video-games since 1993, and rapidly made itself one of the foremost names in the genre. Since the release of FIFA International Soccer in 1993, EA Sports have released over fifteen titles on twenty-six different systems. This doesn’t include countless spin-offs and other variations. During this time, EA Sports has constantly tried to innovate and move the game forward, keeping up with the fast-paced game of football itself. Each year we have strived not only to introduce great new features, but also to ensure that the game reflects of the latest changes to teams, players and league tables. However, this led us to consider, what if we looked back.
In FIFA 1660 we take soccer back to its roots. Set before the rules of football were fully finalised, FIFA 1660 sees you enjoying the earlier, less codified game. With no referee or linesmen, players find themselves less restricted by the rules, and thus the new reaction-touch fight system allows for punches and kicks to be thrown at nearby players. The same system is also used to fend off those attempting to enforce the law, and disrupt the game.
Authentic historical research has attempted to ensure that the game-play accurately reflects the game as it was played at that time, and historical records have been used to provide names for the player database. Thus, when you play, you can be sure that your team are made up of genuine 17th Century players!”
FIFA 1660 will be released in Spring 2010 on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and PC.

Political Compass

Apr 22nd, 2009

I first played around with the political compass a few years ago, and was vaguely worried that I may have betrayed my old self, and have darted to the far right without quite realising it. As it happens I haven’t, and indeed I think the score is somewhat more extreme in the other direction than it had been previously.

Your political compass
Economic Left/Right: -7.88
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.62
Political Compass

Now in practice of course I realise that asking everyone to march to my drum would be ineffective, impractical, and immoral. While I’m not prepared to indulge every contradictory philosophy, finding some abhorrent, and still others mutually exclusive, I realise that expecting everyone to become raging liberal-lefty is not going to work in political terms, or even practical terms. As a result were I ever to become a mainstream politician, I’d probably have to take a bit more moderate a position. This is probably why I’d never be a mainstream politician.

There are also many points raised on which my opinions are far more nuanced than a four point scale will allow. I don’t think this changes my idealism in my approach to them, but believing something is a good idea is still fundamentally separated from knowing how to implement it. I also realise that any ideas I may have will almost invariably need to work in our current social climate, and complete political upheaval required to achieve some ideals will cause more problems than it solves. While I may be less than enamoured by the pandering to popularism democracy results in, I’m far less keen on many of the alternatives which have been seen. I may very well love everyone to live governed by rules of sunshine and happiness, but unfortunately I fear that the rules of Kalashnikovs and power would find a way to take hold.

One question intrigue me, and I’m not sure I see it as a left-right argument.

There is now a worrying fusion of information and entertainment.

The question itself could be interpreted to apply to many facets of the modern entertainment and information industries. I’m currently a big fan of Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe, but should that push me more to agree or disagree? The program is entertainment undoubtedly, but also informative, but paradoxically one of its prime thesis is to attack the way in which the news has allowed the need to deliver facts to be hijacked by the need to entertain. Is there hypocrisy in this situation? Secondly, infotainment has been one of the primary driving forces of the web and internet, with sites like Wikipedia being both methods of entertainment and sources of information. While I think letting entertainment get in the way of your facts is a Bad Thing™ I don’t think I could say the same for the reverse, although perhaps the end result is inevitable.

Save, Load, Return, Quit (Fiction)

Apr 16th, 2009

A story

Save, Load, Return, Quit

Damn it! It was the fourth time he had done that test and yet his mark was lower than ever before, not to mention he somehow managed to alienate half his friends while waiting for the result. That was the biggest annoyance, the waiting. It took him ten attempts to pass his driving test, but at least he didn’t have to wait a week between each go. Now though he had to suffer through the same miserable week of crap weather and no prospects. He needed a break.

The four familiar words swam in his mind’s eye as the world remained frozen around him, that last ever present option both seductive and terrifying in its promises. Attempt number two wasn’t so bad; he had failed, but he did make the reserve list, and things were going remarkably well with Sarah. He couldn’t bring himself to accept it though, he needed a job, and in the current climate that could take a while, even for someone with his skills. Besides, he could always come back, now he just needed to be as far away as possible. He reached far back, not even looking at the dates as they flashed past.

February 12th 1990, Little Wadeway

He turned inside out as the world past through him and then righted itself; a pause; then noise. The excited babble and shouts of children crashed over him as he was pushed and jostled by their movements as he found himself in a much smaller body than he had been occupying moments earlier. He was stood in the playground of Little Wadeway C. of E. Primary School and a glance downwards revealed that he was dressed in a bright red wax raincoat and a scruffy pair of Velcro trainers. How far back had he gone?

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