Category Archives: Life

Aware

#12charities – Aware

As people may or may not know, I like to have a year long “mission”. It is usually something I like to achieve over the course of the year. Usually ends up with me learning something new and getting an insight into something I previously had little or no knowledge about.

In December I started to think about various things I could do. These ranged from a pee/poo dynamic analysis to smart farming apps. I researched into these fields and found solutions that were probably better than anything I could come up with so I decided to think some more.

January came around I still had no idea. This is when I got the idea of #12charities. Simple really, 12 month, 12 charities to learn about. I want to learn about what they do, who they help and how people can help them out. I want to volunteer both my time and money to each one.

Aware

For the month of January I started with Aware. They were suggested to me but their work is something that hits home. Irish men aged between 18-30 are the highest group to suffer from depression and well, I’m in that group.

You can volunteer for support services with training given. They do support over the phone, email or in group sessions so there’s something everyone could do. Also they run a shop in Phibsborough that sells mostly donated clothes but some other things too. If you want to find out more here are their links:

And in the end, don’t forget to #ShareASmile

The Dotconf

7 Years Bad Luck

Recently going through my blog I’ve noticed that I’ve been keeping it going since 2005, when it was originally a MySpace blog. My posts were literally amazing beyond description.

MySpace Me

In the last seven years I have accumulated a cracking number of posts, namely 100. This is a very sad thing. There is at least one post a year but for someone that might call themself a blogger, that’s horrific. I wonder what the reason is for the drip feed of posts and there are numbers ones:

  1. No direction: The world may be my oyster but I really do just seem to write about anything and never find anything solid to actually write about.
  2. Home from work: This problem used to be just when I got home to my parents house but since moving numerous times I find that I like to just relax when I get home. May have to find an evening work desk so I get more stuff done.
  3. Other blogs: I’ve attempted to write for numerous blocks, all of my own creation and well, there’s only so much writing a single man can do.
  4. Twitter: microblogging is SO much easier as it’s “tweet … next”.

Here’s to another 7 years of blogging and hopefully a bit more content. Cheers. (also he’s a grand auld photo from the dotconf)

The Dotconf
With @sparklicous and @vici_best

Train Crazy

I am going to Sweden in August for a music festival, Way Out West. This is not the first time that I have gone to Sweden for a music festival. Back in 2008 I went to Rip It Up. I say I went but I never made it. The festival was in a small town just north of Gothenburg called Säffle. It was a small festival but I was excited nonetheless. First time in Sweden and getting to see loads of little bands I knew and never thought I’d see play live.

Alas it was not to happen. Well I made it to Sweden but the day of my flight I started getting some small spots on my chest. Thought nothing of it thinking I was just run down from work but by the time my plane arrived in Gothenburg after a stop over in Copenhagen I was covered in them. Got to the bed & breakfast I booked and just went to bed. Next day I had to go to the hospital. Ended up I had to get a plane home and take the next month off work. I had chicken pox.

When I heard that Refused were reforming for a few gigs in 2012 I was absolutely over the moon. I first heard them around 2003/4 and really had my musical world opened up. They’re the reason I listen to so many Swedish bands now due to the former members being part of so many musical projects from AC4 to A Heavy Feather. Any connection they had I wanted to know of. This lead me to listening to other artists not even directly connected with them and now I have a musical home in Sweden. For this reason I wanted to see them live, in their home country and when Way Out West date was announced I was already there. Another chance at Gothenburg and a chance to see so many Swedish bands that I have listened to for years. Excitement is not even a word I can use to describe as to how I’m feeling still 3 months before it.

Since I have had bad experiences with Sweden and planes I honestly do not want to fly there. This left me with either driving or getting public transport and after 16 hours+ getting a bus from Edinburgh to “Dublin” I am also not a fan of road based public transport. With no car in possession and a love from anything on tracks it left me with Trains! Getting a ferry from Dublin to Holyhead I am all booked up on trains from Holyhead to Gothenburg with a few stops along the way. I have bought myself a mobile broadband dongle as well as sorting out my data plan on my phone meaning that I will most definitely be blogging the entire way. More on the how later, but firstly I have to show my route.

Sense of Summer

There happens to be an ever so slight sense of Summer about Ireland these days. Slightest bit of Sun and the pasty legs are out. Mine are not.

image

Disregarding the extreme chance of mass sunburn, Summer really is shaping to be a fucking exciting one. Games conferences, music festivals, tech conferences and general shit getting done is giving an enormous … sense of FUCK YEAH!

What can I say I’m a positive feck recently. Even whilst sitting in Busaras, the god forsaken shitehole it is.

image
Busaras

Also, just really trying out the Android WordPress app.

Smart TV

I started this year with a mission to create a PC TV setup that wasn’t horrible to use and felt like a TV connected to a computer.Originally the plan was use Windows 8 with Kinect for Windows as the user input but even without getting a working prototype together it just didn’t seem like a good idea. Waving arms o change channels and such.

Kinect for Windows

I have since then moved to a  Windows 8 PC with some form of touch input device, be it tablet or phone. Once I decided upon that I was left with another problem, do I duplicate what’s happening on screen on the device for easier viewing or do I create a complementary app that doesn’t constantly interfere with the main display, namely for the scenario involving multiple viewers but only one user.

Windows 8

 

After further going through more scenarios I think that a hybrid system of some direct duplicate display along with non-interfering  interactions would be best. Now just to start the hard part and it get it up and running. Also I am not calling this a “Smart TV”, it to me is going to be just my TV.

Me

One more for the road

August is nearly over and I’ve had must to blog about it appears. I felt like I was on such a blogging run in July that I thought my inspiration for the most trivial of posts would never dry up, but alas it did. But it’s not just my blogging that has dried up, my want/need to develop new applications has also shriveled up into almost nothing. My grandiose plans for this or that only seem to be throughly thought through in about 2 hours and then my own self doubt takes hold and just says “nah, it’s shit” so I leave it be. Could be my Irish coming through.

Anyways, this post is all about nothing besides doing what blogging does best, waste one readers time. \(^_^)/

Life Without Paper

For the past 4 months I have, with rather great ease, been living without paper. This is in work and in play.

It all started when I started my new job and just realized that there was no reason for me to use paper for anything. I’ve got a computer, just take notes. I’ve got a phone, just take notes. As I said already, it’s been very easy. The only problem I’ve come across is that on my phone I was using some note application and it had no easy way to transfer the stuff to my PC or internet location so I switched to using the Google Docs app.

This new way of life, per se, has come up against some opposition in the form of a new coworker who just has the mantra that he like’s always having something physical to read, at hand, and not on the screen. I can see where he’s coming from but with his desk just piling up with papers, notes, etc I don’t see how he can find anything beyond what ever he just put down.

 

To let you know, there have actually been 2 instances where I have used paper in the last 4 months.

  1. Post-it note: This has become a tradition of mine, to draw a smiley face on a post-it note where I work. It always just makes me smile so I had to.
  2. Drawing paper: A new thing I have started with The Creative Van podcast is having the guests/speakers/talkers/friends draw whilst talking about what ever. I feel this helps new people to podcasting to forget about their voice being recorded and also it’s fun to see what they come up with. I do plan to give the drawings away or something at some stage but for now I don’t know. All I know is that I don’t want a single sheet of the paper I bought to be wasted. All art is good art.

 

My next challenge will be moving my life onto one without a rubbish bin. This will be a hard one as I will have to think about what packaging any product I buy uses and find the best solution. (I already recycle just over half of what I use)

From Phone

Google+ & Android

I’ve been using Google+ for a few days now thanks to @edenfire_Paul (who also introduced me to Twitter). It’s good and bad. Bad namely because, for the same reason as all other Google products, I can’t change my primary email address. Since I was invited by a close friend, he invited me with my older email address but I still receive those emails into my newer account and so now my Google+ account is associated with old me.

I have also been using the Google+ Android app since then as well. It has been great for easily posting updates, uploading photos and just generally keeping in touch. Good and all, until I noticed something very strange today. I was messing around with the status/link/update section of the home page and noticed the small icon for photos. I clicked this thinking I could use photos I’ve previously uploaded to use in newer posts. Yes the uploads were there, but also photos I took with the normal camera application during my house hunting walk yesterday. These I obviously didn’t upload, or want to upload to Google+ as they were just for reference for me. I don’t know when they were uploaded but since I was popping in and out of the application it could have been anytime. This is honestly the first thing I really do not like about Google+. Privacy FTL.

Twitter Attacks :: Full Indie Game Jam Review

Mutation

Over the weekend of June 17th I finally partook in my first game jam. I’ve helped out a many a Global Game Jam but finally thought that yeah sure my game coding skills are very lackluster and normalized databases don’t make for good gameplay but when I head Full Indie was holding it’s first ever game jam I just knew I had to give it a go.

I honestly had no idea what I could put my skills to and had a creeping feeling that I’d be useless to any team, have to learn something completely new in 48 hours or a bit of both. This feeling was calmed a little bit when I was at an IGDA Vancouver meet up at Radical Entertainment the Tuesday before and met James Karg (@Twisted_majic) who was also taking part in the Full Indie game jam and we batted around some ideas about Twitter. On D-Day we got talking again and with the inclusion of Cody Labossiere (@codylabossiere) we started to hammer out any ideas that came into our heads. (I had met Cody previously at another Full Indie meet up).

The main theme given to us was “Spawning”. This was due to it being Fathers Day on the Sunday and all fathers have spawn little mini thems. As you can  see from the photo above we just went with any idea relating to spawning we could think of, even Kevin Bacon got mentioned. Once some core themes were out there we started on any game idea we could think of, these ranged from god games to fertilization. We kept trying to think of better core concepts but it just wasn’t happening, once bacon was mentioned earlier pizza was soon planted in our heads and this made our stomachs growl like nothing else so we decided on a small break and some food.

Beers

Once we had pizza half stuffed in our faces we knew we were missing something ….. beer. So a quick trip back to the jam via a liquor store we were sorted. We kind of all agreed to drop all the half ideas we had and just do something with Twitter. Only a half full of half “maybe …” sentences later and we came up with a word battle fighting game. #Fighter was born. (that’s not the final name. actually it’s not even a working name, I just thought of it now).

The premise of the game is to sign up easily using your Twitter account and then challenge friends using keyword hash tags and then just do battle using Twitter, somewhat, normally using predefined hashtags as battle commands. This is all record by our server and then determines the winner. A simple conceptual idea I had for explaining it, Pokemon but through Twitter, and less animal cruelty. It is a rather simplistic core concept but we all had very busy weekend plans besides the game jam, which involved drinking, and so the game never got to a working state. I do apologize for  this as it was my coding skills that weren’t able to deliver in a short time frame. Though I do believe that with only an hour or two of work I can get it working in some form. I really just need to set some time aside for it.

The Full Indie game jam was a brilliant experience and I cannot wait for the next one to come up. Hopefully then I will not have so many beers and other plans on the weekend and actually come out with a working prototype. Until next time #KAPOW!!!! Also photo credit and beer cheers to Chevy Ray Johnston (@ChevyRay)