Resources to Better Your Coding

If you’re like me, you’d like a little advice and guidance when it comes to improving your coding skills. Here I have compiled a list of a few popular resources to help you code better in the future:

  1. Scratch

Scratch is aimed at a younger audience about 8-16 years old, but don’t let that deter you if you are a bit older.  Scratch has a bright, colourful website that is easy to manipulate and navigate; which makes this a great starting point for anyone. You can visit them create and explore pages where you can learn to animate, make music, create basic games and many other activities to develop your skills.

  1. Code. org

Code.org provides tools for grades K-12 for some of the largest school districts in the United States. Some of it’s supporters are Microsoft, Facebook and Google. Annually, code.org organizes an “hour of code” which engages 10% of all student’s in the world. They offer tools for educators and much like Scratch, they have activities that the user can create with code.

  1. Codeacadamy.com

Codeacadamy.com offers a large online community where a user can go to discuss problems that others may be experiencing. Code academy is an education company that seeks to rebuild how things are taught. They offer help with the commonly used languages, such as: HTML/CSS, Python, Ruby, Java and many more popular languages.

  1. W3Schools.com

W3schools.com is an absolute must have recourse for a beginner, or even a veteran programmer. It gives lessons, tips, and a vast knowledge of coding for all levels expertise. You can choose from various types of programming languages, just like the other examples. They offer a bit of “try it yourself” where you can test what code they provide for you. This way, you can see what works and what doesn’t and apply it to the work you are doing.

  1. Other resources

I use an app called SoloLearn. It is useful because it gives small “drill” like activities or quizzes and it’s easy to use. I use it when I have a few extra moments. I also use Coding for Dummies. It sounds silly, but it has helped me a lot and really breaks down what is what.

Some of these sources are repetitive, however, you can’t get better at something if you don’t practice. And practice is just reputation by a different name!

 

Resources:

https://scratch.mit.edu/

https://code.org/

https://www.codecademy.com/

https://www.w3schools.com/

Highs and Lows of Competitive Gaming

It’s a popular stereotype to consider a competitive gamer to be a sweaty 30-year-old nerd who lives in his parent’s basement or a whiny 8-year old kid who got a hold of his brother’s violent video games. However, there is actually a lot of variety in competitive gaming. I made the examples men in the stereotypes, but women play competitive as well. However, like anything, it has a rather unpleasant side.

Let us start with the basics. Competitive gaming is when you play games like Call of Duty, Overwatch, League of Legends, DOTA, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter  either get together online or at conventions and compete against each other to see who’s number one for that year. Many play for the fun and enjoyment of it, others use it as a career path to gain money. There are even some competitions dedicated to a game itself. Some of these include Overwatch League, Call of Duty World League and Capcom World Tour (dedicated to Street Fighter).

In competitive gaming, players are mainly in teams of 5-12 people within the ages of 17-35 at most. Popular teams include Team EnVyUs and Seoul Dynasty. These teams compete in tournaments and/or championships to gain a reputation of who is the better team in the league.

Like sports, competitive gaming can become very exhausting. You sit in a chair for hours at a time focusing on the players that you are up against, sometimes not getting a break. Your body loses energy quickly and that can of Red Bull that sponsors the tournament is not going to give you enough energy to last the rest of it. Competitive gaming takes a toll on your body, so when they can, competitive gamers will take the time for a break and get the energy they need to power through another few hours of gaming.

If you think, you can handle the power of becoming a professional competitive player, good luck with that. I will just stick with having fun with it.

 

The New Reality (AR Breakdown)

I have only paid attention to Augmented Reality for a few years now but it has been going on since the late 90’s. AR is the integration of digital information with the user’s environment in real time. If I really wanted to, I could have a Smurf juggling apples in front of me. In reality that is, not happening but I am visualizing it through a screen. That leads me to ask the question; what is reality? With the growth rate of AR and its relative VR, otherwise known as Virtual Reality. Our realities are about to change, if they haven’t already.

PAST

AR began its life back in the olden days, well, by olden days I mean 1998. It first appeared as the yellow first down line that you see on TV while watching a football game. The term Augmented Reality was coined eight years earlier by Boeing researcher Thomas Caudell. Back then it wasn’t a serious topic but now they have evolved AR into such things like the Google glass and heads-up displays in car windshields.

CURRENT

Technology Companies are taking advantage of this and using it to evolve their apps on mobile devices. Snapchat for example, uses AR to allow users to wear an augmented mask, otherwise known as a Snapchat filter. IKEA uses AR on their app to allow customers to visualize what a piece of furniture may look like in their house before they even buy it.

FUTURE

AR is heading in a very impressive direction. Holograms becoming a reality are very near. Microsoft and multiple other companies have dedicated teams to working on such a project. AR and VR are working with each other as well, allowing users to take advantage of the benefits from both Virtual and Augmented Reality. It’s a multi-dimensional reality.

IMPORTANCE

AR is not just some toy people can play with either. Multiple industries use the innovative technology, including: healthcare, public safety, gas and oil, tourism, and marketing.

“Neural implants could accomplish things no external interface could: Virtual and augmented reality with all five senses; augmentation of human memory, attention, and learning speed; even multi-sense telepathy – sharing what we see, hear, touch, and even perhaps what we think and feel with others.” –Ramez Naam

It’s amazing technology; use it to your advantage.

A Brave New World

 

Announced very recently, was another round of Downloadable Content (DLC) for Final Fantasy XV. This content is meant to flush out the main game and add on to, what most people considered an unfinished game at its original release in 2016. While widely successful, the story lacked parts that needed explaining.

Thankfully, this was filled in with the addition of several pieces of content later released as part of the Season Pass. Episode Gladiolus in which the character Gladiolus goes off on his own little ‘self actualizing’ adventure and later returns to the group. After that came Episode Prompto. This particular fill in came later in the game when the character Prompto is separated from the rest of the group and ends up searching for answers about his origins. During the interim, Square released a multiplayer mode, in which players could customize their own character and go on missions to help bring light back to the world. This is meant as a sort of filler to the main story in which the main character, Noctis, disappears for a ten-year period. Finally, in the latter part of the year, Episode Ignis was released. The order of operations is a little weird as the events of this are told off screen during the main story of the game, to which, Ignis is rendered blind.

With each episode, a secondary character encounter through the main story assists the protagonist on their journey. Gladiolus is assisted by Cor, a member of the Crownsguard to the King. Aranea, an Imperial soldier turned mercenary, helps Prompto. Lastly, Ignis finds an unlikely ally in Ravus. All these add some back-story to events that unfolded, but the game still lacked in areas.

Coming back to the content recently announced, some minor aspects such as the car your retinue cruise around the open landscape with, will now be upgraded to have off-road capabilities. The addition of the Royal Vessel, a yacht, will not give players the ability to explore the ocean beyond. My personal favorite in the announcements was the addition of the city of Insomnia becoming expanded. Lastly, extra bosses. Cerberus, Omega, and Rulers of Yore. Not much is known about the latest entry in terms of cost. Will players already in possession of the game be require to purchase more? Will it be included for those who already own the season pass? Only time will tell.

From the Beginner designer to Intermediate one – Part 2(Tips for Sharing)

Last week, I introduced the first tool : The colours. Miranda asked some questions about how to share with other Adobe registration or non-registration users, here I would like to answer her concern.
First, only the Adobe registered users could share and use the colour swatch.
Secondly, the created colour swatch could export as ASE(Adobe Swatch Exchange file) and images; it could create a link to share with others.
Thirdly, the colour swatch can share the message, mail, facebook, iCloud, Google Drive and work software or app for both PC and MAC or non-Adobe registered users.
As an interactive media designer who needs to draw on software and using the colours tool, buying an Adobe suite is necessary.

Back to today’s topic, I would like to introduce one more  tool in Adobe Capture CC which is brushes.

The purpose of the brushes tool is to let users record the patterns, images or a little doodles as brushes and used in Photoshop, Illustrator, and Sketch.

The way to create brushes is similar to the colours tool, click on “+” again, and it will turn on the camera. There is a white dot shown in camera screen, drag it to your pattern area and take the picture. Crop the brush pattern capture area and then choose the styles you like in different Adobe software. Please notice that the brush styles are black and white in Photoshop and Illustrator, but it is colour brushes in Sketch brushes style. Under the presets menu, users can adjust the brushes attributes differently, and it’s different attributes settings between different software.

Finally, users can edit, duplicate, share brushes and upload to users library or template.

This brushes tool is quite handy when you try to draw complex symbols as a background pattern, and then merely repeating brushes will make your job easy and unique.

For the next post, I will elaborate the ultimate handy tool: patterns.

Smartphone cameras then vs now

DSLR cameras have come a long way since 2008. Sony, Canon, Nikon were just a few that were wildly popular back then. The cameras costed anywhere from $300-$1000. Even the best compact digital camera couldn’t compete. Cell phone cameras were minuscule and most couldn’t afford to spend so much money on a huge camera.

With the demand for quality smartphones that do more than just the basic call, text and picture message; companies started paying more attention to the quality of the camera. Camera quality can also be one of the main selling points to customers. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat are all heavily media based content. This allows users to quickly snap a picture, edit it quickly and post it within minutes. Instagram was released in 2010 for iPhone users. When the app began to explode in popularity there was demand for an Android version, but it wasn’t released until nearly two years later in 2012. The app gained popularity among young users, photographers, and many types of other people who wanted to share their creativity with the world.

When the HTC One M8 was released in 2013, it boasted an impressive dual lens camera which hadn’t been seen before. Users also had access to manual controls. This function allowed people to express their creativity more freely within smartphone photography. The freedom of being able to carry a tiny powerful camera that fits into your pocket is more convenient rather than lugging around a heavy and expensive camera along with its accessories. Reaching for a smartphone to capture special moments is almost second nature to many of us.

Fast forward to 2018 almost every smartphone has the ability to capture raw images, manual camera controls, and dual lenses. Companies also developed small camera accessories that have a similar function to DSLR accessories. It is hard to imagine what smartphone cameras will be able to do in the future. Will the cost of the camera drive up the price of the smartphone? Are exposure settings that of full frame DSLR? I’m excited to see what will be coming out in the years to come and I will probably base my next smartphone choice on the camera it features.

New NBA “City Edition” Jerseys. My Personal Favorites and Opinions

NBA “City Edition” Jerseys: A Fresh Start For jersey Design

 

Nike has taken over the NBA for the 2017-18 season as the league’s new jersey manufacturer. Because of this, we knew that we could expect some fresh new designs out on the court this season. Nike has come out with a new alternate jersey for each of the 30 teams in the league called a “City Edition” jersey. These jerseys are meant to have designs that aspire to a deeper level of meaning around the city’s or team’s history. I think that this is a fantastic idea and after seeing the designs, I can say this is just what’s the NBA and all of professional sports needed in the design department. Pretty much all of the designs are extremely unique and represent the team or city very well. I’m here to give my opinions on some of my personal favorites that were revealed.

Golden State Warriors

This jersey pays homage to the Chinese culture in the San Francisco bay area and while the Warriors have done this idea before, this is definitely the best one. The logo with the Chinese dragon looks fantastic and the addition of red amplifies the Chinese culture even more.

Los Angeles Lakers

Pays homage to Kobe Bryant’s nickname “The Black Mamba” by using a scaly snake pattern. Very unique and a great way to celebrate Kobe’s first year of retirement.

Miami Heat

A throwback to the 1980’s in Miami when Miami Vice was all the talk. The bold pink, baby blue, and black is much different than the Heat are used to wearing but I think it looks fantastic.

Orlando Magic

This is the wildest jersey design to hit the NBA since the early 2000s but I think that designs like this are great and they make a team stand out and be unique. The space design looks really cool and is something I never thought i’d see on a professional sports jersey.

Utah Jazz

My personal favorite reveal. The design is based on the red rocks that are all over the state of Utah. This color scheme fits the team much better than their usual navy, yellow and green and I wouldn’t be against them adapting it full time. The jagged rock pattern down the side panels is also a really nice touch.

So those are some of my favorites. I would love to hear what yours are. Here is a link to see all 30 of the jerseys that were revealed.

 

http://news.sportslogos.net/2017/12/27/nba-city-edition-uniforms-official-unveiled-by-nike/

All images in this post are from the link above

Technology in Farming

With the new age of technology, with all the phones and gadgets we use these days there was no doubt that farming would eventually change as well. Now I’m no farming expert but I’ve grown up on a farm, and I wanted to share some stories and my opinion on new farming technology.

My grandpa has been farming since he was young, and back then they didn’t have cabs on the tractors or combines, so that was great technology to get use to! Last harvest my grandpa got into a new state of the art John Deere tractor and was blown away. He was use to driving a rusty old red tractor that he had to fix every time before going out and that had bad reception on the barely working AM radio. This new tractor had a great radio and he barely had to drive, it had cruise control and all he had to do was turn the wheel when he got to the end of the field.

One of the hardest things I’ve experienced with farming has been loading the grain truck. You have to line it up perfectly and not let it overflow, make sure the grain isn’t coming out to fast, etc. It may have been stressful, but I had a lot fun with my grandpa and dad trying to figure it all out. When I heard about Automatic Grain Off Loading, I laughed, because it does everything by itself, the arm will move itself so it won’t overflow, it knows when to stop, etc.

I love technology and I think most things in life are better with it, but I also think some things should be left alone. Farming is a family business and I’m all for making a business flourish and if you really want to spent lots of money to cut down on a few minutes everyday because you’ll eventually make more money, then by all means get the new fancy gadgets, but remember why you started farming in the first place, was it to make money in a business like fashion, or was it because your dad or grandpa took you out on the field when you were young and you fell in love with it and want to continue the family business making money doing what you love with your family.

 

 

link to new technology in farming:

http://www.farmindustrynews.com/farm-equipment/20-technologies-changing-agriculture

 

Inspiration in Your Pocket: The Subtle Art of Adobe Capture CC

As a Graphic Design student, Adobe Capture CC has quickly become my most reliable ally. Capture is part of Adobe’s mobile App family and easily the most beneficial for designers on the go. In 2016, Adobe combined four of its mobile asset building tools into one, forming a single app that can capture colours, patterns, materials, brushes, and shapes.

Adobe Capture CC opened the door to unlimited possibilities. With a few simple clicks on your mobile device, you can now create project assets from anywhere that are accessible all across Adobe’s mobile and desktop apps.

 

Shapes

Originally, the shapes function was the reason I downloaded this App. Capture takes your sketchbook doodles and instantly turns them into vector shapes, you can also create shapes from high contrast photos.

Quick tip: Make sure to outline your doodles with a dark coloured marker before using the app, it will pick up the lines and curves easier.

 

Colour Themes

It’s so simple, just point and shoot for colour themes. Pulling colours from the real world has never been so easy. Snap a picture in the moment or use a picture from your camera roll on your phone and let Capture do the rest. Six movable circles will show up on the screen, once you’re happy with the colours picked, you can save your colour theme and use it over and over from your CC Library.

 

Patterns

Create new and authentic patterns using the digital kaleidoscope with the Pattern tool. Select one of five geometric real time templates at the top of the screen and move your camera around until you find exactly what you’re looking for. The app prompts you to refine your pattern before saving it to your CC Library.

Furthermore, Capture goes above and beyond by building  textures and materials in seconds and also allows you to create customized brushes, forever creating original and authentic designs.

To top this digital sundae off with the perfect cherry, all assets created in Capture are instantly saved to your Creative Cloud Library making them accessible in all of your Adobe mobile and desktop apps. Creating genuinely original designs has never been so simple.

Adobe Capture CC is a designers dream and it fits right in your pocket.

There is more information available on Adobe’s website:

https://www.adobe.com/products/capture.html

Your Style?

 

 

The concept of an artist’s own style is very interesting to me. So many artists stress out trying to find this golden and unique style that sets them apart from the rest. Yet, can we truly make exact copies of others people work without trying?

Since I have use of reason, I have been very fond of creating and drawing. Although, I really started to invest a  large amount of time into it when I was about 7 years old and my uncle told me about this series called Dragon Ball Z, he had watched it when he was a kid too so it’s been around for a while. I started watching it every night as it was shown on TV, and I was hooked. I fell in love with the art style and the creativity that it offered. Years later, I saw my uncle painting one of this show’s character on glass. It was a small piece. I thought it was fantastic and it gave me inspiration to develop a passion for drawing; not on glass, because I was young and I found it too difficult, but I started drawing and developing with any other media; pencil and paper being my primary choice. Over the years, I developed my technique further and I was able to replicate Dragon Ball characters rather well.

When I was about 12, I heard of another anime series on TV that I should check out. It was called Naruto: so, I watched it and just like with the other series, I completely fell in love with the story but also with the visuals that where between simplicity and complexity. Yet, they where very effective. As I did with Dragon Ball, I also tried to imitate the drawing style of the series, making various illustrations of the characters.

I have to admit that never in my life did I ever think what my own style was. I never saw anything wrong in drawing famous characters or designs. I always thought that it was ok to have something that you like drawing, over and over again; in doing so one develops the skill to use the art mediums or tools without stressing too much over the “idea” and if it looks right or not. As one has an image beside to compare.

In my humble opinion artists shouldn’t worry about having their own style of drawing from the beginning. I believe that the simple fact of you being a different individual, with a brain and body that works differently than others, is enough to make anything you do different, even if it’s a microscopic difference. And after a while in the process of trying out different styles; one will find out that there are some styles that stand and make you feel happy, those are the ones that will guide you in discovering your own style.

Streaming services in Canada

Netflix started streaming movies and TV shows in Canada in 2010. This soon became very popular and the reason people love streaming so much is it’s a lot more affordable than cable. Netflix grew so fast they started producing Netflix original TV shows and movies in 2011. Netflix led the way for other websites to start streaming services, giving us more options to stream TV and movies. 

Crackle is small in comparison to Netflix but it’s completely free. With no montly fee there is really no reason not to check it out. It’s mainly a way to watch cult classics as it has a wide variety of older movies and tv shows. While it doesn’t have a lot for current media, you’ll still find plenty to watch, especially when you don’t want to spend anything.

Shomi is more comparable to Netflix with thousands of TV shows, movies and its collections which are better than Netflix’s recommendations feature because they reflect moods and moments as well. They have hit TV shows and the classics you love plus movies for every occasion. The subscription is $8.99 per month after a one month free trial and is also available through a few cable bundles like Rogers and Shaw.

Amazon Prime isn’t just a streaming service, but you’ll still find plenty to watch. It’s considered one of the top streaming sites alongside Hulu and Netflix because of its extensive collection. Amazon also has a collection of it’s own original series. You will get ads on the site but can pay a small fee to be rid of them. What sets them apart is you get two day shipping, music streaming, photo storage, kindle ebooks, and more with your yearly fee of $99.00.

Crave TV recently became a stand-alone streaming site in 2016 and is mainly TV shows as opposed to movies. Some TV providers also have Crave TV as part of their service. They also have HBO and Showtime programming. Their service starts at $7.99 after a month free trial.

Hulu is one of Netflix’s number one competitors as the service offers current seasons of popular TV shows with most being available to you within 24 hours of being released on TV. The basic service starts at $7.99 per month and includes commercials which may be the biggest downside to the service. You can get commercial free for $11.99 a month.

Something New and Fun!

I am a student attending Assiniboine Community College (ACC), taking Interactive Media Arts (IMA) course. Everyone I know and run into always asks me “So are you attending school? What course are you taking?”. My exact words for that is “I am taking a course called IMA.” Every single person will look at me with a confused look, my response to that is “IMA stands for Interactive Media Arts, it has to do with a lot of graphic design.” This is just an easy way to explain to them what the course is about. The program is a two year course, no pre-requirements acquired. This course is much more than just designing, it’s about learning more and improving your skills on what you already know. A lot of the things that we do in this course is preparing ourselves for future jobs, and how we present ourselves to a client.

You’re probably wondering who can take this course and how would someone find out about this. Anyone can take this course whether you like designing, video games, or you just came across it and want to check it out. A majority of the other students in my class are computer game savvy. They like the graphics of video games they all play such as, Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, Battlefield, Skyrim etc. Then there are ones like me, I have never played a complex video game (if you consider any of the ones I’ve listed complex) I am more of a Wii person, I like my Mario Kart. I never thought about video games being in the graphic design field for some reason, it never crossed my mind. I was just interested in Photoshop and Illustrator when I was in grade 10.

When I found out about this course I was interested in it, it fit into what I enjoyed doing. I went for a spend a day with who is now a second year IMA student and I got to see what this course was actually about. It was sure an eye opener. It was different than what I thought it was going to be. You get to do things like creating small icons, posters, design your own personal website, and you do some writing as well. There are so much stuff you get to learn and do everyday.

If you’re a gamer, or have a creative mind and a love for technology this is a course I will recommend. Even if you just want something new and fun to do. I assure you, you will enjoy this course, especially if you are doing something you like. You learn something new everyday, why not try something new?

 

The Ultimate Test

 

Ah, yes to determine if you are a human or a robot cleverly disguised with what the humans think is “skin”.  The topic of determining who is who and what is what is common in science fiction. Often painted in a bleak dystopian future, where society is dark and filled with dim neon lights; or been destroyed by an atomic bomb or two; the thought of Artificial Technology being an enraged enemy trying to destroy all that is flesh and bone. Because robotics and AI technology are coming up as a big society game changer, it is addressed in different forms. From novels to movies, and even video games, it’s touching our lives in hypothetical ways on real fears.

In movies and novels like Do Robots Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner, 1982) the Void-Kampff test is developed to determine human from machine, or Replicant in this case.  Using questions to stimulate a strong emotional response. This theory of tough emotional questions is also applied in a more recent story line of Fallout 4, a recently released video game in 2015. Unable to detect the difference between human and robot, one community develops a test like the Voigt-Kampff test, calling it the “Safe Test”; asking the visitor to answer the questions as honestly as possible. When all is said and done, they really are not any closer to determining if you are a robot or not.

So will we one day be this dimly lit dystopian future, searching for rogue robots or questioning our neighbours about their authenticity? If one day we were to have indistinguishable humanoid machines around us, what sort of tests will be devised to know what’s what; or will we even need one? What sort of questions does one need to ask for successful determination of human or machine? Emerging technology of computer chips in humans, cybernetic limbs and prosthetics are becoming a new frontier for us humans. Do we eventually categorize these people in the same as these AI?  Where is that line of “no longer human” drawn? Indeed, more questions about our morals as a society may be put to the test, rather than the machines.

So when asked:

“You are approached by a frenzied scientist who yells, ‘ I’m going to put my quantum harmonizer in your photonic resonation chamber!’

What’s your response?” (Fallout 4, 2015)

Top 5 Design Trends for 2018

As designers, we all have certain styles we love, and once we find our own signature style, we tend not to stray too far from our comfort zone. But staying in one place for long, my friends, is not so comfortable after a while. You may start to feel left behind, or obsolete in certain areas. Interactive design is constantly changing, and as this new year starts, we are all probably looking for inspiration and new avenues to explore. There is no longer any excuse for not creating user friendly, interactive and visually stunning websites. So here are some insider tips from Digital Synopsis and 99 Designs on trends to start incorporating into your work now.

1. Bold Typography / Intersecting Elements

With web coding technology so far advanced these days, it is easy to use more than just the basic web fonts. Custom fonts are very widely used on many websites now, creating strong visual tones for your page and to help portray the overall feeling of your site. Now start playing around with these fonts and types – break them up in different ways and use intersecting elements of type and graphics to create interest.

2. Vibrant Colours / Duotone

Many large companies, such as Spotify, have pushed trends such as duotone to the spotlight. A trend that started last year and will continue on into 2018. Vibrant tones online are breaking out of those web safe colours. Technology is allowing us to use thousands of colours, so why not take advantage. Bright colours are sure to attract attention.

3. Split Page / Asymmetrical Layouts

Image Source: sitepoint.com

Grids are made to be broken in 2018. Splitting your page and grid layouts to create asymmetrical sections on your page is distinct and unconventional, and will set your site apart from traditional sites. It’s risky for certain markets or brands, but very striking when pulled off correctly.

4. Custom Retro-Modern Illustrations


Image Source: dribble.com

Gone are the days of clip art. Trending now are simple, line images, which combines sleek, modern lines with retro colour schemes to keep things playful and friendly. Customizable to fit any concept or business.

5. Thoughtful / Interactive Animations

Animations have come a long way and in 2018 will focus more on intentional movements and directions. Signalling interactive content to engage users, helping them move through your site with ease and purpose.

Now give it a go! Explore! Create! Be wild and free my dears.

xo M.

Bitcoin

Just a Bit of Crypto

If you have not heard of Cryptocurrency or at least Bitcoin yet, you are seriously missing out. These past couple of year’s Cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin, took a boost in its popularity and continues to rise. Investing in Bitcoin has very high risk but also a very high reward. Some like to take the risk while others are still curious to what it actually is and what it can do; such a mysterious thing to surface publicly.

“Virtual currencies, perhaps most notably Bitcoin, have captured the imagination of some, struck fear among others, and confused the heck out of the rest of us.” –Thomas Carper, US-Senator

Before its rise to fame Cryptocurrency was something only known to the users of the Dark Web or sometimes referred to as the Dark Net. Bitcoin surfaced when a mysterious user of the underground World Wide Web posted Bitcoin on a crypto forum. They went by the name Satoshi Nakamoto, whose real identity remains a mystery to this day.

I used to research the Dark Web a few years back, I was obsessed with the fact that Dark Web info was untraceable. This led me to come across Bitcoin 3 years ago. I really started to become interested in Cryptocurrency, but I did not think much of its value, and looking back now, I wish I had taken it much more seriously. Three years back I had some apps that I would play to earn Satoshi which when added up to a certain amount would give me small amounts of Bitcoin. In fact, by the time I was done with those apps I had $0.25 worth of Bitcoin. $0.25 in Bitcoin today is now worth $9.00. Now you understand my pain. Yes, that is still better than only $0.25, but imagine investing $100 back then; you would have some nice bank to sit back on.

It is very easy to look at Bitcoin and its fellow Cryptocurrencies and want to throw bank in but this may not be wise if research is not done properly. Some people have mortgaged their houses to attempt for success. Some succeed and some do not, it is a dangerous game to play. The fact Bitcoin increases so quickly makes it also capable of dropping extremely quick. Invest wisely.

The Future is… Soon?

Video games have become a way of life, a culture even, for the mass population. An ever-growing need to have the next best thing, even after the latest in video game entertainment has just released. However, what about those titles that get announced, delayed and delayed again? Alternatively, even have an announcement released only for us to be told not to expect it for another year or two? Well, here are some titles to look for in the upcoming year.

Metal Gear Survive, oh boy, this has had controversy from all accounts I’ve witnessed over all forms of social media. Many die hard fans of the Metal Gear franchise feel this is very different from what the series is all about Metal Gear Survive is set in another dimension running alongside the canon dimension of Phantom Pains. From what I’ve seen, the game will be open world survival where the player must work to build up their base while finding others lost in this dimension, resources and fending off the horrors that plague the land. All while trying to find a way back home. Metal Gear Survive is set to release February 20th, 2018 and will be host to a beta running from January 18th to the 20th, 2018

.

Of all the titles releasing in 2018, Metro Exodus is the one that has me in the highest state of anticipation any normal human being can be. There isn’t much known to me about the story, but from the videos and screen captures from what has been released, the graphics have once again improved since Metro 2033’s release of March 16th, 2010. All new story, possibly new characters, a whole new world to explore above ground. Enemies and weapons. I really feel that my words cannot do this game justice. This video however is an excellent example of what we can expect to see in the future tile set to release Fall 2018.

And finally, the Final Fantasy VII Remake. How long have we been waiting for this? Far too long, and if any of the videos and screen captures are an indication of what to expect, then it has been well worth the wait. With the apparent addition of more backstory on the secondary characters of AVALANCHE, a more FFXIV style of combat and those oh so spectacular graphics, I don’t expect anyone to get anything done upon its release.

 

From the Beginner designer to Intermediate one – 1

As a beginner designer:

 

  • Do you feel frustrated when you are creating art, but the finished work is nothing like the one in your head before?
  • Compared with other artist’s fancy work, your art is simple, flat and you only can manipulate shapes and lines with the basic moves.
  • Are you amazed by beautiful, complex, and perfect patterns by other artists, you never thought of before.

 

If you are the one who is struggling under the situations as above, I would recommend to you a handy software to solve your problems. You could increase the level of your design; but most importantly is that it is easy to use with only several taps, and you can get the art by what you have seen or what you want to do.

The magic software is called Adobe Capture CC. Personal I love all design software by Adobe, but this one is my favourite. With it, I finished most of my design exercises.

Adobe Capture CC could help users design their unique shapes, font, colour theme, 3D materials, patterns and brushes, all the design element you made are saved to your personal Adobe account in your library or template. Furthermore, I will explain all the functions in my blog.

Let’s start together with the easiest, most practical tool: the colours.

 

The purpose of colours is to help the user choose the colour theme from a picture or in their real life.

The way to create your colours is simple: click on “+” to start new colours, and make a choice that where the colours sources from picture or you could use your camera to take the picture of the colours you want. Immediately, there will be several dots that show on your pictures, and you drag the dots to the exact colours you like and save this. The colour swatch will update to Adobe library automatically, you can use in Photoshop, Illustrator and so on.

For example, if you were required to draw a tiger in your design, you could Google the picture of a real tiger, and save the colours to your library, then you can have a vivid tiger without any colour difference from real one in your art now.

For the next post, I will elaborate more on the brushes with helpful tips.

 

 

Pop Team Epic: Comedy at its craziest

New Year, new season of anime. This winter, many great anime have come out, but I am not going to talk about all of them. I am going to talk about one specific anime called Pop Team Epic, or Poputepipikku in Japanese.

This anime started as a manga by writer and illustrator Bubuku Okawa and was wildly popular for the fun it poked at political, social and entertainment topics all around the world. One moment the two main characters, Popuko and Pipimi act like nothing’s going on, then they go wild mentioning wild topics unrelated to the story. If you think that this is a kind-hearted show about two girls trying to go through life, buckle up, because things get insane in a funny way.

The first episode of Pop team epic starts with a generic slice of life intro, not including the girls. The design of the characters in the opening are very nice and makes it seem like it is going to be a nice romance/slice of life anime. When we get to the episode card, small hands grab the sides and rips the card in half. The character Popuko appears, and with a man’s voice; and a cute, but deadly look in her eyes; says “Not.”, and the craziness begins.

Watching through the episode myself, I really enjoyed the comedy and the quality of the animation. Everything rolled smoothly and the animators designed the characters exactly as they looked in the manga. I was laughing every minute. From the tropes of other animes that they used, to references of pop culture. There is even a small shot where a shadow person is spinning a fidget spinner. When I saw it, I laughed so hard I was worried I was going to get a noise complaint. There were a few things I believe could have changed. The episode itself is not that long, around 12 minutes; but it splits into 24 minutes with the same episode playing again with female voice actors this time. I feel if they split the anime into two different episodes with a small note saying if it is either male or female voice actors playing in the episode. As an anime lover, and a designer, this anime gives everything I love in one small and tall, crazy package. I would highly recommend it if you like characters going through crazy antics and pop culture jokes. My rating: 9/10

 

Nano-Medicine

From the hair loss, to the nauseating fatigue, or the never ending pills, cancer treatment is nothing less than dreadful. Chemotherapy in itself attacks healthy cells as well as the malignant ones causing the symptoms mentioned above. But what if there was a way to treat cancer without the side effects?  What if there was a way to target the malignant cells by themselves?

Well Adah Almutairi, co-director of the Center for Excellence in Nanomedicine and Engineering at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), has created a technology that involves light-activated nano-particles that just might do that. Using matter on a scale of 100nm (nano-meters) Adah placed drugs molecules into nano-spheres, when these nano-spheres are released for treatment, the molecules will remain inside the spheres stopping the drugs from causing any harm to the healthy cells. When exposed to near-infrared light the capsule breaks apart releasing the contents within. If they can perfect the control over when and where the drugs are needed, drug uptake will increase, and the side effects will be reduced.

The impact of this technology will greatly benefit society for both patients and  the pharmaceutical industry. By creating safe, non-toxic, biodegradable materials, Almutairi’s research exploring uncharted areas in the science of efficient nano-based drug delivery, but it’s only just the beginning. Nano-technology is expected to grow exponentially in the years to come. With the benefits this offers, funding will increase, clinical trials and patents will follow. If they perfect the use of nano-technology the medical field will be changed for the better.

 

Make any pair of headphones wireless with this device

Chords are messy and get in the way of everything, speaking from experience here. Although braided chords are a lot better then most normal chords, they still get tangled and kink. Because companies noticed this they have come up with devices that don’t use headphones jacks, forcing you to purchase adapters. Which can range from $5 for a cheap knock-off brand to buying wireless ear buds from Apple for $220.

This device is called the “Jack” by Podo Labs. This device is available for $40 on Kickstarter. Its a device you plug into yo ur headphones and it communicates wirelessly with your phone. You can also sync your headphones with blue tooth and share with friends. Jack also has up to 12 hours of battery life with its 300 mAh battery. This device also works with headphones and all in-line remotes. The device also features high definition sound, with CD-like quality.

Jack has 3 modes.

Share: Lets you sync headphones and share music wirelessly with a friend. you can also sync two jacks and receive audio from the same Bluetooth source.

Receive: Receives audio from any Bluetooth source. You can play it through your headphones, speakers, and any other audio device.  Compatible with any Bluetooth-enabled device.

Transmit: You can use Jack to transmit audio to another jack, or Bluetooth headphones from a normal aux output.

The Kickstarter campaign is also offering a free 3.5 male to male connector when you pledge and share with a friend. Now let’s talk technical and get to the specs. Jack measures to be 1 x 2 x 1.5 inches and weighs 20g. It also includes a USB port and a 3.5mm AUX jack. The audio is aptX audio codec. Making it high definition stereo sound. On the Jack there is a metal clip included so you can clip Jack to anything as well as a LED indicator and a button.

What do you think about devices like this? I personally don’t mind plugging in my stuff into my audio devices. But for people who get annoyed with chords being everywhere, and having to unplug to share and add an audio splitter. This s a good device for them. For $40 this is a pretty good deal.

My only question is ow durable is it? I take my audio with me everywhere so durability and sustainability is my biggest concern.

 

 

Exploding iPhone 7 Plus?

 

Brianna Olivas posted a video to twitter of her melted up rose gold iPhone 7 plus. Her iPhone 7 Plus allegedly began to smoke and melt away the aluminum body. When it had began smoking her boyfriend began recording the incident, did he do anot incident report? I have no clue personally.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/tech/apple-investigating-exploding-iphone-7-9910093

There is a link to the video I had explained.

Issues with the iPhone had begun the day before. Brianna had said that her iPhone 7 Plus wasn’t turning on. She had taken it to the local apple store in Tucson Arizona. The employees at the Apple Store had ran a few tests on the device and told Brianna her iPhone 7 Plus seemed to be working fine and nothing of serious importance had come up. That night she had her iPhone 7 Plus plugged in charging beside her head when her boyfriend had woken up to use the bathroom and he said he heard it making weird noises. He had moved her iPhone 7 Plus from the bed and placed it on the dresser where it had began smoking and melting away the body.

The video she had posted to twitter later that day had caught apples attention and they are now allegedly reviewing the incident.

The whole incident makes me wonder if Apple rushed the production of the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus and took a couple short cuts in the testing of their devices. Like Samsung Apple’s largest mobile device production competitors had the issues with the Galaxy Note 7 line. They rushed the production and design of the note 7 leaving not enough room for the batteries electrodes to expand and reduce in size while charging.

With lithium ion batteries, while charging need at least an extra 5mm spacing around the battery pack. While charging electrodes that pump power to the battery and regulate it expand while heated; if not given sufficient room they will expand to much and press on the metal sides and cause a fire with then melt the device.

I hope this isn’t the case of this iPhone 7 Plus battery issue. This would set Apple back millions of dollars in getting the affected devices back and releasing new devices and it would make mIllinois of customers mad and loose trust in them.

Anime!

*Blood warning*

Anime is an animated art style that originates from Japan. It is very popular in it’s home country but has a very large following in the western part of the world. The show’s them selves have a very wide range of genres, anywhere from Romance to Horror. The oldests Japanese Animation dates back to 1917, Mogura no Abanchūru (Mole’s Adventure). I have watched it and can say that the animation is extremely basic (which is a given concidering the time) but it is quite impressive of what they were capable of that long ago. The iconic style it has today however, did not surface until 1960(although it’s become more realistic in more recent years).

I myself enjoy the genre very much, and being an artist, the animation style peeks my interest too. Each show has it’s own unique style, much depending on the genre itself. The show Attack On Titan features harsher lines and less detailed design, where as some like God Eater feature a 3dimensional, game-like appearance.

    

Anime began like most animated shows, hand-drawn. The process is long and painstaking as each movement much be drawn seperatly. Now most anime are animated digitally, cutting the work time and increasing the quality. It is incredibly detailed and I genuinely admire the talent the animators have.

Most anime begin as manga (Japanese comics) and are then later picked up to be animate, much like how books are turned into films. For many, the animation style changes from the manga, becoming more detailed and expressive (like Haikyuu!!) but some of them have managed to keep the animation style almost eactly like the manga (Tokyo Ghoul). The skill to be able to animate a still photo and keep it the same, I think is very impressive.

    

Overall I think the Anime industry is only improving and in as little as a decade, I can only begin to imagine the types of animation styles and types of animators that will surface and if it will even become more photorealistic. But until then, I am quite content with styles and abilities that are around right now.