Sunday, 20 March 2011

Too much for one week....!

Okay, it has been a while since I have posted on either blog, as it has also been a while since I have done any decent work on my Uni projects too. There are several posts for my Uni blog caught in draft stage at the moment - I hate posting back dated stuff as I never seem to catch up. But am going to have to bite the bullet and do so I think.

Anyway It seems that I am destined to always deal with many different things at once...no matter where I move to. Although New Zealand is becoming a more and more tempting idea. That or in the middle of no where in Canada, it may be cold but at least I'll be able to get some sleep. :) Needless to say I have not been this stressed since I was living on the south coast and that is saying something...

To top it off the world as a whole doesn't appear to be having a good time of it either at the moment. I have shed tears over what happened in Japan. It is a lot for one country to deal with all in one go, kinda puts things in perspective as troubling as I may find my problems at the moment they are petty in comparison. (That's not forgetting Christchurch and everywhere else at the moment too...) Yet in today's connected and networked world are we more aware of what is going on so it seems like more than in times past at times? As before the internet, before Twitter, events that are going on in the world now would not reach our news channels until most of the worst was over. The fact that there was video of the earthquake taken by people on their phones on YouTube mere minutes after it happened is something I find difficult to get my head round at times.

I have been keeping up with the developments in Japan mainly through the internet as well, using Twitter and websites to check on the progress of the brave people in Fukushima and watch the news websites show clips from the astounding video that people took of the destruction, in some cases as it happened, which as I said I still find hard to believe that this power of nature was captured on camera by so many people.

To think that if something like this had happened several years ago when the internet was not as it is today then it would be a very different story. We would only see pictures of the aftermath of the tsunami and quake, and only then if news channels had managed to get a camera crew out there. We would be seeing more static images of these areas washed away and even then it would be after a while as it would take time for news to travel to our side of the world. A long time in comparison to the time it takes today at least.

From what I gather also the internet managed to stay more or less a stable means of communication in Japan during this time and it has been nice to see companies like Google not only donate money but use their power on the net and their resources to help in more practical ways. Simple things like updating Google Maps as soon as possible to help rescue teams plan routes and help people find their way in a landscape that must seem alien to them now.

Also due to the fact that we have been seeing some jaw dropping video of that wall of water reaching land and the destruction it caused in it's wake, not only from the air but on foot also, it gives it a sense of perspective. To get that small glimpse of what those people went through, edited or not, it makes it a more real and it makes me realise that I am lucky to be seeing all this from the comfort of my own home and am not caught in it all. That I am to be thankful for all that I have...

Yet it does also make me feel helpless, as where do you start to clean up and repair something like that....I have a huge amount of faith in the Japanese to rebuild and recover from this. Sadly this is not the first time they have had to suffer a national tragedy like this... Yet the mentality of the people there as a nation is so very different from the people here it seems. I dread to think what state the entire UK would be in right now if it had happened to us....

Anyway the positives from all this really have been seeing how people have come together to help Japan, so many countries have sent people, resources, money anything they can to help. Which is heart-warming and despite events in my own life making me lose faith in humanity, this restores it in a second, as when things really are tough people pulled together to help each other out. Also the one headline that was not seen through all this, but was mentioned a lot on Twitter, was that many lives have been saved by the engineering and building regulations in Japan.

However one thing recently that caught me off guard slightly was logging onto the PSN recently on the PS3... as for start I have to admit I didn't expect it to be up with all that was going on, but then Sony are based in many different places these days. However on the 'What's New...' section there was something a little different; instead of the games that were last played on the console, instead of adverts for upcoming games there was the Japanese flag and it linked direct to the PSN/Red Cross appeal to help those in Japan. Seconds later my bank balance was a little less and every penny of that money went to help those that need it more than I right now.

I was amazed at how easy and simple that it was to do - a few presses of the button on the controller and I had helped in some minuscule way. Seeing that there are a fair number of PSN subscribers out there if each one of them donates a small amount it is going to add up to quite a large amount and will hopefully make that small difference over there. Thank you Sony for putting that up there and making it so easy for so many people to donate something so quickly.

For now though I have plenty to do in my own life right now, the most pressing of which is a presentation due tomorrow that at present I have not started on. With everything that has happened in my home and with my family this week I am behind in my Uni work. I am angry that I am behind as well as it I really shouldn't be, but I was stressed before things kicked off...even more so now and I just don't know where to start. So have been doing small little things here and there instead...but to me it just doesn't feel like enough. Yet it will have to do!

I have been told recently by a good friend that I am more than capable of the work that I have been set. That I always manage to do well even if I am dealing with more than most. I almost felt that he was saying that I tend to thrive in the interesting times in which I have been cursed/blessed to live in. :) I just need to remember what I have achieved through previous adversity and that I am dealing with little in comparison to people half way across the world from me.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Sleep and Social Media

It has been an interesting week...I choose to stay up a little longer and carry on working, not really by choice as the house was so noisy there wasn't much point in going to bed. However the work I did get done doesn't make that much sense...really need to re-write a post over on my site...sleep deprivation and dyslexia do not make for good comprehension for others.

Anyhow I have been spending the weekend catching up on some sleep and much needed rest, along with ignoring the possible sore throat I appear to still have. This translates into spending most the the weekend plugged into my laptop on the living room sofa and playing about with various interesting things to do with my website. I have also managed to catch up with some friends thanks to e-mail and multi-tasking smart phones, things that I have come to be thankful for now I realise a lot of my closest friends no longer live anywhere near me.

Yet I do appear to like doing website related work to unwind as well as editing things down to their pixels in Photoshop! It is a good thing though as I have now learnt a little thing about the API authentication on Twitter...well say learnt...sort of come to understand why it's there. This does mean that I now have Twitter integrated into my site so when I publish a post it will also have the option of being sent to Twitter. The widget also allows me to put share buttons on my posts which I have chosen to do for Twitter, Facebook, Buzz and Linked In as it gives me a handy way to publish posts to those sites if I need to as well. Am thinking ahead here more than anything, but at the same time am worried it will come across as to presumptuous. Yet I have been reading too many blogs and articles about your online identity and representation recently thanks to a site who's owner is coming to the university soon to do a talk on social media and networking. It got me thinking and in my ever organised, verging on OCD way, I wanted to have things in place now so as not to worry about them later when I am a graduate looking for work!

It some respects the social media thing seems like a intangible concept and some people believe that there is no need for an online presence. Some people on my course are even proud of the fact that they don't appear anywhere online. I am not of this opinion as I do have a lot of sites that I use and it is not until recently that I have been concerned with how all these places may appear, let alone promoting myself. As it's one thing to have an online presence it's another entirely to get that presence noticed. I do think it works though as I have a friend that got contacted by a company interested in her work due to her online portfolio. Yet there is also my blog and website which does not get viewed by many people at all. However I have not tried to get it noticed yet and am only just starting to learn about how to go about it...yet is it really going to be worth it or is it a waste of time?

My reasoning would be that right now it's not a waste of time as I am in my first year and have the time and the freedom to experiment and try and find out what works and what doesn't. I just need to be careful as I have recently discovered by Googling my own name nothing on the net is ever truly deleted. Something that I fear some of my younger class mates may not truly appreciate yet...

Anyway this is also a slight distraction from my actual work I am supposed to be getting on with at the moment. As I feel I have a serious case of writers/artists block and just can't get my head in the game for creating my game. Maybe if I tell myself that the deadline is in a week my elusive muse may return.... :)

Thursday, 3 March 2011

New Projects Begin

Well as always time appears to be escaping me! I have had a sore throat for a couple of days now, but am choosing to ignore it in the home that it would go away. :) Which it appears it has, however my head has not been in the game when in comes to Uni work for the last couple of days.

I have been slightly distracted in making banners for the various (websites? apps? social networks?) places I can be found on the web. I decided to do it as I wanted to create a bit more a visual 'About Me' page as it were and am experimenting on here with it all before I add it to my more 'professional blog' as it were. Basically I wanted to create a more visual about page rather than have it a wall of text or full of images of things I am interested in. So I decided to create some quick and simple banners using screenshots from the various sites I use and then just putting something quick and dirty together in Paint to suffice for now. However I couldn't quite bring myself to leave it like that so I ended up in Photoshop and using rulers, pencil tools, and editing at pixel level to create some banners that I'm still not entirely happy with but am okay with posting for now. It was basically a therapeutic exercise, something that I tend to do when feeling a little grotty, usually it's something to do with the Dreamstone. :) Yet after getting a my own domain finally sorted I am now settling into that and playing about with things, basically learning a lot more than I probably need to know in regards to passing my current degree. However it is something I enjoy doing and keeps me practised in software packages that I will be using for my degree. In regards to the Dreamstone project I am still not comfortable with my current web skills to do that site justice, and this time I don't want to put anything up until I am happy with it. Though I realise that I run the risk of never putting anything up! :)

Anyway we have started new projects at Uni and they are just the kind of ones that I like to sink my teeth into, as not only are we creating design documents in one we are analysing games in-depth in the other. Then to top it off we are now going over Maya in the tech classes, something I have been looking forward to.

My only regret about the current project though is that I am working on my own again, as I would have liked to have worked with someone this time. However most people seem to want to work on their own clear ideas for this one, which I understand as that was how I felt for the last one.

Other than spending too long moving pixels around in Photoshop this week I have also had to do the cat a great injustice by booking her into the vets. She has a small sore on her lip that really needs sorting and as of today a possible tooth broken. This cat is not going to have any teeth left at this rate, she has worse luck than I do. (Three teeth out in one go due to over eager wisdom teeth.) She's an old cat though approaching fifteen I think...though sometimes I wonder as I can't believe it's been that long since she was born, added to the fact that she looks like a cat half her age. (Even the vet agreed on that one!) Plus with the new mouse toy I purchased thanks to the recommendations of a friend she acts like a new born kitten when chasing it. :)

Anyway I should consider turning in now and try and get a good nights sleep as I have a lot of work to do tomorrow due to the lack of it yesterday. I am however tempted to finish off and post the drafts that I have sitting on my work blog.....sleep would be better though. :)