Over a year since I posted..

A lot has happened, then again, a lot hasn’t happened.

I actually had 2 posts planned when I last posted. they were mostly drafted up.  One was on Pokemon Go (which I started off way too hard and then lost interest in) and a VR vs AR post.

Pokemon Go

I had a love/hate relationship with this game. As soon as it was announced (ie, within an hour), it was installed and I was playing it.  That night we drove around the town and played more until the servers started playing up due to load.

All the ‘Pokestops’ were at the same locations as a lot of the early Ingress portals, so I knew them well.

The next day, I was walking the street playing, then I stopped for a while and just walked. Every second person was looking down at their screen with the application open.

Walking at lunch around the Opera House, it was more like 9 out of every 10 people were playing it.

Then there were the news articles:

Around this time, my parents were in Perth.  They visited Kings Park and were annoyed that all these people were out playing a game, ignoring their surroundings, and subsequently blocking my parents view.

Then a week or so later, there were reports of a park where there were a number of Pokestops clustered. All through the night people were gathered around a kids playground, basically blocking access to kids using the facilities and then leaving it like a pigsty.

I had tweeted at a writer who was a advocate for the game about it, hoping it would prompt her to write about the negative side as well to increase peoples awareness, but the response was less than I expected: “this is a downside of any crowd gathering anywhere for any reason. People just need to be better”.  I agree, but ‘with great power comes great responsibility’, I had hoped that a ‘look after your environment’ post might have been appropriate.

In saying that, the next week, I was playing for my son and my wife was playing. We actually did go for a walk around Bicentennial Park.  Walking amongst the mangroves was pleasant, but also made me aware of, even there, how people are spoiling the environments by littering.

I personally only lasted about a week playing it.  I hit games pretty hard and sometimes have problems knowing when to stop (thank you Rocket League).

VR vs AR

When I was writing the latter post, I was in a situation where I had not tried VR before, not had I tried AR. I actually booked myself in to the Microsoft Store in Sydney to try out VR the day after I started the post.  I was one of the first people to try out the Trials on Tatooine experience which was released a day or two earlier.  The highlight of that experience was (spoiler alert) when R2D2 rolled out of the Millennium Falcon.  I remember getting down low on the ground to get a closer look at him.  People outside could have seen what I was looking at thanks to a tv on the wall.. and would have been able to see the massive smile on my face.

Using VR, the only issue I had was whether or not to wear my glasses under them. Being a year ago, I can’t remember, but I think I did.

I’m yet to experience AR in the ‘Hololense’ sense. The closest I got was inquiring about a weekend preview of the device, however was told (by the same store I tested the VR out in) that it was more aimed at business people who want to use the device. So I’m yet to try them out.

Mixed Reality was announced more recently, and last week I did get the opportunity to try it out.  The Microsoft Store no longer preview the Vive.  I chose to try the Dell over the Acer, purely as there was a nose piece in it which I didn’t think would sit well with my glasses. As I had power-walked there, the lenses started to fog up.  That did clear up overtime and aside from a couple of teething issues (got a BSoD and then the glasses didn’t recognise the area.. a simple ‘step to the right’ fixed that), the experience was pretty cool.  The images were crisp and the experiences I tried were impressive.  I’m looking forward to the next couple of weeks to hear how the SteamVR support plays out.

Other Stuff

Well, I took WAY too long animating a video for a song I released under my ‘Project’.. I thought it turned out pretty good.  The initial idea started just after my last blog post and I finished it up about a year later, with a majority of the work happening over the last month.

The family has acquired a number of tools over the last year as well, which will lead to some wood projects. I have LOTS of ideas and little time.  But more on those later.

Next project, I’m going to write a Sudoku solver.

Indiana Jones – Rebooting the reboot?

There was a post on Reddit last year which was around the time that Indiana Jones 5 was being announced.  At the time, it was confirmed by Frank Marshall that Indy would be played by Harrison Ford again.  And he mentioned that he wouldn’t be doing the “Bond” thing where the character would be played by different actors, even though to date, Indian Jones has actually be played by 10 actors and 7 ‘faces’. Source: http://indianajones.wikia.com/wiki/Indiana_Jones – search for Behind the Scenes.

A couple of days ago, it appears that the story has changed, sort of. Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, is now saying that after Indy 5, the series is going to be rebooted. I find the way he described the progression of movies amusing: “Right now, we’re focused on a reboot, or a continuum and then a reboot of some sort,”… “Well, we’ll bring [Harrison Ford] back, then we have to figure out what comes next. That’s what I mean. It’s not really a reboot, it’s a boot — a reboot. I don’t know.”

Rebooting the reboot 😀

My response to the Reddit post put forth an idea which would allow the series to go on with Indy not just being replaced (as such), with my idea of how you could introduce a ‘new’ character who could play Indy in a ‘continuum’ type set up, and to reboot the franchise.

Indiana Jones is sitting in a nursing home where he’s reluctantly spending the rest of his days. Marion has passed away and his son, Mutt, rarely visits.

A passionate archaeology student visits him there and after introducing himself, sits down with him to have a chat.

The visitor brings up events of Indy’s past, some which are known and some which Indy had tried to keep secret.

At the end of the conversation the visitor tells Indy how much of an impression which he has left on his life and he wants his legacy to live on. He asks if he can take on his name so that the name Indiana Jones can live on in the field of archaeology.

Indy sits there for a moment before he stands up and walks to the door.  He closes it slowly.  On the back of it hangs his fedora, whip and jacket. He picks up his hat and puts it on his head, taking a final look in the mirror before turning around, taking his hat off and putting it on the students head “So what’s your first adventure Indiana?”

Queue the Indiana Jones theme song.

Or at least something like that.

At least that way, ANYONE could play him.   Yes, it’s someone assuming his name, but it allows for the legend to live, not on a ‘Bond’ way, but in a “Prince Bride” type way with the “Dread Pirate Roberts”.

Think that might work?

R and P – Makes me happy!

R & P are two letters which have been around me for ages and it was only a couple of days ago I realised how important they are to me. I don’t know why it took me so long to realise, but when I did, I felt tall (strange saying this at 6’3″, but it’s true) and elated!

RP:

  • Firstly, they are my son’s initials.
  • Secondly, I’ve been obsessed about a game which I played about 20 years ago called “Red Planet”. It was part of the Virtual Worlds section at the Intencity video game arcades when they were ‘big’ in Australia.  Unfortunately I believe all installations were destroyed. I’ve had many thoughts and ideas in trying to make a computer/console sequel to it.. (I can dream!)
  • Thirdly, I’ve been on a website/forum for almost 12 years… its initials: RP : The Recording Project

Now what kicked this realisation off was that 2 days ago, I took over the hosting of Recording Project.  It has been in the works for a few weeks, but at that point 2 days ago, as the site was migrated to my account, it finally felt ‘real’.  It’s also the reason I haven’t posted a blog in the last couple of days.

I had been stressed the week prior with all the hoops in transferring the domain and account and sorting everything out (along with issues in getting my phone fixed), but the afternoon after it had been migrated, and a new phone was in my hands I felt happy… really happy.

So a little ‘pitch’ as to what the site is.  Recording Project is a website/forum for musicians and music makers, hobbyists and professionals to communicate, share information, share music and have it reviewed.  The idea for the site started in 2003, and the site went public in late 2004.

In 2008, the original creators decided to move on, and one of the members took it over and hosted it.  In the following year, there was a problem with the site on the host to do with the number of files in one directory, so I ended up updating a mod (it runs phpBB) to resolve an issue.  In acknowledgement, I was made a Moderator and then not long after, an Admin of the board.

In 2008 I had put my hand up to take over the board, but missed the opportunity.

Earlier this month the user who was hosting it questioned “Does anybody care if I shut this place down?”.  I instantly messaged him and asking some details about the site.  Turned out the domain was due to expire at the end of the month. He had hosting and then offered for me to pay for just the domain or to pay for the domain and hosting. My personal hosting was up next month and I’ve been looking to change hosts for the last few years. I just bit the bullet.

What prompted me this time, well, for starts, the board members.  I’ve got some life long friends, who I have never met in person, who I met on that board. I also feel like I can do something with it.

Also, since the site changed hands back in 2008, it’s been static. Along with that, the active user base has dropped significantly. The software hasn’t been updated (mostly due to mods) and some more ‘modern’ type features are missing from the board.  I’m sure I can upgrade everything to work which will make the user experience better.  It’s just going to take a while to clean everything up as mods have been added/removed, files renamed/numbered and when comparing files, looks like the editors added tabs for formatting which makes the software I use to compare files pick up a lot more differences.

But the board in general.  I’ve also got some ideas to give the board more life.  I believe in this site.  It’s been good to me and I’m going to be good back to it and make it better!  It’s not going to happen over night, ti’s going to take a lot of baby steps to get there.

So yeah, I’m now the proud owner of a website with the initials RP, which I’ve visited for years!

Time again to brush up my PHP!

Blog posts, my creativity, my fears and resolve?

As you might have noticed, I’ve been publishing a blog post, every day, for the last few days. I’ve set myself a ‘mini goal’, with the hopes that doing this might help my creativity.  Not only in blog posts, but my general creativity.

There is a method to my madness. Or I’m at least mad (we already know that 😉 ) and this is a different method than what I’ve tried in the past.

For too long I’ve had a large number of thoughts in my head which I’ve wanted to share, but I’ve been afraid to share them. Afraid that people might not like my views, which I’m coming to accept will be the case, and that’s OK. Afraid that by sharing an idea, someone else might take it, run with it.. and actually succeed with it. I’d see that as my loss.  Whilst that is a downside, at least someone would make something of it, and I wouldn’t have to think about it anymore.

I worry myself that if I present my thoughts and creativity endeavours, what if after I’ve said a few things, I can’t find anything else to say?

At this point of the post, you can probably tell I’m rambling. But I am getting to a point.

The other though is that if the ideas that have been gestating in my head are out, I can think about other things and generate new ideas. I feel like my brain is a full box and with all the current thoughts, I can’t escape.

Now, I know creativity works differently for everyone and I can only hope my latter theory proves true for myself.

For instance, I’ve been working on a songwriting project for a few years now. Writing, setting up ‘virtual’ infrastructure, gestating. Looking back at some of my original notes, that idea was born in 2012.

I haven’t done anything or shown anyone outside of my family it yet. Actually, I lie, I did do one performance of a new song, once, to a smallish crowd.  That’s it. But I have big plans and dreams.  In only the last few days, in doing these posts, have I felt like I can actually make this happen.

And here is the crazy thing.  I’m scared.  Not about actually presenting and performing what I’m working on. I’m actually scared that I might succeed.  I know some people have stage fright. In the times I’ve performed, I haven’t.  I guess I think too much about possible outcomes, which is something in itself. I over analyse.

I’m wondering if I’m alone in this feeling? People being scared, not about performing or getting up in front of people, but actually succeeding in what they want to achieve.

I need to apply myself to the “The Cult of Done Manifesto“, at least with songs, because songs are never finished, but they get to a point where they can be made public.

So what is my point that I promised mid-ramble?

I need to trust myself more. I need to believe in myself more. I need to share more of my ideas and thoughts.

In closing myself off with my thoughts and actions, I’ve closed myself off to opportunities I should have taken ages ago.

 

My thoughts on professional gaming – e-sports #ESL

I personally haven’t seen too many e-sport events, partly because I’m not in to a number of the bigger games which are played at that level, but in the most reason, and this might sound strange, I feel too old.  Sure, I’m close to 40, but if you look at a majority of the players, they are all in their late teens/early 20’s.

I was watching a documentary on Netflix “All Work All Play” and it indicated that most gamers retire between the ages of 20-25.  Sadly, I knew the age was close to this, but still.. I have to say it: WTF?

I had 2 thoughts at that point: 1 – how can I reverse my age back to 20 again; 2 – why don’t they introduce aged competitions like they do with kids sports, like Under 12’s, or Under 15’s, but in this case, Open (all ages), Under 25’s, Under 35’s, (and I shudder with this one) Veterans >35.

Asides from making each competition possibly bigger, would including those ages in the competitions increase viewership?  The game play would be different, potentially more tactical vs speed.  My interpretation is that ‘younger’ gamers (most times) are able to beat older ones mostly due to response times, so if older gamers played each other with their ‘slower response times’.

Call it a handicap that would open the competition to more ages and in doing so, make it a fairer playing ground, allowing multiple generations to be exposed more to e-sports.

Granted, this idea is coming from a ‘grumpy older gamer’..

Market Saturation of Movies?

Lets talk movie houses/production companies.  Marvel, Disney/Lucasfilm and DC. Additionally Paramount if you want to include Star Trek.

Combined, from a timeline I saw, there are 7 “Superhero” movies to be released this year, 11 next year!  And of course at least 1 Star Wars movie each year for at least the next 4 years.

That’s not counting the TV shows spun off from the universes.  DC win with The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Gotham, Teen Titans Go (yes, an animated Kids TV show).  Paramount has a new Star Trek show on the way.  Marvel still has Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (an unfortunately no more Agent Carter).

We will still all buy tickets to the movies, the merchandise and then when it’s released to home, the DVD/Blu-ray/Digital copy. Then have kids (and adults) wanting to buy all the toys, apparel and accessories. Just thinking about all that makes my head hurt. Will it get to a point where there is market saturation of all this and people will actually stop going to see these movies?

I know each universe is massive and all have many more strong stories to tell.  But movie wise, we are now on to the 3rd Batman movie series in the last 30 years.  I know that the visuals are improving with movies, unfortunately not always stories, but should movies just be made because of demand?  I guess the movie houses will say yes, because they can make money.  I guess they just can’t invest in new IP’s which might not succeed.  On that, I believe some of those just aren’t marketed right.. yes, I’m thinking of John Carter aka Princess of Mars series.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve willingly spent many hours of my time watching, devouring and in discussion of said movies and subsequent lore.

Also, I know you have to create market hype, but why show trailers for movies that are over a year away from being released?  I’ve seen one in the last couple of months and just shook my head.

</Rant>

Ideas which I wish I had followed through..

I did a blog post yesterday about an idea I had for a website.

Here are some other ideas which I’m kicking myself I wasn’t able to follow through with..

“Internet Cafe”

When I was back in school, in this instance circa 1996, I had this idea with a friend of setting up a cafe, to be specific, it was going to be an “Internet Cafe”.  A bunch of computers in a room which were connected to the internet so people could get online, and we would serve coffee.  An “Internet Cafe” in the literal sense.  At that time, there were no “Internet Cafes”, or at least I wasn’t aware of any in Australia like the one we were dreaming up.

Because I’ve always loved listening and playing to music, there were going to be Open Mic nights, and it was going to be a place that everyone could just hang out at.

The downside was that the two of us with the idea were 16, still in school and wouldn’t have been able to fund it.  Granted, we probably weren’t in a position to run it ourselves, but given the market at the time, this particular venture was a new market, even to the point we might have been able to franchises (I could dream!).

The reason I talk about franchises, looking at the bigger ones in Australia at the moment: Coffee club had just started franchising 2 years earlier, in 1994.  Gloria Jeans opened 3 stores late in 1996 then in ’98 started franchising.  Starbucks wouldn’t have a store open in Australia for 4 years.. mid-2000.

“Statistic ball”

Imagine a ball (was thinking an Australian Rugby League, Australian Football League, Tennis or Baseball ball), which had the ability track information such as its speed, height, force and more.

OK, I had no chance of making this at the time because it would have been physically impossible because the technology didn’t fully exist and if it did, it wouldn’t have been small or lightweight enough.  Also, I was about 10 at the time.  Ironically, at the time, I didn’t dismiss it because of this, I was more worried about how it might change the balls dynamics in the air.

And yes, it was a good idea..  because it looks like the patent was filed in 2010, I had the idea back in the late 80’s, early 90’s. Patent: https://www.google.com.au/patents/US20120058845

“Throw camera”

I had a similar idea at the time of the “Statistic Ball”, a camera which could take a 360 degree photo after being thrown up in the air, the photo being taken the moment it reaches the stationary point at the top of the throw. It exists, and is on sale now. Look up Panono…

“Order and pay ahead coffee”

I came up with this idea in the last few years.  Just before an actual product was made.  A very simple idea (as most are).  Takeaway shops large and small have similar offerings, like websites and the ability to call a head, but the idea of this was to focus around coffee shops.  The phone app would allow you to select a participating coffee shop, order you coffee and pay for it and a number of items in the app.  Ordering ahead for a later time or an option to ‘make it now, I’m close’.  In the app, the ability to ‘set favorite’, for future one button presses to order the same coffee.  I know some people enjoy the conversation with their barista’s, but the ability to order as you are on your way to work and then literally just pick up your coffee as you walk past the coffee shop could save you a few minutes.. expanding that out, say just 1 minute a day, that’s 4 hours a year (based on 1 minute a day for 48 weeks)!

An idea for a site: The 3 Month Project

I had an idea back in 2011 which I was going to call the “3 Month Project”.  Trying to make the purpose of the site obvious in its name. Basically, start and finish a ‘project’ in 3 months.

While there are sites out there which promote and encourage people to achieve goal and accomplish targets in a month, such as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo),  February Album Writing Month (FAWM) and RPM Challenge, I was thinking of a site for projects which might take longer to complete, or for those who wanted to complete the same goal as one of those sites, but with a longer time frame.

At the time I wrote up a business type spiel to explain what the site might be:

How often does a person have an idea and by lack of support, lack of focus or a never ending deadline, never actually completes it?  3 Month Project (3MP) is the support vessel for that idea.

3MP is an online community and future learning resource. Community for support and a learning resource for others who have similar ideas/goals. Future members will be able to see how others achieved their goals and to see what worked along the way, and what did not.

Each member will have 1 project/goal on their list at one time, they can’t start another project until 3 months after the current project start date. At the end of 3 months, they will fill out a completion form which let’s them assess where they got to and do a review of their project, addressing how much was completed, things that worked really well and things that didn’t.

Supporting others along the way by following them, and opening communications publically via commenting on status posts/questions, or by a suggestions on people page, such as offering links to sites or assistance which they can offer/help sold problems.   Additionally private communication would also be offered if some subjects couldn’t be spoken about publically.

And this was my idea of how it would work:

After signing up to the site, providing basic information, members would be prompted to set up their first project and it’s start date.  If not, just a basic profile to communicate with others members.

Each project will be given a ‘code name’, a short description, a more in-depth description, categorised and keywords added to the project. If there are known milestones that need to be met, they can be set as well.

From Day 1 onward, the member updates their profile as much as they can with images/videos/audio, anything that can show what they are doing.  Effectively a public blog of their project.

The first project ‘on’ the site was going to be the creation of the site.

I know the goal sounds similar to the sites I listed above and something anyone could publish on their own blog (or a finished project on Instructables), but the plan was to make this a central resource for projects.  Then completed projects, assuming fully documented, could be viewed as an extended tutorial.  Also, while it’s find to see the finished project or tutorial, the journey in getting to the final outcome can be as interesting, if not more.  It could also show decisions made and lessons learned along the way which affected the outcome.  And that was where I saw the worth in the site, a repository of projects where people could learn from others.  By keeping it central and open to be viewed by all, it would be a treasure trove in the future.

I think back to the movie “The Social Network” where the creation of “Facesmash” was presented.  The character/Mark appeared to be documenting it through a number of smaller blog posts as it was created.  I’m not sure how many posts were published, and granted, it was a way to drive the story forward in the film.  But those posts/’pourings of the mind’, could explain why things worked or didn’t, or how it did work.  Now I realise that what was put forth was a mild hacking attempt, but he was saying “they used this, so I had to do this instead”.  You could ‘see’ the logic as it played out.  You could learn from the rights (or would it be wrongs in this particular case?) so if other people made similar sites, they might get it right the first time.

That’s my ‘little’ post about “3 Month Project”.  So, why am I posting this? To get the idea out there!  I’ve had a number of ideas which I’ve realise that I won’t be able to make or create.  So if someone likes the idea, go for it. I just ask to please give me credit if you make it!

Tom’s Time Machine – a short fiction story

One morning last July, I work up at 3am with a mostly formed idea for a story in my mind. I spent the next half hour furiously writing it down… on my tablet (one of the reasons I love the S-Pen on my Note 8), before I went back to sleep.

Over the following days and a number of revisions, the story was fully formed.  I put it aside and let it sit for a week before I went back and edited it.  THEN I showed my family.  A few edits later I showed some work colleagues who also gave my some feedback (and edits as well) and I feel it’s now in its’ final form.

Check it out and let me know what you think!  <— click here to read it

Starting fresh

I’ve owned thisismywww.com for a while now, over 10 years.  I’ve put stuff up, taken it down, put some other stuff up, taken it down.  I’ve even used it for some musical collaborations behind the scenes!

Anyway, New Years Eve I decided I’d clean it up and start using it as a blogging platform… finally.  That and I feel like I’m finally at a point where I want to share ideas and thoughts.

One of the reasons I’m thinking that way is that I’m seeing a number of things, whether it be music, technology or websites; being made today which were ideas I had years ago and well, I’m cussing myself for not sharing the ideas.  I’ll explain that soon in another blog post.

So this is basically my ‘Hello World’ post again, but ‘starting fresh’.