Hello World, Again

Hello World, Again

This is going to be interesting. I have resurrected the social network prototype that I build many moons ago, and am busy shaking the rust off it. Feel free to play, and let me know if you find any problems.

I'm turning all sorts of issues up in the source code as I go, so please be patient :)

On the subject of Heroes

On the subject of Heroes

This morning I wandered up to the middle school summer fete, arriving in time to see our younger children take part in a dance performance. After making conversation with various friends, a whisper rumbled across the field - "they're coming!"

Squinting off across the school playground, I could see a line of children in leggings and hoodies walking towards the field, lead by their teacher. I have never known anybody like her. People talk about children having heroes all the time, but I doubt the children yet realise how much of an impact she has had on their lives. I wonder if she knows how much of an impact she has had on their lives either.

I've mentioned before about our youngest having developmental delays while growing up. Over the years she has steadily fallen behind her peers. It's maddening in a way, because the effort and energy she expends in efforts to please her dance teacher, football coach, and swimming coach are unbelievable at times.

There was a moment in a recent "end of year dance show" where our youngest had to skip across the stage. We all take skipping for granted. It took our youngest five years to crack. After seven years of trying she proudly skipped across a stage, under the floodlights, in front of an audience of parents that had no idea - nobody had any idea other than her parents, and the dance teacher.

I guess this post is a quiet thankyou. A thankyou to an inspirational teacher that we are privileged to call a friend. I wonder if she has any clue how much of a legendary figure she is in our house ?

Open Sourcing WeTheUsers

Open Sourcing WeTheUsers

When I get a chance (may be next week - not sure), I am going to upload the source code for WeTheUsers to GitHub, and let anybody use it. The version of the code running here will always be the "version 0.1" - the "original" :)

Returning to a

Returning to a "Real" Camera

While sorting through photographs the other evening to upload to our Amazon Fire TV (which provides a wonderful photographic slide-show screen-saver on the television), it occurred to me how much better our early photographs of the children were - and there was a very simple reason why.

We used to use a real camera.

By saying "real" camera, of course I mean a device that was designed to be a camera, and only a camera. Not a phone, with a camera wedged into a 5mm x 5mm gap in it's case. The crazy thing is, I know why the camera takes better photos than the phone - the lens, and sensors are all many times bigger than the phone. The amount of light the camera sucks in, and the way it deals with it are entirely different than a mobile phone camera. The internal geometry of the lens and body allow for depth of field, rich saturated colours, and clarity of image that phones can only dream of.

We don't even own an expensive camera. It's a budget hybrid point and shoot - and yet the photos it takes shame smart-phones that cost six times as much money.

Maybe I'll clear down my Flickr account, and start using it. Stranger things have happened.

Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn

While wandering around town yesterday, I bought a sketchbook for myself. I haven’t drawn a thing in about ten years – which is a shame, seeing that I sat through two years of art lessons a long time ago, drawing people day-in, day-out. I used to love drawing people – probably because they are by far the most difficult subjects.

Over the years I’ve kind of become scared of drawing, because I know how good I used to be, and I know how annoyed I will be if I draw something and it turns out rubbish. Tonight I managed to disregard such thoughts for a while, and just draw. Of course, given my recent obsession with comic book artwork, I had to draw Harley Quinn. There’s some logic there somewhere, honest.

First thoughts after drawing it are that the face is slightly wrong – the line of the mouth is weird. Also, who knew that drawing comic book character boobs would be so damn hard? If you go a tiny bit too big, they look ridiculous, and if you lift them too much they look stupid, and then… how big IS too big? And do you draw a nipple?

Anyway… there you go – Harley Quinn. First drawing in I can’t remember how long. Let’s see if it takes me another 10 years to draw anything.

Adding Colour

Adding Colour

I added some colour to the drawing of Harley Quinn, and strengthened some of the lines. Oh... played around with drawing a more Dark Knight style eye too. I realised there are lots of "versions" of Harley Quinn out there. Not sure which I like best.

Slight Change

I have extended the images out to the edges of the tiles in tiled view.

The Reluctant Traveller

The Reluctant Traveller

On Sunday night I have to get on a train to begin a five hour journey to the other end of the country with work. I will stay in a hotel for 4 nights, a short walk from the office where I will stand in front of a room full of business people, pretending to be wise, knowledgeable, clever, cheerful, and nurturing.

I will wander back to my hotel room at the close of each day, hang my clothes up for the next day, and perhaps wander down to the hotel bar. I will sit on my own and drink one drink in silence, pretending to read a book, or pretending to watch the world go by while gazing straight through people.

Finally I will return to my room each night, and pour the contents of my head into the blog. If you've never witnessed my travels in the past, be prepared for some mind numbingly mundane streams of consciousness. The thoughts and ideas that occur to you while staring blankly at a hotel room wall are a wonder of the modern age.

I will repeat the entire adventure the next week, and potentially the week after that.

I've played the hotel game once too often. The George Clooney movie "Up in the Air" was a bit too close to the bone for me. When I first saw it, I was sitting in a hotel room in Birmingham, during a three month stint working away from home. It stuns me in these days of a so-called smaller world brought about by the internet that I still find myself facing the hotel gold card wielding lunacy that eventually caught up with George.

I'm relying on you guys you know - you're going to help me get through this - you just don't know it yet.