Tag Archives: blogtober11

Last Day of Uni 2011

Blogtober 11 catch-up, part VI

Today was the last day of Uni for another year, and I only have exams to go.

There are no words to express how relieved I am.

The only question that remains: what game should I play during Swotvac? Last time around it was Medal of Honor 2010, the time before that Fallout: New Vegas (I think?).

I wanted to give Crysis 2 a run through, but it’s only available on that new-fangled Origin downloader. I’d buy a boxed copy, but the stores I went to the other day didn’t have it in stock.

I want to play LA Noire, but I kinda want to wait until it’s out on PC.

I want to play something like Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, but I want to play that with a friend. It’s not as cool single-player.

I could always grab something like RAGE from id, or even pick up Brink, or even give something like Metro 2033 (yet another) go.

Or I could start a new playthrough of Deux Ex. Or finish that Fallout: NV DLC I’ve been sitting on. Or play a little more of the complete GTA IV.

So many games, too little study periods.

This post part of Blogtober 2011, just a little thing of mine where I (attempt to) post something up on my blog every day in October 2011.

Android Addendum, Part II

Blogtober 11 catch-up, part V

When I went to Melbourne a few months ago I was faced with a bit of a dilemma. One of the most enjoyable dilemmas I’ve had to face, but a dilemma nonetheless.

You see, it was right around the time I was experimenting with various smartphone platforms, and it just so happened that I had all four smartphones at that time — the Dell Venue Pro, the HTC 7 Mozart, a Samsung Nexus S, and of course, my trusty iPhone 4.

The only problem was that I didn’t know which phone to take. Like I said, a pretty enjoyable dilemma.

On one hand, I needed something that would serve me well. Something that I was already familiar with — and that meant my iPhone 4, capable of pretty much anything I wanted to throw at it.

On the other hand, there wouldn’t be a better test case for how well Android would hold up in an unfamiliar city, in unfamiliar surroundings, where a few seconds could make all the difference in the world.

I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to take the any of the WP7 phones — as this was pre-Mango, I didn’t think they were quite at the level I wanted them to be for every-day use.

For the record, I ended up bringing both my iPhone 4 and my Nexus S. I used the Nexus S as my primary phone, but my iPhone 4 was always waiting for me in my other pocket, or in my bag.

And you know what? The Nexus S wasn’t too bad, with perhaps one issue: the GPS was incredibly, incredibly slow to get a solid lock. I mean, you don’t appreciate just how fast the GPS lock is on iOS until you’ve experienced the same thing on Android. Now, I’m fully prepared to admit it might have been my particular phone and software combination — but then I ask myself, if this is the experience that Google mandates, I can only hope that other manufacturer and software combinations are much, much better.

Once it got a lock it was fine, though. The 3D navigation stuff was particularly impressive, even on foot.

Bottom line: Android isn’t bad, but I still prefer iOS.

This post part of Blogtober 2011, just a little thing of mine where I (attempt to) post something up on my blog every day in October 2011.

Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves

Dear diary,

Today I went and bought a book. While I knew the release date was fast approaching, I had no idea when I left the house this morning that today was the day. A quick tweet to my local bookstore for them to put a copy aside for me, a few pages read while waiting for files to copy from A to B, and the rest read as soon as I got home this afternoon, and there you have it.

Ultra short review: after finishing this, my mind was exponentially blown. Just when you think it’s all over, and that it can’t get any more intense/fast-paced/hugely, massively more epic, it punches you in the face and ramps it up yet another notch. The plot is too massive to even think about, so incredibly creative that it’s amazing; as far as I’m concerned, the epic storylines means that Reilly is up there with the best of them, including my other huge favourite, Dan Brown (haters gon’ hate).

Incredibly highly recommended, especially if you’re a fan of the Scarecrow series, or like a stupidly-fast paced, crazily-intense, all-out-action read that still manages to pull you in hook, line, and sinker with the story.

This post part of Blogtober 2011, just a little thing of mine where I (attempt to) post something up on my blog every day in October 2011.

Up and Down

It’s like a rollercoaster over here.

The past few days have sucked completely because I’ve been very unproductive (and that will have some consequences I’ll face some other day), and for a moment there, it was almost funny — I’d think about how much work I had to do, do completely none of it, then think about the consequences of not doing so. This led into a spiral of doom which me feeling pretty sucky; getting angry at myself for not doing any work, knowing any consequences I would have to bear would be all my fault, writing semi-depressive blog posts on the subject under the guise of unanswered questions, questioning all sorts of things.

Yeah, it kinda sucked.

But the thing is, now those deadlines have come and gone, I got a whole heap done today. There’s no hugely pressing deadline per se, but I did have to get a few things done by tomorrow or the end of the week — and today, I pretty much ticked off every single thing on my list. Weird, right?

It’s not that I can’t work under pressure  — arguably some of my best work is when I’m thrown into the deep end. So what is it? The pressure of doing my best work knowing that someone is looking over my shoulder every step of the way? I used to say that I did my best work alone, but now I’m not so sure. Perhaps I need that pressure of being accountable, that pressure of knowing that I’ll have to answer to someone for my work— someone other than myself.

You know what? I’m actually not sure what it is. Perhaps it’s the fact that when faced with a million seemingly-insurmountable tasks and the lure of a good game, I’ll choose the game every time. Or perhaps it’s the fact that sometimes I just can’t be bothered — I could do the work if I was bothered, but man, sometimes I just don’t see the point.

In any case, I got a few things done today that I’m pretty proud of. Unfortunately, I’ve also made some pretty poor decisions in the past week — the consequences of which I’ll face some other day. No sense getting dragged down by the past now, is there?

Over and out.

This post part of Blogtober 2011, just a little thing of mine where I (attempt to) post something up on my blog every day in October 2011.


Unanswered Questions

Blogtober 11 catch-up, part IV

Sometimes, just sometimes, I have many questions. Many, many questions, and too few answers.

Sometimes, stupid little questions, like: why did that girl stare at me? Is my fly undone? Do I have something unpleasant coming out of my nose? Is there something wrong with my face? Did I say the right thing? Did I act the right way?

These questions don’t really matter. I usually forget them after a few minutes, and then I move on to some of the more important stuff.

More important stuff, like: what kind of message do I want to convey when writing? What do I want to write about? Should I hit publish on this piece, knowing that it might not be my best work yet? Or should I publish that piece anyway, and just throw caution to the wind?

These questions matter a little more. They don’t really affect anyone apart from myself, and even then they’re usually forgotten the next day, or a few days later. There’s nothing wrong with these questions, per se, and sometimes they should definitely be asked, but the real, life changing questions are where it’s at.

Questions like: what should I be doing with my life? Am I really happy doing this Uni degree? Why can’t I seem to get the right work done? Why does the reward always seem to dictate the amount of effort I put into things? Where is the light at the end of the tunnel? How am I supposed to feel about various things? What kind of an effect does that have on my life? Where do I want to be in 5 years? Where do I want to be in 10 years? What is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?

If only I could answer all these questions. I know no-one has all the answers to everything, but why are there so many unanswered questions anyway? Where do I get the answers from? How do I get out of this rut?

And finally, the most important question of all: what graphics card should I get for Battlefield 3?

This post part of Blogtober 2011, just a little thing of mine where I (attempt to) post something up on my blog every day in October 2011.

Android Addendum

Blogtober 2011 catch-up, part III

Because some of still couldn’t be convinced that my comparisons were good enough, this is very likely just a small response to a few points I’ve seen around the place.

Your issues are due to hardware!
Are you serious? The Nexus S is a newer phone than the iPhone 4, and if you’re actually insinuating that  the Gallery lag is attributed to hardware issues, you must be mistaken, because there’s no way. I mean, if Android doesn’t run on the phone that Google use for development, what hope is there for other phones?

I don’t have those issues with my phone!
Oh, this again? Look, I’m not made of money, I’m just an ordinary consumer trying different smartphones for kicks. I chose the Nexus S because it’s the flagship Android product — the product vetted by Google — which means that it should provide the best Android experience. TouchWiz or Sense might lead to a better experience for the end user, but that comes at the cost of other issues.

Ice Cream Sandwich will fix most of your issues!
Well, if we always waited for the next great thing to come along, then we’d probably be back in the dark ages, wouldn’t we?

I think that’s about it.

This post part of Blogtober 2011, just a little thing of mine where I (attempt to) post something up on my blog every day in October 2011.


I love Instapaper. There, I said it.

I do a fair bit of public transport, and that means lots of time to chill out with tunes and just read. Sometimes I even write, but it’s mostly about reading.

I don’t know when it happened, but about a year or two ago I stopped reading things in the browser. Not just the long-form articles or editorials I occasionally come across, but pretty much everything — shorter news pieces, reviews, basically anything and everything longer than a paragraph or two. I use Google Reader a lot, and nothing there gets read either — only skimmed, and if found to be interesting, sent to Instapaper for later perusal.

I don’t read books as often as I used to (which was sparse to begin with), but I do read my Instapaper list. I’m usually only a week or so behind my unread list — but there are some things in my “serious reading” folder (for long-form stuff) that is years old. With Instapaper, I’m never without anything to read. Now my only problem is running out of battery power when I’m out and about, but that’s a story for another time.

Instapaper isn’t just for reading, though! I also use it as a bit of temporary link storage. Links come in — from Twitter, from interesting websites I don’t want to read right now, from things on the internet which I want to refer to later — and links go out, either when I read items, or get to my Mac and open up all the stuff I’ve Instapaper-ed from Twitter or wherever else.

Remember how I was saying it’s all about the apps? Throughout my experiments with various smartphone platforms over the past month, I found that exactly none had decent Instapaper clients. IOS obviously has the official client, but there’s no such thing for Android or Windows Phone 7 — at least no client that matches the iOS one, anyway.

All the niceties you’ve come to expect from the official client just don’t exist elsewhere. There are a lot of clients that sync with Instapaper, but none that do the job as well. I’m not even talking about things like jumping to the top and then returning to the bottom, I’m talking really basic things, like the reading interface itself. Typography, style, layout — all of these things matter. If you’re an app developer, it’s great that you’re making an Instapaper client for something other than iOS, but make sure your app is good for reading; if your app isn’t usable for reading, it probably isn’t suitable for Instapaper.

This post part of Blogtober 2011, just a little thing of mine where I (attempt to) post something up on my blog every day in October 2011.