January 2004 Archives


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Just in time for the SuperBowl launch of Pepsi's latest marketing campaign, in which they plan to give away up to 100 million Apple iTunes Music Store downloads, indie music advocacy group Downhill Battle is launching a campaign of their own: Tune Recycler. By sending Downhill Battle your winning iTunes bottlecap codes, they promise to spend that money in a place that counts: on independent artists rather than on songs owned by the big 5 major record labels. When purchasing music from the major labels, there's a good chance that the artists don't see any money spent on their songs; also, since the major labels are affiliated with the RIAA, that should be reason enough not to spend the money on them.

So, if you aren't elated this February when you win an iTunes song from Pepsi, why not consider visiting their site and transform your useless bottlecap into a force for good.


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I just started to create my del.icio.us page, a free web-based social bookmarks manager. In case you have ever been at a different computer than the one you're used to surfing on and wished you had access to your bookmarks, del.icio.us is for you.

Since half of the time I'm at home and the other half of the time I'm at RIT, this service is exactly what I've been saying I've needed for a long time. In fact, last quarter in Interface Design, my group created a prototype for a similar (though admittedly not as elegant) web site.

You can even subscribe to the del.icio.us pages of others whom you find similar in interest... though I haven't yet been able to learn much about that feature.

By utilizing the power of bookmarklets, del.icio.us organizes your links for you: Whenever you find a site that you want to bookmark, instead of choosing "Add to favorites" simply click a special bookmarklet made available at del.icio.us and a simple screen is presented allowing you to enter a description and category tag for the link.

For more information, check out the del.icio.us info page.

Life on the Web... made easier.


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An absolutely marvelous rant today by Cory Doctorow on Boing-Boing about digital rights management (DRM). Specifically, he begins by commenting on a recent blog entry of a Microsoft employee extolling the virtues of MS's own DRM over Apple's, but ends up saying a whole lot about why no DRM is the best DRM choice for the consumer.

Also from Boing-Boing, more groundswell support for digital downloading of music from the likes of Brian Eno and Peter Gabriel via their recently announced union for musicians: MUDDA.

And from the absolutely queer department, a hysterical tribute to those happy-go-lucky cuddly guys you can always count on: gay boyfriends.


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I finally got out from under the Java grader job I took on at the beginning of the quarter, as it just wasn't feasible with my current course-load: I found myself putting off homework due to deadlines I had with the instructor I was working for, not to mention that I was even putting off writing in my blog. Something's gotta give.

So, today I'm living and breathing easy, huge weight off my shoulders, working on things I actually want to work on: homework, blog, and special projects. Life is good once again. I hate grading, and now I have a renewed respect for the instructors who grade their own student's work. Worthwile reading over at Mamamusings this weekend on the very same topic.

And on that note, thank you, Professor Liz Lawley, for the beaming feedback on my midterm assignment for the Web Site Design class. Check it out in case you missed it, I spent a good deal of time creating it even though it appears quite simple in design.

I'm even thinking about going to see a movie this afternoon: I've heard that new Jack and Diane movie is just what I need right about now.

Update (11PM): Just came back from seeing "Something's Gotta Give" and it was fabulous! Laughed and cried lots. Hysterically funny and surprisingly soulful.


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Multiuser Hex

In Programming for Digital Media, I am building a game of Hex to eventually support a multi-player component over the Internet. The game currently requires two people to play at the same computer, alternating turns.

Hex is played on a diamond-shaped board made up of hexagons. Alternate sides of the board are designated purple and black, and the goal of the game is to complete a chain of pieces between two sides of the same color. The game cannot end in a draw since no chain can be completely blocked except by a complete chain of the opposite color.

To play, just click on my Hex logo and have a little fun with someone. Thanks to Eric Willis in the Multimedia Tutor lab for figuring out why Director was behaving strangely with my code.


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Nintendo revealed on Tuesday the first details of their "mystery" game device which they have only hinted at previously. The Nintendo DS, which stands for Dual Screen, will house two separate 3" LCD displays for unique gaming possibilities. Scheduled to be announced during this year's Electronics Entertainment Expo in May, the device is set to ship before the end of the year. Read the article from Gamespy.


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Finally finished my midterm project for Web Site Design early this morning, I stayed up until 6AM putting the finishing touches on it. The assignment was to create a site about a place you have lived, to be interpreted loosely. So, having spent a great portion of my life, so far, playing video games, it seemed natural to me to construct a site around my favorite of all game consoles: the Nintendo Gamecube. In it you will find references to some of the greatest video games of all time, and reasons why I have logged so many hours playing Nintendo games. Many of the graphical elements were provided by Nintendo, however I composited and manipulated several different images in Photoshop to come up with the consistent look and feel of the site. I hope it's as enjoyable for you as it was for me to make.

Destination: Gamecube


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Now into the 5th week of the Winter quarter here at RIT and it definitely feels like midterm week. I have to keep telling myself that everything will work itself out and everything is as it should be. In fact, I told that to Alex, one of my group members for 2D Games Programming just this afternoon. I guess there are common themes circulating the campus ranging from periods of stress and pressure nicely balanced with periods of panic and fear. Welcome to the RIT quarter system: either you learn it, or you don't... and it's always a choice.

My choice this weekend was to finish my KaleidoScorpions project, now complete with an engaging interface for artistic adventures into the sublime. To get around pokey performance issues when viewing on sub-supercomputer platforms, the number of scorpions is selectable and defaults to the minimum number of five (5).

This week brings 3 midterm projects due and an exam in Music Theory. In case you don't hear from me in a few more days, you'll know why. The simple fact is that I haven't been doing anything besides school work since classes resumed last week. Day and night, weekend or not, I'm usually sitting here in front of my 'puter working on something. And now I'd better get back to it.


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So, the Scorpions run a little slowly... well, they're still cool to watch(!) And there are some optimizations that I'm doing with the graphics to make them more CPU friendly. I guess I made the vector graphics with too many points and they bog down the processor once a few of them are on the stage. I could reduce the number of them, but my mother always told me "there's strength in numbers", so I'm working on alternatives. If you have a fast enough processor there's really no problem at all.

Other than Kaleidoscorpions, I've been very busy with my 2D Games Programming class. And I think that it will begin to eat up more and more of my time as the quarter goes on. If you don't see an update here in a while, check there... you're sure to find me.

And Music Theory has been time consuming as well, though fun. Yesterday I handed in two melodies I composed over the break for an assignment. One of them is rather good and I'd like to share it, so I'm trying to figure out a way to post it in a web friendly format.

Well, that's all the time I have right now. Got to get some work done.


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I haven't been just sitting around playing games these last few days, though the project I'm working on is as fun as playing one. For the Programming for Digital Media class I'm taking this quarter (4002-434) we are working on a concept called: Smart Agents. These agents are characters of our own design, though referred to as Turtles based on their similarities to those of the Logo programming language. I chose to draw Scorpions as my smart agents, both for the play on words and for their gangly legs and tails which serve to add to the desired effect: they dance around the stage changing color and direction like a kaleidoscope - hence the name: Kaleidoscorpions!

It's not entirely done yet, though it's rather entertaining in its current form, just click on the image or the link above to view the movie. I still have to add an element of user interaction, and I plan on animating each individual scorpion. Stay tuned!

Update: Kaleidoscorpions is completed!

Play Kaleidoscorpions


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I hope that 2004 brings good health, happiness, and fortune to you and your loved ones. I'm just hoping that the new year is even remotely as good as 2003 has been for me.

Things to look forward to this year:

  • Graduation!
  • A new Harry Potter movie!
  • A new President!

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