February 2004 Archives


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Last night we finished our 2D side-scroller game for Andy Phelps' class, and tonight I finished up the last remaining project outstanding from the Winter quarter. That means I can have a good night's rest before leaving for Florida tomorrow afternoon. One thing is for certain, there will be lots of video games, lots of sun, and very little thinking about classes for the next week to come. I will however, try to post an update while I'm down there.


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I passed my musicianship exam today in Music Theory, one of the classes which posed a real challenge to me this quarter. And I am happy to report that not only did I pass the exam, but I worked hard enough to land an A in the course. Wonders never cease... and I am truly blessed. whew. big stress reliever.


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Slowly making my way to the finish, feeling like the proverbial tortoise in the race to the end of the Winter quarter. But knowing ahead of time how the race is won, I'm beginning to feel that I'm on the right track.

Late last night I finished up my final web site for Web Site Design — basically the same site as our midterm project, with the addition of various web technologies implemented that we learned throughout the quarter. Technologies such as: advanced use of CSS for formatting and positioning; DHTML via javascript and CSS; server-side includes; form mail; and protected directories.

The course is one of the classes I had been looking forward to since I first started with the IT program last Spring, and I'm just a little disappointed at how little time was spent on the technologies versus the underlying design and architecture of a site. I believe it would have been better to first learn the technology tools with which to work with design issues before plunging head-long into the design process. The course seemed backwards to me, and by the time we got to the technologies, there was so little time left that it felt like an overwhelming avalanche of information, much of which seemed to pass me by at the time. That being said, having to go through this final project and implement all the technologies did help in the long run by forcing me to go back through each topic and absorb what I had missed.

Another reason why I had so little time to absorb the technologies was due to a required group project for the course... as if there wasn't enough work to do, we had to build a complete web site as part of a group. Being the elder of the group, that put me in the unenviable position of being the one to which the question: "what do you want me to work on?" was directed one too many times to my liking. What about me? Who do I get to ask that question to? All things considered, it was a positive experience and a worthwhile one, though if I had my way the group project would be moved to an entirely separate course following the one where the student learns all the technologies.

Besides all that, it was a delight finally taking a class with Professor Liz Lawley. A shining star in RIT's IT department, Dr. Lawley's brilliance is evident as soon as she speaks. In fact, like the technology wave of the class, the information she delivers during a lecture can be a bit overwhelming. To prepare for each class, Prof. Lawley would post reading assignments to the class web site — which she herself created for the class by morphing MovableType into very effective courseware. These reading assignments she hand-picked from the reservoir of useful links she keeps, the quality of which should not be underestimated. In fact, I've found her professional links and her del.icio.us/mamamusings links to be invaluable resources for researching and learning many web development technologies.

One of my main objectives for coming back to school was to learn about the web technologies that had seemingly sprung from nowhere during my professional career as a software engineer. And now having completed this web design and technologies course I can honestly say "thank you, Prof." for a job well done, I am well on my way to understanding the web better than I ever did before. =)


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Although still not out of the woods yet, I took a little time for myself this morning to see what's been going on in the world of video games and consequently stumbled upon a slew of new screenshots that Blizzard had just posted on their up-coming MMORPG World of Warcraft. The game looks amazing and will likely become a suck-hole for large amounts of players' time, like every other game Blizzard has created. Since they are currently in the process of selecting beta testers for the game, it's conceivable that we'll see the game's release before the end of the year.

Another Blizzard game I'm looking forward to with anticipation is Starcraft: Ghost, a tactical-action game being developed for consoles. If recent reports are accurate, the game should arrive sometime this summer.

Looks like 2004 will be a very Blizzard year.


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This is week 10 of the RIT quarter system, and the feeling is very familiar: something between panic, frustration and disbelief... how could any one person possibly accomplish what lies ahead and due in just a few short days? Someone is out of their friggin gourd to think I'll be able to do all this.

So, I take a deep breath and start applying my time towards the classes where my grade is most in question, and work from there: one thing at a time.

Florida can't come soon enough, and yet I wish it were weeks away.


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Instead of writing anything new, I spent the last 2 days deleting the literally hundreds of spam comment messages someone sent to each of my weblogs early Tuesday morning. Spending my precious time cleaning up after someone's inconsiderate and selfish barrage towards my personal web space is upsetting, especially when I've been struggling to finish up some of the biggest projects I've been faced with so far at RIT.

Karma: May the person who spams be spammed back 10-fold.


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Jet BlueI just booked tickets on JetBlue for the quarter break to visit my Florida parents for several days.

  • February 28th
    Depart - Roch 5:15pm
    Arrive - JFK 6:25pm
    Depart - JFK 6:50pm
    Arrive - Ft Myers 9:50pm
  • March 4th
    Depart - Ft Myers 2:05pm
    Arrive - JFK 4:40pm
    Depart - JFK 5:15pm
    Arrive - Roch 6:35pm
It will be a much welcome vacation that I've needed for some time, to soak up some rays, visit with family and basically just forget about school for a while. Thanks very much to my Rochester parents for making it possible.


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Thanks to del.icio.us comes this thought-provoking site from a web design perspective... StrangeBanana: random computer-generated web site design. Most of the sites it generates actually look better than many sites I've seen.

If nothing else, it's good for getting the creative juices flowing.


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Multi-user Hex is complete and online, click. You begin by logging in with any user name which puts you into the game's chat room. From there you can invite anyone else in the chat room to play a game with you. This of course requires that someone else besides you is in the chat room.

Orpheus' Revenge is coming along nicely. That's the project my group is developing for 2D Games Programming. It's a 2D side-scrolling platform shooter. We have found someone to help with the art and animation for the game's main character: Qing, an IT student. Though she's very busy this quarter like the rest of us, Qing has already provided us with preliminary sketches of the hero, Orpheus. We chose one of the drawings for it's simplicity of style which also works well with our game. For the latest screenshot of our game, click.

Music Theory continues to be a challenge for me, and I'm thankful I had the guts to take it. I'm finally learning about music rather than sitting around wishing I knew more. My instructor says I'm doing well in the course, though my test grades have been a bit lower than is comfortable for me and my GPA. Regardless of whether I get a B, I have already enrolled in Music Theory II next quarter.


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Julia's birthday
Today, Google has a very cool theme in celebration of the birthday of Gaston Maurice Julia, father of the fractal and the Julia set named after him.

If you don't know what fractals are or have never seen the gorgeous images that computers can produce with them: click on the Google link above; do a search for "Julia set"; and embark on a beautiful adventure today, all thanks to monsieur Julia.


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Gamespy today ran an interview with Metroid creator Yoshio Sakamoto in which he talks not only about the upcoming Metroid: Zero Mission (just 7 more days!), but also talks about the series' origin. Not simply a port of the original NES Metroid, Zero Mission is a brand-new adventure:

Samus has new powers, there are new puzzles, there are three difficulty levels to choose from, and the story goes off in totally new directions. Sakamoto even revealed that 25 to 30 percent of the game takes place after the pivotal battle with Mother Brain -- which marked the end of the NES Metroid.

Details I found interesting: Zero Mission will connect with Metroid Fusion in some way; and for a period later in the game in Zero Mission, Samus will operate outside of her armored suit.

I'm looking forward to playing the new Metroid game as soon as it's released next week!


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Professor Andy Phelps became a father today when Emma was brought into the world with the help of his wife, Ashley. Cheers and joy all around.

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