Friday, February 22, 2008

GDC: Future of MMO's

Terra Nova posted a transcript of a panel made up of MMO developers at GDC 2008. There comments are worth a quick read though.

Read on at Terra Nova's blog here-

http://terranova.blogs.com/terra_nova/2008/02/gdc-2008-the-fu.html

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cool Flash Photoshop Replacement

I stumbled upon Splashup (http://www.splashup.com/ ) this evening (as it was referenced in design vitality's blog http://www.designvitality.com/blog/). Very nice piece of web work. Splashup is a Flash App that has most of the functionality of say Photoshop Elements. Very cool for light editing work and you don't have photoshop installed. Thumbs up. Also Design Vitality's blog is well worth an RSS subscription.

Product Reviews: ImageGlue and e-Receptionist

I know with .Net you basically can roll your own image manipulation classes fairly easily, as I've done it in the past based on publicly available examples. However, being stuck working with classic ASP for a few more weeks kills using .Net so I was stuck looking for another way. At my work we had a copy of Image Glue installed on our server, so I ended up using that. I must say Image Glue was very easy to use (though a few things in the documentation could have been explained better) and is extremely fast. I give Image Glue a thumbs up. Image Glue also comes with a .Net version, so if you don't want to role your own code you throw down a few bucks and have a great solution for cheap.

And my company, a small, nibble, virtual workforce dotcom, started using eVoice receptionist to take phone calls. You end up getting sent a wav to your email with the message. Pretty cool. I think for smaller companies who don't have a budget for dedicated phone support this solution will work pretty well.

More Info-

http://www.evoicereceptionist.com/
http://www.websupergoo.com/products.htm

Monday, February 18, 2008

Javascript VB-Like Rounding Function

Here is a pretty nice rounding function I stole from some website, if I could remember which one I would give them full credit. Javascript lacks a nice built in VB like rounding function, but you can roll your own based on this code.

function roundNumber(num, dec) {
var result = Math.round(num*Math.pow(10,dec))/Math.pow(10,dec);
return result;
}

Pretty Cool Site

The President of my company sent out a link today to a site that has some great marketing information on it. Here is a link to the RSS feed.

http://www.grokdotcom.com/grokdotcom.rss

Very worth an RSS Subscription.

Or if you are old school, check out the site at-

http://www.grokdotcom.com/

Friday, February 15, 2008

Javascript: Looping through an Objects Properties

For future reference....here is how to loop through a javascript object's property fields.


if (typeof(aPhoto)=="object")
{
for(var z in aPhoto) {
alert(z +": "+aPhoto[z]);
}
}

A Perfect Example of Why Globalism Sucks


I found this article, about Boeing setting up a joint defense manufacturing company in India with Tata Industries. Now before I go into my rant, first I'd like to say that I've met with Tata representatives before, and they were cool people who knew their products and markets well. In my brief encounters with them I was impressed that they didn't over promise either. So, this rant isn't targeting Tata or India. First, the article.

Tata/Boeing Joint Venture

Essentially Boeing is going to build manufacturing and R & D facilities with Tata in India. So in my opinion what does this do?

1) In passes on to India numerous defense technologies that were developed by Boeing but paid for by U.S. Taxpayers. India saves billions on R & D.

2) Boeing begins to manufacture parts in India that normally where manufactured in the U.S., making their aerospace products "cheaper". But what about the U.S. workers who funded the technology and now loose out on the chance to manufacture what they funded?

3) Boeing ultimately looses, because it is building its competition. Tata is by no means a slouch of a company, once they build up indigenous capabilities the need to partner with Boeing will slacken. India's defense establishment will by indigenous Tata produced products, where previously Boeing's technical lead would encourage India's military to buy Boeing products.

So essentially, we give away technology, build up our competition, and outsource out production. We see this all the time. How can this country continue to be a super power operating this way? As more and more of our people become unemployed, the tax base lessons, and their is less money to keep funding R & D innovations. We see temporary relief by Tata made F-18's costing our government less, but long term economic problems such as the middle class disintegrating are not addressed. So is that how we are going to roll? Produce nothing, buy everything cheap from other nations? Something tells me that this ultimately isn't going to work, especially as we run out of money to but because we don't produce anything anymore. A good job becoming managing a Kroger as opposed to manufacturing a plane.

Boeing, your executive team are idiots. But how can I blame you? Our MBA schools are nothing more then brainwashing camps instructing our leaders of tomorrow all about the short term gains of global outsourcing without concentrating an ioda about what the long term effects of that outsourcing will be.

America's future is bleak if we don't realize we are giving away the store.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Microsoft's New Second Life

It looks like Microsoft bought out Caligari inorder to build some kind of 3D world meeting place that ties in the MS Virtual Earth. Could this be the beginnings of Microsoft's Second Life type application?

I checked out Caligari's website, and they announced both that MS and Caligari are teaming up, and also Caligari released a new product called truePlace.

Read more about truePlace -

http://www.caligari.com/products/trueSpace/ts75/Brochure/truePlaces.asp?SubCate=S2forum

I first learned about this from-

http://www.virtualworldsmanagement.com/

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tutorial: Photoshop Texture Patterns

On the same site I did my earlier Photoshop tutorial review on I found another quick and easy tutorial that helps you get familiar with the basics of using textures as patterns for layers.

The tutorial can be found here-

http://originmaker.com/2008/metal-sign-photoshop/

Topic: Photoshop, Web UI
Time: It took me about 25 minutes to go through the tutorial.
Usefulness: Very

If you liked this Photoshop Tutorial, check out the rest of my Photoshop articles [HERE].

Tip: Old Photoshop Rounded Corners Tip

If you have Photoshop CS + it is easy to get rounded corners. You select the rounded rectangle tool, set your feathering in the top dialog box, and click anti-alias.

Well, if you have Photoshop 7 like I do, getting the anti-aliased rounded corners requires and extra step.

So I found a little tutorial here--

http://paininthetech.com/2005/10/11/using-paths-to-create-smooth-rounded-corners-in-photoshop/

If you aren't doing a texture fill, after you do the steps in the tutorial, just add a new layer, and then use the paint bucket to fill in your selection.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

AF to Build "MyBase"

The USAF plans to build a virtual world/social network for AF online training and outreach called "MyBase".

Read more [HERE].

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Tutorial Review: Photoshop Gel Navigation Bar

The following is a great intro tutorial on how to create a simple gel effect navigation bar in Photoshop.

http://originmaker.com/2007/simple-navigation-interface/2/

Topic: Photoshop, Web UI
Time: It took me about 20 minutes.
Usefulness: Very

Notes: If you are using an older version of Photoshop like me (7.01) you might not get results exactly like the screen shots promise, but the results are close enough so that you can adjust to suit.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Serious Gaming...Why People Don't Get It

In my past job I worked a little bit and thought a lot about Serious Gaming. Here is a quick rant for today about that. I think the the Holy Grail for Serious Games is not about learning reinforcement. As I told my former boss today.

"The game should be the textbook."

I think there are different markets for different serious games. Ultimately the more serious the game, the less free time your target audience tends to have. Tacking on a game or a simulation as an extra task isn't going to be well received and almost always doomed to failure. However, if a game or simulation is subtractive rather then additive, that is where user acceptance will go up. What do I mean?

Typically training involves learning a competency, and then practicing that competency. If you think about it, that is all games do. You learn a competency, say how to zap an alien, and then you exercise that competency continously.

So, often Serious Games focus on exercise and reinforcement of a competency. Unfortunately, no one really trust Serious Games enough to have them fully replace other traditional methods of competency learning and practice. So Serious Games, often at this point poorly implemented, give users a new task without reducing their over all training work load. This is bad.

What needs to happen is Serious Games need to become good enough so that they subtract from traditional training method work loads. In academia, Serious Games need to replace text books. In corporation, Serious Games need to replace conferences and training pamphlets.

Then Serious Gaming will have arrived.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Uber Cheezy Christian Video

I saw this video, and had to laugh.



Yet, the message, even though uber cheezy. So why is it on my blog? Well, it is funny, and a good example of how us Christians often do some very cheezy promotions of our Savior. God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise, and this is a great example. The message, even cheezy, simplistic, and short, is right on.

There is another reason I put this cheezy video up. I've had it rough lately. I can't but help to think that I'm being targeted for some reason, probably just because I'm a convenient target. I'm a born again Christian, and lately just some things that normally aren't a problem for me are becoming extremely difficult. So, as a reward to the spiritual forces that may or may not be hindering me in my life, I give you this. The plan of Salvation in a nutshell.

1) We are all sinners, all of us.
2) God paid for our sins by sending Jesus to die for us on the cross.
3) If we accept Jesus's payment for our sins, and ask Jesus to come into our lives and forgive us of our sins, we will be totally and completely saved for all time.


All it takes is something like this. "Jesus, I admit that I'm a sinner and I have broken your commandments. I am guilty before you and in my sin if I die I will go to hell. I believe that you Jesus loved me enough to die for my sins. I invite you into my life Jesus, please forgive me for all my sins and seal me with your Holy Spirit. Thank you."

If you are not saved, don't wait to do so. The same spiritual forces that are playing havock with my life lately will do everything they can to make you think that accepting Jesus into your life and Lord ans Savior is foolish and unnecessary. Don't walk away if you feel God is telling you in your heart that you need Him.

And to the forces that have been playing with me, I am awake now. I will proclaim my God boldly.