NorthernDigitals #BLABMini3

I’m a regular at Northern Digitals, an event for like minded people involved in digital creative industries around Manchester, to get together, have a beer, talk about work, techniques or influences, ruminate and make new friends.

The popularity of ND nights prompted Matt Booth and Gavin to host a more formal event, which they called BLAB. Featuring a recognised figure from our online/creative industry, they’d do a talk, we’d all drink beer and everyone would enjoy themselves. Following this format, BLABMini was created, featuring 5–6 speakers, shorter talk times, slightly more informal.

I got an email off Matt asking me to talk at the latest BLABMini, on the 1st December at The Deaf Institute. The subject was on “Things I’ve Seen”, links you’ve been passed on twitter or via blogs, makes you stop and think “wow” or “why didn’t I think of that”. Quite an open-ended subject, so I pinned mine on inspirational things I’ve seen. Continue reading “NorthernDigitals #BLABMini3”

New project:

Most of you know I’m a gaming nut. Most of you know I collect Japanese Mega Drive games.

I was browsing through the ace site, watching videos, reading reviews, planning on buying a few more shmups, when I thought “why don’t we have something like this?”. The “we” being Mega Drive gamers.

Obviously, there are a lot of sites out there that details release dates, genres, covers etc. like the great, but there was something… complete about the PCE site. It had factual information, it had visual information, it had opinion. You could relate to the authors and what they were saying, and it did make me reassess my opinion on a game or two, and go and physically play R-Type again after browsing.

For me, the Japanese Mega Drive’s biggest charm was the box art. Glorious, explosive, full colour illustrations set the scene before picking up the box and looking at screenshots. Box art is where it’s at! When you stack them all together, there’s something really mesmerising about the colourful spines with Japanese type, topped with the red, green and black MD logo. Continue reading “New project:”

Dreamcast battery mod

Hello again, been a while…

Me and the boy had a weekend of Dreamcast gaming, and after a few power-ons, having to reset the date and time – every time – due to the dead battery was beginning to annoy.

I’ve been here before. Less than 3 months ago, I’m sure, after I got my SLG3000 and tried out the scanlines, realised the internal rechargeable battery was dead. No problem, I have about 30 CR2032s kicking around. A quick google soon but that plan to bed. The internal Dreamcast battery is a rechargeable coin battery. A CR2032 is no good, as the DC will output a charge to the battery, and terrible things could happen. I don’t know what, exactly, but didn’t fancy finding out. Continue reading “Dreamcast battery mod”

I’ve been tagged: here are my 7 things!

Lucky me, I got tagged by heavy metal / web accessibility legend Chris Mills, so I shall enlighten you all, then tag seven friends who can do the same.

The rules

Up in the cloud

My last WordPress update to 3.2 couldn’t happen on one of our older shared servers, as it was running earlier versions of PHP and MySQL. I forget which was the culprit, but it meant I wasn’t getting the new lovely interface and other enhancements. I also run about 7–8 personal projects and friends sites off our company servers, which while they’re not big hitters or bandwidth guzzlers, I have been known to take the server offline while “trying something out”.

Therefore I decided to look at finally getting my very own hosting. Can you believe it? 15 years of making websites and I’ve never had my own hosting! I know a few friends use WebFaction, Melbourne Server Hosting and RackSpace, but I wasn’t convinced I’d need anything too big, or expensive. I run a few blogs, we keep all media on services like YouTube and Vimeo and average page impressions hover in the 30-100 a day per site, with exceptions for and

Amazon Web Services

With this in mind, and already having an Amazon AWS S3 account, I did a bit of googlin’ about Amazon’s EC2 cloud hosting. We’ve all heard the phrase “cloud computing”, even my mum has, and it is very much the buzz at the moment. In brief, it’s about providing resizable, scalable, cheap on-demand computing. In my case, about letting me set up a server that operates on an “as used” basis, upping it’s processing power when called upon, pumping out bandwidth when hammered, and I only pay for those occasions. Continue reading “Up in the cloud”

Sonic the Hedgehog’s 20th Birthday

Sonic the Hedgehog. For many of us retro games an icon. A trailblazer and true competitor to that ever-present and overly-competent plumber.

To many of the younger generations, well, I don’t know. The subject of many random game outings and IP tie-ins, of which very few are done well. An object of ridicule.

When Sonic first got a few column inches in gaming mags, the news fresh from America (way before we had internet) made the excitement palpable. The screen shots looked cool. He had bags of attitude, and because all the shots were stills, word on the street was the guy was rapid. Faster than any scrolling platformer you’d ever seen before. Eat that, plumber! Continue reading “Sonic the Hedgehog’s 20th Birthday”

Desert island video games

This comes up in my mind time and time again, as I try and peg my favourite games of all time. In fact, I guess most gamers play this game when not holding a joypad…

Anyway, this needs some formalised rules!

  • You can pick any eight games to be stuck on a desert island with for the rest of your mortal life (no continues). They can be from any year, any system, any format, any region.
  • If it’s an old system, assume users, networks or technology is still in place to allow enjoyable gaming.
  • This island has plentiful plug socket points. So if you need to take your Mega Drive, Mega-CD and 32X, no problem.
  • You can have whatever the best display is to play these games, from a Sony KV-M1421U through to Hanitrex arcade cab monitors… but I don’t really need to know what you choose, just helps your choices.
  • This mythical island also has ethernet sockets and wifi in the, err, palm trees, so multi-player online games are in the running.
  • You can also nominate some poor sod to be stranded on this island for those co-op games that simply must be played with a 2UP, like Bubble Bobble.

Continue reading “Desert island video games”

Swound! — Oh No!

Another cracking video by the lads in Swound!

I love Scott Pilgrim, and was delighted to see this video in February, earlier on in it’s production, as Joe sent me a version he’d been working on for months. Frontman Joe put a *lot* of effort into learning After Effects, completely starting from scratch when he’d found a better way to achieve a few effects. That’s my kind of learning, in at the deep end! Plus the video rocks!