So many buttons
Got offtrack there for a while, mostly due to playing games with friends in my free time. Behind that though, I was still feeling blocked on iOS development since I just wasn’t breaking ground on some of the basics with Xcode. Called a friend who has been a contract developer for a few years for iOS apps, he’s seen a few apps through to completion and I asked if he’d be up for doing some paid training. He agreed and we sat down for a 3 hour tutoring session. We ran through a lot of the basics of Xcode, iOS app structure and what a lot of these buttons do. In many regards I asked a lot of dumb questions, but after that session I felt like I had a much greater handle on what I was doing in this tool. So, I restarted ‘Learning iOS Programming’ with a little more self-esteem on the whole deal.
Current progress is;
So I’ve missed my goals for getting a basic app together by this past Wednesday. What have I been doing? Well, first and foremost I blame Valve software for taking up so much of my time while I played with the new puzzle creation tool for Portal 2. Then I blame Apple for having this rather challenging certificate setup process to go through to allow me to push my dev apps to my iPad which I still haven’t gotten re-setup correctly. A little into this week and I’ll be blaming Blizzard for releasing Diablo 3 which will eat away my time even more. Priorities after all…
Well, I spent some time trying to get Xcode setup fully but something about what I’m doing is wrong. I need to spend a few hours just re-reading about the process and start over from scratch. I’m still going to stick to my previous goal of setting up a simple app to just navigate through some menus but I’ll formally request an extension on that. I need to get involved in a local iOS developer group, trying to work through some of these questions in a vacuum can be very hard.
Ok, a bit about myself and learning new things…
Give me any task, (within reason) and I will figure out a way to accomplish this task and generally with a fair amount of polish. Recently most of my examples of this are in technology and at work. Having the ability to do this is fantastic; analysis, critical thinking, and creativity go into this to an incredible degree. I’ve learned more solving problems in this way than I’ve ever learned from a book (note: I do use books to solve problems, but just reading a book with no intent is more what I meant).
Here’s where I falter… I can’t just make up problems to solve. Years ago at work I taught myself VBScript and MS Access (before I was in the IT group) so that I could make some pretty awesome tools in Excel or Access for teammates to use (they were still using those tools daily for years after I left). Last year I put a good amount of work into learning Java by solving the problems from Project Euler. In my few years in IT I’ve learned a good bit about databases and SQL, learned more about PeopleSoft than I think I ever wanted and I’m enjoying solving these new problems. But again, here’s where I stumble, I can’t force myself to learn a new development environment and programming language at home, on my own, just reading the book. I’ve got a couple of solid books on iOS and I just can’t get into them without a problem to solve. Without a problem to solve, without a sword to sharpen, or a building to erect, I just can’t bring my abilities to bear without a driving reason.
What this amounts to is an inability to make incremental goals when I’m the only one interested in the goals. This is a problem in many ways in life (exercise…) but it makes it very difficult to use my evening or other free time in a productive way when I’m the only one watching.
So here’s what we’re going to do…
Had the pleasure of getting a few hours of fun into the Diablo 3 open beta last weekend. That solidified the pre-order (which was already ordered) in my mind. The game looks great, I love the visual aesthetic that they have going. Had a few great hours in there with my friends Greg, Dan, Roy, and Joel.
Mass Effect 3 still sits in my brain as something I need to do, but I’ll admit that after the 2nd installment I’ve been slow to move forward on that one. One day though…
Felt markers and water.
I’m slow to post stuff obviously, this is a bit of work that I did for a ‘art white elephant’ party. Fantastic party and I’m pretty happy with how this turned out. I’ll resolve to doing some more in the nearish future.
Been playing with the Macbook that I bought. I recently dropped the 128gig SSD and placed a 750gig Momentus XT in the machine. I love the performance of the SSD but getting one of a size that would be more useful is very cost prohibitive. With all that space I’ve gotten Windows 7 installed via BootCamp and that’s all very impressively simple to do. Depending on how this machine turns out over the long term, that feature may see me switch over to Macs.
It’s been rather warm for this time of year lately, I’ll have to move further North soon. The boys are doing very well and are rather heavy at this point, that’s their update.
Purchased a MacBook so that I can get my hands around XCode and drive some iOS development. I’ll post up my first ‘HelloWorld’ app later on. Just recently got SVN setup on a hosting site, www.CodeSpaces.com, so far so good. We had a little hiccup in their service where my repositories were built improperly and couldn’t be reached, but after a quick message to the team they had it fixed in no time.
Haven’t played a whole lot more games lately, just been trying to get the wheels on the iOS bus so that I can be productive in that sphere. Some good things coming down that road, provided that I have the drive to keep at it myself. I’ve heard a lot of interest from others in the iOS stuff, so we’ll see, could have a good time and get a team together, oh the fun we could have.
Got my first introduction to the Linux Shell this weekend after trying to deal with all the SVN stuff. Neat stuff, was hard to follow at first but now I think I’ve got the basics pretty well down. XCode appears to be all setup and ready to rock, tied into SVN and so tomorrow, off we go towards getting the first tutorial done.
I have Portal 2, Legend of Zelda – Skyward Sword, Infamous 2, World of Warcraft and Beyond Good and Evil wanting to be played with Diablo 3, Mass Effect 3 around the corner, this is a pretty good start to a busy year. I judge the weight of my games backlog as a point of pride, I’ve obviously been so busy that I haven’t had time to get in all the goofing off that I want to do.
I’ve not been so busy that I couldn’t have posted before, more that I have been so busy that I’ve forgotten to think about posting…
It’s been a crazy bit of time with Atticus and Isaac here, thoughts on having babies.
- These guys are really neat.
- Diapers, I hate em, they hate em.
- Babies are boring, they don’t even come out giggling, can’t wait for that.
- Being a parent is not a big deal, it just means you have to think about someone else more often. (I’m not good at this, need to work on that)
- Liz is absolutely amazing, these boys have such a great start because of her.
Item number five is actually the #1 on my list but I can’t put it in that order on a numbered list because that seems forced and cheap. Kinda like when you see people post “Happy Birthday to my gorgeous 21 year old wife” (who’s not 21). Also, you had fun reading my over-explanation.
Recently been playing a lot of smaller games, here’s the list.
- Atom Zombie Smasher – Very engaging top-down strategy game. You look over a section of a city and coordinate survivor rescues and zombie-killing. Loads of fun. Interesting note is that the game has a large set of options to change how the game works, you can use these to take the game from very casual to very hard without changing a ‘difficulty’ slider, you’re just modifying the core mechanics of the game directly.
- Bastion – Can’t say enough about this game, I’m a little late to the party on this one, but I don’t care, absolutely amazing. Audibly and visually this game is beautiful. I could make a separate post just about this game and how amazing the addition of the live narration makes the story carry so much more weight. The game is a good RPG that’s simple in implementation, has many different weapons, New Game Plus mode and Idols to up the challenge. Suffice to say, you should absolutely get this game and enjoy it. I’m going to have to get the soundtrack too.
- Limbo – Really enjoyed the ambiance of this game, literally felt very creepy at points. Lots of good puzzles and overall a great short game. My only criticisms are the lack of explanations of anything in the game. There’s no explanation for how things got how they are, who the other people in Limbo are, or what happens when you do find your sister at the end of the game. So many questions.
- Magicka – This game is a mix for me, but an interesting play-through. In Magicka you can create your own spells on the fly from combinations of eight different elements. The way in which you combine them varies the output. Fire and Eath create a fireball, Fire and Arcane create a ray spell, Fire and Water create a steam jet. With eight elements and up to five used in a single spell, that’s a lot of combinations. Problem is that you find a few that you like, and never really need to modify them, the game doesn’t take you through enough places or varied enemies that you would need to experiment. So I feel that some of that variation is wasted since it’s not encouraged. 2nd thing, the game itself tries too hard to be funny, jokes are the hit-you-over-the-head type. The first NPC you meet is ‘Vlad’ who is ‘Not a vampire’, P.S. he’s obviously a vampire. It’s just kind of a lot of bad jokes or jokes that go on too long. Good game in many respects but with flaws.
- Overlord and Overlord 2 – Overlord I loved, good humor, good story, allowed you to vary between Really Evil and Diet Coke Evil. What really surprised me is how much Overlord 2 is a totally different game (still Evil Pikmin at it’s core) but the feel of the game is very different (less fun and light-hearted), and unfortunately though filled with things to do, it feels short. On the ‘not fun’ side of things to do in Overlord 2, is to control or destroy the citizens of the two towns that you dominate. This involves casting a spell or killing 20o NPCs, that’s not fun, that’s a chore! Still haven’t finished Overlord 2, might just dive back in and finish the last mission just so I can see how it wraps up.
- Space Pirates And Zombies (SPAZ) – 2D spaceship combat game! This game is great, has too little variation in formula though. That didn’t stop me from putting 64 hours into it a few weeks ago. I’m still not complete but I think that I’ll wait a bit before heading back into that, very much recommend this if you like space games, take advice from me though, leave the campaign settings as is, avoid the temptation to make the campaign huge, it just slows it down, doesn’t add much.
- TRAUMA – This is a quick game where you navigate the dreams of someone in a coma after a car wreck. The navigation and interactions in the dreams are very cool, you navigate around in a style similar to the original Myst games, TRAUMA is more fancy in that the scenes are all photographs. Neat game, I don’t know if you’re supposed to understand the ending, definitely worth a try.
- Trine – Played a bit of this, love the premise and switching instantly through 3 different characters with various strengths and weaknesses. I’ve not gotten too far in this one so not much more to say other than it is a very enjoyable game, we’ll see how it goes once I get through the game.
Not quite how I imagined it, but it was fun!
The prompt for the week that I started in the photo club was Slow Shutter Speed. My intent was to catch the spray of the green water as it fell into a bowl. This is a yellow highlighter mixed into about a cup of water. I have a large UV LED flashlight which I used to illuminate the water inside my garage. The stream of water falling didn’t quite work as I expected, and there wasn’t much of a capture of the water droplets as they bounced around. I think more lighting might make this turn out better, I’d be interested in trying this with a single drop of water to see what the effect looks like on a small scale.
Leftover from the flood.
Joined a small group of coworkers in starting a prompt based photo club a few weeks back. My plan is to catch up on the weeks that I’ve missed while I’m out with the twins. Here’s an image of an abandoned boat that I found in a small patch of desert near where I live. I’ve modified the contrast and the coloring saturation to enhance the boat and the desert earth. The original image is much more wiped-out with the intense sunlight.
Drove to work today with the windows down for first time in months! Looks like it will start to cool down a bit, though this may be a little early to call the hot weather over. House is relatively ready for the kids to be here, just getting the last essentials in the mail this week.
Picked up some more tunes from Baba Brinkman, Zoe Keating and the Symphony of Science. More tech books sitting on my shelf to read, haven’t had the appetite to read lately, little too much from work happening in my head to really refocus when I get home.
Ok, this week’s goal is to finish reading Predictably Irrational.