Sir, You Are Being Hunted: New gameplay footage

Sir, You Are Being Hunted was the first Kickstarter campaign I backed, and I’m excited to get my hands on the game (and other goodies) in a month or so. The makers have just released a video showing off the current state of the game. I think it looks great.

If you didn’t back the Kickstarter campaign, you can preorder the game on the Big Robot website.


Other Kickstarter campaigns I’ve backed

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New blog: Rapid Notes

Rapid Notes Yesterday I launched a new blog: Rapid Notes. It’s just hosted on a free WordPress.com account for now, and will probably stay that way.

I created this new outlet because I wanted a place to store and share the fascinating things I find online every day. I’m not going to put just any old thing up there, but it’ll be a busier blog than many of my others. Much busier. The idea is to help me identify what my real passions are by looking at the common themes of the items I post. I’ll be spending time getting the tags and categories — the taxonomy — just right. Then as the blog grows I’ll be able to look at my archives determine… well… something hopefully.

Follow the @foobot →

Visibility settings: Make your WordPress widgets context-aware

One of the things I like about using WordPress.com is getting an early look at features destined for the self-hosted version, WordPress.org.

For example, today I noticed new ‘visibility’ button on the bottom of each of my widgets. Clicking it expands these filtering options:

Widget visibility settings

Playing with these settings will make any widget you add determine whether it should be shown or hidden based on the page it appears on. For example, you could create a Recent Posts widget that only appears on posts, or a Top Posts & Pages widget that only appears on archive pages.

Some ideas for context-aware widgets →

Commandments 2.0

For this recent Palm Sunday Erika Hall published a single-serving Tumblr blog proposing an update to the Decalogue she titled ‘The Fresh Ten Commandments’:

Since the original ten commandments seem somewhat narrow and obsolete (too much focus on livestock, servants, and jealous god issues), here is a modest first draft of a fresh set.

Erika isn’t (by far!) the first to attempt to update these guidelines from on high, so I thought it would be interesting to collect a few here, starting with ‘The Fresh Ten’:

The Fresh Ten

  1. You shall treat all people with respect regardless of race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, or national origin.
  2. You shall not kill, assault, nor intimidate with threats of physical violence.
  3. You shall not rape, sexually coerce, nor intimidate with threats of sexual violence.
  4. You shall cultivate intellectual curiosity, be open to new ideas, and respect the scientific method.
  5. You shall not cheat, nor cheat others out of what is rightfully theirs.
  6. You shall not lie, deceive, nor spread lies about others.
  7. You shall not steal, that is to say take or use what rightfully belongs to another person in a manner that causes harm. (Stealing is a trickier concept than it once was. How do you say yes to Fair Use and no to software patents?)
  8. You shall keep your promises.
  9. You shall not waste natural resources nor pollute the shared environment.
  10. You shall take responsibility for your actions and their consequences.

Thou shalt read more →

How to be right all the time

Apple pundit John Gruber was interviewed on The New Disruptors podcast recently about how he made Daring Fireball into a full-time job. Around the 50 minute mark he says:

One of my primary obsessions is with trying to be right about everything all the time. Almost obsessively. Being wrong to me is horrible. I would hate to be wrong about something.

Daring Fireball readers won’t be surprised by this admission, but I really like how this informs his thoughts on transparency:

There is a way to be right all the time and that is to recognise when you are wrong, figure out exactly how you were wrong, say so and now you are right. Nobody is right as they go all the time, but at least in the track record you leave behind you can be right all the time.
John Gruber — ‘No Kind of Work for a Grown Man’

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Some custom CSS to pimp your WordPress blog

Recently I’ve been taking advantage of the WordPress.com custom design upgrade to pimp my theme, so I thought I would share some of the CSS I have written. Twenty Eleven is the second most popular theme in the WP.com directory, so why not make yours stand out too?

I’m a big fan of Twenty Eleven, however it is starting to show its age. It’s funny how these designs date so quickly. Twenty Ten looked positively cutting edge compared to Kubrick (which was itself a very modern theme back in 2006!). I have been tempted to update to the newer Twenty Twelve, but feel that I have invested too much time and effort into getting the look and feel of my blog just right. Instead I’m pulling some of the future back into the past.

Got custom? Get stylin’ →

‘Extravagant’ Welsh Government pays £7,625 for NRW logo

Natural Resources Wales logo William Powell AM yesterday criticised the Welsh Government for spending £7,625 on a new logo. He unearthed this scandalous factoid by submitting a FOI request asking for “All available information relating to the design/development costs of any logo/symbol/emblems for the new Natural Resources Wales body.”

The Welsh Government responded, as they were obliged to:

The total costs for agreeing the brief for the logo creation, developing and refining creative routes and developing basic visual style were £7,625.

Mr. Powell describes the logo as “an unimpressive multicolored [sic] hexagon” and that he finds it “deeply disappointing and scandalous that the Welsh Government is willing to spend £7,625 of public money on designing a new logo for Natural Resources Wales.” He concludes:

The Welsh Government must learn to be responsible with the public money it spends. While Natural Resources Wales obviously needs a logo, it is simply unacceptable to be spending over seven and a half thousand pounds on it. Given the remit of Natural Resources Wales I regret that more work wasn’t done to engage schools across Wales in the logo’s design.

Back to school William →

Babylon 1999

Warning: I’ve cranked the geek up to 11 for this uber-nostalgic post.

Buried Shadow (1999)

Buried Shadow (1999)

Recently I was reunited with a computer-generated image I created back in 1999 of a crashed Shadow ship from Babylon 5. I had submitted it as a cover image for the second issue of on online fan publication called Beyond Babylon. It wasn’t used on the cover, but it did get featured in the gallery. At some point I lost my original, so it was nice to be contacted out of the blue by someone who had a copy.

I have fond memories from those days of hanging out at the (now defunct) Babylon 5 Modellers Guild [b5mg.com] and the LightWave Group [lwg3d.org] (which evolved into the still-active Foundation 3D forums). Scifi-Art.com was another great community — I remember really liking their site design.

All this nostalgia got me digging around my old hard drives for more retro LightWave renders of mine.

Babylon 5 images

You can click on the small images below for a closer look. Not that I didn’t create any of these models myself, but the compositions, lighting and backgrounds were all my own work. Also, if you zoom in on that shot of Starfuries engaged in combat, you’ll see some of my own wing art designs. (Yes, that is Daffy Duck!)

The name of the place is ‘Babylon 5’ →

Updating @datahole

Datahole's Twitter avatar Datahole is a Twitter account I have been ‘maintaining’ for over four years. In practice I’ve simply been letting it run itself.

It takes RSS feeds from Ars Technica, Wired, The Guardian and Bruce Schneier‘s blog and looks for stories containing words like ‘leak’, ‘phishing’ and ‘password’.

Then it adds in unfiltered posts from The Register’s security news and The Open Rights Group.

Last night I updated the look and feel of the account with a new avatar, header and background image. Besides these cosmetic tweaks I added two feeds from the blog of security expert Brian Krebs, specifically his categories ‘latest warnings’ and ‘the coming storm’.

How? And why? →

Liberal

Quote

If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”
John F. Kennedy accepting the NY Liberal Party Nomination, 1960

The adoption of the word ‘liberal’ as an insult in right-wing American politics is something I’ve never understood.

Obscure and invented punctuation marks

Andorpersand

An andorpersand

There’s something fascinating to me about obscure punctuation marks. I think it’s that I have great sympathy for smart people who attempt to solve problems that regular people don’t really care about.

Flavorwire recently posted a roundup of interesting real punctuation marks (an article that seems to have been cribbed from an older mental_floss post actually). Most of these are the creations of Hervé Bazin who proposed new exclamation and question mark variations to signify acclamation, certainty, doubt, love and others.

Hervé Bazin's punctuation marks

Hervé Bazin’s proposed punctuation marks for acclamation, certainty, doubt and love

On the lighter side, College Humor has recently invented eight new punctuation marks (that it thinks) we desperately need.

Mockwotation marks

Mockwotation marks

The mockwotation marks are my absolute favourites. I would do away with the actual quotation mark elements and just keep the wavy hands.

Similarly, I wonder if there could be a fun use for an air quotes / scare quotes punctuation mark? I would use them to distance myself from some awful turn of phrase by indicating that it’s not something I would usually say.

Air quote punctuation marks

More punctuation fun →

As one Posterous closes, another Posthaven opens

posterous In news that must have surprised no-one, Posterous has announced that it will be turning off the lights in a few months.

On April 30th, we will turn off posterous.com and our mobile apps in order to focus 100% of our efforts on Twitter. This means that as of April 30, Posterous Spaces will no longer be available either to view or to edit.

Now two of the original co-founders of Posterous — Garry Tan and Brett Gibson — are soon going to launch a new blogging platform called Posthaven that pledges never to be acquired and to be a home for your blog that will last forever.

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Ideas for Minecraft

Skeleton skull For me one of the big appeals of Minecraft is imagining what features I’d like to see added to the game.

The Minecraft developers are actually surprisingly receptive to ideas from the community, often incorporating suggestions and making alterations to the game based on player feedback. And if an idea isn’t really suitable for the game but is very cool anyway, there’s always the thriving modding community to make it a reality.

Personally though, I just like the thought exercise. My outlet for these ideas has been the Minecraft Suggestions subreddit. I recently realised that I had contributed many more suggestions than I realised over there, so I thought I would compile (most of) them here.

Be warned: This post is geeky, even by the standards of this blog!

‘Brain Bats’ this way →

Discourse: The WordPress of forum software

Discourse logo Discourse is a new discussion platform (ie: forum software) from Jeff Atwood, Robin Ward and a host of other smart people who have founded a new company together. As Civilized Discourse Construction Kit, Inc they intend to create ‘the WordPress of forum software’.

Discourse is a product that is badly needed. Most forum software in use today is showing its age1, but forums themselves are still going strong.

Forums are the dark matter of the web, the B-movies of the Internet. But they matter. To this day I regularly get excellent search results on forum pages for stuff I’m interested in. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t end up on some forum, somewhere, looking for some obscure bit of information. And more often than not, I find it there.
Civilized Discourse Construction Kit – codinghorror.com

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Courier Prime: A free font for screenplays

Courier Prime is a free and open source monospaced typeface by Alan Dague-Greene. It’s an improved Courier, designed to be ‘less blobby’ with a bolder bold and real italics.

Courier Prime

Since the beginning, screenplays have been written in Courier. Its uniformity allows filmmakers to make handy comparisons and estimates, such as 1 page = 1 minute of screen time.

But there’s no reason Courier has to look terrible. We set out to make the best damn Courier ever.

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Upcoming events in Cardiff for creative geeks

Preamble: Firstly, check out The Alternate Diff blog for more things to do in Cardiff (found via a profile on the Cardiff Blogs blog). Secondly, I’ve created a new page to serve as a public editorial calendar for this blog. It’s going to serve mostly to remind me about upcoming blogging topics, but those may frequently be local events so there’ll be some overlap.

Onto the events →