Skribit… for your suggestions

I don’t think I get enough blog traffic for this to be that useful, but with the changes in design, I thought I should just go ahead and add Skribit.

On the right, you’ll see a tab that says “Suggestions?”

By clicking on that, you can either suggest something for me to blog about, or vote for (“follow”) someone else’s suggestion.

Not sure anyone will use it, but I’ve been watching the tool for a while. It seems like a fun idea for a tool (for blogs that get more traffic than mine), but I’m not sure how well its makers can monetize it. It looks like on their website, they’re selling “premium” accounts for about $25 a year. I wonder how many are really interested in that? It’s better than having ads all over the place though!

Is cyberbullying real?

Here’s an interesting blog post from someone who doesn’t like the term “cyberbullying.” As he writes:

It’s important to note that blaming technology for horrendous, violent displays of homophobia or racism or simple meanness lets adults like parents and teachers absolve themselves of the responsibility to raise kids free from these evils. By creating language like “cyberbullying”, they abdicate their own role in the hateful actions, and blame the (presumably mysterious and unknowable) new technologies that their kids use for these awful situations.

Some articles might be written as if the writers and parents and school administrators do wrongly place too much blame on technology, but I’ve never inferred that in the phrase “cyberbullying” itself. To me, it’s always meant bullying using the Internet and mobile phones. That doesn’t mean I blame the Internet for bullying anymore than I blame a gun for murder. The Internet has brought about new ways for students (and adults) to bully each other, and the phrase “cyberbullying” is simply a way to recognize that. I honestly don’t think anyone invented the phrase as a way to dodge responsibility. The word instead reminds us that this problem can’t be dealt with in the same ways as physically-present bullying, which has been around for much longer.

I do agree that we shouldn’t blame technology for these bullying issues, but I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that that’s what all uses of the phrase “cyberbullying” do.

Comics and virus and animation

Hannifin World – Season 2 begins!

The second season Hannifin World begins today! So be sure to check that site daily for a horrible corny joke… there are 84 comics waiting in line, so the second season will run daily until November 23rd. Woohoo! Should update everyday at 8 AM eastern time…

Virus of doom!

Everything on my computer seemed fine and dandy and then all of the sudden “Security Suite” popped up and said “You have a bunch of viruses!” … though of course I quite suspected this “Security Suite” was the real virus. (According to Wikipedia, “AV Security Suite can infect computers using Adobe flash or other Adobe components found in regular websites, and so does not require voluntary download of software by the user.” How nice.) So I quickly erased my hard drive and destroyed my RAM to ensure safety. OK, actually I turned off the computer and used my other computer to do some research into this nasty virus. Upon logging in, the virus basically starts itself up and locks your computer up so you can’t do anything, like run anti-virus software. It then wants you to pay for “Security Suite” so that it can remove the viruses that it pretends to have detected. It’s like a hostage situation.

So I restarted the computer in “Safe Mode with Networking” which allowed me to update and run my Windows Defender software, doing a full system scan. It found some stuff and deleted it, but unfortunately didn’t get rid of the virus. So I spent some time online looking for free non-scam anti-virus programs (it’s amazing how many are scams), finally found one, did a full system scan, it found some nasty looking stuff, deleted it, and finally everything seems to be OK… for now… hope it stays that way!

(Some people on the Internet reported that they couldn’t even restart in safe mode; thankfully that did not happen to me.)

By the way, the ordeal convinced me that everyone should always have two computers… in fact, it’s about time for me to buy a new desktop… OK, not really. I’d like to build one eventually. Someday. Hm.

Animation Mentor

It’s week 10 of Animation Mentor! Just three more weeks of the first semester left! Then we have a week break before diving into Semester 2!

Here’s my progress from the last three weeks:

The first shot is of “Tailor” … a little squirrel like sphere thing. The point of the exercise was to show the overlapping action of his tail. It’s always a step behind him, and the last segment of the tail is always a step behind the the middle segment of the tail, and so on, so you can sort of see a wave travel through it. There are some things I might change about the animation, the bounces especially seem rough, but watching Tailor die tragically brought me much happi… I mean, it was very sad.

The last two shots are of the “vanilla walk” which is just a plain ordinary average walk. The first phase is “blocking” … planning how each third frame will look. The second phase is, of course, to do all the inbetweens. I found the assignment to be quite difficult, there’s just so much stuff to keep in mind. In the end, I finally got the knees and head to move nice and smoothly, but you can see that I had to sacrafice some of the head’s up-and-down movement, so now the legs look too straight and stiff. When the ball shifts his weight to his forward foot, the leg doesn’t bend, causing the ball sort of lack an illusion of weight. Hopefully I’ll have time to continue to work on this and refine it.

Anyway, this week looks like a lot of fun. It will still be some hard work, but we’ve got to animate a personality walk … that is, a walk with personality, duh! It can be anything. Maybe he’s excited, tired, drunk, arrogant, scared, stupid, etc. Should be some great fun.

New glasses and other things that don’t matter

Got my new glasses today, and they’re awesome, the world is so much more clear now! I love it!

Also, my album is finally on iTunes! Just go to the iTunes store and search “Voyage of the Dream Maker” or “Sean Patrick Hannifin” and it should pop right up. It took them quite a while to get it up, about 8 weeks. But I’m glad it’s finally there.

Also, I guess I’m pretty ignorant and stupid, because I just recently realized you can self-publish on Kindle (and maybe iBooks, but I think Apple might require you to have a Mac for that, because Apple is kinda stupid). If I can actually finish writing something, that might actually be worth a try. I’ll have to meditate on it, so please excuse me… oohhmmmmmmmmmm…

Google TV looks good

Here’s Google TV:

Looks good to me. Basically, to me, it looks like it tries to put your Internet video watching on your TV. There’s already software out there that does this (or at least something like this; I don’t know the extent of features GoogleTV is ultimately planning), but I don’t think it’s become widely used enough. And I can hook my laptop up to the HDTV whenever I want, but it’s not very practical. So if Google TV can give the nation a cheap and easy-to-use solution, as this looks like it could be, it could finally put the on-demandness of Internet video on your TV.

A few years ago I was arguing (well, more discussing) with someone at college about this stuff. His concern was bandwidth… he said that more on-demandish video isn’t here yet because it would cost too much bandwidth to be providing so many different TVs so much different content. My argument was that the technology was already here and it was all possible… but the cable and satellite companies and ISPs don’t have the supporting business models yet, so they’re still trying to figure out the business model side of it before changing things around for the consumers too abruptly.

So… if Google TV does become really popular (as I hope it does, because on-demand is better), it will be interesting to see how cable and satellite and ISP companies react. Will they want to create new restrictions? Will they charge more? Will they somehow seek to regain the content control they hold now?

Speaking of content, how will Google TV affect the content people watch? If you are able to load up a YouTube video as quick as you can turn the channel during a commercial, won’t that even up the playing field for content creators? Would that allow us creative dreamers to create our Internet TV channels and shows and have them actually compete with the big networks?

Guess we’ll find out … it will be interesting.

And here’s how to get GoogleTV now!

Anyway, got my eye exam tomorrow, woohoo!

The Motorola Droid is in my hands

I’m writing this quick blog post from my new Motorola Droid. I wanted to wake up early and get one from Wal-mart, but I slept in, and by the time I got there at 3 PM, it was too late, they were sold out. So I went to Best Buy instead; they still had some. Unfortunately they wouldn’t let me get a data-only plan, since I don’t talk much, either because it’s not yet offered on the Droid, or because they are stupid. But if I’m ever able to switch to data-only, I surely will. Until then, I’m really enjoying the phone and will soon try some programming for it. I just have one little music project I need to finish up, a Christmas orchestration…

A Problem with Google Wave

Google Wave is still, of course, very much in its infancy, but I see one major problem with it.  Well, it’s not really a “problem” … it’s more of a structural property that I think is unhelpful.

With Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and forums, when I post something, I’m not posting to anybody.  I’m just posting something out there to whoever might be interested.  In Facebook I’m posting to friends, in Twitter I’m tweeting to followers, in blogs I’m posting to whoever visits or subscribes to my blog (that’s you!), and on forums I post to other members or visitors of the forum.

With e-mail, on the other hand, I’m conversing privately with one select person (or a select group).  Twitter has an equivalent: direct messages.  Forums also have an equivalent: private messages.  Facebook also private messaging, an equivalent, and a wall-posting, which is semi-equivalent.

Currently, Google Wave is somewhere between.  It can certainly replace email as it is (well, once attachments are allowed and more people start using it).  But to truly be revolutionary, it needs to provide a way for me to talk to nobody; it needs a way for me to post a wave and let anyone who wants to read it read it and reply to it, or let other wavers subscribe to my public waves.  I fear that if it does not do this, it may stay a very niche tool.

That said, I probably shouldn’t worry; there’s a lot of functionality yet to be implemented and a lot of plug-ins and exports and whatever yet to be written.

So while I’m glad I got a Wave invite and am allowed on, it’s still kind of useless to me at the moment.

THESE AREN’T THE DROIDS WE’RE LOOKING FOR

Droid In other not-very-interesting news, I’m continuing to look through Google’s Android SDK.  Even though I’ve been programming in Java for a while now (though I definitely consider myself far from expert), the structure of how Android applications work is still kind of cryptic to me.  And, unfortunately, the OS is still so new that there aren’t many learning resources for it, especially for game development and graphics, which are my areas of interest.  If you want to develop games, you’re pretty much on your own.  Google does provide some source code for some very small sample programs, but you kind of have to figure out how they work on your own.  For example, Google says:

Writing a summary of how to actually write 3D applications using OpenGL is beyond the scope of this text and is left as an exercise for the reader.

I’m sure Java / game / graphics programming experts would have an easier time understanding how it all works by just studying the sample source code, but it will take some extra work for me.

Anyway, I’ve been looking more and more at the new Droid phone coming out, and I’ve been thinking that I’ll be needing some sort of phone with Android on it to test any potential apps I might create, so I’m very tempted to get one.  Like, very very tempted.  Like, I probably will.  For, you know, game development research, of course.

By the way, I like what it says at the bottom of the Droid site:

DROID is a trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd. and its related companies.  Used under license.

Where would the world be if Star Wars had been a flop?  We might not have this phone!

No NaNo and other stuff instead

I guess NaNoWriMo has officially started!  And … I don’t care.  I’ve once again changed my mind, and will probably not participate this year.  I have a bunch of other stuff I want to do, including finishing my album that I’ve been working on for over a year now.  I’m still about 10 minutes of music away from completing the thing.  I’m currently working on the last section of an unnamed orchestral piece.  I’m orchestrating / composing the climax and end, so it’s almost done.  Then I have four other pieces started that need finishing, though I don’t believe all of them will make it onto the album.  One will probably be called “The Journey Ahead” and I am fairly sure that it will indeed appear on the album as I think it really fits with the spirit of the other pieces.  And one will probably be called “Castle Sky” … that’s my long 15-minute orchestral piece (and still unfinished, but I don’t think it will be much longer).

Oh, I started a new project, one that I know I’ll finish eventually because it requires hardly any work at all from me.  I call it: The Mozart Listening Project.  The objective: to listen to the complete works of Mozart while following along with the scores.  As you can see on the side, I made a page about it.  Because it is just so important.  I just started working through his symphonies.  Got a long way to go.

Android Lastly, I was chatting on a music forum on Friday, and someone mentioned the new Verizon phone coming out called Droid, which will compete with the iPhone (though, of course, that’s some very tough competition).  Looking at the Droid rekindled my interest in creating an app.  It was something I looked into in college, when Google’s Android OS first came out, but somehow lost interest.  (And as far as I can tell, one must have a Mac to use the iPhone SDK, so I don’t think I’ll be trying to develop for the iPhone anytime soon … though, from a business perspective, that’s currently where most of the phone app market is, methinks.)

Anyway, I’m downloading the newest Android SDK and will perhaps try creating something with it.  Having long been interested in game development, two things excite me about the phone app market: 1) It’s rather new, and is still at a stage where a single developer can develop a sellable app by himself.  In most of the video game industry (except perhaps online Flash games), those days are long gone, never to return.  And perhaps one day the phone app industry will be like that too, but it isn’t now.  And 2) it can be very lucrative.  Actually, I’m not sure how lucrative it is.  I’ve heard that some iPhone apps are making millions.  But that’s only a very select few out of tens of thousands, so I suppose it’s like saying that the music industry can be very lucrative.  Well, yes, it can be, but only few a very select few.  Still, I’m guessing the phone app industry is more lucrative than the indie artist industry.  Unfortunately, I’m sure it’s even less lucrative for non-iPhone developers at this time, but who know?  With Google’s more open platform, Android or some similar OS might come to dominate the phone industry, just like Windows now dominate Macs, despite Apple’s oh-so-witty ads.  In fact, I predict that will happen in the next decade or so … Apple may still dominate the iTunes / iPod industry, but the iPhone might meet its demise with a collection of other phones that run the same OS and are thus compatible with the same programs…

And… I guess that’s all I have to say.

New laptop and a wiki

New laptop

When I went off to college in 2004, I knew I had to get a desktop because laptops were no good, especially for gaming.  They had slow processors, slow GPUs, and little hard drives.

For a while, I’ve been wanting an HD monitor for my computer and a blu-ray drive.  Then I decided I didn’t want to be stuck in my bedroom anymore, so I started looking into laptops.  I was quite happy to find something as nice and powerful as the Alienware M17x.  With an HD monitor, a blu-ray drive, 4 GB of RAM, 1 TB of space, and an nVidia GTX 260M graphics card, it is better than my desktop (and more expensive).  It also has a fancy LED light-up keyboard, which you can customize to shine any colors you want, which is actually quite useful when you’re playing a game in the dark; otherwise, it seems a bit superfluous but is an eye-catcher.  It’s also awesome to watch blu-rays and play games in full HD.  It also has an HDMI port for easy HDTV connection, which I’m hoping I can try sometime, maybe Friday.

And 1920×1200 resolution rules.

So I really love this laptop.

And a wiki

I started a wiki about myself here.  I call it: Hanniwiki.  Yay!  Maybe it’s vain, but it serves several purposes: 1) I wanted to try out MediaWiki.  2) I’d like to try world-building with it for my fantasy novel.  When I don’t feel like working on my actual story, I was thinking I might like to write articles about the fictional world I’m creating to at least help my mind get into the world a little better.  3) I don’t know, whatever.

So I’ll probably update it with random junk whenever I’m bored.  It might be useful for people who want to explore my work but don’t want to browse through a bunch of blog posts.  Then again, I’m not really famous enough yet for very many people to want to do that.  But still, it’s there, and it was fun creating what I have there so far.

I will never compose again

Just kidding. Sorry. It’s such a cruel joke, I know.

E3 stuff

E3, the video gaming expo, was last week, and a couple things interested me.  Firstly, “Project Trico” got a real name: The Last Guardian.  It also got a more polished trailer.  Ahh… that looks like such an awesome game.  (By the way, I saw the film Miller’s Crossing, the film the trailer music is from.  It was a pretty good movie, I enjoyed it.)

The bad news is I don’t think I’ll be able to afford a PS3 or that game anytime soon… this gaming laptop was also announced at E3.  It’s about as powerful as my desktop.  Actually, it’s a bit better, and it’s got a blu-ray player and an HD screen.  So I bought it.  Woohoo!!  The estimated delivery date isn’t until mid-July though, I suppose because it’s a brand-new model and maybe they don’t have the assembly line going quite yet.  Waiting for it just plain torture.

Lately I haven’t been spending as much time on my computer as I usually do, so I haven’t been composing, or… doing anything constructive at all really.  Well, I’ve been reading, I guess that’s constructive.  Hopefully I’ll get back to digital constructiveness when the laptop comes.  Might be more quiet than usual until then.  (I’d be more apathetic if I weren’t so lethargic.)

Lightning

For some reason, it seems to be storm season here.  We’ve been getting a bunch of storms.  (Sadly, a local middle school student was also recently killed by a lightning strike.  Makes it seem scarier to be outside during the storms.)  Lots of lightning… last week I took some pictures and put them on a public photo album on Facebook.