Monday, January 9, 2017

Modern Films Rant

Before you jump into this piece I have written I would like you to note that I love virtually all film. If it is inturrupted as "Donal does not like Oscars films or Action films" - then I am sorry. I did not mean for the article to come across as this. I LOVE action films, romance, Oscar films etc. I love films. This is why I have written this below.

3 THINGS ON THIS Ryan Walker. First, I have this theory. Lets say I am a movie critic. Now, I want to be known. I want to have a name for myself! A film comes out and I review it. The film is cool but touchy feely maybe with emotions and romance in it but there is also sci-fi or adventure... BOOM. I don't like it (the "I" that is the critic doesn't like it). The critic usually does not have the language to describe and critique a film that is both "this" and "this". The critic is afraid that if they describe too many different themes in a film that their audience will be lost. "What is all the political undertone you mention and the fact that the lady represents old America and that her being beaten by the business man is representative of modern capitalism destroying civilians freedoms! I only saw a woman getting smacked around the place!" New audiences are trained to only look at the facade of a film... is someone killing someone. Check. Is some lead female semi-naked. Check. Is some handsome man semi-naked, and build like a demi-god. Check. Is stuff blowing up. Check. Is there a political undertone that is attempting to reach the masses. Nope (could put it in but it would be lost on the audience and ultimately take up screen time where stuff could be blowing up). Do we treat women with respect and with equality? Nope - kids do not know what this is really so we are just risking alienating our key demographic by including equality of girls. Are ethnic minorities being respected? No of course not - us respecting ethnic minorities alienates the plot that the key demographic is comfortable with. It is what our key demographic looks for in an action film. Now, lets say that a film comes out that is pretty different to this... almost... ALMOST I SAID! Almost as if it were engineered to win Oscars, like La La Land. No explosions! And there are political undertones! And there are throwback references to classical cinema of a bygone age! What say you now of modern cinema? Ha! I say (and this Donal now not a critic speaking), I say that "La La Land" and the likes, "12 years a slave" etc etc, basically "Oscar films" will always exist because this is Hollywood karma restoring itself. Hollywood makes a few billion a year on action... Hey why not throw classical romance a bone, okay lets make a classical romance film. What about political undertone, I like it, lets make a film with political undertone! What about respecting women and treating them equally? Hmmmmm. Hmmmmm. Hmmmmm. What do you think men? Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm. You know what... it'll probably get us an Oscar! Throw in some respect of women too. So back to the critics... they have what? 200 words to describe the film? 100 words? It is clear what the Avengers is. That can be described in 100 or 200 words. "La la Land", yep 170 words will review that film no problem. But what a second, don't try to get me to review an Action/Romance/Political Undertone film! Who am I, Jay Sherman?Also, there is the thing that if 9 critics say that a film is good, and if a critic wants to be heard, are they going to be voice number 10 saying it is good? No, they want to stand out as "listen to me! My voice is different! 

This is where POINT NUMBER TWO comes in! Rotten Tomatoes is full of these kind of critics. That is why I never trusted Rotten Tomatoes. 

POINT NUMBER 3! IMDB.com simply rocks. Go there. I will leave you with my favorite piece of poetry that is relevant to this point from W .B. Yeats from his poem "September 1913" - "What need you, being come to sense, 
But fumble in a greasy till 
And add the halfpence to the pence 
And prayer to shivering prayer, until 
You have dried the marrow from the bone; 
For men were born to pray and save: "

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Get Google Play Store working on your Amazon Fire

What is an Amazon Fire? Well first of all what is Google Android?

Android, as most of you realistically know, is the operating system that is distributed by Google. Android enables the user to interact with the physical hardware of the machine that you are using. Have a Samsung Galaxy? Odds are that it is running Android. However without Android you would have alot of expensive computer equipment just sitting like a brick. Android tell the computer what to do, and lets the user browse, take pics with the camera, Skype etc etc.

So what is the Amazon Fire? Like the previously mentioned Samsung Galaxy, the Fire is a piece of hardware that would sit uselessly like a brick unless it had some software to run it. It needs an operating system of course, and the operating system that it uses is Google Android. But it is not a "vanilla" install of Android, it is a pretty modified version of Android that Amazon call - "Fire".

So, my cousin came over with an Amazon Fire that they had just gotten that day as a present and they were wondering why they could not install Google Android apps on it, When I heard the problem I told them about the who Android / Fire thing and I got to work.

First I went over to http://rootjunkysdl.com/files/ where I selected Amazon Fire 5th Gen from the list of links. Here I downloaded the zip file named "Amazon-Fire-5th-Gen-Install-Play-Store.zip".

Next, while that was downloading I went into setting on the ADB Fire and I sound the Serial Number and I clicked on it more that seven times in a row, this simply enables the Developer menu. I went into the developer menu and I enable ADB (Android Debugging Bridge - lets you in this case connect the Amazon Fire to the computer).

Then I unzipped the file I had just downloaded, I ran the one and only .bat file that was in the zipped folder and when I was presented with a menu I selected "2" to install Google Play store.

Along the way you might have to agree with various thing both on and off the device, but you are doing something here that essentially Amazon does not want you to be doing, so you have going to have to agree with some thing outside of your expectation, however nothing bad was forced upon me anyway when I was doing this.

I rebooted the device, and scrolled down the page, and boom, Google Play Store. Thanks to howtogeek for help for this.

Easy as pie.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Sweet Resistance - Game Jam 8 Entry

So the other day myself and my daughter attended a GameJam in Galway city (Ireland). She's 11 and so I was really happy with what she came up with considering that she made 100% of the graphics on the game. She did alot of the "coding" too, I did help out with that. It was a 12 hour gaming session so I was really impressed that she kept her head the whole time, nice and focused, we would take a break, walk around town, then go back bust out some game development.

The reason I say "coding" is because the game is make using scratch. Scratch is IDE that enables you to create a game and post it directly to the scratch website. Look, the point here is that you can simply the game by clicking on the link below. The only thing is that you must press the green "Play" flag to kick off the game.

https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/129309985/

Writing according to the King

Stephen King has written alot of books. You know what, I would like to write one. How do I do this? Hmmm, wait, I know. You start writing, you write some EVERY DAY. You do it consistantly. Then you finish the book... Well, here is what Stephen King had to say in his book "On Writing".

1. First write for yourself, and then worry about the audience. “When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.”
2. Don’t use passive voice. “Timid writers like passive verbs for the same reason that timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe.”
3. Avoid adverbs. “The adverb is not your friend.”
4. Avoid adverbs, especially after “he said” and “she said.”
5. But don’t obsess over perfect grammar. “The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story.”
6. The magic is in you. “I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing.”
7. Read, read, read. ”If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”
8. Don’t worry about making other people happy. “If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.”
9. Turn off the TV. “TV—while working out or anywhere else—really is about the last thing an aspiring writer needs.”
10. You have three months. “The first draft of a book—even a long one—should take no more than three months, the length of a season.”
11. There are two secrets to success. “I stayed physical healthy, and I stayed married.”
12. Write one word at a time. “Whether it’s a vignette of a single page or an epic trilogy like ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ the work is always accomplished one word at a time.”
13. Eliminate distraction. “There’s should be no telephone in your writing room, certainly no TV or videogames for you to fool around with.”
14. Stick to your own style. “One cannot imitate a writer’s approach to a particular genre, no matter how simple what that writer is doing may seem.”
15. Dig. “Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world. The writer’s job is to use the tools in his or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground intact as possible.”
16. Take a break. “You’ll find reading your book over after a six-week layoff to be a strange, often exhilarating experience.”
17. Leave out the boring parts and kill your darlings. “(kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.)”
18. The research shouldn’t overshadow the story. “Remember that word back. That’s where the research belongs: as far in the background and the back story as you can get it.”
19. You become a writer simply by reading and writing. “You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot, and the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.”
20. Writing is about getting happy. “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid or making friends. Writing is magic, as much as the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink.”

These point are taken from
http://www.openculture.com/2014/03/stephen-kings-top-20-rules-for-writers.html

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Here is a face I drew.

Not great but the fundamentals are there. I used the website http://www.wikihow.com/Draw-a-Face
It is interesting when you look at the website how much method is behind it. I often think of that when drawing (I do not draw half enough). The face below is simply shapes. Draw this oval. Divide it into quarters. Draw lines that divide the image up more. Animals find beauty in symmetry. If a face is symmetrical then the odds are that the DNA in the parent was healthy and so we are instinctively drawn toward beauty. When people saw beauty is skin deep they are wrong, it is as deep as the very fiber of your being. So that is one of the most important thinks to remember when drawing a face, symmetry. Straight on is the easiest way I think.. like the image below, difficult art comes in when shots are taken above and to an angle or the like. I have been watching a lot of Pokemon lately and I am always impressed by the art. It is so great, whatever the opinion of even the most close minded might think about the series, the story, voice etc it can't be argued that the art is anything but great. And with that said, Pokemon is just a drop in the ocean. There are so many animations and anime and manga out there with brilliant art. I like to attempt to draw something well every now and again (the image below is not one of those times) in order to appreciate the skill that others have. Some people who make drawing look as easy as others find to criticize it.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Excellent film on Japanese Video game history and culture...

Gamers [Heart] Japan...

Gamers love Japan is a film put together were tons of people talk about Japanese game culture. Pretty much that is it really. The film was made to rise money I think for tsunami victims. For the rest of us it is good to introduce it to some heros of the Japanese gaming community like Shigeru Miyamoto (Zelda, Mario etc), and Gunpei Yokoi (Gameboy creator). It is definitely worth a watch...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROHJmP_TNR0

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Database of Asteroids!

This is cool, and has to see to understand how and why it is cool. It is a database of known asteroids and their path around the Earth! You can click on the asteroid and watch it go!

http://www.asterank.com/3d/