pezillionaire

Playing With Octopress

Over the past few days I’ve been playing around in octopress a bit to try and get the blog/site/whatever rolling again and there have definite been some good times and frustrations in getting back in the swing.

First the good.

Octopress is pretty easy to set up if you are at all familiar with using the command line. Me I’m barely above a novice so that fact that I can get ruby up, octopress cloned from github, installed, set up, themed, posts and pages added AND deployed is pretty freaking amazing really. Creating is a breeze if you are able to follow the Octopress documentation for doing so, writing posts is even easier if yer down with the markdown. And as a general rule deployment to a github page is easy too. Again, just follow the instructions.

And the frustrations…

I have 2 computers that I switch between constantly, an iMac and a MacBook Pro. you’d think with github taking care of my version control it would be pretty easy. Welp let me tell you, ruby can be a bitch sometimes. Both systems are somehow configured slightly different so every time I make changes on one machine and transfer to the other I get some issue with generating the site. sigh. But I manage to hack my way around it (and I mean that in the crudest sense of the word).

However, I think what irritates me most is the process for theme development. I, being the UI/UE/Design/Code/Pirate that I am, want to build out a kick ass (work in progress) theme for octopress but every time I make a change I have to reinstall the theme, generate the site, and refresh firefox. This may not seem like a lot but when you do it 200 time it becomes a little tedious. But maybe I’m just missing something in the process. I am still learning.

30 Years of Macintosh

The Macintosh has been around for nearly my entire life. I can’t claim like many others to have been a day one adopter of the Mac. I was, after all, just hitting my second birthday when it launched. Still, the memories of Macintosh linger long in my mind. My very first memory of using a computer is a Macintosh and I sit in front of one writing this blog post today.

The first Mac I can honestly say I owned was an LC 575, but that was not my first experience. When I was a child of about 7 or 8 my father would routinely bring home his Mac SE/30 from work so that he could draw up the blueprints for our then future cottage. He’d use MacDraw, a simple vector drawing application, to accurately place every wall, beam, door and window in the building. I still have these drawings on floppy, and they amaze me every time I can view them. The time I was able to spend on the SE/30 was in MacPaint or playing games like Dark Castle and Winter Games. As a child, it amazed me that Dad was able to get any “work” done on that machine.

My dad being enamoured with that SE/30 knew that when he got a computer for home it would be a Mac. So few years later for Christmas the family got an LC 575. I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first, I was 12 and all of my Windows PC having friends were knee deep in DOOM, I had no such luck. But then I discovered what could be done with it. Everything. That machine opened me up to a world of creative endeavours. It was the first time I had access to the internet, the first time I coded, manipulated a photo, animated a story, made a game, hacked the OS, created a UI. I wrote my first HTML on that machine. I was able to do it all because of software like KidPix, Hypercard, Photoshop, telnet, ResEdit, Netscape.

From then on I began to associate Windows with work (from School) and the Mac with fun. My friends would ridicule me for my devotion to the Mac, it didn’t bother me. I knew what kind of creativity I could accomplish with it. I walked around High School in an iMac tee shirt promoting it I was such a proud user. The Macintosh had opened a world of possibilities to me that I wouldn’t have known existed if I had been playing DOOM instead of Photoshop. I wanted to share my experience with others.

So yeah, I was there when Apple was Doomed. I was there when Steve Jobs came back. I vividly remember watching the Keynote launch of the original iMac and exclaiming only to myself “That’s a Computer!?!”. I may have been the first person in Canada to touch an iPod. Since that SE/30 time I have only ever used Macs at home. I’ve never owned a Windows PC, I simply enjoy the Macintosh experience. It makes what could be boring tasks, fun. It smiled at me the very first time I turned it on, and I smile every time I use it.

Dropping Like a Super Bomb

The last Metroid is in captivity. The galaxy is at peace…

…Well it was until my head exploded watching 4 of the best Super Metroid speed runners duke it out head to head.

I think what is amazing about this video is that I find commentary and the crowd really add to the excitement of watching these guys play. The commentators describe techniques and areas superbly while the audience reacts to every amazing feat or missed opportunity for the players. The whole experience is so emotionally engaging!

Here’s the link to the original AGDQ2013 video, along with other speed runs from Metroid games.

Memoirs of ResEdit

I really like messing around with creating user interfaces, a lot.

Lemme tell ya a story sonny.

In 1994 the first home computer my family got was the Macintosh LC 575. While I did get to play on my father’s work SE/30, this is the LC 575 first machine I really had to my own. It wasn’t the fastest or most powerful machine at the time, but it lasted me for years of play, exploration and creativity. Over the years , I loaded it up with all sort of quasi-legitimate software but one of my favourites was ResEdit.

ResEdit, which stands for Resource Editor, could get you into all sorts of trouble(fun) because it allowed you to create and edit resources in programs and files on your Mac. It was the easiest way to hack at the Macintosh system and Apple shipped it with every single OS from 7 through 9. Only Photoshop would compete for the time I spent in app. Games weren’t even close.

Before Mac OS 8 came out, with it’s fancy new “Platinum” interface, some intrepid developer created an extension called Aaron for 7.5 that aped the new UI onto the existing OS. This blew my 12 year old mind. I figured out that by opening Aaron in ResEdit I could access the resources used to paint the OS elements; like window boxes, close buttons and menus and edit them. I spent days of my life creating my own UIs for System 7.5. I loved it. It was what I looked forward to doing when I got home from school.

This was my introduction to UI design. Though at the time, I had no idea that’s what it was.

Later on a more advanced control panel called Kaleidoscope was released. It was similar to Aaron but allowed for “scheme” files to be made. This made the whole process much easier as extensions required a reboot the system and theme files in the control panel could switch on the fly. I made many UIs based on various different themes, Jurassic Park and Riven were two I remember being quite proud of.

ResEdit, Aaron and Kaleidoscope introduced me to a world of building and editing UIs. For that I am forever grateful. I’m both sad and glad that those aren’t sitting on a server still available for viewing and download. And, unlike some of the UIs that showed up around that time, I am proud of the fact that even at the tender age of 15, I liked my UIs clean.

A New Hope

So here in begins an attempt to write more.

This really has nothing to do with “News Year Revolutions” or <sarcasm> letting the world experience EVEN MORE of my awesome </sarcasm>. I just realized how bad I am at communicating online and this is a very humble attempt to get better at it. Don’t expect much.

My hope is that since I’m in Sublime Text 2 and Github all day for work I will use this blog as my outlet as oppose to giving my thoughts and ideas to Facebook. I have attempted to blog in the past with little success, I’m hoping I can change that here.

Let’s see where this goes…

Copyright © 2014 - Andrew {Pez} Pengelly -