28th March 2014

I’ve seen a lot of people writing about what they get up to in an ordinary day. Sometimes they are interesting, sometimes they are not. Either way, it’s a good idea. So, I wanted to have a go and see what happens.

I had school. I was expecting that I would have a pretty bad day, because I thought that I’d have to endure a Science lesson, which isn’t what I wanted on a Friday.

Anyway, before leaving, I made the decision not to take my Kindle, which I bring with me most days, as I doubted that I’d have much time to read. However, when I got in, the Study Room, the place in which I spend the majority of my time, was locked. Bollocks, I thought. The one day that I don’t pack the Kindle is the one day that the Study Room is shut.

The Regis School - The place where I sometimes learn things.

The Regis School – The place where I sometimes learn things.

Next to the Study Room is the Common Room, which doesn’t actually have a door, so it’s more of a Common Alcove. This is where I went to sit. Seeing as all of my work is digital, and that there are no computers in the Common Alcove Room, I didn’t have anything to do, aside from flicking through the notes I’ve taken in various lessons, which is what I did.

Ten years minutes had passed, and I had exhausted the notebook. But, at this point, and friend came up the stairs and into the Common Room. This is when I received some wonderful news. He informed me that we’d have triple ICT today, which meant that I didn’t have Science. Top.

The Study Room was unlocked by teacher after about another ten minutes, but by that point, there wasn’t really any point in logging on as we would have to leave soon. But I did anyway. This is when I remembered what I have been doing at home that morning. I was playing Pretend You’re Xyzzy, which is an online clone of Cards Against Humanity, which is how my friend and I spent the remainder of the time.

The first lesson was a double of ICT (not Science!) in which we would be spending time looking at another database exam in Microsoft Access. We started a new mock exam and began to work through it, with the teacher helping out along the way.

We got through the first Activity with no problem. All that was needed was a table of inputs, processes and outputs, and a few sentences about how various things would be achieved, like how a certain type of data would be found in the database. Kids’ stuff.

But, this is was when we hit a snag.

In the exam, we would need to split the data into different tables, in this particular example, the number of tables would be five. The recommended time for this Activity is thirty minutes, but none of us, teacher included, was able to work it out in an hour and a half. Needless to say, we left that lesson without completing it.

Tutor, which is basically where you go and ‘check-in’ so to speak with another teacher and possibly discuss anything that may be worrying you. But, more than likely, YouTube will be on within five minutes. Break, which comes after Tutor, was spent play Pretend You’re Eyzzy again, and then it was back to it.

Another hour of ICT would follow this. We continued with the same problem of splitting the tables and, long story short, we were still unable to do it correctly. I did find a way of doing it wrongly, but a way that worked nonetheless. But because you need to show how you split the tables, no marks would be given. Again, we left with this section incomplete, but with the teacher saying that he’d have a look at it over the weekend. I then spent the next hour or so playing Pretend You’re Eyzzy with a friend, before leaving.

I then went to Sainsbury’s to do a little bit of shopping. Which means that I spent a large amount of time looking at Blu-Rays. After that, I came back home, played a cheeky bit of Grand Theft Auto before becoming victim to a headache that had been threatening to pounce since this morning. Had some dinner (Ham, Egg and Chips) before reading some Insomnia by Stephen King.

With the headache now in full swing, I took a paracetamol and laid down for a bit. I then, as you do, became bored. But, the headache was now being kept at bay by the drugs, so I began to write this post.

That’s about it. I don’t know if this will be interesting or not, but I might write another if it is. I’m now going to read a bit more Insomnia, it really is rather good, before possibly watching a bit of Fawlty Towers.

Thanks for reading. Goodnight!

The Subject of Science

I’m a student. That much is evident from my header. I study ICT, Media and *groans* Science, which is the focus of this post.

Science is the subject that I took because I wanted to ‘fill a gap’ so to speak. I have no real interest in it, other than using it in ways that disprove religion. (which isn’t hard really, is it?)

Both ICT and Media have had deadlines that needed to be met, which meant that I’ve been avoiding doing work for Science, in favour of getting other stuff done for the Media and ICT. This has been the case for about two weeks.

During this time of being away from Science, I’ve realized that I truly do not care about it. That thought has always been in the back of my mind, but I’ve never really looked into it too much.

I understand that it was my fault for taking the subject in the first place. That, if I knew I didn’t like it, I shouldn’t have chosen it. But the fact of the matter is, I enjoyed it for the first year.

You see, for the first half of the course (two years) we had an incredible teacher. He was more than willing to look at your work, he was incredible helpful, and, arguably more importantly, he wasn’t pushy.

For you to understand this, I should explain how the course works.

Science at A-Level, or at least the course that I’m doing, is a BTEC. This means that all the work is coursework that needs to be submitted at the end of the two years, and that there is no formal examination to look forward to. This was one of the appeals to me when signing up. Before Sixth Form, I had taken another BTEC Science course in which me, and some other classmates, competed all of the two years worth of work in two weeks. Basically, so long as all of the work is completed by the end of the year, it doesn’t matter when we do it.

When the current Science course I’m taking came into the second year, there was a teacher change, with the first, and better, one moving to another school. We couldn’t not have a teacher, so another came and took the originals place.

When describing the first teacher, I said that he wasn’t pushy. This is where the two teachers differ wildly.

This new one wants the work completed when it suits her. That is not how a BTEC works.

Instead of marking the work when we complete it, which is much more effective, she tells us that, for example, she wants a whole unit in by the end of the week.

One of these self-set deadlines made an appearance when other work for Media and ICT was due in. So, with my main focusses being these two subjects, I didn’t do the work for Science. It was during this time that I came to my conclusion of: I don’t care about Science any more.

I should be doing the work, I know that. Right now, I could be working on a document about soil or something, but instead I’m here writing this.

The way I see it is:

  • I’m not going to need Science. I want to be a Web Designer. Why would I need to know about Cell Differentiation or Diffusion?
  • I have exams coming up for both subjects, plus more coursework for ICT.
  • So long as the Science work is completed by the end of the year, it’s all good.

This isn’t just my view either. Most of the people in my class share the exact same opinion. Even the people who joined this year, who didn’t have the original teacher to compare the new to, thinks she’s awful.

What is good though, someone in the class found a website called Nygma Science. It basically has completed work for everything that we’ve been doing. Just copy the work, change some of the words, and Bob’s your uncle.

King Games

It’s more than likely that you’ve heard about King’s successful attempt to register the word “Candy” as a trademark. If you haven’t been following this case, it basically means that if another developer creates a game and the title included the word “Candy”, King can either ask them to change the name or appeal to have it removed from the store completely, be it Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store.

King are trying to stop another developer from using their idea. This is fair enough. If you’ve spent time and money creating a game, you’re going to want it to be yours, you won’t want anyone stealing it. But, they’ve conveniently glanced over one key fact.

Candy Crush Saga isn’t an original idea.

One wouldn’t be hard pressed to see Candy Crush’ similarities to CandySwipe. There’s also a chance that if your saw this in the App Store, you’d just assume that this was a clone of Candy Crush itself. But that is not the case.

CandySwipe

CandySwipe. The original Candy Crush Saga.

CandySwipe was created by Albert Ransom in the memory of his mother, and was released in 2010, a full two years prior to Candy Crush Saga’s release.

King have neglected to mention that their game is a clone of CandySwipe, but that hasn’t stopped them from attempting to sue Ransom. This led him to write an open letter to King:

Dear King,

Congratulations! You win! I created my game CandySwipe in memory of my late mother who passed away at an early age of 62 of leukaemia. I released CandySwipe in 2010 five months after she passed and I made it because she always liked these sorts of games. In fact, if you beat the full version of the Android game, you will still get the message saying ‘…the game was made in memory of my mother, Layla…’ I created this game for warm-hearted people like her and to help support my family, wife and two boys 10 and four. Two years after I released CandySwipe, you released Candy Crush Saga on mobile; the app icon, candy pieces, and even the rewarding, ‘Sweet!’ are nearly identical. So much so, that I have hundreds of instances of actual confusion from users who think CandySwipe is Candy Crush Saga, or that CandySwipe is a Candy Crush Saga knock-off. So when you attempted to register your trademark in 2012, I opposed it for ‘likelihood of confusion’ (which is within my legal right) given I filed for my registered trademark back in 2010 (two years before Candy Crush Saga existed). Now, after quietly battling this trademark opposition for a year, I have learned that you now want to cancel my CandySwipe trademark so that I don’t have the right to use my own game’s name. You are able to do this because only within the last month you purchased the rights to a game named Candy Crusher (which is nothing like CandySwipe or even Candy Crush Saga). Good for you, you win. I hope you’re happy taking the food out of my family’s mouth when CandySwipe clearly existed well before Candy Crush Saga.

I have spent over three years working on this game as an independent app developer. I learned how to code on my own after my mother passed and CandySwipe was my first and most successful game; it’s my livelihood, and you are now attempting to take that away from me. You have taken away the possibility of CandySwipe blossoming into what it has the potential of becoming. I have been quiet, not to exploit the situation, hoping that both sides could agree on a peaceful resolution. However, your move to buy a trademark for the sole purpose of getting away with infringing on the CandySwipe trademark and goodwill just sickens me.

This also contradicts your recent quote by Riccardo in ‘An open letter on intellectual property’ posted on your website which states, ‘We believe in a thriving game development community, and believe that good game developers – both small and large – have every right to protect the hard work they do and the games they create.’

I myself was only trying to protect my hard work.

I wanted to take this moment to write you this letter so that you know who I am. Because I now know exactly what you are. Congratulations on your success!

Sincerely,
Albert Ransom
President (Founder), Runsome Apps Inc.

This just goes to show that King do not care who they stamp on or who they anger, so long as they get exactly what they want, which sadly, they have done so. 

I wrote this post because I wanted you to know exactly who King games are and what they are capable of doing to get what they want. I just hope that, if you are a player of Candy Crush, you take into consideration the information you have read and remember who the original creator of it was.

Redesigning Twitter

Twitter, as a whole, is very well designed. But, there are some elements that are not really needed, or could be better arranged to make the overall site more appealing. Take a look at the image below:

Twitter Red

As you can see, I have highlighted the two sections that I think aren’t really necessary.  These will either be moved into a new menu area, which would be accessed via a new button, or removed completely.

The proposed redesign of the website can be seen below.

Twitter Redesign

The changes I have proposed remove the sidebar, with some of the elements being moved to a different part of the page. As you can see, the profile image and name have been moved to the top right of the page. Next to this, the menu icon can be seen. This would, when pressed, make a rest of the previous sidebar slide in the from the right. I have also shortened the search bar, but it would stretch to the full size when typed in.

The is room for improvement, like adding the “Compose New Tweet” text area. This could either appear in the expandable menu, or at the very top of the tweet list, either was would work just as well.

Website Re-Designs

Recently, I saw that Patrick McDonald created a proposed re-design of Facebook. Although this is just a technical exercise, it’s a great way to better understand how corporate, and well-known, websites ticked, what made them popular and what made them usable.

I think that I’m going to do something like this. For a while now, I’ve had this exact idea in my head, but have never actually got around to doing anything with it. But now, after seeing the Facebook re-design, I want to get going.

So, expect some re-designs of popular websites to be appearing on your screens any time soon!

Tweeting Top Gear | 2014 | EPISODE 2

Top Gear airs on Sunday nights at 8pm. During this time, I live tweet about episode that is playing. This is the round-up of these tweets, all in one place and easy to read chronilogical order.

NOTE – There’s no post for episode one because I didn’t really tweet much during it.

That was eventful, wasn’t it.

Tumblr Theme Creation | Part One

As all web developers know, it’s all well and good being able to write HTML, CSS and JavaScript, but you need to be able to apply that when working with Content Management Systems (CMS). Because of this reason, I have been looking the Tumblr blogging system. The reason for looking at Tumblr rather than WordPress is because of the cost. I understand that it’s not expensive to upgrade, but I wanted to work with a system that more people have access to.

Originally, when I first had a look at it, it was rather daunting. There are so many Variables and Blocks that I needed to work with and understand. But, after a while of playing around with them, eventually they all started to sink in.

Going into this, I didn’t have a particular design in mind. I just wanted to be able to play around without having to think about anyone actually going to use it. That might not have been the best way to go about it, but it worked for me.

The in-built Tumblr code editor isn’t the best around, but it worked for the time that I was using it. In the future, I think I’ll be using Dreamweaver or something of that ilk. A down side of working with something outside of Tumblr would be the fact that you cannot view the effects of the code straight away, but have to cut and copy it to Tumblr code editor.

After playing around with the Blocks and Variables of Tumblr theme creation, I looked at what I had created. For a first attempt, it wasn’t bad, but overall, it was dreadful. (so dreadful, it’s not even finished) I want to make something more appealing for my ‘serious’ attempt at theme creation. This is when I had the idea for a design that I want to work with.

Check back soon for Part Two!