8 Dec 2016 – The Last Guardian

My copy of The Last Guardian arrived today, and I am rather excited about it. I’ve been waiting for this game for six odd years now. Ico and Shadow of the Colossus were both near perfect games, and another games from the dev is excisting.

Given all the waiting, I obviously got the collectors edition, which comes with a really great statue of the main characters.

img_2499I only had time for a very brief play, but the first half our of the game is as incredible and enchanting as I had hoped. I’m really looking forward to playing through the whole game.

7 Dec 2016 – Cold Brew

I love coffee, it is one of my favourite foods and I would most definitely not want to live without it.

My preference is cold brew coffee, which is simple to make, and provides you with enough raw coffee concentrate to last you half a week or so (depending on how much coffee you drink.

Cold brewing leeches less of the acid out of the coffee bean,so you end up with a coffee that is a bit less bitter and has a smoother taste to in than a hot brew. Cold brewing also leeches more caffeine out of the coffee than a hot brew, so if you are sensitive to caffeine, take it easy to begin with.

My process is:

Grind about 250g of fresh roasted coffee beans. A fresh grind is super important, you just don’t get the same depth of flavour if you use pre-ground beans. I use a good quality Japanese ceramic hand grinder and go for a fairly course grind, it makes straining later a lot less painful later on. Grinding doesn’t take long, only 10 or 15 minutes.

Add your grinds to a nice big jar, pour in 1.5L of water and then just leave it to sit on your bench for 18 to 20 hours. The longer you leave it the more flavour you will get, but after about 20 hours I don’t notice much of a difference.

Finally, you simply strain off your grinds and bottle up for storage. I strain three times. First through a simple wire strainer to catch all the larger grinds (be sure to give it plenty of time to drain), then through muslin, and finally through muslin again when it goes into the bottles for storage.

I store in simple glass bottles in the fridge and have a supply of awesome coffee on hand whenever I need it. I get about 1.2L out of each batch.

To drink just pour out about 70ml of concentrate and add hot water, or milk if you feel like an ice coffee.

6 Dec 2016 – Disorganised

I have been a little too busy for a little too long now and things are starting to unravel a bit.

I usually use OmniFocus as my main organisation tool, using a slightly modified ‘Getting Things Done’ method. But as things have gotten busier some of my discipline has slipped. I haven’t been doing daily reviews consistently or checking in with what I need to be doing. I’ve fallen into the trap of doing the urgent thing that is right in front of me instead.

This isn’t ideal and now I am unfortunately rather disorganised. At least I have maintained my capture discipline, so things at least I have a list of all the stuff that needs to get done.

I started sorting it again last night, there is quite a backlog though. It’s worth doing though. It takes a lot of background stress away when you know that you can rely on your task list to make sure you are doing the right things at the right time for you. When you don’t have your tasks organised and sorted, and just do whatever is in front of you, there is a constant, low level background stress that you might be missing something really important.

Keeping a task management system does take time, but it’s time well spent.

5 Dec 2016 – Annoyance

I have had a rather annoying couple of days. I somehow managed to injure my right wrist, which has left it a bit aggravated, which is making typing, and especially mousing, quite painful. Given that almost everything I do, at work, and at home, is on a computer, that isn’t ideal. So getting it sorted asap is a high priority.

That meant spending the day visits physios rather than getting any work done. The verdict is the whole area needs a bit of a break so it can recover. That isn’t ideal, I have stuff to get down. Happily, I have found that using the Wacom pen tablet seems to aggravate things less, and while a little strange using it for general navigation, it works well enough. The Apple Pencil on the iPad works perfectly.

Thankfully, typing on my excellent Microsoft Sculpt keyboard is reasonably fine.

Bluey was happy to have me home for the day though 🙂



































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































2 Dec 2016 – Game Dev

I have played games for as long as I can remember and for years now I have toyed with he idea of making one. With tools like Unity now mature, making a game is easier than ever, so I have taken the plunge and dived right into some development.

Currently I am gettin reacquainted with zBrush, which is my preferred 3D graphics tool. When paired with Maya, it gives you a powerful toolset for making assets.

1 Dec 2016 – Final Fantasy?

Final Fantasy 15 finally came out this week, and its causing me a problem. I have been a long time lover of the Final Fantasy series, but the more recent entries in the series have been pretty shit. So I sat on the fence with FF15 and waited to see what reviewers and friends thought. Happily, the consensus seems to be that FF15 is good!

While I am happy that there is another great game out in the world, and that we finally have another decent entry in the Final Fantasy series, it causes me a problem. While I would love to play FF15, I don’t think I really have the time.

Managing your time is always a problem, and not having enough seems to be the default state. When you pick up a game, you are essentially signing up to spending a certain number of hours to get through it. For a Final Fantasy game, that is a big investment, around 40 or 50 hours. I can get a lot of work done in 40 or 50 hours. I have a lot of stuff to get done, and generally, nowhere near enough time to get through it all. It’s hard to justify losing a weeks worth of work time just playing a game.

In this case, I think I’ll have to pass. The time it takes to get the full experience out of a Final Fantasy game is just too much at the moment. If I’m a bit less busy next year, I can always pick it up for half the price.

29 Nov 2016 – Debugging

I spent the night debugging so didn’t have a whole lot of time for writing. I did manage to squish the bugs I needed to squish though, so, satisfaction!

I did manage to snap this rather nice shot of the giant new tower that is rising it’s way out of the middle of Parramatta. It looks a little out of place at the moment, being more than twice as high as the next tallest building.

28 Nov 2016 – No Mans Sky

Despite all the shortcomings and negativity around the original release, I really enjoyed No Mans Sky. It was a nice relaxing game that was awe inspiring in its scope . The game was just a bit lacking in things to do.

Thankfully Hello Games have have stayed true to their promise to provide regular updates and dropped a huge first patch full of base building, upgrades, new tech to research and fine and your own giant freighter.

I’ve only dived back in for a bit over an hour so far, but the update seems great. Base building and freighters are both nice additions that allow you to make your mark and bring some creativity into the game. While the updates to the game in general are also nice. Planets look better and have less bizarre terrain, and animals seem more common.
I always have a lot of competition for my gaming time. There are too many good games and nowhere near enough time to play them all. I’ll definitely be spending some of those precious gaming hours digging into this update and building myself a nice customised base.

If you weren’t a fan of the original game, or just haven’t dived into No Mans Sky at all yet, I would recommend waiting a bit longer. The patch adds a lot, but there is still a way to go, hopefully we see another patch is about three months that completes the journey and get No Mans Sky to where it should have been on launch.

27 Nov 2016 – Work and Play

I missed a few days there, but it was worthwhile as I focused on some upgrades to our practice management system, and catching up on sleep.

We use FileMaker for our practice management system. It’s fast to develop and works well on iOs, which is important because iPads are our primary devices. But FileMaker doesn’t do everything we need, sometimes other services are required.

I spent the weekend integrating TypeForms and Quickbooks with out FileMaker app using the awesome Zapier and FileMaker’s PHP web publishing.

It took a little bit of messing about to get to work, but was surprisingly easy and provides a huge amount of power. I have a whole raft of ideas for powerful interrogations we can use in the future to improve the client experience, and make back office more efficient.

I also took the opportunity to catch up on running, since the week so far had been a bit light on exercise. I’m still slower than I would like, but moving in the right direction.

24 Nov 2016 – Driving and Maps

I don’t do a lot of driving. I think I only covered about 6,000Kms last year. I much prefer walking or public transport. However, it Australia, that isn’t; always practical and you just have to drive to get where you need to go. Today was a day where I had to do quite a lot of driving.

I am currently using Apple Maps for directions. I tend to alternate between Google Maps and Apple Maps depending on which one annoyed me the most recently. I know that map and directions is a hard problem, but it really should be better than it is. In one day, I managed to run into three example of Apple Maps stupidity.

First, I came across a bit of a traffic jam, in an area where it is pretty common. Because I know the area, I knew there this is a short backroads loop you can take to get around the jam. Apple Maps, for some reason, didn’t know this, and when I took the backroads route, stubbornly insisted that I u-turn back to the mess. Apple Maps was estimating 36 minutes to get through the jam, it took me 11 my way.

Second, Apple Maps did an intelligent re-reroute mid drive due to an accident, this involved doing a u-turn, which is fine. The call to change there route was the right one. This issue is the ridiculous number of turns it wanted me to take to execute this u-turn, when there was a u-turn bay right in front of me.

Finally, Apple Maps suggested another route change to save time, only it would not have saved me any time. Even the estimates that Apple Maps gave showed the current route as faster. No idea what went wrong there.

Google Maps isn’t any better and I get exactly the same kind of issues, and it feels to me like it should just be better than this by now.