Sim City

Gaming

You probably heard about EA’s terrible Sim City launch last week. It’s one of those games that you have to be online to play, even if you want to play alone. That doubly sucks coz it means that when EA have hardware issues and no server available to log into, you can’t play at all. It wasn’t at all unexpected, we saw it all before with Diablo 3.

Personally I suspect this was all a high-stakes ploy to get people talking about it, and now that the servers are 95% fixed customers feel stupidly grateful for merely being able to play the game they bought. As they’re blatantly going to flog addons til the sun grows cold these issues will be fixed, but even then the “Cities” you build are more like little suburbs than shining metropolises. Also being a nerd who gets excited about infographics I was looking forward to all the data layers and being able to interrogate sims about their wants and needs, but the former doesn’t actually tell you very much, and the latter get happy by buying stuff, so give them shops. End of simulation.

Cheeta Speed is still turned off, all firefighters will congregate at one fire and let the rest of the city burn, and sims won’t seem to commute outside the town… I was going to say “AVOID” but Dom and I had such a lot of fun putting together this city pictured (and the one in the distance too) so maybe there’s something in it after all? Though to be fair a lot of that was laughing at the bizarre things that happen when you build on a slope. I didn’t notice when I took the screenshot but check out the two brown blocks of flats on the left…

Either way, Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm just finished installing, so with any luck I’m gonna be playing that for a few weeks. That has online DRM too, but then their servers actually work.

Hoxton Squared

Recaps

It feels like I’ve been moving house for weeks now, but at last all the furniture’s been reassembled, the empty boxes shoved in the loft and apart from a couple of missing appliances it’s all come together very nicely. What a load off!

It’s Hoxton Street, Hoxton bitches! The heart of the East and land of a thousand takeaways! I’d take a picture or something, but youknow, broken camera sassafrassa…

To add to the disassociation and weirdness, work’s moved too! It’s now located in the back of the massive Greater London House which is ok, though similarly missing appliances. Being near Camden is nice though unfortunately I have to commute through Euston which is surprisingly gross >.<

Camera fail

Photography

Apart from half of these pics at Shake Yer Dix I’ve not done any club photography this year, so I was hoping to catch up with a bit of Songs of Praise tomorrow. Hopes dashed today when the on/off lever on my Panasonic G3 came on/off in my hand! Given I spent a hundred quid getting the assembly replaced less than a year ago I’m pretty unimpressed.

No pics for a week or two. I’ll get it repaired this time, but I’m not sure my next camera will be a Panasonic. Hard-wearing cameras do exist right?? TWITTERLINK KLAXON.

Meetups vs Conferences

Interwebs

When you’re spending every day churning out corporate brouchureware it’s easy to miss the Next Big Thing in the fast-moving world of webdev, particularly when you’re working alone. An ostensible cure for this is meetups, online interest groups set up to facilitate offline events to meet people in the same field and providing attendees with peer review, knowledge sharing and networking opportunities.

Or at least I understand that’s what it’s about. Alas, I’m rubbish at networking. I keep one eye on the blogosphere and attend a few web conferences – so far in 2013 I’ve booked in three on Web Typography, Responsive Web Design and jQuery – but I’ve never been to a hackday or other kind of meetup.

Am I missing out? TWITTERLINK KLAXON.

Shake yer Dix

Photography

Way back in September 2011 I took my new camera to the electro night Shake Yer Dix @ The Star and mucked around with rear curtain sync. Looking back the album seems pretty messy and basic, but the red-splashed snaps got an unexpectedly good reception with randoms across Facebook and it got me thinking. Along with Rob and Dom it’s basically the reason I started the danpaps thing in the first place.

Due to Facebook shenanigans the page gets one tenth the traffic it did back then, but still. I’m dusting off the camera and heading to Shake Yer Dix on Saturday to throw some shapes and some light. You should, like, totally come!

“Owning”

Dear diary

For the longest time I’d been stuck in the comfortable rut of a job that paid OK but wasn’t going anywhere. I could only afford the odd shiny if I didn’t save, so the idea of buying a flat seemed ridiculous, unreachable, totally irrelevant. New year, new job, new outlook?

Given the relatively comparable incomes, the difference in wealth between someone that rents and someone with a mortgage and a lodger is indefensibly stupid. If I can jump that fence I totally should. In search of salient insights I’ve been scouring the web for nifty sites like Rentonomy, Mapumental and where-can-i-live as well as some shameless window shopping on Rightmove etc.

It’s still London of course, where the global filthy-rich dump their spare millions into property and the buy-to-let market is out of control, so prices remain crazy inflated. I’m not 100% sold on shared ownership schemes ostensibly designed to help someone like me get a leg up: Full buy needs too much deposit and part-buy needs too much salary. Still, with some saving I might be in a better position in a year or two, and that’s quite exciting.

But that’s in the future, today the search begins in earnest for somewhere to rent next month!

It’s ridic isn’t it? Tell me about it.

Dripping electrics

Dear diary Photography

Last week I went to the kitchen just before bed to find myself unexpectedly paddling. It was disorienting getting dripped on in the dark in your own flat, but I flipped the fuses, Scott laid out towels and pans and Lewis went upstairs to shout at the idiot neighbour with the leaking bath.

It wasn’t so bad in the morning once it had all dried up, though the rips in the bathroom wallpaper were a lot bigger and the light switch had a funky but unwanted new “strobe” setting. Also I got a couple of interesting snaps of water in places you don’t normally want water to be.

Moving out in a month. Tweet me if you’ve got an amazing, cheap 3-man flat going spare somewhere from Dalston to Old Street! :-D

There’s been a blatant democratisation of photography over the past decade (digitisation of media, advances in consumer electronics etc) that’s let rank amateurs like me accidentally amble into the field. Though this aggravates purists and has lead to a deluge of instagrammed lunches, it’s also how I got into web mongering so overall I’m in favour.

Similarly the interwebs have lowered the barrier to distribution not only online but with physical publications on sites like Lulu, Snapfish or Blurb, even bloody Tesco does them now!

As I wasn’t going to Edinburgh this Christmas I thought making a photobook would be a fitting gift for the family I wasn’t seeing, so I spent a few evenings learning the tools in Blurb and put together some pictures I’d taken while visiting them over the past couple of years.

It was a relatively rushed job as I raced to meet the postage deadline for Christmas but it still turned out OK. Making it was pretty fun: the ability to tell mini stories and relate pictures to each other added a pleasing dimension to it, and it seemed to go down pretty well too! (Apart from the title which totally threw all of them.)

I didn’t realise it at the time but the photobook of I bought for Dom last year of Sharon Needles et al partying in Pittsburgh was self published through the same site, so it’s totally not just me.

I think I’ll do another one sometime, maybe of year one of Danpaps? Maybe of the Gaychristmas just past, or those Winter Sun pics I’ve been taking for about 8 years. People could even buy them if they wanted, though I can’t imagine why.

Awesome plan? No way man? Tweet Dan.

Yesterday I had an apple for lunch and popcorn for dinner. Apparently eating very little for two days a week is a thing, so I thought I’d give it a shot for a month or two.

Normally I’d just eat less daily but that’s tricky when Dom cooks ridiculously tasty (not to mention healthy) food so often. Like this quinoa fritter thingy from Sunday! It was one of eight and they were all delicious.

New year’s eve is usually a houseparty night, but this year the people behind Songs of Praise decided to put on a clubnight, as did the folk behind Push the Button, and the chaps behind Douche Bag! Three awesome bunches of friends putting on three amazing nights… Clash alert!

There was a period of consternation while I agonised over which to plump for, but in the end it had to be Douche Bag. With the laid back venue, mixed crowd, joyful vibe and relentless tunes my reservations about a club-based NYE melted away and I was sad to run out of steam early (at four). Happily I hear the other nights were packed with party times too, so there was no wrong choice: Plenty of love to go around on NYE.

To top it all off they had me stand in last minute to do the pics! It’s always nice to end the night with more money than you started.

Love it? Hate it? Accent like Gambit? Tweet it.