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dConstruct07

by Trevor May | 9th September 2007 | Brighton Design Social | 3 comments

dConstruct pass

dConstruct is all over for another year.

Highlights for me were the insanely personable Tom Coates and his talk, “Designing for a Web of Data” and Cameron Moll on “Good vs Great Design“. No real lowlights, other than that I wished Denise Wilton and George Oates had a bit of a Q&A at the end of their talk… actually, a bit more Q&A all round would have been nice. Oh, and free coffee during the day would have been cool too.

What I really enjoyed, though, was meeting (meatspace social networking?) a lot of lovely like-minded folk. What’s even better is I’ve come out feeling incredibly invigorated and excited about what I do for a living — which really is a superb and unexpected bonus!

And the beer was nice too.

Actually, I have another low: Because I’m feeling more excited I’m up at eleven thirty on a Sunday finishing off a draft for an antikewl redesign — when I really should be in bed!

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Apple announce the iPod touch

by Trevor May | 5th September 2007 | Gadgets Mobile Music Shopping | Comment on this

iPod touch and friends

Apple have just announced, as many have predicted, the iPod Touch. Basically an iPhone without the phone. It comes in 8Gb and 16Gb flavours (which is far too small a capacity for me to even consider buying — I have enough trouble with 60Gb!) and has built-in wifi for browsing the web and spending your hard-earned cash at iTunes while you wait for your delayed train (or while at their new friend Starbucks’ place). Still, it looks cool.

Also announced:

  • An all-metal 160Gb iPod classic
  • A chubby new 8 or 16Gb iPod nano (with coverflow and video playback)
  • iPod nano in new colours
  • and a cheaper 8Gb iPhone (no 4Gb, it seems)

If you want more geekery, Engadget have a hands-on with both the iPod nano and iPod touch.

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Haunted Mansion internal WED memo from 1969

by Trevor May | 3rd September 2007 | Disney | Comment on this

Haunted Mansion WED document

Doombuggies.com has a fascinating internal WED document from April 1969 regarding the about-to-open Haunted Mansion Disneyland attraction. (via BoingBoing)

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Boing Boing redesign

by Trevor May | 29th August 2007 | Asides Design Gadgets | Comment on this

In the unlikely event that you’ve read this article before reading Boing Boing this morning, head on over there now and check out their gorgeous new redesign. The new simplified appearance was created by my friend Jemma at Sans Nom and it now has a sister blog, Boing Boing Gadgets. Enjoy, but please come back! :)

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Chris Sanders has a website

by Trevor May | 28th August 2007 | Animation Art Disney Illustration | 1 comment

Chris Sanders sketch

Chris Sanders, former Disney artist and the creator/director of Lilo and Stitch, finally has a website. He also released a new sketchbook at this year’s San Diego Comi-con which I’ll have to order a copy of to sit alongside the one he printed last year on my bookshelf.

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Getting games to run properly under Windows Vista

by Trevor May | 26th August 2007 | Software Video games | Comment on this

Bioshock screenshot

Ever since I installed Windows Vista and discovered that it didn’t like to play nice with my video games, despite me running a fairly capable set-up (AMD Athlon 64 4000+, 2Gb RAM, 7800GTX graphics card), I’ve just slipped into my “comfortable old slippers” Windows XP partition and played them there.

This week, however, perhaps freshly fueled by my installation of Bioshock which ran (well, hobbled) like a spluttering, stuttering mutant — and annoyance with World of Warcraft playing at between 5-20fps — I decided to find an answer. And I did! At least in part.

After much trial and error I fixed World of Warcraft to run again between 35-50fps at 1900×1200 under Vista by doing the following:

Right clicking on the application icon and choose “Properties”, then clicking the “Compatibility” tab.

Enabling the check boxes next to: “Disable virtual themes”, “Disable desktop composition” and “Disable display scaling on high DPI settings” and Windows turns off Aero and all that other resource-hungry GUI crap while you’re running the game.

Running it in “Windows XP compatibility mode” didn’t seem to make any difference.

With that fixed, I decided to take a look at Bioshock, which really didn’t play nice in Vista at all with the audio stuttering and the high resolution texture maps not showings up — no matter what resolution I ran it at or whether I chose the lowest quality settings despite it running perfectly happily in XP on the same machine. I’d assumed that there was something buggy with the on-board Realtek ’97 audio drivers or the nVidia video drivers but, with my newly fixed World of Warcraft behind me, I thought I’d have a go at trying to get it to run properly as well.

Firstly, I changed the compatibility options as I did with WoW, above, but this didn’t seem to make much of a difference — if anything at all. Then I remembered reading something about disabling vsync when trying to fix WoW. I didn’t work for WoW, but I thought I’d try turning it off in Bioshock. I also forced it to load in DirectX 9 mode by using “-dx9″… and it all seemed to make a slight difference. Not enough to make it playable yet, but definitely an improvement.

Still… one out of two isn’t bad.

Update: I managed to improve game play in Bioshock further by using an X-Fi sound card instead of on-board sound upgrading my processor to an Opteron 180. I’d imagine that I’d be able to play it full-screen at 1920×1200 with maximum settings if I had an 8800 graphics card — or at least one with more than 256Mb of RAM. Half-Life 2 already runs much more happily.

Update 2: This Bioshock Tweak Guide might also help you gain a couple more FPS.

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Facebook Friend Wheel

by Trevor May | 28th July 2007 | Social Software | Comment on this

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It’s been over a week since I posted anything? Doesn’t time fly when you’re trying to do two full-time jobs at once?!

Anyway, I just stumbled upon this fantastic Facebook App. I’m a big fan of technicolor visual representations of stuff and this makes just that out of my friends — at least the ones that are on Facebook anyway. What was most interesting to me was to see how segregated my friends are — different groups of friends had never met or been involved with other groups.

If you’re signed into Facebook, go to the Friend Wheel app page to check it out for yourself. (via Aleks‘ Flickr stream)

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Turn your home into Adventureland

by Trevor May | 19th July 2007 | Disney Home | Comment on this

Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

Is your home lacking a certain… Disneyland-style tiki-ness? Help is at hand. How to turn your home into Adventureland.

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Frost and Pegg’s Perfect Night In

by Trevor May | 19th July 2007 | Humour Retro TV | Comment on this

I only managed to catch the last fifteen minutes of Frost and Pegg’s Perfect Night In when it aired on Channel 4 a couple of months ago but, thankfully, a selfless guy by the name of FrostituteMayo (presumably a big Nick Frost Fan) recorded and YouTubed the whole lot.

Essential viewing for anyone that grew up in the UK through the 70s and 80s. (thanks David!)

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Penny Arcade on Die Hard 4.0

by Trevor May | 19th July 2007 | Asides Humour Movies | Comment on this

Penny Arcade on Die Hard 4.0: The funniest PA strip I’ve read in ages.

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