Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Day 1 With the iPad Mini

I've had the iPad Mini for almost 24 hours and I converted my mandolin app to be universal.  I know it doesn't look great yet, but it's entirely functional!  I've got some plans for all that extra screen real-estate, but for the time being, I've got a functional iPad version.  Be excited about the future.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sample Book

A bunch of people have asked about my book publishing and if they could see a sample of what it looks like.  Well here's a couple more screenshots (this time on iPhone) and a download link below.  This hasn't been edited and doesn't have any fancy layout, but it should give you a good enough idea of what an end product would look like.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The First Step

For those of you not aware, I recently got registered as an iBook Author and Publisher.  I've always thought that it would be really fun to get into the book business and after a good amount of research I did it.  Here's a sample at my first attempt at an iBook.  There's some little issues here and there that I need to clean up before pushing it to the store, but all in all, it's pretty good.

Also, now that I've got that going, feel free to hit me up with your books you need publishing.  I've got an editor and a couple graphic designers in house if you need them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Well things are moving along nicely with my game.  I've got functional cities with houses that you can actually walk inside!  I know that doesn't sound like much, but this has been a lot of work!  Anyway, here's the progress shots.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Some Quick Advice

I have a couple quick words of advice for anyone trying to make it in art or games.  Firstly, do what you love.  Even if you hate your day job, pick up a side project and make it your own.  Secondly, be honest in what you do.  They say honesty is the best policy, especially if you don't want to leave a business partner feeling like you burned them.  Lastly, be good to people because they'll be good to you.

If you were wondering about the screen shots above, I'm finally making the game I want to.  Those are some screen shots from my iPhone.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I Don't Like Words Put In My Mouth

My blog has been reclaimed from the treacherous grasp of CS 404.  Now don't get me wrong, I didn't have anything personal against the class or its requirements, but having my blog taken over hurts me on principle.

If you've ever wondered why I don't work well in relationships, it's because I have to speak my mind.  I can't contain it.  I actually yelled at my roommate (jokingly, but not really, but sorta) about giving away brownies.  I don't care about the brownies, but it was in my mouth and it had to be said.  It leapt out.  Sprang even.

The point is, I have my blog back.  Join me now in celebrating this momentous occasion.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Addictive Behavior

Two more posts and my blog will be mine again!  Hold strong people!  Hold strong!

Everyone has their "thing."  For some, their thing is something that could be considered as destructive like drug abuse, alcohol abuse, eating disorders, or World of Warcraft.  For others it's more easily hidden in chronic TV watching, incessant gossiping, or thrill seeking.  Whatever your thing is (and don't say you don't have a thing), don't judge someone else that has a different thing.  If you want to change the world then be the change towards moderation and let others see the results.

The über long video above explains how your affinity for certain "things" developed when you were younger.  It should make it painfully clear that just because your addiction doesn't have a group that meets about it doesn't make it not an addiction.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Rock Star

For those of you that are regular followers of my blog, rest assured that the semester will eventually end and that I will reclaim my blog from the dreadful clutches of CS 404.  Until then....

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"  

It's a common question that people of all ages hear.  I remember in elementary school responding with things like astronaut, game designer, comic book artist, and sports mascot.  All of those responses reflected something different about my perception (at the time) of what success was.

Well here I sit, twenty years later, and I've finally come to some sort of answer to that ever present question.  I want to be a rock star.  I don't want to be a singer, songwriter, or guitarist.  I want to be Joseph Slinker, and I want to be so awesome that people pay money just to be in the same arena as me. Sure I might be good at playing guitar, or wearing outlandish clothing, but I don't want to BE a guitarist.  I don't want to BE fashionable.  I want the sum total of my life's experiences to make me awesome beyond belief.

It's at this point that as a TA reading this you're probably wondering how this is a book report or what this has to do with the Steve Jobs biography.  If that is the case then, simply put, Steve Jobs was a rock star.  Sure his life's work resulted in a lot of fun toys, but more importantly his life time of searching and becoming made everything he touched vicariously awesome.

That's what I want.  To be awesome.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Things Are A Changin'

The big tech news this week isn't about a new device, or a schnazy new app.  Apple Computers effectively canned two of it's ten executives, namely Scott Forstall and John Browett.  The loss of Browett is inarguably worth celebrating (he almost single handedly ruined the Apple Store).  The loss of Forstall, on the other hand, is a grab of reactions.  Despite rumors of why and what now, one thing cannot be denied, and that is Forstall changed how we interact with our devices.  Without him we wouldn't have OS X (the way it stands now), iOS (which would then trickle down to Android), or the beautifully functional default apps for iOS.  So take a moment next time you play with your iDevice and remember the man that made it possible.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Pretty Scary Update!

In a world of pirating, marketing schemes, high powered PR, and multibillion dollar companies there's one group that is still getting the job done.  The internationally renowned sandbox game is back for it's third straight year.  Minecraft is the beautiful product of Markus Persson and his little team over at Mojang.  The project started as a side project by Persson that quickly spread as an internet phenomenon.  Since it's inception in 2009, Minecraft has beaten the odds (and the lawsuits) to become the poster child for what I'm calling the "electronic ma and pa company."  

When companies and governments are all up in arms over piracy and digital downloading, Mojang shows that a project can thrive in an open community.  The ingredients for success are simple.  Be open and be relatable with a project that people want.  If you don't believe me, go check out Minecraft (the pretty scary update is the time to do it), and be supportive of gimmick free products.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Using the User

For those of you that regularly follow me, I'm sorry for this out-of-no-where post.  I'll be back on schedule as soon as my classes stop demanding posts out of me....

Linus Torvald (look him up) had a very interesting approach to building software.  Raymond describes it as the "bazaar" style.  It's an approach that has an open air feel; operating in direct opposition to the closed door development style of most of the software giants today.  While you may agree or disagree with this style of development, there is one point that you need to learn from it.

Treat your user as a co-developer.

This is the key to knowing what to build, what to change, what to fix, and what to keep.  If your product is software or motorcycles or fireworks, use your user as a developer.  After all, isn't your product being designed for your user?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Tricks and tactics seem to be the name of the game in the confidence department.  'Do this' and 'try that' is the battle cry in a war with self-esteem and confidence.  In the video above, Amy Cuddy suggests that body language is the latest way to alter how you feel, and as a result how you behave.  Without attempting to downplay her fabulous talk, let me recommend something better.  In analyzing the numbers of women in computer science, Paul De Palma indirectly suggests that becoming something is the key component of confidence.  He recommends practicing small problems and working within simple systems as a means of exploring an unknown space.  Practice little things.  Practice lots of things.  Rather than trying every trick in the bag, practice doing the small until you're confident you can tackle the big.  Engrain a practice until it becomes part of you, because when you're doing what comes natural you can't help but be confident in what it is you are doing.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Technology is a Human Opportunity

Watch what you do!  If you didn't realize this already, you should be aware that even the slightest legal missstep will result in Jason Bourne knocking down your front door and murdering you with a newspaper and ballpoint pen.

Okay, that first bit was probably a bit exaggerated.  As the above video explains, getting from point A to point B via computer network isn't really as simple as googling "Who's hacking me?"  From a civilians standpoint, trying to find out who's doing what on a computer probably involves something more along the lines of observing, logging, fighting (rather frustratingly) for warrants, contacting host companies, and possibly months of rinse and repeat.

Pursuing an invader isn't really worth all that the effort, especially if your case doesn't end up being the rare Cliff Stoll case (but wouldn't it be sweet if you did catch a German spy?!).  Let me rephrase that; pursuing an invader isn't really worth the effort to the individual; it's just too expensive.  That being said, the internet isn't a network of individuals, it's more like a manifestation of a world wide society.  It's this special place that connects everyone with everyone (and everything) in a (mostly) completely open way.  And like every society in existence, every individual within that society has moral responsibility to protect their neighbor.  The internet is the first chance humanity has had to evolve into a truly universal, utopian society. Let's not squander this opportunity, mmkay?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Digitally Speaking, Stars Are People Too

Earlier this week, I stumbled upon the short interview documentary called "Music," by Andrew Zuckerman.  This simple, almost understated film casts an incredibly human light on the creative process of music as well as music as an industry.  Contrast that with the news from earlier this week of Billie Joe Armstrong (front man of Canadian rock band Green Day) exploding into a fit on stage at the iHeartRadio festival in Las Vegas.  His rant including his disgust for other performers and his outrage at the length of their setlist.

This news shouldn't come as a surprise.  Every news source is flooded with similar stories of celebrity tirades all the time.  In fact, the explosion of technology in recent years has all but obliterated the beautiful facade that Hollywood producers try so very hard to paint.  The hulking mass known as 'Anonymous' demands the raw, brutal, absolutely human truth; and when they find it they post it online.

The rise of technology is a major opportunity for you, the members of Anonymous, to accept the humanizing effect of technology.  Let the demand for absolute transparency help you discover you.  It may be painful, but you will be a more creative person once you take the plunge, look in the pixelated mirror, and figure out who you are as a human.

[Thanks for the members of my class for the input on the edit]

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

'Passes' App Icon

Here's the results of my most recent icon design job.  The first icon is what he wanted, the second is what we ended up with.  I'll link to the app in the app store when it hits next week.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tall Minecraft Wallpapers

I've redone all the Minecraft Wallpapers for the iPhone 5!  I hope ya'll enjoy!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pokemon iPhone Wallpaper [4-inch]

The iPhone 5 is here and with it the new 4 inch screen!  To accommodate the change I've completely redone the Ultimate Pokemon Pack (+151 wallpapers & ringtones) to fit the new screen!  Enjoy! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Apple v Samsung: The Ad Wars

In light of Samsung's recent court loss, as well as Apple's monumental iPhone 5 preorder sales, it's no surprise that Samsung is scrambling to do whatever it can to keep up in the smart phone war.  With that said, regardless of the situation, deceptive advertising is NEVER the way to sell a product.  Samsung ran an ad this week presenting a devious little list of features that make the Galaxy S3 the "next big thing."

Dear Samsung, I've got a pro tip for you: being tricksy WILL come back to bite you.  Why do you think everyone hates their phone/cable/car company?  Because they were lied to at the time of sale and eventually figured it out, and when they find that out they don't come back.  So while you may get your publicity, and you may get some calculated reaction, you're killing your future and you're upsetting your customers.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Did You Miss The Point?

So announcement day is over and everyone is bored.  The iPhone didn't wow us like we thought it would!  And I must agree; Apple should have taken my suggestion and added a grappling hook to the phone.  That's what I would have called a great "one more thing"!

It's funny, however, that no one seems to realize what's happening right now.  Apple is continuously doing things that are wow worthy, and we're just letting them happen right under our noses.

Apple is improving the customer experience continuously, and they're doing it they best way possible.  They're not trying to surprise everyone with a new gadget every year.  They're also not trying to reinvent the wheel, especially when the wheel is doing just fine.  What they are doing is making the experience perfect.

They're addressing the weaknesses in mail, the headphones, the dock connector, the voice quality, the international portability, the app store, and on and on and on.  iOS 6 launched with "200 new features" and the iPhone 5 brags "completely redesigned hardware," but no one stops to consider all the unspoken features.  The complainers see "8 megapixel and Retina Display" and think "well nothing changed."  Some how the image processor, the touch sensor integration, and the improved color display get completely overlooked.  The little details that make the experience perfect always get ignored in the midst of NFC and 7" displays.

Bah!  Who am I convincing?  If you're the person that thinks "the Galaxy S3 feels like the future" that's fine.  You can continue to play the game of megapixels, plastic casings, and gigs of ram.  If you're the person that thinks "Microsoft is about to shake up the market" you may be right.  But you can't disregard the amount of catch up they have to play at this point in the game.  Apple is winning because they care, not about the profits, and not about the market share, and not even about the critics.  Apple cares about the people that use their products, and that's what makes Apple different.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It's Been 11 Years

Today started very abruptly for me.  Part of the abruptness was brought on by a head cold and  sore throat.  The rest of the abruptness was brought on by the fact that today is September 11, 2012.  After reading through the Facebook posts and the obligatory "Where were you 11 years ago" 's, I came to a shocking realization.  My entire adult life has been spent at war.  Think about that statement for just a minute.  I don't want to discuss why, when, or how; I just want to think about the implications of being in a war for that long.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Skrillex, Deadmau5, and Daft Punk

Hey everyone reading this, I was hoping for some feedback.  I'm hoping it's obvious who I'm trying to recreate here in classic Pokemon style, but if not, I'd really like any suggestions you can offer me.  Thanks!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Finding Creativity

Continuing the theme from previous posts about creativity, I'd like to pose the question "Where do people find creativity?" More important than WHERE do people find creativity, is where do people find THEIR creativity?  In the short clip above, Jamie Hewlett subtly suggests that you find creativity by doing it, and by "it" I mean anything involving creation.  Build a shelf, draw a picture, start a garden.  Do things until you find what drives you, what fascinates you, what intrigues you.  Once you've found that thing, do it until you're burned out.  Then go through the same process and find something new.  Revisit old passions, always find new ones, copy other peoples passions.

The trick to finding creativity is looking; looking everywhere and looking all the time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

More Pixel Art

Here's part 2 of my little experiment in learning.  A cowboy (complete with mustache) and zombie version of the classic Pokémon characters.  I hope you enjoy, and if you have any requests for other variations, I could use the practice.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Creativity Through Copying

In my book, the only way to get good at something is to copy someone who's better.  If you copy enough good people long enough you'll eventually find your own voice/style/methodology and you too will be good/creative/noteworthy.  Kirby Ferguson does a really good job at showing this while talking about copyrights and patents.  If you haven't seen his videos, and them to your todo list, they're great.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hipster Red (Pokemon)

In preparation for my new game I've been trying to learn how to do pixel art.  To practice I've been pulling apart other characters from games and seeing what makes them tic.  This practice is a hipster version of Red from Pokemon Leaf Green.  I gave him a fedora, a v-neck, some facial hair, and skinny jeans.  Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dota 2 iPhone Wallpaper

All credit goes to Valve and the DotA 2 team for the original art.