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September 01st 2008

Let's talk small!

I've changed the layout a bit around here and added a bunch of logos to the right. The startpages of www.muddasheep.com and farm.muddasheep.com are gone and they redirect to the farm news now. Startpages are waaay outdated. Or so I heard.

There've been a bunch of PHQ ads on various sites the past few days (thanks to Project Wonderful), including Evil Inc., which is quite recommendable. Ironically, paying for an ad on that website made me a reader...

Anyway. I've recently seen a comment somewhere that it's a shame that Halfquake Sunrise has never been released. A shame indeed!

But things are looking brighter every day. (<

August 27th 2008

Ever wanted to feel like a victim in Halfquake? Then look no further! Simply join the latest activity Dying For The Greater Good and immerse yourself in the experience of getting hung or chopped or whatever suits your preferred way of dying!

August 04th 2008

Okay, look. I know kidnapping somebody's wife isn't the best way to force somebody to work, but it seems to work with the dragon. And actually, I didn't kidnap Dragan, she just hid in my institute for a while, because she liked the idea of playing tricks on her husband and seeing him work days and nights on Quick Movie Reviews XIII.

Let me tell you though: If I had the time to write these myself, I would.

June 20th 2008

Change is good. Without change, we'd still be throwing stones and sticks at each other instead of bullets and nukes. And again, that's good, right?

Take the new Firefox in its glittering third incarnation. Praised as the final nail in Internet Explorer's coffin, this new piece of fine programming offers quite a few changes that are supposedly good. Because, remember, change is good.

Or so they say.

Now, when I fired up my fox on the very same computer I'm typing this here, it became hungry. So hungry in fact that it started eating my hard drive. I heard loud rattling noises coming out of the computer case and it sounded like a party in there. Or mayhem. Either way, I realized the fox was guilty because when the fox was gone, the party was gone too. So I summoned the fox again and did a google search. Some people were actually experiencing the same party in their computer cases. What a load of fun, I thought. I stumbled upon a small hint, too: Enter about:config in the new "smartbar" (I'll get to that), look for the value "Urlclassifier.updatecachemax" and set it to 104857600. Word on the street was that Firefox for Linux already had that value set. Only Windows' foxy browser had the peculiar -1 as default.

I restarted the fox and the hunger for hard drive was stilled.

Now the "smartbar" is another one of those changes. In previous installments of the browser you started typing and it suggested URLs starting with the letters you just entered. The new addressbar actually looks up URLs where the entered letters are anywhere in the URL or in the title of the page you're trying to find. I realize it is a plain matter of habit. We simply re-learn how we're looking up visited pages. But here's a quick example:

If I were to go to phq.muddasheep.com I could now simply write "pers" and it would get me the URL for the website with the title "Personal Halfquake". That's fine by me. Now if I want to go to www.muddasheep.com (for whatever reason) I type "mudda" and I get the URLs for phq.muddasheep.com, net.muddasheep.com/exp, farm.muddasheep.com and other URLs I apparently visit more often than muddasheep.com itself - leaving me no other choice than to write the whole address letter by letter.

I'm not complaining here, just examining. Change is good and humanity is flexible enough to wrap its brains around anything.

There's another exciting feature I would like to present. I'm sure you've noticed that whenever an image gets resized, the new graphics engine in Firefox 3 actually displays the image very smoothly (just like Opera and I believe all browsers on Mac running OS X). I can think of a few occasions where this might come in handy for masters of the web. But all in context with laziness. Well, laziness is such a harsh word. Let's call it convenience.

Take image galleries, for example. Normally you have a bunch of thumbnails acting as a general overview of the whole collection of pictures. Clicking on one nail opens up the high-res version. Thumbnails were created either manually or automatically to make the thumbnail appear "smoother" and also to reduce traffic. Now, some people might come along and say, y'all got cable, I don't need no thumbnails on my website - and just throw in the full resolution images into the overview page with a fixed width and height. Well, it does look good in your browser, and that's what counts! Or so the excuse might sound like. Hell, some people already do that today, only now they look "better" doing so.

It also works the other way around. A website normally has some kind of logo. If the page design changes, the logo might be too big now. No problem, says the webmaster, I'll just do a width="300". Problem solved - it still looks good anyway. Problem is: Some people already did that when images didn't get smoothed out. But now it might just become a popular habit. With probably more and more images resized on the local machine, let's hope Firefox, the third, can handle all that live-smoothing.

Alright, now for the last point on our agenda: Pixel art.

Some of you may remember Kid Radd. Dan Miller, the creator, had the ingenious idea to make small graphics - thus decreasing traffic and download times - and double the size of those images for display. Now look what happened:


(Left: Old; Right: New)

Now this Dan right here might have to redo his whole comic in a different format. That's 600 strips. And Dan is definitely not the only one using that pixel technique for art. Lots of other websites need to figure out a way now to resize the images before sending them out to the browser.

You know, I like change. To me it's a synonym for "decent challenge". And the internet is all about "change or be changed". That's probably because I like it here.

June 16th 2008

I thought I'd break the silence around here and throw out some project status updates.

I'm participating in a book project, in which international people submit up to five short stories, including at least one artwork each. The deadline for those submissions is October 1st, and at the moment there are approximately ten writers in total. I've got two stories in development right now. The book will be available in physical form (obviously) and also as a PDF document for free.

The Taskless Sheep album is nearing completion with 13 tracks finished and more to come. I'm not sure if we can finish it before end of 2008 since we're all a bit short of time, but we're trying.

I'm a Dragon is actually in development (very early stage) with massive help from Steltie.

As for my new book, I've got everything planned out until the end and I just need more time to write everything. At the moment I've written about twenty percent of the whole story.

And Halfquake Sunrise has got about thirty traps right now.

Now for totally unrelated news:
- Mass Effect for PC is absolutely awesome.
- I'm currently enjoying a book called The Pillars of the Earth.
- The Wire is now one of my favorite TV series (it's also the highest rated series on IMDB - next to Planet Earth).

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