A Whole Slew of News

My iPhone... I love it.

So, it has been a while since I made a post on my site, but I have been very busy and have a lot of great news to share.  First of all, I have a new job working as a interactive designer at Hart Associates.  I am really enjoying the people I work with, and I am loving the different projects I am getting to work on.  Much nicer than my last job when I was stuck on a project for months on end with nothing in between.  I have also started my own company, Pixelementary (website coming soon!), and will be developing iPhone applications.

After I got the new job , Becca and I decided it was time for a move to a new home.  We have moved back in with Sam in our wonderful new house.  We even have a huge back yard now where we have been having a ton of bonfires.  We had a great time carving pumpkins the other weekend with Jean too!

Oh and I got a new phone.  It is awesome.  I know it seems a bit crazy to be so excited about a phone, but it is like having a mini computer in my pocket.  Which for me… is totally amazing.  I can check my email, update my statuses, and even control my home computer from anywhere in the world.  Anywho, I will update again soon.  For now, here’s some pics:

New house... same old roommates. :)Last picture of the apartment.Panorama of comfiness.Oliver was not feeling well. But still cute.Downtown Perrysburg.Dustin joins the ranks of the fallen.Guess which one is Becca's.

Adobe CS5 Released

Master Collection box art.

The day I have waited months in anticipation for is finally here, Adobe CS5 is officially public.  While it does not hit shelves until the 3rd of May, you can do what I did and download a copy of the entire Master Collection off of the Adobe website.  You can use the demo for 30 days or enter a license once you have purchased it, no need to reinstall.

There are so many wonderful improvements in CS5 that I can’t even begin to scratch the surface.  All of the programs run natively in 64 bit mode for one thing, making them far more responsive and able to render nearly all effects and filters in real time.  Photoshop also added some amazing features like content aware fill , 3d brushes / paint mixing, and puppet warp.  Plus Photoshop now has better built in HDR processing… which I just HAD to play around with first thing today.  Below are some pictures I took downtown using multiple exposures and the new HDR features.

The sun is just starting to go down.It was a very beautiful night.My favorite seat in town.We launch our kayaks from here.

Even while quickly slapping together these photos I found all the new features greatly sped up my workflow.  I can’t wait to dig into the rest of CS5′s Master Collection to see how my illustration, video editing, and audio editing workflows will be affected.  Oh and just in case any of you missed out on the launch video, here it is.  It covers quite a few of the new features in all of the programs included in the Master Collection.

Tablet wars.

iPad killer indeed.Just like much of the online community, I was a little underwhelmed/pissed off when the iPad was announced.  The iPad’s feature list is rather frustrating to most tech savvy people with its lack of a camera of any sort, standard def screen, not supporting flash, App Store software restrictions, no ability to make phone calls… the list could go on for a while.  We all thought the iPad would change the way we do mobile computing… and in a way it has.  The release of the iPad was such a huge media hype event that many companies jumped on the tablet bandwagon, and it is this very fact that will change mobile computing forever, not the iPad itself.

IDC, a small tech design company, could become a huge player in the emerging tablet market if all goes as planned.  Not a lot of information is available online about this company at the moment, and even their own website is lacking in content.  What we do know about the company is they are developing tablets… awesome… awesome tablets.  The Gemini model appears to be their flagship product and is generating quite a lot of hype, especially from those looking to avoid the Apple alternative.  Just take a look at the spec sheet below comparing features of the Gemini with the iPad and JooJoo.

The winner is clear.

If you don’t want a Gemini after looking at those specs, you may want to check your head.  With the ability to make 3g phone calls (plus sms, and mms), 2mp forward facing camera for making video calls, 5mp camera on the back for shooting pics, HD video at a proper 16:9 resolution, GPS, Flash support, this thing makes the iPad weep with envy.  Even with all these great specs you may be like me though, wondering if you could get any real work done on a device like the Gemini or iPad.  Sure it would be great for relaxing on the couch or taking on a plane, but I like to work, I like to create.

Enter the MS Courier, a mashup of tablet PC and sketchbook.  While the iPad and Gemini focus on content consumption, the Courier focuses on content creation.  It allows a person to gather information, images, and other media from the internet and outside world then organize it in an artist’s sketchbook manner.  From there they can add notes, draw sketches, share the pages with other computers and Couriers, and even collaborate in near real time with others.  In order to truly understand the Courier you have to see it in action.

I really can’t wait to get my hands on the Courier. I have never felt like any other mobile device quite captures the feel of a traditional organizer and sketchbook. I just want a device that is a blank page where I can let my creativity flow, and then use the power of a computer to sort it and share it. I feel like the Courier fills this void.

What excites me even more than all these devices themselves is the fact that computers are changing and evolving in a big way again. Companies are trying new ideas and consumers are frothing at the mouths to test them out. I cannot wait until we can ditch mice and keyboards and have computing become a much more visceral experience. With devices like the Gemini and Courier in the works, I feel we are heading in the right direction.

Update: Sadly I have come to find out that the Courier is no longer in production and has been canceled by Microsoft.

More Easter fun.

Becca and I went to visit my parents this past Sunday for Easter lunch and an egg hunt. We ate lots of delicious food, including lamb chops, mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, salad, and of course lots of candy and cake. After lunch we headed outside to have an Easter egg hunt with the kids. I am not sure what was more fun though, us hiding the eggs or watching Harry and Marilla find them. We spent the rest of the day exploring back in the woods, discussing food and tech stuff, and just enjoying each others company. I hope you all had a fun holiday too!

Saw this guy on a walk we took.They were hidden in the pots.The alpacas wanted to help.Sneaky satellite dish.There was a ton of candy. 48 eggs.Was a rough day for Marilla.

Bad Company 2 review.

Sniping people never felt so good.My love for the Battlefield series of games extends back to Battlefield 1942 which was released my freshman year of college. My roommates and I spent countless hours killing each other in the most creative ways possible.  Running each other over with jeeps, wing walking on airplanes, strapping explosives to pretty much everything in the level.  What made the game great was the open ended gameplay, large levels, and the introduction of vehicle based combat.  Battlefield: Bad Company 2 carries on this tradition of inovation.

While Bad Company 2 improves upon the multiplayer fun my roommates and I enjoyed, the single player game may seem a tad lackluster.  It is your standard military game plot, and if you have played Modern Warfare 2 and Crysis you can pretty much piece it together in your head.  The game follows the same group of soldiers that the original Bad Company title did, only this time the character’s personalities feel much more fleshed out.  One of the best examples of this, and my favorite part of the single player campaign, is the banter that occurs between your squadmates when there is no action happening.  They talk about their past, make jokes about each other, and fill the “boring” parts of the game with something worthwhile.  In fact, I found myself just sitting there in order for them to start talking.  When I wasn’t sitting around I was busy blowing up destructible environments, wreaking havoc in tanks, and sniping baddies off rooftops.  It is not that the single player game is bad in any way, it is just that the aforementioned activities are so much more fun when you are killing “real people” and you are not interrupted by predictable and stereotypical “plot”.  Which is where multiplayer comes in!

Bad Company 2 is quite possibly the best military multiplayer game around.  If you are a fan of military action movies and want to feel like you are in the film, this is the game for you.  The combination of destructible environments, vast weapon / vehicle choices, incredibly detailed maps, and variety of classes make Bad Company 2 an amazingly cinematic experience.  The amount of action happening in a level makes you feel like a small part of an epic battle that is raging all around you.  Watching the action take place from far away as a sniper is equally fun.  I often play this class because it lets me orchestrate parts of the battle by killing key targets or calling in mortars on certain locations.  No matter how you play Bad Company 2′s multiplayer, every match is a truly riveting and unique experience.

It's sniping time!Call in the heavy guns.It is easy to forget it is a game.Making my way across a bridge.Working together is very important.Raining some fiery death.Running into machine gun fire is bad.A well placed C4 is great feeling.I am glad I am not in that house.Always a good idea.

The single player campaign of Bad Company 2 is lacking in depth of story and does not really bring much new to the table, but it is a solid game none the less.  Luckily the multiplayer easily makes up for the single player downfalls and then some.  Once again the Battlefield series delivers an immersive military experience and sets the standard for multiplayer games to come.  9 out of 10.