Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Kindle App Update

My Kindle App on my Android Device informed me last night that there was a new update available. There was a note in the whats new screen that caught my attention. It reads PDF files now. I had to check it out.

First of all, I had to copy the pdf that I wanted to view into the Kindle App Folder. I'm not a fan of that. I have literally thousands of books in PDF format that I keep on a micro SD in my Android Device. (Notion Ink Adam, thanks for asking, I've been meaning to write up a review of it ever since I bought it) Making a copy of one or two that I'm currently reading wouldn't be too bad, but if I was browsing through files I would definitely use a different program.

The File I decided to go with is a Monstrous beast of a thing: 196 pages, two columned text, and Illustrations; it has crashed every single PDF reading App I own (there's a caveat to this I'll get back to in a minute.) I think the PDF is just not optimized, it's a fairly slow document to deal with, even on my PC. Kindle Handled it Like a Dream. My only complaint is that it doesn't have a cover in the Kindle App, but I can probably figure out how to resolve that on my own.

Now to the Caveat. I was reading an article today from someone about getting past the jpeg2000 problems that iPad's Acrobat reading applications have, and I realized that I have the Android version of the Adobe PDF viewer that the author was referring to. So I tried my Monstrous beast of a file in eZPDF Viewer, and it handled it just fine; it must have had an update, because last time I tried it in the program it crashed. Kindle does have an Advantage over the eZPDF's free and saves your position in the book automatically, but ezPDF Viewer handles Outlines.

Quick Update, this morning I was looking at some files and noticed that when I select a PDF file it now asks me if I want to Open it with Kindle, It opens but does not add the Book to your Library or remember the last page you were on. I did a little Test, and ezPDF Viewer does remember the last page you were on. (There are probably limits to this—I didn't test it extensively). I think I'm going to be reading using ezPDF Viewer for a while now. I was not using it before, because it turned pages slower than Adobe's Viewer, but that seems to have changed.

Another Update. I discovered a functionality in ezPDF Viewer that could be useful—it can read the PDF file to you in a Simulated Voice. It's not perfect, but I've heard worse.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Moleskine vs. Leuchtturm1917

I know I said I was getting back to blogging. I wrote this a while back, my server where I host all my pictures was undergoing some maintenance, and now I have finally posted it. --Enjoy--

My brother introduced me to the Moleskine. Let me quote from their website.
Moleskine® was created as a brand in 1997, bringing back to life the legendary notebook used by artists and thinkers over the past two centuries: among them Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Bruce Chatwin. A trusted and handy travel companion, the nameless black notebook held invaluable sketches, notes, stories, and ideas that would one day become famous paintings or the pages of beloved books.
These notebooks are based on notebooks made by small bookbinders and sold in stationary shops in Paris in the late 19th–early 20th century, Moleskine was a nickname that Bruce Chatwin called his notebooks by.

Here is a picture of a couple of my Moleskines:

I have Several, and after trying out a number of different ones, I decided that I liked the quadrille (gridded) paper the best. I purchased and carried several of the smaller ones before I ever considered buying a mid-sized one. As it turns out I really like the mid sized one, and I carry it almost everywhere.

As my last Moleskine was nearing completion, I happened upon a Leuchtturm1917. From what I can tell, Leuchtturm1917 is the notebook that Moleskine thinks it is (I stole that line from another blogger). Leuchtturm was founded in 1917, which seems to be the time period that Moleskine bases their books on.

But let's talk about what differentiates the two. A common practice among Moleskine users is to set aside a page or more to be used as an index/table of contents, which requires that you go through the book and number the pages. Leuchtturm has pages set aside particularly for this purpose and the pages are pre-numbered.

I've never had a problem with the paper in the Moleskine, it seems to handle the ink from my favorite pens without problem—but I guess fountain pen ink doesn't work very well with them. The Leuchtturm paper apparently alleviates this problem (except in the case of very wet inks). I can't really speak for that, but it's nice to know they have thought of it.

The Leuchtturm I have is the same height as the Moleskine I have, but the Leuchtturm is slightly wider without being unwieldy.

Moleskine and Leuchtturm come in a variety of types. Sketch (No Lines), Quadrille (Graph Paper), Ruled (Lines). The Leuchtturm has one up on the Moleskine though—they have a dotted grid. There is a grid of Dots on the paper, giving you the functionality of the Grid or lined paper; yet the dots are so lightly printed that the paper also works quite well for sketching. Speaking of lightly printed, the other Leuchtturm options (Grid and Ruled) are printed lighter that their Moleskine brethren. The patterns are not difficult to see, but they are very unobtrusive and get out of the way when scanning.

The Leuchtturm has tear out pages in the back, Moleskine does not.

They both have a convenient pocket in the back of the notebook.

They both have a ribbon bookmark. My last Moleskine bookmark frayed almost immediately after I purchased it. I thought it was made of a synthetic material, and tried to seal it using a flame, and nearly had a more serious fire on my hands. The glue came loose literally when I was moving the bookmark out of the way so I could write on the last page of the notebook.

The Leuchtturm bookmark appears to be synthetic and feels like it could take more abuse.

Moleskine wins in the elastic band category. The band on Moleskine is tighter, and feels more substantial than the one on my Leuchtturm.

The Leuchtturm1917 comes with Labels. It's my understanding that the intended purpose of these, is that they are to be placed on the notebook once it is full.and you are storing it on the shelf. They come with Spine and cover Labels.

So far I'm really liking the Leuchtturm better. I have the quadrille variety, I was hoping to get a dot grid—but the university book store (where I discovered the Leuchtturm1917) did not have that particular flavor. I'll have to order one online.

A Pic of My Leuchtturm1917:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I'm returning to Blogging

Aaaaaaaand, I'm Back. It's been quite a while since I posted anything of significance.

Unemployment is one of the most time consuming things I've ever had to deal with and I'm happy to say that I am once again Employed.

Today I'm in a class I had scheduled before I was Employed—learning Javascript

Friday, August 26, 2011

I updated the Graphic Design Page of My Portfolio Website.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Check out my newly re-launched website, share it with your friends, hire me , leave comments, whatever you want =D

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Show Reel

This is some of the work I have done in animation. I decided to try uploading to YouTube for the first time since it launched in 2005.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Low Key—Instead of High Adventure

Episodes like our Session of Deadlands: Reloaded last night, remind me that I am not terribly great at improvisation. I don't look forward to the sessions that rely a little too much on what the party might decide to do with information that you (as game master) have given them in a previous session.

Every time I tried to prepare myself for this session, I didn't know what to prepare. Once the session started, I realized that it should have been a pretty easy choice. For some reason though, some of the obvious things just weren't standing out in my mind's eye. I think because, I was mentally staring at the Big Picture, instead of the most immediately available information. I was using my mental telescope, instead of my mental microscope.

This led to a session that was very unfocused—because I was lacking mental clarity. The posse used information that they had at hand to make a decision on where to go next. I rolled for an encounter and sent a Giant Salt Water Crocodile after them, which they defeated handily. (The previous session's monster—a giant squid—took an very appropriate number of combat rounds to dispatch; I thought the Crocodile, being so much tougher would be very difficult for them to resolve. . . it sadly was not)

I realized, after they got headed in this direction that there were two things I should have done for the session prep.. Two things that I can do for every session of this game and be successful. One: Look at the direction they most likely will travel, and taking into account method of travel, devise a number of encounters (and check if there are any Plot Point related Adventures geographically on the way). Two: figure out what their contacts will want them to do. (i.e. Mr. White or the Explorer's Society, etc.)

I felt I was really off my game—I even forgot about shaken status, momentarily, when calculating damage from a monster. Next session should be better. I always worry that people aren't having fun, and try to keep the game the focus of the evening, but I was having focus problems myself, so I didn't succeed in keeping the game the focus of the evening. I don't think I've had a game with that much Out of Character Chatter, since the time I had Nine people show up for a session.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Three Posts in One

I've had three sessions of Deadlands since I posted last, so I'll be writing about all of them.

The posse had a severed finger that had given them directions that pointed them in a south easterly direction. I had no plans for what would occur between their current location and the location the finger was leading them toward. I decided to try out the tables in the book designed for creating adventures on the fly.

I have to admit that it was very fun rolling that big, over-sized, D20 over and over again—while my players watched on in horror. I didn't tell them what I was up to and they seemed to grow more nervous each time the die rolled.

What's fun about tables, is that they give you very basic and specific information, but really it's not enough to go on. I ended up having them rowing their canoes, running into a Tugboat (that may or may not be haunted—which was fun to run). They then spent some time lost in the maze, following a mystical compass and then had to travel across land to get to their location.

The next session was a fairly straight forward following of the information in the book. By straightforward, I mean that they solve all the problems in completely different ways than what the writers of the book seem to intend. They broke into the facility in a round about way, they took out a number of guards in an unintentional way, using something that was intended to be an obstacle to the players, but ended up not being an obstacle to them. (Thank You Bad GM Die Roll—I chose to roll the dice to determine that outcome, so I had to go with it.)

Then the next gaming session was the reverse trip through the maze, to complete the mission that they were running. This time, I did all the dice rolling ahead of time. (During a break at a 4E Dungeons and Dragons game earlier that day) They were to encounter a Mexican Ship that was sinking, being fought over by two other Mexican Ships (the reason this was happening was there for back-story but it never came up in game)—there was to be a Giant Octopus, and a Whirlpool.

P's character ended up jumping in the water to take on the cephalopod (No Swimming skill, but he aced the roll) and ended up taking it out almost singlehandedly. I'm sure there were some rules about running that particular encounter, that I missed, but it sure made for an exciting time had by all so it doesn't matter—I'm the sheriff and that's how I run my game.

There was a lot of box text that I just read straight out of the book at the end of the session, it made for a rather dramatic end to the evening, and I think a good time was had by all.