I’m not a coder, developer or even really a hard-core gamer, but if you’ve been reading this blog long enough you know I’ve got an interest in Video Games, and how they fit today’s culture.
That’s why I love Gamer Camp, a yearly and unique Toronto event curated by Jaime Woo. It’s not about showcasing the blockbuster hits, it’s about the spirit and creativity between creating games and playing them.
There will be a board game cafe, an arcade of great indie games, and some great talks by people from different parts of the games industry.
This year, Gamer Camp has also added an extra day, The Interactive and Games Conference, that I’m excited for:
“The Interactive and Game Conference will feature 20 inspiring, useful talks from organizations and individuals bringing fresh looks to both fields in hopes of cross-pollinating and sparking cool, new ideas. (Gamercamp itself, for example, sprung out of drawing inspiration from tech, art, and culture events like TED, Come Up To My Room, and TIFF.)
Attendees can expect interesting takes on the interactive and games space including:
An in-depth session on the game design lessons from DrinkBox Studios’ critically acclaimed Guacamelee (pictured below)
National Film Board producer Gerry Flahive sharing on the award-winning interactive documentary Highrise
Mission Business, the team behind the spooky and successful interactive theatrical experience Visitations at the Drake Hotel, and
A first-look at Stringer, an immersive journalism first person videogame that places you in the middle of an Afghanistan battlefield using the Oculus Rift and Hydra technologies—a collaboration between George Brown College and Cinema Suite
Inspirations from the curator of TIFF’s innovative and popular media experience DigiPlaySpace
Demonstrations on using the creativity tools Lua and ZBrush”
If you’re in Toronto, try and attend. Details are here.
PS: The fashion/video game mashup images that will be displayed at the festival, Double Flawless, are also super cool
One Match, a division of Canadian Blood Services, needs stem cell donations from Canadian males, aged 17-35. To reach this target, we created an online, interactive comic book experience that aims to educate young males about the science and process of donating stem cells, as well as the importance of doing so and how they can be a “hero.”
One of the perks of working for DDB Canada is DDB Fuel, a program that gives each employee $250 a year to spend on something that will “fuel their creativity.” A few years ago, I used it to buy a GoPro Camera, and used it on a couple of surfing trips. Last year, I used my Fuel to take Japanese lessons. This year, I bought a Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Quadricopter
While it’s possible to fly the Parrot AR almost right out of the box (after the battery has been charged), mastering it is another story. It’s controlled via an iOS App that streams video directly to your phone, giving you a bird’s eye view of the world:
I’ve been interested in drones and quadrocopters for a while, and find that they make interesting topics of conversation at our weekly Radar 10am meeting, so it’s been awesome to get some hands-on experience. This hands-on experience isn’t limited to just flying the device. After only a few days of ownership, I had my first crash and had to order replacement parts (new gears and new central cross). This led to completely taking apart the drone, and rebuilding it. As a result, I now know way more about circuit boards than I used to. It also gave me a chance to give it a custom paint job:
What’s also neat about the Parrot AR Drones is that the iOS App gives you a data output after each flight, detailing speed, heigh and battery usage:
If you’re interested in more things like this, check out the links below:
Matternet is looking to solve transportation problems by creating a network of drones and groundstations in remote or otherwise difficult to reach areas. While I believe their first focus is on using the system as a means of delivering medicine to remote villages in Africa, it also has it’s uses as an urban courier system in congested areas.
I’ve learned a lot about fixing and updating my Parrot AR Drone from DroneFlyers.com. They’ve got great articles that walk you through the different steps of troubleshooting even the most basic drones.
TechCrunch recently covered a new start up, Spiri, aimed at creating drones that would enable developers to more easily program drone/quadricopter apps.
Lastly, check out the video below of two quadricopters juggling a stick:
Maybe it’s because I’m on a little bit of a wilderness kick these days after a trip to British Columbia and reading The Golden Spruce, but I loved the Fiordland video put together by Surfer Magazine, filmed in the Fiordland National Park of New Zealand. It’s a bit of a departure from the usual sun-and-indie rock of most surf videos, but the wintery scenes and piano music really work.
While I almost exclusively read Science-Fiction, I’ve been dabbling in a bit of non-fiction these days. One of the most recent books I’ve read is The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed.
I had been telling a group of friends about my recent trip to the central coast of British Columbia when one of them recommended the book
At it’s heart, it’s a book about the history of logging in British Columbia. That might sound a bit dull, but it’s fantastically written and a pretty interesting history, at that. It’s not until the first half of the book that the story really focuses on Grant Hadwin, a logger-turned conservationist who played a large role in what happened to the fabled Golden Spruce.
I don’t want to spoil too much of the story, but I will say that anyone with an interest in history, the outdoors, logging, conservation/environmentalism or just great story should give it a shot. You should even just read it to hear about the legendary exploits of Grant Hadwin.
The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed
A few weeks ago, the good people at MoGo2Go offered to send me a review version of their new mobile phone wallet. I’ve been using it since then, and have had a lot of people ask me about it:
We’ve got a lot of security doors at work, so it’s pretty convenient to store my card key in the MoGo2Go instead of in my wallet. Our security cards at work are pretty thick, so I don’t think I can fit another card in there but it would probably hold two credit or debit cards easily.
It sticks to the back of an iPhone with some of that fancy 3M stuff, so it won’t leave a sticky residue (I previously had a Gelaskin on the back of my phone with the same material, and it peeled off with no problem). Although I’ve heard that storing cards next to your phone like this can demagnetize them, it seems to only happen to hotel room keys.
If you want one of these for yourself, they’re only $4.95 and you can order them online here.
I really like Instagram, so I’m excited to see that they’ve made it easy for users to embed photos from the site on other sites. It will be interesting to see what this does to spread Instagram photos and engagement across the web.
Here are a few of my own favorite Instagram photos (follow me! Like elsewhere on the web, I’m ParkerNow on Instagram:
Almost a year ago, I hurt my back playing soccer. It got a bit better, but never 100%. I saw a chiropractor and had acupuncture, but I was still spending part of the day at work laying on the floor. At the same time, I started reading about how bad sitting was for your back (and health in general) and decided that a standing desk would be the way to go.
I got the idea for using cheap IKEA parts from this post on I am not a programmer. It turns out that the LACK table was the perfect height for me without the need for an extra shelf. An Anti-Fatigue Mat rounded out the set-up.
I don’t spend the entire day standing, but rather alternate between standing or sitting depending what I’m doing. I also try and go for walks around the office (or around the block, if the weather permits) as often as possible.
My back has been feeling pretty good these days, and while I can’t attribute all of the recovery to the desk (stretches and strengthening exercises definitely played a party), I’m sure it helped.