Experienced Real VR For First Time & It Was a Blast

2CE38099-5F70-48B3-A1C4-A931088034F7Virtual Reality is something that has been a long time coming. It was around in concept form since the 90s or earlier, particularly in sci-fi film but the 90s had the early machines showcasing stereoscopic 3D in gaming form. However, the technology never caught on and was forgotten basically until a couple of years ago when the Oculus Rift started making headlines as it secured an acquisition and funding from social media giant Facebook.

This meant that for the first time the technology was being taken seriously and serious money was at play to make it a success. This news followed competitors also emerging on the scene in the form of Valve-backed HTC Vive and Playstation VR — maybe the most interesting and promising of them all as it is affordable and an at-home console solution not reliant upon expensive gaming PCs and high-end graphic cards.

Well to fast forward a few hears of development and mixed results in terms of adoption rates (there is a paid report available here showing the growth and trends in this industry), we are basically at a point where the Oculus Rift is still dominating and is the biggest name in this space while a number of other companies are competing with their own headsets. I previously mentioned the Playstation VR having in my opinion the greatest adoption potential due to its console and living room experience, however in terms of overall tech I think the all-room VR experience of HTC Vive has the greatest immersion potential and technological advantage right now.

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There are numerous other players, some focusing not on gaming, but other VR applications such as military training, motion pictures or video on demand, sight seeing and travel as well as medical training. These are just some examples of how VR can be implemented past gaming and entertainment. However, I think this is where its strengths currently are and gaming is also something VR needs to capture first as the audience and market share is strong in this regard.

There are constant developments in the VR space with wireless headsets now making headlines such as the Pro version of the HTC Vive (as long as you purchased a separate adapter priced at $300), which can be used without being tethered to a PC or separate device such as a Playstation or smartphone, as is the case with most other headsets. There are also various virtual reality headsets coming out based on Android use and smartphone applications. In fact, Google is a strong player in this regard with its Dream project and support for Android headsets with its own pair of googles (I remember the Google Box being very innovative as well a couple years ago).

AR vs MR vs VR: Competition or Coexistence?

However, with Apple pushing AR Kit 2 and augmented reality being a technology that is also growing in this space it will be interesting to see how long VR’s legs will be in this regard. In some ways the two technologies of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are competing for marketshare, at least in smartphones as they share many similarities. Augmented Reality is based on using the camera and seeing objects that are virtual or digital appear in real-time around the space the viewer or user is looking at. It is less virtual or immense, in my opinion, than virtual reality, which is based on going into a completely different view and world after the glasses are put on.

I actually covered Augmented Reality (AR) a couple years ago when it was still in its infancy (arguably still is now) and Microsoft and Google at the time were its heavy proponents. The title of the piece was „How Augmented Reality is Defining Entertainment” and was published on TechHive and PC World. The cover feature focused on mostly various mobile apps and headset implementations that were becoming popular at the time and this was before even Google Cardboard.

There are some differences in what works better in AR vs VR and vice versa as specific maps or Yelp-type of geolocation services may be more practical or efficient using AR, particularly in mobile where we are moving around while looking for landmarks. However, VR has many benefits and advantages over other technologies, including AR, in terms of various industries and not just gaming as well.

According to MarketWatch:

“AR applications are being developed which will provide map overlays of prominent landmarks for improving geographic awareness and enabling rescue teams with better navigation into difficult terrains. Similarly, the healthcare industry in the region is expected to be one of the most promising users of VR technologies and devices because of surging usage of VR in surgical training, live streaming of surgeries, patient monitoring, pain management.”

There is also a relatively new concept that I see mentioned more and more and I did not hear about when I published that feature for PC World on AR (again: here). Mixed reality seems to be about adding virtual or digital objects onto the real world that we can see with the aid of smartphones, mobile devices, glasses or other peripherals. There seems to be a fine line between defining mixed reality vs augmented reality, but augmented reality could simply be using Yelp’s landmark finder or restaurant finder and not see virtual objects like spaceships flying, which would be more of a mixed reality experience.3899AB55-4CBD-4908-BB0D-56AC06C2ADEA

Personal Experiences with VR at Warsaw Cafe 

673B5B0F-6C59-4902-B658-587662EFCA75The bottom line is there is a strong future for both of these technologies, but I want to focus on my experience using a full-on virtual reality headset for the first time. This occurred last week when I ran into this VR gaming cafe or shop called

I actually had a chance to try out other VR headsets available and always missed out on the chance. During my time at the EGX Rezzed show I attended in London (I covered the event here) the VR headsets I saw were always packed with people on them or queued up ready to play whatever was offered. I also missed some other chances due to similar reasons at other locations, such as a artistic showcase at a gallery.

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So, when I ran into this shop specializing in VR, called ImperiumVR, here in Warsaw where I am currently living. It was a pleasant surprised to run into this place in such a secluded shopping area known for cheap thrift stores and haircuts. How I found this place is a story all onto itself as it is located on the second floor of the shopping strip in the back with very little advertising or notifications. In fact, it looked more like an abandoned storehouse or the beginning of the apartment living area that is adjacent to it and behind the other shops.

ImperiumVR is really a cool place. It is small and no one was here besides me and the lady running the place or working there who helped me put on the OculusRift headgear and calibrate it so it fit perfectly on my head. She also introduce me to this crossbow training game first before I dived into the Superhot experience to get a small taste of how VR works. The place is worth checking out to anyone who lives or visits Warsaw. It is also fairly inexpensive and because of how it is located in the back of the strip, I imagine not too many people know about it, which is a shame.

I actually found out there are other VR venues here including one that offers the option to use a number of headsets, such as HTC Vive, beyond just Oculus Rift. It is called VR Project, but I have not had a chance to go there yet and try it out.

I was pretty surprised knowing this place existed, along with other gaming-focused venues, and even Warsaw gaming pubs such as New Meta Bar, because I never imagined Warsaw to be heavy on gaming or tech before moving here. However, it is and Poland as a country has a history and long gaming, despite its communist and relatively poor past.

When I was young arcade cabinets were lined up in these places called ssalony gier or gaming saloons. The American equivalent to these places would be the traditional arcade, but they were quite different because they were set up in long booths with arcade cabinets lined up against the walls inside a very thin walkway and the games were played using żetony or special coins inserted into the machines (yes I understand and remember some arcades in the U.S. using tokens instead of quarters as well so there is some similarity).

Poland even had a gaming culture before this that I remember well. Various gaming-centric computers such as Commodore 64, Atari ST and the Amiga were popular among the kids who could afford them when I was growing up. The way, I actually found out that Superhot is a Polish-developed game was I ran into this screening in the middle of a square in Warsaw at night showcasing the Polish gaming scene. I caught a bit of it at the end and here is what it looked like:

When I played Superhot, I felt for the first time the potential of VR. The game outs you in a role of an action movie star where you do both bare hand fighting and gun shooting. You also have the ability to throw objects at enemies, but this is difficult to pull off with precision in my experience. However, the movement is awesome. The ability to look 360 degrees for enemies and move out of the way of punches and bullets truly was a captivating experience. I even broke a bit of a sweat and got a chance to try out some boxing and martial art movies I picked up from training in the game. Note, throwing a body punch and waiting for the enemies to come to you rather than overextend is a tactic I found works well in the game as it does in real life.

I can actually imagine a sequel or a hard mode in the sequel offering real challenge where martial art skills or police training can come in handy if not learn the fine motor sensory skills involved through the VR experience. I actually see such ideas for future implementations of VR in gaming and beyond (think Matrix martial arts training where Neo fought Morpheus).

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The game puts you into these levels divided by sequences you have to overcome. For instance, in a sequence, you may quickly have to pick up an ashtray and block a shot from an enemy afar, then quickly turn to the wide where an enemy is running at you that you need to take out hand to hand. Than you may have to grab that enemy’s gun and use it at the rest of the foes to end the sequence and move onto the next sequence. Once you overcome a few of these sequences you move on to the next arena or level with its own sequences. If you die, or get hit, you will have to restart the order of sequences again, but not necessarily have to go back to the beginning of the game.

You will truly get some sweat going and feel an adrenaline rush playing this game. It is by far the best implementstion of VR I’ve seen in gsming or beyond. I am also proud it comes from a Polish development studio and zi wish them all the best in the near future.

The future of VR: Where Do We Go from Here?

So what does the future of VR hold? I presume that mobile VR including Google’s Dream will have a bright future despite the competition from AR in this space. However, I really see wireless showroom and home VR making the most noise in terms of innovation and possibilities the technology can unleash in the future. It is already showing its potential as it is applied to various industries teaching students and being applied in the workforce to give practical experience in various industries before hands-on training is applied.

I previously mentioned military and the medical fields as examples of such usage. I imagine it will grow very strong in both these fields and can imagine a VR implementation teaching soldiers to overcome natural fear of combat and being able to overcome the adrenaline or mental breakdowns that often occurs for first-time combatants. It is still not the real thing, but virtual reality is becoming so immense and life-like that it can really simulate that reality and it will only improve from there.

I can imagine a headset with some form of light pain implementation and sense implementation making an appearance in the future bringing reality and virtual reality closer in this field and many other VR implementations. HTC Vive is already showing grip technology simulating various objects being tangible is very advanced and this is already a roadblock that was once impossible to overcome. Other senses such as smell and wetness or mist may make an appearance (maybe not at home, but at military implementations, for instance, or showroom floor VR set-ups).

Current Implementations of VR Showing Potential for Wide Range of Industries

I also see travel being a huge industry for VR, particularly live-albeit-virtual travel to locations where cameras are set up. Users can get that experience of a particular city or place without having to purchase a plain ticket to get there. it is also a way for people to tour a particular place and compare it to others to get a sense if the trip is worthwhile of if they might as well go somewhere else in person.

There is already some implementation in this regard, as reported by Appreal-VR, for instance, where Youtube is being used by Best Western Hotels to offer hotel tours for users trying to make a reservation choice ahead of time. Quantas Airline VR is also being use don flights to give travelers a chance to check out the places they are about to embark on before even landing. There are even museum tours available as another example of VR finding a home in tourism and travel.

Those are just some examples of uses already being implemented, but to list more and the potential for VR in this regard would be a whole separate article all onto itself. Gaming is where I really see VR being implemented in the most interesting ways for me personally. Particularly after experiencing the awesomeness of Superhot. It was as if the game combined a movie or action film experience with first person shooting and combat to bring me to the forefront of the action like I’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing before.

What I want you to take away from my experiences as well as others’ experiences related to modern-day VR, is to not give up on the technology. Give it a try if you haven’t and do not just try one game, title or experience before making up your mind. give Superhot a try and some others. You will not regret it and come away from the experience learning of an emerging technology that has a strong future in gaming and various other industries.

Some of you may have read the book Ready Player One or seen the latest movie coming from famed director Steven Spielberg. It was a descent film and that type of virtual reality and eSport displayed may be closer to reality than many realize. Both eSports and vsrious VR, AR and MR technologies are advancing and gaining in popularity. It may only be a matter of time before eSports and VR are merged.

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Creating Text for Logos Using Illustrator’s Pen Tool

 

EBA861F2-3B58-4121-901A-50ADD756501BLogos are an interesting choice of work for graphic designers or any content creators. There are so many different ways to create logos, not to mention size varieties of font, and canvas or display area as well. Logos also come in all sorts of shapes and patterns.

Some logos may just include text and a minimalist background of a gradient or even a single color. Many business cards offer such logos on the front. Other logos, however, include graphics and objects along with the text. This is why as designers we need to plan the logo ahead of time and make it fit for what its theme is meant to convey.

If the company we are creating the logo for, whether it is our own company or a client’s, is a tech company, we should make it reflect technology. Maybe add some computer screens or keyboards to its layout. If it is a flower company selling flower products, we should add a bouquet of sorts or at least a flower here and there onto its design. These are just some examples.

The actual text on the logo, however, may be its most important part. Many programs, such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, offer a wide range of fonts to choose from for text. However, there is also the option to make the logo truly stand out and offer a unique print design and that is creating the text from scratch.

One way to do this is using various inks or pen and pencil tools and writing the text. However, another way that I recently used was using Illustrator’s pen tool. It is no easy feat as the pen tool takes some fiddling to really get good curves and angles — particularly on the S. However, it offers a pretty unique way to make the logo stand out because it also allows us to create various fills and gradients to go along with the design of the text.

I recently started doing side jobs doing native speaking or conversational english here in Europe along with my content creation online. Or at the least, I have a one-time-per-week client right now and am trying to see if I can develop this into a side business of sorts. However, my main focus is still freelance multimedia and content creation.

Thus, here is a design I started working on for a logo based on being a native speaker and it will go on a business card I plan on forming out of this logo. I may even use it for a website’s header image or other purposes. However, it really was a learning process and a process of finesse using the pen tool. That was the main goal of this project along with getting more familiar with the various gradients and fills I can use to create unique logos in the future. Here are my samples from my latest versions, or most refined samples, to the ones I started out below (I know, I usually do the opposite in most of my blog posts, but decided to change it up this time and go from latest to oldest):

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Logo itself with no additional business card text

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PDF File (pure vector format)

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PDF File of the above (pure vector format)

You may see a couple errors in the one below I fixed for the top image (such as the shape builder tool used to put together the separation of shapes on top left object below. Also, the gradient is a bit different above and a few other minor changes are present.)

native14Formatted the artboard to fit a more business card format below (although there is more design shown in the image above and it is better as a logo):

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PDF File (pure vector format)

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PDF file in vector

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PDF File (Vector preservation)

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PDF File (Vector preservation)

[below are older revisions] Here ere are the earlier samples. I noticed there was some error as below the I on first line of text a square shape kept showing up when I saved the file no matter what format except .ai where it would not show in the actual Illustrator.

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Here was a screen cap again of the Illustrator file thus the square below the I did not show up until I saved it (I had to delete some files in the layers to get rid of it):

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So there you have it. A bit of my work using Illustrator to create Vector logos that can be scaled and printed any size without loss as long as the file is the pdf version. This particular logo was done for me personally, but I can do other such work for your brand or company if you are interested in working with me. I can also combine various other ideas, shapes, gradients backgrounds (or color fills) and more. This was just one idea.

You may also recall, I have previously created raster or bitmap designs using the iPad stylus and various apps for logos and business cards, but it does not print as well as vector saved as PDF unfortunately. This file (in the pdf formats) is pure vector from font to backgrounds to shapes present.

How the Internet Is Being Restricted & Handicapped Based on Geographic Data

 

web6You may be aware that the Internet is not as free as you were once told. It started out pretty free or the idea behind it was connectivity with users around the world and no hassles of government interference or control. You may recall the Usenet groups that made communication among people from all over the world a breeze before the World Wide Web even appeared.

“The Internet is at once a world-wide broadcasting capability, a mechanism for information dissemination, and a medium for collaboration and interaction between individuals and their computers without regard for geographic location.”

This is an interesting statement made by the Internet Society on the Brief History of the Internet. It however, represents a long lost idea. The idea of freedom of communication being made possible online and without interference of any kind to limit the flow of these ideas or other forms of information.web10

The Internet is much more than just the World Wide Web and websites. It consisted of many services, Usenet being an example I previously mentioned, before Tim Berners-Lee’s idea became a reality and has been before the 90s in such capacity.

According to Web Foundation’s article titled History of the Web:

“As the web began to grow, Tim realized that its true potential would only be unleashed if anyone, anywhere could use it without paying a fee or having to ask for permission.”

This was truly a time of potential and exploration. However, both the WWW and the Internet as a whole have since started to be much more limited in terms of geographical barriers and content control. Geoblocking of content, nations around the world controlling the flow of information and many other hamstrings exist today to a global and free Internet.

A Prime example of this is Netflix. You cannot watch the same content from even your own Netflix account abroad, say in Europe, than you can if you opened and ran your account from the United States. A lot of the content, such as TV shows, will not be available due to various licensing agreements that Netflix made with the producers or providers of such content. It all comes down to money and influence.

Another example of unequal access to online services and Internet restrictions based on geolocation data include the recent European privacy laws, called GDPR, that made many websites that do not comply with the new GDPR law unavailable to European users. This is based around Europe protecting privacy of user information and preventing data gathering for further targeted advertisements among other things. Last time I checked, I could not even open up the LA Times online when connecting from a European IP due to this issue. This is really a U.S. problem or problem with U.S. media not wanting to comply with GDPR.

Such unequal access to media will prevent the flow of information from being free and global. It will also prevent as global collaboration among journalists and media networks as a whole. It is also worth pointing out that this is very disadvantageous for average Web surfers and users who cannot get an unbiased picture on world news due to being prevented from accessing content or articles from even renown media channels, like the aforementioned LA Times.

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With a quick search I found more information on such sites and media. The Guardian has written an article mentioning this problem called LA Times among US-based news sites blocking EU users due to GDPR, but it is not the only major publication. According to the Guardian’s report:

“Visitors to newspapers owned by Tronc Inc – formerly Tribune Publishing – which also includes the New York Daily News, the Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and the San Diego Union-Tribune, are being redirected to a page with the message: ‘Unfortunately, our website is currently unavailable in most European countries.’”

This also means that many of us who want to travel and access our Netflix shows abroad will have to forego watching certain things we want to watch or go the route of purchasing VPN services (usually for a fee) in order to trick Netflix and other content providers or media into thinking we are in a different geographical zone (notably the U.S.).

Netflix is not the only example. In fact, many social networks, such as Instagram, offer geoblocking to an extent. Many even adhere to censorship from governments around the world such as China and North Korea to prevent web users in those countries from getting the full content of the site or network or prevent access altogether.web9

Besides the Web and Internet as a whole being manipulated and controlled by entities, whether governments (like China’s) or companies like Netflix, to bar users based on certain geographic demographics or geolocation, there are greater issues at play. You may have heard of the recent Net Neutrality rules controversies and how the Trump administration in the U.S. has not favored net neutrality, but sided against them.

According to a CNET write-up on the matter:

“Supporters of net neutrality say the internet as we know it may not exist much longer without the protections. Big tech companies, such as Google and Facebook, and internet luminaries, such as Tim Berners-Lee, fall in that camp.”

This shows that there may be different price hikes for different Internet speeds and broadband access to different users and companies rather than a free and equal share of the pie. This is all based on the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) having a heavy hand at deciding how U.S.-based Web traffic and online connectivity rules play out; and this FCC being influenced by politicians or having chairman appointed by presidents.

What is interesting is I had no idea how restricted online access can be until I started traveling or living abroad. This combined with Google’s geoblocking that prevents me from gaining access to U.S.-based Google search without typing /ncr (no country redirect) as part of Google’s url (www.google.com/ncr) are just hassles that should not exist. I found many websites, including Dropbox’s and Apple’s that automatically switch to the language of the country I am connecting from even when I try to switch the url to US or ENG or search for the U.S. based version of the site.

It is interesting how far this approach to Web traffic will go in terms of if it will continue to divide users based on geoblocking or over time if Web access will become more inclusive regardless of geographical location. I hope for the latter as many who are on a trip or those living abroad, but wanting access to the same content they had access to at home, do. Many business leaders and network professionals I am also sure want access to the premiere, or many times U.S.-based, versions of sites and services as they may be superior (Netflix example again) to the versions they are being forced to consume abroad.

Even website creation can become a major pain when switching regions or trying to create a site in English for a global audience. Here in Poland I created a site using Weebly and it automatically displayed Polish for me without asking me if that was the language I wanted to use for both the site itself and the menus. I have since switched to English from the dashboard, however some of the default text that isn’t changeable (maybe unless I went into CSS or HTML and did it by hand) is still displayed in Polish forcing me to delete it. Here is an example of what I am talking about:

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Notice that even though it says upload in English, the text actually shows up as pobierz, which is the Polish word for upload once saved. I do not know hot co change it as it is greyed out and default and you can only change the file name of the file you upload through drag and drop. However, there may be a way to do it via the CSS and HTML editor, which I do not even know if I can access without the paid version of Weebly’s plan as I cannot find that editor.

For instance, the drop down menu of archives in the news section of my template says “Archiwa” and the month in a smaller font below. Both of these words as part of the section are in Polish. I can change archive by hand to archives, but the month is hyperlink and unchangeable. What is odd is that even if delete this section and then find it in the menu to the left, it is in English. But once I drag it down to the same section, the text becomes Polish again.

These are all hurdles one has to overcome when traveling or moving into another country and dealing with so much geoblocking, geolocation tracking, and services being thrown down our throats we do not necessarily want (in the even of streamlining the web creation experience as outlined above making it more of a hassle as a result of not allowing us to change the hyperlinked text).

Personally, it will take a long time, and many dictators from around the world to disappear before the Internet truly becomes a free and global phenomenon. There are many hurdles still at play that are preventing even services such as Netflix from being equal around the world both in content and cost. Companies offering services should be the first to realize the importance of net neutrality and geoblocking woes, but when licensing and money are at play it becomes a different game.

However, there is still hope things will start turning around soon. According to the latest news (since I started writing this piece), California may soon approve a a net neutrality bill that would become the largest in the U.S. Again, this is strictly dealing with U.S. politics related to data and the FCC and not something that should affect users worldwide, but it can send a message and have a ripple affect down the road. California is a huge player when it comes to the Net, Web services and Silicon Valley is located there, after all.

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This is good news when it comes to data caps and neutral access across sites and networks to U.S. broadband and fiber-optic cables. However, it still does not address the issue of geoblocking of the same content across the globe despite users paying the same if not more of a premium for the service. Again, Netflix comes to mind as the example of this. It also does not address the issue of major media and websites being unavailable to European users due to the GDPR.

I really hope there will be a time when the ideas of what the Internet and the Web should be will come to pass and where someone can log online from anywhere on the globe and access the same services. This will not only open up new job markets and the ability for remote workers to have a fair and equal chance at competition and being productive, but also give kids an example to absorb the same information as their peers in the developed nations, particularly in the U.S who get all the online services available with the click of a mouse.

Found some Older UBM Techweb & Trainsignal Samples of Mine: Publishing Some Here

0A2E241D-E004-4B73-BB6F-0E507966264BAs some of you who have been following my work or my portfolio may know, I used to write for a number of IT-related (enterprise or B2B) websites and media. They included Trainsignal (an IT coursework company that now is called Pluralsight or was bought out by them) and a network of enterprise B2B websites covering topics such as big data analytics, cloud computing, virtualization, networking and more called UBM Techweb.

2CA30822-A376-4ABE-BB49-EEFCFD24F57BMost of this work is not published anymore and I reserve the author rights, so I have decided to publish some samples here and some are already published on my portfolio. Please note that they are my copyright, but if you want to work with me on publishing any of these pieces or have me rework them and turn them into a new feature based on more up-to-date happenings in the enterprise and tech world, please let me know.

 

Here was a story based on interviews I conducted with cloud computing experts over Skype from Silicon Valley that offered insight on where the technology at the time (this was a few years ago) was heading in terms of enterprises and markets as well as the difference between private, public and hybrid cloud offerings. The larger story had two more interviews and was a longer and more in-depth feature, but UBM Techweb published this focused piece below on hybrid cloud (I will try to look for the larger feature as I may have it still saved somewhere and share it):

Keep in mind that even thought I mentioned both Pluralsight and UBM Techweb, most of the samples above were published by various UBM Techweb sites I wrote for, so I will try uploading and sharing more of my Pluralsight stuff here as well. I also did some offshoots of stories for one that would be tailored for the other. For instance, the David Linthicum and hybrid cloud computing article above I published as part of the larger (and in three parts) cloud computing comparison (with two other analysts interviewed and added into the larger story) for Trainsignal, but the focus on hybrid cloud and Linthicum story linked above was published on a UBM Tech site

0E3DB233-2933-46D6-9E82-F95BB1C0CF5BI enjoy improvising and changing angles as well as stories to suit different topics, media or simply angles. I have a lot of experience of covering enterprise and IT topics that I can definitely turn into a story of a unique angle or use some interviews or older stories to put together something interesting based on new research, happenings or events. This is just part of my larger backlog, so if you are interested just let me know on any of these stories or angles.

Also, most of the topics I covered and would not mind starting to cover again could be described as technical analysis of the IT, enterprise and B2B industries. Some of the topics, as you can see, are more technical in nature while others are more newsy in nature. Others srill, may be more of an informed opinion based on research and analysis from different siurces. The entire private vs public vs hybrid cloud piece (if I can find it) could even be clwssified as a white paper. Anyway, if you enjoy my coverage of this industry, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I will keep updating this post and may turn it into. new section under portfolio or add some content there also.

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I Launched a New Website Using Weebly This Time Around Called Artistic Counterculture

F8C41266-706D-4CC9-9634-4EBB0E8A22C8So I have decided to launch a new website using a visual and drag-and-drop style of a web design interface called Weebly. The website is available here. It has been in the planning stages for months. I wanted a service site that is less of a personal site focusing on me, my ontent and resume, but on services I or my friends/co workers can offer. I also wanted a site I can showcase some of my skills, such as graphic design and video editing, past writing, reporting and type.

Again, I used Weebly for its creation process and surprisingly I mostly did it all from my iPad, although I also used my Macbook Air for certain things or simply because I did not have my iPad at hand. Weebly is similar in some ways to WordPress and different in many ways as well. I would say that I prefer it to WordPress when using the app on iPad and how easy its drag-and-drop interface is when compared to the mobile WordPress app. It is seamless from mobile and allows you to add videos, slide shows, backgrounds to image layouts with ease.

Obviously, it works more efficient or loads faster as you upload new content from a Mac or PC than iPad, but it is still great on Apple’s tablet from my experience. Once you make your changes, however, be sure to publish them after clicking preview on the upper right-side bar. It even has blogging integrated and many styles of templates you could work from.

Another reaosn I prefer Weebly to WordPress in certain instances is that it is simpler to use overall to accomplish certain Web design tasks. You do not have to worry about navigating various menus or sub menus such as WP Admin, or the various plugins to accomplish basic tasks. It has search, maps and various things integrated form its main drop down menu you access when clicking the plus sign. You then just drag such features onto where you want them to appear on your landing page or any other page of the site.

6DE83E73-0497-4C23-91B6-FFD48E55171BThere are obviously a lot of advantages WordPress has over Weebly and similarities as well. It is good to be able to use various web design services, apps and software and get a good perspective that way on the type of templates or sites you want to work from. WordPress seems more integrated with CSS and HTML in custom creation of content and editing, but then again I am currently just starting to work with Weebly and on the free plan, so I will see going forward what else it offers.

I also like how you can use WordPress, as long as you have at least a personal site plan, to store multimedia content and share the url of such files or content elsewhere. You may have noticed that the search bar in the image above does not appear on my Weebly page. This is because the feature that I accessed simply from the drop-down menu is not available with the free version of the site. Another advantage of WordPress I find is how easy it is to modify the custom url of a blog post, or site section for further sharing and linking.

I have been using the Artistic Counterculture tagline or brand name in certian instances, such as some content on my Facebook sister site as well as some video content I uploaded to Youtube. Thus, I figure this is a great name to my site and potential company (or at least an icon/emblem of my services) I am in the process of realizing. The reason I choose Artistic Counterculture because I enjoy mixing street art, urban culture, graffiti and the like with an artistic flair. I enjoy taking pictures, capturing video content from my iPad or digital camera and modifying it or adding effects to make it art. I also enjoy traveling to strange or scary places and adding flair to the captured content I find there with the aid of visual tools — whether video or still images/graphic design.

Also, if you have been following this blog, you may have seen my other recent posts such as this one, which showcase the way I combine street art through photogrpahy with graphic design for added flair and ideas. This is also part of my Artistic Counterculture idea. I think the name sounds right for the type of content I enjoy doing, hence the reason I used it for the new site, which again is: https://artisticcounterculture.weebly.com

I like the way the portfolio section looks on the new site and the way that Weebly let me organize it with my custom background of a rock wall I actually took from my iPad and uploaded it to Weebly. I also like the slide show feature of Weebly and utilized this on the landing page of my site or the home page. There are clearly advantages of using various templates and some services have better ones than others, but overall with certain workarounds and navigation you should be able to create the type of content you need for your site or brand across services, with some differentiations along the way. The other thing, is some services have better free vs paid tiers than others as well as advantages and disadvantages like I already mentioned above. Bottom line, however, is you can always use custom HTML code and CSS to design things your way outside anything a service or template may try forcing on you or your design.

WordPress really just started out as a blogging service and turned moe into custom web design software over time. Weebly offers blogging as part of its templates pages, from the get go, as you can see in my template along with a news section. This is one way it integrated full web design with blogging as just one of its features rather than the focus.

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I also like how Weebly has the various insights integrated right into the main app rather than having to navigate to see how many visitors or clicks you got from some separate menu. Anyway, check out my new site and send any suggestions or comments as well as ideas. I may try integrating more of this site with it or link between sections, however I still have uet to add a full service page with a bullet list (I simply linked to the Facebook sister site). So it is obviously a work in progress. Also, you may have noticed that a lot of the content I have posted over the last few months, or so, on here I have integrated into the new site across the pages and into the portfolio as well. I will try to keep the themes or focus more segregated as it is a bit of a jumbled mess right now.

Oh and yes I do get that the background may be a bit unsuited to the writing on the portfolio page due to the rock wall image. It makes the writing a bit hard to read, but I am still trying to figure out if there is a way to segregate that background or rock wall into only secitons with specific content on the sub page (portfolio) and not across the whole page. However, I am not willing to rid of the beautiful background just yet.

Some Recent Graphic Design Ideas for Potential Posters, Game or Album Covers, Ads & More

Recently, I posted some fresh graphical content, including a video clip showing my digital media and multimedia skills combined into a wave style of transcendence. In that recent write up, I mentioned going on a trip to Israel and capturing some cool street art, which I planned to use in future graphic design content. Well, it only took me a day or so from my other blog post to start coming up with ideas.

Here is some of my recent work using these ideas and media as it fits into the sci-fi style of graphic design I enjoy doing immensly. I combined multimedia skills across a wide variety of formats from photography to multiple raster apps. I captured the main head, which you will see in the graphics below, as a photo I took of graffiti from the recent trip to Tel Aviv. I then masked it as a stand-alone object and combined it with other self-created assets in order to create something unique. I think the idea could work well for game, movie or book posters as well as front covers.

Here is the Tel Aviv street art I captured via my iPad’s camera and which got me inspired in using it for future assets for graphic design work:

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And here are the sci-fi ideas I came up with thus far:

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Here is a PDF file with all work intact in a nice loseless format ready to print.

Keep in mind this is all raster work as I used my iPad exclusively to create everything you see above. I could add some of these assets to Illustrator and vectorize them via the trace command to get more print-friendly work. It could also open the work up to newer ideas using desktop apps, Illustrstor or Photoshop, which I also use interchangeably with the iPad apps (aprocreate and Artstudio Pro) as I swap files across iCloud. Look for more content in the future, particularly some vector work.

A Wave of Multimedia-Based Graphic Design

So while traveling to Tel Aviv, Israel and seeing so much awesome street art and graffiti (I also checked out Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, but that is a whole other story), I got inspired again to create something new. Here is a video I created I originally titled, The Wave, but really want to call it more of A Wave-Like Experince of Multimedia Graphic Design.

Below are some samples I created to put into the end of the clip. I decided to add that bit to make it a mix of some of my graphic design samples (a showcase of sorts of some of my recent samples not related to a theme) and a short film about the theme of waves and movement in still motion as well as an abstract form of metal.

I have been experiencing with various effects and that’s how the theme came to be around movement, waves, transcendence and metal. Here are the random samples at the end showcased that do not really relate to theshort clip’s theme, but I created froms sratch as well as the video.

Here are some mix and match samples as well as a random background I recently created as I was experimenting with abstract forms.

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This sample I created using the self-created abstract background and skewing some layers of Tel Aviv street art, which I captured as photos from my iPad’s camera.

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I have many more great samples from this recent trip to Israel and not just in terms of great street art or graffiti. I have lots of desert images, Jerusalem’s oldcastle or town walls, including one of me standing in front of Dammascus Gate, as well as old Roman structures near Masada. I may either showcase these as part of a collage or create my own custom art, graphic design and multimedia out of them or in combination with my own abstract forms.

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