The random ramblings of a teenage web designer trying to make it big. Design, gaming, music, and life in Florida. Because everything else just isn't as good.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Writing from Mac

Well, right now I am writing this post from the Apple Computer Store at the Tampa Bay International Plaza shopping mall, home to Sharper Image, the Apple Store, and many other top notch stores. This is my first experience using a Mac of any type and I love it. Right now I'm using a Power Mac G5 on a 23 inch cinema display screen. Surprisingly, my website looks awesome on it. I can't wait until I get my iBook.

I plan on purchasing a 12 inch iBook with 512 megabytes of memory, 60 gigabytes of Ram, iLife, and an internal Bluetooth module. Unfortunately, I don't have the money for that right now, so it will have to wait a few months. Anyway, just wante dto let all of you PC users know exactly what you're missing out on. This is simply amazing. And the store design is brilliant.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Small Changes / MPH

Okay, well, as you may or may not have noticed, I made a few tiny changes to the look of the blog. Nothing that will get me an award or anything, just some simple pieces of flare, I guess you could say. First of all, I replaced the links menu with a list of buttons that link to my favorite websites, or sites that I believe are essential for designers and web browsers in general. If you think your site is worthy drop a comment or send me a message on my forums and I'll get back to you.

Second, you may notice that little one.org banner at the top of the page. I recently placed that tiny little piece of code on all of my websites, save for my portfolio (still waiting for my hosting period to end, so I don't really touch that anymore). Every day over 30,000 children die as a result of extreme poverty. Click that little banner and show your support. It's maily a UK thing, but as long as I'm supporting a worthy cause it's staying up there.

Finally, as a result of spam I have removed my email completely. Luckily the spam has slowed down to about 1 email per week, but I still don't want to take the risk of putting my email back up and then getting fifty spam emails a day. So if you need to contact me just post a comment with your email, or send me a personal message on my forums, which require a quick and painless registration.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

June Links

Well, since Blogger doesn't support a second feed for the links sectiont hey provide I'll just have to make an entire post for links at the end of each month. As you'll notice pretty much all of my links are web design and hacking related. And when I say hacking I mean the art of building things from scratch or taking other things apart and rebuilding them.


  • On MouseOut - Mike Davidson finally left Disney after four and a half years. Probably one of the biggest bits of news this month.

  • DC Hoops - combine Hoops and the DC shoes training facility for an insane video. Via Mr. Moll

  • Blinksale - The web app many designer have been waiting for. Firewheel Design brings us a tool that allows you to send CSS formatted memos, contracts, etc anywhere.

  • Mac OS on Dell? - this would be great for me, but Apple isn't biting. Via Ground Zero News.

  • Billy Corgan - Billy Corgan, formerly of the Smashing Pumpkins just released a solo album, is making a movie, and plans to reunite the Pumpkins, without even telling them! Via Jaredigital

  • Mailinator - kill the spam. Kind of like Spam.la, only better. Via Shaun Inman.

  • Site Piracy - Digital Nirvana has been not only ripping designs like MORE LLC, but they've also been caliming to make them from scratch. They've ripped MORE, a Zen Garden entry, and a few other notable designs. Discussion here.

  • IE7 and Longhorn public demo - this should be interesting. I want to try both so bad.



Well, that's the cream of the crop for links this month. I'll have more around this time in July. If I find anything else until then I'll add it to this post. Enjoy!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Some ads


Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com


Okay, well, I decided to make some advertising banners for the blog. I basically used a simple photoshop tutorial and added some text and slogans. What do you think? Oh yeah, this post was made using Photobucket's blogging tool, which you can set up to send posts to your Blogger, LiveJournal, etc. account.

Welcome

First off, I'd just like to say welcome to any users who may come across this blog at its new home. I've been planning a name change and redesign for quite a while now, but unfortuantely all I have been able to do at this point is change the name and URL. Now, welcome to Textonic.

Basically the name is derived from drinking. Tonic is a very notable drink, and textonic is your regular drink of text. What I'm trying to say is, on a regular basis you'll get some really great articles, which will act as your drink of text for the day. Okay, I'm a little confused myself, but it sounds cool none the less.

That's pretty much it. I have a few articles planned soon. Some will be project updates, and others will be media reviews and personal things. Currently I'm writing a newspaper article and working on a few new clients, so you'll have to excuse me if I don't post often enough.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Burnout, watch your back

Okay, I recently got my hands on an early, full version copy of FlatOut, an awesome, new, destroy-all racing game, similar to Burnout, the leader in this genre. How did I get an early copy, you may be asking? A friend of mine let me borrow it. How did he get it? I have no clue and don't want to know. Anyway, this game is awesome.

I haven't played much of it yet, but from what I can see the main point is to destroy your car as much as humanly possible while trying ot complete insane stunts and races. The best part, almost every single physical object in the game can be destroyed, and it doesn't disappear after you destroy it. It just sits in the middle of the road or whatever waiting for stupid drives to come by and smash into it. The game is so addictive.

During races you have nitrous boosts, which last quite a while and are great for head on crashes. Now if you can only manage to get a hold of the OPM demo, then I suggest driving around backwards instead of finishing the race. This way, the demo last longer and you get to beat your car to a pulp while mercilessly throwing unsuspecting drivers through their windshields. In one sense, the game reminds me of childish antics from games like the Dukes of Hazzard, but in another sense it reminds me of Burnout 3 and Takedown. In fact, reviewers even mentioned that "Burnout should be rather concerned". At the IGN Best of E3 awards it took home runner up for Most Innovative Design and Biggest Surprise.

Now, races may be fun, but the stunt challenges are what really make the game enjoyable. On the demo you can perform the high jump, in which you drive your car straight up a ramp, and then using a special type of nitrous boost you launch your driver through the window, competing to see how high you can make him go. You have three tries, and at the end of them your distance is counted up. My current record is 318.6 Meters. Pretty good, huh? Though I haven't quite figured it out, I believe the nitrous used in stunts is stored under the seat, and when hit it pushes the seat up, launching the drive through the windshield. It makes me wonder whether the people who made this game were even concerned about seatbelts.

Overall, the game gets a 9 out of 10 in my books, and is definitely woth $50, for the fun factor if not the gameplay itself. The game is produced by Empire Interactive and Bugbear Entertainment Ltd and is out in stores now. The game features 36 terrifying tracks and 16 fully upgradeable cars, along with unlimited damage and more, plus an awesome soundtrack. You can visit the FlatOut website at flatoutgame.com.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Choosing a Host

After searching for months for a quality host I decided to document what I have learned so far. Everything from domain name choice to customer support and more. First off, I would like to say that I have no affiliation with any of the hosts mentioned in this article, and have not been paid to promote them. Though, why would anybody pay a blogger with three other visitors to promote their website?

Finding a reliable host is probably the first major challenge a designer, or anybody running a site for that matter, must face. You need to have something that can support your traffic, files, and offer everything you need to get your website off the ground. Originally I was using a small host called EHost Pros. Now, they did well in supporting my very small site. But when it comes to traffic support and all around features the company just wasn't cutting it.

When searching for a host you want to look for something affordable that has PHP 4+ support, along with a good amount of MySQL databases, uploading space, and especially bandwidth. I suggest something around 70 gigabytes of monthly bandwidth if you plan on launching a large site, and around 30 gigabytes monthly transfer for smaller, usually personal sites. You also want to check on features and see who else is hosting with the companies you are looking at. It's a good idea to host with a company that has some popular clients. In the end I will be using Dreamhost, a very popular hosting company that has clients like Devil's Details and others. I also recommend Media Temple, probably one of the most popular hosting companies around.

Now, domain choice is a very important part of setting up your website. You need to choose something that is simple, effective, and most of all, easy to memorize. A simple tip, go with a .com extension over a .net extension. When searching for a website most people automatically use a .com extension with any web page. It makes sense and currently is the most popular extension. Now, you need something short. If your company or website has a long name, try using abbreviations or acronyms. If it were available I would use wfd.com instead of webfuziondesign.com, or even wfdesign.com. Pricing is another important issue. Usually a registrar will only cost you about $10 for a fully supported domain name, which you'll have to renew yearly, depending on your plan. In most situations your web host will provide your domain name.

In essence, choosing a web host and domain name is a very important matter, and should be done with care. Once I make some money I will personally be signing up with Dreamhost, and will be closing this blog to make room for my WordPress based blog. If Google ever release a downloadable version of Blogger I'll use that instead. Speaking of the Blogger system, I need to suggest that to somebody. Hopefully this article has been helpful. Unfortunately, I'm not that good at putting my thoughts to words. I plan on writing a full set of these articles once I get my finalized site set up.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

E3 Phone Home

Well, E3 is finally over in California, and here’s my take on the most important things I saw. Who cares about the Playstation anymore? Well, okay, I still do, but decided not to write about it just yet. I’ll save that for a whole nother post. Anyway, it’s a long read, so you may want to settle in before you start reading. E3 ’05 was great, and I enjoyed every minute of it… from my recliner in my bedroom. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to Cali for this one. Maybe next year.

Microsoft Xbox 360 – A technical masterpiece, this is the console that thousands have been waiting for. From what I can see the Xbox 360 will replace all other types of media displays from CD Players to DVD Players. The Xbox 360, originally called the Xbox Next, is a super powerful, wireless media center that can play games, music, movies and even access the internet without the need of troublesome modifications. Get ready gamers, this is the one you’ve been waiting for. Now, if I understood correctly on the MTV display a few weeks ago the 360 will feature something called the Xbox Market, or something to that extent where you can buy clothes, weapons, and other accessories for your in game characters. Could you imagine Master Chief in baggy jeans, a bandana, and some iced out chains? This brings me to my next few questions. What can we expect as far as lineup goes? Will there be a Halo 3? Which games are going to be ready by launch time? One game I’m looking forward to is the new Perfect Dark game. I can still remember the original being a favorite of mine on the Nintendo 64 a few years back. And I can also remember myself using the “Perfect Dark” font quite frequently too. Now, the 360 looks nothing like its predecessor, and all games will be played in high-def (and they’ll all have Xbox Live capabilities). Along with less character and scenery distortion the 360 also has video capabilities, so you’ll actually be able to have live video chats with your friends, colleagues, whatever. Who needs iChat AV after that? The Xbox 360 is due out by this holiday season.

Movie Games – All of these next generation consoles will see some movie based games hitting shelves. In recent years games like Mortal Kombat and Goldeneye, along with others like Spiderman have really made move based games really popular. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be their favorite movie heroine, whether it be swinging through the skies of New York or slicing up baddies withy a nice pair of claws? Some hot new movie based games you’ll be seeing soon are The Godfather and Scarface. Two classic gangster movies that make grown men cry. Scarface throws you right into the movie, where you’ll play as Tony Montana, while The Godfather takes an almost RPG like mood. You’re tossed into the streets where you’ll have to work your way up to the top of a very notorious gang. Now, of course you’ll also be seeing a new Mortal Kombat game, and if there are any new superhero movies there’ll of course be an accompanying game. But that’s not all. The most anticipated you ask? Well, of course it’s everyone’s favorite gang war movie, The Warriors; you do remember the guy with the bottles on his fingers, don’t you? Anyway, this GTA-like game is produced by Rockstar Games and is one nonstop gang war marathon. It is due out in October 2005 and is not yet rated.

Racing Games – Racing games are proving to be the single most fun to play. Last year Burnout: Takedown launched to mass acclaim. I guess people enjoy driving fast and crashing fast. This year you can expect a new Burnout Game, title Revenge. More cars, more speed, and more accidents waiting just for you. With millions of ways to wreck your car you’re pretty much guaranteed to never see the same crash twice. Another good one is LA Rush, a Stuntman like game without all of those stupid stunts and games. It’s basically a rush through Hollywood in what would seem like a Gone in 60 Seconds car boosting spree. Finally there’s Full Auto, a destroy all game that definitely has its roots deep in the Twisted Metal series. With tricked out cars and loud guns, along with a nifty rewind feature you can destroy almost anything at any time. It’s all that and a bag of chips.

Football – Now, pretty much every single gamer has played Madden, am I right? Well, this year we’ll see a new Madden game, and we’ll also see the anti-Madden. Madden 2006 is looking great and is pretty much a sports RPG. You can play throughout multiple seasons while building up your character, and the whole time you’ll enjoy stunning graphics made possible only by the Xbox 360. Madden will also feature a new look and pass feature e, meaning you’ll actually have tot urn your QB in the directions he’s throwing in order to make more accurate passes. Now onto the anti-Madden. Many of you may remember playing Blitz in arcades, correct? Well, it’s back and better than ever. Blitz: The League, is the newest Blitz game and is proving to be one violently fun game. In Blitz you can do things that would get you jail time in real life, and because the game isn’t licensed in any way by the NFL, nobody really cares. For example, you can rip a player’s helmet off and beat him with it during the middle of a play, and the ref will do nothing about it. But wait, there is no referee. How fun is that?

Comic Book Games – X-Men Legends was a great game when it came out late last year, and almost everybody wanted it. Though X-Men may seem a little childish, this game was anything but. X-Men Legends 2 made its debut at E3 and proves to be a most enjoyable play. The two forces have combined and now you have control of more than double the powers you had in X-Men Legends 1. The other big comic book game to be launched soon in Unlimited Spiderman, a comic book styled game with all the action you’d expect from our favorite web slinger. In the game you’ll be able to play as Spidey himself and all of his different counterparts too.

War Games – Call of Duty 2, Ghost Recon 3, Quake 4 How long have we waited for these titles? I know I’ve been waiting for what seems like a millennia. Quake is finally back with a FPS better than ever. Not much to say here. You have to have played the others to truly understand the logic that is Quake. Now, Call of Duty may not seem important to many. But when its first title launched last year it made quite a stir around those gamers sucked into Medal of Honor. Now Call of Duty 2 is scheduled for launch, and this is definitely a game to play with the volume cranked up to 11 (for all of those Spinal Tap fans), as most of your directions will be shouted at you by AI controlled teammates. Finally, if you’re more of a deep jungle, under cover war hero type of guy you may want to check out Ghost Recon 3 when it hits stores, probably in 2006. The first two were full of heart-stopping action and allowed you to explore areas like drug covered Brazil and Columbia.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Summer stinks...

At least it does in Florida. Despite my visit to Busch Gardens and Adventure Islands last weekend, this summer is going to completely suck. First of all, I went to Busch Gardens and rode Sheikra, the new ride that just opened. The ride basically drops you from 200 feet in the air at a 90 degree angle. After waiting in line for an hour and a half we finally rode the ride, and it was not worth the wait.

The good news, I made a new friend (who's father looks exactly like Mick Jagger), but the email address he gave me doesn't work. Now, on to the main point. The weatherman predicted it will rain almost every day here in Central Florida until Hurricane season ends. More joy. So, not only do I have to put up with rain all summer, I have little to do anyway. I just broke my skateboard last week, so now I have to get a new one and can't keep up with my friends until then. So I guess all I can do is play video games and browse the web. Luckily business is booming and I am getting quite a few new clients (my next post will most likely be work or design related). I can only hope somebody out there shares my pain ;-)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Random Thoughts

I've just got some random thoughts for today. I've been doing a lot lately, so you may notice that this blog hasn't been updated in a while, though I did manage to test out Aggregator to Blog posting and Email to Blog posting. The Email post worked, but sadly the Aggregator post failed to put a title to the article. Oh well.

First off, I've got a few select bands floating around my ears right now. Most of them aren't really new, but you may want to check them out anyway. First off, I suggest picking up the newest Jimmy Eat World album, "Futures". It has a nice, easy flow, and when you really feel like rocking out you can always play "Pain", probably the most popular song on the album. I also recommend My Checmical Romance, "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge", but then again, who hasn't made a My Chem recommendation. And in case you didn't see my last post, BUY Mezmerize. It is awesome. Finally, you should check out The Bravery and No Address, two really hot emerging rock bands. No Address will be playing in June with Seether (I can't wait to get tickets), and I think I heard something about The Bravery going on tour soon.

Now, it's off to the world of gaming. Definitely check out Area 51 for the Playstation 2. I played this a few months ago on an OPM demo disc, and then I saw a little bit more of it when I bought Psi Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy (a great game by the way). Now, if you're looking for a good RPG I suggest a game called Growlanser. My friend bought it a few months back at a local EB Games, and it rocks. Though I haven't been able to find it since then.

Finally, there are a ton of awesome new shows coming to TV, most of them anime. Samurai Champloo made a strong debut on Adult Swim a few weeks back, and I've been addicted to it since then. s-CRY-ed and Paranoia Agent also kicked off last Saturday. Out of the two I'd have to say I'm more interested in Paranoia Agent, mainly because it's a 9 part mini series, and we all know mini series rock. And I also heard the the Naruto anime is coming to Toonami this summer. That should be good. And if you're a Ghost in the Shell fanatic like me, you'll be happy to know that the second season of Stand Alone Complex returns to Adult Swim this fall.