Throne of Screams

Throne of Screams by Brinkerhoff<br />
USD$10 for 24 hours only

Throne of Screams by Brinkerhoff imagines StarScream on the Iron Throne. The crown he wears in the Transformers movie is a nice touch but I can’t get past the fact that the colours on this image seem a bit too dark.

If it tickles your fancy you have 24 hours (Probably less by the time you read this) to get it off of Ript Apparel.

Via GameFreaks.NZ

Paper Roses Made From Book Pages How To

diy paper flowers

I’m of two minds on these roses, on the one hand they look awesome, on the other I’m not sure I agree with destroying books to make them… I’m not sure what it is about books that makes them sacred, but there is something about them that makes defiling them a cardinal sin. That said destroying a mass produced art work to create a unique one is okay isn’t it?

If you are Lazy you can just buy them on Etsy but I’ve copied the instructions here just in case the source link goes down for whatever reason.

diy paper flowers

Craft Supplies:
Paper
Grosgrain Ribbon, ½ Width cut to 4 inch lengths
16 Gauge Wire cut to 15 inch lengths
Glue Gun
Glue Sticks (low temp)
Scissors
Wire Cutters

Step 1: Gather materials. If you are using vintage books or sheet music as your paper source make sure it is still flexible enough to curl with your fingers. The wire can be found at the hardware store, and is sometimes called “black wire” or “annealed coil wire.” Be sure you are using low temp hot glue because you’ll be able to feel it right through the paper petals as you work.

diy paper flowers

Step 2: Cutting. You will need to stockpile at least 5 different sizes of petals ranging from about ¾ inch wide to 3 inches wide. I cut freehand, and avoid templates, so that each petal is a unique and organic shape. Think of the shapes as little church windows or arches. Some can be pointy, and some can be rounded. For each flower you will need at least 4 of each size. Make more than you need.

Step 3: Shaping. I really feel that this is the most important step to create natural and soft looking flowers. Roll the edges of each petal, and pinch the base slightly. Each one can be done a little differently to give the petals character and roundness. I shape all of my petals before I even begin gluing anything.

diy paper flowers

Step 4: Rolling the center. You need to cut out one more shape for each flower, and this is for the coiled center of the rose. This shape should be about 2 ½ inches long with a rounded tip. Roll it up into a tube to create its shape. Unroll it and run a bead of hot glue along the inside and re-roll it around the end of your wire. Another dot of glue will hold it in place.

Step 5: Attaching petals. Begin with your smallest petals. Use a single dot of glue, about ¼ inch from the bottom of the petal to attach it to the stem. Your next petal should overlap the first. Continue adding small petals, rotating the stem as you go, always slightly overlapping the last petal you attached. This is where your artistry will come in as you continue to rotate and build. As you begin adding larger petals pinch the bases, as they are much wider. By pinching at the bases you will be rounding out the rose, and creating space between layers.

Step 6: Finishing. The sepals will be made of ribbon, which will also cover your final seams and create a nice polished look. Each rose needs two – 4 inch lengths of ribbon. Wrap them around the stem and secure to the undersides of the petals. Cut a ‘V’ into each end of the ribbons to finish.

diy paper flowers

Via 100 Layer Cake

Clever Email Marketing From Pizza Express Using HTML

If you use a sensible email client you will probably have noticed that most of your emails will not initially load when images, this is great for the user, it speeds up the process of downloading all your mail and means you can skim through your mail without having to wait ages for images you don’t care about to load.

This isn’t however very good for email marketers who use images to convey information to you. I’m sure you are used to receiving a lot of emails that make no sense because they don’t have any images in them. It seems that Pizza Express (A UK Pizza Restaurant Chain) have cottoned on to the fact that not everyone downloads all the images from their correspondence emails, so they have taken to formatting the emails quite cleverly, this is what an email I received today looks like without the images having loaded:

You can clearly see that it’s someone in a stripy costume holding up their hand to their hair (or maybe a pizza?) Below that there are details of the offer and how to get a voucher code in plain text.

Once you load images this is what the email looks like:

It’s a blonde woman in a stripy swimsuit holding up her hair. Looking at the image it’s obvious that the non image version is based on  this, the graphics in the non table version maybe reminiscent of an Atari 2600 game but they convey the same details as the image version, and they make you stop and think, I wonder what that is supposed to be maybe I’ll download the images.

So I guess their cunning ruse worked. I downloaded their images, I’ve also subjected you to their cunning advertising…

QR Code Marketing Done Wrong

QR code

A friend on Facebook posted this and mentioned that they couldn’t get it to scan. So I ever curious took the image and messed about with it till it did scan:

I’ll save you the trouble it points to a page on Cargo Collective which is an error page.

Lets look at this… It’s blatantly some kind of guerilla marketing thing, it invoked both the interest of my friend on face book and me enough that he posted it to Facebook to say WTF? and I cleaned it up to get it to scan. The fail here is two fold though.

A: It doesn’t scan, they tried to be clever with the QR code and it didn’t work.

B: When you do clean it up to scan you are taken to an error page that makes no sense.

Oh well that’s 5 minutes of my life wasted…

 

Edit: The Error message directs you to Stour Space which is where I assume this project is hosted…

Social Network Privacy + Bonus Rant…

I’ve noticed a few stories cropping up over the past week of employers requiring candidates to give them access to their social networking as well as coaches demanding that athletes friend them so that they can monitor them.

While I think this kind of behaviour is deplorable, and to be honest if an employer asked me to sign in to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn or whatever in the middle of an interview I’d walk out as that is not that kind of organization I want to work for, I’m not sure why people don’t see the simple way round this:

Just have two Facebook accounts!

 

One that is private and has all your pictures of the sordid acts you perform on barn yard animals with custard at the weekend and another account that shows you as an upstanding citizen.

It’s not rocket science…

Sure curating the account might be a bit of hassle, but it should be easy enough to friend a few people and just leave the account to fester, then when they ask you why you update so infrequently just tell them you don’t really use social media. Unless you are going in for a job at a marketing firm as a “Social Media Guru” this shouldn’t affect your chances one bit.

By the by: If you do describe yourself a “Social Media Guru” though seek help, chances are you aren’t. You are a toss pot. This is a completely different rant, but following hundreds of people who are “Social Media Gurus” and posting nothing but articles about increasing your follower count, or maximising your follower potential, or anything that has nothing to do with anything but social media does not make you a guru, it makes you a retard. Having 90,000 followers on Twitter all of whom describe themselves as “Social Media Gurus” just means you have your head firmly shoved up your ass and are participating in the worlds most social and pointless circle jerk.

I’m not going to pretend that I know everything there is to know about social media, in fact I acknowledge that I don’t know much about it, but it’s painfully obvious that having 10 followers who actually care about the content that you are posting and retweet it is more valuable than living in an echo chamber that is a hundred million “Social Media Gurus” waxing lyrical about stuff no one cares about.

Anyway like I said this is a rant for another day…

Apple Punditry

English: The logo for Apple Computer, now Appl...
I miss this logo

I’m going to weigh in on the off chance I’m right but here are my expectations for the apple announcement today:

  1. New Apple TV (I hope with a little bit of storage but I doubt it)
  2. iTV Apple TV with integrated TV, probably available in 32″ and 24″ varieties.
  3. Apps for Apple TV (I don’t own an apple TV but I assume that it doesn’t do apps) People will liken this to the Pippin
  4. Update to the iPod range, with the iPod Touch being upgraded to match the iPhone 4 without the 3G radio of course.
  5. Update to Laptop range, this has been a long time coming and a lot of people are speculating that the MacBook Pro will move to a MacBook Air like form factor.
  6. Possible bump in processors to Apples Desktops, to be honest I’ve not paid attention to the Apple Desktops in 5 years and they don’t seem to have changed aesthetically since the G5 was announced, so it’s possible that they might refresh the desktop case but I doubt it.
  7. Oh yeah iPad 3, which is annoying as I’ve only just got an iPad 2. Higher resolution screen and beefier processor seem a given, I think Apple will continue to sell the iPad 2 this time as the low end alternative moving to a two tiered model like the 3 tier model they have with the iPhone 3GS/4/4S at the moment.
  8. Something new about the App store to mark the 25 billionth app being downloaded, what? I don’t know.

I don’t think any of this is rocket science, I think it’s business as usual. I’d like to see the Apple TV turn into a console/entertainment centre but with Valve thinking about releasing one and the way that Google TV is going I think that the market is too saturated.

I know this is cliché, I don’t actually care very much as I doubt I’ll be buying anything that Apple announce today, but I thought I’d weigh in.

This is the first big Apple event since the death of Jobs, I predict lot of people are going to be comparing Tim Cook to Steve and most of them are going to say that he doesn’t have the same charisma. It’ll be interesting to see how well whatever Tim Cook announces sell without Steve’s “Reality Distortion Field”.

If Apple announce a Pippin 2 I might want one though… I really wanted a Pippin when the first one was announced.

Bandai Pippin (Atmark Player)
Image via Wikipedia

A Valve Console: My Thoughts

Needs

There has been a rumour buzzing round the internet for some time that Valve were going to release a console, a couple of days ago the rumours picked up again, I think it would be a great idea. Unlike many people I don’t have a gaming PC, there are lots of games that I’d love to play but can’t because all the PCs I have are either gathering dust in my “Study” (Read as the room I put all the crap I find around the house whenever I tidy it) or are in bits in the garage. I’ve got laptops coming out the wazoo (I think there are 4-5 working laptops floating around the house) but none of them have the oomph to play games, also lets be honest laptop keyboards and trackpads are crap for gaming.

Also I currently have a 19″ monitor attached to my aforementioned dust gathering PC (There were two but Avarinne borrowed one to use at work), which is a fraction of the size of my 50″ plasma or my 37″ LCD, sure the resolution is a little higher but I’m not that fussed about that. If I were to buy a gaming PC I’d have to also buy a big ass monitor which annoys me as I already have a big ass TV.

So I welcome a system that brings PC gaming into my living room, especially if it is subsidised by Valve. Valve have also intoned that they wouldn’t be against third parties having publishing platforms on their box, in fact the main reason they are thinking about this is because they don’t like the vendor lock in that Microsoft and Sony have on their respective consoles.

The one issue I’d have is that I’ve yet to see a keyboard/mouse combination that works in the living room, and not all games work with a controller, I’m sure this is something they can get around .

I’d pay for a machine I could play Valve and GOG games on alone, I’d pay a little more if it came shaped like a companion cube, but you can keep your hats…

Image Ctrl-Alt-Delete: “Needs

Game of Thrones The Board Game: First Impressions

I had a go at playing the Game of Thrones board game on Saturday, and from what I’ve seen I quite like it. The game centres about the battle for the control of Westeros, and you play one of 6 houses (Stark, Lannister, Baratheon, Greyjoy, Tyrell and Martel)

Depending on how many players you have some of the houses aren’t available to play, we were playing a 4 player game so houses Tyrell and Martel were out of the picture.

The game lasts for 10 turns 3 phases:

  1. The Westeros Phase
  2. The Planning Phase
  3. The Action Phase

The in the Westeros Phase you deal with a set of random events that happen as described by drawing 3 cards from the Westeros Card Deck, these cards tend to involve a choice for one of the players, usually the player at the head of one of the three tracks (Iron throne, Fiefdoms, Kings Court) or they allow players to muster their armies or change their resource levels.

During the planning phase each player puts a token on each area he controls face down, the tokens signify what they want to do in that area, the options are:

  1. Raid
  2. March
  3. Defend
  4. Support
  5. Consolidate Power

Raiding essentially equates to screwing up other players order, marching allows you to move troops to another area or attack an area, defending enhances the defence of an area, support allows troops in one area to support troops in another area in defending or attacking, and consolidating power allows you to get power tokens or under certain circumstances build up your army a little.

Once everyone has finished putting down their planning tokens they are turned over and the action phase starts.

First you resolve raid tokens and then march tokens, this is done by resolving one token at a time starting with the player who currently sits on the Iron Throne then rotating clockwise round the board allowing each player to resolve a their raids and then their marching orders.

I think this order of play is actually one of the games great strengths, because the players aren’t taking turns all the players have something to do all the time, which means that it’s less likely that players will get bored while waiting for their turn to come around.

Combat is straightforward, you win if you have more armies than the territory you are attacking, otherwise you lose. Each player can play a card to modify the results of the battle, these cards also affect the number of casualties from the battle. When a territory is lost the losing troops retreat, to an adjacent territory owned by that player, if they can’t do this I think they all die, but I’m not sure and I don’t have the rules to hand to check.

The game continues like this until one player has 7 territories with Castles or forts in them or until the end of the 10th turn at which point the player with the most castles and forts wins.

All in all the game is fun and is quite quick to play, I’ve been playing the Battlestar Galactica game an aweful lot recently and because this game is by the same people (Fantasy Flight Games) I was a little worried that it would require the same epic time-scales to play thankfully it doesn’t.

My one comment is that the starting positions on the map and the layout of the regions seem to favour certain houses, specifically house Lannister and house Baratheon, Lannister is surrounded with both forts and resources, while house Baratheon seem to have easy access to a very large empty area of the map to conquer. This (I think) is only really an issue when playing the game with 4 players, as the empty areas of the map are taken up by the two houses that you can’t play unless you have more players.

Having played a friend’s copy of this game I’m very tempted to invest in my own, which I think speaks volumes for it.

 

I’m Not Sure How I Missed This Review of Color

I vaugely remember Color being launched a year ago I think I may have downloaded the Android version to my phone, thought it was shit and promptly deleted it. Today I saw this review of it from a year ago that made me chuckle. I know it’s out of date, but I liked it so much that I thought I’d share it just in case anyone else hadn’t seen it.

As far as I can tell Color is still shit, and it still has a lot of bad reviews, I popped over to their home page and the interface looks an aweful lot like Pinterest’s interface… Anyway Read this and laugh:

Via Minyanvile