An easy way to free up space in OSX Yosemite

So for those of us out there using SSD drives (Solid State Drives) to boot up our macs, which is most of us these days, at the very least for our Startup Disks, you generally have less space than the good old days, so really need to make sure that you don’t waste any space on redundant items.

The average is a 256GB SSD, and as a general rule you need at least 10% free to run at full capacity, and I would generally recommend at least 20% to guarantee performance, especially if you use large Photoshop files, or even use a lot of web browsers with a lot of tabs open.

I was looking through my hard drive for large files and this got my attention immediately as it was the largest folder in my Library folder.



One of the interesting new features of OSX Yosemite is the “Dictation & Speech” function which allows you to either talk  to your computer and it be converted into text, or it reads text to you. Unless you have a visual impairment, you will be excited by the first one initially, nut in actually fact will probably play with the second option more, at least once when you first get your new OS (it is actually quite fun).

You may forget about that day and carry on with your life never to use it again in many cases.

You can find the “Dictation & Speech” preferences in the “System Preferences” Control Panel.




Dictation allows you to talk to your mac and have it write down what you say. You can choose to do it live over the internet or allow it to download fully and


This is generally for the hearing impaired, but its always fun to play around with these. You may not realize that each one you use can take up to 400Mb on your hard drive.





This will delete the accents the computer understands. Its about your voice here. im guessing you only need 1, unless you like to talk in silly voices to your computer.



You can turn off the voices, which will then ask you to delete them, but in my experience it did not actually do so. Please see the next section to find out how to manually delete and check how much space you can retrieve.



You can either use the System Preferences area to delete them, but this doesn’t always work. To make sure, you should check this folder


You can see the path at the bottom of the window. Voices are the ones that read to you and will be the most significant in size. I completely deleted the recognizer as it was also large, and its easy to re-download anytime by enabling dictation at a later date. I find that method of writing less eloquent than my typing method. I like the “Lee” voice so i left that one available, so in the end it takes up only 421.7Mb, a total saving of over 2.5GB.


I managed to get about 2.5GB back, as i had experimented with about 10 different voices. Now to find something else to delete.


Thanks for reading, and food luck freeing up more space.

Oculus Rift for OSX users

So last week my Oculus Rift DK2 arrived. I was exceptionally excited as I had to wait over 3 months for it to ship. I am going to explain the basics of VR, and how i got my setup to work, the websites you need to visit to get good demos and how to set it up on an OSX machine.

I have been a designer and music producer for many years, so I am a Mac Addict, so I have an iMac, iPad, Macbook, iPhone, and iPod… but was any of these going to be able to run the Oculus properly…? I also have a Leap Motion controller, and bought an Oculus Rift mount long before my HMD arrived. I have a pretty old Macbook (model 5,1) with only a 256MB nvidia graphics card, which works fine for most applications and even games, but the Oculus, with its 75Hz frame rate will certainly push it to its limits.



Basically to make VR an immersive experience, you need to:

  • See in a VR environment with head tracking to simulate regular eye vision
  • A way to manipulate objects around you (touch, pick up, reposition)
  • A way to navigate (move around, otherwise you are just like a head in a jar)

Ideally you would get feedback from items (also know as haptic feedback), so object would create simulated weight in your hand, or in the case of Newtons 3rd law, exert as much pressure on you as you are on it. See Newtons laws of motion. The rest of his laws apply for realistic motion, and will need to be considered in the future to create realistic worlds. The next would be environmental feedback, for example radiated heat from the sun, wind on your face etc. Then other sensory devices like smell, or textural qualities, like water on your skin, or rough bitumen.

Haptic feedback items get super expensive, so for the first part, lets assume everyone gets the pieces to use VR in the same order as stated above

  • HMD (Head Mounted Display) aka Oculus Rift
  • Mouse ( which simulates your hands,often with left click (pick up) and right click (drop) functionality or some similar
  • Keyboard  the old forward, back ,strafe left ,strafe right)

There are much better ways to use your hands and move around in VR, but this is the starting point for everyone. If you are interested in researching more, please check out these links or just search on Google. Undoubtably it will be the biggest growing industry surrounding VR:
Hand tracking in VRLeap MotionSixenseControl VRNimble
Moving in VROmniinfinte treadmills

Basically the less you have to wear the better and more realistic the experience (and more convenient). You also don’t want to be afraid that you will hurt yourself , by falling off something,as that will also dampen your virtual experience by keeping your mind in the physical world. Of course, without hijacking your bodies nervous system, it would be very hard to give haptic feedback without something actually touching your body (for example you will probably need gloves to get sensations on your hand).

I looked online and really I found only very basic disjointed information about how to set it all up, so thought id share what I did and the sites I found to help you all along your OSX Oculus Rift journey in Virtual Reality paradise.



The above pic is my current mini studio, the two left screens run off my Macbook where i use the Oculus and the right is my iMac where I do audio. You will soon learn that if you have an external monitor you have to constantly unplug it and plug the Oculus in . I tried a splitter but it didn’t work. There might be some out there that do which will make life easier but for now i recommend these tips below.



Download the Oculus Runtime and demos from developer.oculus.com/downloads (need an Oculus dev account which is free which you will setup the first time you make the site)

To get the Oculus to run, you only really need the Runtime to get the Oculus ready for action. If you are a developer, or plan to play around, get the SDK (software developer kit) and the Tuscany demo (this is generally the first demo people try and has been used millions of times. I also recommend at least trying it as it will be one of the easiest scenes for any computer to play. If you have time, download all 3 as they do link to each other and will provide a more robust set of tools in the future.


You can skip the Tuscany Demo if you are feeling like you want to try something more adventurous and know you system can handle it. To initialize to Oculus, I always use the OculusConfigUtility before using any other program as it initializes the headset and generally makes it resize to the DK2 headset size more efficiently. Continue reading to work out how to do this effectively.


Another very important thing to note is that you must setup your Display preferences.

1. Make the Oculus the “main” screen. You can do this in the “Display” section of “System Preferences” by dragging the tiny white bar to the Oculus display. I also recommend keeping it on the left. It will generally display quite large when running at 1080p. most likely larger than your other monitor (seen on the right). As it is on the left, you should keep your dock on the right. Down the bottom is ok too but i find right is more stable.


One you do this all your open windows will disappear and migrate to the Oculus window.

2. So once you have connected the Oculus headset, you will need to open the OculusConfigUtil – Its has an ugly name and a no icon currently (which i’m sure will be fixed later) but is an extremely important tool, and will tell you that your device is ready for action. Now that you have activated the Oculus as the Main Screen (aka Display 1) you need to right click on it , go to “Options” and click “Desktop on Display 2” which will bring it back to your screen.


You will see a blue light on the Oculus HMD (it is orange when inactive) and an image of the Oculus will appear at the top of the OculusConfigUtil as well as serial numbers of your devices. (This could also be handy if you ever have to repair it). Now you know it is active. You monitor mounted Oculus camera also has a blue light but will generally not turn on until you have opened some software to run it, so do not be alarmed.


3. If you look at the image floating behind on the right, you will see what happens when you click “gather windows” in the bottom right. Its a very handy function to bring the setting windows for BOTH monitors onto the same screen so you can adjust the settings. This is an invaluable tool as be default they appear on their respective screens, making the Oculus settings a little hard to navigate.

You will need to make sure the Rift Headset (HMD) is running at 1080p and is also Rotated to 90degrees. You can choose 60Hertz or 75Hertz, the limit for the DK2 is 70Hz but a Macbook will generally not be able to keep up with the game frame rate so the refresh rate is not that important. The games will tell you if they only support 60Hz also. Keep overscan turned ON.


Finally, start your Demo. If you are using steam it will default to the Oculus as it is defined as the main screen. In case the Steam opens on your computer monitor (Display 2), you can always make it open on the Oculus HMD but doing the same process as before, but choosing “Desktop on Display 1” for steam.



You should open the game from the Oculus HMD, by shutting one eye and choosing “Play with Oculus Rift”. Of course some games do not have Oculus rift support,so be careful and do your research. I have included many links below to get you started. I also made this video of a game I recommend called “Qbeh 1 – the Atlas Cube” (available for $9.99) but you can choose nay game you want. It is an awesome way to learn how to navigate in a VR environment. I also bought a game which would be amazing called “World Of Diving” (available for $19.99) but my computer was way too slow to run it.


Here is my video. Sorry its not very professional. Its my first attempt at videoing an Oculus session, and you can hear the fan on my old Macbook really spinning to run the software. That and the load times, but believe me its much faster when i dotn have all that excess software running. To get best results, restart your computer before you play a game if you can. The link to the game is below in the Recommended section.



Where Possible I will put the Mac link, but PC versions are of course available


Oculus Share – Official Oculusvr testbed area. Nice site for finding all osrts of demos, games and just weird experiments.

Rift Enabled (the Top 10 list)
and their full game demo list



The Rift Arcade – So far my favorite site for finding content with its steam like store  (of which many games are free)

VR Supported games from STEAM – OSX versions

Rift List – You can narrow by OSX titles easily

There are only about 10 title that have native support (including Google maps if – Extreme direction finding is your thing) plus OSX capability but this will expand soon. The site just has links to the original site, so not as comprehensive as the sites above in my eyes. Many would disagree as it was one of the first sites like this.



Dark Field
(Space flying shooter. Looks awesome and made by 3 guys in Australia) – this is the direct link to the download.
runs extremely slowly on my machine but looks like it would be fun. You cannot support this game on Kickstarter anymore, but I contacted them and they said to play this for now. I will definitely  be trying it as soon as I get the chance.

Qbeh 1 – the Atlas Cube 
(as seen in my video above) Walking  around and moving blocks. Good for all ages, except those who have block phobias. Also heights. Fine for slower older Macs.

Guided Meditation – This is truly amazing and run quite well on a slower machine. Also promotes one of my favorite parts of VR being relaxation. You will be blown away at how relaxing it is to sit on the beach, forest or other location and just “be”. Voice over is sometimes a bit cheesy but is also fine and does coax you into a relaxed state. Goes to show that you dont need too much interaction or movement to make an immersive experience.

Download here – http://guidedmeditationvr.com
More info about it here – http://cubicleninjas.com/guided-meditation-app-oculus-rift

Here is a video to check it out

Guided Meditation for Oculus Rift from cubicleninjas on Vimeo.




I was super excited to add the Leap Motion to the Oculus Rift, but actually as it turns out there were not as many things to use as I had imagined.Yet. of course everythign is in development. Im sure it will be good. But will it be better than some of the otehr technologies i linked to at the start of this article. Only time will tell

This is just some links for now, but I will write another blog post about the Options for Leap Motion once i have had more time to research them.

Info about it (https://www.leapmotion.com/product/vr)
attach your leap motion to your ocular HMD (head mounted display)
then go here and download the V2 tracking

Then follow these steps

Intro into VR with the leap

Simple game with leap – very simple but will work on any system im sure.

An interesting demo coupled with Shpongle music.

google maps with leap motion

VR collage (requires firefox nightly)
First get firefox nightly builds
this is the page you visit once downloading the nightly browser
recommend that you lock your Oculus display to 60Hz, as this is what Firefox currently supports



Also of course: Oculus Porn



(update – file was moved to here – http://www.vrsmash.com/view/16/Still_Girls_VR_in_Skirts)

There are loads of other demos there, but it though this was a fun place to start. You can continue the journey on your own.

How to start a WordPress blog/site

So i’m guessing most of you know what a blog is, and almost the same amount know what WordPress is.here is a brief description of what it is and why it is the platform of choice for most bloggers in the world.

WordPress is a CMS, a Content Management System. It is a group of code (PHP) that basically allows you to write content which is saved into a database and regurgitated into pages in the order of your choosing. The most powerful function of this kind of systems that you can constantly change your website by knowing a password, and need no backend knowledge of what the code is doing and why. This means anyone anywhere can have a blog if they want to,if they have access to the Internet.

On the other hand, if you have the skills and needs you can modify the code to suit your needs easily, to customize the design and user interaction experience. For novices there are handy ways to do this using plugins to add funtionality and themes to change the appearance and layout. Basically it puts the power in your hands of making your own website and making it to suit your changing styles and needs over time without having to re-write any content when you do.

Ok. I could go into it all day, but here I want to teach you how to set up your own site. In the past few years I have setup so many WordPress sites that’s is almost uncountable. They are free to install, as long as you have a web server, and if you don’t there are options available for you too. If you have no money but want a site it’s the way to go. If you have special needs, then that is where someone like me can step in and make a set for you and then you take over and run it. Either way at the end it’s your site and you make the content, and that’s the point of it, and that’s the future of web communication.

There are 4 methods of starting a WordPress site.

1. Hosted on WordPress.com

2. DIY – Hosted on your own server (auto install)

3. DIY – Hosted on your own server (manual install)

4. Get a professional to get it started then take it over (on your server or theirs)

They second two work exactly the same, the first one is the easiest but has limitations that the other two do not. The last is for those with more money than time or require something better than basic.

You need to ask yourself these questions.

Is it personal… or private? just for fun… or for business?

Is the domain name important (aka URL, the www.yournamehere.com)

Do people need to bookmark pages in your blog or the top page is fine?

Is it advantageous to look “homemade” or more “professional”?

The least “professional”, or should I say “personalized” is the one hosted on www.wordpress.com. The URL will be something like www.yourblog.wordpress.com and the styling options, although fairly impressive are limited. When you host it on your own server you have three options.

For Hosting methods, see further down this post, This is extremely important, but for now lets focus on how to install WordPress.

Install methods

1. Hosted on WordPress.com – this happens automatically and as long as you can remember your own email and password you should be fine. Enough said.

2. Hosted on your own server (auto install) – Many web hosts will have WordPress built in. Remember you must have the ability to use databases with your account. You need at least (and generally at most) one database to run your WordPress. So I use godaddy and I can install them with the greatest of ease. I also often do it manually and you can name your databases nicer names when you do it manually, but for most people this is the easiest. Log into your account, choose hosted account, choose applications, choose WordPress and put the folder directory and POW! Bobs your uncle/ill be a monkey’s uncle, a new blank slate website appears in 30 mins or so. See pics.

3. Hosted on your own server (manual install) – This is not that hard, but a little more complicated. I actually like this method but its not necessary for you one time website users. This method, you first make a database and write down it’s details. Then, using an FTP program, copy the WordPress files into place. You must change the wp-config.php file to have all the right details of the database as well as the location of the blog files. It’s pretty easy once you’ve done it a couple of times. You really get to know WordPress by interacting with the files through an FTP program, for example, in the “wp-content” folder you can see the themes and urging folder and you can manually install and modify files here to customize your site. All pro WordPress users will spend a lot of time in this folder, usually updating the CSS files to style themes.

See pics below. Open in your favorite FTP program. you will need your login details to your server and password

Then go to your hosting server and create a databsse.

You must edit the wp-config.php file t0 point to your database.

This may be complicae for some, so if you have any questions, please message Ahimsa Creative on Facebook.

4. Get a professional to make it. This is easy. Call up me or someone with similar skills and they will do it. If they don’t know how then tell them to look at this blog.

Hosting Options

1.Make that a hosted domain on a server so that the www.yourblog.com points to the WordPress installation and if you click a page link, it becomes www.yourblog.com/category/ or somethign like that. This is the most professional but most expensive. Everyone needs one hosted domain, so if you only have one site then it’s perfect for you. I have many so I use that page as a portal to my other sites.

See the example of www.ahimsa-creative.com which is my hosted domain

2.If you put it in a folder on someone else’s (or another of your own) hosted domain and then buy a cheap domain which points to it, they can type in your URL, but will get taken to the real URL,which they will see, unless you mask the domain.

For example the domain will now be www.your2ndblog.com/this blog/category/ or similar. You can see the difference but for many it’s too small to care. Depends what the first blog is. If you sell babies rattles and host it on a server which hosts a porn site you own it could end up www.ilovebigtits.com/babyrattlesRUs/category and that’s probably not good for business

See the examples of www.ahimsa-creative.com/blog and www.ahimsa-creative.com/portfolio

These I have forwarded, so you can see the real URL when you click them.Fine for me as they are all part if what I call the Ahimsa Collective and are in the family of Ahimsa Creative.

3. Solution- MASK YOUR DOMAIN. Masking your domain means that it hides where it is actually going. S it will always say www.babyrattlesRus.com even if hosted on your other porn site hosted account. PERFECT …you may think and for most of us this is fine, but they will not be able to bookmark any pages on your site except the very top page as the URL will never change. For most of us this is actually advantageous, us if you were Wikipedia that would really suck ass as the would redefine the term research into “re-search” and be pointless.

You should note that it slightly affects your google rank, but not significantly enough for most people to care. So let’s skip that. If you are setting a website up on the cheap I’m guessing you’re not a multinational corporation and word of mouth, your business cards, social media and direct links will be your main source of traffic.

See the example of www.ahimsalove.com which is also hosted on ahimsa-creative.com. It’s real address is [note to self:please insert here when I remember some thing like www.ahimsa-creative.com/ahimsa_collective/ahimsalove]. (You can check and see its the same) but I have masked the domain so it always stays that address, even if you click a link to another server. You can impress your friends by having a link to google.com on your website and pretend that you made it (it will still have your web address until you close that window or tab)

Holy shit. I never thought this blog post would be so detailed. It’s amazing how long it takes to type things that I can explain in a few minutes. Now yu should know the all your options when it comes to setting up your new blog.

As always, please ask any questions you have below and I will respond as soon as I can.

The roundup

Hope this sheds some light on how to setup a WordPress blog, and what options are available to you.

So why give it all away?? You might think its a bad idea for a web designer to give these secrets away, but im in the business of helping others live their dreams and reach their goals. We sell information, we sell freedom, and everyone deserves freedom and a chance to reach others with their art, ideas or whatever they want to share. So get out there and share….

There will be more WordPress page tutorials coming up on this blog, with how to improve the look of your site one you have it. Don’t be too picky in the beginning (unless you chose option 4 and are getting it designed). It’s much better to have good information on a shit looking site than no information on a non existent site. Unless you are a designer,photographer,artist or someone in the visual design/arts field the main reason people will come to your site is for the information.

Y-U-M! – Improve your food pics

So being a Photoshop professional makes you sensitive to bad quality imagery. Being a living creature also gives you an unnerving feeling when you see something you perceive as food look unappealing. I suffer from both of these situations, so instead of cringing I’m goin to show you a super easy way to get your food pics looking spot on.

So basically here, I’m going to show you how to make your food pictures look bright and bubbly and make people’s mouths water when they see them.

Lets face it. There are so many camera apps on our devices these day, some of which are designed for food. This will show you what they attempt to do, and give you an easy way to do it yourself. I’m going to explain it for Photoshop users, as I know many people use it, whether bought or not. You can do this same technique in any software, but I made this acronym to help you remember, which is designed for Photoshop’s shortcut commands.

It’s Y-U-M,

or +Y,+U,+M

Thats Command on a Mac and Control on a PC.

So you have a photo of your food. That’s the first step. A friend of mine took this pic, which i noticed on Facebook, and I came up with the idea that this is a skill that almost everyone can benefit from, as food photography is very popular these days, and even more so in Japan where I was living for the previous 7 years.

Now to be honest for those working on the web, you don’t need the Y-step, so skip this step if you are using it for Facebook or your blog.

Step 1

Y – Proof Colors.

So pressing Command-Y will turn on your proof colors, which are a digital representation of how your document will print. Some colors that can be displayed on screen do not exist in print (as they use additive color as opposed to subtractive color). These colors are know as out-of-gamut colors. So if you plan to print your picture, turn this on. Vibrant foods like tomatoes will often look disappointing when you print them out as they are too vibrant to be represented with conventional inks. Also notice the sub-menu and make sure its on “Working CMYK”, as this represent most home printers.

Step 2

U – add Saturation

Next, press Command-U and the HSL dialog box will come up. The only one here you want to touch is Saturation. Like Saturation suggests, using the metaphor of the sponge, it will hold more color, like a sponge full of liquid. Food always looks better with a bit of extra color added.I would say add anywhere between +10 and +35. Any more and it will start to look too unrealistic. (see more info at the end of this blog post)

Now click “OK” to lock this stage in.

Step 3

M – Curves

Next is Curves. Curves technically bend the light spectrum to elongate the middle tones of an image. If that sounds like bullshit then just forget that and just remember than in a RBG (additive color which all web images are) image, moving the curves up will add more light into the image.

The first step is to color balance, and the easiest way is to set a grey point.Look at my arrows in the image above. there are 3 eye droppers there. Choose the middle one. Next you must click on an area that you think contains absolutely no color,or as little as possible, and is also 50% between black and white. of course in any shadow, radiant colors do bounce but for most situations, you can find a shadow that is far enough away from the object to be almost perfect grey. A grey balance is almost the same as a white balance, which you may have heard of, but i think gives you more options to choose from and gives better results.

If your image goes crazy and really wrong looking, don’t worry, you most likely just hit a colored pixel by mistake. Just try it again until it looks well balanced.

Before clicking “OK”, then look at point 2 on the image. You can drag the middle point of the colors slightly towards the top left. this will stretch the mid tones in the image and add light, without destroying the black or white tones.

Now click “OK”

And now you are done

Within about 2 minutes, you can have a primo looking image of your food.

The proof is in the pudding…. or Cucumber Stick as the case may be
Here is a comparison of before and after with the photos

And there you have it. Actually i got a light feathered white brush and sprayed the edge so it blends to pure white, instead of increasing the brightness, because it much more important the food looks realistic, not the table. Of course you can manipulate more if you like. But These steps are all you need to make your food look YUM!

As a side note, you should always try to use the original uncompressed image to manipulate, as the compression artifacts (like the pattern you see in the tomato) will often be enhanced. Also for food coloring there is a big difference between real color, and perceived real color. You probably wont find too many tomatoes like the above picture, but it is in harmony with the color enhanced imagery we see on the internet these days. What you want to bring out with food is the emotional response of the excitement of the great taste and freshness of the food.

Another chance for ANOTHER WORLD

Golden rules of game design.

What makes a game good?

Many things. Shutup.

What is a good way to increase game value?

a) make the game longer, b) make the graphics better, or more realistic (not necessarily the same thing), c) make the gameplay more engrossing, more believable within its own context. d) Intuitive controls

What is a bad way to increase game value?

Elongate the game by making it either a) too hard, or b) make it easy to make mistakes, or c) make the game controls slightly unpredictable so you can’t make correctly forumlated choices of what your next step will be.

In the past, games were generally pretty short by today’s standards. That’s because the game cartridges could hold so much less data. Remember when every tree in a game was the same sprite used over and over again (Zelda is a great example). There was a predictability in that and in many cases it did nothing to detract from the gameplay at all. Good games don’t necessarily need good graphics

Original graphics

New graphics. It’s exactly what they would have done before if they had the technology. looks like they had bloody chem-trails on this planet also. Damn government!

So here is a game I bought the other day. One of those. “Shit, I must be old.” moments when a game you used to love has its 20th anniversary. The game is “another world” aka “out of this world” (of which flashback was the sequel). They have given it a graphic overhaul, which is done very nicely, very frugally, band very tastefully, paying homage to the original graphics(which you can see at any time by swiping down with 2 fingers).

While this is a nice touch, it’s one of the few predictable finger movements of the game. The best websites, games or interactive devices don’t require instructions as they are designed based on human intuition. I think this game has tried to elevate itself to a higher level by assuming the controls are much easier than they are.

Let me just say. I love this game. I did before and I do now, so if I seem a bit harsh it’s only tough love and I want to use it as an example of what to do, and also of what not to do.

The gameplay

Although you are a gun wielding scientist is an extra-terrestrial world, it’s not a shooter. It’s a puzzle game. Logic is the general driving force of the game. Doing exactly the right thing, in the right order, at the right time is how this game works. If you dont, you die, and then respawn to try again, and again, and again, and again. Yes, some bits will drive you bonkers, but when you work it out, although you want to, it’s hard to say that the solution doesn’t make sense in the end.well, sort of(ignoring the pretty random tank level plus a few bits here and there that just have their own special rules)

Every page or two you will automatically update your respawn point, so when you die, you always hope you don’t have to go back too far.

The controls

Admittedly, going from a superNES to the ipad is a difficult task as it had 6 buttons and a d-pad, where the ipad has none. Undoubtably you will die many times due to the fact that you will miss the button or get confused what finger movement you need to do. It’s ok. Makes the game last and teaches you control, well finger control. Makes me fu#%king mad is what it does really. I can appreciate that too I guess. Generally the controls are completely invisible and you kind guess your way through the commands. In some places they are on screen but in one level (the Christian sacrifice tank level I like to call it) it took me about 20 goes to even see one of the buttons. That’s not great design really.

The verdict

While there are many things that drove me crazy about this game, some personal and some breaking the golden rules of game design as I see them, ultimately it’s still a great game which deserves to be played. It’s incredibly short, but most games were back then, and it’s simple but futuristic look still holds up. The way they have improved the graphics and allow you to compare between them without destroying any of the experience is impressive as it would have been easy to overwork it.in fact often I I thought I had accidentally switched the graphics, swiped again and realized how simple the original graphics were.

Besides cheapening the experience by elongating gameplay by unnecessarily confusing the player, if you put this game as a platform puzzler, somewhat similar to the gameplay of “Abe’s odyssey” you will realize its value. If only it was a little longer. I guarantee you will get stuck at least a couple of times and put it down for days at a time, coming back to it later after an idea hits you. I’m sure they will release “Flashback”, which was its sequel soon enough to continue the journey. I just wonder how that game will hold up. I’m willing to spend the $2 to find out.

In fact, when I was in Australia last year, I found a poster I used to have on my wall for flash back. Here it is.

Here a pretty hot scene with naked whatchamacallit’s sitting around nude

Compared to original

This is an interesting scene. You will find out why later.

Amazing Flying Action

This is such a beautiful flying game. I guess its been a while since i have researched flight simulators. i bet they will be absolutely amazing visually on the new PS4 and X-BoxOne, but the PCS still have the advantage for having awesomely realistic flight joysticks.

I have to get into the game a bit more before I can do a full review, but i have watched a couple of hours of gameplay and im very impressed at the realism of the gameplay as well as the pretty graphics… You decide. Its free to join up and start playing. its still in Beta version so your chance to try something before everyone does!

click here to join for free:


MMOBOMB version and review

Sidestrafe review/mission walkthrough

if you start playing, please leave your comments below, so other people can decide whether it is the right game for them.

PS, if you like old school war style games, try World of tanks, which is just as realistic but viewed from the ground and loads of realistic tanks


They have a forum:
This guy even made one of the planes

Two recent iPad game favorites – Oct 2013

Ok, so the way I judge a good game is whether at one stage, i realise that i’ve devoted such a large amount of time to it, without ever planning to, not in one long session but cumulatively over a long time. Of course there are other factors, but like a TV series, it’s the ones that keep you coming back that you develop that warm fuzzy feeling for.

These two games are fairly commercially viable, and not as left field as some of the games I usually play, but they really stood out from the crowd for various reasons.

Too often these days games either make you “Share” on Facebook or pay to buy some kind of “internal currency” to make the game bareable. While these two games I’m going to introduce have these features built in (what iPad game doesn’t these days?) they make it still fantastically playable without using those options which impressed me.

While my next review will be a little more eclectic, these games are what you’d call traditional games in the sense that. You main goal is to either destroy or go faster than the other guy. They both excel in their field for almost opposite reasons, which make them good for me to rotate between.

So let’s get into it!

Battle Nations

This is an amazingly addictive RPG that I got about two months ago. What drew me to the game, was a promotion video I saw with a chess style grid, and its turn by turn attack system. I absolutely love these games, as they provide just the right level of adrenaline fighting but you can also take a break at any time, and so it’s good for travelling or playing at home. Another awesome factor in these games is that you can only do so much in one gameplay so it doesn’t take up your whole day (although you may be coming back a lot!).


Ok so I’ll make this easier to understand for you. You basically start with limited resources, and this is certainly a resource driven game. You are guided through they whole first part of the game. Characters keep popping up on your screen and telling you what to do and by doing so quite nicely teach you all the menus and concepts in the game. These characters are pretty hilarious and quite loveable and if nothing else their evolving story will keep you hooked.

As you progress, your tasks to complete get slowly harder and take longer. You must develop your characters and town to make sure you can continually keep up wth resource demands. Your enemies slowly get harder and harder as you also develop your skills. Like most of these games, eventually the game gets hard enough that you really, really wish you had more resources. Bing! It’s done, you can at any time in the game buy “nano pods” which either can be used to trade for resources (but it’s heavily overpriced if you do that) or speed the game up (which is the normal use of them and much more economical). These are actually in game purchases you can get, but you can also get them from watching a promotional video now and then. although this is a slow way to go. The good thing, is that, if you are patient, you can play this game totally for free.

Here you can see the battle field. The backgrounds change, but the grid is always the same. It’s quite handy as you really get to know each characters strengths and weaknesses. You do tend towards the same players each time and sometimes the battles are a tad monotonous if you have just done 3 or 4 with the same configuration but overall it’s very well designed.

The game is non-linear, up to a point. You can choose what you do but there is no point getting into battles you can’t win as that will just lose you time by having to send your characters to hospital all the time. Besides the storyline, you can battle other players in the game, which helps your players level up faster than in game battles. A great tactic to encourage real time battles between people. Interestingly, once you have battled someone, you can become their “friend” and they can visit your playing area and give you the gift of time by furthering your goals.


One major downside to this game is you must be connected to the Internet at all times. That is such a pain in the arse if you don’t have mobile Internet. In Tokyo it is pretty rare to find Internet outside your house so it’s not a great game for cities like that. Another location based disadvantage is that outside of America and Canada you cannot watch movies to get free nano pods (which is another way you can play this game, by getting them advertising credits in place of actually paying them). This is true for many games, which means these games will lose popularity in some countries.

You may see a lot of spinning circles if your wifi connection is not too great.



This is a great game which has good gameplay, witty characters and very addictive gameplay. It also has elements of time management in there as you need to do things in the right order to avoid lots of waiting around. If you get seriously into it, you will at some point buy some nano pods, even a small purchase of 2 dollars will help you quite a bit, and you can also play the game successfully without the extra credits. That takes some great game design, and at the moment, this is my number one game. This company “z2” makes a bunch if games, but I’m too scared to look as this one has been too addictively time consuming.

Real Racing 3

This game is completely different from the last in almost every way, but it many ways just as enjoyable. The first thing that will blow you away are the graphics. It’s one of the best looking games I’ve seen on the iPad. With real time shading and realistic reflections it will make you feel like you are controlling a TV car race just by holding it. The gameplay is awesome and has never skipped (on my iPad 3 at least) a frame as far as I can tell.

As with most games like this, you are given the lowest class vehicle and have to make your way to the top, upgrading your driving skills and car at the same time. I have no idea about this style of racing car but I believe the choices are extremely accurate also. This game is made by EA, who have the reputation of being the most realistic in any sports category and this certainly doesn’t disappoint.

As you can see the graphics are irresistible. The texture mapping and actually real word geometry has very few seams and moves fast enough to make you believe you are driving.


In a race, you actually don’t need to accelerate as it happens automatically. You can manually brake but that can be made automatic also. While this sounds a bit too easy it has a realistic feel and you can concentrate on steerig your car into the “racing line” where you will save valuable secods on a course. I really like this as you get to see the whole picture on screen rather than being obscured with your hands. The steering is done with the accelerometer and is very sensitive, but not in excess. You will certainly get sore arms playing this game excessively, but actually feels quite comfortable and works fine either in front of you or angled towards the ground.

Like “Battle Nations” this game can be played non-linearly, but has a fairly distinct direction, and you would be well advised not to jump ahead or you will just lose all the races. There are also quite a few class races and if you have not earned enough to buy the next car you cannot race on those races. There are a few modes, to keep you interested. Time trials, drag races, class races, or just plain old racing. Each has a different difficulty level which you are rewarded for proportionately.

While it looks completely realistic, you can quite easily push drivers off the road, which is basically my driving tactic in this game. You still have to do it fairly graceful as if you damage your car too much it’s expensive to keep repairing it. As you level up, you do see subtle but obvious improvements to your performance which makes you always want to do just one more race.

There are some classic courses in there too which may take you back to your childhood if you ever watched racing. As someone who grew up in Adelaide, Australia; I went to the formula one races every year and got to feel the excitement of car racing. While I rarely watch it now, I still love the electricity of a racing game. It’s very “here and now” and unlike the last game , you can’t take your eyes off the screen for a second while in the middle of a race, or other event.

As with many games, it now has a “Share” function, which gives you little gold coins, which can be used in place of cash as well as speed up the game. These are quite essential as sometimes you must wait 1 hour between races to upgrade your transmission or something similar , so you can skip that by spending coins. Of curse this also means that you must be online to do that. Truthfully I would never ever share something like this on Facebook as I’m very particular what I put on there so I just need to wait sometimes. It’s not every time so doesn’t negatively affect the game, at least in the beginning , as you also receive coins for completing levels, s0, like Battle Nations you can also play this game without having to conform to their in-game monetary system.


While I find any game that encourages you to share on Facebook to be annoying (and I hope and pray that we will get sick of this trend) this game does it in a fairly non-aggressive way which I can handle it on screen now and then. The feel of driving is truly fantastic and they made a good decision to make it the way they did. Of course if you don’t like to look a bit mental in public,or get sore arms easily, you can switch the controls to more traditional. In fact there are 7 variations to the controls. How’s that for customizeable.

All in all, if you are not a racing fan, it probably won’t convert you, but will more than satisfy all racing game fans on many levels. Everyone will be amazed by the graphics no doubt. While for me this game doesn’t create the (pardon the pun) “drive” to play it every day, I’m glad it’s in my iPad for when I need to get immersed in a different world and just tear around a famous circuit from around the world.

DDoS attack on Meetup.com

This is the story of how I fell in love with this website…

While a group of people had taken a similar passion to it, but a passion of distaste to either what it had to offer and what it stands for. At least thats what I had to assume when I saw this. Either that or the government had done it themselves….

Want to meet people who work in the same field as you, like the same things as you?, speak the same language as you?, or who are aren’t so socially adept at making friends… Like you?

Well then there is a website out there for you to do all these things. It’s www.meetup.com

I was first introduced to meetup.com when I moved to Vancouver in the start of 2013. I didn’t know anyone and wanted to meet people who worked in the same field, and I wanted to make some more connections, particularly in the game development area, which I was trying to crack into,a it has been a passion of mine for some time, and I wanted to take it further.

I started sending out resumes when I arrived. After some unsuccessful months, I was told that that’s just not the way people communicate these days, especially in a smaller city like Vancouver. Networking is the key, and when you meet the right people that like your style and need your skills, then it’ll happen for you.

So, like I do every week these days, I headed out last week, on my way to a meetup for people who have a startup company or people who want to work with a smaller, more dynamic company… Although this was a ski trip, where we planned to get the bus to Cypress Mountain near Vancouver, snowboard for a few hours then drink beer and network. Pretty awesome plan, eh… But on my way to that meetup tragedy struck.

Someone launched an attack on www.meetup.com. We all know the cyber-terrorist group Anonymous, who have famously taken down some of the worlds most secure sites, including the NSA. They generally are the robin hoods of the Internet, taking down government sites and powerful entities to show them that the little people still have the knowledge and power to fight back… But why meetup.com? Up until this point I had decided that this was the most fun living and positive thinking website out there, that not only strengthened bonds between fellow humans, but got us knowledge, jobs, and even the chance for love in the right circumstances.

Was this enough to enrage the people with the power to launch a DDoS attack? Did they ban the hackers network from starting a meetup, and, like a lover scorned the rose petals withered and all we were left with were thorns? It started to make me think, and I thought I better do some more research on meetup.com to see where their ethics lie and why they might be attacked. I hoped it was just because they are popular, as I was hoping not to find out a more sinister motive behind their company,as which is often the case these days, where data mining is rife and every time you type your name into a text field online, you are being sold like a data slave to the highest bidder.

So I went online to find the news about this site, hoping that it was not someone like anonymous defending our human rights, as I didn’t want to have to find out somethig about a company whose morals I thought were held high.

Here’s what I found

From prolexic.com

The Q4 2013 Global DDoS Attack Report analyzes the growing threat of mobile DDoS attack apps, which allow users to opt-in to DDoS attack campaigns. Traditional thinking dismissed the threat from mobile devices due to limited computing power. However, technological advances, ease of use and the exponential increase in the use of mobile devices have combined to pose an increasing threat.

Additionally, mobile networks use super proxies, making it more difficult to filter bad traffic from legitimate traffic, complicating DDoS mitigation efforts.

Prolexic’s latest DDoS attack report also shows that Q4 2013 once again set a new record in DDoS activity. Compared to the same quarter one year ago, total attack volume increased 26 percent. A week-by-week comparison to Q4 2012 shows increases in attack volume across eight of the 12 weeks of the quarter.

From reuters.com

“we’re going to come out of this much stronger. And I don’t mean that as just a trite euphemism, I mean it literally. Like, we are going to be much more secure,” he said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been investigating the attack since late last week when the assumed criminal group first offered to withhold it if Meetup paid $300.

The attack was the first in the site’s 12-year history, and Heiferman defended the move not to pay the paltry ransom.

“We made a decision not to negotiate with criminals,” he said in the post. “Payment could make us (and all well-meaning organizations like us) a target for further extortion demands as word spread in the criminal world.”

Meetup has almost 17 million members and, when online, was signing up between 15,000 and 20,000 people every day.

From CBC.ca

Glen Brauer organizes meetups in Vancouver and in 50 other cities through the Meetup site.

He said it’s been frustrating to watch the hack take place – and realize how hard it is to trace.

“It just seems if anyone can create these denial of service attacks and get away with them, then I think they will be more prevalent in the future, whether or not there is extortion demands attached to them.”

I read another ten articles, but it was all copy and paste over the Internet.

The main thing I found out about this, is that one person can seemingly easily launch a DDoS attack on a server, and mobile t.,ethnology is now often used to do it, which greatly decreases the computing setup cost of an attack like this. The fact that the hacker demanded only $300 dollars made me think that that was just to cover the cost of the equipment he or she bought to make the attack in the first place. Could you do a DDoS attack using half an iphone? Guess has to be android. My girlfriend has an android phone. It’s such a piece of shit that it’s like it’s getting a DDoS attack on it all the time (Samsung galaxy Gt s7560m), but that could be my Apple love speaking.

As it turns out, you need an army of zombie computers to do it, which makes the whole process very 2013, as people couldn’t seem to shut up about zombies that while year. On all accounts though, it will be an increasing trend, but at the same time will open up a window for new companies to provide equipment to stop these attacks.

The conclusion

I’m happy to say that I did not find anything bad about www.meetup.com today in researching this, but I did gain some knowledge about a DDoS attack and the fact that a single person can initiate one of these things. Whenever I hear about a hacker making very “successful” virus or attack, I have to feel somewhat in awe of them as they obviously have great programming skills, but just wonder why they waste all that effort I’d doing harm when they could be doing great things to help their fellow man (and woman) acheive better things. Hello, of I had programming skills, I could be a one man company, as I can do graphic, audio, animation, web work. Maybe I can use meetup.com to start an angry hackers group and we could make millions on the app market.

Want to know more



Custom WordPress login

The psychology of seeing a good login screen is worth a lot as you are rarely motivated by a boring grey screen. Customizing your login screen is a great way to fix that.
For many years i have been re-coding my wordpress logins to suit my needs. Some things you need to edit CSS for (color and images), and some PHP(change the text). Im going to show you a few simple ways to do it yourself, and for those without the skills you needn’t worry, as there are some simple solutions you can do without any hassle, and without taking much of your time.


There are quite a few plugins out there, but a couple I found recently im pretty impressed by. Be careful to always use a plugin that is compatible with your version of WordPress. The plugins i recommend are either the “Custom Login” by Extendd and the “yith-custom-login.1.0.1.” by Yith. They are quite different and so i recommend them separately for different uses. The main difference is that the Yith plugin has a large white background around your login, making it float above the background. Its super easy to use but doesnt integrate as well into the background like is possible with the Extendd plugin.

Extendd Pluginhttp://wordpress.org/plugins/custom-login/

I like its simplicity and how it integrates nicely with the background rather than floating above it.

Yith Pluginhttp://wordpress.org/plugins/yith-custom-login/

can be handy if you want a little critter hanging on the side. Its usually parrot but i replaced its head with a monkey in Photoshop. You can easily remove that guy by ticking a check box to leave a clean looking login area.

Extendd Plugin How to Use

Personally i like it without the border, so im going to show you how to use the Extendd plugin.The Yith plugin has almost identical instructions, so you can follow along just as easily.

I recommend this plugin – http://wordpress.org/plugins/custom-login/ made by TheFrosty from Extendd – also found here – http://extendd.com/plugin/custom-login/ . I would recommend getting from the wordpress.org site as its usually more up to date. Its totally free, but just so you know, they also have a pro version. I dont think its necessary for most people and i could see any major differences that a general user would use – but feel free to find out more here – http://extendd.com/plugin/wordpress-custom-login-pro/

One you have installed the plugin, you can find its settings in the Setting menu (Hows that for obviousness?)

There are many options and the color options are the easiest way to change your login panel. You can change the Main background (very easy), the form colors and background (very easy) and the image above your login form (requires a little extra work…see below)

So if you want to change the image above your WordPress login form, you can upload an image easily. There is a slight setback. The plugin will not generally change the size of the image space so if you put a large image in there it will be somewhat distorted. The easiest thing to do is use an image exactly the same size. You can change the sizing, and i will show you how to easily do this. (Note: the Yith plugin actually allows you to set the size of that image area without the custom CSS)

Please note you must tell the plugin how you want the space to react to the new image. If you just upload a larger image it will get squashed into that space. I had hoped the plugin was smart enough to automatically expand the spot, but seems like it doesn’t, so see step 3 to find out how.

Step1 – upload your image and change the main background.

I would really suggest you make a very tall but not very wide image that can be repeated across the whole page. This saves on download time. As you can see I have repeated the plank of wood across the page, which is only 25Kb. If you want you can make a large image, but make sure you center it and dont repeat it. Also make sure its not too massive. 150Kb would be the absolute largest.

Step2 – upload your company logo choose the “contain” background size.

Step 3 – down the bottom you can add some custom CSS

#login h1 a {

height: 219px;

margin-bottom: 10px;


You have to make sure that the image you uploaded is the right size for the space. My image was 278px X 219px. You only need to put in the height attribute. I also added 10px padding on the bottom to create a little space.

Step4 Don’t like the look on the strange white shadow on the text…. its easy to change

Use the “below form anchor” part of the control panel

and da-da! you got yourself a fantastic login panel.

Some other examples of logins I hand coded in the past – long before they had fancy plugins like todays example. See below for the “do it yourself” coders method where you dont need the plugin.

Do It Yourself method

If you would rather not have an extra plugin on your site, you can very simply change the login form. Each version of WordPress is slightly different, I’m using version 2.5 for this example but the CSS selectors have stayed the same basically for years now so I’m sure you can use for almost any version.

One of the most simple and most important changes is swapping the wordpress logo with your own. If you leave the image the same size, you can just open the image, change it and save as the same name and re-upload. Super simple

Find this file


and copy to your desktop. Open in Photoshop, delete the base layer, add your image or text (PNG supports transparency so you dont need to fill the whole space)and save the file(using File>”save for web“). Then upload to the same location.It will tell you there is an identically named image there and you say “replace”.


In your wordpress install folder. find this file and edit it.


change the color of the login form

.login form

background: none repeat scroll 0 0 #FF0000; (the last number will change to whatever color you want. you can easily get it from Photoshop)

all of the background functions can be replaced with images

background:url(“http://www.alishan-organics.com/red_plank.jpg”) repeat scroll 0 0 #cc5a16;

just replace the “none” with background:url(“http://www.domain.com/image.jpg”)

This works for the login area as well as the main page. This is pretty easy and can be very rewarding but maybe too complicated for most. if so just stick to the plugins i mentioned before. It really make a big difference to see a custom login screen when working on a site. Its makes it feel more professional and gets you in the mood to be productive. Good luck!