An open response to Anthony re: The Problem with Parking

This is an email response I sent to Anthony Reinhart, who wrote a fantastic article on parking lots in the Innovation District in Kitchener.

I’d love to get your feedback on my ideas and hear what you have to say on the subject.

Hi Anthony,

Thanks so much for writing your “Problem with Parking” article on View From The Loo. I’ve seen you around the hub; I work with Ivan on Will Pwn 4 Food.

It’s an issue that’s dear to my heart, especially since I spent 5 years in walkable, lovely downtown Guelph. After getting the gig with Ivan, I knew that I’d have to move here, so I found a spot to rent across the street from Communitech on Victoria (I’m right across from Oak St., near the green Vidyard home).

I use my car to go a few blocks, just as you said, and I hate it. I would never have done such a thing in Guelph. After living here for 10 months, there are certain things that make being a pedestrian almost impossible.

We need a pedestrian-first mindset in this city. Here’s what I think needs to change to support that:

  • 40km/h speed limit in the Innovation District, rather than the 50km/h default, strictly enforced
  • All intersections default to crosswalks on. Currently, if you don’t press the crosswalk button on the corner of Victoria and Joseph (Communitech’s location), you are not allowed to walk across the street even when the light turns green (and lasts < 10 seconds I might add)
  • Pedestrian crossing light on Joseph for people who park in the stone parking lots behind Communitech. Currently, everyone j-walks and it’s very dangerous, especially in bad weather
  • A “scramble” crosswalk at the corner of Charles and Francis, giving us tech workers quick and easy access to food downtown without fear of being run over (I see many people crossing diagonally already)

To help support the discussion on this topic and keep the ball rolling, I’m going to CC this email to my blog. Is there a forum I can link to, as well, in case people have responses?

Best,

Sleep better with f.lux

I didn’t believe in this software until I tried it. It started working the first day I used it.

Essentially, it changes the colour temperature of your screen depending on what time of day it is. If it’s daytime, your screen will be normal. If it’s nighttime, it’ll be more red. Apparently there’s a lot of research data to suggest that this helps with sleeping patterns of humans (something to do with the sun). Anecdotally, I can verify that it has helped my sleep patterns immensely.

I just wish it had the incremental colour change option enabled by default. Out-of-the-box, it switches from blue to red quickly after you cross a certain point of day. I like it when it’s more subtly done.

http://justgetflux.com/

UPDATE! Just a few days after this post, the developer of f.lux updated the software after a period of inactivity. The new features include the ability to go even dimmer during evening hours and a new “movie mode” which disables f.lux for 2.5 hours (long enough for your average movie to play through).

Some web traffic data for my part-time video game blog

When I first started making websites, I went looking for web traffic data for other people’s websites in an attempt to set a sort of realistic goal post. I wanted to know: what sort of traffic is realistic for a site that’s just starting out? How will I know if the site is successful or popular? Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of information available. So, for those that come after me, here’s what my video game site, GameBlaster64, has looked like traffic-wise since day one (January 20, 2011).

Traffic for gameblaster64

Click/tap for larger image

My site is not entirely popular, but it’s not barren, either. I post sporadically, maybe once every week on average. The content quality is good, though: all of the posts are original articles, not found anywhere else on the web. I’m always on-topic and share my posts on Facebook, Twitter, G+, and Stumbleupon. I don’t pay for traffic. All of this is organic.

Looking at the data, I find it interesting that although I have hundreds of articles, the ones about popular or trendy topics are right at the top of the popularity chart. Though it’s only one data point, my site’s traffic data seems to support the notion that following trends returns greater interest than long-tail but focused content, i.e., writing things about Minecraft is more popular than covering older/indie/non-mainstream titles or news, even if the latter is much more numerous in post count.

I do run ads from Google AdSense and make some money from Amazon affiliate links, but it’s not enough to quit my day job. Not even close. Still, it pays for our Minecraft server, which is professionally hosted in NYC by the amazing people at Nuclear Fallout. And, I get enjoyment from the creative outlet, covering the industry I love.

Relaunched: Going Debt Free

Going Debt Free Logo

The new logo.

Just a quick post to let my readers know that, after a 3-year hiatus, I’ve relaunched Going Debt Free. I cover the reasons for the downtime in a few blog posts, but I want to focus on moving forward with the agenda and building the site back up (and surpassing) its former glory.

The newest change? I’ve upgraded the software to enable the WordPress Network feature, which gives my readers their very own blog on the site. I want to try and build Going Debt Free into a solid repository of great articles written by people on their very own path to debt freedom.

Here’s to making Going Debt Free grow during the rest of 2013.

 

Don’t always listen to advice

When showing someone your start-up/product/service, it’s easy to let them guide your thinking unconsciously. It feels like there’s an inverse proportion of weight given to feedback to sample size, especially if it’s the first time taking the cover off.

Here’s a really great example of why one should always take every bit of advice as advice and not gospel:

advice

 

 

 

Ludum Dare 26 Here I Come

I know it seems I’m like 15 hours late to the party, but really I’m not. I’ve been trying to come up with a good idea for my game this Ludum Dare. In the mean-time I’ve been playing other people’s games and chit chatting/lurking on their IRC channel.

Now that I’ve finally got my idea, I’m ready to get down to work.

Atari Jaguar Dev Journal 002

I took a bit of time recently to take apart two of my Atari Jaguar joypads. The rubber/plastic screwhole covers, over time, had disintegrated and melted into a gooey, sticky mess on the backs and front of the joypads. It was gross.

If you’ve got old videogame equipment (10+ years) and you’ve noticed the rubber/plastic screwhole covers on the backs of the units or controllers getting soft, I recommend taking them off and avoiding the cleanup you’ll be facing in the next couple years. Otherwise, you’ll have to do what I did and use Goo Gone. The good news is that Goo Gone is amazing and it’s fairly cheap.

Melted screwhole cover gunk

One of the screwhole covers.

Joypad gunked up

Joypad gunked up. Note the cat hair that got picked up along the way. Gross!

Type 1 and Type 2, respectively.

Type 1 and Type 2, respectively.

Type 2 (left) and Type 1 (right)

Type 2 (left) and Type 1 (right)

Kitchener: Street Cars Please

Have you ever been on Fischer-Hallman? It’s an ugly street, full of cars and traffic signals. Not pretty or pedestrian-friendly.

It’s also one of the busiest roads in Kitchener.

While this city is not the richest or the largest in Ontario, it’s to the point now where street cars can alleviate one of the biggest problems here: getting around.

The two lines presented below would let anyone go from the Downtown Go/Via station at Weber/Victoria to the Wal-Mart on Ottawa. Beautiful. As an added benefit, the Wal-Mart location is very close to the Conestoga Parkway, making it a great location to be picked up or dropped off by friends who use cars.


View Larger Map

My Oculus Rift Arrives (Hopefully) April 11

So excited for this.

I’ve been planning out my first game. I’m going to call it Barf. Simply, it will change your view in whacky, unexpected ways whenever you move the headset (and sometimes even if you don’t). Online leaderboards (probably powered by Google App Engine or something of the like [is that thing free still?]) keep track of who has gone the longest before ralphing.

DodgeBots Launches!

I’m very happy to announce that the wait is now over and DodgeBots has officially launched :)

You can play now, for free, compete in tournaments, or pay-to-play and win actual cash and prizes at https://willpwn4food.com.

This is a huge milestone for me professionally as I’m now able to say “Yes, I’ve been part of a team that has released a game for sale to the public.” It’s also a huge win for me personally: a game developer is something I’ve always wanted to become and now I’m officially here.

Where LinkedIn Fails

linkedin-fail

I’ve interacted with Adrian Banninga before on Twitter. I wrote about his game in a Fund This Game article on my gaming site. He re-tweeted my post and #ff’d me. So why do I need to know someone in between him and me before we can connect?

As a huge fan of LinkedIn I’ve recommended it to a ton of people. How can I continue recommending it when I am unable to perform this site’s most basic function: add a person to my network?

Download old 3.5 version of Unity3D

Unity 4 was released three days ago, on the 12th of November. I installed it as soon as I saw that it was available. Unfortunately, it overwrites any previous version of Unity you have installed, so I lost my install of Unity 3. To make matters worse, I could not find any download link on the Unity3d website.

Thankfully, the official @unity3d twitter account pointed me toward the installer for Unity3D 3.5. Here it is.

For PC: http://download.unity3d.com/download_unity/UnitySetup_update-3.5.6.exe
For Mac: http://download.unity3d.com/download_unity/unity-3.5.6.dmg

Enjoy.

Gonna Be Pretty Quiet Around Here…

Will Pwn 4 Food Logo

I’m not abandoning this blog, not by a long-shot. Still, my current work eats up my life these days.

If you wanna follow what we’re doing at Will Pwn 4 Food (and you know you do, because you like videogames just like I do), then come our first game, DodgeBots, and subscribe to our blog.

Neat Gmail Feature: Custom Theme

I just learned about the custom theme feature in Gmail. For a long time I’ve wanted to use my own background in Gmail and now I finally can.

If you’re a fan of Minecraft and you’re looking for a good background to use in Gmail, I put one together. Feel free to click the image below and use it. I recommend the Dark theme option when using this image, but the choice is yours. Enjoy!

From Game Blaster 64