I am the Burgerfan!

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Archive for the ‘Side Projects’ Category

October 15th, 2012: 9:43 pm

Working through the tutorial I stopped at last time, I got an Edit Box and a button in place. When pressed, the button runs code that shows the contents of the Edit Box. I took it an extra step and figured out how to center the text. Here is my masterpiece:

It looks like a lot of the UI can be developed using XML. This feels similar to XAML in WPF. I’ll have to start reading more about what controls are available, and how they function. For now though, I’ll continue following the training materials.

October 14th, 2012: 6:25 pm

Its fun to work on side projects. Even if they aren’t seen to completion, I find the sense of discovery or progress (depending on the project and its intended goal) made along the way satisfying.

Having carried around a Nexus 7 tablet for a while, I’ve decided I’d like to know what basic Android development is like. I’ve been playing a fair bit of Minecraft lately, and I figure I should spend some of that time trying doing something a little more productive.

As long as I remember to, I figure I’ll write about this side project for as long as it holds my interest. We’ll see how it goes.

This session’s goal was getting set up. Here we have the steps to get the SDK installed. The installer is a clean, straightforward process, and the SDK Manager seems to have a nice Package Management system.

Since it is recommended, I am going to try developing in Eclipse. My only previous experience with Eclipse was in a previous side project where I tried to develop an HP TouchPad application, and I did not enjoy using Eclipse. Since some of the Android walkthrough references this IDE, I will try it again in the hopes I will get a little more comfortable with it.

Everything seems to be installed and ready for development now. Time to start the tutorial

October 29th, 2011: 2:24 pm

We just finished a photo shoot for our upcoming Christmas card. Soon we will apply some post processing magic.

If you’re lucky enough to receive one, its going to be legen… (wait for it!)

September 4th, 2011: 8:31 pm

We were in the Calaway Park campground outside Calgary for a part of the long weekend. After a cloudy/rainy Friday, the skies cleared to expose a sharp new of the mountains on the horizon. I had brought my tripod on the trip “just in case” anything interesting came up, and decided to try making a panoramic image.

I didn’t know how it would turn out, but I figured I’d take some photos along a near 180 degree sweep, and worry about the results when I got home. I tried to level the tripod to a reasonable degree, and took a photo at half increments to the minor tripod markings. I don’t know what degree that is, but it seems an appropriate amount of overlap.

Once home, I pulled down the Microsoft Image Composite Editor, dropped the images in, and let it do its thing. I think the software is pretty slick – in ’97 I had spent a summer working to create QuickTime VR 360 degree panoramas as part of a virtual tour for the University of Alberta. The software at the time would get your images reasonably close together, but you would have to finesse the overlays. In the present future, it just works.

I don’t know how practical panoramic images are for display on monitors, but they are pretty cool. Click on the image to see a bigger copy of the file.

In this exercise, I also learned that my camera or lens has dust in or on it somewhere. Back to the blower. I will have to keep an eye out for more panoramic opportunities – this could make for a cool collection.

Some credit goes to Brad or Matt one of which was talking to me about Microsoft’s Photosynth site, which I had seen a while back, but forgotten about. Also Darren, who was mentioning that a panoramic image could make for a great multi-part canvas print.

August 26th, 2011: 11:39 pm

At the end of July, Brad was wanting for more ‘enjoyable acts of photography’ in his life. He decided to make the most of his camera during the month, photograph anything, and end up with a satisfying collection of photos representing August 2011. (For the record, this is my favourite).

While I am no match for Brad’s photographic quantity or quality, it did get me thinking – I haven’t been taking advantage of this hobby as a way of breaking routine and letting my mind wander. Nor have I had any drive to work on a side project since about January of this year. So I decided it was time to get back on the ‘side project’ bandwagon.

I’ve seen people successfully complete photo-365 (a photo a day) and photo-52 (a photo a week) projects, and I admire their discipline in following through (as well as the ability to remember to keep taking photos). The reward at the end of these types of projects is a formidable visual time-capsule of the given window in time. As a side project, I went for a lighter approach. I decided that I would try to use my camera every couple of days.

If I saw something of interest, or came up with an interesting concept to try, I’d spend 5-15 minutes taking photos, and another 5-15 minutes in Lightroom, pick two, and post. It can seem a little hasty, but it turns the hobby into a more bite-size execution rather than waiting for larger blocks of free time to intersect with good weather and/or a visually interesting event. Even better, I either learned something or came to remember things I had learned on past photo outings. Most days, my inner critic would not like the end result of the session’s choice photos, but those were the days I usually came out of it with a set of ideas for how I’d come closer to the intended vision. So that counts as time well spent in my books.

The cool thing was that this project got me to take my camera out with me more often. Even to work. And it made me pull over on the side of the road, get out, and take photos, instead of driving past things thinking ‘someday I’ll go back and take a photo of that’. I also learned that ‘someday’ may never happen. At least until the snow flies, I plan to keep my camera in tow more often, and it will enable me to go capture those compositions that strike at random.

I don’t tend to stick with rigid time frames (like year-long resolutions), and did not intend to use August 31 as a distinct end for this project. Something else has caught my interest, and I have already gained momentum on it, so its time to wrap up this project as I know it. I still plan to publish more photos to my site, it just won’t be with the same frequency. Having ‘a’ side project is better than not having any.

More on that next side project later. Maybe.