Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Knowledge Review 7 Complete!

That's right, after several months (for reasons explained in a previous post), I have finally completed the 3DBuzz XNA Xtreme 101 Knowledge Review 7. And yes, that includes the fix to the vertical lines.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Knowledge Review 7 Progress and Problem

The implementation of the Command Line system is going great so far. Most of the basic operations (create, delete, display, parent) are in and work great. And, I'm not using a Switch in the Command Manager. It's all Object-Oriented.

While testing the parenting, I noticed a problem with the display that I didn't see with the "static testing setup". Yes, more hiccups with the lines when displaying the DAG.


RHA A New Name Contest

The Regional Health Authority A is holding a contest to find a new name for the organization. This new branding will help develop the corporate identity and image of the organization.

Yes, this is a plug.
Contest Information
Facebook Fan Page

Monday, December 21, 2009

Breaking Post Modification

Something that annoyed me (and one of you guys) with the way Breaking Posts (Jump/Read More) was implemented was the anchor (#more) that scrolled the content to the top of the browser frame, which made things a bit hard to read or follow. I modified it so that clicking "Read more" shows the entire post instead of scrolling to the "#more" anchor.

Result: The simple integration and usability without the anchor.

Snow Rant

Disclaimer: A tiny little bit of strong language ahead.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Art Therapy - Headache Spatter

A piece of "brush-work" driven by a nasty headache. I felt much better afterward.

Now I can maybe work on a second "Holiday" Wallpaper... maybe...

No More Best in Canada!

Wait, what? If you're confused, it's all going to become clear in a second. Rogers Communication has won an injunction against Bell (BCE) to force their rivals to stop mentionning "Most reliable".

I am absolutely outraged by this. Not that I like Bell, their customer service is horrible. I don't like Rogers Mobile either, their pricing plans are uselessly high. It bothers me from a marketing/advertising point. This ruling essentially means that from an advertising stand point you can no longer claim to be the best at something.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Penguin Stare - Wallpaper

My latest piece, a wallpaper. It's honestly my first 'real' wallpaper piece — Penguin Stare. I got inspired by a label while wrapping gifts. I loved the asymmetrical-shapes style and made my own character out of it.

It's available in a variety of fullscreen, widescreen sizes... including one in HD. Check out the DeviantArt Page to download it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Change of Email

I did something I wanted to do for a little while: change email address and provider (MS is not focusing enough on the mail element, resulting in an incredibly sloppy mail service at times, and it's pissing me off, but that's for another discussion...)

It was a hard decision because I was attached to zsyrinx. But when I had people having a hard time understanding when I was verbally giving them my email, I knew that it was maybe time for me to change.

The new email is a bit more "mature" and professional, and it's much easier to undersand. Of course I'm not going to write it out on this post, but if you know where to look, you'll find it.

There's a lot of work involved in changing emails after almost 10 years. It's not doing the change that's hard and tedious, it's everything else (changing every subscriptions, logins, etc...). I swear I have work for the next 6 months just with these changes!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Album Insert Panorama WIP

I've been mentioning lately that I needed to work on the design material for the album of "La voix des jeunes" (The voice of the youth). In case you are curious, here's a preview of the work required for one of the many elements.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Knowledge Review 7 Return

After almost three months, I finally put a tiny bit of time into XNA Xtreme 101 and Knowledge Review 7. I finished the second big piece of the project, the ShapeNode class, and implemented it with the TransformNode class.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Another New Blog Layout

I'm not the only one that felt the need for a layout change. Check out Stéphanie's Blog "Pencil Addiction".

Friday, November 27, 2009

How Designers Feel...

Making good design is like giving somebody an orgasm: There's a lot of sweat and heavy breathing and sometimes you're totally in the dark. In the end, you just keep fiddling about until you get it right
---Stefan G. Bucher, 344 Design
I got this from a must-own book if you're a designer: 401 Design Meditations. It was way too good for me to not share it with you guys.

New Blog Layout

As you may have noticed, I have again changed my blog layout. If you haven't, I highly recommend you go see an optometrist ASAP.

For a long time I wanted a look that represented what I was about and what I wanted my blog to be. I wanted a clean "design" feel with a "modern grunge" accent and with a much wider real-estate space for both the posts and the right-side column.

I decided to sit down and find a new template or find ways to fully edit the one that was in place. I was lucky enough to find a template that reflected exactly what I had in mind. It's Natural Gloom by Klodian.

There were some tiny bugs with some of the stuff I had implemented in the old layout, but the new look and new features (such as editable top menu) outweighed the little bugs.

Thursday, November 26, 2009



Sometimes when everything around you feels blurry or confused, when you look inside of you something will happen in the world around you to make everything more clear.

See more on Flickr

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Duck Photos

Today was a beautifully sunny Sunday. Me and Stéphanie went for a ride, but not without me grabbing my camera.

Proud Male

See more on Flickr

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Breaking Posts (Jump) in Blogger

Something I've been looking to find out for quite some time, but just didn't have the time to check. I wanted to know if it was possible to break posts in Blogger (Blogspot).

I finally decided to look it up and I found my answer.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Where have I been?

A very complicated question since there's not a single answer. A lot of things happened since September that required a lot of attention and time. Time that I couldn't put on blogging, designing, or programming. To be honest, I barely had time to game in the past two month.

First, we finally did the photoshoot for the album material of my dad's youth choir "La voix des jeunes" (The voice of the youth). This meant that a lot of work in the upcoming month or so had to be done to complete the design and post-production of all the graphic-elements of the album.

Sadly, this was compromised by a breakdown on my car. When the "Check Engine" light comes on it means "don't panic, but don't ignore me". But when it flashes, it means "get me to a mechanic right the **** now". This caught me really off guard. I had started saving a bit more money in order to potentially buy a new car, but I really didn't feel ready and I hadn't been shopping dealerships either. What I feared was that the repair was going to cost more than the value of my car, making me lose money regardless of what I chose to do. Fortunately, the repair wasn't that expensive.

Needless to say that this was a major kick behind to get me looking for a new car. The load of information when shopping for a new car is simply staggering. I spent evenings crunching numbers and adjusting my budget. Two exhausting weeks later I made the decision.

You'd think the troubles would be over and I could sit down and dive in the album design. But the Influenza A H1N1 pandemic got to a phase where our priorities for my department at work changed from "full speed" to "are you nuts?". I haven't done so much overtime in years. But it's alright. The only downfall is that I can't work on the album design and I'm really far behind.

I can't say I'm really back on my regular posting schedule. But things are starting to die down.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The War in your TV

There's a war waging right under your noes... if your noes is in front of the TV right now. The cable and satellite providers are attacking the networks (ironically the networks they are providing) using pseudo-consumers in their ads about a, wrongfully used term, "TV Tax". On the other you have the big networks trying to defend themselves begging the fact that local TV matters.

This war is really disgusting because both sides are manipulating information for their own benefits/agenda. One side is a humiliating plea to save local TV and the other is a badly executed fake Vox-Pop formula with incredibly bad actors and a "host" so full of himself that you just want to punch in the face until he deflates (this statement is meant in a figurative style, not a threat).

How did we get to here? Where one corporate group doesn't want to have their consumers to pay (although they already are paying extra for local TV since last Spring with most providers) and on the other you have the networks that wants to survivability of local television.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Photoshop PDF (CS2) Annoyance

Nothing worst than spending hours on a Photoshop layout for print and then realize that no matter what you do, the text rasterizes when you save it as a PDF/EPS. If you have one of the later versions of Photoshop or even some of the older ones (pre-6) it's pretty easy to fix. You just need to be sure that you include Vector data and embed all fonts in the file.

But even then, sometimes a text will simply not stay in Vector. A lot of people will still have problems even by following precise instructions of every Photoshop version there is. That has happened to me today. However, there is one thing to check that I haven't seen anywhere online or in documentation...


Too simple? It worked for my problem this morning, and I even opened up past projects where I hit that wall and it worked there too.

A lot of faux-style/decorations are not supported in the PDF/EPS format. Always use true font-styles/decorations.

Regular posting will start very soon, I promise!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Obligatory "I'm still alive" Post

Just a heads-up to let everyone know that I haven't disappeared from the face of the planet. I'm just very busy working on the La voix des jeunes album material (disc label, cover, insert, etc.). Many hours spent, much more to go. It's coming along very nicely. I'm getting the effect I wanted.

Taking breaks is essential and now more fun. I got my hands on [NDS] Scribblenauts during my lunch break. <3

There may or may not be a post before the end of the month. I'm that busy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Summer Swirl

While Summer's end is drawing near. The serenity of Summertime still lingers in the air.

Knowledge Review 7 Progress

I've been coding a little bit last night. I almost finished all the functionality of the TransformNode class and just about to start figuring out the ShapeNode requirements. Before that, I have to finally attack the name validation.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

...Ending with some Good News! [US and Net Neutrality]

The last time I was on a political-roll, it was a Trilogy. Now is no different. To end off the Political Control of Digital Media Trilogy on a high note.

FCC to Enforce Net Neutrality

The number one issue of the critically minded Web-Generation is the issue of Net Neutrality. The just and responsible freedom of the internet.
One thing I would say so that there is no confusion out there is that this FCC will support net neutrality and will enforce any violation of net neutrality principles.
---Julius Genachowski, FCC Chairman

This is a very reassuring statement. I usually condemn when a political group copies off a law or model from another country when that model or law is broken. But this is one of those things that needs to be copied off everywhere. Finally a high up victory for Net Neutrality.

Now, Neil Berkett can suck it!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Speak Out On Copyright [Canada]

Following up on my latest post, I highly encourage all the Canadian readers of my blog to check out...

SpeakOutOnCopyright.ca is a free public service web site provided by Michael Geist. Dr. Michael Geist is a law professor at the University of Ottawa. He's someone I highly look up to for everything he's doing on the legal and technology front of various issues.

Also, thank you Jack Zhang for the extra exposure on my last post.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Why Politics and Creative Media Should Not Mix...

An issue that is dear to me is any effort by the government (any - US, Canada, UK... there's no difference) to poison the creative process and creative media with ridiculous control. I strongly believe in Copyright, Intellectual Property, and Creative Licencing. However, without exception, all the current political efforts are all harmful to everyone. For example, if Bill C-61 [Canada] passes, every single Canadian citizen, regardless of where they stand (artist/designer/media or consumers), will feel the repercussion of a Bill that is harmful to the very issue it's supposed to support or protect.

Here are some links to make you sick about the current reality.
Wherever you are in the world, speak out to your government about your concern. Help them understand the reality.

Knowledge Review 7 Poll Result

Well, it was a perfect score for the Technical display option.

Time to code it in. I had the pseudo-code down for all the options, so it's not that much work.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Knowledge Review 7 Node Display

I got on this Blog this morning to get something for work when something hit me. You see, prior to this post, the screenshot of the Knowledge Review 7 DAG preview was on top of the page. The designer in me likes to make stuff look pretty and functional. Now, with my changes, why does everything look like it's a child of NodeA even though the spacing is correct?

The addition of the vertical bars (aka the broken bar character) at the beginning of any line that's not at the root created what I consider a problem. It can be very misleading, especially if you're checking the DAG for the first time. It's bothering me to the point where I feel I have to change it. There are three options.

The original 3DBuzz design

This is the way it's done in the videos. There are no vertical bars at all, so the only visual queue of the depth of a child to its parent are the dashes. It's simple, but on the down side I feel it's not good looking enough.

Option #1 - Simple Design

A simple layout of the Nodes similar to the original design, but without any dashes going through the full line until it's child. They're just below the parent. Another very simple design, but there's not a lot of vertical depth. By that I mean that if Parent1 has a lot of childs, there's not a lot of visual vertical reference between Parent1 and Parent2.

Option #2 - Technical Design

This layout is much more complex visually. It looks very technical, but everything is represented. You can follow each parent and child visually. However, it can be extremely busy on screen.

((EDIT: I just found out how to use Extended ASCII and Unicode in a console application in C#, so imagine the above screenshot but with much smoother lines))

Don't change anything
Stick with the current design even though it can be very misleading.

Essentially, it's a battle between visual simplicity, great aesthetics, and functionality.

There's a Poll on the right. Go vote now!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Knowledge Review 7 WIP Preview

I sadly didn't have time to touch any programming during my three weeks of vacation. So I'm catching up. I just completed the "Grouping" and "RemoveNode" functionality of the Knowledge Review 7 "DAG Program".

Here's a little preview of what it looks like. All the "Node" behavior is hard coded, but the engine is coming along great. User Input is probably coming very soon. I got a few things to-do first.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Photos from the Trip to PEI


See more on Flickr

Friday, August 7, 2009

Jewel of "Acadie"

The 2009 World Acadian Congress was launched today. For the occasion, I did a Vector piece that reflected the current Crystal trend in corporate graphic design (graphs, typography, logos, etc.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ed's P.E.I. Adventure!

On the way to Prince Edward Island, we met someone that tagged along our trip. His name is Ed. Ed followed us everywhere.

Ed really enjoyed his day to the beach. Since we all arrived so late to PEI, we didn't do anything else after the beach.

We had a lot of things planned up for the second day. All of them in Cavendish. So, we had to drive a lot. Ed had a very good seat in the car.

Ed's first stop was at Grandpa's Antique Photo Studio. Ed sadly didn't have enough money to get his picture taken.

After a quick stop at the Cavendish Boardwalk, Ed went to the Ripley's Believe it or Not museum, and the Cracker Creek Mining Co.. The Cracker Creek Mining Co. was a lot more fun than expected. Ed got a lot of great stones, and even a few fossils. He really likes his Shark Tooth.

The day was cloudy and extremely humid, so a stop to cooldown was welcomed. I wonder if Ed knew his limonade had alcohol in it...

Regardless, Ed hit the bed at the hotel pretty early and pretty hard...

Ed's last day on the island was a busy one, so he had to pack pretty early. Ed suprisingly had more stuff than all of us.

In Charlottetown, Ed suggested we first do the Harbour Hippo. It's a LARC (Lighter, Amphibious Resupply, Cargo) from the Vietnam War that goes through the key interest points of Charlottetown and then in the harbour. This is where Ed had the most fun!

There was a lot of people on the Harbour Hippo, but Ed didn't mind once he got a lollipop.

After a bunch of shopping, Ed had one last suggestion before we leave the island: The Cows Creamery. Ed be eating another ice cream for quite some time. There's just something about having 16% of the ice cream being Butter Fat. Don't get him wrong, Ed really found it delicious. Ed was really stuffed afterwards.

Before getting on the Confederation Bridge to head back home, we had to stop at the little tourist village before the Toll. Ed needed to stop at the ATM for the Toll. Ed couldn't help but to stare at the slice of the bridge.

Now Ed is extremely sleepy and needs a lot of rest.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Leaving for P.E.I.

I'm leaving tomorrow morning for Prince Edward Island. I'm either going to be posting pictures as it happen, or be totally absent for the next three days.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Miscou Roadtrip Photos

Vacation for me usually means a flood of photos. This year is no different.

Yes, it's a Flickr plug...

Friday, July 24, 2009

What's this, a Blog?

Yes, I haven't updated in two weeks now. I suck like that!

The reason is that I have nothing to really post about. I haven't done anything outside of work and gaming/relaxing. I haven't worked on C#/XNA much (I got about 3 hours of work done in Knowledge Review 7, with many more to go) and I haven't designed or created anything. I just took it easy for the past two weeks. Work was pretty hectic, so I didn't have the energy to put into out-of-office work.

But this will change. I'm now on vacation for the next three weeks. I don't have a lot of things planned except a possible last-minute trip and the World Acadian Congress 2009 here in the region. So outside of that, I'm going to relax, maybe make another poster design, at least finish Knowledge Review 7, and get a lot of sunshine.

I'm also going to continue something I (finally) started doing— exercise. Every morning, two kilometers or more of walking. Once I picked up the pace, extend the length. This is a part of my New-Year resolution.

I haven't really forgotten about my blog, I just don't have anything to post.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Starting Knowledge Review 7

I seriously was not expecting this...

The six previous Knowledge Reviews were basically little tests on sections of the C# language. They could take anywhere from five minutes to an hour. After the sixth Knowledge Review was the Object-Oriented Programming 2 section. There's isn't a lot of language involved, but there's a lot of fundamental knowledge. Needless to say, I shouldn't have expected it to be a normal Knowledge Review.

Usually, the introduction to one or more challenge and the solution is contained in a single video. This time is different. The introduction alone was 64 minutes long. The solution is spread though multiple videos (28 videos z0mg).

But what is the challenge about? Without going in too many details, a Directed Acyclic Graph system (Parent-Child relationships) with nodes and a Command Line Interface to create, delete, rename, parent, group all those nodes.

Time to get some paper and a pencil and plan this thing out. I don't expect the planning face to take less than 2-3 hours.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Torn by Stress

Work related stress can lead to very serious physical and mental/emotional problems. It tears someone from the inside first, and then the families and friends outside.

NOTE: I want to emphasize on the fact that I do not have this problem myself. I work with an incredible team that knows its limits, but still is very productive. I got the inspiration doing something totally unrelated. Having been close to people who have had work related stress problems and it nearly ruined their lives, I feel strongly about this issue.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Last Breathe of a PSP Battery

I really needed to make a post. I miss the time when I was inspired by randomness and I shared my insanity on the Blog. Twitter is awesome for bite-sized micro-blogging, but this is the full-experience blog, afterall.

WARNING: Since it's just passed midnight, I'm going to refer "today" as Friday.

For the past two weeks or so, my PSP battery has been slowly dying to the point where it barely kept a 30 minutes charge. For those who didn't know, I have a launch PSP (PSP-1001) and still had the original battery. Today, I put the old battery to rest and got the 2200mAh Sony Stamina Battery. I already know it's going to be worth it because it took three hours to charge the freegin' thing.

I finally got to see Disney•Pixar's Up last night (Thursday). Pixar did it again.

My next Design piece will be a collaboration with Stéphanie (my girlfriend).

Aren't I lacking sleep? What the hell am I still doing up this late typing this...

Today's 'LOL' moment (for me): I broke the corporate adage "No one is irreplaceable".

Random quote: "I'm here, Justin Case! (Just in case)" ---some random TV commercial that was on while typing this.

What are you playing this weekend?
Randomly added to this post. I'm away at my parents for the weekend (Father's Day this Sunday), and with a brand new PSP Battery, it's a PSP weekend.
  • Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness
  • Phantasy Star Portable
  • Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Clear Design

I cleared another piece!

Too often, communication hits a wall of constraints (rules, guidelines, message, connections, targets, time, concepts, etc.)... regardless, design makes it all much more clearer.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

People and Ideas

My latest Design piece.

Too often, a corporate philosophy puts the idea before the people. They forget that without the people, there would not even be a concept in the first place. There's people on both ends of the communication, and at every level of the concept. As soon as a corporate philosophy puts the idea before the people, communications will suffer.

Luckily, I don't have that problem with the team I work with.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

...Work Now!

...and this is where I'm working now. Same organisation, different offices. Harbourview Plaza hosts the RHAA's headquarters.

Finally, some sunlight!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Work Today...

This is where I've been working for almost 6 years now. The basement of the Chaleur Regional Hospital...

(the purpose of this will be made clear by Thursday...)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Spread Your Wings!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Awesome Music Tuesday

Two of favorite music artists had major releases today.

On one side you have my favorite Christian Rock band Decyfer Down that released the sequel album to End of Grey, Crash.

And on the other side, you have the prince of Electro-Rock-Ear-Candy (the king is still Klayton), Blue Stahli (or Bret) released another single of his upcoming album (being produced by Klayton himself), ULTRAnumb.

ULTRAnumb is probably going to be my summer track of choice. Check out Bret's... uh, Blue Stahli's MySpace page for the full song!

This is "Flat"-out Annoying!

A little over a year ago, I got a flat-tire on a Sunday. The tire wasn't sealed properly on the rim. Would you believe the same thing happened again?... in the same timeframe as last year (less than two weeks after getting my tires changed).

One of those déjà-vu you don't want...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Write That Down!

Ahhh, the famous quote from "National Lampoon's Van Wilder". And a life-lesson that I should be applying more often...

As you may know from my other posts, I'm currently going through Volume 2 of the 3DBuzz XNA Xtreme 101 training videos. It is a very theory-video volume. After 11 hours through, I'm noticing that it's going a lot deeper than I expected. To the point where I realized I'm forgetting little details here and there.

Proof of this was the fourth Knowledge Review where we had to validate if a variable was numeric then process it. In other languages, there's a function like isNumeric() you call, then you execute some code if it is. It's a little different in C# with TryParse() where the If statement both validates and casts the number in a numeric data type, which isNumeric() doesn't do. This difference alone confused the heck out of me when trying to do the exercice by myself without any help. It's not much, but when you're used to doing it differently in 4 other languages, it hits ya' pretty hard.

So, I decided to scrub through the last 11 hours and take notes... something I should've been doing from the start!

EDIT: I almost forgot. I received numerous emails about the progress bars from people who didn't know what they meant (what the values were). Now you can mouseover the progress bars and see the percentage.

5 Years Already?

Today I recieved a pin as part of Employee Recognition Week for the five (and more) years I've been working for the regional health authority.

Me and my 5-year pin