Category Archives: photos

London … from VERY high up

Courtesy of Gareth, I got a surprise trip to the Shard on opening day, just after sunset.

Tragically, I had my DSLR with me and *left it behind* 10 mins before Gareth phoned me, so all this is from an iPhone 4 (gasp!). Even so, it’s impressive. The Shard is so tall that you get a view of London without the typical “squashing” from perspective. Even from airplanes, flying in to Heathrow for many years, I’ve never seen quite such a decompressed view of London at night…

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Exquisite drawing of London – exhibition in Ealing this Summer

Matteo Pericoli spent 3 years drawing central London from the Thames. His artwork is a 30-foot-long tapestry (that you can buy as a fold-out book).

There’s an exhibition just opened today with the original artwork at Ealing Gallery. What’s amazing is when you see it up close just how tiny some of the hand-drawn details are.

e.g. look at the horizontal lines in the middle of this photo:

(that’s my finger at the bottom – the artwork is under a thick layer of glass, so it’s safe to touch!)

Also, if you go to the gallery, there’s an interactive projection of the artwork onto the walls. It’s running an iPad app we made last year (to complement the paper edition). The app lets you tap each of the buildings on the skyline and read about history, architecture, etc.

How good is Canon’s new 550D with old, cheap lenses?

Pretty good (shot without tripod, a few days ago):

Using this 10-year-old lens (70-300, no image stabilising or anything fancy). I wondered if my old (pretty cheap) lenses from my film camera would work OK with a brand new digital camera. Yes, although I get a lot of chromatic aberration at wide apertures, sadly.

So far as I can tell (and dpreview.com seems to back this up), Canon is still the best manufacturer of digital cameras for low-light situations, bar none. Which covers an awful lot of the interesting photos out there. Although … in this image … the camera kept trying to expose for “space”, so even asking it to do a full -5 stops underexposure, the moon still whited-out. In the end, I had to go to fully manual (on Canon cameras, I’ve needed to do that fewer than 5 times in my life) and force each of: Exposure (1/200), Aperture f/9.0, ISO Speed 100. This is also the first time I can remember where I’ve “had” to manually change the ISO speed on a digital camera.

FlickrEdit – looks like a virus?

IMHO, Flickr/Yahoo has one of the best user-authentication systems I’ve ever seen. I’m sure it’s no accident that Twitter (eventually) moved to a system that is extremely similar.

(NB: I don’t know if flickr copied if from someone else, but they were the first I remember seeing like this, many years ago)

You want sensitivity in your security? Yeah!

It’s so sensitive that it’s currently blocking FlickrEdit’s (bad, broken, buggy) implementation. Not just with an error; not even with a warning … but with giant red letters, a yellow background, and a warning icon:

I was pretty annoyed that the app was seemingly so poorly written it wasn’t doing the desktop-based auth that it should be – and that it popped-open a web browser and “told” me to login (Flickr’s auth-system is slightly more seamless than that, and a much better user-experience).

But I was very impressed that Flickr noticed it too, and decided to warn me that this might be a scam of some kind…

Leaving just one question…

…is this open-source project buggy, or has someone hacked the source and put in a virus? Hmm…

Well. I’ve contacted the project owners, and informed them. Interesting to see what they say.

In the meantime, I have so much faith in Flickr’s authentication system (e.g. I know that it doesn’t share passwords) that I’m happy to go ahead and use the application. There are very few systems where I’d do this, but flickr’s (approach) is one of them.

The audacity to believe

Do you live in San Francisco? Or, have you ever been there, for a conference, perhaps, or a holiday? (since the games industry’s biggest annual conference takes place in downtown SF, literally adjacent to and physically underneath the memorial)

Have you been to the Martin Luther King memorial?

No, not the famous one(s) elsewhere that are all over the web in arguments and rantings about costs etc. I mean the small, quiet, semi-secret one hidden in the heart of San Francisco, in the Yerba Buena Gardens.
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Perplex City 2005 launch

I was just formatting an old hard disk over xmas, clearing out old junk, and found some files from when I was working at Mind Candy on Perplex City – probably a backup of my USB key when I was re-formatting it while still working there (we tried a couple of different keys for doing passwordless auth which we were thinking of rolling out to all staff to make life easier and in some areas more secure).

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Recruitment party photos

We didn’t quite get the sunny afternoon we were hoping for, but we did get some nice light

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…so we had to move inside, but we still had a great turnout of peoplencsoft recruitment party 031

And it’s nice to have a games-industry recruitment event right on the beach, by the sea, for a change (instead of in the centre of a big city)

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