Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Counting Down...

We're now into our second to last week of school and the final deadlines are looming on all of us here in the Interactive Multimedia program. Everybody seems to be handling the pressure fairly well over the past week or so. There's no time to cry; we're running with the wolves now!

For this Friday, I have two one-minute videos for the College to edit as well as my own demo reel. Tuesday is our Industry Portfolio Review day, and by the following Friday, the last day of class, we have to have our bookstore project, web & DVD portfolios, and term projects done.

I am currently putting all of my video clips for the College videos through image stabilization in iMovie which is going to take a couple of hours minimum to get through. Bad for me as it's eating into what little time I had set aside for this, good for you because it gives me a chance to blog! (Assuming, of course, anybody finds these blogs entertaining in any way).

The school project deadlines are not, surprisingly, making me too anxious -- it's the looking for work after school that's working me up. School is easy; life is hard. In the past, I've even given up on trying to find a job in my field and have picked up minimum-wage joe-jobs just so I could stop looking for a while and spare my ego further angst (besides, the bills always need paying and they don't care where the money comes from). This year, I'm determined not to do that again.

I WILL get my dream job THIS SUMMER!

So, if you or anybody you know is looking to employ a slightly used graphic designer/web programmer, please give me a shout. You and I will both be glad you did!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

PHP & I Are Friends Again

One of our biggest projects this semester was to build a website with a content management system. Each of us in the class had to come up with a new interface design for the Holland College bookstore and code it using HTML, CSS, mySQL, and PHP. This is a mockup of my interface:

I was working on this website off and on over the past few weeks and got it to the point where I only needed 3 more of the site's pages coded... then it all went into the toilet! I don't know how I managed it, but I ended up screwing up my code so badly that by the end of the week I had 10 pages to code like I had gone backwards in time!

Today, I found the errors and fixed them all myself (thanks to Googling some php forums). I am the first person in the class to get the site done, and I am really proud of myself. Last week I was ready to give up on it entirely... I am so glad I stuck with it!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

The 2012 Media Arts Student Showcase is at Hand!

It's official: The Student Showcase is here! In my previous post, I included a conceptual of the installation design for the Interactive Multimedia class. This is the final result. 

A few modifications were made from the original design concept. The background is now a series of painted record albums instead of a picture of a pile of tvs. The child has also been removed. I think the robot turned out fairly well for a homemade, tinfoil affair. It definitely looks better in the showcase than it did next to my desk, that's for sure!

Check out the Interactive Multimedia program's installation at the Confederation Centre in Charlottetown
Although I'm excited for the Showcase, I found the past few weeks horribly difficult and fraught with angst. My final semester is winding down here at the College, and I'm struggling to get my ducks in a row. Term project, portfolios (both web and DVD), a huge database website project and documentation for all major projects will all be coming due in the next couple of weeks. I'm not sure if I will ever be ready in time.

Hopefully, you'll be hearing from a much less frazzled Holly when I next post here. I hope so. To quote Scottie of Star Trek, "She can't take much more of this captain!"

Friday, 17 February 2012

Upcoming Student Showcase

On April 5 the Interactive Multimedia, Graphic Design, Fundamental Arts and Video Game Programming courses will be presenting a Student Showcase at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

Over the past few days, our class has been mulling over some installation ideas for our piece of the show. We have decided to put our television monitor in the body of a robot with a dummy of a little kid sitting in front of it. The little kid will have a mirror for his face. We're kind of going for a bit of a McLuhan message with the robot/mirror-face thing. I think it's going to look cool.

Here's my quickie conceptual for the installation:

We're going with something a bit different for the background -- incorporating some of my idea here with the stacks of televisions and some vinyl records that Daniel, one of my classmates, had for his background.

I can't wait! This will be my first art show in over five years! Yay! :)

You should come check us out! Be there, or be an equilateral parallelogram!

Friday, 20 January 2012

New Project! When I Grow Up....

Although we've only just started, this seems to be the semester of big projects. Over the next couple of weeks, the class will be shooting and editing a film project that will be submitted to the Third Annual Island Media Arts Festival.

Next week, we will be shooting in a variety of Charlottetown locations and asking passersby "When you grow up, what do/did you want to be?", "What are you doing now?", and the clincher "Are you happy?"

We're all pretty jazzed by this project. So far, we've set up a Facebook page & group, a Twitter account, logo, promotional video, business cards, signs and forms... and that was just yesterday. The Facebook account already has received a huge number of postings since its inception yesterday afternoon. This afternoon I'll be posting up on my Google+ account, so my pals there can keep track of what's going down.

We'll be posting our shooting locations daily before each team heads out, so if any of you out there would like to come and participate, you'll be able to find us. And, just so you don't feel like you're doing this for free, we're handing out a helium balloon to each participant! Hopefully our balloons will hold up in the cold weather... nobody likes shrinkage!

Our submission deadline for the Island Media Arts Festival is mid-February. The Festival itself runs from May 8-13 this year, so please come and check us out! After its launch, our project will "go live" online on my Youtube channel as well as our Facebook page and group.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Freedom of Speech Applies to Your Wall, Not Mine!

Today, I finally got a chance to check out the activity on my Youtube channel. Imagine my excitement when I discovered that somebody had posted a comment on one of my videos! Yay!

Then I read it.

Bubble burst, cheeks inflamed, I hastened to take down the comment section on the video.

If you'll remember from an earlier posting, I had produced a 30-second "call to action" spot on the Attawapiskat housing crisis. As it turns out, it seems that all you have to do to find a bigot in Canada is mention the word "Indian". Somebody from Alberta, who referred to me as "kiddo" took some time out of his very busy life to tell me that I should concentrate my efforts on worthwhile causes rather than Canadian natives "who do nothing but drink millions of government dollars away every year instead of feeding and sheltering their kids." He also, apparently, didn't appreciate being bombarded with my version of "white man's guilt".

Just prior to posting my video on Facebook, I had found and shared a petition to call on the government to step up for Attawapiskat. I ended up having to monitor/mediate that posting for almost two full days. Although none of my friends or family said anything that I thought was truly racist, some of them were definitely treading on thin ice, even for me.

I am not a political person. What I know about the Indian Act and the current status of our natives is appallingly little. I don't live near a reservation (although there are a couple of them in this province), I don't have any native friends, I don't even know anybody who deals with natives on a regular basis. The people who commented on my Facebook wall don't either, for all their posturing and ranting. I hold my actual opinions on this matter as I know I am not nearly informed enough to take a side in the debate.

Those of you who have met me in real life also know that I am in no way politically correct, but online it's different. Online, I'm professional. Online, I'm courteous. Online, I'm quiet.

In real life, my mouth doesn't have a backspace key or ctrl-z (undo), and sometimes that can cause a problem (as pretty much anybody who has a mouth of their own can agree). But people have bad memories generally -- if you give it long enough, people will eventually forget what you said, so very rarely, will my past spoken words affect my future relationships.

When you put something down on the internet, however, it's there forever. Etched into the stone of pixels and bytes is your flower of truth or your shit-bag of idiocy for all to see until the lights go off on humanity. I am particularly aware of this feature of the internet and thank the stars every day for the delete key.

What is not different about me in real life and online is I have always used my real name. If it's important enough for me to say, it's important enough for me to stand by. If I don't feel comfortable using my real name on a posting, it's probably not right to post it. I'm also not into anonymous fight-picking with strangers.

So to douchebag012 from Alberta, good luck in your job search and beer drinking... and I'm sure that rash will clear up down there once you get that cream on it.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Final Presentations for the Semester

I can't believe it's almost the end of the semester already... a couple of more projects and we can stick a fork in it, cuz it's done! :) One of my last projects is to give a one-hour presentation on two books I've read pertaining to the course over the past semester.

My first book is "Head First: HTML with CSS & XHTML" by Elizabeth & Eric Freeman. As far as tutorial books go, this one was almost painless. At first I arched my eyebrow at the word searches and crosswords at the end of each chapter, but, as the authors suggested, it is a great way to give your poor old brain a break after staring at code tutorials for page after page. The authors' writing style is nice and light, too which also helped quite a bit in getting through it. Out of 5, I rate this book at least a 4.5... which is really good for a tutorial book.

The second book I will be presenting is a more recent release titled "The Impulse Economy: Understanding Mobile Shoppers and What Makes Them Buy" by Gary Schwartz. I won't lie -- this book was about as dry as a popcorn fart. Even still, it had a few really good points to make regarding m-commerce and how it should be tackled by marketers and designers in the future... it just took the author over 220 pages to eventually make those few points.

The Impulse Economy is also chock-full of stats regarding m-commerce, the internet, phone usage, commerce trends, and shopping in general. I like statistics, so the book was great for that. The over-use of acronyms (which were not all covered in his mini-glossary of acronyms in the back of the book) was TORTUROUS however! It's as if the author wrote the book for computer technicians and huge marketing firms.

And, maybe I'm just being picky here, what is up with the typos, people?? The book was put out in 2011 and contains stats from the beginning of this year, so it was written, edited and published in less than 11 months. Do you think that maybe next time somebody could actually proof the thing before it gets printed? I don't mind the odd little typo here and there as long as you can figure out what the word was supposed to be, but some of the typos I found could not be resolved contextually at all... I hate having to just skip something I'm reading because I always think that it may have been important.

Truthfully, the only reason why I stuck with this book to do my presentation on was because I didn't have anything else I thought I could read end-to-end in less than a week.