LUNCH

It's lunch!

Item(s): Combo A, consisting of chicken brochette, crispy spring roll, and vermicelli noodles
Establishment: Le Viet in Harbour Centre Food Court
Price: $6.99 plus tax

I used to patronize this food court location quite a bit when Black Box was downtown. It was just a quick dash down the street so it was convenient during times of inclement weather or if I just in a hurry. I’ve returned here at least twice now since I started my new job.

This particular combo is dependable albeit not spectacular. It’s difficult to mess up crispy spring rolls and it’s usually the first thing I eat when I get it. It’s difficult to say if they make their own rolls or just get them frozen. The chicken on a stick is also solid. It’s not flavour explosion but it doesn’t taste like cardboard either. I wish they gave you a little bit more meat though. They are also enough vermicelli noodles to keep me happy. The fact they also put enough fish sauce over everything is another positive.

If I ever want a fast, predictable, and dependable lunch, this will always be an option.

BAH

I’m not feeling too great tonight, which is awesome, since there is a long weekend coming up. Everyone knows the best way to spend a long weekend is to be sick. Let’s hope I feel way better tomorrow.

NEW PHONE

Apple loves this phone...

So last week, I succumbed to temptation and bought a new cell phone. If you’ve been with us for a while, you might remember I bought my first “modern” cell phone just over two years ago. Previous to that, I went five years between buying cell phones. While my last phone was a decent little device, it was beginning to show its age. It had a tiny amount of storage, just 512 Mb internally and 2 Gb on an SD card. I was frequently running of space to store data and apps. Having to uninstall apps just to try new ones was a pain. It was also slow and prone to crashing. Sometimes it would just freeze and other times it would spontaneously reboot, a few times while I was on a call. It was also stuck on Android 2.2, a super old version of the OS.

I decided to replace my old phone with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. While I agree that the Samsung Galaxy S3 is probably the best Android phone or even possibly best phone period out on the market now, I paid half the price for my Nexus. Overall, it’s an upgrade on my old phone across almost all fronts. The most important thing to me is that the Nexus is faster, crashes less often, and has more storage. Everything else is just a bonus, including the larger screen and HD resolution.

As a side effect of upgrading my phone, I had to switch carriers to Mobilicity. I actually pay less per month now than I did before but I get way more features. Now I get unlimited data and talk time, including unlimited long distance to Canada and the US. It’s a real shame I hardly make any long distance calls. If any of you live in North America and want to chat with me, even if it’s to tell me what you had for lunch, you let me know.

THANKS FOR MAKING ME FEEL OLD

So this sunny Saturday I hopped on a bus to take me across the Granville Street bridge from downtown. As I took my seat, a sibling combo sat behind me. The brother was the younger one, he looked to be about twelve to fourteen years of age. His sister was older, probably late teens or early twenties. They were making idle chatter as the bus made its away across the bridge. The brother then turned to his sister and asked her a question.

So who is Sean Connery?

The question hit in my right in my MedicAlert bracelet and prune juice container. The kid was serious about his question and he didn’t look like he had been living under a rock for most of his life. I’m guessing he knew who Justin Bieber was. Anyways, his sister didn’t even miss a beat and answered his question without any surprise at all. I turned and looked at the kid and briefly flirted with idea of letting him know he made me feel really old but I just turned my head back and enjoyed the view.

So there are now teenagers on this planet that have no idea who Sean Connery is. That is kinda sad… for a lot of reasons. So is this like when I was a kid and I had to listen to seniors explain how Mickey Rooney was the biggest star in the world?

WELL THAT’S AWKWARD

In the above video, we see a sleepy woman on the Tube in London. Like many of us, she has fallen asleep next to a stranger while on public transit. I’ve done this more times than I count. I have not, however, done what this woman did around 40 seconds into the video. Her embarrassment afterwards is priceless.

PRO-TIP

Here’s a piece of advice for ya, if you’re walking home and you just happen to run into a former co-worker and his English parents who just happen to be in town to visit and they insist on having one drink with you, that one drink will turn into many. May my body have mercy on me tomorrow.

COINS

Like many of you, my loyal readers, I have loose change lying around. A few years ago, I accumulated a lot of coins from a business I ran from my cubicle when Electronic Arts moved our team to Burnaby. The EA cafeteria charged people $1.25 for a single can of soda pop which was and continues to be larceny. I bought cans of pop in bulk and sold them out of a bar fridge next to my desk. I charged people $0.75 and they didn’t have to go all the way downstairs for it either. The end result, however, was an accumulation of many, many coins. Before I got laid off, I brought home bags and bags of coins, which just sat in my apartment as I was too lazy to figure out what to do with them.

As time passed, I also started accumulating coins just from everyday cash transactions. I finally decided to do something about that last week. I discovered that the Bank of Montreal has coin counting machines in select branches. You don’t even have to be a BMO customer to use them. The machine will count all your coins for you and then spit out a receipt. You can then take the receipt to the teller who will give you cash. The only catch is that if you bring more than $250 worth of coins, BMO will charge you a 8% processing fee on the final total.

My plan consisted of separating the loonies and toonies from the rest of the coins because I wasn’t sure if I could just use those in everyday spending. The rest of the coins went into a huge pile. I wasn’t sure if this massive amount of coins was going to go over $250, so I split it into more than one trip over different days. All told, the machines counted over 2000 individual coins for a total of about $250 in just pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. I hand counted the loonies and toonies, which came out to $212.

It’s amazing to think I had $462 in just coins sitting in my apartment. If you’ve gotten some change lying around, you might be surprised at how much money you’re missing out on.

CAPSIZED+

Now that Sleeping Dogs is out, the next game to be released that I had the pleasure of working on will be a title named Capsized+. This was the game I worked on before coming to my current job.

This was my first foray into tablet and mobile gaming. Originally, Capsized was a PC game released on Steam. Someone decided to bring the game to tablets and other platforms. Because a PC game and a tablet/mobile game use different type of controls, there was a lot of work done to make the game work and play great on something like an iPad. The team was small so there was a chance to work all different aspects of the game.

One of the things I got to fix is something you can see at about 1:23 into the trailer above. If you maximize the video, you’ll notice that as the character rotates his arms around to aim, his arms actually rotates out of his shoulder socket. The cause of this was because the arm wasn’t setup to animate properly. I remember getting the initial task to fix this and not having a clue as to how to start. So far, in my career, I haven’t had a lot of animation experience so I didn’t know instinctively where to look for the problem. I did a ton of digging and experimenting but I eventually figured out what the problem was. It was a lot of work but I fixed the damn problem. The game looks a lot better now because the main character doesn’t look like he’s dislocating his shoulder all the time.

I also worked on the code that enables in-game ads. I know this isn’t usually something people like to see in their games but its a standard part of mobile and tablet gaming. In a weird way, it was very cool to get that code working and to see how ads are used in this type of platform. I was able to work on many other different aspects of the game, so at least from that standpoint, it was really cool.

Capsized+ should be out this fall and I’m very excited to see on the virtual store shelves!