Saturday, September 27, 2014

Photo Sketches on the Phone

Tools and Resources: 
Old Blurry or pixelated photos
Nexus 5
Sketchbook Pro(finger  painted)

Traced from an old pic of one of our first clients, the band Sulk Station at our Studio in Kammanahalli.
Traced from a low rez photosphere of our studio in Indiranagar.

Rosabelle Ibtisam doing some claymation in a tiny shoebox light stage..

During a recce shoot with client Poonam Bir Kastoori at the Daily Dump office in Indiranagar.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Got my Mom a Dell ubuntu

Earlier this year in April i got my mom a Ubuntu laptop for her birthday 

Its a Dell Vostro 2520 Laptop, came preinstalled with Ubuntu. I ordered this one from Flipkart.. all details and specs are here -

Quick specs:
Pentium Dual Core
500 GB HDD

HD* LED Anti-glare Display 15.6 inch screen with 

*1366 x 768 Pixel resolution
Flipkart wasnt my first choice as a place to buy a laptop.. but had to do.. since i couldn't find it on the Dell site(My own current and previous laptops were also Dells that i got directly from Dell)

I have been using ubuntu for years now, and since my mom had frequently used one of my machines that had it(with minimum instructions from me) i decided to gift her, her own laptop. She only does email, writes stuff and skypes sometimes... All things that Ubuntu is perfectly adept at.

The start up config and installation of Ubuntu 12.04 (that the vostro came with) went smoothly and my mom loved it. then a few days later i upgraded it to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS using a thumb drive.. since it wasn't an LTS version it had to do a clean wipe rather than a migration. Nevertheless, it took 20min to complete.

Trusty Tahr looks great on it. the newer graphics drivers plus optimisations in 14.04 make it look really pollished.. the fonts and icons look beautiful on the screen.
note: That screenshot is actually from my other comp.. 

The only weird thing.. or maybe its a joke on the part of the seller: 
it came with a mcaffee disc!! 
heres my tweet about that

The billboards for dell's Ubuntu machine seem to tout libre office as the answer to everyone's wordprocessing needs.. 

However it does have some weird glytches.. my mom kept finding it difficult to enable spell check.. even i had to google the issue to figure out that i had to switch Libre Office to a different dictionary for spell check to be enabled.. minor frustration but worh noting.

NOTE: the bad comments on that flipkart page are from people who are looking for a windows machine, or something with a bit more muscle.. as far as i've seen(and i'm a windows and linux power user of sorts) its hardware surpasses my mom's needs. She uses it to write, facebook, skype and blog. I've installed all the requisite media playing codecs.. so its also a pretty good video and music machine.

To wrap up: I wouldn't buy it for myself.. i do a lot of 3d and 2d graphics work as well as gaming(for my experience with Steam on ubuntu check out - ) however if your needs are the same as my moms.. this is going to be pretty perfect for you.

Have also posted this on incase you want to discuss it there-

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Waken - Endless Light

Endless Light" is the debut EP from the indie worship band "Waken". Self-produced in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, the band walks a thin line between indie synthpop/electronic influenced music, and corporate worship music to create a sound that is not only an enjoyable listen, but also pushes the boundaries of what makes "church music", "church music".


Produced by Justin Amundrud, Doug Farrar, and David Gurr at Ocean's Edge Studios (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida)

Mixed and Mastered by Justin Amundrud and Doug Farrar

Vocals by Justin Amundrud (Tracks 1, 2 and 4) and Abbey Gregory (Track 3, and Bonus Track)

Guitars by David Gurr and Dwight Pendleton

Synth by Justin Amundrud

Programming by Justin Amundrud and Stephen Rodriguez

BGVs by Justin Amundrud, Abbey Gregory, Rachel King and Dwight Pendleton

-We Will Run (Justin Amundrud, and Dwight Pendleton)
-Hope Has Found Us (Justin Amundrud, Dwight Pendleton, Tyler Prange, and Stephen Rodriguez)
-Arising (Julie Adyniec, Justin Amundrud, Johnny Collier, Abbey Gregory, and Tyler Prange)
-All Glory Forever (Justin Amundrud, Mia Fieldes, Dwight Pendleton, Tyler Prange, and Stephen Rodriguez)
-It Is Well (Bonus Track)

You can download it below

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Firewatch - August 2014 Reveal Trailer

Firewatch is a mystery set in the Wyoming wilderness, 

where your only emotional lifeline is the person on the other end of a handheld radio.

The game features some gorgeous artwork and beautiful level design.. am really looking forward to it.

heres a brief story intro:
"In Firewatch you play as a man named Henry who has retreated from his messy life to work as a fire lookout in the Wyoming wilderness. Perched high atop a mountain, it’s your job to look for smoke and keep the wilderness safe. An especially hot and dry summer has everyone on edge. Your supervisor, a woman named Delilah, is available to you at all times over a small, handheld radio — and is your only contact with the world you've left behind.
But when something strange draws you out of your lookout tower and into the world, you’ll explore a wild and unknown environment, facing questions and making interpersonal choices that can build or destroy the only meaningful relationship you have."

Developed by Campo Santo and set to release in 2015 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. 

Trailer music available here .

Adventures with a Broken Screen

So on Wednesday (27 Aug 2014) i had driven clear across the city and beyond to attend a wedding. The location was so obscure i had to use Google Maps Navigation almost all the way.. this drained about 70% of my battery.

.. obviously i forgot to bring my charger.

So on the way back(again with Google Maps Navigation running) i realized that the battery will definitely die before i reached any recognizable part of town.. thats when i saw a mall.

Decided to stop and buy a car charger from one of its electronics stores. After parking the car i step out and start walking.. when i hear a clunk. 

The Phone had slipped out of my pocket as i climbed out of the car.. 
(since it was a wedding i was wearing a suit.. the trouser pockets were not deep enough.. or too silky..)
It landed on its top right corner.. one of the documented "shatter points" of the otherwise indestructible Gorilla glass.

You can't see it in the picture but there are 4 fine cracks radiating from that point.. spanning right across the screen.

After a few minutes of shock and panic i headed into the mall. Turns out for some reason only one of the food and groceries sections is open today.. no electronics anywhere.

I needed a pitstop anyway .. so after using the facilities i hit the road.. driving hesitantly untill i saw a flyover i recognised.. and then headed home.

After reading through the warranty info and scouring the net, i figured out that my month old Nexus' warranty does not cover nicked, scratched or broken screens. So i proceeded to call the LG service center.. the closest one said they didnt have the necessary parts, but will have it by Monday. 

On Monday i try calling to confirm that the parts are in.. nobody picks up. 
went in anyway.. and no parts. they say the parts will definitely arrive in the evening, so come on the next day.

Tuesday i try calling to confirm that the parts are in.. nobody picks up/lines busy. 
went in anyway.. and no parts. they say the parts will definitely arrive in the evening, so come on the next day.

Now this place is bloody far.. i spent the first half of each day driving to and fro.. 
so back at the studio work had piled up.

I just took the actual technician's number(coz the receptionists were useless) and will call him before going..
This is the guy who will actually do the fixing in front of me.. nice setup.. you get to see the insides of your device etc.. 

Then I got busy busy at work last few days.. plus a client i was counting on is only going to pay me by next week.. lets see..

Then this morning i read that Google is offering free replacements for broken Nexus' in the US..
(they have to be purchased via the Play Store.. and less than a year old)
Now I need to wait and see if this replacement thing comes to india.. I have a t feeling they just want to get rid of inventory.. or are trying to win back disgruntled Nexus5 users who might be tempted to buy an Iphone 6 as it launches in a few days.. 

However it will be really silly if i spend Rs7000.. and the next day google's replacement offer arrives in India :P

The replacement thing is also not thaat ideal .. apparently they may send you a "refurbished" unit as the replacement(have yet to confirm this).. not your original fixed up unit. that gets fixed up and sent to the next joker who breaks his phone.

i guess i could live with that.

UPDATE Tue, Sep 9, 2014

After letting it go for a week, i call again yesterday (monday  Sep 8)... spoke to the technician himself. He checked with someone and tells me there are still no parts. they say the parts will definitely arrive in the evening, so i should check back tomorrow (few hrs from now).

Think they need a new dictionary.. one where "definitely" means "probably” or "possibly".

UPDATE Tue(1pm), Sep 9, 2014

Called today, and the technichian said i could come and get it done today.. So i got there and took a number.. waited my turn.. 

when i get to the service desk a different technician starts to tell me to come back the next day..he says it in Kannada.. i pretend to not understand a word of Kannada. 

The technician i spoke to over the phone is sitting next to him.. they have a brief discussion amongst each other in Kannada(again assuming i don't understand it)..
heres the gist of it:
Tech#1: "we don't have enough spare screens do we?" 

Tech#2: "ya but he's been here before and we've already told him to come here a few times"..pauses.. asks me in english "Where you the one who called me in the morning?"

Me: "Yes I called in the morning.."

Tech#2(again in Kannada to his colleague): "hmm.. i already told him we have spares today.. its ok, we'll ..(something indiscernible)"

Tech#1(to me in English): It will cost 7000(Rs).

Me: "Yes thats fine."

Tech#1: Ok wait 25 minutes. 

He fixed it.. i wasnt able to see him work, because he was attending to other people while working on it.. Then he handed it over to Tech#2 who called me over.. was about to hand it to me then realised the power button was jammed, so he opened it up again and put it back together.. i got to see this process(the back is pried open with a guitar pick like thing..then a bunch of screws).. 

Basically they replaced the screen and housing.. so i wound up with a new screen and sides.. in the pics below you can see the green tape.. actually there was fresh protective tape all around the housing and a temporary screen protector on the screen.

In case your wondering, yes i promptly stuck it in the rugged  Spigen case i had.. and will probably leave it in there for good.

Heres the case with the custom back panel insets i created..