Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

Gaming

Twitterlettes removed

TwitterIf you happen to be a regular visitor of my site (you’re not, I know – just humour me, okay?) then you’ll probably have noticed that the swarm of white bars containing 140 chars or less of drivel have disappeared from the main section. Yep, all that is left is the regular posts – I’ve gotten rid of the special posts created from my Skoardy Twitter feed.

They were somewhat of an experiment and I guess it failed. I figured that since I don’t write that many posts, I could bolster the content of the site by adding in my tweets. 140 characters is a lot easier to generate than whole articles rambling aimlessly on about some topic or other, right? Well, yeah, and that was the problem. The site soon filled up with tweets and despite extending the article count for the page, it wasn’t long before there was very little ‘real’ (in my loose definition) content and any there was soon got pushed off the front page by the white bars.

Worst still, as a side-effect, instead of increasing the content on the site, I actually stopped tweeting. I didn’t want to make the situation worse on Skoardy.com so I’d restrict myself. That’s not what Twitter is about. You should be free to spew any random gibberish into the aether, all day long. If you can’t bang on about pointless matters and what you had for lunch, what good is Twitter for?

So I removed the special tweet posts and added my tweets as a sidebar widget (they’re hiding at the bottom, currently). I’m considering revamping the site to make the widget a touch more prominent but that’s probably a little way off. They’re good where they are for now. I also need to train myself to make more posts, even if they’re not ‘events’ full of screenshots, videos and post banners. It’s just a blog – a post can just be something simple… like this one, for instance.

Rant

Who to follow?

TwitterIt’s magic, I swear! I don’t know how Twitter manages to do it. On the sidebar every time I visit the site is a little list of people who Twitter apparently believe are perfectly suited to my tastes and would make great additions to my feed. And each time I look at this list, I’m stunned at Twitter’s incredible matching abilities.

I mean, how the hell do they manage to concoct a list of idiots so skilfully that they only fill it with people I’d happily pay to see fall down a flight of stairs?!

Simon Cowell – do I give a flying fig about his take on the talentless plebs his shows churn out? No. Would I stop, turn and giggle if I saw him bounce off the hood of a taxi while he was crossing the street? Yes! Likewise, while I’d certainly attend a gathering where Peter Andre, Wayne Rooney and Jimmy Carr were encased in comedy sized piñatas and placed before gullible stick-wielding children eager for candy, I actually care very little for their self-interested ponderings.

So how do Twitter come up with this perfect storm of people I have zero interest in? Why are they so convinced that this seemingly endless queue of sub-celebs are suitable for me? I click ‘refresh’ and they swap in a new selection of clowns, just as depressing as the last.

It honestly makes me long to see the other end of their list. The end that contains the people Twitter are adamant would be totally incompatible for me. Logic dictates they must be glorious – able to fit such solid chunks of humour, wit and topical commentary into only 140 characters that each tweet would blow my mind! Those are the people I want to follow.

Gaming

Bigger is BETTER!

A while back, the old multi-player Minecraft server I used to play on closed its doors and was taken off-line. Graciously, the owner packed up all the files and sent me a copy of the world map so that I could still access the builds on there I’d created.

After bunging my recent piccies on Imgur, I’d meant to revisit those old builds and create some larger, clearer screenshots. Well, here they are! Click on the thumbnails for the bigger versions.

Minecraft FishThe first new screenshot comes from the bug-eyed Fish I plopped down in the river running along my ‘island’ (first mentioned in this post).

On the left of this shot, you can just about make out the entrance to a cave where the secret switch (okay, it was right in the middle of the floor) activated a hidden piston-powered sliding door in the wall, leading to an underground tunnel that circled back under the river and led into the fish interior. It was either that or stick a door in his forehead or something. Tunnel up the butt seemed like the best choice at the time. Erm…

Minecraft Fish InteriorAs you can see from the shot on the right, the interior of the Fish is surprisingly spacious. I didn’t really need it for anything so everything I put in there was for during its construction. The bed to skip the nights (pesky zombies kept swimming up to say ‘Hi!’), chest for temporary storage plus the usual crafting table and furnaces.

Once it was built, I thought it looked very sparse so I stuck in a second floor to break the space up and added the chairs/carpets to make it look a little more homey.

Minecraft SkullThe second thing I constructed on the this server (apart from the bridge and dock) was a special build for Halloween. On the far side of the bridge, in the water facing the town, I placed a large Skull on a spike (original post here).

Along the back of the spike, from the waterline, there’s a ladder which runs up through the inside of the skull providing access, all the way up to the ‘roof’. Now that Minecraft has a greatly increased max-height build ceiling, it would probably be cool to extend the stem of the spike (make it a pike, as it were), and have the skull top it off, looking out across the landscape.

Minecraft Hot-Air BalloonThe third build in this post was my first attempt at making a sky situated build – the Hot-Air Balloon (original post here).

It needed an absolute f-ton of differently coloured wools to construct but was a lot of fun. The thing I like about this one is the over-sized anchor and ‘rope’ used as an excuse to provide access to the basket and balloon itself. It looks like it belongs and then you notice the ladders.

I’m thinking of creating a walk-through video of my builds on this server, showing each of these constructions (and maybe a couple of the far bases). If there’s any interest, I could probably also create some schematics of the Fish, Skull and Hot-Air Balloon and make them available for download. Drop me a note through my YouTube channel, twitter or email (the address is over on the right), if you’re interested in seeing that happen.

Update: Schematics of the Fish, Hot-Air Balloon and Skull are available to download. Check out this post for more details.

Gaming

YouTubular!

Just under two years ago, I signed up for YouTube, got my channel all set up and then… well… nothing.

Not exactly sure what I was planning to stick up there but I guess I thought what-the-hey!, just in case. Roll forward to earlier this week and I finally got round to using it. Naturally, I did something Minecraft related.

My big plan was a lot like the screenshot posts I’d made here over the last few months – to archive my builds. This time though, it’s in motion and has me droning over the top, putting people to sleep. I’ve done two so far, with more planned. They’re not too long and I’ve probably dun goofed on these first outings so be gentle.

The first one is of my Clipper Ship.

The second video is of my Tap.

If you’ve visited my site before (of course you have!), you probably noticed that the two builds are from an earlier post I made here. Like I said, I’ll be doing other videos as time goes by. Probably the airship next. Since I’m starting out, any advice is welcome. Feel free to leave a comment on the channel, drop me a note by email or through Twitter.

Note – ‘Tubular!’ was a popular slang exclamation with ‘the kids’ in the 80s, borrowed from surfing culture of the 70s. Don’t worry if you’re scratching your head right now. It just means I’m so very, very old.

Update: A schematic of the Clipper Ship is available to download. Check out this post for more details.

Update 2: A schematic of the Tap is also available to download. Check out this post for more details.

General

Social…ism

I’ve just activated a plug-in on the site that adds those little share/like/+1 buttons to the bottom of the posts. Chances are all the people wandering through my site looking for PVC goat costume porn probably won’t use them all that much but if they help me spread my sickness …ahem, uh, message further, all the better.

If you’re not bothered about that kind of thing, just get your ignore on. I won’t hold it against you… unless you’re wearing a PVC goat costume, of course.

GamingGeneralMMOMovies

Link review

As my sidebar widget of links has pretty much sat unchanged since I first started this WordPress iteration of Skoardy.com, I thought it was about time that I reviewed and updated the list. Time to add some of the other sites I frequent (and tentatively recommend), and bin any that have fallen from favour (perhaps their design aesthetics have become a lumbering mess of interface-related tortures – I’m looking at you, Kotaku).

Without further ado, here we go.


Kotaku – as mentioned above, it’s gone. The reason being is that the web design for this site seems to be going backwards in terms of usability. It’s like the Benjamin Button of the internet. Reports of its visitor drop-off since the change do not surprise me in the least. There’s a thousand and one websites on the internet all clambering to supply people with gaming news. You do not ensure you’re the site they choose by making yours almost painful to use.


MMO Champion – Yes, I want the latest information about World of Warcraft. No, I don’t want pages and pages of filler articles in the shape of editorials and fluff, solely designed to wring out a few more advertising page-views. And that’s where MMO Champion comes in – it’s basically just a stream of pure information, quotes from Blizzard and images of new content. None of those pesky ‘contributors’ waffling on about whatever happens to cross their mind.


Wowpedia – Now, if you visit this site, you may get a little bit of déjà vu – in that it looks a whole lot like WoWWiki.  In fact, you may even marvel at how an awful lot of the content looks much the same, if not identical. Well, that’s because it basically is. Back at the end of last year, some people didn’t particularly like moving to Wikia and so split off to create WoWpedia. I was planning on losing WoWWiki from my list and replacing it with Wowpedia but even though there’s very little difference to the two sites (as they’re basically cataloguing the same information about the same game), from time to time you might find that one site holds a little snippet that the other has overlooked. So, might as well keep both links handy just in case.


GameFAQs – I don’t know why this site didn’t make the cut the first time I rebooted the site as I’ve been using it almost since I took my first steps on the internet. Ploughed thirty to forty quid into a game and you’ve been stumped on the first level for over a month? Maybe it’s time to crack open GameFAQs and find out what you’re missing. Only got 99 collectables out of a 100 despite circling the game map dozens and dozens of times? Chances are GameFAQs has a map with all the items marked on it. It’s a great site, even if it does look extremely dated.


Twitter – As you can see from the bunches of white strips between the ‘proper’ articles, I’m a sporadic twitteree. Big fan of it. Apart from your friends spouting stuff they’d consider too short or fleeting to bung you in an email and all the voyeuristic celeb-life watching, Twitter has shown itself to be a real social movement in world events. Being informed has never been so immediate. Of course, I’m hunkering down as @skoardy on Twitter so if you want my random thoughts seeking you out in a more direct fashion, feel free to follow me (or any of the people I follow – a lot of them are very entertaining indeed).


As to the sites that have survived the shuffle…

  • FirstShowing.net – still my first port of call for general movie news and trailers. I just find its design a lot less offensive to the eyes than a lot of the more flashier sites. If there’s one thing I would change, it’s the head honcho’s need to add his own emphasis almost seemingly indiscriminately to nearly every damn sentence he writes, even quotes. Kinda does my head in.
  • Gametrailers.com – only reviews I particularly pay any attention to these days. Apart from seeing the actual game in action, they don’t focus on how they felt while writing the review or ramble on about some unrelated guff they were doing the previous week, unlike most of the other tits that call themselves games reviewers on the net these days.
  • Joystiq – compared to Kotaku, a nice and clean presentation keeps this gaming news site in the list.
  • Penny Arcade – this webcomic still makes me chuckle. Yes, it’s still occasionally filthy.
  • VG Cats – updates are few and far between (follow his twitter instead, to save you checking the site every so often) but still a very funny strip.
  • Wowhead – come on, it’s the go-to site for WoW in-game information. A huge database of items, spells and more, all haphazardly commented on by people playing the game right now.
  • WoWWiki – as mentioned above, I decided to keep this to have an alternative on hand on the off chance the other site doesn’t quite cut it. You never know.

And that’s your lot. Maybe it’ll be another couple of years before I update the links list again. Get ready!

 

Rant

“Sigh…”

As much as I love ‘social networking’ sites (and I do, as evidenced by the spatter of 140-character blue bird shits that now litter my site), it has become somewhat clear that there’s basically two main types of comments people regularly post.

The first is a ‘Bragging‘. The planets have fortuitously aligned and people can’t help but rub your nose it in. Big accomplishment or small joy, it doesn’t matter, they need to brag about it in a rather round-about fashion. Maybe even in the guise of a complaint. An excellent term I heard (from Robert Llewellyn on Twitter) that describes this tactic perfectly is ‘moasting‘ – a combination of moaning and boasting. As his example puts it “Oooh I have to get up really early to do an amazing job. Poor me.“. With celebs, it’s pretty much a given but once you start to look for it, you’ll be surprised by the amount of moasting your friends and family do.

The second is a ‘Fishing‘. When they’re not busy bragging, the attention seekers out there will spend most of their time fishing. Whether for sympathy or compliments, they desperately want it and expect you to supply it. Putting themselves down, hoping to receive a flood of “Nooo, you’re great! Stop that! You know you’re fabulous and if it wasn’t for the fact that you cover your backside at all times, I’d probably have to take to wearing factor 60 sunscreen in your presence!“. A lot of the time, they’ll be feeling a bit sorry for themselves. Luckily, depression only happens to people who constantly engage in fishing for sympathy on social networks. Thank fuck for that, eh? I mean, how much would it suck if everyone felt like shit from time to time? Small mercies, my friend, small mercies.

You’ll be amazed how many status updates, tweets and comments you can divide into just those two categories when you think about it. If the general output from your preferred social network isn’t one of those two types, it’s most probably going to be about what that person had for lunch, instead.

I had a ham sandwich.

General

Skoardy v4.0

TwitterYou might have noticed that something is slightly different about the site today. That is, if you’ve ever visited it before. If not, you’re probably wondering “What the hell kind of self-indulgent crap is this guy waffling on about and where is that goat-bondage porn Google promised me?!”. Wait. I’m losing my train of thought here… That’s it, change! All change.

I’ve just remade the Skoardy.com WordPress theme and it’s the ricketiest incarnation yet! A little while back, I wanted to integrate my twitterings into my site feed and even had all the tools to do it. Unfortunately, the theme I’d built before just wasn’t really up to the task and it turned into a bit of a mess. This time is different. It’ll still be a mess but now, it’s intentional! Part of the redesign was to place tweets into their own little post design – one that didn’t follow the regular layout and so, didn’t take up as much space.

They’ve also got their own category so if you feel the need to indulge in a bit of inanity overdosing, you can flick through a whole bunch of them in one sitting. The sidebar menu that contains a list of the last few posts has been tweaked to ignore tweets so that only features ‘real posts’ (much the same bullshit content of a tweet, just a lot longer).

As with all my hack/slash jobs, the remains  of the theme I butchered are in a sorry state. If the site collapses on you, you have my humble apologies. If it doesn’t work on your browser, again, sorry.

One problem the switch-over has highlighted is that I tend to tweet quite a bit more than I make website posts. Don’t be surprised to see the front page (and maybe a few pages after that) awash with nothing but tweets. Hopefully it’ll encourage me to post something a little more ‘meaty’ from time to time but then again, I wouldn’t count on it. We’ll see how it goes.

In summation, enjoy the new site design, it’s very, very orange.

General

Twitter buh-bye!

TwitterMmmmm. Okay, so on reflection I’m not particularly happy with just blatting my Twitter updates straight into my site’s feed. Don’t get me wrong – more content on here, no matter how puerile and flimsy is always going to be the goal but the problem was that my current theme isn’t particularly conducive to small scribbles of info as whole posts. The date and category boxes demand just a touch more meat on each bone and frankly, having the first 30 characters of the tweet as the title of the post looked downright naff (and damn hard to orchestrate into something meaningful when trying to already condense your thoughts into 140 characters). So for now it’s tata Twitter.

I did try out a number of different Twitter widgets which, I must say, on a different theme would be great but mine just tends to either break them or look remarkably wonky. If I had more than five minutes here and there free on such a problem, this might have pushed me over then edge and caused a whole new theme revision. But as it stands, I’ve simply not enough time so I’ve stripped out the plug-ins altogether.

One day I’ll revisit the whole situation but for now, if you want my Twitter-shaped bullets of bullshit, you’ll just have to get them from the source.

General

Twitter Amalgamation – Super Special Bonus Banality!

TwitterFor a while now I’ve been wondering how I could possibly make my site even more tediously inconsequential while still giving it the façade of a throbbing hive of activity. It was quite a head scratcher. Luckily, and as is usually the case, the intaweb was there to steal from inspire me! Twitter, of course!

A few months ago I laid claim to my very own Twitter account, protecting the ‘Skoardy‘ brand on yet another digital frontier, and had been dropping 140 character lumps of wisdom on a (very small) circle of people far too kind to unfollow me.

But it’s time to further utilise that stream of sh… um, conciousness and feed it directly to this site. You might have spotted two remarkably short posts directly below this one, already. Yeah, that’s the new plug-in (Twitter Tools by Alex King) hard at work. The short nature of the posts highlighted a couple of flaws in my year-or-so old theme but they’ve already been fudged fixed.

So look forward to a bright future full of 140 character long posts detailing things you probably never even knew you didn’t want to know until you came here. Right… how do I funnel my Facebook crap onto the site…?