Tag Archives: technology

RIP Flash Player

Well, saw this sad news story: https://twitter.com/i/moments/890109172754329602

This gives us a few years to still enjoy some of the classics of the early Internet. For instance, I don’t know where I would be without Homestar Runner.

They’ve moved some of their content onto YouTube, but by no means all of it – and it lacks all the Easter Eggs and games.

For one you may not know, Amy Winfrey’s short films on Flash are some of my very favorites.

The final tweet in that Twitter Moment was a plea hoping that someone does something about preservation for Flash videos – and I second that thought. Hopefully someone figures out a way to do that. Would be an amazing museum exhibit. Or a good conversion project to some newer technology – even if the best they can do is uploads to YouTube, like with Homestar Runner.

What Flash videos and games are you sad to see go?

Technology Outpacing Laws

We live in an age when technology keeps trying to one-up the last hit thing. This works not only for legitimate technology for the masses, but also for people who might be taking illegal actions.

Recently there has been an interesting increase in robocalls to people who had previously signed up for the no call list. The problem is while legitimate businesses will follow the no call list, the scammers and any illegal business is not going to follow that law. Now with all the different technologies they make it easier for these groups to make call after call with no way to track where the call is coming from.

This is just one example where probably the new technologies can make it difficult to prosecute someone. In some ways we see this complication all the time with online harassment with no way to track the perpetrator – often there is nothing that can be done. The technology that we use and have access to outpaces so many of the laws that exist in this digital age. Continue reading

Technological Advancement and Star Wars

Lately we’ve been reading a lot of Jeffrey Brown’s Darth Vader books with the Geek Toddler. She loves them, and they’re great. We’ll probably talk more about them at some point. But there’s one page in particular that made me just stop and think.

Haha, common parent statement, right? And in this case it’s also totally true.

We get to see plenty of big space ship battles in Star Wars Episodes I-III. Lots of different ship types. Which, we know from seeing things like the Rebel Fleet in the later movies, sure, there are lots of different ship types in the Star Wars universe.

However, like the Death Star, the Star Destroyer is a product of the Empire. A product of an authoritarian war machine that only really exists for maybe 20-30 years? Wait, there’s a timeline, hold on…

Okay, so 23 years is how long the Empire is around? And 19 years between episodes III and IV (and Rogue One). In that time they develop and build Star Destroyers and a Death Star. Wow! Both the R&D and the actual manufacture there is impressive, even with the full might of an intergalactic state behind it.

As seen in Rogue One, so major coercion was needed, and I liked the point that was made about how they would develop the weapon sooner or later – just sooner with the help of a genius. That’s still a really tight window, and even if some of that development started before the Senate fell (might have I don’t know), that’s still a whole lot.

But Star Wars lore goes a whole lot further back than that. For one thing, there’s the whole Old Republic, a long time ago even from the standpoint of the films. I imagine there are books and other media in this era, but mainly there have been video games – so the most time-intensive and immersive form of media.

And there’s so much about the society of Star Wars that seems the same between the Old Republic and the movies. The droids, the crime, the relevant races, the Jedi…

I have always been a bit amused by this lack of change, but had not fully thought about how, once the Empire began, there was a massive surge in new technology. Even the Clones seemed like something that had been researched for a long while before finally coming together just in time to have some Clone Wars.

I suppose that the Old Republic is also missing from that canon timeline, sadly. So maybe this isn’t really a problem from a canon standpoint. But it’s sad to set history like that aside as well. What do you think?

Selling Art Online: Then and Now

My first ventures into online entrepreneurship were stationery and greeting cards. This was the early 2000’s, and the Internet was dotted with tiny webpages hosted by ISPs as an added “perk” for using their services. Free webhosts like Geocities and Webs.com were super popular for artsy types who were looking to connect with one another and share their ideas, design experiments, and free products.

When I first started learning to use photo editing software, there were a million places you could go online for free, detailed courses and tutorials. I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for the free information culture of the early Internet.

I learned how to create my own stationery and templates, how to build a website, how to manage payments and track online orders, and a lot more, all for free without ever having to enter my email address or give out any personal details. I went by the moniker “Lionchilde” for over a decade, and no one needed to know my name.

The difficult part back then was always making sure that your design work was print-ready, and then the upfront expenses of printing and shipping. Your ability to make money was heavily curtailed by how much money you had to spend upfront.

About half of internet users were still on dialup, so “best practices” for designing an image-heavy website involved creating lots and lots of tiny thumbnail galleries that linked to “preview” pages which had images not much bigger. Thumbnails had to be manually generated, either in your image program or with a special utility. (We’d probably call it an “app” today, though I don’t know if anyone would still need a thumbnail generator app. Image hosts generate thumbnails for us, as do WordPress and Blogger.)

WordPress’s thumbnail size.


I got out of selling pre-made art online for a while. Startup costs were high and returns weren’t reliable. I’ve still got a package of cardstock sitting in my house from ’06. This year, I decided to return to to selling premades–from cards to book covers and anything else I feel like. I’ve been exploring the “scene” for papercrafts and checking out various online marketplaces. I’ll report back with observations of a geeky nature as I have them. For now, here are my findings:

These days, there are print on demand stores for just about everything. You can offer digital downloads on Etsy, CreativeMarket, Evanto Marketplace and several others. Of course, that convenience means a considerable chunk of your profit.

You can probably find a lot of information about creating paper products or managing online sales by reading blogs, but if you want a detailed course in photo editing or business finance, you’ll have to pay for it with either your email address or your cash. (And if you “pay” with your email address, you’ll almost certainly be spammed with “added value” that leads to an upsell.)

You can still find plenty of Photoshop tutorials on YouTube, but there don’t seem to be as many for “alternative” software like GIMP or Paint Shop Pro.

The internet seems to be moving steadily, from a culture where information and free content are there to foster community and connection, to one in which information is currency and free content is a bribe for access to your email inbox or social media feeds. On the flip side, access is easier and more streamlined. Print on demand services make it simple and straightforward for designers and artists to earn cash without a great deal of overhead.

There’s been an explosion in processor speeds, hard drive capacity, internet speeds and modes of connectivity since I started selling my art online in the 00s. Internet use has grown exponentially as well. Overall, these advances are positive and have helped me find a way to make money without sucking all the pleasure out of creating things. I’ll keep an archive of free stuff online as long as I can, too.


If you like this card, hop on over to my Zazzle store where you can customize and print it for yourself, or my Creative Market shop where I have a zip file of pre-made ones.

Voltron: Legendary Defender Post #3 — Questions, Questions, Questions!

Voltron: Legendary Defender is my new favorite sci-fi show. This reboot of the popular 1980s anime, Voltron: Defender of the Universe, blew me away with its release on June 10th.  It’s a  fantastic space opera with elements of fantasy woven in.  New Voltron fans can easily tune in and follow the show without prior knowledge, and long-time fans will love this reimagined version of Voltron’s story.

 

There’s a lot to love in Legendary Defender, but Season One left a slew of unanswered questions that are burning a hole in my skull.  This post is my attempt to get them all out of my head.  Be forewarned:

There will be spoilers and speculation.  This post consists almost entirely of me over-analyzing everything.  Some may seem nit-picky, but that’s not my intent.  I genuinely wonder if/how these questions will be answered!

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