Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Clients, control through contract

The number of clients my small business has managed to obtain is still very small, three in total so far. But never-the-less I have learnt quite a few important details that MUST be dealt with when the original deal is made. This blog post is both a warning to others and an important note to myself.

1. Make sure you have the rights to display the work in a portfolio as your own
This goes a lot further than I originally thought. While it is very important to gain the rights to display the work as your own, in the case of your portfolio it can help to gain the rights to host the original work on your site. Recently I have discovered that old clients have altered their website in a clumsy manner that has changed the paths for images and other links. While I have the rights to display this work as my own, linking to it from my portfolio hurts my reputation rather than helping it.

2. Make sure you strictly make clear how much input they can put into changes and when this is possible
Recently I had a project that was meant to end abruptly on the fifth day. They were not interested in paying for anymore time on development and as such had dedicated only a set number of days. However at lunch time on the final day (a day which was listed in the original contract as being for validation of the website and final content additions) they asked for major changes to the layout and images of the site. While during this project this didn't cause too many problems in the future during larger projects it could be a massive dilemma.

3. Define the exact breadth of the project
There is nothing worse than getting into a project and getting asked if a section of the project can be a little bit bigger (asking if the developer can organise a viral video etc.). This must be avoided at all costs.

4. If you think that the project may be flexible (ie. might require more work) define the costs of this in the original contract
In some cases (especially creative ones) the client might ask for a change in the feel of work. To avoid not getting payed for this work it can help to define an hourly rate of work rather than a strict total project cost.

I may end up coming back to this list as things crop up.

- Fae

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

W3C (The web consortium)

The W3C is the organisation that controls the very internet itself. Most know the W3C organise such things as the validation for HTML, PHP and CSS. They even organise what domain names should go with what and how exactly you should create your web pages. But there is a dark and shady secret that they hide.

To most the acronym W3C stands for World Wide Web Consortium, but few no it's true know its true identity. It is actually the World Wide Wizard Consortium and they control the world's internet through archaic and magical means. Those few web developers who realise this are magically silenced through a small php term that turns all their php into the words 'Silence is golden' (That's true shit, google that!). Though those few who are allowed to know this truth are given benifits. For example see this code that permeates the latest site I built:

"This bird is a familiar summoned and placed here in accordance to the W3C (World Wide Wizard Committee). It protects the page from malware and small rodents."

(unfortunately blogger blocks me from being able to show ascii art but you can see the source at

Thanks to the world wide wizard I can protect my web pages from more than just viruses!

The draw back of knowing this wonderful truth is the feeling of dread when you try to validate a web page. To your average web developer when they submit their page all they have running through their head is the thought of a small web program checking through some automated process checking for errors. In truth the W3C exist out of time, and every time a page is submitted the committee meets to discus the page.

These meetings can be benign with comments as "This page is fine, as long as they understand the danger of using the UTF-8 encoding" to "the fool, FOOL! Does he not understand the danger he is in?! name is deprecated term.. DEPRECATED!" and "Oh my god, he's using the alignment of text to centre an image!! Does he not understand the tear he could rip in SPACE AND TIME!".

For me writing a new page for the web is a dangerous and scary task.

- Fae

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

First World Problems: Online Advertisments

Some people hate advertisement online, they go so far as to download programs to alter their favourite browsers to automatically ignore them. But advertisements play an important part in the online world, is it morally right to block them like this?

Many online journalism sites don't make much money. In fact sites like Ars Technica and Destructoid can only make their money through online advertisements. Even in the best case scenario the journalists will not make much money at all through their websites, sometimes the ad revenue is only there to support hosting costs.

But due to increasing numbers of Ad blockers sites like Ars Technica have begun to have to cut back. You see the modern ad hosting service knows these Ad blockers exist and will have the advert act a little smarter when recording hits from the website. This means that if you actively block the advert service you are denying the owner of the site the small stipends they make from their work.

While a case could be made that this is almost stealing, most web sites are a bit lax on the subject. They themselves hate adverts on websites and some of them may block ads themselves when surfing.

But now modern day online advertisement has taken a step further in being annoying. A step that irritates me to such a point that I have considered blocking them myself. To fully understand the level of annoyance, let us look at the evolution of ad irritation.

1. A simple square or rectangle displaying information about the product. This can be easily blocked out mentally by the viewer, making it a perfectly acceptable advert in my eyes.

2. The same shape as before, but now the designer of the advert has added some simple animation. While this can catch the eye, it is still in a designated ad space and thus can be quite easily ignored. Still acceptable!

3. Oh look, now they have added sound. To those not ready for this or someone with many tabs open this can take time to discover the source of the sound and to quickly destroy it. Slightly annoying, but it can still be avoided by muting the sound of the browser through windows.

4. Everything looks like level 1 or 2 until while scrolling down the page your mouse crosses over the advert area. Now it has grown a little bigger and may cover some area of the screen that has the information you are after. Really quite annoying, but if you play it smart and avoid mousing over all adverts this are avoidable too.

5. Number five, oh evil number five. This has been popping up more and more, most obviously on destructiod. Number five will grow to cover a large portion of the page (50-70%) as soon as it has finished loading. Not only that, but most number fives will also play a movie, with full sound. The final nail in the number five coffin is when you open multiple tabs on a page and THEY ALL DO THIS AT ONCE.

So what do you do about this? Do you block the adverts that annoy you so and deny the journalists their revenue? Or do you suffer through it?

In the end it comes down to the individual, or even individual page. If you choose to block adverts, try to change your settings to allow adverts on pages you think deserve their revenue, or even pages you use often. Just be aware in the future what you are doing.

- Fae

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Why are real estate agents so hard to deal with?

So first thing first while I remember, I started a new deviantArt account today (as my old account was more embarrassing than my still existing collection of Polly Pocket toys). You can find a link to it here

I most likely will still spout nonsense about work I have done recently on this blog, but the pictures are more likely to end up on DA than here. Just a heads up.

But onto what I meant to talk about today, real estate agents.

Why are real estate agents so hard to deal with? I mean in todays modern world it is a lot easier to look into a new place to live than it ever has been at all. With the many many websites dedicated to showing off all the possible locations around your local city finding somewhere you like is never a bother at all. In fact, it is kind of fun until you get to the next part.

So you have found a selection of houses, maybe as many as a dozen that you would really like to live in. So you take the next step and you contact all of the agents in control. You follow the contact option given on the page (an automatic email most of the time) and provide all the information that you need in order for them to contact you back. You sit there, and you wait...

Who knows when they may actually contact you? Could be days, could be weeks. Very very occasionally you may get the mythical email telling you about the time of an inspection. More likely is the chance you find that the website gets updated to list a public inspection time. Regardless of which way this happens you get a chance to inspect the place! Huzzah!

You arrive at the house, early of course just in case. Guess what? The agent is not there, they could be five minutes, ten minutes or half an hour away. They may not even turn up at all, it's really up to them. But say they do turn up at all, and you get to inspect the house, and you like what you see, you get a chance to get an application.

The application itself will ask for more ID than getting a drivers license or applying for a passport. They will want to know when you work, where you work and for how much. Where you have lived in the past, what kind of clothing style you like and if you would rather a carbonara or spaghetti bolognese.

You manage to get all this data for them, submit it and be really hopeful for your prospects, but you shouldn't be. Your chance of getting your application approved is the same chance that a fish that has jumped out of it's tank of evolving lungs before it passes on.

And if you fail at your application do you think they will tell you? No of course not! In fact they will never ever send you any kind of recognition about you submitting anything. It's like trying to pick up a golden needle in a pitch black room of silver needles. Even when you think it's all done you have never chance of knowing if you were successful.

In a way, submitting a rent proposal can be as bad as submitting a job application. Damn you world!

- Fae

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Searching for work (long time no blog!)

So it's been a while since I posted, I know. I'm entirely to blame for that. Looking back I have not blogged since I started the internship. Since then I still work there occasionally but it's surprising to note how long ago that post was. Anyway, this is a good as time as any for a life update!

So after last I left off I graduated from university! Surprising I know, considering that failed / dropped out of one (1) IT degree, one (1) IT / Multimedia degree and two (2) multimedia degrees. I really thought that education and me just didn't get on till this multimedia degree at QANTM. Even more surprising was my track record at QANTM, go me!

The last day of university came and went and shortly after the graduation show came around. This was a chance for the students to show off what they had done over the last few years (or year if you were a diploma student) to potential employers! Although this course was pretty decently expensive I managed to convince my parents to cover my costs because of the track record of the uni. You see, when I started at QANTM they told me that at the last graduation show there was a whopping 95% employment rate from the graduation show. So we all thought it was a win win situation.

So during my graduation night not only did I manage to get one of the largest spaces in the entire bloody area, but I also had in my opinion the best display out the of the year level. Turns out it wasn't just in my opinion, but the opinion of the staff there when I was awarded "BEST IN SHOW" (I always knew I would do well as a show dog). So I returned home happy and triumphant, waiting for the job offer I knew I would get.

So it turns out in this case I was wrong...

So today I spent another day searching for work, another fifteen application for web design, database design and PHP developing jobs sent away. To my count I am now sitting at 60 odd applications sent away and I have had three email responses saying "Sorry but you didn't get the job's and one phone call telling me I could have the job if I turned up the next day (a day which I could not make no matter what).

So! That is basically life up to date (that was fast >.<), and you know what? With this lack of employment I could probably get back to blogging again (yay?)

- Fae

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What?! Two posts in a day?

As promised here's some nice shots of the place I am internshiping at.  Ok I lied they aren't nice, I in fact took them using the 1.3 mp web cam on my laptop

This is what the building looks like from the outside.  I know, pretty damn sweet.  The cars serve as a good reference to how god damn tall those front doors are.

This is the view in from the front doors to the art space that they always have open.  At the moment it's some artist who plays around with aerial shots.

When those big double doors are not open this is the way you get in, a tiny tiny door at the front.

Here is the rear of that door with a fire hydrant for size reference.  You may not be able to see but there medieval brackets for a large wooden beam to rest on to lock the doors at night.

Just a quick shot of the art room.

The work area upstairs! Those macs you can see might as well be from the pre war era.  They are so old

This last shot is so you can see those kick ass chains hanging from the wall in the background.  They hang off the beam on the ceiling and I assume they were used for hauling heavy things around the substation.

See I told you I would post pictures =P

Actually doing work

Yes the title is the truth, it does not lie!  As I write this I am actually engaged in work.  When I say work, I do not mean for myself or for university (although it does count towards my courses and it has been organised by uni).  I am in fact at my internship and have a short period of time to right this as I am way ahead of the work they assign me.  I know, it's amazing.

I'm stationed in an old electrical substation in Paddington (a trendy suburb north of the city in Brisbane).  The company I am working for is called Artworker's Alliance and they arrange artistic ventures in Brisbane from workshops to exhibitions.   This is an amazing opportunity for me as the two places I wanted to work were in gaming multimedia or local art community and I'm surprised to reach either of those fields so quickly.  The substation itself is amazing and when I get home I will post some pictures of how pretty it is.

The work itself is interesting, although it wears me out so so quickly.  Their website has been built from four seperate developer's ideas and is split between CSS, HTML, SQL and some file formate called TPL which I have never seen before (but seems to contain php code).  In order to actually search the website's code in order to change things I had learn some new techniques such as using a program called Agent Ransack.  This Agent is my best friend with the ability to search the code of any file from .exe to .jpg.  I have to thank him for being so wonderful.

The actual website I am working on is here and that text down in the footer that has the address? That took me four hours to find in their database.  I almost fell asleep while doing that, but it was still worth it.

In other news tomorrow I begin my work in the 48 hours game making competition.  I am intending to keep at least a vague blog up as I work at Anger Issues Interactive but who knows how it will pan out.  To be honest I am a little terrified about the prospect of this competition, but we will see how it goes.

Due to this competition this week's weekly web roundup will be canceled though =(  Sorry guys.

-  Fae