Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Back from the Edmonton DemoCamp

There were some very cool things being shown tonight.

First up was a Runners program that you can use to track your distance, elevation changes, plot run routes and share them via perma-links.

After that was a demo from Titan Gaming and their tools for creating and managing game tournaments (online). A very solid project, slick interface, tons of tools and ease of integration. I think this one will be a project to watch.

Following on the previous project was an AI developer who developed a very in-depth AI for a board game called Pentago. A very ambitious project with exceptional results.

Next up was a group that was contracted to develop an interface (and much more as the story unfolded) for Cisco and LinkSyS. It was a dual-hardrive media centre of sorts. Allowed you to browse, listen and watch many formats of music and video. Also an option for Remote access.

Lastly was a demo of a very unique instrument, the Seizure Violin. An instrument connected to Ableton Live using midi controllers and various sensors to allow playback of a set of samples with various parts of the instrument. Very cool stuff.

After the DemoCamp was over, I felt very out of place. I'm a techy and once-programmer that has just lost interest in the ever-changing development world. Fast paced changes coupled with far too many new tools created a landscape of constant learning, but little chance to use that knowledge. I'm feeling strangely depressed after this event. Maybe it's because I just don't have the drive or the knowledge to involve myself in the industry any longer...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Edmonton DemoCamp 5

Just checked out the latest info on DemoCampEdmonton5 taking place at the E1 003, ETLC, University of Alberta on Wednesday, January 7th at 6:30 PM. I'm awaiting word back from one of the volunteer's (MasterMaq) about who is able to attend. I'm asking because I want to know if the general public is allowed to attend this event for the presentations and networking opportunities.

Well folks, turns out the general public can attend this free event. It's a tech/geek kind of demo show. Lots of great software and suites were shown at the last DemoCamp, so I'm looking forward to my first show. If you can spare the time Wednesday evening, you should definitely head down and check it out. It runs from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM, with a social gathering afterwards. Great networking opportunity with fellow developers and techy-folk.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year --「しんねんおめでとうございます。」

Another year has come and gone. Strange, I don't feel any different.  /shrug

I'm still working on the ability to instantly recognize all 46 hiragana ( ひらがな ). Writing them at the same time as learning to recognize them is a great way to speed up the learning process. My end-goal is to be able to read, write and pronounce the 46 basic hiragana, the 25 daku-ten and the 36 handaku-ten quickly. Once I feel comfortable in my ability to read, write and pronounce all of them quickly (near-fluently), I will move on to the katakana equivalents.

I will move on to kanji after becoming completely comfortable with reading, writing and pronouncing both kana sets. The really difficult aspect of the written language is kanji. Each kanji can have one or more readings (meanings); each of which is only understood if the context in-which it was used, was conveyed and understood.

A quick example in English:

i.   I am content with the outcome.
ii.  The content of this article is helpful.

The word "content" is an excellent example of a heteronym; a word with multiple meanings depending on the pronounciation and context in which it is used. The emphasis on CONtent refers to what something contains, while conTENT refers to being happy with an end result.

Japanese is full of homonyms and heteronyms because the basic syllabry is comprised of just 101 "phonetics", or sounds. In contrast, English uses more than 3,000 "phonetics" for 70,000 of the most-commonly used words. A stark contrast indeed.