2020

Review: "A Hole in the Universe" by J H Wear @JH_Wear

Introduction I know that Gene Roddenberry wanted Star Trek to be a “Hornblower in Space”, but I reckon that this novel should also get that description, albeit Hornblower was in the navy and the Captain in this novel is not. But the sense of it. The feel. It is so very much like that. The first few chapters provide background information and then the novels explodes into action. While I

Blender: An easy underwater / above water 3D cut-away approach

This is basically a “how I did it” post about Blender. In it I only cover the sea creation aspect, not the terrain aspect which can be found in hundreds of places online. You see, my goal was to try to create one of those shots where part of the picture is above the water and part is below. I figured that, just like terrains, there would be hundreds of

Review: "The Solar Sea" by David Lee Summers

Introduction Whales, solar sail driven space craft and mysterious particles located near Saturn. I really am not sure what the book’s blurb is promising me, but it certainly does not sound run of the mill. I have read four of David Lee Summers’ novels: two vampire stories, a horror tale set in an observatory and a steam punk western. All were entertaining and slightly unusual. David is not a conventional

Review: "Learning Microsoft Power BI Desktop" LinkedIn Learning Course

Perhaps, like me, you are an information worker and have been seeing references to Power BI turning up in articles, conversations and job ads. You wonder “what is this Power BI that they speak of?”  Well, this course at LinkedIn Learning will give you the good oil. The BI referred to is Business Intelligence. To borrow from Wikipedia “BI technologies provide historical, current, and predictive views of business operations. Common

Interview: L K Weir - author of "Prism City"

Life is funny. Full of the unexpected. Somehow, while trundling along in my own little world on social media (in this case Twitter) I stumbled across an author named L K Weir who was describing her freshly released novel. I cannot remember the exact words that she used, but I do recall it being something like “science fiction noir”.  Well, I had to give this novel of hers a go.

Three years later - changing my spaceship lighting

Three years drifted by. I was dissatisfied with that last image. Then I read a post on a fine blog called “This Northern Boy.” It was a thought-provoking piece on digital art and how this particular artist compensates for what he feels is his average modelling skills. The author, Alastair Temple, said “I hide the lack of details, and hint at them rather than showing the.” He went on to

Old WordPress posts I still want to display

One thing that has bugged me for a while is that a lot of my old digital art posts on this blog essentially lose visibility after a matter of months. I still feel that they have something to offer, but once they drift past the 20 or so posts displayed on blog feed they are not seen and a user must search for them. However the user has to know

Review: "Prism City: Gun for Hire & Heir to an Empire" by L K Weir

Introduction “Prism City: Gun for Hire & Heir to an Empire“ is the debut novel of L.K. Weir and was published earlier in 2020 by Prism City Press. I came about reading it when I saw the author describe her work as science fiction noir (or something similar). Back in my youth I was a fan of film noir and had even once made a four minute promotional film noir

I designed a Facebook ad and it wasn't that hard!

Anyone who has followed me on Twitter knows that my sister-in-law Kylie is very clever and has written an App for Apple phones that lets users create check lists for all sorts of projects from moving house, organising a party and so on.  The App is called Check It Plus and it is very cool. Anyway, Kylie asks me if I might design the graphic for an ad to go

Author David Lee Summers interviewed by TG Geeks

I must admit that I spend a lot of my travel time (home -> work -> home) listening to interviews, podcasts and panel discussions on the topic of writing and writers. Often the same ones over and over in case I can learn something new. The Coronavirus has put a short halt to this as it only takes me about three seconds to travel from my bedroom to my new

Painting interuptus - Almost not finishing The Three Sisters

February 2013. I had finished the portrait of my daughter Rhiannon a few months earlier and I still felt upset that it had not met my expectations. I did not want to touch a brush again. Then, out of the blue, I was contacted by Richard, an old school friend who now resided in Japan. He had seen the post of Rhiannon’s portrait on Facebook and wanted me to paint

Review: LinkedInLearning course "Deploying Scalable Machine Learning for Data Science"

Today I am reviewing the LinkedIn Course entitled “Deploying Scalable Machine Learning for Data Science”.  The course is one hour and 43 minutes long and reminded me a lot of my time at university except with the added benefit of being able to pause the lecture and go and explore things of interest when they popped up. There is definitely a prerequisite in respects to knowledge. The tutor assumes that

2012 - The time I painted a portrait of my daughter

Tracking through some old Facebook posts I stumbled across a 2012 series in which I described the painting a portrait of my daughter Rhiannon. At the time I whined about how my Keratoconus impacted my ability to see properly. I guess it was the year before I had to have an operation on left eye and my sight was pretty bad. But let’s forget that and look at how I

Review: LinkedInLearning short course "Machine Learning and AI Foundations: Decision Trees"

This is the second Machine Learning course that I have attempted, and the first through LinkedIn Learning. I must admit that I have yet to write a review on the first course because I am unsure as to whether I took away any deep understanding of what it was trying to teach. One day I will explore why. This course, however, proved a lot better. A little background rambling first.

How I redesigned my web page

Are you like me? Have yourself a WordPress web site, seen some fancy theme, got it and still your site looks a lot less beautiful and functional than the theme promo says it should. Why? Why? Why? Well, we all know the answer: some whiz designer has weaved their magic making the theme do just what they want. But we are not fancy designers ourselves and so… yeah… average. Or

#Writing the second draft of the first scene

This post is about editing a first draft. Anyway, about the way I do it. You can compare the product of the first edit (this post) with the unedited first draft (last post). Note: as with any of my other posts in this section of my blog, it may contain spoilers to my writing. So proceed at your own risk. In my last post I discussed my routine of reading

#Writing the draft of the first back story scene

I now tend to write scene by scene rather than chapter by chapter. I imagine each scene as something from a television show or film. What is cohesive? What sticks? What camera angles? Who do I focus upon? When do I shift focus? These thoughts tumble into a rough plan in my head. I play with this plan, not yet having started to type. When I do eventually type I

Old photographs, Machine Learning and DeOldify

In my day job I am a database programmer. I love data. The reason I love data is twofold. Firstly, within data there resides stories and I adore stories. Secondly, data offers a challenge in its presentation. How do you present data in a manner that is not only meaningful but also engages and inspires? For work I have been asked to find out more about using Machine Learning to

Backstory to Darius Hakim for LK Weir @lkweirauthor

#writers #writing It was one of those twitter discussions. I was asking about using characters in short stories as a means for discovering their viability for a novel. (Don’t ask me what that means; it made more sense at the time). Author L K Weir responded along with Katheryn Bigelow,  Simone Green, Benedict, Randall Garcia, Alexander Boukal, Rob Dearsley and A S Akkalon. I’ve added links to them as a