Holiday tomorrow – yay

For some reason, most of our Asia Pacific offices are closed tomorrow, May 1st. Some offices are closed Friday as well. Well at least our mainland China offices are. This means that I’ll get to sleep in tomorrow! Yay! Although the dogs will notice that I’m not getting up and wake me up because that’s what they do. Or if they don’t do it, the cats will. They like a really inaccurate secondary alarm clock. Unless they’re feeling snuggly. Then they fail in the secondary alarm clock role.

I need to finish up tomorrow’s comic. I’m really behind right now which kind of sucks. OK that’s not true. I’m not really behind as I know I’ll complete tomorrow’s comic in time to be posted. However, I don’t have any others that I’m working on at the moment so my buffer is empty. Well, all except an unrelated comic I drew. I’m holding that one in reserve in case of emergency. But I should make some progress tomorrow and over the weekend.

tiny explosionToday I have edited a few existing comic scripts and wrote a few new ones. I keep all the scripts in a .txt file which is really odd, but it works. I also drew an explosion and a glass of liquid (seperate drawings) in Illustrator while on lunch. The explosion is over there. –>

Otherwise, the weather is still quite mild for Hong Kong. It’s crazy. Winter was so short last year that we were soaked in sweat by this time last year. Now, it’s nice. Not sure what the difference is, but I am certainly not complaining.

People really seemed to like the tech tips that I posted yesterday. If you’re interested, I could easily come up with a tech tip a week at least. Not sure if I can make each one interesting or humorous but I can certainly try. If you, the readers, would be interested in that becoming a regular feature just let me know in the comments.

Tech tips

I’ve been running across a lot of little miscellaneous tech tips over the past week that I didn’t know about. I’m a relatively computer savvy kind of guy (it’s my job after all), but I was surprised by some of these that I didn’t know. So I thought I’d share a couple of them with you in case you’re interested.

COMMAND PROMPT (DOS WINDOW)

  • If you are working in a DOS window and you need to run a command against a file in a really deep folder, I always thought you had to navigate to that folder or type in the path. Little did I know that in Windows XP (if not older) you could type the command you wanted [for example TYPE ] and then find the file in My Computer and drag the file to the DOS window. It will automatically fill in the path and file name for you. Huge help for me.
  • Lost your desktop/interface in Windows XP and need to get to Control Panel but can’t remember those MMC names? Just hit CTRL+ALT+DEL and click on Task Manager. On the Applications tab, click new task and type in CMD for a Command Prompt. In the DOS window just type CONTROL and hit Enter and the Control Panel will popup. Nifty!
  • Typing NETSTAT in a DOS window will show you all the open ports on your computer. I had no idea that was built in to Windows.
  • I just learned MSCONFIG yesterday as it brings up a nice interface for controlling lots of things in Windows. Especially useful is the StartUp section where you can see what programs are starting up with your PC and easily stop them from running without messing with the registry. Good for checking for malicious programs on startup.
  • I haven’t used it yet but there is also a file comparison tool called FC that I’d never heard of and used 3rd party software to perform before.

ILLUSTRATOR/PHOTOSHOP

  • The more Fonts you have collected on your computer, the longer it will take to start up Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. If you notice either app getting slower and slower, try removing any old fonts that you don’t use anymore.
  • When drawing shapes in either application, you can hold down the Spacebar while dragging the mouse and it will move the shape around the screen for you. Really nice for doing speech bubbles around text. If you’re fingers don’t get cramped easily, try combining this by holding ALT to start drawing from the center instead of one corner.

WINDOWS XP

  • There are tons of shortcuts in Windows and pretty much anything can be done about five different ways. To bring up Task Manager to see what programs are hogging up all your resources, try pressing CTRL+SHIFT+ESC. Much faster than the alternatives.
  • The Windows (WIN) key has tons of shortcuts associated with it. I’ve known about these for a long time, but thought they would go well here:
    • WIN+L locks your desktop
    • WIN+M (or WIN+D) minimizes ALL open windows at once
    • WIN+E opens up Windows Explorer
    • WIN+R opens the Run command window
    • WIN+F opens the find files and folders tool
  • If you have multiple languages installed on your computer to type with [such as Korean, Chinese and Japanese on mine], you can use CTRL+SPACE to toggle between input languages.  Of course if you are working in Photoshop or Illustrator then this is kind of annoying when zooming with keyboard shortcuts.  Trust me.

Long weekend

Not that it was longer than the standard two days, but this did end up being a nice long weekend. I would tell you all about it, but my wife has already gone through all the trouble of writing it all out, so I will just ask that you go read the details at her site.

On Friday night I spent a little time finishing up the last chapter of American Gods by Neil Gaiman so I could start on a new book on Monday’s commute. I’d heard from a lot of people that American Gods was a good book and it definitely did not dissapoint. I’ve been a big fan of Neil Gaiman since the Sandman comics series first came what seems like forever ago. If you are a fan of his and have not read American Gods, I highly recommend it. I really can’t say much about it because I don’t want to ruin any of the details for anyone. I’ll be checking the used book store for Anansi Boys since it has a few of the same characters although I understand it’s not actually a sequel.

On Saturday, Muse had a nice long nap so I finished playing Bioshock on the XBox360. Considering all the hype and glowing reviews surrounding this game I have to admit that I had pretty high expectations for this game. Especially since the creators were some of the same people that created the classic System Shock and System Shock 2 games many years prior. For a lot of the game I felt kind of disappointed and even a bit bored with the repitition. However the mechanics are decent and the story is somewhat interesting so I kept playing and I’m glad I did.

I’m guessing that the reviewers that gave it the good ratings that they did had completed the game because it just doesn’t work until you’ve finished the game and seen the whole picture and the whole story (or at least as much is available in this game). Some parts of the game are tedious or annoying ( I lost count of how many Little Sisters died on my watch in The Proving Grounds) but the overall look and feel of the game is perfect. It’s not a flawless game though and I encoutered the typical errors that are found in most games in regards to graphics, AI and physics. It’s a good game and well worth playing all the way through but I don’t think it was deserving of all the hype that it received.

It has been mentioned that perhaps I need to take a break from playing video games because I seem to be getting jaded in my opinions of new titles.  Which I think is untrue as well as impossible.  Untrue because there have been a number of games that I have played recently that I have absolutely loved (or at least really liked).  Impossible because video games are a huge part of my life and I can’t imagine life without them.  That may change but not today.

Captions are fun

If you are a fan of cute animals with funny captions sites like LOLCats, you may want to take a look at this site I found today.  The FAIL Blog collects pictures of failures on all different levels.  And most of them are pretty damn funny.

Here’s an example (for those of you not trusting enough to just click the link for yourselves):

Octopus drawing

I’m still trying to learn Adobe Illustrator and I was goofing around in it earlier.  Here’s what happened:

Octopus

Nothing too fancy, just playing around and I came up with this idea for a goofy little octopus.  I suppose it could double as a jellyfish as well but I hate jellyfish so: NO.  It’s an octopus.  I’m rather happy with it.

For those of you that are interested, don’t forget to check out A Little Scary for the newest comic posted today.

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