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Darkademic's Blog

StarCraft II

Posted by Darkademic in Gaming   0 comments

I've been playing StarCraft II since it was released and it is really amazing. I got into the 1v1 gold league after my placement matches and I've since been promoted to platinum. So far I've had a roughly equal number of wins and losses, so the system seems to work pretty well. I've also got into platinum for 3v3, diamond for 4v4, and silver for 2v2.

I've beaten the campaign on brutal and earned all of the campaign achievements. Although quite a lot of people say they're disappointed with the campaign, I really enjoyed it. All of the missions were well designed and reasonably challenging, and none of them were just "build a base and kill the enemy" - they all included some kind of mechanic to keep you on your toes.

Below is a screenshot of my profile as it stands.

It's early days yet, and I'm sure the game will evolve just like SC1 did, but it's a thoroughly enjoyable RTS and I'd highly recommend it.

Gordon Brown Doesn't Understand Economics

Posted by Darkademic in Politics   0 comments

After watching most of the two UK election debates these past two weeks, I've become infuriated with Gordon Brown because of his pathetic lack of understanding of economics. Brown has accused David Cameron — leader of the Conservatives — of planning to "take £6 billion out of the economy" by not implementing the NI increase and/or by cutting funding to public sector institutions. This is nonsensical. Gordon Brown seems to be oblivious to the obvious difference between the economy and the public sector (i.e. government funded sector). The £6 billion won't be going to the government, but that doesn't mean it just disappears. The £6 billion stays in the economy, just in private hands (where it should be).

Similar logic lies behind the idea of stimulus packages. A stimulus package is nothing more than a massive shift of money which would otherwise be spent according to the judgement of private individuals (it doesn't just disappear). A stimulus distorts the market by putting money where it… continue reading

Colour Profiles, Wide Gamut and Websites

Posted by Darkademic in Web Development   1 comment

A while back, I searched for some guidance on this subject, and whilst there are plenty of articles discussing colour profiles in general, and a few on their applicability to web design, none of them really answered all of my questions so I had to do some experimentation.

Colour profiles are something which graphic designers are most likely already familiar with (and if not, they should be). Web designers on the other hand, have probably never had much experience with them. They are basically little pieces of information which are attached to image files to tell the monitor (or other device) how to display the colours used in the image. This is necessary to achieve consistency across devices which may display colours differently to each other.

In the past, this was primarily relevant to graphic designers producing print work, as the same colour value often appears significantly differently on a computer screen compared to on paper or other materials.

Web design only deals with screens,… continue reading

Name Change

Posted by Darkademic in Personal   0 comments

I've decided to retire the name DarkReaver13 as of Monday and I've since been updating my details on a ton of websites. I've used the name for many years (since 1999 if you count when it was the shortened variant "DReaver13"), but I felt it was time to change it for a few reasons:

Firstly, the name Dark Reaver is used by several other people on various websites and games, and even DarkReaver13 itself is used by at least one other person (meaning I had to use "D4rkReaver13" on several prominent websites). It's also the name of a Death Knight on World of Warcraft, and the name of a sword in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. Darkademic is completely unique as far as I can tell, other than a couple of references to "Darkademia".

Secondly, my gaming clan is called Dark Reavers, which implies either that I am subordinate to the group, or that I "am" the clan. I think it's much better to have two distinct names.

Thirdly, DarkReaver13 is a bit of a mouthful, and is actually just three separate word… continue reading

Sun Tzu's Art of War

Posted by Darkademic in Philosophy   0 comments

“If your enemy is watching your knife, spoon out his eye.”

I watched a History Channel documentary on Sun Tzu's Art of War yesterday, and whilst the above quote didn't come from Sun Tzu (indeed, I myself lay claim to that little parcel of wisdom) it was very, very interesting. I've read the Art of War, however the documentary successfully extracted some of the most prominent strategic ideas and applied to them to historical conflicts ranging from ancient China, to the American Civil War, to World War II, to Vietnam.

I'd recommend the documentary to anyone with even a slight interest in military strategy or historical conflict.

Occam's Razor

Posted by Darkademic in Web Development   0 comments

As may be indicated by the title, I'm a big fan of Occam's Razor. For anyone who has never heard of it, it's a philosophical principle which states "entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily". Basically; keep things as simple as possible, because the simplest answer is probably the best answer. Although the principle originally applied to scientific and philosophical hypotheses, I strongly believe it is highly applicable to web design and development.

Over the past few years pre-built frameworks and content management systems (such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla) have become very popular and widespread. Essentially these are pre-written libraries of code which are intended to make the development of a website much faster and easier by providing a lot of commonly used website elements and functionality. In the case of CMSs, this means that all the developer has to do is set some configuration options and a website can be made live in 10 minutes.

I've experimented with several PHP… continue reading