Amber takes on DJing

My other hobby.

Beyond the Achievements

On this episode of Achievements Unlocked, Amber plays DJ Hero and then has Sam Gandy, a Drum & Bass DJ and producer, to show her how to DJ in a night. Check out how well Amber did!

Feature image by Wikipedia

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An excerpt from my writing notebook No. 1

I thought I’d share some work from my writing notebook.

The figures walked through the darkness, into the gentle wind, their long black cloaks hiding their identities. The tall figure dug a large wooden staff into the ground to assist him as he walked, a slight limp in his right leg. He moved to the cliff edge with a shuffle. Drawing back his hood with his left hand, he faced the city of lights. His features lit up, his honey coloured hair was pulled up into a loose ponytail.

“Ah, Trica. You are glorious tonight.” The man smiled, his deep voice carried off with the wind.

“Don’t you feel it, Elow? Don’t you feel their presence?” The woman gasped with excitement.

“Violet you were right, there are Guardians in this city,” his voice was gentle.

Stepping up beside him Violet removed her hood and stared into the city lights. The lights barely lit up her long caramel locks, which were pulled up loosely into a braid. Nodding gently she smiled barely containing her excitement.

“Brother, I think more than one guardian resides here.” Turning to Elow, she watched his chiseled features, for any reaction. He simply closed his eyes and raised his head towards the sky. Seconds later he opened his eyes and returned to face the lights.

“I cannot sense the presence of guardians very well from this distance, but I can tell there is at least one here.”

“Then let us find out brother, awaken the guardians at once.” Violet urged impatiently.

Ignoring his sister’s pleas for urgency, Elow raised his staff above his head with one arm slowly. As he did, the winds picked up, blowing in all directions, their clothing violently flapping. Turning to look up at Elow, she watched as the colours escaped from his dark brown eyes, the pupils disappearing behind the white hazy glow. Moving closer to the edge of the cliff Violet surveyed the city, watching for any slight change.

“Kraq de tulen we Guaodean!” Elow coldly spoke, enunciating every word carefully. Spinning the staff in the air with his right arm he slammed the wooden weapon down hard into the ground. As the staff hit the ground a booming sound and a burst of light rushed from the core of the staff. The staff’s end dug hard into the dirt beneath them. Violet watched as the shockwave moved through the ground of the city before them. As it hit parts of the city the street lights flickered and then glowed brightly. As the shockwave passed the lights returned to their normal dim glow.

Elow’s eyes returned to normal and he soon felt the uneasiness within his sister.

“Be patient Violet, they will awaken soon,” Elow spoke softly, the kindness in his words returning now.

Violet’s hazel eyes darted nervously around the city begging for just one sign that their search was not in vain. Suddenly a burst of light ran up from the ground and into the sky. Violet’s face showed her excitement as she pointed towards the phenomenon. The light looked like lightning.

“One of the guardians is awake!” Violet shouted, trying to hide her enthusiasm.

Elow remained calm. Another light phenomenon rushed up into the sky, lighting it up. “And another one,” Elow smiled. As another light escaped into the black dark sky Violet threw her arm out pointing again. “And another one.”

As one more sighting reached up into the sky Violet chuckled to herself with delight. “That’s four guardians Elow.”

“That definitely saves us trying to track them all down.”

“Are you kidding? This is great!”  Violet was stunned with how well this procedure had worked.

“Settle yourself Violet,” Elow maintained his seriousness, “this is just the beginning. Yes we have found more guardians than we expected but we have much to prepare for.” Violet’s excitement disappeared from her face as her brother’s words brought her back down to reality. “Our universe is in a dark time sister and they will be far from the heroes we need.”

Feature image by Nellie0224

A tale of UI and UX

A growing trend that I am greatly concerned about is the use of UI and UX synonymously. I am here to help spread the word that UX is not the same as UI. Let me break it down and get out of acronyms.

Let’s start with most tech acronyms by looking at the full name.

UI is an acronym for user interface. A user interface is a way for humans (or a user) to interface with computers and systems. A bit of a quick history lesson. In the mid 40’s to late 60’s there was ‘batch interfaces’ which used hole punches to process information. In the late 60’s there was the creation of a common line interface. With the creation of Apple and Microsoft was really the birth of what was referred to as ‘Graphical User Interface’, the acronym of GUI. Most people use GUI & UI synonously. Today’s UI’s are what you see today. They can be as glamorous or horrible as people want them to be.

UX is an acronym for User Experience. User experience is a technique that looks at human behaviour, attitude and emotions around a user interface (UI). It produces a set of principles and guidelines about how to make user interfaces intuitive and easy to use for people.

With these two items explained out here is what the deal is with UX and UI. You can build a user interface very easily. You can build terrible user interfaces and you can build great looking user interfaces. However, it is user experience that is the technique that comes along and places objects on the user interface so that people who use it can intuitively and easily work their way around it. Ultimately, reducing time, effort and training – because ideally someone should be able to just work their way around the user interface (within a few minutes, not hours).

To wrap up, UX does not mean UI. You can appreciate that UX and UI are two very different specialities and they require different skill sets. If you build a user interface that either a customer, staff member or anyone who isn’t a robot will use then you really need to look at UX.

Please note that I have kept this very high level and have skimmed over some technical details to help explain the difference. 

Feature image by PetitsPixels

The Craft Queer Project

Go get your t-shirt now!

The Bottleneck

This all came about because of a can of Garage Project ‘Beer’ and a permanent marker. But lets start at the beginning.

2014 saw some really great discussions start up about minorities and representation in the New Zealand beer scene. Most notably the Craft Beer Calandar, and a bit more talk about women in the beer scene, both as consumers and professionals. ‘Craft’ beer has been pretty much the exclusive property of middle class white men for a long time, but I hope we’re seeing the first signs of change (types the middle class white male). But it is wonderful to see some conversations and change happening, so lets keep it going.

Today I want to talk about queers in the beer scene. And you know what? I’m going to start by being fairly positive. Because right now, our particular little pool (that is the breweries, beer bars and beer events of Wellington) is…

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