Mostly serious

Simon Sinek and the digital addiction

Simon Sinek has a made a career out of cutting to the chase and distilling otherwise complex concepts into simpler, more manageable ideas which can be acted upon. He's influenced my approach to marketing at work and how I appraised what was important in my life. Anyone who works with me will know that I bang on about his Start With Why concept all the damned time. He's back in a new video which seems to have immediately reached a massively larger audience than his previous stuff. Here it is, in case you haven't stumbled across it yet: https://youtu.be/hER0Qp6QJNU (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Games

Oculus has forgotten its reason to exist

Start with Why. Then figure out How. That leads to What. Never start with What. Oculus kickstarted the modern, fledgling virtual reality industry - literally, on Kickstarter. VR has been around in various forms for decades. The Oculus Rift represented a major leap forwards and received massive goodwill and public support. Fast forward to now and there are multiple players in the market. Most notably Oculus (now owned by Facebook) and the Vive from the odd pairing of Valve and HTC. But this industry isn't like home video in the 80s - back then, home video was definitely going to happen. The format war between VHS and Betamax was daft, but it didn't threaten the very concept itself. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Filmmaking

DIY spaceships in 2016

I made a new video for the HitFilm YouTube channel. Check it out: https://youtu.be/7GQeLSY-TnY Two things to note:

  1. I need a haircut.
  2. The spaceship shot I created for that tutorial is better than any of the effects in my favourite sci-fi shows of the 1990s. It's getting towards being acceptable for a mid-2000s show, at least with a bit more work.
(more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Games

DIY gaming part 6: The GPU

Turns out I forgot to blog about the final part of my computer upgrade: the GPU. Bit silly of me, given how important it is. I purchased the other components over the course of last year and built the rig in September, but only purchased the GPU right at the end of November. This was all about waiting for the new 'sweet spot', which seemed to be on the verge of changing throughout 2014. NVIDIA had already teased some new tech and were clearly building up to something - that turned out to be the 970, a card which offers phenomenal power-to-price value. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Games

DIY gaming part 5: Building the new rig

Last week I revealed the three components that would form the core of my new gaming rig. DABS delivered them promptly on the following Monday and that evening I set about putting it all together. For a bit of context, the first time I built a computer, 10 years-or-so ago, I completely, utterly cocked it. I actually managed to screw the motherboard directly into the chassis, rather than onto the mounting thingies, promptly shorting the entire thing when I tried to turn it on. Not an auspicious start. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Games

DIY gaming part 4: Motherboard, processor & memory

It's been a while since the last DIY article, which was back in May. I have, however, at last committed to the next major stage of my new system build. In fact, this is the most major stage, being that it forms the skeleton, brain and memory of the new machine. Given that I'm chasing a fairly impossible power/value sweet spot, it took a while to pinpoint exactly what to go for. While researching I stumbled across this excellent hardware guide by CynicalCyanide over on the Star Citizen forums. It's an excellent primer for buying computer tech in 2014 and it clarified a lot of my decisions - and also saved me a bit of money here and there with its pragmatic approach. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Games

DIY gaming part 2: The power supply

OK, time to get started on my new system build. As mentioned last time, I'm spreading the process out through the year so as to keep things affordable and take advantage of upcoming developments. To kick off I'm taking a look at the computer's power supply. I had originally intended to include a new SSD in this phase but prices seem to be falling all the time, so I'll give that another month. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Games

DIY gaming part 1: The old rig

Barring some determined technical work from the likes of CD Projekt RED in The Witcher 2 and DICE's remarkable Battlefield 3+ Frostbite engine, gaming has been in a bit of a rut for a few years now, thanks to the aging PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles holding everything back. Sure, there have been some incremental advances in Unreal games, with Arkham City looking noticeably fancier than Arkham Asylum, but we haven't seen the seismic shifts that pushed gaming along in the 90s and 2000s. Now, at last, the PS4 is out, unlocking a new development ceiling for cross-platform devs. This will also inevitably drive a bunch of PC gamers to upgrade their rigs to keep pace and fairly rapidly outstretch the console's capabilities. Including myself. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago