uts

I ‘member UTS

December 5th, 2016

I ‘member the good old time, you ‘member? – South Park

It’s been almost 6 months since I completed my almost 6 year degree in UTS. And now thinking back, I kinda miss being a student. Of course doing what a love at an amazing job that I got is great, however that feeling of going to university to learn, and socialise is something that I started to miss over the past few months. Of course I can say that I’ve had the best time of my life while at university and that I owe this to the amazing people that made that time so… well… amazing! However I am still involved in anime@UTS and to some extent JASS, so I can’t say that I’ve left campus life for good.

The reason for this reminiscing post is because I stumbled upon an article written by UTS International Office – about me! I did an interview with them and got them to take my photo, but never actually saw it used anywhere, but then today I did a Google search for my name (Vadims Brodskis) I came across this article. Isn’t it cool! Hopefully this stays on the site for ever, or at least a long long time, then I can say that I have made history! And with such a quote:

With the knowledge UTS has given me, I’m confident I can enter the job market, show them that I’m amazing and make then hire me.

Now, how many of you have your own university page?

Muza Birthday

Happy Birthday Muzaffar!

November 6th, 2016

Some people go to dinner, others just chill at home, what does Muza do? He organises a place at Jervis Bay for the night and gets together a gang of Russians (Uzbek, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian and Kazak Russians) and takes us all to the beautiful beaches. Early wakeup on Saturday followed by a 2.5h drive out to Jervis Bay resulted in us getting some good sun, a few dips in the cold water and a hike through the national park. In the evening, as per tradition, we have shashlik (skewered meat) on the grill and some drinks, while chatting into the night.

All I wanna say is a big thank you to Muza, for organising, cooking and well being such a great guy! Happy Birthday my friend, wish you health and happiness, and of course all the best with work and your personal life.

Photos from our outing are right here:

flickr

Hobbiton

There and Back Again

October 31st, 2016

And thus I have left my comfortable dwelling to go on an adventure to the land of Middle Earth New Zealand. For only a brief 8 days I wandered the uncharted lands of the two islands and explored vast valleys, steep mountains and lush forests.

At first my parents and I arrived in Auckland, went for a few tours there and did a bit of shopping for some Manuka Honey. That stuff is so good, I had to get some for home.

Then we went to the green field of The Shire, to the small town of Hobbiton. That was the best day of the whole trip, both weather wise and experience wise. The tour around the town was only a few hours, but boy did we enjoy it. I took photos of everything I could, and the clear blue sky with the occasional clouds helped a lot.

Afterwards we visited the city of Rotorua, the forest around it, and the volcanic valley with a bunch of natural hot springs. I wish I could take a bath in one of them, but alas was not able to do that.

Next on our list was the south island, more specifically the areas around Christchurch. There, a couple of hours away form the city was a mountain in a valley, next a river, in between two bigger mountains – the city of Edoras, capital of Rohan once stood here. Unfortunately thought he weather took a turn for the worst and everything was covered in clouds and then started to pour once we left.

Finally on the last day of the trip, we went to see some more mountain ranges, valleys, and sheep!

What more is there to say, just take a look for yourselves:

flickr

 

graduation

I’ve Graduated

October 23rd, 2016

What a long, strange trip its been… I came to Australia in 2010, when I was only 17 years of age. I stayed with a homestay family and studied a foundation course in UTS:Insearch. Then after a year of that, I was accepted into UTS to start my 5 year double degree of IT and International Studies (Japan Major). Then just 5 years later I find myself graduated with distinction, with a full time job, living in a great apartment with an amazing housemate and surrounded by people who are made me who I am today.

Of course I would like to thank everyone for helping me with this long journey. First and foremost – my parents. Without them, I wouldn’t be here; without them, I wouldn’t have had the knowledge or the skills to get me where I am now; without their support I would not have been able to 6 years of studies, work and life. So thank you mom, thank you dad. I hope I did good, I hope I made you proud, and that your investment in me will not be in vain.

Then my friends. Starting with the first even friend in UTS – Ruben, my weebmate – Tac, my housemate – Alex, my potato – Seb, my Eastern-European friend – Mad, my closeststestest artsy-friend Amy, everyone else and ending with the new anime@UTS exec team for 2017. Thank you everyone for your support, for telling me off when I was acting stupid, for giving me a pat on the back when I did something good, and overall making my campus life as rose coloured as it could have ever been.

So after 6 long years I have finally graduated from UTS! *throws hat into the sky*

However, now it is time to embark on a new journey – I must change the world, one line of code at a time. And I hope that all these great people I have met in university will still be there by my side throughout my adult life.

Photos are right here, on my:

flickr

arrowDebate

▹ or ▿ ?

September 7th, 2016

This title may sound a bit strange, but the question behind it is very serious and has caused numerous debates between UI designers.

When a folder or a menu group is collapsed should the arrow point to the right, or downwards?

This is an example of the arrow point to the right when collapsed and downwards when expanded. However not everyone believes in this standard, so UI designers fight that the arrow should be down when collapsed and up when expanded. As you can see in the article image above, the 2 options are both valid, however option 1 (on the left) has dominated the technology space as Microsoft (with Windows), Apple (in macOS) and pretty much all the Linux OSs all use this notation for folders, groups of contacts, and any other kind of grouped lists.

The web however is a different beast and a lot of designers come from print, so they know how things should work in the real world, but no so much how the standards have been set in computers for the past few decades.

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citiesSkylines

Cities Skylines

August 10th, 2016

Back in the 2000s when I just got my first computer and got to play video games for the first time, I got really into city builders. You know, those games where you are like the mayor and architect of a new city, you get some funding and a few roads to start off with and then have to build up your city and turn it into a grand metropolis. Yes SimCity 3000. Those were good times. I think the reason why I was so into these kind of games, was because they reminded me a lot of Lego, which I loved to play with at home. I guess this all also ties in well with how I am a developer now, I have a creative mindset – I want to create great things, maintain them and improve them.

Now, 10+ years later, there is new game of the city builder genre called Cities Skylines. The game actually came out over a year ago, but I only got into it after their Snowfall patch, which got the community talking about the game again.

This game follows the same principal as all the other city builders did before it, just better. Its stable, has a ton of customisation features and custom assets via the steam workshop, and just make the games feel less like a chore and more like an experience. In all honesty, the custom assets and mods are the best part of the game, and their existence allowed for amazing things like this to be created:

This is the city of Riga, where I was born and lived in for 17 years of my life. My home in one of my favourite games – thats amazing. If you are into creative style games, I’d highly recommend you give Cities Skylines a try, the possibilities are endless!

sass

Web, the SASSy way

July 24th, 2016

I’ve been designing and coding websites for a good 4 years now, but only as a hobby in my spare time, nothing serious or professional. It was all basically just simple HTML DOM together with a CSS file defining the look of my sites. Sometimes I would experiment with certain JS features to have menu bars and various animations, but hat was about it. Last year, when I migrated my blog hosting, I had to learn how to set up a web server from scratch using LAMP. And I did, twice: jamiejakov.lv and utsanime.net. Looking back now thats not a great achievement, especially with all the guides out there, but hey, when you don’t know anything, even something as simple as setting up a LAMP can be hard.

And now I think its time for me to learn more about web programming, about the frameworks that are used, about the nifty things that have been developed to make our lives easier and create intuitive and beautiful user experiences. And the first think I am going to learn is SASS.

What is SASS? Its pretty much CSS on steroids. It allows you to declare variables, nest code, add mixins, inheritance and much more. But why listen to me, when they got a clear guide on all the great features up on their website: SASS-Lang. I am just going through the codecadamy tutorial on SASS and am planing on implementing it in my future AnimeSydney and anime@UTS redesigns!

Also it is important to note that SASS is a pre-processor, so the browsers themselves can’t interpret anything form a .scss file. So we must compile the SASS file first, which will transform it into a browser readable .css file. Most text editors for code have plugins for SASS compilation. I, for example, use Coda by Panic.Inc for all my web development and they have a great SASS plugin available for download.

So try it out, see for yourself who much more efficient you will be at coding when you can use variables and inheritance. Happy Coding!

kyary2016

Kyary in Sydney 2016

June 25th, 2016

The fashion monster of Japan is back to Sydney for another live concert! This time as part of her 5 year anniversary world tour. Once again us Kyary lovers gathered to watch the pop idol perform. This time however, they had an option of VIP tickets, which allows the fans to get a photo taken with Kyary herself! (photos done by professional photographer and will be available for download on the 4th of July; See below!). Also included in the VIP package was the chance to be first in line for good and first to access the concert hall, which equals front a row position! That was probably the main reason that made this concert so much better then the previous – the opportunity to be really close to Kyary and actually see her face and cute smile.

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AppleDesign

Why I Make

June 21st, 2016

Adam Savage, one of the hosts of Mythbusters is in Sydney at the moment, so I looked through his tweets and found this video he stared in. Adam starts off by saying that making, is creating something that didn’t exist in this world. That is right, we as humans have an incredible ability to, literally, make anything possible. We can be all artsy and draw a painting, shoot a movie, compose a music piece, or we could be scientific and discover an element, calculate a physical value, compute code, etc…

I would like to say why I make. I make because I want to change the world. As corny as it sounds, I want to leave the world a better place then I found it. I want to use my skills to make peoples lives better. My skills are primarily focused around technology, but I believe that I have the ability to improve on things that most people would not care about, mainly UI and UX. There are designers out there that create great user experiences, but a lot of our interactions with technology are clunky, rough and just annoying at times. So I think it is important for people, that stop and think about the little things to exist, so that the people that don’t, have a much smoother experience and continue doing what they are best at.

As Apple said in their 2013 WWDC video:

If everyone is busy making everything, how can anyone perfect anything? We start to confuse convenience with joy, abundance with choice…

I think is where I started to feel like I can make a difference if only I slowed down and looked around at what is around me.

I wish that everyone would continue making, would continue creating, would continue doing what they can to make this world better for everyone.

spotlight

Spotlight Search

June 19th, 2016

If you use keyboard shortcuts, macros and various other workflow automation techniques, then you might consider yourself a power user. However if you have never used Spotlight on macOS and iOS, you are missing out on a great productivity improvement. So what is Spotlight? It is the universal search implementation on Apple platforms. It can search your folders, files, information from within apps like contacts, mail, and even suggestions from the web. But I guess the most used function of Spotlight is to quickly open the application you need. So instead of looking of looking for that one app in Launchpad on your Mac, or numerous screens of your iPhone/iPad, you can just simply launch Spotlight search (cmd+space on macOS, swipe down on home screen on iOS) and start typing the name of the item you are looking for. This can greatly speed up your workflow and just help you find what you are looking for.

Now that you know the basics of Spotlight, here are some advanced tips and tricks (on macOS), which I learned from this article:

  • Cmd + D:  View search term in the built in dictionary app (opens the app).
  • Cmd + L:   Quickly view the term in the dictionary (via Spotlight UI).
  • Cmd + B:   Do a web search in your default browser (opens browser window).
  • Cmd + R:   Open the highlighted results folder in the app which it is in and reveal it in Preview.
  • Cmd + O:   Open the highlighted result in the default program for that filetype.
  • Cmd + I:     Show information about the highlighted result.
  • Hold Cmd:  Show the full path to the highlighted result at the bottom of the spotlight window.

Hope these shortcuts help you improve your workflow and make your life just a bit more productive.