Plumen 002

I had no idea that Plumen had released a new bulb.

Plumen 002

It's an interesting design, chunkier than the original Plumen, and according to their website it produces a much warmer glow:

Plumen 002 is a more simplistic and poetic design, to suit its warmer, softer light and the more ambient surroundings it was created for. Luminosity is equivalent to a 30W incandescent bulb and the colour is 2500k which is warmer than the Plumen 001 that is 2700k.

The Plumen 002 would look great in one of Grovemade's desk lamps (I'm not a fan of using the extremely inefficient 'squirrel-cage' incandescent bulbs that seem to have become popular lately).

Monument Valley

Monument Valley – Ida

Monument Valley is a puzzle game for iOS (and soon Android) that tasks you with helping Ida on her journey through the ruins of a colourful, geometrically impossible kingdom.

This is a beautiful game - the art style is minimalist and polygonal without being difficult to interpret and it looks as though every pixel was carefully placed, even when you're manipulating the world by rotating towers or pulling at parapets to make new paths.

And the games' sound design is great as well, subtle sound effects make the world feel tangible, and when you slide your finger to pull a platform you hear feedback in the form of gentle, relaxing musical notes.

The world is filled with optical illusions like Penrose triangles and platforms that only align from a certain angle, where the perspective of the player determines whether a path is walkable or not.

Monument Valley – a rotating platform creates a Penrose triangle

Perhaps the most impressive part of Monument Valley is that it never feels too difficult. I don't think many people will be tempted to stop and come back to it later because it's too hard, or find a particular puzzle so frustrating that they'll want to look online for a solution (although I did have to stop and think for a while on the later levels), but equally the puzzles never feel unsatisfying either.

Monument Valley – waves batter a tiny island

The game only takes about 2 hours to complete (to be honest I lost track of time while playing) but still manages to tell a story – not a very complex story, and a lot is left to the imagination, but I still felt moments of joy and sadness as I helped Ida on her quest.

In summary I loved Monument Valley. It's a great game, definitely worthy of the price in my opinion, and I'm looking forward to seeing what else ustwo games come up with in the future.

Visualizing Git Concepts with D3

Visualize git with d3

I love this visualisation of git! It's really cool being able to actually see the difference between commands.

I recommend trying both a git pull and a git pull --rebase on the git fetch example.

I also noticed in the "Update Private Local Branch with Latest from Origin" example that you can rebase your branch against master without pulling master. Doing a git fetch and then a git rebase origin/master is all that you need. I've always checked out and pulled master explicitly. Good to know!

Maps + video from space

Mapbox have combined their Streets map with this footage captured from Skybox's SkySat-1.

There's a discussion on Hacker News about the difficulties and implications of the technology.

Aelita

Aelita

Today at the Zendesk Dublin office we had a Hackday, and David, Alan and myself built this web-based "soyuz"/monome clone, that we called Aelita.

It was a lot of fun, even though we were the only group in the office that didn't build something practical!

The source code is on github, let me know what you think.

WebGL Raytraced Eye

WebGL raytraced eye

This WebGL eyeball looks amazing, it's so cool that this is possible in the browser now.

Fill Murray

Bill Murray

Placeholder images of Bill Murray by Dave Cowart.

(Via Marc Lloyd)

Build with Chrome

A Lego Viking Tour Bus in Dublin

Today I've been playing with this amazing toy from Lego and Chrome that lets you build Lego models on Google Maps. I found this great rendition of a Viking Tour Bus/Boat in Dublin's Grand Canal Quay. (For the record this is what they actually look like).

So cool!

(Via Kill Screen)

Chineasy

Image of the Chinese phrase for 'dormant volcano'

Above is the Chinese phrase for dormant volcano.

Chineasy’s goal is to allow people to learn to read Chinese easily by recognising characters through simple illustrations. The magical power of the Chineasy method is that by learning one small set of building blocks, students can build many new words, characters, and phrases.

(Via Wesley)

Blog Redesign

Recently I've felt like writing again, but I've felt frustrated with the way that my blog is designed, both in terms of how it looks and how it functions.

I started paulboxley.com in 2010 as a link dump – almost all posts were very short, usually consisting of just a link to another website, an image and a line or two of text.

I chose a 'masonry' style layout as it fitted the kind of content that I tended to post – a kind of personally hosted Pinterest.

There could be any number of columns depending on the width of the user's browser, and individual posts would span either one, two or three of these. Smaller posts would be nestled in around the larger ones.

The design was adequate when I only had shorter posts, but problems arose when I wrote longer blog posts – the smaller posts laid out around the edges would distract from the content of the main post.

New columns

I decided it would make more sense to switch to a new layout, and after a few experiments I opted for a three-column layout (degrading to two or one columns on smaller browser windows, but only ever three columns maximum).

Blog posts that I want the reader to focus on now take up all three columns, and link posts take up a single column.

Aside from the layout, the design of the website also needed refreshing, and I have to thank Jonathan Belton for his expert advice in this area! If there are any elements of this site that you think look great then please presume that they were Jonny's idea, and you can likewise presume that any parts that look less good are ones in which I did not listen to Jonny's advice. ;)

I've also made some other changes under the hood. Previously blog posts were stored in files in the git repo which kept things simple, but meant that I couldn't write new posts unless I was near a terminal. Now I'm using a database so I can write and edit posts in a browser (wow, it's like I'm in 2001)!

I'm also toying with the idea of adding comments to the site with something like Disqus. I would prefer if there were a straightforward way to integrate tweets-as-comments, but I'm not sure if such a solution exists. If you know of anything then please tweet me @baxt3r.

I hope you like the new design! Please let me know if you encounter any bugs or problems, and I hope to write again soon. :)