Bangkok Fury: Reminiscing

In 2016, I went to Bangkok and Pattaya.

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Typically, one would travel to Bangkok for the city life, night life, and all that buzz. Funnily enough, one would travel to Pattaya for the same thing, except there is also a beach there. A thing that has almost always been true about Thailand is that its economy is highly dependent on tourism – a lot of things are targeted at foreigners with lots of disposable income. Over the years, I have noticed the hugely increased likelihood of seeing other foreigners in Thailand whereas there used to only be a few.

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The three displays above are examples of marketing towards the tourist market. The first image is of a food menu I saw in Bangkok; obviously imitating what Westerners would usually go for in a meal, but it also appeals to the local population due to curiosity in what Americans and such usually eat. One easy thing to make fun of is the misspelling of ‘Western Main Cause,’ but I find it interesting just to look at because it reminds you that the person who made the menu probably does not have the same luxuries in technology that we do over here. It is also the determination in the attempt at English shows how important it is that some Thai businesses are able to attract tourists and on some occasions; expatriates.

Soho Town in Pattaya boasts being the first Chinatown there. The interesting thing about this is that it is a recent addition to the city; having only existed there a few years now. There is a massive Chinese presence in Pattaya, especially during the summer where bulk tour groups consisting of hundreds of Chinese tourists visit for cheap. I would think that the existence of a Chinatown is related to this trend, as it must be a popular place for meeting up and doing things.

The lit up London Calling billboard was found in a hot spot called Nana Plaza in Bangkok. Funnily enough, there were actually British people around here. Again, the symbolic link in Western iconography shows the importance of being able to attract tourists for business.

The above photo was something I found humorous. A statue I saw in a hotel lobby in Bangkok and I just had to snap a picture. More than meets the eye – what is the connotation in the statue of a plump woman walking her dog? It’s an impression of the average Western female, of course! The small details matter when you look into them.

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A Holographic Music Visualiser

For my final year, I made a box that can visualise music. But not just any box, it’s a hollow wooden frame with a perspex/acrylic prism. Photos are better at explaining.

It works by loading songs from a SoundCloud playlist and the visuals react to the wavelengths. But there’s more! You can control it using gestures such as swiping left, right, up, and down, and swirling your hand in front of a Flick board connected to a Raspberry Pi. The project was coded in Python and uses Electron for its renderer.

There’s also a 60 second video I made to go along with the final final assignment.

I also kept a blog of documenting the build as part of the project: https://as14acz6.tumblr.com/

Launched a New Blog

April 2018 edit: Took the site down, wasn’t used, but it’s too exploitable. Pyramid schemes suck anyway

Hi-diddly-ho neighbourino!

I’ve launched a Tumblr blog that’s set to give out discount coupons for G Suite. Now that I’ve used the word Tumblr, WordPress has probably blacklisted this blog post from reaching search engines, oh well! Haha.

Anyway, it can be found at https://gsuitediscountcodes-eu.tumblr.com

Only works for users in some countries in Europe and the UAE.

WordPress or Tumblr?

After about a year of using WordPress, very little entices me to stay. You have to pay annually to get your own domain mapped, as I have done. It’s free to do so on Tumblr. You have to pay to remove ads. There are no forced ads on Tumblr blogs. You would even get more control with a Blogger site.

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A free option of Tumblr’s that WP makes you pay for

Here’s a little list I’m about to brainstorm about why Tumblr is better than WordPress:

  • You can edit HTML for free on Tumblr, you have to pay with WordPress
  • There is a greater impression of community with Tumblr, giving you the freedom of choice to ‘reblog’, ‘like’ posts, or follow blogs if you wanted
  • Tumblr is completely free of gimmicks such as paying to remove ads, mapping domains, with the exception of ‘premium themes’
  • Tumblr is easier to use in my opinion, it has just as much flexibility as WordPress, if not more
  • In my opinion, even the ‘personal’ plan WordPress has is overpriced – why should I pay for these things when I can get it for free elsewhere?

So then, why should anyone choose WordPress? If you’re rich or a business; WordPress has more business tools to offer for people willing to pay for them. These are Search Engine Optimisation tools and other ‘plugins’ (like bolt-ons from your mobile phone provider). Oh and there was a Tumblr password leak years ago. Of course, this shouldn’t be a problem if you follow rule #1 of passwords; never re-use them.

Well that begs the question; why did you choose WordPress, Dufus?

Because after having used Blogger, then Tumblr, I felt like a change. Now I’ve experienced all the big three blog sites, I have to say that I feel Tumblr outdid the competition. However; I’ve done too much on this blog now to be able to move, unless I just copy all my posts over. It’d be a long process though.

Side Projects

I’ve mostly thought of myself as a graphics manipulator, but moreso in the moving kind. Before university, I photoshopped animal faces onto people heads, and now look where we are. Making flash games, physical collage softcover books, websites, and writing screenplays. It’s a broad area.

As I enter my final year of university, I’ve done a few things on the side for fun over summer. I have a few shared YouTube endeavours.

Fug Squad

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One of them is a totally original gaming channel called Fug Squad, named after the meme with the walrus saying “fugg :DD”. You can find it in all its glory here.

We take turns to make spoofs out of our gameplay videos, hopping in-between games. No, we don’t monetise because that was never the aim. It’s a just 4 fun little-effort type of thing. This is one of the videos I made. I never claimed it was good.

Exploration HQ

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A more serious piece of work. Psuedodocumentary  series about urban exploration; looking at abandoned places and such. There’s clear improvement over the years. I recorded the footage on a camcorder or phone, then edited the clips using Adobe Premiere Pro and sometimes After Effects. For the more recent videos, I’ve added subtitles.

Fix: Display Mirroring Has Ended on Galaxy devices

I have a Samsung Galaxy S7 Exynos. I found out that every time I wanted to cast my screen to my Amazon Firestick, it would tell me that mirroring has ended as soon as it starts. This is apparently a common problem with rooted devices. This may actually be a fix for other rooted Android phones as well.

Without fail, every time I tried mirroring my phone, I would see the words “display mirroring has ended”.

A simple fix for you might be to uninstall any other casting applications on your phone (like Allcast). If not, then follow the steps below:

  1. Download a build.prop editor from the Google Play Store.
  2. Open up that bad boy.
  3. Find a line that says “wlan.wfd.hdcp=enable”
  4. Change it to “wlan.wfd.hdcp=disable”

If the line does not already exist, make a new one at the end and type in “wlan.wfd.hdcp=disable”. This changes the behaviour of your wlan connectivity, and it fixed the screen mirroring issue for me.

This is how it looks for me:

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You will need to restart your phone before changes take effect.

You may need to use the preinstalled ‘Smart View’ Samsung app to use screen casting/mirroring.

While you’re at it, if you have not done this already, you may want to set your ro.config.tima=0 if it is set to 1. This tricks some older apps into thinking your device has not been rooted.

Also -‎Rename the following file
/system/lib/liboemcrypto.so to /liboemcrypto.so.bak if Amazon Video doesn’t work.

The reason I have posted this fix is because I cannot find it anywhere else, and is not an obvious one.

A plunge into Google Maps and its crowd-sourcing

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Google is shutting down Map Maker next month. What now?

Almost every listing you see on Google Maps is crowd-sourced, with the rest being built through terrain data, satellite imagery, and bulk data bought from mapping companies. Most of the newer listings on the platform depend on the willing contribution from the public, a bit like Wikipedia and its articles.

Map Maker was introduced in 2008, and anyone could add, edit, or delete map listings in most places in the world. It allowed try-hard map editors to feel a sense of power in that they could change what everyone sees on Maps, but the most important part is that anyone’s 8 year old kid could do it too. This is why most edits had to go through a voting-phase before it was approved by the system, but some mishaps could slip through. For example; a few folks would always race to be the first to add a new listing and as a result, a bunch of duplicates would appear like below for a new car park.

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Three duplicates of the same place. One of them is humorously listed as a “Park & Garden”.

Now that Map Maker’s on its last legs, Google has started removing change logs in preparation for the move.

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There would usually be a list of changes, but it’s all going away.

Nevertheless, let’s take a look to see if it’s still possible to make changes just before its death. I’m going to attempt to fix the duplicate car park listings mentioned earlier. Usually my edits would go through instantly because the system trusts me, or at least it used to. I’m unsure how the algorithm works, but the first few times my edits would go through a user vote, but after a while I would receive emails straight away saying my edit was approved. It may have something to do with the ‘Local Guides’ badge on Maps, which you receive after making plenty of edits. An intangible reward for your free labour.

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Sometimes your edit will go through instantly, other times it won’t. This means I’ll have to wait for an undetermined amount of time before the changes show, but I’ve seen cases where the change is stuck on pending forever. That’s right, if your change doesn’t get any votes, it will be in limbo until it receives at least two votes. But that’s about to change (apparently).

The company has spent the last few years slowly adding Map Maker-like features to the mainstream Google Maps. Although not as detailed or rich, one can find them by selecting a feature and going through “Suggest an edit”. Voila.

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Editing features through Maps itself is taking over from the depreciated Map Maker.

These edits are implemented based on whether other Map users agree or disagree with the suggestion you made. This feature is currently in beta for smartphone users, but it’s assumed that it will come to desktop users in the future. Whether or not people pay attention to it or even use the feature is another thing.

Many enthusiasts of Google products express concern over the company’s misdirection. Some fear that the tragedy that was the release of Allo and Duo isn’t over yet. For those who don’t know, the online community has criticised Google for not properly marketing its messaging apps, as well as releasing new ones when old, fully functioning ones still exist with the exact same features. The lack of marketing meant that its user base depended on word of mouth. There’s only one person in my contacts list who even uses Allo – and that took some convincing. With hope, this disaster won’t encompass the reshaping of Google Maps.

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Let’s hope this doesn’t happen across the board.

 

Sources:

Google (2012) The next dimension of Google maps. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMBJ2Hu0NLw (Accessed: 26 February 2017).

Image source: https://plus.google.com/+JRRaphael/posts/cT17fiupJyp

AS-level Coursework Production Report & Evaluation example 1650~ words

This is a B grade piece of coursework, so it’s by no means perfect. If you’re studying a similar AQA syllabus, hopefully this example will give you ideas and show you how to improve. I hit the word limit and waffled too much about things that don’t matter (e.g. implying why I decided to use the English language for a tourism magazine). For reference, I’ve included the cover and content pages in this post.

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Yeah, could’ve been better. Awful coverline design. Only good thing on this page is the unique masthead design.
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The contents page. It’s alright. Of course, you have to use original photos which is something I realised I lacked far too late into the project, so I used bland photos I took on holiday. Not a flattering image of a ‘world-class beach’.

Below is the essay I handed in. Tenses have been mixed up. You’ll want to use past-tense, not future-tense as I mistakenly did in the introductory paragraphs. Don’t bold certain words either – this was done to help myself recognise keywords. It just looks odd and copy-pasted (even though it wasn’t).

Concept

The magazine is based on tourism in Vancouver, Canada because I took some original photos taken there that would suit the magazine. The pre-production and production will make use of codes and conventions commonly found in all magazines, e.g. cover lines, masthead, images, etc.

This project incorporates:

  • One front cover
  • One contents page
  • A double paged feature article

Natural landscape scenery of Vancouver is used as these aspects have been known to attract tourists and holidaymakers to a new region, which is the aim of the magazine in this case. The magazine is both informative; providing essential information to tourists and residents as well as persuasive, through the use of attractive imagery taken around the city.

Design, Research & Evaluation

I researched tourism and other magazines in order to identify how audiences are gratified by the manipulation of a magazine’s conventions relative to its target audience. Ideas conceived from exemplar magazines are cited in this report.

Front Cover

Background: an image of a mountain in Vancouver is included to attract the attention of tourists –Burnaby Mountain in the outskirts of Vancouver. The use of a nature shot brings out scenery in Vancouver that tourists will be able to visit for themselves, as if the magazine serves as a preview of Vancouver for tourists, which is a selling point found in all travel magazines. For example; in The Travel Magazine, an article describes the Dubai Eye, the largest Ferris wheel in the world in order to inform the audience of what to expect if they were to visit it. The ‘Ainu’ totem-pole like sculptures featured in the image are iconic in Vancouver as it is known to be a symbol of commemoration to the good will of its relation to early Japanese inhabitants, thus making the photo relevant on the topic of tourism. The image gives a positive representation of Vancouver in its natural attractiveness; most of the colours are a shade of green and blue, denoting a clean environment – which is favourable. Many magazines use an element of the background to overlap some of the magazine title; this is seen in an issue of ‘Travel Leisure’, which used a spire which overlapped the masthead for an artistic effect. At first I thought this effect was not necessary but since there was plenty of space for more emphasis on the totems; I enlarged one with a bear on top and layered it on top of the URL.

The masthead is always important because it allows the audience to create a reference to the magazine and thus retain it in their memory. A title with a bright, eye-catching front has been used so that consumers can distinguish it from other magazines on a shelf. The title of the magazine is ‘Vancouver Today!’ which draws in audiences through direct language. This idea takes credit from other texts with the word ‘today’ as an appended adverb.[1] I used a large, white, handwritten font with a shadowed background and is easily interpreted by the audience that the magazine is up to date with current events, news and information. Unlike the colour black, white is usually associated with positive connotations such as purity. The title is embellished with an underlining which is stylised to fit the layout of the title as well as the white clouds in the background; ‘today’ is placed to the bottom-right of ‘Vancouver’. The line allows the convenient separation of a URL (‘VAToday.ca’) to the magazine’s website, giving the audience access to the website to gain more information about Vancouver which gratifies them in doing so.

A sort of lure is included at the bottom of the cover within a red strip, which contrasts with the soft colours above, thus drawing the audience’s attention to it. It elucidates the special ‘anniversary edition’ of the magazine, implying that the magazine contains more content about Vancouver than typical issues, enticing the audience to choose the magazine over others on a shelf as more content would likely bring greater gratification to the audience. From my research, this is seen in an issue of ‘Q’, a music magazine where a red strip is used to emphasise ‘all the month’s albums, gigs, films & DVDs reviewed and rated’.

Cover lines are used to emphasise the issue’s best content and are placed to the right side in order to keep the totem poles in the audience’s view. These cover lines take a white font similar to Arial with a black stroke to make it easy to read against the background. Direct mode of address is used to draw the audience into indulging in some of the articles, the most prominent examples are “your ultimate guide to Vancouver” and “all you need to know about hiking.” The image was also flipped so that the cover lines could be aligned to the right. Even though audiences read left to right, having the cover lines on the right cause the totems to stand out more, seizing greater attention. An example of when cover lines are aligned to one side for focus on the background is seen in some issues of Newsweek. A main cover line is utilised – “Can you take on the Grouse Grind Mountain?” This is in reference to hiking, as mountains surround the city. This signifies that the magazine contains content about the mountain and scaling it, the audience is also addressed directly.

Contents Page

The contents page features a blue-purple gradient strapline, containing the header ‘contents’ with the magazine name included in its signature font along with the issue date in order to fill space with useful information. A simplistic colour scheme is used so that the readers are able to gather the information without being deviated by too many technical codes, a common technique found in most magazines.

The page titles and references are in a columned layout so that the reader can gather as much information about each of the pages as possible. Each page reference utilises a colour code for the separation of different topics, making it easier for the reader to differentiate information. Most page references come with a first line and sub-line. The purpose of the first line to capture the readers’ attention with a bold font and the sub-line provides specific detail about the article. From my research, this has been seen in ‘Vogue’ and ‘Psychologies Magazine’. This structured layout makes the information easy to read.

There are four images on this page; all originally taken in Vancouver and are used for a varied representation of Vancouver; a beach, a city, transport and a modernistic building implant the idea in the readers’ minds that Vancouver is a diverse city with many different features. This therefore reflects the magazine; diverse content about Vancouver to satisfy the reader. However, one thing I would have liked to change is the use of nature shots to replace the image of ‘Vancouver’s horizon’, which would have given a further diverse representation of the city and would have been more visually pleasing – however a lack of original photography prevented this. Therefore; an overall image of grey city is weighted on more than greenery – an even dichotomy of the two would have been preferable, so this is a weakness.

Anchorage is used in the image of the beach. The image serves as a ‘hook’ whilst the overlaid text serves provides an anchor to the meaning, making Vancouver seem desirable.

Inner Pages

A double-page feature article is used for production. The layout is derived, but variant from the magazine Supply Management, a professional magazine with a clean presentation to present informative content. I feel this suits my magazine because it includes informative and persuasive language, i.e. informing readers about the ‘2020 Action Plan’. Purple is used in the colour scheme (heading, text) to mirror the colour code given in the contents page.

The below paragraph doesn’t make make much sense to me. Now that I’m in university, I have no idea what point I was trying to explain or how it benefits the evaluation.

Information from the ‘City of Vancouver’ website was researched to help create an informative article, but is not copied word-for-word in order to keep content original (and to avoid plagiarism). This article revolves around factual information regarding Vancouver’s 2020 Action Plan which aims to make the city as sustainable as possible. I feel this is a suitable article for the magazine because it is on the topic of one of the government’s top priority campaigns, therefore being a relevant subject to the readers who would purchase the magazine.

An image is used to represent the verdure in Vancouver; a high-angle long shot of the ‘Vancouver Conservatory’ in order to reflect the efforts to “a greener city” as described in the article.

The main strength of these pages is the eco-friendly representation of Vancouver. Many people are open to the idea of a clean, environmentally friendly city, so this helps build toward the aim of a positive representation of the city.

Target Audience

Travel and tourism magazines attract the attention of ABC1 social grade tourists as a primary audience.

^This is a reference to the NRS social grades. I remember wanting to say this, but if I did then my work would’ve gone above the 1650 upper word limit. The solution to this problem would have been to get rid of all the other unnecessary information that didn’t enrich the report, like plenty of obsolete information in the following paragraph below.

Demographics

  • Location: Vancouver, where the magazine is based
  • Age: 16 – 65, anyone younger or older is likely to have less interest in travel/tourism
  • All genders
  • Various ethnicities

The audience is likely to have little to no disability as well as having an employment because the magazine contains a large fraction of information about activities and places that require movement and travel expenses. Vancouver is located in British Columbia, Canada in which most people speak English. English is also the third most spoken language in the world[2], so it is theorised that most people who purchase this magazine will be able to read in English with the exception of some extraneous visitors. I anticipate that readers will originate from England, Japan and America as most visitors I have observed are from these places. The Japanese are also well-known for contributing to Vancouver’s industrial evolution up until a few decades ago, so a large fraction of visitors are likely to be relatives of the Japanese industrial workers. C2DE social classes are unlikely to purchase this magazine as tourism implies large travel expenses.

Psychographics

  • Activities/interests: Hiking, politics, travelling, tourism
  • Behaviour/attitudes: Literate, positive attitude to activity

This magazine is aimed at any audience with an interest for tourism in Vancouver; therefore the reader is not anticipated to have any particular values, ideologies or culture.

[1] Seen in India Today

[2] Retrieved from Nationalencyklopedin “Världens 100 största språk 2007” The World’s 100 Largest Languages in 2007

How does Fish Tank challenge typical representations of gender? (A-level homework piece) 800~ words

This is a so-and-so homework essay typed up using examples looked at during lessons. It’s no masterpiece of course because it was only done for homework. The Point, Example, Explain structure has clearly been overused. Another problem is the flow of consciousness, there’s no clear paragraph structure and ideas have been typed out as they came to mind. The writer clearly didn’t take this work seriously and even made a reference to Othello as a joke (which reading back on, wasn’t funny at all).

How does Fish Tank (2009) challenge typical representations of gender?

Representation is defined as re-presenting something in a particular way or as being of a certain nature. Media representations have been known to have a powerful influence on society’s ideologies and hegemonic values, they shape the way we think about issues, events and ideals among other things. Gender in the media has a variety of portrayals and attitudes to gender segregation have diminished over time, leaving less divide over male and female representations. However; gender stereotypes still exist and are used in the media industry mostly as a form of entertainment whereas countertypes are used for other purposes, predominantly as a device to attract audiences to the unusual convention as it deviates from the norm. Sometimes women are represented as sex objects to attract males or men as strong and charismatic, to attract females. In Fish Tank, the female director Andrea Arnold likely had a powerful influence on how gender was represented. Arnold’s films commonly explore female sexuality and Fish Tank is no exception, she excels in social realist dramas that are conventional in their working-class settings but her focus is refreshingly female. Accordingly; Arnold created Fish Tank with a mainly female perspective on an abused love relationship between a teenage girl and her mother’s older boyfriend.

Mia is in control of the narrative, being the protagonist we follow throughout the film she influences how the story pans out. She challenges female stereotypes by acting masculine, she is adventurous and overconfident, for example in the opening scene she is seen instigating violence amongst a group of girls dancing by head butting one of them in the face. Typically, young women as protagonists are seen as soft, caring and empathetic such as half of the characters in the television soap Eastenders and are only seen otherwise if they are antagonists such as the vampires in adventure film Van Helsing, making Mia a uniquely portrayed female antagonist. Mia is socially trapped and is used as an archetype for people who live in council estates. At one point when Connor is introduced, Mia is seen staring at Connor in relation to the female gaze theory. In a mid-shot; sunlight protruding from a window glistens against Connor’s body to sexualise him and to help the audience see from Mia’s perspective his attractiveness. Mia’s character is an undiscovered one in media and has a rare representation, although girls like her exist in real life, both in character and situation.

Connor is the first significant male character introduced and in the first half of the film, he is perceived as a hero. He is a father figure; good with children, polite and wealthy – almost the opposite of Mia who lives in poverty without a father. Like a Hollywood hero, Connor is an alpha male shown through his charismatic personality and almost depicts perfectness in a man. This sort of representation of a male early in the narrative leads the audience to believe he is the typical hero until certain scenes suggest he is taking advantage of Mia and her mother. As he is seen caring for Mia, the relationship between them becomes more palpable each time. For example; Connor earlier gives Mia a piggyback so she doesn’t have to walk on the cut on her ankle and then later, when he carries her to bed and takes off her trousers and tucks her in. Each of these scenes progressively become more intimate and is signified by the diegetic sound of intensified breathing this carries on until eventually the turning point is reached when Connor initiates intercourse with her. At this point, Connor is seen as a fiend who turned from hero to villain, sharing some similarity with Shakespeare’s play Othello. This goes against the norm that the wealthy, charismatic and handsome male remains heroic for the entire text, instead Connor uses these traits to take advantage of the family. It is unknown whether Connor had it planned from the beginning but it is likely since he already had a woman and child in his life.

Billy is first introduced as a minor character when Mia attempts to free a horse from captivity next to a caravan owned by a group of ‘pikeys’. In this scene, two of the boys abuse her, push her around, take her bag and carry her as if to perform a malignant act on her but she manages to escape. After a failed first attempt to free the horse, Mia turns up again and this time Billy confronts her. Unlike his brothers, Billy is sympathetic and more sensible, suggesting that the younger you are the more innocent you are. This gives evidence that there are certain overt characteristics that can be attributed to a character of either gender, in this case being empathy attributed to age rather than gender unlike in other media texts where empathy is typically associated with females.