Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My LG G4 - a few months down the line

I've now had my LG G4 for a good couple of months. And a good couple of months they've been! I finally got my 32gig SD card from CellC, and that's made a big difference to have some extra storage. The phone has 32gig on-board by default, but only about 22gigs of that is available to use.

The only small issue I have is battery life. It isn't the best, especially when I use the phone a lot during the day. But it is something I can definitely overlook, since I got a spare battery and charger with the phone from CellC - at first I thought I won't use it, but it came in very handy when I was playing with my phone the whole day.

Here is a list of some of the things I love about my G4:

  • Smooth as silk - the interface and everything works great.
  • Excellent camera - I love the camera, especially with the f1.8 lens it has, as well as optical image stabilization. You can even shoot in RAW! It also gives you manual controls for stuff like white balance, shutter speed and ISO.
  • LTE/4G connectivity - I don't get to use my phone a lot when I have a full 4G signal, but sheesh, when I do it's lightning fast!
  • Screen - the screen is gorgeous! It's 5.5 inches and a has a QHD resolution. That's 2560x1440 pixels! It's really something to behold!
  • Custom icons for your apps - that's right, you can change the icons for your apps!
  • Looks - the phone is stunning to look at. The curvature of the back cover gives the illusion that the screen is curved as well :) It has a premium feel and the size of the phone is just right for my hands.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I was a die-hard Samsung fan. I still like Samsung, but I'm definitely not sorry that I decided to put my faith in the LG flagship for 2 years.

Life's Good after all it seems!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Weazel Tours - my first Bootstrap site built from scratch

I've finally decided to get cracking with Bootstrap. I was always a bit reluctant to start building Responsive websites, but it has become more and more necessary in the web design industry, especially since Google started penalizing sites that aren't mobile friendly with that huge update of 2015.

So, early in January 2016 I got an enquiry from one of my clients for a brand new website for her and her husband's motorcycle tours company they're starting up. After she accepted the quote, I decided that from now on all of my sites will be responsive. It was time to make the switch.

I had no more excuses now, so I was basically forced to learn how to do a website based on the Bootstrap framework. I watched a few beginner tutorial videos to get the basics, and I jumped straight in on building my first website in Bootstrap from scratch. Luckily it wasn't a major site, only 6 pages or so, and I think it turned out GREAT! I'm super proud of the site we ended up with, and my client and her husband are super happy with the end result!

So, without further ado, here's the link to my first Bootstrap website: Motorcycle Tours South Africa

And a special thanks to Natalie from Sugar and Spice Design (my wife :D hehe) who did a stellar job in designing such a beautiful site!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

XAMPP - cannot access web server over LAN all of a sudden?

I use XAMPP for my PHP web development. My wife designs the sites that I work with, and sometimes she needs to access my local web server from her PC. Usually that's as easy as typing in my PC's network name in her browser and she can access everything on my localhost.

Since a few days ago, it stopped working. She even tried using my IP address directly in her browser, but that too, didn't work.

Then I remembered, Windows 10 updated something a while back, and I guess it was then when this issue started. Turned out, I had to allow port 80 over my Windows Firewall again. So, if you're running Windows 10, here's how to do that:

Press the Start button, and type in Firewall, then click on Windows Firewall with Advanced Security at the top:

This will open up the Firewall window, which looks like this:

(click on the image to see it bigger if you need to)

What we want to do is set up a new Inbound Rule, so at the top left, click on Inbound Rules:

Then, to create the new rule, click on New Rule... on the right:

That opens up the New Rule dialogue window:

We want to open up Port 80 on the Firewall, so click on Port, and then Next > at the bottom, which will bring you here. Make sure TCP is selected, and type in 80 where it says Specific local ports:

Click Next > at the bottom again, which brings you here:

Make sure Allow the connection is selected, and click Next > once again, bringing you to this screen:

Select the appropriate settings here for your network. In most cases, the Private one should be sufficient. Finally click Next > once more, and give this Rule a name and description, and you're done with this section.

Last, but not least, restart Apache, and you should be all set to go.

Hope this helps!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Over 20000 cars on the track at once - Track Mania

I stumbled across this video yesterday and just had to share it. The game is Track Mania, which is known for it's breakneck speed around the insane tracks. Now, as far as I know (I haven't played it in a long time), all the cars are exactly the same in terms of speed and handling, so if you want to put up the best time, your knowledge of the track and impeccable reflexes is what gets you to the finish line the fastest.

When you play with others, you compete against their times, and cannot actually crash into one another.

Anyway, in the video below, 30 guys worked to put over 20000 cars - 20386 to be exact - on the track at the same time, so watch and enjoy the ensuing chaos. It is glorious!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Bootstrap and Media Queries for CSS

I've been playing around with Bootstrap, and have learned about a very cool thing called Media Queries in CSS.

Bootstrap, by the way, was originally called Twitter Blueprint - the guys at Twitter basically created the framework. It's a combination of HTML, CSS, LESS, Sass and Javascript.

The idea behind Bootstrap is to create web templates that work on any device no matter the screen size. In other words, to be Responsive :)

Playing around with it, got me to discover just how cool media queries in CSS are. Here's what one looks like:

@media only screen and (min-width : 1200px)
        /* your normal CSS goes here /*

The cool thing here is that the CSS between the brackets only applies when the screen is bigger than a certain width. In this case, 1200px.

In this way, you can write specific CSS rules for your HTML for each screen size you want, which is a very handy thing indeed. Here's how to use the media queries:

You can use either min-width or max-width:

Min-width is basically everything greater than or equal to the amount given.

Max-width is basically everything less than or equal to the amount given.

So, if you want to change the size of your <h1> tag on screens less than 992px for example, you'll write it like this:

@media only screen and (max-width : 992px)


Whenever the browser window is smaller or equal to 992 pixels wide, then the styles specified in the media query will apply.

Pretty cool hey! I hope this can help you in some or other way!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Sol Survivor - great Tower Defense co-op

I did it! I survived the Steam Winter Sale (feels weird saying that, because it's definitely not winter here, last few days it's been close to 40 degrees Celsius!).

I only bought two games. And both were with Steam Wallet money I made selling cards. The first one was Sol Survivor:

I got it for all of R27.25 - loosely translated, at the time of purchase, to about $2, although with our Rand being so low to the Dollar these days, it's closer to about $1.80

I also bought Tomb Raider, which was also listed for under R30. Also paid with wallet money.

Anyway, back to Sol Survivor.

It's a TD game. Tower Defense. And this one is quite old, and came out for the Xbox 360 in September 2009, and for Windows in March 2010.

Now, me and Jayson has been on the never ending search for a great Tower Defense game that we can play together. Our love for TD games started with custom maps for Warcraft 3. Our ultimate Tower Defense map is still, to this day, the classic Warcraft 3 map, Burbenog. We played that map for months and months, and finally beat it one Sunday afternoon back in 2006. We still talk fondly about how glorious that was. And ever since we've had this void that we just cannot seem to be able to fill - our next cooperative tower defense high.

We've tried lots of the options out there, but nothing came close to actually gripping us. Especially for a co-op game.

Enters Sol Survivor.

I only played this first single player mission, so I cannot comment on that part of the game. But we did play several games cooperatively last night. Me, Jayson and Nathan. Over the internet. In South Africa with terrible lag. Jayson hosted, and he did the invites through Steam.

As with any online game we play, we always find it extremely refreshing if we don't have to fiddle around with stuff like port forwarding and vpn's and the like just to get the game to work. So, first thing we loved about the game - we could play it TOGETHER with no effort at all! Already a huge plus in my book!

The first couple of games we played were the co-op endless mode, called Survival. You basically have to see how long you can survive with the waves of mobs getting stronger and stronger. In both games we lasted about 18 minutes.

Another cool aspect of the game is that you can select a general to play with, or create your own. Each one has a set number of towers he can build, and a set number of support options - these are basically things like orbital strikes that you can call in anywhere on the map.

There are two kinds of resources. One you use for your towers and upgrades, and you earn more by killing mobs and surviving waves, and the other one is a recharging resource used for your support powers.

The goal is simple - prevent the mobs from reaching your base and steal the souls of your inhabitants.

With this game mode, any player can build anywhere on the map. So you can really diversify your roles on the battlefield - Jayson, for example, built inhibitors all over the map - they detect stealth units - and Nathan and I just focused on doing damage - nice touch that you can compliment each others towers like that...

For our next game, we played a co-op map where we had to survive a set number of waves. On this map, which was made specifically for three people, each player gets a designated build area for his/her towers, and there are overlapping areas where everyone can build. The mobs also followed a set path and each enemy would pass by each player. Very similar to BURBENOG. It was an awesome map and we had a great time - for the first time in years something got me close to the great experience we had with Burbenog 10 years ago.

In the end we had great great fun. Nathan experienced some lag, but even with that, it still was an awesome co-op gaming session.

Can't wait to play Sol Survivor some more - I don't think I'll play the single player campaign, but damn, the multiplayer is great!

Even at full price, I'd easily recommend it. If you love Tower Defense games, this one is not to be missed!