Whoo, sorry I'm a bit late with today's post but today was a pretty busy day. Hopefully tomorrow is less so because Friday will probably be pretty busy and as Thursday is my birthday, it will be very busy :P. Didn't I just pick the perfect week to write a 7 day roguelike? Anyway, I did not get too much done today, but I did get the two things I mentioned yesterday done: you can now advance to higher floors than one, which get progressively larger in size, though the monsters do not yet get harder (need to make new monsters!), and I have also added an item system! Such fun! Let's see that picture!

Oh, wow, um, that is not the right picture. That's Patricia Hodge in Miranda. Sorry about that folks! Let's see the real screenshot:

Nice. As you can see, in this screenshot, I have pressed "i" to activate the inventory screen, and in the top left corner there is a list of my inventory items! You can press enter and use one, which means different things for different items: for the clothing, it means equipping the item (which can grant you defense and attack power (except for the crocs lol they're there for the lulz)), and the scroll of healing grants you 20 HP! How nice. There's also a wooden helmet on the floor right next to me.

Anyway, that's all I really have to announce at this point. Day 4 will likely consist of adding new monsters and items to the game. Until then, ciao! :)

Hatkirby on June 5th, 2012 at 6:29:59pm
๐Ÿ‘ 0 ๐Ÿ‘Ž

Hey guys, it's day 2, and my game is coming along quite nicely now. I've actually got most of the core of the game done. Is it already time for screenshots? I think it is. First, a simple view of the start of the game:

Notice anything different about my game? Well, for one thing, I changed the color scheme to give the game a "colder" feel, and I think it worked. Second, the tiles have been changed to 12x12 instead of 16x16, which I'm not really sure why I was using because I was forcing 12x12 characters into 16x16 tiles and everything looked funky. This looks a lot cuter, and you can still resize the window and increase the size of the tiles. Next, there's a message window at the bottom! How fun. It tells you when people hurt you, among other things, which brings me to the next new feature: melee combat! You can actually hurt things now! There are now two hostile mobs, rats and spiders, which move toward you when you're in their line of sight. When you kill them, you gain experience, and when you have at least 1000 experience points, you grow a level! Nice. There's also a cute health counter in the top left corner now.

Now, that's a lot of work I've done in the last 24 hours, but it's not all. I've also added one of the main features that separates Frigid Earth from the other roguelikes: the rooms with the windows and the keys in them. If you don't know what I mean, go back to Day 1 and read my concept draft again.

Let's pick up that key, shall we?

Uh oh. All the windows shattered and snow is following you out of the room! Aaah! It's very terrifying. Every other turn that you are standing on snow, you lose 1HP. When you're not standing on snow, you gain at least 1HP every eight turns.

Anyway, I think I've made some good progress with my game. Most of the core is done, I think. The game only has one floor and there's no real item system to speak of, so perhaps those'll be my goals for Day 3, after which I can work on the intro and the ending and then new mobs and items that grant abilities and guys it'll be a lot of fun. Keep you posted! Check back tomorrow around 2pm for the next post :)

Hatkirby on June 4th, 2012 at 1:49:44pm
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Hey guys! Look, I'm actually posting. I will (hopefully!) be posting a little bit more frequently now, due to situations and stuff awkward laugh. Anyway, I'd like to announce here that a little less than 24 hours ago, I started working on a 7 day roguelike! "What the heck is that?", you may ask. Well, basically, a Roguelike is a game such as NetHack (you've probably heard of that one) loosely based on the game Rogue, a game that usually doesn't have the best graphics (ASCII art is traditional!), a game that focuses on intricacy and replayability due to the fact that every game is different thanks to your local random number generator. A seven day roguelike is a roguelike that was written in exactly seven days. It's a sort of challenge, like NaNoWriMo for writers.

[caption id="attachment_3775" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Exhibit 1: A cat picture"][/caption]

Anyway, yesterday, I was sitting around, glum and bored, thinking about what exciting things I could do with my life now that my sentence of four years in high school has basically expired. I haven't really been doing that much programming lately, so I somehow came up with the idea of making a seven day roguelike! It's the perfect idea, because it'll keep me busy while also fitting into my short attention span. Look, a cat!

Anyway, after coming up with the idea of making a roguelike, I spent a couple of hours trying to think of ideas for a roguelike. Yeah, nothing was happening. My most interesting idea was this one in which a small penguin with 1HP followed you around and he could fish in rivers and get you food and if he died then you would be sad idk it kind of sucked. However, another idea struck me. Approximately two years ago, I mentioned in a poll of the week a game called "Frigid Earth," and interestingly enough, no one asked me what it was, though two people did vote for it for some reason which I cannot fathom. Frigid Earth is an idea for a roguelike that I actually came up with on December 31st, 2009, while avoiding my family members who were all trying to coerce money out of each other for some reason. I went and found my original concept draft that I wrote up two years ago, which I will reproduce for you now:

You start out in a barren, snow-covered area that seems to go on for miles, although the rushing wind blowing snow into your face does obscure your vision somewhat. Staying too long in the snow can kill you, so hurry. The sun is still out (which is why you aren't yet dead) but it is getting darker every minute. You have to hurry before the sun goes down otherwise you will die in the cold. Eventually, you come upon an abandoned tower, but the door is locked. There is a dilapitated village southeast of the tower which contains the key. You let yourself into the tower and you may (and should!) lock the door behind you to prevent the cold from following you. The tower is old and has no heating, but it provides shelter from the wind which warms you up a bit. The tower is mostly empty but for some random stuff lying around and a few mice. The clothing you find can warm you up, but make sure you choose carefully what you wear, you can wear at most 5 items and what goes on last must be taken off first. Eventually, you find a key, but upon picking it up, you hear a soft click. Suddenly, the windows in the room shatter and the cold starts coming in. Tiles adjacent to the windows will begin to freeze and once each tile is cold enough, the tiles adjacent to those tiles will begin to freeze as well. As with the outdoors, the snowy floor will decrease your warmth and may kill you, so you have to run from the advancing cold to the next floor. You may lock the door behind you to prevent the cold from following you. There are ten floors (including the ground floor) in this tower that increase in size and difficulty. Some contain holes in the floor, some contain traps. Some of the higher levels may even increase in number of rooms. The monsters will become more difficult and though you can gain experience by battling them, it is not easy to train due to the time limit. Once you reach the roof, an ending sequence is played and you win.

The main screen will have two parts. First, a 15x10 tile (32x32 tiles) game viewpoint. Second, room for three lines of messages (30 chars each) underneath that are the same width as the game viewpoint.

The outside world you start in will be barren and snowy. Broken remains of a path will direct you east and then south to a dilapitated village which contains a few broken huts generated roguelike. One will contain a key and another will contain a note mentioning a hidden tower. If you venture far enough north, a tower will suddenly appear before you (likewise, you move away, the tower will vanish). The door is locked, but can be unlocked via the key in the village.

Levels in the tower start out in an openish 20x20 room. The main staircase to the next floor will always be located in this room, but each staircase is protected by a locked door whoose key is located somewhere on the floor. There should be a few doors leading off of this main room that lead to roguelike generated small rooms and hallways which branch off even more. The floors will get more contrived and branch off a whole lot more as you get higher in the tower. Rooms can contain in-depth monsters and items. Eventually, you will find one of the rooms branch into a hallway with windows, a carpet and a key at the end. This is the key to the next floor. Upon picking up the key, a soft click will be heard and then all of the windows in the room will shatter, letting the frigid cold in. The cold will move exceedingly quickly, it will spread to all adjacent tiles every turn, so you must run.

The 7th floor will contain a room on the outside perimeter (in the corner) that is missing two walls and is covered in snow. Your first instinct may be to close the door and try to remove any cold that may have gotten through, but for players that have found ways to withstand cold, this room is particularily of interest. In the middle of the room is a pedestal with the Ring of Searching (which cannot be found anywhere else in the game) on it. When you wear this ring, any secret doors that exist will become visible when you walk by them. This is the only way to be able to use secret doors. Each floor contains a secret room containing a piece of a scroll. All 10 pieces form a story on how the Earth became so cold (it was a monster whose name will be decided later). When you reach the roof of the tower, normally, a floating rope will be present and you can climb it to enter a helicopter with rescuers in it and you will have been deemed to have "finished" (but not "won") the game. If, however, you have collected all 10 pieces of the scroll, the monster that froze the Earth will be present on the roof. If you defeat him, the world will unfreeze and you will win the game.

If you made it through that, congratulations. Basically, my idea is that you are the last remaining person on a planet that has become, for some unknown reason, too cold to sustain life anymore. You seek refuge in an old tower that you happen upon, where you find clothing and monsters. You fight your way to the top of the tower, where a helicopter will be waiting to take you away. Sound interesting? I think it does. :P For some reason, I'm enamored with the effects of cold weather.

Anyway, as I said, I have spent that last 24 hours working on this game, and I think it's actually going pretty well so far. Of course, the first day was just the core of the game: UI, movable player, random dungeon generator, field of view calculator.... Some of that stuff was actually quite complicated and I'm pretty proud of it, teh lolz. I've got some screenshots in case anyone's interested so far (click to see bigger):

[gallery include="3777,3778,3779" link="file"]

I'm actually quite excited about this little project. It's written in Java, so when it (hopefully!) gets finished, you'll all be able to play it regardless of operating system, and guess what! I fixed the issue where this game would take up all of your CPU time and cause your computer's fan to growl at you! You're welcome!

If you'd (for some god forsaken reason) like to check out the progress of my code, I'm actually using GitHub for this project, which is quite strange for me because I've never really used Git that much before. I'm used to Mercurial. Anyway, check out my Frigid Earth GitHub project. I'll keep you guys posted on the progress of my game over the next six days. I hope you guys are interested in playing my finished product! I know I sure am. :)

Hatkirby on June 3rd, 2012 at 2:21:55pm
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Electra Poetry

Lying perpendicularly in a bed one day, I surfed YouTube instead of doing an English project, and in doing so, I discovered Marina & the Diamonds's video, The Archetypes, which I am very surprised that I have not yet heard as I am a huge Marina fan. Now, listening to this very interesting track, I became inspired to write some poetry. Well, it wasn't only Marina, it was also my English teacher aunt, yesterday, telling me that April 26th was Poem In Your Pocket Day, that inspired me to write some poetry. Regardless, here are a few pieces of strange poetry that I hope you like. Don't be scared away by the first--it is definitely the strangest.

Hatkirby on April 7th, 2012 at 1:00:00am
๐Ÿ‘ 0 ๐Ÿ‘Ž

Does something look, perhaps, a little different about my website? That's right, I've redesigned my website. Considering that Four Island 3 came out September 22nd, 2011, and that Four Island 2 came out June 13th, 2008, this is an amazing turnaround for me, and I'm very excited about this new incarnation of my website.

Four Island 3 used Wordpress, a very powerful blogging platform that I have admired in the past and which did turn out to be very appropriate for my website. The thing is, ever since realizing, when Four Island 3 came out, that my website badly needed to be simplified, I've been obsessed with this very simplistic ideal. Four Island 3 did not meet that ideal. Wordpress was simply too powerful for my needs. Four Island 4, however, is much simpler and yet, it gives me more control than Four Island 3 did.

Four Island 4 uses Jekyll, a simple, blog-aware, static website generator. It's actually a very cute little concept: you write a few webpages with some template code in them, create a folder for your Markdown-formatted blog posts, and run a command that generates your static site. Whenever your site changes, you run the command again and your site is regenerated. It's not dynamic at all, which is perfect for my increasingly old webserver. It's also incredibly simple, yet cute.

Hatkirby on April 6th, 2012 at 1:00:00am
๐Ÿ‘ 0 ๐Ÿ‘Ž

Guys, it's that time of the year again: the beginning! You know what that means! Review posts! Yes, there may possibly be more than one this year! Now, one of my favorite things to do in the beginning of the year is enumerate the ten most popular quotes of the previous year. Well, guess what? Last year was awful quote-wise! What's with the slacking off, peeps? I wrote that beautiful Quotes DB for the win and no one's using it! There were only 9 quotes submitted last year with ratings higher than 1, so, well, it's a bit sad. But anyway, here we go:

  1. #472 - Samson
  2. #465 - Hurricane Irene
  4. #456 - My Baby Is Erect
  5. #454 - Fourie's Soul
  6. #443 - Is This A Thing That Happen
  7. #440 - Friday
  8. #437 - Electricity
And now, ladies and gentlemen, drum roll please. The most popular quotes of 2011, with a terrifying FIVE upvotes:
  1. #452 - Let's Get A Room
Yeah, last year was pretty awful. :P No, but really, I just think the Quotes DB is dying out for some strange reason. I'm the only one submitting quotes to it, and no one's voting on quotes. There was some really funny quotes posted towards the end of last year, and, well, they were never voted on. At least Hurricane Irene got in there. That's a funny one. And "Is this a thing that happen" is practically memetic---that needed to get in. :) Anyway, here's to a better 2012. Come on people, quote and vote! Help me fulfill my annual goal!

Oh, and if you were wondering about the highest voted quote overall, which I usually do talk about in this post, don't worry---it hasn't changed since last year. It's still #232 - Blank. God, we suck. :D

Hatkirby on January 2nd, 2012 at 12:00:33pm
๐Ÿ‘ 0 ๐Ÿ‘Ž

My 2012 Goals

Wait for it... wait for it... HAPPY NEW YEAR YAYS! It's me, your regularly scheduled failspaz, ready to usher in the new year with some fantabulous posts of failure! Let's get ready to fail! Now, last year was a horrible pit of despair that I don't care to dwell on or even really remember at all, so I'm just going to stare at my new fractal calendar until I pass out and think it's 2010 again. What is the likelihood of me actually backing up my server today? I don't even think I did it in December... in fact, where the heck am I right now? Anyway, you knew it was coming folks: it's time for the annual goals post! Hey! You in the back! Stop crying!

Now, okay. Let's get one thing straight. In 2010, I let my annual goals consume me until I actually wasn't human anymore and was actually a puppet controlled by Four Island's cronjob. In 2011, I said "screw this, they're guidelines, not rules" and I decided things would be more lax. How did that work out for me? Not very well, I don't think.

  • Write four posts a monthย - Noooo. This was designed to replace the horrid "write a post every week" goal that was torturing me and instead allow me to have some more flexibility in posting. Uh-uh. There were months in 2011 when I didn't even post once, let alone four times. The only month in which I posted over four times was January. Some months were so close, screw you September and October! But yeah, this was a pretty big failure.
  • Average around 1 comment per postย - I posted... 17 times last year. This is painful. How many comments were there? 23! There were 23 comments posted last year! Okay, 19 if you don't count comments by me, but still! I actually completed this goal! I had no idea! This is fantastic!
  • Reach 15,000 posts on The Fourmย - Uh, no. I don't even have to check. I mean, I will anyway. The number of posts on The Fourm is up to 12,467. Just... around... how many... there were... last year... This is atrocious. I am very dismayed. Time to nuke The Fourm.
  • Release 1 season of Pillowcaseย - No, oh god, I'm so sorry. I didn't, I couldn't. I worked so hard, but I couldn't complete it. This did not happen. I apologize so profusely. Hey, is my annual apology post fun yet? Someone? Please laugh with me!
  • Release 2 programming projectsย - I was actually closer on this one than I thought I would be. I did not release two programming projects, but I did release one: the new Quotes DB. So, yes, failure, but not complete failure! Always look on the bright side of things, even when there is none and you realize you just ran out of painkillers.

So, another what I call "year of failure." For the third year in a row, I have succeeded in completing exactly one of my annual goals. Well, at least I'm consistent. Let's see what kind of trainwreck I'm setting myself up for this year:

  • Write at least four posts a month! Yes, I'm doing this again, because I really think that if I stop lazing around and start drinking more caffeine, this could be a good thing! Four Island needs to be written on! Write about Apple, write about cats, write about interior decorating for all I care! Actually, don't, because that'd be kind of awful, but still. I need to write!
  • Guess what, for the fourth year in a row: comment! I want to average at least one (1) comment per post this year. I mean, I've finally achieved this goal through the sheer strength of not posting at all, so imagine if I can complete this goal AND the above goal! How amazing would that be?
  • Get 100 quotes into the Quotes DB! In both 2009 and 2010, the number of quotes submitted was over 100, so why can't we do that again? I mean, 40 quotes last year? That's just sad. Let's be hilarious, and let's let other people know about it! I want to revitalize the Quotes DB!
  • Release 1 season of Pillowcase! I'm serious, I have to do this! I've been working on Season 4 of Pillowcase for quite a while now, and I'm sure it's going to be amazing once I finally finish it and release it. Just you wait, all you swalligaggers! That was totally a True Falsities reference!
  • Do some more freaking programming! Yes, I'd like to try again at releasing 2 programming projects this year. I have some ideas, some things could happen, and well, I need to drink more caffeine. I need to stop failing. I can totally be awesome this year, and this post isn't becoming awkward for anyone at all. Stop yelling at me!
So, here's the list of things I hope to do this year. Do you believe I can succeed? If you do, raise your hands and sing a Marina & the Diamonds song! It's 2012, baby, and things are going to be awesome! None of us are going to die, either! So, with the risk of jinxing my future: this year's going to be great! Let's get back on our feet and do stuff! Do you like my pep talks? I sure hope you do, nameless stranger, because they will continue to get weirder. Have a great year!

Hatkirby on January 1st, 2012 at 12:38:40pm
๐Ÿ‘ 0 ๐Ÿ‘Ž

Guys! It's me again! I know I haven't been posting too frequently lately---for that, I apologize. I'd cite reasons, but they're the sort of reasons that would require me to kill you if you learned of them. It's okay, just chill. Anyway, you know what time it is? That's right: it's time once again for my annual random predictions! I liked them so much in 2008 and 2010ย (and besides, 2009's 2010 In Song was a disaster of sad proportions), so, you know, they've now become law. Bring on the predictions!

Actually, before we bring on the predictions, let's first take a short look at last year's predictions and see if any of them actually took place. You wouldn't expect it, but it actually looks like a few of them did, depending of how much of each prediction you take seriously. This year, my router did break (though it did not explode and Four Island certainly didn't have a popularity spike) and I did end up replacing it with my Time Capsule, though that didn't actually happen until April 24th. iOS 4.3 did in fact come out (kind of a no-brainer, really), but it didn't sport the fantastic features I hoped it would and it actually came out a month and a day later than I said it would. This one's pretty freaky: I predicted that the iPad 2 (which did not end up being named after a feminine hygiene product) would be announced on the day after it actually ended up being announced. So close! :P I also had IANA run out of IP address blocks a little later than they actually did: the event (and associated awesome ceremony) in fact occurred on February 3rd. Next, we skip forward a few months and we see that I in fact did get a MacBook Pro, just on the day after I predicted. So close, yet again! There was no kerosene on my server, though. Phew. July 29th in all probability did occur exactly how I predicted it. The best prediction, though, was the prediction for September 22nd, because that did in fact happen. I mean, not all of it. I never went to jail. No. That is not a thing that happen.

Okay, so, are you sick of me talking about the past yet? Good, because it's time for some random predictions! Let's get this train-wreck started!

January 2nd Microsoft announces that the name for the operating system codenamed "Windows 8" will be "Windows Flash." A new beta is released later that day that contains almost no similarities with the previous betas, does away with the Metro interface and actually replaces the entire Windows interface with a maximized Internet Explorer 6 window containing a Flash object. After the initial shock wears off, a police investigation is conducted and it is found that Steve Ballmer accidentally shot himself in the head during a meeting with Adobe CEOย Shantanu Narayen. Yes. That's exactly how it happened. In unrelated news, MSFT stock goes up 38% by the closing bell.

January 32nd Someone realizes with horror that we accidentally put the leap day in the wrong month.

February 18th Pillowcase Season 4 is finally released. The first comic consists of several thousand panels of Pillowcase telling Pepper off for buying a PC powered by Solaris. Smiley cheers. In unrelated news, optical media also spontaneously becomes relevant again.

February 27th Marina & the Diamonds' sophomore album, Electra Heart,ย is finally released to Starla's delight, as she was terrified that it would not come out in February and she would instead have to buy something Scottish. She is not heard from for the rest of the day.

February 28th Several Tumblr servers explode from the massive traffic of Marina & the Diamonds fans screaming about the new album.

March 13th RFC 6452 (HyperAd Transfer Protocol) is published as version 2.0 of HTTP. Proponents of the new standard praise it as "the perfect way to monetize what was previously a godless, communist platform by making advertising an integral part of the experience." It contains new request fields such as "UserDemographic" (possible values: male, female, teenager, robot, hittite, jesus christ, yeti...), "UserPervertedness" (more perverted users are more likely to receive porn instead of the requested webpage) and "LastPageVisitedOnAmazon." This information, which browsers will be required to procure from users before allowing them to browse as the specification requires web servers to deny requests from browsers not using the fields, will allow webmasters to include more appropriate (or less appropriate, you naughty) advertisements on their websites.

March 23th RFC 6453 is quickly published as HTTP v2.1 after critics of HATP claim that it is unconstitutional and likely to start syrup-flinging riots. The new standard, which is only required in the Wonderful Land Of America, adds a new request field: "DoNotAdvertiseRegistryCertificate." Users who do not wish to receive HATP-automated advertising or are tired of receiving porn at inopportune times can sign up for the Do Not Advertise Registry and receive an SSL certificate for the modest price of $200. Critics are okay with this.

April 15th After a debilitating manufacturing error is finally resolved (a factory in Kentucky exploded), the iPad 3 is finally released. It is almost identical to the iPad 2, except for the fact that it is red.

April 16th The iPad 3 tops the sales record set by the iPhone 4S.

May 2nd The Australian hook turn is introduced in New York City. Pretty much everyone immediately dies.

May 17th Four Island Layout v7 is released. It includes several never-before-seen features such as "Free Aneurisms!", "Absolutely No Content!" and "Slightly Worse CSS Jitter!" Starla responds to the immense (read: -5 people) negative reaction by hastily implementing another theme switcher. The layouts are mislabeled. No one notices.

June 7th The second comic from Pillowcase Season 4 is released. It consists of half a panel of Pillowcase eating a rabid dog.

June 17th Starla fails to receive birthday gifts from any of her New York friends because most of them are dead, and the ones who are not suddenly realized that they never existed in the first place. Starla writes a scathing article on Four Island about how pilgrimage is dying out and how we all need to adopt flopsybunnies in order to keep the Four Island economy alive. She then eats a bucket of ice cream with a shovel.

July 38th Someone realizes that we accidentally added a leap week to July for some god forsaken reason.

August 9th Drifty submits a quote to the Four Island Quotes DB. Tumblr immediately afterward announces a record uptime of one full day and a long-awaited full recovery from the Marina & the Diamonds debacle in February.

August 25th Rebecca Black takes over a small island off the coast of Greenland known as "Continental North America" and in her Almighty Fridayness, enforces Opposite Day. New Yorkers start making left turns from the right lane only, and for a few short minutes, the world makes perfect sense.

September 14th Microsoft releases Windows Flash. A shipping error results in the two or three people who preordered the software actually getting strippers in the mail rather than the bloody operating system. When interviewed, users admitted they were, in the end, happier to have the strippers than they would be with Windows Flash.

September 22nd Starla does not release Four Island 4. No. Why the heck would she do that. Are you insane? Do you need some help? Come on, let's go up these stairs now. One... two... three... four...

October 13th The iPhone 5 is released, after another production delay (someone snuck into the main factory and ate all the Twinkies). It contains a 74-day battery life due to its revolutionary new usage of Hammerspace. Because of the longer battery life, Apple also added 4G LTE support to the iPhone 5 which, if enabled, reduces the phone's battery life back down to 24 hours.

November 6th Lawrence E. Page somehow wins the popularย vote despite not actually announcing his candidacy for the presidency. Enlivened by his surprise win, however, he makes many speeches and vows to rid the world of Yahoo!'s tyranny. He also vows to revoke the March 23rd revision to the HyperAd Transfer Protocol, because Google, and therefore the world, runs on ads.

November 26th An unofficial prequel to Twilight, "Freaking Daylight" is released, causing a major uproar amongst Stephanie Meyer fans because Edward's name is misspelled in different, creative ways on every page. Drifty, meanwhile, goes into hiding. Total coincidence. I mean, those two things have almost nothing to do with each other. Almost. Well...

November 30th Apathetic Ink's first appย is finally released on the App Store. Within 30 seconds, it does so fantastically that the Apathetic Ink staff all get inflated egos, and the head programmer goes back in time and writes this post.

December 9th A Four Island Holiday Layout is released (read: forced upon users by the removal of the theme switcher) which covers Four Island in scarves. The font has been replaced with a scarf, and most links require you to go to Amazon and purchase a scarf before you can click them.

December 21st The world fails to come to an end, and Starla laughs a lot. She ends up going to the hospital with a broken laugh box.

Wow, that ended up being a lot better than I had hoped. Probably my best predictions yet, if I do say so myself! And I do say so myself! Woo-hoo! Can't wait to see how many of these don't come true, and, well, it'll be amusing to see how many of them do, coincidentally, end up coming true! I mean, December 21st, come on guys. The Mayans thought people were made out of corn. Whatever... Well, here's to the end of a year that didn't really go so well for me, and I'll see you tomorrow for the freaking annual goals post! Starla out!

Hatkirby on December 31st, 2011 at 12:00:50pm
๐Ÿ‘ 0 ๐Ÿ‘Ž

Guess what, peeps? It's finally happened! I said peeps! No, but seriously, the iOS 5 untethered jailbreak is finally out! We've been waiting for this for months! For those not in the know, this means you can finally restart your phone and it'll actually, well, turn on again! This is better than the semi-tether I covered a few months ago, because the untether is a full, every boot jailbreak: Safari still works, Mail still works, and all of your jailbreak applications still work. Excited? You betcha. Let's start.

WARNING: This does NOT work for A5 devices. So, if you have an iPhone 4S or an iPad 2, you're out of luck at the moment.

Okay, first of all, you have to be running iOS 5.0.1 to get this jailbreak. In the past, it looked like it might take longer for an iOS 5.0.1 untethered jailbreak to come out, so I recommended people stay on iOS 5. Turns out that things have changed and you actually need to upgrade now. Quick, before iOS 5.0.2/5.1 comes out and ruins things! Quick, go to Settings > Software Update and click Install! You should see something beautiful like the picture to the right. Aww, how adorable. However, if you're me, you may receive an error message telling you that you misspelled "receive" too many times (or more likely, that the upgrade failed). If this happens, simply upgrade using iTunes: plug your iPhone in, click on your device in the sidebar, and click Update. Simple as that. Horray.

Now, if you've gotten this far, you'll have an iDevice running iOS 5.0.1. That's great. Here's when things split. If your iDevice is unjailbroken, because you just upgraded from iOS 5, follow these instructions. If you're currently running a tethered jailbreak on iOS 5.0.1, skip to the next paragraph. Now, head over to the iPhone Dev Team's blogย and pick up a copy of redsn0w. There's a Mac version and a Windows version---please ensure that you download the correct one. Things are pretty simple now: simply launch redsn0w, click Jailbreak, and follow the instructions to put your device in DFU mode. It'll handle things from that point on. It's magic! And suddenly, your iDevice is jailbroken. Let's all hug, eh?

Now, if you were already running a tethered jailbreak on iOS 5.0.1 when you started reading this post, you have something slightly different to do. Open Cydia on your tethered device, and search for a package called "Corona." Without the period, of course. English. What an odd language---getting away from the point! Now, install the package. It should be called "Corona 5.0.1 Untether." It's that simple. Horray, we're all jailbroken!

So, now that the untethered jailbreak is out, what does this mean? Well, it means that I can stop getting stuck at testing centers because I was forced to turn off my phone before entering and then subsequently ended up not being able to phone for a ride afterwords! It also means I can listen to music after accidental contact with lightning without bashing my face in and rescrobbling every song afterward! It's all good for the environment, you know. I hope everyone enjoys this fabulous untether, courtesy of @pod2g, and, well, hopefully you A5 folks get something soon, eh?

Hatkirby on December 27th, 2011 at 8:43:36am
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I read an interesting article, today, by Shawn Blanc, regarding the condition of a 17-month old, well-used, iPhone 4. Yes, that would happen to be the title of the article. My interest was piqued because, for the most part, I've had a similar experience with my (only 14-month old) iPhone: the glass looks perfect, no scratches or anything, and the months and months of fingerprint buildup can be easily removed with a wet microfiber cloth (make sure you turn the phone off first, dear god). Not only that, but I have in fact dropped my iPhone a few times: I dropped it at least twice onto tile flooring in the bathroom, and once, in the early morning after just waking up, I dropped it down the stairs, and it bounced. It would've been hilarious if I wasn't so terrified, but when I got to the bottom of the stairs and picked the phone up, not a scratch. The only sign that a drop had even occurred was the fact that the mute switch was flipped for some reason.

So, all in all, I've had a good experience with my aging iPhone, right? Well, actually, there is one thing that I have had a problem with regarding my iPhone: the camera. Like Shawn, I have vehemently refused to put any sort of case on my phone---not even the free bumper Apple gave me---because I have a passionate belief that Apple products are too beautiful to ruin with an ugly case. I've seen it happen too many times. Seriously, friends and family who use Apple products with cases on them, you know I'm talking to you. :P Anyway, my phone never has a case on it, and I often set it down on a table or something when I'm not using it. Normal usage of a phone, right? Well, it turns out that however normally I was using the phone, I must've been a little too careless at some point because before I knew it, my camera was useless.

<!--more-->I first noticed my iPhone's camera was getting a bit blurry sometime early July. I mean, it definitely worked fine in June---I'm telling you, it worked fine in June. When I was at camp, I took a few photos and looking over them later, I noticed that they looked a bit grainy and washed out, but I assumed it was just the lighting or something. I'm a sucky photographer, so sue me. Well, it kind of turned out that it wasn't the lighting, as the quality of my camera degraded more and more, and more and more memorial photographs were ruined. It was very upsetting to me because I have a form of visual processing disorder that makes it difficult to remember what things look like and to make up for this, I often try to take pictures of things I want to remember. Okay, sure, I'm relying on a camera phone to retain visual memories, but seriously, there's little better you can do than a camera phone without looking weird/creepy. Honestly, though, look at how bad the camera quality was by September:

[gallery link="file" columns="2" include="3715,3716" size="medium"]

There's a very clear difference between those two photos, no? Anyway, I eventually noticed that the lens on the camera was extremely scratched up. It was quite shocking. The photo at the top of this article is of that camera lens, though the damage is probably not discernable in the image. Needless to say, I was upset and I became determined to fix this problem. And you know how I did it? I bought a replacement back plate for my iPhone. Did you know you could just replace that thing? It's pretty awesome. The camera lens is part of the phone's back plate, and so if you replace the back plate with a new one, you get a new camera lens too. So, I ordered a new black back plate for my phone, and I was very excited to get it, but when I did, I found that I was a little disappointed in the quality of the camera. It really wasn't much better, and, looking at the camera lens, I found that the new back plate also had scratches on it! This was very dismaying. However, I did not give up, and decided to buy another back plate, this one a bit different and a bit more interesting. That's right, I bought a red back plate for my phone, because the color red [REDACTED]. Guess what: it arrived, I swapped it onto my phone, it works and it's awesome. Just look at its awesomeness:

[caption id="attachment3723" align="aligncenter" width="234" caption="I apologize for how awful this photo is. I actually had to take it using a bathroom mirror, lacking any other useful camera."]<a href="http://www.fourisland.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/IMG0368.jpg">[/caption]

Anyway, to wrap things up, yes, Shawn, I agree that the iPhone 4 is a very durable device that certainly has the ability to withstand the test of time. However, a product is only as strong as its weakest point and the camera, especially for me, is detracting from the phone's overall long-term usability. I've been very paranoid recently regarding my phone because I don't want to damage the camera. Based on the fact that my iPhone usage is basically split into three categories (listening to music, retaining visual memories, and everything else), shouldn't it matter that the camera could die on me without warning again? The iPhone 4S is supposed to have a much better camera than the iPhone 4. Too bad I'm locked into an AT&T contract. :P

Hatkirby on October 25th, 2011 at 7:42:31pm
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