Summer 2014

Hi All,

It’s been a while since I last posted and back then I was in bad state, things have gotten a tad bit better. So what’s new?..

Well I’ve finished and passed my 1st year at University and now I’ll be moving onto my 2nd year doing Computer Science, so that’s some positive stuff, I was proud of my results as the switch from A-Levels is quite drastic, it’s totally different! I’m now in the mind set of how I can structure my time more efficient next year.

Being a student has it’s downturns, my mind always reminds me that I’m going to be in debt when I get out of University (every University graduate is the same) although the money I was given from the government wasn’t enough and I am currently in an overdraft with my bank and due to financial problems and other stuff at home it’s hard right now.

I’m going to be posting more on CheatsWhiz, I had some downtime due to University, as it was something new, I had no idea how to time manage my work and so forth but now I do, so now I can get back into doing it again.

I appreciate the community, the laughs, the friendships that I have with you. I really appreciate it. The weather here in the UK has been fantastic, literally! – 27/28C a day, with clear blue sky, it’s been fantastic.

My grandma is better as well, she’s still having an issue catching her breathe in the heat but things are settled down. This is just a quick update to let you know that all is going well and despite the financial problems, I’m doing well and having a great summer.

I hope you are having a great summer! – Remember to have fun but to stay safe!

Until the next blog post.. have a great day!

My Life

Hi all,

WARNING: Before you continue, please note this gets very personal, so you will learn things about me that may make you sad or upset, don’t worry about me. I’ve coped all these years and will continue to do that. I’m happy.

Easter break has recently finished and the University has come back alive again with over 20,000+ students around, considering the hall campus for the past 3 weeks has been dead quiet and I’ve kind of gone insane with no noise has been crazy. It’s good to hear people again! Haha!

In terms of my work, things have got slightly better, I’ve managed to gain a fairly good pass in my Java assignment project and C assignment project, the other assignments are still to follow to see how they’re going to turn out. I’ve still got the exams to think about as well might I add.

My grandma has returned home and things are better than it was, she isn’t able to do as much as she could do before she went to hospital but things are getting back on the right track for now and I hope and cross my fingers things get back to a complete recovery.

However with that all being said, you probably don’t want me to talk about the stuff I’ve said above. You may have heard recently over the news about “Ashley Hicman”, my best friend and still is my best friend may I note. It was recently unveiled that she wasn’t who she said she was in terms of her name, picture and age. Ashley wasn’t a she, it was a he and yes although this was a big in a sense, I don’t consider Tanner any different to who I knew Ashely was, he’s an amazing guy and in fact I’ve told a lot to him more than people may think, I respect his honesty and dignity he shows. It has taken a long time to think about what has happened lately but at the end of the day, it’s happened, you learn from your mistakes and you learn new areas which too be honest, you need to learn to grow and understand what can happen to you and others in life. Tanner will always be best friends with me, I don’t want to lose that friendship we have.

It made me think about life in general, my love life, social life as you may think it’s crazy but it’s not, my social/love life is probably as not as good as you, yes you, who’s reading this. I’ve had a lot of bad things happen to me over the years and months and nothing just wants to go the right way for me. If that’s in terms of Ashley or another person ‘Jared’ who did something similar, or being bullied for all my high school career with my grades being affected physically and emotionally, iI remember the reports I had to do, to ‘tell them off’, that made things worse because I became a ‘snitch’ when all I was doing was the right thing. If I didn’t I would just be attacked more, I’m not the fighter/if I get picked on, I wouldn’t attack back. I was mainly bullied due to my personality of doing what I could do for people, male or female and they didn’t like that as I weren’t like them and also as I was a little bigger than them. There are also other things that have happened but I just don’t think I’m ready to say them yet.

I started Club Penguin wanting a community, back in 2007/2006 it wasn’t that strong as it is now, I’m proud to say that I’m one of the bloggers still writing for Club Penguin and also I’ve met many friends across the years helping people out, being more than just online friends in some cases, yes I’ve actually met people online in real life due to Club Penguin. It’s turned my life better in some ways, it’s helped me towards my BSc Computer Science degree which I’ve always dreamed of doing and one day doing what helped me to get there, joining Disney or even Club Penguin when I graduate. I’m still here today doing what I do for Club Penguin and glad because you guys make me a lot happier on some days and really do cheer me up.

Although having this, the negatives sometimes do out weigh the positives in some aspect..

I can never love someone or even get the courage to approach girls in a term of being more than a friendship, I was different in a way in high school, I treated girls with respect/honestly/dignity like I thought a normal guy in my school would do, clearly they don’t, I’m in a way not a stereotype of a guy in the school I used to me in. If you know me personally and have ever told me something that should never be shared, you know, you know.. I haven’t told anyone, I’ve never had people come up to me and say ‘YOU DID THIS!’ – and if that has occurred, I always show ‘evidence’ in a way, to show I’m a good guy, I really am a good guy. In a way I think people won’t approach me to be in a relationship due to the way I look, I’m a little bit bigger than average, I enjoy playing rugby, I’m pretty good at it. University is good and fun and although I complain sometimes about the workload, it’s actually something I want to do in life and learn, so I do love it, even if I say it annoys me, haha!

I post this as people may think my life is all ‘good’ in a way, but no one until today knew about my past the way that I’ve wrote in this post. Life is pretty much unfair for me.

What I’m trying to say is, you learn a lot in life, be as happy as you can, I’m still happy with all what’s happened to me.

‘Stay hungry, stay foolish’ – Steve Jobs

Regards to you all and a good day!

P.S: You’ll have to mind some areas if it doesn’t make sense, it’s 3:30 in the morning here when I made this post and I’ll have to check over it later. I may add more as it’s so early at the moment I might of missed/said something that needs to be changed.

Easter Sunday 2014

Hi All,

Easter Sunday has been a mixture of emotions today, earlier this morning I was called by my mom saying that my grandma was taken into hospital due to breathing difficulty and she assured me that she was fine. She’s had two injections in her stomach, blood tests and they said she couldn’t be released from hospital today, she’s had results from her blood tests and they said there could be a potential blood clot somewhere that was causing the breathing problems. She’s due for another test and a body scan shortly. So that was an interesting ‘start’ to Easter Sunday. I’m just praying to god and hoping that all things will come clear and say that she’s okay and fine to go home. Being at University has several downturns, one being that getting home fast can’t be done if something happens.

Apart from that I still have work to do in terms of projects for my course at Uni. I’m getting through it slowly…

I didn’t do much today, I had myself a Cadbury Twirl Easter Egg and I’ve just been in touch with my family throughout the day. It’s also my friend’s birthday @Joelle so Happy Birthday Joelle! – if you are reading this. She’s turned 20 today, we’re both getting old… it makes me think that Easter is a time for celebrating life, being with your family, being happy and enjoying every minute that you spend with your family and friends.

Happy Easter all. Have a fantastic day.

Life in University – Year 1

Hi All,

It’s been a while since I last posted on here and let me explain to you why. I’ve been in University since September last year, taking on a BSc in Computer Science. I’m near to the end of the first year out of three upon which I have to do. Although it’s got me thinking in different ways about life, currently this course has around 25-28 hours timetabled per week, much more than it is in general school and yes I’m aware that it’s all about growing up and life changing as such, however I have to say I personally haven’t been enjoying myself as much as I thought. I love the majority of the course I study 12 modules. In the first Semester I study 5 modules and after Christmas break, 7 modules. Although I managed to score a 2:1 in Semester 1, which is pretty good, and for the 1st year you just need to pass at 40%, this Semester has been different.

I’ve not had the time these days to have a ‘social life’ or theoretically speaking, having time to have a break to do personal things in my own time. If I’m not in lectures throughout the 9-6 days apart from the odd day, I’m working out of hours. I’m living with a flat of 8 people, which there courses are like Psychology, which compared to my timetable they have 8-11 hours per week and less coursework/assignments and so forth. They’re always like, come out, why are you doing all this work, they’re confused about why they never see me that much. Once one of my friends who was in my flat, was here for 5 days, I was as well and I never saw him in those 5 days, I occasionally heard him but never saw him, that hit me hard… what is my life turning into with this course? Although some of the modules that I’ve done are fantastically presented to us, to learn however it had to be our year that some of the modules have been changed and there has been quite a few problems of certain courses upon which has affected not only myself but also others.

My brain is like a ticking ‘worker’ bomb, literally I have so many assignments/projects upon which for some areas we’ve just been told to use ‘Google’ to help us find the answer, yes self learning but Google in a sense doesn’t give it us all, yes we’ve had lecture PowerPoint slides however 2/3 projects we’ve never touched upon in labs or if in lectures it’s been very little.

You might be asking yourself, why are you writing this? – Well mainly because I have a lot on my mind and apart from having loads of work, I have personal issues at University with my flat mates sometimes arguing and stuff however they’ve turned into a ‘love’ flat in a sense, all the flat are going out with each other apart from me. When I come home I barely see anyone due to it being like 6:30/7pm and they’re just in each other rooms as they’re going out and then there’s me, just continuing on with work.

I was always told University is a challenge, I kind of have a love/hate relationship with the course – I like programming and the assignments, I think it just gets to a point where they give us way to much to do, compared to all the other courses. It’s like this Easter 2014, I’m currently staying in the Halls of Residence doing my work with another fellow course friend, who upon which he’s staying here as well.

I don’t know how the next month and a half is going to be like, I have 5 exams, and a lot of project work to do, it’s difficult and I work and when we meet up each day in this Easter holidays and we’re stuck upon what to do, it’s hard to communicate to the lecturers or other friends in the course, as they are stuck in a similar situation.

All this has just made me into a different person, I always used to be happy/cheerful and now my family sees that things are stressful. If it’s like not getting any sleep at night due to my flat mates arguing or something going on in the flat, or with the workload making me not sleep. Who knows? – I’m generally good at coursework; I personally prefer it to exams, don’t you? – I occasionally go out on a Saturday with my friends but that barely happens anymore.

I just have no one to talk to these days, in terms of people messaging me if I’m okay, I just feel a bother all the time if I just ‘pop up’ first or just not having the time to message anyone. I thought University would make life better, in some aspects it has but the negative aspects defeat the positive aspects. I finish at the end of May and I feel like I can do this, there’s just a lot on my mind…

Roll on summer, where I can properly start continuing to blog about Club Penguin and other virtual world news, I’ll be happier then.

I’ll probably edit this to add more later / remove some stuff – but in a short sentence, I’m tired/stressed/sad and lonely…

Christmas 2013

Hi all,

How’s it been? – It’s been a while since I last posted here. It’s that time of year again, the weather has changed, the Christmas/Holiday spirit is in the air and it’s a time to be with the family. Not a lot has changed since I last posted, although in unfortunate news, my cat Smudge, passed away a few days ago. I got a new dog which, we’ve had since July called Duke.

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Christmas in my house, is a time where we all get together and spend quality time with each other, although the weather here in the UK isn’t good at the moment, with weird stormy weather. It’s great to know that everyone is okay in our family. I decorated my home with lights and a real Christmas tree:

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With that being said, I hope you and all your family have a fantastic Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

To all of you Happy Holidays!

My Childhood

When I was younger I liked racing, I used to have a lot of Formula 1 racing games and for my 6th birthday I had a racing competition with my friends and I had won a small trophy at the end for coming 1st. My dad was really into watching all the Grand Prix on television which really got me interested into it as well, for several years I would watch and take interest into the sport and I always used to love when Michael Schumacher won the Grand Prix. I also remember when I was 5 I had fell of a ledge when I was riding my bike and lost a few of my teeth!

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I was around 9 when I went abroad to Spain with my friend and my sister. She was really young and we were at a accommodation which was a bungalow and one of the biggest memories I can remember and I will never forget is when my friend put my sister the wardrobe and shut the bedroom door as we both saw a big tarantula spider moving under the bed, of course my sister wasn’t happy but she laughed at the end of it. We were also going up this mountain and we had to stop half way as there was an eruption at the top with a volcanic flow. I apparently didn’t like airplane food and slept throughout the journey there and back.

When I was 10, I had grown out of being into the Grand Prix and I turned into liking technology, I remember back in school we had a Windows 95 operating system and I was addicted playing the games and using paint, which led me on the World Wide Web, back then we had dial up, so accessing websites took a long time to load and as being a 10-year old I really didn’t go on the web much due to how long it took. Oh the days though remembering hearing the ‘Dial Up’ sound it would make when accessing the web and also when my mother and grandma used to get annoyed as they couldn’t use the home landline. I remember vagley at 7, my dad had a computer which he had AOL running, I remember hearing noises like ‘You’ve got Mail!’ or ‘Welcome to AOL’ and so forth.

However that being said I still liked Sports and had a favourite football team, Manchester United. The players Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham along with the manager Sir Alex Ferguson made the game really interesting. My dad used to go to a few matches at Old Trafford and I remember seeing the tickets he had for each match and I also remember when I went to one of the matches, it was fantastic!

When I was 12/13, I had broadband, yeah roughly 4mbps download speed of internet, which was pretty fast back in 2006 in the UK anyway. This led me to starting up using the web more which led me finding out about YouTube in the middle of 2006 and creating an personal email address later on and in 2007 I joined Club Penguin. At that time, I had a Dell computer (which I still have today), a computer that cost over £2500 back in the day, which runs on Windows XP. It still works today although as you can imagine it’s slow and getting old as it’s 7 years old! (In front of the monitor is my current laptop).

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That was basically my childhood, some great memories. I hope you enjoyed reading about my childhood!

It’s about the Community NOT Statistics

I write this today as I see a lot of people mention about not having enough followers or subscribers. Chris Pirillo (Lockergnome) has mentioned in the past that community is not about how many subscribers or followers you have, it’s about that person who takes interest into what you do.

That is the same advice I would give to you, it doesn’t matter if you have 10 followers/subscribers or 10,000 followers/subscribers, it’s about that person who is reading your content and is appreciating what you do for them. It’s about the community and the relationships you make not how many subscribers or followers you may have.

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You can make content about anything, but if the viewer can see you are just doing it for money, they can easily spot that and won’t be interested, so be yourself. You may have for example 10 followers and may feel like ‘Ugh, I should just give in, I want 10,000 followers’, it’s not going to happen overnight, having content people will appreciate, relationships and getting to have a strong community is key. I notice some people ‘buy’ followers but I think to myself what are those ‘followers’ going to do for you? NOTHING at the end of the day, they aren’t going to help you at all and it just shows a ‘number’ on your account.

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If you appreciate the work you do for people, the people you do it for will appreciate that work and also you. Hard work, dedication and having a good spirit is what’s needed. Some of this I mention is what Chris Pirillo mentions and hey, he inspires me, and this is the same advice I would give to the virtual world community out there, stick to what you do, someone out there appreciates what you do and you should carry on doing what makes you happy. Statistics may be useful sometimes, but it’s the community that gets you the statistics.

Thoughts on the Monsters University Takeover! – Disney Club Penguin

Firstly, I would like to say WOW. This is the first time I’ve ever seen a party like this at all! – There is such an energetic feeling about this party! – A previous party that would be close to this I would say would be the Superhero Takeover!

I think these partnerships are doing fantastic on Disney Club Penguin, I know we would have traditional parties like the Ultimate Jam or the Medieval Party but that doesn’t mean they will not be coming later this year. This party allows us to scare penguins with scary costumes, it also has free items for non-members and most of all it gives us the opportunity to scare penguins that are asleep. I find it really fun scaring penguins to fill up my scare-o-meter in order to get clothing items!

It’s smooth, realistic, fun and a blast each time you login. I’d have to agree with what Polo Field said on Twitter..

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I really enjoy this party and the best part is.. it’s only begun! Do you like this party? Leave a comment and let me know!

Thoughts on Virtual World Development

It’s intriguing to believe how much Virtual Worlds have developed over the past few years. If we take Club Penguin for example how in 2005, there was no such thing as Disney being involved with Club Penguin but then in August 2007 Disney bought the virtual world out. The virtual world also began to appear on the well known website MiniClip.

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You’ll now see that Disney allow Club Penguin to partner up with others, e.g. the upcoming Monsters University Scare Games and next month Star Wars! – never in my mind would I of believed that a game I joined back in 2007 ‘Club Penguin’ which was small back then, would ever have parties like Monsters University Scare Games, a film related party from Monsters University the sequel film of Monsters Inc (which was amazing in my childhood!).

The older penguins say ‘Bring back OLD CP’ in a sense though, Club Penguin hasn’t really changed before Disney bought it, yes more parties, more membership type of stuff going on but really if we did go back before to where Disney didn’t buy Club Penguin, in all honesty although I respect the founders of Club Penguin a lot, it’s highly likely that they wouldn’t be where they are today without Disney.

It’s not just the development of the in game aspect of the virtual world but also the mobile version of the virtual world has significantly increased over the past few months. They now have an ‘My Penguin’ application on the iOS store, yes they had other apps previous to that but it’s great to be able to play multiplayer game without being on a computer. This led me on to what I think will happen in 5 years or so..

Disney Club Penguin is nearly 8 years old and with the technological changes happening I believe that in a few years time, the online aspect of Disney Club Penguin will become more ‘mobile’, meaning instead of being on your laptop (or ‘home desktop computers’, if you ever heard of those) you will be using your tablets e.g. iPads. You’ll also notice how they are attracting the audience to tablet devices across the globe as it can be accessed anywhere. You can now play Card Jitsu Snow, Pufflescape, Ice Fishing, Puffle Roundup and more. You are also able to purchase clothing, earn coins and sync everything you do on your iPad to your account online.

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This led me to think of the virtual world MiniMonos, a former virtual world that had over 1 million players and was based in New Zealand. They recently closed on the 18th of May 2013 and I personally believe the aspect of the game was going quite well, I was in the first 1,000 members of that game and was there at the beginning, they had a strong few years where they reached over 1 million in capital sharing, had several reviews, advertisements in the UK, real life purchasing cards and more. However it was a shock to hear them close. This happened after they recently released an application on the iOS store called ‘MonkeyMe’, and they said that forecasting for the future wasn’t looking good and they would be losing money rather than making a profit and at the end of the day, it is a business and they need to have income to keep the virtual world running, this was also due to the decline of paid memberships and also they couldn’t fund both the iOS application and the in game virtual world. All this being said, that didn’t mean they didn’t care about there community.

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They gave out a special code to every monkey to get coins and add-ons for the iOS application they released. I know Melissa (the CEO and Founder) of MiniMonos and I know quite well that it was a lot for her to close that virtual world which she spent a lot of dedication into. They did mention on there Twitter and on Facebook that how kids are now turning to mobile applications and how the market is increasing there and in my view, they are right and a few weeks later…

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Club Penguin released the My Penguin iOS application, which wasn’t really an expected thing for us but I had a feeling it was coming due to the closure of MiniMonos. MiniMonos was right, Disney Club Penguin are now getting the audience from mobile applications and linking it up with the online virtual world.. will this something that other virtual worlds will need to look at for in the future? – I probably think so… Disney Club Penguin are doing that right now.. but will more virtual worlds follow?

Once MiniMonos closed down, the players were looking for a place to go.. Tinkatolli was the place to go!

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Tinkatolli is a virtual world which lets your creativity run wild and has the aspect of keeping you healthy by promoting you to do stuff offline, if this is from moving to building stuff. I’ve been a member on Tinkatolli since the beginning back in 2010. Tinkatolli is a virtual world which has 2 current founding members, Kevin and Luke along with Konrad who is the senior software developer. They had a grant for Tinkatolli back in 2007 from Nordic Game Fund which allowed them to start the development of Tinkatolli in 2008, Tinkatolli was with the company UOVO, which was Kevin and Luke’s company until 2010 when they made Tinkatolli an individual company. Once they were at that stage in 2010 after development they began rolling out the virtual world to random players who had signed up on the website and then by next year it was almost at Open Beta but to get it at that stage, they started a Kickstarter project in Summer 2011 where they asked for us to help them get the game to the open public. The kickstarter project received funding of $30,218. The game is well established and has thousands of players and they also have an iOS application called ‘TinkaMaker’, where you can create custom tinkas with different backgrounds and clothing. This iOS application allows you to have many hours of fun by letting your imagination run wild by creating tinkas.

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I wonder though to myself, Tinkatolli is a game where you could allow a lot of the games and the ‘Scrapbook’ to be on tablet devices. Tinkatolli a while back had a web iOS application for ‘Scrapbook’ made by Soren Larsen Pedersen and it worked well, the only downside to it is that you didn’t get any points for submitting your images. This would be great if it was returned and an official iOS application to have as this would get the ‘Scrapbook’ being more active than it currently is, as currently you would have to get the image on your computer and then upload it by logging in, which can take time. I believe that in the future, this would be important for the virtual world to have as it will allow the Tinkatolli users to submit there pictures at anytime of the day.

I believe that all virtual worlds in the future should have some aspect of ‘mobile’ gaming, as that is where the market is pushing towards. If this is from having the full virtual world on mobile devices or having something similar to what Club Penguin are doing with My Penguin, that would be great. As I said earlier, linking the online virtual world to mobile applications would be the best thing thing to do. Do you think that virtual worlds need to be moving some aspects of there game to mobile/tablet devices? – Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Check out the websites I talked about below >

Thoughts on ‘Game On’ YouTube series – Disney Club Penguin

I wrote this post to give my thoughts on the recent announcement on ‘Game On’. Recently Spike Hike had tweeted on his Twitter announcing that Disney Club Penguin was working on a new experimental YouTube show called ‘Waddle On’.

The people in this picture are Hallie, girl on the left & Ross (right). Ross also plays Austin in the Teen Beach Movie, I wonder if Teen Beach Movie has anything to do with this ‘Waddle On’ YouTube series. Hallie is the person who is a part of Disney’s Game On commercials.

It made me wonder and think how this would work and what could be involved as Spike mentioned it was ‘experimental’ but how could they draw the community to it. Showing Spike’s tweet below:

As we know with recent events, how Disney Club Penguin are conserved with communicating and talking to us on social media. However would they be reserved on the videos? – Meaning the would not be asking for our thoughts or opinions. It makes me wonder lately will they be open in a sense where they can get our opinions, would they get the community involved more than they already do right now?

I personally think they will let us, but it’s important to remember that you may have statistics of having 100,000 subscribers however it’s not about the statistics it’s about the community and what they want to see and hear. Being more interactive than they current are on social media would be important otherwise the community might lose interest as it’s not what they want to see.

I think this will be fantastic however my only concern in my view is how they will approach the idea of allowing the community to see and hear what they want to happen. Spike Hike asked us what we would like to see, but will they show this on the YouTube video series?

What are your thoughts about this? – Remember I think this is great but I have my views on how they will have the community involved with all the recent restrictions the staff have had towards us… would this affect how the series of videos is done? – to get the latest news about the YouTube ‘Waddle On’ series I suggest you visit CheatsWhiz Club Penguin & Club Penguin Memories.