Triumph GT6 MKIII Dash

Triumph GT6 MKIII Dash

Saturday, 11 April 2015

The Gray Ratsnake Project

And we are LIVE! Welcome everybody to the Gray Ratsnake Project. Thank you for your understanding and patience in my delayed release of this website.

The Gray Ratsnake Project

Your support, feedback and ability to act interested in what I have been babbling on about in class is greatly appreciated. Enjoy.

Friday, 10 April 2015

The Final Push

As the Gray Ratsnake Project nears completion I just figured I'd swing by and show some of the chaos behind the scenes. There is at least a couple of GB worth of information and edited photographs that have been drawn from/uploaded to the site plus an addition GB or so of raw uncropped photographs and video that have been added to the site. 

I have put in a very large number of hours into the design and layout as that seems to take a lot more time than actually typing up all of the information. (I'm willing to ballpark well over 40hours, but I have no way of telling the exact amount of time). I hope in the end the final product pleases all who visit the site and does the park and the Friends of Murphy Point justice, after all had it not been for either of them I would not have the information or the site that I have created so far; never mind the impact the two organisations have had on my life in general. 

Attached is a screenshot of the mess of monitors I have on the go at the moment and a quick video showing where it all happens. As it stands about 80% of the website has been completed, it is still yet to be published. Enjoy.
So many windows, plus a sneak peak at some of the content I suppose. Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Theatre in Canada - Sarah's project

If you are an aficionado of theatre, be it big or small then go no further. Sarah Duncan's capstone project provides you with a great look at Canadian theatre.

Sarah's site looks at some 350 theatres in Canada, the most impressive part of it, is the map that features all of the theatre locations. Along with the location of all of the theatre sites she has intentions of adding the website link, so that people can get further info, be it in terms of future performances, phone numbers and so forth. This has all been done through the use of a program called ZMaps of which uses a large spreadsheet which Sarah has created by referencing the Canadian Theatre Encyclopaedia. The map created using this information is now being displayed on the site which she has created using the website creator, Wix. She has also used a timeline which allows people to see the years theatres have been established in, also providing a brief history of the location, including whether or not the theatre is still in operation. At the moment the timeline feature is only available for the province of Nova Scotia, however Sarah did mention it may be possible for additional time lines to be added which would be an interesting feature,

Overall Sarah's site is aesthetically pleasing, using colours that contrast nicely making text easy to read and having an overall soft and warm look to the site. There are a number of images and explanations of all of the features. The site looks incredibly easy to navigate and incredibly user friendly. While there are some things I think would serve as beneficial additions to the site, those things are ones that were addressed during the presentation as "soon to come." In particular additional links to theatre sites, and historical backgrounds/the Canadian Theatre Encyclopaedia will be quite beneficial to your standard user. She also made mention of further available readings that could be posted, contact information for people to ask questions, as well as to add additional theatre locations, and even a chance of having a blog added to the site.

All in all I find this site very interesting and informative, I think the map feature on its own is spectacular, and all of the other content is an added bonus! Needless to say, I look forward to seeing the finished product.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Images of the Past Brought Back to Life

As technology advances there are several pros and cons that become quite apparent in the world of digital imaging. The most apparent pro is the fact that the more and more advance wwe get, the better the quality of the image will be and the more we can do to alter and process that image. The downside is the fact that as we advance in leaps and bounds the "stuff" of the past can get left behind.

For example some formats aren't compatible with newer programs, something that happens frequently with all sorts of files be they images, music, video, text, and so on. But what about the files that come from before the digital age? The endless number of photographs, be they ones that were taken by families at picnics or soldiers on leave, they all have a place in our history. When these images are found they cannot simply be uploaded into a program and then sent out for whatever they will be used for. Instead they have to be developed, a process that is far from simple. From there, assuming the images are even visible to start off with, they have to be scanned, uploaded and worked with to make them appear within range of their original quality.

Recently National Geographic put out a short 10 minute video on the Rescued Film Project, where Levi Bettwieser, a photographer, processes and brings back to live 31 roles of WW2 era photographs. Its an interesting watch and helps to get a better understanding on the process of turning old roles of film into modern digital images.

The Link:

Monday, 23 March 2015

The Project So far... again.

Since the last time I wrote about my project on this blog, a fair bit has changed, in a good way. I spent several hours looking over data, research, other information and so on; then I spent many more hours creating the foundation of the website – words, around twenty or so single spaced pages of descriptions, explanations and so forth. While it may sound like a lot, when broken down and separated across The Gray Ratsnake Project website it is a very manageable amount. Some of the site pages feature no more than a couple of paragraphs, while other pages feature a page or two worth of typed information.

That being said, it’s not all gloomy and wordy, or at least it won’t be when the project is finished. Over the past couple of days and the weeks to come I will be slowly transforming the website from a jumble of text into a more visually pleasing online exhibit. The most prominent feature of the exhibit will be photographs. Over the course of the summer I took well over a thousand pictures and a fraction of these photos will be placed on the website to divide up the text, provide better explanations and examples, as well as just give people something to look at.

Along with photographs, there will be some short video clips as well as a handful of maps that will help in creating “big picture scenarios” such as helping see the overall movements of radio telemetry subjects. While there will be lots of imagery of the surface, there is still a lot of valuable information beneath, for this is not an “all sizzle and no steak” type of project. Vast data bases have been referenced to help better describe the snake’s population and the movement of the snakes over the course of the summer. I have also turned to some moments of personal experiences, having been the Gray Ratsnake Technician to compliment the information I talk about on the site.

While there is still a lot to do, and a lot of polishing to come after that, I am reaching the end. I am in contact with the park biologist at Murphys Point every now and then to get additional information and images, which has been more than helpful. A general suggestion to anyone creating a website; its helpful to be closer to your main source of information than I currently am. A five hour travel gap means most of your information needs to be collected remotely, which can prove difficult at times.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Social Media and Work

As social media branches into our lives more and more it becomes a part of different aspects of our lives that we never envisioned it in. As I plug away at my website, I can't help but remember the role it played in my job this summer, and the problems it also creates.

Social media has been renowned for creating problems in the work place, mostly as a)a time waster/distractor but also as b) a censorship issue. The first issue is quite obvious, even if you are doing something such as updating a twitter account directly related to your work, it looks highly unprofessional to be on your phone while in the workplace, especially on a social media site. In terms of censorship I am referring to the fact that once you say something or share a video, even if it is meant for a personal audience, everyone, including the people you work with see it. Therefor the moment you share something that is in bad taste you are being evaluated by current, old or future employers. The question is, is this right? Should employers be looking at stuff you post? Or better yet, should you be posting stuff that you know your employer will see. It is something that makes me cringe every time I see something controversial come across a facebook feed. In turn this bring on the question of; is being on social media to such a large extent starting to censor people who are concerned about being called out by a supervisor? Who know, maybe I shouldn't be as bothered by it as I am, but I think that in a world where everything is so readily available to the public it is difficult to remain professional at all times.

While social media plays into employment in the above way, it also can be beneficial. For example, a facebook and twitter account set up for the park I worked at helped to keep people up to date on what was going on. I used my phone to regularly update a twitter feed about the research I was doing. Click here to see the twitter feed. Its a great tool for attracting people who may never had heard of the project outside of the park. But at the same time, using a phone regularly at work, even if it was for work tasks did, in my opinion, look unprofessional. There is also the issue with the likes of accessibility. Lets just say the Canadian Shield does not provide the best cellphone service, which can make regular updates difficult from time to time.

This less than impressed looking Barred Owl was quickly shared to social media 
What do you think, is the interaction between social media and the workplace a good thing. or a bad thing?

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Google Earth

Google maps has become the standard way of most families to plan out their route, be it searching for a remote hotel, a store you in a busy district or finding that one relative's house that is so far off the beaten track that you wonder what you are doing going to visit them in the first place. Of course, is this is all you desire to get out of a map then google maps is a great place for you to start. However, if you need to get more out of a digital map, and don't want to go out and purchase expensive mapping software, then look no further than Google Earth and Google Earth Pro (which is now free, so might as well grab it instead of plain old Google Earth.)

Google Earth enables you to complete a range of things, outside of exploring a large digital map of the world that is. It comes with your standard satellite imagery, and scope of different layers (roads, places, etc.) but it also allows for you to create your own markers, pins, insert your own imagery and so forth. Any pin you create can be titled in the manner of your choosing and the icon can be altered to be more suiting to the location. Creating one of these pins is as easy as clicking a button (there is literally a button with a pin on it), and then selecting the point on the map where you want to place it. Don't like its positioning? Each marker has a "preference" option where you can change its location by entering precise gps positions (although as a warning, there are times where the LANDSAT imagery is misaligned, so your pin can be slightly out of place). Images, descriptions, and web addresses can also be linked to points, if additional information is required. All of this can then be saved either as an image, or a .kml file which then can be easily shared with other people who may want access to what you have created.

If you wish to use Google Earth even more you can create polygons,(seen in red in the image above) to highlight desire regions, and you can even overlay maps onto the satellite imagery (you can alter these maps a bit, but by no means will it match Google Earth imagery perfectly, due to differences in perspectives etc.). None the less, its minor flaws can easily be overlooked due to the fact that the program is free and it is incredibly user friendly, especially when compared to sophisticated GIS programs. If you want to try it out for yourself, click here, you might as well, its a fun, cool tool, and its free so you have nothing to lose.