When Quality control screening a must

One of many reasons that before any product release regardless it is an app or an ad or a website, it must be screened through by a QC/QA (that’s Quality Control / Quality Assurance for the uninitiated) team. It may look trivial for small projects  but  making it a practice to run through a QC/QA will save heaps in the near future. You do not need to gather a bunch of experts to be in a QC team. Just grab an ordinary Joe or your colleague sitting next/behind you and ask for their thoughts. Their inputs are invaluable I must say.

Management sometimes thinks it’s an extra cost in the production budget but it won’t hurt if you invest a teeny weeny of time into it. Simple problems can be easily fixed  in a jiffy but horrible ones can bring down the image and reputation of an organisation. Or being made fun of.

A good example is this Target ad in facebook. At this point of blogging, they have yet to fix it. Can you spot the little hiccup?

No? Yes? The main male in the ad has three arms.

 

 

It’s 5 years already?

Well what can I say, I’m moving on to a new organisation. Today marks 5 years (ok ok ok, 4 years and 11 months) of giving away my blood and sweat into this e-learning education provider. If you peeps are reading this, you know it’s true.

It has been a great journey in retrospect; picking or taking over photography and other technical skills, diving into the world of education and e-learning. It was mind blowing and also challenging at times. The most satisfying thing was photography and I do not regret gaining so much insight of capturing these visual elements for an e-learning content. Lenses and gadgets that I could not imagine I have access to and the opportunities to go offsite photoshoot or in a green screen studio; it was very rewarding for personal development.

What about the education/e-learning? Totally engrossing. It was (and still is) a totally new world. I admit I was struggling to grasp the concept of producing multimedia content in the context of a learner, be it a young schooler or a senior individual. At the end of the day the process of producing a complete, universal and engaging learning material still eludes me. In short, an ongoing experience helps and I’m still learning as I’m counting my fifth summer.

So, where do I go from here? By next week, I’m jumping out of my comfort zone and deep into the aggressive world of digital agencies, fighting for customers’ satisfaction and meeting impossible timeframes. Ok, maybe I exaggerate a bit too much but the point is, I’ve not experienced any digital agency work life and like the saying goes, “there is always a first time”.

I’m an advocate of documentation and knowledgebase. To be honest, when I’m leaving this current organisation it is like I’m taking away the entire server with me and render partial of the organisation paralysed.  I have too many fingers in too many pies, metaphorically speaking. Of course I have ill intention of burning any bridges. I won’t lift my middle finger and walk out the door along with the knowledge. Having said that, for years I’ve been preparing for my organisation should this day would come. Documentations, documentations and more documentations. So much stuff, so little time.

Aaaannnyways, the final day is at hand. There’s a farewell party/lunch today with everyone. Plenty of opportunity to say my goodbyes and am looking forward to my new challenge.

Wish me luck!

Cracking my back again

What a way to start the first day of work (officially office starts today but I’ve been working since last week) in 2012! I hurt my back last weekend when I was (again) lifting and stuffing my brand new bicycle into the car. The pain initially was not present until yesterday morning.It was so intense till I can’t move much of my waist when I’m asleep and I can’t even stand up straight. Literally I swore after each step I made.

My god, I feel like I’m 70 years old now with a crooked back. Going to see a physiotherapy this arvo. Hope he’ll somehow ease up the muscle cramps/tensions so I can drive safely home and get myself a good night’s sleep.

 

 

Shuffling in my office space during Christmas break

I usually opted to work during my office’s official Christmas break (a.k.a close down period) in between late December and early January.

Some of many reasons to do so:

  • I can save up my annual leave for something else better since going out for holidays during these crazy peak seasons ain’t worth it.
  • I can concentrate on my work without a hint of disturbance/ distraction from my fellow colleagues. Well if I’m really that good, I wouldn’t be blogging right now -___-“
  • I own the office for a short time!
  • I can blast my music loud and whenever I want.
  • I can practically stripped naked and do silly walks in the office without anyone seeing me.

Okay, the last reason is just a figure of speech. Not that I actually did it.

Enough time wasted to think what to write next. Back to work.

 

Timelapse in a residential kitchen

Another experiment on the timelapse and the photoshoot was done at my colleague’s kitchen. This time, it’s rendered under 24 frames per second hence the motion is smoother.

Post production for the photos are edited in Adobe Photoshop CS4 under video mode. I didn’t have Adobe Premiere but the Photoshop CS4 seems to support timelapse and able to perform simple video editing. Final product is rendered with VirtualDub with Xvid compression. Motion blur is added post production. I have yet to full grasp the concepts to perform the perfect motion blur. Let’s hope I can make it happen on the next timelapse photoshoot

Office 360 degrees panoramic view

Another experiment for the day.  And today’s experiment is  a 360 degrees panoramic view of my office with my mobile phone. I was thinking to use this idea as a template material for my organisation’s upcoming content development. Or perhaps a virtual tour video.

  1. I used my Samsung Galaxy S2 camera and took a 360 degrees of snapshots of my office.
  2. Stitch them together with Photoshop using Photomerge automation.
  3. Created a Quicktime VR video with Pano2QTVR
The video below requires Quicktime player plugin and it’s about 5MB so be patient.

 

 

A Sleepy Friday

Taking stock photos is part of my job and sometimes it is fun. This time it’s an offsite photoshoot in a kitchen, courtesy of a colleague of mine. While my team is preparing themselves with the recipes and procedures, I took some shots of Raz, my colleague’s quiet pet dog, which is obviously patiently waiting for free treats from our leftovers. And yes, she got her munchies alright.

Work and Personal development

As I’m being employed to an organisation for a long period of time, there is always room for personal/work development. Over time, new things appear and you’ll start in pursuit for such new technology and skills. Something to improve one’s skillset or work knowledge so that oneself can improve one’s contributions to an organisation. Having said that, such scenario usually happens in a very optimistic world or an organisation that loves to spend mindlessly. In truth, it’s hard work and a lot of convincing and coercing to do. Well, unless you are a seasoned ‘shoe polisher’, you have to wait. A very long wait. Acquiring resources (regardless it’s training or equipment) to commit my work more efficiently is a taxing effort. Asking approvals from a procrastinating management is like squeezing water out of a rock. A fruitful outcome usually took me more than a year to realise.

Learning from those bitter experiences, I’ve grown up. I’ve learned to uphold the good old saying, “If you want to do it, do it yourself” and have decided to invest my time, my finance and my own effort to get things done (of course I have to watch out my budget and monetary constraints unless trading dirt and old clothes are expensive commodity out there now). I’ll pay and I’ve paid my own training and equipment. That’s that!

So how does it feel? Satisfied, yes. A dent in my pocket, definitely a yes but it was worth it. Knowledge is priceless and they can’t take it away from you, unlike a company mobile phone; it’s not like I’m entitled to one anyways. ; )

Miscommunication or epic fail?


(Source)

One of many frustrations we IT professionals have to face is miscommunication or misinformation. The outcome has a ripple effect; small insignificant misiplaced information will tend to produce a big crack in the project. It gets worse if the crack starts from the begining of the project life cycle. And yours truly have the honour to experience such eventful moments once too often. There’s this scenario with a recent project I was dealing with may not sound like a huge project that cost a lot of money but nevertheless, time was wasted.

It goes like this. According to the manager after a meeting with the sales team, they wanted a button (manager’s favourite term for anything that is clickable which sends you off to somewhere) that is attached to marketing emails which allow potential clients to download it onto the desktop like an application icon. Double clicking it will then trigger a web browser and navigate itself to a specific CMS website. The manager stated specifically, the button must have the company’s logo in it. In an IT nutshell, it’s a URL shortcut with a customised icon.

Sounds pretty simple enough huh, except a few critical areas he’s not aware of. As email technology advances, a lot of unfavourable things catch up as well. Virus, trojans, spam, you name it are used to attack users via emails. Attaching a URL shortcut is one of them. Antivirus/Spyware/Malware/Spam filters are very edgy and alert on these attachments and very likely they will be filtered as spam or blocked. Next bright idea (and also unfavourable) is attaching an executable file. That will definitely sound the alarm louder. Another problem is different OSes the clients are using. In the manager’s ideal world, M$ Windows is assumed the OS clients engaged with (loved it when a debate ensures with a ‘What’s the percentage of insert-operating-system-here that our clients are using?). Okay, let’s ‘assume’ every client is a Windows freak, what’s a quick workaround solution? Zipped it up, he said and pray the anti-virus will not find it.

Personally, I do not agree to such attachments (regardless a zipped or non-zipped executables/URL shortcut) but then again, I’m just a small voice in the organisation that only listens to themselves. A better solution was suggested: Tell the clients to bookmark the URL site, for goodness sake. It’s not rocket science to teach but it’s possible. It’s better than opening an email, download the attachment, unzip the executable file/URL shortcut onto the desktop and doubleclick the file. Simple keyboard shortcuts vs dozen steps instructions. Geez.

Having discover that I was totally against the idea of such attachments, the idea was apparently put off and quietly delegated to another person without my knowledge. Note: This incident happened within the period of two weeks. The graphic designer was assigned to this (I don’t know why) and the bitter cycle of trying out customised icons with an executable file via emails happens again. I caught the wind of it when the dude was trying to test it out by sending the attachment to my email via a zipped file!

During one lunch hour, a sales team personnel joined us and from the casual chitchat, we popped the question of the little project the manager brought up. That 2 minutes conversation cleared up a lot of things and it was a totally ‘OMFGWTF’ moment. What the sales team wanted is not an application/URL shortcut/executable file with a customised icon to be downloaded from emails onto the desktop. What the sales team really wanted is a GIF or JPEG of a web banner with a company logo in it so they can send these images to partner clients to use, say embedding the banner as a weblink in their website.

I’m not pinning blame to anyone (though subtlely I do lean against the management), but the point of this scenario is we could have save the time and effort if the needs of the person who requested it, is properly verified and confirmed. Man, epic fail.

Owning iPhone 4 brings in business!

Update: Now, most of them have ported from the iPhone 3Gs to the brand new  spanking iPhone 4, it is time to show off to those who are underprivileged.

I am “pleased” that iPhone4 has arrived for the “devoted” and “deserving” staff members in the office. With it, we shall have plenty of business/sales coming in and make tons of money. Behold, the powerful aura of Apple products!

Sigh…