Upcoming awesome Harry Potter Fan Films

on May 15th, 2012 by Matt

We all know the Harry Potter book and movies both have a very large fanbase, and seeing as most of the original audience has grown and matured now, we are able to express our true love for this epic series. Below are two fan-made films coming out soon that, just by looking at the short clips available, are going to be very detailed and interesting.

Auror’s Tale

New York City is a battlefield. Dark magic rules the underworld. The NYC Department of Magical Law Enforcement (DMLE) is the only line of defense. Hawthorne is the force’s newest recruit and the dark criminals’ latest threat. Plunging into the nightmare that his occupation offers, he makes quick enemies of the most depraved wizard gang in America: the ever violent, ever twisted Hellhounds. AUROR’S TALE chronicles Hawthorne’s tempestuous adventures.

Battle of Hogwarts

This film is following numerous wizards scattered across hogwarts during the great battle!

What if aliens DID come to Earth…

on April 27th, 2012 by Matt

Aliens are usually seen as something fictional, creatures that only show up in books and movies.

But when we really think about it, in a universe such as ours, in a reality such as ours, it’s improbable that we’re the only living beings, the only planet with living beings, in existence. I mean, come on. One planet among many, in a solar system among many, in a galaxy among many, and apparently we seem to be the only ones here?

But when you start thinking like that, you have to look back down at us, and what we might look like to an alien who has never heard of us, never known about how our societies work.

Imagine you’re an alien. Let’s say a short green one with antennae, and understand perfect non-slang English. Imagine randomly showing up on Earth in a space ship with your own crew. Firstly, you have no information about our planet other than it can sustain life and is covered by billions of living plants and animals. You have no idea if there is intelligent life until you actually show up. But when you do, what would be your first impression. Where would you look to find the intelligent race of our planet, and what would you expect in how we’d react to seeing another intelligent race?

Now lets say that against all odds, you somehow come across the United States government as your first point of contact (I’m not going to go into the whole “English isn’t our only language, and what makes the US the most important of them all” argument, I’m just speaking hypothetically in an ideal meeting among races). Would you observe the society first, see how people treat each other, how we interact?

If you did, you wouldn’t exactly see the happiest or kindest bunch of humans. Our planet is frequently populated with war among countries, horrible natural disasters and all kinds of events in between. Based on this first view, what would your first opinion of us humans be? That we’re always rational? That we don’t always treat each other fairly? How about that we resort to war if things don’t go well for us?

If I was in that kind of position as an alien, and I was legitimately looking for other intelligent races that we could communicate with, I probably wouldn’t stay long on Earth. I’d either see the humans as a threat, as something dangerous, or as a bunch of loonies that should stay on their own planet.

Now if we continue on the previous line, and after observing a little of what happens on little old Earth, say we (as the aliens) did go to the government with our “we come in peace” line. Would the officials really buy it? Would they actually try to negotiate with the aliens, or see them as a threat and try to blow them out of the sky?

So many crossroads, so many possibilities. I could expand on this post forever, but hopefully you’ve gotten the idea and have built your own opinion on the matter. If you would like to share it, go ahead and respond in the comments.

Note: None of this is backed by any kind of scientific research, it’s all opinion that I decided to write about.

Recommended App: X-Mouse Button Control

on March 4th, 2012 by Matt

Hello people! While customizing my fresh installation of Windows 8 I’ve played around with the settings available in X-Mouse Button Control… and it is beautiful!

Now, I’ve only just scratched the surface… but if you have a mouse, then you need to check out this program.

What it does is let you reprogram ANY button or feature of your mouse, including the scroll wheel. Imagine that! Better yet, you can reprogram the buttons in an app-specific manner, so rules you’ve set for one program will not apply to the other unless you’ve set them with similar configurations.

As you see above, I’ve got ‘default’ ‘Zune’ and ‘Google Chrome’ rules. Basically, default is system-wide. As long as you don’t have an app-specific key-specific rule, that’s what you will want to modify. I clearly have only 4 set rules for Zune, as shown in the screenshot. If I set ‘default’ to make my ‘Left Button’ to Alt-Tab for me, as long as I haven’t set a specific ‘Left Button’ rule for Zune it’ll follow my ‘default’ rule. It’s incredible.. and it gets better.

These rules don’t only apply when you have that application selected. As long as your mouse is over it, X-Mouse will apply that application’s rules. As you can see in the screenshot, I’ve set my scroll wheel to control my volume when using, or hovering over, Zune. This means that as long as Zune is somewhere on my screen, and I point at it, I can immediately change my volume using my scroll wheel.

There are so many rules and combinations you can do it’s ridiculous. Even if you don’t plan on downloading the program, at least take a look at the screenshots available in the download link (scroll down).

I hope I’ve made your computer life that little bit more productive and customizable! 🙂

Download: HighRez Downloads – X-Mouse Button Control

Blog Posts are fun, Essays not as much

on February 3rd, 2012 by Matt

I enjoy writing. The existence of this blog, and numerous other sites I’ve written pages for proves that. But essays, and even blog posts for some news sites that I used to help run back in 2009, had (and still have) an air of.. I don’t know, “this idea isn’t mine.”

I’m not a writer, I’m not a journalist. Primarily, I’m a reader. I’ve been reading books since I was in.. 2nd grade? With the amount of books I’ve read, my vocabulary isn’t too bad. So yes, I do enjoy writing every now and then.

But here’s the thing. Usually when I’m asked to write something, it’s about a pre-set topic. Essays, for English, or any personal stories I’ve ever written have been a bore to write, and I’m sure that because I didn’t have my heart in the writing. Whoever read it didn’t like it much either.

But I started this blog so I could voice my opinions. With the invention of micro-blogging, such as Twitter, it’s simply been easier to write a sentence or two in 140 characters and be done with the subject. Not a lot of things bother me enough to write a whole blog post like this.

I’m writing this post because I feel like it. Not because of some sort of deadline, or because my readers deserve something new. My site is full of random and interesting things. Have you tried the games I made in 10th grade? Those are fun, even I can spend hours playing them, trying to get high scores.

I guess what I’m trying to say is in 2012, as essay practice, I’m going to try writing more blog posts. I’m not sure whether these blog posts will be in the style that the next SAC requires, or if it’ll even be structured like a proper essay. And there are bound to be a couple spelling or grammatical mistakes. That’s normal for anyone.

I’ve also just noticed (yes, while writing) that I have 3 ‘recent drafts’ on the Dashboard of my WordPress administration panel. One of them is ‘Google Chrome features I would like,’ which I started in October (2011) because I felt I wanted more Sync features. But once I started writing, my ideas weren’t large enough to suit a full blog post. And once I decide I don’t want to post something to my blog, or to somewhere else (ie. Facebook, Twitter, and the numerous other social networks across the internet), I don’t try posting a shorter (or in some cases longer) post somewhere else. I run into something more interesting and do that instead.

So do I hate essay writing? Of course not. But as you see above, I have my own style. Without a deadline, due to a spur-of-the-moment thing in the middle of doing something else, I decided to write a blog post. I didn’t have a set length, set amount of paragraphs or structure. I just went with what feels natural. And that worked out pretty well, didn’t it?

So yeah, for my last year in High School I will have many SACs that require me to write essays, or other long text documents. But I’m not going to hide in a corner and worry about failing, I’m going to play to my strengths, as I have here, improve my English skills, and maybe learn a thing or two that’ll help me in my final, most important exam ever.

Hope the year is going well for you so far, and be sure to subscribe (actually, I should add an RSS subscription link somewhere, shouldn’t I?) to see more of these it’s-my-mind-leave-it-alone sort of posts. Maybe. I might try to write stuff that could be more useful for readers, but it IS my blog and I post what I like.

Do you have a blog, Twitter account, or Tumblr? Link it in the comments and I’ll have a read, maybe you can teach me a thing or two!

My YouTube Gaming Channel

on January 19th, 2012 by Matt

How’s everyone enjoying the new year? How about the SOPA protests and site blackouts?

 

Need something to watch while you can’t access Wikipedia or ICanHazCheezeburger? Then you should go check out my new YouTube Channel, WizardCMGaming!

I’ll be using the channel primarily for Minecraft, but I’m always looking for more interesting games to record. I’ve already got 2 videos up, part of my first series. There’s a video below, and be sure to go watch the other parts as they come out!

Introduction: My 2012 Metro Website

on November 20th, 2011 by Matt

Note: I’m sorry this post is so long, but there were so many things I wanted to mention.

Wow, who would’ve guessed this? My latest redesign, on the best domain I could ever have (a dot com!), hosted by a wonderful reseller, with the full functionality of WordPress and the great Plugins it can have. I’m going to talk about a lot of aspects of this new design, including choices, reasons why I like new features, and so on.

Dropdown Navigation

A feature none of my previous redesigns ever had, but one this design soon needed. My online life has expanded far and wide, and I’ve always seen my website as a place to collect all of that and make it easily accessible. Because of this, my website needed more pages, and I decided that the best way to organize it all would be through very simple drop down menus. To suit the design, I just had to make sure the first level was minimal. From there, I decided I could go as deep and wide as was necessary.

WordPress – the entire backend

The more pages I made, the more I realised they were getting harder and harder to update. So, I finally decided to set up the entire site as a WordPress blog, rather than just the.. well, blog. Not only does this mean information across the board will be updated more frequently, but now the URLs for all these new menus are simpler and cleaner.

The Plugins and Pages

The beauty of a CMS like WordPress is that there is an extended collection of plugins that can expand how I can use it. Because of this, many pages now rely on Plugins to display and update content, usually automatically.

Plugin – Widgets

On my older designs, because WordPress only powered one area, the Blog itself, I was able to always have multiple widgets in the sidebar because every page would have quite a bit of information. However, because widgets are now on every page, I’ve had to grab a plugin called ‘Dynamic Widgets’ to manage what/how many widgets show up on each page. You’ll notice many pages with an extra sidebar widget that suits what the page is about, so always keep an eye on that area.

Page + Plugin – MiniBlog/Tumblr

Quite a few people have asked me if I’m on Tumblr. The short answer is yes. The longer answer is yes, but I don’t use it the same way so many others do. I see Tumblr as the kind of Social network that fits in the tight gap between Twitter and a proper blog. With Twitter, you’re limited to 140 characters, less if you want to share a link, but a blog is usually suited for large things, like this post. So I will be using Tumblr as a sort of sharing system, and thanks to the Plugin ‘WP Tumblr’ I’m able to display the posts on a WordPress page.

Page – Me – My Applications

Wakoopa is a great social network surrounding usage of different applications, and is a nice way to see what your usage habits are. That is why, as I always have, I’ve embedded different widgets for the site to show a nice overview of what programs I frequently use.

Page – Me – My Music

You would not believe how hard it was to get this page exactly how I wanted it. Last.FM is a beautiful social network that basically keeps track of your musical listening habits. Some people tend to judge others by their music taste, so making information about my terribly random musical taste had to be shared in a simple way. Originally I was hoping to only have to use one Plugin, preferably with it’s own generated page, but that was impossible. I spent well over an hour going through the three pages of available WordPress Plugins with the tag ‘last.fm,’ playing around with shortcodes and PHP, and eventually had to settle for ‘Last.FM Records’ (which powers the display of my top four albums) and ‘My social network page’ (which beautifully lays out my 20 or so most recent tracks). Along with these WordPress Plugins, I went through Last.FM’s own ‘Apps’ section to also display more information, and eventually settled with the ‘Artist Cloud’ you see in the sidebar (of the My Music page, of course).

Page – Me – My Games

This page was a fairly interesting one to make more detailed. Originally, it was just a few tables with titles of games I own. However, it showed no personality. And so, using the functionality of the gaming social networks Raptr, Xfire and Steam, I’ve been able to create a (so far minimal) page with (a bit of) information about my gaming habits. Of course, I’ve never been a ‘hardcore’ gamer, so not a lot of my gaming has been recorded anywhere. However, so as to start filling in this page, I will start recording my gameplay on both PC and Xbox 360 (I’d also record Windows Phone if I could, but I don’t play much on there anyway).

Page – Creations – Chrome Extensions

Originally I had this section as a separate website, but because I couldn’t think of a design that would suit, I merged it into my personal site. Here you’ll find Google Chrome Extensions I’ve recently developed. Before you ask, I would upload them to the Web Store if I could, but I can’t. I’ve posted the reason on the page itself, so check there for the full answer instead. Each download will be redirected via a simple PHP script, and automatic updates (as well as the .crx files themselves) will be stored on Dropbox, which I can access from anyway, and if need be, modify.

Page + Plugin – Creations – Games

This wonderfully laid out Created Games section is where I can show off games I’ve made over the years in Game Maker. Along with the powerful ‘WordPress Download Monitor’ this very clean page is able to store the file, description and screenshot for each game in an easy to use menu. This way, I can also keep track of how many times each file is downloaded.

Page + Plugin – Archive

It wasn’t easy trying to find the plugin that would suit my needs in this situation. Finally I settled with ‘WP Photo Album Plus,’ which allows for multiple photo albums on one page, with a nice grid of images. Once you click on an image, that one album becomes a kind of ‘feature’ area, where you get more details on the image you’ve clicked on.

Plugin – WordPress Mobile Pack

Here’s something I’m excited about. With this release, I now have a nice mobile site that can be found at m.wizardcm.com, which makes my life a whole lot easier. I only know of one ‘mobile reader,’ but he’s always made sure I had some sort of mobile solution, and because many people these days use mobile devices to browse the web anyway, I have made browsing my website even easier.

Plugin – Widget Twitter VJCK

This is one lovely widget I’ve had comments about already. All it does is grab my latest tweets and displays them in the sidebar, but in a way that suits the rest of the design and adds a sort of live-feel to it. ‘Twitter VJCK’ is highly customizable, and that is why I chose it.

Plugin – Disqus Comment System

I’ve recently grown to like Disqus (pronounced Discuss, apparently), because it means you have one account over multiple websites, and you can even check all your recent comments and likes. That is why I decided to include the ‘Disqus Comment System’ plugin, along with it’s built-in Akismet functionality.

Plugin – Theme My Login

A Plugin I could never live without, ‘Theme My Login’ replaces the inconsistent WordPress login pages and makes the login screen have the same theme as the rest of the website, simple as that.

Plugin – SEO Ultimate

Managing the title of every page, and Meta data for search engines, was proving to be very hard to manage. That’s why I finally remembered to grab ‘SEO Ultimate,’ which makes it extremely easy to set all the Meta information of every page and post.

Plugin – StatPress Reloaded

A Plugin that I’ve used for a while to keep track of visits to my blog, ‘StatPress Reloaded’ displays all the recent page views, unique visitors and even spiders in an easy to read graph. What more do I need to say?

Plugin – Google XML Sitemaps

I couldn’t trust every search engine to correctly scan my site, so I set up ‘Google XML Sitemaps’ in the way that suited my needs. Google has already crawled the site (it actually crawled it within a day or so of me setting this site up, how cool is that?) so it’s easier to get here than ever before.

Other Stuff

Along with all the pages and plugins I’ve set up (seriously, my admin centre is FULL of stuff), there are a couple other things I wanted to mention.

Advertisements

I originally introduced this to my blog many months ago, and combined with the fact that I don’t have a job, and that I like to buy things, I decided that having 1 very minimal advertisement per page couldn’t hurt. If you have an ad blocker, I would greatly appreciate if you could white-list my site.

Search

Thanks to WordPress, I now have an easy-to-use full-site search. Play around with it, who knows what you might find…

Notes

If you bothered to read the whole thing, I’m extremely surprised, and very happy. It means either my writing isn’t as horrible as I make it out to be, or I’m doing something else correctly. Either way, thank you for reading, and I hope you take some time to take a look around.

Conclusion

Lastly, I just wanted to mention why I made this design at the end of 2011. As I mentioned on the homepage, 2012 will be a very full year, and my last at school. Many pages were designed to update automatically, and that is so I don’t have to spend time updating information throughout the year. This also means I will update many social networks, like GoodReads and Miso, so that I don’t completely disappear from the face of the internet.

The 4 Mods that should be built into Minecraft

on August 20th, 2011 by Matt

I’ve been playing a lot of Minecraft over the past few months, and during that time I’ve run about 3 servers and tried out a truckload of mods.

However, the mods that should become an official part of Minecraft are the following:

1. More Blocks

So many useful blocks. Fences made out of every material, like sandstone and obsidian, and so many others that should’ve always been there.
Example:

2. Mo’Creatures

The amount of awesome animals (I love the birds!) in this mod is astounding. Cats, mice, rats, deer, lions, fish, dolphins, sharks, werewolves, bears, wolves, polar bears, wraith, ogres, ducks, boards, rabbits, birds, foxes and horses.
Example:

3. Rei’s Minimap

A minimap that has it all. You have to use it to believe it. Cavemaps, entity radar, slime chunks, snow cover, waypoints and more.
Example:

4. Better than Wolves

Obviously this is a hit on the update which had ‘wolves’ as a major update, but the stuff it adds is great. Toggable blocks, collectors, mechanics, half-blocks and a lot more useful stuff.
Example:

Notes

Of course, most of these mods require ModLoader and other stuff, which should also be a part of Minecraft.

My Laptop finally died

on March 22nd, 2011 by Matt

Edit: As I mention in the video description, thanks to multiple (helpful) comments, the fix for this is to reflow the GPU, meaning the graphics card is the cause of the failure. I no longer have interest in fixing this, as I recently got a new computer.

 

Well, not the entire thing, just the motherboard (I think).

This is what happened: I got home from school, and used the same process I always do to turn on my laptop. Plug it in to the power, turn on my 2nd monitor and speakers, then push the power button on my laptop.
But this time it didn’t do what it’s supposed to. The 2nd monitor didn’t get a signal (which it always gets for the bios and bootscreen), but instead I got horizontal lines and coloured shades. So I simply turned it off, waited, and hit the power button again.
This time, I heard the DVD drive click (you know how they go, testing if there is a disc in there), then the CPU fan stopped and nothing else happened. All the lights were still on, but ‘nobody was home.’ After a couple more tries, I listened carefully. You can still hear the Hard Drive trying to be used (as in, still spinning) but the laptop just isn’t doing anything.
Now, I think it’s the motherboard because I don’t get any beeping errors, the HDD isn’t read (so I think that still works), and the BIOS doesn’t show up. I just get, well, nothing. Here’s a video:

Also, if you’ve read my Tumblr post on the problems I’ve been having recently, you won’t be surprised.

Well, I guess it’s lucky that I have a spare PC. 😛

History: Got the laptop in mid 2007. First laptop of mine ever. 🙁

Tiffany Alvord’s Awesome new cover

on March 19th, 2011 by Matt

Now, what can make existing songs better? When they’re sung by awesome artists. I’ve mentioned Tiffany before, but I couldn’t just let this song slide.

Hi Everyone! I recently got together with my friend and fellow YouTuber Jake Coco to make a few cover songs. This is the first song that we did together and I am super excited to share it with you 🙂 I hope you enjoy our version of “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele.

There are many reasons why I like this cover.

  • It’s sung by Tiffany Alvord
  • The camera work and the video editing was done well
  • Tiffany uses the best features of her voice, and shows how powerful it can get
  • The song only slightly builds up and just sounds great
  • And you can actually buy it, which only happens with Tiffany’s best songs

Anyway, I’ve put some links below, go check them out!

YouTube Channels: Tiffany Alvord, Jake Coco.
iTunes: Download Link
Facebook Profiles: Tiffany Alvord, Jake Coco.
Twitter Profiles: Tiffany Alvord, Jake Coco.
Previous Post: Tiffany Alvord’s new Medley Video

Opinion: All that 3D hype

on February 9th, 2011 by Matt

3D has existed for a while, however it has only reached the consumer market very recently. And while so many companies are jumping onto the bandwagon, I don’t really see what the hype is about. Personally, I think there are other areas companies should focus on. How about… Virtual Reality? I mean, we’ve all seen the bulky headsets from the 1990s, yes?

File:AC89-0437-20 a.jpeg

Well, howcome nobody is perfecting that technology? Most gaming companies are well on their way to getting games to look pretty realistic, which I’d say is the first step. It’s not really Virtual Reality if it looks absolutely fake. I’d say the next thing would be sound, in this case 7.1 surround sound headsets. These, exist (even better if they have powerful noise cancellation). Lastly is the actual visual part of VR. We need a headset (or even just glasses) that replace the real world that we can see. We need to actually be immersed in whatever we see, so everything has to be rendered right in front of our eyes. The software should also be able to tell which way our head is facing, etc. If I’m right, this technology also exists, however it is used in a very tiny number of places (I hear the US Navy were using it at some point). But, why can’t we use the same thing? If it’s expensive to make, or needs to be perfected, then why can’t major consumer companies start working on these things? Personally I would love proper VR at home. The Sims just don’t cut it, yet. I mean, we’ve all seen how exciting all those ‘cyberspace’ shows can be (think CyberChase and stuff like that). I mean, in a virtual world we can do absolutely anything. We can make up technology, do anything we like (I’m sure you’ve always wanted to fly), anything. Even better, the internet is almost infinite. Imagine walking through cities of unimaginable beauty, flying your custom designed spaceship through virtual galaxies that expand forever, all without leaving your house. So, what is your opinion on all this?