EGX 2014

Yesterday I trudged along to EGX after four days at Oktoberfest in Munich. That was a terrible idea – flashing lights, crowds, and motion have not helped my recovery. I was also somewhat puzzled by the lack of lederhosen. Regardless of my ability to absorb what was going on, I had long since gone off the main show at EGX. Increasingly it’s made up from large name booths with massive queues and no windows into them. I’m not keen on hanging around in line ten times a day, and I really don’t see why they can’t let people peer in to watch those who are hands on. UbiSoft have done many things wrong in their time, but at least they set things up so punters can spectate while others play. Anyhow, I made my way through the main section pretty rapidly to get to what I considered the main attractions: Rezzed and The Leftfield Collection. It’s great to be able to walk amongst the games, chatting to the devs and getting to play some games I might otherwise never get a chance to experience. Some of the games on show I was already looking forward to (Heat Signature) and some I’ve played already from their Kickstarters (TinyKeep). In addition to those, I’ve now walked away with a list of more games to add to the ever-growing backlog. … 

 

London Film & Comic Con (LFCC) 2014

It’s been very quiet here for a while, and that’s mostly because I’ve been preparing cosplay for London Film & Comic Con 2014.  Photos I’ve collected so far are in the gallery below.  I had a different costume for each day: Barf, Jayne Cobb and Obi-Wan.  It was an exhausting weekend, especially given how poorly ShowMasters ran this year’s convention.  Still, I had a great time meeting other cosplayers, stars and friends.  Now it’s over I can try to catch up on life – I’ve got a few progress photos from some of my costume creations so I’ll write up a post at some point on those.

Oh, and I was featured on BuzzFeed!

 

Florence

I just returned from an excellent long weekend in Florence.  My main reason for visiting was a wedding (the resultant hangover somewhat re-shortening the weekend) but I took the opportunity to grab a few extra days tourism time while I was over there.  It also proved a great way to get some practice with photo spheres!  It’s possible, however, I was using this to stop myself spotting places from Assassin’s Creed 2.

Florence is great for a quick visit – the main part of the city isn’t that large and so it’s very easy to navigate on foot and see the sights.  Much like Rome, Florence is a beautiful place to just wander around in.  The old architecture, endless churches and statues can all be absorbed at your leisure, with plenty of little cafes and shops to take a break along the way.  Apparently Florence is the birth place of gelato, so it’s a given that you have to tuck in while you’re there.  I just missed the 2014 Gelato Festival but I understand it’s an annual event so well worth keeping an eye out for!

My base for the weekend was the Grand Hotel Cavour.  There are a number of central hotels in Florence.  I found the Cavour very welcoming and comfortable.  It’s just down from Il Duomo, and I could see the bell-tower from my window.  It also has a roof bar with a spectacular view of the Duomo and the landscape surrounding Florence.

If you want to go into the many museums of Florence then you really need to plan ahead.  The Uffizi (full of magnificent paintings) and the Galleria Academia (home of David) both offer pre-booking and it’s really a necessity to do so well in advance.  You can buy tickets on the day from touts, but they sell out fast and are considerably more expensive.  You should also expect massive queues for entry; you may be given an entry time on your ticket but it’s only indicative.  You can pre-book online, but if you want to organise tickets once in Florence then I can recommend going to this ticket office.  It’s tucked out of the way and seldom seemed to have queues.

Queues for the Duomo vary throughout the day.  I found they died down over lunchtime.  You can get into the main cathedral for free, then buy a ticket to climb the dome and bell-tower, as well as visiting the museum and Bapistry (all on one ticket).  I’d recommend heading up the bell-tower early in your stay.  It’ll help you get the lay of the land quite quickly – you soon find you navigate your way around Florence using tall landmarks like the Duomo to orient yourself.

View South From Duomo

I should finish by mentioning the wedding.  It was in a beautiful setting – Castello Di Vineigliata, Fiesole.  It’s a castle at the top of a hill outside Florence, nestled between a wonderful landscape of olive fields.  The castle is beautiful and, while I understand the happy couple had to go to great organisational efforts, it’s a splendid venue for such a celebration.

Castello Di Vincigliata Outside

[Footnote : I’m aware the photo spheres and layout of this post are a bit messed up.  I need to spend some time re-tuning this blog and have a look at all the plugins and themes.  I’m hoping I’ll get some time to do so next week when I’m travelling again for work]

 

 

 

A Personal Retrospective

So 2013 was interesting. I bought a flat and then, due to temporary insanity, decided to renovate it while living in it. When I say renovate, I don’t mean just tiling the bathroom (actually still planning to do that) – this was knocking down walls, moving kitchens, and installing new central heating. All while living in one front room. Yep, occasionally I may have lost it a bit.

 

Google I/O 2012

Google I/O 2012 starts tomorrow and I’ve taken some time off to attend the I/O Extended event organised by the London GTUG. Foolishly I have made plans for my mornings so I think it’s going to be a couple of heavily caffeinated days to make it through!

I’m honestly not sure what to expect from the keynote. Obviously there are rumours flying around and many “leaks” of the Nexus tablet, but I haven’t yet seen anything that’s going to make me go “yeah, I didn’t see that coming and that looks pretty cool”. Last year that slot was filled by the Android @ Home section so I live in hope that we’re still going to see something I haven’t already heard rumblings about. Or lots of details on Project Glass. Yep, I’ll happily settle for that!

Anyhow, beyond the keynote there are lots of interesting sessions. Might have to try to stream some on the night bus journey home to catch up on the many many clashes!