It’s my 24th birthday!

Happy birthday to me, I’m officially 24! w00t!

As this is my first birthday since launching NOVALISTIC 5.0 “Veldin”, here’s a fun fact for you: I’ve always wanted to launch my site on my birthday, but not once has it ever happened.

However, launching this iteration at the end of November 2015 is one of the closest I’ve come to a commemorative launch date, because the domain name was first registered in November 2001. The closest is NOVALISTIC 2.0, which was launched in the first week of November 2006, around the fifth anniversary of the domain.

So, that was a little nugget of trivia for you.

While I have plans later this month, I don’t have any for today, so I’ve just taken the opportunity to catch a break and play some games. I haven’t played TF2 in a while, so that’s exactly what I spent the past three hours on. To be honest, the gameplay changes brought about by the Tough Break Update have really shaken things up for me as a Pyro main, and I’ve been finding it difficult to adjust. So I don’t see myself playing as often as I used to for a while.

Which just means more time for me to focus on adding new stuff to my site! Although I did just update my Steam Wishlist, and there’s a few hours left of the Steam Winter Sale, so if you’d rather I played more games than worked on stuff…

It’s always the basic stuff that gets you

I was updating my About page tonight when I found myself wanting to mark up parts of the text with the b element (as, thanks to HTML5, it has found its true calling in life). But I didn’t want the text to be bold, as I was going to style it differently. In particular, I wanted it to have the same font weight as the rest of the text.

But I knew that there wasn’t a special value of the CSS font-weight property that meant “use the current font weight” — there was only lighter and bolder for one step lighter and bolder than the current weight respectively, neither of which was what I wanted.

Then, it hit me like a ton of bricks:

b {
    font-weight: inherit;

That’s right: it’s our old friend the CSS-wide keyword inherit. That is, “inherit the parent’s computed font-weight“. How could I have forgotten?!

And I realized that perhaps other, less experienced CSS authors might run into this problem as well. So I decided to post yet another one of my self-answered questions on Stack Overflow documenting this. Then I realized that the way Stack Overflow treated self-answered questions meant I pretty much had to tell the world how dense I was for a night, as someone who is generally known on SO to be really, really good with CSS.

Oh well; happens to the best of us, I guess.

Emergency Chat now available for Windows

Emergency Chat is now available on the Windows Store!

Download from Windows Store

Emergency Chat is assistive software that helps people communicate via text when they lose their ability to speak.

Originally created for Android, I had the privilege of designing and developing a version for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 (Universal Windows Platform). Currently only the Windows Phone 8.1 version is available; the Windows 10 version will be ready in early 2016 as a free update, along with the general availability of Windows 10 Mobile. The Windows Phone 8.1 version will be compatible with devices already running Windows 10 Mobile such as the Microsoft Lumia 950, Lumia 950 XL, Lumia 550, and any devices running Windows 10 Insider Preview (though, of course, preview builds are not supported).

It’s my very first Windows Store app, and by extension my first foray into the app space. Granted, being an assistive utility, this app serves a very specific niche, but it is one that is very relevant to me. I have a condition that prevents me from speaking in most situations and to most people, called selective mutism. Basically, imagine your voice being imprisoned — you want to speak, but you either can’t think of the words to say, or you can but you simply can’t verbalize them. I’m in the latter category, which means I have no trouble expressing myself by other means such as writing or typing on a device.

And that is why, with special permission from Jeroen De Busser who originally created the Android app, I’ve built this app for Windows. It’s an app that I depend on on a regular basis, and I’m thankful to have been able to build it for the platform I care about the most.

Adobe Animate CC

For nearly two decades, Flash Professional has been the standard for producing rich animations on the web. Because of the emergence of HTML5 and demand for animations that leverage web standards, we completely rewrote the tool over the past few years to incorporate native HTML5 Canvas and WebGL support. To more accurately represent its position as the premier animation tool for the web and beyond, Flash Professional will be renamed Adobe Animate CC, starting with the next release in early 2016.

Welp… and they announced this less than a day after I’d unveiled my new site and had a massive load taken off my shoulders.

The good news is that, fundamentally, Animate CC will still be the same animation tool I’ve used and loved for the past 12 years (!), and the SWF format isn’t going away yet (Animate CC will continue supporting Flash (SWF) and AIR formats as first-class citizens.) — Flash as we know it hasn’t been radicalized, much less “killed off” as so many media outlets and Flash haters (fueled by media sensationalism, no less) have put it.

SWF may be well on its way to legacy status, but it will take a while yet. Call me when you find a tool that offers equal or superior authoring capabilities and ease of use. Until then, even if I stop making Flash movies and games, I will continue using it for digital art for the foreseeable future.

NOVALISTIC 5.0 “Veldin”

Welcome to NOVALISTIC 5.0, codenamed “Veldin”.

NOVALISTIC 5.0 "Veldin" screenshot
NOVALISTIC 5.0 “Veldin”

Finally, after several years of being lost in space, followed by an epiphany, followed by a trip (and a fall) down a wormhole… NOVALISTIC is live once again.

Long story short, because I want to make this a quick introductory post: I’ve decided to go back to basics with this new redesign — this site will focus on my hobbies and interests, and things I build; no more, no less. In particular, I will no longer be taking up client work of any kind, but I will gladly continue sharing my knowledge both on Stack Overflow, as well as here on my blog starting afresh. I have different plans for my life moving forward, and I’m excited to take my new site along for the ride.

So, you might be wondering, why “Veldin”? Well, here’s a quote from when it was featured on dev.NOVALISTIC during its development:

Unlike previous codenames which were randomly picked with a script, Veldin is a completely deliberately chosen name. So why Veldin?

Veldin is the name of Ratchet’s home planet in the Ratchet & Clank franchise (as well as a level in some of its games). I’ve long considered NOVALISTIC my online home, and now that I’m making it my personal site again with the new redesign, Veldin is the most appropriate, fitting codename I can come up with for it. (For fellow Ratchet fans: yes, Ratchet was born in Fastoon, but he was sent to Veldin by his father at a very tender age during the Great War, where he then spent most of his life before meeting Clank. While Fastoon is his place of birth, Veldin is where he grew up. In the same way, NOVALISTIC is the heart of my online presence and development, even though my first “home page” — if you could even call it that — was conceived elsewhere.)

As you can see, the new site is still pretty bare bones right now, but expect rapid additions to the site over the next couple of months. Definitely check out the new About page if you haven’t already.

Here’s to a new beginning.