Category Archive: Personal Blog

Expanding a photo in GIMP

I was gathering up images to use as desktop backgrounds when I came across this little ball of cuteness:

Small-Hedgehog-1800x2880Unfortunately, the aspect ratio of this image wasn’t fit for displaying on a 16:9 display without stretching or adding borders. So, I decided to use GIMP to make the image wider, but without adding solid borders. With the help of the clone and healing tools, and my Wacom tablet, I managed to create this:


You can see where the original image ends and my extension begins, but I think that it would be difficult to notice that the image wasn’t always this size if you didn’t already know that I had edited it. This is my first time doing anything like this, and I was pretty proud of my work in the end. I even created a timelapse video of my work on it, too! Although I think next time I will use something other than recordmydesktop as it outputs in a dumb format and their are a few artefacts such as black/white pixels appearing at times in the video.

I just thought I’d share this on my blog as I haven’t made a post in a long time and I decided to do this. Thanks for reading :)

Debate: Why Shakespeare SHOULD be Compulsory in School

I have an assignment to do in English class. It is to write a “debate” about something, in the form of two essays. This is the second of the essays. This second essay may not have as much detail as the first one, mainly because I personally side with the first essay.

To see the side of the debate on why Shakespeare SHOULD NOT be compulsory, click here.

The first essay described how Shakespeare is taught in almost all English classes, and how it is compulsory even in ‘general’ grade 9 English. The first essay also described why it SHOULD NOT be compulsory. This essay focuses on the other side of the debate, or why it SHOULD be compulsory.

For starters, Shakespeare is part of history. Though it is 400 year old history, it is historic nonetheless. They say that society learns from history, and Shakespeare’s work teaches us how people behaved in the days of Shakespeare. 

Secondly, Shakespeare can be interesting. It isn’t interesting to everyone, but it is still interesting. It is interesting to see how people wrote, spoke and acted a long time ago. It is interesting to take in the stories that Shakespeare puts in his theatrical works.

And finally, Shakespeare was a great playwright. Any aspiring play-writers should study Shakespeare, as he was a historic but great example. Shakespeare’s plays are famous because they are written so well, among other things.

Shakespeare should be taught in schools because it is an example of amazing play-writing, and it is a part of history that should not be ignored. It can even be enjoyable to some people.

Updates and Informations

I apologize for the long period in which I did not update this blog. I was preoccupied with other things and problems. So, I am back and will be updating the blog again.

Over the last few months, I have been working on various projects in which I learned some useful bits and pieces of information. I would like to share them with you. So, here it is organized by category:


Well, I have been working on some CG/Physics projects recently. Physics in Blender are not very well documented, and this can be frustrating for users that want to use them. So, my list of Blender tidbits:

  • If you want a free renderfarm to render large projects, is an excellent choice. You can even volunteer your computer for the grid and help render other people’s projects! Check it out at
  • Bounce, Tumble and Splash! is an excellent book that can be very useful if you want to use Blender’s various physics simulators. I found a very useful piece of information about rigid body physics that deserves its own post which will be up soon.
  • The Triangle Mesh collision bounds type will NOT work for moving objects. Only use it for static objects.
Crysis 2

Crysis 2 had an ‘interesting’ release and community response, the details of which will be released in another post.


I can’t say too much, as I don’t want to give away my idea. I am working on a project that I call the ANTANI, which will revolutionize the way we interact with our devices. I am learning a lot about programming and hardware in working on this, as well as developing something useful.

ANTANI Digital Sign

This is not related to the ANTANI mentioned above. The digital sign/billboard is a school project for Tech class. Our school has a large plasma TV screen in the main lobby that currently displays a powerpoint presentation. I have been assigned a project to create software that will display more dynamic information on the screen. When it is finished, I will release images of it. It is very cool.

It has many features, so far I have implemented:

- Time
- Weather
- Scrolling announcements that you can add or remove.

And I am currently working on scrolling images and a ticker tape at the top.

That is the end of this post. Thank you for reading, and I hope this helps someone.

Ontario Literacy Testing and English Teaching – My Opinion

I recently had to do a literacy test (I am in Grade 8). It focused on students’ reading comprehension abilities.

The article that I had to read was about managing stress, called “Taming the Tiger – Managing Stress” (I am not sure exactly what it was called, but I am sure of the “Taming the Tiger” part). I had a few problems with it, and didn’t finish very much of it at all. I think that the root of these problems were the questions used to test students.

I comprehend what I read very well. I do quite a bit of research on certain questions I want answers to. I find books and articles about them, and can retain information that I read in them. I can also put all this information together from many different articles and other sources, and write my own article that summarizes everything. Yet, I found the questions on the test very hard to answer. Someone who comprehends what they read very well may still get a bad score on the test due to the nature of the questions.

There were questions about the main idea. There was a question that was something along these lines: “Look at the pictures in the article. Based on these pictures, what questions might be answered in the article?“. There was a picture of a tiger, and someone who looks stressed out. I couldn’t think of any possible questions.

There was a question asking students what reading strategies they used to answer the questions. That question assumes that I actually know what reading strategies I use when I read. When I read a book or an article, I know what it means. I don’t understand the exact thought processes that occur when I read something.

All this is to say that I don’t like the way that they teach English, or their methods of testing English knowledge. I don’t know how well other students do with these tests. It could just be me, and my ways of thinking are ‘incompatible’ with the test.

To close this post, I will make a simple explanation about why I don’t like the way English is taught, in addition to being tested.

I hear that in High School part of the curriculum is analyzing poetry such as Shakespeare. If I have to do that, I will definitely have lots of trouble with it. I wouldn’t be able to understand the meaning of the poetry. I don’t know exactly why I would have trouble with it. It could be my learning style, my way of thinking or it may be just another thing that students with Asperger’s have trouble with.

Because some students have trouble with this, those students may be losing marks and other opportunities as a result of their inability to understand symbolic material, like poetry. It all depends on the school’s willingness to make accomodations (Alternative work, etc.).

Point and Shoot Cameras – The Hidden Potential

I have a Nikon Coolpix L20 digital camera. It is a compact, simple 10MP camera. This camera costs around $89 on Amazon. It is a good camera that can takes very high quality photos, at least by my standards. This camera’s problem is the software.

My camera has almost no manual controls, apart from the flash, image quality etc. (Basic controls). It seems unable to focus and take clear photos in all but very well-lit conditions. In many lighting conditions, the photos will be blurry or grainy. This could possibly be solved by changing the ISO speed or the aperture size. Unfortunately, the only way to make the camera capture the photo faster is to turn on the flash, which has a good chance of screwing up the photo.

Notice in the picture below, it is extremely grainy when zoomed in. However, I took a picture of a piece of paper in the sun with the same camera (I don’t have the photo anymore, it was deleted), I could zoom in and see all the letters in perfect clarity.

Another problem I have noticed is the focus at close range. I don’t understand why, but when I try to take a photo very close up the camera will focus perfectly for a split second, and then the focus icon will turn red and indicate that it cannot focus. I have been told that manual focus will not solve this, but I am not sure that is true. I think that if I could change the focus manually, I could hold the focus at that ‘perfect’ spot, and take a very clear photo at close range.

The only kind of cameras that seem to have these controls are the advanced compact cameras ($250+) or the DSLR cameras ($500+). I find that very unfortunate, because as far as I know Nikon can add manual controls with a software update. A good software could turn this basic camera into a great camera with lots of advanced controls that can make the photos look much better.

Some people that I have talked to about this say that people want the camera to be simple, and therefore the camera is designed to be able to take photos without changing any settings. This can be solved by incorporating something like “Easy mode” and “Advanced mode”. Easy mode would have the very basic functions, and Advanced mode would hold many advanced controls for those who know how to use them. This compromise will make everyone happy, the ones who want it simple, and the ones who want better controls.

If they modified the software on these cameras to have advanced controls, they would be selling an $89 camera that has the features of a $300 camera. Would people still buy it? I certainly would. I would love to have an inexpensive camera that allowed me to set the ISO speed and the focus, instead of the camera doing it for me and getting it wrong.

The camera is capable hardware-wise of taking great photos, but is held back by the software.

This post is getting a bit long, and I am starting to ramble on about this. And though I am quite sure nobody really reads this, if someone does, please tell me your opinion on this.

New blog for English school assignments

Our class is currently writing ‘journals’ about things that we read twice a week. I decided to use my blog to publish these. In order to prevent cluttering up this blog, I have established a new blog for the purpose of these assignments.

I will be writing things mostly about articles, and some about books. The material I write about will be on different subjects. Some will be on Asperger’s Syndrome resources/information, others on technology. There may also be articles about entirely different subjects which I find interesting.

This blog is located at

“Developing Talents” by Temple Grandin and Kate Duffy: Book Review

This book review is for a school assignment. I must read a book, and then write some things about it. First, I will talk a bit about how I came across this book.

I got this assignment, and I had to choose a book to write about. After thinking, and looking around for a book I could write about, I found this book. An EA in the resource room brought a few books in about Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome, and in my spare time at school I decided to read this one. I read it mainly because I have Asperger’s syndrome, and wanted some information about how people adapt to the workplace, and function properly.

The book’s full title is “Developing Talents – Careers for Individuals with Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism“. After reading it, I learned a few useful tips, but most of it didn’t really seem practical. For instance, it suggested that if you are bothered by fluorescent lights, remove them from your work area, or move your work area. At my age, I don’t really know how good of an idea that actually is, but I think that it simply wouldn’t work in most work situations.

Employers want an employee who is productive and easy to accommodate. If the employee requires lights to be dismanteled, or a special room to work in, that isn’t going to work very well.

The book does provide some useful tips on finding jobs, and dealing with social situations. The tips that are not practical will work for a few people, but not most. There need to be more suggestions that will work for a wide range of people, especially for dealing with big problems.

It explains how promotions to management positions can be a problem, but it doesn’t really explain how to deal with that problem. In other words, it leaves a lot of ‘holes’ in the text, where it sometimes explains a problem and how to deal with it, or it may only explain the problem and give very vague information on how to deal with it.

On the positive side, it does have some very nice explanations about how people with Autism think. These explanations are very good if you want to understand yourself better.

I personally think it isn’t a very good book. But that is just my opinion. I didn’t have much time to complete this assignment, so I may have left some things out that I didn’t have time to thoroughly think about.

Well, that pretty much wraps up my book review. I think I covered enough to get a very basic idea of the book’s content.

YouTube Channel

I have had a YouTube channel for a while now, and I thought I’d make a post about it, explaining what it is for and the content on it.

I have had my YouTube account, randomdog12 since 2008. I created it primarily to rate and comment on videos. At the start of 2009, I had posted my first video. Since then, I have posted a few (mediocre) videos. Some videos are just made for fun, such as my Random Chase Video, and others are animations made with Blender. I also have some RuneScape videos, and am planning to add more in the future.

As for other future videos, I am currently working on another Blender simulation, which is looking quite good (OMG leaks). I am also going to upload some other Blender animations that I never made into videos, and a Smuggler’s notch Skate Park video that my friend and I made last summer that I never rendered.

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