KillerSites Blog

General

Surface Pro 4 is great, but it can also suck.

February 8, 2016

Hi,

So I bought the Surface Pro 4 shortly after it came out, something I rarely do, because it’s dangerous to buy new tech products when they first come out.  So after a couple of months of use, I can tell you that Surface Pro 4 is both very cool and annoying.

The good:

  • Microsoft got the perfect blend of full computer and tablet. Amazing!
  • The pen is great – I take a lot of notes by hand. Love it!
  • Great screen and the kick-stand is HUGE!

The bad:

  • Whatever you do, don’t put it in sleep mode – many times, it doesn’t wake up and you have to restart. And that’s a pain because the Surface Pro gives you no indicator as to what’s going on.
  • The Surface Doc (that cost $250) doesn’t work half the time. It has troubles driving USB devices and even the monitor.
  • Some general minor flakiness: sometimes the touchscreen doesn’t work (you have to restart,) sometimes the pen doesn’t work … you have to restart.
  • Mouse pointer and UI element size issues: sometimes the mouse pointer looks like one of those giant foam hands you see at a football game. Other times, app buttons are so tiny, you need to buy a magnifying glass to see them. I’ve confirmed these issues weren’t the fault of the apps, because in other Windows 10 machines, this problem does not exist. It is Surface Pro 4.

So overall, it is a great computer that is in late beta. Please fix this otherwise great product Microsoft.

Stefan Mischook
Killersites.com

read more

My new book is getting unanimous 5 star reviews!

January 22, 2016

Hi!

Altogether I have 7-8 reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca and Amazon.co.uk … but they are all 5 star! It’s a start!

I haven’t asked yet, but if you bought the book, I would really appreciate it if you could head over to Amazon, and give it a review.

Thanks!

Stefan Mischook

book-5-star-reviews

read more

How to end lower back pain – for web developers.

January 14, 2016

coders-lower-back-pain

Hi,

Coders can get lower back pain because:

  1. They sit all day.
  2. They don’t exercise.
  3. They don’t stretch.

How to end lower back pain:

First, do the opposite of what is listed above: don’t sit all day, take breaks, walk around, and do some hamstring stretches. Here’s the list of what to do to end lower back pain:

read more

The Secret to Learning Web Design

January 6, 2015

webmentor.org

Hi,

I’ve been building websites since 1994 and teaching web design and development since 2002 … give or take 6 months. In that time, I’ve been able to figure out the best way to both learn and teach web design:

The key is to NOT get distracted with the unimportant techniques and technology. That means being able to figure out what you really need to learn, and to cut out what isn’t so important.

… That’s where an experienced teacher and actual web developer can guide you.

Web Design is a big subject that is always evolving!

Over the years, web design has evolved considerably. The process of building websites in 2015 is very different from how we did it in the early 2000’s, let alone the 1990’s! Despite these big changes, there is a consistency in web design that has carried through to today; being able to identify these patterns (and techniques) will help you keep your skills future-proof to a large extent.

… Yes, you should always count on having to learn new techniques and technology, but you can make the process much, much easier when you have a great foundation.

read more

How to get into the Gaming industry.

November 6, 2014

Hi,

I was recently asked by my dentist if I had any information for his daughter, who wanted to get into the gaming industry, on the artistic side of things.

So I consulted the nerd-herd and then came back with what you will read below. Though KillerSites is hardly a gaming blog, I figured I would repost here anyway because my dentist told me that this was by far the most information he and daughter had seen on the subject.

Anyway, here you go …

From Sean:

Hey Stef

Gaming is a more stable environment than Film or Television. More often than not film and TV animators travel to work in different companies around the world. As for Gaming even when the economy is tanking people still love to get away from life and sink into a game world.

[ Film and TV / Games ]
Position available for art students include:
Storyboarding
http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Storyboard
Conceptualization Art
http://www.conceptroot.com/
Matte Painting
http://mattepainting.org/

Proficiency in Photoshop/Illustrator
https://www.adobe.com/ca/products/photoshop.html
https://www.adobe.com/ca/products/illustrator.html

[ 3D Software ]
The 3D Software I would recommend using is Maya.
Free Educational version
http://www.autodesk.com/education/free-software/maya

[ Schools ]
Alot of home grown 3d gaming talent have pass thought the doors of the NAD Center. They have teachers that currently work in the industry and can become a great reference for job opening in the indusrty.

Nad
http://nad.ca/en

Online
Animation Mentor
http://www.animationmentor.com

http://www.animationmentor.com/student-life/student-showcases/

Anim School
http://www.animschool.com/


[ Traditional Animation ]
Traditional Key Frame Animation, frames drawn every frame by hand, is very important to take to become a great animator.

This on a book that most animators have on their shelves at home.
Animators Survival Kit by Richard Williams
Here is a pdf of the Book
http://courses.cs.washington.edu/courses/cse460/07sp/reading/richard_williams-animators_survival_kit.pdf

[ DEMO ]
A Great DEMO, is the most important as it shows what you can do. Some artistes, animators, modelers etc. I know are self taught so school was not involved. A great DEMO can often speak louder than a certificate form a school. It is what you can do with what you know and not what you know.

Hope this helps. Need any other direction let me know

Scot

From Luke – a director at a leading gaming company:

I think Sean covered it pretty well from a technical point of view! Additional info that I can say about gaming is the following:

There are many options she can take:

Gameplay Animation
Cinematic Animation
Concept Artist
Technical Artist
Character Artist
VFX Artist
UI Artist

Some companies name the titles differently but more or less do the same things.

I would suggest starting to become active in various gaming industry forums and websites. Look for forums that companies offer, for instance at EA we have the following LinkeIn forum that people can follow: InsideEA: (Electronic Arts) People, Games & Careers. Other companies have their own similar forums. Also check out game company’s websites in their career sections. They offer lots of info and recommendations. Our’s is Jobs.ea.com.

Follow up on all the industry trade shows(E3, PAX, GamesCom, ComicCon, GDC(Game Developers Conference)) and media(IGN,GamesSpot, etc…)…

A lot of what helped me get into the industry is doing research on all the above info…kinda like the Wook does! 😉

Gaming is a constantly evolving industry so people need to stay well aware of tech and changes going on. Best way is to read a lot of gaming news and info!

Lee

read more

Facebook Advertising … is it worth it?

March 27, 2014

Hi,

Strong evidence is showing that Facebook is a good place to pour your money into … IF you want to dump cash into a black hole of no return!!

Advertising on Facebook is revealing itself to be extremely sucky in a few ways:

  • Most Facebook friends are likely fake. Especially if you promote to get them.
  • Facebook is cutting off access to these friends – now it’s at about 15% and it is said to be heading towards 1% as a matter of company policy. This is called ‘organic reach’ … and the organism is dying fast.
  • There are accusations (that seem credible) that Facebook is padding the numbers, in terms of traffic it claims to be sending advertisers way. Facebook does NOT allow you to have outside audits of their traffic flows – that should tell you something!!
  • A huge number of Facebook profiles are fake – a huge number!

Here a few comments I picked up on the Web:

Facebook has already slashed the organic reach. It’s not coming, it’s here. I run the page for my company and at best 10 out 757 people are seeing what I post. Sometimes only 2-3 people see it. I’ve also heard from pages I personally follow (that aren’t big brands) that they’ve seen this trend for over a year now.

We all have seen crushing decrease on the number of engagements over the course of last 3-4 months. And this has caused us to go and look elsewhere.

The organic algorithm is not currently this low, so if in fact they are reducing it to 1-2%, that is news. Currently ablout 8-20% of my fans organically see my posts.

That is false, I have a local sports conference page on which I post highly viral content, the recent changes have taken likes and shares on posts from 1,000 to 2,000 on a viral post down to 250 to 500 sometimes even less. People liked the posts and responded as their friends and family responded but now they flat out aren’t getting the chance to see them.

Just so we all understand the racket: Facebook sells you Page Like ads so you can acquire an audience. After you acquire an audience, they want you to pay a second, third, fourth (etc.) time to reach the audience that you’ve already paid (at least in part) to acquire. Facebook is a business, for sure, and needs to make money in order to keep shareholders happy, but its business ethics are questionable at best.

Some things to read:

About Facebook likes

On Facebook organic reach

Facebook $600 000 ad spend disaster

I have no inside information but it seems to me something is going down.

Stefan
killersites.com

read more

Starting a Tech Company, VC Money and Reality.

March 25, 2014

lightbulb

Hi!

One day you wake up and decide that you want to start a tech company but you don’t have the cash. So you figure that the easy way to get rich, is to go get some of that juicy VC (venture capital) money. Easy enough … right?

Nope.

Here are a few facts you should ponder before you decide to jump into this pool:

  • You have about a 20% chance of making money when starting any new business.
  • With VC backers, your chances are even less! Learn why below …
  • VC guys are looking for flipability of startups and NOT viability.
  • VC guys will very often flip your butt out the door when they decide to. Yes, firing founders is not uncommon!

When you make a deal with VC guys, you are making a Faustian bargain – a deal with the devil.

I am not saying that all VC guys are evil but they are typically motivated by selling out or going public. They don’t make money if you create a nice business that makes $500k/year. Nope, they want the multi billion dollar flip or an IPO, so that they can dump all their shares onto the public.

In a nutshell:

The business of finance and venture capital is one filled with sharks and quick-cash money junkies. Creating long term sustainable value is not the game.

Tech Start-up Mania

We now have a new mini-mania in tech startups. I think too many people watch SharkTank or have watched the movie The Social Network – everyone thinks they can build the next huge tech company. The reality is that Facebook, Instagram and other high-flyers that you hear about, are the lottery ticket winners. The vast majority of companies fail. These are all the startups you’ve never heard about …

VC money = loss of control

One thing you have to be aware of, is that once you bring in outside money, you will lose control – they are the boss.

For me, this has always been unacceptable because I went into business primarily for independence. You will work harder and longer when you own a business but the trade-off is that you will have freedom to get up when you want, to work on WHAT you want – you will have intellectual and mental freedom.

With lots of hard work and a pinch of luck, you may have a few bucks too!

Stefan Mischook
KillerSites.com

read more

The Complete Web Designer is HUGE!

February 11, 2013

video-icon

Hi,

Every so often we revamp our core video training packages with updated versions, so that they keep up with the technology changes.

For example, the current version of the Complete Web Designer, has brand new versions of the beginners web design course and our new Dreamweaver CS6 course too … among others.

New Video Courses means Higher Quality Videos

read more

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2013

Hi,

Just wishing everyone Happy New Year.

I believe 2013 will be good for HTML5, CSS3 and small business development on the Web. That means you will see a lot more training from KillerSites on these subjects this year.

What else do we have coming up?

I have a lot planned but if I had to pick the top three things:

  • Many new courses
  • A major update to the KillerSites Video Library
  • I will be releasing a new type/style of web design/programming training.

You will have to wait to hear the details!

Thanks,

Stefan Mischook
killerSites.com

read more

KillerSites Library vs. KillerSites University

October 24, 2012

Hi,

There is some confusion between the KillerSites Video Library vs. the KillerSites Interactive University, that I want to clear up. Once upon a time the Library was called the University … yes, a mistake. Anyway, here are the differences:

KillerSites Library:

Is our complete collection of video training courses – we have well over a 1500 videos on web design and web programming subjects. Not just a bunch of tips and tricks either, we have complete training so that you can learn to become a web designer or programmer from scratch. This is a subscription based service where you need to log in to view the videos.

Check it out: KillerSites Video Library

KillerSites Interactive University:

Is a collection of INTERACTIVE training videos where you watch a video (videos run 3-10 minutes each) and then are quizzed on it. Sometimes the quiz questions are code challenges (where you actually write code,) and other times it is good old multiple choice.

As you progress through the courses, your progress is scored and tracked just like a video game. As you do more courses, you scores add up and soon you have a profile where you can show that you’ve actually done the training! You can make that profile public or private, it is your choice.

The courses quizzes are half the learning value – code challenges make you think about what you just saw on video and writing out the code reinforces the information even more so. Try out the free courses:

KillerSites Interactive University

Thanks for reading,

Stefan Mischook
KillerSites.com

read more