How I Mine For Reality

Hello everyone. My name is Tim Colwill, and I have a problem.

Hello, Tim!

Actually, I have a number of problems. For example, my facial muscles tend to operate on a ten-minute time delay, which causes me to sometimes be unable to properly communicate emotions to people important to me. In the same manner one can look up at the sky and see the stars as they were hundreds of years ago, my face is a delightful mirror of the emotions I was feeling ten minutes prior.

Working in combination with my expressionless voice I often, to my great chagrin, give people the impression of being either utterly disinterested, monstrously sarcastic, or having actually passed away several minutes ago and now operating entirely on volatile corpse gas and twitching nerve reflexes. My thanks to all those who have frantically, and mistakenly, dialled for an ambulance. I appreciate it.

But we’re not here to talk about that, are we? Today I would like to talk about my unnerving tendency to not so much blur as demolish the line between the internet and real life. I have, at various times in the past done, and probably will do again in the future, the following things.

  1. Picked up envelopes addressed to me, fresh out of the mailbox, and gleefully exclaimed “Oooh! Email!”
  2. Mused aloud on the possibility of “bookmarking” delightful staff at restaurants so that we could come back to the in the future.
  3. While sketching from a reference book, reached out to flip the pages of the reference book so that it would not go into screensaver.

Yes, I have done all of these things. I am not proud of these things, but they are my things, and I have done them. I will probably do more of them in the future even, until the time comes when I am found curled up in the foetal position on the floor, sucking binaric dregs from a blue CAT-5 cable and cackling quietly to myself.

Still, at least when I am asked in job interviews whether I “eat, sleep and breathe the internet”, I can hold my head high and say proudly: “Yes. Yes I do”. And then I can break down in a series of embarrassed, choking sobs.

I’ll always have that.

Twimage Release

UPDATE: Since Twitter has now ditched RSS feeds as part of their careful plan to make using their service increasingly difficult for anybody that doesn’t want to use their clients, Twimage no longer works. At all. Sorry!

Ever since I joined Twitter, it always bothered me that there was no way to display my tweets in a controlled web environment, one that didn’t allow scripts or embedded Flash content. Twitter offers plenty of badges in Flash and Javascript, but if I wanted to display my latest tweet in, say, my forum signature, I was basically screwed. Most forum software such as phpBB is very restrictive on what users can and cannot put into their signatures, but the one thing they all allow are images. And so Twimage was born.

Twimage is a PHP script I wrote that grabs your Twitter account’s RSS feed, reads it, strips it down, and then prints the latest tweet from it to a 648 x 40 pixel PNG image. You can then display this image anywhere you would normally be able to put a regular PNG image file – including your forum signature! The final result looks a lot like this (resized for width, see full size here):


Because Twitter’s RSS feeds are painfully unstable – often returning HTTP 400 errors for no fucking reason whatsoever – I’ve also included a Twimage Feedchecker. This is nothing more than a simple PHP file which tries to print your RSS feed in plaintext, and will helpfully tell you any errors it encounters so you can accurately troubleshoot. I’ve also included the source file for the background image, if the colours I’ve chosen don’t take your fancy.

I’m not going to lie: this script is basically a complete and total hackjob and is very, very rudimentary in nature. RSS2HTML does most of the heavy lifting, and I just polish it, clean it up and print it into a PNG. It’s nothing that somebody else couldn’t write for themselves in about ten seconds, and indeed if anybody out there wishes to improve on it (which shouldn’t be hard!) I welcome them. I’d love to see what you do with it. Enjoy.

If you can’t sleep, blog!

Good morning Cat-Dogs!

That’s right its morning here, almost 5am to be exact. Which I guess makes it morning over in Perth as well, and in like 50% of the world. But that’s not the point. The point is, I’m AWAKE. AGAIN. Tonight I realy can’t blame anyone but myself, I did nothing but sleep and drink tea and eat sugar all day, so I sort of saw this coming. Anyway, I figure, if I can’t sleep, BLOG.

My only problem with that, you see, is Tim’s ridiculously loud spacebar. I basically have to turn and see if he’s woken up after every word, which will make this post, at the very least, well thought out. Every space might be your last!

Continue reading If you can’t sleep, blog!

Video Games, Comics, and Navel-Gazing

Hey, have you guys heard of Teh Learning Curve yet? It’s a pretty cool gig; the premise of which being that a couple of guys sit on a couch, play a video game together for 30 minutes, then give their impressions of it – all of which is condensed into a five-minute YouTube video for the ridiculously short attention span of the discerning modern internet viewer. I did some logo work for them a little while back, but before that I actually took time out from my busy schedule as an international man of dysentry to appear, in real life, and show them the correct and most efficient way to play Braid.



If you’re having trouble recognising me, I am the attractive ponytailed Adonis sitting on the right hand side. I think we can all agree I have a bright future in game reviews, if not actual successful game play, or any manner of timing and co-ordination.

For those who don’t know, I used to do a (semi) regular webcomic by the name of Refried. I was looking back through the archives last night, and aside from the odd cringe or two, it really made me want to pick up the webcomic gig again. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt like this; it’s been almost two years since I stopped updating Refried and so I’ve had quite a reasonable amount of time to consider my position. So much time in fact, that I apparently fell asleep at the wheel and drove my car off the webcomics highway into the blissful ditch of real life.

Continue reading Video Games, Comics, and Navel-Gazing