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SPR/PPL is a collaborative partnership between the extremely gifted Andy Irwin & Luke Byrne. Recently they rented some space in a warehouse and when Ben Trovato got in touch a couple of months ago they decided that this exclusive would be a good chance to set up in there and take a break from shooting on location.

What inspired you to do this specific shoot? Can you enlighten us how that came together in this way?
" -We had a loose idea of the vibe we wanted (which first came from a couple of video covers we had lying around I think), and we were interested in the idea of approaching a fashion piece with a look and feel we’d usually more associate with our work on cover art and music projects. From there it was just about doing as many different things as we could with that vibe and what we had lying around at our disposal in the studio. The shoot itself was a pretty organic process, we had a few hours to do it and just a couple of the specific shots in mind to begin with - it all just kind of rolled from there."

What equipment do you use?
" -We’re always jumping between film and digital - it usually just depends on the project. Like most we prefer the look and feel of film, but the convenience of digital of course comes in pretty handy when working to tight deadlines - so it usually end’s up film for personal work and digital for commercial stuff. Even when we’re shooting digital, like in this case, our aim in post is to try and bridge the gap with a more filmic aesthetic as much as we can. In terms of visual effects, wherever possible we like to try to work in-camera and in front of the lens. Most of the time it’s a bit of a mixed approach, I guess we use a bit of everything. Lights, props, lens effect filters, software we just try and look them all as tools to help us make the pictures we want to make."

We notice recent work in both music photography and some more fashion inspired, what are your future plans?
" -More music stuff. More fashion stuff. More everything. More anything. Right now we’re working on a new music video for long-time pals Wolf & Cub, a couple more fashion stories and editorial assignments, and a personal art project we’ve been trying to get off the ground forever. After that who knows what’s next."

Art Direction & Photography – SPR/PPL
Model – Kaila Hart @ Chic Management
Styling – Elle Packham
Hair & Make Up – Vanessa Collins
Fashion Credits – Arnsdorf, Friend of Mine, IRO, Just Cavalli, Karla Spetic, Magdalena Velevska

Full story inside post.

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If you own an iDevice and have any interest in game development, then you should probably go get this game right away. In Game Dev Story you play as an owner of a startup company, just about to get your feet wet in the risky business of game development. The adventure begins with your secretary advising you to add a couple of designers, artists and coders to the payroll, then assigning them to a game project where the genre, budget and targeted platform will all be decided by you.

Once the initial meeting is over, the team begins to work on the game for the next couple of months, each member contributing a variable number of points to four important game element stats (creativity, fun, graphics and sound) over the entire course of the project. These points will determine how well your game is received by the press and your fans, but you can also spend more on advertising to hide the shortcomings of your newest title and push up the sales numbers considerably.

The main campaign of Game Dev Story runs over a period of twenty years and spanning the releases of several popular consoles (with slightly different names to avoid copyright issues), although you can continue playing after that for as long as you want and churning out one bestseller title after another. You'll see parodies of nearly every single console from the early 80's until today, including the slightly obscure ones like the PC Engine and Game Gear being available as a platform for you to develop on.

If making money isn't your thing, there is the annual game show award which honors the best games of the year as well. Besides the usual prize money being given out to the winners, the reputation of your game studio also increases whenever a trophy is presented to you for your achievements, so it is a worthwhile cause to chase after if you want the fans to be on the lookout for any of your upcoming games in the near future.

Game Dev Story is available from the App Store for $3.99.

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Remember last week when I said coding was just writing?

I was wrong. As one commenter noted, it's even simpler than that.

[This] reminds me of a true "Dilbert moment" a few years ago, when my (obviously non-technical) boss commented that he never understood why it took months to develop software. "After all", he said, "it's just typing."

Like broken clocks, even pointy-haired managers are right once a day. Coding is just typing.

keyright keyboard

So if you want to become a great programmer, start by becoming a great typist. Just ask Steve Yegge.

I can't understand why professional programmers out there allow themselves to have a career without teaching themselves to type. It doesn't make any sense. It's like being, I dunno, an actor without knowing how to put your clothes on. It's showing up to the game unprepared. It's coming to a meeting without your slides. Going to class without your homework. Swimming in the Olympics wearing a pair of Eddie Bauer Adventurer Shorts.

Let's face it: it's lazy.

There's just no excuse for it. There are no excuses. I have a friend, John, who can only use one of his hands. He types 70 wpm. He invented his own technique for it. He's not making excuses; he's typing circles around people who are making excuses.

I had a brief email exchange with Steve back in March 2007, after I wrote Put Down The Mouse, where he laid that very same Reservoir Dogs quote on me. Steve's followup blog post was a very long time in coming. I hope Steve doesn't mind, but I'd like to pull two choice quotes directly from his email responses:

I was trying to figure out which is the most important computer science course a CS student could ever take, and eventually realized it's Typing 101.

The really great engineers I know, the ones who build great things, they can type.

Strong statements indeed. I concur. We are typists first, and programmers second. It's very difficult for me to take another programmer seriously when I see them using the hunt and peck typing techniques. Like Steve, I've seen this far too often.

First, a bit of honesty is in order. Unlike Steve, I am a completely self-taught typist. I didn't take any typing classes in high school. Before I wrote this blog post, I realized I should check to make sure I'm not a total hypocrite. So I went to the first search result for typing test and gave it a shot.

typing test speed (WPM) results

I am by no means the world's fastest typist, though I do play a mean game of Typing of the Dead. Let me emphasize that this isn't a typing contest. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't full of crap before I posted this. I know, there's a first time for everything. Maybe this'll be the start of a trend. Doubtful, but you never know.

Steve and I believe there is nothing more fundamental in programming than the ability to efficiently express yourself through typing. Note that I said "efficiently" not "perfectly". This is about reasonable competency at a core programming discipline.

Maybe you're not convinced that typing is a core programming discipline. I don't blame you, although I do reserve the right to wonder how you manage to program without using your keyboard.

Instead of answering directly, let me share one of my (many) personal foibles with you. At least four times a day, I walk into a room having no idea why I entered that room. I mean no idea whatsoever. It's as if I have somehow been teleported into that room by an alien civilization. Sadly, the truth is much less thrilling. Here's what happened: in the brief time it took for me to get up and move from point A to point B, I have totally forgetten whatever it was that motivated me to get up at all. Oh sure, I'll rack my brain for a bit, trying to remember what I needed to do in that room. Sometimes I remember, sometimes I don't. In the end, I usually end up making multiple trips back and forth, remembering something else I should have done while I was in that room after I've already left it.

It's all quite sad. Hopefully your brain has a more efficient task stack than mine. But I don't fault my brain -- I fault my body. It can't keep up. If I had arrived faster, I wouldn't have had time to forget.

What I'm trying to say is this: speed matters. When you're a fast, efficient typist, you spend less time between thinking that thought and expressing it in code. Which means, if you're me at least, that you might actually get some of your ideas committed to screen before you completely lose your train of thought. Again.

Yes, you should think about what you're doing, obviously. Don't just type random gibberish as fast as you can on the screen, unless you're a Perl programmer. But all other things being equal -- and they never are -- the touch typist will have an advantage. The best way to become a touch typist is through typing, and lots of it. A little research and structured practice couldn't hurt either. Here are some links that might be of interest to the aspiring touch typist:

(But this is a meager and incomplete list. What tools do you recommend for becoming a better typist?)

There's precious little a programmer can do without touching the keyboard; it is the primary tool of our trade. I believe in practicing the fundamentals, and typing skills are as fundamental as it gets for programmers.

Hail to the typists!

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