Archive for January, 2008

Progress on Bump N Jump Control Panel Overlays at This Old Game

Everyone knows that Rich at This Old Game does great work. But today, I get to show just a glimpse into some of the quality steps that Rich takes to make sure that he has great arcade reproductions and most importantly, great buzz in the collecting community which leads to return customers.

On ThisOldGame.com, Rich has a section talking about his current ongoing projects, aptly named “Projects”. You should check it out. From Burgertime and Galaxian to Return of the Jedi and the now well publicized Agent X, Rich has a ton of ongoing arcade reproduction projects that customers have contracted with him to produce.

One of those projects is Bump N Jump control panel overlay reproductions. Today, I have photos showing a little bit of the color matching process and color tests that Rich went through on for the orange on the Bump N Jump artwork.

Bump N Jump Color Matching 1

Here we see the original Bump N Jump sample for color matching, overlaid with a range of orange’s from the Pantone Coated book. If you click on the image, you can see that the closest match to the original burnt orange of the control panel is PMS #1385.

PMS #1385 gives us the breakdown of the different colors mixed to get this shade of orange;

  • 78.8% Yellow
  • 18.2% Warm Red
  • 3% Black
Bump N Jump Color Mixing

Time to mix the colors. Here we have NAZDAR 9700 Series of all purpose screen inks, a 9762 Warm Red, 9724 Black and I can’t see the Yellow. You can also see the final orange mix in the lower left after adding in the correct percentages. I don’t understand how the colors are measured out of the bigger containers, is it with a measuring cup of some sort? Rich is the expert, I am sure he’ll comment and give me some insight about that.

Bump N Jump Color Test 1

As Rich has mentioned in the past, and now I am starting to understand, the inks are slightly transparent, as you can see in the photo above. (Right Half) The inks are laid down on the raw, clear polycarbonate, and then backed with white, (Left Half) which takes away the transparency and makes them more brilliant. In the first test here, the burnt orange is a little too bright.

How does he do test screens? Does he have a little film to apply the colors evenly for testing purposes?

Bump N Jump Color Test 2

Added a little black to the original formula, and the color is “On like Donkey Kong”!

Bump N Jump Orange Film

Now all that is left is to screen the orange. In this photo we see just the orange film. I can’t see the registration marks, but I am sure they are there. Can you point them out Rich?

Bump N Jump Final Laid Color

And here we see the final piece after the orange is laid down. The printing is done on back of the polycarbonate in reverse, not on the front. The back is where the 3M is adhered for application to the games.

The first color laid down was the black with bleeds, and now the second color was the orange laid down on top of the blacks. I had originally thought that there was a white flood laid down first, but that must be paper underneath the polycarbonate on the drying rack, because laying down white first just doesn’t make sense.

Either way, thanks to Rich for an insight into the printing process, and hopefully he’ll continue to have a few minutes here and there to provide more information to those of us that are interested about the process between all of his printing jobs.

So, remember, if you don’t have a printer yet for your arcade reproductions, you will want to look up Rich at Thisoldgame.com

This Old Game Logo

You got it here first, exclusive content about the Bump N Jump control panel reproductions at Rotheblog.com.

Rotheblog had about 7 hours of downtime today

I have been meaning to try to figure out why the newest version of kPicasa doesn’t seem to work on my site. The developer said the most likely culprit is that one of my other plugins is conflicting with the Picasa WordPress plugin.

The main problem, is that I can only test this on the live Rotheblog site. I have been slowly working on getting Xamp installed, so I can do testing locally, but that takes time that I don’t seem to have.

So I came up with the idea today, what if there is a plugin that would reactivate all of the plugins at once, kind of like the feature to de-activate all of the plugins already built into WordPress 2.0+? I know that re-activating all of the plugins is a feature that will be part of WordPress 2.5 in march of 2008, but I can’t wait that long….

So, I found a plugin called “Activate-All” on a website called Mass-Automation. I had been here before, downloading plugins, so I trusted this website right away. I looked through the requirements, version 1.0 of Activate-All works with WordPress 2.0+, that’s me, and I glanced through the comments and I didn’t see anything negative. I did notice that the last comment was in Jan of ’07, but that doesn’t mean anything.

So, I downloaded the plugin, uploaded it to my WordPress install, activated it, and…..white screen!

Oh, Crap!

Now what, I didn’t back anything up before hand….well, don’t panic. Just rename the plugin and everything will be fine. I did that, and nothing happened. I deleted the plugin. Still nothing. Now what?

Well, I spent a ton of time trying to figure just that out. Come to find out as I read through all of the Activate All plugin page, it says lower down that this plugin does not work with WordPress 2.3. Crap. Why isn’t this listed by the requirements, and not in with the rest of the text? It was my fault for not reading further, I am ADD sometimes. But, I digest a lot of information in a given day, and sometimes I make quick decisions based on trust of a website like this one.

So, I contacted the developer and searched the WordPress forums. I also emailed my webhost to see if I could get a backup restored….and I waited. For about 7 hours. The developer of the plugin got into my website with a temporary ftp login, and he fixed it. What a nice guy, he didn’t have to do that at all considering it was my error.

He did say that the problem was the newer version of the kPicasa plugin. Apparently, when I activated “Activate All”, it activated every plugin I had on my site, including ones that I left deactivated while I tried to troubleshoot them. I knew kPicasa was throwing a php error, that is how this whole thing started, my question is, why did Activate All, activate every plugin immediately? Shouldn’t it have added a button for me to control that? Kind of like the “De-activate” all button? So, while I knew a white screen meant a php error, and that kPicasa was causing it, everything basically falls back on the fact that Activate All will trash your site if you use it for WordPress 2.3. Going back to, read everything and don’t be like me….

That is why there was downtime today. It really got me thinking about the responsiveness of my host. I still haven’t heard from him, and it is over 12 hours later. This is just not acceptable of TLCWE.com. Marty Hoskins can be helpful, but lately he has been non-responsive, and even when I do get a hold of him, it can take an hour or so. Granted, he is one guy and he does a good job of answering all support emails, but I am at a point where I need answers quicker, and I would be willing to pay a little more.

So, I am at a cross roads a little bit. I did some research today into Bluehost. I really like what they have to offer, and I may try to get both of my sites switched over to them. Plus, I learned what the terminology Add-On domains means…multiple websites hosted with one hosting account, which is something I really want to do.

For now, things are working again. Thanks for being patient today.

Permalink changes have continued to mess up my blog

Periodically, I have been surfing my own blog, and have found that things aren’t working how they should be.

Like today, for example, I figured out that none of the links in the right hand sidebar would consistently work. It depended what you were viewing, and if you had already clicked a topic, none of the links would work. After I changed my permalink structure a few weeks back, all relative links no longer worked, they have to now be absolute. So, my javascript menus weren’t working because my link to the script file was relative, and subsequently, all of the links in the right side didn’t work because they were linking to relative variables. So, today, I changed the permalink structure yet again, including the month and the year in the path so I could link directly to past months of posts, like I do for my Daily Life section.

So, I apologize to those that have felt like navigating my site lately has been a terrible experience. I need help in finding these problems, and I know there are probably a ton of broken images still….not sure how to find the time to fix those when I have to go one by one. If you see something, visit my contact page and let me know about it so I can get it fixed and be a little less embarrassed as I learn on a live site.

But hopefully, for now, the right side links should work again and I’ll do my best to find any other problems the blog is having.

This month I had 4 Gigs of traffic, and over 2000 unique users. Supposedly:) That is what Cpanel says. I did recently activate Google Analytics, I need to check out what that says for the past week when I was gone to get a more accurate snapshot of my web traffic.

Detroit Tigers Fantasy Camp 2008

Last night I got back from an 8 day trip to Lakeland Florida. For Christmas this year, my mom gave my dad and I a trip to participate in the 2008 Detroit Tigers Fantasy Baseball Camp. 2008 also happens to be the 40th anniversary of when the 1968 Tigers united the city of Detroit from all of the riots and wont he World Series over the proven and formidable Cardinals.

My mom had been planning this trip for us to play baseball with the 1968 Tigers for a year and a half, pretty amazing. She got Sarah involved, and both she and Sarah went to the respective bosses to ask for the extended time off in advance. There were no details spared.

Christmas day, when my dad started to open our special gift, I was pretty clueless as to what was happening. It was kind of like a clue hunt, but the hunt didn’t take us anywhere, we stayed situated in the living room and filled in the word clues with individual wrapped gifts that served only as hints to missing words in the big puzzle.

We opened the final gift, and it was a pamphlet for the camp. I didn’t understand at all what was happening, still…and my dad was shocked, couldn’t believe it, and was getting misty eyed.

So, for me, I don’t know that I had time to let it all sink in. We had the tragic personal events happen over Christmas, then upon our return I worked two long weeks and started classes so my first couple of week in January went by in the blink of an eye.

But once we were down there, I could relax, and it was an amazing experience. I got to talk to some of the stars I watched when I was growing up, and talk to some of the guys that I didn’t know and hear their amazing stories.

I have an album of 150 photos of us in our full away and home Tiger uniforms spanning the whole week, from the initial drills, to scrimmaging and nightly activities, to the tournaments and finally playing the Tigers on the last Saturday.

If you are interested, check it out, click on the photo below. It’s in my public Picasa Photo album, and henceforth, is being pulled into the blog.

Detroit Tigers Baseball Fantasy Camp 2008 for the Rothe Men

Thanks again to my mom for such an awesome gift, to my dad for some great memories and to baseball and the players who play the game and have rejuvenated my interest that sometimes gets shuffled aside when live comes along.

Heath Ledger Passes Away

Heath Ledger Photo
I was shocked to hear about this tragic death. Heath Ledger passed away yesterday….I am just, in disbelief. Of course the jackyl media is all over the story, trying to pin drugs and other fame tortured causes to Ledger’s passing. But you know it has to just be an accident.

What does this mean for The Dark Knight? I won’t add any new ideas to this news story, but you have to believe that Warner will still release the movie, it is too big of a money maker (sad, but true) to not. Too much investment.

And Ledger will be awesome as the Joker. This will be his crowning achievement, or at least I hope it will be regarded as the best role he ever took on over any movie. (edit – content removed)

10 Things I Hate was a fun movie, he was good in Patriot, and as a whole, he was a very talented actor. The media is make these claims that he was “poised” to be the “New Hollywood”, but how can they make a call like that? One thing is for sure, his success would have grown, and Heath is yet another example of “only the good die young”.

Heath Ledger’s death, probably due to an incorrect dosage of medication, reminds me somehow of Brandon Lee, even though the circumstances are wildly different.

This may be great publicity for The Dark Knight. I just hope Warner doesn’t take advantage of the situation and add some sort of label to the movie as a marketing ploy, that it was Ledger’s last film. Especially since we know how much respect Christopher Nolan had for Ledger. Nolan would never allow that, and this whole situation could be even more devastating if not handled correctly.

As a entertainment consumer, I will miss you Ledger.

Pengo Numerals CPO Vectorized!

I got an email about a week ago (January 8th) from Chris. I knew that he had been working on the other Pengo CPO and it was a nice surprise to see that he had finished the final vector details.

Chris had a scan of the Pengo numerals control panel overlay, and he had completely vectorized the artwork in Paint Shop Pro awhile back. I had tried to convert that artwork, to bring it into Illustrator (A couple small things needed to be done, like the lettering and dot gradient and I don’t know PSP), but after a ton of hours searching I had no luck.

Well, in the meantime, Chris went out and taught himself Illustrator and did a bang up job tracing the Pengo CPO in one of his first vectorizing jobs. but he’s a small cookie anyway, he is a MIT grad! Here is a small image of it.

Pengo Numerals Control Panel Overlay Vectors

I am going to email him with some of my thoughts and opinions about some of the accuracy of the details. It might come down to a matter of preference between one artist and another, who knows, but we have had some good theological conversations about arcade reproduction artwork and everything will probably work out alright. Each arcade vector artist will trace something a little differently.

Having most of the Pengo artwork is a great start. We have a vector Illustrator file of Sega’s Pengo numerals CPO finished, sans color matching. As always, continue to follow Rotheblog for Pengo reproduction updates.

Tips – Buying used college textbooks

My first class is Tuesday, Economics 502. I am looking forward to this quite a bit, my first course at the University of Indianapolis evening MBA program. We have been planning and saving for 5 years, and to know that my wife and I together have made this possible means it is a big day for both of us.

I am looking forward in particular, to having my laptop in class. This wasn’t a luxury I had the during my undergraduate coursework, and hope all of my in class discussion and seminar note taking can stay digital.

I don’t have my Economics book (ISBN 9780132289146 Principles of Economics (8th Edition) by Karl E. Case, Ray C. Fair) that I bought early last week on Amazon, I am hoping that I have it before the end of the week so I can stay on top of my reading this weekend. I don’t know that it will be crucial to have for the first class. As it is, when I checked last week for my course material for Business Law 500, the professor hadn’t finished it yet, so I may not have either of my books for either of my classes on Tuesday / Wednesday.

But back to the book topic. When I was in the midst of my undergrad in fine arts at the University of Michigan, I didn’t have a lot of courses that required books, and at the time I wasn’t as resourceful or driven…or something. (I am guessing here. I can’t figure out why I never bargin shopped for my books. Plus, I had a lot of art supplies, not as much in the way of hard covers, so I just attribute that laziness to the fine arts degree.)

Looking for used books was a couple hour ordeal. Not too bad if I don’t have to repeat my search. These were the main places I did a search using the ISBN number for a used Principles of Economics book.

  • Ebay
  • Alibris
  • Amazon
  • Campus Books
  • Half.com

There were a number of good options out there to beat the laughable price of $166 from the U of I campus bookstore. All I had to do was go to the bookstore, get the ISBN number, and search online. I imagine in the future, I won’t need to go into the store. I should be able to get a head start and find the ISBN numbers listed with the course syllabus online a month or so in advance, giving me some time to plan.

I found Ebay to be one of the better sources. I know personally, I would resell my text books on ebay once I am done with the course. What else will I do with them? Take them back to the U of I campus bookstore and get $20 back from my $166?
Everyone knows, with Ebay you can check the users ratings and usually see a photo to check for damage to the outside of the book. At best, most of the listings will only describe the inside, how much highlighting, writing etc, but won’t provide sample page photos. But the main downside to ebay is the auction time – plus shipping. If you are on a tight schedule, this won’t get you your book in time, which was the case for me.

Alibris was a good used book site, but about $20-25 more expensive on average than Amazon’s used book sellers.

Campus Books is a great comparison site and introduced me to other sites that carry the book I am looking for and I will probably visit this one again. But, you have to be careful. College textbooks are big business. People can sell you photo copied pages of the book, international editions, and like I said, books that should be recycled permanently and never reused due to damage. Do your research on each of the sites and their reputation before sending over your hard earned money. This should be a “duh” comment, but some people that are online still don’t get it.

I ended up going on Amazon, and did not opt for the absolute cheapest route, because I don’t want trash. In terms of using the used books section, I don’t like that there aren’t photos with the item, but usually the ratings of the individual stores are rich and plentiful so you can make an educated guess about what you are getting.

Hopefully I can make back about 75% of the cost of my book, that would be sweet. But that would never be the case if I paid $166 in the bookstore. You are an idiot if you do that. You’ll never see that money again, might as well giggle and roll down the window on the way to class, that might be a more fun way to blow that $145.