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RIP Android Magazine – My First Print Gig

Well, that was a lot of fun while it lasted. Sadly, Android Magazine is no more, with issue 63 its final edition.

Back in early 2013 I was contacted by then-editor Andy Betts, who had seen some of my Android-related articles on MakeUseOf.com. He was interested in bringing me in as a freelancer, and as I’d been determined to move into print, this suited me just fine.

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Slight Victory of the Former Doctor Who Website Owner

Damn. I really don’t want to keep banging on about this… but things haven’t quite been sorted out with the use of my name at www.kasterborous.com.

What’s worse, I thought things had been fixed… which superficially, they have. The problem is that the solution taken by Kasterborous’ new owners breaches my copyright. Not classy.

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SheKnows Nothing

As technology writing and family life have occupied my time over the past few months, I’ve not really been keeping an eye on what www.kasterborous.com – the website that I setup in 2004 with illustrator Anthony Dry – was up to. I’d assumed that a new editor had been installed and that it was business as usual.

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Staying in Touch with Doctor Who…

Just a few months after quitting Kasterborous, I’ve contributed to the Doctor Who Appreciation Society’s fanzine, Celestial Toyroom, with a post discussing popular conspiracy theories within Doctor Who.

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Time for a Change!

Felt it was time to deliver a more vibrant and professional feel to my site, and bring in a regular blog as well as reference to my ongoing work with MakeUseOf and various Imagine Publishing titles.

It has been 4 months since I completed the sale of Kasterborous.com, thus ending a long chapter in my writing career, and arguably the one that prepared me for the things to come.

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My Latest Ebook: From Print To Kindle And Beyond

I’ve just discovered that my latest eBook, From Print To Kindle And Beyond, has been published. Available through MakeUseOf and on Amazon for Kindle devices, the book draws on my experiences writing and publishing Ultimate Regeneration in 2010-2011.

Your Guide To Self-Publishing. From Print To Kindle And Beyond by Christian CawleyFor me, the process was a massive learning curve.

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Catch My Contributions to Android Magazine!

Although my updates here have been sparse of late – something I hope to remedy soon – I’ve been busy elsewhere.

One organ that has seen several contributions is Android Magazine from Imagine Publishing. I was lucky enough to be contacted by editor Andy Betts through this very website and I’ve been fortunate enough to contribute tutorial articles to issues 23 to 29 to date.

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More from Elite: Dangerous

Now halfway towards the massive total of £1.25 million needed to meet the development costs of Elite: Dangerous and with just under a month still to go, if you haven’t checked out the videos on the project’s Kickstarter page, you’re missing out!

Elite: Dangerous can be backed on Kickstarter

The project appears to be as ambitious as hoped, with the Kickstarter page playing host to a variety of movie clips and stunning stills (like the one above).

Developer diaries, interviews and podcasts are all present, and things are looking extremely exciting – but the project still has only 50% of the required funding.

“Elite: Dangerous” is the latest installment of a long series of epic space games, starting with “Elite” – one of the most successful games of the 1980s.

Fight, trade, hunt your way across a giant galaxy of billions of star systems, starting with a basic starship and a few credits. You can make money from trading goods between the many star systems, by destroying pirate ships (and collecting bounty), or even by attacking traders and collecting their cargo (which in turn will get a bounty on your head!). There will be missions too, and exploration. Most people will do some combination of these things. Upgrade your ship and specialise in one activity – have a trader with a huge cargo bay, or use the space for weapons and maneuverability.

Real Freedom – Go where you like, be what you like – pirate, bounty hunter, trader, assassin, or some mix of all of these.

Trade – Buy low, cross dangerous space lanes, evade or destroy pirates en route, then sell high, if you make the journey!

Fight – Take on the pirates or be one yourself

Progress – Get your pilot rating all the way from “Harmless” to “Elite”

Explore – Head out to the far reaches of space and discover amazing sights

And the best part – you can do all this online with your friends, or other “Elite” pilots like yourself, or even alone. The choice is yours…

The details above paint a picture of a much-wanted update to a much-missed game (responsible for the loss of many hours of many a teenage lad’s life), and the various rewards such as digital newsletters, in-game decals and Commander name reservation (not to mention a copy of Elite: Dangerous) that are available for the sub £30 pledges are certainly worth having.

If you’re interested in seeing a classic game brought back to life, please head over to the Kickstarter page now and help this dream become a reality. We have, because we really want to play it – you should too!

Game Sales Dip – Not the Beginning of the End

Consumer research firm NPD has revealed that annual US video game sales have dropped, despite the strong showing of the latest Call of Duty and Halo sequels.

Call of Duty: Black Ops - massive sales couldn't help the games industry in 2012

According to NPD, the overall drop is due to lower sales on less popular titles.

“Despite an overall retail video game decline of 11%, November had the smallest year-over-year decrease we have seen for dollar and unit sales so far this year,” it said in a statement.

“Overall entertainment software units decreased by 15%, however, when comparing the performance of the top five titles from this year to last, we see a rise in unit sales of 5% – games outside of the top five sold less, leading to overall declines.”

On top of this, November 2012 saw fewer releases than the same period in 2011. However, all is not lost – this isn’t the end of digital gaming, despite what some doom mongers might be claiming. NPD don’t include figures for Steam and mobile gaming, while general belt tightening and high unemployment in the USA could of course be contributing. Add to this the recent release of the Nintendo Wii U potentially holding off potential purchases to gauge reception and even the expected release of the new PlayStation and Xbox consoles in 2013, and you can see that it really is business as usual.

After all, Activision reports Call of Duty Black Ops 2 sold over $1bn (£624m; 773m euros) copies worldwide during its first 15 days of release. And hasn’t the way we play games changed anyway?

Homemade 3D Printed Motorized Transformer!

I’m a big fan of Transformers, ever since I was bought an original Bumblebee back in 1984 and received Hound for Christmas a few months later.

Over the years I got progressively larger Transformer toys, more and more often, a bit like a drug habit, always chasing the next fix. At one point I even owned Trypticon (a rare motorised Decepticon) and have a version of Optimus Prime that features some automation.

However, I was always intrigued by the possibilities of motorized transformation, but it wasn’t something that Hasbro seemed able to bring to the range with any confidence.

Fortunately, I no longer have to imagine what it would be like – thanks to this guy and his 3D printer, neither do you…

Amazing stuff. Altogether now: I want one!

If this doesn’t convince you of the power of 3D printing, nothing will…