The Commuter Challenge

3 January 2010

The January 2010 Challenge

by CC @ 20:57

The beginning of a new year is traditionally a time for fresh starts, so we’ve decided to make the first Commuter Challenge of 2010 “Amnesty Month”. For this month, return to a previous Commuter Challenge for which you failed to make a submission, and make one now. Whether it was because you didn’t finish before the deadline, or had a great idea but just never made the time to follow up on it, or because you just didn’t have any great ideas until you saw everyone else’s submissions (after which you were kicking yourself) — it doesn’t matter. This is your opportunity to redress the challenge of your choice.

Include with your submission a short essay explaining why you didn’t finish it before, and what’s changed since then. If the truth is too boring to fill even a short essay, feel free to embellish.

The Results

Ryan Finholm

Amnesty Entry for January 2008:

Brian Raiter

Amnesty Entry for January 2007:


  1. Why I Didn’t Finish My Entry The First Time:

    Sadly, I must confess that I actually had the full idea for this entry back in January 2007. There really was no good reason why I didn’t actually follow through. But, the ostensible reason was that, at the time, I didn’t have the first idea how to create SVG files. Lacking that ability, I decided instead to draw the image myself on a large piece of paper, scan it, and then reduce to the size of a playing card. I spent a fair bit of time working out the placement and dimensions of each of the elements on the card, and this proved to be tedious and error-prone. Well before I got to the point of actually drawing anything, I was paralyzed at the thought of making a mistake and having to start over again on a new sheet of paper. I continued to procrastinate, and before I knew it the deadline had already come and gone.

    What was different this time is that I’ve learned not only how to use Inkscape to create SVG files (thank you, Sam Bleckley), I’ve even obtained a copy of the O’Reilly book on the SVG file format. I used Inkscape to work on the initial drafts of all the card elements, but the final SVG file was created entirely by hand in a text editor.

    Admittedly, I still feel a little weird about submitting an entry for a drawing challenge when I didn’t actually draw anything. But this entry, more than any other I’ve created, simply begs to be done as an SVG file. Though only 3 or 4 digits are visible normally, if you examine it in a proper SVG viewer you’ll find that there are actually 12 digits of precision present.

    by Brian — 2 February 2010 @ 05:02

  2. Why I didn’t finish my entry the first time:

    I had actually had this idea for a while, probably since around the time that ludicrous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was introduced in the early 90’s. The January 2008 Commuter Challenge seemed like an ideal time to create such a comic… but the first week of that month I left the employer that I had worked at for six years, flew to New Jersey for a week-long training for my new position, and was quickly swamped with more work travel and training requirements.

    So why didn’t I do it anyway? Why didn’t I work on it in New Jersey, or on the airplanes? Shut up. That’s why.

    I should fess up to a few things about this comic: I did not hand-write any of the text except for the “beetle bailey” in the first frame. And, as is probably already obvious, I got lazy halfway through and photocopied and cut-and-pasted the Sarges and Beetles from earlier frames for all of the Sarges and Beetles in the final three frames, only changing the word balloons and adding Beetle’s grin on the second to last frame. The scan is not very good because the comic wouldn’t fit on my scanner; I had to scan it in four parts and then paste it together in a terrible program that forced me to alter the contrast and brightness separately for each of the four sections.

    by RyanF — 12 March 2010 @ 23:47