Thursday, March 30

A short, sweet nugget from a founder of Brunching Shuttlecocks

Lore Fitzgerald Sjöberg of brunching fame is writing a regular collum for Wired online. I will quote from this week's entry, which contains a high density of truth.

3. More Grav Guns

Let's be honest here, game developers. There are maybe three of you who are working on new game ideas. The rest of you are just combining turn-based sandbox squad shooters with extreme sports party RPGs and wrapping it all in a Shrek license. I know you rip off all your ideas, you know you rip off all your ideas, so let's get down to it: Rip off the Grav Gun from Half-Life 2. I just got a chance to try out Half-Life 2: Deathmatch and it was not only like finding God, it was like finding God in an inexpensive but excellent Asian-food restaurant that always has a table open. Now I require the ability to throw a toilet at my enemies in every single video game in existence, including the Bible quiz games. Especially Bible quiz games.

I have no idea what he's talking about, not being a huge gamer myself, but dang if that doesn't sound fun.

Monday, March 27

RIP Stanislaw Lem

The seminal Science Fiction writer died today of heart problems at age 84.

He lives on in his work.

Friday, March 24

What You Really Own

In his most recent blogpost, Raymond Chen thirdhands an expression I now fourthhand to you:
you don't really own anything you can't carry at a dead run while firing an AK-47 over your shoulder.
Ha ha, we think; how glib. But what about data? One thing you can carry at a dead run while firing an AK-47 over your shoulder is passwords, and the mobile phone in your pocket -- you know, the one with more compute power and local storage than the entire WORLD 35 years ago -- probably doesn't slow you down that much. Not to mention the fact that, as long as the war you're in the middle of isn't global, you probably have some safe (virtual) place to store a bunch more bits. Greg Papadopoulos, in a spiel I attended, made the analogy between data storage and money storage. Nowadays, it's totally obvious that the safest place for your retirement nest egg is a bank and not your mattress. But not only was that not always the case in the past, but it took people's perception a bit of time to catch up to the reality that yes, banks are safer. Not always more convenient, but safer. And the money's no less yours for you not having actual specie in your posession.

And the same thing goes for data, we just don't all know it yet.

Tuesday, March 21

Charlie's Diary

Charles Stross on his new novel:
"Being inclined towards crazy stunt performances, I'm planning on writing 'Halting State' on my mobile phone. This is technologically feasible because the phone in question has more memory and online storage than every mainframe in North America in 1972 (and about the same amount of raw processing power as a 1977-vintage Cray-1 supercomputer). It's a zeitgeist thing: I need to get into the right frame of mind, and I need to use a mobile phone for the same reason Neal Stephenson used a fountain pen when he wrote the Baroque cycle."

As I just mentioned to a close friend, not one of Charlie Stross' books has failed to break my head open and induce at least one thousand-yard-stare "Oh. My. GOD." moment.

Friday, March 10

Shirky on CMOMENTS ON THE INTERNETT!111!11!!! -- good stuff.

Clay Shirky gave a talk on moderation strategies at ETech. The following quote grabbed me:
Social software is the experimental wing of political philsophy, a discipline that doesn't realize it has an experimental wing. We are literally encoding the principles of freedom of speech and freedom of expression in our tools. We need to have conversations about the explicit goals of what it is that we're supporting and what we are trying to do, because that conversation matters. Because we have short-term goals and the cliff-face of annoyance comes in quickly when we let users talk to each other. But we also need to get it right in the long term because society needs us to get it right.

Heady stuff.

Tuesday, March 7

How to convince the Japanese to Stop Smoking

Writes the band Cake on their update website,

Are you trying unsuccessfully to quit smoking? Perhaps this Japanese argument against smoking will help you.

I love it. There are pages of these zen-like, haiku-like, stirringly poignant, puzzling, and beautiful anti-smoking ads. Here's another one of my favourites. And here are the rest.

Monday, March 6

Death Cab for Cutie

I mentioned to my illustrious co-blogger today that I'd listened through a Death Cab for Cutie album today (We Have The Facts And We're Voting Yes, if you care) . He expressed surprise that I was listening to pantywaist indie girlman music, and my reply was that although they do make pantywaist indie girlman music, they make very listenable pantywaist indie girlman music. Which (far from it!) I am not above. I'm not even sure it's something that you can be "above". From one listen through, I'd put their sound at Weakerthans Only Less Maudlin And More Twee.

Pharaoh mentioned that he'd judged that particular book by its cover, and avoided the music of Death Cab for Cutie because they had a clever name, and that clever names are -- his words -- Signposts for Avoidance. He'll check them out now though, on my recommendation.

BAND NAME ALERT: Signposts For Avoidance is not a bad Clever Band Name. heh, neither is Clever Band Name (though it's taken). meta-heh, so is Band Name Alert!