11 February 2010

Horses for courses

Last night I dreamed that we got a new pet. A horse. Except it was a micro-horse, about the size of a hamster. It loved to gallop across the floor and jump into my hands. I was a little concerned about how manageable a pet it would be once it grew to full horse size. Since this was one of my dreams, obviously the horse could speak too. I decided that eventually it would need to be an outdoor pet, so I’d better tell it about man’s relationship with horses so that it wouldn’t be surprised. ... Read more

8 February 2010

“Of Parrots And People” by Mira Tweti

Full title: Of Parrots and People: The Sometimes Funny, Always Fascinating, and Often Catastrophic Collision of Two Intelligent Species This is an important book. It’s not an easy book to read, by any means, but if you’ve ever considered getting any kind of parrot as a pet, you need to read this book. (Yes, the author’s real name is “Tweti”, and yes, it’s pronounced “tweety”.) There are estimated to be 50-60 million pet parrots in the USA. ... Read more

31 January 2010

The nightmare scenario

2007: Apple introduces OS X 10.5, with its new quarantine feature. Applications which are downloaded from the Internet now show a warning dialog if you try to run them. At the same time, support is added for code signing, and notes that the user is likely to be bothered with additional dialog boxes and prompts for unsigned code that they don’t see with signed code. Developers are advised that they should sign all code. ... Read more

31 January 2010

Progressive video games, part 2: E-rated PS3 games

LittleBigPlanet (PS3 only) If you’re looking for a kid-friendly game for the PS3, this should be top of your list. Rated E, it provides classic 2D platform game action rendered with state-of-the-art 3D graphics. The ragdoll physics and ability to grab objects are interesting game tweaks, though the automatic switching between layers on the Z axis can be a little frustrating at times. Mostly it’s not a problem with the story levels, because of careful level design. ... Read more

30 January 2010

Progressive video games, part 1

A friend recently commented on the imperialist narrative of most video games: travel to exotic places, meet interesting people, kill them, and exploit their resources. Well, yes, there are a lot of video games like that, ranging from the hundreds of first-person shooters that only an enthusiast could tell apart, to the cerebrally imperialist Civilization series. However, there are also video games which manage to have a more progressive message. ... Read more

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