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

30 January 2010

Macmillan vs Amazon, Round One

According to Huffington Post, after the iPad launch Walter Mossberg cornered Steve Jobs to ask a pertinent question: Mossberg asks why users would want to shell out $14.99 for an ebook on the iPad, when they can buy ebooks for Amazon’s Kindle for $9.99. Steve Jobs’ retort: ‘Well, that won’t be the case.’ Mossberg presses him on whether that means Apple’s prices will go down, or Amazon’s will go up, to which Jobs offers a cryptic, non-committal, ‘The prices will be the same. ... Read more

28 January 2010

Why the iPad is awesome

The world has been crying out for a $500 e-book reader and the chance to read books on an LCD. Nobody reads books outdoors, so a screen I can’t read outdoors is perfect. Nobody listens to music or has IM running while browsing the web, or edits documents with a web browser open. The lack of multi-tasking brings back the joys of the authentic 1984 Macintosh experience. Look, if I really want to listen to music while I’m working, I’ll use my iPod. ... Read more

21 January 2010

Reflections on a Macless month

On December 23rd, my MacBook Pro died. The screen started flickering, and the entire graphical layer died. The underlying Unix system was still responsive, and I could SSH in, but that was it. Rebooting the machine, it would run for a while, then die with the same fault. I used rsync to create a full backup–I already had a Time Machine backup, but better safe than sorry. After a couple more reboot cycles it stopped booting entirely. ... Read more

7 January 2010

Myself, and other myths

I just watched a BBC documentary, Horizon: The Secret You, about recent results in the scientific study of consciousness. There were three experiments discussed in the program which seemed to me to be particularly key. The first experiment was carried out at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. It involves having the subject wear a stereoscopic VR helmet attached to two video cameras. Using this simple apparatus, the subject can be given an out-of-body experience, without drugs or meditation. ... Read more

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