A 12-Year-Old Explains the Information Age to Her Mother

I don’t know what kind of stories you’ve heard from your friends or the ladies in your book club. Sometimes, old people will spread around what they’ve heard from other old people. This can make things even more confusing and scary. That’s why it’s important you get the straight facts from me.

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: A 12-Year-Old Explains the Information Age’s Facts of Life to Her Mother.

Interview at The Age of Glass | booktwo.org:

There are still a lot of arguments against e-books and they’re all about the physicality of books. The truth is that books are essentially not physical object, but temporal ones. [...]

Books exist not only in space but in time: they are avatars of the writing and reading process. All that time that the writer spent working on it, weeks and months at their desk; all the time you spend with it, where you go with it and how it changes you. These are the essential qualities of the book; not the number of pages or the type of binding.

Ebooks free literature of the need to fulfil some unrelated requirements, but of course they introduce a whole bunch more. We haven’t figured out what to do about covers yet, for example: we need something to represent and sell ebooks—we need a way to show off our bookshelves and flirt with people in cafés—but the fact we’re still designing “covers” seems… odd.

Ebooks also introduce the possibilities of new behaviour: new ways or writing, reading, sharing, annotating and experiencing. We can only learn about and indulge these if we’re able to let go of some of our paper metaphors.

Multi-user iPad

Great piece of concept work for multi-user interfaces on iPad by BERG:

And then, just recently, Fraser Speirs wrote this about the iPad:

The iPad is an intensely personal device. In its design intent it is, truly, much more like a “big iPhone” than a “small laptop”. The iPad isn’t something you pass around. It’s not really designed to be a “resource” that many people take advantage of. It’s designed to be owned, configured to your taste, invested in and curated.

He’s right in some sense: it’s a single user device insofar as you can’t set up multiple accounts. Sharing it with someone else can be difficult because you can’t hide your private data and switching between e.g. different Google accounts is a pain in the ass. At the same time, the iPad feels like the least personal computing device i own, much less personal than my phone or laptop. It feels right to pass it around and to let others use it. It’s very unfortunate that this isn’t better supported on the software side.

Accessible Game Design

These two articles about game design struck a similar chord: Elder Game makes an interesting case that players are maturing, not devolving, when they expect games to be accessible:

As the art of video games matures, players are slowly figuring out what is fun for them and what isn’t. Their expectations are based around that. When they want to play a difficult game, they expect it to be difficult in “fair” ways… not “unfair” ones.

Clint Hocking argues that game designers have matured as well in service of making games more accessible:

We were too long handcuffed by a wrongheaded desire to protect the coherence of the fiction of our game worlds, and this made allowing players to play co-op games difficult. But our shifting cultural perceptions have loosened those bonds. [...] If the system you contrive to protect your fiction is so complicated that it stops people from playing, you’re doing it wrong.