Some noteworthy things i particularly enjoyed reading in November:
- What we can learn from procrastination by James Surowiecki.
- Program or Be Programmed: Douglas Rushkoff on choice. The third chapter from his new book Program or Be Programmed.
- All Natural: Why Breasts Are the Key to the Future of Regenerative Medicine
- An Interview with Stanley Kubrick (1969) by Joseph Gelmis: Worth reading for the plot outline of 2001 in Kubrick’s words alone.
- Open User Interfaces Suck: An argument that open development processes are detrimental to user experience. I tend to agree with that.
- Rest in Peas: The Unrecognized Death of Speech Recognition: Interesting overview of the field. I’m pretty sure speech recognition owes a lot of its popularity to Star Trek.
- Lessons from the Chewbacca Incident: Michael Heilemann analyzes the number and reading behavior of visitors from several high profile aggregators and hubs.
- The Way We Live Now – Achieving Techno-Literacy: Kevin Kelly on home-schooling. I found his definition of techno-literacy and its importance in education very insightful.
- The Case of the Vanishing Blonde: A woman disappears from her hotel room to be found hours later, raped and left for dead. When the woman sues the hotel, a private investigator starts digging… Just great reporting on a true crime story.
- Me and the Wii: Chris Hecker shares his experience in talking with press. A cautionary tale.
- Burning Home: A short story by Tim Maly, who curated the 50 posts about cyborgs project.
- Moving up the stack: On our changing priorities regarding technology with growing age. I like the term “grown-up computing”.
- Developers don’t rush to new platforms: Marco Arment on the fallacy that if you build a platform, the developers will come automatically.
- The Mac App Store isn’t for today’s Mac developers: Marco Arment thinks that the Mac App Store will lead to a huge influx of new Developers to the Mac. I wouldn’t find that surprising at all.
- The Escapist on the Philosophy of Game Design, in four parts: one, two, three, four.
- Book review: Form+Code: Regine Debatty reviews Form+Code, a book about creative coding in design, architecture and art.
- The Problem With Microsoft’s New Way To Play Video Games: A critical look at controller-less gaming.
- How Wii and Kinect Hack Into Your Emotions: Wired on the emotional qualities of embodied interaction.
- Cataclysm coming…: The Shattering has already changed the face of Azeroth forever, and the Cataclysm is about to come in a few days. Tom Chatfield explores the significance and implications of Cataclysm for WoW players, Blizzard and the games industry for Boing Boing.
- Why Don’t We Finish More Video Games? I’m terrible at finishing video games and always have been. Right now i’m forcing myself to finish all the Xbox 360 games i bought last year before i allow myself to buy any new ones…
Some of the things i particularly enjoyed reading in the last month:
- How Elon Musk Turned Tesla Into the Car Company of the Future: The story of the car start-up that jump-started the electric car revolution. The Model S looks great.
- Dawn of a New Day: Ray Ozzie bids good bye to Microsoft. It’s funny how whenever someone talks about the future of cloud computing i can’t shake the feeling that Larry Ellison was just way ahead of the times in the mid-nineties.
- A Tech World That Centers on the User: Adapted from Nick Bilton’s new book “I Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works”. “When people want to know how the media business will deal with the Internet, the best way to begin to understand the sweeping changes is to recognize that the consumer of entertainment and information is now in the center. That center changes everything. It changes your concept of space, time and location. It changes your sense of community. It changes the way you view the information, news and data coming directly to you.”
- The Most Popular Phone in the World: Hint: They are not talking about the iPhone.
- 3-D Printing Spurs a Manufacturing Revolution
- The Story So Far: Indie game developer Matt Rix on the making of his game Trainyard.
- Visualizing the Creative Process: Brilliant illustration of the creative process by Dan Cook.
- The State of the Internet Operating System: This one’s old, but i had not gotten around to reading it until now.
- The Web Means the End of Forgetting: I’m not quite convinced that the loss of “forgetting” is an inherently bad thing, but i’m sure it will take some time to adapt, both as individuals as well as a society.
- Why Warhammer Failed: The title says it all.
- Scholars Test Web Alternative to Peer Review
- The Data-Driven Life: The article presents an interesting argument that data analysis can be a viable alternative to psychoanalysis when it comes to making well considered and measured decisions in our life, without trying to understand ourselves. “When we quantify ourselves, there isn’t the imperative to see through our daily existence into a truth buried at a deeper level. Instead, the self of our most trivial thoughts and actions, the self that, without technical help, we might barely notice or recall, is understood as the self we ought to get to know.”
- A chat with Microsoft Principal Researcher Bill Buxton: Part one, two, three.
- Tuning Canabalt: Some good advice on being lenient toward the player that i completely agree with.
- What is data science?: Nice general overview of the field and its tools.
Previously & previously.
I’m a huge fan of Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s The Sunday Papers features and i also enjoyed doing the Reading List after my vacation in August, so i figured i might as well try my hand at turning something like this into an ongoing, semi-regular feature.
So here it is, the September Reading List. A selection of noteworthy articles that i’ve enjoyed but not written about during the last month (with bits of August thrown in for good measure):
- My piece on iPad magazines for Icon’s September 2010 issue. Matt Jones of BERG (who created the Popular Science iPad app) writes about the future of digital magazines.
- Secrets of the Little Blue Box: A 1971 Esquire article by Ron Rosenbaum about phone phreaking. Reading this opened my eyes about numerous idiosyncracies of early cyberpunk.
- Grading the Teachers: Who’s teaching L.A.’s kids?: The L.A. Times analyzed which teachers help students learn and which hold them back. It’s interesting how some critics of this analysis claim that standardized tests are a poor metric for a teacher’s performance without questioning the validity of standardized tests to assess student’s performance.
- Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds: Michael Lewis for Vanity Fair takes a look at the greek debt crisis and how it came about. Prior to this article i had not known about the Vatopaidi scandal.
- War Games: Video Games That Bring Afghanistan Home: The New York Times discusses the depiction of contemporary war in modern video games such as the Call of Duty and Medal of Honor franchises.
- How I became a Foursquare cyberstalker: The Guardian demonstrates that as long as you don’t care who you’re stalking, Foursquare can tell you a scary amount of details about arbitrary strangers.
- Transmedia: Entertainment reimagined: Trends and current examples of transmedia storytelling.
- The internet: Everything you ever need to know doesn’t tell you everything there is to know, but it’s a decent start.
- Consumed – Objects with Back Stories: The New York Times looks at early incarnations of internet-of-things services and platforms. Not including Thinglink seems like a curious omission.
- Forking is a Feature: Anil Dash discusses the cultural significance of forking, not just for software development, but other creative endeavors as well.
- Revenge of the nerds: Should we listen to futurists or are they leading us towards ‘nerdocalypse’? The Independent reports from the 2010 Singularity Summit.
- Sex! Hackers! Embellishment! The Inside Story of the Facebook Movie: I remain skeptical about The Social Network, despite reading largely positive things about it.
- Apple Blinks in the Living Room: Can Apple untangle the unwieldy mess of rivaling standards and technologies in the living room? Khoi Vinh doubts it.
- Where Realtime Worlds went wrong, part 2, part 3: Unsparing analysis of what went wrong during the development of APB, by Luke Halliwell, an ex-developer at Realtime Worlds. An interesting study of software development failure.
- Staying Healthy and Sane At a Startup: Basically exercise, diet, meditation, time management. NSR meditation sounds interesting to me.
I spent the last week travelling with no laptop but only an iPad. It once again showed how terrible it is for posting to this website, because i don’t have a proper workflow in place and because it’s terribly difficult to establish your own workflows due to its limitations. There’s no shared file system (somewhat excusable) and copy & paste is functional, but too cumbersome for moving bits from one app to another. I’ll have to figure something out sooner than later, probably something similar to what Warren Ellis describes here.
Anyway, while i didn’t spend much time online, i tried to keep up with my feeds and managed to (almost) catch up with my Instapaper reading list. So here’s a short list of articles i enjoyed or found noteworthy, for your (hopefully lazy) monday morning perusal:
- Initial Thoughts on Oracle vs Google Patent Lawsuit: Interesting analysis and commentary by Miguel de Icaza.
- What Happened to Yahoo: Paul Graham shares his considerations on what went wrong at Yahoo. In short: too much easy money, not enough hackers.
- Documents, Maps, and Files of a Fictional Architecture: Geoff Manaugh highlights an interesting project by architecture students Yuval Borochov, Lisa Ekle and Danil Nagy, who’ve taken a document-centric approach to world building. Architecture Fiction if you will. The project’s website can be found here.
- Maps: Simon Parkin reminisces about Final Fantasy in his life. Snip: “I mean, deep down they function how we want the real world to function, right? There’s a set of rules and, if I follow them and do the right things in the right order, success is kind of guaranteed. That’s true of all videogames, but in JRPGs there’s the story too. They have a set trajectory that leads me out of the bastard confusion of adolescence towards an endgame of maturity and identity and, er, status I guess. And all you need to do to experience that is follow the breadcrumb trail and keep turning the cogs…”
- The Prestige: Starcraft 2 Narrative Innovation: While Starcraft 2’s story might be construed as somewhat archetypical and hamfisted, Kieron Gillen describes how Blizzard is trailing some new ground: they are willing to bend the overall narrative structure of the game in order to make the player character look good and heroic no matter what you do.
- The First Time I Played Doom Was Yesterday: Steven Totillo played Doom for the first time in the week leading up to this year’s Quakecon. It contains astute observations such as “The shotgun is, in all senses, instant puberty, which is to say, delicately, that to obtain it is to have the assumed added potency that a boy believes a man possesses vis a vis a world on which he’d like to have some impact”.
- Yakuza 3 reviewed by Yakuza: Jake Adelstein convinces a few Yakuza to review the videogame Yakuza 3 for Boing Boing.
- Wringing Art Out of the Rubble in Detroit: About Detroit’s growing attraction for artists and creative types.
- Bad Connection: Inside the iPhone Network Meltdown: Interesting look on the challenges that AT&T is facing and the strains this puts on its relationship with Apple.
- Warren Ellis: The death of TV as we know it: Warren Ellis wants to do TV even though it’s dying.
- Don’t Be Ugly By Accident!: You’ve undoubtedly seen this already as it’s been linked all over the place last week, but just in case you haven’t – OKCupid casually informs us that iPhone users have more sex than Blackberry and Android users (don’t get me started on cause and correlation). Also: Panasonic Micro Four Thirds take the most attractive profile pictures.