In case you need something to read on a lazy Sunday morning, here’s some of the stuff i particularly enjoyed reading over the last month:
A couple of things i enjoyed reading last month that i haven’t linked to before:
- Good Manners in the Age of WikiLeaks: Fascinating commentary on WikiLeaks by Slavoj Zizek in the London Review of Books.
- What is at stake in animate design? About the differences between responsiveness and interactivity.
- What Technology Values: Alex Payne on the inherent values and biases of technology.
- Master of Play: The New Yorker profiles brilliant Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing that the author obviously isn’t a gamer himself…
- 25 Years of Digital Vandalism: William Gibson on the history of digital vandalism.
- The disposable academic: The Economist on the sorry state of postgraduate education.
- Suitably dressed: The Economist explores the history of the lounge suit in celebration of its (probably) 150th anniversary.
- The internet of hype: The Economist takes a critical look at the internet of things. (Yes, that’s a lot of Economist this month…)
- The End of Men: Seemed a little one-sided, but an interesting read. Made me wonder about short-term goals vs. long-term effects in gender equality policies. I was quite surprised when i noticed at the end that the author is a woman…
- If you didn’t blog it, it didn’t happen: If you think back a few years, it’s funny how weblogs are considered a bastion of good long-form writing these days.
- The Boy Who Stole Half-Life 2: Eurogamer retells the story of the hacker who stole the Half-Life 2 source code that eventually leaked on the internet.
- Virtual Pop Star Inspires Terrorism: Karley Sciortino was threatened over a perfectly sensible and pretty interesting article about virtual pop icon Hatsune Miku for Clash magazine (also to be found at this link). Crazy people are crazy.
- Science Proves You’re Stupid: Recently i’ve become increasingly aware that my memories are often not very accurate, so this article felt timely. Includes examples of many more cognitive biases.
- Ruin, Space, and Shadow: An Interview with Mike Minola: Geoff Manaugh interviews Hellboy creator Mike Minola.
- My Father’s Final Gift: Aza Raskin remembers his father’s, Jef Raskin’s, final gift.
- How One Man With An Idea And $1000 Made The Global iOS Hit Trainyard: You gotta love these self-made millionaire App Store success stories.
- Bargain Junkies Are Beating Retailers at Their Own Game: I’m pretty sure coupons work very differently here in Austria, or maybe i’m missing something…
- How did WordPress win? Movable Type product manager Byrne Reese shares his opinions on why WordPress won the blogging platform wars.
- The Best Questions For A First Date: I’m glad the OK Cupid guys continue with their statistical analysis of online dating behavior after their recent acquisition by match.com. “Do you like the taste of beer?” is now probably the most asked question on first dates.
January was very busy, so i didn’t get much reading done unfortunately. Here are some of the pieces that stuck out, in no particular order:
Happy new year! Herewith, again, a list of things i particularly enjoyed reading in the last month, for your lazy sunday morning perusal:
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…
In case you aren’t busy enough already: Give Me Something To Read Best of 2010, a collection of great long form articles.
I’m reading William Gibson’s latest novel Zero History and it’s a great book. I had just finished reading Spook Country prior to picking up Zero History (i didn’t enjoy that one as much as Zero History, or Pattern Recognition for that matter), and many protagonists from Spook Country return in Gibson’s latest novel, so they feel familiar. I had also read tons of commentary, reviews and interviews with the author before picking up Zero History, which makes for interesting reading, because i’ve been familiar with its themes and general plot way before turning the first page. Reading it now feels like filling in the missing pieces. Having read all the commentary beforehand makes the book seem almost mundane in certain parts, and i don’t mean to denigrate with that because i’m still enjoying it tremendously.
My favorite piece of commentary is James Bridle’s piece on Network Realism, which seems to be quite fitting for my reading experience:
Network Realism is writing that is of and about the network. It’s realism because it’s so close to our present reality. A realism that posits an increasingly 1:1 relationship between Fiction and the World. A realtime link. And it’s networked because it lives in a place that’s that’s enabled by, and only recently made possible by, our technological connectedness.
Zero History is Network Realism because of the way that it talks about the world, and the way its knowledge of the world is gathered and disseminated. Gibson seems to be navigating the spider graph of current reality as wikiracing does human knowledge.
I wonder how this kind of book will age. Which reminds me that it’s been quite some time since reading Pattern Recognition, so i might just as well find out myself once i’m done with Zero History.
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.