Books were good at developing a contemplative mind. Screens encourage more utilitarian thinking. A new idea or unfamiliar fact will provoke a reflex to do something: to research the term, to query your screen “friends” for their opinions, to find alternative views, to create a bookmark, to interact with or tweet the thing rather than simply contemplate it. Book reading strengthened our analytical skills, encouraging us to pursue an observation all the way down to the footnote. Screen reading encourages rapid pattern-making, associating this idea with another, equipping us to deal with the thousands of new thoughts expressed every day. The screen rewards, and nurtures, thinking in real time. We review a movie while we watch it, we come up with an obscure fact in the middle of an argument, we read the owner’s manual of a gadget we spy in a store before we purchase it rather than after we get home and discover that it can’t do what we need it to do.
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.