Archive for the 'rants' Category

Adding crazy

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Red says:

Life has a way of being crazy.  Even so, sometimes we look around and say, “you know what, I think there isn’t enough crazy here, let’s do something about that,” and then decide to have a baby.

Our first baby is due in about three months, and never would I have guessed how extremely geeky or romantic such an undertaking could prove to be.

First of all, we’ve got all these chemicals going through our brains, making us care more about each other, be more tender toward each other, etc.  I suddenly understand why so many people who get married after knowing each other for a year or two, and then have a baby right away, end up getting divorced after the kids grow up.  First, they have the new relationship energy carrying them, and then they have this biological dependency going, and they don’t have a chance to figure out that they don’t even like each other until all that wears off.  I am so glad Patch and I waited, and let ourselves go through several stages of relationship before adding a kid to the mix, but I am also enjoying this new form of romance.

Second, ZOMG, do you know how much cool geek stuff there is for parents and kids?  My favorite quote from Patch, so far is, “I guess my kid’s too young to make blinky bugs with, since it’s not even born yet.”

Ever since our talks of kids went more from theoretical to reality based, Patch has been working on figuring out which laptop will get a Babybuntu partition.  Sadly, it appears no one has written an official Ubuntu for babies, and with Patch’s schedule, I don’t see him writing one before the kid’s a teenager; but we have been paying attention to other advice on how to involve kids in computer use from day one, though we understand that at at first, “a baby is really just a warm burrito.”

Not to mention how incredibly geeky-cool it is to get ultra-sound images of the developing fetus.  I mean, really!  They do it with sound waves!  Which is about as close as I may ever get to being scanned by a sonic screwdriver.  (Speaking of which: this year’s Dr. Who, Christmas Special, was a spun sugar delight of Moffat-y nonsense that  went down like frosted gingerbread, without the heartburn.  <3 )

What kinds of crazy, romantic geekiness do you have planned for this year?

Chirp: Honesty on the Internet

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Red says:

I just read an interesting article by Eve Simon talking about how to use Twitter for branding.  While she was talking specifically about ways of thinking that apply to businesses using Twitter to leverage a customer/client/user base, if you apply what she says to your personal tweets, you hit upon some of the things I have been thinking about lately.

Historically, the way to approach the Internet was with extreme caution and lots of thought about how to protect your personal information, often even including your real name.  This kind of caution and paranoia comes easily to me, and makes a lot of sense.

About two years ago, one of my major aliases got compromised, and I felt violated.  It was not done maliciously, just thoughtlessly, and I realized that not everyone thought the way I did about security and safety.  With the recent, and not so recent, mess over Facebook’s lack of privacy (which Danah Boyd has expounded upon at length with a great deal of thought and intelligence), privacy on the Internet, what it means and what rights individuals have to it is the question du jour.

Bear with me, but my next step is theology.  I was raised Quaker, with the associated beliefs in integrity, equality, peace and simplicity — which doesn’t gel with paranoia or falsely representing myself.  Two years ago, I wouldn’t have said I was falsely representing myself by having an alias; after all, I am the same person under all the names I use, and I maintain integrity under all of them.  But with all the thought about privacy issues, I’ve had to consider my different personas.

Even when I write or meet people under my own name, I have different things which I feel are appropriate to disclose depending upon my audience.  I am different people at family gatherings than I am with friends, and different again with co-workers or students.  Those differences translate to virtual space, though with a different set of splits, and I am an egoist on Myspace, a series of obscure non-sequitors on Facebook, and an artist on Twitter.  I know who my cross-over readers are, and I draw parallels in the different virtual mediums tailored to them.  I am honest in all, but selective.

And that selective goes back to the first article about building a branded identity on Twitter.  Is there a way to brand as nothing more, less, or different from one’s self?  As it becomes increasingly difficult to hold identities separate from each other, is our world forcing a more complete honesty, a deeper level of integrity upon us?  Will we find other ways to separate the different parts of ourselves despite the gravitational spiral towards transparency that the ever amassing data base that is the Internet is building?  Do we have a right to do so, or a responsibility to work on becoming a unified whole?

Perhaps transhumanism will be as much about unity of the individual as it will be about any genetic and technical modifications we make.  Radical transparency may have as much influence on the evolution of humanity as fire once did.

I find that strangely comforting.

Gaga for Stardom

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Red says:

Lady Gaga seems to be on all the cool kids’ minds at the moment.  “She’s a performance artist,” they say, explaining why they love her, even if her music is cheesy.

So, I go on-line, and watch a few of her music videos, and just don’t get it.  There isn’t anything that makes her stand out from any of a hundred other over-produced music videos.  Puzzled, I let it drop.

And then someone sends me an article, and I finally understand what she’s trying to do.  She wants to be the Andy Warhol of music.  And perhaps she is succeeding.  I must admit that I have never been taken with Warhol either, though now in both I can appreciate that there is thought behind the art.


Harboring Difficulties

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Red says:

Rather, difficulties with Greed Corp. Level 23, Asaphyr’s Harbor (Campaign Mode).

Second to the last level, and I got thoroughly stuck.  I lost a couple dozen times over the course of a week, before deciding to give up and find a hint on-line.  Silly me.  I didn’t find one walk through of this game, and the only reference I to this particular level was another poor stuck person, asking for help.  Okay.

No way was I going to stop playing this game so close to the end.  I decided to be more analytical in how I approached the problem.  No more, “whee, I’m the Evil Empire crushing this world,” I had to start breaking it down like a computer bug.  What were my bot opponents doing, and how was it better than what I was doing?

Warning: only read below the break if you want the play by play of how I figured out this level. (more…)

Too Much Combat

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Patch says,

Premise:  there’s too much violence in video games.

(There’s also too little sex and profanity, but that is a topic for another post.)


Meta this dimension

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Red says:

(Mini rant warning.)

Over at the MetaPlace forums, there seem to be a mixture of people excited about utilizing the coming tools, and people who really think that the future of on-line gaming, and on-line metaverses is necessarily 3D. This is an attitude I run into a lot, and I really must disagree. Though humans live in a three dimensional world, I would not say that they require those same dimensions in every aspect of their lives, especially not on the Internet.


Pretty People

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Patch says,

One of the things that puzzles me about countercultures is how conservative they can be.

Science fiction and fantasy, for example, is consumed mainly by people who live at least a little bit outside the norms of society. A lot of sf&f fans are socially awkward and out of shape; they’re the people who were picked on by the pretty and the popular in high school. They could be classified as part of a “geek” counterculture.

And yet science fiction and fantasy art and literature is suffused with images of “pretty people” — the fit, socially gregarious sorts with perfect bodies and outgoing personalities that are just the sorts of people that used to walk all over the people consuming said art and literature. (more…)

Rant: Boring Game Tutorials

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

Dear Game Designer Who is Unwittingly About to Push my Gamer Rage Button,

Game manuals are boring to read, this is true. But taking the content of your game manual and scattering it amongst the NPCs in your game world, making it accessible only in agonizingly slow chunks, doled out via tiny speech bubbles, diluted with poor attempts at “witty dialogue” … well, that’s not less boring, that’s more boring. It’s not a solution; it’s the direct inverse of a solution. It’s an anti-solution that threatens to blow up your game in a great big 100% matter-to-energy explosion of Boring.


Teaching to the modern world.

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

Red says:

Yes, I have a thing about how games should be moving forward, especially in the skills that they teach. We live in a modern world, where hunting reflexes aren’t necessarily the primary skills we should be learning, yet those are the skills that most video games attempt to teach to, or at least the primitive instincts that video games attempt to tap.

First watch this.

Notice that he’s actually swinging at appropriate moments, and not just flailing wildly? Sure, a kid can learn to play catch, but this kid is learning to play virtual catch. At his age, he’s already learning that there is a correlation between real world actions and the actions of the character on the screen.

Traditional developmental theories say that a child this age should be putting together cause and reaction, (pulling a pillow toward them to get the toy on top of it,) and here is a perfect example of this developmental stage integrated with the technological world that this child will need to survive in. A perfect example of using games as teaching tools in a way that is relevant to our new world.