trenchant.org

by adam mathes  ·  subscribe  ·  RSS  ·  archive

Projections

“Who are you going to pick?”

“Holographic projections of my imaginary friends.”

“How’s that going to work?”

“I don’t know. I’ve got time to hack something together.”

Bedside Keyboards

Usually I look back at the decade when I used a laptop in bed as barbaric.

Then sometimes I change my website so the backgrounds are javascript programs and I want to edit it but I’m already in bed so whoops.

Sent from my iPad.

Now More Pixelated

There’s pixels from my (abandoned, indefinitely on hold) pixodes project in the background of everything because it all just seemed too boring.

Also somehow it’s 2014 and browsers don’t know how to do nearest-neighbor scaling reliably anywhere so that was more complicated than I thought it would be.

To Follow, Please Enter Your Name And Photograph

Life was so much simpler when readers were just IP addresses.

13

Happy birthday trenchant daily.

Seems only yesterday I was self-importantly exiting the weblog community and now that’s not even a thing that makes sense!

Progress.

I mean, it’s not really a thing that made sense then either.

And it doesn’t really seem like yesterday. It seems like really a long time ago.

The point is I’ve been able to view the sunset while driving home along 280 this week, this site still exists, and that’s good.

2013 In Gaming

I feel like maybe I missed something important in gaming in 2013. I bought a lot of games but had few memorable gaming experiences, and I think my “play and reasonably enjoy and complete” over “total games bought” ratio was lower than normal. But there were some good ones - here’s what I played and enjoyed in 2013.

Highly Recommended

AntiChamber

AntiChamber

The M.C. Escher / non-Euclidean first-person puzzle masterpiece is easily my game of the year.

Frank Cifaldi remarked in a recent Insert Credit that AntiChamber could only be done in a game. You can’t express what that game expresses in any other medium, which is rare and beautiful and special.

Another World

Another World (20th Anniversary Edition) is one of those Amiga classics I never played since my knowledge of the Amiga canon is non-existent. The difficulty level doesn’t hold up, but thankfully they’ve included a more modern “not insane” easy mode that I could tolerate. The art, plot, pacing and environment of this game have stood the test of time and it’s incredible. It’s also just nice to see that some games are going to hold up decades later - we do have important pieces in this medium to consider over time.

Papers Please

Papers Please a “dystopian document thriller” is genius.

Primordia

Primordia again proves I will reliably enjoy pixel-art filled adventure games from Wadjetetye Games.

Miasmata

Miasmata is a game where you are on a deserted island, desperately trying to figure out what’s going on and create a cure for the disease you’re dying from. And also you have to actually use a map and landmarks to triangulate your position. You can and will get lost. This is a game where you can get lost and have to use a compass and triangulation! And then fall down because it got dark! Love it.

One of the most memorable and exciting game experience I had in 2013.

FTL

FTL I was way late on this and I hate rogue-likes but it’s hard not to enjoy the crap out of this one. If you’ve waited this long you may just want to wait and get it on iPad where it feels like it ultimately belongs.

· · ·

Semi-Recommended

Hotline Miami.

Holy crap this game is way too hard for me and I gave up about midway through then just watched a Let’s Play but it’s good. It’s really good. I respect it. I just don’t have the kind of time and patience to develop the skill it asked of me.

Call of Juarez Gunslinger

Call of Juarez Gunslinger is just super awesomely stupid fun. The entire game is told via flashback, which makes for some interesting twists in gameplay as levels change as his memory “improves” or the listeners question his story. The RPG-elements lead to abilities (slowing time, dodging bullets, etc) that actually are really fun and add something new to the gameplay as you progress.

Shadow Warrior

If you think that trailer is awesome, you will like Shadow Warrior because that is basically what you will get. If you are like “wow I thought they could only get away with that sort of shit in the 90’s” actually they couldn’t, the original was controversial then too. But you are kind of right and should skip it.

· · ·

Meh, Not Recommended, Etc

The Cave - I experienced a game-breaking bug 4 hours in and was so bored and disappointed never went back.

Call Of Duty Black Ops 2 sort of just reminded me that we’ve run out of ideas in semi-on-rails FPS games and need some of kick in the ass (gameplay or technology-wise) to make them fun again maybe. Also, I loved the first Black Ops (which is my favorite COD game that doesn’t have a level where you get no gun and get shot when you run away) so this was sad for me.

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon this weird 80’s pastiche had great ads and media for it but the gameplay was awful, the garish colors got real old in practice, and the performance on my MacBook Pro with Retina Display was unacceptably slow. Also, just not as funny as I thought it would be. Kind of awesome it got made though, I think?

Dust: An Elysian Tale looked really fun but then after about an hour I lost interest and I think maybe I accidentally bought a Metroid for furries game.

And the rest that I’ve decided to not bother writing about because it’s already February and why is this taking me so long to post? Also they weren’t good or memorable or recommended - Book of Unwritten Tales, Strike Suit Zero, Bioshock Infinite, Evoland, To The Moon, Magrunner, Mark of the Ninja, Rise Of The Triad, Signal Ops.

2014

So far I’ve basically just played Octodad: Dadliest Catch and Snatcher so it’s been a good (but time constrained) year of games.

The Lack of Time Media Diet

I’ve gone from an abundance of time to scarcity but find that the constraints often lead to better decisions.

My media diet is drastically different. Healthier in many ways, shockingly unhealthy in others.

· · ·

The constant 24 hour news cycle is gone from my life. I moved to a once a week cycle by reading the Economist on my iPad, but even that is a fading habit.

· · ·

I spend my commutes listening to podcasts, primarily Put Your Hands Together, which records a live stand-up comedy show each week. Sometimes the sets are amazing - sometimes they are so-so, and sometimes people bomb. It’s “real” and refreshing and I love it. It reminds me of when I first discovered stand-up when it was a huge part of Comedy Central programming in the 90’s. But this is rawer - those were generally far more polished sets.

· · ·

My relationship with Twitter is becoming undone, and perhaps a harbinger of my entire view of the personal web. This site’s lack of content being another sad result.

As I was wondering if I had reached an inflection point in my lifetime of a “published self” or if this was just another life stage with a lack of time and distinct priorities, Ian wrote to me:

Feels like I can see a saturation point to “putting oneself on the internet.” Maybe it’s a decade away, but I feel like its arrival is clear?

I responded:

quick answer is it’s already happening we just don’t see it because we’re old. Ie, snapchat.

Then I read this keynote presentation from Evan Spiegel of Snapchat and it seemed clearer.

Internet Everywhere means that our old conception of the world separated into an online and an offline space is no longer relevant. Traditional social media required that we live experiences in the offline world, record those experiences, and then post them online to recreate the experience and talk about it. […]

This traditional social media view of identity is actually quite radical: you are the sum of your published experience. […]

Snapchat relies on Internet Everywhere to provide a totally different experience. Snapchat says that we are not the sum of everything we have said or done or experienced or published – we are the result.

We are who we are today, right now. We no longer have to capture the “real world” and recreate it online – we simply live and communicate at the same time

There is no online and offline world, there is just the world.

(At least until we have VR that is — “better than real life – people will get lost in this and not want to leave” — which feels like it is only a few short years away.)

Happy Holidays from Yahoo Weather

Be sure to shake Yahoo Weather this holiday season if you need more snow or Yetis.

Two Sentence Reviews of New Hardware I Used In November

HTC One

It feels very heavy but the screen is huge! Are they serious about these power and volume buttons because they are really difficult to press.

Nexus Five

So light! Feels unresponsive compared to an iPhone, but you get to stare at a giant screen while you wait to see if your tap registered.

iPad Air

Best iPad ever. Get one.

All New

New place, new job.

New phone, new TV.

New Apple TV.

New toaster. (But all the microwaves are wrong.)

I like California ten times more than before now that I drive along 280. I get it in a way I never have.

Tech Fashion

Personal computers were called “personal” in contrast to their large, mainframe, shared resource predecessors.

But personal computers — desktop computers — are fundamentally impersonal. They are big, standard, functional objects we keep in rooms hidden away.

Smartphones and mobile devices are personal. At launch, Steve Jobs described the iPad as intimate.

We touch the devices themselves, not a separate “input” device. We carry them on our persons.

Mobile devices are personal, intimate, and used in public — the whole package matters. And therefore how these devices make us feel, and what these devices say about you to others matter.

All this adds up to a new reality where fashion matters to a degree the technology industry couldn’t have imagined a decade or two ago.

Apple understands this — or at least seeks to capitalize it — with its recent high profile hiring of former Yves Saunt Laurent CEO Paul Deneve and former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts.

Wearables (watches, glasses, whatever else comes next) will be even more about fashion as these things will be even more a part of how we present ourselves to others.

And this is interesting because as the technology becomes “good enough” to meet the baseline needs as an industry we can’t justify upgrade on function alone. The rapid acceleration of upgrade cycles on mobile devices has made reinvention every year or two a stronger part of the development cycle, and that’s a huge part of what excites people.

People want the new styles. They want fashion in their technology.

Apple’s 5C launch seemed like a first (though not particularly effective) foray into this reality — repackaging the iPhone 5 into a more “fashionable” package rather than just marketing it as “last year’s model” seems like an interesting move.

This new intersection between technology and fashion combined with the quicker release cycle is probably going to yield a lot of interesting developments in hardware and software over the next few years.