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Monthly Archives: January 2005

I had a  random friday afternoon thoughtfart while listening to Paul Morley/Strictly Kev’s 1hr remix of ‘raiding the 20th century’.

Listening to Morley‘s* cultural history of the cut-up on top of Kev’s sonic critique made me think how cool it would be to hear Melvyn Bragg and the "In our time" gang’s thursday morning ruminations on, for instance, Machiavelli – cut-and-pasted over mashed-up madrigals.

Putting this fancy to one side for one minute… it made me think of other superlayered participatory critique and knowledge construction – the Wikipedia.

If there were a transcript of "In our time" (is there?) why couldn’t that be munged with wikipedia like Stefan did with BBC news… and what if then new nodes were being formed by Melvyn, his guests and his audience – together, for everyone, every week, and cross-referenced to a unique culutral contextual product – the audio broadcast.

The mp3 of "In our time"  sliding into the public domain and onto the internet archive’s servers, every thursday rippling through the nöösphere reinvigorating the debate in the wikipedia, renewing collective knowledge.

"In Our Time" is great ‘campfire’ stuff – you have The Melv as the semi-naive interlocutor and trusted guide, the experts as authority to be understood and questioned… but it’s only 30 minutes and 4 people… what about scaling it way out into the wikinow?

How good would that be??!!!!

Of course a first step, a sheltered cove, would be to set up "In Our time" with their own wiki for Neal Stephenson Baroque Cycle / Pepys diary style annotations of the transcript and mp3..

The Melv’s own multimedia mash’d up many-to-many mp3 meme machine.

—-
Update: over the weekend, Matt Biddulph showed another example of how powerful mixing BBC web content with web-wide systems might be: with del.icio.us tags extending BBC Radio3’s content. Fantastic stuff.
—-

p.s. from a Bio of Morley found at pulp.net:
"Morley
earns a farthing every time Charlie’s Angels, Full Throttle is shown or
trailed, owing to his contribution as a member of the Art of Noise to
Firestarter by the Prodigy, which features a sample of the Art of
Noise’s Beat Box, used in the film. The pennies are mounting up."

From GameGirlAdvance:

"The interesting thing about war games is that the default state of a
war game is peace. Think about it: what if you started up a multiplayer
game of WarCraft III
and none of the players built
anything but workers and buildings? The natural state of the world is
for the races of WarCraft to peacefully coexist (although you would
eventually run out of resources), and this tranquility is shattered by
player actions.

So the way you make a peace game is to create a world where the
default state is conflict, and the player must act to calm the violence
through a variety of means. That’s the trick: you’ve got to show peace
as something that’s challenging to achieve, not a default state."

I’m currently reading "The Shield of Achilles" by Phillip Bobbit, which certainly underlines that last sentence of the quote.

Clive Thomson wonders if there is an Anti-Carsian conspiracy theory in the games industry…

"In my more cynical moments, I think this whole pursuit of narrative is
the industry’s sneaky way of forcing gamers to buy more products. When
a game has a story that "ends" after 40 hours of play, you have to
throw it away—and go spend another $50 on the next title. That’s
movie-industry logic, not game logic. Chess doesn’t "end." Neither do
hockey, bridge, football, Go, playing with dolls, or even Tetris.
Worse, by selling "narratives," game publishers can cover up the fact
that they rarely create truly new forms of play. In any given year,
I’ll play a dozen first-person shooters with different stories—Save the
world from Martian devils! Penetrate an island full of genetic freaks!—
that are all, at heart, exactly the same game."

From his Slate article, and more at his blog, including his pick of the narratologist backlash against the piece.

dylans1Amazon’s A9 Yellow Pages search has been causing some buzz around the place, some of it from dear curmudgeonly friends suggesting it is nothing new and that there have been many projects like this over the last 6 or 7 years.

I would suggest the difference is not that A9 have not just made the bear dance, but made it tango.

The user-experience of this service is pretty fantastic compared to predecessors – easy-to-use and with plenty of opportunities for users to refine and feeback on the information.

Inviting users to feedback on which is the most useful picture of a business or landmark is particularly clever, and could generate some fascinating insights for students of Kevin Lynch and other academics of urban persuasion!

Also – the Amazon feature of inviting customers to contribute images could lead to a mappr-like photographic annotation of the United States…

dylans2I guess it goes without saying that this  would become a must-have service if it could be ported sucessfully to the mobile phone, especially if you were trying to find places of high digital repute with pretty anonymous physical presences.

p.s. Dylans in San Francisco that I’ve used to illustrate this post is to my knowledge the only Welsh-themed pub in a world overrun by theme pubs centred around our other celtic cousins, the Irish… I went there a couple of times when the SF Sapient office was around the corner, and they gave me free beer for being able to pronounce Llanfair P.G. in full, bless ‘em.

With so many stories in the media about individuals being sued for blogging, and big corporations cracking down on their blogging employees, it’s heartening to find big Euro-ISP Wanadoo have set up Pixelbox for their designers, researchers and developers to share their interests.

From their ‘about’ page:

"We intend to raise the profile of design across the Wanadoo Group,
drawing together design professionals from across Wanadoo’s European
businesses, Orange, France Telecom, Pages Jaunes and the wider design industry. We seek to create a vibrant design
community from these interests – sharing expertise, curating our
knowledge and sharing work, ideas, inspiration and initiatives."

Very cool.

UPDATE: Just found out from one of the designers there who is a friend of ours that they are incentivised for posting to the blog! Her bonus is tied to how much she posts…! Fantastic!!!

When you’ve got a Nintendo DS.  This report on Guardian Gamesblog records Nintendo Senior Managing Director Yoshihiro Mori complaining:

"DS software is not selling because users are playing the pre-installed
PictoChat game. Even if they buy a game, multiple players can use it to
play against each other, eliminating the need for each to buy their own
game…"

Hopefully however, with the right software/services in place, this would come to be seen as a strength, not a weakness of the platform.

I’m lifting this quote direct from Foe’s blog: Phillip Pullman on play and creativity [my emboldening]:

"when we do this foolish, time-consuming, romantic, quixotic,
childlike thing called play that we are most practical, most useful,
and most firmly grounded in reality, because the world itself is the
most unlikely of places, and it works in the oddest of ways, and we
won’t make any sense of it by doing what everybody else has done before
us.
It’s when we fool about with the stuff the world is made of that we
make the most valuable discoveries, we create the most lasting beauty,
we discover the most profound truths. The youngest children can do it,
and the greatest artists, the greatest scientists do it all the time.
Everything else is proofreading.
"

Fantastic.

» The Guardian: Common sense has much to learn from moonshine

I love the premise of the Waag society’s new mobile learning game "Frequency 1550":

"The Amsterdam UMTS-network is interfering with a different time period:
the Middle Age. The city’s bailiff gets in contact with the 21st
century Amsterdam. He thinks the players are pilgrims coming to 1550
Amsterdam to visit a relic: the Holy Host associated with The Miracle
of Amsterdam. He promises an easy access to citizenship if players can
help him retrieve the holy relic which recently got lost."

Although, surely if people from the future are communicating with you through a crack in spacetime made by their futurephones,  I’m not sure offering them freedom of the city would be your first thought.

  » Frequency 1550 [found via We-make-money-not-art]

From Marko:

"Professor Henry Jenkins, the Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is visiting Helsinki and has agreed to give a talk on “Serious Play” as part of the Aula klubi series.

Professor Jenkins will speak on Wednesday 19 January at 6:00 PM at Korjaamo, Töölönkatu 51 b in Helsinki. The event will be held in English and is free and open to the public, so once again, please spread the word!"

The announcement is here from Aula themselves.

Not to be missed if you’re a Helsinki player…


Massive Change… after a couple of goes round in the dishwasher
Originally uploaded by blackbeltjones.

I bought some plastic beakers with pretty op-art infographics on them from the Massive Change exhibit in Vancouver back in October.

After only 2 months normal usage and washing in a dishwasher, they have all developed microfissures through the plastic and one has split completely…

Not much of a testament of the power of design, manufacture and technology preached by Mau in the exhibition…

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