• "The film Nearness explores interacting without touching. With RFID it’s proximity that matters, and actual contact isn’t necessary. Much of Timo’s work in the Touch project addresses the fictions and speculations in the technology. Here we play with the problems of invisibility and the magic of being close." God, I work with brilliant people.

Dot Game Heroes

15 September 2009

From Software’s forthcoming 3D Dot Game Heroes. Isn’t that just beautiful?

  • "Google Docs offers an undocumented feature that lets you embed PDF files and PowerPoint presentations in a web page. The files don't have to be uploaded to Google Docs, but they need to be available online." Ooh, that's useful.
  • "I’m unfamiliar with a lot of the songs we do, and though I get to know them pretty well during the testing process, I rarely have a chance to get sick of them thanks to our relentless schedule. So when faced with a year of testing 45 very familiar songs for The Beatles: Rock Band, it seemed inevitable that I’d end up a Stones guy when the project was through. Then, last night at the company release party, I hung out in front of an Xbox with some thirty coworkers and sang along to Beatles songs for over four hours at the top of my lungs. When I woke up this morning, I actually yawned blood." Well done, Dan.
  • "I've developed a habit of delivering a drum solo at the beginning of every Rock Band track — just a little wailing away while the song cues up. It's a way of making the songs mine. You can't do that in The Beatles. Hit a drum pad before the song starts, and nothing happens, because that sound isn't on the original recording… More important, it's the game's way of making sure that you don't dare mess with perfection! I'm not a huge fan of that attitude. Past — and, technically, current — Rock Band games are about engaging with the music on an equal level. This game, though, is a ball-washing of the highest order. Maybe the Beatles are more deserving of such treatment than any other band, but I don't think any band deserves that treatment. Not now that I've seen the alternatives." Mitch Krpata on his problems with Rock Band: The Beatles.
  • "The Beatles: Rock Band is the total opposite [of Rock Band 2]. The "characters" are untouchable, and the tracks don't even toss you a freestyle section. Your only choices are to get the song right, or not. Sure, it's a cliché that most videogames make you save the world, but at least in those games, you know you're needed. I've never felt less important in a game than this one." Chris Dahlen makes an excellent point in the midst of his excellent (and otherwise uniformly positive) review of The Beatles: Rock Band for Pitchfork.

Goodbye, ETech

06 September 2009

Since its inception, ETech has been a vibrant gathering of the alpha geek tribe, bringing together some of the most innovative people and projects across the technology community. So it’s with regret that O’Reilly Media has made the difficult decision to discontinue ETech in 2010.

I only went once, but the lineups at ETech never ceased to impress and excite me. Recent years always looked particularly awesome: genuinely emerging, futuristic, and an understanding of “technology” that stretched far beyond the web. The ripples from that conference each March stretched far into the year ahead, even for those of us who couldn’t always go.

Hopefully, we’ll find somewhere else to highlight the genuine outbreaks of the future that we all so dearly need (and, I’d imagine, desire). The tech community is in a different place – and state – from when ETech began all those years ago, but there’s always more future to be pointed to and illustrated.

Links & notes for this month