• "Modli warned his listeners to be ready with their cassette recorders, then waited to see the response after he played the screeching and wailing tape into the ether. Soon he began receiving excited calls from his audience, who said they'd been able to load the program – a routine called 'Paginator' – onto their computers. But not everyone was impressed, notably the station heads. "They thought it was a scandalous event!" says Modli. "I had a big problem explaining to them that it was a revolution in radio and they should be proud."" Lovely piece of reporting, with some great tidbits, about Yugoslavia's own little z80 kit-computer from the early 80s.
  • "We always knew Magic: the Gathering was a complex game. But now it's proven: you could assemble a computer out of Magic cards." Oh lordy. Via Aanand, this proof that you can make a Turing Machine out of Magic The Gathering.
  • "Perhaps the best Wii idea of all, and one too little copied in other consumer electronics, was that the device itself lit up when something important had happened to it. If a friend sent you a message or if a game needed an update, the system would start emitting a blue glow from its disc drive. You didn't have to turn the Wii on to know something was ready for your attention; the device's light pattern showed it. Most inert consumer electronics do nothing like this, which is a pity. What a disappointing failure that we don't have more electronics that make themselves useful even while they are more or less turned off." Steven Totilo's farewell to the Wii is full of some lovely thought and analysis – as well as great game write-ups – but this in particular bears repeating. (It drove me mad, but, still).
  • "Modern creatives who want to work in good faith will have to fully disengage from the older generation’s mythos of phantoms, and masterfully grasp the genuine nature of their own creative tools and platforms. Otherwise, they will lack comprehension and command of what they are doing and creating, and they will remain reduced to the freak-show position of most twentieth century tech art. That’s what is at stake." Loads of good stuff in this Sterling essay, but this is the leaper-out for me: the reminder – as I fervently behave – about truly understanding the things you work in. And in this case: the reminder that all the old metaphors of computation are rarely true. Computers are not intelligent; they do not see or hear. But nor are they stupid, blind, or deaf. They are just other.
  • "It’s hard to believe that there was a time when any of these weren’t conventional wisdom, but there was such a time. Unix combines more obvious-in-retrospect engineering design choices than anything else I’ve seen or am likely to see in my lifetime.

    It is impossible — absolutely impossible — to overstate the debt my profession owes to Dennis Ritchie. I’ve been living in a world he helped invent for over thirty years."

  • List of all 58 fonts now in iOS, mainly for reference. (Although, eesh, Zapfino AND Papyrus? Really?)
  • Critical, critical, to the world we live in today.
  • "And all this time I can’t help thinking that this was because I’m working with games. If I was a fimmaker, this is issue would never crop up. But games have to constantly defend their status as a way of creative expression. When creating games, you are by default suspected of either selling out or producing nothing of value what so ever. Or both." Seriously, Vimeo need to sort this out: it's embarrassing, and contrary to the messages they send out.
  • "I wanted to talk about the Occupy $CITY movement here (in fact, that’s where this post started); a protest movement that is not about the event, or the movement through the city, or even the disruption per se. It is protest as part of the fabric of the city; a constant questioning and reassessment of a conversation with both the fabric of the city physically, economically and politically; taking the concept of Wall St and Main St and making it suddenly concrete, forcing a conversation to take place."
  • "If this doesn’t seem like a big issue imagine the state of cinema if film students were only able to study films made in the last two decades? Or if English Literature students no longer have the ability to examine the works of Shakespeare or Twain? What might be lost?" Seriously, companies: stop turning servers off. Processor power is cheap.
  • "Q: I don't imagine that a design meeting with Takahashi is a typical PowerPoint affair.

    A: He has singlehandedly invented the animated GIF as the design spec. It's fucking hilarious." Animated GIF as design spec. Superb. (And: nice interview with Stuart Butterfield about Glitch).

  • Lovely trailer from BBC America for Law & Order UK. Sadly, it illustrates roughly what the British trying to make American-style procedural drama looks like. Lots of slamming things down. And tea. (Although: they don't know what "knackers" means, clearly.)
    (tags: culture tv bbc )
  • "The iPad is an intensely personal device. In its design intent it is, truly, much more like a "big iPhone" than a "small laptop". The iPad isn't something you pass around. It's not really designed to be a "resource" that many people take advantage of. It's designed to be owned, configured to your taste, invested in and curated." On the assumptions built into devices, and what understanding them requires.
  • "Ships will subscribe to the service through a third party, and receive the latest copy of the book when they dock at port. They tear out each page, and apply the relevant changes to their paper maps with a pencil and transfer paper. They’re paper map diffs, if you like." Awesome. And, as Tom said, it's a beautiful book.
  • "Here at the Cow Clicker ranch, we've learned an important lesson about cow clicking: people don't just want one chance to click a cow every six hours. They want as many opportunities as possible to click a cow every six hours." And then Ian launches the API. And Connect. And everything else. And wins again.