• "We have to remember though that we as skaters don’t have any right to land or places or spaces. We just use, abuse and leave them. Spots come and go, concrete chips and becomes more or less unskateable, and tricks change and so we skate other things. Skateboarding is about moving on." Jim, very much a skater, on the South Bank Undercroft, and skating's relationship with the temporary.
  • "I think recognising this – when there is a path from a crisis that involves risk but rewards you hugely – with something you wouldn’t have imagined, is at the very heart of design. It’s certainly an incredible feeling when it works, when the judo-flip flows just so, and you end up somewhere brilliant." Yeah. I really, really need to trust that more when I feel it.
  • "Though adept at mathematics and engineering science, his inventions were all human-centred and focused on the experience and enjoyment of the user. He abandoned his design of a steam motorboat engine, for example, because once he had developed it to rival diesel power it lost its suppleness and "was not a nice thing any more". His car suspensions and the cycle developments were entirely aimed at providing a superior experience for the user. He was very taken, through his association with Bridgestone, with the Japanese sense of the "spirit" of an artefact, reflecting its origins and the care with which it was made. He liked the idea that by seeing and using something one can detect this "spirit", which fitted his own conviction that manufacture and industry are morally rewarding. "Man should make things … Make a profit, of course, but don't take the money gain as the prime judgment."" Great paragraph from this obituary of Alex Moulton.
  • Wonderful article about Hackney – and, specifically, a natural history of the borough as it is right now. The history of social housing throughout the area is particularly interesting; also, I found the distinction between "gentrification" and "yuppification" useful. Ignore the title – it is a meaty piece, with about 2% of it being about hipsters.
  • "…if any one of the participants at the meeting starts to deviate away from the subject, repeat themselves or get a little carried away with their topic, the "Scrum master" presents them with the baseball cap to wear – the idea being to "cap" the conversation at source! This indicates that the person presented with the cap is now prohibited to speak until asked to contribute again, or until the cap is passed to someone else during the course of the meeting." Iiinteresting.
  • "A great deal of what is called `digital art’ is not digital art at all, and it seems many digital artists seem ashamed of the digital.  In digital installation art, the screen and keyboard are literally hidden in a box somewhere, as if words were a point of shame.  The digital source code behind the work is not shown, and all digital output is only viewable by the artist or a technician for debugging purposes.  The experience of the actual work is often entirely analog, the participant moves an arm, and observes an analog movement in response, in sight, sound or motor control.  They may choose to make jerky, discontinuous movements, and get a discontinuous movement in response, but this is far from the complexity of digital language.  This kind of installation forms a hall of mirrors.  You move your arm around and look for how your movement has been contorted."
  • "If I were in London now or in the next few weeks, instead of Frieze I'd probably be getting to these shows." Rod's lists are always good.
  • I've used the Settings plugin a lot, but it's very old and dusty. This is a nice fork of it, ported to Rails 3, and saved for future reference.
  • "In a sense, a child, by definition, shrinks Scribblenauts’ scope. The game’s potential solutions are necessarily limited by vocabulary, so players with a smaller vocabulary have fewer options open to them. But, free of the dry, efficient logic of adulthood, a child’s imagination also opens the game up in ways beyond most adults’ reach."
  • "I am not naive and I am not a fool. I realize that gamification is the easy answer for deploying a perversion of games as a mod marketing miracle. I realize that using games earnestly would mean changing the very operation of most businesses. For those whose goal is to clock out at 5pm having matched the strategy and performance of your competitors, I understand that mediocrity's lips are seductive because they are willing. For the rest, those of you who would consider that games can offer something different and greater than an affirmation of existing corporate practices, the business world has another name for you: they call you "leaders."" Ian's whole article is great, and the comment thread is eye-opening.
  • "Something terrible has happened in our city (and may yet continue to happen). It's damnable, deplorable, heartbreaking. But it is also extraordinary, unusual, bizarre. Slamming the door on it without studying and understanding it is a dangerous and short-term tactic. Allowing yourself to feel nothing but anger, and doing nothing but lashing out … isn't that a little mindless? It would be nice, and useful, if we could ask London "why" without already having an answer in mind." Excellent, sober, cautious writing from Will Wiles.
  • "In this volume, people of diverse backgrounds — tabletop game designers, digital game designers, and game studies academics — talk about tabletop games, game culture, and the intersection of games with learning, theater, and other forms. Some have chosen to write about their design process, others about games they admire, others about the culture of tabletop games and their fans. The results are various and individual, but all cast some light on what is a multivarious and fascinating set of game styles."
  • Lovely little round-up of games about architecture and the urban environment from Kars.
  • This is beyond brilliant. Not because it's More Hard Fun From The Maker Of QWOP, but because it's actually easier than QWOP, and it tickles exactly the same part of my brain that bouldering itself tickled, and it makes brilliant use of finger-gymnastics and the keyboard, and it's marvellous, really. I just want to go home and play it all night.
  • "Deep craft is more than knowledge. It is a set of knowings. Knowing what is likely to work and what not to work. Knowing what methods to use, what principles are likely to succeed, what parameter values to use in a given technique. Knowing whom to talk to down the corridor to get things working, how to fix things that go wrong, what to ignore, what theories to look to. This sort of craft-knowing takes science for granted and mere knowledge for granted. And it derives collectively from a shared culture of beliefs, an unspoken culture of common experience." Craft / scenius / place / knowledge. The W Brian Arthur sounds great, and Matt's point – that building strength in a sector is building culture, and that requires investment in something that won't see immediate returns (rather than "five-year plans" and "strategies") is acute. Very good stuff.
  • Went in sceptical, but this is a very good/solid presentation: the emphasis on going beyond chucking around the adjective "playful" and actually considering what makes (different kinds of) games work, and what they may/may not be applicable to, is spot-on. And a reminder that I'm behind on my reading, as usual.
  • "Hooray! Someone has put John Smith’s short film, The Girl Chewing Gum (1976), on YouTube… The film consists almost entirely of a single continuous shot of Stamford Road in Dalston Junction, a downbeat area of east London… The conceit of the film is that everything that moves or appears within shot – pedestrians, cars, pigeons, even clocks – is following the instructions of an omnipotent director who appears to be behind the camera: ‘Now I want the man with white hair and glasses to cross the road … come on, quickly, look this way … now walk off to the left.’ Pedestrians put cigarettes in their mouths, talk to each other, eat chips, take their glasses off, cast a glance behind them or look at the camera, all at the apparent behest of this offscreen director."
  • "An 11 minute documentary exploring the merits and impact of pixel art, animation and chiptune music." Nice interviews, careful, and thoughtful.
  • "Our original inclination was to put game content under "~/Library/Application Support/Steam", along with the other support files Steam uses. The problem is that uninstalling an application is meant to be as simple as dragging it from the Applications folder into the Trash. However, uninstalling Steam this way will leave all of your game content on the drive, which could easily be quite a few gigabytes of wasted space. Our solution was to put the content in a very visible and often used location so users could easily find and delete the game data if they didn't want it anymore. That's right, we chose the Documents folder specifically because it was visible and often used — the very reasons users don't want it there." Well done, Valve, for explaining this in the short term, and providing a solution in the long term. (And: their thinking wasn't so woolly, really).
  • "The route of the [Metropolitan] line between Paddington and Bayswater (opened in 1868) necessitated the demolition of 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens, situated on a long, upmarket terrace of five story houses, and it was decided to build a 5ft-thick facade which matched the houses either side of the break."
  • Back in 2006, early on a Saturday morning, artist Julien Berthier installed a new door in the city of Paris—but it was a fake door, leading nowhere, on an otherwise empty wall in the 3rd arrondissement… Unbelievably, Berthier adds, "Almost 4 years later, the address still exists. Regularly graffitied it is even cleaned by the city service.”