• "As I understand it, B says, the cliche “writer’s block” actually describes the inability to write anything at all. If you have a problem with a plot, she says, you’re not blocked, you are in fact writing; because the maddeningly slow solution of difficult problems in the context of specific pieces of work is part of the process of writing. In B’s opinion, you aren’t blocked in the cliche sense unless you’ve written nothing for several years and can be played by Mickey Rourke." Yes, that.
  • "The OWL is an open source, open hardware, reprogrammable effects pedal designed for musicians, coders, and hackers." Ie: a DSP stompbox with an ARM Cortex in it; you reprogram it by writing C++ and uploading new patches over USB.
  • "There’s still a smell of bullshit to almost every videogame story I read, even as it’s advanced to a very high level being in The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine. To me it derives from this politeness about the thing that’s experienced. In literary criticism there are really cutting deconstructions of things that are inadequate—Nabokov talking about what a fraud and charlatan Faulkner was—but there’s this really intelligent, but painfully milquetoast, quality to the way we appreciate games. It’s a reflection of how partially engaged we are with each one. We consider games primarily as ideas, rather than actual evolving relationships that we’ve had over time." Yeah, that. I enjoyed this discussion: I'm pretty sure you don't have to finish games to review them. Then again: I also think writing about games six months after they came out is way more interesting than trying to hammer through something to fit into a review cycle.
  • Oooh, the Shruthi got an upgrade: not just white PCBs, but an interesting new filter board. Seriously tempted by one of these.
  • "Design, host and share your own custom maps." Interesting – tile hosting, tile creation.
  • "Sony's statement suggests that it was actually storing sensitive information in plain text format, which defies belief. The only other explanation is that hackers only got access to the hashes and may have compromised a small minority of passwords by running this data through something like a dictionary look-up. However, from the tone of Sony's apology this does not appear to be the case." Good god; they're certainly transmitted as plaintext to PSN – according to the IRC log referenced in this article – so the incompetence required to store them as plaintext is already evident. Appalling.
  • "At a time when the artworld has become a bloated thing like a celebrity based branch of the stock exchange, it is very satisfying to make a real and seriously thoughtful transaction." Tom Phillips' Word Cross is now in a parish church in Kent. Great.
  • "Outside of the novel setting, the individual multiplayer games have nothing substantial to offer a person other than progression. This is pretty ordinary stuff.<br />
    <br />
    There are so many things to do in the actual game that you'd want to do with other people: you'd want to play horsehoes, or Poker, or Blackjack. Even those would be diversions, though. You'd want to drive cattle, or steal them; you want to cut a slice of that country out and see what you could make of it – or get yours riding rough over the smaller towns. As it stands, you're given desperately limited access to a sterile, stricken place without heart or memory." (RDR is great, no question of that, but I think Tycho's right about the missed opportunities of Free Roam. More on this in a proper blog post, coming soon).
  • "Now, the cordial racist shopkeeper and I have a relationship. Every five days I return to Armadillo; he warmly greets me, and I kill him. I've even found ways to avoid tedium. Sometimes a single shot to the head does the trick; other times I lasso and hogtie him before letting him have it. If I've had an especially bad day on the range, I let him tell me about the Jews before plugging him multiple times in the piehole, courtesy of my Dead Eye slo-mo skill. Occasionally I even shoot up the store. I guess you could say I'm a loyal customer." And still the myth of Rockstar's "open-world" is punctured by rendering players impotent against things they – rather than their character – have a problem with.
  • "Do you see this? It's the world's tiniest open-source violin." Yes.
  • "This information describes how Free Range operates, both as a business and as a culture.<br />
    <br />
    We're open-sourcing our business, from the site to the contracts to the philosopy. Value does not come from these things, but from putting these ideas into practice. These ideas are not assets – we, the people, are.<br />
    <br />
    Fork this." Free Range have put their manifesto and operating principles onto Github.
  • "Egmont Press and Penguin Publishing will launch a range of children's books onto the Nintendo DS in a licensing deal with entertainment software company Electronic Arts (EA). It is the first time that children's books have been developed specifically for the Nintendo DS platform in the UK." Ooh, that's kind of awesome.
  • "Gemcutter is the next generation of gem hosting for the Ruby community. Instantly publish your gems and install them. Use the API to interact and find out more information about available gems. Become a contributor and enhance the site with your own changes." Apparently this is the next big thing, post-github not serving gems. Let's chase this trend for a bit.
  • "…it’s been a week and we’ve decided to not bring back the gem builder. It was a fun experiment but Jeweler and Gemcutter combined make it ridiculously simple to publish a gem. The gem builder use case (fork a project, make a change, publish a gem, install it) is now easier than ever using these tools." Which is all very nice, but a bit of a PITA for anyone who'd been depending on this. Still: gems.github.com will serve for another year.
  • "In Nokogiri &nbsp;'s are converted to whitespace, but they are not a normal space and aren't removed with the standard String#strip and friends." Needless to say, this is somewhat annoying. Thanks for fixing it, internet!
  • "The next time you see an application you like, think very long and hard about all the user-oriented details that went into making it a pleasure to use, before decrying how you could trivially reimplement the entire damn thing in a weekend. Nine times out of ten, when you think an application was ridiculously easy to implement, you’re completely missing the user side of the story." Yes. Similarly: what you don't see is the decision-making, everything that was thrown away.