• "In this context, Google+ is not the company’s most strategic project. That distinction goes to Glass, to the self-driving cars, and to Google Maps, Street View, and Earth—Google’s model of the real, physical world. Maybe in twenty years we’ll think of Google primarily as a vision company—augmenting our vision, helping us share it—and, oh wow, did you realize they once, long ago, sold ads?" This is good. I like the distinction between pictures and vision a lot.
  • ""And thus ends all that I doubt I shall ever be able to do with my own eyes in the keeping of my journal, I being not able to do it any longer, having done now so long as to undo my eyes almost every time that I take a pen in my hand; and, therefore, whatever comes of it, I must forbear: and, therefore, resolve, from this time forward, to have it kept by my people in long-hand, and must therefore be contented to set down no more than is fit for them and all the world to know; or, if there be any thing, which cannot be much, now my amours to Deb. are past, and my eyes hindering me in almost all other pleasures, I must endeavour to keep a margin in my book open, to add, here and there, a note in short-hand with my own hand." Well put. Well done, Sam. Well done, Phil.
  • "Next time somebody's trying to sell you on the awesomeness of their new data technique, ask to see a prototype. If they haven't got that far, it's snake oil." Everything in this article is, basically, true. It's a really good run-down of all the issues that emerge in the reality of dealing with data-driven products at any scale."
  • "I want to love books, but if the publisher treats them merely as interchangeable units, where the details don’t matter so long as the bits, the “content”, is conveyed as cheaply as possible, then we may be falling out of love." Phil buys a new volume of Pepys, finds it's now being printed on-demand, and talks a little about the perceived quality of such books. In short: if you're not expecting it, and it's a change to the usual, it makes you feel a bit like the publisher doesn't care about it.
  • "I suppose the point I was driving to that I let myself get derailed from is that all these trends in western cinema developed over time. It moved in eras of film, from the silent film, to the beginning of the talkies, to the pulp westerns, to their revival with Stagecoach and the classical period of westerns, to the revisionist and spaghetti westerns to the brooding psychological westerns of today. What RDR fails to pick up on is that these are all products not only of the time they were set, but the time they were made." This is a good post on one of my problems with the (generally very good) Red Dead Redemption: rather than trying to be *a* Western, it tries to ape *all* Westerns, and thus is all over the place tonally. Better examples in the full body – worth a read.
  • "Thinking about what defines a particular game medium, one doesn’t always consider elements like the player’s physical posture, and where they sit relative to their fellow players. But the experience of playing a digital game with a friend on the iPad proves quite different than that of sitting side-by-side on a couch with Xbox controllers in hand, or sitting alone with a mic strapped to your head. Your sense of posture and presence is part of the game’s medium, as much as the material of the game’s manufacture. Playing Small World gave me a frisson of novel confusion, marrying the player-interactivity of a board game with the board-interactivity of a computer game. I felt the seam that joined them, but it felt right. This was something new, comfortable, and fun." Jason McIntosh on how tablet gaming is similar to the "cocktail" cabinets of old.
  • Today's Guardian, from Phil, which is brilliant, for all the reasons explained in his post about it.
  • "Although the finished site looks nothing like a newspaper I think it has more in common with newspapers’ best features than most news websites do. The sense of browsing quickly through stories and reading the ones that catch your eye, feels similar." Phil is smart. This is good.
  • "Valve subtly guides the player’s attention toward significant events and objects by using elements naturally found in the game world. This allows the player to retain control of their perspective without getting lost or confused, and contributes to an overall immersive experience." Matthew Gallant puts together a nice selection of screengrabs to illustrate Valve's craft.
  • "There was an implicit value judgement in Greenfield's talk between the "purely sensory experiences" of raves or today's computer games, and the cognitive activities of reading a book or listening to a symphony, which, because they make us "see one thing in terms of another thing", involve a more mature mental engagement. For Greenfield, the Beethoven was a higher experience because it offered an "escape from the moment", where a rave was about losing yourself to the "thrill of the moment". I think that's a flimsy distinction, since both are about submitting to the sensory power of music. I'd like to see the difference in brain activity between somebody "escaping" life's mundanities and another person "thrilling" to the implacable now of the beat."
  • "I thoroughly enjoy the more real time nature of these diary fragments popping up among my friends’ updates. It’s easy to picture @samuelpepys conducting his business and pleasure, travelling around London — from his home near the Tower of London to Deptford to Westminster — when he’s updating you on his progress during the day." Phil on the joy of small updates from things that aren't (quite) people.
  • "Sony acts like a character in a Charlotte Brontë novel–they seem to think they have an entire lifetime to seize the moment."