• "When people talk about serendipity, they’re not always talking about discovering something that’s totally brand-new. In fact, I’d haz ard that they’re USUALLY talk ing about randomly unearthing some thing that’s comforting and familiar. This is ten times more true with television."
  • And, with their 119th update, Valve helpfully included the list of all their previous patches, as well. Just look at the amount that's changed – and how swiftly. A proper, living game (unlike the stillborn 360 version). Can't wait to play it on the Mac; it's almost like a different game to the one I played at the beginning.
  • "Ben Gimpert is a friend of the Open Library. He and I got together over lunch a few months ago to talk about big data, statistical natural language processing, and extracting meaning from Open Library programmatically. His efforts are beginning to bear some really interesting fruit, and while we work out how we might be able to present it online, we thought you might be interested to hear what he’s been up to." Answer: good things. Ben is awesome, and this work sounds great. (I can't quote a suitable passage, so George's intro will have to do).
  • A few short tips on find; one of the bash tools I use least, and should probably use more.
  • "Diller, Brill, and Murdoch seem be stating a simple fact—we will have to pay them—but this fact is not in fact a fact. Instead, it is a choice, one its proponents often decline to spell out in full, because, spelled out in full, it would read something like this: “Web users will have to pay for what they watch and use, or else we will have to stop making content in the costly and complex way we have grown accustomed to making it. And we don’t know how to do that.”"
  • "…let's not kid ourselves. If you sell a game that's a first-person shooter, then no matter how many RPG elements you shoe-horn into the game, the shadow that hangs over every character interaction that you have, no matter who they are, is the question in the player's mind of "What happens if I shoot this person?" And that's our own fault! We've sold the player that; we've made a contract with the player that says it's okay to kill people. Why would we then chastise them for exploring that?" Patrick Redding is brilliant. This interview, with Chris Remo on Gamasutra, is great – Remo asks some smart questions, and Redding gives some really smart answers.
  • "The game insists that I focus, even for mundane activities like carrying groceries, on carefully following directions delivered to me visually on-screen. The simple act of carrying groceries is subsumed by the mechanical procedure of executing a series of prompts _for no apparent reason_. This, for me, is the primary disconnect in Heavy Rain. My mechanical game-directed actions don't amplify or add meaning to the in-game behaviors they execute. They don't pull me in; they keep me out. " Hmn. I've been thinking about something similar recently. Time to fire up the blogpostmatron…
  • Lovely, lovely article explaining just how the PeepCode Blog works. The blog itself features unique layouts for every post. There's no CMS, no database, but what's going on under the hood is at least as clever – and the flexibility makes the beautiful and clear pages much easier to build.
  • "…for reasons that baffle me, my TV can only receive the four terrestrial channels, plus a grainy feed from the building’s security cameras. Easy choice."
  • "The moment I walk into a bookstore I remember what I love about them. They are an oasis of intellectual calm. Perhaps it’s the potential of all the ideas hidden behind those delicious covers. Or perhaps it’s the social reverence for the library-like quiet — you don’t yell in a bookstore, you’ll piss off the books." I never tire of linking to Michael Lopp.
  • "Pit is a wonderful game, probably the best game released in 1904. I imagine that Wheedle came about by Knizia taking a look and saying to himself "that's interesting… but I think I can do better." And so he did." Ooh, this sounds good!
  • "But we are spoiled. Spoiled to the core. As a kid, when I skipped to the Odeon to see Watership Down, popping back via my granddad's house, if he asked me what I'd watched, I'd recount it in glorious detail. It was the 70s. He didn't do spoilers. He was a grown man. He'd spent two years in a trench during the Battle of Monte Cassino getting his hair parted by bullets, so whether Hazel the cartoon rabbit got squashed while out hunting cartoon carrots wasn't really his concern." I am largely spoiler-immune; I always argue that *how* something happens is more important than *what*. Apart from, you know, the massive ones that are at the core of things. Anyhow, Grace Dent doesn't care either.
  • "We create physical, social games for public space. Our games get people moving and talking. They stimulate their creativity and get them to connect." Kars has a name for his new venture.
  • "The interesting, or arguably uninteresting, thing about this programme is that it is completely lacking in any sort of narrative arc. All the other programmes on Saturday night are a gift for a narratologist: with their judges’ scores, audience votes and dance-offs/sing-offs, they are all crisis, crescendo and narrative resolution. But Hole in the Wall is different. It’s just celebrities going through these differently-shaped holes in the wall, again and again and again… Hole in the Wall is the groundhog day of Saturday evening light entertainment." Saturday-night audiences like a good plot.
  • "If / when telly people complain that their industry was blind-sided by the internet/interactivity I think it might be fair to point out that this was made in 1990. And that it was shown – ON THE TELLY. Or would that be mean?" Douglas Adams' documentary "Hyperland", a crash course in hypertext written and shown pre-the-web.
  • "The best games communicate their systems to us in ways that feel satisfying, and the quality of this dialogue between player and game often determines the success or failure of the game." Michael Abbott's been playing Demon's Souls.
  • "Raphaël is a small JavaScript library that should simplify your work with vector graphics on the web. If you want to create your own specific chart or image crop and rotate widget, for example, you can achieve it simply and easily with this library." Looks really rather interesting, and potentially beautiful.
  • "Whenever is a Ruby gem that provides a clear syntax for defining cron jobs. It outputs valid cron syntax and can even write your crontab file for you. It is designed to work well with Rails applications and can be deployed with Capistrano. Whenever works fine independently as well." Pretty DSL for generating crontab in a rubyish manner.
  • "William Petersen as Gil Grissom, David Caruso as Horatio Caine, Gary Sinese as Mac Taylor, Mark Harmon as Jethro Gibbs, Anthony LaPaglia as Jack Malone. These guys are the franchise players of primetime TV. But they are also role models. Each represents a different management style." I'd work for Grissom instead of Gibbs in a flash, personally, but I'm an eccentric and I like eccentric managers.