Jan 6 2014

My Media Holiday: The Rules

Yesterday I posted about why I’m going on a media holiday. Some of you have asked me about what I’m doing exactly, so I thought I’d share in more detail.

In short, the point is to reduce information input into my brain, and see what I get up to when I don’t have constant distractions to run to. Over-abundant entertainment can make us blind to things in our own lives, and when you also read self-help and spiritual material for entertainment (like me) the constant advice and directives can get very confusing.

So I decided to see what happens if I turn off the information overflow for a couple of months or so. This is not a new-years resolution, or a solemn vow, but merely an experiment. If I fail, I learn something useful. If I succeed, I probably learn something useful also. Failing would almost be more interesting.


These things are forbidden:

Continue reading

Jan 3 2014

Why I’m going on a media holiday

I spend all my time “plugged in”. When I get up in the morning I throw on a TV show and walk around with my wireless headphones, getting ready for work. On my commute I listen to a podcast. At work I take regular Facebook/Reddit breaks. If I eat lunch at my desk I tend to put on a youtube documentary and play a game. Podcast while commuting back. TV shows while prepping dinner. Game, book or Reddit for an hour or two after, then end the night on the couch with Edda, watching an episode of something, followed by some light reading in bed.

We are a generation largely raised by TV and internets. And ads on these things constantly tell us that our lives are broken, Continue reading

Jul 14 2013

Puzzle and Dragons – Action Loop

Puzzle & Dragons is a Japanese mobile game developed by GungHo Online Entertainment.

This article focuses on the moment to moment action of the game itself, the micro-loop, but if you are interested in the larger strategic aspects and the monetization, then see Puzzle and Dragons – Macro Loop and Monetization.

Match Orbs

At the core Puzzle and Dragons is a match-3 game. You match up lines of 3 or more of similarly colored Orbs to make the disappear, much like Puzzle Quest, Candy Crush Saga or Bejeweled. What makes the game feel completely different is that when you choose an Orb to move, you can move it as far as you want. Thus, a good player can get multiple lines matched up every move.

Matched    Matched done Continue reading

Jul 9 2013

Puzzle and Dragons – Macro Loop and Monetization

Puzzle & Dragons is a Japanese mobile game developed by GungHo Online Entertainment. I’ve sunk a few dozen hours into this game already, and have been tempted to spend money, but due to how much the monetization currency costs I decided against it. Aside from this one major flaw, the macro loop of the game is well designed for monetization and when this is written the game is the number #13 grossing game on Android and #23 in the Apple store.

The macro-loop of Puzzle and Dragons is a very “Pokemon-esque” gameplay loop where you expend Stamina to send a team of Monsters to complete Dungeons which give you Coins and Monsters. You can then increase the power of your team using those Coins and Monsters.

Macro Loop Graph Continue reading

Jul 4 2013

How are games using sex?

I’ve been thinking about how sex and sexuality gets portrait in computer games and why it’s a touchy subject. I don’t really want to get into whether it’s desirable to include it or not, but thought I’d take a loot at how different games use them.

The most tasteful example that springs to mind is Mass Effect.
Mass Effect Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect 3 Mass Effect 4

Though controversial for depicting gay and lesbian scenes (oh my!), sex is used as a dramatic tool to progress the relationship between the characters. They’ve grown to trust and respect each other and the sex emerges out of that.

Scarlet Blade does things very differently. Continue reading

Jul 1 2013

Selected slides from Wordcamp Montreal 2013

Some speakers share their slides on Slideshare, so I thought I’d show them off if any of you are interested. I only include talks that I or my wife went to and liked and only if they have easily accessible slides online.

Elida Arizza had the best talk of the conference for me personally. As a bit of a noob, this was a torrent of great information:

Jun 30 2013

Megalist of WordPress tools and services

Just got back from Wordcamp Montreal 2013 and thought I’d share the somewhat massive list of plugins, tools and services that I accrued there through the recommendations of speakers and guests attending it. Just because something is on the list doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best in it’s category (since everything popular is obviously wrong), but it does mean it’s probably well coded, safe and reputable. Naturally I take no responsibility for them being just that.

This is written in summer 2013. If you are reading it much later, make sure that things are still being properly supported before using them.

Feel free to let me know if I’m missing anything important.

WordPress Plugins

Audio and video

Jun 20 2013

Quick note on English speakers

According to wikipedia there are almost twice as many people with English as first language in the US as in the rest of the world. Not that surprising really.

3/4 of the rest live in Canada, the United Kingdom or Australia.

Surprisingly few Canadians have English as a first language, or only 17 out of 33 million. 25M to speak it as one of their main languages though. The majority of the remaining 8M speak French only, as 98% of Canadians speak either English or French)

Only 28 million people outside these four countries have English as a first language, or less than 10% of the total. This includes all English-speaking African and Caribbean countries as well as Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore and other moderately populated countries.

May 20 2013

The story of information sharing

I share interesting sights on Snapchat, fun events on Facebook and my gym progress on Fitocracy. I share my opinions and interesting links on Reddit, and converse with people on Twitter. Some of my friends regularly share their video gaming on Twitch TV. Not only do we share way more information with people than the last generation would have found appropriate, we share more than any other generation has found possible. And yet it pales in comparison to what the next generation will do.

Sharing information changes our culture and history. Whether it’s the use of Twitter in the Arab Spring, Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride or hard-hitting newspaper journalism, information sharing changes how we see the world, and what we can know of it.

The most successful types of information sharing are ones that:

  • Allow a great amount of people
  • to precisely and unambiguously
  • share a great amount of ideas and information
  • with a great amount of other people

Although related, multicasting methods and technologies do not fall well under this hat. This includes anything that is focused on getting a relatively small set of ideas to as many people as possible. E.g. the printing press, the television, broadcast radio, etc.

What follows is a series of articles, each focusing on an important part of the narrative of information sharing:

  1. Writing
  2. The mail service and the telegram
  3. The telephone
  4. Email
  5. BBSes
  6. The web and modern social media
  7. The future of information sharing

We are neither at the beginning nor the end of this development. The narrative has been playing out for millennia, and it’s nowhere near over.

Apr 28 2013

Getting new thoughts

I love it when my brain makes connections from seemingly unrelated things and points out an interesting pattern. Sometimes this leads into weird conspiracy theories which I then need other parts of my brain to help me debunk, but often it offers genuine insights.

Recently I’ve been watching a lot of videos with Louis C.K. As I watched this video, I instantly connected it with this article by Leo Barbuta, that I read earlier this week.

Louis is talking about how George Carlin advised him to throw away all his material every year and come up with something new. Before that he had been gradually developing material for about 15 years, and some of his jokes he had kept in the routine for that long, with limited success. Continue reading