Nice Gaming Quote

I was sorting through some of my old notes and I came across a quote that I jotted down during a presentation by Massive (the guys who do in-game advertising). Talking about why gaming is more impactful than TV:

You can’t play games and do something else at the same time. Or someone will sneak up from behind you and stab you.

Pretty direct. And very true.

Tie Die Tee

Friend and sometime collaborator Mr Bingo sent me news of his latest t-shirts.

I particularly liked this one:

I think it’s because I spent 2 hours with a bunch of ‘suits’ yesterday. And it really made me feel very grateful that I don’t work in that kind of environment. It’s silly, but it makes a big difference to me…

Sorry, Not Much Going on Blogwise

Sorry for the blog quietness. Although I’ve not been busy blogging I have been busy doing other things. Like working. And more excitingly trying to buy a house in Brighton. I’m looking forward to living near the sea.

From this you can take it that my I Love London blog experiment failed… Or perhaps it was a resounding success in as far as it helped me to focus on the issue.

Turner Prize?

There’s something really compelling about looking inside the ‘sharp objects’ bin at airports. Especially now that they have things like hair conditioner in there. I think it’s to do with the fact that there’s essentially a bunch of really safe objects in there, but in the back of my mind I’m somehow expecting to see a mini-Bond gun, or at the very least a flick knife.

Contemporary modern art?

Strings of Life

A few reasons to post this clip:

  • It’s one of the greatest techno records of all time.
  • It shows the value of experimentation, and how a ‘mistake’ can create something incredible.
  • When he talks about the making of the track you realise that he must have just sat there listening to that loop over and over and over again.
  • Derrick May’s description of the Eureaka moment is great. The fear of realising that he’d just made something that would profoundly change dance music forever. It makes me want to have one too.

Family Music

family logo

Confession: This is a plug for a friend’s business. I’ve signed up because I think it will be good (with my own real money) so there’s no kickbacks going on

Check out Family Music

Ben and his friend Tom have set up a music subscription service. But it’s not a digital thing. It’s a real music thing. A CDs and records thing.

It’s a simple idea, you let them know what music you like and they’ll send you things that they think you’ll be into every month. You choose the number of albums you want.

Then every month some choice new tunes will drop through your letterbox. And if you really don’t like something you can send it back the next month (freepost!).

Normally I’d be a bit skeptical about this. How good will their recommendations be? Won’t it just be standard fodder? Won’t theyl just be firing out stuff that labels have given them for free? But in this case I know for a fact that the guys behind it really know their musical onions. And they’ll stretch my musical mind in interesting ways. And they’re good guys.
There’s something quite exciting about real people editing music for you personally. I’m looking forward to my first box. I’ll let you know how it goes…

One Laptop Per Child

I’ve not paid much attention to the development of the One Laptop Per Child project recently. But looking at it again, it’s truly one of the most inspiring projects around right now. Their aims are really interesting:

The MIT Media Lab has launched a new research initiative to develop a
$100 laptop—a technology that could revolutionize how we educate the
world’s children. To achieve this goal, a new, non-profit association,
One Laptop per Child (OLPC), has been created, which is independent of
MIT.

And the machine itself is shaping up to be really interesting. I’m pretty fond of the design too. It may look a bit like a toy, but when you read the specs it’s far from it.

I Love Second Life

Someone mentioned to me that they were surprised by how much I hate Second Life, so I probably need to put the record straight. I don’t hate Second Life. In fact I love Second Life – above you can see my alter ego Taito Dahlstrom wearing his favourite grey leggings whilst having a great time in his favourite club Kittens.

I think Linden Labs have created an amazing piece of real Science Fiction. The fact that it’s got as big as it has, supporting an incredible virtual currency and giving such a huge amount of freedom to inhabitants is utterly astounding. From an academic and technological point of view it’s simply stunning.

The issues that I have with it are all around the way that it’s being used and abused by outsiders. And they’re the same issues I’d have with First Life stuff. If a big brand wandered into a small rural village and set up a mega-office without understanding the local way of life and the cultural implications of their actions, I’d be pretty pissed off too. But I gues if I was really bothered I’d do something about it in Second Life, just like the vocal activists are. Maybe as a voyeur and occasional dipper-in, I’m no better than a brand who isn’t properly involved either.

A brand going into Second Life feels different to setting up a website. A website has a kind of semi-physical presence, but it feels slightly different. Easier to avoid perhaps. Maybe it’s to do with the fact that a website doesn’t take up any space, I’m not sure how many atoms there are in a website, but I don’t think it’s many. A megamall in Second Life on the other hand feels like it has real volume. It’s been created with bricks and mortar, albeit virtual bricks and mortar. And therefore it feels like it’s made up of stacks of virtual atoms.

I think without realising it, I’ve just demonstrated why Second Life is so interesting. It raises all kinds of questions about the nature and value of virtual stuff. When I’ve talked to people about virtual services in Second Life (for example a virtual lapdance at Kittens) at first they’ve been really dismissive, then when they get their heads around it, they’re totally blown away by the idea.

And I think that’s the crux of it right now. The idea and the concept is so damn infectious and inspiring that creative people get really excited by it. But until you’ve hung around in there for a bit and realised how cumbersome it can be to do ordinary things in there, you don’t really get a feel for it.

Take for example listening to a presentation in Second Life (e.g. this interview with Chris Anderson (YouTube)). If you could take a seat in the hall (I’m very poor at even managing the basics like sitting down). Then manage to face in the right direction. You’d be subjected to reading a text based interview -v-e-r-y- -s-l-o-w-l-y-. And perhaps there is a feeling of presence, but for me, no more so than a live online chat. Currently the experience of this kind of thing is poor, and can be done better elsewhere in the digital space.

Which goes back to a point that I’ve made before, it seems odd to try to slavishly replicate real world ways of doing things, when you’re not constrained by the same set of rules. For example, in real life gravity is sometimes useful, but other times it can be such a chore. In Second Life, it’s up to you!

I’ve no doubt that online worlds like Second Life have got a massive future, I guess the question for me is whether it’s future is as an entertainment environment or an environment for communication and getting things done. Or once the technology’s good enough maybe my issues become null and void.

I love Second Life. And I love that it makes people think about digital and virtual worlds in new and interesting ways.