• "ASBOrometer is a mobile application that measures levels of anti-social behaviour at your current location (within England and Wales) and gives you access to key local ASB statistics… This app was created by Jeff Gilfelt and made possible by the data.gov.uk initiative, which is opening up UK government data for public reuse." What sensationalist rot; no number of pretty visualisations make this kind of fearmongering acceptable. It's nice that the data is open; it's a shame this is the best thing people can think to do with it. Whether you like it or not, this information is very, very loaded.
  • All I can do is quote Tom Carden: "So let me get this straight… Inside the beloved and venerable Java OpenStreetMap editor, JOSM, you install a plug-in which runs a (port? emulator?) version of Lotus Turbo Challenge II. And you drive around the game on a level composed of the aerial imagery you were tracing in JOSM. And it records GPX tracks. Which you can trace into maps and share on OpenStreetMap. Jesus."

So that was 2009

10 February 2010

I’ve had an item in Things for about 40 days now. It says

end of year blog post

and every time I see it, I lock up, and fail to write it. And, somehow, this stops me writing anything else; it feels like my writing is a queue, and I need to write one thing to feel like I can write any of the rest. So many times I’ve had a thought in the shower, or washing up, about a tiny paragraph I could write, something to say here… and then I fail to, because something’s in the way. That something is a post where I write about 2009.

It’s traditional, I suppose, for me to write something at the beginning of the year, and this year I just failed to; no idea why. Time passed, caught up in the whirlwind that is Scenario 4 , and soon it was February. And I still feel like I hadn’t wrapped up 2009.

So now, on the tenth of February 2009 – fourteen years after Gary Kasparov lost at chess to a computer for the first time, twenty years after the first version of Photoshop was released – I’m finally overcoming my hump. Writing about last year, putting the past behind me, so I can start writing about this year.

I don’t even need hindsight to say that I really could do without a year like 2009 for quite a while. For starters, I moved house twice, which was at least once more per year than I’d be comfortable with. All manner of strain, all manner of upheaval; not the cheeriest of years.

But there was so much good stuff. Much fun with lots of friends, old and new. Lots of walking; I must have been on a decent hike every other month, on average. A week hiking in Cyprus, which was magical. Just over a year ago – a year and four days today, in fact – I started at BERG (then Schulze & Webb), and that was definitely the right move. Such great colleagues, so much good work, a studio I look forward to returning to each week; it’s been a great anchor amidst the rest of the rollercoaster.

And, in the end, we – we being I – made it through. Here I am. Everything is alright; so much is good.

And I’ve written this down – however insubstantial it may be – which means I can start posting again. I’ve been writing longer and longer comments on my delicious links, and whilst that’s nice and all, I really thing I ought to start writing more and more short posts here, and leave Delicious for links. I now see the appeal of Tumblr, but for now, we’ll keep things arranged like this. And: this’ll be easier knowing there’s nothing in the way.

A tick in a box. Now it’s properly 2010. Onwards!

  • "There is a rhythm to hiking, as there is in walking. And once you find the cadence — after a day or two — your mind empties. All your social obligations related to work and friends and life are muted. They aren’t gone: they just no longer require your direct attention. There is a shocking beauty to this silence. It’s as if every day of our lives is filled with a white noise. And suddenly, in the presence of these unbelievable peaks, the noise is gone." Lovely pictures, but, more to the point, strong truth, from Craig Mod.
  • "DOOM doesn’t belong in a museum, not because it’s not worthy, but because it’s rock and roll. It’s too fast, too loud, too hard, and too fucked up to be in a museum. There are some games that will work in a museum and some that won’t ever and that, by itself, doesn’t say anything about their value. We need both." Frank Lantz is right.
  • "In this digitally distant world full of information that appears to only be moving faster and faster, you get to choose: how much will I consume and how much will I create?"
  • Fascinating article on pseudo-3D graphics, and raster-based road graphics in particular; coders and gamers alike might enjoy this, although it's quite technical. (And: Racin' Force is just beautiful; I forgot how gorgeous voxels could be).
  • "I think this is something that’s mostly forgotten about in games writing: for a lot of the people who play games, there’s not much separation. The games get mixed up with the same insecurities and pettiness that exist in real life and the experience is emotionally heightened as a result. Planetarion is forever imprinted in my memory entirely because of these arguments, and despite the immaturity of fighting, it’s heartening to think of gaming as such a direct extension of real world relationships and emotions." Some nice stuff from Graham Smith. I too played Planetarion for a while at secondary school too, although with my Quake chums, looking for something to be played in the working week, away from 2fort5.