Monday, 23 November 2009

A Remix Map In The Sea Of Knowledge

The thing about culture, the important thing about culture, is that it builds on the past (yes, that's building on the Terry Pratchett quote regarding football, from Unseen Academicals, which I'm evidently reading now), as they pretty much say in RiP: A Remix Manifesto. And what can be a more appropriate modern ground for us to discuss culture than the Internet, whose past is pretty short, despite the fact that it encompasses so much of it in its... webs.

As I recently realized, in the newly developing art of blogging, a very common way to remix, which seems to be the talk of the town on the Internets for a while now when it comes to copyright issues and all that, is linking. It 'builds on the past' pretty well, harnessing that which is, I feel, the primary power of the 'Net, the fact that most of the knowledge available to us as a race is on it. Everything is out there, as we often discover examples of for ourselves,for us to find and thus become a bit, or a lot, smarter because of it.

The only thing which is needed in this digital sea of knowledge is a way, or ways, to map our paths within it (the power that Google has now gained all starting from this fact alone), and links to other websites which have something to do with a different subject are, I find, an interesting, practical, interactive way to do so. You're reading a post about a subject that you find somewhat interesting, and you click on a link, or links, that relate to it, possibly linking from words within the text which you thought would link to something you'd want to read (if you didn't just check what they link to, there on the lower left of your browser). Kind of like surfing on from an article in wikipedia to a completely unrelated subject at the end.

I use links a lot in my posts, yes. This is partly (well, mostly) because I find this 'mapping the Internet' thing to be pretty vital. Our generation has access to a whole lot of knowledge - the modern Library of Alexandria, as I often say, something which makes me dread the day when it will all be 'burned down' through a destruction of the Internet in some way - but we're not always sure to find what we want, or what's best for our purposes. But the way in which these links work is virtually guaranteed to give us things we may want, or didn't even know we wanted before we were given access to it, while promoting what we find to be best or more convenient and available to us at least in the topics in question.

So, here's to a way (*lifts glass of mead*) to find a convenient method to find our way around this maze, to sail through the sea of knowledge, like the salty pirates that we've been forced to be, each of us doing our part, as little as it may be, building personal maps for people to sail after us - different to each other as they may be, where their topics of interest, in this case, are concerned - to become, ideally speaking, omniscient as they ought to become in the millennium we've just begun living in.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Not a non-gamer any more!

Yes, a double negative, and I'm not phased enough to turn that into a positive, to tell you the truth. I haven't really proved my come-back fully yet, I believe. And the role of a gamer isn't one to be taken lightly, in my book. Plus, things keep going wrong for me, so I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep (you know whom this is dedicated to).

For one, Steam has a policy where you have to actually buy something there in order to fully use all of its features, in order to avoid spam and all that, and I have only installed, and am currently playing, the Batman: Arkham Asylum demo, which is a demo and therefore doesn't count, 'cause I paid nothing to the Steam people for it. Fair enough, I say, but I still have to ask people for friend requests instead of requesting their friendship from within Steam because of this policy...

The other tragic story is the one about Fallout 3, the purchase of which, however delayed, was, for me, what initially inspired my return to the world of gaming. You see, Fallout, and especially Fallout 2, were my favourite games ever, so I really felt that there was nothing in the known universe that would allow me not to play Fallout 3 after oh-so-many-years. Especially since I'd spent so much time watching Than play Oblivion, and then went outside, only to discover that the 'real world' had less impressive graphics!

So, you see, after a long-long-long search on the hostile waters of the Intranetz, I managed to order the game - which had, by then, already grown quite old - from Amazon, which wouldn't send it to my home address in Greece, so I had to send it to my uncle's in the UK. And, you see, I knew that Uncle D would be coming to Greece 'quite soon', but what I hadn't predicted was that, with all the toss going on in his life, he would forget to bring me the game when he finally did come, and now I have to wait for him to send it to me by snail-mail, when he actually can and when he actually remembers.

So, long story short, although I feel that the Universe is kind of sabotaging my gaming attempts, I had kind of missed this feeling, I now realize. Things go wrong, when you're a gamer, so if this goes on, I might actually allow myself to call myself one again.

Oh, and I've been playing Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass when I'm bored and it's too early for me to go home from work, or when I'm tragically bored someplace else (goodbye to thee, sketch-notebook, that means), and I've also bought Rayman: Raving Rabbids, for my Nintendo DS, and I don't care if that makes me underage, it's how I feel that counts and all that.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

A Two-Of-My-Faves-Together vid

I just couldn't NOT share this with you guys. As the article says, 'here is yet another "two of my favorite things, together at last" video: A Magnetic Fields song being played on a Game Boy.' And that it is, alright. In every way possible. Plus, it irrevocably proves the fact which I have known for a while to be true: even geeky kids (check that awesome hairstyle, now, whydoncha) love Stephin Merritt. Yesh.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Refertence Analysis

Wolfram|Alpha is quite the talk of the (digital) town at the moment, yes. Everyone (who matters) has tried to play around with it one way or another. Still, I'll tell you what: the most fun of all games you can play with it is to ask it a question which is also a reference. It's cool to see how each of these are answered by it.

For example, we all know that the answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42. Well, apparently, W|A knows this as well. And, when asked of the speed of an unladen swallow, it proceeds to ask, in its own way, if you mean an African or a European swallow. So, yes, it knows its basic references too.

My point, however, is to inquire if it's best for a reference to remain as such, despite the way in which the society around us moves and changes and evolves. And my answer tends towards 'oh yeah' in many cases.

You see, we recently mourned an ongoing reference to Indiana Jones IV being the movie that was in eternal theoretical production - my sources say, you see, that rumors of it were being heard since 1994. And then the movie actually came out, and despite the fact that I actually enjoyed watching it, as a tribute to my generation that grew up on Indy or whatnot, well, numerous people whined, and it was really far from what many expected.

Which is natural, if you think about it, since every single person for whom X means something, expects Y - with Y being something somehow related to X - to be a certain way, if there is no other way to examine Y, as is the case with theoretical creations. And, yes, when Y actually came out, it was definitely not, and most probably far from, what everyone who had expectations of it actually expected.

So, a way to deal with this, so as to avoid disappointment, is to simply experience Y with no expectations whatsoever, so as to be thankful for all one is given, since there is no source for disappointment. Another way is to whine about it beforehand, since it is for certain to be far from any expectations for the best that one may have.

The latter was a way for Yahtzee to go about Duke Nukem Forever - yes, gamers still have their eternal promised sequel, while moviegoers have to deal with their own disappointment with what they actually got, now that it's a reality and not simply theoretical, with the potential to be imagined any what way one may prefer.

So, well, my point is that I may be very pro-evolution, in most cases, since usually things evolve for the better, and if they don't there's always the option to backstep into what *used* to be right, but that doesn't seem to be the case where references are involved. You can't forget what has been experienced there, you can't unwrite what has been writ. Unless you get the right kind of blow to the head.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Energy For Life

The Human race's energy issues are well known to all of you guys - from the 'why the f*ck batteries don't last longer' question to what on Earth (or in space, for that matter) we're going to do about powering our needs, now that we've grown to have so many.

Well, it's not like I have answers to any of these questions for you here, 'cause, sadly, I don't. I just want to grasp this opportunity to join the crew in wallowing in self-pity for a minute because of this huge problem of our generation - and in doing so to underline it as such.

So, yes, the answer is bound to be in renewable resources, which probably means solar power, that's pretty much for sure. And, no, it doesn't just involve tying a pretty little bow on our miniature pools of leftover oil or whatnot and thinking, even for a second, that we've solved that problem, now. No, renewables'll have to do the trick, I say.

And, yes, this might even mean that here, in Greece, where I live now, will be a global frontrunner in that department, oh yes. But, well, the oil lords (which I'm sure are all stroking their Persian cats sitting on their golden thrones as we speak, villainous as they all are) won't let go of their reign so easily. And that's why - well, one of the numerous reasons why, at least - we're going through hell right now. Titans' struggle and all that.

Because, you see, all other problems that seem to worry the Humans from time to time are met within record times, usually - mostly because they promise amazing proceeds if you deliver, and there's more gold-diggers looking for something worth selling as a solution, but hey. It's just that here there's not only a great issue involving us having to change everything that works 'the old way' - which will take some time, money and overall effort on its own - but there's also lots of people, with lots of money in their hands and therefore power and humongous metaphorical boxing gloves trying to stop us until the last drop of oil is spent - on military purposes, nonetheless.

So, as you probably already knew, we're f*cked. Yes, let me say that again: we're f*cked, where energy is concerned. And now it's time for you to sod off and go charge your cellphone.