Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Thursday, March 4, 2004day link 

 Blogging Context
It is somehow harder for me to blog when I'm more busy. Which is maybe obvious, but also weird in that it is often that I ought to have more things to blog about. My friend Max is visiting right now from Brazil via Germany. We're having good meetings and going around doing interesting things. But that takes a good deal of the day, and I'm also behind on work. And blogging usually requires a certain overview for me. That I've somehow checked on the latest news and newsfeeds and hung out by my computer for a while. Even if it isn't necessarily news items I blog, and often isn't directly related to what anybody else posts. But it is much harder for me to just go and do a quick posting, if I hadn't had the time to take a reading of the current online atmosphere. I know other people do it differently and can blog under any circumstances. But for me, even if the actual writing of blog post doesn't take much time in itself, it has to fit in a context where I've had time to explore various things and been able to think about various things. Which requires a certain distance. I can't go directly from a deep, interesting face-to-face discussion into writing a blog post, even if the subjects brought up are intriguing and worth sharing. I can't blog meaningfully while sitting listening to somebody speak, as some people can, even if the technology is available for it. But, hey, we have our different styles.
[ | 2004-03-04 06:25 | 17 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Interactive Fiction
picture Excellent article, Magic Words: Interactive Fiction and the 21st Century, about, well, Interactive Fiction. Which is the kind of text adventure games that were quite popular in the 80s. I first played the classic "Adventure" game in 1975. I still have my map of Colossal Cave lying around here somewhere, and remember a lot of the rooms. Another well-known series of adventures is Zork, which starts like this:
You are in an open field west of a big white house with a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.
And then you can essentially move in different directions by typing commands in very simple English. "Go West", "Open mailbox", "Pick up sword" and that kind of thing. And you explore various creepy and strange places and solve riddles and meet strange creatures. Or whatever the scenario might be.

Interactive text games might seem really ancient for kids today who are used to full motion 3D virtual reality. But it is an intriguing world of its own, stimulating other faculties of imagination. And it is in no ways dead, even though no games makers are making money on it. The article illustrates that well. There are thousands of titles, often made by enthusiasts just for the joy of it. They're often not really games, but more like stories you can walk around in and explore.

Now, if I actually had too much time on my hands, I wouldn't mind writing some interactive fiction. Or how about the possibilities of combining the Interactive Fiction style with navigating around a blog or a WIKI. Like hinted at on that site.
"You are at the title page of an Interactive Fiction feature. In the left sidebar you see a selection of text links which will lead to other pages within the article. A blinking cursor prompts you to make your selection."
Navigating the web might be more stimulating if you're at risk of being eaten by a grue in the dark.
[ | 2004-03-04 07:15 | 15 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Machines de Spectacle
picture Today we went to an exhibition of "Machines de Spectacle" in the Abattoirs modern art museum. Which was great fun. It was a collection of strange machines, small and large, of rather unusual, eh, uses. On the picture you see the piano catapult. Which, as you might expect, has the very useful function of throwing used pianos through the air, obviously to a very effectful and noisy landing. They unfortunately only do that once per week, so we didn't see it today. But most of the other machines were demonstrated. Snow machines, an organ using flame throwers as pipes, smell machines, mechanical chairs, machines that make and serve chocolate sandwiches or tequilas, egg canons, pie throwers, and much else. Very entertaining art.
[ | 2004-03-04 13:50 | 16 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Major subways
picture The major subway systems of the world, presented on the same scale. Why do I find that interesting? Well, it is somehow interesting to be able to compare stuff that one hasn't noticed being compared before. Particularly somewhat hidden infrastructure. Here is more info about those subways: length, number of riders, etc.
[ | 2004-03-04 15:06 | 16 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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