crackmccraigen:

One of my first PPG (then The Woopass Girls) drawings done back in ‘91. 

crackmccraigen:

One of my first PPG (then The Woopass Girls) drawings done back in ‘91. 

"I was a person of color in a workshop whose theory of reality did not include my most fundamental experiences as a person of color—that did not in other words include me."

Junot Díaz reflects on the whiteness of the MFA program: http://nyr.kr/1fzDYPu (via newyorker)

(Source: newyorker.com, via newyorker)

So, posting this as a quick rant to how technologist’s might come off to others. Since I’m being quick, this will be bloated. Sorry

The Premise

This guy writes a story about the E.T. game, and how bad people thought it was, and changes to the ROM which make it better. He comes across as trying to be neutral, but that falls apart immediately.

Tech people tend not to be able to see or understand others’ viewpoint or, worse, don’t want to understand others’ viewpoint

The first hint you’re dealing with one of those “tech types” is the “I never understood why.”

I suppose everyone is susceptible to Confirmation Bias, but this is a tell-tale sign. “I know what I think. I’ll handpick some references to support what I’ve ALWAYS KNOWN.”

Another thing that caught my eye was this little bit under the download section. “If you don’t know how to use a hex editor, or if you’re just lazy,…” Hey, how about a third option of, “it’s not worth my time or effort to do this shit”? It’s a classic techie dichotomy. If you can’t, I will do it for you. If you can, then something must be wrong with you.

Tech people present things from their own viewpoint; if you don’t get it, something’s wrong with you, not them

Skipping over the quick cheat sheet of Hex code to patch the ROM, we go to the section on why people hated the game. Do we get any actual reasons why it was hated? No. In fact, we get the opposite!

When it was released, it was well ahead of its time. It pioneered a lot of concepts that we take for granted in games today, but were unheard of in 1982 […] While that seems like a great list of features, players in 1982 weren’t prepared for that much change. You really needed to read the manual to understand the game and how to play it. As younger children were the primary audience, it’s no surprise that it wasn’t well received.

So, the game itself was fine; it was the players that were broken! Brilliant! We’ll gloss over the fact that it was a game meant for children, that apparently required a thorough study of the manual before it was understood. Maybe the author is right and the game was ahead of its time. What actually matters is that it wasn’t for the people that would actually be playing it. Would a car given to medieval peasants be worth lauding?

Oh, and he lists a title screen as an advancement. Sheesh. Some of the other points are fair, but the fact remains, the game was unplayable to the intended audience.

So, we’ve established that he feels the game was fine, and the actual problem was unsophisticated players that didn’t do their homework. What about people that don’t like the game even now, after all those advanced features had been established?

My favorite techie answer appears in his list of reasons why people STILL HATE the game:

The game seems incredibly complex. This isn’t a real problem. Once you learn how to play, it’s really very simple. You just need to read the manual, or watch a tutorial video, to understand it.

MY GOD! It’s christmas morning, 1982. You are 8 and open E.T. and want to play. You can’t because the game is a piece of shit (and that book that’s still in the box goes unread because really guy? really?) I admit, I read manuals religiously before using things, but I know and accept that most don’t, and when I design, i design for this reality. The designer of E.T. failed.

This is the epitome of the “Clear Only if Known” fallacy. “Oh, it’s simple once you know how to do it”. NO. SHIT. And how, pray thee tell, do I get to knowing it if I can’t fucking figure it out to start with?

Technically correct; the best kind of correct

This is the part that really got me enraged and ready to write this mess.

The myth: A lot of people blame poor collision detection for this problem. That is simply not true. The collision detection in E.T. is perfect. There are no bounding boxes like in more modern games. Collision detection happens at the pixel level. You can’t get any better than that. If you fall in to a well, it’s because your player character visually overlaps it. The actual problem: We don’t want pixel-perfect collision detection!

Let that sink in for a minute. First, he states what people perceive… that the collision detection on pits is broken. Then he says it’s literally “perfect”. And not broken at all. Then he says the solution is … get this … to handle the collision detection COMPLETELY DIFFERENTLY. And the fix is to not do it at all like it was originally implemented. If that isn’t the definition of “broken”, what is? Oh, that’s right… technically speaking, the collision detection is pixel perfect. BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT LITTLE JOHNNY WANTS TO HEAR ON CHRISTMAS WHEN HIS FUCKING GIFT DOESN’T WORK THE WAY HE WANTS.

When someone says a computer-y thing is broken, they almost always mean, “I expected this, and it did that.” Technically-minded people tend to think what someone says means exactly the same as if they said it.

We’ll ignore that Figure 1 actually has him say that the hit detection in the game will have E.T. fall into holes when his head (not feet though) overlap a hole and that it’s a “bad thing”. But, remember, it’s not poor collision detection!

Summary

The rest of the page talks about the registers and kernel changes to make the game actually work. The conclusion is laughable.

It turns out that E.T. isn’t a bad game after all. With a few simple changes we were able to dramatically improve an already good game by eliminating the most common complaints. With a few additional changes, we were able to clear up any confusion for players who care about the score, and were confused by the differences between what the manual claims and what actually happens in-game. Next time someone tells you that “E.T. for the Atari 2600 is the worst game ever made” you can tell them that this is not the case. It’s been fixed, and you know how.

I’ll be sure to let them know.

Now, back to the regularly scheduled content…

Tags: rant

jkottke:

It’s been suggested that perhaps Johannes Vermeer painted his exacting masterpieces with the help of mirrors and lenses. Tim Jenison learned of these suggestions and started to study the problem.

He was in no rush. His R&D period lasted five years. He went to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam….

20XX: What is our legacy?

"Future anthropologists will look back at the early- to mid-21st century as a time of great social and environmental upheaval. Due to a complete lack of physical evidence to the contrary, many were forced to conclude that some apocalyptic calamity enveloped the entire planet, affecting the earth’s atmosphere at a compositional level. This led to two results: the air was harder for human lungs to process, and the protective layers of the atmosphere had been eroded away. Humans had to contort their faces to breathe, drawing air through the mouth via pocket condensers, for instance. And since going outside was an unsafe proposition even on the most overcast day, many were forced to remain in isolation, effectively prisoners of their own homes. Short trips into the environment – as rare as possible, but sometimes necessary – led to severe burns of the face and neck, as evidenced by unarchived image data. Technology had also advanced to a sufficient level so that these simple images could be transferred from person to person on crude handheld communication devices. These researchers surmised that these images were broadcasts to confirm health and safety between the survivors living in this hellish landscape, and to coordinate supply runs and other activities.

When asked why these images seemed to coincide with the term ‘duck face selfie,’ the lead on the research study had no firm answer, but assumed it was some lighthearted homage to the long-extinct waterfowl.”

The market doesn’t see smartphones as computers. They are fixated on the idea that it’s a toy, and behave as such. No smart investor would put money behind a company that produced one single hit toy that they’ve revamped slightly every year. But imagine the faith behind a toy manufacturer that is making all sorts of add ons and appendages to the old basic model!

Consumers use the iPhone as an always-connected computer with a great experience and high value. Investors see the iPhone as a trifle, and treat it (and Apple) accordingly.

parislemon:

Jason Snell:

In other words, in four years the wearables market might grow to be one-tenth the size of today’s smartphone market—in units shipped. Presumably the average selling price of wearable items will be a fraction of that of smartphones, meaning the dollar value of the wearables market is even more minuscule compared to the smartphone market.

All of which means that wearables, while dramatic and exciting and with huge potential to change people’s lives, are never going to rival smartphones in terms of market size. Same goes for smart TV boxes. These are interesting, fun areas of technological change. But the smartphone—that boring old Internet-connected 64-bit supercomputer in your pocket that just keeps improving year after year—is going to be the big dog in the tech world for years to come. Apple’s future success or failure will be dependent on the iPhone, and to a lesser extent the iPad, not on a smartwatch.

That’s exactly right. I’ve been saying this for a while: there is no industry, save maybe the oil business, that could yield the type of profits Apple is used to with the iPhone. And that points to a lot of disappointment in the eyes of Wall Street no matter what comes — unless Apple buys Exxon.

parislemon:

amyphetamine:


(how USB cables make me crazy.)


This is quite perfect.

parislemon:

amyphetamine:

(how USB cables make me crazy.)

This is quite perfect.

thisistheverge:

Daft Punk takes a trip back to the ’70s to show off its band merchandise

Pitch perfect
laughingsquid:

How to Moonwalk as Explained by a Handy Animated Chart