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April 20, 2010

If you like pictures of me, you'll love this week's New York Magazine

There's an article to go with it, but it's largely un-Will related, so read at your own risk.

Posted by Will at 3:11 PM | Comments (3)

So Google is basically the Death Star

From The Times article Cyberattack on Google Said to Hit Password System:

But the theft leaves open the possibility, however faint, that the intruders may find weaknesses that Google might not even be aware of...

Sound familiar?

"If the Rebels have obtained a complete technical readout of this station it is possible, however unlikely, that they might find a weakness, and exploit it."

Just sayin.

Posted by Will at 3:04 PM | Comments ()

April 18, 2010

Roger Ebert: "Video games will never be... Get of my lawn!"

This post started out as a comment on a comment on Isaac Butler's post on Roger Ebert's post, Video games can never be art. It got long enough that I decided to be greedy and post it here instead.

If you took that article and replaced video games with films, you'd probably have an article that some theater critic wrote in the early 1930s. It's hard to take his opinion seriously when he seemingly has not even ever played a video game. It comes off as an old man grumbling on his porch, "Kids today..."

That said, video games, at least most of them, probably aren't art. Even Mass Effect (full disclosure, I haven't played it, or really any games like it) seems to be the same kind of testosterone filled silliness meant for teenagers that Transformers 2 is. Is Transformers 2 art? I don't even want to have that discussion. Heck, is art art? If you go to MoMA and see Marina Abramovic staring at some people, how long can you talk about it before wondering whether the emperor isn't wearing any clothes after all?

Anyway, the idea that video games can never be art is ridiculous. Let's say video games are about thirty years old. Films, of course, were churning out all the things that justify calling it art thirty years in. But films have the advantage of being able to borrow from centuries of books and theater. A lot of early movies were basically just theater that somebody put a camera in front of. But video games' interactivity makes it a whole new medium. You can't just put a motion capture device in front of a performance of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and call it a video game. It's going to be a long time before video games hit their stride.

Whether video games are art now is a subject that can be debated, although preferably by someone who could tell the difference between Mario and Luigi. Whether it ever will be art, well, I don't think even the most forward thinking people have any idea what video games are going to be like in five years. And I'm going to stop this now, because I'm starting to feel like a pretentious fop trying to discuss what art is.

Posted by Will at 12:42 PM | Comments ()

April 13, 2010

Twitter has a plan to make money from people who do things that don't make any sense

I've made my feelings on twitter known before, but this article from the Times makes me feel like I'm on crazy pills:

Twitter Unveils Plans to Draw Money From Ads

Go ahead, read it, I'll still be here.

You done? Okay. You remember this part?

"When people are searching on Starbucks, what we really want to show them is that something is happening at Starbucks right now, and Promoted Tweets will give us a chance to do that..."

Why on god's green earth would someone search on twitter for Starbucks? For one thing, if someone's searching on twitter for Starbucks, Starbucks' advertising has already done its job, so there doesn't seem to be any reason for Starbucks to give twitter any money at that point. For another, check out what actually happens when you search on twitter for Starbucks:


Did you look? Was it a bunch of people you don't know or care about saying that they're going to Starbucks? It was? Now check this out. Go back to that page. Now are there dozens of new posts about Starbucks that are similarly useless and inane? There are?

I suppose Starbucks being able to promote some deal or something above the chatter of any idiot with a cell phone would be an improvement, so bravo to twitter on that front, but I'm still mystified as to what could be gained by anyone searching for twitter on anything ever.

What I should have done was make this post during sxsw. During the last one, I actually swallowed my pride and tried to use twitter to find out what was going on. Someone named Andie Grace had this to say at about the same time:

"I grabbed my phone to tweet that I was grabbing my luggage (at the airport)....But I stopped myself from Twittering and I thought if everybody did this, it's going to be useless."

Well, everyone did do that and it was useless. Hundreds and hundreds of people just telling me that they're at a cool/boring/average party or that they lost their keys or something, tagging it with #sxsw, at a pace literally faster than I could keep up with.

Okay, people like twitter, and I sort of get that now. People like having a platform where they can broadcast bite-sized ideas and keep up with the mundane details of the lives of their friends and Ashton Kutcher. But good god, searching for something on twitter is an awful, awful experience that could never possibly lead to finding anything remotely useful or interesting.

Please, I beg you, explain to me why I'm wrong. I'm not even being facetious there, I honestly want to know what the hell people are doing searching on twitter.

Posted by Will at 9:02 AM | Comments (4)