Weekend Reads

With the G20 meeting and Trump presumably kicking the Paris climate agreement further to the curb with moves to strengthen ties to Russia, it’s good to read that “nation states” are rebelling and rebelling well. I’m a fan of (and the UK has a good set of cases for) devolving power to local authorities so that they can reflect the local needs better- and this case demonstrates that in this current political climate that they may well serve the global interest better too.

The challenge for global warming thinking is not an easy one – when many still believe science does agree that global warming is real. I would love to see the UK’s opinion on the same subject and, if different, understand how we got there.


On the techy side, Why Serverless  is a good piece on a different way to approaching software problems (I’ve been playing with OpenWhisk recently and enjoying the model). Perhaps after Serverless, we might go computerless, and just have chips in our head, as noted in the Wired article- Why You will One Day have a Chip in Your Brain. The sci-fi geek inside of me gets very excited by the premise, but there’s a lot of challenges – not least our lack of understanding of the brain despite our strong interest in the subject. We are still mastering “low bandwidth interfaces” such as audio and visual (attention, suggestion, etc are still all fertile fields for research) so it seems risky to go straight “to the tin”. The article touches on a lot of great points (haves versus have nots, what it is to manipulate the brain, etc) but does sound pretty “hippy-ish” in my opinion in it’s short answers. Even skipping past the technical challenges, the moral minefield such technologies open up is beyond our understanding at this point (perhaps we’ll need these machine-mind interfaces to understand the consequences…).

On the gaming front, I like the idea suggested over at RPS of a Complex Inventory affected by how much stuff you try and squeeze into your robes and might explore this in a jam game soon…

Your Target Audience doesn’t exist sounds like a depressing topic that explores the long tail on Steam and is genuinely interesting- especially the key take away:

Various studies suggest that there are 700–800 million of PC gamers. It’s probably true, but it doesn’t mean much for your game. Because if you’re developing a downloadable game for Steam you’re not even fighting for 135M of its active users, you’re fighting for the attention of 1.3 million gamers that are actually buying lots of games. The 1% group.

Some very unhappy indie devs are probably all too aware of this already, but I’d love to see similar numbers for Google Play or the iTunes store…


For the weekend – A quick listen in the form: Is Honesty a Thing of the Past– is a great short piece on something (honesty boxes for small trade) I kinda miss being in a big town (odd that such things only exist in small, rural communities). The description touches on Radiohead but doesn’t mention it on the radio segment, which is a shame as it would be interesting to explore what makes “pay what you think it’s worth” models work in some cases and not others (as per my comments earlier in the week on different payment schemes online) and how we can build this model up.

And, don’t forget BBC Radio 4’s Dangerous Visions season is back – with Fahrenheit 451, Metamorphosis and more – well worth a listen.



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