The Emersonian Transcendentalism of the Insane Clown Posse

Posted in Buckeye on November 1st, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

And other papers that I would write if I had the time and learning…

“Michel Eyquem and Other Western Daoists”

“Quest for Glory: The Hero with a Thousand Builds”

“A Survey of Thematic Spam Based on Thematic Blog Posting: Effects on Machine Learning”

“But a Medieval Peasant Understood His Small World: An Exploration of Relative Ignorance and Its Implications on the Adoption of New Technology”

“Stockholm Syndrome in Large-Scale Electronic Surveillance”

George W. Bush, the Texas Rangers and the Future of America

Posted in Buckeye on October 20th, 2010 by admin – Comments Off

The United States of America – Founded in 1776 – was managed by George W. Bush from 2000-2008.  The Texas Rangers, founded in 1961, was managed by the same man from 1989 to 1998.  Given that Dubya’s managerial stint took place 224 years after the founding of the former and 28 years after the founding of the latter (that period lasting 3.45% of the lifetime of the organization as of time of management and 24%, respectively) and that the Texas Rangers had to wait until 12 years (24% of the lifetime of the organization at the time of measurable success) after Dubya’s time to achieve any measurable success, then according to my calculations we’ll be in an economic funk for an adjusted period equal to the period of reign, or 8.004 years, from the time of Dubya’s exit.

MacBook Pro Cancels Benchmark: Interrupted by Flaming Hot Magma

Posted in Art, Buckeye, Digital Innovation, Epiphenomena, Eschatology, Fiction, Games on October 7th, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

Dammit, I just lost a piece of my life on MS Paint Adventures…  And for this?

Of course, I’m still not sure, but I think this method of storyteller as parser, whether community-oriented or feigned, is somewhere near Sword and Sworcery’s faux authentick.

Stuxnet: Could the Cure be as Dangerous as the Disease?

Posted in Buckeye, Digital Innovation, Eschatology on September 27th, 2010 by admin – Comments Off

Stuxnet seems to be a warvirus, and it seems to be finished.  But if I was in charge of the systems running a major site considered critically important, I’d make certain that when I installed the hotfixes and cleaned the system that the fixes didn’t themselves contain even more pernicious code.

Plans within plans…

Ah the unscrupulous mule! It understands war.

Posted in Art, Epiphenomena, Eschatology, Games on September 20th, 2010 by admin – Comments Off

Millions of books lining the shelves at Borders and stacking up in Googlespace and literature moves on…

One thing to make clear is that I try to make everything an interpretation of the game. If I went around inventing stuff it wouldn’t be fun anymore, because you wouldn’t know what I’m making up and what is the game being crazy. Plus, Dwarf Fortress is such an excellent story generator that it’s always more entertaining to write around what it gives me. It’s a fun creative limitation, and it’s the entire point of this LP, so I don’t take a lot of liberty with physical actions. If Dett has an amusing medical accident, I want the reader to know it actually happened. The only time I broke this rule was the cat counting joke in the first update and that happened because I was still working out the creative boundaries of the story (Exi’s cat did die, though). I do take liberty with social interactions because the extent of what you witness in the game is dwarves talking to each other in the dining hall, and I don’t see the harm in writing amusing conversations and creating these elaborate social dynamics between all the dwarves. That’s part of storytelling so it wouldn’t be the same without it, and really it’s still just interpretation there because all I’m doing is explaining what the dwarves say to each other on a day to day basis.

But in a lot of cases, the social interactions are usually also inspired by something. The Hyte and Dett dynamics with Mar were written because I always saw those two dwarves following her around. Exi and Behem are both miners, so of course they interact a lot. The still is right by the gemcutting station and the room where Frote trains animals, so of course Kesti interacts with them. Stuff that makes sense.

I also tend to play in ridiculous ways. For example, Squib being stationed to monitor the elf beasts in the first update happened. I didn’t want them interrupting work orders.

A couple of the more prominent Dwarf Fortress-based humor bits that aren’t covered by the screenshots and wouldn’t be clear to a non-Dwarf Fortress player:

1. Trame electing himself into several important positions is a reference to how players tend to make one dwarf responsible for the manager, broker, and bookkeeper duties.
2. Exi’s architecture design (and the entire concept of what dwarf culture considers good art) is a reference to how many Dwarf Fortress players just design their fortresses in efficient squares instead of more elaborate designs.
3. The mules showing up everywhere and bothering everyone is an in-game mechanic. Animals you don’t keep in cages are obnoxious.
4. The syntax of the Mittens engraving is a combination of an in-game description of a Forgotten Beast and a description of a crafted object.
5. Dett’s entire concept is based off how (in 31.03 – it’s since been patched) doctors were broken and would either horribly murder their patients or were unable to do anything productive for them. Honestly I would have been fine with hospitals never getting patched for that reason.
6. In the Dett update, she laments the lack of serrated discs and enormous corkscrews as hospital supplies. Those are in-game trap components.
7. Kesti’s reverence of the dining hall is an in-game mechanic. Someone posted earlier that dwarves will be happy despite the murder of all their friends and family so long as they ate in a fine dining hall recently. It’s true.
8. War mules are an in-game mechanic, too, but I had to mod the game files to make them trainable as war animals. This was the only modification to the base game.

You should really go give Tarn Adams a couple bucks…

Google Wave as Yo Dawg

Posted in Buckeye on September 10th, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

Elsewhere at my workaday life, I went on and on about the digital humanities relates to how Google canned Wave.  Here’s the tl;dr:

Either very funny or very dumb.

And so we come full circle

Posted in Art, Digital Innovation, Epiphenomena, Eschatology, Games on August 17th, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

“Dwarf Fortress is really the kind of game that benefits third party viewers most when it’s transcribed and narrated and illustrated, rather than just watched.”


Posted in Buckeye, Digital Innovation on July 21st, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

Pulitzer Prize-winner and App Store Censoree Mark Fiore explaining the hidden costs of your latest status symbol.

In other news, ESRI’s new ArcGIS app reports the area of San Francisco to be 69 square miles, which is wrong, and different from the 79 square miles that it reported on Friday.  Of course, I was in San Diego on Friday, so maybe the reason it gave me a different value was because it was assuming a projection based on my location, which would make no sense.  More likely they’re just ironing out the kinks.  It’s amazing the quality of the junk we’re willing to play with in this perpetual beta test known as Web 2.5.1rc3 while implicitly supporting oppressive regimes across the world, allowed to be all the more oppressive due to the extremely reliable and highly effective surveillance tools and software we’ve developed.

But… Doesn’t Google own Youtube?

Posted in Buckeye on June 5th, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

So, I’m trying to get an episode of ST:TOS on Youtube and the rights-management requires an upgraded Flash Player on this laptop and that borks Firefox for some reason, so I figure I’ll give Chrome a try because it just happens to be built by the people that own Youtube.

Dammit, Jim, I'm a browser, not a dying folder icon!

Guess what innovative feature I get to try out?

Testing out Flash on an iPad

Posted in Academia, Digital Innovation on June 4th, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

Fellow Stanford digital type Carlos Seligo and I checking out the usability of Flash on an iPad by running a remote client and hosting the Flash app on a nearby MacBook.  This was an impromptu investigation, and so I apologize for not performing a more rigorous and involved test run, or showing off a more engaging Flash application, but given all the fuss about how Flash just wouldn’t work for iPad for stylistic and technological reasons, I have to say I was shocked at how attractive and functional these apps were, given that we’d spent absolutely no effort optimizing them for multitouch.  Even the much-maligned rollover caused no trouble at all (in the case of this test, rollover events were only triggered if your finger left the screen at a rollover point, which is actually rather interesting functionality and I’d love to play with that).

As far as the gross inefficiency of Flash, we were using well-designed and coded apps, and not hacked together ads or other junk, but of course there was no way to test power drain since this was remoting in, so we had to settle for a rudimentary interface test.  I have no stance on Flash video–I don’t use it except to embed Youtube videos and don’t care if it’s replaced by some other video standard, but I think this and other examples of quality RIAs built in Flex and Flash put the lie to the blanket condemnation of Flash as a tool for software development.  As has been said elsewhere, getting rid of Flash is not going to get rid of junk ads or junk websites, it’s just going to result in junk ads and junk websites written in javascript.  That’s no improvement.

Oh, and A Guide To Authorial London would make a killer iPad app–it’s the perfect form factor for it.