Digital Innovation

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…

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.

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.

Posted in Academia, Digital Innovation, Epiphenomena on June 2nd, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

We tend towards influ­en­tial, frac­tional exem­plars, partly out of neces­sity (raised to the level of insti­tu­tions) and partly out of habit (raised to the level of tra­di­tions).

Tim Carmody’s very insightful “The Trouble with Digital Culture“, part of CHNM’s Hack the Academy event.

Tarn Adams Interview Up on HASTAC

Posted in Art, Digital Innovation, Games on May 11th, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

My interview with Dwarf Fortress developer Tarn Adams is up on HASTAC.  I tried to craft a series of questions that would allow Tarn to discuss issues important to various Digital Humanities scholars, and not just a maps-and-games kind of guy like me.  He obliged:

Whether or not a narrative’s representation is effective really depends on what sort of graphics an individual player prefers more than anything, and the time and care put into the narrative are going to matter a lot more than the particular methods used.  Even “@…D” can be evocative if you’ve been stoked with the proper context–it’s the most terrifying D you can imagine.  At the same time, your imagination on the spot in situations like that is limited to what information you’ve been given coupled with the existing archetypes etc. in your head, and an artist’s dragon could be something you wouldn’t normally imagine, and that’s great too.  To some extent, it depends on how much and in what way you want your escapism influenced by the artist, which is a matter of taste.  In Dwarf Fortress, I think the lack of a strict, fixed narrative lends itself a bit more to ASCII to me personally, but that can’t be the basis for any kind of absolute judgment.

Top Ten New Features of HTML5

Posted in Digital Innovation, Epiphenomena, Eschatology on April 30th, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

Now that Steve Jobs has firmly stated that Flash can be buried because rich internet applications can be written in “javascript” (a new and exciting “scripted” language that little is known about, except for the fact that has a javascript store finder that crashes my iPhone) and HTML5, I think it’s time to look at the top ten amazing new features available to you some time in 2022, when HTML5 may* arrive!

#10 – HTML5 finally solves that annoying rollover behavior that prevents any Web 2.0 application from running on a mobile interface by getting rid of it entirely.  Instead, all mouselike commands will be nested in a <at-steves-whim></whim> tag that will implement shoddy, worthless junk depending on the current mood of populist technocrats.

#9 – HTML5 actually implements full Semantic Web capability, and will implement your very own Semantic Web whenever you’d like, just by giving a #start-semantic-web command.  Please note, however, that this is theoretical, as even the Google techs that got Quake working in HTML5 forgot to try this, so while the Semantic Web is now a distinct possibility, it remains as unlikely as it did when it was impossible.

#8 – HTML5 will actually learn to code for you, so that all those times when you neglected to learn how to code and claimed you were just waiting for a really solid open standard will be forgotten because not only will HTML5 teach you to code and learn it for you, it will purposefully make the apps built by code literate losers who learned how to code (albeit in awful, awful languages) run less efficiently out of spite.

#7 – HTML5 contains <ideological> wrappers that allow arguments to be viewed based on their merits, thus solving thousands of years of senseless conflicts.

#6 – HTML5 also contains <wittgensteinian> wrappers that may or may not restore all of those senseless conflicts, just for kicks.

#5 – HTML5 will always render Joan Jett as a young, rebellious hellion, even if the video is of her appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show.  In HTML5, Joan Jett punches Ellen right in the eye.

#4 – HTML5, while technically incapable of restoring your childlike optimism, contains <polyanna> tags that allow you to force your own twisted corruption of it upon others.

#3 – HTML5 contains </terminator> tags that can be used to deactivate killer cyborgs as well as allow Monsanto-engineered crops to produce viable seeds.

#2 – HTML5 also contains <terminator> tags (necessary for compliance) that should only be used by very responsible individuals.

#1 – In HTML5, Soviet Russia finally gets to tag you.

*No really, 2022.  Remember, HTML5 is also part of the Semantic Web Zombiepocalypse, so even though its arrival will fix everything, you have to weigh that value against the distinct possibility that, like the Zombie Web, it may never actually get here.

MacBook Pro Cancels Benchmark: Interrupted by Flaming Hot Magma

Posted in Digital Innovation, Eschatology, Games on April 27th, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

The folks at PCAuthority discovered something we already knew:  Dwarf Fortress is for serious performance testing.  Apparently, they used the WorldGen feature of everyone’s favorite roguelike fantasy world simulator to turn the i7 MacBook Pro into a really attractive griddle.

This iPhone 4G menaces with spikes of lawsuit.

Commons-Based Peer Collaborative Pixel Pushing

Posted in Art, Digital Innovation, Eschatology on April 21st, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

Playpen allows you to draw some extremely pixelated Harkonnens, but it does have Dwarf Fortress.  Don’t try to rescue the beard mite, though, it’s a lost cause.