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.

Frank Frazetta Died

Posted in Art on May 14th, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

I grew up with Frazetta’s vision of John Carter and Barsoom.  As a child, I associated Frazetta’s work with photography and it was a real shock for me to realize that some human being had painted those works.

Craig Adams put up an excellent essay on the man.

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.

Cellar door, oleomargarine; oleomargarine, cellar door

Posted in Art, Buckeye on April 27th, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

A headfoot I noticed:


I think he has too many eyes, don't you?

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.

Apple thinks COBOL is evil, “GOTO 10″ Bullshit

Posted in Digital Innovation, Eschatology on April 14th, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

There’s a great post on the entire Adobe-Apple debacle over at /dev/why!?! that not only explains the technical issues at play with Apple’s closing off of the iWhatever to outside SDKs but also points out that this “makes it a license violation to include a language interpreter inside a game.”  (Interestingly, enough, this apparently already violates the current SDK)

I don’t know contract law (thank God) but wouldn’t you think that inconsistent enforcement of a legal contract would somehow damage its value?

There’s a reason why he won the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny

Posted in Digital Innovation on April 12th, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

Very frankly, I am opposed to people being programmed by others.

Mr. Rogers

Kill It With Magma

Posted in Art, Digital Innovation, Games on April 8th, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

There’s a great interview with Tarn Adams up on Negative Gamer.  Tarn and his brother are creating Dwarf Fortress, as inexplicable as it is marvelous.  How marvelous and inexplicable and crazy?  Well, if Baudrillard was writing Simulacra and Simulation today, he’d use Dwarf Fortress as his example, not Crash.  Dwarf Fortress makes Crash look like Parcheesi.