The best Halo 3 review ever.

Funny, and I couldn’t agree more. Halo 3 is good, but not so exciting that the world is going to give up games forever after experiencing the moment of nirvana that many reviewers think the game contains. It’s good fun if you’re playing with someone else, but most things are. For a single-player game it’s decidedly average. Nothing is really new, and the innovations that the series had have been equalled or bettered by other games released since.

Maybe I feel like this for me because I’m not a frag-addicted multiplayer gamehead that would put electrodes on my arms if I thought it would speed up my twitch response, but most of the time I just want to sit down and enjoy a good game by myself. Most of the time I play games to get away from the idiocy of humanity, not so I have to encounter idiots from around the world in my living room.

Tight-roping between the Twin Towers

Back in 1974, a chap and his friends hid for the night in the World Trade Center and set up a tight rope. The next day he put on a show up there for an hour before being arrested. News footage here.

You may have already seen this (link source here), so the reason I’ve linked to it is that I completely adore the punishment handed to him by a judge. It’s heartwarming to know that justice officials could be so lovely, and it makes me wonder whether that could possibly happen today – somehow I doubt it. The judgement given is in the last ten seconds of footage. Lovely.

Cars, booze, and Japan

Ever wondered what it would look like if you combined the movement of 1000 through a racing game into one movie? Wonder no more! The result is really very beautiful, although perhaps a bit longer than needed.

Ever thought that a beer or two a day makes you smarter? Apparently it does! (If you’re a rat, tests haven’t been performed on humans yet.) Sadly, several alcoholic drinks per day does appear to make you less intelligent, but moderate daily alcohol intake makes you smarter than a teetotaller. Huzzah!

Ever wanted to see roads in Japan in the virtual window thingy that you can see all around from while moving along the road? … Err… What? Just click one of the little ‘VM’ icons on the junctions, then click one of the arrows, then move your mouse around over the pop up window and enjoy!

Eurovision 2008 might actually be very good indeed

Bill Bailey is going trying out as a contestant to be the Eurovision song contest in 2008! If you’re not familiar with Bill Bailey, you can get a taste of his sense of humour from his simply wonderful Cockney Medley. He is one of the funniest comedians in the country, and a he’s good musician too. What could be better for Eurovision than an extra helping of surrealism on top of the, already rather bizarre, event? Also, the contest is usually full of pretty people sashaying gymnastically around the stage, so Bill would make a very nice change in tone!

As it says on his website, he’s only putting himself forward, so this doesn’t mean he’ll get in, but I really hope he does! Why is this happening? It’s all down to the power of the internet. Lovely.

The smiley emoticon is 25 today :-)

At 11:44am, 25 years ago today, the smiley was invented:

19-Sep-82 11:44 Scott E Fahlman ๐Ÿ™‚ From: Scott E Fahlman I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers: ๐Ÿ™‚ Read it sideways. Actually, it is probably more economical to mark things that are NOT jokes, given current trends. For this, use ๐Ÿ™

It’s nice to know the smiley is 25, but it’s also interesting that in 1982 Professor Fahlman thought that the internet was becoming clogged with silliness. I wonder what he thinks of it all now.

There’s a brief history of smileys here. My webcomic contributions to the silliness of the internet update twice a week here.

Bless the optimistic New York Times, and a prediction

One of their writers has asked a pretty obvious question about mobile phone ringtones:

Three bucks for a 30-second snippet that lasts a yearโ€”when you can buy the entire song online for $1 and own it forever?

What am I missing here? How is a 30-second, time-limited excerpt worth three times as much as the full work forever?

He concludes that this is a money making ploy by record-executives, summarising it as ‘the last great digital rip off’. While I agree that it is a rip-off, you’ve got to admire either the optimism or the hyperbole of the writer for thinking that this is the ‘last great’ rip off that we’re going to see related to digital media.

I’d like to make a little prediction – digital TV and movie downloads are going to be among the next great digital rip offs that turn up as soon as the general public becomes au fait enough with computers to start using them.

Save Camden Market!

For those of you who’ve known London for a while, you may have noticed a creeping trend: Carnaby Street has turned into a souvenir parade, Kensington Market vanished (the new version in the new location just isn’t the same), and now Camden Market – arguably the last large bastion of the alternative-and-independent world that is left in London – is faced with imminent closure to be turned into another shopping mall.

Sign up to the UK government’s petition and maybe we might make a difference (it’s worth a try):

What have we got to lose? Camden. What would we gain? Nothing. Sign the petition and try and keep some character in our city!

Spook Country by William Gibson coming very soon!

Buy it in the US
Buy it in the UK

Video interview with Gibson about Spook Country.

As a person who spent seven years of their life studying the novels of William Gibson, I think it’s fair to say that I’m very excited about experiencing a new novel by him. Will I be able to switch off my academic brain for long enough to enjoy it as a ‘normal’ reader? I guess that asks whether normal readers like William Gibson novels. I hope I can.

I’m expecting that there will be some mysterious object, place, or moment around which the novel revolves. This thing will symbolise a new modality for humanity, something that speaks of loss, time, and desire. It will be representative of the excitement of the future, and the fear of losing everything that we are now to become something else. Dreams will replace cyberspace as an area in which mystical experiences occur and technology blends with personality. The bodies of the characters will always be central to their experience of the events – the way that textures look and feel will define their daily lives. Information will somehow be God, but not a god that you can talk to, or one that listens, just a god that is so utterly beyond you that you can only hope that you can predict what it might make happen next.

Will I be right? We’ll find out next month!

I miss writing my thesis.

Ecletic interesting links and articles collected by a painter, teacher, writer, and ex-PhD student