evil overlord workstation

Way back in 2008 I reported on attempts to cyberpunkify ergonomic solutions for computer workplaces: see ↵laid back and ↵laid back flagship. Now MWE Lab has driven it to new heights in every respect … the ↑Emperor 200 comes with a lavish price-tag of $45,000. Roberto Baldwin at Wired’s Gadget Lab ↑has commented perfectly: Upon sitting in the Emperor 200, users tap on the touchscreen to lower the monitors and nestle themselves into a computing bubble worthy of a Bond villain. Because each workstation is built to order, MWE labs can customize each installation to handle different computing platforms, even … Continue reading

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gaming and murder

Over at ↑Rock, Paper, Shotgun John Walker insightfully debunks the media’s way of dealing with computer games in connection with Anders Breivik: It is inevitable that during the trial of Norwegian mass murderer, Anders Breivik, that the matter of videogaming will come up. Soon after the horrendous events I dug into what Breivik had actually said about gaming in his ghastly manifesto, and it was pretty much nothing of relevance. But with the press still not having found the next nasty to leap on, gaming is the scapegoat. It seems reasonable to point out how inaccurate this remains, and how … Continue reading

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last riddler challenges

Just yesterday I had a longer conversation [not online, but face to face, beer by beer] with a doctoral student of mine ↑who does deeply immersed fieldwork around and within the ‘StarCraft II’ (SC2 | Blizzard Entertainment 2010) pro-gamer scene. Matchingly enough the day before yesterday I reread ↓Bearman 2008 and ↵watched ‘King of Kong’ (Gordon 2007) and ‘Chasing Ghosts’ (Ruchti 2007), wondering at the lengths high-end arcade-gamers go. Well, he told me about the lengths the SC2-specialists go, especially in terms of analysis of the game, its patches, actual matches, etc. Up to writing book-lengths compendiums. After enough grinning … Continue reading

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fistful of quarters

Joshua Bearman’s article ‘↓The perfect game‘ (2008) since years slumbers on my HDD—luckily it’s still available online for everybody. Testimony to the amazing zen-like perfect-flow achievable in high-end arcade gaming. Additionally there are two magnificent documentaries on the subject: ‘The King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters’ (Gordon 2007) and ‘Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade’ (Ruchti 2007). Here are the trailers and what ↑filmcritic‘s ↑Anthony Burch has to say on the two documentaries:  the king of kong  Put this one at the top of your “Must Watch Now” list. Like, right now. Beyond functioning as an entertaining if somewhat shallow look … Continue reading

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beyond the game

‘↑Beyond the Game‘ is the motto of the World Cyber Games and also the intended title of the documentary film by filmmaker Jos de Putter. The film is set in the world of incredibly popular cyber games and portrays several top players from very different cultures in the run-up to the coming world Championships in October 2008 in Seattle, which will also be the climax of the film.     Protagonists are an Asian and a European player, known in the cyber world as Sky and Grubby. Sky is 19, comes from China and is world champion in the game … Continue reading

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the turk

manuscript-day 209 of 100 The history of mechanical calculators is far more outbranching, and the whole story is important for understanding, that what a computer does and is based on, is mathematics, and mathematics only. The devices presented so far—from the ‘Antikythera Mechanism’ to Hahn’s calculator—are of tremendous importance for humankind in general, as history then shows. Accordingly they fascinate the elite-circle of scientists of their times. But they harbour no direct meaning for those not ‘in-the-know,’ because in the end, they can ‘just’ calculate, ‘nothing more.’ They are not programable and thus can not combine their calculation powers in … Continue reading

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grand theft childhood

Finally …  KUTNER, LAWRENCE AND CHERYL K. OLSEN. 2008. ↑Grand theft childhood: The surprising truth about violent video games and what parents can do. New York: Simon & Schuster. The book is a straightforward and clear scientific elaboration of, and argument for, what ihatesheep ↵brought to the point in 2006: ‘If playing GTA is all it takes for your child to go out and murder prostitutes, then there are far, far bigger problems that you probably need to address.’ … Continue reading

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