Other Ten Percent 3/12/12

Mar 12 2012

I’m going to try getting to the point a bit faster today. Not because I don’t love babbling at you guys. Clearly I do. I just worry that I’m artificially inflating my word count in OTP lately. I’ll still go on 300 word rants when I hit a story that I really think warrants it but I may just let the short entries actually be short. Now that I’ve said that prepare for this OTP to be like 3000 words long on its own somehow.

Comedy Bang Bang Preview
So now that Portlandia season 2 is over (kinda with a wimper. I know what they were going for with that finale but if you’re going to do the massive sketch character crossover EVENT season finale you kinda need to INCREASE THE STAKES as un-Portland as that may be.) IFC needs a new way to show off their comedy scene cred and they’ve chosen to give Comedy Bang Bang host Hot Saucerman his own show. He, in turn, has chosen to not change the Comedy Bang Bang podcast format AT ALL to turn it into a show which makes one of the most bizarre parodies of the radio talk show into an even more bizarre parody of the comedy/variety show. I mean it’s already a bizarre bit when you have Paul F. Tompkins playing Andrew Lloyd Webber and talking about his decades long feud with Richard Branson on the podcast. But to then have him do that on the show by just coming out as Paul F. Tompkins in a black cape while NO ONE QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ON THIS it’s…I mean it’s glorious I just really hope this show somehow succeeds against all odds you guys. In other news things are not looking good for that plan where I shut up.

Profile of Ralph Baer, 90-year-old video game pioneer
It’s another mini-doc you guys! This time it’s about the creator of the first home video game console who still goes out and tries to invent new games which he assembles and programs himself at 90. It’s a depressingly modest life for a guy who’s so awesome but the documentary also makes it sweet and kinda inspiring.

Scientifically Yours
Man I know that there are all kinds of awards and grants and shit that are given to scientists that do something as awesome as land a rover on Mars but if somebody told me that going to space meant that you’d get letters from Muppets telling you how jealous they are of your awesome accomplishments I might have actually stuck with science after high school.

Christian Card Counters
I am glad that the director of this movie about Christian Card Counters (!!!) doesn’t just collapse the ambiguity about how weird their moral positions get. On the one hand I have a hard time siding with casinos on basically anything but on the other I find the ways they bend over backwards to justify breaking their own moral code a reminder of everything I hated about religion back in Georgia. Still, it’s hard to full on hate any of these guys because they seem so fun and weird. The ability to laugh at how bizarre their situation is makes me way more okay with it. At least I think they’re laughing at it. It’s been a while since I’ve been in the south so can somebody give me the over/under on the guy that says “Anybody that truly loves Jesus should learn to play blackjack” saying that with any irony whatsoever?

The Curator’s Code
I really love the idea of this, along with the design of the site where they’re pitching it. However I’m not totally sold on it yet and that’s because people are lazy. The problem with the system is that unless you feel strongly about a standardized attribution system (and most people don’t feel strongly enough to even bother attributing ANYTHING) you’re not going to adopt a system that’s MORE complicated to benefit the abstract concept of a more well curated web. Hell, I’m clearly lazy since I’m not doing it either and I actually care about those things. They clearly understand this and have taken some great first steps to simplifying the system but it still feels more like a design project to prove a point than a legitimate format for standardizing attribution around the web.

Chairlift – “Met Before” Video
A choose your own adventure Music Video! I’ve gotta say I’m pretty impressed with their ability to make the narrative actually work and feel significantly different between the different choices. I’ve watched through it 4 times now without ANY of the footage repeating outside of the first choice. Still, I’m not 100% behind this. Mostly I find it really bizarre when it suddenly remembers it also has to be a music video and the lead singer starts singing in the middle of a PHD presentation and everybody just kinda nods sagely. It’s also a bit too gimmick-y to be the “way forward for music videos” that I’ve seen a few people pitch it as. Especially since I kinda think music videos are one of the few formats that should be just fine on the net. Boy, if only there were a website for showing interesting videos that were 3-5 minutes long that you might want to share with your friends.

Living Wall
Once again I am jealous of how awesome children’s toys are these days. In 5 years there are going to be cheap and relatively easy to program interactive walls? Forget bunk beds walls that you can program to interact with whatever your children are into are going to be the coolest possible thing you can do for your kids. Try and make them be into something cooler than birds though ok guys?

Tom Whalen Goes Daffy for Mondo
Guys these are all absurdly pretty posters made for the Alamo Drafthouse that you should go look at just because of how pretty they are. HOWEVER: these are also a chance for me to mention something I’m not totally sure I had revived OTP in time to flip out over publicly and that is THERE IS GOING TO BE AN ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE IN SAN FRANCISCO. We have the Castro of course and it’s pretty awesome but there really aren’t very many good places to go see movies in this town. Now, of course, I will inevitably move away right before they actually open the SF Drafthouse but whatever it’s still cool.

How I Helped Destroy Star Wars Galaxies
I’m not totally sure how much of this will translate if you aren’t an MMO player but I’m hoping I’ve posted enough stuff about virtual economies for you guys to get the basics of this stuff even if he goes into jargon mode at the end. Honestly even I’m not totally sure what he’s saying in that part, it seems kinda like typical nerd-rage that other players didn’t have to work as hard to get blah blah blah. If you get bored in the like 3-4 graphs just close the window. The interesting part is where he controls a virtual real estate empire so totally that he breaks the economy of a virtual GALAXY and makes a six figure income off of doing it. This is why I wish I had the start-up funds to try and break the Diablo III economy.

Hey guys I wrote a new thing! This time it’s about how location based games all kinda suck and why I think that is. It’s a pretty strong stance (and I am sad I cannot actually be at SXSW to discuss the issue with a bit more nuance some location based devs this weekend) but the core argument, that most location based games try to be a regular video game with “plus there’s a GPS check” is kinda sound. It’s the first of hopefully many articles for PCWorld that talk about video games from more of 10,000 foot view where I think about games in general instead of just whatever game is hot this week. I hope you guys will enjoy them even if you don’t care all that much about video games.

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