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Howdy. I'm Justin Hall, a freelance writer living in Oakland California. I spent much of the last two years living in Japan, researching the social impact of new technologies and electronic entertainment. Now I write articles, contribute to Chanpon, Game Girl Advance and TheFeature.

Thanks for stopping by this old web site.

My memories of


Thus spake:
> Liza on Computer Hunting
> dating service on BlogShares
> on Not Handheld
> John on Baldur's Gate Couples Therapy
> John on Geek Out Notes Posted
> Taylor on pantpantpant
> lebenslauf on am I blue?
> chris on Asking Questions, Taking Notes
> Timothy Burke on good judgement overtaken
> MarkPaul on Daytime Mail
> Martin Thorborg on Overnight Mail
> Drew on Hunker
> Alexs Krysyna on Party Cut
> Alice on Chin Plucking
> Paris Hilton Video on Orthogonal Unit Dinner
> on Three Three
> Justin on Gathering Deft Conjuctions
> on Austin Game Talk
> Justin on Like You Live
> Thomas Korte on SXSW: Geek Out
> stropinela on 030303 Collective Play Notes
> online poker on Inlining Note-Giving

waka waka! by Robin


Photo by: Robin Hunicke

I saw this girl at the Tokyo Game Show wearing these totally rad glasses. I asked if she was a game designer; she said she was just talent, a model, a booth babe sort of. But she looked like a young artist! Quirkily arrayed. I encouraged her to take her funky wardrobe and make some software. Then my disappointment was offset when she offered to let me wear her glasses after I heaped praise on them. And Robin snapped this photo!

October 2004

face front archives

I write for Game Girl Advance quite often - here's a list of my last few posts there:


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March 30, 2003

Computer Hunting

The last few times I bought a desktop computer, I visited a few small immigrant-run computer stores in Silicon Valley. There I picked up my chips and boards and sticks and slots separately and built a reasonably kickin' machine that lasted me for years. I was able to do my own tech support, I saved some money on the whole deal, and I felt more like a digital tinkerer than a pure consumer.

Now those computers are well over four years old - keyboard inputs shot. About the only thing useful in them is the dozens of gigabytes of games and music and pictures I haven't touched since I left for Japan almost two years back.

Now I'm weighing a new household computer.

I've got a two year old laptop - that's about as long as I can go hard driving a machine before my data busts out of the small enclosure and I start having long talks with my sputtering CPU about projects we might undertake if only the beast can be coaxed into a hasty state once more.

My Thinkpad is good enough to support my email and writing on the road for months to come at least. Now I need a machine to store my data when I leave home, a place to archive ~400 megabytes of digital photos taken each month. A machine to play PC games on (my laptop can't seem to handle much after mid-2002). Maybe a device to make music on. And something to experiment with file hosting and system architecture and home networking hubosity.

I have so many smart friends with Macintosh computers. Maybe I would get a Macintosh laptop some time down the road. But between wanting to fire up legacy Windoze hard drives and wanting to play games, I can't go Macintosh now.

Here's what I've got specced out:

at least 2.5 ghz
at least 120 gigabytes
at least 256 megs of RAM
at least a GeForce 4 or ATI 9700 (TX?)

I don't feel like building it again myself - too much else I'd rather focus on. I was considering Dell; I've had some programmer friends have good luck with very cheap barebones desktops from them. I did some searching with independent retailers online, and they couldn't seem to do much better. A Dell system with those specs is around $1200 - but they continually refresh a list of free upgrades and things. Today Dell offered a $200 rebate, free shipping, a free 120 gig hard drive update, and a free 256 megs of Ram upgrade. That pushed the price of what I wanted just $20 below $1000 - strike time! The minimum power necessary to function at an accelerated rate (plus some "Free" stuff I don't want: 6 months of Earthlink, TaxCut Deluxe, WordPerfect Productivity Pack, cheap speakers).

Today I bought a computer, and just about doubled my credit card debt. Now I have to set about figuring out how this machine is going to augment my already swollen income earning potential.

Posted by Justin at 03:28 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack


The profileration of ready-steady tools for making weblogs has lead to an explosion of 1) people posting reverse-chronological reflections and references and 2) tools for those people to toy with their data and reputations.

Last summer, I encouraged Joi Ito to get a personal web site he could update easily. Now I read Joi's site to keep up on these tools and the people that use them. In a few short months, he's become deeply embedded in the technology and culture of the web, reflecting the evolving ethic of a loose-knit band of active webloggers. Meanwhile, I'm still dedicated to using this page to let you know about the state of my intenstinal health.

Today I saw "BlogShares" on Joi's site - a stock market approach to tracking weblog popularity. Nothing like playing with fake money! I get to test my capacity for prognostication without consequences. Like a game! A massively multiplayer online game!

Justin's Links is listed on BlogShares, some guy named Joey bought 120 shares! At around $ 2.94 a share I believe. I'm honored by that, but I fear it's a bad investment. The BlogShares market values sites based on their number of incoming links. Links.net has shown a steady decline in incoming links since 1995, when I stopped writing regularly about sex sites on the web, which was the Iraq news blog of its time.

Posted by Justin at 01:58 PM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

Not Handheld

Spent Saturday at Berkeley for the "How Can Journalists Appeal to Wired-Up, Distracted Children and Adults" conference, watching Mizuko Ito the smartest importer of Japanese media information, and Will Wright, who gave a six minute compression of his usual dazzling depth.

Howard sat on one side of me, Steve on the other, each with a wirelessly connected Handspring Treo - like a Palm Pilot with a built in phone and color internet surfing keyboard notetaking drool email.

I don't yet feel much need for such a thing. My mobile phone carries my phone numbers. Email on the road would be nice, yes. But I carry my small laptop and find enough wireless connections to get my web posting and correspondence done.

Anyhow, I saw how this web site and some others looks in the Treo web browser. Bright, readable, except for the left-hand navigation information - you have to skip past all that to find the updated content. I tried with the Geek Out in Austin to find an alternative to the lefthand navigation now I have to take the time to skim off the useless stuff off this overloaded frontpage. Or clean off my desk. Or finish writing that article.

From Smartmobs, it looks like there might be some web sites that allow you to build a mobile-readable web site. So while I muse over the shape of this content that best fits a phone, the longer-term question lingers - what does anyone want to know about me when they have two minutes to kill waiting for a friend to meet them? I'm mostly fine! I think I'm gaining weight! I'm in Oakland, studying games! No trips planned except a weekend in Nebraska!

Posted by Justin at 01:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Baldur's Gate Couples Therapy

Adam loaned Jane and me Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance for the PlayStation 2. Fans of the arcade game Gauntlet will recognize the arcade dungeon-crawling hack-and-slash action. Room after room, your fighter, archer or sorceress maimes, fries or skewers everything that moves in exchange for tinkling gold or bubbly potions. These potions keep you alive so you can keep hacking. It's mostly mindless gameplay.

Except that you can play it together - each person on their own dungeon quest, sharing the screen with another adventurer. If one person travels too far ahead, then too large a swarm of foes might engulf you and your buddy. I tend to play action games impetuously - blustering my way forward and hammering buttons until all foes lay in piles at my feet, or until I am slain and I must restart my forward momentum.

Jane wants us to strategize. "Wait for me!" "Let's stand by this door." "Don't go over there yet!" I'd like to say I'm role-playing a war-mongering dwarf fighter, and she the cautious spellcasting lady. But in truth, she is Jane and I am Justin and when she dies again because she didn't use her red recovery potion in time when she was surrounded by half the enemies I found but I couldn't take on, she is miffed and peeved maybe and so it behooves me if I want to spend the rest of the evening gaming with Jane I should bend my always-attack to be a forward creep.

Also, Jane's character is more attractive than mine. So she gets better prices at the store than I do. It doesn't appear that we can trade the gold we find on the floor between us. So Jane has decided that it's better for our team if I let her pick up all the gold. Because my dwarf is stronger, I gets to pick up all the tattered leather helmets and rusty daggers we find. Humph!

Posted by Justin at 12:52 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Geek Out Notes Posted

For the interactive part of the SXSW conference this month, I proposed a Geek Out session - a chance to delve into the audience by offering people a chance to present their projects.

Here are the Geek Out proceedings - a record of the fine folks who came up to share and maybe some details on the audience reaction. Many thanks to Nancy White who took notes and emailed them to me afterwards.

Here's what I wrote Hugh, a SXSW organizer, considering a future similar session:

The Geek Out was great fun - a draft run. I learned about a bunch of great stuff, including a "notes exchange" from people attending the show, as well as a number of personal and international scale projects. It makes a ton of sense to tap the audience at SXSW for content - the open format ensures that non-professional, non-practiced voices get added to the rich mix of speakers. Most of the people who attend SXSW are self-selected media makers and media thinkers anyhow - a great braintrust.

If you are willing to do it again, I'd very much enjoy a chance to "get it right" (or at least "more right"). If I had been more on the ball leading up to SXSW 2003 some of this might have come together this year. But nothing like diving in the community pool to help you realize you need a swimsuit.

You have me 2.5 hours and I thought holy smokes that's too much time! But we ran over - huh! I feel like I could almost do it all afternoon, but then I'd be broke sick exhausted and I'd miss a bunch of other panels. Anyhow.

All this is "if possible" - it would help transform the event into more of a media-riffic wired-up geek spectacular:

- two projection screens from two laptops
One screen has the web site of the person presenting, the other screen is a large visible list of who has presented (their URLs) and a list of who is to come.
- a few power strips scattered throughout for people with laptops who want to blog/write for the duration but don't have the battery life
- a helper person to take notes, sign people up. I could find this person by posting on the web in the weeks before the next event.

Now I gotta pick through these digital photos Nancy sent me as well!

Posted by Justin at 10:18 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 27, 2003


I wrote about how Jane and I are working well together - it was composed in my head during a fit of intense productivity we shared. And then it trickled out a bit, I'm doing cleanup work on freelance pieces and Jane is plugging ahead on her own assignments. But I spent more time cleaning screens on the windows outside the house and dealing with overflowing toilets and a washing-machine-induced-flood today than I did developing new thoughts. And amidst it all? Books arrive in the mail, from a fat stack of things we purchased online - reading ourselves so we're better able to write. And I don't take time to sit and read these things yet because between the house and my inbox I'm always pantpantpant

There is something beautiful about being alive - even feeling tired and dirty as I do today, and wondering what the heck I'm supposed to do about a broken water pump in the basement. I feel a certain priviledge to have that as my problem. Working from home certainly inspires some balance. I can't decide which is better - stripping all stimulation in favor of monastic peace and clarity or girding myself with papers and wires to better feel the flow of the world as I've come to know it? Anyhow, the doorbell rang three times today - Jeff from Nonchalance was the second visitor, dropping off the eleven Oaklandish posters I'd ordered from him.

Posted by Justin at 05:19 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 25, 2003

am I blue?

Jane sits on the couch in the living room. It's blue, like the rug beneath the coffee table in front of it, and like the blankets I have arrayed around it. It's my old decorating taste - she wants to warm it up with orange. I weighed her offer yesterday, in blue jeans and a blue gingham shirt. Blue is a very soothing color, Jane's mom said.

While she sits working in there, I face a door-made-desk I stained blue in an office. Yesterday we discussed turning this into an eating room. Plans fly between our articles - as freelancers we've managed to pin ourselves to our computers for at least five hours of solid writing and research a day for the last week or so. If you don't have a boss, and there's only one water-cooler buddy, and they're working hard, you can get an enormous amount done in five or six solid hours. We eat yogurt and granola and toast and peanut butter until the evening when we have some nice meal with someone and then return to our computers for another hour or two of writing and correspondence. Occasionally we sit in the same room to synchronize our calendars. Times like these we're working quite well together.

She is emerging as a disciplinary force in my life. Demanding adherence to deadlines and a more focused approach to errands! But flexible still - yesterday she took off in the middle of the day to garden some while I continued being late for an article due. We're working on healthy eating, balanced living, and solid productivity. Yeah!

She's been working so hard lately, sometimes she doesn't even tend her other home.

Posted by Justin at 08:26 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

March 20, 2003

Asking Questions, Taking Notes

Watching the war unfold, reading an interview with Vladimir Slipchenko, it's clear that these events in Washington and Iraq are mostly coordinated, perhaps well in advance. Jane published an excellent piece today - if politics and the military today are completely sewn up by money and power politics, it should generate a cultural and civic backlash. A seven-month old pregnant friend of ours was arrested today protesting in San Francisco (Steve Rhodes' wireless updates from downtown).

Me? I'm visiting an event to "Honor Tom Clancy's contributions to video games" at an old Army base in San Francisco. I'll be asking questions and taking notes.

Posted by Justin at 01:42 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

March 19, 2003

good judgement overtaken

My desire to know when the war starts has overtaken my good judgement - I've finally turned on CNN. Fortunately, three TVs in the living room means we don't have to give it all of our attention - Jane has the new Zelda game in Japanese, I'm playing Splinter Cell, and between them CNN peddles idle speculation about incomplete information.

three tvs
Here, Adam, Lisa and Jane sit at the three TVs.
Adam's playing Splinter Cell, Lisa's watching satellite TV, Jane's playing Animal Crossing.

Posted by Justin at 06:39 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Daytime Mail

Help! I'm drowning!

I have a desk piled with papermail - 18 months worth, what I accumulated while I was in Japan. Is there any reason to save old bank statements, old paid utility bills? I'm thinking that most of this information is saved in a database somewhere and so I am inclined to throw away everything more than three months old.

Posted by Justin at 12:30 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

March 18, 2003

Overnight Mail

Between 11.30pm and 9.30am I got 116 pieces of email. This is a time when most of my correspondents are sleeping - except for a bit of NBR's Japan forum, keitai-l and updates from the FCCJ, the overnight mail is primarily spam. I've had the same email address, "justin@bud.com," posted on the web for nine years, I think it has been pulled into many spam mailing lists that way. I run no spam filters - it's just not a technology to which I've adapted myself. Maybe it's time I started - downloading spam on the road can be very painful. But losing a message from a friend would be ever more-so. I'm the human filter now, and it's a bit slow. But I do get to see all of the business of the web flow by, a million unsavory or unwitting entrepeneurs from around the world angling for a few dollars or my attention.

Of the 116, I deleted 74 right off the bat (and three more meaty spam bits caught later). Most of the 30+ mailing list messages I won't read, but I'll save for a few weeks. If I neglect to delete it after that time, those messages will join the many molding megabytes, archives.

Posted by Justin at 09:48 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

March 17, 2003


I read about peace and I feel for peace. Yesterday along the roadways and freeways stood countless silent candle-carriers. But I watch war and see some bluster-talk that hostilities may arrive soon. The media grabs our guts these days with threats to rights or tanks rolling.

Either way, I think we shall go to the grocery store today, buy a lot of food and batteries, maybe go back to a used game shop to look for Deus Ex and lock ourselves in our living room with Bush on one TV and DX: The Conspiracy on the other. I feel a hunkering down coming on.

Posted by Justin at 11:41 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

March 16, 2003

Party Cut

barra helps lighten julian's headLeaning into the shear
At Julian's semi-birthday dinner last night, Jane drank two shots of Old Potrero spirits and joined the haircutting part of the festivities. After Julian had his bad doo fixed for an audience of five, I went under Jane's scissors, feeling a bit shaggy beforehand and eager to see something new on my head. Her tipsy blades left my hair in a state that causes her to laugh or apologize each time she looks at my head now today in the cold sober light of Sunday. I don't mind - I've wanted to have a mullet of my own for some months at least: something entertaining to do with my hair. Jane says my hair looks slightly post-op, like patches were unevenly shaved for electro-shock therapy. Jane's mom kindly pointed out that it will grow back.
left cheekright cheek
Posted by Justin at 09:33 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

March 15, 2003

Chin Plucking

I've finally found something more addictive than video gaming - plucking my chin hairs. I started shaving at 26, even two years later I don't have much to manage - mostly a few tough black wires standing a forest of thin blond hairs. But since I have forgotten to shave for a few showers in a row my whiskers have grown to graspable length. Between my thumbnail and indexfingernail I can grasp and yank and a slight bit of pain yields a long hair sprout. I figure these hairs will take longer to grow back than hairs that have only been shaven - a good technique for forestalling more hygiene work. Except that I'm plucking unevenly - a few a day. I've read that before sharpened metal, human animals used clam shells to shave - or maybe to tweeze? Maybe I should try tweezers and nail all these hairs in one twenty minute long plucking session. Jane seems nonplussed by the whole thing - warning me of irritated skin and ingrown hairs. I guess I'll experiment and see.

Posted by Justin at 02:35 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

March 12, 2003

Orthogonal Unit Dinner

Dinner with Harvey Smith, Deus Ex 2 project lead. Harvey is one of the vegetarian Texans I know, most of whom work at Ion Storm Austin, an intelligent game development house. He's reading Manifesta and Them. Curious vegetarian feminist-literature readers - part of a new wave of North American commercial game design?

Dinner was "Texas-Style Italian" - meaning large servings. I had three heads of garlic to help fight this cold. And to test my lover's resistance to strong smells.

Jane is on the floor of Randy's apartment playing Deus Ex: The Conspiracy on the PlayStation 2. She's heartily chortling as she pepper sprays and then bludgeons NSF guards. Though the game is already two years old, the guards respond well - screaming and twitching and running around. It makes chasing them down and killing them fun, even for spectators.

Sage game developer Will Wright gave an acclaimed but apparently un-blogged talk "Dynamics for Designers" at the Game Developer's conference (slides here). Harvey shared his favourite line: Players can quickly sense the range of possibility in a play space. Watching Jane play Deus Ex, I remember why I loved that game: I spent the first half hour of play swimming, running and jumping, poking at trash bags and boxes and finding things in them I could throw or stack, even before I discovered any bad guys or plot. There was a wide range of possiblity in that play space, and I'm pleased to see they're hard at work on the next installment.

>> Read Harvey's PowerPoint presentation from GDC: Orthogonal Unit Differentiation including his candid notes!

Posted by Justin at 11:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Three Three

Three conferences in two weeks [030303|GDC|SXSW]. Knowledge gathering! Illness promoting - late nights of conversation with far-flung people drawn near over interests and sponsored BBQs. I have now a fever and a dripping nose in a foreign town so I'm recuperating in a home not my own. Fortunately Jane and I are enjoying a warm host in a balmy city. Knowledge gathering continues - towards what?

Latest writing: Splinter Cell review. Something unsettling about enjoying a Tom Clancy game when we're caught up in global conflict.

And, my first Wired magazine piece in about eight years; a postcard from the Indie Game Jam: The Fantasy Life of Coder Boys - The Games You'd See if Money Were No Object.

Brian Sharp by Nathan Fox

Posted by Justin at 05:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 08, 2003

Gathering Deft Conjuctions

Eight AM is too late already driving towards Adam and maybe Ryan and usually with Jane from North to South Bay dragging small machines and wanting only to see the future reflected in some glassy eyes besides our own. People that make the pull we feel for flat boxes might be sharing their links and things you couldn't find in the electros. What did we see of use to citizens at home and abroad? Adel Verpflichtet, for one thing, sandwiched two a.m. carpet between the thirsty frenchwoman and a midwife friend. Blank bubble gun carrying X-mech woman earned talk of sharpie alterations. We joined the Texas intellectuals for coconut milk. Grandfather gaming spake and Casey flew - whoo whoo!

Now my throat leaks sad phlegm from leaving the wonderful Game Developer's Conference. Four days in the last week, driving long from home - not selling any specific idea there or elsewhere, but taking the time to study at the feet of and linked arm-in-arm with many of the best minds in North American gaming.

Jane joined the game developers in advocating a radical proactivity and that has been quite well-received from outside the event.

Continue reading "Thoughts From the Game Developers Conference"

Posted by Justin at 12:55 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Austin Game Talk

This Monday evening, I'll be giving a short talk at the Austin chapter of the International Game Developer's Association. I'm using the occasion to do some thinking about the ways I have been affected by video games, starting with the question "How has inventory management in computer RPGs affected the way I pack?"

The event is open to all - Dave & Buster's at 7pm.

Posted by Justin at 12:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 05, 2003

Like You Live

Adam is ShinobingThis weekend, Jane and I rented a U-Haul truck to move a TV, two cabinets and a battered 1987 stand up arcade game Shinobi into our house in Oakland. An older black man with large cheeks in a floppy hat with mottled skin was there to help us get our truck and arrange our dollies. After the truck inspections, I reached up half-heartedly for the canvas strap to pull down the rear door. I missed. This older man smiled at me and gestured towards the strap, exhorting: "Snatch it like you live, baby!"

I was so astounded by his admonition that I stared slack-jawed until he finally reached up and pulled the strap down himself. I then repeated his remark to myself and Jane and all persons we met for the next few days.

(picture: Adam playing the first game on the new machine)

Posted by Justin at 02:11 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

March 04, 2003

SXSW: Geek Out

There are so many web pages now, and so many people are using packaged software to express their thoughts. You have a million small presses running, and most of them print pages with a left-hand navigation bar. I have changed my front page a number of times - hacking web pages to figure out the best way to express the data of my soul. What are some alternatives to the current reverse-chronological structure of web sites?

I thought I might use the South by SouthWest Interactive conference this month to find out. At South by SouthWest everyone is local for a day in a place that values cheap beer, live music and thick barbeque sauce. At its best, the conference encourages fun, loose lips, open minds and accessible genius.

I asked to have some time in the schedule to give the audience a chance to present web sites. Five minutes to explain the site, followed by some rapid-fire feedback from the audience. First impressions. Interface ideas. Housekeeping tips! Think of it as peer review for a short-attention span peer group. It's not enough time to develop deep critique, but it should be a good way to scan different approaches to sharing information online.

So Monday, between 3:30 and 5 or 6 pm I'm leading the "Geek Out" session. If you're in Austin, come on by and share your link!

Posted by Justin at 02:57 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

030303 Collective Play Notes

030303: Collective Play - notes from a recent academic conference about electronic gaming and collaboration, hosted by University of California, Berkeley, and Intel. (experimenting with Radio notetaking/outlines) [Pardon me - this still needs to be hyperlinked.]
  • 030303 Collective Play
    • Details
      • 030303 - the third in a series of academic game conferences associated with University of California, Berkeley.
      • Howard was invited to speak, he suggested that Jane and I attend with him.
      • At the PowerBar building - the tallest building in this town. On the top floor is the Intel Office - an open source wireless research center affiliated with UCB.
      • Before you came, they asked, "What was your favourite game when you were ten?" - that was printed on your badge.
    • Jane McGonigal - UCBerkeley student - organizer
      • Pervasive (perversive - heh)
        • The Nokia Game, The Go Game
      • Immersive gaming (Majestic, AI Web Game)
        • Layered or mixed reality
        • Integration, not simulation
        • Pervasive and embedded game play
      • Interactivity
        • In real life, examples: ringing payphone? Acting out skits for security cameras?
        • "Play Paradigm" - persistence of game metaphor in non-play spaces, transforming them?
      • Collective Play
        • Shared goals, distributed strategies,
      • How do we recognize games? Or mis-recognize them? Are there benefits for blurring that line? How do you blur them?
      • Very smart, competant introduction.
    • Greg Niemeyer - UC Berkeley
      • Blurring games and reality, a sign of decadence? Games are played by civilizations at their moment of decline.
      • We play games for moral relief? To distance ourselves from society?
      • free - separate - uncertain - unproductive - regulated - fictional (derived from book: Man, Games and Play by Roger Caillois)
        • parameters established French philosopher who wrote Man Games Life
      • Instead - maybe games are a tool for engagement - engagement with a simulation of a person
      • Short, provocative burst of ideas.
    • Dana Plautz - Intel
      • Funded many game laboratories - curious about future research directions for technology
      • 60% of game development will happen in Europe?
    • Collective Detective
      • http://www.collectivedetective.org/
      • Beating sweepstakes puzzle - their users wanted to beat the system, not get the prize
      • What kinds of problems could be solved by collective system-beating impulses?
        • Local political issues perhaps - tracking a paper trail and holding people accountable.
    • Howard Rheingold - SmartMobs
      • Collective Games nested within Collective Play nested within Collective Action
      • Essay: What makes things fun to learn? by Tom Malone
      • Gaming and flirting - in virtual worlds, behavior driven by the chance to blur virtual and real
      • Effective abbreviated philosophical context
    • Ken Goldberg - UC Berkeley
      • Statistic: Only 7% of Americans have passports and only 10% of them have been used in the last 2 years
        • (what about numbers of virtual tourists?)
      • Joke: Two kinds of people - those who speak binary and those who don't
      • Tele-reality versus virtual reality - tele meaning the virtual stands for something real, at a distance
      • Public Keys: Acts of Faith, Trust and Access (art exhibit: 18 February 2003)
      • He mentions Lynn Hirschman - very early work in this area
      • Energetic, fun, smart presentation.
    • Anthony Levandowski and Matthieu Metz - LaRaison
      • SharePack - a game with no boundaries (time or space)
      • Played with mobile phones or PDAs? Perhaps dedicated pocket devices, like Tamagochi
      • Passive and active information and resource trading
      • "expansion packs" - physical power ups for people who can't play constantly
    • The Go Game
      • Founder's dream story - at the core of their company.
      • Drop your pants and dance - command issued from a phone actually followed
      • Photos from past Go Games include a striking image of a young woman who had successfully convinced a cop to pose wearing his own handcuffs (to fulfill the assignment: "convince a stranger to trust you")
    • Eric Paulos - UC Berkeley
      • Non-verbal means of communication - physical interactions with wireless technologies
      • Portable technology for young people - provides emotional benefit of constant connection
      • Technology exchanges awareness, more than invitation
      • Emoji from Wired
      • "Motes" from Intel ?
      • Machines used to give non-textual/verbal communication and relationship signals
      • Street as Interface - "Digital patina" - we already tag things with text and graffiti, smells, broken elements, trash.
      • Provocative, street-smart
    • Jussi Holopainen - Nokia Research Center, Finland
    • Marc Davis - SIMS Project @ UC Berkeley
      • http://garage.sims.berkeley.edu/
      • Personalizing television, personal and popular culture mingling
        • Mary Van Dusen's video Gray Geese, Star Trek Fan Music Video (mostly women?) - televideo Kirk/Spock slash viction
      • Social TV watching - TV and chat/IM
      • Converting television into an interactive medium where your meta-data appears inside, like MadLibs live?
        • Marc shows a 7-Up commercial where he's inserted himself into it
    • BreakOut Session
      • Blurring the line between real and virtual - what is good or bad about that?
        • Bad
          • GTA3 changes percieved risks, rules and stakes of "reality," real driving
          • Reconditioning sex offenders with images, testing urges from images
          • Go Game example of pants dropping like Stanley Milgram's experiments with obidience to authority
            • Versus embedded mistrust
          • Maybe these games can be used to teach mistrust
          • Immersive gaming leads to paranoia in real life
          • What is our responsibility as media readers/makers?
        • Good
          • Release - preventing criminal behaviour
          • Mapping social practices
          • Play with rules, systems promotes creativity
        • Technologies, interfaces that promote this blurring
          • Marc's television appearance
          • Cacaphony society - social, non technological
          • Games demand social architectures - from existing systems? or new systems? MMOGs need buddy list
          • What about when cultures change? Hard to hold constant means of communication around the world, over time
          • Limiting communications is part of the game rules, game experience
          • Making appointments for virtual presence, meetings?
            • Taking a telephone and putting it in the game
          • Technologies of temperature or light demonstrating your friends and their thoughts on you
          • Tools to make your own language
    • BreakOut Sessions Wrap-up
      • Group 3 - Celia Pearce
        • potential for political action through performance in games
        • role-playing and practice
        • playing against the machine? playing against the game designer.
      • Group 1 -
        • Schiller: "We're most at home when we play games" - most ourselves?
        • Consequences - what if your credit report is affected by the outcome of the game?
        • Boundary-establishing - where is the off-switch in an immersive game?
      • Group 4 - Carol
        • Easy to blur the line, harder to draw it.
    • Lunch
      • Howard suggests a movie itinerary for studying blurring of virtual and real: The Game, House of Games, Spanish Prisoner
        • With 13th Floor as the midnight flik?
      • Do games signal the end of a complex society?
        • Playing to detach from something dying
      • Is it tragic to have such resources and attention develoted to virtual problems.
    • Monica Lam - Documentary Filmmaker - UC Berkeley Journalism Graduate School
      • Television newscast-style short film about America's Army
      • But no counter-point
    • Henry Lowood & Casey Alt from Stanford University
      • Presentation from "How They Got Game" history of videogames and interactive simulations
        • funded by Stanford Humanities Lab
      • Very elaborate, flash-y Powerpoint
      • Upcoming Yerba Buena center installation on the Battle of 73 Easting from the Gulf War
      • Studying "counter-gaming" - gaming outside of popular, commercial games
    • Frans Mayra - Hypermedia Labratory
      • Introducing DICRA
      • Talks about Majestic, Nokia Game, Bot Fighters
      • Can You See Me Now? - player is hunted in virtual rotterdam
    • Sean Stewart - A.I. Web Game
      • Put up nine months of content, most people solved it within 4 days
        • "Quick! We have to write a 'solve world hunger puzzle!'"
      • Bacon and Newton established the group problem solving format
      • They put up a clue containing 17th century written Japanese, because someone knows someone knows someone knows someone who can read it.
      • Massive amounts of data create opportunities for amateur scientists and explorers
      • Role-playing gamers are training themselves to participate in emergent narratives
      • Games as art - not as reality or non-reality
      • Dynamic speaker
    • Geoffrey Bowker and Matthew Kabatoff - UC San Diego
      • jupiter.ucsd.edu/~mkabatoff/SITE/skyles.html
      • PDA interface - Wireless XML SOAP database - Network Ontology - How can you play networks?
      • PDA-based MUDS in an installation combined with narratives drawn from plays and literary theory
      • Intriguing-looking maps: book narratives mapped into network topologies, but they go unexplained.
    • Susan Leigh Star and Zara Mirmalek - UC San Diego, Department of Communication
      • Leigh's pain history
      • Personal testimonial and poetry in the language of academia
      • What are the requirements of everyday life, and how can we teach them in games?
      • Evaluation based on process-fullfillment not on emotional satisfaction of participating parties
        • How to teach emotional practice
      • "invisible others like us talking to others"
      • How to interact, create, play around trauma, suffer, alienation without it being a downer
      • Fascinating practice of the deep discourse of posed academia I hadn't heard perhaps since Swarthmore.
    • Staffan Bjork - Studio Manager, Play Studio, Gotenberg University
      • I play America's Army, mostly with some Swedes, many Polish people, Germans
    • Yehuda Kalay - Architecture Department at Berkeley
      • Discussion of the nature of place, as virtuality affects it.
      • Slides, pictures of Tron, pictures of CG virtual worlds, student designs of new information spaces
    • Sri Sridharan and Syed Shariq - TrustNet
      • We want to understand trust
        • How people formulate and meet expectations
      • Tools: Do what I say; Interpreters: Do what I mean; Agents: Act for Me; Collaboration - exchange
    • The afternoon runs long - even nice audiences have trouble staying awake and interested. Butts fall asleep.
    • John Sherry - Intel Corporation
      • Funny, honest, refreshing
      • Good looking powerpoint - black and white, simple, sans-serif
      • "Deep Play" by Clifford Geertz, about Balinese CockFighting
      • Translation between "cock" and "sabung" is direct, in all connotations.
      • Sabung - keitai?
      • "foreground the technologies"
    • No final breakout groups - standing around and talking. And then, a retreat to Jupiter, a fine alehouse in Berkeley. I sat at a table loaded with people developing graduate school programs to study electronic gaming.
    Posted by Justin at 12:08 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    March 03, 2003

    Inlining Note-Giving

    I've trained myself to take notes. Nearly always, when I'm at a lecture or presentation, I like to jot down key thoughts, action points, references I don't understand, ideas warranting further research and development.

    I posted a few of my notes on the web throughout: Tzvetan Todorov, Kurt Vonnegut, Shayna, William Burroughs, Mom to name a few old spews. I've gotten better at trimming my notes I think, leaving myself with less to pick through to find what was fascinating to me. Less poetic transcription, more deductive provocation.

    Now that I'm practicing more professional journalism, I see less value in a straight recitations of events. I want a summary, with key glowing thoughts brought out, hyperlinked and put in context. Notes are good for article building, but they don't make much of an article in and of themselves. Still, I've done the work of typing up my reflections and take-away as the event passed. My hard drive seems a fallible place to stick them, sharing them online might allow someone interested in some core concept to come across that idea and find the speaker who shared it.

    So I'm going to experiment with publishing my notes online, in a different form. I used to take my notes in HTML, with a lot of DTs and DD tags. Then recently I switched to Microsoft Word, since it was prittier, I think, and offered more complex margin setting and i would save myself the BRs and P tags for online display and publishing. Today I'm frustrated with Microsoft Word, since it is so oriented for print pages. I don't need to see the actual one inch margins around my notes. I don't need to see where the page break will fall. I can't remember the last time I composed a document and it ended up going straight to a printer. I think it was last year. Otherwise, everything I write is either emailed or left moulding on a hard drive. Data, not pages.

    I mostly take my notes in outline form these days - I appreciate the order, small thought heirarchies. MS Word has an outliner function, but then the web pages you get from Microsoft are loaded with ugly, unnecessary machine babble.

    So I'm going to experiment by using Radio to keep my notes (inspired/reminded by Joi Ito). Radio is software designed by Dave Winer, a man with a history of building software tools to help track thoughts. Lately he's been active in weblogs and personal web sites, but he made his early reputation in software creating More and Think Thank - outliners popular on the first Macintosh computers.

    So I'm curious - taking notes in outline form on my laptop, I'll put my brain in Dave Winer's hands for a little while.

    Posted by Justin at 12:12 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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