january 14: tonight at ATA with Danny Vinik

january 13

mom's laughing yesterday I tried to break into the computer gaming industry. Fortunately I missed being detained by security -

"that's no way to get a job"

mom said, laughing, and she's probably right,
but I found writing about the experience online yielded an invaluable supply of good advice. thank you!

so as Melanie recommended, I'm developing game design specifications. I've started with some design principles - isolating those things in past games I admire, and building towards a model of good gameplay. Then I take that model and my specific ideas and send it out with a finer tuned resume, as Jonthan recommended.

greystoke AI from Neuromancer.  Click on it! So I play through Neuromancer, Darklands and Mechwarrior, taking screen shots and discussing artifice and interactivity - I'm having fun but I'm a little worried that I'm playing games that are no longer relevant for today's designers and coming up with theories that don't matter as much as genre conventions. But I rest assured that I am boning up on computer gaming classics as I see them and studying what makes a good game is relevant whether you are James P. Carse or Leonard Herman.

and I'm still looking for a good game designer lunch date.

Last week I gave a talk at the Kaospilots. Lone had asked me to prepare something with some namedropping built in - recommendations of cool culture and projects local to the bay area that the students could pick up on for later. An introduction talk. Then I arrive and I'm asked to modify the talk, to include the same justin's-history-of-the-web as last time. So the talk was an uneven but nevertheless breathless mixture of the two - I have moments during these standups where I'm not all together confident that I'm glowing with mystical fire but I guess being a professional speaker is plowing through the dis-ease and pulling some laughter and catharsis from the experience for most all involved.


I think I did that in this case - students and faculty responded favourably. Then I came home to Oakland and on my way I stopped by Giant Burger for an 11pm dinner of cheesemeatyum and became embroiled in conversation with Arthur who opened the dialog asking me why I was wearing a three piece suit. I told him about teaching a little and we talked about students and young people and Oakland. As Arthur saw it, the young folks in Oakland don't have the advantages of connections, of people behind them to boost their expectations and provide the support network to elevate their position. He illustrated this with a story he'd read recently on the background of Donald Trump: turns out Donald's dad owned real estate, his sister worked in a bank, and his brother did something I don't now recall. But you see, his dad could hook him up with the buildings, his sister could manage his money - keep it in the family, you know?

it all made perfect sense to me - I'd just brokered my set of connections to the Kaospilots for 2.5 hours for $300 bucks and now another group of svelte young scandinavians is maybe slightly more better poised to take advantage of the San Francisco interactive multimedia scene. So what have I done to better the world?

It's a frustrating problem I've run into before - if I could teach the folks that mugged me how to do what I do I would. But when I imagine that scenario - there's so much between what they're doing and what I'm doing - like computer literacy, like access to machines, like interest in something so abstract as web publishing. There's many useful things to teach young people in Oakland. Is my history of Hotwired one of them?

In search of an answer, and also heading after about ten other impossible dreams, I take the time to Join the campaign for Oaklanders For Change - online!

here's some blahblahblah from http://photo.net/bg/

"William Henry Gates III made his best decision on October 28, 1955, the night he was born. He chose J.W. Maxwell as his great-grandfather. Maxwell founded Seattle's National City Bank in 1906. His son,James Willard Maxwell was also a banker and established a million-dollar trust fund for William (Bill) Henry Gates III."

"William Henry Gates, Jr. and Mary Maxwell were among Seattle's social and financial elite. Bill Gates, Jr. was a prominent corporate lawyer while Mary Maxwell was a board member of First Interstate Bank and Pacific Northwest Bell. She was also on the national board of United Way, along with John Opel, the chief executive officer of IBM who approved the inclusion of MS/DOS with the original IBM PC.

Remind your parents not to send you to public school. Bill Gates went to Lakeside, Seattle's most exclusive prep school where tuition in 1967 was $5,000 (Harvard tuition that year was $1760). Typical classmates included the McCaw brothers, who sold the cellular phone licenses they obtained from the U.S. Government to AT&T for $11.5 billion in 1994. When the kids there wanted to use a computer, they got their moms to hold a rummage sale and raise $3,000 to buy time on a DEC PDP-10, the same machine used by computer science researchers at Stanford and MIT.

Most people who are rich chose their parents wisely. Bill Gates might not have ever figured out 1960s-style computer science but he had the foresight to pick a father who is one of the richest, most prominent lawyers in the state of Washington. And before he and Paul Allen made the deal with IBM that gave them a monopoly on the PC operating system, Bill had the foresight to choose a mother who was friends with a member of the IBM Corporation board. "


during the chaos piloting, Lone asked me where I see myself in five years. I don't know but I hope to still be preparing food.

anyways, bud.com is wonderful
slashdot carried a link to bud - thanks to Ben Williams of Syracuse - thank you ben! he was referring to the Yahooka controversy, briefly unfolded as a flyby on the front page.

bud.com growth logo by wilson
wilson did this logo for bud.com

There's all sorts of ideas popping out of my friends for bud.com subsections and revisions and articles and the glorious becoming of a fertile website.

My priority order is to get that backend built so the bitz is updated regularly without my direct intervention. Then I can concentrate on more open ended collaboration and less on "time to make the donuts" web page publishing.

fortunately, a knight in binary armour nears, Brian Mosely has agreed to hack on the backend in Perl this weekend so it might be finished even before I leave town January 21st for 10 days of irregular computering.

(next time I'll have to write about virtuality and detachment - don't forget).