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January 14, 2009

Filed under: random»linky


"Heh. Indeed. Read the whole thing."

  • Rock Paper Shotgun's Jim Rossignol has posted up an extended article on Gaming in the Russian Cosmos (should that be Kosmos?). It's an interesting look at a market where, for economic and cultural reasons, PC gaming is both healthy and still primarily sold in boxes, as opposed to downloads. That's great for the Soviet-bloc countries, but it does mean that it's hard for us to get a hold of them.
  • Design a table on your cell phone. Series 60 only. This is an interesting idea, but not one that's going to convert a lot of people over to Symbian, I think. Still, it's interesting to consider the possibilities if fabrication machines were more common, both for commerce and for Make-style problem solving.
  • Sadly, well-known gear and production blog Music Thing has closed its doors now that writer Tom Whitwell has a big-time job at The Times. Tom was nice enough to link to my Excel-based drum machine a few years ago, and somehow managed to dig up other synth and guitar-related oddities from all over the Internet, like this "extravagant tale of rotating speakers, midi accordians, and erotic polka" or ten guitars shaped like guns. Just click randomly through the Music Thing Hits on the right side of the page, you can't go wrong.
  • In a clip on, Mike Rowe discusses dirty jobs and dignity. Not safe for work, if your workplace discourages hilarious discussion of lamb castration.
  • I'm still trying to wrap my head around this article (PDF link at the bottom of the post) by Aneel Karnani, titled "Romanticizing the Poor." Essentially, Karnani reminds readers that market-based solutions to development and poverty face serious challenges--and these challenges have not been, in his view, adequately answered by bottom-of-the-pyramid marketing advocates. I addressed some of these issues in my worries about Nokia's lifetools, but Karnani does so much more directly and with some compelling evidence against treating the poor (or indeed, anyone) as coldly rational actors. At the same time, he focuses primarily on the sale of alcohol, tobacco, and dubious customer services--very much a worst-case scenario for unregulated market interaction. I think the article is, if nothing else, a great warning against overconfidence in technological or market-based solutions.
  • Via the Center for Global Development comes Foreign Policy's Think Tank Index, measuring the perception of quality by "knowledgeable persons." Depending on your point of view, this is either a valuable list of institutions that shape our policy, or the people who'll be first against the wall when the revolution comes.
  • Perception Through the Lens of Slumdog Millionaire.
  • Finally, I've been trying out Windows 7 for a few days--first in a virtual machine, and then finally in a dual-boot partition. I've realized two things during that time. First, since I'm mostly happy with Vista, the only compelling features I've noticed so far have been faster wake-from-sleep times, probably due to the lighter window manager. Second, a dual boot is a pretty poor way to get a feeling for an operating system. You need to be able to do some work in it, and since I'm unlikely to install a beta on my working partition, there's just not that much I could actually do. Realistically, it's much more useful to have a Linux or OS X VM hanging around than it is to have a second OS partition, since in both cases they offer different software suites and/or sandboxes side-by-side with the full-time operating system. For example, I refuse to install RealPlayer or Quicktime on my main partition, due to years of abusive behavior by both. It's much easier to throw those into a VMWare Player or VirtualBox image and play them from there--and with today's technology, it's about as fast. As soon as VM software gains decent 3D acceleration, I'm tempted to create a Win2K image for playing games locked down by SecuROM or other DRM.

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