The perfect game in the perfect place at the perfect time for the perfect price.

When I move house there’s a little few weeks of time elapsing before I get off my arse and figure out how to set up an internet connection. This usually doesn’t matter much as I’ll be busy with other stuff, but once I’ve sat on a cardboard box to watch the 2003 Australian Idol final for the 8th time I start to want the internet and open up a browser. Of course, without a connection, chrome gives me a cute pixelated dinosaur and a cactus, telling me that my internet is all dried up like a desert or extinct reptile respectively.

I had seen this image for years before a friend mentioned it being a game. “WHAAAAAT” I whispered incredulously. This was amazing news. All I had to do was press space bar and suddenly my cute little friends came to life. The mechanic is simple. Dinosaur runs through desert toward cactus, press space to jump over cactus, repeat for high score and rejoice. There’s just enough variety and challenge as you play to keep you interested too. The little dino speeds up and some pterodactyls pop up as day turns to night. It’s all quite charming.

And before you know it you’ve probably got you’re sketchy free wifi access back and the internet returns without a hitch. Lovely. Without even having to ask or pay this little game pops up right where and when its meant too. This happens from time to time with computers and it got me thinking about other examples. Snake on old uranium-green-back-lit brick phones is a good example. You had your phone with you and you couldn’t afford a pay as you go text thread with your one friend during an awkward train ride so you looked like you were still texting while actually just playing snake. So sneaky. The little pixels moving around and eating while getting a little harder each time was just enough to keep you going at the right time.

Then there’s minesweeper. Windows was an expensive and fancy acquisition in the late nineties/early naughties so you would fire up your new computer, wait patiently for the OS to boot and then explore how many amazing things your new “ELECTRONIC COMPUTATOR” was capable of. The Windows system still tried to sell itself back then. You had all the inbuilt things like paint, wordpad, explorer and GaMeS!!. Like it still does, except for the games. The games, as far as I could tell, were just there because they’re great, why not include them. They were an essential part of office procrastination capability. Minesweeper and solitaire were clever little things you could leave in a minimised window at any time, come back to and puzzle over. Visually unobtrusive while still prettier than Sudoku. They showed that this machine can support games as well I guess, advertising. But really they were just this fantastic given.

Maybe with the internet and browsers as a given people just relied on flash games more and more until good old minesweeper seemed obsolete. Though something was lost with it’s departure, that sense of complementary service and feeling of buying into an exciting new world with the tech you were using. Cue the rise of the chrome dino.

-W

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Automated Cars – Hmm….

So, on the back of Elon Musk’s announcement that he didn’t care about stock traders, it’s occurred to me that he might not have fully thought through the idea of an automated car either. See, it’s been well established that if all cars were automated, they would need constant communication with one another a-la 14 year old texters, and that the easiest way of doing so would be to run them off a network. It obviously follows then that this system could be abused.

Now, I’m as restrained as they come. Just the other day, when a colleague I dislike tried to interact with me, I refrained from saying that they’re a judgemental naive entitled dim-witted self-centred waste of eukaryote cells. And as for morality, the other day, I bought an entire roll of recycled toilet paper. If I were to rate my restraint and morality on a scale of one to ten, I’d … probably dodge the question by expressing my dismay at rating people against each other or some other moralistic bullshit like that, but you get my drift.

But even a figure of such upstanding moral principles as I would be corrupted by the potential for cars to be operated remotely. That guy that cut me off in traffic a couple of days ago? If I had my way, they would be promptly parked on the shoulder for five minutes using their headlights to blink in Morse Code the words “I’m a cock”, and have their airbag deployed to punch them in the face for good measure. That person who took five entire minutes to overtake one car? I would set their speed to 200 but give manual control of their steering. That guy who pointed out my misspelling of the word “fuckwit” on a YouTube comment? I’d set the nearest car to run them down.

Then there’s the opportunities for entertainment. Imagine if a trucker’s rally were to be hijacked and their trucks were aligned to say “invest in rail”, or even just a penis, from the sky. I’m not saying it should be done or would be funny, but I will say that if it were done I would find it funny and approve.

And imagine if I was driving. I would have cars in front of me part to let me through just for the power-trip. And then, if I were hosting some powerful foreign power’s president or something, I’d probably get all the cars to do donuts to impress them. And if any of the occupants protested I would disconnect their air conditioning and play Call Me Maybe in their cars on max volume until they changed their minds.

I’ve actually decided that automated cars are a great idea. Never mind.

-Z

Laserwash automatic car wash review.

As we live in the future it is important to try as many automated things as possible. to misquote Ken Brockman; “I for one welcome our new robot overlords.” one of these is the automatic car wash. Today’s article is purely an attempt for me to justify having paid to go through a car wash.

It is common knowledge that the model tee mini morris car came in any colour so long as it’s black. But why this was so is less well known. It is because the advent of the tire was replacing the shoe as the main mode of human transport. This got shoe shine unions in a right fit and the little orphans demanded something to shine. Hence cars early colour scheme.

“shine your car black guvna!”

Anyway, skip to the future and we have robots to do that for us. I tried one the other week. it was a laserwash 3000 or something, built by skynet purely for my convenience. I don’t know why I like automatic car washes. There is something about those silly big machines that I find appealing. Probably because they’re somewhat futuristic.

That’s probably why I was dissapointed a little with the laserwash. It gave a pretty good flashing lights robo-wash, however there weren’t actual lasers. Pity.

_W

Pokemon Go is the Tomagotchi of tomorrow TODAY

Yo!Yo!mon

Software might cause mass excitement, but it hasn’t formed the same kind of temporary childish fads as hardware toys have. That is, until recently. things like Yoyos, Beyblades, Tomagotchis etc. are these little, relatively inexpensive curios which everyone gets excited about and has a lot of fun with, mainly through riding the hype wave. this hasn’t really happened for software though. Curios which match the requirements exist; snake for instance was a great little mobile phone gem, but it didn’t have hype behind it, you just had it on your phone. Games which were hyped were generally larger affairs. They gradually lost appeal with age as expected or if they weren’t received poorly.

Fads are different. They rely on a bunch of people getting into some little thing in a big way. like how you can go nuts for gravy because its the hip thing all your friends are doing and suddenly you can’t go to school without your gravy sachet. It’s all over in a month or two though. Gravy is no longer cool. This is the pattern with things like tomagotchi’s, magic jumping beans and collectible human teeth, and notably Pokemon Go.

Pokemon Go has heralded a new era of fads. It is the first really hyped piece of software which people could be seen carrying around in the street and using. At least it was fun to think you could tell who was catching a Bulbasaur in the park at 3:30am as opposed to who was just texting their dealer. Tomagotchis were physical units, and so were gameboys. Though they were popular, gameboy ownership and use wasn’t so ubiquitous as to lead people to feel like they could tell what people were playing on the street with their handheld. It probably was pokemon though, come to think of it.

Pokemon Go runs on smartphone platforms. These really are ubiquitous. computers are now integrated into our daily physical lives. We carry them with us and use them while talking to people we don’t want to listen to in real life. Because they don’t need us to sit down or go to them to use them. Smartphones really have become social.

Things like tinder and facebook are popular, hyped and trendy. These however have altered the way we live more permanently than a fad. They have coined terms in society such as “social media” and “dating apps.” Terms devised so that, not quite young enough to be milenials, can convince older employers that they really are out of touch and need more “strategic development if they goal to progress sustainability into the future moving forward,” in order to steal someones job.

Angry birds might have been a fad but it was more or less a gameboy game on a phone. I’d say it just about qualifies apart from the social aspect. Pokemon Go was something people talked about going out of their way to do. It was something that people would jump on the bandwagon of, and it was hyped before and after release by the users. People wanted to hang out with people just to go take a gym or beat up that man over there with the brief case who looks like he might have just taken the gym back but could be telling his kids that he’s on his way to their birthday party but is assuming that really worth the risk?

A piece of software becoming a fad opens up a whole realm of possibilities like… damn, now I have to think of something so that I sound like I’m really insightful. More augmented reality? Nah, you’re right. but I guess the running out of steam is another feature of fads which Pokemon Go displays.

I hope the next one is a yoyo app which convinces you to drop your phone. Wait, no, that’s a bad idea.

-W

Wikimotives

Z told me not too long ago about a bit of media that sprung up around a Russian academic who had illegally supplied huge numbers of academic papers for free on the internet. I responded to this information with something along the lines of “that sounds like a more useful but less important wikileaks.”

So impressed was I with this scathing and shrewd analysis I had voiced, that I decided to put it on the blog. You see, I believe that is what people like Assange and Snowden think when they find a juicy piece of confidential sticker. They think,  “How bad-ass would I look if I told this secret to the whole class?” Clearly the reasons, happenings and benefits behind all the things they’ve done are more complex than my off the shoulder cynical assessment. Still, I bet they wanted to release whatever they were given before thinking about whether it might be a good idea or not. Maybe that was even part of the drive to find out a good reason to do it.

I should disclose that I recently found a site called “wikileaks.somethingorother”  by accident on google. I thought ‘oooh!’ and clicked it to find out what kinds of juicy facts it might tell me that I couldn’t access otherwise and then feel super informed. Unfortunately it was full of just a bunch of links to public access government documents of no interest. Like a white paper on plumbing infrastructure for the greater Talbingo area or something. So I was disappointed and now I’m cynical about anything whistle-blowery.

Apart from generate some scandal, I never learnt if there was anything useful that people could do with the information that was leaked. maybe there was some kind of PR pressure that led to citizen freedoms being protected from what ever means the government was using at the time that got leaked. IDK, I didn’t pay much attention. My disinterest informed my conclusion that they probably did it for the glory and attention.

Wouldn’t it feel cool to uncover a conspiracy like that? Let’s face it, the power trip would be pretty sweet.But the childlike excitement of discovery would be better. No wonder Assange looks like he’s got his dick in every pie on every windowsill in the world, he’s a real life Nancy drew.

More importantly, who will win survivor? lol jks, like all issues I bring up here I shall avoid having an opinion and leave it open to a hypothetical future discussion… actually I’m going to say I think their innate humanity let them down and that the whistle-blowers are uncool.

-W

Livin’ in the good old days

 

It seems that a lot of people including myself feel great nostalgia for the good old days which we were too young to have any genuine appreciation for. This can be for something as simple as old timey nineties music I was barely old enough to remember. Alternatively it can be as large as feeling nostalgia for whole ways of life, and I’m sure we’ve all felt this, for say, being a swashbuckling pirate in the age of sail.

Obviously this is obvious, everyone on the face of the planet except anti-torrent legislators want to be a pirate in some way. However, its strange to think that we long for this backward, pestilent, hard life of crime and pain. Still, those romantic notions of exploring the unknown, free from the rule of international law, always win through. The challenge can add to the reward. Humans just can’t be comfortable being comfortable, it seems.

“Sure I was a sex object without basic human freedoms, I wouldn’t go back” says grandma, “but it was ever so quaint, ooh you don’t get cheese dixie dances like you used to…”

The good old days are full of these paradoxical compromises. We strive for a better world so we can be a bit bored and disappointed with it. For instance, we lament the disparity of wealth in the world and yet the image of the eighties corporate playboy washing down the coke snuffed down off a woman’s belly with a glug of grange straight from the bottle is somehow glamorous. It’s all a game I guess, and it’s only fun if someone’s losing, otherwise no one can be winning.

Alcohol was never as fun as it seems it was in the Prohibition era. The crime and danger adds to the thrill. Farming was never as fun as cowboys made it out to be, and that was mainly due to the likelihood of getting shot or lynched for no good reason. Sex in the sixties…well I guess STD risk is the exception to these things, not too nostalgic for the aids epidemics in the eighties, but the drugs were new. I like disco….

All this nostalgia for something we only know from what others tell us about it. It can make us look at the boring old world around us today. Sure we have phones, but they get boring pretty quick. It’s a computer in my hand, yay, time to watch cat vids with it. Drones are cool, but you need a license. Bloody safety. Everything is tarnished with process and bureaucracy. Freedom isn’t real, we aren’t trusted to not kill ourselves, for good reason, but it still sucks. I guess that’s why Americans are so desperate to cling to their gun laws. It’s a personal freedom that they need purely because it doesn’t make safety sense to keep it. It’s a choice they make as adults. They can feel the rules are still their’s for the making.

Despite housing affordability crises, more and more tariffs on booze and cigs and spending more of your life looking at a screen indoors, there is something to look forward to.

Good news, the future will be worse! 🙂 yay, that’s right, all the amazing technology will be drab, all the rules will be stifling, and it will still seem as busy and problem-riddled as ever.

Aren’t you lucky you live now. You’ll be old then, you won’t have to deal with that shit. No, you can just sit around and complain about how you used to be able to drive the car yourself with controls instead of telling it where to go, it was much more fun. And you will be able to rely on the modern medical technology to extend the time you have to tell all the kids how you were so much better than them at their age. Because no matter how shit it is now, it can get worse. So little things like riding a push bike without needing a road license and a rego slip might be the coolest thought in the world to those upstart little future kids.

“I built a billy cart and burnt dinosaur-juice just to cut grass with whirling knifes when I was young” you can tell them. Sparklers and candles, will be tales of the elicit and dangerous activities kids used to be allowed to do. That’s right. We used to take all our nicotine by burning it! Fancy that!!! They won’t believe you. “I remember when they started being electronicalised” you’ll groan. “They were great big things, had to be to hold the battery.”

Getting old is only any good because the world around you is shittier than before. So if you start lamenting the way the world is going, remember that’s a good thing and live up the good old days.

-W

 

A hot cup of snobbery

Have you ever thought about your taste in coffee? Probably not much, but consider now what kind of coffee you order and whether you can actually tell the difference between different shops, or indeed between the heavy handed descriptions of the rainforest the beans were loving ripped from? Even if you think you are in fact a Baristafficionadette (add it to your dictionary, judgemental bastard) and accept your caffeine habit confidently in good humour, I think it’s still possible to be surprised by how much a snooty culture can sink into your personality without you realising it.

I happened upon my snootier side after arriving in a new country, thinking that pretty much everything would be culturally the same in this modern world of ours. I was wrong. The whole place seemed to sell this brown stuff with pond scum on top that it was calling cappuccino. Prior to arriving I had heard rumours but I thought they were exaggerated. I thought, “This can’t be true” and laughed it off as the boring and snooty judgements of smarmy Australians who think too highly of themselves. Naturally though, my true colours would be revealed as I sipped my first British mud-bean-brew. I started to morph; my face was overcome by a ratty beard, my top button inexplicably did itself up with no tie to cover it, my pants became skinny and my perfect eyesight wanted framing. After I’d stopped wincing at that “coffee” in England I saw myself for what I truly was, the scum on top of that British cappuccino. I was a snooty arse wannabe hipster.

This was a shocking revelation to me. I had taken such care to avoid becoming such a lowly form of life and yet I had still failed horribly. How could this have happened, did I really have this little control over my life? This of course beggared another question. Am I still changing? As I write this down I’ll have had about my 8th daily cup of delicious tea on a saucer, so the answer is yes. For the weak minded, like myself, the world around you will influence you quickly, bend your mind, make you say “move along, move along.” This will happen without your knowledge whether you work for worthwhile experiences to change yourself by or not. So sitting around and thinking “I’ll never become a coffee snooting hipster!” while chugging back another latte out of a Toby jug on Lonsdale St will certainly not do anything toward that end.

Now I am a tea drinking coffee snob in a land without my now precious distilled rainforest injustice elixir. I shall soon be wearing a top hat and wonky teeth! I imagine that if I were to travel somewhere with decent coffee, like Italy for instance, It would go something like this;

IMG_1898[1]

I actually drew this terrible cartoon on the back of an envelope, proving that I have no personality.

The truth of the matter is of course that if you worry much about how the things in and around your life are molding you as a person then you will miss out on actually experiencing your life. Everyone is molded by whatever experiences they have and worrying about it is just another fear standing in the way of your pursuing what you want in life.

Lol, I totally made you think this article had a serious side didn’t I. Well joke’s on you. I just write bad jokes. Why don’t you critique my lack of confidence over a macchiato.

-W