Category: commentary

  • Metadata Secret Friends

    In the future, there will be friendships consisting entirely in verbal form, with no digital record. These will be special, intimate, beyond anything analyzable by the machines we use on a regular basis today. Kids will start doing this. It will feel fun and covert at first, but will gain a special meaning. Parents will […]

  • Real Escape Game: Review

    This Saturday, myself and 9 friends participated in the Real Escape Game TO. Its structure would be familiar to any avid video gamer or puzzle solver: you are in a locked room, and need to follow a series of (not obvious) clues to get out. As soon as I heard about it, I recruited friends […]

  • “That’s very compelling, but are you the only one who can use it?”

    I was asked this question when demoing a research interface at a presentation recently. It’s a good question, and I think one we in the research HCI field tip-toe around a lot. The answer I gave was that concept interfaces are meant to explore a new idea. A successful concept presents an idea what is […]

  • I Need a Better Distributed Notes Service

    I sync many, many plain text notes between my phone and various computers I use during the day. Some of these are little reminders, like what I need to buy for dinner, some of these are freeform narrative ideas about a story, and some of these are links of stuff to read. I’m looking for […]

  • Learning from Feedback

    As the head chef of a new 5-Star restaurant, you are anxiously preparing for the opening in three months. Your menu is mostly set, and you’ve talked about your ideas with your food industry friends and they’re excited. You want to try out some of your dishes on people who aren’t in the industry, so […]

  • Players are Jerks to NPCs in Real Life, Too

    A non-player character (NPC) is anyone you encounter in a game who is not a player themselves. They are controlled by the game, whether a human game/dungeon master or a computer simulation. Player characters (PCs), the in-game characters controlled by the players, are notoriously abusive to NPCs. Since the universe exists and moves forward for […]

  • First Dungeonmastering Experience

    After wanting to do it for many years, and meticulously re-reading DM of the Rings, I DMed a tabletop RPG session for the first time last week, in a setting of my own invention. I had all kinds of concerns going into it (Will it be fun? Is the custom setting over-ambitious? Do I know […]

  • Digital Immortality Now!

    My friend[1] just sent me this article from the Montreal Gazette, announcing a program called “Live On”, developed by an ad ageny that lets users to tweet after their death. The service doesn’t claim to merely let you schedule tweets to appear a certain time after you die, but will attempt to replicate your writing […]

  • Moons of Sallys

    Click the image to play Moons of Sallys, inspired by Stanislaw Lem’s The Cyberiad. (More of a toy than a game really – you can just fly rockets around). I’ve nearly finished reading Stanislaw Lems’ The Cyberiad for a second time. I’m an old-school sci-fi aficionado, and it’s possibly one of my favourite books in […]

  • The State of Kinect Gaming

    I’ve played almost every Kinect game available, and I have to admit, most of them aren’t very good. There are a few exceptions, which I’ll get to below. The “controller-less” aspect of the Kinect was what brought it so much initial excitement. However, we’re still not good at designing experiences that take advantage of this. […]