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A Night about Video Games with Cognitive Science Nerds

My friend Keith Lim pointed out this excellent "Defining Gameplay" event hosted by the SFU Cognitive Science department. Then, more importantly, after I expressed a bit of interest in going but didn't do anything, he followed up by nudging me into contact with the organizer. Yada yada yada, I attended along with my similarly old-game-obsessed friend Josh, and we brought a lot of old games with us for people to play.

The feature attraction was Alexandre Mandryka, who had an hour to define "gameplay." He started by pointing out that as a native French speaker, "gameplay" was confusing because in French, "game" and "play" are practically the same word ("jeu" and "jouer"), as in most Romance languages.

Almost Famous - a fan letter

Dear Almost Famous, you rock!

After a considerable hiatus, I decided to sit down last night and watch a movie that both TLO and I are very fond of, Cameron Crowe's pseudo-memoir of his rock journalist days. It was a not-serious viewing: I fiddled around on magical revolutionary devices, made snacks, and let the film wash over me.

After 13 years, it holds up. It has a charming and melancholy atmosphere that is what attracts me to the movie first. It is also highly quotable.

The film was made in 2000 but set in 1973, and a great sport with such a film is to watch it from our present beyond-a-decade critical distance and decide if it feels true to the 1970s or true to the early 21st century.

New Year's Resolutions

Enjoy Things More. Personally Develop. Find And Make Marginal Improvements.

Staycation

For a variety of reasons, I have been on a solo vacation at home while TLO escorted her parents around Europe (don't worry; TLO will return on November 1).

It's been interesting, a sort of view into what kind of bachelor I might be.

First insight: really, really messy.

As for what I've done on my vacation, lots. It was a good time to work on side projects, mostly cycling related, including working on our club's rather elaborate cyclocross race. The real organization was all "Tobin" (not his real name), but when he asked me to build a foam machine, I...got my dad to help. And we built it! I'd like to do build plans soon, but it needs refinement.

Foamthrower

Review: Snugg iPhone 5 Pouch Case

So in case you were all wondering, Wired Cola can be bought (and we're cheap!)

Thus, when the very nice people at Snugg offered to send me a phone case, I thought that was really nice of them. I picked out their pouch case (in distressed leather) for the iPhone 5 because it looked cool.
IMG_0250

It's pretty cool. I can demonstrate its party trick in one brief video:

A brief history of video games

Here's my slide deck on the History of Video Games (that's a Slideshark link, or if you have time, you can download the 60 MB deck directly, which includes my speaking notes. I have (crummy) audio for about the first half of the talk, here you go, or perhaps you would like to play it right here:

The Weight of Regulation, Bicycle Edition

So, I was assembling a bicycle the other day, and it was a pretty nice bike, and it came with the CPSC-required reflectors on the front, rear, and sides (in the spokes) of the bike.

Like all serious cyclists, I took the reflectors off. They seemed to be optimized for easy removal. I examined them for any alternate uses, and couldn't come up with one. Even the screws were too cheap for me to want.

Those reflectors weighed just over 100 grams. Yep, I weighed them:

Every bike usable on the road and sold in the US (as the impressively clear and plain-language CPSC document I linked to above explains) must have these reflectors, and it appears that in practice, that extends to Canada as well.

The CBC, and some politics, and some thoughts.

Honest, I love the CBC, I guess, sort of. They had me on the radio once, and it was fun, and before that, they flew me to Toronto to be on a game show, so they've been really nice to me. But I've got thoughts....

So this week news washed over the transom that the CBC, along with many other Crown corporations, faces more direct Treasury Board intervention in its union bargaining.

Found, one iPhone

So my father-in-law found an iPhone 5 in front of the house, screen smashed, but still able to power on. Even the touchscreen was still responsive!

Unfortunately, the owner engaged in the smart practice of locking their phone, so I can't troll through their personal information looking for a way to contact them (like their email address, a phone number called "home," or similar).

Then began a little odyssey in which I tried to reunite the phone with its owner.

Option 1: turn it over to the police

This is the easy and good-faith thing to do with a phone, but it's not that likely to get phone and owner reunited. For perfectly good reasons of better things to do, little time is spent on lost-phone cases. Even if the owner drops by the police station to try to find it, they may discover a large bucket of turned-in phones, and how to find theirs?

Option 2: turn it over to Apple

Travers

On January 28, 2013, my friend, Travers Naran, died of complications from cancer.

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