Angry Robot

Interview with Brian Jarrard and Joe Staten

of Bungie, about the Activision deal.

Lala music service shutting down

unfortunately, now it doesn’t look like Apple was working on a cloud music service, but rather buying up the competition.

Industry Shocker: Halo Developer Bungie Studios Signs Deal With Activision

Wow, missed this one yesterday. It’s a 10-year deal.

The Buzz on “Miracles”

follow-up interview with Insane Clown Violent J about the runaway success of their instant good-bad classic video for Miracles. “If you don’t like that, have a dick for dinner.”

Lost Spinoffs

No Sawyer/Miles buddy cop show? “HE talks to dead people. HE gives everyone nicknames. THEY fight crime.”

Thoughts on Flash

from Steve Jobs. I love it when Jobs writes these open letters. If only he would read them while puffing his pipe by the fireside?

The Data-Driven Life

on the rise of personal data tracking

 Magic 8-Ball: The Movie: Signs point to yes, dear God, yes

I think Ball and Cup would make a great movie

The dream of a reading machine

Futurist-inspired fella built a prototype e-reader, a “Readie”, in the 30s.

Birth of a Spartan

A commercial for Halo Reach. Not only a great example of games promotion and what you can do with original shoots as opposed to renders or in-game footage, but also a phenomenal excuse for me to talk about my reignited excitement about Halo. The beta starts soon, and my poor 360, after two red rings in the past four months (never buy hardware from a software company, I guess), is theoretically ready to get on that shit. I haven’t played games much lately, and even less time is spent with online multiplayer – none at all, in fact. But I can feel the Halo meter rising. People at work are talking about playing again. And hey, two words: jet packs. Or if you’re busy, just one: jetpacks.

Did I mention the jet packs?

Bök vs. bug

Canada’s most popular poet has spent a decade trying to encode poetry into the world’s toughest bacteria. “It raises that incredibly paranoid possibility that there might be messages embedded in the real world all around us”

Lo-Fi Version

awesome chiptune reggae megamix

Producers Guild Of America Agrees On New Credit: “Transmedia Producer”

or “trannies”

My brother, Gang Starr’s Guru

Guru’s brother is a theatre prof at Stanford. He writes beautiful things about his sibling’s life. (via Funkaoshi)

The Glass Box And The Commonplace Book

“just about anyone with intellectual ambition in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was likely to keep a commonplace book… It was a kind of solitary version of the original web logs.”

Panic – Transmit

new version of the excellent FTP app is out today

Jorge Luis Borges interview

“A symbol of amazement would be the maze.”

The Death (Or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store

Magic Books

The web and news readers

I use a newsreader heavily. I am much more likely to subscribe to sites with fewer posts. I still read sites with mega-heavy numbers of posts (newspapers, pro blogs), but I go to them on the web, and I don’t try and be a completist or anything.


Google reader is what I use now, as it syncs effortlessly between the multiple machines I use. I sort feeds into ‘A’ and ‘B’ lists, where the A list contains only must-reads, and the B list can have “mark all as read” inflicted upon it with the minimum of hesitation. I also have some collections organized by topic (if I’m researching a project) that come and go as needed. My news reader time is usually short, fast and found in between other tasks, and is essentially the activity of gathering. I do my reading elsewhere.



Anything more than a few paragraphs gets sent here. It’s amazing how quickly Instapaper went from “why would I want that” to “I cannot live without this thing”. It has three interfaces I use: the web-based text version, which in a pinch is great to strip out unnecessary distractions from your articles (there’s also readability); the iPhone version, which is beautiful; and the Kindle export feature. You can make a version of your Instapaper cue that will display on the Kindle or other e-readers, and that’s the interface I prefer.


I’m now using ephemera to get my Instapaper articles onto the Kindle, where they join newspapers, magazines, and books. So the Kindle becomes the ideal reading tool.

Essentially, it’s ideal because of e-ink, which is almost as nice to read as paper – let’s call it better than a trade paperback, but inferior to a nicely-designed hardcover. The important point, though, is that it’s far superior to reading from a backlit LCD display. Reading from a light source is always going to cause more eye strain, and after spending all day staring at LCDs, I have no desire to read that way for fun.


It’s also awesome because of the size, both in comparison to to most books, and certainly in comparison to a whole shelf of books, which is what you can fit on it. And it’s more portable than any electronic device other than a phone – it’s smaller and lighter than iPads, netbooks, etc.

I’ve really come to love what Amazon calls “whispersync” – you have to pronounce that in a whisper – which is essentially the syncing of last page read that occurs between the Kindle hardware and its software incarnations. For me, the crucial bit is the iPhone app: if I didn’t bring my bag on a given day I can still read my book on my phone.

Finally, it is a dedicated reading device. It doesn’t play movies, post to twitter, or run Doom. This means it is pleasantly distraction-free: the only thing that may pull you away from your book is another book, or – God help you – the newspaper.

(A bit of an aside: While I love the Kindle, I’m certainly not married to it and there are a number of e-readers either out now or soon to be released that all seem similarly compelling – that’s why I titled this section ‘e-reader’, as I don’t imagine it’s Kindle-specific. But I’m not sold on the iPad or any LCD tablet as a Kindle replacement, because of the lack of an e-ink display.)

Audiobooks, podcasts

I hate gyms and don’t play any sports, so I realized I had to do some sort of exercise to avoid a rapid descent to morbid obesity. I settled on walking to work every day (takes about 50 minutes), and soon realized that this was a great opportunity to do some reading – through the earholes. Audible is a great service, and their books are available through iTunes. Free podcasts are a decent way to keep up with news, indulge nerd obsessions, or even learn something (I’m looking at you, Hardcore History).


Calibre is an ugly but powerful free app for Mac/PC that functions as iTunes for books (that sounds a lot less snappy now that iBooks are a reality and they are managed by iTunes). Calibre will manage your ebook collection, converting between formats, and copying files to and from your e-reader. One slick trick it can do is convert a bunch of news feeds to ebook form. It can do this on a schedule. So you can use it to subscribe to those newspapers and magazines that offer their content for free on their website.

It can also function as a server for your books, and as I understand it Stanza on the iPhone will function as a client – but I have yet to try this feature myself.

More books, more problems

The biggest beef with this stuff is incompatibility. One of the greatest things I’ve seen the normally regressive big media industry do is the “digital copy” that gets included with some Blu-Ray and DVD hard copies. I know it’s designed to disincentivize the theoretically illegal and certainly DRM-bypassing ripping of said hard copy, but it is an important concession of a point I think all consumers instinctively feel: when you buy the thing, you are entitled to shift formats. So I feel like you should get a digital copy of a book plus the audiobook with purchase of a hard copy. And digital copies should work across all readers, just as the digital music industry has settled, after much tumult, on mp3. Right now every major commercial ebook format is DRM-laden and thus compatibility-challenged and future-averse. Haven’t we learned this lesson already? Can’t we just skip ahead to seamless digital abundance?

All that said, with the appearance of tablets like the iPad, and an explosion of dedicated e-readers coming to market, and the viability of whole print-based industries in question, it’s bound to be a rocky yet thrilling decade for the reading enthusiast.

The Trustworthiness of Beards

(JPG) good to have this handy guide

James Cameron: The 'Avatar' sequel will dive into the oceans of Pandora

"I tried [being a mogul]. It bores me."

As Lost Ends, Creators Explain How They Did It, What’s Going On

pretty big Lost feature in Wired. I’m only part way through but there already some gems, including the painting of the Man in Black.

Lost Season Six Episode Thirteen, "The Final Recruit"

What’s going on with Sun? Her aphasia is either TV’s lamest plot twist or part of something yet to be explained. Why does she say that Locke caused the problem, and in the alternaverse how does she know he’s Mr Bad Man? One answer is that there is some bleeding of consciousness from one universe to another going on, as with Des (or with the other characters when confronted by death or love). Now, in these split-consciousness cases, what is the chronology? It is looking increasingly possible that they have seen more of one or both timelines than we have right now.

I’m used to watching Lost and making little mental notes of when things may not be how they appear to be – when there could be events missing between time cuts, when a character may know more than they let on, etc. etc. In this episode, there was plenty of that. But of course we’re running out of time for a) the writers to wrap up existing mysteries, and especially b) the writers to create any new mysteries. So I’m not going to read too much into any of the little ellipses in this episode.

Here’s hoping the writers don’t actually wrap up too many little details, as it’s more fun the more open-ended they are. I thought they did a fairly decent job of this in season five; the details of the Man in Black’s manipulations are left for the viewer to review – especially the things he did as Christian Shephard (“you’re going to have to move the island,” “you’re going to have to die, John”), which they’re only getting around to clarifying now.

A stupid little thing: in the ABC promo last week for this episode, there was a muzzle flash in a shot of Sayid with the gun (implying he shot Des). We actually nerded out freeze-frame style on the spot and thought there was something fishy about how it looked. Sure enough, in this episode, Sayid doesn’t fire at all. So we can pretty much assume Des is still alive and it was YAN Lost Character Death Fakeout.

Proposal: Locke wants to go over to Hydra island not because he wants to take the plane and the candidates off-island, but because he wants to use the electro-magnetic shocker shack to zap all of them permanently into the alternaverse. (I’m sure he’d like to kill Widmore and his nerds, too.)

Finally, what happened to Jacob? He’s been absent for what, three episodes now? In his absence, Des seems to have picked up the slack, with heavy duty interventions in the alternaverse and even a possible de-zombifying of Sayid (remember it was Jacob’s order to bring Sayid to the temple in the first place). Not sure what that means. Shit, I might as well wrap up every post with that sentence.

Early iPad Impressions

Ram of Funkaoshi got an iPad, lucky bastard.

Guru, Solar, DJ Premier in Real Life Soap Opera

this is from March, when Guru was hospitalized for a heart attack – there is/was bad blood between Solar/Guru and Guru’s “ex-DJ” Premier (the other half of GangStarr). I hesitate to bring this up at this time, but there is some weird stuff in Guru’s post-mortem letter.