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May 31, 2012

This is the best Indie Bundle of video games yet and you'd be a fool not to buy it

Pay what you want and get Psychonauts, Limbo, Amnesia, and Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery. For PC or Mac or Linux. Any of the four of these is worth it, but Psychonauts especially for anyone who has not played it is worthwhile. It's a platforming adventure game set at a summer camp for psychic kids and the levels involve delving into the psyches of people at the camp to uncover a terrible conspiracy. The Humble Indie Bundle V (pay what you want and help charity)

May 30, 2012

It's a new e-book format that changes the story based on your idiosyncratic reading habits

Which sounds super annoying to me. But the real question--as with any new narrative technology--is whether the stories told with this will be any good. TREEbook, a New Time-Triggered E-book Format | The Passive Voice
“The TREEbook is a time sensitive e-book with multiple story branches,” Mock said, “and the beauty is the passivity of the technology. There aren’t active decisions to be made—its not a choose your own ending approach—you can read the book without being aware that the story is changing. The time triggers are not in your face.” . . . . Mock describes the TREEbook technology as creating “branches,” and said a TREEbook is “alive and wants you to engage with it.” Once downloaded to a device with TREEbook compatible e-reader software, the book essentially learns your reading style, measuring the reader’s individual reading pace, time of day reading and length of reading sessions and uses this personalized data as the basis for triggering new narrative events in the book. While each TREEbook novel has a main narrative, the format allows an unlimited number of storylines to be introduced based on these triggers. If a passage says the hero has 5 minutes to stop a bomb from going off, if the reader does not keep reading for the 5 minutes, they will likely either miss the bomb or miss a chance to stop the bombing and arrive in its aftermath. “If you stop reading or forget to pick up the book, the book knows and will continue on and you might miss something. TREEbooks can include all kinds of easter eggs and side stories, its all up to the creativity of the author to come up with new playful options.” Mock said the publisher can even send out notifications to the book alerting readers that they may be missing new events if they don’t pick the book up within a certain time frame. While Mock emphasized that the books still have “one standard reading experience,” he said, in fact, two friends reading the same book will likely confront different narrative events based on the pacing and quirks of their individual reading habits.

May 16, 2012

SceneTap, the new startup that combines perpetual surveillance with barfly douchebaggery

San Francisco hates your startup: SceneTap | ZDNet
The SceneTap Apple and Android apps gather information from cameras that SceneTap has placed in participating bars and clubs. SceneTap claims to have already tracked over 8.5 million people. Their cameras combine what they see with facial detection software and SceneTap’s app - to provide SceneTap app users a specific, real-time data set on bar patrons. . . . SceneTap’s name can be interpreted in many ways, but its modus operandi, and the way the startup’s PR is framed - as a “hookup hotspot app” - the app doesn’t seem very female-friendly. For venue owners, it’s a gender measuring tool; for the target market it’s a “tap that ass” app, plain and simple. But it’s not just any bro-app, it’s flavor-enhanced by video cameras, sure to make women feel a little more like hunted prey as we imagine a bunch of tech scene brotards getting liquored up in the Marina (or Marina lite, aka SOMA), skimming Mission bars for ones with the most chicks in them, and then showing up as if on an exotic safari. One where we women are the game animals. . . .