March 11, 2004
Condolences to Spain, the terrorism they've suffered is awful. (Originally I wrote "unspeakably" awful...but I think we have to be unflinching in our willingness to talk about it and take appropriate action.) I wonder if if it will end up being the Basque seperatists or Al Qaeda... it probably doesn't mean anything, but it is kind of odd how the date is exactly 6 months, half a year, from 9/11. I suppose another disturbing tidbit is how the police were already on high alert, having caught those two guys with 1,000 lbs of explosive on February 29th, but this precisely orchestrated series of bomb attacks still happened.
Geekery of the Moment
Sawers sent me an interesting hardware hack with a description that gets pretty deeply into the 6502 assembly code that was generated: Super Mario Clouds. He hacked a Super Mario Brothers cartridge to leave nuthin' but the clouds, which is kind of poetic. The artist, Cory Arcangel, has a homepage with some other stuff, including the amusing on several levels I Shot Andy Warhol.
Game Review of the Moment
Jeff: Yea, truly this is the Game of all soccer games.
Tom: That's a bit like saying Home Depot's Midnight Blue is the best paint to watch dry.
Jeff: Your dislike of soccer, and soccer games, is noted.
Tom: I cite Jonathan Chait's New Republic piece from July 2002: Soccer is the sport of "shaggy athletic misfits." Chait reminded us that A) no non-soccer-playing country has ever lost a war to a soccer-playing country, and B) people have been saying soccer is the American sport of the future for going on 25 years. Face it, man: You love a slow, boring, pinko sport.
--Salon.com's "Gameboys" reviewers on "Winning Eleven Soccer 7". Very funny sarcastic reviews.
Article of the Moment
Guardian on Don Norman, who wrote the book "The Design of Everyday Things" (formerly the Psychology of Everyday Things, ironically, it turns out that it wasn't a very good 'design' to title your book so it had a clever acronym like "POET"). He's getting into more of the emotional and aesthetic side of things, rather than the strictly utilitarian. I suppose my strict utilitarian aesthetic could use some work, though I still have a strong dislike for most "ornamentation for the sake of ornamentation." (Except for gargoyles.)
Of course, iPod is a tremendous example of how design and group identification can outweight some other concerns, like cost.