Tag Archive for 'Cory Doctorow'

Cheap Life Design Through Prototyping

I just saw this on :

“Raph Koster, who has many critical insights on game design, has a great new essay on his blog called “Making games more cheaply,” which closes with this statement that applies to practically every form of digital media extant, and may just be the secret to success in the 21st century:

Embrace prototyping. Make your game playable and fun before you have any art. Stop writing big design docs.

Big design docs are useless. There, I said it. Trying to build a game off of one is like trying to recreate a movie from the director’s commentary track. They are largely castles in the air. The only time that big design docs serve a real purpose is when they are describing static content.

Embracing prototyping is a huge mental barrier for people. But it is what gets you to that long-lived self-refreshing systemic game design. You can prototype almost any game with some dice and some index cards. And plenty of ideas that sound good on paper turn out to suck when tried out for real.

Prototypes properly done are cheap. Prototyping is whistling five melodies and seeing which one you remember the next day.

to which I replied:

Prototyping is the same principle that we here in Kauai are applying to our lives as permaculturists. We prototype living systems, using cheap, found, and scrounged materials, mostly from our local dump, and then upgrade to more polished versions after we’ve figured out exactly what we want from the system.

For instance, I have built nearly ten different prototypes of chicken tractor for tractoring my chickens around the yard. All of these were built out of mostly recycled materials, and all looked radically different. When I finally saw a design that I thought was smart and functional enough to merit a trip to town, I went and bought supplies and made myself a robust copy. A system for taking showers went through similar stages, with the shower appearing here and there over time, with different plusses and minuses for each. Finally a propane shower, gravity fed from a water tank above, with a recycled pallet floor, and bamboo walls, tarp door emerged.

You know you can stop prototyping when the need to prototype a system ends. i.e. when the shower stays put, think about upgrading the prototype to semi- finished product status.

Prototyping ones entire life is an incredibly cheap and energy efficient way to recreate the world around you, remaking it into one of immense possibility. The primary question one has to ask is: Who am I? Which is the same question as: What do I want? Once those questions are answered, you can begin gathering materials and prototyping new systems.

Who you are and what you want will dictate what your prototypes are trying to achieve. You must have land or space to prototype on, and the tools and knowledge to assemble your prototypes.



File-sharing Becomes a Recognized Religion in Sweden!

“File-sharing becomes a recognized religion in Sweden

By at 9:48 am Thursday, Jan 5

Sweden has given official religious status to Church of Kopimism, a faith and philosophy based on file-sharing. The faith’s foundational document, ““POwr, broccoli and Kopimi,” is available as a .torrent file indexed on The Pirate Bay (natch). It exhorts followers to undertake 100 tasks to attain #g_d (a hashtagged, all-lower-case version of the observant Jewish tradition of writing God as “G_d”).

001. Obtain the Internet.
002. Start using IRC.
003. Group and birth a site.
004. Experiment with research chemicals.
005. Design a three-step program.
006. Take a powerful stance for something positive and essential.
007. Regulate nothing.
008. Say that you have to move in two weeks, but stay for seven months. Come back a year later and do it all over again.
010. Relax, you’re already halfway there.
011. Just kidding.
012. Don’t think outside the box. Build a box.
013. Support support.
014. Organize and go to parties and fairs.
015. Start 30–40 blogs about the same things.
016. Drain the private sector of coders, graphic artists and literati.
017. Create a prize that is awarded.
018. Express yourself often in the media, vaguely.
019. Spread

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all rumors.
020. Seek out and try carding, and travel by expensive trains. Don’t order sushi.
021. Start a radio station.
022. Everything you use, you can copy and give an arbitrary name, whether it’s a news portal, search engine or public service.
023. Buy a bus.
024. Install a MegaHAL.
025. Make sure that you are really good friends with people who can use Photoshop, HTML, databases, and the like.

Permaculture is only one short step behind.

via boingboing.

Science Commons and Why They Matter in 120 Seconds.

Two minutes to knowin’.


Check out ScienceCommons.org

Thanks to boingboing for the heads up.

Phoenix Mars Lander: (photo by the Mars Orbiter)

Just saw this on boingboing.

See that blurry white smudge against the blackness?

This is a picture shot by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter of the Phoenix Lander parachuting down to a safe landing on the surface of the planet Mars.

One probe films another on the surface of an alien planet…

That is simply too cool for words, but let’s try anyway.

In the words of Cory Doctorow:

“How badass awesome is it to be a human? Super badass awesome.”

Darn right.

Our probes are so cool, they need myspace pages.

Oooooh, watch this:

"Little Brother" – Cory Doctorow

“Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.

But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.

When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.”

Little Brother could be one of the most important books I’ve read all year.
This book is like a primer on free thought and the Bill of Rights. I just wish that i could be thirteen and reading this for the first time.

The thing I liked best about it it is that the book deals a lot with shades of grey. As the idea of a monolithic morality degrades and is replaced with something new, it is refreshing to read a book in which there are no real villains or heroes, just people doing what they can, with the tools they’ve got, with the inevitable friction those circumstances produce.

If you liked “Ender’s Game” or “The Diamond Age”, you’ll love “Little Brother

Little Brother on Amazon