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human evolutionary 'tree' reveals why video games suck
Scientific American has posted a Hominin evolutionary tree, which is interesting, if for no other reason, then for the way they posted it — via the publishers of effortlessly zoomable online documents, The science is fascinating, but I'm more intrigued by this new method of online presentation than by the magazine artist's visual rendering of evolution. Ever notice the way the living Hominins (i.e. you and me) will consistently squash any inconveniently branching structure into a linear one of their choosing, as if that is a good way to sum it up? That is not a good way to sum it up. But it's a pretty good way of summing it down!
wall street journal welcomes the iphone overlords
The Wall Street Journal has raised the spectre of smartphones replacing laptops, not even realising, it seems, that it is a spectre. Apple's "cutting-edge" iPhone is held up throughout the article, without a hint of irony, as the prime example of the sort of device that it sees one day bumping your main mobile computer into a Sarlacc Pit. No mention at all is made of the completely closed and capriciously-controlled nature of application development through the iPhone's App Store (practical unofficial alternatives to which, in a 180-degree turn from its tolerance of MP3s on an iPod, Apple specifically blocks or limits from its playground).

Apparently, the Journal finds perfectly agreeable the prospect of herds of formerly free-range computer users being corralled into an unholy pen where they will not be permitted to download any new form of software without Apple's express, case-by-case approval; in fact, the financial rag breathlessly anticipates that the old regime (which happens to safeguard our increasingly unfashionable ability to choose what we can run on our devices) will be willingly relinquished. Perhaps they'd like to volunteer to close and lock the gates when the deed is done?

Now, here's the part of this Wes Craven nightmare where self-satire turns to horror...
remember your old apartment?
You know — the one that was perfect for holding blow-out parties twice a year, until it got trashed by the webcam pornstars who lived next door? Do you remember that city park where you and your lover first pressed lip, after experiencing — right there among the rusty swings — the best conversation that any two human beings have ever had? And what about the workroom where you surrounded yourself with objects of inspiration, and made yourself a place to pursue a dream?

What if you could glimpse back? What if you could step back through time, if only for a single, frozen moment, and then just — look around? How much of who you were, do you think would be reflected in where you were? I can help you find out.

Click and hold to pan the camera. Use CONTROL and SHIFT to zoom.

High-Rez Version (2MB).   VIEW  DOWNLOAD
apple beset by criticism from leading mac bloggers
When lodestar users like Harry McCracken, Dave Winer, and even John Gruber are gunning for you online, you know your mobile platform has a real problem on its hands.

Thus, is Apple reaping what it has sowed with its increasingly pathological obsession with control.
jobs and woz, in manga, for kids!
By way of, my attention has been drawn to an '80s manga by Mitsuru Sugaya about the birth of Apple. Not speaking Japanese, I managed to get some gist of the artist's commentary (though not the comic dialogue itself) from the Babelfish version. I particularly enjoyed their rendition of Mitsuru's descriptions of one of Woz's teen pranks. (See if you can guess what it does...)
apple vs. art, part 2: apple vs. fart
I have to say, when I wrote my first post on Apple's attempts to soup-nazi new media spaces, I had no idea a sequel would be so soon in the offing. In this week's episode, we have an actual App Store rejection letter from Apple, which is so galling in its casual application of censorship to a harmless fart joke app, that even in the unlikely event that it would be a good idea to let any one posse of techno-dudes carry the keys to the new media kingdom, it's as clear as day the people at Apple are not those dudes.
so this is how it's done
I am beginning to understand how things work in this universe:

Government commissions study in the service of the people. Study doesn't support the arguments of the Copyright Pharaohs. Government concludes 'there was no need for external expertise'. Tries to hide it ever existed. Continues the plot to extract from us the essence of cultural freedom which the Pharaohs have been consuming, and need to consume to extend their decrepitly long legacies for yet another 50 years.

This appears to be the mechanism by which the arterial media of this world have become clogged with the sticky legal deposits created by the circulation of these massive conglomerates.

More Star Wars, anyone? Just be sure that the part of your brain you are storing that in, is not a part from which you are ever planning to create anything in your entire lifetime (or even in your children's lifetimes, should you pass the 'copyrighted' plots and characters, fable-like, on to them).

And most of all — woe betide you online if George Lucas should ever use your name.

apple vs. art, part 1
It took the appalling spectacle of Apple trying to deny iPhone distribution to these artists at Murderdrome to draw my attention to Infurious Comics and their neat little enterprise.

My willingness to try to distribute Hypothesis through the iPhone's App Store will hinge on how Apple responds to criticisms like this one. I could be comfortable with an App Store-wide rating system that treats all media equally, but it would depend on whether it's just a cloak for more censorship. (After all, nothing about having a rating system dictates that all or even a vast majority of entries will therefore be accepted.)

Don't enterprises that venture first into new media spaces that may hold the keys to the future of this planet (if their rhetoric is to be believed) have a special responsibility not to bar the way to others based on matters of taste? If not, perhaps they should.
kegslotdroppers 0.4
The latest iteration of the energetics I 'coded' to slightly speed-launch classic games in Hypothesis 0.3. KEGSlotDroppers are a set of AppleScript droplets which can be used to automate the tedious manual editing of slot assignments that is required to change which disk images to load into the KEGS Apple IIgs emulator on Mac OS X.
copyright pharaohs lobby for immortality
I have to say I don't understand this 95 year music monopoly proposed by EU Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy. Fifty years was bad enough. But judging by the length of the standard human reproductive cycle, 95 years will see the coming of age of five generations of new artists, all of whom will be denied the right to directly reimagine or reuse today's work without fear of retribution. Am I the only mind boggled by this?

Am I the only one who perceives, common-sense-wise — you do have that on this planet, I've been told — that artists only have a valid claim to preventing 'ripoffs' or the too-close-for-comfort homage among their contemporaries, and that unfettered quoting of their work among the very next generation (not to mention their great-great-great-grandchildren), is not only ethical, but healthy and necessary for the culture itself to continue to vitally reproduce?

Hopefully, in Canada at least, the answer is no, although there is still a significant gap between the stance outlined by the 'Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright' — consumer-friendly as it may seem in this new dynasty we have built of authorial pharaohs aspiring to legal immortality — and the most obvious reasonable course for a society of media-enriched brains. That is, if we are to avoid accidentally enslaving those brains by putting their entire store of cultural memory under lock and key.

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