October 22, 2014

Don’t respond to bad reviews

Getting reviews can be rough, especially since you’ll forget about the good ones and cry over the bad ones. This is most likely universally true, for musicians and game makers alike. And authors too, I’ve got some first-hand experience there, as has everybody else who’ve sold some books.

Kathleen Hale stalked a reviewer, and she’s written about it in The Guardian. It’s a fascinating piece, but also quite creepy. I don’t think this is the way to tackle bad reviews, although I can certainly understand the helplessness she must’ve felt. Naturally, the whole piece is her point of view, which may or may not conform with reality. I wouldn’t know. There’s certainly been reactions, and you’ll have no trouble finding them should you want to. For my own part, I side with Chuck Wendig on this one: Don’t respond to bad reviews. It’s that simple, and that hard.

October 21, 2014

New Nintendo 3DS, and the want

Sam Byford, writing for The Verge, on the New Nintendo 3DS:

But let’s be real here: very little about the New 3DS feels new, or even much like a gadget released in late 2014. It’s still made of chunky plastic, the screen is still lower resolution than a standard-definition TV, and the internals are still wildly out of date compared to smartphones from even a few years ago.

It’s just as well, then, that the 3DS’s biggest strength is that it isn’t a smartphone — and that the other changes Nintendo made are all major improvements to the main thing it’s designed to do. Which is play games.

The score’s a respectable 8.2. I’ll probably pick up one of these when they launch in Europe next year (they’re Japan only for the time being), but it’s not a given. The problem isn’t the lack of games – there are plenty of great ones for the 3DS – but the fact that Apple and its App Store developers have utterly destroyed the need, if not the want, for a dedicated handheld games console.

Byford does have a point regarding both the 3DS and the Wii U: If you enjoy, and want to play, traditional video games, and especially those from Nintendo, then these are the games devices to own. That’s the one point where the App Store and its namesakes are sorely lacking. They can’t deliver the traditional games experience, and although there are controllers, they’ve a way to go.

Thoughts on the new Mac mini

Macminicolo is something as odd as a web host, or datacenter rather, that only uses Mac mini computers. That actually makes a lot of sense, because these things are affordable, durable, and has a small energy footprint. It’s always nice to see what these guys has to say about new Mac mini models, and the bump Apple did on the October event is no different. They list ten things about the new Mac mini here, and if you’re even the slightest interested in this computer, then at least glance through this one.

Not everyone’s happy about this update. Much like most of Apple’s computers, the new Mac mini isn’t easy to upgrade yourself. The RAMs not accessible at all, and it you want to swap out the harddrive you’ll void the warranty. The baseplate on the previous model, where you easily could open up your Mac mini, now features nasty screws. This is not a computer you’re supposed to open up and upgrade.

Read more →

October 20, 2014

Daily Crowdfunder
Daily Crowdfunder

If there’s one thing to take away from this post, it’s that Daily Crowdfunder has launched. It’s your crowdfunding savior, making sure you don’t miss out on the best campaigns, by featuring one campaign every day. If that’s too much for you then there’s also a weekly newsletter. Can’t go wrong with that.

Or, in the words of the site’s own description:

We’ve all been there, noticing an exciting crowdfunding campaign way too late. Our friends are showing off their latest smartwatch, game fitness band, book, album, or whatever it is they were a part of thanks to a crowdfunding campaign, and we’re left out. Or rather, we’re left behind, because the deals aren’t as sweet when these remarkable products hits the shelves and become available for the rest of us.

Our idea is simple. We find the best and most interesting crowdfunding campaigns, and feature one every day. That way you won’t miss out.

That was the important parts. Now, let’s dig deeper, shall we?

At Odd Alice, the agency where I’m the founder and CEO, we’ve got something called satellite programs. This is an incentive that helps our employees to launch projects, while Odd Alice has their backs. There’s an ownership split between the project owner(s) and Odd Alice, and a letter of intent that’s signed when the project begins. It’s all very friendly, very enabling.

Read more →

October 19, 2014

Handwriting requires exercise

Quartz has a piece with tips on handwriting, where exercising your hand and lower arm is mentioned:

Typing doesn’t build the hand and finger strength necessary to hand-write for long periods, Blain points out. Squeezing a stress ball can help with that. So can stretching out your writing hand to avoid arm injuries. An 80,000 word hand-writing binge last November landed Blain at a physical therapist for an elbow injury, because she hadn’t stretched out her arms or taken enough breaks.

Useful advice if you’ve a mind to write a longer piece, a book perhaps, by hand.

Alice Cooper guitar incoming

ASG’s got an Alice Cooper guitar coming on October 21. I’m hoping to get one because it looks marvelous.

Telltale crimson drops bespatter a snow-white palette, and from deep within a piercing gaze of savage intensity lashes out, an aphotic visage taking in an unholy landscape. There’s something brooding and transcendent in his aspect, an ominous man, pugnacious and sanguineous. Who is this man behind the ferocious Cimmerian stare? Who’s responsible for this truculent view of the World that’s black and white and spotted with blood? It could only be one man. It could only be the groundbreaking artist behind the seminal hits, “Killer,” “School’s Out,” ”Billion Dollar Babies,” and “Muscle of Love.” It could only be Alice Cooper.

October 18, 2014

Where does the t-shirt come from?

The origins of the t-shirt.

Shortly after WWI ended in 1920, the author F.Scott Fitzgerald became the first known person to use the word “t-shirt” in print when he included it in his novel, This Side of Paradise as one of the items the main character takes with him to university. And, in fact, a very slight tweak on the design of early t-shirts came about at university, the invention of the “crew-neck t-shirt”. These were made in 1932 by Jockey International Inc at the bequest of the University of South California, who wanted a lightweight, absorbent garment its football players could wear underneath their jerseys to prevent their pads from rubbing and chafing. The resulting style t-shirt was a huge hit with the team and it wasn’t long before students began popularly wearing them.

Worth a read.

October 17, 2014

Don’t hold your breath for Apple to release Thunderbolt displays

Marco Arment explains why there’s no Thunderbolt displays on the horizon.

Pushing this many pixels requires more bandwidth than DisplayPort 1.2 offers, which is what Thunderbolt 2 ports use for outputting video signals. (I wrote about this a few times.) Doing it right will require waiting until DisplayPort 1.3 in Thunderbolt 3 on Broadwell’s successor, Skylake, which isn’t supposed to come out for at least another year — and Intel is even worse at estimating ship dates than I am, so it’s likely to be longer.

It may be possible to use two Thunderbolt 2 cables to power a 5K display, but only if the GPU could treat each port as its own full-bandwidth DisplayPort 1.2 channel, the sum of which represented one logical display, and had the panel using something like MST to combine the two at the other end. But the only Mac with more than one Thunderbolt bus (not port) is the current Mac Pro, and I can’t see today’s Apple shipping an external display that none of their laptops can use.

There is no way Apple will launch proper 5K retina Thunderbolt displays, on par with the new retina iMac, anytime soon. I based my predictions on the matter on the same basis.