Stilts and grids

Two pieces from yesterday’s Guardian evocative of the post-North-Atlantic Conveyor context of future design.

First, Jonathan Glancey on Alison Brooks’ ‘Salt House’:

“The origami-like geometry of the Salt House’s roofs and walls fold and unfold through the interior, creating a surprising, beautifully lit flow of domestic space as if this was some kind of enclosed seaside landscape to explore, play and relax in rather than the disjointed maze of a conventional new home. The important thing about the Salt House, from a technical point of view, is that it is designed to withstand the floods that will surely come this way, and with some force.

The house stands on stilts, not that you would notice them. Decking spreads out across the site, hiding the fact that the house has been raised up so that surge tides will pass beneath it. The ingenuity of the plan; the commonsense approach to the fact that south-east England is increasingly prone to flooding; the spirited yet subtle energy of its design – all this make the Salt House one of the best new out-of-town houses in Britain today.”

Second, Ruaridh Nicoll’s recollections of growing-up offgrid in Scotland, and the rhythms of life generated by their family generator:

“Until the pylons came, the beast in the shed would dictate the rhythms of our existence. The expense meant that the machine would be turned off when it wasn’t needed, giving my father an extraordinary power over our lives. In Sutherland, in winter, the sun sets at 3.30pm. It was two miles to the nearest house. The darkness was absolute once the generator was off.

The pylons arrived in the mid-1980s and the generator turned from master to slave, a luxury to be used smugly during power cuts… The wilderness itself was pushed back, to reside weakly in the lead pipes and the failure of a television signal to penetrate the deep glen.”

This has been a post in the style of Dan Hill

Future Platforms for play

I’ve got a big old post almost done on the project, but Tom has procrastinated slightly less and beaten me to it – writing about a prototype that Future Platforms built for me early in the year.

“We all like to play; whether we’re trainspotters, online gamers, old or young, we all take pleasure from playfulness. It can be solo activity, a social exercise, investigative, educational or just plain fun. In a mobile context, play is usually associated with simple downloadable arcade games – but this needn’t be the whole story.

So we built a mobile toy for Nokia, called Twitchr.”

Don’t know if Tom is going to talk about it tomorrow at MoMoLondon, as I think his talk will be concentrating on Flirtomatic. If you’re going to MoMoLo – see you there I hope.

» Tom Selling New Mobile Phone Features

LazyWeb: tag to print spooler

If you are anything like me, (a) how are you finding it? and (b) you probably have a lot of entries in tagged “toread” or “to_read” etc. etc. which you have not got round to actually, y’know, reading.

Yesterday I made the effort to actually print out some of the things I had tagged to read, and – read them!

What I’d like, LazyWeb, therefore – is a site/script/widget/thing that would

  • grab the URLs of what I have tagged “to_read” (or an arbitrary tag, of course)
  • goes and gets the text found at those URLs (this doesn’t have to be pretty)
  • then smooshes them together into a file I can then print or save for later printing.

How about it?

Almost guaranteed fame on lifehacker/43folders would be yours, as well as my undying gratitude.


Matt Biddulph contributes this:

OK, you need lynx installed to get a nice dump of html to text file.
For a mac,
might have what you need.

Paste this in a terminal window on any mac or unix machine:

for a in `curl | grep
'<link>' | cut -d\> -f 2 | cut -d\ toread.txt

and it’ll make reading.txt with a html2text concatenation of all your
toread links.

Excellent – will try this on the weekend and report back…


Deathmatch in the stacks

Ah to be in NYC…

Celebrating the launch of The Game Design Reader: A Rules of Play Anthology
Edited by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman, published by MIT Press

An evening of impassioned discussion and playful debate with game critics,
game creators, and game players about the past, present, and future of games

Friday, December 9th, 7pm-9pm
Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12th Street, NYC
Free Admission

DEATHMATCH IN THE STACKS marks the launch of The Game Design Reader, a groundbreaking collection of essays that spans 50 years of game design and game studies. Eight contributing authors to the book, including many of the most influential figures working in the field of videogames and play scholarship today, will share short selections from their essays and engage in spirited exchange with game players, game designers, and game critics. Also featuring a panel discussion on game design with the creators of Half-Life, Paranoia, and Adventure for the Atari 2600.

DEATHMATCH players include Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman in discussion with:

Ken Birdwell, game designer
Greg Costikyan, game designer and writer
Gary Alan Fine, game sociologist
Linda Hughes, playground folklorist
Henry Jenkins, videogame scholar
Warren Robinett, game designer and programmer
Richard Rouse III, game designer and writer
Brian Sutton-Smith, play scholar and theorist
Stephen Sniderman, game and puzzle designer

Plus: appearances by New York City game players and luminaries
Ze Frank (designer), Tami Meyers (LARPer) Karen Sideman (designer),
and McKenzie Wark (theorist)

KATIE SALEN and ERIC ZIMMERMAN are game designers, theorists, writers, advocates, and educators. Katie is the Director of Graduate Studies in Design and Technology at Parsons School of Design. Eric is the co-founder of the experimental game development company gameLab. DEATHMATCH IN THE STACKS follows in the tradition of STORMING THE PLAYGROUND, a raucous and thought-provoking event in 2004 that marked the launch of their critically acclaimed book, Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals.

DEATHMATCH IN THE STACKS is sponsored by gameLab, the Design and Technology Program at the New School University, and Games for Change

Unfortunately it looks like the sort of thing that will be too much fun for anyone there to take any notes…