Local Legend

June 24th, 2019 by harold

So on weekends, I go shoot the ball at my local park. On Sundays next to the basketball courts, Mexicans play football (soccer). They’re pretty serious about it with referees, shirts, tamale stands and so forth.

Often, their ball goes way out and lands on the court. When close, I pick it up with my hands and throw it back, like a goal tender. It’s good exercise.

But yesterday morning I felt it and when the ball arrived I just kicked the ball back with my left foot, like I was Thierry Henry on a corner kick, propelling the ball between two trees, way high, landing on the field, ready to be played.

The ENTIRE bench crowd, all Mexicans, all dudes smoking drinking and laughing, that I see every Sunday, turned around looking at me shouting “YOOOO” and I was like, “yeah, I can do that too” and then I swished a fade away long 2.

Legendary? Legendary.

Sound be back

June 20th, 2019 by harold

Reading an article on content moderation on Facebook, made me realize one thing: there are so many photos and videos that we reached the point of not caring about them at all. We just scroll.

Pictures, photos and videos are untrustworthy too. We can fake everything, even in pretty high definition.

The internet was all text. It became all photos, animated pictures and videos.

We’ve reached a point where everyone has mastered the art of taking selfies. Everyone looks good. Every plant basking in the sun looks nice. All cameras are great. Therefore, none of that has value anymore. It’s basic.

If photos and videos are basic now, and no one’s reading anymore, is sound the next hot thing? Let’s go.

Day of the Tentacle

June 18th, 2019 by harold

The 1993 CD “talkie” version of Day of the Tentacle is a perfectly flawless adventure, the rarest of rare games, that which did nothing wrong. Nothing. There is no weakness in this game, no sieve. Stop waiting for the “but” because it won’t come. This is the perfect adventure game, the one adventure that brought every aspect of great adventures together and created such an enjoyable masterpiece, it almost seems to transcend the level of computer games.

filfre.net (give Jimmy Maher money, he more than deserves it)

This game was perfect. I was waiting on it. I have two boxes in my hands at the store in my Parisian suburbs: Day of the Tentacle and Wing Commander Academy. I love spaceships stuff but the Academy thing was a spin off and smelled like it wasn’t so great, looking at the screenshots and missions (I played it a few years later: it was a turd).

On the other hand, I had this irresistible green box with funny looking characters with a story happening at three different time periods. This sounded amazing.

And it was. I loved every single second of it. True, the puzzles were quite vague sometimes –design wise, how to make a puzzle work for a kid living in France with a quite different set of values and culture must not have been in the designers heads- but I would play and try things out until I was bored and then look up a magazine walkthrough pages to unlock the thing I couldn’t understand. I thought that “Fony” television was hilarious and inspiring. Subversion was king in the 90s.

Day of the Tentacle is one of those rare, everything-went-well cases. They had talent. The publisher hadn’t been through massive failures yet. Money was not a problem at all. There was no pressure like we have had for the past twenty years in game development. They worked their ass off, creative and accountable (polished and bug-free game!) through and through. It paid off.

Lucasfilm Games and LucasArts (same company, change of name) was probably the pinnacle of western game development. 25 years later and the game still holds well, like Batman the animated series or Animaniacs. Memories.

Flat roof or gtfo

June 18th, 2019 by harold

“How did the human species ever happen to think of building their homes so that the whole roof space was wasted.”

From a Neutra’s client’s letter to the famous architect.

Girl, I don’t know. I miss my old place because I could enjoy its flat roof at ease, chilling, and it was magnificent. I’ll never forget those views and the peace coming from receiving a nice breeze in the face with 360° of sky enveloping me.

Attics are quite stupid. Storing things for storage. Memorabilia is real but we ought to do better and keep what’s really important.

No attic means you have to make choices and align your past, present and future instead of deflecting.

That’s a positive. That’s work though. I don’t mind.

You can also build a small storage unit in the backyard somewhere, if you can’t help yourself.

Game Life Expectancy

June 14th, 2019 by harold

It’s a terrifying thing that’s happening in game development: people die. Early.

Game producer dies at 44. We lose a few every year and it’s starting to be a pattern.

It’s a young age but also, really?? He produced huge games for Sony, back to back to back. That’s got to leave some marks (he apparently died from heart failure).

How come we went from dying early because of body wear and diseases to dying early with virtually no body wear and quasi total absence of any disease and abundant nutrition? It defies nature’s laws.

How modern days healthy dudes who spent their lives in cubicles die earlier than medieval folks?

The out-of-this-world pressure, destroying our hearts and arteries at a velocity never encountered before? Possibly.

That’s scary as hell.

Write and Read

June 14th, 2019 by harold

Audiobooks outsell print. AI can turn text into speech. People scan, they don’t read.

Writing is organized thinking on behalf of persuasion.

Writing is your opportunity to stand out, to pitch in and to make a difference.

And you don’t need a permit or equipment. You don’t need an insider’s edge, or money either.

Writing may be the skill with the highest return on investment of all. Because writing is a symptom of thinking.

Seth Godin.

Writing for 15+ years now, I realize how much it helped me being organized. To keep calm with heavy, burning thoughts. Once you break them down and start writing them on a screen, it’s just easier to understand and deal with them.

Talking doesn’t do the same at all. We indulge in drama and get lost in what point we’re looking for. Writing gets you there and allows you to move on.

It’s dope.

North Champions

June 14th, 2019 by harold

It’s just TORN CITY. Understand:

Kawhi doesn’t play with the Spurs, is injured while the Spurs try to get him on court, when they’re known to rest their players more than anyone else.

He goes to the Raptors, who trade DeMar, who loses in the first round with the Spurs with bad defense.

The Raptors become champions on outstanding defense, beating a Warriors team FILLED with bad injuries.

Patrick McCaw threepeats three years in a row, with two different teams, beating the first one with the second in the finals. Without playing.

I’m torn and awkwardly happy and sad with all that shit. Everything loops in wild ways.

Lots of lessons for coaches out there.

Fiction rigidity

June 13th, 2019 by harold

There are no right or wrong in fiction, only ideas that work or don’t. Sometimes, you need freshness.

In 1975, Moebius draw the biggest cyberpunk influence ever, a short-comic called The Long Tomorrow. It’s a classic police story only it’s happening in the future. The fruit of Dan O’Bannon writing and Moebius’ imagination, this short story influenced absolutely everyone from Blade Runner to Akira to the 5th Element to Cyberpunk 2077.

The Long Tomorrow describes a giant, high density city in part because mid 70s, this looked like the future of cities for their authors, men born right after WWII, who grew up thinking about reconstruction so much and who saw huge public housing projects being built all around the world in the 50s and 60s.

Cyberpunk 2077 is said to be "true" to the tabletop RPG game made in 1988, with the influence of Blade Runner, 1982, which in turn was influenced by The Long Tomorrow, 1975.

I mean, let’s ponder on the fact that a computer game scheduled to ship in 2020 is “true” to 1975’s anticipation of the future, when we’ve been having so many things that are drastically changing the vision, especially with fiction happening on the west coast of the USA.

– High density housing with very diverse population didn’t/doesn’t work.

– We have wireless-everything, delivery-everything-same-day, drones. Robots that jump, exoskeletons.

– Poor people don’t live in expensive “luxury” condos in towers, they live in their cars, on the curb, with 2 phones, 1 tablet and a blanket. They charge their phones in stores, malls and public spaces like libraries. Poor people live in small houses with 10 other people.

I think it’s kind of a mistake to act as if there was one and only one definition of Cyberpunk and Authorized Aesthetic and that it was coming from 75-88. There’s so much to re-invent in terms of cyberpunk universe considering what we’ve seen grow as tech trends in the past twenty years or so.

Cyberpunk would draw a lot more people into its universe if it wasn’t targeted only to 35-55 year old people who bought Blade Runner in every conceivable format.

Change the world one house at a time

June 2nd, 2019 by harold

I want to change the world, but real problems are hard. There are huge opportunities, in transportation, energy, computing, healthcare, manufacturing, but none of them can be solved on the kind of timelines and expectations that the startup community have. So many companies I see have great ideas, but aren’t realistic and serious enough to realize them. I worry that we wont solve these solvable problems, because everyone just want to party like its 2009.

Eskil.

I think people also want the glamour and social desirability from 2009 VC startup stuff. People build or want to build things that will look cool and make them look good.

Yes, things are that shallow these days.

Real problems that hit most people –like housing- are not necessarily hard, but they’re tedious. They require humility (housing is a different problem in every single climate, for instance). They require to take time to understand and listen. VC folks think in brute-force mode: throw money and more money, and at some point it just works.

Silicon Valley sold the idea of a single-solution-rules-them-all concept to far too many young bright minds who end up believing in it. There are other bright minds, thankfully.

Back to problems and huge opportunities and to me, everything is telling me housing is the root.

Transportation: what’s the problem with it? We have superbly efficient vehicles. Maybe people travel too much (work, cheap vacation). Just do that less, then (telecommute, less traveling).

Energy: what’s the problem with it? We know everything about how to minmax this. We could do a million time better with housing and buildings, that’s for sure. That’s a housing problem, then.

Computing: not sure what’s the problem here besides the fact that we have far too much processing power to do nothing online. It’s ridiculous. Moore’s law is done. No one cares about 4K or 8K. We have reliable computers that can run for 20+ years without breaking.

Healthcare: well, if we had better housing we would have a shit ton less healthcare problems. We could retrofit houses and buildings with great insulation. That would reduce humidity which reduces the risks of contracting a pneumonia for instance. From being able to wheel in and out elderlies to providing babies with a clean and safe space to grow, to drastically reduce anxiety and stress for people paying bills/rent/mortgages, housing is 80% health to be honest. It’s easy to be healthy in an enjoyable, stress-free environment.

Manufacturing: I don’t know what’s the opportunity here either. We buy and consume too much. We ship everything from everywhere, using boats that are burning 75.6 tons of fuel per day. We have over 50,000 ships that consume that amount of dirty ass gasoline and they run 365/24/7 to ship us a pair of shoes and a damn phone tomorrow. We’re absolutely insane and disgusting. Manufacturing needs to happen locally, providing for local needs. That’s not a huge opportunity per se. The biggest solution is buying less.

To change the world requires two things as of 2019: less consumption. state-of-the-art housing.

*drops mic*

Stop moving, tech

June 2nd, 2019 by harold

What people want: technology that doesn’t change constantly.

Incentive: super tired of re-learning how to do something that we already know how to do, for decades on.

What companies want: technology that changes constantly.

Incentive: selling more hardware, keeping and controlling users inside a system, economies of scale, justifying positions and salaries.

Companies’ incentives are strong. Yet they don’t make sense in a way: selling more hardware for what, I see homeless people with three devices. Justifying workforce, well maybe you should save money by laying off expensive executives, I don’t know.

People’s incentive is legit, obvious and hitting everyone of us at some point. But, money.

My mom just emailed me to tell me that she’s tired of update problems on her computer. So no video call today. Technology is exhausting and fucking up our lives now.