Inside the Guild Wars 2 firing that’s rocked the game industry. - Polygon →

This is a terrible precedent for the company to set, and you can see why in the reaction from the quote-unquote 'fans' on reddit: "We're literally running the company now... the moment a dev steps out of line or try to talk back to a player, guess what, they'll know we got their hands on their throat and we can squeeze any time we like".

Apple Engineers Its Own Downfall With the Macbook Pro Keyboard | iFixit →

My 2011 MacBook Pro finally died (these models suffer from a graphics chip overheating problem) and I'm absolutely gutted because it was genuinely a beautiful machine to work on. It was rock-solid, had every port you'd ever need, and I sprung for the matte display, so it never had any problem with glare. And most importantly, the keyboard worked. The 2017 Touchbar MacBook Pro is the worst laptop I've ever used.

Facebook’s retreat from the news has painful for publishers—including Slate. →

Slate is sharing some information regarding their Facebook traffic since the 2017, when Facebook decided it no longer wanted to be a 'news' site. One interesting thing to note is that while most news organisations are seeing a dip in their engagement numbers, Fox News's numbers are actually up. There's a joke to be made here about real news vs news entertainment, but I'm not sure even I can be bothered to make it.

Your Next Dining Destination (Really): Warsaw →

I do a lot of complaining about Warsaw but the one thing I can't complain about is the quality of the food coming out of the restaurants here. When we first arrived, I would give out about how there's not much of a food culture here. Boy, was I wrong. (Also, not really mentioned in the article is how cheap the food is here. Blows my mind every time.)

Subscription Hell →

I've drafted a lot of blog posts about the subscription model (and binned them all because I couldn't figure out a way of saying "not everyone is entitled to make a living from the one piece of software they wrote" without sounding like a complete asshole), but this article from Danny Crichton says pretty much everything I wanted to -- subscriptions are probably the new norm, but developers and marketers need to be smarter about the pricing to avoid shooting themselves in the foot.

MVP Soundsystem →

Frank Chimero has a really great way of organising his Spotify playlists, which allows him to tie a song into a place in time. Sometimes Spotify (other streaming services are available) can be a little like drinking from the firehose, so it's great to see how other people handle it.

Excerpts from My Upcoming Novel, Ready Player Two: Girl Stuff →

“Wow, Felicity,” he said. My Internet name was Felicity, after the coolest American girl doll. “I never met someone who knew so much about Harry/Draco before.”

I laughed. “Thanks, Sasuke420, I guess not everyone is as serious as I am about the Classic Ships.” Then I turned on the best song, “Spice World,” by the Spice Girls. I saw his eyes go wide as he got my musical reference. He was a keeper.

“In a while, Totodile,” I said, which is a Pokémon.

If you'd told me these were real, I would have believed you.

The Flight of the Zuckerberg →

Dave Pell:

Facebook is constantly urging you to share your immediate thoughts and reactions to every life event. We were a couple days into the company’s biggest challenge before Facebook’s creator shared any of his thoughts on the matter. There’s probably a lesson in that.

This is the best reaction to the CA/Facebook story that I've read.

How I Wrote Arrival →

Eric Heisserer describes how he adapted Ted Chiang's Story of Your Life for the screen. What I love about this is that his method for deconstructing the story actually became part of the screenplay.

What Ever Happened to Brendan Fraser →

The films, in addition to having diminishing returns, were causing a physical toll: He was a big man doing stunts, running around in front of green screens, going from set to set. His body began to fall apart. "By the time I did the third Mummy picture in China," which was 2008, "I was put together with tape and ice"

This is the rawest interview I've read in a long time.

Add View Image to Google Images →

Related to the Frank Chimero piece, removing the 'view image' button makes the internet harder to use. This pulls it back slightly but for how long?

Everything Easy is Hard Again →

As someone who recently had to return to the world of frontend web design for the first time in ~10 years, my experience was not particularly great.

Here's Frank Chimero:

That breaks my heart, because so much of my start on the web came from being able to see and easily make sense of any site I’d visit. I had view source, but each year that goes by, it becomes less and less helpful as a way to investigate other people’s work. Markup balloons in size and becomes illegible because computers are generating it without an eye for context. Styles become overly verbose and redundant to the point of confusion. Functionality gets obfuscated behind compressed Javascript.

This is one of the best things I've read about the current state of web design. It's not really an old-man-yells-at-cloud nor a wistful reminiscence. It's a manifesto for diligence.

The Polybius Conspiracy →

The Polybius Conspiracy is a series of podcasts from Radiotopia's Showcase, and it managed to tickle so many of my pleasure-points all at once. It's urban legend meets conspiracy theory meets creepypasta. And it's terrifically well told.

I Love Spoilers →

I'm genuinely bothered by the rise of spoiler culture, where any talk about a piece of pop culture -- even just mentioning the name -- causes normally rational people to start shouting "no spoilers!" Personally speaking, I can think of at least three examples of where learning about a quote-unquote "spoiler" has caused me to actually check out something I otherwise wouldn't (the most recent of these would be The Good Place, a show that hadn't even hit my radar until I heard someone talking about the final episode of the first season, which made me want to watch the entire thing. And a good thing too because that's one of the best shows on telly right now).

Although I almost choked on my cornflakes when I read this part:

Sebastian Starcevic, a journalist living in Australia, has written about his passion for spoilers as well. “I was actually sitting in the movie theater the other day watching a horror movie. I initially decided I wouldn't spoil the movie for myself so I could enjoy it the way it was intended,” he told me over email. “By the first jump scare, though, I was skimming the Wikipedia page to find out who the serial killer was.“

Good grief Sebastian. Using your phone in a cinema?! Haven't you read the Wittertainment code of conduct?

The mysterious Voynich manuscript has finally been decoded →

After looking at the so-called code for a while, Gibbs realized he was seeing a common form of medieval Latin abbreviations, often used in medical treatises about herbs. ... So this wasn't a code at all; it was just shorthand. The text would have been very familiar to anyone at the time who was interested in medicine.

Yay for solving the mystery and all, but it's such a mundane solution that I can't help feel a little sad. Update: via MacDara Conroy on Twitter - Has a Mysterious Medieval Code Really Been Solved? (I'll save you a click: no)

Dear David →

Comic artist David Ellis is in the process of creating an amazing twenty-first century ghost story. One that's told across weeks of tweets and incorporating videos, soundcloud clips and audience participation. It's so simple, so well done and I couldn't be more impressed.

4D Toys: a box of four-dimensional toys →

This is incredible. Marc Ten Bosch wrote a really fun game about playing with 4D objects. But his video describing how the game works is also the best primer on how the 4th dimension works that I've ever seen.

‘He Will Not Divide Us’ Livestream Placed in Middle of Nowhere, but 4chan Still Found Way to Troll It →

Finally when three planes flew over the area, 4channers were able to triangulate an approximate location of the flag.
This area was too large to search unfortunately. The 4channers began looking to the stars, using ancient astronomy to help map the direction of the camera and pinpoint a more precise location.

4chan has some of the best minds of our generation and I honestly believe that they could probably find a cure for cancer if they would only use their powers for good instead of just for being racist trolls and looking at anime titties.

Building the Ikea Bike Is a Pain Worth Suffering Through →

The Ikea Bike (the "Sladda") is an interesting proposition. It's a relatively cheap, low maintenance bike with some fancypants pluses (e.g. belt drive, disc brakes, and a modular ecosystem so you can get panniers and a trailer for your new bike). This is the first time I've actually heard of anyone's hands-on experiences with one. And I was totally sold until this line:

What isn’t easy to modulate are the gears on the Sladda. It only has two gears, and you can’t even choose which one you’re in. It runs on automatic transmission, meaning it adjusts between harder or softer gears based on your pedaling.

Dublin isn't even a particularly hilly city, but the idea of not being in control of your gears sounds insane to me.

Behind the Scam: What Does It Take to Be a ‘Best-Selling Author’? $3 and 5 Minutes. – The Mission →

Have you browsed Amazon's "best seller" lists recently? Noticed they're basically useless? Brent Underwood shows why there's so much useless junk on there (tl;dr people are exploiting the system to bolster their personal brand).

A while ago, I put up a fake book on Amazon. I took a photo of my foot, uploaded to Amazon, and in a matter of hours, had achieved “№1 Best Seller” status, complete with the orange banner and everything.

How many copies did I need to sell to be able to call up my mother and celebrate my newfound authorial achievements? Three. Yes, a total of three copies to become a best-selling author. And I bought two of those copies myself!

Setapp launches an 'App Subscription Service' →

I've mentioned before about how individual app subscription is becoming the norm, and how this could potentially be consumer-unfriendly. Well, Setapp have launched what could be described as "Netflix for apps". You pay $9.99 and you get access to all of their apps. There are 61 apps right now, a handful of which I actually use on a daily basis (Marked, Numi, Pixa, Sip and Ulysses - but that last one is a big one).

This seems like a great consumer and business friendly solution. Really hope this catches on.

Resilient Web Design →

Jeremy Keith has written a terrific primer on the importance of embracing the web we have and designing with open standards ("material honesty") and, more importantly, content in mind. It's a great read, even (especially?) for non-designers.

Coincidentally, over the last week or so, I've been making some changes to my personal websites (here and johnke.wtf) to make them more responsive and behave nicely on different devices. So this has come along at just the right time for me.

Indie Microblogging: owning your short-form writing →

Manton Reece wants to make a microblogging site for the open web and he's running a Kickstarter to help fund that. I don't know if another microblog can actually take on or even compete with Twitter (has anyone checked to see if app.net is still breathing?) but I'm supporting this because I refuse to lose hope in the idea of the open web.

Vice gets rid of comments →

Vice is getting rid of the comments from its articles

Unfortunately, website comments sections are rarely at their best. Without moderators or fancy algorithms, they are prone to anarchy. Too often they devolve into racist, misogynistic maelstroms where the loudest, most offensive, and stupidest opinions get pushed to the top and the more reasoned responses drowned out in the noise.

I predict that lots more websites will be doing the same in 2017.

GQ's Oral History of Prince →

There were a lot of celebrity deaths in 2016, but none hit me quite as hard as Prince. My sister was a huge Prince fan, which meant I was basically a fan from birth. If there's one comfort to be taken from his death it's that -- more than any of the other celebrities that died -- Prince was incredibly private. Secretive, almost. Which means all we're left with is everyone else's stories of Prince. And this is a much more beautiful way to remember him, as a series of impossible-seeming, almost contradictory legends. Like this one from Van Jones, the political activist.

Van Jones: He was very interested in the world. He wanted me to explain how the White House worked. He asked very detailed kind of foreign-policy questions. And then he'd ask, "Why doesn't Obama just outlaw birthdays?" [laughs] I'm, like, "What?" He said, "I was hoping that Obama, as soon as he was elected, would get up and announce there'd be no more Christmas presents and no more birthdays—we've got too much to do." I said, "Yeah, I don't know if that would go over too well."

Holiday Hole →

Cards Against Humanity are crowdfunding the digging of a huge hole in the Earth. And livestreaming it.

Why aren’t you giving all this money to charity?
Why aren’t YOU giving all this money to charity? It’s your money.

So far, people have paid almost $50,000 to dig a hole.

a good bundle →

$20 for 151 of some of the best indie games on itch.io, with all the proceeds going to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. Personal favourites: Proteus, Gone Home, Curtain (by Irish developer Dreamfeel), The Temple of No. Oh look, it’s just a great bunch of games for a really great cause. Just buy it.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Needs to Quit It With the Accents →

The Ringer nails it:

Here is an abridged list of things that Joseph Gordon-Levitt almost, but not quite, sounds like in Oliver Stone’s Snowden, out last week:

  • Three kids stacked on top of each other inside of a trench coat
  • The moment in a 2000s comedy when the third male lead realizes he’s been shot with a tranquilizer gun
  • A prank caller whose heart just isn’t in it
  • Someone Shailene Woodley would waste her early 20s on
  • A short story where an old frog teaches a young frog how to build a boat, and then dies
  • An outtake from a YouTube review of the iPhone voice changer app
  • Edward Snowden

Versioning, Licensing, and Sketch 4.0 →

It seems like we're moving to the world where app subscription models are the norm and I'm worried about what this means for the future of some of my favourite apps. In December, YNAB announced it was moving to a web-based, subscription model. In January, it was forced to change its strategy a little in the face of a severely negative response.

But the Sketch model seems like a pretty great compromise. Buy a license and you'll receive a year's worth of free upgrades. After that, no more upgrades (besides bug-fix upgrades) but your software will continue to work. This seems like a really clever and consumer-friendly way of addressing this problem.

Interview With Lacey Noonan →

Boston.com's interview with Lacey Noonan, self-publishing superstar and author of niche erotica like I Don't Care If My Best Friend's Mom is a Sasquatch, She's Hot and I'm Taking a Shower With Her Because It's the New Millennium and its sequel I Don't Care if My Sasquatch Lover Says the World is Exploding, She's Hot But I Play Bass and There's Nothing Hotter Right Now Than Rap-Rock Because It's the New Millennium.

BDC: Do your friends and family know you write these novels, or is it private? You mention your husband in your bio, Does he know?

Lacey: My husband knows. Some friends know. That’s about it. He actually helped with some of the finer football details in the Gronkalish book. But I am the heat commander. I control the boners.

This lady is amazing.

Wyclef Jean Does an AMA, Gets Destroyed →

I've never seen an AMA go so badly that the celebrity answered nothing and deleted their reddit account. Example question:

Are you the same guy that started a charity for his country then stole that money?

The Art of the Witness →

The Witness is a frustrating game. Not just because the puzzles are hard, but because the game demands so much of your time (I've spent hours on individual puzzles) and because the world hints at so much but appears to deliver (from where I'm standing, at least) so little apart from more puzzles for you to bash your head against. So it's nice to step back and just appreciate the beauty of the world they created.

They're Terrorists. They're Organized. They're Americans. →

Long one, but completely worth your time. The point SecretGamerGrrl makes about the shared language of hate groups nails what I found so troubling about the recent anti-feminist posts by Scott Adams and Eric S. Raymond. It's easy to dismiss them and say that we should just expect these kinds of posts from white, cis, middle-age men, but it shows that they're just a hop, skip and a jump away from something really dangerous.

'Homeland Is Racist' →

The producers of Homeland hired a bunch of street artists to graffiti the sets, to make it seem 'authentic'. The artists used the opportunity to write a load of anti-Homeland slogans in Arabic and no-one noticed. Just wonderful.