The Life And Death Of Skyrim’s Lydia - Rock, Paper, Shotgun →

A while ago, I was banging on about the random events in the world of Red Dead Redemption and how they helped increase the sense of immersion and my fondness for that game (at least, the first time you encounter these random events. After six or seven attempted horse-jackings, it all becomes rote bullshit).

Skyrim, on the other hand, is genuinely amazing. There's so much to do -- not just story stuff, but random, one-off things -- that you find yourself investing deeply in the characters. I found myself nodding along to John Walker's story of 'his' Lydia. It's a totally accurate description of how this game gets its claws in you and you find yourself doing things (and enjoying doing things) in the game that sound completely cracked if you try to explain them to other people.

Dead End Thrills does Skyrim →

Okay, I'll admit, I'm a little obsessed with Skyrim right now. But look at these landscapes and tell me they're not amazing. Everyone gushed over how great the facial animation system was in LA Noire. I think the cloud generation system in Skyrim is even more impressive. This one is my favourite of the lot.

Cultural Differences →

In Ireland, Bagels and garlic bread set for sharp price rise as VAT rules change

The price of bagels, croissants, garlic bread and a range of other similar products is likely to increase significantly in the weeks ahead after Revenue decided they were not sufficiently bread-like to be exempt from VAT.

Meanwhile, in America, U.S. Decides Pizza Sauce Is a Vegetable

A joint Senate-House panel of American lawmakers has caved in to the frozen food lobby by voting to uphold school lunch regulations that stipulate that tomato sauce in pizza counts as a vegetable serving.

I never thought I'd say this, but maybe it's time Pat the Baker and Mister Brennan got together to form a lobby group of their own.

Reader redesign: Terrible decision, or worst decision? →

An ex-PM of Google Reader explains why the recent redesign/refactor is such a bad decision.

I'm glad to see someone with a bit of authority complaining about this a reasonable way. For the most part, the only comments I've read about the changes have either been from people saying "Eww, who uses Google Reader like that?" or from crazy people calling for an "Occupy Google Reader" protest. I was starting to feel like I was the odd one out.

Cult of Done Manifesto →

I love Bre Pettis and Kio Stark's Cult of Done Manifesto so much, I'm thinking of getting it tattooed somewhere on my body.

  1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
  1. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
  1. There is no editing stage.
  1. Pretending you know what you're doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you're doing even if you don't and do it.
  1. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
  1. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
  1. Once you're done you can throw it away.
  1. Laugh at perfection. It's boring and keeps you from being done.
  1. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
  1. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
  1. Destruction is a variant of done.
  1. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
  1. Done is the engine of more.

24 Hours Of Horror With Edgar Wright →

Now this is a heck of a marathon.

This weekend was the annual Horrorthon here in Dublin which seems to have lost some of its momentum in the past few yeard. A lot of its programme had me scratching my head and thinking "Is that really a horror film?" (e.g. Play Misty for Me or Akira). As a result, I've found myself weighing up the films I'd actually be interested in seeing and the films I couldn't be bothered with and decided that -- guest appearance by Michael Biehn not withstanding -- it just wasn't worth my time.

Edgar Wright's list might be a bit obvious in places, but I'd be first in line at that marathon.

Michael Wee Higgins →

Some of these are better than others, but they all made me laugh.

Especially the bus one. Holy shit.

L-Studio - The Desk →

Since moving home and doing all my work on an easy chair, I've started to fetishize desks. This short video is all about the importance of a desk and what it says about the person who uses it. It's not helping at all.

The original iPod, 10 years later: a re-review →

Ars Technica re-reviews the original iPod. Bottom line: "if you still have one of these original ones lying around, find a FireWire cable and plug it in. You might be surprised at how well it still works."

Also, the industrial design of the first-gen iPod is still amazing.

No Content Found →

More than anything else I've read on the topic, Courtney Stanton does a great job of explaining why it's so sad that Google are nerfing Google Reader

For me, this is the destruction of the only online space I truly give a shit about. (Sorry Twitter, Facebook, etc.) I’m actually really upset about this, as it’s eliminating a social space I’ve been participating in for several years.

He also does a terrific job of explaining why 'plus' isn't a great replacement for the functionality.

I don’t care if Google wants Plus to get bigger, I care about me and my friends who seek to read and discuss the entire internet every day. Is there really no space for different kinds of people to form different kinds of social spaces in Google products? Are they really that fucking stupid about how communities work?

Or, as I suspect, is it just that Buzz and gReader aren’t nearly as effective as Plus at collecting data about my internet use?

Generation X Doesn't Want to Hear It →

Generation X is sick of your bullshit.

In fairness, Generation X could use a better spokesperson. Barack Obama is just a little too senior to count among its own, and it has debts older than Mark Zuckerberg. Generation X hasn’t had a real voice since Kurt Cobain blew his brains out, Tupac was murdered, Jeff Mangum went crazy, David Foster Wallace hung himself, Jeff Buckley drowned, River Phoenix overdosed, Elliott Smith stabbed himself (twice) in the heart, Axl got fat.

The Guardian iPad edition design evolution →

The Guardian design team shows the various stages of the evolution of their iPad app. This is one of the most beautifully designed newspaper applications I've ever used - a perfect marriage of interface and content. I'll definitely be subscribing.

How Vimeo Lost Me →

This is unfortunate. Trauma is a beautiful game, and one that screenshots can't do justice - you have to see the game in action to fully appreciate and understand it. I'm really sad to read about the amount of hassle the developer went through.

I appreciate Vimeo wanting to keep their site free from commercial abuse, but some of their rules honestly make me worry that pretty soon, their site will be nothing but videos of people testing their cameras.

Thank You Steve →


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This is my favorite photo of Steve Jobs. Leaning forward to connect with his wife after his keynote presentation at the 2011 WWDC. You can almost feel the relief and accomplishment radiating from him.

When I see this photo, I see a man who bent every fiber of his will toward a goal so lofty, so seemingly unattainable that no one thought it was possible, and at the end of that race, with the task completed, he closed his eyes and rested.

Thank you Steve. I’ll miss you.

For a man who guarded his personal brand so jealously, these moments -- moments where the guard drops just a little and we see the man underneath -- are really striking.

Safe House →

Panic rooms are so passe. What you want is a panic house. When the zombie apocalypse finally comes, I'm making a beeline for this place.

21 forgotten TV subplots - The A.V. Club →

You could almost do an entire article about the many forgotten subplots in Lost alone. I particularly like their write-up of the Tori Scott episodes of Saved by the Bell

When NBC ordered more episodes of the show’s already-wrapped senior year, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley were already committed to other projects. So, employing its signature logic, Saved By The Bell allowed the characters to disappear completely, bringing in Leanna Creel’s motorcycle-riding tomboy Tori to replace them—and thus creating the “Tori Reality,” a parallel universe centered on Zack and Tori’s awkward courtship, a place where Kelly and Jessie simply did not exist.

Infographic: The Rise of E-Readers →

Pretty interesting stuff - overall, people who own e-readers read more books each year than those without. Although I'm curious about the 1% of e-reader owners who read 0 books a year. What are they using it for?!

How many photos have ever been taken? | 1000memories →

According to these boffins, Facebook hosts around 4% of all the photos that have ever been taken. And roughly 20% of all the photos taken this year will be uploaded to Facebook.

Kids -- not even kids, teenagers -- are growing up in a world where cameras are ubiquitous, they're just part of the device you carry around with you. And photography isn't some arcane, expensive hobby. It's been democratized.

I can't wait to see what this means for the next generation of photojournalists.

AV Club: Louis C.K. walks us through Louie’s second season (Part 1 of 4) →

I know people are probably sick of me linking to
a. The AV Club, and
b. Louis CK stories

but honestly, this second season of Louie was one of the best seasons of TV I've ever seen. (And 'Duckling' was one of the best episodes of any TV show I've ever seen). Reading this background on the production of the first couple of episodes is fascinating.

Also, much as I hate to say "X is the new Y", anyone else get the feeling that Louis CK is taking the reins left over from when Woody Allen packed up for Europe? No-one else is making New York seem so gorgeous.

Boom →

Boom is a command-line key-value store written by Zach Holman. If you don't know what this is, you probably don't need it. Still, I really love the installation instructions:

Hey, run this:

$ gem install boom

See? Now you can do this:

$ boom

Pretty easy. Like your mom.

I wish more software developers were brave enough to make 'your mom' jokes in their installation instructions.

Whyday is Friday →

Even if you do nothing else to celebrate _why's anniversary, just read some of the stuff he wrote. I swear, the guy is what I imagine would have happened if David Foster Wallace had gotten really, really hooked on programming Ruby.

Zooborns →

Daily dose of cuteness - keeping track of all the new arrivals at zoos around the world.

Gibsonton, Florida →

Gibsonton is an unincorporated census-designated place in Hillsborough County, Florida, United States. The population was 8,752 at the 2000 census.

Gibsonton was famous as a sideshow wintering town, where various carnival "freaks" would spend the off season. It was home to Percilla the Monkey girl, the Anatomical Wonder, and the Lobster Boy. Siamese twin sisters ran a fruit stand here. At one time, it was the only post office with a counter for dwarves. Aside from the agreeable winter climate, Gibsonton offered unique circus zoning laws that allowed residents to keep elephants and circus trailers on their front lawns.


Using Youtube as a video time machine - pick a year, back to 1860, and check out all the cultural artifacts.

Also: holy shit, The Dig came out in 1995?! Man, that makes me feel old.

The Hobo Lobo of Hamelin →

Hobo Lobo of Hamelin is a thing by a dude, who’s all like, “I’M GONNA MAKE A THING.” And then he did. Or is doing. Or, you know, whatever. This dude can be found on the internet. He websites to put food on his family.

This is the future of internet storytelling.

Mull of Kintyre Test →

via bestofwikipedia:

The Mull of Kintyre test was an unofficial guideline said to have been used by the British Board of Film Classification in the United Kingdom to decide whether an image of a man’s penis could be shown. The BBFC would not permit the general release of a film or video if it depicted a phallus erect to the point that the angle it made from the vertical (the “angle of the dangle”, as it was often known) was larger than that of the Mull of Kintyre, Argyll and Bute, on maps of Scotland. (via rajandelman)

I love any Wikipedia entry that includes the term "angle of the dangle".

Blood Bros - First Blood →

Do you like synth-heavy power-rock songs all about fighting for love/survival/glory? Then you'll love Blood Bros' 45-minute mix of all the best songs from 80s action movies. I went running with this just now and loved it. But at the same time, the training montage music from Rocky 4 has been on my workout playlist for years now. That's just the kind of guy I am.

Blood Bros: First Blood by maddecent

If You're Gonna Be Dumb, You Gotta Be Tough: An Ode to Jackass | Splitsider →

While it's certainly not what scholars might consider classic cinema, I'd be willing to bet that Jackass will be shown as classic comedy for years to come. I think it showed a group of guys having the time of their lives and offering much needed release during a time in American history when it needed it the most.

Agreed, 100%.

Actors with Action Figures →

Narcissistic? Maybe. Self-indulgent? Perhaps a little. But I mean, come on - having your own action figure would be undeniably awesome.

Looking for Murder in His Eyes →

I've spoken to a few people about how Osama bin Laden was a handsome man. It's a difficult topic to untangle. Elizabeth Kiem does a great job of separating the image of bin Laden from the image of bin Laden.

Tiny, Lego-style Apartment →

I would spazz right the fuck out if I had to live in just 24 square metres (shit, all my videogame stuff alone probably takes up about 20 square metres), but fair play to this guy, he seems to be totally zen and came up with a pretty good solution.

Portal 2 Authoring Tools →

"The Portal 2 Authoring Tools include versions of the same tools we used to make Portal 2. They'll allow you to create your own singleplayer and co-op maps, new character skins, 3D models, sound effects, and music."

PC-only right now. But still: oh wow.