Presentation Software Sucks

Here are some features that would make it better.

I do a lot of presentations. They come in various forms: class lectures, conference papers, keynote talks, corporate presentations, and business pitches, to name a few. Often I use slides and visuals in these talks, and I do so in various ways. In my class lectures I try to use slides as a way to reinforce the key ideas from the… read more

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What Are Game Developers? A View From the Future

Centuries hence, a citizen reads up on a bygone industry.

I squinted at the discolored reading pad I’d borrowed from the archives. The material was as dry as the title—“Taxonomy of Extinct Terrestrial Tribes”—but these ancient practices had long fascinated me. Take “games,” for example. They were played by adults and children alike, without shame—even in public! I had once scoffed at the idea that beings of my genetic lineage… read more

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The Squalid Grace of Flappy Bird

Why playing stupid games staves off existential despair

Games are grotesque. I’m not talking about games like Grand Theft Auto or Manhunt, games whose subjects are moral turpitude, games that that ask players to murder, maim, or destroy. I mean games in general, the form we call “games.” Games are gross, revolting heaps of arbitrary anguish. Games are encounters with squalor. You don’t play a game to experience an… read more

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Hyperemployment

or the Exhausting Work of the Technology User

In 1930, the economist John Maynard Keynes famously argued that by the time a century had passed, developed societies would be able to replace work with leisure thanks to widespread wealth and surplus. “We shall do more things for ourselves than is usual with the rich to-day,” he wrote, “only too glad to have small duties and tasks and routines.” Eighty years… read more

OAuth of Fealty

Resignation beyond sorrow on the Facebook Platform and beyond

In recent weeks, Facebook has been sending emails imploring me to complete a survey about how they might improve their development platform. I’d been deleting the messages, but after the third request or so, I decided to click through. For those lucky enough to have avoided it, the Facebook Platform is a set of tools and services that allows developers… read more

PlayStation 4: A Videogame Console

Today, the most novel feature of new technology is ordinariness.

The logo for the Dutch videogame studio Guerrilla Games is an object lesson in mixed metaphor: an orange “G” contorted into the chevron shape of a military rank insignia. Guerrilla insurgencies are often organized and sometimes even state-based, but they are hardly represented by the formal emblem of command and control military structure. Guerrilla warfare is irregular, asymmetrical, and lithe.… read more

Open, New, Experimental, Aspirational

The rhetoric of "The Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age"

The Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age is a new document authored and signed by twelve scholars, technologists, and entrepreneurs including Duke professor and author Cathy Davidson, organizational technologist John Seely Brown, and Udacity CEO Sebastian Thrun. It’s been making the rounds among those of us interested in such topics, also receiving coverage at The… read more

The Microethics of Informal University-Corporate Partnerships

What are universities giving away when we host hackathons, game jams, and the like?

Everyone knows that creativity and productivity are increasingly given away for free these days, particularly when it comes to technology products and services. For example: we contribute to the business of companies like Google and Facebook by giving them our data to resell, and we contribute to the business of companies like Apple by providing speculative, often free apps to… read more

A Machine That Makes Cameras: The Aesthetics of the Lytro

An image taken with a Lytro camera is not really an image, but a machine capable of producing many possible renditions.

The Lytro Light Field Camera Let's think about photography as people live it. A posed family picture might be taken once, then again, and again until the right combination of open eyes, smiles, and light and shadow produce an acceptable portrait. An action, performance, or sports shot that could speed by too fast for human judgement partakes of a surrogate: the… read more

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10 PRINT CHR$(205.5 + RND(1)); : GOTO 10

A whole book about a single line of code. By ten authors.

This book is available in digital or physical format. Buy from Amazon This book takes a single line of code—the extremely concise BASIC program for the Commodore 64 inscribed in the title—and uses it as a lens through which to consider the phenomenon of creative computing and the way computer programs exist in culture.The authors of this collaboratively written book… read more