Reflection

Alternative take on the world

Minecraft’s past, present and future

A house built in MinecraftFor the last year one game has become both the symbol of indie game development and also how to make a dream come true for a developer who want to make a game for the crowd. Not only has it changed how we see indie development but it has also taught us a great deal of how to approach a market which can be very hard to define. The game is of course Minecraft.

Let’s look into what the game and it’s creator is all about.

Android, what version?

Once I first heard of Android some time ago I got a bad gut feeling of what was about happen. Open source is wonderful in many areas but it do have a big drawback which may impose a problem when moved over to a set hardware-configuration which a handheld phone will show. All manufacturers want to brand the system a bit, painting it in a color they decided and finally choose the pattern on the ribbon of the package. I talk of version, versions, versions.

I own a HTC Hero which was delivered with a branded system using Android 1.5 as main operating system. At almost the same time it was released there was also a release of Android 1.6. Since then version 2.0 have emerged and the rumour is now of a soon to be released Android 2.1. At this time HTC have updated their branded version of the system and are today running their HTC Hero on – Android 1.5. They have not had the time or want to keep the device updated with the system as the later continued it’s life-cycle which is a shame I say. I still have to linger in the shadows with my old and grey version 1.5 in my phone when I see what shiny bits are out there in the updated version.

Ever since the iPhone was released every technology-magazine and their dog have written articles about what device is the iPhone-killer and listed the specifications for hardware and that it runs Android and what not. But it seem that most articles forget what it was that I think is one of the biggest aspects on why the iPhone did manage to get a wide range of people to cherish it like they do. It brings no fuzz, you run it and it works. If you need to update it then do so at the same time you synchronize it. And if there is a new version of the iPhone operating system released, then you can just grab it and continue the ride. No thoughts and discussions about whether this update is for my device or not. It simply is. And here the Android system lacks a bunch.

Last I heard was that my HTC Hero should receive it’s longed for update for Android now in the spring. Before that it was said to come for Christmas. Before that sometime in early December. Somewhat I’ve stopped to wait for this update. I guess it will come eventually.

Journal writing 101

Most of us wrote a diary when we were young and most of us also stopped writing when we were no longer just that – young. The reason for stop writing can be all from different priorities but also that there still remain some thought about diaries being childish and not something for a grown person to tend to. Most people use the term “Journaling” instead of Diary-writing when they do this as grown ups and whatever it might be called. Writing ones feelings and thoughts is good for the soul in many ways. But, how do I start writing?

I decided to start writing a journal about two years ago and as always I set out to find the best tools and applications which i could use to do this. I tried a lot of applications but always got stuck on how to use some specific functionality or why something did not work as intended. Quite soon I did realize that I was focusing more on the tool then the content and due to this I started to write in Google Documents using my Gmail-account. If this is good or bad is a completely different story but my main point here is that I choose a very simple tool with high availability to be able to write from all locations where I had a computer. I also decided to write without any formatting at all so that the text could be exported very easy by just copy and pasting. This so that if I did find a good tool later on I would not be facing a problem of compatibility.

When the tool was chosen I set up a goal to write a new post in my journal on a weekly basis at first. I tried to set out not to have a set agenda on what to write but just try to write to get that old writing-block out of my system. At first it was quite hard to get started but after just a new posts I got a feeling that the writing part really was not as hard as I thought it would be. As soon as one start writing down feelings and thoughts it becomes more or less an addiction to get it out of the system. And very fast I did realize that by writing it down I had a all new way of handling my own thoughts, almost like I was my own shrink trying to get an understanding on what was going on in my own life. I totally understand that my experience in all this writing is very personal and there is no set out course that it would be the same for anyone else. But hey, perhaps it will.

So as a conclusion I will list some of the best tips I would liked to see before I started and which might be of some use for anyone else going down the same route as myself. As with all new areas the most important thing is to keep it personal and do what feels best for you, not what other has done before.

  1. Ignore tools and applications and start writing in just about anything. Notepad in Windows works as a charm as well as TextEdit on Mac. To increase the availability you can also use online word-processors as Google Documents or Soho.
  2. Do not setup an agenda for what to write on, just write. If you do not have anything in your mind you want to write about, write about you not being able to write. Ignore if you might have written the same things before. Just write.
  3. Never erase what you have written. Of course a spelling-error can be fixed while writing but after a post is written. Let it remain just as it is. By doing this you can revisit what you have written and see if you in any way change over time.
  4. Show your journal for other people, or keep it private. It is all up to you and you should do just as you feel. For me the knowledge of my writing being strictly private lets me write about things I never would have discussed with another human being. I write for myself and myself alone.
  5. Go back and read what you have read after some time and try to revisit old topics. Especially when you feel that you have a bit of writers-block in your head.
  6. Last but not least I need to stress one point once more. Just write.

The photo used on the front-page for this article was taken by Markus Rödder, you can find his Flickr-page here.

Goodbye and thank you for the fish

This is the question one undoubtedly ask after reading about the movie ‘The End of the Line‘ which have is premiere this coming Monday. The movie is a actually a documentary on how we and our fellow humans evolved our methods of bringing fish and shellfish out of the oceans in the most cost-effective way, no matter the ecological impact on the world from which we borrow some time.

According to WWF the global fishing fleets is about 250% larger then the oceans can sustainably support and for a bystander, these numbers seem to tell us something. If we take out more then what can grow back from the oceans, will they actually run out?

“Can the sea really let us eat sushi in these numbers?” — Caroline Bennett, Founder, Moshi Moshi sushi chain

Oceans are vast and huge and seem to hold an unlimited amount of life but the fact is that they are limited. There is a set amount of live fish in the oceans at every given moment in time. Based on this number there is a set number of fish that can be reproduced each year. This is quite basic facts which most people agree on.

In a time where a growing number of people is in starvation and we have a financial problem on our hands we need to start looking on what the impact will be of our decisions. As of today we have have an enormous waste in our fishing fleets trying to find premium animals. While fishing tuna with long lines we get turtles, birds and sharks as waste. While fishing cod using trawl we get everything coming in our way together with the cod. All this so called waste is just dumped back into the ocean as garbage when it actually is a surplus of the oceans total amount of life which we just kill and drop back. The oceans can of course handle decomposing live matter as it is a part of the natural way but in the same time it can not handle tons after tons of the same fish killed and dumped right back. Species will become extinct, and they will become extinct soon.

This dumping of unwanted fish is never the less the only problem we have today. The greatest error of them all is that if we sum up what we take out of the waters it exceeds what can be reproduced. We are killing the oceans, and doing it fast and industrious.

“It is true that fishermen feel an almost desperate need to catch as many fish as they can when they’re allowed to. That sense of desperation … can’t be an excuse for the policymakers of the world and this country to allow that to cause the universal collapse of fisheries.” James Greenwood, former US Congressman

More information

So what can be done to halt this spiral of doom which we spin around in every day of our lives? As almost always when it come to ecology and people, all we have to do is become aware and to use our power as consumers. Avoid buying fish that is on the verge of being extinct and ask questions and raise the topic. And as always, if you can buy food produced nearby, it most likely is a good option.

Consumers have the power to change the market, we all just have to start asking questions.

Who will take care of all the brats?

I WAS HOME this weekend with a bad cold which led to me spend alot of time in my sofa infront of my tv. Let me start by saying that I am not a big fan of reality-TV or the programs that are beeing sent as “prime-shows” today. I am more of a person who buy a full season (need I say that I live in a rural part of the world which has not yet recieved any TiVO? ) of whatever show I like which has an actual script and watch it in whatever order I feel like. But whatever, I felt ill and I craved for some entertainment so I turned to the tv.

THE SHOW that really got me going was ‘My Sweet Sixteen’ aired on MTV. For all of you who haven’t seen this show it is spoiled brats with bad parents throwing parties to show the world which douchebags they really are. The goal of the entire party is to spend as much money as possible and try to build up an image of a young person who would loose a leg to get their fifteen minutes of fame. Now you may say that the show is all free to watch and if I don’t like it I should just keep away and sure, I could. But I didn’t and now I’m here. It was just like when you are about to see something really awful. You know there will be bad dreams if you see it, but you can’t really turn your head either.

BACK TO THE EPISODE I was watching. This girl in the episode of the show was planning her party and was with her parents to a store to shop for a car. She picked one out but after hearing that it cost only about $40’000 she blew out of proportions and started to yell at her parents to pick a ‘more expensive car’. That’s right, she didn’t want a prettier car, a car of another color or even a cab. The only thing she wanted was a more expensive car and by refusing to give her this, the parents showed her that all they felt was utter hate and dispise of her. In her own words. And guess what – nobody want a screemy and spoiled teenage kid, so she freakin’ got it.

THAT WAS THE CUE for me to turn the tv off and go read a book instead. I have been raised to appreciate what I got and to do my best with what I have. I wonder how the kids of the newly rich of today will coop with the fact that real life someday catches on and everything is no longer all cuddly and fluffy. Who will take care of the brats when the stupid parents are no longer around?

ACCORDING TO a New York Times article the show reached 24 million viewers between the age 12 and 34 in the second quarter of 2008[1]. Now this is an amazing number of viewers one might think, another way of seeing it is that there is 24 million people out there with absolutly no brain. And for that last rant I sadly have no reference.

References:
[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/23/arts/television/23mtv.html

What? No money? But I want death-rays!

stewieI don’t know if you heard but it’s all over the internetz at the moment – The Financial Crisis! Everywhere companies go bancrupt and families are in a struggle to get the accounts to stay on black numbers every month. But there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Just when you thought that a big thing in the entire world like this might unite people and nations the US just gave the go-ahead for spending three million dollars on…

Death-rays!

So I guess that the so called crisis can’t be THAT bad.

Read more about the real-life super-villian-weapons-of-mass-destruction over at Techradar.