Something for the weekend?

After watching Chris Delay from UK games company Introversion Software presenting at Playful last week, I went digging around their back catalog. I’m excited about their upcoming game, ‘Subversion‘, but I was pleased to be able to download demos of Uplink, DEFCON and Darwinia.

DEFCON is already a personal favourite. I was glad to see that, as with their other games, as well as a Windows version it’s also been ported to both Mac and Linux (the Mac version is being distributed by Ambrosia GTames).

It’s strikingly beautiful. Based on a gorgeous world map (with nostalgic Cold War era national borders) the careful placement of silos, airfields, radars and naval units, the escalation of hostilities and eventual all-out nuclear war. Timing is everything. It’s actually pretty tense.

DEFCON - First Strike

The gameplay is simple, with defined countdowns from DEFCON 5 all the way to 1, at which point (as we all know from watching War Games) the use of nuclear force is authorised. You can accelerate time at will, unless you’re playing the real-time ‘office mode’ game mode.

Launch Detected

Unlike most war games, DEFCON doesn’t glorify it. The ambient background music interlaced with atmospheric sounds include a very disconcerting coughing noise and the messages which pop up when a city is hit, telling you how many million people just died, are shockingly stark.


After playing 3 games, I’m now reliably beating the computer. It must be time to start playing online against human opponents; multiplayer games with strategic alliances look like fun.

More detailed reviews (going back a couple of years now) from Gamespot. IGN and many more.

This could be heaven or this could be hell…

Roo Reynolds plays “Hotel California” from Tom Armitage on Vimeo.

Thanks to Tom for capturing this video. That was fun.

The Unfinished Swan – looks all white

The Unfinished Swan – Tech Demo 9/2008 from Ian Dallas on Vimeo

How cool is that?

[via waxy]

Wassup Updated

Via the inestimable Mr Wallis.

Links for 2008-10-12

  • The Observer: Danger lurks for BBC’s bloggers – Peter Preston on Robert Peston: “Blogs don’t go through anxious committees of editors, pondering deeply. They are self-publication, performed at the double. No criticism of Peston there. Came the hour, came the man & his fans. Yet do you hear, somewhere just off set, the sound of another big mistake waiting to happen? Not because of slop, but because too many happenings are pouring in from too many directions. This is a golden digital story beyond all others, & you wait apprehensively for a waxen wing or two to start melting” [when Ian Betteridge bookmarked this just now, he said “‘I’m really not sure what the point of this story is.” I had the same reaction. Some nice quotable bits, but it meanders, doesn’t seem to agree with its own headline, and doesn’t seem to reach an obvious conclusion.
  • Pinkerton Lecture – The IET – Using social media to inspire change, Alex Balfour – The IET’s 2008 Pinkerton Lecture, ‘Using social media to inspire change’. Alex Balfour, Head of New Media, The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Ltd. 26th November 2008. Savoy Place.
  • The Forbidden City: Beyond Space and Time – “The Forbidden City: Beyond Space and Time is a partnership between the Palace Museum and IBM. The goal of the project is to provide the means for a world-wide audience to celebrate and explore aspects of Chinese culture and history.”
  • BBC – Press Office – Tony Ageh appointed BBC Controller of Archive Development – “The BBC’s Director of Archive Content Roly Keating has made his first appointment, with former BBC Controller, Internet Tony Ageh joining his team as Controller of Archive Development.” Congratulations, Tony.
  • Media Guardian: Channel 4 axes radio projects – “Staff in the radio division were informed of the decision today. Channel 4’s first radio station, E4 Radio, was due to launch belatedly next spring.” :-(

Links for 2008-10-10

  • Is Linking to Yourself the Future of the Web? – O’Reilly Radar – “I understand the value of linking to other articles on your own site — everyone does it — but to do so exclusively is a small tear in the fabric of the web, a small tear that will grow much larger if it remains unchecked.”
  • Samknows Broadband – Exchange Search – Handy tool for learning more about your telephone exchange. [via:happybeans]
  • BBC public value in the online world – “The BBC has a role that transcends its business needs – it can help create public value around its content for others to benefit from” [via:jem]
  • There is nothing ‘overplayed’ about privacy concerns – Christopher Boyd debunks Symantec CEO John Thompson’s recent claims that privacy concerns are ‘overplayed‘.
  • DS World record attempt – London – Saturday 25th of October 2008 – “To celebrate the London Games Festival 2008, we at DS:London in conjunction with the London Games Festival Fringe are organising a special WORLD RECORD attempt of getting the most number of DS players at one time in a room!” (most number? ‘highest number’, surely).
  • Sad Guys on Trading Floors – “Turning the economic crisis into one of those clever internet memes.”
  • Playful: A day of talking about videogames and things – 31st October 2008, Conway Hall – “Playful is a one-day event all about game design – in all its manifestations, throughout the contemporary media landscape. The event aims to promote lively debate on the nature of games: what they mean to different people – both inside and outside the industry. Focusing on the creative and cultural dimensions, Playful examines game design as both a discipline and craft, offering different perspectives on its current and future possibilities.” I’m speaking.
  • Coding Horror: Maximizing The Value of Your Keystrokes – “I’ll be in the middle of composing an email when I suddenly realize that there’s no reason to silo this information in a private email exchange”
  • NPR: Planet Money Podcast – “On NPR’s Planet Money, you’ll meet high rollers, brainy economists and regular folks — all trying to make sense of our rapidly changing global economy”
  • This American Life – ‘another frightening hour about the economy’ – “Alex Blumberg and NPR’s Adam Davidson … are back, in collaboration with the Planet Money podcast. They’ll explain what happened this week, including what regulators could’ve done to prevent this financial crisis from happening in the first place” How bad are things? Really? Is this bail out a good idea? (Free for 1 week)
  • DrawIt – “DrawIt is an easy-to-use, powerful image editing and drawing application designed for the Mac. It features entirely non-destructive editing, live filters, powerful vector tools, a standard collection of basic shapes and also a clear and intuitive interface.”

Social Networking report – highlights

I received a copy of the ‘Social network marketing, engagement marketing and brands‘ report by Tom Chapman yesterday.

You can request your own copy here (I don’t think it will cost you any money. Feel free to say I sent you). If you’re interested in social networking platforms can do for your brand or business, you might get something out of it. Although the sample size for this report is not huge, it’s an attempt to undertake some formal research into the use of social networking sites by brands, and it does a pretty good job. The report also includes case studies from Innocent drinks and BBC Radio 1 and the Chris Moyles Show, among others.

I don’t think it’s just relevant for marketing either, though that’s clearly an important focus of the study.

At 47 pages, it’s a bit too long for my tastes. Hence, I’ve pulled out some of the highlights. These may be obvious to you (they certainly make me nod pretty frantically) but it’s useful evidence.

From section 2.1:

“67% of Facebook respondents and 65% of MySpace respondents who answered 5 (slightly stronger) and 6 (much stronger) on the Likert scale indicated that they would feel more affinity and loyalty toward a brand they are a friend or fan of, if that brand listened to their opinions and responded to communications.”

From section 4.1 Are Facebook and MySpace effective platforms for social network marketing?:

“…the consumer conversation between brands and social network users should be controlled by the users themselves. This idea is backed up by the response to the Facebook and MySpace surveys, whereby the respondents strongly indicated that their loyalty to a brand on a social network site would be lost rapidly if the brand itself controlled the conversation…”

From section 5.6 User comments and suggestions offer real value:

“Brands should place significant importance on the value of comments made by users after they have become a friend or fan, and their ability to influence others as brand advocates. This really is the focus of a brands attention, not just the number of friends or fans they have. “

This really important point is also emphasised in section 5.3: Brands and marketers must listen to their friends/fans.

Although the BBC were interviewed for the report, I can’t take any credit; I actually didn’t have any involvement with it at all (Sam Bailey, from Radio 1, was the person interviewed). I’m just a reader and sharer, and I’d be interested to hear what you think about it.

Links for 2008-10-02

  • Media Monkey: Hardeep Singh Kohli terminates BBC radio interview – “Is this the worst radio interview ever?” Seems that way. Very Alan Partridge.
  • BBC Common Platform – Steve Bowbrick blogs about the common platform. For the next few weeks, he’ll be writing about his stint at the BBC. Yay.
  • SFGate: Nasty as they wanna be? Policing – “Director of Community Heather Champ doesn’t just guard the pool and blow the occasional whistle; it’s a far more delicate, and revealing, dance that keeps the user population here happy, healthy and growing”
  • Technorati: State of the Blogosphere 2008 – “Welcome to Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2008 report, which will be released in five consecutive daily segments.” We’re still saying ‘blogosphere’ these days then? Maybe Technorati missed that memo.
  • Storyboard – Wired Blogs – “What if we showed how we produced this story?” “What would happen if we broke the rules, we put the whole thing online as we produced it?” “What if we posted the edit–hell, the rough draft.” “What if we posted the pitch letter?” “What if we posted the emails about the pitch letter?” “What if Charlie sees it?” “What if he hates the draft and refuses to cooperate for the rest of the reporting?” “What then?” “What if there was more story about the story than in the story itself?”. This makes me happy. A fascinating, and very meta, insight into how a Wired article comes to be.
  • Mozilla Labs: Ubiquity – “Ubiquity, a Mozilla Labs experiment into connecting the Web with language in an attempt to find new user interfaces that could make it possible for everyone to do common Web tasks more quickly and easily.”
  • Ray Reynolds: How To Make Felt Slippers – “Here is the video and a list of equipment you will need if you want to make a pair of slippers” This is my wife, an artist who makes things out of felt. Here she shows how to make felt slippers. Fun.

Flobots – Handlebars

It’s quite possible that I’m the very last person in the entire world to have heard this song. My wife pointed it out to me yesterday (we had Radio 1 on for a change), and it’s stuck in my head. An earworm or Ohrwurm, if you will.

With 9.3+ million views on YouTube of the official video from Universal Music, it’s clearly popular enough that it doesn’t need me highlighting it, but I thought you might enjoy it.

Sadly, that official clip from Universal prevents embeds (grrr), so let’s try this one

(Apologies if/when that gets removed).

I like the video, I like the style (though it’s hard not to compare his rapping unfavourably with Eminem) and I like the tone. Some of the lyrics could do with tightening up (“I can split the atom of a molecule. Of a molecule. Of a molecule”?)

It’s Eminem meets the JCB Song meets Green Day. Or something.

Edit: it did get removed. Here’s the new link.

Links for 2008-09-22

  • Charlie Brooker reviews ‘Hole in the Wall’ – “But really, so what? We’ve been here before. It’s basically a Nintendo version of It’s A Knockout. And, what’s more, once you factor in the knowledge that the contestants are competing for charity, it looks less like the death of civilisation and more like a daft game at a village fete, writ large. This is TV blowing off and giggling for 30 unrelenting minutes.” [I wrote my own review last night at]
  • Soup: Roo Reynolds – a lifelog – I love Soup. It’s very easy to create a nice clean aggregated life feed. Here’s a bunch of my online stuff in one handy journal. It’s no Friendfeed, but (especially for non-conversational stuff) it is excellent
  • Smashing Telly – A hand picked TV channel – “Smashing Telly is a hand edited collection of the best free, instantly available TV on the web. Not 30 second clips (now with added clips, good ones) of a dog on a skateboard, or the millionth person to mime the Numa song, but classic clips and full length programs, with a focus on documentaries and non fiction. Smashing Television, not Gimmick Television. Each entry is like a postcard, a short piece of text which describes a moving picture.”
  • Right Now: What Are You Doing? – I tend to compulsively load and check the same 4 or 5 tabs dozens (hundreds?) of times per day. I’m going to do what Merlin does, and make this the first one in the list.
  • azeem.azhar: Product and marketing in the start-up – “A company which gave its customers what it wanted (Yahoo) started to give its customers what its CEO wanted (entertainment) and went from being yesterday’s Google to today’s Yahoo.”
  • Hangovercast – podcast [feed] – The hangovercast now has a podcast feed. Any more things I tag with ‘hangovercast’ will appear here (and although I won’t be at Airwaves this year, I’m increasingly tempted to do more of these). For now, it’s a handy archive of the fun my brother and I had at Iceland Airwaves last year.
  • – Send message to IP address – “Send a message to an IP number. If the user logs in on this website, he can read his message. Wanne try? Send something to yourself.” [via:robertbrook]
  • YouTube Comment Snob – “YouTube Comment Snob is a Firefox extension that filters out undesirable comments from YouTube comment threads.” [I’ve been using this for a few weeks now, and am loving it.]
  • mycrocosm – “A web service that allows you to share snippets of information from the minutiae of daily life in the form of simple statistical graphs”
  • DAYTUM – “Daytum is a home for collecting and communicating your daily data. Begin tracking anything you can count and display the results immediately… or just look around and see what other members are recording”
  • Infovore – Playing Together: What Games Can Learn from Social Software – “In this talk, I’d like to look at some of the understandings that have emerged out of social software, and what they might mean for games.
  • Stowe Boyd: Paint The Whole Sky, We’ll Still Ignore You – “They could paint the sky with their slogans and no one would notice. We’ve stopped looking at the stage. We’re looking at each other.”

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