Happy Halloween everyone! I’m very proud to announce this is the 15th post this month, which for those very math astute will realise that’s extremely close to a post every other day! But I’m probably the only one that cares that much…
So let’s get to what I’d like to write about quickly. I was at Playful today and it was an absolutely amazing conference. Certainly the best one I’ve been to this year and one of the best ones I’ve been to full stop. I think what was really brilliant was to bring together a bunch of people passionate about whatever domain and particularly interested in play, games, interaction from different fields and talk about what they are doing. So a wider spectrum than if they had only invited hardcore game designers – more than often probably pitching the latest product they developed (nothing wrong with that by the way, but I guess not what I was looking for today).
Which brings to what I was looking for today. Nothing specific, really. But I came out of it really inspired! I learned a lot of things about hacking things, making them do stuff they weren’t meant to. Theories about games, play, meaning, scores, etc. A lot of very smart people either demonstrating experiments, or talking from a slightly more abstract point of view about people, play and games.
I think one special mention for myself was to meet James Wallis from Spaaace. James opened the event with a brilliant talk about play in general, OuLiPo and a lot of other interesting things inclusing board and role playing games which I love. The best was to learn over a drink after the conference that he designed one of my favourite card games ever: Once Upon a Time. The funny thing is that I just did an internal talk about playing games last week (Which I will upload to Slideshare very soon – as soon as I find some time) and we’re going to organise some sessions fro Once upon a time and a couple of other games. A lot of other talks were amazing and I will tell you as soon as they are uploaded on Vimeo and Flickr for the pics
Thanks again to Toby, Richard, and everyone else at Pixel-lab for organising the event! Thanks to all the sponsors as well – Poke, Melinda @ Miss Geeky, The people who provided lunch that I can’t remember who they are right now, etc…
PS: I think I just realised James Wallis also created Nobilis, an RPG I’ve been wanting to try for a long time that looks amazing! And I also realised that had I simply read the details on the speakers list, I would have known all of that already, but hey…
Also because from this post onwards, October will be the month with the most posts in this dramatically thought altering – NOT – ice cream blog!
And just because that’s what it’s all about!
If you’re still wondering what the “it” is I’m talking about, call your mom. Watch Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel. Go for a drink and have a laugh. Give a call to your best friend. Check the status of the US election campaign/election. Have a drink. Update Twitter. Cook a meal. Whatever else you fancy…
Next step, pull it all together. This time the “it” being all the data, information, experience, feelings, thoughts, opinions, etc.
It doesn’t make any sense.
For the most part, and that’s just to be nice, all the sense that is there for you is what you added.
And that’s people.
I love it!
PS: I was completely not going to write this originally, but there you go. It almost wrote itself. If this doesn’t make any sense to you, I would estimate you’re on the right track. Same if you disagree. Or even if you agree for that matter. The secret is in short sentences. Although there is no secret.
PPS: I had a nice time at the Digital Lounge – I may even have had a drink or two for those ready to believe such an astonshing statement. I’ll talk about Digital Loungers later on. And by the way, Robocop on a Unicorn is a big meme that is going round the internets these days! Check it out. Do tell me if you explain why, I’m sure it will be quite entertaining.
Lolly tagged me a few days for a meme apparently going round the London blogosphere these days, I always like memes it’s a nice idea and as she said it’s nice to share some original bits of information about myself.
1. Top three non-work websites:
Well, I’m going to repeat Lolly here, but I spend my days and nights surfing the web for work anyway so separating work and non-work sites isn’t that easy.
Nevertheless I’ll go with TED.com as my first. It’s my favourite website anyway even though I guess you could argue I use it for work as well. I love the interface and design, and of course love the content! I always learn something new watching TED talks, and now that I have an iPhone, I’m watching more of them than ever.
I’m tempted to go with Twitter for second position. I really started getting into it a few months ago and I really like it. I’m meeting cool people through it and I like the random glimpses I get into other people’s lives I’m following.
I was hesitating to go for Netvibes for third, but I’ll go with Deezer. It’s a music streaming site and I often prefer it to Last.fm. Frankly since I started using it, I barely have any music on my iTunes, I mostly listen to streamed music. It’s all free, and when you register you have access to almost all the music you can think of, you can also upload all you music library and access it from anywhere, create and share playlists, favourite albums and listen to them whenever you want, listen to smart radios, etc.
3. Three favourite cocktails:
Being heavily influenced by The Big Lebowski (I sad recently that The Dude was my favourite fashion icon), I’ll start this with a White Russian. It’s not a drink for every circumstances, but there are times when it’s just the perfect drink.
A classic Long Island Ice Tea. It’s a great and simple cocktail and it’s where I was born! That said, I noticed that a lot of bars in London can’t make a proper one – even though it’s not very complicated…
To finish, not a particular cocktail, but I love “Rhums arranges” aka rum macerated with fruits or spices, they’re so good! Check out my home made ones in the widget on the right hand column here.
3. Top 3 Karaoke songs:
Obviously we’re going to go pretty cheesy here. I just sang some karaoke last week for our agency party, which was lots of fun! I like some old school Frank, and I think I’ll go with Fly me to the Moon (or New York, New York ;o). Then back to the 70’s with Sweet home Alabama from Lynyrd Skynyrd. And sometimes when I’m fairly drunk and have someone up for it with me: Fight for your right to party from the Beastie Boys!
A bit of shameless promotion, iris Digital just launched the new Sony Ericsson James Bond site for Quantum of Solace. It’s a very cool Flash website with secret agent type missions, for each mission you solve you get access to a fun little mobile application – with a very cool spy cam application for the last one! I’d love to know what you think!
PS: I completed all the missions today and got all the mobile apps ;o)
Nice little games! It’s a shame I’m not allowed to enter the competition to win the VIP trip to Monte Carlo…
Cool, I’m going to Playful next week! Playful is a one day conference in London all about game design – apparently the talks are going to revolve around the nature of games as well and that’s something I’m really interested in.
Funnily enough I’m doing an internal presentation here for the iris Digital team about Playing games so I’m full on into the topic – though my presentation is more about play as a concept and I’m not really going to talk about video games whereas it seems Playful will be. I’ll definitely put the deck up on Slideshare afterwards.
Everyone is talking about new smart phones, so far the Sony Ericsson Xperia and HTC Google phone look pretty interesting but it doesn’t feel like they will be able to top the iPhone in terms of design, interface and functionalities.
On the other hand, iPhone should be worried about this newcomer on the market: The Pomegranate phone – check it out!
Really nice website showing all the new phone’s features.
The site is actually part of a campaign for the Canadian province of Novascotia. Weird and original idea – and for those who don’t get it, the Blackberry come from Canada (At least I think that’s why they went in that direction).
My brother invited me to the opening night of the Frieze Art Fair yesterday evening. I had never heard of it, but it’s a really big show, with art galleries from all around exhibiting contemporary and modern art pieces. It was just funny being in this particular art world with all these art type people (artists, gallery people, critiques, buyers, etc).
I didn’t see much that really touched me but there was one piece I thought was particularly amazing and stayed glued to it for 5 minutes or so. It was created by Attila Csörgö and his work revolves around mechanical and geometrical devices.
The piece is called Platonic Love, here is a picture from his portfolio website:
From afar, it just looks like a mess of threads moving with no rhyme or reason, but get closer and after trying to figure out where all the threads go, which is connected to which, what counter weights what – all starting from a little engine at the bottom and you’re quickly just lost in contemplation. After that you realise those little twigs held by all the wires actually move in unisson to form geometrical shapes. So they go from this cube, prism and pyramid as on the pic, move away and then regroup as a pentagonic shape – amazing!
The fair is on for 3 days until Saturday evening, and it’s always refreshing and thought provoking to go see some new art, so it was great for that. We also discovered a really nice little Moroccan restaurant close to Baker Street for dinner, so I’ll definitely keep that address in mind! The harissa was home made and frankly one of the best I’ve ever had, the tagine was delicious and the people were really nice and down to earth. Recommended!
I only learned about Blog Action Day yesterday from Neil, so not much time to write a very profound post – but immediately liked the idea. That said, as mentioned on the website, it is a hefty topic; particularly in view of the fact that participants are requested to keep within the topics of their blogs – which is actually forcing me to think about that too.
Rather than look at any kind of relationship between digital and poverty straight away, I’d like to stop a minute and look at what we’re talking about in the first place.
Type “define poverty” in Google and this is the first result you get: the state of having little or no money and few or no material possessions. My parents didn’t have much money when I grew up, it was a bit tough at times and often felt I was poor compared to other kids. It was true for a certain understood value of the meaning of poverty, and I’m going to ascertain this is the most common meaning – after all if Google says it’s first, it must be true.
On the other hand, thinking about myself again, while I didn’t have much money or material possessions my parents loved us (And still do), always managed to put a great meal on the table regardless of how much we had to prepare it with, my siblings and I went to school and got a good education, had access to clean water, health care, etc. Which brings me to the other main definition of poverty which relates to poverty as being a violation of basic Human Rights and Needs as defined by organisations such as ATD Fourth World.
A dollar a day have a good set of definitions for poverty on their website and point out correctly that poverty is too complex a concept to reduce to one single definition – it requires several points of view, depending on the specific issue you’re looking at:
At the UN’s World Summit on Social Development, the ‘Copenhagen Declaration’ described poverty as “…a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information.” When people are unable to eat, go to school, or have any access to health care, then they can be considered to be in poverty, regardless of their income.
As I said I had all those things – so I don’t consider I was poor. Maybe I was part of a statistic at some point, but that’s about it.
Now I’d like to bring it back to digital and hopefully make sense. The conversations and ideas I’m generally living around are the global aspect of the internet, online communities thriving and sharing across the world to a degree that never happened before and it’s all very exciting.
The digital world is extremely rich and varied; there are worlds of opportunities there I find wildly exciting. One of the reasons I love working within digital is that there will likely always be more to it that I can ever comprehend and I learn new things every day.
I generally feel like digital is very inclusive and has the potential to concern all of us to a degree or another, but actually looking at poverty I completely forget that this digital world I find so exciting has a pretty high access barrier right now. I forget that it is a privilege to own a computer with a fast internet access that allows me to participate in something like Blog Action Day. I forget that I’m part of a minority that has that access, and it often goes hand in hand with clean water, food, health care, and money. It’s a luxury.
The latest statistics tell us about 22% of the world population are internet users. At what probably is the other of the spectrum, 21% of the world population lives in extreme poverty, and this is 2001 information, so out of date.
So what can digital do to bridge that sixty percent gap? Well Blog Action Day speaks for that better than I can: over 10,000 sites participating and an estimated reach of over 10 million people. I don’t have a brand new insightful and creative way to end poverty – far from it – but I’d like to finish with two points if you’re reading this:
1. Don’t take it for granted – “it” is anything from the device you’re reading this from to the sandwich you’re eating at the same time.
2. Participate. It’s too big a deal for one single person to have THE solution to poverty, but inside of the conversation taking place today something(s) will emerge and the more people participating the better.