"All right action flows from the breath"
- Hajakujo

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Serious Games

Serious games, eh? There´s always a place for serious games. If we could just persuade everyone in the world to turn all activities into a serious game, everything would become a garden of halcyonic fucking delights.



Saturday, April 10, 2010

Buy Your Rebellion Here!

This isn't actually a social politics post (thank jebus), but the title is just a reference to what is so commonly assciated with rock music, which is what I really want to talk about.

Commoditisation of rock music could very nearly have killed the genre. That's a bold claim, but I think the way that punk washed overthe relevance of rock like a wave in the late 70s shows the point. Rock simply got too big, too commercial, too irrelevant. Metal had barely gotten off the ground before hitting the same doldrums. They both revived in the 80s, morphed a little (rock a lot more than metal, witness grunge), and that was in no small part thanks to punk and the inspiration that musicians got from seeing the energy created in Manchester and New York.

Further declines (does this follows a decadal pattern?) were answered with the internet. By now we are in a strange new place where new business models are the only hope of the dinosaur record companies who seem largely not to recognise that fact, and bands are doing all sorts of things now that money's too tight to mention.

So thats the history, and we all know where we are - so going back to my original point. Commoditisaton of rock (and all music to a lesser degree). Why is it a bad thing to create a product out of a band? Because, I argue, music is fundamentally a service...a good time, where the source is objectively less important than the experience. I don't say musicians shouldn't be well rewarded, but to create a monolithic branded entity, who is the only one who can give you your high, is pretty much the same as having only one dealer in town. Invitation to a monopoly, abuse of power and fixing the system to fleece the consumer - all the fun capitalist tricks that the music industry indulged in until thepiratebay changed the rules.

Its the fault of the Beatles really. Apple products (not the computers), branding films and merchandise...compared to them the Zep look quite tame. "Selling bootleg posters while the band are on stage"...nobody fucked with Peter Grant :)

Music is music. Musicians interpret it, and serve it to you as the skilled chef serves a meal. Celebrity chefs are only worthwhile when they're telling other chefs that they're 'fucking crap' on TV. Classical music has stars, but their power is not open to abuse because the real star is the music. People idolise Beethoven, but a) he's long dead, and b) it is really his music that is loved. So anyone can play it, and it sounds great, but there's no sense that you have to break up the band now that the composer is dead. More importantly, its not necessary to try to create another brand named Boothoven, selling its weak facsimile copy CDs for massive markups because the consumer wants so badly to not be able to believe it's not butter.


Monday, April 05, 2010

Serious Games blog

 Don't forget to keep checking out the SAVE ENERGY serious game blog, detailing (intermittently, like all my blogs), the development of the Green My Place game.
It would be nice if I could reply to your comments too, but right now the word press admins for the projects haven't even added a simple spam filter plugin to the blog, so its overwhelmed with ci@lis etc.
But I'll be happy if people simply know about the game.

All the best!

Feeds: http://serious-games.community.ict4saveenergy.eu/feed/


Funny Pages

 Here´s an idea for the day - why doesn't somebody create a website that aggregates all webcomics, using a folksonomy model in a social network way. The site links to the comics that people tell it about, and provides systems for people to rate the ones they like, comment and share. But what is most important, it gives the user some sliders to control content they see - like the slider for ratings, so you only catch the comics that are funniest. Even Cyanide and Happiness has crap days. Why waste my time? Just tune it out!
Then, a recommender system can act on top of that to start matching  your ratings with other people´s ratings to know what you like, so it can favour the rated comics from people who are like you. And people can recomment each others ratings, and recommend each other´s recommendations...

And then, why not use the same system to create non-funny pages? Go to the online newspapers and reproduce the best articles, topically arranged and rated by the community.

Seems pretty easy, so I'll give this one away - just an original idea credit please.