visual audio hypertext theatre

September 07, 2014

Universal Friendship

Everyone should watch this:


Here are the notes I took on my first watch:

February 01, 2014

Revisiting Final Fantasy VIII

So we meet again

I recently replayed Final Fantasy VII and wrote a review. Afterwards I decided to revisit the next game in the series. My memory of Final Fantasy VIII was that it was terrible. However, my expecations couldn’t have been higher at the time. It was the follow-up to one of the most memorable console RPGs of all time. I decided to revisit FFVIII with a new perspective: was it really so bad, or did it just have a tough act to follow?

January 05, 2014

Revisiting Final Fantasy VII

Hello old friend

I recently replayed Final Fantasy VII. My memory is that it was so great it should have raised the bar for role-playing games forever. It didn’t, though: this was the perfect storm of high production value, before costs got so out of control that games stopped taking risks. Is it as good as I remembered it? Here are some scattered thoughts of the good and the bad. Spoilers abound.

December 06, 2013

Analytics Teach You To Be Evil

This article by Andy Beaumont, the creator of Tab Closed; Didn’t Read, makes a very good point regarding modal ads that cover the page when you visit a site:

What we’re witnessing here is the first wave of the second world pop-up war… The web has seemingly evolved into something that actively antagonises people — why would anyone in their right mind hide the content that visitors are there to see?

In short, maybe they’re not in their right mind. This is what happens when analytics make decisions for you.

He’s saying that analytics can lead you to make web design choices that are effective but with harmful side-effects....

August 15, 2013

A fix for orientation change of unzoomable webapps on iOS

Orientation change on iOS is a known problem, and the popular solution is useful for normal websites, but not fixed, unzoomable games. Of course I can’t let that stop me though, so here is ios-reorient, my solution for games that let you change between landscape and portrait mode on iOS devices.

The only other solution I’ve seen is dubious. This Stackoverflow thread has a highly-rated answer that seems to solve an unrelated problem. Have you seen any other approaches to this problem? Let me know!

June 08, 2013

My Talk at eCoast Responsive Design Summit

I recently gave a talk at eCoast Responsive Design Summit in Portsmouth, NH. It was a great day of practical discussion from many perspectives, and since it was at the Redhook brewery, it was also a day of delicious beer.

Here are the slides from my talk.

June 05, 2013

The Cost of Annoying Ads

Check out this Microsoft Research paper on the cost of annoying ads. Here are some quotes from the conclusion:

The main result of this paper is that annoying ads lead to site abandonment and thus fewer impressions than good ads or no ads. In what might be seen as good news for publishers, good ads and no ads led to roughly equal numbers of impressions. Annoying ads impaired people’s ability to carry out an email classification task, suggesting that annoying ads have a real cost to users beyond mere annoyance.

…we expect that our finding that annoying ads cost the user at least $1 CPM over more pleasant ads will be obtained in some other environments.

(CPM is cost per thousand impressions)

This work also suggests a variety of policy recommendations. Most directly, the $1 CPM user cost… is a reason that publishers should insist on a substantial premium for annoying advertisements.

Great data, though my policy recommendation is a little stronger.

April 17, 2013

A Culture of Pretending Hard Things Are Easy

I have been thinking a lot about git lately. I have been writing down my thoughts on why the git command-line interface sucks. I’m not the only one who feels this way. But this tackles the symptom and not the cause. Why is the command-line interface for such an important piece of software so bad? I think the answer is a broader problem with software, culture, and user experience.

March 09, 2013

Sublime Text 2 Packages

I’ve been using Sublime Text 2 for all my code and markup editing needs. It has an awesome plugin system, but while there are lot of plugins, the quality varies. Lots of people keep a list of their favorite packages, and this is a great way to learn about the ones that people use and like.

To that end, I made my own list of Sublime packages! Take a look and let me know if I’m missing your favorite!

March 02, 2013

Animated Gifs Are Important

Before we start, watch that animation off to the right there. Or maybe you already watched it before you started reading? This one always makes me smile. It’s also on YouTube if you’re interested, with the title “Alaskan Klee Kai Puppy Freaks Out Over Lime”. It has over 1.5 million views and is 52 seconds long. It’s kind of nice, though, that you were able to enjoy the experience in the time it takes to load YouTube, read the title, and skip the ad, not including the 23 seconds it takes to get to the good part. You even got to pass on the annoying music, weird human grunting, advertisement partially covering the content, and user annotations partially covering the content.

Animated gifs live in the moment. They finish before you can even realize you’re watching. There is a certain purity to that.

What makes animated gifs so special, decades after their invention? Will they survive any longer? Let’s discuss.