May 2006

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This is mindblowing. Take a bit of time to read about it and let your head wrap around the idea for a bit.

At first, it looks like another one of those hokey “three-dimensional OS” ideas — but the architecture behind it is anything but. Essentially, it’s a peer-to-peer generated massively shared metaverse-as-operating-system. The implications make my brain hurt.

The Croquet Project

Croquet was built to answer a simple question. “If we were to create a new operating system and user interface knowing what we know today, how far could we go?” Further, what kinds of decisions would we make that we might have been unable to even consider 20 or 30 years ago, when the current operating systems were first created? We decided that it was time for an existence proof that innovation could still continue and succeed on the personal computer. We felt that the very definition of the personal computer and its role needed to be shifted from a single-user closed system to a next generation broadband communication device.

More here as well:

Also, Microsoft’s John Scoble blogs about it, open-mouthed.

Evidently the company behind this is called Qwaq … and it’s funded by modern-OS grandfather, Alan Kay.

(found via 3pointD)

Annual Bock Fest & Goat Race

Sly Fox Goat Race 2006

There’s gonna be a goat race! I didn’t know about it until Laurie sent me the link.

Why a goat race, you ask? Well, evidently “bock” means “goat” in German, and bock being an especially German beer, lots of them have goats on their labels and such. So the odd association was born.

As an adoptee who is also a fan of AM Homes, I was astonished I hadn’t seen this yet.

AM Homes: The Mistress’s Daughter

I follow up with a call. Her voice is low, nasal, gravelly, vaguely animal. I tell her who I am and she screams, “Oh, my God! This is the most wonderful day of my life.” Her voice, her emotion, comes in bursts, like punctuation—I can’t tell if she is laughing or crying.
The phone call is thrilling, flirty, like a first date, like the beginning of something. There is a rush of curiosity, the desire to know everything at once. What is your life like? How do your days begin and end? What do you do for fun? Why did you come looking for me? What do you want?
Every nuance, every detail, means something. I am like a recovering amnesiac. Things I know about myself, things that exist without language—my hardware, my mental firing patterns, parts of me that are fundamentally, inexorably me—are being echoed on the other end, confirmed as a DNA match. It is not an entirely comfortable sensation.
“Tell me about you—who are you?” she asks.

I have to say, it felt powerfully similar to my own experience of meeting my birthparents — but also entirely different. Mine are actually very considerate and kind people.

Homes’ essay is pretty amazing though. Downright devastating.

Coworker & colleague Priyanka alerted me to this conference, which is relevant to my Summit presentation: DIS2006 | workshop | Designing Interactive Systems

The game industry is often involved in game-specific game design methodologies and academics are concerned with theoretical foundations. The goal of this workshop is to start a dialogue between the two communities and generate general themes and underlying theories. These theories will serve to aid game designers in constructing games, and help tool designers build tools that allow designers to focus on critical issues.

While my presentation was about conventional software design learning from game design and how upcoming users behave in game environments, this focuses in a different direction: getting the world of game design to leverage academic research & knowhow, and to get conversations going between the two communities.

Fascinating stuff… it’s just over in Pittsburgh; it’d be fun to go.