8 May 2012

Many allegorical readings of The Hunger Games have been essayed — most recently by no less an intellect than Stanley Fish in the New York Times today. But no one, as far as I’m aware, has understood the true meaning of the story, at least as presented in the first film. It’s obviously all about southern states’ hatred and resentment of the federal government in the US. Continued →

Some people are saddened at the abrupt removal of Google Reader’s sharing tools, and the social history that represented for those who used them. But this is only the latest example of a regular and predictable pattern of internet disappointment. Previously, folk have been distressed by the nuking of their messages on Hotmail, or gremlins deleting photos on their photo-sharing sites, or their thousands of Tweets not being lovingly archived, or being locked wholesale out of their Google Accounts, and so on and so forth. It’s always a real shame for those people affected, but by now it should no longer be a surprise. In case it helps, I hereby declare the following iron law of “free” internet services:

If you’re not paying for something, you have no reason to expect it to be there tomorrow.

Continued →

14 October 2011

Connoisseurs of the book review as magisterially persuasive demolition job ought right now to go and read Evgeny Morozov’s scintillating takedown of the new book by cyber-utopian ((Disclaimer: I have reviewed books by both Morozov (here) and another of the “Internet gurus” he names, Steven Johnson (here), and it is easy to see which I prefer. (I am also myself strangely misquoted in a book by Chris Anderson.) )) Jeff Jarvis, because it contains, among many other excellent lines, the following glorious sentence:

This is how Sarah Palin would read Habermas if she could read Habermas.

Continued →

9 September 2011

James Gleick’s article on Google for the NYRB is well worth reading, but it contains a strange error or obfuscation:

Somewhere along the line they gave people the impression that they didn’t care for advertising — that they scarcely had a business plan at all. In fact it’s clear that advertising was fundamental to their plan all along.

In fact, Page and Brin didn’t just accidentally give people that impression; they said it explicitly Continued →

31 August 2011

Venus DeLillo

22 August 2011

30 November 2009

Top 10 videogames of the decade

Everyone seems to be compiling lists of the best games of the decade, ((Apart from Action Button, who are doing the 33 best games of all time. Their list is wrong, of course, but interestingly wrong.)) so here, with minimal special pleading or argumentation, ((Except in footnotes.)) is mine. A link is given if I have previously written about the game in question. Nota bene: this is not just some personal list of games that I happen to have liked during the noughties; this is The One True Objective Trigger Happy™-Endorsed List of the Ten Best Games of the Decade, and any different list is simply wrong, mmkay? ((Especially if it has Bioshock on it. Jesus.))
Continued →

12 March 2009

As everyone knows, the two best podcasts on the planet are BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time and’s One Life Left. You can imagine how thrilled I was this week to appear as a guest on the final episode of OLL’s current season. Or, instead of just imagining it, you can actually listen to the show, here or on iTunes.