Category Archives: Technology

Not dead

Just testing a bit and gearing up for PAX East.

The New Keyboard

imageThis is my new keyboard.

You may notice that it is black and shiny.

Oh, and the keys are unmarked. Which means that I have to trust myself to know where the special characters are. It’s replacing an older keyboard that I wasn’t really keen on using, and honestly, had neglected to the point of being a little gross. That’s now sitting on a loading dock in my building. It’s up for grabs if you want it. I noticed my wear patterns on the older keyboard, and I was thinking about how I never used any of the special buttons, like back in the web browser, or launching the calculator.

Those keys were completely unnecessary. They weren’t needed, they were useless. So right now, I’m typing this, listening to the clackety clack of blue switches. Which is apparently a thing I didn’t realize. All the different variants of the switch types for mechanical keyboards. I went with blue for two reasons:

  1. It’s loud, and I like the feedback of the keys. There is a definite resistance to the keys, and a completely tactile feel of the key being depressed.
  2. I live alone.

Two is important because this is a really clicky keyboard. I’m not sure how I can drive home how clicky it is. There is a tactile feel to it, a physicality that I can’t really compare to membrane keyboards.

Oh, and you may notice is has no letters or symbols on it. I figure I live the rest of my life on hard mode, I might as well start doing it here. I also am somewhat amazed at physical memory. We’ll see how well it does when the time comes and I have to enter some new passwords.


So based on my current readings, there are a couple of things to watch out for.

The FitBit Flex

I’m loving my FitBit One and all of the tracking it does. I was never one to actually go out just to take a walk, but the FitBit One has me going home to pad my step counts for the day and earn achievements. That, plus Ingress means I’m walking seven to ten miles a day. The Flex just seems like a natural progression, and I would not have to take it off for sleep. I’d just be wearing it. The only downside so far is that the current version of Android installed on the Nexus 4 still doesn’t support the Low Power standards, so I’m stuck with a PC dongle for synch data.

And that is unacceptable because I want up to the minute metrics.

The Google Smartwatch

I’ve wanted a smartwatch for years now. I just want something to show me IM and text messages so that I don’t have to take out my phone. I kind of feel that we’re at that point. What I’d go for is probably somewhere more of a luxe, subtle sort of look. Would love an analog watch with an Omega look and feel that also happens to have a screen overlay over the watch face. I know I’m dreaming, but that’s what I want.

The Nexus 7 Revamp

I love my Nexus 7. It is a great every day carry device. It’s the right size, weight, and form factor to keep in a bag and carry on a daily basis and use on a daily basis. Current scuttlebutt forecasts a July announcement of some sort.

So those are the three things I’m looking out for in the near future.

Choice (BioShock Infinite Discussion)

This post contains mild spoilers about BioShock Infinite. If you are concerned about such things, then would you kindly look away?

The original BioShock is one of the first games that had both great mechanics, and a story line that made me think about some heady subjects. I have described BioShock to my friends as the best anti Objectivist essay I have ever played. And that statement is true.

The call backs to the original BioShock start right at the beginning of the game. BioShock starts with a man on a plane. BioShock Infinite starts with a man on a boat being brought to some unknown destination. Both men, neither of which are in complete control of their destiny. Both of them end up at a lighthouse. Both of them enter a world entirely unlike anything they have ever known. One, a city at the bottom of the sea, the other a city far above the clouds.

Throughout the game there are choices. Some are trivial, like deciding on the outcome of a coin flip. One is not so trivial, like throwing the first “stone” at an interracial couple that have been bound and placed on a stage. Part of me wonders if Irrational games is secretly keeping track of the choices we make. I realize that it’s Booker Dewitt making the choice, and not me, but I still could not bring myself to do it. Not even just to find out what happens. Now, at the end of the game I realize that the choices don’t matter, but still, this is a very personal issue for me, and one that maybe I’ll need to look up on youtube.

While they could record the results and publish them, I’m fairly convinced that they are meaningless. Because Bioshock Infinite is about the nature of choice in an infinite multiverse, and the supposition that free will is an illusion. I’m still digesting the game, about a week after I finished it. And now I’m writing a post about it because I’m still thinking about it. I refreshed myself with the topics of Free Will and determinism.

Something similar happened to me after I finished the first Bioshock. I didn’t go out and read the Fountainhead, but I certainly refreshed myself about Objectivism and Laissez-Faire Capitalism.

Philosophy in a video game? I am shocked. Other topics discussed are the nature and brutality of armed rebellions, and the flaws inherent in a jingoist, racist, and theist government. The latter two aren’t discussed so much as beaten into the player as being bad, but nonetheless they are both chilling when experienced within the game. I imagine Columbia is the result of what would happen if the Tea Party got traction, managed to win overwhelmingly in every major election, and then installed their Prophet Candidate in the White House.

And even with the heavy issues, ultimately the game is about the relationship between a man and a man’s daughter, and the lengths he is willing to go to reconcile choices that he made in his life.

Like Blade Runner, or the short story, The Lady or the Tiger, Bioshock Infinite ends with ambiguity. You don’t know what happens at the end.

Rather, more accurately, you’re not sure of the physics behind such an event. Do you believe in a universe that resolves paradoxes? Or can people become disentangled with the when of events to the point where the traditional non fourth dimensional grammar fails to describe their state of having currently existed right now and simultaneously then.

I’m looking forward to when more of my friends finish the game and I can have these discussions with them.

I recommend the title, even if I think it could probably do with having fewer combat events and more walking around with Elizabeth and experiencing what it’s like to be around her. Maybe the director’s cut. Who knows?

JPL: God dammit Fil.
me: WAT
JPL : I was just going to check on my portal. Like really quick
me: 30 minutes later...
JPL : Now it is half an hour later and I have another portal.
JPL : breaks down sobbing

Ingress Happens