Archive for July, 2010

Short story: “New Toy”

Here’s a story I wrote a little while ago. I posted it on my professional blog a while ago, but thought it was appropriate to post here. This is slightly edited from the original for clarity.



Daniel fingered the switch and grinned.

It was his first time in the net. Well, not technically his first time; he had used the inference devices before, but the helmets were nothing compared to this. The lights, the colors, the speed would be all so much more intense to him now. He was seeing his familiar playground with new senses.

His vision swam as the view of the net had replaced the blank wall he was previously staring at. He saw himself dive toward the sea of light below, flying through the end of a graceful arch. He struck the surface of the light and was immediately at the ISP connection point.

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Cyberpunk interview questions?

Looking for a bit of feedback here. I’ve talked to a few people about doing interviews about their work. So I’m working on some questions to send them and thinking of some good general questions to send to whomever we might interview in the future.

Since you are the ones who will have to read the questions, let me pose this to the audience here: what questions do you think we should ask in an interview?

New “Tron: Legacy” trailer

Behold the wonders of Comic-con! This is one movie I’m looking forward to later this year.

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Reader “Dblade” sent in this post, a review of the anime Serial Experiments: Lain. Enjoy!

What does dying feel like?

It really hurts! :)

A junior-high school student commits suicide by throwing herself off of a building. The next day, her class gets emails from the student. They claim she isn‘t dead, but has merely abandoned her body. One of the students is a quiet girl called Lain Iwakura, who we quickly find out is much more than she seems. Why are there two Lains: one existing only on the internet-like Wired? Can you really find God there? Who are the Knights, and what prophecy are they trying to fulfill? As Lain explores the Wired, through her ever changing PC Navi, it becomes increasingly apparent that the barriers between our human world, and the world of the Wired are dissolving.

Serial Experiments: Lain is the creation of Yoshitoshi ABe, known for experimental anime like Haibane Renmei, NieA under 7, and Technolyze. Lain, the work that initially made him famous, was a 13 episode TV animated series. It’s dark and surreal, and a sharp contrast to the spectacular military style of cyberpunk you see in Ghost in the Shell.
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Innocence is Mamoru Oshii’s Golden Palm-nominated entry in the Ghost in the Shell series, which built upon Masamune Shirow’s original manga and Oshii’s classic film. Released to Western audiences as Ghost in the Shell 2, the film follows cyborg cop Batou soon after the disappearance of his former partner, Motoko Kusanagi. When she vanished into the Net, “the Major” left a void in Public Security Section 9 and in Batou’s life.

Innocence is possibly my favourite film of all time, and it just happens to be a cyberpunk opus. It covers so many themes relating to identity and the perils of a digital universe; it questions the ownership of human souls and untangles some deep-rooted issues in its characters. There’s a strong ‘neo-Asian’ aesthetic throughout, with forays into clockwork doll houses and Blade Runner-esque street scenes as well. Its plot, soundtrack and visuals all melt into an escapist’s paradise – an hour and a half of thought-provoking and immersive beauty.

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The Future of User Interfaces

The user interface has been pretty much locked into the mouse and keyboard for a long time. That must change in order to make any kind of real advances into augmented reality and wearable computers. If you have seen the movie “Minority Report” you may well remember some interesting ways to interact with computers and networks. The video below, of Minority Report science adviser John Underkoffler as shown at TED, shows that this technology is already a reality and could perhaps be in your hands within a few years.

And here is an invisible mouse or as MIT calls it, “Mouseless”:

Finally here is another talk from TED (and Pranav Mistry) from a while ago, “The thrilling potential of SixthSense technology”:


Looking for feedback

The Internet Crashed has been up and going for about 2 weeks now; that’s practically an eternity in internet time. So, I figured it’s time to share some thoughts about the site and get your opinion on what you would like to see.

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Cyberpunk classic: Strange Days

Cyberpunk exists in a lot of media, but it’s perhaps best represented in the medium of film. Even though cyberpunk is about computers and technology, there’s something about the visual appeal of movies that makes it a natural fit for cyberpunk themed stories.

In 1995, one of my favorite cyberpunk films was released in the theater: Strange Days. A friend of mine who ran our Shadowrun sessions had heard about the movie and wanted to see it on opening night. I remember the show because the theater added a bit extra to the movie by dropping balloons during the New Year’s celebration scene.

Let’s take a look at some of the interesting cyberpunk elements in the movie. Obviously, this is going to contain spoiler material, so consider yourself warned.

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The Internet Crashed on Twitter

Are you super-wired? Constantly on the run? Get all your information on the go? Can’t live without up-to-the-microsecond cyberpunk updates? Follow us on Twitter, @InternetCrashed!

The News: 20 Years Hence

Imagine: gone are the days of Letters to the Editor. When political commentary is shared exclusively on the web, history records: ink-stained fingers clutching styrofoam cups; trains echoing the rustle of off-white paper; and recycling bins stacked high with fashion tips and football results.

The newspaper is dead, and the humble newsagent has fled our streets to be replaced with off-license shops and billboards. Commuters flock to the cities clutching portable computers and tablet screens; news flicks past them with the wave of a hand. The rustling we hear is of pages in a novel turning, as a lone traditionalist sits surrounded by eReaders and headphone sets.

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