Physical (Virtual) Proof of Moore’s Law At Work: Wolfenstein Graphics in 1992 and 2014

culture, design, gaming, tech

Zachary Lukasiewicz shared this tweet from Jeff Atwood, and supplied the Moore’s Law addendum.

Will Disney Buy Angry Birds, Rovio?

business, culture, economics, tech

I still think so. But not for Minecraft money.

Not that long ago, people were talking about Angry Birds: Stella as a shot across Disney’s bow.

A little longer ago, Rovio envisioned becoming bigger than Disney itself.

Not so much right now. But if you think the Angry Birds brand and other Rovio assets aren’t still poised for content-to-cash kinds of leverage, consider that the properties on the studio’s ToonsTv app, which streams original Angry Birds cartoons alongside offerings from Hasbro, Nat Geo, and Stan Lee, reached 4 billion views last month.

And also, Notch is building a Minecraft theme park in Binghamton.

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Why I Think Disney Will Buy Rovio

business, economics, economy, gaming, media, tech

I said yesterday that I believe Disney will buy Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds, sometime this quarter.  Today, Mashable reports that Rovio is cutting 130 jobs, having staffed up for faster growth than has been realized in the past year.

Through its LucasFilm properties, Disney is already in business with Rovio in the licensing of Angry Birds: Star Wars.  Now that Microsoft owns Mojang, Disney should solidify Rovio and leverage the Angry Birds characters across its content platforms.

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Amazon Workers Left Out In the Cold: Excuses Expose Amazon’s Sustainability Issues

justice, tech, writing
Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

How To Make Enemies and Exploit People

I’ve heard some people in this here Valley saying that Amazon was justified in keeping warehouse workers, often clad in nothing more than t-shirts and short, outside in the wee hours of the morning in the freezing cold for ridiculously long periods of time.  Oh, they’re not saying it exactly that way.  Remember, the evacuations at the warehouses were caused by fire alarms being pulled, and the alarms were pulled so that these workers could steal, so the narrative goes.  Sometimes people with throw the word “lazy” in there before “workers,” or maybe the occasional “thieving.”  So, you know, because some workers are allegedly stealing, everyone has to be exposed to extreme cold for close to two hours so some middle managers can get some iPod Nanos back.  Some of the workers, by the way, have been saying that the managers are the ones doing the stealing.

Amazon and Amazon fans can spin this however they want. The fact remains that these procedures, and the culture that breeds them, are the definition of unsustainable business.  There’s really no better to handle rogue alarm-pulling (if, indeed, that’s what happened) than to let your workforce freeze in the early hours of a November or December morning in Pennsylvania?  That’s atrocious and unacceptable.  Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, really has no better way of cooling their facilities in the summer than farming out heat-sick workers to local ERs via a veritable concierge ambulance service?  Please.

Strike a blow for sustainability and stop buying from Amazon until they figure out how to run an ethical business on the supply side.

Google’s New Design: White and Black and Red All Over

blogging, tech

When I was looking for our friend Chad Hogg’s Lehigh University profile, I discovered that in addition to the fancy schmancy black Google bar, the search pages now have a red text motif and look streamlined. They even have new icons. Observe:

I’ve decided to call this Google Wolfpac. Yes, Mom, I’m 31 years old and reasonably well-educated, but this is where my mind goes:

Someone hit the Big Kev theme.

The Huffington Post Gets an AOL Redesign, Kind Of

blogging, business, media, tech

If you’re not regular Huffington Post reader, you might not notice the changes in the masthead design evident below.  The AOL-HuffPost merger became official official this week (they’re, like, totally listed as “married” on Facebook), and the changes are rolling out.

A few days ago, Andrew Breitbart ran a piece on Huffington about the the liberal bias of NPR and the MSM (that’s mainstream media, in case your blogging IQ remains fixed in the pre-Swift Boat-era)  with regards to the Tea Party.  I’ve said all along that HuffPo has been positioning itself as a “beyond left and right” general interest portal/magazine for some time now, and that the AOL purchase wouldn’t mean the watering down of some hard-left new media beacon.  But even I didn’t expect to see a piece like Brietbart’s just yet.  Eventually, yes.  Just not yet.  But the more I think about it, the more sense it seems to make to make these changes sooner rather than later.

Speaking of changes, the first thing regular Huff readers will notice is the change in font, style, and organization of the section (vertical) links in the banners of the home page and each vertical.  The entire presentation is streamlined, and some verticals have been bumped off the main masthead’s real-estate and issued a spot on drop-down menus.  (Religion, for example, is now a drop-down under “Living.”)  You’ll also note that some of the drop-down items link directly to other AOL properties.  While I understand the need for integration, this aspect does feel rather patchworked (no pun intended).  As a placeholder for some sort of unified branding across platforms and sites, I suppose it’s fine.  It achieves goal #1 for AOL in this stage of the merger: show Huffington readers links to AOL’s other content sources. But loading TechCrunch via a drop-down link from the HuffPost Tech box is clunky, and the style disparities between sites could be jarring for people expecting to stay on huffingtonpost.com.

Original logo for America Online, 1991–2006

Don't act like you don't also like to sometimes maybe play mp3s of modem sounds and pretend its 1995. Just don't.

I’m sure, in time, AOL and the newly-formed Huffington Post Media Group therein will iron these things out.  But for right now, this first phase of integration feels less like an upgrade of the “The Internet Newspaper” and more like its portalization.  I don’t mean to be down on you, AOL-Huff (that is, I sure do want you to hire me for full-time winning analysis), and I want you to know that I’ve been pulling for you, AOL, ever since the mid-90s when all my techie friends were total ISP snobs.  Where are their precious BBSes now, old friend? Exactly.

Murdoch’s Daily Launched, My Citations, Errata, and Willingness to Help

tech, writing

I’m quoted today in a piece by Richard Curtis on ereads.com regarding News Corp.’s launch of The Daily. Curtis rightly points out that the final pricing model differs from the widely held speculation I cited in my original piece that ran on The Huffington Post. It’s .99 a week (not day, as many of us thought).  Still, like I said at ereads, it remains to be seen whether The Daily’s staff can bring together the kind of curation that would make it worth anyone’s while to pay for things you can get almost anywhere online for free.  Curtis also used the word shibboleth to describe the perhaps generational dictum about information wanting to be free.  I like that word.

Thanks, Richard, for quoting me. The Daily: I do wish you the best of luck.  You got a not-great review on Mashable yesterday, and the main point of contention was the quality of your written content.  Mr. Murdoch and friends, I’m available.