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Monday, May 23, 2016

The Next School of Film-Making

I used to write academic papers on the future of entertainment. Okay, once. I once wrote an academic paper on the future of entertainment. It's a enjoyable, often grueling process that I recommend to anyone. You will learn a lot, and develop a formal style, rigorous research skills, and become able to support your hypothesis. If it's valid, of course.

But now? Pffft. Why bother? I can just as easily crap out a blog post that achieves the same thing, and more, in a few minutes time, establishing myself as a visionary without all that tedious mucking about in academia.

Matrix style video effects are quite popular, and not as difficult to achieve as one might imagine. It just takes a bit of ingenuity and persistence.

But... think ahead a few years. It's okay.

Did you? Good.

Now think again.

If, instead of a GoPro (which is marvelous for capturing perspective video - video shot from eye level, ala Google Glass), you floated a halo of, say, 64 cameras over each actor's head at eye level (removing them in post-production via something similar to line-removal technology), you can use computers to interpolate the tweens.

The result? You can now walk around inside of films, or view them from any angle or perspective. From the POV of each actor, or from any arbitrary point in the scene.

Voilà - the next school of film-making is upon us.
Beyond that, with enough processing power, it becomes academic to convert old movies into 3D VR experiences. The technology to take existing video and break it down into layers is an old one. We now have the ability to do it in real-time. Or even faster than real-time.

So, get to work, you lazy engineers and VC sharks. The film industry is dying, soon to be supplanted by the new tech. Either get on board, or wither and fade to black.

The real jammy is going to be a literary interpreter that will allow you to convert plain text into AR/VR experiences. But that's some next level Kyle Gass Project stuff you're not ready for.

#AR #VR #JasonChristie #ChristieDigital #Film #Video #Researcher #Theorist #Futurist #CoolHunter #AugmentedReality #VirtualReality #TowardUltimateReality #Hollywood #Videography #Filmmaking

Get started with Augmented Reality today for less than $1000 U.S.:

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The People Who Built The Future

The future is almost upon is. Well, it's here. And it's gone again. But another will be by presently. There it goes. Anyway.

The future to which I am referring, however, is the future of entertainment. Science. Politics. Education. Pornography. Ah, now I have your attention.

This fall, Sony will launch their PS4.5 VR Headset. Not AR, like I told them to do, but, still, a respectable VR headset (they've already revamped the PS4 to accommodate it, pushing nearly half of human vision, resolution-wise). As consoles go, so goes the PC, with the Oculus Rift set to break all VR sales records in the U.S.

Microsoft boys will be playing catch-up for years, with their ambitious but entirely rigged demo of Hologram (or whatever it's called). It is closest to my particular vision of AR, but still some time off.

At any rate, my point, if I ever have a point, is that the people who helped build this future are too numerous to mention. And I hate to drop names.

I'm lying, of course. I love to drop names. My friends are the best, the smartest, the most interesting people in the world. Techies. Writers. Artists. Sexy girls. Brats.

Together, they've fused a new fusion of singularities. Remember (no, probably not) when I hyped my own vision of AR way back when? It was a concept theater I failed to pitch to Dreamworks. It was cool. Very cool. But impractical. for various reason.

But being a futurist has a few advantages. Eventually, your past catches up with you, and walla (sic), the things you once dreamt of are now feasible. In this case, it's my theater concept.

The original design was a bit unwieldy, but it would have allowed hundreds of people to watch hundreds of different films on the same shared big screen, revitalizing Hollywood. Because, you see, it would allow them to release the whole of their back catalog to theaters. Ka-ching.

Not to mention, function as a meeting place, educational center, gaming universe, and who knows what else.

But, as I said, a cool concept, not really ready for prime time.

Now, however? Within five years, you'll bring your own hi-res smartphone to a movie theater, slip it into a reusable headset (or bring your own, much cooler one), and BAM. Watch any movie you want, alone or with friends. Start and stop it when you want. Pause and go to the restroom. Heck, watch it while you go to the restroom, if you so desire.

Sony, Apple, Samsung, and others are expected to join forces on this one, with others vying for the crucial infrastructure contracts. (Google and Amazon being the big contenders.)

So, when you're watching 'I Know What You Did In The Hood Last Summer 12' a few years from now on your 3D, hologram-enhanced AmigaPhone (kidding?) at Cinemark or whatever, remember that one annoying asshole saying "I told you so."

That would be me.

I love you, Kiki Stockhammer...

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Star Hustle Chapter 1

The sequel no one asked for. Definitely not dedicated entirely to Tina Fey.

Star Hustle
Perfection Labs Book 3
By Jason Z. Christie

“The past is stupid. The future, doubly so.” – Douglas Adams *

President Gorlax’s brain was on fire. He let it burn. It was probably all of the gasoline he had injected into his temples.
It was time for the Space Olympics. Although unofficially, the entire event was fueled by drugs. Drugs and ego. The entire event was driven by drugs, ego, greed, and sex. And bad writing.
            It is at this point that intrepid adventurer Longshot Undercat makes his debut. . Unfortunately, due to conceptual similarities to a character in Red Dwarf, he won’t be mentioned again. 
            “Oh, this *is* bullshit,” he thought. Exactly as Pex had described. Fuck these guys, seriously. He’d get his own book. And a bigger dick.
            P.G. rang his player buddy and inexplicable brother, Sherman Oakes.
            Oakes  was spooning Prail Oakes, nee Abraxis, and very nearly didn’t answer. Had he not, we wouldn’t have this scene. And so here we are.
            But he did.
            “Hullo,” he whispered, trying desperately to disengage his arm from beneath his sleeping spousal unit and muse.
            “Sherm!” President Gorlax said. His voice was far too friendly. And it was too early for this shit.
            “Let me guess. You want drugs.”
            Having retrieved his arm, Oakes watched as Prail disappeared the covers, levitated  herself, turned over, settled back in, and brought the blankets back, all without waking up. Unawed, Sherman only wondered why she made him struggle so much. Character building, he decided. She never did anything without purpose, even whilst sleeping.
            “I’m assuming that you disturbed my slumber, quite rudely, forcing me to do the unthinkable, stop touching my wife, because you want some sort of drugs.”
            “Space drugs,” President Gorlax offered.
            Sherman sighed.
“I just call them drugs.”
“First of all, do you expect me to believe that in the future we don’t have touch-free phones?”
“This is the future? Anyway, I’m something of a devout new traditionalist.”
“Second of all, in anticipation of the Space Olympics, I’m taking a tolerance break.”
“What’s that?” Sherman asked.
“It’s when you stop using for a time, in order to decrease the overall lessening effects of decreased impact imparted by long-term usage, leading to lessening impact. Of drugs.
Sherman stared blankly.
“Like moderation?”
“Like ultra-orthodox, extreme moderation.”
“Sorry. Foreign concept. I don’t believe in moderation.”
“Be that as it may. Your lack of faith doesn’t mean a concept doesn’t exist.”
“Is this a prank call?”
“What’s that?”
“Oh, fuck this,” Oakes said. “Hanging up now. I’ve lots of pre and post-coital cuddling to do. Prail is quite demanding. Needy. Insecure.”
“Prail is about as insecure as Triple Squared 3DES,” P.G. countered.
“Perhaps I’m projecting. I don’t see how this is any of your business. My business is dealing drugs,” Sherman told him.
“Actually, you’re confused. High-C deals drugs. You consume drugs.”
“Ah, well. In my defense, it has been a while. Anyway, a lot of heavy users eventually deal. Out of necessity.”
“You’re richer than God!”
“And I intend to stay that way.”
“Fuck drugs!” President Gorlax said. The smoke from his ears was becoming darker.
“Like, aensory-enhancers? Stiffeners? Lubricators? Temporal prolongers? Short-term enslavers? Memory solvents? Taste bud inhibitors? Morality eradicators?”
Sherman’s pleasure craft shook violently, and he realized he was crossing a line. Silently, he stepped back toward the relative safety of the other side.
“Very well. I say good day, sir.”
He bit his thumb. Not at President Gorlax, but he did bite his thumb.
“Buddy guy…wait.”
“Ten seconds.”
“I want you to write me opening invocation for the S.O.”
“Significant other? Judas Mason?”
“Space. Olympics.”
“Ah. Has it been a decade already?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“And you want me. Your arch-rival and chief competition, to write your opening statement? To put my theoretical enemy words in your mouth?”
“I didn’t mean it in such an ultra-gay way, but yes.”
“No homo.”
            “No homo.”
            “No homo” was what males traditionally said to each other after particularly shocking gay sex acts.”
            “In that case, I accept your deliciously indecent proposal.”
            Sherman kissed his bride.
            “Splenda,” President Gorlax said. “By the by, *do* you have any drugs?”
            “But of course.”
            “What sorts?”
            “Magnum brown. Shootski-valootski. Supercaliefragilisticexpeealagootsky. You know.”
            “I’ll put that in my ‘Don’t Know What You Said’ book.      
            Shook, took, wook, look, cook.
            9/11 was indeed a joke.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Forever Daddy - Chapter 1

Dedicated to Julia Cohen AKA Julia Ann Cohen AKA Amber AKA Julia Zoe Christie.

Part One - Tough Love
Chapter One

Zoe checked her Fetlife account, as she did each morning, with her usual combination of reluctance and optimism. It was a nine to one ratio. Her faith in men was now at ten percent, and falling. Ten percent was actually quite generous. Each and every one she had ever known, in the biblical sense, had somehow let her down. It was a trend that, realistically, she expected to continue. To her, pessimism was the same as realism.
                  When it reached three percent, according to a formula only she understood, and couldn’t articulate, she swore she would swear off men forever. That could be a real problem for her. Because she only really liked men, in theory. She liked the way they looked, the way they smelled and tasted. The way they touched her, spoke to her. She liked the way they thought.
                  Some of them, anyway.
                  They all failed her, one way or another. Zoe had never found the complete package. She now doubted that such a man existed. But without that ten percent, which was now actually nine, she would be dead inside. That scared her, because she knew what sort of self-destructive behavior she was capable of. It wouldn’t be pretty.
                  Enormous fun, perhaps, for those who would help her lose her humanity. Scared? She was terrified. Zoe was her own worst enemy. Men, paradoxically, were a close second.
                  Zach was a high as he could get at work. At the three hundred elevation, he could see for miles. It was one of his few remaining pleasures in life. He pulled his binoculars and started watching his people. His men, in actuality. But political correctness was such that he now mentally edited his own thoughts to use gender-neutral terminology.
                  It offended him, philosophically. But he placed pragmatism over principles where concerned his income, provided it didn’t conflict with his rather rigid internal morality. By doing so, he was able to maintain a rather lucrative career while preserving his essential dignity.
                  Humanity was his highest ideal. And by humanity, he meant the moral actions of men. He couldn’t speak of the essence of femininity. Both objectively and subjectively, he was male. For better or for worse.
                  Zach strove for the better.
                  Having never had an actual father of his own, he pretty much had to wing it. He grandfather, now deceased, was a reference point, but he knew the man was not without flaws of his own. Rest his soul.
                  Not that he believed in God, as such. Unless you defined it as the universe itself, which did indeed move in mysterious ways. At the same time, he felt it was at least possible that it was beneficial that he only had an adopted father (and various step-fathers). A clean slate, of sorts. It wasn’t ideal. But everything had a starting point.
                  Briefly, he considered jumping.
                  He understood that from a psychological standpoint, this was somehow a natural phenomenon. At the same time, it was deeper, in his case. The only thing that stopped him each time were the people that depended on him.
                  Renee, of course. But his feelings extended to the least member of Zen Construction. A suicide would ruin their safety record and destroy their morale.
                  It was one of the great ironies of his life. He lived for no one but himself. Served no man. Or woman.
                  At the same time, he lived out of consideration for others. And the faint hope that he would one day find his counterpart.
                  As was usually the case, he was saved by the crackle of the radio.
                  It was Renee.
                  “Hey, shit-for-brains. You ready to do something for a change?”
                  “Roger that. Lift plans are on that mess of a desk of yours.”
                  “Roger me…” she said.
                  Zach headed down the structure. Critical lift time.
                  As usual, Zoe’s inbox filled her with a mixture of delight and disgust.
                  The only delight came in mocking some of the idiots that tried to contact her.
                  She sighed. Poetry, prose, and romance had become lost arts, she feared. Even the lesbians that tried to talk to her lacked tact. They were like men, but without the masculine qualities she enjoyed. Not to put too fine a point on it.
                  She wanted Tarzan and Shakespeare.
                  Zoe closed the window without sending a single scornful reply, got dressed, and went to work.
                  When he got down to the lift site, the first thing Zach noticed was the one-inch stainless piping running along both lifting lugs. It hadn’t been there the day before, and the understanding had been that it was to be installed post-erection.
                  It would cost a lot more to do it that way, but he couldn’t have anything interfere with his lift.
                  At sixty-seven thousand tons, you didn’t leave things to chance.
                  Mildly irritated, he sought out the piping superintendent.
                  “Mr. Morales. May I show you something?”
                  “Naturalmente, senor.”
                  “Shitcan the Spanish. I’m serious.”
                  He led him to the lifting lugs.
                  “Do you see what I see?”
                  Pedro scanned the flare stack, which lay on its side.
                  “I see a big-ass chingadera.”
                  “That piping by my lifting lugs. What the fuck? That was to be left off until we flew it.”
                  Mr Morales nodded.
                  “Si, pero Renee dice’…”
                  “Fuck Renee. Cut it out.”
                  Pedro shook his head side to side.
                  “I can’t do that, brother. Boss’s orders.”
                  “Then I’ll do it myself. Job-scared puto.”
                  Mr Morales watched in disbelief as Zach got a Sawzall, drove a manlift into position, and cut eight lines on either side of the flare. When he got down, he passed Pedro and said, “Looked like shit, anyway.”
                  Zach got on the radio.
                  “Ready for lift-off. Renee, we need to talk.”
                  Zoe arrived at her Starbucks, dressed in black. The only other color in her ensemble was the mandatory apron. Beige. Ugh.
                  It was stupid, but she loved her job. All the interesting people! She didn’t have to work, really. Just serve coffee and talk. When things got slow, she read. Fiction, she’d gotten enough non-fiction in college. With a summa cum laude in Philosophy, specializing in animal ethics, she wasn’t even the most credentialed barista on staff.
                  The lift went off without a hitch. When the tower was leveled and secured, Zach got on the radio.
                  “Ms. Hollander. A word in my office, if you would.”
                  He had no office.
                  “Ooooh,” someone replied.
                  Ten minutes later, Renee was at the lift site. She was dressed as a cowgirl, in Daisy Dukes, pink boots, and a pearl-buttoned shirt tied in a knot.
                  “Good to see you dressed for work,” he told her.
                  “These guys don’t work for money, at this point. They want tits and ass.”
                  He nodded. This was at least partially true. The majority of them were made men with Zen. Some of them were approaching millionaire status, and their vested interests alone could provide them with a hefty income for life.
                  “So, what the fuck?” he asked.
                  “What?” she said, smirking.
                  “You fucking know what. My lift.”
                  “That? Silly boy. Did you check it?”
                  “I don’t have to. I make the call on critical lifts.”
                  “You make the call on all lifts. They hate you.”
                  Renee smiled.
                  “That’s because you make me your bad guy.”
                  “You love it. Mean daddy. Anyway, I checked. You had four inches of clearance. Completely legal. One hundred percent safe.”
                  “Ninety-nine point nine nine nine percent safe. It’s the remainder that I worry about.”
                  “You worry about birds flying into lifts!”
                  “I may worry slightly too much, at times…”
                  She laughed.
                  “But we haven’t killed anyone yet.’
                  “God forbid.”
                  Zen Construction had had a few heart attacks and injuries, but they were the only company of their size with such an immaculate record.
                  “Okay, hard ass. You win this round.”
                  “I win every round.”
                  And he did. Which is why Renee relied on him.
                  Zoe felt reluctant to go home after work, and she wondered what she was doing with her life.
                  Her current live-in boyfriend seemed like a good idea at the time. Good-looking, interesting. A musician and a bad boy. She liked that. Plus, he was older than her, which really turned her on. For some reason.      
                  Except she knew the reason.
                  Zoe was once a runaway. And in a sense, she had been ever since.
                  Her history was one of diminishing returns, where romance was concerned.
                  Her first real love, beyond her father, was a small-time dealer of pot and acid. Having run away from home at sixteen, she became Amber, with the help of a stolen birth certificate. That was the start of ten years of naïve, relative bliss. They had even gotten engaged, something she hadn’t expected at the onset of the relationship.
                  Inexplicably, he had cheated on her.
                  So began her disillusion.
                  The event was particularly painful, because there was nothing she wouldn’t do for a man she loved, sexually or otherwise. If he had wanted other girls, all he would have had to do was ask. And she didn’t even like sex with women, as far as she knew.
                  She had been a model wife. Or, live-in girlfriend, to be realistic. She cared for the home, filling it with love and beauty, while he sat on the couch and watched cartoons.
                  Zoe had thought that was love. And on her end, it was. But not only did she not receive any income from the drug sales in which she had participated, he actually made her split the rent and bills.
                  The end came one Monday, when, after a weekend with her mother, Zoe was dutifully cleaning the apartment.
                  There was a half-full can of Coke in the bedroom. When she dumped it into the sink (reduce, reuse, recycle), something other than cola came out. It started to swell, and for a moment, things became surreal.
                  To her horror, it was a condom.
                  Zoe dropped the can into the sink and vomited.
                  Then she screamed.
                  Then she cried.
                  The betrayal was unrecoverable.
                  She left him, penniless, without a career, and never looked back.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Janique (Ultimate Hustle) - Kitsune

Behind every great fortune lies a great crime. To Janique, her great crime was that she hadn't been back to Japan in five years.
After all, she'd gotten her start there. But more to the point, she loved it there. Foreign kinky was entirely different from domestic.
She and Chris had fun, but in reality had worked around the clock. Their every waking moment was spent hustling. Japan was something to be savored, slowly. They had devoured Tokyo like a couple of Big Mac meals.
Plus she knew that Tokyo was no more Japan than New York was the United States. Actually, she knew a lot more than that, having read quite a bit on the country over the years out of simple interest. She couldn't do a week. She needed a month, at least.
Plus the numbers were right.
Janique's approach to international sales of Ultimate Hustle products was to not do them. Officially.
Unofficially, she was her own biggest bootlegger. She was also her only bootlegger of note, which helped. It worked out about the same, due to the tariffs, duties, sanctions, taxes, packaging changes, legal nonsense. But the cash was hard to deal with.
It was starting to pile up in a untidy way. To her, it was an abstraction. It's not like she ever saw it or came anywhere near any of it. But she had people who kept track of it. Amounts like this, now meaningless to her, a couple million here, five million there, could get people killed.
The people she hired would definitely kill to defend it. She didn't really want that to happen, either.
Janique didn't break the law...unless she really had to. So she felt it was time to go legit.
She was going to go big, of course.
When the time was right, she would flip the switch, and turn the low steady buzz of sales in Japan into serious legitimate cash. Conveniently, she would also keep her bootlegging side, but legitimized from her end. Now she would just sell in bulk to bootleggers.
The way she could do that would be to include less expensive packaging, which she hated. She couldn't do that with an authentic Ultimate Hustle movie. The twist would be that she would be bootlegging the American releases. In Japan, she would take a different stage name altogether.
She gave Chris the direction he needed to write the script, filling him in on her take on things, and then giving him the research material she had accumulated.
On her end, she had her sketch artist and body makeup expert work with her on costume design. When they had something she and Chris both loved, she commissioned the piece that would tie it all together.
It was a nine fox-tailed buttplug. Something that would make no sense in the states, but would have serious cultural significance in Japan.
Kitsune meant fox. But like everything in Japan, it meant much more than that.
There were stories dating back centuries, even artwork, depicting foxes as shapeshifters. Shapeshifters who kept their tails, and sometimes tried to trick men into breeding them. But the more cunning they were, and the longer they lived, they gained additional tails.
Kitsune also literally meant “come and sleep”.
She loved it. There was just so much she could work with, there.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Tale of Two Quizzes and The Bernie Generation

The original World's Smallest Political Quiz was designed by David Nolan. It consist of ten short questions, which you can answer 'Agree', 'Maybe', or 'Disagree'. 

An example would be, "Government should not censor speech, press, media, or internet." 

The resultant score correlates to a compass, denoting Left, Right, Authoritarian, or Libertarian. Anyway, a complaint I've heard lodged by a few leftists was that it was "too slanted". By that, of course, they meant "too libertarian".

Given that the choices are binary, as well as having a moderate option, the claim doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Their real qualm is that they don't like being called authoritarians.

The truth of the matter is that both parties, yes, even friendly Bernie Sanders, are authoritarian, and largely to the same degree. Plot any politician's stance on the Nolan Chart, and that's apparent.

Which leads us to this abomination. This is what is current being used to gauge one's political ideology:

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Seriously. That's a question presented.

"Our race has many superior qualities, compared with other races."

Erm, what? Crikey. I was trying to finish the quiz to get a screenshot of my results, but I had to stop. It's nauseating.

This is the equivalent of some trash app passed around on Facebook. Except it's not a joke, it's what young people are using to self identify. Libertarianism is now 'right libertarianism'.

If you look more closely, however, something more sinister becomes apparent. This quiz reads like a psychotic government's wish list. Fuck the census. It gets right down to the heart of the matter. How'd you like this information on each citizen?

"Military action that defies international law is sometimes justified."

"I'd always support my country, whether it was right or wrong."

At best, this is feeble sophistry. At worst, it's an ocean of millennial lemmings being led away from the very concept of liberty. 

""from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" is a fundamentally good idea.""

Mheh. Fuck you guise, srsly.

And then the capper:

"A genuine free market requires restrictions on the ability of predator multinationals to create monopolies."

That's a lot of derp in one sentence. In what sense is this a political question:

"It's natural for children to keep some secrets from their parents."

Sub-Cosmopolitan Magazine caliber. These are the people that will be running the country. Or what's left of it.

It's part of a a bigger effort to pervert American libertarianism, of course, along with the movement to paint all anarchism as communist. 

"Abstract art that doesn't represent anything shouldn't be considered art at all."

Put the fucking bong down, guys. This has nothing to do with political viewpoints. 

Finally, after six pages of this crap, I get this:

You can't even be a libertarian, according to this quiz. Ain't that some shit? There's a page about race, religion, and a entire page devoted to sex. To score high left libertarian, you'd have to answer all of the Social Justice questions correctly, slanted as they are. I refused.

To replicate the results of my Nolan Test, well, I'm not even sure how you'd have to answer them.

At any rate, pathetic. We're doomed. Free market economist Milton Friedman?

Meh, he wasn't very libertarian... 

I'd love to know where they got each of these people's views on race, sex, and religion.

Oh, well. Feel the Bern.

Bernie Sanders' Dank Meme Stash

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Eight Rock Star Programmers You Never Heard Of Part 2

When last you weren't reading Part 1 of this article, I was going on about programmers as musicians, and attempting to write clever analogies. I make no pretense of doing that again.

Jeff Minter

Rock Star Status: Captain Beefheart
No, he isn't. He's Jimi Hendrix. I don't know enough about Captain Beefheart, anyway. But Jeffy is like, wow. He paints in big, bright, bold lo-res graphics, EXACTLY like if Hendrix was writing a song using an 8-Bit device. About Llamas. And that's just his early, blued-based stuff. His games are like records you can just put on repeat.

Possibly after bonging out.

It is 3D in which Mr. Minter really hits his stride. His broad strokes from a carefully chosen palette give way, mid-career, to concise swirls of notes, buzzing around your head out of the ether in a most cosmic-like manner. "Minter is God" read the buttons of the affected. Pure psychedelia in digital form.

Eat Electric Death indeed, man.
But Jeffy is more than virtuoso. He spearheaded an actual, if failed, revolution. One of his designs was slated to be the pack-in game for a system Nintendo was working on, named Revolution. This was obviously way too much for The Man, as the game wasn't included, and the system name was watered down to the non-revolutionary Wii.

Pic Possibly Unrelated.

Rock Star Status: Jimi Hendrix

Jim Sachs

In an eerie reversal of Dorian Grey, Jim's self-portrait stays the same as he gets older. But I kid.

If you played games in the 80s and 90s, Jim Sachs touched your heart, much in the way I assume Cat Stevens touched your heart in the 70s. With less guitar. He played with light and shadow in a showstopping way. His art influenced gameplay. Jim Sachs can get more out of a simple color-cycling animation than most guys can do in an entire album. Again, draw your own Cat Stevens references from that. 

Look, Jim did a lot of stuff, but let's be honest, here. Defender of the Crown will always be his . He's gonna have to play it at the beginning, middle, and end of his shows.

He influenced George R.R. Martin.

The next, eagerly-awaited Cat Stevens album from Jim was slated to be the eagerly-awaited 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea game. Drawn with the same loving attention to harmony and melody as one assumes Cat Stevens once did, the gaming public drooled at the prospect. I think we did it all using our imagination, as that's all we had to go off of. 20,000 Leagues. Jim Sachs. Defender of the Crown.

See that animation? That's what I'm talkin' bout.

Here's where it gets sad, and actually almost sort of parallels the life of Cat Stevens. It seems our Mr. Sachs worked so hard on this game, 20 hours a day, people say, that he eventually had to pull off of the project. The world is sadder for the loss.

Don't get too sad, though. We still get great things like his artwork.

And his very realistic aquarium screen savers.

In a sense, it's almost like Jim never left the idyllic aquatic environment of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, instead electing to remain there forever, in a world without deadlines or silly sleep requirements.

Dang, that is kinda sad, actually. He's on Facebook, really, so no worries. Although one wonders what his artwork would be like if he had instead embraced Islam...

Rock Star Status: Cat Stevens

Team Amiga
The Amiga people were more like The Beatles, but they looked and acted like the Monkees. By all accounts, it was like watching Sargent Pepper being recorded with Wacky Sax playing on a continuous loop. This was a famous misdirection straight out of  'The Art of War'.

Amiga were making a computer. Well, they were making a game system, ostensibly. But they didn't want anyone to know any of that. So they released games, joysticks, and peripherals. In fact, they released the original Wii Balance Board, the Joyboard.

Guru Meditation Not Included.

But check this out: In 1984, the Macintosh debuted. Black and white, mono sound, one-button mouse, single-tasking.

The Amiga came out in 1985, with 4096 colors (kinda), 16-bit stereo sound, a two or three-button mouse, and multi-tasking. It's been the model for computers ever since. Also somewhat obscure and European. Like Ozric Tentacles, I guess.

It's not like they stopped with one, either.

The Amiga's real power was in its operating system. Intuition, the backbone of Workbench, had mystical properties. It could read minds. Consequently, other Amiga users were your tribe, sight unseen. We were all hanging out a big muddy rave together. Somewhere in Europe.

Wait, wouldn't this make them more like The Velvet Underground?

There were way too many people involved to start naming them by names. Kinda like...Ozric Tentacles? But as if creating the most iconic computer of all time wasn't enough, a few Amiga people released some solo albums as follow-ups.

Perhaps you've heard of them.

Okay, perhaps I should stop picking bands I know little to nothing about. I have no good way to tie the Amiga people to Ozric Tentacles, short of using some cliched way to say they created digital/analog alchemy on a grand scale.

Nailed it.

Rock Star Status: Ozric Tentacles

Joel on Software Joel

Joel Spolsky? Rock star?

Hell yes. Although he'd probably cringe at the comparison, and we imagine he shuns rock star programmers in general. perhaps that's because rock star types don't always get on well with other rock star types.

And Joel is about as big as it gets, in a sense. He was project manager (or some such lofty title - I don't really research these things) on an obscure little project that may have passed across your desk once or twice in your life.

That's right. He wrote Microsoft.

But Joel didn't just rest on his laurels. Oh, hell no. He's now one of the top columnists on Silicon Valley topics. His articles on usability are like User Interface Design erotica. He builds teams and projects in a decidedly non-Microsoft fashion. Not content to rehash major label pop forever, he continues to refine his art, on his own terms.

Joel rocks. But he rocks in a timely manner, on budget, and meeting the targeted specifications. 

Rock Star Status: Tin Machine-era David Bowie.

Meme Bomb Post

Why am I dumping all these branded memes to my normally writing-oriented blog? Because they weren't getting out into the wild by Facebook. And I've have to be writing or typing, otherwise. But I'm doing them en masse, now, at least.

'Reduction of Forces' chapters 3-20 coming up soon...

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