Monday Morning Meeting: Issue #4

Links randomly selected from the stuff I saw the previous week in this, the first ever evening edition. In tonight’s issue: computer games that encourage physical contact; baseball players wearing camo; 24-Hour Book club announces its selection; visualizing Moves data; and some thoughts on critics. Some links are from longer than a week ago.

The 24-Hour Bookclub selects The Hotel Eden Stories by Ron Carlson

You might remember Diana Kimball from such newsletter issues as Monday Morning Meeting Issue #2. She, Max Temkin, and Elaine Short have announced that The Hotel Eden Stories by Ron Carlson is the selection for the June 7, 2014 edition of the 24-Hour Book Club. This will be my 5th time participating. See you on the hashtag!

With a Little Help from My Sportsfriends

Kevin Nguyen writes an ode to playing video games with friends, in particular, Sportsfriends. Also in his soon-to-be-created email newsletter Today In Gaming With Friends, I assume he will write about playing Bounden after the Vines he either created or featured in. The Johann Sebastian Joust sub-game of Sportsfriends and Bounden are reminiscent of Fingle on the iPad where the device is the icebreaker for physical contact amongst friends. It’s too bad there’s nobody streaming their games of Bounden on Yet? As Monday Morning Meeting went to press, nobody was streaming their games of Sportsfriends, either.

Baseball players wearing camouflage? Make sports, not war

Every Memorial Day, Major League Baseball teams don military-influenced uniforms as a show of support to the men and women serving in the armed forces. The San Diego Padres wear camo jerseys during every Sunday home game, where at least it makes sense based on the local economy. Cathal Kelly pushes back on the need for sports to remind us that our country is, at any given moment, probably at war with some other country. Canada does have its own long and bloody history of combat, so it’s impossible at least to ignore that reality, and the Toronto Blue Jays (featuring only one Canadian player amongst a group of Americans, Dominicans and others) did at least adorn their uniforms with the Canadian army’s variant of digital camouflage. Honouring an American holiday but not even playing on Victoria Day (aka May Two-Four in Ontario) and B.C. Day (the three-day weekend in British Columbia) really did rankle baseball fans north of the 49th parallel, though.

Tracking my Moves

Peter Rukavina, a Charlottetown-based hacker, deleted the Moves app from his iPhone in response to the Facebook purchase (and the seemingly broken promise to not co-mingle their data). This short blog post illustrates what's possible with the data Moves tracked. Ruk used the open source desktop software QGIS to visualize his movements, and MapBox provided instructions on how to import the data using their services.

No One's a Critic

Shannon Rupp laments the decline of good arts critics (in Vancouver especially) that write for the purpose of selling newspapers (which barely exist) rather than filling seats. Too many critics, she says, hobnob with their targets, leading to shilling for their newfound friends. On the pans written by good critics: ”Because they write so thoughtfully about culture they make it seem vital and significant even when they're lambasting a show. Meanwhile the shills tend to sound like shoppers with dubious taste.”

Even though the opaque process of creation and curation—to say nothing of market research—heavily filters the vast majority of popular culture before it reaches the points-of-sale, there’s still such a large amount to process that it can be hard to know what’s good. In addition to critics’ choices, we could accept, in advance, a computer’s random selection algorithm to choose what to consume. Even better, something like Forgotify, which plays a track from Spotify that has never been played for anyone, but for everything. Or No Names, No Jackets, which presented text from books without any information about the author or what the book cover looked like, but for everything. (Including tweets.) In addition to letting others tell us whether we should buy that record or attend that play, or recommendation engines basing picks on what our friends liked or its calculation of what we like, I’d like opportunities to develop a sense of taste on my own.