Friday, October 10, 2014

I think I know that idoru with Dave Letterman

This caught me by surprise when I saw that Hatsune Miku appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman. She's an idoru, or a virtual pop star, and extremely popular in Japan. Although the technology for virtual pop stars isn't exactly science fiction level yet, the phenomenon has been around for a while for the Japanese.

I've even written about her before, in article about how a programmer used augmented reality to give her a second life (in his virtual reality specs). Western audiences are certainly not used to this sort of show.

According to Polygon, David Letterman wasn't quite ready for it either.

I wonder what it would be like to have Hadaly from Black Hat Magick projected into my living room. I think she'd be amazing company.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Just put The Holocaust Star on Amazon Kindle

Right now I am waiting for this book, a sequel to The Byzantium Outcast, to publish. I will have to let everyone know when it goes live.

This Vexations novel has been a long time in the waiting. It’s never been quite ready.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Time to re-edit Black Hat Magick vol 1 Dread Vote

I’ve finished vol 2 of Black Hat Magick, which means its time for me to get back to work on vol 1 and make sure that it’s up on as an e-book.

I didn’t really like how I ended vol 1—I’m not going to go into that here because the end of the story is entirely a spoiler. I did what I needed to point the readers (and Elaine) in the right direction, but there’s a long laundry-list of things that were just kruft and not really displayed as much.

When I went to vol 2, I had learned a bit more about how to plot the short of story that a BHM story is.

Now I’m thinking bout vol 3 and that might mean League of Legends players, gold sellers from MMORPGs, and potentially a serial thief stealing virtual items. It’s a good time to bring up Bitcoin again—something I expect Elaine to intersect with often—but I don’t think it’ll be about that technology entirely.

I’ll let everyone know when I finish editing vol 1 and vol 2 and have them on

I do look forward to starting on vol 3.

Thanks for keeping up and be sure to check out Invincible and Vulnerable on Amazon.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Review: Vulnerable

VulnerableVulnerable by Kyt Dotson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ferguson protests and gamers?

I’ve been reading way too much Ferguson news lately. It’s a stressful story about a city and population essentially under siege, journalists accosted and harassed by police, and the slow semi-transparent wheels of justice…

Even though I heard about the news of Darren Brown’s death the day it happened (and the night of the first protest) it’s taken a while for the news to finally reach the national stage.

With Twitter leading the way with most of the on-the-spot news of what’s been happening, I’ve long wondered how gamers and the MMO gaming community has reacted so far.

Looking at Google and the Internet at large, and a dearth of articles on the subject (from said community) I’d have to say I agree with Helvetica at Vox Ex Machina in that the impact is little seen.

How has the Ferguson news affected the MMO gaming community? (Not much) | Helvetica | Vox Ex Machina

I’ll be keeping an eye out for news to tip the people I know who write about this sort of thing, but I’m not holding my breath. If anyone notices any gaming groups making an effort to spread awareness -– through in game rallies, their own blogs, Twitter, etc. -- let me know and I’ll pass it along.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Interview with CrayzECook on MMO Anthropology

An interview in World of Warcraft with CrayzECook

As it turns out, CrayzECook is a 7-year-veteran of World of Warcraft. It’s been an interesting journey for him and recently he even started leading a raid group.

Hopefully the interviews can come back to see how he’s doing and what leading raids is like in the almost decade old MMORPG game of Warcraft.

via MMO Anthropology.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Welcome to the fog of war: In #Ferguson

A particularly damning image of the Al Jazeera news crew being tear gassed has been making rounds in the media. The image of reporters fleeing from attack, followed by another of uniformed police in SWAT gear taking down the TV equipment makes for a punchy, dramatic image of journalistic suppression. However, the situation seems to be a little bit different.

It is now known that whatever police department fired the tear gas canister at the reporters may not be the same department as came back for their equipment. In fact, those taking down the equipment were assisting the reporters to get away from the gas.

One of the strange things that social media does is it produces the perception of swift messaging out of time. In times of great strife and conflict, it is difficult to get information out of a hot zone in time for context to form—this is often known as the “fog of war”. Actors in a war often use this effect to their advantage by producing propaganda or a narrative that aids their position before actual facts come to light. Social media zings facts, photos, videos, and commentary out extremely rapidly and interpretive contexts form faster than facts can catch up.

Last night, an Al Jazeera news crew got caught in a tear gas cloud and ran. Another news team caught footage of this occurring and even took footage of a SWAT team arriving at their position who then lowered their lights and turned the camera away from recording the scene.

Al Jazeera itself put out a statement condemning the SWAT team saying, “tear gas canisters landed in their proximity and police fired rubber bullets in their direction.” The statement goes on to say that the police continued to fire on the crew even as they shouted that they were press.

People on social media took the dismanteling of the equipment shortly after the crew ran as a sign the police sought to quell media presence. Not difficult to believe after reports of police ejecting media from the city, the arrests of several journalists, and—of course, the video of a tear gas canister being fired directly at the feet of reporters.

In an attempt to get out from under the obviously damning images, St. Charles SWAT spokesperson Lt. David Tiefenbrunn says that the team took down the equipment to help the crew move to a new location. They were also not the SWAT crew who fired the tear gas.

It seems that separate SWAT vehicles are involved. One that fired the tear gas and a second one who assisted in moving the equipment, who were with the St. Charles SWAT team.

Tiefenbrunn also stated he does not know who fired the tear gas.

In statements to the media, Tiefenbrunn opined that the Al Jazeera crew may not have been targeted intentionally and that the police crews in the area did not know that the lights belonged to a news crew. The Al Jazeera news crew, however, noted to the media that they had spoken to officers stationed near their position, and had identified themselves long before. In fact, as seen from the footage across the street, the well-lit position would have been easily identified as journalists setting up.

Much like what happened during the Occupy protests, multiple police departments with little coordination is leading to situations where bad actors (firing tear gas at journalists) are not going to be disciplined.

We are still waiting for the Ferguson police to identify if it was one of their squads who fired the gas canister and how it was that it ended up landing at the feet of a TV news crew.

#Ferguson police dangerous, despicable, failures—tear gas, inciting riots, endangering life

The Ferguson police have shown a reckless disregard for peaceful protest such that displays a gross disregard for human safety in general.

If the police in Ferguson do not want to be portrayed as “bad guys”; perhaps they should stop tear gassing state senators and TV crews.

After all, at least that should show some sort of restraint.

The response to a US senator chastising you, by asking if she’s going to get “gassed again,” while attending a peaceful protest is not: “I hope not.” It should be, “Ma’am, I will attend to restraining those under my command to common regard for the safety of those they’re sworn to protect.”

Stop harassing the media. Stop arresting journalists. Stop firing dangerous weaponry in residential neighborhoods. The police in Ferguson have obviously failed, in an attempt to “keep the peace,” the police have become the primary present breach of the peace.