programmer/game designer at @is3donline, and weird side projects like @therandyboys
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Sublime simplicity: The transcendent beauty of Desert Golfing

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Hit it too soft, and get stuck in the valley. Too hard, and bounce and roll down the back end. That's Desert Golfing, repeated thousands of times over.

If you want a picture of the future of mobile gaming, imagine a ball rolling along a sandy landscape—forever.

Apologies to Orwell, who meant something much darker with his original quote, but this silly little mobile game I've been playing recently has gotten me feeling a little philosophical about game design, and even life in general. The sublime, minimalist simplicity of Desert Golfing has made the game my go-to mobile time-waster these days, and I can see continuing to play it in quick, stolen little intervals maybe forever.

On the surface, Desert Golfing is an almost insultingly simple game to play. You tap the screen, drag back to set your shot's aim and power via a large white arrow, then let go to send a tiny white golf ball flying over the uniformly sandy 2D landscape. Bounce into the hole, and the landscape scrolls a bit to show your next target. The physics modeling is surprisingly delicate, meaning you often have to give just the right finesse on a shot to get the precise gentle bounce off a hill or wall needed for the ball to roll into the hole.

There are other 2D golf games on mobile platforms, such as the excellent Super Stickman Golf series, but they tend to be weighed down with all sorts of complications in a misplaced effort to add "depth." Desert Golfing sets itself apart with its monastic design simplicity. Every hole is a single screen, with no music, no visible player character, and no background scenery (save for the very occasional cactus). There's no club selection, no items, and no changes in the uniformly sandy terrain.

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skateborden
1502 days ago
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Athens, GA
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Local cops in 15 US states confirmed to use cell tracking devices

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A new map released Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union shows that fake cell towers, also known as stingrays, are used by state and local law enforcement in 15 states.

Police departments in Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Tucson, Los Angeles, and even Anchorage, among others, have been confirmed to use the devices. Beyond those states, 12 federal law enforcement agencies, ranging from the FBI to the National Security Agency, also employ them.

Relatively little is known about precisely how police decide when and where to deploy them, but stingrays are used to track targeted phones and can also be used to intercept calls and text messages. However, privacy advocates worry that while the devices go after specific targets, they also often capture data of nearby unrelated people.

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skateborden
1591 days ago
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Athens, GA
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farmjope
1592 days ago
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WE DID IT!!

NeoCities rate-limits the FCC to dialup speeds

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that's okay, they can pay to use the "fast lane"  
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skateborden
1625 days ago
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Athens, GA
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joshwa
1625 days ago
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...except that the FCC has actually been fighting for net neutrality under wheeler... it's the courts that keep shutting them down. I'd say block the comcast corp ip blocks... :-/
El Cerrito
DMack
1626 days ago
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I've always suspected these anti-net-neutrality guys don't actually use the internet, though
Victoria, BC

Stanford to divest its endowment from coal stocks

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Stanford University has announced that it is pulling its endowment out of investments in any of 100 publicly traded companies that are focused on extracting coal. No future investments will be made in any of those companies, and the university will instruct the managers that run its non-endowment investments to avoid these stocks as well.

The move's immediate trigger was a report by an investment advisory panel, which acknowledged some basic features of coal power: it releases more carbon dioxide per unit of electricity than any other fossil fuel, and those emissions are contributing to climate change. The panel also noted that lower-carbon alternatives are available. But it drew the line at coal; renewable technologies aren't yet available to be rolled out on a sufficient scale to allow Stanford to go fossil free.

Fossil Free Stanford (FFS) is the name of the group that put the issue on the map, and it's acknowledged in the university's announcement. FFS is part of a cross-campus effort at divestment happening on over 400 college campuses, possibly modeled on the successful campaign to get universities to divest from companies that did business in South Africa during the apartheid era.

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skateborden
1628 days ago
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Athens, GA
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danah boyd's research on gender differences and VR

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the subject of her 2000 bachelor's thesis  
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skateborden
1668 days ago
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Athens, GA
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The Threes Mails

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incredibly deep look into the development of Threes, and the clones spawned from it  
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skateborden
1668 days ago
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Athens, GA
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pfctdayelise
1669 days ago
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14 months in the making, one week to see clones launched on other platforms
Melbourne, Australia
fxer
1669 days ago
Picked up threes a day or two after release, after seeing it posted on newsblur and it looked slick. First game I bought in about two years, easily worth two bucks.
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