The Book of Faces

So, having received a couple of friend invites and heard a few people talking about it, I’m on Facebook now. Readers, should you actually exist and not be a figment of my egocentric imagination, will find me under the imaginative pseudonym that is my own name.

I had to overcome my initial resistance to joining up to another online widget/networking site, partially because I spend quite enough time arsing about online instead of writing or reading a book or something else semi-worthwhile, and partially because my experience so far has been that subbing to a new site means I forget one of the earlier ones – there are fora I used to be on all the time that now lie neglected in the darker reaches of my favourites list, while (to cite a recent example) I’ve used Flickr a lot less since I subbed to Last FM.

Still, having been on for a day or two I can certainly see Facebook‘s appeal – it’s very easy to use, for a start, with minimal sign-up time and no need to fiddle around with HTML or any of that.

While its arguably a lazy, anti-social form of socialising, Facebook does very successfully and painlessly keep you in touch with people who you might not get around to contacting very often. If you’re the kind of person like me who is always chasing deadlines and generally time-wasting, then chances are there are plenty of people you don’t get around to phoning nearly as much as you should – Facebook allows you to see what they’re up to (providing they add it to their profile, and basically let your PC do all the work of keeping in contact. Bad you, good PC.

Because the default option when signing up is to bombard everyone in your contact list with friend invites, Facebook is also spreading like a virus at the moment, and seems to have a remarkable number of people I’ve known on there. How long this current rate of expansion continues is hard to tell.

It’s very much online thing of the moment for me, but then there’s been plenty of those before and it’s longevity that counts in this area. It depends, I suppose, on whether it proves an essential social tool or just a neglected, glorified address book.

Mark

June 2, 2007. Tags: . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Apologies to feed readers…

… for the triple re-posts. That’s me posting late at night when I’m too knackered to remember to spellcheck or add tags until I’ve clicked post. Will try to do better in future…

Mark

May 23, 2007. Tags: . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Enslaved to a dark and terrible master.

Unable to post at the moment, as ‘Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords’ has me in its merciless grip. By combining the addictive qualities of a colour shifting puzzle game with the narrative and levelling up of an RPG, Infinite Interactive have created the gaming equivalent of candy coated crack. I stop playing late at night, and when I wake up the next morning that damn music is still going round in my head.

A fantastic game, then. There is something incongruous about combat via puzzling in a fantasy RPG, as this recent Penny Arcade strip demonstrates. If playing with coloured gems to defeat a rat seems weird, bear in mind that you also get to pit your puzzling wits against a wooden catapult at one point, and even an entire city. I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to find myself fighting a giant marshmallow or a well-polished bench in the games later stages.

Mark

April 3, 2007. Tags: . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Holy Bricks!

Awwww! Adorable. I never bothered to play either of the Lego games based on that 70s film, I’ve always admired the execution of the titles from afar. However, this looks irresistable.

Mark

March 27, 2007. Tags: . Uncategorized. Comments off.

For the truly bored…

If you’re reading this blog, you clearly have time on your hands. So here’s what I did on my holidays.

One small anecdote springs to mind: the rail station for the Montserrat cable car is about an hour’s train ride from the centre of Barcelona. After a day walking around a mountain, your average tourist/pilgrim will want a quiet train journey back to the city. Trains are a couple of times an hour, if I recall correctly, so people get down from the mountain on the cable car in good time to gather on the platform for the train back.

Anyway, we descended around 4ish to catch a late afternoon train, and the entire platform was rammed with about 50 kids in a school party, a frothing mass of pubescent carnage. Around the edge of this screeching cloud of youths hung a handful of adults, including us, no doubt all relishing ramming into a packed train with this lot.

When the train pulled in from the opposite direction, going away from Barcelona, we did not hold out much hope. Surely these were kids from the big city?

Thankfully not. I have never seen such collective relief as I saw on the faces of the dozen or so adults on that platform as the screaming mass of kids poured on to the train, the commuters snapping awake as the throng descended. There was a shared connection between all of us at that moment. Against all odds, they were going away!

Five minutes later, the Barcelona train pulled in and we had a nice quiet journey back to the city.

Mark

February 19, 2007. Tags: . Uncategorized. Comments off.

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