It is as if you were doing work Press Kit

 Funny Stuff  Comments Off on It is as if you were doing work Press Kit
Jul 052017

It is as if you were doing work Press Kit

Play It is as if you were doing work in your browser (probably not mobile-friendly, sorry)

The basics


The robots are here! No more work! It’s great! Is it great?! Wait! You feel apathetic and unproductive! You miss clicking buttons! You miss waiting for progress bars! You miss checkboxes! You miss work! But it’s going to be okay! Use this handy application and it is as if you were doing work!

Who is this Pippin Barr guy?

Pippin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Design and Computation Arts at Concordia University in Montréal.

He works within the Technoculture, Art, and Games (TAG) Lab which is part of the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture, and Technology. In fact right now he’s the associate director of TAG!


It is as if you were doing work had been around for a long time before I really managed to start working on it properly. I actually documented the original moment that sparked that game in a blog post titled Close analysis of having a game idea – basically I was watching Rilla resizing an image while working on a project and suddenly felt like it would be amazing to have a game entirely premised on totally conventional operations with traditional user-interfaces. From there it became the idea of a WarioWare-esque game where you would complete simple interface operations under time pressure (I will likely return to this) with various ideas for layering on some kind of meta-narrative, or AI-twist, or something to make it more ‘spectacular’.

After a couple of months with it on the back-burner, I came back to the game thinking mostly in terms of technologies. Specifically, I was teaching a web development course at university and started thinking it would be interesting to build a game using a kind of standard-issue user-interface library like jQuery as opposed to building it with a game engine. It felt like there was something appropriate about using tools that actually fit in with the nature of the game as interface-oriented. So at that point I started nailing down what I’d actually be able to implement with jQuery UI’s tools (e.g. checkboxes, radio buttons, buttons, progress bars, etc.).

At a certain point while working on the actual underlying framework I tried to name the game and realised it could actually serve as a kind of sequel to It is as if you were playing chess, hence: It is as if you were doing work. The title gave some more structure to what the game was meant to be about. Rather than being WarioWare-style zany fun with interface elements, it now needed to fit into the It is as if idea of a performative game that enables you to simulate an activity.

Making the game a sequel briefly led me down a path of trying to make an incredibly abstract version where there was little to no actual language and the texts were represented with unicode block characters instead. The UI was styled in a similar way to It is as if you were playing chess with clean white lines on a dark grey. It actually looked pretty good, but it became so abstract that it was less and less clear that the was about anything. When playing around with the interface elements I had a feeling of detachment, rather than the sense of simulating work.

I had a break-through on this front in New Zealand when I decided to style in interface so it looked like Windows 95 to some extent. Having a kind of clunky ‘old-timey’ UI style made the game lighter hearted and also allowed me to go back to thinking about actually legible content for the interfaces. It pretty quickly settled into more of a desktop OS model of windows and dialogs popping up, with the user performing tasks that both looked and felt like work: typing, moving sliders, clicking on icons.

With the look settled, the content started being decided by the fact I was thinking about this project as part of the Speculative Play project I’m part of with my colleagues Rilla Khaled (who also happens to be my wife) and Chris Moore. That project is about creative interactive, playful media that speaks to alternate presents or near/distant futures. I positioned It is as if you were doing work in the context of the apparently near future of automated work (I read Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford recently in this vein). Thus the game poses as an application that humans who have been put out of work by robots and AI can play as a way to recapture the sense they once had of doing work and being productive. It’s a kind of semi-condescending service offered by this new world to those of us who can’t deal with it.

And that’s how the game came together.

(You can see the game’s process documentation for far more information about its development than you could possibly want.)

Sony’s “Fat Princess” Makes Internet Upset

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Jun 282017

Bloggers are angry! Feminist bloggers! They’re not up in arms about the unrealistic physical proportions of digital women or on-the-go near pedophilia this time, they’re upset about the concept of Sony’s PlayStation Network release Fat Princess. The cutesy 32-player hack and slash sees a rotund royal being overfed by the enemy, making her rescue and transport across the battlefield difficult.

Source: Sony’s “Fat Princess” Makes Internet Upset

Jun 282017

An experiment claims to have invalidated a decades-old criticism against pilot-wave theory, an alternative formulation of quantum mechanics that eliminates the most baffling features of the subatomic universe.

Source: Pilot-Wave Theory Gains Experimental Support | Quanta Magazine

What if jobs are not the solution but the problem? | Aeon Essays

 News  Comments Off on What if jobs are not the solution but the problem? | Aeon Essays
Jun 282017
image with text "Fuck Work"

Fuck Work

Economists believe in full employment. Americans think that work builds character. But what if jobs aren’t working anymore?

Source: What if jobs are not the solution but the problem? | Aeon Essays

Google is Closer Than Ever to a Quantum Computer Breakthrough

 Alphabet Corp., Google, Quantum Computing  Comments Off on Google is Closer Than Ever to a Quantum Computer Breakthrough
Jun 282017

quantum device

Google’s 49-qubit chip will allow them to develop a 49-qubit quantum system that can solve problems that are far beyond the capacity of ordinary computers: Google calls this goal quantum supremacy. The 20-qubit system that the Google quantum computing team is now working on currently boasts a “two-qubit fidelity” of 99.5 percent. The higher the rating, the fewer errors the system makes. Quantum supremacy demands not only a 49-qubit system, but also sufficient accuracy to achieve a two-qubit fidelity of at least 99.7 percent—which Google is on track to deliver by the end of 2017.


Google isn’t alone in their quest for advancing quantum computing. In 2016, IBM was running a 5 qubit computer, but by May 2017, it was offering beta access to its 16 qubit platform to the public for testing purposes. Furthermore, qubits alone aren’t the only consideration for actually achieving working quantum computers; error correction and scaling will also be critical to quantum systems. However, if Google does achieve quantum supremacy, it will be a major step forward.

chemchem’s profile on Clyp and a wee clip

 Music Production, News  Comments Off on chemchem’s profile on Clyp and a wee clip
Jun 282017

A wee track I made, messing around while watching old twin peaks S01 incl. samples



Clyp is the easiest way to record, upload and share audio. No account required.

New Method To Make Ethanol Out Of Carbon Dioxide | IFLScience

 Future Tech  Comments Off on New Method To Make Ethanol Out Of Carbon Dioxide | IFLScience
Jun 282017

New Method To Make Ethanol Out Of Carbon Dioxide35 SharesShare on FacebookShare on TwitterTechnologyNew Method To Make Ethanol Out Of Carbon DioxideAlfredo CarpinetiBy Alfredo Carpineti20/06/2017, 20:19Ethanol is one of the most important biofuels used in the world and researchers could soon reduce its impact on the environment significantly.Thanks to a new technique, ethanol could soon be produced directly from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Ethanol is currently made primarily from fermented corn, so it takes a sizable chunk of agricultural resources. The new method, presented in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, uses water, carbon dioxide, and electricity delivered through a copper catalyst.”One of our long-range goals is to produce renewable ethanol in a way that doesn’t impact the global food supply,” principal investigator Thomas Jaramillo, an associate professor of chemical engineering at Stanford and of photon science at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, said in a statement.The secret to this new method is in the particular crystal structure used for the copper. The team used three types of copper – copper (100), copper (111), and copper (751) – and tested their ability to convert water and carbon dioxide into ethanol.”Copper (100), (111) and (751) look virtually identical but have major differences in the way their atoms are arranged on the surface,” said Christopher Hahn, an associate staff scientist at SLAC and co-lead author of the study. “The essence of our work is to understand how these different facets of copper affect electrocatalytic performance.”The team discovered that a particular arrangement in copper (751), where the atoms are quite far apart and with only two close neighbors, allows for the production of more liquid fuel than other types of copper.”An atom of copper (751) only has two nearest neighbors,” Hahn said. “But an atom that isn’t bonded to other atoms is quite unhappy, and that makes it want to bind stronger to incoming reactants like carbon dioxide. We believe this is one of the key factors that lead to better selectivity to higher-value products, like ethanol and propanol.”While biofuels are carbon neutral, they still use resources that could be used for food production. They also have been linked to potential deforestation in developing countries. This method might provide a truly green alternative.”The eye on the prize is to create better catalysts that have game-changing potential by taking carbon dioxide as a feedstock and converting it into much more valuable products using renewable electricity or sunlight directly,” Jaramillo added.In order to look for the best possible set up, the team aim to test the same approach on other metals to see how different surfaces affect ethanol production.

Source: New Method To Make Ethanol Out Of Carbon Dioxide | IFLScience

Essential Products | My Phone is Essential

 Future Tech  Comments Off on Essential Products | My Phone is Essential
May 312017

Andy Rubin, Essential CEO, Android FounderWhy I started Essential

I know people are going to ask me a lot of questions about why I started this company. Why didn’t I just travel the world, ride my motorcycle, tinker with my robots, hang out at my bakery with friends and family. And to be honest I still do ask myself that sometimes…but not too often.

So why did I create Essential? Well, my hardware engineers wanted me to talk about how we are bringing real passion and craftsmanship back into this category. My software engineers wanted me to talk about our vision for making all devices, even those we don’t make ourselves, play well together. My partners wanted me to talk about how we are using methods that could change how successful technology companies are built forever.

But the real reason is because of what happened during a night out with an old friend of mine…

Source: Essential Products | My Phone is Essential

Andy Rubin Unleashed Android on the World. Now Watch Him Do the Same With AI

 Future Tech  Comments Off on Andy Rubin Unleashed Android on the World. Now Watch Him Do the Same With AI
May 312017

Rubin’s ambitions go beyond building gadgets or companies. He wants Playground to be the factory that creates the building blocks for an AI-infused future.

Source: Andy Rubin Unleashed Android on the World. Now Watch Him Do the Same With AI

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