GOTY 2013: Badass Girls Need Not Apply:
I have gone to buy a computer, and had the salesperson speak to my husband and not to me, even though I am a professional game developer and my husband has trouble using a printer. I have had men in my department throw a Halo launch party and not invite me, assuming that as a woman I have no interest in games. I have had my professional opinion on server purchases overruled by men that were talking over me in meetings, and then watched those men be fired when the systems they purchased didn’t work.
Those life events inform my experiences and opinion. And, they inform my perspective on 2013 Tomb Raider. And, with respect, if you only have people voting on game of the year from a very singular opinion — generally white, straight and male — it’s missing so much information that it loses its validity.
This doesn’t mean guys can’t have awareness of issues affecting women. And it doesn’t mean women have a singular, monolithic opinion on games or even sexism. Even among my female friends, we have vastly differing opinions about 2013 Tomb Raider. Some of us love Bioshock Infinite; some of us hate it. But more viewpoints need to be represented in discussing games. We need more female games journalists who have a more central part of the dialog.
Sometimes, though, you run into a guy with empathy, who takes multiple points of view into account, not just his own. He might not even think of himself as a feminist. When 2011’s Vanquish came out, former IGN editor Ryan Clements was extremely enthusiastic. Then, in the middle of glowing praise of “watching an enemy explode into a cacophony of pieces” and “feeling entire highways crumble away under your feet,” Clements makes the following offhand remark in his video review.
“I say this game needed more badass girls, but that’s just me.”
Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule:
When you’re operating on the manager’s schedule you can do something you’d never want to do on the maker’s: you can have speculative meetings. You can meet someone just to get to know one another. If you have an empty slot in your schedule, why not? Maybe it will turn out you can help one another in some way.
Business people in Silicon Valley (and the whole world, for that matter) have speculative meetings all the time. They’re effectively free if you’re on the manager’s schedule. They’re so common that there’s distinctive language for proposing them: saying that you want to “grab coffee,” for example.
Speculative meetings are terribly costly if you’re on the maker’s schedule, though. Which puts us in something of a bind. Everyone assumes that, like other investors, we run on the manager’s schedule. So they introduce us to someone they think we ought to meet, or send us an email proposing we grab coffee. At this point we have two options, neither of them good: we can meet with them, and lose half a day’s work; or we can try to avoid meeting them, and probably offend them.
Till recently we weren’t clear in our own minds about the source of the problem. We just took it for granted that we had to either blow our schedules or offend people. But now that I’ve realized what’s going on, perhaps there’s a third option: to write something explaining the two types of schedule. Maybe eventually, if the conflict between the manager’s schedule and the maker’s schedule starts to be more widely understood, it will become less of a problem.
Those of us on the maker’s schedule are willing to compromise. We know we have to have some number of meetings. All we ask from those on the manager’s schedule is that they understand the cost.
Vesper Sync Diary #1 – Syncing Tags:
If a note has tags like this…
tags: paris, packing, travel
…then it would be changed to look like this:
tags: packing, travel
The actual tag could remain in the database — it’s just that no notes would refer to it. In the case of tags, that’s the equivalent of deleting it.
And if you started using that tag again in the future, it would, correctly, appear just for new notes. It wouldn’t get resurrected for old notes, since those notes were changed to not refer to that tag.
I’m still thinking about tags. I could change my mind (particularly if I think of a better way, or if someone tells me about a better way).
Much of the rest of syncing is conceptually nailed down. (Much of it was nailed down before I wrote the first line of Vesper code last February.) But things can change as theory meets code.
Sowing a Change in Kitchens:
The soil-tilling food experts happen to be every bit as expressive, and iconoclastic, as their knife-wielding counterparts in the kitchen. These days, many in the culinary world tend to view produce in a black-and-white way: You have either your delightfully lumpy, bumpy farmers’ market treasures, or your scarily uniform corporate Frankenfood. As Mr. Barber said, it’s “heirlooms over here, Monsanto maniacs over there.”
But Monday’s convocation, overseen by the Basque Culinary Center, suggested a third way: Independent breeders are ready to help make our breads and salads richer with deep flavor, bold color and plenty of nutrients. They just need someone to ask them.
What they do may also be seen as an old-school alternative to the spread of genetically modified plants, which have not been shown to be harmful but still frighten and concern many people.
“We’re making crosses within the same species, and we’re doing it the way it’s been done for 300 years,” said Dr. Stephen Jones, a wheat breeder from Washington State whose accessibly folksy lecture had the room transfixed. “There’s no forcing here. We put these plants together and we let them mate.”
Why We Should Care About 4,000th Ichiro Pro Hit — Daily Intelligencer:
But in at least one way, it doesn’t matter whether 4,000 professional hits is exactly as impressive as we’re trained to think it is because a lot of them came in Japan. Sports fans love round numbers, and we especially love large round numbers — the kind that take a career to accumulate. We make a big deal when a pitcher gets to 300 wins, or a slugger hits his 500th home run, or a hitter gets his 3,000th (or 4,000th) hit, and the main reason we do so is because it allows us a natural opportunity to reflect on the player’s career, which almost by definition is an impressive one. All-time greats like Ichiro deserve this sort of treatment; he and players like him ought to be celebrated as their careers wind down. New York fans have been through this a lot lately, with future Hall of Famers Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera reaching significant milestones in recent years. The prime of Ichiro’s career happened outside of New York, of course, but he’s in that class of player.
And so too much debate about the legitimacy of Ichiro’s 4,000 hits would obscure what should be (and for the most part is) happening now: a celebration of one of the most iconic baseball players ever. Yankee fans are watching an Ichiro whose best days are behind him, but even if we focus just on his American career, his time in Seattle was incredible. (At least his unorthodox-but-effective slap-swing — the one that helped him pick up an insane 262 hits in 2004 — still remains.) Ichiro’s American numbers are plenty good enough for induction into Cooperstown — he has a .320 career average thanks to a steady stream of singles — but it’s possible he won’t reach any major round-number milestones. (He’s 278 major-league hits away from 3,000, but he turns 40 this fall.) Which means this might be our best opportunity to collectively celebrate his career before it ends. Let’s be sure to take it.
Sports, Complexity, and the Ten-Thousand-Hour Rule : The New Yorker:
As it happens, I have been a runner and a serious track-and-field fan my entire life, and I have never seen a boy who was slow become fast either. For that matter, I’ve never met someone who thinks a boy who was slow can become fast. Epstein has written a wonderful book. But I wonder if, in his zeal to stake out a provocative claim on this one matter, he has built himself a straw man. The point of Simon and Chase’s paper years ago was that cognitively complex activities take many years to master because they require that a very long list of situations and possibilities and scenarios be experienced and processed. There’s a reason the Beatles didn’t give us “The White Album” when they were teen-agers. And if the surgeon who wants to fuse your spinal cord did some newfangled online accelerated residency, you should probably tell him no. It does not invalidate the ten-thousand-hour principle, however, to point out that in instances where there are not a long list of situations and scenarios and possibilities to master—like jumping really high, running as fast as you can in a straight line, or directing a sharp object at a large, round piece of cork—expertise can be attained a whole lot more quickly. What Simon and Chase wrote forty years ago remains true today. In cognitively demanding fields, there are no naturals.