Halfway through the third book of the Hitchhiker's Guide series, there is a throwaway reference to a doomed starship, one whose incredible splendor was matched only by the cosmic absurdity of its maiden-day annihilation. But the story didn't end there. Unbeknownst to many fans, this small piece of Adamsian lore was the inspiration for an ambitious and richly-detailed side-story: a 1998 computer adventure game called Starship Titanic. Designed by Douglas Adams himself, the game set players loose in the infamous vessel, challenging them with a maddening mystery laced with the devilish wit of the novels. The game was laden with extra content, including an in-depth strategy guide, a (mediocre) tie-in novel by Terry Jones, a whimsical First Class In-Flight Magazine, and even a pair of 3D glasses for one of the more inventive puzzles. Key to solving these puzzles was the game's groundbreaking communications system -- players interacted with the ship's robotic crew through a natural language parsing engine called SpookiTalk, whose 10,000+ lines of conversational dialogue spawned 16 hours of audio recorded by professional voice actors, including John Cleese, Terry Jones, and even Douglas Adams himself in several cameos (spoiler cameo). Want to experience the voyage for yourself? Then watch this narrated video playthrough (intro (ads) - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9? 10 11 12 13) ...or click inside for a information on how to run the game for free on Windows, Mac, and Linux (along with a bunch of other goodies!). [more inside]
Good news for Nick Clegg, deputy Prime Minister of the UK and leader of the Liberal Democrats: he's more popular than the Tory Prime Minister, David Cameron. Perhaps not so good news for the Liberal Democrats' image: that's with Tory party activists. Meanwhile, Cameron has professed his love of Macs and iPads in an interview, undoubtedly causing Apple to become instantly uncool in much the way The Smiths and Paul Weller did a few years ago.
"The Japanese Tradition" was a series of nine short, parody "How To" videos that gently mocked the formality of Japanese culture, from comedy duo Rahmens (ラーメンズ) and Japan Culture Lab. They're available on DVD, but nearly all of them can be seen on YouTube, including Sushi and Ocha (tea). [more inside]
MAC Cosmetics and Rodarte partnered to create a makeup collection. Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sisters behind Rodarte, "were struck by the ethereal landscape and the impoverished factory workers floating to work at dawn in a sleepy, dreamlike state." People started questioning the sensitivity and intelligence behind the naming, particularly a glittery pink nailpolish named Juarez. [more inside]
Mendeley is a cross-platform research management tool which features article databasing, PDF annotation, online backup, private, shared and public collections, metadata lookup on Google Scholar, direct exporting of multiple citation styles to Word, OpenOffice and BibTex, the ability to add documents directly from a web browser, and social networking with other members in your field of study. Like Zotero (previously), but out of the browser and with note-taking abilities. For Windows, Mac and Linux.
HELLO WORLD (SLYT) "Lego felt tip 110" printer connected to an Apple Mac. This is not a kit you can buy and does not use mindstorms. I designed/built/coded it all from scratch including analog motor electronics, sensors and printer driver, the USB interface uses a "wiring" board.
Steam, the hugely popular online videogame distribution network, is now available for the Mac. MeFi favorite Portal is also free via the service (both Mac and PC) until the 24th. (previously)
"We were like children with toy train sets. And that was part of the problem. It was such fun. Computing was not supposed to be fun." Stephen Fry visits Apple headquarters to preview the iPad; the resulting article is a sprawl that touches on hero worship, product history, and Douglas Adams, "the first person in Britain to own a Macintosh computer." [more inside]
"Every hard drive in the world will eventually fail. Assume that yours are all on the cusp of failure at all times." An Ode to DiskWarrior, SuperDuper, and Dropbox: John Gruber talks about his Mac's hard drive failing and how he was able to recover all of his data using DiskWarrior, a file recovery utility, SuperDuper!, a backup utility that creates a fully bootable backup, and the file syncing system DropBox. While his advice is Mac specific, you can get a similar system going on Windows with Acronis for backups and one of many free file recovery programs such as TestDisk (which also has a Mac version). [more inside]
Steve McGhee is destroying the world as we know it. And it's a beautiful thing to see.
Alexander McQueen has died at the age of 40. He will be remembered for his beautiful and haunting style (and his gravity-defying hoof shoes). Friend to Isabella Blow, Philip Treacy, and many more; inspiration to countless. He will be missed.
We've talked about M.U.L.E before, but playing options were limited. Not anymore. Now available for Windows, Mac and Linux, Planet M.U.L.E. [more inside]
...the Apple store called and informed me that due to the computer having been used in a house where there was smoking, that has voided the warranty and they refuse to work on the machine, due to "health risks of second hand smoke".
Lee Clow, the Chief Creative Officer at Apple’s ad agency TBWA, BFF of Steve Jobs, and “advertising’s art-director guru,” has decided to step down from his post. (Clow is also responsible for the Energizer Bunny and the Taco Bell Chihuahua.)
Here are ten of Flavorwire's favorite Apple campaigns.
Here are ten of Flavorwire's favorite Apple campaigns.
Charlie Brooker's half-serious hatred of Macs is well documented, and he has just revisited the topic again for some reason. Some are a little miffed at the whole thing. (via) [more inside]
Strange Adventures in Infinite Space is a game of space exploration that can be played in under twenty minutes. Its adjustable difficulty and random maps make it very replayable, and for the first time ever, it's completely free. PC and Mac versions are available. [more inside]
Shoot It! Create and mail a real [paper!] postcard from anywhere and to anyone around the world.
DrumChuk: "A customizable Ruby-based MIDI drum controller for the Wii remote and nunchuk on OS X." The code, and more about the project, can be found at github.
Grabarz & Partner's website looks oddly familiar... A German ad agency, apparently they couldn't be bothered of thinking of something original so they ripped off an existing concept.
Software startup 280 North today announced Atlas: a rich, web-based environment for developing Mac-like web applications. [more inside]
OMG! It's THE NEW MACBOOK WHEEL! Squeeee!
Mac Vs. PC. Inspired by Transformers, this short visual effects piece shows us what would happen if our home computers could turn into robots and started beating each other up.
Poladroid is a free app for your mac that lets you drag an image onto the polaroid camera in the corner of your screen. it then spits out a polaroid image that develops on your desktop. there's a flickr group for these shots already. [more inside]
Plainview is a free full-screen web browser for your mac. Until now, you had two options for showing Internet work: capture it all to Quicktime and throw it into Powerpoint or Keynote (looks nice but no interactivity as everything has to be canned) or show it in your browser (interactive but with ugly chrome distracting people from your beautiful sites). So here's a third option. Fire up your full-screen browser and let your audience focus on the work. [more inside]
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Bernie Mac has died. Bernie Mac most recently seen at a Obam campaign event and King of Comedy has died at 50-years old. Known for his tv show based on his own life as caretaker of his sister's kids. .
Using OmniFocus to manage a 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons character sheet. Nerds. Dungeons and Dragons. Obsessive overuse of Mac software.
OS X as music video. (SLYT) Dennis Liu's interpretation of "Again and Again" by the Bird and the Bee, using a particular operating system as inspiration. It does feel kind of like an Apple ad, but it's quite creative.
The iMac turns ten today. Unveiled on May 6, 1998 by a button-down Steve Jobs, the iMac personal computer was Steve Jobs' antidote to the countless boring beige models in Apple's product line. Offering "three easy steps to the Internet," the iMac proved to be a lightning rod for criticism (small "hockey puck" mouse, no floppy drive, no SCSI, the debut of USB, toy keyboard, no expansion possibilities), the first Bondi Blue iMac got people talking and sold by the truckload. Although the design may look a bit dated today, the candy-colored plastics influenced consumer product design for the next several years. Even if you don't enjoy using an iMac, there's no denying its contributions to computing and popular culture.
Huh. Not the only time it's been noted, but still,Dieter Rams did make it look good first. An interesting guy who's basic design precepts Jonathan Ive has been very successful at emulating. For which I am only happy. [more inside]
Chromatron 1, 2, 3 and 4 just became freeware. In these little standalone puzzle games for PC and Mac, you align splitters, benders, and mirrors to direct colored laserbeams into like-colored targets. Enjoyably difficult, and an example of great game design. [more inside]
This is James Savage's spare room, which contains one hundred Apple computers. He has more than 150 in his house and all of them are working perfectly, from an Apple II+ and a Lisa to the latest MacBook Pro. (One entrant among many in Gizmodo's Best Computer Rig contest.)
The How-To Geek provides hints and tips for a variety of operating systems and popular pieces of software. The how-tos cover a pleasing range of head-slapping I-should-have-known-thats to relatively advanced techniques. Follow the latest page to read the site in blog form.
1986 Mac Plus vs. 2007 AMD Dual Core "When we compare strictly common, everyday, basic user tasks between the Mac Plus and the AMD we find remarkable similarities in overall speed, thus it can be stated that for the majority of simple office uses, the massive advances in technology in the past two decades have brought zero advance in productivity." Factor in the internet, and the technological advances have brought me negative productivity.
Hobo Expert, MeFite, Daily Show Resident Expert, and reluctant celebrity John Hodgman's recent appearance on This American Life is truly inspired stuff. "He tells the story of what happens when celebrity hunts you down and finds you...on your living room couch, pushing 40, and a couple sizes larger than you want to be." Apparently Bill Gates isn't a fan. His loss.
Google Desktop for Mac OS X finally saw beta release last week; so far, the beta includes search but not Gadgets. Initial reactions have been tepid amid concern about how extensively the installer modifies your system. Nonetheless, some people seem to like it.
Wii + MacBook Pro + Dome - Experiments using the Nintendo Wii as a wireless 3D interface device.
Comedy duo, Ramenz (ラーメンズ), aka Kobayashi Kentaro and Katagiri Jin, also known as the Japanese versions of Mac and PC, have recently done a number of shorts collectively called "The Japanese Tradition." Apparently, these tongue-in-cheek pseudo-instructional vids about famous aspects of Japanese culture (Tea, Chopsticks, Sushi, Origami, Apology, Onigiri, and Relationships) have been fooling a lot of non-natives into thinking they are actual guides. (YouTube, each approx 4-6 min).
Mac VS PC And this time PC is the cool guy and Mac is the stooge! Gems like "Mac works for PC", "PC gets the girl." and "Mac may be cool but PC has the money." (Quicktime links)
Charlie Brooker hates Macs. They are computers for people who earnestly believe in feng shui.
Speak n Spell your way into remote control of a Vista box.
Basement Mac collection via Cult of Mac. If you want to check out the tech specs on them Apples, go to The Macintosh Museum or the Low End Mac Museum. For more Mac history visit The Apple Museum or The Apple Museum.
Twenty years of Macintosh - a well done retrospect about the Apple Macintosh presented in a series of posters, annotated with excellent topical links for further reading.
Straight Dope on the birth of the iPod from the sharp pen of WIRED's Mac maven Leander Kahney. Quoth Steve Jobs: "Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. That's not what we think design is. It's not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."