February 10, 2015

New Publication: “A Unified Approach to Preserving Cultural Software Objects and their Development Histories”

Report Cover

We are pleased to announce the publication of our recent National Endowment for the Humanities supported white paper on archiving and appraising academically produced computer games. “A Unified Approach to Preserving Cultural Software Objects and their Development Histories,” is aimed at providing a first step towards an archival methodology for computer games and their development documentation. The report provides an in-depth look at the development of Prom Week, EIS’s social simulation game, with a focus on its development process, context, and documentation. We highlight key moments in its development timeline, and elaborate on the different types of documents produced, and the challenges encountered in gathering everything together for deposition into the University of California’s Merritt Repository.

February 9, 2015

Mary Flanagan Brings New Audiences to Board Games with MONARCH: The First Pro-Girl Board Game

World-Renowned Expert in Game Design Creates a Revolutionary Experience For All Players

SHORT Title: Mary Flanagan releases first pro-girl board game

Contact: monarch@maryflanagan.com

BROOKLYN NEW YORK 9th February 2015 – Mary Flanagan, the contemporary artist and Dartmouth professor known also for her game research lab Tiltfactor.org, brings her extraordinary creative insight to create the first “Pro-Girl Board Game.” Known for her thinking on why the ‘Pinkification’ of toys hurts women, Flanagan brings forth a new generation in board gaming for all.

February 1, 2015

#! Reviewed in ebr

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To continue the trend of three-letter publications presenting reviews of #!, ebr (Electronic Book Review) has just published a review by John Cayley – an expert in electronic literature, an accomplished cybertext poet, a teacher of e-lit practices, and someone who has created digital work engaging with the writings of Samuel Beckett, among other things.

poetry_and_stuff_screenshot

It would be difficult to ask for as thoughtful and detailed a review as Cayley provided. Nevertheless, now that ABR and ebr have offered reviews, I do hope that IBR, OBR, and UBR will follow suit.

January 13, 2015

#! Reviewed in ABR

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Steven Wingate’s review of my book #! (pronouonced “Shebang,” Counterpath Press, 2014) appears in the current American Book Review and seems to be the first review in print.

Review of #! in ABR

I was very pleased to read it. Wingate discusses how the presentation of code provided a hook for understanding what programs do, much as bilingual editions allow a reader to learn more (at least a bit more) about a different language by skipping back and forth between recto and verso. An important goal of mine was to offer more access to computing and to show that code can be concise and open. I aimed to do this even as I wrore rather obscure and difficult programs, such as the ones in Perl, but certainly when writing Ruby and Python, the languages Wingate finds most pleasing.

January 7, 2015

Trope Tank Writer in Residence, Spring 2015

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Andrew Plotkin, Writer in Residence at the Trope Tank for Spring 2015

This Spring, Andrew Plotkin (a.k.a. Zarf) is the Trope Tank’s writer in residence. Andy will be at the Trope Tank weekly to work on one or more of his inestimable projects — as a game-maker, programmer, and platform developer, he has been working furiously for many years. (His home page is modest in this respect; See also his latest game, Hadean Lands.)

January 5, 2015

“The Era Canto,” a Poem for 2015

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Happy New Year! My New Year’s poem for 2015 is a one-line BASIC program for the Commodore 64: “The Era Canto.”

The Era Canto

December 29, 2014

Megawatt Reviewed

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The first review of Megawatt has appeared, and it’s quite a detailed analysis of the book, its relationship to Watt, and how the code and output text, in their presentation here, relate. The review is by Hannes Bajohr at 0x0a.

It’s in German. Here is the automagical Googly translation.

December 19, 2014

NaNoGenMo 2014: A Look Back & Back

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There were so many excellent novel generators, and generated novels, last month for NaNaGenMo (National Novel Generation Month).

I thought a lot of them related to and carried on the work of wonderful existing literary projects — usually in the form of existing books. And this is in no way a backhanded complement. My own NaNoGenMo entry was the most rooted in an existing novel; I simply computationally re-implemented Samuel Beckett’s novel Watt (or at least the parts of it that were most illegible and computational), in my novel generator Megawatt (its PDF output is also available). For good measure, Megawatt is completely deterministic; although someone might choose to modify it and generate different things, as it stands it generates exactly one novel. So, for me to say that I was reminded of a great book when I saw a particular generator is pure praise.

December 16, 2014

A “Trope Report” on Stickers

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Not literally on stickers, no. This technical report from the Trope Tank is “Stickers as a Literature-Distribution Platform,” and is by Piotr Marecki. It’s just been released as TROPE-14-02 and is very likely to be the last report of 2014. Here’s the abstract:

December 15, 2014

NEH to fund Dartmouth College – University of Maryland Crowdsourcing Workshop

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Dartmouth College, in collaboration with the University of Maryland, has received an award for a cooperative agreement from the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities to fund a workshop, “Engaging the Public: Best Practices for Crowdsourcing Across the Disciplines.”

This project will explore how “crowdsourcing” can encourage wide audiences to engage in humanities projects by participating in and contributing to research. The workshop is tentatively scheduled for May 2015; check the Crowdsourcing Consortium for Libraries and Archives’s website, crowdconsortium.org, for updates.

NEH Press Release
@NEH_ODH

December 11, 2014

My Reading from #! at Google

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Video of my #! reading, which I did at Google Boston on December 2, is now online.

I actually forgot to present a few things. I’d wanted to at least show something from both Memory Slam and Renderings. Ah, well.

My Reading from #! at Google

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Video of my #! reading, which I did at Google Boston on December 2, is now online.

I actually forgot to present a few things. I’d wanted to at least show something from both Memory Slam and Renderings. Ah, well.

December 10, 2014

Renderings (phase 1) Published

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For the past six months I’ve been working with six collaborators,

  • Patsy Baudoin
  • Andrew Campana
  • Qianxun (Sally) Chen
  • Aleksanda Małecka
  • Piotr Marecki
  • Erik Stayton

To translate e-lit, and for the most part computational literature works such as poetry generators, into English from other languages.

Cura: The Renderings project, phase 1

After a great deal of work that extends from searching for other-langauge pieces, through technical and computing development that includes porting, and also extends into the more usual issues assocaited with literary translation, the first phase of the Renderings project (13 works translated from 6 languages) has just been published in Fordham University’s literary journal, Cura.

December 9, 2014

Megawatt, the Paperback, Can Be Bought

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… from the Harvard Book Store.

And if it’s digital data you’re craving, it’s also available for free as a PDF and as an EPUB. And the code that generated these books is free software.

#! Reviewed in Galatea Resurrects 23

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Two pieces on my book #! have just come out in Galatea Resurrects (A Poetry Engagement), number 23.

John Bloomberg-Rissman’s review.

Eileen Tabios’s engagement.

December 8, 2014

Weekend with the Gallimaufry: University of Edinburgh Collection Added to Metadata Games

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The University of EdinburghTiltfactor Lab: Game Design for Social Change!

Tiltfactor and the University of Edinburgh, Library and University Collections are excited to announce the addition of over 3,300 images from the University of Edinburgh to Metadata Games. This collection, a miscellaneous “gallimaufry” (a confused jumble or medley) of digitized items from Special Collections, displays the sheer variety and breadth of material held by the Centre for Research Collections.

Metadata Games is a free and open source (FOSS) crowdsourcing gaming platform that entices players to visit archives and explore humanities content while contributing to vital records. The suite enables archivists to gather and analyze information for digital media archives in novel and exciting ways. Metadata Games contains tens of thousands of media items from over 40 collections represented by 10 institutions.

December 5, 2014

Crowdsourcing Consortium for Libraries and Archives to Host Webinar on Funding

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Crowdconsortium.org

On December 11, 2014 at 12pm EST, the Crowdsourcing Consortium for Libraries and Archives (CCLA) will hold its second 1-hour webinar titled, “Scoping and Funding Crowdsourcing Projects.” This webinar, hosted in conjunction with the OCLC, will explore how researchers, as well as libraries, museums and archives, interested in studying or using crowdsourcing techniques can seek funding for their ideas.

Crowdsourcing in the humanities is an emerging new area for museums, libraries, and archives. The CCLA was formed with the goal to unite leading-edge technology groups in libraries and archives as well as humanities scholars and scholars from the sciences in a conversation about best practices, shared toolsets, and strategies for using crowdsourcing.

December 2, 2014

The News in Verse

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Robert Pinsky writes the first installment, noting the recent death of poet Mark Strand.

I didn’t ever properly meet Strand, but I know many of his poems well and I went to one his art openings and saw him there. His work is mostly surrealist and nostalgic, not my usual cup of joe – and yet I found much of it quite appealing and memorable.

December 1, 2014

This Speculative Musing

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Exists! The Trope Tank.

An idea about libraries...

(It’s from this book.)

Some Houses of Dust

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Zach Whalen pointed out that it would probably be interesting to compare the reimplementations of A House of Dust that he did early this year and that I did more recently. Whalen’s work to reimplement historical systems is really excellent, by the way, and I in fact showed his animated GIF of “Kick that Habit Man” when I premiered Memory Slam, including a workalike of Gysin and Sommerville’s program and my version of the Knowles and Tenney poem, at NYU ITP’s Code Poetry Slam.

Megawatt Incarnate

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Just as Pinocchio became a real boy, so Megawatt (my generated novel for NaNoGenMo 2014) has become a real book.

Megawatt bound (the proof)

Megawatt interior

The book will be for sale within a few days from the Harvard Book Store.

November 30, 2014

Z-Machine Implemented in Hardware

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It happened to some extent with LISP, which certainly started out as a software programming language, and the LISP machines, which supported the language with hardware features.

Now, the Z-Machine, which was probably the first commercial virtual machine, developed in 1979 by Joel Berez and Marc Blank for Infocom, has been implemented in hardware using an FPGA. The Verilog code is available, so you can make your own if you like.

It all goes to show you … there is no software.

A Great Platform Studies Answer

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To how software keeps getting better and graphics get better-looking on the same old consoles.

Note that for the Atari VCS / Atari 2600, only answers #3 and #4 apply, since developers didn’t use “engines” or even compilers, instead writing their code in assembly langauge. (Presumably the assemblers didn’t improve much over the years.) Also, the VCS had no firmware, flashable or otherwise; although refined versions of the hardware were produced over the years, such as the Atari 2600 Jr., such systems were optimized for cheaper manufacturing and didn’t improve performance.

November 29, 2014

#! Coverage at MIT – Next Reading at Google

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Arts at MIT has a nice new article about my book #!, one that is very aptly titled. It’s by Sharon Lacey. I read from the book at the List Visual Arts Center at MIT on October 22.

My next reading, on December 2, will be at Google in the Authors@Google series.

News Flash: Flash News!

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There’s a nice article up at The Atlantic about Flash, written by the two authors of the new Platform Studies book, Anastasia Salter and John Murray. Their new book, I’ll remind you, is Flash: Building the Interactive Web.

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