blarg?

June 12, 2012

Ideas For Games For Gamers With Kids

Dear Ubisoft –

I’m a longstanding fan of your work but like a lot of long-time gamers my life’s moving ahead. I’ve got a family now, but even so I’d like my kids to be able to share my hobbies as much as anyone who’s ever collected a stamp or oiled up a baseball glove. And I know I’ve asked you for some impractical things in the past – I know, I know, as much as my daughter has loved riding the fancy horse around in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, that adding penguins and giraffes might not be feasible – but hear me out here.

I really enjoy being able to play big, free-running open-worlds games with my daughter. She’s smart, attentive, and understands where things are and what we’re trying to do in these fictional spaces; it’s a joy as a parent to have her interested in my pastimes, for however long that lasts. But most of the games I play to unwind aren’t particularly content-appropriate for her, if I’m playing them strictly as intended.

Take the Assassin’s Creed series. Running, climbing, jumping into the water with a big splash and swimming, horseback riding… they’re all great; we can watch Ezio jump in and out of haystacks like a fool together all day. Looking at things, watching people go by, just watching the ebb and flow of the city, it’s terrific. Fist fights, sword fights, picking pockets and shanking people unexpectedly before you toss the body off a building, somewhat less so.

But there’s just a ton, a ton of wonderful architecture in those games, as you well know. Wonderfully detailed buildings and elaborate historical notes about people, places and events that are better than anything I’ve seen in any other game, and beautiful in their own right. Italian cities, a Rome and a Constantinople that I honestly believe would be wonderful to explore and learn about on their own in a stripped down, accommodating and non-violent game.

So let me rephrase that: if you do take away the aggro guards, the various threats, fights and malfeasances, and you keep the historical notes, artifacts and characters, what game do you have left?

I think you might, with some judicious writing, have “Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego”, as set in the most beautiful rendition of the middle ages ever made.

All the parts are there – you’ve got the engine, you’ve got the world, you’ve got the art assets and the tools in the can already. I never want to say “just” when it comes to a software product – I know how dangerous that word is – but the temptation here is strong. But the opportunity here for a same-couch, cooperative game that kids can play with parents, puzzling things out and doing a bit of historical exploration in the process… Not only do I think that some great writing could tie it into and move along the series’ (great) ongoing narrative, but I think it could be a genuinely new, genuinely fun game in its own right.

You’d have to keep the horse, though. The horsey is important.

Please and thank you,

– Mike Hoye

June 5, 2012

Instant Camera

Filed under: analog,awesome,beauty,flickr,interfaces,life,parenting,toys — mhoye @ 11:11 pm

Polaroid

I bought a beat-up Polaroid Spectra at a garage sale last week, and a single unopened package of Polaroid film in unknown condition. It cost me two dollars, and it’s the first time I’ve ever actually used one; I shot them all on the walk to the bakery with Maya, and she was confused and thrilled that the camera hummed and buzzed and spit out actual pictures. Physicalism! Imagine the novelty of it!

She was pretty sad after the tenth picture when I told her that no more could come out. Because cameras can take pictures forever, right? They don’t “run out” of anything, that’s ridiculous. She asked me if I needed to charge the batteries; the idea that a camera would just stop working is so brain-damaged and broken that it’s outside her understanding. I told her that the camera she was holding would never take another picture and she seemed genuinely hurt, like I was scolding her for breaking it.

“It won’t work again, Maya. Sorry.”

“Is it broken?”

“In a sense, yeah. In a lot of ways.”

“Oh. What happened to it?”

“I think, it’s … Progress, kid. Progress happened to it.”

I’ll try to explain it to her again when she’s older, but by then we’ll be playing so far past this that it’s hard to imagine she’ll care about it beyond humoring crazy old Dad while he’s telling one of his weird stories.

I have no sentimental attachment to the hardware, here – Polaroids are kind of dumb by 21st century standards, no matter what the fetishists tell you – but I have more than a little for my subject. So here you go, Maya. I’ve put most of these into a frame, for art’s sake; maybe someday you’ll like it for the kitsch value. Probably not; that is the way of things, but maybe. I’ll probably still be fond of it. Either way this is quite likely the last Polaroid I’ll ever shoot; I’ve always loved how much enthusiasm you can squeeze out of that smile.

The Last Polaroid I'll Ever Shoot

June 4, 2012

Today, In Orbital Panopticon News

Filed under: doom,future,interfaces,lunacy,science,toys — mhoye @ 3:23 pm

This is really astounding, though perhaps it shouldn’t be. The Department of Defence has given NASA a gift of two better-than-Hubble telescopes it built but never used, because despite this quote describing them…

They have 2.4-meter (7.9 feet) mirrors, just like the Hubble. They also have an additional feature that the civilian space telescopes lack: A maneuverable secondary mirror that makes it possible to obtain more focused images. These telescopes will have 100 times the field of view of the Hubble, according to David Spergel, a Princeton astrophysicist and co-chair of the National Academies advisory panel on astronomy and astrophysics.

… it considers them to be outdated. That’s right – 100 times the field of view of the Hubble, more maneuverable and able to take far more accurate pictures, hugely better than any instrument available to any civilian anywhere, and apparently an antique. As The Atlantic notes:

“That’s right. Our military had two, unflown, better-than-Hubble space telescopes just sitting around. […] This is the state of our military-industrial-scientific complex in miniature: The military has so much money that it has two extra telescopes better than anything civilians have; meanwhile, NASA will need eight years to find enough change in the couches at Cape Canaveral to turn these gifts into something they can use. Anyone else find anything wrong with this state of affairs?”

Maybe just the fact that those cameras were intended to be pointed down, not up.

The issue’s not whether you’re paranoid, Lenny, I mean look at this shit, the issue is whether you’re paranoid enough.

Strange Days, 1995.

May 31, 2012

The Pre-emptive Machine-Vision Horror Trope Needs A Better Name

Filed under: arcade,awesome,doom,future,interfaces,lunacy,toys — mhoye @ 9:27 am

That’s a game called StarForge, a kind of minecrafty farm/build/survive game that looks pretty promising. Trading off the eight-bit charm of Minecraft for a lot of FPS aggro, it looks like a boots-on-the-ground, shovels-in-the-dirt revisiting of classics like Dune II or Command And Conquer.

There’s a moment in there at about the thirty second mark, though, that gave me a surprising amount to think about; it would have been interesting to see a longer buildup to this, maybe with an explanation of the world and some more examination of what the player’s built up, leading up to the alone-in-the-dark moment where the turrets suddenly spin up and start grinding through ammo before the player can even see what’s coming. From a gameplay perspective this is a great demo; you can tell by the way the entire internet is trying to turn his poor server into one of the smoking craters you see in the video. But from a human-experience perspective, there’s a new thing on display here.

We have tools now that can see a lot further into the dark than we can, make decisions about what they find and then act on them immediately, deploying an staggering amount of force with remarkable precision. It’s sudden, and there’s a good argument to me made that it has to be as sudden as possible – the delay of a warning, a supervising authority or even just a human interaction might be an unacceptable delay, a burden the selection pressure of a technological arms race will quickly discard. Often, in fact, the best-case scenario there is that these tools leave enough of an audit trail that a complex situation might be understandable in long hindsight. But more often you’ll have a few thousand spent casings, a few dozen empty rocket tubes, the burned out shells of a few smoking buildings, the charred husks of their residents and no way to reconcile that with justice or conscience.

So now there’s this moment, that a human can be alone with their anticipation in the crowding dark, when machines we’ve built whose judgement we don’t really trust suddenly act with incredible violence on things we can’t see for reasons we don’t understand.

It’s really a perfect moment – the visceral panic of survival horror, that existential sense irrelevance that lives at the periphery of monstrously outsized forces, the deep-seated, voodoo suspicion of incomprehensible tech… “Your support tools or personal network suddenly goes insane” is going to be the spring-loaded-cat of the 21st century, I think, and for good reason.

I really need an “overthinking” tag.

May 14, 2012

Bring Your Daughter To Work Day

Filed under: awesome,beauty,life,parenting,science,toys — mhoye @ 9:11 pm

Switching Tires

Work

Seen here wearing her favorite Rocket Shirt, this is Maya is helping me change the tires on my car. It’s important to get kids started early on this sort of work, I think.

March 27, 2012

The Banality Of Angry

Filed under: arcade,digital,interfaces,life,parenting,toys — mhoye @ 11:16 am

(Updated May 25, 2016, see below.)

Zooming

I asked some people on the intuberwebs about good iOS games for kids, and I was a little surprised to see Angry Birds come up. I’ve played through it; it bothered me quite a bit, and my knee-jerk reaction to the claim that it’s a kids game was scowling incomprehension. “Are you people nuts? Did we even play the same game?”

Maybe I’ve overthought this. And maybe Angry Birds isn’t worth the sort of analysis I’ve put into Portal 2, but I believe in the medium of video game as art. Games merit reflection. And reflection is where we are revealed to ourselves, whether we like what we see or not.

Christian Thorne has written a bit about Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds that you should probably read, particularly if you enjoyed that movie. It’s quite well written – read the whole thing, for sure – but to give away the punchline, Thorne makes a compelling case that Tarantino is calling you, the audience member laughing away at his film, a fascist.

So why does Tarantino hate us so much? He hates us for liking his movies the way we do; he hates us because he can so easily bring us round to enjoying the sight of people being gathered into a closed space so that they can be exterminated. He hates you for how easily you can be pushed into the Nazi position, as long as the people getting killed are themselves Nazis. He hates you because you are the fascist and you don’t even know it.

Todd Alcott has written something very similar:

The movie doesn’t merely use violence, it’s about violence, particularly violence in movies, or in popular culture anyway, and the way it can be used to manipulate an audience, or a populace. It repeatedly gets you longing for violence and then, by the time it shows up, it’s not what you wanted or expected it to be. The movie as a whole doesn’t offer up easy answers, rather it asks extremely uncomfortable questions.

Angry Birds starts out by giving you a pretty simple motivation. Eggs missing, pigs responsible. You knock over pig structures and kill pigs, with volleys of particular kinds of bird. Cute noises are made, points are earned. All is well, except that the kind of things you’re knocking over changes a little bit at a time over the course of the game.

I might as well give away the punchline, too: you start Angry Birds knocking down the forts and castles of your enemies, the pigs. Halfway through, you’re destroying infrastructure: railways, power stations, airports and farms. By the end of it, probably without thinking about it all that much, you’re sending your troops to destroy hospitals, apartment buildings, churches and schools.

I’ve been surprised to see that Rovio have completely gotten away with this, too; I’d have thought that a video game you can’t win without killing everyone in a school would have caused some sort of outrage, but a veneer of cute is apparently all the stealth technology you need to stay off the culture-war radar. Even though all the magic video-games-are-evil-think-of-the-children words are right there, ripe for their ritual sanctimonious media abuse, Angry Birds is far and away the most popular portable game franchise in the world, and somehow that’s all overlooked.

If you take a step back from it, and think about what you’ve been participating in, Angry Birds starts to look a lot more like subversive social commentary than cutesy entertainment – to borrow from a line that describes Steven Spielberg’s work in much the same terms, for all its simple gameplay and ostensibly trivial narrative this a complicated, bitter game, with a deliberate sugarcoating that makes it commercially palatable.

It’s not a bad game, not at all. But the fact that it’s addictive and fun and that we keep playing as it gets darker and meaner (both morally and graphically, as day turns to night later in the game) without questioning or apparently even noticing it says something real and maybe important about us.

I don’t think I want that to get said to my kids just yet.

Update: Looking back on this post from 2016, I’d really like to know what the secret backstory of that first version of Angry Birds was. I strongly suspect that it was intended as a sort of Guernica-style antiwar art-protest game before it took off, one that people just didn’t get. But then suddenly it’s the must-have app for every platform and licensing revenue makes everyone involved so much money that all those sequels were inevitable. I wonder if that’s true; that there was a moment where everyone at Rovio realized that history had to be rewritten and nobody could be allowed in on the original joke. That not getting the gag had become the central part of their financial success.

February 26, 2012

The Tale Of The Tape

Filed under: a/b,awesome,documentation,parenting,toys — mhoye @ 11:57 pm

Kevin Gildea is hard to google.

He’s an English professor in the Ottawa area, part-time (from what I can tell) at both Ottawa U and Carleton. When I was in his class a decade ago, he never gave you the sense of being self-aggrandizing enough to have a web presence, much less the fan base he should. He’s the only professor I’ve ever had who in a single lecture managed to completely dismantle and rebuild my sense of self and place, and change the whole direction my life has taken.

He had Nietzsche’s help to do it, but hey, backstory time; I was having a shitty year at the tail end of a series of shitty years, partway through a degree I didn’t know if I wanted or cared about or not, staring down a future I didn’t know if I wanted or not, and not really having a sense of what I could do, or if there was anything I could do, about any of it. And what he said, approximately, was this:

Suppose, for a moment, that space is finite. Space is finite, matter is finite. Time is infinite. Take that as your axioms. What does that mean? A lot of things, but one of the things it means is that there’s a finite number of ways that the matter in all the space can all fit together. So eventually, everything will repeat itself: all of us are going to be here in this exact room, having this exact conversation, again. And again. And then he said, who’s responsible for your situation? Not who’s fault is it, but who is responsible for it? If not you, who else could it be? And if you’re unhappy, what’s keeping you unhappy, if not your choice to remain where you are?

If you don’t like where you are, what’s stopping you from changing that except you?

Nietzsche said it like this:

“What if a demon crept after thee into thy loneliest loneliness some day or night, and said to thee: “This life, as thou livest it at present, and hast lived it, thou must live it once more, and also innumerable times; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and every sigh, and all the unspeakably small and great in thy life must come to thee again, and all in the same series and sequence-and similarly this spider and this moonlight among the trees, and similarly this moment, and I myself. The eternal sand-glass of existence will ever be turned once more, and thou with it, thou speck of dust!”- Wouldst thou not throw thyself down and gnash thy teeth, and curse the demon that so spake? Or hast thou once experienced a tremendous moment in which thou wouldst answer him: “Thou art a God, and never did I hear anything so divine!”

It doesn’t matter if the postulates are scientifically true or not, because you are here, now. This is a way of thinking; what would you have to do, who would you have to become to own your choices without remorse or fear or nagging doubt, to be able to say honestly that you don’t fear being here in this moment, again and again, forever?

Longtime readers will note that I’ve mentioned it once or twice before; it made quite an impression. But I’ve occasionally had the sense that much like Nietzsche’s abyss, as I try to embrace the ideal, the ideal tries also to embrace me.

Wife has sudden back pains? Surprise early trip to the hospital? Yeah, I know this game.
Posted by mhoye at 11:56 PM – 22 Feb 12

That was Wednesday night: surprise, we’re doing it all over again. Except this time we’re a week pre-term.

At about 9:00 Wednesday night, Arlene went from feeling mildly uncomfortable to agonizing contractions in the space of twenty minutes. We called the hospital, and they say that when they start coming five minutes apart and lasting for twenty seconds, you should come in. So we start timing them, and for the next twenty minutes they’re three minutes apart and lasting for thirty seconds. We call them back, and this time we’re not asking. Maya’s mercifully asleep, and we called a friend over to keep an eye on the house while we pile the bags into the car and roll off to the hospital. Parking lot, wheelchair, triage, nice and chilly, keep moving.

Suppose for a moment that bed space is finite and time is of the essence. They booked us into the same room we were in last time, room 707.

Really world, I was thinking, that’s how we’re going to play this? Really?

Ok.

I’ve done this before; I know I’m tooled up for this work. If that’s how it’s going to be, let’s get started.

Bring it.

I mentioned this last time: when I say things like that, the universe hears me. And that night, the universe obliged. In the broad strokes, we did the whole thing again: sudden onset labor, epidural, low progression, instrumentation, c-section, all of it. But to my surprise all of that happened on what looked for lack of a better term like Easy Mode; slower, more predictably, better-managed and almost entirely crisis-free.

I didn’t hear the words “crash”, “emergency” or “distress” mentioned even once.

We got triaged quickly and cleanly, on a night where the hospital wasn’t clearly overloaded and threatening to go off the rails. The epidural went in on the first try instead of the eighth. The labor took a long time, but didn’t fail out dramatically at any point. I got to track Arlene’s progress on the printed readouts over the day, and talk to the staff about hour-over-hour trends instead of hearing them mutter nervously about the last five minutes; one nurse complimented me on that, which was nice. The decision to go in for a caesarean section was made in a calm room full of people with the time to give the question its due consideration.

The long wait alone in the room after Arlene had been wheeled into the operating room to get prepped was about three times as long as the last one, and it was a hard wait; how could it be anything else? But it wasn’t the bone-charring nightmare fuel I very, very seriously expected. I have a lot of confidence in the East York General staff now; I know we’re getting through this.

Carter came out looking like a slightly smallish, slightly beat up and other wise utterly normal kid. I had him lying on my chest and my wife’s hand in the other when the only real excitement of the day started and my wife got very pale and started shaking uncontrollably. Because the Eternal Recurrence of the Same has a checklist and a schedule apparently, and time was moving on so chop chop let’s get it all in we have a deadline people.

So, funny story. And by funny I mean fuck you, universe.

The operating surgeon paged the anesthesiologist, but he was already answering another emergency page. So I’m the only person on this side of the curtain who can look at the relevant instrumentation, an appliance the size of a vending machine. As you might imagine this is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like it; the surgeon is asking for a blood pressure reading, everyone else in the room is busy helping her sew my shaking wife’s guts back together and here I am with my newborn son in one hand, my eyes skittering around the controls as I try to learn how to operate a brand new machine that’s wired directly into my wife’s anatomy through, fuck you universe, a series of tubes.

As moments go, it was perfect.

The old reflexes die hard, and the old intuitions never go away. I’ve never done this before, but I’ve done this before. I’m tooled up for this; let’s get started.

“Can we get pulse and a BP reading?”

“The, um… one second. The… The cuff’s deflated, I think. There’s a null reading on the screen where it says BP. Hang on… OK, there’s one button here that says NIBP; I’m pushing it, one moment.” *click*.

I’d guessed “non-something blood pressure”, and the button was just below the null readout I was looking at. The cuff started inflating immediately. Anyone who tells you that user interface design doesn’t matter is a fool, this stuff save lives.

“Pulse is… 109, BP looks like it’s going to take a minute.”

“Ok, thank you. Good work.”

“I told you we should keep him around to look at stuff”, one of the nurses said.

Black Eye

Carter Alan Hoye, born 6:30 or so Thursday, February 23rd, and if he looks like he’s been in a fight, that’s because he’s been in a fight.

Arlene was wheeled back to our recovery room, and after treating her shakes with some drugs and a heated blanket, she’s made a shocking recovery. She was lucid in hours, able to walk and eat solid foods in a day. She and Carter are back at the hospital today to treat him for some jaundice, but both of them are recovering from the ordeal surprisingly well. Carter is a cause for mild concern, because he’s lost a bit of weight since his birth, but my own belief is that’s only because he’s losing fluids as the swelling subside; the poor guy was bruised all over from the protracted labor. He looks much different now, and I’ll have more pictures on the way soon.

I’d honestly forgotten they make them that small.

Maya has been struggling a bit; she seems to like Carter but dislike not being the center of attention. And she got a bit scared during our absence at the hospital, so we’ve got to make it up to her over the next few days. We’ll have to figure that out, but we’ve got time.

I’ve received a lot of messages, via Twitter and email, wishing us well. I’m grateful for all of them; they mean a lot to me. When the universe decides to try to knock you around some, there’s no better feeling that knowing you’ve got great friends.

January 18, 2012

Out From Under

Filed under: digital,fail,hate,interfaces,losers,toys,vendetta — mhoye @ 1:30 pm

Last week, I was a few months into a one-year agreement with Rogers for my home cable internet connection when they sent me some mail telling me they were going to raise the prices after March. The letter said, in part:

“At Rogers, our number on priority is to bring you the best in information, entertainment and communications. That is why we continue to invest in next generation technology, providing you with leading products, services and networks. We do this to ensure that you get the most value for your money.”

That’s right, they’re ensuring I get the most value for my money by charging me more money.

I begged off, as you might imagine, though my first call to Rogers resulted in threats to charge me an “Early Termination Fee” and then send me to collections. But after doing some research, it turns out that the magic words there are “material change”; this is a material change to our contract, and hence the contract is null and void. Magic words, according to the Consumer Protection Act. Not quite as magic as they are in Quebec or the United States, but magic enough for me to convince the Rogers rep I spoke to that the contract would be ended “as if it never existed”, rather than have me suffer their ridiculous surcharge.

While I’m not a lawyer, it doesn’t appear to be a settled matter if arbitrarily raised prices actually constitute a “material change”. But the facts on the ground, including the letter notifying me of the change, strongly implies that somebody at Rogers thinks you could make that case and they have no interest whatsoever in finding out for sure. So they just waived the ETF and let me go, and presumably we’re both happier for it.

The letter also said:

“However, over the past year there has been an increase in the cost of providing you with our services, due in part to the many enhancements that we have launched.”

… and this is the sort of disingenuous nonsense that we have to put up with in Canada from companies that claim that we have plenty of actual real competition in the telecommunications field honest cross our hearts. Despite having no problems telling people, surprise, you’re going to pay us an extra $60 per year whether you want to or not, for nothing. And Bell did about the same thing, raising their prices by about the same amount, at about the same time! What a coincidence! No collusion here, it’s all totally believable that this is just one big coincidence.

It’s nice that these ostensible competitors can put their differences aside long enough to coordinate raising their customers’ prices and buy billion-dollar sports franchises together, I guess. Unless you happen to be a Canadian consumer, in which case it’s the same ongoing disaster it’s been for years.

I’m moving everything over to Wind Mobile and TekSavvy, and if you’re a Canadian who cares about the intersection between market competition and technology, you should too.

November 26, 2011

It’s Hard To Overstate My Satisfaction

Filed under: arcade,awesome,digital,life,parenting,science,toys,want — mhoye @ 1:39 pm

A while back, I sent some email to Valve suggesting they should make a shirt commemorating Portal 2’s “Bring Your Daughter To Work Day”.

They did.

I love Valve a little bit more all the time. So awesome.

(Also, the date given – 08/05/85 – it is… very interesting.)

October 26, 2011

Technical Underdogging

Filed under: digital,interfaces,losers,toys,want — mhoye @ 10:30 am

Midnight Blues

After looking at my budget, looking at my options and looking at who I really wanted to give my money to, I’ve bought myself a Nokia E7.

I know.

I wanted a physical keyboard, really good bluetooth support and a phone that works with Wind Mobile; the pickings there were pretty slim, particularly if I wanted something unlocked and unbranded.

The phone pays for itself – Wind Mobile costs a third what Rogers does – and never speaking to Rogers employees again is awesome. But overall, it’s been a really ambivalent experience.

On the plus side, the hardware is pretty good. It’s classic Nokia; feels solid, maybe a bit thin on the specs, but does some unexpectedly great things – 720p HDMI out, USB in, a really good camera and a great physical keyboard layout on a better keyboard than my fat thumbs have used on any other phone.

On the downside… man. Nokia really doesn’t have their software act together. Not even in terms of stuff working right or being elegant, but in really basic, stuff-not-working-properly-at-all. The software is kind of clunky in places – email is pretty good, particularly compared to the tinkertoy iPhone client, but the less said about the web browser the better – but in terms of an integrated user experience, it’s just a disorganized mess.

I’m led to believe that it’s organized largely along the lines of Nokia’s internal organizational structure, which is both kind of sad and completely believable. I understand that place kind of a disorganized mess these days too.

Just as one example among several, there are at least four different ways of synchronizing your calendar and address book across different devices or services (Google, desktop, etc), and I say “at least” because it’s very possible I haven’t found them all yet. But there’s zero consistency between them, clarity as why you’d want one or the other and all of them just outright won’t do what they claim to for some segment of your data. Consequently you need to figure out which services you use to sync what data, entirely by trial and error.

It really reminds of solving Windows NT problems back in the bad old days – about 40% experience, 40% research and 20% voodoo. It’s not a good scene.

The thing that really hurts, of course, is the software ecosystem. The people who lament the pernicious effects of the App Store model on software sales should really take a look at what having one comprehensive place to find software has done for the portable space. There’s actually a fair bit of worthwhile software out there for Symbian, as dearly as I’d love to be able to put Maemo on this phone. It’s just about the platonic ideal software ecosystem model – paid or free options, you can install software from unapproved vendors and so forth; you have excellent freedom of choice – but the Ovi Store’s poor selection is further weighed down by a really uninspired UI and the find-it-in-the-wild alternative is snowed by the aforementioned weak-sauce browser; without the facilitating factor of a really good unified store, finding things that you want is an exercise, more than a transaction.

Skype video calls don’t work even though all the hardware’s right there; apparently it used to work, through a third party called Fring, but they’ve had some sort of falling out. This isn’t the first piece of Nokia hardware I’ve owned that failed like that, and I can’t tell you how sad it keeps making me. And desktop support for a Mac? Haha, no.

I’m fortunate, that my mobile computing needs are relatively humble; as long as I have SSH, SMS, a good email client and a plausible twitter app, that’s the basics of what I expect from a phone, and this one does all that pretty well. But I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that even if I never use another iPhone, I will need to bridge off my E7 to an iPod Touch just so that I can still see software made by people who put human users ahead of org charts of legacy compatibility. But we’ll see – this pendulum swings back and forth for me, so it’s hard to say.

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