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About once a week, on my way into work, I stop at Pamplemousse to have their “French Breakfast”. That’s a picture of it above: it’s just a sliced, warmed-up baguette, with butter and jam. And it’s my favorite part of my weekly commute routine. There are lots of little things I like about it. The […]

dragon age inqusition: stepping back

Preamble So: after that grab bag of impressions of Dragon Age: Inquisition, what do I think about the game as a whole? One question is: what do I wish the game was? Given the importance of relationships and romances in the game, “a dating sim” is a not outlandish answer. I don’t think it’s my […]

living code

Today’s Nature of Order experiment: see what the characteristics of living structures might look like when applied to software. Many thanks to the Agile Open California participants who helped me think through this; I’ll have a later blog post that talks about agile and living processes. Levels of Scale This is certainly present in the […]

shadow of the colossus as living structure

When I finished playing Shadow of the Colossus, I was impressed by it, but no more than by several other games from around the same time. Then at some point, perhaps a year and a half later, I was browsing the web and came across a picture of the game. And I gasped, I shuddered. […]

n’gai, publicity, older games

The latest Brainy Gamer podcast is up, and it’s an interview with N’Gai Croal. The whole thing’s great, go listen to it, but in particular one thing that he talked about is something that’s been on my mind: the way that enthusiast press coverage of videogames is heavily weighted towards the preview period. I’ve talked […]

alive games

I’m rereading The Phenomenon of Life, by Christopher Alexander, in preparation for reading the other books in the series. And, again, I’m blown away by it: if the book contained nothing but the pictures in it, it would be worth it. But, of course, there’s a lot more to the book than pretty (beautiful, profound) […]

detailing carpets

I’ve been on a bit of a Christopher Alexander kick for the last couple of years. At first, I started reading his most famous books, but those were good enough to leave me curious about what else he’d written. Not all of which is great, but enough is to keep me going. Still, it’s taken […]

zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance

I just read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for the first time in more than a decade. I confess to some amount of trepidation: I used to really like the book, and I was afraid it hadn’t aged well. In fact, the book continues to be awesome. Most novels could not pull off […]

recasting the architect, iterative design, and onsite customers

Some quotes from the chapter on “The Architect Builder” in Christopher Alexander’s The Production of Houses: This requires, then, that decisions about design can be made, individually, house by house, and that they can even be made while construction is under way. (p. 69) It requires a system of communication in which the building is […]

how buildings learn

I wasn’t expecting to like How Buildings Learn nearly as much as I did. I learned about it from the XP book‘s bibliography, and certainly you wouldn’t have to look very far in the book to find inspiration for your programming. But I was surprised at how interested I was in the actual topic of […]

live house

I’m in the middle of reading some Christopher Alexander, which of course gets me thinking about how our house works. And my conclusion is that I quite like it, but that Miranda can take almost sole credit for that. The downstairs has one largish L-shaped room, a small kitchen, and a small den. The upstairs […]