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Mailbox For iOS

Anthony Wing Kosner for Forbes:

Email is a constant stream of triggers, and the means to act upon these triggers can be present in the tool through which you receive it. This is why Mailbox’s mobile first approach is so important. Increasingly we get our mail messages on our mobile devices without the time, attention or full-size keyboard to make a complete response. These half-read, half-considered messages become work to take care of later—but that later never comes. By being able to structure your responses even if you don’t have time to make a full response you reduce the residue and mental overhead associated with your inbox. So when you do sit down at your desk or laptop or iPad, your work is cut out for you and ready to engage with the actual content you have to consider.

It took me a week to decide to take the plunge with Mailbox and allow it to archive all of my email on Gmail. All of my mail has been in my inbox basically since I signed up for the service years ago, a situation I imagine most people have been in as well. I can say it’s been a pretty good experience so far, my inbox is pretty clear, but I’m still getting used to the workflow of sorting my mail.

It’s a shame that there’s no Exchange support for the app, because for me, that would be the true test for Mailbox’s workflow – work emails. Nevertheless, I’ve definitely cut down on the bulk email lists I’ve subscribed to on my personal account. When you see the emails streaming in on an empty inbox, it’s pretty easy to see what’s necessary and what isn’t. Having 100,000 emails in the same place over the last 9 years or so just ended up being a big pile of eh.

via Mailbox App Revolutionizes Gmail Productivity, Will Google Or Apple Buy It? – Forbes.


Bungie’s Destiny

Michael McWhertor interviewing Bungie’s Jason Jones:

Enjoyable by the tired, impatient and distracted. Bungie believes that players don’t play games to “work hard, read or go the internet to figure out our bullshit.” The core experience, Jones says, has to be delivered as simply and easily as possible. And that pillar led Bungie to “throw out a bunch of dearly-held ideas.”

I used to take it as a given that I would have to do a lot of reading on the internet before even playing some games in order to play it “right.” Now that time is a scarce resource for me, I’m thinking “Hell yeah, let’s get rid of the bullshit complexity of games!”

It’ll be interesting to see exactly what the gameplay of Destiny will entail. Bungie is saying a lot of things about the game that appear at odds on the surface. Essentially the company line is, “It’s an easy to play shooter for all skill levels in a persistent world with no subscription fees!” There’s a fine balance to be had with every part of that statement and if any component goes awry, it could seriously tank the whole experience. I will say, though, that if there’s a company that’s bought itself the benefit of the doubt, though, it’s the studio that created the Halo franchise.

In any case, the game’s art looks fantastic:

via Destiny: Bungies Brave New Worlds | Polygon.


When The Business Of Making Games Goes Wrong

Anonymous Gearbox Developer:

Somehow the schedules for Pecan and Borderlands 2 managed to line up and GBX realized that there was no fucking way they could cert and ship two titles at the same time. Additionally, campaign (which was being developed by TimeGate) was extremely far behind, even as Pecan’s Beta deadline got closer and closer. In April or May (can’t remember which), Pecan was supposed to hit beta, but GBX instead came to an agreement with SEGA that they would push the release date back one more time, buying GBX around 9 mos extension.

About 5 of those 9 months went to shipping BL2.

via reddit


JJ Abrams On Making Half-Life And Portal Movies

JJ Abrams:

“We’re not looking to make a movie in the gaming world, we’re not looking to impose what we do on that, we’re looking forward to taking some of our strengths and collaborating with some of these incredible minds that make some of my favorite games. Just as I think they’re looking forward to taking some of their stories and the universe for some of their games and applying it to movies. I think they need to both be approached very differently.”

As much as I’m a little fatigued from all the JJ Abrams headlines lately (Star Trek, Star Wars), this guy really gets storytelling and entertainment. If anyone can pull off a truly great film based on rich video game worlds, it’s him.

via Half-Life and Portal movies in early idea stages, J.J. Abrams says | Polygon.


Top 10 Songs of 2012

Top 10 Songs of 2012

I don’t know if it’s a function of getting older with having less free time, but I find my music listening habits have made the transition from albums to almost completely track-based playlists. Part of it is due to the dearth of truly great albums by artists nowadays, and part of it is the simple fact that the best songs are often head and shoulders ahead of the other cuts on the LP.

So after being reminded by the Grammy’s last night that lists are fun to make and discuss, here’s my top 10 list of tracks from 2012 in no particular order. Some of these may look a little dated just by the nature of pop culture riding songs into the ground, but at the end of the day, my main criteria for a great song is the desire to hear it again after listening to it.

  • Walk The Moon – Anna Sun | Every time I hear this song, I just want to sing along – one of the most infectiously happy songs I’ve heard in a long time.
  • Usher – Climax | Next-level R&B by producer Diplo and Usher. Fun fact: there’s no actual climax or chorus in this song.
  • fun. – We Are Young | It’s an anthem perfectly made for graduating high-school seniors or those who wish they were there again.
  • Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks | Pop-folk from Iceland that always makes me envision life surrounded by rolling green hills.
  • Gossip – Perfect World | Imagine if Adele was in an indie-pop band and you might get something like this song.
  • Frank Ocean – Pyramids | Speaking of next-level R&B, this 9:33 long epic is so musically interesting and layered, that I rarely notice it being too long.
  • The Gaslight Anthem – Here Comes My Man | Maybe the video with Elisha Cuthbert is biasing me, but something about a good old-fashioned rock song with some “Shalalalas” appealed to me.
  • Japandroids – The House That Heaven Built | Just imagine hearing this song on a warm summer day outside rocking out alongside your best friends. This song was made for arenas.
  • PSY – Gangnam Style | I’m sure we’re all sick of this by now, but man, when I first saw the video for this song I literally had it on repeat for weeks. Frankly, I still get OP OP OP OPOP in my head randomly.
  • Cloud Nothings – Stay Useless | You don’t hear rock like this anymore, it’s got the raw energy of early 90’s alterna-grunge with the catchiness of a proto-Weezer. Yes, I just made up two hyphenated words.

Thanks to the magic of Spotify, sharing these lists got a whole lot easier. Check it out below:


The Mother Of All McDonalds

Jeb’s idea for a flagship “McWorld” restaurant in Times Square that serves all the unique items served in McDonald’s around the world is so brilliant, I’m surprised it hasn’t been done already. It’d be an amazing tourist destination – hell, it’d probably get a lot of locals who wouldn’t normally eat at Mickey D’s, too.

Jeb Boniakowski for The Awl:

I’ve often thought that a lot of what makes crazy restaurant food taste crazy is the solemn appreciation you lend to it. If you put a Cheeto on a big white plate in a formal restaurant and serve it with chopsticks and say something like “It is a cornmeal quenelle, extruded at a high speed, and so the extrusion heats the cornmeal ‘polenta’ and flash-cooks it, trapping air and giving it a crispy texture with a striking lightness. It is then dusted with an ‘umami powder’ glutamate and evaporated-dairy-solids blend.” People would go just nuts for that.

So spot on. I’ve been to very expensive “molecular gastronomy” restaurants where the best dish ordered essentially tasted like McDonald’s French Fries. It’s all about the presentation and context.

via Why Times Square Needs a McWorld | The Awl.


The NY Times Profiles Valve Software

Nick Wingfield for The New York Times:

This year, Mr. Newell hired Yanis Varoufakis, a Greek economist, after being impressed with Mr. Varoufakis’s personal blog, which he fills with commentary on the European financial crisis. Mr. Varoufakis, who had never heard of Valve and is not a gamer, is studying the workings of the virtual economies of Valve games, in which players can barter and sell items like hats and armor. He said he was drawn to the job partly by Valve’s “completely anti-authoritarian” culture that, to his surprise, seemed to be working.

“What does Valve have to add to our perception of the evolution of corporate structures in the future?” he said in a Skype interview from the Greek island of Aegina. “Let’s face it, the current state of that culture leaves a lot to be desired.”

A fascinating glimpse into one of the most unique companies out there, gaming or otherwise.

Valve, a Video Game Maker With Few Rules –


This Guy Would Rather Hire A World Of Warcraft Raider Than A Harvard MBA

Ok, I know you’re probably already rolling your eyes at the title, but believe it or not, he’s got some valid points. I can speak from first hand World of Warcraft raiding experience that it takes some pretty legit cross-functional teamworking skills to be able to pull it off. We’re talking about 25 people all working in unison to execute a plan in a timed pressure situation with oftentimes little room for error. On top of that, if you can’t pull your own weight in productivity, you’re going to be fired for someone who can. The best raiders actually have friendly competitions with team members in similar roles to see who can do better.

That being said, playing a video game is, at the end of the day, playing a video game. The stakes aren’t as high in the real business world, and, let’s be honest, a Harvard MBA is probably a better indicator of a quality employee. We’re also talking about the top 5% or so of World of Warcraft players that exhibit these business-like teamworking skills. It’s a small, but not insignificant percentage of the total player population. Still, if I was a company looking for out-of-the box candidate qualities, I would definitely put some weight into having high end World of Warcraft raiding experience if the rest of his resume checks out.

via How World of Warcraft Could Save Your Business and The Economy | John Seely Brown.


Penelope Cruz And Her Sister Play Nintendo DS

Can you imagine the internet comments on this if Nintendo hadn’t disabled them?


Water-Flavored Alcohol

This is probably a huge danger to humanity. But also kinda cool.

via Gizmodo.

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