Technology Archive


Double Fine’s Adventure Game Kickstarter

Keeping the scale of the project this small accomplishes two things. First and foremost, Double Fine gets to make the game they want to make, promote it in whatever manner they deem appropriate, and release the finished product on their own terms. Secondly, since they’re only accountable to themselves, there’s an unprecedented opportunity to show the public what game development of this caliber looks like from the inside. Not the sanitized commercials-posing-as-interviews that marketing teams only value for their ability to boost sales, but an honest, in-depth insight into a modern art form that will both entertain and educate gamers and non-gamers alike.

I’m surprised it’s taken this long for a major game developer to crowdsource funding for new projects (niche musicians have used it in years past to fund new albums), but who better to capitalize on both nostalgia and goodwill than Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Productions. The man has made some of the most cherished games of my childhood (Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango) and I’m sure as hell excited to back a project that will attempt to revitalize the dying genre.

In just a few hours after posting the Kickstarter page, Double Fine has already got half of its $400,000 funding goal (the original deadline was over a month!) for a genre that is supposedly incapable of selling in this day and age. Hopefully, this will serve as proof to the industry that games don’t have to head down the same path as Hollywood movies are in milking tired franchises year in and year out.

At this point it’s really only a matter of time before we see a Kickstarter for Psychonauts 2…

(Don’t forget to watch the video on the top of the Kickstarter page. It’s very entertaining.)

Update (2/9):

We did it! 100% funded in just over eight hours. You people are amazing! But it’s not over yet. The number keeps going up and now the question is just how much news do we want to make with this? We’re getting a lot of attention already and it seems like this little project could have an impact beyond itself.

All money raised will go to make the game and documentary better. Additional money means it can appear on more platforms, be translated into more languages, have more music and voice, and an original soundtrack for the documentary, and more!

Your backing and comments have been truly inspiring to me and the team, so on behalf of Double Fine and 2 Player Productions I want to say THANK YOU!!!


Double Fine Adventure by Double Fine and 2 Player Productions — Kickstarter.


Google Currents Lets People Easily Create Touchscreen Optimized Content

Google Currents released yesterday. Basically, it’s a Flipboard-style app on your tablet or smartphone that lets you view your subscribed RSS feeds and content from featured publishers in a more visually pleasing “online magazine format.”

What makes it interesting, though, is that Google is also launching a basic content publishing platform for small publishers (like yours truly) to easily create a touch-screen optimized content portal.

Alongside Google Currents, we’re also launching a self-service platform that gives publishers the flexibility to design, brand and customize their web content. For example, if you’re a small regional news outlet, a non-profit organization without access to a mobile development team, or a national TV network with web content, you can effortlessly create hands-on digital publications for Google Currents.

It’s pretty basic, and you’ll still need to tackle the problem of growing your subscriber base, but it’s an interesting angle of attack nonetheless.

via Official Google Mobile Blog.


Why There Wasn’t LTE In The iPhone 4S

Apple obviously doesn’t use Qualcomm Snapdragon SoCs so enabling LTE on the iPhone isn’t possible using Qualcomm baseband unless you make the phone’s PCB larger (which Apple obviously wasn’t going to do). Note that no one else seems to deliver a single chip LTE + 1x/WCDMA voice solution either, so this isn’t just a Qualcomm limitation.

Basically because as magical as Apple makes engineering seem, it just wasn’t physically possible and won’t be until at least 2012 sometime. And even then, will LTE even be rolled out in enough markets?

via AnandTech – Why No LTE iPhone 5 in 2011? Blame 28nm Maturity, Check Back In Q2/Q3 2012.


The Verge’s Kindle Fire Review

Joshua Topolsky:

For an OS that’s still playing catch up to iOS, and one which is plagued by fragmentation in its main, fully supported app store, the introduction of a completely separate store on a completely separate product which developers now have to to consider seems relatively awful to me. Sure, there are some great titles available to Fire owners — but what’s the long term plan? If the Fire doesn’t reach parity with Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich, all of the new “tablet” Android apps will be unavailable for this platform or require a second build which developers will have to maintain, and that seems untenable.

Disappointing if you’re looking for the Kindle Fire to be an all-purpose tablet device. That doesn’t mean that it’s completely useless as a full featured tablet, but I wouldn’t hold out hope for long-term developer support on yet another fragment of the Android ecosystem.

Kindle Fire review | The Verge


The Hidden Cost Of Owning An Android

Michael Degusta made an interesting chart detailing Android OS software upgrade support for 18 popular devices released over the past couple of years.

The results are disturbing if you expected a pattern of support:

  • 7 of the 18 Android phones never ran a current version of the OS.
  • 12 of 18 only ran a current version of the OS for a matter of weeks or less.
  • 10 of 18 were at least two major versions behind well within their two year contract period.
  • 11 of 18 stopped getting any support updates less than a year after release.
  • 13 of 18 stopped getting any support updates before they even stopped selling the device or very shortly thereafter.
  • 15 of 18 don’t run Gingerbread, which shipped in December 2010.

In a few weeks, when Ice Cream Sandwich comes out, every device on here will be another major version behind.
At least 16 of 18 will almost certainly never get Ice Cream Sandwich.

Could you imagine if Apple forced you to buy a new phone every time they updated iOS? People would riot. The only Android phone i would even consider buying is whatever Google has anointed it’s “official” Nexus device. At least then you’ll get the theoretical “maximum” amount of software updates.

Future OS upgrades are something people rarely think about when shopping for a new phone, but it’s a very real problem with Android. Of course, if you don’t care about getting new features or security updates on your $200 on contract device, then feel free to keep ignoring the issue.

Nevermind that it  would make you the technological equivalent of people who don’t like more cash.

via the understatement: Android Orphans: Visualizing a Sad History of Support.


Adobe Kills Flash Mobile

Adobe killed development for Flash on mobile devices yesterday and all we got was a massively TL;DR press release “blog post” by someone on their executive team. I mean, shit, just look at the title of the post: Flash to Focus on PC Browsing and Mobile Apps; Adobe to More Aggressively Contribute to HTML5 (Adobe Featured Blogs). I’m already tuned out.

When will companies learn that communicating to the public with PR-speak just serves to induce eyerolls and indifference? Writing clearly and in plain English isn’t going to make your company look bad.

On a related note, the tech blogging world seems to be caught in a rousing game of “I Told You So” since it appears as if Apple “won” the battle of Flash on mobile devices. I get that it’s a vindicating feeling to be on the apparent winning side, but playing flamebait tennis really just ends up making everyone look the kids on the forums.

I’m just excited that we’re one step closer to having a better mobile web browsing experience no matter what device we are using.



The Google Reader Redesign Is A Flaming Pile Of Poo

Of all the shitty things the new Google Reader redesign did, none was more unconscionable as the removal of the Reader-specific sharing features.

Brian Shih, former Product Manager on Google Reader hits the nail on the head:

But no – instead, they’ve ripped out the ability to consume shared items wholesale from the product. The closest analogue might be if Twitter made it so that 3rd party clients could use the Retweet functionality to push Retweets to a user’s stream — but only allowed you to consume Retweets on

I get that it didn’t make sense for Google to essentially be managing “two” social networks in Plus and Reader, but they picked the worst possible way to integrate the two services. I don’t care that Plus is now the place where my shared articles and comments live now. Hell, I actually welcome it, because now I have control over a potentially greater audience.

But I don’t want to have to go over to a separate website just to see the list of stuff from my trusted share community. To add insult to injury, sharing on Plus only affords a short three line preview of the article and/or thumbnail image. Even the most green Sharebro knows to share the entire article whenever possible.

This was the old process in Reader to read and comment on links:

  1. Click on Shared Items section
  2. Read and comment
This is the new process:
  1. Share item in Google Reader
  2. Open a new browser window and navigate to Plus site
  3. Find and click Google Reader share community circle (after manually adding each person you want to share to)
  4. Read headlines and click again to view the link in a new window
  5. Switch back to the Plus window and find the “share”
  6. Read and comment

Why is Google forcing me to triple the amount of work i need to do to read a shared full article? Wouldn’t have it made more sense from a usability angle to create a Plus hosted “Google Reader Followers Circle” and have a section within Reader itself to view those shared links and comment on them? That way everyone wins – Reader users don’t experience a functional retardation of their product and Google has more content and activity populating its new flagship social network.


Why the QR code is failing

Great article by Sean Cummings on how marketers are failing with their use of QR codes:

My survey was conducted in San Francisco, the veritable Mecca of the planet for tech, so it only goes downhill from here. When I asked those who knew it was some type of “barcode” how they could decipher it, 35 percent answered “with their phone.” When I asked them to actually “read” it with their phone? Only 45 percent of those were able to do it, and it took an average of 47 seconds for them to take out their phone and find the application to read the QR code — not exactly a “quick response.” Remember that agencies are putting these on moving buses and highway billboards.

It’s clearly a case of “well it sounded good in the brainstorming meeting, and everyone other marketer is doing it.” How in the world do you expect people to play Quick Draw McGraw with their phones just to see your marketing message? Even if everyone knew what a QR code was and how to decode it, it would take the skills of an Aaron Burr to be able to snap them on a moving billboard target or a 2 second window on a TV.

Unless your campaign has a really interesting use for QR codes (NOT as a substitute for a URL), just leave that crap at home. Use that money for a better GoDaddy vanity URL.

via Why the QR code is failing (single page view) –


Sneak A Peak At Gmail’s New Interface

A new video demonstration of some of Google’s planned changes to the Gmail interface has leaked to the interwebs.

It’s nothing mindblowingly different, especially if you’ve taken part in “previewing” the new Gmail look over the past few months, but there’s some welcome new changes such as a display density changing option and a more “conversational” view for message threads.

Don’t plan on dropping your jaw, but do plan on letting out a positive “hmph.”



PlayStation Phone ‘Zeus Z1’ caught on video again, this time you can actually see it

I want this to succeed, but I’m worried they’ll half ass both the phone and game portions of the device. Having Android as a foundation helps, but the Playstation Phone really needs to have AAA games to have a chance at a sale for me. It needs to have at least PSP game quality parity and I’m not sure it can do that given the limited amount of storage space and system resources on the phone. I can totally see it just becoming another PSP Go that has people talking at first, but ends up being completely irrelevant.

Read: PlayStation Phone ‘Zeus Z1’ caught on video again, this time you can actually see it (update) — Engadget.