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Archive for the ‘Social’ Category

Infographic: How Americans spend their day

American time use survey infographic

Mmm… infographics… There’s an interesting interactive one over at the New York Times which depicts how people over age 15 spent their time in 2008. I do wish they’d used livelier colours though. (via Kottke)

Alice and Kev: The Homeless Sims

The Sims: Homeless

What if The Sims were played as homeless people? Robin Burkinshaw, a games development student wanted to find out. He’s created Alice, a girl with no money, no home, no food… and the worst Dad in the world.

When you create a Sim in The Sims 3, you can give them personality traits that alter their behaviour. Kev is hot-headed, mean-spirited, and inappropriate. He also dislikes children, and he’s insane. He’s basically the worst Dad in the world. He is a horrible human being, but he’s also amusing to watch.

His daughter Alice is a kind-hearted clumsy loser. With those traits, that Dad, and no money, she’s going to have a hard life.

I have attempted to tell my experiences with the minimum of embellishment. Everything I describe in here is something that happened in the game. What’s more, a surprising amount of the interesting things in this story were generated by just letting go and watching the Sims’ free will and personality traits take over.

The story that unfolds is at times funny, often sad and incredibly moving. (via Simon)

Antikewl gets SWFTed

@antikewl Want to go and lie down in a dark place

I mentioned Sam Bradley, the guy who’s been doing the illustrated social experiment on Twitter, a week or so ago. Since then he’s put all the illustrations he’s produced up on their own website,, and added me to the ranks alongside such glitterati as Douglas Coupland and Drawn’s Robot Johnny.

Might need to lighten up the tone of my tweets though — I appear to have been depicted as a miserable tiny balding man!

Sam Bradley Illustrates Twitter


Artist Sam Bradley has started a new social art project: He’s pledged to illustrate, four times a week, an individual tweet from the social networking site Twitter.

He hasn’t set up a site for it yet (I’ll update this post when he does) but you can see his drawings as he posts them on his Twitter stream @abysmalred.

Update: You can now find all of his Twitter illustrations at

Free Realms: Sony’s Family-friendly MMORPG

Free Realms screen shot

I recently got my closed beta invite for Sony’s new family-friendly MMORPG Free Realms and spent half an hour this afternoon checking it out. Sadly I can’t say much more about it as I’m under NDA but (rather oddly) they encourage beta testers to post feedback to the forum — which happens to be entirely public!

As I suspected from the trailers and videos I’d seen it’s very much a World of Warcraft “Lite” — but not in a bad way. They’ve taken a clearly winning formula, cutesied the style and remarketed it for a younger audience, adding a multitude of minigames and making character classes something your can switch between as the need arises, rather than choosing just one.

Free Realms is and will be, as the name suggests, free to play although you can “upgrade” for a $4.99 monthly fee to access an assortment of extra features like the ability to have more than one character and members-only items and quests. The beta is currently PC-only but it’ll also be available on PS3 later in the year.

After checking out Sony’s PlayStation Home earlier in the year and feeling distinctly underwhelmed I’m very pleasantly surprised by what Free Realms has to offer. Maybe Sony should ditch the Home team and get these guys in instead.

If you’re on there, look me up. I’ve called my character, not entirely voluntarily I might add, Trevor Flamingtree (login required).

Zork Returns as Casual Web-based MMO

Legends of Zork screenshot

Zork, the renowned text adventure released in 1979, returns in a new, free, web-based guise for the Facebook Generation as Legends of Zork, developed by Jolt for Activision.

Legends of Zork sees the Zork franchise re-invigorated for the first time since the release of the graphical point and click adventure Return to Zork in 1998. No longer a text or point-and-click adventure, Legends builds on the more casual social web games such as The Nethernet (formerly PMOG) and those that riddle Facebook.

Players create their character then venture further out into the world through simple battles (there doesn’t seem to be any way to use different attacks but as I’ve only been able to play to level 3 these may be learnt later in the game) and levelling. As the character’s level increases more areas become available to “adventure” in. Skill points are awarded as you level to spend on new skills. Money can be found on enemies and acquired by selling recovered items when returning to your home, The White House.

Beyond battling with friends (and enemies) PvP-style in arenas there doesn’t seem to be much more social stuff available but, again, this is early days and more could easily be added in the future.

Die-hard Zork fans might unwelcome the lack of any real adventuring in this new game — there appear to be no quests to speak of, other than going out and bashing stuff of increasingly higher level for cash — but it still appears to be a competitively fun social past-time for when your arms hurt from trying to beat your mother’s high score in Bejeweled Blitz over on Facebook.

You’ll find me on Legends of Zork as Travelling Salesman Muttonchops, named after the very first character I created on World of Warcraft all those years ago. Feel free to say hello!

Finally, for the incredibly nostalgic, you can still play the original Zork adventure online for free.

The iWeb Conversator Tee-shirt

iWeb Conversator Tee-shirt

Check out this absolutely awesome t-shirt from The Internet’s Penny Arcade.

We understand that with the lightning fast pace of today’s digimal world, generating the proper Internet truncation can be a difficult process. Everything is moving so quickly and you’re not even sure what they’re even talking about. You thought everyone was talking Portal, and now it’s all pictures of cats. With the power of our iWeb Conversator, you need not fear. Any response you select will be absolutely appropriate in every circumstance.



dConstruct pass

dConstruct is all over for another year.

Highlights for me were the insanely personable Tom Coates and his talk, “Designing for a Web of Data” and Cameron Moll on “Good vs Great Design“. No real lowlights, other than that I wished Denise Wilton and George Oates had a bit of a Q&A at the end of their talk… actually, a bit more Q&A all round would have been nice. Oh, and free coffee during the day would have been cool too.

What I really enjoyed, though, was meeting (meatspace social networking?) a lot of lovely like-minded folk. What’s even better is I’ve come out feeling incredibly invigorated and excited about what I do for a living — which really is a superb and unexpected bonus!

And the beer was nice too.

Actually, I have another low: Because I’m feeling more excited I’m up at eleven thirty on a Sunday finishing off a draft for an antikewl redesign — when I really should be in bed!

Facebook Friend Wheel


It’s been over a week since I posted anything? Doesn’t time fly when you’re trying to do two full-time jobs at once?!

Anyway, I just stumbled upon this fantastic Facebook App. I’m a big fan of technicolor visual representations of stuff and this makes just that out of my friends — at least the ones that are on Facebook anyway. What was most interesting to me was to see how segregated my friends are — different groups of friends had never met or been involved with other groups.

If you’re signed into Facebook, go to the Friend Wheel app page to check it out for yourself. (via Aleks‘ Flickr stream)

Second Life while you “work”

AjaxLife: British student Katharine Berry has created an in-browser AJAX application that allows you to log into Second Life, sans graphics, to chat and teleport around. (via Wonderland)