42pts

A little bit better than the average blog.

Category: Guide

Posts to guide in certain tasks such as building, cooking or beating a game.

7 Bad Ass Tips on Writing Productively

writerWriting may be one of the most difficult jobs in the world. No other job is as dangerous or often lethal as writing (to pride at least). Wielding the mighty pen, clashing with paper, defeating just yourself but growing from it, and waking late the next day to do it all again is the blood call of every warrior scribe.

But constant battle ensures exhaustion, sapping the will to write from the best of us at regular intervals. It’s important to have a healthy training regime against the eventuality of “writer’s block”, so I’ve collected below 7 bad tips to keep your writing productive; like, they’re super bad, so bad they’ll rock your world and really change the way you write. Hopefully for the better.

  7 Bad Ass Tips on Writing Productively

  • Fuck Reading

When you envision your inevitable victory as a writer, are you being handed trophies for having read every book in the next great fantasy series or did you write them? This should be obvious, but writers should be writing, not reading.

Reading is important to children. It helps their weak, tiny, stupid brains grow. When you can’t read, it’s vital to learn how, but it’s also like riding a bike: once you understand, you should get a car and stop playing with kids’ toys.

And consider how much time is wasted while reading. “This person said that and did it like this.” “That guy fell off whatever into her who knows.” Whoooo caaaares, amiright? This is why America loves movies; you can just see what’s happening, who’s doing what and how. If an author must spend time consuming someone else’s content, then TV, film, and video games are far superior methods.

A week of reading can easily be condensed into 90 minutes, with maybe some tits too. Stop burning time reading for more time to write.

  • Let Noise Be Your Muse

Distraction is the bane of productivity and no one suffers it as easily as the penman. Music tends to qualify as a distraction, but there’s fairly even division between writers for and against listening to music while working. I have the ultimate answer. The solution isn’t to do what works for you, but instead to immerse yourself above the ears in the engulfing warmth of pure unadulterated noise.love the noise

Ears gifted us one of our most valuable senses, yet so many are so willing to shun it while writing. Writing is all about taking the world around you, breaking it down, and cooking it into bite-sized bits for the masses. Think of all the morsels you’ll miss due to silence: no traffic noises telling you the mood on the street, no commercials promising the newest bestest thing if you’ll just look for a second, no catchy lyrics to supplant your thoughts.

Without listening to everything, it’s impossible to hear anything important. How does missing out on anything benefit your writing?

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Leveling Up in Life: The Gamer’s Guide to Success

Success is elusive when video games are so much more tempting, but it’s important to achieve success in order to acquire more time for video games. This troubling duality is the essence of life confronted in the Tao.

I’m a successful, brick-jawed, adventurous blogger who loves to game and I’m here to help you become a success too. What follows are the critical skills, achievements worth earning, and talents to strive for to help you succeed just enough so you can feed your digital addiction and get your mom off your fucking back, mom.

Excellence in any of these skills will lead to success, while improving them all, particularly in order, will certainly make you a better, cooler, potentially less odorous individual.

None of this, however, can make up for a goatee.

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Emergent Service: Cultivating Spontaneous Success

In the gaming community, there’s a concept known as “emergent gameplay” which refers to unforeseen mechanics that emerge out of the intended mechanics.

One of the best examples is the classic tabletop game Dungeons & Dragons. With relatively few rules explicit, encounters can nonetheless play out in limitless ways. There’s a rule for causing damage with a projectile and a rule for landing a magic-bullet throw, and from them one can deflect a knife off a wall into an ogre’s eye even though there’s no explicit mechanic for bullshit knife throws. In the video game Minecraft players use simple circuits and switches to create machines and even computers that can automate nearly anything in-game. Often there is no official alternative. Encouraging this kind of creativity made Minecraft an immense favorite that continues to be one of the most profitable video games of all time.

Games with strong emergence are popular because they offer more than advertised, some so much that they even spawn completely different, successful games as with Defense of the Ancients. A 3rd-party hit built using the toolset included with Blizzard’s Warcraft 3, DOTA spawned a number of highly successful knockoffs before it was brought into Blizzard’s official catalog. It used the major mechanics of Warcraft 3 but emphasized the heroes, upgrades and base defense aspects in place of the army management and story. The appeal of user-created content was widely proven by that time, but DOTA was one of the first to work within the constructs of the core game while remaining uniquely its own. It sprung naturally from soil laid by Blizzard, a truly talented developer, and even they could not see what they had sewn. But they were smart enough to reap it eventually.

Emergent mechanics oftentimes become so prevalent that they’re integrated with official product. The first combo system in a fighting game came about accidentally during development of Street Fighter II due to a bug that allowed players to link well-timed moves into an indefensible series. This error was abused relentlessly by testers, and now every fighting game features an elaborate combo system. Famously, rocket jumping came into the zeitgeist as a risky tactic from high-level Quake deathmatches, and it’s here to stay despite being the only thing in gaming more ludicrous than female body armor.

Emergent Products

Emergent qualities rise from the silt like gold in the pan. As with gold, prospecting requires time and effort, but every lode might be a big one. Fortunately, gaming isn’t the only place where emergence promises wealth. Nothing benefits from the convergence of ideas more than computer and network technology.

Only a decade ago one probably kept their business communications at the office spread across a phone, fax, file cabinet and personal computer, but today any smartphone can handle all that and start the coffee maker too. Someone saw it fit to make the phone, then other people integrated the internet, a mail app and everything else you could need, and from that emerged a whole that is so much more than its parts. The truth, utility and potential of emergence is objectified in the beloved smartphone.

The largest surfers of the tech wave are Microsoft and Apple, each with their own ecosystem of mutually successful products that characterize what I refer to as “emergent service”: providing a flexible suite of products and possessing the agility to identify and nurture unexpected growth. However, they contrast frequently in their successes because they’ve both handled growth differently at times.

In a time long lost, Microsoft’s superior agility in adapting computers for everyday consumption awarded them a practical monopoly over the PC market. But more recently Apple took the lead by predicting and essentially initiating the widespread adoption of smartphone technology. With the tremendous success of the iPhone, Apple was then able to coordinate the development of a variety of products (iPad, iMac) and services (iCloud, iTunes) that complimented those already available, escalating iProducts into essential everyday tools for both personal and professional use, and Apple into essentially the #1 Company In The World.

What’s startling is that Microsoft had every advantage when this happened: the money, market share and an established name. But Steve Jobs and Co. had the flexibility, capital and wisdom to weave a collection of smart ideas into what would become the first genuinely smart phone, and the next wave of the future.

Cultivating Emergence

Of course, replicating Jobsian vision is a puzzle for the ages and I’m barely not arrogant enough to tackle that topic. Still, the question stands of not just how to reap emergence, but cultivate and sew it as well.

One obvious answer is consulting, which exists primarily to nurture strengths into excellent products and services, often times by complimenting them with something consumers intuitively demand and get one way or another. Experts possess the fundamental insight and perspective necessary to trace and encourage profitable avenues, and they make great money in turn, as do their patrons. However, it would behoove anyone with aspirations of greatness to have this kind of talent on-staff lest it be diverted elsewhere, as great talent is wont to do. The nature of emergent success is such that it requires great focus and you do not want your visionaries distracted by competing interests.

It’s more important than ever to seek emergence, too. Microsoft slipped for just a moment and now struggle to maintain relevance in essential markets. They’re chasing their next big breakthrough instead of building from their last like Apple. Windows isn’t even a close third against iOS and Android phones, and with so many operating systems consistently missing the mark, Microsoft is running out of room to back into. The Xbox alone can’t impede the fall of one of history’s largest corporations.

Microsoft failed to recognize the fundamental wisdom beneath the most persistent nerd factoid of all time, Moore’s Law, which states processor speeds double approximately every 18 months. It rather accurately notes a rate of nearly exponential growth in computers (so far). No other market evolves as constantly. Falling beneath such furious churn can easily result in drowning. This is important to remember because it seems that just as gaming is not the only place to find emergence, neither is tech the only place exponential growth expresses itself.

Accelerating Returns and Inevitable Reality

Ray Kurzweil calls it his “Law of Accelerating Returns“. It describes essentially the same thing as Moore’s, which is that evolutionary systems have a tendency towards exponential growth; organic and technological usually, but potentially also social and cultural evolution, too. But both laws face reasonable limits with logistic growth. Exponential increases continue only under the right circumstances and with limitless resources, and plateau or diminish without. So these growth windows are certainly temporal.

Learning to identify these windows is key in both the micro- and macrocosm because they likely manifest quite frequently in unpredictable ways, and will only occur increasingly more in the future. But the most profitable waves will come sporadically, so flexible institutions must ready themselves to take advantage whenever possible.

Observe what generates the most interest and energy and pinpoint what has drawn the attention. Then augment and encourage that with complimentary features, and continue that pattern with each new advancement. Think of the iterative process and the way each step carefully bonds what comes before and after; act iteratively, carefully and with as much data as possible to remain sure-footed. No matter what, you must always keep abreast of the latest advancements in your field and, importantly, how they relate to and encourage your own products and services.

Nearly exponential growth is a tough pace to keep. Microsoft didn’t and now they’re behind; Apple will surely follow in kind soon enough. The pace of progress will only quicken. Fortunately, however, wildfire growth can’t spread forever, otherwise we’d devour ourselves like an Ouroboros. Still, exponential growth outpaces trends quickly, and if you’re not always looking ahead then you’ll certainly end up watching from behind. Tend to your emergencies before it’s too late.

How to Make an Animated GIF From Video Using Photoshop

kitty katter pitter patterI’m not going to waste time explaining the appeal of animated GIFs when that image and this link will do, but therein lies their wonder: showing where telling might do. Because they’re so great, I’m going to show you how to make your own animated GIFs from video with the help of the only app that matters, Photoshop.

This is a beginner’s guide for those with little or no experience making animated GIFs.

Requirements:

– Photoshop CS5 or better

– A source video

Important Guidelines

Size matters, whether you accept it or not. Fortunately, animated GIF sizes vary as unpredictably as wieners so folks generally accept what they get. After eyeballing Senor GifBuzzFeed, Giphy, 4chan and Reddit, it seems to me file sizes generally break down as such: (more…)

The Top 10 Improbably Best Hearthstone Cards

hearthstone logo transparent

The success of Activision-then-Blizzard’s Hearthstone should not come as a surprise, Blizzard having mastered the art of operant conditioning. The game swept literally 100% of the world’s nations, especially the ones without internet, with the exception of North Korea excluding the rumpus room of King Jong-un. Hearthstone’s importance to humanity cannot be understated, being so great that the Battle.net launch screen should be carved beneath the foot of every monument.

It is critical for citizens of the world to understand how to play The Hearthstone effectively, and so I have taken chisel in hand to engrave here wisdom I’ve divined from the cards and for the benefit of all mankind. Here are the 10 Improbably Best Hearthstone Cards: cards so great that their greatness has been concealed with great care, now greatly revealed.

You may thank me with glorious comments.

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