Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives

June 2007 Archives

I love this thing!

Today I started out kind of excited but also kind of ambivalent. Really, how cool could the iPhone possibly be?

Now, after only one day's worth of playing with it, I'm convinced, Laura's convinced... This thing is amazing! It's about half the thickness of my Treo and easily ten times as powerful, not to mention a hundred times more fun and elegant. Further, I think I'm getting the hang of this keyboard - I'm starting to think that maybe, just maybe, I can use this instead of my laptop when I'm hoofing it around campus. Earlier today my friend Josh called me an Apple fanboi - and you you know what? I am, and I'm proud. Thanks, Apple - this thing rules!

Testing the iPhone.

Man, posting to my blog using my iPhone is going to take some getting used to! The keyboard is definitely easier to use when it's horizontal but it's still tricky as all get out!


A week of, well, me.

So somehow this has managed to be my week on the web. For the interested, there's a four-part "exit interview" with me over at the Official C3 Weblog (1, 2, 3, 4), a very cool shout-out from my friend and fellow media scholarly-type Robert Kozinets over at his blog Brandthroposophy, and finally a two-part (at least) conversation between myself and another media scholarly-type Catherine Tosenberger over at the official weblog of Henry Jenkins (the first part is here), which has been linked to by none less than Joss Whedon fansite extraordinaire Whedonesque.

Jefferson Davis and my Aunt Mavis, what a week! And here I am just wondering if there's any chance I can pick up an iPhone tomorrow...


Geoffrey vs. the Inbox.

If you're waiting to hear back from me about something, stay tuned. I'm currently waging war against an overflowing inbox. When I started the evening, I had 170 actionable personal, non-work related emails in my inbox. Nearly five hours and a 2700-word essay later, I'm down to 84 79. Progress! Slow, painful progress, but progress! (Bjorn and Bill, you're coming up fast...)

What he said.

Some kind words from my friend and boss. I share almost 100% of his sentiments – my only divergence might be the circus music. For my part, I am learning the joy of the Chemical Brothers in my headphones.

But seriously – at what other job can you host a comics artist one day, literally crack a whip the next, and spend whole evenings playing video games on huge screens and call it work?

Damn, I love it here.


Taunting Google.

Oh, man... Ever wonder what working at Google was really, really like?

Links list: 06-25-07.


Links list: 06-19-07.

Gotta close some tabs, as my machine is slower than dirt...


Links list: 06-18-2007.


The new dayjob!

So, for those of you who have been wondering what I've been alluding to for the last couple of weeks or so, methinks it's time to finally let the cat out of the bag. I've been offered, and accepted, the position of Communications Director for the MIT Comparative Media Studies program and the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab, or GAMBIT for short. Basically, I'm going to be handling websites, newsletters, conferences, outreach, and so on for our department and for the new video game lab – which is basically the same kind of thing I was doing before grad school – but also conducting research into interactive narratives for GAMBIT and helping to teach the interactive narratives class at MIT in the fall, and in so doing learning more about how to teach the stuff I love.

While I've only been working here for a couple of weeks now (graduation was last Friday, but the gig started up the last week of May), I can already tell you that MIT is a much different place to be when you can leave it behind at 5PM. It's still an endless stream of fascinating people, projects, and challenges, but when it actually can stop at the end of a work day, it becomes endless and not unrelenting. I seriously love it here, and the job is a unique combination of my loves for teaching and storytelling and technology and design. I'm excited to be here, to say the least.

Onward and upward!


A shout-out from Henry Jenkins.

Hey, I got a hat tip from Henry on his blog entry about Pirates of the Caribbean 3:

The secondary characters rely heavily on what my former student Geoffrey Long likes to describe as negative capability -- they are well enough defined that we can imagine who they are, what they want, and why they are doing what they are doing, but much remains for the audience to flesh out from their own imaginations.

Very, very cool.

Links List: 06-14-07.


An expensive week.

Weeks will go by without something really truly purchase-worthy making its debut on the store shelves, and then a week like this comes along. First up was the release of Hellboy Animated: Blood and Iron, where I snagged one of the 10,000 Best Buy exclusive DVD-and-figure packs this morning. (Ah, to open or not... Oh, what the hey.) Then Best Buy was holding a crazy sale, with any Fox TV boxed set going for $20 a pop, and I wound up buying the entire five-season run of Angel to go with my Buffy Chosen Collection, as well as the last few seasons of The X-Files. Back when I bought seasons 1-6, the adventures of Scully and Mulder were going for $100 a pop. Ah, how times have changed.

Now, tonight I find out that tomorrow's comics delivery includes the second Perhapanauts trade, the second Hellboy Animated volume, the next issue of BPRD, and now I find out that McSweeney's is having a mondo "Oh crap I think we're in trouble" sale. My wallet can't take it.

Tomorrow, perhaps, some more personally relevant news.


Keynotes getting worse?

Is it just me, or are the Apple Keynotes getting more and more disappointing? Today's WWDC keynote featured the following:

  • EA returning as a Mac game developer
  • Stacks, folders in the Dock
  • Translucent menu bar and a 3-D dock
  • "Back to my Mac" .mac feature, which is essentially iDisk
  • Cover Flow in the Finder, which is useless eye candy
  • Quick Look, a moderately useful enhancement of Preview
  • 64-bit Finder, which might be useful but I'm skeptical
  • Core Animation, which might be useful but is more likely to be useless eye candy
  • Boot Camp built-in, which is already out in Tiger and admittedly done better by Parallels or VMWare
  • Spaces, which is pretty cool
  • Movie Time Dashboard widget, which is okay but nothing new
  • WebClip technique for widget building, which we saw last year
  • iChat Theater, which will be useful
  • iChat Photo Booth effects, which totally won't
  • Time Machine, which is just a built-in backup system
  • Safari for PC, which will be great if it catches on
  • AJAX apps for the iPhone, which was a given

Seriously. No new hardware, no really jaw-dropping revelations for Leopard, a promise of 300 new features but nothing truly revolutionary demonstrated today, which suggests that the other 290 are all things like "changed the icon for the Canon printer driver".

Apple computers have gone to suck. The iPhone could be cool, but they're totally neglecting their original market. The writing was on the wall when they dropped 'Computer' from their name and just became 'Apple, Inc.' – where's the Blu-Ray drive or HD DVD drive? Where's the real increase in .mac value? Where's the new hardware? Where's, well, anything new for the Mac people?

It's tragic that of all of this, the thing I'm the most excited about is a translucent menu bar and some new desktop photos. This keynote sucked, and so does the outlook for Apple's computers. What a disappointment.

Links list: 06-11-2007.



Everyone and their brother has seen a variant of the LOLcats meme – a saccharine-sweet picture of a kitten (or kitteh, in LOLcats speak) with a l33tspeak-esque caption photoshopped on, often in bitmapped Helvetica or something like it. Well, rstevens of Diesel Sweeties fame has co-opted thememe and unleashed LOL BOTS upon the world. It must be seen to be believed.


Movable Type 4 beta!

I'm excited about the newly-announced Movable Type 4 Beta for all kinds of reasons, not the least of which is the local registration system. If I built this into the site so people could have their comment names and emails saved, so they could comment without waiting for me to approve it, would you guys use it?

The only thing I'm unsure about in the beta is the new UI – I just think it looks a little too much like Basecamp. What do you think?

New MacBooks: where's the beef?

I have a ton of open tabs I need to close because right now my laptop is running like a snail through molasses... The trouble is, I have more to say about a number of these than a simple 'links list' entry would cover, so you get a flurry of short posts.

First up on the docket is Apple's release of new MacBook Pros earlier this week. Seeing the new specs, I found myself with a flashback to those ads from the 80s: "Where's the beef?" The new Santa Rosa chipset is a welcome addition, as are the minimum of 2GB of RAM per machine and the mercury-free LED displays, but I'm not only disappointed that the new machines don't have more to offer but that they dropped only a week shy of GDC. This suggests that if there is a new-and-seriously-improved MacBook in the works, then it won't show up until 2008 at the earliest. Now, it's possible that this is just a kludge solution until a new machine shows up with a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD drive (support is rumored to be included in Leopard), a flash memory hard drive (as has long been rumored to be included in the even longer-rumored subnotebook – MacBook Nano?) and dear sweet Jesus come on an industrial design refresh.

Many Mac fanatics out there will scoff, "Why mess with perfection?", but that's the role that Apple should play, and used to play – to lead the industry and show what's possible. Take the Intel-sponsored concept laptop, for example; it's barely thicker than a Motorola RAZR phone, offers a screen in the back of the lid for quick access even if the machine is closed, has a crazy battery life of 14 hours, is really lightweight and is freakin' gorgeous. C'mon, Apple – this used to be your department. Someone call Ive and remind him that even though 'Computer' is no longer in the company's name, that's no reason to ignore the company's core business. I don't care if iPods are the company's growth leader at this point – they were suppoed to serve as a Trojan horse to convert more Windows people to the Mac platform, and it's worked. Now give them something amazing to convert to, dammit.


Links list: 06-01-2007.