It’s Monday, October 17, 2022 in Portland, Oregon and it’s finally getting a bit cooler. We might even have rain this weekend!
Let’s get on with it:
I caved and got a subscription to HBO Max after they ran a 40% off promo. So far it’s all great – I’m burning through Hacks, Robin introduced me to Bird Girl which it turns out is too weird for me – apart from HBO Max’s interface for parental controls appearing to be upside down.
Here’s how it appears to work on other platforms like Netflix and Disney+. I haven’t checked with Hulu, which is probably a sign that I should drop that subscription.
Wait, let me start again. Here’s what I need to happen:
Here’s how Netflix and Disney do it:
The most important thing here is that I can make it hard to get into a profile that shows adult/mature content.
Here’s how HBO Max does it:
Now I hope I don’t have a COVID-addled brain, but this means:
… but what happens if HBO Max defaults to showing the profile of whoever was using it last?
(Okay, I just ran downstairs to check)
I mean, that’s what it does! My wife was watching last night, so you turn on the TV and woop: there HBO Max is, logged into an adult profile. Not great!
I can understand that staying in a Kid Profile might be important, but it kind of is taken care of by the inverse, which is not requiring PINs for kid profiles and requiring PINs for adult profiles. The whole thing feels upside down and I can’t work out if it’s because I’m being dense. I don’t like this feeling.
Caught my attention because: it’s really freaking annoying to have one streaming service do stuff in a super weird, idiosyncratic way compared to the others. Consider following convention?
I am “tell me how long you’ve been using computers without telling me, etc” years old by remembering getting Usborne’s Computer Battlegames (PDF)2 book out from the library in Dundee, Scotland, and laboriously typing in BASIC listings.
It had the following things in it:
Some examples of the comments are:
One of the best bits is toward the end of the book, in a section called “Writing your own programs”. I’ll excerpt a bit here:
As you work through the games in the book, you’ll probably find yourself making more and more changes to them and eventually wanting to write new games of your own… … Before you start, it is a good idea to stop and think about what your computer can and cannot do.
(Here’s the list)
So far, so good. But then these two are just fantastic:
Honestly if I cared more about this I’d post the whole thing to The Orange Place as if I’d tossed in a hand-grenade.
Caught my attention because: nostalgia, “learning to code”, yadda yadda.
A game about operating a radio telescope3 feels like it’s adjacent or somewhat overlapping the burgeoning genre of “job simulator” games (see: power washing, tractor driving, train driving, truck driving), of which I think some of the attraction of which is “look, it’d actually be relatively OK if you chose to do these things instead of having to do them to survive”, which is a weird kind of “in the fully automated luxury space communism future, people will do jobs just for fun”
Simon Willison has done it again and created shot-scraper-template, a one-shot way to take screenshots of webpages using Github Actions and then throw all those screenshots into a Github repo.
Caught my attention because: there’s a bot somewhere that takes hourly screenshots of news website front pages of the left-and-right persuasions and I thought there must’ve been a better way of doing it with Actions and using a repo to store the images.
I loved this article about Margot Comstock but Laine Nooney, who created and edited the magazine Softalk:
As a periodical, Softalk was a magazine that both challenged the computer hobbyist journalism industry and defined the social terrain of the early Apple II software era — which contained one of the largest libraries of software — expressing the cutting edge of what it was possible to do with a computer of one’s own.
Caught my attention because: nostalgia, history of computing, “actual people” and she had me with “Softalk is not a programming magazine” and privileging “journalistic style rather than technical data”.
Okay, that’s it for Monday!
How are you doing?
None of them will because a bunch of this stuff is obvious, and don’t come at me with the whole “if it hasn’t happened there’s normally good reasons for it”; see: An Unsolicited Streaming App Spec, John Siracusa, Hypercritical, 15 February, 2022 ↩
Press many buttons to operate a radio telescope array in this eerie indie game’s demo, Alice O’Connor, Rock Paper Shotgun, 14 October, 2022 ↩