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Showing posts from March, 2010

Childhood's End - Arthur C. Clarke

In the future we'll work less and less thanks to automation which will leave us more and more time for entertainment. Most of the routine jobs will be done by machines which leaves us to do the thinking. Thanks to the machines we'll have more time to sport and we'll manage to watch three hours of TV a day. Factories will produce enough goods so that the basic necessities of life are cheap. We'll all be able to travel to any other place in the world in less than one day. It's the golden age of mankind and also the start of our childhood as we spend more and more time playing and watching games.

Arthur C. Clarke's vision from 1953 seems prophetic today. Sadly, we now watch an average of four hours of TV a day while most people don't do any sport at all. And not everyone is at our western level of prosperity. Most people can hardly pay their rent.

In Clarke's book this golden age of mankind is delivered by a species called the Overlords. One day they came…

Dragon Age: The Failure

Exciting! The new Dragon Age expansion has arrived. So I quickly went ahead and clicked install. Half a minute later I'm sitting before an "Installation Failure" screen. Five attempts later the game still isn't installed. Luckily there's Google. Apparently the game doesn't properly install on Vista Ultimate 64 bit. There's a quick fix: install it using the Windows 2000 compatibility mode. Five minutes later the game is installed. How many people will return their games to the store because it doesn't work? It's an unacceptable bug.

After installing Mass Effect 2 I spent two hours in vain trying to find my old save game. I didn't have any luck and used a pre-made character from another player. But I felt bad about loosing my character. I made sure I wouldn't have the same problem with Dragon Age. I left the game installed after finishing it because the expansion was just around the corner. And indeed, the old save-game loads flawlessly. The…

Ubik - Philip K. Dick

Ubik - Ubiquitous - Everywhere


Joe Chip works as a technician for a "prudence company". The company employs anti-psych people. One such talent might be the ability to block a telepathic. If you're sceptic about paranormal talents you're not the only one. At least one of the company's customers doubts their claims. Do they really do something or are they just drinking up our coffee while burning a whole in my pocket? But he's rather safe than sorry and just coughs up the money.

The book starts when the company receives a big order in times of crises. Safety bells should ring in their heads but they go ahead anyway. Arriving at the scene an explosion happens. Apparently their boss Runciter is killed. They immediately go off and bring their boss to the mortuary where he can be kept in a state of half life for a few more years. In half life he can still be asked some questions once every few years.

In a lot of books this prologue would be the offset for an action…