Google Nest and the Internet of Shit

As I write this, I’m sitting comfortably in my new house, where it is cool and dry. Last week in Houston, however, it was 100 degrees (near record-breaking), and humid. I’m no stranger to heat, having spent most of my life in central California with a brief sojourn in Las Vegas, but it was particularly brutal when I moved here and, of course, the air conditioner immediately broke. There were actually several things that went wrong in succession, but one of the most frustrating by far was the thermostat, a “Nest” device produced by Google (who bought the Nest company…

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Generation Y: The New Lost Generation

Before I get there, let me quickly mention that I’m off of social media until Easter, and I’m very busy with moving preparations so there may be less YouTube content coming out. If you need me, shoot me an email at stu@dvspress.com. But to the point: Edited by JD Cowan, and containing content by him, Brian Niemeier, and myself… and available now for free! But what is this collection and what is it about? In short, it’s about the generation of people born in the late 70s through late 80s and their perspectives on the massive gulf between the world…

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Ain’t No Free Ride

I just found out today that infamous bodybuilder Bostin Loyd has died, apparently of a heart attack, though he was also in stage 5 kidney failure due to the (according to him) the use of an experimental peptide. It’s convenient to either take special note of Bostin Loyd’s massive steroid use or to lump him in with the slew of recent deaths in the bodybuilding world and forget the point of Bostin’s online content as well as the fact that these untimely deaths (or health crisis) have been going on for a very long time. The great lesson Bostin was…

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Time to Diet

It’s February! That means it’s time to diet for summer. But… Isn’t it still winter? Yes, but truthfully, waiting until February to start a diet is cutting it close. Most people vastly overestimate how much fat they can lose and underestimate how much time it takes to lose it. So, this is my friendly reminder: the time is nigh if you want to get lean for summer! With that, let me share a few things I’ve learned over the years about dieting: It takes a long time to lose the weight. You can expect, if your diet is actually working,…

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Moonsong book 3 – Shadow and Smoke now available for pre-order

I’m proud to announce the conclusion of the first trilogy of Moonsong books, Shadow and Smoke, which is available for pre-order in ebook form. The physical (8×5 paperback) will go live several days before the ebook to allow for shipping time from Amazon’s print-on-demand facilities. Yes, I said the first trilogy. As I mentioned when I released the first book, City of Silver, this series was something I had already written 5-6 books worth of material for. So, why aren’t they all out? The short answer, which is also the answer to why this third volume took so long to…

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Dungeon Encounters (early impressions)

Dungeon Encounters is a game, though the title doesn’t quite sound like a game as much as a category of play. The name is simple, but it’s got a lot of talent backing it up: directed by Hiroyuki Itou (of Final Fantasy 6, 9, and 12 fame) and produced by Hiroaki Kato (who has been involved with some of my favorite Final Fantasy games, including Tactics Advance 2), and with music overseen by Nobuo Uematsu. Despite, or perhaps because of, these particular personalities, the game comes across as decidedly stripped-down and old school. It’s a dungeon crawler and nothing more…

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Extending Play Time: How the goal of a game is to take more of your time.

his may sound a bit odd, but one of the unspoken goals of game design is to take as much of the player’s time as possible, or to put it another way, there is an in-built quest for efficiency with games regarding time. Sometimes, they advertise this by claiming the game has “a hundred hours of content,” or some such. As I’ve said before, not all time is well-spent. A boring 100-hour game is inferior to a game that is shorter but interesting all the way through. One hundred hours of really fun content sounds like a great deal, but…

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Dune 2021 – Review

I gave up on seeing a faithful adaptation of Frank Herbert’s immensely popular Dune years ago. The way Herbert constructs the book and strange worldbuilding and philosophy that underpins the entire series make it, I believe, unfilmable. That conclusion hasn’t stopped the many fans of the book and the universe from clamoring for another visual adaptation, and so in 2021, we finally got a big-budget film of Dune directed by Denis Villeneuve (who also directed Blade Runner 2049, which I still have no plans ever to watch). Sort of. What was released this week was part 1 of, I presume,…

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Rubbernecking the Avocado – The Meta-Mukbang

Ever slow down on the freeway to see a wreck? Ever call a Nascar event boring because nobody crashes? You’re not alone. We describe chaotic, attention-grabbing events as “train wrecks” for a good reason—like a train going off the rails, you can’t look away. It’s a human instinct to look upon the morbid. There is perhaps some survival enhancement buried there, a kind of imprinting of doom that pumps up caution and therefore decreases the odds of suffering the same fate. However, like all valid human desires and instincts, they can be artificially hijacked. Enter the internet age, where at…

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The Prequel Effect

“The Prequels Suck!” How many times have you heard this? How many times have you uttered this yourself? Which prequels am I talking about? Well, the most obvious answer for those of you who follow me is the Star Wars prequel trilogy, released between 1999 and 2003, all of which were directed by Star Wars mastermind George Lucas. These movies were contentious, to say the least, because they were ultimately something quite different than what the Gen X and Gen Y Star Wars fans that grew up with the original movies wanted. There have been hours-long commentaries and documentaries on…

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