Trivial Posts #3: Beating Spelunky, Selling BS, and the story of the #IndyRef

Just before Christmas kicks in, it’s time for the next weekly edition of Trivial Posts. It’s the third week of the experimental digest that brings together interesting posts, ideas, video clips, essays, images, and anything else that catches my eye on the Internet.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the mailing list so you never miss anything trivial!

You. Are. Here.

Two quick mobile posts to start, first up, some gorgeous wallpapers for your home screen which are nothing more than pictures of the Earth. From up high. Looking beautiful.

Aeriel Wallpapers on Tumblr

Not forgetting the look of the smartphone itself. How do you design the curvy bit on the back? Motorola’s design team talk through the Moto X process on Medium.

Throwing A Curve At Smartphone Design

Two Grown Men. Graduates of major universities.

Two great retirements in the last week from the US ‘talk show’ circuit to note. The first, with perhaps more fanfare online because of the parodic nature, is Stephen Colbert, retiring the Colbert character and The Colbert Report ahead of his ascension to The Late Show. His audio interview with James West for Slate is fascinating, as he talks though his working day, and how he was able to stay ‘in character’ for so many years.

Working: With Stephen Colbert.

And then there’s Craig Ferguson, who made the late-night format his own. I have a huge respect for Craig (Scottish comedian, had a touch of success but no recognition in the UK,. went to the US, bit-part in a sitcom, and then late night genius for ten years) and part of me wishes it was Ferguson and not Colbert replacing Letterman. But the reason he worked is probably why he wouldn’t head to The Late Show. Vox’s Todd Van Der Werff:

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson ends tonight. Here’s why that’s a TV tragedy.

Highway to the Danger Zone

I’m not jealous at all of Ars Technia’s Leo Hutchinson, who’s just written up his experiences in the US Navy’s F/A-18 flight simulator. Okay maybe a little bit, but that is tempered with my one hour in the RAF’s F-4 Phantom simulator back in the nineties. That one was full-motion where Hutchinson’s was fixed to the floor. Still… grr…

Leo Hutchinson and FA/18 SIm

The Art Of Selling Bullshit

Congratulations to the viral team at ‘Cards Against Humanity‘ who advertised ‘a box of BS’ on Black Friday for $6 plus postage. 30,000 ordered the box to find out if the BS stood for BS, only to discover that, no BS< it really was a box of BS delivered to their door.

The boxes are now going for $30 on Ebay…

30,000 People Bought What

Sam Biddle say sorry

Congrats to Sam Bibble for a fine piece of opinion/editorial on Gawker. Biddle for a long time was behind ‘Valleywag’ (a sort of Daily Mail for the Web 2.0/Internet scene) and has called out many people before. One of them was Justine Sacco, who’s ill-judged tweet was amplified by Biddle and in part led to her dismissal. Biddle found himself on the other side of the coin recently, and relates that experience, and his now-friendship with Sacco.

Justine Sacco Is Good at Her Job, and How I Came To Peace With Her

What happens when a 21st-century kid plays through video game history in chronological order?

If you want a world-class gymnast, you train them from a very early age. If you want to have a child that can beat some of the hardest video games of the 21st century, you could do what Andy Baio has done.

My son Eliot was born in 2004… I love games, and I genuinely wanted Eliot to love and appreciate them too. So, here was my experiment: Start with the arcade classics and Atari 2600, from Asteroids to Zaxxon. After a year, move on to the 8-bit era with the NES and Sega classics. The next year, the SNES, Game Boy, and classic PC adventure games. Then the PlayStation and N64, Xbox and GBA, and so on until we’re caught up with the modern era of gaming.

Would that child better appreciate modern independent games that don’t have the budgets of AAA monstrosities like Destiny and Call of Duty? Would they appreciate the retro aesthetic, or just think it looks crappy?

Has Baio has raised a gaming ninja who could beat Spelunky (the hard way, by going to Hell) at the age of eight?

This Week’s Long Read: The story of the #IndyRef

There will be countless retellings of the Scottish Independence Vote of 2013, told from various viewpoints. The Guardian have taken a swing at it, and the back room maneuverings on both sides is starting to become clear (including the highly partisan intervention .of the Civil Service and the Queen herself). Raw, recent, history, and it deserves your attention.

Part one (Britain on the brink) and part two (The Final Days).

What have I been up to?

A quiet week in terms of major articles from myself this week, so I’ll just point out my long-term review of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, and why Panorama’s look at Apple’s supply chain is far more complicated and involved than the BBC makes out.

Subscribe To Trivial Posts

You could just swing by here every week to catch up, or you could subscribe to the mailing list and I’ll email you all the trivial goodness every seven days.