Erno & Rubi

This is a nice little bit of interactive storytelling (more than a game) and well worth taking the time to check out, especially since it’s free. Taking inspiration from the movements of a Rubik’s Cube, you move aspects of the scene around, creating a story for the two characters that are represented within. It features great art, and is fun to experience for a few minutes.

Digging Through the Archives

At long last, my archives are back. Most of them at least.

Some of you may recall that back in early 2014, I had the great misfortune of the web host I was using pulling the rug from under me, which meant that my entire website — which dated back to 2002 — suddenly disappeared.

And I didn’t have proper backups.

Eventually I did find some SQL database backups from 2011, which meant that I could probably eventually try to reconstruct the site, and then do some digging through the Wayback Machine for the missing 3 years. But I was so disgusted with what had happened that I wasn’t looking to self-host something right away, and decided to just use Tumblr, which is what I had set up quickly to keep on writing.

Jump to now.

A friendly poke the other day from my old friend Craig Mod came my way. He mentioned that it was a shame that all those archives of me covering the art & design scene in Tokyo/Japan during the 2000s weren’t available online anymore, and I couldn’t agree more. It was the kick in the ass I needed to just go ahead and finally spend the time required to getting all of this back up and available for everyone. After a post on Facebook to enlist some aid on what to do with that old database, it was another old friend from my Tokyo days (Michael, an ex-AQ staffer who was a pro at wrangling WordPress) who helped me out — I ended up creating a locally-hosted WordPress blog on my laptop, managed to connect to that old database (after a few modifications), and now I’ve taken the step of self-hosting a blog again (using the quick-and-easy WordPress hosting by name.com, which is the company I use for my domain hosting).

So a first step has been done, and it’s what you now see here. As you can see in the sidebar to the right (at least for now, as I imagine I’ll eventually settle on another theme to use), you’ll find full archives of the site, from the very first post on September 4, 2002, going to August 2011, and then the posts from the new Tumblr-hosted site I had from March 2014.

(I actually started writing regularly on the web in 1998, in the form of weekly columns about my life in Tokyo, all coded in HTML, but that content may truly be gone for good.)

Unfortunately, none of the images from those posts made it over — although I may still have some I can manage to add, as I found an old folder with a good amount of them — and I still need to try and find those 3 years of missing posts (as I mentioned, fingers crossed that I’ll be able to find them through the Wayback Machine).

But at least for now, it sure feels good to have a lot of this stuff online again, and I’ve been having a blast going back and randomly reading old posts. It reveals a younger me who is so excited by what he’s experiencing, deliciously naive (in a fun way).

Digital diaries from the Japanese front.

Devs Play

I’m so happy that a second season of Double Fine’s Devs Play series is currently happening, and the four episodes so far have all been great. I’d say the two episodes with Patrice Désilets (playing Prince of Persia: Sands of Time and Assassin’s Creed II) are especially interesting, because you get to hear about a lot of the design thinking behind those games – the episodes with Ted Price (Spyro and Ratchet & Clank) are more about trivia relating to the games. I’m very much looking forward to the next episode, which will feature Media Molecule playing and discussing LittleBigPlanet. And if you missed it, you absolutely have to watch the 10-part episode from season 1 featuring John Romero playing/discussing Doom – it’s a fascinating masterclass in game design.

Doing the Domain Dance

More than anything else, this is just a notice that if this site should suddenly disappear, don’t worry, it’s not a repetition of the great site death of 2014. 

I’ve used GoDaddy to register my domains for probably close to 10 years. The reason I went to them was because I came very close to losing my jeansnow.net domain around that time, because of some shady dealings by the registrar I was using at the time. After I was able to rescue it, I decided I would go with the biggest company out there, one that wouldn’t just suddenly disappear.

On top of all of the ethical reasons you may not want to stick with GoDaddy, the other thing is that their site is a pain to use, and the constant upselling of services you need to endure every time you want to do something on their site (like renew your domains) is an absolute pain.

So I’m moving.

I’ve decided to move the two domains I still have – jeansnow.net and pausetalk.org (I let the other ones I’ve had through the years expire) – to Name.com. It’s a service that I saw my friend Craig tweet great praise about – and if you’re going to trust anyone about web services, I can’t think of a better person.

I’m currently in the process of transferring the domains, and so things may go smoothly or not, who knows.

Update: Just as I posted this, I noticed that jeansnow.net did indeed become unavailable, while the transfer is in progress. I’m not sure how long it will take, but in the meantime you can find this site at its Tumblr URL.

Devs Play

I truly loved watching the first episode of the new Let’s Play series by Double Fine and 2 Player Productions (makers of the fantastic Amnesia Fortnight and Adventure documentary series). My first Let’s Play love has been the terrific Lo-Fi Let’s Play series by Leigh Alexander, in which she plays old Apple II games from the 80s. This is also really great, in that it offers up some great talk – they have one of the makers of the game as a guest – while you’re watching the game being played. And it really is impressive to see a complete playthrough of the original Lion King game on Genesis, in such a short amount of time. Can’t wait to watch more.

Cafe Pause Mini-site Updated

Not that it’s really worth mentioning, but I updated my Cafe Pause mini-site, taking away the blog and simply keeping it as an info page — basically, somewhere to link to when I mention the cafe in a post (since the cafe’s own site is in Japanese). I used the lovely illustration Luis created for the Cafe Pause Poster series as the header.

And let me take this opportunity to clear up a few things, as a lot of people seem to be confused by my relationship with Cafe Pause. No, I am not the owner of the cafe, I’m just good friends with the owner and staff, which is why I’ve been able to produce events and host PauseTalk there. I was managing the gallery space, but don’t really do so anymore — although I’ll still help out if a foreigner wants to rent out the space for a show.

The Magaziner

I gotta say I’m getting a kick out of this: In the past 24 hours I conceived of a site, a name, bought the domain, got it working, installed WordPress, imported posts from this site, found a theme that I modded to my liking, and have now launched my latest project, something I’m calling The Magaziner. What’s a magaziner you ask? Here’s my made-up answer:

We hereby define a new term, that of the magaziner, described as a person who exerts an unhealthy amount of love for all things magazine. The Magaziner is a site that mostly focuses on the intersection between magazines and the digital frontier, and what it means for the medium. This does not preclude the inclusion of a healthy amount of print love.

It all started last night when I was reading a comment on Facebook by Craig Mod, who suggested that all of the magazine-related coverage I’ve been doing over the past couple of months is getting lost within the rest of what I post here. I think he made a good point — and god knows I have a lot of respect and admiration for what he’s accomplished over the past year or so — and so I decided to launch a new site that would be exclusively for all of the magazine stuff. Expect the same kind of coverage you’ve been seeing here — commentary, news, new release announcements, reviews — that weighs heavily on the emerging digital side of the magazine publishing industry, something I’m quite passionate about (although I do still love my lovely print publications, thank you very much).

So this site returns to being a hub for news on me and all of my various projects, which on top of The Magaziner includes Codex, my new weekly music podcast, Radio OK Fred, SNOW Magazine, PauseTalk, and other fun stuff. Hope you’ll continue to follow what I’m up to here, and if you really enjoyed the magazine coverage, then please head on over to The Magaziner — and you can of course subscribe to an RSS feed. There’s a Twitter account too (@the_magaziner) that I’ll be using to post magazine-related news as well.

Oh, and one more thing about The Magaziner, please consider this a beta version of the site. As I said at the top of this post, it all came together rather fast, so over the coming weeks I’m sure I’ll be changing things here and there, fixing things I missed, and maybe coming up with new features or sections to add.

Codex Now Has Its Own Home

Last night I decided to put together a quick and dirty website for Codex — as you’ll probably notice, it’s a simple mod of the SNOW Magazine site. Should make it easier to keep up with what’s going on with the show, instead of having to search for appropriate posts here.

Also, I already have my playlist decided for the next episode (03), but trying to be patient and wait a week before recording it.