J. Martin

June 6, 2021

Digital Habits Die Hard

Last week, I was critically preoccupied with readying my Mac for 64bit-only macOS 11 Big Sur. Why am I still on OSX Mojave? Workflows & pipelines! It took me two years to whittle down my enormous stack of 32bit-only apps to an acceptable degree. A few problems remain, and while they’re not trivial, I have to go on. Switching from Adobe’s still non-extortionate 32bit Creative Suite to Serif’s Affinity Suite was a breeze, but my book’s IDML export/import from InDesign to Affinity Publisher looks like an exploded pudding. Then, for the time being, I’ve given up on Screenwriter Magic & Dramatica Story Expert, as Write Brothers, Inc. still doesn’t seem to get its act together after two years. And then, after 15+ years of coping for each and every upgrade with the hot, raging trashcan fire that VMware calls support, I’m now on the brink of giving up on that too for good. My switch to Big Sur will commence today, so wish me luck.

Two blog posts I published last week: one on “Agency, Autonomy, and Power in The Last of Us” at between drafts, and one linked-list entry on “Kimberly Voll & Robin Hunicke on Player Behavior” at just drafts.

Also, I completed my fourth Singapore album on Flickr, Singapore IV: CBD (15 images), and uploaded another one, Chengde II: Puning Si—Temple of Universal Peace (ditto).

Time for some fun stuff! Enjoy “My Cat Is a Thief” on Tumblr, Linear Mandarin on Twitter, and especially this gem, the ad “The World’s Biggest Asshole” on YouTube.

Finally, today, a game recommendation: If On a Winter's Night, Four Travelers by Laura Hunt and Thomas Möhring. It’s an episodic game; it’s substantial (I played over two hours for the first three episodes); it’s free; it’s audiovisually compelling; and the stories are beautifully told. But mind: the first three episodes, at least, are also SAD & DEPRESSING, so be warned! The interface and some mechanics do need some polishing, but there’s just two things you really need to know. First, you can’t go back/ESC to the menu/quit the game during a dialogue cycle or during cutscenes (just wait it out); second, you can only save one game state. (I also once had to revert the “saves” folder to “accessible” after a Windows update, but no one else seems to have run into that problem.) If you’re not familiar with point-&-click conventions: the second episode introduces some light challenges where you come across information at one location and then have to do things based on that information in the right manner or in the right sequence at another location; the third episode introduces some easy item-allocation puzzles. No reason to get anxious—you can always try again, nothing terrible will happen if you don't succeed right away :-). Finally, especially in the second episode, the same items might have different mouse-over texts after a context change (you’ll see what I mean, don’t worry).

It’s a bit chilly and overcast today, so it’s time for me to play the fourth episode while I wait for my Mac to upgrade!