December 28, 2009

Colour My - Game Series

A while back I found great enjoyment in playing a simple flash game called Colour My Heart. It was a release for valentines of 2009 on Newgrounds, and ranks right up there with several of the other artistic games I have posted about in the past. Instead of being a challenging game, it is more of a piece of interactive art with a simple story. As SilverStitch, the author puts it, "This is not a 'hardcore gaming experience'...its just simple and more artistic". I was blown away by how well the simple pencil like graphics and backgrounds could come together to be as immersive as it ends up being. See Example Below...

I was very happy to recently find out see that the author has continued the Colour My - Series with several other titles all with a similar poetic twist on a deeper love and relationship theme. However, what is truly nice about the series is that you do not need to be a hardcore gamer, instead some basic platforming ability and the ability to figure a few puzzles is all that is necessary to enjoy it. I strongly recommend taking a look at the series by visiting the links below.

December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Hopefully everyone has a Merry Christmas today.

December 12, 2009

Old vs. New generations using technology.

I had a fascinating conversation this week while working, which got me thinking about the differences between the old and new generations using technology.  This is something I experienced first hand while working at the school help desk a few years ago.  Usually by thinking about the past generation and technology, you always get the standard not compatible, has trouble keeping up stigmas. To put it bluntly technology illiterate as people like to put it.  However, I hate when anyone uses (or overuses) the "I am technology illiterate" excuse. Hey, I am not amazing at spelling, yet could I go to a english class and get away with simply saying "I am writing illiterate? The answer is no! Nor do I believe that anyone of an older generation is completely devoid of the ability to keep up with new technology, I have seen older people do just fine in some cases.

So if it is not simply a random generation gap, what is it that makes it easier for the new generation to work with technology?  I thought about this for a while and came to an interesting realization, it is not so much a generation issue as it is a technology change issue.  Think about how technology is today, constantly updating changing and hopefully improving.  I know I expect this, even look for it, to the point that I am disappointed when something does not make small changes fast enough.  The words, "small changes" are the critical piece that has caused this gap.  The technology of the previous generation did not change the way it does today, changes where slow and costly, where new version only came infrequently with large updates, and sticking with a version was not uncommon (aka legacy systems).  This is no longer the case, as things are almost out of date as they reach our hands.  To put this in perspective, I am now seeing people of the older generation sitting down and learning Windows 7 after using XP or 2000 for many years.  However, other then the general annoyance of the task, this seem almost normal to them.  It  is nothing more then large delayed shift to the next big thing that they will again use for an extended length of time before finally making a large shift to the next thing.  As is normal for this past generation.

The really interesting thing is that other than the fact that I am not a Windows fan, I greatly abhor the switch to vista or win7 from xp, almost in a way that is ingrained. Yet after thinking about these generation differences it is almost expected.  The Graphical User Interface(gui) and other parts are a huge shift from the norm I am used to working with; this is not a bunch of constant quick small updates! Annoyingly, this tends to be the Microsoft model of doing OS updates, and in some cases software (the new office suite for example).  Which works, but psychologically, only for the past generation...

Further expanding this leads me to think this is also another reason why I keep sticking to the Mac side. The People always complain that OS X updates are always many small changes on the standard OS, which seem pointless to pay for as it is not a big change, however it fits what this generation is looking for, yearly (constant) updates that add many new (small) feature, and does not make any huge changes to the way you use it that may require relearning.  I believe that the slowly increasing market share, mostly with young high school and college students may indicate just this.

The topic of relearning is another interesting point. In general it is a known fact that it is much easier to learn something new than it is to retrain your self, which is why habits are so hard to break.  This is why the many small changes model seems to work so well.  The changes slowly pile up till they finally replace something old, this way you are not relearning something, instead you have slowly replaced it with better new features that you have already learned the steps for.  The past generation, however, is a little different.  I know from helping older people that simply pointing out a new easier feature, which makes perfect sense to me, does not seem to work.  Instead the set memorized way that they go about using a system needs to be thrown out before the idea that a new way needs to be relearned is mentally accepted.  Something that as expected is not easy to do, and causes younger generation help desk employes to quickly get frustrated.

Sadly, this does not shed any direct light on fixing this generation gap, however it does illuminate the main disconnect.  Which may in some way allow for a common ground between quick and constant vs. big and slow changes to be found in technology use of a different generation.