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Weekly Links #279

21 July 2019 — No Time To Play

Hello, everyone! As of this Wednesday, the No Time To Play domain name is secure for another year, with some help from site co-founder Nightwrath and our friend Shoby. That means I can stop pestering you for a while.

On the minus side, my work-in-progress game has stalled. Again. I seem to suffer from burnout. Been blogging and working on my personal website instead. Reading a book. Stuff like that. Could tell you about my plans, because there's a lot of them as usual, but frankly? There are too many people selling dreams as it is.

Speaking of which: last time I mentioned joining a new social network on the rise known as Matrix. Nobody reacted. (Nobody replies to these blog posts anymore as a general rule.) In the mean time, one of two curated server lists has gone down, and the other doesn't list the one that accepted me. And we need to know about each other somehow. If a queer-friendly community of techies sounds like your speed, come over to matrix.spider.ink lost-angles.im. Or if you prefer something more mainstream, feneas.org should be a good place, knowing who runs it.

In the mean time, let's see some news, because this week we have a few for a change: a retrospective of a classic text adventure, a generous grant extended to a major player in the field of computer graphics, and some comments on the state of tech industry journalism. Details below the cut.

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Tags: meta, social-media, interactive-fiction, graphics, business

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Weekly Links #278: social media edition

14 July 2019 — No Time To Play

This week I was forced to accept that XMPP and IRC are both goners. Unfortunately so. While a few old-timers may still be clinging to both, and there's an effort to modernize the latter, it looks to me like the future is elsewhere.

But where? Like many people these days, I have a Discord account. Could even make a No Time To Play server there if I wanted to, and rule over my own little corner of... a mall, whose owners don't care about us except as potential cash cows. Petty owners, who can't be bothered to help us fight spam and other nasties, but sure like to play favorites. No wonder their attempts to be cute just seem to annoy everyone. And then, it's a single point of failure, that routinely fails in mysterious ways for some people but not others, just when you need it the most.

Luckily we can do better. Lately I keep hearing about the Matrix protocol, whose developers recently released version 1.0 of their reference server and client software, after five years in development. We're talking a distributed chat system with a clear, open specification, that already enjoys ample support. Heck, there seem to be more server implementations than there are Mastodon clients. On the other hand, while the-federation.info tracks over 1500 Matrix hosts, only a dozen or so are widely considered stable and trustworthy. Adoption seems limited, and then only among enthusiasts of the decentralized web.

It's a chicken and egg problem, so for once I decided to be an early adopter. As of this writing I have a Matrix account, a new territory to explore. Who's with me?

In the way of news, this week I have... nothing. A vacation, health issues and a little paid work held my attention. And then, my usual news sources are at it again. When the world of sports is more interesting these days, you know it's a problem.

That said, while on the subject of social networks, let me remind you that you have many options these days. Gamemaking.social and mastodon.gamedev.place for one. Better yet, elekk.xyz, which welcomes those who play and make games in equal measure, and has an awesome moderation team on top of that. Or if you don't like Mastodon, FreeGameDev.net Social runs on Hubzilla instead (though it has ActivityPub enabled and working well), and they offer other services as well, but only for open source game developers.

Either way, you're no longer forced to use proprietary services for keeping in touch with people in the industry. So do yourself a favor and break free.

Tags: meta, social-media

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