Category Archives: video games

“Gene, an accomplished guitar player, sent me a long email on the subject of motivation, with some ideas I’ve never seen before. Condensed excerpt:

To master any truly difficult skill it’s not enough to just want it; you have to be obsessed. If you have to force yourself to pick it up you’re screwed; if you have to force yourself to put it down you know you’re on the right track.

You told me that the only thing you’ve ever had to force yourself to stop was video games. Ask yourself: why exactly are video games so addictive? Of course it’s because of the constant reward system. Every thirty seconds you get a reward of some kind. The next question is: how can I duplicate this experience in other areas?

When I was learning to play, I always broke any challenge down into it’s smallest possible chunks. A fast lick might seem impossible taken as a whole, but how difficult is it to play the first three notes? If I play those three notes over and over for ten minutes, always keeping it down to a tempo at which I can play it correctly at all times, will I be able to work them up to performance tempo in those ten minutes? Assuming you haven’t chosen something way beyond your level, the answer is probably yes!

By doing it this way, you’re creating a lot of very small, quick successes for yourself. If you set yourself a goal to bring those first three notes up to performance tempo and you succeed in just a few minutes, the flush of success releases endorphins in the brain. If you continue to duplicate that experience every few minutes you get addicted to practicing.

Talent is an intuitive grasp of rapid learning. Fortunately you don’t really need that intuitive understanding… that’s what a teacher is for! Unfortunately most teachers haven’t analyzed their own formative years sufficiently to understand the ingredients of their own success as players. I have consistently found that students who listen to me and practice as I described above will progress ten times faster than anyone else.

It’s also true that these are the students who become obsessed. I’ve believed for years that they listened to me and practiced in this way because they were obsessed, but since I’ve come to believe that I had cause and effect confused. They become obsessed because they practice this way!”

http://ranprieur.com/, Sept 1, 2014

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Filed under addiction, mentoring / apprenticeship, talent vs skill, teaching, video games

Erik explains: Hulu vs HuluPlus on your TV

Q: Can I watch Hulu (free! not HuluPlus which is $8) on my TV in my living room?

A: Yes! I do this all the time with a Mac Mini. A less expensive option in 2013 is a $200 Chromebook.
So just get a:
$200 Chromebook w/ a HDMI plug
$350 Laptop w/ a HDMI plug
$550 Mac mini (which all have HDMI plugs) and a wireless keyboard and mouse

Normally you can only use HuluPlus via Roku (we love our Roku for Netflix!), AppleTV and other streaming services. But HuluPlus is a paid monthly subscription, whereas Hulu is free. As are most “recent episode” archives at the websites of the major networks — ABC/CBS/NBC/etc.

HuluPlus advantages:
– Of course, do the math… a $200 chromebook is 25 months of $8/month HuluPlus. And a Roku is very easy/handy vs it is a bit of a pain to use a laptop w/ one’s TV.
– more episodes
– HD (Hulu is not usually HD)

Hulu vs Chromebook. Chromebook allows:
– flash games
– web/facebook/email/twitter
– google docs / office-like apps
– use it in a different room than the TV occasionally

(Even better than a Chromebook… but more expensive/heavier/slower to start)
Hulu vs $350 laptop w/ HDMI. A laptop additionally a laptop allows:
– games/Steam
– real Microsoft Office apps

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Filed under Erik explains, reviews, shopping, video games

video games vs real life

Some collected quotes on video games and real life. By Ran Prieur and maybe some others…

– “I think the reason people like difficulty in games more than in real life, is that games are more densely and consistently rewarding. ” — Ran Prieur 8/7/2013 Blog

– Future w/ Virtual Reality and Augmented Intelligence, etc: “The key question is: Can you have the experience of going into a computer and coming back?” — Ran Prieur, http://www.ranprieur.com/essays/machines.html

– “Although we all realize that monotony is boring, almost every form of industrial work- banking, accounting, mass-producing, service- is monotonous, and most people are paid for simply putting up with monotony.” — Alan Watts

– Escaping vs Expanding: “Fifty years ago, how many kids emerged from books with tools that they used to change the world or their place in it? And how many do so now with video games?”
— “In a good society, usefulness and pleasure are one: every necessary activity is something that people find intrinsically meaningful and enjoyable, and everything people feel like doing feeds the whole system. When a society begins to depend on tasks that nobody feels like doing, it needs to fill the work motivation gap with extrinsic motivators: usually social pressure, physical threats, and rewards of money and status.”
— Rain Prieur http://www.ranprieur.com/essays/unfin-tech.html

– “… what we need is Sim Fall, a game with honest simulations of the ecological costs of technologies, the inefficiency of central control, human malaise, and other reasons that every empire falls. Most important, we need something that no strategy game has ever had: all increase must be reversible. Buildings, roads, and military units decay over time, and have to be maintained or rebuilt at great expense.” March 17-19 2007

http://ranprieur.com/archives/011.html

– “…humans have two contradictory desires. We want to feel like we’re valuable people living good lives, which itself is a massive and difficult subject. A good place to start is the famous video, The surprising truth about what motivates us. The other thing we want is for life to be easy, but there is a trade-off between a good life and an easy life.
This conflict comes into clearer focus as more work is automated. Do you want a machine where you push a button and food comes out, or do you want the challenge and personal empowerment of growing and preparing food with your own hands? This was not an issue in preindustrial civilization, when work was done by slaves and peasants. The lower classes suffered, but not from existential angst, and the elite felt important because they were ruling actual humans. Now there is a growing class of people who have no political power but are served by machines.
If the tech system can adapt to resource exhaustion, we might emerge into a high-tech utopia/dystopia, in which it’s easy to be comfortable but difficult to be happy. Social class will no longer be about power or even standard of living, but valuable activity. The upper class will hold the few important jobs that still require humans. The middle class will be hobbyists, practicing difficult skills that are not necessary for society. And the lower class will be content to consume entertainment.” — Ran Prieur, 11/28/2012

http://www.ranprieur.com/archives/041.html

– Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life
“Reality is broken, says Jane McGonigal, and we need to make it work more like a game.”

http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_the_game_that_can_give_you_10_extra_years_of_life.html

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Filed under essential, happiness, meaning of life, motivation, person: Ran Prieur, video games, work

Just say IPad Mini? (2012 Holiday / XMas Tablet Shopping Guide)

When the IPad Mini was released, the first review I read was negative, but it seems like many prefer the Mini to the fullsize. I think it really depends on your needs. I already have a 10″ Android tablet that gets used around the house primarily for Youtube and Netflix and games. No need for another tablet here. But if I commuted daily on the train, I could see it being useful to have an LTE IPad Mini or Nexus 7.

Preference: Apple IPad Mini
(Pros – LTE available, Price, weight, size=>easier to fit in purses, jacket pockets, etc)

Businessweek

ZDNET

The Wirecutter

NY Times

Preference: Apple IPad “3” (and current “4” w/ faster A6X Graphics)
(Pros — LTE and Retina Screen)

Dave Winer/Scripting News/Gizmodo,
article 2

Background on the Apple IPad Mini

Marco.org

Vs Androd / Nexus 7 / Amazon Fire HD (Pros – price!)

Apple displays are better color wise but the Android 7″ displays hae higher resolution

Bottom line

Overall? IPad Mini or Android 7″ tablet (Google Nexus 7, Amazon Fire HD). I think this really comes down to whether you know there are Apple/iOS only apps or games you want/need. If not, you might be happier with Android because of price and screen resolution.

Price? Android 7″ tablet (Google Nexus 7, Amazon Fire HD)

Games? Apps? IPad Mini

Eyesight/reading? IPad 4 or 7″ Android tablets (all are “Retina”)

Second iPad: IPad Mini

School/Work: Apple Macbook Air / Thinkpad T430 or Dell Laptop!

Wait for Retina IPad Mini? This will take quite a while. Don’t wait.

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Filed under android, apple, shopping, tablets, tech, video games

Jane McGonigal TED talk: Gaming can make a better world

Watch this TED talk on using gaming to “save the world”. I think it’s quite compelling. Maybe the logic falls apart if one thinks about it more than 18 minutes, but I think there is A LOT of truth to this based on what I see with my own kids and their gaming.

Continue reading

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Filed under alternative education, collaboration, community, contrarian, energy, evidence-based, experiments, gamification, green, health, motivation, screen-time, social media, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, video games

More Woodworking with Kids links

Since we (as in… the world) is going to be in an ongoing struggle between globalization and re-localization for the foreseeable future, along with it’s impact on the education of our kids and ourselves, here are a few more links on the topic of woodworking with kids that I started back here. Nothing compares to the thrill my kids get of doing real things with their bodies — skiing, cooking, gardening, sawing logs, etc. (Except Minecraft. And Wild Kratts. And… well, you see the issue.)

So here we go.

- Kindergrarten Shop Class – NYTimes.com

Mar 30, 2011 – Teaching children construction is gaining momentum across the country as a way to develop imagination and confidence

- If you’re in the Boston area, Wood is Good occasionally offers classes for kids.

- And The Eliot School, Boston MA offers endless courses for kids including “Very Beginning Woodworking – age 4-6″

- In NC, go to “summer camp” with a 5-day workshop from Roy Underhill. Here’s an example

MORE FROM 2014

- Shop Class integral part of this private school for boys

http://www.npr.org/2014/07/27/335804557/lessons-in-manhood-a-boys-school-turns-work-into-wonders?ft=1&f=1003

- A great 10 minute video about…
The Blue Ox Mill and Community High School, Eureka CA
A custom mill and woodworking classes for kids and veterans
Eric Hollenbeck

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Filed under alternative education, education, globalization, green, health, homeschooling, homesteading, kids -- freedom and responsibility, local, makerspace, mentoring / apprenticeship, minecraft, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, unschooling, video games, woodworking / shop class

“Enough with the apps already”

I think Dave Winer will be proven right on this. Apps will die. The web will live. Why? Because of linking. LINK

And perhaps the ease of making mobile-friendly web pages and “responsive web design”, even websites which act just like a native app on the iPhones or Androids of the world — have you seen nytimes.com/chrome/ in a Chrome browser?

Just about the only thing which will stay apps are video games since linking is not (or at least, less) important in a game since games are usually self-contained universes. And even there I might be a little wrong.

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Filed under android, apple, predictions, tech, video games