Wordcount displays nearly ninety thousand words, ranked by how often they show up in usage, according to one British study. You can scroll through the sequence, search for words, or search for what number appears in a certain rank. Very clean, elegant, and useful. (thanks, Andrew)
The Codex is another work of machinima. Like Red vs Blue, it's based on Halo (Halo 2, in this case). It's more like the source material, in being a non-comic work, generically interested in sf, and with lots of fighting.
Paired with ILoveBees, the Halo series has become quite the linchpin for digital media production. For example:
That's from the fan art section of the main Codex site: fan art based on fan fiction (based on a sequel).
Today's fresh new alternate reality game (ARG) pairs murder and poker, logically enough. Last Call, whose title recalls a fun Tim Powers novel, looks like a poker game site. In fact, it bears a (gleeful? disturbing?) resemblance to various irritating game spam and ad sites. That pushes the classic ARG theme of blending into reality, all right.
But some of the card players around the Web game board are characters, and some ARG game players. Information about the former comes through various venues, including open web pages, email push, and puzzles. So far I've seen one well-done video scene, suggesting good production values all around. As an interesting twist in ARGs*, the relatively ancient card game becomes ARG content. i.e., the values of cards and the rules of play matter.
Speaking of gleeful, the whole game is suffused with grinning morbidity. Players (us) are encouraged to identify our death dates in our profiles. And details of death festoon the site: bullets, holes, blood red, language of mortality.
Other information: there's an UnFiction forum with lots of discussion going on already. Deus Ex Mach has an idea about who the puppetmasters are likely to be.
*Is someone studying the formal features of ARGs' genre development? They're coming fast and thick. For that matter, ARGs strike me as natively digital art forms, in Janet Murray's terms, going beyond porting over other media types.
Social bookmarking and more, continued: I found CommonTimes a little while ago, but haven't had much of a chance to play with it. It looks like Google News, in that it aggregates news stories. It also reminds me of memeorandum, which connects news stories with blog commentaries.
I haven't had a chance to play with CommonTimes so far, but now I'm more interested, since you can have the thing automatically copy a post to your del.icio.us account (that's a social bookmarking service). That saves me time, and might actually set up a nice feedback loop.
Meanwhile, I'm still working through related Web 2.0 tools for bookmarking and aggregation for an article which just keeps growing and demanding revision. Prentisscommented on his Shadows project, emphasizing its support for conversation. He also distinguished between social bookmarking and social networking tools for the sake of social networks (YASNs). This is correct, as bookmarking tools are based around "social objects". My comparison of the two is based not on structure but on their chronology and market moment: lots of excitement, the rapid rollout of many projects.
NYC2123 is a Web comic of the post-apcalyptic, cyberpunk type. What's interesting about it is that it's published for the Sony PSP. Rather than imitating comic book single or splash pages, NYC2123 appears as a series of single, small images, 480 by 272 pixels.
I suspect that format drives creators to compress more information in each panel, since there is no immediate context. And the format may favor suspense, soap, or other genres adept at getting readers to want to advance quickly to the next bit of microcontent. Conversely, meditative or static content would do well here.
In educational terms, if we think of PSP publication under the same rubric as RSS feeds and the mobile phone venue, we might want to emphasize microcontent instead of large content items (courses, even Web pages).
Voice of the Caliphate is al Qaeda's video update show. No longer relying on hand-delivered tapes picked up by al-Jazeera, bin Laden's network is publishing to the web, asking users to download and share. Apparently al-Q sees the war on terror as damage, and is routing around it:
The stated aim of the new initiative is to confront the "media obfuscation carried out by the collaborationist [i.e. Iraqi government] media channels and the frantic media war directed against our mujahid brothers all over the world..."
I await rapid uptake to Web 2.0. Terror vlogging? Really Simple Subversion? I think http://soutgimf.s5.com/ is one URL.
Some lands in the World of Warcraft universe have been hit by a bloody plague. It's called Corrupted Blood, and started as a booby-trapped body sort of thing. But the Beeb reminds us that people like to play with dead things, and technology:
The infection was only supposed to affect those in the
immediate vicinity of Hakkar's corpse but some players found a way to
transfer it to other areas of the game by infecting an in-game virtual
pet with it.
Jon Lebkowsky quotes Joi Ito quoting someone else, to the effect that this was perhaps intended as a way for some people to get some time by themselves: an antisocial social plague.
As an example they offer "CME-123", but I think we can do better. Imagine viruses with hacker handles, pirate monickers, Goth nicks. I'm holding out for long, whimsical names like those of the starships in Iain Banks' Culture series: So Much For Subtlety, No More Mr Nice Guy, Unfortunate Conflict Of Evidence, Youthful Indiscretion.